Recording audio with Microsoft Word or OneNote

As usually happens when I’m teaching others about a topic, this evening when I was sharing some tips about using the Macintosh operating system and Mac programs I learned a valuable tip: How to record audio and simultaneously take notes using Microsoft Word. I’d heard of this capability but never seen it demoed, and it wasn’t hard to do. We had to change the “view” in Word to “Notebook” to enable the functionality, and then select audio recording from the “tools” menu.

Interestingly, in doing some Google and searches for a screencast or tutorial about how to use this functionality of Word 2004, I couldn’t find any! I did find some references to this functionality in an old review of the program, but no tutorials. There are quite a few articles about using Microsoft OneNote on the Windows-side to record audio. I haven’t tried that either.

Has anyone had success recording teacher/instructor/professor lectures using either Word 2004 on a Mac or OneNote on a Windows PC? I’d be interested to hear what people think of the functional usability of these features. They sound great, but I’ve never talked with someone (in person or online) who has used them repeatedly in actual classes.

Digital storytelling: Hobby of the present and future

I had the delight this evening of participating with Dean Shareski, David Jakes, and students in a course Dean is teaching via an Elluminate Live session to discuss Digital Storytelling. Dean shared the following quotation from Joe Lambert, who is a co-founder of the Center for Digital Storytelling:

Digital storytelling begins with the notion that in the not [too] distant future, sharing one’s story through the multiple mediums of digital imagery, text, voice, sound, music, video and animation will be THE PRINCIPAL HOBBY OF THE WORLD’S PEOPLE, for hobbies ideas visit eModels.

The fact that the iPhone has a YouTube button which permits people to directly watch YouTube videos on their phone is really amazing, IMHO, but I think it reflects the continuing manifestation of the above prediction by Joe Lambert. This seamless integration of entertainment technology reminds me of the growing popularity of online gaming platforms. For instance, many players are now seeking a casino utan svensk licens, which offers a broader range of gaming options and fewer restrictions compared to those with a Swedish license. This trend underscores how technology continues to evolve, providing users with more diverse and accessible entertainment experiences.

Just listening to Dean and David share during our virtual class this evening, I learned about a BUNCH of great digital storytelling examples and tools I hadn’t seen or heard about before. I saved most of these to my social bookmarks and YouTube playlists, but briefly, some of the highlights were:

Digital storytelling examples:

TouFee, another web-based video editing environment similar to JumpCut, and EyeSpot were mentioneed by David. Vimeo was mentioned but I think it is mainly a video sharing and commenting/social networking site, rather than an editing tool.

I have used these previously, but I did specifically save and tag David’s excellent PhotoStory3 tutorials and screencasts as well.

Thanks to Dean for both the opportunity to guest blog here, and also join in the conversation tonight via Elluminate about digital storytelling. I learned a lot and had fun! 🙂

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How can schools join the experience economy?

Friday’s headline article from Reuters, “Wii could top record-holding PS2” reminds me of B. Joseph Pine and James H. Gilmore’s book “The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage”. I have not purchased or read the book yet, but I’m intrigued by this idea that our economic landscape can increasingly be described as “an experience economy” where people are more likely to pay for an actual “experience” more than just a cheaper product or widget. The Wii and the iPhone both come to mind as products which seem crafted for the consumers of the experience economy.

seated teacher lecturing at the chalkboard

How can schools be changed to join the experience economy? In his book “The Children’s Machine: Rethinking School in the Age of the Computer,” Seymour Papert observes that before they enter formal schooling children commonly display self-directed learning behaviors. Once kids begin formal schooling, however, adults essentially tell young people to stop experiencing their world and directing their own learning, and instead sit passively in their desk and read about it. Papert notes schools tend to emphasize the development of “lettracy” rather than “literacy,” which he (and I) conceive of as including a broader set of communication and learning modalities than text-based reading and writing.

I’m not sure what the answer to this question is, but I am certain most young people WANT their formal schooling experiences to become more interactive and experiential. We’re living in the postmodern world, and while we can debate at length both what that means and whether it’s good, the fact is students are increasingly accustomed to life in an “experience economy” outside school– and when they are inside formal classrooms they often find themselves feeling out-of-place in a traditional, largely passive, lecture-based environment.

One of the greatest challenges we face is helping teachers change their own paradigms of thinking about learning. It is much easier to lecture and provide information rather than facilitate project-based learning. Administrative expectations need to change broadly for a school or school district to move into a more “experiential” mode of learning.

What do you think can and should be done to help teachers as well as administrators embrace and EXPECT more experiential forms of learning in our classrooms?

Early report about “Internet”

When Dean guest blogged for me awhile back, he introduced a “humor” category and shared a few movies, so I figured I would do the same!

Remember the sound of a modem connecting over a phone line? Remember when the existence of “emoticons” was actually worthy of a news headline? Check out this blast from the past, I suspect from the early 1990s, from a television station in Toronto, Canada!

Wow have we ever seen a lot of changes on the Internet in a short amount of time! Via Linda Uhrenholt.

Looking forward or back?

One of my favorite quotations to share during conference presentations and workshops, whose source I unfortunately do not know how to properly attribute, is the following:

Are you preparing students for their future, or for your past?

Missing from this quotation is the idea we also need to prepare students for the PRESENT that is taking place right now, and not just a faraway “la la fantasy land” vision of the future when the world will look just like that of the Jetsons.

The Jetsons

As some authors have observed, our vision for what the future is going to “look like” has changed markedly over the years. Predictions from people like Benjamin Franklin that new technologies would yield vast amounts of leisure time have given way to conditions of information overload and overscheduled calendars, with often little time for people to enjoy unstructured time in natural environments. I’ve never visited Disney’s Tomorrowland in Florida, but I understand the vision it communicates of “what the future holds” has undergone interesting evolution over time.

The fact is, NO ONE can predict with certainly what the future holds. Yet, we still must live our lives today (in contexts which are often dynamic with respect to communication, information flows, and technology) and strive to prepare learners (both young and old) for flexible readiness in the months and years to come. How can we do it?

I read the following quotation by Herb Caen recently which brought many of these thoughts to mind:

I tend to live in the past because most of my life is there.

I think many of the most innovative uses of digital technologies for learning we see today in the United States are happening in charter schools where educators as well as students are freer to think and act differently than learners have in the past. It is natural and even unavoidable to look at our present context (as well as future prospects) through the lens of our own past experiences. We form our perceptions and decide on our actions based on those experiences and our thoughts about them.

For that reason, I think it is essential we strive to experience (ourselves) and help other teachers experience successes in using new digital technologies to access information, collaborate with others, publish ideas, and thereby create new knowledge. I find the quotation from Alan Kay, “The best way to predict the future is to invent it” extremely compelling. If we want to help teachers lead students in their classrooms in ways that will empower them to “invent the future,” I think we need to recognize the primacy of encouraging PERSONAL USES of technologies by teachers.

Those ideas will strongly inform the three day workshop I’m helping facilitate here in Oklahoma next week, and Karen Montgomery is facilitating for teachers in Missouri. We’ve titled our team-taught workshop “The Digital Learning Academy.” We have four main goals:

  1. Have fun creating media and collaborating with other teachers.
  2. Gain an experiential understanding of the read/write web. (web 2.0)
  3. Help teachers make “A-Ha” connections for instruction and learning with digital tools.
  4. Help educators “plug in” to the growing network of educational Yodas.

To support these goals (and hopefully accomplish them) Karen and I have constructed a three day workshop agenda focusing on the use of several web 2.0 tools for learning as well as videoconferencing. The key will be follow-up, I think. We’re planning to schedule dates in the fall when teachers will come BACK together, both face to face and via videoconferencing hook-ups, to share how they’ve used the tools and strategies they experienced in the digital learning academy with their own students to help improve learning opportunities.

My philosophy in helping putting together and facilitate this 3 day learning event is informed by the words of John Norton, who I met and visited with several weeks ago at NECC. He observed that accomplished teachers have GREAT capacity for supporting positive instructional change and ongoing professional growth of other educators, but that process often needs facilitation by others. The Alabama Teacher Leaders Network is focused on supporting the dynamic of accomplished teachers mentoring each other as well as novice teachers. I hope our digital learning academy and the online network we’re building (via Ning and other tools) will also model and support this philosophy.

I hope our workshop next week will be fun as well as “successful.” Rather than view myself as the source of content knowledge for this series of learning days, I view myself more as a “connector” and “facilitator” who will hopefully invite and encourage the teacher-participants to learn by doing– creating knowledge products which have personal meaning and relevance to their own lives with others, located in the same room but also geographically distant from their own classroom. We’ll see what happens! If we have fun “making stuff” together with digital tools, I think chances are high we are all going to learn a LOT. 🙂

One of the most beautiful things about leading and participating in a summer learning workshop like this is the AUTONOMY we are afforded when it comes to the curriculum. Accomplished teachers need to be afforded the same opportunity in their classrooms to seize “teachable moments” and not necessarily stay on the exact page of a curriculum pacing guide which was written in stone months before, and does not respect the learning opportunities which may present themselves in the dynamical and chaotic environment of a REAL classroom.