Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thing 23 - Reflections on the Power of Web 2.0

From the international lullaby project, a Ukrainian clip (courtesy of duratrub):

It's hard to know where to start! This course has broadened my knowledge and increased my skill level in using the Internet as an educational tool in a very measurable way. It's has been that experience from the Disney movie Alladin entitled "A Whole New World" for me. I am already using many of these toold for my Interpreter course that I teach for UGA now! See my WIKI for the course! THAT HAS BEEN VERY REWARDING INDEED! I can see that I will continue to use and expand my knowledge of the Web 2.0 tools available in the future, and I am excited that I feel equipped to do just that now, thanks to this course.

I recently told the Director of PL here that I genuinely felt that the course should be a requirement for all teachers in the District! Maybe that is a bit unrealistic, but it is my feeling. I have learned more than I ever thought possible (and yes, my brain is a bit on overdrive right now due to all of this) at my age. But I also realized that I have to start using the tools in order to get more comfortable with them. I've tried a few tools that really didn't have an immediate impact on me, and others that I loved! I loved the Animoto tool, and Edmodo seems to be a very useful tool. My favorite was the xtranormal tool to create the avatar movies. I discovered new facets of Google Docs that I had not ever used, and this was fascinating as well.

Thank you for this wonderful course! I have bragged about it to many. I will admit, however, that it is interesting...the more involved you get with Web 2.0 tools, the less others around you completely understand about them, so you have to have patience. They just don't seem to get that this is where we are currently at, not some futuristic dream or fantasy. I find now and have reached the definite conclusion that the Web 2.0 tools AUGMENT our connections (do you remember I was pondering that question at the beginning of the course???) to the world and to our community, they do NOT replace them. They enrich the connections among us. I wish everyone saw it that way. They don't. I don't think they threaten the "humnanness" of personal contact, they only lead to a deepening relationship, if used effectively. They certainly enhance the learning experience for students now well started off into the 21st century. I hope I can be a life-long learner of these things and stay current up until....! thanks again to all involved!

Now, another lullaby from YouTube, this time a Yiddish one, again from duratrub:
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And finally, a Russian one...from duratrub as well:

Thing 22 - Exploring Web 2.0 Tools Again

First, courtesy of LiveTyping:


I have explored Animoto and created this 30 second slideshow- click HERE to view What fun and how easy is that! I want to create one for my students with a quick story in Spanish so they can practice.

Next, I created a quiz in Spanish Grammar for Interpreters">Advanced Spanish grammar for Interpreters using Quizlet.

I also explored Lessonwriter and My Tadalists I am keeping a good taglist in my Diigo dashboard labeled "Web 2.0 Tools" so I won't forget where these things are on the Web. A lot of them I want to explore later. There is so much that you can use in any kind of training/learning exercise that it will make a "regular old" lecture seem dull to me I am afraid. I remember that I used to feel pretty "hip" just knowing how to create and use a PowerPoint (I think my wife had to convince me and show me how to use that!).

Thing 20 - Google Docs

My experience here is the very same: I have been using Google docs, but only to store documents I created in Word or PowerPoint on the Web so I could have them in storage "out there" ready to be accessed from the UGA campus or elsewhere to show my classes. It was very good to have. Now, with this course, I have discovered the many more "layers" of usage that is incorporated into Google Docs. Wow, wow, wow! I loved the form function! I can see more use for me in the presentation mode, BUT I want to try to think of a way to use this to gather information from parents and students to guide my Professional Learning and Family Engagement activities. It will take some thought, and I am just beginning that process now I see. Hopefully that was the goal of this course...a beginning and not a "finalized" destination! Make sense?
So here are some things I created thanks to this Thing:

First, here is the Google doc (it's a PowerPoint Presentation) that I published:

And my "All About Me"

And here is a Spanish pronoun quiz if you dare (only two questions..no fear!):

Thing 21 - Pageflakes

My pageflakes page is public temporarily (I realized that some of the flakes are not for public view in the long run. I had a bit of trouble understanding how to copy the page that Caroline had created, so I just started with a blank page (or at least I think with my 1st page tab) and edited, removed, and added flakes to the page. I really like this, and have done this before with Google.

By the way, I used Jing to capture the image of my pageflakes page you see here. (I'm kind of excited I figured out how to do that, sure, BUT MORE EXCITED THAT I THOUGHT ABOUT DOING THAT...know what I'm trying to say????) I really think I will create a new page for my interpreters' course! I can put various links and media, and notes, etc. to supplement the in-class activities.

As to uses, I think it would be great to "theme" a page and have students be able to go there and do research in a more directed manner, that is, with some bit of direction that the instructor has preliminarily "filtered" for them.

Thing 19 - Creating a Podcast!

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Well...that sure was fun (and a bit of an adventure)! I got my podcast recorded with my brand new MacBook laptop in Garage Band. That was a challenge that now I am glad I took. A stretch, as the course says. You see, I knew exactly how to use voice recorder and then my installed program to convert the sound file to an mp3 file. I had done this before to create an online course using a company named ScribeStudio (no link listed, sadly, because they went out of business May 1 of this year). So the main thing would be the uploading of the mp3 file to GCast. But I really want to learn about this new laptop! So, off I went tonight to do it! I had to do all kinds of using the help videos and help search to finally discover that you have to send your created podcast to your ITunes library for it to be in mp3 format and uploadable to GCast. It worked like a charm then, and now I know how to do this! Hooray. The podcast itself is about my work at the PDC. I think I forgot to write a description of it.

I can see podcasts being a great tool for recording lectures that you want to make available to learners to summarize a lesson OR maybe even hear an entire lesson from home. I will definitely be able to use podcasts to add to my PL websites in teaching Spanish to Educators, and also for Family Engagement segments. I will research more to see what other ideas I can discover.

From ignorance (see my post on Thing 18)...to bliss!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thing 5-d - More Discoveries from Google Reader

What I am discovering is that VARIETY is key to the success of these tools. Using more than one tool HOLDS THE LEARNER'S ATTENTION, and therefore makes the learning experience more productive, effective, and meaningful.

In this feed fro my Google Reader, I discovered a very cool Spanish verb conjugation (I know, I know, to many people that would be a torture site!) site I have embedded now into my Interpreter Wiki. this will be a very useful tool even for the native speakers of Spanish that I teach.
I also discovered a neat tool, called Sketchcast that I plan also to use in that same site after I create a sketch with it.

Artistically speaking, I like a site I saw in my Reader called Glogster, and I created this "glog", which is basically a collage of a few pictures of my middle son, Adam, from a baby in the hospital nursery unit until his senior picture at college! Just playing for now, but here it is:

The students could be given an assignment to collect pictures that represented key terms in a unit or chapter (as in a Spanish textbook), then have classmates guess the words they are seeing in each picture!

Apple Store deal! I made the switch! I crossed the river...I converted....I went to the other side....PC to Mac!

Apple Store has a deal on now. You buy a MacBook and get an IPod Touch for FREE!!! They also have free financing for a year! I have pondered a Mac for a while, and fought it for a good while. Finally I was convinced. All my family (in house that is, and cousins off in TX) have Macs. Susan converted to a Mac a while back. When we sit in the den and start up laptops, I wait, and wait, and wait (granted, my Dell Inspiron 8600 is older, but...) while they all start right to work!

So last weekend I did it! I bought one! I am excited! It is being shipped to me, but the IPod Touch has already arrived. You buy it and they send you a rebate for $229!!! I really haven't tried out the IPod Touch yet! I am weird that way...

I am spending the waiting time (a bit long in my opinion) watching video clips from the Apple Store about switching form PC to Mac, and also about the features of my new laptop! Learning a lot ahead of time which should make the transitional shock less frustrating I hope!

I will keep you posted!

Thing 18 - Podcasts

Well! Here's a confession...I have heard about podcasts and heard people mention them matter-of-factly and have been a bit lost in the conversation! Now I feel enlightened at last! I had even downloaded ITunes when I received an IPod shuffle for Christmas from one of my sons (I actually didn't even know what to do with that for a while, now I love it!)and never really noticed the "podcasts" link in the ITunes store! So I am now amazed. Once again, there's a whole new world out there that sucks me into the 21st century. I can't even imagine my junior high and senior high days when best I could do to get live Spanish was my old short-wave radio! What if I had had all of this! Wow!

I explored all of the links, and found an older style German language lessons podcast that I put the feeder for on my Google Reader, as well as a very good and modern Mandarin Chinese lessons podcast.

I can easily imagine students being able to have podcasts of practical language lessons to supplement their textbooks, and also I imagine that eventually textbooks will automatically have podcast support like they presently have CDs and online support for the texts. How exciting! Is this reality already, I wonder? Since I am no longer in the classroom...hmmmm.

A funny story I have to share...I went to the "Coffee Break Spanish" podcast on the Grazr on the 23 Things wiki page of Thing 18 and listened to it a bit (a random lesson). I had thought maybe I would use it or refer to it for my professional learning activities as I train teachers here for the District! Good idea, right? Well...the lessons were great, BUT I heard a language I did not understand along with beautiful Spanish. In just a few seconds I realized it WAS English, but all the speakers were from Scotland!!! Their accents (though amazingly easy on the ears) made the English instructions and explanations probably harder for the people here to understand than the Spanish! LOL! Don't you love it?

Last night I went back to my ITunes Store on my laptop at home, and downloaded a podcast of Spanish Medical Terminology to use with that course I teach for UGA as well!

I am actually looking forward to creating my own podcast in Thing 19.

I can see immediately how these are new tools that we can use to make learning more productive (not to mention fun) for today's techno-savvy students. Now, MY challenge is with ADULT education. These learners may or may not be so techno-savvy! Ha! So onward rides this Don Quijote toward the windmills perhaps, but I continue to make that impossible dream possible, I hope! I am enthusiastic about these things enriching my life from now on! If my 87 year-old Dad can love email, be on Facebook, and enjoy getting a new laptop, like he does, then I can sure move forward and stretch my techno-comfort-zone (TCZ-a Scott King original term)a bit!