Search This Blog

Friday, December 17, 2010

Plea for a Grade

I have to admit, when I have to do a reflective essay or write to the professor(s) at the end of the semester, it feels like I'm pleading for a grade. It's almost as if all I'm doing is trying to justify why the teacher should give me an A. Do I like doing this... not really. The problem with these kind of assignments is that I can be extremely rough on how I would grade myself. And, especially in this Digital Civilization class, I would have a hard time judging what grade I should receive when I compare myself to other students in the class, mostly because the posts of all the students in the class have been so different from each other.

However, reflect I must, and reflect I will do.
I did my best in this class. I spent as much time on it as I possibly could. I did the required reading for each class period. I kept up on all the blog posts we were supposed to do. I focused on my own self-directed learning and learned many tools to help me Consume, including Google Reader, IceRocket blog search, and other searches like Curriki. As I used the many different tools that I learned for Consuming, I learned how to tie in History into the world of today. I have never been able to do that in a history class before. The self-directed learning of this class was wonderful! Because of it, I actually enjoyed learning history, which has never happened before. With the assigned readings, and my own studying, I learned more about, and will be retaining more information about, the historical content of this class.
The computing concepts that we learned in class were wonderful to learn as well, because they are concepts that are important in our day and age, and that tie history to the Digital World we live in today. With the computing concepts, I have learned many new ways of creating content on the web, and many new ways of connecting through the internet.
Now, as far as the class event went, I thought it was great! I thought there were a lot of people there who benefitted from the things shared. As for my contributions...I WORKED HARD! Dr. Zappala and Dr. Burton said that I should try to do more digital literacy labs, and with my group doing Backpack 2.0, that came extremely naturally. The Wiki site was definitely spearheaded by me, and I was able to contribute to every part of the Backpack 2.0 project. (Just check out my blogs about the project updates: This one, or That One)

In all honesty, I worked really hard on this class. Out of all my classes, I devoted the most time to this class. I loved this class! I wish it was going to be offered again to give others the chance to take it. I believe that I did the very best I could. It might not have been as incredible as some of the other students, but for the time available, and the time I devoted to this class, I truly gave it my best. So, what do I think I deserve? In all honesty...
Or just an A will do :-) Thanks so much Dr. Burton and Dr. Zappala! This class was awesome.

P.S. The things I have learned in this class will continue to be useful for the rest of my life. I hope to do more research in the future on how these digital tools and the things we have learned online can be used in teaching mathematics. I also hope to keep up on this blog, because it is a wonderful way to express my ideas, and for others to learn from the things that I have learned. Happy Blogging!

Oh, and

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Digital Revolution Event

This is no final project presentation. This is an event and a showcase for showing how learning in the digital world we live in today is very different. Even this event will be different. Here are three reasons why:

1. This event will be HIGH energy. Those giving the presentations only have 5 MINUTES to present their material. It makes it very fast paced, and very engaging. Each group will be presenting on a way they have used the Digital World and History to enhance their own learning in many different topics. (Plus, there will be refreshments served at the end... How can you go wrong with that?)

2. For those who might not be able to make it to our event, we will actually be broadcasting the event LIVE on JustinTV. The Event will be tomorrow, Thursday December 9, 2010, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm in room 3108 of the Jesse Knight Building on BYU campus. If you can't make it, but would still like to watch the event, go to This should be really cool.

3. We will also be giving people the opportunity to Backchannel, or carry on a live conversation on a separate, "chatlike" projector screen. We are using Poll Everywhere to accomplish this. Those attending the event or watching the event online will be able to use their cell phone to send a text message to Poll Everywhere, which will then appear on the "chatlike" projector screen in the room we will be in. People will be able to use this service to talk to each other, ask questions, or even make simple comments. 

This event will not be just a bunch of presentations. It will be an EVENT of EVENTS to help you learn how to become more digitally literate. PLEASE COME! You won't regret it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Final Developments in our Final Project

One of the biggest developments that has occurred over the weekend is the decision to leave the "Consume, Create, and Connect" pages open on the Backpack 2.0 Wiki site open. I was slightly reluctant to do this, but in the end, I realized this was the best way for people to collaborate on our website and add their own tools. Anyone with our website URL can go to one of these three pages, and hit the "Edit" button at the top of that page:

This is SCARY for me. It means that anyone (I don't know why they would, which makes my fear a little irrational) could come online and maliciously change the page for their own purposes! I know, it's a bit of a ridiculous fear, but it is genuinely one I have.

Now, if any of you have AMAZING digital tools that are available online, and would like to add them to our website, please visit: Collaboratively, this could become an extremely useful website to anyone who visits it.

If you have feedback, you can E-mail me at:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nominations for STELLAR Blogs

Ok, so here are my nominations, really quickly:

Historical Content: Danny Patterson

  • Does a great job of using his personal knowledge and tying it into the concepts we are learning about history
  • Shows that he understands the historical content we are studying in each of his posts.

Computing Content: Rhett Ferrin

  • Great posts that tie in the Computing Content to the historical topics that we are studying
  • Doing a great job of keeping us up to date with the Missionary final project
  • Extremely informative posts that really expand my understanding as I read them

Self-Directed Learning: Jeffrey Chen

  • Lots of Digital Literacy Labs
  • Uses the Digital Labs to relate them to the topics at hand
  • Great posts about how he is learning new and exciting things on the internet
Though, in all honesty, I've enjoyed reading all the class blogs that I have over the course of this semester. We have a lot of wonderful writers in this class, and it really is hard to just pick a few. In all honesty, I would nominate all the blogs that have kept up with every blog post this semester for one of these categories.

Video Posting in Blogger

Just as another quick update concerning our group project, I figured something out that I really wanted to know how to do.

Normally, when I just want to embed a video from YouTube, I grab the embed code, and then insert it into the "Edit HTML" section of the blog editor. However, sometimes the video is too big, and actually goes outside the blog post, which always looks really tacky. I had this problem again when trying to add a post to our group's Backpack 2.0 blog website. I wanted to embed a video in one of my posts (namely my post about Dropbox) and the video was always too wide, and looked really bad on the website.
However, I did some experimentation, and found out how to shrink the movie to fit the blog! In the embed code, there is a place at the beginning that determines the height and width of the video box, AND there is a place at the end of the embed code that determines the width and the height of the box. If you go in and change those heights and widths to smaller values, you get a smaller video window.

Education 2.0 and our Digital Tool Sites

When we talk about Education 2.0, our final project falls perfectly into this topic. Education used to be going to class, reading your textbook, doing assignments, and then taking tests, with the final result being a diploma or a degree. How much does that degree really mean in our world today? Yes, it does usually give you a higher salary, but what does it have to do with your abilities? Does it mean that you are proficient in the field you studied?

The fact is, having a degree doesn't mean that you know everything in your given field. What it means, (hopefully), is that you have learned how to learn, and that you can continue your own education outside of the classroom by your own motivation. Does the schooling we receive nowadays help us accomplish that? Hopefully, but I'm afraid that there are still many classes across the country, and around the world, that are still stuck in the traditional form of classrooms.