Archive for October, 2009

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Zamzar

October 24, 2009

As a teacher I am always having to manipulate files.  This is often becuase I do not have the right software installed on my machine at home or at school.  What am I to do?  The website Zamzar can help.  Zamzar allows for file conversion.  The first example that I can think of is the use of zamzar to convert new Office 2007 files from the .docx format to the 2003 format .doc.  I recently did this as I downloaded a paper I wrote with comments from my professor to school and the computer I have at school does not have office 2007.  In less than 3 minutes, I had converted the file, received the e-mail about where to download the converted file and I was readng the comments (I got an A-, by thw way).  Another good example of how to use zamzar is for audio or video conversion.  When putting video into PowerPoints, it has to be in one of a certain number of video formats.  If you have video that is not one of these types, you can use Zamzar to convert it.  The only limitation is that the input file is limited to 100 mb files for the free version.  The premium versions range from 7 – 49 dollars per month and features differ as you pay more per month.

I would suggest checking out the site and creating a delicious link to it, just in case you ever need to convert a file and don’t have the software to do it.

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Growing PLN

October 23, 2009

As I continue to dive into the world of educational technology and web2.0 I am amazed by the number of wonderful people who are willing to share their time and talents with others.  They are not out to make a buck, but simply want to share their love of teaching and technology in order for students to acquire the best possible learning.  I recently came across a Ning group known as The Educator’s PLN.  This Ning is relatively new (only 6 days old), but it has already welcomed 500ish educators.  This is the power of the technology for developing professional relationships and as an avenue for professional development.

I don’t know if I have stated this before, but professional development is something that I want to further explore as part of my masters work at the University of Alberta.  I am coming to the realization that PD sessions help for a day or a half day are not the answer.  I learn more from Twitter chats and PLNs (in a very short amount of time) such as the one identified above than I do in full day sessions offered in different formats.

This posting is small, but my brain is whirring with activity as I consider the research possibilities of looking at onlinePLNs as PD options for teachers.

More to come on this topic…

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#edchat on Twitter

October 20, 2009

If you are an educator and you are looking for some serious conversation regarding education trends, you need to check out Twitter and you need to follow #edchat.

On Tuesday evening from 7-8 pm EST, teachers discuss a wide range of topics.  Last week, the topic was grades.  Is the current model of A, B, C, D, and F an appropriate model and if not, what would work better?  Even though the conversation is scheduled for an hour, the talk continued for at least an hour and a half.  At the end of the discussion, the entire conversation is archived for anyone who could not be present.

This is a fabulous way to engage in educational conversation.

Check out the site http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2009/07/30/what-is-edchat/ to find out more about the #edchat hashtag.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts on Twitter in the future.

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21st Century Learning

October 18, 2009

I came across this video in the Educator’s PLN, a ning that I found out about because of the #edchat hashtag.  The video is by Alan November who I plan to Google in order to find out more about him.  It is basically a commentary by Alan on his vision for education and technology’s role in that.  He advocates for a move away from industrialist education where the teacher is the focal point of decision making in the class to a more student centered collaborative approach.

I would be happy to hear your thoughts and comments on the video.

I was unable to embed the video, so here is the link:

Myths and Opportunities: Technology in the Classroom

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McLuhan’s Laws of Media on the Blog

October 7, 2009

McLuhan and McLuhan develop four Laws of Media in their book Laws of Media.  I have been asked to create a tetrad ( a visual representation) of the four laws applied to the blog.  Below is that visual representation:

McLuhan's Laws Applied to the Blog

McLuhan's Laws Applied to the Blog

I am still trying to work on what is retrieved by the blog.  I think that there has to be something related to independent reporting by average citizens, but have not quite determined the wording for it.  As for what it reverses into…an explosion of the blogosphere means that each individual blog becomes less valid, less read, with less possibility of even being found among all of the others.  A single blog is like trying to whisper a message to a friend 25 feet away at a rock concert.  The massive noise around the sender and receiver make the message non-deliverable.
More on this assignment as I develop it over the next week; 4 – 6 page paper due next Thursday.