Communicate 3 – Feedback

The following is a blog for my EOTC class.  I have written about this scavenger hunt assignment before.  The assignment involves the students taking pictures to demonstrate camera composition.   Here is the student assignment.  I am revamping my grading tool for this assignment. Here is the upgraded rubric.

Please email me if you have any suggestions for the assignment Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom. Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.



Participate 3- Accessing Digital Learning Communities

The following blog was written as part of a class I am taking online.

The big problem/ barrier  with audio video technology resources is a lack of uniformity.  One of the best school programs I have seen in person is GHS TV at Germantown High School.   The program at the time incorporated several teachers and ran a community access TV station 12 months a year.  This is a great program to follow if you have that kind of financial support.  However just a few miles away in Memphis Tennessee, teachers were patching together consumer grade equipment.   So when you are researching material it may be hard to find a program that has similar resources.  The best thing is to find your information from other programs in your community and state.    This makes it easier to sort out this information.  I was down the road from GHS at the time so it was easy for me to distinguish the differences in our programs.

It is better now then when I started out.  I had a few websites I visited pretty regularly but that was it.  Now I participate in list serves and Facebook groups.  It is much easier to post a question then to find a source online.  You can get answers from across the county from programs that are similar.

Another barrier with online information is some of the information leaves room for discussion.  Most media specialists will tell you that it is ok to to use 30 seconds of copyrighted material in your projects.  However the Student Press Legal Center will tell you something different.    I have seen tons of conflicting information.  I have my own interpretations through my experience.  I tell my students to rely on their employer or teacher when dealing with sticky information.

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom. Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.

Participate 1 – Joining a DLC

This my 2nd post for my online class.  Although it is a little off topic for me, I hope it offers my readers something they can use.  The product I am creating as part of this class should offer something for my readers. If this article does not interest you skip to the bottom and look for Film and TV webmix and click on it.  I am sure you find this is a valuable resource.

The first thing I immediately did was do a Google search to to find out the difference between a digital learning community and personal learning network.  According to the websites I visited, a digital learning community or dlc for short is socializing with others to share knowledge about a subject.  A personal learning network or pln is personalized to you.   So your pln may be composed of several different subjects.  My pln is composed of journalism, film and technology resources.

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I was a little surprised to discover I have been doing this for years in my own personalized way.  I have been participating in RTNF Listserv for years.  I have followed several schools that had exemplary video programs via their webpages. I am a member of a Facebook group for Broadcast Video Teachers.  I started a Google plus group for my school and fellow film and video teachers.  Plus I have been participating in a few different twitter chats.

The digital learning community I have learned the most from lately is the Facebook group for Georgia  Broadcast teachers. It is great because I can post a question in the morning and usually by lunch someone has answered my question.  Most of the teachers in this group are the only one in the building and possibly the district who teaches their class.  It is great being able to hear feedback and share answers with others.  The most difficult thing about this group is you need to know someone to join it.  It isn’t really for students but for their teachers.

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I am using the iOS and the desktop version of this Symbaloo.  Using the desktop versions gives me a lot more options.   Using the iOS version gives me the convenience of using the software anywhere.  I think it may be best to set up Symbaloo on a desktop.  Once I have a fully functioning web mix I have created, it  will be able to easily use from my iPad or other mobile device.

I took all of the resources from above and created a WebMix.  This includes tutorials that I use in my class, school websites, youtube channels and professional organizations.  My goal was to create something I would use and other teacher in my subject area could use.  Students might find some of it useful.  I would probably adapt it for student use.

Film and TV Classroom Webmix

I hope you enjoyed this blog. Please email me if you have any suggestions  Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.  Subscribe to my youtube channel for iOS tips.

Seven Years Ago…..

Seven years ago,  I woke up on the last Saturday of winter break with a bad back ache.  It was early in the morning and I couldn’t remember what I had done to cause me this amount of pain.  A little later, I woke up my wife to look for a heating pad.  It wasn’t getting any better and she offered to take me to the emergency room. I wasn’t going to the emergency room only to remember that I had moved something heavy and was paying the consequences for it now.   We decided to wait until the minor med opened a few hours later.

We were waiting for the minor med to open. After a quick check up, I found out I had kidney stones.  A few days later, I had the first of 6 procedures to remove my kidney stone. This began what was my worst six weeks of work of my career.  I was basically absent from winter break to spring break.  I didn’t miss as many days as you would think.  Through a combination of snow days,  a holiday, half days and a field trip, I managed to only miss about half the days.

I had every excuse I needed to not go on the field trip.  First I had a stent from all of my procedures. This made me extremely uncomfortable unless I was laying flat or standing  straight up.  Second I was taking pain medication.  I was suppose to drive but for the first 2 reasons I was unable to drive.  Finally I was always recovering from the previous week procedures.

Even with all of these factors I had to go on the field trip. This was a trip to attend the Student Television National Conference.   One of my students was picked to be a presenter at the closing ceremony.  I also did not realize my kidney stone would last that long and hoped it would be over with before the conference.

I don’t know why my doctor agreed, but he gave me a week off to recover.  He put me on different prescription so I could drive.  He also gave me his phone number so that he could help me remove my stent if I had trouble.  That would have never of happened because I could only imagine the cleaning lady finding me passed out on the floor.

So we packed two cars and we drove to Orlando for the conference.  On the way, we took a side trip to visit Full Sail for a tour and took a picture with this cow.  I don’t remember much about the conference. Luckily there was another chaperone who helped me out with the students so I spent a lot of trip in my room.  I know we attended a professional training on how to edit and competed in a contest.



The trip home was miserable.  We left in plenty of time to get home before dark and stopped a huge McDonalds.  1937245_1275902216670_3911158_n

When we were about a 100 miles from home.  I had a flat, but I was in no condition to change it.  So my students put on the spare.  If this had been just me, I would have finished the trip on the spare.  Since I had students I had to make a stop to see about getting a new tire.   The tire center at the Walmart was closed.  Luckily one of the workers was still there.  The manager took pity on us and changed the tire. After purchasing a  new tire, 5 hour energy drinks, glow sticks and having impromptu dance party, we made it home after midnight.


Despite all the problems getting there and back, I consider the trip a success.  The next year I took a larger group to California which included many of the same students.  With the knowledge they gained at the conference my media program really took off the next year. The students from that trip provided the leadership for the program for the next 3 years.  Everyone on that trip has studied or continued in media in some way.  I don’t know that I would take a trip under these circumstances again, but I am glad we all had the experience.



Responsible Use part 2

I initially blogged that we had an incident at my school. Although we avoided media coverage on the event, we have made up for it in the aftermath. The story has been picked up by several news outlets (Yea, it must be a slow news week). A couple things bother me about the situation. The investigation by the main media outlets has been incredibly sloppy. I guess that is what I am supposed to say, but I really have nothing to lose either way. I get the feeling that the story is not being investigated or that they are relying on teens as credible news sources. Yes, they did send a news truck down to our location but it stops there. You think the news station could at least get the “where?” right. They had to drive to the location. It is pretty bad when some of the teens at our school go on the counterattack pointing out factual errors in the story on a station’s Facebook site.

What the story amounts to is that people are upset with the consequences of their actions. I believe I remember this from my journalism classes, if a coach loses a game, you shouldn’t ask him how he feels. You already know the answer to that one. You should ask a better question. Find out something that people don’t already know. Do a little investigating!

The second thing that bothers me about the incident is that people do not understand that social media is public entirely for the most part. A simple hashtag search will reveal tons of information. Examples of the information that can be found are your twitter name, your old posts, and other hashtags in which to investigate. It doesn’t take but a few minutes to find a whole chain of events from the initial pride in one’s actions to the remorse after they have faced the penalty. This shouldn’t be a shock. From what I am hearing, you would think a team of hackers was working full time to investigate all things social. NO! They are wrong. Curious minds want to know. If you leave enough information out there someone will find it.

A few years ago, I heard Al Tompkins speak from the Poynter Institute. He showed us a whole bag of tricks in which to investigate stories. I don’t normally investigate stories or write them but the information he shared is invaluable when doing research. I would highly recommend attending one of their training events, especially if you are a local journalist in a major market and you are getting your lunch thrown at you by high school students.

Responsible Use

Some people accuse me of being a pessimist. The fact is I am a journalist by training. I report the facts. Sometimes there are good facts sometimes there not. What I refuse to do is settle with the bad facts and go on acting is if there are good. So here are the facts, a incident happened where I worked. I am not going into this in any great detail because I do not want to promote the incident. If you know me and are a good journalist/ researcher you can probably find out. We had warning that this incident was going to happen. Those involved were warned beforehand of the consequences. Those involved acted anyway. Now those involved are dealing with the consequences. If it had been a slow news day, we might have garnered some attention. Thankfully, other much bigger local incidents captured the attention of the news media.
I used this as a teachable moment in my class. I explained to my students how journalists could use the twitter feed to investigate the story. I told them how searching hash tags could be used to investigate the story. I warned them that the local news could take their tweet and use it. If this happened there could be consequences at school. During the day students tweeted out their opinions about the incident. After school, when there was no fear of getting caught tweeting, the twitterverse exploded about the incident.
Using the same tools, I told my students I slowly investigated the events of the day. Then there it was, my students tweets. I was very impressed, they did not support the instigators. Instead they stood up against the incident and their peers. This was not a popular view. I will say I very proud of the way they conducted theirselves online. I believe that if you teach the responsible use instead of banning tools it can be very productive. #soproud #patmyselfontheback