February 11, 2015

Part 2

Wednesday – “Me Manifesto” – What is a manifesto? Right click, or, on a Mac, control+click to get a definition. Think of examples of manifestos you already know about from history.

Watch this video of the Holstee Manifesto, which was created by founders of a design company called Holstee. Mike, Fabian and Dave sat outside and focused as they began to form the idea of what they wanted from life and how they wanted their start-up to fit into that. This is what they came up with, and the video was born of it.

Now take a look at the video of the Holstee Type Manifesto (in the same Google Drive folder), same concept, different presentation. Does it create a different experience? How is the audio different?

What if we looked at the same idea in one more presentation type:

Holstee Manifesto poster1

What are the different effects each presentation might have? What would YOUR manifesto be? Let’s find out.

Your assignment is to draft your own manifesto in Google Docs. You will share for feedback and polish before publishing. Consider your values, what you are passionate about, what you want to bring to the project. Consider point of view and voice:

Imperative? (Do this. Do that. Like the Holstee Manifesto and many others)
Declarative, first person? (I am. I will. I can. I want.)
Declarative, third person? Conversational? You decide, but keep it consistent. This is called parallel construction. And keep it brief for the project ahead. We’ll be creating a presentation out of it.

You want originality, sincerity, stuff to make people think, stuff that’s true to you.



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.




January 26, 2015

This week will be a mash-up of things that will improve your blogging experience and show yout how far-reaching your online activity really is. The goal this week is to learn some digital citizenship that will help you create a positive digital tattoo.

I will be reworking that lesson a bit to take into account the loss of YouTube, so we’ll start off with some helpful blogging pointers.

Monday – In the beginning, I told you that blogging is social, so we’ll talk about the art of commenting, and I’ll show you where to find the blogroll widget so you can add blogs you follow to one of your sidebars. You’ll want to begin exploring other blogs to find some you enjoy reading.
And, of course, if you have unfinished work from last week, today is the time to finish it up. That includes copying and pasting the URL to your blog to the contact sheet so I can find your blog.

Tuesday: Today, we’ll learn about digital tattoos, also known as digital footprints. The difference in the analogies is that tattoos are permanent, as are the marks you leave in the digital world that are associated with you. What’s a digital tattoo, called a dossier in the following video?

Hear a response from someone your own age about being aware of how your own digital footprint can affect you:


And, finally, Diane Sawyer reports on the negatives to a not-so-great digital footprint:

Now, take the Google yourself challenge. If you were an admissions officer or a potential employer or a potential date, what could you find on yourself? Is it what you would like people to see about you? Scroll all the way down to see the various ways to check your digital tattoo – a simple Google won’t pull up all the results.


If you are viewing this at school you can access the videos as files through the shared Google Drive:

Youth and Media – Your Digital Dossier

Diane Sawyer on Social Media Jinxing College Applicants

Richard Fowler on Job-Killing Mistakes

Wednesday-Friday: Your assignment is to write a post, first in Google Docs so you can get feedback and revise, then post on your homepage about what you found on yourself. Is it what you expected? Is it what you want others to see? If you were going to improve it by adding positive content to your digital tatoo, what can you do? Can you develop a plan for actively creating a positive digital tattoo for others to find? What will the plan include?

Friday – If you have completed the Google Yourself Challenge, search for and read some blogs. Leave some comments. If you are inspired, write a post reviewing that blog and provide a link back to it.


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 12, 2015

Time to explore one of the main tools we’ll be using, Google Drive, and it all starts with having a Gmail account.

Monday-Tuesday: If you do not have a Gmail account yet, set one up. If you do have a Gmail account, or once you have a Gmail account (be sure to keep your account username and password in a safe place), add your Gmail username to the class contact sheet by completing this form.

We will explore Google Drive, how to use folders, documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and how to share these, how to move documents, how to access items shared with you, like the new contact sheet.

Wednesday: You will draft a reflection on the TED video featuring Adora Svitak, by creating a new Google doc in the folder that has been shared between you and me. If you are unfamiliar with reflection writing, it’s writing that helps you work through what you understand and what you do not, writing that helps you make connections with your own experiences. Most people prefer to begin with some guiding questions, and I have prepared these to help you with this assignment.

After you have written your draft and proof read it, move it into the Shared Editing Folder in the DigiComm Shared folder that you should have access to. Then ask classmates to read and comment for you. When you comment on someone else’s writing, leave comments that are helpful, comments that will help the writer improve the piece. Is anything unclear? Would more description or examples make it better? Could the writer use better word choice?

Once you take a look at the comments others have left for you, revise anything you think will improve your piece, then share with me in the Snider Editing Folder. I will also give you feedback meant to help you improve in your writing. Even if you are an excellent writer, I may make suggestions to help you improve. Even I look to improve my writing every time I write.

The reflection should be complete and ready to go by Friday.


Sept. 21, 2014

Last week I introduced 20% Time, Genius Hour, Passion Projects. This week we work in ernest to establish what each of you will work toward during your one day a week or more, depending on how other assignments play out for you. I want to give you tools that can help you with the research and maybe with the projects themselves. I will introduce three this week that will help you find and collect information you find on the Internet.

Monday: One of my favorite apps is one folks either know and use or don’t. It’s Pinterest. Once you understand how Pinterest works (think about being shown an array of things that might interest you, and you can select any of them and “pin” them to your own digital bulletin boards to look at later), you’ll use it for both work and entertainment.

If you’re finding information on blogs or news sites that don’t have the familiar “follow” button that you use on WordPress, know that there is another way: RSS readers. There are many to choose from, so it really comes down to simply choosing. Rock, paper, scissors? Closing your eyes and pointing? Or do what I did, Tweet about it, and go with the first response you get: Feedly.com. But first let’s take a look at this cute video that explains how RSS readers work.

Maybe you don’t want to follow the blog or news site forever; you just want to save this one perfect article. There are apps for that, too. Diigo, Pocket and Delicious, to name a few. Let me show you a bit about Delicious.

Play with these three apps this week. You’ll sign in and out of Pinterest as you do Google and WordPress. But Feedly and Delicious are Chrome-based apps. That is, when you’re signed into your Google Chrome, they’ll show up on your Chrome bar – wherever you are. When you sign out of Google Chrome, you’re signed out of those, too.

Tuesday-Thursday: Keep playing with Pinterest, Feedly and Delicious. Read and research your passion topic, and save and curate with these apps. By the end of the week, write a post for your blog about how helpful you have found these three apps to be in finding and saving information for your project. Has one been more helpful than the others? Can you explain why? Will any of them be helpful in the implementation of the actual project or just mostly in the research? Can you see uses for any of them in any other part of your life? Write the post in Google Docs and share with the person above you in the contact list for feedback. Do some revisions, then share with me.

Friday: By Friday you should have written up a proposal (think of an outline) for your passion project. Begin with a summary of the topic, include your driving question, what your end product will be and a timeline of what you need to do to get there. Are there steps you must make before you get to the final project?

Meet with me anytime before the end of Friday’s class to go over your proposal so we can get things pinned down.



Sept. 13, 2014

This week, we’ll learn about digital tattoos, also known as digital footprints. The difference in the analogies is that tattoos are permanent, as are the marks you leave in the digital world that are associated with you.

Monday: We will quickly review important aspects of blogging that you were introduced to last week. Then it’s time to think about our Digital Tattoos. What’s a digital tattoo, called a dossier in the following video?

Hear a response from someone your own age about being aware of how your own digital footprint can affect you:


And, finally, Diane Sawyer reports on the negatives to a not-so-great digital footprint:

Now, take the Google yourself challenge. If you were an admissions officer or a potential employer or a potential date, what could you find on yourself? Is it what you would like people to see about you?


Tuesday: Your assignment is to write a post on your homepage about what you found on yourself. Is it what you expected? Is it what you want others to see? If you were going to improve it by adding positive content to your digital tatoo, what can you do? Can you develop a plan for actively creating a positive digital tattoo for others to find? What will the plan include?

Wednesday: We will begin working on a new project to be posted later, but if you haven’t finished your post on building up a positive digital tattoo or digital dossier, use any spare time for that.


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.

Week 8 – Continuing to expand your PLN

February 23, 2014

Developing your PLN on social networks isn’t a one-week deal, so we’ll continue to expand this week on what we started with Twitter last week and learn about a helpful app or two along the way.

Monday: First, we’ll finish what we started a few weeks ago by presenting manifestos. Use extra time today to catch up on any work you are behind on.

Tuesday: Starting with paper, we’ll brainstorm some key search terms for Twitter to help you find entities to follow that will help on your pre- and post-graduation plans. I’ll show you how to search and discover folks to follow that can provide you with informative resources, not only for this class, but for planning your future. You’ll want an easy way to save articles for reference later on, perhaps for the assignment due at the end of the week. I’ll demonstrate Delicious, but you have the option of trying out a similar app called Diigo. Either of these apps save articles to your account and are then searchable by tags that you choose.
If you’re still not feeling it – the whole PLN, Personal Learning Network idea – read this Q&A with high school student Courtney Gressman (an item I saved with Delicious a few weeks ago for this week’s purposes), about her own PLN experiences.

Wednesday: Using the search methods we discussed yesterday, continue to build your PLN. Set up an account with Delicious or Diigo in the Chrome browser while you are logged in your Google account. Save any articles of interest to your Delicious/Diigo account, tagging them so they are easily retrievable.

Thursday-Friday: Choose one article you have found and write a reflection on it. I still recommend writing in Gdocs, seeking peer edits and feedback from me before posting to your blog. What made the article interesting to you? What connections can you make to it or, possibly, to other articles? Work to come up with unique thoughts of your own prompted by what’s in the article. Post to your blog with link(s) to the article(s).
Don’t forget to find time to read your classmates’ blogs. One area in which everyone scored low on was commenting on others’ blogs and responding to comments on your own blogs. We need to get conversations going. Try ending your posts by posing questions that invite conversation. And if you visit other blogs and comment, those bloggers are more likely to visit yours and comment.

Friday: Who are your Follow Friday picks for the week? Choose at least four and write up a post about why you chose each. Try to get a personal post up by the end of the week as well.

*underlined items are graded assignments

Week 7: New uses for the Twitterverse

February 18, 2014

You think you know Twitter, and I know some of you do. However, there are uses for Twitter you may not have discovered yet these uses can promote your digital footprint in a positive way and ramp up your learning experiences as well. The goal this week – and remember that many of you are starting in a different place – is to start a Twitter account, being mindful of branding, and begin to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN)

Monday: Twitter presentation

Tuesday: Start a Twitter account or, if you have one already, consider the discussion on branding and make any changes that would more accurately reflect what you would like people to know about you.

Wednesday-Friday: Search for entities to follow, finding at least 5 useful ones. Read what they post and consider writing a response to one, linking to it in your post and then tweeting about it, giving a shout-out to the original author. You may gain a valuable follower.

Friday: Manifesto presentations today, so if you have not finished, please make it a priority.

By Friday, post five #FF, or new people to follow. It’s a Twitter tradition in some circles to tweet #FF for Follow Friday, noting valuable Twitter folks to follow. Beyond the tweet, please post (consider creating a FF page on your blog) your first of several FF posts, describing each new followee and why they are good to follow.

Don’t forget your weekly personal post as well.

Week 3: Getting into a blogging routine

Jan. 19, 2014

While some will be finishing up last week’s assignments, we will continue to add to our blogs and start posting to them as a routine. Whenever you have additional time in class, you are encouraged to read each others’ blogs (you should be following each other) and share comments that invite conversation. You may also read other blogs and in doing so, find others you’d like to follow and comment on. Reading these blogs may also give you ideas about new things you’d like to try with your own blog, either in your personal posting space or, perhaps, something you’d like to suggest we do as a class assignment. This is your class, and I’ll happily entertain ideas you have that you’d like to try.

Monday: No school, professional development day for yours truly

Tuesday: Complete any assignments from last week. You should have started a blog, chosen a theme, added a personal posting page, looked over widgets you’d like to add and posted your TED reflection with a link to the video.
Today you should also begin drafting a bio for your About page. In your bio, tell a bit about yourself, but please avoid using your last name or where you live. You might also include that this blog is part of a class assignment and what you plan to do with it. You could also include short-term and long-term goals and your particular interests. Draft in Gdocs, seek peer edits, then feedback from me before you post it on the blog. Consider a photo to post on the page as well. You may use one you already have or make use of our news lab cameras.

Wednesday: Read the following article, “How is Digital Writing Making Kids Smarter?” It is loaded with additional links to more information. Click on some of these and read further – your choice as to which you read. Write a summary/reflection on the “Digital Writing” article and include information from one or two of the other articles. Draft in Gdocs, seek peer edits, then feedback from me before you post on the blog. Use these guiding questions to help you write your reflection.

Thursday: Continue working on your “Digital Writing” reflection.
Write a personal post this week on a topic of your choice. I still advise drafting in Gdocs, seeking peer edits before posting. Try using an original photo, drawing or creation in PhotoShop.

Friday: To be completed by today:
Blog with TED reflection post, “Digital Writing” post on homepage
At least one personal post on personal public post page
About Me bio posted on About page


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.