Final Reflection

I did my final refection on Sway. This is the first time I have used Sway or Slate for anything other than an Art History lesson and I have to say, I’m a little less impressed with it now. It’s very linear, and for subjects with more word content than pictures, it’s hard to make the Sway look interesting. I also missed the features of having buttons for links, like in Slate, and having the ability to move things into a more appealing format. The design of the site is decided by the size of the cards you use and that does not suit my desires as a creative designer.

I will admit that I was going to do Fold but once I got on there, I was annoyed that I couldn’t search within fold for Creative Commons Licensed pictures and videos. Sway absolutely makes things easier by keeping everything in the same internet window, so it won the bid for this assignment. I’m not as proud of this Sway as I am with my Monet one and my Slate project from last quarter…

For better or worse however, here is my Sway!

UPDATE: Even better, when I embedded Sway, it showed up correctly prior to publishing and now it will not. This is not a feature that makes me like it more…

Here is the link to my Sway project.


Online Games Pt.2 – Global Connections Inquiry

While working on the online games section of my inquiry group’s website, I realized that there are so many more online games out there than I play. I don’t know many educational games since I’m not in that sphere and so I can mostly only speak to games like Call of Duty and Halo. I’ve been using Jane’s Graphite site to see teacher opinions on games I’ve heard of for kids.

I was looking in to Minecraft and it looks very interesting. When I was a kid I used to play games like SimCity and other world builders, and thought I would probably have liked Minecraft. I haven’t played it because you have to pay for it, but Minecraft does look fun. I wonder if a game like that, that’s more involved with piece-by-piece building, would have helped me be more interested in things like Engineering and building later in life. I always liked to design cities in SimCity, but you used premade buildings and parts to do that. It was design oriented, not creation oriented.

Minecraft is also an online game, something that didn’t exist when I was a kid. Seeing as I like online games a lot now and like to interact with people around the world in that way, I think I would have liked the online environment. I was a pretty quiet kid and would have like the anonymity of interacting with other people without ever seeing them in person.

Have any of you used Minecraft and do you like it? Did you ever play world-building games as a kid like SimCity?

(Due Tuesday, May 24th)


Global Connections Inquiry Group – Art

My Inquiry Group is looking into Global Connections and tonight we discussed what we are going to feature in our website project. We were initially thinking linearly about how to connect to other people in other countries, but then I was trying to find a global connection that involved art. We quickly realized that there is a whole different set of apps and sites to use that connect us, not necessarily to people, but to global subjects and things you might only see if you traveled as well.

I remembered a website that I tried to get a professor interested in while I was an undergrad. He found it interesting but wouldn’t break out of the traditions of teaching art history via slides (PowerPoint or classic slides) and academic writings. Both of these things are important for Art History, there is not denying that, but I was disappointed, even then, to not have a more technology oriented aspect incorporated also. Art can be very inaccessible if you don’t know where it is, what it looks like in person, or what it would be shown next to in a museum or gallery.

If you’re interested in checking out the site I was interested in prior to our presentation in June, you can type in to any search engine, “Google Art Project.” From there, you can search by piece, artist, collection, or user galleries. You can also create galleries of your own that include pieces you’d like to see together. The best part is that when you click on a particular piece, you have the ability to zoom in to a level that you wouldn’t be able to unless you were in front of the piece in person. Love it!

(Due Thursday, May 19th)


Online Gaming and Gobal Connections

The Pew Research study about Teens, Technology and Friendships is interesting to me in relation to my Inquiry Group looking into Global Connections. I was particularly drawn to the section about video games and online gaming, as I play a lot of games online with friends and did when I was a teen as well. Actually, I probably played online more as a teen than I do now!

I am an outlier as a girl gamer, so I wonder if the statistics about relationships really apply to me since they were asking boys about their connections with friends online and not girls. However, I am one of the rare girls who plays online a lot and is serious about it so I will lop myself in with them.

Before I read this, I wasn’t even considering video games in my search for digital apps and networks that could be used for our Global Connections inquiry. I of all people should have thought of this since I play to connect with friends I don’t see a lot or who don’t live here. I was even known to play with a boyfriend on the East Coast while chatting to keep in touch and up to date… It was our version of a phone call. So why wouldn’t this be a Global Connection?

You hop on, play with strangers from around the world and, if you are using a speaker or an IM chat option, you’re communicating with them too. I never made any lasting friends online that I had never met, and I do truly think this has to do with me being a girl. I was more often cussed at and bitched out for playing as a girl and being good. Guys don’t like that 🙂 However, my brother did make friends with someone he didn’t know on Xbox who lived up in Canada, they ended up meeting in person, and are still good friends today. It does totally happen! Global Connection? Check!

I’m looking forward to talking about this side of our inquiry with my group. What do you all say about this though? Have you made friends online via gaming?

(Due Tuesday, May 17th)

Custom Search Engines

After Ryan and I’s very successful Chick Search Engine yesterday… I think I’ve decided I don’t really know how creating your own search engine would be useful.

I know that I’m not a K-12 teacher and so I would have less need to create a customized search engine, but the whole idea just doesn’t work for me. I think it’s a great idea on paper and I really appreciate Megan showing us how it works (and that it exists), but I think the amount of work that needs to go into filling in the right websites for kids to search is a great deal of effort. It makes sense if you only want them to search through 8 or so websites but even that takes a lot of work to program in.

I think I would prefer to spend the time I would spend making the fancy search engine to instead teach kids about how to search for things appropriately. Google can be set to a pretty high filter for adult content and I think teaching what is a useful source or not is really important. The internet is not going to be a closed off system when the kids go home or when they go to a friend’s house, nor will it be constantly safe in the future. For me, I think the most important thing for kids is knowing how to function well on the internet and in search engines.

I also don’t have a kid… so I’m sure someone will disagree 😉

What did you all think about the customizable search engine? Yay or nay?

(Due Thursday, May 12th)

Both Sides of the Argument

This week’s readings were really interesting to me and I enjoyed reading them. Megan Watson made some great choices, but I would expect nothing less; Megan is awesome!

Perhaps I’m a little overly inundated with political blather right now from my 504 class, (or maybe I’m just jaded from it at this point…) but I noticed that the article by danah boyd is posted on a website called Bright. At the bottom of the article there is a disclaimer that says:

Bright is made possible by funding from the New Venture Fund, and is supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This was interesting to me but unsurprising. dana boyd works for Microsoft and I would expect her to write a technology oriented post. I also fully expected the other posts I saw on the Bright website, many of which are innovation and tech oriented. The articles actually seemed pretty interesting. I was mostly interested in this however, because I was wondering what my classmates who are also in 504, or have had it in the past, thought about Bright as a source.

In 504, we are given the persistent message that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is bad and causes lots of problems because of their choice funding of programs, schools, and policies. Despite everything from 504, I still have a hard time fully blaming the foundation or really even disliking them. I think if we are aware of where our sources are coming from and take them with a grain of salt, there is a lot to learn from every side of an argument and I liked reading what danah boyd had to say. This just reminded of the constant discussion about K-12 kids needing to understand sources and be able to discern good from bad. I think this is a good example too, of what we can learn from the side of an argument that we may or may not be on. Empathy and understanding are what make things happen and get things done in life.

What did you all think? Did you realize that the Gates Foundation had a hand in this website? Does that bother you? 504 people, what do you have to say about it?

(Due Tuesday, May 10th)


Well, Liz and I might have done our Speed Geeking a week early without realizing… but it was still a fun experience!

We did a Sway project which you can read more about on Known. My Sway is here if you want a little more time to browse through it too.

What I learned about Sway was that it’s a pretty quick thing to make and it presents quite well. It may not rank highly on the SAMR model but I think that the fun that’s had from making it and the ability to link lots of different information makes it a very useful pieces of software to use. I like the idea of mediated writing a lot and think that it’s a great alternative to more traditional writing styles. If you wanted to incorporate a conversational aspect, you could always have students write about their Sways in a blog and then have them comment on the blogs.

Hopefully you all find Sway interesting and give it a try at some point. Let me know if you have any questions about it!

(Due Thursday, April 5th)

Book Circle Project

I forgot to write about my book group this week… Oops!

For me, there isn’t much to write as we all finished the book already and have just been working on our project.

My group is using Prezi to present our ideas with and I think it’s a very interesting medium for presenting. I had to go download an app to record my voice for my section, so I’ve been doing things I normally wouldn’t do for a presentation (or for anything really). I completely get the appeal of recording yourself though. You can present your topic without ever standing up and giving a presentation.

I do wish that Prezi was a little more malleable, however. We weren’t able to add more sections for large, over arching themes, we could only add text boxes for additional information. This is a little annoying but doesn’t take away too much from the presentation. You just have to get creative with how you present things and where!

Overall, I think Prezi is an interesting new presentation resource, but for me, it takes longer than a PowerPoint to put together, so it would need to be used for something that can really benefit from the medium. Some topics just wouldn’t work well in that format. I think our presentation works well as a Prezi though and I really like it. I hope you all do too!


Prezi is apparently now an unsupported file format for WordPress and cannot be embedded to the site. I’m adding the link to it here, but that is definitely a negative aspect to Prezi. I’m not sure if it has enough Pros to outweigh the Cons at this point…



Interest-Driven Writing When You’re Just not Interested

While I was reading the chapter in Teaching in the Connected Classroom about Interest-Driven Writing, I was trying to picture how one would create interest in Art History and writing. Art History is very much based in writing, it shows teachers you know what you’re talking about and that you’re learning what needs to be learned about the art. In every Art History class I had, with no exception, there was always a midterm and a final that required you sit down for 30-50 minutes and you write an analysis paper about random pieces presented on the board. This, and maybe two to five papers throughout the quarter, was how you were graded.

This is rigorous and if you aren’t interested in Art, it’s probably an awful experience (we saw many people drop the classes soon after hearing about the requirements). I’m assuming that I would be teaching students in community college, some of which probably do want to be there but a larger portion of which are probably just trying to get a prereq completed for art, visual, or cultural studies. I would not want to teach students who were only there for the credit in the same way that I learned at the University level. They would leave hating art, which I just can’t allow.

While reading about Interest-Driven Writing, I was trying to think of ways that you could included student’s interests while still teaching the finer points of Art History at the college level. That’s really tough! I’ve thought about having them make a Slate about an artist or style they like. I think that would interest them and be good as a final project, but it’s still not incorporating things that they find interesting in everyday life. I decided to relate this back to my previous post about Padlet and Art classes. I think a great Interest-Driven Writing assignment at the beginning of the quarter where students get to pick what they think is art and explain it/write about it, might get them more interested in the rest of the class. If you let students write about experiences and art, or graffiti and how it’s art etc. etc., it might give them a different perspective on classical artists as well.

Do you think an assignment like that would grab your attention in a class you otherwise aren’t interested in?

(Due Tuesday, May 3rd)


Art Padlet – Participation Required!

I really enjoyed the Speed Geeking we saw yesterday about Padlet! Normally we use Padlet in class to write about what we learned in the reading for the week or how we feel about certain topics. The Speed Geeking yesterday enlightened me to all of the other options there are with Padlet. For me, I am always learning from what everyone in class has to say and teach, and I try to image how I would transfer that knowledge to teaching art or art history at the Community College level, as that is what I’m most interested in.

chart(Look at me using a QR code too!)

So for my blog this week, I am hoping that you all can help me! I have created a Padlet that focuses on the topic of art. I am imagining that if I had a class, I would use this Padlet on the first day of class, or maybe for homework that night, to learn more about what my students see as art and how much they already know about it. I want to try this out with all of you, because I want to see what we can come up with and if it would be useful and fun for students in the future. As most of you (I think) have not studied much art in school, I would love to see what you all would post if it were the first day of art or art history class for you!

I always try to see how very visual tools would work for art because art is a topic that really lends itself to visual technology and digital tools, and yet is rarely presented that way. I took Art History at UW Seattle, and (don’t tell my profs) we always learned in the very traditional way; taking notes with pen and paper, learning from PowerPoint slides (and sometimes old school slides!) and writing very technical, analytical papers. I would love to move the topic of Art History into the modern sphere and make it more accessible through technology. Let’s see if this Padlet is one way of doing that!

Thanks for your participation, I’m very excited to see what you all post and I’ll do a follow-up blog post about it later! Also, comment and let me know how you like the idea and if you accessed the Padlet through the computer or your phone and how that worked for you 🙂

(Due Thursday, April 28th)