Category: Professional development

A few students have asked for instructions for uploading to UMD’s official ePorfolio system, so I created this short page of instructions.  I think uploading is not hard, but organizing the vast amount of material (much of which is uploaded automatically by the system) is confusing for many students.

It’s a constant game of give and take, trying to find solutions are that robust, easy to use, and appealing to users.  I recommend that our students at least use this a place to store artifacts and materials during their school years, although they may want to use a different solution to share and present their public brand to future employers.


I decided to create a few mini-tutorials for my Computers in Education course, but I might as well put them out there for other teachers and faculty members to use.

It’s hard to decide how detailed to make some of these instructions.  There are multiple versions of iMovie currently available, and – while Apple keeps their interfaces fairly consistent, they do change slightly with each new version.  I wrote mine while using iMovie ’09, but the instructions should work for multiple versions.  Also, some students already know how to perform some tasks but not others.  I hate to cover material that they already know and am willing to answer student questions while they work in the lab, even if it means repeating myself.

I’ve given some guidance in how to get clips from commercially produced and amateur videos.  Remind your students to comply with copyright law and not abuse the Fair Use exemption …. which is pretty weak when using commercially produced entertainment media.  It’s tempting to put these up on YouTube for everyone to see, but in many cases it would not be appropriate.  I decided not to post my example video outside of our closed, Moodle class site … although my husband thought it was pretty cool!

The instructions are in a Google document.  Please feel free to use for your classes and give me feedback!

Tower Hall at the College of St Scholastica at...

Image via Wikipedia

Check out the College of St. Scholastica‘s new conference on 21st Century teaching and learning to held this coming summer!

The keynote speaker will be Marc Prensky, which alone is enough to get me up there.  While the strong version of the digital native vs. digital immigrant argument gives me hives, Mr. Prensky’s work started an important conversation about how digital media creation and consumption has strongly impacted how schooling and learning take place in America — and how we might make use of new ways of communication and creation to significantly change how we conduct learning.

I haven’t seen many details about the conference, other than it is in the fabulously beautiful city of Duluth, Minnesota (where I live) during one of the few snow-free months, so I suggest you book mark the page and start looking over your summer travel plans.  If you decide to attend, let me know!  I’m always up for a good discussion on how we can leverage technology to improve education now and in the future.

Founded back in the relatively early days of the graphical interface web (1997), MERLOT (the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) remains something of a sleeper for classroom teachers.  I wrote about this 3 years ago, on its 10-year anniversary, and I am still finding teachers who have never heard of it.  This is not a comment on  the tech-savvy-ness of teachers but rather to difficulties of promoting truly useful educational technology resources to the people who could most use them.

The idea behind MERLOT is to allow free access to educational materials developed and rated by teachers – or alternatively, for them to share links out to useful materials that they have used in their work and rated appropriately.  Not everything linked or filed in MERLOT is necessarily free, but most is.  And don’t let the “online” part of their title deter classroom teachers from using the materials.  If your students can connect to the internet from your classroom, or you can access the materials and show them on a projector, you may still find these resources useful.

I confess that I still have difficulty finding exactly what I need sometimes, but that is no worse on MERLOT than it is on YouTube, for instance, and usually means that I need to refine my keywords for a search.  My strategy is to budget a limited amount of time (usually using Pomodoro methodology … i.e. 25 minutes on the kitchen timer) for searching this resource.  If I can’t find it in 25 minutes, I move on to a different site … or contact my friendly neighborhood spiderman librarian.

If you have found other useful learning object repositories, please let me know in the comments or send me an email!

I may have a new love. Put social networking and research together and you get the answer to the prayer of every lonely doctoral student: Mendeley.


  1. I have JUST started with a Mendely account.  12.5% of my profile is complete.  About all the system knows about me is that I am a doctoral student in Education.  And the first article that pops to the top of the “Top Articles” feed is one that I need, critically reviewing the hype over digital natives.  I was lucky enough to even be able to download it to my computer right then and there, without having to go to my library’s site, log in, and hope that we subscribe to that particular journal’s electronic delivery system.  Stellar.
  2. I can also add what I find to my Library either online or in a desktop application.  Or both, and keep them synched.  While I love Endnote, Mendeley was much faster on a paper that had already been stored in the system.  It will be interesting to see how it holds up while doing a search through some other databases.
  3. It promises to help me organize AND annotate my PDFs.  I don’ t know about you, but I’m starting to store up an impressive collection of these articles on my hard drive.  While I can put them into Endnote, I have to do it manually.  And I can’t annotate in Endnote.  I may have finally found a way to stop taking notes either on paper or in a Word document while reading for my literature review.
  4. I can connect with others in my field, at least virtually, while working.  This lessens the sense that I’m out here in the frontier alone except for occasional care packages from my adviser.  I haven’t worked up the courage to try to contact any of my major authors, but I can keep an eye on what they put up, tag, and gather into collections.  This gives me their expertise a degree removed … almost like I am going to a huge, grand university where all my major authors teach.  Well, not all.  I’m sure that many have not yet found this little social network, but I am hopeful.

I’ll admit that there are a lot of maybe and hopefuls in the above list.  Like many other professional networking tools, this might become too sparsely or too thickly populated to be useful.  But for the moment, I’ll treat it like a grand database loosely managed.  It won’t be my only source for information, but it certainly will be as useful as the old standbys.