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Mouse Flip - Blog Articles | Mouse Flip | Mouse Flip

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Blog Articles


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Strategies

Recently I took the Myers-Briggs test to determine the type of personality that I resembled. When I first took it, I thought it was trivial and did not see the real benefits although after I received a detailed description of my results, I quickly saw the importance. I also realized that it would be very helpful for my students to take this test so I can understand their personality and their style of learning. I can then better assess the best way to teach technology to reach each individual and when assessing their learning, I will know how they think and express themselves.

If you are not familiar with the test, there are four separate categories for scoring the results.
My personality results were very interesting as noted in bold:

ENERGY FLOW: extrovert, introvert
GATHERING INFORMATION: sensing, intuition
DECISION MAKING: thinking, feeling
ORGANIZATION: plan, flexible

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Media

I am attending a two week teacher's training and with all of the speakers and seminars everyday, I am getting a good feeling of what it feels like to be a classroom student again. I am finding that if the speaker does not try to engage and draw me in within the first five minutes, I dismiss the lecture and spend the rest of the time trying to keep my mind focused on what is being presented. Those who walk around, use energy, and are expressive are much easier to listen to no matter what they are talking about. And if they use stories to teach, I'm hooked for most of the session and will even remember at least their stories the next day. Visual aids also are a huge factor. So far, everyone has used PowerPoints and most of them were made in the 90's with gaughty clip art and typical layouts, a major turnoff. Made me realize how much of an impact visual aids have and to make sure I use quality visuals that are unique. So far, I have found success with Prezi and After Effects but it is more time consuming. Although, Steve Jobs makes some good Keynotes when introducing a new product.

Media

A student asked me last week, "Mr. Heil, why do you teach here? Why don't you go work at a studio with your skills." It was a flattering question that made me ponder the hypothetical situation. I remember asking myself the same question two years ago which led me from teaching at a school in Thailand to working at a education studio in Hawaii where I helped to edit videos and create graphics for television and classroom videos. It was fun but not as fulfilling as teaching. My work would be broadcasted on TV but it would stop there. I enjoy passing down my knowledge to the future generation which is will live on forever. 

One of my students took this knowledge and applied it to make a documentary about his friend who made a song. He entered it at the Korean and Asia EARCOS Film Festival and won first prize at both. This is what inspires me to do what I do.

Strategies

View the results and data from my group's digital portfolio survey and feel free to still take the survey as your input is important.

Media

Since photography is one of my biggest hobbies and one of my side jobs that I focus on at my studio, ModernMango.com. I learned a lot from photographer Joseph Linaschke on the night photo shoot in Singapore and will remember his comment, "Photographers don't take pictures, they make pictures." Here at the ADE conference I heard of a handful of tech educators sharing that their school has purposed a bunch of cameras and small video cameras which begs the question, "How are teachers learning basic photography in order to teach their students?" So many times I have seen teachers simply tell their students to make a video or a photo story but don't show them how to take these or even edit them in the proper software which begs the question, "Is there an online resource that is targeted for teachers to help them learn and teach their students at various skill levels?" Tweet me if you know.

Strategies

Here at the ADE conference in Singapore my group (@metzy & @1wichai) are examining digital portfolios for students and looking for the key combination of ingredients that goes into making that ideal portfolio. Please help us out and fill out the quick survey based on your experience and opinions about digital portfolios. Thanks!

  Take Student Portfolio Survey

Strategies

Here at the ADE conference in Singapore, they brought in photographer Joseph Linaschke to show us some things and help us develop our personal branding in education. One of the assignments was to create a photo of ourselves that captures who we are all about as an educator. With the help of other guys critiquing my work, including Joseph, I was able to develop my unpolished ideas. I am reminded that a lot of times our first ideas are usually not our best and to keep the message clear. Today, a professor from CAD told us that when Disney and other big names come to hire students, they don't look at the final product, they go straight to the rough drafts so that they can see the student's thinking process. Thinkers can succeed in anything they do. Here is my thinking process attempt:

Draft 1

Draft 2

Result (for now)

 

 

Strategies

Just finished the first day of five here in Singapore for the Distinguished Educator's Conference. The first night's speaker didn't even talk about technology, which surprised me. Instead, she talked about social culture and how we interact with each other. She had this phrase, "Yes, and." She explained that a lot of times when people talk, evaluate, and plan with each other, they don't listen to each other and use "Yes, but" statements. "Yes, and" is much more productive and supportive while getting things done. So as we work together in the conference we can apply the statement which will help the social culture. It reminded me that when I teach or train teachers, I shouldn't just jump right into the tech stuff but lay down foundations to make (tech) things go smoother in the end.

Strategies

You need statistics in preparing for a technology presentation or just want to see how big this Internet has grown?


Strategies

Understanding how search engines think can help you think critically when searching other areas. For example, today I decided to finally buy my summer plane tickets when we travel to see family. It is a complex flight (Seoul > Hawaii > Portland > Seattle > Dallas > Memphis > and back to Seoul).

My first instinct was to use a travel agency. Tried one in Seoul and one in the States. Total cost, $4,000 per ticket.

My second instinct was to buy through the airline and cut out the middle man...cost of $3,000.

I still was not satisfied. Compared five different Internet ticket sites and fount www.travelocity.com to be the cheapest and best features over the competition:
> I get to see each options for each leg of the journey, with the price difference shown. This was huge for me because I saw that it was only $30 more to skip a layover which is key when you have babies.
> I was able to see the seating chart and choose my own seats.
> Travelocity will reimburse me the difference if the price of the tickets drop. Comforting to know.

And the best part of it all...the price per ticket was $1,500!I thought this had to be an error, to be cheaper than the carrier. I called Delta and asked them to match it but they said Travelocity can offer cheaper prices because they buy in bulk. Good to know!

In conclusion, if I would have been lazy, I would have paid $4,000. If I would have relied on instincts, I would have paid $3,000. Instead, I earned about $1,750 per hour for the three hours I researched since I bought my family's tickets on Travelocity. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Note: Thinking of switching to Chrome since I already wrote this once and Firefox froze on me again. Just waiting for the delicious sidebar chrome extension.

Web Applications

As I watched the ball drop in New York city on a TV at our vacation condo rental in Maui, Ryan Seacrest reminded the world that 2009 was year for Twitter, who won the "Breakout of the Year" by Webby Award. But then I checked and Twitter was first launched back in 2006 and the public finally "ate it up" last year. With all the hype Twitter has received, I was surprised to read an article that revealed only 8% of online teens use Twitter. Whoa. My first reaction was that schools were not integrating the latest technologies and maybe Twitter was left on the shelf. Although, I read that teens are Web 2.0 purists and enjoy publishing media driven content instead of mere words. Talking to my wife who is an English teacher, this makes sense. Students would much rather make their own movies or tag friends in their photos than write about their often mundane school life.

Web Applications

I have been waiting for three years for a rumored "G-Drive" from Google that would allow you an easy access storage space to upload and keep your files. I know you can do this indirectly through email but I wanted a file system style with folders for easy access and organization. Well, Google is now offering this free storage through their Google Docs platform, which is a smart move to get more people on board. Google's strategy has always been to start by offering a small amount of storage and slowly increase it based on demand. Right now you get 1GB of free storage but the upload limit is a whopping 250MB which 25 times bigger than Microsoft's Skydive even though they give you 250GB to store small files with their ads cluttering your online storage space. I think the best news about Google's announcement is their switch to unlimited Google Docs. I was worried because I was on a fast rate to max mine out...but no longer. Thanks Google, I think we are going to continue to be best pals for a long time.

Media

Coming back from Christmas vacation back home in Hawaii, I have been arranging lesson plans as I begin a new segment into video in computer class. Searching for some good lip sync examples to motivate my students, I came across a couple of high schools (Shoreline and Shorecrest) next to each other in Wisconsin who have started a YouTube dual. Each school's video class planned, filmed, and edited a school video that included all of the high school students. After watching the videos, I could get a better sense of the school environment and students. I'm sure these videos will be treasured among the students in years to come as they look back at them at class reunions. Video is a great way to promote school spirit and archive memories; I just wish schools would do more of it.

Web Applications

Today was a professional development day at our school and I was asked to lead an hour long session on Google tools. I had given a similar seminar a couple weeks ago for a room full of teachers and enjoyed sharing tips to make life more efficient with Google but also ideas on how to integrate Google into the classroom. My computer lab has 24 computers and iMacs which I thought would be efficient but teachers just kept coming and the final head count was 47. I did a quick run through of Google Search, Gmail, iGoogle, and Reader in the time I had. I like to go fast pace and give people glimpses of the tools so that they have to really use their minds to keep up with the presentation and also to convince them to dig into it on their own after watching my trailer. Here are the slides with the screencasts embedded
into the presentation: http://tiny.cc/mrheilgoogletools.

Web Applications

Over the past couple of weeks I have had students ask me to fill out college recommendation forms. I have so much respect for those rare students who have figured out my computer class and earned an A+. I would bet that 90% of those students will become successful. It is rare for a "book-smart" student to get an A+ because I assess more creative and practical thinking skills in my assessments which are project-based. Usually my street smart students excel. Anyways, I was looking at various college fairs coming up for the seniors and my eyes popped out when I read about the Second Life college fair that was to be held at International School Island...in the virtual world of Second Life!

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Web Applications

TAGS: pdf - word - convert
Had a couple of teachers ask me over the week what is the best tool to convert their PDF to a Word document. Most start with a Google search and the first hit is www.pdftoword.com. This one is a gymic. You supposedly upload your pdf and put in your email for them to send it to you but it never comes. I'm sure they sell your email to online marketers. The second hit is www.pdfonline.com which I found to be the best. Simple upload it and download it as a RTF file which is compatible to all text editors such as MS Word or Apple's Pages. The third hit, www.convertpdftoword.net, is a service you have to pay for. So my suggestion is touse PDF Online.

Media

A good substitute for youtube

Web Applications

blogger

Posterous

I teach HS classes but treat my students more like freshmen college students because I'm trying to prepare them for that next step. Also, to be honest I choose this route because it is less work for me and this style usually works because the majority of my students are responsible and self-motivated. Although, what about that small minority group that needs someone to check up on them in detail?

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Media

Youtube

Teachertube

Web Publishing

I teach HS classes but treat my students more like freshmen college students because I'm trying to prepare them for that next step. Also, to be honest I choose this route because it is less work for me and this style usually works because the majority of my students are responsible and self-motivated. Although, what about that small minority group that needs someone to check up on them in detail?

Projects are the biggest weight and work load in my classes and I usually give them at least a few weeks to work on them but what about that minority group that still does not know how to manage their time and allocate attention to their projects? I prefer a self accountability approach to help these student learn to be responsible. To help with accountability, I have my students setup and use Posterous pages.

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Web Applications

As a computer teacher, sometimes the last thing I think about is the English side of the lesson. Although, I need to focus more on it, especially since I teach a wide-range of international students. Since my wife teaches English at the university, she reminds me of the importance of English instruction in my lessons. I often assume the students understand the content and vocabulary of my lessons, but in computer, students often don't grasp the technical jargon. Today I was surfing a Twitter group and discovered Lesson Writer which allows you to insert the content of your lesson into their lesson builder and it quickly and intelligently generates a list of vocabulary words that students may need help with. It even provides definitions and easy pronunciations to these difficult words along with questions to review understanding. It took me less than one minute to generate the following lesson:

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Strategies

I was reading an old issue of Tech & Learning magazine from my cousin-in-law who encouraged me to create a curriculum for informing teachers and students about copyright laws. There is definitely a need as it is often not addressed and many plead ignorance on the issue. In an article about copyrights, I learned about ccLearn which is a must in your diigo or delicious bookmarks. It offers a lot of valuable resources for teaching within the bounds of the copyright laws. For example, on their site I learned about ck-12 which is a website that allows you to create open source textbooks, tailored to the standards that you want to cover.

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Strategies

Signed up and going to the Apple Education Summer Institute here in Hawaii. There is so much knowledge out there to learn but how do you prove what you know? A teacher may have full knowledge of Final Cut Pro, great lessons, and high quality student work, but in today's world, you have to advertise and prove your ability or you may be deemed incompetent and get replaced in today's teacher cutback days. It is also important to prove to parents your skills.

Here are three ares teachers should focus on proving:

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Web Applications

I used wordle for the first time yesterday to create an About page on my other website. I was amazed at how easy it was and it had a plethora of visual options. I am already starting to think about how I can use it next year when I teach in Seoul and thought it would be a good first day assignment to get a fun profile of the students and they can share their wordles' with the class.

In the past I would take a huge piece of colored construction paper, cut it up like a jigsaw puzzle, and give each student a piece. Each had to write their name and draw pictures of things that described them. They would then come together as a class and put the puzzle together with teamwork. I always found success with this activity and proudly displayed them on the class wall.

Web Applications

TAGS: web 2.0 - Google
If a school does not have the money, network, or knowledge to support Microsoft OneNote, there are other comparable open source options: Google Notebook (basic but conveniently compatible with the Google Suite) and Zoho Notebook (which has a bump up on features and interface). The Zoho video introduction has a good overview background on the power of Zoho and towards the end it gets really good. Google Docs is good for essays but for research gathering and projects, a notebook is very appropriate with more of an open environment and more potential. So which one is better? It is debatable.

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Software

I went to an educational technology conference over spring break and attended two seminars by a program developer from Microsoft. One of the things he showed us was advanced features in OneNote and the capabilities it has specifically for students who use laptops in the classroom. I also saw a video  with a brief overview and student collaboration features. The best feature was the freedom it gives students to take notes in an open environment on their laptop with the ability to easily insert pictures, video, sound, and interactive media.

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Software

TAGS: Adobe - video - learning - software
Over recent years, Adobe has been targeting schools and increasing the integration of the Adobe Suite into high schools. When I was teaching in Thailand, we had Photoshop and Illustrator, which I taught in a required desktop publishing course for 10th grade students. We also used Adobe to design a 300+ full-color yearbook. Most of the students adapted very quickly to Photoshop and Illustrator since it gave them an avenue to use their creative and think outside the box. I watched an motivating video that showed how schools in Palm Beach were integrating Adobe into their schools in creative ways. 

Bookmarking

TAGS: Firefox - plugin - references - research
If you conduct a lot of research for classes that you are taking or teaching, I must suggest Zotero, a smart Firefox plugin that allows you to collect, manage, and cite your sources without leaving your browser. As a Ph.d student, I write a lot of papers and about to begin my dissertation (once I can decide on a topic). One of the things I dislike the most is making the bibliography pages and citing all the reference in correct APA format. Zotero is my answer. If I am reading an online book, I hit Zotero and it automatically finds the necessary information I need for my references. Not only does it find it, it creates the reference lines I need so I can simply copy and paste it into my bibliography.

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Bookmarking

TAGS: pictures - bookmarks - web 2.0
If you skipped over yesterday’s blog because you are already familiar with Delicioius bookmarks and are currently using it then how about vi.sualize.us? Delicioius lets you bookmark websites but what about an application that allows you to bookmark, tag, and organize online pictures? One of the classes I have taught was graphic design and I was constantly trying to find pictures to use as examples in my lessons. However, who wants to save all the pictures to a computer, especially if you are researching at home and need to transfer the pictures at school. To me, this is the most efficient way to organize online photos.

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Bookmarking

WEB 2.0

Delicious
website bookmarks (blog)

Vi.sualize.us
online picture bookmarks

 

Bookmarking

TAGS: bookmarks - web 2.0 - Firefox - plugin
Educators are constantly researching subject matter in preparation for the classroom. Delicious bookmarks are a must! Many times people find a great site that they bookmark but their bookmarks are so unorganized that they cannot find what they are looking for and bookmarks are saved on the computer. With Delicious, your bookmarks are saved in your free online account and can easily be accessed from home, school, or while you are traveling. The bookmarks are nicely sorted by tags and can be quickly found through a search toolbox.   

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Web Applications

TAGS: Skype - plug-in - WordPress - web - e-learning - online

Over the weekend, I was helping my cousin out with her WordPress blog and uploading a sound file. Although we live about eight minutes from each other, we used Skype to discuss the problem face-to-face using webcams. I was also able to see a live view of her desktop as she navigated throughout here website to show me the problem. I was able to easily see the problem and show her how to resolve it. I recommend installing the Skype View plug-in that can allow the other person to view your desktop while holding a conversation.

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Software

TAGS: capture - software - tutorials - online

If you are teaching your students how to complete a certain task on the computer in the classroom on the projector, how do you help students who were absent or those who need repeated instructions? You could create a document tutorial with typed out instructions and complimented with print screen images but this process is rather lengthy and gaudy. Instead, simply obtain a screen capture program which will record a video of your computer screen in class while you are teaching your students. Afterward, save it as an AVI file and make it available to students by publishing it online. Then students can always see a replay of your desktop while you were teaching the lesson.

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Strategies

TAGS: website - wikis - cms
In 2003, I used a simple and free website creator, GoogleSites, to create a class website. I was the first teacher in the school to have a site and the students and parents found it to be very convenient. Sometimes students failed to complete homework worksheets that were passed out in class because they claim they lost it. By posting the worksheets online, this eliminates their excuses. My exam review sheets were sometimes ten pages long; by posting them online students could download it and edit the review sheet according to what they needed to study. This process also helped to save printing costs and trees. The website idea caught on at the school and soon more teachers had class sites.

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Strategies

TAGS: podcasts - wimba - seminars - teachers - markheil

Last semester I participated in an online seminar sponsored by Sony, Strategies for Student Engagement. In the seminar the speakers shared helpful ideas based around media (e.g. video camera) to get students more excited about learning. I was very impressed with the seminar platform as they used on24 to host the webcast. The seminar had three speakers from different states collaborating while each giving a PowerPoint slide presentation that was viewed on the screen. As a participant, I was able post live questions and the presenters answered them when it was appropriate.

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Strategies

TAGS: advertise - marketing

ERIC (Education Resource Information Center) published research results showing that 96% students were more likely to engage in a class that implements real-world projects. This concept is a driving force in my educational philosophy and dissertation. One of my favorite classes I have taught was marketing because our class performed many of the marketing projects at the school and I treated my students like professional businessmen and women. The class met in the computer lab and we used Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Office, Web Applications as tools to accomplish our marketing tasks. Here are some examples of the projects we did:

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Strategies

I am a huge fan of no textbook classes and saving the trees. All students have access to a computer. If needed, they can print at home, library, friend’s house, or even the school in most cases for a small fee. There are so many free open source resources that teachers can use that would replace textbooks and would not be outdated. Although, many teachers would be alarmed if they were told they would have to use their own curriculum for it would take a lot of research and time. Old fashion textbooks do allow a backbone for teachers although, some curriculum standards are too focused in simply completing the textbook instead of choosing effective and current content learning.

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Strategies

I am currently working on producing an educational video on best practices in teaching for teachers that will be aired on cable television. Last week I shot video and photography for the content of the video and while shooting in multiple classrooms, I couldn’t help but notice that all of the teachers were using interactive smartboards in their lessons. Although the concept and interactivity with smartboards are cool, they are a pricey 1-5,000, which is a lot of money with tight education budgets these days. I had a conversation with another teacher and we both agreed that smarboards were overrated and teachers are not effectively using “old” technologies to their fullest potential to increase learning in the classroom.

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Software

Today I was given our monthly newsletter from the state education department of Hawaii and the focus was Six Keys to Successful Parent Involvement. The first key was communication and highlighted Mililani High School in using Edline to communicate homework assignments, grades, school events, exam dates, and more. It is good to see more schools jumping on the bandwagon of online communication. I first started using Edline in 2007 and since I was the IT coordinator, I helped out by holding training seminars for teachers. Previously in 2003, I used and promoted MyGradeBook.com at our school, which is a very effective online grading system and an inexpensive option compared to Edline but with more limitations.

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Strategies

I am a member and subscriber of The International Educator and received an e-mail from TIE Online yesterday:
“From speaking with many international school heads and recruitment agencies in February, it is clear that the market has changed significantly from last year. Most schools have fewer vacancies, as enrollment projections are dropping, and worried staff are staying on. In general, the recruiting fairs have experienced 20% fewer openings, and have had 20% more job seekers at their fairs. The increase in candidates for international positions is largely due to the lay-offs anticipated in many states in the USA, which impact the younger, more mobile teachers the most.”

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Strategies

TAGS: portfolio - learning - vishal - jain - googlesites - education
     I have found that online student portfolios are an effective tool in motivational learning.  In my graphic design class in 2006, my students’ final project was to create an online portfolio using a simple and free webpage creator, GoogleSites. This project was foreign to all of them but after I walked them through how to make a site, they ran wild with their ideas. My students were overachievers and many went above and beyond the requirements because they liked online assignments and experimenting outside the box. In the end, some of them used them as portfolios to get into well-known art schools and colleges. Feel free to check out Vishal’s Design portfolio.

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Web Applications

TAGS: voice - media - e-learning - world

 After living in Thailand and hearing and conversing in Thai everyday I missed hearing the language. I jumped on Woices.com and was able to hear random voice recordings from all over SE Asia and beyond. Woices has a global map with voice icons pointed to areas all around the world that you can simply click and listen to everyday people. I listened to geologist in California talking about rock formations, a French student marveling over Notre Dam, and a radio announcer discussing the news in Spain.

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Web Applications

I am currently taking an online training course this semester in teaching online from the Department of Education Hawaii. My current project was to create a lesson plan for an online marketing and technology course, which can be viewed on VoiceThread. The lesson had to meet the state standard and benchmarks while addressing and meeting 21st Century technology requirements. The topic of the lesson I chose was advertising to consumers in China.

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Strategies

Second Life (SL) was developed by Linden Lab in 2003 and launched as a virtual world environment online. Its original use was gaming but it has developed into an educational tool for many platforms. I first heard of SL through my cousin-in-law who had to play it for six hours as an assignment for her online Master's course. She created an avatar and met in a virtual classroom where she was able to meet, talk with, and see her classmates online.

 

Web Publishing

TAGS: web 2.0 - website - design
Internal web development in schools are more essential than ever. With web 2.0 tools, social networks, and blog developments, schools can improve student learning and present it on display for the world to see. After creating an school athletics page, I would like to take on a project of creating a student learning website.

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Web Publishing

TAGS: web - joomla - athletics

While teaching at an international school in Thailand, I enjoyed coaching varsity basketball and volleyball. The athletic program was really developing under the new athletic director and I proposed the idea of making an athletics website to continue the momentum. I created the site in Joomla that was easily accessible to coaches and they could login and post results, rosters, schedules, and pictures in a user friendly environment.

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Web Applications

TAGS: graphics - collages

Students like collages; I think it’s because they are able to express themselves using their own style in an open environment with less borders. Their minds are flooded with information, mostly influenced by the media, so they like outlets in order to express their tastes.

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