Saturday, 26 March 2016

Week 11- Testing 1,2,3

Wow, week 11 already!? Only one more week of school to go – I actually cannot believe how quickly this semester has flown by.

This week’s task was to explore creative tools and to create a podcast (you can find my podcast, which is a quick little clip on my thoughts on being a digital citizen, located at the top of my blog – also check out this introductory CNN video on podcasting). In order to create my podcast the tools I looked into were RecordMP3, SoundCloud and Garageband. The tool I settled on using for my podcast was SoundCloud because although RecordMP3 and Garageband were quite straightforward to use, I could not seem to figure out how to get a link from RecordMP3 to embed into my blog (the recording would only download to your computer) and the Garageband file was too large to upload and go through SoundCloud.

I also ran into an issue with SoundCloud itself. As a Mac user I of course tried this tool out using my Safari browser. I could record my video, but SoundCloud would keep telling me that my podcast was “processing.” Once I switched to using Google Chrome, everything worked perfectly!

I think being able to produce audio sound clips through things such as podcasts is a very powerful thing. Sometimes it's a much more effective way to get something across – to allow others to hear the sound of an actual voice rather than read written words. This is the beauty of digital literacy. Of course, as always, digital responsibility is an important factor when it comes to podcasts. We must always remember to be responsible digital citizens when creating content for the digital world.

SoundCloud was pretty straightforward and easy to use, but quite honestly, I don’t really see this being something I will use on a regular basis, so I’m not going to add it to my PLE. With that being said, I did really enjoy the opportunity to understand what SoundCloud is all about – I’ve heard about it from others but did not realize it allowed you to upload or create your own recordings.

This week I also created a Creative Commons license for my blog! I think this is a really cool feature to add to my blog given that throughout this semester, I have been using photos I have either taken or created myself (ironically up until this very blog post). By creating my Creative Commons license I was able to choose if and how I would like my photos to be used by others and things like whether or not my photos can be used for commercial use (I chose no for this option).

This week’s interesting Feedly find…
This week I found a fun little post since it is finally spring!! One of my favourite spring time flowers are cherry blossoms and apparently the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C. have bloomed a week early making all of Washington's monuments look extra pretty. There’s nothing I love more than when the ones infront of the tower at Brock finally come into season! Check out this short little article with some awesome pictures from Washington to get a little taste of warmer weather!

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Week 10- Amazing Animoto slide shows

This week I spent time exploring slide show tools, specifically Animoto (click on the “Animoto” page tab at the top of my blog to watch my video!). I really like that this is another tool I can add to the ‘create’ section of my PLE! The tool itself is very user friendly – it did not take long to get the hang of it at all. One downside is that I do believe after a certain number of slideshow creations, you have to pay for the tool. Your first video is a free trial that allows you to get a feel for the tool and its capabilities.

Animoto displays both images and short text statements. The slideshow I put together using Animoto was on Copyright and Creative Commons. I learned that Copyright is having the exclusive rights to copy on everything except ideas, concepts, styles and techniques. A good place to share your creative work or look for the work of others that is available for use is Creative Commons. Creative Commons is a place where you can search for images that are available for public use, or request a license for your own images and then limit how little or how much the public may alter or use your specific image. This article answers nine basic questions about Copyright that was really helpful to my understanding.

Even if this tool were free, I’m not sure exactly how much I could use Animoto. Unlike Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides or Prezi, the one downside of Animoto is the word limit. You can only add very short sentences to each slide, which really limits the ways I can use Animoto, especially where more wording and information is needed. However, it is really great for picture slideshows that may only need limited wording, so I would definitely consider using the tool for this purpose.

One of the most important things about being a good digital citizen is remembering to always give credit where it is deserved and always cite your work! This concept applies to pictures just as much as words. I think this is something that is really easy to forget – we know when we use other’s words we must attribute where they came from. I think with pictures we forget that those come from someone or somewhere as well and deserve just as much credit as written words do. I think this knowledge is critical to becoming a good digital citizen – although we have the right to access information (as learned in previous weeks) we also must not pass work of any type off as our own.

Merdzan, C. (CC) 2016.

This week’s interesting Feedly find…
Happy International Day of Happiness!! March 20th marks the day the United Nations proclaimed just four years ago. I totally understand why happiness should have its own holiday. Those who are happy are generally healthier, live longer, make more money, are more productive at work… the list goes on and on. This article shares five (scientifically proven) strategies that can help us to (easily) lead a happier and more fulfilling life, such as acknowledging the good and finding meaning and purpose. Read the full article here !

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Week 9- VoiceThread

I cannot believe this is already week 9! Only 3 more weeks left in my degree and let me tell you, I absolutely cannot wait! This week we explored the VoiceThread tool and furthered our knowledge of digital rights and responsibilities and netiquette.

One article I found to be particularly interesting is 10 Every Day E-mail Etiquette Resolutions for 2016. This article was a good little refresher of some basic every day e-mail techniques, which includes something as simple as including a 'to' and 'from' line to make the message sound more personal and less like a demand – we must always remember that how others read our messages may not be how we intended. It is best to always put effort into the tone of a message to make sure it is less likely to be misinterpreted! 

This week I also learned about the importance of and Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) in both schools and the workplace. An AUP is a policy that outlines what various technologies owned by either a school or an employer should and should not be used for and lays out the various consequences for not complying with the policy. Although this article on AUPs mostly discusses the policy from a school context, it is a very informative read and lots of the key principles can be transferred into a workplace policy as well.

Now, onto VoiceThread! As I mentioned in my previous post (I have posted a new page on my blog that discusses VoiceThread and shows our class VoiceThread on digital rights and responsibilities) VoiceThread is a very useful and creative collaborative discussion tool. It is sort of an interactive slideshow where multiple users can view, comment and add to the slides. You can leave typed comments, voice comments, video comments and you can also draw on the slides to highlight key information or point to specific things or show a flow of concepts and have this play while the comments are being narrated.

VoiceThread can either be added to the collaborate or the create sections of my PLE. I think I will add it to the create section because it is a creation tool where you can also create with others. This is also one of the sections I was looking to add to over the course of the semester!

Merdzan, C. (CC) 2016.

This week’s interesting Feedly find…
This week, an article titled 5 Reasons Procrastinators Prosper when Travelling in the Huffington Post caught my eye almost immediately. I’m the type of person who’s a procrastinator when it comes to schoolwork but I plan almost everything else down to the very last detail. My Dad on the other hand, absolutely loves last minute vacations with next to little planning. When I read this article, I immediately thought of how much better some of our trips have been simply because we have no strict itinerary and we really do “go with the flow” (reason #5) which leads to a  more unique experience and a better story to tell when we get home (reason #4). Click on the link above to give the article a quick read – happy travels!

Sedona, AZ
Merdzan, C. (CC) 2016.