My Blogging Experience

January 18, 2010

About me

Filed under: Uncategorized — debyj @ 10:25 pm

Check out my video…a little bit about me:


April 24, 2010

The Man Who Forgot Everything

Filed under: Daily Living — debyj @ 12:08 pm

I watched this story on ABC this week.

It is about a man in Arizona that has suffered from extreme amnesia. About a year ago, he had an accident and it resulted in the complete loss of his memory. He could not remember his wife, his kids, his parents, his dogs, nothing!

Can you imagine waking up one day with no recollection of anything? You are in a bed, but you do not know what a bed is or what a blanket is. You walk outside to see the sun but you don’t know what that is. I can’t imagine how overwhelming each day has been for him discovering new things everyday. Imagine how differently you would see life if you were in his shoes. It was particularly interesting to hear his perspective on rituals, holidays, and traditions we have.  He did not get excited about putting up a Christmas tree or carving a pumpkin because he did not have any sort of emotional connection to those traditions.  He did not understand why we did those things.  I guess it makes sense if you cannot remember growing up in any sort of culture or traditions.

Really interesting story, definitely worth checking out!

April 15, 2010

Final Reflection on ECMP 455

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , — debyj @ 3:25 pm

Here is a video that gives a reflection of what I have learned from this class and what I look forward to learning in the future.  I wanted to put more photos and transitions on it, but I had a horrible time trying to get Windows Movie Maker to function for more than 5 minutes at a time.  Has anyone ever come across a great online movie-maker program?? I would really like to try something else, but I also do not want to put $$ into it!

I uploaded my video onto youtube but it was about 10 seconds too long, so my closing sentence got cut off!  The last sentence is: I look forward to continuing my learning about technology and education and hope to stay in touch with my classmates and continue learning from them for many years to come!

Hope you enjoy the movie!

April 14, 2010

Final Collaborative Project Reflection

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , — debyj @ 5:17 pm

This semester I spent a great deal of time on the Seymour Music Department Ning. I worked with students grades 9-12 with varying music abilities but most were beginners. There are three parts to the program: Band, Choir, and Choral. Choral is a more intimate form of Choir. There are only four girls in Choral and they do both solo singing and group singing.  There are a total of 34 students in the Seymour Music Department. Some students are in multiple parts of the program.

With the help of their teacher, Brandt Schneider, I created a large project for them to complete over a period of about two months. This is what the assignments looked like:

Part 1: Video Blog Assignment

This assignment is for ALL Seymour Music Department students!

Step 1: choose a new song (no more than 1 minute long) and start learning it.
– Band students choose a solo song.
– Choral/Choir students choose a song where you will sing and play on the piano. (it can be very simple)

Step 2: create a video that includes the following:
-a brief description of the song (what is it about, who is the
composer, when was it composed, translation of the words if written in
a language other than English, what is/was the composer like?)
-a performance of your new song (it is okay to make mistakes!)
– name at least 2 strengths you have in playing this piece
– name at least 2 things you would like to improve on in playing this piece
-3 things that you are going to do to improve this piece

Your video must be a minimum of 1 minutes and a maximum of 3 minutes long.

You will be blogging about those three things that you are going to do
to improve this piece and then you will be creating another video to
show what you learned and how you met your goals. Your second video
performance should show that you have improved!

For help with your project, view SAMPLE VIDEO on the Ning to see an example of how to do this assignment. The sample video will appear on the ning by Friday, February 26th.

Post any questions you have on the Ning. This can include questions you
have about the technical issues that can come up when you are trying to
make a video.

Your video must be posted by MARCH 1st, 2010!

Have fun!

Part 2: Video Blog Assignment

Step 1: Record a second video of the same song that you did before.

Step 2: Add a written comment to your video OR speak in your video about the following:

-what you think you improved on in contrast to your first video
-what you worked on in practice.
-what you think you could still improve
-Did you enjoy practicing or did you find it was hard? Why?

Step 3: Post on the Ning

Step 4: Listen to at least 2 other videos in your class and comment on their videos. What did you learn from them?

Have Fun!

After the students completed the first part of the assignment, I posted a 5-10 sentence comment on 3 things I thought they did well and 3 things I thought they could improve on for each of the videos.  I included some exercises they could try in their practice that I thought might help.  They responded to my comments and asked more questions to which I responded.

I viewed each student’s performance after they completed their final videos but I did not comment on many of them this time.  An important part of the assignment was for the students to learn from one another and learn how to give each other constructive criticism.  It was encouraging to see big improvements from video one to video two and also see improvements in areas that I had suggested!  The students were reflective of one another’s videos but some did not fulfill the requirement of commenting on at least 2 other videos.

Overall, I think this project was a great experience for me and for the students.  The students had several opportunities to perform and to hear and see themselves play.  Sometimes we do not really realize what we sound like on our instrument until someone records it for us.  I also had the opportunity to listen to players from various levels and give them feedback.  Part of the challenge of being a music teacher is to be able to diagnose problems you hear and help the students find solutions.  This was a great experience for me to try out those skills and face that challenge.

I did a few other minor things with the group. I taught them how to speak a little French for when they sing in French.  I also helped some students with piano playing. I created a sample video for the students to see what their assignments should look like as well.

I wanted to do one final activity with the students but it did not work out for Brandt.  I would have liked to skype with each class and discuss how their assignment went and maybe give them some general tips and tricks that I noticed were problems for most of the students.  Maybe in the near future we will still be able to do this as a sort of conclusion to my time spent with them.

April 12, 2010

Interview with Julie Lindsay

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , — debyj @ 4:16 pm

My much awaited interview finally took place a few days ago so I am now able to blog about Julie and all the of the exciting things she is doing to enhance the educational and technological world!

I have included my skype recording if you would like to view it. Unfortunately, I did not realize that I should have used headphones so there is an echo evident when Julie speaks in the conversation. I also had some trouble with my dogs barking when my husband came home. Even though I wrote him a note not to bug me, he still tried to peak into my conversation and make a silly face thinking I was talking to my sister. Evidently, I would change a few things for next time!

Julie Lindsay is currently living in Beijing, China where she is Information Technology and E-Learning Coordinator at Beijing (BISS) International School. I have found some of her resources very valuable. Her blog is connected to her Diigo account and she has it set up so that every week her bookmarks are posted to her blog. I enjoy looking at her blog weekly to use some of these resources. She knows a lot about what is going on in the web 2.0 world and is using these tools in classrooms and proving they are useful! I would encourage anyone in Education to have a look at her blog to hopefully learn something new and transfer it to the classroom!

For more information about Julie, you can visit:



Flat classroom

Thanks Julie for sharing your story with me and letting me know about some of the exciting things you are doing to enhance education!

April 6, 2010

Why I Think All Students Should Perform

I hosted a piano recital on Easter Sunday in my home town.  One week from today (eek!) I have to complete a graduating recital (in order to graduate), so I took the opportunity on Sunday to prepare myself for the graded recital and give my family and friends a chance to hear me play.

It went pretty well.  I played for an hour and included about 45 minutes of memorized music.  Every time I have a recital, the first thing I am always asked afterwards is how I can possibly memorize all that music.  It is totally possible! In fact, after you pick up on some tricks to memorizing, its not too hard to learn at all.  In our day to day lives, we really only use a small percentage of our brain.  Our brains are completely capable of handling much more.  We just don’t expect that because we never really need to use too much of it!  Have you ever had to memorize a piece of music before, maybe a poem for a class in high school, or a speech for a wedding?  Could you remember it? Was it that hard to learn or was it just hard to perform it memorized?

The toughest challenge is handling my nerves.  Memorization and nerves do not mix well so I have to very carefully prepare myself for performances and during the performance I have to constantly use positive self talk to remind myself that I know the music backwards and forwards and that I can perform well.  The second I start thinking “O crap! whats next, I forget!” or “geez that sucked”, it all goes downhill from there and things that I can play perfect in practice suddenly sound awful, I have strange memory lapses, or worse…I freeze!  The first piece I performed on Sunday needed a little more positive encouragement because I had a few memory slips and messed up on a few spots when I should have been able to nail them, but as I got more comfortable with the stage and my audience, my pieces started to sound more like they should.

Although not necessarily on piano, I think that all students need to gain experience performing from memory (be it on a instrument, giving a speech, acting in a play, talking to a small group, etc).  Performance provides a lot of challenges that will be good exercise for their brains and help them understand how to handle stress and high-pressure situations. Not many people enjoy performance because most do not know how to handle their nerves and they are scared, but stand up to their nerves and perform and they might feel like they are on top of the world when they can succesfully perform something memorized.  This is something all students should do because no matter where they go in life, they are probably going to have to perform at least once and they are always going to find themselves in various situations where they face feelings of anxiety, stress, nervousness, and fear.  Performing and memorizing may be a challenge for them and will definitely require encouragement, but in the end I am sure they will thank their teachers for that experience.

April 5, 2010

A Reflection on my Diigo Presentation

Filed under: Diigo — Tags: , , , , , — debyj @ 12:01 pm

I partnered up with Brandee and gave a tag-team presentation on Diigo last week.

Something I am really glad we did was have a practice run on Elluminate the day before the presentation.  It gave us lots of ideas and helped us stay organized.  We were able to record it so we had a chance to learn from our mistakes before the official presentation and figure out how much we could do within the time limits of the presentation.  We also created an outline for our presentation so that we could stay on track and know exactly what topics and order of topics we would each cover.  We did do the presentation from two separate computers so I found the outline really helped us work well together even though we were not communicating in person.

I can definitely see that my presentation skills have improved since my last Elluminate presentation. I tried to be more animate with my voice and can definitely hear that improvement in the recording.  Something I did notice that I would like to change is the amount of times I use the words “so” and “um”.  I found in my internship I commonly tried to work on talking with better sentence structure so that is a challenge I am quite familiar with and will probably be working on for quite some time.

Even though we did a practice run of the presentation and ended up cutting out some information due to time restrictions, I still think we might have cramed too much information into one presentation.  I kept track of the time during the presentation and we ended up taking about 16 minutes and there were times when we were rushing so if I were to do it over again, I might have cut even more information out.

There was one technical problem that I would really like to know how to solve in the case I end up in this predicament one day in the future.  A the time, I thought it was just my computer but then I noticed it on the recording too.  when Brandee was trying to show the uses of the diigo toolbar, the toolbar drop down options were blacked out so that you could not see anything.  No one mentioned this in the chat, which I found odd, so maybe it really is just my computer after all??

One problem I did not expect was the lack of participation.  I think that although there seemed to be over 10 people in attendance, I am not sure all of those ten people were actually sitting at their computers. I noticed whenever I asked a question, I would get responses from the same three or four people and did not see any activity from anyone else when I asked them to raise their hands, for example.  One of the things I really wanted to improve on from my last presentation was my communication with the audience and I believe I put in a much better effort this time.  The problem was that I was fairly certain I did not have much of an audience at all!  I am not even sure we had the full attention of any one individual throughout the entire presentation.  This reminds me of how easily it is to get distracted during some of these presentations and how important it is to set your status as “away” when you are not there.  I have decided that from now on, during these presentations I will give my full attention to the presenter or I will not attend at all.  There is no point in attending if I am going to be distracted by something else the whole time and it is definitely not fair to the presenter.

March 27, 2010

Food Companies making you an Addict (and you don’t even know it)

Filed under: Daily Living — Tags: , , , , , , , — debyj @ 11:43 am

My mom sent me this in an email a couple days ago and I decided to blog about it because I think it is very important for people to be aware of this issue.  The article is from a blog and is titled Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein. I strongly encourage that you read it.  There was recently a recall announced on a significant number of products containing HVP.  The current list includes 160 items!

Something that really shocked me in doing research on HVP is that it contains MSG (monosodium glutamate).  MSG is something I have been trying to avoid completely because it is very dangerous for our bodies and it causes us to crave more food even when we are full.   I search ingredient labels for it each time I consider a new food product.  I am not the only one doing this.  Recently, the effects of MSG has been largely publicized so companies have had to find a new way to use it or suffer from loss of sales.  HVP contains MSG and is a way that companies are avoiding having to put MSG on the food labels.  HVP is something that I personally was not familiar with until this recall and am very disappointed that I now have to search for that in my ingredients too.  I feel the I have been deceived and am concerned that the food producers care much more about getting me addicted to their foods than helping me live a happy, healthy life.

I am reading a book by Michael Pollan right now called Food Rules (2009).  It is a fantastic book and I am very excited that someone out there is standing up for consumers.  In his book, he mentions the obvious problems with the Western Diet and explains that there is no help from food manufacturers, nutritional research centers, or governments because there is a lot of money in the food industry and the health sector (which is treating illnesses and developing drugs for the problems the Western Diet is causing).  The more companies process a food, the cheaper it is to make and the greater the profits for all involved, except of course the consumers.

With companies constantly producing new additives and chemicals to get us addicted to their foods and lower their production costs, I do not feel like I can trust processed foods whatsoever anymore.  The only way you can really avoid this problem is to eat as much naturally created food as possible and even that can be a challenge! (but that is a whole other blog post in its own)

I am very concerned for the children of the current generation.  They are growing up eating these processed foods and as a result their bodies are not getting the proper nutrients and their immune systems are suffering.  How is this influencing their health in the future, how is it influencing their moods from day to day, their attitudes towards life??  I hope we as a society can start to take this issue more seriously and try to fight against processed foods and force our manufacturers to go back to natural foods that are good for us.

March 19, 2010

A visual world, but visual schools??

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , , — debyj @ 5:58 pm

I just viewed an Elluminate presentation given by Dean on the topic “Let’s Get Visual”. I remember watching a couple videos on this particular topic in ECMP 355 and being inspired to change the way I create and use PowerPoints. This is something that I believe all teachers (including professors) need to be aware of and take into consideration. Too many people create PowerPoints for the wrong reasons. I think they need to help tell a story and communicate ideas rather than list everything you would like to say. They also should be used to engage learners and add to a presentation. You are ultimately the presentation, NOT your PowerPoint.

Flickr CC-bdieu

If you want to find some excellent resources for creating great Visual Presentations:


Dan Meyer using images in the Math classroom.



-Your personal CAMERA

– Creative Commons Powerpoint (great powerpoint and an educational topic)

I got to teach a photography unit in CPT 10 during my internship. I knew a bit about photography, but I did have to do some research of my own in order to create the unit. I am really glad that I did some practice on my own and actually used my own pictures to create a PowerPoint for the students. It was really interesting for me discovering how challenging the students found this unit. With digital cameras today, we will take 300 pictures in a day and 50 of those pictures will be of the same thing. We do not think much about how we compose our photos because we assume one of the 50 photos will be good enough. I think we should think more about the pictures we are taking and do our best to make them a great visual representation of a story/situation. There are so many photos available online now for use and I think we should be careful when selecting them for visual presentations. Do not just pick a random photo you think looks nice. Pick one that is going to be not only a good example to students of good photography but one that also portrays the message you are trying to get across.

March 15, 2010


Filed under: Daily Living — Tags: , , , — debyj @ 10:40 am

Opening the lines of communication…does a note like this one look familiar to anyone that has ever had a roommate?

I have decided that after many months of conflict, drama, and argument after argument, I am going to have to blog about my roommates and seek advice from my cyberfriends.

In my four years of renting, I have had more than TEN different roommates and next month I am getting new ones to add to the count.  I could probably write an entire book on the experiences that I have had with my many roommates.   Some have been great and others not so good.

The roommates I have now are absolutely, hands down, the worst I have ever had!  I sooo cannot wait until the end of this month when they move out.  The main problem I have with them is COMMUNICATION! In fact, I would have to say that has been the root of most of the conflicts I have ever had with roommates.  The problem with these two is that I am not sure they understand the word communication at all. They have been living here for about sixth months now.  I can count about 100 times they have called my landlord to complain about something we were doing or picked up our stuff and moved it somewhere without our permission and I cannot count ONE time when they came to us to tell us they had a problem.  We have approached them everytime they have upset us by not communicating and told them to please speak with us if they have a problem.  We really are not hard to get along with!  TV is too loud?? Well, ask, I can probably turn it down!  My laundry is done and I forgot about it? knock on the door, i will happily move it!  But….no matter how many times we ask them to PRETTY PRETTY PLEASE communicate, they will not.  It has become an endless battle and now…my landlord is very very mad.

Here is a retelling of the phone call I got at 9:00 this morning:

Landlord: “are you playing the piano?” (it is a digital piano, i had it on med-low volume)

Me: “yes”

Landlord: “well I am having a very busy day and dont have time for this but the guys downstairs are calling me complaining about you playing the piano so could you stop playing.  I know you shouldn’t have to but I don’t have time to come over there and tell them to stop the crap”

Me: “thats funny, they never said anything to me. I could have turned it down if they would have just asked. It is not the middle of the night or anything.  I can turn it down but I am not about to stop playing.  Why should I have to be silent for them?”

Landlord: “well, I am just tired of dealing with them. Could you just help me out and wait it out

with me? They are only going to be here for a couple more weeks”

me: “i guess so”

I get along with my landlord really well and I know he is doing his best in this situation, but I am really tempted to just tell him to deal with it.  Why should I have to tiptoe around my house during the day?  I am paying rent too!  It is not like I am blaring the stereo and shaking the house or partying until three am (which the roommates do frequently).  At the same time, it is obvious that my roommates are irrational and refuse to deal with problems in mature ways.  That makes me a little afraid right now.  What if the start thinking “o, well this is my last month here, so I am just going to do whatever I feel like?”  We share storage space. They could easily steal or damage something of mine or they could easily come into my suite and do something terrible.  Who knows really…. So now I have to decide if I am going to fight the fight or lay low until they leave!  Decisions, decisions.

On the plus side, if you ever want to improve your communication and conflict-management skills, get a roommate.  You will learn a lot!

Cellphones for learning?

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , — debyj @ 10:07 am

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an Elluminate session with Liz Kolb on the topic of cellphones.  Throughout the presentation I was madly Diigoing all the of the resources she was sharing.  I also downloaded a copy of her powerpoint in case I missed anything!  I honestly did not expect to find this presentation so resourceful. I had no idea that there are SO MANY ways that you can use cellphones for learning.

If I went around a school and asked all of the teachers what they thought of allowing the use of cellphones in classrooms, the majority would disagree with the notion.  Before I saw this presentation, I would have disagreed as well.  I did not see the educational benefits that could come with using cellphones for learning.  Now that Liz has educated me in this area, I do not see it as such a bad idea.  In addition to using cellphones for learning, having them in the classrooms would also be a great opportunity to teach students about cellphone etiquette!  Right now, I believe that students are not being educated enough in that area and part of that reason is that we are not allowing them in classrooms and some schools are not allowing them at all in the building.

More and more students have their own cellphones everyday.  I would say almost all of my students in my internship had cellphones.  As this trend continues to grow, I can absolutely see cellphones becoming a great tool for students to use to enhance their learning experiences!

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