Skinny for Summer 

fashion, Technology

Summer is a time to downsize, which is ironic since I’m a small bag girl in general. Even my large bags have very few embellishments. Downsizing for me is moving from a small Chanel 0 case to a Louis Vuitton key cles. Most of my personal bags are minis. Even my ultimate toddler mom bag (which I’ll be reviewing this week) is technically in the mini category. I’m not a crazy small bag person, my Chanel WOC is being sold on consignment as I write this, but I’m clearly in camp mini. And as my bags migrate into the summer months, so does my iPhone case, making Twelve South’s Relaxed Leather case with pockets my mommy mini bag travel companion. Personally, I think the term “with pockets” is a bit of an overstatement, with slots is a bit more realistic, as very literary there are two slits in the back of the case for credit cards. Calling this a “wallet case” is also a misnomer since it won’t replace your wallet (hence the LV key cles). What this handy item will do is: provide easy access to one or two cards you are currently using when out and about maintaining a slim profile. The design of the case is pretty basic. Really, I think it’s just a plastic case with a leather cover which retails for $50.00 (steep)but it’s a trusted brand and the leather is of good quality. I also like the fact that the case comes up over the sides of the phone, it makes me feel as though if I were to drop my device, it has a fighting chance at survival. 

Because this case isn’t a full wallet, I do believe it is often overlooked. At the same time, it is a niche market that will find this case useful, as in ladies with small bags. I could see this case being a liability for someone who carries their phone in their pocket as the cards could become loose and dislodge (they’re in there pretty good, but it could happen). So, if you’re jumping on the mini bag trend, give this case a try. 

I’m Back…

Fitness, Technology


Wow! Where have I been? I realize I’ve neglected this blog, but at the same time, I have a pretty valid excuse: I finished my master’s degree and had a baby. Not just any baby, mind you, I had Tabitha. Tabitha the “I’m coming 3 weeks early and you can’t stop me” baby. The baby who wouldn’t eat so we had to wake up every two hours to feed her, the baby who wouldn’t sleep, the baby who everyone has admitted is a “sibling killer”. Aka: Tabitha the only child. Tabitha who I love more than anything and wouldn’t trade for the world. Add in a little postpartum depression at the fact I didn’t have a 22″ waist two weeks after birth and my epic return to work…longer story involving cheerleaders. I have a plethora of apps to review. A whole bunch of stories. My mind is working all the time and I have no outlet for my musings. So I’ve decided that it’s important I return to writing. And it’s ok that my writing isn’t just tied to one topic. I’m making peace with that. I’ve read so many articles about blogging and building an audience, branding yourself, and sticking to only one subject and I respect that. I understand the logic to that but that mindset has also caused me to stop writing for almost a year. So, I’m back, but my blog is changing. It’s no longer just about teaching with technology it’s about how technology assists in all aspects of your life: work (for multiple careers), fitness, parenthood, & relationships. The first thing I’m going to tackle is getting my body back in shape. The baby is almost a year old! I believe it is time. Right? I recently came across an article on how Kim K lost 7 lbs (not a fan, personally) in two weeks. Perfect. 7lbs. would put me back at 95. I think my ideal weight is between 98 & 100 so if you take into account that I may mess up a few days…

My tools are my Apple Watch, my iPhone 6, and the Myfitnesspal app (user name Tabbycat00 feel free to add me). I’m starting this Friday July 8th with my goal finishing date being July 22nd. I can’t do bikini before and after pictures, not because I’m ashamed of how I look in a bikini, but because my school district will not allow me to post them on social media. Trust me on this one. But I can post photos in tank tops and shorts. My goal is to prove that everyday women can have “Hollywood” results. You don’t need a personal trainer or cook…remember I could be wrong. I’ll blog my food intake and exercise for each day and sometimes I’ll post videos of my workouts so that you can follow along at home. Here is my lovely “before” photo in my messy bedroom. 

Vine in the Classroom? 

Education, Technology

I try to incorporate as many forms of technology into my classroom as possible. I have a Vine, not that I use it often, but I’ve never used it for educational purposes although I know some of my students have seen my vines. Vine isn’t as popular as with students as it used to be. In case you’d like to give Vine a try here and some ideas about how to use the service to promote activities in your classroom Vine in the Classroom

Interesting Article 

Education, Technology

I found this article really interesting, I’m even considering asking my own students to pen their own views on technology in the classroom. My only issue was the comment about students knowing more than the teacher when it comes to technology. Am I the only teacher who has never experienced having to help a room full of high school students accomplish the most basic tasks? Despite this, I still found the article a compelling read and encourage other teachers to read it as well, I’d love to hear your feedback. A Teenager’s View on Education Technology By Soraya Shockley, Youth Radio 

Why BYOD Works For Me (and why you should consider using it, too)

Education, Technology

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is the wave of the future. According to an article published on techproresearch.com 74% of companies are implementing a BYOD policy in the workplace or planning to in the near future. That number is likely to grow as security improves across platforms and the merging of home and office become one. So, what does this mean for us as educations? First of all, teachers need to stop confiscating cell phones. We need to teach our students how to use the technology they have, because colleges and employers aren’t providing devices anymore and if they aren’t providing it, they certainly aren’t giving employees training on how to use it. Therefore, the responsibility falls to us. College and career ready includes digital citizenship, appropriate use of technology, and how to use smart phones productively.
I’m not sure why so many teachers seem to be anti-technology but I can take a few guesses. I think the first issue which needs to be addressed is that of distraction. Teachers view cell phones in school as a form of distraction. They are. Students are distracted by technology all the time, they’re also distracted by the student sitting next to them, the book they brought with them (first it was Twilight, then it was Hunger Games, remember the Harry Potter phase?), the goofball in the back row who won’t shut up, homework for another class they’re trying to sneak and finish in your class, and that pesky leaf blower which always comes by on a Thursday morning despite the fact that there are no trees anywhere near my classroom! Life has distractions. We’re just adding cell phones to the mix. Besides, banning them and taking them away aren’t fixing the problem. Don’t you have to stop teaching to confiscate a student’s cell phone? Isn’t that a distraction? What if the kid argues with you? Isn’t that a bigger distraction? And let’s not be hypocritical here, haven’t you ever answered a text in class? You have, haven’t you? But you did it quickly and got right back to work. So will they. The majority of students will glance at their phones if a text comes in but most of the time they actually ignore it. Once you take away the forbidden element of the cell phone, it loses some of it’s magic. Besides, will someone take away their cell phone if they become distracted by it at work? No. They’ll just get fired. So maybe they learn more if someone doesn’t take it away at school and they just fail.
What about cheating? Students use cell phones to cheat. Yes. Yes they do. They use cell phones and scraps of paper and water bottles of all things to cheat. It’s perfectly acceptable to have a no cell phone during testing policy. Allowing students to use their phones in class doesn’t mean that they have to use their phones every day. You can still have times when everything needs to be cleared from their desks. No need to change that.
The truth is there are many things employers expect students to be able to do using their cell phones. Over the years I’ve had many supplemental jobs in addition to teaching and all of them were BYOD. Here is a rundown of the things I was expected to use my own device (an iPhone in my case) for at each place of employment:
Actor: Respond to phone calls from agents promptly, download sides from Showfax, maintain a calendar, book voice over appointments through agency system, use Google maps/GPS to arrive at audition locations on time, have digital headshots & resume ready to submit via internet sites even if I wasn’t at my home computer, maintain and update social media sites for self-promotion.
Spin Instructor: Use Mindbody app to maintain schedule, participate in Google groups, respond to emails in a timely manner, hook up phone to gym speakers, create playlists for cycling classes.
Freelance Writer: Respond to assignments and submit drafts to the editor using Asana app, participate in Google groups, use BlogPress app to submit official blog entries for editing and formatting, respond to email in a timely matter.
Graduate Student: Use social media to connect with other educators, submit assignments using Blackboard and Canvas apps, participate in Google Groups and Google Hangouts, download textbooks to Kindle app, keep my phone handy while sitting in class without letting it be a distraction.
Teacher: Create flipped classroom lessons when chaperoning overnight trips using ExplainEverything and Capture app, uploading videos to YouTube, updating my teacher webpage hosted on Teachers.io, checking my Outlook email regularly, integrating my home and school calendars using Fantastical, finding resources to use in class with Flipboard and Zite, uploading tests and quizzes to Dropbox, receiving and grading essays using turnitin.com, keeping students up to date with Remind and grading multiple choice exams using ZipGrade.
I teach a 9th grade technology class and in September my students knew how to use Snapchat, watch videos on YouTube, and text. No email, no Google groups, they were given Schoology accounts but couldn’t access them because it was “too confusing”. When one of my former students got to community college she was so proud because she was the only one in her class who knew how to submit assignments online. It was a requirement of the class and the teacher wasn’t taking any time to show students how it was done. “Figure it out” he told them. My student became very popular over this incident and emailed me to thank me. I think that’s how she met her boyfriend:)
I know change is scary but it is our responsibility to prepare students to enter the “real world” not a world of our own creation and it appears that world is BYOD.

The Natives Are Here…And It’s Not What You Think

Education

I hear the term “digital natives” regularly in the education world. A relatively newly coined term to describe millennials who have grown up with technology: the internet, cell phones, smart phones, computers, etc. digital natives are believed to be more tech savvy than their digital immigrant predecessors. Since digital immigrants, the Gen Xers, were born before the internet and all of its offerings, it is a wide spread belief that immigrants just aren’t as quick as the natives, they don’t know as much, can’t do as much as the natives and therefore when the natives enter the work force many people are going to be in for a big surprise, because the natives…aren’t very digital. Let’s see, they can post things to Instagram, they can text, and they love Snapchat. That about covers it. How do I know? I teach them every day.
While attending a conference recently, I heard the woman behind me tell her friend “My three-year-old grandson can turn on the iPad, he’s so smart. These kids know more than their parents do.” Wait, I thought to myself. Your son or daughter, the parent of this amazing grandchild, can’t turn on an iPad? What are you doing at a technology conference, you should be home with that three-year-old. If his parents can’t even manage turning on an iPad I don’t think they’re equipped to take care of a child! Of course that’s not what she meant and I said nothing but here inlays the problem: People assume that if a child is brought up with technology they will automatically be good with technology and being good with technology equates being smart and/or smarter than the generation before them. There are a few problems with this theory, let me point them out:
First of all, by the age of three, I could turn on the television. My mother at the age of three could not turn on a television. But, my mother is a smart woman, she holds three master’s degrees one in classical languages, one in education, and a master’s of divinity. My mother speaks five languages Latin and Hebrew among them. Why in the world couldn’t she handle a simple task like turning on a television? Was she a late bloomer? Because for as intelligent as she is I guarantee you, she couldn’t turn on a television set by the age of three. Her problem wasn’t intellect or dexterity, her problem was she was born in 1942. So realistically, how can we evaluate how intelligent a new generation is based on standards which weren’t even available to the one before?
A second problem: People assume that if you grow up with something you become more adept at using it. But think about it, how many of us (myself included) have grown up with a stove and can’t cook? I can provide a better example: my mother didn’t marry down, my father is equally as talented in his own rite. I’m not bragging here or making any statement about my own brilliance, I was adopted. Nope not kidding or making excuses for my ineptitude. I was legitimately adopted. My father ran a non-for-profit music school, he’s a composer, conductor, and author of several books about music. At one time my family owned 13 pianos including two Steinway concert grands. My grandmother played the piano, my father plays the piano and I…I’ve had lots of lessons. Lots of lessons. It’s not as though I didn’t have the resources. I had everything a person needed to become an excellent pianist except for desire and drive. Learning something, learning anything, takes an interested party who wishes to learn. And, when it comes to using technology for anything other than the aforementioned Instagram, Snapchat, and texting the majority of those digital natives have none.
Therefore, students do not know more than their teachers when it comes to downloading and annotating digital texts, FINDING digital texts (some of them think Google is a reference), using the cloud to store information so that it’s accessible at school. They can upload photos to Instagram but not essays to turnitin.com because that requires two steps…maybe three. I’ve taught kids how to cut, copy, and paste (at least we know they weren’t plagiarizing). Email seems to be particularly difficult for them emailing with attachments, out of the question. Don’t worry, these kids are not dumb, they can learn. The problem is that everyone assumes there’s no need to teach them. They won’t do it on their own. They need teachers because the world assumes that they already can and it’s our job, as teachers, to prepare them for the world.