How to publish an audio lecturecast with Podcast Generator (screencast demo)
Nov 22nd, 2010 by Wesley Fryer

At the beginning of this fall semester, I described the process I’m using to publish regular audio recordings of my “Computers in the Classroom” course at UNT in the post, “Creating a course audio lecturecast (podcast) with Podcast Generator.” Today’s lesson focus was on Screencasting, so after class I used Screenr to create and publish (for free) a 3 minute, 43 second Screencast demonstrating this process. I love Podcast Generator: It’s free, open source, and easy to use!

Every K-12 as well as university instructor/professor today should not only understand the power and value of screencasting (Khan Academy is an exemplar) but also know how to proficiently create a screencast themselves. Screencasting is a foundational skill of digital literacy in the 21st century, and a basic “powerful ingredient” for blended learning.

Check out our class resources on Screencasting for more videos, tutorials, and links on this topic. On our screencasting assignment page, I linked to two excellent student screencasting examples created last Spring by UCO students: Make a custom Google Map and Make a PowerPoint with 20 Photos Fast. Screencasting is not only something we need to know how to do as educators, it’s also something we need to both teach and require our students to do!

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Resources for Today’s workshop at LESCN
Apr 1st, 2010 by Wesley Fryer

Here is the link to our PiratePad backchannel for today’s breakout session at LESCN in Meredith, New Hampshire.

These are resources referenced in today’s session:

  1. Etherpad
  2. iEtherpad
  3. PiratePad
  4. Online Timer
  5. AudioBoo
  6. Wesley’s AudioBoo Channel
  7. Google Reader
  8. Google Reader Mobile
  9. VoiceThread
  10. VoiceThread for Education
  11. Great Book Stories
  12. Powerful Ingredients blog
  13. Technology 4 Teachers class
Heartland eLearning Conference Workshop
Mar 8th, 2010 by Wesley Fryer

This morning I’m sharing a 3 hour pre-conference workshop at the Heartland eLearning Conference at UCO in Edmond, Oklahoma, on Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning. This workshop is customized for eLearning specialists and online instructors. To preserve past versions of this workshop, Karen Montgomery and I are archiving those versions as separate, saved pages on our PI4BL wiki. As an example, you can access the 3 hour workshop curriculum from METC in St Louis on February 8, 2010.

Our workshop agenda and all our resource links for today are available on our PI4BL wiki. This is the Google Presentation we’ll start with today: An Invitation to Move Your Learning!

Announcing The Digital Magic Tricks Workshop
Feb 12th, 2010 by Wesley Fryer

Digital Magic Tricks is a two day(+) learning experience based on the Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning Framework by Wesley Fryer and Karen Montgomery. To schedule a workshop or obtain more information, please contact Karen.


To become digital learning leaders, educators need opportunities to be STUDENTS in digitally blended classrooms. Our two(+) part “Digital Magic Tricks” workshop series provides that opportunity.

To meet ISTE NETS, learners in your school must:

  • Communicate with media
  • Collaborate with others
  • Share their work
  • Design active lessons


Big digital concepts participants will experience:

  1. Working in the cloud
  2. Safely publishing online
  3. Organizing with tags
  4. Talking with pictures
  5. Power of voice
  6. Interactive, moderated discussions
  7. Building a personal learning network

Participants will experience “quick victories for blended learning” using:

  1. Social bookmarks
  2. Copyright friendly images
  3. Digital storytelling
  4. Collaborative document writing
  5. Online polls
  6. Screencasting
  7. Phonecasting
  8. Geo-mapping text and media
  9. Synchronous conferencing

Educators should attend who:

  • Are learning leaders
  • Are willing to take instructional risks
  • Like digital magic!
  • Are willing to be a “digital bridge”


Select six learning leaders from your school district (ideally two elementary, two middle, and two high school teachers or librarians) to attend a TWO DAY, face-to-face workshop focusing on QUICK VICTORIES for blended learning.* Participants will engage in a variety of hands-on, digital learning activities and see actual examples of classroom lessons using these digital magic tricks.

The afternoon of day 2, at least two district administrators (principal, superintendent, IT Director/CIO, Curriculum director, school board member) will attend to engage in a conversation about blended learning and digital access at school. This will highlight the importance of engaging, collaborating, learning, and sharing in digital environments for students and teachers. It will empower district leaders to develop local “social media guidelines” in conjunction with parents, teachers, students, and the community following the face-to-face workshop.

In the two months which follow the workshop, participants will use at least one “powerful ingredient” with students. They will share these experiences on the Powerful Ingredients Learning Community.

A follow-up videoconference with participants will be scheduled approximately two months following completion of the face-to-face workshop, at the same location. In addition to original participants, at least two administrators from participating districts are required to attend. In the interactive videoconference, participants will share their experiences and learning take-aways using powerful ingredients for blended learning with students. An agenda for presenters will be coordinated in advance.


To schedule a workshop or obtain more information, please contact Karen.

* The term “quick victories” in the context of educational technology workshops was coined by Marco Torres. (As far as we know!)

Content licensed Creative Commons License by Wesley Fryer and Karen Montgomery. CC licensed photos on this post by Marco Torres. (onetwo and three) CC licensed phone image from

This information is also available on our PI4BL wiki.

PI Videoconference for CILC Tandberg Connections: 5 January 2010
Jan 5th, 2010 by Wesley Fryer

I shared an hour-long videoconference today for the Tandberg Connections program and the CILC, discussing the “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning” framework. In addition to our H.323 videoconference, which was bridged to endsites in Arkansas, Virginia and Texas, I shared the presentation over Ustream and recorded it.

I used a slightly modified version of the same slide deck I shared in October 2009 in Maine at ACTEM, which is available on SlideShare.

Resources I mentioned during today’s videoconference which are NOT linked or referenced in the Slideshare presentation are:

  1. Today’s Wall Street Journal video, “Apple’s Tablet, as Imagined by Book Publishers
  2. My Spring 2009 Technology for Teachers (T4T) curriculum, based on “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning”
  3. The Skype in Schools wiki
  4. Lee LeFever’s video, “Google Docs in Plain English
  5. One of my favorite online timers (I also really like this one, but didn’t use it today)
  6. My social bookmarks on Diigo

One thing I did NOT do, but wish I had done during our session today, was share part of Rachel Boyd‘s presentation for K12Online09 last year, “A Peek for a Week – Inside a Kiwi Junior Classroom.” Rachel does such a great job using a wiki as a classroom learning portal— I wish I’d remembered to share her explanation of that!

If you have any feedback from this session, whether you were able to attend live or view the archived video, I’d love to hear it.

We don’t have a firm deadline at this point, but I’d love to have the “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning” book ready to print by the end of this Spring. My first T4T class meeting is in eight days on January 13th, so that deadline is spurring lots of work right now on this writing project! I’m considering sharing my class lectures like this over Ustream. I used CamTwist today to share my computer desktop over Ustream. Using both my Tandberg videoconferencing unit as well as Ustream for the same presentation was a bit distracting, but I wanted to test this setup and see how it worked.

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Resources for ACTEM 09 Powerful Ingredients Workshop
Oct 15th, 2009 by Wesley Fryer

The following are resources and links for the ACTEM 2009 Conference on “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning” on October 15, 2009, in Augusta, Maine. This is the description of this project which I have added to our blog’s “about” page:

We need to redefine what it means to be digitally literate in the 21st century. Knowledge and proficiency with software productivity applications like Microsoft Office cannot suffice to define computer literacy. “Powerful Ingredients” is a framework for thinking about and using blended learning tools and methodologies. Levels of use are defined as awareness, personal use, adoption, and invention. Educators are encouraged to progress, at their own pace, through each ingredient at each level of use.

“Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning” is a forthcoming book from Wesley Fryer and Karen Montgomery. A draft of that book is available on our Google Sites wiki, with individual chapters written using Google Docs. This blog serves as a complementary information resource about the themes, tools, and strategies discussed in the book. Your input is welcome! This work is licensed under an Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States license.

Initial presentation slides are available on SlideShare.

The Chatzy backchannel is available on, using the highly secure password shared during the workshop. 🙂

Please submit your questions during the session to the Google Moderator Series created for Powerful Ingredients.

Draft chapters with links are available on

Vote online for our first web poll:

During our workshop, please add links to the Chatzy backchannel. It will be archived and linked so anyone can refer to it if desired. Don’t forget to add questions in Google Moderator too! (You’ll need to log in first with a Google account.)

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Discouraging lecture hall technology abuse – Encouraging interactive discussions
Aug 16th, 2009 by Wesley Fryer

I applaud Dr. José A. Bowen‘s efforts to end lecture hall technology abuse at Southern Methodist University. His encouragement to faculty to “teach naked” (sans computer technology) was highlighted in Jeffrey Young’s July 20, 2009, article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom.” I am not positive, but given the URL link for the article as well as questions I’ve received via Twitter about this article, I think the original title may have included the words “Teach Naked Effort Strips…” as the lead tagline. Certainly such a headline is bound to get attention, but in this case the message could be misunderstood at several levels. Dr. Bowen is NOT, as I first thought in reading some mentions of this article, encouraging faculty to stop using technology for learning and instruction. To the contrary, he is encouraging faculty to reserve non-interactive lecture deliveries of content for video podcasts: publishing those to the web to be viewed by students in advance of classroom lessons. He has taken computers OUT of classrooms in his college to force faculty to STOP using PowerPoint, since most were ABUSING it. I’m guessing Garr Reynolds, author of the outstanding book and blog “Presentation Zen,” might also be pleased by this effort. Like Bowen, Reynolds (through his book) is not encouraging an end to the use of presentation software but rather a change in the way it is used. Where Reynolds encourages presenters to use PowerPoint / Keynote software programs to share minimal textual elements and lots of impactful graphics, Bowen encourages faculty to video podcast their lectures. This is precisely the encouragement I’ve been sharing for several years in my presentations, blog posts and podcasts. I discussed this at my SITE 2007 workshop on “blended learning,” sharing the following two-by-two framework for thinking about web 2.0 tools for learning:

A Framework for Thinking Instructionally About Web 2.0 Tools

One of the big takeaways from this matrix should be the following: When you want to share content in a synchronous, non-interactive format, DON’T DO IT! That’s technology abuse when PowerPoint or other presentation software is used, and pedagogical malpractice whether or not technology is used. When learners are together face-to-face, the interactive potential of that context should be utilized to the fullest. That’s why the above matrix SHOULD encourage educators, when content is presented in a non-interactive format, to use video podcasting and other forms of online video/audio publishing. Give a listen to Dr. Bowen’s 4 minute video interview with Jeffrey Young to hear more of his philosophy along these lines.

Dr. Bowen’s message for higher education professors is very similar to that of Woodland Park, Colorado teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams. See their website “Educational Vodcasting” as well as the Google Video “Educational Podcasting in Woodland Park, Colorado” for more on their philosophy and modeling of lecture-casting at the high school level.

Of the ten (or so) videos I shared this past Thursday in Aurora, Ohio, for my presentation there for school administrators, the above video of Bergmann and Sams was likely the one most enthusiastically received. Should we be video podcasting / vodcasting non-interactive lectures TODAY in our high schools and colleges? ABSOLUTELY. Why are we not seeing more teachers, instructors and professors do this? There are several reasons, but the biggest one is that secondary teachers as well as university professors do NOT want to change their ways. In many cases, these educators have made their living at the podium, standing and delivering content. To ask an educator used to lecturing every day to give it up for vodcasting, and instead to both craft and lead highly-interactive, engaging face-to-face discussions with students is tantamount to challenging their professional identity and raison d’être.

Cross posted on “Moving at the Speed of Creativity.”

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PI for Tandberg Connections Program
Jul 7th, 2009 by Wesley Fryer

I’m sharing a 60 minute videoconference over a H.323 connection tomorrow with several schools on “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning.” I am providing this videoconference free as part of the Tandberg Connections program. This will be an overview of the ten ingredients we are identifying and exploring in our book. I’ve shared my slides for the presentation on Slideshare. More links are available on my wiki page for Powerful Ingredients.

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Web 2.0 Pedagogy Supporting Marzano’s Classroom Instruction that Works
Jun 14th, 2009 by Wesley Fryer

Stephanie Sandifer is the author of “Wikified Schools” and has created the “Web2ThatWorks Wiki” to showcase best practices for using web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. The list of additional resources she includes on the wiki’s homepage is excellent.

Her “Master List of Web 2.0 Tools” not only includes links and descriptions, but also reveals whether the tool supports one or more of Marzano, Pickering, and Pollock’s identified strategies from their book “Classroom Instruction that Works” to improve student achievement. Stephanie has provided excellent suggestions for how web 2.0 tools (especially wikis) can be utilized to digitally implement these research-based classroom learning strategies.

I have not yet read “Wikified Schools” but plan to soon, it’s on my “definite read” list. Kudos to Stephanie for creating and maintaining a GREAT wiki resource for not only technological tools relevant for educators, but also research-supported PEDAGOGICAL strategies for using those tools effectively in the classroom to improve student learning outcomes.

Creative Commons License photo credit: dragonsinger

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Blending Professional Development to focus on Content, Technology and Pedagogy
Jun 13th, 2009 by Wesley Fryer

In the May 2009 issue of “Learning and Leading with Technology” Punya Mishra and Matthew Koehler discuss the TPACK framework in their article, “Too Cool for School? No Way!” The article is available electronically to ISTE members only. According to Mishra and Koehler:

Expert teachers consciously and unconsciously find ways to orchestrate and coordinate technology, pedagogy, and content into every act of teaching. They flexibly navigate the affordances and constraints of each technology and each possible teaching approach to find solutions that effectively combine content, pedagogy, and technology. They find solutions to complex, dynamic problems of practice by designing curricular solutions that fit their unique goals, situations, and student learners. They use naturally make changes to their pedagogical approach and the content they cover to create a new “curriculum” that is also highly effective.

TPACK framework

They maintain:

…effective teaching represents a “dynamic equilibrium” between content, pedagogy, and technology such that a change in any one of the factors has to be compensated by changes in the other two. For example, teachers who change the technology they use naturally make changes to their pedagogical approach and the content they cover to create a new “curriculum” that is also highly effective.

This description of “expert teachers” reminds me of the Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow (ACOT) research which identified “stages” through which teachers may progress when appropriately supported with technology, content, and pedagogical assistance.

ACOT Technology Integration Stages

In their May09 L&L article, Mishra and Koehler make the valid point that many of the “cool tools” of web 2.0 and our digital landscape were not designed expressly with classroom education in mind, but they can be “repurposed” for educational uses. This creative process is light years away from the “scripted curriculum” which many schools have embraced in our era of high-stakes accountability. Bill Ferriter’s June 10th post, “The Problem with Scripted Curricula. . .” highlights some of these dynamics and the problems school cultures which push scripted curriculum impose on educators wanting to “repurpose” web 2.0 tools in the ways Mishra and Koehler highlight via TPACK.

TPACK was developed to use a “Learning by Design” approach where:

…inservice teachers work collaboratively in small groups to develop technological solutions to authentic pedagogical problems. In order to go beyond the simple “skills instruction” view offered by the traditional workshop approach, we have argued that it is necessary to teach technology in contexts that honor the rich connections between technology, the subject matter Content (content), and the means of teaching it (the pedagogy).

I like this three-part synthesis of technology tools, content information and knowledge, and pedagogy. We often hear about the need to focus on “learning” rather than simply technology tools. This is something I’ve heard repeatedly from presenters and educational leaders like Will Richardson and Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, as well as many presenters active in the K-12 Online Conference. With NECC 2009 just around the corner, I’m sure there will be plenty of situations where these thoughts (along the lines of Jamie McKenzie’s 2001 article, “Toolishness is Foolishness”) will be needed and important.

While I agree an exclusive focus on “technology tools” is ultimately not transformatively constructive for educators as well as students, I also maintain we shouldn’t minimize (or underestimate) the importance of becoming exposed to different tools and getting familiar with their use both for personal reasons and in professional / educational / classroom contexts. These are many of the ideas underlying the activity framework Karen Montgomery and I are developing for “Powerful Ingredients for Blended Learning.” Drawing on the ACOT stage research as well as other frameworks like TPACK, we’re proposing four levels of digital literacy when it comes to educational technology tools:

  1. Level 1: An awareness of the technology tool or resource
  2. Level 2: Personal use of the technology tool or resource
  3. Level 3: Instructional use of the technology tool or resource using an existing “recipe” (lesson or assignment ideas created by someone else)
  4. Level 4: The invention level, creating your own instructional “recipes” for learners using the tool or resource along with others. This is “inventive blending.”

Mishra and Koehler’s framework suggests that attention should not only be paid to the technology tool and the content which is presented or studied, but also on the pedagogy or the way in which students interact with content as well as each other. This gets to the focus of the “learning task,” something Phil Schlechty writes about at length in terms of student engagement. Two weeks ago I heard Tammy Worcester present at Oklahoma City Public Schools’ annual Tech Day, and quote David Warlick when it comes to student research assignments. As teachers we should NOT be assigning tasks, including research assignments, which can be readily Googled and copied/pasted. Learning tasks should be more complex and challenging, involving role play, creative writing, and other strategies which invite a higher level of both student engagement, creativity, and critical thinking. This can operationalize what Andrew Churches writes about in his Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.

The TPACK wiki (openly accessible to anyone) includes some resources (including an extensive “Reference Library” to articles and conference proceedings) relating to the TPACK framework. Matthew Koehler has an extensive list of TPACK resources and content/conversation channels on his professional website also.

One VERY important book I need to read soon, which I anticipate will further shape my beliefs and perceptions about this intersection of technology, content and pedagogy, is the “Understanding by Design” framework. I own one of Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe’s books, I just haven’t made the time to read it yet. I hope to in the coming weeks.

[Cross-posted to Moving at the Speed of Creativity]

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