Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Since I'm working on updating my blog, I am going to move the links to other blogs here to this post. That way I still have them but they don't take up valuable property on the side of my blog. (Don't worry Dr. Z, I will never get rid of your blog!)

Answers to 'Taking Stock'

This semester I’m taking Principles of Publication Design. Currently we are reading the book Learning Web Design by Jennifer Niederst Robbins. In one of her exercises she asks the reader to reflect on a few items. The following are my responses.

What are your web design goals? My overall goal in any class I take is always the same—to become better at what I am doing so that I can teach my students better. Since I already teach a basic level web design class, my web design goals are to make my students future web designers.

Which aspects of web design interest you the most? It is hard for me to narrow down to just one aspect; the one I know the most about is the ‘structure layer’. I would like to learn about the ‘behavior layer’ since this is something I know little about and I would like to be able to do the whole process someday.

What current skills do you have that will be useful in creating web pages? Beside that fact I already know some basic html and understand the rules of xml, I also have a few personal skills that give me an advantage. I teasingly say that I am OCD. It comes in handy when students can’t get a page to work properly, I can look at their lines of code and spot the problem pretty quickly. Most students can’t understand how I see the little missing “ or / or <

Which skills will you need to brush up on? My knowledge of currently used tags is out of date. I don’t enjoy researching new tags like my students. I know I need to see what is currently being used and update my code knowledge. I also need to become better at using a database. I only have to teach such a basic level of database that I fear I will never get enough interest going to learn what I would need to become ‘professional’ at that part of web design.

Which hardware and software tools do you already have for web design? At my school I have access to PhotoShop and Notepad. I’m learning along side my students to use PhotoShop and I am grateful that I did not have to pay for the program. I find that I use it for other projects too.
What tools do you need to buy? I would like my school to buy some kind of web page authoring tool. We currently only use Notepad to write up our code for our pages. Though, it does force me to know how to code better.

Monday, October 6, 2008

At it again!

Just getting my blog dusted off for another UNI class. I wish I had time to keep up with this blog and add all the interesting ideas I learned last semester but so goes a graduate college student with a full time job and full time family. I will be back with more...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blogs in High School Video

The below video was created for My Emerging Technologies class. I wanted to show case the work my Intro to Computers II class was doing on blogging. Originally my intention was to make video for my UNI class only, but I think it will be a fun way to intro my blog unit with my high school students. Next semester I will show the video to my Intro to Computers II sections. The goal of the video was to show what my students and fellow teachers use blogging for and what they like about blogging. I did not get the answers I was expecting from the students, so I just I changed the focus to be just a fun video on blogging. Watch the video and have a little fun. The link at youtube:

Monday, November 19, 2007

Poverty Elimination Project

In my UNI classes, projects have been discussed that bring technology to students in areas of the world where technology would greatly impact the way of life for students. In Dr. Z's blog on OLPC Computer: Buy One, Keep One he talks about such a project. If you have not heard about the project, I suggest that you take a look.

I found this article
about the Centre for Information Technology Research Unitec New Zealand's POVERTY ELIMINATION PROJECT.

Description from the article: "Networking remote communities to high value activities and markets through a system of telecenters and education. This project is aimed at the sustainable relief of poverty in remote agricultural areas of Peru with high indigenous populations. By providing communication tools, local telecentres and training to these remote communities we enable other groups in the community to benefit, including education, health, local governance, new business initiatives and eco-tourism."

"Project objectives:
  • To provide the tools and training to connect remote agricultural communities to existing planting and harvesting advice and market information of the Ministry of Agriculture in Peru (Ministerio de Agricultura).
  • To use these tools and training to provide remote agricultural communities access to higher valued business initiatives and social support systems in education, health and governance.
  • To provide remote agriculture communities access to training and expertise resources."

There are many other projects out there that are designed to bring a computer to a student. It would be neat for my West High students to raise money and buy a computer for a student in a country far from Iowa. My students then could communicate with the student and learn about other cultures while learning to be better society members.

See my previous posting on 1:1 computing for more info

Photo at

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles

There is a lot of talk about how students are different than they used to be. It seems like every generation thinks the generation before them is different than them. I just think that with technology advancing at such a high rate, the differences seem to be changing at this same fast rate. I see, in my classroom, students changing just in the eight years I have been teaching. However, not all of these changes I would account to their different learning needs. Many changes are due to the changing expectations of students from society and from their parents--not always a positive change in expectation.

I was reading another classmate's blog and she was discussing the following article by Chris Dede.
which is about Planning for Neomillennial Learning Styles. Shifts in students' learning style will prompt a shift to active construction of knowledge through mediated immersion.

I found this site about learning styles for teachers. It has many other links. On one of the first links you can find out what your learning style is. My results for Learning Style Preferences:
36% Visual Learner
27% Auditory Learner
36% Kinesthetic Learner

This learning style site offers newsletters about strategies for students and teachers that deal with knowing your own learning style. I signed-up for a few and have received three emails. I will caution anyone who doesn't like to get a lot of email not to sign-up for the automatic email newsletters.

Photo at

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cell Phones in the Classroom

A fellow classmate's thoughts about cell phone use in the classroom is based on the following article
I found an article about another school's cell phone policy at
(The site said it could not be republished so you will have to go read it yourself.)

My school's "STUDENT USE OF CELL PHONES, BEEPERS, AND PERSONAL LISTENING DEVICES policy: The Faculty of West High School have developed the following building wide guidelines, regarding student use of cell phones, beepers, and personal listening devices during the school day, in an effort to be consistent and fair:
• Students must keep all phones, beepers, and personal listening devices turned off and out of sight from bell to bell, or 7:45 am to 2:35 pm.
• Cell phone or classroom phones may not be used in the classroom, unless the teacher or staff member has given special permission.
• In the event that a student is using any items during school hours without prior permission, the staff member will confiscate the item and turn it into the main office.
• The item will be returned to the student at the end of the school day, the first time the student violates protocol.
• Second offense shall require a parent/guardian to retrieve the item from the school.
• Subsequent offenses will be turned over to the student’s grade level administrator for further consequences.
PLEASE NOTE: As per the Student Conduct Code 504.3-R photographic cell phones (cameras) will be banned from use in all district facilities. This includes restrooms, locker rooms, gym classes, theaters, and activity practices."

The policy can be found at

The balance between using cell phones at school and banning cell phones at school will take a while to find. I think that using cell phones at College versus in High School is not the same issue. For right now I am on the side of banning the use of phones during class time. It is too distracting for most students. Most high school aged students are in the world of all or nothing. We can teach them respectful use of cell phones for the classroom, but it usually boils down to that if they have a cell phone they are going to use it. I am sure this topic will be discussed more and more as cell phones also become our personal computers. See my previous posting for more info about cell phone use in the Horizon Report 2007.

Photo at