Saturday, March 20, 2010

J'ai fini

•How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?

17 Things, etc. has helped to assist one of my lifelong learning goals: effectively infusing new technology into my curriculum.

Alicia has given us 17 + tools to navigate through. Not to mention, she did this in a creative way that allowed us to tackle these tools with our busy schedules. There is no way I would have put aside time to find these tools or explore tools I already knew about on my own. Because there was a set structure, I was able to learn about them at any hour of the day. Since I have started this program, I have already implemented a few of these Web 2.0 tools into my curriculum.

The last “thing” was so helpful because all of the research in regards to what’s out there has been done for us. All I have to do, when researching for a unit, is navigate through the CNET's 2009 Webware 100 winners website and find something that’s applicable.
Participating in this program will continue to provide me with tools needed to achieve my technology goal throughout the course of my career (which is a long time)!

•Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

Yes! There were definitely some take-a-ways and unexpected outcomes. For example, I was literally shocked at all of the tools that were available (for free, even). Unimaginable resources that are out there that I did not know existed.

Now, I am familiar with Web 2.0. I have used Ning (successfully), creative commons, social networking sites, professional editing software, Google Docs, and website software. I felt confident going into the program, knowing these tools.

However, after the first three weeks I realized that there is SO MUCH MORE to learn about. I remember spending HOURS on animoto…frustrated because I can use complicated editing software and edit a 30-second piece in minutes. This program took forever because I wanted images and music a certain way and I tried so hard to edit it the way I wanted to edit. Animoto is the only tool that I will NOT be using. I am fortunate to have editing software that I can use that will create a “better” product (I am an editing snob! I blame it on my pre-RB experiences.).

Honestly, who has the time to navigate through every web 2.0 tool? Well, this program allowed us to do so. Alicia picked several different categories and tools for us to look through and then write about how we could (or won’t) use this in our day-to-day teachings.

What was so unexpected was that I learned more information on how to design websites quickly and effectively. Also, I found tools that I have already implemented in my classroom. Screencasting is my FAVORITE find! I have already showed my advanced students this tool. I will be assigning them to screencast complicated editing effects/transitions tutorials. I will then post this on the Ning so that students, when absent, can go through the tutorials that they missed in class. Wow! Educational and cool!

•What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?

For my experience, I can’t think of anything to do differently. I really liked the last “thing” and I think it’s perfect at the end of the program. If I saw that early on, I would have been so intimidated. Time is our enemy. There is not enough. Day or night. We can literally spend every waking moment researching the best strategies, reading the latest trends, and looking for new technology tools; this program hit all three of these.

I do feel, however, that this program should be offered to other teachers across the nation. This is a solid program that can give busy professionals ways to learn about and become Web 2.0 savvy.

•If we offered another Web 2.0 program like this in the future, would you encourage colleagues to participate? What would you tell them?

YES, I would encourage colleagues to participate! I would tell them that it is well-structured. Our only job is to “test” the tools to see if it is something we can use. So many ideas came to my mind as I went through this program. I have implemented a few new tools and I have already seen a difference in my students’ approaches to learning.

Yes, this program does take time to complete. is on OUR time, no matter what hour of the day. Alicia is always available to help you out. Also, it’s a great way to share successes and challenges with those that are participating.

•How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote the program in the future?

17 Things, etc. is a unique program that will provide you with the tools needed to successfully implement technology into your curriculum.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Last One (well, second to last one)!

Wow! Alicia isn’t kidding when she said that there are so many Web 2.0 tools out there. It was very difficult to find just 3-4 tools to write about. After looking through several, I finally chose my 4.

1.; category: Photo & Video
2. Remember the Milk; category: Productivity
3. Meebo; category: Social & Publishing
4. TripIt; category: Location-based Services

The one I chose to research more about was TripIt. Why? I love to travel. Anywhere. Literally, anywhere.

Well, I signed up for an account. If I want to get the “Pro” version, it is free for the first 30 days; afterward is $69 a year. I decided to go with the scaled-down FREE version.

What is pretty cool about this is that when I registered, it pulled up a list of my email contacts from my Google account. It then asked me if I wanted to send any information to these people…good way to share my travel itinerary.

I then inputted information for my next “imaginary” trip. I say “imaginary” because I will not be traveling this spring break. Like I said before, I can share this information or make it private. I chose private.

So, what’s pretty neat about this is that after you set up your trip, it takes you to a “home” screen that has Google maps of your destination location, weather, calendar integration (to go along with your Outlook calendar), and plans (hotel, travel, activities, etc.).

This is very cool, especially when travelling to Europe. The itinerary is VERY specific. You can list who you booked your walking tour reservation with, the confirmation number, contact information, hours of tour, location to pick up the tour and even a jpg image.

This information can be accessed on your smart phone or as an app on your Iphone.

You can even merge trips; so if you make two separate trips, let’s say your first one is in Budapest and your second destination is Prague, you can set them up as individual trips and then merge them together. Merging them allows you to coordinate your travel arrangements between the two cities.

This is really a great tool for those that travel. For me, I know it would help with organizing lists of papers for different confirmations and travel accommodations. My husband and I do a lot of copying and pasting from our emails and do our best to organize our information on a document; but this would eliminate a lot of time-waste and help us to be more efficient.

We missed one major attraction in Paris last time we went. We wanted to see Rodin’s THE KISS. We got to the museum 15 minutes too late. We thought we had the right hours of operation listed on our sheet, but the information was on a different page and we didn’t number our pages, and our pages were shuffled. So, this is one example as to how this application could have helped us organize our site-seeings a little better.

Also, we take a lot of public transportation wherever we go. With this tool, you can add a rail or bus schedule to your itinerary, and even a map of the routes. This would be fantastic for large cities like San Francisco, Prague and Paris.

As far as educational applications…I can see that this would be a great tool for students in world language and social science classes. Really, any class doing a project on traveling could benefit from this tool. Also, for those teachers taking students on overnight trips…parents can access their son’s/daugher’s itineraries through this app.

Rating: A
Reason: Easy to navigate, organizes your trip in every aspect, and you are able to share your information with whomever you wish.

I am looking forward to using this on our next big trip.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Toast This!

Screen Toaster is really one of the most useful tools for my classroom. Over the years, I’ve watched many of these types of videos and always wondered how people created these mini-tutorials on the software they are explaining.

As I created mine (Photoshop Quick Lesson), it was an interesting and exciting process to go through. Interesting because I was able to experiment with pausing it, re-recording, trying to capture video with my audio, and redoing it so many times. I had some difficulty at first with the speed of the mouse as I was capturing my tutorial. I learned that if I moved the mouse and paused the recording, the mouse would move flawlessly, complete the command and then I would start recording again to explain the steps that was shown on the screen. The only “sign” of when I paused was the amount of “dead” time you heard. There were some moments when there were a few seconds of silence as I waited for the mouse to “do its thing”.

It is exciting because this is something that I am going to use in my Advanced Broadcast Journalism classes. The senior producers can utilize this tool to teach mini lessons to the first-year students on particular Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro “tricks”. I can link these to my curriculum page and put them on our class’ Ning.

I am also going to utilize this as I teach non-linear editing. I can make little vodcast tutorials for students that are absent. What a great way to implement technology.

Screen Toaster Name: pkady
My video url: