#ed366 #reflection

On the first day in our ED366 class I definitely felt more than a little out of place. Having not set foot in a classroom for over a decade, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in over my head. At least everything started off smoothly, since not one of my UPEI passwords would work for me. But luckily enough my first class in the CAE program was a technology course, and soon enough Dave used his networking skills to get me on the right track. From then on, even though being a student still seemed a bit overwhelming to me, things started to get easier. I even managed to do a presentation in front of the class on “scoop.it”. That may be an everyday task to some people in the class, but I am used to dealing with automobiles.  I am going to touch a bit on each of our four main technologies that our course focused upon.

Let me jump right in and begin with my least favourite of the four, our ED366 blog on WordPress. Now this website is easy to access, easy to use, and, despite a few curse words being said while trying to post using an iPad, easy to use for posting and editing. Sounds like a great resource for blogging, doesn’t it? So why was it my least favourite part of the course? I hate writing. I struggled week to week trying to come up with 300 plus words to write. I am a pretty reserved individual who is not used to expressing himself on paper. Now I write songs on a regular basis, most of which are much more personal than anything I would have expressed in this blog, but couldn’t help but feel exposed every time I hit that publish button. Anyway, since is was my least favourite part of the course, I believe that I probably took away the most from it. I am a firm believer that people need to be pushed outside of their comfort zone in order to grow. So, getting an introverted first time adult learner to sit down and really delve deep into the corners of his mind, and then to express and relate the subject matter to my own life experiences, was definitely an exercise in personal growth.

Second up on the chopping block is Moodle. On my first day in class moodle was just a funny sounding word that everyone else seemed to be familiar with. This was my first attempt at using any course building software, so I do not have anything to compare it too. It seems like a relatively simple program to use. Once you have figured out what a few key icons are for, and that you will need to turn your editing on every time that you sign in, you’re pretty much walking on sunshine. Since I am not a teacher at the moment, I can’t really comment on how useful the program is, but it did seem like a simple way to create quizzes or to host a discussion.

Next we have Google Drive, G-mail, Google Hangouts, ECT… Pretty much anything in the Google family. I had used some of these services before, but not too extensively. Gmail was easy enough, once you’ve used one service, there pretty much all in the same ballpark. I work on several local festival committees and Google documents and Hangouts have already become very useful for my work with them. It’s so easy now for us to write proposals, and to have the rest of the board edit and contribute, without having to call everyone one together for a meeting. And the same goes for Google Hangouts, even when I am stuck at work, I can still manage to take a few minutes and be involved in the meeting.

And last but certainly not least, we have Twitter. Much to my surprise I have found twitter to be quite useful. With with right network of followers, and the proper ED366 hashtag, finding helpful information, or in some cases just finding help, was surprisingly fast and easy. Twitter was the one of our four main technologies that I had any real experience with at the beginning of our course. But using it in a professional context has really opened my eyes about the limitless connections that can be made. I am in the process of opening a new oyster shucking business, and have since remodelled my twitter to focus on potential business contracts. It’s a great way to seek information from similar companies that operate in larger centres, and to get our name out there to potential local clients. So even though I thought I wouldn’t leave this course knowing anything new about twitter, I have left with an entirely new perspective on the program.

I made the decision to enter the CAE program knowing that it may never actually lead to a job position. Local teaching positions in automotive technology are few and far between, but for as long as I have been working in the trade it has been my dream to one day end up at the front of a classroom. So after the birth of my daughter I decided that it was time to take the gamble on my future and see if I could make a better life for my family. Time goes by so fast, and know I will regret it if I have to miss out on her childhood because I am working 60 hours a week. Returning to school as been a major shock to the system, but I am positive that I made the right decision. There were times that I couldn’t help but feel like I could have contributed much more to the class, but life can get pretty busy sometimes. But here I am, finishing my last post of my first CAE class, still unsure about what my future will bring. I guess I will end this post by saying thank you Dave, and thank you to the everyone in the ED366 class, you have made this a memorable first step in my life’s new path.

Presentation.

How exciting can you make you tube?

I’m hoping this and some of the other digital tools we’ve explored in this course will and some more variety to my class this coming year. As I mentioned in my chat on how I plan to use video in the class this coming year, a big component to this will be to have the students record themselves doing  practical exercises. They will then use this as a teaching tool, delivering it to their class mates. I believe this will work well, our course has a lot of individual skills that each student must acquire before moving on to the next part of the course, so I see a lot of opportunity for this technology. This could also end up being a visual diary , for the student to look back upon their learning progress.

Certainty the timing for taking a course like this couldn’t be better, even for trades programs I believe we are going to see a push for more online learning opportunities. So the more technological tools we’re aware of the better off we will be.

Kent

 

 

Scoop.it

Well I have made it through my first presentation without sufferering any serious trauma. For most others in the class it probably isn’t a real big deal to get up in front of a classroom, but it was an exciting and nerve wrecking experience for me. There were a few moments up there that my mind seemed to drift away from my body, and left me standing with an inexperienced stunned grin on my face, but all in all I think I can consider it to have been a success.

I chose Scoop-It for my class presentation. Scoop.It is an easy to use internet curation tool that allows you to create simple topic based websites that consist of other web pages, articles, videos, pictures and links. Simply choose a topic and a few choice keywords and scoop-it will provide you with a plethora of articles and websites matching your criteria. You can then choose to “scoop” any media that you want to add to your page. You also have the option of adding any other web based material by simply copying the URL and adding it to your page. Scoop-it’s “bookmarklet” tool allows you to add any information to your page while you are browsing the internet, without having to return to the scoop-it website.

You will need to create an account using your email or by logging in with twitter. The downside/upside to using twitter as your log in is that every topic that you scoop will be tweeted out to your followers. Scoop-it has mobile apps that that are also quite easy to use. In conclusion, Scoop-it can be a great was to present specific topic information to a group, or it can double as a great bookmark tool, allowing you to keep many useful websites in one visually appealing site. I’ve included a link to Scoop-it and a link to the Learning Network Plan that I created with this service.

http://www.scoop.it/t/learning-network-plan

http://www.scoop.it/

 

GarageBand works better with sound.

GarageBand is recording and editing software that is free to download on Apple products. Garage band actually comes reinstalled on iMacs and MacBooks with more features than what can be downloaded on the free app.

Since the app is free the money generation comes through the ability to buy extra instruments through in app purchases. The number of free instruments is very restricted however there is still lots of dynamic options that are included.

I chose GarageBand for a few reasons. The first reason is that it is free, can’t beat that. Not just that it is free but that it is a very good and easy to use free app.

The second is that music is a great equalizer since most people like music and really is a language that is meant to be shared and a great way to fortify relationships. In my previous work as a Child and Youth Worker I would often use music as a source of conversation in order to begin building a rapport w youth.

Third is the significance of accessibility for music recording software to end up in the hands of people that wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Before this type of accessibility a musician would have to invest thousands of dollars just to develop the sound of one instrument. Then, Once a musician ready to head to the studio, the costs associated with professional music studios would mean that a single track could cost thousands to produce. Not any more. The music industry has been dealt a crippling blow as the the ease of music production Ends up in the hands of anyone who is interested, rather than just those who could afford it.

I guess I just think that this world could use more music and less industry.

YouTube presentation

Well everyone that was it. My presentation on YouTube. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed presenting it. I find I don’t mind getting up in front of people anymore to speak as over the years you learn that as long as your zipper is up and your nose is fairly clean people will listen respectively to what you have to say.As for my topic I looked at a lot of different technology’s and I thought it might be good to dig deeper into one I know very little about but use quite often to see if their might be other things I may use it for. The great thing about this class is that it made you think “what “and you start to ask your self questions and you realize that those questions can be answered if your persistent and willing to look and ask and learn as you go. When you see a little link hidden in text or on a page check it out you never know what you’ll find hidden in there. this is what I was doing with YouTube start in one corner and check out each little section. Then when you come to something you cannot figure out on your own you go to your favorite search engine and have a look and before long you are a semi pro in your new found technology. Or one you have been using just not to its full potential that happens a lot.I think my presentation went well as did all the others I have see things I have never seen before.What a great learning tool. So to finish off I would like to say thank you, It’s been fun and I want to remind you to always keep asking questions, you never know what you will get for an answer. I think my presentation went well as did all the others I have see things I have never seen before.What a great learning tool.

Storify.com Presentation Reflection

Storify.com is a surprisingly simple tool that is used to curate social media stories. This tool can be used to follow a story as it develops through online media; it allows you to take an idea and create a story using images, status updates from Twitter and Facebook, newsclips, videos, and just about anything else you that is searchable on the internet.

It is free (and easy) to use. To use storify.com, create an account (which means an email and a password). Users have their own profile where they can create and edit stories and can choose to publish them. Once you search a particular topic, drag and drop tidbits of information from the right side of the screen into the document that is being created on the left. Headlines and text can be inserted throughout the document to help tell the story. This information can be moved within the document. Stories can be edited after they have been published as well.

This tool will be particularly helpful when providing up-to-the-minute information to students. A course in which I will make use of this tool is Environmental Chemistry where students discuss and debate controversial environmental issues. It would be another way for them to create factsheets on an issue, or for me to gather information during class preparation.

SlideShark presentation reflection

Well, there you have it. I finished up the final class with my presentation on Slideshark and I wasn’t even there. Thanks to you all who attended and hopefully you’ve learned a bit about its use as a presentation tool. I believe you have.

My internet connection decided to foul up once again so that added a bit of frustration on my end but when it would reconnect I was able to view your activity on the shared doc and I was also able to have some brief chats as well.

I was unsure how I would be able to get my message to you and also participate. After a bit of head scratching I remembered that in the first class we added our names to a shared doc and we could all see . I had a chat with Dave about this and now you know the rest of the story.

I am not sure how this format worked for you in the class. I would love to get some honest feedback. This was a first for me. Post me a rating or suggestions!

I am pleased that I was able to participate in class from afar and I look forward to using my newly acquired technology tools in the near future.

Cheers,
Scott

Course Reflection…The end of the beginning

It never fails to surprise me, nor my tech-savvy husband, at how resistant I am to technology and change. You can imagine how surprised we both were when I signed up for this course. I am sure that 90% of that resistance you said you saw in the first class, Dave, came directly from my little chair. Sorry about that.

It’s almost too bad the class was so short. For anyone resistant to technology, like myself, or those that don’t understand or use as much of it, I understand how panicked they must have felt when so many things were presented to them in that first class. I think the thing about technology, for those of us who did not grow up with so much of it, is that yes, it can be learned, but it needs to be at a manageable pace. For the first half of this course, personally, I felt very un-manageable. When I began to get a better feel for the tone of the course, I think I began to relax a bit more and, therefore, learned more. I am not an expert in any of the technologies we touched. I did, however, learn about programs and softwares that I never would have looked for on my own. And, if it wasn’t for this course, I would have happily gone the rest of my life without one single tweet. (As a side note, I admit that I do still call it “that tweet thing” from time to time so I know I am not there yet!!!)

Let’s face it. We are a face-to-face generation living in an online world. No wonder we are resistant to it. Does anyone else wonder where society is headed sometimes when we see person after person after person staring at a mobile device in their hand rather than talking to the person in front of them? Perhaps technology moves too fast for all of us. It’s so addictive that we don’t want to put it down, but instead, what we need to do is integrate it into our face-to-face world in a meaningful way. I think that’s what this course is all about. Instead of being an expert in any one technology, which would be silly since they change so much, this course has shown me how to explore technology, how to make it work for you (And some of it may never work for you. You have to pick and choose.), and how it is possible to connect with people in a whole different way. And let me make it clear that I don’t think connecting in a meaningful way means texting your friend that is sitting two seats away from you and not being able to string a sentence together for a job interview.

Sometimes people my age think that children growing up with this technology will have it so much easier when they grow up but I wonder if they will, if we don’t have a proper handle on how to use it, and on how to teach them to use it, in a positive and meaningful way. We throw a tablet at them and are amazed at how quickly they pick it up, how intuitive their skills are. But on the other end of that, being a lab assistant, correcting student papers, and interacting with students, I see people that don’t know to start a sentence with a capital letter, don’t know the right way to spell words that are habitually shortened for texting, don’t understand that you don’t always write the way you talk, depending on the writing style and your audience, and perhaps most troubling, don’t know how to just sit and talk, or listen to others actively. Actively, meaning they are really listening and responding to what the other has to say, reading verbal and non-verbal cues, and taking something out of the conversation. Or even listening to instructions and not having to have things repeated four and five and six times, and then still saying you didn’t explain things to them. Definitely some of this stems back to education and pushing people through without having the proper skills, but that is a whole other blog post digression. I think some of it also has to come from the bombardment of technology and the fact that this technology that, as young children, they picked up so intuitively, has become addictive and not managed very well. Perhaps we need courses like this at an earlier age, when the students are just starting to learn about what technology can do: a course that integrates the wealth and awesomeness that is technology with the realities of needing to balance it with personal interactions. I think that is why, at the beginning of this course, I was so resistant to technology. Because what I see of it is that people rely so heavily on it, and put so much emphasis on it that they seem to lose the ability to interact on a personal level and to use their senses as opposed to their thumbs to search Google for the answer. I say all of this as I write with my head buried in a laptop, my headphones in, and music on to drown out background noise at the muffler shop while I wait for my car to be fixed. Perhaps I am just as addicted as everyone else…I like to think that I use it in a certain time and place, and can balance it well, but maybe I am just fooling myself.

So, that rant being made, let’s get down to the reflection of the four technologies that were sort of the core of the course: Twitter, Gmail and Google drive, ed366 blog, and Moodle.

I was already used to Gmail and had used Google drive but only sparingly. It seems easy to use and manage, and a really useful tool in terms of collaborating on documents with colleagues. I don’t see how it would be used yet with students. I don’t see using Google hangouts a whole lot because anytime I want to chat online I use Skype. To me Google hangouts seems like the same thing in a different space.

Moodle seems fairly easy to get around with the limited time I have used it. I have only SAM to compare it to but it seems like it is more user-friendly. I find with SAM/Angel there are so many clicks to do one simple thing. It doesn’t seem that way with Moodle and I wish I had more opportunity to play around with it.

Ed366 blog – I liked blogging. I think I said in my first blog that I like writing and so this method of communication lends itself to me. Whether or not people find what I have to say useful or important, or even relevant, remains to be seen.

Twitter. I save this for last because it was the technology I was most reluctant to use. Did I find it useful in the end? At times, but I have to say, for me it comes down to having the time and inclination to check something else on a daily basis for content. Highly likely not to happen, regardless of how useful it is.

As for the other technologies, I am impressed with the presentations so far. Everyone seems to be embracing the learning process and are doing a great job at communicating that to the rest of us. I look forward to looking into some of the technologies further: Tumblr, Storify, Flickr (Creative Commons), and Pocket, to name a few.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I am too negative on technology in education because I am not. My struggle is feeling comfortable with it, not in whether or not we should use it. My problem is, instead of being inside trying to figure technology out I’d rather be out in the woods somewhere…something tells me I am not the majority in society.