Networking and Creating

This week we worked on a personal learning network, which involves creating several different kinds of profiles, such as Twitter or Delicious.  I already had a Twitter account, which I’d had to get for another college course.  We only used it so that we could communicate as a class when we had movie showings.  That was pretty cool, but I never used it afterwards.  I’m glad I kept it for this class!

I already have a LinkedIn account as well, but I need to expand it.  I have all my information on that profile, but I haven’t been very good about reaching out to other people.  I’m looking forward to trying this out because the need to get a job is getting closer and closer as I start my graduate work.  I can’t wait to explore the possibilities this network could have!

Moving on to creativity, we were assigned the task of creating a computer game. This was extremely daunting for me because most of what I know about the computer comes from Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest.  I downloaded Scratch for my computer, and before class on Thursday, I tried it out.  For the life of me I could not figure out how to switch between the little characters or make them do all the motions in a row.  I fiddled with the software for a couple hours and eventually gave up and decided to wait a little while and come back to it.

I’m glad I took a break because Isat down today with a clear head and I was finally able to figure it out.  The tutorials online seemed like they would provide a good introduction to the program, but I wasn’t able to grasp the concepts of Scratch until I played around with it myself.  Experimentation turned out to be the best way for me to learn how to use Scratch.  I made a Scratch of the different parts of dramatic plays: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.  I made a background for the scratches to sit on, and I was able to animate them so that when you click on them, they tell you what each term means.  I won’t lie, I was a little proud of myself.  It may not be the best game or program but I did it!  Here’s a link to my game:

http://scratch.mit.edu/projects/gkuhn/3095177 

When coming up with a topic, I tried to think what information is important for students in an English class to know.  The SOL for this game comes from Virginia’s Grade 9 standards:

9.4 The student will read, comprehend, and analyze a variety of literary texts including
narratives, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and drama. (“http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/review.shtml ,” 2011)

Students need to understand the components of a dramatic work so that they understand what order the events go in and how each component affects the others.  Play structure can also be applied to other kinds of literature, like novels (both fiction and non-fiction).  Most stories function with the components covered in my Scratch game.  I had to do a little research to remind myself of the definitions of each component.  After finding these using a Google search, I plugged them into the game.

I think that Scratch could be a good tool for elementary classrooms, but I would prefer using something like Animoto for the secondary classes.  While Scratch can be fun and interactive for students just starting to learn how to use computer programs and are learning the basics of a subject area, I think that my students might feel pandered to if the Scratch game is too easy or simple.  Maybe after playing around with it more, I’ll be able to figure out a way to incorporate it into a high school English class, but for the moment, I think that Scratch would be a perfect tool for K-5th graders.

References:

http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/review.shtml.   (2011). Retrieved from http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/english/2010/stds_english9.pdf

 

 

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