Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Audacity – a Great Audio Creation and Editing Tool November 25, 2010

Filed under: Blogs and Education,Podcasting,Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 9:44 pm
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Audacity is a free Web 2.0 tool that is a great audio editor and can be used with Windows, Mac or Linux platforms. According to the Audacity website, Audacity can be used to record live audio, convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs, Edit various formats of sound files, cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together, change the speed or pitch of a recording and much more.

The goal of this activity was to use Audacity to create an instructional, promotional, commercial or video audio. At least 3 audio clips needed to be joined and mixed together. I choose to record a lesson for my Management 364 class, Human Resource Management on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the impact on organizations. I choose this because it is a topic I am currently discussing and I thought I could make it available to students on my website. I added a track with music at the beginning and ending of my audio. Click on the link below to hear my recording:

ChristineMarkAssign3.mp3

I think Audacity is a great tool with many uses for teaching and learning. In looking through some education blogs I found some interesting ways to integrate Audacity into classroom activities. Students can make an audio/radio advertisement that can be part of a marketing project. Audacity can also be used to promote speaking a foreign language. It can also be used to create podcasts, record speeches, facilitate reading development by having students record their reading out loud. It can be used to record audio for PowerPoint slides in addition to many other uses.

Audacity was very easy to use and was quite intuitive. I found it to be a very powerful tool for creating audio and doing a variety of audio editing tasks. Compared to many other recording applications, the real beauty of Audacity is its slate of processing tools that allow one to add effects, reduce noise, and control the actual sound of the final project. For my project I used the noise reduction feature. To begin with I recorded about 5-10 seconds of ambient noise before beginning my audio recording. After my recording was complete I then used the first few seconds with the noise reduction tool to remove this noise from the entire recording with a few simple highlighting steps. The resulting recording was much quieter and more professional.

Another feature that was appreciated was the direct to MP3 saving ability in Audacity. Several other recorders I have used a good at producing WAV files, but MP3 files have more data and produce a better quality audio sound. Although installing the LAME encoder is somewhat clunky, the end result was worth the effort.

 

Making a Panoramic 360 Degree Movie

Filed under: Blogs and Education,Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 7:57 pm
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This assignment involved creating a panoramic 360 degree movie using a Web 2.0 tool called Clevr.  The Web 2.0 tool Clevr has a “stitcher” which takes digital still pictures and connects them together.  It then gives the illusion of movement as it turns in a 360 degree circle.  Click below for my example. 

Panorama of Jackson Square 1 on CleVR.com

As can be seen from my example, there are areas where things appear too shadowy and not entirely connected.  I tried several times to take the pictures and in different situations.  First I tried standing on the beach in Gulfport, Mississippi and taking the pictures turning 15 degrees until I reached the starting point.  This one did not work with the Clevr stitcher as I think there was too much area which looked the same with the water, sky and sand.    I then took one inside St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.  This one did not stitch either.  I then went outside and took the pictures standing across from Jackson Square in New Orleans.  This one turned out the best and is the one attached to this blog.  One problem I had with Clevr is that you had no way to manually stitch the photos together.  The program did all this for you and did not always attach them as well as they could have been attached.  I found it to be a bit frustrating.  I liked how easy it was to use the stitcher, but I think the performance could be improved by allowing the user more control. 

I think this Web 2.0 tool could be used to show an area or some scenery.  Students doing reports on historical places or geographical locations could use this as a great visual.  Similar programs are used in applications such as real estate to give potential buyers a virtual tour of a property.  It gives a feeling of actually being in the space and seeing everything in a room. Another great feature of Clevr is that a panorama can be shared with others through Integration with Facebook and MySpace. Panoramas can be embedded on your profile or you can send them to friends or they can be emailed. They can also be embedded in blogs and websites.  Another great feature is the ability to add hotspots to panoramas so that viewers can read notes or look at related videos. 

All in all, I found Clevr easy to use although as stated above I would like the ability to be able to stitch the photos manually.  I think this would be a great enhancement to the program.

 

Blogfolio for IT 644

Filed under: Blogs and Education,PhD,Uncategorized — Christine Mark @ 8:52 am
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This blogfolio is part of the course requirements for IT 644, Advanced Hypermedia Development at The University of Southern Mississippi.  This is a required course for my program, the PhD program in Instructional Design/Instructional Technology.  IT 644 is an advanced course which is concerned with the development and use of interactive, animated hypermedia products.  The emphasis of the course is using this technology for learning and sharing information.  Multimedia can be used in instructional design projects, lectures, presentations, and multimedia events. During the course i learned about many types and uses of multimedia on producing applications incorporating text, audio, graphics, animation and digitized video which effectively communicate to the user.  During this course I created several multimedia projects which I will be blogging about.

I am also an instructor at The University of Southern Mississippi in the College of Business.  I teach in the Management and International Business Department.  I teach Introduction to Management, Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior and Introduction to Business.  I am interested in using technology in my classes and so far in my PhD program I have learned many things that I have been able to apply.  I created my own Website where students can go to get additional resources, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.  The address to my website is:

 http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~w813743/homepage.html

 This has been a great resource for my students and I keep adding to it and improving it each semester.  I also used a Wiki for class discussions, until this summer.  I used Ning, a social network for classroom communication.  I used it for discussions, email communications, posting pictures and videos and for group work.  This has worked very well and the students like it because it is much like Facebook and they are used to this sort of format.  These are just a few examples of the things I was able to integrate into my teaching from my PhD program.

I am looking forward to sharing information about my journey into emerging technology.  Please feel free to leave comments.

 

Final Thought on IT 780 May 1, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is over.  So much has happened in the last few months.  IT 780 was a very good experience for me both personally and professionally.  Personally it was a valuable experience that I will not forget.  The opportunity to meet so many other people with a similar interest in technology and teaching was wonderful.  I had the opportunity to socialize with some of the other students in my class.  We went out to dinner which proved to be a great opportunity to get to know each other and our interests in education.  I also had the opportunity to attend and present at two conferences during the semester where some of my fellow students were also attending.  This was a great opportunity to further get to know them and we supported each other in what we were doing. 

This class also helped me professionally by introducing me to so many great Web 2.0 tools.  By learning the advantages of this technology and its uses for education and learning I was able to integrate these tools into my classes immediately.  I am using a Wiki in my Human Resource Management class.  We have discussion of cases, communication, etc.  I also incorporated the social network Ning into a new class I am teaching, Introduction to Business.  The Ning is a wonderful tool that has allowed my class to have discussions, work together in groups and stay connected.  The class also helped me professionally as far as developing new ways to communicate and stay connected.  For instance, this blog contains a great variety of information that I can share with my colleagues and students.  I intend to continue adding things to my blog for a long time to come.  The class also allowed me to see many different tools and techniques that I never knew existed.  The only problem is there is not enough time in the day to check out all that is available. 

I am sure this will end up being one of the classes that I look back at and say I learned a lot and am actually using and applying what I learned to be a better teacher!!!

 

Blogging and More Blogging March 4, 2010

Filed under: Blogs and Education — Christine Mark @ 6:11 pm
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As a requirement for the class I am taking at The University of Southern Mississippi, Seminar in Instructional Technology, I created this blog using WordPress.  The blog was very easy to create and is free.  There were many templates available to choose from as far as the look and feel of the blog.  I believe that anyone with an interest in blogging can easily create an interesting and professional looking blog.  I have a great story that supports this point.  A few years ago my friends George and Sue were going on a three month long motorcycle vacation from Greenville, NC to North Dakota, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, the Gulf Coast, Florida and then back to North Carolina.  They wanted some way to document the trip so that the unlucky ones who could not go on a three month vacation could follow along.  George, a retired lineman from Long Island, NY, was not computer literate.  His wife, Sue only knew how to take digital pictures and download them to their computer.  They asked my husband for his suggestions as to what they could do.  My husband, in an afternoon, helped George set up his blog and design a great format.  Their motorcycle has a side car so they named the blog Snapshots from the Sidecar.  My husband taught George how to write the posts and attach their pictures.  We were not sure whether they would actually post their stories and pictures.  We were pleasantly surprised when at the end of every single day on the trip George wrote an account of all their adventures that day and attached any interesting pictures they took.  Friends and relatives made comments to their posts and they established quite a following.  I think this proves that blogging is easy and appeals to a vast number of people.  

As far as its use in education, I think blogging is quite valuable.  If students in grade school start blogging and get excited about it, it can only improve their writing skills.  Any practice writing is a good thing and combined with video or audio it allows students to be creative and learn about multimedia.  The possibilities are endless.  Since I started this blog for my class I am thinking about and designing a professional blog for use with my classes and a personal blog to record my experiences as a female motorcycle rider.  I think blogging is a great tool and definitely here to stay!!!