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!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Another CDP Update

I drove to Ithaca yesterday to have a meeting with Jed (his office is really hard to find!). It was a great meeting. Some of the things we discussed:

It didn’t take long for Jed to convince me that instituting one collective blog (that Katie and I would both post to) would actually be more effective (than the two that we originally planned on doing). The blog that we are creating is being set up for the long term. If there is one blog the authors can change, then if there is one author whom doesn’t “participate” as much—it doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the blog. Jed made it a requirement and I see why now. Katie and I will still post just as much as if we were still doing two separate blogs. But, it will be better for the future of the Cortland Downtown Partnership website.

The first phase to this blog, as we discussed, is trust. In order for us to gain the trust of the people in Cortland it would be most beneficial for Katie and I to go to the local businesses and ask them if we can blog on an upcoming event that they would like to promote. This way we would be able to allow these businesses to see the upside to our blog. Then, eventually, when it comes time to expand on the website they will be more willing to be used as a sponsor. Everything that we are doing right now is going to be to help establish trust in our project with the community. This will also help Katie and I with the content aspect of this project.

The next step is to create a Blogger account for this project. A temporary blog that will be up until next year. Jed is going to create a sexy link to this blog on the CDP website which will be our foundation for the future. It is on this blog that Katie and I will do our posting for the class project. We are trying to think of a witty headline or title for this blog… any ideas? [Side Note: we had spoken with Lloyd about the opportunities of naming our blog The Blue Frog Blog initially. After further thought, and some advice from Jed, I realize that this is not the best idea—because we don’t want to highlight any one business which would isolate others.

Jed and I also spoke about promoting this blog. In order to bring more readers to our cause we’ve decided that to do some promoting. I will be making fliers to hang up all around downtown Cortland, and on campus. Hopefully this will help us gain more readers.

After creating the blog, the next step will be to set up another meeting with Lloyd. Hopefully the blog will be up and running as of tomorrow. This is where we are at right now, as far as the Cortland Downtown Project goes. Katie and I also have another meeting with Jed—the weekend after Thanksgiving—and this time he’ll be coming to Cortland to take a walk through Main St. with us.

As you can see things are FINALLY starting to come together. I’m going to go create this Blogger account now. I’ll keep you folks updated! Cheers.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Let's Hear It For Will Coming On Tues.

I’m super excited to have Will Richardson on campus tomorrow. Dr. Stearns was right… he is a celebrity!

This morning when I woke up, I examined the survey that Will had conducted on his blog. It seems to me that the use of technology in the classroom is being hindered by one fixation (something that we have mentioned throughout the semester). I think that the principals of schools, etcetera, are more willing to block technology rather than take the time to help teachers learn how to use this knowledge. The whole idea of blocking teachers rather than letting them become ‘authorities’ of new media creates this sense of paralysis that seems to create Will’s pessimism ‘bout the future of technology and the classroom. Teachers will become less inclined to teach using different interfaces because they are intimidated—as Alex said they won’t have authority. They will then resort to “the easy way out” which, unfortunately, causes a stalemate in progress.

My brother is a sophomore at Ithaca College and he is taking a course in technology also (New Media Technology or something similar… I don’t remember the exact course name). But, while I was talking to him on the phone the other night, he was telling me how one of his teachers didn’t even know how to use PowerPoint. I don’t consider myself a digital native, but I do know how to use such a simple program. I assure that I didn’t need to take a class to learn it either. So, this got me thinking…

Maybe teachers are using this as an excuse. “Well, since Mr. Principal doesn’t want to show me how to use iMovie” said Mr. Teacher, “I’ll just pass out these copies of standardized tests and let the students mull over them for the class period.”

Now I know this is a huge exaggeration, but… it still makes me think. Anyone can do anything if they put their mind to it (yes I truly believe this). I’ve never been a teacher so I don’t know what it’s like. But, I do find it hard to believe that people in this profession can’t offer 20 minutes a day to experiment. How about 20 minutes every other day? Sure you can take the weekends off. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed as a student but I always manage to get my work done (knock on wood). Think about it… most of us taught ourselves how to use iMovie, and everyone that was working with Windows Movie Maker definitely did so.

I know life itself can be overwhelming at times; sometimes I use this fact as an excuse. Something stuck in my mind when Scott Stratton came to visit our ENG 506 class. He mentioned that he had basically taught himself how to use all of the new media that he was using in his classroom. I believe that Shade Gomez said something comparable also. I would say that they’re doing pretty OK, now. Hopefully all of the knowledge that Will, Alex, Karen, Scott, Shade, etc. are passing around will get to where it needs to and help future educators.

iMovie Madness

It’s been a week so I’ve had significant time to reflect on my iMovie experience. I would have to admit that I really enjoyed this project. The program was incredibly easy to use, but incredibly hard to save. But, when a person is working with files that large—how could it be easy to save!

Let me evaluate the process…

One factor that I didn’t fully take into consideration was the preparation and design that it takes to create a movie. Sure it was easy, and fun, for me to go out and take some footage, but putting it all together in a coherent and effective manor took me by surprise.

To be honest, I started off doing an iMovie about technology. This was a movie in which I was examining the life of my roommate and myself. In this scenario I was going to utilize all forms of technology and compare this to my roommate’s lack of tech savvy. This film was extremely interesting (and funny!), but my roommate couldn’t do any more filming, so I was unable to collect all of the necessary footage. I was disappointed because I was fond of the way that this movie was turning out. At that point, I was actually doing the work in Windows Movie Maker. But after my roommate could no longer act in this blockbuster and I realized that this may be the only time that I get to learn a program such as iMovie, I decided that I would start over and use the Apple program instead.

It was becoming very stressful (almost as stressful as this Cortland Downtown Project; yeah right) trying to think of a new storyline to film. Since it was only Lily and I, things just fell into place. My girlfriend’s brother really liked the idea that I had a hedgehog, and asked a tremendous amount of questions every time they were on the phone. At this point I realized that there would be no better way for me to teach him about hedgehogs then making a movie. Hmmm… this could be handy somewhere else.

So, after I had my idea on hand, I started filming. I shot about 30 minutes of live, un-cut, raw footage. That was the easy part…

It was after I brought all of the footage into the library that I recognized that I was not going to be able to just slop this thing together. I needed a plan. I had no plan. After futzing around with the program and footage for a while it become evident that I needed to re-strategize.

I took out a blank piece of paper (actually I forgot paper so I stole one from the printer in the library, breaking it in the process. Shh… don’t tell) and started to make a storyboard (or at least my crappy version of one). I organized my clips and ideas into a more rational timeline, and recorded my voice using a manipulator technique available in Audacity. Now I was ready to go. After about six or seven hours in the library I was complete, I just needed to export it. Little did I realize that it was going to take an additional hour, or so, for me to compress this file (cutting it a little close aren’t you, Ray).

After I took it home and viewed the final product I was very pleased.

But, after viewing it, I do have a couple of disappointments…

First off, I wish that the sound of my manipulated voice was louder. I don’t get why it was so soft. When it was in iMovie I increased the volume of the voice clips to 150%; I even decreased the rest of the audio to make sure that it was loud enough. Before I compressed the file the sound was audible; I don’t know what happened.

Secondly, I would have liked to have been able to work on this project in more than just one setting. Because the files were so large when I was working on the movie, it was next to impossible for me to save. They were so large that they wouldn’t even fit on my 4.7GB DVDRW that I had purchased. Because of this, I was forced to do it all in one go around. It would have been nice if I would have thought to borrow my friend’s portable hard drive; that would have made things a hell of a lot easier.

I think the rubric that Dr. Stearns posted was a quality general rubric. I just hope that both professors understand all of the work that goes into making one of these movies (I’m sure they do).

I must say that the other videos we watched in class were phenomenal! Cloning, horror, students and waterfalls! Congratulations to us! Those videos were extraordinary. Cheers.

CDP Update

I need to start off with an apology. It’s been a while since I’ve last published a blog post. I have been working on trying to get my final project in order; this Downtown Cortland Project is not going as I had hoped it would.

There is some news on this front, though…

I had a phone conversation with Jed Ostrom (Sarah’s husband) from Next Interactives. He owns a regional website development firm in Ithaca. I contacted him with the hopes of helping Katie and I find a way to insert our blogs on the Downtown Cortland website. The phone meeting was very successful. We spoke for a little over an hour and I found out that he is going to be able to help us and then some. Here is a copy of the proposal email that I wrote to Lloyd after the phone conversation with Jed:

Hi, Lloyd,

I just got off the phone with Jed Ostrom from He owns a regional website development firm, and I contacted him with hopes to help us with our project. The meeting/call went very well. I found that he will indeed be able to help us and more. He would really like the opportunity to be involved with the Downtown Cortland Partnership and the SUNY students. I am actually going to meet with him on Wednesday at 1:30PM at his office—to talk more about our project.

For now, Jed has volunteered to create a great solution to our problem in 2 phases

PHASE 1: Linking our new CDP blogs to the existing CDP website
The temporary solution is to put a highly visible link right on the home page of the existing CDP website that will direct the users to the new CDP blogs located on This way, by the end of next week, we can start blogging about the CDP immediately!

PHASE 2: Proposal for CDP version 2.0
Spend the next month working to create a detailed proposal for a wholesale upgrade to the CDP website… essentially, a blue print for upgrading the CDP website to meet the needs and 2007 goals of the CDP.

Here are some v2 features and project requirements that Jed brainstormed over the phone today:

1. Local sponsors fund this project - Create highly effective online advertising opportunities for several Cortland and other regional businesses to market there products and services directly on the new CDP site.

2. Web Masters = Cortland Students – Create an almost entirely self-updateable website that will enable Cortland students to add/edit/delete content. Create clear documentation for all updating tasks so that these duties can be seamlessly passed down from class to class. This will effectively lower all future website maintenance costs, while keeping the connection between the CDP and Cortland students year after year.

3. Parallel Growth with the CDP – Create a site that can easily grow along side the CDP year after year. Create website features that are scalable and easily updated (unlike the current CDP site)

…To be determined after at least a few more meetings with Jed. A great model website that Jed has suggested we take time evaluating is . In addition to getting the blog online next week, this will be the focus of our first meeting with Jed next week. A discussion of the pros and cons of , and how we can leverage what we have learned from our evaluation to help create a proposal/blue print for developing v2 of the CDP website.

It looks like this could be a very beneficial merger for both parties. One concern that some people had with this was the cost; how are we going to pay for all of this? Well, as it says in the email, this is going to be paid for by sponsors and local businesses. But, because Jed understands that we need to get this website up and running (the semester is coming close to an end!) he is going to get us up and running, and then help us try to find sponsorship. Also, if this is all OK’d by Lloyd, there will be a significant Next Interactives logo on each of the pages. This will help promote Jed’s company and considerably lower his rates; he would like the exposure. Another factor that will lower our costs is the fact that Cortland students will be the webmasters, not Jed (read more above).

The next step is a meeting that Katie and I will have with Jed on Wednesday. At this meeting we are going to get the blog up and running and critique the website. I’ll let you know how it goes. This is where we are at right now, and I hope to be able to be publishing a post on this blog that has a link to the CDP blog by the end of this week!

I have a bunch of other posts to write... check back soon!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pink's "Meaning"

I would like to identify some significant points in the concluding chapter in Daniel H. Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind. This book is filled with deep (for lack of a better word) meaning that can apply to most peoples’ lives--specifically the happiness s/he has with his/her life. The seventh and most important word in the previous sentence is meaning. This is also the title of the last chapter of Pink’s book. In this chapter, Pink tries to explain how “meaning has become a central aspect in our work and our lives” (219).

The “work” that we have chosen is that of education. So, is finding meaning the key to our success as educators? Is it solely the teacher that needs to find meaning in his/her life, or is this something for the students also? Pink would argue that everyone, at any age, will be happier, in life and work, if they attempt to find meaning. Let's examine...

Pink explains that it is possible to find meaning these days when he proclaims that “[…] technology continues its unrelenting march, deluging us with data and choking us with choices. All these forces have gathered into a perfect storm of circumstances that is making the search for meaning more possible […]” (218).

Is technology helping us find meaning?

Not only does Pink allow his reader the understanding that meaning is key to happiness and that meaning is not impossible to obtain, but he also helps describe ways in which a person could, in fact, find meaning.

First, Daniel Pink talks about spirituality. He talks of the difference between spirituality and religion; this is a fine line and hard to differentiate. But, he lends some clarification in saying: “—not religion necessarily, but the more broadly defined concern for the meaning and purpose of life […]” (221). So...

He talks about how spirituality has helped biology and business. As education, specifically teaching English, is concerned, I feel that idea of spirituality would be handled similar to as it were in the business section. For example: Pink says that “Mitroff and Denton discovered, the employees were hungering to bring their spiritual values (and thus their whole person rather than one compartment of themselves) to work, but didn’t feel comfortable doing so” (224). Do students feel the need to bring spirituality to class? If they do—I’m sure that they don’t for the same reasons. How about the teachers themselves?

What can we do to help this? Should we help this?

The most interesting part of this section is the idea that business would be more successful if spirituality played a larger role in a company. Could this hold true to teaching as well? Are we treading thin ice here?

[Side Note: It is very hard for me to write on this subject as I have never been in, or experienced a classroom (from the teaching perspective). I do, however, understand what Pink is saying and can see the benefits of what he is preaching without ever going near a classroom.]

The last section of this chapter is called “Taking Happiness Seriously.” Finding ways for us, as educators, to implement happiness upon our students is key to what they will get out of the class, or so says Pink. I don’t know exactly how a labyrinth (which Pink talks about a lot in this section) would help a classroom—but, I do see the benefits for each individual. This idea goes back to earlier chapters and “Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” (cover).

Maybe we could teach some of these ideas to help students outside of the classroom? This would ultimately help them inside of the classroom, right?

Some of the exercises that Pink mentions in this chapter are very interesting. A Sabbath day (or even moment as he mentions) could be beneficial to everyone. I don’t know if I’m completely convinced on the Labyrinth idea, yet. The idea of dedicating your work is brilliant; there doesn’t seem to be a better way to give purpose to your work. I think as educators we would all need to check our time. Go over the steps that Pink mentions in “Check Your Time” (243), and make sure that you are delegating yourself appropriately.

Overall I think that Pink is teaching us, as individuals, ways to be happier by reaching more meaningful lives. As English teachers in a 3.0 world, it seems to be imperative that we (the teachers) find a way to teach what Pink is preaching at different levels. Could meaning be the way to capture the students’ attention? Maybe…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Downtown Project: Post 2

This is the second post that I have written for the Downtown Project, thus far. I won’t be posting any others, though, because the website should be up for you all to look at soon! Thanks, Jed!

So, here’s the post:

Hi, All,

This is Ray Hedrick signing in again. Well, I’m back at The Blue Frog coffee shop. I decided that I would take a different seat today. I made this decision mostly because there is someone else sitting where I was last week, but, in all honesty, I was going to switch-it-up anyway. It’s approximately 2:10 PM, and in two hours I have another class (although this post might not be published until a later date as we are having some ‘technical difficulties’ with the website).

Anyway, when I first signed up to be a part of this blog, I figured that I would write a lot about the changes that I felt would be most beneficial to downtown Cortland. Before I had really pondered over what changes would need to be made, I thought that some of the recommendations that I would have made would have been such things as:

…redeveloping the Clocktower Building
…bringing in new, beautiful, businesses
…building a stage to have live concerts (integrating the college and the community)

While I do feel that these are important steps that will, at some point, probably be made… I also feel that perhaps the aesthetical improvement of downtown Cortland isn’t as significant as I initially though. Let’s explore…

As I look outside I can view all of the old, superannuated buildings. I used to believe that if they were more modern looking, then more people would be attracted to them—allowing more visits. Why? I don’t really know, to be honest. But, as I get to thinking about it, I actually don’t imagine that a change in appearance is what this town needs. No. It’s really pathetic that the only place that I can go to get wireless internet in this town is The Blue Frog. Maybe the modernization of the business on Main St. is the change in design that they need. Not a literal change in appearance, but a change in operations and logistics. Sure, The Downtown Deli has wired internet connections, but don’t you think that America should have moved passed this? I sure as hell do.

This point brings me to a heated debate. One that we are actually discussing in the class I will be attending in two hours. The class is called Computers and the Study of English. It’s a great class. The main focus of this course group is to help future educators realize that we are now in a ‘flat’ world. The term ‘flat world’ was introduced by Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World Is Flat.
In this book Friedman explains, in various different methods, how America is falling behind in the great technological race, and how we, as a society, are amidst a great movement away from the traditional and into the technological.

I, myself, have become very passionate about this argument. It is with no doubt in my mind that Americans must become more intone with technology as we are in risk of being surpassed. Did you know that there is a program that is allocating $100.00 laptops so that all children in Lebanon will have their own personal PC by the age of 9? Check it out: here. Every child in this third world country will have a computer, and I can only get wireless internet in one café on Main St!? This worries me. But, it also leaves great potential. Here’s my question for the week:

What if downtown Cortland was able to improve dramatically through an increase of usable technological features?

Wouldn’t this be beneficial to the town? I guess I don’t expect all people to have computers, or to be able to rent jet-packs to fly up the hill, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that the internet become more available in a wider variety of places…

Small situations like this can improve the quality of our city, tremendously. Now I don’t want to pretend that I know how feasible this is, but I don’t think it would be too far-fetched? Is it? It’s almost coming to the point that we almost HAVE to make it work…

The Main Street 4 Point Approach to Downtown Revitalization:

Economic Restructuring

I do agree that these are of the utmost importance for the restoration of our beloved downtown area, but I also think that we would be able to add technological advances to each of the four approaches.

Let me warn you, the reader, that I am not 100% sure as to what the details of each of these specific approaches entail (as I did not design them), but I will do this as pertaining to the information I would expect each to involve.

I would expect the design aspect to deal with the aesthetical nature of downtown Cortland. So, how about doing something simple such as planting routers into each building; how about televisions mounted in lobbies; voice communication devices, automatic lights, and automatic doors could be implemented as well. Like I said previously, I don’t know how feasible and likely it is that this could happen, but I sure as hell think that we (Americans) are in danger of falling behind. There are thousands of things we could do! And, Cortland could be a good place to “set an example.” Long term planning is a set feature of the design aspect—and, if we are to be realistic, we shall realize that technology is coming—even though, in reality, it is here already!

I can cover the promotion aspect in two words: the internet. But, I know and I’m sure someone will call me out on the fact that very few people in this community have full access to the internet. One thing that we could do immediately is omit the ridiculous fee to use the internet at the city library. Besides the people in the community—I’m sure the internet will help “us” reach new customers, investors, businesses, and visitors.

The economic restructuring of downtown Cortland can definitely be improved through technology as well. If we are to find “ways to expand to meet new opportunities and challenges from outlying development” (Cortland Downtown Partnership Pamphlet) we MUST use technology. This is the best and maybe the only way that we will be able to improve above and beyond the competition.

As for the organizational aspect… well what better way to organize and support ourselves then technology?

I guess this is really all I have to say today, but I’m sure—as I realize how important technology is becoming—that this will be a reiterating theme throughout my blog. If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear them. I can be reached at Until next time, folks… Cheers.

Downtown Project: Post 1

Here are the first or two posts that I will publish on the Downtown Cortland website as soon as it’s up and running (read Katie’s blog to hear the good news):

[Note: keep in mind that this is the first post that I have used as more of an introduction into what I will be doing.]

Hi, All,

It’s one thing for people to read what I write, but in order for anyone to take what I’m writing seriously, I’ll have to introduce some credibility. OK, so, how to do this…

Let me start by telling a little about myself…

My name is Ray Hedrick; that’s what I typically prefer to be called. But, my full name is: Raymond Michael Hedrick. I graduated from SUNY Cortland in 2006, with a degree in English/Prof. Writing, and I am currently continuing my education at Cortland as a graduate student. I grew up in a very small (yes, smaller than Cortland) town called Modena, which is also in NY. My town is five minutes from New Paltz, ten minutes from Newburgh, and fifteen minutes from Poughkeepsie (yes, they are all bigger than Cortland). Why is this noteworthy? Let me explain. The aforementioned areas are all that I actually knew about life while I was growing up. The cities of Poughkeepsie and Newburgh are a second home to me, and happen to be very prosperous places. New Paltz, which is also another SUNY College town, happens to be an especially popular area for everyone to visit—it was also the place where I, personally, spent most of my time growing up. So, when I moved up to Cortland, to attend the college, in 2002, you could imagine how I would have been a little culture shocked. It’s a whole different world in Cortland, NY. Not that it’s a bad place, but I just feel as if it is a little ‘different’—and, when I say ‘different’, I mean there is not as much going on. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it in this town, and there are some things that I wish I could say were from my hometown. But, now that it is almost the year 2007, and I have been a member of the Cortland community for about 5 years now, I must admit that I want to help. I’m not trying to disgrace our (I hope that I can say it is ‘ours’ as in I’m a part of it now) city; I’m just attempting to be honest in order to allow Cortland to rise to its full potential. I think the best way to improve our city would be to start with the downtown area. This is why I am here. As soon as I heard about the Downtown Cortland Project, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. I’m writing this blog to lend my ideas and suggestions—as well as identify some problems—in order to make this place, which has been so excellent to me, a better one. In a couple years I can see Cortland being the place to be!

Another small detail that I feel is necessary for me to mention is that I was among the ‘displaced’ students who lived in The Clocktower apartment building. I loved everything about The Clocktower building. I loved the design. I loved the location. I loved the landlord. I loved the bricks (until they fell). I loved everything. All of my roommates and I were so proud to have been in, what we habitually called, “the most important building in Cortland.” So, when it fell, you could imagine how devastated we were. Not just because we lost everything (I mean everything), but because after that we were forced to live in other areas. The community was so great to me during this time. The Red Cross, all of the business, and all of the people of Cortland were such an integral part of helping me cope with such a disaster. I can not say “thank you” enough. So, writing this blog is the very least I can do to attempt to give back to a community that so graciously helped me.

Right now, I’m sitting in the Blue Frog coffee shop. It’s a very quaint little café, and I enjoy being here. This coffee shop is, perhaps, one of the most popular settings in the downtown Cortland area. It’s a great area for all members, students and civilians alike, to have a cup of coffee and use the internet. There are also various Open Mic Nights at this café, which I have attended and enjoyed. I highly recommend this establishment to everyone. But, while I’m sitting at this comfortable table, I must admit that I am a little worried. I’m worried about this question: why aren’t there more people taking advantage of this place? Granted today is a miserable, dank, rainy day—but, I still don’t remember a time when I would come into the Blue Frog and not be able to find a seat (except during the Writers’ Association Open Mic Night). As I write this blog, I will make it my main focus to ask myself multiple ‘why’ questions—and, also, attempt to answer as well as make suggestions towards ways to correct them.

Now that I have introduced myself and what I will be doing on this blog—I will have to say ‘cheers’ until next time… It’s raining and I haven’t been home to feed my hedgehog all day! Yes, I really do have a pet hedgehog. Tune in next time to learn more about Lily, my hedgehog, as well as the future of downtown Cortland. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

O'Kelly Says...

Previously this semester—I had no idea if I would truly enjoy teaching (or even enjoy giving it a try!). As of now, as we all recognize, I am essentially convinced that I am, indeed, going to take a big leap into the MAT program. Because of my former uncertainties, I had decided to take some classes that would count for both the MA and the MAT program, hence: I am in an independent study class called Modern Irish Fiction. In this class, today, we analyzed a short story by Seamus O’Kelly called “The Weaver’s Grave.”

One general theme of this tale appears to consist of a cycle. The young replacing the old, birth replacing death, etcetera. While I was in this class, today—I kept thinking about technology. I think the idea that O’Kelly is making is that the new will replace the old eventually—and as he puts it, “there is no way to escape oblivion.” Does this mean that there is no way to escape the inevitable transition from an older methodology of teaching into a newer, more modernistic, style? I sure am convinced. Is it going to take (I feel slightly crude writing this) the “death” of the old style to finally shift into the new?

It’s seems, to me, to be harder to comment on this subject than it would be for my fellow classmates as I have never been in a classroom. I have so many ideas about what it would be like, what’s going to happen, how I will do things, how I will react, etc. But, the fact is that I truly have never been into a classroom, so I don’t really know. I’m excited to start learning, and I’m hoping that I will be able to institute all of these new technologies that will help the students actually learn.

I guess, according to Seamus O’Kelly at least, I have nothing to worry about when it comes to the fate of our pedagogical society, right? Modernity is unavoidable, and eventually everything will work itself out… correct? This still leaves the question of whether this is a smart idea or not. Personally, I think it is… although there is a lot more to this pressing debate. More to come... Cheers.

Bloglines Help

I am still having difficulties with my Bloglines account. Could someone (maybe Dave?) lend me a hand? I can’t seem to systematize my feeds and add all of the blogs that I wish to read. I’m sure that I’m misunderstanding one crucial element which is disabling my use of this site. When I signed up, all of these miscellaneous feeds appeared, but I didn’t happen to choose any of them (I’m sure this has to do with me clicking the interest boxes when I signed up). What’s the best way to set this bad boy up? Help!

And, how come it doesn’t show my most recent published posts of this blog in my feeds? The last post that shows up is one that was published way back on Oct. 10th. I think this website is awesome; I hope I can get it to work, soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Trials and Tribulations

Well, I presume I should begin this post by noting that things could be worse. I’ve been awfully busy with school, work, and car problems (does anyone know of a good place to get a new exhaust system from the cat. converter back?). I suppose such is life. With any bit of luck, in publishing this post, I will be allowed some feedback to help me deal with some of the problems that I am experiencing thus far…

First off, I would like to mention the iMovie project. Some of the problems that have been exposed: 1. I am, in fact, doing the majority of my filming on a digital camera (actually it’s the one that Dr. Reid mentions: here). I was taken back by how stunning all of the video looks! But, as I was told, the sound quality was nothing to write home about. I, then, decided to take Dr. Reid’s advice and hook up my external microphone to the digital camera—this would enhance my sound quality, right? One problem: when I hook the microphone up to the camera –the camera won’t record video. It’s incredibly peculiar. The screen, where one would normally preview the video, literally turns black (I wonder if it still records, and I just won’t be able to preview… I’ll have to check that out). This became very frustrating. I truly don’t think that the sound quality from the camera itself is bad at all; the only issue is that, again, like I’ve been told, it picks up every miniscule sound (even wind). Maybe I’ll just have to do all the filming and do a voice-over? 2. The second problem that I am experiencing has to do with transferring the data into iMovie. At first, the content uploaded right into the MAC (with a regular USB cable). But, when I saved all of the content onto my Flash Drive and proceeded to open it again—it was gone (luckily I had also saved the video on my PC). As of right now, here’s where I stand: I have to film two scenes over again—as they are less then mediocre—and then I have to edit it all together in iMovie. The editing part shouldn’t be hard, as I have done something similar before. I just hope it is easier to manage this time around.

Secondly, and most irritatingly, is the Downtown Cortland project. As everyone who has read any of my preceding posts would know that we are having one massive problem. We (Katie and I) can’t figure out a way to insert our blogs onto the main page of this website: Cortland Downtown Partnership. Evidently there is a way. Apparently some people know how to do this. Unfortunately those people are not Katie and I. Let me also note that I have been talking to Lloyd Purdy almost everyday—I’m sure he’s tired of hearing from me (not really—he’s a good man). This is where we stand as of right now. I recommended, to Lloyd, that we might just want to create two more accounts and put links to them on his main page. This way, the blogs would be up and running. But, as I was leaving class the other day—Dr. Reid mentioned that I should go over to Winchell Hall (the campus technology building) and ask them. Katie was nice enough to call them this morning and see if there was anything they could do to help us (any news with this Kate?). This is where we stand as of right now. Oh, and also, Sarah mentioned that her husband, Jed, might be able to help also. I had emailed him a couple of weeks back, and he said that he had a very hectic schedule but I could email him any questions. I think I might just do this… Thank you Sarah, and Jed, as this is a very kind gesture. I already have some posts written that I will publish onto the site as soon as it’s up and running. If anyone would like to read any of these earlier than this, just email me and I will send them to you. I have already sent them to Lloyd and he told me that he was very happy with them.

As for the wiki: I must confess that I have been a little less lively on this aspect of the class—while, I do plan on editing/writing as soon as I am finished with this post. Some classmates have left me some comments asking on what I write when I edit the wiki, and how I get into it. Let me answer that here. I have to admit that when I first started writing on the wiki I was only making small edits. After I had “corrected” or changed a group of different entries, I had built up enough confidence to work on my own pages. I have done most of my work on the iTunes U, and iTunes, etc. pages. But, now that I understand that I am able to write on anything… I might try to do some “fun” pages (the NJ Nets, Hunter S. Thompson, etc.). I think the wiki is awesome. And, I have even started to receive emails from other wikipedians from—some are pleasant, and others, well, a little less agreeable. But, this is the fun part of it. I think it’s a very handy tool, and I know that it can be used for more than just fun (as I have been using it). My recommendation, for those who are struggling with what to write on the wiki would be: to create a wiki page on something you are passionate about—you will be able to understand it better, and enjoy it more; making the rest of the entries easier to generate… I think. I know I didn’t, in truth, take pleasure in the class wiki until after I had edited some of the articles on

As I end this post it would be wrong for me to not mention Lily, my pet hedgehog. The good news is that we got her a bigger “home”. We also “pimped” her house—by adding a wheel, tube, and wooden mansion (for her to sleep in). You can’t tell me that she doesn’t have it good…Haha. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


A little update for you folks: I have already written two blogs for the Downtown Cortland Project. Unfortunately though, we are having some problems putting the site together. I am assuming the biggest issue is the fact that we all have such busy schedules and therefore have not been able to sit down and wrestle this thing together. But, alas, I think that I’m just going to make a suggestion, to Lloyd and company that we just create two links on the main page of the Downtown Cortland site. Lloyd wanted the blogs to be located on the left and right side of this page. Instead, I would think that it would be the easiest and most affordable compromise to put a link on the left side for Katie’s blog and a link on the right side for my blog. There are a couple of reasons why this would work out…

First off, Katie had an issue of calling her blog: The Blue Frog Blog (and rightfully so; I know I wouldn’t want to call my blog that if I worked for another coffee shop). If we had links to two separate Blogger sites, she could name her blog one thing and I could name mine another. Therefore, the naming would not be an issue any longer.

Secondly, we have learned that the Downtown Cortland site’s host, FatCow, doesn’t have blogging capabilities. Therefore, it would be rather impossible for us to put the blog right up on the website (from what I understand). It is not impossible, however, for us to put a link on the main page that would transfer our readers to our respective blogs.

Also, using Blogger over typepad has some advantages. To start off, it’s free. Secondly Katie and I already have another Blog through this website, so we would be able to set it up, and be familiar with how to use it. I would even be able to incorporate pictures of downtown Cortland if I wanted!

Lastly, it would be perfect for us to use because it would be a real, live, and un-cut blog. We would both be able to write down our ideas and publish them immediately. I, myself, think that this would be the most effective presentation. Also, readers would be able to comment right on the website, rather than having to e-mail me (I know I already have a ton of junk mail).

So those are the reasons why I think I am going to suggest to Lloyd, and our professors, that this is what we do.

As for the content on the blog, I have some good news… I already wrote two posts and I have a ton of ideas still brewing! What I thought was going to be a hard process is easy! Going down to The Blue Frog really did help!

I believe the next step is to talk to Dr. Reid and Dr. Stearns in class and get the go ahead. Then I will contact Lloyd and hopefully within the next couple of days, our blogs will be up and running!

As for the wiki—I’m impressed! It’s really starting to come along. I just have one question: would it be inappropriate to create pages that are somewhat or even totally irrelevant to our class, for fun? That’s all for now. Cheers.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Some Clarity

This is just a short post to clear some things up. First off, Katie and I are going to need to set up a meeting with both Dr. Reid and Dr. Stearns ASAP. Lloyd would like to have our blog up and running by the middle of next week. I sent Dr. Reid an e-mail, and hopefully we’ll be able to decide on a meeting time, and place, by early next week. So, as for our project, all we have to do, as of right now, is figure out how to actually set up the blog, and then publish our first posts. I’m going to have mine finished by tomorrow, and then I will send them over to Lloyd so that he can look them over.

Dr. Stearns mentioned in a previous comment on my blog that she was concerned about Lloyd looking over our posts. I would agree with her in saying that this would not be a true blog if he is ‘correcting’ or ‘looking over’ our work. When he was talking about it, he mentioned that he was correcting only grammar, and other technical issues (such as street names, etcetera). These are thing that we could talk about in our meeting.

As for the event tonight, I plan on attending. There is one slight problem. I work during this time, and, hopefully, I will be able to get out early so that I can attend. I think the 40 below event is a great idea, and I really hope I will be able to be there. Unfortunately it was work the held me back from getting to the Open House last week; let’s just hope that doesn’t happen again.

One other, small, issue that I’ve noticed is that it is harder than I first imagined to find content for the Downtown Project. (Writing the words ‘Downtown Project’ reminds me that I want to update that wiki page). I started writing an introductory post, talking about myself and my relationship to Cortland— that’s going pretty well. But, after that, I’m hoping that going to the events will help ‘inspire’ me with some new content to write about.

That’s about everything that I wanted to clear up. Oh, yeah…don’t worry about Lily Dr. Stearns; I assure you that she is happier than she would be anywhere else. We give her a lot of love, and meal worms! I understand your concern about bringing a wild animal into a domesticated setting. But, it might be good for you to know that Lily isn’t a true hedgehog per say. She is actually a domesticated hedgehog, a “…hybrid of the white bellied or four-toed hedgehog and the Algerian Hedgehog” ( And, now that I understand the true purpose of a wiki, rather than me writing all about the domesticated hedgehog, I figured I could just let you look at the wiki page: here. After you are done reading this over, I’m sure that you will be able to see that Lily is going to be just fine with us! She won’t get more love and attention anywhere else!

OK, that’s it for now folks. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Whole Nine Yards

So, I had a very busy week trying to catch up in the readings, for all of my classes. The first thing that I would like to note is that I went to the book fair (in Ithaca—the one that Dr. Stearns posted about). I trotted through the isles of this warehouse and thumbed through any book that I though was interesting. I ended up purchasing ten books. Buying ten books is fine, the only problem is that I thought that all of the paperback books were 75 cents—but, in reality, they were four dollars. I guess that each day the prices of the books will decrease. I was there on the first day (my bad). Oh, well. At least I was able to get some books that I lost in the fire! Besides, forty bucks for ten books is nothing. So, that was a good experience.

The subsequent issue that I choose to note upon is the course wiki. I used to feel as if my wiki ability was Lilliputian when compared to everyone else (although there is no way for me to compare how much work everyone is doing, right?). Now, while I still don’t have a ton of wiki pages that I have developed, I feel that it’s becoming more akin to something that I am willing to do. Don’t tell anyone—but I find myself editing and linking wiki pages a lot nowadays—not even just for our course website! I still have one concern. Am I doing this right? We have hardly been working on the wiki in class—so; I don’t know where I stand. Are my edits pointless? Is what I am writing sufficient? I don’t have any edits (besides Dave’s categories) on my pages. I doubt I’m perfect, so how come I don’t have any edits? Is it just because people aren’t looking at the wiki? If anyone has any feedback, I’d appreciate it.

One last thing—which is completely off-topic—I am super excited about another purchase I made this weekend. A hedgehog! Yes, I bought my very own hedgehog for a pet. She’s awesome! Her name is Lily and, because she’s nocturnal, she sleeps for most of the day—but starting from approx. 7pm, she runs, and runs, and runs—and loves to be handled…

Oh, well, I guess I’ll save the hedgehog stories for a more appropriate setting. Cheers.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Moment You Have All Been Waiting For

I know the suspense has been killing everyone. OK, so, Katie and I had our meeting with Lloyd Purdy yesterday. It went exactly as I anticipated. When I first got there, Lloyd showed me around the new and improved Beard Building. It is remarkable! On the first floor, there is even a wall of art from contributors all around Cortland County.

If anyone is interested in this, the official open house for the Beard Building is today, from 12-6(ish). Lloyd seemed very excited. I suggest that if you have the time, you should stop in and check it out. And, on a side note, there will be free beer and wine to everyone “of age” at the later hours of this open house. I know I’ll be there…

Back on topic: So, after Katie arrived, and we started our meeting, things went pretty efficiently. We generally discussed the logistics of this venture. After we learned about some of the improvements and events that were happening in Downtown Cortland, Lloyd left us with quite a few “homework assignments” that are to be completed within the next week and a half. These are:

  1. We need to contact Alex for a couple of questions. They are: There is wireless internet at the Beard Building that is accessible only to SUNY Cortland faculty, staff, and students. How can Katie and I connect to this with our laptops? Lloyd wants us to be able to, if we wanted to, connect to this wireless network and upload our recent posts to the blog from the Beard Building. Second, we are going to set the blog directly on The host is How will we be able to incorporate our blog onto the main page, or even off of it as a button, using the host site? Lloyd (along with Katie and I) felt that this project was about more than just writing a blog, so he left us in charge of resolving these technical issues.
  2. The next issue that we need to tend to by the next time we meet with Lloyd is: We have to contact Craig Little. Dr. Little is a professor at SUNY Cortland who is in charge of incorporating the college with Downtown Cortland (the non-profit organization that Lloyd is in charge of). So, we all felt that he would be a good contact to have if any questions arose, etcetera.
  3. Also, we have to actually start writing! Because of breaks and all of our busy schedules, Lloyd felt that it would be a good idea to always be a couple of articles ahead. So, in keeping this in mind, we will write two articles and send them to him by the time restraints mentioned above.

Everything was agreeable during the meeting. Although there is one issue that we still have to resolve. Mr. Purdy mentioned that we had the opportunity to have our blog be named The Blue Frog Blog. In doing this, we would have a quasi sponsorship. This would be cool, but there is one problem. Katie happens to work for Coffee Mania and we all realize how awkward it would be for her manager to find her on the internet with the competitions name above her blog. So, we haven’t decided if we are going to go through with that yet; we’re waiting a pending answer from Katie’s manager.

Another factor that came as a little bit of a surprise is that Lloyd would prefer to look at each of our posts before they are uploaded. I say this is a surprise only because he mentioned that we could write whatever we wanted—raw, uncut material. So, when he said this I was slightly confused. But, after he explained that he just wanted to be another pair of eyes for grammatical reasons, I was OK with it.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. This is a good one for you, Dr. Stearns. Katie and I had to fill out official Main Street Promotion Committee forms. This way, at the end of this project, Lloyd will have something to show his sponsors (in order to see if we were successful or not), and we will have something to show you all the work that we have done. I must admit though, I’m not quite sure how to fill out this fairly confusing form yet…

So, I’m going to follow this post with an E-Mail to Dr. Stearns and Dr. Reid so we can get some of these issues resolved as I start to write the first Downtown Cortland Blog post! Lloyd had pointed out that “in an ideal world” we would have had this blog up by now. But, he knows that he is an extremely busy chap (as we are all also) and hopes to have it up within the next two weeks. So, because of this, I wish to have my responsibilities ready to go so that after I travel to the Blue Frog and write—all that is left is for me to send an E-Mail and wait.

I am still excited about this project and I hope that my posting skills are up to par (considering Lloyd has a journalism degree). I have a lot of great ideas that are just churning in my head; I can’t wait until I get some free time so I can get them written down.

That’s all for now, folks.



Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My So-Called Career, Or Not...

Ever since I was in high school I can remember dreaming of being a teacher. I think it was Mrs. Gaetano who first set an impression upon me. But, it was Mrs. Leopold, my 12th grade English teacher, who really made me want to pursue teaching. I saw how happy she was with her life—and how much she truly loved to teach. How could I not want my life to be like that? I loved all of the subject matter; mainly because I loved to read. So, when I started looking at colleges, I solidified Adolescence Education English as my future plan. Ah, then came my first year at SUNY Cortland. Well, I guess it would be ingenuous to just confess that I had other, more important, plans when I came to Cortland my freshman year. But, when I started to get my act together, I began to think about the career I was choosing.

The second semester of my sophomore year I was told, by one of my preferred professors, that I would not be able to lecture on some of my favorite works of literature in high school classrooms. She then proceeded to taint all of the wonderful plans I had for my future. I was told how wretched adolescent children could be—and, gulp, how they don’t care about learning or the books I was going to love teaching them.

They wouldn’t care about Gulliver’s Travels…but, I love Gulliver’s Travels…

So, I figured that if they weren’t going to want to learn all of my favorite plays, novels, etcetera, that I wasn’t going to teach them—whatever—College professor it is (plus, how cool would it be to have my PhD).

But then, in my final year as an undergrad I spoke with the head of Graduate Studies, and she told me that I was looking at it all wrong. She, a college professor herself, who didn’t necessarily care for teaching at the high school level, explained to me that the beauty of teaching was to formulate a method to make the students interested…


So, then, that’s how I ended up in this class. She recommended that I capture a couple courses in the M.A.T. program which would allow me to understand (maybe) what it would be like (to teach at the high school level). I was skeptical as to what I would really learn from all of this…

Queue Shade Gomez…

Mr. Gomez really altered my perception on teaching high school. It wasn’t really his presentation that changed the way I was thinking…it was the videos he showed of the students themselves. I saw that he was able to allow his students to enjoy what they were learning…it was awesome.

All semester I have been really considering switching over to the M.A.T. program and fulfilling the dream that I had when I was in high school. I think this could actually happen. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what the rest of the semester has to offer me. But, as of right now, I am truly intriuged about how great this could be…

Things Are Starting To Come Together

Ah, so now it’s time to chat about my project. Well, I won’t sit here and bore any of you with a proposal as to what I will be doing, because everyone was able to listen to Lloyd Purdy when he stopped by our classroom a couple weeks back. I am still very excited to be joining forces with Lloyd on the Downtown Cortland project. Everything seems to be unproblematic, thus far. Lloyd, Katie, and I have a meeting on October 4th at roughly 2pm. At some point in this meeting, if all goes as intended, we ought to be discussing the logistics of this project. And, after it’s over—we’ll be able to institute our first blog.

Our blog will, and I’m only speculating, probably start with content in regards to the open house ceremony that will take place on October 5th. Lloyd seems to have a lot to do in preparation for this ceremony—and I’m sure that he’ll want us to explain all about the Downtown Cortland project, and the open house.

As of right now I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but I’m excited nonetheless. I’ve enjoyed blogging for a little over a month now. So, I think it will be great to incorporate this into my final project. I’ll know more about what we are exactly going to do tomorrow, and I will post to let everyone know.



Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Any Ideas?

As I glance forward to my get-together with Lloyd Purdy on October 4th, I decided that I would write this post to request some assistance. In a recent e-mail that Lloyd sent Katie and me, he mentions that we ought to look over two websites. One is the Downtown Cortland website and the other is a website called Fatcow. The Downtown Cortland website is self-explanatory, but this is the first time that I am looking at the other. It seems pretty straight forward, but it has left me with a couple of questions…

Is it similar to iWeb? Is it similar to a Does anyone think it would be smarter to recommend that we do the Downtown Blog on Blogger? Or is Fatcow similar to typepad? Maybe it is more professional?

No big deal, I was just wondering if anyone else had heard of this website, or had any ideas.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Just so everyone knows…

Staples is having a HUGE sale on USB keys. I purchased a 1GB SanDisk USB key and it was only $25.00—that’s more than half-off! They have various sizes and colors at this discount. If I remember correctly…the 512MB was $15.00, the 1GB was (as I said) $25.00 and the 2GB was only $44.00! I just figured, given that a lot of people were considering buying one of these handy tools, that I would post this for all to read—it’s a heck of a deal to pass up.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Uh, Oh, Here It Comes...

It’s not frustration. It really isn’t. I’ve had an iPod for nearly 3 years now; so I’ve been accustomed to podcasting. Never did I imagine myself developing my own—but, I was excited when told to do so. Blogging, wikis, podcasts, Garage Band, iPhoto, and all of the other new media that we are all learning this semester have been relatively easy for me to deal with thus far. But, I have had a very frustrating night/day with this. Here’s why.

1. When dealing with the wiki I have minimal problems. It is an easy concept with enormous potential. I am keen on the wiki. I just don’t know what to write about. It seems to me that everyone in this class is studying to become a high/middle schoolteacher. I think that’s awesome. I believe it’s so intriguing that I am actually considering it, for me (no, really). But, I haven’t been exposed to all of the background that most people in this class have—therefore, I feel a little left behind. Now, I’m not using this as an excuse. I believe that finding something intriguing to write about is half of the battle. I’m just saying it’s a little frustrating at times.
2. I was most excited when I heard that we would be creating our own podcasts this semester. I have wanted to do this for a while! And, everything was going very well…until this morning (well, last night). I spent hours editing my pictures, recording my voice, and trying to blend it all together. I actually liked the final product, except…
a. When I edited the pictures on my computer—they looked remarkable. I then transferred them onto a Mac and into iPhoto. They had lost some quality, but I was still content with their appearance. When I conclusively put them into Garage Band, the final creation looked as if I took my images from a bad Internet site—the quality was horrible. That was disappointing, but I blame myself, and my scanner for that. No big deal, for now (I was just trying to put together any enhanced podcast so I could understand how it worked for class today—and then, next week, I would be able to construct a more relevant and professional version).
b. The agony of recording my voice onto my computer was comparable to Chinese water torture. It just wasn’t fair. I have recorded my voice, on my computer, before—with no problems. Why do I have all of these problems now? Is it because I used PowerPoint to record my voice last time? I don’t know?
c. What could be worse than me not being able to record my voice into my podcast? I’ll tell you—not being able to save the thing. I just don’t get it. I can save it to the desktop, and to the hard drive, but I can’t burn it to a CD or send it in e-mail.

Overall, I am pleased with how things are going. All of what we are learning seems to come really easy to me. These small problems that I have mentioned above are “little.” I guess I just wanted to vent…

Thanks Everyone!

It’s been five months, seven days, five hours, and three minutes since the fire. I have nothing but pleasurable memories from the past five years that I spent here in Cortland. I’m not going to pronounce that my living in the Clocktower Building the year that it burned down was a pleasant thing (I would by no means wish that upon anyone)—however; I suppose that it has truly been a constructive, eye-opening, experience for me.

Now, roughly one half year later, I can admit, with ease, that it is the city of Cortland that lost much more than I did that day.

It would be erroneous if I were to claim that on that date (or even many weeks to follow) I was more concerned about a time piece building than my book collection. But, now that most of my books are replaced…, I look back at that fire and see the huge hole that was left in the town where I have spent the past five years of my life…

Because of this, and Lloyd’s persuasive manor when he spoke to our class, I knew right away that the Downtown Cortland project would be perfect for me. Everyone in the town of Cortland (not just SUNY) was unbelievably bighearted to me at that time. I hope to use this opportunity as a feeble attempt to say thank you…

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hello, Mr. Attention Grabber,

It appears that my preceding post seems to endorse an idea that Alverman has in the second chapter of his book, Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World. Right from the get-go, Alverman solicits this rhetorical question:

“1. What significance do digital technologies have for paying, attracting, and maintaining attention” (Alverman, 20)?"

Without analyzing the rest of the chapter I unerringly knew what Alverman was going to show me. The significance is enormous! Just think! I took a mental trip back into my middle school career briefly, and easily remembered one technology that helped me and my fellow students at the time pay attention. If it weren’t for Math Blaster…what would we have done!

I understand that this is not pioneering news. Keeping the students’ attention has always been the key to educating them, hasn’t it? I guess this just reiterates the fact that maybe video games (digital technology in general) will keep the attention of students.

I know that’s a far-cry, but I’m a still thoroughly interested in how beneficial this could be.

It’s not even just video games. I have video games, but I don’t play them often. I have cousins who do nothing but. If I were to speculate as to one technology that would change the future and dominate the classroom, I wouldn’t even pick video games. I would say it’s the iPod (for music and video reasons). Music is a very important part of people’s lives. It’s something that everyone can relate to. There are very few people, although there are some (my dad), who can actually say, with a straight face, that they don’t truly listen to music. If we, as educators, could find a way to integrate popular music and the iPod into classrooms, I would guess that we would have the attention of the students.

How to do this is beyond me, but I guess it all revolves back to what Alverman was talking about. I almost feel as if we are on the verge of something. I just hope it is what we are learning in ENG 506.

Grammar Blaster?

While I was reading Grand Theft Education, all I could think about was the game Math Blaster

It’s a ‘B’ Day*, seventh period, there’s only ten minutes left, everyone’s squirming out of their seats…but why? There are still two long periods left in the day, before they can go home.

Well, eighth period was more or less like another lunch period; each student looked forward to it. After History with Mr. Hagar, the pupils who had Computer Lab on ‘B’ days would dash over to room 110C. In this area, they would have the opportunity to take part in a few select activities. It wasn’t like the other classes, not as tedious and uninteresting. Today, in Computer Lab, the kids were practicing using Microsoft Word. And, if they accomplished their exercises with time remaining, they were permitted to play Math Blaster.

Math Blaster was a dreadfully straightforward video (computer) game in which students would guide their hero (an admirable space traveler) through the galaxy by adding, subtracting, and multiplying. If you were clever enough to bring our hero the entire way, to the last level, you would be challenged even further: fractions…

It was an uncomplicated fixture. It was extremely entertaining. I don’t actually know if I, personally, ever got far in this game (Probably not, I suck at Math), but I do remember that it was a competition—we all enjoyed it.

Now, I don’t know how popular this game ever became outside of our computer lab walls, but I do know that our school definitely treasured it. It was put into practice accidentally, but after the teachers saw how effective it was, they decided to keep it.

Now that I am learning about technology in the classroom, I can see the advantages to video games. They could be very useful tools when teaching our students—especially when it comes to keeping them interested in the material.

Maybe there could be Gatsby: the Game. Students would need to read the book in order to progress in the game. Symbolism and Irony would serve as a way to guide Gatsby through this adventure.

Ha, I know that’s a colossal stretch. But, in all seriousness, I’m convinced that there is a way that video games could be implemented—and the article Grand Theft Education has helped me to believe that. I must admit that I was a little bit of a skeptic at first. But, it all comes down to what Zengotita said, “Everyone in the overdeveloped world will have the tools they need to create this amazing stuff, whether it be blogs or films or games" (39).

*In Wallkill Middle School, where I was educated, the students had to adhere to the each day as either an ‘A’ day, or a ‘B’ day. The classes were different depending on which day it was.

oh, wiki...

Well, I must admit that I’m pleasantly surprised. At first glance, the wiki assignment that our course group was diving into head first was, to a certain extent, intimidating. But, after creating my first two wikis ( I can actually admit that I stand corrected. This is why…

When brainstorming ideas for my first wiki, I felt besieged. I didn’t want to write something that was erroneous or, gasp, unintelligent. So, I decided to wait to produce my wiki—choosing to blame my procrastination on the post that Alex created on our course site, which stated that no one could sign in. After reading, and re-reading, Will Richardson, I realized that I was being excessively critical. A wiki is designed to be edited (duh, Ray) so there is no rationale for me to feel this anxiety. If I write something and then realize that it is wrong, I can easily go to that page and edit the mishap. Or, in the absolute worst case scenario, someone else would do it for me.

Overall, I’m pleased with this project thus far. I just hope that my contributions are worthy—and if they’re not, I’m sure they will be with the help of my fellow classmates.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Thanks, Will Richardson

It is easy for me to confirm that, without a doubt, Will Richardson’s book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for the Classroom has really stimulated my interest, the most, out of three books we have read this semester, thus far.While I would, as some of my other classmates have noted, not consider myself a “digital native,” I would like to think that I was much more than just a “digital immigrant.” But, Will Richardson has allowed me to realize that there are a lot of technologies that I haven’t even considered…

Two weeks ago, to this day, if someone were to ask me what a wiki was, I would have no answer to give him/her. “A strange word in an even stranger language,” I would say…I would have never guessed a wiki (specifically was a place that attempts to store, “the sum of human knowledge” (Richardson, 59) in one place. It really is shocking. What a powerful concept we have at our fingertips. Richardson is a herder and we are the sheep. He must show us the way, allowing us to utilize this concept. He does an excellent job.

I remember when I lived in the dorms during my undergraduate studies…

Young college students, about eighteen years old, would come back from a weekend of binge drinking and post all of their pictures (in which some seemed to me to be quite inappropriate) on to a website for all to view. That’s all I knew about websites like Richardson allowed me to understand the positive benefit that could come from websites such as this. Who would have known that the creators of instituted a very handy annotation feature? That could be handy in a classroom.

So, I guess that it’s time to admit, that I wasn’t as proficient with modern technology as I first thought. But, the good news is that I am learning already. I’m excited for what is still to come.

P.S. I’m pumped for this iTunes U concept, although…I don’t really get it.

An Epic Moment

So, it seems that I have finally built up an adequate amount of courage to cement the words of my first blog. Admittedly, I have actually written a blog before—but only to find that lasting for at most two or three days. As a (self-proclaimed) writer, I am constantly scribing random thoughts and ideas that stimulate my mind throughout the day. So, I would think (which is why I made my first livejournal account) that a blog would be something enjoyable to me. But, to be honest, I have always been skeptical when it comes to sharing my words. Not that I think they are poorly written, or that my ideas are horrendous—I just feel that I write for myself. It becomes a way for me to figure things out on my own. Maybe this blog will make that easier? I have always been open to the idea of blogs. What a better way to expand on my thoughts and learn more. But, it still is a new idea that requires some “getting used to.” Hopefully all of this hoopla about blogging will allow me to turn this into a positive experience and really learn a lot—especially about how technology could, and will, dictate the rest of my life as an educator.