Sunday, December 23, 2012

Presentation to Chinese Educators

On Friday December 21 I had to pleasure to present Major Trends in Technology, Society and Education to a group of visiting educators from Futian District of China.

 Here's the presentation.
Presentation to Chinese Educators, Dec 21, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012


I'm trying an experiment to get as much of course material out to the public as possible.  I'm starting with my Using Integrated Software and Introduction to Authoring Tools.  

Here's my syllabus with links for Using Integrated Software.

Catalog Description

An integrated software package is one that combines word processing, database management, paint, draw, spreadsheet, and telecommunications capabilities into one package. The package is the starting point to use as a resource-based curriculum. New types of learning and assignments across the curriculum are explored. The goal is to develop candidates who know how to access resources to maintain state-of-the-art technological literacy. Each candidate will design an instructional project as part of this class.


This course focuses on a systemic approach to teaching with technology. Students learn how to use common productivity tools for meaningful learning and accessible curriculum.  The emphasis is on integrating big ideas with curriculum; curriculum with technology; teaching with assessment; and digital technologies with physical activity.    All projects integrate commonly available productivity tools noted in the catalog description.

Here's my syllabus to Introduction to Authoring Tools

Catalog Description

This course will explore a variety of authoring tools. Candidates will conduct a comprehensive survey of authoring tools and create documents applying design elements. Candidates will examine the way that hypermedia can be used to improve student achievement in the classroom and library/multimedia centers by using a variety of media types, including sound, video, and animation. Throughout the course, candidates will reflect upon the capabilities of authoring tools that are available to educational multimedia designers.


The focus of this course is to look at the educational applications of easily available software, a DIY ethos, participatory culture, and remix.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

When the Lit Hits the Fan (Guest Post for the School Library Journal)

This week I was honored to be a guest blogger for the School Library Journal on the topic of fanfiction in education, thanks to the great Peter Gutierrez, who I've been cyber-stalking since I met him at NCTE a few years ago.  Here's the beginning of the entry:

Starting around 2001, friends began to tell me about their children’s fascination with fanfiction—writing, reading, and critiquing it. By the time the fourth person told me how much fanfiction had helped her daughter grow as a confident writer I had already started exploring its role in student writing. Over the last eight years I have used fanfiction in my work as a teacher educator. It is a formal part of a graduate course on “Technology in the English Language Arts” that I teach, and it has worked its way into other work I do as well. In that graduate class, I share my research and encourage teachers to consider using fanfiction in their own teaching. Though the specifics of the project changes, there are a few general stages that we work through.

full post here...When the Lit Hits the Fan, SLJ

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Photoshopping History

Earlier this year I was asked to develop a project on Photoshop for 150 history teachers in San Bernardino County.  I thought that the idea of  image manipulation throughout history would be a good starting point.  I created a presentation and a hands-on project.

Photoshop is a powerful program, so the hands-on project focused on a few of the key techniques to manipulate images.The hands-on project begins by downloading the Trial Version of Photoshop Elements.

Here's the presentation:

Below is  the tutorial. You can download it here.

Here are the 3 images to start the tutorial.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Teaching with Foley

Foley is the art of making sound effects with ordinary objects.  It can be used to both support traditional literacies and expand the communication tools of students.   It can augment and expand traditional literacy in readers' theater and dramatic interpretations.  It can also teach executive function skills such as coordinating in a group and waiting for cues.  Foley can also be a tool to teach 21st century skills--transforming ordinary objects into completely different meanings (e.g. cups become galloping horses) teaches kids a lot about capitalizing on the characteristic of a medium (e.g. you only hear the cups) as well as the power of effects and manipulation. 

I have done Foley work with 2nd graders to stimulate their speaking and writing as well as with 10th graders to help them produce and analyze a scene for Shakespeare.  

Here's a video on Foley art from the LA Times:

Here are some Foley ideas from Remixing Shakespeare:

Here are Foley ideas that work well with literacy projects:
  • Horses galloping: plastic cups on a desk
  • Army Marching: Boots on wood, repeated and looped
  • Shovels: Spoons in sand or pebbles
  • Pick ax: Pipes or metal spoons
  • Applause: 2-3 People clapping, repeated and looped
  • Knocking on door: Knocking on desk or wood
  • Time bomb ticking: Clock
  • Airplane engine: Fan starting and running
  • Helicopter: Opening and closing an umbrella very fast
  • Bones breaking: cracking celery or carrots
  • Surgery (or anything squishy): Manipulating Jello
  • Knight moving in armor: A set of keys moving
  • Walking or running in leaves or forest: crunching potato chips with hands (use latex gloves to avoid greasy hands
  • Walking in snow: patting corn starch
  • Dinosaur, monster, or large animal eating: Chewing Watermelon
  • Elevator door closing: closing a desk draw or filing cabinet
  • Boiling water: Blowing bubbles with a straw in water

Another idea that works is to demonstrate a few Foley techniques and then give the students some of these objects and have them decide what they sound like.