Sunday, November 27, 2011

Topic 3: Avatars (due Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011)
What’s an avatar? An avatar is a pictorial representation of you. It can look somewhat like you, but in comic form, or it might be a picture of something you like. In the computer world, you can use an avatar to create an online personality while still protecting your privacy.
Activity 1: Try one or more of these sites to create your own avatar:
Follow the directions on the site to create an avatar, then save the image. On a Mac, you can very easily save an image by holding down the Command, Shift, and 4 keys all at once, then dragging from one corner to the opposite diagonal corner of the image you want to capture. It will now appear as a .png image file on your desktop. On a PC, you can right click, then “Save As” your image from the dream avatar site, but won’t work for the others that don’t create the avatar as a separate image. This blog posting from Edublogger blog about avatars has some tips on how to save and edit your avatar on a PC. Once you have your avatar saved, add it to your blog sidebar. With Edublogs blogs, you do that by uploading it as your blog avatar, then adding an avatar widget to your sidebar. Also add your avatar as your user avatar so that it appears in your comments. The Edublogger blog post can help you with that task also. With Blogger blogs, you add a picture gadget to your sidebar and upload your avatar file to it. Then, also upload your avatar to your profile under My Account.
Activity 2 More to try: Voki lets you create an animated avatar. To upload this to your blog, copy the html to your computer clipboard, then paste the html into a widget or gadget in you sidebar.
Note: The dream avatar and Voki sites offer the option of creating accounts, but you don’t need to create an account to use them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Topic 1: Digital Citizenship
Here are some questions for you to think about:
  • What is digital citizenship?
  • What are the rights and responsibilities of a digital citizen in today’s world?
By exploring new online tools and using them to publish online in this tutorial, you will get to experience many new ways to be creative. You will also have the freedom to interact with friends in new ways and possibly even with people from around the country or the world. With that freedom, comes the responsibility to practice good etiquette as a digital citizen.

Activity 1: To help you explore these topics and try to answer the questions above for yourself or through conversation with your friends and classmates, here are a few short videos for you to watch:
Activity 2: To see whether you have a “digital footprint” established already, try going to Google and searching for your name. You may be surprised by what you find. Your digital footprint will stay with you your entire life, so you want whatever people may find about you online to be positive.
After you set up your blog (in Topic 2), you will write a posting about your thoughts about digital citizenship.
Activity 3: Read the Blogging Guidelines for Students from the link at the top of this page.
(Due Date: 11-4-11)

Topic 2: Blogging
What is a blog? A blog is an online journal. Watch this short video tutorial to get a better idea. (There is a short commerical before it starts.)
Now, you are going to get to make your own blog!
Blogs are very public and you will be sharing your blog address with your teacher, your parents, and your fellow students. All of these people might comment on your blog. You can add comments to your friends’ blogs, and you can encourage your friends and your parents to makes comments on yours. So spread the word among your family and friends.

Activity 1: (Optional) Set up an email account. You may use the email address you already have. If you do not have an email address, you can set up an account with gmail by Google if you are 13 or older. In addition to having an email, it is important to know how to access your email online so you can send and receive email from any computer. If you are under 13, ask your parents if they are willing to set up a family account for your use.

Activity 2: If you have an email account, you can set up your own blog. Edublogs, Google’s Blogger, and Posterous are three options. This site was created using Edublogs. Your librarian or teacher will probably suggest which software to use. Sign on with a name that does not identify you. Depending upon what your librarian/teacher suggests, you can use just your first name or you can invent a screen name. Then, choose a password and complete any additional steps set out on the blog site to complete your blog. If you don’t have an email account, your teacher or librarian will set up a blog for you.

Activity 3: Register your blog. This means that after you create your blog, you will fill out an online form (above) to give your teacher/librarian your email address, blog name, and blog address. He/she will not share your name with anyone else, but will need it for keeping track of your progress. After you have received notice that he/she has received your information and approved your blog, then you can begin with all the fun! Your teacher/librarian will create a “blogroll” – a list of all the blogs for students who are taking the tutorial with you. These are the students you will work with and cheer along the way – that’s the 2.0 way!! Check their blogs regularly and comment on them. Ask them questions about how to do stuff if you’re confused or answer questions for those who might need your help. Cheer them on – have fun! Critique well!

Activity 4: Write your first blog posting. In your posting, include answers to these questions:
  • How can you use your blog? What do you think you will enjoy including and writing about?
  • Being a good digital citizen:
    • What are some topics you can blog about?
    • What do you need to be careful to keep private and not include in your blog?
(Due Date 11-9-11)