Sunday, July 29, 2012

getting organized

In response to class on Friday, "Organizing My Online Life," I say... "meh."

I think that the internet offers some fantastic resources that can and would make certain aspects of teaching easier. While in class on Friday, my group and I spent time teaching one another about Evernote, Dropbox, Skype, and Diigo. Of the four, I am most interested in Skype. This is because I'm already familiar with and have used Skype before to keep in touch with friends long distance via video chatting. I do like the idea of being able to connect with people "face to face" without actually being in the same place. I think that video chatting can be very useful and I'm sure that many educators have found practical uses for it in their classrooms. I can see how it could come in handy if a teacher is sick or on vacation but still wishes to address the class. Additionally students could use it in the same way -- Skype with the teacher or other students in order to find out what homework, lecture, etc. they may have missed. I am sure there are other uses for teaching with Skype, but my usual creative flow of ideas seems to be in somewhat of a drought. Blame the weekend brain idleness, or the mounting monster of stress that culminates in the next week for the MACers. 

I really like the *idea* of using things like Evernote and Diigo, but I don't think I will. At least, not right away. I feel as though learning how to efficiently use these programs will take me more time than it would to simply do things the way I am accustomed to doing them. I know I may sound stuck in my ways. But truly, if these online tools aren't second-nature to me, then they will require I spend time learning how to use them properly rather than simply doing what I'm trying to do in the first place. Perhaps if I could see them at work in a classroom already and witness how they are made useful I would be more intrigued? 

I was responsible for learning about and teaching my group members about dropbox. I hope that they found the handout straightforward and helpful. I think in general our group had a good understanding and we worked cooperatively together. I think that Dropbox could eventually become a tool that I use regularly in my classroom, but as with Evernote and Diigo, I need more practice with it before I am sold on the idea. I think that it is a bit of a bummer that to share things that you put in your dropbox, the other person has to have a dropbox as well (unless you made a custom public URL). I like the idea of having access to all of the files you want regardless of having your home computer with you. That said, if I wanted access to a file later without bringing along my computer, my automatic response would be to email it to myself. This is still my go-to method to get these things stored somewhere I can access later. Until I become more acquainted and automatic with Dropbox, I won't be likely to get much usage out of it. Gotta teach an old dog new tricks, or something like that. 

In reference to the google reader segment of class, can I just say "HUH?" I was so overwhelmed with information by that point that I feel like I could really use another crash course. I didn't get much out of that quick intro because I was still trying to figure out how Evernote works. Introducing 5+ new online resources in a day is too much (at least for me). I can hardly keep the different sites straight, and now I have about 10 million usernames and passwords that I can't seem to sort out either. That was hyperbolic, but really. So much for organizing my online life... Ha. I do however really appreciate that we are being asked to learn about all of these different technology resources available to us as future educators. I would say that it is crucial to remain in the know on these matters, and to continue to be current on technology trends. There are many opportunities to make technology work for us in positive ways that really will facilitate our work. I guess if I have only 1 complaint then for Friday's class it would be that I wish we had been able to spend more time (i.e. one class period/item) exploring each of the different resources we discussed (Diigo, Evernote, Dropbox, Skype, Google Reader). I would want to be well versed in how they work and come away with concrete and practical strategies for how I could implement them in my history classroom. Unfortunately, this is not exactly the case. Gosh. I hate sounding so dang negative. Really not me. I must need bedtime.

On a totally different matter, I just want to say good luck to my comrades this week. Keep your chins up, because I see 3 school-less weeks just on the horizon. 
Shine on.

For any The Rapture fans out there, this one's my fav off their newest album. And if you don't like The Rapture...well, you should.


  1. Love Dropbox. I actually store everything there, so as you mention, I could lose my computer, and it just wouldn't matter. Emailing files as a substitute for Dropbox requires a couple of things: you anticipate everything you need to mail, and the files can't be too big. Don't wanna mail a 100MB file. When I want to mail a large file to someone: I copy the public link, and mail it—the mail transmits instantly, and the recipient has their mail right away. No waiting.

    1. I think that I too will start using Dropbox in this way. It just makes sense. Especially if I am to get another email address via the school I work for in the future, then i'll be trying to keep track of so many different email inboxes its possible I won't remember where I sent something and where I can access the stuff I need. I think dropbox will eliminate that issue entirely.

  2. Hi, Christine --

    I noticed you turned on the location feature on the blog. That's a new feature to me.Are you comfortable sharing that address online?

    Sorry that Google Reader was a disappointing part of class for you. You might find this tutorial to be helpful, in combination with the handout in CTools:

    1. I don't think I'll be keeping the location feature on. I wasn't sure how specific it would get with my exact location, and the more I think about it the more it weirds me out.
      It wasn't that I found the google reader segment disappointing, I just wish I was being walked through it slower on a more individual level. It was just difficult for me to remain on task and follow along...but that might just be because it was the end of a long class in a room of so many.

  3. There was a great deal of information thrown at us; you're right. I'm not pressuring myself to become fluent in every aspect of any of these tools. Instead, I'm just using them for what feels most natural at first. It's a little less intimidating that way.

  4. Christine - I agree with your thoughts in paragraph 2. I too want to learn these technologies, but it takes time, and time is something we don't have right now. And I too am guilty of using email as a backup for important files. So perhaps I (we) should learn Dropbox first. I also agree that seeing real classroom applications would be very helpful.

  5. I felt the same way about Google Reader...a lot of info that came really fast. I am actually very excited to try using this feature at some point though. I have enjoyed reading blogs from our cohort members as well as the edubloggers, but am guilty of the "out of sight, out of mind" phenomenon (without a prompt, I'm likely to forget to check for new posts). If I can figure out the specifics of how to most effectively use GR, I think it will allow me to be far more organize--and informed.

  6. I know I'm technically not allowed to say this, but...I agree with all of the above.

    I like the tools we learned about in class. But I wish I had the time right now to let them be useful to me. Keep your head up, because I don't think you're being "stuck in your ways." I think your open and intentional attitude toward these tools is just the step forward that you need to avoid being "stuck." I think it's helpful that we are learning about these tools before fall arrives.

    I still need to learn more about 3 of the 4 tools we taught each other on Friday. And if you think you're behind...the features of Google Docs were a recent revelation for me. (Literally, "OMG!!! We're all typing at the same time!!!)