Friday, July 30, 2010

How I Use iGoogle

Earlier this week in the Facilitating Online 2010 course Sarah Stewart talked about how she uses her iGoogle page to stay organized and up to date on new posts from the FO2010 crew. She also asked if any of the participants used iGoogle and if we could share how we use it.

I created the following video on how I use iGoogle using Screenr and then published it to my YouTube channel. Here's the link to the video in case it is not showing up for you. I use iGoogle a lot. It is my own personal dashboard. I hope you get a sense of how useful I find it from my short (2:16) video.

This is my first time using Screenr. So far I have been pleased with it. It was easy to set up and easy to use. I haven't done a lot of screencasts before, but I liked using Screenr better than Jing (though Jing allows for screenshots, while Screenr does not). That's one thing I enjoy about taking a course like this; it encourages me to stretch my thinking and to try out new tools.

The Wrap Up
Do you use iGoogle? What are some of the differences in the way you use it? If you don't use iGoogle (or a similar tool) please feel free to ask questions about it in the comments.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Plan for FO2010


To help me think about what I want to get out of Facilitating Online 2010 (FO2010), I created the following mind map in The map is quite large so you will have to drag with your mouse to see all of the map. Here's the link to the map if it is not showing up below.

This is the first time that I have used an online mind mapping tool. I was inspired by the mindmeister mindmap on Online Communities that Sarah Stewart tweeted about last week. I decided to try after polling my twitter network (thanks network!)

The Task This Week in FO2010

For this week Sarah has asked us to make a plan for what we want to learn and explore. Here are the four questions that we've been asked to answer:
  1. What do you want to learn to facilitate? Online professional development for teachers. I'd like to work on a model for professional development in my school district that fosters ongoing professional development. I see this as involving a face-to-face component as well as synchronous online meetings using Elluminate and possibly Moodle as a place to archive and collaborate on learning. (Thinking Moodle because would like to see more teachers in my district using it, but am also aware that a more open environment can result in even more amazing connections and learning.) One possible format would be 'Tech Tuesdays' style 20-30 minute weekly Elluminate Live meetings on a specific topic. Another possible format is LAN parties as outlined by North Vancouver's Bryan Hughes.
  2. What are you doing now in terms of online facilitation? I'm a distributed learning teacher with the majority of my courses being online in Moodle. I offer my students weekly Elluminate tutorials (these are poorly attended and an area in which I am trying to improve.) I have volunteered as an assistant facilitator with Know Weeks and CEET. Both organizations offer(ed) week long online courses geared towards K-12 educators in British Columbia, Canada. Both Know Weeks and CEET used Moodle.
  3. What would you like to achieve, change, or do more of? I would like to improve student participation and engagement in my Elluminate tutorials. I would like to initiate online professional development in my school district.
  4. What do you need to do or make happen to acheive your goal? I need to practice facilitating in a safe environment before attempting to promote and facilitate an online professional development session on my own.


Have you facilitated your own online events before? What advice would you offer to someone who is planning to offer their first online event? Are there some definite dos and don'ts?

As always, thanks for taking the time to read what I've written :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Google Map Mashup for FO2010

For those in the Facilitating Online 2010 course, Chris Woodhouse tweeted
shed53: #FO2010 Never done any mashups but wonder if anyone fancies a map with all the students' locations pinned. Course poster?
Here's the link to a map where we can add markers indicating our locations. Check out the video near the end of this post to see how to do this.

View FO2010 in a larger map

I'd recommend placing your marker in a general spot, like 'Vancouver' as opposed to a specific address like '3614 West 16th Ave, Vancouver'. I had seen this done before when I (briefly) participated in CCK08. Rod Lucier created a similar map and posted on how to add your marker to the map. I've included his video here. If you follow his instructions it will work on our FO2010 map.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Welcome To My New Digs!

Welcome To Hemel
Welcome to Hemel by Mr Ush. Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works License

Thanks for stopping by! I've recently moved my blog from Edublogs to here. You can see this post for the reasons for my move. Moving all of my posts and their related comments was relatively easy. The Wordpress2Blogger site has instructions and a converter. It talks about WXR files, but I found that it was able to deal with the Wordpress XML file that I exported from Edublogs. However, any links I had to my own posts appear to be a little messed up. I'm also getting some weird text showing up with many of my images. So it is a slow process right now as I go through all my posts and fix these issues.

If you've moved your blog before, why did you do it and how did the process go? What are the strengths and weaknesses of your current blogging platform?

Moving Day?

On Cleaning House and Blog Sabbaticals

Moving Day by Joe_Andrews.  Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works Licence
Moving Day by Joe_Andrews. Creative Commons Attribution, Noncommercial, No Derivative Works Licence

Well, I've been thinking about it for awhile. I'm going on a bit of a blog sabbatical. I know, I know, it's alright if you thought I was already on a blog sabbatical. After all, it is not like I've been posting up a storm. So let me clarify. I'm not ceasing to blog. I'm just going somewhere else to do it. For awhile at least.

Some Background

When I started blogging back in November of 2007, I started out at Blogspot. Two months later I made the switch to Edublogs. It seemed like that was where all the cool kids were ;-) The blogs were more customizable (you could have pages and tabs at the top of your blogs!) There was a big community. And lots and lots of other good reasons. (Unfortunately when I made the switch I deleted my original blog and didn't save all of the posts. So my very first 'Hello World!' post is gone.)

Why Go Back?

The Ads: When Edublogs started embedding ads in the free blogs I was ok with it--after all I had won Edublogs credits in the 31 Day Comment Challenge and used them to upgrade to a supporter blog, so no ads for me! When my year ran out and I was too cheap to renew I got to experience the joys of ads ads everywhere. First is was links in posts, then banner ads at the top of posts. Particulary irksome is the ad linked to my blog's byline. As I do not administer student blogs, just this little ole blog, it didn't make sense to me to shell out for a premium blog. I tolerated the ads, but kept wondering if I should move to a new home? Perhaps even host my own blog?

Google Goodness: A lot of the blogs that I have been reading recently are Blogspot blogs. I also have a couple of Blogspot blogs that I use for other reasons, and Blogspot has steadily improved over the years. In addition, when I looked into hosting my own blog I got a little overwhelmed (yes, I know that it costs $$ to host your own, but my husband has webspace where I would have hosted it.)

Is It For Good?

I don't really know. I just know that I need to make a change. Starting the Facilitating Online 2010 course has also provided some impetus to clean house. I'll go on this little sabbatical, and perhaps come back with a renewed enthusiasm for all that Edublogs has to offer.

The Wrap Up

Have you made a blog move (or thought about one)? How did it go or what is holding you back?

And finally... please check me out in my sabbatical home!