10 Very Important Video Content Tips


The great thing about video and my Professional Learning Network (PLN), is that as much as we may want to reinvent the wheel, there is simply no need to do so. Powerful and useful information is at our fingertips. So as I perused my latest Twitter followers this past week, I found a new site, that upon reflection, has some incredibly great video information for teachers wanting to incorporate video in their classroom. Now although these tips originate from a marketing site, the reality is that our global community is leveraging video in new ways every day, and these helpful basics are applicable for ANY form of video production.

Read the full article here at “Video Content Tips” by Second Screen Marketing.

1. Adopt a style

2. Identify the rationale

3. Craft a compelling message

4. Don’t let the audio suck

5. Use music

6. Use B-roll

7. Use creative metaphors

8. Grab their attention

9. Include a call to action

10. Change the shot

I have found that students retain information much more clearly and for a longer sustained period of time, when they are allowed to create their own content to illustrate comprehension. Video is a tremendous tool to use when allowing students to experience this form of learning.

In fact, if you would like to hear more, EdReach has a great new podcast resource, iDig Video. I had the pleasure of recording two episodes recently, about the positive learning experiences for students when they are allowed to create videos in the classroom. There are many lessons to be learned from media literacy, to the use of social media when publishing their videos, to perimeters and restrictions placed upon school districts as it relates to publishing names, pictures and student videos. I highly recommend you find the time to listen to these podcasts.

iDig Video #001: Using Video in the Classroom

iDig Video #006: Video Apps and Social Media Policies

Stay tuned for my post next month. I put my video students to the test, by asking them to reflect upon an assignment they received this year from a teacher in one of their core classes. Their task? Create a video to show their content comprehension, rather than the initially assigned assessment. I’m looking forward to their results!



EdGamer 50: The First to 50!

Last week was Zack’s birthday and this week it’s our birthday…our 50th! That’s right, it’s the 50th episode of EdGamer. We take a look back at all the great shows we have had and highlight a few of our favorite memories. If you are new to EdGamer check this out for some recommendations on can’t-miss past episodes. We are proud of our first 50 and we can’t wait to bring you 50 more…thanks to all for tuning in!

Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show Contributor: Gerry James

Here’s our Show Notes

Contact us with any questions or comments- edgamer@edreach.us


EdGamer artwork by Tricia Fuglestad

Alternatives to Copyright Music and Materials

Copyright is an issue I discuss with my students on a daily basis. Recent news of SOPA, PIPA and ACTA have been debated topics in government and in the court of public opinion. And inevitably, copyright becomes a hot topic when I travel and present to educators who allow students to create videos for their classes.

I recently received an email from one of my colleagues who is facing many of the same copyright issues I have dealt with personally, and I’m sure are among the many questions you encounter as well.

“I need some advice on videos appearing on SchoolTube, and how you have approached this with your students. I’ve stressed the copyright issues, but what have you done with lip dubs or videos that include copyright footage, including video highlights for professional sports? My students have submitted videos for (contests) and they have looked at other entries which contain music or videos/photos that are obviously taken from other entities. Are you aware of how we can do this or is it possible? Some of my students want to produce a lip dub for senior project. Any suggestions on approaching this?”

First, we simply don’t use copyright music on our videos. It took a few years, and to this day, I am still saying no. My biggest argument is that if a student or students spend hours upon hours to create a video they are proud of, and then they can’t share it with the world because they would be breaking the law, this usually dissuades them. In addition, I am constantly supplying them with alternatives.

  • Alternative #1 - GoMoxie. This is a free service with popular music that you can obtain the rights to music for educational purposes.
  • Alternative #2 - Search Facebook & Twitter for independent artists. We have found great music doing this & the students feel like they have discovered the next great group.
  • Alternative #3 - We have found two bands this year alone from the UK, whose country’s copyright laws are much different than the US. We have successfully used their music with their permission.
  • Alternative #4 - Royalty-free options. Sites like Jamendo and Incompetech offer excellent choices for student video productions. The Creative Commons arena is also a fabulous learning opportunity for your students.
  • Alternative #5 – Tell the students you will allow them to use the music, but only if they get written permission. Help them contact the record company and once they realize they will probably get stone-walled, or told they need to spend thousands of dollars to use :10 of their song, they may begin to understand the issue a bit more clearly.

Ultimately, if there is no expectation for students NOT to use copyright music, it’s tough, because the students see other schools doing it. Now, those “other” schools may or may not have received permission. You just don’t know. But if your kids say “Why can that school do it but we can’t?” My answer is, “If your friends stole from a store and didn’t get caught, what would you do the next time YOU went into that store and didn’t have money?”

I teach a unit on Copyright every semester to my intro level students and that unit pretty much eliminates the requests from my students to use copyright music in their video productions. If I still haven’t convinced you yet, realize the worst thing that could happen would be that a complaint would be filed and you would have to remove the video from the website.

Back to my original question: Do you really want to spend hours preparing a lip dub video, organizing the whole school, practicing, editing, and pulling off a very hard production, find out the entire school LOVES the video, will want to make it go viral…. only to then be told from a complaint by a record company, “Sorry. You must take down your video. You are committing copyright infringement”?

Let the students then decide, and if they STILL choose to not listen to you, just like a parent, allow them to make the mistake and chance suffering the consequences. However, if you are looking for legal advice, there is a great service for educators, the Student Press Law Center. Please reach out to them for help.

Do you have any other tips about copyright? If you have resources or stories to share, please comment. I’m always looking for more information.

MacReach Show #40: Behind the Scenes of a Successful 1:1 Program


This week on the MacReach Show: Eric Callis joins in to offer a behind the scenes look at a successful 1:1 laptop program. Listen in to learn about everything from financing to data collection, and some excellent resources!

Show Hosts: Meg Wilson (@iPodsibiities) and Kelly Dumont (@KDumont)

CoHost: Eric Callis (@edttw)


Leave us some feedback! 

Contact us with any questions or comments- macreach@edreach.us

MacReach Show #38: Apple News & Resources

This week on MacReach: We discuss lots of Apple new, Apple resources, and an awesome app of the week!  We invite you to join in on the conversation about Apple’s impact in education as we look to the future.

Show Hosts: Meg Wilson (@iPodsibiities) and Kelly Dumont (@KDumont)

Leave us some feedback! 

Contact us with any questions or comments- macreach@edreach.us

#EduWin Isn’t Just for Educators!

Everyday, educators are sharing their positive teaching and learning experiences with each other via the WhatIsYourEduWin.com website and the #EduWin hashtag on Twitter. You may be wondering… what is an #EduWin? An #EduWin can happen any time someone takes education forward. It is a way to celebrate all the fabulous things that are taking place in the world of education every day! So far, educators from all over the globe are sharing a daily #EduWin, and it is inspiring to read each and every one of them. (You can read all about how #EduWin came to be here!)

With the start of the new year, I have been trying to think about some innovative reflection techniques to bring into the classroom. The teacher in me knows that it is crucial for students to always be an active participant in the learning process, which includes reflection. I’m always trying to come up with new ways to incorporate that piece. I think it is incredibly important to celebrate both successes and failures with students everyday. It is even better when they can verbalize their own successes and failures, because I know that’s where honest learning comes into play. So for the second half of this school year, I have decided that I will be asking my students to share their own EduWin daily. I want to give them a few minutes every day that is dedicated to  reflecting on their own individual learning. By sharing their own EduWin with their peers, I am hoping that it will also inspire other students, just as I am inspired by other educators’ EduWins.

There are many ways for students to start sharing their own EduWins, and I am still deciding on which method I will be using in my classroom. Here are a few ideas that I have been thinking about:

  1. Use the website WhatIsYourEduWin.com to tweet from a classroom Twitter account,  or students’ personal Twitter accounts
  2. Make a classroom bulletin board where students add a thought bubble with their EduWin everyday
  3. Write a classroom EduWin journal with daily entries (it can even be anonymous!)
  4. Photograph an EduWin and use the Project 365 app or website to track their daily EduWin
  5. Create a Posterous blog where students email their daily EduWin to a website

I know that there are numerous ways that the EduWin experience can seep into our classrooms and benefit our students; I will have to continue to think about what will work best for my students. And whichever option I choose, I know I will be sharing their #EduWins via WhatIsYourEduWin.com. Please feel free to help me brainstorm and add to the list!

My Quest for 1:1 Success

I have been asked by my school district to be a part of a 1:1 task force. We are moving forward and laying a plan of implementation. EdReach has been a big help for gathering information and there are many articles on EdReach that have been quite helpful.

My goal for this post is to gather that knowledge and also gather knowledge from other sources and angles. I have one question that I would like to ask the EdReach community and I would like everyone to respond with comments below or email me at zgilbert@edreach.us.

My question:
What questions, websites, resources, and videos should I use to help guide me on my quest for 1:1 success?

Once I gather these responses, I will share the information.  I hope this can help educators and administrators who are trying to do what is best for our students.


Links from EdReach:
iPad 1:1 Early Reflection/Reaction
Razor’s Ed Show #15: Reflections on an iPad 1:1 Rollout
5 Opportunities to Get iPods & iPads Into Your Classroom
Stop Criticizing 1:1 Device Choices and BYOD!
1:1 iPads in Michigan
The Changing Publishing Landscape
iPad vs. Netbook for a 1:1

From bengrey.com
Time to Change
D123 Forward Learning- Our Beginning


Thank you,
Zack Gilbert


Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

iPad EdResources

As 2011 winds down, I have spent a good deal of time thinking about all of the online resources and tools that have helped make this past year a successful ‘Year of the iPad’ in my school district. And with an upcoming winter vacation ahead for many educators next week, I thought it might be nice to share out some of my favorite resources for using iPads, iPods, and iPhones in the classroom. Although there are many, many fantastic resources available online, the list below are the ones I have come to rely on… I hope you find them as useful as I have!

  1. IEAR: The IEAR community is a solid resource for locating and discovering appropriate educational apps for the classroom. I really appreciate that the IEAR community is made up of educators who are using these apps in the classroom already, and are sharing reviews and information about specific apps. There is a wealth of information available on the website, and many more resources are shared daily on Twitter using the #IEAR hash tag.
  2. Appitic: Appitic is a newer resource that has become a great go-to website for educators looking to use iOS devices in the classroom. I like that the website is hosted by a wealth of Apple Distinguished Educators from around the world who make a point to include information about multiple intelligences, Bloom’s taxonomy, special education, and other iOS tools available.
  3. iPad Academy: The iPad Academy is an awesome website to discover all kinds of training, tips, and tutorials from an expert: the Portable Professor, Dr. Brovey. From iPad and app tutorials to accessories and resources, this website has something for any educator looking to learn about using iOS devices in the classroom.
  4. iPad in Education: If you are just starting a 1:1 iPad program, the iPad in Education wiki from the School District of Palm Beach County is sharing some excellent information. The wiki includes lesson plans, recommended apps, tutorials, and technical resources. It is a great starting place for educators new to iPads!
  5. Learning in Hand: For years, I have relied on Tony Vincent‘s website Learning in Hand to stay up to date on all things related to mobile learning. It is a great resource for schools looking to use iPods and iPads. You can watch video podcasts, get information on using iPads for project based learning, and even helpful hints about classroom dos and don’ts.
  6. iTunesU: This free resource, hosted by Apple, is often overlooked. Available through iTunes on either your computer or iOS device, educators and students can find a wealth of resources to support learning. There are podcasts, videos, PDFs, and ePubs on a variety of topics are available for K-12, colleges, and professional development. Some content is teacher created, some is student created, and some is even published by big name organizations and foundations like PBS and the Library of Congress. If you are looking to learn more about using iPads in the educational setting, a fantastic component of iTunesU is theApple Distinguished Educators section. iTunesU allows users to learn just about anything from just about anywhere! And did I mention that it is all free?
  7. Mobile Learning for Special Needs: The Mobile Learning for Special Needs wiki is constantly being updated by Luis Perez, a leader in teaching educators about using iOS devices as assistive technology. His video tutorials on iPad accessibility features are a must see if you work with students who have disabilities. He also provides a wealth of resources and information that is applicable for students of ALL abilities.
  8. Canby School District: The Canby School District continues to lead the way with providing down to earth advice and resources being used by a district who has been working with iPod touches since they were first released. Both their wiki and blog are focused on supporting iPods and iPads in education. They publish excellent articles  deployment and management, as well as action research projects and classroom activities.
  9. Appcessories: The Appcessory website from Jonathan Nalder is another new addition to my collection of fabulous resources because it looks at all the accessories for iPads and iPods, and it does it through the lens of education. This is a great website for educators who want to look at how the growing list of iOS accessories can be used for learning.
  10. App Advice: Whether you are using their mobile app or website, this is an awesome place to get app advice! I really like that they are continuously compiling lists of apps, which makes it super easy if you are looking for a variety of apps that focus on the same topic (i.e. “Apps for Artist” or “Apps for Poets”). From app reviews to app sales, they are always up to date on what’s going on with iOS devices!

EdCeptional #24-The sweet spot: where ESL meets Special Ed

This week we are joined by Larry Ferlazzo a teacher and blogger at Larry Ferlazzo’s Website of the Day.  We discuss the ways that ESL and Special Education instruction are similar and take a look at a ton of great resources!

Show Host: Anne Truger (@atruger)

Show Guest:  Larry Ferlazzo (@larryferlazzo)

Show contributors:

Patrick Black (@teachntech00)

Deb Truskey (@debtruskey)

Subscribe to The EdCeptional Podcast on iTunes

Subscribe to the EdReach Podcast Feed

The complete show notes are now on the EdCeptional Wiki.

September 11th and My Social Studies Classroom

I have been asked by many if I will discuss 9-11 in my classroom.  As a social studies teacher I feel it is my duty to talk about important events such as September 11th.  I could write a lot about how I felt and what I saw during those months, they are still fresh within my memory.  I can playback the exact moment I heard the news and it chokes me now as I write.  There are so many stories and so many lessons that can be taught, but I am not the only teacher or observer from that time. The worksheet below is what I have put together for my students.  I want this to be a family and classroom discussion.  It will not be easy for those who answer the questions below, but the important discussions are never simple.  Please let me know your thoughts about the assignment and if you have any suggestions.  There are many ways this can be taught and I am hoping a civil dialogue can occur within the EdReach community.

One important topic that I do not ask concerns religious toleration.  This is a difficult topic for the age I teach, 6th grade.  As the year goes on I teach about the five major religions and I will refer back to 9-11 for examples of religious intolerance.

I hope this post will help those of you out there contemplating teaching about 9-11.  If you would like to use all or part of what I created, that is fine.  All I ask is that you credit me and EdReach.   Zack Gilbert – http://edreach.us/


September 11, 2001

As all of you know, the 10th anniversary of 9-11 is on Sunday.  This is a difficult time for all Americans, but it is difficult to understand for those who are young. Your children were born around the year 2000 and have never known life to be different as it was before that fateful day.  I have created an optional assignment for your child and I will understand if you do not participate.  I do hope that you will have discussions at home concerning September 11, 2001, as it is important to our nation’s history.  Please contact me if you have any questions.

You can ask the questions below to any family members.  (parents, grandparents, older siblings, etc…)  Use one worksheet for each person.

1.      Are there historical events in your life where you can remember exactly where you were when you heard the news?  How did these events impact you?

2.      What was life like before September 11th?  What changes have you seen after this event?

3.      What important lessons can we teach our children about September 11th?  Why is important to remember this date?

4.      Do you have anything else you would like to share?

Please contact me if there is anything you would like to discuss.

Thank you for your assistance in this questionnaire.  Keeping history alive is very important, especially when the personal stories come from your own family.


Mr. Gilbert



EdGamer 20: The Tools We Use for EdGamer

EdGamer 20 is short and sweet, but it doesn’t lack any punch! In fact, in honor of our 20th show, we give you a gift.  In this episode we pass along to the listener a list of places we routinely check and monitor to find all the great sites, tools and gadgets we bring to you each week!  We have brought you into the sporadic, sarcastic, app-addicted and often downright scary brain behind EdGamer…good luck and enjoy!Additional note-  Gerry needs to understand that there is a difference between Blue’s News and Blue’ Clues.  It is Steve and Joe.  We got Joe correct, but using the word Steven threw me off.  Steven didn’t sound right.  It’s just Steve.


Show Host: Zack Gilbert

Show contributor: Gerry James

Subscription Page and Feeds for EdGamer

The complete show notes are now on the EdGamer Wiki

Call us on our comment line!

If you’d like to leave some feedback you can call us on our very own EdReach Comment line: That’s: (443) 93REACH.


EdCeptional Show #3: Are You Aware?

EdCeptional kicked off our 3rd podcast with the addition of a special guest, Jeremy Brown. We are very excited to announce that Jeremy did such a great job that we are not going to let him go! Jeremy Brown will now be a part of our weekly podcast along with Deb Truskey, Patrick Black and host Anne Truger.

This month kicks off Autism Awareness Month and there are some great deals to be had to celebrate. Be sure to read all of the notes to find those hidden gems! We covered so many topics in the podcast last night listed below are all of the URLs we covered.


Blog Watch:

On the Radar:


  • Easy Learning Books -Stories with real pictures. Limited but with many extra teacher supports

Special Considerations:

  1. Twitter – #spedchat Tues  7:30CST pm
  2. Autism Awareness Month – Watch out for a number of app giveaways or discounts to celebrate! (GRACE, Expressive, Kindergarten.com flashcard series, Good Karma’s apps – 50% off, See.Touch.Learn – 50% off and reduced in-app prices, & others.)
  3. list on A4CWSN home page
  4. Special Education section on iTunes

New Teacher – New Strategy #3: RSS – From Weidig

In this post, I will be looking at RSS the power and potential of Real Simple Syndication. Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is a tremendous way to simplify your processes in searching and gathering information. Overall, RSS keeps you from having to hunt for information… especially from sites that you frequent often to gather information. This saves time and energy and focuses your attention on evaluating information and choosing whether to delve further into researching a specific topic or simply moving on to other more relevant information and activities.

With RSS you setup a aggregator called a “reader” through which you gather “feeds”. Once a “feed” is setup, information comes to you as opposed to you hunting for it. My choice of RSS Reader is Google Reader. Aside from being one of the free Google tools, there are many 3rd party “readers” that can connect to the feeds within Google Reader that allow you to extend the capabilities of Google Reader as well as view information in the way you prefer. Here is a quick video by Lee Lefever that provides a great overview of explaining RSS and how to setup an RSS Reader:

RSS in Plain English – by Lee Lefever

Once you setup your RSS aggregator, and begin to add feeds, news stories from around the world as well as information from educational and instructional blogs will begin to flow into the Reader. Additionally, most magazine type services (and all search engines) have RSS feeds embeded into their sites that you can tap into. This type is resource allows you to become a “grazer” and evaluator of information as opposed to a hunter of information.

Educational uses.

First and foremost, leveraging RSS provides another way to find, gather, and catalog tremendous amounts of resources and information. It can be used to extend a personal learning network (PLN) as well as augment the process of “giving back” to your PLN by making it easy to share the resources you find. Because you can add feeds about any subject or topic your reader provides an opportunity to create a dynamic learning environment. There is the ability to create a permanent grouping of feeds around instructional methodologies and classroom practices, while having more flexible groupings setup around specific topics, ideas, and even units or lessons for which you are preparing.

Classroom Ideas

Think about how you have students research the internet right now… Typically, a teacher schedules 3 days in a computer lab all devoted to “research.” (Or two days of research and one for pulling it all together) Students do a lot of things with that time… some of it is even researching their topics, however, there is also a great deal of just gathering information without any true evaluation of the source or even the material they find. Too often students take the path of least resistance and only click through the couple of Google links (before abandoning that search or declaring “there is not information on this topic…”. Then they cut and paste this information into a PowerPoint or some other tool. Finally they read from the screen along with the rest of the class when presenting… Sound familiar?

How different could it be if this was how the research went like this? Two weeks before you are set to begin an inquiry based project you schedule one (1) (<- see that ONE) day in the lab for research. The students would have had an RSS Aggregator set up in the beginning of the year or you take the first five minutes of class for them to register with your favorite. Now you have the students begin researching current relevant topics through news agencies and blogs (you can even use diigo, delicious and technorati as search vehicles) by doing google searches and ONLY grabbing the RSS feed for the topic or going to specific sites of some interest and grabbing the RSS feed. Now all of the information that is returned is NOT REVIEWED AT THIS POINT but, put into the RSS Aggregator to be allowed to continue to collect for the next two weeks. Perhaps you have them work a bit to create folders to categorize some of the information on the fly like:

  • Background information / Google search RSS
  • Relevant News Stories
  • Blogs and other first person accounts
  • Misc.

Then when the hour is over, you all go back to your regularly scheduled classes for the next two weeks. However, during this time the RSS Reader is chugging away gathering more and more information related to the topic of the students choice. When it comes time for the inquiry based project to begin, you bring the students back to the lab, and they now begin to use and develop their skills at “grazing” information, evaluating the relevance of the information in their reader, the credentials of the source of the information, digesting the information and what type of impact it would have on their project. They would also begin the process of evaluating possible presentation vehicles. These vehicles will become the tools for presenting this information so their peers, parents, and teachers best understand and be impacted by the message they are working to get across. How much different of a learning experience would that be for your students?

Other Thoughts

On an aside while you can do group work with RSS, through Google Reader, with each student having their own account account they can leverage RSS in ways more personal to them. What about setting up a class reader or feeds? Unit feeds? Share some of your personal feeds on a class website? or even set up your own RSS feed of a class blog or Ning so parents could subscribe to what you are doing in class.  What are your thoughts other ways to embrace RSS for your personal learning environment as well as the advancement of student learning and achievement.

RSS Aggregator Options

There are a number of RSS Aggregators (Readers) out there. Some carry a $ cost with them others are free. Below is a brief list of a few of the more popular Readers (all free):

  • Google Reader
  • FeedReader
  • Bloglines
  • At the end of this post I have a couple of links that have links to many… many… more RSS Readers.

    There are also have other RSS Reader options. Most “portal” sites like Microsoft LiveiGoogleMyYahoo,and Pageflakes, (among others) have RSS Aggregators as a part of their functionality. Most email clients have RSS capabilities… Additionally, the Mac OS X and Windows 7 have desktop widgets that allow for RSS feeds to be displayed… get the idea that that RSS is all over out there, you just need to be open to a better way of pulling information to you as opposed to going to get it?

    Now all you need to to is create an account with one of these services, and then start gathering “feeds” into your RSS Reader. Here are a couple of criteria that I like to use when trying to choose RSS Readers:

    • How easy is it to use?
    • Can I organize the feeds into folders or categories?
    • How easy is it to add a feed? Does the service have a “wizard” of some sore that helps me find a feed on a page?
    • Can it be used online and offline? (this is key for me in case you have time, but not a connection to the internet)
    • Can it be accessed via mobile device like a smartphone or tablet… either via the web or an application?
    • Is there a “toolbar” feature that makes it easy to subscribe and get to feeds? (see picture below)
    • Is it visually appealing? (vain, but if I am going to be looking at something repeatedly, I want it to be nice ;))

    As you begin to explore and investigate RSS, you will find there are additional options like being able to add personal notes that attach to the articles you are saving, “star” important information, “share” information and articles with others or the world in multiple ways. One caution… RSS can get addicting. Start with a few feeds and begin to work up to more as you feel more comfortable. Also, know that it is OK to simply “mark all read” if you feel the amount of information is getting out of control. The really important information will bubble back to the surface again in the future.

    Image Credit: Marcos Vecino Rosado via Flickr CC
    Video Credit: Lee Lefever via YouTube