Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wk4 Publishing-Presentation Project

Image taken from computer screen.
Wow! I can't believe I've come this far. Graduation is really around the corner!  I'm almost done, and I am glad I accomplished one of my resolutions for this year. Well... I did accomplish more than one, but this is the most important for me. In spite of the roadblocks and unexpected situations, I feel very proud of having finished my CBR project, and better than that is to have finished my article for the Journal for of Technology and Teacher Education (JTATE). It's the whole CBR process put together in words and I love it! I hope  the JTATE publishes my article, and include it in their Digital Library (EdITLib), but if they don't,  I have decided to share it with the school district I worked for in the last six years. They have shown interest in sharing it with all the teachers in the county through their technology resources website. For those interested in reading the article, go to:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tqxLlsWt7PZHSNZe9l49X2VpdbU1TcohuVQmyfJd1vI/edit?hl=en_US
My previous "Think Out Loud" blog links are:
http://fary72001.blogspot.com/2011/10/wk-2-think-aloud-ppp-weighing-pros-cons.html
http://fary72001.blogspot.com/2011/10/wk-3-think-aloud-ppp-2-definitely.html

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Wk 4 Comment #2

Sharol,
I love your sentence "...at times we have to learn not to point the finger at others but to accept what our role may have been in the situation". That's what we all learn to do since we are children: to blame someone else instead of looking into our hearts and take responsibility for our mistakes. As teachers, we are usually the guilty ones, and parents seem to support their children instead of correcting them.

Wk 4 Comment #1

Rosalynn,
In your blog you said : "A teacher's attitude can definitely play a role in the attitudes of their students", and I couldn't agree with you more. The way we deliver information is the key to a successful lesson and engaging environment. I've observed teachers that spend hours preparing their lessons, but when it comes to present it, they lack the enthusiasm they put in their preparation. I also see myself in this right now: I've been going through very tough times, but I set up my mind for success and exhibited that when I saw my middle school students for the first time this week (after I had been on a leave of absence for six weeks). They got engaged quickly and my classes ran smoothly. :)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Wk 4 Reading: The Art of Possibility (9-12)

This is the last part of my blogs regarding this interesting book...
9. Lighting a Spark: "Enrollment is the art and practice of generating a spark of possibility for others to share." As teachers, we may encounter  students who shut themselves to new learning, who let their weaknesses take over their strengths, so we need to let them know that we are giving ourselves to them and to their learning with a world of possibilities, and soon they' ll be ready to catch that spark.
Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net

10. Being the Board: " I am the board on which the whole game is played,  I am  the framework for everything that happens in my life". This is a hard one. I do not agree with it a 100%, but this is what I take away from it: as citizens of the world of measurement, we all tend to put the blame on someone else  instead of embracing the situation, and reflecting on how we can make things different next time. If we see it this way, we will soon be immersed in a world of possibilities, and when a similar situation arises, we will know how to face it and how to make a difference.
Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility: "Restructuring meanings, creating visions, and establishing environments where possibility is spoken." When trying to find a solution to a problem, it is a good idea to reconstruct the situation in  different ways, to picture it, and to create a new scenario/setting that will activate new possibilities or results.
12. Telling the WE Story: In the world of measurement where everything is divided, we see an "us" and "them", but in the world of possibilities we focus on the "WE" as a whole entity seeking to contribute to that world, to seeking to share passion, to think outside the box, to embrace the environment, to construct instead of separate, and make things fall apart...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wk 3 Think Aloud PPP 2: Definitely publishing...

Image taken from computer screen.
My exploration of different journal sites is over. It wasn't easy, though. I checked here and there, keeping in mind the content area I teach. However, after reviewing the guidelines of the publication assignment, I noticed I had some misunderstandings. I spent a long time checking journals for language learning and technology, but my CBR target group was composed by teachers in different content areas, not just Spanish, so I had to restart my exploration, this time focusing on my CBR big idea and development of my project. Again, I came up with three possible journal sites, so I went ahead and  explored those very carefully taking into account submission/ publication guidelines, their audience, and online availability, and I finally decided to go with the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, which will also allow me to submit my article to their digital library. This way, my colleagues and everybody interested will have access to my research if they have an internet connection and will not have to wait for a physical copy to be in their hards.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wk 3 Comment 2

Kris,
Your comments on accepting things the way they are, reminded me of our vacation in Orlando last spring, we never expected to have so much rain that week, but we decided to go with it, and we had a good time. Walking in the rain in Downtown Disney with my family is something I'll never forget, especially now...
October 14, 2011 7:41 PM

Wk 3 Comment 1

Lania,
I felt the same way when reading chapter 6. I thought of colleagues that seem to get the best out of any unexpected situation, and who always remind us at work we can't take everything so seriously. We need to find a balance, especially when it comes to our professional lives if we deal with different groups of people, and... "at the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." (Jean Houston)

Fari

Wk 3 Reading: The Art of Possibility (5-8)

My reflection journey continues...
5. Leading From Any Chair: "How much greatness are we willing to grant?"
Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
Very thoughtful question! In my professional life as a teacher I've had to work with people that seems to forget that leading has nothing to do with imposing a concept or thought, but being open to your employees ideas and new ways to do things. A good leader knows how and when to delegate responsibilities,  to trusts others, and usually puts himself/herself in someone else's shoes to understand a situation or to come up with a solution to a problem. As teachers, it's always a good idea to survey our students to find out what works best or what can be improved in our clasroom. If our students shine, we shine too! The effectiveness of a teacher is definitely shown through our students' achievement, not data sheets...

6. Rule #6: "What would have to change for me to be completely fullfilled?" 
Finding balance is my answer to this question. It's so easy to lose your temper and get out of control if you let your "calculating self" take over your reactions to a situation that arises. However, letting your "central self" handle it, is a way to put in practice rule number 6 and come up with a more productive solution.

7. The Way Things Are: "What do we want to do from here?"
Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
We definitely need to change our negative way of seeing an unexpected situation,  and turn it into  a positive one, taking the best out of it. If we can't change it, we "think outside the box", and come up with a more optimistic outcome. In other words we get rid of the "downward spiral talk" and get into the world of possibilities. If we  choose to see the glass "half-full", we can even come up with a new way to fill it up!

8. Giving Way to Passion: We should not refrain ourselves, we should release that energy and passion trapped in our souls, in our hearts. This way we will connect with a world of possibilities and we'll go beyond the limits set up by those who think that "all is invented".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Wk 2 Think Aloud PPP: Weighing the Pros & Cons

After carefully analyzing the pros and cons of both ways to deliver information on my CBR project , I've decided to create an article about it. As a linguistic and intrapersonal learner, I definitely think that I can do a very good job writing a paper about my CBR project findings and personal experience. It was really hard for me to decide because I think that a visual presentation is very engaging, but I know how shy I could be if having to talk to a large group of people that are not my students or colleagues. I also know that once I feel nervous and stressed, my English speaking skills get messed up.

In order to reinstate my choice for the project, I went ahead and took a multiple intelligence test on the Birmingham Grid for Learning website and the results confirmed what elements of my intelligence are the strongest: linguistic and intrapersonal (as you can see below...)

Image taken from my computer screen...

Now my next step is to decide where to publish. Out of all the possibilities proposed in the example list I have picked three, but I still want to check some other websites that may be more related to my content. It's time to start my exploration...

Wk 2 Comment 3: I simply had to say it...

Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
Allen,
I definitely believe that Steve Jobs is the perfect example of following what the first four chapters of The Art of Possibility talked about. Steve didn't believe that "all is invented", that's why he kept working and improving his ideas on and on...He definitely didn't have his mind set up with the usual frame that brings the dichotomies of success-failure, good-bad, expensive-cheap or comparing-contrasting. He truly "thought outside the box" and went beyond the angles of that typical frame. He stepped into the "universe of possibilities", deserves an A and always believed he could make good use of his gifts and share them with the world. He literally "contributed" to humanity...

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wk 2 Comment 2

Kris,
Grading is something I have always disagreed with. The reality is that you can't reduce the performance of a student to a number. If you think about how long it takes a student to show his work is average, you will come up with a  70, at least.  It's not fair that passing is only from 70 to 100 that means 30 points only, while failing goes from 0-69. I think it is better to use goals/achievements to tell someone how he/she has perfomed. Believe it or not a grade affects students and, and sometimes, it even leaves students out, and they may be that stone Michelangelo talked about...

Wk 2 Comment 1

Sharol,
I can't agree with you more. I really don't like it when, after all our efforts through the whole school year, our students' performance is just reduced to DATA ( a word I am beginning to dislike). That seems to be all  districts and principals worry about where I live. They want us to implement 21st century skills in our content, but they still agree to measure students with 20th century assessments. I am glad I quit working for the district and joined a charter school.
Fari

Wk 2 Reading: The Art of Possibility (1-4)

Reading the first four chapters of "The Art of Possibility" made me reflect a lot and relate to my personal and professional experience. These are some of my thoughts:
1. It's all invented: This chapter talks about people's perceptions of things and frames or structures most of us use to face situations in life. The authors advice is essentially:  "to think outside the box" or "to reinvent the wheel". As teachers sometimes is hard to accept there are other ways to do things. I've seen some colleagues relunctant to make changes in their teaching style just because they feel the way the have been delivering their content is the only one possible. In other words they are afraid of new changes, and they get just comfortable with their old repertoire...
2. Stepping into a universe of possibility: We live in a world ruled my measures. In order to get to know others or understand things and situations better we are led to comparing or contrasting everything. We believe that all in this world is arranged in hierachies, and unfortunately the roles of success or failure also fall into this categories. Fortunately, we are the one in control, the ones that can set up our minds for high achievements. There is a better world, one that stretches beyond the world of measurement: the world of possibilities where we can create a new life, one where we are open to changes and willing to take risks in order to reach our own joy and excitement. A world that provides an array of possibilities that will provide the tools to find the joyous life you deserve and not one where you simply learn to survive.
3. Giving an A: This was my favorite chapter. Grading has always been an issue for me. I hate having to use a number or letter to measure my students' performance, especially becasue I teach another language, and it is so easy to discourage students interested in other cultures by having to give them a grade. If I want to leave the world of measurement, and join the world of possibilities,  I need to find other ways or "possibilities" to assess my students' performance througout the school year. The authors suggestions regarding this matter and giving an A sounded very interesting. Now I need to fit them into my content...
4. Being a contribution: Thinking that we are a contribution to this world is a very smart way to help our students with their self-esteem. I have taught kids that seem to be so discouraged  or neglected at home that their progress in school is greatly affected. Each individual in this world was provided with a treasure to enlighten their own life as well as someone's else's. We need to trust in our gifts, we need to learn to know when to take out that treasure and share it when it's needed...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Wk 1 Free Choice Entry: Getting Into The e-Book World...

Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
Early in August  I was given an iPad  at school since e-textbooks were adopted, and every middle school student was getting one. At first, I didn't find it as useful as I expected, and I even felt like it was just another device I had to carry in my bag and to take care of besides the other devices I had been provided during the new staff training. However, due to certain situation I unexpectedly faced a couple of weeks ago, now I find myself loving my iPad and loving the fact that I always get to carry my favorite books with me. Yes, I entered the world of e-books, for real.

Even though my first steps into the e-book world started  when  I became a student at Full Sail,   I remember how upset I was when I found out I was mostly getting  e-books instead of hard copies. I even remember calling FSO and complaining. I was so used to reading with a highlighter and pen in hand...I really loved underlining new words, and taking notes wherever I found room on a page that I just couldn't imagine having to read off my laptop and having to have a separate notebook with me. But this is all in the past now.

For the last couple of weeks I have been trapped in a world where nothing seems to excite me or make me smile, so some of my closest friends, in their effort to cheer me up, suggested that I started reading the Bible and some other books about how to cope with my situation: the loss of a child. Since I didn't feel like going anywhere, I decided to make good use of my iPad, and started exploring different sites such as Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook, and so on. Soon I found myself downloading free apps and downloading e-books that I have enjoyed reading,  and that have helped me found some peace. I was even able to get a free Bible app that offers several daily or topical plans I have signed up for.

Finally, I'd say now I can't go anywhere without my iPad. I read everywhere,  even while waiting for my son in the car riders line, and the most important of all, my son, who has been going through a lot lately too, seems to be enjoying reading his favorite books on my iPad. Maybe I need to cheer him up by getting him his own e-book reader soon...

Wk 1 Comment 2

Allen,
Thanks so much for the heads-up on media regarding the copyright topic. I appreciate your taking the time to let us know about your expetise. I’ll definitely take into account your tips/suggestions from now on. Honestly, I was so mistaken in regards to copying images from the internet. I’m glad you mentioned the licenses on Creative Commons, I admit this is something I overlooked before. Thanks for the resources you provided…

Wk 1 Comment 1

Rosalyn, I had so many misconceptions regarding the copyright topic too. In fact, just like you described, since I teach a lot of vocab in Spanish, I thought that I could just go to a search engine and copy pics without a watermark. When I started at Full Sail in month 1 with Mr. Bustillos, was when I realized the importance of copyright and fair use, but I feel that it's now when I have gotten a better understanding on this matter. Just like you, I still feel there is still a lot to be done about it, and I also have questions or have thought about certain situations where I wouldn't know how the fair use and copyright laws apply. BTW, I love your blog font, it makes it so personal, so you! Loved it!!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wk 1 Reading: The World of Copyright

Image taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net
The rapid growth of technology and the increased number of internet users in the world have created  copyright issues that seem to be unknown for most. Before watching the videos, my knowledge of copyright was so little, and I always related it to my field: education. But the reality is that in the last decade, this issue has touched other different areas such as music, visual arts, marketing, publishing, and even fashion. There are several things that drew my attention in the videos. One of them was the 10 myths about copyright, and I guess it did because I related them to my colleagues comments when we had our library training every beginning of a school year. Also, the documentary "Good Copy, Bad Copy" brought memories of situations  I have experienced when traveling to my home country, Colombia. Piracy seems to be so normal there, and the government seems to have little or no interest in creating or enforcing copyright laws. For example, I remember when my father-in-law told my husband about the latest Spiderman movie that had not even been shown in the US theater yet, but he had bought a copy from a street vendor. Now if I talk about music, the issue turns just wider. There you can find stores where  you can have any CD made with songs of your choice for a very small price. Since not everybody has access to computers or the internet so easily, they prefer to buy these cheap copies. Another important topic that drew my attention was "Fair Use". I was mistaken in reference to how  I could use someone else's copyrighted work at school, and I'd say I'm not the only one. I'm sure if I survey my colleagues about this topic, they will be just as confused/wrong as I was. I think many teachers believe that if it's for school use, nothing matters: you can photocopy any material, show any video or remix any work, but that's not true. Finally, it's a pity that our grandchildren won't probably have the opportunity to learn about our history because of the fact that copyright licenses expire and producers do not have the financial means to pay relicensing fees. Something needs to be done about this...it's our history, and it shouldn't just be ignored...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

ADDIE Mind Map (Part 1)

Well, I decided to take Kris's suggestion and post my mind map here. It was very useful to me and I hope it is for you all too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

PE_Final Project: Glogster

MY RILS PLAN
TARGET AUDIENCE: Students in my Spanish I class.
MATERIALS: Laptops, “Expresate” textbook, Chapter 5 Vocabulary 2 list, personal notes.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE STANDARDS:  Students will:
1.3.2 present information on different topics in a variety of formats.
1.3.3 write a personal communication e.g. note, letter,etc.
1.3.4 present familiar topics enhanced will multimedia
2.2.3 identify and produce artworks, crafts, or graphic representations of the target culture.
  ISTE STANDARDS (NETS for students):  Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
OBJECTIVES:   Students will talk and write about where they live or would like to live, describe houses with the help on the new vocabulary words learned in chapter 5 and create a multimedia poster online in which they will describe their own house or the house of their dreams in Spanish with the support of the new vocabulary in chapter 5. 
WEB 2.0 TOOL: EDU Glogster (www.edu.glogster.com An innovative web 2.0 tool utilized by thousands of students all over the world to create multimedia posters online or "glogs" in different content areas and languages.  
 PROCEDURE:  Students  will:
·      upload the pictures they took over the weekend  in their “My Pictures” file of their “H” drives.
·      Type their paragraph about their house (or house of their dreams) in Word.
·      Go to the EDU Glogster website and will log into their accounts.
·      Create a new glog.
·      Upload their pics to the Glogsters file.
·      Choose a background and begin crafting their online poster based on their preferences.
·      After all posters are created, a presentation or portfolio will be created. 
SOCIAL PARTICIPATION/LEARNING:   After posters are created, the students will be organized in groups of four and will write their feedback  and opinion on their teammates' posters. They will state what they like best and explain why they like it. (To be written in the “Comments” section under each poster).
MAKING CONNECTIONS:  When writing their descriptive paragraph, the students will take into consideration all grammatical rules studied and useful expressions when creating their sentences in Spanish. They will also be connecting with what they consider home or personal ideas of what they want their home to be.
CREATE/PRODUCE: A multimedia poster online in Spanish called MI CASA or MI CASA IDEAL, describing  a house or ideal house in Spanish, enriched with pictures or an Animoto video or PhotoStory.
REFLECTION:  Students will evaluate their own posters by writing a short reflection under the “Comments” section of their teammates' poster. Teacher: So far this has been a very enjoyable class, sharing with my students about where they live, listening to their ideas on what they want their posters to be like and helping them with the tool when issues arise.
ASSESSMENT METHOD: Rubric provided.
DUE DATE: April 6, 11.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

PE5_EDU Glogster (Part 2)

Good, good Saturday morning! Here I am again with more on Glogster. I've spent some very valuable  time "playing" with this tool and I love it! I'm sure my middle school students will love it too! Creating an online poster seems to be easier than I thought. After signing up for a free basic account, I started creating my first glog. The first thing I had to do was get rid of the predetermined glog that shows up when you hit "create new glog". It was really easy, just to move the icons to the trash can, and there I was ready to pick the background or "wall" I wanted.

Then I started exploring all the other tools that show on the menu: "graphics", for adding decorative icons to your poster; "text" for creating any type of textboxes, bubbles and titles; "image", for uploading your own pics from your files and adding colorful frames to them; "video", for uploading  video clips from School Tube or your own files; "audio", for adding your sound of preference. Also, there are "draw" and "data" tools, but they are part of the Premium accounts, and allow any user to draw or upload any Word, Excel, Power Point, PDF or wrapped file as an attachment to the glog.

Something important to remind Glogster users is not to hit the "Go back" button on the web browser. If the poster has not been saved all what has been created will be lost (It just happened to me, see the pic on the left?). Another  feature of this tool is the " Tips" section that shows at the end of the glog you are creating. It gives you suggestions and ideas on what to do to improve the quality and presentation of your multimedia poster online. I think my students are going to have a good time with this new tool, it will let their creativity and imagination "fly" beyond the classroom... Below you can see, what my first glog looks like, since I am teaching about Holidays in Spanish-speaking countries this week, I decided to start my class with this glog...
 

Friday, March 18, 2011

PE4_EDU Glogster (Part 1)

This week I continued evaluating Web 2.0 tools and it was Glogster's turn. This "cool" tool can be found under two different web addresses:  www.glogster.com, for personal use and social networking, and the one I will talk about in this blog, www.edu.glogster.com, especially designed for school use. 


The EDU Glogster is an educational website for creating very colorful multimedia posters online called "glogs". It's a new way for students to show their learning creatively. It is also a collaborative learning platform where students and teachers can interact and "voice" their thoughts on anybody's "glog". There are three different account levels with different features designed according to your needs: Basic,  Premium Teacher and Premium School.


One of the most important characteristics of this online tool is the fact that it fits any content area or school subject since its main purpose is to show students' creative expression of knowledge,  and it meets and exceeds national technology standards, a very important feature for educators that look for original ways to integrate technology in their lessons.
The "Premium" account for educators allows teachers to set up their classes and set up individual student accounts and online portfolios. Also,  once the "glogs" are created, they can be shared in multiple ways, kept private or available  to your set  classes only,  or you can post them for public view and feedback. Educators can also create presentations with all their students posters or embed the presentations in their school webpages.


Well, I guess that's all for now. I can't wait to start my first glog. I'll be back soon with more on this Web 2.0 tool!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

BP7_Livemocha (The Commercial)

Here's my commercial on one of the Web 2.0 tools, I evaluated. Hope you like it!



(Some images taken from www.freedigitalphotos.net)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

BP6_Link to Catherine's Blog

Hello, again! Just wanted to invite you to visit Catherine's blog.  Follow this link and enjoy it...

BP5_Link to Kris Knof 's Blog

Hey, guys! Follow this link to my comments on Kris Knof's blog...

BP4_Ediscio

Discovering Web 2.0 tools...

One of the tips I used to give the students in my Spanish classes was  to create flashcards  to memorize new vocabulary. However, I noticed that this technique didn't work very well with all my students. For the ones that were organized, it was easy to number their flashcards, color-code them by topics, and keep them handy in a Ziploc bag, ready to use, ready to study them. But for those who struggled keeping their belongings and school tools in place, flashcards were never found when  needed. They could have been left at home, in the lockers, or even on the hall floors. So ... when I  heard about Quizlet, I started using it right away. I was able to create flashcards online, to provide my classes with the file names, to  add audio and images, and most important of all: they help me differentiate in my classes. No matter what type of learner I had,  Quizlet could fit their needs.  This is my second year with Quizlet and I noticed that my students are getting tired of the same every time they get a new vocabulary list. But thanks to the  http://www.onlinedegree.net/100-essential-2-0-tools-for-teachers/ website, I discovered a new powerful tool: http://www.ediscio.com/. It's time to bring something new to my classes and give my students the opportunity to choose the online flashcard tool that best fits their needs. 


There are so many different and cool things about  Ediscio. Besides all the features that Quizlet provided, and that Ediscio has, it offers its users the opportunity to organize the flashcards by topics, keywords, or in folders known as cardboxes. Let's take a look at its main menus:

On the left side menu you can access your home page (image above), your mail, your profile, your "chums" (friends), the classes you've set up, your cardboxes (where the flashcards are located) and your "stats", which allows you to check your students' progress, the hardest words in your cardbox, and word clouds. It's an easy way to track learning without wasting too much time, and it's there, ready to use. 

 Besides having the choice of creating flashcards one by one, there's the "multi tab" that allows you to create as many cards as you need all at once. Unfortunately, there's no "Import" option as Quizlet has, but it does have the symbols menu, essential when the flashcards are created in different languages. A discussion board tab is also located in the top menu for students to interact and comment on the topic studied, their classes, their progress, etc. 

And... here's my favorite thing about Ediscio...
For those students that usually say that they weren't home and couldn't access a computer to study their flashcards, there's "Ediscio Mobile".


I'm sure my middle school students can't live without their smartphones, mp3s, iPods, etc. There's no excuse for not studying their vocabulary. Even when they're away from home...there's Ediscio...waiting for them!

PE3_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 3)

Well, I may not be an iMovie expert yet, but I got my first Lynda certificate last night. Now I'll feel more confident when creating my video projects for my graduate classes. Also,  I have discovered another way to spend time with my children, that is,  creating movie trailers and home videos.  Movie trailers are really easy to create since iMovie already has 15  templates with different themes to choose from. So... what best way to kick off my son's baseball season than creating a movie trailer with some of his pictures from last year's games? Let's see...


I thought it was going to be really easy, but then I encountered a problem: I wasn't going to import videos, but pictures, and I had no way to bring my pics from iPhoto since the camera icon was off. Luckily, after checking here and there I found the way to do it: using  the "Convert  to Project" option under the "File" menu. That choice immediately allowed me to import my pictures for the trailer. So here's the final product...

video

This summer's going to be fun! My children will love being my main movie characters! Thanks to technology for allowing me to capture the best moments in my life with my family.  :)

Friday, March 11, 2011

PE2_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 2)

Wow! This has been a very productive evening! I've been watching the rest of the  iMovie tutorials and  I've learned so much! Now I don't regret not watching these videos before  because I know that what matters is what comes ahead: there's nothing I could do about the past, but there's a lot I could do to make my future assignments better.


 So far there have been a couple of tips that have drawn my attention. One of them is how to use the "precision editor". With this tool you can easily fine-tune the beginnings and the endings of your clips. It helps you cut a clip at a precise moment, or time the beginning of it with audio.


Another useful tool is the one for cropping or rotating clips, and I started using it right away. I had a couple of videos I had recorded with my first digital camera about five years ago, but as you see in the image above, I had mistakenly turned the camera. Now with the help of the iMovie "crop" tool I was able to rotate the clips and enjoyed watching them again.


Finally,  and the most fun for me, is the "green screen effect" tool. I didn't have the opportunity to put this one in practice, but I'll find my way to apply it in one of my videos soon. With this tool you can easily change the background of a clip by imposing one clip over another. Now I wonder if my husband will let me paint one of our bedroom walls green...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

PE1_The Wonders of iMovie on Lynda (Part 1)


One of my week 2 assignments in my ETC class was to watch the iMovie tutorials on Lynda. I remember taking a look at this wonderful website in month 2 when I received the email on my FSO account; however, I admit not going back to it to take advantage of all its didactic videos. What came to my mind after watching a couple of segments was "Why didn't I do this before?", "It would have saved me so much time and frustration when I was creating the videos for my month 3 class". It's true, I admit it, I had a hard time creating those videos, but I'm glad  I can still do things differently and better after finishing these tutorials.


Lynda divides the content of its tutorials in different topics and subtopics to help you select what you may find relevant to your learning. Each of these subtopics features short video segments, which, by the way are very illustrative and educational. The one that captured my attention was on how to import videos from a tape-based camera. I have one of these devices, but found it very difficult and time-consuming to import videos to my computer, so I used to watch these videos connecting the camera directly to my television.


The problem with that was that in order for me to skip what I didn't want to see, I had to forward the video, calculating in my head when to hit play again. Now I know how easy it is to import my videos to my computer and with the help of iMovie I can delete, edit and embellish what I want. I also know that I have a lot of work to do regarding all those tapes that have been sitting in my closet for a long time and that  have captured some of the best moments in my life...

Friday, March 4, 2011

BP2_Livemocha


Discovering Web 2.0 Tools...


Our second assignment in my ETC class was to evaluate an application or tool chosen from the Go2Web2.0 website.  After looking here and there, I decided to narrow my search and limit to my main passion and content I teach: the study of foreign languages. Then I randomly chose Livemocha from a “palette” of about eighteen different applications, read the brief description of what it was about and felt interested right away.  Livemocha is the largest online language-learning community in which anybody interested in languages can sign up and start learning English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, or any of the other 25 languages offered immediately. I created an account as if I was an English speaker wanting to learn Spanish, and noticed that the courses are divided in four levels from beginner to advanced, and comprise language learning skill builders such as writing, speaking, listening, and vocabulary practice with flashcards reviewed by native speakers. 

 
Also, I found that the phrase arcade and interactive videos are very appealing to any language learner, as well as the community site.   Here you can make friends from all over the world who are also learning a foreign language, and are eager to practice the language studied with native speakers.  There is, on the other hand, a tab called “Explore Culture”. 

In this section any member can post a picture on what life is like around the world or share something interesting about his/her country. Another way to interact with other Livemocha members is through the  “exercise submission” section where a learner can send his writing exercises for peer reviews or feedback. I definitely found this website very useful and appealing. Even though it isn’t free, it’s cheaper than a hiring a tutor or enrolling in a course at a community college or any other private institution, and the best thing of it is that anybody interested can learn on his/her own pace without having the pressure of attending any place and having to modify a routine or schedule.  

BP3_iGoogleScreenShots

Here are the screen shots of my iGoogle pages.  I, Fari Lopez,  declare myself a real iGoogle fan and fish lover! :)



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

BP_1 Welcome to my Blog!

Finally V-day is here!
After weeks of preparation the Palmetto Finest judges came to our school today. My colleagues and I called it V-day because everybody talked about "the visit" and "the visitors". Deep in my heart I want our school to get this award, but even if we don't,  the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction on all the work we've done in the past few months is unmeasurable! We did let those judges know how hard we work and how much we care about the children that attend our school. It was amazing to see our walls filled with  artwork created by our students, pictures of their field trips and activities lead by our community members and PAC, their math  and science projects, their neat graphic novels, and of course, their tech integration projects in their Spanish classes. Our students showed their best and everywhere in the building the value of the Habits of Mind for our school community was reflected. I feel so relieved now,  but...what comes next? Teacher Advancement Program observations? PASS testing? End of the school year preparations? Spring break? Well... I think I'll just enjoy the rest of my week...