Posts Tagged ‘521’


Week 12 Reflection. Synchronous Lesson Ideas

November 15th, 2011 Comments off

Initially, I had planned on using Facebook to deliver a synchronous text based literature discussion.  While I find great interest in this project, I don’t feel that it is right for this assignment.  To those ends, I have decided to think of some other ideas.

I’m an English teacher so, there are lots of ideas that run through my head about lessons.   I could still use the Facebook idea and incorporate video conferencing into my lesson, but I want a tool that will allow me to present a presentation live that they can see as well as me.  It looks like Adobe Connect is a good option, but I use a Mac often and I  really wanted to use something that I could take with me after graduation.

I just recently received a promotion.  I know will be training new DirecTV call center employees to answer technical support phone calls.  I’ve worked as an agent for a while now and one of my biggest challenges was calming angry and irate customers on the phone.  My company has many work at home agents and all of their training is delivered via online methods.  Some is synchronous and some is asynchronous.  I think that I might do a workshop on de-escalation methods, basically methods and strategies that will calm and sooth an angry customer.


Week 11–Self Assessment of Asynchronous Lesson.

November 8th, 2011 Comments off

Currently my lesson scores on the basic range from 6-10 points.  I have a title, introduction, and assignments.  I plan to include links to resources, objectives, and staff information.  I just haven’t finalized these components.

My lesson includes a video clip and more to come as well as an audio / visual presentation.  The resources that I have in mind will include differing styles of learning as well.  I guess right now, I would score it in the proficient range 11-15 points.

I would estimate that my lesson is proficient on the engagement area.  I have message board activities, videos, presentations.

I currently use Moodle to present my lesson.  Content is both textual and auditory / visual.  There is a presentation that does include a handout.  The videos can paused and re-watched.  The screen can be zoomed.  I think that I might include an audio overview so that students can listen to instructions as well.  Currently I would score it in the basic range.

As far as assessment, there is some formative assessment as well as summative.  Currently, I have not included objectives so I have to rate it at below expectations, but I do have objectives and the assessments are tied to them so eventually, I could rate it in the outstanding range.


Week 10 : Accessibility Features of a MacBook and iPad

November 1st, 2011 Comments off

I use both a desktop PC when I’m at home and also a MacBook running OS X Lion, when I’m on the go. I also use an iPad (iOS 5) quite often in places where it is not feasible or appropriate to get out the notebook. Many of the same features that are available on the Mac for accessibility are available on the iPad as well. One of the best features that is available on both is called Voiceover. Voiceover speaks what you are doing. It’s designed for those who have trouble seeing the screen. They function a bit differently on the two devices. On the Mac, the keyboard is utilized for a variety of shortcuts that the user can memorize based upon feel. The computer voice reads out what is being selected and can even go into a mode in which it will tell you what keys are what. On the iPad version of Voiceover, obviously, the keyboard is not used, but the computer voice informs the user of what is being selected. The user now must double tap to launch an app and select an item.

Bothe Mac and the iPad have a screen zoom capability that allows the screen to be enlarged for those who have trouble seeing. This is an obvious benefit to the elderly and others with poor eyesight. A high contrast screen option is also available on both devices that inverts the color spectrum and provides more contrast for the user to discern the different areas.

All of these visual tools will help people with varying degrees of vision problems.

Sadly both Apple machines had few options for those with hearing disabilities. Both systems allow stereo audio to be played as mono so that those with hearing difficulties can discern the sounds better. On the Mac, there is an option to flash the screen when there is an alert rather than make a sound. This would help the hearing impaired to be able to take advantage of the robust alert system that the Mac makes use of.

The Mac uses sticky keys to assist those with psycho-motor difficulties. It allows a sequence of modifier keys to be pressed rather than a combination. So for example, you could press control and then option and have it be the same as pressing control and option at the same time. It also allows the keys to slow down the rate of acceptance for those with shaking hands or ticks. It reduces the number of repeated key strokes. The Mac also allows the keyboard arrow keys to control the cursor and act as a mouse for those that cannot use a mouse or don’t have the fine motor skills that a mouse needs to operate properly. The mouse cursor can also be enlarged for those that have problems with eyesight.

While the iPad does not need to have keyboard or mouse assistance, it does have assistive touch modes in which the user can press a menu and bring up a whole list of options to perform. Many iPad apps require the shaking of the iPad to perform a function. This can be mimicked, as well as other commands like the swipe of pinch-to-zoom feature if the user does not have the motor capability to perform these actions.

I’ve noticed that Windows has many of these options as well. Generally speaking both systems attempt to make their systems accessible to the broadest range of users and the tools that they provide are well implemented and perform their functions well.


Week 9 Reflection : Technology Use Strategies and Learning Styles

October 25th, 2011 Comments off

One site that I really like is It allows for collaboration among peers or instructor / student. It also allows for not only visual presentations, but audio as well. This allows for audio and visual learners to both benefit since they can see and hear the content. My personal learning style is a mixture of the visual and audio / kinesthetic. If I can see something, then I can learn. If I can only hear, then I need to be doing something with my hands like doodling. This allows me to retain the information and links it with the pictures that I’m drawing.

For my primarily visual learning style: – a presentation tool that allows for visual slides and audio narration. – web based cloud storage based presentation tool that appeals to visual learners. I’m experimenting with this right now so I’m not sure if there is an audio component yet. – this site creates video without having to know a lot. you upload your media and arrange it and you have a video stored on the web that is embeddable in your web pages or Moodle pages. This might also satisfy the audio learners as well.

For the audio learning style: – a great site that allows to create podcasts and provides a player that can be embedded on web pages. The basic service is free but limited. It seems like it would be a great tool for audio learners.

For the kinesthetic learner:

WordPress – available at or the software is free for websites. this is just a blog site right, well with the various plugins, many of them free, that are available you could turn a wordpress blog into a mobile classroom and have students out moving around and interacting with course work via mobile devices.

Free Android App Maker(

I’m not quite sure on this one, but it has potential. It can create an app for the Android Platform based on some templates. You could create quizzes that require the student to be mobile and running around to answer them. The possibilities are high, but I’m not sure on the customizability yet. I need to do further research.

Free iPhone app maker (, Just like the one above but for the iOS. If you couple this one with the android app maker, then you might be able to cater to most of your students.

All of these tools seem interesting and I’m going to take the time to research and explore them to see what their potential might be.


Week 8 Reflection

October 16th, 2011 Comments off

The iNACOL standards are very good standards for online teachers.  They ensure that all teachers that teach online are good teachers and have the skills and knowledge to teach students.  Most of these standards are good practice standards for any teacher whether it be online or in a physical classroom.  The simple addition of the line “in the online environment” or something similar makes the standard specific for the online environment.  Basically these are the qualities of a good teacher.  You can append them with “in the classroom” or “in the online environment” and they still would be the same.  Now I’m not implying that any teacher could successfully transition to online.  You have to go about your teaching methods a little differently.  Different attentions are needed when teaching online as opposed to in the classroom. 

The readings this week have been interesting.  I’ve been letting an idea about a lesson dealing with Beowulf percolated in my brain for while.  I’ve been doing some research on some virtual forms of Beowulf and some simulations via video game.  I haven’t found many, but I have found some virtual Beowulf literature programs that I might be interested in using.  Basically, I want my students to read Beowulf and engage with it and understand what life might have been like for the Danes of the time.  I felt some simulations might help this even if they were in the form of a video game.  Also, I want students to really get inside the head of one of the characters.  I think this might best be served with an interior monologue lesson module.  Maybe, the students could produce a video or presentation in which they create a dramatic interior monologue.  We’ll see what develops.


Week 6/7 Reflection

October 12th, 2011 Comments off

I used Moodle this week for my Classroom Expectations presentation.  I also used VoiceThread.  I currently own and use both a desktop PC and a MacBook.   I really don’t like the whole conflict between Adobe and Apple when it comes to Flash.  I’m not sure if there will be a resolution anytime soon, but in the meantime, I felt it might be more appropriate to use tools that I could easily use, edit, and publish using either of my systems.  To be honest, I’m leaning towards replacing my PC with a Mac as well and this might be a good idea for me.  VoiceThread is simple to use and does a good job.  It also allows for video production (albeit at a cost) of the presentation.  I host my own web space for a number of reasons, the primary one being that it is something that I enjoy and it serves as a place for me to experiment.  During my tenure at Riverside High School in Wyoming, I incorporated an installation of Moodle into my senior English class and, on a limited basis, my sophomore class.  It was somewhat successful, but the design was flawed.  I enjoyed redesigning the currentMoodle sandbox that my site hosts.  I developed a Moodle page for my presentation and linked to some sources for the scavenger hunt including a video on YouTube.  the interface was well designed and it was very easy to create the page.  This is the type of LMS that I like.  It is simple and intuitive.  It gives me more time to focus on content rather than the technological aspect.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the technology, but when I’m in the middle of a school year, I don’t have the time to do a lot of heavy maintenance or tech fixing.  I just want it to work and work well.  Moodle seems to do this.


Week 5: Facilitated Chat Reflection

October 4th, 2011 Comments off

In an effort to aid in the discussion and creation of a consensus of netiquette rules for the opal group, we participated in a live chat via bronco mail.   The interface was easy to use and intuitive and it really facilitated communication between us a group members.  Although my browser dropped me out once and I had to switch browsers, there was a limit of technical difficulties.

I work at a call center that provides technical support over the phone for DirecTV customers.  There are over 400 agents working at this particular call center and at any given time, 100-150 on the phones.  We are divided into teams of between 10-15 agents headed by a team leader.  Now, during a shift the entire team is logged into a chat session where we have live access to each other regardless of where we are located at in the center.  This chat allows us to help each other and get answers quicker if we have questions.  I participate in this five days a week and find it incredibly useful.  While it is a professional environment, we do engage in some more informal behaviors that lead to team and community building.  My team members rarely “see” each other even though we are in the same building, but we communicate and build relationships because of this chat feature.

I think that chats can be incredibly useful in the online classroom.  They allow for real-time discussion and community building.  There should be some ground rules within the chat just like there are ground rules in any group setting.  These rules should include, keep the discussion on-task, keep it respectful, keep it appropriate.  These are the only rules when I work and they work and lead to a pleasant electronic environment.  In the online classroom, other rules or guidelines might be added like, no private conversations and be honest.

I feel that the synchronous live chat can have a huge impact and help the online classroom take an advantage that the traditional classroom can have in that it allows for class members to get to know one another and have an actual discussion.  It also lets them bond and build relationships.


Week 4: Community Building

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

CommunityBuildingExercises – FabioCominotti

I joined Classroom 2.0 ( I am very interested in web 2.0 and social networking as it pertains in a classroom whether it is a traditional one or a virtual one.  I believe that these types of technologies offer a tremendous opportunity to educators.  In the traditional setting, it is a way to expand the learning outside of the classroom, give students the opportunities to teach themselves by communication outside of the classroom.  I’ve been seeking away to include Facebook and its groups into my classroom for a while and I think that it could be very useful.  While I didn’t do much social networking while exploring classroom 2.0 (since my account is still pending approval) I did find a wide variety and wealth of information, ideas, and strategies to incorporate into my classroom (online or traditional).  There is a lot of good information here and it seems like a great community that seems to welcome it’s members and new ideas.

Lets face it.  Most students belong to one or more online communities.  They know how to use them and use them often.  Facebook is the most popular—although Google+ may be a contender.  Almost all students will have an increased motivation if their assignment was to log onto Facebook, or a system similar to Facebook to complete an assignment or work on a project.  It also provides students with a way to collaborate on projects, study for exams, peer review each other’s work, or assist each other in real time without the need to physically meet face to face which is not always practical or feasible.  These networks also open the student up to even more assistance and learning opportunities by interacting with community members.  I think that social networks could revolutionize how instruction is designed in both the online and traditional classrooms.


Week 4: Potential Issues to Consider in the Secondary (9-12) Online Classroom

September 21st, 2011 Comments off

Some potential issues that need to be considered and addressed by teachers seeking to build community online are cyber-bullying, confusion, the viewing of inappropriate content and inappropriate online relationships.. While these three issues are not the only ones, I feel that they are important. The high school mindset is unique and challenging for teachers to cope with and interact with in a traditional classroom. When moving to the virtual classroom, teachers need to be even more aware.

Bullying is a problem in all schools. In fact, many schools already have a problem with cyber-bullying even though no classes are offered online. It is much easier to type a flaming mean thought to someone with whom you’ve never met in person. The cyber-wall is a strong one and makes people bolder. Teens have a tendency to be bold anyway and when behind the cyber-wall, it can be even worse. Steps need to be taken to minimize not only the opportunity but the desire to bully. This can be accomplished through strong community building at all levels of instructions.

In a normal classroom, if a student doesn’t understand instructions or some content, he can ask the teacher after class or school or the teacher might notice a puzzled look on his face and pull him aside. In the online classroom, this is not possible. The information is disseminated via computers and videos and therefore makes it more difficult, if not impossible, to see when a student is struggling. Also the teacher is less accessible to the student. Specific and plentiful office hours might alleviate some of this issue. If a student knew when and how to contact a teacher and knew that the teacher would be available, in a live chat for example, then that student would have an easier time seeking assistance.

The presence of predators has always been a problem and pornography and other inappropriate material has always been around, but the online world makes these issues more severe. Predators can log onto a computer and pose as anyone they wish. This makes it easier to lure unsuspecting teens into their traps. The sheer amount of inappropriate material online and its ease of access is truly mind boggling. A person can find anything that they desire. These issues have to be addressed in the online classroom. Instructors need to screen material and websites to make sure that the inadvertent lurid image doesn’t pop up on the screen and only use communication materials that can be directly monitored and controlled by the instructor and staff.

While these three issues are not the only issues that are associated with the online classroom, the certainly are important ones. Appropriate steps need to be taken to insure that these and other issues are minimized and even eliminated if possible. To do this requires extra design time and anticipation of possible issues.


Essentials of Netiquette

September 18th, 2011 Comments off

Working in a group with two other classmates, we determined what the essentials of netiquette for online instruction should be.  Later, I adapted the essentials into a presentation, added more resources and created a scavenger hunt for students to complete.  The text is as follows.


Rules for Online Communication within the Digital Classroom

Created by Fabio Cominotti, Brett Crane, and Chioma Umunakwe


Netiquette is an issue that is best decided by the instructor and is inherently dependent upon the situation.  In the classroom, each situation or activity is different and calls for differing levels of formality.  This holds true in the online classroom as well.

The level of formality is also dependent upon the dictates of time.  An activity that takes place on a message board or forum communication is not dependent upon time.  In this asynchronous environment, students have time to carefully consider their words and write with an eye for correct grammar and spelling.  This is, perhaps, the most formal of environments.  

In a synchronous environment like a live chat, time is more of an issue just as in a classroom discussion.  With time being a factor, spelling and grammar errors are to be expected and possibly overlooked.  Just as in oral communication, students do not speak in complete sentences nor with proper and correct grammatical structure.  This should be expected.  Also with time being a factor in a synchronous discussion, emoticons could be a useful way to convey emotion and or tone just as body language does in a face to face discussion.  As such, they might be expected and, unless excessive, overlooked.

Email communication is a bit of a hybrid.  Some forms of email can be asynchronous in nature and therefore allow for a greater formality, but other factors can influence the formality like repeated communication and familiarity as well as urgency in the need to reply.  Email communication is a bit of a hybrid of the two environments, sometimes falling into either category.


The specific rules of netiquette should be the domain of the instructor.  If an activity calls for more formality, then the instructor should communicate these requirements before the activity begins.  Likewise, if it can be successful in a less formal environment, then that should also be communicated by the instructor.

 Regardless of the situation or instructor, the following five rules should be followed in all online communications.

1.    Be respectful of others.

2.    Keep It related to class.

3. Keep it appropriate for school (i.e. no cursing).

4.    Think about what you are saying before posting.

5.    Be honest in what you post.

 Anything beyond these five rules is at the discretion of the instructor.


View the original document in Google Drive

Essentials of Netiquette – I created a lesson in Moodle using these rules.  The lesson includes a Voice-Thread presentation with a PowerPoint presentation, a web resource, and a scavenger hunt for students to complete.


Categories: General Reflection Tags: ,