Studio Tours

Tour #1

JKaufenberg: Interactive Middle School Novel Studies: Creating communication link between parents, teachers, and students

She says at the school she teaches at, all the students have ipads, access to internet and course materials online, so her project was testing the effectiveness of using social media in the classroom.

She used several media platforms for her project. She used twitter to share facts about and articles that dealt with different aspects of the reading. She also tweeted and linked her #interactivenovelstudy to twitter so teachers, parents and students could have several ways to get to her blog.

For safety concerns both by parents and schools, She used kidblog.org to create a blog for her students to use for their novel study. From the website, the teacher can create a private blog by using a class code that only her students and their parent can access to provide a safe space for students to work and connect. She also created a remind account where teachers can connect with both parents and students from anywhere where she can post reminders and things for her students to do and communicate faster. It keeps numbers hidden, so it is safe for students to use.

She had to teach her students, not only how to do the assignments but also how to use the new social media. She planned lessons within her unit, to just teach and give students practice using these new social media tools. Many of her reflection posts for the class, explain in depth how her unit got started. She explains what an interactive novel study  is for anyone which is helpful to know what it is before trying to understand how to use one.

She has one post about setting up her interactive novel studies where she goes in depth about how to set up the novel studies using the new blog and twitter media. She also screenshot pictures of the steps to make it easy to create one. She also explains what students will be doing, from daily reading responses, to reading the chapters online, to having a free space where students can comment on what they are thinking while reading.

Things came up and she wasn’t able to follow her project proposal exactly how she had in mind, but things happen, and she had to be flexible in making it work  for her own classroom as well as for the project. She also created categories and tags so you could find either a certain post, or a certain grade novel guide. She had both 7th grade and 8th grade novel guides she created. Since these were real novel guides that she is using, she had all of the information blocked from visitors who are not in the class. I would have liked to see how these were playing out in real time, but I understand for student safety not to let strangers see what the kids are doing.

Tour #2

Tony Lien: Infinite Headphones

His blog is about finding and talking about forgotten music. He creates a more relaxed approach to researching different artists and music. The blog wasn’t created into forcing any type of music on anyone. It was created to let others know what he is into and to show another path into finding “new” or “different” artists and music.

His blog is very simple to use. He has his main home page, his about page, where he explains what his blog is about, contact information, and then he has his blog entries of different kinds of music and artists. For each blog post, he chooses an artist to give information about and includes what the genre of music is. You can click on his music entries to see all of them at once, or he has created a down arrow where you can see just the name of the artist and the genre to just look at one at a time. He has a wide range of genres that he chose for this project (experimental /improvisation/contemporary classical, Canterbury scene/psychedelic/progressive rockcinematic drone)

Each blog post gives some background on the artist and on the genre of music while also adding his personal comments about what he thinks of the artist/genre. He also gives an interesting fact. In his project proposal, he states that he wants to share not only the music, but share a little bit of the life of the artist with others. He then has a recommended listening section where he names the song from the artist. At the end of each post, he also uploaded a Youtube video of the recommended song. This is nice for visitors who can just listen to the song right on the blog without having to open another tab. You can also read through his post on the said artist while listening to it.

I noticed that the links he included were the same color as the rest of the text, so you have to really be looking close to see that they are bolder than the rest of the text. At first glance, it doesn’t look like he has any links, but he does. They range from articleslistening stationreviews to a documentary.

He also included a blog roll that has a few sites to check out that become a place to search for music. One site is a blog created entirely to release cassettes and talk about what kind of music it is. Another cool site he added on his blog roll is Music Map. It is a site where you can type in an artist you like and find other artists who are similar in music you might like.

Tour #3

Blake Jackson: Fitness Tracker

His blog project was connected to his class blog. His project proposal did say that he would have a fitness tracker category on the bottom of his blog, which he does. His blog posts were like diary entries counting the days since he started the project. Each post is labeled what day of the journey he is on since he started. The last entry was day 34, but he doesn’t have 34 entries. Some days he doesn’t post about his fitness day but still keeps track of the days. His blog posts are informal entries where he track his daily nutrition and his fitness plan and lets others know how his journey is going. On Day 1, he started an 8 Week 5K Training Plan which breaks down the weeks into what and how fast you need to run.

He has a previous and next button on his blog posts, so you can read his blog posts in order starting at day one. You don’t have to keep going back to the main page to find the next post so it is nice and easy to follow.

In his daily posts, he shares what he is eating and adding how many calories each meal consists of. Each week, he recaps how the week overall went for him. I think these weekly reflections are good to include because day to day can vary for a lot of reasons, so its’ he’s showing a bigger picture. He breaks the weekly summaries into workouts, runs, diet, and groceries to discuss them separately and how they worked for him. On day 9, he decided to start posting about his day the next morning to give himself more time to reflect on the day before. He also shared his new stretching routine from Youtube and said Youtube could be a helpful resource to find fitness and health related videos.

He shared links to different kinds of foods he was eating as well as a few articles. One thing I was noticing was he talks about his calories he was eating and making sure to try to hit his caloric goal. I thought maybe he could link his resources on how he found what his caloric goal is and how others can find their goal to match their own fitness and health needs.

He stays honest on his fitness journey, which is nice to see. When things don’t go the way he planned, he write about that and explains how he plans to fix it. He also gives himself a cheat meal every so often. He’s being real with his fitness goals and journey.

 

 

 

 

Weekly Reflection #3 (Week 4)

I found this week’s activities incredibly intriguing. When I first read the assignment about posting a self-portrait, I thought that would have been easy enough; I was wrong. I was surprised that I don’t have any photos of just me. The only photo I could find of just me was my school photo. I don’t like being in photos by myself. I feel too vulnerable and feel like I’m being judged. After I read the readings for the week, I started to understand the power that we have when it comes to our identity (some of it scarier than I thought; did anyone else think of the show Catfish!?)

I knew I was guarded when it came to my online presence, partly because I’m a teacher and I always follow the saying “Don’t put anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see.” I now have changed it from ‘mother’ to ‘my students’. I just didn’t realize how much I kept out of the view of the public. I connected to Rettberg’s chapter, Written, Visual, and Quantitative Self-Representations, when she said, “Parmigianino used a convex mirror to see himself; today we use digital technologies.” I only post things or photos of me that I find acceptable to share with people. I think everyone is critical of their own image. We see things others may not. I think we are our worst enemies when it comes to pointing out our flaws. I have untagged myself in countless photos or asked my friends to take them down because I thought I looked horrible in it. But it begs the question: Are those things/photos the real me? If they are, why do we hide it?

It then led me down the questions that Rettberg addresses: Are the things we make public representations or presentations? I think the stuff I decide to share can be both. There are things I share knowing that they will be interpreted, and other times I share things wanting to address the audience. My first self-portrait post was a self-representation, where the audience could look at that photo and try to look for “signs” that would connect them with who I am. I decided for my second self-portrait to present who I am. For me, I think I’m much better getting my point across with writing than I am with face-to face conversations. I thought the best way to portray myself wasn’t through an image, but through words.  I thought the best way to ‘show’ who I am was by giving my inner thoughts.

After posting both, I realized that this still is only the self I want to be seen. Even with seeing my inner thoughts, I still didn’t show every thought I had. You still only see a version of me that I choose to share. But why? Simple Zesty brought up that “It is much less about identity through ourselves, and more about the self through others.” I want to disagree that I don’t do this, but I can’t. If you look at the things I shared, it was only what I want people to know about my life and how I want to be perceived.

My honest opinion: It both thrills me with the thought of all this power of “self” that I have, and at the same time makes me a little sad that there will probably never be a shared photo of me with my unwashed hair up in messy bun, my fiancé’s old high school sweatshirt, UGLY grey sweatpants, absolutely no makeup, with a box of vanilla wafers, and my one too many cans of soda for the day (which is my usual Sunday look) on my computer “working on grading essays” when really I’m procrastinating with funny dog and owl videos, and Googling news on Beyonce’s twins announcement.

Other things I shared this week:

Making Connections: the term “lurking” means something new for me now

Thought of the day: A snapshot of my life that I wanted people to see.

Self- Portrait #2

My thoughts on school picture day:

“Wake up two hours earlier to take a morning shower (I usually shower at night, but my hair will be much more manageable if I shower the day of)”

“Shave your legs (I feel prettier and skinner when my legs are shaved even though my legs will not even be in the chest up picture)”

“Good thing pictures are taken in the beginning of the year (My skin will still be tan and even from the summer spent outdoors)”

“Why does it take me so long to straighten this hair. I should have gotten a haircut; you look silly with short hair; it’s so much easier to deal with though; you can’t wear it in a pony; ok hair, I’m 25 years old and have baby hairs coming in: REALLY?!”

“I haven’t worn makeup all summer! Time to add BRONZER!! (oh boy, too much!!) Why do I do this to myself? Ouch; I hate when my eye lash curler pinches my face! Have I ever put mascara on and not gotten it on the bridge of my nose or the inner corner of my eye!? Does it usually take this long or am I out of practice?”

*Trying on at least five different shirts, even though I laid out my ‘picture day outfit’ yesterday* “My shoulders look like a linebacker in this. This is NOT my color. Woah cleavage, not school appropriate. Does this color wash me out? I wonder what the backdrop will look like; am I going to match it and just look like a floating head?!”

*Getting to the school for teacher in service days in August* “How did I forget it would be 1000 degrees in the school?! I am already sweating!!! What if I have pit stains for the picture? My face is going to look greasy!? Oh God, I can feel my makeup already smearing!”

*Sitting on the chair in front of the camera* “I forgot we had to sit! Do I have any body rolls sticking out? My arm is not usually in such a formal position. Does everyone sit straight up like this? I have terrible posture! I feel like a peacock strutting its stuff. I forgot how to smile naturally! Will my underbite be noticeable? Is my double chin showing? Oh, I think I blinked!

*After the photo, washing my hands, examining my reflection* “Oh good, was my hair this full of static in the photo?! I forgot to get the mascara crud out of the corners of my eyes!! Who cares, no one looks at my school photo anyway”

*Getting my school ID badge* “Oh it turned out pretty well”

 

 

So, what is a blog?

So after a week of research, reading articles, reading classmates’ posts, and looking at several blogs themselves (some I already read, and some I just started following a few days ago), I think I was looking at trying to find an answer the wrong way. I started out being so formal about the whole thing. I wanted to find ONE definition/answer of what a blog is and have all by questions to be able to be checked off and answered. How long do post need to be? How many pictures do you need? What is considered content of blogs? I realized that blogs are an ever-evolving thing and the minute you try to put blogs into a closed box/category, something changes so it bounces right out.

From Jill Rettberg, I learned that there can be categories of blogs: “filter, diary, and topic-driven blogging”. For me, I liked that you can organize what a blog is by its content, but it still wasn’t a definitive answer for what a blog IS.

To Travel the Great Beyond found a very interesting source by Jeff Jarvis that said “blogs are whatever they want to be”. There aren’t limits and boundaries to what can be considered a blog. The only limits created are created by you, which doesn’t mean those same rules apply to others.

I touched on this in my original post about blogging that blogs are their own entity. They can be whatever I want for my own purpose. The saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” rings true for blogs. What I consider to be “blog content” might look different to someone else. Perspective is huge in this matter.

While trying to answer the question “what is a blog?”, I took a new angle on my search which was “why do people blog?”

Madelyn Haasken found a good article summarizing why people blog. It shows the positives of blogging and could incentivize more people to become bloggers.

Rebecca Blood said,”I strongly believe in the power of weblogs to transform both writers and readers from ‘audience’ to ‘public’ and from ‘consumer’ to ‘creator’.” She saw blogging as a way for people to go from passively watching/reading to being able to participate.

From everything I read, common trends I noticed about blogs and bloggers were people want to feel connected/included, and people wanted to feel important. As humans, I think we all crave that feeling of being wanted and heard. People blog because they want to understand the world and they want to be understood. It’s a way for people to connect even if other barriers stand in the way (distance, language, etc.). Blogs are a personal platform where your thoughts can be turned into information for mass consumption. It can be a no pressure/judgment place to share anything you deem important to share.

 

More Info on Blogging

While doing some research about blogs and what bloggers do, I kept thinking about Blood’s article warning about what you read and write in blogs saying, “Their sarcasm and fearless commentary reminds us to question the vested interests of our sources of information and the expertise of individual reporters as they file news stories about subjects they may not fully understand.” I couldn’t stop thinking about that statement. As a teacher, I always talk about not taking everything you hear, read, or see as fact. It reminded me of the State farm commercial poking fun of people who read something on the Internet and accept it as the truth. This was an exaggeration of course, but it happens all the time. We read one article and the comments on it and most times see only one side. That does not mean that’s the only side. I’m thinking with blogging, where ANYONE can post about ANYTHING, we need to be both critical readers and writers. I think we need to be aware of personal bias.

I was also wondering about monetizing blogs, a way to get paid for your blog. While reading  7 Ways to monetize your blog, it made me think of how bloggers could make money. They can have ads, but other ways to generate money is by talking about their sponsors and/or products. I have been reading a few blogs for a few years and when they talk about a product, I always wonder “Do you actually like/use that product, or do you just need to plug it in to get paid?” While reading blogs, I’m now checking for ads or signs that the blogger is making money and what their sponsors are.

This led me further into looking up The Dangers of Blogging and there is a lot to keep in mind (some scarier than others). A few things I will be looking further into:

  1. Everything you post to the public can be seen, even if you delete it.
  2. When sharing your thoughts and opinions might not be the best idea.
  • We read about how Dooce’s blog posts got her fired from her job
  • Chris Moody was sued for sharing an article

(Again, these are told in the author’s point of view. Are we reading/knowing the whole story?)

  1. Know your rights. There are legal guides for bloggers to help with this. Do your homework to protect yourself.

Rettberg and Blood Readings

So, the question of the week: what makes a blog a blog. We all use the word blogs and have an idea what is being talked about when someone says blog, but there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer. Wikipedia has it’s own definition of a blog as a “discussion or informational website published on the World Wide Web consisting of discrete, often informal diary-style text entries (“posts”). Posts are typically displayed in reverse chronological order, so that the most recent post appears first, at the top of the web page.” After readings from Blood and Rettberg, I don’t think this definition covers what a blog can be. In chapter one from Blogging by Jill Rettberg, she breaks blogs down into three categories: diary, filter, and topic driven blogs.

Diary blogs: like Dooce.com (which is hysterical by the way), are places where an author(s) can create and talk about anything, and usually they are the subject of their posts. They create snapshots into their life which they deem to be public information, unlike a diary where private moments are kept private.

Filter Blogs: like the name suggests, are blogs that filter information for the reader. These blogs are used to find certain information and links and give you comments on said links. An example from Rhettberg’s reading is Metafilter, which has links to articles, blogs, and websites, and the author’s opinion and/or summary of it.

Topic-driven blogs: Again like the name suggests, are blogs that usually chose a topic to focus on and to write about. For some reason, when I think of this type of blog, my first thought went to the term “mommy blogs”. “Mommy blogs” like Mommy A to Z focus on parenting: tips, tricks, advice, and a place where people can share their experiences with kids and parenting. You don’t need to be an expert; it’s where people who share certain interests or hobbies can have a platform dedicated to it.

To me, this still doesn’t necessarily explain what a blog can entail. What is the blog in general? I think it’s more than just the different kinds of posts. I connected to Rettberg’s description that “blogs are not a genre, but a medium”. It’s not limited by the categories within them and it is not a category of something else. Blogs are their own entity.

I thought Rebecca Blood shed some light on what blogs are. She writes that the term blog was coined after “Peter Merholz announced in early 1999 that he was going to pronounce it ‘wee-blog’ and inevitably this was shortened to ‘blog’ with the weblog editor referred to as a ‘blogger’.” Did anyone else think about the word WE while reading that? It makes me think of something anyone and everyone is included in while still being a part of some exclusive club. From what I gleamed off the reading, blogs are a sense of belonging. They are a way for people to participate in “the outside world” and/or “their own world”.

 

 

Bootcamp 2017 Reflection

First of all, let me start off with saying how terrified I was of taking this class. As I said in my introduction, I am not very good with technology. It definitely is pushing me out of my comfort zone and testing my patience while learning what feels like a new language, technology language. I don’t like the feeling of not knowing how to do something and when I’m not automatically good at it, I don’t like it right away (sounds bratty, I know). I had to remind myself several times what I tell my students all the time: “Calm down. If something doesn’t immediately make sense, you might have to read it again. Read carefully. Be patient. JUST TRY IT”. So far as setting up my blog goes, it has been a lot of trial and error and re-reading, but once something clicks, it seems way easier and gives me that boost of confidence in my abilities for this class. I truly think this class will be good for me being a teacher where some students “just get it” and some need more time and practice before they are able to do it. I definitely have more empathy already. I sometimes forget what being a student is like. Things that I teach make sense to me, but it is not the same for my students, who are trying new things for the first time. I think these weekly posts will help me reflect both on this class AND how my own teaching helps students who are learning. I’ve learned so many new things in the past two weeks, but I’m going to break it up into the things I found most important/helpful!

  1. That RSS is a life saver. My RSS post raves about how easy it is to keep all my sites organized in one place, and I can keep track of everything I’ve read.
  2. Linking keeps me sane! Again with my obsession to keep things neat looking, I love that you can link text into your document instead of having big long URLs in the middle of your blog post.
  3. I finally know the difference between tags and categories and am in love with both! It all clicked for me when I read from Lorelle on WordPress that “Categories are the site’s table of contents. Tags are the index words.” This was an excellent analogy for me. I added both widgets to my page so it’s helpful to find what I’m looking for. It’s also helpful for me to view other blogs to look up something by either categories, or key words instead of scrolling down the entire list to try and find something.
  4. Creative Commons is very customizable to fit every author’s needs, which is important in the ever growing and changing needs of the internet. In my CC post, I chose attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike (CC BY NC-SA) because I want people to be able to use my work, but still credit me and not be able to profit off of it.
  5. I’m still struggling with flickr helper. The flickr cc attribution helper has not been working for me in the way the guides and YouTube tutorials have showed me. The hints pop-ups tell me it might be my theme I’ve chosen for my blog is not compatible. Instead of the menu option Medium.com attributor, I have to use the default setting. If anyone else had similar issues or know any way to fix this, I would love to know.

EXTRA: I wasn’t prepared to like posting about my personal life. I love to write, but I don’t usually like to share things, especially to people I have never met. I have found that writing to an unknown audience feels empowering. I don’t feel judged or self-conscious about the things I’m talking about in my posts. Maybe it’s because I don’t see or know my audience, or maybe because I can be  in the comfort of my own bed sharing the thoughts I have, but either way, I like it! 🙂 Some things I’ve shared:

Gifts from Students

Sunday Night

Quote

Donkey Basketball

Ice Fishing

Creative Commons

According to the WIPO website “Intellectual property (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions; literary and artistic works; designs; and symbols, names and images used in commerce.” They are protected by copyright, patents, and trademarks. When I first started researching into copyright, I was scared. I think we have all heard of copyright laws and as a teacher, I know how strict they are. I learned the basics when I first started teaching, but it’s always nice to refresh on what you can and cannot do or use. A helpful site for me was Copyrighting for Teachers. This site gave great resources on breaking down some situations that teachers all deal with (movies, photocopies, lessons). I think the web creates a huge problem for copyright laws because so many people just see it and think it’s free to use. At the beginning of the year, I always go through plagiarism and making sure to credit sources with my students, but I’ve noticed kids only think about plagiarism when it comes to text. They don’t think of all the other types of works (movies, photographs, music). Some works will have a copyright notice on them, but some may not. I think the biggest lesson I learned while reading is if you don’t see one, don’t assume it doesn’t have one. Always check for license and if you aren’t sure about it, it’s safer to not use it at all.

After looking into Creative Commons, and reading their FAQs, it made me feel a little better that these licenses were tailored to certain situations. According to Creative Commons, there are six different types of licenses and can fit with the owner’s purpose for sharing their work. If you do not have a copyright license on your material, anyone can use it in any way without the author’s consent.In this day and age, everyone is all about sharing, posting, and collaborating with others, and these licenses are great because they can still do that and protect the integrity of their work. As a teacher, I think these licenses are an awesome tool. I write lesson plans all the time and have worked with others’ work to create things to accommodate my class.Why reinvent the wheel? If something I create works for my class and could benefit someone else, I would love to share that with others to use. For me, I would want people to be able to use, build off of what I have, or modify for their own need, but not be able to use it for a profit. I’m all for sharing my ideas, but I work hard on my lessons and wouldn’t want someone else to get credit or profit off of my work. The license that works best for me is Attribution-noncommerical (CC BY –NC) or attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike (CC BY NC-SA).

RSS Feeds

I know before this class, I’ve heard of RSS feeds, but I had no idea what it meant. After googling what RSS stands for, it made sense to be called Really Simple Syndication because that’s exactly what it is. These feeds make keeping up with every site I use WAY easier. I like that any and all sites and blogs I look at every day can be in one space for me to look at and see what I’m missing. I registered on feedly, and the tutorial was very easy to follow along to get some sites added to my feed. I first subscribed to the Daybook and Weblogs and Wikis so I could see any new messages and posts without having to go to each site separately. So far, the main thing I like about using this reader is I don’t have to have five tabs open and have to keep going back and forth. All of the new information for these sites is all in one place and I can read it right there. Before registering on feedly, I kept checking twitter to see if any new students were adding their blogs, so I could check them out and follow them. Once I found a classmate’s blog, I would copy their url and paste it into feedly and then click follow. I then found that on the Daybook on the right side labeled Current Contributors, I can see all the blogs from class. I went through and subscribed to all classmates blogs on my feedly. Now I can just go to feedly and see who is posting. So far, this has been helpful to see when our professor adds new things to the Daybook for us to look at. I know once we get into the course more and have to read and comment on each other’s posts, this RSS will really come in handy to see who has new things up. Another thing I like about feedly is I can organize it into categories or “collections” as feedly calls them. When I hit follow, it asks me where I want to put the feed. I made two collections; “Blogs” and “Weblogs and Wikis”. I put all my classmates’ blogs in one category and put sites like twitter, the Daybook, and Weblogs and Wikis Home Page in another. Once I find other sites I check every day, I will make another category for those. You can expand and hide the categories and I personally like that because when I see too many things at a time, I can get overwhelmed. Another thing to keep things organized and not so overwhelming is I can click at the bottom of the page mark as read. Once you click on this, the notification next to that feed goes away. It will help me keep track of things I looked at and remind me of things I need to go back and read. So far in this class, RSS has been my favorite thing I’ve learned about. It’s one of those tools that was made to make life on the web so much easier, and that is big for me!! I think it will be extremely helpful to keep me organized for this class!