My Blogging Experience

March 5, 2010

Zoe from Ontario

Filed under: Cool Tools, Education — Tags: , , , , — debyj @ 10:31 pm

Unfortunately, I was not able to attend this Elluminate session, but through the wonders of technology I was able to catch up on what I missed through a recording of the session!

Some neat things Zoe talked about:

-The software Zoe used to post all of her classes online: www.learning3.com She puts all of her subjects online so that parents can be more familiar with what is going on in the classroom.

-all of her students have used Google Docs for at least one year and up to two years and they use this tool all the time to collaborate together on one document.  (very neat!)

-some of her students showed particular interest in bitstrips This is a neat program that helps them create comic strips.

-she mentioned livescribe.  This is essentially the most high-tech pen I have ever heard of!  It is basically a video camera for your notes.  I would love to have one of these!

Words of advice for teachers:

– start learning on your own.  Explore technology and become familiar with it before you start teaching with it!

-you can use blog comments as opportunities to teach students about how to deal with bullying and other negative social situations they may encounter in life.

-problem with having little/no control of what happens to students after they leave your classroom.  It would be really cool if our teachers could collaborate more technologically, such as carrying on portfolios and blogs from year to year.  The best thing to do is encourage students to encourage their future teachers to carry on what has been started!

I thought it was sooooo cool when her students spoke to us at the end of the session.  They were keeping up with our conversations and had some fabulous insights on the discussions we were having!  I was astounded and how much better they were at talking on Elluminate than I was!  They seemed so comfortable with the technology.

Interesting that one of the students really liked Diigo and valued the public sticky notes.  I am curious to know how Zoe addresses the negative or even derogatory comments that sometimes appear on these public sticky notes.

February 16, 2010

Spark

Filed under: Cool Tools — Tags: , , , — debyj @ 12:46 pm

In ECMP 455, I was introduced to a CBC radio podcast called SPARK (you can subscribe to it on itunes for free). It introduces many topics of conversation around technology and how it is changing lives everyday.

Here are some episodes that I have listened to and taken particular interest in:

Episode 67: Twittering Grandma, Digital Family Histories, and Ageism in Design

Paul Taylor talked about Arcalife, a website that combines genealogy and social networking . He said this website came about because of his realization that the truly valuable things we receive from our loved ones that have passed away are not heirlooms but wisdom, beliefs, and lessons learned in life. It is something very interesting to think about. I know I want my grandchildren and great grandchildren to remember me by those things rather then a nice ring or bracelet that I owned.  This website is a very cool way of creating those valuable heirlooms you do not want to forget.

Episode 96: Aspirational Technology, The Future of Search, and Dinner with a Stranger.

This was a very interesting episode for a lot of different reasons!

They talked about new personalized search engines: Measy and Hunch. These search engines essentially take information that you give them based on quizzes and match you with products that you might be interested in. I think this is very neat and will definitely be sharing this with friends and family and using it myself.

Franke James has Dinner with a Stranger named Mark Shouldice:

Mark offered Franke a $200 donation to a charity of her choice if she would have him for dinner (he was a complete stranger to her at a time). I was so surprised that she actually said yes! She says she did her research though and found that it would be a great experience to not only help a charity but get to know a new person. That is a big risk she took and I admire her for doing that. I do not know if I could do it myself.

On this episode, they also mentioned a variety of neat internet tools that can help you travel from one computer to another and easily transfer any of your documents/photos/videos/music from your computer to anyother computer without carrying so much as a usb stick with you!  Check out these sites:

Dropbox

– save your files in dropbox folders so you can access them on any computer through the web.

– I am not sure if there is a limit on how much you can actually put in these folders.

– You will need to download dropbox to use it.

Wake-on-LAN

“Wake-on-LAN is an Ethernet computer networking standard that allows a computer to be turned on or woken up by a network message.”

Simplify Media

– another way to access media on any computer (especially good for music)

Xmarks

-bookmarking tool that can be used across all browsers (this feature makes this bookmarking tool different than others)

LogMeIn

– with LogMeIn, you can access the desktop of your computer from another computer and actually access the information on that desktop.  If you get the free version, you will not be able to access as much information as you would if you get the purchased versions.

– the only downfall to this tool is that the computer you are trying to access must be on, so it can hike up the power bill and harm the environment!

Spark is definitely worth checking out.  I listen to it as much as I can now that I am aware of it because I am learning so much!

February 10, 2010

My first Elluminate lesson

Filed under: Cool Tools, Education — Tags: , — debyj @ 10:43 am

Last night I had the opportunity to teach my first lesson on Elluminate. It was definitely an interesting and unique experience that I would like to try again. I know there are already some things that I would like to improve on.

Some of the challenges I faced:

Distractions

– I found there were a lot of distractions around me that made it difficult to teach at times. Someone would write something in the conversation box while I was speaking and I would catch myself trying to read it while speaking and that did not work so well. Eventually I just decided to ignore the conversation box until I could pause from talking. I also found everything in my house very distracting. My dogs would come in and try to bug me or my husband was trying to talk to me. I was only in the hot seat for under 10 minutes and yet so many distractions occurred in that time. I think next time I will have to lock myself in a quiet room to avoid distractions.

Teaching Blind

– I was really surprised to find that I was slightly frustrated because I could not see my ‘students’. I could not see their reactions to what I was saying so it was hard to tell if they were interested in what I was saying, confused, or just wanted me to move on to the next point. I realized very quickly how dependent I am on having that face to face contact in my classroom. It really does have a major influence on how I teach a lesson. I was only supposed to take 5 minutes but I went overtime and believe that was because I felt I had to do more explaining without those reassuring nods and vigilant eye contact! I am not sure yet how I will be able to address this problem in my next Elluminate session. I am hoping to get some ideas by watching others teach using Elluminate in the next few weeks.

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