Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Semester Wrap Up

Wow, my last blog post of the semester. I can't believe how fast the semester ended, seems like it was the first day of class last week. I learned some useful knowledge this semester. A couple things I learned in this class, Gen 2243 Exploring Your Digital Portfolio, was how to utilize the internet and  the vast resources it provides the world. I was able to develop a personal learning network in a professional manner, and also how to create a website. Before this class I was unable to use the internet to its full potential, my only experience with it was social media, news, and youtube videos. After this class I was able to create my own digital identity in a professional way, connecting me to thousands of different online users and potential employers. My professor Kyle Calderwood showed us how to use a plethora of different tools that would benefit our college experience and personal lives. I used to be close-minded about the internet because I saw only the negative uses of it. I am now aware of what an extraordinary tool it really is and it's all thanks to Professor Calderwood. I highly recommend taking this class if you are interested, it can really benefit you if you're not to tech savvy or even if you want to better understand how to use the internet. The class was as much fun as it was educational and I know I took a considerable amount of knowledge from it.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Crucial Components to About.me Pages and Websites for Education

For our final project in class we have to design a website. It can be designed for any purpose we choose but it must include certain aspects. One specifically is an About.me page. An about me page is exactly what you'd think. A social media account all about you. It's just a picture of you, a short bio and then you may list some of your achievements. The purpose of an About.me page is to sum up who you are, whats your purpose and what you can do for others. These are just some tips to creating an About.me page.  An important part of your About.me page is your picture. You want to choose a picture that others may relate to, a picture that will draw others to your page. Some people will go above and beyond with some crazy type of picture which sometimes can be cool, but often may be perceived as obnoxious. However, YOU JUST DO YOU AND SCREW THE HATERS!! Seriously though you want to post something that will attract positive influences and won't get you fired from your job. Your About.me page can even be used as a promotional tool as well so it's a good idea to pick a photo that exerts professionalism in some form of way.   

Weebly is a website creator that is frequently used by technologically inclined educators. A big factor is that it is free to create a Weebly website. Educators can connect easily with students by creating a Weebly website and having the students submit assignments as well as blog on the site. There are no advertisements which makes it even more of a reason to use. Creating a website for educational purposes can make teaching a lot more convenient for both parties. Educators can interact with students almost anywhere at anytime. Parents can check in and view everything the student is learning. Students enjoy using the internet and are more engaged in learning through technology. 

Our final reading was the last chapter of The Connected Educator. Chapter 9 was titled "What the Future Holds". The chapter went on to summarize the perspective of the authors views on learning 2.0 which essentially is learning through connecting, sharing and collaborating with others over the internet with the use of internet tools. The four components of learning 2.0 are Knowledge: the information that is all over the internet and is consistently growing, Pedagogy: meaning the practice of teaching, how it is has drastically changed due to the internet, and how it is still changing. Connections: all of the sharing and collaborating that is happening between educators through tools on the internet. How these connections are improving education and changing the way we learn and educate one another. Capacity: the amount of information being shared resulting in the development of new teaching methods and improved ways of learning. Essentially our ability to absorb all of this new information and then apply it. The chapter ended saying that a new era of education is upon us and it is our duty to adapt to this new way of learning. It's an evolution, a change that some are hesitant about but this change is necessary for improvement.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

Creating websites/utilizing IFTTT recipes

Last week in class we were given an assignment
to create our own website. Creating tools such as Weebly and Wix were explored. I had previously used Wix years ago during my junior year of high school and I remember how generic and bland the site was. It has improved a tremendous amount since then. I haven't yet decided which of the two to use for my final project, Weebly uses a very organized platform but Wix has a little more to offer with customization. I think for presention purposes I might choose Weebly. I really want my website to be clean and organized with proportioned features, probably boxy with tags on the right making it easy to explore and access any information I display. This video was a very helpful demo of how to create a Weebly website.

Like I said Wix offers so much freedom in customization of the website. If I were planning on building a professional website Wix would definitely be my number one choice. The website offers a plethora of platforms to choose from that you can actually customize yourself. Wix allows you to integrate social media platforms to share to viewers as well as other platforms/applications such as calendar. A Wix website can be viewed on mobile devices and the user can customize the setting of the mobile viewing so that it is more attractive on the smaller screen of smart-phones. Wix allows users to really build their own personal/professional website to exactly how they want it. Wix presents a great selling point for users that are looking to create a website for retail purposes. Some tips from actual Wix professionals on how to design your website. Some great tips were; Emulate your favorites; they suggested tallying your favorite websites and designing yours based off of their features. Use accent colors; you want your website to be appealing but not overbearing. They recommended using colors and designs to draw the viewers attention to where you want them to be. Less is still more; you don't want any unnecessary clutter, keep it neat and organized.

For those who have not been introduced to IFTTT, it is an automation tool that uses designated triggers to enable actions. The user can create or choose different recipes. The recipes are two applications that connect and share information depending on the trigger. The IF is the trigger, TTT (this, then, that) are what happens after the trigger is performed. So say you chose a recipe of Instagram and Dopbox. The trigger is a picture taken on instagram and the TTT is that picture being saved to your dropbox. There are a lot of recipes to boost picture sharing with instagram, recipes that will allow you to automatically share to facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. Instead of making you go back and forth between the apps IFTTT does it all for you. Some really great recipes to help with making the most out of your time include; facebook/twitter profile changes, when you change your profile pic it will change the other social media sites as well. Weather app to sms, receive a text when the weather changes. Calendar to sms so you can receive reminders of events. There are quite a few recipes to save you time and keep you updated.

Chapter 4 of Untangling The Web discussed social networking tools and how they can be used not only to connect with one another but learn and collaborate with each other as well. TodaysMeetSkypeKidblogEdmodo, and Twitter are just a few social networking/ learning platforms that were mentioned in the chapter. TodaysMeet, Kidblog, and Edmodo are specifically developed for student, teacher and even parent interaction. Educators can create a class chat on TodaysMeet and connect with students to guide them with any help they need. Teachers can help guide students develop communication skills on the web so that they establish proper online etiquette. Chat rooms on TodaysMeet will expire whenever the user wants, they just pick the length of time (1 hr, 12hrs, 1day, 1 week, etc). Kidblog is exactly what it spells, a blog for kids. Kidblog is overlooked by teachers and parents. It is a blog specifically designed for schools and is moderated by teachers. Edmodo is like facebook but for more educational purposes. Specifically designed for schools. Instructors can create an account and give a code to their students. Students then can create their account and with the code they can connect with their instructors and accept assignments. All of these social networking tools allow for exceptional ways of learning and connecting online.