Archive for the ‘counselor’ Category


The Hardest 4 Icon Challenge Yet

Friday, July 13th, 2012

I’ve been following Jim Groom’s “Name that 80s movie” 4 icon challenge series, and while he promised that they would become more difficult, I think the many summers I spent glued to the TV watching HBO for hours on end gives me an unfair advantage (I totally nailed the Flash Gordon one). I thought I’d try to up the “name that obscure movie” difficulty level, and while it was entertaining for myself to put together the following 4 icon challenge (I learned how to make a parchment-like background in Adobe Illustrator), I’m not sure if I did actually come up with something that will stump anybody….at least not anyone who is halfway decent with Google searching. Think you can name the this movie?

I continue to fiddle with the 4 icon challenge concept, this time blending both icons and actual images, one of those images laying over another. It’s not that I think it adds to the piece any, I’m just having some fun as I mess around with trying to visually represent the major elements of the story.

If you haven’t read any of my previous posts about the 4 icon challenge, you can check out how visually summarizing a movie, book, or other story is both really easy using tech, and is a great way for students to summarize major story elements, while having a bit of fun.

image credits:

vitruvian man -
gold brick -
mask –
cup –

My New Favorite Soda

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

Zazz sodaI was always a Fresca fan (washes down the Sloppy Joes like no other beverage). But, now, I’ve got a new favorite.  Thinking of suing for copyright infringement, unless they put my face on the can!

Multitask This!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

Kid these days…

They can text rings around us adults, figure out the most complex of technical devices, and multitask so fast that keyboards are in danger of spontaneous combustion from all the furious clicking of keys, right?

Wrong! I have yet to see any students exhibit on a mass scale the skills and innate abilities that those labeled “digital natives” are supposed to have (note, I never used the term digital native, I thought it was bogus from the start). The truth of the matter is, some students are more apt to be able to figure out complicated software, dart in and out of multiple windows, but no more so than the number of students who excel at football, complex differentials, or playing the guitar. I’m not saying that students can’t adapt, but rather the myths of multi-tasking (aka acquired inattention) need to be laid to rest, and replaced with actual shortcomings of attempting to multi-task.

Which leads me to the following audio snippet I captured earlier this evening at my piano (warning, I’m not that great at piano). To me, the ability to multi-task doesn’t impress unless someone is attempting to accomplish two rather difficult cognitive tasks (completely dependent on the individual’s talents that is). For example, I have a terribly difficult time trying to play the piano and talk at the same time. Thus, I present to you, my attempt to “Multitask This!”

Imagine how much fun it would be to showcase your shortcomings the first day of school by sharing a small piece of audio like this? Let your students know up front that there are some things even teachers have a hard time accomplishing (and maybe get a few laughs out of it). A bit more seriously though, the idea of multi-tasking is that it’s either HARD to accomplish a few tasks well, or it’s EASY to do a pretty crappy job at a lot of tasks. Would you rather have your students struggling to accomplish something monumental, like creating effective and moving persuasive video essays of their written work? Or would you rather keep them busy with an endless litany of mindless “edu-games” that mostly just serve as distractions?

If you’re interested in creating your own “Multitask This!” audio snippet, I’d love to hear the results. Just capture some audio (unedited of course) of you trying to accomplish two tasks that seem rather basic, perhaps even elementary when completed in isolation, yet present quite a challenge for you when combined.

Archiving Insights

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

I’ve just returned from three excellent professional development events: BC Campus Online Community Enthusiasts (#OCE2012), Northern Voice (#nv12) and Society for Teaching, Learning in Higher Education (#STLHE2012)

I have more specific reflections on each of those events but a very interesting question arose this week that I really want to explore.

To which I responded:

Which was followed by:


This generated a bit of discussion and I thought it would be interesting to take a more detailed look at each of these options.

Starting with my suggestion to use tweetdoc, here is a
PDF archive of all #STLHE2012 tweets

This is really easy to set up and can be done at any time but ideally at the end of an event. The caveat is that it only captures 500 tweets at a time. So if there is a lot of twitter activity you will need to break apart the conference by dates. I had to create two archives and then merged the PDF files into one. This isn’t ideal and there are probably duplicate tweets overlapping the days.

So what about Storify? I’ve used storify for a few different events and really find it is best when you want to include a variety of media: tweets, flickr & instagram pictures, videos, etc. I don’t find it works as well for an entire conference or any scenario where there are more than 25 artifacts. Filtering plays a big role. Also, I’m not sure about the long term viability of using this format for archiving. It relies on multiple tools in the cloud to maintain the status quo. If my work with online courses and linking to external sites has taught me anything it is to expect things to change.

Here is a short storify I created from the closing panel which seemed to get the some of the most twitter activity for a plenary during the entire conference. This is created from the Storify site and you specify which tweets you want to use. This allows you to filter out repeated retweets and/or choose the tweet that really captured the quote the best. Selection is done manually though, so the act of curation obviously takes more time.

stlhe2012 Closing Plenary: Student Panel

Student leaders speak on the future of Canadian post-secondary education

Storified by Giulia Forsythe · Sat, Jun 23 2012 01:10:37

Students run the panel to close #stlhe2012. Yes!Christine Adam
Really looking forward to hearing the student voices in Montreal #STLHE2012 Fox
#stlhe2012 student leaders about to speak! Looking forward to hearing their voices, thoughts, and ideas!Trent Tucker
First student panel at #stlhe2012 Blind Curves or Open Roads?Veronica Carr
#stlhe2012 Student plenary: fun to hear them getting excited about things their institutions doing well. Reinforces my desire to innovate.Catherine Rawn
Inspiring vision – to translate passion for teaching and learning to community engagement. #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
Cegeps rescue students from high school… LOL #STLHE2012Jaymie Koroluk
#stlhe2012 student leaders motivated to wake up asking, "how can I contribute today?" #stlhe2012 – to actualize their potential!Natasha Kenny
brilliant insight for life! @ProfTucker: #stlhe2012 student panel: it is not about having the right answers but asking the right questions!Natasha Kenny
#stlhe2012 Imagine if all our students "got it" like these students seem to! When I teach a class of 300+, how can I reach these students?Catherine Rawn
Model, inspire, motivate & build hope“@cdrawn: #stlhe2012 When I teach a class of 300+, how can I reach these students?"Natasha Kenny
Teach towards engaged and informed citizens, inspire curiosity, explore core truths, encourage reflection, generate meaning #STLHE2012Joanne Fox
#stlhe2012 Alexandre: PSE gives you the "shoes" for the rest of life’s journey…Trent Tucker
According to student leader: those who don’t fail in higher ed didn’t try hard enough (or party enough) #stlhe2012Megan Fitzgibbons
Beautifully elegant – Those who did not fail, did not try hard enough – we need to inspire failure in order to succeed – #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
These students are AWESOME #STLHE2012 Asked for audience participation and says, "I know you hate it when students don’t put up their handsJoanne Fox
These students are brilliant! Emphasize the importance of metacognitive learning within the curriculum #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
#stlhe2012 "it is better done than said" — Selena on experiential learningTrent Tucker
#stlhe2012 Johanna on the future of PSE: "nurture critical thinking"Trent Tucker
Johanna (articulate student!): one goal of academic enterprise should be to question the status quo and hegemonic structures #stlhe2012Megan Fitzgibbons
#stlhe2012 student suggests CSL and prof who uses old reading list just says yes. Sweet fantasy. Love itBilly Strean
Student mental health on the agenda at #stlhe2012 student panel. Thank you, Mimi! #destigmatize Adam
If you think education is expensive just try ignorance. student voices heard #STLHE2012Joanne Fox
Tell your students to bring their hearts to class, not just their brains #stlhe2012Natasha Kenny
Wonderful to hear fluently bilingual students. #STLHE2012 Sorel
Always impressed by how articulate and vibrant 3M student fellows are #STLHE2012Jaymie Koroluk
Hearing from students was the perfect way to end the conference. Thank you for the honesty and challenge of your words. #stlhe2012veebs
Student panel = fantastic way to end the #stlhe2012 conference. Agree that more students should be in on the conversation!EDC

Similarly, you’ll notice that I’ve embedded tweets into this post using twitter’s new built-in embed tool, which is easier than the now-defunct web app called Blackbird Pie. There is still a Blackbird pie wordpress plugin but I don’t see any advantage using the plugin over the built-in tool.

embedding tweets

embedding tweets

I guess my main concern is the lack of control you have over that content. You are only linking to it and if the owner deletes the tweet or twitter comes up with some Murdoch monetizing scheme and changes our access or terms, then we will no longer have the content at all.

But it sure does look pretty and it is very functional while it still works.

That brings us to wonder about If This Then That, the magical-do-anything-you-can-think-of with just about any tool that has an API.

I browsed through existing recipes and not surprisingly, someone has set up the simple template to capture tweets with a particular hash tag into Evernote.

ifttt twitter to evernote

If This Then That: Twitter to Evernote

Authorize both your twitter account and your Evernote account, set up your own parameters and you are set to go. The only trouble is that it doesn’t seem to be able to capture tweets from the past.

Since I started this experiment after the end of STLHE, it’s fairly useless in capturing anything about that conference after the fact.

But with 20,000 K-12 educators descending on San Diego right now for National Educational Computing Conference ISTE12 I have a very active hash tag to experiment with, which will definitely be a test of the robustness of this application.

As suggested in the recipe, I created a public #ISTE12 notebook in Evernote. There were other options for archiving, including avatar, which might make the notebook more visually stimulating but I’m going for simplicity first time out. The sheer volume of tweets may cause some kind of complications but let’s push this to the boundaries, right?

So far after 12 hours there have been 566 tweets. But the conference hasn’t actually started yet so we’ll see what happens after a few days.

Shared Evernote notebook capturing #ISTE12 tweets

Shared Evernote notebook capturing #ISTE12 tweets

What are your thoughts? Any other tools you use for archiving all the wonderful things said and done at conferences? How does this aid your reflection (if at all)?

Flickr + Freesound = FlickrSounds

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

by Nickym007
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

What you’re seeing (and possibly hearing) above is the result of some rather clever code & mashup work done by John Johnston, an amazingly creative ICT Development Officer (which is U.K. speak for “educational technology nerd who likes to create nifty tools for others”). I’ve been finding it difficult to get back into the groove of things after last week’s rather anticlimactic end to the school year (we had lots of layoffs and the mood was grim). I thought I’d try a few simple tools found over on the ds106 assignment repository to just play around and see what I could find that I haven’t tackled before, and wham! Here I find this amazingly little tool that John cooked up called FlickrSounds!
The concept of FlickrSounds is rather simple; enter in a search term, let’s say “cat” from the example above. John’s little magical tool scours two popular sites for an image and a sound that match that term. Once it’s found media tagged with your search term, it delivers a Creative Commons lisenced image from Flickr, and an equally Creative Commons lisenced sound from the Free Sound project (a fantastic site that I highly encourage you to go visit and use for all of your audio needs….just as soon as you’re done reading this post!).
While I was a bit skeptical of how I might actually create something of interest beyond the early elementary set of learners (look, a cat, and you can hear it meow!), what my search returned greatly astonished, entertained, and excited me! While I expected the Flickr search to return an image of a cat, I got a picture of a Catterpillar brand excavator instead!
I was estatic! What a fantastic way to not only violate the expectations of learners, but also help them explore the world of language, meaning, homophones, and more! The connotation of the word “cat”, while most universally accepted to mean a small furry pet, has other definitions in certain circles (construction and excavation work obviously). What a fun way to help students grasp the idea that our cultural and personal experiences with language help shape our view of the world through the mental images we bring up when we hear words. This is more easily identified when working with homophones (deer/dear, meet/meat, etc.), but the juxtaposition of the imagery and sound with the FlickrSound tool is astonishingly more eye opening!
As proof, I give you 4 more searches I submitted using the same term, “cat“. You’ll find what you expected, some cats and soft cat-like noises, but you’ll also find the electronic sound that “Nyan Cat” makes as it flies through the air leaving a rainbow trail (don’t ask, just go watch, it’s a Japanese thing). You’ll also find some “cat” beats from snares, and while I didn’t include it, there are plenty more images of construction equipment. I’m half surprised I didn’t find some “hepcat” jazz musician via the random Flickr search.

by Castaway in Scotland
Attribution-NonCommercial License


by WebSphinx
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

cat (Betty McDaniels 3).wav

by WebSphinx
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License


by MiNe (sfmine79)
Attribution-NoDerivs License

If you work with English language learners, either as their primary or secondary language, the FlickrSounds tool developed by John would be a must in my bag of teaching resources to provide a really nice visual and audio twist on helping students explore the quite fluid nature of the English language. It’s free, it’s fun, and best of all, it has a real nice embedding tool that will let you add multiple searches to a preview window, so you can embed multiple creations all at once (as I did above).
Think it’s just for younger learners? Ha! Check out the searches I did for the word “rough“! Talk about a great way to build up vocabulary through visual and audio interpretations of a word! There’s so much imagery stored deep within our brains that a single word can conjure up, this tool might also be useful in illustrating just how easy miscommunication can happen, especially when conversing with just text across the web.

by Robert Hruzek
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License


by Capt’ Gorgeous
Attribution License


by Doun Dounell
Attribution License


by henna lion
Attribution-NonCommercial License


Zazzy Does Minecraft

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Don’t go in the sky.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Surreal Moments

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

So I’m sitting here at Toronto International Pearson Airport en route to Vancouver for Northern Voice, grabbing a bite to eat. On the television, Germany beats the Netherlands in football. Passersby stop to watch momentarily.

I’m not watching the soccer game, however, I am tuned into and the surreal moment of my twitter and professional networks colliding and watching @timmmmyboy @grantpotter @rushaw present at the #nmc12 conference while @heloukee and @allyson1969 shake hands.


I look down to my beer and what. the. >???????

um. excuse me, waiter, what is Slide Guy doing in my beer?

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

The backstroke?

How To: Photoshop Magic Lasso

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I’m not much one for creating “how to” videos, at least not ones that I share publicly on a regular basis, but I felt as though I owed it to some of the people whose blogs I’m following to help out a bit with the monolithic application that is Photoshop. Don’t get too excited though, I am far from being a Photoshop expert, most of my skills having waned since being a heavy Photoshop Contest participant in the early 2000s. When I saw Melanie Barker complete the quick, but fun “Slide Guy” assignment (which coincidentally remind me of a lot of the Fark contests), I was impressed. When she said she did it because she was afraid of Photoshop, I wanted to share just a couple of simple tools that I use for cutting and pasting elements from one image to another. Below is the image I created for the ds106 Slide Guy Visual Assignment using a still from a rather famous movie and a shot of Tim Owens joyously sliding down a child’s playground slide.

Look at that slide guy having so much fun trying to crush poor Dr. Jones!

Again, please bear in mind that I am an absolute novice when it comes to Photoshop, and the tools I show may very well be the worst tools to use for cutting, copying, and pasting images as far as a professional graphic designers are concerned, but these tools are super easy to use, and don’t really require that much to figure out, just a bit of practice to master. If it benefits you at all, please enjoy my 6 minute walkthrough of using the magic lasso tool in Photoshop. You can view it below or click here to watch via YouTube.

Venn? Now!

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

I got this thing for information graphics. It’s a Zazzy thing — can’t explain it. At any rate, Alan’s assignment was just what I was looking for to express my lifelong fascination with old movies, aging TV series, and the inscrutable weirdness of the bible. Dig it:

Slide Guy Don’t Care

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Just like the Honey Badger!

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe