iMovie in the Classroom

Over this summer, I took a graduate course and one of the things required was to create a  60-second movie to show multimodality. Fortunately, I had already experience creating simple images in a free graphics editor, Vectr as well as creating a storyboard. I did not, however, have any experience in putting a movie together and I was a little apprehensive. With only a few days to come up with an idea, storyboard it, learn the software, and create it; I had no choice, but to forge ahead.

imovie.jpgI chose iMovie as the tool, collected my images, and learned how to create a movie! It took me a couple of days to figure out all the ins and outs of iMovie, but it was pretty straight forward. As I was doing this, my 12-year-old and 9-year-old were curious as to what I was doing and after I explained the assignment, they too wanted to create a video. Below you will find all of our videos that we created:

My 1-minute iMovie to help motivate teachers at the beginning of the school year:

My 12-year-old created a movie to show how an old logo is being replaced with a new one:

My 9-year-old created a movie using post-it notes:

According to Halverson (2010), the primary mechanism for constructing identity is through the stories we tell. These movies are a way that can be used in the classroom to help students share their identity with the rest of the class. I have included some links to articles that show other examples of how making movies can be used in the classroom.

Please share in the comments or Contact page if you have any example of using iMovie in your classroom.


Blanos, Christine. (2017, July 16). Concept Video (60 sec). [Video File]. Retrieved from

Halverson, E. R. (2010). Film as identity exploration: A multimodal analysis of youth-produced films. Teachers College Record 112(9), 2352-2378.



Classroom Examples: Skype

If you are not familiar with Skype, it is part of Microsoft and provides the abilities of text, voice, and video to make it simple to experience virtual field trips or connect with other classes, wherever they are. With Skype, you can share a story, celebrate a foreign country’s holiday, learn a language, visit a museum, chat with authors – just about anything you can think of to enhance the classroom experience. It is free to start using Skype – to speak, see and instant message other people on Skype for example. You can even try out group video, with the latest version of Skype.


Here are some ways that you can use Skype in the Classroom:

Please share in the comments or Contact page if you have any example of using Skype in your classroom.


[Microsoft]. (2014, February 1). Multimedia Presentation [Video File]. Retrieved from

PowToon in the Classroom

If you want to jazz up the way you or your students present information, may I suggest PowToon. Some say that it is a great alternative to PowerPoint presentations and there is a review/tutorial of PowToon on our “Tools for Making Videos” post. It is easy to use and fun to create up to 5-minute videos with the free version. While I haven’t had the pleasure of using it with students, I did create a summary video of an article for a graduate class to show as an example:

PowToon provides video tutorials for those who are new and need a little guidance in learning it. Once you or your students get it, you can create a video in no time. Below are some ways in which it can be used in the classroom according to their blog. If you have an example you would like to share, please do so in the comments or go to the Contact page.

Ways to Use PowToon in the Classroom (click link for video examples):


  • Introductions
  • Mission Impossible Lessons/Assignments
  • Fun/Important Facts
  • School Rules
  • Send a soldier a video
  • Book Reports
  • Syllabus
  • Summarize a Topic
  • Commercials
  • Lesson Overviews


Blanos, Christine. (2017, April 9). Multimedia Presentation [Video File]. Retrieved from

Websites Made Easy

codeBack in the early 2000s, when websites were becoming a bigger part of internet you had to be a computer expert and somewhat of a programmer to get one up. Understanding URLs (Uniform Resource Locators), file names and extensions, and basic HTML (Hypertext Mark-Up Language) to create the components of a web page (Hahn, 2000). Then website design entered the picture with creating graphics and writing CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) becoming important in creating a website. Now, there are many free hosting sites that provide nicely designed templates that leave a teacher free to just worry about the content.

The questions then becomes, “To blog or not to blog?” Most of the free hosting sites come with a blog feature. So, you ask yourself, “Do I need a blog?” or “How often will I have time to update a blog?” Then you realize that you only need a website to communicate with students and/or parents, so you don’t realize that you only need to update homework, post thought-provoking questions for students to comment on, and highlight certain things going on in the classroom. While this is not actual blogging, it can posted just the same. A blog website it is!


Now, you think, “Ok, I guess my students should create a blog.” (depending on the age of the students, of course). What a great way to get them to experience posting on the internet? Wait, don’t they already do that on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, etc.? Here is where your expertise comes in handy, your guidance as a teacher to teach them about being a good digital citizen and how when something goes on the Internet it isn’t easily forgotten, even if deleted. It’s an opportunity to discuss copyright issues and how to properly cite references when “borrowing/showing/displaying” someone else’s work.

Blogs can be used for a number of things for students in the classroom. According to Richardson (2010), they can be used for class portals, online filing cabinets for students work, e-portfolios, collaborative space, and knowledge management. This is great, so now you think, “How do I fit creating a blog into my already packed lessons?”

Here’s where the easy part comes! With very minimum time or effort and no money at all, you can create a website in the time it took you read this article. Here is a list of some of the free websites that provide website hosting and templates. Just sign up, follow the instructions, and input your content. It’s that easy!

  1. blogger_logo Blogger – whether you’d like to share your knowledge, experiences or the latest news, create a unique and beautiful blog for free.
  2. google_sites.png Google Sites – a free and easy way to create and share webpages
  3. wix Wix – customize with the free website builder, no coding skills needed, just choose a design and begin
  4. wordpress WordPress – create a free website or easily build a blog with hundreds of free, customizable, mobile-ready designs and themes, free hosting and support
    • wpbeginners WordPress for Beginners – resource site with easy to understand WordPress tutorials for mastering the basics and beyond, sign up for free


Hahn, Harley. (2000). Harley Hahn Teaches the Internet (2nd ed.). Indianapolis, Indiana: Que.

Richardson, Will. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

Sound Check…What Do You Use?

Audio tools can be tricky, they can either be super easy or super intimidating. If you don’t know what you are to doing to begin, then the task of using audio tools can be daunting. Luckily, there are some great reviews done by teachers that will show you the way and get comfortable with using an audio tool that your students can use just as easily.




Rahim, Shuva. (2017, July 15). Audacity Critique [Video File]. Retrieved from

Riccardelli, Tiffany. (2017, July 14). Ocenaudio: A Mixed Digital Media Critique by Tiffany Riccardelli [Video File]. Retrieved from

Tools for Making Videos

YouTube is the place to go to watch videos by either amateurs or professionals. Approximately 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day! Whether on computer or mobile, watching videos for entertainment or instructions/tutorials is not going to fade. Why not embrace this medium and learn how to create your own videos. In addition, you become the role model for students in digital citizenship and can then incorporate it into your lessons so your students can follow your lead.

Here are some reviews/tutorials on a few technology tools that will allow you or your students to create a video for class.





Blanos, Christine. (2017, July 16). Screencastify Critique [Video File]. Retrieved from

Donchev, Danny. (2017, March 23). 36 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures, and Statistics – 2017. Retrieved from

Rahim, Shuva. (2017, July 15). Camtasia Critique [Video File]. Retrieved from

Riccardelli, Tiffany. (2017, July 14). Powtoon: A Mixed Digital Media Critique by Tiffany Riccardelli [Video File]. Retrieved from

Which Image Editor Should I Use?

When you are trying to decide what program or software to use, it can be overwhelming! As a teacher, time is precious and deciding what to use, learning how to use it, and then incorporating it into a lesson can be more time consuming than expected. There are many out there to choose from, but below you will find only a few review/tutorial videos on image editors from actual teachers to help you in your decision. Sometimes less is more.

Aviary by Adobe


Blanos, Christine. (2017, July 16). Aviary Critique [Video File]. Retrieved from

Rahim, Shuva. (2017, July 15). Critique [Video File]. Retrieved from

Riccardelli, Tiffany. (2017, July 14). PicMonkey: A Mixed Digital Media Critique by Tiffany Riccardelli [Video File]. Retrieved from

Basics of Podcasting

Podcasting, if you don’t already know, is the creation and distribution of amateur radio (Richardson, 2010). Podcasts are fun and interesting to list to and can give some wonderful and useful information.  You can check out the podcast page under Web 2.0 tools  to see a list of educational podcasts for teachers in general or for math, science, social studies/history, reading/writing, or English as a Second Language.

microphoneAccording to Richardson, schools can use it to create a free radio show and world language teachers can record and publish practice lessons, among many other uses. Podcasts are simple and free as long as you have a computer with speakers and a built-in microphone.  There are some things you need before creating your own or having students create their own podcasts (Hesse, 2016):

  1. Planning and Preproduction
    • Theme – go broad and cover a wide variety of topics, or you could go specific
    • Episode length and format – most podcasts do not exceed 60 minutes
    • Script – even if you plan to go off the cuff and improvise your conversations, as most podcasts do, having a general outline to keep yourselves on track is a good idea
    • Scheduling – how often you want your podcast to air
  2. Podcasting Equipment
    • Computer – with built-in or attached microphone
    • Quicktime (Mac or PC), Windows Media Player, or any software that allows you to record and edit audio file and save (or convert) to an mp3 file
      • Press record button and begin speaking (try to sound relaxed, not formal or robotic)
      • Press stop when finished (you may need to practice a few times)
      • Save file as mp3 or wav file and convert to an mp3 file
  3. Post-Production

You and your students will be amazed at how easy it is to create a podcast, once you get over hearing your voice and stop using filler words, such as “um” or “uh.” An article from Harvard Extension School tackles this very subject. It is great practice for students to learn how to speak publicly and work together in groups to create something unique.

Good luck and comment how you have used it in your classroom!


Cohen, Steven D. Tips on Public Speaking: Eliminating the Dreaded “Um.” Retrieved from

Hesse, Brendan. (2016, July 24). How to Make a Successful Podcast. Retrieved from:

Richardson, Will. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Tools for Classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin.

Social Media

What is social media?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, social media is a form of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos). Some examples of social media are: Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest, and the list goes on and on. According to the research, these are the top most used social networking sites:

Sheet 1

Whether it is connecting with family and friends, trying to find ideas for a lesson, or reading up on the latest trends in technology education, we are spending more and more time on social media, including our students. As mentioned in a previous post on digital citizenship, our students need guidance on how to conduct themselves in these realms.

I believe teachers need to keep up with social media in order to stay in touch with their students. There are so many opportunities to learn about and explore what each social media involves, including how to use them in the classroom. The National Educational Association says to start small, and try integrating a platform you or your students already use. They include a list of media sites to use in your classroom in their article, Social Media Made Easy. Teachers with Apps share 10 Great Ways to Share Social Media in the Classroom. Here is a list of popular social media and how to use each one in the classroom. Please comment if we didn’t include your favorite!

Share with us how you incorporate social media in your classroom.


Castle, Maria. (2016, April 8). 10 Great Ways to Share Social Media in Classroom. Retrieved from:

Chadband, Emma. Social Media Made Simple. Retrieved from:

Kallas, Priit. (2016, November 28). Top 15 Most Poular Social Networking Sites (and 10 apps). Retrieved from

Merriam-Webster. Dictionary. Retrieved from:

Digital Citizenship

The students in our classrooms today are digital natives, growing up and instinctively understanding digital technology (NetRef, 2016). Teachers are not only challenged with teaching these students how to use technology effectively, but also teach them the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior to become good digital citizens. It is our job to guide students using the technologies in a way that preserves their growth and ability to make mistakes without hurting themselves in the long run. Teaching students to be aware and courteous of others online as well as having a critical eye/ear for what they are reading/viewing/hearing can be as difficult as any content subject.

fingerprintI recently read an article that discusses how to foster digital citizenship and favored the description of digital fingerprints (Lynch, 2016), as opposed to a digital footprint, being left behind when online. According to Lynch, it is easy to leave traces of where you have been without even realizing it. A good rule of thumb to teach is that they shouldn’t post anything that they wouldn’t say to a stranger. When you are online you are shaping your reputation and sometimes it is not you who is doing the shaping.

Having a voice is important to many, especially to students. There are many places online where students can have their voice heard, such as on social media sites. The problem with that is we tend to surround ourselves with like-minded people and can sometimes think as one. A way that this can happen in a negatively is bullying or online shaming. It can be a huge problem for students (and adults), but it can also quickly get out of control. Here is an example of what happened when an adult used Twitter as a way to have a voice and in turn it destroyed her career: 

It is important to us to teach the problems of online use and promote good digital citizenship. It is also important to remember to model it ourselves.

How do you promote digital citizenship in your classroom?


Lynch, Matthew. (2016, November 7). Fostering Responsible Digital Citizenship. Retrieved from

NetRef. (2016, April 4). White Paper – Digital Natives: Citizens of a Changing World. Retrieved from

Ronson, J. (2015, June). When Online Shaming Goes Too Far [Video file]. Retrieved from