Monday, April 28, 2014

World of Wiki

Up until recently I also did not know that Wikipedia was a wiki. I guess now it makes sense since we have explored the texts and “wiki” being in the work Wikipedia. In my early years at college I just know that teachers told us not to use or cite Wikipedia as a reference and I was not too sure why. Now I know because it is a forum for information that can be changed, updated and added to by anyone. 
I have used a wiki before but only in my previous class as an undergrad student. When I first used it I found it to be very different than any other website and tool that I’ve used. Once it was explained I was able to navigate with ease and was able to create a beautiful Wiki on Butterflies that was my original Unit Plan and a School Bag on Mnemonics. However those were the only times I used a wiki until now. Pbworks is the only one I have used to create my own wiki, however it seems now I have used and accessed many before not quite knowing what they were.
 I have never used a wiki in a classroom but after reading I realize that there are hundreds of uses for them. Once specific site had 50 uses for Wikis; some examples were virtual field trips, student portfolios, fan clubs, or a school/class newspaper.  Teachers can set up classroom sites, forums for assignments, feedback and collaboration between other classrooms and schools district wide or even worldwide.  While researching further on how to use wiki’s in a classroom I found these terms that were not only cute, but explained the roles of those who use wikis:
 – a person who can train others or help them get started
WikiGardener or WikiGnome – those who like to fix typos, find citations for quotes, fix broken links, and add links
WikiFairy - someone who makes format changes to make the wiki more visually appealing.
WikiTroll – those who like to insight a reaction from others by posting controversial content or doing disruptive things. WikiTrolls do not exists when wikis require a login with a secure password because they are not anonymous
Now knowing how wikis are used and can be used I would love to integrate the use in to my classroom. They are a quick and interactive way to get the students, teachers and parents involved in the learning of technology and the classroom. 

Here is a wiki we did as a group on TubeChop. TubeChop also works in tandem with YouTube. By choosing video and uploading it to Tube Chop you can select shorter pieces of the video to suit your means. This can be used in any classroom for any subject area. For example, you can take a part of a video and turn it into a writing prompt, or you can show a part of the butterfly life cycle. Here is our PbWorksWiki

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

As The World Turns

Spring is here and Summer is near. This makes me happy in the life of sunshine, warmth and water. Although, I find myself in pure chaos right now and extremely overwhelmed. As April comes to a close I am still recovering from surgery, school is 2 weeks from the end (with summer classes to follow), work events are every weekend through June and my personal life is in disarray between friends and family.

I try to be the strong, independent and goal oriented to get through each and everyday. As the world turns I find each day to get a little harder recently. I wish to find the perfect life balance. I know this will never be near perfect but I just want a day or two, maybe even a week of calm. My goal is to push forward through these rough and tough times and make it out ahead in the coming months. Summer is here and I refuse to be sad and upset through the summer, besides my birthday is in the summer! A perfect time to relax and move forward.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Digital Footprint

Google-ing Myself was an interesting assignment. I remember years ago back in high school doing it to see what came up and again in my later years in high school. Seeing as I have removed myself from all social networks or have chosen to keep the sites on the strictest privacy settings; I didn't find much. 
Most searches were not of myself but of other people with the same name. I was able to find more when I went into specific searches. For example: "Lynn Conners Poughkeepsie Journal" or "Lynn Conners Bowling." Most of those searches came up with the same information I was in the local news weekly for bowling scores or seasonally for high school or college bowling. It also seems that the journal has me for my graduation from MSMC in 2010 as well. 
This was an eye opening experience non the less and I enjoyed it. I will continue to keep tabs on my digital footprint.  Here is my video on my Digital Footprint. Enjoy

Here are some photos I found to be of interest in my searches on Digital Footprints!  I believe it is forever important at this point in education and technology that we teach our children and students the resposbiliity of posting and adding to the internet. Some day when they apply for jobs the internet will be away for interviewing most candidates. We need to protect ourselves and those around us by knowing that is save to post.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you post! 

You control your own Digital Footprint! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sans Gallbladder

The road to recovery.... Since I was diagnosed with gallstones and extreme episodes of pain I have been admitted to the hospital 5 days early with surgery to happen sooner than expected. 

My frustration on Wednesday was high. I have been extremely nervous about the surgery since I was told I was to have an organ removed; a useless organ for me however, it did not hinder the fact I was having SURGERY! I was so careful to watch what I was eating and preparing meals daily, I was convinced I may not even need the surgery. Although that idea went right out the window with my last episode on Wednesday night. 

Wednesday 10pm: I left work in extreme pain hoping the pain medication would help and I would go to bed and wake up normal as I had the last 3 weeks. Tonight that was not the case. My mom did not give me any other option but to get in the car and call the doctor. As I tried to settle my nerves and avoid the pain I panicked over the pending surgery that was now 5 days sooner. I knew no doctor would let me go back home with a gallbladder.... Boy was I right! 

Thursday 11am: Prepped and ready for surgery I freaked out and was nervous as the road to recovery would be better than the pain I was experiencing but I was not sure how I would feel or if my recovery would be as easy as everyone made it seem. Surgery went well although they kept me an extra day because I was too sick from all the medication. Another sleepless night in the hospital. 

Monday 9pm: Days later I am happy that the surgery has happened sooner than later, however recovery is still hard. I am moving around and not as sore as I was Friday (which was my worst day, physically and emotionally). I am happy that there will be no more pain, not worries over what I can eat or fearing a restaurant wasn't as careful as they said they were. Now I just make sure that I do not lift or over exert myself for 4-6 weeks and see what happens! 

The road to recovery sans gallbladder is hard but getting easier everyday. 

Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning is becoming a large part of the worlds learning let alone in today's classrooms. Mobile learning includes smart phones, tablets, laptops and small technological items that can be connected to the wireless networks. This allows teachers to be flexible as well as extend the learning outside of the traditional classroom.

When exploring this idea of Mobile Learning in the classroom I found a quote that I loved:

"there is no surprise that young people want 

to employ mobile devices to make education 

more engaging and personalize it to their 


Part of learning about Mobile Learning, I also created  a news letter explaining

  • What it is
  • How it works
  • Data and statistics
  • Uses in the Classroom
To see my group project on Smore. Click Here>> Mobile Learning

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I sit here in complete exhaustion. How I am not so sure knowing that I just came home from a beautiful 5 day stay in Fort Lauderdale, Flordia. I always thought that one comes back rested, relaxed and ready to take on life. However, I feel myself reverting to the opposite.

Even though I have been nervously anticipating surgery on the 14th. I still went on vacation hoping the trip from work, school and life would really help me cope with the removal of an organ, regardless of how small and useless it might be. My time away could not have been any better, but the phone call before the vacation set part of my mood for the rest of my stay. On top of surgery, 6 work events, school assignments, and upcoming surgery, I have heard about the passing of a close families father. This hit me like a ton of bricks and didn't make the first day of vacation go with out a heavy heart. Now that I am home and said my goodbyes and gave my shoulder to friends who needed it; I must prepare the store for my time off after surgery, prep for events in the next few weeks, complete all school assignments (individual and work) as well daily life functions I am extremely stressed.

I hoped that April would be a great month; better weather, coming to a close on the school semester and work getting busier, I think I was wrong. Now I sit here and think, think, think...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gaming, Who Knew?

As I read this week information I have learned a lot of new and intriguing information. I have always played games of interest and thrown games of no interest to the way side; however, I never realized regardless of playing I am engaged and still learning. As I continue to go through the readings I am in disbelief.

·         Selected trends affecting game-based learning Selected trends affecting game-based learning include:
o   Widespread use of games technologies and serious games movement
o   Wider use of games technologies in the home is increasing the interest in the use of games in educational contexts, and in turn this is leading to increasing use of games particularly in schools and colleges, but also in universities.
o   The serious games movement is a trend towards designing and analyzing the use of games (and simulations) for supporting formal educational and training objectives and outcomes. The movement aims to meet the significant challenge of bringing together games designers and educationalists to ensure fun and motivation as well as demonstrating educational value.
The main conclusions arising from this study include:
·         Games need to be embedded into practice to ensure effective learning
o   Use of both leisure (commercial-off-the-shelf) games and proprietary games need to be embedded in practice effectively and in accordance with sound pedagogic principles and design.
o   More research is needed to provide empirical evidence for how game-based learning can be used most effectively
o   Need for more rigorous baseline studies that can quantify how much and in which ways games and simulations are currently being used most effectively to support learning.
o   More effective supporting materials are needed to support practitioners wishing to use game-based learning approaches
o   There is a need for guidelines, case studies and exemplars from current practice to inform and improve the quality of delivery of games-based learning across the sector and to support better future planning and resource allocation.
o   New developments including the serious games movement are informing the development of games for learning
o   New developments such as the serious games movement are facilitating collaborations between academic, industrial and government agencies seeking to develop proprietary learning games. However, further work still needs to be done to bring the games development and education communities closer together in order to build shared vocabularies and expectations, as well as to inform new learning designs to support effective game-based learning experiences.
o   Great potential and need for tutors and practitioners to become involved with games development for learning
o   The potential for educators to become involved in the development of learning content associated with these new games formats at this stage is substantial. This may be further encouraged using participatory development methodologies to ensure that tutors and learners have a greater say in dedicated content developed for games-based learning, and importantly to ensure compliance with sound pedagogic design principles as well as alignment with learning outcomes and assessment.
o   Need for more opportunities for staff development to support tutors wishing to adopt game-based learning in their practice
o   The potential of game-based learning in practice can only be supported by a more coordinated approach to staff development and opportunities for buying out staff time to allow tutors time to explore and experiment with existing tools and game spaces.
o   Potential for learners to become more empowered with game-based learning
o   Game-based learning presents new opportunities for re-considering how we learn. Using immerse spaces, learners may produce their own materials, share learning experiences and rehearse skills for the ‘real-world’.

Gamification Implementation Chart 

Why do we play games, Motivate students to do what we need them to do. Games are played because of strategy and choices, simulation, social interaction, competition, self-reliance and thrill and luck. John Radalf uses a chart to describe that we use immersion; cooperation, competition and achievement are the reasons behind playing games. All games have different reasons as to why we play, most people it’s the story behind the game and not the game itself. Many won’t play if there isn’t a story to follow as they play.

This PDF had a lot of information I was not aware of. Simply stating that we should waste 4 minutes of every hour playing angry birds because it will make us smarter or work better? I have played angry birds and completed what I had and deleted it and moved on to something new. I have to admit I liked the game, little did I know it was engaging my brain and making me smarter. All I thought was that I was wasting my time or using time up that I had free, especially on my commute to NYC on the train.  If and when I do play games I usually make sure they are strategy or learning games and try to keep my brain involved and actively thinking. Same reason why I read mystery books, I like to figure out the end before I get there; however, I’m not always right but I am always on the edge of my seat.
This article also discusses and gives lots of diagrams to becoming and expert. The more time we spend and the better attitude we have the more people who reach level expert per day, week and year.