How to Use New-Media Tools in Your Classroom (Video Playlist)

In these brief user-generated video clips, educators from around the country give lessons about specific technology and social-media tools you can use with your students. More to this story.

In these brief user-generated video clips, educators from around the country give lessons about specific technology and social-media tools you can use with your students. More to this story.

Release Date: 5/1/09

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These seven video tips on using technology in your classroom were made by Edutopia bloggers and contributors. Watch all videos in the player above, or click the images below to view the clips on YouTube.

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How to Use New-Media Tools in Your Classroom (Video Playlist) (Transcript)

Suzie Boss on Twitter

Suzie: Hi, I'm Suzie Boss. I'm a writer and consultant from Portland, Oregon. It's a Saturday morning in Portland. I'm up and about, and out visiting at a wonderful gallery. But I know that teachers around the world are up and busy and thinking and learning about all kinds of things, because I've seen what they're posting about in little short bursts of content on Twitter. So at 140 characters they've told me that they're attending conferences about 21st Century learning and authentic assessment, and they're providing some updates about that. I know that others have just added some new podcasts to their blogs and I want to go back and visit later. I heard a little bit of discussion between a couple of folks I follow about some new research that I know I want to spend a little time reading and thinking about. So Twitter is kind of a big global room that lets you pay attention to conversations that interest you. You decide as the user whose updates are worth your time and your interest to follow. You decide how close to the conversation you want to get. You may want to kind of linger around the edges, lurk a little bit, and just listen in. Or you may want to step right in and add something to the dialogue. It's really up to you as the user. Twitter gives educators an opportunity to talk to each other, to connect with other people who are interested in what they're interest what might, to take discussions in new directions. And mainly to know that they're part of a bigger community of people who have shared interests, and have things to teach and learn together. So it's a tool for connecting, for learning, for researching, for being pretty active out in the world, and I think those are all things that are great for teachers to be doing, and also for teachers to be modeling. I'm also hearing some interesting ways that teachers are using Twitter with their students, but I think maybe that's another story we might come back to in the future.

Chris Lehmann on Facebook

Chris: Hi. My name is Chris Lehmann, principal of the Science Leadership Academy here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and I'm here to tell you why it's okay to friend your students on Facebook. We have to understand that our kids live in a digital world today, and much of the interactions that they have socially is happening online. We at our schools deny ourselves access to that conversation when we pretend those tools don't exist. So when students friend me on Facebook, I do friend them back. I think that what we do when we do that, when we acknowledge that this networking is out there, we allow ourselves access to that conversation. We allow ourselves to teach about how to do that stuff wisely and how to do that stuff well.

I have some rules that I follow. Number one, I don't actively seek out students to friend. I wait for them to friend me. I figure that's their comfort zone. Two, I do not go looking for all of the bad information that I'm going to find out there. If it comes across it, I certainly have many conversations with kids saying, "Do you really want this information out there on Facebook?" Three, I allow myself to take part in those conversations when I feel that it's appropriate. And four, I never post anything online, be it in Facebook or anywhere else that I wouldn't want my students to see and know about. Someone once asked me, "When does your private life start?" And my answer was, "When I fold up my laptop." I think that's about as good a way to go about this stuff as possible. I think it's important that we understand that the way the kids live their lives today has to matter in schools. When we deny ourselves access to the social networking that's out there, we don't allow ourselves to use the tools ourselves, and we admit that to the students, we deny the power of those in our own lives, and we also deny the ability to talk about the idea of academic networking as much as social networking. My name is Chris Lehmann from the Science Leadership Academy, and I think it's okay to friend your students on Facebook.

Louise Maine on Wikis

Louise: Hi, my name is Louise Maine, and I'm a science teacher at Punxsutawney Area High School in Pennsylvania, and I have a wiki-centric classroom, which is the hub of our lives at school in our classes. And I have a few suggestions for those who are thinking about using a wiki.

Probably one of the biggest frustrations are students overwriting files of other students, and I strongly suggest you have a method of naming images or files before kids try to upload them, it saves a lot of problems. So come up with some standardized format you want students to use, that give them unique names.

The second would be to create a resource section, because some students take a little longer than others in remembering how to do things, and having a resource section allows them to be able to go, when they don't remember how to do that, or for students to help other students or maybe they have found a new application that they want to embed on the wiki, and they know how to do that. I encourage my students to create sections that will help others, and they're generally very proud when they can do that.

Remember that wikis allow for changing structures in the classroom, so you can do individual activities, that will go on their individual pages, you can have their individual pages linked to a team page, where a team activity occurs, or you may be generating data that you want to put on a whole class page that students can access.

I think one of the biggest suggestions that I can make is to have patience, and that is something I normally don't have, but I really had to learn. You need to be patient for students who take a little longer to get there, who may not be as comfortable with a wiki or with computers. If you lay out your expectations up front, and what will happen if there is any kind of abuse, everybody is on the same page, and they understand what you are trying to do in the changing structure of our classroom. Make sure you have some backup plans in mind, just in case the wiki goes down or the server goes down. I have a class set of textbooks I might use.

And the last is to archive your site. Remove your members at the end of the year, but don't delete your site. Students like to go back and see what they've done throughout the year. After all, it is their portfolio of learning. Have fun with your wiki.

Jim Moulton on Digital Cameras

Jim: Hi. My name is Jim Moulton. I'm one of the contributors to the Spiral Notebook blog here at and an educational consultant at I'm here to speak with you briefly about how to make good use of a digital camera in your classroom with your kids, and I'm going to be real brief on the advice. Put the camera in the kids' hands. Ask them to become observers of your content in their world. I was in New York last week working with a school and I had an opportunity to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and I took my digital camera with me and it all came so clear to me that when I go out, digital camera in hand, I become a better observer. I look for patterns. I watch people. I watch the natural world. I look for things of beauty and things that are not so beautiful. I look for powerful images. So what if you did the same with your kids? What if you were teaching a unit on...? [Laughs] It could be trigonometry. It could be chemistry. It could be "The Taming of the Shrew." It could be "Moby Dick." It could be the past participle. It doesn't matter. But what if you put the camera in their hand and asked the kids to go out into their world and look for instances that they could connect to the content you're teaching? History is everywhere. The arts fill all our communities. Language is everywhere. Mathematics is everywhere. Science is everywhere. Content fills the world. Use this tool to help your kids become better observers of that content in the real world. And as always, share what you learn. Thanks.

Chris O'Neal on YouTube

Hi, I'm Chris O'Neal, and we're going to do a brief tour of YouTube. I think of YouTube as, like, a giant video flea market. So lots of cool finds mixed in with a lot of crazy junk. From a teacher's standpoint, it's a treasure trove of videos, so let's take a quick tour. We're going to start off by going to, and on the main page, what you'll find is just a variety of most popular clips of the day, the most talked about clip of the week.

Just like you wouldn't set your students free on a field trip, though, without giving them some guidance ahead of time, you probably shouldn't sit students down in front of YouTube, and have them search aimlessly, either. Whatever your thoughts on YouTube may be, it makes the most sense to give age appropriate guidance to your kids. There's certainly a lot to learn from watching YouTube videos. Some of the content is just not appropriate for all ages.

I'm going to start off by doing the most common thing on YouTube, which is just a basic search. I'm going to click here, and type, life cycle, since that's something a lot of teachers look for. What you'll find are thousands of video returns. It tells me right here, 9,400 videos have been uploaded to YouTube, that use the words, life cycle. I got lucky, in that the first clip I click on right here, will start playing automatically. I'm going to pause it, is actually about the life cycle of the lunar moth, so that's perfect for what I'm looking for. You'll find that searching ahead of time is the key to making efficient use of YouTube in the classroom.

So now that I've found a great video I'd like to use, I can either show it right away-- I'm just going to click play, to show the video, or I can embed it to show it in my own website, blog or wiki. If you look to the right of the video, you'll see a brief description of the video, which is provided by the person who uploaded this video. Directly beneath the description is the URL for this video, so I can e-mail this URL to someone else, and let them watch the video. Directly beneath that is an embed section. If I click in that white horizontal bar, I get embed code, which means I can copy that text, and paste it into a wiki or a blog, or website, and actually embed the video directly into my own website.

Beneath this embed code section are a few options you'll want to pay attention to. The first box that says, include related videos, I always uncheck that box. If you don't uncheck that box, and you embed your video, you'll find, to the side, some extra videos that YouTube suggests, which may, or may not be appropriate for what you want to share with your children. So I uncheck this box. I choose a size that I like, and then I click back up in the embed code section, right click, and copy. Now I simply go to my wiki or blog, and paste in that text.

You can create your own account on YouTube which allows you to save favorites. I'm logged in right now. I can look at my videos, my favorites, I can even make playlists. I can subscribe to specific sections of YouTube, specific users or even tag or keywords. I can also be alerted when users I like upload new videos. The newest section to YouTube that I think teachers like, is That's an education section of YouTube, built specifically for educators. The videos uploaded in the section are from universities and school systems. Each of these videos is provided with the notion that they can be of some help to teachers. So the users who create these videos agree that all videos uploaded to this specific section, have education in mind.

Last, but most certainly not least, you can upload your own videos to YouTube. Whether you've shot vacation video footage, or you've even staged a video, because you know it will be helpful to other teachers, it's a great place to share video. Not only do you get to catalogue your own video for your specific classrooms, but other people around the world get to make use of your video as well.

Be sure to visit, for more educational resources.

David Brantley on Nintendo Wii

Dave: Hi, my name is Dave Brantley, and I teach at Cumberland Elementary in West Lafayette, Indiana. Here to talk just a little bit about the Wii game system. I've got the advantage of having a Wii in my classroom for almost two years now. It's been a lot of fun, and for the kids, it's also been an enriching experience, but a lot of people are not aware of some of the features that are built into the Wii. One of my favorites is the Forecast Channel, and this was one of the things that caught my attention first about the Wii. The Forecast Channel, aside from being a great source for weather, has a lot of other advantages. You have predictions and forecasts. You also have a Globe View. This gives you the opportunity -- and the students enjoy this incredibly -- looking at our whole planet and what the weather is doing even on the other side of our planet. Looking around the planet has been an incredible experience. The kids have gained a lot of geographic knowledge, as well as discovering a lot about general weather on our planet. But that's not all. The Wii has a lot of other built-in features, as well as some that are downloadable, that make it a great experience. The Wii can be an Internet browser. One of the downloadable features is called the Internet Channel. Using a wireless keyboard that you can purchase, browsing the Internet can be very easy and a lot of fun. But that's not to forget that this is a game system. Also included with your package, you get Wii Sports, and right there you have a great tool. Golf and bowling and baseball... The students in my class enjoy it immensely. I recommend it. Thank you.

Jim Moulton on GPS Devices

Jim: Oh, hi. My name's Jim Moulton. I'm a contributor to the Spiral Notebook blog here at, and I'm an educational consultant working around technology integration and project-based learning at I'm sitting in my kitchen here in Bowdoin, Maine trying to make a video that the Edutopia folks asked me to do around classroom uses of GPS. The problem is that GPS doesn't belong in the classroom; the GPS belongs out of the classroom with the kids doing real projects. You see, the GPS tags locations to activities, to resources, to information. So the GPS belongs with you and the kids doing real projects. Don't only run a classroom that creates good math students; take the kids out into the community where they use those math skills to do real projects, where it's important that the data they collect is tagged to a location. If you're a history teacher, do real history. Tag historical sites, monuments, events to locations through the use of GPS. If you're a language arts teacher, maybe you're doing a video shoot, in which case it's important that you know exactly where those shots were made. In the event you need to re-shoot one, you want to be sure the tripod's in the exact same position. So the role of GPS is not in the classroom; the role of the GPS is out of the classroom. Take your young scientists, your young writers, your young language experts, your young thinkers out into the community, and with GPS, do real projects. And like always, bring your best ideas back here to Edutopia and share them with the rest of us. Thanks. And good luck with your work.

Comments (3)

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Program Specialist with ARCC at Edvantia

Leadership & Instructional Improvement Specialist for ARCC

Was this helpful?

Thanks for posting these so we can share with others. Good, useful tips, and the visuals help!


Was this helpful?

I can't seem to get enough of the teachers sharing via video. The WIKI suggestions are so handy because I'm just starting one. It's nice to finally have some solid suggestions from a teacher with a wiki-centered room. My school is 100% text book driven. It's an alternative school. I can't wait to share with the teachers in my building about how Louise uses books when the server goes down. COOL!

Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

Keep These Coming

Was this helpful?

These are terrific little tools snapshots. I'd love to see more, with contributions from parents and kids and from professionals in fields we imagine our students working in one day.

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