Conference, edusocmedia, Higher Education, Reflections, StudentAffairs

Have You Thought About Your Digital Self Lately?

While working on today’s workshop for the National Conference on Student Leadership (NCSL), I was listening to the recent Higher Ed Live broadcast with Ed & Josie talking “Engaging the Digital Generation” (an NDSS book they edited, and I contributed to — I promise to follow up on a blog post on this topic later). I was not surprised, but often wondered why student affairs (SA) and higher ed folks often go directly to technology:

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Why do practitioners in higher education, student affairs, and students services always go to the “tool” question first? Why do we want to know what’s “hot” with the digital, social technologies? Is it easier to think about a specific app, device, or platform? Why don’t we ask about the challenges or issues the technology is solving?  A wise supervisor once told me: Study problems, not things. The “thing” I’m thinking about are technology tools and platforms.

I am more interested how our campus stakeholders engage and interact with social and digital tools. What is their motivation and how are these online networks being utilized? Perhaps we should challenge professionals in higher education to start thinking about their own presence. I think it’s a good idea to reflect on our own contributions and social traces we are leaving in digital spaces and places [Hence why Paul & I are are studying just that: https://networkedcommunityofpractice.wordpress.com/] .  I really like the Visitors & Residents Continuum (White & Le Cornu, 2011) concept, which is also shared by Dave White (and colleagues from OCLC & Jisc) via a few resources and videos. Visitors tend to leave no social traces in the digital world. If you are Resident you are visible, active, and leave a part of you online in many spaces and places. If you have not heard of this concept, here’s a quick overview of the mapping process for visitor and resident in a personal and institutional (professional) context:

I think more thought and reflection into HOW and WHY we use these online networks and digital apps are needed. Here’s a start of my own visualization of my visitor and resident spaces & places — more will be added this afternoon during my NCSL Professional Workshop:

v_r_map_pasquiniHave you mapped your own V-R continuum lately? It’s an interesting process to think about and visualize. If so — please share and/or blog about it! To further this idea, what are the digital skills we need to hone within higher education? Here are a few suggestions organized on a metro map around digital skills:

digitalskillsframework

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This digital skills framework map was a solid start, but it definitely needs to be added to – what are your thoughts on this topic? How are you engaging and interacting with these spaces and places? What do we need to learn and bring to campus when it comes to digital understandings of self? How are you thinking about your resident vs. visitor self online? Show and share!

Reference:

White, D. S., & Le Cornu, A. (2011). Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement. First Monday, 16(9).

Learning Technologies

Happy Digital Learning Day! #DLDay – Top 10 Learning Web Tools of 2012

Happy Digital Learning Day (#DLDay)!

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To celebrate digital learning day today, I thought it would be a good idea to share my belated Top 10 Learning Web Tools list from 2012. As I have read other lists (here and here), I have been meaning to share useful tools that have helped me learn this last year. You may have heard me say “it’s not the tool” but rather how you use the tool – so I thought I would share my top tools that I have put to use for my own productivity and learning.

  1. Twitter – This is my active stream of information that allows me to track on conversations either via search, hashtags or through my Twitter lists. I value Twitter to find information, learn about news/trends, collect articles, read blog posts, and, most importantly, engage with peers on a daily basis. My evolving personal learning network (PLN) is definitely at the top of my learning list.
  2. Google Docs/Drive I have found Google Drive EXTREMELY useful in 2012, as I am often seen with my Chromebook in tow. Daily I can be found using Google Drive, as I typically take notes during a lecture/meeting, brainstorm storm agenda items, crowdsource ideas, collect information (via a Google forms), or store resources i.e. PDFs, presentations, and database files.
  3. Dropbox – Not all of my collaborators of research, work and writing use Google Docs, so I tend use Dropbox as my “go to” cloud storage and sharing with MS Word. I often move in between spaces and devices (mobile, PC, Chromebook, & Mac) both on campus and at home, so Dropbox is easy enough to save and return to any working projects or assignments. As a frequent flyer for with an edu account, I have accrued 23.22 GB of space through referrals, use, and a Dropbox quest. My Dropbox allows for easy work flow, specifically for storing conference presentations, collecting articles for a literature review, archiving tweets through IFTTT, downloading my mobile photos, holding my lesson plans, and editing manuscripts with co-authors.
  4. Google Search – When in doubt…Let Me Google That For You. I would say that Google is typically used as my initial search for information, news, and quick finds probably because I am often working in Google Drive (see #2) and using Google Chrome (see #7). I have learned benefits of refining my power searching skills, and also not having this as my only outlet for knowledge acquisition.
  5. Google Scholar Although I increasingly use the UNT Libraries – Find Online Articles Search more often these days, I can say that Google Scholar has been a helpful tool for finding data, collecting statistics, locating peer-reviewed journal articles, collecting my literature review materials, and retrieving other scholarly resources.
  6. Google + Hangouts The reason I value Google Plus is for the Hangouts. Both for a meeting space or “On Air” live recording, this forum has proven well for meetings, conference calls, presentations, demonstrations, peer-review process, and general catch up with colleagues. I do still use Skype; I have a greater preference for using a video conference space that has live notes, free group (up to 10) calls, connection to my Google Drive, and, of course, the ability to infuse ridiculous Google Effects when meetings run on too long. Side note: I  am curious to see what happens with the Google Plus Communities. I have recently been invited to a few, and I can see some potential with this feature in Google Plus.
  7. Google Chrome As a mobile learner and avid Chromebook-er, I would say that Google Chrome is a user-friendly web browser for productivity and workflow. I appreciate the streamline interface, search ability, extensions  and applications from the Chrome Web Store {which compliments my Android phone apps as well}. Also, it is quite compatible with Google Drive, Google + Hangouts, and easily transferable from my office to home computing life.
  8. WordPress I may have been exhausted from reflecting during my Masters’ program; however I think that having my own space and place for reflection has helped me in 2012. For a fellow researcher, I candidly explained why I blog and more about my blogging history; however I used my blog more this year to document my doctoral progress and process my own educational experiences. Thanks for being an easy space to draft, publish, and share these thoughts, WordPress.
  9. Delicious Although I use Scoopit, Storify, and Paper.li a great deal, I can say that Delicious is still my top curation tool. Since 2007, I have been collecting and organizing resource into my delicious account. When I share a URL on Twitter it automatically archive the link to my delicious account via packrati.us. This is great to return back to my tags and stacks to find notes, information, statistics, or articles that I can use for presentations and publications. Also I appreciate others in my Delicious network who stayed loyal to this tool (even after a few changes) and socially bookmark useful resources.
  10. Flickr This social photo sharing site has provided me with a lot of inspiration and ideas. Whether I have used creative common-licensed images for presentations and blog posts, or just as a tool to document my own PhD adventures, I appreciate being a member of the Flickr community. I often capture a photo of a presentation slide, make a note from class, or document an image on the go to house them on Flickr for future reference and referral.

For 2013, I plan on taking Jane Hart’s (@C4LPT10 Tools Challenge to find out how to use new tools to help for my own professional learning, research, and development as an educator/trainer. For those of you who want to join in the fun, check out the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2012 for inspiration to explore. Happy learning!

Collaboration, Learning Technologies, PLE

Surfing the Google Wave.

Google wave is a web-based application that enhances electronic communication. Here is a (long) presentation and preview of Google Wave:

This latest initiative may provide educators additional resources for online personal learning environments. In EDUCAUSE‘s 7 Things You Should Know About Google Wave, details how this emerging technology can be utilized for teaching and learning:

  • Conversations -multiple messages for message board chats, IM, texting, etc
  • Archiving email/chat dialogues that are also non-linnear & asynchronous
  • Interactive maps
  • Informal polls
  • Translation of text for global learners
  • Photography & image sharing
  • Playback function for review of conversations, notes & presentations
  • Team-based learning for collaboration of projects
  • Accessibility & usability
  • Practical uses for academic advising [from @ericstoller]

As a recent invitee to Google Wave, I am still experimenting and sampling this new resource [with the help of The Complete Guide to Google Wave]. As more people receive invites and the beta version of Google Wave develops, educators will get involved and as they find value and potential for their profession.

EC&I831, Learning Technologies, Photo Sharing, Social Media

What’s In A Story?

Everyone loves a good story. Think of your favourite story. What is it? Why do you like it? Tell me more.

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Image c/o Scholastic.ca

When asked this question in #eci831 last week, the first story teller I connected to as a child was  Robert Munsch. I fell in love with almost all his books, especially The Paper Bag Princess, Love You Forever & I Have To Go.  These books are great read aloud and audio books, since most stories were created as an oral tradition in during Robert Munsch’s daycare working days. I was fortunate to meet Munsch during my 2nd year of undergrad when he visited my Children’s Literature class at the University of Guelph. Although the audience was older than his usual reading groups, Robert was still able to keep these “kids” on the edge of their seat.

Alan Levine shared some interesting & useful resources for using new media for Digital Storytelling. In both his presentation (you may need to download Cooliris to view in Firefox or Safari) and 50 Way Wiki there are numerous tools to explore for effective online storytelling.

Here are a few examples of digital stories we shared & discussed:

How do you share your story online? Check out a few tools to support your digital story telling:
Learning Technologies, Professional Development, Social Media

Keeping Up With Technology

With 2.5 online graduate courses, it’s easy to be consumed with everything digital this semester. In thinking about technology and how to best “keep up” with everything happening online, I stumbled upon a great video from Alan Levine (who will be leading a session in the EC&I 831 course), that reminds educational technology users to:

  1. Establish a network of colleagues & maintain these connections with online social tools, e.g. e-mails, RSS, blogs, Twitter, etc
  2. Tap into a sense of play & willingness to experiment.
  3. Don’t be afraid to continue to grow & learn new things.
Learning Community, Micro-Blogs

Teaching with Twitter

Some college students may be introduced to instructors & courses that ENCOURAGE micro blogging with Twitter.

Twitter is becoming a fast buzz in both media and celebrity circles, however, I think that more teachers are beginning to realize the power this social media tool for learning.

Here are a few benefits for professors who experiment with Twitter as a teaching tool:

  • source of news
  • opinions of peers
  • gain knowledge from experts
  • live & archived tweeting in class
  • capture lecture content
  • add depth to lecture material
  • build a learning community inside & beyond the classroom

For those faculty/instructors who might consider tweeting in class, I might recommend that you start up your own Twitter account and play with it. Also, be sure to read up about strategies &tools that to optimize learning with Twitter.

I personally like TweetDeck (an Adobe Air-based app) to organize & categorize my tweets. I can clearly see my messages, replies and content areas I am interested in at a quick glance.  Some categories I use for tweets include Higher Ed, Web Tools, Career Research, T.O., Students, etc.

Are YOU tweeting with your students? If so, please share!

Learning Technologies, Photo Sharing

Easy Online Tools for Visual Teaching

For many educators, the use of multi-media is a regular function in the classroom.

I went to an excellent workshop hosted by Carolyn Guertin from the eCreative Lab @ UTA about Moving Teaching Online: Screencasting.  This is one of many in their digital workshop series they offer.  It was  a great (free) workshop for faculty & staff to gain more knowledge about slide & screen casting to best support educational practices.

screencast

The wealth of media resources available online is overwhelming.  If your objective is to enhance instruction and learning, here are a few tools I use, and a couple new ones I have just begun to play with:

  • Screen Capture tools
    • SnagIt – screen grab tool for Window users; purchase required (test out the 30-day trial version)
    • Grab – a tool included in Mac computers to get screen shots/images
    • Jing – great for screen capture for image or video for any platform, able to do voice-overs & it’s FREE!
  • Slide Casting
    • SlideShare – online community forum to share slides (& audio) with students and others; able to match audio recording with slide content easily [I use this website the most.]
    • MyPlick
    • Sliderocket
  • Slides
  • Audio
    • Audacity – get a solid microphone with headset & start recording and editing tracks for your presentation
    • PodcastPeople – record your audio & get a link to an mp3; downside: there is no post-production editing feature
    • GarageBand – Mac users can get this free application to record & edit audio tracks
  • Screen Casting
    • Camtasia Studio – record, edit & share on screen activity; costs $
    • Camstudio – FREE streaming video software for screen capture
    • Captivate by Adobe – for those who are serious about their online learning and visual screen capture; purchase required (pricey even with education discounts, but worth it if used often)
    • Windows Media Maker – able to create videos for the screen cast; not part of the new Vista package (down grade OS)
    • Snapz Pro X – high quality imaging; able to use video, images and save the in a smaller format; time lapse editing,  audio voice-over and great editing options
    • iShowU – records audio & video; tagline = “when words aren’t enough”
  • Video Content Storage Online
    • YouTube EDU – YouTube videos posted for learning; great for archiving teaching material for your students
    • CaptionTube – new feature from YouTube that allows for adding captions via a sophisticated video caption editor – this means that the  text transcription sits beside the video
    • Recommendation:  use institutional web portal or closed site if you are using any copyrighted material or content

Have fun!