Data Visualization Quickfire

After watching David McCandless’ TED Talk we learned just how helpful visual numbers are. In his words you want to make the numbers “effortless[ly] pour in” to our viewers.

Here are some great examples used to get me thinking about how and what I want to convey in my Infographic.

I tried using manyeyes. I can’t explain just how tricky it was to get started. I had a hard time getting my data imported. Once I did, my computer wouldn’t load the visualizations that I had intended. Once switching my security controls, Safari would only open visualizations. At that point, I just borrowed a classmate’s data to actually see some visualizations come to life. I attempted to sort my data by three factors, indicating which American charity would be the best to give your money to in terms of money reaching the people that need it.

Here is what I was able to create in a few minutes, once I got some data to manipulate. With that said, it does help us easily see how far our money will go in what popular charities.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.40.37 AM


Using Snagit in the Classroom

Today we were able to meet with Dave McCollom of TechSmith. He introduced our class to Snagit and googleaday. Snagit is a tool that is available with free or paid versions, on PCs or Macs. Googleaday is an online activity used to practice searching skills through Google. We used the Chrome version of Snagit which is free, a good option for teachers with students with devices in class. After running us through the infrastructure of Snagit’s recording and storage capabilities, we began our research on googleaday.

We were challenged to solve the answer posed by Google under a certain amount of time. As we researched, we recorded our search through Snagit. Once we shared our search’s evidence, we traded our video clips with a partner. Dave asked us to keep in mind our partner’s searching techniques and to note if there were any techniques that we learned from watching. Once I watched my partnter’s search, I realized that I had completely forgotten to use the Google Power Search techniques we learned last year! (I’m thinking that doing a few of these a week would really be great reminders in how to keep my searching skills honed!)

Snagit definitely seems like a great tool to use in class with students. An affordance of Snagit is it’s collaboration with Google Chrome. Saving, sharing and viewing the video files was easy. However, at the same time, Google provides a constraint, as the infrastructure of it’s set up through Google can be a bit confusing. If used effectively though, screencasts could be used to create interactive feedback between teachers and students, students and students, and can give a clear picture of what is happening inside students’ minds. What’s more, Snagit could even help us personalize online learning activities for students, if we choose to elaborate on existing videos created by educators and learners.


Photoshop Album Cover

This week, in Week One of our third summer overseas with MAET, we were given the challenge of creating a new album cover for our (made-up) band. We took results from random searches to get our band’s name, album’s title, and album’s cover picture. It was up to us to design an effective album cover using our recently acquired Photoshop skills. This is what I came up with, after a few minutes of toying around with my results in photoshop.

I was lucky that my photo showed an older man, looking weathered and not-so-smooth. Using “Love Never Did Run Smooth” was offset with the texture of his forehead, as if it was on his mind, remembering his past loves or some kind of unfinished (love) business. “Pembroke Township” is the name of the band, and its placement on the album cover, I believe stands out because it is a type of anchor, in the corner of the cover.

For having limited time with Photoshop, I was pleased with my ability to modify text particularly. I was unhappy with the limited font selection, however, overall, felt lucky to have a colorful and crisp image to offset my text with.

Jillian's Album Cover


Quickfire 5: iPod-Dancing in Public

Today we were given a quickfire to practice our editing and filming skills, in preparation for our Understanding Understanding project. Our inspiration was Preston dancing to Footloose. Here you will find my group’s contribution to dancing in public with an iPod. Please keep in mind that we had about 10 minutes to edit our film, but there is evidence of improved skills in that we tried using the Rule of Thirds, steadying the camera (while on the go) and use of lighting.

Quickfire- Video-Making for Willingham Ch. 6 and 7

We were given the challenge to improve our video-making skills after having viewed our Ch. 4 and 5. The professors gave us a mini-lesson on specific shooting strategies, lighting and stability issues. With having had this extra instruction, our mission in creating a more-perfect video was trickier, especially given the time constraints, and given the new content of Ch. 7 of Willingham. My group chose to present on the theme of how novices and experts think.

Define McSweeney

For our first quickfire  back at school, we were given the task to take a photo from around our new campus that defines us. After, we were to upload it to a shared Picasa web album.

I found a beautiful tree, on a river bank. The sun was shining and I was reminded of my home in Portland, Oregon. I long to be there and dream of the day that I can return, permanently. It was the perfect definition of where I come from and where I want to be–immersed in trees, rivers, mountains, and lush, green parks–something I miss dearly while living overseas in a concrete jungle! Lastly, I added the lenses of my glasses over my camera’s view. I’m blind in one eye and far-sighted in the other. This was to represent the balance I try to maintain in my life to work slowly, double-check, be thoughtful and considerate. No matter where I go, I am reminded of my disability (and others’ disabilities) and how it affects/affected my learning and socializing.

Define McSweeney

Demotivational PD Opportunity!

We were given a quickfire challenge to create a poster or video regarding some sort of tech professional development (PD). The only theme we had to use was that the PD had to be terrible! Desi and I took some elements from our reading and our experiences about how not to conduct PD. Some of our key ideas: big sponsors, out-of-date ideas, and inconvenient timing for teachers. Check out our video here!

We used Go Animate for this project. There were a few constraints in the limitation of how many of Go Animate’s scenes and images you could use for free though. However, the program is really intuitive and fun to use. This is a program I am interested in buying an account for to use in and out of my classroom.

Viewing Failure as an Opportunity to Learn

Today we were given the challenge of creating a lesson idea that incorporates Sadler’s framework for formative assessment (1989) with 21st Century Skills in a quickfire. We also needed to include an aspect of computer-based technology to aid in the formative assessment. I chose a lesson that I use throughout the school year, and adapted it to include more formative assessment and an aspect of computer-based technology for a self-assessment. My challenge will be to encourage very ego-centric, self-image aware and grade-driven 5th Graders that making mistakes encourages learning and won’t affect their report card. Using this lesson as a model will hopefully promote failure and mistake-making throughout the school year in other lessons and activities.

5th Grade Language Arts Content: Writing Process; Editing Experts  

a. Students are broken up into “expert” groups for specific editing marks
(capitals, punctuation, verbs, spelling, extra/missing words,etc.)

b. Students rotate small stacks of writing and edit as a group, color-coded, and signing-off on their editing work on peers’ paper check list. Groups help each other mark correctly during each rotation. Ex: Capitals group may suggest to the punctuation group about how they can improve their marking; Group members may help others mark peers’ papers correctly.

c. Groups identify what areas or “experts” need guidance doing their marking.

d. Individual students also receive feedback on their writing about what they can improve in their writing.

e. Students complete a google form self-assessment based on making mistakes and learning opportunities from those mistakes

More information on elements to incorporate: We discuss intermittently (a break in rotation of papers) about how we can guide the groups or individuals in improving their marking. We might discuss any unknown comments on papers after the class has received their feedback, as a whole class. Students have the opportunity to re-write their work using the feedback. Students also have the opportunity to re-join expert groups or try another expert group in the following Editing Experts session.

All technology aspects, including computer-based: colored pencils, peer-editing forms, and a smartboard to guide the roles of each student, colors and timer for organizing rotation. After the editing process, the students would also fill out a google form about a self-reflection in the “taking risks” while writing/editing. This assessment would not represent any number or grade for them, as to reinforce not distracting their learning, and encourage futher “buy-in” into “failing to learn”, as well as becoming flexible problem-solvers, and responding to peer feedback. It may play a part in their overall grade for the writing activity (is the self-assessment completed-y/n?).

What’s more, considering how  Editing Experts is a routine, I’d hone in on this model to further guide the feeling that failure is okay to promote learning in other areas of our Language Arts class.

Link to self-assessment

5th Grade Editing Experts in action!

Juxtaposing In and Out of School Tensions with Pixlr

We were asked to use the tech tool Pixlr to create a juxtaposition of a tension that exists in school and out of school.

The tension that I have chosen to illustrate was the expectation of completing homework. On one hand, the school in which I work must give homework. In fact, the amount of homework given is considered a product of what our school parents pay for in our private school. Children bring home A LOT of it. However, the other side of the situation is the homework is really unrealistic to complete–or not thought of as necessary to complete once home. In any case, it usually doesn’t get done by any of the teachers’ standards: sometimes tutors complete homework, sometimes homework answers are copied directly off of the internet, or sometimes, it is done but seems of no use to the students once completed.

My proposed images for my tension are below.


As you can see, I didn’t have the chance to represent the tension’s image, uniting the two photos in Pixlr. Pixlr was extremely difficult for me to operate without any guidance. After a lot of play, I had to rely on my neighboring peers to even start my project on Pixlr’s workspace. With what little time I had left to produce something, I still didn’t have an image that communicated this school tension. I think Pixlr is something that I would like to spend some more time on learning because it’s benefits of photo editing are useful for teaching purposes. However, I will need to set aside a chunk of time and make effort in understanding it, as it is not user-friendly.

National Center on UDL

Today we reviewed what Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is, what it looks like with TPCK, and what it would look like in our classes. We were given the challenge to choose two principles for our individual teaching context and find five tech solutions for each. Here are my fantastic finds! Hope to use all of them sometime soon!

Guideline 2: Provide options for language/mathematics/symbols

  2.1: Clarify vocabulary and symbols; 2.5: Illustrate through multiple media

Top 5 Tools for Guideline 2: Visuwords; Shahi; Tagxedo; Search Cube; WatchKnowLearn

Guideline 3: Provide multiple means of engagment

      8.3: Foster Communication and Collaboration; 8.1 Heighten salience of goals and objectives

Top 5Tools for Guideline 3: Glogster, CoSketch, ePals, Slatebox, teAchnology