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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

#11 Wrap Up

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.
It's hard to say which are my favorites. I use so many of the tools already in my virtual classes. I like the Voki avatars for introducing stuff of importance in my classes before they actually start. I will use Google Docs sharing for some lab collaborations and I do use things like Prezi and Brainshark for instruction in the classes. I have students use Prezi also, and I may introduce them to Brainshark so they can narrate their own power points. I used many of the PhET's for labs in the Online Physics course I created. And many more too numerous to mention.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?

In all honesty, it hasn’t transformed me at all. I am a Virtual Teacher, in a virtual classroom, already using many of the tools presented. I am also approved to take the Master Technology Teacher state certification because of prior training. I’ve attended various conferences that deal with technology in the classroom, including last year’s national Virtual School Symposium.
3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

No, there weren’t any unexpected outcomes that surprised me in this program.

#10 - Digital Citizenship - It's the rules!

Since I am an online teacher, citizenship is paramount. My classes all include the SBISD digital policies that each student must read and agree to. Netiquette rules are posted for the students and are followed in Synchronous and Asynchronous discussions. Respect for each students ideas must be maintained. Students must be familiar with the Acceptable Use policy found in the course orientation and follow that policy.

Ed Tech has BYOD link that reminds us that the domain has a blog at that is available for teacher and student use. It would not be difficult to add this tool to any class.

A Live Chat concerning acceptable use could be scheduled for the courses. This could be done several times during the first week of the class, during a get to know each other type Live Chat. The teacher could put up a slide entitled “Acceptable Use” and have the students supply thoughts that could be written on the whiteboard in the chat.

Parents have access to the Orientation with their students and one of the assignments in the orientation which gets the students extra credit in their course is to have the parent send me an email from their work email (or other non-free public email address – IE not from yahoo or gmail.)

Tool #9: Incorporating Classroom-Based Devices as Tools for Learning

  1. Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective?
    1. Technology for the sake of technology diminishes the learning objectives. While the TEKS require the use of technology, note it says use. It is secondary to the objective is every instance. Technology is the tool for learning.
  2. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers?
    1. Students are accountable and assessed on every learning concept. The mode of presentation may vary, but the objective is still the same and needs to be assessed. TxVSN requires 2 modes of assessment on every TEK.
  3. Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
    1. The only applicable site is the University of Colorado PhET site. I have included many of the PhET simulations in the Physics course I wrote that was recently accepted by the TxVSN for inclusion in the courses catalog. Many contributors provide activities for the PhET simulations and I require students to submit the written work for evaluation.
  4. List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations?
    1. Smithsonian Channel. Will be used to screen video content. Station will have follow along notes sheet. Quiz will be used for assessment.
    2. Skyview Free. Will be used in astronomy for star locations. Students will locate stars and complete a sky chart, listing star name and facts available through the app. A complete lab report will also be submitted with the sky chart. Number of celestial objects determined by teacher.
  5. What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station.
    1. Students may use the Evernote app to complete observations on any lab activity. They may take notes, use the photo function to take pictures as they progress in the lab, record voices, etc. They can share via facebook and twitter and connect evernote to other apps.

Tool #8

This tool is the easiest to respond to. I don't have a classroom and will not be receiving the equipment. I will not have to keep track of them and won't have to worry about a plan to have students utilize them. 

However, I did receive one to check my courses for accessability. I will also be able to come up with iPad activities as an alternate or bonus assignment for my courses. I have already found that some of the content of my courses are not compatable with the iPad and I am working to correct those faults.

Collaboration - Tool #7 of the 11 Tools

Student collaboration project.
The students will complete the exploration and then collaborate with other students to create a shared results spreadsheet of data.

This project is currently in effect in the Unit A1 of both the virtual IPC class and the virtual Physics class.
Shared Google Docs spreadsheet is used for this exercise.

Students will share their collected data to determine which toilet tissue is the strongest. All students will be able to participate through the document sharing capabilities in Google Docs. 

Since my students are located and all 5 SBISD High Schools AND other schools throughout the state, I’m good with the collaboration. Students also collaborate continually in their asynchronous discussions found in every module of the course.

#6 of the 11 Tools

How about taking a poll? Using the tool.
It's handy and easy for the students to use.

In the Virtual HS we use Elluminate for synchronous, online chats. However a nice free model is found at You might want to check this one out as Elluminate is extremely costly.

It's also fun to let the students tweet. Here's a sample...


These tools are very useful. Students like texting (witness their continual posture in class, head tilted down and both hands under their desks) The response for the poll can be tabulated quickly and there are many different ways the poll can be answered.
Twitter is instant and you could project the twitter feed and students can interact with your lecture on the fly without having to interrupt. The question would be there. Other students could interact on the tweet before you were able to get to it, probably answering the question before you get around to it.

11 Tools #4 Repost

I have been using Google Apps for about a year now. We use the share function to collaborate on forms we need to submit to TxVSN for course approvals. We are able to assist each other and it does save time.
I have an assignment in my IPC course that asks students to fill in a spreadsheet with their data, sharing with the others in their group. The google apps share capability allows students to almost automatically accomplish this task.
I did learn about the form tool, and I will use the form I created. It's a survey form for students to sign up for times for our Live Chat (Synchronous Discussion) assignments in their virtual classes. I look forward to using it this fall.

Web Tools for all - 11 Tools #5

OK, Google Apps. Great tool. I have one of my browsers set to view students submissions in G Apps. Handy when student uses off brand word processing... We use shared apps in the VHS to work up new course submissions for TxVSN and I can see a benefit for the online classes as well. I have one Lab in IPC that needs a shared spreadsheet and it would be really easy to use the G Apps shared file for this.

The form I created for the other part of this lesson is a survey form that students need to fill out so we can decide when to hold Live Chats (Synchronous Discussions) in my classes. I will be using it this fall.

Link to the Prezi:
just is case your video doesn't work or you are reading this on an ipad or iphone.
This Prezi I created to use inside the Promotional video I created for the Virtual High School. That video is 5 minutes long so I will not be posting it here. (Aren't ya glad???)

One not discussed in the assignment is Brainshark ( This tool allows you to narrate your ppt presentation. Here is my example of that. It is a student directions powerpoint teaching the student how to do a Gizmo lab from

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tool #3 of 11

OK, so I already embed videos in my online classes. I use a lot of video from These are embedded right in the courses. I also use as a hotlink for problem solving. I have the students upload videos of their projects and they provide me with the link to their videos as part of their assignments. is an example of one video used in Physics 1. Following the link will open a new box with the video.

I have used commercial video segments for educational use for a long time. I do know that it has to be not for profit use. I keep them as short as possible to avoid conflict.

Storage in the cloud is great. I have about 7 accounts of 50 GB and a couple of Dropbox accounts. My school dropbox is 4.75 GB. I have used them to store a lot of material. I used the share capability when I needed to have customer support at Moodlerooms look at my Angel container to see why it wasn't converting to moodle correctly. Since the container was too large to email, it was the perfect way to send the files.

And the bad news is, a account now comes with only 2 GB. I got in when they first opened up, last November! I registered every email I own for the 50 GB plan!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

11 Tools assignment 2

11 tools Assignment 2
Talking points today. First lets look at some of the blogs I’ve selected. I’ll list them here and comment on them as I go.
Definitely a college level blog, interesting in the fact he has links other places and things like and there is a link to Microsoft’s site where the Feyhman lectures are located.
Fun site with a large variety of posts, including a Rant of Bad Physics Reporting. And example…
Harry Potter and Star Trek fans, rejoice! Teleportation is real. Using powerful lasers and optics to manipulate photons, or units of light, researchers in China set a record for teleporting a photon more than 10 miles, TIME reported in 2010.
This is a must see blog.
Another great site, visited by over 1 million people (or less if you count by identity rather than visits) in it’s six years of existence is:
An example of the fun stuff found there…
Tonight, we make soap.
Matt over at Sciencegeist is organizing this blog carnival in an effort to reclaim the word chemical from the hands of ignorant people who blindly assume anything with ‘chemicals’ in it must be evil. This is not a moment too soon.  I’m not exactly sure how the pendulum of public opinion swung from products being advertised as ‘Better living through chemistry’ to products being advertised as ‘chemical free’ (whatever that means). Soaps and other skin care/beauty products are certainly in the cross-hairs of the ‘chemical free’ crowd, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.
As the tallow renders, you skim off the layer of glycerin. If you were to add nitric acid, you got nitroglycerin.  If you were to add sodium nitrate and a dash of sawdust, you’d have dynamite
Did you know that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite. He was so ashamed of himself for bringing the “destructive force” of dynamite into the world, and therefore into warfare, that he bequeathed all his earning from that invention into awarding a peace prize.
This is a fascinating site for everything Biology oriented. You can get lost for HOURS looking at all the stuff found here! There are not enough stars to give this one justice, I give it 5 out of 5 because Skyward doesn’t allow grades above 100% :p
The American Geophysical Union hosts a plethora (ooops, big word) … LOTS of blogs and earth and space science topics. Perfect for information for your NEW ESS classes [that’s Earth and Space Science] A person could get lost here for days going through all the information.

I learned about Diigo at the Virtual School Symposium last November. I think it’s a great way to find new sources of information that has already been tested by fellow teachers. With a google search, you get everything. You don’t know the relative merits of the site until you go there. A time saver is a Diigo shared bookmarks file where you can look for tested references. It’s a great time saver. You never know what you are going to find as some may not show up on your google search (because of mislabeling or they are 1893 pages back in the search and you’ll never see them.
I will continue to visit because of the variety of the posts and the information available. I will probably also look again at the All-Physics site because of the videos and interactive he has found. They are a great resource for me for my online classes.