Final Project – Sunday Night

owl ed book

What a busy day!  I started this morning trying to uploading my video into Movie Maker.  However, after following Dean’s suggestions, the program would still not recognize the files from my handy-dandy new Flip camera.  I once again emailed Dean, and as a back-up, I emailed Bill Ferriter, my mentoring teacher, in North Carolina. 

Last week during an in-class ECMP355 project on movie making, my class and I used Flip cameras, and Bill has also suggested I purchase one as an awesome teaching tool for my future classroom…  My point:  these little cameras must work! 

Dean replied, “Another option is to use zamzar.com to upload the original videos and convert them to .wmv”.  Oh, high praise for Zamzar!  What I really like about this site is that I am simply offered my steps: 1, 2 and 3.  The site is very simple.  What does Barry Schwartz say?  More is not better, more is simply debilitating.  I began the conversion process.

Shortly afterward, Bill replied, “Ahhh, the ol’ MP4 challenge!  I’ve been there too!  The new Flip cameras record in MP4, but Movie Maker doesn’t allow you to edit MP4s.  What a hassle.  A few solutions: 1.  You can use Format Factory—a free program—-to convert your video from MP4 to WMV, a file type that Movie Maker will let you play with.  2.  You can do your video editing on-line using a program like Jaycut:  http://jaycut.com/  3.  You can skip editing completely and just upload your files to Blip TV, which allows viewers to engage in a conversation in the comment section:  http://www.blip.tv” 

What I have really appreciated about Bill’s support throughout my mentoring process is that his comments always feel like he has been through all of these situations before.  He wrote in his blog when he and I were getting set to Skype a few weeks ago, that he too had been challenged with bureaucratic red tape and he had been forced to ask for assistance, and yet did not give up.  I like that he has real grade 6 teacher challenges and understands the wind resistance that affects my current learning curve.  His empathy and kindness are comforting.

I had figured out that my Flip was giving me mp4 files so I only took a quick look at FormatFactory, and it was so visually busy, and I was well into the conversion process with ZamZar by that time that I did not play around with this tool.   I was beginning not to love my Flip.  This camera though, is incredibly easy to use in the field (though close ups and fast actions shots are ncomputer with VTot recommended).

A lot of my video pixulated with the conversion.  This made me sad.  The pan shot of the in-field is really lovely without the pixulation.  But, oh well.  There was also a bit of the same effect when the video uploaded into VoiceThread.  I saved the VT and sent a link to Bill for his thoughts. 

Then I showed it to my daughter who gave this feedback: “There are too many words.”

Then I went to bed, tossing and turning, anxious for Bill’s feedback.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Final Project – Sunday Night

  1. I’m really blown away by the effort, insight and connections you’ve made on this project. The way you’ve reflected on the learning, included references to other content (BTW, the Barry Schwartz talk is one of my favourite TED talks) and even involved your family is one of the best demonstrations of connected and social learning I can think of. Terrific.

  2. Hey Cori,

    What you’re learning is that digital integration into classroom instruction isn’t always easy! Teachers who plow through those kinds of barriers and find solutions are what I describe as “digitally resilient,” but no one ever said that digital resilience is easy!

    The barriers are many—-access to technology, access to WORKING technology, time constraints, scripted curricula, digital learning curves for instructors—-but for those who are willing, there are always work arounds.

    And the rewards can be amazing. While you’re watching your Voicethread develop, remember that my students barely know you and have little invested in this project outside of the opportunity to learn something cool about burrowing owls.

    You’ll be surprised by how passionate and engaged they’ll get! I’ll bet they’ll be all over your conversation, posting thoughts that will stretch YOUR thinking.

    The lesson: Students DO care about learning….especially when the learning experiences mirror the kinds of learning they’re doing on their own beyond the schools. When you can figure out ways to wrap your content in a “delivery system” that resonates with tweens, you’ve got magic on your hands…..

    Bill

    BTW: I would have NEVER expected such highly polished work from a “student teacher.” You’re something special indeed.

  3. saasc

    Hey Bill,

    I agree, the biggest learning curve will be mine. I’m looking forward to the students surprising me.

    I agree that finding out how kids learn best is one of the keys to turning them on to learning. A few years ago I had an opportunity to experience a learning space that was tailor-made to suit me. As part of the Middle-Years program I had taken a class with Dr. Norm Yakel. Following that class he offered me the gift of taking a self-directed course with him, an opportunity that I later found out is usually reserved (and shouldn’t be) for grad students. During this course I began to salivate over my studies as I choose, designed, explored, and presented content that was relevant to me, utilizing learning strategies best suited to my own needs and styles. I began to understand learning from the perspective of student-as-teacher and not just student-as-consumer. Also, the ‘delivery system’ became mine.

    I’m not naive enough to believe that the self directed course would work for everyone, but for me it was magical.

    I saw that magic play out with my daughter, Jessy Lee and her friend, Kiri, this past weekend. The girls had spent the weekend at my mom and dad’s home, a cabin on Lake Diefenbaker. The place itself lends well to exploration, but my parents too invite it. Saturday, my dad took the girls hiking and they came across a piece of rusted out railroad track. On Sunday when I met my mom and dad to do a kid drop-off, this very large and very heavy piece of metal was strapped to the top of Kiri’s suitcase.

    The girls had begun a self-directed enquiry unit all on their own. That night, Kiri lugged her new treasure into her home talking a mile a minute. Jessy Lee sat on the couch with cat and computer in her lap, searching for the history of the rail lines in the Elbow area. Jess kept calling her aunt, providing her with the latest updates on the construction of Gardner Dam, the dates of the rail lines, the ghost rail lines and the outline of a new short story, “No, we can’t go to the lake this weekend, but we’re gonna do more searching when we go back in two weeks… Yah, and the track used to go right by the cabin!”

    The excitement of learning beyond the school, like the kind of excitement found in rusted out rail tracks, funky self-directed art courses, and, oh, I hope, VT about teeny Burrowing Owls is why I know digital resiliency to be so important.

    Thanks for your encouragement and your heads up,

    Cori

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