Two overviews in one this week – a slight improvement on last time. (For the link for live webinars and info about the times and topics scroll to the bottom of this post).
In this recorded Serendipity the topic chosen was “How to ratchet up the rigor w/o killing the class”.
The topic was inspired by the continuing concerns over enforced curriculum and the heavy focus on standardised testing even for Kindy age groups.
The discussion was wide ranging and, probably because we had adult educators as well as Kindy teachers, there were parallels drawn between:
- the “teaching to the test” scenario raising its head in Kindy as well as throughout the rest of the the school system and;
- the similar need in adult education situations for learners to be following a designated curriculum leading to some sort of certification in order for courses to attract funding and be viable.
Also raised were issues around the high profile of educational publishers in testing and in teacher training as well as in resource provision. This giving rise to concerns about being “locked” in to publishers who might eventually dictate the entire who, what and when of teaching in some areas.
A very lively session with much discussion and sharing in text and by audio. I think we were all left with much food for thought!
Give yourself a Prezi
This recorded and very interactive session was an exploration of Prezi – the zooming presentation tool. We all learned much about Prezi as a result of the session!
I followed my usual practice of trying to get some idea of everyone’s current knowledge of the tool – we had all seen or tried it out.
In my experience peoople either seem to love Prezi or dislike it strongly and often reasons for dislike seem to centre around the zooming issue which can make people feel queasy. Certainly that was my first reaction to Prezi, and although I played with it a little a few years ago I have avoided it until very recently. The reason for trying again was to give students an engaging alternative to Powerpoint/Slideshare that they could also embed in their blogs.
We took a look at a simple Prezi I had made for students using App Share to share this. Then we looked at a slightly longer one using Prezi’s option to present by sharing a link so that everyone else was able to see as I moved through the presentation. In retrospect I should have kept the App Share open at the same time because if you watch the recording you will hear and read in text what is going on but be unable to watch. However the top link on the page should take you to the Prezi.
Then we moved on to had some discussion/comments about what might be unlikeable or likeable about Prezi, and why you might use it even if you don’t like it yourself. I also shared the links to a couple of Prezis made by two of my students.
We then collaborated on a Prezi. This was fun, exciting and chaotic! We started in App Share and then I shared the edit link.
Once we got started I closed the App Share, however about halfway through I realised how unhelpful this would be to those watching the recording so I re-started it. For me this sort of experience is one of the best ways to explore the strengths and weaknesses of a tool and learn about it.
This was a great session for me because I learnt lots more about Prezi as well as getting my head round the need to keep the App Share open for the benefit of people watching the recording. I have always remembered in the past with Elluminate (a very memorable one for me being playing with G+ hangout in its early days) but for some reason I find it more difficult to remember in BbC.
Two excellent sessions! I enjoyed them very much. The Serendipity was a subject very close to my heart that I am always happy to discuss. As for the second – as most of you probably know I love playing with tools online and collaboratively so I found this great fun, and learned so much from the mistakes I made as we went through! I do hope that I didn’t bore everyone else by being slow and getting things wrong.
I really enjoy sessions where someone else is the main facilitator. If you have something to share please let us know (add a comment to this post, or Tweet us – @JoHart or @philhart) and 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 Next Session
Our next Webinar is an Edublogs “Serendipity” session where we invite you to suggest your “hot” topics for discussion – we then select the topic by poll. Join us on Thursday September 27th 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 September 28th in Australia – in the usual Blackboard Collaborate virtual room.