Thursday, October 28, 2010

Vintage Ads & Social Media Inspiration

This morning, I came across some "super-neat-o" vintage ads for modern social media tools. It took some time to discover the provenance of these ads, but with the assistance of Lisa Lane, I discovered posters advertising Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Skype are free to download from Maximedia.

In learning more about these 'historic' print ads, I also stumbled upon a vintage video in the style of narrated black & white educational films. Though campy, the production quality is very good and the tips are apt for members of the Facebook Generation.

In case you just want to engage your students in critical thinking about authentic vintage footage, your learners might be interested in investigating a modern viral video. The story of a time-traveler who may have inadvertently used a mobile communication device in Charlie Chaplin's 1928 film: The Circus, is certainly being used for promotional purposes. (The conspiracy has even found inclusion in the Wikipedia entry.)

By coincidence, as these vintage ads were being bookmarked, I responded to a minor commotion as our chaplain hung up a modern poster in the hallway outside of my office. Whether you're looking for a creative way to introduce social media, or are interested in leading learners to think in critical or creative ways, the works of advertisers have the potential to inspire a wide range of media works.

Image credit: Print ads downloaded and 'hung' courtesy of download from Maximedia

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Student Success: Surviving vs Thriving

As a teacher responsible for Student Success in my high school, I've grown fatigued with dealing from the fallout from one-size-fits-all educational approaches. Specifically, I find myself sharing the frustration of my students as they make every effort to avoid completing work they see as irrelevant.

In the past year, I've spent most of my time at school in supporting students who don't do homework; who are disengaged from school; who don't like to write; and who are too challenged with distractions of the day, to demonstrate an interest in lessons designed by their teachers.

This year, I've been more proactive in working with teachers to develop learning experiences that are more closely tailored to the interests and abilities of my clients. Here are a few examples of the work I'll be doing in coming days and weeks, that I hope will lead students to become active participants in their own learning.

Case 1: "I don't do writing..."
For a student who needs one more language credit, but who finds it painful to put pencil to paper, we're pursuing an independent project. In the next few weeks, I hope to scaffold the work of 'Trevor' who is designing a high school to meet the needs of unique students.

Using Smart Ideas concept mapping software to scaffold the writing, 'Trevor' will be designing a whole new high school experience. This work grew out of a small writing assignment, and although it's been a struggle to get rolling, I've promised to share this student's work with a real world audience. If the project gains traction, you're likely to hear and see more about it in this space.

Case 2: "I can't sit in a desk..."
Like many teens, 'Jake' needs to be physically active in order to survive the school day. While our board's alternative education focuses on career skills and co-op, the remote site that hosts the program is inaccessible to this student. In order to develop a unique program to suit his needs, I'll be hosting a meeting of the special education department, the guidance department, the co-op department, and our school administration, to design a pilot learning experience that may one day be made available to other students at our school.

The plan is to cluster a few accessible courses, and to design rich cross-curricular projects that will lead 'Jake' to demonstrate the achievement of the interdisciplinary course expectations. Ideally, we'll twin this project work with a co-op experience, and will provide access to multimedia tools and training so that 'Jake' can document his experience.

Case 3: "This class is a challenge..."
One of our grade 10 language classes has a disproportionate number of special needs students who chafe at the rigors of reading and writing. In completing the course and in preparating for the provincial literacy test, students are required to respond to a wide variety of 'media texts', so why not engage students in creating their own media texts?

After consulting with the teacher and department head about movie-making and podcasting, we've settled on a few performance tasks that will allow students to play the roles of advertising executives, multimedia engineers, and movie-makers. What's more, students will have choice in the roles they'll play, and the best of their work will be seen by an online audience.

While many of my Student Success colleagues around the province may find themselves working in triage, I'm trying to be proactive in helping teachers to create academic challenges that are compelling and relevant. I'm hopeful that my job will gradually become one of enriching the high school experience, rather than surviving it.

Photo credits: br1dotcom, vancouverfilmschool, Proctor Archives

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs to Know

This week, my K-12 Online Conference presentation on Creative Commons goes public. For late night readers, I'm embedding the video here, a few hours in advance of its official launch.

I'm grateful that this presentation follows on the heals of Dean Shareski's pre-conference keynote, Sharing: the Moral Imperative. My related purpose, is to demonstrate ways that educators can model the appropriate use of CC licensed materials, and to highlight how creators from around the world are benefiting from 'intentional' sharing.

"Creative Commons may be the most powerful mechanism for media development you've never heard of. Worldwide, creators of all ages are gaining access to millions of free images, audio files, video elements, and written materials, and are using these to create their own unique products. No matter what you teach, you need to know about Creative Commons!"

CC Resources by Rodd Lucier:
Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs to Know (slidedeck)
Creative Commons in the Classroom (free e-book)
Creative Commons Collaboration (blog post)
Creative Commons Chaos (CC media sources)

Other CC Resources:
A Shared Culture
Building on the Past (video)
Sharing Creative Works (slidedeck)
Wanna Work Together? (video)
Choose a CC License for Your Own Work (CC tool)

As I continue to publicize stories of how students and teaches are leveraging Creative Commons in the Classroom, I'd be grateful for any questions, comments, or exemplary uses that you'd be willing to share...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

Sir Ken Robinson's words ring even more powerfully when augmented by 'Back of the Napkin' strategies:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

GaGa for (& QR Codes)

You may find this hard to believe, but it's sometimes easier for me to make a short video than to write a blog post. I think this explanation works well in this format.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Differentiation: Charting a Course

Recently, I was asked to respond to an authentic problem and to provide a briefing on Differentiated Instruction. Specifically, I was asked to highlight what DI is; to identify barriers to bringing DI to high school; to highlight the role of DI in meeting the needs of at risk students.

While the request to asked respondents to limit their response to 1 page, I couldn't resist but to respond in a differentiated manner. Here is the 8 minute presentation I shared in response.

Whether you have success stories in bringing DI to the high school environment; suggestions for overcoming barriers; or approaches you've tried in professional development, I'd love to hear from you. Stories shared in comments; through hyperlinks; or via email would be appreciated.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Conference that Never Ends

Have you ever attended K-12 Online Conference? Since its inception in 2006, the event has hosted a wide range of professional development sessions including presentations on video, and live conversations. Each week a unique strand is highlighted, and with presentations being archived, the presenters never seem to age.

The K-12 Online Conference begins in earnest next week, and during mid-October, I'll be sharing a 20 minute presentation in the 'Leading the Change' strand: Creative Commons: What Every Educator Needs to Know. To whet the appetite of attendees, I've just posted this 'teaser' video to the conference Ning.

Whether or not you can join in this event synchronously with teachers from around the globe, presentations will be available for viewing in the conference archive, whenever your schedule allows.

This year, the conference kicks off with a 'pre-conference Keynote' by Dean Shareski. I hope to see you there...