LTT: Weekly Blog Challenge – Task 4

The challenge continues

I know it’s been a while since the gauntlet was thrown (like October ’07) and back then I set some weekly blog challenges for the Learning Technology Team. At the commencement of the challenge, the team mostly engaged. Towards Task 3, the team were not so engaged, or more to the point, had no time to put into this series of challenges and wanted some time to reflect and revise on their learning.

Inspiring colleagues

Regan Harding Guest BloggerA couple of things have made me decide to finish this series of challenges. The first being regular gig for Regan Harding as guest blogger on the engageme.net/blog, Regan is one of our team members and her posts have been very inspiring and I would like you all to go visit them… and the second, a link to a very interesting blog that I received by email today;

Using Blogs to Promote Authentic Learning in the Classroom

What a great list of resources! In particular, check out the Student Safety and Responsible Blogging section

So let me recap on the challenge. The Tasks so far;

  • Task 1 – created a blog.
  • Task 2 – your “About me” page.
  • Task 3 – comment on someone else’s blog.

Now for Task 4 – Email a Reader

This challenge is about thanking readers that commented on your blog and contributors from way back if you’ve been blogging for a while now. My suggestions would be to do it via a personal email.

Yahoo Kids thank you e-card

This is something to adhere to in the future if you really want to get the most out of the relationships you have created through your blog. Responding to someone via email to thank them for their resources, comments, links or conversation is a great way to strengthen a relationship and encourage that person to continue reading and contributing to your blog and your blogging network.

I have really enjoyed my (Blog & Twitter) community that grew as a consequence of the 31 Day Blog Challenge I took part in last year. These connections are still there (although I have been quite absent so far this year) and these contacts support us in our daily roles and with our own personalised learning.

Welcome to teaching and learning in 2008

iPod

Well hello!

Yes I am still here. I can’t believe that my last blog post was November 18, 2007. I wont bore you all with the details, but it was a very busy end to 2007.

I did manage to have a good break over Christmas. You can probably tell that I hardly even touched a computer. I haven’t been visible in Second Life, Twitter, or any of my usual blogging communities, I’ve had a serious break.

I wonder if the people in the communities I was so active in even remember me?

So it’s the beginning of 2008 and it’s time to get back into it.

But, before we do, and in case you missed it…. bumped into Kevin Rudd on Christmas Eve. Was a very weird experience. One that I wont forget in a hurry.

Meeting Kevin Rudd

It’s going to b a great year this year, and there’s so much to do already! New beginnings… Let’s get into it!

What’s your technology challenge for 2008?

LTT: Weekly Blog Challenge – Where are you?

Hello LTT team!

Before I post Task 4, I’d like to know where you are all up to in this blog challenge? I have looked at all your blogs and noticed that many of you have not completed Task 3. I seem to have lost you in this challenge.

Why?

What do you think about blogging in education? Why doesn’t it work for you? Does it work for you? Is it just another thing you need to do? Can you see any benefits yet? I’d like to invite you to comment on this post and start a conversation about it. What are the issues?

What can I do to engage you in this challenge?

In Task 1, you created a blog. You refined your profile, in Task 2 – your About page. In Task 3 you were asked to comment on someone else’s blog. Blogging is about conversation and connections and to start this off, you need to comment on a blog.

Where are the blogs?

You do not have to comment on a team members blog, so let me know if you’ve gone outside the team so I can join you.

There are other NCI staff with blog’s that are worth discovering, let’s find them and engage with them. There’s a plethoras of resources out there on blogs. These people can be really beneficial, helpful to you in your daily role and have resources you can share.

I mentioned Kaz Madigan in the last task. If you haven’t had a look at her colourful and wonderful blog, have a look now.

NSW Outreach Exchange blog

Have you been to the NSW Outreach blog?

Are there any more blogs you know of?

I’d also like to invite the wider community to comment on some of these blogs. It would be great if you could help us find the value in connecting with other educators.

Team Blogs (ready for comments and conversations;

I look forward to the conversation and collaboration.

LTT: Weekly Blog Challenge – Task 3

So you have a blog!

What now? What can you do with it? How could it be useful in Teaching and Learning?

I’d like to invite any teachers reading this blog to comment on how they use there blog, why is a blog classed as a Social Networking tool? How can it be used with a class?

I use my blog to share my e-Learning/ New Technology learning and development with colleagues and family. It’s both a personal and professional space.

So how can a blog be useful for networking?

Here’s an example;

Kaz Madigan, curiousweaverYesterday a teacher within North Coast Institute contacted me and happened to mention that she read my blog and I was really thrilled.

Kaz Madigan has her own blog, which I hadn’t seen before and it’s wonderful. Now I have seen it, and we have talked about our blogs and have made a connection and are looking forward to meeting each other.

But that’s just the start…

I have since sent her blog to a couple of other teachers that have similar interests, work in the same area or a similar interest in web tools. I am hoping they might post a comment on her blog, or contact her and connect.

For me, the power of blogging is making connections. Connecting with like minded people in this way, you are able to develop a strong collaborative relationship virtually, an element of trust follows.

If you haven’t already met face to face, one day you might and the relationship strengthens further, as resources, learning, and experiences are shared. Through these people and their online spaces, you meet others and a strong network of ‘trusted’ friends blooms.

In Task 1, you created a blog. You refined your profile, in Task 2 – your About page. Now you are ready to experience the power of blogging. But, as always, to get something out of it, you need to put something in, so here it is, Task 3.

Task 3: Comment on someone else’s BlogChat Bubble

This challenge is about going on a blog hunt to find like minded people with a blog. Add a comment on to their blog and start a conversation.

There is a list of your team/colleague blogs already in the comments section of Task 1. You could also search for a blog relative to your faculty or area of interest. It’s up to you, but please take the time to make a comment, you’d be amazed by how much it’s appreciated and you’ll probably get a response back fairly quickly.

I know this challenge might seem pretty basic, but many successful blogs have been built on the back of these types of conversations and the task is worth getting your teeth into.

RSS - Subscribe to this Blog

Tip: RSS Aggregator…

I can’t really imagine life before netvibes; managing all those blogs and wiki’s through an RSS Aggregator makes life so much easier. You can subscribe to the RSS feed on a blog to automatically keep following the conversation and posts.

Next week, in our Technology sessions, we’ll revisit RSS and their use to save you time!

Good luck and happy commenting!

Reviews of the LearnScope Regional Event ’07

I have been keeping an eye out for reviews of the LearnScope Regional Event we held in Coffs Harbour, late September 2007. See my post about this event.

We had three presenters from North Coast Institute, including myself.

The other presenters were;

Regan Harding

Regan HardingRegan shared some of her thought provoking experiences with her Youth at Risk and Generation Y students and the treasure within.

Her presentation explored personal identity and learning and how electronic mediums can provide young people with chances to be seen and be heard. Regan also covered what has worked for her and what might work for you. Regan showcased some of the spaces she uses to teach and engage her young students and the surrounding communities.

A couple of links from Regan;

Blurring Worlds Might Have Us Speaking Clearly – The Sydney Morning Herald

It’s Crunch Time – Raising Youth Engagement and Attainment

Kate Jones

Kate Jones

Kate’s message was clear, there’s no need to recreate the wheel, there are plenty of great resources out there.

Kate shared some of the wonderful resource sites she has found. Many of which contain some fantastically engaging, media rich resources, often with accompanying teacher guides and lesson plans.

Both Regan and Kate did an outstanding job on the day and you can check out some reviews of the day, from Zoe Campbell here. Zoe also shares some great resources from the day.

Check them out!

Thanks Zoe for sharing your learning and feedback from that day.

LTT: Weekly Blog Challenge – Task 2

Welcome to Task 2.

In Phase one of the Technolog-e sessions, we looked at Educational uses of Blogs. Now, in these five short tasks (should take no more than 15 minutes each), we’ll be exploring some of the techniques you can use to embed blogging into your work, engage your colleagues and your students.

Looking back at Task 1

In task 1 (getting started), you set up your first blog and wrote your first post. What a great achievement!

Here are some of your new blogs;

Well done… that’s a great start.

In some of these blogs, I can see real potential to engage and connect not only with your colleagues, but students, industry and community.

Task 2 – Spend some time on your About Me/ Profile page

The About Page of your blog is a VERY important part of your blog. It gives you a chance to connect with your readers on a more personal level. Here’s mine.

This page gets checked out to see who you are before they decide whether they want to read your blog or how much they are likely to engage with you. Rework it regularly. I have run some audits on my blog and this page does get as many visits as the front page.

Your task is to develop your About/Profile page, and here are some tips on how to get your readers interested;

  • Try to avoid acronym’s and ‘techie’ words and phrases – like “new and emerging technologies”, “personalised learning environments” and “pedagogy”, unless you are writing to explain what they are
  • Include your picture or a personal image, include some personal things that allow people to see what they have in common with you
  • List any other online spaces that you have that your readers might like (e.g. myspace, lastfm, twitter, wiki’s, del.icio.us, etc)
  • Spell out subscription options – RSS… so readers can be notified when you post something new (need some help?)
  • Provide a way for your readers to contact you. Some free blogs have Contact Forms as part of the deal, check your blog settings and options.

* Remember not to put too much personal information here, it’s open web. Check our Team security & privacy page from our session with Sue Shelly.

LTT: Weekly Blog Challenge – Task 1

Embedding Blogging into your Educational Spaces

In Phase one of the Technolog-e sessions, we looked at Educational uses of Blogs.

As part of this challenge, we will explore some of the techniques you can use to embed blogging into your work, whether that’s engaging colleagues, student, family or all of them (you get out of this as much as you put in) in the one space.

Your Challenge

It’s time to strengthen our network, collaborate more with our team, and email less.

So let’s start with our own Blog Challenge.

Note: One task a day (even a quick one) might be a bit much to ask of you, but you have some paid time for your role once a week. So I am asking you to take 10 – 15 mins to complete one task per week for five weeks.

To learn about the power of blogs, we need to start using them. There’s not much point me listing the blog challenges on our team wiki, so I’ll do it through my blog….

Task 1 – Write A Post

If you haven’t already

  1. Set up a blog with Blogger and Edublogs .
  2. Watch this video on how to set up an edublogs blog.
  3. Your blog title and URL address is important, it sticks, consider carefully.
  4. Choose a design/ template/ style – don’t spend too much time on this yet, it’s a later task.
  5. Get started by writing your first post. Watch this video on how to write posts for Edublog blogs. This could be a welcome, an introduction to you and why you have a blog, it could invite other to comment on your first post.

For some tips withnumber 5, read Sue’s tips.

Blogging

* image from here

Some useful Blog Challenge resources

The survey results are in!

Well, the survey results are in!

As you know, I used a web tool called WuFoo to create a poll to determine times that would be best for you, for the Technolog-e Sessions. Once the form is created, a step-by-step process, WuFoo provides the code to embed the form into your blog (it’s just like adding media [slide.com] into your wikispace).

WuFoo tool also allows you to create basic, graphic reports for you to easily view the results.

I have taken a screen print of the results, as you can see, but, you’ll need to click the image below to view the graph;

Results of LTT poll, preferred times for LTT Technolog-e Sessions

So it looks like our sessions for Phase 2 will now be:

4.00pm on Wednesday and 9.30am on Thursday.

Thanks everyone for participating.

Team Meeting Time Survey

Dear Team,

In an effort to minimise inbox overload, and in response to your great feedback, enthusiasm and determination, I have decided to dedicate this blog post to you.

I agree with the comments Arabella Hay made in a recent email to you all;

“…you are all doing a fantastic job and thoroughly enhancing the skills and knowledge of your Faculties and Campus’s….”

“…it’s time now to consolidate, refresh and explore embedding new ideas and practices. So, perhaps entering a different phase with a different ‘look and feel’… ”

StarAccepting the role as a Faculty or Workplace e-Learning contact is a massive commitment considering how busy you all are. I am aware that you are all devoting more hours to this project than allocated and I am seeing some wonderful blog’s, wiki’s, Del.icio.us pages, Moodle Courses, etc as a result. I am also getting some great feedback from teachers, head teachers, faculty managers and our Institute Director about the wonderful support and work you are all doing.

So thank you all for your effort and hard work so far!

Welcome to Phase 2

Arabella has succinctly captured your feedback in the comments above. Having taken your feedback and suggestions on board, we are now busy preparing for Phase 2 of our project.

Let’s revisit some of the technologies we have explored to date and focus on ways to embed these technologies (as appropriate) into your Faculty or Workplace. In addition, let’s explore a couple of tools that you can use to engage colleagues in using the technologies you have explored so far; Jing, Bridgit and Adobe Connect.

I hope you’ll join me next week for the first Technolog-e session of Phase2.

In this session we will create quick some demonstrations that you can upload to your wiki/ blog or email to your colleagues, using the program Jing (you will need to download and install Jing prior to this session – you may require the HelpDesk for this).

We’ll follow this up with some Adobe Connect training for you, and we will use these sessions to look at ways to further embed the technology you have already explored. Technolog-e Session Schedule

Times

It’s always going to be hard finding times that suit you all. So I invite you to make some selections on the survey below. The most popular times will be selected.

This form was built using the Web2.0 tool Wufoo, it’s a great tool, easy to use web based form builder. It’s well worth signing up for a demo and using on your wiki’s and blog’s! Have a look at some example forms here.

<a href=”http://flairandsquare.wufoo.com/forms/whats-the-time-mr-wolf/” title=”HTML form”>Fill out my Wufoo form!</a>

Please feel free to leave a comment on this blog.

Supporting e-Learning Staff

Okay, so the connection is really slow at Wollongbar Campus on the North Coast of NSW, regardless, we managed to get some great work done, see slides below.

A training day with a small group of Faculty and Workplace e-Learning contacts was an ideal way for each staff member to catch-up with where the rest of the team is, collaborate and support each other. Looking at one relevant technology and focusing on it’s application for teaching and learning with colleagues seemed to be an extremely succesful way to get engaged and motivated.

What we learnt

  1. One thing at a time - focus on one tool that you feel will be relevant to your workplace/ faculty and set it up
  2. Connections and teamwork – make connections and network with each other, share ideas and resources and look at what other team members are doing.
  3. Ask for help - don’t be afraid to ask for help, exploring problems and solutions together is a great way to explore technology.

What next?

  1. Look at your personal plan. How are you going?
  2. Communicate with you Faculty about what you can offer
  3. Keep in touch withme, I can help you, give you some direction and connect you with each other

Linda Johnston is doin’ it for her faculty!

I’d just like to take a moment to introduce you to Linda Johnston.

Linda is the Faculty e-Learning contact for the THRAPS (Tourism Hospitality Retail and Personal Services) faculty and part of the TAFE NSW, North Coast Institute’s Learning Technology Team. The main focus of this team is to explore the use of technology in teaching and learning and to increase staff capability in this area.

Not having a background in Information Technology, Linda seemed a little nervous about the task ahead. It was clearly evident at the start that she was excited by the challenge. Her enthusiasm to learn about, implement and explore new technologies and look at how they could enhance her role as a teacher has blown me away and impressed many of her colleagues.

Linda teaches in Pharmacy and Retail and her goal is to be an e-Learning Champion and I think she already is!

Linda Johnston is doin’ it for her faculty!

“I believe Linda has embraced the opportunity to become the faculty e-Learning contact and is doing a fantastic job. She is extremely enthusiastic and has provided practical and effective support to her immediate colleagues in the faculty, many of whom are beginning to increase the use of IT in their delivery. Linda is a very capable educator making a exceptional contribution to her section, the faculty and the institute.”
Michael Callaghan
Faculty Manager, Tourism, Hospitality, Retail & Personal Services

——————————————-

Check out some of the spaces Linda has created as part of her role.

Pharmacy wiki - http://northcoastinstituteoftafecommunitypharmacy.pbwiki.com (contact Linda for password details)
Linda’s blog - http://ncifelcthraps.blogspot.com/ – share Linda’s e-Learning journey

If you work in Linda’s faculty and want to share her resources, enthusiasm, or just get some help with using technology effectively in your classroom, you can contact her via email – linda.c.johnston@tafensw.edu.au

Well done Linda!