Much of this semester (indeed, almost three hours daily) has been devoted to carefully examining forty years of materials temporarily stored during the Rankin Hall renovation and deciding what to toss, what to give away, and what should leave with me when I move on in May. I am now at a very interesting stage in this döstädning process where I am going through written records. It is so easy to get distracted from the döstädning task at hand by rediscovering diaries and even old Hinakaga yearbooks! I came across a Golden Pioneer folder of my father-in-law, Walter G. Schmidt, and a number of CarrollCollege Pioneer Quarterly alumni magazines and New Perspective articles.
Today I came across this piece written by alumna Jill Sharp Attkisson where I expressed my rationale for why I had chosen to make annual gifts to Carroll. Maybe after 23 years it is time to part with the document (destroy the evidence that I once had dark hair and dressed more formally) — but the values expressed remain. And the return on investment is having known and continuing to know students like Jill and her classmates. Hence, I shall be a Giving Tuesday Carroll Ambassador.
One reason that I shall give a donation on November 27 is to honor the many Carroll Physical Plant Friends across my 40+ years here who have given so much of their time, love, and labor to creating, maintaining, sustaining, and improving the quality of life here. Thank you Ott, Dennis, Ralph, and hundreds of others! I donated to this link.
Though I failed to get the crowd funding I sought last year (described in an earlier post) I am delighted to report that I have been blessed to have 10 very bright, eager to learn students in my Research Seminar. Without doubt their research will advance some of the accomplishments I hope to achieve before my leaving Carroll. Some of what I am incorporating into this seminar —e.g. giving students numerous opportunities to self-publish— is described in several earlier blogs like this one and this reflection. As we enter our 2nd week of learning together I begun introducing students to technology learning tools (e.g. WordPress, Diigo, SurveyMonkey, and Skype) and my 68-year-old thinking about memory and aging. Thank you, Jane Hart, for your introducing me to these tools 11 years ago.
My student co-researchers are responsible for taking much of the initiative in making this course successful–and for teaching me. Below is a description of Abbey S.’s and Alex F.’s creation of a Facebook Messenger group for our research team. In the next few weeks we shall be Skyping with some Carroll alumni who are knowledgable about our research topic (“Brain Training”). Do let us know if you are interested in following us, supporting our efforts, or contributing to our learning.
Effectiveness of Facebook Messenger as a Communication Tool
By Abbey Schwoerer and Alex Fuhr
In our Psychology Research Seminar this semester, we were given the task of coming up with a user-friendly, easily accessible communication tool for the class to use. What we needed was a platform that could be accessed free of charge, and allowed us to send pictures, links, and word messages. We wanted to use a tool which was generally familiar to our classmates and translated easily to different technological devices. Our final solution to this problem was to use Facebook Messenger or simply called “Messenger”.
What is Facebook Messenger?
Facebook Messenger is an instant messaging application of Facebook. It allows the user to have a private conversation with other Facebook users. To use Messenger, you must have a Facebook account on facebook.com. There is a newer feature which allows you to message other Facebook users without being their friend, although the other user will need to accept your request to chat with them. You can create one-on-one chats, or chats with multiple members called “group chats”. It is equivalent to texting, but without having to exchange phone numbers with others. You can access Facebook Messenger through the Facebook website or as a downloadable application on your smart phone.
Why use Facebook Messenger over other communication tools?
This versatility of the tool is what drew us to use it for classroom purposes. Unlike most team chat applications, Messenger is free to use; even so, it still provides the most important functions that most of the paid apps have. Messenger allows you to send word messages, voice messages, pictures, videos, polls, plans, games, locations, payments, links, emoji’s and GIF’s. The interface looks a slight bit different depending on if you are using a computer or a phone, but each allow you to perform the same functions. It also allows you to connect to other websites to share media from them to a conversation. Some websites include the musical application Spotify, KAYAK travel planner, and The Wall Street Journal news website.
How do you use Facebook Messenger?
To use Messenger on your computer, log in to the Facebook website and on the blue bar at the top of the screen, towards the right-hand side you will see a black and white version of the picture above. You can also access it on the left-hand side of the page. Click on this and it will show you all recent conversations you have had on Messenger. You can also start a new conversation by clicking the blue words which read “New Message”. Once you click on a conversation, it will open a chat box on the lower right portion of your screen and you can continue or begin to converse with a friend. Other than simply messaging, you can voice call and video chat with others. To modify the chat, you can click on the gear button labeled “options”. You can change the color of the chat, send files, and many other functions. If you desire to search for a picture or an article within the chat, you must enter the application through the button on the left-hand side of your home page. This will pull up your conversations in a different format. On the left of the new screen will be your conversations and on the right, once you click on a conversation, will be the “Search in Conversation” option. The class may need to use this once the conversation becomes larger and longer.
To use Messenger on your phone, you need to download the Messenger application. It will look like the picture above. You can see all your recent message conversations when you open the application. Once you click on a conversation, you can perform the same actions as on the computer. To create a new message, you will click on the square with a pencil in the upper right-hand corner. If you allow it, the application will send you notifications when you get a new message. A downfall of using Messenger on your phone is you cannot search for an item within your conversation.
In summary, the multitude of applications this tool provides makes it a viable medium for our communication needs in Research Seminar. We have already begun to use software and it seems to be running smoothly. We look forward to the new possibilities this communication tool will provide for us this semester!
Sharpening and trying out learning tools for 2017 (tonight I tried learning Spanish with Babbel:)), I came across a blog post written by my student assistants that somehow never got posted! Tia and Lizzie will be back in a few weeks to begin their senior years at Carroll. Alison will be starting graduate school. Here is what they so well wrote.
Quizlet is a very helpful tool when it comes to studying. Quizlet has many different learning tools which can help each individual learner be successful. When you first start with Quizlet, you must create an account, which is free. As a student you have the option to create your own flash cards, or even use flashcards your professor has created. Within Quizlet, there are four main components for any teacher or student who is creating flashcards. They are the speller, learn, space race, and test options. The speller option gives you a definition and from that you must type in the correct answer. If you do not spell the term correctly, you get the flash card wrong, and it will be put back in the stack for you to try again. The learn option helps you remember the word associated with the definition and is normally done at your own pace and not timed like some of the other options. The space race option is a timed game when defining the definitions in your flash card set. The test option is a multiple choice or matching section of all your flash cards in a certain set. My personal favorite is the matching and multiple choice option because it simulates an actual exam.
When I was in high school my teacher in my College Credit Human Anatomy and Physiology class created flashcards for all her students. The flash cards that helped me the most were with pictures of certain types of cells and what they were called on the back. This really helped with lab practicals when you had to look inside the microscope and recall what the cell was called. By playing the matching game option on Quizlet, it effectively prepared me for the exam, rather than me just staring at my lab manual trying to memorize the different features of each cell. I remember more by being quizzed in part by learning from my mistakes. Quizlet identifies which flashcards you do not understand, and then you can focus on these flash cards until you master them. At Carroll, when I was taking my Anatomy and Physiology class, I reused the flashcards my professor in high school created for me. With Quizlet, you have access to any flash cards on the website as long as the publisher makes them public. Quizlet is a very useful study tool for all types of learners, as well as saves the environment by using no paper when creating these flash cards.
I agree with Tia in that Quizlet is a very helpful tool when it does come to studying for an exam, a test, or a quiz. Dr. Simpson gave us a link (an example is here) in his Statistics and Experimental Design class telling us that those were the terms we were going to need to know for our exam. I looked them over and they were very useful in the sense of not having to make my own cards, but instead using the ones on Quizlet to study the terms. The Quizlet tool helped me figure out which terms I didn’t know and which terms I really did know. Quizlet is a very useful learning tool and very convenient to use.
I have always been a big fan of using the old flashcard method for studying for my classes but slowly I have been turning my study habits over to the internet. For my Spanish classes, other students in previous Spanish classes from around the United States have posted their vocabulary, grammar, and cultural sections on Quizlet. This allows my classmates and myself the opportunity to use these Quizlet flashcards to help prepare for our tests and final exams. It is convenient because I can access these Quizlets on multiple devices any time that I may have during the day.
My nursing major friends find Quizlet convenient when preparing for large final exams. These exams usually include many nursing terms, so one of the students will make a Quizlet with all of the vocabulary and then share the Quizlet with the rest of the class. This allows all the students to benefit from having access to Quizlet to help them study for their exams.
Lizzy and Alison made two quick Quizlets to test out some of the features. One Quizlet was about the top learning tools that our research team has written about in previous blogs and the other Quizlet was about some quick facts about Carroll University. Let’s see how well YOU do!
In preparation for contributing my suggestions to Jane Hart for her “Top 100 Tools for Learning” list I am systematically examining (and in many cases rediscovering:)) apps on my MacBook Pro. Jane will be organizing her report into three broad categories of learning tools.
Top 100 Tools for Education – for use in schools, colleges, universities
Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning – for use in training, for performance support, social collaboration, etc.
Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning – for self-organized learning.
My (re)discovery for today is 1Password. It continues to serve me well, especially as I am starting to have difficulty remembering passwords!
Carroll calls me back tomorrow. Quite a changed place since I entered Carroll-land in 1977.
Voila is a great screen casting software that can be downloaded on your iMac, iPhone, and iPad. Since Evernote is getting rid of the software, Skitch, this new feature was created in place of it with more features that are very beneficial.
When using this app you are able to take a screen shot of your full home screen, or capture a certain section of your home screen with the different screen shot tools. You are also able to overlap multiple screenshots in the software as well. In addition, if you would like to record your voice or anything on the computer while using the device you are able to do a recording. After you have taken the recording, it will open up in Voila and you can trim your new video and have the recording play over the screen casting. One flaw of Voila, is that you must download an additional app to have noise with your recording. You also need to export your recording to an app like Imovie to complete and edit your recording. Here is an example of our research team using Voila and Imovie to show people how to use Survey Monkey.
Voila allows you to edit your screen shots in multiple different ways. Some really nice features that Skitch doesn’t have is that you are able to add stickers to your screen shots as well as add a spotlight to a certain part of the screen shot. The spotlight helps a section you select stand out and blur out the rest of the background of the screen shot as much as you would like. Another feature that you are able to do that Skitch can’t is blur out in different ways. You can do motion blurs, the static blur, a pixelated blur, and etc. Also, there are different kinds of arrows you can use in Voila to lead someone from one spot of your screen cast to another to show them instructions, like where to go from point A to point B, and etc. Voila allows you to marquee the pictures as well. This means that with any of the shapes they have or what you create, you are able to put that shape on a certain part of the screen shot and duplicate it. So that part you’ve chosen can be more bolded, or put in another screen shot. Below is an example of the different effects and borders that Voila has available to us.
In Voila, you can paint the background of your screen shots so they are in a different color other then the default gray. Also, you are able to change the color of every option that you use besides the blurs. So, you can change the color of the arrows, the background, the stamps, and etc. In addition to changing the color of the background, you can change the outlining of the background. So, instead of just having a straight outline around your picture, you are able to have a different look such as dashes.
However, Voila still has the same great features Skitch does. You are still able to put a text box in different shapes on your screen shot, so that you can write something that you may want to specify. Also, you are able to change the coloring of the text if need be. If you rather not type in the text box, but still want to write on the screen shot, then you are able to use the pencil feature and use free hand on your screen shot. Voila does not have the highlighting feature, but that is why they have the new spot light feature.
In Voila you can create shapes or add certain shapes in the picture that you are able to write text in. You are able to change the coloring of the outside of them which will not change the text that you type on the inside of the text box. Also, there is a feature called, Callout. This feature is one that has more text boxes in different shapes, but it also includes certain memes that you can put in your screen cast as well.
Another fun feature Voila has is the ability to take screen shots of any website directly through the application. This is efficient to all users since you do not have to leave the application to complete your desired task. Also, you are able to import your own photos from iPhoto and edit them with Voila. Once you are done editing your desired photos, you can then import them back into your photo library. Here is an example of a screenshot taken directly through Voila, and then edited after the screenshot was taken.
Overall, Voila has many new features and old features that Skitch once had. Voila seems to be more user friendly, as well as having more options for editing and screen casting purposes.
It’s my research day. I just helped Leo the Great Pyr onto his Central Bark Doggie Day Care bus
and had a team meeting with Lizzy and Alison, two of my student research assistants. Before I gave them research assignments, I shared with them my Christmas ritual of opening up Jacquie Lawson’s marvelous Advent Calendar App. Thank you, Jacquie, for giving us reasons to smile and be in awe.
While we are working I receive a Facebook communication (and feedback) that Katerina and Tim Miklos, now in England, enjoyed the wedding video that Alison produced with Imovie as one of her research projects with me on Tuesday. I hope in the near future to research and develop with my students global communication tools such as Skype by communicating with Katerina in England, Ben in Hungary, Maren in Madagascar, Andrew in Switzerland, and Hersonia in Mexico. Who else abroad is willing to help us learn together?
I’m monitoring my Twitter feed as I write this blog piece and find 10 ideas, resources, and thought-leaders worth following. The dross is outweighed by the nuggets as I refine my Twitter filters and make better use of Twitter applications. I still am not quite ready to explore Twitter Chats. Just because a technology learning tool HAS capabilities, doesn’t mean that I need them –or that I should change my teaching to accommodate them.
Thank you Teri Johnson and Jane Hart for firmly but gently nudging me into exploring the use of Twitter.
Here are 10 tweets that informed me or guided my personal learning today:
I see that Maria Konnikova has a new book out in January. She writes so well about psychology and pseudo science. I preorder the book and send her a brief note. Thank you, Maria, for your clear thinking, your lucid writing, and your thought-provoking ideas.
Alec Couros recommends a Ted Talk about “Where Good Ideas Come From.” If I can find time, I’ll take a look at that before teaching my research Seminar. Thank you, Alec, for the inspiration.
I see a Mac 911 MacWorld piece about how to incorporate special characters into documents. I’ll need this as i try blog pieces in different language. I snag it (oops, gotta be careful. I own that App and I am starting to use my Dictation software as I write blogs).
Richard Kiker’s use of Paper.li motivates me to return to exploring its utility as a curating tool. I assign that protect to Arianna.
I am reminded and convinced that it is important that I incorporate thinking about climate change—and doing something about it into my life.
I am about to go through all the different applications that I have on this Mac and attempt to winnow them. Then, I need to do the same for all my other machines. Yes, I have done this before and yes I have written about it before (e.g. here). Appluenza is difficult to extinguish!
I load an application from hell. I bought this particular MAC software several years ago to convert videos to the many different formats existing. Alas it won’t accept the registration code which somehow is encrypted in a fashion that doesn’t allow cut and paste and which consists of a long string of numbers, letters and hieroglyphics. Customer support is a series of FAQs that don’t address my needs. Humbug. Trash it along with another app that I never have used.
I discover several Apps built into the Mac whose existence I did not know or whose function I never realized. Embarrassing. Annoying. Wasteful. More to learn.
I load my Day One “journaling” software to record my progress. The newly downloaded voice dictation software works pretty well with it. I have all my student assistants using a shared Day One app to help us co-ordinate our work efforts.
And suddenly I am distracted by my Comic Life 3 software!
Time for a Thanksgiving holiday break and playing with the grand-nieces and grand-nephews!
I have a goal of reducing the 37-years of accumulated office clutter by pulling together all the institutional research have done the past 37 years (thank you former research assistants) and combining it with present data collection processes. however, I am amused and annoyed to discover how technology sometimes makes data acquisition more difficult.
Right now two of my student research assistants are helping me pull together a blog piece dedicated to the Carroll alumni I have known as students across the past 37 years. Take a peak at a work in progress.
Let me know if you’d like a picture of you from year’s gone by. I’ll trade you for one of me OR of you today.
Maybe it is my aging. Maybe it is a lack of motivation. Maybe it is a lack of focus on my part. Gone are the times when I used to master a new piece of software or a new computer in a few hours—exploring every drop down menu. Gone is my ability (or the time needed) to write a succinct user’s guide for the new machine and feel comfortable being a resident expert of its capabilities. Ah, my TRS 80 Level I machine—sometimes I miss you!
Fortunately now there are increasingly available excellent screencasts which clearly explain features of software. I find of special value MacMost Videos, Screencastsonline.com, and the superb presentations by David Sparks. When I am producing my own screencast I find most useful Screenflow though I am becoming impressed with Clarify‘s didactic potential.
Just downloaded the new OSX Yosemite Operating System onto one of my Mac’s. I find that it is worth the investment to purchase online tutorials that hand-hold one through the different features. I’ll have my undergraduate research assistants go through them before we install it on one of my office machines. In the interim I need to cycle through all my apps and see which ones work with the new OS, which don’t but are essential for my needs, and which ones I no longer need or have totally forgotten
Too many apps. I am on a decluttering mission. I am especially interested in keeping (cross-platform and cross browser) software that enhances my capabilities for writing, screencasting, and facilitating global communication.
First I shall revisit each application and attempt to answer these questions:
Why it is on my machine? Was it pre-installed? Perhaps it was very favorably reviewed? Am I keeping it because of nostalgia? Have I forgotten that it is there? How often have I used it? Updated it?
What needs or research interests did it address at the time I installed it? Do these needs or interests still exist? Are these needs likely to continue over the remaining years of my teaching?
How well does does the application address these needs compared to other applications that I have since “collected”?
Is it likely to work with the new Mac “Yosmite” operating system?