June 8, 2013

Congratulations to the Class of 2013! This is an exciting time for you as your venture off into the new world of high school. I hope that the technology skills you have gained at Our Lady will help with whatever you have ahead of you, but most importantly, I hope that in the course of your years here, especially in 8th grade, you have learned how to learn. You need to take charge of your learning, be curious about what you still don't know, and use all the tools at your disposal to find whatever it is you need to learn about. You will have more independent work to do, and planning for that is not always easy as we have discovered. Make use of all that the Internet has to offer to enhance your skills. If you need to know how to do something, most likely someone has already created a how-to video to help you world is yours.gifthrough the process. Become an expert in something and create your own how-t videos to help others! Go the extra mile and make everything your produce your best, because you are building your digital footprint as you go.

Be safe in all you do whether digitally or otherwise, and remember to value yourself and the reputation that is yours. Also, as I said on the last day of class, remember that if I can ever help you with anything in the future, please contact me. Or drop a note and tell me of your accomplishments. I know they will be many. Your school email accounts are now open for transfer of any work you wish to save. The accounts will be deleted in mid-June.

God bless you and keep you safe!

Mrs. Ruffing


May 14, 2013

external image Logo-ignite.pngWe are coming to the end of the school year and wrapping up a variety of projects. Coming up on May 15 will be the sharing of an independent project of choice using a "mini-ignite" format. At an Ignite event, participants are given five minutes to speak on their topic of choice, with 20 slides that auto advance every 15 seconds. (Ignite philosophy: Enlighten us, but make it quick.)These events are held in cities all over the world, initially begun in 2006, and supported by O'Reilly Media. We will use this format to allow students to share whichever of their two independent projects they would like to showcase, not only sharing the project itself but also analyzing what tools and skills were employed and whether or not they had to use higher order thinking skills. Students need to read directions carefully as there are 2 submissions to be made. The first is submitting the completed 4th quarter independent project by sending it as an email attachment (or a shared Lucid Chart document). The second is to submit the Ignite slideshow AND the project they will showcase (might be the 4th quarter submitted project or the one from 3rd quarter) in a second email. This will allow me to gather all necessary files in one location for facilitate the presentation process. Some will be following an alternate path if they chose to create a video as their 4th quarter project, as the video will serve as their main presentation with a few words of introduction from the video creators before the video is shared. Students not working on a video should be ready to "ignite" us on May 14, and those creating videos should be ready to share their projects on May 21.

April 23, 2013

During the last quarter of the school year students will be completing their 4th quarter independent project and doing a brief sharing with their classmates. In some ways the second independent project is going more smoothly than the first. There are a number of skills involved in these projects, only part of which are technology skills.blooms_500.gif

As I mentioned in the last post, time management is an important skill to develop. But in addition to time management, the independent projects have focused on some higher order thinking skills, and for some students this may take them out of their comfort zone. It is much easier to memorize facts for a test than to use tools to create something brand new, or to apply some previously learned skills in a new way.Many students, and I am including many of our eighth grade students in this group, would rather someone just tell them where to click or what images to use or how the final project is supposed to look. In the independent projects there were a number of personal choices to make: which project to develop, which of several possible tools to use to create the project, how to design the project in a way that is unique but meets the basic requirements. For several years I have been giving students step by step instructions - go here, click on this, etc. Now they are deciding for themselves which tools to use and if something is unfamiliar they are given resources such as tutorials and suggestions on how to use various tools, familiar as well as brand new. In today's world, information is everywhere. In fact, there is information over load, and we need to be able to sift through what is out there in the most efficient way possible for our purpose. There will not always be someone next to us saying, "Click here", "Look in that menu", etc. One of the most important things students can learn is...how to learn. How do we learn to do something we have not tried before? How can I find the answer when I am stuck? What previous knowledge do I have that can serve me in this situation?

Our students have used a variety of technology tools over the years. But as we know, technology tools are constantly changing. Microsoft Office has gone through a number of changes. The toolbars and menus do not look the same as the version they first began using in the early grades. With each revision comes an adjustment period. Where did those tools go? Which menu shall I look in? And that will continue through the years. Learning exactly where to find the set up for page orientation or margins is not as important as knowing that a spreadsheet or a document can be manipulated in various ways, and the tools are there, but not necessarily in the same place you last looked. One of the most common ways that we learn today is through the use of videos. We "google" things, or we find someone explaining it on YouTube. These are resources at our fingertips. Can we build upon what we have previously experienced and add to that the resources that are constantly emerging? Can we conceptualize and develop a finished product that communicates an idea clearly? The 4 C's of 21st century learning are Creativity, Critical Thinking and Problem Solving, Communication, and Collaboration. These are higher order thinking skills, much more challenging than memorizing information for a test based on factual knowledge or solving a page of math problems where every problem requires application of the same formula. Yet those skills are what are most in demand in the global workforce. For example, from the NEA"s (National Education Association) document Preparing 21st Century Students for a Global Society, The Educator's Guide to the 4 C's:

Author Daniel Pink remarked, “The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people…will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.” If students leave school without knowing how to continuously create and innovate, they will be under-prepared for the challenges of society and the workforce.
The diagram above from Learning and Teaching Technologies, a UK site, demonstrates Bloom's Revised Taxonomy. There are a variety of diagrams such as pyramids, that demonstrate the levels from lower order skills to higher, but the levels are still the same. Using higher order thinking skills is definitely a challenge, but one that we must give students the opportunity to experience, not once or twice, but often. If they are thinkers, creators, collaborators, and communicators, and they know how to make use of the arsenal of tools available to help them learn, they they are ready for anything that they may face in our global society.
Fourth quarter projects should be completed by April 30. Several students have already submitted their projects as email attachments. There will be several open labs between now and the end of April for students needing additional time or some individual help. Students will then make a short presentation to their classmates sharing one of their two digital projects, as well as some insights regarding interesting information discovered, skills learned, and the tools they used in the creation of their final product. This will follow an abbreviated "Ignite" or "PechaKucha" style of presentation, which will be explained on April 30.

April 2, 2013

Today was the last day to submit third quarter independent projects. Officially the quarter did end on March 27, but because of some lost class time I extended our quarter for this project to April 2. Some students have been plugging away and doing a fantastic job on researching their chosen topic AND following the directions, as well as making use of tutorials provided. I offered assistance in various forms, depending on the project, with how to arrange data or how to use html to code a placemark in Google Earth. To my chagrin, and I would hope to students' chagrin, some came to class today just starting to work on their projects. They may be the ones who also wait until the last minute for other activities as well, but I have offered numerous make up times/extra help times during recess for anyone who was interested or motivated. Few took advantage, however. I think those who procrastinated are learning, and hopefully this will stick for projects in high school, that you need to read the details and get an idea of what is involved in a project before assuming you can manage it in the last day or two before it is due. Some students have mastered the skill of time management and others are still at the starting block. I will begin to score these projects probably by Friday, so there is a small amount of wiggle room here. Not much. Unless the project was done in Lucid Chart, which is shared like a Google Doc, the project needed to be submitted via email attachment.
(A side note regarding Google Docs: As I have been doing for the last two years, project directions have been in shared Google Docs on the class webmix. I have always set the sharing to "anyone with the link can view", but a strange thing happened yesterday. All those shared docs now open to the title only, with the body of the document no longer visible. Someone logging in with an olphbeth.org account can see the entire document, but those documents have been visible without logging in for many months. And they were not even created using an olphbeth.org account. Google support is looking into this issue, as we are not the only ones having this experience. It is frustrating to say the least. This problem has also affected documents on our website such as lunch menus.)

Next up in the fourth quarter will be independent project 2. Students have already made their second choice. We will also be discussing online safety, digital footprints, and social media as well. Then students will present one of their two independent projects to the class as we go over presentation techniques. The fourth quarter will zoom by of course.

March 14, 2013

As we approach the end of the third quarter there are still some students who are going to find themselves in the same position as at the end of the second quarter. Anyone who reads this, and I know there are very few, is aware that all assignments are posted on the 8th grade tab of the cougartech webmix. Back in December a learning contract was distributed that corresponded to a variety of activities and projects that revolved around the stock market theme. I received a number of signed learning contracts back that were dated Dec. 4, 2012, but there are some that did not come in until the end of February, despite frequent reminders. Students had 3 required projects, two of which were completed during quarter 2 and one, the line graph in Excel, which was completed during this third quarter. I will be reviewing those this weekend because I have collected them from each student's network folder. I already see some that are missing a number of required elements despite the fact that this assignment should have been completed in February. gr8 sample line graph.JPG

The learning contract also included 4 independent project choices, and students could read over the projects and pick the two that most interested them. They had to commit to their two choices on the learning contract. This week, on March 12, I asked them to send me an email telling me which of the two they would complete by the end of the third quarter, as that is 2 weeks away. I received 7 emails (out of 31) and of those 7, 4 students simply repeated their two project choices and did not follow the directions at all. Three of the projects are listed as separate tiles on the webmix, and they are a Venn diagram, a timeline, and a Google Earth tour. The fourth choice, a video project, would have to be a fourth quarter project because of time constraints. So the grades for third quarter will include the Excel line graph, the two short quizzes in the Discovery Student Center (stock market terms and spreadsheet terms) and the independent project. I have been having open lab at recess but there have been almost no takers for the time slot. Independent projects will be due by the end of the quarter, March 27.

I am hoping to give the students the chance to work on time management with projects and also allow for personal interest to factor into their choices. In addition, they have some freedom as to which tools they can use to complete the activities, and I hope that this exposure to a variety of tools will help them when they are working on projects in high school, whether they be individual or group projects.

January 28, 2013

An unexpected snow day has given me time to post a re-cap of the second quarter activities for grade 8. The assignments with all details are always posted on the cougartech webmix, and students have had access to all resources to complete each assignment in school and out of school. By now if a student is absent there is no excuse for not knowing what projects need to be accomplished. The skill of time management is one that will benefit them greatly in high school, and students who do not get as much completed in class as others should realize that there will need to be additional time devoted to accomplish the goals. I have also had a number of open labs for students in grade 7 and 8 to come in a recess to catch up or get extra help if needed. On occasion I have listed some people who needed to be there, but for others it was optional. Some who should have taken advantage of those opportunities did not. Here is a screen shot of what was posted on the smart board for the class agenda on January 15 (technically the last class of the second quarter.)

agenda 8 jan 15.JPG

This was a way for students to look over submitted assignments and make last minute corrections as needed, and a reminder of what would be counted in the second quarter. Item number 3, the stock market blog post, was based on some short videos that most students watched starting in December (also accessible in or out of school) with the purpose of summarizing in 5 sentences or more what was learned about the stock market and adding information on the 4 stocks purchased in the virtual portfolio and why they were chosen. When we came to class on January 22, I announced that there were still posts missing, and a few students scrambled to finish them. There were 7 students, however, who did absolutely nothing on that assignment. Students receiving an Incomplete on the report card will need to clear up the assignment requirements before the grade is changed.
I have been stressing the importance of following assignment checklists to the letter. In high school when a paper is due, students may write a wonderful body of text but if sources and references are not noted, or correct formatting is not followed, such as MLA or whatever is required, the grade will be lowered. I am doing the same in that if I list in the requirements that certain headings need to be bold or shaded in gray, and that is not completed, there will be a deduction. In the case of the stock market spreadsheet, an activity that spanned 9 weeks as students kept track of their chosen stocks, I reviewed the checklist and I said I can tell you exactly where people will lose a lot of points from past experience. This is in the formatting of the titles and in making sure all money values have two decimal places. Despite the additional reminders there were many points lost for those very basic steps being omitted. If you are given a list of steps to follow, FOLLOW THEM. If you don't understand something in the directions, ASK.
In the Saint Report project, all the actual research had already been completed. The report that was done for religion class was simply inserted into the blog with some minor editing adjustments and an image included. The screenshot below shows just one area where points were lost because students did not carefully review directions before submitting the assignment.

saint screenshot.JPG

Despite the fact that we have stressed since the early grades the importance of protecting privacy online and never share personal in formation in a blog post, I had to go into published saint reports and remove first and last names that students included in the post script section. This is just an example of a students not referring to the steps in the directions.There were also quite a few who inserted an image and made no reference to it, or did not credit the image source, also required.

Coming up in quarter three we will finish the two quizzes assigned via the Discovery Streaming Student Center, learn how to display the performance of one stock over the course of nine weeks in an Excel spreadsheet (This time it will be in Excel and not a Google spreadsheet, but students are free to upload the Excel spreadsheet to their Google Drive account to access it outside of school). We will also work on developing the independent project choices that should have been made by now on the learning contract.

November 29, 2012
During the first quarter of this year students worked with formatting elements in Microsoft Word, reviewing glog tools, organizing a network space, and becoming familiar with their Google Apps for Education accounts. They also had an experience taking online quizzes via the Discovery Student Center.

stock graph.PNG
Now in the second quarter we are investing in the stock market. Each student received "$10,000" for our stock market simulation game. This process will allow students to become familiar with using formulas in spreadsheets and also to investigate economic factors that influence the rise and fall of stock prices. There will be a number of skills incorporated into this unit of study. Students will be choosing some independent project as well as our whole class activities to investigate areas of their choosing. We are using Google spreadsheets within their Google apps account since the basics spreadsheet functions are the same in Google apps and in Excel. The following are companies in which students (and myself) have "invested":

Activision Blizzard
Analog Devices
Baker Hughs
Bank of America
Barrick Gold
Campbell Soup
Coca Cola
Credit Suisse Group
CVS Caremark
Dell Diageo
Exxon Mobil
Fed Ex
Home Depot
Intuitive Surgical
Johnson and Johnson
Marathon Petroleum
Markwest Energy
Morgan Stanley
Range Resources
Rite Aid
Ross Stores
Southwestern Energy
Verizon Communications


Students will also be posting their saint report story to their blog in order to share their chosen saint name and the saint's life. It will certainly be a busy quarter. Assignments can all be accessed from home and students are strongly encouraged to not let things ride until the end of the quarter.

October 10, 2012

The whole class worked in the lab at once today and they were a pleasure to work with. They are definitely working and taking their responsibilities seriously!

I pointed out some errors I had seen when looking over completed "future" glogs and students had time to improve on anything that was lacking. A progress chart was posted for current assignments and many names were signed to indicate they had completed the various assignments. Except for the folder organization in Digital Space 3, the other assignments can all be completed outside of school. If a student works slower to complete the assignments eventually some extra time will need to be put in to complete everything.

external image quiet-sign-md.pngThe Google doc assignment on creating a table and sharing with editing privileges had a reminder not to enter passwords into the document table while someone was next to you. Anyone who did that should email me a new word/number password of 8 characters or more and I will change the password on your various accounts and let you know when they are converted. Passwords must remain confidential!

The Type to Learn 4 Agents of Change program was demonstrated and since it is web-based it is accessible from home or school. Please read the information regarding the program, download information, and keyboarding skills in general on this page.

October 2, 2012

Time to do an update for what's been happening in 8th grade technology!

In the first month of school one of our big ventures was Google Apps for Education, and all 8th grade students have returned their permission forms for the use of these tools. This access will be used across the curriculum in a variety of ways and we hope to make student projects and writing assignments more accessible to students so there is a seamless transition between working at school and working10 years a.JPGat home.
10 years b.JPG
We started the year with a review of some basic skills in MS Word such as textboxes, Word Art, setting indents, page borders, etc. It was also an opportunity for a little creative writing. The activity called By the Numbers stumped a few students who had a hard time coming up with some significant numbers in their lives. Those scores have been posted in Power School.

Besides the school network, another digital space to be reviewed was our EDUGlogster site. The What's In My Future? assignment had students think about where they might be ten years from now. Two important skills in this activity were creating a pleasing graphic design and properly crediting image sources. I have gone over and over the issue of using copyrighted images and how to find and credit images that are under Creative Commons license or in the public domain. I will continue to stress the importance of crediting sources of images and information.

Today, many of the students were working on Digital Space 2, which accessed the Discovery Student Center. Students all have a Discovery account where teachers will post assignments and quizzes, many incorporating video. I posted two tutorial videos on the use of Gmail and Google Docs and then added a short quiz for each video. The quizzes are scored electronically and scores are sent to me by email, but students can also see their scores for each quiz. It was disheartening to see that even though the directions stated, and I repeated, that students could review the video and take the quiz at the same time, some just randomly guessed their way through, did poorly, then took it again and again, without making the connection that what they needed to know could be found in the video. The attempts will be averaged together for one score for each quiz.

The last assignment currently listed on the cougartech webmix involves organizing the student personal network folder using sub-folders and clearing out unnecessary items. From there we will move to a global issue involving literacy, and then begin working with spreadsheets to get a taste for economics and the stock market. In addition we will be covering some Internet safety topics, especially since I have seen some inappropriate messages being posted by our students on some public sites without their considering the long-term implications of such postings.

June 6, 2012

Congratulations to the Class of 2012! Your time at Our Lady had come to an end, but we hope you will be back to visit us and tell us of your accomplishments in high school. Enjoy the next four years because they will speed by.
During the last quarter of the school year we focused on wrapping up our movie project and also doing research and making a presentation on Adolescent Risky Behavior. Finding reliable sources to support your statements is an important part of persuasive writing and speaking, and we hope that you persuaded each other to stay away from the various risky behaviors that some young people engage in. If you do have to present a topic in high school, remember the tips about the importance of images and "tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them." I always learn new things from listening to your presentations.

Congratulations on filming and acting in your movie " A Message About Bullying". Although we all learned a lot about the technical aspects of video production, and there are some things we could have done better, your message is a powerful one, and one that we hope you will live by. Stand up for each other and be a friend. Kindness costs you nothing, and can mean everything to someone else.

I hope that you will remember a lot of what you have learned about technology and Internet safety here at Our Lady. We have been working on these skills since kindergarten and I hope that some of them stick. But if you forget some technical details, remember that in this digital information age, knowledge is only a click away. Seek out the answers for yourself; be a life-long learner. Work on developing a positive digital footprint. You have success written all over you!

If there is every anything I can do for any of you in the future, you know where to find me. God bless you all!
Mrs. Ruffing

April 16, 2012

Recap of quarter 3:
Students completed calculations in the stock portfolio by tracking their stocks for an additional 4 weeks. The skills involved in this activity include formatting a spreadsheet, inserting appropriate formulas, understanding the difference between relative and absolute values of cells, as well as continuing with some economic and global awareness involved in the system of buying and selling of stocks. Related activities included an online vocabulary quiz of 10 stock terms, and viewing two videos related to the stock market to understand how and why companies sell stock and an inside look at the NYSE. Students could have taken the vocabulary quiz as often as they chose, but unfortunately some settled for 5 out of 10 or 7 out of 10, instead of going through the quiz again. A short summary worth 16 points was also to be posted on the student blog page. All requirements for these activities were found on the 8th grade tab of the cougartech webmix.

I have to say that I am disappointed in some scores on the spreadsheet for weeks 5 through 8. As was explained to students, this was pretty much a no-brainer kind of activity, as all the setup had been already done for weeks 1-4 and it was a matter of copying and pasting all formulas and formatting, with a substitution made for price changes. Since weeks 1-4 had been scored at the end of quarter 2, students needed to simply look back at what, if anything, was wrong with the first spreadsheet, and then make sure to correct those items on the second. For example, a number lost points for not including a header and footer on the first assignment, but had exactly the same omission on the second. Dollar amounts that were not formatted to currency were highlighted in yellow on the first sheet, but some still did not have amounts formatted to currency on the second.

In the short blog post, a checklist of some basic requirements was posted (see Tech-onomics 3), but again some hurried through it and left out a title or the link to information, and some had to come in at the 11th hour to complete it. Something I have been stressing to students is that if you are given a checklist on which your score will be based, the wise move is to look over your work and go down the checklist item by item to be sure you haven't missed anything. This would be a great habit to get into now, before they are faced with high school assignments. Also, there are many teachers or even schools where there is a zero tolerance for late assignments, and if it is not in on time the grade is a zero.

Another portion of our third quarter was taken up with storyboarding and filming a video clip on bullying/cyberbullying awareness. In some cases one student of the team filmed and the others acted out their parts, and in other cases the whole team was in the video clips. They needed to edit their clips in Windows Movie Maker and add an appropriate quote for their Three Word Story. These video projects will be scored in quarter 4 and all team videos put together into one class project. In the next week or so there will be a permission slip coming home regarding the publication of the video. Once the entire video is completed, I would like to post it on the school's YouTube channel. Then I can put a link to it (or embed it) on our school website and class blog. We will need to have a permission slip for each student allowing them to appear in this video. There is no speaking in the video, and no names are listed. The credit is simply going to the Class of 2012. If anyone does not bring in the permission slip with parental consent, we will not be able to share the video outside of school. The messages they are trying to get across regarding bullying and cyberbullying are important ones, and they have worked hard on their individual story lines. I hope we will be able to share their efforts and deliver an antibullying message created by young people for young people.

Floor of NYSE from Britannica.com
Floor of NYSE from Britannica.com
Looking ahead to quarter 4:

Students are working now in teams to develop a presentation to their class on an assigned health topic related to adolescent risky behavior. They have used a Google Doc as a means of collaborative research and note-taking, and are using Google Presentations as a way to collaborate on their slide presentation both in and out of school. In technology class we have gone over the concept of what makes a good presentation and what NOT to do when creating slides. (And haven't we all endured bad and boring presentations at one time or another?) In addition to the health presentation, we will wrap up our study of "tech-onomics" by creating a line graph in Excel of one particular stock's changes over the course of our investigation and analyze the charted performance. This will be posted to the blog as a way to share the results with others. There will also be an online 10 item quiz on Excel terminology, with the same re-take options as the stock quiz. If you want some tips on investing, check with these students who have turned their original $10,000 into the biggest profits:
Noah - 11.969.99
Nick - 11.799.80
Bridget - 11, 681.72
Julia - 11,612.17
Matt - 11,566.20

February 19, 2012

January has come and gone and I will provide a quick recap of second quarter before moving on to current projects. Projects are always posted on the Cougartech webmix.

Graded assignments for the second quarter were 1) an evaluation of the initial setup for the stock portfolio in week one. I checked everyone's setup to be sure there were no errors before they continued with the rest of the weeks and 2) an evaluation of the spreadsheet setup for weeks one through four. These checklists were found in Tech-onomics #1 and Tech-onomics #2 and linked within the PowerSchool assignment explanation. The third assignment was getting used to the flip camera and downloading and saving the video clip files as previously mentioned. These steps appear in Lights, Camera, Action #1. What was still not included was the assignment in which students corrected mistakes in the MDG blog post. For some reason there are still some students who did not understand the purpose of that assignment. They still thought all they had to do was list what they did wrong, but hey...didn't I already do that for you when I graded the assignment? Why would you tell me what I already told you? The purpose was to find the things that needed correcting and actually CORRECT THEM. In some cases I looked at a student list that said, I corrected this misspelled word, and I fixed this or that with the image, but the post itself was not actually corrected. So, I will be looking once more and adding that into the third quarter.

ebay.JPGSpeaking of third quarter, students should have completed the Saint Report post by this time. A majority were counted as on-time, and the last few I just scored lost one of the two on-time points, but there are till six students who have not published their post as of this writing. The only thing we were really working on here was learning to add a horizontal rule, inserting a non-copyrighted image, and giving proper attribution. All the research and writing had already been done. That assignment checklist is found here. Also this quarter, students should have completed the stock sheet for weeks 5-8 following the exact same checklist as for weeks 1 - 4 in Tech-onomics #2. It will be evaluated in the same way. There is also a Google spreadsheet where students have been adding their totals for each week after week one. There should not be any empty cells at this point. Weeks 5-8 is pretty much a no-brainer because everything that was an error in weeks 1-4 has already been pointed out, so would we actually make the same mistakes the second time around? In addition there was an online assignment that could have been completed entirely outside of class, involving background and stock market terminology. After watching two videos on the stock market a post should have been created to summarize what was learned (Tech-onomics #3). After reviewing the videos and vocabulary, the students should be taking an online 10-item quiz linked within a stock market glog on the webmix, bottom of the page. As those results come into my email, I post them in PowerSchool. It is an easy 10 points, like an open book quiz, and students may even have a do-over if they would like to score better (and don't we all want to get 10 out of 10 correct?) I have also added an extra credit 5 point quiz relating to a company whose stock has been in the news recently. Optional, but why not be up on what's happening and earn a few points to offset any that may have been lost for other errors? Students need to log into their Discovery Streaming student account to access that bonus quiz. (Same log on as wiki)

And finally, we are striving to get the actual shooting of the anti-bullying video completed this quarter for the health/technology project. Students will use Movie Maker to blend their video clips and their chosen quotation (team effort) and then I will blend all the clips together for a class project. I have pulled out 4 videos that review the steps in pulling video clips into Movie Maker and making transitions, etc. This was done with a site called Dragontape which lets you blend several videos into one, or watch them separately. The checklist for this part of the video project is Lights, Camera, Action #2.

What's ahead? We will wrap up our work in Excel by charting one of the stocks in the portfolio to learn how to use Excel tools to create a line graph. And there will also be another quiz on Excel terminology, again from the stock market glog. Then it is time to prepare for the presentation of a topic in Adolescent Risky Behavior and learn what makes a GOOD PowerPoint presentation (and it isn't reading the slides to your audience!) These last items will likely see us into the fourth quarter.

Stay warm. One more month of winter.

December 8, 2011

This week students continued to work with formatting a spreadsheet (merged cells, formulas, cell formats, etc.) while updating stocks in their portfolios. Many students had a gain of several hundred dollars. Let's hope the trend continues (in the real economy too!)

external image flip-video-review.jpgWe are also in the midst of a health-technology venture that will take us into the realm of movie-making. Students will be creating a story board and then using our flip cameras to film a potrayal of an anti-bullying message. We are following the Three Word Story format in which the actions and three simple words will convey the entire message. They are looking at camera angles in a resource from the American Film Institute to decide if they want a long shot, a dolly shot, a close-up, a choker, etc. It should be interesting.

Evaluations will be given for 1) finding 8 ways to improve the MDG post 2) the first week's formatting of the stock spreadsheet and 3) the storyboard team assignment. Our videos will not be ready for prime time until the new year.
Peace and warmth!
external image xmasbar3.gif

November 5, 2011

Throughout the quarter the assignments have all been displayed in the cougartech webmix with easy access from home or school. Most people were doing well in the first three digital space assignments because they were relatively easy and didn't require a lot of thought. The purpose of those assignments was to refresh skills in the use of a variety of digital spaces: the school network and saving files correctly to various network locations, the class wikispace which will be used for a variety of projects throughout the year, and the class of 2012 glog space which for the first assignment just involved going back over the tools. These spaces and others will be used in various projects throughout the year. The fourth space is the class blog, which is a sort of digital portfolio, or e-portfolio of students work. On the blog page students post not only writing on various topics, but embed other projects as well, in order to share with a wider audience. The fourth assignment took the most effort because it involved analyzing and synthesizing information from various sources, drawing conclusions and clearly expressing thoughts. All the details posted in the digital space 4 assignment could have been worked on outside of school. Even now in eighth grade, some students still do not have the sense that if you are absent for a class that you only have once a week, you are going to be behind in your work unless you put in the time on your own, Every class period is busy and the time goes quickly.

external image 6188065767_e742201943.jpgThe fourth assignment went to the end of the quarter, due to the fact that eighth grade missed one of their class periods due to a highschool visitation day. So there was no extra week at the end to make up late work. But everyone was reminded of this several times, and I offered an open lab day for seventh and eighth graders who needed some extra time or extra help. Only one seventh grader and one eighth grader took advantage of that. Students who took the Wordle option for their visual were reminded that they needed to save their image in the network folder and ask me to upload it so I could in turn supply them with the URL to their image online. As of the evening of November 4, there are many people who have not published their post on the Millennium Goals, a very timely and serious topic, and a topic that takes us away from focusing on ourselves and gives us a chance to see where we fit in our global society. Some may have thought they requested publishing and never checked the box, some may have forgotten to finish. If you view your grades in Power School this weekend, which many of you will be doing, and you notice an Incomplete for your technology grade, that will be due to the fact that your post was not published. I will be out of town at a wedding November 5-6 but I will check for any late entries to approve for publication on Sunday evening. I will not accept any late digital space 4 assignments after Monday at 8 pm because I need to close out the grades for the first quarter. Feel free to email me if you have any questions or run into a problem and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Some students have had a very high score for most of the quarter but will be dropping drastically if the fourth assignment is not finished as it is worth 44 points. Those students who do not see an Incomplete for a grade may still see a big drop in their scores because some of the posts are quite disappointing with careless spelling and incorrect use of images. I will post those scores as soon as I can. If you see your post published and notice some glaring errors or things not looking as they should, please feel free to make corrections and re-publish.

Image credit: Community Outreach in Somalia by Oxfam International under CC License

September 13, 2011

external image manga.PNGToday was the first class in the new computer lab for the Class of 2012. Our time together is very short each week and the first day was spent just getting acclimated to new log on procedures, checking out the CougarTech class webmix, and testing a new EDU glogster password. Other accounts will be tested next week. As you can see from the summary message for the Class of 2011, the eighth grade engaged in many different types of technology projects last year, from use of productivity tools such as Microsoft Office, to Web2.0 tools allowing us to be creative members of the global classroom. We also are very fortunate to have a variety of new technology equipment to use, so we will be busy.

Please remember to complete both sides of the signature form taken home today so that we can move right into our activities next Tuesday. I apologize that the side of the page was too close to the edge and didn't copy well. Here is a Google Doc view of the page.

Looking back at 2010-2011

June 10, 2011 - Well, the last quarter of the year flew by, and because of our renovation project actually ended a little sooner than expected. Now it is time to say goodbye, and congratulations, to the Class of 2011.

external image 2878326718_78c411eb70.jpgDuring the course of this year we have blogged and participated in the global community, collaborated on wikis, learned about using Creative Commons licensed art and music, learned about formulas and charting in Excel, created video projects, and honed our presentation techniques with PowerPoint. We also discussed Internet Safety and protecting our privacy as we engage in social networking, and the consequences of bullying. We learned to evaluate websites for quality and authenticity and used technology to "learn how to learn". I hope that you will continue to advance your technology skills and become life-long learners in this area. Technology is advancing more rapidly each year and it is exciting to be a part of all that is happening.

I will welcome news of your technology ventures in high school, and if I can ever be of assistance to you, please let me know. Blogs will stay active (in the alumni section) for another year so that you may continue to add to them if you wish. Or venture out and start your own!

Best of luck to you all as you leave Our Lady! You are the leaders of tomorrow. Our world is in your hands!