Sunday, 1 April 2012

Final Reflection

Final Reflection

            The purpose of this inquiry project was to explore various forms of Web 2.0 technology through use and reflection. The project began with examining myself as a tech user. What forms of technology had I used, what areas of technology was I interested in. From that I created my first VoiceThread – An Autobiography of a Tech user. From this point I had to really investigate what Web 2.0 meant. I watched short YouTube videos that demonstrated the difference between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0, as well as read texts such as William Kist, and Will Richardson. Kist states, “The Internet has always been interactive in nature, but this latest iteration of the Internet
(known as ‘Web 2.0’) has featured an intensified level of what has come to be called ‘social networking.’ This kind of community building across interest groups, demographics, and nationalities has transformed the way we connect with strangers, loved ones, friends, colleagues, and even ourselves” (2010).

Richardson describes Web 2.0 to mean the reading and writing on the Internet, which until recently was difficult for users. He states, “The past few years have seen the development of an explosion of easy Internet publishing tools that have done much to fulfill Berners-Lee’s concept of a Read/Write Web” (2010). My own conclusion is Web 2.0 is the ability to connect with others and share information. The sharing of information is no longer one-dimensional, post and let people see, but more interactive. People can respond to the information being transmitted but also add to or adjust where necessary. With the development of Blogs, social networks and YouTube, users can add new information daily, while their networks of followers can “Like,” “Share,” “Repin,” “+1” or comment. Web 2.0 is an interactive media where anyone with access to the Internet can be involved and can participate.
            By reaching this definition, I had to decide if I was actually a Web 2.0 intermediate user or an expert user. I already had a Facebook Account, and email. I was able to use Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, and Chrome web browsers effectively. I used various forms of Internet chat programs and I recently started using Pinterest. I had created a short movie for a course, and often used photo-editing software, but where did I fit in terms of proficiency. I looked at the list of tool my course facilitator had provided, and soon realized I was in the mid-intermediate to beginning expert level of Web 2.0 ability. My goal for the project was move my comfort level away from intermediate and fully into expert.
            To reach this goal I constructed a proposal that would help me focus on at least six Web 2.0 tools. I choose to investigate: Google Reader, Twitter, Survey Monkey, Skype, the G-Whizz App, Podcasts (Downloading and Creating), Nings, and Digital Storytelling, Initially, I established a set timeline to help me stay on track. I soon realized that the timeline was not realistic, as some tools required more time to look at, while others were short, and some I used continuously throughout the project. I worked through all of the Web 2.0 tools, and stayed in the order of my timeline, with a small adjustment to Podcasts. Rather than investigating the downloading and creating separately, I merged them into one investigation.
Google Reader
            Google Reader “allows you to subscribe to any number of blogs so that you will receive the most recent post from that blog (so that you don’t have to go to the blog itself for each new post; it will come to your reader)” (Kist, 2010). I added Google Reader to my iGoogle account. Anytime I opened iGoogle as my homepage, I could quickly scan through the newest additions my classmates were posting as well as several other blogs I was following. Google Reader really helped save time, and kept my blogs organized. If I had let too many pile up, I could simply click mark as Read and move one, but usually I scanned through them, to see if I could use any ideas as well. I think a blog inquiry project could be interesting to students. They could choose a topic to follow, and find blogs that discussed that issue, idea or debate. As the facilitator, I would suggest to the students they use Google Reader to help organize the blogs they were following, and have them reflect back on what they were reading.
Twitter
            This week a student asked me if I had a Twitter account. I responded, “Did you search for me?” The student shyly responded, “Nooooo.” I smiled and responded, “I think you did.” I realized at that moment, yes I am not invisible on the Internet, especially being on Pinterest, Facebook, and now Twitter. I did not change my name to hide, but I know now that my students can and will look me up. I have always been conscious about what I post on the web, to make sure everything is appropriate and will not discredit me as a professional, but this short conversation really opened my eyes to how easy it is to connect and find people on the Internet.
            Initially I thought Twitter was just another way for people to follow each other. I did not think it would be a useful tool. I felt awkward posting about what I was doing. But as I was reading Richardson I realized Twitter is so much more. He states, “What’s evolved, however, is
something much more interesting. Following other educators on Twitter creates a ‘network at my fingertips’ phenomenon where people ask questions and get answers, link to great blog posts of resources or share ideas for projects as they go through the day. For many it’s become a running river of conversation and ideas that has cemented their connections to the community and made the network even more palpable” (2010).

I started watching for posts by Joyce Valenza, Buffy Hamilton, and Scott McLeod as well as running through the Globe and Mail. I didn’t always understand what the posts were about, but I tried to follow and decipher the # and the @ symbols. Slowly I figured it out, and I am starting to feel like this will be a very promising tool I will continue to use. I use the app on my iPod much more frequently than checking via the computer. I find it way faster and easier to scan through than logging on through the computer. I intend to continue using the App, and will probably not return to the website.
SurveyMonkey
            Since this project is centered on Web 2.0 technology I was curious to find out how many of my colleagues, friends and family members were using Web 2.0 technology. SurveyMonkey is quite easy to maneuver through; to sign up you can use a G-mail account, Facebook, or create your own user name and password. I already had a G-mail account so I used it to log in. To make a survey was a quick process, and SurveyMonkey provides you with links to post or an email link to send to participants. To collect result SurveyMonkey does all to work. It calculates percentages and makes graphs of the result. If the user, however, wishes to print the graphs or results they must upgrade and pay for those services.
            With options provided by SurveyMonkey students could easily use the site to develop their own surveys. I can also see this tool used by the teacher librarian in an effort to receive teacher input and staff assistance regarding the collection. It can also be used as a way to start gathering data regarding collaborative teaching units teachers are interested in teaching with the teacher librarian. SurveyMonkey has endless possibilities for teacher and students.
Skype
            Skype is an instant messaging, video conferencing and phone application. I downloaded the Skype application onto my laptop, which has video chat capabilities. Skype is also available as a portable app for the iPod Touch. Overall, I see the potential for Skype in the classroom. It is easy to download the application, and as long as the computer being used has access to a web-cam, students would be able to communicate with other classrooms in town, in the province, in the country or around the world. My one complaint about Skype was it did not have a directory. I understand that for privacy purposes Skype cannot provide this service, but it would be convenient to have a directory available.
            I think this is where the connections made on Twitter will come in handy. As I continue to build my social network of followers, and people I am following, I can make connections with other teachers or teacher librarians that would be interested in Skyping between classrooms. Students could learn from each other and be engaged with other learners. My classes would love to be more involved with computer use, and chat programs. This could be a fun way to learn from each other. For this idea to work effectively there would have to be a fair amount of pre-collaboration before the children started to interact through Skype. What goals do we want to achieve? What do we wish the students to learn? How will students be assessed? What prior knowledge do the students need before they begin?
            Kist quoted George Mayo and a project his class worked on. The project was intended to make students aware of Internet safety. The students viewed a YouTube video about a girl doing ‘Dumb things’ on the Internet (Kist, 2010). “George arranged for students from a different school to watch the same video, and as the blogging began, the students from each school read the students’ posts from the other school and commented back and forth. This was followed by a live Skype video conference about it all” (Kist, 2010). Students are learning more effectively in a collaborative technological environment. George Mayo provided this scenario for his students. I would like to do the same for my students when I have a full time classroom or library position.
G-Whizz App           
            The G-Whizz App was not originally in my proposal, as I did not discover its existence until later in my inquiry project. The app helped me keep track of my Google Reader feeds and my Twitter feeds in one app. I opened the app, and it automatically updated with all my most recent posts. I added the App to my proposal later, as my experiences with Ning were not going as planned. I wanted to make sure I was fulfilling the project requirements, and also staying caught up with those I was following. This application might also be useful for students transitioning over to the twenty-first century education programs, as it has space to keep Google docs as well as additional tools found in the Cloud. This app would also be helpful if the school was subscribing to the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) philosophy.
Frustration and Rebellion!
            About half way through the inquiry project I found myself getting frustrated with technology. I was feeling overwhelmed with how connected I was to everything and everyone. I wanted to unplug all of my electronics and purge the house of anything electronic. This is when I remembered a book title, Goodnight iPad: A Parody for the next generation by Ann Droyd, which I had come across earlier this year. I was feeling like the old lady in the picture book, and wanted to throw out all of my gadgets too. I, however, did not go to the extreme Mama Bunny went in the story, but I took a step back, took a deep breath, and pushed forward.
            Around this time, British Columbia teachers were also moving towards Strike action. The BCTF went on strike for three days, and are continuing to fight for their rights as educators and for the rights of their students. At this time, I took a break from my inquiry project, to stand in solidarity with my union brothers and sisters. Once the strike action and momentum had passed, I refocused and tried to get back to work.
Podcasts - Downloading
            Prior to the job action, I had started working with Podcasts. Richardson states, “Podcasting is the creation and distribution of amateur radio, plain and simple” (2010). My goal was to locate one Podcast that was of interest to me and download it. I followed Richardson’s process to download using the iTunes Store. I downloaded five different Podcasts, with a total of 32 episodes. The first I located was a French tutorial Podcast called Coffee Break French. It helps develop French-speaking skills. I also found The Rookie Teacher, Teacher Connections, Teachers Teaching Teachers and 21st Century learning Webcast. Each of these Podcasts is available on the iTunes store free of charge. Once I had my preferences in iTunes set to allow Podcasts to be downloaded, I added the five to my iTunes Library. I subscribe to three of the five, and now if my iPod Touch is connected to my computer, it will automatically sync and add any new Podcasts from those subscriptions.
            Students should be encouraged to use Podcasts as sources of information in inquiry projects or in daily classroom assignments. A person has a wealth of knowledge and opinions on subjects and issues that are available for free legal download. I can see myself introducing a new Podcast to classes in the library once a month, similar to the presentation of book talks.
Podcasting – Creating
            Richardson suggests that “Before you get your students Podcasting, [he] would urge you to try it out first” (2010). I could not agree more. Though the overall process to Podcast is fairly straightforward there were steps that I got hung up on during the process that I can now point out to my students. Both Richardson and the Tutorial page I used to assist me suggested using Audacity as a possible software application for recording. Richardson points out that an mp3 encoder is required to “translate your files into MP3s” (2010). This was one of my hang-ups. I initially forgot to download this additional plug-in, and when I had downloaded it, I forgot to install the software before using it. These are fairly minor, but for students, both sets of software should be downloaded onto the computer before the students begin.
            My second hang-up was after creating the Podcast, uploading it to my blog. If students are simply to hand in their Podcast, they could save it to a memory stick, and thus not have to worry about this process. However, if the assignment is to upload the Podcast, Blogger does not support MP3 format files in the usual format. If students were to create a video Podcast they could upload to YouTube. Richardson also suggests uploading to the school’s server, archive.org, or the blog site WordPress (2010). He also notes that, “If the podcasting blog bites hard and you start creating regular “shows,” don’t forget to go to various directories to get yourself listed” (Richardson, 2010). The iTunes store is a good place to start. I can see students having a lot of fun with Podcasting, and using it as a way to present class material to their classmates.
Ning
            I was very disappointed with my Ning experience. Richardson states, “Briefly, Ning
allows you to create your own free social networking site around whatever topic you want, complete with personal profiles, photos, video links, groups, discussions, blogs and more … For educators, the best part about a Ning site is that it’s totally self-contained – meaning all of that sharing and posting happens under one roof, and it can be totally private only to those whom you want to participate” (2010).

Richardson isn’t completely correct in his statement. Ning is free for a 30-day trial. Following that you must pay Ning a fee to use the service. I have issues giving out my personal credit card information to sign up for a website, and Education Ning (which is free) is still under maintenance.
            I plan to keep checking back, even after the course is finished, and will set up an Education Ning. I think this form of social networking could be used in the classroom as a safe environment for students to openly discuss topics or subject matter. I also think it could be used as an interactive location for library service. What is new in the library? New book talks, Podcasts, resources or e-resources, or student requests. The Ning could be a way for students to stay connected with the library even from home.
Digital Storytelling
            Digital storytelling uses a range of multimedia techniques to create a 2 to 3 minute personal story. Digital stories can include photos, music, personal narratives, and video clips. The digital story I created was a snapshot of my first three years of teaching. I used photographs I collected over three years to document my experiences. I added a voice over, using the skills I learned doing Podcasts, and added music to conclude the video.
            To produce my digital story I used the software application iMovie. Students using Windows computers should have access to Movie Maker. iMovie is a drag and drop application, meaning you click on a photo or sound bite and drag it to the location in the video you wish it to be seen. The process took about four hours from start to finish, which included collecting all the images.
            I can see students using this form of presentation at the beginning of the school year to express who they are, for example an All About Me project. I can also see using digital stories as a culminating activity for the year. Students would collect photos and videos from their school year and merge them to create an Our Year at a Glance digital story. Students could also use this for project presentations. As Richardson noted with Podcasting, I think it is important that teachers test this out before having their students create. The process for an adult may be easier than for a student. When assigning a digital story the teacher should be aware of the strengths and weakness of the class before beginning.
My Learning, My Conclusions
            Before this project, I had spent a fair amount of time distancing myself from YouTube, Twitter, and Blogs. As an educator, I feared that my involvement would be a poor reflection of my professionalism or myself. I now realize that Web 2.0, as long as it is used responsibility, can be such a wonderful tool for classrooms, and providing support systems for educators. It is a reflection of my desire to be a life long learner, and my desire to provide new or differentiated methods to help my students succeed. I use YouTube videos to help visual and auditory learners see and hear concepts. I use Twitter to stay connected to other teachers, and teacher librarians. I am now following at least ten different blogs that have great ideas to be shared in my classroom. This inquiry-based project has opened my eyes to the possibilities of the Internet and the potential for students to safely explore alternative methods to successfully present their own inquiry learning.
References
Droyd, A. (2012). Goodnight iPad: A parody for the next generation. New York,
     NY: Blue Rider Press.
Kist, W. (2010). The Social Networked Classroom: Teaching in the new media age. 
     Thousand Oaks, OH: Corwin.
Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other Powerful Web Tools for
      ClassroomsThousand Oaks, OH: Corwin.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Closing Statements

The time has come to draw my inquiry project to an end. I have learned so much over the past three months, and feel like I have moved from an intermediate user to an expert user. I can see the value of Twitter and Skype when forming educational communities among teachers. I wish I could have created a Ning, but my exploration of G-Whizz supplemented it's absence. G-Whizz helped me keep my apps organized, and allowed me to quickly check all my accounts, without having to go to five different apps.

I enjoyed downloading podcasts, and creating one. I enjoyed creating a digital story even more. I think I might start making a digital story for each of my classes, as a year end gift. Each student would receive a CD with the digital story of their year in class. What a great way to document a teaching career.

Thank you Joanne for facilitating this learning experience, and I hope to do more courses with you in the future. Thank you to my classmates, and fellow bloggers, I have enjoyed following you and your journeys. I close with what will you continue to do with your Web 2.0?

References:

web-20-what-is.jpg. Retrieved
      from http://seospin.net/web-2-0-%E2%80%93-death-of-seo/

Monday, 26 March 2012

Digital Storytelling

Prior Knowledge:

Previous to this experience I believed digital storytelling had to do with telling a story (such as a picture book) through digital media. In a way I was correct. Digital story telling does express a story, but as Wikipedia states, it is "a short form of digital film-making that allows everyday people to share aspects of their life story." Wikipedia also states that "digital stories are short 2 to 3 minute multimedia movies that combine photographs, video, animation, sound, music, text, and often a narrative voice."

The Process:

In the past I have used iMovie to create a short slideshow with music running as it panned through the pictures. I wanted to incorporate these skills, but also try applying the skills I learned while creating my Podcast. Creating the audio file was a lot easier this time, and there were fewer issues with the program. I did have to record the narrative voice twice, as the first time the entire audio clip did not export properly from Audacity. I used my USB headset and microphone to record the narrative, and exported the file into a usable .mp3. Once the file is exported, I double clicked it, and it automatically is added to the iTunes Library. 

Adding photographs
The next step was to collect photographs to accompany my narrative. For the purpose of this inquiry-based investigation, I focused my digital story on my first three years of teaching. I consider my life to unfold in chapters, and those these chapters are completed they are certainly not forgotten. I had to hunt through three different computers to find all the images I wanted, but I managed to collect enough photographs to fill a story 3 minutes long.

iMovie has some wonderful features, as it will connect directly to the iPhoto library, and the iTunes library without having to dig around. Once I had all the photos selected I dragged and dropped them from the iPhoto tab into the iMovie Project window. In the project window, I was able to move the photos around to the order I wanted and delete photos that did not fit the story. I also dragged and dropped the Digital Storytelling.mp3 from the iTunes library and simply laid the audio over the images. 

Adding Music
This is the point I hit a small snag, I had more images than audio time. As digital stories also incorporate music into the media, I thought I should also try this. At this point I thought about the purpose of this digital story. My purpose is to express my time with my two classes and my first three years of teaching. In a way this video is a tribute to my students and the two First Nations bands I worked with. I thought adding, "Will You Remember Me" - by Sarah McLachlan would be fitting. I did not actually have this track, so I went to the iTunes store and bought a copy of the track. Thank you iTunes Store.

Once the track was downloaded into my iTunes library, I could use the same function and drag and drop the file over the rest of the images. iMovie will cut the song off to the point where the photographs end. This is a nice feature, as it saved me from having to fiddle with the length. I did try to fade the sound off on the last track, but for some reason the song just stops. 

I watched the story run through it's length, and honestly got a bit emotional (good or poor choice of song, I'm not sure). As I was previewing, I noticed some of the slides were not fading the way they should. iMovie has a built in feature, the 'Ken Burns effect.' "The Ken Burns effect is a popular name for a type of panning and zooming effect used in video production from still imagery." (Ken Burns Effect, Wikipedia, 2012). In iMovie I can adjust where the panning begins on a slide and where it ends. Two of the slides initially had heads cut off. I also adjusted the order of three slides so they better fit with the audio tracks.
Exporting to QuickTime Player

With all the editing completed, I had to export the project. Usually the Export option is located in the File menu, however, in iMovie it is located under the Sharing menu. The file was exported and is now available in a .mp4 file.



video
Classroom Application:

I can see digital storytelling being used in two ways:
   1) As a tool to help instruct lesson materials. Students, especially auditory and visual learners, often respond better to movies. If teachers could apply digital stories to their lessons students may be more likely to retain key information. For example, in Social Studies 8 students learn about the Middle Ages. If digital stories were created about the fife system, demonstrating how it impacted individual lives students may connect to the content.

   2) Students create digital stories. In September students are getting to know their classmates, and their teachers. What a great way to start the year off, with digital stories by each student. Students could collect images of their lives and incorporate them into a digital story using music, audio and/or other creative expressions. Students could also use digital stories for presentations. 

The digital story I created was using Audacity, iMovie, and iTunes. Students could use Power Point, MovieMaker, or VoiceThread to create their own digital stories. Their life stories and their imaginations are the limit.

References

Digital Storytelling. Retrieved 

Ken Burns effect. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Burns_effect

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Modern Alphabet

I came across this on Pinterest, and thought it was cute.

Creating a Podcast

Prior Knowledge:

Podcasts are audio or visual files that express information about a subject. Podcasts can range from political, educational, to recreational even scientific. Podcasts are designed to inform the listener or audience. Each podcast has an intended audience, though the purposes of podcasts may vary. Some people who podcast use them as a means of income, others use them as a means to have their voices heard. Podcasts are media expression.

The Process:

I started this investigation by accessing some tutorials and websites on the how to's of Podcasting. The two pages that gave me the best results were directly from Apple: http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html and http://www.how-to-podcast-tutorial.com/15-audacity-download.htm

Apple walks the user through step by step, as does the How to Podcast Tutorial. The tutorial page was a bit more beneficial for me as it provided links to audio recording software. Audacity is software users can download to their applications. The program is very user friendly. I simply plugged in my USB headphone and microphone set, and it automatically read the headset.

I did a short test run to make sure the software was reading my voice. I created a short 2 minute podcast on the topic of 21st education. I saved the file, but Audacity saves their audio recordings in a .aup format. This format can only be read by the Audacity application. In order to create a file that is readable by most users I had to export the file and convert to .mp3. Audacity has a built in converter called LAME. I, however, had not downloaded it in my initial download, so I had to revisit the Tutorial page and get the additional plug in. Also note, even if you have downloaded the plug-in, you still have to install the software before it will be readable by Audacity. (Yes, I tried to jump the gun).

Once the software is installed, I went to Audacity, file, Export. Clicked Okay, and Voila! I now have a short, converted .mp3 podcast.

Now I have to upload the file, which is proving to be difficult. I have created .mp3 file, this is only audio. Blogger accepts video files to be uploaded. I have tried two different techniques to convert into a video format. First was using iMovie. This proved frustrating as I had to keep applying a picture for the audio to play over. The second way is using QuickTime Player. I opened my .mp3 and saved it as a .mov. The .mov was not accepted by Blogger, so I have Exported the file a second time and changed it to a .mp4 format. This did not work either, and the "There has been an error processing your video" popup window has once again graced my screen.

I have now enlisted my husband's assistance. It turns out I had to upload the file to a different server, in my case, onto my Telus server, and link to it through Blogger. If you are interested in checking out my podcast, please click on the link.

http://www3.telus.net/public/lwp83/Podcast.mp3

Class Application:

I can see students using podcasts to deliver presentations. Some students become very anxious when doing a presentation for a class. Focus on Inquiry emphasizes the importance of students feeling successful and confident through their inquiry-based learning projects (2004). If a student is less comfortable speaking in front of the class teacher should be willing to make adjustments. Podcasts would integrate the technology curriculum, while meeting the communication outcomes.

Students could also be encouraged to create podcasts about their learning, an audio or video journal. This could especially benefit students who have difficulty using expressive written language.

Our classrooms are supposed to incorporate differentiation, podcasts are one differentiation tool I will be encouraging my students to access.

References:

"Focus on Inquiry: A Teacher's guide to implementing inquiry-based learning."
     (2004). Edmonton, AB: Alberta Learning. Retrieved from
     http://education.alberta.ca/media/313361/focusoninquiry.pdf

How to Podcast: The difinitive step-by-step guide on how to podcast without 
     breaking the bank. Retrieved from http://www.how-to-podcast-
     tutorial.com/15-audacity-download.htm

Making a Podcast. Retrieved
     from http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html

Updated Proposal

Revamping my original proposal:

Jan 29 - Feb 4:  Twitter (Continuing Investigation)
                          Objectives: Create a Twitter account
                          Download Twitter App to iPod Touch
                          Start following at least 5 people professionally and 5 people personally
                          Participate (don't just observe)
                          Make posts
                          Reflect on process
                     GoogleReader (Continuing Investigation
                         Objectives: Add GoogleReader to iGoogle account
                         Add at least four classmates blogs
                         Follow regularly
                         Locate an app for Google Reader for iPod Touch
                         Reflect on process

Feb 5 - 25:  Survey Monkey - Create a short survey for personal use. Objectives: Observe how to set up a survey
                     Observe how data is forwarded and collected
                     Reflect on process

Feb 12 :  Online communication - Skype (Continuing Investigation)
                  Objectives: Create an account on laptop
                  Download Skype App to iPod touch
                  Communicate with a friend
                  Reflect on process, post screen shots of a conversation in progress.

Feb 19  - March: Podcasts - for listening
                 Ojectives: Use iTunes to find Podcasts relevant to Libraries
                 Download Podcasts to computer
                 Sync to iPod Classic
                 Listen to Podcasts
                 Reflect on process
               Create a Podcast
                 Objectives: Research methods to create a podcast
                 Suggestions - http://www.apple.com/itunes/podcasts/specs.html
                 Choose a topic to Podcast
                 Write a script to record
                 Use methods
                 Record procedure
                 Post podcast on Internet
                 Choose an audience to listen to Podcast (dependent upon topic)
                 Get audience feedback
                 Reflect on process and audience feedback

Feb 25 - March: Google Apps (Continuing Investigation)
               Objectives: Investigate the G Whizz! App
               Download the App to iPod Touch
               Investigate the features
               Reflect on uses of the app and how it has benefitted the class inquiry project

Feb 26 - March: Nings
              Objectives: Create a Ning Network for the staff at school as a message system for        
              Restorative Practice
              Download Ning App to iPod Touch
              Add colleagues
              Use both laptop and iPod Touch to maintain network
              Make posts
              Reflect on process

Mar 18- 24: Digital Storytelling Tool
             Objectives: Research different tools and methods:
             Choose at least three tools or methods
             Use these tools to create a digital story
             Post Story
             Reflect on process and student feedback

Mar 18 - 24: Extra Reflection Time

Blog posts complete by March 28

Final reflection April 1

Another crack at Education Ning


Sadly the education.ning.com is still under maintenance. This has really put a dampener on my investigation. I have, however, come across a post be Steve Hargadon. He is a blogger, and started the Classroom 2.0 website discussed in Current Events #5. Hargadon is the Emerging Technologies Chair for ISTE, the author of 'Educational Networking: The Important Role Web 2.0 Will Play in Education,' the recipient of the 2010 Technology in Learning Leadership Award (CUE), and a blogger at www.SteveHargadon.com."

On August 23, 2007 Hargadon wrote a blog post regarding Ning's and the development of education.ning.com. After he have created Classroom 2.0 he saw the benefits of social networking and education. he suggested to the creator of Ning.com to go on an educational route and, as he stated in his blog, "so education.ning.com was born."

His hope with education.ning.com is to establish a location where educators can share their ideas, thoughts and feelings on education in a safe environment. I believe this philosophy can and is being stretched further as educators start to create education Nings for their classrooms. The potential for social networks in the classroom are vast.

Kist (2010) defines the Ning with other social networking, meaning "the kind of communication that takes place online using some kind of platform (Web site) such as Facebook, Twitter, or Ning in which people can place messages and connect with others who are on the Website." Overall the Ning will provide students and teachers, depending on who the target group is, with a social networking platform outside of Facebook and Twitter (but still could be connected to both) where students and teachers can discuss important topics in education.

Kist (2010) expresses an example where a teacher "Tom" has used a Ning in his classroom for a project. The Ning is set up as a discussion board where he has posted several topics, and students have the freedom to add their own discussion topics as well. He states, "The Ning was the space in the project that was more appropriate for expressing opinions..." Students were given a safe judge-free environment to comment on their projects and their beliefs.

I think once education.ning.com has completed it's maintenance I will be investigating the Ning set up. I realize this may take place after this course has been completed, but I think this could be beneficial to some of the classes I am working with. I think even younger grades, where students are starting to use social networking more actively, this could peak their interests and engage them in expressing their learning. My French 7 class might even get on board, but they might be 'too cool' for Nings too.

References

Hargadon, S. (2004). About Me. Retrieved from

Hargadon, S. (August 23, 2007). Starting a New "Ning in Education" Network

Kist, W. (2010). The Socially Networked Classroom: Teaching in the new media
     age. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.