Category Archives: Reflections

Day 6 Reflection

My brain has been WordPressed … but with a little overnight consolidation I am hopeful to put some informawordpressmemetion into long term memory and work with Julia to get this all figured out for our presentation on Thursday. Hopefully we can produce something that will be of use to others in the class (or anybody else at our level of experience) if they are keen to move beyond the basic .com cookie cutter product (which I now see some simplistic advantages to using¬† … this will all be good in the end.)

Wonderful image editing tricks presented this morning, especially the one for making the background transparent (for free!). I will use that somehow. Digital storytelling … so many obvious applications for elementary kids, but I bet MS and HS kids could create thoughtful products, demonstrating their understanding of concepts in many subjects. Our 8th graders have traditionally produced an iMovie reflecting back on their lives, but incorporating storytelling tools may be a welcome option for them.

And, as mentioned, most the pie chart of my mind was dedicated to getting off the ground, with Craig doing most of the heavy lifting this afternoon outside of class for the set up. Thank you, Craig!!!! I want to take a full blown course in this this fall, and get the process for setting this up so I more fully understand what we did today, especially the FTP, modifying the code and the ins and outs of the security plugins. As the theme seems to be going, I have enough knowledge to get in trouble with so many aspects of tech, but not enough to get myself out of i! For some reason, when I was trying to follow a friend’s blog on my reader this afternoon, a new WordPressblog site seemed to be have been created, not connected to either my work, the TCNJ, my personal tetheredexpat blog nor the new one we created this afternoon. Automagically it seems I had an account (without any pages) created for meaganpavey2015. Hmmm … a strategy by WP to get me to create an account, not knowing I am already juggling too many? ūüôā

I really appreciate the “building and modifying a prefab house on a plot of land” analogy Craig used with me today.¬† I think Julia and I might run with that one. To be determined Wednesday.

An ode to the gif animation

And another significant accomplishment for the day … bought two bottles of cava and two cartons of juice for our class fest on Thursday. Vitamin C and hydration are important for learning. Need to find some plastic glasses!

Reflection – Day 5

Do you ever have one of those days where it smacks you in the head,¬† how little you know on a topic? The “hardware talk” today made me realize how I’ve been cruising through my tech life so blissfully ignorant, leaving issues such as processor speed, memory and storage to the tech team at our school to advise me on, and I went with the “whatever you think is best” approach for decisions. (I think I would still take that approach as the knowledge and expertise in that department is immense, and I now have just the minimal amount of knowledge to get myself in trouble.)

Where I think I have not invested enough energy for my own learning is programing, but I do feel proud that I have been an active supporter of a teacher who does know what he is doing in my old middle school. When we revised our course offerings in 2010, we had a “multi-media” course, where Glenn (the teacher) had the foresight to put a substantial unit on Scratch programming into it. I didn’t fully appreciate it, but kids were captivated and engaged in the work. When Glenn took on the development of the robotics course for 7th graders, I started to see the programming connections, the use of blocks of code, and the importance of getting kids to see how to combine chunks of code to execute an action. I am in even more awe of Glenn and the kids for accomplishing what they do after 3 years of the robotics course and now a club being up, running and very active. What has been so interesting to see is the reaction of other teachers to our robotics class, club and the programming unit in the multi-media class. They are mildly amused, but I don’t think, reflecting back on their reactions, they realize how important this skill and understanding for the kids is. Even if they never do anything more advanced than what they experience in middle school, they will have an understanding and appreciation of how code causes action … a whole lot more than I have understood up until recently. Many of the adult reactions took the approach that if we teach kids code, we will not be teaching them the importance of social skills, caring for one another, appreciation of the arts, etc. Thinking seems a tad black and white.

Today’s time, playing with Scratch and MakeyMakey was fabulous. I completely missed the boat when I was using MakeyMakey with my study hall kids this year (I admit – primarily to entertain them), and did not tap into any of the programming side of it. Kids figured out how to complete the circuits quickly, and then just found ready made programs on the MakeyMakey site, rather than me pushing them to use Scratch to create their own. Oh, for a do-over!


Reflection – Day 4

Random thoughts and discoveries in no particular order …

      • I’ve had my Mac for five years now … I liken the experience to owning a 2010 Saub or Audi, but I’m driving it like a 1986 Chrysler K car … using only the basic features and not taking advantage of the bells and whistles. This class is allowing me to appreciate the sweet side of my Mac such as Quicktime and Keychain.
      • the Aurasma App for iOS and Aurasma Studio accounts for the desk/lap top accounts don’t sync, even if they have the same login user and password. Weird, but good to know so you don’t start a mobile device based project and then try to edit an AR project on the desktop – you can’t. Read more at this good blog by a teacher who uses AR in her kindergarten.
    • But I did create an AR birthday card for my mom, with the trigger being the front of a Canadian passport, since I didn’t have any other “standard” images at hand, which would also be available for my family to set up. Reading the blog above, I realized, stylized large font on a computer screen also makes a good trigger, so I could have made a birthday card graphic trigger and sent it as a link. (And as an aside, I am feeling mighty proud of figuring out how to make this embedded YouTube video “float” to the left of this text. Searching, copying, pasting, tweaking and using my best guess method to write code to the rescue.¬† I totally guessed as to what the code to indent the video on the left would be so it lined up with the other bullets).
    • Am feeling a bit of a love-hate thing with Apple at the moment, as I realize my “old” hardware (iPhone 4S) makes new tricks impossible. More in my response on Craig’s post about making QuickTime movies.
    • Learned so many cool things from my classmates yesterday in their presentations. From Eric’s I am keen to try the Meograph. From Julia’s, I’ve already downloaded Pic Collage and will give it a wing this afternoon in the musuem, from Brittany’s presentation, I’m going to pass on the comic strip creator to my colleagues, since middle school kids LOVE graphic novels … now they can create their own. From Sura’s presentation I want to explore GoNoodle and what might be out there for MS kids and couch-potato adults who can sit for hours at a time on their computer (yes, that’s me). And the Equil Smartpen presented by Rob, has me determined to figure out how I can use it both personally and professionally. I’m convinced that there would be a cool way to incorporate it into the Readers and Writers Notebooks that are key in the language arts workshop model.
    • Tomorrow’s project (after the exam) – figure out the smartpen and get ifthisthenthat going with Feedly and Pocket.
    • Thinking about the final project and how to make it helpful in my next “phase”. Thinking about productivity and organization, thinking about health – both my mom’s and mine, thinking about tech opportunities and limitations as I try to help my friend do PD in a rural school in Nepal, thinking about working with adults and kids who are on the margins both socially and economically when I move back home and how tech might help me and them. Choices, choices.

Reflection Day 3

My brain is hurting, but in a good way. More wonderful tools presented before the break, and I am just so thankful you have them referenced on the class website, Craig. Thank you … I’ll be coming back for weeks/months to come.

htmltextLargely, I’ve been “playing” this afternoon,, which I now believe to be a sickly sweet euphemism for learning by trial and error. But it is how I learn best, so all is good. Trial and error mostly related to html coding, what to teach and getting it to “work” in my own webpage. I had a bizarre experience, which I will talk through tomorrow … I could “embed” video from YouTube this morning at school to WordPress, but could not do it when I came home, prompting a bit of research and discovery that WP does not allow it. (But it allowed me this morning …. <frustration> ….</frustration>.

My three mini-lessons for tomorrow will hopefully prove useful to others … the Pinterest and TweetDeck appealing to the PD side in people and html widget creation appealing to the inner geek. I’m unsure why I couldn’t find the ready-made widget for embedding the latest Tweets into the blog, as I have done on my personal WP site. For follow up tomorrow.

One of the things I have thought a lot about in my time as a tech-positive-trying-to-walk-the-talk administrator is the time I spend making videos, updating my blog, designing spreadsheets and pivot tables, doing mail merges for certificates, and the list goes on … but that is all time I am not in classrooms and hanging out with kids and teachers, just getting to know them. I love the creative and product oriented side of creating media, and crunching data so that it leads to some ah-has, but I wonder if it the best use of my time. I felt a huge weight off my shoulders when I let go of being the “go-to” person for our student management system as far as getting learning goals input into it, and helping teachers with their grade books and then producing report cards. I loved the challenge of getting the system to do something it was not designed to do, but I always felt there were others who were better suited to tackle the challenge if they had the time and felt an urgency to do so.

Time … it all comes down to time and priorities.

Day 2 Reflection

Forewarning … today is a bit of a ramble …

“So mae_west1many ¬†tech applications, so little time!” ¬†Was that not what Mae West said?

A great day, rediscovering and learning the power of Google Drive, Forms, Slides, etc. after being behind the Great Firewall for so long. I have a better appreciation of the frustration our Google certified teachers experience when they come to work in China. Office 365 has potential to fill the void, but is not nearly as slick. My former IT director would gnash his teeth if he were to read this.

And, another rediscovery … the world of YouTube embedded video. A hard-to-reach resources from China, but now at my finger tips. Nothing like 6 years in a benevolent dictatorship to make me appreciate the treasures (and garbage) that democracy brings.¬†Putting my money where my mouth is …

I visited the Joan Miro gallery behind the school this afternoon.

Next challenge is to figure out the Aurasma app by way of an “animated” birthday card for my mom tIMG_4470his weekend. As I dined on a tasty organic lunch at a wonderful restaurant near my house, I fantasized about how I could add taste and smell to an Aurasma creation.

Software in the cloud … thanks, Craig, for being ok with me taking a more “personal” slant on this project. I spent a chunk of time this afternoon investigating a “cloud” based project that I have been intrigued by for a while: “Sharing” my real time blood sugar with anyone who would care to know where I am on the scale from dangerously low to sticky, sweet high. Turns out there are a pile of people with diabetes or parents of kids with diabetes who have a penchant for software development and aren’t sitting around waiting for “big pharma” to develop commercial products. I joined a FaceBook group today of these devotees, did some research and was a tad disappointed to learn I need to get some additional hardware and cobble together a receiver (using a soldering iron – geesh) that would then pass on data to a smart phone (Android, not iOS – drat those garage engineers) before my CGM (continuous glucose monitor) data is shareable via the cloud. Certainly has rekindled my interest in biomedical engineering.

Hear me beeping? It's this gizmo. An insulin pump with an integrated continuous glucose monitor. I'm quite wired up with hardware. :-)

Hear me beeping? It’s this gizmo. An insulin pump with an integrated continuous glucose monitor. I’m quite wired up with hardware. ūüôā

So, sticking with the personal and the “health” theme, I thought I’d do a bit of research and present on using Twitter for both education in professional development and for health in building “online communities” of support and advocacy. I’m a user more for the latter than the former. Today, via Twitter, ¬†I (@tetheredexpat) introduced the BBC health reporter Tulip Mazunda (@tulipmazunda), who is reporting from Nigeria and Sierra Leone to the head of the Type 1 International advocacy (@T1International) and the head of the Nigerian Diabetes Online Community (@theNGdoc) with the idea that she might do a news piece about diabetes in Africa for World Diabetes Day in November. I would be stoked if she actually takes up this story idea. Through Twitter I’ve found an amazing international community of like minded, funny/irreverent and supportive individuals advocating for diabetes health, many of whom I hope to meet in person at the World Congress in Vancouver in December.

Lastly, with BBC lead story today of the new drug for treating Alzheimer’s, it has reminded me (poor choice of words) about my interest in finding out what exists either in “the cloud” or as an app for assisting those suffering from dementia with activities of daily living. My initial search came up with a disturbing finding. So mslider2any apps are designed to “entertain” the patient rather than help them. A child interviewed by Sherry Turkle in Alone Together, said, “don’t we have people to do that?” (when learning about the robotic seal used in Japanese senior citizens¬†homes.) I did find something helpful. Talking Mats, an app for assisting those with communication struggles both old and young.

(Yes, I’m a BBC junkie.)

Lastly, thanks, Craig, for helping me figure out how to transfer all of my WordPress professional-educational posts and pages from my last school to my storage sites. Nice to know all that work of the past couple of years is not lost. And really lastly, you asked me to post the books I’ve been reading and thinking about:

Alone Together – Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other by Sherry Turkle, The Shallows: How the Internet is Changing the Way We Think, Read and Remember by Nicholas Carr and one I want to read is the Circle by Dave Eggers.





Day 1 Reflection

Greetings from the basement/dungeon of Bellver College. Wide awake, well caffeinated and well chilled! Today was a a great hook with a sharing of the trends in Ed Tech. I really need to start following Free Tech for Teachers on a daily basis. So much good stuff. Today, I was particularly intrigued by the LiveScribe and the other “smart” pen, whose name escapes me, along with the AR tech, all presented by Craig.

My interests in Ed Tech are wide and varied, from the techie software side of things to the sociology and psychology of tech in education. My ed tech heros include George Curous, John Burns,  Dana Watts , Dave Warlick and Alan November.

Personally, I’m interested in tech integration for health, and would love to explore and experiment with media production.

Thanks for an interesting first day!