Walled Garden




Definition: http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/walled_garden.html


Safety with Video

It is pretty much a no-brainer for me to go to the Internet as part of the lessons I develop.
But what is not a no-brainer is the risk of what students could find online. I worry less about students going to the wrong White House site…that is too easy.
For me, the daily risk is when I post a YouTube video or post said video that are , to quote the Ninth Doctor, fan-tas-tic, but the suggested videos are anything but.
Using video and the like means a significantly increased risk that something a bit risqué is going to make an appearance. Although YouTube does control overly adult content, the close enough category is enough to get a parent phone call or e-mail.
I cannot control what happens outside of my classroom, but in my classroom, and in the hallways of our school (Acceptable Use Policy).
There are several ways to avoid this increasing problem.
However, first and foremost, review a video before using it. Let me say this again.
Review a video before using it!
Second, choose wisely: Michael Miller, in his article Best Practices for using video in the classroom, states this:
“Evaluate video relative to student, university, and community standards. Might students see it as offensive, disparaging, or otherwise objectionable? Note: your point in using it may be exactly to challenge or provoke. However, be aware of possible fall-out. If potential is high that students will be disturbed, it’s crucial to provide meaningful pre-showing discussion, placing the video in learning context.”
Third, if showing in class, put a safety on the YouTube videos (this is at the bottom of the YouTube page). This will help reduce the number of potentially problematic videos outScreenshot 2013-10-20 16.47.53 there.
For more assistance here: http://www.guidingtech.com/5303/youtube-safety-block-adult-videos/

Fourth, if making your own videos (yes, suggested videos still show up at the end of the ones we post on YouTube), embed them (this is a problem with WordPress.com sites, by the way), or better yet, use Screenshot 2013-10-20 17.08.42Schoology or a similar LMS to post YouTube videos. If one clicks off the recommended videos (note the graphic), recommended videos do not show, and the video is controlled by the teacher, not a random entity.
Here’s how to do this:


Another way is to simply use Teacher Tube, but in my experience, this is still a limited resource, especially at the secondary level.

Finally, if students do videos for presentations, watch them first before allowing them to be used in class. I have had a couple incidents of either language or dress code violation (this is something to make consider, by the way, when students do student projects). Luckily the dress code was not “job scary”, but still something a teacher would rather not have to explain with an administrator.

(Suggestion: Don’t forget to try Vimeo as well, but remember, be safe!)

Additional Resource: http://www.thesociologicalcinema.com/4/post/2012/11/best-practices-for-using-video-in-the-classroom.html#.UmRuZCSE5tg

Video Blog…on Video

Take a look at my thoughts on using video. I am used to using my computer cam, so I decided to try something new and use my wife’s Canon PowerShot SX500 with video capability then edit it with Camtasia for Mac.

Oh, want to make it easier to do video? Try CuePrompter.


This helps the speaker keep their eyes more on the camera. It is free, and helpful when using a regular camera versus a computer (it can be used for a computer camera).


(Finally) excelling at Excel

by Cary L. Tyler

There is one part of the Office/Office-type suite that has eluded (okay, I have eluded) since its inception.


Roblyer and Doering almost nailed the reason for me right on the head: “Teachers who employ this versatile software must first address students’ tendency to fear math”.  They left out a piece.

They should have included: Teachers who might employ this versatile software must first address their own tendency to fear math.

I was not a good math student. Unfortunately, nearly every educational mistake that could be made in the instruction of math happened to me in high school and part of college. I made it only because I had to, but my undergraduate GPA bears the scars of a weak math instruction.

Thus, Excel has overwhelmed me for years. Word, Power Point, Adobe Photoshop, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, bring it. Excel. Nope.

I did not use Excel in any form until this school year. That’s right. My 23rd year of teaching, and I did not. Not for a grade book, not for anything. (I did use Microsoft Access back in 2000 for a statewide competition I was a part of, go figure, but only for that event and then I went back to the spreadsheet dark ages.

I also did not think it really worked for what I teach: high school English. My world initially was centered on books and a word processor, with some PowerPoint thrown in, and eventually to presentation software, but Excel?

This year, my lesson plans are running through it, and I did have a grade book, but I need time to refine it to my liking and right now I have not had time to build one that is more representative of my work and I have not found a template I like enough to refine.

However, as I am constructing the lessons for this week’s assignment, I have discovered that Excel could be an awesome tool (I am not saying this just for this class…I am going to be having my students use Excel for their work this month.

Without dragging down this post, one core example is a character flow chart, or a character algorithm. In it, students will develop a character growth approach, but then have at least two conditional/decision points where students can hypothesize where a character could have diverged from their course and perhaps changed not only their character but perhaps the course of the story.

I am excited to see what my students will do with this, and also will help my students see a mathematical/scientific tie to language arts (there already is with grammar and syntax).

As for myself: Self-training time. I still have three weeks of my Lynda.com subscription left, and between that an Excel for Dummies, I plan to dig deep and learn how to create my own templates.

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching. (6th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.