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 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

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!


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!

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


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...