Archives for Course 2

Adam’s new toy

I can’t help drooling a little bit. Adam, a teaching colleague with desk next to mine, just took ownership on a Samsung Galaxy tablet. He loves it. I took a quick look and was intriqued. It looks like a Nook or Kindle at first glance. According to (which turns out to be a page from an online university website) “With Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs flying off the shelves, it may not be long before tablets become the primary computing choice of many consumers. So predicts Ranjit Atwal, research director for Gartner, a major technology research firm. Atwal predicts that by 2014, tablets will “displace” an astounding 10 percent of PC sales and will soon be viewed as the “primary computing platform” for many users. However, Atwal does not believe the PC’s days are numbered; traditional computers will still be needed in most business and professional environments.”
Samsung Galaxy Tablet

It does seem to be an incredibly handy size. The android operating style is likewise appealing. I will have to learn more!

ET Phone Home for Christmas?

Only 9 shopping days until Christmas! I have at least half of my shopping still to do.  Naturally, I browsed online for some ideas and happened across an interesting item– the Mac and PC Phone Home program available for download at  It makes such good sense! The Columbia University Public Safety website shares the story of a student who had his Mac stolen at LAX, but with the help of the police and the Phone Home program the perpetrator was brought to justice! I do certainly wish I had Phone Home on my Mac iBook 6 years ago– that beautiful piece of equipment was stolen and never found.

I also came across a sticker you can put on your computer….

What’s new with Digital Footprints?

Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology joined up with Unisys to initiate digital footprint education for the area high school students.  It makes sense that top Penn State students in the college of IST would have an effectively persuasive persona for high school students to start taking their digital footprint more seriously.

Holton Arms School website adds a comment to parents related to the digitatl footprint of their children.  Education of parents on this issue, seems another  important part of the increasing footprint awareness.

This site provides a good visual of just how pervasive a digital footprint is

Google Lit Trip Journey

My American Novel students and I survived in tact our Google Lit Trip adventure on the Mississippi (and elsewhere around the world) with Huck, Jim, and Sam Clemens.  I will be assessing the final products this weekend; but I can definitely say that the process of gathering information, formatting, and sharing was not only a challenging project, but also engaging and motivating for the students.  One group forged ahead with the technical production elements much more quickly than any of the other groups; they were able to then share some of their expertise with other groups struggling to make the lit trip work properly. We definitely have some kinks to work out before officially sharing the products online at; but nonetheless, the students have done some pretty incredible things in sharing information and connecting to the life and writings of Twain.  I attempted to insert a link to one of their media files— but the file is 22MB which far exceeds the 3MB limit.   I’m hoping to get some help from the creator Jerome Burg to combine the groups efforts into consolidated lit trips.  Once the files are set, we’ll upload to Burg’s site for the world to see!  In a nutshell, each of my two classes created one littrip related to the novel Huck Finn, and one littrip related to the life and travels of Mark Twain.

Venturing into the unknown….Google LitTrip

Whew. Exciting project looms ahead. Cognitive dissonance abounds. This is fun =)

I came across some information about Google Lit Trips and instantly felt an adrenalin rush.  This could be great with Huck Finn! So I immediately forged ahead to give it a try, trusting that my tech savvy students would figure out technical issues as they arise.  My American Novel students and I have left the dock and started developing two Google Lit Trips: 1) Mark Twain’s World and 2) Huck and Jim Goin’ Down the River…..

Updates to follow.

Angi Ma Wong “feng shui lady”

My American Novel students today were blessed to have a very special guest speaker, Angi Ma Wong aka the “feng shui lady.”  She didn’t have a chance to share her expertise on feng shui (I plan to read some of her 15 books on feng shui), because she was instead sharing some of her personal and family history as immigrants to the United States.  She connected her experiences to a novel she wrote called “Night of the Red Moon”  telling the story of 24 hours in 1871 when Chinese immigrants were massacred in Los Angeles.  It was fascinating to hear her speak from an author’s viewpoint, about the handling of sensitive issues in literature.  My classes are working through Huck Finn right now so her knowledge and comments were especially timely.  She also highlighted the importance of technology in allowing  many early immigrants to the West Coast to tell their oral history stories for posterity prior to their deaths.

Another Googledoc experiment

My English 9 students need more opportunities to use their target words prior to the vocabulary review test over lessons 1-6 (60 target words), so I tried another Googledoc small group review activity. I assigned groups of 2 or 3; each small group was assigned a mix of target words (2 words from each of the 6 lessons).  They worked together on the Googledoc to create a pratice quiz that I will make available to everyone after I have a chance to look them over for incorrect uses of the target words.  They created a definition matching section (piece of cake, of course); then a multiple choice fill-in-the-blank- section creating their own sentences or modifying sentences from the text; finally, they created a section on using other forms of the words.

The activity took more of class time than I hoped; however, now that they understand the format, they will be able to do this or something similar on future lessons reviews as homework.

Next class I’ll make available on the OLC all the practice quizzes and answer sheets so that they can test themselves at home in preparation for the test.

I think it worked well.  I like that each student used a significant number of target words in several ways and that they can use these shared documents independently to study as needed for the upcoming test. 

Additionally, I will take some questions from the review docs to include in the actual test.