Monday, July 21, 2008

Illuminating Texts with Photo Story 3

I'm always leary of calls to integrate technology into my classroom, because our school has so little of it. My classroom computer was purchased out of my own pocket. So was my DVD player and every movie I've ever shown. I was given an old computer for my classroom last year, but it never worked, and just took up space. In an alternate universe, I teach with an LCD Projector and can easily show film clips, text illuminations, and, heck, just edit writing on the overhead, but that alternate universe isn't happening now. I am strongly considering buying an LCD Projector for my classroom next year, but I need to educate myself a great deal about it, and make sure it'll be worth the substantial cost. I don't even have a laptop, but that's something I've been saving up for for a while to get for school and personal use. (I'm actually considering filling out a DonorsChoose site for one, but, flipping through it, it doesn't seem like people want to pay for LCD Projectors for classrooms.)

Anyhow, because of the aforementioned leeriness, I initially wasn't excited about some of the Folger Teaching Institute's emphasis on technology in the classroom. I just didn't think I could ever realistically integrate it into my classroom practice without either purchasing some equipment myself and/or complicating my life a great deal. It really feels like an uphill battle, one that's not. But I do know that a select group of my students are so adept at technology that they are able to film, edit, and post videos on YouTube - while others don't even have a home computer. It's rough. And the school itself cannot really - equipment-wise - help those lagging students catch up.

You probably figured this was coming to a "but", right? And it is. I'm pretty excited about the current project, which is called "Text Illumination." Using a free download called Photo Story 3, we are being asked to "illuminate" (basically, to illustrate and analyze using sound and images) a piece of Shakespearean text of our choice, complete with photos and sound.

The program is easy to use and the only obstacle I'm having is deciding on a piece of text to use. I've spent a lot of time tonight trying to decide on just the right sonnet, and then I'll make my Photo Story. It's an assignment that I think I will be able to assign at school. I think. I'm going to try it, at least.

There are a lot of other possibilities - creating a podcast, creating video, etc - and I'm hoping to learn as much as possible. I'm behind the game because I don't have a laptop (the one I borrowed from the school, from a long ago grant, unsurprisingly, does not work beyond the initial light), but am seriously thinking about getting one in the next few days.

Maybe I'll post my Illuminated Text here. If I can figure the downloading out.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I love photostory too! It's a great tool to use in the classroom and even my 5th grade students can build and record their own work. It's a fabulous little program.

I also want to say that I'm really impressed with your professional reflections. When I attend these kinds of workshops, I am far more thoughtful about what and how I teach. That being said, when I return to the classroom, that spark quickly fades away. Your entries are impressive because they record what you are learning and capture that magic of good teacher programs.

And if I were a wealthy woman, I would totally buy you an LCD projector. Alas.