About the project
Throughout this year I’ve been working on a post-graduate paper in Instructional Design for e-Learning through Massey University. This has taken up a fair bit of my time (and part of the reason that my posting on this blog has been a bit irregular recently).
As part of the paper, I’ve been working with a group of 4 others from around the country on an instructional design project. We had to follow instructional design processes to plan, develop and implement an e-learning resource for students and teachers globally to use. We had to present the resource on WikiEducator – an online resource for e-learning content. It’s a wiki so anyone can add to, delete and edit any of the content. It’s similar in design to Wikipedia.
Other tools we have used in our design project are Skype and Google Docs. Skype was used for regular online meetings. We decided to use a text chat in Skype for two reasons. Firstly, not everyone was able to voice chat – lack of headsets. Secondly, a text chat meeting allows a history to be kept, so we can go back through the log of the meeting and see what was discussed etc.
The context of our project is about understanding, preparing and planning for tsunami. We decided to make it slightly interactive with students taking the role of a survival agent. They are to be the experts in their area. As the expert they have to learn about what tsunami are, how they form and the impacts they can have. They also have to learn what is required to prepare for a tsunami and how to recognise the signs that one is on the way. Planning escape routes and putting together getaway kits is vital for their success. At the end of the learning resource students play an online survival game, where they have to get a town ready for an emergency.
Have a look at the resource. Feel free to use it and please post comments/feedback here.
Well I was thinking of heading to Google Docs for this post, and I will, but I’m not going to post much as a good blog post was recently made. It outlines new sharing and editing options in it.
So next time I’ll start to go into detail about Google Docs, but for now – have a look at this post from Free Technology for Teachers to see if you want to explore it further.
I will say this now – Google Docs has great potential for education, collaboration etc.
For part 3 of the Google series I’m going to mention something straight-forward and simple but it can be easy to forget these options.
Once you have started a search in Google, there are a number of ways/web items you can search from everything, to blogs, images, news and more.
In the side bar you have a number of options (you may need to click the “more” button).
Clearly, clicking on ‘blogs’ will search for your search terms in blogs. But you’ve also got news items, images, books (Google has scanned I believe over 2 million books – some full text are available!), maps and more. The ‘updates’ option will search twitter updates (tweets) and other updates for your search terms. You could find things that have been posted in the last few minutes to a number of years, depending on what you are searching!
So it is a straight-forward post today, but I think it’s worth remembering the basic search options that you have with Google.
Following on from the Wonder wheel tool, Google have also released a search function called Timeline. This again, can be found in the left sidebar of the basic Google search.
Timeline is a great research function for a basic search. By clicking on Timeline after you’ve started your search you will see a timeline appear at the top of the search page, and everything will be in order of year/date.
What you will discover as you have a go with Google’s Timeline, is that it is not only finding websites that have information that you may be after, but it is searching digitised newspaper or journal articles from a huge number of dates. The search I have done above on ‘great war nz’, has given me a number of digitised newspaper articles.
If you click on a section on the blue timeline at the top, you can go into more detail for a specific period of time. Currently it shows every 20 years from 1840 to around 2000. If I click on the 1900 section I get this more specific dates.
And you can get more specific again by clicking on a year section.
I can see Timeline being used in various curriculum areas for research purposes. It could be great for finding primary and secondary sources. It may also be good for finding information from the time that has been twisted or misinterpreted over the years since the event.
The best way to learn timeline is to get in there and have a play!
I’m going to start my series on Google looking at one of their new search features. This new feature is called Wonder wheel.
If you do a general search using Google for the topic “Birds” you will get a list of websites (as you would expect). But perhaps you want to be a bit more specific in your search. To do this you could use an advanced search, or you could use Wonder wheel.
The Wonder wheel option can be found in the new left sidebar. Click on this and a ‘mind map’ style picture will come up with options that are related to your search topic.
Your search option will be found in the centre of the wonder wheel with links around it that you can click to refine your search. By clicking on one of the links it will expand the wonder wheel.
On the right hand side of the page, the websites found for the search will change according to the links you choose in the wonder wheel.
Wonder wheel could be a great tool for helping students in their research. It would be great for helping them to refine topics/questions before they begin their research. Try it out – it is very easy to use!
I’m shortly going to start a series on Google. I will start with doing a search using Google along with the advanced/extra features that they offer – including Wonder wheel and Timeline. From there I will see where we go.
So if you have any suggestions, or want to know how to do something, post a comment below and I’ll look into it. I’m not sure how regularly the posts will go up (hopefully at least one a week). This will depend on how busy I am.
Next up: The basics of doing a Google search.
Well, I’ve finally got a Google Wave invite! Now I’m just learning how it works. I can already see positive applications for teaching. Of course it’s still in preview, but when it starts properly it should be fantastic!
Anyway – I’ll try to keep posting updates on Wave.