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2008 2008 - Getting Started

Getting Started “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?”

H Songhai Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Blog: http://songhaiconcepts.blogspot.com/

Bio: H Songhai teaches Media Literacy and Digital Archiving at Hope Charter School in Philadelphia and at the Delaware Futures college preparatory program in Wilmington, Delaware. He is a graduate of Philadelphia’s Central High School and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Over the last 30 years, he has worked, studied and collaborated with many of the nation’s leading artists, writers and musicians including: Amiri Baraka, Askia Muhammad Toure, Etheridge Knight, Odean Pope, Byard Lancaster, Aschak, Richard Watson, Lamont B. Steptoe, Theodore Harris, Mbali Umoja, Elliott Levin and jazz bag pipe player, Rufus Harley.
Bio Page: https://k12online08presenters.wikispaces.com/H+Songhai

Presentation Title: “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?”
Description: This presentation will look at some very practical ways that students can use cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and a number of free Web based tools to document, organize and archive just about every important aspect of their high school career.

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[tags]k12online08gs10, k12online08[/tags]


  1. Wesley Fryer

    H: I really enjoyed your presentation. Personifying your encouragement for us to use our tools to learn in more places and document our learning with our tools, I snapped a photo of the park where I listened to most of your presentation yesterday.

    Spring Hill Park

    I also find the idea of encouraging kids to use their technology tools to document their learning and their lives in constructive ways very compelling. These ideas are closely related to those I have discussed with others in the context of the StoryChasers project, which is still not yet fully defined.

    I think the point you raise about people commonly using their tools for social interactions but in many cases, not using those tools to document and share their learning is a really big one. It sounds like the college learning trip you went on with students was a perfect opportunity to get students to use their cell phones, cameras, and recorders in this way.

    I am thinking it would be good for a project like StoryChasers to partner with groups like The Close Up Foundation, which facilitates extended student government learning trips. We have a lot of teachers in Oklahoma heading to Virginia to participate in the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institutes as well. That seems like a great place to facilitate learning trip documentation as well.

    There is a line somewhere between lifecasting and documenting learning. As netizens we all need to recognize the public nature of our life media streams, and take assertive / proactive control over them.

    Lots of good food for thought in your presentation, and some tools I hadn’t heard of or used before like Google Books My Library.

  2. H Songhai


    Thanks for taking the time to watch my presentation and for taking me out to the park with your family. The other day I downloaded the entire K12 Online Conference and I truly feel empowered. I was thrilled to be a part of such an outstanding group of professionals and educators. I will be listening, learning and sharing for some time to come.

    As much as my pedagogy has been shaped and informed by Moving At The Speed of Creativity (the blog and the podcasts) I am even more inspired and motivated by your seemingly endless sphere of resources and your willingness to share and explain those gems with us all.

    I am “enthralled” (as you like to say) with the idea of digital archiving and life caching. I take my camera and voice recorder with me everywhere I go. I encourage my children, my family and of course my students to do the same. I too, like you, had my camera with me on Tuesday at my pooling place. What a historic day that was. Sometime back in April or May of this year I really started to sense how important Obama’s run for the presidency was. I was particularly struck by the number of Obama posters and signs in the windows and on the lawns of so many residents in Philadelphia. So back in May I started to photograph as many of the signs and placards that I saw as i traveled about the city. As you can imagine, I have a ton of pictures in that series.

    Similarly, I feel a student’s academic career is as historic as Obama’s run for the White House. After all, you only get to be a teenager and a high school student once. Heaven knows when America will witness another black man elected President of the United States of America?

    As much as I lament the fact that I have no evidence or proof of having attended high school or college (no test papers, no report cards, no feedback from instructors), I am encouraged to know that students and teachers today have the tools in their pockets to capture every important aspect of their academic careers. The tough part however is getting them to awaken, act and use those high tech gadgets in more responsible and mature ways. Makes me think of your back to school Radio Shack post about the clash of civilizations.

    Thanks for the resources. Google Book search is fantastic. By the way, do you use Paparazzi (http://www.derailer.org/paparazzi/)

    Thanks again,

    H Songhai

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  4. Wesley Fryer

    H: I really hope we get to meet in person sometime before long… perhaps at NECC 2009? Your influence on me and vice versa exemplifies for me some of what is the best of our learning possibilities and realities in our flat world…

    Living as I do in Oklahoma and having my family’s proudly displayed Obama campaign sign stolen out of our yard several weeks before the election, I also experienced a great deal of excitement last week as we elected Barack Obama as our new President. I have a great sense of hope as I look forward into the future– and these moments are definitely important for us to document and share!

    I have not used Paparazzi but am glad to know about it. I use Skitch for screenshots on my Mac at this point and love it– esp how it permits annotations and direct uploads to Flickr! I use it so much I think I could hardly live/blog without it!

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  6. H Songhai


    I put this mashup together about two years ago. Have been wanting to send it to you for some time now. http://senduit.com/a5f850

    I share your optimism about the direction this nation needs to take at this critical juncture in time.
    These are indeed the best of times and the worst of times. A poet/painter friend of mine by the name of Aschak sums it up for me, when he writes… “To those who are conscious, this is the now of our history, for whatever things we do now will one day show the smallness or the greatness of our thoughts in the sight of other men.” He wrote that in 1979.

    I hope to see you at NECC 2009.

    Just finished watching the Skitch demo video. I like it already. That’s another tool I’m adding to my digital backpack.

    Many thanks.

    H Songhai

  7. Wesley Fryer


    Oh my goodness.

    I have never seen or heard a mashup of ideas I’ve shared in the past put together like that.

    You have inspired me.

    How much more powerful and potentially impactful is it to hear words as they are juxtaposed with images and written text.

    I hope it is OK with you if I share this with others too… I’m going to put a title and a CC license on this, and give you credit (of course) for the mashup / remix.

    Great work and a great example of how visuals and remix culture can advance our learning. How wonderful that we can also share this with others…

  8. H Songhai


    So glad you enjoyed the mashup.

    All thanks to you! Please share with as many people as you like.

    I usually show that video to my students when I introduce them to blogging.

    Right now, I’m teaching them how to edit podcasts (spoken word) and music in Audacity.

    We are about to start a “What’s on my MP3 player” project. Here’s a sample – http://senduit.com/da3456

    I’ll keep you posted.


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  13. Laura Ann

    Excellent presentation! I enjoyed listening to your suggestions for using these simple technology gadgets. I can’t wait to try some of them in my classroom.

  14. Jacqueline Cahill

    Name of Session:
    “What Did You Do in School Yesterday, Today, and Three Years Ago?”

    Presenter:H Songhai

    Description: This presentation will look at some very practical ways that students can use cell phones, MP3 players, digital cameras and a number of free Web based tools to document, organize and archive just about every important aspect of their high school career.

    Conference Strand: Getting Started

    url of session: http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=280

    Essential Questions:
    1) How can we as educators help students find a happy medium between idle and frivolous gadget play and responsible and functional digital archiving?
    Response: I believe the first step in having students utilize their toys as tools is to teach them how to use them for digital archiving and to allow it.

    2) As classroom facilitators, what are the best ways to utilize these powerful, disruptive technologies in schools that actually punish students for bringing cell phones, MP3 players, and digital cameras in the classroom?
    Response: I think it is an excellent and easy way to start with allowing students to take pictures of notes on the board or record important lectures.
    3) What are the best ways to get students to buy into blogs, wikis, and podcasts?
    Response:I think many students already are interested in them in the social realm. To begin utilizing these tools as parts of their assignments in interest area groups could take off quickly.

    Main points (Takeaways)
    -Take pics of notes on board
    -Record lectures
    -take pics of articles to use later
    -download podcasts to MP3 players to complete homework wherever

    -How balance in various classrooms different tech rules?
    -Rule with gadgets if used as toys in the classroom

    I gained different ways students can use their tech gadgets as tools instead of toys. I will start to encourage the few that I stated above. I want to achieve the students using the tech that is at their fingertips in the best way possible. I will measure it by allowing students to do the following. I will keep data as to who does it and then see if their test scores are higher on the assessments than their average test scores. The textbook mLearning is also relevant to this topic.

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