CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay

February 2, 2015

This week, we’ll focus on ways to organize your tasks to become more productive with your time and help you manage school work and other activities with more success. In searching for the best solutions for YOU, we’ll explore lots of web-based options and give you a chance to review some of your own choosing.

Monday – First, let’s find out everyone’s comfort level with and knowledge about technology. That will give us a good place to start. Use this Google Forms survey, which will provide your answers in the form of a spreadsheet for us to go over.

Tuesday – We’ll meet for a bit to go over the results of the survey and discuss similarities and differences in how we deal with schedules and planning and remembering.

Monday-Friday – There is lots of advice out there for managing time and tasks, and not all of it is suitable for every person. In this LifeHack article, dozens of apps, web sites and articles are listed, and from them, nearly anyone can find something to help him or her. Read the article, scan the different tools, sites, articles. Choose a few to take a look at. Select 2-5 to really take some time to explore. Try an organizer or to-do list and see if you can make it work for you. Check out a mind-mapping app to see if it would help you plan out an essay or a project. Look into some of the articles about research or improving your writing. Then write a blog post reviewing those 2-5 favorites, favorites for organizing YOUR schedule, YOUR workload, YOUR assignments.

When you think LifeHack has covered every possible way you could spend your time and energy making your hours work for you, Dallas student columnist Blaine Finstein, shares his own point of view. His post goes to show you how differently one can look at this topic, and his column is a good example of another student’s writing.

Tip: Right-click = control+click. For unfamiliar terms in an article, you can highlight the word, control+click, and select “definition”.

Remember: Draft in Google docs, beginning in the folder with your name that is shared with me. Copy your draft to the class editing folder for feedback from a classmate or three. After revisions, share with me in the Snider folder. Title your piece something like “Productivity”.

Remember: You are writing for an audience who does not know you, does not know your assignment, so you’ll have to put it all in context for them.





CC0 Public Domain

CC0 Public Domain


January 19, 2015

This week, we’ll look at some blogs, see what parts are what, then delve in with you getting your own blog up and running.

Monday: Martin Luther King Day and, as it happens, Professional Development Day for teachers.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Blog introduction, we will look at a few examples and where to find what on the WordPress site. If you are behind on your TED reflection, it is up to you to complete it outside of class. You may use this lab before school, lunch or after school or you may complete it at home.
Discuss posting and commenting, Home page and About page and their type of content. There may be time to explore WordPress sites for ideas.

Thursday: Begin creating blogs, tackling minor tech problems and learning things as we go. You’ll have a handout for steps, but instructions are also under the Projects tab of the DigiComm site, too. Set up username, password, blog name; choose theme, write tagline, explore widgets.

Friday: Continue working on blogs. Changes to theme, tagline and widgets can be made later. Draft introductory post on home page, bio information for About page in Google docs, share for feedback, revise. Post intro content to Home page as posts –> add. Post bio content by going to About page and edit page. About is a static page. You have to edit its content to change it.
Finally, post the TED video reflection as a new post to the Home page, along with a link to the video (or, posting from home where YouTube isn’t blocked, you can embed the video where the frame shows in your post).
You’ll find a Tech Use Survey in the DigiComm Shared Google Drive folder. Please complete it sometime this week to help me in planning for this semester’s class.

Underlined items are items for the gradebook. Standards are listed under the Standards tab on the DigiComm Home page.

The TED video reflection will be graded on Speaking & Listening standards 10.3, 10.4 & 10.5, regarding analyzing Svitak’s speech and presenting your speech. The written part of the assignment will be graded on Writing standards 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, & 10.6.

Creating a blog will be graded on ISTE Communication & Collaboration standards 2.a & 2.b as well as Tech Operations & Concepts standards 6.a, 6.b, 6.c & 6.d.

Since each of these assignments, the TED reflection and creating a blog, is graded on two standards, they will each receive two grades, resulting in four, total. We will discuss my standards-based grading system next week. Until then, explore the Standards tab as it relates to each assignment.


January 5, 2014

This class is all about communication, particularly digital, but you can’t have even a digital communication class without the other kinds of communication: speaking and listening, reading and writing. Getting to know each other in the class will help us further our communication skills. Therefore, our week should roll out something like this:

Monday: My apologies, as I was absent. Mr. Jones did lead you in some discussion of the importance of effective communication, as I understand.

Tuesday: Explanation of how class operations, brief intro to this class web space, a little about some of the programs we will be using, and a nice little ice-breaker to get to know each other.
Also a request to sign up for communication via Remind, a messaging program wherein I can send reminders or other information to you without having to know your phone number nor you, mine. On your cell phone send the message, @digicoms15 to the number, 81010, to sign up. Share with your parents if you’d like them to receive reminders as well.

Wednesday: We will watch the TED video featuring Adora Svitak. I hope you find it inspiring. You will write a reflection over the video, drafted in Google docs, which will be your first blog post, once the blogs are up and running. To help you figure out what to include in a reflection, you will use this set of questions as a guide. But this is for next week, so think about what to watch for and what you might include.
Your first assignment, however, is to tell us about yourself in the form of a presentation. Consider Adora’s presentation in her TED talk, how she presented her talk: she hooked her audience, told stories to keep them engaged, tied all of her stories together in a theme, closed her talk with a purpose. You will plan a talk to last 1-3 minutes, telling your audience something about yourself. You could share a talent, an amazing experience or a passion that you have. Try not to do everything in one shot. Choose a topic, plan how you will present it, practice to get it to the 1-3 minute range. You may use a note card with keywords on it to help you keep on task, though I don’t want you reading from a script.
We will begin these presentations Thursday and finish Friday. You may volunteer at first, and then I will volunteer you. Plan to be ready to go Thursday.

Thursday – Friday: Presentations about YOU.


Sept. 2, 2014

I’m a little  late getting this week’s assignment posted on the site, but that doesn’t mean you guys haven’t been working hard at getting your blogs up and running. That’s been the focus of Week 3.

Monday: Labor Day holiday

Tuesday: Blog introduction, looking at a few examples and where to find what on the WordPress site.

Wednesday: Began building our blogs in ernest, tackling minor tech problems and learning things as we went.

Thursday: Continuing with building blogs, and venturing into posting first posts – the TED video reflection.

Friday: Substitute (I’m running Picture Day in the Auditorium) You will write content for your “About” page. Most themes come standard with the About page, but if your’s does not, you can create one. In Google Docs, open a new document and write a brief bio about yourself. You can use first or third person. Make it about two or three paragraphs. Suggestions for inclusion are the fact that this is a project for a class and your purposes, what your interests and goals are, what you enjoy about life. Share with a classmate for feedback. Post it on your About page if you feel confident about it.


CC Some rights reserved by Joe Hardy

CC Some rights reserved by Joe Hardy

August 21, 2014

First assignment, and for some of you, maybe the scariest. Let’s get it out of the way and everything else will be easier. They say public speaking is the greatest fear of most people. I maintain that driving in high-traffic, unfamiliar areas is way scarier than sharing cool information in an animated way with your peers who are actually interested in what you have to say. Just remember to make it interesting – and animated.

One day, if you haven’t already, you’ll find yourself in an interview where your potential employer or scholarship donor will say, “Tell me about yourself.” So that’s what I want you to plan to do, following these guidelines:

  • Use 1-2 minutes, telling us about yourself, but particularly one aspect, one interest, talent, passion, or amazing experience you’ve had and any stories connected to that fact that will make it more interesting for your audience.
  • Consider your audience and how to engage them (humor? shocking statement? little-known facts?)
  • Consider body language and eye contact.
  • Project your voice and speak clearly.
  • Plan. Think about the main thing you want your audience to know. Think about how to hook your audience, the plan what to do in between. Will you tell your story chronologically? Will you bring up topics from least important to most important? Plan. Practice. Then follow the plan.

Presentations will begin Friday. Rubric scores on speaking/listening will be for feedback only, but will give you an idea of how you would have scored and what you can work on for improvement.


Jan. 4, 2014

Welcome to the first week of Digital Communications. At first it may seem that we’re all over the place as each thing I want for us to do kind of requires the knowledge of something else – so we’ll jump around a bit. But wear a seatbelt, hold on, get organized, ask questions, and we’ll all be just fine.

After some introductions and explanations we’ll take care of our first bit of housekeeping:

Remind 101
Gmail accounts
Student survey (please complete this week)

Monday: Introductions, view TED video, featuring Amy Cuddy      fail, technical difficulties

Tuesday: View TED video. Introduce Google Drive, class blog. You will each share a folder with me through Gdrive for your drafts and other correspondence. The folder should have your first name/last initial.
Assignment: “First Interview Question” Consider the TED presentation, and prepare a 2-4 minute presentation, telling your audience (the class) an interesting fact about yourself. This can be, but is not limited to: a talent, an amazing experience or a passion of yours.

Wednesday: “Interview” presentations.

Thursday: Work on GDrive folders.
Assignment: Write a reflection over Monday’s TED video. View guidelines for planning and writing your reflection. If you’d like to read an example of a reflection over a similar video read this post by a Massachusetts high school student.

Friday: Peer edit, through sharing in GDrive, the TED reflections. Each student will share his/her draft with the person below them on the contact spreadsheet.