Week 11 Digital Storytelling With Gingerbob

I am beginning this blog with this digital story about Gingerbob – because though it is the newest one it also includes background info about the older digital stories about his character.  As part of the assignment for this weekly blog – I felt I should create a “new” digital story- and since Gingerbob was nearby – I asked him to perform one more time for my camera….


I had created the first story about Gingerbob several years ago.  It was an assignment to build a multimedia presentation that had an educational focus.  My goal was to create an entertaining and interactive experience for children that would allow them to explore the process of decision making.  I was not completely successful at getting the slides to transition smoothly with the resources available to me at the time.  So, when the assignment for this weekly blog included a digital story creation – I eagerly pulled out the old files and started cleaning them up and loading them into a newer version of PowerPoint.

Gingerbob’s story evolved from a combination of concern over copyright – and fond memories of  playing the Candyland game. I remembered its sugary scenery and playful theme.  We had a tradition of decorating gingerbread houses each holiday season –  so I had a wealth of images that worked for some of the scenes.  Gingerbob was a pillow-like toy that had found his way into our seasonal decorations.  He was perfect for the main role.  I started with PowerPoint by building the slides with the pictures and text.  Once the slides were ready – I inserted links on each page that allowed the user to move through the story at their own rate of speed.  Some of the pages had choices that allowed the reader to decide about an issue.  If the choice was incorrect – then they could go back and try again.  I then saved all of the slides as images in PowerPoint.  Then came the tedious job of getting them in some format that would work on the internet.

This original project took many – many hours – and it was a little quirky – and fairly successful.   – But, when I had a chance to try some of the new technology available in Google sites and Google docs – I found the experience much more rewarding!  And since I had the content ready to go – I was able to concentrate on the action and presentation of the story.


This above was the interactive presentation – but, also there is a link to a short video that flips through the slides and gives an overview of the presentation.  This was done in PhotoStory.  I found the music on musopen.org.


Gingerbob’s second epic feature was about his darker side.  I worked on “Gingerbob’s Life” while I tried to avoid doing my research paper for a course several semesters ago.  I eventually got the research paper done – and, the story was fun.


There are so many great things about digital storytelling and its role in education. Events come alive and there is a richness that engages the senses of a learner in a different way then reading text.  Here is a video that tells the story of the “Orphan Trains” that I made for a course – thank goodness we had a train garden in our back yard –


Transformative Enough?

Last spring I had a chance to watch a video of Renee Hobbs’ session on copyright. It was quite an eye opener and incredibly empowering.

So when I needed to create a multimodal assignment for a class I took over summer session – I approached my selection of images and video with a slightly different focus then I would have before.  I enthusiastically worked with a variety of medium and submitted the following link:


I cited, and quoted, and referenced diligently – but, I am to this moment still a little uneasy about all of the images and video I used to create it. Even after reviewing the resources for this week’s session (and that includes re-watching Renee) – I still am not sure I shouldn’t go back and revisit the work I did on this project.

My goal was to be “creative, innovative and to spread knowledge” – but, was I “transformative” enough?

I would like to be comfortable using copyrighted materials – but, it’s hard to get past the anxiety of breaking copyright law.  A recent post by Tanya Roscorla, “Why Schools Aren’t Safe Harbors for Copyright Infringement” seems to give just cause for my fears.


I hope to spend time reviewing what my classmates contribute to this session’s topic –

A Very Deceiving Night

When I was in middle school – we were shown a movie about Donald Duck and fractions.  From that entire year of school, that Disney film is the only memory I have retained.  I always wondered what it was about that experience that made it stay in my memory – even decades later – while everything else that occurred in those months was forgotten.

That question played a major role in my decision to start graduate school.  I wanted to find out how people learn.  I wanted to understand how technology can support that learning?


I think that videos can introduce a student to a topic at a different level than a lecture or reading text.

For example – I saw a documentary on the National Geographic Channel – Called “A Very Deceiving Night”.  It was about the Titanic – but, it was centered around the research by Tim Maltin and his work to solve the ultimate mystery of the tragedy.


For a hundred years the world has asked how this ship, a magnificent creation of the most technologically advanced design and construction of its time, could end up torn and scattered at the bottom of the sea on its maiden voyage.  The loss of life was unimaginable.  1500 people died that night.

The video was so well crafted that I was immediately part of the drama and mystery of the event.  I wanted to know how this could have occurred.  And so I read Tim Maltin’s book.  I don’t generally spend time reading books that are about the sea, the Gulf Stream, or how light bends across the horizon – but, I was drawn into it, and immediately read every page.  I was fascinated with the roles of refraction and temperature.

I could not resist the enthusiasm and focus of this Researcher, Tim Maltin.  I was inspired by his determination to find the scientific answers to these questions.

The fact is that the video impressed me so much – I wanted to learn more –  and so I read the book on my own.  I continued to seek out more documentaries and writings about the topic.  This for me is an example of how video can engage a student in a topic, and inspire the student to continue to explore and learn on their own.  I feel that this represents an example of how technology can facilitate learning in an authentic way.

Week 7 – I Have Always Wanted to Learn How to Make a Video Game

I have always wanted to learn how to make a video game.  I don’t have a deadline – but, I would like to make consistent progress towards that goal.

I have quite a collection of books on this topic – including What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and literacy by James Gee, Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling by Chris Crawford, Digital Storytelling: a creator’s guide to interactive entertainment by Carolyn Miller, and the Gamification of Learning and Instruction: Game-based methods and strategies for training and education by Karl Kapp.  I have many others.  I want to read these books – but, with school, and work, and life – I am lucky if I get to read a few chapters in them before they end up back on my shelf.

I have read about it online – in articles such as “5 Teaching Tips for Professors—From Video Games” by Jeffrey R. Young featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education.


I spent time exploring sites whose focus is on how the creation of video games supports learning at sites such as Globaloria and the World Wide Workshop.


From sites like this I found people that I wanted to hear more from such as Idet Harel Caperton who founded the World Wide Workshop for Children’s Media Technology & Learning.

I am interested in Kurt Squire’s work and writings on this topic and his web page has links to many of his activities that connect video games to learning.


Mark Overmars developed software that allows someone like me to create games that are really neat.  It is called Game Maker and you can really learn a lot by using his book, The Game Maker’s Apprentice that he wrote with Jacob Habgood.  This walks you through tutorials that are awesome and fun. I was able to complete a couple of chapters before life took over once more and – I dearly want to go back and try some more.


The Game Maker is showcased and at this site and has quite a community of enthusiasts. It is located at:


I sometimes feel discouraged that this interest must always be put aside while I rush through my day barely meeting my obligations to work, studies, and the realities of daily living.  But, someday – I would like to commit time to learning more about video games and how they can facilitate learning.  I want to read these books, follow the communities that these people are involved with, and learn how to make video games.

Week 8 – Movers and Shakers

There are some things I like about an LMS.  It’s predictable – mostly stable and dependable – and it can support the administrative tasks pretty well.  It’s convenient.  It does a job.

In order to thrive or even just survive, institutions of higher learning need to gain the ranking and stamp of approval of key organizations. They must document that their curriculum are tieds to concepts that are listed and to prove that they are meeting certain standards.  How better to collect and organize this kind of information then with data based platforms that track everything.

Technology continues to present new opportunities for students to become creators of content rather than just consumers.  Advances in social media resources allow the development of communities of learners – and now all of these resources are available 24/7 on our cell phones.

I think that the way that our Instructor for this Social Networking course has set up the three web-based sites to support the learning goals is the way to go.  The right tool for the right job seems to be the answer – If you need security and/or statistics use the LMS.  If you are trying to get your students to create and explore – open a site in wordpress.



What are the implications of “going Edupunk” with learners?

Learners who “go Edupunk” – are life wide and lifelong learners.  They are autonomous. These learners are destined to be active in learning communities and actively create content to share with the world.  They are the “movers and shakers”.


Week 6 – What Is Showing…

When I first put my About.me page up I used a picture of a flower that  I had snapped in my garden on my way to work one day. The rose filled the card.  There was a spikey green part of the flower that went right through the middle of the image. The image dominated the screen and I feel like it was distracting and too busy.

First Image

I put the image into powerpoint and played around with the angle and placement on the slide.  I tried to lose the spikey green thing in the middle of the screen.

Working in PowerPoint

I then used some of the options on the tool bar to blur the background to make the image softer and hopefully fade into the background.

I worked a little with the font size and ended up with a different look.

My Aboutme page

I think I need to do something different with my picture too – but, haven’t come up with any new ideas.


I went to my wordpress site made a similar switch out with the same image. But, I used the stage before I blurred the background. This made it a little crisper and I thought this would work as the image is only a strip across the top.  I liked the feature that let me choose the portion of the picture that I wanted to show.

Using the same image in blog site


Week 5 – Getting The Party Started!

I started to look around for a professional association to examine for the week five assignment.  I am very interested in the area of  Instructional Design – so I found the Association for Instructional Design site:


It seemed a little intense – but, I found the link where they recommend a list of their favorite blogs.  They include what the blogger’s main interest is and why they like the site.  I cruised through the list of 50 or more and pulled out five of them that I found most interesting.  They are listed below.  I went to each blog and lurked around reading and checking out links on the pages.  If I got a good feeling about the conversations – I kept them on the list.  In cases where the link was dead – or the person’s direction did not feel like a good match for my interests – I deleted them from my list and went back to pick out another one form the Association’s recommendations.  I ended up with the five here and subscribed to receive each of their blogs via email.

Meanwhile – I had wandered onto a blog that was not listed on this Association’s favorite blog list – but, I was so fascinated by the topics that were covered – that I found myself spending hours reading through all the stuff the author, “Tom Kulhmann” had put forward about being an Instructional Designer.  He had a seemingly endless array of tricks and tips, and links to instructions and videos on how he had done things.  Some of the posts went back quite a few years – so there was a lot to choose from.

After awhile I started reading what his followers were talking about – and I began to feel excitement about the conversations they were having with each other.  It reminds me of the class discussions we have in the forums of our classes at UD.  It made me think about how I felt when after watching the video of Mat’s chat with Laura Gibbs – I had sent a Thank you comment to her – and was stunned when she answered me!  It occurred to me that we could actually have a conversation at some point.

I guess when I started this week’s assignment – I was finding the links and the conversations – but, it was like being at a party where you don’t really know anyone and they aren’t talking about stuff you feel you can contribute to.  But, when I stumbled upon “Tom Kuhlmann’s” blog:


I felt engaged with the topics.  I became more and more eager to read the next post.  I found myself interested in what the conversation was and look forward to joining in.  I guess this is what social networking is all about!  It’s got to be a party that you want to be at to be truly rewarding.

Sorry it took all these words to get to this point – I guess sometimes it’s that kind of a journey.  I look forward to reading the other sites’ blogs as they come in – and hope that some of them prove to be as interesting as the one I am following.

#1  http://elearningtech.blogspot.com/

What the Association said about it:

“eLearning Technology: eLearning Technology is written by Tony Karrer, an expert on the subject of eLearning and how technology can affect education. The blog contains information on topics such as low-cost quiz tools and how to hold effective web conferences.    Why We Love It: The blog’s posts are detailed, and the information in them is highly useful. The blog is also updated frequently.

    Favorite Post: Low-Cost Test and Quiz Tool Comparison: eLearning Technology”

#2  http://usablelearning.wordpress.com/

What the Association said about it:

“The Usable Learning Blog: The Usable Learning Blog is a great resource for instructional designers. It has a very clean and readable format, and it includes posts ranging from how learning games relate to movies and sports to how there is a pay gap in e-learning.     Why We Love It: The blog is fun to read—besides being extremely instructive, the posts are written well and formatted nicely, and are often accompanied by great pictures and illustrations.     Favorite Post: Fraught Decisions”

#3  http://blog.thewritersgateway.com/

What the Association said about it:

“The Writers Gateway: This informative blog packs a wealth of information into its posts, covering everything from how to use software tutorials effectively to how augmented reality games are the future of learning. It is a great resource for instructional designers.     Why We Love It: The blog doesn’t have a fancy format, but it utilizes its simplicity to great effect and has a great variety of useful advice and information.     Favorite Post:Introduction to the Instructor Led Training Toolkit”

#4  http://angelaathomas.com/

What the Association said about it:

“Angela A Thomas: This blog, written by a lecturer in English & arts education, includes fascinating posts on how virtual worlds affect learning and literature. It is a great read for anybody interested in instructional design.”

#5  http://blog.avantgame.com/

What the Association said about it:

“Avant Game: This blog, written by a game designer and researcher, looks at how gaming and game technologies are shaping education, learning, and society in general.”

This adventure took me to : Gameful


It looks like a lot of fun – but, it does not look like my niche.  I do like the focus – on games for good.

Week 4: The Right Tool for the Right Job

I have to admit as the list of social media sites I have accounts with grew these last few weeks, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There seemed to be a lot of people to keep track of and my little book of passwords was filling fast.  But, what a relief to start the activities in Week 4 and find there is some hope of making use of all of these innovative tools in a sane manner.

Hootsuite was awesome – I love to see the columns so nicely organizing my social information – and it is all in one place!  I really look forward to using that one.  I was thrilled with Dropbox – and am already using it for my school work and pictures.  Peace of mind – yes, wonderful peace of mind.  No more sinking feeling when I realize as I arrive in class, that I left my jump drive full of assignments in the computer at home.

I liked the Aboutme site and promptly shared it with everyone I knew.  I am intrigued by the possibilities for Netvibes for future projects.  I worked for a while with the iftt.com and managed a “recipe” or two – I have promised myself some time to revisit this effort – I feel there is potential there for its usefulness.  I haven’t yet found a strong reason to use Twitter – though when I heard some of the Tweets circulating after a certain political event this last week – I could see where they would be amusing.

For me the most exciting part of this experience was bringing most of these services to my cell phone.  This made me feel like I am connected to my work, and school, and home in a very personal way that did not seem possible before.  Everything now is accessible from where ever I am – surprisingly – this gave me a sense of relief.  I feel like the different parts of my existence are connected – and the different roles of my life are not so scattered and unrelated to each other.

It also helped when our Instructor demonstrated that the different services were just that – services. Tools that served a purpose.  And that there was no mystery – it was about using the right tool for the right job.  So it became a matter of figuring out what my goals were and then choosing the best tool to accomplish this.  The fact that these tools can now be connected is powerful for me.  And when I have access to them when it suits me – It also feels like I am controlling when and what I access.  This is better then the anxious rush to check for notifications as soon as I get home – or as soon as I get to work.

In the context of the internet, I understand aggregation to be the process of collecting automatically all available information on the basis of key words.  Curation is also the collecting of material that has a particular focus – but, it is done more intuitively and with other factors besides the bare keywords to guide the process.

There seems to be a community that finds reason to argue the rightness of both of these but, as pointed out by Matthew Ingram at the link below, “These efforts may be well-intentioned, but they are misguided and likely doomed—as virtually every attempt to control the Internet has proven. “ I hope this is true.


At this link I found a very comprehensive discussion of the concept of curating that included Rohit Bhargave’s “five models of curation” – well worth looking at.  His descriptions reminded me that the audience and goals of any search (or research) determine what the method is that is used to retrieve it and to manage it.  The right tool for the right job!



The Web

There are dangers for anyone using the web.  But, the web is a little like driving an automobile.  It is pretty much an essential skill to be able to drive a car these days and so is knowing how to use the web.  Few would think it is a good idea to put a ten year old behind the wheel and ask them to drive off alone into the sunset – and so it goes with anyone’s introduction to the web.  Guidance and supervision are essential at any age.

The opportunities that the web offers to instructors to support student learning are rich and powerful.  The volume of resources that instructors and other experts have been able to create and share on every topic is growing every day.  And this content is open and available on the web.  Technology that supports the creation of curriculums where students engage in new ways with the material are transforming the classroom experience for many – such as in the “flipped Classroom” scenario supported by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie.


This course is bringing my attention to the importance of a student’s digital footprint.  I thought the video about the young man in an interview while his Facebook account sabotaged his chances of being considered, is clear about what students need to consider as they negotiate the web.  Students are being encouraged to create an online presence with eportfolios and collaborate with peers and experts with social media more and more each day.  As they transition from content consumers into content creators they may require guidance and information about just how public, and long term the content is that they create for the web.


I struggle with social media because it is so public and so immediate.  I need to time to think before I interface with the world.  I give new meaning to the term “time to gather your thoughts”.  When I am using social media on the web the content seems to come from all directions at once, and the technology itself is constantly changing.  But, of course it is because of these very characteristics that the web is such a powerful instrument for learning.  The global aspect, the immediacy, the amount of content, and the constant evolution of technology combine to create great potential for the web to support education.  I recognize that if I want to facilitate student’s creation of an online presence then I must understand what it means to create one myself.

Where I work I am “on” email the entire day.  People expect to be answered as if they were standing in the room speaking at my desk.   When I have days like that, by the time I get home, I really don’t want to interface with people in that way.  But, sometimes I have to because it is the only way I have to communicate with many of the people that I care about.  I learned to text because it is the best way to get an immediate response from anyone and everyone I know.  I lurk on Facebook because I stalk my Son.  And I am determined to feel comfortable with social media because I feel that this is an essential 21st century skill.  It is a skill set that I believe allows students to be life wide and life long learners.

Eportfolios As Multipurpose

There are different reasons students create an eportfolio.  They may aid in the assessment process that indicates to the instructor that students have completed the requirements of a course or program .  Another purpose may be to showcase the students’ accomplishments to instructors or potential employers.

The eportfolio also has the potential to support students’ learning in other ways.  When a student creates the artifacts and reflects upon these in the eportfolio, this makes their understanding of the material visible to the instructor.  This visibility allows the instructor to see where the student may need feedback that will support their efforts to master the material.

This visibility also allows the student to look back on previous work and reflections they have created and see the progress of their own learning.  This has the potential to contribute to their understanding of how they learn.  This is a very important as the student works towards monitoring their own strengths and weaknesses as they continue to work towards their academic goals.

There are other positive aspects of using eportfolios in a program.  I am collecting information about how other programs approach the use of eportfolios for their students and found that Virginia Tech has quite an interesting perspective.