October 13, 2008

RSS & Feedreaders

I think I got a little carried away when I was checking out this lesson. I remember blogging an entry, but somehow it disappeared! So now after a week or so of being subscribed to some feeds in bloglines what do I think? I'm loving my NPR, simply recipes and ziggy feeds. And I'm finding the Youth Nation feeds interesting and insightful. So now my next problem will be to not get overwhelmed by the number of feeds when I miss a day of viewing! It is sort of like my email inbox - I like to keep it clean, but won't move / delete an item until I've taken care of it.

So I'm wondering if somesort of weekly feed stating what's hot in 4-H YD in the region would be appealing to members, and leaders?

October 9, 2008

Wrap Up

Well, I jumped into this course a little late, but I'm glad I did (or finally prioritized it on my to do list!). I greatly appreciated the self-paced format and expanding learning opportunities provided. The course helped answer my questions to technology tools I may have known about, but not had experience using: social networking, productivity tools. I also have a habit of dabbling in things with out knowing their total possibilities or following an instruction manual, so I discovered a lot about the tools I actually have been using. I see expanded ways to use the technologies with staff and I'm thinking about ways to use with volunteers.

Thanks for this opportunity!

Web conferencing

I have used and like UMConnect. I've used it for staff and committee meetings especially when time is tight (and not enought for travel) or the weather is questionable (winter in the prairie or across Minnesota). I also like when educational webinar are made available through UMConnect. I have a strong quest for knowledge and what's new in the field, but my 4 hour drive one way from the twin cities often prohibits me from attending less then full day conferences. It is really hard to justify an 8 hour drive. But webinars open up a whole new availability of knowledge.

I'm interesting in finding ways to utilize this type of meeting with our 4-H volunteers. Distance is always an issue and with the current economy I think it will only get harder to find new volunteers. Meetings using UMConnect could bring together volunteers around common interests.

Communication

I used Jabber here at the regional center. It's a way to get an instant message out regardless of what a staff person is currently doing - talking on the phone or in person with someone. At the regional center staff are located on two levels, so sometimes it can save time in eliminating the walking up and down the steps to talk to someone. However, I still prefer to get up and go for walk even if it is up and down the stairs as I feel like it gets my blood running again.

We've tried to use the UMChat with my regional staff that are located in county offices. I thought it would be a great way to reduce the feeling of isolation, etc. However, the staff had mixed response to it, expressing that they like the history record email produces and the personal touch of a voice over the phone.

My son's school is moving to using a Twitter emergency notification this year. I can see great protential with this! Especially since I work an hour northwest of the community where the school is located and in my basement office am unable to get the local radio station feed to come in. The winter weather usually hits Ortonville prior to Morris and the flat prairie land is often a winter white out when the winds blow. More than once I received the notice that school let out to late as I end up driving in a blizzard on the way home. Just one more way of feeling more connected.

Social Networking

I can see alot of potential with social networking sites. For extension or 4-H programs that reach across county borders, what an excellent way for youth to stay in contact and share ideas. I know that our 4-Hers are using them as last year the camp counselors I was working with for a residential camp debated about this as a communication method. However 2 of the 8 youth counselors said they did not have a regular or easy access to the internet. Some were relying on the school access which would not be available during the summer and some schools were restricting access to the social networks. So we relied on email and snail mail. The other concern I have with using social networking for educational efforts is the monitoring and the time involved to keep site active. I'm still up in the air on I might use this for educational purposes - time will tell.

October 6, 2008

Productivity Tools

Tools, tools, tools. I sort of got lost exploring again!

Zoho - Wow if you were starting your own business, this might be the site to invest in. Especially if you have staff working at different locations across the "World".

UMCal - Use this tool with my staff. As accurate as we keep our calendars up to date. It would be nice to see one mergered calendar that is printable, but maybe I'm the only one that thinks that would be of benefit.

ZamZar - reminders me of the spooling tool I use to utilize when we had a MacPC at home. Could come in handy when working with some of my Mac educational friends.

Lists - I'll have to think more about the list options, I use my phone currently and sinc with my outlook, but this would be hand for multiple people to view.

Basecamp - Lots of options here as well. And sometimes you have to pay for the good stuff. I can see if you had a variety of businesses using a variety of computer platforms that this would be very benificial.

Jing - I like this if you are trying to show how to do something. I will have to keep this in mind for future instructions.

So many options, tools, tools, tools.

Wiki Wiki

Wiki's - again I've used them before, but not really been a part of the creation. I think this might be more user friendly than the portal pages I've tried to use for staff collaboration with in the past. I enjoyed exploring the eXtension wiki site as it gave a glispe of wiki work across the nation and the Minnesota Extension E-Learning site. Learning examples were great.

podcasts

Boy one can get lost in this listing of options. I started a little too narrow of a search, but then found lots. I've added my NPR favorites so I don't miss them on the radio any more.

Fascinated

It seems the more I know the more I want to know and so it goes when taking a web based course. I've been clicking a lot this morning and learning the behinds the scenes info to several resources that I have briefly been aware of before. Flickr is the the most recent exploration. Now a member, also signed up for yahoo. I guess about time. I've used Flickr for public domain photos in education before, maybe I'll actually post something now. I have a sister who moved to Florida this past year and she is encouraging me to blog or post photos somehow for her. At camp this past year I taught a session on digital photography and in small teams the 4-Hers took photos that represented a couple of key words, might be interesting to share their photos with them through this option.

#1

Well, I have finally started a blog! And finally set aside time to actually start this course. It's been on my list for awhile, but I decided I have to start today or I never will.

Started! Check that off my list.