Friday, August 7, 2015

EDUC 7730 - My Digital Portfolio

I am not sure where to begin with this reflection.
It was important work, sorting through the material I have learned over the past two years in the IT&DML program. I am the only one from the first cohort that has completed the work over two years. It was interesting starting with one group, and ending with an entirely new group. I feel like it was valuable for me to learn with twice as many talented educators.

First, Google Sites is not simple. It is not flashy. I really (really, REALLY) like the way some of my colleagues' Wix sites look. I chose to stick with Google Sites because we are a Google school and I want to be familiar with the tools Google offers. I am also a glutton for punishment.

I have worked on website content for 15 years, first with simple HTML at a public library, then as the Website Content Coordinator at Abbott Tech. Content is one thing. Constructing a website from scratch is completely different. I had to make decisions about my tabs and subheadings. I had to create buttons and insert gadgets. It was a true learning experience.

I used blue, white and gray because our school colors are blue and white, and blue always feels professional to me. It was tricky finding a background picture. When I was working in my air conditioned library at school over the summer, I found a photo of a display in my library on my computer. It worked! I will change the main page photo when I have a more dressy picture. I happen to be wearing a Relay for Life T-shirt, but it is cropped out.

The "Top Ten" websites in the G+ stream were interesting, but spare in their design. I felt like an outsider looking at them. Maybe it was because they were career-specific. Looking at my classmates' designs was most helpful. When I provided feedback for my group, I used the rubric to look at their design, and I did the same with mine. Someone separated out the video and non-video tutorials. It was simpler looking than the labels I had used, so I used that idea.

I had the most trouble with my blog page. I researched all over Google trying to find a way to make my Blogger (Google product) appear on my Site (Google product) when I was in Chrome (Google product.) I tried it 5 different ways and it would only show up in a non-Chrome browser. I gave up and provided only a link. Next, I tried to make picture links of uniform size for specific blog posts. That was incredibly frustrating. I did research and rediscovered Canva for making buttons. When I got the five step process figured out, I was able to finish. (Clipular to Downloads to Canva to Sites - then put in the link)

Sadly, I missed our final class and I had only one classmate give feedback online. It was wonderful and helpful feedback! Although I do not spell out the purpose of my site, I don't think people will search it out unless they would like to know more about me professionally. In the last couple of weeks, I added some more helpful websites to Pearltrees (my curation site) and to my website. I feel like this site will be a dynamic display of my professional self.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

COMM 7728 Video Ethnography project

Video Ethnography project:

Our goal was to create a lesson for our students that incorporates the creation of a video ethnography. Our next step was to become a student and create our own video ethnography.

Students at Abbott Tech create a digital portfolio for graduation.
For the project, they are to answer the following questions:
- What events in your life led you to Abbott Tech?
- What caused you to choose your trade?
- Because of your trade choice, what have you learned about yourself?
- Where do you think you will go from here?

Here is a link to my Video Ethnography:   Becoming a School Librarian
If you prefer YouTube:

Here is a link to my lesson plan on Google Docs. Why I Chose My Trade

I used Audible to create the "soundtrack" for my presentation. My first recorded draft was just shy of 8 minutes. My goal was to make the presentation no longer than 5 minutes, so I started cutting and substituting audio. I wanted to keep in the non-essential but fun fact about the Bicentennial House Tour, so the voice-over ended up being 6 1/2 mintues long. That's a lot of slides!

The music that kept spinning in my head was "Marian the Librarian" from the Music Man. I ended up performing in The Music Man twice during high school. We did it my Sophomore year at Masuk and my junior year when I was an exchange student in Fremont, Ohio. I looked for a Karaoke version online and recorded it on a completely seperate Audible project, then cut and pasted it below the voice track.

That was the easy part.

I don't have Microsoft Movie Maker or iMovie, so I needed to find a free tool to make my video/slideshow. I tried a couple and finally settled on Kizoa. It was intuitive, I could preview as I went along, and it allowed me to time the slides. I also discovered that I could create "collages" which are slides that can be words, pictures and shapes from the Kizoa files.

I looked through old scrapbooks and on Facebook (You are Probably from Monroe If...) to find photos of myself growing up. I looked on Google to find images that are safe to re-use. It was tricky figuring out where and how to give credit. I discovered how to create my own word slides during the last... three... hours of working on the project. It simplified things quite a bit! Overall, from starting to write the script to hitting "Publish," it took me 16 hours to create the presentation (I did a marathon one day, which helped!)

If I was to truly assign this project, I would ask that the video be 3 to 5 minutes long. It is difficult finding enough images to flesh out a project and make it interesting and personal. I also think, although the project is pretty fun, most students at my school would not take the time to work on it at home, so they would need at least 15 class periods worth of focused computer time. That won't happen!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

COMM 7728 Mash Up project

We had to make a "Schoolhouse Rock" kind of Mash Up with a group.
I was away when groups were being formed, so I tackled the project solo.

I outlined my ideas and jotted down notes for layout.
After checking for a credible source for "When to Cite," and finding Princeton University's Academy Integrity pages, I made a basic script. The working printed script had many notations.

After watching an Audacity tutorial, I jumped in and recorded my script. I edited it down to just over a minute, adding in sounds. I'm not sure if I did it TECHNICALLY correctly, but I made it work.

Next, I marked off the times in seconds on my script:
When the slides change and when the graphics should appear.

I loaded the Audacity MP3 file (after much swearing and gnashing of teeth, mind you!) onto the Raw Shorts app and discovered, as I added slides, it would use up more and more of the recording. Good sign!

Sadly, I needed the audio to be under 1 minute, so I cut out some chatter at the end. I had read (when I was working with Powtoon in the spring) that it is best to lay down the video first. I just had to lay the slides by length (in seconds) over audio, then lay my animations on top.
Finally, I added a free music track from the Raw Shorts files.

The last slide was a struggle. For some reason, I couldn't add all the data I had hoped and used a more basic citation (though not incorrect!) than I had intented. That last frustrating part took about 1.5 hours. Grrrr!

Here is my final project:

OK... I realized I said this is my CITATION, and it is really a "work cited," so I changed the words. I'm getting pretty good at audacity! (and Raw Shorts...)

Below is the original script:

When to cite sources…
You’ll discover that different academic disciplines have different rules and protocols concerning when and how to cite sources, a practice known as “citation.” The five basic principles described below apply to all disciplines and should guide your own citation practice.

(record scratch) WAIT

You need to give credit where credit is due.
Don’t steal steal other people’s ideas and pretend they’re your own.

When you’re writing a paper, remember:

Use a quote word-for-word?  CITE IT!

Paraphrase or change a few words around? CITE IT!

Make a summary of someone else’s ideas? CITE IT!

Facts data, or information you find exclusively in one source? CITE IT!

Copy and paste from the internet to your document… (Scratch) REALLY??? DON’T EVEN GO THERE!

Common knowledge - information everyone knows? You don’t need to cite this information.
But if you’re not sure?  When in doubt, CITE IT.

I got this information from Princeton University’s Academic Integrity pages.
I paraphrased.
Here is my citation in MLA format:

"When to Cite Sources - Academic Integrity at Princeton University." Princeton University. Trustees of Princeton

University, 01 Aug. 2012. Web. 26 July 2015. <>.

Green checkmark is Creative Commons: ClkerFreeVectorImages

Sunday, July 19, 2015

COMM 7728 Online Content Construction project


Simple and professional tool to design online (and print) flyers and newsletters

Uses for teachers
- flyers about upcoming events
- classroom newsletters
Uses for students
- flyers for events and activities
- newsletters (classroom or for a class project)
- flyers/posters for historical projects
- biographies of book characters or real people
Basically, any project that requires a poster/flyer/newsletter can be done using S'more.
Flyers can contain words, video, pictures from the Internet, photos, links... the format is very versatile. Of course, the interactive links will not work on the print version!

How to sign up: A basic S'more account is free.
Pricing for education (single teacher) is $59/year.
Benefits for education account:
- custom backgrounds and education-themed backgrounds
- privacy settings - not shared by default (enhanced privacy)
- unlimited newsletters
Students do not get separate accounts, but the single teacher account can be shared with students.
S'more will work with organizations at the school- and system-wide level. There is a form to submit.

Why S'more?
The tool makes professional looking products. It is easy to follow. If data is important, the program keeps track of the number of visits to the site. The site calls it "detailed stats in real time." Flyers can be printed, emailed, posted on social media, or embeded on school/teacher website or a blog.
Access all of your previous flyers and change and republish information as needed.

To sign up for a free account, provide the standard information. You're ready to go!
Here is a quick screencast tutorial for what to do after you have logged in:

For more information about S'more, check their site for additional tutorials and information.
You will be designing professional quality flyers in no time!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

EDUC 7730 My ePortfolio

In 2011, the State almost eliminated librarians from all 16 State Technical High Schools. In some ways, I believe it was a ploy to convince teachers they were serious about cutting positions if we didn't ratify the Union deal. In other ways, I have come to realize that my job is unstable. My audience for my portfolio is my current employer, and any future employer if it comes to that!

Image result for librarian
Ahhh... the "good old days."  **

In my portfolio, I will include:
- About me
     -Teaching philosophy
     - Abridged Resume
     - A little bit about me, personally

- Sample lessons
     - collaborative and individual
     - student and PD

- Tutorials
     - the best ones I put together myself

- Websites of interest
     - Useful Favorites from my Pearltrees that I reference often
     - I also control other websites for my school. I am considering including these.

- My Blog
     - at this time, a link to the whole thing. I think it shows growth and reflection, as well as a little bit of my personality and learning style. In the future, I may start a different blog, which will be less ITDML-centered.

I plan to use Google Sites, unless I can find something better. I like the layout of my learning hub.
I think "The Hub" looks a bit whimsical. It may change before next Tuesday.

Here is my Google Sites portfolio.  I played around with it for a week. It is a bit cumbersome, but we are a Google school and I would like to know the tools at my disposal. I tried to like Wix last summer, but it wasn't what I had hoped for.
Here is a version of my Site Map.  Google Sites automatically includes a site map. The link is labeled on the front page at the bottom of the navigation bar. I was able to figure out how to embed the map without looking something up yet again. The terminology is more familiar.

I posted my philosophy in G+, but here is my current philosophy for posterity:

We learn when we feel safe. As the school librarian, I work to create an environment with clear behavior expectations, appropriate conversation, and respectful rapport. I see my role as a facilitator for creating independent learners, so supplies are handy, useful information is clearly posted, and staff is readily available for support. It is important to build positive relationships with colleagues, students, and their parents. This creates a safe environment for learning.

We do our best thinking when we have time to reflect. Our culture and our devices eat away at our time. I do not teach formally every day, but when I do, I build in time and reflection questions to encourage students to think about their new learning.

We learn best when we are excited about our learning. Some students can be extrinsically motivated, but most students, especially today's digital natives, learn best when we can activate what motivates them internally. As a specialist, I have the luxury of teaching students library and research skills "just in time." They are able to practice and use these skills as they complete work for subject-area teachers.

People and the systems we create are not perfect. There are always circumstances beyond our control. It is important to be flexible and to embrace change, not blindly, but with honest effort. I put forth solid effort in all situations, and I expect the same of my students and my colleagues. Communication is the best bridge between expectations and reality, especially in change situations. Because of this, I encourage honest, respectful communication with my colleagues and students.

** Shareable image found at:,_Librarian,_and_Staff.jpg

Monday, June 22, 2015

EDUC 7726 Independent Project: Chromebooks 1:1 101

Our independent project was to cover a topic that involves both education and technology. There were unconfirmed rumors that our building would be getting Chromebooks for the freshmen in the next school year. Other schools had participated in a rather disorganized pilot during this school year, and it had been deemed a success. Because I end up being the information hub for everything from technology passwords to upcoming events, I wanted to research best practices for 1:1 rollouts and control what I could control to make things as smooth as possible.

Here is the result of my efforts.


QR code

Thursday, June 11, 2015

EDUC 7726 Week 10 - 21st Century Learning

Learning about 21st Century Learning

We were just looking at formative assessment and noting how it is not always best to have kids raise their hands. In Edutopia's "Ten Tips" article, there are students raising their hands with a wizened teacher in the front of the room. 

When I envision a class engaged using 21st Century skills, I picture much communication, sharing, and creativity. I picture students working alone and in small groups gathered around devices, finding information, and recording it. Using that information, they develop useful projects that they are proud to share with their community. The real world is not the perfect world of my imagination, but teaching, learning and assessing using 21st Century Skills have those components.

Much of 21st Century teaching and learning is project based. Students use the same processes that are used in the real world: researching like scientists, solving problems the same way as mathematicians, and exploring documents like historians. For teachers, assessing this information can be tricky. Bubble tests will not adequately reflect the learning that happens when students work out processes and exercise perseverance. Having grown up in schools that "teach to the test" it will be a challenge to get older students to buy into peer and self-assessment and to reflect on their own learning. If we, as an education community, stick with this "initiative" long enough, it will become natural. Our students will learn how to learn, which is a major goal of 21st Century teaching and learning.

Twenty-first Century skills revolve around three C's - communication, creation, and collaboration. Components of these C's are: critical thinking, leadership, Global awareness, and, most importanly, grit, and learning how to learn. Though aspects can be taught, not everyone can be a good leader. Some lead by example, others lack confidence when in groups, but do wonderfully when left to their own devices. Not everyone will be given the opportunity to gain Global awareness. Creativity, depending on context, is not always necessary. 
- Persistence (grit) can be used in every situation. Most problems can be solved with a little help and some extra time. Taking the time to overcome a mental block or to learn a new skill is important, especially in our rapidly changing world. 
- Learning how to learn is so critical. Using books, Internet connections, or mentors, information is abundant. This information can be used to follow a passion or discover an alternate means to a solution for tonight's homework.

In addition to possible Common Core standards that may be part of a project, like research skills and clearly written information, here is a way to incorporate and assess 21st Century Skills:
Focusing on Global Awarenes, collaboration and communication are made easier with an Internet connection. This allows for using email and connection tools like Skype or Google Hangouts. Technology has trained us to expect instant results, so old-fashioned pen pals are no longer relevant! ePals can provide students with "cross cultural exchanges" by coordinating groups from other places (schools, states, or countries) in project-based collaboration. Global Nomads can involve older students with forums to discuss topics that they find relevant through video and written questions. Both sites require student work prior to the actual project.

Units that involve collaboration with other schools can be assessed in a variety of ways:
- Demonstration of preparation for the initial interaction (using an online or paper rubric)
- Peer assessment of work in progress (Google Docs comments)
- Time on task/engagement with ePal(s) (journal/blog)
- Progress report of ongoing communication/work (online form or hard-copy)
- Finished product (rubric, online or paper)
- Self-reflection about any part* of the process, including ways the experience could be improved (journal/blog or Google Form)
In addition to possible Common Core standards that may be addressed in the actual project, 21st Century focus on Global awareness, collaboration, communication,

*Assessment is most effective when used as feedback during an assignment. Self-reflection through a blog can happen at any time during a project. Peers or teaches can also give the feedback.

Soland, J, Hamilton, L. Stecher, B. (2013) Measuring 21st Century Competencies. Asia Society. Rand
Ten Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning. (2011) Edutopia.

Comment: When I learned about ePals and Global Nomads during one of our ITDML courses, though it sounded fascinating, I could not picture how to assess student work or engagement. It makes more sense now.