Unit 4

Free Tools

For Task 1 I have chosen to look at the Terms of Service for Twitter. To begin with I found it a reasonably comfortable read (No, I did not read it all). Basically Twitter is telling me that I am responsible for my actions. “You should only provide Content that you are comfortable sharing with others under these Terms.” Then surprisingly a ‘Tip’ appeared in a blue box with a yellow title: “What you say on Twitter may be viewed all around the world instantly. You are what you Tweet!” I scrolled down further to find more Tips – they are so easy to read and set out clearly. I like the idea.

The next two paragraphs were straightforward. The overall appearance is attractive in comparison to other Terms of Services I’ve read  (they usually look like endless black and white paragraphs of text separated by bold type headings which I begin reading and then just scroll over, usually just to see how long it is!!). The blue text is in a font I like, perhaps Arial, and each section appears to have a tip that summarises the main point. The overall Terms are not too long at all. However, there are a few links to other information eg. the Privacy Policy.

Closing an account: Twitter states that “You may use your account settings to unsubscribe from notifications from Twitter. You may also unsubscribe by following the instructions contained within the notification or the instructions on our website.”

By scrolling down to point 10 I finally found the information titled Ending These Terms. I am able to end my agreement with Twitter at any time for any reason by deactiviating my accounts and discontinuing my use of the Services. So I would need to go to  Account Settings and click on Deactivate my account then follow further instructions. Twitter states that it only retains my user data for 30 days from date of deactivation, after which it is permanently deleted and it is easy to reactivate the account within the 30 day period if I change my mind. Overall the process  appears to be straightforward.

Backing up or exporting your data: I was looking for information about this and came across the heading “Downloading your Twitter archive”. I’m not sure but am assuming this lets you see all your activity and from there perhaps you can save it???

do you think you’d be happy recommending that other people sign up for the service?            Yes overall I think it has its terms and conditions set out clearly. People need to remember that what they post is there for all to see. I wouldn’t and haven’t shared anything compromising. I think it helps that it is in my nature to be cautious. My concern is for people, mostly teenagers/students  – I wonder if they being trained/educated to be aware of the consequences?

The task

I browsed through the list of free web tools and selected Edcanvas because I thought I would like exploring a different way of planning.

  • Edcanvas requires a login – I provided my name and an email address which I use to login each time. There is space for one to enter a few words about oneself, their school’s name, phone number, subject’s taught and grade but they are not *required fields – phew!
  • I could not locate the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the site. There is a Help button which when clicked, reveals lot of questions and answers -very useful.
  • an account can be deleted – the instructions to do so are simple to follow, however canceling your account will delete all your canvases and classes. I don’t think I’d be too happy about losing lessons I’d spent, possibly, hours creating.
  • I could you use this tool to plan and put together a unit of work – big or small. Or use it to present a lesson. And it could definitely be useful to someone else in my school because they could also use it for planning.
  • Tasks that students could complete using the tool would be to use given websites to gain information. Or to present their own understanding of a topic. The great thing is that the teacher could provide relevant sites so students don’t have to waste time searching the web if that is not the focus of the lesson.
  • How could it change the tasks students are already doing? Where does it fit in the SAMR model of assessment?  Creating a canvas using Edcanvas could fit into any of part of the SAMR framework. The task I created while exploring the tool probably fits mostly into the Substitiution and Augmentation levels – Substitution because the information is there to be read but this could have been done using books and Augmentation because students can complete the task/play the quiz game more efficiently.

I HAD FUN trying to create something useful with the tool. I looked at ‘bush food’ which was part of last term’s Inquiry unit and found some useful videos not previously discovered! I hurriedly put together the slides and would not call this canvas finished – not by a long shot! However I have played around with it enough to be annoyed by the ads that come up around sites -see slide 2: dictionary meaning. The slide is too messy and cluttered and could be a distraction to young children. I tried to clip it to Evernote to remove the ads but couldn’t insert it onto a canvas from Evernote. You can insert documents that you have in your Dropbox account. I’m not confident with Dropbox at the moment and didn’t spend the extra time exploring whether or not I could move the file from Evernote to Dropbox.  I did send my concern to Edcanvas and am waiting for a reply.

If I enjoyed using Edcanvas I’m sure students would too. I also like the idea of using Edcanvas as a place to collate the group or class’ work, ready for viewing.

It was quite easy to share what I’ve done by embedding it into my own site: Here’s the  link:

Do you think you’d be happy recommending that other people sign up for the service?     If I was recommending Edcanvas to teachers where I work, I’d probably hand them a copy of the SAMR model along with my recommendation. I think there are quite a number of tasks being set for students because “they’re fun” without much thought being put on the actual learning outcome of purpose of the activity.

Other experiences

WOW I’ve come across so many interesting articles and information in the last 2 months and hence done lots of reading. This has all been a result of trying to familiarise myself with Twitter and trying to get through unit 4 – one thing leads to another and before I know it, hours have gone by! I have been trying to find organisations and people with a math focus to follow and am finding it frustrating and sometimes wonder if I am wasting my time; will it be worth it? So far I have not been overly impressed however I sense that I am getting closer and won’t give up. There are many Americans tweeting about maths and I want to find people closer to home.


Unit 3 reflection

Online professional communities

At the beginning of this unit I didn’t see that I could gain much benefit from online professional communities, apart from reading some interesting articles/posts – which I’ve spent hours doing since joining Twitter and Facebook [really like the infograms by the way!]. After some discussion with a colleague I have come to the realisation that I could use these communities to solve some real life issues I have in my teaching role. So next step is to give this a go.

Have I used Facebook or Twitter before? Which appeals to me?

No. I really wasn’t drawn toward either, thinking that a commitment to one or both would require more of my time and I was spending enough time just checking email. I was limiting myself to thinking that I would use them socially rather than to assist my professional learning.

The use of both are blocked in the school I work at. I really haven’t heard any complaints about this among staff so I assume it’s not a problem – they don’t need to be used/they’re not being used/people wanting to use them are finding ways around it. Are the students missing out? Perhaps missing out on the opportunity to learn how to use social media to enhance their educational experiences and to use social media responsibly. And primary aged chn are too young to join facebook anyway [even though I know some of them would be able to teach a novice like me a thing or two about it].

I’m going to play around with these more and see how they/if they help me out with my own professional learning.

I was discussing some of these issues with a colleague and course participant, Nadja and we then decided to record some of our thoughts on the Unit 3 questions.

Here is the voice version recorded at slv 29/05/13:

N.B. this is a .3ga file that can be opened and played using Windows Media Player. Depending on your speaker quality you may need headphones/earbuds.

Unit 3 Nadja & Giulia reflecting

Unit 1: beginnings

Hi. I’m here at the computer ready to write my first ever blog and feeling a little anxious. I think I will keep it brief to begin with…

A little about myself/situation: I work part-time (2 days): I teach Year 3/4 one day a week and am employed as the Numeracy co-ordinator for the second day. I had been working full-time from 1997-2012. I taught 1/2 and 3/4 during this time.

My experience with Web 2 tools is very limited. Last year a colleague introduced me to Dropbox. We were  developing a unit of work and had been emailing the updates to each other but always needing to rename the documents was beginning to feel clumsy. The encounter with Dropbox was brief; long enough for me to see its value but not long enough for me to become a confident user. Then towards the end of 2012 I was introduced to diigo – also used for planning. The benefits are there but could be enhanced if more of the staff were onboard and willing to give it a try.I believe I have a lot to learn – or NEED to learn to bring me up to date.

Some of my experiences using the web include looking for: information related to excursions; information/images related to topics being taught; receiving and sending email; completing online surveys.

Goals: to be introduced to web tools and be able to organise  information.

to begin using some of these tools

to continue using a few of these tools in my personal and professional life.

thoughts on today 10 April / Unit 2

I’m here THANKS to the nudge from my friend and colleague Nadja. The one hour I attended was worth it. It was a delight to meet Kelly and to see Cameron in person. Both are so professional and friendly. The session was interesting and informative. I have a lot to catch up on but thanks to Nadja I am on my way!

I heard how Kelly, Cam and Linda manage their workflow and hope to reach the same level one day. At the moment I have just ie.,since January, managed to rid of my paper diary and begin to rely on my android’s planner.

The devices I use are a laptop computer and an android phone. Occasionally I use shared computers at school.

I rely on email to communicate with other staff members but find this to be unreliable to an extent – how quickly I get a reply depends on how often the other person checks their email. My email account has a few folders. As Numeracy Co-ord I’ll be using the Mathematics folder quite a bit this year to store relevant information.

Last year I kept a handwritten note of websites that interested me. Then I was introduced to diigo and had a very brief encounter with it. Since joining this PLN I am beginning to realise the potential of Google Chrome and Evernote and am liking it! For me, I think it’s all about getting lots of practise. I have begun bookmarking: probably because I have  a reason to eg, VicPLN, AusVELS-maths. Previously I had only been using the sites that were bookmarked on the school’s intranet for teaching purposes eg, worldbookonline.

Teaching students organisation techniques is important. Last year I had the tiresome but rewarding task of showing a 3/4 class (I was teaching full time then) how to use a diary. By term 2 some of the Year 3/4 students were capable of making relevant entries independently. Another group of students entered the information but forgot to look at it later on! Other ways we taught them to be organised was getting students to use bookmarked sites and creating a folder to store emails in (however I do not think students saw the relevance of this mainly because the teachers didn’t either – it was just something the IT co-ord/teacher said we had to do). I guess I was teaching my class how to send emails with the knowledge that 1 or 2 of them actually sent emails outside of school hours.

Now I ‘m wondering if perhaps we should be teaching another skill to this age group. Or should we be setting up more situations where they have to email so that there is a purpose to organising their messages.

On a personal level, I think I may be able to reduce my “paper load”. I have read some blogs about people who have scanned all sorts of documents and saved them in Evernote. This is definitely something I aspire to!

This is the link to my practice note made in Evernote: