Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Why I Love My Job

It's no secret that I love technology.  I love it a whole whole lot.  I am so fortunate and blessed to be in a job that revolves around solely that: technology!  I get to spend my time helping others with tech problems, teaching them new things they can do with a program or on their phones/computers, and, probably my favorite part, still teaching students in the tech realm.  If I can't stay home with my babies, this is what I want to be doing.

One of the classes I teach is video production.  This is such a fun class -- the students learn a ton about mobile journalism, videoing and interviewing techniques, editing, content gathering, and so much more.  One of the biggest things I've taught them is NO VERTICAL VIDEOS...

(I hope you learned something watching that too!) -- I am guilty of recording video holding my phone upright cause, let's be honest, it's just easier to record one handed that way.  HOWEVER, most of the time you really are cutting off a ton of "stuff" that you could be capturing if you just flipped your phone over and recorded horizontally!  Crazy, isn't it?!!  Try it next time you're recording a movie...

Anyways, so!  I love my job.  Earlier today was one of the big reasons why.  Last week, I took a group of my students down to KSDK news channel 5.  Well, this week they were in for a treat: my buddy Kay Quinn from KSDK was coming to UA to see our video production and broadcast setup!  How cool, right?!!  My students were sooooo jazzed that she was coming and that they'd get to show off some of their own broadcasting skills to her.

Kay arrived this morning and I gave her a tour around our campus and introduced her to a few people, and then she met with the day's broadcast team.  I don't teach broadcast (although I'd love to if I was ever given the chance!), but I was able to be the broadcast director for today since a few of my students who are in my video production class are also on the broadcast team and were up to do shows this week.

The students wanted Kay to be a co-anchor for the day's broadcast, and she happily obliged!  How cool is that, right?!!

They did a run-through of the show and then went live.  It.was.awesome.  I was beaming with pride for them because they did such an amazing job on the teleprompter, control board, directing, and anchoring.  It went flawlessly!

The feedback the girls got about their broadcast was just terrific -- even now, well after the school day is over, I'm just giddy with excitement for them that they got to have this awesome learning experience!  I hope it's something they truly never forgot.

So, this is just one of the reasons why I flippin' love my job.  Getting to help orchestrate experiences like this for my students just makes everything I do worth it.  I am fortunate to be in a teaching position that is very 'real life' applicable and I love love LOVE being able to show, give, and teach my students things that they can not only learn from, but apply to their real lives as well.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Top 5 Tech Projects to Try With Your Students This Year

I recently published a post for Sopris Learning's EdView360 blog all about my top 5 favorite tech projects...and challenging teachers to try them in their classrooms this year.

You can click the link below and read my post...and then maybe try some of those projects in your own classrooms this school year as well!!  Feel free to shoot me an email if you have any questions!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Beach Motel Project

For this project students were tasked with recreating a single print image, based upon the specific requirements and a set of inspiration pictures (you can find the entire project description and links here).

Sort of like the EdCamp Express Logo Project, this project was also one that had a purpose: I have a relative who was looking to get a print done of the above content, and I told her this would be the perfect project for my computer graphics students, because it would really challenge them to be creative, use a bunch of different elements in Photoshop or Pixlr, and create the desired image print while pulling together all of their skills and computer graphics knowledge.

Students were left in the dark (at first) as to what their print was going to be used for, other than that it was for "someone" and needed to include all of the above requirements. 

I really love how each of these prints turned out, and especially how vastly different (yet similar!) they all area.  They definitely combined all of the elements required, but had their own personal touch put in by the student who designed them, which is very much what graphic design is all about.  Enjoy looking over these prints...I sure did, and wish I could be in some of them right now!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

EdCamp Express Logo Project

Our latest project in my computer graphics class has been one of my favorites: students were tasked with the challenge (given to them from Chris McGee, the STL EdCamp guru/leader) to turn this EdCampSTL logo into something that looks like it's thrown together/held together with tape and cardboard, for the upcoming May "EdCamp Express" unconference that will be taking place soon.

Students were also challenged to use Adobe Photoshop CS6 to create this project, instead of Pixlr, which is what they'd been using up until this point.  As much as some of them resisted using Photoshop because "it's just too much," all of them embraced it for this project and their logo designs turned out awesome.  I was super impressed with every single one!

I then sent over a folder to Chris of all of the designs, and the EdCamp team voted on their favorite.  Here's the one that won, and will now be on the top of the flyer for the EdCamp Express event coming up in May!  (Spoiler: this student is ecstatic that her logo is being published for a big conference event! --as she should be!  This is pretty awesome for a high schooler to have happen to them!)

And here's the flyer that will be distributed to advertise EdCamp Express:

Although only one student's logo "won", they all were awesome and very creative (and uniquely different!) in my book.  Here's the rest of the logo designs from this project/contest.  Side note: I really love doing these type of practical, "real-life" projects in my classroom.  I find them so much more engaging and interesting to the students because they're work is being showcased (and in this case, voted upon!) in the outside world.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pixlr Project

This semester, instead of teaching video production, I am teaching computer graphics.  I do miss my video production class and projects a lot, but I am LOVING the projects and products that my computer graphics students are producing!

They recently just completed a project using Pixlr editor--which is an online FREE editing software, very similar to photoshop (I LOVE IT).  They can create their work online, save it to their online gallery, and pick up where they left back off the next day.  Did I mention it's free?!!  I love it.

Anyways, so after learning how to use the Pixlr program, my students completed this project -- they had to create 5 different edits using Pixlr.  They had several days in class to work on this--after getting the hang of using the program, and I am blown away with what they created!  Seriously, how awesome are some of these?!

Before I show off some of their work, here are the 5 edit categories they had to make:

Mini Project 1: Movie Poster
  • You will take a movie of your choice and re-create the poster in your own style.  You can incorporate elements from the original poster in your new one, or start fresh and use completely new ideas to craft your poster.
  • You need to make sure you select a movie that you’ve seen, so if you drastically  change the poster from the original it still fits in with the “theme” of the movie.  Make sure your poster includes the necessary information as well (title, director, main characters, rating, etc…).

Mini Project 2: EdCampSTL Poster
  • Using information from this site, you will create a poster promoting EdCampSTL.  You need to come up with a unique poster to promote this event, while making sure you give the appropriate information (date, time, location, etc…) from the website.  You may incorporate any logos you see from the website, but you do not have to.
  • You want your poster to be creative, unique, and something that catches the viewer’s attention while also giving them the necessary details for the event.

Mini Project 3: Photobomb
  • You will take a popular image or picture and “photobomb” yourself into it.  This means you’ll need to take/get a photo of yourself that would “fit” in the image that you are placing yourself in to be photobombed.  
  • You need to make sure that you do indeed look like you are “photobombing” the picture; meaning that you could have actually been there in real life in the photograph (so you may need to do some color enhancements and editing as well)

Mini Project 4: Landscape Edit
  • Grab a landscape pic (mountains, beach, valley, prairie, etc…) off of Google Images and drastically change the picture: change the colors, sharpen/blur the image, add a sunset, etc… -- but your project must look vastly different than its original.
  • Make sure your editing doesn’t completely distort your landscape; add editing effects that are unique and enhance your new image and landscape look!

Mini Project 5: YOUR CHOICE

  • This project is your choice: create/edit/modify/enhance/WHATEVER! in Pixlr--you have complete freedom here to create something of your choosing.
  • BE PREPARED to explain your creation/edit to the class and why you chose to do something like that.
  • IDEAS: create a flyer for an upcoming sports event/school function, edit a picture, combine multiple pictures into one

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