Week 4: The Right Tool for the Right Job

I have to admit as the list of social media sites I have accounts with grew these last few weeks, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed.  There seemed to be a lot of people to keep track of and my little book of passwords was filling fast.  But, what a relief to start the activities in Week 4 and find there is some hope of making use of all of these innovative tools in a sane manner.

Hootsuite was awesome – I love to see the columns so nicely organizing my social information – and it is all in one place!  I really look forward to using that one.  I was thrilled with Dropbox – and am already using it for my school work and pictures.  Peace of mind – yes, wonderful peace of mind.  No more sinking feeling when I realize as I arrive in class, that I left my jump drive full of assignments in the computer at home.

I liked the Aboutme site and promptly shared it with everyone I knew.  I am intrigued by the possibilities for Netvibes for future projects.  I worked for a while with the iftt.com and managed a “recipe” or two – I have promised myself some time to revisit this effort – I feel there is potential there for its usefulness.  I haven’t yet found a strong reason to use Twitter – though when I heard some of the Tweets circulating after a certain political event this last week – I could see where they would be amusing.

For me the most exciting part of this experience was bringing most of these services to my cell phone.  This made me feel like I am connected to my work, and school, and home in a very personal way that did not seem possible before.  Everything now is accessible from where ever I am – surprisingly – this gave me a sense of relief.  I feel like the different parts of my existence are connected – and the different roles of my life are not so scattered and unrelated to each other.

It also helped when our Instructor demonstrated that the different services were just that – services. Tools that served a purpose.  And that there was no mystery – it was about using the right tool for the right job.  So it became a matter of figuring out what my goals were and then choosing the best tool to accomplish this.  The fact that these tools can now be connected is powerful for me.  And when I have access to them when it suits me – It also feels like I am controlling when and what I access.  This is better then the anxious rush to check for notifications as soon as I get home – or as soon as I get to work.

In the context of the internet, I understand aggregation to be the process of collecting automatically all available information on the basis of key words.  Curation is also the collecting of material that has a particular focus – but, it is done more intuitively and with other factors besides the bare keywords to guide the process.

There seems to be a community that finds reason to argue the rightness of both of these but, as pointed out by Matthew Ingram at the link below, “These efforts may be well-intentioned, but they are misguided and likely doomed—as virtually every attempt to control the Internet has proven. “ I hope this is true.

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-03-14/the-pointless-debate-over-web-curation-vs-dot-aggregation

At this link I found a very comprehensive discussion of the concept of curating that included Rohit Bhargave’s “five models of curation” – well worth looking at.  His descriptions reminded me that the audience and goals of any search (or research) determine what the method is that is used to retrieve it and to manage it.  The right tool for the right job!

http://www.rohitbhargava.com/2011/03/the-5-models-of-content-curation.html

 

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The Web

There are dangers for anyone using the web.  But, the web is a little like driving an automobile.  It is pretty much an essential skill to be able to drive a car these days and so is knowing how to use the web.  Few would think it is a good idea to put a ten year old behind the wheel and ask them to drive off alone into the sunset – and so it goes with anyone’s introduction to the web.  Guidance and supervision are essential at any age.

The opportunities that the web offers to instructors to support student learning are rich and powerful.  The volume of resources that instructors and other experts have been able to create and share on every topic is growing every day.  And this content is open and available on the web.  Technology that supports the creation of curriculums where students engage in new ways with the material are transforming the classroom experience for many – such as in the “flipped Classroom” scenario supported by Jon Bergmann, Jerry Overmyer and Brett Wilie.

http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-conversation-689.php

This course is bringing my attention to the importance of a student’s digital footprint.  I thought the video about the young man in an interview while his Facebook account sabotaged his chances of being considered, is clear about what students need to consider as they negotiate the web.  Students are being encouraged to create an online presence with eportfolios and collaborate with peers and experts with social media more and more each day.  As they transition from content consumers into content creators they may require guidance and information about just how public, and long term the content is that they create for the web.

http://vimeo.com/6709512

I struggle with social media because it is so public and so immediate.  I need to time to think before I interface with the world.  I give new meaning to the term “time to gather your thoughts”.  When I am using social media on the web the content seems to come from all directions at once, and the technology itself is constantly changing.  But, of course it is because of these very characteristics that the web is such a powerful instrument for learning.  The global aspect, the immediacy, the amount of content, and the constant evolution of technology combine to create great potential for the web to support education.  I recognize that if I want to facilitate student’s creation of an online presence then I must understand what it means to create one myself.

Where I work I am “on” email the entire day.  People expect to be answered as if they were standing in the room speaking at my desk.   When I have days like that, by the time I get home, I really don’t want to interface with people in that way.  But, sometimes I have to because it is the only way I have to communicate with many of the people that I care about.  I learned to text because it is the best way to get an immediate response from anyone and everyone I know.  I lurk on Facebook because I stalk my Son.  And I am determined to feel comfortable with social media because I feel that this is an essential 21st century skill.  It is a skill set that I believe allows students to be life wide and life long learners.

Eportfolios As Multipurpose

There are different reasons students create an eportfolio.  They may aid in the assessment process that indicates to the instructor that students have completed the requirements of a course or program .  Another purpose may be to showcase the students’ accomplishments to instructors or potential employers.

The eportfolio also has the potential to support students’ learning in other ways.  When a student creates the artifacts and reflects upon these in the eportfolio, this makes their understanding of the material visible to the instructor.  This visibility allows the instructor to see where the student may need feedback that will support their efforts to master the material.

This visibility also allows the student to look back on previous work and reflections they have created and see the progress of their own learning.  This has the potential to contribute to their understanding of how they learn.  This is a very important as the student works towards monitoring their own strengths and weaknesses as they continue to work towards their academic goals.

There are other positive aspects of using eportfolios in a program.  I am collecting information about how other programs approach the use of eportfolios for their students and found that Virginia Tech has quite an interesting perspective.

https://eportfolio.vt.edu/aboutUs/philosophy.html

 

Week of Worry

I am worried about getting started on my EPP and would like to tie a project for this class into it.  I am looking at how to support the integration of technology into the process the undergraduates in the OCL (Organizational and Community Leadership) major – use to create their eportfolios.  Technology is of course changing constantly – and I would like to provide a resource for the students to do more than create an eportfolio as an assignment.  I want to help them understand and use tools to create their digital footprint.  I don’t want them to merely learn how to use a specific tool – like Google Sites – I want them to have the skill set that would allow them to take advantage of what ever develops in technology.

Hello world!

http://about.me/tina.trimble

I have looked forward to this course since I first heard about it last semester.  There has been a great deal of information about the role of social media in education in the readings for my different courses.  I am interested in learning more about this.  I also would like to understand how individuals use the different types of social media in educational settings.  How do they keep track of all of their different accounts as they use social media to interact with others.

Personal FERPA statement

I, Tina Trimble, understand and accept that some of my academic work for the fall 2012 semester will be published on the open web.

I also disclose that the work I will be putting up online is done as a part of the EDUC439/639 class at the University of Delaware. The home page of this open class is located at http://openteaching.ud-css.net/.

Unless content put up can potentially damage my online reputation, I also pledge to leave it online until at least December 21, 2012, the end of the fall semester.

Under those terms, I waive parts of my FERPA-granted rights for the purpose of exploring social media and web 2.0, excluding private conversations with colleagues and course grades.