Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Final Stretch

This week will be about finishing some final tasks before exams.

Internet Literacy:

  • HTML Review: Basics, Image Codes, Tables, Forms.
Web 2 and 3:

We will work on image maps and layers.

I'm about 2/3 through grading the semester projects. I ask that you check out: JKassay, JTryjada, EDieckman, KBarsevich, CWilm.

If for some unknown reason you didn't turn in your project--please don't talk about it, provide an excuse, etc...Put it in UDrive (on your own time) and accept the penalty.

Monday, December 22, 2008


As we endure tough times I read this article today about what tough times really look like.  Be thankful for what you have.

Video about Darfur from today's NYTimes site.

When you submit your files to the UDrive please check and proofread.  Have a partner check!

Complete this form when your project is submitted.  

I found it curious that more of you weren't using forms/surveys in your sites.  I thought that would be a good way to make each of these sites more interactive.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I have been told that it might snow tomorrow. This will impact your project timeline.

"A" students: they don't care about the snow. They've finished their layout and are working on their content. They have plans for what they can do at home and bring in on Monday. They are using their google notebook and bookmarks and will do their citations and other items at home and save time at school for serious coding work. They might even bring their codes home so they can work on in them in HTML on Notepad on their computers. They will get it done.

"B/C" Students: they aren't sure there is enough time. They haven't done any work at home and haven't quite planned things out yet. They wonder how the A students are getting it done.

"D/F" Students: they don't care. They probably would turn it in late if they had 100 days to do it because they skip steps, or don't plan effectively.

People trust people that they can depend on (plumbers, doctors, salesman) and hate people who they can't depend on (plumbers who don't show up on time, etc...). We do projects to learn how to get things done well and done on time.

Finally, a reminder that your website must include a video with a voice over and you must only include creative commons images. Not doing this might be OK in your book, but it is NOT this assignment and you will be graded accordingly.

Be sure you have this link in your bookmarks as you search for information. Use tools effectively!

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Interesting article in todays NYTimes about blindness that may relate to our Beethoven project.

Make sure you ahve checked out this article about the redesign of the ESPN site. Sounds like our project!! Do you read this article differently than you would have four months ago?

Monday, December 15, 2008


At this point in your project you should be rolling at full speed. You must be on step six by now. If not, I worry for you.

This is half your marking period grade and should demonstrate that you understand the basics of the class. Work hard.

Using Layers might be a useful tool for Web 2 and Web 3. Check it out.

A few reminders:

1. Everything on the page should relate to your main point.
2. Be careful that your page doesn't get too busy.
3. Don't include incoherent Flash movies that make it harder to access content.
4. Some of you love background colors. Please stop.
5. Finally, check out this website about usability that is almost entirely unusable.

Avoid design disasters!

UPDATE: Check out this article about the redesign of the ESPN site.  Sounds like our project!!

Friday, December 12, 2008


Everyone must complete their storyboarding today. It is essential that you work on defining your main points. Many of you are having trouble with this.

Bad main point:
I want people to understand that situation in Darfur and how to effects so many people. (What situation? What effect?)

Good main point:
The genocide in Darfur is a tragedy that must be stopped. Please donate now. (Includes situation, action, and result).

Bad main point:
People drink coffee for many reasons and sometimes it is good for them and sometimes it is bad. (Huh?)

Good main point:
Coffee makes you stupid. (Clear thesis)

A clear main point will drive the path of your website. I will push you on this today in your discussion. If you can't articulate it well I am going to send it back. Remember, that articulating you main point is essential for any type of communication (music, poetry, essays, phone calls, etc...). I do not want your website to be a collection/list of facts. I want it to tell a coherent story that engages the viewer and encourages them to USE the site.

Today might be a good day to go back through your blog and check out websites that you thought were good. Why were they good? Did they have a consistent message? Was their "selling point" clear? If people don't understand what you are "selling" they certainly won't invest their time in your site.

On a side note: today is forecasted to be another wild ride as the auto bailout failed.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Darfur and Coffee

Darfur is still in the headlines.  Here is the editorial from today's edition of the NY Times.

And here is an amusing article in the Times today about coffee.  At 8:50 this morning there were 668 comments!  Amazing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I'm back in school today but I am moving really, really slow. Be patient with me.

A few notes about your project:

1. Work as hard as you can now. Get work done at home. This will give you more time to work on your content.
2. Do you trust your sources? Why? There are thousands of caffeince studies out there. Be careful.
3. The Beethoven question is a brain/psychology question. It is not a biography of Beethoven question.
4. Who is the leading authority on Darfur? What reporter is there now and is most trusted? If you can answer that question you probably have the best information.  Check out this site from Danbury HS. I just found this one which is , I think, done by 8th graders.
5. If you are doing the family member site please remember to tell us stories, don't just list ten facts about them (where born, how old, etc...).
6. Have you checked Times Topics? Think about how to search and I bet you will find great information.

Everyone today should be up to step 4 in the project (extra point if you do all three things for step 4)). Tomorrow I will pass out the storyboard template.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Well, you have probably figured out that I am home sick by now. I'm pretty sure this is another episode of the sinus infection. This is a pretty good one so I hope to rest most of the day.

Please post a blog entry today:
1. What topic did you choose? Why?
2. List two links that you have found useful so far.

Good luck!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


Here is your semester project.  This project is designed for you to demonstrate the skills you have picked up this semester.  As we progress through the project I will be posting mini-assignments related to the project.  I will also post research that I think might drive some of your discussion.

A few notes:
1. This is a formal project.  You must cite all information, images, video, or music.
2. Get things done on time.  No excuses.
3. Find experts to help you.  There are experts in this room, in the building, and on the net that I expect you to consult.
4. Work together.  Share resources and ideas.
5. Have fun.

Notice our clustrmap got reset.  Lets fill it up again!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reflection Quiz

Internet Literacy: Complete today.

Check these pianos out first. And then these drums. Get any ideas? Did you search for these before you did your project?? I gave you the link....

1. What did you learn this week?
2. Programming languages are sequential (step 1, step 2, etc...). What challenges did you encounter with your sequences? How did you overcome them?
3. Who has the best piano or drum set in the UDrive? Why?
4. Compare Scratch to Flash.

Web 2: Complete today.

1. What did you learn this week?
2. Describe specifically how your new website design is more modern than your old one in the following four areas: layout, font, color, and usability/accessibility.
3. Who has the best layout for a website in the UDrive? Why?

Web 3: Complete today.

1. What did you learn this week?
2. Was Flash the best tool for this task? Why or why not?
3. Who has the best movie in the UDrive? Why?

Scratch in HTML

To insert Scratch into an HTML page:

1. You must have "scratchapplet.jar" in your folder.  You can copy this file from the first folder of WebSchneider.

2. Check the file "sprite.htm". View source for code. You would sub your file name for "RH Piano.sb" in the code. (Blogger won't let me copy the code here...)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Internet Literacy:

1. Check out UDrive Scratch projects. Check Web2 folders as well.
2. Everyone will create a one octave piano in Scratch. C will be the first and last note. I will review this in class.
3. Collaborate on this project. I have no problem if you work with a partner as long as it is an equal partnership. Help each other finish this project.
Schedule upcoming: Wed-Thurs we work on Piano. Friday we work on Google Docs. Monday we start the big project.
Web 2:
1. Rename your Ansonia subfolder (bschneideransonia).
2. Create a new Ansonia High School index page. Name it index1.
3. Use modern design to create a completely new website. This should look much cooler than your original pages (we will compare!!).
4. Include all information that we previously had (PSATs, directions, etc...).
Web 3:
1. Save a draft of your movie and project files to the Udrive so people can look at and give suggestions.

Monday, December 01, 2008


If TED is still blocked we will work today in Scratch. This lesson would have been next Monday.

Today we will examine the Scratch programming system. Scratch was developed at the MIT Media Lab (where Negroponte-the inventor of the One Laptop is from). I think it is intended primarily for younger students than you, but it does present some very complex programming concepts.

Check out some of the news about Scratch. Notice that much of the news is another language than English. Is there an assumption in the world of the inventor and business that you speak more than one language??

Here are some ideas to get started. You must do at least one of these.

Here is the Guide to Scratch.

So please test and play with this program today. Read some of the press, search for more information, check for blog references to the program. Be sure you complete at least one of the ideas.

Answer the following questions on your blog (include links!):
1. What did you do with Scratch today? Share any insights to the program that might help your classmates.
2. Is this a valuable program? What criteria should we use? Be specific! Use Web Design terms!!
3. For Web3: Compare Scratch to Flash.

Technorati Tags:

Sunday, November 30, 2008

TED Talks

I will edit this in morning.... (as of 7:00am these videos were still blocked, I have sent an email to try to figure out what the issue is....)

One thing you want to do in life is get around smart people. I was lucky to go to a school that had really, really smart people around. Listening to them makes life interesting.

Many of you have seen some of the TED talks before. TED is a place where smart people get together and kind of do a show and tell.

I would like you to watch at least two videos today from start to finish. Everyone must watch the Theo Jansen video. I give you some prompts to start a discussion on your blog. Each of these videos is about 10-20 minutes long. They say teenagers can't pay attention to anything. Prove them wrong.

Hans Rosling: How data is cool. Think of your little Excel charts. Will you be ready to use data like this. This guy is fun to listen to.
Jeff Han: How displays will change. This would profoundly change how we use computers.
John Maeda: A smart, funny guy talks about simplicity. Think about how simplicity is the driving force in design (hint: iPods).
Nicholas Negroponte: Would you spend your life on a project that helps others? Does listening to the originator of the idea change your vision of this program?
Theo Jansen: Freaky. Mind-blowing. But pay attention. What is life? Can you make something that lives out of PVC pipe? He does. Cyborg alert!
Blaise Aguero y Arcos: Demonstrates Photosynth. Wow. The Notre Dame cathedral thing is amazing. Can you think of ways you could use this software?
Anand Agarawala: The BumpTop desktop. Certainly a different set-up! Would this help you search your photographs?

What did you learn? Share what you learned. Start a conversation. Can you add something to a discussion?

Be sure to have links to the talk on your blog.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Site of the Month

OK: Check out MrPicassoHead.

1. Easy to use.
2. Teaches you something about Picasso's art.
3. You use the site, you don't read it.
4. It gives you a product that you can "hang" on your blog.

Can you find a cooler site? That is today's challenge.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm pretty proud of my clustrmap on the right side of this blog.  You can see the last years clustrmap at the bottom of this blog.  We seem to get hit pretty regularly.  If you search for "web design assignment" or "web design exam" we come up near the top.

How did this happen?  Not sure.  But its cool.

So they archive the map soon and I lose all my red dots and have to start fresh again.  I'm a bit melancholy as we turn over into a new chapter, but I'm excited about the new challenge of filling a fresh map.

How are your maps developing?  Are you writing so people want to return?

Quiz: Reflection

Today we will reflect on the past week. I have asked you to look at several websites and in some way (design, podcast, making connections) improve your own sites. Hopefully we all learned something. Many of you have finally accepted some design mantras I have been spewing (font size, logo placement, do the layout first).


1. What have you learned?
2. List three qualities of an effective website.
3. Provide an example of an effective website.

Each question should be answered in 4-5 sentences. Focus on your writing. We have much fewer grades this marking period so each little quiz has a large impact on your grade.

Monday, November 24, 2008


We have been asked to fill out this survey from some people in the United Kingdom. It is anonymous. Please complete it carefully. It should take five minutes.

The "Interlude" will continue this week. If you have redone a website please save the version to the UDrive in the same folder as the old version. It will be nice to compare. Most of you couldn't look at your two versions without giggling last week. Keep working on making your design cleaner and more modern. I think this can be a very productive use of our time.

The latest Tom Friedman column is worth reading.

This video might give you Wisdom.

Gadgetwise might be something to add to your Google Reader. It usually has some interesting stuff.

You might find this quiz interesting.  Its not easy (I got 87%)

Here is a little known (and possibly useless) fact:

The Town of Seymour was originally named Chusetown. It was then renamed Humphreysville. In 1850 the townspeople wanted to change the name to Richmond, but then agreed to honor Governor Thomas Seymour by naming the town Seymour.

It took me about five minutes to find this. I was just curious. There are 6-7 other Seymours in the USA. I wonder if they were named after the same Seymour? I'm kind of glad the town isn't named Chusetown or Humphreysville.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The market is now significantly lower than what it was when we were worried a few weeks back. Unemployment is spreading and the coming budget cycle for schools and governments will be an exceedingly tough one.

Some say we could be in for a wild ride today. Follow the jumps.
In other news: perhaps more evidence for you to avoid supplements and vitamins. I continue to be amazed at the athletes who consume drinks that hurt their kidney function and take supplements that either do nothing, or worse, do harm. Click here for the nutrition guidleines we have used.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Interlude

I have debated what to do over the next 4-5 days. This will not be a week of great attendance with a big field trip today and many students on vacation next week. So I have decided to have an interlude. An interlude moves us from one section of a play or music to the next. When we return we will start our final (!!) group of projects. I am working right now on the big project for each class.

So these next few days can be challenging if you decide to be lazy and annoying. Or they can be fun and exciting because you tackle something new and really work on improving your design. I am keeping this open-ended on purpose. This is your learning time.

Here are some options:

1. Improve your last project based on discussions we have (some of you really need to do this!!). Improve the design and functionality of your page. Write a blog post about how you improve your page. Be sure to save the old copy of the page so we can compare.

2. Start a podcast channel. Update it each day and get ten people to subscribe to it.

3. Update and improve your google reader page and iGoogle page. Make it more efficient so you use it every day.

4. Improve your blog and make connections to people in other classrooms around the world. Try to get ten new red dots this week!

5. Go deeper into learning CSS Code, Dreamweaver techniques, or Scripts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Project Evaluation

Track meeting today. 2pm.
Today you must complete your project. Please do the following:

1. Check that all of your pictures and videos include "Alt" text.
2. Double check that your page is titled.
3. Ensure that you include only non-copyrighted work, and that you can back that up if I challenge it.
4. Name your folder in the WDrive (Bschneider) and then copy it to the apropriate folder in the UDrive.
5. Have someone else test the links.

Then please complete your evaluation in your blog (due Wednesday).
1. What is the purpose of your website?
2. Did you create an effective website for this purpose?
3. Who in the UDrive has the most effective website? Why? (leave a positive comment on their blog as well)
4. What, if anything, would you do differently if you were starting this project over?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Sites

Some reading for today (just for fun).

1. Great story about Tom Donnelly, coach at Haverford.

2. New way to search on Google. I'm trying hard to make iPhone part of this class. Haven't convinced people yet. How we use "the computer" and how we define "web design" is changing very, very fast.

3. Create a word cloud. Are there alternative ways to display written text? Can a word cloud make your point as well as an essay?

4. Free college ideas.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today will start mini-projects.  Choose one.

1. Johnny Lee wowed the TED crowd when he showed how he can use a Wii Remote to make a cheap interactive Whiteboard (this video doesn't seem to be playing right now--try this link).  Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Embed the TED video.
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about the other possible uses for the Wii remote that you create.  
  • Create a table that lists the parts needed and their approximate cost.
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • A basic description of how it is done.
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
2. I like this website about Thanksgiving.  Can you explain Thanksgiving to someone who has never visited America or heard of the holiday?  Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about the holiday that you create.  
  • Create a table that lists the most common foods served at the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
3. Is a soccer ball heavier when it is cold out?  Does it just feel heavier? Can you kick it as far when it is cold? Please create a website (InLit: HTML, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that does the following:
  • Includes a short moviemaker video or Flash video about this that you create. Describe the basic physical laws involved.
  • Create a table that outlines the effect of temperature on the soccer ball. (experiment??)
  • Links to more information. Use google to search effectively. 
  • Demonstrate basic web design concepts (usability, accessibility, etc...).
Things to think about:
1. How will you set up the page (multiple pages, layout, colors, etc...)?
2. How will you make it look modern?
3. How will you utilize sound and video effectively?
4. How will you ensure visitors to your site understand your message?
5. Are there tools we have used that might be effective for this?  Take a moment and look back through your bookmarks or this blog.  Are you bookmarking "cool sites"???

Click here for Rubric.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Congratulations to Kevin T for winning the Fireworks contest. I posted my Top 4 at the Parent Conference last night. One comment about this took it over the top: "I can feel his pain". That won it for me.  

All of the top 4 got many votes.  Each entry was very different.  One person would say "I like it because its so simple and straight forward".  The next would say "Its too simple and straightforward".  That spoke to what a challenge design can be.  You can't please everybody.

Today we will spend the day reading, listening, and possibly viewing stories about Veterans Day. Be absolutely sure you complete the blog reflection. Learn something new today.

1. First, read this article about Veterans Day from the New York Times. This is an international holiday. The differences between countries and the reasons behind the different celebrations are fascinating.

2. Second, spend some significant time in The War from PBS. Notice how this website is used, not read. This is where I expect you to spend most of your day. Put on your headphones.

3. If you have Veterans in your Geni family tree be sure to note that on their page. If you aren't sure of their service be sure to ask when you get home.

4. We have hundreds of thousands of men and woman who are new veterans. Take a moment to check out their story.  Here is another reminder about the trials some of them face.  Let us also remember that we have a growing total of female veterans.

5. Write a short blog post linking to one of these websites. Choose one of the following questions:

  • What story/website made the most impact on you? Why? Include link.
  • Which website was set up most effectively? Why? Include link.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Veterans Day

The armistice treaty ending the "Great War" was signed on November 11, 1918. It is said that throughout the world nobody had seen so much rejoicing. The world had just experienced unimaginable turmoil, suffering, and pain.
The following year Armistice Day was established on November 11. President Woodrow Wilson said:

To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nation.

It was a tradition for many years that at 11am on Armistice Day that all traffic would stop, conversations cease, and all focus be made on remembering those who had sacrificed.

In 1953, in Kansas, a town observed "Veterans Day". They felt this paid tribute to the veterans who had served in World War II and the Korean War. While there was much optimism in the country at the time there was also an incredible need to remember those who had served and sacrificed. Vast amounts of men had not come home from these wars.

Congress thought this was a great idea and in 1954 made Veterans Day a national holiday.

Many of you have friends, brothers, sister, fathers, or mothers who have served. If you have a story about them you want to tell please do so today.

Here is the Fireworks contest. All classes are eligible for this contest. Winner will be posted on this blog on November 11.  An example from our Memorial Day contest is seen here (you can see more in the UDrive).

Your assignment is to make a poster about Veterans Day.

Be sure you understand the purpose of Veterans Day before tackling this assignment.

Your assignment is to design an image that could be posted in schools. You will use Fireworks and choose the appropriate tool or tools for your image.

Assignment parameters:

1. You set up the image size when you create a new document: Height=300 pixels, Width =600 pixels.

2. Your images MUST be non-copyrighted. I will publish this!!

3. You must be able to defend your choice of a tool in your blog post.

4. You must include "Veterans Day" somewhere in your image. You might decide to include additional text (date, slogan, etc..).

5. You must finish by the end of the period on Monday November 10.

6. Save in Udrive when done (bschneider) as a .jpg file. All students will save in the same folder so be sure you name it correctly in the WDrive BEFORE you copy it to the UDrive. Be sure to test your work in the UDrive.

7. Hint: Interpolation allows you to blend images. 

Good luck!



1. Take 10 minutes and look through the Election Day assignments in the Udrive. Check out each class (InLit-Web2-Web3).

2. I will grade that your Google Reader is subscribed to my podcast, this blog, and two of your friends blogs today (at least). If you still aren't sure how to do this find a partner.

3. Then--tutorial time. Your choice. Use today to fill in a gap in HTML, Fireworks, or Flash. Check the links on the right side of this page or check back in the posts. Show me your product when done.

Tomorrow we will start our traditional Veterans Day Fireworks assignment.

Just found this idea from David Pogue.  How many of you want one?

Cool story about election news.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Today's assignment is to report the election results. You must:

--Complete the assignment today. Just like the newspaper or TV you are working on a deadline!!!!
--Be as very unbiased as possible. Be ethical and appropriate.
--Report the basics (who, what, where, when, how).
--Include image and/or interactive tool (Flash, Voki, Movie) that you create. Obtain images only through Creative Commons search or create them yourself.

Interesting Link: Newspaper covers.

Internet Literacy: Do assignment in an HTML webpage

Web 2: Create a website "Election" with a subfolder. Please be sure to title your page and provide alt text for images.

Web 3: Use Flash.

Everything else is up to you--but get it done!! Dont get stuck in a stupid choice. Work fast.

Save to Udrive when done.

Click here for rubric.

Monday, November 03, 2008


I was really impressed with all the work you did for your exams. Everybody showed me some interesting things. Many of us realized some limits in our Flash knowledge (esp. me!) and we worked together to try and solve these issues. Good job!

Everyone has to do #1, 2, 3 today. The rest is for the remainder of time or at home for fun. This is a reading/writing/thinking week.

1. Please answer the following questions on your blog. Keep each answer short (3-4 lines at most).

  • What have you learned so far? Has your view of the internet changed?
  • Who has the best project in the UDrive? Why?
  • What do you think is your strength in this class (collaborating, design, Google, writing, etc...)? What is your weakness?
  • What is the coolest site or program you've seen since we started? Provide link!

2. If there is any "clean-up" in the UDrive to do, come back and see me.

3. On the white board you see a list of 34 items we have covered. Is there anything I am missing??? If so, put it up there.

4. Election News. I'd be curious to find out what you click on first when you visit the page. Think about the design of that page and how it draws you in. Why did you click on something?

5. Fascinating story about how elections have changed because of Web 2.0. This is our class in action!

6. There is always somebody younger than you doing great things. What do you want your New York Times story to say? Have something positive in your life that could get noticed.

7. Check out the Hubble Telescope pictures. Way cool.

8. Has anybody used this picture service? If so write a blog review. I'm considering it.

9. I don't know if teachers assign timelines anymore. If they do check out TimeRime.

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Friday, October 31, 2008


pumpkin Exams are due today. Be sure to SHOW me where your exam is (even if not done). Remember, I am grading your process more than your product. I want to see that you tried to work through a problem, even if it didn't get completely solved.

If you didn't subscribe to the podcasts go back a few posts. Add the podcast to your google reader. This is required.

Put forvo in your google bookmarks. Very helpful site when you need to pronounce something.

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Odds and Ends

Here would be a great experiment for our Physics students.  How does the cold air effect a soccer ball? Check here.  Would it effect corner kicks?  How much?

Some cool maps (Flash ideas???): 
Maps of War (great title!! check the other versions)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Test: Part #2

Todays test will be about applying your knowledge in a modified work setting. Can you be a valuable member of a team?

Internet Literacy:

Click on the clustrmap. Notice the red dot just East of Africa and Madagascar? Where the heck is that?

Now....here is the test. Can you tell me where it is in an interesting way that gives me the basics about the place and the "feel" of the place?

You have several choices of tools that you can use (HTML website, movie, blog post, Voki, Flash, Fireworks). What tool will be the best for you and for this task?

We will discuss this in class. You will do this in groups. I will assign.

Web 2:

Recreate any aspect of Zac The Rat using Flash. You will do this with partners. I will assign.

Web 3:

Check out this Flash example. Make your own card. Impress me.

You will do this in pairs/groups. I will assign.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Quiz #1: Oberlin Site

Today we will do some grading.  Please have any missing work ready for me.  I will come around and check while you are working on the test.

If you don't finish this test during class you must finish this at home.  We will have a second test tomorrow.

These tests are designed to demonstrate that you have an understanding of the basic concepts that we have covered.

All classes will perform the same task:

You have been asked to beta test this new site for Oberlin College  (here is their current site). Please analyze the NEW site.  
  • Are the tools they employ effective?  Be specific.  
  • Who is their audience (prospective students, current students, alumni??).  Do they speak effectively to that audience?
  • What is their message?  Can you summarize this college in one sentence (Oberlin is a....) ?
  • Do you like the new site better?  Why?
You should limit your analysis to no more than five paragraphs.  Make it sound like you have taken this class.  Include links where needed. Post to your blog.

Yes, I am testing if you can think and write fast (and if you can use your personal learning network).  I will allow you to edit this from home.  But you MUST have it done before you arrive in class tomorrow.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Monday: Grades

I will be out Monday.

I have set aside this day for you to check your grades. I posted the current grades on Friday to Edline. Yes, I expect you to be accessing them.

If there is anything missing it could be for one of four reasons:
  • You didn't do it.

  • You didn't complete all parts (i.e. blog evaluation)

  • It was late or I missed grading it.

  • I screwed up.

I don't care what the reason is. On Tuesday have all work ready when you arrive to class. Line it up on your screen and I will check it off.

We will start an exam/project Tuesday.

Collaborative Web

The essence of the Web is about linking, sharing and collaboration. Productivity and value creation is driven by cooperation. Gerry McGovern

The last few days we have been playing with the Geni site for building family trees. This site has been a big hit with the students. I have been impressed with the thoughtful reviews you have provided. Continue to refine your reviews. Does it tell a story? Is it directed to an audience?

My review:

Last night I invited several family members to join Geni. At around 9:00pm there were six family members "Online now" and working on the site. This was very powerful. How does this change the nature of work? How does this change the final product?

I accept as a truism that "Isolation is the enemy of improvement". So if many hands work on the document it will almost certainly improve. Oddly, we as a family never talked on the phone about this, or sent instructions, it just happened. That is the power of the collaborative web.

Notice that this site models one of our central understandings. Modern websites are used, not read.

Think of the knowledge that has been routinely lost. Try to find out where your great-grandfather went to high school, for example. Or how tall were your grandparents? How many kids did they have? Tools such as genie can preserve this information, creating a rich tapestry of data for future generations. What information from your life would you want preserved in this "time capsule"? Now you might have some of that power.

Use this power and archive this knowledge before it is lost. It will be a great gift for your family.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Flash Work

Everyone should watch the markets today. Bumpy ride yesterday.

If you tried out Geni what do you think? Write a blog post.

I would like everyone to work on the following in Flash:

  • How to alter text (such as morphing, making it shiny or glittery)
  • How to make a slideshow (like a "powerpoint")
  • How to create a button (that can play/stop movie or slideshow)

Now, here is the interesting part---you decide how to learn about these items. Work with a partner? Look at the text based tutorials? Video based? Find a new source of information? I am interested to see what process you choose after yesterday's work.

If you didn't do yesterday's blog post about learning styles do it now. Please don't get in the habit of doing something late. Its not a good habit.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We will continue our Flash work today. Main job today is to do the blog reflection.

All Classes:

  • Review Shape Tween, Motion Tween, Layers.
  • Complete yesterdays assignment.
  • Check out these Video Tutorials. Some are pretty complex.
  • All Web 3 students should do the Basic Slideshow tutorial.

Share on your blog which are the best. Everyone writes a blog post today about what they have done in Flash (what did you learn, and how did you learn it?), links to the best tutorial (why did you like it?), and gives thoughts about how Flash can be used as a tool (how do you use Flash to tell your story better?).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Family Tree

Last year I spent time working on my family tree. I found this website today. The usability of it is very, very high. I haven't completely tested it but it seems very fun and easy.

Something to work on in your own time. Might make a great present for a relative. Too often we give "stuff" that is easily forgotten. Working on this site could be a lasting gift.


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I would like you to "Subscribe" to this podcast channel. This will bring the any new podcasts into your Google Reader.

Click "Subscribe Free for future posts". A new screen will open up. Click Option 3--Google. Another screen will open. Choose the second option--Add to Google Reader. Some of you may have to set up your google reader page.

We will play more with google reader this week.

Flash Assignments:

Internet Literacy and Web 2:

Web 3:

  • Ball Tossing (will demonstrate in class)

Monday, October 20, 2008


I've been sick all weekend and then my car wouldn't start this morning (battery failure--first frost??) so I had to switch all the things from my wife's car.....rough start to the week.

So, today's assignment isn't totally typed up. All classes will be working in Flash. I hope to finish typing it out during second period. Link for Web 3.

Check out some interesting reading. Develop your skills.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Today I will give you time to solve some movie issues and view everyone's movie.

If you are done here is some interesting reading from David Pogue.  Anything surprise you?  Anything you would add?  Check out the comments (1278 of them as of Thursday night!!).  Have one to add?  Use the "permalink" (click share) to link to this article from your blog.

Don't be afraid to comment directly on the article!  You have a voice.  Use it.


Well, it seems like I'm getting sick once per week.  I'm home today and will follow you from the web.

Please do the following today:

1. Finish your movie.  Save it as a project and save it as a movie file.  Ask your partner if you aren't sure.
2. Copy your movie file to the UDrive class folder for the movies.  Name it using our normal protocal of first initial-last name-assignment (bschneidergoldi).
3. Watch other movies in UDrive folders (all classes).

Answer the following questions on your blog:
1. Did you find the 28 second aspect a challenge?  Or did it help you focus on the story? Why?
2. Was MovieMaker easy or hard to use?  Be specific.
3. Who has the best movie on the UDrive?  Why? Answer this part Friday after all movies are in there.
4. Spend any remaining time leaving comments on people's blogs about their movies.  Follow the comment protocal and be positive.

I'm appointing the following people in each class as "Lords of the UDrive" while I am gone.  Your job is to make sure everyone knows how to save their project and answer any other questions.  Of course, anyone who wants to join the Lords can do so.  Its not an exclusive club.

Period 1: Jeff
Period 4: Caitlin/Chris
Period 5: Amber
Period 6: Tom
Period 7: Tyler 

Good luck and I will see you tomorrow (hopefully).  If you are the first person in class to read this make sure everybody else does.  Thanks!

On a side note:
Where will the Dow go today?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


We will add video to our toolbox today.

Today you will produce a 28 second news broadcast about a famous childrens story. This segment must tell the viewer the "who, what, where, why, how" about the event. This will be challenging to do in 28 seconds. This is an opportunity to be creative and innovative.

Possible stories:
Humpty Dumpty

Of course, news can be biased. What headline will you choose? "Bears house vandalized!" "Blond girl seen fleeing through the woods!" Each headline tells a different story about the same event. This choice will drive your script and the choice of images that you include.

Steps for process:
1. Look at previous examples that students made.
2. Choose your headline. Write your script. Time the script, remembering that you will need a second or two on each end as a buffer. Make sure you have answered viewers questions (who, what, etc..). Finish your script with something like "This is John for Seymour High School news".
3. Choose your images (free and non-copyrighted) using clip-art, flickr or make your own. Some of you might think "out of the box" for a second and realize we dont need only pictures of Goldilocks or Humpty to tell this story but you could use more abstract pictures. Choose images that match your headline. Import images to moviemaker. Arrange images. Test movie with script.
4. Record script directly to moviemaker or use Audacity. You must use your own voice as the reporter.
5. Edit movie. Save movie file to your UDrive class folder by the end of class on Thursday.
6. Don't waste time searching for pictures. Seriously. Move fast.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Is this one of those moments in history? Like October 29, 1929 or December 7, 1941 or September 11, 2001. After each of these moments a new America emerged. But it was a messy process each time.

The stock market has lost 40% of its value this year. In October (and its only October 10!!) it has lost 20% alone. Credit markets have frozen. Most analysts called it a crash yesterday.

How does this effect you? Probably pretty seriously. It may be much harder to get a loan for college, car, house. Jobs will be scarce. The costs of goods will increase.

This is the headline from this morning. Will it change by this afternoon? Follow the news here. As of 7:00am stock futures were plunging. This story will be changing by the minute.

Today we will read and write about this situation. I feel we must. If we believe knowledge is power this is certainly a time to have more knowledge.

Choose one (or both) of these questions to answer in your blog. Be thoughtful, include links, and write clearly:

1. Will you be ready? Will you acquire the skills needed to operate in a global community? What skills will you need?

2. What are the web design concepts in play today? How is this information transmitted instantly and effectively? How does bias effect the news today? There is a huge need for information about news, companies, stocks. What systems would a web designer need to handle this type of pressure?

I believe this will be a challenging time. But it may also be a great opportunity for you to reshape America. Thomas Friedman believes that it is time for a Green Revolution. That we must as a country embrace green energy as the new industrial revolution. We must eliminate our reliance on foreign oil, drastically reduce our energy consumption, and change how we generate electricity. Most importantly we must rev up America's innovation engine and become the world leader in energy technology.

I think its time for us all to learn as fast as we can.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Exam Grading

I am going to spend today (and probably tomorrow) grading exams. A few notes about the exam:

  • Overall, everyone did pretty well with the technical aspects of the exam. You can all make a page, add a picture, create a table, and include links. I am happy with this.
  • I think we can all do a better job of choosing tools that are available. I was surprised (shocked?) that nobody used a Voki. Do kids not like "cartoons" or sound?
  • Many of you are developing personal learning networks. Work on extending this network to students in other classes.
  • Most of you had the hardest time with focusing on a main idea. We will have to work on this more. I think we will move into video next as we tackle main ideas.

As you prepare your evaluation today please do the following:

  • Be specific and include evidence that you paid attention. Use web design words (audience, bias, usability, etc...).
  • Include links and 3D writing. Don't say "Danielle had the best site". Say "Danielle had the best site". (some of my favorites so far.....Dnickle, kbogen, tmorrow, zchristopher)
  • If you like someone's site leave a comment on their blog. Everyone likes a compliment.

If you are completely and totally done with looking at student work, revising your evaluations, or reflecting on your progress then please look back into the other blog posts for this week. There are some reading and viewing options for you to tackle.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Funny Break

Put on your headphones, then click this link for a laugh break. This one for math class is pretty funny too.

And finally this clip. Watch the expressions of the audience. I hope you will all go to a college where the library is full, but people still know how to have a good time.

If you find any links to good, clean fun put it on your blog.

Monday, October 06, 2008


From an article in today's New York Times:

Spurred by arguments that video games also may teach a kind of digital literacy that is becoming as important as proficiency in print, libraries are hosting gaming tournaments, while schools are exploring how to incorporate video games in the classroom. In New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is supporting efforts to create a proposed public school that will use principles of game design like instant feedback and graphic imagery to promote learning.

I've written about this before. In elementary school you would read "on level". When you finished the books at level 1.5 you would move to 1.6. If it took you a week, fine. If it took you a month, fine.

In higher grades students are all treated the same. If you are the best chemistry student ever you spend 184 days in class. If you are the worst chemistry student ever you spend 184 days in class. There is little incentive to excel beyond getting a good grade.

What do you think?

Friday, October 03, 2008


Heille Gebrselassie is very fast. He won the Berlin Marathon and broke his own world record in a time of 2:03:59.

Let me break that down:

  • He averaged 4:43 per mile for 26 miles. If you ran from here in Seymour to Danbury High School that would be 26 miles.
  • Thats 70 seconds for every 400m (104 times in a row without stopping).
  • Or 17 seconds for every 100m.

That is moving.

I would like you to develop a website about this accomplishment. Click here for the assignment.

Your audience is 5th graders. What should your focus be? Where he is from, how fast he ran, how the marathon has changed, how hard he must train? Choose one focus.

This is your first test. Good luck.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Fireworks Assignment

baby computer Today we will all do the same Fireworks assignment.

I will send you this picture of a baby on the computer. Please save the file to the folder in your W Drive.

In the folder you will create three separate Firworks files:

1. Remove the baby from the background using feathering.

2. Convert the background on the computer from blue to green.

3. Convert the image to a pencil drawing.

If you finish the above then:

  • Substitute the picture of the baby on the computer screen with an image of a cartoon character.

When done with each task you should save it twice. First, save the fireworks file (Save as...). Second, save the image (Export...).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008


I hope that I have given you something of value over these last few weeks and that we can only add to the fun over the next months. I wanted to take a moment and review my expectations.

1. Make connections every day. The power to make connections in this global, digital, networked world is essential. Instead of having one teacher, have many. For example, on blogmeister there are thousands of teachers and students from around the world. Write to them, read their stories, and then write about the experience on your blog. There is a saying that "isolation is the enemy of improvement". Make connections, collaborate, and improve.

2. Always do your best. You never know who is watching your work or reading your blog. Often people do not realize the power they have until it is lost. You are in a time unique to human history. You can read everything ever written at anytime. You can contact almost anyone at anytime. You can publish your ideas and thoughts instantly. That translates to huge gains in productivity. If the world is moving faster then you must as well. There is no substitute for hard work.

3. Add something to the conversation. Have a story to tell. This could be about how to make a ball bounce, issues you have in learning math, or how you are trying to work together with your classmates. Learn how to get your point across. Spend some time today looking at the read counts on your blog. How can you increase them? If you have a story to tell people from all over the world will read what you have to say. If we all add some thing of value to the conversation everyday (remember R1-R4?) there will be an incredible amount of learning going on in this classroom.

OK. Enough reading. Notice that you read (and I wrote) the above in 3D (links, etc...). Start writing that way!

Here are some blogs to start making connections. be sure to leave positive comments and to follow the correct protocal (first name, last initial and blog URL---no email). Try to use the front page of blogmeister to make more connections. Remember, this might be their first (or only!) contact with someone from Connecticut or America. Make it positive.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Google Moderator

I'm testing this new Google Application. Try it. Be nice.

And I am testing this podcast. I hope it gets through the filter. If it works then subscribe it to your Google page. If you see a blank space below this paragraph its not working.

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Sunday, September 28, 2008


All classes will work on Fireworks tutorials today. Some of you have a lot of experience with Fireworks, and some of you have none. This is sandbox time; play around for awhile.

I will start class with some demonstrations of Fireworks.
If you need to "catch-up" with some assignments please do so today.
Also, please check out this story about iTunes and accessibility from the NY Times. I hope our Introductory Unit provides some context for this article. The effort to provide accessibility is a constant battle. Notice why they must do this---they are losing sales!!
Check out this Electoral Map from CNN. Websites must be interactive now. The bar has been raised from even two years ago. For the last election CNN would have provided a static picture of the map. With this map you control how you view the content. You can even edit what the map looks like (you can click on a state and change it from undecided to McCain or Obama). Play with it. How can you incorporate these design ideas into your websites?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Quiz

You should all finish your assignments and then:

Internet Literacy:

  • Create a webpage that displays your schedule in a three column table (period, class, teacher). Use TH for the headings and TD for the data.
  • Utilize a yellow background and black text for the webpage.

Web 2:

  • Add a form to your Ansonia website. This form should be a sign-up for PSATs (what information will you need?).
  • Link to the form from your index. Link back to the index from your form.
  • Use the same background, color, and text layout as your other pages.
  • Have the form post to email (anyone@anywhere.com).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Today we will continue to work on our technological operations and concepts . For each class this should complete the most basic ideas for creating a webpage. When you learn how to use new tools remember to ask for help if you need it. First ask your partner, then ask me. But also start using your other sources more (blog, HTML tutorials, etc...). Ask a question on your blog and look for a response.

Internet Literacy:

  • Complete the project for Chapter 3 on tables. Click here for extra help on tables. I will send you the files needed to make this project. You should make a folder called "Project 3" in your class folder.

Web 2:

  • You will work on Project 5: Forms. This is not a complicated chapter, but there are A LOT of buttons to use so I though it would be prudent to go through the chapter. There will be a few moments where the book does not quite match the software as the book is for an older version. Be patient. Click here for extra help on tables.

Web 3:

  • You will continue to work on making things roll, bounce, and explode.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Typing and Clustrmap

Todays assignments:

First you will complete the typing test. Put your score in your blog (be honest!) and see if it improves later. Don't say "I took a typing test". Say "I took a typing test". Demonstrate that you know how to code a link.

You will then learn how to put a clustrmap on your blog. Communication and Collaboration
is our 2nd standard. We use the clustrmap to collect data about how well our message gets out.

  • Go to the Get One page.
  • Complete the form. Be sure to use the correct address for your blog. If you do not have an email to submit this will not work.
  • The password will come to your email.
  • Submit password on clustrmap page. They will then give you a long code that you copy.
  • Go to your blog, log-in and open the control panel. Paste the long code in the About Me section.
  • Submit new code. Wait for me to approve it.

You can also check out meez if you want to add an avatar to your site (which seems to be blocked at school right now...). You could also try voki.com. What image do you want to portray to the world?

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Story and Grading

Please make a blog entry about the top news story of the day. To determine what the top story is you can visit:

New York Times
Connecticut Post

Your blog summary of the news should:

  • Be short: no more than 50 words that summarize the story.
  • Include a link to the story you read.
  • Have an appropriate title for the entry that matches the story.

Here is an example:

For the final time a baseball game was played at Yankee Stadium last night. With one final victory the team wrapped up over eight decades in the historic ballpark. Next year will begin a new era across the street in a brand new stadium.

After the warm-up:
Web 1: Finish all coding.
Web 2: Finish Ansonia High website quiz and two cases.
Web 3: Refine walking animation. Do this practice animation by the same author.

Friday, September 19, 2008


One of the most important skills we need to demonstrate is the ability to read and summarize complex information. The ability to communicate new ideas effectively to an audience can make you a valuable member of any organization. But it takes practice.

Like all of our work you need to think of the two questions: Who is my audience, and what do I need to say? For all of our summaries I ask that you write 50-100 words. Why? Because that is how we communicate now--in short messages. If you go to the front page of the New York Times or ESPN you will notice how these short blurbs are used to entice and attract readers. The ability to summarize is an essential component of web design.

Today's assignment is to choose ONE of the following articles and summarize it in your blog for your readers:

Be sure in your article to:

  • Include a link to the original article. Find the correct link by clicking "Share" and copying the permalink.
  • Keep your word count between 50-100 words.
  • Title your entry effectively.
  • Include your audience in your dicussion. Start a conversation so you get comments!

On a related note about "Bad things happen to ignorant people" you should all read this article before you decide what you post on your facebook account (or on someone else's!). Don't post, comment on, or upload anything unless you want it part of your public record forever. Also note that a professional image on these sites actually encouraged some people to get hired. You can use these sites to your advantage.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I am home sick today.

Internet Literacy:

Please complete the following:

  • Lab 2-1 (2.61). I realize we haven't really gone over this yet. Please help each other and don't be afraid to read the chapter! Do your best.
  • Cases and Places #7 (2.65). Use this resource to improve your Blood Drive page.

Web 2:

Please complete the following:

  • Cases and Places #1 ,#2, and/or #3 (2.93 and 2.94) . Do the same two cases that you did for Project 1. Don't be afraid to take the time to read the chapter.

Web 3:

Please start the following:


You must have the following completed today:

Internet Literacy:

  • iGoogle page.
  • Apply1
  • About Me
  • Quiz: Your schedule
  • Blog entries: usability, Goodrich letter, accessibility questions.

Web 2:

  • iGoogle page.
  • Two of the Cases and Places (Project 1)
  • Ansonia High website
  • Blog entries: usability, Goodrich letter, accessibility questions.

Web 3:

  • iGoogle page.
  • The three Flash examples
  • Blog entries: usability, Goodrich letter, accessibility questions.

If you are done please use your time to clean up your blog, work on your iGoogle calendar, or helping your classmates (!!).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Quizzes

Internet Literacy:

The quiz for web 1 will be due by the end of the Period on Monday. Some of you will finish early, some of you will have to work fast...

You will create a one page website about your current class schedule. This website should include:

  • A title in the header.
  • A clear heading on the page.
  • A list of classes.
  • A brief paragraph describing yourself (junior at Seymour High School, etc...)
  • Background color.

Save the file to your WDrive-Classwork when done.

Web 2:

Your quiz will be to create a new website for Ansonia High School. We will use this website for all of our quizzes as we learn new techniques.

For this quiz please:

  • Define a site and create a subfolder.
  • Design an initial page. Save it as "index".
  • Title the page.
  • Decide who the audience for this website is.
  • Decide what Ansonia High School is "selling".
  • Set up a basic page.
  • Apply the design ideas we have discussed (balance, motion, etc...) and show evidence that you have done the reading.
  • Make sure the page works (links, images, etc...).

Web 3:

You will continue to work on your web tutorials. Please complete the bouncing heart, the mask, and the rotating globe for a grade.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Patriot Day

Take a moment today in class to read through parts of the 9/11 Legacy website. This is a very well designed website. Think about some of the decisions that the web designers made to increase the usability of this site.

By clicking on the links at the top of the page you can read through some of the profiles. I am sure we have classmates who were personally affected by the tragedy and lets be sure to have them in our thoughts today.

Yesterday our quiz was about analyzing the Seymour High website. Check out a few responses (Joe , Rebecca, Amber). Most of you spoke about technical things. I would like you to explore more about message. If you visit the SHS site what does it tell you about the type of students or teachers? For example, check out these high school sites (High Tech High , Laguardia Arts, Edgewater). When I visit each of those sites I get a pretty good feel for the culture of the school AND I can find information quickly.

Today: update blogs and work on bookwork and tutorials that were assigned yesterday.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Quiz: Introduction

Today's quiz is a letter.

In this letter you must:

1. Include links and examples where necessary.
2. Provide evidence.
3. Be persuasive, yet friendly and helpful.
4. Your letter should be between 100-150 words.

Please evaluate the design bias, usability, and accessibility of the Seymour High School website. This letter should show evidence that you paid attention for the past few lessons.

Start your letter with "Dear Mrs. Goodrich". Save to blogmeister.

After completing the quiz we will begin our book work. Save all work in W Drive.

Internet Literacy:
HTML Book: Apply (1.38) and Lab 3 (1.41)

Web 2:
Dreamweaver Book: Cases and Places #1, 2, 3 (choose 2 of the 3).

Web 3:
Begin Flash Tutorials.

The beginning unit matches our 6th Standard "Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations."

Monday, September 08, 2008


Today we will finish our introductory unit (test to come shortly).

Usability involves design and it involves hardware. First I must have enough bandwidth to get my information to the user. Bandwidth is the "size of the pipe" that carries information. The larger the pipe, the more information I can send. Second I need to think about the hardware at the end of the line. Is my user viewing the information on a phone or through a dial-up connection? Is my user using high spped DSL?

Here is what bad design looks like according to Vincent Flanders: Check out the worst website ever and his checklist for how to ruin your website.

Top ways to ruin a website:
1. We've designed our site to meet our organization's needs (more sales/ contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors.
2. It takes longer than four seconds for a man from Mars to understand what your site is about. Example.
3. Our site looks like we've never seen another web site. Example.
4. We use design elements that get in the way of our visitors.
5. Our site doesn't make us look like credible professionals.

1. Read the following article. Save it in your favorites. Web Usability Guidelines.

2. Skim this basic article about usability from Great Britian.

3. There is also this great site from the US Government.

Start a MS Word document. Please answer the following questions:

1. Define the following. Provide definitions that make sense to your readers.

  • bandwidth
  • web usability

2. Which of the following websites has a higher usability for teenagers. Why??

Connecticut Post

3. Find a website that you think has a high usability rating (the opposite of above). Provide a link to this website and explain why you think its usability rating is high. Possible examples: Bobby (use headphones), Swingset, Baby Names.

All three assignments (bias, accessibility, usability) are due today.

Friday, September 05, 2008


There are four main categories we are covering in this unit; bias, accessibility, usability, and ethics. Today we will focus on accessibility.

Read this article. Introduction to Web Accessibility. The website contains lots of useful information. Take your time reading it.

We will watch this CBS News Video together in class.

Create an MS Word document. Answer the following questions:

  • Of the four major categories of disabilities (visual, motor, cognitive, hearing) which one do you think would pose the greatest challenges for a computer user. Why? Include specifics.
  • Dealing with a disability can be frustrating. What are three ways a web designer can design a less frustrating website for those who have a disability?
  • Try getting to the CNN website without using your mouse. How did that change the experience? Did you get frustrated?
  • What is our obligation to serve those with disabilities?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cool site

Check out definr.com which touts itself as the quickest dictionary there is. Pretty cool. Notice how simple and usable this site is?

Bookmark it.

Bias, Usability, Accessibility, Ethics

There are four main criteria that we use to assess the validity of a website; bias, usability, accessibility, and ethics. Today we will focus on bias.

This is also an exercise in communication skills and page design. Can you get your point across effectively? Do you know your audience?

1. Class Discussion about bias (Barbie Doll website, GI Joe website)

2. Read the following articles:
Gender Bias
Journalism Bias this is a longer article. Skim the whole thing (except the studies and theories of media bias section). Click on links that interest you.
More on gender bias. Skim the comments--this is how a blog is different, there is a conversation/debate happening.

3. Create a one page flyer (Web1: MS Word, Web 2/3: Dreamweaver) that contains bias.

Girls: Boys are silly. Why can't they act right so I can get my work done? They should treat women with respect and not be so clueless.
Boys: Girls are silly. Why can't they act right so I can get my work done? They should treat men with respect and not be so clueless.

Think about your audience. Who are you writing it for? I am looking for two things. First, do you have good ideas and understand bias? Second, can you format the flyer well so you communicate these ideas? This is your first task in design.

This flyer must include the following:

  • A clip art or free-non-copyrighted image. Using copyrighted images is illegal. I can google it to check, so be careful. You could make your own image if you want using Paint or Fireworks. Check the links on the right for clip-art images or go here or to Flickr and use creative commons search.
  • At least three quotes (from real or imaginary people)
  • Web 2-3 must contain at least one link in their flyer. Choose the BEST link for your page and be able to support WHY you choose it.
  • Have fun with this, stay respectful and appropriate.
4. Save in WDrive (Classwork). Check the Rubric for the assessment.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Today I hope to get all students set-up with an iGoogle page. This will be your homepage and will contain your calendars, notebook, bookmarks, and assorted other widgets. I think it will increase your productivity to have all your information in one screen, accessible from any computer, and you can share this information.

Why is that last part most important? Lets say you are all in AP History. If you create ONE calendar and share it then you do not have to individually enter assignments, it only has to be typed in by one person. In addition you can discuss and comment on any item ("What do you think will be on the test?...."). We will work on how to use these tools effectively.

We will also experiment with the Class Ning which is a social network. I think we may use this to post our work during the semester. In the past we used blogmeister but I think this gives us many more capabilities. The ning is semi-private. Anyone can see the intro screen, but you have to be a member to go past that.

This all relates to our Standard 2 and Standard 6 of the ISTE standards: Collaboration and Communication and Technology Operations and Concepts. We want you to understand the basics of how to set up an account, how to manipulate it, and how to share this information. I will assess this by observing that you post the correct information and log-in effectively.

Appropriate use will start all of this off. We will review the rules for Internet use in the school.

I will probably adapt many of these items as we move through the day. This is an experiment.

Update: Well...the ning isn't displaying correctly. I'm working on finding a solution.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What the heck are we doing?

I wanted to say hello and to give a brief overview of some things we will be learning this semester. It is odd for me to write this today. I have looked at my class and know only a handful of you. I do not know what type of work you have created in the past. However, I am certain that I will push you to create, analyze, and innovate. I will ask you to do your best every day.

What will we cover?

Internet Literacy: This is a new introductory level course. In this course you will learn the basics of web page design, coding, video, and audio production. You will learn how to navigate the internet appropriately, how to create content, and how to absorb information effectively and efficiently. This class will be a little fun and wild as we have never done it before!

Web 2 (Dreamweaver): This is the 2nd level class. In this class you will learn more advanced techniques using the Dreamweaver program. We hope to incorporate work in animation and image manipulation as well. There will be a significant emphasis and collaborating with classmates and with people around the world.

Web 3/4 (Flash): This the 3rd leavel class for students who completed Web 1 and Web 2. Your focus will largely be on creation and design. What makes an effective, usable website? We will enter the ThinkQuest competition as our 2nd semester project. This class is entirely project/studio based.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I can't believe that the moment is here. I have to make decisions on what we will cover, especially with the new course. I am eager to see who will be in the class when we meet on Wednesday.

I will push hard this year for all of the students to be creators first, responders second. Too often students simply sit and consume content, especially off the web. Its time we work on creating, publishing, and maybe changing the world just a little bit.

Ideas? Post them here.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


Bumping the blog with some summer thoughts:

1. Back to school in less than three weeks.
2. New class this year; Internet Literacy. Still working out the details.
3. I am trying to decide if I should go the ning route for the class and drop blogmeister. Not sure yet. I dont want to drop this blog as the address is established now.

Suggestions welcome.