Debriefing . . .

by: Kristina

by: Kristina

Creating my first podcast was a lot of fun. I also really enjoyed using GarageBand for the first time and I look forward to using that next year in the computer literacy course instead of Audacity as it has a cleaner interface, it’s less buggy and it has more understandable effects.
I enjoyed seeing the use of the wiki in our class and I’ve been comparing that with my first time using ning sites in seven of my classes. Both provide great ways for communication and group collaboration. I find the wikis are slightly more powerful in that they allow for more custom tailoring to a specific situation but they also require more prep at the beginning. The ning sites are ready to go from the start and the students can join easily, without needing invites. I also feel that the communication on the ning sites is slightly better because that’s what they’re made for and that’s generally what I’ll need. I think a wiki will be useful for keeping class notes or creating some sort of project together which is done with text. My class projects tend to fall into categories whereby the online sites are more useful for collaboration than for showing the actual project as it comes together, like for example Lego Mindstorms programs created in the student groups or podcasts and videos. The students share ideas online, but the actual work is done outside the site. I could look into putting IB notes for the IB computer science class online. That would better suit the use of a wiki because the students work would go directly online and it would be collaborative. It’s been nice to see these tools used and to experiment in my own classes to help me sort out good times to use them.
I did use Jing to create my first tutorial but then it became a major headache trying to oupload it to blip.tv because Jing only gave me flv output and blip.tv wouldn’t accept it. I found one converter pretty quickly which worked, but the video quality degraded a lot. After searching for another hour or two and trying other converters, I eventually kept my original find. Part of this whole process reminds me of the adage that you get what you pay for. Macromedia Captivate has worked well for me in the past, but you have to pay for that extra ease. Jing is free and despite the drawback I encountered in this project, it’s better than nothing, and Jing does allow allow for uploading flv files online which would normally solve my problem. I do still prefer Captivate because it adds text automatically on mouse clicks and it works smoother and it has an easier to use interface for grabbing screens.
On top of introducing nings to the computer literacy class, I decided to try using a ning in my programming class for the Lego Mindstorms unit. I’ve been using it to allow the students to track their progress and I’d also like them to take pictures and video of their robots, though we haven’t got to that stage yet. It seems like it will be cool for them to be able to look back aftewards and remember their work, though I won’t know if it will work out that way until we’re done.
I still haven’t come up with a great idea for using podcasts, though I’m toying around with the idea of having my IB class create podcasts for lessons. They would go along well with a class wiki.
One of the fun things in the course was discussing IT ideas with other teachers and hearing about what they’re doing. I can see the value of having a personal learning network, though I’m still more inclined to keep it face to face. I don’t feel that I’ve progressed yet to having a large online personal network.
One of the topics I particularly enjoyed discussing was the whole copyright issue because this is a daily issue in my computer literacy courses with students using pictures, video and audio from other sources. The Ted Talk was very interesting and I look forward to seeing how this issue gets resolved in the future.
IT integration is a topic which I will need to evaluate each year and keep on top of so in a way, I should almost be going through this course every year. The Classroom 2.0 ning site has proved to be an interesting source in this way. I joined one of their elluminate talks last week and I find that the e-mails they send about their talks are quite useful. This is one addition to my personal learning network which I think will benefit me in the future and keep me up to date. Unfortunately, our school network booted me out and logged me back in every 5 minutes or so. Today I was unable to connect for more than one second.
This brings up a huge IT integration issue. The number of times that things don’t work can be quite deflating. IT staff often want to block and protect their network, but education is all about collaboration and sharing, so these two philosophies often come in conflict at school and frustrate me to death sometimes. But then when things do work, it can be very cool and beautiful.

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1 Comment

  1. sbrokvam said,

    April 24, 2009 at 4:53 am

    Yeah, it’s handy how screencast.com allow you to just upload your .flv files, unlike blip.tv, so in this case you had the extra headache of having to convert just to satisfy the course procedures.

    I chose the wiki rather than a Ning site entirely because I wanted to track changes to wiki pages, which you cannot do with the Ning notes. However, the main input from participants in the course was in the discussion forum, so we could have done just fine with a Ning site.


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