Three Quotes and a Philosophy…

I am not a teacher in any traditional sense, but I do feel that I am an educator…at my job and in my life in general.  I offer freely the lessons I have learned in life and I am always open to hearing the stories of others.  I also try to live my life as a lifelong learner.  By the time I complete my Master’s degree, I will have 9+ years of higher education under my belt.  The array of “learn to” and “how to” books in my home office convey my never ending thirst for knowledge and my need to be really, really good at something, whatever that current thing may be.

Despite feeling this way about myself, when I was recently asked to explain my teaching/learning philosophy, I had no response.  My immediate reaction to this was, “Oh geeze, I need to have a formal, professional, drawn out philosophy talking about fostering critical thinking and problem solving skills and a ton of other things I don’t fully understand!”  But maybe I don’t.  Maybe all I need is to know how I feel about lifelong learning and how I feel about teaching what I know to those around me.  Same thing as a philosophy, but more laid back…right?

Well when I don’t know how to say something for myself, I sometimes find that the great heroes in history have already said it, and better.  The following three quotes from the header of my website are from amazing people of history.  These three quotes explain perfectly just how I feel about lifelong learning and the pursuit of education.

Wadsworth Quote
Longfellow’s quote comes from his speech titled, “Morituri Salutamus: Poem for the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Class of 1825 in Bowdoin College.”  If you’ve never read this speech, I highly recommend it.  I’m not one that is usually moved by these types of speeches, but this one is absolutely wonderful.  I think that this quote specifically stays with me because of my love of books and reading.  I have two Kindles and a tablet (both from my techie husband), and yet I still prefer the feeling of real pages between my fingers.

Franklin Quote

This popular quote has sparked quite the debate over who spoke it.  Some say it was coined by Benjamin Franklin while others say the quote actually comes from Xun Kuang, a Chinese Confucian philosopher that lived from 312-230 BC.  His works were collected into a set of 32 books called the Xunzi, by Liu Xiang in about 818 AD.  No matter who said it, this is my greatest belief when it comes to learning and teaching.  Are you a learner?  The more you do, the more you will know.  Do not sit idle and stay involved.  Are you a teacher?  Make sure your students are staring at more than just you while they’re learning.  Get their hands dirty and keep them engaged.

Young Quote

Thinking clearly enables you to make good decisions and good decisions bring you fortune and happiness.  Isn’t that the main goal for all of us?  To be fortunate and happy?  To appreciate all of the good things that life has to offer?  Basically, the more you know, the more you grow.  I hold this quote dear to me every single night as I chip away at this Master’s program.  This education is going to give me the power to make my life better and to make me more appreciative.

To sum everything up, I think my philosophy on learning looks something like this:  Never stop learning, stay active and engaged, and never underestimate the power of what education can do for you.  {Too cheesy for you?  Yeah, me too.  But it’s for real.}

What quotes do you hold dear?

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Storyline 1 vs. 2 and Why I Want It!

When I was first told about Storyline, it was described to me as “PowerPoint on steroids.”  Now I didn’t know much about either of those things, but Storyline certainly sounded like an interesting software to learn!  I’d gotten to the point where any time someone opened up a PowerPoint to present, I would do a deep internal sigh.  Technology today has so many tools to help us amp up our presentations and in many companies, eLearnings have become a preferred way to “teach.”  So if you’ve been using Storyline and have been wondering if it’s worth it to make the switch to Storyline 2, check out Articulate’s round up of reasons below.  I think you’ll be wanting S2 just as much as I do, if not more!  {Scroll to the bottom if you just want a graph with side by side comparisons.}

1.  Every course works on every tablet.

–  Build tablet-ready courses and performance support for learners on the go.
–  With HTML5, iPad, and new Android support in Storyline 2, any tablet will do.

2.  Bring content to life.

–  Interactive Slider:  Put learners in control.  With the new slider interaction, it’s easy to let them manipulate data visually, explore cause-and-effect relationships, and control objects and navigation.
–  Motion Paths:  Make objects move any way you want with motion paths. You can easily control motion paths with triggers, add multiple paths to one object, and begin them from an object’s current or initial position.
–  New Animations and Transitions:  With 11 new transitions and 10 new entrance and exit animations, it’s even easier to add pep to text, objects, slide layers, and slides. Control timing in seconds and apply effects with a few clicks.
–  New Triggers:  Direct the action on your slides in novel ways with new triggers and trigger events. You can now trigger action at a specific time, cue point, or even when an animation ends.

3.  Create the right look.

–  New Text Editor:  The all-new text editor gives you ultimate control over text styling. Customize paragraph alignment and direction, set your own character and line spacing, use custom bullets, and much more.
–  Enhanced Font Support:  Take advantage of all the features in your fonts. You can now use custom characters such as smart quotes and em dashes. And, with support for font ligatures, watch letters shape-shift when they get new neighbors.
–  Enhanced Web Objects:  Build the perfect home for your embedded web content. You can now layer shapes, characters, text, and other objects on top of web objects.
–  Eyedropper Tool:  Finesse your design by picking colors from anything that’s visible on your screen, then applying it to any other objects.

4.  Craft the ideal learning experience.

–  Player Button States:  Easily prevent learners from skipping ahead by applying normal, disabled, and hidden states to the Previous, Next, and Submit buttons on the player.
–  Negative Scoring:  Use more nuanced scoring to assess whether learners really have mastered material. You can now subtract points from a learner’s score for wrong answers.
–  Uncompressed Video:  Storyline 2 only compresses videos when you want it to, giving you more control over video quality and project size.
–  Read-Only Seekbar:  Now you can make course seekbars read-only so learners can see their progress but can’t fast forward through content.

5.  Boost your productivity.

-  New UI:  We’ve cleared out all clutter, introduced eye-catching icons, and simplified the user interface so it’s even easier to find everything you need to create content quickly.
–  Dockable Panels:  Put the tools you need right where you need them. Move triggers, slide layers, states, notes, scenes, and timeline panels anywhere on your desktop or even to a second monitor.
–  Animation Painter:  Format animation effects for one object, then use the animation painter to quickly apply those same effects to other objects.
–  Slide/Form View Toggle:  Update content faster by toggling between Slide view and Form view in one window.
–  Copy/Paste Layers:  Save time by copying and pasting layers from one slide to another.
–  AutoRecovery:  Never lose your work. If Storyline 2 closes unexpectedly, you can reopen your project right where you left off.

6.  Start faster, so you finish sooner.

-  Slide Templates:  Get a head start on your courses with seven new gorgeously designed interactive slide templates.
–  Content Importing:  Import and reuse content you’ve already created in PowerPoint, Studio ’09 and ’13, and Storyline 1.
–  Import Questions:  Don’t start assessments from scratch. Import existing quiz questions from Excel spreadsheets and text files.
–  New Languages:  Work faster in your own language. Storyline 2 is available in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish.

Click here to view the entire chart.

 

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Social Reviews: Ask.fm, Delicious, and Quora

For the past six weeks I have been a student in the Information and Learning Technologies Master’s program at University of Colorado, Denver.  In my Social Media and Digital Cultures class, we spend our time thinking about and discussing social networking as well as using social media tools.  The main goal is to expand our learning of and professional development within the world of social networking and media.  We are also learning to involve our own learners (whether in an educational or corporate setting) in learning opportunities that involve social networking and media tools.  A recent assignment in this class asked me to try out a few new social sites that I had no experience with.  I decided to try Ask.fm, Delicious, and Quora.

IconsAsk.fm

My husband is always commenting on how much he loves sites like Stackoverflow because of all of the useful information he finds there and I thought Ask.fm sounded like something similar.  To me, the name implied a place where you could go to ask a question and get feedback (which in reality, turned out to be Quora).  I was very wrong.  After creating an Ask.fm profile, it took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out what the heck it was.  Right off the bat I was asked, “How fast do you fall in love?”  “What was the last thing that made you laugh?”  And, “When do you feel the most comfortable?”  That last one there was apparently, the “Question of the Day.”  I ended up having to read through the FAQs to understand what I was meant to do and why I was supposed to do it.  I’ve come to the conclusion that there is not much of an educational intention to this site and it seems to be more of a social ‘time suck’…as many social sites tend to be (I’ve lost many hours to Pinterest).  I think if I were single, without a toddler, without a full time job, not a full-time student, and quite a bit younger – I’d say middle or high school – I would probably enjoy this site.  I think the “FAQs for Parents” should have tipped me off that this site is meant for a younger crowd.  I didn’t answer any of the questions, but thinking of that last thing that made me laugh…made me laugh.

Delicious

Next up, I tried out Delicious!  I thought this would be something similar to Foodgawker but it’s really just a link saver, or bookmarking tool.  It can detect what browser you’re using and it offers you a tool to download to your browser so that you can bookmark any site and the link will be saved to your Delicious account.  I think it’s a great tool and I would probably really consider using it if I didn’t already utilize Evernote for this.  I work in a corporate setting, but I can see teachers using this and encouraging their students to use it to save educational resources.

Quora

Lastly, I signed up and tried out Quora.  It’s is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited, and organized by its community of users (Wiki).  This whole concept sounds really useful and neat, but I am a “Googler”, big time.  If I never need the answer to a question that someone around me cannot answer, my first initial reaction is always to Google it.  I’d go so far to even say that my personal byline sounds something like, “Lemme Google it!”  I think the idea behind Quora is fantastic, but I don’t know if I would ever have the patience to post a question and then wait for people to respond to it.  There is however, great educational value in the sense that you can find information about almost anything on here.  And it’s very cool that you’re getting real answers from real people, but at the same time, who are these people and how can I verify their credibility??  I have to add Quora to the “time-suck” category that I put Ask.fm in, although Quora seems a much more appropriate place for me to spend my time.  I actually just lost 25 minutes to:

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone about life?
and
What are some great shows with horrible endings?
and
What is the most powerful line you have read in a book?

What are some social sites that you use and love? 
 

 

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Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes with Homemade Maple Syrup

For the last 15 weeks, Justin and I have been on an extremely low-carb diet {for many personal and health related reasons}.  We completely cut out bread and pasta and seriously lessened our sugar intake.  The first few weeks were a bit tough, but after awhile, it became really easy.  I don’t even miss bread and pasta the way I was so sure I would.  I think what makes it ‘easier’ is our “treat meals.”

Every weekend, Justin and I partake in what I so lovingly call our “treat” meal {instead of “cheat” meal}.  A few weeks back, we decided to use our treat meal for a breakfast recipe I’ve had tagged in my favorite cookbook for months now.  I’ve never less than absolutely loved anything I made from Deb Perelman’s “Smitten Kitchen Cookbook” and these peach pancakes did not disappoint!  They are fluffy and yet somehow creamy at the same time and who would have thought to use a peach of all fruits, in a pancake?!

Now you’d think that after planning for such delicious pancakes for our treat meal, we’d have remembered to buy some maple syrup.  But alas, we did not.  I started to reach for some honey when Justin decided to try and make his own syrup.  I was skeptical at first, but oh.my.golly.  I don’t think I will every buy store bought syrup again!  And we’ve actually made this syrup twice now, once with the maple extract and once without.  I loved it both ways as I’d never had vanilla syrup on pancakes before and it was SO good.

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes
Click HERE for the recipe!
and
Homemade Maple Syrup
Click HERE for the recipe!

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes from UnrulyBliss.com

Homemade Maple Syrup

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes from UnrulyBliss.com

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Pork Chops and Cotija Corn Puree with Radish, Cucumber, and Lime Salad

This pork chop meal was absolutely delightful!  Not only was it incredibly easy to make {in less than an hour!}, but it was so perfect for a gorgeous summer evening.  I’m not a big fan of cucumbers {I think I’m cucumber-traumatized from our huge juicing fail} or radishes, but the lime juice in the salad gave them that special zest that made me enjoy them.  I ate a bite of salad with each bite of pork chop and the cool citrus salad offset the spicy pork perfectly.  I very highly recommend this delicious meal for a weeknight dinner!

Pork Chops and Cotija Corn Puree
with Radish, Cucumber, and Lime Salad

Click HERE for the recipe!

Pork Chops and Cotija Corn Puree With Radish, Cucumber, and Lime Salad from UnrulyBliss.com

Pork Chops and Cotija Corn Puree With Radish, Cucumber, and Lime Salad from UnrulyBliss.com

Pork Chops and Cotija Corn Puree With Radish, Cucumber, and Lime Salad from UnrulyBliss.com

 

 

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