Learning Log – iGoogle
July 11, 2011, 11:55 AM
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iGoogle is a great site for organizing all of your social networking sites and gadgets.   My iGoogle page can be extremely helpful with regards to teaching and learning.  The site is a one-stop shop to check in on your blog subscriptions, Twitter account, documents you’ve created within GoogleDocs, and much more.  By having access to all of this on one page, I will be able to stay on top of all of my sites and gadgets much more easily because I will not have to spend so much time checking on each site and gadget individually.  This will leave me more time for planning and instruction, which will benefit the students in the long run.  Having everything on one page also gives me the piece of mind that I will not miss anything.  With so many sites and gadgets, I could see forgetting about a few of them every now and then.  iGoogle will not allow you to forget.  All you have to do is add the site or gadget one time and it will be there every time. 

I recently subscribed to multiple PE and education blogs.  By having access to my Google Reader account on my iGoogle page, I am able to see recent posts from all of my blog subscriptions.  This saves me the time from having to visit each blog individually.  I also just created a Twitter account and am following many PE organizations.  By having access to my Twitter account from my iGoogle page, I can see recent tweets without having to log into Twitter separately.  All of the documents I create through GoogleDocs are also just a click away when I am on my iGoogle page.

The Google search box on the top of my iGoogle page is always nice to have.  I actually used it just moments ago when I had to search to find out how to take a screenshot.  I can also keep up with the weather, news, and sports scores from my iGoogle page.  I do not have a GMail email account, but if I did it would be extremely convenient to be able to see and my inbox from my iGoogle page.  I imagine that as I explore the iGoogle site and become more and more comfortable with it, I will find it even more useful.


Learning Log – Digital Storytelling
June 28, 2011, 3:56 PM
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The big idea I will be taking away from the digital storytelling assignment is how digital stories are a great way to create not-so-conventional learning experiences.  Digital storytelling can be used in all subjects.  The stories can be fiction or non-fiction.  The traditional development of a story and creative writing are still important aspects of digital storytelling.  The story does not end there however, the addition of the digital aspects is what makes this not-so-conventional.

A con of digital storytelling is the amount of time it takes to create a story.  Instead of just developing the story and writing it, students need plenty of additional class time to add audio, select video and photos, and edit their stories.  Another con is the equipment needs.  Each student needs access to a computer with the proper software, audio equipment, and video or photo equipment.  This equipment can be rather costly.  Hopefully the school can meet these equipment needs.  Chances are the student will not have all of this equipment available to them at home.  That means there will be very little time spent on this assignment outside of the classroom.   Others on the discussion board tended to agree with me on these being the biggest cons of digital storytelling.

As a future PE teacher, I could see using a digital story at the beginning of class as an anticipatory set for that day’s lesson.  If you’re teaching the basketball unit and the lesson that day focuses on dribbling, you could show a quick digital story with all sorts of photos of proper dribbling techniques.  You could show photos from men’s basketball, women’s basketball, and include different levels from recreational leagues to the professionals.  The goal would be to help the students make a connection of why this lesson is important and how it will impact them.  I tried to accomplish this with the digital story I created for an activator for a baseball or softball unit.

I had some difficulties using My Movie to create my digital story.  I was unable to find a way to add narration over my photos.  Because of that, I added audio by utilizing my webcam and introducing the photos and then summarizing the photos once they had been shown.  When watching my digital video after it was embedded onto this blog, I noticed a lag in the audio behind the video.  At certain times, my mouth is moving but the wrong words are coming out.  I’m guessing this could be because I do not have the highest quality webcam.  Maybe my computer is just running a little slow since I’ve been on it all morning and afternoon creating the story.  Anyway, it was a fun experience and I know I will only get better with the process as I continue to use it.

The digital storytelling assignment, like the screencasting assignment, addressed AASL Indicator 3.3: Information technology.  The indicator states: ” Candidates demonstrate their ability to design and adapt relevant learning experiences that engage students in authentic learning through the use of digital tools and resources. Candidates model and facilitate the effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research, learning, creating, and communicating in a digital society.”  This indicator was met by using My Movie, a webcam, a digital camera, and the microphone on my computer.  Several different pieces of technology went into the creation of my story and the use of those tools helped me meet this indicator.

Learning Log – Screencasting
June 28, 2011, 3:29 PM
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I had never seen a screencast, let alone create one prior to this module.   The most significant idea I am taking from the screencasting assignment is how much of an impact a screencast can have when the teacher cannot be there to assist the student.  One of the examples on Screencast-O-Matic is of a math teacher describing the law of sines.  Students could always go back to this screencast when they are having trouble with the law of sines.  They can watch and rewatch the screencast as many times as needed and can also just focus on certain parts of the screencast if they are having trouble with only certain areas.  This could be very helpful when students are at home, whether they are completing homework or studying for a quiz or test. 

In our discussion board, I caused quite a lengthy discussion when I brought up the idea that teachers could leave sceencasts behind when they are going to be absent and a substitute teacher will be covering their class.  I suggested that instead of leaving the substitute teacher in charge of teaching the lesson, a screencast can be used and you then know exactly what is being taught to the students.  Most agreed that they could be very useful for leaving behind with a substitute, but others did not agree as much.  I now think it depends on who will be teaching your class.  If you know the substitute and know they can follow your lesson plan without the assistance of a screencast, then I would not leave one.  However, if I am unsure of who will be substituting, leaving a short screencast that will just cover a small amount of the class period would provide me with ease of mind.  I would know at the very least, the message in my screencast is being sent to my students. 

As a future PE teacher, I could see using screencasting with certain websites.  There are great websites out there where students can complete exercise logs as well as gain access to tutorials on certain exercises.  I would screencast how to access these sites and take advantage of all of the great features they offer.

One of the downsides of screencasting I originally mentioned was how time-consuming they can be.  After creating one myself, it did not take as much time as I had expected.

Many people in the discussion board agreed when it came to the benefits screencasting could solve in regards to professional development.  I mentioned how my practicum school was piloting an online gradebook program where parents were given access to the teacher’s online gradebooks throughout the marking periods.  This was a new program and some teachers were nervous about it.  A screencast of how to properly and efficiently enter grades and make them available to be viewed would give the teachers confidence in using the software.  It would also give the administration piece of mind that the parents will see uniformity and professionalism when they log in to check their child’s progress in each and every one of their different classes.  

Screencasting definitely addresses AASL Indicator 3.3: Information technology.  The indicator states: ” Candidates demonstrate their ability to design and adapt relevant learning experiences that engage students in authentic learning through the use of digital tools and resources. Candidates model and facilitate the effective use of current and emerging digital tools to locate, analyze, evaluate, and use information resources to support research, learning, creating, and communicating in a digital society.”  Creating a screencast by using Screencast-O-Matic allowed me to meet this standard.  Using the web tool that was the subject of our screencast also allowed me to meet this standard.

Digital Story
June 28, 2011, 2:50 PM
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This digital story was created for use in a high school Physical Education class.  The story would ideally serve as an activator for a baseball or softball unit.  The story was created to align with the MD State Curriculum for High School Physical Education Standard 2: Biomechanical Principles.  The standard states that “Students will demonstrate an ability to use the principles of biomechanics to generate and control force to improve their movement effectiveness and safety.”  Topic B of this standard is Balance and Indicator 1 focuses on “analyzing the concept of balance in complex movement patterns.”  That leaves us with an objective of students being able to investigate the importance of balance and weight transfer in the throwing motion.

Flickr Slide Shows
June 22, 2011, 1:32 PM
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I created a Flickr Slide Show titled “Throwing Balance.”  Visit the slide show here:

This set of photos supports Standard 2 of the Maryland State Curriculum for High School Physical Education: Biomechanical Principles.  More specifically, it supports indicator 2.B.1.: “Analyze the concept of balance in complex movement patterns.”  The photos show 6 different balance points throughout the throwing process.  Throwing is a complex movement pattern and the photos in this set break the pattern down and draw attention to the crucial parts throughout the process where balance is key. 

I would plan for students to interact with this Flickr set at the beginning of units and lessons where throwing is involved.  While going through the set, I would point out the positioning of my feet, hands, and the changes in my center of gravity.  Instead of having the students just sit back and view the set, I would have them stand up and try to mimic the photos themselves.  This would allow me to walk amongst the students and check on their progress.  The set is strictly of photos of the right-handed throwing process with a baseball.  However, the same process can be applied to softball, football, and many other activities that involve throwing.  I would also have to explain the differences for left-handed throwers.  Flickr sets like this are a quick way to show proper form to the students.  They allow me to get the students up and active during demonstration while also freeing me up to check on their progress.  If I were demonstrating the process live, I would not be able to walk amongst them and check on their progress while they still have the visual of proper form.

The set could also be used at the end of a lesson that involves throwing as a quick recap of what was covered and accomplished that day.

Flickr Galleries
June 20, 2011, 1:44 PM
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This was my first experience with Flickr.  I had heard of Flickr before but had only really thought of it in terms of sharing photos with friends and family.  I had not realized the potential for using Flickr in the classroom.  As a future PE teacher, I immediately began thinking about how photos from Flickr could add to my lessons.  The first thing I thought of was using these photos to display proper technique when teaching different skills to the students.  Instead of just demonstrating everything myself, like usual, using photos from Flickr allows the students to see a new demonstrator.  Flickr allows me to find photos of professionals completing certain skills.  Although I like to think of myself as well versed in many and most skills in PE, I am not a professional.  Access to these photos of professionals can reinforce what I am teaching and demonstrating. 

I created this Flickr Gallery,, for use in a weight training unit.  The photos I selected are from Flickr member Fit Junction.  Besides the Flickr account, Fit Junction is an online community where members share health and fitness stories, articles, and videos.  These photos show perfect form and technique being used by a very physically fit man as he completes a variety of weightlifting exercises.  I would still demonstrate the exercises myself so the students could see the exercise being completed properly in real-time.  The photos would serve as reinforcement to these demonstrations.  I would point out the most important parts from the photos for the students to focus on.  Some of these areas of focus would be keeping their back straight, proper bending of the knees, and proper head position.  The gallery could remain on the screen in the weight room throughout the class period so the students could look back to the photos at any point during the class.

Learning Log – Blogging
June 7, 2011, 2:59 PM
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Nothing quite like posting on your blog about other blogs and the act of blogging itself. 

I was amazed at the quality of the blogs I visited when searching for teacher and school blogs.  I was aware these blogs were out there but I had never visited one.  I especially liked how many of the blogs were not just for students, or parents, or teachers.  They were for everyone.  The students could find assignments or watch videos and look at pictures of themselves in action.  The parents can see what is going on in their child’s classrooms.  Other teachers can see how certain lessons are being taught and share some insight themselves.  The blogs open the classroom up to the world.

Incorporating blogs into my future P.E. classes is something I could definitely see as being beneficial.  Students should be encouraged to look for blogs on activities they have enjoyed participating in during class.  Because of time constraints during a class period, we may not be able to get too in-depth with our activities.  These blogs will allow them to do so.  I can also have my own blog for students, parents, and other teachers.  I can share what we are doing in class while giving ideas for at home activities for the students and their parents as well.  I will welcome the sharing of ideas from other teachers on this blog as well.  The opportunities really are endless when it comes to blogging.  I should know, I am an expert blogger of about 6 hours or so.

One of the objectives of this module was to build a web presence through blogging and my presence has been built.  I have a feeling there will be plenty more building to come and I hope I learn as much from those modules as I did in this one.