Interesting evening of “chat” with WordPress Happiness Engineers as I attempt to finalize moving my David-in-Carroll-land work and Curious-David-in_Carroll-land writings, photos, and videos to my CuriousDavidRedux venue. I do admire the patience, persistence, and expertise of such individuals. I developed similar admiration for my Wikipedia Fellows course instructors last semester.
It has been a challenging experience working across three different WordPress accounts with three different payment plans and different options. I plan to introduce my research students to some in-depth WordPress instruction in a few weeks.
As I sort out my thoughts on what I want to be when I grow up (and retire from Carroll in May) I am mulling over offering to give a formal presentation about my learning adventures with technology tools. As a start, I am revisiting (and in many cases revising) blog pieces I have written since 2009 or started to write, tweets I have posted, and Facebook and LinkedIn articles I have posted.And, of course, I have those forty plus years of notes and handouts I continue to winnow, mine, and rediscover.
I notice that Twitter is number 5 among the Top Learning Tools of 2017 identified by Jane Hart. A number of years ago I was quite hesitant to use Twitter. My student assistants found little value in using it. They failed to see differences between it and, say, the “update function” of Facebook. I read two books about it, consulted several Carroll alumni who DO use it (thanks Chris G, Lori S, and Fred K.), and studied fellow academics’ twittering experiences documented in publications which I closely read and value. I objected to the Procrustean process of having my thoughts, ideas, and communications reduced to 140 characters or less (“thought bytes”). Also, I was petrified at my inability to decrease or at least slow down my communication and information acquisition activities. I very much need and treasure having time to reflect, to read, to assimilate, and to create. I am amused to see that I myself have tweeted more than 2100 times!
Since then, however, I have reconsidered Twitter as a learning tool. “To Twit or not to Twit?” for me is no longer the appropriate way to frame the issue. Rather, the questions for me are:
Under what circumstances might Twitter give me more successful ways of teaching?
How can I use Twitter to improve my ability to find answers to questions I am investigating?
How can I minimize the costs to me (time away from other things; wheat to chaff ratio) of my using Twitter?
How can I best manage the tool?
Today Twitter is an invaluable personal learning and communication resource that I have fine-tuned for my particular needs. Currently I choose to follow 78 “thought leaders” whom I very much admire. I am in the process of comparing several Twitter-management apps (e.g.Tweetbot) which show promise to help me optimize the efficiency of my use of the tool. Now I need to consider implementing more these Advanced Twitter Tips I encountered.
As I systematically revisit Jane Hart’s Top 100 Learning Tools List, I must confess that (like Adam Grant) I continue to discover new ways to maximize Twitter’s usefulness for me as a learning tool. Though I have no interest in becoming a Twitter Ninja:), I am delighted by the capabilities, for example, of creating lists of experts who regularly stream invaluable and current information on topics important to me (right now those topics are technology learning tools and global education).
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 some tweets that informed me or guided my personal learning.
I see that Maria Konnikova has a new book out 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.
YouTube: As I wind down my teaching career, I anticipate that YouTube may serve different needs for me in the future than when I was as a professor. Last year I wrote the following about my uses of screenshots, screencasts, and YouTube in classroom teaching situations:
“Tonight I am “rediscovering” teaching/learning tools: specifically Skitch (for screenshots and annotating screenshots, Screenflow for screencasting, and YouTube).
How do you use YouTube? How might it serve as a learning resource in your job? What are its unrecognized or under-utilized capabilities? Here is what student research assistant Lizzy (recently accepted into graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) wrote when I asked her how she used it.
Uses of YouTube
YouTube is an internet source that has multiple uses. Personally, I use YouTube a lot when I am working at Dr. Simpson’s office for background music. YouTube does not only have music on their site, but educational videos, silly videos, podcasts, etc. Since my time being here at Carroll University, I have had multiple professors’ post YouTube links in their slide shows and assign YouTube videos as assignments for student’s to watch at home. When I struggle using a certain software, I am able to go to YouTube and search what I am looking for in the search bar. Multiple videos will pop up on the screen that go through step-by-step instructions on how to do the task I am looking for.
YouTube is useful for posting videos as well. Dr. Simpson has posted videos in the past with his student research assistants and discussing certain issues. I have had to watch podcast of others on YouTube that are discussing a certain issue we are dealing with in class or about a certain software we are trying to use, such as SPSS. In class presentations, 90% of the time students are required to post a visual image or video in their slides. YouTube is very useful in this circumstance. One is able to find certain media coverage of an issue on YouTube as well as scenes from past TV shows, news broadcasts, radio shows, etc. A great example of how YouTube is useful in my field, psychology, is research. YouTube has multiple videos of famous studies that have been done in the past, such as Pavlov’s, Little Albert, and the Bobo Doll study. All these videos are accessible to people, like us, on YouTube.
YouTube is a great source, not only for education, but also for others to express themselves. There are many podcasts on YouTube of people’s life stories. Some of them involve people dealing with issues such as cancer and mental health problems. However, there are podcasts of people discussing their experience sky diving, cliff jumping, in a different city, making covers of songs, etc. People in the 21st century are becoming “YouTube famous” because of their podcasts on YouTube. Many famous singers like, Justin Bieber, became famous by starting on YouTube and working their way up. In addition, people will post weekly podcast updates of their lives on YouTube and have millions of fans because of this method. An example is a couple named, Cole and Savannah, who have a YouTube channel and post videos every other week of what is happening in their lives.
YouTube is an amazing media source. YouTube allows one to find what music they are interested in, express talents that they want to show the world, show others their life stories, gives education to people, helps people stay up to date on certain issues going on in the world, etc. I would highly recommend YouTube as a source that everyone should look into and explore the different options that it has to offer the public.”
Most recently I have used YouTube for guidance in learning how to fly a drone given to me as a birthday present! And I can use it as a tool for enjoying the wonderful singing of my grand nephew, Cole and his talented Mom, Sara!
I see that Jane Hart has announced the deadline for recommending top learning tools for 2018. I’m going to try and revisit all the 2017 tools this summer and identify those which I have found to be of most value to me. I’m hoping that in the fall my students and I can put together an ebook describing the tools they see as best serving their needs.
It’s amusing and edifying to revisit the last “Curious David” blog piece I wrote for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (JSOnline) before they discontinued (terminated) their educational community bloggers. I still stay in touch with one of those community bloggers–and a number of the students who took this “Pioneering Learning Tools Course” a decade ago. They taught me much.
Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools
By David Simpson
Monday, Sep 1 2008, 09:32 AM
I’m nervous and excited. Time to take off my invisibility cloak. Tomorrow (Tuesday, September 2, 2008 at 8:00 a.m.)
I meet in person for the first time with my 20 first-year students. What an immense responsibility to be their first professor!
We’re going to explore 21rst century learning tools such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, social networks, virtual
worlds, and Youtube. The idea for this
course emerged from my experiences writing this Curious David
blog column. Last year’s opportunity to write for JSonline was transformative for me as I learned from elementary and
secondary school teachers, high school students, virtual school advocates, retired faculty and readers about innovations,
challenges and successes they faced promoting learning.
In this first-year seminar we shall focus on some of the 25 free learning tools described by educator Jane Hart. As we examine these learning tools we hope to answer questions such as these:
1. To what degree can these web tools truly enhance student learning?
2. To what degree are they just cool tools?
3. Could they be used to develop critical thinking?
4. Do they improve or degrade communication skills?
5. Might they be applied to fostering cross-cultural or international understanding?
6. Might they strengthen or weaken writing skills?
7. What are their weaknesses or dangers? Should they complement or replace 20th century learning skills/tools?
8. How can one evaluate their effectiveness?
We shall read two books—Little Brother, a work of fiction (maybe it is fiction) and a work of nonfiction Dispatches from Blogistan. My intent is to assist students in the transition
from high school to college–and to investigate Web 2.0 learning tools which might be useful across classes and in the
workplace. I want to involve them in educational experiences that will develop and enhance abilities in reading, writing,
reflecting, presenting, thinking, and producing. Writing exercises will include papers, journals, blogs/wikis, and exams.
Presentations will be both formal and informal; individual and in small groups. Collaboration will be both with fellow
students and with me I welcome reader feedback about
this course. I’d gladly share a course syllabus in .pdf format which has many hypertext links. (Indeed, I’d welcome reassurance that I still have readers after a two month hiatus from writing!).
email me at email@example.com.
Tomorrow’s final exam may give me some insight into what the students have learned. I received an email today from someone in Great Britain interested in the course. It is my intent to begin (renew) serious writing in a blog format starting in January. I’ll most likely use Type Pad.
I see that I have 101 drafts of unpublished posts in my WordPress account!
And there are quite a few unfinished LinkedIn articles I’ve been meaning to write. And that fiction piece about a small Midwestern College. And that neglected history of Carroll that has been too long ignored…
My Mac Desktop is (for me) relatively uncluttered with just one important reading task awaiting me –carefully reading and putting into action the wisdom of my mentor across the Pond of 10 years Jane Hart. And I really would like to start finish those student-written guides to Internet Learning Tools whose production died when I failed to receive Crowd-funding. Perhaps I should use Kick-starter?
Having successfully winnowed my Mac apps at a faster rate than I added them, I still have far more than I actually NEED if I stay on course for when I plan to leave academe.
So much unfinished business–and miles to go before I sleep (I wouldn’t want it to be otherwise). Still, time to prioritize my remaining precious döstädning time.
Returning to my office two of my student research assistants were “at their work stations.” One was engaged in an animated phone conversation in Spanish with someone in Honduras. She has the difficult choice this weekend of choosing among three graduate school acceptances. Hasta luego, we have a brief team meeting where I update them on present and future projects (CrowdFunding proposal for extending their book publishing capabilities; a grant to fund brain fitness training research in the fall). I indicate that I also want to make a screen cast of each of them before Tuesday. Both Alison and Lizzie are very facile with technology learning tools such as iMovie. I share with them that I soon am going to need to find some new student assistants. THEY know best what goes on in Dr. Simpson’s Neighborhood, so they will do my “vetting.”
I ask Lizzie to share her experiences as my research assistant.
What has kept me here almost forty years is not the buildings but the traditions, the faculty, staff, administrative, and trustee friendships–and the students. I asked one of my graduating senior research assistants to stop by and to spontaneously share some of her Carroll reflections. I promised to be well-behaved—i.e. no funny hats and unusually quiet:)
She laughed. She knows me well.
Arianna will be leaving me for graduate study at Marquette University in the Fall.
We recorded this from my MacBook Pro using the Capto screen casting software.
I had a few “extra minutes” at work today for reflection. I’m awaiting (dis)approval of seeking Crowdfunding financial support to expand my students’ capabilities to self publish books. I am also writing a few small grants to fund some modest research comparing several different “brain fitness” programs (e.g. BrainHD and Lumosity).
Just for fun I chose to document my rambling ruminations by creating a screencast. I still find Screenflow easier for me to use than Capto or Camtasia. I favor using Skitch for Screenshots from my Mac. It is indeed hard to teach an old dogged professor new tricks (or to discard old tools).
In the screen cast below I am thinking out loud as I experiment with the camera software (iglasses) and the microphone (a Yeti). I am leaning towards using both for our next Student Guides to Internet Learning Tools (if funded). The first volumes of the new works will most likely focus on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Screencasting tools. Oops, time to go for a walk with my canine companion!
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