February 7-8, 2011
TCEA 2011 Conference
You have probably heard about MOODLE, especially if you are involved in the technology industry. If not, you might be wondering if MOODLE is a form or type of Chinese noodle (*grin*), or maybe something totally out of this world! Who would name a system such as MOODLE in the first place? (*laughs*). I recall my first encounter with MOODLE. It was during a technology training when I heard and learned about MOODLE's capabilities and potential features. It was quite challenging to grasp at first, particularly for a system that was new and uncommon to the eyes and ears of an educator.
MOODLE is a Learning Management System (LMS) that is open sourced, which means...free! (*applause!*). It is a system that facilitates and supports an online or a virtual learning environment. Likewise, this web based system is usually installed and deployed through a server. The MOODLE database and structure resides in a server, and this system is published through the web using a URL address (web domain). Online content in MOODLE is created and developed using different activities and resources. Some of these activities include: web page creation, establishment of links with other web sites, etc. While some of MOODLE's resources include: discussion forums, chat, quizzes (i.e. multiple choice, essay, choice, true or false), wikis, online assignments and uploads, interactive glossary, to name a few.
MOODLE also provides online course developers and online teachers with different course creation tools and teaching tools. For example, online course developers uses blocks within MOODLE to segregate course sections, units, and categories. When a course developer logs into MOODLE, one sees three columns which are often referred to as blocks. You have the right blocks and the left blocks that consist of the online course menu, categories, administrative tools, RSS feeds, and other creative and useful information. On the other hand, the middle block (or section, as I would refer to at times) is where the majority of the course content resides. It is where you identify, select, and apply the course activities and resources for every unit of an online course.
Tammy Worcester is one of the featured presenters in the TCEA 2011 Conference. Tammy's sessions have often been well attended by many teachers since her sessions focused on the meaningful use of technology in content areas. She demonstrates how technology can help teachers save time, be productive and efficient with available technology resources, and integrate technology seamlessly in everyday teaching and learning experiences (the real deal! *grin*).
Let's face it, technology is here to stay. We need to keep up with the changes and be able to understand as to how technology resources can facilitate and enhance instruction. With the thousands of web-based resources, online tips and tricks, and applications available for intellectual consumption, it is quite overwhelming! Teachers cannot afford to waste time exploring and finding resources that they can use in the classroom, especially if they teach in a test-driven environment. They need help and we need to recognize and support them in whatever way we can. Tammy is able to help address this constant problem by bringing technology resources that she has used, tested, and evaluated for teacher use. As a veteran in the education field, her vast experiences in classroom teaching provide authenticity and reliability on the resources she has selected for teaching and learning.
Now, what are Tammy's favorite FREE web tools and resources? Here are a few that you can use in your classroom that I find interesting (and believe me...there are many to explore! *smile*):
Online Best Practices: PD Support for Individuals, Schools, and Districts This presentation is made possible by Sylva Kezar who is the Southwest Region Program Manager of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD). At the beginning of the session, Sylva allowed each of us to introduce ourselves. What a great start! A great way to begin the networking process. *smile*
I am currently surrounded by different individuals from the education world. It is quite interesting how much education can be placed in one room with a facilitator who is an expert in bringing professional development to life. Sylva Kezar emphasized during this session that this is not a sit and get type of teaching and learning, and she wanted us to contribute our individual ideas (believe me, I have a lot of that! *grin*). She believes in changing the way we do things, especially for those educators who have been in the education business for years.
As part of the professional development world, professional learning communities are encouraged to establish collegial learning groups, teams, study groups, and support individuals who want to learn any time. We are asked to discuss at our tables the following questions:
Here is an interesting point. Whenever we are in the classroom and teaching our students, we walk around in order to ensure that students are continuously engaged in their lessons. Now, whenever we train teachers for their professional development, what do we usually do? Do we turn around and walk around to make sure that they are engaged? Or, do we stay behind a podium and continue to talk in the same spot where the microphone is.? Do we provide engaging activities that allow teachers to talk to each other, walk around, use their brains, and share ideas? Or, do we bombard them with our ideas and information for at least 4 hours of blah-blah-blah.
What is cool about ASCD? They are offering professional development in focus and in an online format. This means that educators can access videos, ebooks and downloads, book listings, periodicals, and information on conferences. These resources are available through membership that opens many doors of learning opportunities. Videos are targeted and provides useful information on different teaching strategies and methodologies that we implement in our education system (i.e. The Art and Science of Teaching, The Whole Child, Implementing RTI in Secondary Schools, etc.). As a Virtual School Developer, I need to brush myself up with these strategies and methodologies and find a commonality with the virtual learning environment that is being built for my district. I am excited to see how these resources will be able to support my own professional development that I can share with my online course developers and teachers to create better online courses.
You need to determine first and foremost if you are going to develop and implement a true virtual environment, or, adapt a hybrid approach. Either way, you need to ensure that the learning environment entails consistent communication, organization, targeted goals and clear expectations, realistic timeline, quality professional development, and availability of abundant resources.
Wiggins and McTighe explained the concept behind "Backwards by Design". What is Backwards Design? As an online course developer, it is important that one has to understand and visualize what the end looks like before beginning the development of the course. Backwards Design allows and provides opportunities (even challenges as opportunities) to identify what issues or problems learners will eventually encounter in a course, what process and accessibility will be easy for them, what works and does not work in the course, how learners will be gauged in their learning levels, to name a few.
Assessment is key in determining an online student's success. Think about Backward Design, rubrics, posted due dates, and email/posted reminders. Communication is important in relaying feedback and information to parents. Text-blast is a good tool in sending mass text to students and parents.
I am all about providing free resources that are made available in a free learning management system to teachers. I believe in this strongly. Simply because charging teachers with the tools and resources that should be provided to them, in the first place, is unfair and unjust. For this reason, I applaud Moodle LMS and the thousands of web 2.0 technologies that are made available by talented and skilled programmers and web application designers who share the same belief of sharing resources for free. In this day and age, when technology funding is on the line, why spend money to purchase a box system when, constantly, you hear district and school administrators bombarding you with words such as, "to think outside of the box"?
In developing a course, there should be student interactivity. Address various learning styles create a community, and produce projects that are meaningful and challenging. Some instructional strategies that you may consider to use include, but not limited to, Gange's 9 Events of Instruction, Madeline Hunter, Marzano, and Phil Schlecty.
A weblog, which is usually shortened to blog, is a type of website where entries re made (such as in a journal or diary), displayed in a reverse chronological order. Blogs often provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. Read more...
A blog is a personal diary. A daily pulpit. A collaborative space. A political soapbox. A breaking-news outlet. A collection of links. Your own private thoughts. Memos to the world....A blog gives you your own voice on the web. Read more...
"Typically, a weblog is a small web site, usually maintained by one person that is updated on a regular basis and has a high concentration of repeat visitors. Weblogs often are highly focused around a singular subject, an underlying theme or unifying concept." Read more...
How different is a blog from a website? The main difference between the two is that blogs tend to be a lot more dynamic than websites. Blogs are updated on a regular basis with posts or entries that usually contain date/time stamps. Websites, on the other hand, are designed to be static. Read more...
How did blogging gain influence and popularity? Recently, researchers have analyzed the dynamics of how blogs become popular. There are essentially two measures of this: popularity through citations, as well as popularity through affiliation (i.e. blogroll). Read more...
Basic Blog Content
* What is the purpose of your blog?
Is it to provide information , to teach a new lesson, to provide a venue for learning a different language , to reinforce a lesson already taught, to gather responses for a book read, to feature photography as literary springboards or discussion points , or to share ideas among peers or colleagues? The list goes on.
* Who is the target audience?
Will your blog be read by colleagues, students, peers, or education professionals? Be aware of your audience interests, age group, skills, and abilities in order to achieve the goal or objectives you have set for your blog.
* What title will be best?
Your blog's title can provide added impact to your blog content. The title should be related to the content of your blog. You may want a catchy, creative or unique title that readers will easily remember.
* What should I write in my blog?
The content of your blog depends on your blog's purpose. If you are to share information, you may want to avoid bias opinions unless your intention is also to create reviews. On the other hand, if you are going to use your blog to reinforce a lesson already taught, you may want to provide a spot for a quick review of the lesson and emphasize to your students that the blog is to enhance the lesson they have already taken in class.
* Why blog?
Herman Melville put it best when he said, "We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results." Don't you agree? Blogging is not only a past time but it is a way for today's generation to rant, rave, or communicate. Aside from the technological skill involved, students are able to use their creativity, personalize their blogs base on their interests, and have something that they can claim as their own.
* How can I create a blog?
There are different software that you can use to create your weblogs. The most common is the free online blog sites such as Edublog , Wordpress , Blogger , to name a few. More features are availabe with blogs that require paid subscription such as Typepad . If you are familiar with the programming world, you can create your own blog layouts using CSS stylesheets, HTML, and the like which you upload to a web hosting site (i.e. Yahoo , Go Daddy , etc.).
Below are examples of blogs and videos demonstrating varied uses of weblogs.
Rosario Dickerson's Science 10 1 . This weblog was created with YISD's SchoolCenter Webpage and Science 101 shows the use of a weblog containing a Science activity on Animal Adaptations. The blog features instructions of a Science activity with links to websites. It is a great way for students to participate and reply by posting their findings in the Comments link.
Educational Blogging Episode 1 . A video discussion and demonstration on what blogs are and how blogs are created using free online software.
Educational Blogging Episode 2 . A video discussion and demonstration on what blogs are and how blogs are created using free online software.
Blogging Across the Curriculum . Pattie Belle Hastings who is an assistant professor in the Computer Science and Interactive Digital Design Department of Quinnipiac University used individual student weblogs as a substitute for the traditional paper design journal. The weblog became a successful venue for her and her students to create constructive feedback and share updates.
Donald E. Suburu School A blog used as the campus website where parents, students, and teachers can login and get periodic email bulletins about events and other important information.
Happy Headlines: Welcome to Miss Higginbothan's Weblog! An elementary blog that is mainly used by the teacher to post homework or assignments in different subjects and announcements.
Mr. Wright's Third Grade Clas s is a class weblog that a teacher uses to post upcoming events, upload newsletters saved as pdf, online quizzes, event videos, assignments, new lessons, photos, and the like.
Teaching High Schoo l . A secondary teacher's weblog which contains links to other educators' blogs, tips and tricks in classroom management, and personal views regarding the classroom scenario
BizDeansTalk An adminstrator's weblog that contains articles about leadership for better campus management.
Pamela Coates A principal's weblog that features updated information for parents, staff, faculty, and peers. Likewise, her weblog highlights significant teacher and student learning happening in her campus.
Mr Mayo Weblog Demonstration A teacher's blog that shares information about recent updates on his campus' online magazine by students at Silver Spring International Middle School.
The Blogging Center serves as a portal of all my blogs that caters to technology gadgets and software, education issues and strategies, links to administratorative journals, photography, technology integration and innovation, and other interesting ideas. To access every site, click on the image.
A webquest is a fantastic tool in creating interactive lessons that students can independently accomplish on a certain pace. Students are more engaged and interested whenever they encounter web-base activities. The use of webquests will provide students room for improvement, encourage responsibility, and build confidence.
Dr. Bernie Dodge's webquest page is an excellent source of webquest creation. Below are some of the many detailed discussions that have been used as primary reference on webquest creation.
What is a Webquest?
A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet, optionally supplemented with videoconferencing. Read more...
The WebQuest is valued as a highly constructivist teaching method, meaning that students are "turned loose" to find, synthesize, and analyze information in a hands-on fashion, actively constructing their own understanding of the material. WebQuests' focus on group work also makes them popular examples of cooperative learning. Read more...
According to Kathy Schrock Guide from Educators of Discovery Education, a webquest is the perfect model for teachers searching for ways to incorporate the Internet into the classroom on both a short-term and long-term basis. Read more...
A Webquest About Webquests. Since early in 1995, teachers everywhere have learned how to use the web well by adopting the WebQuest format to create inquiry-oriented lessons. Read more...
The Webquest Design Process. It involves selecting a topic, choosing a design, describing how the learners will be evaluated, designing the process, and polishing before finalizing. Read more...
Adapting Existing Webquests. Creating a webquest may not be your cup of tea due to time constraint, difficulty, and technological insufficiency. Don't loose hope though because you can adapt existing webquests. Read more...
Lesson Templates for Students and Teachers. Templates provide an easy way to get started creating your WebQuest. Read more...
Sample Webquest Template. Click here to acquire a the template that you can use for your webquest creation.
Webquest Design Patterns. These design patters are based on Bloom's taxonomy which promotes higher level of thinking. Read more...
Based on the information published at Wikipedia, a website is a collection of information about a particular topic or subject. Designing a website involves the arrangement and creation of web pages that make up a website. A web page consists of information for which the website is developed. For example, a website might be compared to a book, where each page of the book is a web page. Read more...
About.com states that web design is the art and process of creating a single web page or entire websites and may involve both mechanics of a website's operation although primarily it focuses on the look and feel of the website - the design elements. Read more...
Marketingterms.com defines web design as the selection and coordination of available components to create the layout and structure of a Web page. Read more...
Createfreewebsite.com stresses that a successful web design involves more than just the creation of a beautiful piece of art work. It is rather, the construction of a sometimes multi-purpose vehicle on the internet, to accomplish a desired end. The basic elements that determine the success of website design or web site construction are appearance, usability and visibility. Read more...
Website Planning. Purpose. Audience. Content. Layout. Design. File Management. Consistency. Technical Operation. User Accessibility.
Web Design Basics
* Setting up of the local root folder and site structure
* Naming of primary file (index.html)
* Inclusion of text, image, and hot links
* Changing of text properties
* Adapting proper color schemes
* Implementing content and design consistency
* Ensuring usability and accessibility
According to Wikipedia, A podcast is a multimedia file distributed over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. Podcasting is an automatic mechanism whereby multimedia computer files are transferred from a server to a client, which pulls down XML files containing the Internet addresses of the media files. In general, these files contain audio or video, but could also be images, text, PDF, or any file type.
I am continuously on my podcast learning curve. Despite the difficulties, I am very excited over the many creative and technical tricks I can do beyond the basics! There are many things to learn but each small step I take in this journey will be an added experience. One that will be full of meaning and significance!
What are the Mechanics behind a Podcast?
Podcast Episode Content Structure and Planning
A good recommendation is using the same jingle for the beginning and ending part of an episode. You can also use jingles in different parts of an episode to cue the audience for another segment.
How is a Podcast created?
Creating an Audio Podcast Episode in GarageBand. Below are major steps involved in creating and publishing audio podcasts.
A. Recording a Podcast Episode
B. Editing the Sound of Your Podcast Episode
The following steps were based from Apple's GarageBand Tutorials.
C. Editing Your Podcast Episode with Artwork and Chapters
D. Exporting Your Podcast from GarageBand
Creating a Video Podcast using iMovie
Below are essential steps in creating and publishing video podcasts, or otherwise known as "vodcasts".
A. Recording a Video Podcast
B. Editing Your Video Podcast with Titles
C. Enhancing Your Video Podcast with Themes
D. Enhancing Your video Podcast with Audio files
E. Exporting Your Video Podcast in Quicktime
Why the Rave in Digital Photography?
Base on my understanding and experience, photography is a creative expression of capturing pictures which you are able to publish on the web, in a blog, include in a podcast, store in an iPod, or print on photo paper. However, photography extends far beyond the common description. Below you will find more meaningful and related information that I find very interesting:
Digital photography, as opposed to film photography, uses electronic devices to record the image as binary data. This facilitates storage and editing of the images on personal computers, and also the ability to show and delete unsuccessful images immediately on the camera itself. Read more...
What is Photojournalism?
As an amateur photographer, I believe that this is a form of journalism where the image becomes the focal point of a story. Below are some sites that you can read which provides a more in-depth definition of photojournalism.
Wikipedia explains photojournalism as a form of journalism that creates images in order to tell a news story. Read more...
Dr. Ellen K. Rudolph explains photojournalism as a story-telling medium that combines images and writing to more thoroughly explore a given subject. Read more...
Mark Hancock shares his views that a photojournalist takes the best of both what a journalist and a photographer does, and locks it into the most powerful medium available through a single frozen image. Read more...
Bradley Wilson wrote in his article, "Careers in Photojournalism," about the characteristics of a photojournalist. They include a sense of curiosity, artistic aptitude, mechanical aptitude, high ethical standard, and quick thinking and adaptability. Read more...
How can Photojournalism Be Connected with Curriculum Instruction?
Inspirational Photo Stories . How would you like to combine photography skills and talent with curriculum instruction? It is all about pictures, but they don't have to be solely focused on artistic and creative expressions. Pictures can be used to tell a story, provide historical information, and capture human life in a more intimate experience. Witness these evidences. Read more...
Writing Prompts . Take a picture that speaks a thousand words and have students brainstorm on what they think the picture says. Click here to view some writing prompts that you may use to base the theme of your photographs.
Historical Facts . Let your photograph capture a piece of history or tell a story which you can use in your social studies activity. Some social studies key word prompts that you may find interesting to use will be The Great Depression , World War I , Ancient Egypt , and the Middle Ages . Explore and discover other key word prompts that you can use in Physical Education/Health , Science and Math .
Creative Expression . Photographs can serve as a creative expression of one's interests which students usually demonstrate through their weblogs, song selections, poetry composition, and many more. Channel students' artistic energy by having them take pictures of collages, posters, signs, beauty of nature, daily life, and the like.
How can Light Affect the End Result of Your Photography?
There is a variety of ways to take great and captivating pictures. However, no matter what type of photography style you want to use, both still requires the use of light! Read what Neil who is a TSL Education staff from London has to say about the importance of light in taking pictures.
Who are these Photographers?
The beauty of every photograph depends on every photographer's style, mood, technique, creativity, and equipment. Here are some photographers who belong to different fields of photography that may inspire you the way they have with my husband and I:
Film Photographers . Russell Lee Collection . Gilles Navet .
Digital Photographers. Barbara Read and Fred Schaad . Bernard Tse . Manuel Libres Librodo, Jr . Richard Calmes .
Photojournalists . Mark Hancock . The Best of Photojournalism 2004 . Maciej Dakowicz . Marisa D.L . Sharon Rogers . MarkWP .
Photography Ideas and Tips & Tricks
How can you improve your phtography as a beginner, intermediate, and advanced photographer?
Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures. (Listen to a podcast version of Rosario by clicking here )
What are fun projects and ideas that can be used in the classroom?
Literacy through Photography
Unveiling the Beauty of Flowers . Visit " Take Time to Smell the Flowers " link and click View the Story to launch the flash interactive website.
Educational Leader. Advocate of Equality and Equity in Education. Photographer. Graphic Designer. Web Developer. Digital Artist. Technology is my medium for creative and artistic expression.