Building Robust Video Discussions with Vialogues

Are you looking for ways to move beyond paper-based homework assignments?

Do you want a new way to draw upon videos for educational purposes?

Vialogues is an online platform that allows users to engage in time-stamped discussions that revolve around a posted video.

*This tool may be best suited for educators working with adolescent and adult students since a login is required by all participants.

How can you access Vialogues?

  1. Go to: – Look around, explore the site, see what it has to offer! In order to participate you need to have an account and be signed in.
  2. Create an EdLab account – Provide your name, username, email and password then agree to the terms of service. Specific instructions on how to create an account can be found here:
  3. Once your account has been verified, log in to using the email and password you provided.

What can Vialogues be used for?


Create –

Invite –

Interact –

Embed –


  • NAMLE Key Questions for analyzing media messages
  • Be aware of email notifications associated with account!

Teaching with Prezi

I am going to lead a workshop helping teachers integrate Prezi in their classrooms in an appropriate way.

I created a simple Prezi presentation for the workshop that I am going to use but also allow the attendees to manipulate and edit. I am a strong believer in hands on learning and hope this approach will be beneficial.

To view the simple Prezi I made click the following link:

One of my greatest concerns with new technology and Prezi included is that people get rapped up in the ‘frills.’ I hope I can convey the importance of putting purpose first and help the teachers understand the potential of Prezi when the multimedia components are used together in a thoughtful way. I commented on this to some degree in my ‘Making a math music video’ blog post I wrote a little while ago.

I hope I will be able to have the opportunity to continue to work with teachers moving forward on appropriately using media and technology in education.

Making a Math Music Video

My sister, Si-Si, and foreign exchange sister, Annie, are both high school students who get very creative with assignments their given. Annie was asked to create a Prezi on different formulas relating to her current math topic in Honors Alegebra. As part of the assignment, she also needed to embed a video.

When she first told me about the assignment I was critical of it because it seemed like the teacher was asking them to use technology just for the sake of using technology. The students were asked to make the Prezi without really understanding the features of Prezi and how it related to the content they were sharing. The notion that images and sound could enhance how math was understood was never really conveyed.

My perceptions of the project became more positive however, when I saw my sisters working on the the video. They decided to do a music video. Annie was much more excited to create the music video in comparison to the Prezi and Sierra, who was not even in the class the project was for, was eager to help.

The girls wrote a script, used Garage Band to record their song, edited the sound of their voices in Garage Band, then used Photo Booth’s video feature with built in special effects to film themselves. To bring it all together, they edited the project in iMovie.

Annie received a 100 on the assignment, but the other students did not get to see the work because the projects were not shared in class. The girls did not let this stop them however, and shared video outside of class. Si-Si added it to her YouTube account and Annie posted it on her Facebook wall.

Reflecting on the overall learning benefits of the music video, the girls:

  • Understood the math concept well enough to convey it in a song
  • Worked collaboratively
  • Employed a high level of creativity
  • Used a high proficiency of English (especially for Annie)
  • Conceptualized all the components needed for production
  • Explored the capabilities of the technology and worked with the resources they had
  • Were eager to share their knowledge through the dissemination of their end product
Photo thanks to

Digital Storytelling & Animoto

I believe incorporating digital storytelling in the classsroom is important for several reasons. From my experience working with disabled and underpriviledged populations I have discovered the importane of student motivation. I have found that using digital resources initially spurs student interest which is alway key before moving forward with a lesson. Once the students are engaged, the media combined with the storytelling component really enhances student creativity. The multimodality of the combination allows students to learn and express themselves in various ways from written word to images to video.

I have incorporated digital storytelling in the classroom on a few different occasions. I taught one digital storytelling lesson as part of a summer academy for ninth grade foster students in RI. I used the Ormie the Pig video to teach story elements such as character, objective, conflict, climax, etc. The students then identified such elements in the music video Call Me Maybe. Next, we had a discussion about how the video added another layer to the song with a story that was not told in just the lyrics. To conclude the lesson, the students chose songs and wrote stories that aligned with their perception of the lyrics. They then filmed their stories and edited them with their chosen songs to create their own music videos. The finished products were rather impressive and the class screening went very well.

I  presented at the NAMLE conference this summer on how Animoto can be used in the classroom. Students can use it for book reports, current events presentations, science projects, or introductions as I have demonstrated for a course I’m in right now. Teachers can also use the resource to introduce a new topic, inform parents about classroom activities or make an end of the year video.

A Googled Science

I used Google Earth to plan an activity on watersheds and the Pacific Coast.

Google Earth is a free software program that can be used to interactively engage with maps created by Google. To learn more, take a look at an overview of the capabilities of Google Earth. You will need to download the program to your computer.

I started with the ‘Dead Zones’ layer to see where the different dead zones were located along the west coast of the U.S. (dead zones are locations where marine life cannot survive because of low oxygen). I then clicked on some of the zones and read the correlating descriptions on what the causes were. After reading the causes in the description I then ‘explored’ the area to find physical evidence of such causes. With my screencast I wanted to demonstrate how to go about doing the process while giving a starting point for students. I think this would be a great beginning to an inquiry-based lesson because there are numerous contaminations to investigate and more places to explore!

Key Question: What causes dead zones in large bodies of water?


  • Watershed
  • Dead zone
  • Contamination
  • Hypoxia
  • Eutrophication

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand different ways humans impact local watersheds and larger bodies of water
  • Identify sources of water contamination on map (provide evidence!)
  • Compare and contrast human impacts on water quality between different locations

Further Activities:

  • Investigate different contaminations
  • Do similar activity with different locations
  • Look into positive human impacts on watersheds
  • Expand learned concepts to marine biology (how does this effect sea life?)
Placemark LayerBorers & labels on all Tool Purpose
1. Seattle, WA Dead zonesBorders & Labels Place marks Dead zones- see water areas without marine lifeBorders & Labels- give context of place being observedPlace marks- show a site of contamination
2.  Rogue River, OR RoadsDead zonesBorders & Labels  Polygon Roads- show another possible contaminationPolygon- show a farm in the area (contamination)
3.  Los Angeles, CA PhotosDead zonesBorders & Labels Place marks Photos- see pictures of the boat harbor, how they load the ships, what type of ships they load

Notes: I really wanted to use the Google Earth functions in a meaningful way and not just throw them. I also wanted the lesson to be academic. I’m rather happy with the final outcome and I was excited to see the potential for inquiry based learning with Google Earth and also the opportunity for students to truly get a multimodal learning experience.

I shared my project using Camtasia because the Google Tour option did not show all of the layers I wanted to use. I also think putting the video on YouTube makes it much easier to share than making people download the Google Earth file.

Other Helpful Resources:

Starting Stories with Images

Screen Shot 2013-11-15 at 12.22.39 AM

Please read my story: If Hilary the Hedgehog Had Her Way and let me know what you think!

This was my first time using Storybird. It is a free, easy to use website that allows teachers and students to create unique, imaginative stories.

I was frustrated with the site at first because I could not brainstorm a story glancing through the photos, but once I found a group of photos and started writing I really got into it. It definitely is a different writing process than I am used to and takes some practice, but I see the benefits of it. The approach of initiating creativity through visuals is interesting. I was excited to learn a new tool and I’m looking forward to hopefully using it more in the future and helping others make the most out of this site!