Tech Task #3

Last week we learned all about personal learning networks and were tasked with creating our own.  I have ended up following a lot of educators and science blogs, places that are proving to be so useful to me as a pre-service teacher.  Here are some of the blogs I now follow:

Born to Learn

These guys have a lot of stuff on the importance on collaborative and experiential learning.  Lots of interesting animations as well.

Education Rethink

This is a blog created by a teacher in Phoenix where he shares his thoughts on education, technology, and current issues.

GOOD Education

A site collecting blogs covering all forms of popular culture with a section dedicated strictly to education.

Science Blogs

Being a science nut I’ve found this site really interesting and useful in keeping me up to date on current issues in science.

Hack Education

A blog created by a technology writer and ed-tech advocate covering all the current trends within technology and education.

I’ve also increased the number of people I’ve been following on Twitter.  These are mainly educators with educational philosophies paralleling mine.  It’s also been super easy to follow them by putting them into a PLN list on Tweetdeck.

Here are some tweeps I now follow on twitter:

@nashworld  Sean Nash – Academic Technology Instructional Specialist & Marine Biology teacher. Interested in all things that move classrooms toward a more student-centric future.

@StacyCBaker – Stacy Baker – a middle school technology integrator (former high school biology teacher) in NYC.

@inveterategeek – Elizabeth Zodda – inveterate geek (code for high school science teacher)

@hbarlaam – Holly Barlaam – High school science teacher, currently teaching biology at college prep school. Have also taught in public schools (biology and AP Environmental Science).

@gardenglen – Glen Westbroek – Husband/Father, Middle Level Science Literacy Teacher, Intel Teach® Senior Trainer, District Science Specialist, Use Tech. 2 support Inquiry, Scouter

@RitaZ – Rita Z – EFL teacher in Rosario, Argentina, a proud Webhead, CALL Consultant, Director of TechTools4Educators

@2learn2 – Steve – Passionate about everything to do with teaching and learning.

@johntspencer – John T. Spencer – Dad. Husband. Teacher. Writer. Perpetual bender of paper clips. Impatient doodler. Philosophical wanderer.

@ShellTerrell – Shelly S Terrell – Education thought-provoker, The 30 Goals Challenge author, International Speaker, #Edchat founder, VP of Edu Outreach @Parentella, SC Mgr @TheConsultantsE

@rushtonh – Rushton Hurley – Japanese language, digital video, teacher training, and saving the world from ignorance. Some juggling, too!

Learning Can Be Hard :S

I had a hard time this weekend motivating myself for my learning project.  Any free time I got it seemed like I was instantly distracted from my task and my attention was pulled somewhere else.  Tonight I was actually able to sit down and learn some new Japanese phrases however I find my mind wandering very quickly back to school and upcoming deadlines on projects.  It has been hard fitting in time to learn and so it feels like I am slowing down.

All hope is not lost though.  My plan for this week is to use spare minutes between classes, in line at Tim Horton’s (probably a good hour right there), etc to increase my knowledge of Japanese.  I downloaded an app on my phone that will help me accomplish this. With it I will be able rehearse phrases during any spare moments that I have.  Thank you smart phones!

Here is a quick video I found on GOOD Education, a site I started to follow this week.  It helps show how powerful a desire to learn and learn from others can be.

LEARN from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Tech Task #2 Continued

Thanks to everyone who answered my Google form last week.  It seems everyone is very excited about the learning project and plan to draw on a large variety of resources to accomplish their goals.

Wishing everyone the best and looking forward to hearing how it goes.

See if you can pick out your project below.  Good Luck everyone!

Making Custom Menus

Hey all,

I played around a bit and was able to figure out the menu issue we were having in our ECMP 355 online session today.  What my page looks like now is what I kind of prefer and all I did here was make a custom menu and add it on the side as one of my widgets.   This is what my page looked like with my custom menu up top.Here is a screen cast walking through the steps of what I did to create a custom menu and then get up top.  I have my pages, with my ‘Home’ still being my main feed and the ‘Stuff I Learn’, ‘Learning Projects’ and ‘Tech Tasks’ jumping to posts placed in those categories.

If you have any problems just let me know and I can help you out.

Learning Project Update

Konbanwa (Good evening),

This last week and a half I’ve been studying basic Japanese sayings and greetings.  I’m very optimistic after this short time as I already find myself recalling the phrase I need without too much thinking.  One thing I’m finding with Japanese is there is a lot of fluctuation between phrases depending on the situation and familiarity with who you are speaking with.  As an example, some ways to introduce yourself are “Youroushiku negai shimasu”, “Hajimehmashite”, or even simply “Youroushiku (then watashi wa…desu (my name is..))”.  Its kind of complex but easier to understand once you get into it.  I’m excited and have built up a decent vocabulary already.

Below is a video of just a couple of quick phrases, I have some ideas for keeping my updates interesting once I develop more fluidity, but for now I will keep it short and not recite Japanese phrases for 10 minutes.  With me in the video is my friend Shohei, he was my billet for a week when I was in Japan and two years before that he stayed at my place in Saskatoon when their team came to visit.  Until next time…Oyasumi nasai (good night).

Tech Task #2

Last class we had the opportunity to learn about everything that Google has to offer and how it can make a teacher’s life much simpler.   For our Tech Task #2 we are supposed to take what we learned and apply it in creating and embedding a Google Form.  I was interested in the learning project and was wondering what everyone else was thinking in this regard.  Looking forward to hearing how it is going.

Putting a picture in the header.

Hi everyone,

I figured I would show what I did to get a picture in my header just in case anyone else was wondering how.  I like the picture because it identifies the blog as mine and adds a personal feel to everything without being too unprofessional.

This is what mine looks like but you can pick whatever you want as a picture.

The thing I found was I was limited by most of the themes as to how much of a picture’s height I could retain and put in the header.  I didn’t find a way around that (if you know one let me know 😀 ). As you try things you will probably see what I mean.  Anyways what I found was the theme Twenty Eleven gave me the largest header to work with.  You select this by going to the ‘Themes’ option on the sidebar in your dashboard, then finding the theme Twenty Eleven and clicking activate.There are all kinds of customizable options from the sidebar to menus to widgets which I suggest fooling around with to see what they do.  What we’re interested in is the ‘Header’ option on the sidebar.

Once you go to the ‘Header’ section you will see all the default images.  What is great about this theme is that you can have a different header image on each separate page if you so desire.

To upload a picture use the ‘Upload Image’ spot and simply browse for the image that you want to use.  Then you will upload the image, crop it and just need to select it to make it your header image. Try adding a bunch so that you can play around until you find one that you think looks the best.

So that is how you put an image in your header using the Twenty Eleven theme.  Any questions feel free to ask?

ECMP 355 Learning Project

This semester for ECMP 355 we were tasked with learning something new, and being transparent with our process and progress.  I decided to take this opportunity to learn something that I have recently been extremely interested in but have never had the drive to try.  As a little background here is what I had the opportunity to do in 2009:

My experience in Japan was incredible and while I was there I picked up a fondness for Japanese anime.  I figured anime for ‘cool’ cartoons, and was enthralled with the action, dialogue, etc.

Now before I go any further, seeing as this project is somewhat about transparency, I must confess that my fondness has become somewhat of an obsession. So much so that I have left any resemblance of ‘cool’ behind and now consider dressing up like my favorite characters not only on Halloween but on weekends when no one is around.

Despite my love for anime I am getting kind of tired of watching English subtitled versions of my favorite anime.  On top of that being able to experience Japanese culture first hand has left me with the desire to eventually make a trip back there.  To prepare for this I would like to be able to speak Japanese, if not fluently, then at a level where I do not have to rely on my charades prowess.

I am basically starting from scratch.  From my short time there I learned how to say thank you (“arigato gozaimasu”) as well as how to introduce myself informally (“watashi wa Cole desu”).  That is all that I know however, I’m extremely interested and eager to learn.

So please stay tuned as I learn Japanese.  I have currently found some introductory lessons on youtube however any other resources would be greatly appreciated.  I am going to be posting videos of my progress so feel free to comment and any input would be greatly appreciated as well.  Until next time..Sayanora.