I have been relatively active on a number of social media sites for some time now. My most favourite social media tool is by far Twitter, where I have now had a profile since 2010, when I was introduced to it whilst co-organising a conference on Mobile Learning here in Malta. I realised that many of my colleagues and academic professors who I looked up to were quite active Twitter users and more often than not, it was where they chose to disseminate their work, their thoughts and information about their projects. I decided to take it on. At first I couldn’t really make heads or tails of it, but I found a number of sites that helped me. What helped me even more was following other Twitter users who were very good at this. The conference helped me get hold of some names in my edtech circles. However there are a number of sites that promote good hashtags to follow for professional development. To help me keep track of all the hashtags I follow, and filter the messages I tweet about, from the hashtag conversations and from the home feed, I use a social dashboard called Hootsuite. In addition to Twitter I also follow a number of LinkedIn groups and that’s why I have found Hootsuite to be not only extremely useful to manage Twitter conversations but I also keep track of my LinkedIn group posts at the same time and without having to re-log in to LinkedIn as well. I think that all of us who lead such busy lives need to find a way to maximise efficiency, and effectiveness in handling all the amounts of information we have coming at us. In addition I connect WordPress directly to Twitter so that every time I publish a blog it gets tweeted to my followers automatically. I’ve done the same with my social curation tool Scoop-It so that if I scoop a particular information item this gets Tweeted automatically. I find that these tools help me save time in managing my academic posts.
My Diigo Account can be accessed from here.
During this unit, I have posted these three links. Other links have been done over my personal account.
Asynchronous Discussion Tool
I have recently had the opportunity to use two interesting tools which we have used for asynchronous collaboration. One is called Padlet. I have created a pad let and embedded it in the blog (which is another handy application of the tool). Learners don’t need to create an account to collaborate. One just needs to double click on the board and start posting their thoughts to collaborate and brainstorm with the rest of the group.
Another tool which I have also used recently for public and asynchronous sharing is the Google Doc. This is an example of a public document which I have created with my students and which everyone can contribute to. This document is related to Wiki uses for teachers.
Synchronous Discussion Tool
In the study-units I teach I use two types of synchronous discussion tools. I use Google Hangout, when I have short talks, seminars or one-to-one tutorial meetings. I find that Google Hangouts give me the flexibility in terms of content sharing, use of video and audio, as well as voice. I have used Hangouts for public webinars as well as for one-to-one tuition sessions and I have always had a very good experience in terms of technical and bandwidth issues.
The second synchronous discussion tool which I also make use of involves 3D Virtual Worlds and Avatars. I usually use vAcademia for this, and whilst I find it extremely user friendly, and easy to use by all my students, I find that the bandwidth requirements most often pose quite some challenges and limitations.
Ready made Content
This week I have come across WISC-Online as an online repository of ready-made content. I have found a really nice learning activity about: A Theoretical Analysis of Gender Stratification which I intend to embed in my online course VLE on Gender and Computing. However when it comes to ready made content, I would say that MIT Open Courseware were amongst the first to make available course material freely online. In relation to Gender and Technology I found this course from MIT Open Courseware that offers free downloadable materials as well.
And in relation to additional ready made content I would also suggest a visit to the Khan Academy. Although there is no related courseware for gender and technology, this resource has caught my eye and I would like to have my teachers make use of it.
In relation to content that I have created, I had in 2012, created a series of Podcasts about eLearning and Open Educational Resources which I would like to share here, as well as other more recent content (which I will add shortly).
This is the link to my podcast about my insights and reflections on online and eLearning. In all there are a series of 17 podcasts with snippets of my views and insights about various
Aside from PodOmatic & Audacity which I used to create podcasts, I have also used Prezi a number of times during my public talks. This is one example of a Prezi I gave during a talk in Vienna in 2014. I have to say that in all of these, I try to make my content shareable and re-usable in such a way that others might build up on it and enrich it.
Speaking about openness and sharing, during this topic I have created new content using PowToon. I have to admit that I had never used it before and the experience was actually very interesting. The application runs online, so you don’t have to download anything. It uses Flickr for images which gives a good range of images to choose from and it has a number of in-built assets that will enhance your presentation. I also love the fact that you can start from a ready made template and edit it in a very quick and easy manner. I say I’m going to use PowToon much more frequently. This is the video I have created and which I have shared via YouTube.
And more content which I have also created about Open Educational Resources can also be found on Slideshare, carrying a creative commons attribution license.
… more created content. This week I have created this Prezi, to illustrate an introduction to MOOCs:
Online Survey for Learner Engagement
The scope of this survey is to understand more about the learners’ perceptions and views of their participation in a study-unit using a blended modality for learning.
Something new I’d like to try …
Well there is something which is nagging at me, and which I would like to try. I would like to analyse the discourse of the learners that goes on in virtual forums, to try and understand the hidden or tacit knowledge that lurks there. I would like to be able to make use of a tool that can help me understand the formation of networks within larger and open communities, and to find common knowledge trends and patterns that would be residing in the various online conversations.