Friday, January 28, 2011

Blogger and other communication tools

Have you noticed that some of the templates in Blogger have a short panel of icons for other social networking tools like Twitter and Facebook as well as email and Blogger itself? This allows you to tie together different methods of communication and collaborating. Try sharing a particularly interesting post to Facebook (or Twitter when we get to it a little later). Do you think this would be useful in a school setting?

Have you also noticed that some blogs appear to elicit more comments than others? What makes you want to read and contribute to a blog (your classmates' or others')? Have you commented on the blog of someone you don't know? How woud you feel if you got comments from non-classmates? How do you think your students would feel if they got comments from someone outside the school?

Smartboards and collaboration / communication

Several people mentioned that they got Smartboards or some type of interactive whiteboard in their classroom. These seem to be all the rage right now. I'm interested in how they are used for student collaboration and learning beyond just presenting information or short "quizzes" using some of the notebook features. I've been reading the research on IWB and Marzano's study (Teaching with Interactive Whiteboards, Educational Leadership; Nov2009, Vol. 67 Issue 3, p80-82, 3p) shows they have an impact on student achievement only if learner-response devices are used with them, graphics are used to represent information, or they are used to present information in an unusual context to reinforce learning.

Have you seen them used as tools for collaboration and communication?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Using Voice Thread

This week we shared some ideas using VoiceThread. I created a short video with some questions and people in the class responded either in text format or audio format. Here are some questions it raised for me. What do you think?

Did you prefer contributing by text or audio? (No one tried video contribution)

How would your students react to this way to share their ideas?

Does it encourage conversation or just serial posts? How could you use it to develop a dialog?

Is there a need to have someone go back and summarize the conversation at the end of the week?

Did you find it useful to have pictures of contributors?

What skills are you learning through your own online learning experience? What skills are important to focus on if we want students to guide their own learning and work online independently and collaboratively?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Problem Solving in Course

In this course, you will be immersed in a range of technologies. You may find that you are uncertain and uncomfortable because many of you are working with new technologies and skills that you have not used before. most of use are comfortable with email, word processing, creating presentations, and searching in Google, but this class will ask you to use some of the web 2.0 tools for collaboration and sharing knowledge creation. There may be some of you who call yourselves digital natives but most of us will be digital immigrants for whom these are new.

One of the skills you'll need to use in this class is problem solving and learning when and who to ask for help. Try out new things on your own first, but please feel free to ask your classmates, your students in school, your teenage children, others out there on the Internet and the instructor for help. Look at this as an adventure where you won't always feel in control.

You will also notice that this blog has been used in previous sections of this class, you reading back through old posts may be interesting for you.