This is Only the Beginning…

Man standing facing blue sky, water, mountains
The Sky’s the Limit! “Solitude” Pixabay CC0 Public Domain

 

IT’S A WRAP:

But since this is technology…please allow this virtual person to deliver this message for me.

Now…back to the old fashioned format:

Our Web Technologies class is over, but the exploration and education of the new tools is just beginning. Among the many things I have learned significant skills.

  • How to create and compose entries on a blog
  • The basics of producing a website
  • Understanding correct attribution and usage of photos
  • Storyboarding as a organizational tool
  • Awareness and use of Vokis and other fun elements

I have also had exposure to many new issues. These issues are an integral part in utilizing the skills I have aquired, and help put them in context of  “the big picture” adapting to emerging technologies and usage.

  • Importance of web accessibility and removing obstacles for disabled population of vision impared, hearing impared, learning disabilities and other challenges in the population
  • The vast resources of web tutorials to support learning
  • Need to practice good writing, pertaining to web format and audience
  • Making it fun is an inspiration

And finally, I have learned by doing in a variety of ways. Lessons of general education, personal growth and as being part of a classroom community.

  • When lessons or situations feel overwhelming or confusing, take a deep breath, a break  or ask for help.
  • Positive teambuilding occurs when the class shares, contributes, and laughs together
  • The difference a patient, organized, knowlegable and caring teacher makes

LOOKING AHEAD: WHAT IS NEXT?

In the New York Times article “32 Innovations that will change your tomorrow” (NYT June 1, 2012) it is hard to comprehend the endless uses of technology as the foundation for changes that will enhance our lifestyle.

And consider the future possibilities just in the area of the internet itself:

THE FINAL WORD

Be grateful. It’s a humbling experience to learn these skills in the company of folks much younger than yourself and learn from them. To gain a glimpse of what is new, possible, and rests on a foundation of human ingenuity, intellect and pride. And to wonder what is ahead and be sure based on gained confidence that I can learn it and participate in it.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

SPEAK UP WITH TECHNOLOGY

THE VOKI VOICE AND MORE

How do you make your Blog Fun and Efficient…?  If you click on the next phrase  This dog can deliver that message:

HOW VOKI’S WORK:

I don’t really know, but the website makes it so simple all you have to do is follow a few steps. Create an account and find out for yourself.

THE TAKE HOME:

I found this project a great analogy for the internet and the web technologies we have studied in this course. They make learning, or getting your message out both enjoyable, interesting and visual. They represent a new messenger, even if what we discuss has not changed much over the years.

BUILDING YOUR FOUNDATION:

It’s helpful to:

  • Not be afraid to feel uncomfortable if you, like me, are new to much of this.
  • Find a patient teacher who makes it fun and has many resources provided to you to review, look up solutions or explanation (yes this is a nod to our head of the class for sure!)
  • Ask when you need help
  • If you can’t ask, and even if you can, take a break when you get frustrated as you can’t really be productive if you get in a “tizzy” trying to figure things out.
  • Look at embedded offerings for customization on the homesite of what you are creating. Using those removes the extra step of you providing content. It is helpful at first to just learn how to use the application itself. After that, go nuts with your own content and creativity!

BEYOND VOKI:

There are many similar fun tools to learn and play with and can enhance classroom learning. Some include:

Animoto for the class. This site and article gives examples of how to engage students with this fun and easy tool.

Blabberize can help you create fun effects that get your students’ attention and highlight a certain area in a presentation or speak for yourself when you can not or would rather have a created assistant do it for you!

Watch this video for your basic Blabberize lesson.

 

There is also the app called Tellagami which I mention here although Common Sense Media review does not give it as high marks as Animoto.

 

 

 

 

GO WITH ANIMOTO!

 

day-141165_640
And Internet said…let there be light… and Animoto! Picture of blue sky, white clouds and sun peeking through. Public Domain CC0

 

WHAT IS ANIMOTO?

Of all the things that are fun and easy ANIMOTO takes the internet cake! It is a cloud based “video creation service”. Animoto uses photos, video clips and music to allow you to create your very own video shorts.

TRY IT!

It’s so easy I can do it!  Here’s the proof with my first animoto creation. And since fair use is always on our minds…all video and music are preloaded and free to use.

WHAT MAKES IT EASY ?

  1. Pick a pre loaded theme
  2. Select your own or free embedded video and/or stills
  3. Add captions and text easily
  4. Re-order scenes by simple dragging
  5. After your choices, it creates your movie

FUN FACTS ABOUT ANIMOTO

  • Started in 2006 by 3 men tired of the poor quality of video on the internet
  • Facebook App launched in 2008
  • At its peak, 25-thousand people used Animoto in 1 hour
  • In early 2013 had 6 million users
  • Today, according to the company site-there are 13 million creating videos on Animoto

ANIMOTO IN EDUCATION:

There’s more good news. Besides a great way to engage your class and present information. Animate for Educators is FREE.

This video is one of many on the site to show and tell how to  use it in class.

 

 

And my final thoughts…brought to you this week of course with Animoto!

As you can see, I have lots to learn..I didn’t get all the sizing correct but I hope you get the message.

 

 

BUILDING A WEBSITE: WONDER AND WORRIES

Image of Blue Speech Bubble with text
CC Public Domain, Anna Polski

GREAT ASSIGNMENT, GREAT CHALLENGE

Digital Accessibility was not something I had thought much about. Building a website on the topic was something I found challenging and wonderful. My strongest reaction to the project: Good for you for making it our work to explore this topic. Here’s what I came up with:

https://increasingaccessibility.wordpress.com

IMPORTANT AND GOOD LEARNING

It is so revealing to me to see the inadaquecies and hardships faced by any one who can not access the web as others do. Personally, since we are raising a seeing eye dog puppy who will have the chance to help a disabled person find independence and dignity, I feel bad considering how many obstacles exist on the web. And inspired by the education of others to improve it and all the technologies available.

PROGRAMMING PROBLEMS

cartoon image shows man pulling out his hair in front of computer
“How Do I Do this?” Frustrated by Jon Watson: Flicker Free Use

My own challenges of trying to create an informative, compliant website were many:

  • Difficulty in navigating the webpress site settings-it continues for me to be able to actually find and access the place to do this on the site. And how many times do I have to forget to “save draft” in order to learn to do this?
  • Recalling all different ways to execute what I want and know to do: finding a free use image I can do but when trying to find the author and his/her website, cc description and name I still don’t think I’m doing it correctly.
  • Figuring out how to fix mistakes: When I would make one, often hard for me to find how to essentially return to the previous screen to remedy or erase what I just did.
  • Managing my time: I think my greatest challenge. I spent much more time than imagined or planned (and that’s without losing a day to not feeling well). I’d start searching at night but had trouble finding best content, organizing, making choices etc. I had decided to put a website link, a video and image on each page. But never managed to do it very efficiently in any of the night sessions “in construction” of the site.
  • Figuring out images: I have to list this again, as I realize now the caption (as we reviewed in class) is the spot to put CC attribution so although I found it for each one, put it in the alt text box, but in the wrong spot…and now wonder where it is. How do yo access what you type in the boxes that appear when you right click on the image before you load it? Can you revise this?

JUDGE FOR YOURSELF and SHARE WITH ME!

Take a look, see what you think, help me understand ways to fix and improve what it lacks..and most of all and bottom line: I’m glad we can all learn about this important issue and perhaps make a difference.

A PROFESSIONAL SPEAKS OUT

David Berman a web consultant for accessibility shares thoughts that the time is now, and we can achieve it.

AND FINALLY: KEEP THESE FOLKS IN MIND

Whether we can influence web content or any other aspect in mind, we are all in this together so lets not leave anyone out. Here’s a quick repost of some computer users with disabilities telling it like it is-so we can all make access equal for all.

TACKK IT-SHARPEN YOUR SKILLS

A tabby cat stretches and yawns
CCO public domain, Jonathan Sautter

TIRED OF THE SAME OLD BLOGGING?

Try TACKK

WHAT IT IS:

A fun way to make a page that is informative and fun to make and read.

THE BIG PICTURE:

Things like this may be mundane to digital natives, but for us converts, it just keeps us going. Reminds us the fun we can have with technology. And as always…if I can do it (well, Dr. Mirliss was there to help!) so can you.

FUN FACT:

It’s so much fun even my cat got into the act. We know being feline he excels at napping but there is much more going on in his kitty brain. He reveals his thoughts and opinions in his recent Tackk post.

TEACHERS USING TACKK

Good for you, good for your students: Here’s how it works.

This fun, appealling presentation can be used to enhance learning. Here’s how:

  • Makes it easy to read and understand.
  • Can give teachers and students varied way to receive the information based on their own learning style. Example: embed a video and text for same information and student gets to pick.
  • Teacher can use the colors and other custom features to present a certain “feel” to the lesson-which can be standard or varied each entry.
  • Tackk style creates an attitude of meeting the digital native students where they are, which increases the positive relationship of student and teacher.
  • By using Tackk the teacher presents a useful and new tool for students to use on their own.

 SEEING IS BELIEVING:EXAMPLES FROM REAL TEACHERS

In this first example the teacher presents a different Tackk for each module of her “History of Photography” class. It’s visually interesting as each entry features a photograph that references the weekly topic. For example in lesson 1 called “Getting Started” there is a vintage photo showing an early flying machine telling students “in this unit you will learn to fly”. Also useful is her utilizingTackk to give the week comments by both an embedded video and in text. So each learner can pick his or her particular style. As an added bonus she has good attributions to all her photos, so we can see what we are all supposed to be doing!

The second example is really impressive. Here a 10th grade ELA teacher presents a writing assignment to analyze 2015 Super Bowl tv commercials.  This lesson is so visually appealing and presents all phases of the task in this one Tackk. Students can view commericals, sign up for their pick, get tips, and even specific areas to submit their writing paragraph by paragraph. There are so many entries of instruction and aspects of this one assignment it presents a great deal of information in a very organized manner. Imagine this assignment being presented in the traditional way and how much more effective and instructional this Tackk is.

PICTURE THIS

Here are some shots I captured from the Tackk website to show you other helpful educational tools on the site. This screen shot of various sort of lesson options shows how easy it is to pick the format for what you want to create for your students.

Screen shot of Tackk Education website with formatted options to create various type of classroom Tackk posts
Start your Tackk classroom post. Just click on what you want to do.

This screen shot shows the archive of what other teachers have created on Tackk. It is another good reference easy to access on the site.

This picture is a screen shot showing numerous Teckk posts by other teachers.
Look what other teachers have done. Great inspiration!

WHEN IT WORKS IT WORKS

In class we reviewed 10 successful “About Us” sections of websites. It was a fast, fun way to get classmates reactions and inspirations from the sites. Not to mention emphasizing that color, uncluttered presentation, humor and organization are key to presenting our information. Those lessons easily translate to blog posts and I have tried to incorporate some of those key facets in this week’s blog.

STORY BOARDING: TELL IT LIKE IT IS

ORGANIZE YOUR MIND MEANS AN ORGANIZED PROJECT

If you can organize your time to get your homework done, I found “story boarding” a very helpful way to organize the work. There’s just something about sketching it out that forces you to wade through your ideas and make them into a plan to tell your story.

POPPLET IS POPPIN’

It took me a while to understand the teenage adjective “poppin” meant something good, even great.  So taking the word from digital natives I will declare the program Popplet is Poppin.

Watch this simple video before you sign up for your free account:

And if you have a few more moments check out this one:

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT POPPLET:

  • It’s easy
  • It has fun, snappy colors to keep it visually appealing and interesting to craft
  • encourages you to add media, text, photos in a one click fashion

WHAT I FIND DIFFICULT ABOUT POPPLET

  • When I needed to find something out..how to delete a box…I don’t see on the site where to find such answers
  • Since it is so interactive it is easy to make a click that does something you don’t want it to do.

Creating Connections: The Human Kind

12-13-14 A special day together

          THE HEART OF THE MATTER

It’s about being connected.  But as my dad says “your greatest strength can be your greatest weakness”.  This week’s class learning helped me feel the good of the web, blogs and connectivity. All parents deal with limiting electronics and see the obstacles it creates for family interaction. Yet this same infinite and powerful capability means I have been able to find some very cool blogs, understand the process of using widgets and yes, even finding a reason to use my favorite family picture.

So those two natives who are my girls may know more about technology than us parents, but us older bloggers just don’t take any of it for granted. And this week’s addition is some blogs that can help educators utilize video in the classroom.

Computers that connect us can connect us to each other. And that helps us all learn.

ACCESS FOR ALL

This week’s lesson was very informative. Encountering obstacles in technology are hard enough-and more complicated for those with disabilities.

Screen readers help blind computer users, yet we all need to know of them to incorporate into our blogging.

As we are thinking of blogging for everyone, we can all learn from Emily Davidson, who teaches us “I’m determined to prove sight lose is no obstacle to achieving  your goals.” Her blog, gives insight into her blogging as partially blind 20 year old.

Bloggin and Banners

BOTTOM LINE ON THE BANNER LESSON

First of all, thank you Prof. Mirliss for your help today. My reflection on the banner lesson starts with this: is a header the same as a banner? I’m guessing yes. Once I got the picture uploaded, the creative adjustments are fun and easy. Afterwards when I watched the tutorial it was really clear. Here it is for the 13 minute lesson on using Pixlr.

 ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT USING PIXLR

I worked through the effects which was interesting. The only one I did not use was the “sticker” as I didn’t like the options and also could not find how to make it the size I wanted.

One thing I am not clear on: how to insert the attribution to the picture I used on my blog. It’s this one:

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/95639384@N08/8720604364″>Children at school</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a&gt;

Now its on my blog but I don’t think in the correct place.

This process was creative, fun, easy to use and presents many options clearly. I think it adds much to the process. The other element is how easy it is to browse pictures you can use and cut and paste all attribution.

SO BOTTOM LINE ON BANNERS

I need to clarify what they are.  Beyond that-lots of fun!

Picture This: Learning how to use Images

NO MORE SAY CHEESE:PICS FROM THE INTERNET

This module was really both simple yet complicated to me. The class book chapter assignment was straightforward and seemed to give common sense tips  to keep in mind when selecting images from the internet. Yet, the module articles gave many more complicated details. These details are useful and critical, so certainly helpful. I just find them sometimes overwhelming to absorb.

HELPFUL LESSONS FROM THIS WEEK:

  • Creative Commons: what it is and how to use it
  • Attribution: Now I get it. Things from the web are not always ok to use.
  • Symbols and Meanings: the chart of CC symbols and the permission they represent was very helpful
  • Here’s all you really need: The great list of where to go for what. Called “image sources” in our module. Fabulous.

THE TAKE HOME FOR MOMS OF SCHOOL AGE “NATIVE” KIDS

Next time I see one of my girls grab a “google image” from the web for a school project, I can ask about rights, attribution and have some education on this topic. So a new way for moms to bother their kids. A potential downside for teaching an old dog a new digital lesson.

TAKE A LOOK: EASY TO WATCH EASY TO UNDERSTAND

Not only does this video explain Creative Commons, but just the narrators  New Zealand accent makes it fun to listen to. Shallow I know, but still…saving it here for others to see and me to review. This one was really helpful and creatively inspiring.

THE BIG PICTURE: HOW THIS CAN HELP LEARNING

This weeks reflection enlists a Ted Talk which I found very interesting in highlighting what is the potential of all this electronic capability as far as classroom learning. This weeks lesson made me wonder, and this helped create a positive picture of the future. From a week of Images this one was a nice note.  See what you think….

 

Blogging: A Brave New World

BEGINNING TO BLOG

A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

TO BLOG OR NOT TO BLOG?

Imagine this– I’d never even heard of “Woodpress“. Now, I’m a regular, along with 74 other million people. Sure wordpress gives us a way and Prof. Mirliss gives us the task-but for me, blogging is still sort of a “why should I care?” thing. Even a weird thing to do as a 55 year old mom of two. But it’s time to join the modern world. Let’s see what we can learn together.

TO GET YOU INTO THE “BLOGGING IS BENEFICIAL” MINDSET

SO FAR SO GOOD

The class book is easy to read, relevant and encouraging. Especially to those of us who are venturing into many forms of new technology. Here’s what teaches you:

  • how to figure out what you want to blog about
  • how to write blog friendly entries
  • the benefits of blogging

PITFALLS OF BLOGGING:POSSIBLE PERSONAL PROBLEMS

  • I’m doing this and forget how to do this and get frustrated
  • Start thinking I’m too old for this-my kids are right after all!
  • It feeds into my talent for snacking while working on the computer at night
  • What will my professor and classmates think of all this? I sure don’t want to waste their time.
  • Coming to the conclusion: It beats cleaning up or doing my paid job.

LET’S ASK SOMEONE ELSE-CLASS? WHAT ARE YOU THINKING? 

THANKS FOR GETTING THIS FAR. I’M GOING BACK TO THE TUTORIALS…MY TAKE SO FAR…IT IS FUN…

BUT I HAVE ALOT TO LEARN!