Day #4

So I took yesterday to catch up on some reading…

Today, I’m back at it. This time around, I searched through the “Website of the Week” discussion to see what types of websites that my peers shared this week.

One site that really stood out to me was Prezi. The site offers a brand new spin on the basic slide presentation that we are all so used to. To quote directly from the website:

“At Prezi, we’re all about helping people understand each other better. Presentations have not evolved much in the 50 years since the slide was invented, but Prezi is changing that. Prezi lets you bring your ideas into one space and see how they relate, helping you and your audience connect. Zoom out to see the big picture and zoom in to see details — a bit like web-based maps that have changed how we navigate through map books.”

This, to me, is quite revolutionary. To really grasp the big picture of what Prezi does, check out Prezi for Education.

Whenever I get a chance, I’m going to fool around with this new tool to see how it works and how I could adapt it to fit my own instructional style. I’m really excited about trying out Prezi. I’m thinking my first application will have something to do with my graduate assistantship at the Jefferson County History Center.

It’s been a good first week. See you on the flip side…

Day #2

Back to the grind.

ED 620 has been my focus since getting home from a long day serving at AmeriCorps. So far I quickly browsed some information regarding searching the internet (which I plan on spending some more time with in the next few days), read about PLNs (Personal Learning Networks), and posted to the class’ “Website of the Week” discussion board.

The internet search links provided to us are really great. Take a look at this detailed resource that offers some in-depth FAQs on the ins-and-outs of internet searches that most of us definitely overlook on a daily basis. As of now, I’ve only skimmed through the resource, but I have already learned about the importance of “Boolean Operators.” Also, the “Google for Educators” link that was provided is awesome! I definitely plan on taking the Google “lessons” provided on the website in order to better understand how to effectively utilize the search engine in/for the classroom.

As far as PLNs are concerned, I have started to actively maintain (and pay attention to) some online resources that I have developed in the past. First of all, I have a “professional” Twitter account (@n_pearce – feel free to follow me if you’d like) where I follow some “ed-tech gurus” that share various resources through their tweets. To be completely honest, I have not kept up with this much since I activated the account almost a year ago, but now is the time to start. Another thing that I really want to do while building my PLN is find some good educational blogs to follow. So if you know of any great ones out there that you can recommend, please leave a comment with a link. I’ll share any of my finds in the posts to come.

Last but not least, my “Website of the Week” is one of my favorite tools that I have ever used. This week’s selection is called Evernote.

Evernote Logo

It’s a multi-function tool, both web-based and accessible through standalone software, that helps me stay organized. I use it daily. To see some ways that I use it, take a look at my blog post that reviews the application (done for my coursework in ED 617). I still need to take the time to browse my classmates’ websites for this week, and will share any resources that stand out to me.

Stay classy…

Day #1

Ok, now that my introduction post is out of the way, I can get to the “meat and potatoes” portion of my blog: my daily commentary of work related to ED 620.

So far, all I can say is that I’m really looking forward to using unfamiliar technology to create valuable resources throughout the course. For instance, I am familiar with blogging, but I have never used WordPress before. I don’t know why! I really like it…a whole lot better than what I have experienced using (Blogger). Take a look at my two blogs already created with Blogger:

  • JCHC Blog – my documentation of work related to my graduate assistantship position at the Jefferson County History Center
  • PDE SAS Review – a blog set up for ED 617 as a critical review of the Pennsylvania Dept. of Ed’s “Standards Aligned System”

I’m not saying that Blogger is a bad tool.  It is a really good resource for the publication of information on the internet. I’m still going to be using it for my current blogs, but any new creations will probably be done through WordPress (or until I find something that I like even better).

I really like the user-friendly interface that this tool (WordPress) presents right from the get-go. This is a great change of pace from a lot of other publishing tools out there in cyber space. However, like most new things, it will take some time to master and really mold this into something that I am totally pleased with (I’m already in the process of coming up with a header graphic using Photoshop that I can upload and make this blog look more appealing – for your sake and mine). I’m guessing that documentation of my thoughts about WordPress will continue to be a pretty big topic throughout my blog posts for ED 620, so stay tuned!

WordPress aside, here are some of my first impressions about the course overall:

I am really pleased about is the positive feel of the course. All of the content on the D2L site is very well organized and the assignments seem very relevant and well-planned. Sometimes online coursework seems so meticulous and unrewarding, but my first impression of ED 620 is that this course is different. I’m the type of person that could spend all day on my computer discovering new web tools, resources, and features that can be used for academic, social, and recreational purposes. This course almost seems to give me an excuse to that exactly.

That’s all for now…