Research Writing Cafe
The Research Writing Cafe website was developed in Spring 2005 with three other members of my Educational Technology program. Firstly we identified an educational problem: That middle schoolers were having difficulty understanding how to write their first research papers. Secondly, we created a way to address this problem, through the creation of the "Research Writing Cafe" website. As our group discussed our vision for the website, we wanted it to be something that a teacher could use with their students during a research writing unit. My contribution included taking the various resources that our group produced and making them all coherant in a website that would appeal to middle-school students. Overall, I’m happy with the simple but “fun” design of the site.
In Spring 2006, I revisited the Research Writing Cafe to redesign the "Hamburger Helper", a model of a five-paragraph essay, into an interactive Flash animation.
This project was my first collaborative effort in my Educational Technology program, and I consider it the best out of the three collaborative efforts. The Research Writing Cafe website demonstrates my ability to work with others to design and implement an educational project that came forth through creative brainstorming and a shared vision of what we wanted the website to accomplish. This also demonstrates my ability to design, develop, and deliver lessons in technology based learning environments. Because I revisited this project in order to transform the "Hamburger Helper" from a interactive PowerPoint into an interactive Flash animation, I think the project also shows my ability and interest in improving upon my original work.
Mean, Median and Mode: Using Excel in 6th Grade Math
In this group project of Fall 2005, a middle-school teacher revised her lesson plan teaching the mathematic concepts of mean, median, and mode to include the use of Excel. My part in the project was to design the website which documented the project. Our reflections on the success of the project can be found on the website itself. Using SnagIt, a screen capture tool, I took images of the students Excel spreadsheets to place on the documentation website.
My part in this project was a pretty standard task for me, as I felt I had already become proficient in web design. However, I did stretch my learning with creating the graphics used in the website to give the website more interest, even though it was not a requirement of the project.
iPod Awareness for Parents
In the Spring 2006, I collaborated with one other student to address an unusual "educational problem," that parents did not often understand the technologies their children used in acquiring songs and videos for their iPods. After we did research on the web and found that there was no fool-proof way for parents to set up an automated filter for inappropriate material, we believed that our best tact was to simply inform parents of how their children may access inappropriate or illegal material. We created an educational video for parents to give them an introduction to iTunes, parental controls/download blocking, and peer-to-peer networks. I utilized Camtasia, a screen capturing program, to create the sceenshots used in the film, and imported it into the footage of interviews with parents. I had a difficult time getting the movie to stream properly on the internet, and I finally settled on a Windows Media file for streaming. I would have liked to get feedback from parents who watched the video whether they found the video helpful, but the semester ended sooner than we could give it for others to view.
Although I had worked with video before in the Mary Read project, this was the first time I had used Camtasia in a project. I took what I knew of film-editing from previous experience and applied it to this new project with an increased level of sophistication. This film project required me to write a storyboard; any video project with narration requires that you think about how to clearly, verbally communicate key information. As both myself and my project partner came to the project with more questions than answers, we engaged in team-learning to share information from our research, discuss it, and organize that information into an educational video.