Saturday, April 11, 2009

Week 9: Thing #23 Creative Commons

"Welcome to a new world where collaboration rules." This quote from a TeacherTube video, Creative Commons - Copyright Solution, is a wonderful overview of how the Creative Commons works and why it has become such a global phenomenon where millions of images, works and music are available for free. It's philosophy centers around refining your copyright, not giving it up. They provide free copyright licenses online where owners decide what aspects of their work they would like to share with the public to reuse and remix for free.

Having benefited from the Creative Commons to create and complete the 23 Things assigned in this course, I appreciate the direction that the internet is taking and the willingness of its users to share what they post. I have learned so much from this course and from the blogs of others taking this course with me. Thank you all for sharing your ideas, resources and projects. I'm looking forward to being a contributing member of the Creative Commons through projects I help create with my students using these newly acquired Web 2.0 tools.

Here is the video I found on TeacherTube describing the Creative Commons:

Week 9: Thing #22 eBooks & Audio eBooks

After having Tumblebooks as part of our school's online library resources, I was excited about exploring more eBook and Audio eBook options. Unfortunately, World EBook Fair requires a fee to access and search their database. Granted the annual fee is only $8.95, but I couldn't find a way to sample one of the books to see if it was worth subscribing to. I was able to search the Gutenberg Project's database, but had difficulty finding a link to browse their subjects. I tried an advanced search using the term "children" for subject, "English" for language and "Audio book, Human-read" for category and got 26 results. I decided to listen to an audio reading of the Velveteen Rabbit and learned that the recording came from LibriVox. The voice was not to my liking, but realize that narrations are done by volunteers and won't always insure consistent high quality. When I broadened my search to "any" for category, I found 329 books, which had many fairytales and folktales listed.

When also searched the Best Places to Get Free Books link, some of the listings were a bit misleading. is not a free service; instead it only gives you a 14-day free trial.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Week 9: Thing #21 Podcasts

As a half-time music teacher, I am embarrassed to say that I still don't own a ipod, and have been slow to incorporate the use of podcasts in my library program. I created an enhanced podcast several years ago as a way to advocate for instrumental music at the elementary level. I interviewed students who were in our Morning Musicians program using Garageband, and then added slides to the recorded interviews to complete the project. It was very powerful for the board to hear these young voices speak about how playing an instrument makes them feel and so my first experience with podcasts has influenced how I see them: as an advocacy and assessment tool, rather than a teaching tool.

Since I was unsuccessful accessing Yahoo's link, as well as TechSavvyGirls podcast and When trying to download a visual Chinese podcast on, I got stuck with the downloading process, so I decided to focus on iTunes and the Educational Podcast Directory. I have to admit as a visual learner, I struggle with podcasts that are solely audio, but do see their educational benefit. On iTunes, I didn't find a lot of podcasts that appealed to me, but did end up subscribing to NPR's Education podcast. I found the Educational Podcast Directory to be the most useful. Under the Elementary section, you can see a lot of examples of student-created podcasts. Unfortunately, the student and class podcasts are not searchable by subject so I found myself randomly selecting pocasts in hopes of finding something relevant. EPN's subject specific podcasts directory was much more helpful, but still many of the podcasts are labeled only as numbered episodes, so it was difficult to identify the content quickly. I was able to find storytelling podcasts, as well as booktalks listed under the English Language section. One podcast came from Storynory, which provides free, downloadable audio stories for children. I love the storyteller's British accent and enjoyed listening to the Fox and the Wolf podcast.

The Beginner's Guide to Podcasts & Podcasting provides a useful outline for creating a 10-minute podcast:
  • 10 seconds: Intro music or audio
  • 20 seconds: Introduce the podcast. State the title, your name(s), and the purpose of the podcast. Also state the URL where your podcast and the show notes can be found. Introduce your guests, if any.
  • 10 seconds: If you have any sponsors, mention them now!
  • 20 seconds: Provide a brief outline of your show, if you have a script; if not, state here what you plan to talk about.
  • 9 minutes: The main body or discussion
  • 20 seconds: Wrap up the discussion, outlining your main points. If you have guests, take this time to thank and acknowledge them.
  • 10 seconds: If you have sponsors you’d like to mention again, now’s the time!
  • 20 seconds: Introduce the podcast once more. State the title, your name, and the URL of the podcast and show notes.
  • 10 seconds: outro music.
I would like to create a podcast with a group of boys from our school's Graphic Novel book club and ask them to review the newly purchased graphic novels they've read so that other students can benefit from their book club. I'd like to include photos, including the cover of the book. Can you use Voicethread to create an enhanced podcast?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Week 9: Thing #20 YouTube

I use YouTube quite a bit to look for short videos that might act as hooks to a lesson, as well as provide background knowledge through image and sound. The problem I have faced using YouTube in the school is the fact that our school district blocks this this site. One way around it is to use a free video converter site, but I need to do the conversion at home where YouTube isn't blocked. I use to do my conversions, which convert the movies to Quicktime. Teachertube is another good resource, but often doesn't have the videos I've found on YouTube that I'd like to use in the classroom.

The video I chose to add to this posting is called Dancing by Matt Harding. Our school just finished a ballroom dancing artist-in-residency program and the joy, etiquette, teamwork and breaking down of barriers that resulted from our kids dancing together reminded me of this video. As one comment about the video stated,"Different language, same dance, same happiness ... the world is connected. This video gives hope. Thank you for that."

Week 8: Thing #19.1 Alaska Digital Pipeline

Every time I explore EBSCO, I come away learning something new and impressed with how user-friendly their search site is! After watching a very informative tutorial on EBSCO 2.0, I created a My EBSCO acoount, added a folder with articles I found searching under the terms Storytelling and Education. I also utilized the Find Similar Results option, which gave me even more relevant articles, easily downloaded and saved as a Search Alert. I also signed up for Journal Alerts for the following journals: Arts Education Policy Review, Design for Arts in Education, and Music Education Research.

I decided to use this assignment to help me with a collaboration project involving a 3rd/4th grade class. The classroom teacher and several specialists are working together to help students research significant roles and people throughout Alaskan history to create an Alaskan Living Museum. I found a ton of resources on SLED's Arts, Literature & History section, including an interview with Benny Benson, which I shared with a library class after reading Benny's Flag and discussing the difference between primary and secondary sources. But, the goldmine find of my searches was LitSite Alaska's Digital Archive Partnership which has digital stories on almost every aspect and perspective of Alaskan life told through written text, audio and historical images. Check out this digital story about Patsy Ann: Juneau's Official Greeter (she's Juneau's most famous dog!)

Prehistory and Alaska Timelines:
Russian Alaska:
Gold Rush:
Wartime Alaska:
Alaska Statehood:
Native Alaskan Stories:
More Stories & Perspectives: