Thursday, February 23, 2012

Five Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website

The article “Five Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website” starts by saying that a teacher’s web site has to be accessible for all the students, that mean that students with all kind of disabilities have to be able to navigate the website.

Then she provides with the steps needed to have a web site accessible for all the students:

1. Organization- It is important to create a consistence structure in the website. To avoid large webpages that require horizontal scrolling, that will allow visitors with browser windows of different sizes. Here she mentions the importance of avoiding colors such as green and red, because we can have students with color blindness.
2.- To create a webpage that can be use without a mouse to facilitate the navigation from a computer without a mouse.
3.- She suggest that all the images should have a text that explains them. That will allow the students that need a screen reader to be able to access the website. She also suggests that the audio features should include caption.
4.- It is a good idea that the text that takes you to a link should have information regardless to the link and not just things like “click here”.
5.- There are programs that evaluate the accessibility of a website. A final check should include: to try to navigate without a mouse, with the sound off, with a smaller windows in the browser, with the images turn off, with a gray scale scheme color.

This article was written in 2009, it is a little dated. I think that now we can consider that everybody has a mouse and a color monitor, but still there are students with disabilities, so it is a good idea to create websites that allows them accessibility. At the end she gives a list of the standard that makes a website accessible. Now that we are learning how to make a webpage and that we are building our teacher webpages it is a good idea to follow that list. It is a good way of learning how to make thing right from the beginning. 

Amundson, L. (2009, November). 5 Steps to an Accessible Classroom Website. Learning & Leading with Technology, 37 (4). Retrieved from

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Computing in the cloud

The article “Computing in the cloud” talks about how the use of cloud-based programs is becoming more and more popular. The author mentions the advantages of those web-based programs in a school context: usually they are free. The user doesn’t have to worry about having the latest version of the program or a very powerful computer. They can be used in several locations. There is no need of a flashcard or any other storage device, and the documents can be shared.

He then talks about the economics of using the cloud. He makes an analysis where he explains how parents and/or schools can afford each child to owns a small computer. With clouding tools they don’t need a powerful computer.

Then the author mentions some tools like, Google docs, Flickr or Picasa. He says that those free resources are similar to the programs that you can buy but have some deficiencies where the user must adapt.

Then he asks and answers the frequent questions that a new user can ask: What happens if there is no internet connection?  Is there a chance that at a certain point we will have to pay for those resources? Are the files secures? Are they private?

At the end he gives a forecast: things that need to be done before school districts start using the cloud tools: Policy about students-owned devices, secure wireless infrastructure, teacher training on how to use those tools.

He feels comfortable using those resources and has a positive attitude towards them. He believes in the private policies and he feels fine about the morality behind the Google/Microsoft duopoly.

I agree with the author that the cloud is already part of our reality. The tools are there for us to use them. So let’s use them!!! But again… We have to be aware. Let’s check if we are accessing all those tools from a secure network!!

Johnson D. (December/January 2009-2010). Computing in the Clouds. ISTE, 4 (37). Retrieved from

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Point/Counter Point: is Blog Worth the Risk

Hi Guys:

After reading the article I thought that the two teachers interviewed have a positive approach for blogging as a useful tool for students and teachers: James Marlow says yes to blogging and he gives his arguments while Lisa Nielson was a blogger, but had a bad experience with the directive while blogging; she is not mentioning that she is against using a blog; she had a bad experience and says that it is not worth the risk, but never gave an argument against the tool per sé. Her arguments involved the society (school, school district, colleagues) in which she was immersed.

I liked the part where Marlow sais “..Injecting something of personal concern into our professional communication has a powerful humanizing and connective effect… The same applies in reverse: Adding professional commentary to our personal writings can enhance their positive impact when done with responsibility”. Because, in my opinion, a blog is a tool where you are expecting other people to make comments on what you are posting; giving a personal touch is what will make a difference with a standard report. That will remind our readers that we are human, that we can be funny, or concerned or sensible.But we can’t forget the security issues. We have to be cautious with our posts, we have to think that we are responsible for other people’s security and we can’t compromise that. We have to stop and think about the implications of what we are posting. And it is mandatory to educate our kids to do the same: to follow a protocol and the security indications that are the same for any social media, blog, wiki, etc.

See you next class


References:Maxlow J. and Nielson L. (May 2009). Point/Counterpoint Is Blogging Worth the Risk? ISTE, 7 (36). Retrieved from   


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Ahaha. I love this picture!!

This wings are part of the Independence Monument in Mexico City.
The pair of wings shown in the picture were created by the artist Carlos Marin to celebrate 200 years of Mexico's independent life. 

My first post

Starting this new adventure...