Monday, January 26, 2009
Digital Natives
With this week's focus on understanding the concept of digital natives and digital immigrants, we spent some time discussing what these terms mean, where we might place ourselves in (or between) these categories, and the kinds of technologies that can be used to reach our digital native students. This is an interesting place to be talking about this topic, as some of my students are digital natives and some are more toward the immigrant end of the spectrum. The whole idea of digital natives lent to a pretty good discussion, and I was pleased with some of the ideas that the students offered in how to tap into a digital native's world.

After going over a few announcements and demonstrating how to troubleshoot the in-between lecture podcasts, I had the students divide into groups of 3-4 and provided them a scaffold with which they were to come up with several examples of typical classroom tasks and ideas for using technology to approach such tasks in a more digital native way. The groups then created a digital graphic to demonstrate visually one of their examples. Some of the groups used PowerPoint and then converted the slides to JPEG files. Others used Microsoft Paint. Some used Word or Excel and took screenshots of their images and created pictures files by pasting the screenshots in Adobe Photoshop and then exporting. I circulated and helped each group as needed. If I do this activity again, I'd like to provide a job aid for how to save PowerPoint slides as picture files and how to take screenshots, as I went through the steps with many of the groups over and over again. Representatives from each group then presented their graphical representations to the class.

The remainder of class was spent working on the e-portfolios. I guided the students in how to arrange their pages in the navigation area, upload files, and create links on their pages. I am pleased that both sections are making a good deal of progress in putting together their portfolios. Hopefully, this will make the project easier on the students towards the end of the semester.

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posted by SG @ 2:40 PM   0 comments
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I used M&Ms to facilitate introductions, which involves giving each student a fun size package of M&Ms, asking everyone to choose one of the M&Ms, and then having them share something about themselves that corresponds to the M&M color. With Valentine's Day nearing, I had gotten the Valentine's edition of the M&Ms, so the colors and corresponding statements went something like this -

Pink – If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go to ______ because…
Red – One of my greatest accomplishments is…
Magenta – The person who has most influenced my life is…
White – One of my goals in life is to…

There were many students who wanted to travel to Australia or New Zealand, some who chose parents or teachers as the most influential in their lives, and several who have the goal of being able to use their skills to help others in third world countries. It was a great way to start to get to know each other. With 40-50 students in two sections, it will take me a while to learn all of the students' names.

After introductions, we reviewed the syllabus, some Oncourse basics, and other important course-related info, such as how to download the podcasts and readings. I then helped them create Gmail and Delicious accounts and create a blog in Blogger and a new Google Site. This took most of the rest of the class period for the first section; the second section created the accounts very quickly. Since the second section finished so quickly, I demonstrated how to use Google Sites, and the students created their e-portfolio skeletons. At the end of class for both sections, we toured the Teaching with Technology Lab (TTL).

I guess I'll learn how to manage teaching two sections as the semester progresses. I thought it was interesting that the second section finished so quickly. I will probably keep using the e-portfolio as something that students can work on if they finish the lab activities early.

One thing that I'd like to create for next lab is a list of major assignments and due dates. With teaching two sections this semester, I communicated to the students that I will not be able to track down late assignments. So, I want to make sure that they know what assignments they are responsible for completing and the dates they are due. I still have not decided how I will manage assignments. With the changes in how the Oncourse site is set up this semester, I'm leaning away from using the Assignments area, as the drawbacks seem to outweigh the positives. I am considering using their e-portfolios as a way to receive submissions. I plan to make a decision before lab next week.

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posted by SG @ 3:08 PM   0 comments
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Location: Houston, TX, United States
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I am attempting to develop practical instructional applications of developing technologies and provide educators with tools to implementing instructional technologies effectively.
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MUVEs, Web 2.0, assistive technologies, digital video

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