Songhai Concepts

Media Literacy/Digital Archiving Instructor

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Building the Dream

On January 2, 2007, media mogul Oprah Winfrey opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls - South Africa. The Academy is just one of the many ways that philanthropist Oprah Winfrey continues to give back, lobby for and defend the needy - both at home and abroad.

All New Media freshmen watched the TV special, "Building the Dream" during class on Tuesday. I hope that you were all moved and inspired by Winfrey's philanthropy and by the spirit and determination of the young South African girls featured in the program.

Over the next several days we will discuss and analyze "Building the Dream." We will ask questions, make predictions and compare and contrast Winfrey's Leadership Academy with other schools around the world.

In the meantime, please create a test in Survey Monkey. Name the test Building the Dream and base the test on the video we watched during class. You must provide me with an answer key for your test! Send me the link to your Survey Monkey test along with an answer key. Create your answer key in Google Docs.

All ninth grade students must also take my OWLA survey. If you are having difficulty coming up with survey questions (test questions) on your own, you may use any of my questions in your survey. Remember, you must provide me with an answer key for all test questions!

Click here to take Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy survey

If you have questions please see me during class or email me @

Good luck,

H. Songhai

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sitting For Kehinde Wiley

A few weeks ago 9th grade students at New Media watched a short video from Current TV entitled Hip Hop Baroque. The video featured New York based painter and visionary, Kehinde Wiley. Wiley is a sharp, young black artists with a special talent for depicting young urban hip hoppers, in full "blinging" regalia against a variety of baroque, gentile and pastoral backdrops.
After viewing the Current TV Pod, I passed around 10 art books and asked the students to imagine if they could be the subject of one of Mr. Wiley's paintings how would they like to be depicted?

Here are two examples of what they envisioned. The students took the pictures of themselves and the original art work with cell phones and digital cameras.

Good job D & D.
More images to come.

H. Songhai


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Interstate 78 and Jet Blue Flight 751

Assemble this project in Google Docs or if you are adventurous, create this project in JumpCut. Once you are done, either send me the JumpCut link or send me the Google Document. If you assemble this project in Google Docs. Make sure you use hyperlinks. Send your finished work to me at

Do not publish this project on your blog until I have checked it and given you the okay to publish it. Send me the JumpCut link or the Google Document first!


1. Use Google maps to find two representative images of Interstate 78.

2. Use the PrintScreen key to copy and then paste the images on a Google Document.

3. Explain where Interstate 78 is and what cities, states and/or towns the highway runs through? Explain why so many people use that artery. (One or more paragraphs)

4. Explain why Interstate 78 is a top news stories? (One or more paragraphs)

5. Explain why Jet Blue Airlines flight 751 was a top national news story last week? (One or more paragraphs)

6. If you were one of the unfortunate ones to either be on Interstate 78 last week during the storm or on Jet Blue Flight 751 bound for Cancun, how would you have occupied yourself through such a nightmare? Describe the essential items motorists and passengers should have in their possession in the event of an emergency situation like the Interstate 78 pile-up or the Jet Blue airline fiasco. (Two or more paragraphs)

7. Imagine that you were an inventor, engineer or a city planner. Describe several inventions or solutions you would propose to ensure that these types of delays are handled better and more efficiently in the future. (Two or more paragraphs)

8. Create and publish this document in Google Docs and e-mail it to me at my Gmail address.

If you choose to do this project in JumpCut, record your paragraph responses in Audacity then upload your audio and PrintScreen shots to JumpCut. Mix and edit your media then publish your project and send me the JumpCut link.

(Photo of Jet Blue passengers is from WABC TV New York)

Good Luck,

H. Songhai

Friday, February 16, 2007

You've Got Power!

I hope you found the last two weeks in class to be exciting and informative.
We covered a number of topics and you were asked to respond and distribute your work to me using several different electronic formats.

Over the last two weeks, we created several reports with Google Docs and we probed a little deeper into the free and powerful web based aggregator Google Reader. You were shown just how easy it is to create folders and fetch blog feeds using Google Reader. All students should have created at least three folders in Google Reader including a folder for student blogs, professional blogs and news feeds. Are you beginning to see that an aggregator is one of the best ways to keep track of and organize your web content?

On Monday, the 12th of February, I attended the PETE Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Educators, workshop leaders and vendors from all over the country were showing off and explaining the latest software, gadgets and gizmos designed to make teaching and learning more engaging and meaningful.

The workshop I found the most interesting was a session titled Video editing with Eyespot and JumpCut. The workshop was hosted by John Kinslow from West Chester University. I had heard about web based video editing programs, but I never realized how easy they are to use.

This short video was partly created using JumpCut. I created the titles in iMovie

Eyespot and JumpCut are web based video editors. You upload your original video, pictures and audio to either Eyespot or JumpCut, then you edit your media online. These programs are designed for computer users who do not have access to iMovie, Final Cut Pro and other desktop video editos like Movie Maker and the Ulead suite of programs. Take your pick – JumpCut or Eyespot. They are both hot little programs that allow you to mix, edit and publish your original video projects onto your blog.

So what does all this mean? It means you've got power! It means that anyone with a computer and a high speed Internet connection can function as a complete and autonomous broadcast entity. Think of it this way, if you download the free audio editor, Audacity and use it with either JumpCut or Eyespot, you can broadcast your original projects to anyone, anywhere on the planet – directly from your desktop. That’s power!

Begin experimenting with either JumpCut or Eyespot over the long weekend. Take about a dozen screen shots of different student blogs (or your MySpace page) and upload them to JumpCut. Edit and mix your media in JumpCut. Add an audio track and send me the link to your production. Discover how these web based video editors can move your multimedia projects to another plane.

E-mail me @ if you have questions.

Good luck,

H. Songhai

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Is MySpace The Place?

The late, great Sun Ra said that "Space Is The Place" but we're not going to go there - yet. So until then, all ninth grade students must develop a script for their MySpace project. Most students love MySpace. Most students know MySpace inside and out, so this should be a really fun project - but fun, only if you put your heart and soul into it.

In order to help you along with this project I want all students to take the MySpace survey linked below. Please use the answers that you develop from the survey questions to form the foundation of your script for this project.

This project can really take flight - develop wings, if you take copious screen shots of a number of different MySpace pages, including your own and the more attractive pages of your classmates.

Use the PrintScreen Key (copy) to snap pictures of blog posts, web pages, the desktop and more. After you hit the PrintScreen Key paste your image on a PowerPoint slide. Save your PowerPoint project (with all of the pasted images) 30, 40, 50 slides, more or less. You decide.

That is just one of the many ways to compile and save images for your projects. If you are familiar with PhotoShop, you may paste your images in PhotoShop, crop the images and save them.

Remember to use a microphone and record your scripts with Audacity!
Bring your recorded scripts to school on your flash drive.

Click here to take MySpace survey

H. Songhai

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Will Teaches Web 2.0

I spent all day Friday at a workshop at the Science Leadership Academy listening to Will Richardson, author of Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms talk about just that - blogs, wikis, RSS and podcasting.

The two day workshop was called Will Teaches Web 2.0. In addition to meeting Richardson, I met several other leaders in the School Meets Web Movement like Steve Hargadon of EdTech Live, George Mayo, a very hip and innovative writing teacher from Montgomery County, Maryland, Patrick Higgins and David Gorecki from Sparta Middle School in New Jersey (see Writing The City) and Christian Long, President & CEO of DesignShare.
All of the workshop attendees got to meet the principal of the Science Leadership Academy, Chris Lehman and his bright staff of teachers, who joined the workshop later that afternoon.

The workshop was eight hours well spent. Richardson shared a ton of information with us including his thoughts on the powerful conversations taking place with students and professionals through the use of blogs, wikis and podcasting. He also spoke in astonishing terms about the enormity of Google - in particular Google Reader and Google Docs.

I took a lot of notes, asked questions and listened closely to Richardson, principal Lehman and the others in attendance. I think everyone took away a few new ideas to share with their students and colleagues on Monday morning. I learned a little more about Google Reader such as how to set up an advanced news search and how to browse and discover feeds using the Google feed bundles.

I'm sorry none of my colleagues from New Media Tech attended the workshop. In fact, there were no teachers at all from the Philly School District in attendance. I found that really odd for such an important workshop. The attendees came from as far away as Los Angeles, Wisconsin, Texas, New Jersey and Maryland.

The workshop absolutely lit a spark in me. I have a clearer understanding now of the importance of transparent classrooms, web based applications and global connections. I discovered that my colleague base can be local, national or international, concurrently, from my desktop, my cell phone, or my iPod.

Thanks again to Will Richardson, Chris Lehman, Steve Hargadon and all the bright and inspiring individuals I met on Friday. I can't wait to do it again.

H. Songhai