Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mucking around with machinima

I'm spending my morning reading about machinima--a topic and practice that fascinates me--and thought I'd just mention two resources to you that you might find interesting.

The first is MovieStorm, a free-to-download animation engine you can use to create movies. I've mucked around a little with this software in the past and lost a good many pleasant hours doing so.

The second is a game you play to generate your sets and actors and props for making machinima. The game is The Movies. You do have to buy it, but having used it in the past myself with teachers, I find it a marvellous resource to have, especially in classrooms where the internet connection is too dodgy to effectively use, say Second Life, to create machinima. has en entire channel devoted to The Movies machinima if you'd like to get a sense of what can be done with this game/animation software.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Try this Media Moguls!

While trying to get a bit of youth incorporate into my project. I have enlisted the help of my ultra cool 13 year old niece. She turned me into this very cool website that helps kids remix poetry and images with saying to suit their needs. My niece is totally addicted everyday I see her work on FB. Her work mostly incorporates images of her group of friends with cute little sayings. I though I would share. Enjoy!

B ;)

Second Life

This was an old post but I am just getting my post to actually go on our blog-bear with me
When we had class last week on Second Life I had a chance to explore a Disney Inspired Island (Mouse island)with my avatar. The only word that actually comes to mind is OhMiiGod! Wow I was quickly transported to a replica of the Magic Kingdom. I quickly called over my three little ones and they started screaming, try sending them to bed after seeing this IMPOSSIBLE! Well I let them stay up and help me navigate and explore. I was truly incredible they little ones were in awe they rode the Dumbo ride, even had the elephant ride up and down. The went into the Haunted house and took lots of pictures of our "Ghost Host" it was a hoot. The my girls recalled what they had seen in Disney on previous trips (FYI we have been there about 12+ times my mother works for Disney) They knew exactly were everything was and what they should see. I was fascinated not only but the technology which was surreal-to put it mildly. I was fascinated buy the level of excitement it brought my girls they were squealing and clicking and made me make them popcorn at 8:30 so they can experience the park properly. I would so love to expose my students to this I could defiantly see them discovering ancient Tombs during an Egypt research project or visit the Greek Ruins for a project or even touring the human body for research. The possibilities are endless. TTFN!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Trimming the Timeline With Precision in Windows Movie Maker

Hello everyone! I would like to further investigate something discussed in today's class. While the class offered many interesting points regarding our final movie project, one of my major concerns was on how to synch the audio and video clips properly while editing to ensure a clean and precise final product. While Windows Movie Maker has a "Timeline View" where one can adjust the length of a given clip by dragging from the right, I was looking for a more precise way to set the length of the clip.

In iMovie on our lab Apple Computers, one can precisely adjust the timeline by double-clicking on an image or video clip and choosing a length of time that this particular clip will remain playing. I was extremely giddy when this was brought to my attention and hopeful that Windows Movie Maker would contain the same feature!

Alas, when I arrived home and brought up Movie Maker to test this procedure, I found that double-clicking on a clip in the "Timeline View" does absolutely nothing of use. I am going to try to scour some web searches and forums for a good solution to this conundrum. In the meantime, any suggestions here would be most welcome! Thank you!

Friday, October 23, 2009

NEA Article

I think the point of colleagues viewing learning new things at work is well taken. Of course it's work, at least in the beginning learning stages, but then becomes matter of fact after the initial uncomfortable phase. We are all at different places in our lives, and those of us that teach and have families, definitely feel inundated. But the good news and the end result is that it is doable!
Colleagues that have been teaching for many years do feel overwhelmed and with all the reports we are required to complete by administration, they do see this as more work. I think if we are going to incorporate new literacies into our curriculum it can serve as a replacement for other ways we taught the "same" skill. The bottom line is that regardless if teachers agree or not about new literacies becoming a part of the curriculum, it will be if the district in which you are employed requires that it will be. Sometimes that is the motivating factor

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I recently read this article in the October/November 2009 issue of the NEAtoday. It rasies some issues that I see with my district. Teachers and school districts are not quite there yet. I've noticed in my district that some teachers view learning new "things" as more work.
I tried to convert it to a jpeg so you could read the entire article on the blog but it wasn't working. Here is page 1 and the link for the entire article.....

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Interesting website and happened to come across it as I was looking for New Jersey Core Curriculum Standards. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Copyright and You

We'll be talking about copyright, fair use and remixing on Saturday. Here are some links that I'll be talking about and which you might find useful as you make informed decisions about which cultural resources you choose to use in your classroom.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

39 Clues Webcast

Hey everyone! I recently received an e-mail from Scholastic in regards to a live webcast of the 39 Clues series. As far as I know, it is free and all you need to do is register via the link below. I teach fourth grade and my students really enjoy the 39 Clues books. Not to mention, they are all written by wonderful authors. I've attached the link below in case anyone is interested. Plus, the webcast is the Monday of Convention week so I thought it would be a nice experience for the students during that short week of school. Take a look at it and enjoy!

Erika Pavlecka 10/20/09

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stop Motion Animation

While tutoring last week, the fifth grade boy that I tutor had to do a writing assignment on his "Favorite Place". He went on to describe why his room is his favorite place since he is able to create "pretend" movies with his lego figures. Over the weekend, I took a look at many of the Legomation clips on YouTube. I was amazed to see what we've all come to know and love as legos magically come to life into very unique clips with characters, plots, and even problem/solutions. When I went to tutor today, I asked the mother of the student that I tutor if I could use the computer to show him these clips. Well, I've never seen him as engaged as I did today! It was like all his dreams were brought to life through these legomation media clips. I decided to take hold of this "teachable moment" and have him describe one of his lego "masterpieces" to me. We then began to construct a storyboard illustrating and expanding upon each scene. I plan on continuing this project with the student that I tutor and hope that I can work alongside him to create his very on "real" legomation clip. Thanks for the advice Dr. Knobel! I will keep you all posted on our progress!

Erika Pavlecka 10/19/09

Saturday, October 17, 2009


If anyone is using YouTube and has not seen it already, they have an online handbook.

I am impressed

I took a look at Legomation and sand animation (links from Dr. Knobel's blog) and needless to say they are amazing. But the doll and figure animation is truly a winner. It combines an enormous amount of talent, which I doubt I can ever duplicate, with a spiritual quality that really makes it a one of a kind project.

Does anyone know of any workshops at MSU or otherwise?



I would like to add animation to my movie but I don't know where to start. Flash animation looks cool and Michele posted about stop animation. But, how do I chose which animation is right for my movie and how do I add it to Windows Movie Maker? Please comment if you can help. Thanks.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Some Thoughts From the Article "Visual Literacy and the Classroom"

Some Thoughts From the Article "Visual Literacy and the Classroom" by Erin Riesland
Riesland, Erin. "Visual Literacy and the Classroom." New Horizons for Learning. Mar. 2005. 29 Feb. 2008

Along with the advent of computer era, the definition of “literacy” somehow outdated. We need to reconsider what it means to be literate in the technological age. The literacy is quickly being redefined due to emerging technology. With new technologies, educators are dealing with “new literacy.” Multimedia is altering the way society communicates in the real world, as well as the speed of changing classroom communication is overwhelming. Both teachers and students are expected to be able to navigate and communicate through new media such as hypermedia. For example, hypermedia reading is different from printing reading. The use of internet changes the way students read and collect information, and accordingly, it will change the way students write.

Traditionally, writers use images to support their writing. Gunther Kress pointed out a shift in science textbooks that use more illustrations to support text explanations instead of using text to supports visual explanations. Kress argues that images hold more meaning than text. However, this visual literacy conveyed by internet is overwhelming. “As students learn to decode hypermedia, they are also learning how to decode advertising.” On the other hand, advertisers know how to reach youngsters far better than educators. Through those pop-up ads, students conceive the view of the world. Their thoughts about the society and their identity to the communities were influenced more than in the classroom. Therefore, new literacy education “should prepare students at [their] young age for the onslaught of advertising they will be exposed to during their lifetime”. They need to be trained to have the capability to evaluate the advertising messages. This is the concept of integrating visual literacy instruction into classroom curriculum to better prepare students for the constantly changing syberworld that they encounter in most of their spare time.

There are many ways of integrating multimedia curriculum into the classroom. The method of learning by design is based on the concept that knowledge is constructed rather than processed from information received from a multimedia source. The approach of learning by design motivates students to learn by working on a real world project. For example, teachers design a project for students to work together or individually to create the story movie where they can convey their own message into their movie. Through the role playing of the producer rather than the consumer of information, students get the better perception how hypermedia is displayed on the internet.

In the conclusion, Riesland brought up an issue “our modern technology-driven society demands a level of communication that remains largely unaddressed in the classroom.” Isn’t this concerned that the new literacy teaching should be seriously considered the current literacy demands of new technologies?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Conceptual essay

Regarding the conceptual essay, I am wondering if everything we write for this essay has to relate to our own media production experiences? For example, do the readings, the concepts and the application need to be focused on our media production experience?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Stop Motion Animation

I'm a big fan of stop motion animation and thought I'd share a few resources with you that you might find useful as you muck around with different movie-making techniques.

Stop Motion Central
is a good starting place, because it provides a place to watch stop motion animations along with how-to tutorials.

Animate Clay is a useful portal for learning more about creating our own claymations.

Different types of animations you can explore include claymation (the ADP Center on the ground floor of University Hall has claymation kits you can borrow), sand animation (and you must watch this), Legomation, line/2D animation, and doll and figure animation, just to name a few.

Here's a fab Lego animation made by a group of Masters of Education students Colin Lankshear and I worked with in Newfoundland over this past summer. And a wonderful sand animation done by another group within this same class.

Monday, October 12, 2009

"Adolescent Literature and Second Life: Teaching Young Adult Texts in the Digital World" by Laura Nicosia

"Adolescent Literature and Second Life: Teaching Young Adult Texts in the Digital World" by Laura Nicosia

After reading this article and having the opportunity to experience Second Life, it would seem that SL is a valid and useful tool in education. It gives students and alternative and fun way to learn what is being taught to them in school. With the technological advancements that have been developed in recent years, young adults are embracing and using technology in their everyday lives. Using SL in the classroom to teach literature is a great way to get the children engaged in the novels and come out with a much deeper understanding of the story. Being able to take field trips to the places being described in the novel or having students engage in discussion in SL, seems like a more interesting and effective way to teach the goals of the lessons. Nicosia describes many benefits that using SL have in regards to education, that it would seem foolish for teachers to not use it in their own classrooms, when possible. I wish these types of learning environments existed while I was in school, because I would have certainly have been more engaged in the lessons and also less self-conscious of expressing my thoughts in class, or in world. Even meeting in SL for MEDI503 has helped me to share my thoughts more, and also helped me to understand the technology more. Safety issues are not a huge concern in SL, as other parts of the Internet, due to the security measures they take with the teen grid and such. Therefore it would not be too risky to use in the classroom. I hope I have a chance to use SL with my future classes.

Making my movie update


I want to thank Michele and Stephanie for their advice. When I searched on Google and for AVI, I found out movie maker can import uncompressed files. When I saved the files they were in compressed format. So, I went back to my files and uncompressed them. Then, I tried importing them in movie maker and it worked. Next, I imported all the files that I need at this point into my project and inserted them in my movie. It will take some time to get the timing right on the sound effects and the music but I will get there. I hope everyone's movie projects are going well.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Making my movie

Hello everyone!

After I brainstormed yesterday, I found a great idea for my movie. I surfed the web and found great photos to save and use in my movie. Today, I went into Windows Movie Maker to create my movie. I had no problem importing the photos and adding them to the storyboard, and adding titles before the clips. Then, I decided I wanted to add music or sound clips to my movie. I went on the web and found some good clips, downloaded and heard them, or saved them into a file. But, when I went to import them in Windows Movie Maker, it gave me a message that the file is incompatible or cannot find it. Is anyone else using Windows Movie Maker? Does anyone know how to import music or sound into the storyboard in Windows Movie Maker? If you can help, please let me know how I can proceed. Thank you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Trim, clip and narrate my video

I reordered some of my movie clips to make my story smoother. I am trimming some clips down to a few seconds each, and cutting out the meaningless sections. In addition, I add titles in the beginning and captions on the clip itself, as well as I tried to narrate the video. I encountered some tricky problems such as how to delete the titles without delete the clips. After searching for help in internet, I click on “the moving line” on a time line mode and mouse stopped at the “title overlap” area, right click and select "delete". This deletes only the captions not the video clip. Before this I was frustrated by repeating delete the video clips accidentally. Movie Maker is really fun if only when you figure out how to manage it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Help with Aniboom

Greetings...Can anyone help with Aniboom?? Can we create an animated video using this site???

My school is making technological advances!

Hi everyone-
I just found something out at work today that I found interesting & exciting, in terms of technology...currently, our school uses for teacher webpages (to post homework, announcements, etc.). Someone from the technology dept. just informed me that soon, we will be transitioning into blog sites instead, so that parents/teachers/students/caregivers can communicate quickly, posting comments/questions/etc. I think it's great that schools are beginning to realize/accept the times & Web 2.0 digital technologies. I think a blogging site is much more useful as a classroom's website, as opposed to just having a traditional teacher website. Anyone & everyone in the class should be able to add to the site.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I need your help

I have tried time and again to add a narration to my movie but it does not work meanwhile the microphone is fixed to the computer correctly. Can someone give an idea as how I can get narration done? Thank

At George Washington Carver in East Orange

I went to do one of my School & Classroom observations in this school, George Washington Carver School and was impressed about how students were being encouraged, and motivated to create and develop ideas, conduct reseach, process information, and articulate learning and practice skills through the Technology to enable them succeed in the work place of the 21St Century. Am very proud of this course and what am gaining from it may God bless Dr. Michele Knobel for her time and knowledge shared with us and especially me.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Trends in educational technology

In the April issue off the NJEA review, there was an interesing article regarding trends in technology, predictions and connecting with students. Here is the link if you would like to view it.


anyone having difficulty finding a good video converter to use to convert videoclips to windows media maker? Some of the ones i downloaded corrupted my computer, so i had to delete.
Any suggestions if not then i guess i will just have to cry myself to sleep the way i have been doing since September 1st!

Follow Up to "I Am What I Learn"

I showed President Obama’s speech on Sept. 8 during my Social Studies class. My students were really interested because he talked about things they could relate to (ie: how J.K. Rowling was turned down time after time by publishers before Harry Potter was finally published, or how Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team). He discussed things like this to show the students of America that you shouldn’t give up, and to always try your best, and that failure is okay, as long as you learn from it and keep going. I was inspired by how much my students were inspired.

I think this video contest for the students is intriguing, for the students can showcase how they plan to achieve their dreams, all the while it is encouraging and promoting the use of technology in and out of the classroom. I think it’s interesting how 10 finalists’ videos will be aired on the Department of Education’s YouTube page. I didn’t know there was such a thing! Did anyone else know of this?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Meeting again in Second Life

Hello everyone--I've emailed you about this but wanted to post a reminder here, too. We're meeting again in SL tomrorow night (Tuesday, Oct 6) at our usual time, and in our usual place:

This meeting isn't compulsory--it's more about just touching base and chatting about questions you might have etc.

See you in-world!

US Department of Education Launches "I Am What I Learn" Student Video Contst

Hi Members,
How is it going, I found this interesting news @"" and would like to draw your atention to that if you have not yet heard the news: It's all about Arne Duncan's issue on video anouncement encouraging students to respond to the president's call to take responsibility for their education. Students, 13years and up have been invited to create videos describing the role education will play in achieving their goals, and the goals they will set for themselves to get there. I think this is appropriate since students will be able to explore their levle of intelegency and also to be more creative thinking and acting.

US Department of Education Launches "I Am What I Learn" Student Video Contst

Hi Members'
How do you like the secetary of Education, Arne Duncan's issue on (video announcement) encouraging students to respond to the President's call to take responsibility for their education by inviting students, 13years and up to create videos, describing the role education will play in achieving their dreams, and the goals they set for themselves to get there. I think this is appropriate since it will allow students to think and explore their knowledge. Also it will motivate and encourage students as to the meaningful uses of media technology.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Hi everyone! I was in Barnes and Noble and came across this book. Now I know the book is not the first of a series but I found it to be interesting since this is nothing like it was I was in high school. The book uses digital talk codes and follows teenagers lives in high school..pretty cool!


Can someone tell me how to add contacts in google docs??? I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly. Should I be able to see my contacts and send a copy of what I'm typing???


Remixes and YouTube

In the article Remix: The Art and Craft of Endless Hybridization many interesting links are presented that are remixes. A remix, as we have seen, is a video, image or audio that has been changed in a creative way. One that interested me was where there are postcard images that have been written on to create a funny or even intense message regarding war, romantic relationships, violence, etc.

Did anyone get to view the video “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” by Michael Wesch, a professor at Kansas State University? Some remixes are discussed and one is a European music video (Numa Numa) that traveled from Japan where it was remixed with animation and it was found by a New Jersey man who remixed it by singing along. (If you don’t think you know it, look it up and I’m sure you have heard it!) Then it was remixed by many others who would sing and dance along. It is amazing how many have joined in and created a community all of their own to have fun and not be satirical.

Michael Wesch discusses some critics of YouTube. I thought it was funny (and true) how Lev Grossman, a journalist, stated, “Some of the comments on YouTube, make you weep for the future of humanity just for the spelling alone, never mind the obscenity and the naked hatred.” One can see that some of the comments are judgmental. This can also be seen in the way some people text and type. Examples include lolcats and the “specific language” used (Iz mah house!), texting lingo (lol, omg! bff, etc. – I am sure many of us have seen AT&T’s messaging commercial where a grandmother texts her BFF Rose). However, these are more than what they seem and go beyond grammatical errors – people are coming together, creating a community and relationships to express and share ideas.

Comic Life

If not done already, I would highly suggest downloading the software, "Comic Life." My video group has started to incorporate images from a video and combine them with comic images. With this software, you can create comics and put little blurbs into the comic bubbles. There are tons of fonts, texts, differeny color schemes, different bubbly drawings, and tons of enhancement that you can put into your comic. I have been "fooling" around with it and have found it to be helpful and amazing. There are also cool sound effects when you insert new items into your comic. Very interactive and cool! Give it a try! Let me know, if you give it a try, how it works out for you! If you need help withi it, let me know because I have explored various effects to use and am pretty familiar with it now!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Hello Everyone!
I found interesting the chapter that discussed fanfic as a 'new' literacy. Before Dr. Knobel's class - i didn't even know what Fanfic was. There are many different types of new literacies such as remixes and so forth. I feel that these types of literacies makes reading fun again for children.
I went on a job interview recently and one of the questions i was asked was,
"Children seemed to have lost an interest in reading, how would you keep them engaged - how would you bring them back?"
I wish i would of read this chapter before going on that interview. One of my responses was to find the interests of the children and try to incorporate that in the classroom. Fanfic is an adventure. People are responsive to this type of literacy style especially our young readers. Fanfic is not just role-playing. Studying young children's lives and interests - helps improve professional development for teachers. By finding the interests of our children we are developing new approaches to teaching and learning. There is a joy in engaging children in reading. Students are more equipped than we think they are. I had students one time mention to me that over the weekend, they created a youtube video for fun and presented music and so forth that was of interest to them. Children love using new technologies to help them learn and grow. I didn't know if anyone else has seen this in their classrooms - or with their own children at home?
Well it was definitely an interesting read for me. - Stephanie Morales

Pirates and Piracy

Hello everyone. I am not sure if all of you got to read Lessig's chapters on pirates and piracy. It was a very interesting read. It gave me a whole new perspective on filmmaking, music, and cable tv. Before these innovations were created, there were "pirates" that help form these innovations that we know of today. Lessig describes these piracy acts. He states,"Because of this gap in the law, then, I could effectively pirate someone else’s song without paying its composer anything. . . . Because the device that Sony built had a “record” button, the device could be used to record copyrighted movies and shows. Sony was therefore benefiting from the copyright infringement of its customers. It should therefore, Disney and Universal claimed, be partially liable for that infringement". Lessig argues that these "pirates" helped Congress to create the copyright law. This law helps us today when we see a movie, download music online or to our MP3 player, and record a television show. When you get a chance to read the chapters, let me know what you think about Lessig's argument.