Category Archives: elearning

A Collaborative Project – Improving Presentations

This semester Darin Janssen and I partnered with Mr. Park from Mortlach School in Mortlach, SK on a collaborative project. We set out to help Mr. Park’s students create better presentations using collaborative tools. We taught an online lesson and gave the students a brief introduction to some slide presentation design basics. We used WiZiQ to teach the lesson and GoogleDocs to view and provide feedback on student presentations. Check out the Prezi (see below) that Darin and I created as a way of reflecting on our project. It was a great learning experience and provided us with an excellent opportunity to teach online and see what it’s like to truly collaborate. A big thank you goes out to Mr. Park for allowing us to work with his class and helping us out along the way. I recommend viewing the Prezi in fullscreen for the full effect.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

ECMP Final Reflection…

As part of my ECMP 455 course I will be doing a few reflections over the next few days. I have decided to create a short video to reflect on a few of my experiences. This also served as an opportunity for me to play around with and create a green screen. It has been an amazing learning experience and I have really enjoyed all of the connections I have made both inside and out of the class.

View my reflection below as well as a video showing how I made the green screen. Let me know what you think.


Riding the wave…

This post is about Google Wave and some of the exploration and research I’ve been doing on it over the semester. I initially joined Google Wave on October 17, 2009. There was a lot of hype about it on twitter and I thought it would be great to be one of the first groups of people to try it out. At first it didn’t live up to the hype as none of my contacts really stuck with it and I basically just had a few solo waves going. That all changed when i discovered the public waves and saw just how powerful this tool can be. Now I can really see that there are some great uses for it. I’ve joined some public waves and recently created a wave for physical educators and I’m also working on a wave for business educators. Below you can see the slides for the online lesson on Google Wave I am teaching  in my ECMP 455 class tonight. I have also attached links to some useful resources. I’m always looking to connect with more people on Google Wave so feel free to add me [mcfarljo@googlewave.com] or ask me for an invite. Also, let me know your thoughts in terms of Google Wave in education.

Google Wave 101 – Your one stop shop for all the Google Wave basics.

Google Wave Robots – A list of 100 robots in Google Wave.

How Google Wave can Change Education – Ideas for educational use of Google Wave.

The Most Important Wave Search – Showing you how to discover public waves.

My Google Wave Bookmarks – Everything I have bookmarked related to Google Wave.

Facebook and Cell Phones

During my internship this past semester two of the biggest “issues” that teachers seemed to be facing were facebook and cell phones. Students would often go on facebook during class if they were at a computer and many teachers complained of continually catching students text messaging on their phones in class. By the end of the semester facebook had been blocked on all student computers but cell phones were still an “issue”.

I’ve been reflecting on this for some time and recently in my ECMP 455 class we had a guest presentation from Liz Kolb, author of Toys to Tools: Connecting Student Cell Phones to Education. View her slides here. She presented some great information and statistics which got me thinking a bit more about my stance on the issue. While I was teaching I wanted to find a way to include cell phones in my teaching and take advantage of the great tool that they are. It’s no secret that they are a very powerful tool and I felt I needed to find a way to use them not ban them. I included them in one of my Entrepreneurship 30 lessons which you can view at the bottom of this post.here (some attachments not included). I thought it went well but I believe that cell phones are a tool that may be hard to use every class, rather there needs to be a balance of their use. If they are not being used in the classroom, I’ve heard of a few different strategies for minimizing their distraction including a basket at the front of the room or holding on to them until the end of class if they are used inappropriately. I also don’t mind the idea of teaching etiquette and getting students to understand when it is rude to use your phone and also when it is appropriate to check it. I think it’s all personal preference and depends a lot on the school and students.

The thing that I am most interested in is discovering ways to use them to enhance learning in an educational setting. Liz mentioned quite a few different resources during her presentation including SCVNGR and ipadio which can be used to promote learning in different ways. I also wonder about using cell phones in physical education classes? How might one go about doing that? After doing some searching, I came across some great stuff at this Australian PE teacher’s blog.

Lastly, I want to touch back on the facebook topic that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I’m just curious as to how many schools or school divisions are blocking facebook. Is facebook available at your school? Do you think it can be useful in education?

I’m going to end this post by posing a few more questions to readers whom I would encourage to answer and discuss in the comments.

In what ways do you use or would you like to use cell phones in your classroom or school? Do you believe it helps promote learning?

Can cell phones be used in class or do they become to much of a distraction?

Below you can see a copy of Entrepreneurship lesson which included a cell phone activity.