Technology


I’d seen most of the tools presented this week at one point or another,  but it had been a while since I’d played with some of them.  The task for this week was to try at least 2 of the tools, so I decided to combine several of them together.

I got the text for the story for “The Happy Prince” from Project Gutenberg, and found an audio version on LibrivoxLessonwriter.com was used to make the activities, but unfortunately didn’t let me keep the text changes I had made (highlighted where the characters spoke and who was speaking; spaces between paragraphs). It also has a limit of 800 words per text.  “The Happy Prince” is 3,000 some words, so I might make several lessons and then combine them all by hand.

I also found a nice blog entry with images to go with the story along the way.

Here’s the link student activity portion of the lesson.  I was happy to see that Lessonwriter now includes options for differentiation!

I’m still learning how to get the most out of my Mac, and loving every minute of it! I wanted to find some music videos in Spanish to use in my classes, and this ended up being even easier than it was with my PC.

If you’re using Safari, there’s an easy way to download YouTube videos. Open the page with the movie and press Command-Option-A, which shows the Activity window. If you’re also loading other sites, you’ll see a list of them: scroll until you find the YouTube page and click on the arrow to show details about what is being loaded. You will see an item that is over 0.5MB. Double-click on it (even if it is still loading), and Safari will download it. When the download is over, navigate to the file in the Finder and add the extension .flv to its name if necessary. That’s it!

This past week of evomlit (week 3), we looked at the “pedagogical lens” as proposed by M. Pegrum in From Blogs to Bombs.  I’ve been looking at a lot of the tools mentioned, and trying to figure out how to best coordinate my online experiences in an ePortfolio.  While I understand the concept, I’m having trouble finding a tool that I really like and that doesn’t require me to basically start from scratch again.

When I moved back to the US in July and had to really begin my job search, one of the “new” requirements was “proof of teaching excellence.” This was something new to me.  I knew I should be keeping a portfolio, but I had no clue what should actually go there.  My master’s program never discussed this at all, and my undergrad in business wasn’t helping much.  So, I scrambled.  And am still scrambling.  I’ve been active in EVOs for a while now, and have spent countless hours developing activities and workshops with online components.  But I haven’t been good at pulling it all together.  I’ve tried with wikis, and for now have a portfolio on Google Sites at http://sites.google.com/site/erinlowry2/. I’m not happy with how it looks (liked it much better when it was still hosted through Google Pages), and even less with its capabilities to display feeds from the different things I’m working on or teaching.  I still don’t have any “real” videos of me teaching, which I need to fix and soon.  I also have a LinkedIn profile at http://www.linkedin.com/in/erinlowry, but haven’t found it that useful. After looking at the portfolios for some of the other evomlit participants (http://jenniferverschoor.pbworks.com/, ), I think I might go back and try pbworks.  I’ve used it for course materials, and find it easier to use than wikidot, which I had used for one of my earlier portfolio attempts.

In this week’s reading, we looked at 4 “literacy groups”:

  1. Language literacies
  2. Information literacies
  3. Connection literacies
  4. Remix literacies

I especially enjoyed the section that mentioned how students at a particular college were allowed to use the internet, iPods, and “phone a friend” while taking an exam, and how these activities were not cheating, but “using our tools and including the world in our knowledge base.”  This reminded me of several recent happenings at my school.

  1. I was sitting in a department meeting discussing the possible adoption of new textbooks for next year.  I had previously looked online to see what I could find that I thought we should request samples of, and mentioned this to the group.  I was told that the state has a list of books we are allowed to use, and that the list would be forwarded to me later.  I had my laptop out, immediately googled and found the list, and was all ready to decide then, but no one else wanted to see it or seemed to believe that I had found it.  What should have been a decision made in 5 minutes (short list to choose from!) has stretched into 2 weeks.
  2. My students commenting before finals time how good they are at cheating (they’re actually quite obvious).  They had time beforehand to create drafts of the writing they had to do for their final, where they could use their books, dictionaries, the internet, each other, and so on.  I had one student who brought his draft on his iPhone, which I let him use, and then wondered what admin would think if they came into my classroom and saw him using it!

I agree that in their working lives, my current students will never had to carry large amounts of information around in their heads (besides my hope for them to be able to communicate in another language).  All my doctor friends that are now in the middle of their residencies have Blackberries or PDAs or other tools to use. They will need to be able to access information and do so quickly.

I’m feeling a little guilty about still not being so caught up after three days off school for snow, but I’ll get there!

Check out this nifty photo book created with Bookr. It fits in with my (kind of) yearly Valentine’s / technology theme.  This could be a great activity to use with students.

My Desk

My Desk

Label the parts of my desk using the vocabulary we looked at during the last class. Copy the picture and paste it in a new entry on your blog, followed by the list of words.  For example:

A. Computer
B. Chair

Found this article and thought it was interesting.  Didn’t know about the windows + D to minimize all windows. Check out  Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User.

Pogue’s Posts: Tech Tips for the Basic Computer User
Published: October 2, 2008
Last week, I wrote an entry on my blog that began like this: “One of these days, I’m going to write a book called, ‘The Basics.’ It’s going to be a compendium of the essential tech bits that you just assume everyone knows–but you’re wrong. “(I’ll never forget watching a book editor at a publishing house painstakingly […]