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[Replicable Practices] Week 11: Back to Week 01 (Post 1 of 1)

Thing #18 My 23 Reflections – Mr. M. Simari

My final task which is not at all an encouraged requirement for the participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure. It is a task that I decided to complete on my own because I felt that I needed to evaluate my newly formed learning network. For juxtaposition sake I quoted Thing #01 Lifelong Learning post below.

The 23 things @ MPJ adventure was a very informative and a worth while adventure. I am going to continue this blog with a new set of ‘Things’ that I discover (I am after all now part of Twitter and a networked learner).

At first completing the things was more of a checklist of requirements. Read the thing, complete the task, reflect and move on to the next thing. It was more about getting it done and less about how I can use it in my life (personally and professionally).

As I moved forward with the tasks I found myself speaking about the things more often with my colleagues. Conversations usually began by someone asking:

“Why would anyone want to sign up for (insert name of thing here)?”

Slowly however the focus turned to:

” . . . (insert name of thing here) would be a help here” or “this is a perfect example where (insert name of thing here) could be used.”

Somehow the things became part of a face to face in school learning network (spontaneous). Why then limit myself to a few master teachers here in the school (here come the networked part) when I can become part of a greater personal learning network.

At first I was feeling bombarded with new signups and new things to learn, however it became less about quantity and more focused on quality. I then asked myself

“How can I make full use of the my new knowledge about Web 2.0 tools so that I can create quality replicable teaching practices for my colleagues and students?”

My comments in my very first post are still very true. Thing #01 Lifelong Learning. However I would like to include one of my favourite quotes taken from Tiny Bursts of Learning by Chris Betcher:

Learning needs to be ongoing. The world is changing.

A million awesome things

Thing #01 Lifelong Learning

The introduction task encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to look at the site below:

Young, S. H. (2011, July 31). 15 steps to cultivate lifelong learning. Retrieved from http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/15-steps-to-cultivate-lifelong-learning.html

Comments:

After reading the article I could not help thinking back to the summers I had spent with my grandfather and grandmother. There was never a summer day that went by where my grandfather did not repeat his personal motto to me. He would say:

Michael take time to learn anything and everything you can. Learn a skill no matter how big or how small, one day you will be thankful that you learned that skill, it will serve you well. Learn it, set it aside but do not forget it.  (Ernesto Salerno)

The 15 steps to cultivate lifelong learning speaks to me on a very personal level. Step 2 “keep a to learn list” and step 3 “get more intellectual friends” are two steps that I am very thoughtful in carrying out. It would be a challenge to have everything on your to learn list crossed off since the list is continually growing however it keeps the learning process moving forward, creating many sub or side lists to work from. Surrounding myself with  intellectual friends can be intimidating and uncomfortable but it is within that uncomfortable feeling that learning takes place.  My career as a teacher has certainly helped me carry out both steps.

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[Replicable Practices] Week 10: Cloud Note-taking, Storage and Sharing (Post 1 of 1)

Thing #17 Evernote and Dropbox

The tenth week is a tag team week that encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and use two cloud based services, Evernote and Dropbox. To get a sense of what these tools were I explored, poked around their perspective websites.

If you do a Google Search on Evernote vs. Dropbox you will see the topic has been covered. I read this:

Evernote Vs. Dropbox

TEC #014 – Evernote Vs. Dropbox: why choose?

Comments

Since both services offer cloud based storage there is never a concern about loosing my USB memory key. Regardless of how they are sued one thing came immediately to mind. What if I shared my storage access with my students with special needs. Since the content is presented in a digital form it already becomes primed and ready for modifications. Therfore students with learning disabilities can easily modify the presentation of the content.  They can:

  1. Print it out in any size, colour and type of font and on any colour or type of paper.
  2. Create electronic flash cards or study cards.
  3. Extract or synthesize important information to help create a study sheet.
  4. Manipulate text on any screen to aid in reading.
  5. Make annotations directly on the text for further clarification.
  6. Pass it through a text to speech program.
  7. Look up words immediately via the web or built in dictionary within programs.

Toothpaste for dinner
toothpastefordinner.com

Professionally I can:

  1. Share existing lessons.
  2. Collaborate and improve existing resources to improve teaching practices.
  3. More efficiently use time.
  4. Lessons can be inputted into other forms (blog, webpage, wiki, tweet, text, power point, prezi)
  5. Larger files (videos, SmartBoard resources, presentations) can be shared easily.
  6. Standardization of content delivery will improve.
  7. Cross curricular expectations and lessons will be encouraged.
  8. Share meeting minutes and ideas instantly with others back at school.
  9. Capture teaching ideas and resource in out of school settings (via smart phone for example).
  10. Reduce the clutter and number of items transferred back and forth to school.

[Replicable Practices] Week 09: Microblogging (Post 1 of 1)

Thing #16 Tumblr

The ninth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to complete a short tumble with Tumblr.

Tumblr is not exactly blogging and not exactly tweeting. It is right in the middle. I watched the following two videos to give me a sense of what to expect.

How to use Tumblr

What’s new in Tumblr

Comments

Note: Even after watching the two videos I didn’t really understand Tumblr. So this time I jumped right into the stream. I signed up for an account, received a verification link in my email and followed it. Signed in once more and I explored. After a few minutes of fighting the current, I began to tread water and before you know it I was swimming again. It takes some time to figure out how to customize your Tumblr site but once you got customizing is fun. Posting content is simple.

Simplicity lead to my confusion. Something simple confusing? Mia culpa, I seem to over-think.

Tumblr

With all of the Tweeting, Flickring, Blogging, Wiki-ing, Posting, Tagging and Bookmarking I am now Tumblr-ing. All right so one more thing to sign up for right? Yes, right… but I guess the point here is that my new Web 2.0 accounts less about signing up for more thing and more to the point that I become aware and familiar with all replicable tools at my disposal to create replicable practices.

It is up to me and only me to decide, experiment, tweak, modify and THINK what works best and how create a REPLICABLE PRACTICE out of it.

My Tumblr Page: http://replicablepractices.tumblr.com/

[Replicable Practices] Week 08: Twitter (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #15 Stepping into the Stream: I joined Twitter

This is the second part of the the eighth week that encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to actively join Twitter.

Comments

Sink or swim?

Tread water or go with the flow?

I know how to swim, so off I go!

Michael move forward, become a leader in networked learning, and grow your professional learning network. Time to jump, walk, ease into, tip-toe  into the stream and join Twitter.

Reminder to self:

Personal Learning Networks for Educators

Tweet, tweet, tweet . . .

So I dipped my toe, felt the warm water and the gentle flow of the stream. I signed up for a Twitter account. It was easy and fast. Twitter immediately begins to make suggestion as to who to follow. I found that suggestion included well known celebrities and media outlets, including news and entertainment conglomerates. A quick search led me to a more appropriate relevant Twitters for me to follow, including a stream of tweets from local places.

This experience has taught me to:

  1. Be selective.
  2. Be selective.
  3. Do not become over zealous or over ambitious.
  4. Be selective.
  5. Spend an extra few minutes in research. It is worth it in the long run. Finding master teachers is not easy but when you do make sure you become part of their PLN.
  6. Explore websites / blogs / Wikis and RSS feeds. They provide an insight to the quality of individual tweets.
  7. Speak too others in your field. They will usually recommend a gem Tweeter.
  8. Remember you can always un-follow just as easy as you follow.
  9. Tweet yourself.
  10. Promote. Share. Collaborate your new ideas and other good ideas in your stream. Become a PLN Leader.

[Replicable Practices] Week 08: Twitter (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #14 The power of Twitter for professional learning & connection

The eighth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to discover Twitter. This first part is designed as an information session. I will learn about the power of Twitter and how it this Web 2.0 tool can be used for professional learning and connection.

Comments

I share with you the resources I used to investigate the power of Twitter. What is all this hype about?

Step into the Stream (Networked Leader Learner)

Gearing up for the Big Game by Renee Hawkins on Mar 9, 2011 in Personal Learning Networks, Voices

Tiny Bursts of Learning by Chris Betcher on April 6, 2011 in Education + Technology + Ideas, Betchablog Education

Twitter for Teachers

Tweet…

My favourite quote taken from Tiny Bursts of Learning by Chris Betcher:

Learning needs to be ongoing. The world is changing.

[Replicable Practices] Week 07: Wikis (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #13 The MPJ Wiki

The seventh week continues to encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to discover wikis. However this time it becomes a little personal since we are asked to contribute resources to the MPJ Wiki.

Comments

A. Point to some online resources you have found valuable.

Prezi – (Learn Prezi)

Prezi is a cloud-based presentation software and storytelling tool for exploring and sharing ideas upon a virtual canvas. Prezi is distinguished by its zooming feature, which enables users to zoom in and out of their presentation media.

Prezi vs. Powerpoint

Prezi PowerPoint
Non-linear navigation Linear navigation
Map layout Slide stack layout
View change by zoom/pan View change by reveal
Web-based Computer-based
Limited printing options Multiple printing options

(Prezi description and comparison chart copied from the Prezi entry at Wikipedia)

Scribd

Millions of documents and books at your fingertips! Read, print, download, and send them to your mobile devices instantly. Or upload your PDF, Word, and PowerPoint docs to share them with the world’s largest community of readers.

Twidla – (Try It)

Mark up websites, graphics, and photos, or start brainstorming on a blank canvas. Browse the web with your friends or make that conference call more productive than ever. No plug-ins, downloads, or firewall voodoo – it’s all here, ready to go when you are. Browser-agnostic, user-friendly.

Google Sites – (Learn more)

Google Sites is a free and easy way to create and share webpages.

Highly recommended Wiki – Web 2.0 Cool Tool For Schools

B. Reflect on how the MPJ Wiki might be of value to you and the school community.

  1. Collaboration vehicle for school staff
  2. List of resources shared among departments
  3. Procedures listed for supply teachers
  4. Playground area to have teachers become familiar with the functions of a Wiki
  5. Class based / subject based wikis
  6. Wikis develop as a collaboration or presentation tool for student projects
  7. Another promotional tool for the school as users search MPJ on the web
  8. Drive web traffic to the official school website

[Replicable Practices] Week 07: Wikis (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #12 Learn About Wikis

The seventh week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to discover wikis. Thing #12 encourages me me to explore, collaborate, contribute, author, add, remove, and edit content all through a Wiki.

I don’t get it?

Watch a video by CommonCraft and Lee LeFever. The video is can be see at YouTube via this Link.

What’s the point?

Read the article hosted here at Scribd.com. The article is entitled 7 Things You Should Know about Wikis. Pay close attention to sections 4, 5 and 7. Thanks to EduCause Learning Initiative.

Comments

There is no one particular Wiki that inspires me because there are so many Educational Wikis that have some value or resources that can be further developed. I have been personally involved in 3 wiki projects through the AQ’s that I have taken. Two of the wikis have been hosted on Wikispaces and the other on PBworks. It amazes me (after seeing and collaborating on it first hand) how fast a wiki grows with information and ideas.  I admit these wikis were staged or urged to be created and filled but after a while collaborators were more than happy to continue to develop ideas and carry on discussion passed the last day of the AQ.

There are however some hurdles that might stand in the way of educators that need to be overcome before Wikis are implemented regularly in a classroom.

  1. Not knowing how to begin/use or setup a wiki – Teachers need to delve into it and try it out. They can experiment on their own or sit with another and explore and collaborate together. Also seeing examples of wikis and how they are used can be an incentive.
  2. Anonymity – Chances are that instructors are afraid that users will spew out unintelligent pointless dribble. Although this may occur chances are a teacher will be able to catch the culprit. Users have to register on the wiki before they can make a comment. A collection of names / user names can be kept. Also teachers can assign user names. For example use student numbers. This helps keep some sense of order. Usually users end up regulating each other. Some wikis offer the ability to look back at revision history therefore changes can be quickly fixed and tracked.
  3. Time / Organization – There is not much of it and yes at first the task can be daunting however you will be amazed on how much a wiki grows in a short amount of time. Users also normally maintain some consistent formatting feature. A chaotic wiki is no good not even to its contributors.
  4. Getting with the times – Of course there are the early adopters and those others that are stuck in an old rut. It might take some easing into however through positive encouragement, collaboration and courage anyone can move out of the rut. Think, pair and share.
  5. Technology (Limitations or Resources) – Wikis are not necessary power hungry web applications. The majority of the wikis are normally text based. What is required though is a solid internet connection. I am blessed with having multiple computers in my classroom. Encourage students to bring in their own laptops, tablets or smartphones. Give students a positive purpose and set some simple and clear rules. WiFi is where it is at.

Is it worth the fight? – Without giving it an honest effort a teacher will never know. I happen to think it is.

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