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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Creative Commons Lab

Lab Part 1

Since I am not a "teacher" or "trainer" I wasn't sure what to use for this post.  I suppose since I am so interested in interactive whiteboards, that choosing this picture only makes sense.  I would use it to illustrate an interactive whiteboards multi touch capabilities. I think having the ability to pull images and use them educationally is a wonderful resource.  I have experienced this when using Prezi.  When you choose to insert an image it will ask you if you want to select one that has already been licensed for use in Prezi (which is what I always tend to do).  Now that I know the proper citation for using others work, I won't be as limited.

multi touch on 2Touch - platying bubblewrap pop

Photo Attribution: Original Image "multi touch on 2Touch - platying bubblewrap pop"

By: Pablo Garcia

Released under an Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License

 Part Two of Lab

Here is a link to an old photo of my pug Layla on Flickr.  

Here is the actual picture: 

Photo Attribution:  "Layla" by Rachael Hilliker
Released under an Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike License

Saturday, February 18, 2012

LEARNING STYLES--There is a reason I cannot sit still ...

Out of the three learning styles (Visual, Auditory and Tactile), I am a tactile learner.  Considering only about 5% of all people fall in this category, it's no surprise to me that I often feel like school isn't designed for someone like me.  I get bored with lectures easily!  According to the learning style test I just took:

 "Within the kinesthetic learning style, there is also a sub-category known as
interactive learning. Interactive learners frequently find that they lose attention
easily. Like kinesthetic learners they tend to become distracted or bored very
easily within lectures. These individuals often learn best when they are in
situations in which they can actually perform or do something. They frequently
must re-write notes in their own words in order to recall relevant facts." 

The above description is definitely ringing some bells for me.  I have always enjoyed labs or hands on learning-perhaps this is why the interactive whiteboard is so fascinating to me.  I think about how much more fun I would have had in school if I had been able to use one of them! 

In school I have always enjoyed lab work or science projects.  Lectures and memorization did not work for me and it was obvious in my test scores.  I often volunteered to "go up to the chalk board" to show examples of work-not because I thought I was a smarty pants, but I actually needed to do something to learn the material better.  

I think as a teacher/trainer it would be best to have students collaborate-that way students can each participate in activities using their own learning style.  They can also present information to others that match their own learning style.  I know we can't teach each lesson in a curriculum focusing on every learning style but I honestly believe that interactive white boards can be great tools for visual, auditory and tactile learners.   I wish we could put one in every classroom in the country AND train teachers on how to effectively utilize them. I think it would have made a world of difference for me and other tactile learners out there. 

I also took a multiple intelligences test and the results surprised me.  It states if you scored over 3 on any of the types you probably use them often-all of my scores were over 3???!!!  Not surprising was my top -Music I scored a 5, followed by Nature at 4.43 and Social at 4.14. Here are my other results:
Language Math Self Body Spatial
3.43 3.29 3.29 3 3

I found the recommendations from this site interesting-like incorporate songs or rhythms for memorizing things.

Monday, February 6, 2012

RSS Feed Part Two

Well, it's been a few weeks using the RSS feed and I have changed the settings quite a bit.  One of the things I noticed when I first started it was that if I selected the RSS subscribe on some articles I found interesting, I would then get articles from that site that often had nothing to do with the original article I liked.  I found that for certain sites I had to subscribe to categories so that I wouldn't get ever article they posted about random targets. After the first few days I noticed it was easier to navigate and that my feed was more topic appropriate to what I was looking for.

What I eventually started doing was "starring" articles that I enjoyed or that I found interesting enough in the paragraph summary to want to save to read later (or to even share with others).  Google reader probably wasn't the best choice for me as far as filtering topics but since I already used iGoogle for my Gmail, twitter, blog, facebook, etc. it seemed to be the easiest for me to add to my routine.  I noticed that there seemed to be a common theme on many of the EdTech sites based on current events so it was interesting to sometimes get different perspectives on things. 

I was able to get a lot of interesting information for my SIG group which I then added to my delicious account. It helped in the research aspect of things to have have to do "google searches" with varying phrases and keywords. 

This last week especially it seemed everyone had something to say about the superbowl (and though I'm not exactly sure what that had to do with some of the websites I subscribed to, I suppose it can draw in the reader if it appeals to multiple interests they may have).

I ended up removing some of the subscribed sites when I felt their content was below my standards or just not as up to date and I had hoped. The NPR education feed had some very interesting articles about the drop out rate and school lunches but I was hoping to find more technology related articles that never came so I went back to NPR and subscribed to their technology feed.

One thing I did like about the Google reader and I don't know if other RSS feed organizers do this but it pulled old articles from sites as well.  There was some great articles from one and two years ago that I might not have otherwise came across if not for the feed.  I tried to read a few really old articles each day as well. 

Some feeds I rarely starred anything and some feeds I seemed to star quite often.  It became a habit to look  at certain feeds first each day because I knew they had more useful information than others -at least for my interests.  I found that the articles or posts most interesting to me were ones from actual instructional designers or teachers utilizing innovative technology in their classrooms.

If I keep this up a few more weeks I can see that this will be a great habit for me to have to stay up to date on the quickly changing world of educational technology and I feel much less overwhelmed receiving the information than I did at the beginning of this assignment.  This is a great tool for anyone, no matter what your topic, career, or goals.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

PC Maintanence and Security

I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about basic computer things-both hardware and software related.  However in reviewing the Firewalls tutorial I was surprised to learn that both a hardware and software firewall are recommended.  My router has a built in firewall and I've always turned off the windows firewall because it's just annoying to me (constant popups about trying to connect to the internet) and blocks things I don't think it should like file-sharing between my home network computers. Perhaps I've just never had it configured correctly. There were several tutorials in the firewall category so I watched all of them and then proceeded to turn my windows firewall back on.  I also downloaded zonealarm to my computer because it seemed to be the best choice for me.

I already have AVG free on my computer, but wish I could afford BitDefender for all of my computers and tablets.  In our house we have 2 desktops, a laptop, and 2 tablets and use wireless internet connection (which makes our information more vulnerable).  I had heard of BitDefender before, but was surprised at it capabilities noted in the tutorial. Of course when you look at the price based on number of users, I doubt I could afford it on all of our devices. I was also surprised to learn about their free editions of their software (previous versions) and their free virus removal tools.  I have bookmarked those just in case I need them someday.

The file backup options tutorial was the only one that was disappointing to me.  Right now, I have a terabyte external hardrive that I put all our videos and pictures on.  I use google docs for a lot of my school work documents since they are available web based and I don't have to take a flash drive everywhere.  For my iPhone I use iCloud to back up information.  I never really have time to do full-back ups (perhaps I have too much info on my computer to back up).  I do have my Seagate programed to auto partial backup certain folders on my computer (pics, docs, purchased program software, etc.) I don't really like the idea of storing my data on an online software program.

Overall I thought the tutorials were pretty well put together and they were short enough that I could watch a section and then come back to them later.  It was very informative and I plan on sharing a lot of the information with people I know.

While I was writing this post, my AVG sent me this and I thought I'd share it.

Educational Technology Guy: 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have

Educational Technology Guy: 10 Tech Skills Every Student Should Have