Internet Classroom K-12

Technology and Internet use in K-12 education.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Can I Use That?: Fair Use and Copyright for your Educational Video

So you have decided to make an educational video. You have a great storyboard drawn up. You have taken lots of footage. And you have found some great stuff on the Internet that will really help you make your point. The question is: Can I use that in the video I am creating for my students? What can students use in videos they produce? The answer can be complicated. Use the checklist below to help you determine whether you can freely use the material, or whether you will need to obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Reproducing or including a copyrighted work in a lesson, lecture, or video is considered “fair use” if you can answer yes to these questions:

  • Purpose of the work--

Is this for an educational or non-profit project including student or faculty portfolios, course work, workshops, or self-study?

Does the inclusion of the material transform the original significantly?

  • Nature of the work--

Is the work published?

Is the work out of print?

Is the work factual?

  • Proportion of the material used--

Is it a small portion of a work or collection?

Is it a less significant portion of the work?

For motion media, is it less than 10% or three minutes?

For text, is it less than 10% or 1,000 words?

For music, lyrics, and music videos, is it less than 10% or 30 seconds?

For illustrations or photographs, is it five or fewer images from one artist or photographer? Or 10% or 15 or fewer images from a collection?

For numerical data sets, is it less than 10% or 2,500 fields from a database?

Are you making two or fewer copies?

  • Effect on the market--

Is this for a different audience than the original work?

If you answered no to any of the questions, contact the copyright holder for permission to use the material. Here is a sample permission request from University of Maryland University College.

* Even if you determine material is fair use, you must still cite it properly in your project.

When planning a video or multimedia assignment, be sure to include instruction on copyright with your students. Cyberbee offers an interactive page that answers questions about use of copyrighted material for student projects.

Using Transitions to Make Your Movie Say More

Use transitions--changes from one shot to another--wisely and your movie will tell the story you want to tell. Here are some ideas to make transitions work for you.

· Plan for transitions on your storyboard.

· Shoot an extra second or two where you will have a transition since it may take away time from the clips on either side.[1]

· Stick with low key transitions such as “fade” and “dissolve” if you are going for a professional look. More flashy transitions may make your movie look choppy or campy.[2]

· Watch movies. If you pay attention to the transitions (or lack thereof), you will see how they can do some of the storytelling work. [3]




Teaching with Movies: The Why and How of Video in the Classroom

I am old enough to remember film projectors. Back in the day, the projector’s whirring reels held all manner of fascinating information—from presidents to dental health. The films were quite a novelty in the age of only three TV stations and single-screen theaters. Even then, teachers understood a variety of delivery methods can make any subject more interesting. Now with the plethora of media available to our classroom teachers, video becomes much more than a delivery method. It is a way to customize our content and engage our students in constructive learning.

Using Video in the Classroom

Teachers choose videos that supplement their curriculum, hoping the images will better reach visual and auditory learners. The videos should be one of many exposures to the content, usually reinforcing a print source such as a textbook. Sometimes a video can introduce a subject. In other instances they serve as review (Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium, 2005). They can often extend the learning with visual details, context, setting, and emotional impact.

The key to making the video an active learning experience is teacher preparation. Simply showing videos does not automatically increase learning (Havice, 1998 & Havice, 1999). It is imperative that one incorporate sound pedagogy, as in all lessons. Before the video, activate background knowledge in small groups or with a class discussion. Use only the segments of the movie that are applicable to your subject[1]. Give a viewing assignment, something to watch for during the movie. A graphic organizer can help students keep notes.

While viewing, press pause often to hypothesize, predict, or reflect on what has been seen. If the material is familiar, view the action without the sound and have students narrate. The more the students interact with the video, the more learning will occur. After viewing, students should pair and share what they have seen, quickly write a few sentences about what they learned, or engage in other active review methods that get them talking about or sharing the material in the video (Using Video Effectively, 2007).

Creating Teaching Movies

There are thousands of educational movies available. But sometimes, a teacher cannot find exactly the right one. With today’s easily accessible multimedia tools, teachers can make movies that meet their needs with a minimum of effort. Always mindful of copyright laws, teachers can combine photos, charts, recorded video clips, text, and narration into custom-made learning tools. Students’ needs can be directly targeted without distracting information. Local places and people can be incorporated. Videos can be customized to the school building, showing procedures, school expectations, or examples of student performances.

Teachers can also make movies to be used as part of a student’s portfolio. For instance, a short clip can illustrate a child’s progress on some of the more abstract reading tasks such as word attack and prosody. This can be used in parent conferences to break the jargon down into observable behaviors everyone can understand (Teacher created video, 2002).

A great instructional video starts with a great plan. Focus on what is necessary to meet your teaching objectives. StoryBoard Pro from Atomic Learning is a great free resource for planning the sequence of the movie, with lots of tips for a professional product. Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker and Apple’s iMovie are two common programs for beginning movie editors. Both come pre-loaded on all their respective brand’s newer computers. A digital camera or digital camcorder can provide the images. Import video and photos from other sources in accordance with copyright laws. Add narration or music as necessary. The movie editing programs have many gadgets available for combining shots effectively. The idea is to create a teaching and learning tool, not necessarily a feature film. Follow the same procedure for showing a teacher-created movie as for any other movie.

Student-Made Movies

If it is so easy to make a movie that demonstrates a teacher’s grasp of content, why not have students show what they have learned the same way? Many arguments against student-made movies come to mind immediately--time restraints, lack of equipment, learning curve for the technology. Then there is the looming 600-pound gorilla: standardized test prep does not allow deviation from the tested curriculum.

On the other hand, giving the students control over the creative decisions promotes more motivation and learning than teacher-directed activities (Walery, 2007). Students will create their own understanding through interaction with the content. As they plan, organize, shoot, and edit their videos, they are becoming experts in the field—however limited that field may actually be. They learn that they have capabilities to plan and execute a real-world design project (Basden, (2001). Assigning video puts the students on the other side of the camera, the productive and rewarding side (Richards, 2006). The deep learning that comes from manipulating, analyzing, and synthesizing the concepts creates the kind of thinkers necessary for standardized test success, and more importantly, real-world success.

It is possible to begin small with the videos. To orient students to the technology, assign groups to record and present a movie featuring students reading their poetry, or doing a lab activity. This gives them a chance to work with the software and hardware without the research aspect. During this phase, the teacher can work out the roles in the small groups, address problems in the procedure, and resolve any technical issues.

Movie making can produce large files, so there need to be limits on the length of movies. Flash drives are a storage option that will allow students to save temporary files and work at different computer work stations (Walery, 2007). Many video formats are used today. It may be necessary to use an RCA or S-video cable to import some types of video (Frequently Asked Questions, 2007). A digital media converter program will convert files to compatible formats.

Create a timeline for production as well as a rubric for assessment. Make these clear to students ahead of time. Assign roles such as director, script writer, and video editor (Bourgeois, 2007). Have students articulate their job descriptions so there is no question who is responsible for what. Brainstorm as a whole group, then break into teams to storyboard. The teacher acts as a facilitator to keep small groups working toward their goals. Daily group reflection time can help refine the process and motivate all students to solve technical and personnel problems.


Teachers have a great deal of choice in the current multimedia environment. Whether they are showing videos, making videos, or supervising student movie makers, the ability of video to affect student learning is undeniable. The key is to make the content accessible to students. When they have time to interact with the information in the video—whether they are the viewers or the producers—they have a better chance to grasp the content.

Thoughtful planning for viewing videos is a must. Creating videos offers a new creative outlet for educators to meet specific needs. Student-made movies are worthwhile learning experiences capable of teaching many layers of content, skills, and work habits. Teachers owe it to the multimedia generation to embrace the new technologies and use them to increase student learning.


Basden, J. (November 2001). Authentic tasks as the basis for multimedia design curriculum. T.H.E. Journal. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from

Bourgeois, M. (2007). The production process. In Teacher’s guide to making student movies. Retrieved June 30, 2007, from

Educational Resource Acquisition Consortium. (May 2005). Using educational video effectively: A guidebook. Retrieved June 29, 2007, from

Frequently asked questions. (2007). Windows XP. Retrieved June 30, 2007, from

Havice, W. L. (Summer 1998). A comparison of college students’ achievement following traditional and integrated media presentations. [Electronic version]. Journal of Industrial Teacher Education.

Havice, W.L. (Winter/Spring 1999). College students attitudes toward oral lectures and integrated media presentations. [Electronic version]. Journal of Technology Studies.

Richards, L. (Summer 2006). Making movies in the science classroom. [Electronic version]. Science Scope, 29, (8), 55-6.

Teacher-created video portrays students’ skill for parents. (June 2002). E-school news. Retrieved June 30, 2007 from

Using video effectively. (2007). KQED. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from

Walery, D. (January 2007). Video editing for the masses. T.H.E. Journal. Retrieved June 28, 2007, from

[1] Discovery’s United Streaming has a searchable catalog of movies and movie segments for download or streaming (playing directly from the Internet).

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Roles of a Distance Learner

Distance learners like myself have many roles to fill besides just being a learner. While we attempt to master the content of the course, we must also be time managers, web surfers, collaborators, colleagues, researchers, peer tutors, and inevitably A/V or IT troubleshooters.

One of the most important roles of the distance learner is that of researcher. Since all content, even virtual lectures, are experienced without direct contact with the instructor, the learner operates somewhat like an independent entity. Especially in the online situation, the learner is free to pursue interests as they arise. He or she can surf the online library collection, "Google", or look for books immediately. When a learner is taking a course on video or via satellite, the independent pursuit of information greatly enhances the learning experience. It becomes very important to also fill the role of web surfer (Is there a more academic name for this?). One must be adept at finding credible information and using online resources to their fullest extent.

Which leads to the role of time manager. The Internet can steal one's time. No matter how fast your computer or online connection, the process of sorting through websites, online journal articles, and blogs is very time-consuming (even when one does not go "chasing rabbits"). Assigned class discussions take time. Assigned readings take time. Computer crashes and power outages create frustrating delays. It takes time to print out syllabi and course materials the classroom teacher used to simply hand out.

Distance instructors really help by structuring courses so that there are many small chunks to complete. For distance learners that do not have to meet in a classroom, the contact hours necessary as a requirement for the class need to be planned into the study schedule. Distance instructors need to make this time manager role clear in their syllabi. Besides learning the content of the course, a distance learner needs to be prepared to collaborate with others in the class. Keegan talks about providing an equivalent educational experience. That includes giving students opportunities to talk to other class members about the content, in a way that resembles--and maybe even exceeds--face-to-face communications.

In the traditional classroom, students sometimes study together. Even so, the instructor is probably the only one formally giving formative feedback on students' projects. In a distance classroom, students can actually become peer tutors, providing formative feedback as colleagues. This has been the most helpful aspect of my own courses. It is sometimes painful and disconcerting, but the dialog forces higher level analysis and synthesis of the material. The role of colleague should be taken seriously by distance learners. Students should accept responsibility for doing academic work in their field of study, even if they are taking just one course. They should offer reasoned, constructive criticism as their contribution to the discipline, in the spirit of academic exchange. Even young students in distance situations should be encouraged to think of themselves as contributors to a greater understanding. This engagement empowers learners and inspires participation.

Self-discipline in meeting deadlines, responding thoughtfully to peers, behaving ethically, and completing assigned tasks, and communicating with the instructor seems to me to be the deciding factor for distance learning success. This is different from the self-discipline of simply getting to class on time. Wedemeyer says the distance learner must take greater responsibility for learning. Moore reminds us that to close the gap in transactional distance between the learner and the instructor, dialog is key. As the individual takes responsibility for learning, the dialog with the teacher becomes more and more vital--for feedback, direction, and encouragement. The self-disciplined student plans for study, reflection, and dialog, the sum of which leads to successful learning.

Finally, the distance learner must become somewhat of an A/V or IT troubleshooter. Whether the course is on videotapes checked out from the library, via satellite at a remote site, or offered over the Internet, the equipment will inevitably fail. A working knowledge of the media being used is absolutely necessary to prevent frustration.

Distance learning is often the most practical solution. It offers a terrific chance for students in rural areas to participate. Traditional students can take courses that conflict with work or school schedules. Professionals can fit study into their busy lives. But the long-distance students must prepare themselves to take on the additional roles discussed here to increase their success in the class.


Monday, November 27, 2006

New SmartBoard user

I am officially a member of the "in" crowd at my school. I have a SmartBoard! This has been a great tool for me so far. I was chosen to receive it because I have several ESOL students who would typically benefit from additional visual support. Everyone is benefitting, though. The students seem to be really interested in using the features such as the write on screen interface and the interactive flash cards.

I am incorporating the SmartBoard features into lesson plans. All the words I would have written on the board are typed into the slide show before class. Slick graphics and diagrams make the presentation look very professional. The best part is, it can all be saved for review or use again next year, or for sharing with other teachers.

Another use is to project the pages of the online math text and science text. This is a huge help for students with processing problems as well as the language issues.

Since we are not using the computer lab for Internet projects at our school this year, the only websites my kids see are the ones I project. I love to show the Plimoth Plantation webquest. It is awesome. We talk about primary sources and compare and contrast our idea of Thanksgiving with the original harvest celebration. The kids are fascinated by this site.

Our school has a United Streaming account. Through this, we can download several types of media to be used in the classroom including photos, videos, video clips, audio, and pdfs. I have found everything from phonics movies to traditional history stories and literature dramatizations. I check here with every unit!

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Glad to be Finished

Whew! I just finished the final. (Sorry, no hints from me.) I have benefited greatly from this class. I look at curriculum design in a different light now. I see the importance of authentic assessment. I have a clearer picture of how technology can help me increase the depth of my students' understanding. I can also see where too much technology can detract from the goals of any unit.

I am enjoying this so much, I signed up for my next class and I'll finish a total of three before I go back to school in the fall. I cannot say enough about the impact this is having on my professional life. I felt that I had a lot of catching up to do since I entered public school teaching much later than most people do. The courses are helping me not only catch up but also become a leader for improvement.

Thanks to everyone who posted a comment and gave feedback on the unit. You are the best!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

This is a gifted group!

I am excited to be able to find so many wonderful ideas among my colleagues in this class. Before it is over, I should have nearly all the lessons in the curriculum showcase downloaded. There has been at least one time in looking over every unit that I have said, "Wow! What a great idea!" I know I can adapt many of these lessons for use in the future.

This class, Designing Technology Rich Curriculum, ended up to be more about designing curriculum than really emphasizing technology for me. The book Understanding by Design was a terrific resource. I got something out of every chapter. The authors' philosophy really hit home with me. The UbD framework can apply to many different educational approaches and styles. That's the beauty of it.

This course was designed with just the right balance of reading and activities. I grew to enjoy my blogging experiences. I find I am contemplating my next post way ahead of time. Colleagues have shared so much wisdom and insight, not to mention websites and activity ideas.
The units all benefited from the input of others. I know I took a look at several blog entries as I reached my final draft. I also decided that next time I do unit planning with my grade level team, I am going to look for online lessons, etc. the way I learned in this class and in Internet in K-12 Instruction during Spring 1.

I am almost to the conclusion of my sixth online class through UF. The classes have been better every time. I appreciate the way the faculty has been responsive to the needs and preferences of the students. I especially like the promptness with which Dr. Dawson has responded to messages and assignment submissions. That must take a big chunk of her time. But she seemed to be online to answer just about any time I asked. That is very reassuring when you reach a frustration point in an assignment. Overall, I'd give the the class an A. Now let's see what I get on the unit I turned in....

Friday, April 14, 2006

So many activities, So little time

Yes, I know my last post had 12 activities. But I want to use this unit so I am thinking about a month-long series. My plan is to detail three technology-related lessons to turn in and leave the rest in narrative form.

The readings in the textbook have got me thinking. Since I tend to think out loud, I have had several conversations recently about backward design with colleagues. Most say they appreciate that we really shouldn't just "cover" the textbook or march through the pages just to get done. But with the TEST always looming, and the textbooks supposedly hitting all the standards on the TEST, what choice do we have? As colleagues were asking that, I was thinking, "Yes, but just skimming through doesn't cause retention. And it surely doesn't promote problem solving skill development that the standards are trying to address." Then I read the last chapter of the book and found the authors have come to the same conclusion. After congratulating myself for being so smart, I began to think yet again how we can change this thinking. From the text and from what I hear from colleagues in this class, I find some schools have embraced the UbD format. Other schools are implementing project based, authentic assessments wherever possible. I just wonder what was the impetus to move the administration to adopt these approaches.
One of my goals is to promote change in my own school. The best way I know to do that is to keep records and show how more constructivist pedagogy can succeed in an FCAT environment. I am fairly new to public school. (I taught my daughter at home for five years.) So I tend to defer to the veterans as to "how things are done around here." I know it is time to step up and try to bring about the kind of changes that can produce true learning gains for all students. Teaching for understanding instead of teaching to the test can deliver the results we all want--student learning. The TEST scores will follow.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Activities for Unit

Here is a rough draft with just a few resources. I still have to create rubrics and some graphic organizers as well as complete the Power Point, animal cards, etc.

The first learning activity for the Wet and Wonderful: Dive into Ponds and Swamps unit will be an introduction lesson. I will read Marshes and Swamps by Gail Gibbons. We will take a true-false pre-test with questions drawn from the essential understandings of my unit. I will briefly describe the activities in the unit. I will send a note home with an outline of the unit and information about how to get to the unit links on our class website.

The second lesson will be an introduction to the performance task. The students will watch a Power Point presentation that I have prepared that shows animals of the swamps and wetlands. I will explain how to use the Power Point presentation as I show it because the students will have access to it in order to create their food chain projects. I will show the students the rubric for the project. I will introduce procedures for gathering and storing materials for the project. I will explain the schedule for doing research.
To conclude the session, I will give students one minute to write a question they would like to have answered during the unit. All questions will be compiled on chart paper for reference during subsequent sessions.

The third lesson will start with a look at the chart of questions submitted by the students. We will discuss ways to get information to answer the questions: books, videos, Internet, observations, etc.
I will pass out cards with pictures of animals on them. Students should watch for their animal and raise up their card when they see it during the ponds section of the Eyewitness video Ponds and Rivers. After the video, see if the information answered any questions on the chart.
Give students time to look in books and review the Power Point presentation for the food chain project.

The fourth lesson will be a demonstration of how wetlands work. First, we will talk about the compound word “wetlands” to brainstorm what that might mean.
I will tell them wetlands absorb excess water to prevent flooding. We will work with dry and wet sponges to see which absorbs more water as the water flows over them. See if the conclusions answer any questions on the chart.
Give students time to look in books and review the Power Point presentation for the food chain project.

In the fifth lesson, we will visit Green Swamp on the Internet during computer lab time. I will demonstrate what students are to do with the site before we go to the computer lab. Students will use the animal cards again to identify the animals found in the “Natural” section of the site. Students will have time to go on Kids Click! to search for more wetlands information. See if the information answered any questions on the chart.

In the sixth lesson, we will talk about what kinds of plants live in wetlands. We will read the care instructions for an aquatic plant and for a cactus. Then we will submerge both in water and begin an observation chart. Make predictions about what will happen to both plants. Plan to have students record observations daily.
Give students time to look in books and review the Power Point presentation for the food chain project.

In celebration of Earth Day, on April 21 we will view the online book Earth Day for Kids. Then we will have a discussion about the effect that people can have on the environment and specifically on the animals in the swamps and ponds. I will observe the discussion closely for misunderstandings of the way the living organisms interact in the habitats. As a group, we will write a pledge to take care of the local ponds and wetlands. I will enlarge this to poster size and use as the center of our bulletin board.

In the eighth lesson, students will begin sharing their completed food chains. They will be given a rubric and description of the poster they are to complete as part of the bulletin board project. If available, we will use a drawing program on the computer to create the posters. Otherwise, students will draw and label a wetlands plant or animal. Then they will add facts they have found about it as details in the drawing and in sentences on the poster. Early finishers will help cut out and prepare the background for the bulletin board as well as assist other students with research.

In the ninth lesson, we will begin a series of worksheets describing the life cycles of wetlands animals. For the frog, we will read Tadpole to Frog by Oliver Owen. Then we will complete a cut and paste worksheet putting the stages in the correct order. We will complete the same type of worksheet for the dragonfly and the otter. At the end of each of these sessions, time will be given to complete projects and present finished projects. We will consult the chart daily to see how many questions we have answered and brainstorm how to find the remaining answers.

In the twelfth and culminating lesson, we will review the chart for answers. In groups, students will create question cards for a review game. They will take the pre-test which has been modified to allow students to restate false statements to make them true.