Archive for the ‘teaching technology’ Category

This is probably one of my favorite journal comments from this past week:

Another area that I can comment on is that based on your style of teaching (constructivist?), in this course I feel as though I am learning how to go back and “play, learn, and discover” with technology as opposed to “work and fix” technology as required in my job. I am not certain why I may not have done this in the past (have always been a “tech-geek” at heart); but I am finding some novelty in some of our projects when applied outside of the everyday context of my job and this class. Granted I did not feel too comfortable with the outcome of my podcast, but the experience in using the technology generated some ideas for me on to use this technology in other ways such as sending audio letters to friends and families (and of course in the office environment).


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I got an email this afternoon that thrilled me. She’s in my computer literacy class. Instead of lecturing on file management, I decided to wrap it around a digital photography project that I expected might be outside the comfort zone of most of the class. However, they did a great job! It’s another reminder that I really do know what I am supposed to do… I just need to figure out how to weed out all of the negativity and focus on why I am there.

First of all, I know that we were suppose to only send you one. However,  I am actually very happy with the pictures that I took so I send you three of my favorite instead.

The “New Mountain” is an image that I took on the side on this building the LRC. As you can see, it is the mountain range and the city of ridgecrest somewhere. I used my zoom buttom and pretty much zoom in ALL the way and this is what I got. When it comes to editing, I cropped it to make it smaller, I have to resize it to 450 x 300 because it was TOO big. I used the exposure to contrast the comlors between the clouds and mountains, I use the colors by making it more vibrant and less orange. Lastly, I sharpen the picture and add in a frame.

The “New  Bird” is an image that I took outside of the LRC building. It is a dove I believe. The dove was actually picking up sticks and flying back and forth making a house. So, I was on my way back to class and the dove flew down and I was like couple of feet away, zoom in all the way and took a couple of pcitures of it. The purpose of editing this picture was to focus more on the dove, however with the sunlight shining to the grass pretty much took the spot light. So, when I was editing this picture, I cropped it, resized it for the same reason. I used the  exposure to contrast the light on the grass, but it made it lighter so it pops out more than the bird. I also used the colors to make the background less orange and more of a sand color, lighten it more so the bird can stand out. It did not work so well.

The “New Ben” is a picture of my first nephew. He was 18 months in this picture and I took it when my family and I went to celebrate my youngest sister’s birthday.

I just wanted to share this with you because I LOVE this picnik editing. Thank you SO much for sharing this with the class. Now I can transform my ugly pictures to beautiful pictures now. Thank you again.




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I got this message yesterday from someone in my computer literacy class. She is a self-described technophobe and tends to panic at every little thing with computers, sort of one of those people that always says stuff like “I hate computers” or “I’m too dumb to learn about computers.” This is what she wrote:

Hi debby
this is getting to be fun and easier thanks for being a good and funny teacher funny is voice not looks ha-ha pam

The cool thing is that she used the message system in Moodle, the website we are using for the class. She figured out how to open and send a message through there even though I haven’t showed the class how to do that. I think she’s on her way to becoming techier than she thinks!

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I am teaching an online graduate class for a university in Seattle. The college uses Blackboard, and I did my best to be a good adjunct and adapt my class to the restrictive environment that BB (or BlandBoard, as a colleague referred to it) involves. Alas, I found that no matter how hard I tried, BB just didn’t have the tools to set up a good, constructivist learning environment, and I’d just be banging my head against the wall all quarter trying to get it to fit my vision for what a good online class should entail. I did however, play around with some of the settings in BB before I abandon ship (with the blessing of my program director) and even altered the standard buttons from a solid blue to a striped blue. Nothing fancy, but just something to add a little bit of personality while keeping within the blue color scheme of the school.


I mean really, how can they expect me to work with a program that isn’t even sure if I should trust it?


For the last three weeks I’ve been teaching the class in Moodle, shadowed by the program director, who has been thrilled with what I am doing (see previous entry). She’s been showing the class to a select few, including the Dean, and has been getting good reviews from him as well as the students. Last night, she introduced me to a new adjunct and asked if he could get into the class as a guest so he could get an idea of how to teach an online class. I went ahead and set him up with a sandbox course to play with. Sounds good… yes?

Tonight I get an email from the Co-Program Coordinator, Online Programs, that said:

Hi Debby,

I noticed that your button colors have been changed. If you refer back to the Course Shell Preparation Checklist it states that you should not do the following:

  • Do not add or remove ANY other buttons.
  • Do not change the color or style of ANY buttons.
  • Do not change the order of the buttons.

I will return your buttons to there original state as we are trying to maintain a constant look and feel for all our students here at CU.

Thanks for understanding.


um… lol… ok. glad they are policing the color of the buttons and not paying any attention to the ineffectiveness and inefficiency of a certain specific CMS. I guess as long as my button colors are appropriate, they won’t notice there isn’t actually any CONTENT in their CMS… ROFL!!!

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I’ve been playing around with a lot of 2.0 toys lately, trying to wrap my brain around new and interesting ways I could use these in my classes to connect students to each other and to a larger network outside of the classroom. Every time something new comes along I try it out because I think the only way to really understand something is to become a user, not just a viewer. I finally decided to make a listing of the sites I’ve been playing on, mostly to put them all in one place so I can start thinking about how I want to use them. Some of the links are to less than active accounts, but at least they are all listed… well, at least I am starting to list them all. There are a few I can’t remember, but I am sure they will come to me eventually. Of course, I had to use one of the new tools to create the list. It’s at http://debbyk.jottit.com

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Saturday (March 15th) I had an opportunity to lead a workshop for the local Expanding Your Horizons conference sponsored by the Ridgecrest Women of Math and Science. This amazing conference is open to middle school girls and is designed to encourage girls to pursue non-traditional careers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) areas. It is held at Michelson Lab on base, which is a very interesting location in itself. This year they had 158 kids from schools all over our local service area. I even saw a school bus from Lone Pine in the parking lot!

Our workshop was titled “Mission to Mars” and was a collaborative effort of several people. Cerro Coso students Rachel Schlick and Michelle Montemayor helped brainstorm the scenario. Astronauts were landing on Mars and had to race the Aliens to the home base. Rachel led the way with robot design and programming while Michelle took the lead in the artistic arena to transform a plain white box into the red planet, steaming volcano and all. We worked into the wee hours of the night on Friday to get everything ready and loaded into my Suburban, and met up at 7:45am Saturday to go to the conference.


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no kidding

“The number one lesson I’ve learned from that work is that there is typically a huge gulf between those who are responsible for acquiring and maintaining computer equipment, and those who are expected to use that technology to teach. It’s one thing to keep computers working, available, and virus-free, and quite another to actually figure out how to use them for teaching purposes.”

~ Steve Hargadon, What I’ve Learned About EdTech from Open Source Software

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