Blogging

1 Jun

Summary 

Blog is an abbreviated term for ‘web log’.  A Blog is a part of a website where a user can upload information on an ongoing basis, including texts, images, videos or even links to other blogs or websites.  These posts can then be viewed by the public.  The public can then comment, like or even share the blogs that they are interested in or find helpful. Blogs can be accessed on any electronic device that has internet connection, including computers, tablets and smartphones.  Some top blogging websites today include; WordPress,  Blogger and Tumblr.  Each of these blog sites have millions of local viewer’s.  Blogging is not hard to do, if you know the basic of how to use a computer.  Although for the non digital people out there, each site has their own tutorials on how to create your own person or corporate blog.  The sites also have ‘help’ links if you ever get stuck.

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Reflection

A effective way of bring technology into a classroom, could be by creating a class blog.  As the students of today are digital natives, the majority of the students are very enthusiastic when it comes to incorporating technology into their classrooms.  By creating a blog it allow’s the students the opportunity to improve their literacy and writing skills in a more fun and interactive manner.

Blogging is an example of computer-supported collaborative learning (CSCL). This type “of learning is characterised by the sharing and construction of knowledge among participants using technology as their primary means of communication” (Howell. J, 2012. Page 29).  Blogs allow individuals or groups of students to share the particular subjects they find interesting or simply understand.  As each students will have strengths in different areas, you will hopefully get a range of difference posts on the class blog. The class blog could then become a great study tool for the students as they can read and follow other posts they may be less familiar with.  The blog also gives the students the opportunity to ask questions and communicate with other students online.

Blogging can be a effective form of technology enhanced learning (TEL), but only if monitored closely by a teacher or supervisor.  This is due to the Blogs being available to the public (which could become a danger to the participating students).  The supervisors would need to keep an eye on any feedback from the public, making sure the all feedback is constructive and not rude or inappropriate. To make sure all blogs remain safe for student, as described in Howell (2012), school can now build blogs into the school website or use specific blogs designed for education purposes such as EduBlog.

Reference:

Howell, J. (2012) Teaching with ICT Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity, Oxford University Press.

https://accounts.google.com/ServiceLogin?service=blogger&passive=1209600&continue=http://www.blogger.com/home&followup=http://www.blogger.com/home&ltmpl=start#s01

MeetingWords

15 May

Summary 

MeetingWords, is a “simple text editor for the web” (http://meetingwords.com). MeetingWords can be accessed on any computer, smartphone or tablet, along as it has access to the internet. MeetingWords can be used very effectively within many work environments.  Up to 32 people can view and edit your pad, all at the same time, which could come in handy in many situations. This text editor is very simple to use, and find your way around.  Below are a few quick steps on how to use MeetingWords:

  1. Create a pad. To do this you can create a web address of your choice, just type after the “/” in: http://meetingwords.com/
  2. Invite people to start using your pad.
  3. Enter your name in the tab at the top right, you will then have an assigned colour, so you can see what you have contributed to the discussion. (Shown Below)
  4. Then just start typing.

meeting words

Below is an example of our classes MeetingWords: http://meetingwords.com/LLIDWWED4.  Here we are expected to put questions and answers up about what we have learned each week, from our theory books, in our workshop, and from other online sources.

meeting words

Reflection

MeetingWords is an example of a Community of practice (CoP).  As explained in Teaching with ICT (Howell. J, 2012) a CoP is a process of social leaning when a bunch of people have a common interests on a particular subject and collaborate over an extended period of time.  This type of learning may be deliberate, but could also happen unintentionally, as it is ‘social learning’.  So students could use MeetingWords to further discuss an interesting subject that was bought up during a class, in their own time.  As it would be an optional discussion, therefor will be less silly remarks as only the students who have an interest or wish to learn more about the subject will join the pad.  MeetingWords could also have many other uses within the classroom.

I think MeetingWords will work well in classrooms as today’s students are classified as digital natives, and are highly involved with social media and in particular social networking.  Therefor I believe these students will appreciate this kind of social learning and be willing to be interactive and get involved in the discussions. MeetingWords is free for all users, so schools don’t have to worry about any extra costs (which is a positive). I think this could be a great tool for teachers to use and to help develop student’s digital fluency.

Although a negative about MeetingWords is that it is on the web, so anyone could access the page, if they put in the correct web address, adding information and reading all the past discussions.  This has the potential to be a danger to the students using MeetingWords. Although if used under supervision, I think MeetingWords could be a great tool for class discussions.

References

Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets

15 May

IMG_2366

Summary

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet program, which can be found on a PC or Mac OS X, using Microsoft Windows program.   Excel has the basic features of all spreadsheets.  Excel is usually thought of in relation to accounting and formal business users, but Excel can be used for many reasons, and in fact it’s quiet commonly used by teachers.

The spreadsheet has numerous columns and rows where the data is submitted. Once you have entered all the data correctly, you can perform a large range of functions.  Some functions that can be performed include finding the average, the maximum figures, the minimum figures, or much more simple functions such as addition, subtraction and division.  Once you have finished using the data Excel allows you to create numerous kinds of graphs and tables to help compare and analyse your data.  This program could be useful for both teachers and students, within and outside of the classroom.

Below is a beginners tutorial for Excel; 

Reflection 

One way in which Excel can come in handy for teachers includes, the ability to list all their students results from multiple tests, then from this information the marks can be averaged and assigned a grade by using just a few formula’s.  This can be a lot more time effective than working out each students results individually. Once this information has been produced it is very easy to transform into a mail merge document to inform the parents of students grades and any other relevant information that may need to be further addressed.

Excel can also be useful for students.  Students can become more computer literate by using Excel such as learning basic skills such as the ability to save documents, improve their typing skills and learn how to send documents to the printer. Along with the skills associated with the spreadsheet program itself (Howell, 2012). As well as becoming computer literate students are learning life long skills, that they could take to the workplace.  As technology is becoming more and more engaged in our lives, many people including future employees, are now expectant that people are already digitally fluent and can use the basic range of programs. Therefore student may have the opportunity to bring their experience and skill set from Excel into the workplace.

Excel does have its disadvantages.  Firstly Excel can be quiet difficult to use, particularly for some students (those who are not or less digitally fluent).  Excel therefore has the potential to be quite damaging to a students self-confidence, as it can be a very tricky and complex program.  Another disadvantage or even a danger of Excel is accidentally entering one incorrect figure or even a formula without noticing, as this could affect the whole outcome of your data.  A final disadvantage of Excel is that it may not seem to be the most interesting program for younger children, so they may lose interest quite quickly.  Despite these negative facts Excel can be a great use to both students and teachers within and outside the classroom.

Reference

Howell, J. (2012) Teaching with ICT Digital Pedagogies for Collaboration and Creativity, Oxford University Press.

Adobe Flash Professional CS6

15 May

snowing house man words

Summary

Adobe Flash Professional is a multimedia authoring program.  Flash can be downloaded from the internet on various computer systems and other devices, including tablets and smartphones.  It can be purchased and downloaded at http://www.adobe.com/au/products/flash.html.

“Flash manipulates vector and raster graphics to provide animation of text, drawings, and still images. It allows bidirectional streaming of audio and video, and it can capture user input via mouse, keyboard, microphone and camera.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adobe_Flash_Professional).  With the usage of symbols you can create complex characters with a wide range of movements and either with tweens or key frames move the symbol from one point to another in a very fluid and lifelike way.  Below is a very simple example I have created (as a first time user).

flash mkovie'

When using Flash Professional in a classroom educators should keep in mind that the activities may favour visual learners more so than analytical learners. Therefor the analytical learners may need more help from the educator, which could lead to a unbalanced classroom.  Although if  not overused, Flash Professional benefits those who are visual learners and has the potential to increase the essential technological skills of students who have different learning styles.

Reflection

A major benefit of Flash is that the educational uses for Flash objects are only limited by imagination. Flash can be used over a variety of topics and subject.  For example students could use flash to create interactive elements that can then be incorporated into e-learning projects.  A specific example used in (Howell, 2012 page 31), states that “digital animation makes it possible for students to conceptualise how electrons are shared between atoms when chemical compounds are formed.”   This is evidence of building on the core idea through the inclusion of technology , which is a direct link with Technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK).  TPACK “is a framework to understand and describe the kinds of knowledge needed by a teacher for effective pedagogical practice in technology enhanced learning environment.” (Howell, 2012 pg. 30).  Flash helps demonstrate the fifth knowledge area of TPACK, being technological content knowledge (TCK).

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Flash is definitely more difficult to use than the Miscrosoft suite, but has a lot more possibilities as well.  A good thing about Flash is that their are hundreds and thousand of free and/or paid online tutorials available.  They range from a general overview of flash, to beginners courses and even for expert users.  So if a student or even teacher is ever in doubt about how to use flash, there are many available online tutorials.

References

Video

iMovie

9 May

Below is an example of a iMovie‘s which i have created. The movie is of a weekend I spent with my friends four wheel driving, around Dwellingup. To make the video clip I used an available theme from iMovie, called ‘Adventure’ (from the movie trailer selection).

Summary



IMovie is a video editing software that allows user to create a movie.  This particular software is only currently available on Apple Macintosh and IOS.  Below are a few basic steps that need to be followed in order to create an iMovie.

  1. Create a new event
  • Name your movie
  • Select a theme/or start from scratch

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2. Next you have to import your audio, photos and/or videos you wish to edit.

  • You do this as shown in the picture (file-import…)

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3. Select which audio, photos and/or video clips you wish to edit and drag into the appropriate box (as shown in the picture to your right)

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4. Start editing your audio, photos and/or video clips. Here is when you would “add titles, music, and effects, including basic color correction and video enhancement tools and transitions such as fades and slides” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMovie)

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5. Finally once, you are happy with your finished product, you save and export your movie, then will be ready to show and share to whoever and wherever you wish to.

Reflection
iMovie is a great way to keep students interested and willing to learn.  It’s very interactive and can be adopted to fit many different learning outcomes, therefore being a great way to bring technology enhanced learning (TEL) into the classroom.  A few examples of how iMovie can be effectively used in a classroom include;

  • Documentation, students could record their progress in a subject or any type of performance using the camera and microphone.
  • Self Reflection, students could look back over a part of performance and see where they could improve.  This is a vital skill to learn.
  • Digital Storybooks, can be a powerful tool by conveying messages through visuals and text.
  • Making Movies, there are numerous types of movies that could help make education more interesting.  As YouTube is the top search engine for children, being able to make a movie allows them to become active participants in the media.

As stated in Teaching With ICT (2012), Howell; creating a video can be quite complex and involves a large variety of skills.  It involves three main stages consisting of planning, filing and editing.  Each stage has its own sets of skill and knowledge, creating a very  rich learning experience and will help children become more digitally fluent.

A disadvantage of iMovie is that students may be easily distracted from the actual learning content, and get caught up in effects and ‘cool’ tools available.  iMovie is also less user-friendly than other video editing softwares (such as movie maker) especially if you are a first time user.  Although once you have used it a couple of times, I think iMovie, has a lot more to offer then the other softwares, especially when talking about effects and themes available. But a large down side is that its only available on Apple Macintosh and IOS 6, so many people and schools may not have access to this particular software, as Mac tends to be more expensive than other PC’s.

References

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