Archive for December, 2008

10th December
2008
written by Tom Banaszewski

What happens when you cram a posh hotel conference room with sixty
Apple Distinguished Educators for a week of geeking out on their
MacBooks? Add to that Singapore’s lovely sights and soothing sun rays
and you can expect some exciting results.

I was fortunate to spend a majority of the time collaborating on a project with Amanda DeCardy and Jonathan Chambers,
two of my colleagues from Shanghai American School. You would think
that during the course of the school year we have several opportunities
for professional development, but for technology PD we are often the
ones providing the workshops, leaving little time for us to get
together and pool our many talents, resources and ideas. We meet on a
monthly basis and swap dozens of emails yet this is not the same as
collaborating on a project that is meant for teachers to actually use
with their students.

For several years, Apple has held week long
institutes that provide invaluable opportunities for Mac-savvy
educators to network, discuss educational technology challenges and
often produce a project that showcases effective technology
integration. I pitched the idea of having students collect stories from
elders in their communities about how their city has changed. Amanda
coined the project’s title of “Wisdom Lost, Wisdom Found” and that
really provided the context for the project. With any digital
storytelling project, providing a clear purpose for why you’re creating
stories always helps. We were off and running from there. In the
solution section of my thesis on digital storytelling, I suggested that
providing teachers and students with a digital story template will
improve the story teaching part of the project. Teachers and students
need more than a few video tutorials on the technical side of creating
a digital story. It only took me three years to finally follow through
on this idea. In our project, we provide director’s cut style videos
that help teachers and students prepare for the field interview. We
created a scaffolded approach to the editing process, detailing three
options (quick and simple, moderate editing, advanced editing) for
creating the final digital story. Check out the project: Wisdom Lost, Wisdom Found. See also iTooth by David Gran and Mikey McKillip.


With
all of those MacBooks in one room, you can bet there were many
resources that people wanted to share. Below is a quick list shared by
the group. Thanks to David Gran for his descriptions of each resource.
I’ve reordered the list ranking them according to my preference. See
his post about the conference here.

  1. ClassTools – Free Flash-based games that you can modify for your lessons.
  2. iTunes U – geared for higher ed. These are the type of schools we’re preparing students for!
  3. Sokoban game – best simple game that really challenges students’ logic/spatial skills.
  4. Skitch screen capture and manipulation, not sure how it works here in Asia, but I love the idea.
  5. Planbook is web based planner that allows you to attach document. Throw away those paper calendars!
  6. 30 Second Bunny Theater teaches students about story structure (it really does).
  7. CosmoPod allows you to download and convert online movies from almost any set, similar to TubeTV.
  8. Little Geometry – like most items on this list, it’s Mac-only, but a very powerful little set of tools
  9. Sailling Software
    provides applications that let you use your mobile phone to access and
    control your iTunes libraries, and even work as a remote control for
    your computer.
  10. The Voices of Asia is a new blog authored by Apple Distinguished Educators in Asia.
  11. Picture Sync allows you to upload your pictures to multiple online sites at once (i.e. Flickr, Picasa, Facebook, Bubbleshare, Photobucket).
  12. Mousepose – allows your keyboard to show up on the screen.
  13. Xtranormal – create your own animations just by typing in text.
  14. Diigo, the social bookmarking tool, can be used to correct student text through highlights and sticky notes.
  15. …and it’s about holiday time, don’t forget to go elf yourself.
  16. Virtual Box allows you to run Windows or Linux on your mac (if that’s your thing).