Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Project Reflection

One last post it is then. Alright, so I must confess that the most important thing that I’ve learned through my final project has little to do with technology and teaching.

As soon as I heard Lloyd’s presentation earlier in the semester I knew that I had to sign up for this project. Cortland has done so much for me, so I wanted to give back; Karen was right when she identified this as being something that I cared about.

As many of you know, initially, things didn’t go as smoothly as I had planned. There was the issue of no one being in charge; I did not have the wherewithal to be able to manipulate the HTML to integrate the blog right onto Lloyd’s page; the thought of posting twice a week on content I couldn’t identify (at that time) was terrifying; Not to mention that this was my first class at the graduate level and I didn’t know what to expect (and what was to be expected of me).

Now that I’m sitting here looking back at these things in hindsight I realize that what I accomplished was pretty impressive. I was able to make myself in charge. I was able to find a way to get the blog up in an acceptable fashion (thanks Sarah, again) and I was able to produce more than two posts a week. So I guess what I learned (which coincides with what we are learning in this class) is that I when I’m faced with a problem I will be able to do what it takes to find a solution. Real life, here I come!

There are many things that I would like to investigate more thoroughly. First off, I’m hoping that gaining some teaching experience will finally solidify my transformation in to the M.A.T. program and a life of teaching. I owe a lot to this class, thanks to everyone… But, as for the technology, I am still curious to see how a blog would truly function in a classroom. Chris had mentioned how he is “torn” and I’m curious to see how I would truly feel if I had a classroom blog.

I think the pedagogical applications that blogging has in a classroom have been exhausted by the discussions that we’ve had throughout this semester. But, I don’t know if anyone would be able to convince me that a blog is a bad idea; actually I feel that a blog would be crucial to a classroom that I was in charge of, but, again, I have no experience. The benefits of blogging seem to be limitless from what I’ve witnessed this semester. I can identify some risks, also.

You asked what I would do differently if I were to continue this project… Well, I am going to continue working on the Downtown Cortland Blog. I enjoy writing, specifically blogging, and I feel that it is good for both Cortland and me. So, if anyone is still around and isn’t’ too busy—keep checkin’ it out. Some things are going to change, though. There will be another writer besides myself (I think) so the description and pictures will have to change. I will also be adding a culture section. But besides that I think things will run pretty similar as to what they are now. But, if there are any suggestions please let me know.

I’ve said this before, but I am really proud of how the Downtown Cortland Project turned out. Thanks to everyone who read and commented on the blog! Keep on reading, folks! Cheers.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Spreading The Word

I’ve always enjoyed bloggin’. But, to be honest, it has never really worked out for me. A couple of years back I set up and maintained a LiveJournal blog. I really enjoyed the writing and publishing, but I was upset that I never received any significant amount of feedback. So, my blogging, at that point, was short lived. I truly enjoyed our blog requirement for 506, and I’m guessing this is because of the constant feedback that I received.

A big concern that I’ve had recently focuses around the question of whether I will enjoy continuing to blog. I’ve made another blogger blog so that I can rant about pointless things; although, I’m concerned if it’s going to be a long-living construction or not. This fact got me thinking… is there a way to network my blog so that I can get more feedback? Low and behold – there is!

I’ve signed up for blogexplosion. This is a site where you can register your blog(s) so that a mass of people will be exposed to it, and what you have to say. I’ve only signed up today, but I’m excited to see the outcome.

I would guess that this site would be something that high school students would not be able to participate in, right? My first impression would be that there would be enough feedback in the class blog without this application. But, I could also imagine how happy I would be, as an 11th grader, to see someone outside of the class comment on my class blog. Maybe it would even be someone of significance (like Will Richardson’s comment on Dave’s blog).

I haven’t had much time in a classroom, and I’m not sure of what the regulations would be. Any ideas?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

CDP Love

Just so everyone knows-- the Cortland Downtown Blog is still going strong. If anyone feels the need to show it a little love... comments are welcome.

Progress Thus Far

I’ve been thinking about the advancement that I’ve made since the beginning of the semester. To be truthful, I was not intimidated by any of the apps that were introduced to us. I’ve always fooled around on computers for fun. Plus, this isn’t the first semester that I’ve had to intermingle with Macs. I was actually debating buying one last year; however, it’s this upcoming winter that I will make that purchase (as long as Santa leaves me some money).

Honestly, though, I wasn’t initially familiar with any of the Mac applications that we have worked with. The simplicity of these apps has allowed me to feel as if I have been running them for years. I am extremely confident in using these programs nowadays. I can say that the progress that I have made with the iLife applications is tremendous without any doubt in my mind. Also my relationship with the blog(s) has blossomed into something I would have never thought I could enjoy. The wiki is fun also! My experience with all of these applications has been nothing but positive. I also realize the benefits that they could serve in a classroom. In reality, though, there is other progress that I’ve made in this class which stems away from the computers…

I’ve been victim of a stalemate for a couple of years now. The battle of what to do with my life had left me stuck in a career-purgatory. Thankfully (hopefully), this class has helped me escape this. I’ve come to the realization that I may be able to take something that I’ve always loved as a hobby and combine along with something that helps define my life (English). I’ve found a path.

I know this seems like a joyful, life-changing, faultless epiphany—but, in all honesty, I must be truthful with myself…

I can’t sit here, having no experience at the other end of the spectrum (inside a classroom), and proclaim that I’ve found my life long goal. Sure I’ve thought about being a teacher since high school, but there’s no way that I can be sure until I get some real experience (thanks Dr. Stearns!). Regardless of what happens, it is the realization that technology is changing the way we (everyone) is learning that will help me be more successful.

I am positive that if I am to become a high school teacher I will absolutely include technology in my lessons. The fact remains, though, that no matter what happens I can thank ENG 506 for clearing my ignorance when it comes to our currently “flat world”. It is here where I have made the most progress… and, of course, there’s still so much more to learn! It doesn’t hurt that I’ve become pretty darn good at the Mac apps, blogs, and wikis either. Ha!

I remain confident. Cheers.

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Downtown Cortland Blog: Developing, Maintaining, and Troubleshooting A Professional Weblog

I would like to believe that the majority of you are already familiar with what Katie and I are doing for our final project…

As for an abstract:

Title: The Downtown Cortland Blog: Developing, Maintaining, and Troubleshooting A Professional Weblog.

On the day in which we are specified to present our project Katie and I will be able to perform in either lab; we have no preference.

We will open up and travel through the Cortland Downtown website. We will be explaining the creation, process, and maintenance of the Cortland Downtown Blog. Most importantly we will discuss the possibilities that this blog could, and would have in a classroom.

We have now been through the entire process of setting up and maintaining a blog which allows us to better prepare for interaction with this platform in the future. This fact will serve as another discussion facilitator throughout the presentation; we will have more knowledge as to some problems (and solutions!) that one might encounter when creating a blog.

The technology we will be using basically speaks for itself. We will have to have access to a projector in order to present our blog for all to see.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Love iWeb

Technically dealing with iWeb to create a professional website was extremely uncomplicated. It baffles me that (judging from my classmates’ blogs) I might be the only person using iWeb to generate my website. Not only is this application easy to use, but it’s effective as well. There are no advertisements whatsoever, it looks incredibly professional, and the creative options seem to be infinite. There’s even a blog feature built in!

The tough part for building this website, for me, arose from the content. I am not a professional yet! I don’t have a lot of experience; heck, a couple months ago I wasn’t even sure if teaching was exactly what I wanted to do. I know my situation differs from most of the other students in 506, but, regardless, I needed to make a professional website. I did my best to create a site that I would be able to show future employers. Granted I still have a ton of work to do on this site...

Here are some things that I will continue to work on…

1. I would like to take some personal pictures that I could apply onto my site; these are pictures that I would take myself. I would also like them to be more relevant.

2. Also, I plan on creating and maintaining a blog on this website. Right now, I just have a test blog for all to see what it would look like.

3. This is an active website that will be changing as my credentials do. I plan on using it for years to come. Update, update, update.

4. I published this site using .Mac. I’m on the 60 day free trial, and, if all goes well, I will probably pay for this site after it expires. The benefits seem to outweigh the cost. Check out all of the benefits of .Mac.

To be honest, my site is not at all what I want it to be as of right now; I have been incredibly busy. But, the good news is, that I am excited to continue to work on it. iWeb is awesome, and I recommend it to everyone.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

At Last!

I just want to publish a brief post to let the entire class know that our CDP blog is legitimately up and running! Finally! I have currently published a few of the posts that I have written and Katie has done the same. So, for your viewing pleasure, here is the URL. Let me know what you all think of the layout/content. Cheers!