Friday, November 15, 2013

Week 8 - Voice/Video Calls and Chats

Can you believe we are already at week 8? I have really enjoyed our journey together as we explore the possibilities of using web 2.0 tools in education. I hope you have learned some new tools or reinforced some skills you haven’t used in a while.
Week 8 focuses on making voice/video calls and chats. As you know, one of your reward options for completing this course is a Hue HD webcam! A webcam is such a powerful communication and collaboration tool for the classroom. You can connect with other teachers and classrooms all over the world. You can virtually bring in experts to your classroom that you would never have been able to access prior to this technology. The possibilities are endless! (Can you tell I get excited about this topic?)
Thing 18 - Set up a Skype account and add contacts to your account
The free software program we are going to use explore the use of online voice and video calls is Skype. Skype allows you to live chat, make voice calls, and make video calls on your computer – all for free! Now, be sure to notice I said that this is a software program. It is not an online tool like the other things we have been using. You do have to download the software and install it on your computer. But, it is free! :) To download the program on your home computer, go to, and click Download Skype free (do not get Skype Premium). At school, you just go to the Zenworks window and click on the Install Skype icon.
Once you install the software, just follow the prompts to get an account and set up a username. Once your account is set up, add me as an contact so you can practice using the software if you wish. My Skype account name is CynthiaMatzat. Add a comment to this post to share your username with the group so we can all add each other to our contacts list. This will give you yet another way to communicate with each other during the remainder of the workshop.
Here are several tutorials to help you navigate the software:
Help for Skype - User Guides
Video tutorials:
Thing 19 – Explore Skype in the Classroom and share an idea you have for using Skype as an educator.
Skype recently launched a new feature called Skype in the Classroom. It is a way for educators to connect and share project ideas for using Skype in the classroom. It’s a great place to start when you are looking for another classroom or an expert to connect with for a project.

Check out Skype in the Classroom and these additional sites to look for ways you might use Skype in your classroom. Write a reflection post on your blog to share an idea of how you might personally use Skype in your job (or even in your personal life). Be sure to read some of your colleagues posts and comment on their thoughts.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Week 7 - Social Networking with Facebook and Twitter

You can't go anywhere online without seeing logos and links asking you to "follow me on Facebook and Twitter". Social networking sites have impacted the way we connect with friends, family, businesses, parents and students.
Using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter in education is definitely a "hot button" topic. As most of you know, last year Missouri tried to establish a law to regulate how teachers and students would be able to interact on these types of sites. Like many online tools, Facebook and Twitter in education have their pros and cons. Your tasks for week 7 ask you to look at these two sites and consider how they could (or if they should) be used in an educational setting.
Note: Some of these resources will not be able to be viewed at school since Facebook is blocked at school. (Think about why it is blocked at most schools.) You will need to view them when you are at home or at a public Internet access area like a local library.
Thing 16 - Explore the use of Facebook in education
Read the following articles on using Facebook in Education. Think of how or why you might use Facebook in your job (or even your personal life). Be sure to consider any disadvantages to using this site.
Our school district does have a Facebook page, as do many school groups and activities. If you want to have an official school Facebook page, you have to add Becky Hartzell and Jeremy Lampe as administrators of your page to help monitor any unwanted activity on your page. Here are some examples of Facebook pages being used in our district:
If you don't have a Facebook page, you might consider signing up for one and exploring the possibilities. This is definitely an optional activity.
Thing 17 - Explore the use of Twitter in education
Watch the following videos and look at the sites about using Twitter in education. Again, think of how or why you might use Twitter in your job (or even your personal life). Be sure to consider any disadvantages to using this site.
  • Why Teachers Should Try Twitter - an article that states some reasons why a teacher might want to use Twitter
  • Twitter4Teachers - a database of teachers who you can follow on Twitter (if you have a Twitter account, you might follow some teachers with similar interests)
  • Check out how Branson High School uses Twitter on its website.
If you do not have a Twitter account, consider signing up for one and giving it a try for a couple of weeks to see if you find it useful. This is also an optional task.
Reflection task: 
Comment on this post and share your thoughts about Facebook and Twitter in education. Be sure to consider the pros and cons to using these sites. Make sure you sign your name to your comment.