Reflections on Instructional Technology and Media

Telling a PhotoStory April 7, 2008

We are a dual-platform district. Most of our elementary schools have Macs while most of the secondary schools are PC sites.  I have heard the glories of iMovie for years now and how our schools are using it for digital storytelling. Some schools are buying Macs just so that they can have this functionality. I have been trying to tell the PC schools that there are good products out there for them…for free, but so far have seen little evidence of their adoption of these apps. I believe firmly in the idea that it is hard, if not impossible, to convert users to a product that you have not used yourself, so this weekend, I used PhotoStory 3 for windows to create a photo montage for my mother’s 60th birthday.

I found PhotoStory very easy to use – you download it (for free) and install it on your PC. Then you literally use the wizard to upload as many photos from your computer into Photostory. You can arrange them as needed, change the transition of the photos, add titles, narration, and music to your story. Finally, you can export it into a variety of formats based on how you plan to view the photostory.  Really user friendly. I hope lots of PC user are taking advantage of this free resource from Microsoft. Made my mother’s party a memorable experience 🙂


Evaluating social bookmarking sites April 4, 2008

Ross White from LearnNC asked me today on Twitter what value Diigo has over other social bookmarking sites like So I thought I would look closely at the two sites to see what I could determine. Both are considered to be social bookmarking sites. However, Diigo goes a step further. Diigo is really more like a mash-up of social bookmarking and social networking. It is as if Facebook and had a child and named it Diigo.

Like, Diigo allows you to post your bookmarks online, tag them and share them. However, Diigo allows to to create a network of friends and see what their recent activity is – much easier to see the new items bookmarked by your friends than in There is also a comment wall which allows for friends to engage in conversation or discussion about sites. Additionally, Diigo allows you to create lists in addition to tags. Tags allow for a dynamic set of resources to be viewed. Lists allow you to create a static set of resources when necessary. It is another option for organizing bookmarked sites. You can also designate sites as favorites.

Finally, Diigo allows you to create groups so that people who might have something in common can share bookmarks with the group that they think the other members of the group might find interesting. Diigo is quickly becoming a favorite resource from what I can tell by listening in the twitterverse. Good site to check out. And share with others. Find me and friend me 🙂


The Parody Mashup February 13, 2008

The rise of YouTube has given a new stage to politicians and the corporate sector. They can run their ads for free and rely on the viral video craze to disseminate their message. There have been some very creative and thought provoking videos produced for this purpose, but from this has arisen a secondary phenomenon – the parody of those videos. See below for a couple examples of the original video and the parody. video for Barack Obama’s campaign:

Parody by using John McCain’s campaign

Dove’s Evolution of Beauty

Parody – The Evolution of the Slob

I see tremendous potential for the eduverse. What if students used the content from their classes and mashed it with the style of a popular viral video and re-posted their work? Talk about engaging. If you have already seen some exampls of this being done in education, leave me a comment.


A Lesson in Copyright May 25, 2007

For your holiday weekend enjoyment, I would like to share a great mash-up of Disney clips formed into a lesson on copyright and fair use. Maybe this is something that will finally hit home with the students (and teachers)! It also occurs to me that this is a good model for a project that students could do – mash up video clips to narrate a definition or explanation of a topic they are learning. Imagine different groups of students working on different topics and posting the collection as an online encyclopedia of information. Also a good practice in the proper citation of resources!