"Mary Read: Soldier of Europe & Pirate of the Carribean" Educational Video

A woman looks out from where she is locked within an old prison cell

Over the 2005 Summer 1 session, we were to form groups to create a five minute long “educational video” using digital video recorders and Windows Movie Maker. Knowing that the time was short to complete the project, I forged out on my own rather than try to organize in a group. As I was determined to have “fun” with the topic, I chose to do a documentary on an historical female pirate, Mary Read. I planned the film to alternate between a 3rd person perspective and a 1st person perspective to provide variety and interest.

The first step was doing the historical research, followed by drafting a storyboard. Storyboards are must for any sort of film project. They are the equivalent of an outline to a research paper, providing structure and focus. The second step was the actual filming. I found a old fire tower gate outside of Boston that could serve as Mary’s Jamaican “prison cell” for the scenes involving the monologues. My lesson learned here is that external mikes, and DV recorders that have external mike jacks, are an abolutely necessity, as the omnidirectional mike I was forced to use picked up too much highway noise. During the process, I came across art archives on the internet, and I plundered them all for paintings of the period that I could use in conjunction with Photo Story 3 to give a “Ken Burns effect” to my narrations. The final step involved editing the Photo Story pictures and the live video, and then overdubbing the narration. Thankfully, a friend of mine gave me permission to use a maritime song from his band Coyote Run for flavor during the opening title and credits afterwards.

A painting of a young woman with a large black brimmed hat, holding a necklace in her right hand

As copyright issues were also a part of our summer session courses, I was pleased that I managed to get the permissions I needed for copyrighted materials and learn more about electronic reproductions of historical paintings in the public domain that cleared the way for production of this video.

A woman kneeled behind the bars of her prison cell

Watch the Mary Read Video (Windows Streaming Media File)

Read More About the Video in My Summer 2005 Summary

As I had to learn how to do video editing on Windows Movie Maker, as well as import the still images I narrated on Photo Story 3, I consider this a demonstration of my facility with technology-based personal and professional productivty tools. I used internet searches to do my first research on Mary Read, which lead me to reserving a book on inter-library loan for the project. The historical research necessary for the film demonstrated of my facility using technology to assist in research. This video tapped into my creativity and imagination, and demonstrated my ability to create innovative material. If you watch it till the end, you may catch a glimpse of of my playful sense-of-humor.


Tableted.com: Tablet PC's in Higher Education

This website came from my desire to show-case how tablet PCs are being used in higher education. I've not kept up with it as I intended, having many other projects on which to devote my attention. However, I hope the tablet PC resources on the Tableted.com are enough to display the powerful and unique functions Tablets have in an educational setting.

Visit Tableted.com

This project serves to demonstrate my ability to identify specific and unique technology resources with applicatons in the classroom.


The Terrible Trade Webquest

In Fall 2005, my educational technology class was given the assignment of developing a webquest. To expand upon my interest in history that I enjoyed in the Mary Read Educational Video project, I continued upon the theme. I developed a webquest for high-schoolers on the history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade of the 1700's. With a second Pirates of the Caribbean movie coming out this summer, I would be ecstatic if a history teacher actually decided to use my webquest. There was a lot to accomplish in this webquest, especially documenting the educational standards the webquest addressed.

Visit the Terrible Trade Webquest

Because this webquest addressed the slave trade in the Americas during the 18th century, I consider that this demonstrated an incorporation of awareness of cultural diversity in my educational activities.. This webquest also requires the students to do research, which is guided in the form of links to other online resources. I had to do the initial research, of which I prefered primary sources such as diary entries, and unique perspectives that came from interviews.


"Hamburger Helper" Interactive Flash Animation

In the Spring 2006, I chose to go back to the Research Writing Cafe and upgrade an interactive PowerPoint with a Flash animation that demonstrated the same model of a five-paragraph essay being like a hamburger. My storyboard for the Flash animation started out pretty grand with drag-and-drop exercises, but got simplified down with rollovers that describes each paragraph. This project was a great addition to the website, as the Internet Explorer browser was the only one that could access the PowerPoint, and even then, it routinely choked on the javascript. Now students who use other browsers such as Firefox and Safari can interact with the "Hamburger Helper."

See the "Hamburger Helper" Animation

This project definately was a demonstration in my ability to design, develop, and deliver technology-based learning environments, guided by the educational principle that a student would be able to take something they already knew (the structure of a hamburger) and apply it to the structure of a research paper.


Wikis in Education - An Annotated List of Websites

For a special winter session in January and February 2006, I was assigned to create a list of resources useful to educators. I focused on wikis. Like most folks, you may ask "what's a wiki?!" For starters, a wiki is a web-based writing collaboration tool. Anyone who is given access can make changes to the document that is presented as text on the webpage. Wikis keep track of all changes and additions by multiple authors, and because there is only one centralized document, the group working on the project can be assured there is only one draft in development.

Visit the Wikis in Education List

Wikis are just one of the many educational technologies that I can point educators to when given an educational problem. I feel that my portfolio demonstrates that I have grasp of many technologies such as videos, animations, webquests, and blogs, and that through experiences with these various technologies, I can make recommendations on what tool to best apply given an educational problem.


Digital Image Design and Manipulation

A technology skill an educational technologist is expected to master is the design and manipulation of digital images for educational purposes. While my graduate program used Fireworks as the software tool, the techniques used in Fireworks are easily transfered to another program like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.

Recently, I attempted "pushing" my web authoring and graphic design skills by building a webpage with dynamic graphics using Fireworks. Unfortunately, I ran into coding/layout issues when the webpage played nicely with Mozilla's Firefox browswer but was determined not to look so good in Internet Explorer. In order to go ahead with my professional portfolio, I opted to use the same design as I use in my educational technology blog.

Digital Image Manipulation

Webpage Graphic Design Example

These demonstration is an example of my competence using common software tools to enhance the "look" instructional technologies I design. While I attempted to challenge myself by taking risks with webpage design, finally I decided that I needed to move on with the project then to continue to wrestle with the code and layout issues even when given consultation with others with more expertise, I could resolve in time.


Animations, Rollovers, and Buttons

As a part of my skills with Fireworks, I offer these are examples of "behaviors:" animations, rollovers, and buttons. I have a personal dislike of pop-up menus because of the security warnings that Internet Explorer raises whenever there is some sort of javascript in the page. Hopefully with the newest version of IE, those issues will be resolved and the pop-up menu will no longer bring frustration to inexperienced websurfers.

See My Work with Animations, Rollovers, and Buttons

This is yet another demonstration of how I can use dynamic web-based graphics for educational purposes.