Friday, 7 August 2015

The Fruit of ETEC 510

Introducing the ETPD Resource: Collaborative Technology Tools

While the regular blogging I had hoped might occur for the duration of my third UBC MET course did not manifest, at the conclusion of ETEC 510 "Design of Technology-Supported Learning Environments" this month, my colleagues and I created some very useful online learning spaces that are well worth documenting.  Check out the extensive Design Wiki we were able to contribute to by clicking their image below and look for a future post here providing a curated list of the sites created by the other team's in my cohort.

My team consisted of myself, Lexi Nichols, and Briar Jamieson.  We initially began collaborating over a shared Google document devoted to our course readings, and our partnership for this final design project grew naturally from this experience.  The topic of technology-supported collaboration was well-suited to our own situation, as the three of us hailed from three different provinces and timezones and were it not for the affordances of digital technology, would never have been able to accomplish the work we did.

Our resource, Collaborative Technology Tools, is an online learning experience designed for teachers, in some specifics for middle school, but easily scaled for K-12 and Higher Ed.  Our site targets the need for increased exposure to/experience with using online edTech tools for student collaboration, both within the four walls (metaphorically speaking, if you teach in an open-concept school like I do) of their specific classroom and then deliberately beyond.

We each selected a particular edTech tool and developed a complete module of study for teachers who may not have heard of using this tool in their classroom and/or who are interested in integrating it but want to see some examples and ideas of what other teachers are already doing.  We then combined these three units of study into one learning site, stringing them together with introductory research and information on the value of collaborative learning as a 21st Century skill, and closing with additional cross-curricular examples and resources for those wishing to dig even deeper.  An acknowledgement of the need for digital technology standards, such as those provided by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), provided support and guidance for the direction of our design.  As a caveat to our preference for open-source resources, we ensured the licensing of the Curriculum Guide that accompanies the online component was as an OER (Open Educational Resource) free to reuse, remix, and redistribute.

The three tools we chose to showcase were Skype in the Classroom (myself), Kidblog (Lexi), and VoiceThread (Briar).  As you will discover if you choose to engage in our learning experience, these three online tools offer distinct, yet similar, capabilities as digital collaboration tools.  All of them have the potential to open your classroom to the world in a variety of ways, yet each tool caters to a slightly different learning style and affords a variety of synchronous or asynchronous collaboration options.

We also wished to model the value of collaborative learning as professionals by blending the units within an environment deliberately designed to encourage the building of communities of practice for those choosing to learn with us.  Expanding PLNs was encouraged in a number of ways, through the embedding of relevant hashtags from the active and useful Twitter communities, by the creation of a series of inter-activities which provide deeper learning and contextualization to the ideas presented, and by including a forum for colleagues to share that learning, as well as tips and questions, with us and with each other.

It is our hope that you will explore this resource, integrate these tools into your classes, and connect with us when you do!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Jaw Dropping Collection of ICT Tools and Resources for Educators

As part of etec510's first week of readings, we were instructed to explore a link made on something called Mindomo.  It's a mindmap generator (that has an extension for Google).  At first glance it looked meh to me but as I began to explore and expand the map I could feel my eyes getting bigger and my jaw dropping.

As an educational technologist I have a thing for collecting the tools and resources that can support those I work with.  Whoever made this (the info is outdated, their Twitter is not in a language I recognize and the blog is no longer active) put a mind blowing amount of work into curating this list.  Most accompanied by live links to visit the sites and some with thumbs up and heart icons which I take to mean they're recommended and approved (note the thumbs down beside Windows Movie Maker, I like this guy more and more) ;)

I still find the huge canvas of the expanded map clunky and annoying to navigate, maybe because I am a more linear visualizer.  If I had my druthers I would prefer this list in something like Diigo but still, worth a look.

It is too large once expanded to see properly when exported as an image that you can actually see clearly or navigate so I encourage you to visit the site and check it out for yourself.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Continuing the Technology Journey

My next Master in Educational Technology course is "Design of Technology Supported Learning Environments" and I am very excited!  Some of my fellow student-colleagues have inspired me to keep a more public record of my learning.  We shall see if I can continue the momentum to the end but here's a start:

Our first assignment was to create a digital story introducing one way our professional experience relates to educational technology and design.  Several platforms were suggested to consider including VideoScribe.  I've been enamoured of these whiteboard presentations for some time so I signed up for their seven day trial and am considering whether it is worthwhile to buy a membership in the future.

Here's my very first VideoScribe!

For future reference, and by means of thanks to our instructor, below is the directly quoted list of resources and tutorials from the Digital Storytelling course tab which she provided for our consideration.  I didn't find these resources myself or write the info below, all the props go to Chelsey Hauge and her co-authors of etec510.  I watched the first three basic tutorials from VideoScribe and found them very helpful.  I will be watching the whole series if and when I decide to invest in this tool more permanently.  One colleague created something via Creaza that looked pretty cool.  I hope to check that out next.

Tools and TIps for Making Digital Stories

Digital stories can be made using programs like iMovie or MovieMaker, or with one of many open-source apps. Some suggestions: