Module 11: C’est la Fin!


On Digital Blooming

I can’t answer the question about Bloom’s Taxonomy because I haven’t used it since uni days. However, I believe that the mentioned tools (Flickr, Second Life, and Mind Mapping) could fit into the ‘Applying’ key term, because these things are all about doing something, which is what Applying is all about.

On Classroom 2.0

I have really enjoyed this course. I learnt many new things, and got a Twitter account. I use it to post my favourite words; I am trying to post 1 a day, but it’s not working that well so far. Not that I want to pressure myself.

I am pretty pumped to try out some wikis for some of my classes, maybe even the whole year 8 group. I think it would make an excellent assessment task. And I am sure that the students would love to get something they’ve created on the Interweb.

I also would like to give Prezi a go in the classroom. Particularly with some of the more adventurous kids. I think that there is a lot more room for freedom and creativity than with something like the ubiquitous and cumbersomely-named Microsoft Office Powerpoint or I have to say it, Apple’s Keynote (even though it is really cool, and heaps better than Powerpoint).

Delicious is one too that I think will be useful in the classroom, especially as a way of speeding up searches for information.

So it’s farewell to the Web 2.0 course. I will keep blogging (since I paid for a domain name).

Module 10: Ningin’ Wikis

The World in Shades of Grey

On Collaboratively-Creating Communities

I really like the idea of creating a locally-hosted community-based website for a specific purpose, such as for school community development, or for a club or something. I have no idea why they are called ‘Nings’. I can see that a lot of what has been part of this course (Twitter, blogging, prezi, etc.) could be made more useful and easier to access with such a site. Site members could have their twitter stream automatically updated on their page, and teachers could have their twitter stream automatically updated on everyone’s. That being said, if the school had a learning management system such as Moodle running, a ning would possibly not be needed.

I also like the idea of creating a wiki as a class. This could be done as a class assignment, or a smaller group assignment if the class was bigger than about 3 or 4. I think I see the most potential with wikis out of all the various technologies experienced so far in this course. I like the idea of trying this in a Geography class, where individual pages could be created for keywords in specific topic. Each page would have to have the key term, a definition, an explanation, examples, and images. I can see the students really being involved in this, especially if their work is visible on the Internet. This is something I will try with my Geography class.

I will have to check out some of the wiki sites and see what they offer in terms of content moderation etc. I think that I would have to approve each page before it went live. I would also like to know if there is an open-source wiki package that can be hosted locally, or on our own website. That might be interesting too, and could be used as a development platform (for the local) and for a live site.


Module 9: Social Networks and Second Life

The Stamen—Look At All The Stamen

On e-Life

At first while I was watching the videos about using 2nd Life a an educational tool, I was a bit worried. My initial fear was that young people are not getting taught the social skills they need; and I mean face-to-face social skills. I think there could be some fun things done with 2nd Life, but as long as it wasn’t everything.

I initially couldn’t really see what great benefit Twitter would have in the classroom, even after getting my own account. I thought It could only be used as a fun activity, but I can’t see myself using it to hand out homework (my school has no homework anyway) or whatever. After a bit of further exploration and trying to pry my mind open with a crowbar, I think that it could have some useful applications. I like some of the suggestions in the presentation linked to from the Module 9 page. Some of them are:

  • 5: Collate classroom views
  • 6: Let parents see what you are up to
  • 8: Short but Sweet
  • 15 Word play
  • 22 Scavenger hunt
  • 23: Track with Twitter
  • 24: Teach bite-sized information

So there you go. I might try some of those things in my class. You never know.

Unfortunately I was unable to get access to Scootle at the time of writing this blog post. I look forward to checking it out in the future though.

On Communication

Something that has come up for me while writing this post is the issue of communication particularly in its traditional forms. I think it is of vital importance that we teach our young people how to communicate in these ways. 90-something percent of communication between two people face-to-face (or over a video link I suppose) is non-verbal: communication is achieved mostly through body language. Body language is simply non existant on any form of e-communication. Sure, there are such things as emoticons and all-caps for shouting, but I think they can never capture the infinite subtlety and nuance that a certain tone of voice, look, or posture can. What if the whole Internet came crashing down. It won’t, but what if it did? It would be interesting to see how we would cope.

Module 8: Really Simple Syndication

Keep Climbin'

On Simplicity

When I first found out about the meaning of the abbreviation RSS—which is Really Simple Syndication—I had a little chuckle to myself. I love its humour.

I’ve been a subscriber to several design & typography related feeds for a while, and I created one for my school’s website. You can view it here. I typically consume my RSS through Mail on my Mac. I like that it is in the same place as my emails, and it makes it easier and more convenient to read them all. I did try Google reader, and I liked it, although it was a bit cluttered and overly complex for my tastes.

I like the idea of RSS: that you subscribe to something of interest to you and you automatically get new items. Pretty cool. I have found myself when I first open my computer’s lid in the morning eagerly anticipating any new RSS items to read. It’s nice to read some of the more sporadically updated ones, and it makes one feel connected to people around the world.

Yay RSS.

Module 7: Heerlijk!


On Social Bookmarking

I have heard about sites like for ages. Probably since it has been around. I had a look once, and didn’t understand it, and that was that. Otherwise known as a close-minded attitude.

Doing this course in a spirit of openness and inquiry, I decided to have a look, and I got an account. I couldn’t figure out how to add someone to my network—and most of my colleagues haven’t got to module 7 yet—so I added or followed Ben Bishop’s delicious and was pleasantly surprised. Mainly because many of the bookmarks on his page I was interested in and found useful. I realised that instead of spending heaps of time searching for resources on google, I could spend heaps of time searching for resources on Delicious. I realised that I would probably find better material than looking through endless search results because someone already has and has bookmarked it. I love this idea.

I think in my previous limited encounters with Delicious I didn’t fully grasp the concept of why anyone would want to have bookmarks on a public website. The sharing aspect was totally overlooked by me. I am glad I tried it out.

Now to find some more cool bookmarks: heerlijk!

Module 6: Flickr

Paris, je t'aime

On Being an Image Copyr

I first started using flickr many moons ago, and I had a paid account for a number of years. I love photography, and I usually include one of my photos in each Web 2.0 post.

Copyright is a big and important issue. Being a photographer, I don’t like the idea that someone would use any of my photos for their stuff without asking, and I hope they would be decent enough to ask for permission first. All my images are Copyright, not Creative Commons. I have used a few images from flickr in the past and have always sought the owner’s permission first, and, in the case of a school newsletter, credited the photo. I believe that people’s rights should be respected.

After watching the video on creative commons, I think it is a good idea for certain types of work. I am willing to support it.

Module 5: Prezi

Best Friend

On Prezi

Apart from not liking the name—Prezzo would have been way better—I really like Prezi. I think anything that encourages a bit of originality and is different from the status quo i.e. PowerPoint (which I think is dreadfully boring and completely visually unappealing) is good. Most people have way too much text on each slide and a presentation simply turns into a read-a-thon.

I really like that Prezi is non-linear, and I love the zooming and panning effect. I love that it looks cool, and I love the minimality of it.

I found I wanted more control over the text colours, and the direction or shape of the path, that is, I wanted to be able to specify paths more manually. I also wanted to be able to change the order of objects, i.e. send the backwards or forwards for example.

This is the Prezi I created. It was going to be about something else, but when the template came up, I instantly went, “Water cycle!” and my mind was made up. I had fun creating it, and I think it would be an engaging tool to teach this idea.

I think that Prezi would be an invaluable tool to increase student engagement, and to break the ‘linear presentation’ mould. Having said that, I think there would be a learning curve, and I think that the linear mould would be hard to break, because most kids would have, unfortunately, grown up using PowerPoint.

On Glogster

I really dislike the name ‘Glogster’. I tried it out, but didn’t like the website at all, or the idea of ‘glogs’. The name has a gluggy feel to it that turns me off.

Module 4

Orbic Orange

On Pods, Vods, and Casts

I have been subscribing to podcasts for quite a few years. In particular, the inimitable Doctor Karl on triple j, and the Great Moments in Science podcasts. I had subscribed for a while to the amusing Rocketboom vodcast, but gave up on it because I didn’t have a good connection to the Internet at home at the time. It was also a bit pointless. But, there are a great number of very useful podcasts out there. The French École was one I used to learn a bit of French. I also currently listen to the 6 ACT Conversations podcast from RMIT University, particularly the 6 or so episodes on mindfulness.

I use iTunes to subscribe to podcasts. I think it is pretty much the only software I’ve used to do so. This is because I started listening to podcasts on an iPod, which must be used with iTunes. I like the software, and I think it has great library management features. It is easy to use and is unobtrusive.

In the classroom, I see a usefulness for pod- and vodcasts, I have often thought about getting my Year 8 science class to listen to some episodes of Dr Karl’s Great Moments in Science, because they are informative and are produced in such a way as to be easily accessible for young listeners. A transcript could be acquired and transformed into a cloze passage, which the students could fill in as they listen to the podcast. This I must try before the year is out. I just have to find an episode that I can link with the curriculum.

Module 3

Same But Different

On Google Docs

I have heard a lot about Google Docs over the years, especially as being touted as the Microsoft Office Killer. I hardly use Microsoft Office, because I use iWork on a Macbook Pro most of the time. I am however familiar with Office and Google have obviously tried to make their UI familiar to Office users. Which is probably fair enough, and makes it easier to use. I found that I could create a document and insert images and tables with ease, and without having to go to help, or watch the video tutorials. I really like the cut down, minimal feature set, and the way that accessing resources on the web is integrated right into the dialog boxes and such. I like the collaboration capabilities, especially if one’s organisation is set up properly to use Google Docs. I would be a bit hesitant of trusting Google Docs with highly sensitive information, say student files etc., but for just creating basic worksheets, and for sharing them with colleagues it would be really beneficial.

I am not sure that Google Docs would be greatly beneficial in the classroom, because the current systems for word processing or spreadsheeting are adequate and work well. An advantage Google Docs has is the ability to run in any web browser on any computer capable of running a web browser, and that is connected to the Internet. This makes it easier for students (and staff) to work on stuff at home, if they need or want to.

I will not, I don’t think, switch any time soon to Google Docs over my Mac and iWork, which is really simple to use. It is also needless to say a lot more powerful and feature-rich than the online equivalent. However, as technology advances, the gap between the two platforms will diminish. At the present, sharing is accomplished through the use of a shared network drive, but my school is implementing moodle for the purposes of collaboration. Perhaps we could look at Google Docs as well.