Sunday, October 23, 2011


This class has been my favorite thus far due to the assignments.
It was so nice to get a full training on iMovie, although I still believe that it should have been done in month 1.
I really liked the non-traditional method of turning in assignments through blog posts.  It was nice to be able to add your own character and personality into your work!
I also really loved learning about so many Web 2.0 tools that I will be able to implement in my own classroom.  It was nice to see that some of my classmates had a similar About Me assignment that they used with their tool.  This will allow me to do the same lesson, but introduce another tool to my students.  They will love how one assignment turned into 3 different end projects!

Until next month!

RILS- Links to Comments

Follow this link to my comments on Alex's RILS project on PhotoPeach.

Follow this link to Dave's RILS project on Tagxedo.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Final Project

Kristen McKernin
Katherine Ross
Relevant and Innovative Learning Scenario

Brief Overview: Students will utilize available resources and their own opinion to create a Voki that reports personal identification information and favorites.  

Target Audience-
The target audience will be Kristen McKernin’s Functional Academic class, an in house classes of first and second year seniors.  This class is one 55 minute period that meets once a week.  In their grade level, most of their classes will be held outside of the school and in the community.  It is important for their in-house classes be interesting and engaging to keep their attention, and I think the use of technology will do just that.  Especially because everyone loves using the computers, and they haven’t had an official, consistent computer class for 2-3 years.

  • Mobile laptop computers
  • Cloze response Word document
  • Smart Board
  • Student IDs / State IDs

At the end of this scenario the students will:
  • Identify their personal information.
  • Make decisions on their favored topics.
  • Students will create an “About Me” report by typing their personal identification information and favored topics into a Microsoft Word document.
  • Create a Voki by designing an avatar and using their “About Me” report for text-to-speech.

Day 1:
  • Students will open the Microsoft Word document “About Me” on the desktop of the mobile laptop computers.
  • Students will answer the cloze response questions by typing in their personal identification information by using their Student/State IDs and favored topics/activities.
  • Students will “Save As” this document to the “McKernin” network folder.

Day 2: Teacher will model all steps by projecting them on the Smart Board, or by using a projector.
  • Students will open the Internet by double-clicking the appropriate Internet Explorer icon for their computer.
  • .Students will type into the address bar.
  • Students will login by using Ms. McKernins account.
    • Username:
    • Password: fullsail
  • Students will click on the “Create” tab at the top of the screen.
  • “Customize Your Character”
    • Students will create an avatar by choosing the sex, face, hair, and mouth.
      • Students will be able to customize the look and color of each of these features.
    • Students will select clothing for his/her avatar by clicking on the “Clothing” tab.
    • Students will have the option of adding accessories (glasses/jewelry) to their avatar by clicking the “Bling” tab.

  • Students will exit the “Customize Your Character” tab by clicking the orange “X” in the upper right hand corner and click on the keyboard key icon under the “Give It A Voice” box.
  • Students will open their “About Me” document from the “McKernin” network folder.
  • Students will highlight and copy all of their responses.
  • Students will paste their responses into the “Type Your Text” box on the Voki website.
  • Students will be able to alter the accent/langauge and voice options.
  • Students will click the green “Done” button.
  • Students will choose a background for their Voki by clicking on the “Backgrounds” button, selecting a background, and clicking the green “Done” button.
  • Students will click on the “Publish” button and name their Voki as their name and click “Save.”

Emerging Technology
Voki is a tool that allows you to create speaking avatars.  It allows you to design your own avatar using a variety of premade face features.  You then add voice by either text or recording your own voice.  The Voki website allows you to directly post your Voki to a variety of blogs and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc.  The Voki website also offers a multitude of learning resources and lesson plans created by teachers across the world.

Social Participation/Social Learning
In Kristen’s classroom, students will be working with the mobile laptops at circle tables that hold four students.  As with any laptop activity, it is the responsibility of the student to ask for help from both of his/her neighbors before asking for assistance from a staff member.  
Most often this leads to not only asking for assistance from your neighbor, but sharing of work throughout the design process.  

Making Connections
  • Previous knowledge in order to create new knowledge - Students will be using their own identification information and favorites to create an “About Me” report.  
  • Something that is relevant for them-  Students will see the importance of the Student/State ID card through this activity. This will just give the students another avenue to see how the information on the card is beneficial and why they should carry it with them at all times.
  • With a local or global audience-  Learning personal identification information is important for everyday life.  This experience reinforces this information and where they can find it (Student/State ID) if they need to share or use it.  

Create/Produce –
Each student will produce a Voki that will be saved and shared in the next week’s class.  

Assessment –
Students will receive full credit if/when they complete the following steps successfully:
Open “About Me” document from McKernin network folder.
Answer cloze-response questions.
“Save As” completed document to the McKernin network folder.
Create avatar by choosing sex, face, fair, and mouth.
Dress avatar.
Copy and pastes “About Me” information into text-to-speech box.
Change/correct the voice/speech of avatar.
Add/change Voki background
Publish and name Voki.
SharedVoki with the class.

Reflection – .
Learner Reflection:
Students will discuss the importance of knowing personal identification information.  If a student cannot remember or verbalize information, they need to know another mode of delivery, such as being able to show a student/state ID.
Educator Reflection:
Educator/trainer will reflect on this activity by seeing how well the students complete the activity. If the educator/trainer sees an area on the assessment that a lot of students didn’t do well on, this area will be evaluated for better clarification in the instruction.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

BP4_Flashcard Friends

For my second tool review, I chose to use a tool called FlashCard Friends.

Flashcard friends is a tool that allows people to make online flashcards.

When you create a new deck you categorize and sub-categorize your cards.  This is because you can search for existing cards on this site.  FlashCard friends even allows you to add in additional information such as course name, chapter, or the ISBN number of the book for a more specific search.

When creating a flashcard, you must have text on both sides and have the option of adding an image, sound, or symbol/accent to either or both sides of the cards.  I decided to create some flashcards for my laundry class so I added the line "What is this?" and a laundry image to every front of the card and then the vocabulary word on the back.

FlashCard Friends also has a "Learn" tab which allows your flash cards to be drill practiced by a user.  You can show them by a list, flip them, flash them, and even print them.

Lastly, FlashCard friends allows your cards to be tested by a user.  By default, FlashCard friends turns your deck of flash cards into fill in the blank, true/false, and multiple choice questions.   You have the option of changing the testing preferences by changing the amount of cards, the type of questions, what side of the card shows, and if you want immediate feedback or once it is submitted.

This tool will be great to use in not only my laundry class, but all of my classes.  You could use this tool as a whole-group activity or with individual students.  I already use hand-made lifeskill vocabulary flashcards in all of my classes but I see this tool being great for assessment.  I currently have to take data on almost 100 IEP goals.  This tool will allow me to use the "Test" tab to gather data more efficiently.  I could have the students use the mobile laptops and all do the assessment at once instead of having to do them one-by-one, or wasting an entire trees worth of paper.


I normally only see the group of students I chose to work with for one period a week.  I asked the teacher that has them the period the following day if it would be okay if I took her class so that I could implement Day 2.  

The simplicity of the Voki tool would be perfect for my students.  They would be able to create an avatar and then copy and paste their responses from the word document into the text-to-speech option offered.  This would allow their “About Me” assignment to come alive.

For the second day, the students logged onto the Internet, typed in the address, and signed in using my account.  I used the Smart Board to model what buttons/tabs the students had to click on in order to create their avatar.  I gave the students the option to make their avatar resemble themselves or design their own. They had a great time choosing all the features and would stand up and move to another student's computer to see what the other student had made.  

Once the avatar was made, the students opened up the "About Me" document from my network folder and copied their answers.  They then pasted them into the text-to-speech box and chose the voice they wanted to use.  What happened next reminded me of a video Katie had made of the Full Sail orientation, where all the student's new Macs turned on and lit up at once.  Unplanned, all of the students had clicked the "play" button and all of their Vokis starting talking at once.  It was the coolest thing and for one minute, all of the students stopped talking and were mesmerized by what they had made.  I wish I had the camera rolling at the time, but once they stopped, the students could not stop talking about what they had just made.  

I again videoed and shared the movies with Katie so that she could see all of the work my students had did.  We have already met to discuss what our final project video will look like. 

You will have to wait and see what the students came up with, but in the meantime, I created an example of the About Me Voki below!!


For my RILS assignment, I teamed up with Katie Ross.  Katie is not a teacher and does not have access to a classroom.  I immediately responded when she was looking for a partner because I love sharing my unique environment with people.

After much collaboration with Katie, we decided to use Voki in my classroom.  Voki is a tool that allows you to create speaking avatars.  It allows you to design your own avatar using a variety of premade face features.  You then add voice by either text or recording your own voice.  The Voki website allows you to directly post your Voki to a variety of blogs and websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc.  The Voki website also offers a multitude of learning resources and lesson plans created by teachers across the world. 

I used this tool to revamp an assignment I do regularly with my students.  With the mobile laptops I used a premade Word document with cloze response “About Me” questions.  The students have to fill in the blanks with information regarding their name, address, phone number, city, state, and some of their favorites.

The students had a great time filling in this document.  Students used their State/Student IDs to fill in and check spelling of their personal information.  For the "favorite" questions, students would ask me how to spell the words they wanted to use, I would write them on the board, and then they would type them.  The students worked together to revise their work and check punctuation.

I videoed the students using the laptops and filling in the document.  The students really showed their true personalities on camera and the clips turned out to be quite entertaining.  I could not wait to get home and share the videos with Katie so she could get a better understanding of my students and how my classroom worked.  We met that night to discuss the next days project.

Katie is a wonderful person to work with and we have formed a great collaborative relationship the past couple months.  I am glad I could share this experience with her!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

BP6_Link to Katie's Web 2.0 Tool

Follow this link to my comments on Katie's review of Kimtag.  She not only reviewed this tool, but created one to use during her Action Research project!

BP5_Link to Shrav's PE1_Adobe Premier Pro CS5.5

Follow this link to my comments on Shrav's blog about his exciting journey exploring Adobe Premier Pro CS5.5.


A certificate = expert, right?
I have officially finished my iMovie training!  Yayyyyy! 

I learned so much throughout this training.  Although long, my movies from here on out will be much better than the ones I have produced during months 1-3.  I still believe that this training should be done during month one.  It would ease so much confusion and technicalities that come with the first iMovie encounter!

So after spending hours trying to fix the lighting on my wedding videos taken on my camera, I switched my topic to my new house.  I thought it was a good choice since my life has revolved around cleaning, painting, and learning to fix things my dad used to always take care of! :)  I used the automatic and custom color changes, but it is still pretty dark since there was almost no lighting in my house when it was taken.  After videoing my sawzall experience, I think I am going to have people take videos of all my "firsts" of house repairs!  It will be a great way to document this whole learning process!  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Chapter 6 has by far the most information to me.  I had seen all of these available features while making my previous videos, but did not know how they all worked.  Chapter 6 did just that!  While watching this chapter I came up with my idea for my iMovie for PE3.  I brought my video camera with me last month to Washington, DC for my cousins wedding to practice using it.  Sixteen of my family members flew out of Chicago and I captured some great memories.  After my iMovie assignments in the previous months, I thought it would be nice to put it all together.  Because I just purchased my first home last week, Christmas will be done on an extreme budget this year!  This assignment will allow me to start this little side project.
I loved this chapter because it taught me the many techniques to up my skills and really add some professionalism to my video.  I especially loved the one-step effects of holding a shot and changing the color:

I will definitely be using the stabilization tool because it was one of my first times using the camera, and I have some good clips from the dance floor! :)

I do like the idea of the blue and green screen tool, but I do not see being able to paint a wall in my office blue or green so I could video myself to use it.  I will have to research or find a way to be creative so that I can try this tool out without painting!  (Especially after painting for 2 full weekends, I don't want to see a can of paint in a LONG time!)

I am very glad to have gotten instruction on the movie trailers.  They looked so interesting to use on my Introduction video in month one but I couldn't figure out how to change or use them.  I think due to the time limit of the iMovie for this assignment, I will try making a trailer to my actual iMovie I am making for Christmas. We will have to see how good mine looks compared to the examples :)

Until completion.... K-


So far I have watched Chapters 1-4.  All I keep thinking is WHY wasn't this assignment part of Month 1.  I was totally new to a Mac and I can remember spending 5 hours on creating my one minute introduction video because I had NO idea what I was doing.  I could not figure out how to import my pictures from my desktop or how to change one of the "pre-made" layouts since I didn't have any video footage.  I was nearly in tears!
Chapters 1-3 was nothing really new to me after having to use iMovie for the past three months, but I still watched them.  I did find some shortcuts on things than when I have been doing them on my own.

Chapter 4 seems very time consuming.  I do not know if I would spend all that time rating and tagging clips.  I already seem to not have enough hours in the day, and to spend all that time prepping for the actual making of a video seems pretty tedious!  It was a neat feature and I can see it being useful in a longer production, but normally my videos are recorded for a specific assignment so I know exactly where they are.

I wanted to write this blog before Chapter 5 on editing because I am sure this is the point where I will learn a TON!


Monday, October 3, 2011


I had seen Wordles done before and always thought they were a really cool concept.  I have been working on class descriptions for each grade level to send home to parents at work.  I thought that I would take the list of school-community partners I had already made to try and make a Wordle of my own.   

It was a very simple process.  I copied the list of names off of a Microsoft Word document and clicked “create.”  I did not like what I saw.  It had split the names of places up and everything was the same size. 
The second time I took all the spaces out of the words/titles that I wanted to keep together and typed my school name multiple times so that it would appear larger.  This time when I pressed “create” my Wordle looked much better.  I then played around with the fonts and color schemes.  I also clicked the randomize button a million times to see what they would come up with. 

I think that I could easily fit this into my current curriculum.  With my lower-functioning students, I could have the students type their sight and functional spelling words.  For my higher-functioning students I could have them create Wordles to describe themselves and their personalities.  I think this would be an awesome tool to incorporate into my Action Research target audience when we use the Smart Board.  We could come up with Wordles as a class to describe work and life skills.  I think the look and design of the Wordle will intrigue my class, I cannot wait to share it with them!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

BP2 iGoogle PLE

I totally revamped my iGoogle since the month one assignment!

For my Home tab I added the required gadgets: Facebook and Twitter.  I also included:

  • Weather- So I know what to wear every morning in the crazy city of Chicago.  I can't believe Lake Michigan had surfing sized waves yesterday!
  • Gmail - So I can make a one stop look at the MILLION emails I receive a day!
  • Healthy Eating Tips - I eat healthy already, but I am always trying to find little tips to share with my family without them thinking I am trying to "change" them!
  • Fat Loss Tip of the Day - Now that summer break is over, I have gone from working out 6/7 days a week to only about 2.  I am mentally going crazy, but I don't have enough hours in the day!
  • I also kept the YouTube, Date & Time, and Simply Recipes gadgets on there for kicks and easy access.

For my FSO/AR tab, I created the Google/Email and Action Research box of links.  This tab is going to be so useful to have all of these links in one place.  I still don't understand how this Mac bookmarks things, because every time I think that I bookmark something, I can never find where it went.  I always end up saving a shortcut to my desktop and it is getting way too full!

For my Resources tab, I added the Google Reader gadget and Box of Links for ETC and Lynda.  I don't currently have any feeds in my Google Reader.  I also added the Sticky Notes gadget.  I live by Post-it notes, they are everywhere... on my desk, in my car, on my mirror, etc.  I thought this would be a great place for me to add little reminders about future assignments or links/information I want to note during Wimba sessions, blog readings, etc.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!