KQED Webinar- It’s amazing what you can learn from kids

This past week I participated in a KQED webinar on how to utilize new media tools.  Although I like to think of myself as a media wiz, I am at least smart enough to realize that that I don’t know everything.

Social media is like a living, breathing organism; constantly changing and evolving.  What may be true today may not be true tomorrow.  Take a look at one of the most popular social media sites like Facebook.  As soon as you think you have it all figured out, the creators of Facebook change it all around on you. For example, last year we didn’t have trending topics, hashtags, or autoplay movies, and now all of a sudden we do.

Anyone involved in the world of technology understands that there is no one single person who knows everything. And even if this hypothetical know-it-all person did exist, it would all be different again tomorrow.  This is why it is important to invest time into learning new skills and teaching yourself how to adapt to new technology frequently.

If you at all have any interest in learning more about media tools, I would encourage you to watch this 50 minute webinar about how to leverage free, predominately online tools to create media projects.

There were three different tools covered in this webinar called Dipity, Mozilla Popcorn Maker, and Zeega.  The one aspect that I really appreciated about this seminar was that for each tool the host spoke to both teachers and students about their experience with learning and teaching these media tools. 

The first tool that was covered was called Dipity which is an interactive timeline that allows the users to organize the web’s content by date and time. Users can create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and timestamps.

Dipity timelines are for anyone who uses the internet. Newspapers, journalists, celebrities, government organizations, politicians, financial institutions, community managers, museums, universities, teachers, students, non-profits and bloggers all use Dipity to create timelines.

So now you maybe be asking yourself why you might use Dipity.  And that answer is that digital timelines are a great way to increase traffic and user engagement if you have a website. It is a fast and easy way to bring history to life. Click here to see an example.

The second tool that was discussed was Mozilla Popcorn Maker. This tool allows you to enrich a video with interactive maps, images, and webpages. Essentially you can mix your video with a powerpoint presentation.  Your video could be different every time it’s played, because it pulls in dynamic content and allows your “viewer” to interact with it.  Here is an example of a Popcorn video below.

Listening to the feedback of the student who created the Popcorn video was interesting because she explained that the class struggled at first to grasp the concept of the new tool. The teacher explained that as she saw the class struggling, she became concerned because she didn’t know all of the answer to the questions they were asking because the program was new to her as well. While I was listening to this, it reminded me of a Frederick Douglass quote that I heard once.


The explained that the trial and error actually helped bring the class together to more of a cohesive unit because it forced the students to collaborate with one another and utilize their own resources and solutions to figure out how to best use the program. Sometimes, it IS okay to not have all the answers because it forces us to learn and grow.

The last tool that was discussed was Zeega which allows the user to create rich, interactive stories with drag-and-drop ease. Essentially you create several different GIFs and put together with music. Here is an example of a Zeega.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the webinar was the students’ realization of the responsibility that they had as media makers to selecting the appropriate material to tell their story. They discussed how the pictures and words they chose was done so purposefully to illicit emotional emotions from the viewer, and how different media chooses would change the viewer’s perception of the story they told. The students concluded that mainstream media’s choices of particular photos or text could evoke completely different feelings and even manipulate the audience viewpoint.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to both the teachers and students discuss their trials and tribulations of utilizing some of these multimedia programs that I had never even heard of before. And while it is impossible for one person to know about every type of technology available, it pays off when you invest time and energy into learning new ways to connect with people and the world around you. Who knows, you just might see a Zeega or Mozilla Popcorn video in our next game.

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