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It’s been almost a week since our final class of #eci831 and I’m still in the process of reflecting on the course and how I will utilize this learning in the future. As I mentioned in my final summary, my journey in the digital world is far from over and has been given a “shot in the arm” from this course.

Recently I had a chance to meet one of my #eci831 classmates in-person. After introducing ourselves, our conversation focused on how much we had learned and how impressed we were by the course. This post will focus on some of the work and learning that I experienced in #eci831. Although my journey in #eci831 is now finished, the learning will continue and with this I will continue to post in this blog as much as I can.

I started my blog posts by discussing the impact of extra-curricular activities and students performance. Through this post, I received some great feedback from my classmates which motivated me to continue writing.

As the course progressed, my writing began to focus on some of the tools we were learning about. I enjoyed learning more about delicious.com and then writing about it in this blog. My experimentation with a 5-card Flickr Story was also a positive experience for me in the course and one that I appreciated in a technical and creative way.  Again, great feedback from the class.

My blog entries also commented on some of the guest presenters we were fortunate to have present to us.  Some of my blog entries reflected on presenters such as Dean Shareski, Stephen Downes, and Alan Levine.

As mentioned, I will continue with this blog and I am interested to see the direction that it takes now that I have completed #eci831.

Thanks again to Dr. Couros, our guest presenters of of course my classmates for providing me with such a rich educational experience.

All the best, please keep in touch and have a great 2nd last week before holidays!

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Summary of Learning Update

Posted: December 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

As I watched and re-watched my final summary of learning of eci831, I couldn’t help myself and had to tinker and revise.  I have updated my final summary of learning that will be presented on Tuesday, Dec. 6th, 2011.

Please click here for Dean’s updated summary of learning – eci831.

Take care, have a great week, talk to you Tuesday.

Oh What a Night!

Posted: November 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
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The first evening of summary presentations in eci831 was truly a powerful and amazing experience. I was fortunate to hear the thoughts and see the talents of my classmates. Thank you all!! As this class nears it’s conclusion, the learning I have experienced and the connections I have made are starting to set in. What a journey it has been and will continue to be.

I offer my final summary of learning and will be honored to present it to the class next week. Thanks again everyone!

Dean’s Summary of Learning – eci831

Dean’s timetoast.com timeline

Have a great week!

Last Tuesday, Nov. 15th, I had the opportunity to view Alan Levine’s presentation on Digital Storytelling.  As part of the #eci831 class, Alan not only spoke to us about some “shiny and cool web 2.0 tools” but also the craft of storytelling using these tools. I found the session to be very informative (to say the last!) and was eager to try out some of the tools. Throughout this session and in my on-going experimentation with these tools, I continue to remind myself that they are simply vehicles that drive the process of whatever we are doing.  In this case it was storytelling.

Earlier in the course I tried the 5 Card Flickr Story tool and found the process to be engaging and entertaining.  I shared this with some of my colleagues who are eager to try the process. No reports back yet.

This week as I work on my final summary or learning and the major digital project I thought I would give www.glogster.com a try

Dean’s 1st Glog – Let me know what you think.

Although this glog is not meant to be my final project, I wanted to give it a try and was happily distracted by glogster.com this afternoon.

I hope all is well with you and yours as we head into the final few weeks of the course.  All the best and have a great week!

I wasn’t able to attend the session presented by Stephen Downes and hosted by Dave Cormier on Nov. 8th, but watched the recorded session today. I must say that since watching Stephen’s presentation I have done a significant amount of thinking about my current roles and the roles I have played as an educator.  I found myself in an almost constant state of reflection as I watched the session. I appreciated how each slide of Stephen’s presentation challenged the class to respond and that the majority of discussion centered around comments from the class.  At the start of the presentation, Stephen said that “to learn is to become something you weren’t before” and after this session I can say that this is true. Before today, I was able to recognize that I had some knowledge about the roles Stephen discussed. In spite of my prior knowledge of these roles, I “learned” or at least started to have a deeper understanding of my place in each. More specifically as an educator working in a networked world.

Before I share some of my thoughts on this session, I’ll share this link that provides some basic information about networked learning. I found this information to be useful as I work my way through the many web tools we can use to connect and learn.

What roles have I played? As a teacher and administrator, I think that in some way or another I have experienced the roles Stephen described in the session. The comments and feedback from the class provided me with some new perspectives, ideas and knowledge that I didn’t have before today. I enjoyed the participatory nature of the session and the metacognitive effect that the information had on me. I have always wanted to use the word “metacognition” in a space such as this blog. 🙂

What roles suit me? As I look at the list of 23 roles that were presented, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to be all things to the students, families and staff that I serve. Impossible? No. Challenging? Very much so! In my opinion, I can look at the roles Stephen presented as well as other roles (i.e.) the cheerleader mentioned in the chat room, and do my best to identify the areas I am proficient in. With that knowledge I am better equipped to work with and identify the strengths of my team who can in turn work  collaboratively toward the fulfillment of the many roles required of our profession.

At the end of the session I appreciated the chat room discussion regarding the realistic (or unrealistic) expectations of educators and the many roles we are expected to fill. Where is the balance and how long can we meet the many demands of these ever increasing roles? How can our current education system support these roles if they are to indeed become more specialized as Stephen suggests?

I am educator in a networked world. My role has changed and will continue to do so. How will we adapt so that we can facilitate student learning in world 2.0? As usual with this course, an extremely thought provoking session.

Have a great week!  To all of you working on report cards, good luck!

The Sharing Continues!

Posted: November 7, 2011 in Uncategorized
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As many of my #eci831 classmates have shared, Dean Shareski’s presentation to #eci831 was informative, uplifting and in my opinion, “required reading” for all educators.

To start this post, I would like to share a humorous bit from The Office demonstrating, perhaps, to much sharing using WUPHF and some of the complexities of being connected. I think, although ridiculous and meant for a laugh, Ryan’s idea of sharing speaks to the need of wanting to be connected and Kelly’s frustrations may speak to some of ours. 🙂

As an educator, I have had both negative and very positive experiences with sharing. Reflecting on my experiences, the positive benefits of sharing far outweigh some of the perceived negatives of sharing.  I have developed a “Top 10” list of the positive benefits of sharing that I have experienced as an educator:

As an educator, when I share and/or am shared with, I…

1) will positively collaborate with colleagues leading to academic improvement for students.

2) am able to collect more classroom resources.

3) experience new approaches and teaching strategies.

4) hear different perspectives on complex issues.

5) learn about new technology that can be used to engage students.

6) can recognize ways to re-focus my instruction.

7) learn from the negative and positive experiences of my colleagues.

8) support colleagues new (or maybe not so new) to the profession.

9) demonstrate that I am only human and share many of the same experiences as my students.

10)continue to journey as a life-long learner and will never settle for “good enough.”

I would like to thank all of my classmates for sharing.  I enjoy your blog posts and find your thoughts, observations and experiences to be extremely valuable.  Thanks for sharing and have a great week!

PS – I strongly suggest reading Dean Shareski’s latest blog post – Looking for Positive Deviants.

As we rocket through this course and the speed of technological development incrementally increases, I have become increasingly aware of the idea of “bringing your own device.”  I have read a comment or two in our eci831 chat room and most recently heard a Senior Administrator discuss the concept at a recent meeting. In my own classroom, students have asked me why they cannot access the wireless network at our school with their individual electronic devices. At a school I know of, the senior high book club started using electronic book readers but were unable to access the wireless server to download new books. The teacher supervisor was taking the readers home, downloading the books and then bringing them back to school. The situation was rectified, however, this specific issue does beg the question; can we open up our classrooms to all electronic devices or are we opening ourselves up to a host of issues we aren’t prepared to deal with appropriately?

During our time as educators, we are all probably familiar with people opening notebooks (the coiled kind) or turning on voice recording devices and perhaps using laptops in classroom settings and business meetings.  The idea of “bringing your own device” allows people to bring in their own device, possibly access a wireless network and then contribute. People can use their own technology, it is familiar to them and they feel comfortable using it. The students in this video understand this.

The concept of allowing people to bring their own wireless devices into a classroom setting and then, if need be, accessing a wireless network is a very revolutionary concept in my experience. Allowing these devices poses many questions regarding security, accessibility for those who cannot afford the technology as well as whether or not the technology is being used appropriately. If the technology needs IT support, who looks after that?

I’ve focused on this topic this weekend and have found some links of interest regarding this topic. I’d be interested in hearing how this trend is being viewed in your school or organization. What are the benefits and risks?

I have linked some of my reading below. Have a great week!

1) What if students cannot afford the technology? I’m not really sure if I like the title of this post, however, some practical ideas are offered.

2) How does a “BYOD” program work? Readers must subscribe to read the entire article.

3) A very informative article on some of the ins-and-outs of a “BYOD” program.

4) A really cool web tool that I would like to explore. Wiffiti.com looks like the ideal web tool to allow people to easily use their own devices to contribute in most settings.