Extension 2.0 Blog

August 12, 2009

Extension 2.0 Evaluations

Here in the Program Resources Unit, you know we are big on evaluation. I am no expert, but I tried to do a post-course evaluation of the 2009 offering of Extension 2.0. Here are the results! Let me know if you have any further feedback or ideas for better evaluation!

OVERALL:

How satisfied were you with the content of this course? 78.3% said Very Satisfied
How satisfied were you with the format of this course (MOODLE)? 79.7% (55) said Very Satisfied
Overall, how satisfied were you with this course? 79.7% said Very Satisfied

MOTIVATION:

I wanted a free MP3 player! 31.9% said it was not a motivation, 40.6% said it was a minor motivation
My supervisor requested I take the course. 83.8% said it was not a motivation
My colleagues were taking the course. 58.0% said it was not a motivation, 31.9% said it was a minor motivation
I wanted to learn the subject matter. 73.9% said it was a major motivation

Also, here is a chart that shows at least a twinkling of knowledge gain. Hooray for Extension 2.0 participants!


March 9, 2009

A Web 2.0 Cheat Sheet

General Web 2.0

Twitter

Chat

Web Conferencing

Social Networking

Collaboration and Productivity Tools

Wikis

Podcasts

Images and Video

RSS and Feedreaders

Blogs


March 2, 2009

Week 9: Wrap Up

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You made it through nine weeks of Extension 2.0! Congratulations! Be sure to give yourself a big pat on the back for completing this program.

Homework for Week 9

You will be entered to win one of 45 FREE MP3 Players if you have completed all required homework by March 6, 2009!

In closing, I want to thank every one of you for having the sense of adventure and drive for learning to stick with me through this course. I hope it has inspired you to keep exploring and to utilize some of the tools to make your work easier.

Thanks again for taking the course! Amy


February 23, 2009

Week 8: Social Networking (Optional)

"Social Networking" is definitely a buzz word for today. Used most commonly in reference to specific online activities, the term social networking refers to the use of certain types of websites to connect with a community via the web.

I bet your ears just perked up a little, because what else does Extension do but connect with communities?

There are many sites out there that are built on the idea of social networking.

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What distinguishes these sites from one another is what (if any) special interests are drawing people to the community.

  • Some of the sites, such as facebook for example, are very broad social networking sites. There really is no theme to the community (kind of like a real-life community, actually!).
  • Other sites, like flickr, have a niche special interest that brings people to the community (photo sharing, in flickr's case).
  • Still other sites, like LinkedIn, don't have a common special interest, but rather have a common purpose (for LinkedIn, it's making professional contacts).

 

How It Works

Social Networking sites are recognizable because they are all set up in a similar way. You setup an account on the site and then you begin exploring around to see who else is there. Some sites call these "friends" or "contacts." Usually there are also groups you can join to refine your community to be more interesting to you. As your community of friends/contacts grows, the site becomes more information-rich in a way that is tailored to your interests.

I will rely heavily on facebook for my examples, because it is a subject-neutral and very common social networking site. I'll describe two other biggies later on: LinkedIn and NING.

An example:

I visit my facebook homepage and notice on my front page that one of my friends has become "friends" with a group called Extension Online IT Training. I look at the group and decide I want to be in it too. Now I get updates from facebook (I can choose for it to email me or not) when new content or events are added to the group, plus I have many new contacts (other group members) to bounce ideas off of or ask for help on the subject of online training.

 

Importance

As with many of these Web 2.0 technologies that we are exploring, you may or may not be attracted to them in your work. Of all of the units in the Extension 2.0 curriculum, Social Networking was the "hardest sell." It was fairly universally despised the first time I offered the course, and so the second time I made it optional. BUT, a recent U of M study found that 95% of current students had a presence on some kind of social networking site. Most of us can see the writing on the wall that as these students become part of our workforce and our audiences, having a working knowledge of social networking will be essential.

Additionally, it is possible that social networking could be useful to your program or work. YES it is possible! I think my example above illustrates this pretty well from a professional development perspective. And what if I were the person who administered the group, and it was really a part of my program? I would be getting the following out of having my program represented by a group on facebook:

  • I could easily and quickly ask potential audience for their ideas, feedback, or stories in a conversational way
  • I can promote upcoming events and new products. I could even post a coupon or something for an event as a way of knowing who heard about the event through facebook.
  • I can make many new contacts, both audience and colleague. I am a big believer that making just one really good, relevant new contact in your field is worth A LOT OF HASSLE!
  • I am increasing the "technological" image of my program by showing that I am up on some of the latest web tools out there.
Examples of program-y facebook pages:

 

Privacy

One of the biggest questions swirling around all of the online social networking sites is privacy. So I have tried to sort out some of the issues.
  • AGE. It is a common policy that no one under the age of 13 is allowed to create profiles on most of these sites.
  • PERSONAL INFORMATION. Most sites keep any personal information you enter (such as phone numbers and addresses) visible to either no one or only to your designated contacts. However, it may be a good idea to not supply this information at all if you are very private about it.
  • PROFESSIONAL VS PERSONAL. This is the most common dilemma about online social networking. We do it for fun, but we also do it for networking. For this reason, I made a little tutorial: Some Facebook Privacy Settings

 

Other Social Networking Sites

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a niche site for professional networking. Your profile looks similar to a resume and your contacts ("connections") are past or present co-workers, friends, neighbors, clients... anyone who might be handy professionally. Since there is a place for "recommendations" on everyone's profile, it can be a good way to find a freelancer. Even though I am not looking for a job, I enjoy browsing through my connections (to see what they really do!) and seeing where past co-workers have ended up.

  • You are welcome to look at my LinkedIn page if you want to see a real life example--for lack of anything better to show you!

NING

Ning is a bit of a hybrid site, where you create your own social network environment (or join someone else's) around a specific topic. Like facebook, Ning can be a useful tool for you in two ways: 1) finding and joining social networks of interest to you and 2) creating a social network for your interest area or class.

February 18, 2009

Almost There!

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The end is in sight! After you look at this week's unit on web conferencing, there are only 2 weeks left. Don't worry if you're lagging behind, next week's unit is optional, so you can use that time to catch up if you wish. You can do it!

I am so impressed with all of the (217!) self-motivated learners who signed up for this course. I am having a lot of fun reading all your blog posts and forum entries! I am also getting some great ideas for technology possibilities in the organization. I'm sure you are too.

Coming up next week is "Social Networking," an optional unit where we'll discuss all those social websites and technologies that you hear about, like facebook, twitter, and more. It's a guaranteed boost to your hipness score!


February 16, 2009

Week 7: Web Conferencing

This week's unit is written by an expert guest blogger, Karen Matthes! If you haven't had a chance to host a web conference, this week's lesson is for YOU! If you are already a web conferencing pro, perhaps you will share some web conferencing tips. And if you are somewhere in-between, let's hope this lesson will entice you to try something new. Whether you are collaborating on a project with your distributed work team or hosting a large web conference with multiple presenters in different locations, web conferencing can help facilitate your meeting. Web conferencing is also a great tool for delivering training and marketing products. You may have heard of WebEx, Centra and Microsoft Live Meeting web conferencing systems, but as an Extension employee, you have access to the University supported web conferencing software, Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro. The University calls it UMConnect. The best part is that it is free to use at any time. With UMConnect, you can:
  • Deliver a presentation in real time
  • Communicate by broadcasting audio and video or text chat
  • Demonstrate a software program or show a web site
  • Gather feedback from participants with polling
  • Edit documents as a group
  • Share files with participants
  • Invite non-University participants to join your conference
  • Record a meeting and allow others to view it at a later time
The process is easy. Schedule your meeting through the UMConnect website. Once your meeting is scheduled, you can enter the meeting room to get it ready for your meeting by uploading content, preparing polls and rearranging the layout. When your meeting is over, you have unlimited access to the meeting room to capture the discussions, notes or chat from your meeting. In fact, the meeting room remains as is until you delete it, make changes to it or use it for another meeting. Audio Considerations UMConnect allows you to broadcast video and audio over the internet (VoIP) which eliminates the need for a telephone conference and long distance fees. Sounds great, right? Unfortunately it is not always reliable. Because UMConnect uses a standard network connection, UMConnect meetings are subject to network congestion, which may cause video and audio delays and/or dropouts. VoIP works best with very small groups or when one person is presenting. If you don't want to use the VoIP, it is recommended that you schedule a separate audio conference to use with your web conference. Information about audio conference vendors is on the Extension Information Technology website (login required). Here are a few examples of recorded web conference meetings. Notice how the meeting host has changed the default meeting room layout to utilize only the functions/pods that are needed for that meeting. U of MN TEL Seminar: Learning Outcomes, Assessment, and Technology Extension Swine Seminar: Emergency Ventilation for Hog Barns Lunch and Learn: Library Support for Scholarship in Extension NCSET: Introduction to the Youthhood Website Homework (choose an option below): If you have never created a UMConnect meeting: Create a UMConnect meeting and begin exploring the meeting room interface.
  1. Print out a UMConnect quick reference guide (login required) on how to create a new meeting
  2. Follow the steps on the quick reference guide to set up a new UMConnect meeting. You do not need to invite anyone else to your practice meeting.
  3. Go into the meeting you just created. Explore the meeting room. Try:
    1. Entering text into the Chat pod
    2. Type into the Note pod
    3. Upload a PowerPoint presentation into the Share pod: In the Share pod, click Documents/Load from my computer)
  4. Write a short post on your course blog about how it went and how you think you could use web conferencing in your Extension work.
If you have already hosted a UMConnect meeting but want to learn more, challenge yourself by using features you may have not tried:
  • Create a new meeting or use an existing one. Do you know how to find all of your expired meetings? Log into http://umconnect.umn.edu, click on meetings.
  • Rearrange your meeting room - move, resize and close pods. Save it as a new layout.
  • Play with pods: Create an additional note pod, poll and share pods to use in a practice meeting. Rename your pods so they are easier to find.
  • Invite a coworker into your meeting to practice sharing your computer screen to demonstrate or collaborate on a document
Write a short post on your course blog about something new you tried in UMConnect and how it went. Did you need help? If you are a UMConnect pro, write in your course blog about how you use web conferencing. Is it with external audiences or for internal meetings? Large or small groups? Share some tips about web conferencing (eg. administration, interaction, keeping it interesting, etc) Resources and Help: Adobe Acrobat Connect How To Topics Adobe Acrobat Connect Resources PSU: Using Adobe Connect - online tutorials University of Minnesota UMConnect Website Email klm@umn.edu or ceh@umn.edu Call the IT helpdesk at 612-624-6700

February 9, 2009

Week 6: Wikis and other collaborative tools

WIKIS

Dogs on the internetWikis are a truly Web 2.0 phenomenon. They are web pages written collaboratively online by contributors, who are often their readers. Depending on how they are set up, almost anyone at any time can change the information displayed, without having to know HTML.

Whoah, whoah, whoah! Where's the peer review process? Where's the research base?! Where's the 3-week copy-editor turnaround time?!!

Yes, the world of wiki-dom takes a little getting used to! First, let's just quick go over what a wiki is:

A wiki :

  • is easily editable by its readers, through their web browser
  • is almost always monitored by editor(s) of some sort
  • keeps all prior versions of information, so no edit is irreversible

The most famous wiki of all is Wikipedia. This massive encyclopedia site is editable by any user, even if they are unregistered (although it will show your IP address). This allows the site to tap into an incredible amount of brain power with very little barrier to collaboration. This also opens the site up to inaccuracy.

Like blogs, the University has a central University of Minnesota Wiki site that allows you to create wikis. These wikis can be open to the public or limited to x.500 logins. This option is nice because of the x.500 barrier, it is extremely easy to only let colleagues edit, but anyone can view. When editing, you may want to look for the "WYSIWYG" tab in the upper right to avoid all the wiki markup. You can also explore PB Wiki and Wet Paint, two other wiki hosting sites, if you are interested.


OTHER COLLABORATIVE TOOLS

Obviously, wikis are not the only way to collaborate online. Sometimes you are not creating a web resource, you are working on a spreadsheet or just doing some workshop planning. Here are some tools that may help with those types of tasks.

Office Tools

Google Docs and Zoho are two popular online tools that behave remarkably similarly to your Microsoft Office Suite. Their primary advantage is that they allow for document sharing between collaborators. They even allow you to subscribe to a document's changes via an RSS feed (that's Week 3 baby!)

Lists

Keeping to-do lists and project management lists and timelines online can be helpful if you are collaborating or working from more than one computer. A few popular online task managers are Remember the Milk, Todoist, Nozbe, and Ta-Da List. Which one works for you depends on how you like to set up and prioritize your project lists. Keeping lists online allows you to share them with collaborators and access them from all anywhere.

University of Minnesota Specific Productivity Tools

The U of M offers staff some online tools that are definitely worth mentioning here. Netfiles is a very useful tool for storing, sharing, and collaborating on files. It is not the same as Google Docs or Zoho in that you would not actually edit the document online. But it allows you to store and share even large files online quite easily.

The other productivity tool the U has invested in is the UMCal system. This is a great online calendar that allows you to easily see when others are available to meet. Many of you I'm sure are already using it.

UMChat is the University's instant messaging system. "I.M." is golden when you just have a (very) quick question for someone. It may seem like an interruption, but can cut down on phone and email inquiries that may take longer.

Other Miscellaneous Tools (all free):


  • Zamzar: Converts many file types from one format to another
  • Picnik: Photo editing, fixing done online after you upload your photo
  • Doodle: Quick (no login for voters) polling system for selecting meeting dates
  • Senduit: Upload any file and it will provide you with a private link that you can put in email
  • Slideshare: share slide-style presentations online [click for an example of an REE's slideshare library]
  • Jing: Screen capture tool that also does short screen capture videos. I use this all the time!
Other Resources and things to explore:


February 2, 2009

Quality Fair 2009

The U holds a "Quality Fair" each year (or at least they have for a couple of years now) to share good ideas amongst the U community. This year Extension is sharing the Extension 2.0 project.

Quality Fair Poster

Project Details


Week 5: Podcasts and Audio

Podcasts are an audio format that is syndicated, via RSS-type feeds. They are easily automated to sync to your computer or portable device, so that, if you choose, every time there is new content, you automatically receive it. Without this functionality, podcasts are really just audio files. The word podcast is a bit of a misnomer, since it leads people to believe that you need an Apple iPod to be able to listen to it. But the files are in MP3 format, so all you really need is an MP3 player, which could be as simple as your computer with some speakers attached.

Podcasting is becoming increasingly popular in education. iTunes U is a growing section of iTunes, where Universities make lectures available for download. Extension is participating in the iTunes U project here at the U. More on that as we figure out what is going on there.

Many podcasts are more conversational, with a radio show feel to them, and can be educational in a different way. Podcasts can range in length from just a few minutes to an hour or more. They are typically audio, but are increasingly video with the advent of the video-capable iPod a couple years ago.

Although some sites list links to their podcasts on their web pages, the primary way to find podcasts is to use a search engine specifically designed for finding podcast feeds. The most popular of these search engines is iTunes (requires a software download, although many of you may already have it on your computers).

Another good way to find a podcast in a certain subject is to just do a google search for a subject and include the word podcast in the search.

For an example of how to find and add a podcast using a podcast search engine site called PodNova and add it to your bloglines account, watch this video by yours truly (3:00). Although honestly, I think iTunes is easier to use.

If you are having trouble finding a podcast in your subject or interest area, try looking through some of these more general ideas:

 Other Resources:


January 26, 2009

Week 4: Images and Video

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Photo and video sharing are two aspects of Web 2.0 that could be very useful in your educational activities. There are THREE reasons online photo and video sharing can help you:

First, online sites keep your photos safe and backed-up. If (when) your computer crashes, you do not lose all your photo files.

Second, using a typical photo sharing site allows you to organize your photos into albums as well as mark them with keywords (tag them), making it easier to locate the photo you are looking for in your or others' photos.

Third, these sites allow you to share photos, either with a designated group, the world, or with no one. Clearly, this is useful for collaborative work, but also has uses as an educational tool. People can comment on your photos, too.

Sites for Photo Sharing

There are many online photo sharing sites, including Photobucket and Webshots. Although almost any of those would work for photo sharing, you can see the benefit of you and your colleagues using the same site. So, for the purposes of this course, we are going to explore one site in particular, Flickr.

Please watch this 4-minute video by yours truly: A basic introduction to Flickr. I forgot to mention in there that I am a paid Flickr member ($25/year), so my pages will look/behave slightly different than with a free account (i.e. no ads).

As you saw in the video, Flickr also accepts short-ish videos (less than 90 seconds), if you are a paid member. Which is handy if you have one of the digital cameras that will take short-ish videos. I think this would be excellent for illustrating a quick technique, like, I don't know, teet dipping or something.

For hosting longer videos, you can use YouTube, an online video sharing site whose ubiquity is both a pro and a con. Many audiences are comfortable with the technology and exposure will be wide, but are your audiences comfortable being sent to a site that is primarily populated with entertainment, not education? Some are, some aren't. (For Example: My daughter loves to watch Bill Martin, Jr. sing "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" on YouTube. Cute, huh? Until you see the "related video" it recommends afterwards, which is someone lighting Tickle-Me-Elmo on fire. Her tiny, Elmo-worshiping head would explode if she saw that.)

The University has an alternative to YouTube, sort of. MediaMill is a no-nonsense video hosting utility. It does not include the social aspects, like commenting and linking to other videos with similar subject matter. I am using MediaMill to host the video tutorials (like the Flickr one above).They are a little too big for Flickr and a little too... I don't know... specific? for YouTube. MediaMill access is currently granted only on request (it is in a pre-release phase). But I was given access in a quick and friendly manner.

If you have very large or very critical videos to host, you will want to contact Extension IT and they can connect you with appropriate resources.

Suggested Activity for exploring Images and Video:

Visit Flickr. Take the "Magical Feature Tour." If you would like, setup a (free) Flickr account. Otherwise, just browse around and search for photos. Here are some groups that may be of interest:

A note on photo etiquette (it goes without saying, I know):
If you see someone's photo that you are interested in using, check to see what the copyright is (usually found in the right-hand column in Flickr). Many photos have a Creative Commons license, which allows you to use the photo with attribution. In the sharing spirit of Web 2.0, I encourage you to consider the same type of license on your photos.
If you have any photos involving humans, then you will need a photo release form signed by them or their parent/guardian.

Mashups (just for fun):


mosaic8839347.jpg
Mashups are hybrid web applications that take information from more than one source and combine it into one tool, usually kind of gimmicky (see above!) but sometimes quite useful, such as the frequent mashup of Google Maps with real estate listings. Many of the web's most popular mashups involve Flickr, due to its open API and extremely interesting content.
  • Big Huge Labs (make fun images using Flickr photos, see my State Fair mosaic above)
  • Animoto (make animated slideshows with Flickr photos)
  • Flickr Colr Picker (finds Flickr photos in the color of your choice. And no, I don't know how this would ever be useful but it is SO FUN!)

January 19, 2009

Week 3: Feeds and Feedreaders

Maybe some of you have noticed on the side of blogs or other websites: Subscribe to this blog's feed or RSS 2.0 or Atom. News outlets and blogs frequently have these links or display the feed symbol, , which means that the page you are currently reading has a "feed."

What does it mean to have a feed? When a website has a feed, it is publishing its content in a modular format that can be picked up by various sources, sort of like a news wire. This doesn't do anything different to the website itself, it is feature that websites add into their code to make their information more easily found and therefore more widely read.

Since a lot of people can get lost when it comes to explaining RSS, I am going to use an example. Let's pretend you just bought a NOAA Weather Radio. You program it to alert you only when there is a warning in your county. Even though NOAA is "publishing" way more content than just the warnings for your area, you are able to only listen for a specific "feed."

In this example, the Weather Radio is the tool you use to obtain the feed. This is analogous to a feedreader. A feedreader's job is to sit on the feeds you have selected, and alert you when they have something new. This saves you from having to click through all your bookmarks, and possibly wasting time if there haven't been any new items posted.

The feedreader is sitting on the internet, saying, "Any new content over there?" "Nope?" "How about now?" "No?" "And what about now?" Typically they check for new content about every hour.

I have a 3-year old, and it has crossed my mind how nice it would be to have a mommy RSS feed: I WILL ALERT YOU WHEN THE "CAN WE GO TO THE PARK" STATUS IS UPDATED.

Now everyone go buy a weather radio and take my kid to the park. Wait, where was I?

Experimenting with a Feedreader

There are several RSS feedreaders to chose from, and you may even have one built-in to your browser already--newer versions of IE, Safari, and Firefox all have this. However, many of us operate from several different computers, so a web-based feedreader may be a better idea. It is up to you. Three popular options for feedreading are Bloglines, Google Reader, and Netvibes.

After you have your feedreader setup with some sites that you would like to keep an eye on for updates, the feedreader will NOT EMAIL you with updates. You need to check back in with it once in a while when you are in the mood to do some reading. ("Why hello, feedreader! How are you doing?")

A feedreader activity:

Finding RSS Feeds

After you read this post, you will start noticing 'feed' links, I guarantee it (or your money back!). But to get you started, I am going to list some feeds you may be interested in. You'll notice they look like stripped down webpages. That's because RSS is no-nonsense--only the content, thank you very much. You can always click through to the formatted article.

craigslist.png

Ever wonder how people snap up the deals so fast on Craigslist? They are using a feedreader! To do this yourself, do your search on Craigslist and click on the RSS icon at the bottom of the results page. Copy the resulting link to your feedreader. Now you will notice new postings via your feedreader and you do not need to remember to do the search every day (although you will need to check your feedreader everyday!).


January 12, 2009

Week 2: Blogs

By the end of this post, you will be blogging away in the blogosphere as a blog-writing blogger!

Are you sick of the word blog yet? It's a noun! It's a verb! It's a super gerund! I sometimes joke that the hippest among us will soon be calling the world wide web the blog blog blog. Because that is so much cooler sounding.

What's really hip and cool, though, is understanding what a blog really is and what it is good for. The word blog is a shortened form of the phrase "web log." The primary distinguishing characteristic of a blog is that it is frequently updated, and is displayed in a chronological "posting" format. Often, blogs spark discussion by allowing readers to leave comments, which then are displayed below the posting. Watch this short video, which explains Blogs in Plain English.

One of the best features of blogs is that a non-technical person can easily update content and upload files. Thanks to common, freely available blogging websites, no HTML experience is necessary. (more on this in a minute)

There are all kinds of blogs out there. Many of you, I'm sure, have already discovered blogs of personal interest to you (like this one!). But what purpose can blogs have for Extension? Here are a few examples of Extension-related blogs. Please click through each one and check them out:

These blogs are used to communicate with audiences as well as co-workers and the media. The format encourages open exchange and learning between the author(s) and the readers. The blogs focus on subject areas where Extension can contribute unique and valuable information to the dialog. Or should I say diaBLOG? (badump bump CHING!)

A Suggested Blog Activity:

Let's make your own blog! You can use the University's blogging website, UThink, to create your blog. Your blog will be just a PRACTICE blog and can easily be deleted later if you wish.

How to create a new blog:
  1. Watch this videoclip, which shows step by step How to setup a blog using UThink.
  2. You may also want to watch this more detailed tutorial, How to Blog Using UThink, which explains stuff like adding photos and categories.
  3. Go to the UThink website and login with your x.500.
  4. Create a new blog. You can title it whatever you would like. It is only PRACTICE and you can easily delete it later.
Once you have your blog created, you need to write a test post in order for the blog to be created--the blog does NOT work when there are zero posts. Then click the button at the bottom of the left navigation: view blog.

January 5, 2009

Week 1: Introduction

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Web 2.0 may or may not be a familiar term for you. It refers to the trend of the web moving to a more user-created experience. The "2.0" doesn't refer to an upgrade in web software or hardware, but instead refers to a shift in thinking. Web page visitors are no longer just expected to read what is on the page. They are invited to comment on it, correct it, upload a photo about it, share it with their friends.

Web 2.0 is all about collaboration, information sharing, and creativity. These are all three strengths commonly found in Extension. This course will explore the new ways people are using the web to find and share information and communicate with each other. All of this is very relevant to Extension.

Many of the tools here may be useful for your internal, external, or personal work. I admit, I haven't always thought of Extension uses for all the Web 2.0 examples presented in this course. But maybe exposing you to a new tool will plant a seed. There is nothing wrong with using this course to set-up web tools for your personal life. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with new tools with no risk to your audiences. After you've explored a tool, you may come up with professional uses or you may not. Who knows what you'll come up with!

Each Monday for 11 weeks, one to three new technologies will be introduced. You will be given links to discover and explore them, as well as optional challenges to complete if you want to learn even more. If you fall behind or start late, you can catch up by reading back on this course blog. You will officially sign-up and begin recording your progress starting next week.

You should be able to complete each week's exercises in about half an hour. If you have any trouble, please feel free to contact Extension IT, your colleagues taking this course, or leave a comment on this blog.

See below for this week's "homework" (there are two exercises), and don't forget to have some fun with this enrichment course.

Web 2.0 may or may not be a familiar term for you. It refers to the trend of the web moving to a more user-created experience. The "2.0" doesn't refer to an upgrade in web software or hardware, but instead refers to a shift in thinking. Web page visitors are no longer just expected to read what is on the page. They are invited to comment on it, correct it, upload a photo about it, share it with their friends.

Web 2.0 is all about collaboration, information sharing, and creativity. These are all three strengths commonly found in Extension. This course will explore the new ways people are using the web to find and share information and communicate with each other. All of this is very relevant to Extension.

Many of the tools here may be useful for your internal, external, or personal work. I admit, I haven't always thought of Extension uses for all the Web 2.0 examples presented in this course. But maybe exposing you to a new tool will plant a seed. There is nothing wrong with using this course to set-up web tools for your personal life. This is a good way to familiarize yourself with new tools with no risk to your audiences. After you've explored a tool, you may come up with professional uses or you may not. Who knows what you'll come up with!

Each Monday for nine weeks, one to three new technologies will be introduced. You will be given links to discover and explore them, as well as optional challenges to complete if you want to learn even more. If you fall behind or start late, you can catch up by reading back on the course.

You should be able to complete each week's exercises in about half an hour. If you have any trouble, please feel free to contact Extension IT, your colleagues taking this course, participate in a class forum, or contact me (Amy Baker) at amy@umn.edu.

Now for your first weekly activity!

Watch the popular YouTube video (4.5 minutes): The Machine is Us/ing Us. (If you cannot get YouTube at your office, try the TeacherTube version.)

Also, be sure to do your homework (see below), and don't forget to have some fun with this enrichment course!

Week 1 Homework:


October 24, 2008

Welcome

Extension 2.0: Building Awareness of Current Educational Technologies

Developed for Extension staff, this enrichment course encourages exploration of the new tools and technologies freely available on the internet (collectively known as "Web 2.0"). This increased literacy of internet tools will lead staff to be able to identify opportunities for improving their programming through use of online tools.

This course is designed at a beginner level. This avoids leaving anyone behind while allowing more advanced staff to re-enforce their knowledge and participate in optional challenges. You are encouraged to play in order to discover.

The course is made of up of nine weekly units. Each unit will provide you with safe ways to expose yourself to new technologies through small weekly discovery exercises and challenges for more advanced users.

This curriculum is based on a list from Stephen Abram, "43 Things I might want to do this year" (Information Outlook, Feb 2006) and the Learning 2.0 curriculum developed by Helene Blowers of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

Now let's get started!