Teacher, be a learner – step out of your comfort zone

It’s serendipitous that the Edublogs Teacher Challenge Activity #6 involves embedding multimedia.


Today I had to present about Twitter, one of the tools in our IT Plate Degustation Menu – an initiative to help teachers integrate technology in teaching and learning. Each tool must be presented in just 5 minutes. It was fortuitous that this session followed a video conference with Will Richardson (I really love his approach – passion, shifts in teaching to match shifts in learning, etc, etc, etc).

I have never recorded my speaking voice before. I have played with audio tools and done mash-ups. I have also done a little bit of recording my singing (in a choir so not solo). BUT, as mentioned, I’ve never done recorded voice-overs. I avoided it.

I thought perhaps that @willrich45 will challenge teachers and will put some out of their comfort zone. I also thought that some teachers are still apprehensive about using social media. I figured then that the best way to emphatize is to step out of my comfort zone as well and do something I’ve never done before.

Ta Da

Before launching this movie, I told my audience (my teacher colleagues) about my little movie, how it was out of my comfort zone to make it (let alone show it), how as teachers we often ask students to do or create things we may never have tried before (think podcasts, blogging, etc) and how important it was to step out of our comfort zone to experience what it’s like to be a student – a learner – and try something new. Here’s the movie (This may not work in Internet Explorer, please try other browsers – thanks for the heads-up, @Kathryn)

Join Twitter (hyperlinked media, how I’ve always done it here in this blog)

and now for the embed….

I cringed the whole time (still am) but I did it. I created a recording and presented it. Teachers were most appreciative. It’s good for them to see that technology integrators also grapple with technology – sometimes because of attitude – and that the process of learning sometimes (often?) involves stepping out of one’s comfort zone.


Much was learned from this little exercise. Personally, I felt really happy to be able to conquer my aversion to recording, at least once. I’m still uncomfortable about it but maybe I’ll do it again….maybe. I am not ready to be in YouTube or TeacherTube

Many did sign up to Twitter after this. If not sign up, then at least express interest.

Some technical info

Images were screenshots (CTRL+shift+4 on my mac – I’m a PC/Microsoft girl, so new to mac)

Audio was recorded via GarageBand – built-in microphone

Movie was made using Adobe Premiere Elements (a tool we use at school so still being teacher as student here)

Final movie was compressed from AVI to m4V via iMovie

I have not used any of the above prior to this project. I’ve also upgraded to Edublogs Pro to have a go at embedding video, get rid of ads, etc. (Read more about the different packages in Edublogs).

This has been a challenge for me in many ways. That I’m even blogging about this (embedding the video even) is a little testament to how this Edublogs Teacher Challenge is helping me grow, not just as a blogger but as a teacher and as a learner..

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22 thoughts on “Teacher, be a learner – step out of your comfort zone

  1. Britt Gow says:

    Hi Malyn,
    Great new post in the Teacher’s Blogging Challenge and congratulations on leaping out of your comfort zone to record the video. You are right about what we ask students to do – many are uncomfortable presenting to their peers, public speaking at assemblies and recording their voice and video. I wonder how we can improve their confidence to make such tasks easier for students?
    Thanks for visiting my blog and your positive comments – I really appreciate your encouraging words.

    • malyn says:

      Thanks Britt.
      re: helping students, here are a few ideas:
      1. empathy (a.k.a. being human)
      – tell them or show them how you struggle with it, too, perhaps in a diff context but feelings are the same (my approach and hence this post)
      2. practice
      – give them plenty of opportunity over the school year; perhaps starting in a small group (I like assigning roles when doing group or collaborative work)
      3. feedback
      – good and bad, of course.

  2. Kay McGriff says:

    I enjoyed the video. I haven’t done much recording of myself, either. I’ve been resisting Twitter. I’ve heard of the great resources there, but I’m afraid of how much time it will take. You reassured me that it can be as little or as much as I want.

    • malyn says:

      Hi Kay, thanks.
      Anything personally enjoyable raises tendency for “addiction” to which you often hear, “everything in moderation”.
      As mentioned in my video, you don’t have to join Twitter to enjoy some of its features. The Search works well. However, joining allows you to push content (your own or others) and not just pull. The push/pull concept is from @willrich45 (Will Richardson) – I recommend his blog.

  3. Kathryn says:

    Great video! I couldn’t get it in Explorer so opened it up in Mozilla Firefox and there it was. So very happy not to miss out on it. Awesome work. And thanks for sharing how you did it as well.

    • malyn says:

      Hi Kathryn, I’m impressed by your persistence. Most people would’ve given up. Thanks for alerting me about the browser issue. I’ll update my post accordingly.

      btw, it’s good to hear you like cardmaking as well and that you’ve visited my craft blog. I wanted to call it CreativeThinkInk but that was already taken in blogger so had to swap the words around to ThinkInkCreative. I recently started enjoying craft challenges (and knowing how it benefits my craft) which is why I signed up to do the Edublogs teacher challenge. I needed to boost my enthusiasm and inspiration for my professional blog….and so my two worlds converge. 🙂

  4. Anne Mirtschin says:

    Your video on twitter is great. Your audio is clear and easy to listen. Well done on getting outside your comfort zone and for sharing the fact that you did it. I think with the emerging technologies it is pushing many teachers outside their comfort zones and they don’t want to do that! How can we change this? Please consider putting this video onto teachertube or youtube? You might be surprised at how many people would be interested in viewing it and it establishes another great network.
    How did you embed the video? Did edublogs give you embed code once you became pro? Would love to know what the actual process was here.

    • malyn says:

      Thanks @murcha. I’ll re-think TeacherTube.

      As for embedding the video… Edublogs Pro still only just does a hyperlink. Not one to give up easily, here’s what I did:
      1. Go to youtube and looked at the embed code of a video (doesn’t matter what, but I did search for an old favourite – Games and Learning). This gave me the HTML tag I needed (iframe). problem of course was that it included player (YouTube) but no matter.
      2. Google HTML tag iframe – the main tag sans player. My favourite HTML resource is w3schools.com
      3. Upload video to my Edublogs Media library. This gives me a URL.
      4. Switch to HTML view on my post and then write my iframe tag using my video’s URL into the src field.
      5. Adjust width and height to (mostly) fit my video

      There are other fields for the iframe tag that I obviously ignored – mostly because I could, i.e. my video worked though apparently not in IE. I use Chrome and @Kathryn said it also works in Firefox.

  5. Mrs. Swift says:

    Hi Malyn,
    I agree with the other comments. Your video was very well done. I understand the hesitation. It was even a bit out of my comfort zone to record my voice and leave a picture on the VoiceThread for Challenge #6! I’m also new to Mac and finding the changes exciting. What encouraged me to comment was when I realized that you embedded the video without a tool! I recently used iMovie and Vimeo to embed a video on my school blog about ball hockey . Now you’ve given me a new challenge of doing another video using html!
    Thanks so much for sharing all of your great work. You must be very proud of your new learning! (Another way we can empathize with what our students experience.)
    Grade 3 is Great!

    • malyn says:

      Thanks for the lovely comment.

      You’ve hit on a couple of reasons why I blog and tweet: (1) it provides a source of affirmation and (2) be challenged. I’m glad you got both coming here.

      I am proud of how far I’ve come and excited – and apprehensive – about how much further I have to go.


  6. mrsjwilson says:

    Great job, Malyn! I love Twitter; I may be a bit of a fanatic.

    Anyway, I really loved your narration, and I hope you do become more comfortable with this because you sound great.

  7. Michael Grether says:

    Kudos on a great post and for taking that leap into the world of digital voice over. It is true, how twitter allows you to create a global PLN. Having access to all of these great ideas from these amazing teachers will make us better professional educators.

  8. tlpsart says:

    Hello Malyn,
    Congratulations on your great video. I thought your voice was excellent and your message outstanding. I am having trouble spreading the word about Twitter’s incredible benefits for Teaching and Learning so your post and this timely video may be just what I need to point them towards.
    Fabulous work on the Teacher Challenge,
    Best Wishes for 2011, Yvonne Osborn.

  9. Kathryn says:

    So pleased I popped back in to read the comments further on. You are so clever and indeed persistent in working out the html code for the video. I have actually just gone and bookmarked the site w3schools.com
    I think you are a true crafter. I think I am an amateur. But my theory is its okay to get enjoyment even if I am not terribly original in my work!

    • malyn says:

      Hi Kathryn – so glad you popped back in and got a little nugget. 🙂

      As for crafting, I am very much an amateur though perhaps a few steps ahead of you (how can I tell unless I see your work?). This is actually one of the reasons I blog (read more on my post Reader, you are important to me. It might just inspire you even in your crafting.


  10. Bev says:

    Hi Malyn,

    What a fantastic post! Your visual/audio presentation is really great! Not sure I follow all the technical aspects involved in its creation, but your efforts certainly are inspiring. Thanks for sharing.


    • malyn says:

      Nothing too technical – something I had to do in a hurry. You could achieve similar results using PowerPoint with narration.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  11. Judy Berfield says:

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. However think about if you added some great photos or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent but with images and video clips, this blog could undeniably be one of the best in its field. Superb blog!

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