You know what's better than giving your students fun and engaging assignments that incorporate technology?  Giving your students fun and engaging assignments that incorporate technology that are already planned for you and ready to go!  Introducing  DS 106 - the coolest site for teachers to find ideas for multimedia projects on. 
I found about DS 106  through Alan Levine, who spoke about it during one of my ECMP 355 class' live sessions, and now, thanks to him, I am hooked on it!  DS 106 has pages upon pages of audio, video, visual, writing, and digital storytelling and design assignments that get students (and teachers) to explore the web and learn how to use new tools.  Basically, if you've ever been like, "Whoa! How did they do that!?!" DS 106 helps you learn how to do that on your own!  

Take that Much More Music show, Pop Up Video, for example, which I have been a fan of for years (when I found out last year that they were bringing it back and making new episodes, I, literally, jumped up and down in excitement in front of the TV!)  I have always wanted to create my own pop up videos because I have a plethora of random music facts that need to be put to good use but I figured only TV stations could afford the expensive editing programs to make them.  But, as I learned from this video assignment in DS 106, that is not the case!  Let me present to you my first ever pop up video of Gotye's Somebody That I Used to Know (feat. Kimbra), which was created using Mozilla Popcorn (if for some reason the video is cut off or it takes too long to load, click on this link and the video will open up in a new browser.) 
Popcorn.js Pop!
Another assignment that I thought would be neat to try is this visual one, where you compose a poem or story from the song titles in your Windows Media or iTunes library.  I used Jing to capture a screenshot of my iTunes story.  The basic premise of my story is that a guy is dumping his girlfriend and she doesn't want him to (for some reason I seem to have a lot of breakup-type songs in my library!)  For the most part, the story alternates from the woman's voice to the man's voice but there are a few parts where two or three titles belong to the same person's voice (i.e. 6, 7, & 8 to the man and 9, 10, & 11 to the woman.)
And because I had so much fun with those two assignments, I did one more just for the heck of it.  It's this visual assignment where you find a picture of a celebrity and then find a quote about that celebrity that can serve as a caption for it.  I chose, what some might consider to be an easy target, Britney Spears:
I hope you enjoy my projects - not to sound conceited, but I sure do!
6/11/2012 00:38:39

These are awesome Denise. The pop up video particularly. Lots of implications for learning.

The DS 106 community is a gold mine. I don't think Alan mentioned this but they even have their own radio station that anyone can use. I've played around with it a bit and even did a live "name that tune" session a few months back. We had up to 40 listeners participating.

This ain't your father's education.....

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6/11/2012 05:31:26

Ain't that the truth! And do you know how I know that? Because I actually had FUN doing this kind of homework and voluntarily stayed in on a Saturday night to do it, haha! Thanks for the encouraging words!

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6/21/2012 09:26:44

Denine, I just had a chance to look at your DS106 creations and your Pop Up Video is so amazing! The facts were fabulous. So many cool things one can do on there. And on a side note, I have a loaf of bread in my cupboard that I see breading a cat or two in the near future!

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