- How does this online learning program work?
This is a self-guided course is delivered entirely online via this blog. There are a total of 23 learning activities or "Things" for you to complete over 10 weeks. Each week is organized around a particular topic or theme relating to Web 2.0. You will decide when and where to complete each week's activities, and you will be responsible for "keeping up." You are encouraged to form "buddy groups" to work through the content together -- sharing, helping and encouraging each other.
- What are these "things" you keep talking about?
The "23 Things" are learning activities related to Web 2.0 tools and concepts. You will complete 2-3 "Things" per week. Detailed instructions for completing each "Thing" will be provided as you work through the course, linked from the "23 Things" page. Each "Thing" will introduce (or expand upon) a new tool or concept through one or more discovery exercises, followed by a learning activity. The discovery exercises are "where the learning really happens" and are necessary for you to complete each task successfully.
- How long will it take me to do the work each week?
Some tasks and weeks will be more involved than others. The content is organized into themes/tools. There are a number of additional variables that will affect this, but the general answer is an average of 3-4 hours a week, depending on:
- Your general level of computer literacy
- Your experience with Web 2.0 tools to date
- Your interest in and excitement about the tasks and tools
- Your basic "lifelong learning" stance
- What are the dates for the course?
The class begins on September 14, 2009 and ends on November 20, 2009.
- How do I get started?
Read over this site so that you understand exactly how this class works. The four pages everyone should read in their entirety are:
- What technology do I need?
You need an Internet-connected computer with an updated browser (preferably Firefox, plus Java and Flash add-ins), and speakers (or headset). See the Web 2.0 Hints page for other technical information.
- Where do I go for help?
By design, you should be your own first help resource throughout the course. Throughout this “discovery learning” experience, you will likely encounter a number of small challenges, depending on your level of Web 2.0 experience. Each time you teach yourself something, find a solution or accomplish a task, you will feel empowered and be that much more tech savvy!
- Most sites offer highly understandable Help files, FAQ pages and tutorials. Additionally, you will find many short training movies and help pages with screenshots embedded at the point of need as you complete the course.
- Use your "human network:" Colleagues, students, and your Learning 2.0-23 Things facilitators. In "real life" we seek help from experts when we need it! But remember, if your expert helper does the work for you, you won't be learning.
- What if I fall behind?
Because some "Things" may be more challenging than others, and because we all have responsibilities and priorities and unexpected derailment, the course is designed to allow for a bit of flexibility in completion. Each week's "due date" is not a drop-dead date, and you will have one week after the official "end" date to complete any outstanding tasks. That being said, please do not interpret this flexibility as an invitation to procrastinate -- you should not be chronically behind. If you are having serious issues, please connect with your Learning 2.0-23 Things facilitators.
- How will I/you track my progress for each of the 23 Things?
You will record your progress by posting to your blog and elsewhere as directed. Your Learning 2.0 - 23 Things facilitators will subscribe to your blog via an RSS reader (you'll learn about those later) and track your progress. We will mark off the things that you have completed on a shared Google spreadsheet that you will be able to view.
- How will you know I have completed all the "things"?
You will write about each thing as you complete it (See previous question.) We will be reading your posts and commenting as much as possible.
- How much do I have to write in my blog postings?
Your blog posts should be as long as they need to be to meaningfully express your thoughts about each "thing" and reflect on your learning. You will get out of the class what you put in. Since your blog is out on the web, others (besides your facilitators) will be able to read what you write and (hopefully) learn from what you post. What kind of work would you want your own students to submit in a similar situation?
If those guidelines don't help...aim for at least 125 words. You will be notified if you need to add more to a post to receive credit.
- How can I protect my identity while working online?
Transparency and sharing of experiences are some of the hallmarks of 21st century teaching and learning on the web, but there are a couple of ways you can keep your "digital footprint" to a minimum, if you have concerns.
- As part of your course prep (Thing "0"), you will set up a Google/Gmail account.You can specify an address/username for your account that does not display your actual name. You will use this account to register for all of the tools you will be exploring during the course.
- You can set up your blog (Thing 3) so that your blog address and username do not include your actual name. Only your Learning 2.0 - 23 Things facilitators will be aware of who you "really" are.
- Will there be any instruction offered to show us how to do this?
No, this is a self-directed learning program. If, after reading all the information, watching the tutorials, and following all the links in each "thing," you feel you need assistance with an item, you are encouraged to be resourceful and to find a friend, family member or another participant who can help. Reading other participants' blogs can help, too. The Learning 2.0 team will provide helpful hints, encouraging words and post comments on your blogs from time to time. We are also available by e-mail to answer your questions.
- Is there any tech support for this course?
The Learning 2.0 team can help you with questions about the course, but not with your computer or Internet connection. Here are some hints about Web 2.0 tools that may help you.
- Do any of the Things require downloads?
Flash is required to view many of the applications. Chances are this is already installed on your computer, but if it is not, click here for a free download. Adobe Reader is required to read a few of the links. If you do not have it, you can get it here for free. Java needs to be enabled for many applications too. Here are instructions on how to enable Java.
A few of the Things have activities that may require a download. However, most of the Things have options that can be done without downloading anything extra. Most of the 23 Things are Web-based applications that do not require additional downloads or plug-ins to work. Many Web-based applications have third party features that require downloads. These are not required—although they are often fun and add functionality.
- Once I complete all 23 things, how do I get my staff development credit?
The Learning 2.0 team will provide the names of participants who have completed the program to the MISD Staff Development department after the program officially ends on November 20, 2009. If you complete the 23 Things list after November 20, staff development credit will not be provided.
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