Edublogs webinar overviews Oct 2013

Introduction

Still running behind on webinar overviews. A digest of  our recent webinars over the last few weeks.

Fine Focus – Presenting with Blackboard Collaborate

As always this session was recorded. The session was our last webinar before the Reform Symposium Online Conference #RSCON #RSCON4 and so we decided to provide a further training/practise/question and answer opportunity for presenters/volunteers.

Serendipity 17/18 Oct 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we talked about the recent Reform Symposium Conference #RSCON #RSCON4. We were a small group and all of us had had some involvement as participants or presenter/volunteer/organiser, so the session provided an opportunity for us to share our thoughts, reflections and ideas.

Fine Focus – “Tech Smackdown”

This was another recorded session the intention was a quick tech smackdown type share of some favourite tools/applications that save time or that we use with students but we ended up discussing a variety of: tried and tested tools, some previously used with students and some new that we plan to try. All in all a great session with many shared links.

Serendipity 31 Oct/1 Nov 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session our chosen topic was “Blended Learning”. We started with a discussion on our understanding of the term blended learning, moved on to share tools that have been part of our best blended learning experiences, considered some of the advantages, and ended with a brief look at how/why we choose tools and strategies for blended learning.

Conclusion

Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

FineFocusSmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday Nov 7th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Nov 8th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.

Where do you get these sites from?

This post is a cross-posting from the West Australian Adult Literacy and Numeracy network newsletter, so apologies if you have seen it twice. I wrote it in response to a query on our network of literacy/numeracy practitioners in WA most of whom are quite new to online tools and strategies.

Introduction

This question was posed in response to a recent post by Phil (@philhart) on our Western Australian Adult Literacy and Numeracy (ALaN) network GoogleGroup – Phil shared a site called Visuwords, an online graphical dictionary that gives a visual representation of associations between words. Phil’s answer was that he gets many of these kinds of links via his Personal (Professional) Learning Network (PLN).

Like Phil I have an extensive, global PLN – mine is in excess of 4,000 educators globally with fewer than 20% of these in Australia and less than 10% in WA. I find this network invaluable in helping me to stay up to date and innovative in my teaching and learning. The inevitable next questions are of course “What is a PLN, how do I get one, and what are the benefits?”

A PLN is …

A PLN is a network of people often, but not always, with similar interests to your own. We all have a PLN of some sort even if it is just the network of colleagues we meet through our daily work. However the most useful and effective PLN is one which extends outside our own day to day physical environment, outside our own specialist teaching area and outside our particular educational sector.

My own PLN is global, cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral. It makes considerable use of social media and online tools in general. So my Personal Learning Environment (PLE) through which I access my PLN is largely electronic. The main point here is that no two PLN’s are the same! We all have our own preferred balance of people and communication environments/strategies. Mine (like most others) has evolved over time and now looks something like the diagram below.

PLN PLE 500I expect that my PLN will continue to change and evolve – I currently use a variety of platforms so that I don’t miss out on posts from people for whom I have enormous professional respect but who don’t use my preferred platform for the majority of their interactions.

Getting a PLN

There are many different strategies for developing your own PLN. Mine started inadvertently, when a fellow e-learning enthusiast who was also a Vocational Education and Training lecturer but in a different college introduced me to Twitter. This is still my “favourite” PLN environment although I now use many other social networks as well. Many members of my own PLN have been introduced to the concept and started developing their own PLN through PD activities. If you are thinking about building your own PLN there are a few strategies that can be particularly useful:

  • Start with one social media platform – find a mentor on that platform who is very experienced and has a medium to large network of their own.
  • Sign up to the platform – make sure you complete your profile and have an avatar, many potential followers/friends won’t connect with you unless they have a little information about you
  • Don’t rush it – allow your contacts to grow fairly slowly at least initially
  • Give as well as taking – join conversations, make comments, share resources and links
  • Be social, be human – the social interactions are important despite the derision you see levelled at some platforms regarding the triviality of some posts, social interaction – the personal relationship “oils the wheels” of the professional relationship.

If you are interested in further developing your PLN then leave a comment here and consider participating in some of our regular webinars because if enough people are interested we could do some webinars specifically on this. If you are going to take the plunge anyway and your chosen platform is any of: Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn then please feel free to follow/friend, or whatever the connection label is, me. You can find me as follows:

I do check out profiles before I connect back (because like all online contexts there are plenty of “black hats” out there) although if I already know you from another context I may not. I will usually connect back within a few days.

What are the benefits?

The benefits are many! The list below is just a few of the positive gains shared by members of my PLN:

  • Keeping up with innovation in education
  • Links to great tools and resources
  • Instant help with tech problems and other questions
  • Learning, learning always learning!
  • Support in coping with issues
  • Sharing, sharing and sharing again!
  • Opportunities for global collaboration on projects
  • Opportunities for PD through online discussions
  • Overseas “E-visitors” to classes (via Skype or similar)
  • Broadening perspective from local to global
  • Learning about other cultures
  • Never feeling isolated at a conference (someone from your PLN is almost certainly there!)
  • People (that you feel you already know) to meet up with when overseas/away from home
  • Someone to “talk” to in the small hours – there is always someone awake

Some members of my own PLN have become good friends without us ever meeting! When chance gives us opportunities to meet there is none of the awkwardness of strangers meeting for the first time. This is a huge benefit for me as, despite my advanced age and years of teaching, I am quite shy when meeting strangers.

Conclusion

For more ideas about PLNs checkout this post “What the heck is a PLN?” by a West Australian teacher with a global presence who is part of my PLN and is now a good “real face-to-face” friend that I first “met” online via Twitter.

For me personally the global nature of my own PLN and the opportunity to be involved in learning from such a diverse group are the “icing on the cake”! I have been immeasurably enriched by many people in my own PLN and can only hope that I am able to “pay this forward” in some way.

Getting ready for Reform Symposium Conference

Introduction

I have been helping with Reform Symposium (#RSCON4) preparations, mostly with some training and ideas for presenters and moderators on using BlackboardCollaborate.

Some things work and some things don’t!

We all have our “wish lists” of what we would ideally like to do/like to have available when we present at conferences. It isn’t always possible/practicable to do exactly what we would like. Most venues will have some restrictions of some sort on our dreams.

Online venues may often appear more restrictive than the face-to-face environment. However they do often also have advantages, not least of which is the opportunity for people from around the globe to join sessions at no significant cost in time, travel and money. Enabling a global audience to participate does itself impose some restrictions – not everyone has access to fast Internet connections and if we truly want to be global in our reach we need to consider this when planning our presentations. BlackboardCollaborate is a very good platform to use as it is less bandwidth “heavy” than many alternatives and also has great tools for interactivity and audience participation that can be used without high bandwidth.

Despite the bandwidth advantages of using BlackboardCollaborate there are some applications it is better to avoid or use with great care when participants may face bandwidth challenges. One of these is using application share to present a Prezi.

No Prezi in BbCOthers are:

  • keeping your webcam live throughout – a few minutes at the beginning is usually OK;
  • multiple live microphones – better to restrict the permitted number of live microphones at any one time to one or perhaps two;
  • any rapid scrolling or change when application sharing;
  • using breakout rooms.

Those have evolved for me over several years of BbC experience in working with online students in regional Western Australia where we experience regular bandwidth challenges, but even so are far better served than many parts of the globe!

Conclusion

If you are presenting or moderating and have not yet had the opportunity for any training then join us on Thursday/Friday for one of our regular Edublogs FineFocus webinars (start time 23:00 UTC/GMT on Thursday 10th October – evening in the USA and Friday morning in Asia/Pacific) for a session aimed at helping presenters and moderators. This session is in our usual *Edublogs/BlackboardCollaborate Community Partnership room https://sas.elluminate.com/site/external/launch/dropin.jnlp?sid=vclass&password=LPCBZLAT4D3Y921591JT

*NB you cannot join this room from iPad or Android.

 

 

 

Recent Edublogs webinars Aug/Sept – summary

Introduction

As has been the case for the last few months I have not been able to post overviews each week. So this one is a digest of  our webinars over the last few weeks.

Serendipity (1/2 Aug 2013)

This recorded session was a Serendipity session in which considered two topics. We brainstormed some way of enthusing teachers to use technology in class and then moved on to think of “5 minute fun fillers” not necessarily involving technology use.

Fine Focus – digital literacy in an adult ed curriculum

As always this session was recorded. The session was based around content from a recent webinar that I did for our Western Australian State Adult Literacy and Numeracy network. One of the main curricula used for Adult Literacy in WA has recently been re-accredited and now includes many references to digital literacy and digital texts. So I have been presenting a short series of webinars to help adult literacy teachers think about how they might come to grips with the new requirements.

Serendipity 14/15 aug 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we took a look at supporting older people in using technology and learned about an exciting new free online course in teaching maths available through Stanford University. The course itself is now finished but is intended to re-run from March 2014 and resources from it are being made available on the “youcubed website”

Fine Focus – Playing in the Moderator Sandpit

This was another recorded session in which we took a look at some of the tools available to moderators that can be used to add interactivity to BlackboardCollaborate sessions

Serendipity 28/29 Aug 2013

In this recorded session in response to a participant question we took a look at blogging with a class of students, specifically how to get started in doing this with Edublogs.

Fine Focus – PLN? PLE? How have they changed

As always the session was recorded. We discussed and explored the terms PLN (Personal Learning Network) and PLE (Personal Learning Environment) and considered how these have changed for us as individuals over the last few years.

Serendipity 12/13 Sept 2013

In this recorded Serendipity session we looked at two topics. The first was a guided tour from @jofrei of a series of recent posts on her Sprite’s Site which followed the adventures of the Tweetlets during their Work Experience week at the Twitter Stream. Our second topic was a discussion of how we might be able to prepare training materials more efficiently.

Fine Focus – “This house is resolved …”

In this recorded session we did something a little different – I am always trying to come up with different formats and themes for Fine Focus sessions so that we don’t have “just a presentation” each week. So on this occasion I had been thinking about some of the controversial statements related teaching and learning with “e” and decided to present four of these for discussion. The four statements were:

  • Face-to-face conferences are a ‘has-been’
  • BYOD is a fad that wont last
  • You have to have a ‘maths brain’ to do maths
  • Qualifications are outdated, they should be replaced by digital portfolios

All four prompted lively discussion despite considerable agreement on each by the participants.

Serendipity 3/4 Oct 2013

There was no session on 26/27 September so Serendipity was a week later. In this recorded session we briefly discussed four topics:

  • We are Connected Educators. Anyone feeling the need to do more
  • What is involved in acting as a volunteer for the Reform Symposium (#RSCON4)
  • A success story from working for Broadband for Seniors
  • To share or not to share, how do you decide?

Conclusion

Once again I am finally up to date with posting webinar links. Sorry again for the short session descriptions.

Our Next Webinar

FineFocusSmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday Oct 10th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Oct 2th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. In this session we will look at moderator tools from the presenter and session facilitator perspective.

Yet more catching up!

Introduction

Again, I am still lagging well behind the events in posting webinar overviews. So as with my last post this week is a a catchup with topics and recording links for several recent webinars

If it’s on the Internet it must be true! (27/28 June 2013)

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which @philhart took us on an exploration of the quality of information on the Internet. We shared our own concerns and Phil highlighted some of his. Phil also shared some the ways he assesses/evaluates the quality/credibility of information he finds and invited us to share our strategies.

Serendipity

A very active  session – recorded as always in which our intention was to look briefly at all three of the suggested Serendipity topics. However discussion was lively and extended about the first two, so we didn’t actually reach the third! The two topics were:

  • How do you re-charge your batteries? (prompted by end of school year for several of us)
  • Who gives PD to those who give PD? (this extended into a look at the ways we access PD).

Both topics gave us full whiteboards and we ran out of time before reaching the third topic “Is numeracy and maths really a poor cousin to literacy?”

Curation tools

One of our semi-regular FineFocus recorded sessions in which we explore a few apps with similar purposes and share our ideas on their ease of use, potential for engagement and possible use with students. These sessions are always great fun and very practical as we each find out about a different tool and then share our thoughts.

Another Serendipity!

This was another recorded session facilitated by Jo (@jofrei) and Sandra (@Marndon). Both the other Jo and Phil went AWOL to present at a conference! The topics explored were digital stories and ideas for “five minute fun fillers” for whiteboards.

Why/why not? Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn

In this recorded session we discussed why or why not we each used one or more of “the big four” social media platforms and also looked at our activity levels and our particular likes/dislikes for each of them.

Conclusion

My apologies for the very short topic descriptions! I hope to return to more complete overviews soon!

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday Aug 1st at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday Aug 2nd at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Catching up! Recent Edublogs webinars

Introduction

I am still well behind in posting webinar overviews So this week is a a catchup with topics and recording links for several recent webinars

Some iPad apps

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which I used “AirServer” and BbC App Share to share, very briefly, some of the iPad apps I have on my iPad. This prompted great discussion, and sharing of apps they use, by other participants.

Serendipity

A very lively session – recorded as always in which our focus was on multiliteracies. We also touched briefly on: innumeracy in primary school teachers, vulnerabilities to hacking in some hosted blogging platforms and the best time of year to hold online conferences.

Small, small things!

A FineFocus session in which we took a look at some of the small tools and tricks that make our lives easier. This was a great recorded session with some terrific tools and tricks shared. We all have little things that we use to help us streamline our busy lives and it is always useful to find out what others use.

Another Serendipity!

This was another recorded session in which the consensus was to look briefly at all of the suggested topics which were:

  • how do you use PLN in your classroom
  • coding in the classroom
  • how to get busy people to join voluntary PD sessions

Conclusion

My apologies for not the very short topic descriptions! I hope to return to more complete overviews from the FineFocus mentioned below which was yesterday, and was “If it’s on the Internet it must be true!” with Phil Hart. I hope to publish the overview & recording link for that one tomorrow.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday June 27th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday June 28th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.

Edublogs webinar overviews – Several recent webinars

Introduction

Over the last few weeks I have fallen very behind with overviews so this week is a double overview for four recent webinars. There will be less detail than usual about each webinar because I feel it is important to share the links which I have not yet done rather than write detailed overviews.

Exploring Sticky note walls

This recorded session was a FineFocus session in which we explored some of the online “sticky note” walls available. We started as we so often do with “where are you coming from” on the topic questions. These elicited that all but one of us had used sticky wall notes at some time.

We finished up with an opportunity to share our own preferences – several links had been shared earlier via text, a look at our “take-aways” from the session and some quick feedback!

Serendipity

A really interesting session – recorded as always in which we discussed several topics, this is something we do more often in Serendipity at the moment as we are often a small group. Topics were:

  • Sharing links – in which we shared links that had interested us recently
  • Hacking – concerns about our devices and information being accessed unbeknownst to us. This topic gave rise to the following week’s FineFocus – see below.
  • “Technology terrorising teachers – does it? what can we do about it?

As always time went too fast and it was the end of the session!

Keeping the “Black Hats” at bay

This was a terrific recorded session by @philhart (when he isn’t teaching Phil is a freelance computer consultant) who gave us a very thought provoking insight into the risks we take every time we connect to the Internet, and into some of the strategies for reducing these risks.

Phil dis a great job of demystifying some of the jargon. He also made the point strongly that there is no complete answer – all we can do is be vigilant. I certainly came out of the session with much greater knowledge and awareness than I had when I went in! I would suggest catching the recording to anyone who has any concerns about online security – and really this should be everyone!

Another Serendipity!

This was another enjoyable recorded session in which we took a look at several topics:

  • linking/embedding webinars in posts
  • an update on “willing your digital empire”
  • how would you cope with NO paper available for class

Interesting topics – there will be a FineFocus coming up on “Willing your digital empire”, and the “no paper” question always raises interesting ideas. Of course we always assume that “no paper” means that we do have technology. 🙂

Conclusion

These were great sessions and my apologies for not doing them justice in the overviews!

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “FineFocus” session on Thursday May 30th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday June 1st at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room.

Edublogs Serendipity webinar overview – just a chat!

Introduction

This recorded Serendipity session was really just a chat rather than a more formal session. There were only three of us so we just talked about the ideas we had on the whiteboard and digressed into other areas.

The session

The ideas on the whiteboard for this week were “Crowdfunding” and “Teaching basic numeracy in primary schools”. However we diverted into several other areas.

We only had a brief chat about each of the  topics this week. Just sharing some of our own thoughts and ideas about them rather than an in depth discussion about any one topic. We started with a heads-up from @jofrei on the recent conference of the Victorian Association for Gifted and Talented Children. Jo had not got links to hand at the time but later sent these – one specifically relating to the VAGTC EmpowerEd conference program. The second is a link to a white paper – New opportunities for the gifted and talented – directions paper

Our next flying visit was to the concept of crowdfunding – what it is and some potential issues around copyright and Creative Commons licensing that might arise with crowdfunding online projects.

Then we talked about the accessibility, or lack of accessibility, to outcomes from gifted education research. This being largely because such research is published mainly in journals that are expensive to access. The discussion expanded into comment on the pressure to publish now on academics.  We also diverged into issues around obtaining recognition (eg for blogs) and funding for projects in areas that are perceived as of interest only to minorities.

We finished with a short discussion about maths with particular reference to teaching in primary school and student confidence issues.

Conclusion

A slightly different Serendipity this week but still as always engaging and interesting!

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is a FineFocus session. Join us on Thursday May 2nd at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning May 3rd in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs webinar overview – learning styles

Introduction

This session – recorded as always was a FineFocus session in which we took a learning styles by exploring some of the online learning style inventories available and discussing their usefulness.

The session

We started with a couple of “where are you coming from” type questions. These elicited that we had all at some point both completed an inventory ourselves and also used one with students.

Because we all had some familiarity with Learning Style Inventories the next part of the session was very quick. This was just a brief look at the different types of inventory before moving on to the fun part of the session where we each tried one or more inventories and shared our results. The next part of the session used polling to look at ease of use for the inventories and the ease of obtaining useful information from them. This was followed by consideration of:

  • usefulness to us as teachers of knowing student learning styles
  • usefulness of knowing our own learning styles
  • usefulness to students of knowing their own learning styles

We finished up with an opportunity to share our own preferences – several links had been shared earlier via text, a look at our “take-aways” from the session and some quick feedback!

Conclusion

Overall this session was fun – because we all had prior knowledge of Learning Style Inventories we were able to discuss them in more depth than if they were new to most of us. Also it is always very satisfying to go and try something out during a session and share the outcome. Most people enjoy finding out something about themselves and this session gave us the opportunity to do so!

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 25th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 26th at 7am West Aus, later in the  morning Eastern States Aus depending on your timezone (check yours here) – in the usual BlackboardCollaborate room. This is one of our fortnightly unconference sessions where we invite you to bring along your “hot topics” and “burning issues”. We post these on the whiteboard and then choose the topic for discussion by poll.

Edublogs webinar overview – Serendipity, ISS watching & Facebook apps

Introduction

In this recorded Serendipity session we actually took a look at two topics – “spot the station” and “Facebook apps”. For both we asked the proposers to expand a little before we decided this.

Spot the station

This intriguing title gave us a fascinating subject. The International Space Station (ISS) and related matters in the context of learning. “Spotting the ISS” was something recently discovered by one of our participants but unknown to the rest of us. So none of us had in-depth knowledge to share on how we could use this with students.A cartoon image suggesting the ISS as a teaching resourceHowever we all had snippets of information about the ISS and other space related resources, so we each spent five minutes exploring and then shared links and thoughts on the whiteboard, in chat and through audio. The NASA ISS webpage has lots of exciting content and the ISS tracker page shows the current position and track of the ISS. Lots to explore and huge potential for educators especially as the astronauts are on several social networks!

Facebook apps

We moved on to talk a little about Facebook apps, although inevitably there was some broadening of this into other social media. Concerns raised were about security issues and the increasing amount of advertising in one form or another. We all recognise that advertising is what enables Facebook to be free for us to use. However with Facebook and with other social media this seems to be on the increase and becoming more and more intrusive. In terms of security most of us are cautious about using apps in social media. It often seems that the security and privacy settings are far from simple to use and that they sometimes revert to defaults! This is a potential topic for a future FineFocus session.

Conclusion

As always Serendipity gave us much food for thought!

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is a FineFocus session where we will take a look at learning style inventories and their usefulness or otherwise. Join us on Thursday April 18th at 23:00 GMT/UTC the time for you will vary depending on your timezone (check yours here) Thursday afternoon/evening in the USA, late night Thursday in Europe, and Friday morning April 19th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.