Thursday, January 12, 2012

First week of DigiTools

As I was so busy at the beginning of this week, I started my DigiTools journey a little bit late. However, I managed to catch up and now I'm about to finish all the tasks. Below is a brief description of all what I have done in the first week:

Week 1 Objectives:

During the first week of the course, participants will:
  • Join the group online meeting place.
  • exchange introductions and become familiar with the group environments.
  • explore some online tools.
  • create and/or share their digital portfolios.
  • go on a web safari about technology integration.
  • reflect upon technology integration in the classroom.
  • discuss their own ideas on how they can use those tools with their students.
Week 1 Tasks:

Task 1:  Joining the Digital Tools Wiki

 

  1. This is not the first time to use PB Works wikis. Last year, I tried it with the "Personal Learning Network Session". So, it was so easy to deal with the DigiTools Wiki.  
  2. I have sent a request to the moderators to join the wiki and waited for the approval.
  3. Once my account was approved, I visited my settings to add some details and upload a new photo. Then, I explored all the materials and links to know more about the course and its tasks.

Task 2: Connecting - Getting Started with Edmodo


  1. I already had my account of edmodo as a teacher, but I didn't use it a lot. I just created it several months ago as I read about it in one of my favorite blogs. 
  2. I joined our edmodo group and waited for the approval.
  3. Once my membership was approved, I started to explore our group page and connect to others.
  4. I went to my page settings and customized my space, checked my information, changed its appearance, set up my email preferences, filled out my profile and added a new photo.
  5. I introduced myself in a few words and replied to several notes.
  6. I identified 4 or 5 colleagues who took other courses with me last year. I was so happy to meet them again.
  7. I sent some connection requests to other colleagues to be my friends and share ideas with each other later.

Task 3: Your Story - Introducing Yourself, Establishing Bonds, Socializing


This task was divided into two sub-tasks:

1. A story of who We are:

We were asked to introduce ourselves. There were a lot of options through which we can tell our stories, e.g., writing a poem, adding a video, a PPT, a photo, or just words. It's up to us to decide on how we are going to introduce ourselves with our own story.




I  had to find my own unique way to tell my story. Checking all the tools provided (animoto.com, about.me, flavors.me & prezi.com), I selected about.me. It is a very wonderful and interesting tool. I prepared my introduction, accessed our Introductions Activity in our EDMODO group Discussion Forum and added the link to my story. Click here to see my page.


I also introduced myself by another tool that is too dear to my heart. It is Glogster. This tool is an amazing way to incorporate texts, sound, videos, images and links at the same place. Here is my glog that I created last year:

To know more about how to create a glog,
please visit this Post !



2. Take a seat and interact:


We were asked to take a seat and "listen" to others at the Introductions Area, check their stories, and interact with, at least, two other participants. Really, I was impressed by my colleagues' introductions. They used a variety of new tools, not just the tools provided, e.g., voki.com, edu.glogster.com, dvolver.com, voicethread.com, brainshark.com, portal.sliderocket.com, slideshare.com, podbean.com, ... etc.  I replied to some participants, e.g., Ms Chistyakova, Lorena Arevalo, Ms Da Silva Castro ... etc. I also learned how to view my name "first and last" from Maria. I like this sense of helping each other. This is the first time I participate in a very rich space where I can find a lot of experiences, tools, and interactions among participants. I think that I'm lucky to be one of those learners here. 

Task 4: Your e-Portfolio - Deciding for your Online Space

We were asked to choose an online space to keep our tools, reflection, collection and receive feedback from our peers in what we have been producing. Some of the platforms were provided to select from, e.g., blogger.com, wikispaces.com, pbworks.com, posterous.com, and wordpress.com.

Actually, I tried all these tools before and I had accounts for all of them. The online space that I like most is blogger.com. So,I decided to use my blog Azhar's Reflections to reflect on my experiences of DigiTools Course. Since you are here to read this post, this means that you are visiting my e-Portfolio now. Then, I shared my space portfolio with my colleagues at our Portfolios Page. I also had a look at some e-portfolios of other participants and left comments to them.

Task 5: Web Safari
We were asked to check the Technology Integration Matrix and reflect upon where we are nowadays and where we'd like to be according to our own educational context. Then, add our thoughts to our Edmodo Group Discussion.

Checking the Technology Integration Matrix many times, I found that I'm at the "Authentic Transformation Level". I will not repeat what I have read about this level in the matrix, but I will give you a real example.



My students decided to serve their beloved country "Egypt" after the Revolution of 25th Jan, 2011. They noticed that the rate of tourism dramatically dropped and the tourists feel very afraid to visit the Mother of the World.  They created a wiki called "Welcome Back Egypt" through which they sent an invitation to the whole world to come back to Egypt again. They created a variety of products, e.g., essays about the most beautiful sites in Egypt, movies, glogs, posters, PPT presentations, vokis, and facebook group. Every student selected the tool that suits his/her style of learning and intelligence. 

They communicated with a lot of people from all over the world. This is not the end. They trained other people around them, e.g., friends, colleagues, brothers, sisters, parents and even their teachers. Other teachers from other countries considered my students as a Model to be followed in their classrooms. They talked about them to their students to encourage and empower their capabilities. Here is an example.

My role was just a facilitator and a guide. I just prepared some tutorials and then let them try and explore together. Surprisingly, my students started to create tutorials for their colleagues. They also asked me to create their own wikis to start their learning journey alone. I think that my students are about to reach the Goal Directed Transformation Level. They are empowered to extend the use of technology tools and have greater ownership and responsibility for learning.


I almost finished week 1 tasks. I have just one thing to do. It is how to make use of these tools in my classrooms. Please, wait for my coming post!

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