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BP9_RILS Commenting

Review #1

I have enjoyed listening to podcasts for a while now and I was interested to see what Chris did with the program Podomatic for his RILS project entitled “A New Approach to Training in the Workplace”.

It is a program that is easy to use especially with the instructions he has.  If you are interested in learning how to use Podomoatic check out Chris’s lesson here on educator studio.

Here are the comments I made for Chris’s RILS plan:

“I really enjoyed your video.  The way you demonstrated the difference and importance between working in your office versus working in a conference room was great.  While I know Podomatic has tutorials, I was wondering why you didn’t create a podcast to teach you students how to use the program?  One thing you may want to consider is to create a more interesting title to get more people to read what you did.  In the future you may want to expand using Podomatic for uses other than training.  Maybe something like announcements or news.  I really enjoyed reading about what you did.”

Review #2

After working with Schoology myself, I was really interested to see what someone else had to say about and do with the program.  I saw that Therese had posted something in Educators Studio and I wanted to check it out.

I liked how she went through learning how to use the program.  For someone who has no experience with Schoology this would be a great lesson for them to try.  If you want to try it yourself, check out the lesson here.

Here are the comments I had for the site:

“I liked how you put the name Facebook in the title.  It does look a lot like Facebook, but even more important it makes people want to check it out.  I was wondering if you had thought about how you were going to keep people trained?  In other words, is this just for new people, or will you be making many different training lessons for people at different experience levels?  You might want to consider also training others to also create content for Schoology so the different departments or jobs could also be taught by people who know their content areas.  In the future you may want to even look at seeing if this could be implemented at different libraries in your community.  That way content could be shared by a larger group.  Great information.”

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BP8_Reflection

For my Relevant and Innovative Scenario I introduced educators to Schoology.

 

HOW DID EVERYONE DO?

 

I have to admit I wasn’t sure what the other teachers would think about Schoology.  Usually when someone is asked to try something new they are not very excited about having to take their own time to check out the software.  Being that I was asking them to do this right before school started, I was almost sure they would not think much of the experience.

 

To my surprise everyone liked Schoology.  All of the teachers were able to create content for the first week of school for at least one class.  I did get some different opinions.

 

WHAT DID THEY THINK?

 

When asked their opinions of using Schoology everyone liked the program.  They all felt it would be a great addition to their class and useful to their students.  Most said they would continue to explore Schoology, but one did say they just didn’t have the time to learn something new right now.

 

Here are some positives and negatives they listed:

POSITIVE:

  • Familiar looking user interface.  Most thought it looked like Facebook.
  • Great way to communicate with students and groups.
  • Easy for students to access.
  • Testing was easy to create and grade – This was everyone’s favorite part.

 

NEGATIVE:

  • Another login and password for students to remember.
  • First time setup does take a little while.
  • All of the content has to be created in Schoology.

 

CHANGES I WOULD MAKE:

 

I really don’t have anything I personally would change about the program.  It is a solid educational tool that makes teaching and learning easier for both the students and teacher.

Overview: The purpose is to teach teachers how to use Schoology so that they can implement it into their curriculum to provide their students a place they can go to for their course.  Using Schoology teachers will be able to provide students with one location they can go to do everything from getting messages from their classmates to taking a quiz at home.

Materials:

  • Computer
  • Internet Connection
  • Schoology account
  • Course materials

Objectives

At the end of the scenario the learner will be able to:

  • Design a course within Schoology
  • Create a Schoology account
  • Navigate the Schoology interface in order to upload content for the chosen course.
  • Analyze student needs in order to determine appropriate content and materials for the successful completion of assignments.
  • Evaluate the completion of assignments to determine the usability through reflection questions.

Procedure

  • Teachers will create a Schoology.com account
  • The teachers will get a short tour of Schoology.com after signing up
  • Teachers will verify their account through their email account
  • After verifying their account, Teachers will be given a more in depth tour of the interface.
  • Teachers will set up a practice Course
    • Under courses click create
    • Fill in the information with the name Practice.
    • Click Add Materials and then Create Assignment.
    • Fill in the boxes and give a due date and click create.
    • Now click add materials and then create a quiz.
    • Fill in the boxes and give a due date of sometime next week
    • Add one Question to the quiz, any kind you would like.
    • Look at the setting of the quiz just created.  See how settings can be changed.
    • Review the sections called Preview, Results, and Comments.
    • Move to the Updates section on the left column.
    • See that you can write an update, add a file, create a link, or add a poll for all of the students to see.
    • Create an Update
    • Look at the left sidebar and click the Gradebook section.
    • Directly below the Gradebook link is the Grade Setup.
    • Discover how categories can be added and grading periods and final weights can be added.
    • Click on the word Attendance in the left column.
    • See how daily attendance can be taken and checked
    • Click on the link that says Members in the left column.
    • Administrators have the ability to make it so that members can sign up with the Access Code or the will require approval after they enter the access code.
    • Click on the Analytics link in the left column.
    • Check each link at the top. Course, User, Assignment, Discussion, and Links.  This is where teachers can track their student’s activity on the site.
    • Teachers also have the ability to create groups where items like files and pictures can be checked.  There also can be discussions.
    • There is also a Resources section link at the top.  This is where files can be left for everyone who has access or links to places on the Internet.
    • After exploring everything above teachers are encouraged to create courses for the classes they are teaching this year.
    • Then create assignments and quizzes for week one of their classes.

Emerging Technology

Schoology is a program teachers can use to provide their students everything from a simple website to check messages to a complex site with quizzes, messages, discussion boards, and grades.

Social Participation/Social Learning

Teachers will have a chance to interact with each other once they complete the lesson to share information and ideas.  The group will be meeting after school in an office to talk about their experiences.

Making Connections

Prior knowledge:  Anyone using Schoology will appreciate that the program looks like web sites that they visit on a daily basis.  This makes learning and using Schoology an easier process that it intuitive and quick for most users.

Relevance:  Today, technology is a part of every day life.  People carry electronic devise everywhere they go.  They are considered essential items to leave the house with like their wallet and keys.  Schoology is a step in the direction to make technology part of student’s and teacher’s everyday life.  It helps to provide quicker feedback while also making learning something that is more convenient for the students.

 

Audience:  Teachers will create lesson plans, which they will then be able to share with their fellow teachers helping to create a community that uses technology to engage and challenge their students.

Create/Produce

The teaches will each be creating a schoology.com account with all of the classes for their first semester and their first week’s assignments.

Assessment

 

  Poor Good Excellent Superior
Design a course within Schoology Missing most information. Has basic information, but other information is missing. Has most parts, and site is engaging. All parts are included and site is engaging.
Create a Schoology Account No account was made. N/A N/A Account was made.
Navigate the Schoology interface in order to upload content for course No navigation was performed. Site was looked at and only main page was accessed. Most of the site was explored, but upload was not learned All of site was explored and upload was learned
Analyze student needs in order to determine appropriate content and materials for the successful completion of assignments. No analysis took place Few student needs were addressed Most student needs were addressed All analysis took place
Evaluate the completion of assignments to determine the usability through reflection questions. Not usable Few items usable Most items usable Fully usable

 

Reflection

Learner Reflection: All of the learners will answer a few short questions and give several comments in the form of a document.

The questions are:

On a scale of 1 to 5, answer the following questions:

  1. How easy did you find Schoology to learn? Very Hard 1 2 3 4 5 Very Easy
  2. Did you find this lesson useful? Not Useful 1 2 3 4 5 Very Useful
  3. How much do you think you will use Schoology?  None 1 2 3 4 5 Every Day
  4. Would you recommend Schoology to another teacher?  Yes/No

Please add any comments you have:

Trainer Reflection:

The trainer will review all of the learner’s work and also their reflection.  From that they will create a reflection of what went well and what needed work.

 

 

PE3_iMovie

I finally finished the entire iMovie ’11 course today.  Wow, there have been a lot of new changes to the program and I am really impressed with everything I have seen.  I have to admit that I was a little quick to judge the program.  After a few days of working the different tutorials I have really come to like the way iMovie has been changed.  It is easy to use and more importantly, fun to use.

AUDIO BROWSER

One section I wanted to mention is the new audio section.  iMovie is not connected with iTunes which makes it much easier to get music in to iMovie.  If you want to add some audio elements to your movie, all you have to do is click the music note and all of the available media is listed in an easy to use column view.

AUDIO LEVELS

Changing audio levels used to take several clicks which were at times not very accurate.  Now, if you want to turn something up or down, all you need to do is move your curser to the line and drag it up or down.  The best part is the wave form gets bigger or smaller so you can see what your changes have done to the sound.  You can also see if something is too loud because the peak changes color.  This is very useful for a quick check.

MY VIDEO

Here is the video I made for the class.  It isn’t exactly like the one in the tutorial but it is close.  I decided to play around with some transitions and other elements and liked what I did.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

ONE DOWN

Well, I have now finished one Lynda.com class and am looking forward to doing many more.  I feel like I have learned a lot more through the tutorials then I ever would have learning the program on my own.  I even have a neat certificate of completion for the class.

PE2_iMovie

One thing that I love about doing the tutorials on Lynda.com is learning the little shortcuts and tricks that make using a program easier.  Here are some of my favorites:

 

PRECISION EDITOR

 

There are times when you just want a little more control over what you are editing.  This is where the Precision Editor comes in.  The Precision Editor gives you more control over the clips and more importantly the transitions between them.  You get to the Precision Editor by clicking command /.

 

SWAP EVENTS AND PROJECTS

 

Sometimes you want a little more room to work with the project timeline.  iMovie has a simple button that switches the location of the events clips with the location of the project clips.  The button with the two little arrows simply switches the two windows.

 

SPORTS TEAM EDITOR

 

This was not in the tutorial but I thought I would mention it because I know that there are many educators who would like to create sports highlights for their school.  The Sports Team Editor is something that is really neat.  You can add team member names, position, age, stats, and any other information you want.  You can also put a team logo and player picture in the editor.  Then you can make graphics just like you see with professional games.  Pretty neat.

 

LOOK FOR MORE

 

There are so many more little shortcuts and tricks you can use.  If you see anything feel free to let me know in the comments.

When I heard that we got a year subscription to Lynda.com as past of the Full Sail EMDT program I was really excited.  I have used Lynda.com before but I have never done any of the tutorials for iMovie.

The last time I used iMovie was probably in 2001 so needless to say, I was not up to date on how to use iMovie ’11.  Things have changed significantly since the last time I used iMovie.  Here are a few things that I noticed:

IMPORTING VIDEOS

Importing video used to be a task that took as long to import as it did to shoot the video.  Now, with HD cameras that use memory cards, video can be transferred and stored in only a few seconds.  The way that iMovie can easily find the videos that are available to be imported is great and very easy.

INTERFACE

iMovie’s interface is totally different from what I used when it first came out.  It is now back and has even less buttons.  I think it is great.  iMovie should be easy to use and shouldn’t have too many choices, it is designed for people who are not professionals.

EDITING

One thing that is totally unique to iMovie is how you edit videos.  Most programs make the user cut up clips and then pick them up and move them into the timeline.  iMovie lets users just select the section of the clip you want and then drag it over to the timeline.  It is that easy.  If you want to place a clip in the middle of another clip all you have to do is take the new clip drag it so that a line is in the middle and you are done.  You probably could do it quicker than you just read that last sentence.

AUDIO

I have to admit, the one thing that was easier in the old version was audio.  All you had to do was click a cutting and you could change the volume.  Now audio takes a few more steps.  It isn’t terrible; it is just not as easy as it was before.

LYNDA.COM

Lynda.com is a great site for anyone who is interested in learning how to use a software program.  One thing that is very useful is the exercise files that you can use to work along with the video.  Doing the tutorial with the video is much more helpful than just watching the video.

Lynda.com does have some drawbacks.  First, it is not cheap.   It costs $375.00 a year to do the videos with the exercise files.  It is a little cheaper at $250.00 a year to get the videos without the exercise files, but the great thing about Lynda.com is the exercise files.

Another draw back is that there is no way to ask questions. Also, if you only have one screen it is very hard to watch the video and work in your application at the same time.  Even with all of the drawbacks, I personally think it is a great application and will be using it a lot during the year.

BP6 RILS

SCHOOLOGY QUIZZES

One of the most popular features in Schoology is the ability to create quizzes that students can take anytime.  I decided to show how easy it is to create a quiz in the video below.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Would this be something as teacher you would like to use?  As a student, would you like to be able to take a quiz this way?  I know that many students just do better when sitting at a computer and this is a great way for students to test their knowledge.

I will be asking several teachers to try this out and see what happens.  I personally believe that they will like the ability to have everything accessible to their students at all times.  We will see.

Recently teachers have been looking for technology products that will do several things.  First, teachers have wanted something that students can use to keep them organized while having a place to reference when wanting to know when something new is going to happen.  Second, students often will want a copy of the latest notes or information that was created in that class.  On top of that, classes are now creating files and sharing them between students almost on a daily basis.  With these problems teachers have been looking for somewhere they can place and store files for their students to access.  Third, more and more classes are using computers to help facilitate group work.  The problem is that teachers have had no way to monitor those groups and also send messages to the groups.  Fourth, assessing students is something that all schools have to do.  Many times teachers would prefer to be able to do it outside of class time or if it is during class time, have easy ways for students to be able to retake the quiz.

While there have been many products out there that can do one or two of the items addressed above, until now, no one has been able to do all four.

 

MEET SCHOOLOGY 

 

Schoology is a product that teachers and students can use to make the job of being a teacher and student much easier.   Let’s check out what it has to offer.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

 

Teachers set up courses and then give students in each class an access code.  At that point, students have access to anything the teacher has made available to that class.

 

FEATURES AND CONTENT

 

  • Ability to create individual courses and groups
  • Places to store assignments, files, and albums
  • Gradebook
  • Attendance
  • Ability to make announcements and updates
  • Discussion area
  • Area for students to quizzes created in Schoology
  • iOS integration

 

USIBILITY AND NAVIGATION

 

Schoology is a well-built product that students will be able to relate to easily because it resembles Facebook and has a simple and clean interface.

 

APPROPRIATE AUDIENCE

 

While Schoology is a great product, I really don’t see it as being a product where elementary school teachers use all of the features.  It is really geared more towards middle and high schools.

 

PRIVACY

 

Schoology is a product where students are restricted only to the areas that have to do with their course or group.  If you are not part of either one you cannot get in.

 

COST

 

It is free for an individual to sign up, but If you would like all of the extra features like district management and report card generation you need to get the enterprise edition which requires a custom quote which I am guessing is not cheap.

 

SUPPORT

 

Schoology does have a support number, but priority does go to the enterprise users.  There is also community page where questions can also be asked which is monitored by Schoology so that they can help.

 

LEARNING TO USE SCHOOLOGY

 

The experience learning Schoology was extremely easy.  After going through the introduction setting up a class was intuitive and straightforward.  It only took a few minutes and I had my first class set up and ready to go.  While I am sure there are some features that I haven’t experienced yet, the Schoology team did a fantastic job making a product that is easy for users to learn and use on a daily basis.

 

iOS INTERGRATION

 

One thing that is unique and exciting is that there is a Schoology iPod, iPhone, and iPad application that works with your account.  This gives teachers and students the ability to work on the go as well as when they are connected to a computer.  I believe this is a major feature of Schoology.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Schoology is a solid product that would help any educator or school become more productive.  With the addition of iPod, and iPad versions Schoology is a product that is hard to beat.

BP4 Checking out AnyMeeting

Sean over at Forde Below Zero! has a problem that most teachers don’t have to deal with, living in the small remote village of Russian Mission, Alaska.  He has come across the program AnyMeeting which he hopes to use in his class.  Go over and check out his review of the product.

Click here for the review.

You need to go over and check out the Symbaloo review at Mr. Pinns’s Customer is Your Customer Too website.  I really enjoyed how he looked at the website by asking questions and answering them.  Click below to check the review out.

Click here for the review.

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