Thursday, October 13, 2016

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


Let's start with a video to keep all of what we are learning in context.  It was created using Prezi.com.  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...

525session6




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.

In case you need to explain 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:



This is a little more detail 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. 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.  Also, if I missed placing a link to your blog in the left-hand margin, drop me a line and let me know.

Have fun!!

Dave

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.
Summer '11

126 comments:

  1. Hi All!
    I have two thoughts about this week's materials so far:

    1) The Teaching in the 21st Century video made a very profound statement that the role of the teacher, when utilizing technology, shifts to that of a filter instead of the keeper of knowledge. This is a dramatic shift! We have long encouraged staff to facilitate student learning in the classroom as opposed to being a "sage on the stage" talking at students and dumping a bunch of content on them without delving deeply into meaning and application. Being a filter is a vivid illustration of the shift because it takes some of the onus for content off the shoulders of the teacher. We also struggle with how to truly integrate technology well in the classroom. Some staff are more adept than others. To view one's self as a filter could encourage a teacher to think differently when planning lessons allowing tech integration to happen more naturally.

    2) Voicethread had pluses and minuses for me. I like that it is a repository for multiple recordings to be grouped together, that one can view it well after it is recorded and that people have the option to participate in a written/chat mode when they do not have mics. I was distracted by the changes in volume of each entry and wished that could be modulated within the tool. I also wonder for students who excel in auditory learning if a voice over of the written portions could be added.

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    1. Hi Leslie. I especially liked the notion of being a filter also. I think the more instructors experiment, participation will increase.
      Sharyn

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    2. Leslie, What are your thoughts about technology dehumanizing our society? I think that if teachers act as filters only, who will then teach our children to communicate with one another in the real world? Who will teach them how to problem solve and collaborate? I think technology is great, however, there is nothing like having a one on one with another person and being able to talk and share your knowledge. I think we will miss out on a lot of the eye contact,body language, interpersonal interaction and human aspects of learning that a face to face environment provides us. It is hard to show enthusiasm in a post.

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    3. Well, Chris, I don't think technology is dehumanizing society. Humans are doing a fine job of that through the choices they make. Technology is sometimes used as a tool but for me, it still comes down to the human choice. For example, there have always been bullies and it is undoubtedly easier to be a keyboard warrior from the safety of your own home. However, I also see the flip side of the same isolation/distance empowering people to type their opposition to bullying and band together in resistance- a kind of reverse crowd mentality.

      People can see breaking news, contribute to causes that empassion them, learn new languages/recipes/crafts, view places they cannot afford to travel to, stay in close touch with family and friends near and far, collectively brainstorm solutions to challenges, engage individuals who otherwise may be marginalized, all through technology.

      In the classroom, I believe the role of the teacher is changing and needs to encompass the utilization of technology. We agree that we do need human interaction but learning can be so much richer using a variety of modalities and resources that are not necessarily available to all teachers or students. We had students that were asylees from Syria in our program. One night, they were trying to explain to classmates what their country was like. We were able to use Google Maps to get a street view of their neighborhood. It greatly enhanced the discussion because it supplemented their limited English abilities to describe things as fully as they wished. The shared learning experience was pretty cool!

      We use technology in many ways in instruction. There needs to be a balance but we would be doing a disservice to our students to not equip them with technology skills.

      Lastly, learning to express one's self effectively in writing is a critical skill in the "real world". Whether someone is sending a text to a friend, writing a paper, taking a test, sending an email to their boss, a letter to their child's teacher, applying for a job, etc. writing skills are essential. Maybe it challenges us to learn more vocabulary to capture the essence of our emotion when writing.

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    4. Wow Leslie, Somehow I knew you would really put your heart and sole into your very eloquently expressed reply to my concerns. When you express it the way you did, I can see that technology has not had negative effects for you or the students in your realm. Thank you for sharing such great examples for all of us. I for one am enjoying the new things that I am learning and am trying to incorporate many of them into my work and home life. It amazes me how much I have missed out on in the 20 years since I was in school.

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    5. Great discussion, guys! I really believe that there must be that balance between the utilization of technology and traditional methods. I'm finding that many in the younger generation are so reliant on technology and living in the digital world that they may struggle in the real world. Too much technology can make social interaction difficult and I can see that some students will struggle in a job interview, for example. I think we must be cautious and find a balance in our teaching methods.

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    6. When I first read the quote by Maria in the video, I have to admit I was in agreement. While it is true that technology provides a variety of wonderful tools for teachers, I also feel that it mandates that we become proficient with a great many of them in order to have an efficient and up to date classroom. Teaching has changed in that we are now a filter for our students. We must learn the newest methods to present material in a student centered, self learning manner. Paul, I agree with you that we need to find a balance between technology and traditional learning methods. We must not forget the importance of social, face to face interaction. In my opinion, one of the greatest benefits to blogs, wikis, etc...is that students who are reluctant to participate may be more inclined to do so when they have the chance to write something, and then review it before actually posting. Also, many students, especially those with disabilities, hesitate to speak in front of the class. With Wikis and blogs, they can participate almost "behind the scenes." In addition, students today are so comfortable with the new technology, so it makes their sharing easier due to their comfort zone with these tools.

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    7. Hi everyone, This is a great discussion and I think both Chris and Leslie make very good points. While technology is a great tool and can immensely help in the classroom, what I see as I am sure everyone else does, is that no matter where you go, people are 'plugged in'. Everyone is sitting together, but they are all focused on their own phone screens. No one talks to one another anymore. I see it at URI with the kids all walking, 95% have their phones in their hands and they are looking at it. I think that may be where the dehumanizing comes into play. People don't talk anymore.

      The only issue I see that technology is causing in the classroom is that you can't get away from school or work. People are constantly working from home on the weekends when they should be outside and enjoying their time 'off'.

      That's one side of it. The other side is that it offers a great convenience to be able to log into work or school from home and get stuff done.

      In the end, balance is the key.

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    8. As far as teachers being a filter, with the information overload that is the world wide web, students need to be guided in the basics of information. Just because the information is on the internet, does not mean it's true. In this respect, teachers need to be the guiding voice for students to help them navigate through all the information that is thrown at them by doing a google search.

      As for voice thread, it seems to be a good tool for an online class that does not meet at a specific time. The fact that people can either 'talk or type' their answer would be a benefit as well. I was looking for where they found the questions? Is this just an added tool on like a blog or wiki for responses? I was looking to see where the questions where that they were responding to.

      Anyone help guide me on this??

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    9. I think we all agree that seeing everyone in a building connected to their devices is disheartening. I read an article recently about K-12 schools that have banned devices in the classroom. Parents were freaking out because they could not be reached immediately (which is another HUGE can of worms lol) but one phenomenon (HA!) that was observed is that the children were beginning to talk to each other again. It made me sad reflecting back on so many memories of lunchtime and classroom fun.

      Coming from an early childhood world originally, I struggle when I see 2 yr olds adept at devices. A challenge I see is that parents are giving children devices to keep them occupied instead of enjoying the rich interactions of curiosity and conversation. For many, there is not a balance of screen time vs. play/exploration. When a child is taught as a toddler to find comfort and entertainment in a device, its no wonder they are so connected as they grow up.

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    10. This discussion was so good I wasn't sure where to join in. I agree Paula, that not all things online are true. Learning to validate a website and its content would be helpful in these matters. Face to Face meetings bring more connections as Gail stated, however, simply posting a picture next to your name in these blogs have helped me feel like I know you. As we learned in the video we watched about how fast technology is changing, we also need to focus on how we as educators need to swim with the tide.

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    11. Great points everyone! I have seen the shift from traditional learning methods to technology based learning with regards to how my husband fixes our cars. Prior to Web 2.0, my husband relied on a car manual and the Auto Zone clerk to diagnose a problem and fix our car problems. There was a lot of reading and trial and error involved. This all changed once Google and Youtube came around. Now his research consists of Googling a problem, reading articles/discussion boards, and searching Youtube for tutorials on how to change a water pump, for example. He has learned how to do things more quickly and accurately by collaborating with others online, which I think is the beauty of Web 2.0 - collaboration.
      Luz

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    12. I love the idea of teachers as filters. I used to say this all the time as a manager at macys. There is often so much information coming from all different directions that it is up to the teacher to filter the pertinent information and focus the students on the lesson.

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    13. Leslie, I felt i needed to comment on how you feel about 2 yo with devices. It is such a difficult balance in our household. I had always found it amazing how children seem to be born with the ability to use technology. Now, our son, who is 2, can take my phone unlock it, swipe to find youtube kids and scroll thru the videos to find the one he wants to use. I am often amazed by this, especially when I know my mom couldn't pull this off. Lol.
      We live with the idea that when he is in middle school, or even earlier, tablets are what he will mostly be using in school. As a society we are getting away from hand writing and actual physical books. On the other hand we believe it is very important for him to be socialized with other children and play outside. There are many times I take his tablet away and take him to go play with real toys. We joke and call him a baby zombie when he is on his ipad because he is so focused and missing what's around. I think there are pros and cons to his tablet.
      We used to be the people that would be a little judgy when we say kids in a restaurant playing on their parents phone, but now, sometimes you just don’t want your kid trying to climb you while your eating your tour of Italy at olive garden. Sometimes after a very long day its nice to have a few minutes to relax and be an adult.
      But to stay on topic we do find that there are socialization skills that he learns from watching kids plan on youtube kids. We can clearly see him take these skills with him when playing with other children. And we do believe that his vocabulary is larger because of the videos where they identify toys and objects.

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    14. It is a tough balance, Tai, and always has been. When my 20 somethings were toddlers, the American Pediatric Association recommendation was 2 hrs a day of screen time (total) for children older than 2 and no screen time for kiddos 2 and under. Your comment prompted me to investigate if there is a more current recommendation and there is: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2015/09/30/the-american-academy-of-pediatrics-just-changed-their-guidelines-on-kids-and-screen-time/#4f913fd1137c

      Quality of tv programming and the evolution of educational technology has made a big shift. It is pretty amazing to see a child navigate these tools so effortlessly. My boss's grandson (3 yrs old) is constantly changing things on her phone and then we have to figure out how to undo them!

      I like the aspects of role modeling social skills and increased vocabulary. Being able to see, hear and repeat at will is fantastic. But I am guessing we agree that there needs to be supervision and moderation no matter what the tool and age.

      p.s.
      I hear you on teaching parents how to use technology. I'm trying to convince my mom that she really doesn't need to keep 25 windows open on her tablet to be able to see all the things she likes. We are also trying to help my dad learn how to use Facebook. The day they discovered emoticons on their smart phone was pretty funny too. They impress me that they even try!

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    15. I think that one of the problems we face is lazy teachers. They don't embrace change or make the most of it because it would take them out of their comfort zone. I am not saying that all teachers are lazy, but some are. We see this on a daily basis. This is not to say that these teachers are unintelligent, but they lack some of the key motivation.

      Bringing it back around to your comment. We, as educators, really have the ability to make technology work in the classroom; however, we must be willing to come out of our comfort zone.

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    16. I couldn't agree more that teachers don't embrace change. We as teachers need to be open to new ideas of getting information out there. By tend to the needs of our students they will learn more.

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  2. I have created a Wiki, feel free to join https://wikispaces.com/join/Q4479DF

    I will use this the Wiki to post my math lessons / resources. I am hoping that other teachers will use this when searching for a lesson / activity / extra practice. I have limited the permissions on my Wiki. I do not want my lessons edited by others, therefore I have allowed only "organizers" to edit or create pages. ANYONE can comment or create discussions. I know some were concerned with this last week, has everyone figured this out? I can help if anyone needs it.

    Has everyone has the chance to use a google doc? Or any other google based application? At first, I was not the biggest fan of google applications but now I use them all the time. I particularly like how you can collaborate with others, and its very easy!! Whoever you share a google doc has the capability of editing (if you give them the rights). The nice part about google docs is that you can see every edit, who made the edit, and you can restore to a previous version at any time. This is great because if someone accidentally deletes something, you can look back in the document history and find what went missing. What are everyone's thoughts on google docs? Or other google based applications?

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    1. I was introduced to google docs a few years ago in an online class. We had to do a group presentation and was surprised to hear about a online group collaboration tool. Now I use it all the time and happy to find out that I can go back to the original document. The only problem I have with it is that it doesn't copy well to word documents.

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    2. Hi Jen,
      Like you, I was a little resistant to Google Docs when our district first went to Google. However, that quickly changed and I love the share-ability, the comment options, and the automatic saving. In our program, we develop Individual Education and Career Plans for each of our students. I found that by digitizing them in Google Sheets, the students can access them from anywhere on a variety of devices, we can collaborate in addressing their needs, and they have a tool to refer back to as a resource when they leave our program.
      This also allows them access 24/7 as opposed to the only the days or nights they attend class.

      I have also used Google Forms for surveying a number of different times. You can create custom surveys, collect the data in a variety of methods and easily convert data into charts ALL FOR FREE! lol

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    3. Hi Jen,

      URI "went Google" last January, and we converted our emails over from the old Zimbra mail application we had been using. The transition was difficult initially for most, but over the course of time, gmail was accepted and other Google apps became more popular. We've also used Google Forms to create surveys, if you want to check out how that is done, go to this link: https://support.google.com/docs/answer/87809?hl=en

      We also used Survey Monkey to survey people's needs for security cameras on campus - https://www.surveymonkey.com/mp/lp/sem-lp-5b/?utm_campaign=US_Search_Brand_DSK&utm_medium=ppc&cmpid=nonbrand&mobile=0&cvosrc=ppc.google.survey+monkey&adposition=1t1&creative=146453863327&network=g&cvo_adgroup=survey+monkey&cvo_campaign=US_Search_Brand_DSK&utm_term=survey+monkey&gclid=CjwKEAjwhILABRDwo8mlqt6ug38SJACNSq_kM-GvATyLfB98XVl9VgqocnQgFJgl7TKviDxn_UNAoRoCiofw_wcB&searchntwk=1&opt=brand&matchtype=e&campaign=US_Search_Brand_DSK&keyword=survey+monkey&utm_network=g&utm_source=adwords

      Google Keep is a great program that we have been using to take notes in meetings, here is the link: https://keep.google.com/u/0/

      There are so many programs and features that Google offers, we are just scraping the surface!

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    4. Paul, This is great. You just enlightened me to a google tool that I did not know about. I can absolutely use this in my job. I just downloaded the ap for work. I can't wait to use it.

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    5. Hi Paul. I am really interested in the Google Keep program. I will take a look at what it has to offer. Thanks!!
      Sharyn

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    7. Paul & Leslie,
      I LOVE google forms! Leslie, I also like that it is free (haha). Paul, I have used survey monkey and I think it is just as good. Our principal uses survey monkey in many of her school wide emails. I tend to use google forms more often because it "math friendly"- I send surveys asking how the students felt with the lesson, I give "mini quizzes" (not for a grade, just for quick assessment data), and much more. I really like that all the information is organized and easy to access.

      Have you ever heard of flubaroo? http://www.flubaroo.com/ This is an add-on for google forms and it grades the survey for you. It is and awesome tool for teachers. If you are assessing a topic using google forms and flubaroo, students will instantly know their score.

      Last thing, I have never tried Google Keep. Thanks for sharing this, I am going to check it out.

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    8. Jen,
      Thank you for sharing flubaroo! I had not heard of it yet and will definitely explore more. We use standardized testing in our program to officially document progress however, we only test 3x/yr. This sounds like an easy way for teachers to conduct their own summative or formative assessments.

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    9. I did not know about Flubaroo either or Google Keep. I will have to check them out. Seems like I need a binder to keep all these sites in or I will forgot LOL!

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    10. I hadn't used flubaroo either, but I can now see what a great add-on it is. What a time saver! I can definitely see a use for this program, thanks for the info, Jen.

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    11. Jen and Leslie, I use OneDrive also, which is thru word, so that my docs are accessible on any device. There is a share feature to it, which I don't use. But its 15 gigs of free space to save word docs or pics on. I just randomly noticed there is actually a tutorial on it in my word docs called getting started in one drive

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    12. I inadvertently discovered that when I was saving documents for EDC 584 on my new computer and then couldn't find them. Talk about panic!! lol
      Apparently, it was preset to save to OneDrive.

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    13. Paul,

      I have found that many organizations are now using google in a professional context. Early on it looked like Yahoo, in the sense that it would dominate the market for people who wanted free personal mail and basic applications. I have been impressed, but I guess not surprised at how quickly they have grown. They do seem to take initiative in many areas. My compaint about google in general though is that there are many items, especially security which could be more user friendly. For example, I did not drop this class, but I did get a new computer and through a nightmare series of events managed to get myself locked out of all of my google accounts for a week and change before finally figuring out a way to get my password reset.

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  3. Hi Jen,
    I am fairly new at google docs - since starting my masters degree, but so far I think they offer a lot of benefits. As you mention you can share docs with others and collaborate with them through the document. I did not know you could revert back to an earlier version -that's always good! What I like the most is that you can access your documents wherever you are. You don't need to have your laptop with you or make sure you are on the 'right' computer! That is a huge benefit!

    I may take you up on the editing Wiki issue! I am going to be doing a similar wiki and don't want anyone to edit them but do want them to feel free to discuss and comment on the wiki.

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    1. Paula, I think the best thing about google docs is that it is accessible from anywhere. I can't count the times I saved a document to my home desk top and needed it at work or vice-versa. I try to work in google docs for that very reason.

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    2. Hi Paula,
      I can definitely help you with your wiki. Let me know, we can email or use google hangouts.

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    3. I like google DOCS for what it's worth, but I prefer using Apple's cloud or just the share drive at my place of work. I am still waiting on the paperless society promised in my youth during the 90's :-)

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  4. Hi Everyone. I would like to expand on one of this week’s readings from the syllabus - Blogs, Wikis and Text Messaging: What are the Implications for Students with Learning Disabilities. This is an area that I hadn’t thought much about in terms of technology. After reading this article, I think that technology can be an invaluable tool for many of this population. Here is a video showing how it helped a student immensely.

    https://youtu.be/GRYdi2UXnuY

    While the video shows an extreme case where the student would most likely be in an inclusive setting, this can also benefit students who are integrated into general education classrooms. When instructors utilize technology in the classroom, it gives the students an air of anonymity, and students with special needs may feel more apt to participate. These technological tools can bridge the gap between students.

    I’d love to hear what others think about this.

    Sharyn

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    1. Sharon, I could not agree with you more. I had posted an article on my blog a few weeks back that talked about a writing teacher who used a blog for her Learning disabled students and it found that students felt better about participation as they could think about what they wanted to say without being on the spot to answer right away. Once they had time to look at it and review it, then they could post it with more confidence. Also, it found that students liked getting real time feed back regarding their work from their peers.

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    2. Thanks Chris. I think everything with this new generation is "real time." We have to think of ways to hold students' interests or we will lose them.

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    3. Sharyn and Christine, I agree with you both. My students preferred having feedback from their teacher and their peers. They enjoyed when we corrected things as a group. Again, the big plus in regard to Wikis, blogs, etc...is that the students have a chance to review what they have written before posting, and they can contribute to the class without speaking in front of the class. This is especially helpful for students with disabilities. At CCRI, they are attempting to enroll more students in college level courses, vs remediation courses. I hope that teachers who have these students in their classes are familiar with these tools, because I definitely see where their students would benefit from a classroom utilizing this technology.

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    4. Sharyn, This is very true, we don't want to lose their attention. I was amazed at the classroom texting suggestions - I hope I have the opportunity to use this in my classroom - the students will love it. I think they will be surprised when I tell them to get their phones - they are usually told to put them away!

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    6. Hi All,
      I love the idea of engaging students and norming their using of devices in the classroom. Developmentally, I feel we can guide students to appropriate uses.

      I was at a conference last week. In one session, we texted a six digit number and participated in a survey live. We could answer multiple choice questions and the tool also collected comments. It was fun to use.

      Have any of you use Plickers in your classroom? It's a cool free tool. You create individual cards for each student online and print them out. They have weird 4-sided shapes on them. The students hold the cards up towards the teacher and the teacher scans them with a phone/tablet camera to collect the answers. The tool will compile the answers real-time and the class can watch if the teacher has a projector or elmo camera. One advantage to Plickers is that the teacher can get a read out individualized y student so they can determine who needs some more work in the content area. I have used the tool as a student but not as a teacher yet. Check it out! https://plickers.com/

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    7. Leslie that site is really cool. As educators anything that helps us connect with your students and keep their attention is great. Thank you for sharing that.

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    8. Recently at a parent-teacher night, one of the instructors had all the parents log in to Socrative at http://www.socrative.com/. There is a "space race" that propels the spaceship forward with each correct answer. It kept the parents engaged, and was both engaging and entertaining. We need to explore and find these new resources, and I'm finding our discussions to be a great way to discover these tools.

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    9. Christine and I went to the research seminar recently and they did the same thing. I am not sure what tool they used, Christine may remember, but we had to sign in and were able to answer questions they asked and the answers we entered appeared on the screen. It was pretty cool.

      And it kept us engaged which was not an easy feat when going over citations and the like!

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  5. I think its great. Our society has no other choice but to integrate technology into education as well as our everyday lives. There was a point in time that the only technology we had was the microfiche (older generation will know what that is). For myself, I think I'm going in the wrong direction, I should redirect my degree towards education technology instead of teaching.

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    1. Thanks Stephanie - that might just be the way to go!!
      Sharyn

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    2. Microfiche...lol And to think we thought that was high tech!
      ;)

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  6. The voice thread reminds me of adobe spark - I will definitely use this tool.

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  7. One topic we have not discussed yet is the range of access to devices students/teachers have. Our program is in a moderately poor community. Since our earners have not completed high school, if they are working it is often at a minimum wage job. Most do not own a computer/tablet and many are using tracphones which may or may not be smart phones. This is just a plug to know your demographic before planning a lesson using technology so that everyone can be included.

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    1. Leslie, I know that many local libraries have several computers that are open for use to the public. My sister-in-law is a librarian and she said that many students who do not have computers at home utilize the libraries computers for homework and special projects. She said that they are usually very busy so they have to put time limitations on them making it difficult if you have a lengthy project. How do the students get to the libraries? Many parents are working after school or at night so rides are out of the question. So many things to consider...

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    2. Yes, all public libraries here in MA have public computers too with time limited access. Our's here in town still expects "quiet" use of technology so it would be difficult for a student to do any voice recordings. I am also not sure if they have webcams. We have built tech time into our program so that we know students will have access to the tools they need however we all know people learn at different rates and that technology is more easily grasped by some. There are, indeed, many factors to consider.

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    3. One possible alternative to some of the expensive technology out there is through the use of Google Chromebooks. I've seen Chromebooks for as low as $99, and they have the ability to record voice and video. The student can use the full google software suite, the only caveat being that wifi access must be available. I've read that some areas have held fundraisers to purchase one cart of 32 Chromebook laptops and charging equipment, which costs $8,900. It seems like we are always challenged with funding, so we will have to be creative to get the technology into the hands of all students.

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    4. Yes Paul Chrome books are relatively inexpensive, but as you point out, if the child does not have WIFI access at home they are not able to use them to the extent they need.

      It's too bad but it always seems to come down to money.

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    5. Hi everyone,
      I did a quick search and found an article stating that AT&T offers internet service to low income families receiving food stamps, for as little as $5 a month.
      http://money.cnn.com/2016/04/22/technology/access-from-att-digital-divide/

      I did some more searching and found that they only offer this in 21 states, none in the northeast. Bummer.
      But Cox seems to offer a similar plan for $9.95/month as long as your child qualifies for free lunch. Hope this helps.
      http://connect2compete.org/cox/
      Luz

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    6. Luz, this is great. I would not have thought to check online for that type of assistance. Good info to know and be able to pass on. With that in mind, do you all know that if you loose your dental coverage, CCRI has a great dental clinic where you can obtain a cleaning, x-rays and evaluation for as little as $20.00. It takes longer as the students do it but for many its a great, affordable option. Just thought I'd share that info from my previous employment.

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    7. There is another program called Everyone On which is supposed to give everyone in America access to low cost devices and/or internet service. We cannot use it here in Webster lol but maybe some of you can. Teachers in the areas that have access can also benefit. http://everyoneon.org/

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  8. Gail, The voice thread is like Adobe Spark but gives you more options in terms of video recording and what types of media you can import. I also like the fact that slide transitions are more seamless and the voice thread does not cut you off mid stream when you are recording like the spark does. One downfall of the free version is that you can only make 5 VT presentations. They do, however give you workarounds to get past that or you can purchase the premium. I just signed up and will be making one this afternoon. I'll share it soon. Thanks for peeking my interest. Chris

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    1. I also really like the voice threads. As you mentioned, it seems like you have much more flexibility compared to Spark. Unfortunately, you can only make a few of them for free, but at least you get to explore and decide if you like it. As far as I know, Adobe Spark does not limit the number of presentations you can make. I believe many of us have made Adobe Spark presentations for other classes. In the future, maybe this could be an alternative option?

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    2. When I was introduced to Voicethread back in 2010 I practiced a little with the family pix from a tri:p out west. At the end of a day, I would upload the pix and have the kids narrate a little. It was a great way to immortalize their cute voices. Here is an example: https://voicethread.com/myvoice/#thread/1247851/6709682/7992039

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    3. What a great idea for capturing voices and their thoughts at different ages! Priceless memories.

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    4. That is a great idea! I am going to show voicethread to my kids so they can capture my grandson at his different stages.

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    5. That is a great idea! I am going to show voicethread to my kids so they can capture my grandson at his different stages.

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    6. Hello again, All.
      It looks like Microsoft has also come up with a tool similar to Voicethread and Adobe Spark. It's a free add-on for Powerpoint. Here is the link if you want to check it out: http://www.mixforteachers.com/what-is-office-mix.html

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    7. @Dave - cutest idea ever!! This is great because you don't need to store DVD's if you recorded the trip. It's nice to incorporate both, but this is fun because you can make it a family event.

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  9. Today’s technology allow us to offer so many things to our students globally. Online learning technology allows us to do cross cultural learning as we can connect or follow anyone in the world. If someone told me I was going to take a class on learning technology 10 years ago, I would not even have a clue what that would look like. As I ask that, I also think, what will it look like 10 years from now?

    I remember when Southwest Airlines was one of the first to start allowing people to book their own flights, it was such a foreign concept to me, and now I don’t even give it much thought. Then came going paperless (save a tree) because I would get my bills emailed to me. The other night I made a dinner reservation using something called "Open Table." I looked deeper to find that the restaurant pays to belong and it costs the user as well. And of course the site had a blog on it. Then last week I got a text from my garage man that my car was ready. Interesting how technology is being used today through daily living or learning.

    As we are encouraged (through this program) to find learning technology that are practical for us to use, we can see that this approach helps us see it’s a valuable tool to support our learning. It’s nice to be encouraged to do so. As we move forward it will be interesting to see how collaborating between students and teachers will change through the variety of technology.

    Challenges with how many computers in a classroom verse number of students and who has internet access at home will come into play as we discussed before. The variety of learning technology is endless.
    I found this website http://www.techlearning.com/blogentry/10086 It’s a list of 50 websites or apps that promote learning tools. Some of them we have already talked about. Makes me think….how did we learn or teach without the internet?

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    1. Heidi - I had to call AAA yesterday morning. They text you to let you know when they are on the way, and then they send you a map so you can follow how close they are to you in real time. Remember years ago when you could wait hours and have no idea when they would arrive? Technology is everywhere, you must learn to use it. If you are in the teaching profession, you must bring it into your classroom.

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    2. As I am reviewing some of the comments, I realize how much of an influence technology has had in our day to day lives. My son had friends over and I ordered them Dominos Pizza through the app on my iPhone. Turns out you can order your favorite item by sending a pizza emoji via text to our local Dominos. With all of this technology available, I'm glad to see that it is finding its way into our classrooms!

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    3. Yes Gail! Remember when getting the map from AAA to go on trip? Now we have a phone that tells us how to get there. Paul that is cool the emoji...the things they think up!

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    4. When people say that they don't rely on technology, they really aren't thinking it through. If we think about all of the things we can do from our phones alone, it is almost limitless - from scheduling and confirming appointments, to making reservations or like you all said above, we can schedule flights, tows and order food!! There was a time when all you could do on a phone was to make a call......technology!!

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    5. Heidi,
      I was thinking about that the other day. I try to think back to how we learned before the internet and I remember a very slow process, at least in terms of research. I remember going to the library and spending hours manually looking up articles in journals and then photocopying them. What used to take hours, now takes minutes. It's amazing we got anything done in time, haha!
      Luz

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    6. I loved my Encyclopedia Britannica collection!! I wonder what happened to that......

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    7. Heidi, you made a comment about class sizes growing with online learning. Well, that's exactly what happens with MOOC's. The obstacle is that personalization gets lost and some courses are 'too' automated. Here are just a few sites that offer them: https://www.class-central.com/providers

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    8. @Paula--they've all just been digitized and are now accessible for all through our state library databases here: http://askri.org/

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  10. The tutorials with Ansen Alexander are the best I have seen. He explains everything in an easy to understand manner, and gets right to the point. I will be using the Google spreadsheet instead of Excel now. Excellent site.

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    1. Me too Gail. Kind of exciting. It's hard to give up something we know so well like Excel but I agree with you. I will use this too.

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    2. @Gail @Heidi--The 'forms' option through G Spreadsheets is also a great way to gather evidence, take surveys, and organize results. Check that out: https://www.google.com/forms/about/

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  11. I'm on the fence with technology vs old school paper products. I like to hold what I'm reading in my hands. I like the feel of the pages. Its not enjoyable reading online text. Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom of researching everything and anything I could think of but I feel that our society is losing the social aspect of communication. I realize that the idea of technology is not to eliminate personal contact but to enhance our ability to move towards a better global communications effort. But the more it evolves the less face to face communication is needed.

    Last week I watched a news story about accidents happening because people are too engrossed in their cellphones to pay attention to where they are walking. One woman was watching her cellphone and walked into the street and got clipped by a city bus. Thank God her injuries were not life threatening but she did get hurt.

    On the other hand online technology, especially online classes, works out perfectly when attending a face to face class is not possible.
    The article "Are Textbooks Becoming Extinct" written by our illustrious professor Dave Fontaine explains that wikitext maybe the way to go in changing the role of the textbook to overcome outdated material and information.
    One of the paragraphs in the article states that "with student and teacher input, this chapter will perpetually evolve. this living and breathing document will constantly change, grow and improve with each and every edit continuously benefiting from the insights, perspectives, and collective intelligence of the group." I'm wondering what others think of this statement. Am I misunderstanding this statement? If I were enrolled in a face to face class and students did most of the talking I would rethink how much that class is worth, after all 3 credit master's degree classes are $1933.00.

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    1. Stephanie,
      I, too, enjoy reading from hard copy versus online. There is something about visiting a book store or library and curling up on a blustery day that is magical. Reading for work doesn't appeal quite the same way but you raise a good point.

      My boss and I had a discussion recently about reading online effecting people's brain development differently physiologically. Has anyone seen a study on this?

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    2. Hi Stephanie,
      I have a Kindle that I download books to read. After a few, I really missed the smell and feel of real books. I now switch often from hard copies to the Kindle. Makes me feel like I'm holding on to my roots while also being contemporary.

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    3. Stephanie,
      Based on my interpretation of the article, wikitexts are supposed to act as a supplement to a textbook, not a replacement. To me, it's like meeting f2f and taking notes of what our classmates and instructor are saying, but instead, it's done online. But I agree with you with regards to who leads the instruction or discussion on a wikitext and that the instructor should take the lead, not the students.
      Luz

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    4. I am a book lover too! Can't get into cuddling up with a computer!!

      As far as students leading the class, I agree with Stephanie that I would rethink taking that class for no other reason than I am paying for a professional teacher, not a student who hasn't completed their studies. I also would not feel comfortable relying on other student's notes. It's not that I don't trust them or think they take bad notes, but most likely we may learn or think differently, what I think is noteworthy, they may not. It's a personal preference for me.

      Although I will say that I like the idea of sharing notes. Again, someone may pick up something overlooked or vice versa.

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    5. Just a point of clarification on the article that I wrote 8 years ago. The idea is really about a teacher guided wikitext that they can use and share with their peers more than sharing editing rights with the students. I work in an environment where you sometimes have 4-7 different instructors teaching the same course. Envision a scenario in which each one of these teachers was adding all of their best resources through hyperlinks, interactive tutorials, videos, and simulations. The potential to allow for differentiating instruction is explosive.

      Now, regarding Stephanie's thoughts about teaching strategies. The most recent trend in education pedagogy (and andragogy for that matter) is to remove the teacher from the front of the room and to change the role to that of a facilitator. The recurring phrase is: "from the sage on the stage to the guide on the side." The reasoning is that class discussions become more interactive and engaging and the instructor guides the conversation. That's one of the motivations behind having you practice as 'facilitators' during this course. There is no substitute for first-hand experience.

      I would love to hear the class's thoughts on this. What do you think?

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    6. Hi Dave,
      I like the approach of facilitation in my adult basic education world because of the large volume of content that our students need/want to learn in limited classroom time. It requires a lot of up front preparation by the teacher but when it is done well, frees the teacher during class to spend more one on one time with a student. That attention can validate the learner as a person increasing their confidence and keep the student engaged enough to struggle through when they face an academic challenge.

      I wonder if facilitation is more successful with certain age groups or content areas.

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    7. Hi Dave, I think that is a very important tool, especially for those in secondary education. As you mentioned, there are usually more than tow or three instructors that can be assigned the same lecture. This would be a perfect way to collaborate.

      Delete
  12. I think it's amazing how Google has basically revolutionized how we share and save information online. I for one save all important documents on my Google drive rather than on a flash drive since I am able to access it from essentially anywhere with internet connection. I began using Google Docs to collaborate with classmates in this Master's program since F2F meetings weren't always possible. I was amazed at how quickly documents evolved. It really is an effective way to collaborate with others.
    Luz

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  13. Hi Everyone,
    I have to admit – I have a love/hate relationship with robots. While I find them fascinating, I am terrified of the concept that they are becoming more and more human-like. I found the article Dancing with Robots to be very informative. One concept I took from this article is something that has been in the news lately; the potential that robotic computers are taking jobs away from humans. We were so focused on jobs being out-sourced, that theses sneaky little buggers crept up without notice. Computers are being used for some basic routine cognitive and manual tasks but also (as I know firsthand, have begun to be utilized in the operating room). In regards to education, we need to acquire additional knowledge regarding how to apply new technology (maybe cute, friendly robots) to keep up and be relevant. As an aside, I’ve started watching the new HBO series West World. It is about robots becoming humanized – I am so frightened that this could really happen, but of course I can’t stop watching!!
    Sharyn

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    1. I agree, I'm a little worried about the transcendence of technical brilliance. Will these robots have the capability to automatically evolve and if so where do we stand as humans? Have you watched the movie "Transcendence" with Johnny Depp. Its about a dying computer genius who uploads himself into computerized form to stay alive.

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    2. Sharyn,
      Robots and technology are definitely taking jobs away from humans. Take for instance bank tellers. The article pointed out that this field only grew by 8% in over 10 years due to the use of ATMs. I can only assume that this number has decreased even more since most banks now have apps and allow mobile deposits for checks. Yet, having worked at a bank processing center during college, I can also assume that the number of jobs at those centers have increased in order to keep up with the rapidly changing technology and the speed at which things need to get processed. And while I don't think robots can take the place of humans, I do think that it's important to remain up to date with new technology in order to be able to operate, trouble shoot, and teach others how to solve problems using these tools.
      Luz

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    3. Luz,
      I think you said it perfectly, "while I don't think robots can take the place of humans, I do think that it's important to remain up to date with new technology in order to be able to operate, troubleshoot, and teach others how to solve problems using these tools"
      I have a few co-workers that are extremely close minded to technology. They think technology is going to ruin everything and that people shouldn't use it. I have the same outlook as you, technology usage in the workplace continues to be more common, it is important to learn and utilize it as much as YOU possibly can. These days it is imperative that you know how to operate many different technologies in order to be successful.

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    4. Hi All,
      Jen, this reminds me of a great discussion I heard last week on NPR. It was about the economy, automation and the decline of the labor market. The host made a statement about the pace of technology being utilized in the 21st century, especially to replace humans in the labor market. The guest made a great point. Basically, he felt where the nation has failed is not in allowing technology to replace humans but by not retraining the humans to do other jobs. At first I was not on board with his opinion but then he shared an example. He made an argument to fund horse buggies for mass public transportation then explained that we wouldn't fund it because technology in transportation has evolved dramatically since the turn of the century. The buggy drivers had to learn a new profession. Industry, like technology, is always evolving. Those who are not willing to learn and adapt will be left behind.

      Delete
    5. @Sharyn--While it is true that the ever-changing world of careers and occupations is perpetually evolving, this article on Monster.com offers a different outlook, "...But there’s an upside: The study also reports 2 million jobs will be created through technological advances." The full article can be found here: https://www.monster.com/career-advice/article/cool-future-jobs

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    6. Okay, so I just came across this article that states that by the year 2050, humans will marry robots - what?!?!?
      http://www.networkworld.com/article/2287978/infrastructure-management/humans-will-love--marry-robots-by-2050.html

      Dave, thanks for the article on monster. I hope that there will be a balance between technology taking our jobs to a higher level and hiring additional humans to implement them. It seems like that is the direction the article thinks we are heading in.
      Sharyn

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  14. With all this technology talk, I have a question... Does anyone ever consider backing up documents that are saved online (ie. google drive)? I say this because, a colleague of mine is battling a lawsuit with the school department (unfortunately, the school department is trying to let him/her go). Without any notice, they shut off his/her school google account, consequently, he/she lost all their school documents. Administration has made it clear that there is no intention of reactivating the account. I know this is a unique case, and most likely will not happen with personal accounts, but then again you never know...

    I hate to be the bear of bad news, just something to consider. Has anyone else thought of this and/or had something similar happen?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jen,
      This is an interesting issue. I suspect what it at issue is who owns the documents on the google drive. If this person created them for his job with the school department, they may be fighting that angle.

      But again, it's interesting because as you say, if we create google docs for our jobs and share them with our google work email account, we do have the potential of something like this happening - not likely but still.

      As you say, it is something to consider and not something I have thought about but will now!

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    2. Hi Jen,
      I have never given this much thought, so thank you for raising the issue. I had previously commented on how I save everything to Google Drive rather than a flash drive since it's easily accessible anywhere. This definitely throws a wrench on things!
      Luz

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    3. @Jen--I have given this some thought, so I always 'share' my work folders with my personal account. My thought is that even in a situation like above that I can still access my material, but I do also make copies of the important stuff through this 'share' capability.

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  15. Hi everyone,
    I decided to try VoiceThread and created a quick one on some of the cakes I've made. Hope you can check it out!

    https://voicethread.com/share/8327555/

    Luz

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    1. I nominate Luz for baking our graduation cake! You do beautiful work, Luz.

      Do we have a second?

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    2. Thank you, Leslie! And nice try, haha!
      Luz

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    3. Luz,
      Your cakes are gorgeous. Really really nice work. And how cool voice threads is. If someone else wants a cake from you, you can just share and they will have ideas of what you can do. Brilliant!!

      -tai

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  16. I just looked at your VoiceThread. Beautiful cakes and a great way to advertise your talent. I particularly like the descriptions with the slides. It seems effortless to create a VoiceThread but I'm sure it was not as easy as you make it seem.

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    1. Thank you, Stephanie! It's fairly simple so don't let it intimidate you. You upload the pictures you want, and then record or type your comment. You can also do a video comment, which would be cool to use for class presentations since you can also "write" on your slide as you speak if you need to.
      Luz

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  17. Hi Everyone,

    I enjoyed all of the videos for this week, but Teaching in the 21st Century got me thinking. Having older children who have graduated five and eight years ago, I never really gave technology and education much thought. Computers were just being introduced and were a luxury – not utilized by every teacher for every student. I think that the untapped resources afforded to faculty and students who use technology is unending. That being said, it is very important the proper safety measures are put in place.

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    1. Absolutely Sharon. I often wonder how teachers are able to hold students attention when half of them are texting or online when they are supposed to be listening. I find it very distracting and quit frankly rude for students to be on their phones. When questioned, they say they are looking something up. I will say that recently, I took a research seminar where the instructor had us log in from our phones to answer a survey. I was more apt to answer "anonymously with my phone then to call out the answer so I can see how that is helpful to a shy student. I go back and forth on liking the technology.

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    2. I was in that generation of students who was introduced to the internet in middle school. It was exciting, but mainly only used for research purposes. I often wish I had had access to some of the apps available today when I was in middle/high school and even in college. It's amazing how much stuff is at your finger tips now.

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  18. Teaching in the 21st Century was the first video that I watched. It was difficult to follow because of the: twisting and turning words, blinking in and out, black, white, grey and bright yellow lettering, sliding in from the left and right, dropping down or flying up sentences. It kind of made me dizzy, I don't know maybe I'm too old. I had to look at it again because it annoyed me so much that I forgot what it was about. Besides closely monitoring the sites that younger students visit what other strategies could one use to ensure proper safety measures? Everything is subject to hackers and most sites unless there is a fee are accessible.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Does anyone else have issues with comments disappearing??? I have put up a number of comments. Sometimes two or three times and when I come back they are gone.

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    2. That is frustrating, Jason. I had one disappear when I tried to post it but then realized I was not logged in. Since then nothing else has disappeared.

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    3. Yes! This has happened to me too. I have read some other comments regarding this issue, are you copy and pasting from another source? That could be the reason. I think microsoft word is the biggest issue. I know I was typing in microsoft and pasting into the blog comment box... Since I stopped doing this, my comments haven't disappeared.

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    4. Yes! I copy and paste from word for original posts. When I comment on another post I usually just type it in the comment box. I was horrified when I doubled back to week 4/5 and didn't see what I had posted. :-(.

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    5. Glad that we had the chance to speak on the phone tonight and that everything seems to be working for you now. If anyone else is ever feeling stressed, please let me know and we can speak over the phone.

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    6. Jason.
      I find myself wanting to go the the right-hand bottom corner to publish my post as that is where many submit buttons are found. It took a little retraining to go left lol

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  20. 1 of 2:
    With regard to technology for students with disabilities. This is one of the hardest things to deal with from an instructional side, in my opinion. When we are in a conventional learning environment dealing with students who have learning or other disabilities can be challenging but there are many proven methods we have for dealing with these students. For example, I have employed note takers, made large font exams, given extended time on exams, had a test writer (this is where a student dictates and someone else writes...used this once when a student broke an arm, given power point slides out, and many other things. This is all okay in the conventional classroom setting.

    When it comes to online courses or hybrid courses, this becomes very difficult. As I only see my online students twice during the semester for exams, it is difficult to give accommodations. I can certainly make accommodations for these in person exams, but it becomes more complicated with regard to other aspects of the course. Students often need to use (in my subject area) programs like ALEKS, Mathematica, MyMathLab, etc... so the ability I have to help the student is tied to the technological capability of the program. I have found that in recent years these programs have become more and more accessible.

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  21. 2 of 2:
    As for using text messaging, I know some instructors have started using this method of communication in order to communicate important announcements. Sometimes our students don't always check their e-mail on a daily basis, but they are rarely without their phones. One concern I have had, on a personal level, is whether or not I want my students knowing my phone number. Do I want them texting me at 2am on a Saturday morning?

    Another thing that I think should be discussed is the use of a Facebook group or like page. I once piloted a class which made use of Khan Academy (check it out if you can), but because Khan Academy is not so good for class management we used a Facebook page to communicate notices and post downloads.

    While I have not personally made use of a wiki page I think this has potential. It can serves as a useful library of resources which are collated together and in one place.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jason,
      While I am all for implementing technology I would absolutely not give a student a personal phone number. We run into the problem of students not checking emails on a daily basis, but they must be held accountable, and lets face it, if they can use their phone to text, then they can use it to check their emails. Just a thought.
      Sharyn

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  22. For any math people out there interested in a tech savvy approach to dealing with remediation, check out the link:
    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/03/20/austin-community-colleges-promising-experiment-personalized-remedial-mathematics

    I had the privilege of meeting the person who created this over the summer and was also able to participate in a webinar.

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  23. I myself like a paper copy more than anyone but i feel like with the current generation and the ones up and coming that technology is a major part of our lives. I may be one of those students at URI with my eyes glued to my phone while walking through campus but I feel as though many of us do it to stay connected we feel like if our attention is in the moment and paying attention to whats in front of us we may be missing out on things that are happening that we aren't there to see so we rely on our technology to keep us up to date. I feel it has its benefits and its flaws but in the long run its' what we make of how we use our technology that matters. Many students like i could be getting those few extra study minutes while walking to class, looking at notes. In the long run we all learn differently and as teachers we need to be able to tend to all different types of learners in our classrooms.

    Voicethread was interesting. I didn't know what to expect, but they and so many talks about different topics it was nice to see different information out there.

    As for google docs... I live by it. I used it to share music for my group dances, when I was a teacher for the URI Dance Company, to whomever needed it. I used the excel spread sheet to share attendances and I use docs to do many group projects when we couldn't meet in person.

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    1. I also like physical paper/books. I think it's a generational thing. With that said, I have always found that technology savvy learners can do a lot of self exploration and expand their own knowledge based on their curiosity rather than what a textbook dictates.

      Delete
  24. Hi Jen, With regard to the backup of google, I never thought about it either but what you could do is set up a personal gmail account and share any important things that you do not want to loose with yourself. In essence you have a duplicate. Then if the school email gets shut down, you have the info on your personal drive.

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    1. I have always encouraged my students to keep things in three places. Flash drive, e-mail it to yourself and keep a copy in the cloud. I do this with important items such as grades. One thing that concerns me about google docs is that if I mistakenly click the wrong box, I could make something confidential public.

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  25. Hello, After watching Luz's voice thread, I decided to give it a go. If you have a minute, take a look at mine.
    https://voicethread.com/share/8334952/

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    1. Beautiful pictures, Chris! VoiceThread lets you leave a private comment, so I obviously left one on yours ;)
      Luz

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  26. Luz & Chris,
    I love your voice threads!! I'm definitely going to make one soon - after my show this Saturday I hope to have some great pictures to use. Thank you both for posting yours!!
    Sharyn

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  27. I recently read the commentary on the OECD report on the findings of the PISA test. Honestly, the opinion of the author made me feel somewhat vindicated with regard to what I have been saying for the last few years. While there is a place for ED Tech in our schools (higher ed or k-12). I have noticed, even in my short career, that many of the outside companies which are brought in to administer web based learning management and homework/test systems are marketing to the wrong people. They market to the instructors because ultimately we are the ones who decide what is used in a course. Yet the students pay for it, usually as an add-on to the already overpriced textbook. With that said, the products are often designed for the teachers and not for the students.
    To go to the more general point of the commentary, or more accurately, my own take. I am not surprised that Ed Tech is not changing the results of students from poor socio-economic backgrounds. Indeed, Ed Tech does bridge the initial technological divide but why would it work like a miracle pill for students who grew up in low income neighborhoods? The technology may make our lives easier to an extent, but it does not erase the reasons why some students were behind in the first place. Technology can not erase or change built in attitudes about homework, discipline and family.

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