High School is Easy

No, Really It Is …

Get full credit on the easy activities — By submitting them ON TIME!
Don’t take a zero in the grade book on assignments/activities for which you should be, easily, earning full credit.  That’s just redunculous! (this is a real word – check here)

What Are These “Easy” Activities?

Listen, most schools have some version of the following three activities (four in some cases) that are used for grades.

  1. Bell work / Bell ringer
  2. Class work
  3. Home work
  4. Uniform (if required)

Explain Further Coach

Well, you should just watch the video for the explanation, but here is the premise.

Bell work / Bell ringers

These are those assignments that most teachers have right at the beginning of class.  They, usually, are short (maybe 5-10 minutes), and are meant to be done while the teacher takes attendance, checks homework, hands out papers, etc.

All students should earn whatever maximum credit is possible for these assignments.
Most of the time, you just have to get it done on time.

Class work

I really shouldn’t have to explain this.  Just participate and do the work.  Again, all students should be earning maximum points here.  This grade is usually based on honest effort, maximum participation, and timely completion.  It really is that simple.

Home work

Ok.  Here is one set of assignments where you, sometimes, might not earn the full amount of credit — IF you get some wrong answers.  However, you have to at least do the work.  You have to show that you made a legitimate attempt to complete whatever work was assigned.  Even if you get stuck, at least do everything up to the point where you get confused.  Show all of your work, and maybe even write down your thoughts in attempting to complete the work.

Uniform (If Required)

Look …
This is THE MOST unacceptable thing to take a zero on.
I’m not even joking.

If you have some kind of PE (physical education) class that has some kind of “uniform requirement” — wear it.  Whatever that requirement is — just wear it.  I mean, don’t be silly.

The fact is that taking a zero on any of these things is an act of Stupidity; not to be confused with ignorance.  They are two completely different things, but that is a topic for another day, and another video.

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Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Controlling Your Digital Footprint

Digital Content is King

Welcome to the 21st Century – where a video recorded in high definition via a mobile device may be uploaded and shared to Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. in just a matter of minutes – if not seconds.

Now, these videos may be anything from a surprise birthday party, service member returning home from deployment, an engagement proposal to a fight at school.

Either way, the speed with which video may be shared with anyone who has access to the internet is incredible when you really take a moment to think about that.

Now, for all of the positive scenarios of sharing video, that may, very well, be a good thing.  However, when considering the negative instances of sharing video, educational institutions need a positive way to control the “spin” factor, as well as, the associated positive/negative reputation that develops from this kind of exposure.

Control Your Digital Footprint

Your “Digital Footprint” is anywhere that information about you, or your organization/company, can be located digitally — especially via the interwebs.  It is important to understand how wide of a digital footprint you generate.  Then, you need to take steps to control your digital footprint.

From an individual viewpoint, this could be as simple as not creating any online accounts.
Or, is it really that simple?  If you don’t have any online accounts, does that prevent someone else from posting an image and/or video(s) where you are “tagged”?

You see …
Not participating in the digital/information age is not really a solution — especially from the viewpoint of a company or an organization.

It is more important to positively interact with and engage with the consumers of your product, service, or information.  Additionally, it would probably be in your best interest to control your digital footprint in the same spaces as the consumers with whom you interact (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Youtube, etc.).

This is becoming more and more important for schools across the nation.
The education world tends to be slow in adopting technological advances – including forms of communication.

In the end, it is more important to be proactive and to take action to ensure that the message you want disseminated throughout the interwebs is actually what is getting promulgated.

Teachers Talking | Mr. Bland & Coach Pabon | Book of Bland

We Should All Write A Book

No, seriously.
I believe we all should write some kind of book.
Everybody has something inside of them to contribute to the world around them.

There are those small things that we found ourselves repeating time and time again.
Maybe it’s some kind of quality advice.
Maybe it’s a step-by-step process for doing some kind of task.

  • Achieving a certain kind of style or look with make-up
  • Different way to perform various maintenance requirements for your vehicle(s)
  • Life lessons and how to capitalize on opportunities that stem from “mistakes”

The point that I’m making is that we all have something of value to share.  Maybe it won’t be a book that turns into the next block-buster movie event of the Summer, but who knows?  Maybe it will.

Either way, why not take a chance and just go for it.
I like Mr. Bland’s idea for a book, and I actually think he should write a book.

If you know who Mr. Bland is, and even if you don’t, you should encourage him to follow through with this idea & publish this book.

His youtube channel is: Mr. Bland
You can go subscribe & leave him a comment to get started on his “Book of Bland”.

While you’re at it, I would be most appreciative if you subscribed to my channel:
Coach Pabon.

Best Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Originally Posted: March 23, 2011


Woman holding a future digital reportBest Practices in Virtual Learning Environments

Dictionary.com defines best practice as “the recognized methods of correctly running businesses or providing services” (World English dictionary section, para. 1).  When based on principles, the same activities that constitute best practices in “traditional education” will, usually, translate well across any medium chosen for course delivery.  For a course to be of value, it has to answer a need – successfully.  This is where Instructional Design (ID) becomes important.  It is the analysis at the beginning that will help determine the “consumer’s” need, and how best to address that need.  Piskurich (2006) states that one of the benefits to employing ID is that it helps to identify the best practices for content delivery, essentially identifying the best manner for the target audience to successfully acquire the intended knowledge.  


Additionally, listing course prerequisites is vital and should, almost always, be mandatory.  Piskurich (2006) further suggests that course prerequisites are important for, both, the instructors, as well as, the students.   With a well-developed set of expected prerequisite skills and knowledge, the instructor(s) have a fair understanding of their students’ ability, and what kind of material they will be able to utilize with their students.  At the same time, potential students have an understanding and fair expectation regarding what information will be covered in their course.  Students that are reviewing course prerequisites can make informed decisions whether or not a course is too basic, too advanced, or just right.


Factors for Success in Virtual Worlds

Andrea L. Foster (2008) reported that educators experienced in utilizing the 3D virtual world, Second Life (SL), for distance education have stated that “…communication among students actually gets livelier when they assume digital personae” (p. 12-13).  Foster also reports that one educator, that teaches a freshman English composition course via SL, suggested that educators getting started in SL should be open to the idea of allowing students to have some control over the course in order to maximize student engagement.  Other suggestions include eliciting feedback and suggestions from other educators and students.  From a personal standpoint, this author believes that VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is essential in order to keep the audience engaged.  Having experienced SL conferences where the main means of communication between the presenter(s) and the audience have been either text chat (only), VoIP,  or a combination of both, it is very easy to say that this author found it more engaging to utilize VoIP with the occasional text chat for a side conversation/question.  Additionally, the use of multimedia such as video and/or presentation slides definitely helped to create the opportunities for increased audience participation.


Application Becoming Reality

The Simulations and Virtual Reality course that this author is currently participating in has really expanded the thought process regarding how to approach the final capstone project, and which tools, skills, and objects will be needed in order to develop a successful product.  This author had already settled on creating a course within Moodle, an open-source Learning Management System (LMS), entitled, “Developing Immersive Virtual Learning Environments”.  However, participating within the 3D world of SL has taken the original concepts to a whole new level of possibilities.


For the final project of the Simulations and Virtual Reality course this author intends to create one of the lessons for his final capstone course.  Beginning with basic best practices, this author will develop a detailed syllabus that will contain course prerequisites, course requirements, and technical requirements for the final capstone course.  Within SL, this final project will have to make use of multi-media viewers, a magazine and brochure shelf in order to provide external links to various learning objects, and text and voice chat.  Additionally, this author plans to explore the benefits of possibly utilizing SLOODLE which is an open-source project that has integrated SL with Moodle, and may be found in SL at: SLOODLE TeleHub and Fountain: 128, 128, 22 (SLOODLE, Home section, para. 1).


 


References

Best practice. (n.d.). In Dictionary.com’s online dictionary. Retrieved from http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/best+practice


Foster, A. L. (2008). Professor Avatar. Education Digest, 73(5), 12-17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.nu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=28755255&site=ehost-live


Piskurich, G. M. (2006). Rapid instructional design: Learning ID fast and right. (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.


SLOODLE (n.d.). In Sloodle.org’s open source project. Retrieved from http://www.sloodle.org/moodle

FlipSnack: Convert PDFs into Stylish Page Flip Books

FlipSnack is an online flipping book software that allows you to convert PDF documents into Flash page flip digital publications. It’s the ideal solution for those who wish to embed a book, magazine, catalog, newspaper, portfolio or any other kind of document into a website or blog.

Once created, you can embed your flipping book collection, download them or share them on social networking websites such as Facebook.

P.S. With FlipSnack you can upload several documents at once, allowing you to embed not only one, but multiple page flip publications in the same Flash widget.

~ FlipSnack

(No registration required – You may use Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, or MySpace to login for FREE).

 

This is a pretty nice service.  As a test, I converted a Teaching Guide that I made for using Call of Duty: Black Ops with High School Seniors in an American or World History class.  This is the FlipSnack version of the original PDF.

Flipsnack

Do you want to know what “IT” is?

Originally Posted: December 3, 2010


The Matrix is everywhere.  It is all around us.  Even now in this very room.  You can see it when you look out your window, or when you turn on your television.  You can feel it when you go to work, when you go to church, when you pay your taxes….Unfortunately, no one can be told [emphasis added] what the matrix is; you have to see it for yourself.  (Wachowski & Wachowski, 1999)

The quote above is from the famous “blue pill or red pill” scene in the 1999 hit, The Matrix.  With an ever increasing amount of people utilizing wireless internet connections, whether through a smart phone or a wireless router in their home, the word “Matrix” could easily be replaced with the word “Internet” in the quote above.  The internet, truly, is everywhere.  So, how does one “jack into” the internet?

Globe Montage
cc by-sa : Some rights reserved by mikecogh

The Internet
The first thing one needs is a modem in order to connect to the internet.  Williams and Tollett (2006) explain that modems translate the digital information of our computers into the analog information that must travel across the various communication wires that provide our internet connection.  On the far end of this connection, another modem will convert the analog information back into a digital signal that the receiving computer will understand.  Hence, a modem modulates and demodulates information.

Next, a person must choose the type of service he/she wishes to use for there internet connection.  One may choose to become a member of an online service, but this is not the internet.  Rather, an online service provides a, somewhat, controlled representation of what is available on the internet.  If you have seen the movie The Matrix, an online service is akin to the vast majority of people “jacked into” the matrix that believe the world they are experiencing is real.  An online service controls and limits one’s internet experience.  If a person wants to experience all that the internet has to offer, they must choose the red pill.  Those that wish to experience more freedom when exploring the internet should consider utilizing a true ISP (Internet Service Provider).  ISPs are like the “free” humans in The Matrix movie.  They can provide direct access to the internet where one is free to explore everything that is available; good or bad.

Oh, What a Web we Weave
“The part of the Internet we hear about the most these days is the World Wide Web” (Williams & Tollett, 2006, p. 21).  The authors further explain that the web is composed of an enormous amount of individual pages that contain various types of information.  These web pages are linked to other web pages.  When an entity creates a group of related web pages, it is referred to as a web site.  Most web sites have a home page which is usually a navigation page for the rest of the web site.  However, the home page is not always the first page of the web site.  Some entities choose to use an entry page or a landing page which serves as an introduction to the home page.

Text and images may be used to provide the various links to other web pages.  Text that is used to connect to other web pages is called hypertext.  To view these web pages, one needs to use a web browser.  There are various browsers available for downloading, the majority of which are free.  Each web page has its own address, or URL (uniform resource locator), that must be typed into a web browser in order to view the contents of that web page.  Williams and Tollett (2006) further explain that people may choose to use downloadable snippets of software called plug-ins that allow certain things to happen.  Plug-ins allow for animation, streaming video and/or sound, and other special effects.

I Get Around
The background theme song for this section should be the 1964 song, I Get Around, by The Beach Boys.  Getting around the internet and/or world wide web may seem overwhelming at first, but with a little patience, almost anyone can find a way to utilize the internet as a resource to increase overall productivity.  There are several search engines and directories that are designed to help one find relevant information on the vast world wide web.  There are quite a number of ways for people to refine their searches in order to increase the likelihood of finding useful information.  Each search engine and/or directory offers directions on how to best utilize their service.  Reading these direction is the most prudent way to ensure getting around in an efficient manner.


NOTE:
I originally made the content for this post on a “discussion board” as part of my Master’s cohort in Educational & Instructional Technology.  One of my classmates made a better analogy regarding the use of “online services”.

I would think that a more accurate comparison would be the training simulations that the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar use.  We know these simulations are connected to the Matrix because when the characters are in the simulations they can then go directly to the Matrix without leaving the simulation and reconnecting.  However, while in these simulations the rules can be slightly altered to protect participants, and the environment is protected from outside influence, including malicious software.  Even with these protections and restrictions, however, the user can still be harmed, if he is not careful. (M. Wright, personal communication, November 28, 2010).


References

eaglerocktv. (2008, June 20). The beach boys – I get around (From “Good Timin: Live At Knebworth” DVD) [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GiekNHjkLTk

Wachowski, A. (Producer/Writer/Director), & Wachowski, L. (Producer/Writer/Director). (1999). The Matrix [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Williams, R., & Tollet, J. (2006). The non-designer’s web book. (3rd ed.). Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press.

Navigating the Web – Intelligently

Originally Posted: September 26, 2010

“Safety First. Security Always” – Navy Radioman Guiding Principle

Technology is something that should be embraced and respected, but not feared.

While it is absolutely true that technology is a wonderful tool with many great benefits, it must also be noted that there are some potential dangers to consider when using certain technology.

One of my goals is to utilize my background and experiences in cyber threat analysis to instill respect and awareness, in students and colleagues, for the potential pit-falls that exist with the use of internet-based technology.

The bottom line is that awareness is the key.
Remember, technology is something that should be embraced and respected, but not feared.

A web-based training outline for this Professional Development resource may be found here: