Gray Whale podcast

I couldn’t attend the two in-person classes for my podcast class, so decided to make a video podcast as a project for the class and for the Refuge.  Although I have several projects in different stages of completion, I started a new one that I knew could be put together quickly because the interviewee was practiced at telling her story, and there were plenty of photos that would complement the interview.

Stacy Studebaker agreed to the project and we filmed about 60 minutes worth of footage about her 7 year experience of re-articulating a gray whale for the Visitor Center display.  This is a lot more than I needed, but I plan to create other instructional videos that might be incorporated into training for our seasonal staff, telling the story in more detail.  The final product is about 10 minutes long and narrates the process from start to finish:

The Kodiak Gray Whale Project

I just posted this to our FB page to celebrate the 4th anniversary of the installation on Halloween night, and was really glad to see a response from a teacher (mother of a volunteer) in Pittsburgh who enjoyed the podcast and plans to show it to her class before their Halloween party tomorrow.  I think that this is an ideal way for social networking to connect classrooms with our visitor center – even when they are a continent away!  If we can keep up with posting educational materials, teachers and students may be more likely to check in with FB than with a webpage that tends to be more static.

Ning Reflection

We explored social networking this week; although I’m very familiar with facebook and we utilize it at our Visitor Center, I had never heard of before, and did not realize that there were so many focused social network sites out there…  I do think that we could do more with Facebook to engage local students in the Kodiak community, but I also see the advantage of a focused social network that is an internal resource for professional collaboration and development:

Please post your reflections on the potential value of social networks as a professional collaboration tool in education.

I suppose my answer here is a bit different, because I am not in a profession with other teachers – at least, not in formal education. But, I could really see one of the Ning groups working out really well on a national level for our Fish and Wildlife Service Visitor Services professionals. One thing I really miss from my previous job (grant contract for the EPA) is the regional and national conferences I got to attend, and all of the in-person networking that happened there. Those conferences were valuable not so much for the different panel topics, but for the time in between panels when I could meet and talk with other people that were focused on similar projects and might be further along with tools like GIS or databases that were specific to contaminated site on Native lands.

I feel that I could really benefit from a national site that allowed me to “meet” visitor services employees from around the country, with a central location for blog posts, events, and forums, such as the ones on Classroom 2.0. Each region could have it’s own sub-group, and there could be other sub-groups for specific positions, such as for people working with volunteers, specialists in environmental education, or people managing visitor centers. Forums on use of technology or exhibit design would give me a much larger range of people to learn from, and I would be able to share some of the things I learn in this program with my colleagues.


In searching for podcast examples that are relevant for my work with the Refuge, I came across a really wonderful resource for independent filmmakers, Terra: the nature of our world.  Appears to be a site sponsored by Montana State University, and I think it mostly features advanced student work.

I just watched this 30 minute film about wildlife connectivity and ground truthing a corridor between Yellowstone National Park and the Frank Church Wilderness.  Worth watching!  And, I want to do the same thing for our research projects.  The Kodiak bushwacking would put these guys to shame 🙂

Connecting the Gems

Terra: The Nature of Our World

Mobile Podcasting

I’m linking an experimental podcast that I did as an assignment for CSE 696.  We used an online program called Yodio to create a narrated slideshow by uploading photographs and calling in by phone to record voice segments.  I’m not really a fan of this method because it was labor intensive and I can get a better product by recording my voice on my phone or computer.

This is a narrated slideshow of a recent trip into the Refuge for a public use camp – the audio is a little awkward because I did not script anything ahead of time, but the photos are pretty 🙂

Uganik Podcast

RSS Feeds & Cognitive Surplus

For CSE629: Post a short reflect on your experience setting up your subscriptions in Google Reader. Was it frustrating? Did it go smoothly? How can you envision using subscriptions and Google Reader in your classroom or work?
I’m glad I finally got the kick to look into RSS feeds – I’ve noticed the RSS symbol plenty of times, and I’ve sometimes accessed the RSS news headline feed on my browser window, but I had never explored the process of setting up a reader to collect my own feeds.  The Google Reader is easy to use, although I wish that I could just hit the symbol and have it automatically collect to my reader, instead of logging in to Google or copying the url of the feed site.  I’ve started with two classmates’ blogs, and have added two others from Kathy’s list: Open Thinking and Tammy’s Tech Tip of the week.

I really see the advantage of using the feeder to passively collect updates from sites I find interesting, although I do miss visiting the actual sites for their creative design and formatting.  However, the ease of filtering sites into a single access point appeals to me and enables quick sorting until I find something I want to read in more depth.  This process has already led me to some wonderful posts I might not otherwise have discovererd: from Open Thinking I found a post about “crowd sourcing” and collaborative creativity, which in turn led me to another blog by Dean Shareski with the following post that introduced me to the idea of “cognitive surplus” and features a great collaborative video with detailed background information and another awesome video (a TED talk) by Clay Shirky, with a link to his keynote address to Web 2.0 Expo in 2008:

Crowd Sourcing

Keynote Address

Cognitive surplus refers to the increase of leisure time that people put to use in creative collaboration, specifically the products enabled by Web 2.0 tools, rather than consumption (like using your free time to watch TV).  Wikipedia is one example of cognitive surplus that results in an active community working together to contribute their knowledge and creativity to the world.  RSS seems like a powerful way to navigate and collect the results of this surplus, especially as the products available online just keep proliferating.

USFWS News: Open Spaces blog & Twitter

In the interest of exploring my own agency’s use of social media, I’ve found a pretty neat blog called Open Spaces on the USFWS headquarters page:

Open Spaces

It just so happens that USFWS HQ also has a Twitter feed.  Since I’m now on Twitter, I just chose to follow their updates:


Which led me on to the Audubon Society Twitter feed:


And then on to the USFWS Twitter page for Alaska:


May be an easier way to follow the news than reading through the website articles – definitely a quicker update!

Blogging for KNWR volunteers

I’ve tried several times to start a personal blog, and have only succeeded when a month long trip across Siberia gave me a good reason for regularly adding posts to reflect on my travels and stay in touch with friends and family.  Currently, I manage updates to an open-source CMS (Joomla) for our Visitor Center website; this website operates as a blog format, with multiple publishers and content ordered like blog posts.  I would actually like to have more design flexibility than a blog format for this website, but I can see keeping a single blog as part of the site for the purpose of more frequent updates and keeping a linear story going.

I’ve also thought about keeping a separate blog that is dedicated specifically to volunteers and includes regular updates about volunteer projects, information about positions and vacancy announcements, and might give interested volunteers the option to be blog contributors in order to share their experiences.

This past summer, we had a few interns who chose to create their own blogs about their experiences teaching an environmental education camp.  While having their own blogs gave them unlimited creative freedom, the blog content was not always appropriate for a general readership.  I could see creating an official “Refuge Volunteer” blogsite and asking volunteers to contribute 2 posts about their experience.   Edublogs may be an ideal way to manage multiple users without signing them up for our main website access.