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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Holt's Intro To Educational Technology: Waiting for Superman

Holt's Intro To Educational Technology: Waiting for Superman: "There is a new documentary out in select theaters entitled 'Waiting for Superman'. It explores the inefficiencies of America's school syste..."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections on Wimba, Skype, and Project Management

The Wimba Whiteboard or Eboard.
This week I spent hours on Wimba and Skype, meeting with my team members and working on our History of IT project. It was an interesting experience. When I took online classes before, they were asynchonous and our group projects involved emails and posts, not live communication. After using Wimba for this, I do not know how I will be able to give it up at the end of our class. I will have to use something like Adobe Connect or Go to Meeting to get a similar experience. As I use Wimba more, I learn new things. I took the tutorials a while ago, so I was relieved when Brian showed us how to get the whiteboard feature back by pressing the eboard button.  I also learned about project management this week and gant charts. I've never heard of them before and apparently people have been using them forever. "What a concept!" Amy, my professor, was pushing us to use a free Web 2.0 tool. I found Tom's Planner, it looks very visual and you can share your chart online.  Another I found was Basecamp.   It will be interesting to see what my friend Adrienne, the quintessential project manager, writes in my comments. Anyway, my team member may choose a product that she is comfortable with over the ones I just mentioned. We will have to wait and see.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010


WhitewashWhitewash by Alex Kava
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book had me running back to the library to get all the other books by KAVA.  Glad I found her, I love murder-mysteries, CSI-type and criminal-profiling books!  Quincy M.E. was my favorite TV show as a kid; I just thought that Dr. Quincy was fascinating and I seem to gravitate towards those kinds of books as an adult.  There are a few surprises in the end of Whitewash that I never would have guessed.
View all my reviews
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Loving it!

She gave me top status!
This morning I walked into the teacher's room whom I had worked with last week.  She just started teaching again after having a baby and does not have a lot of technical experience.  She is by no means afraid of technology, but she has not had exposure. Nor did she attend any of the summer trainings.  She saw me and her face just started glowing, she had three new ideas for for technology integration that she wanted me to teach her how to implement.  An OnCourse teacher website, uploading word documents to the smart assessment tools and assessing her students with the PE clickers and having her students blog their daily journals, WHEW! She also shared her experiences of technological mishaps that happened when I was away from her room.  The most impressive thing she said was that she felt like she could be helping other teachers by the end of the year.  A teacher-learner becomes a teacher-leader!  I wish we could all have "students" like this; people who are just dying to know something and can't wait for you to give them that little nudge in the right direction.  I couldn't have been prouder than her mom when she told me how she had figured out some things for herself and shared them with her team.   The she showed me how she had "added" me to her class.  At the end of the day I was wrung out, trying to get her trained in everything she wanted to know, but it was so worth it!
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mindmapping is supposed to be clear, isn't it?

I was looking at the examples of the mindmapping exercises that previous Intro to IT classes had completed and there were many that were too busy for me to want to look at.  I recently had to get glasses so this is an issue for me personally, but it may not affect a younger generation.  I enjoy  the clean lines of Facebook  and find them preferable to the busyness of Myspace that my younger students frequent.
This image is from the Worst PowerPoint Presentation
I teach my students that when they create PowerPoints, that they should use images effectively and no more than 2 per page.  The type should be 30 points or more.  I was impressed with the inventiveness and creativity of many of the IT History projects, but there was just so much going on that the message of the history of IT was lost. It would have been helpful to  have the guidance of the presenter to take one through them.
I started looking at various mindmaps on the web to see what I liked and what I disliked.  I loved this simple drawing of the life of William Shakespeare, but it was not interactive.  Another one I enjoyed was the ICT/Glow and Learning styles Mind map, again, it was not interactive.  I did eventually find a few that I thought were useful and interactive using free software called Freemind. This mindmap on Ubuntu was compelling, I liked the mouseover effects. It reminded me of  annotating The Heart of Darkness for our Litt. Reaseach class with Professor Honecker's class.  It will be interesting for me to see how busy our group project turns out...
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Apps for Special Education

Wow, thank you Dustin, for sharing this information. We will make use of it. I am re-posting it on my blog so I do not lose it. I never know when a blog might go down, so anything I need to have, I tend to re-post. Plus, Dustin's blog was SO popular I just had  to post a link to it here.
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch Apps for (Special) Education

Halo and Geography Lessons?

Link to website that bears this photo
I have been living with Halo in my house this summer. My son and my husband play it all the time.  They can't wait for Halo Reach to come out.  Today my son got a geography lesson. The kid he was playing online with at 6:00 at night, our time, told him he had to go to school.  My son argued with him," It is six at night, you are going to school now?"
They had a whole discussion of timelines and datelines, "What day and date is it in Australia anyway?"  So now my son is busy looking up timelines on the computer to track when this player will be home from school.  It will be 2 am and my son better NOT be online then. I may have to set my alarm clock to check to see if he sneaked out of bed. This gives me a tool I can use when teaching geography now.  For extra credit  homework: Get the time and date from three online players and try to figure out where they live using the international datelines. You may NOT ask them where they live (Poor playing behavior anyway).
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Watch it, you made the plist

Ok,  after three hours with  Apple Support, it turns out that one of my Macbooks has more issues than the other.  The new one started working right after two hours of TLC by Titianna and Matthew. The older one, the one you all chipped in to buy me, needed another hour. Apparently, it wasn't just the  DNS server connection, but the library had plist issues and doc issues and more.  We were all over the preference files and in places on my Macbook that I should never need to go.   I hope it doesn't feel violated. Happily enough, now I can post from my favorite computer, in Safari instead of (insert cough here) Firefox(Apple needs to purchase Firefox BTW, that is my solemn recommendation).
I know that my PC, which is a very nice four-year old Dell, was getting excited thinking I was actually going to use it  more frequently, but I had to break the news to it gently.  It needs an update, a bigger hard drive and a makeover that does not involve dust as its main outfit.  My graduate class is saved and as an extra bonus the Fantasy Football site my husband was having trouble with is now fixed as well.  If you ever have trouble with your Macbook loading Safari pages on Blogger, do  all this first.

  1. Empty the cache. Check it.
  2. Reset Safari. Check it.
  3. Unblock Pop-ups. Check it.
  4. Plug in the ethernet and see if it is a wireless problem. Check it.
  5. Install all updates. Check it.
  6. First verify and fix disk permissions. Check it.
  7. Reset the PRAM. Check it.
  8. Make a new administrative account and see if the page loads that way. Check it.
  9. Check DNS servers in Network.Check it.
  10. Check for Safari plist  stuff in home library preferences. Check it.


The Emergency Blogging Scenario has been implemented.

Yep, there is a lot of strange things happening here.  
The Emergency Blogging Scenario has been implemented.

I am posting by email for the first time because blogger has apparently decided not to play nice with my macbooks. However, there is always a silver lining, I have my first guest blogger from Apple, Titianna.  She spent a hour or so with me,  and even posted on my blog.  I am now talking to some mythical, Apple guru named Matthew (Senior advisor) who may or may not be able to help me.  I have discovered that I can post in emergency situations- not like any of you are going to send  911 to me if I post an SOS here. I can post hyperlinks and SOME pictures by email.  Okay, so these are features I always knew existed, but I never had the need to check em' out.   Why do I need to do that?Read my earlier posts about my graduate class, Intro to Instructional Technology. 
So, that is the continuing saga of my blog life.  I CAN post and make different features come to life through the power of my email.  Since I have been hating email lately, and those of you who read my Facebook know what I am talking about, it is nice to know that email is good for something today. Here is my hyperlink to the support page from Apple, apparently my DNS server keeps getting lost. It keeps looking for the old server.

trying to blog


Yet another day at apple (Guest Blogger Titianna)

Today was a great day here @ apple support. Michelle is a sweet wonderful person that called in to us because she was having issues with Blogger and blogging on here.
Well, we did some troubleshooting (the basics, check the internet connection, run software updates etc.)
Michelle was probably one of the funniest and nicest people I've gotten today. She's really made my day.
She actually knows most of what you're supposed to do anyway for Safari. She emptied the cache, and cookies and reset safari and everything. Which is a lot more than most people can do on their own. We're not quite done yet. But by the end we will have this fixed! :-3
Until then. Enjoy Kirby-robics
To the right! (>^_^)>
To the left! <(^_^<)
Touch the sky! ^(^_^)^
Touch your toes! v(^_^)v
HUZZAH! Get a kiss! <(^3^)>
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

I've got trouble, trouble, trouble...

What are the odds that when I HAVE to blog, that I cannot get on my posting area without dusting off the old PC.  Both macbooks refuse to load the page. I can view the blog, can't do a thing to it.  It is funny that now I have to blog for my graduate class and I can't just relax and  blather on the way I usually do.  One of my favorite, successful bloggers  just dumped all her ads so she could say what she wanted without some advertiser telling her she curses too much. Now, I would never curse on my blog, because I am a teacher, but that does not mean that I never read blogs that involve a curse word here or there; in her case it would be at least once a sentence. It took a lot of thought for me to decide which blog to use for the class, I have several, based on my different interest and some that I use just for serious work. but I didn't want to choose one of the work ones, because that is like, you know, work.  I enjoy blogging for myself usually and don't enjoy the work blogs as  much.
First Majors Class,  They had blogs donated by  Stockton's Literature
Department.  They posted their assignments, pictures and videos of the
projects they completed in our class to share with their familes.  
Their blogs became mini- digital portfolios of their writing process.
Since I now have to blog I am wondering if this is how my students feel. It is an eye-opener, because I normally just talk about whatever I am interested in at the moment and now I feel like I may actually have to talk about my intro class a little bit. I will also have to care a bit more about spelling and grammar. Most of the time I just fix mistakes when I happen to catch them; which in the case of this particular blog of mine, can take months, or even years.
Now I know that people will actually READ it, specific people, and not just my beloved random readers, do I have to be interesting?   NOPE! It is my blog. As a teacher having my students blog, I may have to ease up on the restrictions just a tiny smidgen.  A few years ago I tried an editing day once a month with my seventh-graders, where we went back over our blogs and one other blog  and made corrections or suggestions for corrections. This was a great idea that I had forgotten about. I will suggest this to the teachers I will be training this year.
UPDATE:  If I had actually read the assignment, I would have known that I was supposed to  post a relevant link and picture per post.  I apologize if I forgot to put the appropriate caption under to picture to bring attention to the relevance. I am actually excited that we get to blog for this class inspite of my earlier questions. It may the one area in which I get a decent grade if i read the instructions carefully. The link I will share today will be to an article I wrote about blogging in the middle school classroom. Since I saw so many new blogs this week, I just thought I would share my experiences.  I would also like to share an amazing blog by Ben, a student.  He has  links to other amazing blogs, also by students. You can see the types of projects that are post-able to blogs.

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