Archive for December, 2008

This really is a journey…

December 22, 2008
Like drinking from a fire hydrant!

Like drinking from a fire hydrant!

Winter break has arrived, and most of my colleagues in these parts are spending some quality time with friends and family.  I’m using some of my down time to write my first reflective piece for this blog.

It’s unreal how much I’ve learned since September.  That’s when I started using an aggregator to read news feeds and blogs.  I was already an avid podcast listener, but I really had no idea of the true value of RSS.  In October I started my own weekly podcast for my students.  Now that I’m comfortable with audio recording and editing, I intend to integrate student podcasts into my classes in the coming months.  October was also when I started this blog.  November brought more change; I joined Twitter and started cultivating my PLN.

I feel like I’ve come late to the party, but I don’t feel out of place.  Early on (lol, last month), @cnansen helped me find some folks to follow on Twitter.  Now I’m seeing new names show up on my followers list daily that I don’t recognize but who have so many great ideas to share.  When I needed some help on podcasting specifics, my PLN was on the ball with answers.

This month I was accepted as a Discovery STAR Educator.  That means that I’m an educator who creates and shares innovative curriculum content and who promotes the use of tools like UnitedStreaming.  These activities are nothing new to me, but it’s nice to have a label to apply to them.  I’ve been presenting at regional conferences since 2005.  My school board has never recognized my conference efforts, but they sent me a congratulatory letter for my STAR acceptance.

What a semester! I’ve been playing catch-up with the edublog scene, crafting my own digital footprint, and pondering where all of this fits into my teaching practices.  I’m more “current” than I’ve ever been, and I feel empowered to bring the new ideas that are coming my way into my classroom next semester.

Happy Holidays from MoixLand!

Open Source Braggart?

December 16, 2008

soapboxAs a new blogger, it amazes me to read responses to what I have written.  Sometimes, it feels like I’m just writing to be writing… but what’s wrong with that, anyway?

Looking back at my posts, it does seem like a number of my entries are “reference letters” for various technologies or tools that I’ve used and like.  When I read Kathleen Weaver’s latest post Drifting away from Open Source, I was surprised to be called a free sofware braggart.  I just reflect on what works for me.  Often, that’s what I can get my hands on without filling out a requisition.

I use plenty of commercial software in my computer lab.  My computers run Windows and MS Office rather than something like the K12 Linux Terminal Server Project (which I did play with for about a day several years ago).  When we did 3d animation, we used Carrara Studio and Adobe Premiere.  To keep the computers clean, I use Windows SteadyState.

I just want to throw it out there — I’m not a free software fanatic!  Sometimes, software that does one thing, and does it for free is better than some bloated commercial package.  Other times, you really do need to pay for quality.

I’m just sayin’

Thanks to Steve Rhodes for the soapbox picture.  Used under Creative Commons.  Check out his flickr photos.


December 7, 2008

I was in the EdTechTalk chatroom tonight while Episode 106 was being recorded.  One of the tools featured on that episode was iTALC.  I’ve already featured that tool on this blog, and I mentioned in the chatroom how I use iTALC to broadcast my SMARTBoard to all student screens.  MrsDurff insisted I create an informative screencast, and so I did


The direct link to the screencast is