October 10, 2008

Week 11: Wrap Up

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises? I really enjoyed learning about the photo sharing technology, Zamzar (I have used it many times already!), podcasts, and web conferencing.

How has this program assisted or affected your everyday work? It has inspired me to try using more technology in my work. As a regional 4-H team, we have talked about using podcasts and maybe some other technologies to help our club leaders.

Were there any unexpected outcomes or take-aways that surprised you? Yes, I did not think that I would learn about so many different technologies that would be useful both personally and professionally.

What could we do differently to improve this program? Nothing that I can really think of. The content was really good and the directions for everything were really clear.

If another enrichment course of this nature were offered in the future, would you try to participate? Yes! I really enjoyed this course!

September 29, 2008

Week 10: Web Conferencing

Wow. This is really neat technology. I have never really participated in a UMConnect Web Conference before, at least not that I can remember. However, I will soon be doing so as this is how our region is planning to deliver our 4-H fall leader training. We have chosen this method because we can all be in our home counties on one night training our leaders with our regional REE leading the web conference rather than holding 4 different leader trainings on different nights and in different locations. This is really cool and a great way to save on gas and make things more accomodating to peoples' locales. For this week, I set up a UMConnect meeting, typed in text, and uploaded a powerpoint file into the meeting. Things went very well and this seems to be a very easy program to use! I look forward to finding additional uses for this technology and how it can help to make things easier for me and those around me.

September 22, 2008

Week 9: Communicating in 2.0

I have used programs like MSN messenger in the past to IM people, but do not have any experience with Texting. I could see using UMChat to ask quick questions of collegues, especially those not housed in my office. Also, potentially for conference calls and discussions and to do other communicating related to work. Twitter looks like another good way to communicate with others. I noticed on Twitter that one 4-H club from IL used it to promote and remind people about their upcoming fundraising events. Twitter could also potentially be used to conduct class discussion rather than Moodle or Webx. It would be more in real time and could allow for more immediate feedback. Prior to this week, I have heard of UMChat, but have not really known anyone who has used it. This once again is very interesting technology that has many potential uses in Extension.

September 15, 2008

Week 8: Social Networking

I absolutely loved the "Social Networking in Plain English" video clip. It made things very understandable and also, in my opinion, had a very likable, Napoleon Dynamite feel to it. This is something that I think that adults and youth alike would learn very well from. It made things much more clear and showed positive advantages to using these sites. It also made me a laugh a lot, which makes it extra fun!

Social networks are something that I have heard a lot about, but have never used myself. I think that there is some potential for using social networking for my leaders and members to get to know one another better and for them to share ideas and thoughts about the 4-H program. I also think that social networks can also help youth learn more about the computer project by experiencing learning experiences without even knowing it, and while having fun. It is a great way to make connections between individuals that may not know each real well. I am really not sure exactly what potential social networking has for my work.

September 10, 2008

Week 7: Productivity Tools

This week opened my eyes to some of the online resources that are available. I never knew before that all of these were out there. I experimented with Zamzar, Google Docs, Picnik, and Ta-Da List. These were all very neat and useful.

I can see using Zamzar to convert files into pdf in order to make them compatable when e-mailing out to my 4-H families, so that they can view them. This will be especially useful because a lot of the flyers we create are done in Publisher and few others that I know even use or have this program. In the past, I've always had to e-mail our support staff in order to get these converted. This will save that step and the wait time associated with it.

I can see using Google Docs when working on projects with others who are not housed within our office. This will save time because you don't always have to e-mail files back and forth because they are much more easily accessible to others outside of the county file server.

I can see using Picnik to edit photos for press releases, brochures, and other applications.

I can see using Ta-Da List to create to do lists for upcoming 4-H events. This will make it easier to track everything that needs to be done and that has been done for events. I am a list maker by nature, so this tool especially interests me.

All of these tools really interest me and will prove useful in my daily work with Extension! So far, I have been exposed to a lot of useful resources through this course.

September 3, 2008

Week 6: Wikis and other collaborative tools

One thing that I found interesting was how many different wikis there are out there. When I search 'wiki' online, many more came up. I have heard of and used wikipedia before, but none of the others mentioned in this unit or those I found online. Personally, I like wikipedia, but I know that many others don't because they think it is inaccurate. Having wikis be so editable can be good and bad. It is good because people can provide insight and extra details about a topic. However, anyone can edit information and by doing so maybe make it inaccurate. Very interesting topic!

I never realized that Extension had its own wikis. Those included in this unit both look very useful.

Within Extension, I could see using wikis to provide background information for lessons taught, office procedures for new staff, a database of lessons, or information that would answer consumers' questions about gardening, canning, agriculture, etc. I believe that wikis have a lot of potential uses within Extension. However, before now, I never knew that any existed within it.

August 26, 2008

Week 4 - Images & Video

This week is definitely my favorite so far. I went through all the steps and set up a Flickr account. I was also happily surprised to see that someone I knew also had one and I added them as a family member. Flickr was something that I did not even know existed. I had heard of snapfish before, but had never used anything like this before. This is something that I look forward to using often. I think that tonight after work I might just add our vacation photos from last week. This is a great way to share them with others. No one can ever complain that they don't have our pictures again because they can simply print them off for themselves. I was surprised how easy it was to add and share photos with others.

Week 5 - Podcasts

This week's topic was especially interesting to me. I liked the example of agriculture online. This might be because I am familar with it as my father listened to each one of this website's podcasts when I was still living at home. I never realized how many podcasts were out there or really how easy it can be to find them. The podcast search engines were really fun and provided resources that I never knew existed. For my searches, I used 'gardening', 'lamb & wool industry', and 'baking'. After doing these searches, I subscribed to a few of these podcasts using my bloglines account. This was really neat and easier to do than I thought it would be.

August 13, 2008

RSS & Feedreaders

This week was a very interesting and new topic to me. I remember seeing something that I could click on using moodle and webx for other online classes. At one point in my coursework, I did use this feauture. However, I never knew what it was called or how it worked. After completing this lesson, I have started to notice RSS icons everywhere. It is funny how I never noticed these before I knew what they were or that they meant anything at all. Setting up a RSS aggregator and adding a couple of feeds went pretty smoothly. It was easier than I thought it would be after reading the information for this week. In the future, I can use this technology to monitor class discussions, news happening, Extension website postings, and a wide variety of uses.

August 4, 2008

What I Hope to Learn

Through this course I hope to learn how I can better utilize technologies available to Extension employees. After learning how to use these technologies, I hope to incorporate them into what I do and make my work better by doing so. Basically, I just want to open my eyes to available technologies and how to use them more often.

First Post

Cool! I'm blogging. I've never done this before except through online master's courses.