Web 2.0 Tools for Educators

Feb 27/15

Web 2.0 Tools

Over the past 7 weeks I have been learning extensively about Web 2.0 tools.   Before  started this adventure I had no idea what a Web 2.o tool was, I hadn’t even heard of them.

What I have discovered is a wide array of “tools” available on the “Web” that I can use to improve my teaching platform:  course design and development, content delivery, assessment, communication etc.  There are no end of tools out there that are available free of charge or for a price and the numbers of tools are growing exponentially.

I have created a page on this blog that lists many Web 2.0 tools, their use and their links.  They are  grouped according to their purpose for ease of finding what you are looking for.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, I don’t think there ever can be one.  But here is a list of some Web 2.0 tools that may be of use for educators, teachers, creators.


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Instagram users begin fightback against stolen photos

Feb 24/14

Instagram users begin fightback against stolen photos

Technology definitely has its drawbacks.  I find it interesting and sad that there are people out there that are knowingly stealing from others. In the Terms of Use for Instagram there are some rules that I would think are common sense, you know “the things I learned in kindergarten” about being nice and respectful to others and not stealing.

How many people out there are just copying pictures and not thinking or don’t realize the ramifications around what they are doing or the consequences of their actions?

Instagram Terms of Use

The whole issue of posting photos or other information into shared sites such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube or any other ones is interesting because it would be almost impossible to monitor or prevent theft.  Simple computer programs such as the Snipping Tool make copying photos so easy and quick.

There are ways to protect your work though.  In this article there are is information on how to watermark your photos and populating metadata with ownership information.  I’m sure other ways to protect your work are being devised as we speak.

The Instagram Act and How to Protect your Photos Online

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Cheating and Technology

Feb 23/15

Cheating and Technology

Everyone’s thought about it but most people don’t do it; it’s becoming easier as technology gets smaller, sleeker and more sophisticated.  It is unethical and in my view shows a lack of character, but many students are doing it in order to compete in a very competitive learning environments and job markets.  How many students actually cheat on exams?

Here is a fact sheet from Stanford University on Academic Cheating.   https://web.stanford.edu/class/engr110/cheating.html.  Many student defend and rationalize cheating as the only way to compete and feel that it is an acceptable means to reaching their goals.

I saw a video last year about a med school teacher that had ignored some of his students cheating on exams, he found himself in critical condition in the emergency room a few years later and the doctor about to do surgery on him was the student he didn’t confront about cheating.  How frightening would that be?  That’s an extreme example but one that proves a point.

There are so many ways to cheat that are difficult to detect but technology is fighting back and developing ways to catch the cheaters.

In the article New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating, Rosemary Counter  states “Sometime next year, Apple will launch its watch, a sleek, wearable technology with full wireless capabilities, including downloadable apps, access to maps and photos, notifications via vibration and even a walkie-talkie function.”  (Counter, R. 2014).   This will be a wonderful gadget to own  but a nightmare for teachers attempting to curtail cheating in their classrooms.

What is the cost of cheating?  Here is another example of cheating and how much it truly costs the students and their school.

“In 2011, a student sat down to his medical college admission test wearing a disguised pinhole camera. Images of test questions were transmitted to a friend, who forwarded them to three hired tutors. They thought they were writing a practice test to secure a tutoring position. Their answers were sent back to the test-taker via smartphone. When the tutors grew suspicious, they alerted campus security. In the end, both men pleaded guilty to a charge of copyright infringement and were given an absolute discharge. The test had to be readministered at a cost of more than $200,000.” (Counter, R. 2014).

Who would have dreamt up this scheme?  What it shows is the lengths that students will go to in order to get the best grades.

The following is an article on the Middle Earth (Partnering with Youth for Responsible Adulthood) on the effects of cheating in school. As a society are we teaching our children moral & ethical boundaries and why they are put there in the first place?  Whose responsibility is to teach theses values of what is right and what is wrong?  What about the student that doesn’t cheat on exams and consequently doesn’t’ get the highest grade and maybe not the coveted job?  These are all questions that are valid to ask and we should be asking them.  https://middleearthnj.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/cheating-in-school/

In the following article John Spencer writes about 10 ways to Cheat proof your Classroom; it’s sad but true that we need to be aware cheating and how it’s being done as well as aware of and prepared to prevent cheating.  http://www.educationrethink.com/2012/06/classroom-leadership-10-ways-to-cheat.html

Cheating is not going away and we will not be able to prevent it 100% but being aware of it and planning for it is the first step to fair and equitable grades among learners and in institutions.


Counter, R. (2014). New Frontiers in High Tech Cheating. Retrieved from: http://www.macleans.ca/education/uniandcollege/new-frontiers-in-high-tech-cheating/ Rosemary Counter (Oct. 2014)


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Why am I driving myself crazy learning all this new technology?

Feb 18/15

Why am I driving myself crazy learning all this new technology?

Today was one of those days where I asked myself, several times, why I am bothering with all this schooling and technology?  I have tried to figure out how to upload a podcast to Audacity with no luck only to have my 16 year old do it on her first try.  I have tried to hyperlink an article on this blog repeatedly over the past few days without luck but today, it worked on the first try.

What is going on?

Is technology always this fickle?

My frustration level seems to go up and down depending on the day.  I have a difficult time trying to find someone in my over 50 years of age crowd who I can turn to for assistance when I’m having troubles…so I ask again…why am I doing this to myself?

It’s because I love a challenge.  I love to learn new things.  I love to understand what my kids are talking about.  I love to ask my kids for help because it lets them be the leaders/teachers for a change.  I love setting an example for my kids and their friends about picking up the gauntlet and taking on the challenge of higher education after 30 years out of school.  I love being creative in finding ways to get the help I need.   I love it when my husband makes dinner and cleans up the kitchen afterwards so I can do my homework.  That’s why I’m doing this.

My brother is a printer and very good with computers, I have abused our brother/sister relationship by phoning or e-mailing him, by sending him copies of documents that I’ve tried to develop in order for him to ‘fix’ them  for me – always asking how he did it of course.  He’s a good sport, he always says he may need my help as a nurse one day so he’ll get even with me then.

I can honestly say that the young tech people at Staples have been the best, they are always willing to help and they truly have compassion for the ‘old lady’ that looks harassed and on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

I haven’t just stopped at Staples though, I shamelessly ask questions to anyone that looks like  they might be computer/tech savvy.  No young person at my work, no techy hired by Fraser Health, and none of my kids friends are put of bounds when I have questions.  It’s a fun way to have a good laugh at myself and to let others help me out for once.  As a nurse I find it difficult to ask for help from others and this is good practice for me.

So I will keep learning and asking questions to anyone who happens to be on my path so I can keep learning.  I am also learning to just “push the dumb button” and not be afraid of the consequences – most programs have that little icon of the backwards arrow that will fix just about anything I can think of to do wrong.


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Things I have learned:

Feb 16/15

Here we are, 5 weeks into Media Enhanced Learning and I am overwhelmed.

Things I have learned:

1.  I need a lot of tech support to complete my assignments.                             2. Googling instructions on how to use technology isn’t always helpful.         3. I couldn’t survive without the help of my 16 year old daughter and her tech savvy friends.                                                                                                                4.  The staff at Staples are invaluable when it comes to desperate times of need.                                                                                                                                5. I am stronger and grittier than I think, I haven’t given up yet!                      6. Even when I feel like I haven’t been successful in learning technology, I can go to work and see from my other nursing co-workers that I have indeed come a long way.    They all think that my skills are amazing.                            7. Teachers need to be very patient people in helping their students to learn complex concepts and tasks; they must provide explanations and assistance from multiple angles until their student “gets it”.                                                 8. A good nights sleep really does clear your mind and give you the strength to move forward.                                                                                                          9. I admire veteran educations and anyone that is over the age of 50 that is dedicated to learning technology no matter how foreign or difficult it is.        10. If teachers are going to incorporate technology into their lesson plans, we need to develop systems where there is support & mentorship for these teachers so they succeed and don’t give up when problems

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Pecha Kucha Power Points

Feb 15/15

Pecha Kucha Power Points

Pecha Kucha is a Power Point set in the format of 20 slides that automatically advance every 20 seconds. The purpose is to use a short format of approx. 7.5 -8 minutes to present an idea, concept, pictures, project or anything else you want to share. The format used in a PK PP actually has 22 slides – it includes an introduction and a resources page and then 20 slides in the body of the presentation.     There are actually Pecha Kucha nights held around the globe where people get together to present their 20 slide/20 second PP’s.

I find this format refreshing because it doesn’t go into great detail that can bog the viewer down; by necessity it is short and straight to the point thus preventing ‘Death by Power Point’. It took me a while to determine the topic of my PK PP because it had to be something of interest to me and something that many people would find interesting; I can see where groups of people with specific agendas or interests would form groups to present PK PPs in order to provide a wide variety of views, opinions, styles etc. to their specific group, I can see them being used to showcase broad topics as well as more specific agendas.

What makes a good Pecha Kucha Power Point?

  • Topics of interest to the people (groups of people) watching.
  • Topics that are of interest to a wide variety of people.
  • Clear audio that flowed easily, without pauses and uneven silent gaps
  • No background noise
  • Speech that is clear, spoken at a rate that was relaxed, not rushed & that varies in tone.
  • Pictures that change with each slide to keep the viewers interest.
  • Pictures introduced onto the slides at various intervals during the 20 seconds the slide is being viewed.
  • Personal information to make the topic personal.
  • Personal & shared personal experiences; state how the presenter felt during the experience being presented.
  • Show people in the pictures to show size/perspective in the background.Brenda
  • All in all, I really like the idea of Pecha Kucha Power Points, they do not have time to become long & drawn out presentations that put people to sleep.  It would be an excellent way to present multiple ideas or concepts in a short period of time at a large symposium (mix the PK PPs into other activities).
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What Happens When the Student Knows the Technology Better than the Teacher?

Feb 10/15

What Happens When the Student Knows the Technology Better than the Teacher?

What happens when the student knows the technology better than the instructor?   The younger generations are so comfortable with technology and the older generations are often not.

If an instructor uses a technology but is not proficient at it, will it decrease his or her credibility?

How far will technology go? Where will it lead us? Will there come a time when we will say “enough is enough” and get back to simpler methods of instilling education into our students?

I think that we can truthfully say that technology is here to stay and that it will continue to expand in its applications.

My thought is that I will stick to a few technology mediums that I am familiar with and use them well. I will ensure that I am confident and efficient with them before I move on to others. Just because technology is there, it doesn’t mean that we have to incorporate all of its options into our lesson plans.

Somewhere there has to be a happy medium where we incorporate the appropriate technology into our education but not use technology for the sake of using technology.

I guess it depends on where you teach and what you teach as well as your skill level on what technology you opt to use.

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