Well it is hard to believe that it is the end of another semester. This one flew right by. So I guess all that’s left is to show you what I’ve learned! The following is a very basic transcript of my video, but I have included some links and pictures on this version.
Checkout my brilliant word cloud from WordItOut. This wordle is a brainstorm of the concepts that I learned, reviewed or thought about during the course.
There are so many things that I learned in this class. I have to be honest about where my technical abilities were at the start of this course. I was such a tech newbie or tech illiterate that there was a very fine line between hilariously funny that I didn’t know what such and such was, and the point of frustration and irritability that I couldn’t do anything online without asking for help. So here are some things I knew about prior to this class:
- Soundcloud – I have used this before for a summary of learning in ECS 210. I think it worked pretty well, and I would definitely like to incorporate this into my classroom. I think it would be really cool in a creative writing class so that students could read their work and then explain it’s meaning.
- Survey Monkey – this is a popular idea to have students use their phones to submit the correct answer in a multiple choice format. I have liked using it, but it really depends. To use it for twenty questions would lose student engagement. To use it for one or two questions seems like a hassle to get out the phones and go through the process. It’s really a balancing act. I suppose if it were regularly implemented in the classroom like bell work then it would be good as a pre-assessment or reviewing tool.
- Google Docs – I have used this in University for collaborating within group projects. This will definitely be something I bring into my classroom because it’s so simple that even I can use it.
- Wordle – wait… is that considered to be part of technology? I don’t know about that…
- MS Word, PPT and Excel…. So I’m beginning to stretch it here haha. I mean to some extent you do have to use the basics in the classroom and before expanding into new things.
So from this short and sweet list, you can see that I do not consider myself a tech-y person in the least. I generally beg a friend to help me out when I have a question about technology, or spend some time doing a Google search. When this class started and I learned about the expectations I honestly sat down and had to think about whether or not I would be able to measure up. I don’t like to do anything half-way, and certainly not when it comes to my education. I decided to stick it out because I knew that the only way to get better was to learn, and the only way to learn was to try it out in a class where I had the guidance of professors and peers. Now after my learning transition, let me go through what I have actually learned this semester (*spoiler alert: this note is not so short, but it is pretty sweet that I learned a lot about actually useful stuff.)
This blogging site was created a year ago for my ECS 210 class. I honestly started it because we were forced to, and I was not thrilled about it. I had unsuccessfully tried using a blog in high school for a computer class and didn’t enjoy it then. I’m the kind of person that when I don’t see the point to something I immediately resent doing it and do not put my full effort into it. I guess that’s a kind of useful trait because I will relate to my students and be able to help them make useful connections inside and outside of the course, but it’s otherwise kind of bothersome as a student myself. So anyways back to this blog. I made a half-interested attempt to work this blog, and then set it on the shelf. Then next semester my ECS 410 used a blog, and it was essentially worth 60% of our grade so I knew I had to step up my game. I learned how to create pages and organize my work like that through the menu. Each section had a sub-page from the course to the assignment. Sometimes my sub-pages had sub-pages, and those sub-pages had sub-pages. And what, you may ask, was written on the page that led from one page to the next? Nothing. If you want to see what I mean, click on the menu tab “University Courses.” It was more like a staircase on the menu so that my prof could easily see how well I had organized my work. Looking back, I have to laugh at that logic.
Now my blog is a whole lot different. First of all and most importantly, I finally see why I am using a blog in the first place. That in itself made a world of difference to my blog. Before my blog was written in a professional manner as if every page was a mini-essay. Now my personality comes through my writing. I’m pretty sure you have a sense of who I am because my writing is no longer stiff and guarded. What I’m writing is actually interesting because of that, but also because my posts aren’t made up of pure text. I learned how to incorporate links, videos and images to make it interesting, but also to make my point a whole lot quicker. Besides that, I learned about categories. Dear Self-from-a-year-ago, you really should have looked into this category thing. It makes life so much easier. When I write my posts I have the option to place it in a category where everything within that group is collected. I added these categories within my menu arrangement for easier access. So much better than the drop-down staircase menu! I also have made widgets. I have quite a few now! If you look to the right and scroll, you will see what I mean. I have an about.me page where I am beginning to add a résumé and have a professional online space. My Twitter feed is included, and options to follow me via Twitter or this blog, so follow away! I also have a tags section, and have been using tags religiously this semester. It is so handy that you can click on a tag and all of my posts with those tags will just pop right up. Like I said, I had an extreme beginner user level.
Speaking of Twitter, I learned a bunch of stuff about this social media site/tool, although I still have more to learn. First of all, I actually made an account! I’m proud to say that I’m nearing the 80 tweets mark, with almost 70 followers and following 330 accounts. I’ve found a lot of great educational resources, both people and programs, to follow and keep in touch with others in your network. Oh, and hashtags. # is not recognized as the symbol for pound anymore. From my understanding, hashtags are like a category or tag in itself. You type something into the search bar, and it will bring up all of the latest uses of that hashtag. In addition, I learned that there isn’t just one way to tweet. You can tweet, re-tweet, classic re-tweet (your comment with the re-tweet) and modify the tweet. I also participated a couple of times in group chats. I would definitely invite my class to use this with a Q1, A1 format, like what we learned in class. It would be a simple way to see what my students think as well as get some outside opinions and multiple perspectives.
Google has surprised me with all of its applications and uses. Our class began the year with creating and using a Google+ community. I think this is a neat idea. I am torn between using this and Google Classroom within my own classroom for an environmentally friendly atmosphere. I love that anything can be shared to the community so that everyone within it receives it on their newsfeed, like how Facebook operates. Seeing my classmates’ online presence showed me how important it is to have an online network and to get involved in programs that support new teachers.
Some other products that I learned about and used this semester are: Aurasma, iMovie, Youtube, Scratch, Fivecard Flicker, S’more, bloghubs, Feedly, bitly, RRS, Kahoot, Remind, Pinterest, Screencastify, Pearltrees, Compfight and Screenr. Some of these I have a better understanding of, while others I still have a way to go before I am at that mastery level. I am most familiar with WordPress, iMovie and Youtube as these were applications that I used weekly for my major project. I decided to video my cooking experiences to document my learning, and as such have been using iMovie to edit my films into shorter video clips with cool themes and transitions. Since I can’t post them directly to this blog without getting the purchased version, I needed to get a Youtube account and then link my videos within each post. I learned how to do links easy enough, but learning to use iMovie and then creating a Youtube account for my major project was a major learning curve (yes, pun intended). I learned tips and tricks slowly over time. Eventually I gained enough skills to work quicker, but in the beginning editing about 30 minutes of film could take well over an hour for me!
This is what it looks like for me to use iMovie and edit the sound to create my “Kid Snippet.”
This video below is my screencastify video of how I used iMovie and YouTube for my major project.
And here is the “Kid Snippet” on Technology that I made to showcase my skills with iMovie. The voices are two of my 6 year-old cousins and my roommate, Melanie, and I act out the skit. I deleted the video from the recording of the kids, and taped it to my video after deleting our audio. These are really questions that I asked my cousins and what they came up with on their own. You have to watch this because it is so cute, and I promised them that they would get to be in my movie!
I have to say that the Scratch was a complete bust for me because I had no idea how to operate it and struggled a lot. I saw a few of my classmates projects and based on what they did I think using Scratch would be cool and fun for students, so long as I didn’t need to instruct them on how to use it! I also like Feedly because it is a great source for articles and posts about any topic. Another great tool from this list is Compfight. I used this several times to cite photos from online. I had no idea how to do this before, and didn’t even know that using a photo from Google would be a problem because I reasoned that it was public. That shows how little I knew about the laws and copyrights of online images. The most shocking thing about all of these tools is that someone could conceivably find actual uses for this stuff in schools…. no offence. I just didn’t know what was possible and what wasn’t (again, extreme beginner user level). I’ve even used Screencastify to make this learning summary project and demonstrate my skills. On a fun and practical note, I decided to make a Kahoot as a study tool for myself and some friends for our French final. I would use this tool in the same manner with my students, or, as with Survey Monkey, I would use it as a pre-assessment tool.
My Digital Citizenship has completely changed since the start of this class. Aside from Facebook, I was practically non-existent on the Internet. Like I mentioned previously, I used this blog a little bit, but it was next to private, as are my Facebook settings. At present, I have been using this blog, Twitter, our class Google+ community, Youtube and Pinterest to connect online. These all feature the educational and professional identity that I embody, but they also allow for my personal interests and humour to enter, which gives a more complete sense of who I am. I feel like I am really creating a solid professional online identity now. Even if some of my resources or educational articles come from Facebook, I immediately think about sharing them, and not just to Facebook but to Twitter, my blog, or our Google+ community.
I’m looking forward to extending my online network and continuing to learn about educational technology during the course of my career. Step aside Tech-Newbie-Nicki, it’s time to master some of these tools to use in my classroom to meet those outcomes that include the use of multimedia!