It was great to hear and have a discussion around everyone's plans for the year. I feel very fortunate to have been part of this group and will be able to build upon the new knowledge and resources I have gained for years to come. Thank you!!
June 2011 Archives
This has been an awesome opportunity! Thank you so much for an insightful week. I am leaving with a project plan and high hopes to incorporate many of the items that I learned this past week into my courses. Enjoy your summer and see you at the fall retreat!
Great discussions on this final day. Nice to hear from each individual in the group their plans, hopes, concerns.....A lot of fun and thoughtful stuff happened all week. Thank you to co-participants, organizers and tech experts!
I want to express my gratitude in two directions. First direction--to Dave and Sheila and all of the IT Fellows for their patience with me and their willingness to go slow with me. Second direction--to my colleagues, fellow trekkers, also for their patience with me, both because they were all so much more advanced in their understanding of many of these topics and because they accepted and responded to my questions that often took us off of figuring out technology tools. Thank you.
Thanks to all of our explorer colleagues for sharing so many good ideas and class assignments. It has been a good week, and I now have so many good ideas for improving my classes. Thanks to all the IT fellows for their assistance as well. Thank you, Dean Quam for providing this initiative! A big shoutout to Dave and Sheila, too, for their work on planning and facilitating the TREKS Explorer!
Today was a good day as we had ample time to work through our project proposals in detail. I'm looking forward to learning more about what my colleagues are planning to do over the next year or so. It's exciting to see how others are focusing on their different courses, and I have picked up some very good ideas to make my courses much better for the students.
I still plan to develop a video for my CEHD colleagues so that they have a better idea of the initiative that I will be involved with tomorrow.
Thanks to everyone for making this such a great week!
Today was a day of pulling things together!! It was great to get my ideas written down and develop a structured plan. In our small group we had a great conversation and I was able to even further fine tune my plan. It is always productive to share ideas and be able to look at things from a new perspective! I am looking forward to moving forward with all my new tools and ideas!
It was nice to have time today to focus concretely on developing project plans, and have a chance to talk through some aspects of a project with peers and IT fellows. A space and structure for facilitating discussion, workshop of, or review of project ideas/drafts is really useful and worthwhile. I hope that tomorrow's "presentations" can continue to build or develop that discussion/process. I am really looking forward to hearing about what other people are planning. I would echo what Dave said the first day of this Trek: that connecting with other instructors from around the college has been one of the most rewarding parts of this experience.
All of the IT fellows and Explore participants have been extremely generous with their time and ideas and I am very grateful for this. I know I have created a bit of a puzzle that has demanded a lot of thought on the part of many -- especially Angela: thank you! I also appreciate (in addition to the great technology support) questions or criticisms that might push me to see and consider my project and assignments in ways that I am not able to on my own.
I am excited to have an assignment in development for my FYI course in the fall that I think/hope will make use of technology (the ipad2 and moodle) in a very purposeful and effective way. Even if my project doesn't work as I think it will (and I'm sure it won't) I will have engaged technology in a very new way -- using it to do something I am excited about.
Today, we were given time to work on our project proposals and our project presentations. Having this time to work and discuss our ideas was very helpful and appreciated. Our projects are coming together! Another great day!
In preparing for the presentation tomorrow, I got some clarity about possible reasons why, on the one hand, I have been a luddite in relation to technology in my classroom, and on the other hand, I have not at all rejected new technologies in other aspects of my scholarly and personal life.
I'm glad that this happened--now I can ask myself some questions about my teaching practices and goals and how they relate to my larger reading and critique of technical and instrumental ways of being in our society. My larger critique of our society definitely does (and should) inform my work in classrooms--but I think that it has, for a while, functioned as a fairly strong barrier to even thinking about new technological tools in my teaching. I think I can open some of this up, now, a bit.
Yes, I'm leaving this all vague--have to save something for the presentation tomorrow.
Before I realized, the weekend came! Thanks to Treksexplore - the time just went by!
Again, a day full of technological knowledge! The biggest take away was the use of Video Ant and Camtesia Relay, which I can outrightly see how I can use for the benefit of my students. Now that I am kind of exposed to many of the cool technologies, the onus is on me as to how am I going to use it. It has been a bit overwhelming but still under control.
The treks team has done their job - now its like - you use or lose it! I am looking forward to Monday, where I can start putting my project plan together.
It is amazing to get just a glimpse of all of the technology tools that are available. Some are of little interest to me, though seeing all of them makes me aware of the possibilities and capabilities that are around and supported,and helps me to be more informed about ways my colleagues are working with students.
Yesterday I liked the intro to 2.0 as it provided a good framework for thinking about the Internet world that our students (and we) are living in. It seems an incredibly complex task to think critically about the possibilities and responsibilities that arise from this.
The copyright presentation was very helpful .... I appreciated the librarian's level of expertise in an area that is vague and complicated to me.
I am very, very hopeful that OIT will come through with mBook, as this app would make the project that I want students to engage in really easy and self-contained within the iPad. Oh, how nice that would be!
I have had a great three days in Treks Explore! I have learned about many tools that will help me achieve my goal of adding more "interaction" in my 100% online course. I feel like today I have a very good "handle" on what tools I will move forward with! One of the great things about Treks Explore is that we are exposed to many useful tools--some I will use now and others I will keep in mind for other projects. Looking forward to next week!
One of the interesting outcomes of today was learning about technology that will not necessarily be of use in my teaching, but will support my other scholarly work.
An example--I am a member of a group called the Midwest Critical Whiteness Collective, which is made up of anti-racist and critical whiteness scholars and activists from Wisconsin and Minnesota. We meet once a month and try to meet face to face, but inevitably one or more members can't make the sometimes long drives. We have been using Skype in these situations, but I was persuaded that UMConnect might serve us better--I'm looking forward to trying it out.
My project remains the same, however I am learning which software(s) might accomplish my goals more efficiently. We were introduced to mediums that could be used with some of the other courses that I teach. Great week!
Today was focused on learning more about video and video related software that can help students explore topics further. VideoANT (coupled with Moodle) emerged as a perfect source of technology that will enable me to complete my project. Although I feel like this is a large undertaking, I'm not sure others would see it that way. However, I will push ahead with my idea and start creating a project plan. This is a for an assignment that will be implemented in the fall semester - so the time is now. Thank you to all the IT fellows for your help and ideas.
I have to admit that I was a bit overwhelmed by Nancy Sims' presentation on Copyright yesterday. I chose to ignore the content for about 18 hours, but the reality of how quickly items are pulled from the web (especially YouTube and other similar video outlets). Having listened to her presentation, taking in the examples of student-mediated projects, and considering what my team-taught course is using for readings in Fall 11, I realize that I cannot ignore those rules and need to establish better practices and raise higher expectations for myself.
On another note, here's an important link about alternative meat:
I appreciated the opportunity to think more about how technology is a tool to use in education, and the importance of questioning the use of technology--there should be a clear educational objective for having students learn how to use different technologies. For instance, when our small group was meeting in the atrium yesterday, a CEHD grad student joined our discussion and told us, "There should be meaningful reasons as to why technologies are used in courses. I don't need to know how to make a crossword puzzle." She made a good point--there has to be a clear learning objective/rationale for students to learn how to employ a technology in a class project/presentation/paper.
Watching the Web 2.0 video this morning was a good trigger to get me to think about the ways technologies are utilized in my speech classes. In fact, I suggest that others consider this alternative way to consider Web 2.0--I found this YouTube video by CorytheRaven to be insightful.
Another interesting day with lots of information! Will need to process and reflect on what are the learning objectives. Introduced to Chimein software!
Today was very eye opening in terms of the how the Web is changing (constantly and quickly), and what we need to think about when having students engage in social media activities, for example. It helped me understand that students need to know about different opportunities as well as the obligations and repercussions of publicly advertising their thoughts. Instructors need to consider why putting something on the Web is appropriate or is there another means to displaying the information. Just some things to think about when planning classes. Great day to get me thinking about how and what I want my students to learn and understand in greater depth regarding public information.
Today was packed with a lot of info....all important, but a bit rushed and overwhelming.
It is pretty amazing to have had 3 tech experts trying to help me figure out an assignment .... One that I thought would be much simpler!
Looking forward to tomorrow, and some time in between to process everything!
Will (cowboy and John's companion): I reckon these tools'll help you get er done then?
John (cowboy and educator): I reckon.
Will: What's worryin' ya, John?
John: Just a feelin'. I'll be givin' this moodle contraption a bit a work, on a basic sorta level. Maybe use the forum against the grain, so to speak, as an in-class way for my student groups to stake out a position on the issues, in that back-n-forth I try to get workin' between smaller and larger publics. Y'know, that critical pragmertist commitment to an engaged plurelism and testing of ideas and values, out of which agony might arise not just critercism, but maybe even creation, bringing something new into the universe . . . . but . . .
Will: What the hell, John. Yer not usually one to be all high and cautious with yer words.
John: 'Tain't easy to articulate, Will. Remember that lovely valley we rode into last week, the one with . . .
Will: Yeah, that was purty . . . expansive-like.
John: Remember that discourse we worried along, 'bout how it had this nat'ral beauty but that it also, most evidently, evinced the very hand and sweat of human beings? There was some sheperding of the environment there. . . . not by any goddam shepherds, but you know what I mean.
Will: I follow yer John.
John: What if a classroom is like that valley, Will, and yer one of them that's tending that valley, and you've figured out a way to have it be beautiful 'n' productive 'n' welcoming 'n' all. And then this extension agent has some ideas about how you could make it more productive and, well, yer just afraid, Will. Yer afraid.
Will: You seem purty sure of yerself there John. So yer classroom's a beautiful valley, eh? Some sort of human-made garden of eden.
John: You asked what was worryin' me, Will.
Will: Indeed I did.
I have appreciated greatly the pedagogical stance of those presenting and leading the sessions--that technology needs to be in service of our teaching and purposes, rather than technology driving our teaching.
That said, I do not believe that the tools we are learning about (that any tools) are in any way neutral, and so I am struggling with sorting through, continually, how to appropriate various tools that seem to assume/embody quite a different set of commitments and values to the ones I am trying to live out in my teaching. "Efficiency" seems the supreme value of so much of this technology, and I guess one benefit of exploring it here is that it helps me clarify some of my purposes--they include trying to go slower (rather than faster), trying to deal with less (rather than more) in more depth.
Today was a nice opening to both meeting other people in the college and thinking about how course objectives or classroom challenges might be addresses effectively using various tools. I appreciate the emphasis on sound pedagogy, rather than on the flash of technology.
The collective parts AND the one-on-one time and attention is really marvelous -- and as Dave suggested this is a rare opportunity to take the time to think through and explore possibilities.
I am concerned about finding simple ways to facilitate image and text sharing via iPads, with the ability to create a collaborative final project at the end. Many possibilities,none seems quite right, yet.
The first day of the TREKS program provided opportunities to learn new ideas about old programs. I valued the expertise in the room - including the program administrators, IT fellows, and my fellow TREKers. Many innovative and creative ideas flew around the room, and I was able to grab onto a few of them and mold them to fit my disciple. I'm excited because I know that tomorrow holds access to more tools that will aid in my abilities to enhance student learning. I leave today with ideas to better my classes and look forward to creating and implementing my somewhat secretive (or better said, unknown) plan. I'll check in tomorrow with an update of a more transparent plan for the future.
There are so many opportunities for me to explore I will have to keep it focused on what is doable. IT Fellows - monitor me. I want to expand my knowledge and use of Moodle to enhance the two classes I already teach, as well as how to figure out how to add a couple of on-line class sessions. I want to learn how to embed video material, etc. I know it is supposed to be simple - but I have not figured it out. Can I use my current courses to try things out on?
What a great way to BEGIN to see the big picture. There are many tools available that I hadn't yet explored in the design of my Internet-based courses. Now if I only had the time needed to learn how to use them effectively.
I'm looking forward to finding new, effective ways to use more of the Google Tools and learning about uses of Video Ant in some of my courses.
I also didn't know I could insert voice messages in my Moodle courses. Curious to see if that is actually useful
As they say - things that start well ends well!
A day full of technological knowledge!!!
I feel fortunate to be a part of this very learned group! When I started today in the morning, I was a little uncomfortable realizing that I am the only graduate student but I was amazed with the way it ended up....everybody was so cooperative and helpful. And I think apart from the IT fellows, who were constantly overwhelming us with new tools ( I like that), we learned a lot from our group discussions.
Also, thanks to the coordinating team who were so patient to resolve my problem with the computer - Special thanks to Dave and Julia!
It was nice to learn how to do voice email and use Choice, which is as good as clickers. I am looking forward to learn Video Ant and other tools which will make my partially online course more engaging to the students.
Again, thanks for a great knowledge intensive day!
Here's the video produced by ATS that features faculty who participated in Treks 2010.
This link will allow you to download the video file:
Today was a great day of learning about new technology tools! I came into the Treks program with wanting to add a blog feature on Moodle but am I leaving today with many more tools that I want to explore and possibly add! One of many "take aways" from today is to remember to think about the instruction and then determine the appropriate tool.
Wow, what a day of learning! I came in with an idea and I still want to explore that idea further, but there is so much more to learn and experience. With regards to Moodle, I still want to learn and incorporate more features to enhance my course!
Things I learned
*If an instructor has a student with a disability, transcription services for a video are available by emailing
*MIT has placed their entire curriculum online.
*Some students have high expectations about short response times to email. . . I still think 24 hours is an appropriate response time.
*The Google Presentation app belongs in my speech classes. How? Not sure yet.
*There is much for me to discover about Moodle.
Thanks for a good day of focusing on educational technologies.
Welcome the 2011 Explore Treks blog! Treks is an innovative, year-long cohort-based program designed to help CEHD instructors learn about instructional technologies. It provides designated time for instructors to explore the ever-expanding array of learning technologies and tools available at the University of Minnesota as well as best practices for using them to enhance student learning and engagement. The purpose of this blog is to provide a space for Treks participants to share their reflections and insights throughout the program.
Check out last year's Explorer blog entries by clicking on the link on the right: Treks Explore - 2010 Cohort.