•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. But...it 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.