Tuesday, July 14, 2009


1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? Wow. I learned so many new things I am am going to enjoy. I have learned so much more about Video Hosting and Video Resources. I am really going to put those to good use this year. I'm motivated to write a new grant for an i-touch in my classroom, and I'm looking forward to using slide share, specifically 280 slides to create a project of my own, as well as student projects. Additionally, I'm learning more and more about Facebook, all that can put on a Facebook page, and the gaming that goes on there. I've been included in pillow fights, food fights, and have gotten in touch with old friends.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? I have more tools available to assist me in the classroom and more things I can share with my students. I am excited about helping them create digital projects this year. I am going to talk my teaching assistant into investigating some of what I have learned so she too can assist the students in our classroom. Why should I keep all the fun to myself?

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I thought that I would enjoy the Avatar world more than I did. I am going to give this a second look and investigate it a little further. I have no interest in becoming proficient at it and taking on a second life, but after a discussion with my nieces and nephews, I'm going to try to see their point of view.

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I enjoyed doing this much more than I did the 23 things last year. Maybe because I am a little more computer proficient than I was. I thought 11.5 things was more manageable. Lastyear I was extremely anxious about completing all of the tasks and couldn't wait to be finished. This year I am motivated to explore more following completing the class. I really appreciate being able to do these "things" in my own time and at my own pace and the comments and questions that were posted on my blog. Thanks to all who worked on this project. Many thanks for the time spent to bring this information to those of us who took the class. I am going to encourage my faculty to take 23 and 11.5 things. We ALL need to learn about tools available to us and our students.

Thing 9 Slideshare

I really liked learning about slideshare and 280 slides. I went onto the sites and played around. It is much like creating a photobook presentaiton that I did last summer on one of my brother's programs. All I had to do was download pics, select transitions, and add text. If I wanted to add music, I could. With 280 pics, it is much the same.

I think slide share is a great way for students to share their products and what could be better than not having to access a server AND it is FREE! I love that 4 letter word. I think I could use this to create a digital portfolio for the students in my class and at the end of the year they could see the progress they have made. And what a great tool for our older students to be able to share their work. I see this as a great SEL tool. Students who have difficulty with fine motor can create professional looking projects and beam with pride! This is fabulous!

Note: I wanted to read Slide Share by Stephen's Lighthouse and Joyce Valenza's post about authorStream and its enhanced capabilities over Slidehsare, but the new filtering system with SBISD would not permit me on these sites. Now, onto my final evaluation task....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Thing 8.2

This frame was taken from a powerpoint created by Jamie Unverzagt. I used Goview to create this. It was the most user friendly for me. I liked all the ways I can share these. It can also be sync'd to i-pod or i-touch. The issues I had were with accessing the internal mic on the computer. I can see using this to help students learn to spell their names at the beginning of the year. I can take their photos, voice-over the photos and spell their names using a visual by inserting the letters as titles. Later in the year, students can use our digital cameras and voiceover the photos they take. The possibilites are limitless! I think using this program will be great fun for my classroom. I just need time to teach my assistant so she can "play" with the children too!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Thing 8

Introducing my sweet Rusty Bojangles. He is the inspiration for the name of my blog. He's adorable, don't you think?

Thing 10

avatar - a new personification of a familiar idea; "the embodiment of hope"; "the incarnation of evil"; "the very avatar of cunning"

I wanted to get a clearer understanding of what Avatar meant, as my understanding has always been a "god-like being". However, after this brief, and I do mean brief experience, I have many thoughts running through my mind.

First, many of the avatars I encountered are so far removed from god-like, I wonder why this word is used to describe these virtual beings. I read quite a bit before I chose to enter my Second Life. One article I read was about a woman whose avatar was enslaved by her boyfriend. While she was "off-line", he decided to make her avatar his slave. When she returned, her own virtual home was a mess and her avatar was a wreck. To get back at him, she planned a pool party while he was "off-line". His avatar, which was on "auto-pilot" was invited to the party. The avatar joined other guests in the pool, and the girlfriend removed all possibilities for him to get out of the pool. His avatar drowned. I realize to some this is a game, but it made me think more deeply about the gamers and the gaming world. While this can be a great experience, like the video I watched on Heyjude's Blog: Soundtrack: Moderato – Alexander Blu (Creative Commons), about a school that used Second Life as a teaching tool for creativity and experiences, it can be a bad experience.

New to Second Life, I had difficulty maneuvering my avatar and I really wasn't so motivated to perfect it. I have never been much at playing games, and this was very similar. I have one language, so being among others who are speakers of other languages, and that have very low opinions of Americans, I did not feel very welcome in this experience.

I'm glad to have had this learning, and I do see the value it has in education for older students, but I strongly feel that you have to have good order in your first life before you take on a second life. I can see where one can get really caught up in a Second Life and abandon reality.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Thing 11 Citizenship

I enjoyed reading many of the articles posted throughout the links in this section. I especially enjoyed reading articles related to the different generations using the digital world. An article that stuck with me was about the "Digital Divide". I see this happening in my hometown church, as the new pastor there is trying to employ the use of technology to "reach the masses", but the elderly are feeling left out and angry. It is just another way that technology is taking over the life they know and are comfortable with. Many of the members of the session in the church have no interest in computers, let alone owning and learning about them. When the sermon is about "Be my friend on Facebook", he is losing alot of his congregation's interest. It was very interesting reading. So muc so, I might just have to pass on to him for personal growth and consideration.

I pulled this information from the NETS-T Keeping in mind that I am teaching the youngest learners, I have to bring this information down to their level, first teaching about citizenship in the classroom and taking turns on our two computers...

Promote and Model Digital Citizenship and Responsibility

It is my responsibility to:

a. advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright,
intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources

In the PK classroom this would look like demonstrating using the computer and having a think aloud as I share research information, videos and music. I would ask questions to prompt their thinking about obtaining and using digital information.

b. address the diverse needs of all learners by using learner-centered strategies and providing equitable access to appropriate digital tools
and resources

In the PK classroom this would look like setting up a user schedule where all children have access to technology.

c. promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information

In the PK classroom this would look like demonstrating respect for student products by printing out/ saving the work they choose and displaying it in a manner that they can share their discoveries with peers and parents. Modeling for children how to appropriately critique a friend's work.

d. develop and model cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with colleagues and students of other cultures using
digital-age communication and collaboration tools

In the PK classroom this would look like demonstrating the use of online tools and giving age appropriate access and introducing "things" I feel the students might enjoy, like Wordles, for example.

Thing 7 Continued

I really enjoyed looking at many of the sites listed for the perfect videos to share. TOTLOL was a favorite of mine. It kept me in the age range I was looking for for my students, but linked me to Youtube, Teachertube, and others as well. I had a huge range to choose from with a single search request. As I continued to think about the question VWB asked as to how I could use the itouch in my classroom, I had a brainstorm with the videos. I could find a variety of videos that would support my students learning in many different areas and put them on the itouch. This could become a center activity with a few students, or I could connect it to the big screen using it for introduction of information that could be viewed whole class. Of course, storage of this information is in the palm of my hand, so I would not need shelves, cases, filing cabinets....maybe I could start to clear out the clutter in my classroom! I'm a stuff junkie, though. Parting with "stuff" will be hard for me. I'm rambling. I'm just so excited about the new tools I have for this year.

It was also good to learn about Fair Use. As I was watching some of the videos, especially those containing music from published artists, I wondered how it was all legal. Just like in copying written material, as long as it is limited to support a point, it is OK. I am learning so much. Thanks!