Posts categorized "Video" Feed

Modern Educators As Curators of Information

In this digital age, a vast array of information is at our fingertips via technology. We can instantaneously find news articles, research, videos, photos on every topic imaginable and beyond. A conundrum exists for these consumers of knowledge…while access to information is empowering, it is also potentially overwhelming, and thus people need to learn how to manage this content. No wonder Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

On a professional level, educators need a plan for managing teaching resources so that information is organized and accessible for themselves and their students. Modern educators acknowledge that information can be looked up at a moment’s notice and as a result, many believe that the rote memorization of facts and figures is becoming less of an important skill in today’s schools. Students need more time and guidance developing essential critical thinking skills, some specifically related to this digital age, including to the ability to search effectively, organize resources, distill this information and synthesize this content to produce new insights and materials. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile; 21st-century schools and teachers are shifting approaches to better meet the needs of their learners. No longer are teachers serving as “sages on stages”, but rather as “guides on the side”, giving students the tools and strategies needed to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

Within the educational technology industry, companies have been grappling with the problem of helping teachers organize and deliver materials to students. Teachers should experiment with a resulting plethora of tools and learning management systems in order to find the best fit for their instructional needs. When dabbling with these tools, teachers should carefully consider features and benefits for themselves and their students.

Some questions to think about:

  • What tools and platforms are essential to a modern teacher’s workflow?
  • How does a teacher locate, evaluate and keep track of high-quality teaching resources and primary source materials on the internet?
  • What’s the best method to organize these materials and maintain an easy to access system?
  • How can the process of content curation be made more efficient?
  • What tools allow teachers to collaborate with students and/or colleagues?

One website that teachers may want to try out is Participate Learning. Formerly known as Appolearning, this Chicago-based startup recently went through a re-branding process, adding some new and unique features. The Participate Learning platform contains a database of educational content that includes websites, videos, and linkable documents. Much of this content is vetted and tagged by regular contributing education experts; the Participate Learning community at large can also contribute to this database. It is searchable by grade level, subject area, and Common Core standards.

Once teachers find useful content within Participate Learning, these assets can be organized into collections. These collections can be made public to benefit others or be kept private; it is also possible to use and re-purpose the public collections of other Participate Learning users. New to collections is the ability to invite others to a collection to co-curate and privately discuss content. Here’s an overview:


Another new feature within Participate Learning is the ability to bookmark resources while conducting research on the internet. For instance, say you are surfing with the goal of finding primary resources for a lesson related to the Civil Rights Movement, you can use the Participate Learning Bookmarks Chrome extension to save resources directly to your Participate Learning account. Then, you can quickly organize these bookmarked links into collections. Here’s an explanation of how to accomplish this; you must be using Google’s Chrome web browser and the Participate Learning Bookmarks extension.


The last new feature in the Participate Learning makes this a platform that stands out from other social bookmarking options for educators; it is truly unique and useful. Participate Chats for Twitter allows you to select a predetermined Twitter chat hashtag, view and save a transcript from this chat, and curate resources referenced during the course of the Twitter chat. You can also directly participate in a Twitter chat right from the Participate Learning interface. Learn how to leverage Participate Chats here:


This is a much better solution than trying to keep up with fast-paced Twitter chats using clients such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and the Twitter interface itself. And, there is no other tool that lets one grab resources cited in a Twitter chat exactly like this. With Participate Chats, you can save individual resources from a chat or you can harvest all links mentioned during a designated period of time and put it into a collection. Read more about the logic behind Participate Chats in this article by Participate Learning CEOAlan Warms.

No other social bookmarking solution has this Twitter chat integration and this feature makes Participate Learning particularly exciting to use. Prior to the introduction of Participate Learning, there have been few curation options specifically designed for educators. There are other social bookmarking options out there, but these have not necessarily been developed with educators in mind or improved with educators’ input and feedback. Keep an eye on the Participate Learning platform as its community grows and new features are added to further benefit students and teachers.

Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube - #ISTE12

Slides with clickable links can be found at


Download ExploringInstructionalUsesofYouTube slides in PDF




Additional Resources:


Favorite Educational YouTube Videos:


Lucy’s Diigo Group:


Lucy’s Google Custom Search:

View more presentations from Lucy Gray.

Prepping for a YouTube Presentation

YouTube - ‪elemenous's Channel‬‏.

Next week, I'll be presenting with a slew of others at Google Days, a professional development event produced by Craig Nansen's school district in Minot, North Dakota. One of my session's will focus on YouTube, a service I've utilized for awhile, but never really demonstrated for educators. I'd like to add a creative slant to the presentation (which I'll post here when I'm done) and I need YOUR help. 
Above you will find a link to my channel, which I mainly use for bookmarking videos that I like and might use in my work. I also subscribe to many other channels as another way of garnering great videos and resources to support my work. My own videos aren't particularly useful; I wish I had more time to become a better producer of content. 

At any rate, I'm curious as to how others are using YouTube for educational purposes. YouTube is blocked in many schools, but that shouldn't stop educators from utilizing this rich resource in the classroom. Help me encourage others to re-think the use of YouTube by offering your tips here in this blog, by filming your thoughts and posting to YouTube (don't forget to post the link or email it to me), or by just sending links to your channel or your school's channel. 

Try out YouTube Labs, Video Editor, or these other YouTube partner tools to create a clip on how you use YouTube and I'll put your short story in my presentation. You can also just record using Photobooth or a web cam of your choice. It doesn't have to be long or fancy... 

Here are some questions that I have:
  • Do you have a YouTube channel? How do you use it mainly? Link?
  • Does your school have a YouTube channel? Link? 
  • Do you use YouTube in your classroom? How? 
  • How do you harvest YouTube videos to use in the classroom?  
  • What channels do you subscribe to?
  • What's the best educational resource in your opinion on YouTube? 
  • What's the funniest video you've seen related to technology and/or education?   
I'll be sure to post the slides for my presentation here along with all the relevant links, so that you can use the material in your own professional development efforts.  


My Digital Kids

Although both of my kids are four years apart, they have similar digital tastes. I've found items like Leapfrog's Leapsters to be helpful during our 35 minute plus commute to school, and I decided they were ready for iPods when their last birthdays rolled around (both were born in October). I purchased the last version of the iPod Nano (the square chunky model) along with iTunes gift cards for them in addition to loading up the MP3 players with content that I thought they'd enjoy. 

So far, so good in terms of their use. My fourth grader, Julia, has learned how to select content in our iTunes library and sync it with her iPod. Both keep their headphones and iPods in plastic bags most of the time for easy transport and protection. Henry has a lamp that plays the iPod and he listens to audiobooks and music at bedtime. Julia has a clock radio that does this, too, but it hasn't worked as well as the lamp. 

In terms of content, we can fit about one movie (the current selection is Alvin and the Chipmunks) and a slew of audiobooks and podcasts on the iPods. Both kids love a Webkinz podcast; Julia tends to gravitate towards audiobooks and Henry is learning a great deal from video episodes from the National Geographic channel in iTunes. Here's a video that I did with Henry about what he's learned so far. 

AfterEd- TK: Social Media

Link: AfterEd.

I was interviewed last week for a Teachers College production called AfterEd. Check out the interview here. Some of my comments were edited out due to time constraints; I could have gone on and on all the Google tools, etc. AfterEd looks like a great new addition to the ed tech news world, so make sure you explore the site thoroughly.

Another Hit: Google Docs in Plain English

I love all the videos from Common Craft and here is one that's new to me. I just added it to my favorites in You Tube, which I'm increasingly relying on as a way of bookmarking videos I frequently use in workshops. You can view my channel here to see my favorites and videos I've created myself, although I haven't  upload many of those.

Anyway, I'd love to see more Common Craft videos explaining Google features such as Google Groups. I just made a Google Group for my daughter's soccer team, and some parents found joining and using the group perplexing. It's a reminder to me that all this techie stuff may be easy for me, but somehow, something gets lost in translation and other perfectly intelligent people don't find it that way and miss the power of today's internet. I really need to rethink how I explain techie stuff to people...

Blog Action Day 2007 : Remix This Idea

I found a link to this in the Google Earth Users Guide Project blog. The main site can be found here .  I  like this activist concept, and will be thinking about what I can blog about on October 15th.

In the meantime, what about an Education Blog Action Day? Wouldn't it be neat if edubloggers or any bloggers with an interest, for that matter, blogged on a particular topic in education on one day, tagged it with the same tags and made a statement to the world? What topics would be good for this? Hmmm....perhaps something related to  NCLB, School 2.0, early literacy, digital divide? What is a univeral issue for everyone with education?

YouTube - Women In Art

Link: YouTube - Women In Art. Check out this video. I found it on Technorati this evening, and it's beautiful. I was an art history major in college, and while much of the information I studied has seeped from my brain, I still have an appreciation for art. I think my interest in multimedia started with my art history classes way back when.... I loved the slideshow lectures that were typically the focus of my classes.  It seemed to me that studying art through time was a multidisciplinary approach to studying the world; I loved how a painting could represent everything that was going in a society in a given period of time. This video also is a clever example of image manipulation... I wonder exactly how this was done. I also noticed the You Tube has this cool stream feature in which "you can create a YouTube room to watch and interact with other users while sharing videos". This might be a really neat thing to do with a class and I might add this to my list of things to do for a Web 2.0 workshop I'm doing this summer.

Friday 5: TeacherTube

Friday 5 : TeacherTube

Hi All-

TeacherTube  is a new service for educators to upload and view educational content. Here are several videos worth watching!

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1) Did You Know

2) Pay Attention

3) Why Let Our Students Blog?

4) Riddle iMovie Step 1

5) Homage to Magritte

6) Inspiration Software with Math Instruction

7) Constitution Day 2006

8) Poetry and Multimedia

9) Dinoland

10) Digital Students @ Analog Schools

11) When I Become A Teacher - This is my all-time favorite. I couldn't find it on TeacherTube, but here it is on YouTube.

The Global Education Collaborative

Link: The Global Education Collaborative.

Excuse the multiple cross-postings on various listservs etc....

Please consider joining a Ning community on global education:

At the National Educational Computing Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this June, fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Julene Reed and I will be hosting a workshop on global collaboration. I plan on utilizing a variety of tools and resources throughout this hands-on class, including Ning, a service that allows one to establish a custom social networking site. I am hoping to seed this site with people and content in preparation for this workshop, and I would like to invite anyone to jump in and participate.

I've made a few prior attempts at creating an online meeting space for those interested in global collaboration which included the establishment of a .Mac group and a blog. While I still plan on posting to these resources, I think this environment might be more inviting because it allows for the posting of photos, videos, and RSS feeds. Users can make their own custom personal pages, contribute to discussion forums, network with other like-minded individuals, and comment on these features. I've been inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 Ning communities, particularly by the forum conversations in the Classroom 2.0 one.

I also hope that this will also serve as a hub for anyone who will be presenting at conferences on various global education topics. Please consider uploading any relevant files including presentation slides. You can upload slides to sites such as SlideShare and Scribd, which I think, will give you the html code to embed videos in a Ning community. If you need help with any of this, just let me know.. it's pretty easy. Of course, you can probably also save slideshows as Quicktime files and upload them directly, too.

Please let me know if you have any questions...

Continue reading "The Global Education Collaborative" »

Friday 5: Using Chat and Instant Messaging in the Classroom

My students have found me online. I haven't decided if this is a good thing, or not, quite yet, but it definitely has me to thinking about using chat and instant messaging to communicate with students.

In my sixth grade computer science class, our discussion about instant messaging started when a student asked me about my user name for a class wiki project. I explained that I use the same user name (elemenous) for all my accounts, including the AOL Instant Messaging service (AIM), and my students perked up immediately. They were surprised that a teacher, of all people, actually used AIM, and I bet one class that many more teachers use an instant messaging service than they realized. I also explained that I use chat regularly to communicate with other teachers around the world, and that it's been wonderful tool for exchanging files and learning from other educators.

So, since this discussion, the number of kids instant messaging me after school has jumped from 1 kid last week to about 8 kids last night. I think I had 4 different chat windows open on my computer, and it was difficult for me to multitask. I noticed that the conversations are markedly different than the ones I have with adults. When I chat with an adult, I usually am pinging them for a specific reason such as tech help or to share a resource. With kids, however, it seems as if they are sort aimlessly IMing each other and me. This is a social tool for them, and they must be chatting with lots of other people because often our conversations go dead as if they were busy elsewhere. Sixth graders, IMHO, have not learned the fine art of  carrying on an online conversation. Interestingly enough, though, one of my students told me that most of the grade-level "drama" happens within instant messaging conversations after school. One kid said he's learned to hit certain keys to quit IMing quickly when his mother approaches as he's not supposed to be online during homework time. Another kid said his mother took away his keyboard because she thought his computer habits were too distracting for him. (I'm making a mental note of this tactic for when my children hit middle school.) It's fascinating to see how important this tool has become to kids; I feel like I've been let into the club a bit as they have been reaching out to me via IMing.

Generally, I think using instant messaging and chat rooms in the context of learning is not something most teachers want to incorporate into their curricula; it's a matter of digital natives versus digital immigrants. We immigrants have been slow to realize that this tool is wildly popular amongst adolescents, and that if we frame its use properly, chatting via instant messaging or inchat rooms might actually empower learning. So this week, I've compiled a slew of related articles that might help you understand this phenomenon.

Take care and have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)   Strategies For Using Chat
Academic Distance Learning Center, Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri

2)    Let's Chat: Chat Rooms in Elementary School

3)   Educause | Resources | Resource Center Abstract

4)   PC World - Internet Tips: A Grown-Up's Guide to Instant Messaging

5)   Moving at the Speed of Creativity>Blog Archive> The Case for Instant Messaging in the Classroom

6)   Experimental College at Tufts | Instant Messaging: R U Online! RU? | By Robert Farmer

7)     Spiral Notebook > IM in the Mood for Chat

8)     Apple - Education - iChat AV and iSight in the Classroom: Lesson Plans

9)     iChatCollaboration.pdf from Goochland County Public Schools

Discovery Channel :: Planet Earth :: Google Earth Tour

Ss_2006106_1 Link: Discovery Channel :: Planet Earth :: Google Earth Tour. Everyone's talking, from Steve Dembo to Oprah herself, about this series on the Discovery Channel. Check it on Sunday evenings,  and here's an accompanying file for Google Earth. My favorite animal in tonight's desert episode is the flat belly lizards from South Africa... I love their rainbow-colored undersides.

Image Credit

Resources Worth Mentioning

I've been audio and video chatting a great deal with fellow ADES recently, and I thought I'd pass on a couple of resources I've learned of via these conversations. First, check out Rae Niles' web site, and particularly this page. She's created simple video tutorials for basic thinks like CD burning. And, Judy Beaver recommmended a blog maintained by a colleage at the Punahou School as well as a book by Dr. Sally Shaywitz. Judy heard Dr. Shaywitz speak at this Learning and Brain conference. And, Judy and Kris Hill both discussed a reading intervention product called Fast ForWord that might be of interested to blog readers.

Friday 5: Video Games in Education

Hi All –


Today’s list is inspired by an event that took place last night sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation . The foundation recently announced a fifty million dollar initiative to investigate digital media and learning, and this panel discussion is the first of several regional events planned.  The following links are related to the panelists and the ensuing conversations that took place after their initial comments.

While many may be dismissive of the value of video games in education, I would recommend that educators keep an open mind to the possibilities. Engaging simulations, not the drill and kill types of games,  can potential immerse children in new experiences and problem solving situations. In his remarks to the assembled group, Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation, cited statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project  that indicate that our kids already deeply engaged in digital media and communication. It is clear, to me at least, that education must roll with and adapt to these changes.

I found last night’s discussions to be inspiring, yet I still have a few questions.  For instance, David Williamson Shaffer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison noted that computers are very important because they have caused the transformation of information. I agree, but I wonder how many other educators would share this view. I think many people believe that face-to-face interactions with their students cannot be replaced with technology, and others simply have not stumbled upon the potential power of computers in a personally meaningful way.

Secondly, it was clear to me that the panel participants are forward thinking people who are not challenged by change. I wonder how they expect schools to adapt to new models of learning when traditionally, most schools change very slowly. Does technology change too rapidly for schools to keep up? And if so, why is innovation not embraced more in schools? And, how does school change affect students? Those are just a few of the questions that come to my mind.

Anyway, I hope you are as interested in this topic as I am, and that you’ll take some time to explore the following links. Hopefully, I will blog more about my thoughts on this topic...

Lucy Gray

David Williamson Shaffer, The University of Wisconsin-Madison
Epistemic Games

Sasha Barab
, Indiana University
Quest Atlantis

Games mentioned by Sasha:

Nichole Pinkard, Center for Urban School Improvement, University of Chicago

 Spotlight Blog on Digital Media and Learning | Ecology-of-Games

Games for Change

The Video Game Revolution: “Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked” by Henry Jenkins | PBS

This specific site wasn’t mentioned by the panel, but the author of this piece, Henry Jenkins,  and his work at MIT with media literacy was cited. He also has a blog:

Second Life