Tech Writers

As part of our Media Production course here at USM, I asked my students to critique a website, a application on their Mac, an app that they used on their smartphone or a piece of hardware.

Below is our first submission.  Patty did a great job explaining and showcasing iMovie.  I am very proud of the writing part of this submission.  The video also explains how to do a reverse motion movie within iMovie.

I would love to give my students some authentic feedback from an authentic audience.  Please be so kind to add a comment and remember, if you have nothing nice to say…


Here is the link to the video tutorial.


iMovie is an easy program to use, and I do really like this video editing program. You can use iMovie for multiple different projects. IMovie is fun and so many people use it. I think that it is very easy to make reverse motion, stop motion, slow motion, fast motion, movies, movie trailers, and you can even import music you made yourself into iMovie to make your project even more interesting.

I did some projects for school on iMovie myself; I created a reverse motion movie. In the main window of iMovie there is an adjustments bar in the top right corner. If you click on adjust, a turtle, along with many other tools will appear. Once you click on the turtle button, three options appear. You can click the reverse button and then it will turn your clips into a reverse motion.

This is very easy to do; I also used iMovie for a stop motion project. All you have to do is select all of the photos you want to include, and then go to the information button, inside the adjustments button. Then inside that, there is a duration button, and you can make each picture appear on the screen for only 1 second, if you type in the number “one”. The only confusing part about this, is that you have to go really fast when hitting the enter button to change the duration, otherwise it won’t change. This was extremely easy and the only time consuming part was taking all the photos. You can also make a movie trailer in iMovie. I created a trailer in 7th grade, and it was very simple.

To make your projects more interesting you can add music from iTunes, and you can make your projects have themes. You can also make your projects black and white and you can choose how loud your background music is. You can use an effect called Ken Burns found in the crop button in the adjust tab. Ken Burns only works on photos. Ken Burns is an effect that allows you to zoom in or zoom out, or both, on a particular photo. You can change where it starts to go in and out and when to stop it. There is also an enhance button next to the adjust button. It makes the video a crème color. IMovie makes many projects fun and interesting.

IMovie can be slow at times, but that is only if there is a lot of photos being imported at once, or many special effects overlapping one another. Make sure that you update your iMovie so that you get the latest project creations and movie trailer creations. iMovie only comes with apple products not Microsoft or any other software’s. You can get iMovie on your phone and your Ipad, not only your computer. If you have a new Apple device the iMovie app comes with it. If you have an older device, it is $4.99. If you don’t have it, you should get it on your apple devices.

I would suggest iMovie for teachers and students. It is a simple, non-time consuming way to make projects for school, for lessons, or just to make things for fun. The main point is I would recommend iMovie for many different people and projects. I had a blast creating my projects in iMovie and I hope others do too!

Common Sense Media

24 Video Games You Can Say Yes to After School

Above is a link to a great article by a wonderful source, Common Sense Media.  With colder days and less sunlight right around the corner, Common Sense Media has provided a list of video games that are fun and your son or daughter might even learn something!

Have a look and if you have any other video game suggestions, please add them in the comment section of this blog.

What a Transformation! Computer Lab to NERDVANA!

This year in the Middle School Computer Lab/MakerSpace/Nerdvana was a transformative one.

The space originally started as a computer lab.  Rows of PCs that were outdated…so out they went.  We now had a room with countertops but nothing to put on those countertops…so out they went.  A peninsula, that housed some outdated technology and served no purpose except as an obstacle to quickly get to the other side of the room…so out it went.

You may ask, “What was left?” and the answer is absolutely nothing.  Exactly the way I wanted it.  Let the transformation begin…a clean slate, an open canvas, a blank Maxel XLII-90 minute cassette tape.

Here are my 5 steps to start a MakerSpace or as we call it at University School – NERDVANA!




Do Ink – Green Screen App

Do InkFor about an hour now, I have been working with an app that has made me forget that I was actually working.  Do Ink’s Green Screen app is a wonderful new(ish) app that allows green screen video editing to be done directly on the iPad.

Simple enough to work with, it also comes with a very informative tutorial to help you navigate the work space.

Here is a quick tutorial of how it works.

Coupled with the original Do Ink App that can make animations, these 2 apps can provide a powerful 1-2 punch.

This app can be an easy way to create an inexpensive classroom studio.  With some bright green poster board and this app, a studio can be created for about $20.00 (minus the iPad).



Make Something!


Make SomethingIt’s been awhile…sorry!

However, we have been very busy here in the Middle School!

First of all, the MS MakerSpace has been rebranded.  Our Middle School students now call this space, “NERDVANA”!

As for the rest, the graphic above pretty much tells our tale…

1.  Fifth Grade Dragon Boat Races were the best yet!

2.  Curious minds lead us to dismantling many old computers and repurposing some of their parts.

3.  Re-mixing music occurred here in Nerdvana!

4.  Stuffed sharks!

5.  Created prosthetic limbs  with skill and precision.

6.  Produced Podcasts for 6th grade.

7.  Designed interesting products for the 7th Grade Toy Projects.

8.  Used in-house resources like USM’s skilled craftsman/woodworker, Mr. Jacobs, create a student designed workbench.

9.  Printed numerous object with our innovative 3D Printer.

It is a great time to be a middle school student here at University School of Milwaukee!

Yik Yak

From my poll that was conducted last week, I will put together a blurb about each of the apps for which you voted.  In addition to a review of the app or site, I hope to find something positive to share about the featured app or site.

Yik Yak

This week my focus is Yik Yak.

In a nutshell, Yik Yak is an app that allows anonymous posts to appear
on a message board.  The message board uses GPS and allows messages
from approximately a 30 mile radius to appear on the user’s feed.
There is no log in for this app which makes the app completely

Yik Yak has been meant for colleges but it has been making it way into
high schools and middle schools.  The app was developed as a way to
encourage the quiet students to be a bit more vocal, “Because that guy
in the back row of your science class might be the funniest guy you
never heard.” said Buffington, one of the creators of Yik Yak.  It is
also mean to be a “Virtual Bulletin Board” and by using GPS this app
can update your feed with “Yaks” that are within a certain proximity
to your mobile device.

Recently, the Yik Yak app came under fire because of its use on high
school campuses.  Students were using the app to cyber-bully other
students.  Once the creators of Yik Yak heard about this, they became
very concerned.  What Buffington and Droll (the creators of Yik Yak)
did next was very commendable.  They contacted Apple to see if they
could get an expedited review of their app and updated it to a 17+ age
limit; Apple obliged.  The reason why this is so important is because
parents can set restrictions on their child’s iPad/iPhone or iPod
Touch. These restriction allow parents to enable a function that will
prevent their kids from downloading apps that have 17+ ratings.

However, even with the 17+ rating, our students are not in the clear.
Parents need to take an active role in knowing what their child is
doing on and off line. Setting restrictions on the device is a great
step in the right direction however, having regular conversations
about what is going with your child and being an active participant
is the best solution.

….with a little help from my friends


Below is a WordPress poll that I would love for you to fill out to help me spark some creativity.  I would like to know what you want to learn so that I can focus my next blog on something that interests you.  If your choice is not listed, then please write in your choice.

Life As I Know It

My Life. My Opinions. You don't like it? Go write your own blog.

Catlintucker's Blog

Just another site

ipadsammy School Scribbles

Just another site


My part in sharing, shifting and connecting! We all learn, we all grow!

Beth Holland

Food for thought...

Karen Blumberg

Technology is special.

The Incidental Techie

Slowly but surely making techies out of teachers


Check out what's happening in the world of Technology in the LS

Evolving Educators

Taking part in the conversation

Hooked On Innovation

When Innovation slaps you in the face, we slap back.



The Mindful Classroom

Taking a Mindful Approach to Teaching, Learning, and Life

Parenting in the Digital Age

Tips on Parenting with Technology

The Learning Pond

Innovation in education; meeting the challenges of the 21st Century

Kids Privacy

Raising Kids in a Digital World

usm tech talk

Just another site

Tips on Parenting with Technology

Brew Beat

Covering Brewers greats from Hank Aaron to Eddie Zosky with beat writer Adam McCalvy.

USM Middle School iPad

The blog to keep you informed about iPad in the MS!


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