Monday, December 19, 2011

Collaborative Projects using Minecraft

There are many opportunities to participate in a project while living in different locations. Recently, this group of middle schoolers' worked on a collaborative project together, each from the comfort of their own homes. They all have a Minecraft account, and they used one student's Minecraft server. This project allowed them to use their favorite online game to meet social studies and technology standards. The students communicated throughout the process with the online chat and through Skype group calling. The purpose of the project was to make a video about a pre-history village. Instead of dressing up and playing characters as the rest of the class did, they decided to BUILD an entire prehistory village using Minecraft software.
Minecraft is focused on creativity and building, allowing players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D world.
Some of the challenges included getting certain students to stop goofing around and they also failed to START with a plan. As they built their village, they argued about each inclusion and whether or not it followed pre-history in terms of historical accuracy. They concentrated very heavily on only using building materials that were accessible during that time period.
What they learned by the end of the project was to set up specific times that they could all work on it together to finalize certain areas and make group decisions, to have a common plan and set zones and directives for each student to work on. They also had to learn diplomacy, they destroyed project pieces that did not meet rubric guidelines, but they had to explain/debate/support why they made that choice. It would have been more helpful to have a project manager who made final decisions like this established from the beginning. There was also a student who gave a non- participant access to the server, which was against the rules and he was temporarily turned off until the project was complete and captured on video. When it came time to shoot video of their online world, the students tried out various screencasting scenarios. They used Jing, and screencast-o-matic.com. For the narration, the students used a group call coming through Skype which they captured while they navigated through the site. This way more than one voice was represented on the video and no one had to leave their homes. This scenario works wonderfully if you have students in different countries, provided they are able to meet according to the time zones. It was also challenging because certain students failed to mention to their families that they were recording. There were background noises that interfered at times, forcing them to make many retakes of the video. Some students had microphones and others didn't. Some students had Skype accounts and others had to quickly create one. The beauty of this project is that the students chose the technology, they had to problem solve on the fly, and use multiple web 2.0 tools to assist them. The teacher simply gave them the topic of their video and the students managed the project specifics and timeline on their own.
As a teacher who now understands how this program works I would have asked for a basic master plan on paper first along with a list of team members and their roles. Although the students managed their project on their own, they could have benefited from some project management guidance and follow-up. I think I would also have mentioned that they should have scheduled times to work on it as a team for the necessary debates as well as the asynchronous work. It would have saved them some time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Memiary Tutorials and the Power of Edmodo

I have a teacher who needed a daily journaling program for his music students.  He wanted them to have a place to enter certain information on a daily basis about the music they heard that day in class.  Paperless was pat of the challenge.  We debated using google forms but I posted my question on edmodo and received a quick response from another teacher.  Memiary!
Here are the quick screencasts we made on using this tool.  As a teacher, I can track all my student's Memiarys and make sure they are up to date.  As a student I can see my whole calendar full of what I learned in music class during the year.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Loss of Creativity

Click on the comic to get the full view, The loss of creativity stems directly from what we ask of our students. Rote memorization and drills kill creativity. I thought this was one of the best articles a professor had ever shared with me.  





































A great article to read if you are a teacher or administrator...
Click on it...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Google+ New features -ripples and Creative Kit for quick photo editing

See how a post is shared through rippples. Tracking the flow of information is a useful tool if you want to market your own posts or services. You can evaluate how information is spread, find the fastest route for the type of information you are trying to share and model your flow based on your research.


The creative kit tutorial is very easy to understand. My students are going to love this.

Now Google+ should be available on Google app accounts. I will be checking that out later today for a few of my districts.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Q-charts, Blooms Taxonomy and Edmodo

Adding questions to edmodo
See where the questions are clustered
The Q-Chart is in use in our language arts classrooms. The teacher asks students to create questions by using one word from the left hand column and one word from the top row. The farther down and to the right she asks them to go, the more complex and high-level the questions. She explained to them where they were on the Bloom's Taxonomy Chart based on where their questions fell in the Q charts. With this particular activity, she chose the columns from they could build their questions. After the students wrote the questions, they posted them in our edmodo group for other students to answer. By allowing the students to create their own questions, it becomes a peer activity, totally student-directed, instead of teacher directed.


We expect students will to improve their ability to ask higher level thinking questions on their own as they have opportunities to practice during their guided reading groups.





Thursday, October 20, 2011

Using the Smartboard for Keyboarding


Smart Notebook solves many problems. We took a picture of the onscreen keyboard using the picture tool in Smart Notebook. Then hovered our hand over the home row keys and traced the outline using the red pen. We grouped the objects. The students come up the board and and we were able to move the keyboard with the hand placement to their height and resize it for their finger size. They were able to practice on the smartboard,(which they love) then go back to their seats and practice on real keyboards. We had them press each finger down on each key and sing the letters while they were up at the board.

Earning Edmodo Badges

Here is one of our students earning her first edmodo badge for Keyboarding in Computer Class. The other students are clamoring to earn their own badges. The gamification of the classroom is underway.  We will be developing leveled edmodo badges so that students can "Level Up."




How do we Keyboard?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Inspired by Mike

Never was hosting a podcast so easy as using soundcloud.com I cannot wait until they come out with a RSS feature, for now it is perfect for me to make podcasts in audacity and edit them, then upload them right to soundcloud.  I am sure to exceed the free amount of space on my account in no time.  Thank you Mike, in honor of your share I made a quick and dirty podcast about the edmodoCon conference I attended this week. I did not bother to edit out my uuuummms and aaaahhhhhhsss because I was doing it on the fly for a last wildcard fun exercise. Normally I script out my podcasts, but this was just a quick reflection. EdmodoCon by MichelleWendt

Meeting our classmates

Last Wednesday was a fabulous evening.  I was able to meet Angela and Mike for the first time; I realize I have never been to actual class this semester.  The first time I met people in person was at the Graduate Orientation. I also had to chance to meet some new students who have not been in our classes so far.  I am glad I brought my laptop, we enrolled for classes right there at the table, even the newbies!  Mike and I got right to work on a project- we both learned new tools. We played with soundcloud. I like how social this podcasting application is- people can annotate your podcast in the timeline and the annotations play along in text format during the podcast.  Soundcloud reminds me of MTV's Pop-up video. The new Campus Center is beautiful, and I hope to be able to spend some time there eventually and reap the benefits of all that construction.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wading through the debris

I always feel busy, so this is a fun picture that gives me
an attitude adjustment. I am very lucky to be so busy...
In the process of trying to get my life in order this weekend, I am supposed to be working on many projects at once.  How can order be achieved by chaos?  I do not know... and seriously hope someone steps in to help me make sense of it all.  As I sit here, trying to catch up on homework, work projects, and cleaning up the house/closets/drawers/fridge/laptops, I feel like a mountain is sitting on my head.  I am going to try to focus for at least the next ten minutes on my orientation reflection homework.  Since I am seriously disoriented working on everything I do NOT want to work on, I thought it was a fine match.

 Last week some of my teachers attended a three day institute on technology integration.  On the final day they had to plan a sustainability plan for technology use for the year. I had to talk one of them (let us call her Mary) off the ledge because she could not believe that she was going to use this document during the year. She was convinced that she would never open it again because that is not the way she works.  Mary's orientation to learning demanded that she have a real-life application for her time spent on this project. Since she did not participate in the the planning of this activity, she couldn't see the connection to her own classroom and would rather have spent her day on something that was important to her. Although Mary learned how to use google docs and wikis on this day- skills she can carry back with her, this teacher would have benefitted from being involved in planning the learning objectives and activities. The next day, as we worked at our school on projects we had all planned together- there were no ledges or cliffs. I could tell that every teacher appreciated being in charge of their own learning, and were more oriented to learning. I see this trend in adult learners and do not see it as much in the pedagogical model. I think younger learners may be more conditioned to work on projects they did not select than older students.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Add Facebook and Twitter to Google+













I found this very useful post today and installed the plugin, it works properly, I am pleased, so far.
You do want to read the whole post and take the three minute tutorial that they suggest.  It is worth
the time to work these social networking sites to your best advantage.

Here is the link to the extension.
http://www.vikitech.com/4817/add-facebook-twitter-to-google-plus


 I now need to find a plugin for edmodo and  linkedin. The one I found for linkedin says it has a verified author, but I still have the willies. Extended Share for Google Plus


Verified author: mohamedmansour.com
Free  
I now have the willies about all manner of plugins and extensions.  I have to go back and check them all out because google+ is still so new.

Unplugged

Me against an insane asylum background
Amazing that I am getting stressed out because my laptop battery is dying and I have to totally move to plug in somewhere. I do not want to interrupt the session.  That is what happens when you go to a training and want to use your own equipment.  Half the outlets in the room wouldn't work-had to run out to my car to get my trusty 50ft extension cord.  BTW this is a photo booth shot with an imported background. If I had a pop-up green screen- that I keep forgetting to ask Santa for- it would have looked better.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Schools may block Google!

Many schools block social networking sites. After one day of playing with Google+ and seeing how connected it is to all other google apps when we are signed in, I am worried that in an effort to block google+, schools will just block google.  I am looking for answers on this topic.  I assumed it would be a standalone piece, and it may be if just using google and never signing in, or if using google apps for education.  My fear is that not every school technician understands how important the google apps are to educators, they may block google+ and wind up blocking google.   I myself am usually signed in when I am working in schools, and now that I have google +, will I not be be able to use all my documents and calendars?  Anyone out there have any insights?

You know what to do...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All that for nothing!

I wanted the google+ button on my posts and they just wouldn't show up no matter how many times I refreshed my blog.  Since I have + they should automatically show up under my share area with all the other sharing icons.  It was not showing at all.  I read a few tutorials and actually went in and edited the HTML code, which is not normally a problem for me, but I swear the code I was looking for was SOOOOOOOOO buried.  I did this with both blogs, put in the code for + and then when I saved, I noticed that my share bar HAD REFRESHED to include the +.  Give me a break.  My eyes did not appreciate that little 1/2 hour exercise at all. Now I have TWO buttons at the bottom of each post.  Too bad, I am not going back in after the code now.
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The Innovative Educator: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs - When and W...

The Innovative Educator: Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs - When and W...: "After week one I shared my thoughts about “ What Google+ Means for Education .” I’m on week two now and the big questions are: Do I really..."
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Experience can go a long way- or it can get stuck in the mud

Not all skills translate over from one job to another, some fields are very specific and so are some skills.  I feel bad for some of my adult learners because it is not always possible to draw a personal or direct analogy to the technology they are facing to give them a frame of reference for understanding. Today, for instance, I spent a long period of time with one teacher and we were not speaking the same language.  She wanted to save some links and some documents she had saved on a jump drive to her own computer.  I was teaching her how to update her website and her jogtheweb.com sites. (That was the objective) Couple the lack of communication with internet troubles and we had a fun time trying to unstick ourselves from the mud.   She understands favorites, she thought they would also exist on her google site.   I was trying to show her how not to lose her data, and was uploading her documents to her google docs and linking them to her site pages.   She does not understand documents in a cloud, so we had to go back and save them on her computer.  Funny thing, her computer was hating us all day long. It would not stay connected to the internet, and we were all a little frustrated with it. She kept trying to use another person's computer to achieve her ends.  She understands favorites, but doesn't understand where they live.  She was trying to save favorites and documents to my computer and her friend's computer,  not understanding that they would not be accessible on her own laptop.

How did all this happen?  When a workshop is planned for  a specific topic, such as google sites, that does not mean that all learners are ready to learn that topic, they may have questions and goals that are important to them that are PART of the objective, but are really not the focus of the day.  It is hard to unstick oneself if there are other concerns dragging one down. She was not ready to move past her own goal to the class goal even though it was related.  She was also trying to transfer her knowledge of favorites to another function, documents - not everything will translate over that easily.  I could have shown her diigo or delicious, but that would have been like me speaking Martian to her.    She needs bookmarks in the cloud, and we will get there, today she did learn that bookmarks are the same as favorites. Baby steps and lots of laughter saved the day...

Epals post ( Guest Blogger)

Hi! I read your epals post and viewed your blog.  It is wonderful!
I am Missy McCoskey in Missouri.  I teach high school at risk students, which
means that I work with students who are at risk of dropping out of school or who
have already dropped out and are returning to try to get their diploma.  I am
working on my masters degree on integrating technology in the classroom.  Last
year I also taught one hour of math and was able to integrate technology in
innovative ways.  It was wonderful.  This year, I am focusing only on the at
risk students.  They have a prescribed agenda to follow and it leaves me with no
outlet for my technology learning.....However, I have also moved rooms and will
have a smartboard for the first time.  This is wonderful and I will play with it
and learn about it, but using it in my classroom will be a little difficult. 
Since my students have a prescribed way to achieve, the smartboard is not part
of that, I will have to be creative.  When my students finish recovering their
class, I want to have them work on projects for the school, like redesigning the
website, etc. I also want them to skype and email students in other countries. 
I am open to ideas!

Last year I loved having my students start wikis.  I created a wiki to organize
the wikis.  Students created wikis for fractions, graphing, etc.  They found
websites, games, etc. and posted those on the wiki.  It was a very good
experience. 


I have to collaborate online with other teachers for my masters degree and am
looking for someone to email or skype.  Are you interested?  It looks like your
schedule is already full and busy.  Great job on your blog!



RESPONSE!

Missy, we would love to collaborate with you and possibly your class. We have new 6th and 7th grade classes starting up in September- let us know what time of year you are interested in and we can schedule it according to what works with your curriculum. April and May are tough for us, that is when we test, but we are available the rest of the months, September to June. I also have access to some high school teachers who may be a better match for you... They will see this blog post and let me know. I will be in touch through epals, thank you for being a guest blogger here!
Missy

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Reflections of Adult Learning

A picture does not always paint a thousand words, sometimes an explanation IS needed. This is what I learned this week in class. We each created an exhibit on the characteristics of adult learners. By themselves, just as pictures, we could infer a great deal, but it was the explanations that each member of our class added to the pictures that made them come alive.
For instance, this dog could represent an adult learner who is satisfied with himself, or it could be a trainer keeping a close eye on a learner.It might even be a proud teacher witnessing her/his class take charge of the their own learning. We figured out this week that our take on a situation is based upon our individual experiences and backgrounds. The connections we would automatically draw are going to be different for every one of us. It was difficult looking at exhibits from an earlier class and trying to figure out what the graphics meant. I personally had a lot of trouble understanding until I had to build my own.

Monday, July 11, 2011

NOTE TO SELF

I guess the biggest realization I came to tonight was that I only had class one day per week until now. Guess I was spoiled, because I do not have two days in my week and time to do homework along with all my other obligations.  NOTE TO SELF- only take classes that actually meet ONCE a week.  I do not know if that goal is even achievable- It may take me a few years to complete my MAIT degree that way- but I am stressed right now, so this is my rant.    Everybody needs a piece of me right now and I don't have any extra pieces to give.   I think the projects we will work on in class will be interesting and very helpful to me in what I do, which is train adults, so I have to get past the stressed part and down to the learning.    I also have to remind myself that people new to wimba and Blackboard have it way harder than me.  SO I need perspective as well. (This is me yelling at myself for pitying myself) Don't feel sorry for me, because I am just whining here and not being constructive.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

New class-New Year and Newbies!

I noticed tonight that no matter what class I take, we are always starting from square one. There are always newbies in each course that may not know how to use all the tools we are familiar with.  I noticed this particularly tonight because  I am spending my summer preparing teachers for next year's classes.  We are starting from square one again with new learners who do not have the technology skills our students developed over the last year.  I think I would prefer to loop with a class, rather than start all over every year.  I think of all the skills our students have learned and how other teachers will benefit from that next year and we will be "stuck" with the "toddlers."  It is not a fair thought, or even a nice one, but it is honest.   I am excited over the prospect of thrilling a new set of students with empowering tools, but the thought of starting from how to turn off a laptop correctly is a little exhausting.  I also have a new group of teachers who have not used smartboards or laptops with students, because the ones I trained retired and took their skills with them to the golf course. I can only hope that we can plan better for next year knowing all the missteps we may have made this year.   As I start this new course, Adult Learning, I have to remember that we have some new students amongst us and they may need time to learn all we know already about wimba and blackboard. I am a total newbie to the concepts being presented in this course, I haven't even heard of  Andragogy before!
  I loved listening to the newbies from our last class totally take lead in this class tonight.  Their growth is a testament to their strength and tenacity. Of course, I did not enjoy hearing them try to get me to go first.  I think they are trying to throw me under the bus...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

QR codes

qrcode

As we were walking around ISTE we kept running into the qr codes everywhere, so I was inspired to make my own using the KAYWA site,  I can now read them too, thanks to the app I downloaded on my Blackberry.  It is pretty darn cool that I can just take a picture and my blackberry browser goes right to the site that is associated with the code.  I have to try it out for contacts.    I wonder if I take a picture of my own and save it if I can just display it on my Blackberry screen for someone else to scan it.  hmmmmmm.   I DO know that I can scan it from my computer screen, I did try that already.  It doesn't to be printed out.  Here is one I created for the new band booster website.  The website is still under construction, but enjoy trying my qr code anyway.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Our arrival at ISTE

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Just arrived at ISTE!

Very excited to be here, I am planning my day and have already managed to trade my free laptop case for a free iPad case. Since I borrowed my son's iPad for this day he will be happy I am bringing him back something cool. I will update as I go along. Right now Sheila and I are setting our strategy.

Monday, June 27, 2011

ISTE UNPLUGGED

How incredibly cool is it that I can be at ISTE 2011on Monday when I am not going to be there in person until Tuesday?   Illuminate sessions of unplugged presenters are available with archives at this link.

I couldn't be more thrilled because I am only going to be at ISTE 2011 for one day and I was worried that I would miss out on a lot of PD options if I really explored the floor.  These sessions remind me of the From My Classroom To Yours Conference at Stockton. They are definitely shorter, but everyone appears to be offering resources to help us use the applications they are showcasing.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Archive madness

Since I left early last week, I was trying to catch up with the archive and understand the military timing, it has been awhile.  Looks like I missed a great wiki show by Ann.  I am so pleased that she was able to make this tool her own this semester.  There is a new commenting feature that the other talent 21teachers and I plan on using the coming week before school ends.  This gives an almost blog functionality to us that we were missing and we are excited by that.  Wikispaces has been the most successful tool for me over the last few months.  Since we only have so much room in our  teacher websites, this extension of our digital world has been priceless and we can make them as content specific as we like and leave them until next year after this year's class is done without maxing out our webspace.  Thank you everyone for the warm comments in the aha's!  I think you are all amazing people too!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Loving this service!




I had a project that I needed completed right away, it was all transferring text from one format to another and I just didn't have the time.  This service is great, I posted a job and within 5 minutes, I had nineteen offers from people willing to complete the job. I selected my assistant  at 11pm at night and the work was done by 6am the next morning.   Great way to make extra income if you like to work from home and have skills.  Awesome way to get a digital assistant.  I made sure I emplyed someone from the United States because we need jobs in THIS country too.




Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Learning from each other...

We are so lucky to have the chance to share resources, everyday I get the chance to learn something new from another teacher. The wonderful technology blogs, the shares on diigo, delicious and twitter, and the products that my classmates post in our discussion boards are the ways I stay on top of my game.  It doesn't matter it someone is new to the graduate program or has been in it for a while, everyone has something valuable to give to each other.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starfall: Teaching Through Song and Games (Guest Blogger!)

This is a guest blog post from my epal Genesis in Guatemala. Her blog is fabulous and I have been following her for a few years now. We have yet to skype, but this was a good solution since she is always on her computer in the middle of the night.


I never intended for my kids to start school so early, but when my oldest, Dorian, was 2.5 years old, he was fascinated with the computer. I did a little searching to find some kid-friendly sites and Starfall.com was one of the first that I came across and Dorian loved it!
It didn’t take him long to master the mouse movements necessary to play his favorite songs and I would let him play on the laptop while I worked on my desktop in the mornings. His baby brother, Dante, would climb up beside him and hum along to the songs. Pretty soon, both of them could belt out most of the tunes on the alphabet section of the site.
When Dorian was 3, he really wanted to learn to read. He would offer to read the bedtime story, then say, in a rather angry tone, “Oh, right, I can’t, because I can’t READ yet!” Obviously, he was ready!
I started with teaching him the letter sounds . . . but it turned out he already knew most of them, thanks to Starfall. What he lacked was the knowledge to put the sounds together so he could actually read a sentence. It was pretty easy to teach him to read, because he already had the basics down, just from playing online! He’s already well on his way to a Grade One reading level (he’s 5) and his brother Dante (4) is close behind him, all thanks to their time on the computer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Urgent Reply Needed .

 Ok, I put out the call to my epal forums for guest bloggers to participate on my blog. I was looking for teachers using technology in their classrooms to contribute.  I gave the email address for the blog post to appear, but it was supposed to go to draft.  I did check my blogger settings on this matter.  Since I had weekend troble with blogger,  I am assuming the the settings need to be reset because this is what came through.  Danielle is right that we have to be vigilant, even with the moderated epals site, because sometimes the crazies get through.

SEE CRAZIES BELOW!


My Dear Friend,
My name is Reginald Cole, who is diagnosed with oesophageal cancer. To cut the long story short, I have few hours left to live, depending on my surgery which will take place soon. Although I am rich, but it doesn't matter anymore.
I want God to be merciful to me and accept my soul and so with that reason I decided to give what I have to charity and I never had children. I want this to be one of the last good deed on earth. I now give you the authority to dispatch my last funds to any charity of your choice.
I have Nine million pounds in a financial institution. I want you to keep fifty percent of this amount for yourself and time, while you keep the other fifty percent to any charity of your choice. May God be with you as you carry out this task.I believe with this,
I can now be free to depart peacefully. You can then contact my lawyer who will assist you in getting the funds to you when I pass. He would give you more details. His name is Barr.Lawrence Walter, and his email address ( Barrlawwalter@aol.co.uk ) He would guide you through receiving the funds.
Lot of Love
Reginald Cole

Blogger having trouble this week

Both of my blogs disappeared this week. Thank you Ann for alerting me.  There was suspicious activity on my account, so the blogs become temporarily unavailable.   They do not give us this message though, they say they have been removed.  It is a good idea to back up your blogs by exporting them.  Since I have been blogging for many years, I almost had a heart attack when I saw that all my blogs were down.  It also helps it you change your password from time to time. 

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Techy Things Teachers Should Try: My Avatar Editor

Techy Things Teachers Should Try: My Avatar Editor: "My Avatar Editor is a free online site where you can create and edit avatars. Gender, height, size, hair and eye color, along with other ph..."

Everyone is coming along in class

Only mild technical difficulties last week- we did lose Brandy's Tooltime.  I think when she was sharing in wimba some of us received that error message about the archive and thought it was our own screen.  Uuughh!  I was impressed that Steve performed on the spot for us with a very interesting tooltime on Comic Life 2- I will be upgrading to that version for sure!  I am loving all the jings the class is creating and can't wait to share them with my grant team on our moodle. On another note, I am also enjoying working with Brian, our graduate assistant.  Just like old times!  It was the first night that I felt everyone had finally settled into a groove.  There were minimal technical difficulties, good participation from the group and the tooltimes and related discussions  were comprehensive and extremely helpful! Everyone has come so far in such a short time- I only hope that this summer will be a time of reflection on how to integrate these tools into  the normal school year.  I predict that when the computer lab sign-up sheets get posted, these teachers will hog as many spots as they can for their classes in the coming year.

Monday, May 9, 2011

How to use Yodio for easy Podcasting


Myriam was good enough to share this site with us and I found a helpful tutorial that shows us how to use the Yodio site.

Wondersay fun!


made on Wondersay - Animate text with style

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

New Tools!

Last week was much more fun for me, I love it when people in the class present new tools that I have not used yet. I am excited to try them out and see if they can work seamlessly into some of the curriculum my teachers have to meet. The problem with technology is that there is always a learning curve for teacher and students and this presents a problem; we only have so much time to teach our subjects. In light of that kind of problem, I am always on the lookout for the easiest and most creative tools than I can find to keep the students engaged.
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Friday, April 29, 2011

Using Windows Live Movie Maker

Our students have been creating ecology powerpoints and wanted to publish their movies on the web on our schooltube.com channel. Once published their were able to share their links with their epals. Otherwise the file sizes were too large to email. I made a series of screencasts using Screencastle and/or Jing to talk them through the process of using Windows Live Movie Maker and the Sound Recorder in connection with work they had already done in PowerPoint.


Saving PowerPoint Slides as JPEGs



Importing Pictures to Windows Live Movie Maker

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Adding Titles and Credits to Windows Live Movie Maker
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Adding Narration to Windows Live Movie Maker
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Adding captions and Using other tools in Windows Live Movie Maker

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Adding Transitions To Windows Live Movie Maker

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Saving Projects as a Movie to ready it for uploading to Schooltube or Youtube.


Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.


Uploading Movie to Schooltube.com
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wimba on Crack and what is a chat anyway?

Last week was challenging to me because I was teaching some tooltimes and attempting to help students in the class at the same time.  I had to keep leaving the computer I was demonstrating on and I am sure having a snowball mike would have helped.  We have many different levels of proficiency in the class right now, and those most proficient are at home on wimba.  I felt pressure to keep up the dialogue for them at home and still assist the students in class with their problems.    I know when I was home on wimba for the first time, there was a lot of dead air, like a radio station, that was not a good scenario so I tried to avoid it.  Another thing I noticed is that this class does not use the chat window as much as previous classes, so it was hard to track who was on track at home and who wasn't.  I was disappointed when I realized the last two demonstrations of diigo and delicious were not archived.  They are useful tools and I could have used those archives with my teachers, guess I will have to make jings.  I am still learning how to keep it all flowing together without dropping any balls.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Need a sponsor!

Ok, here is my offer. While I LOVE Jing, I suspect I will love Camtasia way more, so I am seeking a sponsor to pay for it for me.   I accept all serious offers and will provide a series of screencasts in exchange for your sponsorship, so long as you select some tool I actually know how to use.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Good Friends on Good Reads!

Last one is a rotten egg!
No seriously, the last one is my epal from Guatemala
My epal from Guatemala is finally on Goodreads.com.  I am thrilled!  With all the social networking going on out there, I cannot seem to get my friends to join easily. I know we all read books, maybe they don't all read as voraciously, but they do keep up a respectable pile by their beds.  I have sent out invites a few times, and they slowly trickle in. After a whole year, I am now up to a whopping seven friends.  Ugggh!  I hope if you are a reader, you will take the time to participate.  I have found some good books my friends have suggested to me this way, and I always know what they are reading.  I LOVE talking about books more than technology.  I tell my students about this web 2.0 tool, I want them to track what they are reading while they are young.  Hopefully it will stay free as they grow up.  Yeah Goodreads.com.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Epsilon System Hacked: Has Your E-Mail Been Stolen?

I know mine must have been, I received eight different emails from various companies that my email information was exposed due to the Epsilon hacking incident.  I wonder how many of you got that same message? United retail group, Best Buy, Target and College Board all sent me Epsilon warning notifications in one day.   We use a specific email just for any online transactions, but it doesn't help.  Ultimately, we cannot have a throwaway email.  We actually need some of the  information companies send when we buy stuff online.  For instance, at the Apple store, they email us our receipts, well, I need those receipts.  I need the entrance ticket to the SAT test for my daughter, I need the concert  tickets and boarding passes.   There has to be a secure email associated with my banking and shopping where I can receive notifications if there is a problem.   This past month, I have received three emails from friends that were clearly not from them, they were hacked and now I have changed all my passwords again in case they start getting some from me.  I send out  quite a few emails, I know that may be weird in this world of texting, but it is how schools get work done.  I do not need people scared to open my emails. I have  eleven email accounts and have started just opening them all on my phone, rather than on my computer, I can handle a virus on my phone easier.  The sprint store is closer than the Apple store. Haha!   Meanwhile, I just keep changing my passwords and trying to stay ahead of the hackers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Helping each other through many channels

I am so glad that Ericka jumped right in a showcased Prezi for us tonight, I just couldn't get a handle on it the last time I used it, which was last week. Apparently it is all in the framing. I must have missed this in their tutorial, Ericka's was much better. I use them on my interactive boards all the time, But I am using the ones other people created, now I want, no, I NEED to make my own and master this tool.


Tonight's class was rewarding on many levels, even though I could feel the frustration emanating from a few people, they have no idea how much they upped their game tonight. In my first class, we did not do the wimba/blackboard work they were doing for a few weeks. I heard others making plans to meet together and finish it, and that made me extremely happy, they have already picked up on how to work together to solve problems. It is important to get their cell phone numbers and skype names in our address books right away just so we can help each other. Tonight, I was able to call Kevin to get in to the building, Brandy was able to call me to get the dial in to phone wimba, and Ericka skyped me to get into skimmer when she locked herself out. Amy texted in to get someone to let her in, Ann texted in to class to find out if we were still working, it just goes on and on, including the butt dialing in of my husband twice, who has no idea he was there.

The point is, we will all make it through if we stick together and are willing to be there for each other. I am glad we had the chance to showcase a few quick tools. Hopefully people play with them and hit us with feedback on how they would use the tools in their classes with students.

Monday, April 11, 2011

NY Tech Meetup-

I was looking for a free talk-radio solution so I could host my own show and I may go with this solution.  While exploring, I found this wonderful channel on Livestream.
Watch live streaming video from nytechmeetup at livestream.com

Cacoo! Cacoo! Cacoo! No birds here...just good partnerships

Our Cacoo!
Tonight I was lucky that Erica decided to  Chat with me on Skpye to talk about our contract items.  We decided to do a Cacoo together, since I had never made one before and she had never collaborated on one before. Since she had experience using the tool, this was helpful for me, but she was also able to use it in a new way.  I had no experience with the tool, and it was helpful to have someone with me as I practiced my Cacoo skills.  We initiated a Skype phone call and used the chat feature in Cacoo.  I could see how this would be wonderful to use with a class.  I have to investigate some more to see how many users can be on one Cacoo at the same time. It is very easy and both of us were able to edit at the same time, which is an upgrade from webspiration.  It doesn't turn our mind maps into outlines though.  It had some amazing features, is perfect for a project or idea where people get to put their heads together in different locations.  It is amazing how the collaborative web 2.0 tools allow students that cannot sit next to each other in class to still work in groups across a room from each other. Below is our quick Jing on Cacoo- you can hear us talking through Skype. Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Yeah- I did it!

Tonight I came home after class (Integrating Technology into the Classroom)  and successfully exported my 7 year-old personal blog to this site and published only the tech posts I wanted here.  It took me only 5 minutes to move over that many years of work.  I cannot believe it. My normal blog has EVERYTHING on it, book and theatre reviews, recipes and family events, the DDR (Ask me what that is) as well as all my tech stuff. Since I would like to keep my techie and school stuff separate from my personal blog, I am so pleased I was able to do this. HOW did I do it you might ask? I googled it, just like we shared with everyone tonight in class. No one knows how to do anything until we google it, or YouTube it, but we have to look to find the answer. LOOKING IS KEY!   Now I am off my soapbox and onto enjoying my new techie blog space.

 I am so excited to fit in another course before the year is out, and this    one looks to be another zinger- we will be using more tools I haven't yet tried and I am sure that will only increase my effectiveness as a Technology Integrationist.  For my wild card options I will pick  tools I haven't used before, so I can gain as much new knowledge as I can.  Since I have used many of the mentioned tools with my students already I have to be careful to challenge myself.  I am also excited to help out the other students in our class, I am sure the three of us who have had Amy before will be able to be of some use to the rest of the class, and they in their turn will help the next class they are in.  It is a beautiful system.

Here is the voki I created tonight to introduce myself, some of them my  classmates made were quite funny.  My students loved it when I used voki for instruction and we had a lot of fun in our last class using avatars to introduce our Instructional Theorists. we did have some trouble with voki freezing up on a few computers.  This frustrated a few of us and when I got home and logged into my account, the voki I made in class was gone.  I had to create another one.    The application also froze up a few times at home.  We are lucky we have other avatar web 2.0 applications to choose from in case this happens.   Amy said she would post them all in blackboard for us and I did view at least three of them in my last class.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I have officially exceeded my cognitive load


Who knew learning Spanish numbers 11-20 would be so stressful for me? Perhaps this is the way our students feel everyday. We should slow down- wish we could, we should have more fun- wish we could. It makes me reflect on how busy we all are and how Sundays aren't sacred anymore and how much we need to project a balanced mood in our classrooms. In this class I am taking right now- there is a lot of pressure, there are many intelligent people who constantly keep us on our toes. The stakes feel high, otherwise, why would I be worried about ten little numbers? I was though, and so grateful for the handout- or I would have failed. I guess I need more time (as our students frequently do)with concepts that challenge me.

 I need a break, Seriously!

Connectivism Lesson quiz

Research Reflections



I was grateful for our time last week with the librarian. It reminded me of how much my students enjoy a guest speaker.  Although we had taken a library tutorial last semester, I definitely benefited from the reinforcement and I was glad she reminded us to remove the "Noise Words." Since we are doing so much research right now, this was just-in-time learning.  I also benefited from the folder conversation. I finally found out what went wrong in 2005, during my senior seminar with Professor Tompkins. All my Northrop Frye research disappeared from my folder after a long night of research and I had to do it all over again. The discussion of  the Interlibrary loan (ILL) was lively, especially since one of our classmates is so far away. I hardly think it would be cost- effective to ship books to Panama, but it is nice to know we can get what we want when we are on campus. I did take advantage of this on a number of occasions and was happy with the result.