Saturday, December 8, 2012

Adventures in Global Learning

This fall in my Emerging Instructional Technologies course I have been introduced to global learning. I am in awe of some of the projects that I have found as we explored this concept in  education. We as educators have to find ways to meet the Common Core standards of education which has components of global education. The Global Learning Network is one place you can go to learn about ways to create and become part of global learning opportunities.
The one that I have had the great fortune to be a part of is The Flat Classroom Project. My classmates and I were offered the opportunity to judge the eRacism project, a global debate about world issues. The debate has been on the topic of global conservation of natural resources and how these types of policies affect relations between cultures. The debates have been very well done and I have learned a great deal from these students presentations. It is quite a responsibility to judge their work fairly, to put aside your own beliefs and concentrate on the rubric that was to be used for scoring.
As I worked with a lead judge that was located in Africa it was difficult to communicate on a real time basis, so our connections were made through email. In the first round of debates our team was to judge two different debates but one of the  groups did not complete their project. We were to have 4 judges on our team for this round. The lead judge and I were the only two that completed our judging by the due date. In round two we again were to judge two debated and once again one of the two groups did not complete their project. This round we were again to have 4 judges on our team and I was the only one of the four to complete my judging, I was then asked to record on the judging slide my decision on a winner of the debate.
I can only imagine the frustration the coordinator of this entire project must have been going through. The task of organizing teams and judges from around the world had to be enormous. Teams that sign up to be part of the whole project that do not complete their responsibility and then judges that do not show up to judge and/or are not timely in their responses, has to be extremely frustrating. I commend Eva Brown for her patience and perseverance in getting everyone and everything organized, from the training of team leaders and judges in the beginning to the live debate at the end.
My only regret in this whole process is that I will not be able to be a judge for the live event since it will take place during the school day.
This has been an awesome experience and I will look for opportunities to be a part of more global learning projects in the future.

clip art provided by

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Great Learning Opportunities

This fall I have had the chance to take part in some great professional development opportunities. In October I attended the Monday sessions at the ITEC conference in Des Moines. I would highly recommend this conference to anyone looking for technology professional development. As an art teacher I was very interested in how others have integrated technology into their art curriculum.
iPads seem to be the tool of choice in art classrooms. I was very interested in the SloMo app for the iPad. with this application you can create stop motion videos. My students have expressed an interest in trying this, it should be quite an adventure.
I also learned about Sketchbook Express. This is an application that is similar to Photoshop but more user friendly.
So many great ideas for using iPads in the classroom, Little Bird Tales for storytelling, Auto Rap for creating rap videos, Rory's Story, Screen Chomp, Kabaam, Toontastic Doodle Buddy, bluster, Boogle, Work Flick, JibJab books, Word Monkey and so many others.
But one of the  most amazing things I saw was an iPad orchestra. This is not the exact video we watched that day but it is just as amazing.

Last Friday, November 30th, I attended the 1:1 Conference hosted by Iowa AEA267.
I attended sessions discussing personal learning networks for both students and teachers, listened to a panel of school leaders discuss their success and learning opportunities as they implemented 1:1 programs in their schools. Heard the Waverly-Shell Rock Technology team talk about managing iPads in a 1:1 environment, and listened to a fantastic speaker about Web 2.0 tools in the classroom.
You can access the presentation slides for the Web 2.0 tools session at this link: Http://
You can also follow Shannon on Twitter @shannonmmiller

I also was introduced to Candy Chang and her I Wish This Was... project. 
How can you not be inspired by this story? 

I have found these conferences to be so valuable to my growth as an educator.  A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to be the presenter as  the Eastern Iowa Catholic Educators Tech Trainer conference. If you are interested you can view the Google Presentation that my co-teacher Pam Schmitt and I presented, introducing Scratch in education. 

If  you are ever wondering if these types of conferences are worth the time and money, the answer is yes, I have never come away feeling that it was not a learning experience.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Magical Mystery Tour

Well, I have been on quite the adventure for the past several hours. I have traveled all over the  world of Second Life looking for art galleries and collection. I have been assigned the task of creating a tour so that others wanting to find beautiful art in Second Life can easily navigate their way around using the note card I have created. This has been quite the tour, I have found some awesome places for you all try out, so have fun and enjoy this magical tour of the Second Life world of art.

11 Gallery Stops:

Steinfadt Fall 2012 SL Art Gallery Tour

This tour takes you to a variety of art galleries and displays in second life. Some are Real Life works and some are Second LIfe created. Many of the items can be purchased to use in your own SL world. Have fun and see some awesome creations.

1.  The Spiral Art Gallery 
In this gallery there are many works of art. Some are sculptures and some are paintings. Many of the works are in motion creating beautiful images.

2.  ARC: Art Revolution Culture
The second stop on our gallery tour takes you to an island that has several buildings housing different types of digital art. Some are photographs and some are digitally created. As you walk around the island there is many sculptures on the grounds and the grounds themselves are a digital work of art.

3.  Zunzun Art Cuba - Gallery
Be careful when you land here, I have landed in the fountain every time I have visited. But the surrounding court yard is filled with Cuban cultural art in a tropical island setting. I could stay here and relax looking at all the beauty for quite awhile.

4. The RediVivus Art Gallery
The gallery of fantasy art and decorations. Set on a colorful beach. When you enter the building you are met with bright colored paintings and a variety of other styles of art. Many of these can be purchased to use in your own SL world.

5. Sisse Singha Gallery
This is a huge gallery and very professional looking. The artist preferred medium is water color. I personally am in awe of anyone who can work with watercolors. These are beautiful works. Enjoy your time wandering in this gallery, There is also a hall of works from other artists, very bright and colorful.

6. The Blackwater Sculpture Art Gallery

This is an awesome outdoor gallery with hundreds of static and moving sculpture pieces. Some very cool stuff here.

7. The Silliest Kitty Gallery of Abstract Art
This is a gallery of original digital artwork created by an SL artist called the Silliest Kitty.  This gallery looks small until you find the spiral staircase and you realize that there are multiple floors. Beautiful digital creations.

8.  Dreamscapes Art Gallery
This is what I think of as the least interesting of the tour but it is interesting. Almost everything here is for sale for the creation of your SL world. You can buy almost everything here including the rugs on the floor. There is some beautiful stuff here and it is fun to walk around and see what has been created but it is not as uniques as the other galleries that house original works.

9. Spanish Village Art Center
This is a village that houses several different buildings of art work. It ranges from paintings to sculpture and I  believe I even saw some furniture and pottery. So much to see here, the buildings are all stucco with tile roofs and the streets are paved with multi-colored brick.

10.  Campus d'Art - Heart of the Canal District
This location has many galleries and a museum. It takes awhile to find everything but well worth the time exploring.

11.  Alpha Asteri Second Life's Largest art Gallery
This location has a huge amount of art in the galleries and on the grounds. But be careful as landed in the ocean one time and on the side of a cliff the another time. I got stuck in the rocks and had to teleport out. If you can get there it is great. This is why I have included it as site #11.

I hope you find this tour as awe inspiring and inspirational as I did. I had a lot of fun touring around in the Second Life art world.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quest #5 World Tour

I should have jet lag from all the places I have visited today. Started out in Germany at a cathedral, not as much to see as I thought there might be as a large portion was under construction but what was complete was pretty cool. I then transported to St. Louis, MO and wandered around the arch, never did find if there was a way to get inside and I missed the boat tour both times I landed there.
 I forgot to take photos the first time I landed so I had to go back. I get so involved with the tours and looking around and remembering how to get into places and such I forget to take the photos.
This photo is from Vasser college. Many, many cool buildings but the castle was my favorite. I took the tour around the island but it took a long time so I stood up and fell face first on the ground from about 10 feet in the air, cracked me up, good thing you don't die in such situations. My mini-me is as graceful as the real me. I tried to visit the Great Wall of China but it would not let me go.
It was fun to visit parts of the world that I will most likely never see in reality, I thing that is one big advantage of programs like Second Life.
I am getting much better at finding my way around, I don't land in odd worlds and have no idea how I got there and I can always find my home to Dr. Z's.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Quest #4 If Only...

Here is my original me. Just basic, average looking. Pretty much true to life. I started to play with the options for looks, so many options it was hard to just choose where to start. I was also trying to do this at school to see how this would run on our system. Not something I would try again unless I had all day. This would not be something that could be done with the current set up we have for wireless and there is not really an option for direct connection for students. Back to my adventure in recreating my ME. I had fun and A LOT of laughs as I changed my shape, color and size. My next move was to change to a rocker girl look. She is pretty awesome, wish my hair would do something like that for real. Put on my T from Dr. Z's.
 I didn't think this was really all that was intended for this quest so i started playing with my hair, clothing, body shape, color and what ever else I could change. It was quite a humorous adventure. I didn't end up changing my look all that much in the end but at one point I did have some pretty funky looks.
I don't currently work with students that are old enough to play in SecondLife although many of them would love this place. You can be who ever you want to be and have some fun creating that avatar. In the video that we watched before working to change our appearance they stated that some people spend hours and hours personalizing their avatar. I can see how that could happen. I spent about two hours playing with this and could have gone on but at some point you just have to stop.
I am not the best navigator in this virtual world but I am getting better. Still not my favorite thing to do but I do see how it could be a fantastic learning tool for some students.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Cruisin' through my Quest

I am doing a little better in second life as I just finished quest #3. Not sure where quest 2 went but this was next in line.  I still have some issues with running into walls and getting stuck in doorways but I am getting better. I am not sure if it is a computer thing or if the problem lies between the keyboard and the chair but it is kind of fun to play in this world. I am a little more at ease when I know that no one else is watching, I can look stupid running into walls and no one but me knows. Although I have been know to walk into walls in the real world so I think maybe this is just a character trait. Sorry no pictures, I got so wrapped up in reading all the signs and doing the activities I forgot to try and get pictures to share here. I am a little bit slow in learning this kind of thing but I will get there, I just take the scenic route.

Backwards Learning in Second Life

I have been having some issues with Second Life and my computer not wanting to play nice together but last night I did manage to join my EIT group for most of our evening gathering. Now tonight I am beginning my journey through the GameLab tours to learn how to find may way around in this new world. The first Quest of my tour in virtual reality has been very helpful, I feel like I have a little better handle on the control panels and should be able to find my way much easier.
For anyone out there who has not experience a virtual world Second Life is a fun experience although a little frustrating at times when you are first beginning. My advice would be to hang in there an keep trying because there is some awesome things to experience in the virtual world of Second Life.