I am continuing my discussion and reflections about my IDT classes.

Authoring Instructional Course-ware
*I completed my final project for this class. I created an on-line slidecast using Zohoshow. It is about objects that appear in the day and nighttime sky. I used photographs, clip art, and videos to enhance the project. I am looking forward to using this presentation with my students. I also plan to diigo and del.icio.us all of my on-line work for teachers everywhere. I am gaining a lot of confidence in my technology skills. However, I am not sure if this class teaches about effective technology integration. I’ve got some great tools to teach with but I would rather learn about ways the students can use the technology. This is a great segue…

Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0

I love this class no matter how much work it is (lol). Let’s finish up the topics that I mentioned in my last post. Tuesday’s homework was to review modules on the class wiki about Web 2.0, Internet Safety, and Balancing Real-world and online identities. After reviewing the modules, we discussed them in class onThursday.

I think I got a lot from the Web 2.0 and Internet Safety modules. Some thoughts were distinguishing the terms Internet and World Wide Web (the Web). The Internet is the interconnection. The Web is the online tools. I see the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. There are fewer sites in which you are a passive observer. Most sites are becoming or already designed to be interactive . I liked the module creator’s (Amanda) term, iWeb. It stands for interactive Web.

I found the Internet Safety discussion to be scary, powerful, and thought-provoking. I didn’t think of cyberbullying as a serious threat until Suha (the module co-contributor) pointed out how far and widespread the bullying can get. She spoke about students commiting suicide and mothers wondering how did they get to that point. It reminded me of real-life bullying that I experienced in junior high. The feelings were hurtful, real, and very serious to me. I had my own suicidal thoughts. It affected my desire to be at school and my entire self-esteem and self-worth. I cannot imagine experiencing the devastating effects of someone creating an online profile about me and spreading rumors throughout the school. We came up with a lot of strategies to resolve the problem. One of which was a school wide Acceptable Use Policy that is strictly enforced. It would be a contract that students, and even parents would sign. I also believe that it is important for classrooms and schools to create a community that spreads teamwork, togetherness, unity, and positivity. One where students care for, help, and look out for one another. When we focus on cooperation rather than competition or even the ever-so-popular “you’re on your own” mentalities, then we can change the environment. It will shift from the negative environment that breeds such nastiness and cruelty to a more positive one.

Another interesting point that I got was to not add everyone who wants to add you. I think it is important for adults and children to filter their online associates (“friends”). I have not always done that. We have to move beyond popularity contests and feeding our egos with notions of so-called grandeur.

The balancing real-life and online identities was more humorous than anything There was a quiz that you can take to see if you have an internet addiction (Beware: prepare yourself for the results lol). However, the module did make me think. I began to wonder:

How much time is too much to spend online?

What criteria determines which online activities are more important than others

How does one prioritize the activities that one participates in online?

Are we really spending less time with our families/friends than we did before the Internet? (What about work and school? People have always had to do both?)

How does our online life affect our real-life?

Last, is it really that much of a big deal?

I am kind of on the side of no to the last question. I do not think that internet addiction is as rampant as the media and older generations suggest. This may show my age but I just think that it is something different. I do not think seeing someone or speaking with someone online is less interactive than face-to-face. There are less technological glitches. But hey, people walk away from face-to-face conversations just as confused as an online video conferencer. So hmmm…

Finally, a few words about Diigo

Dr. Mims showed us some cool tools to use with Diigo. Since then, I have only played around with tagging and adding descriptions but only because I couldn’t install the toolbar on Safari (??!!??). So, I installed it on my Firefox toolbar. I fiddled around with the highlighting function and highlighted supplies I want for this school year. I will delve into it more later on this weekend. I will keep y’all posted.