Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

IT 644 Final Reflections on Another Great Dr. Yuen Course November 27, 2010

Well, I can’t believe another semester has come to an end.  This semester went very fast.  IT 644 proved for me to be a typical Dr. Yuen class.  By typical, I mean that it provided exposure to many things that I had never heard of and challenged my technical skills to figure things out.  As usual, my mind was working throughout the course thinking, “How can I use this in my classes?”  Many of the tools and ideas learned have a definite place in teaching and learning.  From my perspective the most valuable tool we learned was Prezi.  What a great alternative to the standard, usually boring, PowerPoint.  Prezi is a great tool for instructors who want to spice up their lectures.  It is also a great tool for students, allowing them to present information in a fun and creative way.  Just don’t flip too fast you will become dizzy!!!

With some of the tools I had to wonder how I would ever use them in my classes.  In particular I thought Fuzzwich and Video Toolbox were not so useful.  These were my least favorite tools although I could envision teachers with younger children possibly using these.   The problem with all the available Web 2.0 tools is that there are so many and each one may do something that would be of value in the classroom.  I think IT 644 did a great job of sorting through a large selection of these tools and pointing out the value of them and how they could be used in teaching and learning. 

I liked the design of the class.  The use of Mixxt, a social network, went a long way in bringing the class closer.  I liked how our projects were posted on the Mixxt network and then we could look at other class members’ projects.  This was a great way to get to know the other class members and to establish a relationship beyond merely seeing them in a classroom.  Also getting further ideas on how to use the various tools by seeing how each person integrated them into their various projects.

 

I am always looking for new things to integrate into my classes, especially my online classes.  IT 644 provided me with a lot of ideas and things I would like to try.  I think definitely Dropbox, Audacity, Prezi, Showbeyond and video editing would be great tools to make an online class more interesting and engaging to students.  I am looking forward to integrating these tools as well  continuing to look for new and innovative tools in the future.

 

Final Refelections on IT 860… July 23, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is coming to an end.  It went very fast, I think due to the magnitude and variety of things learned.  I think the course was designed very well with maximum exposure to Web 2.0 tools.  In addition to the tools that projects were completed for, the exposure to a new social network, Mixxt was also valuable.  Since Ning began charging this month, the class social network was changed.  I like Ning better, but  Mixxt proved to be good, free alternative. 

I liked the assignments dealing with the Web 2.0 tools the best and getting the hands-on exposure.  I was disappointed when ScreenToaster became unavailable, but I think it just went to show that there are many other choices and one has to remain flexible.  My favorite project was Second Life which probably comes as no surprise to anyone.  I have been a resident of SL for over two years and enjoy its many features.  It is a great tool for teaching and learning and I hope to be able to teach a complete class in this virtual world someday. 

I also appreciated the interaction between class members as well as with our instructors, Drs. Yuen and Mark.  I think they both did a great job making this class not just another online class, but one that felt inclusive and had a sense of community.  Most online classes are so cold, impersonal and one-dimensional.  It was fun meeting for training as a class in Second Life and seeing everyone’s avatars.  It truly did feel like we were meeting in person in a classroom. 

The class did make me realize how many great, useful Web 2.0 tools are available for free.  The problem is trying to determine which ones are useful and then how to integrate them into teaching.  This class really helped me sort this out.  I am going to try to use Twitter and Voice Thread in my classes during the upcoming year.  I have already integrated and used a personally designed Website, YouTube videos, Wikis and social networks (Ning) and the students were very receptive.  I am always looking for ways to improve my course content and increase student engagement and courses such as IT 860 definitely help!!!

 

I Have a Video on YouTube!!! July 21, 2010

 

  

I learned a lot about screencasting as a Web 2.0 tool including how it could be used for education.  This assignment required that a tutorial be constructed using ScreenToaster, a Web 2.0 tool for creating a screencast and then be uploaded onto YouTube where it could be viewed and shared.  I always wanted to learn how to use Camtasia, a software screencasting program that is quite expensive.  Camtasia was the package used by educators before all the free Web 2.0 applications became available.   In looking at the resource material provided I was surprised at how many free Web 2.0 tools are available for screencasting.  I had used Jing in a previous class and found it to be very easy to use; however, there is a five minute limit on the free version.  Other than that I did not experience with others tools.  The assignment was supposed to use ScreenToaster.  The day I went to do my project, ScreenToaster was down.  It was later discovered that they were converting it to paid product and would no longer be free.  This is the downside of using free Web 2.0 tools in addition to there usually being some restrictions on the free version of the tool.  I decided to complete the project using ScreenCastle.  There really was not much to learn about this tool as it so easy.  I did my screencast on setting up a network using Ning.  I simply pressed a button and starting talking and moved from screen to screen.  The next part was to upload the screencast to YouTube.  I already had a YouTube account so it just a matter of uploading the video.  YouTube takes care of file conversion and everything else.  All in all the process was very easy.  Here is my video:

There are many educational uses for this tool.  It allows teachers and instructors to create tutorials for students.  For example, I used to teach Microsoft Office and definitely could have used it to demonstrate various Excel, Word and Access features for my students.  Most students have the same issues with aspects like formulas so it makes sense to produce a video and have students watch it.  The video can also be placed on a Website, blog or Wiki for students to access.  I think this is a great tool that is so easy for any teacher or instructor to use and sharing on YouTube is a piece of cake!!!

 

Scribd (I am Published!!!)

Filed under: file sharing,Instructional Technology Program,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 1:55 pm
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I had no idea how the assignment concerning the use of Scribd or Yudu would turn out.  I had never used either of these Web 2.0 tools.  I choose to learn more about Scribd.  The concept of Scribd is so simple.  It is to documents what YouTube is to video.  It also contains features of several other Web 2.0 tools such as the ability to follow what others are publishing and the ability to be interactive.  It is a place for users to publish their documents and share with the internet community.  These documents can consist of PDF files, Word documents, PowerPoint spreadsheets and just about anything.  The first step was to establish an account with Scribd.  This was relatively easy to do allowing the user to build a public profile.  I think it would be helpful to put the type of research or research interests one has as it allows others with similar interests to share ideas and content. The URL of my Scribd account is:

http://www.scribd.com/christine_mark

Scribd allows a user to upload documents as well as search for documents uploaded by other users.  There is an “Explore” tab that allows users to look through documents by category.  The categories and content is quite extensive.

I can see this being used in education, especially in the research area.  If I am doing research on a topic along with another person or group of persons, we can use this tool to upload different materials for analysis such as PowerPoint presentations and other documents.  I also present at several different conferences during the year and can see how I could use Scribd to post any handout materials I would normally make copies of and pass out at my sessions.  This allows participants to decide if they want the materials rather than wasting paper and my having to carry them all over the country.  Also, when a person goes to Scribd to get my materials they can also see what other documents I uploaded and look at them as well.  I think it a great way to share interests.  I could also see students using this tool to upload their papers and research and then read each others and make comments about them.  It would also be fun for students to see how many people access their documents since Scridb displays these statistics.

All in all, I think this is a great tool for collaboration and accessing documents other people upload.  I can see using this in the future!!!

 

Introduction to Blogfolio for IT 860 July 15, 2010

Hello Bloggers:

My name is Christine Mark and I am a PhD student at The University of Southern Mississippi in Instructional Technology.  As part of my program I am taking IT 860 – Emerging Technology in Instructional Technology.  As part of this course I am blogging about the various assignments I am doing as well as overall impressions of the various types of emerging technology.

I am also an instructor at The University of Southern Mississippi in the College of Business.  I teach in the Management and International Business Department.  I teach Introduction to Management, Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior and Introduction to Business.  I am interested in using technology in my classes and so far in my PhD program I have learned many things that I have been able to apply.  I created my own Website where students can go to get additional resources, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.  The address to my website is:

 http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~w813743/homepage.html

 This has been a great resource for my students and I keep adding to it and improving it each semester.  I also used a Wiki for class discussions, until this summer.  I currently use Ning, a social network for classroom communication.  I use it for discussions, email communications, posting pictures and videos and for group work.  This has worked very well and the students like it because it is much like Facebook and they are used to this sort of format.  These are just a few examples of the things I was able to integrate into my teaching from my PhD program.

I am looking forward to sharing information about my journey into emerging technology.  Please feel free to leave comments.

 

Final Thought on IT 780 May 1, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is over.  So much has happened in the last few months.  IT 780 was a very good experience for me both personally and professionally.  Personally it was a valuable experience that I will not forget.  The opportunity to meet so many other people with a similar interest in technology and teaching was wonderful.  I had the opportunity to socialize with some of the other students in my class.  We went out to dinner which proved to be a great opportunity to get to know each other and our interests in education.  I also had the opportunity to attend and present at two conferences during the semester where some of my fellow students were also attending.  This was a great opportunity to further get to know them and we supported each other in what we were doing. 

This class also helped me professionally by introducing me to so many great Web 2.0 tools.  By learning the advantages of this technology and its uses for education and learning I was able to integrate these tools into my classes immediately.  I am using a Wiki in my Human Resource Management class.  We have discussion of cases, communication, etc.  I also incorporated the social network Ning into a new class I am teaching, Introduction to Business.  The Ning is a wonderful tool that has allowed my class to have discussions, work together in groups and stay connected.  The class also helped me professionally as far as developing new ways to communicate and stay connected.  For instance, this blog contains a great variety of information that I can share with my colleagues and students.  I intend to continue adding things to my blog for a long time to come.  The class also allowed me to see many different tools and techniques that I never knew existed.  The only problem is there is not enough time in the day to check out all that is available. 

I am sure this will end up being one of the classes that I look back at and say I learned a lot and am actually using and applying what I learned to be a better teacher!!!

 

Introduction to Blogfolio February 12, 2010

This blog was created as part of my class, a Seminar in Instuctional Technology at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  During the semester I will be posting entries to my blog discussing the various topics covered in class as well as my reaction to the assignments.  I have been meaning to start a blog and this is a great opportunity to get started.  After this class I plan on continuing the blog and possibly coming up with ways I can use it in the classes I teach.