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Digital Portfolio: Meet Me

Denise M. Whiteman

     My name is Denise Whiteman and this is my last Instructional Media class. I love the projects that we have done in many of the classes. I never would have thought there were so many practical things to learn about using technology in the classroom. I am very pleased!

     My name is Denise Whiteman and I have been the elementary librarian for dinky rural Otto-Eldred School District for 25 years now and I LOVE my job. Otto-Eldred is a very small, very rural district nestled in the foothills of the Allegany Mountains along the PA-NY border about two hours east of Erie, PA. With the recent closing of the original Ethan Allen plant, our district got hit hard. Our elementary enrollment is down to about 350 so I am grateful to still be full-time. It isn’t perfect, but I love working with the kids and my colleagues. My schedule is packed more than I prefer, which makes it difficult to put much time into creative new materials, but I am realistic enough to know that this is not an unusual thing these days.  I see a lot of different kinds of successes and that makes me feel really good about what I do.

     I grew up in southeastern Pennsylvania and graduated from rural Kutztown University. I have a BS in Education with a specialization in Library Science. This is my first master’s degree and I am excited to be graduating in May. This degree program has opened many new talents for my district to draw upon, especially considering we are “technologically disadvantaged”, to go along with being economically disadvantaged. Grant money only goes so far, and in our kind of physical location, it is difficult to lure technology whizzes in. Our district is barely accepting wiki pages as a viable instructional tool, so blogs, podcasts, and such are still on the horizon for us. In regard to languages, English is my only real language, but I know enough Pennsylvania Dutch, German, and Latin to get by, with a spattering of Japanese. Sadly, “texting” is not one of my languages. I can read very little of what the kids are chatting with. I have several “extra-curricular” involvements which I feel greatly enhance my instruction. They include tap and jazz dance, geocaching, foster care, and volunteering at the Erie Zoo. I love animal handling at the zoo the most (especially the baby alligators and other reptiles!), and that has provided extensive enrichment to my class content.

     In my personal life I have several diverse distractions/stress relievers (though, I guess in all reality some of them are stressors). I have been doing foster care for about 12 years; we have one extra kid right now. I have been volunteering at the Erie Zoo for about 6 years. Though the zoo is 2 hours away I still manage to have some of the highest numbers of hours every year (always over 200, but over 400 one year)! My favorite thing to do for them is animal handling. I do this for ZooBoo also (“Trick or Treating” with the animals at the zoo); I did a rat, scorpion, and Ozzie the ball python. My all time favorites are the baby alligators – nothing is more cool than holding and talking about the babies! This year I had the coolest experience. When I went down to the reptile room for the scorpion I had to walk over the chute used for the cats (leopards & jaguars) to go from their dens to the exhibits. Guess what?! One of the leopards was right there – I was within a foot of him! Do I have some cool opportunities or what! Though my favorites are the reptiles (snakes, bearded dragons, skinks) , I also get to handle fuzzies like chinchillas, ferrets, rabbits, chickens and doves, and an assortment of rodents. My family and I also enjoy geocaching. We are working on the Allegany GeoTrail and loving it! I have been doing tap dancing for 12 years – I take 2 kid classes and 2 adult classes. On show years I tutor the adults a couple hours on weekends, too. Because I have recently lost over 100 pounds I have added jazz and belly dancing! I have been married for 17 years, have one 15 year old biological daughter, one 17 year old adopted daughter (she came as a foster kid), 1 dog, 2 cats, and a degu (a very cool rodent that looks like a mix between a gerbil and a squirrel). I live in the “boondocks” and love it!

     If you really feel the need to contact me, you can email me at school at dwhiteman@ottoeldred.orgCool 

Video Introduction

     This video introduction was created during my first Wilkes class “Digital Storytelling”. I had been teaching 24 years at the time and 100 pounds heavier at the time. A lot has changed!


Biographical Flyer:

     This flyer was created for “Differentiation Supported by Technology”. The purpose of the assignment was to create a one-page flyer that describes your background and how you use technology to support differentiated instruction. The goal is to include as much information as you can.




Cell Phone Digital Story

     My instructor was flexible enough to make an allowance for this one project. In my area, cell phone service is spotty, at best, so I do not own a cell phone. I was able to use a digital camcorder with the understanding that this project CAN be done entirely using a cell phone. The task was to create a digital story with your cell phone based on the following: “I knew I was going to be an educator when…” Incorporate video, photos, voice, or any other application, so long as it is entirely cell phone based.

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