Saturday, April 25, 2015

Final Blog

This blog will be the last one for the semester. Writing these blogs was something a little different then what I have been used to. I had never written one before and never really thought I would. When I went into this class I did not know what to expect. I thought it would be another Microsoft class or something along the lines of it and I was very wrong. Not only did we learn how to expand your personal learning network and the positive and negatives of social media; we even crated our own websites. Overall it was a fun class and i was able to learn all from it.

The first week of class we started talking about the basics of Twitter. For example  we talked about the definition of a tweet or why you should have a shorter username. These are things people do not really thing about when using twitter. Twitter is just a great tool for connecting and communicating with other professionals in your field. Both these things are very important to building up your PLN. We also talking about how you have to be careful about what you put online. Anything you put online can be found even if it deleted. You can never own when a future employer could be checking out your digital footprint. 

The coolest moment of the class hands down had to be when we interviewed former NFL player Mark Schlereth. One of the things he talked about was some business basics. You have to know what your target consumers and how to reach them. Once you really think about these two points then you may have a chance of any successful business. One thing he said was "there is always a game going on, if you do not know the game then it is probably you", this stuck with me because it makes you think about what is going on around you. If you want to finish first, then you have to beat everyone at their own game.

Digital storytelling was also something we covered. The one tool I liked the most was Animoto. It was a simple website I used to created a short video on health science. It is easy to use, mainly just finding a background picture you like and type some text on it. You can even put music in the background it add a little bit of production value to your video. We also learned how to work with circuits a little bit. We had to play a game of frogger with a controller, but for a controller we had to use anything but the controller. The group I was in ended up using play-doh as a conductor for the circuit so, every time we pushed a piece of play-doh our frogger moved. It was pretty cool, I had never worked with circuits before so it was a little different. Exploring your Digital Portfolio taught me a lot of things that I can use for the rest of my professional career, from how to use social media to creating your own website. All the things I learned will be a giant help and hopefully give me a little bit of an edge in the work force.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Circuit Hero

This past week we tried to create circuits that could control games on our laptops. It was pretty fun to do because it was something different. What worked for our group was using someone as the ground. None of the materials we had work. We tried play-doh, raisins, aluminum foil, and cardboard as the ground and it didn't work. What worked for us as far as getting frogger to move was play-doh. It was the only thing that worked out of the materials we used. The same things didn't work for this part of the circuit as it didn't work for the  grounding part. We just had to play around with the different materials we had until we found the right combination of things to work. We had issues at first trying to get it started but, once we got ideas rolling around finding the answer was pretty simple. We also ended up playing a little game i like ti call circuit hero. We were playing guitar hero on the laptops just with using circuits instead. Needless to say it was a fun class to be in.  

For Chapter 9 on Connected Educator, it talked about what the future holds.One doesn't need to be a teacher to be an educator. With all the information that is out there in the world today, anything you learn can be seen as be educated. Change is also coming to technology and education. It is important to keep in mind four core components to think about with these changes, Knowledge, Pedagogy, Connections, and Capacity. You need to have the knowledge to know that you can't know everything, and having the awareness of your network's expertise. You have to have to mind set of "I am the teacher" and i will help my students to the best of my abilities. Making sure you have connections within your personal learning network is important. Lastly, capacity building helps individuals and groups find and conquer development challenges.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015


          Something we started to touch on it class last week were websites that helped with integrating social media in different ways. Websites like paper.liifttt, and buffer are very helpful in this way. is a website that basically lets you create your own daily newspaper tailored just for you. This is cool because it is all news stories that you want to read. This will make it more likely you will read any articles. It is also possible to link it with your Twitter account. And if you were to miss something on your twitter timeline, it will show up on your account. You can also share your paper with both twitter followers or anyone else you want to share it with. The second website ifttt stands for If This Than That. It helps connect different channels together and set up updates among other things. Some of the channels are Facebook, Twitter, Evernote and Gmail to name a few. With ifttt you are able to create recipes that can do a number of different things. For example you can create a recipe where if your alarm goes off then your WiFi turns off. Its things like this that ifttt is good for. It can be a good remember for the little things that can make your day a little bit easier. You can also set it up to when you find an article you like it goes right to an app (like pocket) that saves that article for you to read later. Buffer is also a cool little website that lets you create a queue for your Twitter. A queue is a wait list of tweets that get tweeted at a time and date you choose. Say you know you will not have time to tweet something out, you can add that tweet to the queue and buffer will tweet it for you. This makes it a little easier to manage your twitter account without thinking about it. 

         Creating websites were something we also talked about for a little bit. The two main websites we talked about were Weebly and Wix. Both websites are simple and easy to use for beginners when they want to create their own website.There are plenty of styles and templates to use as a base for your website. You can add a number of pages such as home, weekly blog, and contact page. Also you can add and re-size any photos you wish have on your site. These are some of the examples that are highlights from the video below. 

         Some tips to keep in mind when creating a website would have your favorite website in time, have a good set of colors, and sometimes less is more. Your favorite websites are you favorite for a reason, it never hurts to draw inspiration from them. Your website should have eye catching colors but, not eye hurting colors. The color blue is always a calming color no matter what shade is used, however having bright blue polka-dots with bright red stripes running through your website may strain the eyes. Lastly, having less words and bigger pictures gives your visitors more room to focus on what you have to say, and not disinterest them.     

         About me is also something that should be on everyone's website. It is a webpage has your contact information, a little bio about yourself, and all links to any social media you may have. A couple basic things the about me should have is how can you help the person visiting your page, information they can contact you by, and something that will grab their attention and bring them back to your site. 

Untangling the Web chapter four is about social networking tools. The tools they talked about were TodaysMeet, Skype, Kidblog, and Edmodo. TodaysMeet allows a teacher to create a back ground channel that can used by students or other teachers. This back ground channel allows you to talk in real time, letting you focus on whatever topic you are talking about without moving on to the next. With it being real time teachers are able to give students a clear expectations on whatever the topic is. Skype allows educators to find each other and share their ideas via video chat in their respective classrooms. This would allow a classroom in the U.S. connect with any other classroom in the world. So students in Manahawkin NJ, can talk with students from a classroom in Japan and other locations. Kidblog is a blog for students that can be moderated by their teacher. It keeps children in a safe learning environment, allowing them to share their thoughts. Edmodo is one of the first social media websites designed just for schools. It has the same feel as Facebook but, is almost exclusivity for educators. Teachers can set notes, when assignments are due, and when tests and quizzes are; and all the students see is a notification like on Facebook. This makes it easier for students to use.        

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Chapter 5 of Connected Educator

This week we went over Chapter 5 in the Connected Educator. The chapter went over several topics relating to Documenting,Connecting, Micro blogs, Social Networking, and learning in the classroom.

There are many tools that can be used for documenting and archiving things that you find if the internet. On the World Wide Web today there are over fifteen billion webpages and everyday more and more webpages are added. Organizing and archiving this sites not only mark the ones your interested in but, cuts down amount of information you have to go through. One website that is helpful for this is Delicious. What Delicious does is store any website that you bookmarked or tagged in a single place. You are able to set tags within your Delicious account. Tagging the websites like this makes it easier to find the information you want. Also on Delicious you can search any tag that might be found on the website. With searching a tag you can find  more information on the topic you are looking into.

One way you come connect with other people to help build your Personal Learning Network (PLN) is blogging. Blogs which is short for weblog are websites that have journal-like entries that are continually being updated. Blogs are places where ideas, information, and experiences can be shared and talked about. These discussions are a great way to grow your PLN. More and more blogs are being created everyday on popular websites like this oneWordPress and Tumblr.

One of the more popular micro blogging websites is twitter. Twitter is a great places to share ideas among other things with other professionals and friend along. Another website for Micro blogging are Wikis. Wikis are websites where groups of people can come together and work to bring thoughts about a certain topic to the same website. A great example of this is Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a online encyclopedia that anybody can add information to. Thousands of people have volunteered information for the website to help it grow.

Two websites that can be used for both Social Networking and Learning in the Classroom are Classroom 2.0 and TeacherTube. The first website being Classroom 2.0 is a site for educators to share their ideas with each other. The website has over fifty thousand members so, it is never hard to find someone to share your thoughts with. Along with ideas being being thrown around discussions about those topics are going on as well. So, this website is a great place to help expand your PLN with other educators if you happen to be one yourself. The next website is TeacherTube. TeacherTube is just like YouTube but made just for educators. It is a place where educational videos can be shared among teachers. Making it easy for educators to find videos that can be shown to their students or videos that can be used to better themselves. 



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chrome Extensions

Extensions for Google Chrome are all pretty cool. I have been using Chrome for years now however, I had never gotten that deep into extensions. I never noticed them and thought about using them. They were just another thing I did not know about Chrome. For example, in the interview we had with both David Malone and Meredith Martin we talked about some cool Chrome extensions like Too Long  Didn't Read (TLDR), Snagit, OneTab, and Extensity. TLDR lets you condense longer articles into smaller and easier to read articles. When I don't have time to read a lengthy article about whatever topic I'm looking at, I normally just skim through it and miss most of what the article is talking about. Since I downloaded TLDR I've been getting the best of both worlds. I get my short article without me having to miss a beat. Snagit allows you to take a screen shot of anything on a website and lets you share it with others. OneTab brings all of your open tabs into a single tab making it so your computer isn't wasting energy running multiple tabs. Where as Extensity there here to collect and group your extensions together. The more extensions you get the harder it is to manage them. Extensity makes it easy to handle as many extensions you wish to have.

Other Chrome extensions out there are Save to Google Drive, Clearly, and ShortenMe. Save to Google Drive is an simple extension however, that is what so great about it. It lets you save images and even webpages right to your Google Drive without having to save it to your hard drive first. Not only is this a time saver but, to make the process of getting images to your Drive easier. Clearly does as the name might state and, that would be to clear up a webpage. Where as TLDR shortens articles, Clearly keeps the article the same length but clears up anything that might be around the article itself. Ads, videos, and side columns all go by the way side with Clearly. All that is left is an easy to article. With it being created by Evernote Clearly lets you highlight and mark things with the article and copies it over to your Evernote account. So this makes it easier to take notes while reading something online. Lastly but certainly not least is ShortenMe. I love this extension when it comes to sharing links to social media. By clicking the ShortenMe icon in the top right of you browser, it creates a shorten and social media friendly URL link for you. 

Also in our interview last week we went over iPad/iPhone apps with Katrina Keene. A nice app we went over was IHomework. It isn't a free app costing $1.99 however, depending on the type of person you are it could be very helpful. To put it simply, it is an app that organizes your homework. You put when papers, projects, or any other school related things are due and it keeps track of the due dates for you. Along with that it also keeps track of you schedule and other little things you might forget about your school life. By far the most useful app we covered would be EasyBib. EasyBib has always been my go to for when I wanted to make a citation for a paper or project. However, I only knew about the website for it. With that you had to punch in everything you knew about the source material and hoped it was enough to create the right citation for it. The app is awesome because it can scan the ISBN code on the back of the book and load up the citation to your phone. It keeps all you citations together and you are also able to put the citation in MLA, APA, or Chicago format. The last app I will talk about is ZooKazam. It is basically a zoo that you can keep in your pocket. Just print a cut out of the animal you want from their website and it lets you see an augmented reality version of the animal. Also with the app your are able to add weather to see a hippo when its raining, snowing, or sunny out. It also has about 40 animals in total so, there are plenty of choices for every type of person.                 

This past week we also presented our Social Media Etiquette projects. My project was about a man named Stuart Maclennan, a politician from Scotland who ruined his political career through the use of Twitter. If you are interested i'll put the presentation below and it will give you a quick summary of Maclennan's story and a warning to be careful on Social Media sites. 

Stuart MacLennan - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Digital Stroytelling

Animoto is a cool website that we learn about last week in class. It lets you create a short video about anything you what. I mess around with Animoto and made a video, which was fun to do. They give you all kinds of options to work with for your videos. Different themes, layouts, and you can even put music in the background. Every one of these features gives each one of your videos a personal feel, it is also make it fun to mess around with them. Teachers  are even starting to use it more with their students. Creating videos and sharing them students and other professionals. Animoto is just a fun and simple way to tell a digital story.


A different tool you can use to create a digital story is Voki. Voki takes an avatar that you can choose and brings it to life. You can customize your avatar just the way you to match your personal style. After you make an avatar you can record your type, use a phone, or a microphone to put your message into your avatar. From there you can put it on a blog, website, or in a classroom. Teachers can use it in a classroom as a different way to teach a class. If there is a sub in the classroom, the sub can play the Voki as a fill in for the regular teacher. I myself use Voki a couple times in high school for different projects. It was a simple way and a little different substitute for a video.

The last thing way I have for you to create a digital story is GoAnimate. Unlike Animoto and Voki, GoAnimate uses slides, backgrounds, and music to create an animated video. You can choose from a number of models and backgrounds to set your story up. From there you can type or record your voice and put it into the video. GoAnimate can be used in different ways by both teachers and students. Teachers can use it to present something to their class or have their students do projects with it. While, students can use it to help each other out, like student-to-student interactions. One student can create a video about something and share it with a student who does not understand that subject. GoAnimate it as safe to use by teachers and students. The videos can not be found by searching on the web, teachers must approve the video before it goes public, and you can use social media with it. I have never used GoAnimate before, but it looks like a cool video maker I could use in the future.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


Evernote is a pretty cool website that I learned about last week. What Evernote is in a nutshell is a place where one can store all kinds of items. Whither it be notes from class or a meeting to pictures and documents from other websites, Evernote can keep track of it. Evernote can keep everything in one easily spot that one can never lose. There is also an Evernote app that syncs everything from your computer and ones phone. Any time I need to share my notes I can do it right through Evernote. As a student this makes keeping track of my notes every easy. I have a folder for each one of my classes and other sub-folders within though folders. I can find any note I wrote in no time, which makes it very easy to study for tests or looking up references for my papers. It is also nice for teachers because they can share their notes and/or other work that they might want their students to know. With the tags in Evernote organizing notes are simple and easy to see for students.     
A couple tips that I would use while using Evernote are simple and easy for anyone to use. For just $5 a month to be a premium member, one can use the presentation option on your Evernote. This can be used instead of power point. This is easier because all your notes are on Evernote instead of creating a power point from scratch. If there are to many notes in one notebook, one can merge there notes together. When one merges their notes then it condenses their folders even more, making it easier to organize ones notes further. Evernote also has also has a two step verification when creating and keeping an Evernote. This makes it Evernote a little safer and secure. Knowing that ones notes and other information they gathered online is safe can be a lifesaver. 

Emailing Evernotes can keep people within ones circle close and up to date with information. It makes it easier to get ones resources and references to other people. Also this way of working also lets one set reminders for not only oneself but, the other people ones working with. Reminders help remember due dates and keeps one on track. If information is put on the back burner, reminders will pop up and remind one about the due date. Along with emailing, there are also different means of connecting with professionals. Social media can be an important tool with learning and finding other professionals within ones field. One can keep in touch with people one might have meant at conference or anyone one can not meet in person. Twitter is a good example of a how one person can lead to more people. One can follow someone in there profession and then through there followers and people they follow one can find more people they might want to know. Finding hash tags are also helpful when trying to expand ones network or finding ideas they like. If one follows a hash tag then one is able to talk about that idea, Throwing out ideas with other people can make it easier to expand ones own thoughts and ones scope of their profession. To summarize social media can be a powerful tool not only finding other professionals but, learning from them as well. 


Untangling The Web Chapter 3 is about different ways to challenge the status quo of using power point as a way to show slides. SlideShare is one sure option and a pretty cool option at that. SlideShare is a social hub that educators and students can use to see presentations from around the world. It can be link to Facebook and Linkedin making it easier to share and find SlideShare presentations. VoiceTread is also pretty cool. The concept is simple in the fact that it is just a site to share photos and videos with the ability to comment on them as well. The site has mainly been the same since 2005 with the only differences having an IOS app and being able to import pictures fro Facebook. It may be a "simple" site but, it is still an other option one can use that is different from power point.