Update as of Dec 2021:

Hey Beautiful people!

You can find me here on out at my blog:


It’s URL is https://www.kevinsingarayar.com/

Hi guys,

It’s been like, what, 2 years?  Look, I really need to apologize for not attending to this blog as I had been swamped with work.  But, I’ve now decided to have a dedicated blog that will be our permanent online rendezvous point.

So, I’ve finally moved chalktalk.wordpress.com to its all-new, permanently refurbished home:


It’s URL is http://www.burningboats.com/

So, please join me and be part of the BurningBoats.com community.  It’ll be no fun without you.  See ya there!

P.S. I recommend that you unsubscribe from this blog and subscribe to the new blog at BurningBoats.com as this blog will no longer be updated.


It’s 2007, a year many analysts predict the proliferation of videos on the Internet while blogging is expected to hit a plateau (something I find hard to agree with). Whether it’s blogging, podcasting or vidcasting – today, your students have an audience. An audience that comprises of, well … let’s just say the entire planet. It’s a global audience they can voice their opinions to, tell their story to, or just plant a seed of change that could alter the course of history forever. I’m not over-dramatizing the potential effects of what a student with an opinion can achieve because the reality of the power to make a difference, is already amidst us.

Here’s an excellent example of how one child is making such a difference:

Screenshot 1

The above screenshot was taken off BL Ochman’s post (highlighting was mine, though) and if I could suggest that you read the rest of her post here.

This is just one of many ways how children or students, in their own endearing, innocent and honest struggle to stop the wrong and make things right, can leverage Internet technology to get their message out. Martina is a brilliant illustration of this and a fine inspiration to many other children who I know have something to get off their chest.

You could help them do this. There’s no better time than now and no easier way than using the Internet to accomplish this – with a global audience to boot. You could incorporate vidcasting into your projects, asking your students to share their story for everyone to view on YouTube, for instance.

Share some of your ideas here with us on ChalkTalk, or even point us to links of your students’ projects. I’m sure we can all benefit from these exchanges and help spread their message.

Have a great 2007 then and I’m looking forward to exploring the world of technology and how it applies to education throughout the year with you.

Time Magazine

Well, it’s about time (hmm … that’s punny) a magazine like TIME acknowledges the people that really matter.

Time Magazine

My advice, I say go the whole hog and put this in your brag sheet. Don’t tell me you don’t deserve at least, that?

Stupid, stupid me! I had written about a page and a half for this particular post – but lost it all in a flash when my computer decided to play hangman with me. I lost all the resources and links I had in it as well.

  • Yes, I am peeved
  • Yes, I am guilty of not saving my files
  • Yes, I spent a whole day writing it
  • Yes, I have stopped banging my head against my now slightly dented bookshelf

Because of that, I’m posting this as a botched-up job, not because I don’t care about you, but because I can’t seem to think straight with this pain in my head (wanna guess why?). So, you’ll let this one pass, won’t you?

The gist of what I wrote was this.

A site I believe that will complement your digital storytelling projects or your students’ journalistic ventures swimmingly is a site called OneWorld TV. A bit like YouTube, that you’re given the opportunity to upload your videos – but there’s where the similarity ends.

OneWorld TV

OneWorld TV is a community that focuses on social issues and the site encourages anybody to shoot a mini-documentary addressing anything pertaining to that motif. Open discussions on such issues are recommended. A unique feature with this site is that it allows your vignettes to be formed in a storyboard format – creating a clear storyline for your audience to follow without confusion.

It puts you in the driving seat as a storyteller, something I think that teachers and students can both benefit from. It’s free and the focus on social issues is a bonus for developing critical thinking skills. Unlike mainstream media, there is no censorship on any of the materials that you choose to upload. This is to encourage citizen journalism – a participatory culture that is permeating across borders to democratize information flow. To tell it like it is. To set the truth free.

Have a look at the site and see if you can take advantage of the platform that OneWorld TV gives you and your students – to share your take on social events.

Here is another application that is about to make your YouTube experience a little taggier. Scenemaker is its name and tagging videos is its game (I told I wasn’t thinking straight).


Anyway, to save you the agony of reading through anymore of my incoherence, read a nice review of Scenemaker on this site. Tell your students about it as well. They’ll know what to do with it.

P.S. don’t forget to save and backup … save and backup … save and backup … save and backup …ALWAYSsssss!

So now that Web 2.0 is firmly entrenched in your lexicon, we can move on to bigger and better things. Bigger in terms of what makes Web 2.0 tick. Better because you’re about to find out how Web 2.0 applications can be juxtaposed with your current methods of engaging learners. Learning is more effective when it’s subversive, isn’t it? So my hope is that the applications I discuss with you throughout our journey on ChalkTalk will run parallel to this thought.

I’m going to introduce you to one such application today; Time’s best invention of the year – YouTube. You must have heard of it. Or are you already on it? For those who aren’t familiar with this site, don’t despair.

I’ve just blogged about it over at Technopreneur. I hope you would read that post to understand the raw power that YouTube yields. Return here after reading it because what I’m about to share, is a follow-up to that post – exclusively for you.

In November last year, the Pew Internet and American Life reported this:

Screenshot 1

You should read this free report to grasp the online behavioural trends of today’s youth. But let me just encapsulate it for you in a few bullet points:

  • Online teens enjoy new opportunities to create, remix, and share digital content
  • More than half of online teens are Content Creators
  • Urban, highly wired teens are more likely to share original artistic content
  • Like adults, some teens use content they find online as a palette for personal expression
  • One in five online teens keeps a blog and 38% read them
  • Teens surpass adults in blog keeping and reading
  • Teens are twice as likely as adults to report video downloading
  • Most who download video share files, too

I want to turn your attention to the last two points for the purpose of this post. From the PEW report:

Teens are twice as likely as adults to report video downloading

teens currently outpace adults in video downloading by two to one. Nearly one-third (31%) of online teens say they download video files to their computer so they can play them at any time, while just 14% of online adults reported the same in a separate November survey.”

Most who download video share files, too

The majority of teens who download video, 61%, also say that they share files (such as music, video, picture files, or computer games) from their computer with others online.

Among music downloading teens, 52% report some type of file-sharing. Overall, 37% of online teens report sharing files with others online, compared with 24% of online adults.

Teens who have a high-speed connection at home share files in greater numbers than teens who use a dial-up connection; 40% of broadband teens share files, while 30% of dial-up teens do so.

It’s close to 2007 and though I’ve yet to check on the latest statistics, I believe the figures would have increased exponentially. This proves one thing quite clearly. Videos are very popular with youth. And with tools like YouTube, you can observe this youthful creativity seething through. What’s more, social-networking sites like MySpace and Facebook are hotbeds for YouTube videos, usually shared and virally spread by enthusiastic teens. Leveraging such creativity to engage your students then, seems only sensible.

Of course, before adding such a powerful application to your teaching toolbox, understanding the innards of YouTube in order to get the best out of it is ideal. One of the simplest ways to achieve this is to get one of your students to just explain it to you. But why not just surprise them with your ‘hip-ness’ and ‘cool-ness’ by getting the inside scoop here instead. You’ll not only win over the admiration of your students, but attract a whole new legion of fans.

Screenshot 2

So here’s the first thing you’ve got to do. Stop using phrases like, “video taping,” “video recording” or “creating videos” when referring to online videos. Instead, use “vodcast” or “vidcast.” To quote Paris Hilton (I never thought I would do this), “That’s hot.”

Next, know that YouTube is a streaming video-sharing site. You can’t download videos for purposes of viewing it offline or for creative remixing. But of course, there’s a way around this.

So what you’re going to discover below is a kind of cheat-sheet for all things YouTube. By the end of which, you’re going to discover more about YouTube than you’d actually care to. So …

Your YouTube Cheat-Sheet

Basics of Recording A Video : This is a ten minute introductory video that covers the basics of shooting a film good enough to pass you off as a semi-professional videographer. But really, all you need to shoot a clip is a cellphone with video-capture capabilities.

Update: YouTube has a new feature called, ‘Quick Capture‘. If you’ve a webcam handy, use YouTube’s Quick Capture to immediately record yourself and … that’s it! No uploading involved at all. Just make sure your hair is where it should be and no food particles are stuck between your teeth as there are no editing capabilities with this new feature.

Alternatively, you could use Hipcast, which works like YouTube’s Quick Capture. But, Hipcast gives you the option of downloading your video file, something YouTube, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t offer.

Simple Online Video-Editing Applications : Here are few online applications that you’re going to find useful once you’ve shot your videos.

· Jumpcut

· Motionbox

· Eyespot

How to Subscribe to YouTube Videos : This is a simple way of staying up-to-date with your favourites. YouTube has more feeds on its site, so check that page too. You might find this tip handy if the Dave Letterman show or Desperate Housewives are the antidote to your ‘back to school’ anxiety attacks.

How to add YouTube Videos To MySpace : I guarantee this is something your students are going to be extremely impressed with when you actually demonstrate this without referring to a guide. I’m guessing most of them are already capable of doing this. But for those who aren’t, you’re already a legend in their eyes.

How To Automatically Loop a YouTube Video : Nothing particularly important about this, but because ‘looping’ is a word most often associated with the hottest DJs, your legendary status is now taken up a notch.

Screenshot 3

How to Download YouTube Videos : Ok, I’m leading you into hacking territory. I don’t mean to be a bad influence on you or anything, nor am I advocating breaking any of YouTube’s Terms & Conditions, but, in case you find a pressing need to present a video to your students for educational purposes *wink wink*, here’s how you do it.

1. Go to KeepVid and enter the url of the YouTube video. And follow through.

2. Because YouTube videos are in Flash Video file format, you’ll need a flv player to watch it. You can download one for free from the KeepVid site.

3. You’re now ready to watch it offline.

If want to watch it on your video iPod, then simply take the rss feed of the YouTube show, head over to the YouTube podcaster, paste the feed there, choose ‘podcast feed for iTunes & iPod‘ and you’re done. Or, just read this.

YouTube has spawned a cottage industry of tool makers. And this site lists most of these tools. So don’t fret if you’re missing something from your YouTube experience. You’ll probably find it on that site.

Other Video-Sharing Services: And just when you thought your world was about to revolve around YouTube, here are a dozen or more video-sharing sites that I think are worthy of your attention. It’s nice to have choices, so have a look:

Now, here’s where the educational part of it comes in. Tap into your students’ creativity with videos. Digital storytelling immediately springs to mind. Remixing tools offered online provide so many options for storytelling. Hand over these tools to them and just watch their creativity at work.

For higher education, ideas are aplenty. Instead of just blogging a school event, vlog (hip for video logging) it as well. Get your students to vlog events, fairs, concerts, projects, or lectures. Get them to play the role of producer, director and journalist by documenting global events from a youth’s point of view. Upload them to YouTube to share their creations and start a blog or a forum to invite students from other parts of the world to discuss their videos.

There are some video-sharing sites like Break and Current TV that even pay content producers for such videos. Thus, holding a contest for the best documentary or short video can make things a little more interesting for students.

Creativity and learning knows no boundaries. The day will come when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will have to acknowledge the vast repository of creative works found on YouTube and other such similar sites. A 11-year old could be nominated for an Oscar for a clip he did on the effects of global warming. A 11-year old you supported through creative outlets like YouTube.

One other very useful aspect of YouTube; though not really having anything to do with education, is the fact that you can dispel myths, enforce facts, squelch rumours and clear lingering doubts which can so very often, wreck happy marriages.

One such doubt which plagued the minds of fans of the hit show, American Idol, was that of judge Randy Jackson. You see, Randy Jackson claimed many a times during different seasons of the show that he was a member of rock band, Journey (an awesome, awesome band, btw). This was something that many people could not wrap their minds around. I even heard it through the grapevine that Simon Cowell tried to ‘sweet talk’ Randy out of spreading such vicious rumours.

Well, I’m proud to say, I’ve finally obtained video evidence to settle this problem once and for all. And it’s all thanks to YouTube. So, here’s Randy in all his glory (you might wanna turn up the volume on this one if you’re a Journey fan). You won’t miss him. He’s the one in spandex.



Here, got you something. Dunno if it’s of any use to you at all but my niece made this. You are free to download it, rework it, do as you please with it. Frankly, I have no idea what you could use it for. Maybe you can.


If you’d like it in psd format, shoot me an email and I’ll pass it to you. She’s got more of this stuff in the back of her closet, so, if you’d like, I could get her to fork out a couple more for you.

As an educational professional, it is a given that collaboration has a very important role to play in your everyday activities. Whether it be between colleagues, your students or even across schools and institutions, having the right collaboration software can make your tasks a whole lot easier, speeding up mundane processes and allocating your time for more important tasks at hand.

So see if my post over at the Technopreneur blog, can relate to you and your institution. If your institution has yet to implement some form of collaboration software, why not? Try proposing this to the management team to streamline your institution’s collaboration process. You could be doing them a favour.

Read this at The Office 2.0: Trading Cubicles For Smarter Collaboration.

P.S. if you’d like to share your thoughts or questions on this topic, please do so in this post, in the comments section, so that other like-minded educational professionals can benefit from your feedback within this blog. Thanks.

Just added a new post over at my Technopreneur blog. And it very much concerns you.

I share information about how to go about making a safe transaction online, whether it be making a bill payment to a bank, or buying a product from an e-commerce site like Amazon.  

Phishing is becoming a real threat to everyday netizens like us, so a certain amount of precaution must be exercised in order to protect ourselves from being victims of stolen identity.

Read on to find out, How To Transact Safely Online While Fly Phishing In A Tank.

I thought I’d done a fairly thorough job of demonstrating the use of Bloglines. But Preetam Rai has gone the full monty on this one by teaching you how to keep track of blogs, news feeds, podcasts, Yahoo! Group messages, Flickr photos…yeah, all with Bloglines.

Check out his in-depth tutorial here.

 Related Posts

I had been contemplating creating a 10-page manual for those interested in getting started with Moodle, but I shoved that idea down the idea shredder as soon as I came across this resource:


Moodle E-Learning Course Development is a 256-page tome on getting the best out of Moodle for successful learning. So, what has this got to do with shoving my intended plan down the idea shredder?

Well, because you’re about to get an added 63 pages for free. A free preview of the above mentioned book has been made available at no cost and covers a whole lot more than my intended mini-manual (where can I hang my head in shame?).

You can download the sample e-book here (It’s a PDF download and you’re going to need Adobe’s Acrobat Reader to open this file).

Related Posts