Friday, October 24, 2014

POTCert Week 8: Creating Class Elements

I was very happy to start this week because exploring and learning new tools on the internet and their potential for teaching, learning, self expression etc is actually a hobby of mine. However, I immediately started feeling the tension between my tendency to keep looking and experimenting and the need to focus on the purpose of this week's exploration.

Both the reading and the videos for this week got me exploring the suggested tools, alternatives to the dead tools and also different ways those tools can be useful in the learning process. These are some thoughts:

Instructors/teachers and Learners benefit: 
One of the most important features of web 2.0 tools for me is that they provide variety and choice. They allow teachers to demonstrate, explain and assess in different ways suitable for different styles of learning, and also they provide learners with not only different ways of getting the information but perhaps more importantly more choices to express themselves, participate, contribute and demonstrate their learning.

I don't usually need to do summative assessments of my trainees' learning but I think using quizzes and polls is one way to encourage self assessment and reflection, gather information that allow learners to help each other and for the teachers/trainers to discover where they need to make changes or add support for the current and future groups.

How much is enough

  • Pedagogy first, and in my opinion this includes building a learning community, triggering curiosity and a sense of adventure, inspiring creativity, providing different means of expressions and allowing for different progression speeds, and good and creative use of the tools can be very helpful for those purposes.
  • Many tools require a certain level of hardware and network speed to run well, which means that accessibility by the specific group of learners need to be established and there should be lower tech alternatives and/or workarounds available.
Natural vs Scripted
When creating video and audio presentations, natural can be fun, authentic, personal and encouraging for learners when it's their turn to express themselves. On the other hand scripted is usually more efficient and sounds more professional. I think there is a place for both types depending on the purpose and situation. Also I think in an on the ground class what helps me is not script (I cannot script a full day and wouldn't want to any way), what helps is having a clear outline, using prompts and rehearsing.

Ever Changing Web
Especially when using the free web tools, it's best to have a Go with the Flow attitude as it's the nature of the web, as a read/write world, to be in a continuous state of change, but it's also important to be ready.Tools disappear and new ones become available and it's important to
  • Have a backup
  • Stay in the loop in regards to the health of the tools I'm using, which means visiting their sites and stay updated on what is new, both good and not so good.
  • Continue exploring new options and alternatives. Students can even help with that as well as the community of educators.
Learn how to be on the web
In our lives we learn and then teach about useful behaviors that help us interact with others in the world around us in ways that fulfill our needs keeping in mind others' needs and rights. We also learn how to stay safe. I believe that most of those behaviors are transferable to the web, but need to be supplemented with some additional habits considering factors that are particular to the environment such as anonymity, exposure and permanency.  It's very important to teach kids and students how to be good citizens of the web, as it is becoming more and more an integral part of our lives, the same way that we teach them how to be good citizens of the material world.

My Makes for this week
I really enjoy discovering, learning, experimenting and playing with new tools, and I've always thought that it was an advantage. The challenge is, searching for and learning new tools can be time consuming, and what I am learning to do is make decisions to what I can easily use right away while I continue my exploration.

Finally here are two of the tools that I played with for this week.

I don't like it yet but I decided to try it and then later work on learning how to get the results that I want.

embed plus 
I looked at tubechop but wanted an alternative that I can use online without having to download anything. I found embed and tried it on a funny video from WoW .  embed allows me to select and embed part of a youtube video and add captions to it. So here's the part that I selected with captions on it. I call it Panda Talk :) .

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