Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where we've reached at the end of week 1

After a 4 days of professional development at KBZ, we pause to have a look at where we have reached.

Stats on this blog show that someone has been looking at it every day, presumably fewer people than indicated, visiting the blog more than once in a day.

As you know, this course has been mounted organically over the past week, as in effect many courses we are called upon to teach are.  When challenged with having to create courses and give them coherence in a very short time frame, my approach is to call into play a number of digital tools that have happily emerged over the past decade.  I call this approach DIYLMS, or do-it-yourself learning management system.  I gave talks on this approach at a number of conferences last year, including the TESOL Conference in Dubai, and documented what I developed here:

Accordingly, I started out with this blog and arrayed several tabs at the top (called "pages" in Blogger) which would invite users to explore various facets of the course. I got participants into the Google system so that we could be working with shared Google Docs. I documented what we did each day in a wiki I created at, and as the course progressed day-by-day I created a table of contents there for easier navigation on the Front Page, and a sidebar to provide quick links to some of the artifacts we have placed online. For example, you can use the sidebar there to go to any of the Google Docs we have created for the course (handy to have a listing in one place) and you can see as participants create Prezi's and blogs, what the links are.

When I do this with students, they learn gradually what my system is, and their feedback suggests that they are able to adapt to it to predict where course components will be, and they appreciate having the clarity of being able to find what is expected of them online.  They have also mentioned in their postings that it's useful to see what other classmates have produced, both as models and as an indication of the standards expected.

What we need to do today

Student Google accounts

If you want to get your students into the Google Doc system, you'll have to help them create Google accounts.  Today would be a good day to do that because in addition to providing their age (to show they aren't children) and alternate email address (for password recovery) they might have to provide a mobile phone number where a verification code can be sent. If you have them set this up today, then they can get the code at the weekend, and return Sunday to complete account creation.

Update the progress chart

For your own continued PD, please bring this form up to date so we can see how far along everyone is in the 20 steps, and know how to pace ourselves for the coming week:

Bring yourself up to speed with Prezi

I have noticed that Trevor was teaching his students Prezi and Darrin and Rene appear to have had prior experience with it.  Viviana, Kevin, and Phillip J have been gamely coming to grips with it.  If you need a boost I have made a start on materials that I hope will help you and your students master Prezi. Have a look:

Start your blog

When you've created a Prezi and started a blog, enter their URLs on the Google Doc worksheet here:

On that worksheet you will find screen shots, made with Jing, that explain what URLs you should report, and what you need to supply as a TITLE for your blog, and how its address will look.  If you need help with this, you can ask Kevin, Rene, or Viviana, who have all gone through the process.

Get Jing

Jing is useful tool, as you have probably noticed.  You can download it from

Create an account at PBWorks

If you think you might like to set up your own wiki course one day, the first step is to create an account at

Be thinking about your surveys

Next week we'll get into and create and present surveys (report results last period next Thursday?). The process of survey creation is worth going through because there are many pitfalls at discreet points which you'll need to be aware of in order to get your students through them.  I have students prepare their ideas in Google Docs, which is why I asked you to sketch your idea for a survey in a Google Doc and share it with at least one other person for feedback.

I notice that no one has taken that step this week, but it is an important part of the process you might wish to experience before you try it on students, so if you are caught up through half the steps so far, then this is the next one you might consider.

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