Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fair Use and Copyright

     As we navigate the web in our quest for more information we curate items that we find that will benefit our needs. These items can be videos, infographics, articles, podcasts and images.  With the click of a button, we can quickly save and reuse this content.  As a computer using educator it is crucial that we teach our students our rights and responsibilities as consumers and producers of information.  
     This video is provided by Common Sense Media and Common Sense Education.  This video summarizes copyright and fair use.  This is a great start for any Internet user.  

     This week as I navigated my Twitter feeds using Tweetdeck I came across a perfect example of Copyright infringement and also the power of the PLN.  Everyone that knows Technology and Education knows of Alice Keeler.  She co-authored "50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom" with Libbi Miller.  This book is a highly recommended book for anyone wanting to implement Google Classroom into your classroom.  Where does the copyright come into play?  Well turns out that Melissa Becky published "Google Classroom For Teachers & Educators from A to Z: From Good to Great Effortlessly".  Alice Keeler identified much of the content and images from her blog and website as being published in the book without permission and credit. I remember seeing a post regarding this situation and took a look on Amazon and noticed many reviews detailing the situation.  After many reports, Amazon has taken down the book.  
     As educators we must be careful with the information we find and the uses that derive from our recent finds.  You can refer to Common Sense Media for some assistance on how to proceed when you want to use information.  In the scenario given above it was about copyright infringement at it's finest.  Alice Keeler has a strong PLN, so when she posted regarding the situation her PLN jumped to her aid.  This is one of the greatest benefits of a strong PLN! 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Professional and Personal Learning Networks - My Experience!

As the school year wrapped up and I looked forward to Summer with countless hours of being lazy it began to set in that I have a Summer course for my MA in Educational Technology.  The second course for the summer would be that of Creating on the Web.  In this course I would become a Connected Educator.  I learned that through a process of connecting and communicating with other educators and tech gurus, I can advance my craft as well as share anything that may be of value to others.  One of the texts for the course is "What connected educators do differently" by Whitaker, Casas and Zoul.  The key principles they suggest to become a connected educator are the following:
  • Invest in a Personal and Professional Learning Network
  • Learn What They Want, When They Want, How They Want
  • Embrace the Three C's: Communication, Collaboration, and Community
  • Give and Take...Give Some More
  • Strive to Be Tomorrow...Today
  • Know That It Is Still About the 3 Rs: Relationships, Relationships, Relationships
  • Model the Way
  • Know When to Unplug
In my journey through this course, I became more active on my Twitter account to reach out to other connected individuals.  I had previously created an account when I took a course taught by Alice Keeler at Fresno State where I only tweeted several times.  I see the importance of being connected and out there.  I believe being connected can and will flatten the walls of the classroom.  Educators should share what they are doing in their classroom to benefit themselves, their students and other teachers regardless of their content area.  

I believe I began the journey as a skeptic but will continue to connect and build relationships as time progresses and my role in education changes because I can see the impact that it has. My suggestions to individuals that are on the fences about building a PLN or P2LN would be just to do it!  Jump in, learn as you grow!  Fear is definitely a killer.  It is a killer of the person who you could become.  Don't be afraid of what others may say or think about your content.  You may reach and touch more individuals that you can see!  So in leaving you, I say build and nurture relationships - communicate - collaborate - be part of the community! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


We have all had THAT student.  If I am lucky I only have one of them a year.  You know the student that I am talking about.  The student who you secretly wish was absent, but never seems to be.  The student who can turn a well functioning class into chaos.  What do you do when you face THAT student?

I try to get to know them.  I ask them questions.  I try to give them the attention that they seek for positive actions instead of always trying to punish the unwanted behavior.  Sometimes this works and THAT student changes their behavior.  More often, the more that I get to know the student, the better I understand the reasons behind their actions.  I recently read a blog post about just that.

As a high school teacher I typically am responsible for 200 students spread throughout the 6 classes that I teach.  It is difficult to really get to know ALL my students over the course of the year.  I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to teach a Peer Connectors class in addition to core science courses.  In this class I am able to truly get to know 30 students.  I wish I could have this type of relationship with all of my students.

Relationships are critical.  Just like THAT student, it is important for teachers to feel like they have a relationship with other like minded teachers.  Through blogging and the use of Twitter, I am beginning to understand how I can foster those relationships with educators outside of my physical sphere of influence.  Whether it is dealing face to face with students or interacting with other educators, it is all about relationships.  My goals for this coming school year, both digitally and in my classroom, is to take time to ask questions, get to know others, and build relationships.  

Thank you Juan for letting me contribute to your blog! I appreciate the opportunity to strengthen relationships with other connected educators.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Moodle and Hyperlinks

As an online graduate student attending Fresno Pacific University everything I do utilizes Moodle, a learning management software program.  Using Moodle to turn in assignments usually requires the use of "linking" or hyper-linking documents to the module.  There are several ways to link the document which will briefly be discussed.  As one of our instructors pointed out we should always make the link active so that we can easily click on the link and be taken to it.  I would like to point out that making the link active makes it available for quick access but when done with the information, you may encounter an issue of losing your place at the original starting point or website you were originally on.  To resolve this issue you can change the target location of the desired information. 

Before you can hyperlink you must create text to display.  Once you've typed the text, you must select the text you want to use as the "display text".  In Moodle you can insert a hyper-link by finding these icons and clicking on the connected chain or you can use Control K / Command K to open the hyperlink dialog box.  

The following dialog box will open:

At this point you will enter the Link URL in the appropriate box.  The next step is crucial so that your information opens in a new Internet Window while preserving your current Window.  Use the drop down box to move the Target selection from "Open in this window/frame" to "Open in new window".  Your final step is to select the "Insert" command.  

By following these steps you will allow your user to open your content in a new window preserving whatever they have on their current window (such as e-mail or Moodle). 

Below is a video tutorial.  The hyper-linking portion goes pretty quick and it appears it is on an older version of Moodle.  I hope to make my own tutorial video next time to show you on the most current version of Moodle.


Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Saga of Mr. Del Toro

     So I've posted my first blog yesterday and gave you a brief synopsis of what I hope to share with you.  Today I will share with you some other items that I hope to discuss and provide you some more background of who I am and what I currently do.
     Educational technology, leadership, social media and common core state standards; these are just a few of the items my website and blog will focus on.  I also plan on sharing resources that I come across that will be beneficial to you and your students.
     I consider myself a newb when it comes to implementation of educational technology into the classroom, however I am taking the initial leap to advance my learning so that I can advance the learning of my students.  My goal is to provide a platform to share my trial and tribulations so that you can learn and join me on my journey.
     As I begin this journey, I will post on my blog twice a week to share the most up to date resources and tech tips that may make your life a little easier.

     I have worked at Bryant Middle School in Dos Palos, CA since 2013.  I began my teaching career as a Computer Teacher for the middle school.  I quickly saw that my site was in need of an overhaul in the technology department.  I am currently assigned to teach Computer Applications, Game Design Foundations and Yearbook.
     Prior to landing my first and only teaching job, I substitute taught for four years in the Merced Union High School District in addition to the Madera Unified School District.  Teaching was not my first career choice as college was always placed on the back burner.  I held jobs that included food service, debt collections, banking, retail and auto insurance claims.  
     Currently I'm aimed to complete my Master of Arts in Educational Technology at Fresno Pacific University in 2016.  When I am lucky enough to find "free" time, I enjoy traveling and relaxing.  Travel doesn't necessarily mean traveling across the country, I am very happy with a trip to the coast or to the mountains. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Success Starts Now!

Success Starts Now!  That is quite the bold statement for my first blog post. Just as everything that happens has to have a beginning, my role as an ed tech enthusiast begins with this post. I will admit that I am not the best with words but I will blog as much as possible to share the ideas and resources that I come across. These ideas resources will hopefully aid myself, you and our students in becoming tech savvy individuals.

I was looking around for some motivation for my first post and came across this classroom poster that I normally have in my classroom near my door. Just as I did for the past two summers, I take down my classroom posters and bring them home. I've walked by it many times these last three weeks without giving it much thought.  When deciding what my first post would be about this somehow came to mind.  "Success starts with believing in yourself."  I believe that I can contribute to you, the reader of my blog and visitor of my site.  I believe I have something to share that is worthwhile of your time. Thank you for believing in me and my initial success of creating a platform to share my knowledge.