Wednesday, July 05, 2006

NECC - the beginning

NECC06 Morning one - and away we go. Last night ended with a bang. Fireworks and conversation with a view of San Diego Bay. After a quick breakfast at the hotel - with NECC attendees from WV, KS, MS, LA and CA - caught the shuttle to the Conference Center. The transporation is very nice here and discussions broke out on digital storytelling and wikis on our way across the Gas Lamp district.

My first session is going to be on digital storytelling and the stories of successes that I heard on the way just whet my appetite. This is going to be a long day as my presentation is at 3:30 and I am blogging three sessions for eSchool news. I am very excited.

The WIFI access at NECC this year allows true digital conferencing. I am sitting with people checking email, setting their daily schedules, listening to iPods, reading the Dialy Leader and cell phoning with friends and family. A far cry from the old conferences when everyone came in with a cup of coffee and a notepad. Could it be that we are actually catching up with our students in using technology to live?

I am blogging for eSchool News and have posted my session reviews there as well. Some very good bloggers perform this useful function. I encourage any readers to browse over the their site for even more information on this year's NECC.

Digital Storytelling: Become the next Ken Burns with Peter Scott.
The room is full!! Peter Scott begins his presentation. Peter is the national consultant working for Classroom Connect, He is using PhotoStory 3 for his Digital Stories -- but noted that there are many software applications that can be used for telling stories.
His site is
All his handouts and presentations are there as well as handouts for digital stories. A great resource for me as I am teaching digital stories this Fall. Isn't it fantastic when presenters give you a site with all these resources?

Are you an immigrant or are you a native? Kids get technology - do we? Peter had a humerous beginning to emphasize the divide between students and teachers in using technology. An overview of digital storytelling -
Using a software application, you are going to merge text, images, movies, music and sound together to tell a story digitally. He gave some great websites to use - check out: and others from his site (noted above). Nice thought - you can make a digital story for about any assignment. Response to literature, character study, historical account, lab report, and more. Peter made a great presentation by showing actual finished products. It is so much easier to grasp a concept when shown what can result. It these examples don't motivate you as a teacher to change your teaching style to include digital stories, you are ready for retirement. I couldn't take my eyes off the screen - your students won't go to sleep during these presentations, and they will have fun composing these stories. As Peter mentioned, you can get the steps for digitally telling stories on many sites. You can find an application for free: Star Office Impress, PhotoStory, Movie Maker, iMovie, etc. These applications are all easy to learn and there are many online tutorials. It was noted that students pick up use of filters, motions and image editors without a thought. He made an actual story using PhotoStory 3 just to emphasize how easy it is to manipulate the software which leaves the most learning on content. Isn't this what we want?

Peter ended the session with image compression and manipulation. It is important for downloading images to put them in the smallest size format possible. Without being too technical, he was able to emphasize how important this is to the technical part of storytelling with images.

Was session one a success? Looking at the faces of the audience, I must say an overwhelming, "Yes". The only downside was his emphasis on using a Windows product. Teachers have a variety of equipment platforms available to them and those with MACs and older PCs may have been a little discouraged at the presentation. However, he did often reiterate that the same information can be used on many different programs.
For further information, use Peter's website.

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