Communicate 2 – Ongoing Communication

The following is a blog for my EOTC class.  This is about ways to communicate with the parents and students regularly.

One way of communicating with the parents is providing updates to release grades through a grade portal.  At my new school I will be sending these through Infinite Campus.  With an online classes you can do this too.  Whenever I updated a lot of grades, I would always send out a message to students and parents to let them know they had been updated.  One thing to be careful about doing with these group emails is to send them via BCC because of FERPA.  I noticed that the program I was using was doing that but never understood why until now.

I do not have access to my old  emails but they looked something like this.

Dear Parents and Students,

I just finished grading the Photo Scavenger Hunt.  This was our 2nd major grade this semester.  Your updated and average and the grade for the assignment have been posted online.  

If you did not turn in this assignment your grade probable dropped significantly because there are so few grades in the grade book at this time.  Fall break is coming up and you may need to spend some of this time catching up on your work.  Your grade will go up when you turn in this assignment, so please do it soon.  

If you need any help please attend my online session on Tuesdays or email me.  

Another way of communicating with all the shareholders is by using newsletters.  This is something I have never done before but it looks like I am gong to be using . These look like a good place to brag about  what is going on in your classroom.  Here is the example I created using more.

 I hope you enjoyed my blog.  Let me know what you think about my newsletter.


Navigate 1 – Commercial vs. Open Source Virtual Classrooms

The following blog is an assignment for my EOTC Navigate class.

The nice thing about this unit so far is I began my career working in distance education.  I was working at the University of Mississippi.  My department was responsible for Project LEAP.  Project LEAP was a distance education program.  We broadcast  adult literacy programing to locations across the state and country.  At the time we won awards for the program.   The program was broadcast via satellite to the different locations.  The students would go to the locations in each county to watch the class with other students.  The teachers would teach the class for approximately 30 minutes.  Then the students could call in on a telephone and we would connect them to the teacher live on air.  The students would answer questions and work out problems with the teachers.

My second experience in distance education was a college class in a distance education room.  I was in charge of being the site facilitator.  There were students in 3-4 different locations and the teacher was over 300 miles away.  Each location had cameras and microphones.  Each room had 2 monitors and a document camera.  The teacher was able to ask questions and the student were able to answer the questions live.

Both experiences were both synchronous because even though the class was being taught at a distance.  The students  had to attend class at a certain time and location to participate.

My next experience was an online class that I was taking to get my administration endorsement.  This class was both synchronous and asynchronous.  We had online assignments and weekly online meetings.

In a school setting I would be hesitant to use open source software except in minor situations.  When using technology in the classroom, there is always a chance of failure.  If a school is using something on a regular basis, they need be able to call for help.  Open source software may not offer that option and might depend on the teacher to find out the answers.  Teacher need to have 95% up time with technology.

 If a teacher is using a open source solution on an occasional basis it could be used to get a specific job done.   I was using a website for instruction at  a new school.  Since it was a new school the network was frequently down.  When this happened I would have the students shut down there computers and return to the desk.  Then I had to find another activity for the students to do.  This was new subject for me and I had very few resources.  Thankfully I was able to get help from the vendor.  This was a stressful year for me.  I would be not want to try the same thing with open source software.

I have always been an early adopter of new technologies and most of my problems occur as a result of inexperience with a new product.  I willing to try new things but I do not want to rely on them to get my job done.  I will continue to try new things once they have been tested by others.

Participate 1 – Character Traits

As part of a class I am taking,  I have been asked to blog about the three most impressive character traits of an exemplary citizen within a digital learning community.  Since I am film and video teacher I am going to relate this back to my subject area.

Sharing – People on social media tend to over share.  As part of a digital learning community you should share enough to encourage people read your thoughts, opinions, insights. There is a difference between sharing enough and sharing too much.  Daily posts about interesting topics tend to bring the reader back to enjoy your experience.  However,  if you simply just flood the digital landscape with everything people become unengaged from information overload.   It is better to have a few really relevant posts then fifty you must sort through.

Feedback –  By giving people feedback, you are saying I enjoy what you had to say please post more.  This is more then just simply liking a post but explaining what you liked about the post.  I was viewing the analytics data on my YouTube channel earlier.  I was able to see that my videos about video and photography were getting more views.  Do you thinking I am going to post more videos about these topics.  Absolutely!

Attribution-  When you get an idea from somewhere else let people know.  Even if you are not copying their idea exactly.  People researching a topic like to know where you got an idea.  This helps then to find other resources on the same.  When I started teaching film and video, there were few resources out there.  I explored every link they mentioned.  Without these resources I would not be not have made it all these years.

Email me if you have any suggestions Follow me on twitter and subscribe to my blog for more upcoming ideas for your media classroom.




Early morning disclaimer

Most of the creative work I do, is done in the middle of night. It takes several revisions to get my work somewhat acceptable for public viewing. I am kind of a dyslexic typer and using my thumbs on my iPhone only compounds this problem. So even though my early education is in journalism, don’t expect much. If I was doing my work during the middle of the day there would several people to proofread my work. However, I have come to despise people proofreading my work because they only want to reword everything I say, not merely correct it. I failed to mention that I spent a good portion of my childhood located extremely close to Mississippi. For those of you who do not know, Mississippians have their own set of grammar rules. So with all that being said, YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Shouting, I know. Talk to y’all soon.

What now?

I just finished my Ed.S. in Instructional Technology. Since finishing my degree, I have been inspired to take my career to the next level. I have been working on several new projects since August. The first is an iBook for my class. About midway through the semester, I found out my curriculum was changing so I put it aside until just recently. I decided to take one chapter from the iBook and try it out this semester. So I threw together a rough draft and released a short “booklet” to my students.

My second major project is producing educational videos. After attending a video production industry meeting, I got the idea to start producing my own educational videos. My thoughts are to produce short high quality videos. If they are good and short enough people will watch them until they learn the material. So far we have have recorded 20 episodes and released 6 videos. We are releasing a new one weekly. My YouTube channel is These are short videos on how to use your iPhone and iPad. My goal is to eventually create some videos similar to C.G.P Grey

So what do I mean by taking my career to the next level? Well this is what this blog is about. Armed with my new degree, some great ideas, and few new creations, I plan to change my current career path.