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Evaluation

I have gained a huge amount from doing this course, particularly as Sue and Cheryl have said from the other blogs. I have been able to look at so many good resources from other people that I have already been using in my teaching.

 The format of the blog with tasks linked to other blogs responding to tasks has been really good and I am now just about to replicate this with my teacher trainees. They are due to go out on block placement so we won’t see them for six weeks and we had always intended to set up online activities for them. The platform of choice by default was to be Blackboard but I have chosen to use blogs and going to trial the same model with minor differences in terms of the workload. I find Blackboard extremely frustrating , non intuitive and fragmented – I have been using it for 10 years and God knows I have tried to love it but it is not working for me! Am off to a preview soon of the new Blackboard which I hope includes a button to blow it all up and develop something that people can actually understand!

 I agree with Sue it was a lot of hours particularly in the first few weeks where there were lots of new things that I spent a long time thinking about and setting up – in later weeks we were looking at things  I knew about so it wasn’t so intensive for me. It was not that those hours weren’t available as I spend 2-3 hours a day bogging and social networking but it cut into my ‘social’ use of these things but for a limited time that was fine.

Most useful things I think have to be Delicious – very sad that it might go – RSS feeds and blog readers (being very much a blog addict!) and Slideshare. Once I get really into my research I can see that Mendeley and Cite U Like will be more useful.

I have really enjoyed the little community that we have built here and looked forward to finding out about more about people who work at Hudds Uni which was one of my aims for the course. I am very impressed how much of people’s personality has come over through this interaction – I feel I have got to know people as people through their posts – what they feel strongly about and their experiences and I think that is very much to do with the quality of the contributions they have made – they have all shared lots of things about their experiences doing the course but also their interests and lives.

I think having access to Twitter feeds as well ( as I have been following Sue and Cheryl)  has helped as there has been lots there that has enabled me build the bigger picture of them.Cheryl and I have known each other for a number of years and our offices are opposite each other but her Twitter feed and blog has enabled me to find out more about her interests as well as we don’t get a lot of time to interact face to face at work.

On  practical note please  leave this blog live so that when I forget what Mendeley is and how to use it in a few months I can some back and look at the info!

My other ‘thing’ is a resource I use constantly at work – Teachers TV  – set up to produce short digital videos  for professional development of teachers – originally shown on cable late at night as well as ‘catch up’ through the web. Although not a collaborative resource like You Tube it is a very, very useful repository – lots of real life footage filmed in schools and colleges and invaluable for those in my field. Sasha you may find it useful to look at what is available as resources for teachers in your PhD topic. I have heard that funding is being cut for it (how novel!) but hopefully the archives will remain.

For me having WordPress as the platform made it very easy to set up and contribute – might have been more of a challenge in Blogspot!

Have really enjoyed it – thank you very much for the chance to do this and I will miss not doing it – however I will have more time to catch up with my crafting blogs now!

Am going to leave you with a pic of one of my fave places in all the world – was trying to find a good pic from Flickr but all the ones I  liked were ‘all rights reserved’ so you have one of mine instead.

This is La Marina in Spain – I will be here in 5 weeks time!

The salt flats in between the beach and the mountains

Thanks

Alison

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Following on from the ‘How Do You Use You Tube?’ inputs one of my students has just sent me this very good case study about Bath College of Music and its use of Facebook, You Tube and Google Docs for its students – well worth a look.

http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/page.aspx?o=299885

I absolutely love You Tube and don’t know what I would do without it. If it goes the way of Delicious (that was going to be my new best friend) then I shall be seriously upset.

Like Paul I use it all the time in my teaching – thanks for your videos by the way, the Clash one brought back lots of memories and the 1920s one was fascinating. I love the fact that You Tube goes from the sublime to the ridiculous and back again and I thought that Cheryl’s examples really showed the impact of the medium. Both of her examples were so thought-provoking. I also liked Sasha’s point about it being an archive for ephemeral material like adverts.

So what to choose to show you….

Bearing in mind Paul’s point about the health warning aspects of You Tube I thought that I would share a little story with you from a few years ago. I always do a bit about the joys of You Tube to my trainee teachers at the start of each year – encouraging them to go and explore its joys and use it in their teaching. Well a few months after my input one of my trainees,  Jan shared this warning story with us.

She was teaching a lesson to an Adult Literacy group on formal language and wanted a good example of such and decided that the Queen’s Christmas Day Speech would be good. She had looked at some examples at home and went into the class later that week to deliver the session. Realising she had not written down the exact URL for the video she did a quick search and found what she thought was the clip she had looked at. She set it playing  for the students and was busy sorting out handouts at the back of the class when she realised that they were all laughing. This was an ‘edited’ version with added subtitles, not quite the effect that she intended!

Those of a royalist disposition – look away!

I always share this story with my group now – not only check the content – check each version!

Apologies I thought I posted this one a while ago but found it was still in draft form. Here is is.

Inspired by DigiandyRB’s post I went and analysed my personal blog and it is very accurate – here is what it says –

Written by a middle aged woman between 36 and 50 it is personal  (99% and 1% academic) and mostly happy (95% – the other 5% will be me moaning about having a cold, or a bad back or too much marking!).

I am also is the 91st most happy of 5052 ranked blogs which is very nice as I like to be happy on and offline! I did try to get pics of the stats but could not get it big enough for you to see.

Have not tried 21st task yet due to deluge of family over Xmas but 22nd we use a lot here. Not for academia but for general fact checking though I do show it to my students with a health warning. Tonight my son used it to look up when Islam started as a world religion as we were watching Prince of Persia on DVD and were having a little discussion about the god that they were referring to in the movie.I think it is ok if you know what you are expecting to find and always double-check anything important.

 Think it is a great resource is it is treated as what  it is meant to be a chance for people to share their knowledge. Do not expect to see it referenced in things that I mark though Wakefield College who are one of our teacher training partners have set up their own Wakeypedia for sharing knowledge but that is monitored. Cannot find you the link on Google as it all keeps crashing when I search. Thought that DigiAndyRB’s post on Wikipedia and its censorship was very interesting.

Well I have finally added to the great and the good on Flickr. I have tended not to use it up until now as I post weekly on my personal blog and usually upload pics with each post and have not really felt the need to replicate that. However it was easy to do and I can see the value of having lots of pics in one place to share with family. I have several friends who use Flickr in conjunction with their personal blogs and it does mean that you can see everything in one place rather than having to visit each blog post.

Here is one of the pics I posted tonight – I make Xmas ornaments as a hobby and these are two I finished this week.

Reindeer ornie 1

The back and the front of the ornaments

I find the WordPress picture uploader very easy to use. I really liked the mashups that I looked at – especially the colour picker one – I can see that being really useful if you were doing a themed presentation for example. One thing I found very interesting about this week’s task was that I had not realised that Flickr had privacy settings for each upload, makes sense but had not occurred to me before.

Just one tiny thing that annoys me – after all my years spent teaching adult literacy – why oh why does everything now have to be missing a vowel or two – Flickr, Colr Pickr, Mappr, retrievr – what is going on! Ok Victor Meldrew moment over, but is it just hip or am I missing some significant piece of WWW 2.0 technology – do too many vowels crash the internet or something?

The title of this post is taken from a regular slot in the Metro newspaper that I read on my way to work detailing the weird and wonderful things to be found on the web.The Spell with Flickr is an example of such things and I thought this was great fun.Thanks to Sue who gave me the tip about pasting the code into the HTML tab I can now show you my name in pretty pictures – Yay!

letter A L (Falmouth, MA) I letter S letter O letter N

I use Flickr a lot and always introduce my students to it early on – have not uploaded any of my pics yet but will do so. I love browsing Flickr just for the sheer beauty of the images and I have added many to my favourites – go and have a look at this person’s work for example Yoann Rigolleau – just lovely!

Like others thought that Slideshare was very useful – spent a happy hour or so this evening looking at some really nice presentations, only negative point was that when I tried to download one everything froze but that may well have been my Internet connection. As others have commented it is nice to see what people are doing even if you don’t use the slides you could use (or avoid!) their strategies.

Prezi I am not so certain about – all I could think when looking at the examples (and I looked at lots) was the accessibility issues. I am always conscious of trying to be dyslexia friendly (am an ex – special needs teacher and current disability co-ordinator for our school ) and all I kept thinking was that this would be a nightmare for anyone with reading issues. And how would it print out – or would it even print at all? I can appreciate it from an artistic point of view and thought many I looked at were very stylish but just did not think they would work in most of my settings.

I like the idea of document collaboration and am going to be using Dropbox like some of the other contributors for some community work I have been involved in. Have not really got to grips with how it all works yet but think it will be very useful, particularly as Paul says if you are writing a paper with other people.

As for Creative Commons I am very much in agreement with sharing resources and research. I don’t really believe there is much original thought out there anymore – we all have access to so much inspiration and I think that old notions of copyright have to be re-evaluated in light of digital publishing and access. I think it is going to have huge impact on the way we view writing for publication – some of my colleagues recently published a text aimed at our students. Now I know they were not probably hoping to retire on the sales profits but when I realised the book was available through Summon as an e-book just thought why didn’t we give them all a PDF copy for free. I know this would mean the publisher would object but they are hardly likely to buy it if they can download it all anytime they want – no late fees from the library for forgetting to take it back.

I love print and ‘real books’ but I think our copyright laws just don’t reflect reality now.