Category Archives: Technology in Teaching World

Wikis, Blogs, Websites

Wikis

I’ve been changed.

There’s no more use in denial.

I now have evidence:

My housemates and I are planning a camping trip. Facebook messages are flying back and forth from comments that are useful (i.e. I have a tent!) to…well…ridiculous. As my irritation begins to mount by the quantity of Facebook notices filling my inbox, I start to think, why don’t we throw this on a wiki. And you know what? I might just do that. It’s actually the example our instructor showed us (camping trip) when introducing the wiki: Wiki in Plain English.

Unlike our unpredictable white board, wikis can be reverted back in their histories by the administrator. Malicious or mischievous housemates deleting content? Just revert the page back to the person before “The Deleter” and regain the content.

Blogs

I fancy myself a “writer”–that is, I like write and I engage with pen/pad even when I don’t “have to”. That being said, I still find the challenge of keeping a class blog a bit daunting. What will I write about? How will I limit myself so that I don’t spend too much time blogging and not enough sleeping?

What does comfort me is the idea that I can maintain very minimal blogs (at least at first) and add more content as I become comfortable with the spurring structure. I would feel as if I’m disappointing someone if I don’t keep up  a very involved blog.

Classroom blog:

I’ll keep it simple. At least at first.

Websites

Can be left alone, abandoned.

But they never get dusty: just out of date.

A online, shared, portfolio?

Beautiful.

Just keep it updated!

Mandy

Flickr photos thanks!:

eole, eurleif

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Smart?Boards

Flickr photo from La Riviere

In class on Tuesday we explored Smartboards.

There were sounds and scribbling. Interactive, yes. (It was pretty cool to touch the screen, but not too much more unique than my sensitive “mouse” area).

I must admit that I wasn’t too thrilled about this Smartboard revolution, but because I had heard so much praise I wanted to check it out.

  • The screen’s big, but overhead projectors are too.
  • You can write on it…like a chalkboard.
  • You can write on the projected images…like a whiteboard/overhead projector combination.

Okay, okay, I sound pretty sassy. I can see that Smartboards have benefits to them, but a comparable analogy, I think of…

The i Pad. It’s bigger and fans can finally spoon with their love, but really it doesn’t do anything that a i-touch can’t do.

–Mandy

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Wiki Wonder-Wallows

Not to say that I am floundering–quite flourishing really–but still this is a mirage. Who can flourish on a wiki unless the others are flourishing with you, having this community of paired share, of editing and “here’s this too!”

I was somewhat familiar with wiki places before this assignment. My own experiment wonders about how community affects the classroom. But there is more than meets the eye. I often forget that Wikipedia is really just a very very large wiki. Sure, I know that folks can change Wikipedia pages, but how simple a concept…taking off to surpass our Encyclopedias!

And what of the ability to hold “discussions”…or that by its simplicity, wikis prove to be accessible.

flickr photo courtesy of quartermane

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Big Brother’s Tools Enter the Classroom

Big Brother? What am I talking about?

Google Earth.

I know that a lot of folks in class have discovered this application already, but not me. In a social studies class, we looked at the Earth based on night/day light. We could see where the electric lights were located, putting on a setting where both halves could be at night. From there, we could see the areas of lightness, but also (and more interestingly) of darkness. Why is it dark? Is it a rural area? A mountain chain? An ocean? Maybe a lake?

There are a lot of geography opportunities, like marking the areas of high altitude or making a trail like the Oregon trail. Students can mark their own trails across the nation!

There’s a lot of neighborhood opportunities, zooming into houses and cities. You can highlight areas, add markers denoting special places. When we talk about TPaCK, we are looking for tools that will enhance the classroom (or provide a new outlet for learning). With Google Earth, we have a tool that won’t consume paper, that is very manipulative, and strives to be as real as life itself.

There’s also a special “ocean” section for the marine biologist. 😉

–Mandy

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Mind Mapping: Mouse V. Manual

Miiiiind Maaaaapping.

In class, we briefly discussed “Mind Mapping” in regards to TPaCK (is it efficient? does it add to the lesson?) and I had decided that it was probably not something that I would use in a classroom. I’m a person who avoids technology when possible (and especially when it’s more efficient to avoid). For example, I don’t bike in snow…because the danger and hassle outweighs the expediency of travel mode.

So when we were asked to explore a technology and I was browsing the list of possibilities, I decided to check out mind mapping.

I’m biased, yes, but I think that computer graphic organizers…

> Can look more clean than hand-drawn varieties

> Mistakes are more easily and quickly changed

< However, it takes more time to set everything, and the ease of manipulation is a skill that takes practice

All in all, the computer-ized version of graphic organizer may not be an improvement as much as an option. Perhaps if students work best with computers (rather than hand-made), perhaps if the computer mouse is more like a hand than their own, perhaps then the computerized version of graphic organizers can be beneficial.

Unless there’s a special need, I’d stick with the mantra that digital mind mapping is…just an option, not an improvement.

p.s. I created a picture for this blog, but it wouldn’t load. Instead there’s this:

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Digital Storytelling has its own structure

After using Slidecast I decided to check out VoiceThread.

Originally, I had planned on syncing my audio recording with my Google Docs presentation using Voice Thread, but I soon became frustrated and moved onto Slidecast. After taking a second look at Voice Thread, some of my frustrations have been sorted out, but my conclusions are similar.

Within my experience (but please, try them both out yourself!)…

I find that Slidecast has straightforward audio syncing capabilities. Voice Thread seems simpler, but the audio must be ready to go when you upload. Slidecast made me feel assured that I have some control over the syncing process. Voice Thread allows audio, video, and textual commenting right on its page. So maybe if I’m so squeemish, I ought to just record straight onto Voice Thread.

Slidecast was  neat to learn, even if I didn’t record my commentary from its page. I could edit my audio with Audacity (which I’ m now using to record my ukulele song sketches: ) and then sync to my choosing with Slidecast. I would recommend introducing both systems into the classroom.

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AHH Real Technology (Monsters)

TECHNOLOGY AND THE PLN (also known as Personal Living Nightmare)

Okay, maybe Personal Learning Networks aren’t so bad.

I think mine might be helping me out.

Well, I know that it’s helping me out. Let me explain.

The PLN (Plight of Learning New-things)

One of the most hilarious things I’ve encountered throughout this technology exploration is the abundance of information organizing PLN in lists, or stages, like the stages of grief.

First there’s denial, like, do I have to do this?

Then there’s the anger stage, or rather, frustration. This stage comes back quite frequently.

Next is depression, when there’s a lot, A LOT of information out there, and I feel like I’m being buried under all of it. How to keep track of it all? Ah-ha, this is where RSS and social book marking saves the day.

Acceptance doesn’t always last. I’m tagging this and bookmarking that when I realize that I haven’t slept in three days, and have missed two days of class. (You think I’m kidding? Well, I am. But sleep deprivation, folks, is a serious issue.) Then always frustration comes back, like a rash. For me, it’s aggravated when the weebly web page is loading waaaay too slow. And depression usually drops down when I remember that I’ve forgotten to check my Google feed and there’s 37,985 new entries from the sites I’ve tagged.

Balance, balance, balance.

That’s what I’m struggling to do.

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