Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My thoughts

I was pretty apprehensive whether I could complete the whole training online as this is my first time experiencing blended learning. The fact that 99% of the training is online actually frightened me as I was not confident of completing the training. However, on the other hand, my own objective was that I wanted to complete the training as it would help me overcome my fear of technology tools and familiarise myself with new technology tools.

Indeed, I felt that I have achieved more than I set out to do. Firstly, most of the websites that we need to go to is rather user friendly. We just need to register ourselves and come up with a username and password and off we go. I keep a notebook of the websites that I registered myself with and all the usernames and passwords, for easy reference.

Secondly, technology changes all the time, and we always and definitely have to learn, unlearn and relearn new tools.

Thirdly, I've learnt that some of the technology tools are useful, while some are not. For example, personally, I did not find the RSS feeds very useful, unless I check it daily for updates. I prefer to just go directly to my favourite news websites and read all the news and updates. I found very useful as it is like a "Favourites" tab, except that you can access your "favourites" anywhere and on any computer since it is a webbased bookmark. Youtube is something which is commonly known, however, I would have to think deeper on how I want to use it with my students. I enjoyed playing with the image generators and I found Paul's recommendation (the newspaper clipping generator - FODEY.COM) very useful indeed. I could straightaway think of a way to use it for my module - insert a title like "BUDGET 2009" to catch the student's attention, and add in some content.

Overall, the training has at least help me to learn some of the new technology tools currently in use. However, it takes deeper thinking to evaluate how I can use some of the tools in my module. The 23 Things is just the beginning. But it has taught me that self-learning is always ocurring and it should never end....

You tube

Budget 2009.
This has been embedded in my course documents as well in my Mel Module.

Week #9: Thing #20, 21 and 22 (RSS feeds)

I am currently subscribed to news articles from channelnewsasia as I do not subscribe to any hardcopy papers. News relating to Singapore attracts me and here are two which I have picked up:

SIA says to reduce all business flights

The global economy downturn has affected most businesses, as demand for consumer products and services has reduced. This reduction in demand has caused some businesses to cut back on expenditure and business trips, which in turn affected business flights to NY and LA. The shows how a reduction in demand from consumers affects the whole economy and unless a stimulus package is in place, consumer demand would continue to fall and cause a downward spiral in the economy. Hopefully, the recent Singapore Budget 2009 will go a long way to increase consumer spending again and also help businesses, especially SMEs, to survive the downturn by reducing the business expenses.

S$4.5b to be spent in next 10 years to revamp primary school system

This is radical news. In a few years time, primary school kids may not need to take exams anymore. They will be assessed on project work and oral presentations. Doesn't this sounds like a system for the older kids. As a parent of a 4 year old child, I am keenly following the developments of the revamp of the pirmary school education as this would have a direct impact on my son's future. I am not too sure how this would affect him, but am of the view that yes, exams are ultimately not the best way to assess a child. However, it is too early to tell if scraping primary school exams are the way to go.

Thing#21: Podcasts

I know what podcasts are since we all do surf the internet and get audio files once in a while. I am interested in creating my own podcasts because i think it should be fun. A search on the internet reveals many websites that teach you how to create your own podcasts and even youtube videos are available to show you how to. I think I may be able to use it as an elearning tool, or maybe I could use it to record my lectures for students to playback?? Here's one of the websites:

Thing #22 Ebooks

Our very own National Library site has lots of ebooks!

Some of the ebooks are available for free downloads and for the rest, you have to pay a fee to read the ebooks. It's so convenient to download and read an ebook. However, my preference is still for the traditional old way - a hardcopy book for me to read on the bus or train. It beats staring at the computer screen isn't it? ebooks will never completely replace hardcopy books but it has some advantages, like you cut down on paper and svaes more trees? You also get instant access to information anywhere.

I personally think that eBible is good too. I can go directly to the verse that I am looking for by searching for a key word.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Week 8: Thing #19

I have joined the LbraryThing and catalogued these books.
When I became a new mother 4 years ago, I was clueless about looking after babies, hence I relied heavily on these two books to tide me through my maternity leave. I found them really helpful, providing solutions to baby crying problems etc.
I like baking and would like to read BakeWise...if I have the time.
With LibraryThing, again, it's about connection with people around you. You can check out what books others have catalogued, read reviews, provide reviews. At least, you can get feedback before purchasing the book.

Week 8: Thing #18

I took a look at Google Docs (word, spreadsheets, presentation tools) as this was often mentioned in my training sessions. I think there are a few advantages of online tools such as word documents and spreadsheets.

Firstly, I could edit it on any computer, even on computers without Microsoft office.
Secondly, I can share the documents with my students or friends and invite them to collaborate and add input to my original document, without saving different versions of the same document each time someone edits it and sends the document back to me.

The only thing is that I may not be able to control what is being edited. However, compared to perhaps wikis, you have a lot of control about who will edit the document.

I have not really used these tools in my own classes but this is something worth exploring.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Week 7: Thing #17

Why are wikis useful?

Wikis encourage collaborative learning and information sharing.
They increase student engagement and participation.

I can use wikis for any project. It helps the students to collaborate, add/share information almost simultaneously.

Without wikis in the past, we often had to email many drafts to one another to edit information for any school project. This resulted in many drafts and many emails to delete as well. Of course, it adds confusion. In the end, we often wondered which is the final draft. So having a wiki would eliminate all of these problems, and enables students to work more effectively.

Week 7: Thing #16 Wikis

I have always thought (even until now) that wikis = wikipedia. That is because wikipedia is The most famous wiki, I guess. I now realise that wikipedia is actually an encyclopedia that anyone can edit and what about wikis? The definition of wiki (from wikipedia of course):

A wiki is a page or collection of Web pages designed to enable anyone who accesses it to contribute or modify content, using a simplified markup language.Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites.

So wikipedia is not the only wiki of course, but it is definitely one of the best known ones. It is also very useful as any google search usually list Wikipedia as one of the top searches.