Sunday, November 30, 2014

ORMS MOOC - Module 5 - Digital Identity

My goal, be it my digital identity or my real-life self, is ALWAYS to portray competence and optimism, even in the midst of confusion. The quote on my Hub home page is how I tend to live my life. A little hard work and sparkle can fix almost anything. If not, please check and see if the cable is connected.

I looked at my blog posts from the beginning of my journey and at some more recent posts. I noticed that, as time progressed, I experimented with the format, and I am much more comfortable now. I have added more graphics and labels to my posts. Instead of boring titles, I have started playing with "hooks" to get readers interested. Who knows? Maybe I will go viral... (joke)   Here is a link to my blog:

As I mentioned in earlier blog posts, I was nervous about creating a learning hub. When I saw the final presentations from the first cohort, I finally "got it." The Hub was to a place to create my professional identity. Before IT&DML, I just went to work and did what I perceived to be my job. Now I feel like I have more self direction and purpose, and my Hub is the place to reflect that.
Here is a link to my Learning Hub:

I started the IT&DML program in 2013, and I have had more than a year to reflect on my philosophy and teaching statements. The are still very similar to those I blogged about earlier this fall. As I reflect on my Hub, I realize I should condense my philosophy and make room for it on one of the pages.

When I looked at my hub buddy's work in progress, I was drawn to the photographs. The photos on the athletics page are especially welcoming. I need to figure out how to better use photos or graphics in my hub. I also need to find a more professional photo of  myself in action.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

ED 7720 Week 12 reflections

I went to the Bethany Music And Dance (BMAD gathering on Friday night. The host of this monthly event has the beginnings of blonde dreadlocks, deep lines in his face, and moves with deliberation. His house is a converted barn filled with a lifetime of collecting. There are hundreds of art objects, old newspaper articles, and mementos handing on every wall and every fixture in the house. There is also a visible coating of dust on everything. I conversed with the man, and asked if he was an artist. After briefly dancing around the subject and telling me about his music, contra dance calling and drumming avocations, he revealed that he was a doctor and still practices two or three days a week, thank you for asking. Upon Googling him, I discovered he is an Internist. He is truly a man who "enacts particular versions of himself at particular times." (1112)

Most of us are social chameleons. It is not surprising that young people demonstrate different versions of themselves when they use IM (instant messaging.) An important difference, according to the authors of Chapter 36 of the Handbook of New Literacies, is that when one is physically present, one can passively absorb the atmosphere and conversation. When involved in IM, one must "participate actively in order to receive the social benefits."(1114)

IM is more than written text. For the study participants, tone was conveyed by using CAPITAL LETTERS for yelling and smaller letters (personally, I use parentheses) for whispering. Emoticons, now called emoji, were also important to the youth when texting. It was interesting that spelling was important for the participants when they felt they needed to impress the person on the other end of the conversation, and that abbreviations were used less with older participants. There was also mention of friends having too many simultaneous conversations to effectively communicate with any one other person. Additional IM communication includes photographs, screen shots, video and voice. In the business world, reading and writing all of these texts is becoming more important. One of my Vice Principals was notoriously bad at conveying tone in her emails. She is now the Principal and has improved out of necessity!

"IM motivates young people to exchange in decoding, encoding, interpretation, and analysis, among other literary processes, and yet very little empirical data has focused on this form of digital literacy."(1112)
IM evolved from electronic note-passing to a rather sophisticated form of communication. When I first typed this quote, I was unsure about the need for data about this. I am still not fully convinced that there is a need for data, the subject is much more involved than I initially thought.

Handbook of Research on New Literacies. 0B_SIJN0cY2IhSXotakRIeUJ3MGc/edit

An aside:
I thought about online identity when I was listening to the radio the other day. One of the NPR shows had a segment about a gay man who uses an app on his phone, Grindr, that allows him to meet up with other gay men in his immediate area. He is articulate and funny online. He generates a enough interest, though he does not get many dates, at least on first sight. He has cerebral palsy. (Sorry, I can't find the segment to post the link.) His true self, the self he is unable to project through his disability, is online.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

ED 7720 - Elements and Challenges in the Hub

I have spent quite a bit of time this week pondering the details of my learning hub.
Of course, I want it to be perfect.

- There must be an element of fun. Technology is fun! 
- There must be an overall professional feel to it, or it won't be taken seriously.
- There must be relevant graphics! 
- The links must work.
- I must retain some semblance of privacy. I do not want my address and phone number in the Cloud. I settled on my email address. Even in Google+, I didn't provide enough information for a casual stalker, unless that person has access to the local white pages.
- Upbeat! Some of this new learning is downright maddening. I still don't have the definition of "semiotic" memorized... but I understand TPACK and the new literacies.

Working in Google Sites is challenging. I tried WIX in the summer and I was not thrilled with the templates. I may switch, as so many in the first cohort had beautiful end products, but I need to understand Sites as our school system is starting to lean toward Google Classroom and all of its apps. This week, a friend will work with me on "Forms." She's the expert. I helped here with her Classroom.

It took me a very long time to embed my blog on the Hub. I used Help often. I have been working on my Hub on and off since September, but with a deadline, I forced myself to learn to embed this past week. I tried to skim and "shortcut" the directions, but I had to actually slow down and toggle between screens. I have three computers. Each one is great for something. Sites works best on my laptop (and my school computer, not among the three.) The iPad is useless, and Chromebook is.... Chromebook.

I also had a rough time placing "Jing" photo clips of my lessons on a page. I listed and described FOUR lessons, and when I went back ten minutes later, there were two. I had trouble saving, so I had to redo the page. Once I got the system, I was able to link the photo to a website. I held my breath when I hit save... and it worked!

The Governor cut $1.5 million from the CTHSS budget. The last time there were cuts, I got a pink slip. I need to have this site ready, just in case.

Monday, November 17, 2014

ED 7720 - Time, time, and more time.

A reflection on OCC.

I work in a technical high school. Our students spend half of their school year learning a trade. They spend approximately two weeks in academics, then two weeks in "shop," repeat. For some students, this is what keeps them in school. I have heard so many stories from parents who say, "After so many years, my child wakes up eager to go to school."

It was fascinating reading the article about the Social Studies study. As we create more and more history, our teachers must cover more material. As it is, our school system starts after the Civil War. As world politics change, our Global Studies gets more complicated. Street Law, Economics, Psychology... there is so much to cover. Our teachers get a defined curriculum and 90 days of potential instruction time. It is no wonder students don't "get" Social Studies!

Yet Social Studies is life. The politics of people becomes the politics of countries. Our students need practice communicating in constructive ways. They certainly aren't getting many good examples from Washington Politicians! The Global Ed program sounds like it brings something that feels like real life into classrooms. SPT, social perspective taking, sounds like a good way to be heard and to listen - scaffolding for real life situations.

The final product/project is not a "mash up" of material found on the inernet, but it carries the components of good Online Content Construction. There is planning and generating a perspective while researching a topic, organizing and composing their position and presentation, and revising as they learn new information from the groups with which they negotiate.

When our Social Studies department organizes their annual debate, many students immerse themselves in the activity. Though the research isn't as thorough as I would hope (I have been a judge), the students love to "one up" their classmates. Teens crave social interaction.

In the Gehlbach article, it did not surprise me that, although they were burnt out by their Global Ed topic, the students were energized about the social aspects of Social Studies -- which is really what the subject is all about - human interaction with their environment and each other.

Gehlbach, H. et al. Increasing Interest in Social Studies: Social perspective taking and self-efficacy in
     stimulating simulations. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 33 (2008) 894–914.

O'Byrne, W. Online Content Construction: Empowering Students as Readers and Writers of Online
     Information. IGI Global (2014) 276-297.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Humming the Rinmaru theme song...

I like this one! I decided to get the WHOLE experience and played the background music while I created my Rinmaru avatar. It is almost as catchy as the Super Mario theme song. Eeek! Besides, who can resist a fashion-based game?
 Our assignment for this week, the first part of Module 5, was to create our own avatar. Although I have no avatar experience, I did not procrastinate. Maybe having a day off on Tuesday (Veteran's Day) contributed to my burst of creativity...

After seeing Ian's and Josh's avatars, I wanted to make a character that might be recognized as me. I tried the Wild Me program first. I couldn't remove the animal appendages, so I had to start over. I did not like Doppelme. Bitstrips took a lot of concentration, and it was interesting to pick out the features I thought would identify me best. I chose not to have anything to do with the Simpsons.

I really enjoyed Rinmaru. The choices are somewhat limited, but I find it refreshing being a Manga character! I am purposely expressive at school, so this is a good facial expression for me! I put the avatar on my Google account because I think it is important that I be represented by a human, either in cartoon or photograph format. I am not fond of scenery or object avatars.

My rejects... or future avatars are below.

I thought I picked brown hair.... maybe my Wild Me is blonde?

This Bitstrips cartoon looks the most like me, I think. I don't wear quite that much make-up, but the program allowed for age lines, so I don't look like a pre-teen! A handful of my friends put bit-strips cartoons on Facebook. Now I know how they do it.