I save all the PDFs I get from school in my computer – I rarely print any out, finding that reading them on the computer is just fine. In anticipation of Gagne, Wager, Golas, and Keller, with Sink as well, I thought it best to print and bind, really not knowing how deep I was going to have to go. I knew that much of the remaining time of the course would be on design and I really hoped over hope that I would like the articles and find them interesting enough to continue enjoying the course. I was relieved.

It’s pretty geeky material, but I found it to be interesting and maybe even a little fun(?) to consider. My only complaint, and it’s a steady one for me now, is that I don’t have enough authentic opportunity to play in this arena. I’m still very much locked into the theory. I wish I had some (any) places to practice this.

I like all reiterative notions of design and Gagne et al. honor that throughout each step with normative assessment. Luckily, I’m looking forward to the next weeks of class where I can put Instructional Systems Design in practice.

DofI and SAMR were both new to me and I found their notions intriguing – and certainly worth following as I move forward into service. Again, I’m looking forward to tying this together in the next weeks in class.


Delayed Shoot

The sun almost came out – twice:







Everything was ready – the lights:

img_5855       img_5860

The stage:
img_5863  img_1146

But no sun –
so I decided to wait.

Below is a test shot – it’s actually OK, but having natural light could help the color and soften the shadows from behind. Tomorrow’s weather report is favorable…

The sound isn’t good because I left the fridge running – I’m going to use the Roland MP3 recorder next time as well.

I’m going to have to change my video script too – everything takes just a little bit longer than I imagined.

Where Ideas Come From: Johnson, Drexler, McGonigal / Connectivism (10/24 – 10/30)

I tried. I watched the videos. I read the articles. I was going to do the assignment – seek signals, put them together. I became indifferent and wandered away. I didn’t dislike McGonigal, she just disinterested me. Nothing there to grab ahold of. Toffler, Gibson, Godin, and now McGonigal. It’s not you Jane, it’s me and my poor history with futurists, but it’s time for me to move on.

On the other hand, the PLN assignment grabbed me. I put a lot of time and thought and effort into it. I don’t use the Google suite that much. Never really had much cause to meaningfully yet. Getting the chance to use Sites was good for me alone, but all the better that I was pushed into a box of showing my PLN. I’ve never dropped a feed anywhere either. Never had a need, but I like it. I could do that again on my own server when I have the time – and offer a like space to students interested in doing it themselves. It also affirmed my choices in a good way. I think I’m doing ok there – in the connected arena.

The assignment made me think of how important PLNs must be to so many people in so many ways, and how most probably don’t give much thought about it. Healthy humans strive for connectivity, for like minded people, things, ideas. The most popular sites in the ‘net reiterate that notion – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit are connectors – the experiment still continues with these – good or bad. I am thinking much more about my network and how I can add and take effectively.

What I did do in honor of my new acquaintanceship with connectivism is read How the Internet Is Complicating the Art of Teaching in the Atlantic about connecting teachers with OERs and the opportunities and tribulations with sharing coursework. Textbooks are/should be done. They separate themselves from connectivism in a very apparent way. The criticism of the textbook market is well placed and worn and I won’t add to it here – the article did make me think about how this data warehouse could be come meaningful and, as the article asks well, how to make it personal. Teaching is an art and science and my bet is always placed on the teacher who can take the personal and make it meaningful for others. To live in a time where someone can create and teach what interests them most, to the point where they are willing to give a piece of that in service of other’s learning, with the the hope that there are more than a few who are interested too, is exciting and a connected world that I find a future in.


Two Website Access Log Visualizations: Normal Load v. DDoS

Yesterday’s DDoS attack brought me the opportunity to see two different web access log visualizations – one under DDoS attack (VideoLAN 4/23/16) and one running normally. They are, obviously, stunningly different. The visualization of a server running smoothly is quite compelling and beautiful in its way – the attacked server is compelling in its own way, but unsettling in appearance. Normal load is presented first:

Audio – Hello World

Yes, it's a good idea to read the manual, no matter how smart you think you are.

Yes, it’s a good idea to read the manual, no matter how smart you think you are.

This week I’m playing with audio. I borrowed some equipment from school: I got an audio-technica ATR6550 shotgun microphone, a Roland Edirol R-09 MP3 voice recorder, and an audio-technica Pro 88W/T Wireless VHS microphone set-up which didn’t work for me and gave up using. I also fooled around with some applications for my iPhone. I settled on TapMedia’s Recorder and the free version of LiveBird Technologies’ Voice Recorder.

The Edirol recorder worked fine. I had to learn how to use the menu system to format my SD card and had trouble with the powered mic setting as the user’s manual steered me wrong here and there, but I was able to use it successfully. Exporting the files was painless.

The Roland R-09 Edirol is, at times, inappropriately judgmental.

The Roland R-09 Edirol is, at times, inappropriately judgmental.

The first recordings I did were with the shotgun mic and the Edirol recorder:

Then I tried the same set-up again with the blanket test in mind (w/o blanket):

Then I recorded my voice with a blanket over my head:

The last test was taking my iPhone outside in the wind:

And then I used Audacity to trim three of the files and combine them into one:

Learning Theory Visited

Our educational technology class has traveled across the learning theory path using the stepping stones of:

Behaviorism w/ emphasis on B.F. Skinner and Teaching Machines
Cognitive Theory w/ emphasis on Schema Theory
Constructivism w/ emphasis on Technology and the Classroom
Connectivism w/ emphasis on New Media & New Learning and George Siemens’s Connectivism: A Learning Theory For a Digital Age

Today I created an HTML image map for Connectivism – it’s been many, many years since I’ve made one. I guess that they have fallen so far out of favor that the few HTML editing applications I have don’t create them well or at all. I ended up using a free image map creator online which served my purpose fine.

It’s unwarranted to pick a favorite theory or to rank them in terms of their importance in relation to educational technology. Each theory has its place at different times in performing the task of shepherding learners along their journey. I’ve found positive and useful instances of behaviorism in some applications and a terrible disservice to its qualities in others.

Applications that are minimalistic in approach and deep in design, such as Logo Programming, are engaging as they benefit from a Constructivist approach.

The Logical Journey of the Zoombinis wins a double mention as it ties in Cognitive Theory in so well with its use of schemata. If the game is played as intended, by bringing across all of the Zoombinis across all of the puzzles, each problem becomes appropriately challenging as it players learn from previous attempts.

For my final project for Ed. Tech I am using elements of Connectivism to bring students together internationally to answer individual queries among classrooms. Again, all the theories have their time and place and can create meaning for learners in different and pertinent ways depending upon their context.

Using a Hot Smoker to Smoke Hot Peppers

Morning in Southern Vermont

#1 – Morning in Southern Vermont

The growing season is short for hot peppers in Vermont – the first cold snap comes in and puts the gardener quickly to work to harvest and preserve the spicy bounty of a summer’s effort.

Pickling is a great way to preserve peppers – they have a special place in many recipes that can be made in place of fresh peppers, but smoked peppers can add so much to other types of dishes – grilled meats, hearty soups, and stir-fries benefit greatly from the smoky autumnal flavor to be enjoyed deep into the winter months.

There are two types of smokers – hot and cold. A hot smoker uses heat and smoke to simultaneously cook and flavor – the temperature range is ideally between 165 and 185 degrees. Because I have six different varieties with differing thicknesses I use a hot smoker with three racks that allows me to move the peppers around to assure an even outcome.

Five varieties of hot peppers, freshly washed and ready to smoke.

#2 – Six varieties of hot peppers, freshly washed and ready to smoke.

After you have found a smoker to your liking, begin by choosing a wood to use for smoking – I have a small bag of mesquite chip that has served me well for a few years. Most home stores should have a few different types to choose from. Soak the wood for a few hours and keep it wet during the time you’ll be smoking.

Harvest your peppers, wash and dry them well.

Small peppers won’t stay on the racks, so I cut some metal screening to put on the racks to prevent them from falling through.

Check the weather to be sure it’s likely not going to rain for a day or two. Smoking peppers takes time and you might as well be comfortable while doing it.

Put the peppers on the racks. I start by sorting them by variety to begin the process, but it won’t be long before you will want to move them around to be sure they smoke evenly. I use tongs to move the peppers, not because they are hot to the touch, but touching them often at this point may put you at risk of pepper burn.

Fleshier fruit is put closest to the heat to give them a head start in drying.

#3 – Fleshier fruit is put closest to the heat to give them a head start in drying.

Use tongs to turn the peppers over - you don't want that pepper juice on your fingers...

#4 – Use tongs to turn the peppers over – you don’t want that pepper juice on your fingers…










Keep coming back every hour or so to check for even smoking. You’ll know when they’re done when they’re dry, light, but still retain good color.

Dried peppers can be left whole and ground anytime over the course of the year – if kept dry and out of the light they will last a long time. If a few of your peppers aren’t quite dry, put them in an oven at 200 degrees for a short time – keep an eye on them – you may not want them to lose their color, although a caramelized smoked hot pepper is also a good alternative flavor as well.


Smoked peppers stay usable for a long time

#5 – Smoked peppers stay usable for a long time – keep them dry and out of the light and wait until you want to use them before grinding.

Smoking peppers not only preserves them and alters their flavor, but the process in pleasing, relaxing, and rewarding.

#6 – Smoking peppers not only preserves them and alters their flavor, but the process in pleasing, relaxing, and rewarding.











Assignment Glossary:

#1 – Rule of thirds composition, establishing wide shot of the overall scene
#2 – Rule of thirds composition, medium shot, vertical shot
#3 – Horizontal shot, forced flash
#4 – Forced flash, close up, vertical shot
#5 – Shot with clean background, close up, three way lighting technique
#6 – Close up, forced flash

Logo Programming / Constructivism

Using Logo Programming with Constructivism in mind:

Coincidentally, I’ve been using Logo, among other computer science related applications, with a small group of students for a consultancy I’m doing for Hilltop Montessori in Brattleboro. We use “papert―logo in your browser and a good cheat sheet I found for the kids to get started.

In my learning I had a hard time visualizing angles. The first times I tried to make triangles I fell too far back onto my knowledge of the angles of a triangle and my attempts failed. I was only turning 60° after moving forward – it took me a while to see that I had to turn around the outside of the angle 120° and not 60° in. My students felt much more comfortable being ‘wrong’ then I did.


Hilltop Montessori student remixing a Logo program

On two occasions we went outside to make a square and a triangle as imaginary turtles:

We had a lot of dialogue during this exercise. I did my best to ask questions that led them from one place to another with their own thinking in place. What I noticed most clearly from this exercise was that the students who were in some disequilibrium on the screen before going out on the field could make more sense of their task when they returned.

I learned so much about Logo from watching the students. I was familiar with the repeat command, but one student hammered it home for me with her use of repeating repeat commands:

Questions like, “What are you going to do next?, “How can you find out?”, “Was that what you wanted to have happen?”, and my command to show their work to their partner was way more informative for the student than me trying show what I knew…