Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Photo Story

Another GREAT authoring tool: Microsoft Photo Story! I found out about this one through my other current class: Special Topics In Ed. Tech. Photo Story is a digital picture story that can be created through a very simple process. It is appropriate for all grade levels, and all disciplines. I used it to create a photo story about my recent trip to help rebuild houses in Mississippi that were damaged by Katrina. Because my instructor said it had to be insructional I told about our experience, and then detailed the whole process that has to be done to the house in order to get it ready to live in again.

Photo Story can be used a number of different ways in the classroom. The author could be the teacher, who could create the story as a direct instructional tool which teachers the students the steps to completing a process. A digital story could also be used as an introduction to a topic, or as a closing section to a unit, or as an exploratory section. For instance, in teaching math, I might use a story to apply what the students are learning in my classroom to how they might use it in the "real-world." The author can also be the student, and the teacher can have them create a story for any means that they think is appropriate in the classroom.

I highly recommend using this site. If not even for the classroom, for personal use. It is a great way to keep memories alive.
The site is

FREE to anyone that has Windows XP!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Intro to Authoring Tools

I have never really considered authoring tools and their use in the classroom before I wrote my first paper for my authoring tools class. Learning about the benefits of using authoring tools in the classroom really made me think about their importance in my curriculum. I typically only use the computers for Gometer's Sketchpad activities, but am not thinking about expanding te programs I use to include many more authoring tools.

I discovered that students are motivated by using authoring tools as they create them themselves and they can be a direct expression of themselves. This gives the students a sense of ownership over their own learning, making it much easier for them to enjoy their schoolwork.

Authoring tools can also be used independently, or collaboratively. Collaborative work also motivates students not only for the social aspect, but also due to the peer pressure. Students do not want to look like idiots in front of each other so they will typically work harder to impress each other.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I just discovered this great authoring tool called Audacity. It is a shareware program that allows the students to record their voices and create products like radio shows or an oral reading of shakespeare or a presentation. The authors are able to add several layers, making it possible to to add music, soundbites and narration. When completed the file can be saved as a WMV file, allowing it to be played on virtually any computer.

the website for download is

check it out - it is great for the classroom!