Tag: blogging tools

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Journaling as a Daily Writing Activity

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While cleaning the office today I came across my journal notes from when I still was a graduate student at Ohio State.  I had just returned from a two-day job interview at then-named Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. Much has changed since then! I continue working against changing too much too quickly.

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I still use and keep journals now–some paper and pencil— though I now do most journaling using software dedicated to that function. Though I have explored the utility of many apps, my personal preference at the moment is DayOne.

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I particularly use journaling to follow the recommendations of Jane Hart on the value (I would argue, the necessity) of reflecting on my work day accomplishments and failures and for short and long-term goal setting. This was one of many lessons I learned from Jane this past year.  I encourage my students and clients to create regular times for written reflection.

What journaling software do you use? Why?

 

 

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Why Write?

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At the beginning of the 2016-2017 academic year I indicated to my Chair, Dean, and Provost that I wanted to write a lot this year—especially with students.  I reaffirmed that intention (to an international audience!) in an individual learning plan I was “required” to share while participating in Jane Hart’s “Supporting Everyday Workplace Learning” workshop. david-simpsons-individual-learning-plan

I shared eight lessons that I learned in that workshop with my LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Yammer, and WordPress audiences in this blog piece.

Three individuals have had a major influence on my writing since my joining the Carroll community in 1978. Carroll colleague Jim Vopat taught a course entitled “Why Write” that I had an opportunity to visit.Thank you, Jim Vopat, for giving me direction.

An influential present Carroll colleague BJ Best continues to successfully engage students in writing both by regularly modeling it and by the creation of an online, student-centered journal, Portage Magazine.  Thank you, BJ, for all you have shared—including students eager to learn. I can’t wait to entwine myself in the writing of that long threatened promised adventure stories about David in Carroll-Land.

For the past decade I have followed with interest and admiration the blogging and developments in thinking of Jane Hart about uses of technology tools to enhance learning.  Motivated by her initial contributions, I created a first-year seminar course based on her top twenty-five tools. More recently, my students have begun writing and publishing books about the learning tools they found of most value. We are in the process of seeking financial support to expand that effort. Thank you, Jane Hart, for your fellowship, mentorship, and friendship across the ocean.

My introduction to blogging tools reinvigorated my personal interest in writing.  It enhanced my judgment of the importance and value of including writing exercises in my classes. I am convinced that properly taught, introduced and regularly used, blogging and micro-blogging tools can enhance a student’s civic responsibilities (e.g. writing a thoughtful response to a New York Times online article or to a local paper—rather than merely clicking the “like” button). They can be used to improve students’ writing and enjoyment of writing, and can expand their knowledge about “publishing” and making the blogosphere and the world a better place.

Curious David

What are YOUR favorite technology learning tools?

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What are your favorite technology learning tools? Now (until September 23) is a good time to send your recommendations to Jane Hart (see this link) as she for the 10th year finishes compiling recommendations made by learning professionals.  Jane will be organizing her report into three broad categories of learning tools:

  1. Top 100 Tools for Education – those used  in schools, colleges, and universities
  2. Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning – those used in training, for performance support, and social collaboration.
  3. Top 100 Tools for Personal & Professional Learning – those used for self-organized learning.

Before the academic year I formally and systematically review the technology learning tools that I judge to be most useful to my teaching and learning effectiveness.

In the next couple of weeks I shall be sharing my recommendations and the results of my revisiting my most useful desktop tools with particular emphasis on those that enhance my writing/ publishing/ screencasting capabilities.

I now usually also give my research assistants an opportunity to give me their recommendations. Last year they wrote and published their first book about their favorite tools. As soon as they are settle in I’ll share some of their new good work and their recommendations.

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Gotta run. I hear bag pipes!

 

 

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Thank You, Global Educators, for Your Impact

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A provocative blog piece by Luis Miguel Miñarro, an educator in La Mancha, Spain… We had “interacted” in prior years when he shared with me how he used Animoto  to make a Carnival 2014 video. Now we interact on Linked-in and, soon,  Skype. Thank you, Colleague, for helping me to discover new ways of learning and sharing my learning via Padlet

A care package from an educator friend, Inci Aslan,  in Turkey who was the principal investigator of an Etwinning project I closely followed…

 Thank you, Inci, and congratulations on your recent wedding….

A Facebook chat message from Lithuanian educator Irma Milevičiūtė who befriended me on Epals years ago and whetted my  interest in global communication. Heartfelt thanks, Irma—though we have lost touch, what I have learned from you and with you has been enduring….

An informative hour-long  Fuzebox.com  conference with Julie Lindsay, an educator in Australia, about the Flat Connections Global Project —my world continues to expand as it shrinks. Thank you, Julie—I find your China project particularly intriguing and hope that we can be in touch again soon.

How does one keep up with “the learning revolution” or Classroom 2.0? How does one keep abreast of developments in International Education? I try to keep reasonably aware of international events through reading articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education and The Guardian. I occasionally shadow Global Education Conferences  and follow several WordPress blogs dedicated to Global Education. And yet I am so globally illiterate. Here are some of my past musing about these questions

Here are my some of reflections on this topic a few years ago… The world is open. I’ve been thinking about how to make our campus and curriculum more global. Here are some incipient thoughts about how that might de done. I’d welcome your thoughts.

  • Increase awareness and use of media such as BBC NewsGoogle News, and Newsvine.
  • Incorporate Kiva into the classroom.
  • Explore global views of religion, spirituality, and being.
  • Tap into high quality online  or “portable” courses.
  • Explore other languages.
  • Capitalize on cultural universals such as musiccusine, sports, and literature.
  • Reading: Let’s encourage our faculty, staff, and students to read, discuss, and discover world literature. Though no substitute for reading, excellent recordings exist of introductions to world literature, world history, world religions, etc.What suggestions do you have that are simple and cost effective?

And here are even earlier reflections…..

I’m still reflecting on some interesting ideas that emerged in a “listening session” I attended today with two other faculty colleagues concerning a proposed change in our general education program for students at Carroll. I left quite confused, but that is not atypical for me. What is the appropriate foundation for general education in the 21rst century? Are we faculty appropriately educated for teaching in the 21rst century? What skill sets, traditions, and knowledge are as vital today as when this academic institution was founded? Can we change our general education program without intentionally changing our institutional mission? How do we avoid throwing out the baby with the bath water? Should part of a general education be mastery of another language? If so, how does one define mastery—knowing the right phrases to allow one to travel within another country? Or should one be fluent in another culture’s history, customs, idioms, national concerns, and language? Can this be achieved within the traditional four years of a college education and still allow students a traditional major? If we are interested in being more global, shouldn’t we append USA to all our institutional publications? Can internationalization be achieved through the 21rst century equivalence of international pen pals using Skype or VoiceThread?  Through changing the “three r’s” to mastery of 20th century learning tools?   Through BBC language acquisition in 12 weeks courses or by investing time in other such (free) online language learning resources? What does is mean to globalize or internationalize a campus? How can that best be achieved? Is the best way to do so to bring international students and faculty to campus? To send our students and faculty abroad? To create communication opportunities world-wide through Internet means? To expand faculty and students’ knowledge of history, cultures, international economics, and international relations? To conduct collaborative international research and learning projects? Should I join the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology?  Which organizations do I drop out of to allow time and money for these new ones?  What defines global citizenship? Global awareness? How can we continually reaffirm and rediscover our common sense of humanity?

Ayuda me. I’m going postal 🙂  global!

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Using Internet Tools to Maximize My Effectiveness Inside and Outside the Classroom

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Earlier this morning I had a team meeting with two of my student research assistants before leaving for an off-campus meeting with my Schneider Consulting business partners, Jane and Greg Schneider. I gave these two student assistants three assignments (with the additional task of passing on these assignments to their remaining two team members who were scheduled to arrive at noon):

  1. Develop for me a blog piece that evaluates the usefulness of  VoiceThread for us.
  2. Think through ways we should participate in February 24th’s World Read Aloud Day.
  3. Continue working on the ebooks we plan to publish in Kindle Format using Amazon’s Kindle Direct software. I am delighted that as I write this blog piece this evening all assignments were completed.

I praised them for the consistent excellence they were demonstrating in their work with me. In part, our success at working so well together is because we have developed certain habits that facilitate communication and work flow:

  • Documenting the day’s work in a Day One journal application.
  • Saving the day’s work on Google Drive where we all share access and editing privileges.
  • Demonstrating the right balance between solving problems on their own with creative “workarounds” or insights and knowing when to seek my assistance.
  • Learning together, using what we learn, and sharing it with others.
  • Making time for reflection, celebration, and having fun.  I’m still laughing at the delightful reading that Alison and Lizzy shared with me today via a screen cast in a draft of a blog.

When Ariana and Tia ran into a bottleneck today which they could not circumvent, they promptly communicated the problem to me via email sending a screen cast documenting which computer they were using and exactly what problem they were having. Consequently, I was not only able to recommend a solution to the problem but I was also able to share the screen cast with one of my business partners and teach her about screencasting. How lucky I am to have the opportunity to work with, develop, and learn from such talented students.

Allow me to introduce one of my consulting partners, Jane Schneider, in her screen casting debut using Voilá. Today I introduced her to WordPress and to a WordPress guide my students are developing. I hope that Jane, Greg and I from time to time can  share with interested readers some of the work that our team does together.



Curious Davidelearning

Heartfelt thanks to all my teachers I have never personally met—and one in particular


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Winding up; winding down. As I shoveled cleaned out  organized books, folders, software, and files in my office today I came across materials from the First-Year Seminar “Pioneering Web 2.0 Learning Tools” I taught to 25 freshmen in the Fall of 2008. To toss or not to toss—that is the question. I ultimately rejected Marie Kondo’s advice.

It’s fascinating to see how technology tools have evolved since 2008. My electing to teach that course was based upon the positive learning experiences I had for a year blogging for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. That’s where I met you, Pamela Gustafson—once, in person! You helped me bridge the Kindergarten to Higher Education gap.

Without doubt my most formative and informative learning about blogging and internet learning tools came from someone I have never personally met but to whom I am eternally indebted—the indefatigable, ubiquitous, Friend and Colleague across the pond Jane Hart. I urge all my readers to visit her web site on a regular basis and avail yourself of the rich resources.

As I re-examine my  teaching, writing, and personal professional development records  across the past 1o years  I time and again find ample, wide-ranging evidence of her constructive impact on what I know, how I teach, how I learn, and how I consult. Thank you, Jane Hart. My research students and I will be dedicating our student guides to you for your profound influence upon us.

—David

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Curious David

A Student-Generated WordPress Tutorial for My Carroll Students

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Recently there has been a campus-wide discussion about the need to include writing experiences across the curriculum and across a student’s learning years here. I’ve become a strong believer in giving students opportunities to use blogging software and to give them mentored practice in writing thoughtful, civil  responses online to articles which are published online.

I asked two of my research assistants (Alison and Lizzy) , before I left today, to create for me a screencast tutorial using the Camtasia software they just had learned about a basic student guide about how to use WordPress. In their guide they show how to create an account, how to follow someone else’s blog pieces, and some of the many capabilities of WordPress.

I am quite impressed how on short notice, with no supervision from me, they were able to exceed my high expectations. How fortunate I have been across the years from my first student assistant, Larry Jost, until now to work closely with such wonderful fellow learners!

Here is Alison and Lizzy’s tutorial:

Any comments or feedback would be much appreciated.

 

 

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What Do my Students Do in My Absence (Part 2): Lizzy and Tia’s Take on Voila

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Curious David

Revisiting Curation Software: A Student Guide to the Basics of Scoop.it

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Dog tired as I try to bring the semester to a soft landing, I rely more and more on my student assistants to provide support in my research efforts.

I invited student research assistants Alison and Arianna to investigate the usefulness of Scoop.it.” as a teaching/learning tool. Here are their preliminary thoughts.

Scoop.it is a curating media web tool that allows individuals to find content for any topic imaginable. From these topics, it then creates an organized online magazine format. The components of Scoop.it are users, topics, and scoops. The potential users are anybody that has a Scoop.it account and can share articles about any topic. The topics can consist of anything, your favorite sport, a paper for school, current news events, and multiple endless possibilities. The scoops are the articles that are stored under the topic board/page for that specific topic. The free account for Scoop.it allows users to create two topic boards, connect two social media accounts, and scoop 10 articles a day.

To create a topic, one selects the “create a topic” button that is located on the user’s profile page. Once the button is selected, Scoop.it will then prompt you to fill out information about your topic. One inserts the name of the topic, selects the language, and then inserts a couple of key words about the topic. Inserting these key words allows Scoop.it to search for content that may be germane to your topic.

To find content yourself, a search bar in the top right corner allows one to type in keywords. The search will then produce three tabs related to the keywords; posts, topics, and users. The posts tab finds articles and content that is related to the keywords that were searched. Based on the keywords, topic boards that are created by other users will also be pulled up. If one wishes, one can follow a topic board which is then added automatically to one’s “follow” list. By following a topic board, one will be notified of the new content the user scoops into that topic board.

The topic board is a page that displays all of the curated content on the selected topic. In an organized fashion, the topic board arranges all the content you selected for that specific topic. By default, the content and articles are published in chronological order on the topic board.

When one finds an article that they want to scoop into their particular topic board, there is a scoop.it button on the article. This button allows one to select which curated topic board to add the scoop in, add additional text to the article, share this article with other social media sites, select a schedule of publication for the article, and add tags to the article.

Scoop.it allows individuals to share scoops with other social media sites without publishing the scoop under one of their topic boards. On the bottom right of a scoop is an arrow button that give you options of your other social media platforms to share the article with. Some versions of Scoop.it also provide the embedding code to include in  a blog piece or to a website.

For convenience, Scoop.it has a web based platform and an app for mobile devices which syncs everything automatically across devices and platforms (e.g. desktop, iPad, iPhone, and Android).

There is an education version of Scoop.it that allows for  30 co-curators or groups to collaborate on a project.  One is able to search for topics that may aid in papers, research projects, and class presentations. Teachers can create topic boards for a class and attach additional readings of articles that may enhance understanding of the material for the students. It can be used in conjunction with other learning tools such as SlideShare and PowerPoint.

We welcome any feedback or experience with Scoop.it.


Curious David

Leveraging My Technology Learning Tools

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I am sandwiching in (actually eating donuts!) some brief writing time between my two labs for Statistics and Experimental Design (PSY205). The students seem to have indeed come in prepared, having looked at the screen cast I had made using Screenflow for them about how to do a two-way, between subjects ANOVA with SPSS. One of my students offered to use Quizlet to make a review for their fellow students of the “language of statistics.”

Student research assistant Alison has been at work in my office since 8:00 updating our Macs with the new WordPress app. With no formal direction from me, she has reviewed our latest blogs, given thought as to how we can (and if we should) move up in the “elearning feeds ratings” and investigated how to use CreateSpace for the book we shall be writing together. I alert her to several more tools i want her and my other three student assistants to explore: Scoop.it, Paper.li, and either Feedly or Inoreader. She bounces the idea off me of my mentoring a Carroll Pioneer Scholar research program about technology learning tools.

I check my Twitter feed and discover  Much Ado about Nothing brouhaha among Wikipedia editors. That might make my colleague and Shakespearean scholar  (and Object Lesson author) John Garrison laugh. I share it with John. Time to head back to teaching my 2nd lab. Technology CAN be a tool as long as I don’t allow it to control me.