As many of you know, I was in Washington DC from Monday-Friday last week with our 8th grade class of 92 students. Click here to see the blog that we used to share pictures, photos, audio updates, twitter updates, etc. I have to say that it was simply a fantastic trip. The trip itinerary and logistics planning were outstanding (thanks to Chuck Taft and Francine Epellsheimer). The student behavior was quite good during all phases of the trip as well. And lastly, working on the media and content publishing was a total blast. For the past 5-6 years we've been posting pictures online throughout the trip for parents to see. Typically photos were taken by one or two adults and emailed back to school for someone to post on our web server via a web page editor like front page. This year was dramatically different. This year we kept school community members in touch with our progress in DC by using some pretty simple web2.0 tools. Below I'll highlight some of the things we did to keep our community members up to date on our progress throughout the week.
Here is how we collected and published our media while in DC:
1. Twitter updates-this turned out to be a really fun project. We had two students and myself posting twitter updates (all three of us were posting updates from our cell phones). We created a "USMDC" twitter account and then followed the two students who participated in the project. We placed a badge in the side bar of the blog that contained all of the USMDC updates and the updates of the two students. The student updates were playful, on task and in good taste. Next year I hope to expand this to include more students who are interested. Thanks to all of my twitterpals who followed our updates throughout the week!
2. Cameraphone Photos-Several students with cameraphones and email capacity participated in this project. Students took photos throughout the trip and emailed those photos to our middle school flickr account (flickr accounts have an email address that allow you to post photos from mobile devices via email). I setup the flickr account so all photos from the cameraphones were tagged, "cameraphones," automatically when they were uploaded. We then used flickr slidr, which is a third party flickr slide show application, to aggregate those photos in a side bar slide show on the blog. So every time someone took a photo and emailed the photo to the school flickr account, it appeared in the slide show on the blog. This was pretty cool. Near the end of the week, I was pretty much the only person contributing cameraphone photos. I have to say that some of the best photos photos were the ones taken by the students. I love this one from the Nationals game!
3. Flickr video-I was really surprised at how well this worked. This is something we really weren't planning on doing. We brought two flip video cameras out to DC to record video for a DC Memory DVD that we typically make and give out to the 8th graders at the end of the year. However, we started posting a few short video clips to YouTube on the first day and we never looked back. We ended up posting over 50 short video clips, which is amazing (5 years ago we would've been luck to post 50 photos from the entire week!!!)
4. "DL on DC" nightly live updates via ustream.tv. This actually turned out to be on of the high lights for me. Each night at 10:30 PM EDT students wrote up a very short, 3 minute script. We then sent out an email to teachers and parents with a link to ustream. Students went through the script live and then we spent the last 5-10 minutes of the broadcast having the students field questions from the audience. We did 4 live broadcasts and each one had between 10-30 viewers. All of the students who participated in the live broadcasts did a fantastic job!
5. Flickr Photos-we posted high resolution photos taken mostly be myself and another teacher each evening. This worked really, really well. Each day we tagged the photos slighly differently. For examle, the monday photos were tagged, "dc08monday." This allowed us to set up the links to the photos ahead of time on the blog. All we had to do was batch tag the photos as we uploaded them to flickr and they automatically flowed into the correct page on flickr, which was really quite slick.
6. Gcast updates-this is the second year that Chuck Taft, our 8th grade US History teacher, has done podcast updates via cell phone and Gcast. He did a host of updates over the course of the week, including live updates from the different memorials and sites that we visited. Chuck interviewed students in some of his Gcast updates as well.
7. Recorded audio-using a little Olympus WS110 recorder and a Samson H2 recorder, I captured a pile of audio throughout the trip. I recorded an interview with our incredible bus driver, Tyrone Brown, while we were at Mount Vernon on Friday. I also recorded our bus drivers as they told us the history of the greater DC area as we were traveling about in our tour bus. Only two of the audio recordings are currently posted, but over the next week or so I would like get the majority of the audio online.