Thursday, June 23, 2011

Digital Portfolio

I chose to compile my digital portfolio using the About.Me website. I found this website to be extremely user friendly and easy to navigate. The backgrounds that they allowed you to choose from really seem to fit who I was as a person, especially because one of the options was a sun set at the beach...which I love:) The site allowed me to add a biography about me, and I also added a few links to things within that bio. Check it out...I think it does a nice job showing who I am as an educator as well as a lifelong learner. I also enjoyed showcasing my projects that I have completed in the past, and I even learned how to work with a new site on the internet called Slideshare, which allowed me to share my Power Points that I created. I'm always up for learning new things, and I look forward to adding to my portfolio as I continue my career!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Self Evaluation: "The Light of My Life" Digital Storytelling Project

Digital Storytelling Rubric

The rubric above came from a rubric on Rubristar that a teacher created. The teacher made a note that the rubric could be changed or modified to meet your needs. I feel as though this would be a good rubric to use when the kids are just learning the basics of digital story telling. I chose this rubric because most of the rubrics that I saw in this week's readings went along with blogging, so I decided to do a little research on my own to find a rubric to match Digital Storytelling.

Since this is only my second Instructional Media class, I chose to evaluate one of my projects from my Digital Storytelling class, which happened to be my first class, since it was something I had never done before. The purpose of this particular project was to take something we already used in class and modify it so that it could become a digital story. I decided to take one of my five paragraph essays that I have students write in my Language Arts classes, and recreate it to be a digital story. The piece happened to be titled, "The Light of My Life," and the students pick one person who they can't imagine their life without. They then work to describe this person to the audience using specific character traits and supporting details. They also mention why this person is so special to them. When all is said and done, the audience should have a clear idea as to who this person is and why they are special. With the DST project, students would create a storyboard, create a rough draft using 5 paragraphs which would help guide them in the digital storytelling process, and then work on their actual digital story using music, pictures, and voice.

We had to create a sample project to submit, so I created my first digital story about my Dad, who is the light of my life. I went through each step the way my students would, and realized that it was a lot easier than I had expected. I first created a story board to be sure I had all parts covered. I then created my 5 paragraph essay which helped structure the voice over in my story and allowed me to keep a good pace. I then put it all together. I realized that it was much easier to do when you had sufficient planning.  I ended up getting a perfect score (48/48) on this project, and I put a lot of time and energy into it...I even used it as a Father's Day present for my Dad:)

If I were to use the rubric posted above to evaluate my DST project, I would proudly give myself a 100/100. I feel as if I would have perfect marks because according to the rubric, I had a clear purpose stated from the beginning, my voice and pacing kept the story moving (not too fast or too slow), I used various images that followed the story line and I even matched up certain images based on a certain part of the story, the story provided enough information for the viewers to get the idea, but not too much which could cause overkill, and I used appropriate grammar and mechanics in my all parts of my work. Like I said before, I worked very hard on this project and felt as if it was a great project for me to complete. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist, so it may have taken a me a little more time than it should have;)

Here is "The Light of My Life" project...

I look forward to using this project with my students next year and I plan to use the rubric listed above to get the kids into the flow of things when it comes the DST. I am planning to use that on all basic DST assignments, and possibly tweak it based on the particular assignment.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Creating a digital story using a cell phone...

I chose to think back to why I wanted to be a teacher and wanted to discuss that on the video. I found that using a cell phone to create a digital story was easier than I expected, however having an Iphone certainly didn't hurt. I put my recordings into Imovie where I was able to edit the shots that I wanted to use, add text slides, and add a transition from one of my video recordings to another. All of my recordings came from the cell phone, and were pretty much complete, so it was easy to edit in Imovie. After viewing the video, I wish I had better lighting, but overall I thought my sound was okay. I got nervous on screen and at times just felt like I was having a conversation with the phone:)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview: Miss Wilburn's experience with the use of cell phones in her classroom

For this cell phone project interview, I contacted various people and did not hear back from anyone. As of last night, I decided to post my assignment on Facebook, and to my surprise, a few of my "education" friends got back to me right away. I chuckled and thought to myself, "Ah, the speed and wonders of social networking." :)

I decided to conduct a conversation with one of my friends, Christina, who actually took this class in the past for her Master's Degree. Since then, she has stepped out and tried using cell phones in her gave me some hope:) We started talking via Facebook, and then I just decided to email her my questions and then later call her to discuss her answers once she got back to me.

Christina teaches at Hempfield High School, and she is one of the technology leaders in her building. To begin our conversation, I wanted to make sure I covered all of the areas that we needed as well as a few other questions that I had. As of now, I am not one that supports the use of cell phones in education based on the fact that I teach 6th grade, but I am finding that the more I talk to people about it, and the more great ideas I hear about it, the better I begin to feel.

Here are the questions that I asked Christina, along with her responses...

1.What types of cell phone projects do you use in your classroom? She mentioned that she uses something called the "Poll Everywhere" system which is a question and answer forum. She also said that she used something called "Rained Out" which provides classroom updates. She mentioned that she has used "Rained Out" to help deliver cancellations to her team since she coaches. I coach as well so I thought this would be a great thing to use when sending messages to my team since most of the girls have their phones attached to their hip.

2. What made you first decide to venture into this area? Christina responded by saying, "I’m a technology leader in our school and all of the leaders have monthly meetings. 'Poll Everywhere' was presented to us by our technology coach. She frequently provides us with new tools and websites to use in the classroom. I thought this sounded like fun so I decided to give it a try. I heard about Rained Out at a technology conference and decided to give it a try."

3. Does your school have a policy or procedure on what teachers need to do if they want to start using a new technology in their classroom? Christina's response was, "Honestly, there is no specific policy in place. We have a lot of freedom to incorporate whatever we want, as long as we feel that it is beneficial to the students' learning. If there is anything that we find that we may be unsure of, we have technology coaches that we can ask to see if it is appropriate to use."

*I could relate to this situation because our district does not a problem with us trying new fact, they want us to try new things that will engage the students, and they are more than willing to help us when we make those attempts.

4. Did you ask for permission first? I wasn't surprised with Christina's answer for this question (she said no) since the things she is using in her classrooms with cell phones was presented to her at a technology conference that she attended. Most teachers take those things shown to us and use them as often as possible knowing that they are already approved and safe.

5. What is/was the feedback from your students? Christina said, "Many of the students LOVED it! They thought it was so cool that they could take out their cell phones in class which is normally forbidden. 'Poll Everywhere' is very easy to use as well, which is nice because you are not running around like crazy answering tons of questions. Students also enjoy the classroom reminders that are sent via 'Rained Out.'"

6. Did you have to involve the parents of your students at all, and if so, what is/was their typical feedback? In this case, Christina said she did not involve the parents of her students. She mentioned that she felt that this was acceptable to use without permission since there was not any personal information being shared. The only thing she wanted to check into before doing the project was what students had texting plans. Most of her high school students knew the answer to this, but she said if someone did not have one, then she would encourage them to talk to their parents or she would then call their parents.

*I could see this as being an issue in my room since I teach 6th grade, as well as the fact that our policy does not permit cell phones. Our policy would need to be changed in order for me to use this type of technology. I feel as though most of my kids have phones, which also have texting, but I would probably first send home a letter describing what I was planning to do as well as talk to parents about the texting. The last thing I would want to do is make their bill go higher!

7. What do you do if not all students have cell phones? Based on the fact that Christina teaches high school, she said she typically reminds them at least 2-3 days prior to the activity about making sure they bring their cell phone to class. If they do not bring in a cell phone, she then pairs them up with one another. They are allowed to interact with one another, discuss what they think the answer is to the question, and then text it in.

8. What challenges did you face? Christina mentioned that "Poll Everywhere" is so easy to use so she really has not had many problems with this site. The only challenge she faced was not having all students bring in a cell phone, which is expected since high school students have a tendency to forget, or they may not own a phone. She said there are always ways around it though.

9. Do you have any advice you have for fellow teachers who want to do this...meaning using the two sites she used? Christina answered this question by saying, "Don’t be afraid! Take some time to learn the site, set up questions, and you’re practically good to go! It makes for a very fun and exciting class period!"

*I want to thank Christina for taking the time to answer my distress call on Facebook, and for taking the time to answer my questions. I felt that we had a great conversation and I was able to learn a lot about the simple things that you can do with cell phones in your classroom. I still have my opinions, but after talking to her, I felt more at ease and felt a little more confident in knowing that you at least have to give it a try to see how it works. I am curious to see what would come from me asking if I could try this with 6th graders, with the understanding that I would need to contact parents first. Christina and I discussed the questions that I mentioned above as well as a few other variations based on the different grade levels that we teach.

*I definitely would like to try to use the "Rained Out" site for coaching since it would alleviate trying to contact all the girls in case practice is canceled or changed, but I am still brainstorming ideas for the cell phones in the classroom. Like I mentioned before, I'm still hesitant about using cell phones, but talking to Christina definitely made me feel a little more at ease:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

"JAM Session" on Bullying

Here we are! Enjoy...still working on getting the adds out. Our poll didn't work either:(

"JAM Session" on Bullying

Update...due to technical difficulties the JAM session will take place at 8.

Sorry for any confusion.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

"JAM Session" on Bullying

Jess, Megan, and I will be hosting our own round table discussion on bullying in the elementary school at 7:15 EST on Thursday June 9, 2011. Please feel free to join us.

Stay tuned for details and links to our broadcast:)