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Donna Edwards-Brown

Description: Donna Edwards-Brown is an African-American woman with black hair and dark eyes. She is wearing a long-sleeved fuchsia t-shirt, gold beaded necklace and eyeglasses.

Howard Adams: Good afternoon everybody. This is my first PowerPoint. I'm wondering how to advance to the next slide. OK.

Description: The first slide is entitled Creative Classroom Blogging – Updating Students' Writing and Technological Skills.

Description: The next slide is called About Evans – It's A Big School. There is a photo of the school at dusk with lights ablaze. The bullet points are:

  • 20,000 students
  • 161 teachers
  • Classes – 5:45 am to 9:20 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday classes
  • Two 48-station computer labs

Donna: As Branka said, I'm from Evans Adult School downtown Los Angeles. It's a huge school, similar to Wayne's; over 20,000 people. We have classes early in the morning until late at night. We have Saturday and Sunday classes. And all of that is about to change very soon. We have two 48-station computer labs.

And before I came here, we thought we're doing not that bad, not that badly with technology but there are just so many things to learn, it's just mind-boggling. We set up our labs; the teachers are going to the lab once a week. And then it's just left staying there, it's alone, nobody's in it, so I set up another type of lab before I was involved with TIMAC. And the students can come in and do different things in the lab. But we needed more. And so here I am and I have some mentees. Please come up mentees. Mentees, mentees. Okay, there they are.

Description: The next slide is entitled The Mentees. Two mock-up California driver's licenses are shown.

The first license is for Penny Giacalone. In her photo she has short, dark hair and is wearing a dark top and big smile. Her address reads: Computers Are Frustrating Street, Evans, California 90012. Her statistics read:

  • Sex: F
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Green
  • RSTR: Fears computer clichés
  • Asset: Very willing to learn and has a computer cart

The second license is for Joann Craig: In her photo she has short, light brown hair and in wearing a black top trimmed with a black and white stripe, a black and white beaded necklace and eyeglasses. Her address reads: Let's Have Fun Street, Los Angeles, California 90012. Her statistics read:

  • Sex: F
  • Hair: Brown
  • Eyes: Brown
  • RSTR: Needs technical experience
  • Asset: Very willing to learn and has a Smart Board

Donna: Okay, this is my first mentee. Her name is Penny. This is her identification. Her name is Penny Giacalone and she was always very frustrated about technology, always, always, always. But what's really funny about Penny is that she's the one who always monitors the OTAN pages. She told me about this TIMAC group. She said go ahead and apply for it. But she doesn't, she actually shares an email with her husband. She has found an iPod, a 160 gigbyte iPod and she hasn't used it yet and it's going on one year. She has a new grandchild and doesn't know how to take the pictures from her camera. I said, "Penny, will you work with me?" and she said, "Yeah, yeah, I'll be happy to work with you." So that's Penny.

My second mentee, I'd like to identify her as Joann Craig. I wanted to work with Joann Craig because we share a classroom and she's a lot of fun. That's my only reason I wanted to work with her. We have a Smart Board and Penny has a cart with one computer for each student. So I needed to approach people who had some kind of technology in their classes. And Joann is just a lot of fun and I knew she would agree to anything she might even give me some suggestions.

Joann, when we did our work – you know I forgot to tell you the title of my PowerPoint and I forgot to write it - We're Working with Blogs.

So when Joann opened her blog, she couldn't find her email address. And then when she found it, nothing would work. She created about five emails on Yahoo! In order to – and I still don't know her real email address. It's very hard to communicate with Joann. Okay – so…

Description: The next slide is entitled: Nature and Scope of Project. The bullet points are:

  • To create a blog for one class and to use it for one trimester
  • To teach students how to set up individual blogs
  • To infect other teachers with enthusiasm about blogging

Donna: Our project was to create a blog. I think blogging was one of the most popular things this year. For one class, Penny said I'm only going to do it for one trimester. And I said okay. And we were going to go further to teach our students how to set up their own individual blogs but that never got done. And we were hoping that with everything we did, other teachers at our school would become very enthusiastic about technology. I think, you know they listened to what's happening, I think that's going to happen.

Description: The next slide is called The Process. There are five blocks with arrows pointing from one block to the next. The blocks read:

  • Read literature on blogs and wikis
  • Create sample wikis and blogs for practice
  • Assist mentees in setting up blogs over the phone
  • Meet with mentees at school to resolve snags
  • Monitor mentees' blogs online and discuss during casual school encounters

Donna: My process was to read a lot of literature about blogs and wikis. I'm kind of like Teresita who was saying she created a lot of blogs – well, if it's a blog, please, I'm getting arrested. I have 21 Class blog; I have Word Press blog; I have Edublogspot; I have PB Wiki; I have Wikispaces, but I know my user names and passwords, so… I can go back to them. I went back you them the day before yesterday when I was preparing this and they're kind of cute. But there's nothing on them.

Then I had to assist the mentees in setting up their blogs. One lives 60 miles from my school and one lives about 60 miles in the other direction. So we met on the phone. Over the phone, on a Saturday, we set up the blogs. I took us three hours and I was glad there were no minutes used there because it was a three-way conversation there – I was so lucky because that could have cost a lot of money.

As did the online meeting that we had, but that's okay. So then, I monitored their blogs just online and this whole thing, of course, is a learning experience for me, I knew one of my problems already was going to be communicating with people. And it was taking the time to contact them so next year I'm going to schedule some time. I think Martha and I were talking about that on the way up here. Next year, I'm going to schedule some time, some planned meetings with them. Well, not next year, when this is over. I'm going to schedule some planned meetings with them and try to get them to tell me when we can meet regularly. So we didn't do enough of that and it would have helped us a lot.

This is the blog that was created by Penny.

Description: The next slide pictures a blog page called A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That. There is a photo of a cityscape. The subheadings are:

  • Something New!
  • Remember When?
  • Meeting the Challenge!

There is a calendar pictured and a list of links of other pages.

Donna: She called it "A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That." She asked very simple questions to get her students to write anything. OK – this is the blog – OK, all right now why aren't you going to move? OK – the next page – OK – this is the blog of Joann.

Description: This slide pictures a blog page called Writing Can Be Fun. There is a photo of a rainbow of colored cards. The subheading read:

  • What Adult Education Mean to Me
  • My Hero or Heroine

There is a calendar pictured and a list of links of other pages.

Donna: Very colorful. She blogged in the computer lab. She actually brought her students into the computer lab once a week. They blogged as a result. You're not seeing their comments. As a result, their comments are longer and she has longer comments from her students and they were happy with them. OK – what are the problems we had?

Description: Next slide is called Biggest Challenges. The bullet points are:

Common Problems

  • Insufficient time during school day
  • Different work schedules
  • Various other school duties
  • Breakdown of technical equipment
  • Not enough meetings

Unique Situations

  • Budget crisis
  • Family illness

Donna: The problem I had was I just turned around and it was May. The time flew by and I had to, we had to do a lot of stuff very quickly. So there was number one, insufficient time during the school day. We had different work schedules. One of my mentees worked on Saturday and she worked at night. The biggest problem that we had was the budget crisis. My mentee now no longer has a job. The second biggest problem was family illness. My other mentee's husband is going to have serious surgeries and her grandchild. So these are the things, you know, you just never plan on.

And what I would just like to say is that TIMAC just continues. I think I can go at a slower pace but I can be a little bit more directed and I'm very happy I had this opportunity. Thank you to everybody. Your PowerPoints gave me a lot of information. You're a fantastic group of teachers. Thank you.

Description: Audience applause. Screen fades to black.