Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Personal Learning Summary

I honestly can’t say that I learned a lot of content knowledge in this class but it’s not because it wasn’t taught well or the topics were poorly chosen. It’s because I have taken this class out of order. I am one class and an internship away from graduating the E-Learning program so I have seen most of this before. I am the tech coordinator for a school and it is my job to know much of the application knowledge.
With all that said I thought this was a nice class to practice a few of the things I had been taught earlier. I normally don’t get into web 2.0 stuff, but in this class I was a little more interested in it because I was moving through the assignments so quickly. I wish I would have taken the classes in order because having the foundations in this class would have made some other classes have fewer growing pains as I was struggling to keep pace with my peers who had already had the foundation.
I think the greatest thing I learned in this class was through my interaction with Scott McLeod. I went into that blog posting with guns blazing and wrongfully attacked someone who actually cares about education. I have been really jaded by the amount of money that is spent on consults to “fix” education because I know that a lot of teachers get sick of being in the classroom and realize that if you can market a “silver bullet” to an educational problem then schools will spend a fortune on your speakers and materials. I really had to challenge my assumption that everyone not directly involved at the school level is just out to make money (education profiteering) or pushing a narrow agenda. I think through that I became much more open to hearing from consultants and professionals.
I really needed to challenge this mindset because it is not good for me professionally if I am skeptical of everyone. It makes me an outsider and a poor example of a collaborator.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Look Mom! I made a rubric!

I found the rubric to be a difficult assessment piece to write. Over the summer I had the pleasure of taking an assessments class and now I have been trained to think of only assessing what is measurable. Because of this, it is very difficult for me to come up with the right verbs to express what I want to measure. What made it even more difficult was the fact that for some of these digital stories I am going to be measuring their emotional reaction or critical thought. Those two items are very difficult to assess with any type of instrument. I found it necessary because of what I was measuring to provide space for individual feedback, not just the numerical score on the rubric.
Something else that I wanted to include was a reward for what I would consider extra-ordinary projects. I wanted this score set apart even further from the perfect score because I don’t believe that you have to go to those lengths to get the ‘A’. I believe that if you have satisfactorily met all the requirements you have made the ‘A’ and anything above that should just be counted as extra.
I think we get trained to think with rubrics that every category has to have the same number of cells and I wonder if that has more to do with a need for having an option at that level of performance or we just want the chart to look neat? I broke that with my rubric, some grading criteria did not have the same number of options as other criteria but I can justify the purpose for each level for each criteria.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Literary Response and Criticism

I found this week’s assignment to be technically easy but the content was much harder than I thought. My assignment was to have students middle school or older to read a piece of literature and react or respond to it. I selected the book East of Eden for my project. (Students will be able to choose what ever piece of literature they want. A news piece, a book, magazine article, etc...)I found it difficult to meet my expectations without giving away the story. Perhaps this is something that I will have to be ok with in this assignment because I need to students to show me that they understood the story and were same way able to identify with, internalize, sympathize with, etc something in the story.

I included some pictures that I found to support the main idea of my Power Point slides. I uploaded the slide show to slide share and am going to embed it below. I purposely kept the slide show short because students will need more time to be invested in the literature than spent on the final project surrounding the literature. I believe a short slide show can demonstrate all of the learning that they need to demonstrate. I also think students will be more apt to pay attention to more concise shows. I also will get the grading done much more timely.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Creating a Curriculum Page

Here is the link to my Curriculum Page

I really struggled with this assignment because I am not a teacher. I work with teachers, I have multiple teaching licenses but I don't teacher in an official capacity anymore. I do a lot of training and I have created lots of training pages. I didn't want to recyle one of those for this assignment. I find good literature very powerful and I think if I were to start my career path over I may have started out as an English teacher. Anyway, it is that thought and my love of "story" that led me to choose to do my final project on responding to literature.

Literary Analysis and Critique are very complex processes. The student really has to commit to read the text and be aware of all the elements of good literature while reading. Somehow the student has to make an emotional investment into the story as well. It's difficult to react and be moved by good literature when your feelings aren't involved.

My Curriculum Page deals with the elements of literature and the how-to's for literary analysis. There are a couple of presentations that I found. One was on SlideShare, the other I uploaded to SlideShare. Other than that I found some good resources from libraries, professors and publishing companies.

After previewing the pages provided in the course reading I knew that I wanted to provide more than just a list of links so that is why I really tried to incorporate the presentations. I think lots of blocks of black and white text can overwhelm a student and the text is much more likely to just be skimmed. So the presentations are there to break up the text as well as to provide a differnt type of resource.

Monday, October 25, 2010


LA. The student identifies, analyzes, and applies knowledge of the elements of a variety of fiction and literary texts to develop a thoughtful response to a literary selection

I would really like to see students turn in a digital story like I created last week. I think a response to a moving piece of fiction or non-fiction would be a great assignment. I would like to see them read something that evokes an emotional reaction. Whether it is something sad like Diary of Ann Frank or perhaps it is something extremely uplifting like the rescue of the Chilean Miners. I think this type of activitiy lends itself strongly to a subject or assignment that is more narrative based. I don't really want to see a story about why 2+2=4.

At the very minium this needs to be still images and either narration or a piece of music chosen to fit the mood of the story. I think students could probably go as crazy as 3D graphics if they wanted but I would set the sky as the limit and still pictures as the floor. If a student is using music then I think the slides need to have text. If the student is using narration, the narration should match the mood of the story.

• I would open up the media center and connect our students with newspapers, news magazines, and any of the literature that is on the shelves. The final project needs to be digital but the sources for where a student gets his/her don't have to be. Obviously many will choose an online newspaper or TIME magazine online. Also I think Google Images would be necessary as there may be some pictures that won't be able to be obtained any other way. However these images will need to be cited with some kind of generic citation.

•Students will need to have access to a piece of presentation software. In my school district we are fortunate enough to have Power Point on every student workstation. If students have something else at home they want to use that is fine with me. While at school they can use Power Point and export their slides as PNG's to take home and put in their other program. Students will need to access to Digital Cameras, data cables, computers with USB ports. They will also need access to a music library. I can get access to all of Apple Loops if I have a MAC with Sound Track Pro. Or the music teacher generally has a pretty large library that he/she might not mind sharing. Students may also want to use Movie Maker. I think I would make movie maker the standard. Slides can be exported to PNG files and put into Movie Maker. Movie Maker can be used to add transitions, other title slides, sync the music or narration and the file can be exported to a number of self contained movie files. We may even upload these to YouTube.

• Students would need to see some examples of good digital stories. They would need to be familiar with the elements that make a story. They will need practice with some of the equipment. I would need to create a rubric for grading these assignments so students can see what I am looking for. I also think they need some time grading some examples with me. That way they can hear and experience the thoughts that go through my head when I looking at a digital story.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Magic of Digital Story Telling

About a week ago I was supposed to have an interview with St. Pete. College and I was supposed to give a presentation. I had a marvelous 3 point presentation planned on professionalism in communication. It was going to be a homerun. I had practiced it about 5 times revising the content to make sure it was in the 10 minues alotted. The grandeous presentation had passed all of my expectations, but I hadn't let my wife critique it yet. She came and watched. She gave me a few compliments and then said "What if you tell a story?" At first I was dispondent and quiet because I didn't want to have to start all over, but she was right. A story can convey the same ideas but through some character development and a decent plot, a story has the power to hook listeners in a way even the most awesome 3 point presentation could never rival.

I really liked this assignment because it gave me another chance to practice that skill. I think this is something that instructional designers forget. Teaching modis operandi is give information. Teaching where we spew facts, strategies, numbers and dates is like trying to catch the rain in a cup. Sure you'll get some but alot will still fall on the gound. A story can really focus a person's attention more than a presentation. People are drawn into a good story. A good book sucks our attention. I know I am a whole lot more attentive when a story is being told than when a graphic organizer is being passed out.

I work in an elementary school and have an elementary education degree but I also have a degree in Social Studies and I have not done anything with it since entereing grad school. So I choose a historical topic to do by digital story on.

I first used Power Point to collect and organize my photos and text. From here I reopened it in Keynote. I know that Camtasia allows you to export Power Point to video but I don't have Camtasia and Keynote does the same thing. So on my wonderful MAC, I get the Clip Art resources of Microsoft and the functionality of Keynote. I exported the slideshow to Quicktime. I then imported the video into Final Cut Pro and added a music bed provided by Apple Loops. It took a while to upload to YouTube because of the size.

Viola! Digital Story. Took about an hour once I had conceptualized the project. It's kind of sad but you can watch it below.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Principal gives me $1000.00 dollars to buy software?

This is actually a question that I am dealing with right now, but since I just helped the real life school get a $500,000 grant this is a little smaller scale.

First of all I am assuming that the computer already in my room is loaded with all the software currently available on every student machine in my district. (XP, Office 2007, Compass Odyssey, and AR). I would spend a whopping $59.95 to purchase Kidspiration. I think it is an awesome tool.

Polk County has drunk the Max Thompson LFS Kool-Aid so we are all about graphic organizers and summarizing thinking. Kidspiration helps kids build their own graphic organizers and is simple enough that first graders can master it. With the remaining money I would buy another computer and copy of Kidspriation. I would also have enough left over to cover the $100 to Microsft for the XP license as well as the Office license.

After looking at the specs for Kidspiration I am fairly certain that my iPod Touch could run it.

Processor: Pentium II 266 MHz or faster
Operating System: Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP (including XP Tablet PC Edition) or Vista; 128 MB of RAM; 75 MB of available hard disk space; 250 MB for full install
Display: 800x600; 1024 X 768 recommended, 16-bit color or higherCD-ROM drive (for installation only)

Maciacintosh (Notice how they spelled Macintosh? Where was the spell check?)
Processor: Macintosh G3 300 MHz or faster
Operating System: OS X, version 10.2.8 or newer; 192 MB minimum RAM75 MB of available hard disk space; 250 for full install
Display: 800x600 minimum; 1024 × 768 recommended, thousands of colors or higher; CD-ROM drive (for installation only)

The computer I am currently using

XP Pro
Celeron M 150 GHz = to a lower Pentium 4
2 GB of Ram (.13 of which is being used by the graphics card)
104 GB of free space (Original HD would probably had 36GB left)
The ATI Raedon Express 200M graphics card is currenly running at 1024 X 768, 32 bit
3 USB 2.0 slots
1 PCMI card slot
S-Video out
Mic/Headphones/internal speakers

The Mac I was using earlier

OS 10.5 Leopard
Intel CoreDuo 2.16 GHz
2GB of RAM
96GB available HD
Raedon Express1600 Graphics Card
1680X1050 32bit
5 USB 2.0
1 Firewire 400
Additional Monitor connector
Super Drive CD-RW, DVD-RW(DL)
Mic/Headphones/internal speakers

On my own I went and got an A+ Certification. A+ is the IT industry standard for PC repair and diagnostic for both hardware and software. This is a part of my job so this assignment was not a stretch for me. I was going to find a server based application and see if pick one of the server's specs against the application for compatibility but I went with the MAC option instead.

One of the downfalls of this weeks reading in my opinion was the ommition of formatting. Storage formatting is something that I think is very important. MAC uses one kind of formatting and Windows uses another. MAC can read Windows formatting but Windows can't read MAC. (MAC's are great, I can sync my plain LG cell phone and my MAC can read the files in it). Formatting is how data is organized. While in theory both are formatted similarly, they don't act the same in practice. The how and why is not important. What is important is that if you go back and forth between MACs and PCs as I do you need to have the storage device that you are sharing between the 2 in a format that both MAC and PC and read and write to. FAT32 is the file fomat that can be read and written to by both MAC and PC. Think of it as O+ and O- blood types in one. I have a couple of flash drives that I carry around that are formatted in FAT32 so that no matter what computer I am on they can be read and written to.

You don't want to format your computer's hard drive in FAT32 because Either FAT32 only recognizes up to like 32 GB or it can't save a file larger than like 4GB (can't remember which but it has size limitations) Smaller storage devices are fine with FAT32.