17 June 2014

Audacity Tricks + Podcast

You may have heard of Audacity, the free audio recorder and editor that you can download from a website that looks like it came from 1996. The interface of the software itself isn't much better.

But what it lacks in style, it makes up for in power. (I already mentioned it's free, right?) I created a podcast highlighting three features that I think are rad. You can listen here:

Or you can read on for text and pictures.

Remember Picasa?

Another week, another assignment for school. This time: Picasa. In this post I'll share photos that have been edited and uploaded through Picasa.

Somewhere in Arches National park.
There was one time, back when I used Google Sites to manage my classroom website, that I had visions of using Picasa albums to share student best-of work. After all, Google Sites had a widget you could throw on a page, select an album, and instant slideshow. But since Google Sites and I parted ways when I left it for Weebly, so did Picasa and I split up.

29 May 2014

Unnecessary Skills: Keeping Order and Commanding Attention

Keeping order and commanding attention are important for drill sergeants. Soldiers need to follow orders. But students? They're going into a world not to follow orders, but to think creatively and solve problems.
If you're involved in education to any degree, you should read Disrupting Class by Clayton M. Christensen. Almost everything I read nearly drives me into an agreement rant, but for now I'll just share this quite regarding what teaching used to be, what it has become, and what should be unnecessary in the future:
A profession whose work primarily was in tutoring students one on one was hijacked into one where some of the teacher's most important skills became keeping order and commanding attention.
I'm serious. Read this book.

24 May 2014

Four Skills for Teachers of the Future

I'm taking an online HTML/CSS class over the summer and almost of all of it is taught via video and textbook. So it makes me wonder: how hard could it be to simply teach myself all of this?

As I discuss the future of education with other educators, especially regarding how technology is changing it, we almost always end up at the same question: if this works, will it put us out of a job? But there are a few skills that might be irreplaceable by technology, and we'd be wise to develop them now.

22 May 2014

Pondering the Podcast

Yep, my classroom just happens to be a professional recording studio.
Next assignment in this podcasting whirlwind: a reflection.

So in my last post, I shared my first ever attempt at podcasting. I used some technology I'm familiar with and some that I'm not. I've used ACID since I was little. Yes, that sounds weird, but that's just what happens when your music creation tool of choice has the name "ACID." It gets better. I show my students how to use it, so I'm sure they all go home to announce to their parents, "In multimedia we learned how to use acid!" Anyway, Xpress is their free version with a few sample loops. They release 8 packs every week or so, so you can slowly but freely build up your loop collection. I have some loops leftover from when I owned a paid version long ago, and I bought some loop collections.