Monday, November 30, 2009

Digital Writing Project

Project status:
I LOVE my project! I would have never started a blog had it not been for this class, but I am really enjoying writing updates about my pregnancy for friends and family to read.

Originally I thought of starting a journal about being pregnant. I wanted to write funny reactions we got when we told people and keep a record of what I was going through. I started the journal this summer but only got a few phrases into it. I couldn't make myself sit down to fill it out. Plus so much seemed to happen that I couldn't keep up. I've found an on-line journal (my blog) much easier to update and share. I also like being able to add pictures of how my stomach is growing (this was in response to my mom's constant request for pictures). Having family in Madison and DC makes this a great way to keep them up to date with what is going on. I'd also like to share it with my daughter one day!

I have kept journals before, though not that many. I have found that I can't write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts and that my penmanship (in trying to write quickly) isn't the clearest! These are more reasons as to why I like having an on-line journal. However, this if the first time I have kept a journal that others will (and are) reading. It does make me think twice about what I write and how I write it.

I have mentioned to the class that I feel a bit awkward sometimes because I want the blog to be about the pregnancy and our soon expanding family, though the only pictures I can put on now are pictures of me (my belly!). I do plan to keep up with the blog and add pictures (and hopefully videos) when our baby girl arrives.

As of now the blog is mostly journal posts and digital pictures. As I mentioned I would like to add video and possibly voice clips of our daughter. I'm sure the grandparents will like this as well!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Professional Blog Portfolio

I chose the following posts from my professional blog for each of these categories:

1. Professionalism
I feel that my blog about my Voicethread project is a good example of professionalism. Of all the projects and resources we discussed in our Digital Writing Class, Voicethread is the resource I thought would best fit with my classroom. If only my pictures had uploaded!

It was more challenging trying to incorporate blogging and role play into my 4th grade immersion classroom. I really connected with Voicethread because the student can still work through the writing process but not have to have a completely polished final product because the nature of Voicethread is oral.

2. Creativity
For creativity I chose my blog on Collaborate Writing Assignments because in this posting I described how I wanted to use a blog (or wiki) to create a personal recipe site for our cabin weekends as well as how I might use this process with class - thus bridging personal and professions, how creative!

3. Design
I chose my blog about search methods as my best example for design. When I think of design I think of the layout of something, how well things go together and who aesthetically pleasing it is. For the most part my blogs are reflections of what we did in class with links to resources. In this blog, however, I figured out how to embed a You Tube video! (I realize this might not be that exciting to others - old news - but for me this was big!).

Colleagues' blogs:

1. --- Voice
I like Debi's Oh What Fun blog post. I literally can hear her voice when reading this blog! I think it's the style of writing - longer sentences then a few shorter ones. I also like that the voicethread she created is about something personal, her cat :)

2. --- Multimedia Multimodal component
Wow! Michelle went to town on her "Blogscar" posting!! This is so creative - with the Seinfeld clip, the audience clip, her avatar, the movie star pictures and links, oh my! It is definitely worth checking out.

3. --- Thoughtfulness
I enjoyed Janice's blog on the Ning Role Play. She brought up a good point about being "equitable" in providing resources to students who do not have computer access. She also discussed the idea of using technology in a way that is purposeful and best serves our students - something I often think about.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Collaborative Writing Assignments

So this isn't so much school related but I am interested in creating either a wiki or a blog for our cabin recipes. We have good friends in Chicago and Milwaukee and we use my parents' cabin as a rendez-vous point several times a year.

Each time we get together we split up meals and cook for each other. Every time we get together we say we should start a cookbook with all our recipes. (Plus our friends Santi and Kristi are AMAZING cooks and we want their recipes!!!)

At first I thought about making a binder to keep at the cabin but that would make it hard to figure out what ingredients you need to buy with the recipes stored up there. So...I was thinking I could create a blog - this way we can add our recipes and pictures of what the dish should look like. I started the blog but am now wondering if a wiki would be a better choice.

What I would like to do:
- Be able to easily add recipes.
- Have friends be able to add their recipes.
- Be able to add pictures.

My question is - if I use the blog, will my friends be able to contribute or will I have to put all the recipes up?

As for a school project, I did like the idea about creating a collaborative digital writing piece (The Library Ghost) with a class from the Bledsoe article. In this article the 4th grade class worked through the brainstorming, writing and revising stages to create a script. I could definitely see how this could be a great way to model the writing process. I also liked the idea of the class turning the writing piece into a script and then acting out their masterpiece.

- All students are involved in the creation process.
- Students work through all parts of the writing process.
- Multiple technologies can be used to create the project (Photostory, Voicethread etc.)

- When working with a full class it is hard to make sure every student is involved.
- As the article described, you need to decide if all students will be involved (thus making a long story) OR if some parts will be cut (making a more appropriate length but leaving some students out).

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Digital Storytelling

I checked out a few of the links that Candance sent to us but the one I connected with the most was the Mom's brag vlog. This interested me because it is very similar to what I am doing for my digital writing project - a personal blog.

In her blog, Erin Nealy documents her daughters' lives using video (hence the vlog!). This definitely makes the blog more interactive and more interesting to watch. Even though I wasn't too interested in the lives of people I don't know (!!) I can see how it would be great for family and friends.

We also talked in class about how great it is to capture the "firsts" in life. Candance made the video of Oliver's first words - how wonderful to have that on video as opposed to just writing about it! PLUS what a great "gift" for family and friends who are far away and miss some of these moments.

I have enjoyed using my blog as a sort of journal documenting my experience being pregnant. I do however keep in mind some positives/negatives we discussed in class:

- length of the entry: I want to keep a journal of what is going on in my life at this point but I also don't want to "overwrite". I still struggle with how much information I want to a)put on-line and b)send out to friends (not wanting to overwhelm them).

Ex: in the vlog (link above) I watched the "Big News" clip where the parents tell their girls they will be going to a Hannah Montana concert. The idea is cute but the video kind of goes on and on...

- pictures: At this point my personal blog is pretty much pictures of my stomach! I don't want the blog to seem too self-centered (the only other pictures I have put on are the ultrasound pics). Though I find pictures grab my attention more and make me want to read the text that follows.

- having an audience: I enjoy using my personal blog as a journal because 1)I can type much faster and it therefore it is more efficient for me to type than write and 2)I can add pictures (which is harder to do on paper). However, if it were just my personal journal I could ramble on and on...and on...but now that I have an audience I keep the following in mind when writing: what might interest my followers, what I want to remember and what is appropriate. (Ryan didn't love that I put a picture of the pregnancy test on!).

At this point I wouldn't have a lot of moments that I would want to capture w/video but as I said above I can definitely see adding them once our little one is here. That means I might need to invest in some new technology...!!!

Classroom adaptations:
In the past I have had students make a Photostory of their 4th grade year. I haven't tried yet but I am interested to know if Photostory allows you to add video (or if it is strictly pictures).

Challenges to using Photostory: I need to do a lot of the leg work ie taking pictures (throughout the year!), compressing and saving the pictures so students can access them and then teaching how to use Photostory (this is actually the easiest part).

It would be fun to incorporate video into the digital recap of the year but that means 1)remembering to take videos during the year and 2)finding recording devices that I - and possibly the students - can use.