Month: August 2015

Styled 502 Page

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This assignment required me to add CSS styling to my plain 502 page. What a learning curve this was!  I am not known for my sense of style in the real world, and I learned that it doesn’t really improve in the virtual world either.  I spent a lot of time using google and working my way through Code Academy to help me style this page.  I found that I had more trouble with choosing colors and layouts than I did with the the actual coding.  The biggest irritation was when something was working perfectly but when I changed something else it stopped working.  So frustrating!  Here is the end result, a styled 502 page.

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Plain 502 Page

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html-logo-md

My first adventure into coding involved creating a plain page for my Edtech 502 class.  Nothing fancy, just a plain black and white page with no style sheets attached.  HTML5 coding at its best.  I am pretty proud of this page.  I went from having never even heard of HTML to creating an actual page!  I didn’t have a lot of trouble with this assignment.  The how-to video provided by my professor was very clear and easy to follow.  Completing this project successfully has given me a much-needed boost in confidence.  I am looking forward to what the next task brings.

The Journey Continues

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End of Summer

I can’t believe that summer flew by so quickly. I have one full week left before professional development begins, quickly followed by students in my classroom. After a lot of soul-searching, I have decided to focus on just one class this fall. Edtech 502 sounds very challenging to someone who has never coded before. With the start of school, our new 1:1 program and the large fund-raiser that I run every fall, I am afraid of spreading myself too thin.

This class is contained completely in Moodle. We are not required to post on this learning log, but I will continue to reflect and add links to my completed assignments here. I am finding that this helps keep me centered and focused, two things I need more of in my life.

The Tip of the Iceberg

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As my first class in the Edtech Masters Program comes to an end, I find myself looking back on the past seven weeks with a sense of pride and accomplishment. I wrote my first post 45 days ago, on a blog that I created, and faced the unknown. It has been over a decade since I was on the other side of the desk, and I was not at all sure that I would be able to transition successfully. Meeting my classmates via Adobe Connect did not do much to reassure me. A conservative guess puts me at least ten years older than everyone else in the class, including the instructor. Was I making the right decision in returning to school? I already have one masters degree. I also have two bachelor’s degrees and three different teacher certifications. Isn’t that enough? The simple answer is no. I don’t ever want to see the time come when I am no longer interested in learning.

I love using technology in my classroom but have not had the ability to truly integrate it. As a result, this class was one huge learning curve for me. I had to teach myself almost every single application that was thrown our way. And even some that weren’t. The graphic was the most difficult as I do not have even rudimentary artistic or graphic skills. It was a challenge just to find a starting point. Writing is also not a strength, so the Ethics paper was tortuous. I struggle with when to cite without over citing. I am so thankful for all my friends, both physical and virtual. I put out several calls for help in various online communities, did a lot of google searches and had my friends check my artifacts. It definitely took a village!

I am very proud of my Digital Divide presentation. The slide presentation I made for the Tech Trends assignment is a close second. I found that I enjoy making interesting, effective slide presentations. This can probably be traced back to the number of presentations I have sat through for professional development, swearing under my breath as the presenter reads the slides to me. I am not an auditory learner and as soon as they start reading, I tune them out. I loved being able to narrate my slides. I am already working on transferring classroom tests to slides and narrating them. It is impossible to read a math test to a room full of students. I have one or two that are staying with me, several that are bored so have worked ahead, and several that got stuck several questions back and are no longer listening. Putting the tests on slides and handing out headphones will solve that problem.

I rewrote my first week of curriculum to include Digital Citizenship. I don’t feel that the short Chromebook Camp we are providing at the end of this month is enough, so I am incorporating it into my classroom. I created a word cloud in the shape of a footprint and put it on my class website. It links to an introductory video. I also added Mozilla Backpack and Classbadges to my website. Students will earn badges as they complete assignments. These badges can be printed out and hung up on my newest bulletin board. It is called The Fridge and looks like the front of a refrigerator. Many of my students do not receive recognition for their accomplishments, so I am creating a place in our room to serve that purpose. The badges will also tie into my latest interest, standards-based grading. This is a work in progress, but I am excited about moving in that direction.

Google+ is another area that I want to explore and integrate with our Google Classroom. My hope is that students will turn here for help outside of school, whether it be from their classmates or me. I have already dragged several coworkers into hangouts and used the video hangout with two of my closest teacher friends. It was hilarious, and we spent most of the time laughing at each other as we put on different hats and tried the sound effects. I must say, I look pretty funny with a goatee!

This class showed me how little I know about Educational Technology. The broad assumption that it means putting computers in classrooms and using available technology is very one-dimensional. It is that, but so much more than that. I am excited to continue my studies. This first step was just the tip of the iceberg.

Tip of the Iceberg --- Image by © Ralph A. Clevenger/CORBIS
Tip of the Iceberg — Image by © Ralph A. Clevenger/CORBIS

Edtech Graphic

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Created with Tagul.

According to Januszewski and Molenda (2008), “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources” (p. 1). This definition is fluid and changes as technology changes.  I expect that as the field continues to grow, the definition will continue to evolve.

I was given the task of creating a graphic to show my interpretation of this definition. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the assignment, and a picture keeps popping into my head. I see a student walking to school with the Earth in his backpack, peeking out. He meets up with his friends, and they all walk into my classroom. Several students are seated, with their shiny new Chromebooks in front of them. Other students are taking the Earth out of their backpacks and placing it on their desks. As the Earth comes out of the backpack and descends towards the desk, it slowly turns into a Chromebook.  As a special education teacher in a district with a high poverty rate, my students by definition are on the wrong side of the digital divide. My district’s new 1:1 program is an attempt to alleviate this inequality.  By giving each student a Chromebook, we are, in essence, giving them the world. Most of my students have never left the town they live in, and many never will. Having access to technology that is used thoughtfully and appropriately can broaden their horizons exponentially. In a twist on the old saying: If my students can’t go to the mountain, the mountain must come to my students.  Unfortunately, I do not have the skills to transform my image into something tangible, so it remains stuck in my head.

The graphic that I have created was completed using Easel.ly and Thinglink, neither of which I have used before. It seemed fitting to continue to stretch myself for the final assignment. I chose a template in Easel.ly and then adjusted it to fit my interpretation of educational technology.   I see student learning as the main focus of Technology Education, with appropriateness being a close second.  “Informed, professionally sound choices help learners learn productively while making wise use of the time and resources of the organization, including the time and effort of educational technologies themselves” (Januszewski & Molenda, 2008, p. 11).  Everything else revolves around these two things.  Ethics drives the field, and so is placed at the top. Creating, Using and Managing finish the circle. Everything leads to the center and supports learning.  I uploaded my infographic into Thinglink and added tags. I included the AECT Code of Ethics (2007), a slide presentation that I co-authored for technology presentations, and pictures of technology at work in my classroom.  While this graphic is very different from the image in my head, I am happy with it.  I feel that this graphic is representative of my thought process, while the initial image of the Chromebooks representing the Earth represents a more emotional definition.

Please click on the infographic below to view the tags.

References

Association for Educational Communication & Technology’s Code of Professional Ethics.

(2007, November 1). Retrieved August 8, 2015 from http://aect.site-
ym.com/members/group_content_view.asp?group=91131&id=309963

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Professional Ethics and Educational Technology. In

           Educational Technology: A Definition with Commentary (pp. 1-14). New York:

           Routledge.