My Blogging Experience

April 5, 2010

A Reflection on my Diigo Presentation

Filed under: Diigo — Tags: , , , , , — debyj @ 12:01 pm

I partnered up with Brandee and gave a tag-team presentation on Diigo last week.

Something I am really glad we did was have a practice run on Elluminate the day before the presentation.  It gave us lots of ideas and helped us stay organized.  We were able to record it so we had a chance to learn from our mistakes before the official presentation and figure out how much we could do within the time limits of the presentation.  We also created an outline for our presentation so that we could stay on track and know exactly what topics and order of topics we would each cover.  We did do the presentation from two separate computers so I found the outline really helped us work well together even though we were not communicating in person.

I can definitely see that my presentation skills have improved since my last Elluminate presentation. I tried to be more animate with my voice and can definitely hear that improvement in the recording.  Something I did notice that I would like to change is the amount of times I use the words “so” and “um”.  I found in my internship I commonly tried to work on talking with better sentence structure so that is a challenge I am quite familiar with and will probably be working on for quite some time.

Even though we did a practice run of the presentation and ended up cutting out some information due to time restrictions, I still think we might have cramed too much information into one presentation.  I kept track of the time during the presentation and we ended up taking about 16 minutes and there were times when we were rushing so if I were to do it over again, I might have cut even more information out.

There was one technical problem that I would really like to know how to solve in the case I end up in this predicament one day in the future.  A the time, I thought it was just my computer but then I noticed it on the recording too.  when Brandee was trying to show the uses of the diigo toolbar, the toolbar drop down options were blacked out so that you could not see anything.  No one mentioned this in the chat, which I found odd, so maybe it really is just my computer after all??

One problem I did not expect was the lack of participation.  I think that although there seemed to be over 10 people in attendance, I am not sure all of those ten people were actually sitting at their computers. I noticed whenever I asked a question, I would get responses from the same three or four people and did not see any activity from anyone else when I asked them to raise their hands, for example.  One of the things I really wanted to improve on from my last presentation was my communication with the audience and I believe I put in a much better effort this time.  The problem was that I was fairly certain I did not have much of an audience at all!  I am not even sure we had the full attention of any one individual throughout the entire presentation.  This reminds me of how easily it is to get distracted during some of these presentations and how important it is to set your status as “away” when you are not there.  I have decided that from now on, during these presentations I will give my full attention to the presenter or I will not attend at all.  There is no point in attending if I am going to be distracted by something else the whole time and it is definitely not fair to the presenter.

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March 15, 2010

Cellphones for learning?

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , — debyj @ 10:07 am

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in an Elluminate session with Liz Kolb on the topic of cellphones.  Throughout the presentation I was madly Diigoing all the of the resources she was sharing.  I also downloaded a copy of her powerpoint in case I missed anything!  I honestly did not expect to find this presentation so resourceful. I had no idea that there are SO MANY ways that you can use cellphones for learning.

If I went around a school and asked all of the teachers what they thought of allowing the use of cellphones in classrooms, the majority would disagree with the notion.  Before I saw this presentation, I would have disagreed as well.  I did not see the educational benefits that could come with using cellphones for learning.  Now that Liz has educated me in this area, I do not see it as such a bad idea.  In addition to using cellphones for learning, having them in the classrooms would also be a great opportunity to teach students about cellphone etiquette!  Right now, I believe that students are not being educated enough in that area and part of that reason is that we are not allowing them in classrooms and some schools are not allowing them at all in the building.

More and more students have their own cellphones everyday.  I would say almost all of my students in my internship had cellphones.  As this trend continues to grow, I can absolutely see cellphones becoming a great tool for students to use to enhance their learning experiences!

January 24, 2010

Old and New ways of teaching

Filed under: Education — Tags: , , , , , , — debyj @ 2:29 pm

Reflecting on University classes….

Bad Learning Experiences:

– 3 hour lectures

Unfortunately, most professors choose to give students a 3 hour lecture each week in which they participate only by frantically writing notes. Some professors thankfully choose to give students the opportunity to learn in a variety of ways such as group activities and discussions. This student – centered classroom is more realistic because it is very difficult for us to focus our brains on one particular event for three hours. I came across an article called quick brains that discusses how the brain has changed along with technology. We process information much more quickly then we used to and we have a very short attention span as a result. Teachers (including professors!) must realize this and change or alter their teaching styles if they want their students to succeed.

– motivation

Sometimes it is very difficult to be motivated in University classes. There are many many times when I have wondered what exactly I was learning in class that would be relevant to my career after I complete my degree. Sometimes professors forget to learn about their students. They should be teaching to educate the students in a way that best prepares them for their career! Unfortunately, many professors are teaching because they have to, not because they love to.

Good Learning Experiences:

– Elluminate

I participated in an online class presentation last week featuring Karl Fisch. It was a new experience for me and I really enjoyed it. It is amazing how technology has advanced in a way that allows a number of people from all over the world to meet together and discuss education without leaving their homes.

– Wolfram Alpha

Karl Fisch talked about a relatively new (May 2009) search engine called Wolfram Alpha. It is very neat and definitely worth trying out. For educators, especially in the Math and Science area, this new tool may pose some problems. Wolfram Alpha can calculate easy to advanced equations for you. Will it be allowed in schools or will it be a blocked website?

If you want to find out more about it, here is a short video tutorial:

Wolfram Alpha introductory movie

– You Tube

In his presentation, Karl Fisch stated that he disagreed with schools for prohibiting the use of You Tube in classrooms. Why not? He argued that we trust our teenagers to drive vehicles yet we do not trust them to use a video website. You Tube has some very valuable resources that are excellent learning opportunities. Not only that, but imagine if we could have the opportunity to teach our students how to use You Tube effectively. We can teach them how to understand the difference between a good and bad video. We can also help them understand the risks involved in posting their own videos; what they should or should not post. I agree with Karl. Lets stop banning websites and start helping our students make effective use of the internet! You Tube is not something to be ashamed of!

I never realized it until now, but my best experiences in University have been those when my teachers have used as many resources as possible (including technology) to best educate me. Technology is becoming such a great tool for teaching (as long as we know how to use it properly). If you are teaching and you are not using it, I think you are making a big mistake.

Another neat video I just found that I think is very relevant to this topic:

digital students @ analog schools

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