Podcast Prezi

This is a short presentation about utilizing podcasts for communicating about the Refuge.  The assignment was to use an online presentation program to create a brief series of slides on an educational topic for your colleagues:

http://prezi.com/1fb3h2zgrhxp/refuge-podcasting/

Response to online presentation forum:

This week we experimented with different online presentation programs.  I decided to experiment with Prezi after seeing a colleague’s first prezi – I definitely needed the tutorials to learn the different tools, and I watched several of the “explore” featured prezis, then was able to start working with the program fairly quickly.  I really enjoyed the design flexibility, but found that I had to think out a visual concept and topic clusters before I got started, which is different from the way I work with Powerpoint.

I thought that the use of motion and pathways added a lot to the dynamic on screen, and I can see the potential for creating prezis that people would actually navigate on their own from a website (I quickly lose interest when I download someone’s powerpoint and click through slide after slide of bullet points).

I would use prezi in the future for work presentations – I think it will help alleviate the death by powerpoint feeling that our planning meetings have.  I could also see using it to create informational presentations that are meant to stand alone on the web or in an email.   I haven’t looked into it yet, but if there is a way to record the voice or play music with the Prezi, it seems like a fine tool to use for a short podcast.

Ning Reflection

We explored social networking this week; although I’m very familiar with facebook and we utilize it at our Visitor Center, I had never heard of Ning.com before, and did not realize that there were so many focused social network sites out there…  I do think that we could do more with Facebook to engage local students in the Kodiak community, but I also see the advantage of a focused social network that is an internal resource for professional collaboration and development:

Please post your reflections on the potential value of social networks as a professional collaboration tool in education.

I suppose my answer here is a bit different, because I am not in a profession with other teachers – at least, not in formal education. But, I could really see one of the Ning groups working out really well on a national level for our Fish and Wildlife Service Visitor Services professionals. One thing I really miss from my previous job (grant contract for the EPA) is the regional and national conferences I got to attend, and all of the in-person networking that happened there. Those conferences were valuable not so much for the different panel topics, but for the time in between panels when I could meet and talk with other people that were focused on similar projects and might be further along with tools like GIS or databases that were specific to contaminated site on Native lands.

I feel that I could really benefit from a national site that allowed me to “meet” visitor services employees from around the country, with a central location for blog posts, events, and forums, such as the ones on Classroom 2.0. Each region could have it’s own sub-group, and there could be other sub-groups for specific positions, such as for people working with volunteers, specialists in environmental education, or people managing visitor centers. Forums on use of technology or exhibit design would give me a much larger range of people to learn from, and I would be able to share some of the things I learn in this program with my colleagues.

RSS Feeds & Cognitive Surplus

For CSE629: Post a short reflect on your experience setting up your subscriptions in Google Reader. Was it frustrating? Did it go smoothly? How can you envision using subscriptions and Google Reader in your classroom or work?
I’m glad I finally got the kick to look into RSS feeds – I’ve noticed the RSS symbol plenty of times, and I’ve sometimes accessed the RSS news headline feed on my browser window, but I had never explored the process of setting up a reader to collect my own feeds.  The Google Reader is easy to use, although I wish that I could just hit the symbol and have it automatically collect to my reader, instead of logging in to Google or copying the url of the feed site.  I’ve started with two classmates’ blogs, and have added two others from Kathy’s list: Open Thinking and Tammy’s Tech Tip of the week.

I really see the advantage of using the feeder to passively collect updates from sites I find interesting, although I do miss visiting the actual sites for their creative design and formatting.  However, the ease of filtering sites into a single access point appeals to me and enables quick sorting until I find something I want to read in more depth.  This process has already led me to some wonderful posts I might not otherwise have discovererd: from Open Thinking I found a post about “crowd sourcing” and collaborative creativity, which in turn led me to another blog by Dean Shareski with the following post that introduced me to the idea of “cognitive surplus” and features a great collaborative video with detailed background information and another awesome video (a TED talk) by Clay Shirky, with a link to his keynote address to Web 2.0 Expo in 2008:

Crowd Sourcing

Keynote Address

Cognitive surplus refers to the increase of leisure time that people put to use in creative collaboration, specifically the products enabled by Web 2.0 tools, rather than consumption (like using your free time to watch TV).  Wikipedia is one example of cognitive surplus that results in an active community working together to contribute their knowledge and creativity to the world.  RSS seems like a powerful way to navigate and collect the results of this surplus, especially as the products available online just keep proliferating.