Monthly Archives: June 2008

Tech Task #7 – Reflection

It feels as though this course has flown by, I have learned so many new things in such a short amount of time. This is the first time I have taken a Spring course and I really enjoyed it. At times it was tough to stay inside and work on some of the projects but it was definitely worth it.

At the begging of this course I was a little unsure of blogging. I was aware of educational blogs and had followed a few in the past but I had never done it myself. It wasn’t until a couple weeks into the course when I read a blog post by Dean Shareski entitled “Lesson #1 Share…The Presentation” that I truly began to understand the power and importance of blogging. The presentation embedded in his post explained the importance of contributing and sharing. Some of the guidelines were “Share what you read, share what you think, share what you see and share what you create.” This is an amazing presentation and it relates very closely to ECMP 355, looking at the guidelines I think of how I personally have followed these in this course. Share what you read – I have began to use del.icio.us to publish my online bookmarks for anyone to see. Share what you think – Through this blog and commenting on other blogs I have been able to share my thoughts. Share what you see – Flickr is a great resource for sharing photos. Through this course I have realized the power of photos and the impact they can have on learning. Although I have not yet done much photography myself this is something I am interested in trying. Lastly, Share what your create – In this course I have been able to share some of my work on my blog and I have also discovered things such as blip.tv where I can share my creations. Having become more comfortable with blogging my perception has changed greatly, I now realize the benefits of blogging.

I really like the idea of blogging for the classroom. Blogging can be beneficial in many different subject areas and also at many different levels. As a Business Education Major I think blogging would be great for an information processing class. It would provide an excellent opportunity for keyboarding practice as well as social learning; students can post their work and receive comments as well as comment on others’ work. In addition, blogging could be advantageous for a communication and production technology (CPT) class as the students would be able to post/embed some of the work that they have done. If the opportunity to teach either of these courses or any other course that I feel would benefit from blogging presented itself I will definitely test the waters.

Overall the blogging process has been very enjoyable. It has given me the opportunity to experience social learning through blogging, commenting and viewing. This is something that I feel is often overlooked and underutilized in other courses. One area within blogging that I feel I can improve on is commenting. Feedback is a useful tool in the learning process and an area I will look to enhance. I have been exposed to many great resources, tools and ideas through this course and it is now up to me to maximize the potential of these things during my educational journey!

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Mac or PC?

I have heard from many people that “once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” It seems as though almost all of the mac users that I know are very happy with their computer. Having grown up using a PC for most of my life both in and out of school (although I have used a macbook very briefly for one video editing project about a year ago) I thought that I should expand my computer experience and try out a mac for a while. Through my ECMP 355 class I was able to spend the past week using a MacBook Pro for all of my computer needs. Overall It was a great experience, it took a short while for me to get used to the basic differences but after that I found the mac to be very user friendly. Aside from being user friendly the mac was very well designed, everything from the icons and desktop to the computer as a whole. The design was very clean and simple (See my previous blog post on Design). The programs worked well and it was fun to play around on things like GarageBand and PhotoBooth. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary when using the mac, it was mostly basic everyday computer use and after that I think it is fair to say that I have been “converted” to Macs. It was sad to return the MacBook Pro to my prof and I definitely think that my next computer purchase will be a mac.

Although I preferred the Mac for everyday use I wonder which (Mac or PC) would be a better fit for an Information Processing class? From my experience and what I have heard it seems as though Macs are preferred for video editing? Would Macs be a better fit for a high school Communications Production Technology class? Overall which is a better choice for schools? Elementary? Secondary? I would like to hear what people think about this topic, please leave a comment about your experience with either of the two or your thoughts on this issue.

Me giving the MacBook Pro a thumbs up!

Tech Task #5 – What exactly is Digital Citizenship?

The idea of digital citizenship is somewhat new to me. Prior to taking this course I had not put much thought into the idea of digital citizenship. I really wasn’t too sure what exactly it is and I am still a little unsure of the exact definition.

Thus far, to me digital citizenship is very similar to ordinary everyday citizenship. As stated by Ashley in her blog, “Just as we have rights, expectations and laws as humans, we have these same things while using technology.” I agree with Ashley’s point and I think digital citizenship can also be seen as who you are and how you are portrayed in the digital world ( this may be seen more as your digital footprint). As tools that enable us to show, tell, create and express ourselves continue to grow it is increasingly important that we are aware of our digital citizenship. In education it is important for teachers to make sure that their students are portraying themselves positively in the digital world and also that they are using safe practices when they online. With students using and sometimes misusing things such as myspace, facebook, youtube and other mainly public sites or social networks it is important that they we don’t push them away from these but rather encourage awareness, ethics and effective use.

In my mind another important aspect of digital citizenship is filtering, questioning and contributing. It is important for not only students but all digital citizens to be able to filter through “noise” or pollution and find what they are looking for. This idea relates closely to another topic discussed in class, Media Literacy. It is important for students to question what they see, to think critically and also, just like in “everyday life”, it is important to contribute. Do not just take and take from the digital world, give back as well.

This is what digital citizenship means to me at this point in my educational career but I know that there is much more to it. I plan to dig deeper into this subject as I continue my journey to become a teacher.

I wonder if how good of a digital citizen we are will ever become more important than how good of a “real world” citizen we are? Has this already happened? I think about some of the educators that I have come across through my exploration in this course and I don’t believe I have met any of them in person so all that I have to “judge” or “perceive” them on is their online work, contributions, comments and profiles. This is a very interesting topic.

Tech Task #4 – Critique the design of a slide presentation

Tech Task #4 – Find a presentation on slide share that you think incorporates some good design principles. Embed it on your blog and write a critique outlining the effective design principles.

I feel that the slide show “What is Design?” does an excellent job of using effective design principles. Being that this slide show is about design it is obvious that one of the main objectives was to incorporate good design principles. As Dean Shareski mentioned in his presentation to our class, negative space and the use of black and white can be very effective. To me this slide does a great job of using the black and white theme . The text really jumps off the page and the slides look clean, creative and effective. Another well used design principle is the different sizes of font. For the most part the font is very big but at times it changes size and that adds to the effect. There are also pictures on some of the slides which help to create a visual of the message that is being parlayed to the viewer. The message is clear, the slides are bold and it is visually pleasing.

It wasn’t until Dean Shareski presented to my class on the importance of Design that I realized how poorly designed some of my old slide shows are. I was/am guilty of all the crimes that you can commit in a power point presentation. Thinking back to the idea of black and white and the use of negative space, these are all things I learned about in art class back in high school but I had sadly never transfered that to my work. I am now very conscious of effective design principles in all of the work that I do. I would like to thank Dean for waking me up from the “lack of effective design” sleep that I was in.

Jing-a-ling

Recently I was testing out the program Jing as part of my ECMP 355 course. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Jing, it is a free tool you can download from the internet that allows you to capture both still photos and video of your desktop. In the past I had always wondered how people created video tutorials of exactly what was on their desktop and now I know. With Jing you are also able to share these desktop videos or screen shots with others as Jing gives you a URL when you finish capturing your content. After playing around with this I began to think about how effective this tool could be in an educational setting. As a teacher, if you noticed that in one of your classes (let’s use Information Processing as an example because I am a business education major) students were continually having the same problems with assignments or activities on spreadsheets. Rather than having to explain the same thing over and over, you could just create a Jing of a spreadsheet showing students what they need to do and post it on the class website, blog or wiki. This is an excellent tool for teaching, tutoring and creating how-to videos. It can also allow for students to create their own Jing teaching their classmates how to do a certain task. I imagine it could also be very effective in distance learning courses or online classes. There seem to be many possibilities for the use of Jing in an educational setting.

I found Jing to be very user friendly and simple to use. Anyone out there dislike Jing or know of a better software program that does the same thing? Can you think of examples in other subject areas where Jing would be very useful? Do you know of an example where Jing has been used for a secondary or elementary class? Let me know what you think.

I have embedded a video created by the people over at macapper.com explaining and demonstrating how to use Jing. There is also a good instructional video on the Jing website.