Saturday, April 30, 2005


The EvaluTech: Evaluation Criteria Review page given to us for review this week is part of the Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) which is the nation’s first interstate compact for education, founded in 1948. Its goals as stated in their “About SREB” states, “SREB assists state leaders by directing attention to key education issues; collecting, compiling and analyzing comparable data; and conducting broad studies and initiating discussions that help states and institutions form long-range plans, actions and policy proposals.” Within this context then, the Evaluation Criteria Review has a specific functions, “Support teachers by providing up-to-date, reliable and useful resources and information..” additionally, “[its purpose is] to create an online, keyword-searchable database of reviews of instructional materials…” The site seems practical in that it provides comprehensive criteria of evaluating: computer courseware, CD ROMs, Web Sites, On-line courses, Video Disks, Web Portals, it also includes non-techinical topics such as criteria for evaluating Fiction Books, Non-Fiction Books. It provides other link information for many sites that provide information on software evaluation and criteria consideration. I explored a bit and found the “Online Course Evaluation Project (OCEP)” very insightful – I was particularly struck by the AP US History 1 module.

The obvious use and value to a teacher is that such a site is a wealth of information on the availability of technical information about a multitude of software and it provides the criteria to evaluate other things perhaps we would consider as teacher. The idea of the is exactly as the SREB goal reads: assist in key education issues (technical) and make it accessible to teachers.

Sunday, April 24, 2005


To illustrate the MS PhotoStory - I created a brief movie from the pictures taken by my daughter and son-in-law earlier this year. It is kind of cool what you can do in an instant with the software...



Since the class has been heavy into multimedia - I thought I would share that Microsoft just announced MS PhotoStory 3. It allows you to produce videos off your still photograhs! It is very easy to use and I can see many uses of it in the classroom... Check it out at:


Throughout our schooling and university experience we have been involved in some sort of group work – many times very reluctantly. On some occasions our groups were a success but many were unmitigated disasters. Many students dread the word: “Group Work”

Our latest movie production group was a beautiful example how group work should work. So based, on my experience on this fun project and others that have worked in the past and reflecting how group work might be used effectively in the classroom, I would advice future teachers to think about:

1) Group work is effective when the task at hand is too large for an individual – like making a movie, or doing an in-depth research on a topic. The unifying theme is that it is larger than the individual – either because of academics or logistics.
2) For groups to be effective they have to know each other and their strengths and weakness. This would mean that groups ought to work together on smaller projects first – to break-in the group chemistry.
3) Group assessment is important from the teacher observation and peer-to-peer observations to validate the group chemistry.
4) The groups have to receive assignments that are very clear and that they lend themselves to a division of labor – so there is shared responsibility.
5) Grading of the work has to be done in a fair and equitable manner such that the individual receives a grade and the group does as well. There has to be an emphasis that the success of the group will bring reward to every individual in the group.
6) Group effort must be reward and shown to peers and perhaps parents – the reward of a group effort is in the sharing of the results.

In any case – can you comment on what other traits successful projects have or give any advice how to effectively use group projects in the classroom?

Moving on to the article, Splicing Video into the Writing Process; it was a nice complement to the exercise expounded above. The use of a major class project production as outlined in the article by Tammy Pandina and Diane Harding illustrates the benefits of group work to the nth degree. The transformation of a classroom to utilizing the new media – is an impressive achievement. The project as described paralleled our experience in creating our class two minute video to a tee.

In addition, the production of a video as outlined by the teachers had to motivate the kids immensely as attested by the results described in the article. The groups coalesced to become effectively form teams – note that the teachers had to match kids with same skill levels – the groups were not randomly selected but rather they were assessed for equal strengths prior to group forming. Additionally, I found very interesting how closely the Digital Video Process and the Writing Process match.

The proof of the pudding was of course: what did the students learn and how effective was the film reflecting their achievements – from what I read it all had to be positive and fulfilling academically and personally. These teachers ought to be congratulated!

I found a great reference to Collaborative Learning by Barbara Gross Davis at Berkley:
  • General Strategies
  • Designing Group Work
  • Organizing Learning Groups
  • Evaluating Group Work
  • Setting up Study Teams

Check it out at:

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Another golden drop from Texas! This is for math teachers - it is a wonderful link created by Pat Brummet - it uses all the tools we have been discussing in class including a movie - must check out to appreciate!

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Last night was a hoot... congratulations to our movie making team: Thea, Bob, Ginny, Bonnie! Here is our logo:

I know that some teams had technical problems - we all feel bad about this - but I am sure you learned all the techniques professor Portacio wanted us to learn - so look at it as something that you got to put up when dealing with technology... and Mr. Portacio being a fair guy he is you will recover!


Our church: Emmanuel Faith Community Church of Escondido has Saturday April 30th ear-marked to help our community and we will be helping our public schools.

I share this information just in case you are remotely interested in helping - it is a faith ministry to our community - The schools we will be serving are: Juniper, Lincoln and Central.

Please contact Emmanuel Faith if interested at: (760)745-2541


He aquí otra joya cortesía de mi sobrina. Este enlace le va afinar su entendimiento del precioso lenguaje de Don Quijote y Sancho Panza. Inscríbase a la “Palabra del Dia” y disfrútelo!

Here is a posting of a great site for the Spanish language. It has a word of the day subscription to keep up the skills of those that love the language. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


This information comes courtesy of a wonderful peer in our class - thank you Juanita!

Here is information how the SD Co. Office of Education is involved in fostering visual literacy skills - take a peek at the quality of the program and product the students create! Amazing!


Monday, April 18, 2005


Great news today... I got the e-mail from CSET:

Examination: 114 CSET Social Science Subtest I
Status: Pass

One down - two more to go....


If you are a Dilbert addict you might want to get your daily comic via e-mai! Its called sanity in a technical world...


Friday, April 15, 2005


This was certainly one of the most interesting weeks this semester – we got to see the Mac’s video software: iMovie and actually got to see the production of a movie clip by professor Portacio. It was neat – and the reaction of the students was just as interesting – there are hams and there are NOT hams in the class! The software seems, at least on demo, easy to use and logical – in a way similar to Flash but easier to use. The smooth integration of CD music tracks along with the video and the transitions, etc. was very powerful – and I might add exciting. I can see how the kids would eat the stuff up!

The logic of the video creation process was in some ways a review for me. Last semester I took a computer animation class and I am familiar with scripting and story boarding – although the format template given to us was straight forward and interesting.

Additionally, our group interaction produced what was a real neat concept and idea how to put the project together for the filming next week. Once again proving in some ways the power of the many heads together… It was like watching the Apollo 13 movie – not quite as critical mind you – LOL – but just as powerful. The ideas came flying and we just had a great time playing out the possibilities among ourselves. I think Thea, Bob, Bonnie, Ginny and myself make a great team – I guess the production next week will tell – huh? One last comment: we all got our assignments and tasks for next week – they ranged from communications, to props, to e-mail scripts, to self-training on the software, etc. It promises to be an intensive week prior to the “shoot”!

In regards to the reading this week, Filming Compassion, I found the article interesting and revealing. For example I did not know that there was such emphasis on Service Learning in today’s curricula in public schools. I know for sure that in private schools the service learning component is key in a student’s education specially in Christian schools – what I did not realize is that it is now being done in public schools. I think this is a very good move on the part of schools.

The innovative use of video production to have the students learn about the non-profit and actually emulate a project to be done for the organization was very inventive. To think about the possibilities of what this implies: it is a job, a project, a deliverable that is due to the non-profits all created by students! The students learn about the organization and the technology. They become probably more than acquainted with the use of the camera equipment, the editing process, coordination, scripting, story boarding, etc. In addition, the interaction with the “customers” and the delivery of their product had to be beneficial to all concerned: the client, students, and teachers as well.

I also found the article’s rubric categories and expected behaviors/outcomes very comprehensive although the grading categories of Exemplary to Incomplete seemed a bit strange to me – the Incomplete gets 1 point – and the Nearly Proficient gets 2 points – does this make any sense? I guess since this is a voluntary type of effort they seem to reward the kids with one point even though they did not do a story board, their introduction was missing, the tape was poorly edited, the tape had a very poor pace, the team was uncooperative and the tape bored the audience to death – but hey its ok – they showed up! Its worth a point – don’t you think? Some of this left me with some questions? I guess real life will answer some of these questions soon enough.


As future teachers we are always looking at increasing our depth and breath of knowledge. For example do you know what the following means?

  • flibbertigibbet
  • avatar
  • lissome
  • grimalkin

By the way, do you have a grimalkin? Or perhaps some flibbertigibbet that likes to play with your grimalkin? YOU DO!!!!?

You don't know what I am talking about? Well its time for some help - paging DOCTOR DICTIONARY...

You now have access to the doctor for your daily dose of words - all this to keep you healthy and wise. Subscribe to the " Word of the Day" and you will be the very avatar of wisdom!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


I stumbled accross a neat site that perhaps you might find interesting... its called "Googlism" by... you guessed it, Google.

I was investigating the meaning of the Swahili word "Harambee" which is a word implying "coming together - pulling together - community" etc. It is an interesting African word - in any case take a gander and go to the site and type in "Harambee" see what you get. Click on the picture below:


Did you feel the earthquake this morning? Nice rattler - wasn't it? FYI - you can get to the USGS site and find instantly what is happenning in California - here is the link

3 Miles East of Jamul CA (Near El Cajon)
APRIL 12. 2005 @ 4:06:46 PDT

Here is the map of where it hit this morning:

Monday, April 11, 2005


This is a must see site for those of us in Educ 422 - Technology at its best! Or at least at its funniest - take a few minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Eh aquí unos cuantos enlaces para los flamante profesores. Uno es de matemáticas y otro para mostrar un lindo diseño y pintura ilustrando la visión y esperanza humana. Es mi esperanza que disfruten

El primer enlace es de una revista que se llama algarabía ¿no me cree? Es sumamente fantastica… TRATELA!

El otro es el trabajo de Antonio Gutierrez… La Balsa De la Medusa. Este enlace es cortesia de mi linda sobrina en Texas igual que el descubrimiento de la revista algarabía.

The above posting is for Spanish teachers - I was lucky to have been refered to these sites by my niece - a math High School teacher in Texas - they are great sites. If you read a little Spanish you might enjoy it too. :)

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I got musing today and shared with some friends about nature's details and how inventions come about: Velcro, Aspirin, Radar, etc, etc. at an ever accelerating rate. Knowledge is increasing but perhaps wisdom is not. In any case, the issues of perspectives came up and she send me this just awesome link:

If this does not give perspective - nothing will! Enjoy! Oh by the way this is a great teacher's resource site...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

JOURNAL 04-07-05

Technology is of course a tool to serve us. But definitely there is a point of diminishing returns. It seems that sometimes when the technology gets in the way of achieving our group or individual objectives. Take for example our technology midterm….

I thought the Mac vs. PC issue was settled – Macs, legend tells us, are far superior to PCs in terms of ease of use with extremely intuitive and inherently reliable. Well, having no other choice – reality hit me like a 2 x 4! Macs are as much of a pain at times as regular old Windows PCs – the pain is doubly bad when you don’t know the nuances of the Mac’s interface…. For example, for the life of me I could not bring up two copies of Explorer at the same time!

Anyway, in the midst of creating a PowerPoint and adding the picture from the web to a slide – the Mac made this sickening “pop” sound and “poof” the machine shut down! The incident thank goodness was witnessed by the professor! After a power-up – the file recovered (Luckily I had been saving it every so often while I was creating it – a good habit from old IT experience). Well the Mac flaked out on me three times but I was so close finishing that recreating it elsewhere would have taken too long. Finally, finally I finished and uploaded the file to WebCT. To complete the second part of the midterm I moved to a new Mac to create the Word document. This machine held its own; it just had a crazy mouse – but slowly I got it finished. In fact I ended up completing the mid-term including the upload with about 2 minutes to spare!

Technology! I wish I had a nickel for every time I had to boot a PC or struggle through the “friendly” interface of a Mac. I think I would be richer than Gates and Jobs…

By the way, what is your PC technology preference? (I am leaning towards Linux with a good vi editor! – buahhahahahah!)

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Well, it was certainly an interesting morning.

A bunch of students showed up at the Education Dept. for their scheduled interviews. Filled out the signin sheet plus had to write a paragraph:

Generally Accepted Attributes of Highly Effective Teachers

1. General classroom attendance, promptness and participation

2. Attention to classroom discussion protocols

3. Social and cooperative skills

4. Attention to assignments

5. General classroom demeanor

6. Flexibility

7. Openness to and ehtusiasm for learining

The writing assignment: identify one attribute area that you consider to be a strength and explain why with an example. Then identify one attribute area that you know you need to work on and explain why or how you'd work on it.

They called us in pairs and we were interviewed by the College of Ed staff - very nice folks - don't fear - Smith is here! The interview took about 15 minutes for two people - that is it! Questions were pretty straight foward: Why do you want to be a teacher? If you had a class of "challenging" kids that did not like you - what would you do? The normal multicultural question and so on.

Afterward we attended an information meeting on the program - this was really worthwhile because you got to ask questions and were almost one-on-one and the College of Education staff did not seem as intimidating as before.

Now lastly FYI: There are 150 applications and only 90 spots....

UPDATE: Someone in class mentioned that there are not 150 applicants but rather 180! Apparently they got a surge of applications... no one know the real number - but still, it confirms that lots of people will be disappointed... so for now we just wait.


Hi, I am not sure if you caught this blog - but since professor Portacion is the ultimate gadget guy - I thought he would enjoy this BLOG -

  • PSPs
  • Landwalkers
  • On Time Power-Over-Ethernet Clock
  • RFID Table (real cool!)
  • 1TB harddrive promise

And much much more... find it at: Gizmodo