Sunday, February 20, 2011

Week 6 Digital Professional Porfolio Post and Link

I spent quite a bit of time on this assignment.  It almost gave me as much difficulty as the podcast I created earlier in the semester.  However, even though I had some difficulty at times with this assignment it was a good learning experience.  I really needed to develop a professional portfolio online.  I feel I have a good "work in progress" digital professional portfolio.  I will continue to edit and make changes to my portfolio this week to further tailor it to my individuality.  Below is my digital professional portfolio link.

Week 6 Blog Post- Plaxo vs. LinkeIn vs. personal websites

Week 6 Assignment: Create a blog post comparing and contrasting various online professional portfolio sites. (e.g. Plaxo, LinkeIn, personal websites).

     After having the opportunity to explore Plaxo and LinkedIn for the first time, I experienced their usefulness as professional networking tools.  One area of weakness I have in the field of education is that I have not kept a fresh and current professional portfolio that is attractive to potential employers.  This week’s assignments in our class made me reflect on how I can begin solidifying a more robust professional portfolio that truly captures my skill set and individuality.
     I felt Plaxo is a great networking Web 2.0 tool.  It was relatively easy for me to set up a Plaxo account and import all of my address from other sources.  The feature I like the most is the fact that you have an address book that you have at your disposal anytime and anywhere.  In the past, I have made an Excel spreadsheet address book list on my computer or utilized my cell phone.  I will definitely be using the Plaxo account to keep myself organized and up-to-date with my contacts, especially professionally.  I feel Plaxo is a great professional tool for networking with your existing base of contacts and also to utilize with potential employers.
     With that said, I felt LinkedIn was more useful for me than Plaxo.  I see more utility and benefits with using LinkedIn.  I like that LinkedIn is a business-oriented social networking site.  When I set up my account and began utilizing its features I noticed a more professional feel than other social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.  I liked the fact that I can keep a list of contact details of people I know, which LinkedIn calls connections.  I still need to add a summary, specialties, and attach my resume to my account, but it is a very user-friendly professional portfolio tool.  Another feature I like is that I can use LinkedIn to find jobs and contacts from people in my contact network.  It seems that LinkedIn has a lot of online traffic, which includes workers and employers.  This is great as it saves both parties a lot of time and effort in developing contact.
     While Plaxo and LinkedIn are useful as professional networking tools, I feel the personal website is the most effective method of promoting a professional portfolio.  Foremost, I feel a personal website allows you to tailor and share more about your past professional experiences and the skills you possess that an employer covets.  My professional portfolio website will have artifacts, a current resume, my educational philosophy, and other professional components that allow networking contacts to get a well-rounded idea of who I am.  Secondly, by creating a professional personal website it is easy to link it to other social media tools.  You can even link your personal website to your school website.  I have begun creating my Google professional web site,  and it will be a great tool to market myself.  It will be an effective way to keep my professional portfolio current and easily accessible to contacts and potential employers.
     The drawback to all three of these methods of professional portfolio is that they have their limitations.  A person can maintain a strong network and highlight their talents and skills on these sites, but ultimately you need to have real, in-person communication skills as well.  Everything that a person utilizes with Web 2.0 tools in regard to their professional portfolio should be considered tools to develop contact.  I think we have to keep in mind that maintaining direct in person contact is important, too.  As a professional you will need to have excellent communication skills when you meet network contacts for opportunities and interview with prospective employers.  With that said, all three of these methods are great to add to a person’s arsenal of professional networking tools.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Week 5 Assignment Image Generators Blog Post

I had a lot of fun playing around with some of the image generator websites.  I thought and were the easiest for me.  I think these image generators can possibly be used in the classroom for a creative homework or classwork assignment tied in with sports and physical education.   As long as teachers and students keep it in good taste and appropriate, these image generators can be a lot of fun for everyone.  Embedded below are some of the images I made.

Here is one of my letter james images I generated.

Here is a magazine cover image generator I made.

I haven't been to back to Las Vegas in three years.  Maybe I will get a nice welcome back sign like this when I come back.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week 5 KIN 710-Library Things Post

      I felt Library Thing was a useful site after exploring it.  It was user-friendly as far as the process of searching for and finding books you like.  I will mostly utilize this site to catalog and organize my books that I already own.  In addition, I like the fact that I can add books that I don’t own or haven’t read yet.
During my exploratory process I was able to find a book I’d been trying to search for.  I remembered part of the title, Path Glory and I was able to get the information of the real title and information.  The actual title was Paths to Glory by Humphrey Cobb.  I was also able to find a John Wooden book about his life and coaching titled, They Call Me Coach.  
     I tried going through the free books you can get from the authors who have released free advance copies of their books in exchange for early book reviews.  I didn’t really see anything that piqued my interest among February’s new releases.  Maybe when I have more time to sift through the free books list I can find a book that I can read and provide a review for on the site.
     Overall, this isn’t a bad Web 2.0 tool.  Instead of me cataloging my personal library on a spreadsheet on my home computer I can utilize this site where I will have access to it from anywhere.  

Here is my Library Things books catalog

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Week 4 Assignment- Is delicious?

     After exploring I feel this Web 2.0 tool can be an effective social bookmarking tool.  I really liked the feature of creating a bookmark that provides access from anywhere.  This saves time and effort in trying to remember website's address.  It has some similar user friendly features as RSS aggregators in that you have everything in one place that you have access to.

     As far as using this for research assistance, I feel there are better ways to gather resources.  Maybe there is some merit with having your students utilize to gather information from websites you have bookmarked from home and shared with them.  I think this would be more of a tool I would use for personal use than at school.


Week 4 Assignment Podcast Search Engines: Create a Blog Post About Your Discovery Process.

Week 4 Assignment Podcast Search Engines
Create a blog post about your discovery process.  Did you find anything useful here?

     I explored the Podcast Alley ( and it was great that there were free podcasts available on here.  There were several genres of podcasts available and I typed in a search under fitness.  I found a series of workout titled “Flex for Workout” by David Greenwall of Basically, it is a podcast personal trainer.  David Greenwall takes you through a gym workout as you listen to the podcast.  All you have to do is be in a gym or have weights at home to do the exercises.  You simply listen to the podcast and do several sets of various exercises with varying frequency, intensity, and time.  This podcast series offers about 12 different workouts along with some discussion podcasts on health and fitness.  It is a great podcast that is free and provides someone to motivate you without them being physically there in the gym with you.  I added these workouts as an RSS feed on my bloglines account.  Also, I am going to sync this podcast to my MP3 player and test it out for myself when I go to the gym.

     This experience led me to decide to explore my recently downloaded iTunes on my computer and my account I have with them.  I had always had a Zune Mp3 player and never used Apple audio.  I explored their podcast library and discovered some free audio podcasts that I really liked.  There were some great exercise related podcasts available.  I added the RSS feed for the podcast titled, "Smart Fitness Coach", to my bloglines account.  This podcast discusses proper mindset, nutrition, and exercise strategies with trainer Scott Iardella as the host.  After listening to his podcasts I was able to get his website, which is really a useful resource for exercise tips.  He has some great podcasts on kettle bell training, which I am becoming a proponent of as a good functional exercise.   I liked his podcast SFC Episode 006 titled, “The #1 Most Effective Exercise You can Do” so much that I took some notes.  Below are my notes: 

What is the #1 Most Effective Exercise You Can do in the Gym
Answer is the Kettle bell Swing
-performing a kettlebell swing with appropriate technique is a very effective overall exercise

-6 Key Points
1.) Provides for cardiovascular endurance
2.) Provides for muscle strengthening endurance
3.) Strengthens and develops the anterior and posterior muscle groups
4.) Significantly improves muscle flexibility
5.) Builds an amazingly strong back and shoulder muscles and prevents lower back injuries
6.) The kettle bell swing can apply to anybody.  It has a role for just about anybody.  People of any age and ability can reap the benefits from the kettle bell swing exercise.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Week 4 Blog Post-You Tube Create a blog post about your experience with You Tube. What do you like or dislike about the site and why did you choose the video that you did?

     I have experience utilizing You Tube as an educational tool, as well as for my personal use.  I decided to include another You Tube video of how I have used it as an educational tool.  I embedded a You Tube video of my Science Bowl Club team I sponsored and coached last year.  The school district I teach for, Prince George’s County Public Schools, utilized You Tube as a way to share and promote our burgeoning Science Bowl and S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program.  All of the district television produced Science Bowl competitions were added to You Tube.  Not only did this highlight our students’ science skills, but it gave other students from our district and around the world a chance to watch and learn Science Trivia and concepts.  I used the You Tube video of some of the Science Bowl competitions as an educational tool.  Since it is a Jeopardy-like game format I had my students use sticky notes to write down answers and see how many questions they could answer correctly.  They were really motivated and excited to see if they could one day get in the competition.

     In regard to my personal use outside of teaching, I use You Tube for help in exercise techniques and proper form.  I am an avid weightlifter and love working out.   I chose the Kettle bell swing video with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins because it is a prime example of how I utilize You Tube to learn how to correctly perform an exercise.  I like how I can replay and pause the video at key junctures to learn a technique.  It is beneficial to have the ability to view the video multiple times to help me in visualizing how I can perform the exercise correctly.  I also like how You Tube provides similar videos to the right side of they video you are currently viewing.  Often times, I find great video clips from the suggested links that are even better than the one I searched for originally.  This can lead me to spending more time than I originally planned exploring video clips of exercises.  Honestly, it is one of the aspects of the Internet 2.0 that I really enjoy.

     One idea I am exploring is using You Tube as a way to tutor students.  If I could capture video clips of how to do math skills it would help my elementary students tremendously.  In the area of Physical Education, I would like to provide video of proper form and technique for motor skills and sport specific movements in team sports like basketball and tennis.  Then I could provide a hyperlink on the school website where I work to share it with students.  I feel students really gravitate to You Tube.  Like many members of our cohort have mentioned in previous discussions, as educators we need to meet our students in the Web 2.0 technologies that they embrace.  It will make a better connection between students and teachers, and help bridge a richer learning environment where students have more autonomy and freedom.

     The only drawback to You Tube is that there is junk video on there, too.  I think some adults view You Tube negatively as a site where people try to become famous or use it for humor.  While I do enjoy watching some of the ridiculous and funny video clips, I think You Tube gets a bad rap and many people dismiss its educational merit.  Personally, I feel You Tube can be a very powerful educational tool that educators can utilize in their teaching arsenal.  Students use You Tube on a daily basis, so it makes sense that we as teachers learn to use it as a supplementary resource.  The key is to view You Tube video clips beforehand to evaluate their merit and decency.  You don’t want to just see the title or subject of the video and show it to students as this can lead to a possibly embarrassing situation of inappropriate content being shown.  Overall, I am a proponent of using You Tube as an educational tool.  It is a great way for teachers to connect with students’ visual, spatial learning style/modalities.

Embedded below is a You Tube video of the Vansville Elementary Science Bowl Team I sponsored and coached last school year 2009-2010.  I actually get a very short cameo appearance at the end of the video when the host, Dave Zahren, introduces all the team members and coaches of the teams.  So now I am officially on You Tube, which is neat.