Sunday, December 18, 2011

week 5 web conference

I viewed the recording and chat log of the Dec 11 web conference. Basically, the professor clarified that no discussion board postings are required for weeks 4 or 5. Also, there was a lot of discussion about what exactly needs to be turned in for week 5. At the end of the conference, there was some discussion about completing requirements before enrolling in the internship class.

This week our group finalized our PSA. I thought it was a project that did not lend itself well to group work, but our group managed to make it work anyway. We had a person who wrote the script, I found images to use in the video, another person took care of the licensing requirements, and a final person put in most of the legwork by shooting, compiling, and editing the work. We used GoogleDocs as a resource to post all of our images, text, and links. We didn't have much problem with this software and since we all have gmail, it was a convenient tool.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

week 2 web conference

I wasn't able to attend a web conference, but I read the chat logs and recordings for each that was posted. I think the benefit of the conference is to build community and camaraderie with classmates that is often missing in this program. Unfortunately there have been so many issues with the connectivity that it just makes this method of communication seem more difficult than it really is. Also there are so many people saying so many things, it doesn't seem like much is actually accomplished. I don't really find the web conferences in this program useful to me, other than as a way to connect with others.

Review of Video Editing Software

I have used many video editing tools in the past. My favorite for students is Movie Maker; my favorite for myself is Adobe Premiere Elements. If I was a serious video editor, I would use Adobe Premiere. We actually have Adobe Premiere on the computers in the lab where I teach many of my classes. Unfortunately this is not the easiest software for a novice video editor.

For this assignment, I searched for a video editing tool that I could use in one of my classes without having to teach much about the software at all. I chose VideoSpin by Pinnacle. My current district would not have a need for this software since we can use Movie Maker or Premiere, but I think other schools may find it a useful tool.

The download process seemed slow, but it followed the typical installation procedures with no issues. The main drawbacks to the software are simplisitc features and limited video formats. Additional formats and features can be purchased to add on to the free program.

The main feature I like about this program is its simplicity. It offers an embedded tutorial to get you started. I really like this because I can have my students watch the tutorial and then only have to help the ones who need further assistance rather than having to instruct the whole class on how to use the software. It has the main features you would expect: a timeline, a place to add video clips, and a place to add transitions, titles or credits, and background music. For a simple import, edit, and produce tool this does just the trick. I still think Movie Maker is the way to go, but if you are needing an alternative, this could get the job done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Course Reflection

The first thing I gained from this class was a broader understanding of what action research is. I found that action research is a cyclical process for improvement where the researcher asks questions, gathers data, and makes changes, leading them to another inquiry. I also learned that action research differs from traditional research in that the research is driven by the person conducting the research. I think this is important because it means I get to research something that is interesting to me.

According to Dana (2009), the process of administrative inquiry allows the principal to become the “head learner” (p. 2) on campus. I found this to be very encouraging because I never want to stop learning and become satisfied with where I am professionally. “A major benefit inherent in the process is the improvement of teaching when focusing on improving student achievement” (Ringler, 2007, p.36). I am excited that my desire to help my students achieve will assist me in my desire to become a better educator. Sometimes traditional research can take focus away from the students, but action research allows the teacher to investigate how she can improve so that her students can improve as well.

This course also focused on the importance of reflection. While trying to arrive at a research topic, I spent a great deal of time focusing on areas I could improve on and figuring out what my wonderings and passions were. This in itself was possibly the most useful part of the course. It helped me look critically at my current practices and gave me some focus points for my internship plan. The need to develop the research plan gave me the opportunity to collaborate with my assistant principal and a district-level specialist. Together we agreed upon a research topic that will not only positively affect students and teachers at our school, it can be shared with others across our school district and beyond.

The main outcome of the course was developing an action research plan to complete during this program. It was interesting to read what everyone else was planning on researching and to have access to their blogs. It seemed somewhat overwhelming to try to determine whose blog to begin commenting on, so I thought it might have been helpful to have been placed in small groups for peer editing like we had done in a previous course. I think this would have helped ensure everyone received peer review comments on their research plan. One final take-away from the course was the need to collaborate with colleagues and build on others' research rather than starting from scratch. Jeff did comment on my blog “I'm looking forward to working with you on integrating Moodle with the special education teachers.” He works at the district-level and I am looking forward to working with him to enhance each others' research projects.

Overall I found the course to be informative and I complete the course feeling well-prepared to conduct an action research project.


Dana, N.F. (2009). Leading with passion and knowledge: The principal as action researcher.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

Ringler, M. (2007). Action research an effective instructional leadership skill for future public school

leaders. AASA Journal of Scholarship and Practice,4(1), 27-36.

Usleman, J. (2011, March 13). Re: action research plan [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

Sunday, March 20, 2011

week 4 reflection

I can't believe this course is wrapping up! I am confident in the plan I have and think it will be a useful process to go through. I am taking the next step next week in implementing some of my action items, as I describe below in my summary of my meeting with my site mentor.

I met with my site mentor in his office on Friday March 11, 2011 at 10:30am before we left for spring break. I printed off copies of my Action Research Plan for us to review. He thought my plan looked great and was anxious to get started. One of early action items is to attend an ARD meeting so he pulled up his calendar and put me on the schedule to attend an ARD the week we come back from spring break. We agreed on the timeline I had proposed, with the intention of implementing the professional development course during staff development days in August. Chris also wanted to add one item to my plan. He is working on scheduling classroom walk-throughs so we can observe and video current instructional practices. I intend to adjust my plan accordingly. We had a great meeting and are both excited about the project.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

action research plan

Technology can help students be more engaged in their learning and can help teachers become more efficient. Our SPED department has been challenged in their Campus Improvement Plan to implement technology to reap both of these benefits. What training will the teachers need to implement the technology they are being asked to use? Will the students find their Visual Transition Plans more useful if they are created with cutting edge technology resources? If our SPED department succeeds in their improvement efforts, can the same process be used across the district? These wonderings have led me to the following action research question -

How can I use Moodle to train and assist the SPED department in infusing technology into their current practices to increase productivity and student engagement?

Please use this link to review my action research plan: