Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Each class I have taken in my TL-DL journey has been rewarding in its own way and this class certainly is no exception. However, I need to say that this class has the potential to impact the program that I offer as a TL in my school the most out of all my previous classes. Even though I have had experience using many of the web 2.0 tools we explored in the class, my knowledge and comfort level has deepend immensely. Several tools I had tinkered with personally and had not really considered the learning implications in the educational environment. This class has really been the light bulb for me. It has made me think of how I can be using various tools with both students and teachers.
I think I need to ask myself a few questions about each of the web 2.0 tools as I plan to use them with teachers and students.
1. How will this tool engage students?
2. Will this make the teachers’ life easier or more difficult?
3. How can I use this with teachers?
4. How can I best implement this tool?
I’m sure there are many other questions that will cross my mind as I plan for the future, but I think this is a good start. I don’t want to make it too complicated because if I do, then I (and others) won’t buy in and use it to it’s full potential.
Well, I have some serious planning to do as I re-look at what I am doing in the school and how I can further push technology integration in my school. It will be interesting to see what is happening in a few months and what new tools are available in the next year as we think ahead to web 3.0 (or whatever they’ll call it)!
It’s an exciting time to be a t-l and I am so fortunate to be in the position that I currently am in. Who knows what the future holds, but all we really can do is embrace the moment and use these tools to get our students excited about learning. It’s easier than it sounds! It's been a great journey and I'm certain that this is still only the beginning!
“That’s all folks” (for now)
So I’ve written about the new tools I had the opportunity to explore, what about the tools that I’ve already used and revisited this term? Rather than give a brief overview of each tool, I thiought I’d focus on a couple that really stood out for me.
- This is the tool in which I feel I should be using more than what I currently am. It’s a wonderful tool that can be used throughout the curriculum. What I really find appealing is that podcasting really lends itslf well to the various types of learners that we find in all our classes. For those reluctant writers, why not have them create a podcast where they can tell us what they have learned?
- Garage Band. To me, this is the ultimate creative tool that Mac offers in their iLife suite. If you haven’t had a chance to play with a Mac and explore, Garage band, I highly recommend you do so. You will easily get caught up in the application and have a tonne of fun creating your next podcast.
- Where I’d like to go with podcasting is having students create more frequently in the class but secondly, I’d really like to get in the habit of creating a professional podcast that could be posted on the school virtual library page. Perhaps on a weekly basis to start. I’d like to offer tips, hints, news that would be helpful for teachers. The topics could vary widely but I’d like to focus on technology as my first target area. I’d keep the podcasts to 2-4 min. in length so it doesn’t take much time out a teachers day but it could offer some assistance in what they do in the class.
- This is another tool like podcasting that I’d really like to be using more. I’ve been involved in and created a few wiki’s for various purposes, but I’d really like to get into the habit of using them more frequently in the class with students as we become more inquiry based in our school and our learning. Wiki’s provide a great opportunity to take collaboration to the next level for both students and teachers
i. Student collaboration – I’d like to start up my Language Arts group using a wiki again like I did a few years ago. The students loved the forum for discussion and really were engaged and held one another accountable for the work they were doing.
ii. Virtual Library – Last year I spent quite a significant amount of time developing my library webpage. Now that I’m a year wiser (or at least a year older), I’d like to revamp my webpage and make parts of it wiki based.
The greatest obstacle I have found to using some of the web 2.0 tools is the initial set up with students. The community that I am currently in is not overly technologically literate. Many families don’t have computers and as a result, students may not have email addresses. For some applications, students are required to have email accounts and this requires some set up on my part with students. Moving forward, I think I am going to have all my students set up a google account and then we can eliminate some of the bumps in the road that we face.
Bottom line….I need to make the time to use these more often in my school!
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Hilights & Lowlights of Learning 2.0
Rollercoaster? I wouldn’t necessarily say that. I’m not the type of person who gets overly worked up about things. Sure, I get agitated with the best of them, but I think I have a decent balance and background knowledge that I wasn’t “floored” by any of the web 2.0 tools that we explored. I guess that I could break down my learning into a few categories and sub categories.
New Tools for Bussiere
- This was certainly my favourite new web 2.0 tool that I explored this term. I was pretty hesitant when I first looked into it but after about 10 min. of exploring, I came to the conclusion that it really is as easy as it looks. The ease in which I set up an account and created my first voice thread wasn’t comparable to any other application I’d explored before. I can see the definite hook for students to create a voicethread. As an educator, it a simple application that could be used in nearly any subject. I am currently working with a gr. 6-8 Language Arts group and I have a few ideas on how students will be creating a voicethread in the near future.
- Social Networking with Facebook
- This was relatively new to me as I set up a facebook account in the summer knowing that I’d be exploring this in the fall for this class. If I didn’t have to become more familiar with it due to this class, I’m not sure I would have started an account. Now that I have an account, I periodically check my account to see what is going on but I would have to say that it’s not really something I’m “in” to. Facebook would have to be my least favourite of the web 2.0 tools that we explored in the course. I can see how social networking sites such as facebook can be used in and educational setting, however I won’t be spending any of my teaching time with students on this one. I guess I still see Facebook as a friend collection competition. The educational possibilities of other web 2.0 tools far outweigh those that I see with Facebook.
- RSS & Blog Aggregates
- Last year I set up Vienna as my RSS tool of choice. I did not use this very often and when I did, it was to catch up on personal interest websites. As I did some more investigating on this topic, I set up Google Reader as my new blog aggregate. I found this to be much more effective as I could customize my information more easily and access my RSS from any computer anywhere. I found this very helpful in following some of my new favourite blogs that pertain to web 2.0 tools and technology in education. This will definitely be something I will continue to use in the future both as a student and an educator.
- Social Bookmarking with del.icio.us
- First of all, I want to know why the heck they didn’t set the name up by syllables (de.lic.ious rather than del.icio.us)? I’m sure there is some logic to the name but I don’t get it! Anyhow…..This is the web 2.0 tool that I don’t think I spent enough time with. I kind of skimmed the surface of the idea of social bookmarking but I think that if I invest the time into better setting up my account, I will really find that I won’t be able to live without it. The way I have my bookmarks organized on my computer(s) is pretty good so I guess I was kind of thinking “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. However, I can definitely see the benefit of having access to my bookmarks anywhere in the world at any time. As well, I need to get into the habit of using “tags” to categorize and organize my electronic life a little better. Perhaps this is a Christmas Holiday project for when I feel I need to get away from family visits?
- Photo Sharing with Flickr
- This was the web 2.0 tool that really made me think about how and where I store items on my computer. What happens if my computer dies and I haven’t backed my information up recently? What if I can’t recover the pictures of my kids from Christmas? Here’s where Flickr (and photo sharing) made me think. I don’t have an external hard drive that I back my files up on regularly. I simply rely on my jump drive (which can only hold so much info). Not only can I safely store all my pictures online, but I can organized them by tags as well as make them available to others. I love the idea of doing this, now I just need to find the time to do it! Another Christmas holiday project!
Well, there you have it, the new tools and what I think in a nutshell. Overall, the learning curve was not that steep in any of these tools. Instead, I just need to make the time to invest in further exploring and playing with each of these tools to see how they can impact student learning as well as make my life a little easier!
Part II fini! Next, Part III!
Friday, December 5, 2008
As it has been in the previous 4 classes I have completed in my TL-DL program, I certainly could not have done this without my classmates and for that I am very grateful. Sure much of our learning takes place from our professional reading, research and experimentation, but the conversations that take place in our discussions on Web CT (or whatever the official name of it is these days) are truly some of the most valuable and memorable moments in the class.
I really enjoy the non-threatening manner in which our formal and non-formal discussions take place. Upon beginning the class, many of us are complete strangers and find out a small glimpse of whom each person is through their introduction posted in the first week. By the end of the course, as a direct result from following classmate’s blogs, I have gained a much better understanding about the person behind the words. The voice that each class member has conveyed in their blog and discussion postings has given us a glimpse into their personality, style, work ethic & tendencies, style of learner, and professionalism that makes them the unique individual they are. I am always amazed by the amount of work, research and thoroughness that individuals put into their on-line conversations. It always gives me something to strive towards and makes me think just a little deeper.
There have been no shortage of “hmmm….I hadn’t thought of that”, or “I’m going to have to look into that a little further” moments in every inquiry discussion we have explored. It is interesting to see how different individuals look at, interpret and guide their discussions in their own way. For example, the “Getting and staying organized in the web 2.0 environment” was looked at through a different lens for everyone. From tags, to tools, to RSS, to digital devices, each individual was eager to share their challenges, frustrations, successes and learning’s so others could learn.
WOW! Where do I start? I could spend my entire Christmas holidays going through everyone’s blog in great detail (but I won’t) to see what else I could be doing and how I could improve my teaching and library program from what they have learned, experienced and shared. Thankfully I have access to these amazing resources that everyone created so I can access them as I need (and I’m sure I’ll need them). The honesty and thoroughness in which classmates constructed and posted their blogs will surely save my sanity (at times) down the road. I have a flood of ideas from my own experimentation in each of the web 2.0 tools and probably a million more ideas from how others see each of the tools being used in schools for both student learning and teacher learning. It was very interesting to see how teachers and t-l’s at all different levels (from early elementary to adult ed) had some similar learning implications for some tools as well as completely different implications for other tools. The context in which we use each web 2.0 tool may vary, but the ability for each tool to impact and improve what we do, is certainly common to all.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!
What else is to say other than a huge thanks to everyone in the class who has made this an enjoyable and rewarding journey. Thanks Joanne for leading us in a very worthwhile exploration of how technology can and is shaping our educational system and personal lives today and in the future! I know that I wouldn’t have made the time to learn about some of these tools without this experience. Now I can’t imagine not teaching students how to use an application such as Voice Thread in my teaching!!
That’s it for now, but there’s more to come so hang tight!
Sunday, November 30, 2008
1. Each teacher at our school has the space on our school webpage to have a class webpage and when this was created, each teacher also was given a blog page to link to their class webpage. The nature of this blog is to simply post information for the public/students to learn about what is going on in the classroom. The only people that are able to comment on this are those who have access to edit the school website. This is simple blogging. However, from here, teachers may branch out to include students in blogging by introducing them to sites such as class blogmeister.com, blogspot.com, or edublog (other blogs could be used as well).
2. You can start small and expand your blog as your comfort level grows. Teachers may use a blog as a posting of informational items to begin and then expand it to collaborate with peers, have students respond to blogs, have students create and post blogs, etc. The possibilities are nearly endless but it doesn’t have to be too complex in order to achieve the purpose that the teacher sets out.
3. Access. Teachers can access their school blog from anywhere they have internet access. This goes without saying that this is truly one of the great benefits of web 2.0 tools. It really is anytime, anywhere learning for anyone who is involved in the blog, from publisher, to reader to commenter. From a parent perspective, it is great to be able to check out what students are doing at any given time. Depending on how the blog is being used, a parent (or anyone if the settings are set up to allow) can easily visit the class webpage and see student work, teacher informational postings, etc. As well, students are able to access this from home as well, so they can check on assignment due dates, events, offer comments on other student blogs, offer peer editing advice, etc.
4. Student learning benefits of blogging. There is something to be said about having your work published so it is accessible on the internet for the teacher, peers, classmates, family, or the entire world (depending on the settings the publisher chooses). Often, students take more pride and ownership in their work if they know that their audience is more than just their teacher. Teaching with Web 2.0 “Writing can be transformed from a one-on-one communication between teacher and student. With the use of a school-centered blog students can also receive advice and corrections from their peers.....Both blogs and wikis promote peer editing. This gets students more involved in the writing process, thus strengthening writing, editing and communication skills.”
I am sure that I have have just touched the tip of the blog iceberg, however in my school environment where I have a limited amount of technologically literate teachers (and students to a certain degree), I feel that blogging would be a good starting point for many teachers.
The Greater Plan
I’ve already started this with our staff by offering “lunch & learn” technology sessions. We began with having teachers become more acquainted with the school website. 2 sessions have been offered for teachers where we learned some of the basics of setting up a class webpage and setting up a blog page linked to their webpages. I was really surprised with the number of teachers who turned out to learn about this wonderful tool. This has provided a great springboard for teachers to make information more accessible and learn together in a non-threatening environment (Oh, and it also helped that we fed them too!). From there we have explored iBooks and how we can use these in our classes and have students create and publish their learning. They have really loved this and it has become a great link with our school literacy goal.
I’d like to continue to introduce different technological tools with teachers through these lunch and learn sessions and I feel pretty good about teachers being receptive to the opportunity to learn more and collaborate with myself on a regular and ongoing basis. I was really impressed with the ease of VoiceThread, so perhaps I’ll explore this next with students and teachers. I’ll leave that one for a little while though as I don’t want to overwhelm teachers, especially when they may not be too tech savvy.
Here’s for the future of 2.0 in my world!
When considering which web 2.0 tool I would like to introduce to my staff, the 4 that really stood out from the others were blogging, wiki’s, podcasting and voicethreads. When considering which would be the first to roll out, I think I need to consider several factors.
1. Comfort level of staff using technology
2. Which tool would staff embrace and not see as a steep learning curve
3. Most bang for our buck (meaning the ease the tool is integrated into the curriculum with the least amount of prep)
4. Time investment by staff
5. How the tool benefits student achievement
6. Grade level
That being said, there is a lot to consider when making a choice of which tool to use with staff. Being in a Pre-K to grade 8 school, not all web 2.0 tools are as easily implemented as others. So, how do I decide? I think the first step is to make all teachers aware of the tools available.
How do I do this without taking up too much of their valuable time?
I think I would like to post an example of each of the tools on the Virtual Library Web Page and tour teachers through each example. From there, it would be nice to give a brief overview of each tool and give teachers time to think about the learning implications for each tool.
As of this moment, if I were to decide which tool to use, I’m not quite sure which I’d choose. I’m still deciding.
The answer will be posted soon!