Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Missing Jewels update

Dixie finally finished the story she was writing and I am in the process of shortening it. I haven't done any videotaping yet because I decided to have the story signed too. It is an absolutely wonderful story and will make the game more fun.

While I was waiting for the story to be finished I started working on illustrating it. The graphics I had gotten to use for the game would not be enough to illustrate the story and my drawing skills are not very good. Another friend suggested posers. A poser is a 3D graphic. I started looking into them. DAZ offers free software along with some free things to use and a lot of pay things. There are also other companies selling porducts that work with DAZ/Studio. I have accumulated a lot of graphics to use and started planning out the graphics for the game.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Solve One Problem and Another Appears

Well, I solved that problem. I needed to have a separate tile for each of the letters in all of the words.

New problem-some of the color words have double letters. I can't set it so that the double letters can go into either place in the word-they just bounce back to their starting point. If I tell it one letter to one place then the child could spell the word right but then it would tell them they spelled it wrong.

Here's a link to the current problem:
Double Letter Problems Game

Since I made the little fairy for the game my mind has been thinking up all kinds of ways to embellish the game to coordinate with Dixie's story better. I just need to learn to draw.....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Missing Jewels Problems

I got the great idea to include a drag and drop page for each of the color words so the children could practice spelling the words. I started another file and got the eight colors set up then copy and pasted into the game. What I didn't do was put the letters on them.

I went through all eight words. Put letters on the tile when I did a test movie the box moved but the letter stayed. Next I tried to double click on the box and put the letter in there. That didn't work-all of the first ones changed on all eight pages. I suspect that I have to add a lot more of the dragging tiles-can't reuse them it appears.

I also got a picture of a little fairy-colored her grey because of the story and put her in in place of the arrows. She is pointing. I will probably have the person signing for the game to tell them that the fairies are helping them and click on them.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Missing Jewels Storyline

The game is pretty well finished except for the video. I have someone who is going to do the signing for me and I hope it works out okay. Unfortunately, I can't get it done until after Labor Day.

While I was waiting I thought it would be cute to put a storybook online that went along with the game. So since I'm not the most creative person I thought that I would start one of those stories, on a message board I belong to, where everyone adds to it.

So yesterday I started the story and my dear friend Dixie added to it and got a little carried away and hijacked(her word)it. She began writing the most wonderful story-no one even wants to touch it-we just keep posting what happens next questions. This story has gone way beyond what I can put online in a storybook. I will probably summarize it for the game when it is finished. Unless we all miss our guess, Dixie's story will be published.

Another dear friend has been considering whether or not to let me use her graphics for my next game. She asks questions and I answer them and she asks more. Yesterday I got to thinking about how secure a flash (swf) game really is. I know there has been software created that allows people to download them even though they are set to not download but I began to wonder if the graphics were accessible. From what I have begun to read they may very well be. I just started looking at this question last night and haven't found any software that makes them accessible yet. So far I haven't found anything that can access the graphics but I have just begun looking. Since I am using CS3 the software may be lagging behind still but I have to think about the future. My friend's graphics are wonderful and I would not want her income to be hurt because I used them in the game. Soooo more research is needed.

I also heard about the job I desperately wanted. They have decided on a hiring freeze so will be filling the position with someone who already works for them. Oh well, my friend said they may post it next year but I doubt it. I can't imagine the person they hire not wanting to continue doing it and after a year they will know what they are doing.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Lost Jewels Game

The lost jewels game is almost finished. I just need to add the credits and the videos. I sent a request out on a mail list I am on to see if I could get a volunteer to do the signing for me. Now I just have to wait and see if anyone volunteers.

Friday, August 03, 2007


I finally solved the problem. Somehow the frame I was using the button to go to, had directions to go back to the page I was starting on so everytime I hit the button I stayed where I was. Now it's working fine. I can't imagine making any really complicated games. I run into enough problems just with the simple things that I do.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Game Making Can Be Frustrating

I spent more than two hours working on the directions/information part of the Missing Jewels game. I created the information pages and buttons and figured out the navigation. I then decided it was time to test it. Every single button works perfectly except one. I have deleted the button, renamed the button changed the name of the frame I want it to go to.... So far this has been going on for about 30 minutes and it still won't work. I wonder if I sent it to a frame number instead of a frame label if that would work. I'll go try that real fast although I don't want to do it that way just to see what happens. Then I'm quitting for tonight. Maybe if I start fresh with it tomorrow I will see what I am doing wrong.

On a positive side, I spent quite a bit of time trying to make the jewels that the children will gain along the way to earning the missing jewel. I didn't like how they came out so I posted them to the Message Board at Daisie Company where I have many friends asking for input. Audrey Jeanne Roberts one of the artist's there was wonderful and created some great jewels for me.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Still Waiting

Jobs post publicly on Monday at the school and the job didn't post today. Now I have to wait another week to see if it posts. It is so hard to make any plans when everything is on hold. It is a 12 month position so I don't know when the start date would be. I asked someone today how much notice I would have to give at my current job if the school year started before I was able to interview and change jobs.

Since I could very well still be here this year, on Wednesday I take the Educational Interpreter Performance Assessment test. Pennsylvania has established minimum standards for their interpreters and while my job is not interpreter I sub for them sometimes so I need to meet the standards. When I took the test before I scored a little below the minimum so hopefully I will have improved enough that I meet the standards.

I got an inkling today of what I will be doing this year if I stay where I am. Some subbing and some technolgy things. In the past we have been supporting the sound fields in the schools and the teacher primarily responsible for them has retired so I will possibly be doing that some too. I may also be involved in working with our C-Print captionists (like closed captioning TV but on a laptop for a hearing impaired student to supplement what they are able to get from the teacher so they don't miss anything.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Stakes Have Been Raised

I got an email today telling me that there is a new job opening in Educational Technology at a school for the Deaf. This specific job is the job I have dreamed of getting but didn't ever expect there to be a job opening for it. I have no idea how soon this will post publicly or how in the world I would up and move/sell the house/make arrangements for my son but I can't not apply for this one. I can't wait to hear more information about this.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Lost Jewels sample and a question for input

I decided on a name for the game with the prince and princess-The Lost Jewels. I have also decided it will be a color game. It has three components:
1. a video telling the color of a jewel in sign language, fingerspelling and print.
2. a video asking the child to find the right color jewel from three choices.
3. a video asking the child to find the right color word from three choices.

4. I just thought of another way to do this and that is to match the color word to the right color jewel.

I roughed out #1-3 today and made a video of myself doing the signing (not a very good one either and I forgot how to add the replay button) because I wanted to see how it worked out. I still need a Deaf person to sign it in ASL. It would be really cool is they would dress up as a princess but I don't expect that will happen. I'll be thankful if I can get someone to sign for me.

There are 8 color words and 6 missing jewels. For each right answer the child gets a small jewel and when they collect a certain number (undecided right now how many) they get the big jewel and it goes into the crown until all the jewels have been found.

It's been two years since I made the ABC game and I am having to remember how to do some of the things. Hopefully it will all come back pretty easy.

Here is a link to check out how #1-3 above work.

Now the question:
I'm wondering if I should go through each color completely parts 1-4 or if I should first teach all of the colors, then do all of the color jewels, then find all of the color words, and then match all of the colors with the printed word.

The advantage of grouping all of one color together would be that it would be easier for a teacher to use it to teach the color/sign/written word.

So what do you think? any other input will also be accepted.

Monday, July 16, 2007

More Game Ideas

I still don't know if I can use the graphics I asked the artist about-I had told her there was no hurry because I had to study for a test. Haven't been studying much though now that I feel like making a new game.

I found another set of graphics at Delightful Doodles and have obtained permission to use them to make a game. I'm not sure about what this game will be about since I don't know if I can use the other graphics to make a counting game or not. I have been thinking about how the game will work and have started putting together some ideas for different parts.

Here's a screenshot of one of the frames.

I made the room and the pedestal. The prince, princess, crown and window frame are from Delightful Doodles. The scenery outside the window is by Gina Jane Johnson, CEO and Founder of The D.A.I.S.I.E. Company.

My last problem for either game is that I do not have a Deaf person to sign for me in the videos-which is the way it should be done. It's their language not mine. I also am thinking of offering these up for sale for a minimal price since they do need high-speed internet to be able to view the videos.

Next summer is the final International Symposium on Instructional Technology and Education for the Deaf at National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, New York. If I can get a couple more games created I would like to present them in a poster session. That would be the ideal way to get the word out that there are these games available for the kids.

Monday, July 09, 2007

A New Game???

I had an absolutely awesome idea for a new game after seeing graphics by one artist. I emailed her and she is thinking over whether or not I could use them for the game. In the meantime, I can't make my brain stop thinking and planning the game. I sure hope she agrees to my use of the graphics. They would make such an awesome math counting game.

This is Getting Ridiculous

Rosemary (my supervisor during my instructional technology internship) told me today that there is a job opening at MSSD (Model Secondary School for the Deaf.) They need a combination Computer Applications teacher and Yearbook person. Not quite what I would like but definitely where I would like.

It's the same problem as Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. It's not in Pennsylvania so Jonathan would have to go on a waiting list for services. Why are there no jobs here in Pennsylvania?

Maybe I'm supposed to just go on faith that all will work out. Wish I knew what was happening with the Mentoring grant-I would feel better not looking at the job. Of course if I just look around the house and think one month to find a place to live and move......

I really want to make changes in my job and shift more into the technology end of things. It would be so much simpler if it could happen in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pennsylvania-possible interpreting mentorship grant and other things

I was at the interpreting summer institute Monday and Tuesday at the Nittany Lion Inn. While there we were told that Pennsylvania had applied to get a grant for a mentorship for interpreters to help them improve their skills and pass the Educational Interpeting Performance Assessment (EIPA) which the state has now set a minimum skill level of 3.5 out of 5. One thing that was also mentioned was that they plan to produce materials for practice (videos) During one of the breaks I asked if they would be hiring someone to make the materials. I was told that they did not know if they had to use people already working for PaTTAN however it would be great if they could hire me for it because I already know the field and the kinds of materials needed. They will keep me in mind when the time comes. I assume that this would be part time work but I will have to wait to find out after they get the grant. (I did make myself very useful with technology problems while I was there so I will definitely stay in their mind-besides I actually know two of the people involved so I know my name will come up if they begin discussing hiring someone.) Keeping my fingers crossed that maybe this is where I am supposed to be heading.

I finished my degree two years ago and it wasn't until last year that I submitted the paperwork for the certification. I still don't have it. Yesterday I came across the Praxis test results letter and found out that the university never received a copy of the test results. Now I know why I never received the certification.

Looking to next summer-Next year is the last International Symposium on Instructional Technology for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester, NY. I have gone to the last two and loved it. It is really great to see the things that can be used with the kids. I think that unless Rosemary (my internship supervisor) is going to show my ABC games during a presentation that I will write an abstract to submit to show them during a poster session. Even if she is going to show them I think I will try to do a poster session. It would be great if I could get more games done by next year. I'll have to start thinking about a new game. There had been a request for numbers. Colors would be another good idea.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More info about jobs

Well, I seem to have adjusted fine to not applying for the job in Virginia.

On the plus side of all this, I had a friend (the one who dragged me into PESDHH last year) offer to write me a reference. That would have been the third one I needed. Oh well. Maybe another job will appear. In the meantime, here I sit in my nice comfortable life and I don't have to get up the bravery to leave my comfort zone. I really was going to go through the process before I found out about the time frame for services. I filled out half of the application even before I found out what I needed to know.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

More about jobs

I heard from Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind. The job sounds just like what I want. I have gone round and round in my mind about moving. I want the job but how in the world can I get the house ready to sell. I don't want to leave my friends. I really want a job like that.

Well I had no students today so I took time to call down to Virginia and talk to someone about services for my son. There is a good chance it will be 2-3 years before anything would happen. Not a possibility since I need him doing something during the day while I work.

Despite all my thinking, wanting and not wanting to relocate after talking to them I am feeling depressed. I thought maybe this was my chance to do what I want to do for a job. I keep thinking maybe I should continue the application maybe a miracle will happen. I don't know what to do.

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Long Post about Job Prospects

This morning I found out about an instructional technology resource teacher job at a school for the deaf and blind. My ideal setting, well the deaf part anyway. This is the first job of this nature that I have seen posted in the almost two years since I graduated. The only problem is that it is in Virginia. I tried calling them for more information but the school is closed this week. I'm not sure if this is a classroom position or if it is a more traditional instructional technology position. There is definitely staff training involved but then it talks about how the applicant should have knowledge about behavior modification techniques. It does not list experience as being required. I don't know how much computer troubleshooting/maintenance is involved or how much knowledge of networking is needed. It also says for next school year so I'm wondering if it is for only one year or if it would be ongoing.

I am weak in the computer maintenance and networking departments. My training was all in the instructional field and after just a couple years there is a lot more software out there that I would need to get to know, but I can deal with that.

Interestingly enough, since January I have been working with a deaf-blind boy and have gotten to see the effect of blindness. I can sit here rationalizing that this was God preparing me and maybe He is. But the fear of change is great and the thought of getting the house ready to sell is daunting. At least I got the new roof on, but the whole house needs to be painted and tons of stuff needs to be donated to the Salvation Army or sold at a yard sale. Then a lot still needs to be packed up and stored before I could even put it up for sale. It's enough to make me stop right now even thinking about moving.

And that is the least of my problems. There's my mother. She has beginning Alzheimer's and during this past year I have seen lots of deterioration. She lives with me. There is the distinct possibility that I will eventually have to sell anyway so that she can go into assisted living. We bought the house together. As a result of that, I have been looking at the house thinking about what I need to do to get ready to sell.

My daughter is another problem although she is thinking about moving in with one of her friends when her friend graduates from nursing school. She is only 21 and has not finished college. If she moves out I don't know that she will ever finish.

My last and biggest concern would be my son. He's 23 and has Angelman Syndrome. At this time he is still living at home. He has 15 hours a week of support staff who take him out into the community and I have two days of after school respite for about 4 hours each. I can survive without those services if need be, but he is also in a sheltered workshop/daycare setting all day. I need that or I can't work.

If I relocate I have no idea how much time would be involved in getting some kind of a day placement and setting up transportation and before and after workshop care for him if my hours are longer than his. I put out feelers to the Angelman Syndrome mail list asking for information from parents in Virginia and after I talk to the school I will contact the local Mental Retardation office for information if it looks like this is a possibility.

In the meantime, insecurity is taking hold. I don't know that I can do all of the work. Would I have to write grants? make technology plans? buy equipment? I have never done those kind of things. I really have little faith in myself sometimes and a great fear of stepping out of my nice secure world.

There is also a job at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf-an ideal place for this job-but they want three years experience and more software knowledge than I have. I would love to work there or at Gallaudet's Clerc Center.