All Things PLN

This WordPress.com site is the cat’s pajamas


1 Comment

The Future of Learning

I decided to do a ‘How To…’ video on How to share files in Dropbox using Screenr. The link is http://www.screenr.com/qGUH

I used Animoto for the digital story. The link is  http://animoto.com/play/M1vh0OJgVZy1FAhCSEOjTw.

Both were reasonably easy to learn. Animoto I found was more time-consuming. I was relieved to see that, in Screenr, it was very easy to delete screen casts and start again.

Reflection:

The key thing I learned in the course was to be more organised. Evernote and Dropbox are great tools which I’ll continue to use. A highlight was to find out about Screenr and digital story telling tools. I hadn’t been exposed to them before and I’m now wondering how I could use them …. maybe as an alternative to book trailers in Year 8.

I enjoyed the course but my enjoyment was tinged with frustration, that I didn’t have the time to explore as much as I would have liked. I missed the web conferences as well. I’m hoping to catch up on a few things over the holidays.

I’s certainly encourage others to do the course regardless of whether they’re beginners or more advanced.

Thanks to the PLN team for a great course.

Advertisements


1 Comment

Changing Practice in a Digital Environment

As my IT skills improved, my reliance on technology increased. In the past, if I did not have the relevant book in my personal library, I would then go to the local council or state library or university library for help. Now, it’s a matter of being able to find practically everything I need in my professional practice by searching online. I’m also able to connect with others around the world and therefore take advantage of being part of a global community.

There are many positive impacts of technology on us as citizens and on balance, the positives outweigh the negatives. That’s not to say the negatives should be ignored. Issues of security and privacy are huge but can be addressed. It’s important that we are good citizens and that we teach students to be responsible users of social media.

In Queensland, everything that students and teachers do in the virtual world has to be done within the Learning Place. By mandating that teachers and students use the Learning Place only at school does not teach students how to use social media when not at school. Using Facebook, blogs etc.  in the classroom is a much more ‘user-friendly’ and ‘real life’ experience. I liked the comment in Importance of pushing digital education in the USA Today ‘ that students are entitled to an education that fits the way they interact with today’s world.’ http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/04/10/digital-education-column/2070421/. I was also interested in listening to the podcast to hear that NSW is allowing staff to use social media in the classroom. From an economic point of view, this must be a cheaper option than setting up a gated digital environment like we have in Queensland.

How technology can be used to support my 5 characteristics of an effective learner

Organised: Ideally, students could use Diigo, Evernote and Dropbox to organise their learning perhaps at home as all three are blocked in Queensland schools. Teachers generally encourage the use of OneNote at school.

Risk-taking: Students are prepared to take risks, have the confidence to try new things, to persevere and not give up as in learning new tools, programs etc. and to progress from the how and what to the when, why and who to achieve desired outcomes.

Creative:  Technology can assist students to be creative, to make videos, ebooks, comics etc.

Questioning: Technology encourages students to ask more questions and seek more answers as they click their way from one link to the next.

Questioning: Technology encourages students to ask more questions and seek more answers as they click their way from one link to the next.

Engaged: Students can engage and respond to technology whether it’s researching, collaborating, reading other opinions, giving their own ideas, discussing a novel, participating in a wiki etc. etc.

Engaged: Students can engage and respond to technology whether it’s researching, collaborating, reading other opinions, giving their own ideas, discussing a novel, participating in a wiki etc. etc.

It’s hard to imagine what the future will be like. Ten years ago, I could never have predicted the present but here are a few thoughts.  I think that we will rely less and less on traditional forms of storage such as hard drives and USBs as cloud based storage becomes more popular.  I think that eLearning will become the norm throughout the world even in developing countries (and this could be revolutionary for developing countries), classrooms will more and more reach out beyond the four walls and the teacher will become a facilitator of learning. Perhaps every classroom will become a flipped classroom.  Students will use any number of personal mobile devices in and out of the classroom to enhance their learning. But really, who can predict?

It’s hard to imagine what the future will be like. Ten years ago, I could never have predicted the present but here are a few thoughts.  I think that we will rely less and less on traditional forms of storage such as hard drives and USBs as cloud based storage becomes more popular.  I think that eLearning will become the norm throughout the world even in developing countries (and this could be revolutionary for developing countries), classrooms will more and more reach out beyond the four walls and the teacher will become a facilitator of learning. Perhaps every classroom will become a flipped classroom.  Students will use any number of personal mobile devices in and out of the classroom to enhance their learning. But really, who can predict?


Leave a comment

Refine the Web

I chose the Causes of WW2 which the Year 9 Academic Achievers class is researching at the moment. I decided to compare Google, DuckDuckGo and Bing.

I did a ‘normal’ search in Google and then limited the search to sites of an intermediate reading level. There didn’t appear to be significant differences. Both searches returned History on the Net at the top of the list as did DuckDuckGo. Wikipedia was second in the ‘normal’ search but did not appear in the refined list, at least not in the first 5 pages. In the DuckDuckGo search, History on the Net came first followed by the History Learning Site. While there were some common sites, DuckDuckGo had a greater variety of results than Google and appeared to be more education oriented with more sites suitable for Year 9s. I liked that the page kept scrolling down so I looked at more sites in DuckDuckGo than I did in Google where I just looked at the first page (which students also do). I would probably use both search engines and encourage Year 9 students to do the same Google is handy for refining and limiting searches but DuckDuckGo had some relevant sites near the top of the list that Google did not have, such as, games, quizzes, teacher videos (and free essays!!).  I would not recommend DuckDuckGo to Senior students as I feel it’s more suited to lower secondary and upper primary students. Bing is similar to Google without reading levels and because of its similarity, I would not use Bing.

I chose CARS to evaluate an article, Everest: how science conquered the world’s highest mountain, on the BBC web site, http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/0/22341876.

Credibility

Goal: A source that is created by a person or organization who knows the subject and who cares about its quality

The publishing organisation is the BBC which is considered an authority. It states that it takes responsibility for content on its site but not for external links. The author of the article is Christopher Brooks who works for BBC Scotland and I assume is a journalist although I could not find any reference to his credentials. There are no spelling errors, grammar errors, dead links, or other problems that indicate a lack of quality control.

Accuracy

Goal: A source with information that is current, complete, and correct

The information on the site agrees with other sources. The site is 2013 and has been recently updated.

Reasonableness

Goal: A source that is truthful and unbiased

The BBC is a news media outlet and is supposed to be unbiased. The purpose of the site is to educate and disseminate information in an unbiased manner.

Support
Goal: A source with verifiable sources of information

Information can be verified. There are links within the article to other BBC articles and other news sites. The BBC can be contacted by email.

On the basis of the above evaluation, the article is a reliable source of information.


1 Comment

Assessing Tools

Evernote

I easily located the Terms of Service page and the Privacy policy page for Evernote. The language is clear and easily understood.

One thing that surprised me and that I had not thought about is what happens to all my accounts and content after my death. Evernote   states, ‘We encourage you to include your Account Information, with instructions on how to access your Content, in your will or other estate plans, so that anyone you wish to have access to your account will have the means to do so.’ This is something I had not considered including in my Will!

I couldn’t  and wasn’t interested in reading everything and did not read anything when I signed up. Because it was part of the course, I felt I didn’t need to.

Data is stored locally and replicated on servers in the United States so there are 2 copies. Evernote also  has a way to back up or export data. Notes can be periodically exported into an Evernote Archive (.enex) file and stored in a directory or I imagine on a flash drive or portable hard drive. Evernote warn that the file will be a large one because it will include images, attachments etc. The other way is to use  some type of backup software like Windows Backup to backup Evernote’s data directories. Either seems easy to do. Cameron suggest using If This Then That  to automatically back up data from one service to another. Will investigate at a later date. https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fslav.global2.vic.edu.au%2F2013%2F03%2F13%2Fthe-danger-of-a-free-lunch%2F%23.UWIl56J-bNU?tab=people&uname=brightideasblog

It’s easy to deactivate the account and remove the data but data is archived for a year after cancelling the account.

I’m happy to recommend Evernote. It’s a great tool which I will continue to use. I don’t have any privacy concerns. I would recommend it to senior students  as an alternative to Onenote. The only problem is that it is blocked by Education Queensland so students would only be able to use it at home as is the case for teachers.

My opinion of Evernote was affirmed by Cameron Hockey in his post, ‘The Danger of a Free Lunch’,  on the Bright Ideas blog  https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fslav.global2.vic.edu.au%2F2013%2F03%2F13%2Fthe-danger-of-a-free-lunch%2F%23.UWIl56J-bNU?tab=people&uname=brightideasblog. Evernote falls in to the ‘freemium’ model, which charges premium users and limits services to free users. Data is better protected and there is less likelihood of the service closing down.

I also note Cameron’s advice if I ever decide to use  Evernote to store student data. I would use a local notebook so that data is not uploaded but stored on my computer only and in that way, student data is protected. https://www.diigo.com/bookmark/http%3A%2F%2Fslav.global2.vic.edu.au%2F2013%2F03%2F13%2Fthe-danger-of-a-free-lunch%2F%23.UWIl56J-bNU?tab=people&uname=brightideasblog

 Dropbox

The service requires a login. I opened the account some time ago and from memory,  name and email account are only required when signing up. I glanced through the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy which seemed similar to others I’d read and joined. I am not concerned about the site.  I did note that under 13s cannot join.

I would use Dropbox  instead of a USB to access files across multiple devices. I could see myself using it to store files and collaborate with colleagues e.g  setting agendas for meetings, working on projects such as creating a presentation promoting the use of the library, fiction PowerPoints, research guides on assignment topics. Students could and do use it as an organisational tool when working on assignments. They can work on an assignment or homework at school, at home, local library, on the bus etc without resorting to email or a USB.

Dropbox falls in to Augmentation if used to store files. If used to work on a group project, it falls into Modification.

I was a little confused about when to use Evernote and Dropbox. Were they just different versions of the same thing? After reading TechBarber,  http://www.techbarber.com/dropbox-vs-evernote-how-to-use-effectively/, I decided I would use Evernote as a note-taker, i.e collecting sites, articles etc on topics I’m working on and use  Dropbox for large, mostly Word files e.g. a unit or lesson plan I’m working on or collaborating on with a colleague. I like TechBarber’s comment: ‘I guess you could say Evernote is the stack of Post-It notes on my desk, while Dropbox is my Volkswagon-sized filing cabinet.’

 


1 Comment

Networking

I have been an occasional user of personal Twitter and Facebook accounts but never really considered either, especially Facebook, as providing an online professional community. The main concerns I had about Facebook were relevance and privacy issues and never being able to disable the account. I found the Lifehacker Privacy Guide very useful and set up another Facebook account for this course using the privacy settings in the Guide. I joined the PLN group and liked a number of sites. I can see the advantages of Facebook as an online professional community and intend to further investigate it especially within the PLN  page. Facebook is blocked between 8am and 4pm so it’s not a tool that I am able to use at school or with students. I agree with Will Richardson that we should be teaching it to students.

Twitter is also blocked between 8am and 4pm but plan to “trial” Twitter outside school hours to see if it’s an effective tool for me. I’m wary of getting bogged down, being distracted and wasting time. My Twitter handle is @JennieStimpson.


1 Comment

Getting Organised

I have been using Diigo for quite some time to keep track of useful web sites and my blog to share web sites with others. I’m a member of the Diigo teacher-librarians group and have often used it to find sites. I really like the accessibility of Diigo. I’ve looked at Microsoft OneNote for note-taking although I haven’t used it much. I think Evernote is a much better tool as it seems to do more than OneNote. I can see myself using it to save resources that I may need for a lesson, for example, a PowerPoint on Steam Punk literature. At the moment, I have some resources in Diigo but if I were to save them into Evernote, I could start planning and writing my PowerPoint all in the one place, I think. Will give it a go later.

It’s very important for students’ organisation that they use a digital note-taking tool such as Evernote. The fact that it is online means students can access it anywhere and with multiple devices. With so much information available, students need online tools. A notebook or a card system which I used as a university student is not sufficient in this digital age.

Here is the link to a shared Evernote note:
https://www.evernote.com/shard/s311/sh/163f08cd-1abd-4df8-8bec-d63cb7883e1b/d519060e25092f530b22d5d645409796


1 Comment

Getting Started

Hi and welcome to my PLN blog. I’ve been a teacher-librarian for about 9 years and before that an English / Social Science teacher. For the last couple of years, I’ve been keen to use Web 2.0 tools as much as I can. I have a blog which is as much as a record for me of what I’ve discovered but also a resource which can be shared with teachers. I also use other tools such as wikis, ScoopIt, Pinterest, Google Reader, Flickr, Creative Commons sites, Diigo etc.

My current PLN includes local teacher-librarians who meet once a term, listservs such as OZTL and QLDTL, School Library Association of Queensland and blogs and websites created by teacher-librarians.

I’d like to know more about what’s out there so, hence, my decision to enrol in this online course in order to consolidate what I may know or think I know, extend my knowledge about Web 2.0 tools and expand my Personal Learning Network.