Many webinars – recording links

Introduction

A catch-up of the recording links for  our webinars over the last few months.

Fine Focus (13/14 March 2014) – “Lucky Dip”

In this recorded session we discussed where we find interesting links and explored a few that have come up recently

Serendipity 20/21 March 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored several topics;

  • the upcoming #RSCON mini-conference
  • Thinglink
  • Stocking up tablets with “goodies”

Fine Focus (27/28 March 2014) – “Inkscape – a graphics tool”

recorded session  in which we explored some of the features of Inkscape.

Serendipity 2/3 April 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored the following:

  • “About.me” as a tool for self-publicising
  • Risks of having your online “identity” hijacked
  • Curing “writer’s block”

Fine Focus (9/10 April 2014) – “Tablet apps for learning”

recorded session  in which we shared and discussed some tablet apps that may be used for learning

Serendipity 23/24 April 2014

In this recorded session we looked at the following two topics chosen by poll from several suggested by participants:

  • “How to improve relations with parents)
  • “Benefits of being a blog follower”

Fine Focus (30 April/1 May 2014) – “Museums online”

recorded session  in which we explored and discussed some of the wealth of resources available online from major museums.

Serendipity 7/8 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly discussed and explored three topics:

  • Using “Paper.li” why and how
  • Educator evaluations
  • Recording a holiday/tour

Fine Focus (14/15 May 2014) – “One page to tell about giftedness”

In this recorded session  Jo Freitag (@jofrei) talked with us about some of the characteristics of “giftedness” and shared many resources for educators working with gifted learners.

Serendipity 21/22 May 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we briefly digressed into sharing some of the highlights of our (@JoHart and @philhart)  road trip from WA to South Australia. We also discussed the following two topics:

  • Our most important sites to visit each day!
  • The importance of play in learning

Fine Focus (28/29 May 2014) – “The Benefits of Learning to Code”

This recorded session  was led by Phil Hart (@philhart). Phil has extensive experience in coding (as a long term IT consultant, systems analyst and software developer) and is also an educator and so is well placed to recognise and share the characteristics of coding as a discipline.

Serendipity 4/5 June 2014

This recorded Serendipity session was wide ranging and we touched on a variety of topics including: what an online toolkit looks like, some potential future topics for FineFocus sessions and what makes a good picture.

Fine Focus (11/12 June 2014) – “Fun sites for learning”

In this recorded session  we took a look  at some sites that might be described as “gamefied” and so could be engaging for students to access for learning purposes.

Serendipity 18/19 June 2014

This Serendipity session was a general chat including an update from one of our regular participants on some recent PD, how we review and reflect mid-year, celebrations/parties with students and “Serendipity block” – like writers’ block but when yu can’t think of a Serendipity topic 🙂

Conclusion

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

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday July 3 rd at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday July 4th at 7:00 am 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 overviews – Feb 2014

Introduction

A digest of  our recent webinars over the last few weeks. I am still hoping/planning to return to posting a fuller overview or each webinar every week.

Fine Focus (13/14 Feb 2014) – “Columbus Cheetah Myth Buster Part 2”

This was a fascinating, and very interactive, recorded session (the second of two). In the session @jofrei continued to share and discuss with us some of the myths about giftedness. Jo has recently posted a series about busting the myths on “Sprite’s Site”.

Serendipity 20/21 Feb 2014

In this recorded Serendipity session we discussed and explored:

  • the upcoming #OZeLive online conference, including some of the logistics, moderator roles and communication strategies through the Australia e-series Ning
  • some of the BlackboardCollaborate tools available to moderators and their potential usefulness for volunteer moderators at OZeLive.

Fine Focus (27/28 Feb 2014) – “Are ‘cheap’ tablets worthwhile for use in class”

This week’s very different style of recorded session was a look at some of the pros/cons and possible uses for cheap tablets in the classroom.  The session was facilitated by @philhart who reviewed a relatively cheap (AU$120) Android tablet and shared his thoughts throughout. This provided a “great” hook for discussion and enabled him to explore the practicalities of the device in response to points raised by participants.

During the session there were also a number of ideas for classroom use discussed (particularly in a Kindergarten environment). We also briefly touched on some of the pros and cons of Android versus iPad for the teacher during which I shared my iPad screen through AirServer and AppShare.

The consensus was that with careful research into the features provided there is lots of potential for using relatively cheap devices in a classroom environment to enable students to undertake varied activities. This was a totally fascinating session and is well worth catching the recording because of the very different style of session compared to our usual FineFocus.

Conclusion

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

Our Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday March 6th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday March 7th at 7:00 am 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 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 webinar overviews – Serendipity (infographic homework) &FineFocus – “good” presentations

Introduction

This post covers two webinars. A Serendipity session in which we shared and discussed our infographic “homework” from the previous session and a FineFocus discussion session about what makes “good” presentations.

Serendipity – infographic tools

This recorded session was a Serendipity (unconference) session with a difference as it continued the theme from the previous session. We shared our “homework” infographics resulting from the previous session and found that most of us experienced a degree of frustration with the infographic tools such that some of us had not used the online tools. @jofrei picked up on a need expressed in the FineFocus session and has created a visual for one of our participants in the USA – Jo has posted about this. In my case I did two infographics one with one of the tools we experimented with and one with Powerpoint!

I put my two infographics on the screen WITHOUT labels for the tools I had used and asked the group for comments/preference. The one made with Powerpoint was preferred. This one was quicker and easier for me to make partly because I am very familiar with Powerpoint. However I did find that consistently selecting and moving shapes in the other application was much more difficult.

The discussion moved on to consider whether the proliferation of tools available for very specific tasks is necessarily a good thing, especially when there are more general tools that can be used very effectively. My personal thoughts on this are that the choice can perhaps be bewildering for those relatively new to e-tools, and can also sometimes produce a tendency to use the tech for techs sake. I feel it is important to remember that the “best” tool for a task is not necessarily the newest and trendiest but the one that suits the user best. I now realise that the reason I had not used infographic generators previously is that I don’t need them as I can create better ones with tools I already use. Of course this may change  – we live in an era of rapid change so I could feel quite differently in a year’s time.

“Good” presentations

This recorded session was one that arose from some comments in the Serendipity session above relating to appropriate tools for tasks. On this occasion we had a structured discussion about what makes “good” presentations and whether this varies with the purpose and audience. FineFocus discussions are differentiated from those we have in Serendipity sessions by the fact that they are structured in advance and that we often use pre-prepared stimulus questions and/or resources.

Ideas flew thick and fast on the whiteboards and in text chat and audio.

We took a look at presentations from several perspectives including:

  • checking out some posts on presentations,
  • considering audience and purpose
  • features of presentations as a continuum from boring to interactive
  • the ‘fine line” of getting it right for audience and purpose

Presentations in one form or another are something that we, as educators, do all the time. Using e-tools and strategies adds a new dimension and perhaps can help us to avoid a “death by ….” with whichever presentation tool we are using. We should always remember it isn’t the fault of the tool if we do a boring presentation!

Conclusion

Two lively sessions! Lots of ideas links and interactivity.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday February 28th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday March 1st at 7am West Aus, mid 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” for our poll on the topic

 

Edublogs webinar overviews – Serendipity (“good” BbC sessions), infographic tools

Introduction

This post covers two webinars. A Serendipity session in which the topic was a consideration of the ingredients for “good” BbC sessions and a FineFocus session where we explored some online infographic tools

Serendipity – ingredients of  “good” BlackboardCollaborate sessions

This recorded session was a Serendipity (unconference) session. The topic chosen was “What makes a good BlackboardCollaborate  session”. A topic about which there was plenty to share!

We extended the topic into a “playtime” towards the end of the session. This involved giving everyone moderator privileges and opportunities to try some moderator tools. As always this was fun, albeit slightly chaotic at times.

Each time we do this I am made aware of the fact that very few webinars of the many available across the globe provide much in the way of opportunities for participants to interact and perhaps more significantly the opportunity to try out moderator tools and practice developing interactive segments. This has given me food for thought and an idea for semi-regular sessions/workshops focussing on particular tools/interaction types where participants will have the opportunity to develop an interactive segment during the webinar and then share with everyone.

Online Infographic making tools

This recorded session was one on “Exploring online tools”. On this occasion we took a look at some online infographic creators.

As is usual with these sessions we started off with some of our individual thoughts on the meaning of the term “infographic”. This was followed by a look at how many of us used infographics. This revealed that as a group our usage was low with no-one using them more than rarely.

When we explore tools we have only a limited time within the webinar so it provides a good test for usefulness in a teaching situation. Anything that takes a long time to join and/or to pick up the basic use is not really practical for use with students. This is  because if it takes too long for students to learn then learning the tech can become more significant in the “lesson” than the learning objectives.

We had four tools to explore – everyone chose a tool and went away to spend 10 minutes exploring. We then shared our opinions and ideas. This was a particularly interesting session because infographic makers were relatively new to all of us. Because we generally felt we needed a bit more time this week we also gave ourselves some homework – to make an infographic to share at the start of the upcoming Serendipity session. I have made mine and look forward to sharing it in the session!

Conclusion

Two fun sessions! Sharing virtual classroom tools is something I love to do so the Serendipity session was particularly enjoyable for me. Exploring tools because it involves  high degree of participant activity is also something that I get a lot of satisfaction from.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday February 14th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday February 15th at 7am West Aus, mid 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” for our poll on the topic

 

Edublogs webinar – Extraordinary Literacy Learning

Introduction

This recorded session was a FineFocus session about how we delivered a pilot (funded by the Australian National Vocational E-Learning Strategy initiative – Partnerships for Participation) adult literacy course entirely online using virtual classroom, blogs and other e-tools.

The session

Due to time constraints the focus of the session was very much on the delivery model and strategies used rather than on the student cohort/reasons for adopting the approach. I began the session with a very brief scene setting and then moved on to discuss the delivery model. Initially this was from an overall perspective followed by a more in depth look at how the different aspects fitted together.

Blogs formed the core of the student work and we had an online audience poll on blogs which indicated that (unsurprisingly) everyone had some knowledge of blogs. Then we moved on using examples from the “Course Blog” and individual “Student Blogs to illustrate how we used the blogs in the literacy context to enable students to access “How to” information, write for an authentic audience and receive feedback on their work. Although blogs were the main core of student activities we also used a course website (built in the Institute LMS) and virtual class recordings to provide supplementary resources. Links for activities were provided via Symbaloo. The structure of the course helped us to “walk the fine line” between too much control of student activities and potential anarchy and the issues arising from this.!

We moved on to look briefly at the project outcomes including some student feedback via Lino.it.

This was followed by a “Roaming Challenge” – an opportunity for session participants to access a series of whiteboards individually add their own ideas on how they might use some of the tools and strategies for specifc activities with a particular student cohort. We shared and discussed the ideas briefly and I also shared the outcomes of the same activity from a face-to-face presentation that I did for my own organisation as part of an innovation workshop.

We finished up with a second online poll to gather feedback on the session and a “best takeways” board for any other comments.

Conclusion

I so much enjoyed doing this session. The project was so exciting to do and because (in my opinion) it was very successful I love to share how we did it. The only sad thing is that my Institute has now stopped all delivery of Certs in General Education both face-to-face and online because of increasing funding constraints brought about by the requirements for public vocational education to be competitive with the private sector.

If you have something  you would like to present a webinar on please let us know (add a comment to this post, or Tweet us – @JoHart or @philhart).  Then join us to facilitate a session about your e-edu passion! If you are not familiar with BlackboardCollaborate we can help you plan how best to do your session so it works for you. Our sessions are small and friendly – the ideal setting for your first webinar.

Our Next Webinar

Our next webinar will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday January 31st at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday February 1st at 7am West Aus, mid 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” for our poll on the topic

Edublogs Serendipity webinar – miscellany

Introduction

This was a Serendipity session where we didn’t vote on a topic! As has been the case often recently we were a very small group. The session was recorded and discussion centred around three areas:

  • How can we encourage more people to attend/should we continue the webinars at all?
  • Possible topics and speakers for future webinars
  • Help/ideas for getting the balance of words and slides right in Pecha Kucha

The webinars

Our attendance has always been very variable, but from late 2008 when the webinars began until mid 2011 attendance was almost always well into double figures. However during the last year this has reduced. I think this may be due to a number of factors:

  • There are now so many free webinars each week that people cannot attend all they would like to.
  • A tendency for people to “catch the recording” instead of joining in. The highly interactive nature of our webinars means that fewer participants leads to a reduced range of ideas and opinions. Also if no-one joins then eventually there will be no webinar to record!
  • The many other e-PD opportunities such as #tag chats on Twitter of which there are now hundreds.
  • Not enough publicity, forward planning of FineFocus sessions, variety of topics and variety of presenters. My fault! Work pressure has been intense for the last year. I am hopeless at asking people to present for us – I just feel totally that I am imposing on them and also worry that attendance will be low and they will feel it isn’t worth doing.
  • Timing of webinars – our early participants were mainly from the USA/Canada where it is afternoon/evening and this is often a good time for people to join. However with the huge increase in available e-PD including webinars that originate in the USA our overseas participation has reduced. We now have more Australians attending, however the early/mid-morning time is not good for many.

We discussed the above issues and also @jofrei shared her blogpost on promoting the webinars with a great mindmap of ideas. This was an outcome from a previous similar discussion last year.

We also talked a little about possible topics and presenters. Topics are usually relatively easy as it is always possible to have a discussion session about a currently “hot” e-topic or to mutually explore tools for a specific purpose. However for me finding possible presenters is a real issue. As I said earlier I am just no good at asking people – I always feel so much that I am imposing on them. Also I lack the time to find and ask possible presenters – not helped by the fact that because of work pressures I have been less active in my PLN over the past year and so I have a lower profile than previously.

If you have thoughts or ideas about:

  • whether we continue the webinars
  • how to publicise better
  • topic suggestions
  • presenter suggestions (yourself or someone you know)
  • whether we change the format (from the alternate Serendipty/FineFocus) to something else
  • whether we reduce the frequency to one per fortnight or one per month

Please comment on this post or tweet me (@JoHart)

Pecha Kucha – getting the timing right!

In this part of the session we took a look at the Pecha Kucha that @jofrei is developing about “The Tweet Family” her story of the gifted Tweetlets.

One of the main challenges is being that of timing. and so we discussed the issue of timing. For me the rigidity of the 20 seconds per slide is also likely to be my main problem with developing a Pecha Kucha. We talked about some possible strategies to overcome the difficulty of some slides needing only a few seconds of talk and others needing much more than 20 seconds.

There will be more on Pecha Kucha in our next session – “Sharing Pecha Kucha” as we will share our attempts at Pecha Kucha and discuss the challenges we found as well as the content of our presentations.

Conclusion

An interesting session! The issue of continuing the webinars or not has been on my mind for a while. Also the related concerns about the need to find topics and presenters and publicise them better. So it was good to discuss this with others. Since Pecha Kucha came up as a topic in a recent Serendipity it has interested and intrigued me and others. I am unsure that it will ever be my strategy of choice but feel it is good to try it out and our next session gives us that opportunity to “play”

Our Next Session

Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Fine Focus” session where we will be “Sharing Pecha Kucha”. In this session some of us who took part in a Serendipity where Pecha Kucha was a topic will share our “homework” and talk about the challenges. If you have a Pecha Kucha you would like to share let me know – a comment on this post or Twitter: @JoHart and bring it along.  Join us on Thursday June 28th 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 June 29th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.

Edublogs webinar overviews – catching up on three!

Introduction

Once again I must apologise for my slowness in posting webinar overviews. I hope that from now on I will be back to posting after each session. The project that has taken almost all my time and energy for the last few months is complete! So I hope I will now have a little time for my PLN.

These three sessions were:

  • a Fine Focus – about using Symbaloo pages to help students keep on track in our online adult literacy course
  • a Serendipity in which we talked about and explored Pecha Kucha about which we knew very little at the start and much more by the end of the session
  • another FineFocus session – this one was delving a little deeper into some of the storymakers we tried out a few weeks ago through sharing stories and how we made them

 Online students staying on track

This session, recorded as always, was a look at one aspect of my now completed project where we have been trialling a new delivery strategy  for our online adult literacy students while also working to improve digital literacy and online study skills..

Issues that often arise with all students when using the Internet are those of: getting “off track” and becoming “lost in the surf”. These issues are a particular problem with online students as the teacher/lecturer is not “surfing” the physical room and so is unable to see when this might be happening and offer guidance.

The use of a project based approach with online students also has implications for teacher/lecturer time as students researching completely independently may all choose different websites of varying quality or even ones tht are not relevant to the task so the teacher/lecturer has to evaluate many sites.

This session looked at the combined strategies of “chunking” activities into “daily tasks” to help maintain focus, and then managing the links that students used by using topic based Symbaloo pages and colour coding the tiles for the different student levels and activites. Ownership was also provided through individual student choice of tiles for some activites.

I enjoyed this session – inevitably I think – because it gave me a chance to talk about the project that has been such a great success for the students and that I have enjoyed facilitating so much. Once my “mental dust settles” I intend to post more about the whole experience.

 Serendipity – What is Pecha Kucha?

This was a Serendipity (recording here) that “just happened” there was no vote on the topic which arose out of the chat before the formal start of the session.

The topic arose because one of our participants was considering submitting to present at a conference and the required form was Pecha Kucha. None of us knew very much about this as a presentation format (including the person considering using it). We were all interested to learn more!

This session was mainly audio and some textchat, with the whiteboard being used for occasional ideas and for some links about Pecha Kucha. We shared our preconceptions and then did some exploring individually to find out a little more about the method to enable us to discuss it more effectively.

Our discussion was wide ranging as we considered whether we might choose to use this ourselves and if so in what sort of context. There was some agreement that there were advantages for  some presentation where it could provide opportunities to “taste” several topics and then spend more time is Q&A with the presenter of the preferred topic. However this could be very frustrating if an attendee hd strong interest in more than one – or from the presenter perspective if all attendees focussed on one topic.

There was also some discussion about the merit of Pecha Kucha more as an art form than as a presentation strategy – an intriguing and appealing thought with which to end this great discussion!

Story Sharing

This recorded FineFocus session was a “spin off” from one a few weeks ago in which we took a look at some online story making tools in one of our “quick and easy tools” explorations.

In this session we shared stories we had made. The star of our show was @jofrei who is a great storyteller! See her stories about Sprite et al  She hadfantastic examples from Storybird, Storyjumper and LittleBirdTales for us. Phil and Sandra also shared stories. Sharing the stories provided opportunities to talk in more depth about the pros and cons of each tool and also to share experiences in storymaking generally. I was guilty of not doing my homework but shared a great story created by one of my students.

Next Webinar

Our next session will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday June 21st at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday June 22nd at 7am West Aus, mid 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” for our poll on the topic.

Edublogs webinar overview – in the “Moderator Sandpit”

Introduction

This session, recorded as always was an opportunity to find out more about using BlackboardCollaborate from the moderator perspective including both features and strategies . As with the precursor Elluminate there are many tools and features available to the moderator that are not visible to participants. Although in my personal opinion there are a number of ways in which BbC is less “user friendly” and less conducive to smooth session flow than its predecessor. This is still my opinion after regularly using BbC as a moderator since its inception almost a year ago. In my work context I still use Elluminate – as this is easier for my students (adult literacy/numeracy).

The Session

This session was a “walk through” and “play with” some of the features available to moderators that are not available to participants. We were a very small group which provided opportunities for discussion and dialogue about the various features and their use. I started as I often do with a poll on where people were coming from on BbC and a “what would you like to takeway”.

In these sessions I always give everyone moderator privileges, this usually leads to interesting effects as people are unable to resist just “playing”. However with the small number of us this did not arise. Throughout the session we discussed some of the positive and negative aspects of particular tools/features.

During the session we discussed and played with:

  • whiteboard tools
  • whiteboard object menu allowing monitoring of “who did what”on the whiteboard
  • loading slides/whiteboards
  • layers on the whiteboard as a means of managing access to live links
  • saving whiteboards & chat
  • application sharing with particular respect to the least bandwidth/resource heavy strategy
  • managing access to tools for participants both as a group & individually
  • webtours, managing participant movement around the site
  • managing access to the session (eg removing a participant if necessary)
  • using the timer
  • managing screens through the Explorer window
  • polling

Throughout we were both demonstrating/experimenting with tools and also talking about how they can be used with students for: monitoring participation; estimating engagement; technical support and a variety of other activities.

Conclusion

This was an excellent session – despite or perhaps in part because of the small number. Many questions were raised and (mostly) answered. I always enjoy sharing my own strategies and how I use the tools to work with students as well as giving others the opportunity to explore the moderator features.

Next Webinar

Our next session will be an Edublogs “Serendipity” session on Thursday April 26th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (Afternoon/Evening USA) or Friday April 27th at 7am West Aus, mid 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” for our poll on the topic.

Webinar Overview – Imagine Your Image

Our most recent recorded webinar was a “Techie How To” in which we looked at some of the tools in a simple free image editor – PhotoFiltre. I use PhotoFiltre a lot because I rarely need the more sophisticated features such as layers. This was one of those sessions where I did the presentation as well as facilitating. I always find it more difficult to write an overview for these as I feel too close to the content to be as objective as I should be. I always welcome comments on any of these webinar overviews but particularly so when I have presented the content and thus am not sure about my own objectivity!

The Session

I very much enjoyed doing this session – as I was able to show one of my favourite “e-toys” (PhotoFiltre) through the medium of another (Elluminate). We began by finding out where we were all coming from on image file formats and editing, followed by some quick thoughts on why we and our students might want to edit images.

ImageEditReasons

Size changing and cropping (used most by my students, my colleagues and myself) were both suggested several times. We then moved on to consider briefly the features of a basic image editing application that we would consider most important for ourselves and for our students. Easy to learn and free topped the polls.

Next we took a quick look at the accessibility and functions of some of the most frequently used tools (all on drop-down menus). Size is one of the most significant items that we all often need to change to suit different contexts so we looked briefly at some common sizes we might use and also at the impact of when we make the change on file sizes and consequent download times. Other tools briefly reviewed included cropping, adjusting colour balance, brightness/contrast and filter effects.

Then it was time to play! I shared PhotoFiltre from my desktop and invited participants to try out some of the tools on some pre-loaded images by taking control of my desktop. Using application share in this way has some limitations – for example there is an inevitable lag in response when the mouse is being controlled remotely. However I feel that it has great benefits from the interactivity point of view and is more effective than simply using the sharing to demonstrate. I would love some feedback on this! We finished the session as usual with questions and feedback.

Conclusion

My personal liking for PhotoFiltre is because it is easy to use and free to download and is thus a good option for my students who are literacy/numeracy students working online. They often have both limited access to computers and limited IT skills. I have also suggested it to many of my colleagues as they rarely need sophisticated editing capacity such as layers and they also find it very useful for basic cropping and size changing especially of images they intend to upload into the Learning Management System. If you do need features such as layers then you could take a look at GIMP also free.

Next Webinar

SerendipitybsmallOur next Webinar is an Edublogs Serendipity – unconference session so bring along your hot topics and burning issues (what makes you spit with anger or thump a tub with passion) and throw them into the melting pot for the poll to choose our topic in the first ten minutes.

Join us on Thursday July 8th at 23:00 GMT/UTC (7pm USA EST, Midnight BST) or Friday July 9th at 1am CEST,7am West Aus, 9am NSW, depending on your timezone – in the usual Elluminate room

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