Sunday, November 16, 2008

Integration Assignment - Redux (Now with Website!)

Well, it seems I did not fully understand the parameters of the Integration assignment initially. At any rate, the full description of my assignment posting with links to the FTP site was posted in the prior entry from November 11th. Thanks to a couple classmates that analyzed the assignment better than I did, HERE is the link to my web page for this assignment.

This is a great class. I have to say I have worked at greater length in this class than any of my other Graduate courses. There have been many nights spent with candle burning, coffee consumed, and sleepy eyelids in getting through these assignments.

Toss more words up here later,

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Spreadsheet Integration Assignment - First Entry

Excel Spreadsheet Template: Click Here

Lesson Plan: Click Here

Student Worksheet: Click Here

This went really well, assuming my understanding of the parameters of this Integration assignment are correct. It was nice to put all of this information together (lesson, CSOs, ISTE|NETS, Excel) into a cohesive piece that one could technically use in their content field. Realistically, getting use of the computer lab at the middle school where I am observing is not easy. In fact, just this cooperating teacher had to change his lesson plans to something less "techy" as he only has 4 PCs in his room and the labs were not available for the next week and a half. In other schools this may not be an issue, but it has been the case with both schools in which I have observed. Additionally, when the lab times are in conflict, it seems that Social Studies does not win out as compared to the Science and English classes needs for the lab (that has been my understanding anyhow).

I will not detail my lesson in this blog post too much it is highly detailed in the links for the lesson plan and worksheet. Perhaps my worksheet is too detailed, I am not sure, but I did make this lesson for 8th graders. I am not sure there can ever be too much detail with middle school students...there will always be questions that the worksheet and my preparatory instructions will not cover.

Toss more words up here later,

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Spreadsheet 2 Assignment

Click Here

I think I said this last time, but "Wow!I did not have a great time with this". I know it is showing my age (as Mark R. pointed out), but the last computer class I had was at Fairmont State "College" in 1998 on a Windows 3.1 PC. I believe we did not even use Excel...I think it was Lotus. Overall, the spreadsheet was not too bad. I had some trouble with the COUNTIF function. Special thanks to Mark R. for allowing me to pick his brain on that portion of the assignment. I think my primary difficulty was that my software is Excel 2007 and not the older version. I now understand why the COUNTIF command is needed to convert the grade letter information into percentages to be used on the chart. All of the tutorials an online help sites I found were for 97-2003. Oh well, lesson learned, new tool acquired.

Toss more words up here later,

Monday, November 3, 2008

Spreadsheet 1

Click Here

Wow! This was challenging for me. For all the computer and internet activities I am decent at, somehow I've avoided Excel (and spreadsheets in general) entirely to this point.

(1)Downloading the spreadsheet was no problem. (2)Averaging columns in Excel was not difficult once I figured out where the Formula Tool was for Excel 2007.


(3)Formatting the name and average of the highest scoring student was no different
than doing it in Word. (4)Averaging the assignments was no different from averaging the grades other than it was a column average rather than a row average.


(5 & 6)This was just a matter of subtracting the highest score (93) out of 100.
Special thanks to Mark for help with that curve score formula! (7)That Pivot tool is Excel is really neat, too bad it does not transfer to Google Docs. (8)Making K3 shaded black was again no different than in Word...right click the cell, select background color and change to black. (9 & 10) I did not have any trouble getting the Spreadsheet uploaded to Google other than that my PC had saved it to the download folder instead of the documents folder. Again, good thing I'd read that the heading angles would not transfer. (11)Inserting a column to the left of the original averages was no first. (12 & 13) It worked fine until I pasted in the new student names in that column and moved the "curve" column. When I did, because of the curving formula I'd used (added specific cell values that were no longer there), Google Docs gave me a "circular dependency error" on all my adjusted grades. Thanks again Mark for helping me get that right. (14)I really like the chart tool on Google Spreadsheets. That was a really easy way to add a graphic to a set of calculations.

I must say that I am glad that we will not likely use Excel or Google Spreadsheets to do our grades. There are commercial programs like Live Grades and others that are more user friendly. That said, it is always good to learn something new.

Toss more words up here later,

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ranking Tool (Group Project)

This was a very interesting assignment. We did our lesson on Voting Rights History. We felt it was both appropriate based on the season and also it is something that we both could teach in some capacity to our students. The Intel tools are very nice, and worked without a hiccup. The ranking tool is a really interesting apparatus for listing items and discussing their importance.

My partner for this assignment was Sarah Episcopo. We worked well together at blending each others talents and I am glad that she was my partner. Lastly, this project gave me an opportunity to use Google sites even though we did not do it as a stand alone assignment.

Here is a link to our Google Sites page and our Lesson: Click Here

Toss more words up here later,

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mini-tutorial from Fred on Adding Pictures to your Blog

Click any image in this post to enlarge it.

Click on the image you want to save:

Add Image Icon:

Then click Browse and select the image:

Then click Upload followed by Done:

Lastly, the HTML will show in your window and you can post the rest of your entry as usual:

Your finished Post will look like this:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Photoshop Express

Here is my web album: Click Here

Photoshop express is interesting. It seems a lot like the Picasa II software from Google in an online format.

I am not sure how much I would use Photoshop Express, it is neat, but I am already a member of and this sort of thing can be done on's a blast!

Alter for Halloween!

Web Album

For my web photo album I used (which we use for all our digital photos) and its slide show feature to display a recent DIY flooring job that we did on our home. We ripped out all of the carpet and, over the course of 4 days, replaced it with wood flooring. I love it!

With Flickr one can use their service for free or buy a premium membership. At any rate one just has to set up an account and either download their photo uploading software or use their web-based uploader. They can then be organized into albums (sets) and the slide show is an automatic feature of all photostreams or photo sets.

Here it is: Click Here


Online Graph II

This is my online graph depicting the amount of students with IEPs in the 5 poorest states (including WV) based on Per Capita Income. I do not think that this table correlates much. There are too many variables that cannot be expressed in this chart. For example, Kentucky has the highest Per Capita Income and by far the highest number of students with IEPs, but they expend less money on students per head in Kentucky at $7726 than we do in West Virginia at $9465 per student. Kentucky has a higher student population, higher Per Capita income, yet West Virginia has a higher percentage of students with IEPs. They even have a similar student to teacher ratio with WV having 14:1 and KY having 16:1. I think this more shows that one can display any kind of figure on a chart, it looks impressive, but may not say that much.

Toss more words up here later,


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Online Graph 1

An immediate acknowledgment must be to state that WV is running behind the US average for math scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) exam. It can be said that West Virginia's fourth grade score has increased since 2000, but at a slower rate than the US average for 4th grade students on this exam. I also noticed that the progress on the WV score stagnated for both the 2003 and 2005 exams whereas the national average continued to climb. If starting out with the 2000 score on this examination as a benchmark it can be said that whilst the scores were similar (WV - 223, US avg. - 224) for the benchmark year, the gap between WV 4th grade achievement and that of the national average 4th grader is widening.

*It should be noted that if the entire score spectrum (0 - 500) is covered and the span of dates on the X axis is widened to say 2010 or 2020, the charted course for the WV and National average is not as severe.

Toss more words up here later,


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Image Formats

For my Spreadsheet: Click Here

There are, as mentioned in the prompt for this post, several types of image files (.tiff, .gif, .bmp, .png, .jpg, etc.)for saving images to one's PC or the internet. The .tiff (tagged image file format) is controlled by Adobe and was one I hoped to find for my downloads, but I could not find one on a google image search. By far the most common was JPEG. It is popular for photo images as it provides a good image compression (quality) and a small file format. Another that is common is a GIF file format. GIF (Graphic Interchange Format) is similar to a bitmap and is commonly used for low-end web page graphics and icons from what I have experienced. Portable Network Graphics, or PNGs, are a high-end bitmap image commonly used to produce cleaner looking web Graphics. One site I reviewed suggested that PNGs were intended to replace the GIF format entirely. I also did not find any PNG files to download for my five images. Bitmap (bmp) files have been around for a long time and are common for wallpaper graphics or images created in programs like paint. Our self-portrait in 5 lines is an example of a bmp. Each file type comes with a different compression, the higher the compression (I believe) the better quality image one can have for the file size. Lastly bigger files are not always better, many times it depends on either the pixel size of the image, a higher pixel x pixel ratio means a "bigger" viewable image and often incorporates a larger file size, or the file save format. That said, a 500x500 pixel JPEG image will appear to be photo quality and still have a smaller file size than a BMP of the same pixel ratio. The BMP (bitmap) image will likely be lower in quality and have a much larger file size. I will mention this further in the next section whilst discussing my downloaded images.

In the five images I downloaded, the most common type was JPG. Most of the images were photos and were under 200KB. The largest file was a portrait of the historian Charles Austin Beard at 1339KB and the smallest was a GIF at 21KB. One of my images was a Hi-Definition screenshot from gameplay of Halo 3 on the Xbox 360 that had been transferred to my PC. The image type was JPG and the clarity was amazing with a file size of 299KB. As we were supposed to alter the file type from its original to BMP for this assignment, I opened the file and "Saved as" both a 24-bit BMP and a 16-bit BMP. For the 24-bit image, the screenshot only lost minimal clarity but it went from 299KB (jpg file size) to 5.93MB in size. So minimal image quality reduction but a huge jump in file size. Then, for the 16-bit version, the next one totally tanked on image quality (looked like the old EGA graphics color set)and still went from a 299KB beautiful JPG to a .98MB very poor looking BMP. Additionally, the 16-bit changed the icon from a thumbnail of the image to a default Windows picture icon. It opened automatically with Paint instead of the Windows Photo Viewer as the JPG did. So JPG has a higher compression rate and can be stored as a smaller file size. No wonder it is used for most online photo uploading sites.

Toss more words up here later,


Screen Grab

Since Halloween is nearing and I am a fan of both the holiday and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I chose a screen capture from an episode title Buffy vs. Dracula in season five of the series. It is a 589x337 pixel 20.6 KB JPEG file that I got from a fan website. I retrieved the image by opening it, right clicking the image, selecting "copy image", then pasting it into Paint. Upon pasting it in I used the spraypaint tool, the shape tool, and the text tool to alter the image.

I can definitely see applications for this in the classroom. Students in geography, for example, could take an image of a landscape and diagram the geographic details of that image as an assignment. This is something that I actually used to do a lot as a kid (paste images into paint and alter them)for fun.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Image from Scratch

Click Here


I have again shown you this image as an HTML embed from my Flickr Photostream as well as put a link to it from my FTP site. It is saved as a .JPG file and is 71KB in size. I originally made this image in PowerPoint using word art, shapes, existing clipart, and text boxes. I then saved it as a .jpg slide from PowerPoint to my documents. Upon saving it, I uploaded it to Flickr (for the embed) as well as the FSU FTP site. I think these are a great idea for students if an assignment calls for making charts or diagrams. It looks much more well put together than using some other Microsoft softwares.

Toss more words up here later...time to watch the Presidential Debate,

Image from Scratch

Well, here's me in 5 lines. Really lets one see what they admire about their features when you can only use 5 lines.


I accomplished this feat of artistry *grins* using Microsoft Paint on my PC. As I mentioned earlier it is interesting to only be able to describe yourself in 5 lines. I used the brush tool and custom colors as I did not like the standard ones. I blew the image up about 600% so that I could very easily control the mouse. Upon completion I saved it as a .jpg file. I chose a jpeg format because the compression rate is higher, but the image size (4.6 KB) is smaller than that of a file in BMP (bitmap) format and has a higher resolution.

I then utilized the software from the site to upload it to my photostream. From there I selected the photo of Myself in 5 lines and copied the HTML code that accompanies the image. I then posted that code into my blog (above) thus producing the image for this post.

I could see Educational applications for similar file types. For example, one could request their students to gather images from the internet or their PC and make a collage based on some historic theme.



Click Here

Attached is my submission for the questions related to the reading assignment. I learned a really neat trick tonight that actually (I believe) goes along with this reading. Adobe, at least on my Q1 Ultra Mobile PC which has text to speech recognition, will read the PDF to you whilst you look at it on the screen. I have noticed this feature before, but it has never worked until this article. I think it really helped when it came time to recall info for the questions that I had heard the article as well as read it simultaneously. Very cool. Nice article too!

Toss more words up here later,

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Module 2 Reflection

For FTP: Click Here

For a Google Document Version: Click Here

This was an interesting assignment. I am usually perfectly at home writing papers. I typically consider myself quite good at it to be honest. This paper, however, presented some (possibly self-manifested)challenges. I did not find the reflection to be too difficult, though it was a bit tasking to go back several weeks to review all assignments for this module. The part I found difficult, and again it may have been self-manifested, was the personal reflection format whilst using formal voice. Formal voice, as I understand it, usually involves using things like "one" rather than "I" or "me". I did that quite a lot, but found it too difficult in some instances to properly get my point across and reflect on the module without using "I" or "me". Hopefully I have answered the questions well enough and formatted my paper well enough. I am eager to take what I have learned from this module and move on to new and different things.

Toss more words up here as I have them,


Monday, October 6, 2008

Jeopardy Modification Assignment

This is a really cool assignment! It is fortuitous that it is due at this time as well. I am observing a middle school WV History course right now, and the teacher actually had one of these for his course, but it is not working. In order to kill two birds with one stone, I actually created this modified Jeopardy template to be the review of the chapter that the students will be beginning tomorrow. I utilized the textbook (West Virginia: The History of an American State by Claremont Press), the Teacher's guide, and the Blackline Masters practice tests used in the course in order to make this WV History Jeopardy game...enjoy!

I looked through several templates online as the one on the course content page does not work and located this one which I feel is closest to the real thing. It came from a great site that actually has templated for several other popular game shows as well. Click Here

I was slightly concerned that it did not contain an action button to begin with, but it appears (upon further review) that the entire slide is covered in an action button excluding the text...nice trick!

Toss more words up here later,

Sunday, October 5, 2008

PhotoStory Lesson

Here is my PhotoStory Lesson. This was not a majorly difficult task as we have already utilized the PhotoStory software for the Introduction assignment. This was fun. That said, I did have this anomaly wherein PhotoStory took my first silde and placed it at the end of the movie instead of the beginning thus messing up the flow of my PhotoStory and cancelling out the music.I had to reopen the project, move the tile back into place and resubmit to the FTP site.

Toss more words up here later,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

PowerPoint to Movie Maker Assignment

"Man!", this just was not my day for getting this assignment up here. I have never used ISTE standards for any assignment prior to this one. So, I went to their site to look through them for applicable ones for my lesson and they were down for the day awaiting the release of new standards and a new site format. So, I dealt with it. I found a blog site about them and did the best I could with what I had. Then, when I went to upload this assignment this evening, the "Tube" sites were down for the evening (or rather were up, but uploading was disabled for maintenance). Well, continuing in the theme of Gmail and Google Docs...I uploaded this to Google Video in order to get it up here before the deadline as I really wanted to embed it into my post.

Admittedly I was totally lost on how to convert a PPT file to Movie Maker until I read Abby Lee's 6305 discussion forum post as a tutorial. It earned her "special thanks" at the end of my video presentation.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Google Docs Presentation Embed

Thar it be! I know, I know, talk like a pirate day was last week. I love utilities that give you embed codes.


My Powerpoint as a Google Docs Presentation

Here it is: Click Me

It actually went up seamlessly from Powerpoint to Google Docs with only minor adjustments to the font size on some of the headers. This is quite nice. I like that viewers can join in and chat whilst watching your presentation. Nice feature!


Powerpoint Lesson Web Page

Here is my Powerpoint Lesson as a Web Page: Click Me

This is an interesting way to put up a page on the web. I cannot say that it is my favorite though. First, I about went out of my gourd when the FTP site suggested it would take 4+ hours to put up the Powerpoint only took about 5 minutes though. Second, it is not fully compatible with Firefox 3.0 and one of my tiles was blank. Third, on IE 7.0 the tiles are all there, including the text on Tile 4 that Firefox left out, but my index on the left has invisible words. One can click to the right of the tile # and it goes but there is no visible link.


Powerpoint Show

My Powerpoint Lesson Plan Show

Microsoft apparently lost its collective mind with Office 2007 and its .docx and .ppsx file extensions. No one can play or open those without the newest software, and it is sneaky about it too. I set my Powerpoint to convert to compatibility mode on all files, yet if one does not watch it will still make the "show" a .ppsx file by default! There is an additional drop-down menu to convert it to a .pps ~ frustrating.


My Powerpoint Lesson Plan

Here is: My Powerpoint Lesson Plan

Life has been hectic the past few days and my Powerpoint skills were way too rusty, and frankly, I've never presented a lesson plan in such a format. Anyhow, up before the deadline.

Toss more words up here shortly,


Sunday, September 21, 2008

My Photo Story Introduction

I thought I would add the video for this assignment to my blog as an HTML Embed as well as giving readers the link to the FTP site: My Photo Story Introduction. I recorded it in high quality and several of the photos in the story are in Hi-Def as that is what my newest camera captures in, so please use the YouTube Embed if you do not have a high speed connection or do not wish to download an 80MB file.

I loved using the Photo Story software. I cannot believe I have not dabbled with it until now. I toyed with several different set-up models for the Photo Story, but in the end I decided to toss it up here in the fashion I am most comfortable with which is 9 minutes of me speaking conversationally whilst displaying my photos. Admittedly, I am not the biggest fan of my speaking voice when it is recorded, I have often been told I sound like a baritone Kermit the Frog, but hopefully this thing is enjoyable and tells the readers a little bit about me.

I'll toss more words up here later....


Monday, September 15, 2008

Personality Type (Revisited from 27 August 2008)

I often find that it is best to repeat a thing like this once you have given enough time to pass so that you've forgotten your original answers. Seems I came to the same result. Must be something to it.

Extroverted (E) 54.29% Introverted (I) 45.71%
Sensing (S) 50% Intuitive (N) 50%
Thinking (T) 69.7% Feeling (F) 30.3%
Judging (J) 64.86% Perceiving (P) 35.14%

ENTJ - "Field Marshall". The basic driving force and need is to lead. Tend to seek a position of responsibility and enjoys being an executive. 1.8% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

Back Pedalling....

I just realized that even though I linked my calendar to the right side of my Blog many days ago, I did not put a clear link to in an actual post. So, here goes: My Calendar

The FTP Assignment

My FTP'd Document

Wow, I have really been spoiled by the WYSIWYG software for my private website. Back in the day I had been quite familiar with using FTP, not so much. It took me a time or two to get it right, but eventually I prevailed. This just goes to show you that even though technology and software can make things easier on you, one should brush up on the basics every so often.

More words to be tossed up here soon,


Note* After reviewing some Blogs from my fellow classmates, I agree with Sarah that it IS really annoying that the FTP site refreshes the login info like every two minutes. Really, how many times must one enter their UCA and password?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Faux Cover Letter for 6305

Here is the link to my cover letter.
The position that I found was for a middle school Social Studies educator in Somers, CT. A direct link to that job listing is: Social Studies Classroom Teacher and located on the USREAP jobs site as linked to on the right side of this Blog.

Completion of this activity was more easily accomplished using the Google Documents template that matched the one used for my resume as I am now experienced in using this medium. Admittedly, it does take one out of their Microsoft Word comfort zone, but learning new things is fun! I'll toss more words up here later....


Monday, September 8, 2008

Faux Resume Assignment

Here is a link to my faux resume (not that different from my real resume actually):
My Resume

Admittedly, I found the Google Docs resume template a bit daunting at first. It took a few tries at a few different templates before I got it right. I initially found it difficult to highlight and re-format the pre-existing template to my liking. I got it after a few minutes of dabbling around with it though. I had a resume in Word saved to my PC, but the .doc file lost some-to-all of its formatting when I uploaded it. I have not decided on which job to use for my faux cover letter...I will toss those words at this wall later.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here are the results of my personality test for the 6305 course:

ENTJ - "Field Marshall". The basic driving force and need is to lead. Tend to seek a position of responsibility and enjoys being an executive. 1.8% of total population.
Free Jung Personality Test (similar to Myers-Briggs/MBTI)

For the most part I think this is accurate (in my humble opinion). I might differ slightly with the "need to lead" aspect. I can follow almost as easily. Initially, I do not think of myself as "executive", but looking back...almost every employment position I have ever left was due to no room for advancement. If it was a quasi-leadership position, upon reflection I often felt that management was not open to new ideas even if proof could be shown that the new way would work better than current agendas and operations.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First Post

My name is Fred Gerwig. I am a stay-at-home father and Grad student at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, USA.

This blog was created (though it is not my first blog) as part of a course in Education Technology. Throughout this course, and longer if I like the Blogger format, I will be making weekly posts expressing what I have learned each week.

Already this week:

#1 Though it is great to start the semester with a new computer, don't try to set everything up and rearrange your office/study on the first day of classes.

#2 Do not compound the stresses of rearranging your office and setting up a new computer on the first day of Fall classes by also replacing your spouse's archaic work PC after hours when her company's Tech Support have left for the day...she does not appreciate having two of everything at her work station (LCDs, PCs, Keyboards, Mice) even though it looks extremely tricked out.

#3 Do not stay up late watching Democratic convention coverage on the first night of class after keeping up with the 2 yr old all day, spending all evening moving furniture, transferring cables and software, and then planning on getting up at 7am the next morning to dive back into coursework. In this 24/7 news world we live in, the speeches will be replayed the next morning.

Well, this is only Tuesday, will toss more words up here later.