I am sensing (and it is not taking any great level of intuition) that the overarching themes of this blog is the degree to which I am impressed (and overwhelmed) by the sheer volume of amazing digital tools that are free and at our fingertips. The problem really does seem to be one of knowledge: I did not have a clue as to the depth of my ignorance prior to taking these two digital courses.
Each week I attempt to stay abreast of the learning, make note of the applications I like, bookmark great sites (in Diigo!) and play, at least a bit, with a variety of applications. I had thought that I was reasonably technologically literate before; that reality has been shattered! The Prezi presentation that we viewed as part of our learning was truly loaded with invaluable information – so many worthwhile tips and sites that can be revisited.
We further explored the collaborative process as we worked on a mini presentation in our learning teams. The number of collaborative tools available is incredible and will definitely require more exploration when time permits.
This week the tools that I put into practice included TodaysMeet, a so-called “backchannel tool” that is designed as a sort of instant chat for classroom use. It is meant to enable and to foster classroom chat in an interactive format, but without the traditional raised hands and wait for acknowledgement by the teacher. The beauty of this tool is that it can easily be transcribed for submission and later review. It is limited in characters (similar to Twitter so you need to edit yourself).
The other tool that worked very well was Google Drive in which the presentation or document etc. can be shared and worked on together in real time, or when it suits individual group members, in an asynchronous fashion. The asynchronicity of this tool is what appeals to me – as an online learner, I like to structure my time as it all fits into my timetable, but there is a very good chat tool that allows you to work on the document simultaneously while discussing the work with your partners. This will definitely be an aspect of team learning that will find its way into my classrooms going forward. As this semester progresses, I am increasingly impressed with many of Google interfaces – more learning needed here too! Google will likely have a prominent place in my amended PLE – it fits into the collaborative and exploration categories that I had identified, but my PLE will clearly need a significant rework.
Many of you might have stumbled upon this site, but in my Feedly this week, I found this summary of some of the most valuable edtech tools for the month by Blogger Richard Byrne. This is fast becoming a go-to site to keep myself informed of educational applications for all of the very cool tools that we are examining. For example, he provides a nice link that shows how to clean up YouTube clips to make them more appropriate for classroom use. Take a peek and see what you think.