Week 9: Google Docs

Recently, a fellow science teacher introduced Google docs to me. I’ve used this before so I wasn’t so sure how he was going to elaborate on such a topic. Sure enough, he briefed me on Google Docs in the classroom. He explained how such a service can be used to create assessments. I never knew such a thing was possible! I was intrigued mostly with the computer grading such an assignment. He mentioned that I would need to organize my test questions in a spreadsheet format. The spreadsheet will organize all of the student’s answers so the teacher can see all 135 answers just right there. Little things like this would make a teachers grading load reduce drastically. I also learned that many students can log into the Google Doc at once and submit their answers at once. This use of Google Docs just seems genius.

Being, it was such a brief conversation, this is definitely  something that I would like to further research. I want to utilize his expertise in a mini lesson eventually to learn how to do this for my own classroom. I would like to watch tutorials, read handbooks and mainly speak to him to answer all of my many unanswered questions.   Some of my unanswered questions include:

1.  Do the students need an email account to take the test?

2. Can the students see the scores as soon as they submit it?

3.  How do I do create a test?

4. Can I go back and delete questions once the students have taken it?


* If any of you have any background on creating a test on Google Docs, please let me know.

Some useful websites that I have in my searching so far include:





Google Form

I will use parts of this video to make my test.

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Week 8: Edupunk


Above photo is taken from EDUPUNK battle royale on Youtube.

When I first heard this question, I though immediately yes I would feel comfortable stepping out of the institutionally supported technologies, however I started thinking. I would like to consider myself both a teacher and a student. If I look at this question with my teacher hat on, I would like to say yes I feel comfortable stepping out of the supported technologies. I always am looking for ways to step out of the box as a teacher and by presenting different technologies I feel that I am succeeding. According to Wikipedia, it quotes The New York Times; The New York Times defines it as “an approach to teaching that avoids mainstream tools like PowerPoint and Blackboard, and instead aims to bring the rebellious attitude and D.I.Y. ethos of ’70s bands like The Clash to the classroom.” With this said, I can say I am avoiding mainstream tools like PowerPoint (to the point where I never made a PowerPoint for teaching ever) I think it is very imperative to avoid such mainstreams to keep the engagement of the student. I personally believe it is up to the teacher to keep up to date with the technologies available for a couple of reasons. Not only do I want to stay current with the technologies but I think the students will be more engaged.

However, as a student if I look at this question, I can confidently give a different answer. I think I am set in my ways, given that this is my 8th year at UD. I have used Sakai  and MyCourses throughout and became comfortable with each. According to the article in the chronicle posted at http://chronicle.com/article/Blogs-Instead-of-Blackboard/44412/, it stated “When Blackboard is down, it’s like the door to the college is nailed shut,” said Joseph Ugoretz, director of technology and learning at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College, explaining that some professors use the software to administer quizzes and teach online.” I can completely agree with this statement because most courses in my higher education required use of Sakai, or MyCourses. It was true that I panicked when I did not have access to these sites. With this said, as a student I would like to just use what I am familiar with and complete the assignments. At this point, I do not have time to learn a new LMS because I have many hats to juggle. I am very open to change but when it comes to learning content then earning a grade for that content, I am very simple. Whichever way that I can learn my content and earn a grade for this will work for me. Obviously change will take place in the future and I am content with these systems changing. When those changes happen I will embrace it with hesitation only because I have become familiar with programs already.

There are many implications of going ‘Edupunk’. Some big ideas of going “Edupunk” are some that Anya shared in the video clip. I learned that DIY credential technology makes education inclusive. She was very optimistic about going Edupunk because of the growth of the learners curiosity. She states it is an “exciting time to be a learner.” Learners can determine their self fate collectively through technology. Basically the opportunities for learners are growing! DIY will help drive down cost of getting high quality education. According to “EDUPUNK battle” Jim Groom  states that “Edupunk brings culture into learning.” I think that was the overarching theme throughout this week.

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DIY learning: how to organize a school science fair

This week’s assignment appeared very interesting. I would get to learn anything that I wanted. At first, I was thinking of something completely out of the box, but decided to limit it to something related to my profession. This year I was appointed to put on our school’s science fair. So, why not research how to organize a science fair?  The first thing that I needed to think about was the time frame that I had to learn about science fairs. Ideally, I can quick browse the web if I had only ten minutes to teach myself. While surfing the web, I can read other science fair coordinator’s ideas. The ideas can be found at http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/Coordinating-a-Science-Fair/Science-Fair-Coordinators-Checklist-What-should-I-do.html or http://jujijn.livejournal.com/75660.html. Another idea, that I can research and  learn in 10 minutes would be the science fair coordinator’s checklist. I came across a great checklist at http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/Coordinating-a-Science-Fair/Science-Fair-Coordinators-Checklist-What-should-I-do.html.

If I had about a week to look into the science fair, I can start following various science fair Twitter accounts. I would like to look into Twitter accounts over a week so I can fully look into all that they have to offer. The below is a screen capture of Twitter accounts that I started following that relate to science fairs. I also came across this site, http://www.google.com/events/sciencefair/educators.html  that I would like more than ten minutes to look at. This Google site has many ideas for educators that to truly get the whole idea from, I would need more time. I would also like to check out some YouTube videos to give me some fresh ideas about putting together a science fair. For example, http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=2A50A300F5AB5600 shows a series of videos. Lastly, I can dig through handbooks to get myself familiar with setting up a science fair. One handbook that I seemed to like was http://www.hs.fountainhillsschools.org/viewpdf.cfm?filename=FHHSScienceFairCoordinatorsHandbook.pdf. It seemed very helpful at this point in time.

This image is a screen shot the shows the accounts that I decided to follow to learn more about the science fair.

Lastly, If I had months to learn about how to put together a science fair, I would try to get out to the local community and research how other schools organize this. To go out and compile ideas from other schools, would be ideal too. One resource that I can use to find science fairs would be the virtual library of science fairs located at http://physics.usc.edu/~gould/ScienceFairs/. I can learn all about science fairs. It truly depends on how much time I have to teach myself all about science fairs. I have outlined various ways to teach myself about science fairs now it is up to me to find the time.


Social Networking Policy

At first, I assumed social networking was for entertainment purposes only. I used various sites like Facebook and Instagram to connect with family and friends on a personal level. However, after being exposed to a number of other sites I have created some guidelines on how I handle each.

Facebook: This site will be used to connect to friends and family on a strictly personal level. I have not opened up Facebook to my professional life. For example, there are various Facebook pages that are my District’s page or my school’s page. I will not be friends with them because I would rather not become friends with the parents or even students that are also friends with my district. I would rather not follow those types of pages on Facebook.

Twitter: I joined Twitter a couple of years ago to keep in touch with friends. Over the years, my friends lost interest and I found the use of Twitter start to help my professional environment. I follow science pages, news pages and other professional organizations. Twitter is starting to turn into  my professional social media site.

Google+: I strictly use Google + for a professional learning environment. I connect to my education and my peers in my class. I do not use this site for personal use.

Pinterest: At first, I was exposed to Pinterest in an entertainment personal use only environment. However, I am beginning to see the potential that Pinterest has in a professional setting. I am very impressed with all of the boards that relate to social networking. I will find these boards useful in the future when I have time to go through all of the pins.

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Week 6: Revamping Me

       After looking at a variety of About Me pages, I decided to create a background that deals with my passion. At first, I just thought this was a site geared towards work based ideas but then saw others include pictures of their interests. Many about me pages included the individual’s picture. I am still unsure about posting my actual picture so I uploaded a new picture. I went from having a plain black background to a background of the beach. I also had a plain microscope image that resembled a science teacher. With my about me page face lift, I wanted to include an image that I actually took. I changed the font and made my name stand out a little more. My professional brand stands out with the personal image that I took of the beach. It brings out my personal interests but also gives a brief update of 7th grade science.

The below picture shows the “before” and “after” of my About Me page. I really am glad I was able to revamp this site as an assignment. I like my new page because I turned it a little more personal.  My new About Me page is the one with the beach.


Above images were screen shots from by before and after About Me page. http://about.me/craigkaitlin

After asking a classmate Stacey for advice, I received the following suggestion. “I think your About Me Page looks great. I really like the font that you selected for your name. It draws my attention right away. The background that you selected went right along with your idea about studying with Hawaii. I’m not sure if we have to give something for you to change, but the only suggestion I would have is to maybe include what your plans are with your new degree, and maybe delete the bottom part “Welcome to 7th Grade science! I am looking….” This makes it seem like your audience is only your students.”

I decided to make use of my Twitter account and see if any classmates would like to check out my about me page.  I also got the opinion of a graphic designer. He had made suggestions to my about me page that I never knew people would look for. He suggested to get rid of “widows” which were the words that fell on a line by themselves. In addition the rag did not have a natural flow. I learned that the rag was how each line ended whether it be a shorter word or a longer word on the end of the line. Graphic designers look for the appeal of the text on each line which I just learned about from him.

As for my blog, I really am content with the design so far. I like the bright colors and the current theme. I just would try to limit the content on the blog as per discussed in class. Most people like to read shorter blogs that are to the point. I feel some of my posts might be on the longer side which might be unappealing to students to read through.

One site that provided helpful tips was http://www.onextrapixel.com/2010/09/06/how-to-write-an-effective-about-me-page/. This site suggested that a picture is put on the about me page because it adds a personal touch to the site. It also creates a list of what to place on the About Me page.

  1. Name and profession
  2. Specialty, niche, or area of focus
  3. Experience – list number of years experience, any high-end clients, or if worked for a well-known company
  4. Useful personality traits – pays attention to detail, thinker, entrepreneurial mindset, perfectionist
  5. Publications, interviews, or other recognitions in the design community
  6. Education and work experience
  7. Location, age, general family life



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