Learning from students

The first two days of EDU 586 are in the books and the ship is still sailing.  It’s been a jam-packed two days and I’m learning right along with my students (though it seems a little weird to call fellow teachers “students”).  We ran into a little snag with too many people trying to work on a google presentation the first day, but worked through it.  Today I did a little back tracking and took some time to go through the suite of google applications.  Almost everyone in the class had a google account, but about half didn’t know about all the other things available to them.  Despite the initial challenges, the students have really jumped on board with the collaborative applications and are honing their skills with the class wiki.  We also did a survey about the tech available to them in their classrooms (see below).

Tomorrow I’ve got a Voicethread set for the students to provide some feedback on the class so far.  My biggest concern right now is that some of the students feel a little overloaded by the amount of information.  We’ve spent a lot of time working on student-centric strategies and I’ve had them try out a number of different tools, often times without much explanation.  I’m hoping that tomorrow, when we look at how to organize all the information (via tagging and delicious), they’ll see some method to the madness.

I also learned a new trick from one of the students today.  Apparently, you can turn Picasa slide shows into youtube movies.  One student wanted to put a photo slideshow into her presentation and found the best way to do it was upload it as a movie to youtube.  While you can do similar things with iPhoto on a Mac (exporting as a quicktime), I thought it was a useful feature that could come in handy.


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