Archive for 2.3 Computer-Based Technologies

EDTECH597: Tour de Paris

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I think I finally had fun with the blocks editor today. In fact, the process went so smoothly that I spent more time dreaming about (or was that researching) what I would do given the opportunity to travel to Paris than I did actually building the app. I am ready to create all sorts of map apps. My students could do this – identifying historical or significant land marks in math and photography. Viva le Apps!

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ED TECH 597: Working out the Bugs

ladybug chase elementsThis past week, the ladybug app left me with a few bugs of my own to work out. Developing an android app by following directions is challenging, but even more challenging is how I will apply my new knowledge to education. Of course there is the possibility of opening the MIT site up to my students, but what more? Will my experience in this course and my new found skills make an impact on the way I teach and learn? Will it make an impact on the way others learn?

I continue to be inspired by my peers as we struggle to extend the lessons and create something uniquely ours. Ego is thrown out the door as we post the difficulties that detain our progress. We voice our reasoning and words of encouragement flow. It’s a refreshing change from the scoffs and muttered name calling in secondary classrooms when a student attempts to clarify an answer, suppressing the natural desire to learn. I have a plan to help teach those students to react to one another with respect and compassion. Although I’m not a “gamer” I am inspired to use this app building process to encourage my students to collaborate and “work out the bugs” of education.

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EDTECH 597: Do Not Disturb

What a week to begin complexity! Just as I was beginning to get the hang of App inventor and spreading my wings to put out new versions of the basic apps, along comes an assignment with location generators, memory, and text-to-voice capabilities. In the midst of it all, widespread ISP server failures, two ambulance runs, and a wounded foal only added to the confusion. The tutorial seemed straightforward, but I kept encountering problems such as having to search for components the drawers. My Blocks Editor did NOT match the screens in the book because the instructions have me rename elements, but their tutorial images are not renamed. I work late at night, so had difficulties finding a second phone. My emulator kept crashing despite multiple reboots. After more than six app hours, my tutorial app worked and was ready to be saved. This experience has given me a lot of insight into developing course materials for online activities. How many times do we educators fail to provide visual or contextual clues on how to proceed when technology fails? How often do I provide my students with misaligned images and text? How do my learners approach new challenges, and what is my role in guiding them through the course? Finally, and most challenging of all, what to do for extending the app? My family members seem to have a deep-seated need to know where I am at all times…given my schedule this past week, perhaps a “Do Not Disturb” is in order.

ET597DRoid

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EDTECH 506: The Shape of Things to Come

Sample of Unit page

Unit 3 – Bleeding Control and Shock Management


One of the first lessons I learned in elementary school was the use of shapes in art. Like many of my classmates, I happily drew triangles, circles, squares, and rectangles intermingled with lines of all lengths and thicknesses to represent happy families, houses, flowers, trees, and the bright shining sun. As time passed, I used ovals and more lines to practice the alphabet and numbers 0-9.

Shapes and lines continue to play an important part in my hobbies of photography and drawing. My eyes seek out and find shapes and patterns everywhere I look. This chapter has been by far a favorite as I gain new insight to some of the visual characteristics of shapes and how they communicate unity, emotions, or organization. I was intrigued by the examples Lohr sets forth in Figures 10-2 through 10-6 (pp. 251-255) and noted that I am usually drawn to those layouts that depict unity and those that separate and define. Therefore it was no surprise that I chose to use those elements in my own layout for my unit. I chose to use simple rectangles to organize the information on a standard computer display. Other units can be quickly accessed on the lower ribbon links. I like the way rectangles highlight and organize the information with clean lines. My use of color parallels the colors we use on our local EMS logo and ambulance. When my daughter pointed out that my page looked a little bit “cluttered” I added the broken circle in an attempt to unify the page elements and a solid line of a different color to separate and define the other units. I am pleased with the results, but knowing my penchant for revision, left the layers intact for future editing.

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EDTECH597 Squeak & Buzz

Moles and Apps have two things in common – they can be found just about anywhere and they are always popping up in new places. This week’s design project is a spin-off of the classic children’s arcade game where the player tries to keep rodents from popping up in a given area. After putting together the initial game, I put it to the test with my resident expert – my teenage daughter. She picked up the phone, clicked on a mole, and got a runtime error. “That’s strange, let me reload it.” Again it threw the same error. “Let me know when you get the bugs out” she said as she left the room. Much searching revealed that a block had inadvertently been slid over to the far reaches of the Blocks Editor window. Calling my daughter back, she assessed, tried, and mastered it in 8 seconds. “What did you think?” “BORing” After interrogating her, she admitted the “hit” vibration was okay, but complained catching the mole was too easy, and she lost interest with the plain background and lack of sounds.

Try to stop the moles from overtaking the prairie


Sounds were easy. I quickly found a few .mp3s that I liked at Sound FX Now and quickly incorporated them. I decided to let the user choose the difficulty level with star-ranked buttons. My mental design was progressing quickly toward reality, but I knew I was out of my league. I felt like a middle school student looking at a spreadsheet for the first time. APPrehension struck. How would I add the faster sprites without affecting the original? I am a problem solver. Using my experience with web design, I decided to create duplicate screens – each having successively complex images to distract the player, and each having a faster image sprite. Two hours later, I could not figure out how to get the star buttons to navigate to their respective screens. I consulted the text/tutorial again. This was not going to work. I reluctantly removed the Screens and the time they represented. Back to the blocks editor and the answer was there…all along.
My time spent developing screens 2 and 3 reinforced developing concepts. Figuring out how to get the levels I wanted on my own was victorious. Hearing my daughter’s “That’s cool, mom”…priceless.

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ED TECH 597 – Stop&Go

App development might have seemed easy, but tonight Faith and Buffy knocked me out of my complacent attitude and geared me for a whole new paradigm of what is considered progress. The green light is on to proceed in this class and extend the tutorials to create apps with educational or instructional purposes. This past week I spent little time constructing and publishing my app. I feel hesitant of and clumsy with my new Android while I learn to navigate the basic functions of the device. The blocks editor refused to launch and I would turn my attention to another class or household chore. Finally, I could put off the task no longer. and I worked with the developer tools until I got the blocks editor running. From that point it only took about an hour to follow the tutorial and modify the app for my own purpose. I don’t use a lot of apps, so I am not creative in developing them yet. But thanks to these two pioneers, I do recognize that I am on the threshold of discovery.

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EDTECH 501: Plagiarism; Resist the Temptation!

Plagiarism (Latin plagiare “to kidnap”)

 

Plagiarism
by: brimstef

http://www.xtranormal.com/xtraplayr/12517753/plagiarism

This video (Brimacomb, 2011) covers using someone else’s work as my own (in this case “buying” a paper from a website), copy and pasting without citations, and using my own prior work without instructor permission. As these two college students talk about whether or not to go to the beach with friends, I incorporated something that I learned on this project. I was intrigued by the root (Latin “kidnap”), and found it to be useful in the script. Xtranormal is a new medium for me. I was impressed by the animation, but found the text readers somewhat difficult to understand. Nevertheless, I was excited to see how my video-graphics students became immediately engaged. I wish I could accumulate points rather than purchase them. It would make the experience more enjoyable. I used the Salmon River Joint School District Trustees’ Policy Manual (2009) as my source rather than the BSU Code of Conduct (2011), because I want to embed my video onto my high school’s home page to emphasize the three aspects of plagiarism.

REFERENCES:
Boise State University (2011). Student Conduct Program – Code of Conduct – Article 4. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from Boise State University Code of Conduct: http://osrr.boisestate.edu/scp-codeofconduct-article4/

Brimacomb, S. (2011, October 3). Plagiarism. Retrieved October 3, 2011, from XtraNormal: http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/12517753/plagiarism

Brimacomb, S. (2011, October 3). Plagiarism Video Discussion Forum. Retrieved October 4, 2011, from EDTECH Boise State EDTECH 501-4175 (FA11): http://edtech.mrooms.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=28525

Salmon River Joint School District Trustees. (2009, April 1). Policy 3202. Retrieved September 29, 2011, from Salmon River Joint School District 243: http://www.jsd243.org/2032101210144059403/lib/2032101210144059403/3202.pdf

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EDTECH 501: Digital Equality?

Online learning seems to be the pathway to enlightenment for some and the pathway to, well….disenchantment for others. Still others may never know because they don’t have the opportunity to–or choose not to–pursue the experience. After spending several weeks trying to collaborate with my virtual team across time zones and amidst the normalcy of chaos at work and at home, I realized that online learning is far more difficult than face-to-face learning. This coming from a veteran digi-learner, no less, who lives in a society whose core values lie in industry and growth.  All this collaborating and near-instantaneous global publishing is made possible by technology that was unavailable to me after graduating from high school in the early 80’s. However, not knowing your peers and instructors impersonalizes the learning experience in a way that creates a digital divide of its own. 

The primary digital divide I noticed when researching this project is that of those who use technology and those who don’t (by choice or by circumstance is irrelevant). To what future are our digital natives (Prensky, 2001) embarking? What of our society’s values will they retain, and what values will they relinquish as the digital nature of information seeps into every aspect of their lives. Will they be more comfortable collaborating with virtual peers, or will they long for the person to person interaction that only a traditional course can offer?

After completing this assignment with four highly competent digi-partners, I am of the opinion that there is less a digital divide than a digital inequality. The inequality stems from those who know how to, and have a desire to, manipulate the myriad venues of information to gain new understanding and knowledge and those who mainly use the speed and accessibility for social pursuits.

Because I prefer balance, I felt that our final choice would address the needs of the inequality,  yet bridge the gap left by the digital divide.  Watch our VoiceThread presentation, and let me know what you think.

REFERENCES
Prensky, M. (2001, October 5). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrents. On the Horizon. University Press. Boston Retrieved September 25, 2011 from http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

 

 

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EDTECH 541 2011 Summer-y

I used to be an IT  know-it-all…one of those people whom others would seek out for technological advice and help, and for whom nothing could not be conquered with a work-around. But my days were numbered and  I knew with every passing week that my superior skills were evaporating into  the chasm of once-was.  So I decided to pursue another graduate degree and give my rusty mental circuits new pathways on which to travel.

EdTech541 looked interesting and right up my alley. With its promise of web design and technology integration, I greedily reached for the new information. Then my life hit a road bump and sent me in a new direction. Despite all the uncertainty, I was still able to produce a product that I will use in teacher professional development and other adult learning environments.

By week four, I had just found out that my daughter needed serious medical attention for what was initially presumed to be a common urinary tract infection. I toyed with dropping the courses, knowing that I was going to be driving a lot given the distance between specialists. I e-mailed my instructors asking if I should drop the courses, but heard no indication that I should do so, and after the weekend determined to go for it.  I had never struggled so hard in my life to understand concepts as I have this summer. I have been consistently late in my coursework in every class – watching my elitist ego plummet along with my perfect GPA. 

One can’t get too far in education without learning about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and this summer my educational goals were trumped by my family’s need. The constant stress and worry has put theory into practice.  My ability to learn was physically diminished as my clarity of thinking was constantly interrupted by professional, service, educational, and personal demands.  Lack of sleep robbed me of optimism. Every assignment took twice as long as it probably should have to complete , and I spent hours revising mistakes I had made. What I did learn was that I have become inflexible and (probably) unapproachable with my own face to face students. I want to remember my summer’s experience in order to give students the benefit of the doubt while at the same time, holding them accountable for the tasks that have been assigned.

One benefit was the hours spent in waiting rooms gave me time to read the course text. I am an ISTE member, and use the NETS standards (2010) in course development and teacher professional development, so I was excited to see the course text use these professional standards as a foundation for the tasks at hand.

I am trying to convince my technology committee, administration, and school board to allow personal mobile devices within the school building. I believe the future is now, and when we insist that our students disconnect from their devices, we are fostering a disconnect from their education.  This course has given me tools to use to present research-based evidence that technology integration improves learning. The key is planning. Teachers must plan for activities that are rich with technology rather than letting technology activities take the place of teaching.

I have always been partial to inquiry-based theories, although I am open to discussion about other schools of thought, as well. This might be evident in a review of my database lesson plan. Although not an original plan, developing the database lesson to fit students in our geographic area took time because I had to develop questions that could be researched and answered, and determine the modifications necessary to make it a local fit.  My most beneficial assignment was that in which we identified strategies across the curriculum. My resources page keeps growing – not to impress anyone, but so that I won’t forget what I want to take back to my colleagues in the fall. This course will be beneficial for years to come as I use the products that I developed in my job as IT coordinator.

I performed an assistive technologies review three years ago when a student of mine  was involved in a water rescue. He experienced severe back injuries from a diving accident and is quadriplegic a resulting tracheotomy left him speechless. At the time tablets were not yet on the market, but he did have a school-issued laptop for at-home and school use. To repeat the research such a short time later has fostered astonishing results. Technologies such as voice to text (or vice versa) that were unavailable or were cost prohibitive at that time  now have presence in the $.99 iApps-Market.  I found the authors of our text making an interesting observation about beginning with low-tech solutions before moving into high tech as the needs dictate (p. 412)

I found blogging to be a perfect fit for reflection, but having to blog for a number of courses along with discussion forums left little allowance for reflective practice in such a compressed course. Even without other events in my life, writing takes time and revision and I always feel my blogs are somehow lacking consistent depth and detail. I do however, prefer the conversational style of a blog over the formality of an essay, as Richard Mayer (2004) is quoted in our text.

As I pointed out earlier, timeliness was lacking in all that I did this summer. My responses are lacking as well. Of the 235 points on blogging, I would be surprised to receive 180 points.

All in all, it has been a great course. The instructor modeled the concepts taught and I would highly recommend it to colleagues whether or not they plan to teach or develop online courses.

References:

International Society for Technology in Education. (2010). Standards. Retrieved June 13, 2011, from ISTE: http://www.iste.org/standards/nets-for-students.aspx

Mayer, R., Fennell, S., and Farmer, L. (2004). A personalization effect in multimedia learning. Journal of Educational Psychology. 96(2), 389-395.

Robleyer, M., & Doering, A. (2010). Educational Technology Into Teaching (Fifth ed.). Allyn and Bacon, Pearson.

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EDTECH 541: Will the Wall Come Down?

The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA, 1999 (106th Congress (Senate), 1999)) is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive content over the Internet on school and library computers. Unfortunatelty, Web 2.0 venues demand something that private and public sectors alike share; walled gardens. The Children’s Internet Protection Act mandates public schools have in place a filter to prevent predators from accessing impressionable children, or from children accessing the wealth of pornography and other harmful content.  According to the Pew Internet and American Life project,  learners are connected while not in school, with more than 80% of participants reporting they sleep with a cellphone by the bed. Today’s typical teen sends approximatelly 1500 text messages monthly. Mobile devices are closing the gap in the digital divide by giving less priviledged members of society access to the Internet. The rising popularity of social networking sites emphasizes that today’s students are social learners (Bull, 2010, pg 28-29).

Rather than pushing against the tide, schools can embrace the benefits of social networking technology in a safe and controlled environment designed specifically for the unique needs of K-12 education. These tools help support diversity and the development of communities through safe user friendly platforms that encourage dialogue and the sharing of perspectives, ideas and events.  Such environments can be found with educational vendors such as Gaggle.net. (2011)

A brief skim or an in-depth review of any day’s current events quickly reminds us of the myriad ways we share our home planet with others who–despite our differences in culture, ethnicity, and demographics–are likely to share foundational values of stewardship, spirituality, democracy, diversity, and language. Niel Postman (1995) identifies those values as “the five inclusive human narratives” (pg 144). 

Great and simple minds struggle to answer the ethical dilemmas which confront us at every angle, giving rise to questions such as those that Walter Parker, Akira Ninomya, and John Cogan (1999) framed in regard to societal equity and fairness; balancing privacy with open access to information; meeting human needs in the face of a fragile environment; coping with issues relating to the growing population, genetic engineering, and poverty; keeping local values while developing shared global values; and making ethics-based decisions on the issues?

In their Learning and Leading with Technolgoy article “Save the World with Web 2.0” Lauren Cifuentes, Zahira Merchant, and Omer Faruk Vural (November, 2010) maintain that human narratives merge well with the ethical questions to form an “activity framework for preparing students for global citizenship (pg 34).” Sample activities include having learners research the importance and impact of an issue prior to promoting their cause on social networks, blogs, wikis, global networking, and other Web 2.0 venues to raise awareness and save the world.(Lauren Cifuentes, 2010). When browsing for content enrichment, teachers find similar activities, but are stifled by policies and procedures that prohibit most Web 2.0 applcations.  When will the wall come down?

 

RESOURCES:

106th Congress (Senate). (1999, January 19). S.97.AS. Retrieved June 28, 2011, from Library of Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:S.97.IS:

Bull, G. (2010). The Always-Connected Generation. (K. Conley, Ed.) Learning & Leading with Technology , 38 (3), 28-29.

Lauren Cifuentes, Z. M. (2010). Save the World with Web 2.0. Learning & Leading with Technology , 34-35.

Social Learning. (2011). Retrieved June 28, 2011, from Gaggle.net: https://gaggle.net/home/gaggle-apps/social-learning/#features

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