Friday, July 23, 2010

Task 062 Video Project Rationale

Educational Rationale for Video Project

This multimedia project develops a students writing with imagery and connections. As we focus on developing our "voice" in our writing students will create a multimedia project centered around their original writing using sound and images that reflect the "voice" in their writing. As a result students will develop a deeper understanding of the meaning of "voice" in their writing. Students have an opportunity to develop 21st century skills using technology tools and become "publishers" and "producers" of an authentic piece of work. This maximizes all of our learning goals.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Yodio - Leb Tech Talk - Book Review Understanding the Digital Generation

Script: Task 035

Audio Program - Ecomp 6016 Task 035

Script for:

Leb Tech Talk
Book Review: Understanding the Digital Generation

Segment 1

Music: Paradigm Shift Intro (fade out)

Allison: Welcome to Leb Tech Talk, this is your host Allison Mollica and today we will be taking a peek at a book titled "Understanding the Digital Generation" subtitled Teaching and Learning in the new Digital Landscape by Ian Jukes, Ted McCain, and Lee Crocket

Segment 2

Allison: I think one of the things that makes this book so powerful is that much of what is written in this book is based on scientific reading and study. Many, many resources are referenced throughout the book so it is not seemingly based on opinion but based on fact and researched opinion.

SFX 1: Sport Fly

This book talks about how our brains are changing the way they function and operate due to our exposure to high tech indicating that students who have grown up being exposed to excessive audio and visual media - their brain patterns are altered. New neural pathways are strengthened and old ones are weakened and therefore the needs of the learner have changed. Their brains learn differently than brains of yesterday. Our classrooms are filled with children who's brain's have developed in a digital world - their brains operate differently and it only makes sense that their learning needs have changed as well.

Music: Paradigm Shift Fade out

"Brain research tells us that "connection" is the key to effective instruction. An for our students today, "digital is their first language." Unfortunately for most teachers, that is not the case because we have grown up in a different era, our backgrounds and experiences are different. We remember handwriting, research only using the Dewey Decimal System and having teacher and the textbook being the only source of information in the classroom.

Chapter 2, "The Problem Gap" goes into explain this further - a real eye opener!

Chapter 3 - What We Know About the Digital Generation. One of the key points it makes is that there is a rapidly growing gap of understanding between young people sitting int he classrooms and the adult who teach them and makes decisons about what they learn.

In this chapter, we learn about Neuroplasticity - a term used to describe the process of ongoing reorganization and restructuring of the brain. As I mentioned before, much of the information in this book is based on scientific research/study. The author recommends this book - "The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science" by Norman Doidge - for those who want to learn more about Neuroplasticity.

Also referenced and recommended is "Everything is Bad for You," by Steven Johnson who speaks to how complex games and technologies are educating our kids outside the classroom. There is a lot of powerful information about this and one thing that I get is that a lot of the skills that students learn playing video games, using facebook, their Iphone, their ipods - these are skills that are required in the "real world" and these are skills that employers are looking for and not necessarily the skills that are being assess in school systems, by NCLB or even NWEA.

Another book, Daniel Pink's " A Whole New Mind: Moving from the Information Age to the Concept Age, brings up left brain thinking. The left side of the brain is focused on talking, reading, writing and numeracy. Schools traditionally focus on left brain thinking because that was the foundation to success in the industrial age. The right brain, however, handles pattern analysis, problem solving, big picture thinking, intuition, connecting the dots...this side has not been as "valued." Pink cites that left brain activities have been "automated" and contends that our children need to be "whole brain" thinkers to thrive in the 21st century workplace.

Without reading you the entire book you can tell now that there is a lot of powerful information from this. One thing I took away from this, that I have already thought, is that our students are sophisticated thinkers. Students that could be viewed as unproductive learners or disinterested or problems in the classroom - is that they cannot relate to activities such as memorizing the capitals of the states, for example. The know they can get that information on demand "when" they need it so why would they waste time memorizing it when there is no value in knowing it! To them it is useless! That is just one example of a disconnect that could be present between our students and teachers in the classroom. They need to know how to find things out when they need to know it. Information literacy is what we are looking for.

If you are a teacher or administrator who truly wants to understand the needs of our learners and meet those needs in your classrooms, you need to read this book.

Chapter 4 goes on to provide concrete ways in which traditional instruction can be modified and transformed to help meet these needs.

Chapter 7 is titled A Shift to Whole Minded Instruction.

I want to close this cast with a quote from Chapter 5 - "For more than One Hundred Years much complaint has been made of the unmethodical way in which schools are conducted, but it is only within the last 30 that any serious attempt has been made to find a remedy for this state of things and with what results? Schools remain exactly as they were. Comenius, 1632.

Read the book! Title and authors.

Sound: Newscast Five

Segment 3

Music 1: Paradigm Shift (fade in fade out)

Audio: This is Allison Mollica at Leb Tech Talk, thank you for listening today. I hope I peeked your interest in Understanding the Digital Generation - I keep revisiting chapter after chapter and making connections as my life as an educator and parent. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Task 072 Najjar Article - Commentary

From: Najjar, L. J. (1996). Multimedia information and learning. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 5, 129-150. Available:

In Multimedia Information and Learning, Najjar cites that the purpose of the paper is to "try to cut through the hype and enthusiasm to determine whether there is empirical support for the assumptions that multimedia information presentation improves learning." Two things come to mind when I read this. Number one, I have a tendency to get "hyped" up about a concept, tool, or idea and can easily jump on the "tech tool" bandwagon, so I read this statement and think to myself. Wow, could it be that multimedia doesn't really positively impact learning? I begin looking forward to hearing the other side as I take it for granted that multimedia improves both instruction and learning! The second thing that comes to mind is that I cannot imagine I can be persuaded to think otherwise, even if research suggests it!

Learning is higher and takes less time. Well, it seems that in the beginning paragraphs, Najjar is telling us that studies do indicate that learning is "higher" and it took less time when comparting Multimedia Instruction to Classroom Lecture. That works for me and supports what I have observed and believe from my experience in the classrooms.

"Computer cased instruction may force the instructional designer to better organize and structure the learning materials as opposed to a traditional classroom lecture..." So what! That's great! That is ok if that is what contributes to making the multimedia more effective in the classroom! Class time is limited and if the material is prepared for a cleaner and more effective delivery than so be it! Najjar also points out that the "interactivity" of the multimedia can be a contribution to the positive impact as well. Again, I say that is ok, as well. He then goes on to point out another "advantage of" the multimedia instruction which is the ability to control the learning pace. I feel with these associations Najjar is not "cutting through the hype" but justifying the use of multimedia in the classroom.

The only area I feel that could discredit some of the "effect" from multimedia is the reference to "novelty." Sure, after a person is exposed to the same thing over and over again they become less stimulated by it. So I could believe the repetitive use of the same type of multimedia could slow the rate and amount of learning that takes place.

All of this aside, I think that we always need to recognize that one tool or methodology will not work all the time for all learners. We need to "mix it up" and use the best tools and aids to deliver the message.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Task 052 Allison JING Tutorial Video

This tutorial is to help students build their graphs online for the Country Study Project and was created using JING.

Task29_Editing Images

Original Image: Bright Winter Day -

This picture shows a trail ahead from someone who might be walking, skiing or snowmobiling or snowshoeing on a lake on a bright winter day. The picture taker shows the contrast between the untouched snow and the well traveled trail. Perspective and distance are important elements. The wispy white clouds against the bright blue sky tell us this is a good day!

Edited Image: Boathouse in Winter

This image does not convey that someone is enjoying a long trail on the lake on a bright winter day. As a matter of fact there is no evidence that anyone has been here in a long while. The color is now dreary - this could be an old picture or a picture from a gray, dull day. The message is lonely and cold.

Task 029 AM -

Original Image: Bright Winter Day - This picture shows a trail ahead from someone who might be walking, skiing or snowmobiling or snowshoeing on a lake on a bright winter day. The picture taker shows the contrast between the untouched snow and the well traveled trail. Perspective and distance are important elements. The wispy white clouds against the bright blue sky tell us this is a good day!

Edited Image: Boathouse in Winter

This image does not convey that someone is enjoying a long trail on the lake on a bright winter day. As a matter of fact there is no evidence that anyone has been here in a long while. The color is now dreary - this could be an old picture or a picture from a gray, dull day. The message is lonely and cold.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Increasing Student Learning through Multimedia Projects

Increasing Student Learning through Multimedia Projects by Michael Simkins, Karen Cole, Fern Tavalin, and Barbara Means.

#1: Project-based learning, in itself - is a transformation in teaching that allows both the student and teacher to reach beyond simple "knowledge" to the meaning and critical thinking that supports the growth, development and construction of knowledge. Personally, this is the foundation of my philosophy of teaching as it addresses student-centered learning, authentic learning and assessment FOR learning, not the traditional approach of assessing one's ability to memorize useless facts. While the introduction/foreword to this book identifies project based learning as being "key" to transformation of the education process for both students and teachers, the multimedia factor is the perfect complement to this shift in learning. 21st Century skills require that students have the ability to not only use 21st century tools, but make decisions, problem solve and think with these tools in the workplace. Project Based Multimedia learning is the prime environment for this to take place!

#2 Importance of the Technology Learning Coordinator:
This book was based on this "technology innovation challenge grants" that was funded by the US Department of Education called the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project. This ended up being an "award winning porgram." After reading through the details of the project I have my own considerations as to why it was so successful which includes:
  • Clearly Defined Target: Infuse classrooms with an exemplary model of project based multimedia learning.
  • Combined efforts of "interested" participants: The teachers involved in this project were interested in participating, not told they had to do it. Teachers/school coordinators were chiefly responsible but they had...
  • Consistent/regular activities: summer institute, monthly workshops, online discussions, everyone contributed to the website.
The most powerful component, as I view it from my experience, is the TECHNOLOGY LEARNING COORDINATOR. This is the main support/liason for the teacher. In this case it was an "early adopter" teacher who was able to assume the role using funds from the grant. After working in several school districts as a technology integration specialist / instructional technology specialist - I am a strong proponent for having a technology learning coordinator in all school buildings as a support mechanism for the integration of technology.

#3: Authentic learning experiences: While describing various use of images, on page 16, there is reference to copyright. As part of using images, a lesson on copyright; fairuse and plagiarism could be incorporated into the experience either by getting permission to use the material, citing the material and using only what conforms with fair use. This is just one example of how project based learning allows students to engage in "real-life" experiences during the learning process.

#4: Technology Curriculum? While reading Chapter 5, which speaks to planning and implementing the project the note about "using technology they already know" prompts me to revisit the thinking I have about incorporating some sort of standard for technology in the curriculum for grades K on up.... Even thought technology changes so quickly that narrowly defining tech units/skills could be counterproductive, it is fair to say that there are some constants that could be implemented methodically into the curriculum and if all grade level teachers could agree on just one unit that integrates such technology in each grade, all students could have exposure (and if they increased the frequency, some reliable skill) to the same technology. Therefore, it would be easier at any grade level to consider what might the students already know and what would be a good "next step."

#5: Assessment Activities - Whole Class Design Review: Informally this past year, working with student on a wiki project for their country study unit, I found myself in the classrooms doing something like this but not preplanned for formal. Although I will be revisiting and evaluating and implementing many of the suggestions from Chapters 5 & 6, this particular assessment activity will be a must do. I did note how the students responded to eachother and also that it gave many visual learners ideas and clarity. As a teacher I learned from students new ways that our pages could be represented and what might be confusing and not. Please see page 88 for mor details.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I created a jpg poster from a poem my son wrote in 5th grade. The image and text are meant to support the theme of the poem. This is a good use of this type of technology to support writing and publishing goals.

CONFU - Fair Use with Multimedia

CONFU- Multimeda Guidelines
Here is a summary link:,,14550--,00.html

For a full report, go to this LINK and then to Page 49 (Appendix A)

Notable elements of these Guidelines:

Teachers can use the project for up to 2 years for educational purposes after the first use in instruction.

Both teachers and students can use it in a professional portfolio for personal reasons without the 2 year time limit.

Motion Media - 10% or 3 minutes whichever is less
Text Material Limitations - 10% or up to 1000 words whichever is less
Music Lyrics Music Video - 10% no more than 30 seconds
Illustrations - can use entire image but no more than 5 by same publisher or 10%/15 of a collection.

A disclaimer mustbe placed at the beginning of the multimedia project that incorporates copyrighted works (the first screen) and all accompanying materials that reads: "Certain materials are included under the fair use exemption of the U.S. Copyright Law and have been prepared according to the educational multi-media fair use guidelines and are restricted from further use.”