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Project Smart

Project Smart – Enhancing Education Through Techology.
Smart Technologies: WordPress class blog, vodcast.palmbeach.k12.fl.us, Authorstream.com, Shareswf.com, edu.glogster.com, Edline, iMovie, iPhoto, iTunes, iDVD, PowerPoint, iTunes U, Etherpad, QuestionPro, Prezzi, Edmodo.

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Nothing but Text!
Reflections on creating and utilizing the classroom blog
April 16, 2010
By Mr. Goldstein

You’re given a classroom blog with 100 MB of space. You’re a teacher. A visionary. An explorer. A facilitator of learning. You’re a creator of structured learning environments. Your classroom is a launchpad for students to embark on their own creative explorations. How do you capture the feel of your classroom? How do you document all the creative happenings? How do you create a site where students are interacting dynamically online and with each other? How do you do this with just 100 MB of space. After all, videos take up vast amounts of space. So do images. The answer–on your blog you work with nothing but text! Everything is linked and stored on other sites.

You have a video you want to embed in your blog? Post it to the District’s vodcast server and use the embed code to put it in your classroom blog. An example of this is at: Videos by Omni Middle School’s Technology students.

Have a photo? Don’t upload it to your blog. That quickly starts to take up space. In my classroom, if we photograph one activity, we may easily take a hundred pictures. If we compress these to a file size of 50K per picture, that adds up to 5 MB for just one day’s activities. At that rate, in 20 days you’ve exhausted your 100 MB limit. The other problem, is that uploading photos to the blog is time consuming, if you want to upload many photos at the same time. The answer? Upload the photos to a different server and embed them. Flickr is one such server that provides this ability. But Flickr is blocked by the District. The solution we’ve come up with for our class blog? We compress the photos, put them in PowerPoint, upload them to authorstream.com and use the embed code from that site to put the photo slide shows in our blog. Even a single photo can be put in PowerPoint, uploaded to authorstream.com and embedded in the blog through the embed code provided, which is nothing but text! An example is shown at: Photo slide show, in PowerPoint.

Already we’ve conserved a vast amount of space, since videos and photos take up the majority of space on a web site. By storing these on other servers and using the embed codes from these servers, we are leveraging what we are able to post.

Suppose you want to put a .swf file in the blog. A .swf file is the published movie format for Flash, a web animation program. Students can make animation movies and also program games with Flash. For these, we are using shareswf.com. We upload the .swf file to the shareswf server and use the embed code from there to embed in the blog. An example can be found at: Space Pong, a game created and programmed in Flash.

Glogs. At edu.glogster.com, we’ve worked with glogs, a digital multimedia poster format in which students can embed pictures and videos, as well as work with text and backgrounds. Photos and videos are uploaded to glogster, and the entire glog can be embedded directly in the classroom blog. An example is shown at: Melis’s Glog.

And of course, there’s using text itself. The blog is a great way to publish student writing and encourage students to use writing to express themselves, think about and develop ideas and reflect on their learning experiences. Text itself takes up virtually no space. An example is shown at: The Design Process by Kamran P.

So when we work with the classroom blog, even though it looks like we have photos and videos and glogs in our site, in reality, everything is linked using nothing but text!

Our classroom blog can be found at: Imagine

3 Responses to “Project Smart”

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