Archive for March, 2009

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Podcasts

March 18, 2009

Another tech task for this week was to find two podcasts that we are interested in. It was suggested that one of our choices should be educational. I started out my search for that podcast by going to the education category and then I searched special education as it is an area that really interests me. I was quickly given a list of podcasts related to this and they all sounded really great, so I subscribed to them and then thought this is great I have a head start on my tech task and a lot of great stuff. But then when I actually sat down and starting listening to some of them I was very disappointed both with the content and the engagement of the podcast. So I started all over again and decided to browse through all of the podcasts in the education category. I eventually came across SMARTBOARD lessons podcasts by Joan Badger and Ben Hazzard (who actually presented to our class about smart boards.) The episodes that I have listened to so far have been great, they give you lots of resources, and best of all I find the hosts to be engaging and they liven up the discussions with music, and even some sound effects. As great as all the information is in this podcast one of the other things that really draws me to it is the quality. The sound quality of these is so good that I find that has a huge impact on how interested I am in it. I listened to a couple of podcasts that I think I would have enjoyed more if they were as loud and clear as this one.

The second podcast i choose is one done by John Cleese. I choose this one purely because I find John Cleese hilarious, and I think he has some pretty good information that we can take out of his rants. For example this one on airlines. Enjoy!

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Google Maps

March 18, 2009

In my ECMP class last week Dean talked to us about Google maps, and opened a whole new world for me. Now I have heard of google maps before and used them to help me get from point a to point b. However I had never thought about using it as a trip planner. It is amazing how easy it is to find and pinpoint main attractions and then to add content such as pictures, videos, or descriptions to those attractions. So thinking about trips I decided to use this tech task to start a little research for my upcoming trip to Las Vegas! I decided to locate the hotel that we will be staying at and then three of the the things that I am the most excited for. I will embed the map below as well as a link to it and you can check out some of the things I’m looking forward too.

Or you can look at it here

Working with google maps really got me thinking about how they can be utilized in the classroom and I think that the options are almost endless. During my internship i had students plan a Saskatchewan road trip using a traditional road map. I think it would have been really cool though to have taken this project even farther by then having them create the same trip using google maps. This would have also allowed them to do some comparison between the two types of maps and got them thinking about the uses of technology in our lives.
I also started thinking about how you could use google maps to do a project looking at far away communities and what they look like by using the street view. You could also incorporate aspects of math by having them plan a trip there while looking at aspects of cost, Give them a budget and have them include the information of cost in their descriptions of their stops on their maps. Then they could compare places of travel and decide where they might like to go based on the information information their classmates have gathered on their maps.

These were just some ideas I thought of while playing around with google maps. I would love to hear some of the ideas that other people have come up with for incorporating this great tool in the classroom.

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Tech Task #12

March 11, 2009

For tech task #12 we were asked to find a video that incorporates good shots and angles. I found this mazda commercial that I think fits the bill. I liked that this commercial starts by establishing where it takes place and also the point of view that we will be focusing on for the rest of the video. I also really liked the shot where you can see the dog in the rearview mirror because then it is like we are looking from the car’s viewpoint. Finally this commercial is just funny. I hope you enjoy it!

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Animoto.com

March 5, 2009

I made a quick video using a bunch of different pictures of my family using animoto that I want to share. I am using it for a presentation in my ECCU class. For the presentation we need to bring artifacts that represent who were are. I wanted to highlight how important all of these people have been and continue to be to the person that I am, so I though this would be a great way to do it. I must say that I really like the way that animoto did all the editing for me because I can be very indecisive and it was nice to just have it laid out for me. I’m also not even that sure that my editing skills would compare, oh well. I hope you enjoy the video!

Here it is!

[clearspring_widget title=”Animoto.com” wid=”46928cc51133af17″ pid=”49af8fde34d2b3fc” width=”432″ height=”240″ domain=”widgets.clearspring.com”]

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Smilebox

March 4, 2009

Last Wednesday’s class we heard from Alan Levine on digital storytelling, and he showed us his wiki on 50 web2.0 ways to tell a story. As a tech task this week we were also told to use at two of these 5o ways to tell one of our own stories. So I started playing around and of course got easily distracted. I ended up not telling a traditional story in the sense that I did not add any text. Essentially I created a slideshow of my wedding using smilebox. I had added text to many of the pictures but I felt like it didn’t belong, and that the pictures were strong enough images to tell the story by themselves. I found smilebox to be the easiest tool that I have used so far. I really liked that I was just able to drag and drop images rather than waiting for them all to upload, only to realize half of them didn’t work. I did have a few things that I think could have been improved in smilebox though. First there is an option to zoom in on your picture, but not one to zoom out, so I found that quite a few pictures were being cut off because of that. Also the was no way to remove the box that was meant for text in my theme so the empty text boxes had to remain on the slideshow. Lastly there is not an option to record your own audio. Although this particular slideshow distracted me from the real assignment I am still glad that I made it because it is did allow me to create something that will help me remember the story of my wedding in a different format than what I already have. It also allows me the chance to share some of my favorite moments from that day with a larger audience. So I posted my final product so far below, hope you enjoy it!

I also have to mention that all the photographs were taken by Andy Sammons.

He was such a fun photographer to work with.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Wedding Slideshow
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Mentorship Update

March 4, 2009

This week I had my first experience with Skype. A classmate, Krysta, and I are both mentoring Chad Brannon’s class and on Monday ad the opportunity to Skype with them for the Read Across America Day (which was also Dr. Suess’s birthday) It was really cool to be able to connect with the class in an almost face to face way. Krysta and I were put onto the screen at the front of the room, where as Chad pointed out our “heads were huge!” Since the class is starting a new unit on genetics we read a article about twins who were purposely separated in order to test the nature versus nurture debate. I think the highlight for me though was being able to interact with the studnets and seeing how engaged they were just by having us there. 

With Maura Mortiz’s class I have been reading their essays in google docs and then giving them feedback on what I have read. It is pretty cool to have access to their essays and to be able to be a part of the process from a distance. However one thing that I have found frustrating is that when I just glance at the docs on my igoogle page it only shows when I last edited them not the students so I had no way of knowing when something had been changed without directly going into the document. Also I feel a bit disconnected from it because other than the first introduction I haven’t really been in communication with the students, I leave them messages and they make changes but don’t response to me. I have been very impressed with their writing so far though, and i really enjoy the piece that they are writing about too, I will admit I do feel a bit cautious at times about leaving feedback though as I am not always that confident with my own writing skills. Overall though I am really enjoying it all and can’t wait to see what the next few weeks will hold.