In the summer time…

when all the trees and leaves are green…it’s really hard to be stuck inside, working online. Of course, if you’re wireless, and if you have a laptop, you can always go outside and work. Ah, the joys of working from home, online!

I enjoyed a great July, visiting my dad and daughter and other relatives in Indiana. The weather was even nice, most of the time.

There was lots of hugging and baby-holding going on (I have a new grandson, born in May).

I have to admit, I miss being near my family, so we have decided to try to sell our house here in Texas and move closer to my family in Indiana.

This old house is going to take a lot of work to get ready, though, but since I work from home, I can do little things here and there, in between working for the different schools.

I have a couple projects to finish up before the fall session gets started, and then I need to get my classes ready for the first day. I always enjoy starting fresh each semester. I have lots of new, 21st century ideas to incorporate into my classes, like digital storytelling. I want to try that with my high school English classes this year.

How about you? Any good 21st century projects you’d like to share with the rest of us? We’re all in this together, so let’s share our ideas.

Well, deadlines are at hand…gotta run for now. I promise I’ll try not to be so long in between posts from now on.

Have a great one!!

Viki

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5 thoughts on “In the summer time…

  1. Vicki,
    It is great to hear that you are incorporating digital story telling in your English class this year. I just became familiar with digital story telling about a week or so ago and I must say that the concept is absolutely amazing! One 21st century project that I am working on incorporating this school year is “learning while mobile.” Do not get this confused with mobile learning. Mobile learning has been part of education for about a decade, and is usually defined as learning with a mobile device such as a laptop computer. Mobile learning is the type of learning our students take part in on a daily basis. But “learning while mobile” or to learn while mobile has a totally different meaning. Learning while mobile takes into consideration aspects of mobile learning such as mobility of the technology and the learner, but it goes a step further by looking at the constant mobility of knowledge and our society. It recognizes that learning is personalized, learner-centered, situation in time and space, collaborative, and lifelong. Learning while mobile sees learning as happening across contexts, people, and digital tools that are both mobile and static. It focuses not on learners and technologies, but on the interactions between them, emphasizing that learning is a social process. The two most important aspects of “learning while mobile” are conversation and context. Conversation does not just mean the exchange of knowledge, words and thoughts, but also the ability of learners to talk about what they know and come to understand what their learning partners know. Instead of students attacking online education from a workspace at home, they can attack online education while they are on the go. Students will have the ability to not just sit behind a computer, read and answer questions. Students will be able to upload photos, quotes, and their thoughts and feelings as they experience new learning situations throughout their lives. An example of this would be a student who attends the local museum over the weekend. They see an artifact that interests them. They take a picture on their iPhone or other mobile device, and upload this to their Facebook, Twitter, or other application in which students in the class follow. With this picture the student can write a small comment about what the picture is or what it represents. Other students who may be traveling that weekend for a specific reason can learn from this picture and comment and also post comments in return while they are in their car. This small example just shows that learning can occur anywhere and with the latest advancements in technology, “learning while mobile” will only become more popular.

  2. Digital storytelling is a wonderful project, Viki! I was just introduced to new concepts and software for it, including a digital popup book from ZooBurst (http://www.zooburst.com/). They’re so cute! I also teach high school English, specifically Technical Writing and Creative Writing, so one project I had my students take part for Technical Writing was creating a user manual for new and returning students to our school. Prior to last year, we didn’t have an official guide for students to learn the ins and outs of software, so we had hoped to put it together with a format that would work to offer school wide. It was a HUGE task, unfortunately, and much more than we could accomplish in the single semester allotted to us, but the documents the students created were really amazing! I liked most that the students got to create instructions and guidelines independently and collaboratively that were meaningful to them and technologically oriented. They had the opportunity to share their expertise, which they found valuable, and it really reminded me of the importance of being able to apply one’s learning to real world situations. When we first covered short instructions, I gave them the opportunity to teach the class anything meaningful to them, which was neat, and their instructions were good, but when I put them to task to create an entire manual comprised of short instructions for software like Elluminate, AT&T Connect (we were in the process of using both at school for our instructional platform), Blackboard, and EdMastery, their work was even more exemplary! I even had students willing to step up and become the organizing editors to review the documents and make all the individually created documents into one document.Honestly, I found that the major breakdown in the project was MY lack of preparedness – it was my first time teaching Technical Writing, and the project came about on a whim. It was definitely something I needed to take the time to think through and plan over the summer, I think, in order to complete the project more smoothly. In the future, particularly given the easy access to collaborative writing online, I think I can make this project work as I had originally planned – that is, in between home projects like you mentioned! I know you posted this quite a while ago, but if you’re still reading, I hope all is well and that you are living it up in Indiana!

  3. I really appreciate your piece on online teaching. It was very visual. I could see the trees you wrote about. Unfortunately, I’ve yet to experience teaching online; although, I do tutor virtually. So far it has been a good experience, especially when my student and I can dig deeper into topics that we are studying via the web. But I do remember getting ready for the new school year when I was teaching. It meant a new beginning for both teachers and students alike. That was good time preparing for the new school year with my fellow teachers. I have just been introduced to digital storytelling. I wonder how often it is used in brick and mortar schools outside of computer classes. I think it would be useful tool if the technology were available. In online education, I believe it would definitely engage students. At any rate, I jsut want to post a comment regarding your topic. Thanks.

  4. Vicki,

    Congratulations on your new grandson. I am sure he is getting big by now. I recently learned how to make a Digital Story and am incorporating into my classes. What a great tool to keep students interested and involved. I have just started blogging (this is my second time) and am very excited about using it in my class room. I find that students always want to share their work and although I love allowing them to do so, it certainly takes up much class time. I am going to familiarize myself better with blogs and then create one for my classroom. I am excited because I think it is exactly what students are looking for…a way to share and get positive feedback from their peers. I believe this will not only improve writing and communication skills but if monitored closely it may also help build self-esteem.

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