Where do you teach and what do you teach?
I teach at St. Louise de Marillac Catholic School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I teach students from kindergarten to grade 8 computer technology and I am the coordinator for our newly evolving MakerSpace. I also teach an exploratory Latin course for 7th and 8th grade in the computer lab. It’s a fun mix of ancient and modern studies!
What is your background and what led you to where you are now?
I am dual certified in Art k-12 and in Elementary Education K-6. I taught 5th grade for 2 years, 3rd grade for 11 years. I always had an interest in technology and when our school expanded our computer lab, I became the computer technology teacher where I have worked for the last 6 years.
How has your job changed over the last 10 years in terms of the introduction of new technology?
So much has changed in the last 10 years. I remember using digital cameras in the classroom and having a data projector to share my computer screen with the students in the classroom. I remember having stacks of diskettes with images from school events and school projects. Moving and storing video content was such a hassle. We used “clickers” for student response technology when it was just introduced. When new equipment was purchased for teachers, learning how to use new technology included reading pages of user manuals. Today’s user manuals are online and most are in the form of YOUTUBE videos or videos uploaded on Vimeo.
The internet and social networks have made it easier to connect with other educators to share user experiences, ask questions, and learn from each other. Twitter Chats and live streamed events have made learning and connecting with teachers around the world so much easier. There have also been more workshops, edcamps, conferences, and events to learn and share new technology in the education field in the last 10 years. Ipads, Kindles, and phones and all the new apps make my job as a teacher introducing new technology so much easier. With so much innovation and new technology, it is such an exciting time to be a teacher and a student. I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years bring!
Why do you think it’s important to incorporate video into the classroom?
Since so much content today is delivered by video, I think it is important for students to understand how they can be the creators of the technology and not just the consumers of the technology.
Why do you choose to use mobile devices as opposed to traditional cameras?
So many students have mobile devices today, so their phone is also their computer, their camera, their audio recorder, their calculator, their connection to the outside world, etc. are all right there in their pockets! It makes sense to use the technology that the students have access to and that they are comfortable using. Plus, most of their cell phone cameras are better than some of the digital cameras that they have access to use.
How did you discover Padcaster and what did you originally intend to use it for?
The first time I saw the padcaster was online during an internet search. I was introducing students to programs for video recording with an iPad and wanted a sturdy device to use to mount an iPad to a tripod. I liked that the padcaster allowed the user to add lenses, the lights, mics, and the insert popped out to use with an HD camera. It was exactly what I needed and it made such a difference to students because they were using professional equipment.
What is your favorite project or activity to do with Padcaster?
Personally, my favorite activity is taking the Padcaster to educational conferences and interviewing teachers about their takeaways from the event. It’s a great way to document the events and share what I have learned with other teachers later. It also gives me a chance to share some tips for filming with teachers that stop to answer or ask questions. Just having the Padcaster and hooking up a mic and lights draws people in and they want to know what the device is. I am still surprised at how many people have never seen anything like it! My favorite project with students is filming and producing our morning announcements. The students really love working in groups, problem-solving, and they take pride in their work. They want to do retakes to make their work the best they can. It is amazing to hear their comments after all the time they put into producing a 5-minute show. They have gained a greater understanding of the work of professional filmmakers who produce commercials, short documentaries, and full-length films. My students were invited to participate in the Student Technology Showcase at our state Capitol in Harrisburg, PA and I was so proud of how they shared their experiences using the Padcaster with other students and adults and how much they learned in the process.
What are some other ways you have used Padcaster in your classroom in the past?
I have used the Padcaster in my classroom with students from kindergarten to grade eight when filming morning announcements, commercials for school fundraisers, book report projects, foreign language lessons, art displays, and guest speaker visits. We’ve even taken the Padcaster to film the school pep rallies, plays, religious events in church and even outside on the playground to record the weather!
As the computer teacher, I always tell my students that the purpose of technology is to make our lives easier and the Padcaster is one piece of technology that really does just that!
Are there any new ways you’re hoping to use Padcaster this school year?
This year I am working on finding a way to livestream our morning announcements and use multiple Padcasters to switch to different cameras!
Which Apps do you like to use with Padcaster?
I love using TouchCast, Reflector2, DoInk, and FilMiC Pro!
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