1 What was your favorite module in this course? Why?
I liked Module 5 — it forced me to take a look at Instagram in a new light, to see how it would work in the classroom and play with it. I thought it was funny that when I send an Instagram to Twitter — Instagram, a photo app — that the photo does not display in the Tweet. Well, it isn’t funny. I Googled the issues and found out how to display Instagram images on Twitter. I also found out that the reason we can’t post the image on Twitter is because Facebook bought Instagram and removed that ability. That makes it less usable for me, but I appreciated learning about it, and taking the time to discover why and find a fix.
2 Which module in this course was the most challenging for you? Why? What did you learn from that experience?
The modules were all thoughtful and engaging; I had trouble with Facebook; it’s my least favorite community because of its company premise and purpose, design, Terms of Service, Privacy, none of which are acceptable to me. Yes, I am one of those people who read the Terms of Service and Privacy Documents, especially for ownership, privacy, and how my information is used. There are apps I don’t use at all. I use Facebook solely as a minor connection to other educators, my major connection and communication with them being Twitter, Google Plus, and other online communities, although there are many groups like this one that I have found valuable in the last couple of months. As with any online presence, check the preferences and one’s profile frequently.
So how did I adapt? I learned to ignore all the sidebar barrage of ads and suggestions, and focus on the group’s notifications. I learned about controlling the ads seen. I learned how to search for Group Member’s names or keywords under the Discussion tab to find conversations to continue. Being able to find the people and posts relevant to the connections I made really helped manage both connections and my use of Facebook.
And I took the time to review the help documents: this is a great place to understand Facebook so it works within the parameters you choose. They provide a “Privacy Checkup” to frequently monitor your settings, including this HowTo page.
Because the course information was valuable, and I love collaborative and connected learning, I took a chance. This was a great experience, and I so appreciate the well-considered design of the course and all the participants and their help. That’s the important part!
Sidenote: Facebook has the ability and finances to prevent scammers but doesn’t: Current Status of Alec Couros,whose account is repeatedly hacked. Alec’s Tips to prevent Catfishing Facebook Policies Facebook TOS
3 Choose two tools from this course that you would like to start using in your teaching or work. How exactly would you use them? If you don’t plan to use any of the tools from this course, talk about the reasons why.
I will use Coggle more; it integrates easily with Google Apps, is easy to use, and allows information to be synthesized and connected in text, video, and images. I created this Coggle Thinking to show its features. Since the coggles can be embedded [although it didn’t stick here–seemed to disappear into the code], they add the multi-media dimension to understanding and to any project. This is important to the web’s expectation of visual information. Here is an example of a coggle from the templates shared by Coggle which I copied and adapted so students could find the root cause of an issue.
The second tool I find as versatile and visual is ThingLink [Thinglink for Module 8 at top of post].
I find many uses for this tool:
- Profile / Portfolio
- Information Focus Point
- Project Links for students
- Links to help videos
- By students to show learning
- By teacher for review lessons/videos
New options for 360 Video make this an exciting option for sharing.
4. Browse the Teacher’s Guide to Tech and choose two new tools (or categories of tools) that you would like to learn next. Explain how each one might meet a particular need, help you reach a certain goal, or solve a problem for you.
Which tools would I learn next?
First, the book publishing tools intrigue me. My first year with NaNoWriMo, the students were so thrilled to get their novels actually published! I have had some amazing writers and poets, and I’d like to have both classroom books and ways for them to publish on their own in the future. I’d like to help them find that path, even as a volunteer at school.
Also, I’d love to publish my family stories and poetry, and now I have time. I appreciate having this information in the course; in today’s world, everyone can be a writer! Lulu looks like a good option.
One app I will try is Shutterfly because I remembered I had signed up for an account years ago — and it’s still there! Ha!
Second, the group of content curation tools are important for gathering resources and sharing the ideas. Each one has a different purpose and depends upon the context needed. Anything of importance to save, I keep in Evernote and bookmark in Diigo. I have a few Pinterest boards for an immediate gathering of ideas. Feedly looks interesting for blogs not on WordPress [I use my “reader” there]. Paper.li and Flipboard gather resources around hashtags and topics, both of which I need to play with more.
What I’m considering is an organized visual of resources for a particular topic. PearlTrees looks good for that [see Shelly Terrell’s eBook collection], so staff or students have all resources available in one place. One place I tried before and really like is BlendSpace, [this is a guide for new members of the CLMOOC]. And I love LiveBinders [this a Twitter intro]. Both allow me to organize and annotate the resources.
Therefore, after reviewing the content curation tools, I see that I can gather resources in many ways to display in different platforms [especially Flipboard, Paper.li, and PearlTrees. I also will stick with BlendSpace and LiveBinders for the times when organization and annotation are needed.
5. Set three concrete, measurable tech goals for yourself. Set a deadline for each one.
By September 1st create a Thinglink of resources for Reciprocal Teaching; our principal believes that with a .74 positive effect on student learning, this is a strategy all teachers should include in their teaching repertoire.
By September 30th, present nine screencasts for staff on easy assessment strategies with Google Apps [forms, sheets, slides] linked within a ThingLink.
- Create three videos for each: a) how it’s used, b) how to create/ provide template, and c) how to start with students
By November 15th, revise and update my main blog to a more modern theme, with an updated About page, and with a menu of categories for the new focus as a retired middle school educator. I need to time to consider the direction, especially since I may teach a writing course at the local college, and have been asked to blog on education issues for the local newspaper.
6. What has been your most important take-away from this course? In other words, what is the most important lesson you learned?
The most important lesson I learned is how important it is to extend a helping hand, to offer assistance to those to whom this technology seems overwhelming. Some want to struggle through, because they are at that place where they know it’s within their grasp when trying. Others are on the edge of quitting, but with a friend and helping hand, will take that first step needed to understand, “Oh. I CAN do this.”
All of those who participated here as novices need to be commended: they realize that technology is here to stay, and to stay relevant, they need to learn. It is not easy. It is not easy to be a learner once again.
But once that first step is taken, that first frustration is overcome, then the understanding is made that technology is always a learning in progress — all of us are learning something new, just on a continuum.
By choosing platforms where participants can link to, comment/chat with, share struggles and successes, this course differentiated for novices and experts, allowing each to learn and all to grow together. It’s a great example for staff development or for other courses.
This course [JumpStart Tech 2016 by Jennifer Gonzalez] helped many people, I’m sure, become technology collaborators, willing to jump in to learn and to offer guidance. Those two things make the world better: collaboration and the tools to enhance our work and learning and connections.
All images by Sheri Edwards