Day #8.3

Hello world!

The week is finally drawing to a close, and I finally found some time to compose myself to reflect a little more on what I accomplished these past few days.

Before I get into the ED 620 stuff, I want to talk about my day yesterday because it was a really neat learning experience for me. Yesterday, I volunteered my time to work at the Pennsylvania Civil War 150 (PACW150) Road Show, a traveling exhibit that tells the story of PA’s involvement during the war through a number of different mediums, while it was at the Jefferson County Fair. PACW150, a movement of the Pennsylvania Heritage Society and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, was set up as a way to get people involved with the 150th anniversary and commemoration of the American Civil War. Through the use of technology, they have created an awesome collection of free resources that can be very valuable in and out of the classroom.

My time spent at the Road Show involved working with visitors in the technology driven “Share Your Civil War Story” booth. Inside, visitors could record a 90 second video using a computer and webcam where they tell a family story about the Civil War. To see some examples of people’s stories, click here. I got to meet a few very interesting people who had great stories to tell.

The exhibit is very well put together, and I suggest everyone to visit it whenever it is in your area. For anybody in the Clarion area, the Road Show will be visiting the Clarion Mall on September 9th through the 11th. The full 2011 schedule can be found here.

Alright…now on to ED 620.

I decided to share my experience from yesterday because my time volunteering also helped to build my Personal Learning Network a little further. Which reminds me, I have been building my PLN little by little over the past few days. Google Reader has become a big part of my web browsing experience. It is very convenient to log onto one page and have all the information you are looking for delivered right to you. This is going to save me so much time from now on. Efficiency is key whenever busy schedules take over, and I have a busy schedule.

After reading more and more about Twitter, I’m becoming a bigger fan of the social tool. I see it now more as a resource rather than just something that is there. One thing I found out about Twitter after doing some research is that it use to outright support RSS, but now it takes a little bit of effort to include Twitter feeds into your RSS readers. After some browsing, I was able to find this website that details two different methods of locating an RSS for Twitter accounts, which is very useful if you plan on using a reader to keep yourself organized.

I thought “Module #2” this week was very relevant to anyone that is an educator in today’s world. I already discussed my thoughts on the RSS feeds and Twitter, and now it’s time to touch upon the other resources and information that was shared with us this week (Google Apps and Open-Source Software).

What can I say? I LOVE GOOGLE TOOLS! I’ve been using Gmail since high school, and highly recommend it as a primary email address for anybody. I use Google Maps all the time whenever I am looking for directions to a place that I’ve never been to. I’ve made my Professional ePortfolio using Google Sites, and I’ve used Google Docs on various collaborative class projects.

One tool that wasn’t mentioned this week in glass that I also really like is Google Earth. I have used it a lot in the past, and even made a resource for the Jefferson County History Center using the tool. What I did was I researched the local Civil War regiment from Jefferson County, PA (105th) and tracked their progress through the war using the maps on Google Earth. I then created a virtual tour with push-pins that pop up information for each major stop/date and recorded the tours with a screen capture tool. Then I took the videos that I created and edited them together using iMovie and recorded narration and added background music. Here is an example of the end result:

More information about the processes for making the video can be found at my JCHC Blog.

That brings me to open-source software. What’s not to love about the great resources out there that are free. Personally, I use a lot of open-source software on a daily basis, and can’t imagine life on my computer without it.

One piece of open-source material that I want to become familiar with in the future is the Linux OS. I’ve had thoughts about buying a Netbook and installing a version of the OS on it just to become familiar with it. I’ve had my fair share of time using both Windows and Mac, and I feel as though I should test whatever else is out there.

If anyone has experience with Linux, let me know. Also, if you have any suggestions on Netbooks to use with it or any other general information, please share!

Week #2…Over and out!


2 Responses to Day #8.3

  1. cupprof says:

    Great post, Nathan. You have really done well with the reflection in your blog posts. I’ve enjoyed reading them very much. I see some understanding and some appreciation for learning in all your posts. I also love the design and the inclusion of your Twitter stream and calendar in the sidebar.

    Great work thus far, very enjoyable to read!
    ~ John

  2. rtkach says:

    Yeah, I must say that I love using all of the google tools that I have realized are available to me.

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