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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Tool 5- Web 2.0

I have enjoyed working with many of the Web 2.0 applications.  I have used Animoto many times for presentations and celebrations.  I decided to choose two that I was unfamiliar with- the first is Make Beliefs Comix.  In my work, I'm not sure how much I could use a comic strip, other than to add levity and to generate interest in different counseling and college topics.  The comic strip I created was about FAFSA.

One difficulty I had was that the comic strip is not saved, and I accidentally navigated away from the page after completing it the first time, and had to re-create it.  Also, I would prefer to have the image imbedded in my blog, but since you can't save the image, I only know to add the link.

Second, I worked in Mixbook.  This looks to be a great way to advertise things like college field trips and other events.  The mistake I made was to download a huge number of photos all at once, which made the download time very long.  Unfortunately, I could not delete any photos or move on until all were uploaded. So waiting....

I had a lot of difficulty uploading the mixbook into my blog- in fact, I could not manage to upload it into the body of the blog at all- after watching the help video about 5 times and working on just that one piece for over an hour.  I finally gave up and just uploaded it to to the top of my blog...the best I can do.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tool 4- In the Clouds

My exposure to Google Docs has been somewhat limited.  I've had documents shared, but I had not created a document until working on Tool 4.  I decided to create a survey we could use with parents and students who come in for a tour, something our team had already discussed.  I was surprised at how easy it was to work with the program, and was able to easily create survey.  One difficulty I had was that when I shared the survey with my team, what opened was the spreadsheet showing the results of the survey, not the form itself.  I then sent the survey to them for them to see, and then also sent directions on how to get to the form from the spreadsheet.  That part seemed a bit cumbersome.

I also created a fun survey to share with my 2 co-workers who are also completing 11 Tools.  I'm looking forward to getting the results of their surveys!

I am very interested in using the Google Form with students.  Each year we conduct a senior survey, that has traditionally been on paper.  I will make it a goal to try to complete the survey electronically this year.  Additionally, I think using a blog might be a good way to get information to students about scholarships, events, and deadlines.  I would also like to spend more time with Picasa to see how this might be helpful in working with pictures I've taken at Westchester.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Tool 3: Videos and Images

1.  As I checked out the various sites, You Tube seemed to have the most resources connected to Guidance and Counseling.  In the past, we've used You Tube videos in advisory lessons focusing on bullying and teen dating violence.  As I searched different topics connected to my work, I was surprised to see so many different kinds of videos that would be good for additional advisory topics, as well as student and parent presentations.  When checking out Teacher Tube, I wondered if that might be a better way to distribute our morning announcements.  That way, teachers would have the flexibility to show announcements at the time that best fits in the class, rather than always at the same time each day.  Additionally, students who miss announcements might have the opportunity to watch them at a later time.

2.  Here are a couple of the videos I found that I believe would be useful to use in student and parent presentations.  This first one is a bit long, so using the tools to edit parts would be best in order to focus on the specific topic at hand. 

I also searched for videos connected to financial aid and FAFSA, something our seniors are currently working on.  I wanted to make sure the videos were produced by reputable organizations, so that eliminated a large number.  Additionally, I wanted the information to be current.  The video below is a fair description of financial aid- unfortunately, I did not find one that is super engaging, up to date, and accurate.

3.  As far as copyright and fair use policies, I've always just assumed you could not use materials that did not belong to you .  I was surprised to read the summary that within a secure posting, anything goes, so to speak.  I was not aware that there were specific guidelines for educators, and did not know that some exceptions existed for education that are not allowed for the general public.  I found the "Exceptions for Educators" tool very useful with its real life examples.

4.  I'm very excited to know about Dropbox!  For years, I have been emailing documents to me at home if I needed to work on something on the weekend or in the evening.  Dropbox will keep me from having to do that.  I not only loaded it onto my work computer, but have also loaded it onto my personal computer.  I also anticipate this being a great way to save our school recruitment presentations.  Currently, they are saved on the server.  However, if we ever have issues accessing the server, we can also have them available on the internet.  I'm also eager to work with Picasa.  I take lots of photos at work, but download them on my home computer.  Picasa will allow me to have access to the pictures at work without having to burn a disc or email them.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tool 2: Building Community

As a counselor and just in general, I much prefer face to face, or, at the very least, voice to voice, conversation.  The idea of building community electronically is foreign to me.  My experiences with Facebook are limited, email is a chore, and I hate to text!  Stepping into the world of blogging is huge, and a bit intimidating.  I really resonated with the statistic that 90% of online community users are lurkers- I definitely fall into that category!  But, here goes!  I enjoyed checking out the other blogs in our community, and tried to make an original comment on the blogs I read.  Knowing that those comments are available for all to see definitely caused me to think twice about what I was writing, and to double-check spelling and grammar!  I'm hopeful that as I progress through the 11 Tools, I will become more comfortable with the idea of an electronic community.

In searching for blogs connected to my role as a high school http://hscounselorweek.com/counselor, I came across a couple of interesting sites that I believe will be helpful to me in my profession.   High School Counselor Week- http://hscounselorweek.com/ collects resources from a variety of different blogs and websites and reposts them here for quick access. It mostly focuses on content regarding finding, applying and appealing to the right college, which is a main focus of my work.  Admitted-http://www.nacacnet.org/PublicationsResources/Admitted/default.aspx- the blog for NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling), an organization to which I belong, will also be a great source of information about the college admissions process.

Overall, I think completing the 11 Tools will stretch me and show me ways to use technology to not only connect with other education professionals, but also to connect with my students.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tool 1- Creating a Blog

Wow!  That was easy!  No trouble at all creating a blog and an Avatar!