Thursday, 31 July 2014

LEARNZ - Backchannel Participation

I jumped into a LEARNZ fieldtrip this morning to check out their new Backchannel feature.

LEARNZ backchannel on Adobe ConnectAdobe Connect is being used to supplement the audio conferences from out in the field. This platform provides a space for visuals to be shared - such as pictures from the participating schools, from out in the field, and of the LEARNZ host & guest expert.
It also provides the opportunity for schools to experience more interactivity and opportunity to connect with each other through the chat feature. The audio conference itself is participated in by only one or two schools and is broadcast live out to other schools. This is a great way to enhance the LEARNZ virtual field trip in being able to bridge the 'virtual' with the 'reality' for students, being able to extend with a way to ask side questions, give contributions, feedback & additional resources like visuals & links to supporting materials. Yes the LEARNZ website can also do some of this, but the Adobe room brings this into the synchronous environment of the field trip.

I was really impressed with the quality of the audio, particularly as it was coming from a cellphone by the side of a river in Turangi! A feed is made from the audio conference direct into Mixlr where it is streamed live.

Mixlr was a find for me so signed up as i was listening. I can see how this might be really useful to some of our work in the VLN Primary School. We will be exploring how we can support collaborative groups of schools in participating together in LEARNZ activities, more to come on that later in the year.

There are still lots of great fieldtrips planned for the reminder of 2014 - get onboard with your students and participate!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How the Web Tamed Me!
I have been thinking of late i need to get myself organised. I am about to undertake the completion of my Masters studies, and really i should have some sort of orderly system of bookmarking & filing that will ease my way as i foray further into the information superhighway. Well after 17 years of learning & teaching online you would think i would get that right by now but it only get worse and now i am going to throw my hands up in defeat - instead of taming the web - it has tamed me!

What NZ teachers remember Mark Treadwell's Teachers@Work resources? Every month a resource update of teaching websites, cataloged by age group & curriculum area would be posted (talking snail mail) to subscribing schools, put into large arch binder folders and be available to teachers in the staffroom or the workroom to use while you access one of the few computers in the school. At this time all the files I had ever created, including my backed up emails would fit on a few floppy disks. Yes life was simpler then... BTW Mark still creates & shares resources for teachers  though this is legacy work compared to the successful educational consultancy Mark has grown since this time.

I was a religious Delicious bookmarks user, curated & shared with my PLN,  then moved to Diigo with the added features of annotations & screenshots, with Google chrome syncing across all my devices, i then went back to old fashioned browser bookmarking, and have been tempted of late by slick looking drag & drop bookmark & curation tool Dragdis.

To be honest i very rarely even go back through my bookmarks so what is the point in so much angst about having my digital house in order. There just isn't enough time in the day to find, catalogue, curate or share this overwhelming amount of material I have saved over time. If i am serious about needing something relevant, current and at my finger tips I will search for it every time. 

So therefore i have decided to let it go with the 'Just in Case' curation of the internet and focus on the 'Just in Time' search when i need it - the good stuff will always come to the top as long as we all keep hitting the share buttons - tweet, G+, like. Now that is achievable!