Monday, April 30, 2012


I am so excited about the possibility of iBooks in the classroom.  Honestly, as a teacher with multiple "classroom sets" of textbooks, the thought of freeing up that space is ethereal.   As far as iAuthor goes, the ability to create my "own" textbook is super exciting.  I hate textbooks.  In fact, I loathe them.  I feel like so many teachers use textbooks as a crutch.  Have I done it?  Yes.  Am I proud of that?  Heck no.  The ability to generate useful material will take time, but oh my goodness, I am ready. 

1. Could they have made this program any easier? Drag and Drop Technology
2.  Widgets= Interactive
3. Up to date not out of date

1. I am a little nervous about copyright infringement
2. How many students/schools can afford this type of technology?  You have to have a Mac to create your own iBook, and students must have a device for viewing.  PDF versions are an option, but they won't be as interactive in nature.

Are You Sure?

I think this guy has lost it.  Seriously.  An invisibility cloak and shape shifters...right?  I will believe it when I see it.  Don't we have bigger problems in this world that need fixing?  Oh no, let's let our top scientist figure out how to make people invisible.  Honestly, I don't even know what shape shifting or it's purpose is.  How about  Let's spend our time figuring out how to get these people clean water or invisibility will be even sooner on the horizon.  In the mean time, I like what this YouTube viewer had to say...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Do We Really Want To Play God?

To be quite honest, this video scares me just a bit.  Michio Kaku presents the theory that in a time frame of ten years we will be able to put our entire genetic make up on a disc.  This disc would only cost $1,000, whereas currently the cost would be around $50,000.  This drastic price decrease is due to rapidly-changing technology.  That isn't the scary part.  He believes we will be able to determine based on genetic studies what causes aging.  With that knowledge we would be able to repair the aging genes and prolong life.  Scary right? 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I am so thankful to be at a school that allows students to have their cell phones and iTouches readily available to them.  At my previous school, I was constantly having to police cell phones.  Technology can be great, but it can also be a huge distraction for kids.  There are so many days when I walk through our hallways and see the students on sites like Pinterest, Addicting Games, etc.  Social media sites have been blocked, but the kids all do the same thing I do.  Their use the 3G and 4G elements to their phones and connect anyway.  I think having them blocked does limit usage, but kids that want to be on FB or Twitter will find a way. is not blocked at school so that is a way of getting around the filters too.  I want kids to learn to be responsible with their technology, but I am having a difficult figuring out how to teach that in my classroom.  The contributors of the panel suggested creating "engaging" lessons.  Are all lessons going to be engaging?  I try, but obviously I am missing the boat some days.  Am I for or against blocking social medial?  I don't know.

One concern brought up by the panel was kids creating groups against a specific teacher or school.  I think just our presence as educators on these sites will help cut down on this sort of behavior.  Just like a student wouldn't say certain things to our face, if we are online, and can see what they are doing, would that not cut down on the groups?

The panel discussed professional verses personal FB and Twitter accounts.  Don't we teach our kids nothing online is private?  Even if we set our profiles to private, we still run the risk of exposing too much.  The best thing to do is the right thing, as one panel member said.  If you are a professional, you will not post anything inappropriate.  If anything were to come up, use it as a teachable moment.  For example, maybe an old high school friend posts a picture of you that you aren't super proud of.  Use that as a time to teach the students.  The fact that you are human will automatically give you better rapport with them.

I like what the Spanish 2 teacher is doing.  I have had numerous occasions when the phone a friend option would come in handy.  To be quite honest, I haven't figured Twitter out yet.  I am trying so hard, but I really don't know how to implement it in the classroom.  I guess Monday my Spanish 2 class and I will do some brainstorming.

I think social media can be an excellent tool.  I would have no problem creating a group for my classes and using it as a method of communication.  I just want to use it in the right way.  I do have a few students that do not have FB or Twitter accounts.  I don't want them to feel left out in any way.  How would I involve those students?

Friday, April 20, 2012

More Second Life

I think I am back to not understanding SL.  My quest today was to go to Ed Tech Island.  After loading my SL viewer, I decided to fly to look for the sandbox.  Surely that would be near a beach right?  Well you got me.  I couldn't really find it.  Lucky for me, I was kicked off my browser, and had to restart.  When I did, I started back at the teleport site, and made my way to what I am pretty sure was the sandbox.  I built a pink box, then took a seat.  As you can see, their was a pretty cool Peter Pan looking boat floating in the sky.  I of course checked it out.  I couldn't really figure it out.  I put my feet back on "solid" ground and found an arcade.

I couldn't figure out how to play to save my life.  If there had been anyone around, I might have asked them.  I guess other people have lives and actually go out on a Friday night.  Due to lack of sleep the past two nights (my child is sick yet again), my patience level is non-existent.  I will try again another day.  Until then, I am going back to my original thoughts on SL.  It's not my favorite.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Proud Moment...Where are my magnets?

When I was little, my mom would put all of artwork on the refrigerator.  As I got older, the artwork changed to report cards, and now she just hangs up pictures of my kid.  I guess he is my greatest accomplishment after all.  Well, I have half a mind to send the following picture to my mom. 


Moving and Viewing In Second Life

Do you like my outfit?

Sitting in the amphitheater.

Superwoman?  No its just my avatar flying around Eagle Island.

I finally figured out how to sit down.  Avatars believe it or not get tired.

Watching a slideshow to get ready for my tour.

Touring an egg processing plant

Who wouldn't want to enjoy resting in a hammock in a virtual world.
Relaxing in the gazebo
Taking a break and looking at lovely decor.

Enjoying a view of the mountains.

A perfect photo opportunity
This quest finally allowed me to see some educational qualities of Second Life.  I still am not quite sure how I would use this tool considering I cannot even gain access to SL while at school.  I am more comfortable with moving around in SL, and I can tell you, my preferred method of travel is flying.  I am pretty sure I flew everywhere during this quest.  Well, except on my tour of the egg processing factory.  I am still not sold, but like I said, I can see some educational qualities.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Second Life Take Two

Ok, so when I saw I had to do another SL quest I wanted to cry.  Not really, but I definitely didn't want to do it.  I put my game face on and gave it a go.  To my surprise, this quest was much better.  Had I have started with this quest, I might not have had such an adverse reaction to SL.  This quest was designed to teach you how to navigate in SL.  I started out with a kiss from a bird...

Then I learned how to fly...
I hope you didn't miss the butterfly in the picture because that was the coolest part of flying.  I was then asked if I wanted to play a game.  Do I want to play a game?  What else would I do with my time?  Absolutely!  (Some sarcasm intended.  There really should be a sarcasm font)  I stepped through the portal, and seriously (no sarcasm this time) I was hooked.  Are you kidding me?  I was looking for crystals in a mythical world, but somehow it kept my attention.  I was chased by a bolder looking thing?  Really I have no clue what it was, but it made me mad, and I was going to beat that sucker. And I fell into a pool of toxic water.  Of course that teleported me back to some random spot.  To say I got lost a few times is an understatement. 
I finally figured out there was a map and what the trails looked like.  I made my way to the caverns, then Whisper Hollow...
I wanted to go ahead and finish my blog post, but I plan on returning to my fictional world to help Tryah figure out what is going on with her kingdom.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Evernote Where Have You Been All Of My Life?

Seriously, I downloaded this app for my Blackberry about three years ago and never used it.  I guess I didn't understand it's full potential.  My husband, not two weeks ago, downloaded the EN app on my iPhone.  Still up until yesterday, I had not used it.  After reading the blog post about using EN to create a portfolio, I was curious.  I began playing around with it on my phone and on my computer.  To my surprise, I love it!  I created a notebook and began "clipping" useful websites.  I find websites all the time of ideas I want to implement in my classroom.  I just add them to my bookmarks, and they get lost in the crowd.  With EN, I can create a notebook that is accessible from my phone, computer, and iPad.  This notebook is organized by tags, and I can search text.  How cool is that?  I am a dork...I know. 

In my English classroom I think I could use EN in a number of ways.  Specifically for students to organize their online research.  They could begin researching a topic and "clip" the websites they use.  Within their notebooks, they can take notes over the topic and write directly on the webpage.  They can highlight important text and attach files.  These notebooks can be used for individuals or they can be shared and edited by a group.  This is just another alternative to using Google Docs.  When they have finished their paper/project, they can add it to the notebook as well.  This is then easily accessible from any mobile device or computer.

In my Spanish Classroom I am always looking for ways for students to showcase or portfolio their work.  Many times the students make videos to go along with their projects.  They do a vocabulary slideshow each chapter as well.  EN is an easy way to compile all of their digital sources into place.  My students have to turn their computers in each semester.  Having their notes on EN will allow them to study and have access to their materials over the summer and on into college. 

Professionally I will use EN as a method of keeping up with digital resources for my English and Spanish classes.  Should my hard drive crash, I would have a back up of all my important documents.  I can also share the information with my pair teachers.

On a personal level, this is just another way to back up and document things I would like to remember.  I take a million pictures using my iPhone, so this is a way to keep up with all of them.  I could keep a wish list of items for our new house, or keep up with the houses we are looking at.  Overall, this is a great way to organize all sources of digital media.