This page is deliberately under continuous construction!
Peek in from time to time.
A final blogpost will be generated from these ramblings. 

(I use a page for this and not a post because I do not want to create an alert every time I update this log.)


As part of INF532 (see module 2.3 for full information) I am required to:

identify digital tools to develop/refine/expand my Personal Learning Network (PLN) and/or to contribute to the integration of knowledge networking as a learning strategy in the classroom.

These tools must be:
– new to me (not yet part of my PLN)
– of particular interest to me in developing my PLN

I should have a PLAN to record the process of selecting, testing/trailing and evaluating each tool as blog entries. Here goes…

The PLAN, at first, is to do the obvious and needed – identify and use media tools I immediately need for the required: information management, content creation, content curation, collaborative work and connecting to social networks and communities of practice. I’ll change this very general approach to a more planned one as I progress, for now I have enough “I must…” needs to keep me productively occupied.

I will comment on:

  • WHY  I investigated the tool (possibly including how I was introduced to it (=selection)
  • What my observations were during in initial use, and update if needed after further exploring (=testing/trailing)
  • I will comment on how (if) I plan to use it further and how I can introduce the tool to students/teachers (=evaluating)

Facebook (groups)

information management, content curation, connecting social networks, communities of practice

Yes, I have used facebook as a social media platform for more than 10 years. BUT I have never explored the professional or learning possibilities, as a matter of fact, I saw facebook was a private place to meet and chat with friends. Fairly recently I have become a bit disenchanted with facebook – more precisely with how my friends were using facebook to promote political views and videos that I really can do without.

During a train ride with some librarian colleagues they mentioned and discussed a post in a facebook group that I was not aware of. Wow. The group is specifically for international school librarians. All the names I have gotten to know so well on my much-loved ECIS librarians’ forum are there (no wonder the activity on the forum has been less than before). The same conversations are going on, with a couple of difference:

  • it is a neater, multi-media interface, more visual than the moodle text-and-email based one of the ECIS forum
  • links are easily posted with visuals
  • I can read it on my tablet as a flow, very similar to twitter

Comments: I immediately hated going to facebook as it now was “work”. I tried to ignore posts in the group. As time went by I adjusted, realising I can “dip-in” and do not have to read everything. I lurked for a long time. Now I am more confident to take part in discussions and to post links to interesting articles found on the web. I have also joined two other education related groups. The ToK related one is posted to a lot and I just skim the headlines, rarely clicking on the link. The other is more quiet and not as directly relevant. I might just lurk a bit longer and then leave the group I do not see real benefits.

My social use of facebook has decreased a lot. I have unfollowed most of my “acquaintances” and friends who post very often. The platform is becoming much more of a professional resource and community, as to personal. This will probably stay true for the immediate future.

I will promote the extended use of facebook in this manner to staff during the upcoming PD session on PLN development (25/07/2017).

on reflection…

  • what? I felt the facebook group was limited because I could not search for a topic/hashtags as I can in twitter.
  • so what? I cannot find relevant postings if I do not read all posts! So what happens if I use #hastags
  • now what? Transfer of twitter practice to facebook! Some people are already using these in their posts. Great! (25/07/2017)

In the past weeks I have explored other facebook groups with mixed success. I have joined and unjoined a number of education related groups.

I commented on some of my experiences in my blogpost, Knowledge network effectiveness, a Facebook group as example.

Final comments:

  • the tool does not easily facilitate finding specific content
  • the actions of a leader of such a knowledge network is very important in setting the tone and in structuring the knowledge sharing. The energy of the leader is often needed to keep momentum.
  • such a group is best suited as a support to individual members – might work for a community in practice –  but not if reaching a common goal is an aim. (18/9/2017)

 

 


Flipgrid

collaborative work, communities of practice

I was introduced to flipgrid through the #CSURU collaboration between #INF532 and Joyce Valenza’s class at Rudgers. What a super-easy and usable tool for collaboration – an easy way to see lots of contributions on one screen, adding comments is just as easy and visual. I can see so many applications in school – in the library directly I will propose use of this in the “Battle of the Books” competition to add a levle of collaboration between the three schools before we get to the inter-schools rounds. I am also contemplating asking the INF532 cohort to contribute to a flipgrid that I can use as part of my Assignment 2 (assessment 1) Knowledge Artefact.  The INF532 contributions were minimum, but enough that I could illustrate the functionality of flipgrid in the “live” presentation of my knowledge artefact on PLN development.

I have already promoted this a tool to the EAL department and will look for an opportunity to also present it to the English and foreign languages departments. We can use it in the library to promote books, during the grade5-6 transition process, etc.

At this point the only downside is that I get 1 restricted flipgrid for free and subscription in $65 for the year. I can always transfer it to my school account if I think I will use it there… (25/07/2017)

The biggest success in using flipgrid in school was in an exercise to have grade 12 students practice (and comment on) interviewing techniques as they are preparing to start college applications. We all learnt so much! In the world of Skype, Facetime and YouTube, we all need better speaking and presenting skills for face-to-face and recorded scenarios. Flipgrid will be a useful tool at ICS in future. (19/09/2017)


Quicktime & Screencast o mania
…and publishing to youtube

content creation & distribution

I remotely remember trying to make screencasts some years ago, but I cannot even remember if I ever shared it with anyone. Well, this changed quickly this week and became a success for me in terms of finding a good tool, developing a knowledge artefact and collaborating with two INF532 classmates who needed instruction.

A friend advised me that quicktime was the easiest way to do screencasts on the Mac. I struggled initially and went to screencast-o-matic, which was easy and straightforward to use. I was able to do a screencast within minutes. Easy. The quality was disappointing, though. Not sure why. I then tried and figured out quicktime. Really easy – still need to learn a couple of things to look more professional.

The next step in the learning curve was how to make the screencast available to my classmates. I could upload in google drive and share with one of them, but the other did not have access or knowledge of google drive. Brave step onto youtube! I watched a youtube video on creating a channel on youtube (ha!) and created one and added the screencast. I could share this URL with my audience. At this point it is a private channel, which is ok. I need advice from someone more expert than me to look at the settings, etc.

Initial evaluation: very pleased with the (baby) steps that I have taken in creating knowledge artifacts and distributing to an audience. I will learn more. I will be able to do screencasts now to show students and teachers “how to” videos especially for noodletools and libguides. I will also be able to show students and teachers how to create screencasts 🙂 (25/07/2017)

I was delighted to find that the fellow student that I created the screencast for blogged about it here. To take this example of how we grow through our knowledge networks even a step further … I just read another blog post in which she describes how she made a tutorial for someone else…

My PLN is working BECAUSE I am contributing to it! What is more – this is an illustration of informal, just-in-time learning in the age of life-long-learning at its best!


Diigo:

information management, content curation; groups: collaborative work?

Yes, I have had a Diigo account before, but frankly, other than posting a couple of links I have not used it. This needs to change as I do not have a good way to manage resources and as a librarian this is just shamefully bad practice. I need to be able to model an information management and curation tool to staff and students. Get to it. Soon. (25/07/2017).

Once I had taken time to set diigo up properly, joined groups such as the Knowledge Networks, Teacher librarian as leader  and School librarians network, set up outliners for my different lines of study, this tool turned into the backbone of my curation! What I did not expect is the ability to have conversations and meet people who will become important to my PLN and why was I surprised to find members of my PLN already active in my new diigo groups? Turns out diigo is also a social media tool.

Why did I investigate diigo? because it was a course requirement and because I know my content curation is not up to standard.

What were my initial findings: Confirmation that it is a superior curation tool. Surprise at the way it allows a participatory social culture through commenting and “liking”.

I wish diigo could cite sources. It would make it the perfect academic curation tool for our students. I even tweeted to them about it.

 

 


Twitter

content curation & distribution, connecting social networks

Twitter says I created an account in 2012. I do not remember this, it probably was the first time I really heard about Twitter and probably just wanted to have a look. The first time I really looked at Twitter was when I started the Masters’ studies and the lecturer @JuneWall insisted we had to tweet. Really? I lurked for a couple of weeks. Followed and unfollowed a couple of dozen bloggers & ed communities and looked at what Donald Trump (who was just being elected) had to tweet. It took some time before I ventured into retweeting and creaing my first tweet – which I promptly deleted again! That was the beginning … this is now.

My twitter community has become essential in finding for me the good nuggets of information as it is being published. I am getting to know some of the personalities that

I follow – worried about Will Richardson being stuck in Porto Rico during Hurricane Irma and smiling at Alex Curos’ strange pictures from Reddit.

The point being that I now have a twitter community thatI rely on. This is how I know what the students in my cohort are studying, what my school colleagues are reading and thinking. I did a literal dance around my study when my principal followed me tweeted about my PD on PLNs inspiring her to publish her blog. I will admit to shivering a bit when the chair of the school board started to follow me.

I can, and will continue to expand my following list cautiously, as I find I can only absorb so much and do not want to miss out on stuff that matters.

I have recommended twitter to faculty, during a session on PLN development and will suggest using it to our grade 10 students as part of their Personal Project inquiries and attempts to connect with experts in the fields that they are exploring.

I have recently expanded my management of twitter by starting to use tweetdeck, a way to organise my twitter feed into categories. Twitter lists has also improved my skills at managing my effective use of the tool. (1/9/2017)

This week I participated in my first twitterchat or is it a tweetchat. Admittedly I was distracted as this took place in the middle of my school day, but I found it very difficult to follow the “conversation”. I will have to explore this some more because I see the value in the idea of a free-forlmat free-attendance conversation about a topic every participant is interested in. It may be a good way to make new connections and to be exposed to new points of view. (20/9/2017)

 

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