Wednesday, March 21, 2012


I am excited about using Google Docs more, as well as Edmodo and Diigo. I have used Animoto in the past, but I like Edmodo better and plan to use this program to have my Photo J students create a video with their photos from each major assignment they've completed over the semester as part of their final exam. 

I don't know that my thinking has been transformed, as I was fully aware of how important it is to incorporate technology into our curriculum. I think the Tools have definitely given me some new ideas and hesitation is finding the TIME to create new lessons, but I know it is something I need to do. My classroom is more than equipped with the technology I need to do so. 

I suppose I was surprised at how little I really know or know about! There is SO much out there that it's a little overwhelming. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


1. I want to make sure my students understand the consequences of misuse of technology, both at school and in the "real world," esp. when it comes to cyber bullying or posting too much personal information about themselves in public forums. I would also want them to know how to assess online sources/websites in order to determine where the information is coming from, if it's reliable, credible, etc. Finally, I want them to understand the consequences of opening/manipulating/changing/deleting/copying files from other students. Because much of my students' work is done online and they have access to each other's files, I discuss this with my students and explain the consequences of any behavior mentioned above.
2. I could use Digizen or the Animoto lessons to address what being a good digital citizen means.
3. I would first ask them to reflect/write/blog about what THEY think it means to be a good digital citizen and then have them share their thoughts in a class discussion. We could then watch one of the Animoto lessons/videos.
4. At Open House, I let the parents know about my students' blogs and stress to them that their student will be expected to follow certain rules in place while using technology in my classroom. I could also tell them about the Atomic Learning segments.


I am not getting/using ipads in my classroom, so some of this doesn't apply to me. I have 24 desktop Apples, though, so of course my students use these daily.

1. It is important to tie technology to learning because our students' world IS technology is what they know, what they expect and what they need to stay engaged. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing - probably both - but it is reality, and we have to accept it. Just as teachers have had to adapt to emerging technology in past decades - overhead projectors (!), videos, calculators - we have to understand that technology is our world now and we have to use it to our advantage to teach our students and to prepare them for success in the workforce.
2. This seems to me a pretty obvious question/answer. We have to hold students accountable because they must learn that they are responsible for their own learning and the technology that we are providing them to enjoy that learning more than they might enjoy if they were doing a "pencil/paper" assignment. The technology we are providing is expensive. Students must learn to take care of any and all equipment in a classroom. I've spent a lot of time talking to all my classes about this, as there is thousands of dollars worth of equipment being used in my room every day.
3. I won't be using stations, as I am not getting ipads. But my students can certainly use the computers I have for group work or independent work.
4. There is an endless number of apps available that relate to photography and graphic design. There is a great app version of Photoshop and hundreds of other photography apps. Many of my students already use Pinterest, both as an app and online, to save photos of their own and view others' work.
5. My students will not be using ipads/stations.

Friday, March 16, 2012


The only device that (I think) I am eventually receiving is the Dell Netbook. I watched the video and am excited about having a new computer. I am comfortable with the Dell and obviously use it daily at work. I will be interested to see if having the video cam would really make a difference for me.

My classroom currently has 25 desktop Apple computers and we are scheduled to get new computers next year (I believe). These computers are used extensively every day in my classroom. The school's yearbook is produced on these computers by the 40 members of the yearbook staff and my Journalism and Photojournalism classes use the computers extensively as well to learn software such as InDesign and Photoshop. I certainly consider myself proficient in using and teaching with these computers.

I personally own an Apple Macbook, an ipad and an iphone. I am very "connected" and huge Apple fan. I know the majority of our teachers are getting ipads for their classrooms. I am excited to see how these ipads are used, but I fear that they will not be used to their full potential. I agree with many of the teachers who have said that five ipads will not be enough for classes that have 30-35 students. Having 6-7 students work on one ipad is not reasonable. Two or three students at most will be actively engaged in the assignment, I would guess. Nonetheless, I am VERY glad to know that SBISD is finally coming around to the world of Apple and investing in their products and I am positive the students are excited about it as well.


I am the only person on my campus that teaches the classes I teach, so I would be a little more challenged to collaborate with another teacher/class, but I could see how using some of the asynchronous learning tools with my two Journalism classes so my two different class periods could collaborate on various projects. The thing that immediately comes to mind is to use the tools in April when the two classes are responsible for creating the April issue of the school newspaper, The Anvil. The students could certainly use Google docs to research stories, leave notes for each other, write rough drafts, edit each other's work, etc.

For my photojournalism class, I could connect with another photo class in the district or the Houston area that would allow my students to view other students' photography work and critique it.

a. TLW share and critique photo examples with another photo class in the district.
b. During the A-Z Photo Scavenger Hunt project, typically completed in the 10-12th week of the semester.
c. Edmodo
d. Photos will be examples of specific photo techniques (framing, repetition, rule of thirds...). Students will critique examples from other students and offer feedback/constructive criticism based on criteria provided by teachers. 


I looked through several of the web tools listed and like Diigo the best. I do a LOT of online reading, both for work and personal use, so I am excited to see how I might be able to use Diigo. I set up an account in Diigo and have downloaded the "diigolet" to my toolbar on my personal computer and will do the same on my work computer after Spring Break. I also really like that it is easily accessed/used on my iphone and ipad. I am going to download the Diigo app to my iphone today as well. Diigo reminds me of Evernote, a web clipping program that I've been using for a couple of years now. Diigo seems a little more advanced, especially with the sharing/collaboration capabilities.

I set up a group in Diigo called Journalism/Desktop for my journalism classes:

There are projects done in class that would benefit from this tool. Students could set up their own accounts so they can highlight info as they research and then access it from home. Also, since we would have a group, they could see each other's work as well. I know students could use this when researching for their "famous journalist" project or their editorial writing. I could also see how this could benefit my yearbook students...we get many ideas from various online sources, and often get inspiration for graphics, themes, fonts, etc by things we see online. If the yearbook staff members each had an account and we had a group set up, we could share these ideas with each other and have one central location where we could go see all the ideas. We actually have an "ideas binder" in our classroom - a three ring binder with magazine clippings in it - that we use periodically. Diigo could supplement this binder and perhaps eventually replace it.

I've already established a blog separate from this one in Blogger and each semester, my Photojourmalism students create a blog as well. On my blog, I list all the students' blog addresses so that I, as well as all the students, can see everyone's blog. The students complete very little work in class with pen and paper; they use their blog for 90% of their "written" assignments. They also post examples of their photography on their blogs. I go to the students' blogs to grade their work and can comment back to them about aspects of their entries or their photography. My blog address is:

On the right side of this blog are links to all my current Photo J students' blogs.

I also use this blog when I am traveling in the summers on the National Geographic trips that I go on with Memorial students. It serves as a record of our trip and parents are able to go to my blog and link to all the blogs of all the students on the trips.

I know my students enjoy using a blog for their work as opposed to doing traditional written assignments. I do an end of course assessment in my classes asking students for feedback on the class and the blog is almost always listed as a favorite aspect.

I will continue to investigate some of the other webtools available in Tool Six to see what others might be useful in my classes.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I experimented with Animoto and Stupeflix. I created a video using the same set of pictures so I could compare the two programs and see which one was easier to use and which one would be more effectively used in my classes. I uploaded a series of photos I use in Photo J when teaching students about the importance of capturing emotion in their photos. I def. like Stupeflix better, but it is pricier. The free version allowed a much longer video, but you only get one free video, I think. Animoto has unlimited free videos, but they are only 30 seconds long. I REALLY liked that I could upload to Stupeflix directly from Dropbox, which I did. That worked very well. Here is my Animoto video.

Make your own photo slideshow at Animoto.

Here is my Stupeflix video:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I can see how Google Docs would be very useful in the classroom. Of everything I've learned thus far, this would have the most real world application. I don't have a team here on campus, per se, but I can see how journalism teachers within the district could exchange ideas/lesson plans/documents this way. In fact, a MMS teacher and I did that last year for my Photo J class.

 I've already used Google Docs some in my J1 classes. Students were working in partners on a project and having to take notes on various articles they found. I told them about/showed them Google Docs and some of them chose to use it. They were excited. A few had heard of it/used it before, but many had not. The thing I would like to try soon is the quizzes. I think my students would LOVE taking a test online. What I am curious about, though, that was not answered is if it GRADES the quiz for you and how all that works. I will go experiment with one and see if I can figure that out, as the video did not address that.

I am a little confused as to why we would create a document in Google Docs and then EMAIL it, as we were asked to do for this Tool. I thought the whole purpose of Google Docs was to AVOID the whole email chain. Am I missing something?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


I have used several of the search engines/video hosting sites listed. I use the news sites pretty regularly to show my journalism classes breaking news stories or examples of good news writing/interviewing/reporting. My students do "famous journalist" presentations at the beginning of each school year and we often use You Tube to find videos of the various journalists "in action."

I went to and found this video on iconic photos and a new book that Life has put out regarding the 100 Photos That Changed the World. I could use this video to introduce the book, which I have, and then show the students the book and give them the assignment that I do each semester in which they have to explore an iconic photo and then present it to the class and explain its significance. Iconic Photo Book Video

I also found a video that would be a great example to show my Journalism students of a well-written personality profile/human interest story. In the past, I have shown videos like this one and typed out the transcript of the story to show them that even VIDEO news stories must be well-written and follow the same structure of written news stories. This example would work well. Basketball Player Profile

I am fairly familiar with copyright laws because of images I've used in the yearbook. I thought it was very interesting to see the two extreme ways the material was presented in the 11 Tools blog...the first was a straightforward, text only approach and the video was fast paced/fast moving. I looked at both and learned some things from both. I think the video would be much more appealing to kids, obviously, and I may show that in my Journalism and Yearbook classes. I think the video did a good job of explaining the four factors that need to be considered and explaining transformativeness. After reading more about the laws, I think I am doing just fine (as in not violating copyright laws) when using certain materials in my classroom, but we probably need to look a little more closely at how we are using certain images in the yearbook.

I have set up a Dropbox account and dropped files there. I can see that I could place instructions for assignments there that my students could retrieve when necessary or I could drop files that would supplement classroom assignments/lessons. Students working in partners or groups, which is common in my class, could share files/documents this way as well and could even turn in documents/assignments to me this way.

Friday, January 20, 2012


I have looked at the blogs from several colleagues and commented on a few. I am impressed that some of them are already finished! Several others are almost finished. Most, however, are right about on pace with me! I can see how PLNs will be helpful. I actually use PLNs already in finding plans/ideas for my subject matter. I have used Social Networking sites on my own for a while now, but just for fun...Facebook, Pinterest, Linked In, etc. I am planning on subscribing to the TAJE (Texas Assoc. of  Journalism Educators) site/serve list (are they still called that??) soon. I use their site all the time now to find lessons/Power Points that I use in Journalism I. I don't have a problem sharing my thoughts on PLNs, as I think the more people share, the better teachers we will become. Since I am the only person on our campus that teaches the courses I teach, I rely a lot on teachers from other schools in our district and across the state for ideas.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Tool One

Managed to create this blog pretty quickly b/c I have a personal blog with Blogger, so I already know how to use it. There is some major confusion b/c I have other email addresses registered with Blogger, but I think it will be fine. I hope. No other challenges, but I can see how this would be hard for teachers who have never used Blogger or created a Voki.