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Podcast Review

Geek!Ed! This is a weekly podcast that talks about technology in school. I downloaded one that is 47 minutes long. I guess the easiest way for me to review this is what I liked and did not like.

Liked - I can see myself downloading this to my shuffle and going for a long walk or run and listening to this discussion. It's interesting because the discussion is playful and fun, well as fun as technology talk can be.

Disliked - Tangents, sometimes they get off the subject and they all start laughing and you can not hear what someone was trying to say. On the other hand, it is nice to hear banter, like you are in the circle with them.

Being introduced to this makes me want a Nano instead of the shuffle I currently have.

Content - I learned alot about what other districts are trying out with technology and issues about kids and internet access. I could see listening to future podcasts.


Plastic Bags - JUST SAY NO! (Set to Scarborough Fair)

In memorance of Earth Day April 22

But they are doing this...

So I realize that there is always something to complain about, sometimes the complaining is legit and other times not so much. I also have to consider that everybody's expectation of legit is different - but SERIOUSLY folks it does not take much to get some teachers in a tizzy. Let's take scheduling, which is a nightmare, and each school type (Elementary, Middle and High) has different issues with scheduling. I braved the faculty lounge YET AGAIN and got into a polite disagreement with a fellow teacher who was in a tizzy about scheduling issues. Over the year Elementary has assemblies, Middle has field trips and High School has pep assemblies and finals - NONE of this is a secret. To me it all evens out, but the other teacher did not see it this way. WHY is this something to stress over? WHY? WHY? Someone explain it to me.


Health Care

It started out so positive, talking about what's going on in the Third Ward, good places to eat and then it turned ugly. The other day switching insurance was brought up, and as you probably know health insurance is a sore topic with alot of teachers. I am young, so I don't depend on my insurance as much as others. I figured I need more information, I would like to find out if anyone else has UnitedHealth Care insurance, well do you?

I feel this is going to be a touchy subject and I would like to be able to take a stand on the issue either way.


Are teachers not trusted?

Ok - So tonight I went to a parent input meeting where the parents were able to give some feedback on the schedule that we are proposing for next year. In the past, parent input was not asked for, but this year it is (not so sure it was a good thing). I sat and listened to many comments being made, some which were personally attacking my subject area and realized that the parents need to be educated on some more basics of the education process. How are parents suppose to understand a new schedule when they don't know what we do in a days work? Plus alot of their information comes from their child, hmmm... do we think that could be skewed at all?

Overall, I felt that the parents did not trust that the teachers and administration had the knowledge or intelligence to create a scheudle that worked for everyone including the kids. It's a little difficult to take, but WHATEVER, if there is another listening session I will open my mouth more.

Review: Wikispaces

Purpose: An open-ended document/html page which that can be changed by wikispace members. Usually a wikispace has a dedicated topic of discussion or statements. The space can contain pictures, html and even blogs.

Use: I think that it would take a lot of time to monitor this type of everchanging document. If this was to be used in the classroom there would have to be plenty of time dedicated to etiquette. I find at the middle school level students will put other students down at a moments notice, this could be dangerous on the web. Although, there is an email notification setting you can use so you know when changes have been made.

It would be interesting to post a personal podcast and have a discussion about it. Getting insight on a project or idea from an outside person would be refreshing for the student.

Design: I have a hard time with the layout of the pages. I am sure there is some customization you can do, but overall it is set up the same way. Lots of text on a page, you have to search around for what you need/want.

Overall: I am undecided on if I would use this product in my classroom. Maybe after getting my curriculum solid I could incorporate it in as a why to document what we are doing. Then the students who has different jobs in my classroom could comment on the way they see other peoples jobs and such.


Review: Shambles.net

Purpose: A central website for international schools to ban together and share information. Information from school rules, happenings, lesson plans, external resources for certain subjects.

Use: I did find a lot of information for business education which I forwarded onto my colleague. I did not find much in my area, which does not surprise me, but I think everyone should check it out if you are looking for new resources.
Business Resource

Design: Maybe there is a difference between the cultures but I found that the website was overwhelming and I did not know where anything was. Small text and lists of information, I guess for the amount of information trying to be communicated there is not really another way to do it.

Content: I navigated to an Asian website which had an embedded video from the principal.
Shambles Home

Review: iStockphoto


Purpose: A website that allows people to purchase photography from a variety of photographers who are amateur or professional.

Benefit: This website allows amateur’s to try and get their foot in the door and make money on their photos. Also, it saves companies thousands of dollars in photographer costs.

Quality: This is where it gets interesting. To ensure the quality of photographs on the site there is a multitude of checkpoints one must go through to get photos published. First, you go through an online interview that includes a tutorial and ends with a quiz. You must past the quiz before going forward. Secondly, you have to upload a picture of your drivers license or other government issued ID. Thirdly, you have to upload sample pictures to determine your worthiness on the sight.

Throughout the checkpoints this is some of the information they cover:
- what does a quality picture look like
- getting model release forms
- who needs a model release form (people to buildings)
- compression and noise

Overall, I was impressed with their ability to weed out those who are not serious about sharing quality photos with those who are interested.

Educational tie: Possibly for an advanced digital photography student to test out their work in the “real” world and maybe make some money on the side.


Last day: Princess Cays

Recover, recover, recover - while in the sun of course. It was a HOT HOT day, the hottest yet - thank goodness there was some clouds. Our plan was to work on our tan and we did - WOW and had some great BBQ on the island. This is the cruise ships private island so it was not crowded and you could walk to everything. Later we went to Tequilas the steakhouse on board and celebrated our last night. I loved the brie quesadilla and Joe had the best ribeye steak. There was an American Idol type contest so we went to watch the finale with Meghan and Ben, the winner did a favorite of mine - Janis Joplin, Me and Bobby MaGee. We went to the casino, which I have not mentioned but after that first hot night - the table went cold.

2nd Sea Day

Well - this was a lazy sunning and relax day. I did make it to "afternooon tea" tea and tea sandwiches. Later we went to see another comedian Carl Guerra, probably would be better with an all adult audience. THen we went to watch Karaoke and met up with Meghan and Ben, then we preceded to Skywalkers - the night club and got a little intoxicated on Log Islands and Diet/Captains. These picture only scratch the surface of the fun we had.

Stop 3: Cozumel

Today we started the day a little different, with a run - yes a run. Then we went to Chauka Park with our guide Renae - who was hilarious! We were on our way to do a GPS based scavenger hunt - very cool. Then we ended with snorkeling where we got to see lots of tropical fish, an eel and a statue of Christ under water. They took a picture of us under water with the fishes - but its not digital so you'll have to wait for that one. Then we went to a local restaurant Palmeros and had some great
fresh and spicy salsa and guac along with our meal. Of course what made us the happiest was the local beer we drank - Sol, pretty good pilsner, not our favorite style but better then what we got on the ship. So I gave in to the typical and bought a bottle of 100% agave tequilla which will make Buffett so much more enjoyable this year. Wrapped the day up with a couples massage and dinner at the Italian place on board, they served tapas style and we got to try bulgar cavier. Great food and the service was great. Later we went to the juggler, who tried to also be a comedian and failed.

Day 4: Grand Cayman

Just to let you know up front, this was our FAVORITE stop and you will know why in a second. First we did a Island Highlight tour (rum factory, Hell, 7-mile beach), just a couple stops to learn about the island then the last stop was the only turtle farm and it was SO COOL. I got to hug a turtle and Joe picked up a turtle, it was great. For those of you who don't know this about me I love turtles, I had a pet turtle when I was younger but my brother let it play in traffic (still love you Dave). When we got back we went to another Margaritta ville and we finally found some decent
local brews - and met Corey, the bartender, who gave us directions to Hammermeads - the local brewery - WOOHOOO. Walked down to Hamerheads and BAM we had some REALLY good beer, Joe drank about 5-6 Black Cherry stout and I had 4-5 of the Island Wheat (not like Leinenkeugal). We met Jimmy, the brewmaster, through 2 other local friends we made Monica and Randi, and he took me on a tour of the brewery (2 rooms in the kitchen). We had some food, bought some shirts and a keg of Island Wheat (they did not keg the black cherry) - and Jimmy comp'd it. Well, Joe wanted to purchase some sunglasses so we were on our way and Randi offered to drive us around to get the sunglasses, we finally found some Dolce Gabana glasses - yes designer eye wear. Then back to the ship - again, tipsy and in need of food. Later on we met another couple from Michigan Megana and Ben that we started to hang out with.

First Port: Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Can you say No Problem Mon? If you can you can pretty much get along with anyone in Jamaica. This is our first shore excursion - zip line through the rain forest. Now that sounds adventureous but was even more interesting was the 2 lane gravel, pot holed road with only enough room for 1 car that we took to get up to the top. Scarey and fun - I laughed while others were almost vomitting out the window (that was a high school student, which made me laugh even more!). After the zip line we went to Margarittaville and spent a bunch of money and got just a wee bit tipsy. Of course then a nap was a necessity before dinner and then off to another comedian. Now let me just say that this was not any regular comedian - we was also a magician, blonde spikey haid and covered with tatoos. (His name is James Michael)

FYI - Joe and I will not be returning to Jamaica, it's just not our scene.

Day 2: Day at Sea

Of course a true honeymoon, we laid in bed all morning watching a movie and the ocean off the balcony. Finally made it to the breakfast buffett - SO much food and TONS of fresh fruit!! YUM! Fresh pineapple. Then it was off to get our tan on - oh yeah we burned and it was awesome. Outside of laying in the sun, we also painted ceramics (yes - Joe painted 2 ceramic coasters). Then we hit the buffett for dinner, not bad and still trying to figure out where everything is on the ship. Later we went to see a comedian, Cary Long, very funny. After the comedian we hit the casino and won $200 at craps - I was rolling like you would not believe!

Embarkation Day

Well Hello! Our lost luggage was delivered and we were very happy :)
WOW the ship is SO big!! It is as long as the Empire State building - so it is possible that I will not gain any weight on this vacation! YIPPEE So of course thing first on the agenda is to get into vacation mode with a couple drinks. Of course there is not any "good" beer available so we figured we'd start with a pina colada, then we tried the daily "special" (another fruity drink). Then we figured it out - let's just get bucket's of Dos Equis!!


Faculty Lounge - face lift

Just thought that I would let you all know, I and another teacher have been asked to give the faculty lounge a face lift. We are painting, covering chairs and getting rid of alot of stuff. We have been doing it gradually so that the CHANGE does not shock anyone into cardiac arrest - but suprisingly the staff has been pretty welcoming to the change. Then atleast I can say I tried to change the mood at lunch by creating a warm, comfortable and happy envionrment.

Day 1

Well, unfortunately we are off to a not so great start. Our flight was postponed, not by much, and 1 piece of luggage was lost (the one with all the clothes). I am positive that we will get our luggage before we leave on the boat. When we got to the hotel, it was conveinently located walkable to a Champs - WOO HOO, I figured all Champs had good beer - NOPE! The food was delicious and then we decided to do something that we never do - order dessert, the 7-mile high ice cream cake, YUM. Let's just say my body kindly rejected it - reasons why I am bloggin at 7am on my honeymoon! I guess I usually eat as healthy as everyone says I do, my body could not take the trans fat.
But - I am excited for today, do some shopping - get some clothes and enjoy the 80 degree weather.