Friday, February 26, 2010

Thanks UCET for the Twitter Session

I got to teach a great twitter session, and I really appreciate all the help.

Thanks UCET for the Twitter Session

I got to teach a great twitter session, and I really appreciate all the help.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

This video really accurately describes one of the huge risks of trying to incorporate technology in the classroom

One risk is using too little technology. Kids so often feel like they are downshifting to come into schools. They are used to such rush of information and interaction that sitting still for even 20 minutes and viewing a PowerPoint is mind numbing. Too little tech is a problem

On the other hand, too much tech is the other problem. Sometimes I see people in my line of work who try to incorporate too much at once. For example, I can give a simple instruction:
Place a Creative Commons licensed image in your PowerPoint then share the .pps on your web page.
Straightforward right, but not really. If I as an instructor don't slow down and analyze the tasks I am actually asking of a teacher/student inexperienced with technology, I may not realize the embeded/implied tasks.
Here they are:
  1. Define/understand Creative Commons
  2. Learn how to search for CreativeCommons licensed information
  3. Locate a CreativeCommons licensed image
  4. Download and save the Creative Commons Licensed image
  5. Record the necessary attribution details ie: cite your source
  6. Understand what PowerPoint is and that you can insert images
  7. Learn to insert images into PowerPoint
  8. Insert your CreativeCommons licensed image
  9. Be able to manage your files well enough to remember where you saved it and how to navigate back to and then insert your previously saved CreativeCommons licensed image
  10. Understand 'Save' options in PowerPoint and correctly save the file in the correct format
  11. Have a web page
  12. Be able to remember how to login to the web page
  13. Be able to upload files to the web page and properly host a link to the file
  14. Be able to verify that your web page is published
  15. Upload the file to the web page (see step 9)
  16. Share the URL with me as an instructor
  17. Do all this while managing classrooms of rowdy kids or juggling 7 other classes each with similar expectations
What I am getting at, is the fact that those of us who are immersed in technology are unconsciously competent. We do some things reflexively. It's like asking Michael Phelps when to breath during the crawl. He doesn't think about it. He just does it.

So the lessons:
  • Don't Confuse volume for rigor! Asking someone to do lots of things is not a substitute for them learning a few things well
  • Analyze your tasks, what is embedded. What else are they going to have to learn to do the overall task
  • Give choices! When teaching teachers or students technology, give them 10 options for projects/task and ask them to do 5. For example: insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, or video instead of insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, and video
Drinking from the fire hydrant is so impossible because it is usually either closed down tight or wide open. Lets learn to use a garden hose when teaching technology.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Online Bookmarks

This week's Tech Tip:

Store your web favorites online!

There are several sites that allow you to keep a list of your favorite websites online.  If you have ever had the frustration of knowing you favorited a website at home, but now can't get to it at work, or the other way around, it's time to consider a web based favorite or bookmark list.

3 Good ones:

Of course, UEN's own also allows you to store and share favorite websites from any internet connected computer.  Just login and add the bookmarks portlet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Building a better blog, Now with pages!

UEN Professional Development has long had classes using various Google Tools.  We have also taugh Blogger as a tool teachers can usein various classes but especally in Web Publishing for Everyone. That course has had a minor face lift and is now Web Publishing for Teachers and doesn't place as much emphasis on Blogger. Blogger has been a good tool, but Blogger had it's drawbacks, too.  The tech tip today is all about how those drawbacks are disappearing.

One of the drawbacks to Blogger for Education was the fact that many teachers want to have some static pages with information about their class, rules, guidelines, or even contact information that don't change.  Blogs by nature are very dynamic.  Just recently Blogger announced that a Blogger in Draft feature was graduating.  You can now add up to 10 pages and a new pages widget that allows your readers to visit them easily.

A second drawback was the fact that due to the public nature of blogs and their social nature many blogs contain content that is Screen shot 2010-02-09 at 6.31.20 AMat best distracting in the schools and at worst.... well they can get pretty bad.  Another way the disadvantages of Blogger and other web based blog tools is disapearing is by the continued improvements in my.uen. Utah Educators who register with a school email can now use my.uen's new blog tool to add blogs to their pages.  You can maintain different blogs for different classes and display the same blog posts on multiple pages.  The blog tool in my.uen is a great improvement to the services available for Utah Educators.  This week on Thursday at 3:30 pm MT visit to join our weekly live Webinar and Victoria Rasmussen will be teaching how to use my.uen's new Blog tool. If you miss the  live webcast, you can always check it out in our archives.

Useful links for my.uen

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Inside the Brain

Web address:

Often as educator's we talk about learning styles, brain-based learning, multiple intelligences, and various methods of understanding learning.  We understand a lot about how the human brain processes information, and how we build and maintain memories, but there is a lot more that research and science and new technology teaches us each day.  Some of what we know about how the brain works comes from studying when it doesn't work.  We learn what portions of the brain do when someone has damage to those portions.

This website sponsored by the Alzeheimers Association teaches about the different parts of the brain, interactively showing what parts of the brain are responsible for various different activities.  It is also filled with fun and intersting facts like: How much of our bodies fuel and oxygen is used by thinking.  So go check it out, and if you find the answer, leave it in the comments.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Convert Video...or almost anything else.

Web Address:

FormatFactory_iconWhen working with multimedia, one of the greatest challenges is similar to traveling in Europe.  In the United States when we go down to  the store to buy a new appliance we give almost no thought as to whether our new toaster is going to work with the electricity in our house.  The plugs were made standard a long time ago, and so was the voltage.  For years, more than many of us have been alive, electricity has been standardized in the United States.  Europe is different.  Most of Europe runs on the same voltage, but their plug shapes are or at least were different.

Multimedia files are a bit like European plugs.  All video files are video, all audio files are audio, but the plug to get them to run may be different.  Just like traveling in Europe means you have to carry adapters to use electrical devices designed for another area, using multimedia may require an adapter.

Format Factory is just such an adapter.  This multipurpose file converter will let you convert on video format to another, one audio format to another, even convert PDF documents to Word or the other way around.  It is a great general purpose tool for teachers, or students who need to get media into a format that will work.  For example, Microsoft PowerPoint will not play Quicktime movies directly in PowerPoint, but with Format Factory, you can convert the .mov files to .wmv files and PowerPoint will nicely play the Windows Media format.

Try out Format Factory for free.  If you like it then the developers appreciate Donations.

Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

Visit some of my other blogs or the other blogs I find mildly entertaining for a more polished feel.