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Showing posts from January, 2014

Site Review: Make Beliefs Comix

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Make Beliefs Comix
http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/

Who doesn't like a good comic? It was the one section of the newspaper that I would always want to read as a kid (well maybe even as an adult).

Comics meet 21st century tool.....Make Beliefs Comix!
Here are the pros:
*Free
*No login or signup required
*Relatively easy to use

Here are the cons:
*Ways to save and edit
*Some character choices






Make Beliefs Comix is relatively easy to use once you get the hang of it. Here is a quick screen cast that shows how the site works:



This is a fun site that would be a great way to connect literacy to other content areas or just promote writing. I only caution users to review the characters, items, and backgrounds as they do change periodically.

Fear and Blogging

In my favorite blog about blogging (Worms in the Fridge), Richard writes about Fear and Blogging. He asks a good and tough question, "What is your social fear?".

I'll be honest here. I have long struggled with the "publicness" of social media. It has taken me a long time to post to certain media tools (Twitter specifically). Sometimes the different tools have different "rules" and audiences and it can become to be very overwhelming. I tend to over think what I am going to post to where I end up not posting.

Richard says the following and I think that it really sums up how I feel about blogging (and really all social media).

"Putting your ideas “out there” for the world to read on your blog is can be a scary thing. Anything can happen after you hit the “post” button and release your ideas into the wild. This is what leads some of us to scale back our ideas, to not reveal everything, or to be too politically correct."
--Fear and Blogging in Lo…

Let's Play!

What do you want to play?

It is the question that is ask about a million times (maybe a slight exaggeration) by one of my girls to her sister. Sometimes it is followed by a list of chosen games/activities that said girl wants to play.

Often I am amazed at the creativity that follows during their play. Not only creativity but also there is problem solving at times, compromising, and team work. When they play well together (which doesn't happen all the time) it is fun to sit back and enjoy (or take time to blog).

I wonder about the idea of gaming in education. What does it offer in the educational setting?

I ask, because I've seen this as one of the "hot" topics in ed tech. Just this last summer at the San Antonio ISTE Conference, one of the keynote speakers was Jane McGonigal. Jane is a game designer and author of Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. She believes that "playing games is the most productive thing that we ca…

Combine Literacy and Technology

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Here are some resources to "combine literacy and technology" (taken from my Combine Literacy and Technology presentation).

1. Big Huge Labs (www.bighugelabs.com) Take your pictures and create fun projects with them. When I shared this I featured the motivational poster. If you are like my husband you might like making a "demotivator". Teachers could use this site to create a poster without the title or description and have the students come up with them! Or teachers could fill in the title and description and have the students find a fitting picture. These two options would provide a way to use the site without students being on the computer! 
2. Superlame (www.superlame.com) This is a very easy to use site that again uses your pictures. No logon required and free to use! Take a picture and add a speech or thought bubble to it.  Here is one that I made: 3. Jing (www.techsmith.com/jing.html) This is one of my top ten sites also! I LOVE this free downloaded tool fro…

The Puff of the Puffer

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The Puffer Fish....












I've been thinking about this fish lately.
          Or maybe just how we can become "puffed up".

And maybe like the puffer fish it is a defensive reaction.

We want to look tough, smart....to relate to the fish, we don't want to be gobbled up by another.
But sometimes we just need to be who we are in that moment.
The person that doesn't have all the knowledge. The person that needs to learn even.
A person that is open to instruction, correction, and dare I say failure. Maybe that is at the core of our "puff"...the protection from failure.

But sometimes it might be to protect ourselves or someone else around us.

As a parent, I know that my "spikes" come out when I feel that my child needs protection. I am even finding that those parental spikes come out with my students (even my college ones)!
Fairness. A good fighting chance to prove themselves. Seeing the potential through the roughness/imperfections. Letting go and lettin…

Site Review: Typing Club

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At my K-12 school we are preparing for a publishing project in which the 4 - 6 graders will type their written stories. In anticipation for this, I looked for a program that could "limber up their fingers". I came upon Typing Club.


Typing Club is free! You can try it out without login for a short time using the "get started" tab shown in the above screen shot. Below are two screen shots of inside the program:

I set up our school with a school edition account. As the administrator, I was able to set up both teacher and student accounts. Administrators and teachers can assign students to classes, create typing lessons, and have account control (login and password) for students. You can easily print student login instructions and I especially like that the school is assigned a school specific url for students to login (http://elyria-christian.typingclub.com). 
I think I may have to create a login for myself! I know that my students really enjoyed using it. 

Missing Spoke

Or....maybe I should say ignored spoke.

Schedule!

In the Worms in the Fridge post Identify an Audience and a Posting Schedule to Generate Blog Post Ideas that I used in "Spoke 3: The Audience", I left out the scheduling part. I'll be honest, I left it out on purpose. After all have you seen my schedule?

I have a lot of excuses. However, I am seeing that if I am going to do this right it is essential.

In my head I thought I would set a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday posting schedule. Tuesday rolled around this week...no post. My excuse? I had a conference on Wednesday and I was going to be posting about it. Problem? I didn't end up going to the conference.

I see the need for a schedule and the communication of the schedule! I need accountability!! After all have you seen my schedule? :)

Crazy schedule or not, I want grow this blog and the Facebook account connected with it. So the missing spoke of a schedule is now going to be set!

Posting Schedule: Tuesday, Thursday …

Site Review: Blabberize

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Blabberize
www.blabberize.com
A "Blabber" is a talking photo.
Quick, easy and fun describe this site!











I love this site! The only issue that I have had with the site, is the Twitter feed (noted on the photo with the yellow arrow). However, the site has disabled the feed and is no longer an issue at this time. I personally, would have students go directly to the "make" page (www.blabberize.com/make) when using this site. This would also avoid any "browsing" in the browse portion of the site that is an option from the main page. This section is where all Blabbers go that are set to public and could have something you do not what viewed.

This site is very easy to use. You choose the photo. Having a folder of photos ready for your students will help with internet safety and time management. Keep in mind the smaller the mouth on the photo the more difficult it could be when you place the mouth. Following the mouth placement (see photo), you then are able to add …

Spoked

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I have been writing the last several posts about building my wheel and I have decided that it is built! Prior to that decision, I looked up spokes on a wheel to see just how many spokes it takes to build a wheel. Here is a screenshot of that search result:
As I considered the different numbers and large amount of spokes, I began to think about the large amount of posts that would mean. How many more posts could I come up with to build this wheel? Would I start to lose people? And then I thought about a three spoked wheel...maybe any of these could be my wheel: Yes, any one of those wheels could be "my" wheel. And therefore, my wheel is done :)
What does that exactly mean for you?
I will stop talking about building my wheel and I will start to do what I have set out to do with this blog! Aren't you spoked! (yes I had to)


Spoke #3: The Audience

If you have been following along with my posts lately, you know that I am "building a wheel". The hub of the wheel is this blog. The spokes are "attaching" spoke-by-spoke in posts. So far, I have two spokes attached to the hub. The first was "My Story" and then "The Goal". Now I will attach one more: "The Audience".
Now that you know who I am (or if you do not...see this post), you know that I am passionate about technology. That passion is driving the writing of this blog. But just who is it that I am writing this blog for?
The answer....you. If you are reading this you are my audience. Maybe you are my friend and you are reading to "see what I am up to". Or you might just have stumbled on this blog through social media sharing. Whatever has brought you here, you have become my audience. Maybe it will be for one post, but my hope is that you will join in and stay for them all.
My intended audience is those who use technolog…

Spoke #2: The Goal

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As I mentioned in my previous post, "Building the Wheel", I have set a goal for my blogging. Here again is my goal:
Goal: Reach 100 subscribers by the end of 2014 Publish an average of 20 posts a monthShare publishing of postings on Facebook and Twitter Create a Facebook page to support blog Inspired by Techformers, I also developed a one-word resolution/goal for myself and created this graphic to fulfill the first challenge of the year for Techformers (using Canva).

STRETCH!
It really sums up just how to get to my blog goal as well. Stretching myself to open up and share my blog to more people. Not being content with where I am and pushing for more. Stretching my confidence in what I have to share here and that I can gain a bigger following. Stretched beyond my comfort zone.
I want to stretch myself to learn more, share more, and do more.

Spoke #1: My Story

Why should you listen to me as "I am technically speaking"? What do I know? Who am I? Do I have any expertise or authority on the matter?

This is my story....


I began my teaching career in January 1997, taking over a 2nd grade teacher needing to move with her husband's job. Fresh out of college, I moved towns (Topeka to Olathe) and began life as a teacher. Being the low woman on the teaching pole, the opening of a new school in 1999, made for a time to make decisions. I could move to the new school or look into new opportunities. Making the decision to move on, I really moved on and found a rental in McPherson (I had found a certain man living there that I was interested in). Note that I stated I found a rental....not a job. However, I was hired by Hesston Middle School to teach 6th grade during the moving process. Enjoying two years as a middle school teacher, I made the decision to leave and look into a masters. (During my years there I also married the "certain ma…

Building the Wheel

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So far I am really enjoying Richard Byrne's new blog Worms in the Fridge. As I stated in my last post, I have been inspired to use my blog and own the title. His post Spokes Without a Hub Are Just Random Sticks was the first and inspirational post that I read. Looking more deeply at his blog, I noticed a couple additional posts that I would like to mention as I begin to "build my wheel".

Creating an Online Hub About You
This post is a good starting point if you are just starting with blogging. Richard discusses choosing the right blogging platform. I have been using Blogger and want to continue to at this point (plus it's free). So my online hub is right here!

A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Dream
"Create a big goal and many smaller ones...you won't reach your goal without a plan...get something on paper and look at it daily." Challenge accepted. Using Richard's example as a start to my goal setting, this is my goal:

Goal: Reach 100 subscribers by the…

A blog by any other name...

...just wouldn't be the same!

"I'm Technically Speaking" is the name that I have given this blog. I can't imagine at this point a different name. However, I have been struggling with the intent of the posts for this blog. And honestly, I struggle with the whole writing process (where to put commas, possible spelling errors, run ons, etc. and not to mention the words to put down)!

Today I found this blog post "Spokes Without a Hub Are Just Random Sticks" by Richard Byrne. Richard is also the owner of one of my favorite sites Free Technology for Teachers. He has just started a new blog Worms in the Fridge, Lessons in Blogging Learned and Shared where I found this article.
Richard states, "Having a following on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest is nice, but cultivating your presence on those networks should be secondary to producing material for your blog. Think of your blog as the central hub for your entire online presence. Your social media profiles …