Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Final & Summative Blog Post

Excitement. Panic. Relief. Sadness. Disbelief. 
The end of the semester is here which means my final year as an Education Student is just a few days from being over. Ah! Where did the time go? It seems like yesterday I was enrolled in my first technology course with Mike and here I am almost finished my second!

I remember on that first day of Internet for Educators being so uncertain, sceptical and in a small way upset that I had to take a technology course. Now after taking that course and the ICT course this year, I am glad that I did. My view of technology has changed drastically and so has my attitude towards it.

I find myself using technology more and for things that I never thought I would! For example it is my Dad's 50th birthday in a few days. The big 5.0. When trying to think of an appropriate gift to get him, I was at a loss. Nothing that I thought of was good enough, grand enough, or in my price range haha. After all of the digital storytelling and multimedia presentations we made this semester it occurred to me that the perfect gift was right in front of me. So I, with the help of my sister, started going through and scanning photographs of our Dad's important/memorable life events. After that I decided to turn it into a type of letter thanking him for everything he has done for our family in the last 50 years and had a sequence of pictures to follow/further emphasize the specific thank you note. After I had added music and finalized it, I was actually really impressed with the result! I was so excited to show it to him... so naturally I wasted no time and I showed my Dad his video right away! His response? "You're going to send me a copy of this right?" PERFECT! I had done it. I found the perfect 50th birthday gift through an Education technology course, who knew?

I never thought I would say it, but I am grateful for the technology courses that I have taken. I feel more prepared and confident entering the real-world of teaching. Really, my thanks and praise goes out to one individual in particular.... my professor Mike. Without his patience and expertise I wouldn't be where I am today. Thank you Mike!

As I start wrapping up this final blog post I encourage everyone out there to start learning more about technology and to start experimenting! You never know what you might find!

As this is my final blog post, there won't be any "Until next time..."s. Thank you for reading and I wish you all luck with your own adventures with technology. With that being said...

Wish me luck!... JD


On February 20th, we had the pleasure of having John Evans present in class about Maple. John is a Maple administrator and Web Technologies Consultant for Brandon Education. So what exactly is Maple? Maple is a social network for Manitoba teachers and education professionals to exchange ideas, offer and receive support. If you are a Manitoba teacher and want to sign up for it here is the link!

John frequently shares all sorts of resources and link to sharing posts on his website and also shares resources on Maple for educators to use in the classroom.

Maple has a lot of different features. It includes a dashboard for access to fast up-to-date information and updates, including links to PDs/conferences. It is available for Manitoba teachers to search and sign up for workshops. The hope is that Maple will become the primary way to sign up for PDs and workshops in the future. There is also a large library which can be used to store/save what you want and to search through a collection of lesson plans/ideas. I love this feature! Through the library you can search and find books for personal or classroom use. To add to the awesomeness of Maple, it also includes all curriculum resources on their wikis.

Perhaps the strongest part of Maple is the groups. Groups are made for curriculum consultants, administrators, and subjects/topics. There are a diverse number of resources and to take full advantage of a group is to join it. There are 3 levels of groups. The first level is "Open" where any Maple user can join, participate in discussions, share resources/lessons/videos and find information easier than using Google. The second level needs a request for membership where an administrator will accept or deny request. This group contains the same features as an open group does, but it is more exclusive and private. The third type of group is a "Closed" group. Most closed groups are invisible to regular Maple users and the only way to gain access is to be invited to the group.

It is safe to say I recommend Maple to any and every Manitoba educator. All of the pages included are advantageous and created for your use. One benefit that John shared with us that should is quite appealing is that it is available 24/7. So my question for you is, why not use and get connected with Maple? - rhetorical question :)

Until my next post... JD

Sunday, February 23, 2014

One Sentence Stories and Web Literacy

One Sentence Story
In class we have learned about a lot of different types of digital stories and multimedia presentations. This next one is called a One Sentence Story which is essentially an entire story told in one sentence. Each individual slide has one word or a small part of the story and the pictures on the slide should represent what is said. Here is a link to how One Sentence Stories can be used in the classroom.

Different programs that you can use to create a One Sentence Story with are: animoto, powerpoint, photopeach, sonicpics (app), or haikudeck (available on web or as an app). For the purpose of this assignment I used haikudeck. I started by making an account, picking a theme, adding text, and then I added images. A nice feature with haikudeck is that you can search for images on the program and it searches through creative commons, so it automatically includes the image url. Since I could not think of a story to tell, I instead chose to take a quote and make that into a story. It was hard finding images that related to just one word, but I tried my best! Here it is:

We from joseyd91

Web Literacy Quiz
Our professor Mike also provided us with web literacy quiz to take so we could see how much we knew about web literacy. There were 13 questions and you could fall into 1 of 3 categories based on what you could answer ("Somewhat Savvy" 0-5 points, "Moderatley Savvy" 6-10 points, or "Downright Nerdy" 10+ points). Soooo, I took the quiz expecting to do good based on the amount of internet courses I have taken and the results were a little depressing! I recommend everyone to take the quiz, it will make you realize how much there is to learn about the web!

Until next time... JD

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Digital Story Experience

Looking for a quality program to use to make a digital story? Well I have just what you are looking for... in fact I have two!

Photostory 3
This program is only available for Windows. You can download it for free on the Microsoft site, it is really quick! This program is very simple to use, it has an easy to follow step-by-step process. First step is to import pictures from your computer, can put them in order and edit them. Then you can add titles/captions to whatever pictures you want. You can even record narration if you want, a voice recorder is included in the program. After you can set timings and can add music. Careful about copy right! To avoid copyright you can either create your own (if you got the voice or instruments to do so) or Photostory3 has pre-made music that can be used. Save story as a .wmv file and it's ready to go! It was really easy to use and turned out to be pretty decent! Check it out:

Want a digital story that looks more polished and is even easier to use? Animoto is an online video creator with a free and upgraded (costs money) accounts. The free version only allows you to make a 30 second video whereas if you get an upgraded account (only $5/month or $36/year) you are able to make longer and more polished ones. There are different packages available, for example they have an education package that can possibly be used for classroom use.

To start making a video click "Create" then pick a template. Animoto includes pre-made templates and obviously the fancier ones usually cost money and the basic ones are free with the free account. Then the video creator page comes up, where you can add pictures (either your own or Animoto includes some that are available to use). When I made my Animoto video I used my own videos and downloaded some from Compfight.
 Compfight: an image search engine tailored to efficiently locate images for blogs, comps, inspiration, and research. We make good use of the flickr™ API, but aren't affiliated with flickr.
Then I edited those photos (to include photo credits) with Pixlr, which is an online photo editor. Remember, be careful of copyright! So if you use a photo that is not your own, add and include the photo credit. After the photos are added on Animoto you can add text. Now when I tried to do this, I wasn't able to include as many slides because the added text added extra time to my video (only allowed 30 seconds). So what I did is when I edited in Pixlr I also added text. Upside, I was able to include more pictures. Downside, I couldn't change the timing of the slides in Animoto so there is barely enough time to read the words. Animoto also has pre-loaded music to use and with copyright issues again I would suggest not using music that was downloaded (hopefully legally) off of iTunes. After the video is done preview it, create it and then can embed it to include it in say a blog :) The other nice thing about Animoto that it includes how schools/classes are using the program. Check out my Animoto video here:

I had a lot of fun creating my digital stories! I ended up sharing them with my family and they really enjoyed them too! This is just evidence that digital storytelling is not just used for reading a story book. It can be a lot more and create some powerful messages/videos!

Until next time... JD

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Mulitmedia & Digital Storytelling

What is Multimedia?
It is a way of displaying information with the use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way (webopedia). One example of multimedia would be combining a website with video, audio, or text images. Another way? Digital Storytelling!

Digital Storytelling
Oh the power of storytelling! As we all know storytelling is when people can share their experiences and can create a more powerful learning experience. Digital storytelling is not much different from this. It is a craft that uses the tools of digital technology to tell stories about our lives and if done properly, it can be a powerful, evocative, and emotional way of communicating themes and stories (techsoup).

Here are a few ways/programs that you can make your own digital storytelling with:
·         slideshows (powerpoint, keynote, sliderocket, photostory)
·         digital pictures (paint.net, photoshop, gimp, iPhoto)
·         animation
·         video (iMovie, moviemakes, animoto, stupeflix)
·         digital books
·         audio (audacity, garageband)
·         podcasts
·         other (SMARTnotebook, prezi, blabberize, storybird, comic life, xtranormal)

Here are some tips (provided by my ICT professor) to creating an effective and "good" digital story:
·         don't use all the bells and whistles, unless they have a purpose
·         use legible fonts, sizes and keep amount of text low
·         watch clashing colours
·         be consistent
·         don't overdo the bullets
·         smooth transitions
·         video: have slow movements, don't zoom in/out too much and use a tripod
·         sound: watch volume
·         sound quality: use a microphone
One word of caution when creating digital stories... beware of copyright! This applies to both sound (music) and images. Two great ideas (that my professor shared) to avoid copyright issues is to, 1: use your own/create your own pictures and music or 2: use the pre-downloaded stuff on the multimedia programs.

Creating a digital story can be a fun experience and can create a great product! You can tell a simple beautiful story, be clever, be funny or be creative while using a combination of audio, images and techniques. Need help getting started? Here are some examples of digital stories4 inspiring examples of digital storytelling, and educational uses of digital storytelling

The sky is the limit, have fun! Next time I'll share my experience creating my own digital story!

Until next time... JD

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Teacher's Class Websites

One of our "Tech Tasks" in the ICT course I'm enrolled in is to create a  classroom website, or as my professor likes to call it, a "web presence & communication hub for your classroom." My first reaction, as per usual, was panic. I have never made a website in my life, let alone one that needs to look professional. How do I create it? What do you put on it? How am I going to use it? What do administrators expect to see on it? 

My professor Mike offered us this link and it is an interesting read: TEN reasons why teachers should have a web site!

So... after many hours of headaches, editing, re-editing, deleting, etc. I have finally created my first website! If you would like to check it out HERE IT IS. Now the creation process was a bit difficult because as a pre-service teacher, I do not have a classroom to design it for. So, I decided to create the website to present what my future classroom might look like. It still needs some work and it is, very basic, however I think that I have included the essentials.

Like I always do when starting a new assignment, I first use the most important internet tool of all... Google. I always ask Mr. Google "How do I _____?" and shockingly he always answers. Here are 3 links that I found useful when creating my website:

Take a look at my website, tell me what you think and if you have any suggestions for me! Also feel free to share your own experiences and uses of websites because I'm interested in finding out how others do it.

Until next time... JD

Sunday, January 26, 2014


Electronic or Paper?.... or both?

This is one of the biggest questions/concerns that pre-service teachers have are about their portfolios. When going to an interview what exactly do administrators want or even look at? The whole point is to come out of that interview with a potential job and sometimes the portfolio can be the make or break. So what do you bring? Should you have both prepared or is it just a waste of time to make them both?

For the purpose of this course we are of course required to create an online portfolio. We looked at a couple of examples in class and naturally looked amazing! However, I've never made one before, so where do you start? What do you use to make one? What do I include? What should it look like? And the questions go on and on. Right now I don't have all the answers, but hopefully after his course I will have created a decent e-Portfolio!!

Wish me luck in creating my portfolios as I also prepare for finding a job! In the mean time I've included some links that may or may not help you out as well!

"Great Tips and Tools to Create Digital E-Portfolios": Click Here. The great thing about this site is that it also includes ways to use portfolios in your classroom!

A website of weekly tips and detailed advice to creating online portfolios Click Here . The advice varies week to week, but it answers most questions you (or I) may have!

Let me know if you have any other tips or suggestions for creating online porfolios!

Until next time... JD