Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Summer Global Adventures

This summer is rich in my virtual and face-to-face presentations about an engaged learning and teaching. In the beginning of June, I present at Moodle MOOC 4 on WizIQ.

Each year I start a new semester and inform my classes that the major format of my courses will be cooperative and collaborative learning. I always notice the change of expression in a number of faces. As a rule, those teacher candidates that expressed disappointment, had a bad experience during their schools years with "cooperative" group work. From further conversations and discussions, they share that they were completing all work in the assigned group projects but everybody in the group would get the same high grade. Unfair! This confession happens each year. It takes a while, almost a semester, to convince these students to start appreciating the value of cooperative/collaborative learning. If done correctly, cooperative/collaborative learning is a powerful and meaningful method.  That's what my session will be about. I will share the research findings, best practices and my personal experience on how to create positive collaborative learning communities.
I will be presenting my talk via WizIQ, a web-based platform. I have been using WizIQ since 2008. First, in my online classes when I was assigned to teach classes in the summer or during winter interim but was traveling abroad. I was also using WizIQ when I was asked to share my experience with the Web 2.0 tools. In 2009, when I started closely collaborating with Dr. Nellie Deutsch on a variety of projects, we were using WizIQ for coordinating Moodle workshops, IWE global projects, or moderating Connected Online conferences, Spring Blog festival, and now Moodle MOOCs. It is such a rewarding experience! WizIQ is a space where talented, creative and skillful educators meet, collaborate and exchange ideas and most importantly generously share their mastership with each other and the learners from all over the world.

No Pain No Gain

Wouldn't it be nice to have received such a message?


Receiving the news about not being accepted to the Google Teacher Academy this year was sad but not unexpected. It is a very competitive program. I was creating my GTA one minute video with a new App (Sparkol VideoScribe) during the most difficult and busiest time, the end of the school year... But I do not regret that I did it! I communicated, networked, and was in touch with the most creative educators on Twitter.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Google Teacher Academy Application 2014 - Classroom Innovation #GTAMTV

It is boring to live without a challenge! I love challenging myself! This time is a desire to join the community of Google educators! I was reading blog posts, tweets about Google Academy and viewed videos that teacher were creating to participate in this professional development program. I was jealous of the spirit and the excitement with which the posts or twitter messages were shared. I started dreaming to become a part of this community. I explored my options. Google invites teachers to apply for a Google Teacher Academy in different parts of the world throughout the year. I was thinking to apply several times but either the time or the place were not suitable.

This year I chose to participate in the summer session. There were  two programs offered: one in June, in Atlanta, but at the time when I am in Finland, presenting at the EdMedia conference.

So I applied for July GTA in Mountain View, CA.

The application consists of several parts. One of them is creating a one minute video. I created my video-story with Sparkol VideoScribe, the iPad application. It was quite an ordeal. The VideoScribe application seems to be still in a beta mode, it has some bugs, it was freezing a lot, or  would crush when I was about to publish the video. I spent hours to make it work... The application was perfect for setting up the story line within 1 min (better 59.6 sec). Adding music and the voice over was somewhat easy, as well. But it took me so much time to make it work. I would add music but the voice would not be recorded, or I would record the voice over, but the audio recording would not be alined with the pictures exactly how I planned it to be... Or when I would RE-record my story, the voice recording would be lost... BUT I didn't give up! I did it.  I submitted my application as a gift to myself of Mother's Day!

This is a very popular and competitive program! I noticed there were many school teachers, technologies among the applicants. I didn't see the videos of college professors. Hopefully I have a chance to win in this category!