Monday, December 12, 2005

The Comfort Zone

I really like my comfort zone but today listening to the radio I was hit by a sentence that I heard.

They had been talking about things and I was not really paying attention except that I heard something and started thinking how I would sign it in American Sign Language (the radio is where I always hear things that I wonder how to sign.) Anyway I suddenly heard a statement that was made about how our dreams are not in our comfort zone.

I have spent several years working towards a dream. When I began grad school I wasn't even sure what I could do with the degree I was pursuing but I was very interested in the subject matter. Well, I've finally graduated after having a fantastic 6 weeks at the Clerc Center doing my internship. When I left there I was all ready to change jobs.

I'm home now and I've fallen back into my comfort zone. It's really comfortable here so much so that I fear I will stay right where I am. But my dream is not here. I have to leave my comfort zone and find my dream. I'm scared and I have no idea how or where to find it. I was ready to move to a new location this summer but then I came home and reality hit. I don't see how I can move. I have support services for my son here. To move would mean starting all over again. I can't work without the support services and there would be no time to establish them. I don't see any possibilities around here. But God put that little statement in my ear today for a reason. Maybe there will be a job somewhere that I don't have to relocate to. I have to keep on following through. There are two schools for the deaf near here (well sort of.) I planned to apply as a teacher but I don't think I can get certified in New Jersey (can't remember why right now) and I don't think the one here in PA will pay enough to cover my bills with the added cost of the commute (at least an hour) so I guess I just apply for my dream? Would God make it that easy?

I thought about sending my resume to the School of the Future that is opening up in Philadelphia this year but there were two problems.
1. The principal is a well known tech leader and my insecurities made that intimidating. (see my blog from August 19)
2. It would be really cool to work there (if they were even hiring an instructional technologist) BUT It's not my dream. My dream is to be an instructional technologist in a school for the deaf.

Maybe I'm reading more into this than is really there. Maybe this was not a nudge to move me out of my comfort zone that I like so well. It really is nice here:)

(I did sign up to take the Praxis test to prove to the state of Pennsylvania that I can do math, read and write. First step to applying for the Instructional Technology Specialist certification in PA even though I don't see how I will ever get a job.)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Negative Side of Blogs

While I have been pushing blogs at work and potentially to the state of Pennsylvania's teachers of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, I have recently seen the negative side of blogs.

My son has Angelman Syndrome. Wikipedia describes Angelman Syndrome as a "neurological disorder in which severe learning difficulties are associated with a characteristic facial appearance and behavior." When my daughter was younger I created a website for siblings, called Angel Land, with games and a chance to talk about their siblings with Angelman Syndrome.

Recently a parent found a blog that used part of my website (Angel Sib Thoughts page) to ridicule children with the syndrome. They quoted from what the siblings had posted, not always in its entirety, and mocked the children. The person also made fun of the fact that one of the children died when he was trapped in a recliner.

Needless to say there was an uproar among the parents to the extent that some contacted the dean of the university where this person attended. The school of course could do nothing since it was not school related. The person has removed the original post and is now just referring readers to the website implying that they can read into it what they will. I have also recently found another post that quoted the children with no comments except in the comments section(I have not told the other parents about that one.)

As a result I have begun changing the content to say that the page no longer exists because of the blogs which link to that specific page. For now I have kept the content by changing the name of the page and I am starting to go through the whole site changing the links. I thought that Dreamweaver would do that when I changed the name but it didn't.

I feel really bad about these incidents. I wrote an email apologizing to the parents and offering to take the page down or password protect it. Of the replies I got all said to leave it there. I am sure that the people that are quoting from my site are violating copyright laws but financially it is not worth pursuing.

Of greater concern as far as I am concerned is the issue of quoting underage children, with derogatory comments added, who have posted to my site with parent permission. I really researched the issue of children's privacy when I updated the site for one of my grad school classes and came to the conclusion that it was legal to have the page. To protect the children I have never used more than their first name, age and country to identify them. I also check every post before it is placed online to make sure there is nothing in it that could be used to identify them. I can't help but wonder how the combination of this issue and the copyright issue would play out in a court of law.

Despite all of this I still think blogs are a great idea to use with Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. I'm not sure but I think at our staff meeting this week I will be talking about my game and maybe about blogs. I need to check with my boss to find out if he still wants me to talk about them. He was going to talk about my blog article himself at another meeting, that I didn't go to, but never did. I'll have to remember to give him a call to check on things.

As an aside Clusty is a really cool new search engine that can search blogs by linking to five different blog search engines. It is even able to check if a blog links to a URL (which is how I found the other linking blog entry. I also found one that links to a graphic I had-but not any more haha-need to check with my ISP about that one to see if they can block people from linking from other sites)

Sunday, November 27, 2005

I finally started putting together the Kool Kids Sign website using my characters on the flash page. I also set up the Teachers and So You Want to Get a Job websites under the Kool Kids Sign website. Both the Teachers site (an online curriculum? not sure what word to use-we were studying eLearning when I made it-for regular education teachers with hearing impaired students in the classroom) and the So You Want to Get a Job sites were projects completed during my Instructional Technology master's degree.

Not all of the links are working although most of them do. I don't think the discussion boards will work. They are at my old site and I don't think the links will work right until I fix them.

I have a vision for Kool Kids Sign but not enough artistic skill to complete it. A couple years ago I made videos with a student I was working with to be shown during homeroom to teach her classmates sign language. They were only 1 or 2 minutes long for each day. The idea was to then put the signs up at Kool Kids Sign for the students to go and get reminders of what was played in class. I would love to finish this concept and make tapes that other schools could use with the website as a reinforcer. I would love to have games there too to help the students practice. I have thought about using puppets to make videos-I worry about child safety on the internet-but have not been able to find any that look like the characters I drew for the website.

So You Want to Get a Job was also a vision I had during my classes. Included in there I would love to have a practice interview session with signing characters. If I was rich I could maybe succeed in creating that with the use of the Sign Smith Studio software by Vcom 3D.

The teacher's website I also want to eventually expand to include worksheets and lessons. I created worksheets for the Flat Stanley book by Jeff Brown that I want to post and also for a book about a deaf child who goes to a hearing camp called The Best Sign by Bonnie Highsmith Taylor.

Maybe someone will read this and help me make my visions come true:) In the meantime enjoy what is posted.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Workshop Day

Today the IU held their special ed conference. We have it every year on Election Day. Many years there really are no workshops I am interested in attending or they are all at the same time. This year there weren't any I was desperate to go to but at least I did find some to choose.

One workshop was about cochlear implants. The speaker was interesting but I had mostly heard it before.

I went to a workshop called "Assistive Technology for Writing." Bill Ziegler, the speaker, talked about intellikeys, alphasmarts and other such equipment. Nothing really new there but he also introduced us to two computer programs that he had developed. They can be downloaded from here, for free, by following the Download Software link.

One is Just My Type. The student dictates what he wants to say to the teacher who types it in and then the student practices typing it in. There are a variety of keyboards to choose from and it shows them which letters to type on the onscreen keyboard. Included is Just My Worksheets. You may choose vocabulary words and print spelling worksheets, word searches writing practice sheets etc.

The other one is Report Cards. This one is a simplified graphics organizer for students with writing problems. The first thing the student does is pick a topic. Then he/she creates three subtopics for three paragraphs. The student is able to brainstorm ideas or create sentences. After the three subtopics the student creates up to five supporting details. If the student has problem remembering what he/she wants to say while writing it, the program is setup for the student to record each sentence and then play it back to type in. Once all the sentences are written they can be rearranged into a better order.

Unfortunately for PC users both programs are MAC compatible only. This is because MAC has built in voices and both programs read what is typed to the student.

Now if only I can get Bill to adapt Report Cards so that instead of the students recording their ideas/sentences they can videotape them then this would be perfect for our signing deaf kids. As it is the program is still great. Both of these programs are on my list to show at the PESDHH convocation if we have a computer lab.

The last workshop was on cyberbullying and cyber sexual assault. I chose that because of my degree in instructional technology and the fact that it can become an issue in that field. It was presented by a woman from NOVA (Network of Victim Assistance.)

One of her points was that parents should not ban the internet from their children but instead should put the computer where there are adults present and to partner with the child showing them the proper way to use the internet. I did put our home computer where it is in the middle of everything but I do not sit down with my daughter while she is online. I have made a point of emphasizing to her about internet safety and the dangers of posting info online.

One of the things that surprised me was the fact that most of the predators do not lie about their age. I had always heard that they lure the girls by lying about their age but apparently it's not true.

A colleague and I discovered this year that there was a student who met someone online and then met him at the mall. She appears to have been lucky and the boy is really a boy. She seemed to be unaware of the dangers of the internet. Because the student has to read for one of her classes we are going to look for a book called A Girl's Life Online. It is the story of a young girl who fell for a sexual predator and was raped. Maybe this will help her understand the dangers better since she is your typical teenager and doesn't want to listen to the adults.

This year was definitely a good year for workshops. Hopefully future years will be also.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Possible Training Opportunity

Back on September 29 I wrote about the PESDHH (Pennsylvania Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) convocation and the possibility of doing training/workshops there. I went to the first planning meeting on Wednesday. The theme looks like it will be something involving Diversity of Learners since we have such a wide range of students we work with. As time goes on there seem to be more and more special needs deaf and hard of hearing students.

As we were talking I was thinking that it would be difficult to propose trainings (the reason I was there) but the person I had been talking to (Susan) brought it up. It really would be possible to do trainings since each of the three Pattan offices have 75 laptops for trainings.

We discussed possible trainings and whether or not I would want to do one (if you read my blog from August 9 and August 10 you'll understand.) One idea that Susan had where I would not actually have to do a training was to have a drop in lab to see and do things. I think we should still have a training of something but the drop in lab is a great idea too. I thought about it later and came up with the idea to have websites bookmarked for everyone to look at when they came in and also maybe it would be great if we had different software installed that are considered hearing friendly (a good resource for that is the database on the TecEds website at the Clerc Center in D.C.) I guess I will have to start going through that to see what I can find. I can also ask Rosemary (my supervisor from my internship) for ideas. I know I want to show something from Sherston, VCom 3D, and Team up with Teamo (it would really be great if they would do exhibits if we have them.)

Auditory Version of the ABC game

I started the auditory version of the ABC fruit and vegetable game in PowerPoint. The problem is that the animated gif that is used if the answer is wrong does not play after it has been accessed one time. If the child makes more than one mistake then they don't get the animation the second time just the end frame.

Any input let me know here is the link

ABC Fruit and Vegetable Auditory game

Monday, October 17, 2005

It's Done! I Think?

I think the ABC Fruit and Vegetable game is finished. I hope:) I decided to put the menu button only on the last frame of each letter grouping. I figure that if you go to the letter you will want to go through all of the frames before going to another letter.

I'm still not happy about the play video again button but it won't work any other way.

I have also added goals and ideas of how to use the game including using it with an interactive whiteboard. (SmartBoard)

Thanks for all of the help and input Rosemary!

Now I have to get the website up and running properly. I just bought ASL Animations 1 and 2 to use for the website and additional games. I want to make an auditory version of the game for the kids in our program-have to learn how to do sound in flash now. Then I want to make a numbers game. Still thinking about how it will work.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

ABC Game

I really do not like what is happening to the video with the button having to appear on the video at the same time as the word. I really think it will be distracting to the children. I have tried several different ways including starting from scratch and the same thing keeps happening. I guess the problem is that I'm not fully trained in Flash.

I also still need to decide about the Menu button-every page? some pages? written word? a button?

I am ready to finish this game. I hope the end is in sight soon!!!!!

All of the videos are now posted in the newest version even though I don't like the play video again problem.

ABC Game Weird Problems

I started putting the "Play Video Again" button on the individual videos. Some of the works fine and I can do it so that the word appears on the screen for a short bit before the button appears. Others the only way I can put a button on is to put it on at the same time the word appears otherwise when it stops it stops with the word and a frame showing Ruth. I hate doing that because I feel like it distracts from the word. I would prefer to see the word alone first and then with the button but I can't get it to do that. The weird thing is that all of the videos were made the same so I'm not sure why they don't act the same.

I put forward buttons on all of the slides except for the matching frames. It took a little creativity to get them to work right. If I put them on as buttons where I pulled in videos they did nothing, so I changed them to graphics and it works off of the original whole frame button.

The directions page still needs so work organizing it and deciding what I want to say.

Changed the button that said Home to say Menu but haven't decided which pages I want to put it on. Any ideas?

This is what is done so far. I'm up to fruit making the video changes.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Using Blogs to Support Literacy

A blog is a web-based journal, log or diary that first appeared around 1999. Since then the number of blogs have multiplied. Technorati recently reported that they are “now indexing over 16 million blogs, with about 100,000 new blogs created every day.”

Blogs usually have only one author although sometimes, as in the case of a collaborative blog, there may be more than one. An author will generally write about what they are doing, an opinion about something or a reaction to something. It is not uncommon to see postings that reference or discuss another person’s blog. Blogs are also in reverse chronological order. At the top of the page is the most recent posting with the older ones following. Postings are dated as to when they were posted.

Blogs are public and lasting. Anything written in them can be read by anyone who finds them. They can be searched for by using Technorati or Google’s new blog search engine. Once you find a blog you like, you can continue to follow it by subscribing to its RSS feed. This will make it possible for you to follow it in a newsreader or aggregator such as Bloglines.

Blogs are becoming very popular in schools, because you don’t need to be a web designer to create them and they are free. Schools can use online software such as Blogger, or install “free for educational use” software on their own servers. Blog editing software uses a WYSIWYG (what you see if what you get) editor to type in your content. Blog entries can consist of text, links to internet sources or podcasts, photos and /or videos. Use of video allows signing students to post in their native language.

Administrators are using them to keep parents informed about school events. Teachers use them to post homework assignments, handouts from class and class news.

Blogs and Literacy
Blogs are also being used for literacy, both reading and writing. Teachers are encouraging student writing through two features of blogging-posting and commenting. By posting to a blog, a student’s work is essentially published for the public to read. It gives students the feeling that what they write is important and that their opinions can be heard. Through the comment feature the public is able to comment on student posts and students are able to comment on each other’s.

Teachers can encourage student reading by assigning news articles for them to read and comment on, by having students read and comment on each other’s blogs and by posting teacher blog entries written on the reading level of their students.

Class blogs are another popular use of blogs. In addition to posting class news, assignments etc. teachers also use blogs for class discussions, student collaboration and to post student work. Parents are able to read what is happening in the class and then comment on entries their child or the other students post (click on the comment link at the end of one of the postings that this links to and you can see parent comments.) uses a collaboration blog in their O.R.E.O. project. Participating classes use a specific style of Oreo cookies to measure different objects. They then post 5 of their results to the project blog and read postings from other classes.

Last year, Team 6/7/8 at Kendall Demonstration School used a blog to communicate with Sgt. Earl (Jay) Beatty in Iraq and his wife in the U.S. It helped to make the war more real for them. His tour of duty ended in May and when he returned Jay, his wife and son visited the school to meet the students.

We as adults are falling behind the students in our technology awareness. Although they may not necessarily know the word blog (my daughter didn't) a large number of teenagers and/or thier friends now Xanga. (My daughter tried it for a week and quit but does follow her friends blogs.) We need to start to take advantage of something that students enjoy and use it for education.

Resources to Check Out
Weblogs for Use with ESL Classes

Blogging and RSS-The "What's It?" and "How To" of Powerful New Web Tools for Educators by Will Richardson

Blogs and Blogging: A Homerun for Teaching, Learning, and Technology - a mini-course about blogging

New Kids on the Blog-an article in NEA Today October 2005 issue.

Clerc Center Blogs-list of blogs and additional ideas for using them

Blogging Software
Blogger-online software

Blogmeister-online software

Kidzlog-download and install on your computer or server. Very kid friendly. Charge

Wordpress-download and install on your computer or server.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


Talked with someone today about the possiblility of doing technology trainings through Pattan. She said that at this time it would probably be difficult to set anything up. She also suggested that I come to the next PESDHH (Pennsylvania Educators of Students Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing) convocation planning meeting and offer ideas for sessions. I doubt that a training would be possible but at least it would be possible to talk about how things like video or vlogs/blogs could be used to support literacy.

Finished the first part of the information piece I am writing for my boss-what a blog is. Now I have to write the part about how they can be used to support literacy. I also got the wiki set-up now I just have to learn how to enter new pages and content.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

What Have I Done Now?

I had a meeting with my boss today to discuss the department web page. What is currently online is very cut and dry-a standardized page that follows the same boring format as every other department. Because we are shifting to the online IEP Writer program for IEP's, we can't make any changes at this time-the webmaser is very busy ironing out the glitches and trying to get caught up on other jobs. While we are waiting we will start creating the content that we want to present. In order to do that I am going to set up a wiki that specific people can access to edit the written content of the site.

After that we continued talking about other concerns I had related to my job. In previous years he has requested staff submit monthly lesson plans for him to view or profile a student. This year he decided that he wants to change what we are doing. For the first submission, we are supposed to write about how we support literacy with our students. As a full time sub I have a very difficult time writing anything to turn in and he agreed it would be difficult.

As we continued talking I showed him the PowerPoint version of the ABC Fruit and Vegetable game which the preschool teachers said I should show all of the teachers (I will be doing that in December.)

Literacy came up in the discussion and I mentioned how blogs are being used to support literacy. He has heard about them but didn't know much about them. He suggested when I show the game that I also talk about blogs. His next thought was that that would take care of the information I am supposed to submit about literacy. Instead of writing what I am personally doing he wants me to fill him in on blogs-what they are, etc and how they are being used to support literacy. Now I have to start researching the information so I can write and submit it by Oct. 1. Rather than just emailing my report to my boss I think I will post it in my blog and email a link to my blog.

Tomorrow I will be going to an interpreting workshop and I will have the opportunity to talk to someone about whether or not it would be possible to do technology trainings on a statewide level specifically for teachers of the hearing impaired.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

ABC Game Feedback and Other Development Thoughts Part 2

I spent a lot of time on the game today. All of the sign/fingerspell/word videos are ready for buttons. I took my button feedback and decided I didn't want any of them. I have two choices now just simple text saying play the video again or a green button (the favorite color) that says play video again.

After getting feedback from Rosemary about part 1 of this blog post, I have decided to include a menu page. From there it will be possible to access any letter and also go to the directions instead of having them in the game timeline. I like this much better. The front page also has the option of going straight to the game (for the kids) or to the menu.

Each page has a button to take you home (the menu.) I have also created two versions-a plain written text button and a green button with a graphic of a house on it. The pages continue to have a full page button for the children to go to the next page. Right now I have the buttons at the bottom but I think maybe I should put them at the top so if the teacher is using an interactive whiteboard the children will not hit them accidentally.

Letter A is set up as text only links and letter B uses the button links. Please check out letters A and B and let me know which way you like best.

At this time the menu is not complete but what is there is in black ink. The directions are in blue as are the text only button links (which puts a blue play text button onto the black text menu page.) I'm still deciding whether I prefer the blue or the black text. Not sure if one is easier to read. Maybe the black.

I'm keeping the letters for the preloader and will save numbers for the next game:) which will be some kind of counting and or math concepts game. More about that later after I think about it some. I also wonder if I should include the words "Please wait while the game loads" on the preloading screen.

I also have a grammar question. I wrote "For each letter there is a series of slides." I'm wondering if I should change it to "...there are a series of slides" I think "is" is the right choice but I'm not sure because I'm using "a series" which I think is singular.

Somewhere along the line I want to figure out which National standards this correlates to and create a lesson plan. Also when we did the first trial with the children I had them take turns trying to trace over the letter. I'm thinking about including tracing letters for when teachers use this with an interactive whiteboard they could demonstrate how to write the letter. Not sure if I want to do that totally separate or if maybe on the page with the fingerspelled sign I could put the font that shows the arrows of how to write it or maybe I should just include this idea in the lesson plans that I hope to create.

Started studying for the Praxis test. I have to take that to prove I can read, write and do math before I can get my certification for Instructional Technology Specialist. I need to call and schedule it sometime so I have a target date to keep me on task.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Cool Literacy Site

I discovered a cool literacy site. There is a teacher site and a student site. The site comes out of the UK. It is divided into different themes including dragons, Halloween spells, Renaissance etc.

What is really neat about the place is that there is a heavy emphasis on writing. Students can read stories some of which are choose your own adventure stories (multiple endings and the students choices determine which one they end up with.) They are also able to write stories to be posted online. One part includes discussions about dragons that students can participate it.

There is also a part called Adventure Island that really set me to thinking.
"Adventure Island is a web-based tool for classes, schools and groups to create an interactive online island that other people are able to visit and explore. You can create descriptions for each area of your island, and these can be written in either the style of a story, diary, guide or game, as you wish. You can include on your island areas that will trap an unsuspecting visitor, and force them to start again, as well as including four clues that, once found, will allow the visitor to escape from the island and get back to civilisation." (from the website)

Video can be included which makes this really ideal for deaf students. It would allow them to create their information in video format in their natural language and then caption it into English.

I wonder if I could create a site that would be specifically for deaf students. I would want them to be able to provide video, pix, written text.... I don't want to steal the idea of Adventure Island so I would have to think ........

I have it Time Travel. The students could do something based on the time period they are studying in social studies. They could come up with how they ended up back in time and then find a way back to the present possibly by traveling forward in time through additional time periods?????

More to come as I think about this.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

ABC Game Feedback and Other Development Thoughts Part 1

Read this after trying the game first. Go to the game.

1. The words yes and no are difficult to see at the end of the game. I need to check and see if it is a different shade of blue than in the game part because the blue in the other part is clear. or maybe it is the size? Whatever, I can change it to a lighter shade to make it more visible.

2. No button to play a video again.
I can add a button to the video and if I move the button layer to just above the video layer in the flash file I think it will work. I won't know for sure until I try it on more than one section and go through the whole game and check things out.

Click here to provide feedback for the best button choice. (I'm no longer taking button feedback here.)

My other thoughts:
Do I want to keep it so that the children can touch anywhere on the screen to go to the next frame or do I want to change it to go buttons?

What about the directions? Is it better to put them on the webpage? where they are now? or maybe a button you can hit for the directions?
A lot of games use the last one. I think I am leaning towards one of the latter two ideas. The children that would be playing can't read the directions-maybe I should have videotaped the directions in sign language for them. I'm also wondering about including teacher information-lesson plan or correlation to standards information. I'd have to use national standards since this would not be linked to a specific state. And of course the question is where should I provide it?

What about a menu page? This would be useful to teachers when they are teaching a specific letter. If I put a menu page in where would I put it? How would the teacher get to it?

Do I want to keep the ABC preloading screen or do I want to change it to numbers. The only problem is that I can't count to ten in that font because it only goes up to 9 on a computer keyboard. If I change it to graphics then the preloader would need a preloader:)

What else do I need to consider?

Sunday, September 11, 2005

ABC game day 5

I have finished the first trial of the game. All the letters are working and I added the ending. I couldn't make the little guy sign wait liked I hoped so instead I used the gallaudet font to do the alphabet. I'm not sure I want to keep that. I thought I would use the alphabet, since it is an alphabet game, but I may change it to counting to 10. I put out an email requesting feedback from some friends and Rosemary. After I get that back I will decide what other changes need to be made before the final version goes online.

This is the current version

Monday, September 05, 2005

ABC game day 4

I now have all of the videos linked into the game along with the fingerspelled letter and the fruit or vegetable graphic. I just need to do the letters for the matching game. I also need to look at each page and see if I like the placement of everything or if I still need to adjust them on the page. I also still need to do something about preloading.
Here is the most recent.

First attempt with a preloader. Not very pretty just trying to see if I can do it. I think I did. Now to make it better. I wonder if I can make the little guy sign wait........hmmm have to think about that and see if I can draw it.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

ABC game day 3

I figured out how to stop the videos from disappearing. I had added a frame after the movie and put a stop command on the last frame of the video, but it didn't work. Next, I tried a go to and stop command telling it to go to the last frame of the video with writing on it and that solved the problem. Now the video stays on the word until you click to go to the next frame.

Loading time is still a problem. I have been looking at preloaders but have come to the conclusion that I don't know enough about flash to understand how they are done. I will keep searching though.

I just made another discovery that solved another problem. If the child picked the wrong answer the little guy signing "wrong" would appear. The problem I had though was that if you clicked on it before it was done signing it would flash to the game and then back to the little guy. It turns out that the button to return to the game that was in the little guy's file was not set until the final frame. I moved it to the first frame and now it works fine.

Here's the latest. (letters A and B)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

ABC game day 2 of working on it

I tried changing the quality of the movie. I found if I changed it to 90% it still looked pretty good and resulted in a much lower file size. It still runs a little slow on dsl. Dial up would probably be awful. Here it is. (still just the letter A)

I have been googling and checking the forums for some kind of a preloader that would let me load the video on the first frame of the letter and then play it on the frame it belongs in. No luck so far. I was going to talk to someone at work but he is so backed up that I can't even talk to him about our department's website until October let alone something I am doing on my own.

In the mean time I have a meeting with my supervisor next week to discuss our department website and the actual content. I also plan to show him the game since the preschool teachers think I should show it at a staff meeting. One of the teachers has also asked me to help her with video projects (she got a camera from a grant) once she gets her new computer.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The ABC game

One thing I didn't get to do while I was on my internship was put the game online. Because it was in PowerPoint the videos would not work online so I am going to put it into flash. I did fool around with it a little while I was on the internship but things weren't going right.

Today I sat down and started working on it again. I started from scratch and solved some of the problems. I figured the best way to do it was to storyboard it while I was doing it so I would know all the actionscript I used.

I have only completed the letter "a" so far but it seems to mostly work right. I have two problems that I need to address. First, at the end of the videoclip of the signing the video ends and leaves a faint impression on the screen of the word. My second problem is the video itself. I posted it online (letter A only)to see what would happen. It begins to play before it is loaded so it is very jerky. Once I finish figuring out the template it will go pretty fast for the rest of the game. I am wondering if I should make a file for each individual letter and then load and unload them separately into the final version. I'm thinking it might load faster that way. But that thought is on hold while I try to solve the other problems.

Tomorrow I will have to look at it more. I also need to convert all of the video to 320 X 240 since they were originally in large files.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Where do I go next?

I left my internship planning to look for a job in instructional technology during the coming year while I go about getting my certification. I'm now being pulled to stay in my current job. I was asked if I would be interested in managing our C-Print program next year. It blew my mind. The person who asked me has already talked to the director of special ed who thought it might be a good idea since I just finished instructional technology. It's definitely a temptation-job security for sure.

I have already been asked to familiarize myself with the C-print software and networking of the computers and my first foray into troubleshooting was a failure. At the same time the c-print captionist and I spent several hours with two of the tech people at work and they also had problems before finally getting the network going. And they are not exactly sure why it works this way either. Oh the joys of technology.

I am still interested in changing my job. I have even looked online to see if there are jobs anywhere but I haven't seen any. I can't help but wonder though if I will stay where I am just because of my comfort level. The last few summers I said I would look elsewhere at a school for the deaf for a job but I didn't do it. This year I did send my resume while I was fully involved in my internship but I never filled out the job application they sent me and they never called me. To go some place I don't know is threatening. I am worried that my tendency to doubt myself and preference to stay in my comfort level may keep me from changing.

I loved this summer. I think of all the things that can be done with kids that isn't happening now and I want to show the teachers what they can do. (one on one not in groups:) I referred to using a Smart board when showing the game to someone and much to my surprise I had to explain what it was. (She had just finished her master's in education a year ago at a university affiliated with elementary and high schools that use them so I was really surprised she had never heard about them.)

If I don't change jobs the idea of taking over the C-print management is also intimidating. The person in charge now runs meetings and while I am comfortable with technology working with groups of adults is scary. and I don't even do C-print.

On the positive side -although maybe still threatening
I showed the game to some of our preschool teachers-none of them use sign language with their students but they were impressed. They asked if I was going to show it at a staff meeting and I commented that anyone could learn to make games. They are interested in learning. Don't know where it will go yet. My supervisor was not around at the time we were discussing this so I don't know what he will say.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Day 30

The End
I finished what I could on the Qwizdom training and managed to do another software evaluation for the TecEds software review.

In the afternoon, Rosemary and I discussed my evaluation. She made a list of my strengths and weaknesses. It pretty well correlated with what I know about myself although I really don't think in depth like that unless I am forced to (I don’t appreciate it either Rosemary.)


  • Has extensive knowledge of current and cutting edge technology-thanks Rosemary for getting me more up to date than I was.

  • Able to integrate technology to educational environment

  • Is a quick learner

  • Follows through with projects-the ABC game probably required the most follow through of anything I did. It required more time than anything else did just to get it working right. We videotaped several times to get the video perfect and I felt uncomfortable part of the time doing it. The teacher was wonderful that I was working with, but how exactly do you tell the expert that you want it done different?

  • Adapts projects to meet the needs of the students or clients-this time was a starting point and I have begun thinking as I read the different blogs I now follow how things could be adapted to the student population I am working with. That’s probably one of the greatest skills I have learned during my internship. I don’t necessarily have to have new and creative ideas. There are plenty out there I just need to find them and adapt them to what will work for me.

  • Works well with teachers and staff-not hard since they were all great people

  • Has a positive attitude-this was one of the best vacations I have ever had.

  • Is very comfortable in using and learning about a range of technologies-Qwizdom was a little stressful because there was so much to it and I was trying to create a training at the same time. But Smart Boards/projectors and Elmos were great.

  • Is open to a variety of suggestions and ideas-considering who I was working with how could I not take suggestions? I went to the best so I would learn the best. If I was not open to things then it would have defeated the purpose for being there in the first place.
  • Needs more experience training adults-well I approached someone about doing training based on some of the things I was doing this summer and other things I saw when I went to the International Symposium on Instructional Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. The whole concept is terrifying considering who I approached but the things I have been exposed to can be so useful for our deaf and hard of hearing kids.

  • Needs to believe in her ability to create projects and trainings-I don't think I doubt my ability to create projects as much as trainings. I have lots of ideas for projects that I don't have the skills for (mostly drawing-not very good at that) Trainings are another story. I know Rosemary-I can do it. I really have always preferred working with children but technology has pulled me in and I am having to stretch and it's not comfortable. I feel more comfortable working one on one showing someone how to do things. It's the getting up in front of a group of adults that bothers me. Doubting myself is a tendency I have-not in the concrete things-I know I can do the technology end. It's the less concrete, the things I don't see myself doing so I can't tell how well I am doing them. Maybe time and practice will build up my confidence? Writing handouts isn't hard just the standing up and thinking what to say:)

  • Needs to reflect more on the "why" as well "what" and "how"-Have I reflected enough? I know it’s not all “why” there is still a lot of “what” and “how” but it’s a start.
Oh yeah, I’m trying out the new add-in for the Word tool bar hopefully it will work. Well I had to make a few changes but it mostly worked.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Day 29

One day left :(
I found a couple more links for the curriculum resource web and then Rosemary asked me about revising the training (maybe because I told her that was a weakness of mine when she asked what I saw as my strengths and weaknesses? I hate it when people ask me that. I don't do depth and self-evaluation very well.)

Anyway we discussed the hook and decided to make a presentation using Qwizdom and then a game to check if they paid attention. I spent the rest of the day working on that. The target was 25 questions so they could play Quandary (like Jeopardy) I'm not there yet-need about 5 more. Hopefully I will be able to finish it tomorrow before I leave.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Day 28

I spent the most of the morning with Bill. He showed me some of the things he does and how he uses the Help Desk to track jobs. He also got a request while I was with him so we went to the library and installed a program on a computer. Bill also introduced me to their online IEP program. It served two purposes-one to show me and the other to refresh his memory since he will be helping with a training for it next week. I found it very interesting since we are going online with our IEPs this year and I am scheduled for training next week at home. He also showed me samples of training materials he has done.

For the rest of the day I looked for additional curriculum links while Rosemary created a website for the links.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Day 27

Well, I lived through the practice training. Once I started getting everything ready the nerves left. The handouts were fine. I should have started with a hook and explained the concept of the program before explaing the how to. Also, I thought this morning that I should have had files prepared for them to use while working but it was too late to do anything when I thought about it.

The critique afterwards pretty much said the same things I was thinking as I was going through the presentation. (Some of the thoughts came because of the questions I was asked during the training and they made me realize what I should have done different.) As per normal, things went wrong with technology and I had to work around the problems, but that really didn't bother me.

I spent the afternoon editing the video for the game. I also changed the transitions. It is done (I think) with the exception of still needing one more copyright free picture. I have a list of sources for public domain photos and I have been going through them searching. I went through the game checking links to make sure they all link to the right slide. I also fixed the problems that were noted during the last trial. Next I want to try it on another computer and make sure the fonts transferred properly, that all the videos work, and all the links are working. Then I will declare it finished and burn it to a CD.

Tomorrow I will spend time with Bill shadowing him to see what he does.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Day 26

I started the day reading through a printout of the Qwizdom training handouts. I found numerous changes that I wanted to make - some to make it more easily readable, some arrows didn't show up very well so I had to make some changes there, and I didn't like some of the wordings so I made more changes there. That's done until after the training tomorrow when I may make changes after I get feedback.

I set up to show the ABC game and made sure it was working properly. When the children came it turned out that all of them were hearing. There were 10 of them. Rosemary took notes, while I was going through it with the children, as to any problems that appeared. She made note of the videos that needed to be redone, and on the title page fruit was mispelled. I want to change the transition for moving from the fingerspelled letter to the video because it takes too long. It was a fade so I will change it to no transition.

Sometimes the slides were a little slow changing but we think it was because I was playing it from a CD. I also had to remember when talking about the slides that it was set to tap one time to go to the next slide. Using the Smart Board I had to be very careful when I pointed not to touch it or the PowerPoint would go to the next slide before I wanted it to.

After the game I began making some of the changes that were noted until it was time to videotape.

Only 7 of the videos needed to be redone. Almost all were done in only one take. We looked back through them after and decided which still needed to be redone again.

In the afternoon, there was a meeting of the three Instructional Technologists about the trainings for the fall. They decided to only do one large group training a month and then do multiple small groups that focused on the team/departments. They also plan to send out an email newsletter with interesting sites/tech ideas.

I spent the time left running through the steps for tomorrow's training to make sure I don't forget anything.

Tomorrow I have to set up for the training in the TecEds lab. Wednesday, I'll spend the morning with Bill, and Thursday Julie wants me to help her troubleshoot the sound on the video conferencing equipment. She has it working now but it doesn't sound right.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Day 25

I finished the training handouts for Tuesday's Qwizdom training. I began walking through in my head what I want to remember to mention during the training. Monday I need to hook up the base to the computer and photograph it to put into the handout.

Since the ABC game will be placed online I went online and researched video release forms and created one for the teacher who is in the videotapes to sign. She will be in on Monday to do some more taping. Rosemary also set up a session with the day care preschoolers for Monday to play the game and see how it is running.

On Monday there is a meeting to plan the fall training sessions.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Day 24

Never did get up to publishing to troubleshoot. I spent the day working on the handouts for Qwizdom. They're almost finished. Rosemary went over them and we discussed them and her suggestions for change and why. I have just a few changes to make. I still have to do the part about actually playing the games, but all the set up part is pretty well finished.

Now I have to turn my mind to the actual training. I will be presenting in their lab using the large Smart Board. Each participant will have a computer to follow along with and create some of their own slides. I have some thought about that part that I need to check out and see if it will be possible to do it that way using the software and discuss with Rosemary if it is a viable idea.

I discussed with her how the handouts should be done - exact to what we do in training or a more general version. She brought up the point that in the case of their trainings most of the workshops are presented in sign-no voice. That means that the people will basically be watching and doing along with the trainer without referencing the handout until later, so it needs to be more general. In this case the learner characteristics have a serious impact on the trainings. The learner's are visual learners. While they probably won't read the handouts word for word the screenshots will jog their visual memory. Learning how to do them has been very helpful during my internship.

The learners also come with varied computer skills and motivations. I have had to make sure that I have created a task analysis that does not miss any steps. I went through each step and wrote it down. After I typed them up and added the screenshots I went through doing the steps as I read them to make sure I didn't miss anything.

There will be no formal assessment. The results will be seen in how many teachers use Qwizdom with their students.

I finished up the afternoon doing a software evaluation and putting it into the TecEds software review. I did talk with Rosemary to make sure I was on the right track with the first one before entering it. With these not only is it important to look at the software from the standpoint of is it user friendly? is it interesting? does it run smoothly? install easily? but I also have to consider how deaf and hard of hearing students can use it. How crucial is the sound in it? What is the language level?

Tomorrow I expect to finish the handouts and think more about the training itself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Day 23

Rosemary read yesterday's blog so we started the day by discussing my stress level. I told her not to worry because one thing I regretted was that there were no training opportunities this summer. I also told her that I prefer to teach kids but I knew when I got into this that it would involve teaching adults which I have done before. I think it is probably more the fact that they are all experienced trainers that makes it more stressful. I also told her that last year when I was down for the workshop and we had to present out projects I was very nervous.

We discussed the training and decided to aim for an hour and a half so that we could go through all the parts. At this time Rosemary doesn't know if it will be a training that will be done after school, which would be full length, or during team meetings and would need to be shorter. Afterward, we can all discuss it and see what needs to be changed. We scheduled the practice training for next Tuesday morning and Rosemary emailed Julie and Bill about it. Julie said she knows some other people who may be interested in coming. I told her I would get back to her about that.

Points to consider about the training:
Will everyone have a computer? Yes
Everyone will be making a trial game-how will I handle that? Playing everyone's games? Content for the games? Bring their own? Provide materials? I will need to think about that.

I spent most of the day working on the Qwizdom training handouts. The first part is ready for Rosemary to check over. I'm putting the middle on hold for now while I think about what needs to be included. I started writing the last part and doing the screenshots.

I finished the day working on a software review for the TedEds website. It was very helpful that I had done them in class before and I was able to draw on that prior knowledge while doing the evaluation.

Tomorrow, Julie invited me to go up to publishing and troubleshoot with her. Next Wednesday morning, I will be job shadowing Bill to see what he does.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Day 22

We met with Wilson and Sydney about the databases and posting online a way for teachers to search the software available and request it. Wilson will have his part done next week. Rosemary also talked to Sydney about setting up WordPress multi user for blogging. She and the principal would like there to be a principal's blog on the first page of the school's website that will discuss what is happening in school. After discussing things with Sydney it was decided that the blog has priority over the software check out.

I started writing the Qwizdom handouts today. The first part was easy but when I got to the games it became more complicated. Rosemary said I don't want too many pages because no one will read them. I started looking at the games and almost everyone is set up different which would mean approximately 7-10 pages just to explain the games. When I started looking at how to explain them I understood why their training manual didn't go into exact details. It's overwhelming.

Rosemary told me to think from the trainers end too. She asked if they were shown it once or twice would they be able to do it. Mostly I think so. There are a few screens and comments I think should be made for each game but overall the game setup screens are self explanatory-dare I say that? They want teachers to input team names or number of students, etc. I think the teachers would be okay later if shown that during a training.

There are two things I do have a concern about and at this time I'm not sure how to address them. One is the scoring method. Some of the games ask the teacher to choose a scoring method. They provide an explanation on the choice page but it is still confusing. The other is how to show the correct answer during the game. The games do not show that and there are several different ways to do it depending upon the game. It wasn't even explained in the manual. I figured it out for myself.

Rosemary's leaving it to me to figure this out. When I am done she wants me to try it out with her and Julie and maybe Bill. That will be stressful to say the least since they are experienced trainers. Afterwards we will evaluate it and see what needs to be changed.

This will be the biggest challenge of the internship. Although I was previously confronted with deadlines on the video projects they were something that I have done extensively at work and felt quite comfortable with. Even the game while different was easy to do, just time consuming. This training is pushing my skills to a higher level. I hope I succeed.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Day 21

Week of: August 8, 2005
Total # of hours worked for this week:
Total # to date of internship:

Today I started out looking for websites to support the school curriculum. I had to evaluate them based on subject matter, grade level, and content. Anything I found appropriate I put in Jots and Scuttle.

Next I went up to the high school to pick up Qwizdom. Qwizdom is a Remote system that teachers can use to play review games with students. Rosemary and I went through the directions and set it up. While she went to a meeting I began experimenting with the games and later I showed her how to play them. We encountered some problems which will need troubleshooting.

Rosemary asked me if I could create a 45 minute training for it. I questioned whether that would be enough time. She then suggested two 45 minute sessions. I think that is a better plan. There are games built in, so I suggested for the first training show the teachers how to play the games and get them hooked. Then they will be willing to come back to learn how to make their own games.

Tomorrow we are supposed to meet about the software database and how to request software (it was postponed from today.) I will also begin looking at the games and start storyboarding the steps to play.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Day 20

Friday, August 5

First thing Rosemary and I did was go over a list she had compiled of what she hopes we will finish during my last two weeks. Then, I printed out the labels, put them on the software binders and put the binders away.

After that Bill installed Photo Editor on my computer so I would be able to make screenshots of the steps for the GIF handout I was making for Julie. I had to go through the process and create a storyboard to make sure that I was not missing any steps. Rosemary looked it over when I was finished and made a few suggestions that I went back and changed. I finished it and will send it to Julie on Monday.

While I was finishing up the handout, Rosemary compiled a list of the subjects each team will be studying this year. She wants to create a list of web sites that correlate with the subject matter that the teachers can use. I started going through all the web sites I already have in my bookmarks to see which ones would be useful for their curriculum. We initially talked about using furl to list them. Then Rosemary suggested Jots because it lists your subjects on the side. I also told her about Scuttle which is directed towards education. I checked them all out and signed up for each one to see which is the best.

Jots is nice because you can set up a group of people to access your bookmarks and it has the listings of your topics down the side. Scuttle has educational topic and grade tags built in so you don't have to create as many topics as the other two. Furl is probably the best known but it does not have index tabs on the side. All three have buttons you can add to your browser toolbar so you can easily list a site on them although Jots does not seem to work right in the Avant browser.

One of the things on the to do list is to check out Qwizdom and write a training handout for it. That should be fun. Monday we also have a meeting with the database man about the software library and updating helpdesk. There is also an online training for Smart Notebook 9 which Rosemary wants me to do so we can write a training handout for the staff.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Day 19

Thursday, August 4

We moved the shelves down from the high school and then put the rest of the software on them. Rosemary finished entering everything into the database and put the software into binders if it had no packaging, while I made labels for them.

I went with Julie to help with troubleshooting. She showed a staff member how to pull a graphic from a Pagemaker file, save it as a gif and then edit it (crop, etc.) We also checked out a MAC that was freezing when scanning a graphic. The person was using Photoshop Elements 2. Since she had Photoshop CS installed on the computer Julie tried to scan from that and it worked fine, so she sent her an email telling her to change programs.

Later I worked on a handout for the staff member working on the graphics to remind her how to do it. I had to think out all the steps involved and make screenshots to go with it.

Tomorrow morning Rosemary wants to discuss the next two weeks and plan what handouts need to be prepared and anything else needing to be done for the beginning of school. Among other things she would like to have a web page with online curriculum resources for the staff.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Day 18

I showed Rosemary the current version of the game today. She made a few design suggestions-on the title page there should be space around the print because the eye is looking for it, and the font for the one page style was too big. The font had been bothering me all along-trying to get the letters in the same place on each card. By changing the size it is a little easier to be more consistent with placement. I made the changes she suggested and it looks much better.

We also decided some of the videos should be remade-we checked with one of the preschool teachers who is deaf and she said that the preschool children did not sign some of the words the way they were in the video. I watched the movie with the teacher I was videotaping after we finished and I didn't pick up on the problems until later. Partly maybe it was that she was the expert, not me. There is also the fact that sign language can be regional and I don't know for sure what is used here as opposed to what we sign at home. Maybe I also just need more practice doing it and knowing what I should be looking for. It's frustrating though wondering when it will click and I won't have to go back and redo things. I emailed the teacher to ask if she could come in again and do some more taping. I'm still waiting to hear back.

Rosemary also suggested changing the word part of the video so that it stayed there when the video ended instead of fading out, this way the teacher can talk about the word if she/he wants before going onto the next slide.

After I made the changes, we spent most of the rest of the day cleaning more shelves and moving the software there. We still have more to do with that, but we ran out of room. Tomorrow we will get shelves from the high school to use too.

Rosemary asked me to think about how the teachers can request software to be installed to their computers. What fields would be needed from the database and then we discussed it. She would like it to be set up so that the request would be emailed to her. The database is searchable by title, publisher and keywords (i.e. addition, matching, patterns etc.) so we discussed how the teachers could make choices and then submit the request. One possibility we came up with was to use the same system that teachers are able to use to request equipment. When the database man is back from vacation we will meet with him about it.

After it is decided how to do this we will need to make a handout for the teachers explaining the procedure.

I also had the opportunity to help one of the teachers with making some changes in the formatting of her Word document.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day 17

Rosemary and I started the day discussing the internship, how things have been going up until now and what other activities I might be able to become involved in. I may have the opportunity to write some training handouts. We also discussed grants although I don't know if we will be able to get to that.

Rosemary wanted to get all the software in one place instead of spread out to all the groups. Their network is setup so that only administrators can install software and the teachers don't think to ask to have it installed. By putting it in a central location they can send a request that will provide the software and installation so they can use it. There was also an extensive preview library in the high school that no one was accessing. We went up there and brought all age appropriate software down to the elementary school and began putting it on the shelves. We found some that did not have an ID so Rosemary had to check the database and ID/inventory them.

We still have more to organize but we ran out of room. We'll have to look around and see where else we can put it.

I started making a composite picture in Photoshop of fruits for the game. I used the wand and removed the picture to put it in a new one so there will be a variety of fruits in one picture. I'm still contemplating design-I need to think about the rules of design we studied.

Rosemary also suggested that I check out a computer game by Sherston that teaches about numbers, and counting. She thought I might want to think about another game at some point. The game is really good but very language intensive-spoken and written language. I'm going to have to think about it and see what I can think of.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Day 16

Monday, August 1

Rosemary was out today. She suggested checking in with Bill or Julie to see if I could spend the day with them. Julie was out also and Bill had just come back from vacation and never reached the point in catching up that he could show me what he does.

I worked on the ABC game. I went through the whole game checking for links, and things that needed to be tweaked. I decided to add another card at the end that will give the children the option to stop or pay again. I made the little guy that signs, sign "stop" and "more" for that page.

I still need three pictures-ugli fruit, dig and quince. I went online to Flickr to check about their copyright standards because when I was looking for ugli fruit before I found one there that had downloads. The same person also has quince. I think looking at the limited copyright that I can use them in the game. I will get Rosemary to read over it tomorrow and see if she agrees.

I started looking at Flash in terms of the game. Most of it I think I can do myself but I do have some questions. I also started looking at Dreamweaver in terms of making more of an exploratory game-click on a letter and see what fruit/vegetable you get.

In the afternoon I had the opportunity to photograph the teacher I had previously videotaped, signing the alphabet. I then spent the rest of the time using Photoshop. In class we had used the wand to remove items from one picture and put them into another. I used the same principles to isolate the hand from the background and paste it into a new picture with a transparent background.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Day 15

Today we spent working on inventory and checking equipment. I checked out the SmartBoards to get the ID number off them and find which had broken eraser trays that needed to be replaced.

Next I checked the memory cards and two of the cameras. I kept getting different results, but basically the last picture kept being corrupted when you used the card reader to move it to the computer. I thought at first it was the card but then I would try again and get the same thing in a different number on the card. I switched to the other camera and started getting the same results so Rosemary told me where to find a different model camera that used the same memory card. Everything was fine using that camera. Rosemary asked me to type a note to put with the cameras telling them they needed to take an extra picture each time they used it because the last one would be corrupted. I then put the note with each of the cameras. These are refurbished cameras that have a tendency to have a broken battery door. Rosemary plans to ask for money to replace them since they are for preschool and are used frequently.

While Rosemary entered the new equipment into the database I checked out one of the new video camcorders to make sure it was working and labeled it with the ID numbers.

After Rosemary printed out the equipment inventory list from the query she created the other day we checked them out. I then checked the inventory for the software that Rosemary had found in the classroom.

In between times I began looking at how I could post the game online using Flash since we still can't get the other program to work. I will have to look up my books to see what they say.

Next week Rosemary wants to organize the software library in her office. Over the weekend I told Rosemary I would check out the videos over my work dialup to see how they look. I also need to photograph the last of the foods that I was unable to find a copyright free photo for online.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Day 14

Thursday, July 28

Rosemary and I looked at one of my project websites to see how I had embedded the video clip. She had originally posted the ESY video using Flash but found it didn't play all the way through. She took the embed command from my site and made a page using it. What we found was that the video started playing immediately and on the blog and vlog pages they would be playing before you watched them. I went online and found the command concerning autostart and she was able to set it to start on command instead of automatically.

Rosemary and I discussed the ABC game. There are several options for posting it online.
1. Post a webpage that is not a game-just the letter and video
2. Post multiple webpages to make the game-very time consuming
3. Make a flash file of the game
PowerPoint per se is not an option because movies will not play when posted on the web.

Rosemary said she saw a program that she thought would work, so we went to the sight to look at it. The company is called Impatica. The program seems like a great way to post video, so we each downloaded an evaluation copy to try. It only supports avi movies so I converted some of the Movie Maker files. Rosemary and I both found that we got an error message, when we impaticized the PowerPoint, that stated that the avi file was not found or was unreadable. I emailed support and they responded right away. Unfortunately their suggestion did not work for me. I'm not sure if it worked for Rosemary because I was in the other building at the time.

I also received an email from someone there saying they were intriqued by my website (they apparently used my email address domain name to find it.) They suggested another form of their software and sent two links to sights with sign language on them.

I spent the other half of the day working on the inventory database at the high school. I checked that the list we had compiled yesterday matched the information in the database. I was a little worried that I would mess something up since there is no save button it all happens automatically. Fortunately all went well. There are still some rooms to be checked so I may help again one day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Day 13

Rosemary's boss showed us how to make a query of two databases in Access. I am still unfamiliar with the program to a great extent but I was able to understand the concept behind making the query with it's parameters.

The teacher came in to do the videotaping for the ABC game and I explained to her the project and what I needed her to sign. She and I went down, setup and then videotaped. Afterwards she and I reviewed the tape and she decided which she wanted to revideotape. After that I clipped the video to each segment. I still need to make most of the movies from the project files. Some of the fingerspelling was a little fast so I slowed that down in Movie Maker. For something like these projects I much prefer Movie Maker over the software that we used in class. What I learned in class was very useful-much of it follows the same concepts but Movie Maker has a simpler, more user friendly interface that I prefer for simple short projects. It is also software that is freely available and easily taught to students doing a project.

After lunch I went up to the high school to help Julie with inventory. We were checking the CPUs, monitors, and how many ports were in each room. As they are moving everyone around they need to know where they need internet access. In many of the offices the ports were hidden by furniture so we were climbing around on the floor some to find them and also serial numbers on some of the CPUs.

Shortly after we started a teacher wanted her new laptop. It took about 2 hours to explain it to her, download Instant Messenger, set up Outlook and transfer mail from her desktop, and install Blackberry software. The Blackberry software is still not working right. Julie has to research the error message that she received and troubleshoot that when the teacher comes back in the fall.

Tomorrow I will probably go up to the high school again after I talk to Rosemary about the ABC game.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Day 12

Rosemary had a meeting with a gentleman today. She asked if it was all right for me to sit in and he agreed. He wanted to talk about the video websites. The issue truly was not about the sites themselves, but the video content. After a lot of discussion, a new vlog may be developed in the fall. The students would post a video (like a written rough draft) and then a group of ASL skilled people would be able to view it and then post comments via video to the students as to how they could improve their production. After that input, the students would make a new video (the final copy.) Rosemary suggested getting other Deaf people (beyond the immediate school environment) involved in commenting.

After the meeting, I worked on the PowerPoint game for the rest of the day. I made many of the required changes. I also went online searching for copyright free pictures for the final version since we can't post copyrighted work on the web. I find even at work I frequently refer to the copyright information we studied in class.

Tomorrow we will videotape for the game and afterward I will go up to the high school to help with the inventory. They have restructured the program from teams to academic departments so all of the equipment has to be reassigned.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Day 11

Week of: July 25, 2005
Total # of hours worked for this week:
Total # to date of internship:

Monday, July 25

First thing today Rosemary and I discussed what we would be doing today and tentative plans for the week. Today's plan was to rework the video to post online. I spend the day working on it. Rosemary introduced me to Photo Story 3 and we decided to move all the photos into that because they looked so much better. One thing it does is ask if you want to remove the black from around the edges. It does this by cropping the pictures whenever possible. Most of my pictures were scanned and there were no real options on how to crop them. One though really struck me in terms of the rule of thirds. I started with their default suggestion but it really didn't look very good. I started moving the frame around until the main person in the picture fell into a rule of thumbs line and really became noticeable. It really made a difference.

I spent all day working on the movie. Every time I thought I had it done I would look at it and see something else to change. Rosemary also made suggestions how to change it. She suggested reordering it one way, but then when I did that neither one of us liked it, so I changed it back and just moved one small part instead. Many times I had to go back into Photo Story and make changes there. In the beginning we put the captions into the Photo Story but the picture with captions did not pan. I discovered when I moved my first set of pictures into the movie that we could still use the captions from Windows Movie Maker and have the pictures pan. It looked much better that way so we changed to that.

Rosemary pulled up the PowerPoint from one of the presentations and we decided that it would be nice to use similar captioning in the movie. One big problem with Movie Maker is that the captions that are overlays do not stay where you put them, so every time I wanted to add or remove something I had to go back through and move the captions to the right place.

When I thought I was done, I made the movie and then Rosemary previewed it. More changes were necessary.

Rosemary and I had discussed how to embed video into the webpage instead of having it pop-up. She decided to try to do it with Flash. When she first tried, it kept looping. She asked me how I had stopped the looping in the animation I had made and tried that. It didn't work, so she went to the Macromedia website. They had an instructional video about how to use a premade controller in Flash. It was not in her version but was in mine, so I put it on the flash drive for her. She is going to make a template to use and put all the videos in that way.

I finished the video tonight and made the movie but I still see changes I could have made. I don't think it will ever be finished. Someone I know once told me they never are. Tomorrow we will post it online.

Rosemary has a meeting scheduled tomorrow and on Wednesday the ASL/English teacher will be in and we will videotape for the ABC game.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The First Two Weeks

In classes we have talked about getting teachers to use technology. They come in a variety of styles, some completely refuse, some are fearful that they might mess something up (I was that way about using MACs at work because I just don't know them), others will embrace it and take off on their own, and some will embrace it but need their hands held when using it.

All can create a challenge to the Instructional Technologist. Handholding can be very time consuming and come at very inopportune times such as today when we really didn't have time to stop what we were doing. A lot of work is involved in planning trainings and when presented many times only a few show up when they said they wanted the classes. And for the ones who take off on their own it is a challenge to find new and different things for them to try with their students.

The first two weeks have been great. I have learned how to make a PowerPoint game. I have seen how Rosemary discusses with the students the problems that need to be fixed in the next retake, and the students are willing to try again. I had the opportunity to work with a variety of staff and saw how necessary it is to communicate with staff to make sure there are no misunderstandings about plans. Even within such a small population of staff we had a variety of technology styles-great idea, but you do it; show me how to do it and I'll try to do it myself (be there if I need you); and help I have problems.

I have learned about blogs and vlogs and been introduced to some of the better education blogs. I saw how blogs can be used in bilingual and literacy education. I have started to think in terms of that. I saw an article about clay animation online and using it with students. My first thought was sounds fun but how in the world could it be adapted to education? Then I started thinking. You have to write a script and can add captions to the movie-right there are two literacy activities.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Day 10

This morning was spent making the movie. We divided up the labor and each worked on part. I should have written down what we were doing because I got something wrong about what I was doing and we had to make plan changes. We were still chasing down pictures of the teams this morning. We had almost nothing for Team 6-7-8. Rosemary was able to find a few more pictures from some people but not many.

While we were doing this, one of the teachers came in with a computer that had frozen. She was working on a PowerPoint directly from a cd and had tried to save it back there. We had to do a hard shutdown on the computer because CTRL-Alt-Del would not work. Because of that she lost all of the work she had been doing. When we opened the PowerPoint it did not ask if we wanted to restore a backup copy. Rosemary reminded her that she needed to work from the hard drive and not a cd and to save often. She said that this teacher is very willing to use technology but forgets some of the basic rules and then problems occur.

I finished my part about 12:30. Even as I was saving it to the computer as a high quality video I was thinking of changes I should have made. Fortunately it was small enough to put on my flash drive and transfer it to Rosemary's computer to be combined with her part. Flash drives are definitely great. We were swapping files back and forth all morning with it.

After I gave Rosemary the movie, she asked me to go set up for the afternoon. I wish I had thought of it myself instead of having to be told. When I got down there the teacher for Team 4-5-6 had already begun setting up. Once we finished setting up, we turned on the projector and computer. There was no problem with the projector recognizing the computer put it was broadcasting with a yellow tint. We restarted everything and it was the same. I ran upstairs and Rosemary got me a different projector-no time for troubleshooting. This one was fine.

At this point the movie was still not finished so I told them downstairs that Rosemary wanted to be last. The program began and I was taking pictures. At one point something happened and the projector was not recoginzing the computer. We restarted and I had to hit FN F8 and the computer button on the projector several times before it would work. Rosemary was finally able to come down to watch while the computer was making the movie. It finished just before the last presentation began.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it and were asking how soon it would be posted on the web. We have a few changes we have to make before that can happen though. We have a student who does not have permission for web and we will have to edit that student out.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Day 9

During ID we discussed how to create new trainings. I have been following this information making the game for preschool. We initially discussed what the preschool was learning and the kinds of computer support they could use. I then considered what the goal was and how to support it. We began by evaluating existing software. We found some excellent programs but none we evaluated met the total needs of the population. Rosemary suggested PowerPoint as a possible way to address this need. I began to consider what I wanted to include in the PowerPoint-the topic was suggested by Rosemary. I took her idea a step further and turned it into a full game.

I have now completed the first trial.
Initially there were some problems moving the game to the computer connected to the Smartboard. I saved it as a show and moved it to a jump drive. The videos didn't transfer with the show file. I moved the videos into the same folder and reconnected the links. It still would not work. Rosemary suggested moving the file onto the other computer. That didn't work either, so I reconnected the links again. This time it worked. Rosemary had to install the school type fonts onto the computer so they would work.

After the trial I met with Rosemary to discuss the game. I'm sorry to say that I missed some of the things she spotted and/or the solutions.

1. Problem: Each letter was too long going through the cycle.-a matching slide and a reward slide, then a slide with a fingerspell handshape photo and the letter, then a card with a graphic of the fingerspell handshape that faded into a picture of a fruit or vegetable related item with a sign video.
Solution: Drop the graphic slide since it is redundant.

2. Problem: Children's heads were blocking view of the letters they were trying to match when they came up.
Solution: Raise the height of the cue letter to the center of the page.

3. Problem: Children couldn't double-click which was the setting we chose when we started the game. (We thought that because the children might point to different places accidently that it would be a better choice.)
Solution: Change to single click.

4. Problem: When I loaded the videos I was unsure whether they should start automatically or with a click. I set some as automatic and some as start with a click to see which was better.
Solution: Starting with a click is better. This way the students can see the picture, discuss it if they want and then give full attention to the video.

5. Problem: Title page font was not transferrable into the fonts folder and would not be on most peoples computers.
Solution: Create a graphic of the title page and use it instead.

6. Problem: Children did not pay attention to the next button or use it and it was awkward for me to use it since I was on the other side of the screen and had to keep leaning over to it.
Solution: Remove the button and change the slide to go to next slide on click.

7. Problem: Sometimes the slides would go to the wrong slide (not sure if it had something to do with the built in forward/backward controls or not.
Solution: Unsure at this time will need to look at it more.

8. Problem: The "I love fruit" slide was black.
Solution: Unsure at this time will need to look at it more.

9. Nice Idea-not really a problem: I had previously created an animated character in flash that I thought would be good to use as a reinforcer. The kids loved him-he did a thumbs up (the thumbs down one did not work right at the setup-I set it as a loop once and it doesn't work then-need to change that to loop continuously). Because the deaf cannot hear applause they have developed a visual way of clapping that involves raising their hands over their heads and moving them in a certain way. Rosemary suggested that it would be neat if the animated character could do that. I told her that I would try it (drawing is not my best skill.)

Although this preschool summer program ends tomorrow, there is still daycare in the building that is a combination of both deaf and hearing children. We hope to be able to do a trial with them when the revisions are made.

While finishing up the game for the trial I was asked to troubleshoot a computer/projector problem (Rosemary was setting up for the preschool.) I ran over quickly but was unable to fix it. After we finished in preschool I ran over again and tried restarting the computer and that worked.

I went to the different classes to get photos from them. Some I needed to go back to later because I couldn't get them at the time. Rosemary compiled a list of all that had happened in each team so we could see what we had available.

In the afternoon we went and photographed and videotaped the Team 6-7-8 presentations. When they were finished Rosemary and I discussed how to divide up the work for the video. We are each doing part of it and then going to combine the parts into one video. Right now I am working on the fundraising events.

Tomorrow we have to finish the video (about 15 minutes in length), and set up for the afternoon presentations.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Day 8

I spent most of the morning working on the PowerPoint game. I have been careful to make sure that there are no similar letters in the choices. Yesterday, I had to get the ZB handwriting font from Rosemary so the children would be able to recognize the letters. This is the first difficulty level-three choices, color coded (so they may be matching colors in the beginning until they begin to recognize the letters.) As usual anything I do tends to evolve into more than originally conceived. There are now two versions-the original matching game and an introductory version that doesn't have a matching feature. In the game version each letter now has a matching page and when they get it right it goes first to a page with an animated caterpillar signing thumbs up and then to a page that shows the letter and a photograph of the fingerspell handshape. Then it goes to a graphic of the fingerspell handshape. That fades into a picture of a fruit or vegetable or something related. Tomorrow we will get the ASL/English teacher to sign for that slide. Rosemary and I both feel that it is better to videotape a Deaf person signing whenever possible because it's their language.

We also discussed Bilingual ASL/English theory in terms of making the slide. We discussed sandwiching (sign the word, fingerspell it, and sign it again) as a means to connect the English and ASL. Then I had the idea to have the teacher point as if to the picture on the slide too. Rosemary explained that was chaining (Picture, sign, fingerspell and if I can the printed word.) I will add that at the end of the video. Rosemary recommended saving the game as a show because the children can click out of the PowerPoint and end it. It's great working with Rosemary. She doesn't tell me how to do the projects-she leads, discusses, and offers possible alternative choices and lets me make the final decision.

While I was working on the PowerPoint someone from Team 1-2-3 came and asked for help setting up an ELMO and a computer to use in the morning. Rosemary was videotaping the last math story (I chose to work on the PowerPoint partly because the student she was taping was not really comfortable with me around in the classroom-he hid under the desk when I asked him a question.) While I was working on that, one of the teachers asked for help setting up an ELMO, so I said I would try to do it. I got the ELMO hooked up ok but when I hooked the computer up to the projector it would not work. In the end Rosemary had to come help and she got the computer to work but we had difficulty when we switched back to the ELMO. Once it was working we told the teacher how to change between the two. When I checked in with her later it all worked fine.

After Rosemary edited the math story she posted it and made some changes to the blog. Once again we found that if you delete a picture you have to go into the HTML to delete the coding.

In the afternoon we had the videoconference. Visuals were fine when we connected but we couldn't hear them although they could hear us. Fortunately one of the staff had taken sign language so he was able to spell the students names and then they put the written question on the screen for us to read.

Both the questions asked and the answers from our students were good. The other students had lots of questions about deafness and hearing loss. Our students were not upset or offended by any of the questions and enjoyed it so much that they are planning to do it again in the fall. Rosemary let me control the screen and camera part of the time. I had a little difficulty coordinating it but it wasn't too bad. She told me afterwards that they recommend practicing beforehand.

Tomorrow we still need to videotape the ASL/English teacher and edit it for the game, setup the Smartboard, introduce the game to the preschool and evaluate it for necessary changes (to occur at a later date), work on the ending video, and setup for the afternoon presentations. If all goes well nothing else will pop-up to do.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Day 7

I met with the preschool teacher this morning about changing the group activity to a different day. Rosemary suggested I come down and do individual children instead. When I went down it was like yesterday. All the children crowded around me wanting a turn. We were only doing two today. Both were very good with the mouse. They had a little difficulty matching the letters, so I decided in the power point game to limit the number of choices to three, since that is what they were using. For this first version I am also color coding to increase the likelihood of success. I got the idea from the game we were originally going to use before deciding to make one.

Prior to going to preschool Rosemary and I went down to team 6/7/8 to set up the Smartboard. I learned two things about hooking up to the internet.
1. Make sure the ethernet cable is connected on both ends.
2. Sometimes you have to wait a few seconds for the connection to occur and watch for the lights before assuming it doesn't work.

Rosemary introduced the blog to the students. Although the teachers think it is great, they are not yet comfortable with it. They do plan to use it as a writing opportunity by making comments. After introducing the blog, we asked for volunteers. Instead of four or five like we expected almost everyone wanted to participate. We spent the most of the morning making those videos. This blog is more of a vlog (video log) as discussed in Andy Carvin's blog dated July 12, 2005.

The afternoon I spent making the PowerPoint game. It's not finished yet.

I'm making an ABC matching game with a fruit and vegetable theme which they are currently studying. Between fruits and vegetables and words connected to them like "harvest" I have almost all of the letters done. I still need something for I and X.
After the child picks the correct answer, the screen will go to a page that shows the written letter and the fingerspelling handshape. For this I am photographing my hand against a dark background so it is clear. After looking at that, a button takes them to the next page which starts as the fingerspelling handshape (a drawn figure) and then fades out to a fruit or vegetable picture. We have thought about putting the American Sign Language sign in video with the picture but there will not be time this week. Maybe after ESY is finished.

Rosemary talked to someone at the school in Washington State about the conference tomorrow. It will be a video conference since both schools have the technology for it. In the morning we have one more math story to videotape. I have to finish the PowerPoint game but I am not sure what I want to do about wrong answers. I will have to discuss it with Rosemary tomorrow. We also need to work on the video about summer school. Thursday the students will begin making presentations. The teachers wanted them to show their scrapbooks and were considering scanning them and putting them in a PowerPoint. I suggested using the Elmo, that way the student can slip his book under it and show his favorite page. There just is not enough time for all it would involve.

After lunch we have to set up for the video conference. We will attempt to connect early to make sure everything is working before involving the students.