Monday, December 12, 2011

Multimedia/Video Tech Web Conf. Wk 4

I have attended more web conferences for this class than I have in any other course!  I am thoroughly enjoying this course, and the web conferences allow me to soak up more and more information from all of the very bright people in the Ed Tech program!

Dr. A talked much about the particulars for the PSA (our group chose Cyberbullying:  A Parents' Guide).  She mentioned that we need to keep the PSA to 60 seconds, +/- 10 seconds, with the copyright information coming after that time.

Our group is still hard at it!  Our PSA is coming along and I can't say enough about how great my group members are!  It is all coming together nicely.

Multimedia/Video Tech Web Conf. Wk 3

This week's conference combined information for our group PSA video project as well as some personal/professional advice from Dr. A.  She mentioned that all group members must submit the same information -- I'm sure this is to be certain all group members are actually working in a group!  Our group is awesome!  We are collaborating using Google Docs (as my partner and I did in Week 2) and it works out great.  We have each chosen a different color -- and one of our group members put a "legend" at the beginning to help us all remember who is what color!  We are also using Dropbox for our graphics, video, and other documents -- what a great tool!

I appreciate the personal/professional advice Dr. A shared with all of us regarding how she ended up at Lamar University and also encouraging us to continue to pursue our education and experience new things.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Video Editing Software Evaluation

I had a hard time deciding which video editing software to evaluate since it had to be one I haven't used.  I am a PC...and I'm also a Mac -- especially when graphics are involved -- and iMovie is awesome!  The article “Top 5 Free Video Editing Software Programs” (Desktop-Video-Guide) suggested Movie Maker and iMovie, both of which I’ve already used.  I looked for Avid FreeDV and discovered it is no longer available for download, so after some frustration, I searched for my own and decided to try Hyper Engine AV.  I’ve made several videos before, and when I wanted a truly quality project, I used iMovie.  So, luckily, I’m fairly familiar with video editing.  I searched YouTube for a tutorial for Hyper Engine AV and found nothing other than videos created with the software.  I have found very little help for this software (including within the software!) so I’ve been basically on my own.  But, since “media production...leads to unexpected discoveries...” (Garrison, 1999) I just jumped right in. I have discovered that this software creates movies with the .dv file extension which plays with QuickTime -- expected since it’s for Mac.  It’s good to know there is Open Source software out there to use in the event that the ones included with computer purchases aren’t working or if I want to expose my students to something new and different.
Desktop-Video-Guide. (n.d.). Top 5 free video editing software programs. Retrieved from video-editing-software-review.html
Garrison, A. (1999, Winter). Video basics and production projects for the classroom.  Center for Media Literacy. Retrieved from

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Personal Digital Story

I'm so glad to be in a tech course!!!  I've spend the last 3 of my classes (toward my Ed Tech masters) in non-tech classes, and I am soooooo glad to be back!

I finally finished my first personal digital story...and I must say I enjoyed it! I used iMovie and uploaded the final product to YouTube.  Doing that made it very easy to embed the video into my wiki!  The tech-side of the video was easy.  It was deciding on a topic and then writing the script from a personal point-of-view that was so difficult.  I'm not accustomed to sharing my inner-most thoughts and feelings with anyone other than my immediate family, so I struggled to write the script so that it didn't sound so, "this is what I did on my vacation" -- but I did finish it and am pleased with the outcome.

My partner, Caitlin, was great!  Her questions helped me pin-point where I wanted to go with the story so that I had a focal point.

I really enjoyed making the video and look forward to our next project.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Week 4 - Finally an Action Research Plan!

This week's topic of establishing consensus and addressing concerns was interesting!  The strategies for sustaining the action research will be extremely helpful as my plan progresses.  Of course we will want to continue with what is working for our school in regards to my plan!  This will give the foundation to implementing changes to make our school even better.

I updated/edited my Action Research Plan (in a previous blog) to show some revised dates -- I chose to update rather than post the entire plan again.

I can't believe I am one week away from my 2nd course towards masters!  I am so excited about all the new information I've learned.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wow! Week 3 was a Doozy!

Well, I'd have to say that this week's assignment has been the most strenuous, in my opinion!  I had some technology issues with posting my plan to my blog too -- but I finally found a way to make it work.  Looking back on the week, however, I am so glad that I have a start to my plan.  I can see the steps I need to take and I look forward to "tweeking" the activities so that I can successfully complete the plan. I'm very optimistic that the results will allow for some positive changes for our teachers and our students!

Action Research Plan – It’s a Start!

Goal:  Will an increase in technology integration into the CScope ELA curriculum increase the number of students reaching commended performance on state assessments?

Action Step(s):Person(s) Responsible:Timeline: Start/EndNeeded Resources Evaluation 
Meet with site supervisor to seek guidance with goal and to review Internship Plan to find possible connections to action research.Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ August 2011Site SupervisorList of suggestions, possible connections and suggestions for implementation.
Meet with the Director of Technology to determine available technology within the school district that I am not currently using within my classroom Barbara Sides August 2011/ August 2011Director of Technology List of technologies in which I will need training
Determine which technologies I'm not proficient in and seek training opportunities (either on my own or through an outside source). Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ October 2011 Own knowledge of whether I'm proficient Enrollment in and attendance of training sessions
Continue as needed with training on school-owned technologies Barbara Sides August 2011/ October 2012Approval from Principal to attend the training and for a sub as needed; funds for training as needed Successful completion of courses (certificates) 
Evaluate CScope lessons to determine which lessons are directly connected to the TAKS objectives Barbara SidesAugust 2011/ May 2012Access to CScope curriculum (user name and password) List of lessons connected to TAKS objectives 
Enhance lesson plans within CScope by matching technologies with the lessons Barbara Sides August 2011/
May 2012 
Available technologies; other possible resources: Principal for approval of some technologies (e.g.. cell phone use); director or technology for unblocking possible blocked sites (e.g. integration of the technology in a lesson(s) 
Search for/ purchase/ implement new, different uses of technology to incorporate into lesson plansBarbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school yearRSS feeds of technology resources, budget money, principal approval, director of technology approval, Google and other search devicesEnhanced list of choices of technology to be used
Attend staff development on new, different uses of technology as the opportunity arisesBarbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school yearPrincipal approval for day(s) off and sub, budget funding as neededCompletion of course certificates and successful implementation in lesson plans
Train students on the use of specific technology being used in the current lesson Barbara SidesOngoing throughout 2011-2012 school year Specific technologies used in lessons Completion of assignment using the specific technology 
Administer benchmark (released TAKS test) and compare results with previous years' results Barbara Sides November 2011 Released TAKS tests Completed benchmark test results and previous years' test results 
Administer TAKS test and compare results with previous years' results TISD school personnel February 2012/ May 2012 Tests from TEA; results released by TEA Results of tests compared to previous years' test results 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Action Research -- Week 2

What a week this has been!  After totally forgetting about the web conference, I went back and watched/listened.  The information shared was excellent!  Also, I so enjoyed the interviews with the 3 scholar practitioners.  It was informative to see the different ideas related to action research.  While I know the importance of quantitative data in research -- after all, how can anyone argue with cold, hard facts -- I appreciate Mr. Briseno discussing the qualitative data and how it fits in to the research aspect.  As a teacher, I can certainly relate to the significance of this aspect, so I'm glad this was included.

After this week's lesson, I realized I had to narrow my topic.  With the help of my site mentor, I believe we have accomplished that task!  I'm looking forward to digging deeper into my topic -- with eventually putting it into action!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Calling All Educational Leaders -- Get Your Blog On!

The very nature of blogging -- sharing thoughts and ideas -- is conducive to education since teaching is all about sharing!  So, of course, educational leaders would benefit greatly from blogging by giving school stakeholders (i.e. students, parents, community members, alumni, business owners, etc.) the opportunity to share what is happening in relation to the school environment.  It’s also a great avenue for leaders to seek support for various school-related issues, find others who have like interests in relation to the school, and share the most current information regarding specific events.
So, Leaders, what are you waiting for?  Get on the road to enhanced communication with your stakeholders, and get your blog on!

Action Research -- It's Worth It!

With action research, or, as Dana (2009) describes it, “administrator inquiry” (pg. 2), I focus on an issue that is right in my own realm of responsibility.  Once that focus area is narrowed to one that is manageable, I search for information/literature that can help with the issue.  Often times, another educator has been in a similar situation, and a possible solution might just be nearby!  Data gathering, another component necessary in action research, can include not only disaggregated test data, but also discussions with stakeholders, diagnostic tests, and samples of work.  At this point, I have narrowed the problem, read applicable literature, and gathered appropriate data, so now it’s time, as Harris et. al (2010) states, for “taking action for improvement” (pg. 6).  Basically, I  develop a plan to put in to action that will, hopefully resolve the issue. Personal reflection and sharing the actions/results with coworkers, parents, administrators is one of the most important components of action research.  Reflection allows teachers to gain confidence in their decision making and sharing can result in the creation of learning communities where all members benefit (Ringler, 2007).  
Time consuming? Yes.  But definitely worth it since it’s beneficial for not only the students, but also the educator, the administrators, and the school!

Fichman, Nancy Dana (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Harris, S., Edmonson, S., and Combs, J. (2010). Examining what we do to improve our schools: 8 steps to improve our schools. Eye on Education Press.

Ringler, Marjorie (2007). Action research an effective instructional leadership skill for future public school leaders.  AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice, 4(1), 27-37.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Made It! Reflections from my first Master's course: Concepts of Educational Technology

Reflection #1:
As I complete my last week of EDLD 5306, I am pleasantly surprised at how much I actually enjoyed being a student again!  As far as what outcomes I expected from the course, I knew I wanted to learn more about how to integrate technology into the classrooms.  And this course gave me so many simple, yet effective ways to do that.  I also wished for affirmation, I suppose, on my belief of the importance of technology integration.  I found myself, so often, shaking my head “yes” to the articles I was reading and the videos I watched.  I actually learned so much more than I envisioned.  It wasn’t just about simple tools to use, but also about things that benefit a technology leader: online safety, data assessment, ethics, public relations.  I am so pleased that the actual outcomes not only aligned with what I envisioned; they exceeded my expectations.

Reflection #2:
The course outcomes are definitely relevant to the work I will be doing.  I have the awesome opportunity to split my day between teaching and performing duties as a campus technologist.  So, not only will I be assisting teachers in the integration of technology, I will be able to practice the same concepts within my own classroom!  What better way to determine whether a specific technology is applicable and effective than to use it with my own students.  I believe this will benefit me and my position because I will be able to evaluate the appropriateness of the concept along with the teachers using the same concept.  It will also help me iron out any issues that might arise to save others time and frustration.  I also believe that my principal will look to me to assist her in encouraging technology integration because of the research and data the course provided.

Reflection #3:
I suppose I was looking for a “quick fix” for technology integration.  So many teachers (I used to be one of them) believe using a PowerPoint for a lesson or having students type an essay using a word processing software is integrating technology.  While this is definitely a beginning, I was hoping to find a way to help our teachers begin integrating technology into every lesson, every day.  Fortunately, I learned some tools to begin not only using, but also sharing, immediately.  But probably more importantly, this course taught me that it will take time to fully integrate technology into each and every classroom because technology integration is not just the use of technology -- it also involves something even bigger:  it will require a mind-set change (and stepping out of a comfort-zone) on the part of teachers to begin implementing collaborative learning where technology use is its most effective. 

Reflection #4:
While I was successful in carrying out all of the assignments, I definitely endured some frustration.  My login information didn’t come until Tuesday evening. Gone were 4 days of working on the assignment.  It was the last week of school for us, so an event every night took away the rest of those weekdays.  On Saturday morning, our family left for a nine-day vacation.  Luckily, we had wifi at our first destination.  When I went to submit (albeit last-minute!), error message.  It finally submitted.  At our second destination, we had “free wifi” but it was awful! So, I purchased an AT&T MiFi, and had issues using it with my MacBook. I made a desperate last minute dash 20 miles to the nearest HotSpot to join the required web conference. Yikes!
Other than a Java upgrade I needed to see my Animoto video, everything since the first two weeks has been great!

Reflection #5:
I am a Guardian!  At least according to Keirsey’s Temperament Sorter. I try to do what’s right while staying within established parameters.  This will help me in dealing with others who may fall into a different temperament. I also learned that my MIs are interpersonal, kinesthetic, and finally self/intrapersonal.  While I agree with the first two, I don’t necessarily agree with the last because I don’t prefer the trial/error approach to learning new things.  
My strong leadership skills are organization and communicating, but I need to learn about resolving conflicts and project budgeting. Technology is my strongest area, but I could use some help in understanding the differences between and the fees involved with freeware, shareware, and commercial software and which site licenses our school holds.  I also need to learn more web publishing skills, and, thanks to EDLD 5306, I have learned more about Web 2.0 tools!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Technology Plan and E-Rate

The presentation will show our current Technology Plan -- which is based upon the Texas STaR Chart data -- as well as explain E-Rate and how these elements tie together.

Click on this link to view the presentation:

National Educational Technology Plan

The Obama Administration has developed a plan to enhance technology education.  This ambitious plan has, by plan’s end, 60% of the population holding at least a 2-year degree. The plan breaks down the goals into several major focal-areas:  Learning, Assessment, Teaching, Infrastructure, Productivity, and Research & Development.  While goals are stated in these areas, there are also recommendations and lists of the roles of government.
In the area of Learning, the push seems to be for life-long learners.  It also touches on the fact that not all learners will learn effectively in the same way.  According to Howard Gartner’s Multiple Intelligences theory assessment that I completed last week, I’d have to agree!
For Teaching, it seems that the Plan is in support of providing whatever means necessary for teachers to implement technology into their classrooms to build those 21st Century learners.  Also mentioned is the fact that the teachers need to be prepared/taught just as the students do. And this learning needs to continue in various forms -- not just staff development provided locally, but allowing the creation of teacher connections so that teachers can learn from each other.
It is suggested that schools prepare themselves for the new wave of technology and learners.  While budgets may be tight, suggestions are made for free/inexpensive ways to enhance technology, for example, open-source software.
Ultimately, the goal is to produce more than just graduates of higher education, it’s to produce Americans who can continue to learn so that we can continue to compete globally.

Our Technology Plan

The District’s technology plan encompasses four goals so that school employees, students and members of the community can work to “master technology skills (p. 3).” 
Goal #1 is to ensure that the district’s technology is a fundamental part of the total education process.  Objectives 1, 4, and 5 focus on how the plan will assist teachers in reaching the goal.  Objectives 2, 3, and 6 target students and community members.
Goal #2 has the district providing an infrastructure to meet the district’s needs.  Objective 1 focuses on maintaining current equipment and upgrading as needed while Objective 2 provides a safe environment (Internet use) for all.
Administrators are the focus of Goal #3 where the responsibility for integrating technology falls with them. The two objectives within this goal are for training administrators and providing teachers the technology needed to communicate.
Professional development for all teachers is addressed in Goal #4, and the only objective is to provide requested technology training.  The responsibility for offering any training falls with the superintendent, campus principals, and the technology director.  While there appears to be enough financial resources within the plan, the only mention of ensuring the time necessary for staff development is for offering summer training.
For evaluation/assessment, the plan uses items like TAKS results and teacher/administrator evaluations, but there is no mention on how to make mid-course corrections/enhancements as needed.  The total budget value sufficiently rises each of the three years of the plan to cover non-discounted elements.

Implementing Technology: Where Do We Start?

I was recently asked by a superintendent, “How would you start the process for integrating technology?”  My response included the fact that a school must first determine its needs -- what type of technology is needed? what type of training is needed? what do the students need to learn? Creating assessments targeting specific areas will give the information to begin integrating technology.
It’s rather easy to see the main advantage of technology assessments: a clear picture is painted of what the teachers and students do/do not know and what they feel comfortable in using.  Assessments can create a road map of exactly where a district needs to begin in terms of training its teachers to assist their students in learning and using technology.
On the other hand, assessments take time.  It is time consuming to, first of all, develop an assessment.  Luckily, there are assessments available for districts to use.  For example, teachers could take some online assessments including NetCorps ( Technology Literacy Self-Assessment, Lo Ti Digital-Age Survey (, and SETDA Teacher Survey. 
For software, districts could use (for both teachers and students) the pre-course assessments that come with textbooks that normally are used by teachers to assess where they should begin in their classes.
A district must understand where their teachers and students stand in terms of technology knowledge and skills.  Administrators and their teams cannot know where to begin with technology implementation if they do not have a grasp on what their teachers and students already know. 

1st Web Conference (Thursday)

Aside from the fact that my timing for vacation was poorly planned, in the end, it all worked out as I successfully joined the web conference on Thursday. As I sat in front of the AT&T store (the "free" wireless where we stayed was awful), I experienced some anxiety in the beginning because I could hear only a few, choppy words, but rested a bit easier when I realized it was not just me.  Finally, about 10 minutes into the conference, the sound was fully restored (at least most of the time).  
While I chose to not use video (remember, I was on vacation!) and audio but rather respond through chat, I did appreciate those who did -- it was nice to put a face with a name!  
Even though there were technical difficulties, I found the information to be helpful -- especially regarding the Internship. I will secure a mentor ASAP!