Well I have come to the end of the Web 2.0 course that I have been doing. I have been leading a group of staff members from my school through the course and have jumped ahead so that I have completed the course. I have decided to reflect on the course from two perspectives; as the eLearning leader in my school and from my own personal perspective.
From an eLearning leader perspective:
When I first told staff about this course in Term 2 there was a lot of interest. 10 other staff members signed up to do the course knowing that I would be there to support them. I offered Tekkie Brekkies twice a week as well as any other support staff might need along the way. As we began the course some staff opted out as they became overwhelmed and unsure if they could keep up. Those who continued are now finishing module 7 and will begin module 8 next week. I found that throughout the course some staff did slowly give up as it was taking them too long to complete a module and they couldn’t dedicate anymore time to the course. Some also became frustrated when videos or links wouldn’t work and they had to rely on me to help them through a module.
At the beginning of the course the staff signed up for a Google account. This was a big step for some as they had never explored all that Google has to offer. We set up Google Chrome as the default browser we would use for the course and we created a Google+ community where we could connect and share our learning. Then we moved on to creating blogs where each staff member could reflect on their learning throughout the course. This was a little daunting for some as sharing reflections publicly was a new experience. In Module 3 Google Drive was a big hit with the group as they could easily see the benefits of storing some items online and the possibilities for collaboration. One staff member was able to create a survey using Google Forms that they used to gather data from the whole staff about individual learning plans for students.
Next we moved on to creating using web 2.0 tools. We explored Bubbl.us and Glogster. We didn’t really go into Prezi as it is not suitable for our students (under 13 years old) to use. Some staff were able to take their learning of Bubbl.us and Glogster into the classroom and use it with their students. We then looked at Picasa as a tool for working with photos and video. It was useful that this program is linked in with Google so it didn’t require a new username and password. One staff member was able to use the program to create a collage that she has now embedded in her class blog. The staff really enjoyed using Animoto and they were all able to create a video to embed in their blogs. I think this will be one of the tools that will be used again and again in the classroom setting.
Our group is currently up to Module 7 and are having fun exploring Diigo. Everyone has signed up and is finding it beneficial for storing all of their bookmarks. Some staff have joined some groups and we have all followed each other on Diigo. The group has nearly completed the course and I think the last few modules will prove beneficial. I am looking forward to exploring Twitter with the group and I hope that they can find is as useful as I do.
Overall I think the course has been beneficial to the staff at my school. They have learnt new skills and are developing the confidence to give new ideas a go. I think one of the challenges is making the course relevant to each person. Some staff do not have classrooms and have not seen the benefit of a few tools. I think it is about leading staff to realise that there are so many tools out there that can be explored. It is a matter of finding the one’s that suit you individually and then learning how to use them to their full potential. I liked that this course was well paced and allowed me to spend time with staff looking at different ways to use technology. It gave me the opportunity to work with a small group of staff who were eager to learn.
From a personal perspective:
From my own perspective I have found that the course covered a lot of things I already know. As the eLearning leader it is important that I keep up to date with the latest technologies and help to introduce them to staff. I feel very confident using the tools that the course explored. I would love to see a course that could be an extension for staff that are already competent with many of the tools used in the current course.