Tuesday, April 8, 2008

PART 3 - The Highlights and Lowlights

In my Reflecting on Learning Web 2.0 post, I commented about the ten tools I learned about this semester, along with the difficulties and discoveries associated with each of them. However, there are few final comments I’d like to make about some of the other HIGHS and LOWS of my learning experience.

The Lowlights:

* I struggled with understanding how to properly set up RSS feeds through an aggregator. However, I needed to go through this struggle in order to make sense of how linking and the interconnectivity of the Web works.

* Creating a podcast was fun; publishing a podcast on the Internet was a nightmare. I did not understand how or why Podcasts need to be uploaded onto a host or server. Plus, I found conflicting suggestions because I had consulted too many tutorials. After a major breakthrough, this turned into a positive experience. I was able to practice what I had learned through this experience for an assignment in another class, and it went much more smoothly!

The Highlights:

*I am proud that I was able to dig myself out of difficult and frustrating situations (i.e. podcasting). “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they'll surprise you with their ingenuity” - George S. Patton (from 180 Technology Tips). I basically surprised myself.

* I have discovered some amazing resources during this semester. These web sites and tutorials have helped me have those “a-ha” moments when a new technology finally makes sense!

o Common Craft videos by Lee LeFever (all of them!)
o Flickr Tutorials Series by Mediamazine
o Delicious Tutorial video on YouTube
o Educause – 7 Things You Should Know About… ( a series of information brochures about web technologies)
o Online Learning Studio – Podcasts
o Creative Cow podcasting tutorials by Franklin McMahon
o How to Podcast by Jason Van Orden
o Information Fluency wiki by Joyce Valenza (with links to everything imaginable)
o Educational Software and Web 2.0 by Susie Vesper
o Web 2.0 For Teachers by Kim Peacock
o 180 Technology Tips by 180techtips.com
o Edublogs

* Learning about wikis opened up many ideas about their uses in education. I really understood their value as a collaboration tool, and presentation tool by getting to use a wiki in each of my three courses this semester.

* Avatars, especially Vokis, were a fun discovery! I love how they personalize web pages and can be used along with podcasting.

* Widgets (a third party item that can be embedded in a page) are fun and impressive web tools which also help “personalize” the web. I can understand their attraction for kids. I loved discovering Shelfari and Postit Notes.

* Virtual school libraries was a topic of great interest to me, as I would like to one day design, create, and manage my school library’s web site. This is both exciting and intimidating at the same time!

* Comments/compliments from respected educators have motivated and inspired me! Jenn’s comment, in reference to my blogs about virtual school libraries, and Susie Vesper’s comment about the exploration of tools in my blog have made me think about where I’d like to take my blogging in the future.

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