Monday, June 27, 2011


Problem solving skills would be the correct terminology for Alice 2.2.  Let me just say this has by far been one of the most frustrating projects I have worked on thus far in my Instructional Technology program.  I began working with Alice early on because I had a feeling (due to the prompting of my professor) that this project would be a little more frustrating/confusing than others I had previously attempted.  Good thing I did.  Even so, I lost my work numerous times, changed things around, and had to search the Internet continuously for prompts.  Although this has been difficult, I would like to be able to have my students use it in small amounts to create short videos.  I think it would be really neat to have them create a short conversation and record their own voices to go along with the video.

I started first by looking at all of the available props.  I found the spooky Halloween type gallery.  Since Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year, I choose to go with a cemetery world.  I started looking for people.  I found a "jock" so I thought he could be turned into a werewolf.  I wanted to incorporate a little music so I though, "why not use Thriller?" The hardest movements were having the werewolf "attack" the jock and making the jock fall down.  

After working for two weeks off and on, I sat down today to complete the project and realized my video would not work.  Luckily I had saved it in my Dropbox and a previous version was still there.  I didn't have to start over per say, but the previous version was far from finished.  I will just count that as extra practice.  Of course it went quicker this time, but still I have been working on it all day.

Another difficult part was actually exporting the video.  When it exported, some of the timing was off.  After exporting and changing things about ten times, I finally got it as close to the original as possible.  I used iMovie to finish up the project by putting a title page and credits.  I figured this was important considering I was using a short clip of music and I wanted to give the artist credit.  

There are still many aspects of Alice I do not understand.  I did create my own movements but they were not very fluid.  I would like to know more about creating movements.  Also, I attempted using a billboard to create a title page.  It would have worked, but it would have also messed up my timing on my music, as the title page was an afterthought.  My biggest and most exciting success was figuring out how to make the music play during the entire video.  Believe me, this took me hours to figure out.  As a side note, I created the mix in Garage Band.  I just received a new Macbook and I am learning how to use all of the software available to me.  

Although the project was incredibly frustrating, I pressed on.  I wanted to conquer the assignment.  I wouldn't say this is wonderful by any means, but I did try very hard.  I constantly tweaked and worked to find the best movement possible and tried to add in little details to show care with the video.  

Sunday, June 5, 2011

TPACK Defined

TPACK or TPCK could most simply be defined as the correlation of content, pedagogical, and technical knowledge.  TPACK calls for teachers to structure activities that are appropriate to content, support proper pedagogical practices, and incorporate fitting technology.  In order for an educator to truly incorporate the suggestions of TPACK in the classroom, they must plan.  Knowledge of content, pedagogy, and technology are a must, and classroom activities should be approached as a whole, rather than individual activities.  The key word here is appropriate.  What is proper in a math class may not be fitting in Spanish classroom.  An educator must approach his or her content with the thought of how to best help students construct knowledge and attain the necessary proficiencies.  We must understand content, pedagogy, and technology individually and how they are intertwined with one another.  Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009 say the following regarding how technologies should be integrated during planning. “Technologies can be used to build on existing understanding to help students develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones.”  We should not be using technology just for the sake of saying we are tech savvy in the classroom.  Rather technologies utilized should have specific purpose and should be course specific. 

In my own classroom I would like to take more time to look at the big picture rather than just work week to week.  I get so bogged down in what are the individual activities we will be doing so I can turn in my weekly lesson plans that I forget what the purpose of each activity is and how they work together throughout the course.  I liked how the authors of the article explained TPK.  They said “TPK must be forward-looking, creative, and open-minded seeking of technological application, not for its own sake, but for the sake of advancing student learning and understanding.” (Harris, Mishra, & Koehler, 2009) I think I will make print this out and put it in view of my workspace.  TPACK requires time and thought.  This is something I will begin incorporating in my planning for next semester.  I believe it will make a huge difference in the lives of my students by giving our classroom activities true practical purpose that will be engaging.

Harris, J, Mishra, P, & Koehler, M. (2009). Teachers’ technological pedagogicalcontent knowledge and learningactivity types:curriculum-based technologyintegration reframed. Journal of Reasearch on Technology in Education, 41(4), 1-25.

Blooms' Taxonomy

According to the Blooms' Taxonomy cognitive domain, our group worked at a level of comprehension.  Our assignment called for us to analyze the information then compare and contrast the two standards models.  Comparison is a crucial aspect of the comprehension level.  Not only were we able to regurgitate facts of the tables, rather we looked critically at the models in order to gain understanding.  We stated main ideas as well as interpreted the tables.  The reason I would not go any further in the taxonomy is simply because we were not required to do anything more than comparison with the information.  Had we have been asked to apply the information in some way then that would possibly have put us in a higher level of cognitive domain. 

Considering the affective domain, I can only speak for myself.  I believe I achieved the valuing level of the domain.  Not only did I receive and respond to the information, I valued the information being given and will begin with the organizing process.  There was a good deal of information within the tables so I will now begin working to organize the information into my own schemata.

Honestly Blooms' Taxonomy is new to me.  I am probably only in the comprhension level when it comes to this subject.  I haven't had Psychology of Learning in a while.  Even then, I don't think I really understood how the taxonomy worked.  I was probably at the very basic knowledge level.  I do find this subject interesting and will work to incorporate the taxonomy in my own classroom.  I think all to often as teachers we teach to the test requiring students to simply spit back out details.  I would like for my students to obtain a higher level of thinking through critical thinking skills.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3rd World Farmer Simulation

Tell me about the reasoning for your choices in the 3rd world farmer simulation and the implications of that reasoning. 
The very first thing I did was look at how much money I had to spend.  I then check out what I could spend my money on.  I guess that was the “girl” in me.  I then checked my family and their status.  Considering I only had fifty dollars to start with, I bought as many crops as I could.  The game said the corn was the easiest to grow so I went with that.  I had a little success the first year.  I took my earnings and purchased more corn and paid for medications for my family.  I explored the idea of sending a child to school but I was afraid the traveling would take a toll on them and they would not be able to work.  My number one concern at that time was making money so I stuck with the crops.  My third year I bought a shed not knowing that really I could not do much with it.  I should have investigated my needs in order to purchase more livestock. I bought a chicken and the next year all the livestock was stolen.  I worked to purchase different items without giving much thought again to the family health.  That was a mistake.  I think by not keeping them healthy, they were unable to work as hard.  I probably would have yielded a better crop if I had workers capable of harvesting it.  I continued through the game in a trial and error way, making adjustments where I could.  When all else failed, I went back to old faithful, also known as corn.  I took chances when it came to special offers, for example I grew poppy flowers for a traveling salesman.  Those risks paid off but in the end, they were still risks.  At the end of the year as the calendar flipped back to February, I would always make predictions on what would be on the year in review sheet.  Sometimes I was right, but mostly wrong.  My 17th year was the worst.  I lost money that year and had a very sick family member.  I truly worked to figure out what would be best.  I truly wanted to learn how to make more money and increase my families’ health.  I did learn that having a child later in the game did not make things better by adding an extra worker, rather was -15% for workload.  Although this is the same as it is in the real world, I did not draw that conclusion beforehand.  I think had I have stuck with the crops the first five years and made education a priority, I would have faired better.