Monday, May 4, 2009

WebQuest about the Precambrian Era

I have just put the finishing touches on my Precambrian WebQuest and published in using

I realize that our instructions were to use GoggleSites to develop our webquest, but one of the overaching themes of this course has been to use web-based applications that allow us to quickly and efficiently use our time producing education material and not on figuring out procedural routines to produce the educational material. This is what allowed me to do. This application guides the teacher through the setup of a WebQuest and does all the formatting for you. Very easy to use and has all the components of a WebQuest.

I tried to produce roles the students would fill that were not science-based, that way I could reach a wider array of student interests. I had an artist, technology guru, and daydreamer. They were to act as a team working for a graphic arts company to produce museum exhibits. Each role had a particular type of exhibit they were to build, ficused on their own strengths. There were several examples of similar products, even a couple of videos that they could parallel for the video exhibit. All of the web site resources were directly tied to the assignments. Finally I suggested a method of presenting the exhibits to the classroom based on how a real museum exhibition would be presented to the public. Feedback from other students viewing the exhibits would support the success of their project.

As for the HEAT (Higher-order thinking, Engaged learning, Authentic learning, Technology use)levels, I think the technology was at a level 6 since a video using internet resources must be produced. The learning experience is probably a level 5 since authentic applications were proposed (creating museum exhibits by a graphic arts company). Engaged learning is probably is a level 5 since the third exhibit was totally open-ended, requiring the students to produce a novel presentation method using their imagination and a vision of the future of humanity on Earth. This was constructivism at its best. Higher order thinking was at level 4 as the students were using the research questions/answers for an application.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Using what I have learned.

This post is an illustration of using what I have learned in this course. I needed to grab a screen image to show our staff a problem I am having with gradequick.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Manipulating Data

I have had experience working with Excel spreadsheets before, especially the formula tools, so this assignment was relatively straight-forward. I did learn how to create multiple worksheets and combine information between them. This is a very powerful feature. In the distant past, we had to simply make one huge spreadsheet and then manipulate the cells within that one spreadsheet. This was very awkward and cumbersome. The ability to 'link' between worksheets is a feature I will be using from now on.

The only real trouble I had was the final step, emailing the Excel spreadsheet to Dr. Pierce. I uploaded the Excel file to GDocs and published it. I then went into Gmail and created an email to Dr. Pierce. When I attached the file to my email, Gmail went to my home PC and uploaded the file, apparently as an Excel file. I sent it out, CC to myself to check it out. I found that the 'Download' option on opening the attachment allows one to get the original file, formatted the way I set it up.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Creating an Assessement in Google Docs

I have created an assessment for my Earth Science course. They will have a chapter test on Friday and I plan to give them this quiz on Thursday to motivate them to study Thursday night.

I found that editing the quiz after I had saved it was a bit tricky. I had to open the file given in the sent email to allow editing of the questions. You must make any later changes to you quiz by using the file that has the Google Docs menu active, most of the cases the menu was inactive (grey). Now go to the Form menu and select Edit Form. This will allow you to directly edit the questions just as when you were composing the quiz. VERY IMPORTANT, look at the link at the bottom of the Form/Quiz page in black and tells you that you can see form at this address. Highlight and COPY the entire address. I believe that this is your only chance to grab the link to the quiz, so DO IT NOW. Paste it into the blog editor immediately.

After changes are saved, all the versions of the quiz are updated, even the version displayed in this blog. I also had trouble finding a link to the quiz after I finished the quiz as discussed above. Apparently that info is gone after you close the Save screen. I later found the file address when I edited the quiz and created a link to my Rocks Assessment. I also embedded the quiz in this blog but this embedded structure greatly slowed the loading of my blog. Thus I opted to delete the embedded version.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Create a Lab Report Rubric using RubiStar

Rubrics have become common in high school assessments, especially in the humanities. In addition to using them as a less subjective alternative to assigning grades, they also convey to the students what is expected of their work. I see this second function as a more beneficial use of rubrics.

I signed on to RubiStar and created a rubric for a science lab report. I have expended a great deal of time and effort to teach my students was a proper lab report should contain. Unfortunately I see time and time again that they have not learned what I have tried to teach them! Hopefully this rubric will help.

RubiStar is straight forward and intuitive. I saved the lab report rubric and a rubric about simple graphing on the Rubistar permanent storage so I can retrieve them later. There are several ways to output the finished rubric and I played around until I was satisfied that the regular Excel was the best way to go. I retrieved my lab report rubric from their storage and saved it as an Excel file to my home computer. I then uploaded it into GDocs and published it (Share, with everyone, view but not edit). It appeared to be saved into Google spreadsheets. You can see it here.

I was not happy with the Excel format that the rubric was displayed in, so I copied and pasted the rubric into Word, edited it and uploaded it to GDocs. I will probably use this version to show my students.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Publishing a MovieMaker version of Drake Equation Presentation on YouTube

I created a MovieMaker version on my Drake Equation presentation. This was fairly straight-forward using Dr. Pierce's Sample Video. My biggest problem was adding narration at the right moments.

I published the Drake Equation video on YouTube. You can view it here.

I embedded the video directly onto this blog entry, using the instructional video in YouTube Help. Simply go to the Embed window while the video is running, highlight code, copy and paste onto the blog editor (remember to be in the Edit Html mode when you paste).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Presentaion in .pdf and Embedded Presentation in Blog

To create a PDF version of my Drake Equation presentation, I uploaded my latest presentation version to GDocs. Then I viewed the presentation in GDocs. Within the viewing mode, Google allows a viewer to download a PDF version of the presentation to their home computer, which I did to obtain a PDF version. So now I had a PDF version on my home computer. I then uploaded this PDF file to GDocs. I then was able to share the PDF version by invitation only (GDocs does not support global viewing/sharing of .pdf files, (WHY?)). If you want an invitation, just let me know in the comments at the end of this blog entry.

I also sent the PDF version to Fairmont's FTP site where it is readily available.

I have also created a link to allow the Drake Equation presentation to be viewed from Google Docs. This was done by simply publishing the presentation, then copying and pasting the provided link address. This link will launch a large screen version of the presentation. Note that you can expand the view to full screen by toggling the F11 key. The presentation is best viewed in full screen.

I have also embedded my Drake Equation presentation as a mini presentation module. This took some time, thinking, and experimenting. Suffice it to say that the route is not self-evident.

When I published the presentation, GDocs asks me if I wanted to publish my presentation online using a mini presentation module. GDocs gave me a HTML code in a box at the bottom of the page that is to be copied and pasted into Blogger's edit page. Sounds simple enough. But when I did this, a window would be open on the published blog, but the address could not be found.

After much experimenting and reflecting on how Blogger works and what exactly GDocs was saying, I suddenly realized that I must paste the HTML code into the Blogger edit page with the Editor in the "Edit Html" mode. (Apparently when I pasted the HTML code while I was in the "Compose" mode, the Editor changed the HTML code when the edit page was published, thus producing a wrong address.) I also suspect, but did not test, that I must publish the edit page in the "Edit Html" mode, at least initially.

Note also that there are several application available that allow you to generate a file from your Power Point presentation and embed it in your blog, such as I found these when I was searching the Internet to find hints on how to embed presentations in blogs.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jeopardy Rocks

I chose to focus my Jeopardy game as a review for the Earth Science chapter on the classification and description of the three type of rocks. We will be covering this chapter in a couple of weeks and I plan to use the computer lab to allow each student to use the Jeopardy game as a review. The questions in the game are a good general review and cover the required CSOs for this unit.

After some playing around with the downloaded template, I fixed its problems. This took some time, but allowed me to become more familar with the buttons and the editing process. With this template, I can now simply replace the old text with new material.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

PowerPoint Presentation of the Drake Equation

Beware, this is my first time ever using or producing a Power Point presentation! I understand that PowerPoint is being taught in the elementary schools now, but I seem to have missed that opportunity until this week. I found it very powerful and easy to use once I understood the layout of the tools. The examples that I found on my fellow students blogs were helpful and I thank them.

I chose a topic that I am asked about often. When we cover any subject in astronomy, the question invariable arises, "Are there aliens?" I see this as an opportunity to introduce the students to science reasoning, using the Drake Equation, first introduced right here in West Virginia at the Green Bank radio astronomy observatory, back in 1961.

My presentation discusses the Drake equation and the factors that allow us to estimate the number of civilization in our galaxy. I have also saved a power point show (.pps). Finally there is a web version (.htm). I was wondering if I could overlay a narrative, but I was not confident enough to experiment with that feature.

I was also able to save the presentation to Google Docs.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jupiter as a mini-Solar System Podcast

(Ahh, this was a tough assignment!)
I chose a topic that my Earth Science students found particularly interesting, the similarities of Jupiter's Galilean moons with the structure of the solar system. In this podcast, I point out the various parallels between the nature of the four moons of Jupiter and the arrangement of our solar system and the process that produced these arrangements.

My script was 1 1/3 typed pages, producing roughly 5 minutes of lecture. I used Audacity to record my lecture and added music to the front end and back end. Audacity was initially intimidating, but after playing with it for a couple of hours, I was able to do most of what I needed to do. If I would use this application more, it could be a great tool for mixing all kinds of audio together.

I exported my project as a .mp3 file after experimenting, straining, and downloading a converter from .wav to .mp3. I could not click on the Library in ITunes to drag my .wav file into as was kindly suggested in the discussion group.

I finally published my podcast via Podbean. Podbean has the same feel as Blogger and I would like to use it to publish more podcasts.

The ISTE NETS addressed by this activity include 2a) design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity; 3a) demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations; 3c) communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, using a variety of digital-age media and formats; and 5a) participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My Picasa/Google Web Album

I have created a web album using Picasa Web Album. I have also loaded Picasa 3 onto my machine and it is a great photo editor, much more so than Photoshop Express. It is intuitive and user friendly, BUT beware of what photos you are editing. I thought that I had open a photo on my Web Album, did some experimenting with the Picasa features, and ended up saving the photo over top the original photo on my machine. I thought I had lost the original forever, but I reloaded it into Picasa and backsteped the mods using "undo" many, many times.

I was also able to geotag my album and also individual photos. Google has Google Moon, Google Ocean, Google Sky, and Google Mars; I wonder if I could link Earth Science photos to locations on the Moon, Mars, in the oceans or the sky? Then students could understand where the subjects of interest are located.

This assignement yielded a great discovery. I could use it to archive photos to be used in an assignment and direct the students to find the album on GPhotos!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Photoshop Express Modified Photo

I have embedded an image I took of the Moon. I played with several photo adjusting the highlights, exposure, color saturation and all the available tools provided by Photoshop Express. Then I stretched it to make it look as if it had been sketched. It looks like a geological map now. If you want to go to the Photoshop Express website click on the title of this blog entry.

My initial upload to blogger produced an image what was very large and overflowed the blog screen. The photo was not reduced from Photoshop Express when it was posted into Blogger. I assumed that it would be automatically resized to fit. So I fiddled with the image size parameters that were given in the image address when I hit the "link" button in Photoshop Express. I changed the width from 1600 to 400 and the height from 1200 to 300, preserving the aspect ratio. This worked and allowed the image to fit.

The link to the photo will give you an automatically resized image in a new window that can be expanded by clicking on it.

This technology will allow me to use photos taken in the lab, with a microscope or telescope, enhance and annotate the images, and use them to illustrate subject material in class.

The ISTE NETS addressed by this activity include 3a) demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations; and 5a) participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Useful graphic from Crappy Graphics

I have produced a Venn diagram using Crappy Graphics to illustrate the overlap of the fields of Earth Science. The concept of interdisciplinary fields is introduced during the initial classes of most sciences now. The emphasis is on how interdisciplinary studies are very important to the advancement of today's sciences.

I have also produced a line graph showing the motion of a mouse searching for food. I can download this graph at school tomorrow since we are starting a module on motion. Crappy Graphics allowed me to quickly throw this together, however drawing straight lines with the brush tool is tough.
To allow the class to view these graphics, the most direct method would be to log into this blog and project the computer output using the science deparment's ELMO. I frequently use the ELMO to explore websites relevant to our subject matter.

The ISTE NETS addressed by this activity include 2a) design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity; 3a) demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies and situations; 3c) communicate relevant information and ideas effectively to students, using a variety of digital-age media and formats; and 5a) participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Using Kid’s Zone to Produce Quick, Easy, and Good-looking Graphs

I have used the Kid’s Zone website to produce a good-looking graph of the NAEP 4th grade mathematics scores from 2000 to 2007, comparing West Virginia’s scores to the national average. From this graph, I can quickly conclude that West Virginia students have kept pace with the national average, although West Virginia’s math score are consistently lower by a few points. The source for this data is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).

Is the high number of West Virginia students with an IEP due to the low per capita income of West Virginians? To answer this question, we can look at other poor states and determine if they also have a high number of IEP students. Using the data provided by the website infoplease, I was able to determine the four poorest states for 2006. In order of lowest per capita income, they are Mississippi ($27028), West Virginia ($28206), Arkansas ($28206), and Utah ($29406). This data is sourced to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Survey of Current Business. Web:

To obtain information about the number of IEP studnets in these states, I used the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, which gives the desired data for each state. Plotting these data on a bar graph for the four poorest states and the U.S., it is immediately clear that the per capita income has little or no effect on the fraction of students with IEPs. If there was an anticorrelation between income and IEP, we would expect that Mississippi would have a high percentage of IEPs and that there would be a gradual decline between West Virginia and Arkansas. Yet Mississippe is right at the national average and Arkansas and Utah is even below the national average, suggesting that many other higher income states have higher percentage of students in IEP. Thus we can not say that per capita income itself has a direct bearing on the number of IEP students in West Virginia.
I used the Kid's Zone graphing tool to produce the above graphs. I found this online application to be very intuitive and it produced great graphics. It should be easy to introduce to my students and encourage them to use. My procedure for using Kid's Zone was to produce the graph using hand-entered data (I found no feature to allow importing data, but I should research this a little more). When I was finished producing the graph, I saved it as a .jpeg file, and saved it to my PC into my EDUC6305 folder. I then open my new blog entry, presses the Add Image button, and uploaded the files to Blogger, starting with the last graph in the blog first (thus the first graph in the blog was loaded last). Blogger always adds images to the very top of the blog entry, or I have not figured out how to position images within the previously written blog text yet. Note that I always center my image in the blog entry; this prevents the text from being pushed over to the side if the image is small enough to allow it, and most blog use this style anyway. I also opened the Kid's Zone graphs with MS Paint and could manipualted/copy them from there also.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Image Capture of Satellite Collision

For my image capture assignment, I grabbed an image showing the predicted debris from the Feb 10 collision between an Iridium communication satellite and a defunct Russian weather satellite. We have been talking about this event in my Earth Science class lately and I could use this graphic to illustrate some salient points.
After I found a desired graphic on Explorer, I used the Print Screen button on my keyboard to grab the entire image on the monitor. (Note that if you use Alt+Print Screen, you just get an image of the Explorer window.) I then opened Word and pasted (Ctrl V) it to the blank Word document. This is just a storage point so I can regrab it if I mess up. Then I copied and pasted the image to MS Paint. There I used the selection tool to crop just the part of the image I wanted (just the graphic, excluding the windows and Explorer stuff around the edges). I copied and pasted that to a new Paint document. From here I used the paintbrush, eyedropper, pencil, and text tools to modify the graphic for class. Note that the text tool is extremely crude; I had to magnify the text and use pencil tool to clean up the text pixel by pixel. I finally decided that it would be better to use the pencil to write the text I wanted. I used some of the graphic tools to add a crude image of the Moon and labeled it.

The file is a 797 kB bitmap image, that is 597x455 pixels in physcial size. It is a MS Paint file.
Or you can use the GDocs address below.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Solar System 2010 Desktop Graphic

Here is my desktop graphic,
Open and enjoy my specualtion as to the Great Planet Debate in our near future. I will use this graphic in my Earth Science class to illustrate that Pluto does not need to be demoted to a non-planet. We must simply realize that there are different classifications for ALL the planets.

This is a 69KB MS Word.doc file. I grabbed the image from a Google image search. I then copied in into Word since I have no experience using any graphics software. I did look as a couple of freewares, but decided in the interest of time I had to use Word. I added the catagory labels and created black blocks to cover unwanted labels on the original. I then cut, pasted, and saved the image into a new Word.doc file.
Initially I wanted to send it to GDocs via gmail and publish it from GDocs. We need to become more familiar with GDocs since ftp may eventually be fazed out. But in the end, I was not able to get GDocs to open the image with the mods I made, they were appended below the original image. Does anyone know how to get gmail/GDocs to open images correctly??
Finally, I simply sent the .doc image file to ftp and linked my blog to it there.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Narrative concerning Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience

After reading Fadel and Lemke's "Multimodal Learning Through Media: What the Research Says", I wrote my narrative about Dale's Cone of Experience and concluded that the graphic that Dale developed in the 1950s does have merit when taken in the correct context and with an undestanding of what Dale was trying to convey. The above link was established via GDocs, however a graphic I included in the narrative was not save this way. By using ftp, I was able to perserve the graphic within the narrative and its link is given here,

Technology I learned during this exercise: I was not successful in preserving an image in my file.doc file. This image was originally copied from the reading assignment.pdf file. It was successfully incorporated into the file.doc and saved, but was not perserved when I emailed it to Gmail as an attachment. In GDocs, the image is not present, but there is an empty field in its spot. Why does GDocs not perserve the image??? Note, however, by sending the file.doc to my ftp and linking to that location I was able to preserve the graphic. Here ftp has came to the rescue!!!!!!!!! Hooray ftp!!!!!

Later note 2/22/2009, I remembered how to use Blogger upload image button. Graphic must be in .jpeg, .gif, .bmp, .png format (8MB max), so I selected, copied and pasted a image in Word.doc into MS Paint and converted to bitmat.bmp file, then uploaed to Blogger.

So here is Dale's original 1954 Cone of Experience (note no retention %).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Embedding a hyperlink in the blog verbiage

I set my home page to Space A link to it is here. Note this is a test of embedding a hyperlink into the blog verbiage.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Directly Hyperlinking to Fairmont FTP Server

Direct hyperlink of resume supplement from Fairmont ftp to my blog (no Gdocs used here). (NOTE this hyperlink does NOT work, but I use it in the discussion below!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Tonight I am having trouble getting this link to open the Word document, but I suspect there is trouble with the server (I could not use the log in procedure for Explorer 7.0 as suggested by the library and I also noticed that little blank window briefly pop up and then close when I logged onto Blackboard; I think it means Fairmont is having trouble with the system when that little window pops up???). I will try connecting tomorrow.

Tomorrow has arrived (2/5/2009). This is a continuation of yesterday's work. I continued this discussion on the same post so as to maintain a stream of understanding for hypertexting to FTP. I know that 'a different day on the same post' is not the norm, but I felt it would allow me to keep my thoughts together.

I discovered that the link I was trying to use yesterday failed because the file apparently was not successfully saved on the FTP server. I know that it was transferred because I renamed the file at the FTP site (maybe this was a mistake). However it was not on the server today. Maybe the filename was too long!(supplementtoresume.doc ) Is there a length limit for FTP files? Does anyone know the answer?

Today I opened an old CV and renamed it according to the recommendations in EDTech article on FTP. The file name is cvold.doc (a Word document). Following the procedure outlined in EDTech, I created a hyperlink from this blog to the file on the Fairmont FTP server. And it works! Try it.

I also hyperlinked my introductory video stored on the Fairmont FTP to this blog and it also works! I had transferred this file to my FTP when I was uploading it to YouTube, just early practice transferring to FTP.

Just as an experiment, I also created a hyperlink to my old CV by way of ftp:// instead of http:// just to see if I could get it to work. Indeed this also works. You just have to login to the Fairmont FTP server either using your UCA and password or your can login anonymously. Go ahead and try it. Can anyone tell me if there is ever an advantage to using the ftp:// hyperlink?

Past Experience with FTP
We were also asked to give details of our previous experience with FTP if any. Many, many years ago I did do some transferring of huge data files (when disk space was no as cheap as today) and we used FTP on mainframes. I remember that my comprehension of FTP was rudimentary, but it was easy to transfer data files.

Another Web publishing exercise

Today I was thinking about my procedure for saving and publishing my resume to this blog and I was not satisfied with my understanding of publishing to the web. So I decided to try a couple more attempts at creating a doc, saving it, publishing it and linking it to my blog. In the following link, I have created an extremely condensed resume using Gdocs, and the BlueRay template, and the online editor. I saved the finished document, then clicked SHARE, then selected Publish as a web page. Google Docs gave me a link (shown below) and I copied and pasted it to my blogger Dashboard when I created this new post.

Note that Gdoc allows you to post the link to your blog, which I did, but I could not find it on my blogger dashboard. Any comments on that?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Lyle's Resume Hyperlinked

You can see my resume at the following site,
The resume Word document was email to my gmail account at Google as an attachment. I then open the attachment as a Google document. I had to do some editing to restore the format and then I saved it. By hitting the SHARE button, I published it using "Publish as a web page".

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Intro Movie for EDUC6305


Above is my Self Introduction Movie produced using MS PhotoStory3. I really enjoyed learning how PhotoStory works and I found it easy to produce the movie, but my real trouble came when I tried to upload it here and to YouTube and TeacherTube. I was stumbling around in the dark most of the time.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My First Blog Entry

This is my first post. This effort has been motivated by my EDUC 6305 course work. In the last few days, I have been learning the ins and outs of Google mail, Skype, and blogging. I have heard about Gmail and Skype from the Internet before and I have always been simply on the reading end of the many blogs I regularly check.

Below is a test photo of my 2 year old wearing his mother's glasses upside down and grading papers just like daddy.

This is all for now; we have a big snowstorm coming and it may afford me some more time tomorrow to do more research on this fascinating new world that is just opening up for me.