Thursday, October 12, 2017

525--Session 6-Wikis!!! The Ultimate Tool for Online Collaboration

Please make sure you have done the readings on the syllabus, before begin this session. This week we have:

  Mike, Michaela, and De'Jha 

facilitating.  Please make sure that you are sending me your reflections after your 'facilitation week' is finished, so that I can input your grades.  Also, if you haven't posted your Deliverable #1, then please do that ASAP.
Let's start this week with a video to keep all of what we are learning in context.  It was created using  A web-based, digital presentation tool that has a unique format.  Many find it a beneficial way to showcase the 'big picture' of a topic with the option of 'drilling down' level by level, so viewers of your presentation can see a direct correlation.  It is very different than a traditional, linear slideshow format.  It makes me a little dizzy, so I don't use it much, but it is very popular and many of you may already be familiar with it.  We'll practice a little with it this week.

Let's refocus on what it means to teach in the 21st Century classroom:

This session will find us broadening the scope of our view of wikis. We will begin by taking a look at the benefits of wikis, and other Web 2.0 tools, for students, teachers, and the entire educational community. We'll view some screencasts and videos that give us students' perspectives, as well as hear from teachers from across the K-12 spectrum. Each and every one will be focused upon how Web 2.0 tools have changed the way they teach and learn.

Let's get started...


Week 6 part II

By now most of you have reached a comfort level with the 'collaborative document' mindset.  You are also fairly familiar with  Google Docs and Google Drive. (after all we used it for our 'Facilitator Signup' form).  You've also realized that there are limitations and restrictions when using technology.  For example,  I'm a big fan of Google's products, but realize that when trying to access all of the GSuite of products using your URI account, the Administrators have put restrictions on things.  That is why a number of you have had to use your personal Google accounts for this course.  On the plus side, you'll retain copies of all of this material well after your URI account has been closed.

In case you need to explain or legitimize to anyone about the benefits to education in its most simplistic form, I've included 'Google Docs in Plain English'. It's fun to watch and really simple to understand.  All the frameworks and teaching theories behind the 'collaborative mindset' stem from the foundation of this video.  Welcome to G Docs in Plain English:

Now, take a break and go grab a coffee (or something stronger if you prefer).  This next video is a little more detailed about the 'rebuilt' Google Docs.  Definitely not as fun, but still educational and you can borrow it and save it to your own archives for later reference:

And lastly, we'll end by discussing the fluid definition of the word, "literacy" and try to pin it down in a 21st century classroom---a classroom where the walls have come down and the world is flat.

Here is a 10-minute video from the college student's perspective:

Now we will look at how 'literacy' is defined from a 21st century professor's perspective: (relax---it's only 7 minutes)

And now let's bring it closer to home and connect with URI's Summer Institute in Digital Literacy.  Mike RobbGreico will introduce you to a new tool called Vialogue that you can play with this week:

 After reading your comments, it has become clear that there are lots of different interpretations out there.

Good luck and I look forward to reading your comments, insights, and reflections on this week's content.  Also, if I missed placing a link to your blog in the margin, drop me a line and let me know.

Have fun!!


PS--You may also read past participants' comments about wikis here. Some of you have mentioned to me that you like reading past participants' comments, so I'll try to include links to them in the future when they fit. Last year's EDC525 class has their comments below and here is a link to some older comments if you are interested.  (Not required though.)
Summer '11

Thursday, September 28, 2017

525-Session 4 & 5--Edublogs and Knowledge Management

Welcome back!

I would like to start this week by offering some congratulations!

Let's start by congratulating both Martha and Michele for volunteering to be our "Facilitator Guinea Pigs" they did a fantastic job at prompting the conversations and pushing the content ideas deeper.  I developed the concept of 'students' trying the role of 'Facilitators' because it seems to be a natural extension of my teaching philosophy of pragmatic learning.  You can't learn to swim without getting wet, and practicing with these tools in our course should give you the security of knowing that there aren't any serious repercussions for stumbling or flopping.  You should feel like this is a very protected place to work out the kinks w/o being in front of your own classes.

I'd like to introduce you to a new tool this week for facilitation called, 'Backchanneling'.  The backchannel is the conversation that goes on alongside the primary activity, presentation, or discussion.  You can read about it here.   This week, along with our discussions on the blog, I'd like you to experiment a little with Today', but before you do that let's practice a little with it.   Visit the url I made that will only work for 1 week from today:

It's our own backchannel.  We'll play with this tool this week and also answer my question w/i the site above.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

525--Session 3-Research Supporting Edublog Usage

This session is research-based, and a little heavy on the statistics, so take what you can from the information, save the citations, and use them in the future if you need to substantiate and legitimize edublogging in the classroom.  You'll notice that many of the readings were written 6,8, or even 10 years ago and discuss the impact of edublogging, technology, and collaborative software for the children.  This was done intentionally for two reasons:
1-The students that were included in the demographics w/i the statistics are now old enough to be your students in the Adult Ed. program of your particular setting, and
2-They have been exposed to, and have been using these digital tools throughout most of their educational lives, so it is imperative that we integrate them into our own instruction.  They expect nothing less, and that's why I've been immersing you in these tools from the start

This session will be spent on gaining background knowledge on the research out there suppporting edublogs in the classroom. It has been embedded below using  But before we begin please check out just a few of your peers' blogs.  They have been posting the links w/i Session 2's comments' section.

Also, check out, some of these links to past participants' postings and blogs along the left-hand margin.  Over the next week I'll add yours to the list (send me a direct message if you'd like to 'opt out').

Additionally, one recent posting that I really like is from:
this is from just one of the blogs that I subscribe to. It addresses the "Rationalization for Educational Blogging." It is very well written and a great place to start when trying to substantiate edublog usage in the classroom.  When you are finished skim some of the 'comments' as well.  Then wrap your head around the fact that this was written over 7 years ago.

I mentioned earlier that my presentation was uploaded to   After you view it below and go through the assigned readings, I'd like you to practice this week with setting up a free account with Authorstream, then try uploading a slide show (like a PowerPoint).  One of the areas that was mentioned, during our first session, was that people wanted to experiment with alternative forms of presentations.  Authorstream gives you lots of options, for example you can 'present live' using the directions here.  You should also scroll to the bottom of their home page and go through the "Why Authorstream" directions.  Once you have had a chance to immerse yourself in this tool, please share your reaction in Week 3's comment's section and let us know if you can see any practical applications to this tool.
Click the image below.

This week try:

Good luck and have fun!  And don't forget to notice my post yesterday about Deliverable #1.


As I mentioned on the first day of class, I've been writing curricula and building online courses for URI for over a decade.  Edublogging is older than that as you will see when accessing some of the 'comment archives' I have linked below.

Here are some of my past participants' comments from one of my previous courses about using blogs in education:

and older past participant comments and insights may be accessed here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Deliverable #1

Deliverable #1 will be posted under this entry.  As a refresher of expectations here is quote from the directions on the syllabus:
#1 – Choose or create a potential teaching /learning unit– (either classroom or professional development/training session) and provide an outline of the participants, their learning needs, topics to be included, setting (face-to-face, online, hybrid, etc.), and timeline for course/session. This may serve as the foundation for development of your final project. - Due by the end of week 4 (10/5).

Here are some additional readings and assignments for this week and some questions that I'd like you to address w/i our discussions, as well. You may respond to them under the first posting of Week 4, not under this D1 entry.  Just put your D1 response below this entry, and contact me privately with any troubles or specific questions.

Have fun!

PS--I have included the responses from last year's course participants, so you may have models to follow.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Session 2-The Power of Blogging

Welcome back to Session 2---The Power of Blogging!!

To start your creative juices flowing for S2, please watch this enlightening and entertaining video by Ken Robinson via TED Talks. It lasts for approximately 12 minutes, but it is time well spent!

When you are done, feel free to continue the dialog by commenting below.

If I may just reiterate---I've thrown most of you directly into the fire by diverging from the traditional forms of Learning Management Systems like Sakai and Blackboard for a very important reason.  In order to truly experiment with and learn how to use 21st century learning tools to aid you in your future endeavors teaching adult learners you really have to play in the sandbox.  I subscribe to the teaching philosophy of 'full immersion,'  so don't stress too much during this week's exercises. Mistakes will be made (and expected).  Based upon most of the emails I have been getting, the majority of the class has very little experience with this kind of communication medium.

There were many interesting conversations and comments left under our first two postings.  I've never had a class already know each other so well. Two comments (from previous students) that stood out were addressing the intensity and workload of learning (and teaching) online.  Sharyn said,

Heidi, I think that you and Jason have narrowed in on how difficult it is to take an online course due to the independence it affords. An outsider may think that having more freedom online would result in it being an easier way to learn, but it is just the opposite, especially if you are not an organized student."
Then Paul responded,

You hit the nail on the head when you pointed out the common misconception that online courses are easy. I've found that more time and effort (and discipline) must be used in the online setting. We've been fortunate to be part of a great group of people involved in this program, I have found that working together has been so helpful!"

These are interesting points and both very true. This course is all about using online tools and resources to help you facilitate learning. Whether you are instructing f2f and adding in a few tools, or completely online, adding tech to your lessons can be a total 'time suck'. You blink your eyes and hours have gone by and you've gotten lost in this vacuum of cool stuff to explore with not enough time in your life to play with them all.  I've also noticed that the workload to 'prepare' an online course is heavier as well. If any of you become online instructors or if you just do a hybridized course of instruction you'll find that you have to try to anticipate the questions and answer them ahead of time.  Whereas in a f2f setting you can easily go back and forth with Q&A's.  


You'll notice a change or two on our blog.  I thought that I would introduce you the first week to a stripped down version of a blog and have it slowly evolve over the weeks, so you could see other tools and abilities.

You'll be spending the bulk of your time this week moving through a number of tutorials that are asynchronous and self-paced.  Each one will walk you through a different element of a blog.  You'll go through these tutorials and experiment.  It is less important that you can envision an immediate use for this tool, but more significant that you get the opportunity to immerse yourself and think about how a tool like this forces participants to think outside the traditional classroom and encourages conversations with a wider audience.  My point with these exercises is not to give you busy work.  My hope is that you try to fit these additions and capabilities into the bigger picture----that big picture is how to use tech to facilitate teaching and learning.  Anyone can have their students play with fun tools;  it takes focus upon the motivation for their introduction to ensure they have merit.

You may recall that we touched upon Creative Commons Licensing and Open Education Resources during our first session. All of the tutorials we'll be using this week are freely licensed.  We'll go into much more detail about CC Licensing and its benefits to you when planning future teaching or PD sessions later this semester.  Let's start by watching this brief video:

Now give this page a quick skim focusing particularly on the license distinctions half-way down the page.  Just try to gain an overall understanding.You don't need to memorize it.  I don't expect you to be well-versed----just aware.


Below, you will find a list of bulleted links that will take you to the exercises for Session 2. No one is going to force you to use these tools in the future, but please make a sincere effort to try them out.  Blogger, like nearly all online tools, is perpetually evolving, so if any of the directions seem to be off slightly please try to work around them.

  • Setting Up a Blogger Account
  • Adding a new post with a photo
  • Fine tuning your blog
  • Add a hyperlink from text or a photo
  • Changing the template & layout
  • Get rid of the top Navigation Bar
  • Adding a separate page
  • Adding html embed code with an Animoto example
  • Adding your own header photo
  • Editing html
  • Adding Recent Comments to your sidebar
  • Adding a label to group blog posts
  • Adding a gadget to the side bar
  • Adding an email subscription
  • Adding a hit counter or Clustrmap
  • Adding a working link to your email
  • Adding audio with AudioPal
  • Adding a Google Presentation
  • Adding a Google Calendar
  • Adding a YouTube Video
  • Adding a list of links in your side bar
  • Adding a link to class bookmarks
  • Adding a working clock
  • Adding external generated photos
  • Adding a jigsaw puzzle
  • Adding Speakpipe- audio commenting
  • Adding a webnote link to your blog
  • Adding a Photopeach Slideshow
  • Adding a photo to your Blogger profile
  • Add pdf, audio & video with Dropbox
  • Adding a Voicethread to your blog
  • Posting to your blog via email
  • Adding new authors / admin to your blog
  • Blogging from your iPad or iPhone
  • Keeping up with what's on other blogs

  • =======================================================

    Part 2

    Let's start Part 2 of Session 2 by continuing to analyze online teaching andragogy.

    First go through these links and follow the instructions, then view the readings on the 


    Good Luck and have fun practicing with your new blog this week.  As you create yours, please send me the link and I'll add it to the list in the left-hand margin.

    Saturday, September 9, 2017

    Session 1----Time for Introductions!!!

    Welcome (again) to EDC525 - Website Technology in Education and Training

    This is our class blog. It will serve as our discussion forum, connection to each other, and the main webpage you will be accessing. If this is your first visit, then please first read the entry below (titled, 'Welcome to EDC525---"Website Technology in Education and Training"') and follow the instructions there--- then return to this spot and continue reading.  You will find that there is some reiteration and repetition of information in this posting to serve as your 'training wheels' and to make sure that you have a solid understanding of this venue.  Once we get to Session 2 I won't be repeating myself as much.

     The content here should keep you pretty busy for the next few days until Session 2 is posted (Thursday evening)--for now you only need to know a few things.

    This blog can be viewed by anyone, but will only allow the participants of EDC525 to interact with it. When you would like to respond to someone or comment upon a session, just click on the 'comment' link below each of my postings (you should sign up for a Blogger account ASAP and choose a 'User Name' that is easily identifiable. Blogger is owned by Google, so if you already have a user account with Google for something like: gmail, gdocs,picassa..., then use that user name)

    I'm sure some of you have already begun to practice a little.  If you run into any trouble and need to contact me, then please email me at  A few of you have been in direct contact with me for specific problems or stumbles, so please feel  comfortable reaching out to me if you need to.  The last thing I want is to have frustration levels rising during the first week.

    In the left-hand margin you will see links to individual lessons (accessible every Thursday evening).

    Rather than teaching (or preaching) from Sakai about online collaboration and 21st century digital resources that can facilitate teaching and learning, I have decided to teach you about Web 2.0 and collaborative tools by 'using' a collaborative tool. This is our class edublog, or blog for short.

    This blog, in addition to its use as an interactive communication tool, will also be where you can access and download your weekly sessions. An additional benefit (that I mentioned during our first class) will also be that you will retain access to all of our course content, lessons, comments, and reflections in perpetuity.

    The presentation links to the left will be accessible on a week-to-week basis (Thurs. evenings). I've said it before, but it bears repeating---When attempting to download always choose 'save' rather than 'open.'  There isn't a link to Session 1.

    The syllabus is also linked to the left. Google has a free service (gDocs, gDrive) that allows you to just upload any Word document and with one additional click it gets published online with its own URL. The course syllabus is an example of how easy it is to use, and we'll practice with this tool this semester. I'm still tweaking the course content, so don't jump ahead and start Session 2's readings until Thursday night (9/14).

    One more aspect that will be unique about this course is that I support a completely collaborative teaching philosophy. Following that mindset, I will keep your assignments, comments, and reflections viewable and accessible to future participants of this course. The 'goal' of that is so future participants may:
    1. Gain from the collective knowledge of your experiences;
    2. Benefit from what you have created; and
    3. Incorporate new ideas into their classroom based upon your inspiration.
    The bonus for you, of course, is that this information will also always be accessible to you. This way, in the future (many semesters from now) you may revisit this site and benefit from the ideas of all the participants that took it 'after' you. In this way---YOU will gain from all the 'learning speed bumps' of those that have come after you--even though they are not currently enrolled in this course. To reduce confusion however, I am only showing you a stripped down version of this blog's visual interface.  As the semester progresses I will be slowly introducing other aspects of it, one of those is the archive from past participants.
    Some of the content for our sessions is also covered in my "Blogs and Wikis" course. When that is the case I'll also give you a link to the 'comments' of past participants from that class as well.

    Before we go any further I would like each of you to practice using this forum and introduce yourself (1.4 from the Overview checklist). We will be spending the semester together, so it is important to learn as much about each other as possible.

    So first make sure that you have an account with Blogger (any Google user name and password will do), then click on the 'comment' link below this posting,  and write a few paragraphs about yourself.

    Please include:
    -your name (This will count for credit for 1.3 and 1.4.)
    -email address (so that you may contact each other directly if needed),
    -your educational background,
    -teaching history,
    -current teaching position with location, and lastly
    -what you hope to come away with when this semester is over, along with any additional information about you that you wish to share, like your motivation for choosing this course... (This will count for credit for 1.5, so please read the checklist in the Overview for expectations.)

    Sometimes it takes a little while to get the hang of using this forum. I have taken this into consideration by reducing the workload/readings of the first session. (Of course, if you get distracted easily, then you could spend hours exploring.)

    Week 1's primary goal is to make sure everyone is on the same page and skill level before we sink our teeth into the meat of this course,  however, if you run into any 'techno-speed bumps' then please feel free to contact me with any questions.

    There are a few readings listed and linked from the syllabus.  Most are online, but this one should be read from here:

    Everything here is licensed by Creative Commons. This means that you have complete authority to download, save, share, and use all of the lessons in your classroom, but are prohibited from any commercial uses.

    You will notice that most of the PowerPoint presentations will have the narration transcribed in the 'notes section' of each slide. We've all heard about the con's of using PPT and the desperate need for alternatives, but I've found using this sometimes makes it easiest for the largest number of people to then take and manipulate.

    The transcription of my narration is because sometimes I have teachers from around the world taking my courses. I've had teachers from Canada, China, Alaska, California, Phillipines, Sudan, Singapore...taking my courses (And they may need help understanding my "Ro-diland" accent) but more importantly, the transcribed narration allows you to take these slides and use them in your own classroom. (or, if you find my voice putting you to sleep, you can just read the slides instead)

    Good luck this semester! I look forward to working and collaborating with you.

    Dave Fontaine
    PS-Click on the 'comments' link below to make your comments for this week.

    Thursday, September 7, 2017

    Welcome to EDC525---"Website Technology in Education and Training"

    Welcome to EDC525---"Website Technology in Education and Training"

    This title is a bit outdated and doesn't clearly convey the content of this course.  It could, and some day soon will, be called, "Using Technology to Teach the Adult Learner."

    Throughout this semester we will be covering a vast amount of information (but don't be too intimidated). Information and new developments about this content are exploding exponentially, so it's challenging even for me to stay current.

    New sessions will be posted (here on our class edublog once a week (by the end of the day on Thursday).   I will explain why we are using this site when we see each other, but I'll also add some more information for those that have missed our first day. 

    I've sat through countless training sessions, lectures, workshops, and classes and have learned that there is no substitute for experience. Following this mindset, I decided to have you immediately dive right into one of the first tools that we will be playing with and experimenting on.  

    This online service is called, "Blogger" aka "Blogspot".  It is owned by a Google, so it is in your best interest (when signing up) to use a Google account (if you have one).  

    Ordinarily, we have our first face-to-face (f2f) meeting at URI's Providence campus (Shepard Building)  in room 317 from 4-6:30ish. We then normally would meet again for a mid-semester f2f and at the end of the term for Final Presentations. For those of you that have missed the first class,  you will have to dive right in and may have to struggle a bit until you get the hang of this interface.

    This site will be our class blog.  I'm sure by now you are all aware with what a blog is.  The term is short for 'web log'.  It's format is similar to many sites you may have used and we will be using this blog as our home page.  

    Each week, you will visit here and read my weekly posting.  Often from there you will be tasked with visiting, experimenting, and using additional online resources, all of which have the potential to aid you in your endeavors to impart your vast trove of knowledge upon others.  

    Please keep in mind that there are new developments and trends in online information every day, therefore we may have to be flexible when interpreting the syllabus. This may mean some modifications, changes and condensing of information. 

    To ensure that we are covering the most current skills and content, I will be assimilating and collating information right up until the moment I post a session. This means that each session's link (over in the left-hand margin) will not be accessible until its respective Thursday. Even so, there may be times during a session when a cited link is dead. If that is the case, I will try to keep saved copies of all the information. Just email me ( and I will forward the data to you.

    During the first few sessions we will be covering foundational skills. This is to ensure that we all have the basic essentials of online andragogy ‘down pat’. Once this is covered, we will pick up the pace and begin to delve into the mechanics, nuances, and meat of our course.

    PLEASE DON'T FEEL OVERWHELMED this first week and pace yourself going through the links and readings.

    Normally, I will go through all of the content in this blog posting f2f during our first session, so if you run into trouble or hit a techno-speedbump along the way, I could help.  Feel free to reach out to me with any questions if that's the case.

    To ensure continuous accessibility to the information within these weekly presentations I suggest you immediately download, and save the sessions, to your computer.  Not every week's session will be downloadable, (Week 1 is mostly readings w/o a video session to download, so don't look for a link for this week.) but many will be. I cannot emphasize this enough. Along the left-hand margin, there will be a link for each session, but not Week 1. When you click on this link you may be prompted to 'save' or 'open' the session.

    Always save it to your desktop (or in a folder somewhere on your computer). Previous class participants have found it easiest to organize if they create a folder and store all the sessions in one place. Another option would be to right-click on the link and choose, 'save link as.'

    Saving’ the sessions will decrease problems relating to your bandwidth. Also, although it may take a while for a presentation to download (up to 10 min. or more depending upon the speed of your connection) it will be much easier to toggle between a PowerPoint and the Internet if you have it saved to your hard drive. Weekly sessions will also become portable if you save them to a thumb drive, so if you want to take them from home to work, or vice-versa that will be easiest.

    Additionally, you will need to have access to a computer that has PowerPoint version ’97 or above to view the presentations. We will speak during our first meeting about alternative presentation tools other than PowerPoint, so (As an alternative I will also upload a copy of each week's session to an online service where you can stream it live. You will find that link at the bottom of each weekly posting.)  

    As I mentioned earlier, I teach this course completely from a blog. This will help those of you who have little, to no, experience with blogs.  You get to practice, participate, and even create your own, so that, down the road, you can make an educated decision about how this tool may best be used for your future teaching environment.

    I'll give you all some time to practice with this a little and contact you Saturday night with our first official weekly session, so look for an email from me directing you back to this blog where you will find more details.  

    I believe in immersing you in the technological tools that I am trying to expose you to, so that is one of the main reasons why I am teaching this course from a blog.  This will give you first-hand experience using a blog and also by uploading my sessions to the online service (, you will again see the distinctions between traditional slideshow tools and online services that store all of your material in the cloud.  Hybridized and/or Blended Learning are the new models of andragogy that many colleges and universities are embracing, so most of our focus will be upon how online tools can be used to Flip your classroom. Skim this article for an overall idea.

    Please remember that we are all educators/trainers (or some day hope to be), and that this is a collaborative course. In that same vein, we will all be sharing our thoughts and ideas together, so as you post your reflections and comments we will all be responding to you, therefore, timely responses are imperative. 

    After you have posted your weekly assignment/reflection, make an effort to return again later to read and comment about other participants’ assignments and perspectives.

    Once again remember that we are all perpetual learners; constantly growing. I hope to learn as much from you---as you will from me.

    Saturday evening I will update this page with information about our first session. Along the left-hand margin you will see the syllabus, but truthfully, I will be updating it weekly, so it might be a better idea if you just save a shortcut to the live version.   There isn't a required, purchasable text, but for those of you that want more depth on blogs and wikis then I recommend Will Richardson's book.  Don't worry if it takes a week to arrive.

    You may order it from most online book sellers. Until then you may want to read it online (not ideal and you usually can't access the entire text), but here is the link: Wikis, Blogs, and Podcasts
    You could also check your local library here.

    If you run into problems, please review the directions again. It is not uncommon for participants to 'stumble' a little getting used to this forum.

    Thank you and please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have along the way.

    Please follow the links below to read an overview of Week 1. As you go through it, explore the links for more detailed information.  When finished with the Overview begin to go through the additional readings/directions 1.1, 1.2... to build your foundation for this semester's content.

    1.1--Who is the Virtual Student

    1.2--Who is the Virtual Teacher

    1.3--Who We Are (it's all about the people)

    Good Luck and have fun.  I'll post the rest of Week 1 by Saturday night.

    Dave Fontaine
    eBook, eLearning, and eContent Specialist
    National Board Certified Educator