Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing #11.5: Finished with Air Left in the Tanks

About 5 days ago I didn't think I would make it to the end. Wasn't sure I'd get to declare myself a certified diver...thought I still be playing along the shore and dipping my toes in the water here and there. But I jumped in with both feet late Friday and kicked my way to the bottom of the pile. And so glad I did! It was worth all the time and trials I went through to get thru all of these things!

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
I loved the image gene
rators as I always do. I think Glogster holds a lot of promise...if I can just find the time to create the ones I already have formulated in my mind. The places to park resources are also important finds to it YouTube or Slideshare, I like having a place to easily put things that will also be available easily.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
Just made me remember it is a consistent, on-going thing and I can't rest on my laurels or the things I learned a while ago...have to keep moving forward.

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
That I didn't get nauseated over my voice in the screencast means I must be getting used to the idea. And that my existence remained in SL from my previous venture there.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

Stop the clocks and prevent the updating of the firewall right in the big middle of our PJPD...o, wait we aren't in control of those things are we. Ok...Make it clearer that comments are JUST as important to beachcombers as they were (and are)to Players.

It's been a blast...and I didn't get too sunburned!

These tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring." ( June 09, Clay Shirky)

Thing #11: Being a Responsible Digital Citizen

In talking about digital citizenship, I think a lot of the discussion needs to be with the adults in the school setting first and foremost. The teachers in particular set the tone of learning in their classrooms and even in common areas such as the library. But other educators such as principals and librarians need to be ready, willing and able model and demonstrate appropriate online behavior.

For me, it breaks down into cyberbulling, identity protection, copyright issues, and the care of hardware and other resources. We all have to share the hardware and the materials. The abuse of such makes it hard on others. A perfect example was the inappropriate use of Wikipedia made it impossible for our group to work in and learn about adding and editing info to that particular resource. We all know what happens when computers and other "machines" are not treated carefully. This includes going behind the scenes and doing malicious things that cause problems. Again, it affects the success of all.

We teach our students to be careful in the real world about talking and interacting with strangers. Things can happen at the corner bus stop. Why we think we do not need to teach those same types of things for the protection of our students online concerns me. We need to be sure that the students understand appropriate behavior and then we must trust them to do the right thing. We can not control their every move online, just like we can not monitor their every move at the bus stop.

The same goes for being nice and polite to each other online. We don't accept bullying on the playground; we should not accept it online. In some ways, I think this might be hard to accomplish. Many facets of society now days do not reflect much respect for each other. I am afraid the anonymity of the online world makes this even more of a problem in some cases. But I try not to surrender to the accepted norm; I try to rise above it.

Copyright issues have always been a concern in education. We need to be sure we encourage our students to credit others who provide the information and resources they choose to use. The copyright changes of a few months back have made it a little easier to use things...provided credit is properly included.

Each participant of 11.5 More Things has addressed this topic of digital citizenship. The Lifeguards have placed all those thoughts and any resources included on a wiki page for eveyone's use.

Thing #10: A Second Chance at Second Life

I entered Second Life under pretty controlled conditions about a year and a half ago because of an event I was attending. It wasn't easy for me to do, but I managed to create a very basic character and managed to do 3 trips into SL with specific locations given me.

This weekend I dusted off my account, took my character named Maribelle Jaxxon out of mothballs, downloaded the software onto my new computer, but only after I kept getting a message that my browser couldn't handle the site I was trying to visit, and went for a walk to the visit the virtual Alamo.

It was an interesting, although lonely visit. No one was around today anywhere I went around the place. I still have not mastered the controls and therefore, did not fly today. I did a little jumping, but no sitting. Some things never change!

I visited Second Life in Education for some more information about the Alamo site and other interesting sites like The Weather Channel, Ancient Rome, the Language Lab for ESL students and so many more I can't listen them! You just need to go visit for yourself.

I would like to go an adventure with others, especially if they are moe skilled in details. Maybe like some of the other Things I have been thru this summer, I'll find a willing participant and we can have some virtual fun. Heck, I might even spend the time finding a new outfit!

Thing #9: Slideshare-ing Information

I made myself create a slideshow on my Mac so that I could practice using Keynote and saving pictures from FlickrCC, as well as the skill of uploading to Slideshare. I did go ahead and create my free account so that I can move lots of PPTs and future Keynotes to this site so I know where they are...and anyone else who might want access to the info will be able to find them too.

The process was simple...there was some waiting time while it was being converted, but I just went off and did some other chores so it wouldn't feel like it took "forever!"

Thing #8: Screen Casting My Attempt Upon the 'Net

All of these sites for making video tutorials present very necessary resources. It only makes sense to capture "how-tos" and save them for others to use. I am trying really hard to get over the feelings I get when I have to listen to my own voice. I am just going to do what I need to do an let it go!

I looked at Screencastle, but could never really get it to start. It might have been the fact I was working on my MAC. I ended up making a sample using Screen-o-matic. Seemed pretty simple although I did "lose" the toolbar and could not end it exactly where I wanted. But I know with practice it will come easier. I also hope to talk to other Beachcombers and see how they handled the details with these things!

So here is my creation.

It is a very small version because of the limitations of the Blog.
I did upload the mp4 file to the Curriculum Wiki sidebar so you could see it in a larger form if you want. Scroll way down the sidebar to How to Grab a picture on the Mac.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing #7: Fodder for a TV Junkie

I admit it. Having to check out video resources is a difficult task for a kid trying to pick one type of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins or one type of candy in an old-fashion candy store! It was painful, but somebody had to do it! Folks, I'm a TV junkie! I only purchase so much cable, less for budget reasons than I would never get anything done if I had any more choices!

I have always tried to add video to my teaching in whatever form was available ever since the days of the 3/4 in. video tapes and the 2-man size players we had way back in the late 70s! One of my first responsibilities as a librarian was managing the in-house video distribution center for my my school.

To have video on demand from numerous sources at our fingertips is just wonderful! No timelines to maintain, no schedule books for limited equipment, and choices for all levels and all needs...not to mention the uploading of student projects with the freedom to view whenever!

I have visited and used videos from all of the sources included in this activity. I really hope our district eventually will make YouTube available, but the ease of converting a video with a program like Zamzar makes me ok with the restriction if it has to be.

I do worry that like VHS and DVD movies, some of this video will be used for babysitting purposes and not as support for teaching and learning situations. But as with the previous formats, good uses make its availability necessary. I am really anxious to see home-grown products added and shared. I hope this summer activity will lead to such projects in many classrooms and libraries.

For my samples, I pulled some YouTube videos showcasing one of my favorite authors who died a few days ago. Frank McCourt always fascinated me, not only with his writing about his family, his life in Ireland, and his teaching experiences, but with his outlook on life in general. I would have loved to have known him in real life and had dinner conversation with him. But I get to read his words and hear his voice. That's good enough.

Thing #6: I Touching an I-Phone

Loving my MAC as I do, I was prepared to enjoy my experience with an I-Phone and/or I-touch. And I did, with one exception.

I seriously thought about trading in my Blackberry for an I-phone when my contract ended this month, but after spending time with my daughter's I-phone a couple of weeks ago, I am unsure that would be a good move. I don't do well with the keyboard! I also had an opportunity to see an I-phone sync with my car and it wasn't as successful as my Blackberry.

So I think for me personally, I will invest in a I-touch so I can continue to play around with and learn about the various apps. There are so many interesting things to choose. I did work with the gps while in Dallas and that was pretty cool. I do like the ones like the level and all the math flash cards. And the various map apps were fun too.

I got to see lots of elementary PBL students using the I-touches during their summer session and am firmly convinced that the kids will take hold of these and find uses that we can't even imagine. We need to give them ample opportunity to experiment with them.

Some of the sites that I have investigated looking for apps info include:

Here is an article about creating art using an apps called Brushes (don't know if it is free or costs $) that looks very interesting.

Here is a video that shows some of the features of the latest version of the I-phone. This video was released in June 09 and is available at this location should this embeded version not work.