Month: March 2021

Outlining Student Video Activities

Part I
One of the 6+1 traits of writing skills used in developing students’ creative compositions is sequencing. Sequencing helps develop a flow or storyline in writing, and is an extension of the primary concept of ‘beginning, middle, end’. This assignment is designed for an intermediate grade level of 4 or 5 Language Arts program, and can be accomplished using the school hardware (MacBook Airs with iMovie installed), or using a personal mobile or video recording device. Because the school has a OneDrive subscription, all student work can be uploaded to the Cloud and accessed either at home or at school. Student completed work can shared either through YouTube, or through the school’s online repository, BetterEducate.
Learning outcome:

Student will be able to create a simple progressive sequence of events to demonstrate an everyday routine. Suggestions include: Brushing teeth, baking cookies, operating a machine such as a motorcycle or sewing machine, making a sandwich, doing household chores.
Completion criteria include:
• A title
• Audio that is audible and clear
• Two different camera perspectives.
• A clearly defined purpose
• A script that accompanies the video project
• Credits
Assignments should be submitted by April 1st at the latest. If you have any questions or technical difficulties, please contact Mr. MacGregor as soon as possible. Note that school equipment is not available outside of school hours or to take home under any circumstances.
If you forget how to use iMovie, click here for a refresher.
We will hold a screening party and a critics’ panel in the week following submissions, and all individual videos will be shared back to our parents or family units.

Part II
This project is designed for intermediate students in grades 6 and 7, for French class, specifically focusing on two parts; first, using the available equipment to shoot and edit sequential, cohesive video, and second; using appropriate pronouns and vocabulary to communicate simple statements and facts in French. Most work should be accomplished using the school hardware (MacBook Airs with iMovie installed), or using a personal mobile or video recording device. For exceptions, please have a discussion with Mr. MacGregor before starting.
Because the school has a OneDrive subscription, all student work can be uploaded to the Cloud and accessed either at home or at school. Student completed work can shared either through YouTube, or through the school’s online repository, BetterEducate.

Learning outcome:

Student will create a simple autobiography that introduces themselves and their family. This should be followed by a chronological sequence of events to demonstrate their everyday routine. Suggestions include: Brushing teeth, baking cookies, operating a machine such as a motorcycle or sewing machine, making a sandwich, doing household chores, going to school. This should be reflective of a ‘day in the life’, and should feature around 8 – 10 vignettes or events that you accomplish as you move through your day.

Completion criteria include:
• A title and credits
• Edited, with appropriate transitions
• Audio that is audible and clear
• At least two or three different camera perspectives
• Logical events and event sequencing
• A script that accompanies the video project; this may be story-boarded
• Credits
• Appropriate use of, and pronunciation of, French verbs and vocabulary.

Assignments should be submitted by April 15th at the latest. If you have any questions or technical difficulties, please contact Mr. MacGregor as soon as possible. Remember to review your audio and video after each shot to make sure you are happy with the quality. Note that school equipment is not available outside of school hours or to take home under any circumstances.

Helpful Links
If you forget how to use iMovie, click here for a refresher.
If you forget how to conjugate certain verbs, or can’t remember something in French, try clicking here.
If you need background music, try some of the sites listed here.
Recording problems? Try checking out these tips.
And finally, some tips and tricks to improve your lighting.

We will hold a screening party and a critics’ panel in the week following submissions, and all individual videos will be shared back to our parents or family units during our on-line film festival on the 20th of April.

Creating Video Captions

So for this one, I once again reminded that I talk a bit too quickly. I spent a good bit of time editing missing pieces that I ‘intended’ to say, or perhaps did, but just weren’t picked up. I also tried to adjust the timing a bit… I found some phrases were left dangling on the wrong screen, and there were a couple of pauses that were overly noticeable. This also reinforced to me, how little editing is actually done to closed captions for video by the video producers, which further shows how much consideration is actually occuring on behalf of differently abled viewers.

Creating and Editing Video

Again, had a lot of fun with this. Shot with my Google Pixel4a, because the quality of video was far superior to my MacBook Air. You may notice the white wire on the right hand side of the screen (my left) as I attempted to make a lavalier (lapel mic) using a set of earbuds going into my laptop. It worked okay, but there was some fabric scratching. I went through Audacity and took out all the noia snapshot of the green audio tracks in Imovie 10 to show the splitting of vocal and background I could find, both by using the Noise Reduction filter, and also by editing the sine waves, but there are one or two parts where you can still tell. I wanted to have the ambient noises present… the crack of the cap on the bottle, and the sound of the pour. Next time, I would paint the lavalier out to match my shirt, and clip it outside the material to prevent the scratching noises.

To control the light, I closed off curtains to the outside windows, but left them open on the sides to get an ambient fill that let no shadows. When the light was direct, it reflected off my shirt, and the desktop. The latter, I covered with a sheet, but I had to make sure I had no direct light. The actual Youtube does not look as good as the iMovie file, and next time I may equalize the lighting tones a bit more to bring the brightness down.

For audio, I split the audio track off the video and discarded it, then imported my edited track from Audacity. Syncing wasn’t too bad, and I think it’s close enough no one can tell. I brought in some oompa music (Creative Commons, to lighten the mood (of course, there is no WRONG way to enjoy a beer… Just poking fun at beer snobbery). I ended up splitting the music track a few times to vary the volume levels, and do a couple of swells. Turned out to be a pretty big file, so I uploaded it to Youtube and threw the link below.  Feel free to share your feedback! For those that care, that’s a clone I made of Sierra Nevada’s Pale Ale, all Cascade hops with a lovely malt body.

For my screencast, I used Quicktime to show my students how to record on Zoom. As the district I wokr in has given everyone a Zoom account, it makes sense that they should know how to use it to enhance their learning. In this piece, I show the students (or whomever) how to record Zoom video and change the target directory so that they can find their recorded product. I probably could have made the quality a little better, but I was trying to keep it small as some of my students are on their parents’ mobile devices, and I didn’t want to drain their data plan.

The Final Cut

Again, lots of fun… I enjoyed composing and shooting the storyline in this little project, and I combined stills, time-lapse video, editing in sounds, transitions, and even a little cinematic trick (well, sort of a poor cousin of the ‘pushthrough’) in making this. Probably did more than I needed, but hey, I was having fun.
I think one thing that would make a huge difference is a quality microphone and stand, and a bounce card and stand. This would ‘fix’ some of the small audio inconsistencies, and the bounce card would even out the light on subjects in frame.
I think for my students, I would be happy to have them stick with the pre-packaged video and audio treatments, as it would allow more focus on content, and less on production. That said, I think it is important to model ‘what could be’, to a certain degree, so as to inspire as well as inform.

Long division seems to be a real sticking point in student learning, especially if the concept of multiplication (not memorization of multiplication tables) is not mastered. In order to enable those that have not reached the mastery stage for multiplication to complete long division, I teach an alternative concept that relies on ‘friendly numbers’ (numbers that multiply by 2,5,10s, and numbers that easily calculate and subtract).
The outcome for this lesson is for students to understand and demonstrate the use of the ‘alternate method’ (students can choose any method they like to use, but should know there is more than one way to accomplish the task).
Assessment is easily accomplished by inspection, as each step is shown in the column generated during the completion of the calculation. Assumptions of student learning are: can multiply some single digit numbers; understand multiplying by 10s, 100s, and 1000s; can subtract using either a count-up or count-down method; understand place value and the related number column.

(Student instructions)

An Alternative Method to Long Division for Grade 6
Click on the video below, and follow along (or click here for the link).

  • Watch what is being shown; does it make sense to you? (If you get lost, write down the time where it no longer makes sense, and email it to Mr. MacGregor.)
  • When you finish watching,set your page up as in the video demonstration, and try this problem: 1464 divided into 3 groups.
  • You can take a picture or make a video, or do a Powerpoint or Google Slide of you completing the question.
  • Please email by Thursday, March 17, and remember to reach out if you have questions. We will go over this the following Monday in class.

Connecting the affordances of video and video production styles to learning outcomes

I find that many of my students in grade six come to me with very little confidence in their math, and this hampers their progress when we move on to newer or extended concepts. For example, I teach multi-digit multiplication, sometimes up to four digits by four digits. In order to do this, and to make it become a transferable skill, I show them a method of ordering the calculations that creates a repeatable and linear process that can be applied to any number of digits.

A sample of a Khan-style tablet capture, which is coloured writing on a black tablet background

Khan-Style Tablet Capture

This concept, although straightforward, can seem new to the students, and mastery is not something that comes easily. Video could support this (and other) outcome by using either a Udacity-Style Tablet capture, or a Khan -Style Tablet Capture, which would show the mathematical progression graphically, using the dynamic drawing principle. However, I can see this being even more effective by incorporating a hybrid method along with a Talking Head, to incorporate the gaze guidance principle, as referenced in Mayer et al (2020), and to keep the continuity of teacher presence on screen. I am intrigued by the idea of the RE:call Live Lecture Capture, as it would allow student viewers to benefit from the conversations and general queries that occur naturally during student/teacher interactions. Of course, my capture would not be a full lecture hall, but rather something much more intimate, as if it were a conversation rather than a dissemination.

With that in mind, I recognize the importance of keeping these pieces short; when I was making news broadcasts, we were told to keep them at 90 seconds, the optimal time a person can maintain focus. “Lesson content should be carefully planned and segmented into more manageable sections… (‘Chunking’) can lead to better understanding and retention” (Guo et al., 2014, as cited in Woolfit, 2015, p. 24).


Mayer, R. E., Fiorella, L., & Stull, A. (2020). Five Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Instructional Video. Educational Technology Research and Development, 68(3), 837–852.

Woolfit, Z. (2015). The effective use of video in higher education (Rep.), 10-38. Retrieved October 2, 2018, from

Activity 7: Generate and Embed a Transcript for an Audio File

I believe inclusion is a vital part of teacher pedagogy, particularly when it comes to student learning. Nell Noddings’ ethics of care construct states that without the security of self, student learning is hampered or even stagnant. She extrapolates that to society as a whole, where the bulk of social issues surrounding crime, addiction, abuse, and the degradation of our social systems are tied to the nurturing (or lack thereof) of the individual. In this podcast, I lay out some of the efforts and rationale that I have implemented in my practice to support my learners, and perhaps even start the conversation towards educational and social reform.

Please click the link below for a transcription of the podcast; note that all time stamps have been removed for ease of  reading.

Transcription to The Importance of Inclusion in Teacher Pedagogy

Assignment 4 – Media Tool Presentation by Ryan MacGregor and Rolly de Juan – PowToon

Media Tool Presentation – PowToon

Written Report:

Please find the attached link to view our written report:

Blog (with discussion questions):

Powtoon- A Pedagogical Critique

By Rolly De Juan & Ryan MacGregor

Powtoon is an online multimedia editor similar to Powerpoint. Its strength lies in the ease of collaboration, as it moves between most social media platforms such as Youtube, Instagram, Vimeo, and Facebook. The product is highly engaging, and easily created with a large library of images and avatars that animate quickly and fluidly. It contains an edit toggle that can keep things simple for new users, or unlock full manipulability for the experienced learner. Powtoon is examined using four lenses; Ease of Use, Pedagogy, Accessibility, and Universal Design for Learning (UDL).

Ease of Use

Powtoon Ease Of Use
The Pros The Cons
  • Object interactions run similarly to Powerpoint or Prezi, so experience transfers
  • Edit objects with ease
  • Create video in app
  • Fluid animation sequences
  • Two modes for novice and power-users
  • Easy to use templates
  • Quick to generate polished product
  • Point and click makes it hard to find menu items
  • Add-ons are expensive
  • Lots going- can be distracting
  • Potential steep learning curve for emergent users
  • Requires internet access, bandwidth, and computer that can run software well


Pedagogy and Powtoon

  • Constructivist; learners make sense of their knowledge, creating their output with autonomy. Creates a very large and flexible growth field for knowledge extensions, as users find their own limits.
  • Skills learned with the software become transferable to similar software.
  • Can be shared across multiple media platforms for collaborative projects, and to engage community.


Follows the ‘POUR” acronym.

  • Perceivable – provides the “wow” factor that enables the web-based message to be clear and memorable (Graham and Spitalnik, 2015) by taking information to make it work for them through sight, sound, and touch.
  • Operable – relatively easy to navigate through the content.  Fonts, text size, speed of presentation, and color schemes can all be adjusted and adapted.
  • Understandable – website support, webinars, and tutorials are available.  Captions can be enabled.
  • Robust – easily navigable and adjustable for use on devices including laptops, cell phones, tablets, and multiple web browsers.
  • Represents minorities and differing abilities in image library
  • Full version is cost prohibitive.

UDL friendly

In project- based learning,  five key elements can be evaluated including:

  •  Inquiry – allows students to review the features and benefits of the tool.  PowToon has user support from the website and blogs.
  • Research – allows students a blank slate to display research about their respective subject matter, and compile the information to generate a cohesive presentation.
  • Collaboration – students can collaborate with others on group presentations.  Animated characters can represent unique parts.
  • Presentation – the presentation itself will require time to perform edits with frames, timing, sound, and images to make a comprehensive presentation.
  • Reflection is difficult, and generally must come from external sources. In the case of Powtoon, there are discussion forums, and instructor feedback to continue the conversation.

Some food for thought as an extension to this critique:

How would you assure and assess a quality product from learners using Powtoon?

How can you use PowToon in your educational context and what type of presentations can you create for your learners?

What do you feel is the best approach to supporting students learning of the software- exploratory (where they trial-and-error their way through) or explanatory (where you assist them over the learning curve), and why?

Additionally, all questions and comments are welcomed. If you have had experience with Powtoon, please feel free to share it.

Assignment 2: Develop an Online Media Assignment

Assignment 2: Develop an Online Media Assignment

In this exercise, students will create a radio advertisement based off a short article and related questions. This particular project is aimed at a fourth and fifth grade class, as part of a Language Arts program.

The learning outcome being evaluated here is that the students will be able to incorporate the contextual vocabulary featured in the article into a series of sentences (paragraph) using appropriate conventions (spelling, capitals, and sentence structure).

The unit that this radio project is derived from a set of comprehension questions that follow a three-paragraph article on the Mexican dish, mole. Students are asked to pretend that they are the cook, and explain (in writing) how the shopping for, and preparing of, mole is complex.

On the next assignment, students are asked to create an advertisement for a new Mexican restaurant promoting their opening and authentic dishes including chicken and mole sauce. The target audiences for the assignment are local businesses and individuals, and criteria of what to include in the ad is provided. The previous writing assignment will act as a script for the recording.

Having students create a media project as a culminating activity makes a lot of sense. It allows them to continue to develop facility with technology, synthesize their reading comprehension and sentence structure, and, in this case, “Identify how differences in context, perspectives, and voice influence meaning in texts” (BC’s Curriculum, n.d.). Criteria to be assessed is: sentence structure, use of contextual vocabulary, vocal expression and performance, use of technology. Specifically, sentence structure assesses proper sentence form (subject/predicate, verb agreement, and sequencing); the use of contextual vocabulary assesses the integration and correct usage of supplied vocabulary; vocal expression and performance assesses diction, pacing and expression in reading; use of technology assesses quality of audio (is it audible) and use of audio effects (addition of music and effect to attract attention). In addition to the aforementioned BC curricular competency this formative assessment also aligns with the BC curriculum’s competencies for students to:

  • Consider different purposes, audiences, and perspectives in exploring texts
  • Synthesize ideas from a variety of sources to build understanding
  • Use a variety of comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading, listening, or viewing to guide inquiry and deepen understanding of text


British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2021). English Language Arts 5. Retrieved from the Government of British Columbia website:


Creating a Radio Advertisement

[Student Assignment Page]

Now we are going to record the advertisement we created from the last assignment. Using QuickTime, record your advertisement (if you need a reminder, there are how-to links below.). You are trying to get people and businesses from the community to come and try your brand-new Mexican restaurant. Remember to use the vocabulary listed on page 18 to add detail to your ad when you are writing it. Make it try to sound like a real radio broadcast! You will be marked on your message, how you deliver it, and how you use the technology. Please review the rubric before you start so you can begin with the end in mind.

You will need to make up a name and an address for your restaurant and use an expressive (radio) voice when you are reading. People will be excited if you are! Please add some music that suits your restaurant; you can find lots of free music on the internet (try going to this site). You will need to download your music to your computer, just like we practiced in class. If you need a reminder on bringing music into your project, there are how-to links below. A tip: Spanish music is well-known for a style called flamenco.

Helpful Links

How to record your advertisement in QuickTime

How to import your background music into Audacity

How to add sound effects into Audacity

How to add audio effects to some or all of your project


Supporting Documents

A link to the supporting article for the radio advertisement project

The PDF of the supporting article and vocabulary for the radio project


Eddying…I Mean, Editing an Audio File

I had a lot of fun with this! The biggest issue was trying not to get sucked in to playing with audio settings too much (I have a lot on the go right now, and must manage my time very conservatively). I recorded using my Steinberg C11, and ran that through an amp simulator in Garageband. I finished it in Audacity, where I removed a couple of pops and tightened up the dead space at the beginning of the track. I realized after the fact that though I recorded in 96000 kHz through Garageband, you can still hear the 60-cycle hum overlay from the amp simulator. I thought that was pretty cool…very authentic to the time and style. I had to restrain myself from doing multiple takes when it didn’t sound just right, or doing ‘punch-ins’, where a portion of audio track is replaced by an overlay.
Please note there is a 20 second delay before audio inputs are audible.

I had already edited the file before posting, so I thought I would put the original up. I left the click track (or metronome, if you prefer on in the background, which is very distracting with its little digital blip every quarter beat. Here’s what the unedited version sounded like.

For the final version, I tweaked a graphic equalizer to scoop the mids, then isolated and split a lead vocal track (very copyright, but this is not for commercial distribution) into two different tracks, and placed vocal ad-libs at interval. I also shortened the dead space at the beginning to 10 seconds, removed a small click at head of the guitar track,and added a fade-out to the final notes of the guitar, leaving the vocals at volume. Lastly, I put the noise reduction filter over with very low sensitivity to preserve the original amp simulation.

Addendum: The Importance of Inclusion in Teacher Pedagogy

This combined audio file took a lot more work because I had an audible hum from a short in my microphone that I could not remove to my satisfaction. After I re-recorded the segment and punched it in to the main audio track, I had to play with the EQ to match the levels and different microphone inputs. I also played with swelling in and fading out audio tracks, and had to paste the same track over and blend it a couple of times so that it filled my audio track timeline. When I created this, I definitely saw this as a podcast for teachers; I really enjoyed it, and that may be something I pursue in the future when I have more time to generate content.

Sourcing Creative Commons Audio for Educational Use

Learning outcome:
Students will be able to physically show and name the parts of the body in English and French featured in the song. Parts are:
• le doigt- finger
• les mains- hands
• le nez- nose
• le coude- elbow
• le pied- foot
I was able to find a number of musical renditions of this traditional French folk song through multiple Creative Commons and royalty-free archives (I found this compilation of CC sites-, and chose two versions. The first is an audio recording located through the Library of Congress. I also found this video ( that shows how to filter through Youtube searches, and this provided a different version of the song, with different language accents. The original version of the song ( features a mezzo soprano with a very clean accent, which in turn makes translation easier for the developing second-language ear. The second is more modern, and a cleaner recording without all the ambient audibles which, as noted by Carter (2012), can detract from the focus of the listener; therefore, two versions were provided to both accommodate and give framework that is interchangeable between renditions.
The selection of a song (not song and video) is a fundamental medium for learning a language because it uses melody to provide pattern and context. Songs are used to teach young children concepts and vocabulary because of the predictive nature and patterns contained in melody. This associates strongly with the personal narrative format which “actively involve[s] the listener in the material provided” (Carter, 2012, p. 5). Another aspect of using the song as medium aids the retention of the ‘big idea’ of the sentence. As Carter noted,” sentences need to be presented in a way that allows the user to interpret and process the material that was being presented without trying to remember how the sentence started out”; using a repetitive structure such as a refrain in a song creates an aural pattern that triggers recall.
Rather than edit this video for audio quality, I provided two versions from different eras; the first version references and demonstrates culture and longevity of song and language as knowledge transmitters, which is an important lesson in and of itself. Second, it becomes a minor contextualized lesson on technology, and the importance and relevance of historical preservation when examining the style, linguistic structure, and dialectical evolution. Had there not been this option, I would edit the initial piece for volume equalization, and to eliminate any ambient microphone ‘colour’.

Savez-Vous Plantez des Choux, circa 1918

Savez-Vous Plantez des Choux, 2012


Carter, C. W. (2012, October 26). Instructional audio guidelines: Four design principles to consider for every instructional audio design effort. Techtrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 56(6), 54–58.

de Planoise, T. [Toufik de Planoise]. (2012, November 2). Buffalo Grill, animations anniversaire : savez-vous planter les choux ? (7) [Video]. Youtube.

Gauthier, E. (n.d.). Savez-vous planter les choux? Retrieved March 03, 2021, from Originally published 1919-06-21

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén