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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

faculty workshops

Posted by Miranda on October 31, 2009

There’s been a big push on to get faculty thinking about possible distance learning tools in the light of the H1N1 virus. We’ve all been asked to think about how we’d deal with either faculty or students being isolated for a period of time.
Our school website incorporates most of the things they would need to communicate class requirements like assignments, schedule. They can post links, upload documents and so forth, even embed audio and video. It does lack interactivity for the students – it’s all one way.

My colleague Steve and I have been doing workshops all the last week and a half and that’s been a LOT of fun. He’s done the ones on WordPress and I’ve been doing wikis and Moodle. We have a Moodle install on campus – we were actually planning on retiring it. It is enjoying a brief rennaissance. Why wikis, WordPress and Moodle? We have local installs of Moodle and WordPress and we were asked to do something on wikis. More to come if I have anything to say about it.

I think I learn more at these things than the teachers do sometimes.
I had a really interesting project this morning – A teaching intern in the science department set up a wiki and then wanted to embed a spreadsheet of environmental data that students could update.

They are studying Blow Me Down Brook, a local stream, and its corresponding watershed. The obvious to me answer was to keep the spreadsheet in Google Docs, I could get that far.

That meant a quick tutorial on Google Docs (which I have used sometimes but really am not that familiar with). Then he had to set up an account at Google, and upload a spreadsheet (he could have created a new one there of course) into his brand new Google Docs account.
Then we shared the document. We ran into a snag here because as test students we were getting prompted to log in to Google to edit the embedded sheet. We didn’t want them to have to log in of course.
With a little tinkering with permissions, now all his students can edit the spreadsheet and have the embedded sheet update dynamically. Very cool! I started telling the teaching intern how his students could work with google maps to add markers to the Google map of the watershed area they are studying, with photographs, overlays and all the rest.. He said I was making his brain explode and we would have to talk about it later.

Oh, I love this stuff!

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Learning Communities

Posted by Miranda on February 26, 2008

And more.. From the Thetford Academy Newsletter (via email)

SNAPSHOTS: In and around TA classrooms…

• Just before the break eighth-grade Computer Literacy students were
exploring the concept of “learning community” as it develops in
online formats, with classmates in the computer lab, and more
generally in the school at large. Here is a sampling of the
definitions they wrote, summarizing the idea in their own words:

“I feel that a learning community is a place where students come
together to the same conclusions after being together for some time.
They learn what the others think about a particular topic and combine
that with their own thinking.”

“:Learning Community (noun): a place where nobody is really in charge
of what people are learning, but instead are all learning together
and helping each other out.

“To me, a learning community is a great way to hold a class. It’s
different from all my other classes where the teacher is basically
helping you along the way. Here, we are given our assignments with
the general knowledge given, and we sky rocket from there. We help
each other when we have computer problems and we also help each other
out when we have questions. The good thing about a learning community
is that the kids are teaching kids and the kids are learning from
other kids, but in more of a casual way rather than being “proper”,

like the way you would approach a teacher. Personally, I like being
part of a learning community because it’s a great way to interact
with other kids in the class and maybe even start new friendships
from communicating in class. “

“A learning community is a place where everyone learns. The teacher
is more of an instructor, and the students can teach the instructor
things too.
I like being a part of a learning community because it
is a lot less stressful. It’s like we are a big group, all learning
and teaching from each other. Everyone in a learning community plays
an equal roll [sic] and respects each other, and I feel happy and
respected in a learning community.”

“A learning community is a place were you can learn and feel safe, so
you can get a good education and not be bullied. I like being part
of a learning community because I get to learn safely.”

“A learning community is an enviroment [sic] in which someone can
feel comfortable asking questions and discussing difficult topics
with their peers. At Thetford Academy, I am a part of a large
learning community. I like being part of such a community because it
provides a sense of comfort and makes me feel that I can accomplish
many things by myself and with my peers

For more on electronic learning communities, these students and their
teacher recommend visiting the online resource
center at

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