Summary: The philosophical musings and goings on of a technology loving art teacher.
Today’s episode was recorded on the drive home. No script, no notes in front of me (because “eyes-on-the-road,” obviously…), and plenty of engine noises from my own vehicle and those around me that Audacity’s “Noise Removal” filter couldn’t do enough to remove. (If you’re new here, most of my podcasts are not recorded like this. I’m just pressed for time this week, so I multi-tasked on the way home.) Topics: Throw stuff at the wall, see what sticks. My hashtag idea didn’t stick. Learning by doing sticks. Turning a school event into a media production project sticks. The “Undo” command sticks, because it means things don’t have to stick. (Wait, what?) A willingness to take bad photos allows a few good photos to stick. Google Drive for student use? Sticks. It REALLY sticks.
In today’s episode, I have opening night jitters. Show Notes: StarTalk Radio Hosted by Neil Degrasse Tyson Wide variety of science topics Frequently with a professional comedian co-host. Teaching Photography With Animated .GIFs Yes, .gif is pronounced “jif,” because that’s what the guy who made it called it. Great for quick comparison of scaled setting changes while the subject and camera remain stationary. Good idea for a student project. #MDEduTech chat sessions Start 10/20/2014 Every Monday @ 7PM EST Target audience is Maryland teachers with an interest in technology, but we won’t chase you away. First topic will be Digital Citizenship
Today’s episode is about social interactions, for good or for ill. Show Notes: EdBean Podcast 3 teachers discussing a variety of teaching strategies. Conversation is frequently NOT about the tech, but about best practices. Most recent episode from last month. Assumption is the padcast is still active. “Don’t feed the trolls,” but what if they feed themselves? (NSFW due to language.) Written by Kathy Sierra, reposted on Wired.com with permission. Some people (mostly women) reach a status of recognition amongst trolls where they have no recourse. Abandon social media, trolls win. Ignore them, their antics escalate until they cannot be ignored. Fight back, they escalate. See above. #MDEduTech chat sessions Start 10/20/2014 Every Monday @ 7PM EST Target audience is Maryland teachers with an interest in technology, but we won’t chase you away. First topic will be Digital Citizenship
I’ve been thinking for a while about so-called “echo chambers.” We tend to gravitate towards people with similar tastes and ideas to our own. This of course is only natural – if someone thinks the same way we think, we’re going to like them more. If we like them, why wouldn’t we want to hang out with them? The problem that stems from this is that when the only thoughts you hear mirror your own, you sometimes begin to think that those are what everyone thinks – no matter how far from the truth that actually is. Suffice to say, if you spend your days hanging out in an echo chamber, hearing only voices similar to your own, you’ll end up with limited intellectual growth and possibly a misguided view of reality. (I’m going to bite my tongue here and not make a political statement, but those who know me may certainly fill in the gap.) For the past several years I have been doing my best to place myself outside the echo chamber that is the teacher’s lounge – both the one in my school and the virtual ones online. I still “talk shop” with teachers on many occasions, but the vast majority of my interactions now involve people outside of my chosen profession. The blogs I read, the podcasts I heard, I read and listened to them from the viewpoint of an educator (and frequently asked myself how I could apply them to my classroom), but they weren’t focused on education. There was good and bad in that. On one hand, I found a lot of cool new things that I and my students thought were interesting. ToneMatrix? BitBuilder Avatars? Light painting? None of these things came to me from other teachers. On the other hand, I am far from the only teacher finding and sharing cool things. By limiting my intake of information to non-educational sources, I ended up missing out on a lot of neat things that I would have otherwise been on top of. (For example, Gradecam.com hit me out of the blue. when my principal mentioned it to me. I’d never heard of it before. As a side note, my principal is pretty cool.) This will not do. I’ve no intention of fully immersing myself in the education echo chamber for fear of missing outside ideas, but I at least want to keep one ear in there to know what’s going on. Unfortunately … almost every teacher created podcast I used to listen to has faded away. I’m not shocked by this, particularly when I look at my own … er … infrequent updates. So in typical Web 2.0 fashion, I made a Google Doc and posted some tweets. I am attempting to create an up to date list of podcasts by teachers. https://t.co/zKGUONeTd9 Please help. #PGTech #BYOTChat #edchat — Aaron Smith (@theartguy) October 9, 2014 Less than 24 hours later, the spreadsheet sports 40 podcasts! (Though granted not all of them are by teachers. I’m thinking I’ll migrate them off to a separate list rather than deleting them outright, as there are some real gems in there, too.) Now that’s probably more than the average person could listen to in a student-filled day, but there’s always room for more. Do you know of an excellent teacher created podcast that isn’t on the list? Add it! Yes, go ahead. Anyone who can see the spreadsheet has editing rights, so just plop it on down in there. Even if it’s your own creation, that’s fine. The goal here is to create a teacher-curated list of teacher podcasts. The more of us who get involved, the better.
In today’s episode I complain that the real world is boring. Well, it is. (If you listen closely you can also hear me scratch my cat’s head.) [EDIT: Previous link was to an older episode. This has been fixed.] Show Notes: 40 Ways to Make Time for Creativity in Your Lesson Plans Real Work v. Real World Forced Perspective Photography Everything I liked but didn’t include in this episode
In today’s episode I discover why I should click on links BEFORE I start recording. (And better yet, before I try to use them in class.) Seriously. X-Rays of (D)SLR lenses Awesome quote by Will Richardson All the cool things that didn’t make it into the show
In today’s episode I do not cry. Seriously. The textbook prices are too darned high! Rules For A Scientist’s Life Pixlr.com: Free, web based (almost) photoshop All the cool things that didn’t make it into the show
Today’s episode includes bonus segments of my wife blowing her nose and our cat meowing. Mr. E’s recycled art Lesson plans are the worst Set up a local Minecraft server All the cool things that didn’t make it into the show
It’s our one week anniversary! … and you thought I forgot… 3D Scans at the Smithsonian Single frame time lapse What do do instead of a free draw? All the cool things that didn’t make it into the show
Short show, but hey I’m still keeping to my schedule! $5 Smart Phone Projector Snowflake Macro Photography All the cool things that didn’t make it into the show
Looks like this may be a 3x per week show. We’ll see. Show notes: Musician thinks letting people use his music for free is a crummy deal. Tech4Learning likes me. Instagram Scam. I am definitely looking for feedback and/or submissions for the show. You can leave them as comments here or post them to my Tumblr account (anonymous posts do not require an account).
Decided to get back to my roots and start podcasting again. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this up, as it certainly is fun to do. Since it’s been so long, I decided to start back at Episode 1. All the old stuff will remain on here as “Season 1.” Long live Season 2! Show Notes: I hate homework There’s a test for that If you make ads you should understand copyright law LittleBits Synth Kits As this is my first episode in a very long time I am definitely looking for feedback and/or submissions for the show. You can leave them as comments here or post them to my Tumblr account (anonymous posts do not require an account).
Show notes: Edmodo.com Wordle.net Episode transcript (Posted to my Tumblr account)
This is an episode about problems and solutions as I look ahead to next year’s curriculum. Problem 9 week curriculum needs revising. This is a course that can be repeated every year. Even if I didn’t need to change the lessons to keep it interesting to ME, I would still need to change the lessons to keep it interesting to my students. Solution Change the “plot” of most projects. Instead of building a tree using 3D Tin, build a flower (or something else)! Projects too simple for a “plot” change can be retired, replaced by new assignments. Problem Major curriculum needs a large overhaul. There were many projects that worked well, but others that did not. Some were based on specific time-sensitive events, like our school’s Fall Drama production. In addition, the majority of the class (I have 7 students moving on to High School) will be in the course next year. This can’t just be a repeat, I need a full year’s worth of new projects. Solution Don’t reset points, levels, or projects completed. Incoming majors will still be Level 1. Returning majors (7th and 8th grade) will be whatever level they were in June. This will require more levels to be added (Current cap is Level 5) with more complex assignments to accommodate returning students. Current thought is to include assignments that involve more than one media file. Instead of “Record an .mp3″ they may have to “Create a podcast series with no fewer than 5 episodes.” Problem Film Festival projects are cutting it close – very close – to our deadline. With 5 weeks to go many students still have not finished their scripts. Solution Spread Film Festival projects out through the entire year. Script/Storyboard due Q1, Final Movie due Q3, Trailer due Q4, and a new “Making of…” project due Q2. These projects will reside OUTSIDE of the Levels format existing for the other projects, and can be handed in regardless of the level of the student. Problem 5th Grade curriculum relates to the 9 week curriculum much more than it does to the Major curriculum. Incoming Majors have experience with technology but there is much room for improvement. Solution Redo 5th grade curriculum to follow gaming model. Move some “retired” 9 week lessons to 5th grade to give them a feel for the program, then simplify some Major lessons and introduce them has higher level 5th grade projects. Problem Site design could use an overhaul. (This seems to change every year.) I used MediaWiki for Middle School’s class sites because I wanted to teach myself how to use MediaWiki. Now that the challenge is gone I am seeing MediaWiki’s shortcomings. My options are to install plugins to give MediaWiki the functionality that it lacks OR to move on to something else. Solution … ? Hand coding, Google Sites, WordPress, Drupal, Wikispaces, Tumblr, … something else? I am still looking into all of my options. Problem Many of my tutorials must be redone. Some are no longer relevant as better techniques have been developed, others need to redone now that websites and or apps have been upgraded. Solution Nothing to it but to do it. The kinks for this have already been worked out, the rest is just time management. Problem Technology can be lacking. We have more cameras this year than any previous year, yet I do not have enough cameras to provide one to each student. Many students do not have technology at home needed to complete assignments. This has been partially solved by creating “low tech” projects that relate to technology but don’t require it for an A. More can and should be done. Solution Donors Choose for cameras? Create a “recommended purchases” page on the class site? (I cannot “require” anything more than a flash drive, but I can “recommend” anything.) Provide weekly lab time after school to an[...]
Last year I rewrote my curriculum to make it into a game, and doing so helped my students master the content. This is my presentation on what I did, as given at this year’s Powering Up With Technology Conference. PUWT Conference Presentation (Hosted on Google Docs) Class page Apologies for the poor audio quality, I was projecting (using my “teacher voice”) to the participants and that tended to overwhelm my mic every time I was next to the computer.