Thursday, September 24, 2009

21st Century Teaching and Learning: Teaching without Walls: Life Beyond the Lecture

On September 14, Michelle Pacansky-Brock gave an excellent presentation entitled 21st Century Teaching and Learning: Teaching without Walls: Life Beyond the Lecture.

Pacansky-Brock teaches using a blend of emerging technologies that enhance social presence and foster online community. She uses VoiceThread, blogs, podcasts, wikis, and personalized video/audio feedback.

If you are interested in how teachers and trainers can use technologies to create more interactive, learner-centered learning environments -- whether online, blended, or F2F -- I highly recommend you take an hour to watch the archived presentation, hosted by ELI (ELI membership required).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

How Ironic ...

Yesterday, I made a request at a library for a book. Here's the email I received a bit ago:

"Transaction Number: 352529
Title: Keeping found things found: the study and practice of personal information management
Author: Jones, William

In order to process your request, please supply the following information:

We are unable to locate this book. If you would like, we can place it on hold and search for you and let you know when it is located. Please let us know if you would like the hold placed.

Perhaps it's just my warped PhD student sense of humor, but I find it ironic and humorous that the library can't find the book I want on "keeping things found." (And, yes, I know it means someone probably stole the expensive thing. Sigh.)


Thing 23: Reflection on the 23 Things

Wow ... It's a little hard to believe we are done. I've REALLY enjoyed this experience. It was detailed enough to get me introduced to technologies while being brief enough to 1) be doable! and 2) allow me time to really play and engage with the technologies that particularly "tickled my fancy."

I could write a loooong essay on the technologies, how I'm using them now, and how I hope to use them in the future. The technologies from these Things that I am using the most right now are Delicious and my RSS aggregate. I still have my Twitter and Face Book accounts, and I get into them fairly regularly. I'm still on the fence with them, and still pretty untrusting of FB.

I also am using Evernote, which I discovered during my 23 Things experience -- thanks to a blog to which I subscribed!!, and the Yahoo notepad feature. I'm using them to save citations, websites, pdfs, etc. for my dissertation.

This experience and Char Booth's study on how students are using various Web 2.0 technologies (which I ALSO discovered thanks to the blogs to which I subscribed during these Things) have helped me to better hone my dissertation topic, though I still have lots of work to go on it!!!

Wishing you all well!!

Thing 22: The "Things" in Context

This thing actually asks for us to talk a bit about how we could "adapt this program to increase the technology skill level among the staff at your library" (Thing 22). Now, I don't work at a library right now, though I DO want that experience ... so if you hear of any jobs in Weatherford or Ft. Worth, please let me know! Note, though, that I do not have a LS degree. But, I digress ....

As I noted WAY back when we started these Things, I am a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Information Science at UNT. I work as a teaching and research assistant for a SLIS professor who is an avid ethnographer AND tech lover!! Cool combo, huh?

I believe we as professors and instructors should be teaching future LS and IS professionals how to use these various tools to accomplish tasks they perform in courses. This would help students gain an appreciation and understanding of how the tools work, as well as providing the students with opportunities to implement these tools in new and creative ways.

For example, in our intro and advanced storytelling courses, I think using YouTube for the final concert performances would be fabulous. In the intro course, we could keep the videos private to the class, or allow the students to share them with their friends and family. In the advanced course, our online storytelling concert, which has included streaming video in the past, could incorporate the YouTube technology for publishing the student performances.

Having students collect and share source citations using Delicious, and/or having them rate materials on Stumbe .... Using a faculty blog to organize our teaching team activities (I'd REALLY like to get this one pushed through, and I need to renew my efforts!!!!) ... There are SO many ways these technologies could be implemented into the curriculum that would help student professionals grow AS they complete their course tasks!!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thing 21: Podcasts

I've listened to only a few podcasts in the past. Specifically, I've listened to podcasts discussing product features of various GIS software packages.

I looked at some of the podcatchers. The one I was most interested in BlogMatrix Sparks, does not appear to be available anymore. It was an "all in one" package to create, manage, and capture podcasts.

I looked at several library podcast sites linked from the Library Success Wiki page. The Emory Library (Emory University) podcast page no longer existed from the LSW link ... bummer; I thought they might have had something relating to the medical program.

I found the Worthington Libraries Podcasts to be the most interesting. They have separate podcast pages devoted to children (story time podcasts), tweens and teens, and adults. The adult "podcasts" are actually videos on YouTube, but they cover a wide variety of topics ... from a summer book reading list to a series on charting a career course.

The tween/teen podcasts are cool because they are created by and to showcase the winners of the Teen Poetry and Short Story Competition hosted by the library. One of the downsides, though, is that not all of the teens are engaging speakers. However, I think this is a wonderful way to make the competition more interactive and engaging for the patrons.

It seems that podcasting is an extremely popular method for "broadcasting" interviews.

I would like to offer some course lectures as podcasts that can be downloaded to a player. It would be interesting to do a pilot study and/or survey to see how working adult online students, in particular, might profit from that functionality.

Thing 20: YouTube

For this Thing, we reviewed some library created/related videos on YouTube. When I searched Texas library events, I saw that Abilene Public Library has an active presence on YouTube. Pretty cool! Their videos are well-produced, too, which is important for promoting the library.

I found that UNT does not have a library presence on YouTube, and neither does Weatherford Public Library. Bummer.

Using YouTube for training is a really cool use of the technology. For example, Athens-Clarke county library has a two-part teacher training video. The videos deal with teaching a language acquisition course and being able to create and present a 55 minute lesson plan.

One thing I find irritating about online videos is the streaming gap. I have a wireless connection to my router, and I can NEVER watch a streaming video without that irritating pause.

YouTube is very popular, and it's certainly worth a look-see as a method for creating exposure to a library's services, events, and overall "presence."

I am particularly interested in using YouTube in the Storytelling for Information Professionals course within which I co-teach. By using the privacy feature to limit the viewers to only class participants, we could more easily share recorded student storytelling sessions. Previously, students had to mail videos/DVDs to the campus, we'd stream the media, and then upload it to the Blackboard course.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thing 19: Google Docs

I was really interested in this Thing, as I'd never used Google Docs before. As with many of the other tools I've FINALLY explored during the North Texas 23 Things, Google Docs was on my "to do" list.

This is a really neat set up. Though I haven't scoured through all of the fine print yet, I can already see how it could be particularly helpful in the unofficial course evals we conduct around mid-semester. I find Blackboard Vista's tools to be rather cumbersome, so this is definitely something I want to discuss further with the professor for which I work.

Plus, UNT offers its members a Google Apps Team Edition ... somthing I had NO idea about until I did this Thing. Geez.