Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The new kid in town - Business -

My current event #5 but because I'm a Pinterest fan I thought I would post it here too.

The new kid in town - Business -

Can the iPad Really Replace Your Laptop?

Found this article via @mrwejr on Twitter. (a former student, BTW) As I am playing with my iPad I have been asking myself this question. Could this replace my laptop with an iPad? As it stands right now, and as the article concludes, it wouldn't work for me at this time. There are still certain web 2.0 tools and applications that don't function the same way on the iPad. But I'm having fun experimenting :)

Can the iPad Really Replace Your Laptop?

Google Reader in Plain English

Monday, February 27, 2012

Reading on an iPad

OK, so I admit it, I am one of "those" people who said I would never be able to read on an ereader.  I love books and find it very difficult to imagine a world without them.  I can easily spend hours in a book store, browsing, skimming, reading.  I spend thousands of dollars on books every year - and that is just personally - it does not include what I spend in my library.  I also give books as gifts all the time and love to receive them.  (My favourite this Christmas is Forgotten Bookmarks by Michael Popek that my husband found for me.)  Two Christmases ago we bought my daughter a Kobo thinking she would love it.  She used it a lot at first but it now sits buried under the stack of paperbacks she is reading.  This inquiry however, made me realize I need to try this kind of reading.  What if I am wrong?  What if I do like reading on an ereader?...

Well, I have done just that and I think I may have to take back some of my nasty words.  Although I am still struggling with comfortably holding the iPad while I read, especially in bed, I am not finding the experience as negative as I thought I would.  I like that I am able to change the size of the font and am finding "sepia" an easier theme to read than the bright white, but overall the experience has been positive.  We are fortunate to have 2 weeks for spring break this year and I am seeing that reading on the iPad is going to be a lot better than lugging 3 or 4 books to San Diego for our 10 day vacation. (especially with the weight limitations on luggage, LOL)

So why is this experience better than I expected?  I think part of it is my realization that this technology is not going away.  I do see a future where textbooks and other educational reading will be done online.  I do see that I am already adapting to reading my course material on a screen rather than printing it all out as I did when I first began this diploma program.  I do see that I am already reading blogs, articles, twitter feeds and other material online on a daily basis.  I see that I am evolving when it comes to technology and information.

Some other observations I have made with regards to the iPad as I explore Web 2.0 tools:
  • I have to adapt to a different look for things like Facebook, Twitter and even my iGoogle page on the iPad.
  • Using the keyboard on the iPad requires a bit of skill as my texting thumbs and touch typing skills have to adapt to the screen keyboard.
  • Using iCloud has saved me time in setting up the iPad.
  • I am wondering how schools add apps to the iPad - do they set up an Apple ID for the school or does one individual take this on - and what do they do if that person leaves, as was the case for me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Playing with an iPad in a web 2.0 world

I'm posting this from an iPad today. Had some fun just trying to get it all to work. The iPad was purchased last year by our now retired librarian, and I quickly learned that because he had added apps with his personal apple I'd, I could not do any of the updates. I had to revert to the original settings which resulted in these apps no longer working. At first I was mad as I had just purchased a book to read on the Kindle app and I thought I would lose it. After I reinstalled the apps, (all of which were free so not really a big deal)I discovered that my purchased book was stored in the archives and not lost after all, whew :)

Another new tool I am trying is iCloud. This was great for setting up the iPad as I was able to access the music and books my daughter had purchased recently for her iPod Touch. I also added some games from her iPod that my three year old daughter likes and I am hoping will be entertaining for our plane trip on spring break.

So far I have not experienced any difficulty in accessing and using the web 2.0 tools I am exploring on the iPad. I did add the Evernote app and want to see if that can help with my "to do list" obsession - I installed it on my laptop as well.

As a side note, I am loving iGoogle, especially Google Reader! What a great tool and it is saving me so much time. I have even been able to provide quick feedback to my principal when she has posted TWICE :) this week on her new blog.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

5 Tips For Using Pinterest In Your Classroom | Edudemic

I love Pinterest - I think I may have already said this once or twice ;) - It is so visual and I find I am actually using the ideas I "pin." I think one of the other great things about it is I don't necessarily need to follow the site or blog the ideas came from - they are just one idea I like - so pinning them is the answer. I have a great board just for bookmark ideas that I use every month for our "Bookmark of the Month" project in the library - kids come to the library at lunch and make a bookmark. The stamped paint chips from the hardware store were a huge hit.

Someone else was wondering about educational applications for Pinterest and I use it to save lots of ideas for my classroom and courses. Here is a great article to support this:

5 Tips For Using Pinterest In Your Classroom | Edudemic

Technology & Learning in District #205: 10 Truths About Teaching With Tech–from Clouducation

Like what this says and how it says it. So many of my colleagues are desperately clinging to their "traditional" teaching tools - my philosophy is changing - more of a "why fight it" frame of mind.

Technology & Learning in District #205: 10 Truths About Teaching With Tech–from Clouducation

Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom: How Things Changed With @Evernote

Thanks (again) to Twitter, I have a new web 2.0 tool to check out. Like Steven Anderson, I have too many slips of paper, to-do lists and calendars going at one time. I am wondering if Evernote will offer a solution for me. One of the things I am realizing with all of these web 2.0 organizational tools is that some kind of mobile device (like an iPhone, hint, hint, Aaron Poulin) would really go a long way for me. Currently I 'only' have a cell phone for texting and phone calls. I can store notes and calendar details, but access to my online world would probably help in making a habit out of using tools like iGoogle, Evernote, or whatever other tools I learn about.

Blogging About The Web 2.0 Connected Classroom: How Things Changed With @Evernote

History of Social Media

Thanks for posting this Joanne Mc. - I hope you don't mind that I am sharing it here but I think it is a great visual for what we are doing in this course.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Principal's Blog

I just spent the last hour helping my principal set up her new blog.  Her vision for her blog is very similar to Neil Kamide's from McMath Secondary in Richmond.  She would like this to be a form of communication with our parents and community.  We talked quite a bit about the kinds of posts she should begin with and how to make blog posting a "habit" so that she will keep up with it.  I have encouraged her to post several short posts in the next couple of weeks just to get used to the platform.  I also said she should try posting a photo, adding more links, and play around with a couple of templates to see what she likes.
 You will notice that I am "following" her blog so that I will know when she posts.  I told her that I would be emailing her if I don't see regular posts.  She is very excited about this new venture, so I believe she will make it a priority.

I also think that this new step will encourage others on our staff to use more social media in their classes and lives.  I have already linked the principal's blog on our school web site so I am hoping that when she sees people are following and reading the blog (through the stats) she will be encouraged to keep it current.


Another tool that I discovered as part of my inquiry is AddThis.  By adding AddThis to my toolbar I can now easily add content to Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress, and even Facebook.  When I read a blog or an article that I want to remember or comment on, I can repost it to my sites with one click.
 The tool bar is also very visual - which as I have already mentioned is important to me.

One of the things I wasn't sure about with this tool was how it would function when I have more than one Blogger or WordPress site, for example.  I like that when I click the Blogger icon it goes to post to the last blog I had been using but gives me a drop down menu to switch to other blogs I maintain.

With AddThis, one thing that surprised me is the number of options available.  When I click the "plus" sign, an incredible list of options is made available.
And this is only A-C!  Most of this available links I have never even heard of or seen.  It makes me realize how much more I have to learn, but it also makes me excited for the options I have available to me in this Web 2.0 world.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Progress Update or... inquiry leads to inquiry leads to inquiry...

Well, if I have learned anything in this inquiry project so far it is that inquiry leads to more inquiry.  I sit down ready to post and comment on my learning or to explore one of my inquiry choices and I end up blurry eyed from "clicking" from one site to the next.  Just before beginning this post I was sidetracked by a classmates mention of festisite and had to go check it out.  I actually had to talk myself down from playing on the site so I could complete a more substantial post on my learning blog today, LOL.

This week's small group discussion topic lead me to make some changes in how I am organizing my Web 2.0 world.  Admittedly, I am a "bookmarks" fan - but I just use the bookmarks bar to have easy visual access to the places I visit most.  I had been using my learning blog for this class and LIBE 465 to store links to my classmates' blogs in each class.  Because of my increased PLN, mostly due to Twitter, I realized I was not keeping up with what was happening.

I am a very visual person and need to "see" the links and sites I want to visit regularly.  I signed up for Delicious a year ago, but after the initial set-up and two days of adding "bookmarks" I quickly forgot about it and found it inconvenient.  But alas, I had an AHA moment this week.

I was researching RSS feeds and thought I would check out Google reader.  When I "clicked" the option, lo and behold I am already signed in and there is a list of the class blogs I had subscribed to!  Who knew?  This demonstrated to me how blind I have been to what I am already involved with in the Web 2.0 world.  I did not understand what "subscribe to this blog" meant or that I could easily access this information with one more "click."

Knowing my visual nature I was still concerned that the Google reader feeds required that I go to that Google page, but wait, what's this iGoogle?  Click!  AAAHHHHH, the heavens opened...  This is the answer I have been looking for.  I can add widgets for the things I check regularly and I can make it my Internet home page so it is "in my face" every time I log on.
I know that I need to "live" with this new tool for a bit to get it set up to best meet my needs, but so far I am really liking this organizational tool. (Although it wasn't originally part of my inquiry I think it is a great link for all of the items I am learning about.)  I just added the Google calendar widget today and the Google reader widget is awesome!  I know that I need to be careful not to add too many widgets or this tool might become more of a burden - although I'm not sure I can get rid of the "Hangman" game that Google already had on there, LOL.

I will definitely be introducing iGoogle to a couple of my staff "mentees" for their home pages.  I think they will find this a great way to organize their online social networking.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

5 things I have learned from students about education technology… « CLOUDUCATION

I really like what this had to say about us assuming kids know so much about technology as it is something I have been saying for a while now.

I was also really interested in the comment about teaching kids about email - so true! It is such an important part of my day yet students groan when I ask them to email me something.

5 things I have learned from students about education technology… « CLOUDUCATION

Simple Steps to Leverage Social Media for Your School | Educator Studio

This has some great advice and links. Learning more from Twitter every day ;)

Simple Steps to Leverage Social Media for Your School | Educator Studio

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

First class to blog

As I write this post, my first block of English 12 is blogging their responses to some quotations from The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. We are using and so far I am pleased with the ease of sign-up and log-in and the students seem to be able to use it with little difficulty. I like that I could have all of them set up before they came to the computer lab. This made the log in smooth as they just had to select their name and then use the password I gave them.

I am interested to figure out why advertises that they are perfect for elementary and middle school classes. So far I have seen little to lead me to believe this won't work well for high school classes as well. They are able to add images, video, hyperlinks and can also change fonts, text size, bold, etc.. So far I am impressed with this tool.

The next step is to see how many of them access it outside of class to finish this first assignment.

Oh, and to add to my inquiry, I tweeted about the class blogging while they were doing it :)

Here is a Flickr slide show of the kids at work.