Monday, November 22, 2010

42 of 3123...

I finally got around to de-authorizing my computers in tunes, and reauthorizing two of them. I had only one computer left and was sure I had not de-authorized two machines I used in two different schools a while back.  I think it is  a shame we can only do this once a year, I mean, what does it cost Apple anyway?  the 42 of 3123 represents the fact that I finally turned on home sharing between my two macbooks.  Right now 3123 songs are making their way through space to live on my other laptop.  It is a beautiful thing. I will update later and tell you how long it took.  Here is a link telling you how to use home sharing in itunes.  Now I have to figure out how to share the  playlists and  the settings for each ipod and nano.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All she does is smile?

During a Skype session with my evil twin Sheila the students clustered around and wanted to extend their greetings.  They could see my face and Sheila's as we talked to each other.  Then, we lost connection. When we reestablished it, Sheila did not automatically turn her video; on  her avatar was showing instead.  One of the students stopped by my desk and watched for a few minutes and then scoffed, "All she does is smile?"  I could not stop laughing.
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Technology Invasion!

I was teaching a bunch of teachers how to use blogging with their students and a teacher mentioned the invasion of technology. WHAT A MIND BLOWER!   I am an integrationist, not an invader, but ultimately,  this is how the teachers view these changes to their curriculum.    I know where they are coming from, no one likes to be told to do something that is not of their own choosing and teachers have had to deal with NCLB and many more mandates for years.  They are fed up.  I have to walk on eggs sometimes because they are so adamantly opposed to technology.  Don't get me wrong, they act like they are interested, they do their best to "fit it in,"  but I can hear them the second my back is turned, complaining to each other about what they have to do now.   Technology upsets their pacing charts, it gets in the way of content during the learning curve process.  They make little digs about technology and I have to really try not to get upset and take it personally.  But I am the face of what they are hating and that is difficult.
I have to remind myself that there are things I do
not like to do either.  After all, I hate math, I really really hate it, and I try to act excited about it when I have to teach it, but lets face it, we all have different interests, and that is what makes us interesting to other people.  I respect the teachers I work with and pray that I keep understanding their pain as they try to change the way they teach to fit the interests of the generation we are teaching.  It IS hard, technology integration is unlike any other educational reform that has ever taken place.  It is constantly changing and shifting and is sometimes like working on quicksand.
You have to get it done and fast because the internet could go down, the moviemaker could freeze up again, the edublog logins will fail due to timing out.  It is stressful and uncomfortable for anyone who doesn't love and embrace technology.   For all the teachers forced to integrate technology, I feel for you. My hope is to be less of an invader and more of an organic presence over the year.
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Monday, November 15, 2010

What really happened to the Roanoke Colony

 This was a project that my son and his 7th grade friends worked on for a weekend.  They had to explain the disappearance of the Roanoke colony. They also had to explain the word Croatan carved into a post. They clearly had lots of fun.  It looked way better on the big screen with a disk. but you know how much resolution is lost when uploading to youtube.  Welcome any suggestions about boosting resolution.  Someone gave me handbreak, I have to figure out how to use it.
This is not a repeat post but rather an update as to my progress burning the project. Again, I do not have a superdrive but I WAS able to save as a disk image and burn that with an external drive. WOW it works, I read it in the forums as I mentioned in the earlier post, but I implemented it last night and burned copies for all my son's friends who took part. It would have been better if the kids had seen what I did for them so that they could do it, but they all have piano and babysitting and all those other things going on.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Can You See Me Now?

One of my friends, who shall remain nameless, thinks that he is invisible when wearing his "Digital Camouflage jacket." Since I am a techie, I should not be able to see him. What do you think?  I think I can still see him, but I do need glasses you know.


Working hard on my PLN, I met a lot of very grr people at the NJEA convention this past week and I am connecting to them using Grouply, Ning, Thinkfinity Community, Linkedin and Delicious.  I have learned how to USE my network on Delicious instead of just treating it as a repository for my bookmarks. Adding my Delicious feed to my blog was easy but it is disappointing that I only get the last five bookmarks I added on this Blogger site.  I will start to post the feeds of the people in my network and this will give me a bit more of what I really want. I have taken charge of connecting to people outside of my personal Facebook and have started honing my Twitter friends into categories that match the different interests in my life.  While this takes lots of time, I am sure it will be rewarding and will help me stay on top of my game in my field of study.  My fingers hurt. Now I have to have a professional look over what I have done and get back to me with more direction. I have to wait for people to accept my friend requests on the various social platforms as well.
We have had lots of problems with the grouply, apparently only the group creator can send invites to our group, in the Ning platform we could all invite people into the group.  It could be an administrator setting that is off, but whatever the reason, it is not acting as user friendly.  I have 119 members to connect to in this group, but the never share anything.  I guess if it is a mandatory thing instead of a passion, you just don't get participation.
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My blog is getting some major updating, I have been tagging appropriately, so that I can split off some of my posts to specific blogs if I need to do so in future. Zemanta in Firefox has been helpful as it suggests tags I do not think about. You all know I just throw everything in here and sort later, so I am in the sorting process. I have added feeds of some of the blogs I follow in my personal life and in class on this site as well.

This Weekend's Work

I am very tired. The toughest part was letting the kids take total charge of their project.  I just manned the cameras and assisted with editing for like 15 hours.
Problems we encountered:

  1. Objects in park that did hindered our commitment to historical accuracy (such as cars, trash cans, and someone blasting "Eye of the Tiger").
  2. Wardrobe malfunctions and misinformation.
  3. The noise of the fire station horns every half hour, along with the church bells.
  4. One weird looking duck that kept distracting the actors.
  5. A table of donuts and coffee that distracted the crew AND actors.
  6. Not enough baby wipes to get off all that face paint.
  7. Taping over the opening sequence- having to copy another scene and reversing it in imovie.
  8. Not being able to match the sepia tone in the movie clips to the picture clips and having to use all black/white instead.
  9. Not being able to edit out the rope tied to the canoe, the canoe club, the outbuildings, the trash cans, the cars, or the barbeque pits in video clips. (We could only do this in still shots).
  10. Not having a super drive on my macbook to burn the DVD movie for best resolution.
  11. Not being able to get George's Mom's superdrive to work and having to upload all our beautiful work to the internet instead, at only 12 frames per second on youtube and 30 frames a second on iweb. ( I could just cry).
  12. Just found this tidbit in the forums and it is too late! "If you'd like to transfer a file to burn on another mac, go back to the project on your mac and use the Save As Disc Image command. This creates a virtual DVD that you can move to another computer and Copy to an actual DVD."

 I got to work with my son and his friends for this 7th grade project, they were extremely prepared with a script, a storyboard in mind, costumes and a boat.  They were creative, flexible and funny as all get out. While I am extremely tired, I am so glad I had the opportunity to assist them.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Who Follows Directions Anyway?

Do we read directions anymore?  Sometimes I do, and it is the thing I complain about to my son, "Always read the directions, honey."  If I followed my own advice,  I could have saved myself some time in last week's class. This week I had a new dilemma, after setting up edublogs for 25 students and having to go into their emails getting their logins, and then logging in to change their passwords to be the same as the other web 2.0 tools they use, I could scream.  Turns out I could have set the password if I had clicked on the advanced blog creation button and set the password from the very beginning.  I WAS looking for the manual but all they had were a bunch of pdfs, not even addressing the issue.  It seems that when I go looking for directions I never find them. When they are there, I may ignore them and play for a while instead, trying to figure out the solution.
 I have always liked to explore as opposed to going the way the arrows point in life, and there lies the crux of my problem.   My happiest days are the ones when I strayed off a path to see what else might be there. I do not ignore signs that point out danger, I am not that ridiculous, but I always like to play with tools as opposed to reading about them.
I do usually go to manuals when I cannot immediately discern the way to work something.  Since I started going blind as a bat, I am less inclined to read, except for pleasure (Can't live without my books).  I just can't be bothered to take out my glasses so I don't have to squint.  My days of "Dreamweaver for Dummies" is behind me, it better have  a video tutorial for me to follow or you will hear me complaining as I search for those stupid Progressives.  I can't make them work anyhow, the reading zone is too darn small.
I am willing to get a Kindle or ipad this Christmas just to be able to make the text bigger. Of course I will have to make friends with so many people so I can borrow the books they bought.  I read way too much to buy the books I read, I go to the library every week and stock up.   I am not really interested in free ebooks, they are books that I don't really want to read or I have read already.  Wow, I have really strayed off topic here, another thing I tell my students and kids not to do.   Back on topic, following directions.... Good or Bad?  Hmmmmm, ask me next week... meanwhile I have enclosed a helpful article about teaching students how to read directions.
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