Saturday, February 9, 2008

Yee ha! Assignment 2 submitted

Believe it or not, submitted a day early! I'm not entirely happy that I couldn't put a link to the actual website in Vista. It's not up and running 100% glitch-free yet. But it was finished enough to get the required screenshots. I hope that's enough for Peter to work on, although I got the impression from the last Wimba session that he was more interested in the process than the final product.
Now, I've just got to get myself busy with Assignment 3 - although I might take a couple of days off :). I think it should be ok. The only question that's bothering me is my ideal vision of this course. I'm just not a visionary! Hopefully something will come to me in a vision!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Wimba session number 4

Another successful Wimba session (in terms of the technology working, and also in terms of clearing up a few niggling doubts about Assignment 2.) Poor Joyce was speechless for the first half hour, but I don't think we can blame Wimba for that. I also couldn't type on the whiteboard, but again my own fault since I had switched my keyboard over to Greek just before the session, and this clearly would cause a few problems!

Assignment 1 submitted yesterday, but wish I'd found out about the session today because I got some information that would have helped i.e. add a cover page and a table of contents! Ooops. Well, I'll remember for Assignment 2 and 3.

Also cleared up the issue of removing Brians hit counter from his page. I don't think he's active in the course any more. Joyce and Peter said it was perfectly acceptable to remove the hit counter as long as I sent him a message letting him know what I had done and why.

Finally got to 'meet' Janet today - even if she was half-asleep. She used to live a couple of hours up the road from here until she bit the bullet and headed back to Canada. A very interesting conversation about motivating people towards professional development between Peter, Joyce and Janet. Wish I was eloquent!
Peter also asked for volunteers for the end of semester conference - present some work that you've done. I always feel like I'm not really on a par with so many people on this course, so would never volunteer, even though in terms of where I started at the beginning of this course, I've really come a long way. But like I said, let's leave it to the experts!

Ok, now I'm just procrastinating because I still haven't finished the Greek homework. It's about 5 hours worth of work and the lesson's in a little over 2 hours. You do the math!

Monday, January 28, 2008

God I hate referencing!

Assignment 1 is pretty much done bar the referencing. I have trouble with basic referencing with normal books (finite date, known author, known publisher - really shouldn't be a problem, I know.) But referencing wikis and websites with no specific publication date and God knows how many authors (if you're lucky enough to find an actual name.) And what should I include - all those wiki pages that I contributed to and therefore mentioned in my report, for example? I'm afraid it's bad news for Peter - I've gone for the sweeping approach and included everything in the reference list. Actually, I'm not even clear on the difference between a reference list and a bibliography, but I know that there is one!
In the past I tried using EndNote and didn't really get anywhere. It was faster just doing it myself. I wonder is there a service somewhere that would read through the assignment and add the bibliography/reference list for a small fee. Money well spent!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Steve the genius!

KnowledgeGarden crisis over. Quick fix from Steve Pallet (although I suppose it doesn't exactly solve the original problem.) By removing any hit counters from the pages we can get access now. I know that I had planned to use the info from the hit counter to address some of the points in Assignment 1, but I don't think we can be penalised for not having one now!
Yet again, I've come up against that fear of editing other people's pages. I've linked to Brian's page as part of my report for Ass 1, but since he still has a hit counter on his page, it won't open. I don't feel I have the right to go in and remove it - he might be waiting for the bug to be solved, and want to retain the hit count. I've asked him in the shoutbox if he could remove it, but no response as yet.
I've actually added a bit about this issue with wikis in my assignment, having read a few things from Davies (2004) and Majchrzak (2005) and realised that I'm not alone! I figured that by the end of this course, I might feel more comfortable editing other people's work, but really very little has changed. Maybe it's more to do with personality type than experience?

Friday, January 25, 2008

knowledgeGarden fun and games

Hmmm, slight hiccup. Can't get into my pages in knowledgeGarden - userpage, Hot Potatoes, Musings, the lot. But I'm being a bit blase about it. In fact, taking advantage to some degree. There's a voice in the back of my head saying "Not my problem. It'll just buy me some time!" Now I know what the students feel like when I had a lesson planned that required taking instructions from a shared drive and carrying out some web research and submitting the OneNote write-up to me by email - except that the wireless is down! They love it. Despite me handing out the back-up (paper-based) exercises, they sit back and relax while I liaise with the technical department to try and sort out the problem. Now, I'm just leaving it to Peter and the more technically-savvy members of the course to sort it out.
I'm not exactly sitting back and relaxing - just getting on with writing up assignment 1 as best I can without kG (it's actually not really that much of a problem.) Justyna's making me feel really bad however. She's using the opportuntity to catch up on some of her discussions. I'm so behind in the discussions, and I feel guilty because it's always the same people doing all the work!
Anyway, back to the grind.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Working on Assignment 2 when Assignment 1 hasn't been completed!

Typical! But not really under my control. Since this project involves the cooperation of others, I really have to work with them on their schedules. The recording is done (I hope - I still have some editing to do in Audacity and I might find some glaring bloopers that I'm not able to fix with the wizardry of Audacity. Fingers crossed. One of the guys in Ed Tech has sorted out the style sheet to give the site that corporate look, and in fact made the homepage without even being asked. I think he might just have become my new best friend! All is looking on track bar the SCORM aspect. All the hot pot exercises are scorm compliant (I remembered to tick the box!) but we can't get it up and running in Vista. Apparently, the expert in the EdTech is in fact just learning as he goes along. Must contact Peter about this, as the SCORM aspect was part of the project proposal.
As for Assignment 1, I've made a plan, and another plan. It's just that getting started thing. In fact, the only reason this blog entry is being written now is because I'm procrastinating!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I'm not a natural publicist!

I've just added a few more thoughts to the Musings page regarding Prensky's Digital Natives. As I was doing so, I thought that this guy gives so much fuel for argument that I might try and entice FET8611 people in to have a look, and hopefully add a comment or 2. As usual, I can't just ask directly, and I added the "only if you have time" angle as well. I'm not sure if this is a ploy on my part or not, but I genuinely hate asking people to do me favours. I think this is one aspect of using the wiki for assessment that I might have questions with. Really, to do well, we have to force/entice/bribe people to read/edit/add to our site when perhaps they have no real interest. It makes me think of double-glazing salesmen that are so persistent and clever with words that you end up spending money on something you don't need or could have got a better deal elsewhere. My feeling about the wiki pages is that you should make people aware that it's there and leave it at that. If they really need it or are genuinely interested, they'll come back to it. And if no one visited my page during the 12 weeks of the course, or visited it only once, got what they needed and never came back, does that make it a bad page? 50 people might visit it 10 minutes after I submit my report (not very likely, I must admit!!)
I'm slightly worried that I'm not worried about how many people use my pages. I know I'm missing something on the self-promotion front, but it's not in my nature. Cheesy as it sounds, I'm taking from this course what I need - a familiarity with wikis and blogs - as I do intend to use both in the future, mostly with regard to my teaching. At the same time, it's a real buzz if someone comments or adds to my page, or contacts me to say they liked it. Everyone likes to be rewarded for their work, no matter what form that reward takes (now I sound like Prensky with my sweeping generalisations! Time to get off the laptop :-))

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Back after a week off

Just got back from a week in New York at my sister's wedding. Absolutely brilliant time was had by all. But now reality sets in and yet again it's panic stations as I admit how much I have to catch up on - kG pages, reading, assignment for Jan 21. The major project for assignment 2 has also fallen behind, and the SCORM thing isn't working as I had expected. I think I might have to scrap that aspect of the site. I don't think it will affect student usage too much ( she said optimistically!)
After all that moaning about being so far behind, I'm off to get some sleep. I've got a ;ot of catching up to do in that area too!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Successful Wimba session at last!

I suppose you could say third time lucky! The 3rd Wimba session seemed to go very smoothly compared to session 1 and session 2. I didn't get thrown out once! The sound quality was ok, apart from when people were displaying videos. I feel a bit guilty because the Ed Tech department has been asking me to feed back on these sessions as they are considering buying the Wimba software. They've already ruled out Elluminate due to cost. But I haven't been very positive about old Wimba at all. I'll have to make sure I pass the new info on. In fact, I might get the Ed Tech supervisor to listen in on the recording if he's got time.
Another more positive aspect of the session is that I'm getting more comfortable on the microphone, and I think I pulled my weight in this session more than in the previous. Still haven't got brave enough for the webcam though. That poor gadget has been clipped redundantly to the top of my screen for months now. Basically, I'm very camera shy. Bit of a nightmare being bridesmaid at my sister's wedding - no escape and I hated every minute of it.
I'm not sure when the next online tutorial is. Will I be brave enough by then!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Got some webspace (and NY news)

Last weekend Philip and I finally became the proud owners of some webspace (Godaddy). When I get a second, I can upload some of my Hot Potato exercises onto the Moodle site that Philip has set up, and then link my kG page to it so everyone can have a look at what I'm raving about.

I'm in a mad panic trying to get a lot of work done since I'm off to New York on 10th Jan to be bridesmaid at my sister's wedding. It's the old juggling issue again - keep up with the reading, keep up with the discussions in Moodle, the facilitated pages, the blog, and start thinking about the final writing up for assignment 1. Help!!!

Surprising Fact (and Murphy's Law)

I've just had a kG message from Peter saying that my Musings page is becoming popular so he had added a hit counter. I'm very surprised by this, as it's just full of my ramblings about the course readings. And even more surprised because I haven't been promoting the page at all. I'm promoting the Hot Potatoes page at every opportunity, but to very little avail - Murphy's Law or what! I suppose the Hot Potatoes software is really only relevant to those who spend time making their own interactive material (mostly TEFL teachers, I suspect!) but the readings are relevant to everyone on the course. Anyway, good news, I know, but it's only added to my dilemma about how much time I should spend on a page that isn't going to be assessed (or is it? I've emailed Peter about this.)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Assignment 2 concerns

I've been busy in the recording studio getting all the voices I need for the listening website for assignment 2. I've already got quite a few of the Hot Potatoes done already. As soon as you've got a good template to work from, you can really rattle through them. I must remember to get in touch with Peter about help I got with the template ie the style sheet was made by someone in the EdTech department as I have to use the college logo and general look, since the work will be placed on Vista.
I also need to find out about how I can get guest access for Peter when it comes time for him to assess the work. I hope it's just a simple matter of adding his name and giving him the password.
Anyway, must get a move on. I'm squeezing this blog entry in in 15 minutes I had between classes.

Panic begins to set in

I bet I wasn't the only one who promised they wouldn't let themselves fall too far behind over the Christmas break! But of course, it happened. thankfully, Peter seems to be keeping everyone on track with the checklist. I'm having to reassess my priorities now. Basically, I'll have to devote a lot more time to my Hot Potatoes page. I'm actually enjoying working on the musings page, but I don't think it's going to count (it's not an emerging technology, after all!) so it's going to have to go on the backburner for now.
I had a slight disaster when the keyboard on my laptop went beserk last week and I had to leave it at the technician's at work. They've had to send it away, but thankfully I can use my college laptop (tablet) in the meantime. But I hate not working on myb own laptop. I was reading over the Module 3 notes, and there's a section on becoming emotionally attached to your technology. I think I might be suffering from that!