Monday, May 2, 2011

The Home Stretch Reflection

For the next five minutes, you need to sit down, be quiet and read. You won’t have to read for long because in this reflection I will not be listing the new tricks I have learned to keep kids quiet or explaining how to skirt around the tough questions. Instead, I am going to share a brief synopsis of how my perspective has shifted from wanting to change lives to knowing how I will measure my success as a result of participating in my field experience with Ms. Ansliegh Answers at Saint Elmo Elementary.
Before participating at Saint Elmo, I spent a considerable amount of time in two other fourth grade classrooms at Forrest Hill Elementary and Elberta Middle School. Although these classes were different in regards to geography, race, and socioeconomics, they all led me to one question: how does respect effect the climate of the classroom? Every teacher has a different gauge for the respect that they demand and a different mode of demanding it. By comparing my own teacher workshop behavior with the students’ classroom behavior, I have learned that the only difference is that when adults talk out of turn, no one gets yelled at. This semester, I practiced giving my students the respect they deserve by rewarding them with small song and chit-chat moments, talking to them one-to-one about better decision making, and praising them publicly as an example for their classmates.
I quickly learned that respect isn’t enough, and it certainly is not lasting if it is not paired with confidence. Learning how to teach confidence was a painful process for me. I was developing elaborate lesson plans that were meant to generate new ideas, convey new knowledge, and inter-connect the subject matter. I learned quickly that complex lessons are actually thematic units, and they should be taught in digestible blocks. My pace was fast and defeating-- for them and me. Since then, I have learned a few techniques to help build confidence. Sometimes all it takes is passing out tests one page at a time, sometimes it means using three periods to cover the complex lesson, and other times it just comes down to assessing what the student struggles with and helping them to improve one aspect of their learning at a time.
My last lesson is the one I have yet to find a solution to, but believe to be the most significant. How does one teach another to love? Day in and day out, I witness racism, name-calling, as well as physical and verbal aggressions. How can we teach these kids the power behind their words and actions? How do we transform this ugliness into colorblind relationships, supportive comments, positive laughter, and pats-on-the-back? I am not expecting a perfect classroom, but I do want to know how to shape my own class experience into one that takes advantage of opportunities to learn and practice love.
These three lessons: respect, confidence, and love are the ones that I believe will ensure a strong foundation for academic excellence. This semester has been a good start, but my learning journey is by no means over. I plan to continue seeking out other model educators who share and practice the values I believe in, implementing strategies to improve my weaknesses, and remembering that mistakes are opportunities for growth. No matter how many standardized tests my students ace or how many science experiments go awry, I will measure my success at the end of each day by asking myself, Do my students know more about respect, confidence, and love for themselves and those around them than they did yesterday?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A Response to Shaun Johnson of the Huffington Post

I read this post, about Teach for America in contrast to "Run of the Mill" educators as a result of @wmchamberlain tweeting his response. My comments about it are below. Please read the article and tell me what you think-- especially if you are a corps member, have ever been one, or hope to be one.

What is the purpose of this article? I don't mean to be rude, but I think that in order for me to understand why this is written, I need to read the specific "prevailin g educationa l reforms" you cited in your first line.

Without that first line, it sounds like this is intended to gain sympathy for "run of the mill" educators by criticizing the obviously effective work of TFA educators ( I don't mean to say that all "run of the mill" educators are ineffective. In fact, I am just now doing my teaching service hours now, and I hope to become an effective teacher "the old fashion way", but I do think that if our universities had the admissions criteria (or anything close to it) that TFA has, our education system would be in a better place before the "briefer trainings in pedagogy" even began.

I have read your pulled quotes several times now, and the first one (about the revolving door) is the only one that carries any water.

Higher degrees mean more training-- everything after "higher degrees" is a fallacy.

Expensive colleges mean more competitive admissions criteria (ideally). AND you only teach a group of students for one year. The idea that you can't make an enormous difference in that year is demeaning to our entire profession.

The last quote is just embarrassing. If we are trying to rally more support and positive opinion about our profession, why would we launch attacks at another branch of it, especially when the branch that we are attacking are leaving measurable tracks of success.

Finally, I want to address your closing statement:

"I won't join in valorizing corps members at the expense of dedicated educators who plan to make a career out of teaching."

Why is "valorizing" TFA in conflict with "run of the mill" educators?

Shaun Johnson's response:

"You are delusional if you believe that TFA candidates are not exempt from scrutiny in many cases. Additional ly, even though my last quote is sort of tongue in cheek, my students have every right to be outraged. They are working their tails off now, who may be one day teaching shoulder to shoulder with those who received training in a summer workshop."

My response:

I am not arguing that TFA candidates are able to side step criticism, I am arguing that they are not doing it magically. I mean to say that they are escaping scrutiny because they are effective. They deserve the recognition they receive. I don't think we are doing our profession a service by slamming one field of educators just because no one else seems to be doing so. Why aren't we helping to shine the spotlight on others' successes and learn from them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

We've built friendly UFO's

"It's not an alien invasion. They're not coming from Mars to displace us. We're creating them to make ourselves smarter."

ufo and woman

"Yes the computer may be able to defeat the humans in this game, as long as you don't have to explain the answer given. The computer does not understand why it answered the question the way it did." Comment on the video thread from Hollycow. I think this comment is what makes us superior to our creations. We are the creative powers, we elect what to build, to change, to eliminate. Those who fear the computer invasion are those who have limited the value of creativity. These people are everywhere. They are controlling our school systems, our government, and our media.

Today, I attended a workshop about the TALENTS teaching method. The main prompts they encourage us [upcoming teachers] to use is "many varied, different, and unusual (but not gross) ideas" regarding student production. Finally, our school systems are sharing the tools to fight the corruption of uniformity. For a while-- it took over everything, from our cafeteria food choices, to kids clothes, to worksheets, and so on... But now we as educators can encourage each other to promote unique, original, and purposeful ideas.

Let's use the tools that we have created to help us correct our derailed system of learning-- let us use computers and other technologies to inspire and equip our students with ideas that will help bring peace, productivity and advancement to our communities.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Dancing and Singing Club

Today as I walked between the rows of my students' desks while they were working, I noticed Vaunia writing names down in a column titled, "Club Members". Vaunia is a 10 year old early bloomer. She is smart, obedient, and most noticeably, she is about a head taller than all of her peers. Vaunia is always doodling, reading goosebumps, and waving her hand in the air with an answer ready to be spewed. Unfortunately, because of her natural leader tendency and her size difference, every behavior mishap is overt. So I saw this as a golden opportunity to groom her leadership skills-- I didn't know what I was signing up for. When the students were finished with their assignment, I stuck a post-it note on her desk with a few questions about the purpose of their club. I told her to be ready to answer my questions by lunch. She was more than willing.

At lunch today, Vaunia and a group of about 6 other girls eagerly shared every aspiration they had for their, "Singing and Dancing Club". A few of them said they joined because they are preparing for American Idol. Others just liked being able to sing and dance when they had free play during P.E.

They must have seen my wheels turning because before I could ask them how they could develop their club more (and provide more opportunity for Vauni to become the leader she is bred to be), Jamie asked, "Mr. Capps, will you help us make a video singing and dancing like the one you made with Malaysia?"

And so it continues...

Now I have to wheel and deal with Ms. P to let me steal these kids for 30 minutes each Friday for rehearsals. The first thing on the agenda is showing them PS22 Choir. This is just one of many seeds I intend to plant to motivate MCPSS to allow us to publish these kids to the web and grant them the recognition they deserve.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Special Recognition

This semester, I have decided to highlight a new EDM310 student blog each week. I believe it is time to really start encouraging y'all to make this learning experience YOURS by personalizing your journey and contributing to all of ours in the same stroke.

This week, I want to give a special thank you to Brandon M. Caten for his investment into his blog. I have learned so much about a wide variety of things. Not only has he shared meaningful responses to the required posts, but he has also exposed his online audience to themes of equality, political engagement, and student life involvement around campus.

It's only week three of school, and Brandon bravely posted a video testimony of a high school student's powerful coming out experience to his blog for all of us to witness the power of one young person's voice. It has inspired me because I too just recently came out online in conjunction with the "It Get's Better" movement for struggling gay teens. This young lady displayed a courage unmatched by most. Please take the time to view and share her pivotal moment of empowerment by clicking here.

Brandon's contribution to the EDM310 experience didn't stop there. He has also posted a call to action in support of the National Endowment of the Arts legislation that is currently running its course through congress. As future educators should recognize the power of the arts in their ability to help us appreciate talent, unite communities, and promote individual expression. We should also realize that testing has all but completely pushed aside arts in the school systems. In Mobile County, students get to participate in art class 5 times a year, and music only five times as well. That is roughly once a month for half a year each. How is this enough to teach our kids the significance of art in our lives as adults? What kind of framework are we building if students think that cramming for tests 90 percent of the time is more important than self discovery and expression through the arts? If we can't enjoy arts in the schools, take up Brandon's call to action and spend 3 minutes filling out this electronic form to let your voice be heard by our legislators. For the survival of creativity, click here to participate.

Just when you thought this future music teacher and life-changer, Brandon, couldn't possibly have time to add one more thing to our learning experience in a week, HE DID! Brandon found a way for you to enjoy yourself locally and simultaneously support our Jaguar Talents by attending the show choir performance (which Brandon is responsible for founding and directing) on Monday, February 7 at 7:00 pm. See his page for me details by clicking here.

Once again, thank you Brandon for all the time that you have invested into your own, and our educational experience. I look forward to seeing more great work from you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Effective and Ineffective Elementary Teachers

Thank you Jamie Lynn and Corey for the interview, and Dr. Giles for the topic.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Allure of the "Traditional Approach"

In Carey's post, she states that in Utah, online classes weren't cutting it. Here at South, neither are traditional classes. What is lacking in these situations? Stephen and I come to some conclusions in the video below. Please feel free to check it out, and more importantly, join in on the conversation! How can you relate to Carey? Is reverting to what's comfortable the best solution? How can we improve online-class or in-class experiences? HELP US SOLVE THE MYSTERY!

Check out Carey's Blog by clicking here!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mini Reflection

This is a result for a reflective rant drawing from my experiences with EDM310 during the summer course and the last couple weeks of Fall.

From working for Dr. Strange with EDM 310 students, I have learned couple valuable lessons about myself which relate to your comment. The first is this-- I enjoy the struggle to find new information most days. I have not always been that way, but I am now. Many students do not know what it means to be confident in their struggle. It is important to let them DISCOVER the value in the battle to find an answer/solution/reason to their problem. You said that you to appreciate learning things by "doing research for yourself"-- I wonder how many people in EDM would honestly agree.

The second thing I have learned, is that it IS A CHALLENGE, not to just do something for a student in need. After you have explained something five times-- its easy to kneel down, go through the motions in 2.5 minutes and say, "okay, now you try." Instead, I should begin by asking, "what have you tried so far? Why hasn't it worked? What are you going to try next?"

This little reflection has set me on a mission to evolve, I hope you're ready for the change!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Beyond the content...

Before the content within a blog, there is layout. I think these two related blogs have lot to say before you even begin to read the incredible posts. Check out the layout, and see how blog formats like these could enhance your viewers navigational experience through your materials.

Social Voice

Spencer's Scratch Pad

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Just in case you didn't see it elsewhere...

Check out Mr. Brian Crosby breaking expectations...

By the way... Does anyone know why this video is longer than 10 minutes?

Thank You

This post is a special thank you to Mr. Chamberlain and Dr. Strange (and their families) for being so supportive and encouraging throughout my educational and now, career experience. I am a proud and grateful recipient of the Hadley Herrington Strange Scholarship and the William Chamberlain Award. Both of your helping hands have been inspiration enough for me to WANT to do and learn more, and your financial support certainly plays a large role in making that my WANT to's easier to DO. Thanks again Doc and Mr. Bill.

Also, thank you EDM 310 students of Summer 2010 for helping me make them think I was necessary. Y'all did a PHENOMENAL job this summer. Some of the work you produced has completely altered my ideas of expectations and feasibility. I can't tell you how many times I have forwarded links to my family (and a few friends who will tolerate it) to brag on y'all. Don't let your journey end with this semester, keep up the good work indefinitely!)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Finding Your Motivation

I have heard time and time again how insightful your class has been this summer. EDM310 is growing and producing faster and more boldly than ever before. Some of you are using the tools y'all have learned about in your professional lives, some of you are already teaching these tools to schools and teachers out of the state, some of you are researching tools that we have yet to explore as a class, and others of you are making masterpiece productions of your assignments. Congratulations to you all. It is amazing to see the team work effort between y'all as a class.

Now I ask you all this: Why? Why are you so motivated? Why are you excelling so profoundly? Why is it harder for others of you to keep up? What have you noticed about the habits of classmates that are struggling? What have you noticed about the strategies of classroom bar-setters?

These are a few questions that fall under the umbrella of a little research I am doing on educational motivation. Any answers or comments y'all have will go a LONG way in helping me draw some meaningful conclusions.

Here's a little quote by Sir Ken Robinson that was published to CNN that got me thinking...

"Facilitating learning is like gardening. You cannot make a plant grow. It grows itself. What gardeners know is that there are certain conditions under which that will happen, and if the conditions aren't right-- nothing will grow. If the conditions are good everything grows. Great teachers know that. Their job is to create the conditions under which people will grow. Those conditions include: understanding the nature of talent and motivation, the need to feed people's spirits and energies." Sir Ken Robinson

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Life in Perspective

This morning I walked into the lab to be greeted by Steven and Dr. Strange. As I was preparing for my day, Dr. Strange coolly says, "Where should I begin? I have 7,000 emails to read." I thought I would share this with you guys because before this morning, I used to complain about the now, seemingly minimal junk mail that the Jaguar system sends me-- I now have a new appreciation for my 10-20 emails I am responsible for reading each day.

Before the invention of Email:

And after his great influx emails:

I hope y'all have a good day full of gratitude!

P.s. Follow the source tag on the young Dr. Strange picture to get a glimpse into his roots.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Reflecting on Reflections...

This week, I was afforded an awesome opportunity to gain some insight. Two students asked me to film their Smartboard presentation and I was happy and eager to do so because these two ladies always have such an uplifting, giggly persona about them. At the end of the filming process, as I was about to take my leave, one of them asked for feedback. Knowing that Student A would appreciate honesty and frankness, I responded rather bluntly to her question, "Was it good?". I bluntly said, "no". First lesson learned...

1.) Know your audience and always consider everyone in the room. Although Student A could appreciate and possibly prefer the brutal honesty, I could tell by the expression on Student B's face that she needed a little more "constructive" in my criticism.

After I said no, I asked them if they could tell me why I might say that. I then asked them to think about the purpose of the video, which was to demonstrate how the Smartboard can enhance the learning experience. We decided that although their presentation was full of good content, it poorly met the project objective because they make use of Smartboard potential.

We continued to discuss what the project was lacking, which lead me to my next thought... Why? They informed me that they spent a fair amount of time looking for lessons and eventually settled for the one they created. They concluded that although Smartboards are great for certain subjects with young elementary students-- it was not effective as a tool for more mature minds. Having heard their thoughts, I shared what their presentation did demonstrate: Smartboards are not practical tools for upper level learning environments. Mistake number 2...

2.) When encouraging the reflection process, trim back the conclusions and encourage students to come up with their own restored purpose. I suggested that they add a reflection piece to their presentation and publish it as an argument as to why they feel Smartboards are ineffective for their area of study. If I had pushed them to trouble shoot more independently-- who knows what they would have come up with-- they may have even decided giving Smartboards another shot was easier than spinning their flop into a valuable production.

So now that I have written down my own reflection about this experience, I am left wondering, "How could I have directed them towards reflection without leading them to the product that I have in mind?" I don't want to lead them to my vision because theirs might be more creative, and WILL definitely offer insight into their own minds and capabilities. What do you think?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Today in EDM...

I learned the the iPhone 4 weighs approximately 137 grams, which is equivalent to about 3 tasty chicken eggs. The iPhone 3GS is a whopping 8 grams heavier, which is about the size of one brown spotted turquoise quail egg. So next time you cook up breakfast, let your mind wander to the wonderful world of Apple.

Also, Google recognized Ms. Frida Kahlo for her artistic contribution to Mexican culture with her surrealist paintings. Enjoy her lovely ladies and their unibrows!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Gina Teaches My Sister Wordle

Yesterday, I brought my 13 year old sister Christina into class with me. In an effort to make use of a good opportunity for someone to teach what they have learned, I recruited Gina to choose what she wanted to teach AND teach it. I think choosing was the hardest part.

Gina did a great job teaching and taught me and Jamie Lynn a few things we had forgotten along the way. In every experience these is always something to learn. I had no expectation to learn the big lessons that I learned yesterday.

1.) The hardest part of teaching is finding a means to motivate. I think the easiest solution is to be enthusiastic-- make it known that you LOVE what you have to share. As far as I can tell, this is the only way to motivate unless you know something about your students. Which leads me to my second point...

2.) Be attentive. Paying attention to everything your students reveal about themselves can help make their experience relevant to their lives-- yet another means for motivating. Knowing your students will also help you gauge what kind of direction you should provide.

3.) Direction and instruction ARE different. Direction means developing goals and providing the tools necessary for your students to discover resources and paths to achieve them.
--Instruction is a step by step process with little room for creativity and lots of room for error. With that said, limit instruction and INCREASE DIRECTION!

The last and (I hope to be the most lasting) lesson I have learned is that learning can happen from any source and so can teaching-- age and experience are merely secondary factors in regards to learning exchanges.

Thank you Gina and Christina for the lesson, and of course, Jamie Lynn your presence made it that much more fun.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

You can lead 'em to water, but you can't stop 'em from peein' in it-- Barry Gartman

Here's proof that y'all didn't pee in the drinking water-- below is a compilation of the best resources that I have found by fishing through the EDM pool of knowledge. You might explore a few and add it to your PLE (personal learning environment).


Resources from Mrs. McGeady Helps elementary teachers integrate technology into the classroom.

Five Card Story gives you five random pictures that serve as prompts for student created storylines.

Smories is a movie database of stories that have been created by Five Card Draw prompts.

Brainstorm online-- it's not as easy as it could be, but you can embed it, edit it, and print it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Glogster: Check it OUT!

Imagine what you could do with this production tool. Say goodbye to trifold English reports, Science projects, and History displays and say HELLO to glogger. Here is one that I created as an example from my trip to Colorado earlier this summer.

Be sure to also check out Glogster EDU where you can see great examples of students work!

Sara's Findings on SMARTboards

Sara Hendrix wrote a post about SMARTboards that like the rest of EDM310, summarized the posts that Dr. Strange linked you to: Why Smart Boards Are a Dumb Initiative and Why I Hate Interactive Whiteboards. However, she discovered a GREAT site for teachers who want to learn the positives of SMARTboards and how you can use them called Teachers Love SMARTboards and linked us to a blog post about SMARTboards and the Tips-and-Tricks Phenomenon. Here she, and later I, watched a slideshow with all kinds of "Tip-and Tricks" as shown below.

I am still not wholly convinced that SMARTboards are the best investment for our education tax dollars, but since so many of the classrooms that we will be teaching in are going to have them... I am thrilled to have this slideshow filled with all sorts of information and inspiration. Check it out!

A Great Kick Off for Creating Your PLN!

How to get started with your PLN:

Leave comments on teachers, and students blogs. If you find them particularly interesting look them up, read what they have to say, and contact them using these sites:

Twitter, RSS Feeds, Blogging, Podcasts, Classmates, Teachers, Email, Youtube, Delicious, Evernote, Glogster, and Skype

Never be afraid to google a topic, which may lead you to a site, classroom, or person that you can add to your PLN.

Watch this Youtube video made by a 7th grader in Wendy Drexler's class. She calls her has a PLE (Personal Learning Environment), which not only encompasses the people in her PLN, but also research and production resources.

*I recommend watching it in full screen so you don't miss out on the details!

Here are some great resources for finding teachers to follow...


Larry Ferlazzo EduBlog

Beth Still EduBlog

Connected Teachers on Google Docs

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Instructions for Assignment 6 Number 2

Disregard the email that I sent about the podcast assignment. These are the instructions that have been confirmed by Dr. Strange. Because the media world is leaning towards youtube, versus iTunes podcasts (very debate-able, Dr. Strange wants you to create a collaborative movie on one of the topics listed in the Spreadsheet that he shared with you. Sign up, you MUST do this with at least one partner-- It can be informative, debate format, interview format, etc. As long as it is collaborative, you are in the clear. You can even create your movies separately, combine them into one production and publish to your blog (If you do this, keep in mind that they should sound like ONE project with ONE goal).

The assignment IS DUE BY SUNDAY JUNE 20, however, this date is very flexible so do not panic. Find a partner, get together when you can-- brainstorm your topic, develop a script/storyline, produce, and publish. Remember, the purpose of this assignment is to give you further practice with producing and publishing movies. Be creative with your topic and production style, and be excited about the opportunity to learn! I promise it will help you feel less overwhelmed.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Stephen Teaches Response Summary Image Link

A link to the written instructions that will get you through the first part of this video can be found by clicking here.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Assignment 5

I will learn more about the expectations of Assignment Five found on page 11 of your instruction manual and add the information to this post. For now, here is an example of one way you can make a video. Dillon Rogers from EDM 310 Fall of 2009 made a video for Kaia, whom you will learn about this semester as well.

I know I have left this link in several of my comments on your blog posts, but for those of you I didn't get to-- here is a link to Eric Whitacre's Choir Blog where he explains how his ensemble unfolded. Check it out! It is inspiring to say the least.

Jamie Lynn and I are going to have a debate about the usefulness of online classes. I am going to create a form to see what yall think about it! Be sure to check back here to help us gather your input!

If you have problems with Timetoast when you embed your code, visit this link. THis can also be found by going to the class blog, looking in the archives for April 2010. It should read "Timetoast has a bug"

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gina's Summary Response

To learn how to put a full response summary on your blog, go to my blog post titled, "Stephen Teaches Response Summary Image Link".

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Setting the Bar

Your fellow EDM classmate, Martha Yim, really set the bar high with her google presentation. By looking ahead and exploring the tools that y'all created accounts for on the first day, she was able to overlay audio and video into her presentation about the Kennedy Space Center by combining a Screentoast with her google presentation document. To watch her outstanding example of a presentation click on the screenshot as shown below.

Martha Yim's Google Presentation on the Kennedy Space Center

I happen to know that Martha is very approachable, and has all kinds of knowledge ready to be pried from her finger mind. So explore her blog, get new ideas, and ask her how she produces what you find. Even more importantly, ask her what she's up to next! The suspense is killing me!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Presentation, C4C, C4T, and Questionnaire

For an example of a presentation you can look at my presentation which is far from flawless, but might help give you an idea of what is expected. Dr. Strange outlines what he expects from y'all in your instruction manual at the top of page six. The video link is HERE as well.

Just as stated in your instruction manual on page 8, you are expected to, "3. Comments4Classmates starts. You will find in your Google Docs your first C4C assignment. These will continue through the end of the term. You will be assigned two classmates. Comment on their post due on the PREVIOUS assignment date. In other words, this assignment will cover the Blog Post on Did You Know?, Mr. Needleman, Vicki Davis and Sir Ken Robinson. In the unfortunate event that the person to whom you are assigned has not done their post on time, just email and include the name of your fellow student and No Post for ..." This is due every Wednesday and Sunday, just as the new assignments are started.

Your C4T is due each Wednesday. To find out which classmate/ teacher you are assigned, check your google docs. Dr. Strange has shared your assignment with you to view as a spreadsheet.

Instructional videos about your questionnaire are located on page 8 as well. For help on your questionnaire, I found this LINK most helpful.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Second Day of Classes

Wordle Difficulty? Click here for screen capture instructions, or you can copy the embed code after you publish your Wordle to a Public Gallery.

Want to access staff blogs more easily?
1.) Log in to your blogger account
2.) Go to View Blog (for your EDM blog)
3.) In the upper right hand corner, select "customize"
4.) Look for "Add a gadget", select and a new window will appear
5.) Scroll through the list of gadgets and select "Link List"
6.) In the Title Bar, type "Important Links"
7.) add the URL's to which ever blogs you wish to have access to from your own blog
8.) Finally, submit your form and move your new Important Links gadget where ever you want it to appear in your blog

See Below for Tutorial-- I recommend pressing play, minimizing the screen, and following the audio instructions as you go. Or resizing your windows so you can see both simultaneously.

Youtube Video for bigger version

Alt= and Title= tags for the deaf and blind

Written Instructions
Video Instructions

I found these videos by
1.) going to EDM 310 Class Blog
2.) looking under the right hand column under Essential Links to Valuable Resources
3.) clicking EDM 310 Fall 2009.
4.) scrolling down to find "Instructional Videos by John H. Strange" in the right column
5.) In this list you will see "Blogger Lesson 2 alt= and title= and more" (link below)
6.) Above the Instr. Vid. Section you will see "Class Syllabus and Materials" and in that column you will find written instructions (below) called: "Accessibility for the Blind: Alt and Title Modifiers"

Barry Gartman and a few others asked how to check to see if your Alt= and Title tags were working, here are the instructions I shared with him.

To check to see that your Alt or Title Tags are present on all your images:

1.) Go to (link found on page 4 of the Instruction Manual)
2.) Type in the name of your Blog URL under "Enter a web site address"
-- You can also paste your HTML code for the picture and it will check it as well
3.) A new window will appear that looks similar to your Blog Page, only this one has symbols all over it.
4.) Hold your mouse over each of the symbols to see what each of them means if you are curious, but the main one to look out for looks like this

This means that there is no alt tag present
5.) If this appears you need to add an ALT tag to the image by following the instructions listed in the video link or written instructions link above.
Thank you Barry for bringing this question to my attention.

I just wanted to add a little reflective message for the day... Many of y'all exemplified incredible leadership and learner skills today. Your patience was astounding, and your perseverance was immeasurable. With that said, do not get discouraged by the frustrations that some of you felt today-- as you get used to Google and blogger... your EDM 310 experience will become easier (still thought and time demanding, but easier nonetheless). Keep up the great work, ask your peers, Google your questions, and contact us if you need any other help. The whole staff is ready and eager to learn how we can get y'all excited about what your about to embark on-- we can do that best by y'all helping us to see the discrepancies in what we are delivering so far-- so bring on your observations and concerns!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Instructions for Purchasing Foliotek

This video will be available for a limited time, but if you forget how to purchase, just go to USA Online and select Foliotek Help in the left column, or follow these written instructions.

Purchasing Foliotek:

1.) Go to
2.) Select USA Online, located in the bottom right corner of the window.
3.) Select ePortfolio, located in the center of the top of the window.
4.) After clicking ePortfolio, a new page will appear the allows you to purchase or extend your license. Select okay.
5.) Fill out your billing information and PRESTO! You're done.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

First Day of Classes Summer 2010

Class has almost started and we have already discovered something new about Delicious. You can sync your bookmarks by adding he google chrome or firefox extension.

If you have an apple, ask your fellow student Martha! She used to be a project manager at Apple in Silicon Valley, California.

Don't have firefox? You can consult your instruction manual, or click here to download it.

This class is NOT as intimidating as it may seem. What makes this class so unique and worth while is that it allows you to meet teachers around the world. You also get to follow the educational development of students within classroom world wide!

We encourage you to follow tangents. You are rewarded for your discoveries. One thing can and will lead to another-- follow it. Report on it. Use the tools you will learn about to produce something about it. This is truly a class for experiential learning. So EXPERIENCE it.

One thing that you can count on me doing is taking notes and recording thoughts that race through my mind throughout the class meetings. You should do the same in your own posts! You have a required amount, but you are welcome to add as many relevant posts as you would like.

Bring your laptop to class and check your gmail EVERYDAY. Once you learn how to effectively use igoogle (which is one of your projects), keeping up with the classwork will be much easier. I promise.

For your URL type in your last name, first name, EDM310 with NO SPACES example


Screenshots for Macs = Command+Shift+3 for the whole screen and Command+Shift+4 for part of the screen

Screenshot for PC's= alt+prnt scrn, save it, then open it up in paint or word processor... for more in depth instructions on PC's search print screen on my blog found in the upper left hand corner


If you double click the video, it will open a bigger and more clear video in a new window. If that doesn't work follow this link: HTML Code Video

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Blogging, a forum for Healthy Debate???

I recently read Mr. C's post, Are We Having Real Conversations Using New Media? and followed his link to Philly Teacher's: Politics and Education post. Although the main post was not particularly engaging to me, Mr. Hauck from MS made a comment refuting the purpose and effectiveness of technology in the classroom.

Originally, I was enthralled by his idea that teachers integrating technology into the classroom encouraged tech addictions and furthers tech-makers' agendas. It wasn't until I continued reading the comment exchanges that his original ideas lost credibility for me. The tone of his words, the personal attacks, and the pushiness to continue the argument was all but flattering.

With that being said, it leads me to my main point. Be careful how you represent yourself online. In his response post, Mr. C expressed his wavering faith concerning online communication because it would seem that poor online etiquette is rampant. Online communication can be and is essential to expanding perspective, sharing ideas, critiquing productions, and exchanging cultural glimpses. However, all of this is only healthy and effective if we refrain from making personal attacks by maintaining professionalism and abiding by momma's philosophy, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it at all."

As I reviewed this, I realized that Mr. Hauck might perceive this as a personal attack on him. So the solution seems less clear than I would have thought. How do you support your point without hurting another's feelings as a result of limited textual expression? When words can be read so many ways, how can we bridge the gap between non-aggressive facial expressions and our fingertips?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vacation not in vain

Hi Ms. Caryl,

I hope you made it home safely! Pensacola was my final destination-- so my last leg was short and sweet.

I have been brainstorming further about the teacher-student teaming project that you inspired. Dr. Strange's class is superb in that any student who wishes to study a tangent that is related to the material is free (encouraged) to do so-- however, that opportunity is lost on many of his students because his curriculum is missing the intrinsic motivation that comes by creating one to one relationships with elementary students. Right now, he asks his students to participate in a project called comments for kids, which is great because it exposes aspiring teachers to online classrooms around the world. Unfortunately, many of the comments left by his students are relatively bland and often directed at a whole class instead of an individual-- thereby undermining the value of the project.

I am going to propose to him that we target classrooms that have individual students work available and team one college student with one elementary student all semester long. By doing this, I hope we will achieve more accountability and genuine responses that are created by deep thought and inspection of the students work and maybe the class site as a whole. This idea does create a problem which I am looking for feedback if you have any.

The problem is that by teaming one teacher to one student all semester long, you limit the exposure of your college students to other tech-savvy classrooms. A couple possible solutions I have thought of are as follows:

a.) Strange could reduce the frequency of the commenting aspect of comments4kids so that his students can prioritize one student instead of many, but still require his students to look through a different class blog each week.

b.) The Doc could ask his students to leave links to other related class rooms in the comments for their teamed student to emphasize the relevancy and global connectedness of their work for appropriate elementary submissions-- which would prove their research of other classes.

As you can see, I am still in the framework stage of this project idea. ANY helpful tips, insight, or foreseeable collapses are greatly appreciated.

I do appreciate your open support and kindness and look forward to hearing from you again. I am equally excited to hear about any volunteer excitement or novel/ artwork developments you have occur. Please do keep me updated.

Eager to succeed,

Anthony Capps