Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Video Reflection

For EDCI-5825 - Final Video Project

  • 1) What would you do differently if you could do it all over again? Are these changes based on feedback that you may have received from friends, peers, family members, etc?

    There were a few moments when the voices were too quiet, despite reducing the background music and enhancing the video volume. If I were to do it again, it might have been easier to simply re-tape these moments. As it was, pretty much everything in the video was shot in one take.

    In addition, I knew I wanted my movie to take the form of a trailer, which in and of itself would leave some ambiguity as to the 'plot' of the story. When my parents watched my video project, they thought it was cool, but were unsure as to the 'point' of it all. If I were to do it again, I might make the video longer so as to present a more story-like form, like Terence's video was.

    2) What is your reaction to the video recording/editing process? Please discuss any 
    positive and negative reactions. 

  • I've done video filming and editing projects before (on iMovie), so I knew my way around the program well enough to complete this project. I don't actually have any negatives to state - considering iMovie is a free software program, and considering how much one can do with it, I see no reason to complain. One of my group members said they would have liked to put a cartoon pirate hat and a mustache on me. I'm not sure if iMovie has these capabilities (I know expensive programs like FinalCutPro do) - I would have liked to explore this option a little more, given more time.

  • 3) Do you think it would be possible to have students in your current/future classroom create a movie? Do you (will you) have the resources, time, and skills necessary to include such a project in your classroom? Please explain.

    Yes, I think it's possible. Of course, explicit instruction would have to be given to students who are unfamiliar with the program. For example, I felt as though the majority of our class did not take full advantage of the Ducking feature or audio-enhancing feature, making audio too soft or overshadowed by any background music used (which is actually a pet peeve of mine when it comes to watching videos)...perhaps because of the fact that we only went over it quickly, and only once.

    I feel as though I am technologically apt enough to be able to effectively and efficiently use iMovie (or Windows Movie Maker) resources as part of a cumulative assessment in my own classroom.

  • 4) Did you learn anything new from the video editing/recording process? Please explain. 
    I learned about a lot of new features that I had never used in iMovie before, such as the ducking feature, or splitting the audio from the video and using a detached voice over another video clip. It was a fun process, and I wouldn't hesitate to do it again. :) 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Final Teaching Presentation Reflection

Oops! Forgot to publish this. It was a draft until today. T_T

1) Brief description of the lesson presented

My lesson plan was based on the following objective: "Students will be able to understand how gravitational attraction and the inertia of objects in the solar system keep them on a predictable elliptical pathway through an online simulation activity."
Using the SmartBoard presentation as the lesson guideline, the lesson initiation included an overview of the objective, and an embedded Bill Nye video (within the Notebook) which explained how gravitational forces affects the orbit of the planets around the sun.
The main lesson activity was an online simulation (in fact, it was a simulator that I used as a student myself when I was learning about the solar system!) with a worksheet that someone else had created online. In this part, my Notebook presentation had links to all the relevant and required websites and documents.
The final part included an assessment, both evaluating teacher and student performance, as well as homework meaningful to the objective presented in the lesson. Reminders about a performance rubric and other guidelines were also given.

2) Personal thoughts regarding how the lesson went (including evidence where appropriate)

I thought my lesson went well, as evidenced by the fact that Professor Hale had me submit my Final Teaching Presentation DURING my presentation (talk about your stressors!). Please see "What Would You Do Differently" for additional comments.

3) Surprises (if any, both positive and negative)

I was surprised that my Teaching Presentation required no additional work, and that it went as smoothly as it did, considering I had about zero hours of sleep the night before (and I didn't even practice it in front of a mirror)...after my mini-teaching lesson with Cory on Monday, I feel as though my enthusiasm carries confidence a long way, even if I feel underprepared.

4) What would you do the same? What would you do differently? Please explain.

One thing I would do differently is that I noticed other students made the SmartBoard activities more interactive, i.e., having students come up and 'fill-in-the-blanks'. I would definitely have taken this into consideration had we time to revise or create an additional technology lesson. Otherwise, I feel as though I would keep most everything else (forgoing any small editing I would have to do for an actual real-life lesson).

Solar System Online Quiz/Assessment

(To help satisfy the Blog Project requirements for EDCI-5825)

Solar System Quiz/Assessment

This would be used in conjunction with my unit on the Solar System, probably as a pre-assessment due to its simplicity and ease.


(Faux) Tech and Teaching Philosophies

Note: I did NOT write the following document. I copied the text from HERE, and used it as a faux Google Doc/Tech Philosophy to satisfy the Blogger requirement for EDCI-5825.

Teaching and Tech Philosophy (MOCK) - Google Doc


Orbital Simulation Online Worksheet (Faux)

This is a simulation/activity worksheet from my Final Teaching Project for EDCI-5825.

Online Orbital Simulation Worksheet

Note: I do not own this worksheet...someone else made it so others could use it. :)


Mock Survey (Using SurveyMonkey)

This is the same survey used in my Final Teaching Presentation for EDCI-5825.

June 26th, 2012 Student Evaluation (Mock)


Embedded Video - Bill Nye

(This is the same video used in my Final Teaching Presentation for EDCI-5825)
Bill Nye the Science Guy : The Planets

(Mock) Blog Guidelines

Google Doc : Blog Guidelines (for teachers and students)


Monday, June 25, 2012

Student Homework 6/26/2012 (EXAMPLE)

(Note: Example as part of Prof. Hale's Final Teaching Project)

Dear students, please read the following articles and leave a comment/response on this blog entry.

1) Super Colossal Asteroid Buzzes Earth, Says NASA

2) The End is Nigh...for Asteroid Disaster Movies, Anyway

  • Think about what we've learned in class about how gravitational attraction acts upon two separate objects in space (i.e.- Bill Nye and the Online Orbital Simulator)
  • Remember the grading rubric! 
  • We will be discussing both articles at the beginning of class tomorrow. :)

See you tomorrow! 

-Ms. Sheehan 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Screencasts Assignment

1. Tutorial

2. MakeUpAlley Review / Tutorial

3. Dragon Age Origins Unlimited Gold Tutorial (NEVER coming soon)

So, the story with the Unlimited Gold tutorial: After four hours of fiddling with it, never came to fruition. Screencast-o-matic is not friends with gaming screens. Instead of recording the game, the screen recording becomes pixelated and indistinguishable. I tried to upload the 'failed' recording, and it stops encoding at about 19%.

While I don't have time to do a different third tutorial, I still see this as a valuable lesson learned. Screencast-o-matic is not good for highly-detailed BioWare games. The end. Now I really need to take an aspirin...

Monday, June 11, 2012

Flipping the Classroom Responses

1) Article: Five Best Practices for the Flipped Classroom

In addition to reading this article, I also skimmed through some of the user comments and this link, which gives an overview of what a 'flipped classroom' is. I understand why a lot of people get nervous about this new model, and why some people seem abhorrently against allowing computers to 'take over' the classroom. We've been using blackboards and pencils for decades, and such a radical change to digital information distribution will not be taken lightly by the majority of educators. Many are concerned that the teacher will become fully obsolete, others muse that the flipped classroom is technology for the sake of technology. On the other side of the spectrum, there are those who see the Flipped Classroom as the greatest invention since the white board.

I am more on the positive side. This is because I believe the essence of teaching methods will not change, even if the vehicle for those methods evolve. I think effective teachers have always been both 'a guide on the side' and a 'sage on the stage'...this reflects Prof. Ruby's "I do, we do, you do" practice. This same guideline can be followed in technological instruction. As I understand it, video lessons like those from Khan Academy demonstrate the material/concepts/skills ("I do"), then assist the student in working through problems ("We do"). This is in collaboration with the classroom teacher, ensuring that the guided practice provides live and immediate feedback (still "We do"), eventually allowing the student to work independently ("You do"). Even if there is less of a role for the teacher in the 'I do' portion, the negative impacts would likely be minimal, as the teacher is still the major player in active guidance ('we do', 'you do'), in my opinion the most significant parts of instruction. Teachers can also take on the 'I do' portions as needed, for students needing extra help. As you can see, the role of the teacher is not diminished, only facilitated.

2) Five Future Technologies That Will Shape Our Classrooms

One commenter on this article scoffed at the idea that these futuristic technologies, even though there are already prototypes, will find their way into the mainstream classroom anytime soon. I somewhat agree; it's like the difference between a hover car (which has been around for many years already) and an actual flying car for mainstream transportation. Or the difference between being able to choose the sex of your baby (already possible) and the personality or athleticism. There are simply too many variables and it would take hundreds more years (tens more years?) before these types of technologies become a reality.

Even if such innovations were invented, there is also a difference between being invented and being used mainstream. For example, the electric car still hasn't quite caught on, or even Kinect video games, the technology that the holographic desk is based off of. This is because there are still inconvenient kinks to work out. The electric car can't go beyond 100 miles from home. Kinect can be finicky at the best of times.

It is true, however, that in 10, 20, or 50 years there will be mainstream technologies that the average citizen couldn't have dreamed of in their most imaginative moments. I never thought that Facebook or the IPhone would work as well as they do, or have as great of an impact as they do. Perhaps the holodesk WILL become 'the next big thing'...perhaps flying cars will become a reality in one hundred more years.

What will remain constant is that it is impossible to fathom what will and won't be invented, and what will and won't be popular, no matter the technology we have on our hands. There are no statistical programs that can account for the human whim.

3) Big Thinkers: Salman Khan on Liberating the Classroom for Creativity

Most of my thoughts on this video were already covered in my review from the first article. Khan Academy, at the end of the day, is still a tool. Perhaps a useful tool, an innovative tool that will change the nature of the classroom in ten years, but it's up to the teacher to determine to what extent something like Khan Academy would advance learning in the classroom.

For example, it is the hope of founder Salman Khan that the 'lecture' portion of class would get out of the way and free up class time for independent work - the brighter students helping the slower students, and giving the teacher a greater chance for conducting creative projects and activities for students. But if the teacher fails to connect what is being performed in the classroom with the material learned from Khan's lectures at home, then learning will not be achieved. This is no different from teachers who fill their science labs with fun, hands-on activities and then fail to help the learner see the relevance or connection to key core concepts.

I would be interested to try out Khan Academy for myself for a primary review. I think it's free, and maybe I'll do so in the future as I look for ways to enhance and advance learning in my own classroom.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

TrackStar Link for Alfano's Theories Class

Click me now or you will not learn ANYTHING.

Password: tcpcg

Description: TrackStar activity for Theories class presentation (Week 2) on Module 6 (The Brain and Development)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review of Copyright TrackStar

Audience- Middle School to Adult
Year Published- 2005

1. First link didn't work! It's always disappointing when this happens, but not surprising since this TrackStar was created in 2005. I think TrackStar should have some sort of expiration date for TrackStars older than five years with detected broken links (if that's possible), so that educators looking for valuable and meaningful TrackStars won't have to sift through all the broken ones.

2. This site is sponsored by the Library of Congress, so it is a reliable source. It also makes the student look for the answers, rather than sending students to the right page automatically.

3. This link is also broken, which is too bad since the questions connected to this frame are valuable and important for anybody learning about copyright.

4. This was a very interesting article that I found useful to read myself. I like how it was updated until 2008, which meant it would have been relevant to the time when this TrackStar was first published in 2005.

5. This is a good activity for those in middle school and gives a great summary otherwise to what should have been gleaned from this TrackStar overall. I would have liked some sort of interactive activity but it still brings everything together. This TrackStar should be supplemented with some sort of follow-up activity either in class or as homework (in class would be more beneficial since it would encourage discussion about copyright).

Monday, June 4, 2012

TrackStar Activity

Title: Aeromonas Hydrophila (We be gettin' science-y up in this joint right here!)

PASSWORD: sc!ence

URL: Click on Me to head to TrackStar!

Warning: I made sure there weren't any graphic photos (or, really, photos at all), but the content nature can be a little disturbing (deals with flesh-eating bacteria), so if you're very easily queasy I'm putting a disclaimer here.

Response to 'Creating a New Culture of Teaching and Learning' by Alan November

Update 6/27/2012: Article Link


As my TCPCG blogging group will soon find out, I have a hard time saying things concisely. It's a by-product of being trained as a scientist - we (scientists) either write things so concisely that no one without context will understand anything being said, or we end up explaining our explanations of our explanations. That being said, my response to the November article will be systematically done for ease and clarity, since it will likely be longer than the article itself. :P

In result, feel free to respond to only a certain section.


From a writing standpoint, the 'hook' at the beginning (the anecdote) was a great opener to the article. I particularly liked the analogy that members of the older generation may be technologically literate, but 'speak with an accent', while kids are completely fluent in the language...I liked it because it was so accurate.

Starting this article, I thought I would know most of November's points about the challenges and possible dangers of technology. This is because our generation is unique in that we are old enough to remember a time when Internet and cell phones didn't exist, but yet young enough that the boom of technology did not overwhelm the majority of us and we adapted with ferocity. Therefore, we have lived through all the initial 'big' challenges of new technologies (i.e., Napster and music pirating, cyberstalking, etc.), and probably have a better grasp of the issues November talks about compared to younger or older age groups.

Framework for the New Culture
1) If it's on the Internet, is it true?

The story about the boy who told November's mother that the Holocaust did not exist was concerning to me. Not mainly because he believed the Holocaust didn't exist (though I did do a 'double-take' when I read that), but because 1) he was sixteen years old, and 2) this didn't occur at the advent of the Internet. This event supposedly happened in 2008. I would have been interested to know what region and other demographics this individual was a part of.

As November insists, these sorts of incidents are the exact reason why students should be taught how to use the Internet - how to evaluate credible sources while still maintaining the first amendment and all that jazz. And this needs to happen as early as possible in education. But students are not the only ones who need to be educated; adults (and not solely educators) are just as susceptible to online bias. I'm sure that the majority of our parents have simultaneously shot down our side of an argument, citing "not everything on the Internet is true", and then one week later say, "I saw this on the Internet, YOU MUST HEED IT." This is selective bias.

Another controversial argument between young people and some adults is the credibility of Wikipedia. I'm in the camp who asserts that as long as you never actually cite Wikipedia in a project or paper, it's completely fine to start research here, and even utilize the Additional Resources and Links sections as sources, after the usual evaluation of credibility. Some adults feel that anything on Wikipedia is suspect, and they have some validity in their argument, but the important take-home point is that we as an educational society need to come to some sort of consensus on these arguments/issues to maximize technology learning.

One final point. The Hate Directory is no longer online (or, at least, I couldn't find it). I wonder why that is?

2) Coming Attraction: Live Videocameras in Every Classroom

I believe this was a hot-button issue when the article was first published, in 2009. Today, however, I would argue that it is counterproductive to have live video feeds in every classroom, to the extent that the author implies. The author's vision is that parents would have access to these feeds on the web at any point in time, but this raises a migraine of issues.

To what extent would parents have the right to question or take action against a teacher, whether the teacher somehow violates school conduct policy, or is merely ineffective in opinion? Who would have the right to makes these judgement calls? The principal, the superintendent, the PTA? In addition, while one parent would enjoy this access, other parents may feel uncomfortable having their child be viewable on the web by potentially countless others. Even with password access, having a common password distributed to more than a dozen individuals at once increases the risk of a privacy breach.

I truly believe that the ethical and constitutional issues that would have to be sorted out is much more trouble that it's worth. I don't disagree that there will never be videocameras in every classroom...this could potentially be an important monitoring tool for teacher evaluation, but parental access is not a 'coming attraction', not anytime soon.

3) We need to tell our stories!

This reminds me of my senior thesis, which I completed last semester. It was in regards to a common science elementary curriculum...or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Historically, teachers have indeed been left in isolation, in that effective teaching methods were nearly impossible to disseminate to other educators looking for this advice. With the Internet, teachers are finally able to share their ideas, and receive those of others to improve teacher at a faster rate than was accomplished before.

4) Don't Do Technology Plans and 5) Automating versus Informating

Not much to comment on here. Technology should not be for the sake of technology, and teachers should be integrating technology in the classroom so it has a significant contribution to the learning of the class. It must have meaning. I read an article in my local newspaper that every Freshman in my high school alma mater would be receiving IPads in the upcoming year, and I had to do a double-take. I hope that teachers will receive adequate training so that these IPads won't simply become a number (a very expensive number) in the yearly education budget, that they will be integrated and not collecting dust in the corner.

5) Collegiality is what's needed

Again, this is about training (and constant feedback from co-workers, etc.) so that technology not only becomes a meaningful tool in the classroom, but also so that educators can teach students that value and challenges of technology.

It's like any other area subject; learning about the Civil War is important, sure, but it's when that unit is taken to the next level and students begin to understand the deeper issues underlying the unrest and the consequences of taking action (or inaction), then students can take away something that is transferable to real life. Students must learn to evaluate credible sources, understand privacy risks and individual rights when it comes to technology, and be able to contribute to the ongoing discussion and evaluation  of new technologies.

I wonder if November has written any follow-ups to this article. I would be interested to know how his views have changed, if at all. As I thought, most of what November said were issues I was already aware of (with the exception of the videocameras part) and had agreeing views with.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Text post!!! :D

Wahoo! First class and first post. Technology is fun to play around with.

I left for the WH campus an hour early because the other day I tried to do a timed run and ended up on the highway, getting hopelessly lost even with a GPS. It takes a special kind of person to anger a GPS. Anyways, got here with no hitches and then I remembered that TCPCG students were getting free breakfast 30 minutes before class! Double wahoo!

Now I'm sitting in class, doing a simple blog post as requested by Prof. Hale. I want to put in pretty GIFs and such, but I guess that can come later (I hope!). Got asked by my high school dance teacher to fill in for a student who had to suddenly drop out, and the recital is in two weeks, so I'm going straight from class to my old dance studio. Can't believe I'm going to be dancing again after four years. My kicks are (can we swear here?) messedddd upppp right now. Mar (my dance teacher) is going to stick me in the back like an ugly old plant.

Wahoo for TCPCG! :DDD