Sunday, March 27, 2011

MAC Week 4 - Publishing_Leadership Project

Photo by Flickr user kampers
The time has come to put my publishing plans into action.  I have two journals that I'm on which I'm going to focus.

The first, Journal of Interactive Learning Research, I discussed in my 2nd Think Out Loud Blog post. After completing that post, I wanted see if there was a journal that combined my original content training in English/Language Arts with my current training in technology, especially since E/LA was part of the focus of my research.

This led me to Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE), which publishes a general edition, along with four content specific editions. My focus would be the English/Language Arts publication.

MAC Week 4 - Think Out Loud Part 2: Where?

So, I've been thinking about where I'd like to publish my research, and I've narrowed it down to two national publications.

Graphic from

Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education
I'm considering this journal because they have a varied scope that covers areas that are Practical, Leadership, Research, or Theoretical.  I feel that my action research could be a good fit for their publication because it deals with practical issues that arise in the application of Challenge Based Learning (CBL) and it is research based.

IJEL Cover
Graphic from
Journal of Interactive Learning Research
This journal has a a very long list of categories that they consider, including computer-supported collaborative learning.  Because of the collaborative nature of CBL and the fact that it is conducted online and with computers, I think this could be a good fit for my paper.

MAC Week 4 - Comment 2

Photo by Paul Devoto

Original post from Paul:

As many of you know, there was a lunar eclipse several months ago. I was fortunate enough to be in an area of Northern California where the skies cleared up just an hour or so before the eclipse was set to commence. To make the experience more exciting, the complex I currently live in has a gorgeous open-air walkable roof atop the 6th floor. So I planned for the post-midnight event in the following way.

I did a basic google search for photographing a lunar eclipse. As you would expect, there were thousands of hits, and from the first ten results alone, many of them were incredibly useful. I then modified the search for the specific camera body and lens I was going to use and I found this article. I then jotted down some of the settings suggestions, grabbed my camera, a tripod, and of course a jacket and headed to the roof.

After some practice shots using primarily a method of trial and error, I ended up with several hundred photos. In iPhoto, I picked the ones that turned out the sharpest for the various stages and dragged them onto a Keynote slide. I adjusted the parameters of the Keynote slide to be 3000 pixels wide, and used the shape button to add circles which were then used to crop the moons. Finally, I add a diagonal line (which was later removed) to guide the uppermost tip of each moon in a smooth line.


My response:


This turned out amazing.  I wanted to see the eclipse, but it was cloudy in Ohio that night.

While I was on your Flickr page, I check out some of your other stuff.  I love photos of the fire dancers, the colors are amazing in the one of the poppies, and how did you get that picture of the owl?!

The only problem is that you use Nikon.

MAC Week 4 - Comment 1

Screen capture of Mark Dohn's Blog

Original post by Mark Dohn:

The last month. Wow. In a few short weeks I’ll be a graduate of Full Sail! In a few short weeks I’ll be in Israel! Whoa. What? Yes! Israel! My son is turning 13 next month and we’ll be having his Bar Mitzvah in Israel. There are a lot of reasons that go into a choice like this, but suffice to say everything is worth it.
3 years ago, it was my daughter’s 13th and we were celebrating. EVERYONE decided to come to Israel for the Bat Mitzvah....including my mom.
     Yeah. “Dangerous Jan”. My mom has never travelled really. She had never needed a passport, or flown for more than a few hours from our home in Ohio. Now she was packing up for the 14 hour flight halfway around the world. These two pictures from that trip sum up this month and our reading.
     The picture of my mom was the first time she had seen the Sea of Galilee. She is a very religious and spiritual individual, and I snapped this photo as she stood there ABSORBING her surroundings. This was her field trip of a lifetime. She had waited for so long, and now she was THERE. Living, breathing, feeling every bit of the experience.
     Several days later we were in Jerusalem at the Western Wall. This was my son’s first trip and as we got to the wall, he urgently requested a pen and paper. Using the worn edge of one of those massive stones, he wrote something. It is a tradition to write a prayer and place it in between the stones. I have no idea what he wrote - I wasn’t allowed near him - but the intensity from this 10-year-old boy was incredible. What is in these photos is two very powerful experiences. They are tangible and real. Neither of them has forgotten one moment of what is in these images (and I asked them both). And I ask myself, why we don’t teach like this?
Maybe is time to replace

Writing and


Expression and


My Response:


These are amazingly powerful memories for you and your family.  I agree that if we could get more experiences like these into education, everyone would benefit.  I want my students to approach school like this. 
My most powerful experience as a teacher happened a month ago when I taught "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night" by Dylan Thomas.  The poem was written to the poet's dying father, and it discourages him from giving up.  In the two days we studied the poem, it made 3 people cry, all because the poem expressed the experience they had when family members close to them died.  The combination of their past experience, the expression in the poem, and the relationships made the experience in class those days more powerful.  They understood the poem.  
I felt horrible when it happened, but when I talked to them about it later, they said that they really appreciated reading something that they could relate to in class.  You're right, we need more of this.

MAC Week 4 Reading - The Art of Possibility, Chapters 9 - 12

Photo by Flickr user t0msk
This week I was hit smack dab in between the eyes by Chapter 9, "Lighting the Spark." I've been burning the candle at both ends with work, the EMDT program, and the school musical, which opens next Friday.  On top of the Publishing and Leadership Project, I had grades due on Wednesday, and tech week rehearsals.  Needless to say, I'm about ready to flame out, especially since the kids in the cast have been flaking out and missing rehearsals.

I've grown very frustrated with them for over-committing themselves and with myself for poorly managing my time.  To top it all off, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last week as well, so my stress level was at an all-time high.

Now, I'm not telling all of you these things so that I can have a pity party.  My purpose is to illustrate why I may have lost sight of my passion recently.  But, when I read this chapter, it reminded me of why I do the things I do, and that means all the things I do.

The steps for this chapter's practice were outlined on page 126 as:

  1. Imagine that people are an invitation for enrollment.
  2. Stand ready to participate, willing to be moved and inspired.
  3. Offer that which lights you up.
  4. Have no doubts that others are eager to catch the spark.
I've been so self-involved lately that I've only been doing step 3, offering what I'm passionate about to those around me.  But I've learned that when you do that without the readiness to be inspired by others or with the expectation that you are among a hostile audience, then you will burn out rather quickly.

I love what this chapter has to say about approaching our students.  I know that I'm very much different in my presentation style when I teach to one of my classes that is not as receptive to my subject that I am in one of the others that has students with more enthusiasm.  And the students recognize these differences as well. This leads us to feed off of each other's energy in a vicious cycle that only leads to frustration.

So, with this in mind, I'm heading out this week to begin a unit on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, put the finishing touches on the Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella, and kick start month 12, all with the expectation that if I sparks a fire in me, others will soon catch the spark, too.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

MAC Week 3 - Comment 2

Screen capture of Paul Devoto's blog.
Paul's original post:
I would like to focus this blog entry on the idea of admitting your mistakes. This is referenced in Chapter 5 of the Art of Possibility when they described the typical behavior of those in positions of power who rarely admit to their mistakes. I learned how important this skill was in college when I was in charge of a group of 50+ peers who relied on my to make good decisions on behalf of the group at large. The person who led the group before me was very confident in his management and had a hawkish, boss-like personality. I never recall him ever admitting fault.

When I took over, I tried to be as humble as possible while still making well-reasoned executive decisions when needed. Whenever I made a mistake, I made it a priority to admit it publicly and share what I learned in the process. This helped the members to feel respected and also made my actions more transparent.

As a teacher, I make sure that my students understand this way of carrying themselves. I model it myself, never exaggerating that "I never make a mistake" or dismiss the mistake as trivial. Instead, I calmly and inquisitively analyze how I mistakenly came to the wrong conclusion and explain how I will do it differently in the future based on this mistake. I find that this makes kids more comfortable when they make mistakes and even encourages them to feel safe when participating in class.


My comment:

It's important to let our students know that we make mistakes. I make a point of letting my kids know that I make mistakes all the time. They get a kick out of the fact that I'm an English teacher and I still make misspell words when I'm writing on the board. I don't hide it because I want them to know that it's common to make mistakes, but you have to correct them and learn from them.
The other aspect I teach them is how to respectfully point out a mistake. I don't care if they let me know that I've made a mistake, as long as they are polite going about it. No one wants to be criticized for making a mistake, but they want the opportunity to correct it.

MAC Week 3 - Comment 1

Screen capture of Dena Whipple's Blog

Dena's original post:

I love Zander’s intrinsic nature about his power over the orchestra. His approach in this matter is the key to his success. For me as a reader, hearing how he continually analyzes his effectiveness, energizes me about my teaching and learning process. I enjoyed reading about his “white sheet” process and think that would be a great idea in education as well as many other fields. Perhaps we should all consider ourselves as conductors or our orchestras (students) and focus solely on trying to find their spark.
One of my favorite chapters was Six and the discussion of rule number six. I want to photocopy this onto a page and place it in the mailbox of everyone I work with. Some need it more than others but it’s something for everyone to keep in the back of their mind (including me). What I thought was a really interesting statement in this chapter was “A child comes to think of himself as the personality he gets recognition for….”(pg 82). It makes me think of kids that grow up only getting noticed when their behavior is less than perfect, rather than being acknowledged for any of the positive actions they take. So they continue on that pattern because at least they’re getting SOME attention. This behavior leads into the calculating self as an adult. It’s fascinating for me to read about his theory for why we continually try to make progress and position ourselves higher and higher, almost to the point of not being content in our current situation. But that, in fact, it is the central self that is more in tune with what we really need on a personal and professional level. I know I keep saying it but the timing this book could not be more perfect and I hope my classmates are getting as much from this reading as I am. I am continually inspired by Zander, especially the last few pages of chapter 8 where he discusses the glass being half full or half empty and the importance of seeing “the way things are” (page 110). I like the way this makes me feel because I have always considered myself an optimist. It’s further support in my dealings with the calculating selves of others!


My comment:

I was also struck by Zander's comment about how students identify with what ever behaviors cause them to receive attention (I discussed it in my blog, too).

I've been thinking about how to apply some of his practices, like the white sheet.  This week I had two girls in my Intro to Journalism class who wanted to drop the class because they thought is was boring and hard.  They assured me that it had nothing to do with me.  They were shocked when I asked them to take the weekend to think up some recommendations on how I could make the class more engaging and get back with me on Monday.

I'm not sure if they know that I'm serious, but if they have suggestions tomorrow, I'm going to take them into consideration.

And I don't just want to give my colleagues a copy of Rule #6; I think they need to read the whole book!

MAC Week 3 Reading - The Art of Possibility, Chapters 5-8

"A child comes to think of himself as the personality he gets recognition for...."
The Art of Possibility - Chapter 6, pg. 82

by Flickr user Michael Sarver
This statement highlights an observation that I've made over the past three years.  Between the freshman and sophomore year, many students mature and come into my English II classes as a slightly different person than who they were in previous years. Each year I go to the freshman and middle school teachers to find out what I should expect from certain students, but I always keep an open mind to allow the students to mature and be different than they were in previous years. Thankfully, many of them do mature, especially the guys.

Last week I was talking with one of these students, I'll call him Alan (not his name, but I can't tell this story with only pronouns). I have Alan in three of my classes this semester -- English II, Intro to Journalism and Public Speaking.  He's a great kid who does well in all three classes, and he's a smart aleck who likes to keep me on my toes for the three hours he's with me each day.  Last week he and some of the other students were talking about his behavior in the past, which included getting suspended for fighting a student and using brass knuckles in middle school. The freshman teacher had warned me that he could be lazy and combative, but she also told me that he had potential. He was shocked when I told him that I knew about his previous behavior pattern. He had no clue that I knew because I gave him the space to change and only acknowledged his current behavior.  He's been a model student this year, and many of his previous teachers are shocked to learn this.

With each chapter I read, I find that it is clearly applicable to teaching or that it highlights something I've observed in my short time as a teacher.  I think I'm going to read the book again at the end of the summer before school starts again because I want to apply these principles in my classes more.  I would also love to give a copy to everyone I know who works with students.

MAC Week 3 - Think Out Loud Part 1: Publish or Present.

by Flickr user JKim1
When it comes to deciding if I want to present or publish, I've gone back and forth. I'm comfortable in my writing skills because I teach the practice of writing in my content.  I'm also equally comfortable presenting because I've done that before on a small scale within our education service district, which comprises 11 schools in over two counties. Since I'm secure in either situation, I have to look at my research and results to see which route would be best for conveying my findings.

Looking at the data in comparison to my intended outcomes, my research shows that my cycles were not successful at increasing the level of engagement in my classes. However, this does not mean that I didn't gain new insights into the nature of student motivation and engagement in regards to the situations that occurred during my cycles. 

Taking all this into consideration, I'm leaning towards publishing, and here's why: 
  • I'm worried that since my original purpose was not achieved, explaining what I learned as a result of the technology and weather related issues in a presentation would come off as making excuses to an audience.
  • Technology issues were part of what lead to a lack of engagement, and I pretty sure that tech conferences might not be interested in my work (I may be wrong there because it's important for teachers to know that technology is great to use to increase engagement, but if it doesn't work properly, students get frustrated and disheartened more than they might have been before you tried to increase their engagement.)
  • I'm not really sure that my research is geared toward an audience interested solely in technology, but would be of greater interest to English/Language Arts (E/LA) teachers who are looking for ways to incorporate technology and group collaboration into their curriculum. I think I can reach this audience in an E/LA journal.
  • This isn't the best reason, but when it comes down to the limited time that I've this month to create the project, I think that I'm better equipped to write a better paper in a short amount of time than I am to create a presentation. In the end, I have to go where my strengths lie, and I'll get the best result by writing for publication.  
  • One of my goals is to one day have something I've written be published, and this would be the first step.
Even though I've chosen to publish, I would love to present at a national conference someday.  It seems like it would be a great experience.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

MAC Week 2 Free Post - After EMDT

Some of my upcoming reading after finishing up next month.
Not that I'm looking to wish away the last month and a half of the EMDT program, but with only a few weeks left, it's time to start thinking about how I'm going to fill the time that I devoted to this endeavor over the past year. 

Right now I have one plan: reading.

If you look at my blog's sidebar, you can see some of the reading challenges I've chosen to engage in this year.  I've not really applied any time to these yet, but I don't think I'm down and out yet.

I'm an English teacher, so it's no big surprise that I like reading and collect books. The ones listed above are only a few of the ones that are in my I have yet to read.  I purchase most of the books I read because part of what I love about books is owning them. I do visit the library, but I'm a slow, and sometimes distracted, reader which means that having a brief time to interact with a book from the library really limits my enjoyment.

My wife keeps asking me if I'd be interested in a Kindle, Nook or other e-reader, and I'm not really interested yet. I really enjoy the physical interaction with the text on a page that I turn, not scroll.  I don't really enjoy the fact that most of the text books in this program have been in a digital format, but I see the value.  I do think that I might be persuaded to try e-books on an iPad because if I don't like the experience, I can still use the iPad for other uses. With a dedicated e-reader, if I don't like it, then there's not much I can do with it.

So after my adventure in EMDT ends in April, you can find me with a book, either in a chair by a window or in a hammock in my back yard.

What are you looking forward to after we end our time in EMDT? And what are your thoughts on e-books versus physical books?

MAC Week 2 - Comment 2

Screen capture from Danielle Miles' post, "Leadership Project Continued"
Danielle's original post:

As I try to wrap my head further around the idea of presenting at a conference, I have been doing a bit of surfing and searching of the web.  My goal was to get a feel for what types of conferences are available, what sort of timeline I am working with in terms of applying and scheduling of details, and to see who these types of conferences are geared toward.  I came across some pretty valuable information and thought that I might share. 

I found a site  that offered the following information:

Media Literacy, Greening the Classroom & Designing the 21st C. Classroom
San Antonio Texas
June 20th-24th
The San Antonio Summer Institute is a five day event that combines our Media Literacy, Greening the Classroom and Designing the 21st Century Classroom workshops into a seamless, relevant and comprehensive learning experience.

Summer 2011 Teaching with Technology Workshops
Cambridge Massachusetts
June 23rd-August 5
Inspiring Technology Integration Ideas with Acclaimed Education Technology Leaders

Breakthrough Strategies to Teach and Counsel Troubled Youth
Lake Oswego, Oregon
October 13th-14th
Learn how to involve troubled and challenged youth in learning. This class explains the challenges
that children can face, and how to effectively teach and assist those youngsters. Participants will discover how to best integrate challenged youth.

33rd National Media Market
Las Vegas, Nevada
October 16th- 20th
The National Media Market (NMM) is a non-profit organization that brings together 
content providers and professionals involved in the use of media in teaching and 
learning. From K12, to public libraries, to colleges and universities, NMM and the 
participating companies support the development of all types of libraries as 
learning communities of the 21st Century.

So all in all I am off to a good start.  I am still a bit nervous about the process particularly with the actual proposal.  But as always, when I let go and let our very capable and informed professors guide us through the process, I do just fine.


My comment to Danielle:

Okay, Danielle, looking at your "Free Choice" blogs for the past two weeks makes me feel very, very behind on the Publishing/Leadership project.  But, thanks to your posts, especially this one, I now have some resources to start working with.

Thanks for sharing!

MAC Week 2 - Comment 1

Screen capture of Mark Dohn's blog post, "I Can't Drink the Punch."

Mark Dohn's original post:
It started today: Test Prep.
   On Monday, I received this monstrous, convoluted table of where I need to be and who’s class I need to cover while teachers work with groups of students. So today, at the appropriate time, I arrived at the gymnasium with 200 eighth graders. They were ushered in and sat down on the hardwood floor.
   For the next thirty minutes they were verbally assaulted by the chair of our Science Department about astronomy. They were told how he helped to write the test, and that they would do better if they listened to his endless list of astronomy facts. We don’t teach to the test...we just cram for it!
   A year ago I would have been positive. A team player telling the students how this was a necessary evil in education today. Twelve months later and one month from finishing my degree here at Full Sail, and I cannot stomach it any more.
I cannot live with it. I cannot condone it. Standardized testing is simply wrong. Judging kids according to their performance with a Number 2 pencil is a disservice, and it needs to end.

My comment to Mark:

Oh, Mark, you're singin' my song. Tomorrow, my sophomore students will begin taking the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) with the reading portion, and the other four core subject will follow one a day for the rest of the week.
I finished my previous unit on March 4th, so this past week we took some time to make-up tests and quizzes from that unit and then had a few days where I talked to them about the test.  I don't cram, I try to spread everything out over the first three quarters so that it's not a rush or a frenzy in the few weeks before the test, but I'm tired of even focusing on it. 
In the past three years, the kids are always nervous because of how little I talk about it, but I tell them at the beginning of the year that if they pay attention in class and do what I ask of them, they will do well on the test, and they generally do.  But in the end, I don't believe that standardized tests are the answer. 
When I was reading chapter 3 in  THE ART OF POSSIBILITY this week, I found myself wanting what the authors were describing.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized the only thing standing in the way in students apathy towards learning, which I believe is a result of the false learning that is generated by standardized testing. If we are failing our students, it's not a result of a lack of collecting data, but rather, I think the way we are collecting data is getting in the way of true, substantial and meaningful teaching and learning.

MAC Week 2 Reading - The Art of Possibility, Chapters 1-4

Image by Flickr user TommyGUNZ
I found this week's reading material to very intriguing.  At first glance, the practices in to book read as if the authors are purporting that if you put on the rose colored glasses and drink the Kool-Aid, your outlook on life will change and you can think away your problems and stress.  As you read on, the writers address this simplification of their argument and point out that they are not proposing we all ignore the harsher realities in life. From my reading, I feel that they are saying when faced with an aspect or outlook on life that has an obvious negative and positive viewpoint, why not choose the positive one.  This would not work in every situation, but in most non-lifethreatening situations, it would.  I can choose to view my students as lazy, disaffected, apathetic slugs and leave it at that; or, I can choose to take the next step, recognize that they are choosing this academic lifestyle for a reason, try to find out why they are, and work with them to over come these issues and help them be successful.

I loved the parts in chapter 3, "Giving an A," where the authors described teachers moving from the role of assessors who measure students against the standards into the role of mentors who help students strive to achieve the standards.  I don't feel that how I just wrote that clearly articulates the principle from the book, but if I could get my students to buy into the fact that my desired role as their teacher is to help them improve as a reader and a writer over the 9 months they are in my class, that I'm not the enemy giving them busy work but rather on their side guiding them, I think it would really improve the performance and the climate in my classes.

This is not to say that my classes are hostile and my students are making gains everyday, but I can feel them fighting against me, even as they do what I ask of them.

I love the idea of writing letters at the beginning of the course in which the students tell themselves what they will have accomplished by the end of the course.  It is a backwards way of goal setting that really never sets a goal, but gives context and purpose for why they are taking the courses I teach.  I've never really asked students what they expect to gain from taking my English II course, partly because it's a state requirement and they have no choice in the matter.  I have the feeling that if I were to ask them, they would have difficulty articulating anything beyond "to pass the Ohio Graduation Test in March" because they probably haven't ever thought about what they expect or don't feel that it even matters.

I'm planning on incorporating both writing assignments described in chapters 3 and 4 into my course next year.  I think that the letter would force both the students and me to really consider what we expect out of the year and build a constructive dialogue.  The second assignment, focused on the contributions that they make, can go a long way to help students see that they can have positive influence in their environment.  I know of students who do not make positive contributions in school because they are so focused on taking care of themselves and their siblings while their parents are either working or absent.  If they can have those contributions, and others similar situations,  validated in school, then maybe they will gain some confidence that will enable them to attempt making positive contributions in the school academically and socially.

Maybe I'm dreaming right now, but as John Lennon said, I'm not the only one, and hopefully some others will join me someday.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Screen capture of Paul DeVoto's Blog Post
Paul's Text:

After watching the myriad of videos on copyright, I still have questions, and that’s just not right, man!
As an educator in today’s digital age, I want my students to engage in digital content in a way that inspires them to bring their best to the world. I want them to able to reuse, remix, and add onto inspiring media that they connect with without having to worry about legal trouble.

Watching the videos about copyright, it is clear that there needs to be a balance between remix-freedom and copyright violation. A personal example I can relate to has to do with music. My friend's band, Alma Desnuda, has music for sale through iTunes, Amazon, and other online sites. If somebody were to put one of their songs online, it would take away from valuable revenue that they need to make it. So where is the balance?
That's hard to determine, especially since some unwarranted usage can actually increase exposure and therefore awareness of your brand. An example that comes to mind is the Chris Brown song that was played for this wedding video. The wedding video actually generated a lot of buzz for that song! So by having his copy-righted music used in this way, he actually benefitted.
As many of my peers have said, it's a fascinating debate and I'm interested in seeing where it goes.


You're right, Paul.  This week has provided me with the most comprehensive overview of issues related to copyright, and I'm still not completely comfortable. But, I think everyone needs to be in search of the sweet spot that lies between the extremes.  This year our school newspaper staff chose to begin using images with Creative Commons licenses in the publication because we don't have the man power to get all the diverse images we need. It's been a great solution.
It's interesting that you posted that wedding march video.  Based on our "reading" this week, I think that the music in that video could be defended as fair use because it might qualify as incidental music and, more importantly, without the song, the video could not have the same effect.  The music is integral to the purpose of the video.  But, the fact is we'll never know for sure unless someone takes the video creature to court.  Until then, we'll sit in the grey area and wait it out.


Screen Cap of Mike Padilla's blog post
Mike's Text:

As a teacher of video production in a High School, my students always like using copyrighted material in their work. Whether they add music, clips from movies, or pictures into their work, a good majority of it is copyrighted. Since it's all for educational purposes and it doesn't leave the classroom, it's never been much of an issue, but all of the videos certainly opened my eyes to the issues with copyright materials.

The film Good Copy/Bad Copy was quite informative and entertaining. I'm glad it featured DJ Danger Mouse because I remember listening to his remix album of Jay Z rapping of mashed up Beatles beats. I remember thinking it was such a great album and I was interested in how the legal issues all panned out. I also had no idea that Nigerian cinema was so huge! That segment was particularly interesting because of the amount of bootlegging that goes on in Nigeria and also how they feel that releasing movies straight to video helps to combat piracy.

Though I thought some of the editing in the film was a bit odd, I really liked how they showed the issue of piracy and copyright from all parts of the world and both between music and movies. I also liked some of the comments in the movie, such as how "freedom drives a more vibrant economy" rather than control. As a huge fan of music and movies, I thought the issues brought up were both relevant and informative and it will certainly be interesting to see how this is handled down the road. As one of the interviewee's in the film said, if they close down piracy in Europe, it'll start up in China. If they close up in China, it'll open up in Russia, and on and on.

Lastly, the videos on Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons were also very informative. I especially liked the video A Fair(y) Use Tail. I thought this was so innovative and brilliant from an editing standpoint and I wonder how long it took them to do this!


My journalism students seem to share the same thoughts as your video production students.  I think the main difference is that in a journalism class, the "educational purpose" defense has not held up because copyright infringement is legally recognized as one of the nine forms of unprotected free speech, even if you give attribution.  Also, the journalism industry doesn't have a sector that capitalizes on the use of second hand media, such as the documentarians in the movie industry featured in the fair use videos.

This is not to say that you should change your practice. I'm not here passing judgement.  When I have my English students create videos, I'm more lenient in regards to the use of copyrighted material when it is not going to leave the room, but I do require students to give credit to the original copyright holder.

I enjoyed Good Copy/Bad Copy, also.  I hadn't heard of The Grey Album, but I've since downloaded it. I have listened to Girl Talk, and I enjoy how he adds new nuance to the music when he remixes all of the songs over top of each other.  It's quite impressive, if you haven't heard it


by Flickr user Marcus McBride
The clock image is honor of the fact that I'm submitting all m work this week at the 11th hour, almost literally.  I hate it, but as we all know, life sometimes doesn't cooperate with our plans.

Now, you may be sitting in your seat cringing that I'm about to list a litany of excuses about why I'm working late on this, but have no fear, that's not my purpose in this post. I'm hear to talk about this week's Wimba session.

So how does this all relate to Wimba? I'm about to tell you!

I was greatly comforted in my predicament today as I watched the archive and our course director explained that his focus, in regards to deadlines, is that they help make sure things get accomplished, but that they should not be the main focus. Rather, the fact that the work gets done should be the focus.

(If I have that wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments, Joe.)

Don't fear, however, that I'm going to be a complete slacker this month.  I know he said this not the time to judge a pageant, and I'm not doing that, but I am directing a musical that opens on April 1 and runs through April 3.  Yep, I started the EMDT program last year the month after the musical, which means that now I'm finishing the program the same month as the musical. This month is going to require intense focus and organization, but I think I'm up to the challenge.

All that was said for to reasons: 1) it's a disclaimer for if I'm completely dead at the end of the month, and 2) it explains why I'm so appreciative of how the Wimba went this week.  I need to know when things are due so that I can plan ahead.  It was also great to get the opportunity to hear what to expect and what is expected from each week's projects, along with some of the common pitfalls to avoid.

I'm excited to get to attend the future sessions, and hope that I keep my head in the next three weeks.


By Flickr user ntr23
Ah, copyright. Important but frustrating at the same time. I feel fairly comfortable with copyright law because I've been teaching it in my journalism classes for the past few years. The videos that were presented as our "reading" material for this week were excellent at covering a topic that is, in my opinion, the epitome of a necessary evil.

It was interesting to view the videos in all three sections and see that many of them referred to the fact that the current generation of students see nothing wrong with violating copyright laws.  It brought to mind a few recent examples I've encountered.  The first is was in my journalism class.  For the first issue of the school newsmagazine this school year, the staff had written two opinion columns debating if the TV school Glee was becoming too sexual.  When it came time to create the cover for the issue, a student used a great photo graph of one of the characters from the show in a contemplative pose, and put the following headline in a thought bubble from the character's head: Is Glee becoming too sexual?  It was a great piece and a great cover, but the picture is copyright protected and the student did not get permission to use the photo, and when I questioned her about it, she felt she had done nothing wrong.  Because we publish in house, the issue went to print with the image and received great reviews on the cover.  The students chose not to put the issue online, however, to avoid any issues with cover image. We have since had many discussions about the fact that using copyrighted material without permission in a journalistic endeavor is both illegal and irresponsible and have take steps to gain access to promotional materials from the major networks and movie studios through their press websites.

The situation that came to mind was a blog post by Jason Robert Brown from last summer. Mr. Brown is a composer with a few shows that have been produced on Broadway.  In June 2010, he began posting email transcripts on his blog that illustrated his view on copyright and its importance.  A teenager girl had  engaged in a debate with him about her unlicensed use of his songs in auditions, and he returned with his thoughts that this was personally detrimental to his ability to make money from his work.  If you have time, I encourage you to read the conversations they had because this series of correspondence illustrates the mindset of many students and young adults when it comes to the ideas of copyright in relation to the internet. In the end, neither side of changed their opinion.

Both of these examples highlights for me the importance of educating students about the nature of copyright, fair use and creative commons. If they are not informed, students will continue to apply this philosophy in the academic sector, leading to greater and greater instances of plagiarism, which will continue to water down the validity of our educational system. I am shocked many times a year by the fact that students think that because it is on the internet, they can use text verbatim in their papers.

Now, before I finish, don't think that I'm a huge proponent of Copyright and don't support the causes of artists like Girl Talk and Danger Mouse.  I have Girl Talk's latest album All Day (which is awesome, and I'm listening to it as I type) and was excited to see him featured in the doc and to learn that he's a skinny white guy from Pittsburg.  I love Creative Commons and think that it is a mission worth furthering in the next iteration of our media culture. I've recently introduced my newspaper staff to it, and it's a great way to get images when you can't afford a stock photo house subscription.

I guess where I find myself is in the middle, crying out, "In all things, moderation."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I joined another reading challenge...

So I worked on making a list of books for the first reading challenge I signed up for this year, and added Turn of the Screw by Henry James.  Then I found the Gothic Reading Challenge, so I put the two together and decided to join this challenge as well. That means in addition to the 6 or so books I'm reading for the "Books I Should Have Read..." challenge, I'll also be reading 5 books with gothic elements in them. But, with a list of 45 (and counting) books I'd like to read in the next year, I can squeeze them all in.
As for my 5 books, I'm open to suggestions beyond Turn of the Screw.  The only other one that comes to mind right now is Jane Eyre, which would fit both challenges because I didn't read all of it when I was supposed to read it in college.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Books I should have read in school, but didn't challenge

Tonight I signed up for the Books I Should Have Read in School, but Didn't Challenge on Dana Huff's blog, Much Madness is Divinest Sense.  Dana is a fellow high school English teacher in Georgia whose blog I've followed for a few months.  She has transitioned her blog into a more focus literature blog lately, and I'm excited to have the challenge to finally get around to reading the books I should have read by now, especially since I'm an English teacher.  So, now all I have to do is pick my books (suggestions are now being accepted in the comments).

For more information about the Challenge, check out Dana's blog.