Self Evaluation of Blogging

The digital project that I chose to assess is my blog and the entries I have posted over the course of time in the EDIM program.  The blog I choose (linked here provides a scoring criteria that includes critical reading, critical thinking, creative thinking, quality of entries and community of practice.  I believe each of these pieces plays an important role in assessing what a quality blog post should consist of.  Prior to the EDIM program, I didn’t have a blog nor did I follow anyone’s blog so determining what a quality blog looked like was difficult because I didn’t have much to compare mines too.  Now that I am reviewing this blog rubric, I realize that I could have posted more intellectually as well as link my topics to others thus expanding the learning network.

In regards to Critical Reading, I would rate myself at a Master (4 pts) level because I did read the readings and reflected on them to create a personalized approach towards the topic.  I think I could have done more research such as reading other postings/articles about the same topic.  For Critical Thinking, I would rate myself at a Master (4 pts) level because I feel that my posts demonstrated upper level thinking and displayed my growth through the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of the topic.  In looking at Creative Thinking, I would rate myself at the Master (4 pts) level once again and this is due to my blog approach being more of a how to take this knowledge and apply it to my own practice.  I always try to reflect and see how the topic can be used where applicable and I think I am pretty creative in my analysis of certain topics.  For Quality of Entries, I would rate myself at the Master (4 pts) level again because I feel that I can always add more or contribute more to the learning community.  During the EDIM 514 class, I felt very rushed in my work and I think it lacked in quality because I hold my work and myself to a higher standard.  Lastly, Community Practice, I would rate myself as an Apprentice (3 pts) because I am very new to the blogging community and I do not contribute as much as I should.  I feel overwhelmed at times and to organize my thoughts outside of the classroom can sometimes be a daunting task.  I think once my work load decreases with the completion of this program, I’ll be able to reflect and apply what I’ve learned which will hopefully allow me the thought process to create thought provoking, quality posts.

Overall, I am very happy with my blog posts and I hope to continue this Personal Learning Network I’ve created through my Twitter and Google Reader.

Digital Portfolio

The final project for EDIM 514 was to create a Digital Portfolio.  I found this assignment to be the perfect way to conclude my work in the EDIM program at Wilkes.  It allowed me to review and revisit all of the projects and assignments I completed and enabled me to display them as an accomplishment of my work this year.  I like the idea of having a Digital Portfolio and I plan to either edit or create another Digital Portfolio that highlights my professional experiences and accolades.  I plan on sharing my EDIM Digital Portfolio with my colleagues whom inquire about this program and it can give them some insight as to what to expect.  Please provide any comments in the comment boxes on each page.

It has been a pleasure!  Thank you for all that you’ve shared!

Cell Phone Project Interview

As I debated on whom to contact for this assignment, I decided to choose a teacher who teaches the same subject and grade level as myself.  As I perused through the list, I found exactly what I was looking for.  The person I choose to contact first and excitedly, who contacted me back the quickest, was Mike Dionne.  Mike teaches Computer Technology in New York and through the questionnaire he sent me, he also teaches 7th grade technology which is exactly what I teach.  When I had contacted him, he had already received a request from one of my peers in EDIM 514 and he had prepared this questionnaire for their interview.  To reduce redundancy, he sent this questionnaire attached to his response from my first email.  After reading through the questions and answers, I realized many of my questions were answered.  After some thought, I added 3 more questions below and I have yet to get a response from him.

What I learned from this experience is that cell phones are being used to enhance instruction in classrooms everyday.  I found it wonderful that his principal supported him and his comment about the superintendent not supporting it and not knowing what was going on is probably typical of a lot of people who oppose this kind of technology in the classroom.  I also confirmed a suspicion of mines that we give our students too much credit about knowing how to use certain technology.  It is true that we assume way too much and should do “temperature checks” every once in a while to see where our students’ understanding is of the technology.

I decided to take a poll from my students one on their view of using cell phones in the classroom.  I wanted to know if they felt responsible and capable of using a cell phone in the classroom for instructional purposes only.  Before they responded, many of them said “Honestly…” and the following statement “no…we would text and do other things, not school related.”  With that statement, I had to ask myself “How do we engage them with this technology so they are responsible and capable?”  This conversation will definitely continue and I look forward to hearing what my peers think about cell phones in the classroom.

Q: What subject and grade level do you teach?
A: I teach 1 high school class.  Computer Applications. The computer Apps course is where I use cell phones.  I teach 5 sections of 7th grade technology as well. For the previous 15 years I was the District Technology Director.  Budget cuts forced me back into the classroom this year.

Q: How long have you been teaching?

A:  This is my 31st year.

Q: How did your administration support this project?
A: When I started I had support from my building principal.  Our policy prohibits their use unless granted permission by the principal.  Our superintendent was against it.  I’m not even sure the superintendent new what we were doing.

Q: How successful do you feel this project has been?
A: I feel that the students learned a lot.  I believe they are experts on the technology they want to use.  However we give them way too much credit since their use of technology is narrow.  All of my students have cell phones, but did not know that most of the apps you can use for the classroom even existed.

Q: What was your greatest challenge in realizing this project?
A: Making sure everyone could participate even without a cell phone.

Q: What advice would you give to teachers who are interested in doing similar projects using cell phones?
A: It’s important to admit that you may not know everything about cell phones.  Be humble, sharing, and giving with your students and they will reciprocate.  Students love to share there knowledge with you and everyone else.  Take advantage of it.  In my classes I promote learning from each other.  Most days I learn something new from them.

Q:  How do you overcome the technical challenges that arise with various forms of technology media? (ex: not all your students have the same phones therefore each phone comes with different issues)

A:  The manner in which I use cell phones is probably different than how many would use them.  I have the kids research and find apps for their phones that could be used in most classes.  Therefore it’s easy for the students to match up an app with their phones capabilities.  However I require several apps per student and at least one app must work on every phone in the room.

Q:  What would you consider to be the greatest accomplishments from this project?

A:  Teaching the kids that there is more to their phones than the ability to socialize.  Most of them aren’t aware of the apps out there.

Q:  What are the greatest benefits of using cell phones in the classroom?

A.  The biggest advantages as I see are”

  1. Most students have them.  I have had 100% of my students with cell phones going on 3 years now and our free and reduced rate is around 60%.
  2. We are stepping into their world…….most of them do not remember life without a cell phone.  (Showing my age there)  Maybe you don’t remember it either.  Let’s just say I made it this far without one.  ( I have a Tracfone, go figure)
  3. Best of all from my point of view…..the school does not have to buy them.  I also think if we train our teachers to train the kids, most parents would get their kids a cell phone if it helped them succeed in school.

Digital Storytelling via Cell Phones

My journey with this assignment started on Wednesday, December 1st.  I read the assignment instructions and thought, wow, this sounds like a fun and easy assignment…I think I’ll enjoy it.  I thought out what I was going to do in response to “I became an educator because…”  I determined that I wanted to get a student perspective of “What a good teacher is?” I thought this would exemplify the reasons I decided to teach.  I have a Samsung Moment phone which is a Smart phone and has a camera and video feature.  After school, a few students offered their help and were willing to be in my digital story.  I opened the story with a video of myself explaining my approach to this assignment and concluded that my students would be sharing their perspective of a good teacher.  I then transitioned into the student portion of this story and captured 5-10 sec video pieces of my students.  My students shared their sentiments and their responses were “I like a teacher who is prepared”,” I like a teacher who makes learning fun”, “I like a teacher who cares about their students”.  After capturing the video, I needed to find a way to get the video online.  This is where the frustration, problems and overall epic failure began.

First, I read the directions to the assignment and I wanted to try and create the entire digital story on my cell phone.  I tried to access the slideshow feature but I didn’t know how to just capture the 7 videos I took rather than the entire video library.  Since that did not work out, I tried to upload my videos to Youtube and was unsuccessful due to three reasons.  1.  I needed to plug my phone into a power source before trying (that took me 2 days to figure out) 2.  I need to create a channel on my Youtube account 3.  When I finally went to upload it, I had unmounted my sd card therefore there were no videos on my camera.  At this point, I went online and read some blogs about transferring media either to the Internet or my computer.  My next attempt was to try Photobucket because I had read that someone who had a Samsung Moment was able to transfer their videos and photos easily.  I joined Photobucket and found that not to be the case.  I even download Snapbucket thinking the application might make the transfer easier just to realize that it is much easier for files you capture using Snapbucket.  I then went online to listen to the archived webinar my professor posted about the entire unit’s projects.  He mentioned using the USB cord that came with the phone to transfer the files from phone to the computer.  This required me to return to the blogs and find out how to get my phone recognized by my computer.  Once I debugged the USB, my computer recognized my phone and I was able to get the videos off.  Next step was to import the videos into iMovie so that I could edit them.  Well, the videos downloaded as a .3gp format and iMovie wouldn’t recognize this so I needed to download a file converter.  Once the file converter was downloaded, I was then able to get the movies converted to an .avi format which I know iMovie recognizes.  I was so excited once I was able to import the videos into iMovie.  That excitement didn’t last too long.  I went to view the new imported movies to find out there was no sound attached to the video.  I went back to the original .3gp files and confirmed that those files downloaded with audio but somehow the audio got lost in the conversion.  I then went back to the converter and tried the other formats they offered (mpg, mp4, wmv) and to no avail, none of those formats were able to be imported to iMovie.  After 6 hours of frustration and defeat, I decided that I would just stick with the non-audio video so my overall process would be documented.

Although I felt defeated by the assignment, the process was a huge learning experience.  I learned so much about the capabilities of my phone and I know how to transfer files from my phone to my computer now.  I also know how use YouTube and PhotoBucket better as well as I found a file converter that is easy to use and works (a little).  I thought about abandoning the video that I took with my students and trying a different avenue but I was determined to tell the story the way I originally wanted to.  Although the final product isn’t what I wanted it to be, I think I’ve been inspired to want to know more about using cell phones and getting through the obstacles so that I can assist my students when they face the same issues I did.  The problem I do see with assisting my students is not knowing all of the different phones an capabilities which I think would hinder me to help all of them.  Fortunately, my students are very resilient and would search the ends of the Internet to find an answer.  I think I’ll ask a student tomorrow to help me solve some of the issues I faced trying to get this project done.  Below you will find my attempt at creating my photo story and I wish it came out better just click on my dropbox link.

Ed Tech Talk Experience

I attended the EdTechTalk session, Teachers Teaching Teachers on Wednesday, November 30th, and the topic of conversation surrounded peer-to-peer learning and creating college courses for credit.  There were 5 active participants in the discussion with one of them being the facilitator.  Some participants were more vocal because of their experiences with the topic whereas others provided their feedback based upon what was being presented.

The strengths of the Live stream was the ability to join in the conversation with experts, novices, enthusiasts in education and contribute to a learning forum.  I also liked the opportunity to ask questions about the topic and get direct feedback from people whom have gone through it.  Another strength is that this format allows people from all around the world to speak with each other.  It was really neat because there was a teacher who teaches at an American school in Mexico.  Some weaknesses that this show format has is the poor quality of video based upon each persons equipment, lighting, background, angle and sound.  This being more of a cosmetic preference but it can still be very distracting and hard to focus.  One participant was so close to his webcam that I could only see his eyes, nose and mouth, which made it difficult to focus on what, he was saying.  Another weakness was the articulation of the participants.  Some participants paused, used “ums” and had a lack of eye contact when sharing their discussion point.  It was very difficult to focus.

I would participate in a future show of this nature if I was really interested in the topic and has something to bring to the table.  I felt that this topic was not really pertinent to myself and I found that information to be very logical and in-depth which made it difficult to follow and contribute.  I would definitely integrate a Live stream into my classroom and I’ve been brainstorming on how certain topics I could present on.  I teach middle school therefore I would need the topic to be very interesting and engaging for my students to pay attention.  One idea that came to mind would be use this format as a scavenger hunt for a project in which I would share information either once or twice a week.  This would be the only avenue that I would share this information through so students who couldn’t attend live sessions; they would have to watch the archive version.  I think my students might find this format to be more engaging then my classroom lectures and knowing that the information shared would be useful for their project.

Don’t forget…LIVE Broadcast today at 2:00pm HST!

Please join me at 2:00pm HST for my Live Broadcast of how to integrate social networking into your classroom.  I hope to see you online!

LIVE Broadcast 11/23/11 2:00pm HST

Please join me in a Live Broadcast of “Edmodo = Social Networking and Learning at the Same Time” which will be broadcasted live on 11/23/11 at 2:00pm HST.  I will share how to integrate Edmodo’s many social networking features into your current curriculum to engage students into discussions, peer feedback and active participation.

Integrating Social Networking

Starting Your Own Business Unit

Lesson: Creating Your Business Commercial

Learning Targets:

  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of propaganda techniques through review of commercials and discussions (on Edmodo) of the techniques used.  Students will be graded holistically using a discussion rubric.
  • Students will explain the connection of propaganda techniques and their commercial through analysis of their storyboard and script.  The activity will be graded holistically looking for evidence of reasoning and understanding.
  • Students will demonstrate basic video capturing skills through filming of their business commercial.  Informal feedback will be given throughout the storyboard and script creation process as well as the filming process.  Students will be graded on their ability to apply the skills learned and collaboration of team members.
  • Students will create a business commercial using iMovie and will be graded using the Business Commercial rubric.
  • Students will self-evaluate their commercial using a self-reflection sheet an share their feedback with their group members.  Final evaluations will be graded using a reflection rubric and will be incorporated into their final project grade.

Project Description:

The Starting Your Own Business Unit is a 9-week unit of study about business and entrepreneurship.  The content is supported through the use of various technologies, both hardware and web-based, in which students will work in groups to develop an imaginary business.  Students will be enrolled in Edmodo, a social learning network, which will help to support their learning through posted lessons, discussions and small group spaces to communicate and collaborate their business.

In Creating Your Business Commercial lesson, students will work in their business groups and create a business commercial for their business.  Students will first learn about various propaganda techniques used in commercials and will be required to incorporate at least 3 propaganda techniques in their final project.  Students will also learn about basic cinematography techniques, which integrate lighting, sound and framing of their video shots.  I have created a Prezi in which I have posted to my Edmodo wall for my students to view before they gather in their groups to brainstorm their commercial details. Discussion questions will be posted on Edmodo and will require all students to respond. Students will then be required to create a storyboard and write a script before they can start videoing their footage.  All students must post their storyboards and scripts to their class’ Edmodo wall for teacher and peer feedback and must integrate any relative and useful constructive feedback. Once changes have been made to their storyboard and script, students are not able to begin filming their commercial footage.  Finally, students will be guided through a tutorial on how to use iMovie and the final product will be edited using iMovie.  All final projects will be posted on Edmodo and students will once again have the opportunity to provide feedback.  Each group will self evaluate their work using a rubric and the grade they give themselves will be a portion of their overall grade for this project.

Edmodo Group Request:

Creating Your Business Commercial PREZI

Edmodo to have a Plagiarism fliter?

For the Web 2.0 tool Edmodo, one of the features that makes it less desirable for teachers is the Assignment tool.  I like the fact that students can submit their and receive a grade directly to site but there is no plagiarism filter such as the one that provides.  A tool that I use in my classroom is Blackboard and their assignment and grading feature collaborates with  I would like to be able to have my student’s work be scanned for plagiarism as well as their work contributes to Turnitin’s database of works.  I have emailed Edmodo but I have not heard back from them yet.  When I do, I will post their response to my blog.

Analyzing Web 2.0 Tools and Rubric

Web 2.0 Awesomeness Scale Review

Edmodo: Score  31/36

Diigo: Score 28/36

Glogster:  30/36

Being able to filter through Web 2.0 sites to deem their relevance, collaboration and safety is an important trait to have as an educator.  In this week’s collaborative assignment, our class came up with a Web 2.0 Awesomeness Scale which helps filtering through these types of sites that much easier.  The most important filter that I found was Teacher Management.  As an educator, we have a responsibility to our students to be able to manage the tool they are using whether it be content, social collaboration or safety, we need to make sure we are creating a safe, interactive learning environment.  I also think providing quality feedback quickly is important for teacher management because it supports the student learning and allows the feedback to be applied immediately in which student questions/comments/assessments can support their growth.

The next most important human filter is Content Appropriateness for Age Level.  Educators need to recognize the Web 2.0 tool as supporting the learning experience.  If the tool is not appropriate, the learning experience is not enhanced thus disqualifying the tool for the purpose intended.  I’ve seen students struggle to use a tool because it was too advanced for them or it didn’t fit the purpose of the assignment.  We have to test tools out first before introducing them to our students.  Lastly, a human filter I find important is having Edu-Friendly Features.  When a site is built specifically for educational purposes, the approach aligns with the use thus making the connection to the tool that much easier.  An example of this is Glogster and GlogsterEDU.  The difference is the EDU version allows for a safe, private, more collaboration between teachers, students and the entire class.   All of the human filters on the Web 2.0 scale are important in their own right and deserve a place in evaluating Web 2.0 sites for use in education.

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