Learning Log – iGoogle

So as I was building my iGoogle page I realized that I would have to download Google Chrome because some issues popped up with Google Docs in my old browser Firefox.  So I downloaded Google Chrome and set to redoing my passwords because I’m lazy and enjoy websites which have the passwords already saved.

After figuring out all of that and getting back to iGoogle, I worked with my new page and placed several apps on it:  Google Docs, Hungry Turtles (which my 10 year old son had a blast playing with!), Youtube, CNN news, Google Reader, BeJeweled, Google Translate, and more.  I linked my Twitter and email.  I think this is a pretty cool home page and one that will make my life a bit easier.  Now, I can go on this one site and get updates on my Twitter, weather, news, Reader, and so on instead of opening up several tabs in one browser.

If I were teaching, I would enjoy this even more because I have Google Docs at the ready anytime I need it.  For creating and sharing non-confidential documents between faculty, it would be a valuable resource.  Also, since I have Google Reader set up on here as well, I can check out the latest in educational blogs I have subscribed to.  This will allow me to keep up with the latest topics and news in education.  Not to mention that I also have subscribed to places such as School Library Journal, VOYA, and Library Media Connection through Twitter so anytime I go onto my iGoogle page, I can get updates from these very important magazines.

I also set up my Gmail account so no need to log on through McDaniel – I linked both my school & my regular emails together.  Easy!!!

In setting up this page, I’m reminded of a ReadWriteWeb article I read recently by Richard MacManus in which he discusses Facebook’s Frictionless Sharing.  http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/frictionless_sharing_pros_cons.php.  Frictionless Sharing is an app that connects your Facebook to whatever website or activity you are working on, such as a music site.  Once activated, the music you are listening to will automatically update on your Facebook page.

iGoogle reminds me of this only backwards.  Instead of everything I do updating to my Facebook page, instead everything is updating to one specific place.  It simplifies my work and makes it more manageable, especially for this technology course.

Here’s a screenshot of my page iGoogle page:

Anne's page


Digital Storytelling Project!!


I finally got it uploaded!!  Horray!

This is an introduction to Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico.  It is for an 8th grade Spanish 1 class.  It could be used as a lesson-opener or as part of a greater ‘intro to Mexican holidays’ lesson.

Mod 2 – learning log post – great article


I found this article through Hoover and I thought it had some great ideas for advocating the library.  I’m currently taking Library Administration as well as this technology course and I found this article to be very appropriate to what we’ve been discussing in Lib. Admin. although it is useful in general to school librarians, especially the recommendation that you do technology professional developments with teachers in the library and include the principal, supervisor, etc.  “Having their involvement results in them engaging the roles of the library more personally–thus building their understanding of what you are actually doing.”

In other words, this not only demonstrates your own knowledge and usefulness but also shows that you are approachable and want to bring something more to the school and are willing to work for it.

Anyway, I liked the ideas in here and thought I’d post it in case any of you super awesome people following my blog would like to check it out.

Mod 2 learning log post – Flicker Gallery

I have named my gallery “El Mundo Hispanohablante” (the Spanish-speaking world).


I created this gallery based on various locations within Spanish-speaking countries.  I even included two photos from San Antonio, Texas because Texas was at one time a Spanish colony and has plenty of Spanish-speakers even today!

How I could use this in my classroom:

1.  I could have my students choose one location or person/team) from the gallery, complete a brief research project on that location/person/team, and create a presentation of their own using something like Animoto/Photostory/etc. in which they discuss their chosen topic.

2.  Students could choose a scene from the gallery to practice their conversational skills in the target language.  Students would pair up and take turns asking/answering questions about the scene, people, etc. of the chosen photo.  Alternatively, students could write a brief description of what they see in the photo.

3.  Taking a page from the “Using Flicker in the Classroom” article, I could have students study the pictures I chose.  From this point of reference, they would choose a Spanish-speaking country or even a location within the gallery I made, and create a travel brochure of a specific destination within the country (or of the location they chose from the gallery such as San Antonio, Texas).  The librarian and I could collaborate on the teaching of photograph/intellectual property copyright issues, researching specific countries, and creating a virtual travel brochure using their own Flicker account and corresponding written presentation.

I think using Flicker in the classroom could be a fantastic tool for a foreign language classroom.  You could use it for anything from a warm-up discussion/written assignment to a research project.  The only issues that could arise (besides copyright issues) is accessibility.  Not every teacher in every classroom will have internet access every day.  Perhaps Flicker would only be useful then for projects in the library.

Also, the teacher will have to be aware of inappropriate photos.  For quality assurances only (I swear!!!) I searched a few ‘naughty’ words and sure enough some pictures came up that I didn’t think would be appropriate for schools (though it’s no where near as bad as Google Images!).  As a teacher, this is something to be aware of when using the internet and any service that has photos should be used with some degree of caution.

Mod 2 Learning Log – Flicker Slideshow


For this learning log post I created a slideshow about a kid named Nico’s family.  I could use this slideshow in a Spanish class for a creative writing assignment. They could create a short story about the people in the photos or choose a specific photo to begin describing a scene from that day in the photo – where the people went, who they were with, what was the day like, etc.

For a beginning Spanish class, I would have my students describe each of the people in the photos – their names, how old they are, what they are like (personality), how they are feeling in the photo what they are wearing, and so on. For this activity, they could complete both a written assignment as well as a partner activity in which they practice taking turns describing the people in the photographs.  Each partner could also take turns asking questions about the people in the photographs.

Content standard #1 – Communication  1. INTERPERSONAL: Students exchange information orally and in writing in the target language in a culturally appropriate manner to provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

Standard taken from:


These activities meet Maryland Foreign Language content standard #1 in that they create an exchange of information between student-teacher and student-student.  The activities listed can be performed both in writing and orally entirely within the target language.  The activities also fall into Carroll County’s Foreign Language Department’s communicative focus which allows for students to exchange information as they own it.  In other words, the activities allow for a certain vocabulary freedom.  While we would engage in descriptive language and creative writing language, the ownership of said language is individual to each student.  Students will be able to express themselves with the vocabulary they are most comfortable and within a setting that allows for maximum flexibility based on their ability.


Mod 2 learning log post – A thought on “Brain of the Blogger”


I was reading “Brain of the Blogger” and while I enjoyed the article immensely, a thought occurred to me:  blogging could potentially be a way to reach out to reluctant readers, especially with a classroom blog or library blog.  Here is what I am wondering, would it be possible to set up a “What we’re reading now” blog for a classroom or library and include sections of text from books?  Would something like that fall under the “Fair Use” category?

Section 107 of the copyright law states four factors for consideration if something is fair.  I would think that a blog intended for a classroom or a grade in a library would be considered “Fair use” according to numbers 1, 3, and 4.

1.  The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.

3.  The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole.

4.  The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work

Say a teacher or librarian used the blog to post the first 10 pages of a novel to “hook” students (especially reluctant readers), wouldn’t number 1 apply?  I would think so.  Especially considering the length of the section (number 2).  It is not reasonable to post half of a work but say the first 10 pages or maybe even the first chapter of a very long novel could be considered fair.  And finally, posting a section of the book wouldn’t have any negative effect on the market or value of a book.  If anything, getting more students interested in reading said book would only increase the book’s market value, i.e. increase in students checking out said book from library and purchasing the book.

This is something I would want to look into further, obviously, before actually posting sections of a book online.  However, I think a blog like this would have a great impact especially on students who are not “into reading” or only read every now and then.  Knowing one’s students and the kinds of books they like can be a powerful tool.  Plus, students would have the added bonus of being able to research books (and read some of them!) in the comfort of their own home.  They would also be exposed to many different types of books, perhaps learning how to branch out to different genres and authors.

An overall positive thing?  Absolutely.

Module 2 learning log post #1

The issues I have been having with the collaborative Wiki have me thinking about how useful technology is so long as it works.  Not to say the Wiki doesn’t work, but it has been seriously impeding my flow due to freezes, restarts, and refusal to do what I need it to do.  Technology is our best friend when it runs smoothly but what happens when it breaks down?

This is a question that I am really concerned about.  With our kids growing up in a vastly technical world we are, as a result, growing to be more tech dependent.  To paraphrase our Empowering Learners book, our students are exposed to technology that provides constant access to information through computers and mobile devices and they expect to be able to retrieve that information instantly (Empowering Learners, pg. 11).  What happens when our classrooms become so dependent on this technology to produce information or perform necessary tasks and suddenly it is no longer available?  I don’t mean a cataclysmic breakdown but simply a server breakdown.  Or perhaps and computer malfunction.  Or even simply an exceedingly slow website.

I remember the day I was giving a final research paper report for my first Master’s degree.  I had present my mentor teacher, my school supervisor, and the head of my Master’s program who was filling in as a secondary mentor since I was a non-traditional graduate student.  I was already nerve-wracked and trying so hard not to screw up when suddenly the server at my school shut down and I could no longer access the presentation.  I panicked for about two or three minutes until everything came back up and I was able to continue.  They all were very understanding about it, by the way but what if that had been a crux for an extremely important lesson in front of 30 students?  What if it hadn’t lasted only a few moments?  What would I have done?

I guess I could just laugh a little and say “well, in keeping with standard 3.2.1 – demonstrate leadership and confidence by presenting ideas to others in both informal and formal situations – I will just have to roll with it and hope the kids don’t go nuts!”.  That may be my best chance of surviving a technology breakdown.

But it is still incredibly frustrating.  😛