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.
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.