Monday, October 31, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 4

I'm very excited because, as prompted by Dr. Toledo, I have just finished submitting my first poster proposal (or any proposal) to present at a major educational conference - Illinois Computer Educators (I.C.E.) in the spring of 2012.  I am currently feeling the nervous joy of anticipation as I bask in the glory of having actually submitted the proposal, the mild curiosity of wondering if it will be accepted, and wondering about what it will be like to actually follow through and present if, indeed it is accepted.  At any rate, I am very hopeful and eager at these prospects, and hope that they will only continue to become more commonplace throughout my career.

Additionally, one thing which made this possible was that the idea for my proposal came from a course I had with Dr. Toledo two semesters ago.  In that the course was managed on a Wikispaces platform, I still had access to the information there, and was able to go back and retrieve the necessary information to complete my proposal.  This is an added benefit of using Wikis, that they are permanent for students to access even semesters (or years) afterwards.

Thanks, Dr. T!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 3

At this point in Emerging Technologies, one thing that is increasingly relevant is the personal nature with which I am connecting to and implementing these technologies in my own life and teaching.  It may seem like baby steps, but slowly and surely technology is taking hold of how I operate on a daily basis.

I now use Google Chrome exclusively (or almost exclusively) as a result of this class.

I am preparing to submit a poster proposal for ICE - and very nervous and excited about it!

I attempt to open my students' eyes to the realm of technology (emergent and otherwise) that will be present when they enter the teaching ranks.  Admittedly, this is not too challenging of a task.  While not necessarily cognizant of the depth of technology's impact on education at first, the majority of them seem very open and accepting of the idea.  They are used to technology and they like it.

I am continuing to gain from this class, and I am excited about some of the emerging technologies on the horizon, like Learning Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.  Can;t wait!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 2

After reading the 2011 Horizon Reports, my interest was really piqued by the mention of Learning Analytics - the process of gathering information on students, their academic performance, and their students trends, and based on the courses they are taking - in some cases while they are taking them - predicting their success rates for individual classes.

As this is an emerging technology, not much information exists surrounding it, but I have been searching.  Certainly, Purdue University seems to be taking the bull by the horns in this regard.  Purdue's campus wide SIGNALs learning management system incorporates learning analytical data.  The program is capable of giving students a report on their success rate as early as two weeks into the semester.  Through "Red light, green light, yellow light" indicators, it continues to monitor students' progress throughout every course they take.

Aside from Purdue, some Ed Tech innovators in Canada (some of Captain Toledo's pals, undoubtedly) Stephen Downes and Dave Cormier have been doing work with and surrounding learning analytics.  I could see that Dr. Downes even taught a masters level course through Athabasca University, but I could find out how to access the course.  I will keep searching.

Regardless, my curiosity has been peaked, and I could certainly see myself doing some sort of research, or some sort of writing regarding learning analytics.  It's predictive nature of student success rates is right up my ally - wanting to be able to predict teacher success rates and ultimately to measure a teacher's ability to bring about student improvement.  I'm very very excited about these prospect, and yet again, my head is swirling with Ed Tech possibilities!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

C&I 489.05 Journal 1

As I am onto another whirlwind Ed Tech course with Captain Toledo, I will be journaling throughout the course of the semester, and this is my first entry.

Thinking back on a meaningful assignment that we have completed so far, I certainly enjoyed putting the Video Remix together.  Collaboration with my classmates was certainly critical to completing this, as Sara gave us some incredibly helpful tips on how to easily rip video off the internet.  From there, continuing the (paramount) process of educating myself in iMovie was very enjoyable for me - and I am happy with my final Video Remix.

Going forward, my task will now be to quickly rip and file videos that I often return to in my teaching and practice, just in the event that they may one day no longer appear.  I am very grateful to have been assigned this project and look forward to using my newfound skills all the more.

Another aspect of the collaborative process surrounding this project was the opportunity to assist my peers with their own projects, particularly how to use iMovie.  I know all too well the frustration of not be able to get it to work when you are new to the software, and it was nice to be able to help my classmates through some of that - and to continue to learn new aspects of the program in the process!

You can see my final Video Remix by following this link.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 4

I can't believe that the final week of this course is slipping away. What happened? What a crazy summer!  Just last night I was thinking, "Gee, I can't wait for the semester to start up so that things will slow down a little." Huh??? What's going on here?

Still, despite the fact that I have been on the road a lot - some planned, some unplanned - that's one thing that makes this course, and all of online education, so appealing.  I was still able to complete the course work and learn new skills, even remotely.  As always, through her preplanning and organization, Dr. Toledo (aka "Captain Toledo") has directed a challenging, at times exhausting, course that has leaned heavily on our own work ethic and our ability to create real-life, tangible products that will be beneficial and useful to us in the future.  In this way, I will certainly not forget these lessons tomorrow.  Although I was familiar with Wikis prior to this course, I am now steeped in them having wrestled with creating my own CMS.  Also, as much as I was able to do, seeing my classmates' projects and being able to evaluate them has given me even more ideas for how to make my CMS and Wikis even better in the future. This peer-collaboration was a very important aspect of the course design of 438.

One thing I might recommend for the future, although I recognize that it must be insanely difficult to manage an online class of this size, would be to mix up the groups.  We were syphoned off into our groups and never deviated from them throughout the course, despite the connections we may have initially made during the large group introductions ("Why can't I pick my own group?!?!", right Dr. T?).  I know it might be a logistical nightmare, but mixing up the groups from time to time might make it feel like I am taking the course with more than just 4 other people.

Finally, my recommendations to future 438 students would be to, as Dr. T says over and over, create your Course as you go, so that the end process is relatively simple.  I even tried to make sure that I was doing this, and thought that I was for the most part, only to still be scrambling a little at the end as my CMS was missing some elements that I had initially overlooked.

Overall, I thought this was a great course, very interesting and informative, and especially valuable from a hands-on approach to learning about online education.  This course will definitely impact the way that I teach, regardless if I am teaching online or face-to-face, as I will incorporate the tech tools, CMS organization, and peer evaluation strategies and skills that I have gained.

Thanks so much!!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 3

What I like best about this course, and really, why technology has the capability to make Education so authentic, is that the hands-on nature creates a sense of permanence.  Sure, the readings are interesting supplements and necessary, but the real learning has occurred as I have been creating my Course Management System and preparing to produce my own online class.  No amount of reading could compete with actually doing it.  When I have run into problems, it's up to me to fix them - and it isn't as if I'm all alone.  My best resources are my own classmates, who I have leaned upon, and beyond that, I can access my entire Personal Learning Network.

I certainly appreciate the organized framework that Dr. Toledo has set up.  It has allowed us to be successful.  Were the assignment just: Go create a CMS, even with my prior knowledge of WIkis, the task would be daunting.  Dr. Toledo has broken each component down and allowed us to create the CMS step by step, and it has proved to be a highly effective strategy.  I will remember this step by step procedure and attempt to implement it when I teach online courses myself.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

C&I 438 Blog Post 2

So far, I have really been enjoying 438.  The entire framework that Dr. Toledo has created is an excellent model for how to run an organized and efficient online class.
Furthermore, many of the concepts that we have encountered, through the readings, discussions, podcasts, and especially the embedded videos, have been thought provoking and challenging.  Particularly - the notion that the current public educational system in this country is woefully outdated.  We, as inspiring and enlightened educators need to utilize 21st century tools and methods in order to prepare our students to succeed in a 21st century society.  The strategies and online CMS platforms that we are learning are helping us to do this.

Previously, and thanks largely to C&1 579 - Educational Technology - I already had a working knowledge of Web 2.0 tools and Wikis.  However, this course is allowing me to explore them more completely, as I use them to create my own online course to teach.  

Tomorrow, I will certainly not forget the importance of making education fun and relevant to our students' lives, especially through the use of technology and web 2.0.