The Road Not Taken

The following Meme is a picture taken to depict Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken.”

I found this to be a pretty fun assignment. I enjoyed viewing all of the already created Memes, and I looked to create this meme to depict what could be one of my favorite poems of all time. I enjoy teaching it on the first and last days of school because it reminds the students that life is a series of choices.

In the process of creating this meme I simply googled “The Road Not Taken” meme generator. It brought me to the friendly site, memegenerator.net.   Before heading to this site, I also checked out quickmeme.com to see if I could create a meme through that site, but it was a bust.

The message I was trying to convey is that modern technology can ironically allow you to go in two directions at the same time (through google maps).  What used to be the road not taken, has now probably “collaboratively” been taken, documented, and blogged about!!  While I love the poem because it can relate to so many aspects of one’s life, I was simply trying to show that the road has probably already been discovered and rediscovered over and over again!

Week 9- The challenges of implementing technology

Why can’t Siri remind me to post on time?

In this blog post I am going to discuss the challenges of implementing new ideas into classroom use.  For the last three years I have learned about so many new tools, found new websites, and different ways to teach new ideas, but I always struggle in finding way to IMPLEMENT them. The struggle for me is that I am so excited about learning everything I can about a new tool, but the act of using it in the classroom is the step that I need to get to. I tend to get stuck in the “this would be a cool idea for next year” phase.

I actually wish sometimes that I could have my high school classes sit in on my graduate classes with me, and then I can just continue to teach what we are learning. I find that some of the great ideas that I learn in my classes either don’t fit exactly into the design of the high school classes, or finding a way to implement them is just too difficult. For example, I spent many classes learning how to design a google sites website, but finding a way for me to teach that to my students is just too timely and is not manageable.  I did, however, utilize what I learned by creating a classroom website. It doesn’t have the same affect as teaching them the design of google sites, but I was using what I learned in the classroom.

One example of technology that I tried to use in the classroom is google docs. I did have all of my students create a google docs account, and I had them share their projects with other students. In recent years I have not used this tool when having them write papers, but I have instead had them do group presentations using google docs.

I just wish that I could find a way to be more creative in turning my projects into actual lessons for students. The entire idea of taking these classes is to apply what I learned to an educational environment, but I sometimes feel so busy and overwhelmed through my daily routine to finish the job. I am filled with all of these great ideas and now have a vast knowledge in the field of education technology, but I have not taken the final step and transferred that knowledge over to my students.

I am sure that the trick going forward is to block out time for planning, and to really focus on making sure that I’m “paying it forward.”  I also think it’s important that I remember why I began getting my degree in education technology in the first place. I believe that technology will always be changing, so keeping up with new technology and finding new ways to teach the current crop of students is really important.  So many teachers have been using outdated methods to educate, and I thought that it would be beneficial to change as the technology changes.

So, I have to ask myself, am I keeping up right now? I’d say that I am definitely adapting as technology adapts, but I am not sure if it transfers over to my classroom just yet.  I’d like to make that next step. Maybe that will be my 2013 goal!!

Star Wars 7,8, and 9?? Really??

At the end of every cross country and track season, our team gathers for an end-of-the-year banquet to celebrate the successes of the team.  It is a rather joyous party, with family and friends attending in the cafeteria of the school.  We usually bring plenty of food, we purchase and give out expensive awards, and I conclude it every year with a presentation slideshow.  This slideshow takes weeks to make, and I gather all pictures and videos from the season and present them to the audience of about 100+ spectators. It has been the best part of our season.

The video had always been made by me, and it had been produced on my Macbook Pro. I would purchase the 5-6 songs need for the presentation, and when someone on the team wanted view the slideshow, i would burn them a copy.  It was really quite simple and harmless.

Then last year a situation occurred which made question the code of ethics regarding acceptable use, and it made me a bit uncomfortable. Two years ago I gave up the creation of the video to a parent, and he took it to another level by using Sony Movie Maker software. He would make multiple short team videos throughout the year and post them on Youtube. I would then link to those videos on our team website. It seemed harmless.  At the end of the year I collaborated with him on the videos.  I purchased the songs, we integrated them into the video nicely, and everyone was happy.

Here was the catch!  Some parents suggested to sell the videos as part of fundraiser, and the maker of the video decided to post it on Youtube.  When this happened, some of the songs were protected by copyright. Instead of deciding against posting the video, he just found songs that were not yet blocked. It was a way around it.

Here is a link to the video.

I was definitely hesitant to allow the distribution of the video for profit to occur because I thought that the songs would have been used for commercial use, but I figured that it probably wouldn’t have been a big deal because we only sold less than 30 of them. I also was hesitant to allow it to be used on youtube and on our team’s website. The parent made the video and posted it, so I figured as long as I didn’t link to it I could have been ok.

After viewing the videos and reading up on fair use and copyright laws, I am much more aware and concerned about the use of music, videos, and books in the classroom. It has also become quite shocking to learn how many Americans violate those laws on a daily basis through social media and on the web.  An education on these laws is definitely needed.

LMSAO

This topic is quite interesting, and one that I have  discussed with my colleagues for a while now. Do we want to “step out of the box” and are we allowed to?  I think that the greater question at the high school level is, can we?

When I enrolled in this class, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sakai was not being used. Since I began taking classes in 2009, Sakai has been the framework for the classes that I have taken. While I have enjoyed their offerings, I found them to be too structured and cookie cutter. Seeing the class use Workpress, Googlegroups, aboutme, and other sites really has helped me to consider branching out in my own classes.

So, do I feel comfortable stepping out of the institutionally supported technologies?  

The weak answer to the question is yes and no.  I already began this process a few years ago, and I have taken a step back to return to the more traditional methods of learning, using a software called Studywiz. A few years ago I really wanted to venture away from Studywiz and adopt new forms of technology in the classroom, like Googledocs, Wikispaces, and Youtube. I had my students create accounts, communicate collaboratively, and correspond back and forth online outside of Studywiz. I really liked the learning environment which I had created, and I believed that I was challenging my students to think differently. Students appreciated it, and everything was great. The problem I had was with tracking it all and assessing it. I found that while they were great in theory, I had difficulty in keeping it all together and monitoring their actions, messages, and behavior. At the high school level, I found it very challenging to “police” all of my students. It took hours to check their work, assess grades, and monitor and comment on 150 students on 3+ sites. Going back to Studywiz was a MUCH easier approach, although it was so rigid and difficult.
I also ran into the issue of whether or not I was allowed to have all of these sites open for the students. Being a Catholic school, I ran the risk of communicating one-on-one with a student outside of the school day, thus violating our policy.  There were moments when I was communicating “live” with students through google docs, and it could become an issue as we approach these new forms of technology. At the collegiate level it is much more appropriate, but the sites can open up a pandora’s box of issues.  This article from the NY Times kind of hits what I am addressing in terms of the impact of teacher/students interactions. This is the main issue I have with it, and going forward I would have to make sure that the parents are aware that communication could occur in these environments.

That really is the major issue I have with EduPunk. While I would love to allow my classeses mirror the interactions we have in UDSNF12, it would/could lead to all sorts of issues. There are even some issues that I wouldn’t even think of, such as bullying, hazing, or other inappropriate interactions. I am not sure whether the students would take all of it seriously.

I have thus gone back to Studywiz, but I am not against pursuing Edupunk learning down the road. At the very least, I am going to make sure that educate my students on what it is. Keeping them in the dark on these new forms of education would be a mistake.
And finally, here is another link I found on edupunk which I thought was interesting enough to share.    The Rise of Edupunk.

 

My dollar would be worth $1.0000000001 in 10 minutes

Are we in an confessional reality TV booth?  If so, I’m about to divulge a personal secret. I am a bit clueless when it comes to investing and personal finances. There, I said it.  It is something that many people probably also struggle with, but money has never been something that I have cared too much about. I guess I could say that money does not create happiness for me, because I am doing just fine not worrying about it. My motto is that if i spend less than I make, then I am RICH. The reality of that though is that if I don’t take the time now that I’m still sort of young to learn how to invest properly, then I may find myself behind the 8 ball later in life.

Therefore, I am devoting this blog to taking the steps to learn how to control my finances. I think it is something that I’ve always ignored, but it’s high time that I figured out what to do. I am grateful for this class because it kicks me in the a**.

My first step would be to figure out what I’d do given 10 minutes, 1 week, or 1 year.  It’s interesting to start with 10 minutes because sometimes 10 minutes is all it takes to begin to learn something forever.

10 minutes= crunch time   It’s 12:50 and I need to know who to start for RB…. oh wait, this isn’t Fantasy Football.  If I had just 10 minutes to learn as much as I could about Financial planning, my first move would be to do a google search on FINANCIAL PLANNING. It’s amazing what comes up when you do that simple search. They are probably all fighting for our money, so I bet being at the top is a big deal!
Van Guard is also a great place for me to start. You can go to their site and they can give you a very quick rundown of what to invest in. You can fill it out in about 10 minutes, and it’ll give you pretty solid advice.  Van Guard is pretty reliable, and is used all over the world by many corporations for their pensions.

1 full week-   Given an entire week to learn about financial planning, there are many more options to choose from.

  • Financial planner- I think that the first step would be to engage in a one-on-one with a certified financial planner. In this initial session, the planner would go over my finances, expenses, allocations, and
  • CFP- learn from the site  This site is great because it has many links to send you to.

1 full year- If given an entire year to learn about my finances, I would take the time to practice investing. This would mean establishing a portfolio.

-Subscribe to the Wall Street Journal online, Forbes Magazine, and The Economist. There are many more, but these will be good places to start. If I devote a few hours per week on these sites, I believe that I’ll grow my knowledge of investing.

Books by John Bogle, retired founder of Van Guard. I also believe

And finally, I believe that it would be important to follow financial planners and advisers on Facebook, Twitter, and possibly LinkedIn. I think that social media could be key to be more involved.

In all, I believe that this is something that I am considering. As I always say to the my senior cross country runners before their last ever race, ‘If not now, when?”

Better late (and updated) than never

This assignment through me for a loop, mainly because life got in the way. A little over a year ago I thought it would improve my “Klout” if I took on another position at St. Mark’s, so I applied for the Freshman moderator position. It’s a small stipend for a HUGE job. I believed that the leader of the freshman class should be someone who can handle working with a group of brand new kids. I was given the job, and I had no idea what kind of work it required.

The last two weeks have been “Hell” for me, thus the delay on this blog.  Our homecoming dance was last Saturday night. The 3 days leading up to the dance were blocked out with activities, projects, and events. It was a challenge. Now this week I am the race director for the Joe O’Neill 5K, which takes place this Sunday morning at St. Mark’s. (Shameless plug for the race).  Well, it leaves me at 10:53 p.m. on Friday night, and I am just able to sit down and write my blog about this assignment.    AND HERE…WE…GO!

I read all the articles, and what particularly caught my attention were 2 big points.  1)- What is my klout?  Does it concern me?  2) -What makes me different? Do I need a resume?  Ok, those 4 four questions, but really 2 main points.  To start off, I had honestly no idea what klout was. Being an English teacher, my first thought was, “oh they spelled clout wrong.”  But now that I know about it, I am wondering whether I should care about my klout. It really does tend to scare me that people would judge you on how often you tweet and how many followers you have, but I guess sometimes in life you have to play the game. My klout score off my “me” page said 20. That sounds normal, but who knows. Maybe this semester I’ll work up to 50. I’m not going after Justin Beiber status. Who would want to?

In all seriousness, I found that Tom Peters article on Branding was very informative, and it enticed me to change my “about me” page.   I tend to be quite reserved and quiet when it comes to projecting myself on social media and other networking sites, but I am seeing that if I don’t promote myself, who will do it for me? I also noticed that I have not branded myself at all. My picture was not inviting, and my information was rather boring. I spiced it up a little, bringing in a few really key points about what I do in life and where my passion is.

It’s funny that we were asked to about our about.me page because just last week I was wondering if we were going to come back to it. I was like, ‘what are we doing with this page?”  I’m glad we got back to it. I am hoping that moving forward I continue to update my pages. I am also going to think about getting a higher score on my “clout”, but we shall see what happens.