Thursday, December 17, 2009

Two Best Chapters and Why

In Jurkowski, I can't really decide between either the chapter on Professional Development or the one on School Library Websites. We are already using BrainPop and UnitedStreaming in our school environment, but I found the other sites recommend in the Prof. Dev. chapter to be very interesting. Some require a subscription fee after the trial period, but I am considering recommending some of these to our district. The School Library website provided me with many good suggestions for setting up and maintaining a site which is both professional, interesting for students and attractive. Our current school website has actually covered all four of the priorities list which Jurkowski recommends.
In Courtney, I enjoyed the Podcasting chapter. I have had little experience in this area and this chapter provided some practical suggestion for uses and a list of websites available for further information.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Week #14: AT curriculum and evaluation

The first paragraph mentioned that October is Disability Awareness Month. At our school, our wonderful team in the Special Ed department actually celebrates quite extensively. One item they run is the MD (multiply disabled) cafe where the students in the program run a cafe for a day. Faculty members come in during their break to purchase items that these special students have made. Food items, handmade crafts, personally illustrated writing papers, and flowers/plants grown by these students are offered for sale. Proceeds from this day go to fund field trips for the students in the program.
Next, I reviewed the lessons plans. I was very impressed. In fact, I would like to add disabilities as a topic for my sophomore research paper. Currently, they are required to write on a social issue, but I think that having them research a disability might actually help them to be more understanding and sympathetic towards these students in our school and community.
Some of the links I attempted to follow were not working.
What have I learned? I think these activities have made me much more cognizant of the difficulties faced by those who are disabled.
I will definitely speak to our teachers from the Special Education department about the tutorial and provide them links to the sites.
Lastly, I'll provide a link to the site here:

I hope others will find the site as helpful as I did.

Hopefully, this time my link will work:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week #13: Etiquette and Digital Citizenship

My husband and I will be away next weekend for our 30th anniversay (it was last year but we never got away then) so I am posting this early.
The document attached to this week's assignments provided very useful sites for future exploration.
I reviewed the Digital Citizenship WIKI which listed many good suggestions for teachable moments. I was not surprised that in their survey of middle schoolers, over 13% had participated in a sex chat and over 8% were involved with nude photos. We are having a great deal of trouble in our school with these issues.
I also was impressed by the Stop Bullying website, and the Fact Sheet which recommended that students take a "screen shot" to stop harrassment or bullying. These can then be used to prosecute the offenders!
I had already viewed the completed all the classroom learning 2 activity 15 exercises in an earlier week, but it was good to see some of them again.
The first 2 links in the module 4 were not working; however, the YouTube video on life in a world where disablilities were the norm was impressive. It was upsetting to see what being on the outside might feel like.
I was impressed that I got a perfect score on the disability etiquette quiz so at least I am doing something right.
I was very surprised to learn that NJ has 17 independent living facilities! I know of 2 near my home.
I was disappointed to learn that the only Assistive Technology center is located in Shrewsbury which is pretty far from my home in south/central NJ. The company is called Tech Connections.

Week #12: Software Selections

I was surprised to find that such a wide range of assistive technology exists for those with ADD/ADHD. Although my original plan to work cooperatively with some of the other teachers from my school will not work out, I have still learned much through these exercises. My school is actually looking to improve technology in the area of special needs students and the school life skills programs, like cooking. They are going to be researching safer, easier to use and access appliances and items of that nature. I shared some of the information from our course, but they are just getting started and won't have their recommendations in place until Spring 2010.
As for Mod #3:
We were asked to make a rubric to evaluate our resources. I believe that the important items in our rubric would be cost, effectiveness/success, Number of students needing this type of assistance, easy of use, availability to upgrade.
I downloaded the 30 day free trial of Inspiration; however, I thought it was very difficult to use. Additionally, I worry about "free" downloads and my laptop which is running Vista. I have had some issues with programs like these and my laptop. Fron what I could see, this program should create organizers like charts and graphs which visual learners find very helpful. I'll keep working on it to see if it gets any easier.
When I tried to install the Kurzweil demo, it kept offering to send me a CD version; however, I never could get it to run on my laptop. I figured that I would not receive the CD in time for the course so I did not order that.
Next, I looked at all the assistive tech available on my laptop running Vista. I was shocked to learn that I could change the contrast for easier viewing, work with no mouse or an altered one, that I have Speech recognition installed although it apparently takes a while to "train" the system to recognize my voice.
I also visited InfoEyes which is a wonderful aid for the visually impaired. I have already asked a librarian a question online for another course, but this actually allowed you to set up an appointment for a live chat.
My software selections are posted in a document on our DB, but they are
PlayAttention, Watchminder2, BrainBuilder, and the Listening Program.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week #11: Hardware Selection

Most of the Jurkowski chapters listed I had already read so I started with the Microsoft decision tree. The description is very straight forward but I found the tree itself to be really complicated. I guess I'm not much of a visual learner.
I had consulted with some of those suggested by Jurkowski, for example, my school Special Education teachers, some Child Study team members, our Media Center Specialists, and the school psychologist. She also suggested including the superintendent and principal as well as possibly a board member.
Our school has approximately 1550 students of which 13.2% are classified with special needs. A great number of this population are afflicted with either ADD or ADHD in varying degrees. Unfortunately, none of the sites to which we were directed listed many assistive technologies for this population.
My hardware suggestions are listed on our DB, and I attached a document detailing my rationale and answers to the questions.
Ironically, as I discussed in the DB posting, our special education department is considering writing a grant this year for the purpose of improving the technology available for our IEP and 504 students. We have begun sharing our findings so, hopefully, I'll have some suggestions for the plan.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Week #10: Assistive Technology

Sorry for the late post...I was only released from the hospital late Tuesday evening, and I am really wiped out.
I was excited to explore the websites again this week. We have, of course, several disabled students in our school of over 1800 ranging from the very mildly handicapped to one student who visually appears to be a toddler, but who is in fact, high school age. He is wheeled around each day in a modified stroller/high-chair vehicle. He is rarely awake and usually crying when alert. We are all very aware of how lucky we are when we witness disability to this extreme.
First, I checked out the universal design section. I watched several of the videos including the one with Ms. Chappel and several on Down's Syndrome, noted as the most common disability. The SD sights were particularly moving since I was told the my last child may be affected with this genetic disorder. Luckily, he was not and is a very bright, happy senior looking at colleges today. I was surprised to learn of all the assistive technology now available, such as the visual headset. In fact, I was fascinated to learn that people with disabilities are now our country's largest minority group.
Next, I viewed the famous people with disabilities. I had actually used some of this information previously when teaching the short story "Harrison Bergeron." I had listed the disability and asked the students to guess which "celebrity" suffered from it. They, and I, were fascinated to learn that so many recognizable individuals suffer from disabilities. In our site this week, I found names I could add to my list, like Dan Akroid, a favorite of my son's from Ghostbusters who suffers from dyslexia, not to mention Billy Joel, a personal favorite of mine who suffers from mood disorder.
Next, I viewed the National Federation for the Blind website, and I was astonished with the available aides/technologies. Speech synethesizers, like TRiple Talk, Screenless laptops, like Lap Talk.
How would I approach Braille if I had a blind student??? Well, I hope that I would be informed of this student before I walked into the classroom so that I could prepare; however, in the real world this doesn't often happen, and with all the demands on teaching, frankly I don't know how I would handle it. If I was given time to prepare, like learning about the student before the summer break, I would spend a great deal of time learning Braille and other accommodations before I got to the classroom. How would I engage sighted students to learn Braille? I don't think this would be difficult. I think that most students are willing and anxious to learn about others if the task is presented in a respectful, positive manner. In fact, I have seen a class who was willing to cut their hair in support of a classmate suffering from cancer.
I also looked into aides that help blind students learn technology through the use of Braille note takers, Math with various hardware and software like Braille books tactile materials, and accessible calculators not to mention aides for teaching engineering by specialty like Quest Challenges through NASA, accessible calendars for the blind.
Subsequently, I looked at Job Accommodation Network (JAN) which seeks to improve the life of disabled and their employers. They help the disabled find work and make them aware of their resources and rights while helping employers to find and hire the disabled and benefit by lessening the company's insurance and worker's compensation costs.
Lastly, I visited the national Center for Learning Disabilities specifically the teacher's link. I was not surprised at the general information, most of which is available in our school's Special Education department. I team teach with a new Spec. Ed. teacher each year. I was surprised at their program for teaching expressive writing through the use of mnemonics, think sheets, etc. I would like to try some of these innovations in our class and plan to discuss this with my team-teacher.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Week #9: Thing #23: Thoughts and Reflections

I found many of the exercises we have completed to be very informative and necessary for my use, not only to complete this course, but to make me a better teacher and someday librarian as well.
Since we were asked to name our favorites, I thoroughly enjoy the mash-up activities, Youtube searching, podcast exploration and the information on eBooks and Audiobooks. I have already begun to visit these sites more often and much of what is available will certainly enhance my lessons.
As I stated in an early reflection, I don't have plan on neglecting my own learning. The more we learn, the more we realize how much we still have to learn. Knowledge and experience is never wasted, and besides, as I grow older, maybe it will ward off Altzheimer's.
I was very surprised by the amount of "free" material available. Great for those with tuition costs, families, etc.
I think that the program is exceptionally well done so I really can't offer any advice for improvement.
I would love to be involved in future programs! I must qualify this, though, by stating that these would have to be offered after my graduate classes are finished since I am very overwhelmed with the work for my courses and my own 130 + students in English classes.
Technological Treasures! That is the phrase that comes to mind when I reflect on all that we did and learned through classroom learning 2.0 this semester!
Thanks for the help.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Week #9- thing #22: Ebooks/Audiobooks

The extent of resources was amazing!
The first site I visited was the World EBook Fair. It was easy to sign up for an account, and I was amazed at the number of titles available. I hope I remember to log on during the World ebook Fair next summer! I have never downloaded a book although I have an iPod nano which I use for music when walking. During the Winter break, I'll have to give this a try.
Next I visited the LibriVox site. This was also very interesting! I listened to a chapter from a book on Halloween. I was very surprised that you could volunteer to read online! My students tell me I have a good reading voice, of course maybe this is for Brownie points, but I wouldn't mind giving this a try.
Most impressive of all was the World Public Library site which I had never visited before. The price to join for the year $8.95 was very reasonable, I felt. Of course, I am trying to be very thrifty right now because I have kids in college, myself in college and a son just graduating from high school!
I visited many of the other free sites, some of which I was already familiar. I could not open the Many books site.
I added many of these to my favorites so I can go back at some time in the future.
Lastly, I visited our school media center site, and I was disappointed to find that we have only 20 eBooks available right now.
I use the Burlington County Library System (NJ), and considering what a small library system it is, I have always been impressed with the service and available even if it has to be from ILL. I had never checked out the library's digital collection until this assignment, and I am very pleased to report that we have many digital titles available for loan! I will certainly be using this feature in the near future! Thanks.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Week #9 - Thing#21 - Podcasts

I didn't find this to be as easy a process of embedding a Youtube video.
First, I opened my Google reader account. I searched for podcasts using iTunes and I was able to put these into my Google reader account quite easily. I have downloaded some free podcasts via iTunes n the past. My favorites are Grammar Girl which contains a series of podcasts covering many types of grammar and writing issues.
My Google reader account will continue to update these broadcasts for me automatically. The podcast which really stood out to me is entitled Teachers Teaching Teachers: Integrating New Literacies into the Teaching of Writing. I didn't have time to listen to all the segments, but we are in the process of revising our research assignments at school, and these podcasts will be of great interest to all in our department. In fact, the first segment - Do you still use 3 X 5 cards was humorous to me because four years ago when I suggested that these cards would not longer be necessary, I was also laughed out of the department. Today, with all the ways to save/cite/organize electronically, it would be unthinkable to continue with this process. I have actually joined the community, and if I have time, I will join their live broadcasts on Wednesday evenings at 9 PM eastern.
I don't know if I can attach the link to this blog...I haven't figured out how to pull in RSS feeds too easily so I'll definitely be watching some more how to videos.
I believe the Courtney text did a good job covering podcasts. I found the section on "The Teen Show" to be of great interest. Presented by teenagers for teenagers, this endeavor is supervised by the "teen librarian." Students present podcasts on movies, books, videos and anything of interest to their peers. I will mention this to our media center specialists as an option for our school.

Week #9 - Thing #20 - Youtube!

As a teacher, I was thrilled earlier this year when we were finally able to incorporate and view youtube video clips in our school. Although there is much inappropriate material on the site, there is also a wealth of good material which can enhance a lesson.
I thoroughly enjoyed the suggested videos, especially the Conan the Librarian and Jack O'Connell Goes to School videos.
As for the video I decided to search and view myself, I chose one that was created by one of my students. After we finished reading Oedipus this marking period, the students had the option to create a video, rap, etc. on the play or to give me their college essay which I would grade in place of this assignment in an effort to get the college app process started and imporove the written portion to be submitted. Many students chose the college essay; however, one student decided to make a video of the play. I have to had here that much of his material was either inaccurate or irrelevant, but it was amazing to see how much time/work he spent on the project. Because of the content, which was also inappropriate for classroom viewing, I could not play the video in class, but I learned from an outside source that he had posted this video on Youtube and within five seconds, I was able to locate it online. It is amazing to me how very talented this student is so if he only concentrated his efforts on more appropriate material, he could excel in class.
What do I like about Youtube?? It really does engage students in material and yet takes up relatively little class time. What do I dislike??? Well, sometimes it is necessary to view several different videos before coming up with something of value.
In the library, I am sure that you could use clips to show reviews of books, movie trailers, etc. I know that there are also many "how-to" videos of value which could be added to the library's website for use by patrons.
I am going to try to post a link to the student video I spoke about. This was part one of two. If you are sensitive to foul language, you might not want to view this clip.
Here's the embedded clip address:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week #8 - Thing #19

Library Thing
I had set up an account on this site for a previous class so it was nice to revisit it. I am actually hoping to point my students to this site during the research process next marking period. Hopefully, they can find some of my recommendations in our library or they can do an ILL.
I am hoping that all of these online activities, the rollyo, my eboard, my catalog via Library thing, etc. will be helpful to my students who struggle through the research process.
Here's a link to my catalog:

I think that Library Thing is a tremendous resource for everyone who loves books. It is interesting to look into the recommendations of others and be able to form an opinion about whether something would be suitable to my tastes before I actually purchase or borrow from the library. I believe that I'll be using this site often once I'm done with classwork.

Week #8 - Thing #18

Online Productivity Tools:
First, I visited ZOHO Writer and just read about the application. The most convenient issue for me is being able to access my work from any computer. We have all probably had the experience of working on a document at home and forgetting our laptop the next day. If we haven't remembered to email ourselves the work, unfortunately I'm also guilty of this, we have the option of doing it over again on our computers in school or doing something else that day! Not good options at all given the fact that we have lost all that time/effort spent the prior evening. With ZOHO and similar tools, no problem! We just log on, locate our work and print it out or share it online.
Next, I went to Google Docs. Ironically, we are using this at my school for our professional development tasks that I mentioned in Week #7. When I attempted to create an account, it already recognized me and opened the last document I had worked on at school! Amazing!
I explored and it appeared to be very similar. The fact that all of these applications are being offered for free is very surprising. I guess I don't really understand how people make money in these venues on the internet, other than through advertisers, but I didn't notice any on these sites.
Lastly, I began working on a document using ZOHO as instructed. I thought that I even posted my document onto blog, but I can't find it on my blog so I guess it didn't work. I followed all the steps, but I did have my blog open already because I was working on this assignment so maybe that's why it's not here.
Sorry, but I couldn't afford to buy Shelly so I am unable to comment on Chapter 3.

Classroom learning 2.0


I inserted a table - it was even easier than Word!

I changed the font!  Easy again.

I picked a background color!

I changed the page format..but then I changed it back again.


  I inserted this image. 


Everythings pretty easy so far.  Now'll I 'll try to save, etc.

Week #7: Thing #17: Webquest 2nd Entry

Sorry, but please refer to my other post. I inadvertently forgot to label it as "thing 17," and I forgot to post the link to my webquest:

I still cannot figure out how to add my webquest to my blog :(
I added the icon I used.

I think this is finally it!

Research Webquest

Week #7: Webquest

I created the webquest - what an easy process! I plan on adding a link on my school eboard when I am finished this activity.
I wonder if all the other webquest sites are as easy as that was. The only thing that gave me trouble was adding the link to my quest. I usually right-click and copy, but I had to use the control V method. I also tried to edit my link; however, I was unable to do so. I must be doing something incorrectly.
Thanks for putting up with this old gal trying to learn new tricks. I learn as much from my profs and classmates as I do our readings and activities.
One last thing...I found Jurkowski's Chapter 13 to be quite interesting. Our school district has had other faculty members trained in a pedagogy entitled, RBT, Research for Better Teaching. I found the initial classes taken when I was a new teacher to be extremely helpful; however, some of the more experienced teachers felt that these modifications to the teaching process were unnecessary and just a new name for things they did on a regular basis anyway. So, when the district strongly suggested that all teachers go back and take these classes, it found that some more experienced teachers were very unhappy about the situation. This year, we are being offered yet a new opportunity for professional development which I again have found helpful. But as Jurkowski suggests (p. 185), our media center specialists are not as involved as they should be. These individuals are very helpful, knowledgeable, and one of them is a former teacher!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Week #7 - Thing #16

This was not my first experience with wikis as they have been utilized in several of our LS courses for a variety of reasons.
Our first task was to look a some library wikis. As usual, it seems that the work done by librarians is always very professional. I looked first at the St. Joseph's Library wiki. It was very information with information on the school, region, recreation, etc., etc. I thought that the "education" link was very well done. There was a homework section that would be helpful for students/parents alike. At my school, we maintain individual eboards for this purpose as well.
I found the "BookLovers" wiki to be quite interesting and informative. On it, there is a five-star reading list - Oh, if only I had more time! - and a great list of new non-fiction entries.
Lastly, I visited the Teacher Librarian wiki. Again, very well done. I loved the link to Free Tech tools, some we had already been introduced to in this course, but others were new. If only I had the time to try all these things. I am keeping much of this information to use over the break, etc. This wiki also had information on Fair Use which was a topic last week as well as lists for different interests and levels, even a high school favorites list.
What can I use this for? I am thinking beginning a wiki where my students could comment on class activities, readings and make suggestions for things they would like to see revised or added. I think it's important to make class as interactive and fun as possible.
Also, on a personal note, my husband's family has a reunion every 5 years. This Japanese American cohort, known as the Shindo clan for our recently deceased Grandma, has been sending tons of emails with suggestions, etc. regarding next summer's reunion. I think we should set up a wiki! It would be so much easier and more informative.
In Courtney, a research guide wiki is suggested (p.28-31). I had not seen this chapter before doing my rollyo on English research assistance, but she has certainly given me some further suggestions for my upcoming webquest and lesson. I am hoping to actually use this material when my seniors begin their research papers in November.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Week #6 - Thing #15

This is such an important issue today for high school English teachers and everyone. Much of my time is spent trying to enlighten students with regard to plagiarism and validity with regard to the internet.

I loved the video Fair-y Use especially since I am a big Disney fan. Even I did not realize that not too long ago, copyright lasted only 14 years but now for a lifetime plus 70 years! Of course, I wonder how they arrived at that time determination. I actually brought up this issue when we worked with Smilebox. Although I enjoyed mashing my own little production, I wondered if I had, in fact, violated any copyright issues myself since I picked from available songs which were recognizable tunes not created by me.

I also really enjoyed the perspectives on library 2.0. I first chose the copyright comic book which was fascinating. I had wanted to watch it via flash but it was taking too long to load so I just viewed the html. but it was still very impressive. I am thinking of showing excerpts of it to my classes, especially sophomores, as they begin the research process.
The other perspective I viewed was away from the icebergs. Three obstacles to progress toward web 2.0 were listed as no future need for "collections," the lack of properly trained and available staff as well as equipment, the former reliance on coming into the library for service. These aren't impossible to overcome in my opinion. We might find ourselves working from a computer in a smaller facility, but with the right programs and connections, we'll still be a vital part of education and and educated society.
The last thing I watched was the Did you know 4.0 "Shift Happens" video. I actually replayed it for my husband. Of course, being an old person, it was amazing but frightening to me. Everything in a single cell???? How fast we are moving....
BTW - I forgot the mention the advantages and disadvantages of tagging which are discussed Courtney, Chapter 8.
I think the biggest advantage us the discovery potential! In our planning center for English when we find a great site we share it with others, and they do the same . It's the same concept here but on a larger scale.
The largest disadvantage I see is the susceptibility to gaming, similar to spamming. Even at school where we use fairly advanced network filters and virus software, we have had issues with this so I think these things will continue to surface and be probematic.

Week # 6 - Thing #14

I was glad to be able to work with this site because I think it was not working on one of my earlier attempts. I was able to "claim my blog" for this class. The process was fairly easy!
I explored both the school library learning 2.0 sites (133 hits) and the classroom learning 2.0 sites (458), and I was actually surprised that the videos shown on the sites were the same however, the postings were very different. Right now, for my purposes, I found more of interest on the classroom learning 2.0 site which I only wish I had time to review in more depth. This might change though once I actually work in a school library.

I love the idea of "tagging." Without some reference system, similar to that used by librarians for retrieval, these blogs and other posting would all just be individual ramblings and it would be extremely difficult to ever join or find an appropriate blog. In fact, tags are recommended in Courtney both in chapter 2 and 8. I was particularly interested in the catalog 2.0 concepts. Although Courtney reports that library cataloging is slow in implementing these changes, many of the recommendations listed appear to be linked with a user friendly services, such as relevancy rankings, customer reviews and user-added tags. I can see where these changes cannot be done overnight, but many of the suggestions made will encourage patrons to use the library even if this might occur from a remote location in the future.

Week 6 - Thing #13

Tagging and
It was good to have some experience with tagging since in our other class we are working on MARC tagging and subject headings. Work on these sites allowed me to see the reason behind uniformity in an effort to improve retrievability.
I was already a member of Library Thing which I joined in conjunction with another class. This is a terrific site for avid readers. I have mentioned this site in my classes; I only wish I had more students who enjoy reading on a regular basis.

I searched SJLibrary and through the student assignment section. I was fascinated with the digital storytelling. I will be using this site in own classes because I think that students would enjoy the writing process more when they could explore the various digital extensions that are available.

I imported my favorites to and was very surprised that that I had 258 bookmarks. I was even more shocked to see how many people actually had bookmarked many of my sites, although I shouldn't have been. For examples, Google Earth is bookmarked through by 41,806 others besides myself. I hope to spend more time working with this site in the near future.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Week #5 - Thing 12

I found Rollyo fairly easy to use until it came to finding the URL for my particular site. In fact, I now have one rollyo which is public so my name isn't in the URL, one which I have posted on our DB, and another which I did just to be sure I could do it again.
Here's my URL:
As I discussed on the DB, I hope my students find this helpful with the research process. They always seems to struggle with the process, even as seniors who have been required to complete a research paper every year.
I thought that a very relevant point was made in this week's reading of Chapter 5 & 6 of Jurkowski; namely, that we must be able to evaluate websites accurately. Today, our students believe that everything found on the internet is accurate and reliable. We know differently, of course, and so if we can create lists of acceptable sites which we have previewed and know to be reputable, this will help not only the students but ultimately ourselves.

Week #5 - Thing #11

Actually, this activity was fairly easy. Our school has recently begun using Google Docs. and this has really saved time and energy. We did a school climate survey last year, and one of the issues which was raised was the lack of appropriate professional development opportunities for everyone. Now, we are divided as a staff into areas of interest, mine is using technology in the classroom, and we are using Google Docs to sign up for different presentations and classes.

The other award winning activity we are using is the Ning site. My school ning address is:
where you can see not only my posts but those of other staff members.
This week, I posted links to 2 articles on using technology in the classroom and I also found two websites which other teachers may find very helpful.
I was glad that I could incorporate two assignments into one so I hope this was acceptable.

Week #5 - Thing 10

I had fun working with the image generators, FD toys and Image Generator; however, I was unable to connect to the comic strip generator even after several attempts.

I will definitely use these programs. In fact, I am always looking for ways to incorporate graphics into some of my presentations. I learned a new program at school, it's called Qwizdom/Interact, and I set up presentations similar to PowerPoints. The presentations become interactive through the use of student remotes which look like game controllers.

I also thought that the information in Dr. Farmer's PPT. was helpful. I was not aware of all the image extensions or what they referred to.

I did a snowman puzzle as my image. If you hadn't noticed, I love snow.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Week #4: Educational Feeds

I forgot to mention on my RSS blog that I also subscribed to the Philadelphia Inquirer Breaking News and front page feeds. This would be considered my local paper even though I live in NJ.

For Activity #8, I reviewed both the search engines and educational feeds. I was disappointed to find that the link to Feedster was not working either time that I tried it. I had great success with the Technorati site which was easy to use. Although I should not have been surprised, I tried searching to see if I could find my own 2 blogs, the one I opened for another class and use for school when we begin research papers and the one I created recently for this class, but I had over 4,000 hits for blogs on citations! It is truly amazing how many people are using the net! This week at the school where I work, in addition to our Twitter, we now have a ning and believe it or not, we have homework for school on it also! It's all a little overwhelming even if it is fun and educational.

I also checked out the school library 2.0 blogs and was impressed that I could automatically subscribe to those already I wasn't in Google Reader at the time. I subsequently subscribed to classroom learning 2.0 as well.

As far as using RSS feeds, I think I will be using them to notify me of updates to issues important to me, like book talks on subjects, certain genres, using technology in the classroom, etc.
The library could set up RSS feeds by subject in order to help teachers keep abreast of current trends and techniques. I guess this should have been on my RSS post.

I can't comment on Feedster because I couldn't get it to open, but I thought that Technorati was pretty easy to use. I still had trouble refining my search terms though to get exactly what I was looking for. Actually, I even thought the tool right on the Google Reader site was easy also; once I got the hang of it.
One problem I experienced in Google was when I search for "Web English Teacher" thinking I would come up to the website, I actually came up to related blogs, twitters, etc. I clicked on one thinking it would be useful but it was about purchasing different types of literature and not what I expected at all. Since I had already hit the subscribe button - after this I was more saavy - it took me a few seconds to figure out how to unsubscribe! Eventually, though, even that was easy.
I was even able to set up folder for "teaching English", News Items, Library items - I put the Unshelved in here - I enjoy the cartoons, and one for our classroom blogs I am following.
These are the only tools I've used so far, but now that I know what the RSS symbol looks like, I'll be adding others on a regular basis.

Week #4: RSS Feeds

I opened my account with Google Reader. It was very easy to set up the account, but then I had some trouble adding feeds.
Initially, I tried search like you would on the Web for sites I use often like Web English teacher. I was originally under the impression that it would it inform me about changes to the site. I was surprised to find that there are so many blogs, twitters which are connected/related to Web English Teacher and its creator Carla Beard. I subscribed to one of those blogs.
I was really impressed that it also automatically subscribed me to the blogs I am following for this course. Both blogs are maintained by other students in our course.
Next, I search on the site for teaching English, and I came up with a few more interesting feeds, namely one by the National Council of the Teachers of English (NCTE) of which I am a member. I also searched for literature and teaching writing and again was able to subscribe to additional feeds.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Back to School MashUp

After viewing one of our classmate's mashup of her beautiful baby, I was encouraged to create my own. It is posted on my school eboard if you care to visit. Here's the URL:
I hope you like it.

Week #3 Again/Things 5 & 6 or 6 & 7/Trading Cards

Sorry - I think I have been using the wrong labels on my posts. I will try to do better with this next week. Thanks to those I am following, for getting me back on track.
I did visit the trading card link; however, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was very hesitant to post my photo online. I know it sounds crazy, and many of these sites say that unless you mark photos as "public," only those you allow can actually view them, but I am very skeptical. And like Dr. Farmer commented, we should be asked before someone posts a picture of us; however, I know for a fact that my husband's family are great Facebook enthusiasts and they have posted several photos of me without asking.
I was thinking of trying to use these at BTS night as Dr. Farmer suggested; however, I really didn't care for any of my photos enough to give them out. Additionally, we only have 7 minutes per class to meet with our parents, and in this time, we must so over our class expectations and the curriculum for the year. I really talk fast!

Thing #4: Week #3/Flickr, etc.

I did set up a Flickr account and had great fun exploring the site. In fact, this is just what my family needed! Being on the cutting edge of technology (LOL), we purchased and haved used digital cameras as soon as they became available. That is exactly the same time that my photo album ceased to be updated. Unfortunately, now we have a collection of those little "disks" with many, many photos and that's as far as we got! I probably don't have the time to address this issue now, but maybe next summer!

Flickr is great! I only wish I had had time earlier this week to read our homework because I would have liked to do activity B where we take a photo of our school Media Center. Ours is beautiful and the two specialists are good friends of mine who are bright, enthusiastic and so helpful.

Oh, well - first some comments. I noticed that most of the classroom images were from elementary schools. I guess because in secondary settings we move around so it's difficult to decorate every room we enter.

Another issue I wanted to mention is privacy and school policies. I know that Dr. Farmer mentioned we should upload personal photos and this is certainly a policy at our school as well. In fact, I am very fearful on these sites because our school is so strict about with its social networking policies, that I fear if I accidentally do something which violates a policy or is seen and commented on my a student or family, that my job will be in jeopardy. It took me many years to become a teacher, and the last thing I would want to do is create a problem for myself.

I couldn't find the Blogger's image uploading tool. I received a message saying that this information could not be found.

It took me so long to decide on an image for this week! I love holidays, snow, Christmas so I searched through these points. The photo I chose appears at the top.
Thanks again to all who commented.
BTW - I probably look somewhat similar to my avatar! She might even be prettier and more nicely built! Janet

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thing #3

Well, here goes. I actually have another blog, but I didn't want to edit and use the same one because I use my other blog with my students.
I will be updating this blog as part of our Clarion Course, and just for the record, I recorded information on Thing #1, which was really Thing 1 and 2, on the online discussion board.
I am still not sure about adding an avatar or registering but I'll be working on it now.