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Nearly two months have passed since the conference, and though what I learned has not yet had much impact on-the-job, I have used a great many of the tools and a great deal of the information obtained during those two-and-one-half days in Biloxi, MS.

Not only what I learned during the conference, however, is having an impact on my informational and educational technology behavior. The websites to which I’ve been led and the people whom I’ve met are teaching me new ways of working (yes, and playing), and showing me new avenues of connecting with information and people inside and outside my profession.  I’m sampling the various applications to see which are the best fit for my activities and my needs.

One of my primary sources for connecting with knowledgeable people in and around the information profession is now Twitter.  If you say you don’t want to bother with Twitter because you don’t want to know that Bubba is going out for beer, or Susie’s baby just spit up — well, you are following the *wrong* people!  Twitter, rather than blogs, have quickly become my go-to source for pertinent and current information about topics which are important to me. A lot of these folks are separating the chaff from the wheat, passing along the best to their followers.

More of my thoughts on Twitter another time; back to the conference.

Immediately after — and probably influenced by being ill during — the conference, I was convinced I shouldn’t have gone. I’m still looking for opportunities to ‘create futures through technology’ at work.  For one, I’d like to do more to show the students alternatives to their flash drives (which so many of them leave behind at the library computers) and really convince them they can do good research. I’d like to encourage the faculty to embrace mobile learning and cloud-based computing — because many of their students are already “there.”

Just today, when our campus network was down and we had no access to our OPAC, a student used his phone to connect to the Internet, search our OPAC and find the call number for the item he wanted. *I* could not do that for him! Something’s wrong there … but how wonderful that *he* was able to find the information! (And he thought of it all on his own without my prompting.) Earlier, another student was, unfortunately, not so lucky. Without our OPAC, we couldn’t find our books about Dostoyevsky (browsing an LC fiction section is no easy task when you can’t recall the correct call letter).

No, we can’t do everything; we can’t employ every bell or whistle. Not everyone will see the benefits, nor will some even be willing to try. And that’s okay.

But, I can try. And I will try. Not only to teach what I have learned, but to discover which ways best suit me, my tasks, and the community of learners around me.

I’m glad I was able to attend the 2011 CFTT Conference. Seeds were planted and they are growing bit by bit.

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Unfortunately, I spent most of Thursday night very ill, so I was glad Friday was a short day. Even so, all three presentations were worthwhile.

CFTT Conference – Day 2

Southern Miss Offers Online Students Flexibility with Access to MSVCC presented by Sherry Rawls, University of Southern Mississippi (co-presenters Amy Thornton & Chad Seals)

Following a one-year pilot (partnership with Mississippi Virtual Community College, MSVCC, established May 2010), USM offers as host (CJC as provider) non-duplicate courses online. Seats available only to USM students in fully online programs.

Are CJC’s seats protected? Only a limited number of seats for USM; also, registration lag benefits the CJC students.

Jackson State will begin similar partnership summer 2011.


Creating a Technology-Enriched Online Learning Environment presented by Shuyan Wang, University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Wang presented results of a study of technology enhanced learning in an online graduate course. Course activities included collaboration through blogging, discussion boards, e-mail; content included e-book, video clips, podcasts, and tutorials. Students gained “equitable technology skills required to function in educational settings.”

It always seems odd to me when a professional person who seems involved and knowledgeable about online technology can hardly be found online beyond a faculty email address (however, Wang wasn’t the only one of the presenters with seeming little online — professional — presence).


Closing Luncheon (Friday) Michael M. Flood, AT&T

Interesting to listen to at the time, lots of information and very IT oriented and just didn’t stick with me.

As I mentioned at the end of the previous post, I attended one additional session the first day, Using Social Media & Multimedia in Education presented by Craig Jackson, RCU-Mississippi State University http://www.msworkforceuniversity.com/plc/

Mr. Jackson presented a collection of free online tools to create, enhance & promote content for delivery in the classroom, as well as school events.

paper.li    Create a daily ‘newspaper’ of feeds. (Sign in with either Twitter or Facebook login.) http://paper.li/faq.html

Issuu     digital publishing platform, i.e., a digital newsstand. The Issuu Reader can be embedded on website/blog, or as a standalone reader: http://issuu.zendesk.com/entries/240327-how-to-embed-issuu-on-my-website

Slideshare pretty much what is says: storage for presentations

Zipcast    as part of Slideshare, allows for live, one-way video alongside slide set under discussion:

“integrating meeting environments with social networks” (Daniel Ruscigno’s comment on ReadWriteWeb, 2/16/2011)

authorSTREAM Like Slideshare, a platform for sharing presentations: unique URL & embed code (plays as Flash, don’t need PPT software); share via YouTube, iTunes. Unlike Slideshare, presentations may be kept private without additional cost. (authorSTREAM’s PresentLive is via chat or VoIP; no streaming live video as with Slideshare’s Zipcast.)

iSpring Free  A PowerPoint to Flash converter (not compatible with Macs except for viewing) Remember: In order to use iSpring Free for commercial, educational or non-profit purposes you must register your iSpring Free copy.”

Slideboom is another platform for sharing presentations: iSpring-created flash files can be published there.

Vimeo non-commercial video community

Picasa & Picasa Web Albums Google’s photo editing & sharing platform (1Gb free storage)

Blip.tv  “a next-generation television network” for “independently produced Web shows” If you want to produce “somewhat regular” episodic video content, here’s where you can upload it.

livestream will, um, live stream video. 10Gb limit on free plan.

TalkShoe live discussions, talk shows, podcasts; create, participate or lurk; talk, text-chat or just listen.

Quizlet Flash cards, vocabulary memorization, study games; web-based or mobile (apps for iPhone or iPod Touch, iPad, Android, Windows Phone, HP webOS) (for public sets only). Create a group specifically for your class.

ProProfs Quiz Maker, flashcards, brain games, polls, free SAT and IT certification prep. Free services are limited, but not overly so (e.g., no tracking of quiztakers, ads).

Whew! You can see why I needed to devote a single post to his presentation. I can’t believe he covered so much in the time allowed, but he did it thoroughly, and well, and twittered a bit while he did it!  Follow him @CraigJackson and be sure to read his What’s New in Technology Daily.

Okay, so I got home from the conference Friday afternoon, posted some initial impressions, and promised to post again ‘over the next few days.’ Instead, I got lost in new Twitter feeds and links and documents and slideshares, oh, my!

I’ve got one more day off (as I begin to write this post), and lots of ground to cover from the conference…

CFTT Conference – Day 1

The “Extraordinary Extreme Makeover” of PowerPoint 2010 presented by Margaret Britt, Colin Community College

Not a lot of difference in other Office products between 2007 & 2010 *except* PowerPoint 2010.  Ms. Britt’s slideshow was impressive; I hope to get hold of a copy, because I did not take detailed notes assuming I could review the presentation at a later time. Several new things of which I did make note:

Office Button. Gone. Only tabs on Ribbon and menu bar across top.

Sections.  Portions of a slide show can be designated as a ‘section.’ These sections can be collapsed or expanded within the slides tab (thumbnail view). I’m finding this very helpful: when I know one section is finished, I collapse it and move on (or back) to another section.

Collaboration within PPT using Windows Live™ SkyDrive.

“Broadcast” presentations (requires Windows Live™ account to broadcast; anyone can view).

Add-Ins available, such as YouTube Downloader, Live Web, Author Stream.

Laser pointer, Picture Fix, Remove Background, Animation Painter; Ms. Britt suggests use Smart Art instead of bullets.

Video improvements: embed in presentation; trim inside PPT, create video from PPT slideshow; rollover-to-display video controls. Ms. Britt suggested videos in small segments, between several slides.

I’ve been using the “Mac 2011” version for the last month; not all of the features are the same in the Mac version (e.g., I don’t seem to have Backstage View and can’t find the Laser pointer).  Why a MicroSoft product on my Mac? Because it doesn’t matter to me if Apple’s productivity suite is “better,” Office is what I am used to and what I use everywhere else, so it makes sense to me to keep using it. I was not pleased with the compatibility, or lack thereof, between Open Office and MS Office created/edited documents, nor was I happy with the limited use of online versions of MS Office – though I do use those products in Skydrive, Google Docs, etc.


When Do I Teach & Where Do They Learn? presented by Jennifer Seal, Pearl River Community College (Co-presenter Judy Roane)

Course redesign process for developmental mathematics courses with the goal to improve student success & lowering withdrawal rates


Free Visualization Tools for Teaching & Research presented by Teresa Welsh, University of Southern Mississippi

Dr. Welsh presented a variety of tools which emphasize visual elements. Visual content is powerful as tool for teaching (including blogs, glogs, wikis, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook) and researching, such as spatial analysis and text/data analysis (GIS, word clouds, timelines, maps, AR).

Slideset


Augmented Reality (AR) in Education presented by Steve Yuen, University of Southern Mississippi

Slideset

Handouts

Amazing videos shown during presentation included 3D Printers Create Edible Objects and Wikitude Drive, a mobile AR navigation system.

Dr. Yuen’s Links:  Twitter @scyuen, blog, website, diigo library tagged augmented

The keynote speaker for Thursday’s luncheon was Reuben D. Jones, Maj. Gen., U.S. Army, who spoke to the IMCOM and GLIS programs, which serve educational needs of Army personnel and dependents.

I attended one additional session the first day, Using Social Media & Multimedia in Education presented by Craig Jackson, Mississippi State University. Details will be in next post.

Now we are home from a two and one-half day conference, Creating Futures Through Technology, held at the Beau Rivage in Gulfport, MS.  2011 was the 15th year for this event, billed as “Mississippi’s Largest Higher Educational Conference.” First, let me say, it was an excellently run conference.

Material provided about session topics and locations was thorough, conference staff were visible and helpful. Exhibitors displayed some amazing products (which had everyone drooling but commenting realistically about funding cutsthankyouverymuch Gov. Barbour and Mississippi Senators). Vendors supported the morning and noon meals, as well as the breaks. It was delightful to have hot coffee and cold soft drinks available between sessions, and to have a breakfast waiting at the top of the escalator each morning was a real time-saver. It also provided time to socialize and network that wouldn’t happen in groups of four or more or less in the restaurant.

I’ve only been in my current institution a year and a half, and outside my campus I know practically no one other than library personnel. (Even on my campus I don’t know many people outside our building unless they are frequent library users.) There were a handful of the 400+ attendees I know well enough to speak to, and another handful I recognized. I do believe I was one of only two librarians in attendance, and so to say I felt a little out-of-place — even though the topics were quite interesting and helpful to me personally — would be an understatement. I don’t doubt that some attendees would feel I had no need to be at the conference at all: I’m not a teacher; I’m not in IT.

Technically, my position is as an administrator, but like many academic librarians who are faculty (but don’t always teach in the classroom), I’m also an instructor.  The most obvious of this instruction occurs in the form of our library orientations for literature, composition, speech, and history classes. More common, however, is the one-to-one instruction which happens throughout my day, every day, not only with students, but with staff and faculty. I came away from my 2.5 days wishing that all faculty and administration realized how helpful the librarians could be if incorporated into the learning management system (LMS, a new acronym for me).

Perhaps there is a future presentation in that final statement…

Over the next few days, I’ll round up the tools and information from my session notes, talk about the presenters who impressed me, and reflect a bit more on the event.

Four sessions, plus the luncheon speakers.

Smarthinking Online Tutoring with Danny Clark.

Four ways to interact with the tutors: Connect Now, Scheduled Tutoring, Submit Writing/Paragraph, & Submit Question. Not all topics are available to all users; Nursing & Allied Health services may be available for us soon. There is no ‘information literacy’ topic or anything which would work like Ask-A-Librarian. Math and writing are the main topics used by MS to this point. Instructors often require first drafts to be submitted to Smarthinking, then submitted to instructor in course dropbox, or turned in with final draft. Attendee told how she has her students submit their discussion board posts using the Submit Paragraph option before posting in the course shell.

Desire2Learn with Jon Baker, CEO. Overview of D2L progress over the last year and near future. Currently half of staff is R&D.

ePortfolio (focuses around learner rather than courses), Learning Repository, CampusLife. Audio available in 9.2; video perhaps this summer. Mobile access started with 9.1; can be locally branded. Scoring by percentage AND points. Blind grading and grading by question (see all of one question at one time. e.g., grade all Essay #1 together).

Wimba Pronto & Collaborator (help desks) with Scott Smith.

Can see potential for use by librarians to interact with students, faculty & staff.

Really amusing thing happened in this session. Smith was role-playing with an attendee to illustrate help desk situation: he was a student – on the phone – who needed help finding sources for a sociology paper; she was a librarian (she “used to work in a library). Smith as student was totally clueless: “Databases? Do I download those?” It perfectly illustrated (to me) the reason why the “reference interview” is so vital!


Online Tools: “Free & Fabulous” with Corine Hoisington (sponsored by Cengage).

qik.com – video via phone camera uploads to Internet

join.me

xtranormal.com – create animated videos

live.com – MS Office and 25Gb storage

polleverywhere.com – polls voting via SMS

docs.com – also MS Office document creation/viewing ; can be accessed/used via Facebook login. (She created ‘professor’ identity on FB for interacting with students; clears it out of ‘friends’ every semester.)

The skeptic in me always wonders, “free” like a kitten? Free is good, just remember they are getting something, too. We might want to know what that is.

Lunch session included:

  1. Overview of MSVCC history (11 years) by one of the original members of the establishing body (name escapes me).
  2. Scott Perkins of Abilene Christian University spoke about ACU’s use of mobile technologies, i.e., iPhone/iTouch to all incoming freshman in 2008 & 2009. Before Apple’s App Store, they used (2008) a web portal to ‘apps’ they had created. See acu.edu/connected or m.acu.edu Lots of interesting content in the PowerPoint; too fast to note very many. Two especially notable: 90% of the instructors felt comfortable requiring usage even though ubiquity is questionable (that is, not everyone in class had to have the iPhone/iTouch to make assignments which made use of the tools); students are willing to fund an iPad if at least 50% of their textbooks would be available over their four-year education. The ACU Mobile Learning Report is available at http://www.acu.edu/promise/innovative/mlreport2009-10.html – thanks MSVCC for the link!)

In the general gathering area, there was a display of iPads set up with a collection of apps useful to educators/students. I made note of a few I’d not seen before:

CourseSmart

Dropbox

Inkling

Printopia 1.0

Wikipanion

The World 2011 (find in iPad Apps; by realazy)

scriggle tweets

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