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Archive for October, 2011

 


Week 9 Reflection : Technology Use Strategies and Learning Styles

October 25th, 2011 Comments off

One site that I really like is VoiceThread.com. It allows for collaboration among peers or instructor / student. It also allows for not only visual presentations, but audio as well. This allows for audio and visual learners to both benefit since they can see and hear the content. My personal learning style is a mixture of the visual and audio / kinesthetic. If I can see something, then I can learn. If I can only hear, then I need to be doing something with my hands like doodling. This allows me to retain the information and links it with the pictures that I’m drawing.

For my primarily visual learning style:

VoiceThread.com – a presentation tool that allows for visual slides and audio narration.
Prezi.com – web based cloud storage based presentation tool that appeals to visual learners. I’m experimenting with this right now so I’m not sure if there is an audio component yet.

masher.com – this site creates video without having to know a lot. you upload your media and arrange it and you have a video stored on the web that is embeddable in your web pages or Moodle pages. This might also satisfy the audio learners as well.

For the audio learning style:

iradeo.com – a great site that allows to create podcasts and provides a player that can be embedded on web pages. The basic service is free but limited. It seems like it would be a great tool for audio learners.

For the kinesthetic learner:

WordPress – available at wordpress.com or the software is free for websites. this is just a blog site right, well with the various plugins, many of them free, that are available you could turn a wordpress blog into a mobile classroom and have students out moving around and interacting with course work via mobile devices.

Free Android App Maker(http://freeandroidappmaker.com/)

I’m not quite sure on this one, but it has potential. It can create an app for the Android Platform based on some templates. You could create quizzes that require the student to be mobile and running around to answer them. The possibilities are high, but I’m not sure on the customizability yet. I need to do further research.

Free iPhone app maker (http://www.freeiphoneappmaker.com/), Just like the one above but for the iOS. If you couple this one with the android app maker, then you might be able to cater to most of your students.

All of these tools seem interesting and I’m going to take the time to research and explore them to see what their potential might be.

 


Module 4 Reflection

October 19th, 2011 Comments off

After reading my colleagues responses to my assessment matrix, I will make some changes, but I will leave the core on its own. There are no evaluation level test items that are explicit, but there is some implicit evaluation in the sense that students are required to evaluate an entry or citation for correctness to APA style. I might add some more objectives so that students can evaluate the actual style of a paragraph that includes citations, but that might be outside the scope of the project. I will have to consider it. I do plan on leaving many of the objectives and assessments in place since I feel that they accurately measure the students’ abilities, understanding, and knowledge. The goal of my project is for students to understand why we cite material, when it is necessary to cite material, and what information to gather to properly cite material. The actual style that the citation uses is not that important. It is the understanding of citation—the why’s of it—that is the true goal here. It is easier to include citations if a proper understanding is achieved.

 


Week 8 Reflection

October 16th, 2011 Comments off

The iNACOL standards are very good standards for online teachers.  They ensure that all teachers that teach online are good teachers and have the skills and knowledge to teach students.  Most of these standards are good practice standards for any teacher whether it be online or in a physical classroom.  The simple addition of the line “in the online environment” or something similar makes the standard specific for the online environment.  Basically these are the qualities of a good teacher.  You can append them with “in the classroom” or “in the online environment” and they still would be the same.  Now I’m not implying that any teacher could successfully transition to online.  You have to go about your teaching methods a little differently.  Different attentions are needed when teaching online as opposed to in the classroom. 

The readings this week have been interesting.  I’ve been letting an idea about a lesson dealing with Beowulf percolated in my brain for while.  I’ve been doing some research on some virtual forms of Beowulf and some simulations via video game.  I haven’t found many, but I have found some virtual Beowulf literature programs that I might be interested in using.  Basically, I want my students to read Beowulf and engage with it and understand what life might have been like for the Danes of the time.  I felt some simulations might help this even if they were in the form of a video game.  Also, I want students to really get inside the head of one of the characters.  I think this might best be served with an interior monologue lesson module.  Maybe, the students could produce a video or presentation in which they create a dramatic interior monologue.  We’ll see what develops.

 


Week 6/7 Reflection

October 12th, 2011 Comments off

I used Moodle this week for my Classroom Expectations presentation.  I also used VoiceThread.  I currently own and use both a desktop PC and a MacBook.   I really don’t like the whole conflict between Adobe and Apple when it comes to Flash.  I’m not sure if there will be a resolution anytime soon, but in the meantime, I felt it might be more appropriate to use tools that I could easily use, edit, and publish using either of my systems.  To be honest, I’m leaning towards replacing my PC with a Mac as well and this might be a good idea for me.  VoiceThread is simple to use and does a good job.  It also allows for video production (albeit at a cost) of the presentation.  I host my own web space for a number of reasons, the primary one being that it is something that I enjoy and it serves as a place for me to experiment.  During my tenure at Riverside High School in Wyoming, I incorporated an installation of Moodle into my senior English class and, on a limited basis, my sophomore class.  It was somewhat successful, but the design was flawed.  I enjoyed redesigning the currentMoodle sandbox that my site hosts.  I developed a Moodle page for my presentation and linked to some sources for the scavenger hunt including a video on YouTube.  the interface was well designed and it was very easy to create the page.  This is the type of LMS that I like.  It is simple and intuitive.  It gives me more time to focus on content rather than the technological aspect.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the technology, but when I’m in the middle of a school year, I don’t have the time to do a lot of heavy maintenance or tech fixing.  I just want it to work and work well.  Moodle seems to do this.

 


Module 3 Reflection (Learning Task Analysis)

October 5th, 2011 Comments off

Writing sentences and paragraphs that accurately and correctly cite a source quotation is a process that I am very familiar with.  It was more challenging to break the task down into its constituent components.   I tried to make each step as simple as possible.  Maybe I’m a bit biased but as an English teacher with a background in creative writing, I feel that writing style is essential for a good piece of writing.  Varied methods of introducing an in-text citation make the paper more interesting to read and keep the reader’s attention much longer.

I realize that there are two components to proper citation, but for this assignment, I tried to focus on just one of those and give it a very thorough analysis.  My learning objectives, though, did include objectives from both learning tasks.  I felt that it is essential that the two tasks be linked in the student’s mind so that a student will gather the required information when making the citation to include a bibliographical representation.  As such, the objectives should be linked as well.

Having taught in the classroom, I realize that not all learners will have the same skill set and be at the same level as far as the prerequisites are concerned.  I plan on including some differentiation in the delivery of the activities to allow for all students to understand the need for citation, the appropriate times to cite and the basic information to gather regardless of style.  I think that these are the skills that I want my students to come of my project with.  They are the most important.  They are also the concepts that students have the hardest time with.

 


Week 5: Facilitated Chat Reflection

October 4th, 2011 Comments off

In an effort to aid in the discussion and creation of a consensus of netiquette rules for the opal group, we participated in a live chat via bronco mail.   The interface was easy to use and intuitive and it really facilitated communication between us a group members.  Although my browser dropped me out once and I had to switch browsers, there was a limit of technical difficulties.

I work at a call center that provides technical support over the phone for DirecTV customers.  There are over 400 agents working at this particular call center and at any given time, 100-150 on the phones.  We are divided into teams of between 10-15 agents headed by a team leader.  Now, during a shift the entire team is logged into a chat session where we have live access to each other regardless of where we are located at in the center.  This chat allows us to help each other and get answers quicker if we have questions.  I participate in this five days a week and find it incredibly useful.  While it is a professional environment, we do engage in some more informal behaviors that lead to team and community building.  My team members rarely “see” each other even though we are in the same building, but we communicate and build relationships because of this chat feature.

I think that chats can be incredibly useful in the online classroom.  They allow for real-time discussion and community building.  There should be some ground rules within the chat just like there are ground rules in any group setting.  These rules should include, keep the discussion on-task, keep it respectful, keep it appropriate.  These are the only rules when I work and they work and lead to a pleasant electronic environment.  In the online classroom, other rules or guidelines might be added like, no private conversations and be honest.

I feel that the synchronous live chat can have a huge impact and help the online classroom take an advantage that the traditional classroom can have in that it allows for class members to get to know one another and have an actual discussion.  It also lets them bond and build relationships.

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