Thursday, February 23, 2012

M4T: Weeks Keep Surprises

As the title says the coming weeks of M4T session keep surprises. We tried a lot of things and communicated with each other to create a lesson plan. I have to admit that I faced some difficulties dealing with Moodle and its features. However, Dr. Nellie Tutorials were so beneficial and easy to be followed. Also, my colleagues helped me to gain some confidence to keep up the good work and never give up. One of the most wonderful things that I experienced was to collaborate with my buddy to complete some tasks. It was not easy to work together because of the different time zones, however, we managed to do most of the work. Here is a summary of what I did through the rest 4 weeks: 

Week 2 Tasks:
  • I explored the resources available on Moodle (e.g., labels, web links, file links, and web pages) and the activities (e.g., discussion forums, choices, assignments (upload), glossary, WizIQ live class, and wiki). Here is some of the work I have done:
  • I communicated with my Moodle Buddy 49 Team and practiced the resources and activities together. Also, we started to create our lesson plan. We were 3 at the beginning, however, one of us couldn't complete because she was busy. So, I completed most of our  work with my colleague "Maria Lucia from Italy". Really, I was happy to do this collaboration. It was my first real contribution with other colleagues from outside my country. I'm sure that it will not be the last TRY. I expect more work and projects in the next few months.

Week 3 Tasks:
  • I uploaded the word document that I created for my team lesson plan on the Moodle M4T2012EVO workshop in week 2 to Google Docs. 
  • I shared the link of the document with my Buddy 49 Maria Lucia Ercole as a public file until we finished editing and then closed it so no one can change the information.
  • I accessed the class Word Google Docs called Team Lesson Plans and filled in the information including the link to our Google Docs lesson plan.
  • I researched and discussed the meaning of authentic learning with my colleagues. I liked an article by Clif Mims. He talked about Authentic Learning in a very practical way. 
  • Clif Mims thinks that in order to make student learning relevant to real life experiences, learning environments must be authentic. If learning is authentic, then students should be engaged in genuine learning problems that foster the opportunity for them to make direct connections between the new material that is being learned and their prior knowledge. These kinds of experiences will increase student motivation. He goes on pointing out that there has long been a discrepancy between the traditional process of learning in schools and the process of learning in the real-world. As a result, students have been unable to see any real-life connection with what they learn in school. Authentic learning offers the opportunity for teachers to bring the outside world into the classroom. In doing so, students can begin creating those connections. This will empower them to transfer their knowledge and skill learned at school into their everyday lives outside of school, thus making the value of learning much more important to them. For me, this means that authentic learning is to bring real life into classrooms, to make use of what students learned to solve real problems, to create links and connections between what they learn and what they face in their everyday lives ..... in short to engage students to learn for life. 
  • I practiced Moodle activities and resources to develop our collaborative lesson plan in the team section of the sandbox. Here is an example of my work:
  • I added resources to the glossary. This is a great feature on Moodle. I think that it is beneficial to create a place where you can find all the key words defined and discussed. We can go there to clear our understanding and collaborate with other colleagues to collect definitions and resources.  Here is my resource that is about Authentic Learning: Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems...... To read more, please click this wonderful article by Clif Mims.
  • I reflected in the wiki for the class on what I did in week 3 and how I feel at the end of the week. This is another great feature that we can find on Moodle. Reflecting on things helps me to know how far I achieved my goals and what I need to do in order to go a head in my work. Here is my reflection in week 3:

Week 4 Tasks:
  • I collaborated with my Buddy 49 "Maria Lucia Ercole" to create a Google Docs PowerPoint presentation for our team lesson. Maria made the first draft and I completed it adding and deleting some slides. Here is the final presentation

  • I created a WizIQ live class on Moodle for the team in our sandbox section. I uploaded the PowerPoint presentation and launched it on the time determined with Maria. We discussed our lesson using slides. Unfortunately, my voice was so low. I think that the reason behind this problem was my bad internet connection. However, we used the chatbox to direct our speech.
  • I recorded the WizIQ live class and shared the recording on the following Google Docs Document.

Week 5 Tasks:
  • I finalized my team PowerPoint presentation using Google Docs and shared the link with the rest of the participants in our  Google Docs Collaborative Presentations.
  • I created a video capturing my voice and screenshots of our lesson plan. I used  Knovio. Knovio™ is an innovative tool for turning PowerPoint® slides into rich video presentations with just a web browser and webcam. With Knovio, you can take static PowerPoint slides to a new level with video and audio presentations that can be accessed anytime on-demand and shared with others through email and social media. Here is our Moodle Buddy 49 video presentation:

  • I created my own individual PowerPoint presentation and added my voice to the slides reflecting on the process of the workshop. Here is my video presentation.
This is the end of the M4T workshop. However, I consider it the beginning for using such amazing tool with my students. As I said before, what makes Moodle unique is that you can use many things at the same place. You can upload materials, insert activities and resources, discuss in the forums, launch WiZIQ live classes, reflect using blogs or wikis .... and more. I'm sure that students will like it as it suits most of their learning styles.

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