Today we spent most of our time working with Flips to make mini films. The Flip cameras were really easy to use though they have somewhat limited features. They seem pretty ideal for students who aren’t working in a video production class, but simply doing video projects in other areas. While I can’t see myself doing a ton of work in my own classes with video production it was still interesting to work with the technology and to get a better appreciation for the amount of work people must put into their own videos and films. Here is the video our group made in class.
I thought I’d mention Google Apps for a couple of reasons. Firstly, we have been doing some work with Google Docs in class during the last few sessions so it is something topical to discuss. Secondly, and somewhat selfishly, I plan on focusing my masters project on my own experience implementing Google Apps into one or more of my classes this upcoming year. I am very interested in testing the powers of Google Docs for student collaboration and Google Calendar for keeping students and parents abreast of due dates and tests. I know Google Apps can do do much more than this and really improving the experience of students in my classes.
I am a bit concerned about the difficulties I anticipate potentially encountering when I approach my administration and board office to get permission to set up Google Apps in my class. The main reason I am anticipating some difficulties is the lack of awareness about the power of Apps. I am hopeful that I can get the necessary people on board by presenting info on some other schools and their successes with Apps, such as Adam Scott C.V.I. & Intermediate School in Peterborough, Ontario and Arizona State University where the entire university runs on Apps.
So I am about to start planning my sales pitch to my admin and board office. If anyone that stumbles upon my quaint little blog is able to offer any insight or advice as to how best to approach this (or has any other tips relating to using Google Apps) it would be greatly appreciated. I’ve received some very helpful feedback on my posts from the past few days (thank you all!) and added some valuable contacts through Twitter as well.
Today Alec showed us a bunch more of his tools and how to use them. Several things stood out to me as being potentially very useful for me and my students. I’m just going to run through some of the tools I could see myself using and encouraging my students to use in their own projects.
Screencastle is a cool way to record visual and audio explanations of how to do basically anything on a computer. I could see this saving me from having to explain how to do things as mundane as attaching a doc to an email. It could also be useful for showing my students the basics in using some of the other tools we were introduced to today.
Wordle can be used to create “word clouds” which are cool visuals that can be done by simply pasting a piece of text (a story, a poem, an essay, whatever) into the site and then it spits out the visual. Pretty cool stuff…
I enjoyed today’s class a lot . I was truly engaged throughout our whole session and the three hours flew by. I envision students responding in a similar fashion after being introduced to these tools and then being given the option to work with them on their own projects.
Thursday July 30th – Well, apparently this didn’t post yesterday so I’ll throw it up here now. Not sure what happened. Technology…
Today’s session made my brain hurt. Not hurt in a bad hangover way and not hurt in a screaming baby kind of way. Hurt in a way like it had to work really, really hard. Like many of my classmates, I thought I knew a lot about the world of social networking and that I was pretty comfortable with my place in that world. Building on an analogy from one of my classmates, it felt like Alec opened up his garage to show me his tools and I expected to see all these tools I had used a bit on my own or at least heard of. Instead, Alec opened up his garage and the tools came pouring out as if they had filled every square inch of his garage. Now I guess it is up to me to decide what tools I want to try to use and to try to figure out how to organize them in a fashion that makes sense to me. I don’t know if this is reflective or if it even makes sense. Here’s hoping…
Day 1 exposed me to some brand new social networking technologies and also introduced me to some different uses of the technologies I was already somewhat familiar with. I also gained some insight into how to go about adding to my own PLN.
Coming into this course I have made use of some mainstream technologies such as Facebook and Wikipedia, and I have also developed a list of blogs that I follow as a part of my own information gathering strategies. I’ve never blogged myself so hopefully something at least marginally interesting will come out of this.
Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned today dealt with the potential power of Twitter. I have a relatively new Twitter account and to be honest I hadn’t really figured out the point of it until today. I mainly use it to get updates from sports writers that I follow and a few athletes that have way too much time on their hands (Chris Bosh, cough cough). I am looking forward to getting some more tips on building up my own PLN, especially on Twitter. Right now I have four followers and they are people I either know in real life or people I have been in fantasy sports leagues with (don’t ask). This is fine, but my big concern is the people that want to follow me. All of these people appear to be somewhat attractive young women encouraging me to direct my attention towards their lovely…websites. I don’t know what I have done to make these entrepreneurial young ladies want to follow me, but I will assume it is because I am a male with an internet connection and they have put two and two together in their own minds. Needless to say, I don’t think these followers will add a great deal to my PLN so hopefully I’ll be able to add some followers that will.
That’s all for now, time to sign off and start plugging away on a much less interesting masters activity: the lit review!
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