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.