Sunday, May 2, 2010

Group Project

For our final group project, Shelly, Maureen, Karyn, Thomas and I brainstormed a new approach to learning management systems. We believe that what we have now is not student-centered or flexible. We need a system that allows us to tap the abilities of Web 2.0 directly in the online classroom.

Our brainstorm led us to N.O.B.L.E. - New Open Book Learning Environment.

Imagine a place where secure data meets an open exchange.
Integrated systems in a modular, customizable format.
Rooted in tight integration that bends at the needs of its users
Strong, stable, learning-centered, adaptable, flexible.
Leveraging the tools of Web 2.0 with an open architecture.
It's learning without boundaries structured in a cloud-type ecosystem.

Our logo uses imagery from a tree. We believe that symbol truly represents the next new system. It's something that it rooted in the ground (admin, data, reports) but flexible enough to bend with the changing needs of its users.

We met several times via Skype to brainstorm our project. After the first meeting, we divided and conquered as each person tackled their own aspect to the project. Karyn was our resident prezi pr dedicating hours to its creation, Shelly brought her editing eye to all aspects, Thomas did the final editing to bring the presentation together. I was a brainstormer always adding to the google document and wrote the audio script. I also added heavily to both the blog and Facebook page to allow us to market our idea and continue the important conversation about its need in our industry.

Individual Project

For my final individual project in this class, I created a SoftChalk lesson for my COM 110 students (Introduction to Communication) about Technology and Communication. One of my goals in this project was to find a way to demonstrate to my students how the recent shift in technology using Web 2.0 tools, mobile tools, etc has changed the way we communicate. Many of my students do not remember an Internet where you could not contribute to it.

Here is a link to my presentation.

I created the graphic - not a graphic artist so bear with me. The wordle addition was fun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wish Map

I love to travel. This is my first attempt at a map in Google Maps to lay out the journey. Use the link below the image below to see the full version of the map including a listing of my cities.

View Future Cross County Trip in a larger map

Geotagging. I'm it

This week, my assignment was to tag some of my images in flickr with geotags. You can see where they fall on my map by clicking here.

I love the geotagging aspect of images. Honestly, I have never used it until now though not sure why. I also give my images tags, but never scrolled down further and assigned geotags. I love that my images can show up on the map of their origin.

I added 5 images - Greensboro, NC, Winston Salem, NC, Atlanta, Georgia, Salt Lake City, Utah and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Searching in my head for instructional uses of this medium. Maybe an art class. Maybe a history class can create their own version of a walking tour. Maybe this is an icebreaker assignment to get students talking about themselves. Maybe a college can start this tradition and encourage students to do the same.

Then, we watched the brief presentation on Ted by Blaise on Photosynth. This "software" takes tagged images and links them together spatially. So if I took an image of a location and you took an image of the same location, then we both geotagged it correctly, our images could be related in the future and form one mega-image. It demonstrates how contributions to all of the endless social networks are not in vain. Of course, it does make you think before you tag your next digital image. Do I really want to stand in front of this famous building and pretend like I am holding it up? Where could this image end up?

Finally, I was asked to review the EXIF information on my data. I could not find that data on my camera, but my camera software on my computer is updated regularly. When I uploaded my images to flickr, flickr figured out what kind of camera that I was using and tagged my images automatically with this information - even down to the type of Canon PowerShot. Very cool


This week, we were asked to worksmith a document with our class in Google Documents. I use Google Documents a lot thanks to work. Without it, it would be impossible for us to get anything done.

I often give my students a wiki to use to prepare for group projects and I can't for the life of me understand why they have such trouble with it. The idea of lots of people editing the same thing can send a student into a tail spin. Most online documents and wikis have a history feature that allow you to "bounce back" to an older version if someone makes a mistake and deletes your creativity.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Usable Non-Copyright Images

I found a great site - Yellowstone Digital Slide File. Owned by the government, great images from the park have been scanned and placed here for both the media and the public to use free of charge with proper credit. They are public domain.

Here is a link to an image that I used on my website.

For educators (developers), this is a great resource. The images are beautiful and high quality. The only concern about these images is that since they are scanned, they are quite large. Once someone shows you this website, you need to learn how to resize it properly.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Ok, I confess that I was shocked that D.I. challenged us to use the Internet to meet with someone in person. Argh. The Internet is great, but it's also a super scary place. You have to be careful. So, I hung back and watched my classmates take the lead on this one. Most of them were joining meetup. So, I took the plunge and joined the Triad Hiking and Outdoor Group on meetup. Huge group! They have over 800 members and they use the site a lot to organize events.

I decided to take the plunge and go indoor rock climbing with this group. I posted my plans on Facebook and my friend Becky wanted to join me. Why not? So, on a Wednesday night, the two of us ventured into the Ultimate Climbing Gym in Greensboro. This place has been here almost 20 years, but it has been on my mental radar less than a week. I RSVP'ed on meetup and went for it.

Brad (red shirt in photos) was the organizer for the event and the person at the gym that I knew to find first. He helped Becky (green shirt) and I (purple shirt) do our first climb. We climb like newbies. We want to pick up one foot, place it somewhere and then lift the other. We were muscling the wall too much with our arms and not our legs. We weren't sure how much to trust the belay. If you looked around the room in contrast, people were diving, bouncing, standing on one foot, etc. These fears kept us from reaching the top during our first climb.

After our first climb, Becky and I stood back and stared at the amazing strength of the people in that room. Two of the photos here are of a man climbing the CEILING. Yes, he is upside down. I call him, "The Stud". After I took my final photos of him, he literally dangled from the ceiling with one arm. (Ladies, that sight was worth the price of admission alone.)

Brad introduced Becky and I to Sara, a relatively new person to indoor rock climbing. She has been doing this for 1 year (though her arms say much longer). She's a mother - her son can be seen in the first shot in the background in brown climbing the wall. She had such patience with us and told us exactly where to place our feet. With her help, we made it to the top of the wall and rang the cowbell. It was amazing!

I thought Brad was going to be my "person that I met" for this assignment, but it was Sara. She is the one who really talked me through how to do it. My photo of her is at the very end.

Now, I am glad that I had to do this assignment. I am really planning to attend several hiking events with them once school is over and work calms down. My next adventure with them must be riding the zipline! I want to do the super fast one in Asheville this summer.