I've been strangly silent this last week, but with good reasons. First of all, I spent three days on the road for a total of 19 hours of driving; my only thoughts were couldn't Scotty beam me from La Loche to Regina and then back! And then I was having a great time exploring tools I have always wanted to learn, but used "the lack of time" as an excuse to avoid; I've learned some, but I also lost some momentum with blogging.
I am pleased to announce major progress in my experimenting with Moodle (photo shows some of the work). I can now insert video and pictures, I can change the background, and I have a good working knowledge of the basics of Moodle; I actually think I have enough knowledge now that I could create an online class. I have also started a small professional learning community of teachers in my school interested in becoming moodlers! We are meeting on Tuesdays; today, we took a major step towards understanding ways to enroll a student. If all continues to go well, I might even be able to "teach" a class with it as early as Thursday. Not too bad for a week of asking myself, "What does this icon do?"
I also had a session with staff interested in learning more about technology last Thursday; seven of us met and I introduced the others to Google Docs. It was refreshing to talk about something we can do and use to be more effective teachers; I actually felt like I was a teacher leader instead of being the person to react to the crisis of the day. And the staff involved gave me faith that many of us in the profession are still learners! I'm thinking about exploring Twitter on Thursday.
I have also begun to play with making movies using Jing. It is actually quite simple except for one small problem; the free version of JING saves the movie files as a shock wave flash which you cannot import into moviemaker. All is not lost though as a visit to Twitter gave me several possible conversion programs that I can try that are free; I also got a response from Dr. Couros and he recommends purchasing Jing Pro for $15 for a year as it will save the file as a mpeg allowing a user an easier time with editing. Unfortunately, I have tried several different free programs and I have been frustrated time and again. Yet, the positive is that by sending a tweet I had 6 different people attempt to come to my aid. It is amazing that there are that many people out there that are anxious to help with no expectation for something in return. This network of people is as close to a utopian world as I have seen; people are positive, helpful, appreciative, and kind. It is a world I am now a part of because I want to be not because I have to be for an assignment. In fact, I'm not really sure what is evaluated and what is not being evaluated; it actually does not matter because I am getting something out of the experience and I am learning continuously.
For example, when I tweeted out that I was looking for a program that would convert shock wave flash videos to mpegs, @plind suggested http://www.zamzar.com/. It did not do what I wanted it to, but I learned if I wanted to convert a gif image to a jpeg I could with Zamzar. Zamzar does many conversions and I suggest if you are trying to convert a file that you try it first; it may save you a lot of time. I would also suggest that if you haven't used twitter to solve a problem, try it; there are a lot of helpful people willing to share.