Diigo

Recently I have been exploring on-line tools to simplify my digital life. One that I used is Diigo, a site which bookmarks journal articles. It can do a lot more than that, but for the moment, having an on-line space where I can bookmark journal articles & highlight relevant phrases is very convenient.

The neat aspect of Diigo is I don’t need to remember my flashdrive, I don’t have to print out a million pages, and I don’t have to use the same computer every time I need my bookmarks. It is much easier to remember one website than a whole bunch of them. My bookmark list on my personal computer can be overwhelming, I don’t really need to add journal articles to it.

Diigo acts like my cell phone in some ways. My cell keeps all the information I need in one space, Diigo keeps everything I think that I may need in one place. I know that for my OLTD classes, this site will be helpful. I suspect that in the future it will be a great help in my professional life as any interesting sites I wander upon I can have for future teaching opportunities

Digital Communication Tools

The type of tools that are used in a digital class are very important as they contribute to the success and failure of your students. I think it is incredibly important to consider who your typical student is and how your typical class is structured. This allows an educator to determine whether synchronous or asynchronous etools are better and allow the instructor to choose the better platforms.

In my class, most students are adults returning after a break or pause in their education. Most work full or part time and have families to support. The typical class at Vancouver Island University (VIU) is face-to-face though the department fully supports moving to a blended model. Thus for my students, asynchronous etools are the better option. Many students struggle with coming to class as it is, a synchronous option would not be a good choice.

Although many students are eliterate, quite a few are not. Any etools would have to have introductory assignments to introduce the students to the system. Additional support may also be needed. I am also fortunate that there are computers available for student use 24 hours a day, in the VIU library as not all learners have internet access or computers at home.

Currently in my class I am using a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) called Desire to Learn (D2L). Within D2L students are currently expected to participate in discussion boards. They are required to post questions or internet links and respond to two other student’s links. I am planning soon to require the use of microblogging, probably Twitter, as the asynchronous nature allows students to participate when it is convenient to them. As the assignment I am planning is quite comprehensive, it will not be created until September 2014.

While reading the OLTD 503 text by Kear (2011) I was intrigued by the idea of podcasting. Many student own MP3 players. This would allow them to “learn-on-the-go”. For visual learners, the podcast could be accompanied by a PDF or PowerPoint with images that correspond to the audio. I may try this for an upcoming lecture on Mitosis and Meiosis.

Kear, K. (2011). Online and social networking communities: A best practice guide for educators. New
York, NY: Routledge.

A Metaphor: Facilitating on-line Learning

Alaska

A student commencing an on-line course is similar to a captain of a boat leaving on a deep sea voyage.

The facilitator of the course is responsible to give the learner a map with the final destination, perhaps recommending some ports of call along the way, but the student ultimately determines the timing, the path, and interesting stops during the trip. They are their own captain, piloting their own learning journey. Different learners have different amounts of educational experience so the facilitator provides guidance and support as and when needed as some students may require a lot, some only a little.

In the end, the student, and the instructor, are off on a glorious journey.

Twitter in the classroom

Evidence: Technology implementation plan

Learning outcomes:

  • Develop practical and technical skills in all phases of concept, development, design, implementation, etc. for blended and online learning environments.
  • Demonstrate basic competency with design and implementation within blended and online learning environments.

I have been thinking about introducing Twitter into the class for sometime but have never got around exploring the research to see the benefit of using a microblogging tool in the classroom. I also never thought about designing a plan of implementation. I suspect I would have just tried to ‘wing it’. This evidence is a plan for implementing Twitter into a class and as a possible longer-term project.

Introducing a new technology as an early innovator is quite a bit of work so it is really important to have a clear, detailed plan before starting. Not only do you need details for how the tool will be used, but you need to develop a concept, a reason for why the tool is being used and what is be pedagogy behind it. It is also important to use the tool quite a bit before starting as the educator needs to be an ‘expert’ in it so students feel confident asking questions.

While I have not yet used Twitter in the classroom, having a tool to be able to converse with students (and students converse with each other) outside of an LMS or email really extend the breadth of the class. In terms of my teaching practice, this project really emphasized how important a detailed plan is when new tools are being introduced to the class, or to the school

leadership_project.pdf

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