Friday, 8 April 2016

Embedding Pictures with the WordPress iPad App

One of the best ways to add visual interest to your blog and give credit to the creators of the content is to use Getty Images. If you download the Getty Images App on your iPad, you can search through hundreds of thousands of high quality images that you can embed for free.

I'll assume that you can navigate the search function of the Getty Images app. Once you find the picture that you would like to use, tap on it, and it will fill the screen (see the image below). At the bottom of the screen tap the "send" button.

Once you have tapped the "send" button, a pop-up window will appear with a variety of options (see below). Select the html button (</>).

When you tap the html button, the pop-up window will change, and you will receive a message that the embed code has been copied to your clipboard.

Next you need to go to the WordPress app and start a new post or edit a draft. On the post interface there is an html button (see below).

Tapping the html button will change the look of the screen only slightly. You can tell that you are in html mode because the html button will be blue. Paste the html code that you copied from Gettys into this screen.

When you tap the html button again and return to the visual edit screen, the html code will disappear, and a placeholder will appear instead of the actual photo. To see the photo, which includes appropriate credit but no longer has a watermark, view your post or draft in browser mode or with a browser.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Learning in Pictures

I've been working in some classes with visual and digital storytelling, so I'm going to express what I've been learning about mainly in pictures.

I've been studying effective learning environments, and I've learned that our current environments rely too much on spaces and activities like this:

...and not enough like this:

Monday, 18 May 2015

Gradual Release

Lasting learning in school often involves the gradual release of responsibility which flows from:
Explicit instruction ---> teacher and student using new learning together ---> students using new learning together ---> student using new learning independently.

In the process of reflecting on my own classroom use of this process, I started thinking about social media. All kinds of people use social media and there is a wide range of fluency among users of each medium. How many users of social media have had the opportunity to be instructed with a gradual release of responsibility? What kind mistakes and miscommunications could be avoided with more gradual release?

I'm not suggesting that the "teacher" has to be a school teacher, but certainly school is a logical place for some basic citizenship and literacy training, and social media are undeniably part of both of those categories. Such instruction would need to include knowledge, skills/strategies, and attitudes/habits. Perhaps activities like a school hashtag or student/staff/volunteer/teacher shared use of a school social media account would be part of the learning and practice. What do you think?

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Tomorrow's Texts

Digital books are still in there infancy. I know they hardly seem like news, but the marketplace is still trying to figure out how digital books fit, and publishers, authors, and readers alike are still very much in conversation about how eBooks differ from traditional paper books.

I have been investigating the future of digital books at Calvin, and I've learned that the transition to eBooks is just starting and that it isn't going smoothly or easily. Textbook publishers, curriculum creators, and mass market publishers are all in different places and using different models to distribute their books. Some books are very interactive, while others are simply PDFs.

If a school would like to own thirty copies of a hardcover textbook that they can lend students, there isn't a problem. Try buying thirty digital copies of an interactive textbook, and you'll spend plenty of time just trying to explain to befuddled publishers what you want. Is it a conceptual problem? A technical issue? A money matter? Well, it seems all three are pretty significant factors, each shaping the future of books, libraries, and schools.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Breaking Cycles

Nature and nurture are common terms in any discussion of heredity. I've been learning about intergenerational trauma which should probably be included in more conversations involving heredity. The term, in simplistic form, refers to trauma that will have effects on multiple generations. This can be seen in many forms such as the fact that children who experience abuse or divorce are more likely to abuse their children or get divorced. At first this seems counter-intuitive, but it makes some sense when the behaviour is seen as taught or modelled (albeit unintentionally) by parents or role models. The effects are long lasting and can take generations to break the cycle and heal.

The definition falls under the knowledge category, but this learning is also about attitudes/habits as I consider my own parenting, teaching, or the past/current/future state of First Nations populations in Manitoba.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Sharing is Caring

The learning I share in this post isn't new in the strictest sense, but I have been considering it at deeper levels than ever before. I've been thinking about sharing, particularly the creation and distribution of digital media. Sharing is a fundamental community practice; there is no community without sharing.

The internet has made it so easy for individuals to participate in creating culture. We can share ideas and build community in a truly global way. It is amazing.

What I've learned recently is that while I have certainly developed my willingness to share, I still need to develop the practice of sharing. The practice of sharing is the part that actually helps the community (and me, too), so I have more learning to do in attitudes/habits and skills/strategies in order to become a more sharing (and caring) member of my communities.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Caught, not Taught

Habits have always intrigued me. How do they form? What effects do they have? Can people break or acquire them?

Mr. Jeninga has advised to reflect on habits and then keep the good ones while trying to weed out the bad ones. It's helpful advice.

I like the saying, "Caught more then taught." It captures a truth that is difficult to recognize--sometimes we unintentionally learn things (ideas, habits, attitudes) just from being involved with certain people or situations. We've discussed this concept in Bible courses.

Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist who articulated a complex idea about culture, habits, and attitudes called habitus. Habitus is an attempt to explain how forms and structures in our lives influence us. For example, how does the culture around us shape our individual and collective sense of beauty and attractiveness. How much are we as individuals really in control of what we find beautiful?

I'm interested in this idea as a teacher, as a Christian, as a father, and more because I'd like to be more aware and have a greater influence on the structures, the habitus that shape us. I'm hoping that greater awareness will lead to greater and more effective teaching, learning, and living.