Erin Two Point Oh

As you can see in Caroline’s rendition below our drawings are extremely similar.

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My mind’s eye saw a purple striped Care Bear, with a crown and nail polish. I hand drew a purple cat. Your story was great, its just me – Caroline

Lucy's Monster

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Lucy cautiously reached out her shaking hand toward the closet’s silver doorknob. Then, taking a deep breath for encouragement, she flung the heavy wooden door open. The dim light from her nearby nightlight cast shadows upon the inside of her closet. At first she didn’t see anything but her disappointment was brief as the pastel shirts, sweaters, and dresses hanging neatly inside began to sway. Lucy’s eyes grew wide in shock as a strange creature emerged from the clothing. It reached a slim hand above it’s head, gripped the butterfly pull-chain attached to the closet light, and with a flick of the wrist bathed the room in brightness.

Lucy couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Bright blue eyes started back at her from a blue whisker tipped face. The thin entity was covered from head to toe in purple fur. Its belly sported a white oval, and black tiger-like markings appeared all over the monster’s body and face. The hands and feet were decidedly feline in nature but instead of the usual five fingers and toes per hand it appeared to have six. Each of the six nails was tipped with a rainbow of polish starting with a red thumb and ending with a purple pinky. It was also quite evident that the creature had been rooting around in Lucy’s closet for quite some time as it was proudly sporting a string of fake pearls and two matching bracelets from her favorite dress-me-like-a-princess play set.

Although rather annoyed at the monster’s forwardness, Lucy was fine with the purple beast borrowing her things. However, when she spotted her amethyst rhinestone tea party tiara perched on its head right between a set of pointy purple ears ears Lucy stomped her little foot in protest and glared angrily at the strange being in her closet. No one touched Lucy’s tiara! Ever.

Some of the highlights of this course were:

  • The introduction to a new tool, Dipity which we used to create a collaborative timeline of key points in Internet history.
  • Our instant messaging partner activity where we thoroughly discussed our thoughts on Marc Prensky “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants” piece.
  • I also enjoyed flexing my PowerPoint comfort zone a bit and creating a narrated presentation on Twitter for our library/research module.
  • The final class project was also an engaging way to sum up our work this semester. Creating my imaginary class website actually made me wish I really was teaching A Christmas Carol to students this month.

The one class activity that I wish we had utilized further was the use of our weekly Delicious link posting and sharing with one another. I thought for sure that this would be the underpinning for whatever our final activity was and admittedly I was a bit surprised that we didn’t wrap up this work in a project of some sort.

Then, of course, the seriously disappointing news that broke this week that Delicious is going to be shuttered by Yahoo means we’ll all need to go in other directions to continue our bookmark collections. Having used the site since 2007 it’s especially annoying and a bit sad. If you’re looking for a Delicious alternative though I’d recommend going with Pinboard. I was very easily able to export all of my bookmarks to their site.

I began using Instapaper only yesterday but my head is already buzzing with potential ideas and possibilities for using this simple tool. If you aren’t already aware Instapaper is a program that enables you to store long passages of texts (magazine articles, blog pages etc…) for later reading at another time. I often come across pieces that others have written while perusing Twitter and Facebook, or even items that colleagues send around via email that I don’t have time to read right then and there but that I want to examine and perhaps respond to thoroughly at a later point.

Normally I simply save these items in Delicious and sometimes I remember to go back and check them out and sometimes they merely become lost in a sea of chicken recipes and links to hair styles I was thinking of asking my stylist to replicate. Fortunately, Instapaper saves the texts you want to read in an easy to access format that is readily accessible from your computer, smartphone, iPad etc… It’s really quite brilliant.


What brought about my desire to check out Instapaper was the serialization of a book on a new YA centric website. Figment.com is publishing sections of author Blake Nelson’s sequel to Girl, Dream School, on their blog. if you haven’t read Girl it’s an incredible book and I highly recommend it; especially if you were into the whole grunge music scene. When the book was originally published in the mid 90s it received a large amount of critical acclaim. It also just happens to be the first book that I ever purchased online so it’s near and dear to me on several levels.

One of the reasons I love my iPad so much is that I can use it at the gym. Unfortunately my gym does not have a wireless signal so I can’t browse the net or watch Netflix movies. Generally I read ebooks though. I find it easier to take the monotony of the elliptical if I can focus on something besides bad reality TV. I really wanted to start Nelson’s new book last night but since I didn’t have access to the internet I wouldn’t be able to read it. Then I remembered Instapaper and had one of those eureka moments! In five minutes I was able to install the application on my iPad, add the browser bookmarklet, and save each of the book chapters onto the interface. Then I happily read my way though the next hour at the gym.

If you have time I’d definitely recommend checking this tool out. I think it’s an excellent way to collect items of interest until you’re able to find a spare moment to read them.

One of the items from this week’s readings that I found particularly interesting was the use of back links to keep track of your website’s online reputation. Since I am a blogger I do actually keep a very close eye on what is said about Erin Cooks, Yummery, and XOXOErin.

Some of the methods I apply include using the traffic analytics program Mint to view where my visitors are coming from (i.e. google searches, links from other sites) and I also utilize an array of google alerts which email me whenever my full name is mentioned online, my url, blog name, or some of my more frequently used user names. This is really the ideal way to make sure all is right with your online world.

When I did take a moment to check out the back link command in google I found a couple of interesting links that I hadn’t viewed before including:

  • A mention of Erin Cooks in a post someone had created related to SEO

Although, as I know I have many more outside links than what is showing up on Google, I’m not entirely convinced that this method is on par with simply using traffic tracking plugins on your website. However, it is a nice addition to the arsenal of tools that make sure my online karma is still bright and shiny.

I found this chapter on blogs, wikis, and podcasts from Alan November’s book, Web Literacy for Educators, to be extremely basic in nature. In particular, the practical classroom narratives that were used to illustrate the author’s points surrounding blogging in education were rather basic.

Granted, Darren Kuropatwa’s student calculus blog is a very nice jumping off point for teachers to begin thinking about utilizing online collaboration tools with their students, but the site has become a bit dated. After doing a quick google search I was able to find Kuropatwa’s current personal site which details what he’s up to now: http://adifference.blogspot.com/. His current posts and projects are definitely work checking out.

In my position I find that it can be very difficult to think up new and unique ways to instruct faculty in the utilization of tools such as blogs with students. For the most part everything is a slight variation on the traditional paper class journal theme that haunted us all throughout our educational careers. I’d love to hear from all of you about your ideas regarding creative lessons you might want to try integrating with blogs? Perhaps a little mutual brainstorming will shake us out of our comfort zone!

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