Alleke’s Potty Training Video (Week 5 Story Critique)


This week I decided to find a digital story that is relevant to something current at our house lately, potty training. The dreaded potty training! I wanted to find a video that I could show to Ashlyn where another little girl was explaining and going through the steps to. I found the video Alleke’s Potty Training Video that did just that! The author is involved in the video by being the narrator. Since the star of the film looks like she is around two she needed some help explaining the steps along the way.

The online space that brings the story to life is a bathroom so that Alley could show everyone the steps and how she uses the potty. I feel that the video could have been improved by adding some more dimensions to the video. There is some text that appears to explain the various steps but that is about it. There are also a lot of slow parts during the video. I think it could have been edited to cut out the time in the video that really wasn’t needed such as the part in the beginning where the little girl is sitting on the potty and just reading instead of going potty.

After watching the video the next step was to show it to my daughter and see if it could gain her interest. At first she wanted to watch something else instead but once the little girl started talking it got her attention. As we watched the video I had my daughter on her little potty at the same time. She got excited about the video and wanted to watch it multiple times so I was really excited about that but sadly she never used the bathroom she just sat on the toilet. Of course I did not expect her to be miraculously potty trained after having just watched such a small video but I will call it a win because at least we are introducing her to the topic and getting her to talk about it.

There was another video that I found that was Daniel Tiger explaining how to use the potty. It is actually just an episode of the TV show that focuses on potty training. I found the video much more useful because it has catchy phrases in a sing song type tone which my daughter really responds to. I also liked that it addressed not wanting to stop doing something such as playing with blocks even though you have to use the potty. I think it is really important to address those types of things because the idea of stopping a task to use the restroom is part of the process that is new to little ones. I think overall the Alleke video was successful at explaining the steps but I also think there are other videos such as the previously mentioned Daniel Tiger video that help get children excited about using the potty.


Grandma Knows Best! (Week 5 Reading Reflection and Scholarship)


This week’s course reading was Jenkins (2008) Afterword: Communities of Readers, Clusters of Practices. The reading discusses using resources such as Facebook, Twitter, Myspace (do people really still use Myspace?), YouTube and Wikipedia. There is the one argument that it is just to much of a distraction while others believe it is a pivotal resource. On this note, as a teacher that has to travel from one school to another and use other teacher’s computers for presentations I cannot tell you how unfortunate it is to be blocked from YouTube! There are alternatives such as TeacherTube but that resource doesn’t always pan out. To provide an example, I teach 3D modeling classes to students and like to show them videos where they can see 3D printers in action but TeacherTube has scarcely any videos at all. It is frustrating when I know there are so many amazing videos on YouTube that are purely educational and fascinating! Ultimately, I have ended up turning my cellphone into a mobile hotspot and just using my personal laptop to show the videos.

In the reading, the author discusses the importance of teachers getting their hands dirty and working with the platforms, tools and processes that are fundamental to these new types of cultural production and circulation. I couldn’t agree more! I really feel that people are scared of what they don’t understand and by having more knowledge of how the different resources are used and can work I think it would make educators less nervous about introducing technology into the classroom and instead dare I say I think more teachers would be excited about the idea?

When pondering about what word or words got me thinking further the only one I can really think of is “telepics” because it is something that I used to do occasionally but never realized that there was actually a term for it. Apparently “telepics” are photos taken of something that is showing on a television. I remember as a kid taking photos with myself next to various famous people on the television just because. After this week’s readings I am more curious about how technology will continue to make an appearance in every way. In regards to digital story telling I think we will continue to see a steady rise in material being shown in that way. For example, how much longer are teachers going to continue to teach by beginning their lesson explaining to students what they need to be working on and how. This got me thinking about middle and high school teachers specifically because often times teachers are teaching the same lesson over and over to different classes throughout the day. Why not make that beginning portion of a class a fascinating digital story that could then be shown throughout the day. Think about all of the grading that could be done with the saved amount of time!

With all of this talk about using new and different resources to teach children I started to think more about how that applies to my daughter who is currently too young to start elementary school yet. I wanted to search out a digital story or some sort of technology that focused on learning. I finally decided to focus on finding some educational apps that are geared towards learning for toddlers. I found this website that lists the top best apps for kids. After looking over the various options I decided to go with “Grandma’s  Preschool/ Wonderful Interactive Educational App for Children”. My daughter is starting preschool in the fall so this felt like a perfect fit. I downloaded the app and let my daughter give it a try. She was hesitant at first because she wanted to play one of the other educational apps already on my iPad that she sometimes plays but she finally decided to give it a try. Her hesitance reminded me of the reading this week and being afraid to try new things. It took her a bit to learn how to navigate through everything but after a few minutes she seemed to get the hang of it. Trying out the app got my thinking more about where the future of education is headed with technology increasing so rapidly.

Bring It Villains!!!

Picture2ljgjhb     This weeks mashup was about taking a photograph and putting it into a different image. I had a ton of ideas right off the bat but then I realized that I needed to incorporate my theme “Through the Eyes of a Toddler”. So I started by sifting through photos of my daughter trying to find inspiration through a certain photograph. I finally narrowed it down to three photos. In one photo she was only about six months old and was holding a little book and smiling with this adorable green hat from St. Patty’s Day. Another photo was of my chameleon with a birthday hat on which would count because it is also my daughter’s pet. Then the third photograph, which is the one I ended up deciding on, was of my daughter in a little pink batgirl outfit smiling all innocent and proud of herself because she knew how cute she looked. I saw it and instantly envisioned Ashlyn in her little innocent outfit next to the super heroes themselves in one of those action packed movie poster poses.

 My next step was to figure out how in the world I was going to cut out her image so that I could put it on the other photo. I have done the technique before but that was back when I had money and could afford Photoshop. So I decided finally that I would find a trial version of something similar to Photoshop. My first stop was to try gimp. It took a really long time to download and when it finally did I found out I didn’t like it all. I felt very let down by the gimp option so I downloaded and tried a few other programs. I finally ended up using Clipping Magic which is a site you have to pay monthly to use but it works like a dream! I was able to lasso her picture in now time at all and add it to the background photo. I enlarged her photo to make her look almost as tall as the other superheroes in the photo. The best part of this whole assignment was the look on my daughters face when she saw it. She lit right up and said, “Let’s do this!”

The final part of this assignment was to create a story to describe what is happening in the photo. In this case we have Batgirl with her gang of trusty sidekicks, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman at her side! Originally, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman were going to take on Lex Luther and his hideous creation but then they realized they would never stand a chance unless they had the one and only Batgirl at their side! Batgirl didn’t hesitate and joined in to lead the team to victory! Hip hip hooray for Batgirl! Villains will now be thinking twice before wreaking havoc on a city when Batgirl is around!

Week 4 Reflection: Happy 4th of July!!


Wow, is it really the half way mark already?! I have to say this week flew by the quickest but perhaps that is because it is a holiday weekend. Or perhaps it is because it is as they say, “Time flies when you are having fun!” Either way the fourth week is coming to a close and it has been an interesting one. I think I did really well on all of my assignments this week and I know that I really enjoyed reading everyone else’s response to our assignments.

The assignment I enjoyed the most this week was the motivation poster I designed. I liked it because I thought it was a really cute take on motivational posters and I was really excited I happened to have a picture of my daughter with a mountain to go with it! I think what gave me the most trouble this week was doing the readings and providing feedback. I find that when I read articles that use a lot of words to explain something that could be summed up much quicker I tend to lose interest and it takes a lot of effort to stay engaged. Luckily this is where the annotations really become helpful for me! When I start to zone out on the readings I take a break and read some of the comments that my peers have noted and I find myself drawn back in to the topic. If only everything had annotations!

One thing I need to be doing differently is making sure that I am also completing assignments during the middle of the week. This week I was ahead of where I needed to be for the first few days and then didn’t become fully engaged again until towards the end of the week. I feel that that was really due to the fact that I had three curriculums to write and turn in for the upcoming fall for work. I thought that I had allotted enough time for everything but unfortunately we had many fires going on all towards the end of the work week. Luckily, that means that I do not have to create curriculum for the rest of the summer and can now participate more every single day instead of having such narrow windows of time to get work done in. I think overall I met expectations this week. So I say cheers to this week and I hope everyone has a very fun and safe 4th of July!!

Kayaks and Toddlers Go Together Like Peanut Butter and Jelly! (Story Critique for Week 4)


For this week’s story critique I decided to scope out a video on kayaking and toddlers. It goes well with my theme, “Through the Eyes of a Toddler” because it isn’t showing how an adult should kayak but rather has tips on how to do the activity with a toddler. The timing for this is also perfect because it is now kayak season here in the state of Washington and I just bought a kayak to take out with my daughter! I have kayaked with her before but it was with other people and I wanted to know if there were any tips out there that perhaps I hadn’t heard of yet.

When watching the video I first was keeping my eye out for literacy dimensions. It didn’t have as many dimensions to it as I had hoped. There was music in the background and text appeared every once in a while but that was about it. The space and sites of this video are crucial because it gives you the opportunity to see the directions on how to kayak with a toddler in action. For example, in the video the water is actually pretty choppy and the wind seemed to be picking up so this gave a good example that what they were doing worked even in the not so perfect weather.

Based upon my assessment of literacy dimensions I think this video could have some major changes to improve audience engagement. For example, due to the wind picking up it caused a lot of static in the video. I think the audio could have been improved by muting the entire video and then having audio laid over it after the fact. A narrator explaining what was happening in the video and providing tips. Also at the end of the video it would have been helpful if they had given additional information such as links to other sites that would explain certain aspects in more detail. For example, in the video they mention the importance of a child having a life jacket on but no tips on where to find a good life jacket for a child or what type of jacket to search for.

Overall I feel that the video provided what it said it would in the title but with little to no pizazz. I would like to see them make more videos in the future with better audio and more references to further information on the subject. That being said I did enjoy seeing the little boy so excited to go on his first kayaking adventure! My daughter went on her first kayaking trip last summer right after she had turned 2 and had an incredible time. I think it is so important to introduce little ones to the outdoors.

Week 4 Reading Reflection

once upon a time

The article focused on three main things, self-publishing online, the nature and fabric of blogs as texts, and the development of social networks through blogging. In discussing blogging, the article talks about how blogs blend personal information publicly. Stating that, “it is a little like displaying a personal journal in a shop window.” The jargon that I had difficulty with this reading was with what affinity spaces are. Luckily Lisa explained it in the annotation stating that, “Affinity spaces typically focus on one topic or subject. So less personal in a sense, but can be WAY more personal depending on the subject and comfort level of the participants.”

I have been thinking of digital storytelling as literally a video that explains something or tells a story. After reading the article and thinking more about a blog gaining more dimensions by having links to other authors I started thinking about how that would apply to digital stories. How can digital stories have more dimensions? The only answer I could really come up with to answer that is to let the viewer know there are other resources they can go to as well to further enhance what you are trying to teach or show in your digital story. So perhaps the author tells the viewer, “If you want to learn more you can also visit website YXZ…”.

The additional scholarship I choose this week was  called Once Upon a Time… Digital Storytelling brings new dimensions to reading, writing and more. At first I thought the article was going to be about educators creating the content but it turned out that it actually focused more on students being the author of their own digital stories. I found that to a really interesting approach to the subject. It discusses how students tend to steer clear of textbooks at all costs these days but if you can teach them with a digital story or even better have them create a digital story to back up their knowledge of subject matter you will find them to be much more engaged. By having students create a digital story themselves you are also increasing their knowledge of technology at the same time. Instead of simply writing a story on paper they now have to learn how to add audio to their stories and make sure that their pictures have a good enough pixel count to depict a clear picture.

Week 4 Motivational Poster


This weeks creation was to create a motivational poster that focused on my story telling theme. My theme is “Through the Eyes of a Toddler” so I knew right away that the photo would be of my daughter. Not sure what photo I wanted to choose quite yet I decided to look through quotes first. Dr. Seuss has some of my favorite quotes so I began the process by looking at his work. When I found the quote “Kid. You’ll Move Mountains” I immediately thought of when we talk our daughter to Mnt. Rainier.

The next step in the process was to figure out how to create the poster. I settled on using PowerPoint because I knew I could add  text to the background with ease. The photo compliments the quote perfectly because not only does it literally have a mountain and a kid in it but it was the story behind the photo for me as well. The photo was taken last Winter right after we had hiked up the mountain at least a mile each way. That may not seem like much of a deal, unless you are a two year old. My daughter was so proud of herself because not only did she hike up the glorious mountain but she did so for the first time without asking me to carry her. It was a moment where I felt this sense of pride for her because I knew she realized she can do anything she puts her mind to!

Week Three Reflection


Each week seems to be getting better than the last! I feel that I completed the tasks this week in a more timely manner than the last two weeks but I still need to get stuff done a bit earlier. I felt like I was just behind the curve on a couple of assignments and I know that can affect my peers trying to respond to my posts.Next week I will make it a point to really have everything done and turned in as early in the week as possible.

I think the main thing that gave me trouble this week was also my favorite, the video creation. It gave me the most trouble because I got so excited about it and I didn’t want to stop which in turn also put me behind in other assignments because I only have so much time to a lot for homework each day. In the example I saw on the ds106 page the person only created a few videos that were connected where I ended up using probably a dozen videos, and that is the edited version! When given the task to sum up the last three years of my child’s life in three minutes you end up finding that you simply cant include all of the special moments which is really a great problem to have!

I really didn’t have any issues this week with my work relating to my theme. I have luckily found a correlation almost immediately for each assignment.

My self assessment for this week is a tough call. I feel like with certain assignments such as my video I would definitely say exceeding expectations but given that I didn’t get everything on Friday that was due Friday my time brings me to below expectations. I strive to do each assignment to the best of my ability and moving forward I need to find more time in the beginning of the week to get ahead of the game.

Digital Story Telling Critique Week 3


     This week I decided to critique a video on sign language for kids. I ended up finding a video that focused more on babies than toddlers but I figured the signs are the same right? I ended up finding this video to critique. I have to admit that this video was not one of my favorites on sign language. That being said, it did have some good aspects to it.

As far as how well I feel the story worked, I would have to give it about a seventy five percent. I say that because it did have some good points, it had not only someone talking and explaining things to the viewer but also did the hand sign close up and included the word in text.  My biggest issue is with the signs themselves because I am pretty certain a couple of them were not real signs. I am thinking that perhaps it is being seen as a simplified version so that little ones can form the sign however I personally feel that the sign should be shown correctly and if the child modifies it naturally then that is fine.

There was definitely project planning that went into this video which is evidenced by the text being included in the video as well as frankly the fact that the person speaking seems to be saying a script. The video has obviously been edited and has several clips smashes together. It gives the impression that she filmed possibly several clips and then put only the most successful ones or that perhaps she memorized her lines in smaller increments. Either way, it was effective because what she is saying is clear and easy to understand.

Regarding the research done prior to creating this video I am on the fence. I’m not sure if her modified signs are generally excepted or something she made up to make it easier. For example when she signs the word “help” she does so by having her fist tilted to the side and falling down on an open hand. My understanding of the sign is that you need to have your thumb up when doing it. So was it omitted to make it easier or a mistake? To find out more I referenced other children signing videos and found this one. You can see that they are showing how to sign the word “help” the way that I remembered it. I am still not certain if this was simply a modification though.

The flow of the video was done very well in my opinion. The woman gets right to the point with each word and gives you all of the information you need for each one briefly and clearly. I know that when I look for a video to explain how to do something the last thing I want to locate is a video that is 20 minutes long to explain something that could easily have been explained in less than 3 minutes!

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the sense of audience. I was a little surprised that a sign language video had the majority of its explanation done through speaking. Then I had a bit of a duh moment though because if a parent was deaf chances are that they already know the basics! What are your feelings on that?


Week 3 Reading Reflection and Scholarship

This week we read Chapter 1: DIY Media: A contextual background and some contemporary themes. I truly really enjoyed the subject matter of this article. It was all about aiming to introduce ourselves to DIY or do-it-yourself media. It discusses how today’s youth is doing a lot of “digital media” and having ourselves as educators more informed about these practices to be able to apply it to teach students in a more modern way. I enjoyed the article because it was discussing how we can adapt education to fit the needs of more modern times rather than being negative about the new technology and pushing to keep things the same. I feel like it is a step in the right direction because as a society we are definitely becoming more and more tech based. As it says in the chapter, “They are not just curious about what kids are doing. Rather, they want to be able to make meaningful and respectful connections to these practices; connections that will contribute to learning in ways that will enhance…”.

In the chapter we learn about the do-it-yourself method and its origins. Interestingly enough the term comes from the mid-1950s and references mainly men taking on larger tasks in the home or on the family vehicle. This was done to cut down on having to pay a fortune for a licensed worker to complete the task. In today’s day and age I feel like most people will first see if they can address the problem themselves before resorting to calling someone.

The chapter also describes how the do-it-yourself movement really spiked as tools and knowledge became more and more accessible to everyday people. So for example, smaller more affordable power tools became available and the local community colleges started offering classes to teach what was previously considered to be tasks only done by “professionals”. Then the chapter discusses the DIY ethic which is when you refer “…to the ethic of being self-reliant by completing tasks oneself as opposed to having others who are likely more experiences complete them.” I feel like I can definitely relate to this ethic because

Lastly, I wanted to discuss the participation phenomenon that Jenkins calls “participatory culture”. Participatory culture is exactly what is sounds like, it is what happens when “consumers take media into their own hands”. When I read this section I started thinking about how it applies to digital storytelling.

For my interest driven article I wanted to find an article about how the do-it-yourself mentally affects children seeing as my storytelling theme is “Through the Eyes of a Toddler”. I was actually able to locate the perfect article! In the Chicago Tribune, they published an article called “Fun ways to teach kids DIY skills”. The article begins by describing a time in the author’s life that he got to help in a DIY project with his dad and how memorable the experience was. I can totally relate to that feeling and immediately began drawing connections to my own childhood. I remember in 5th grade when I made a wooden bird house with my grandfather. He helped but I really did a majority of the project by myself. The feeling of accomplishment was just great but more importantly it showed me that even though I was young I could accomplish big tasks. I think it is very important that we teach children young that they can take on big things too! It helps with a feeling of inner strength which helps as we reach adulthood.Fun ways to teach kids DIY skills article here.