My PLN Homework! Random Facts and Answers.

Hello Everyone!

PANO_20131226_073318

Well, there has been a very interesting homework assignment circulating on twitter over the holidays, a chance to share some some personal information, answer some interesting questions, and get to know your PLN a little better. I was ‘tagged’ for some homework by fellow Teacher-Librarian Al Smith (@literateowl) during my vacation to Loreto Mexico, and said I would get it done before we return to school on Monday, so here is my Assignment!

11 Random Facts about me:

1) I grew up on Bowen Island, a little community off Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, and had to take the ferry everyday to get to school!  I hold a special place in my heart for Bowen and feel it shaped the person I am in so many powerful ways.

2) I recently started a new job as Teacher-Librarian at Parkland Secondary, in Saanich BC!  I did my undergrad at UVIC and wanted to move back to Vancouver Island after working for the Vancouver School Board for the last 10 years. My wife and I moved over this last summer and have been loving our new jobs and home on the island.

3) I first started working in Libraries with a UVIC Coop job at the BC Ministry of Health, in Victoria.  This was back in 1999, and where I learned a lot of my information technology and website development skills in supporting the specialized Medical Library in the Ministry.

4) I’ve had this domain and website since 2002, and have been publishing my own websites since 1996!  I have had many different versions of this website, but currently run my own WordPress installation after many years creating Dreamweaver templates, PHP discussion boards, and slightly interactive communities for my classes, colleagues and peers.

5) Some of my major life accomplishments over the last 12 years have been mentioned in the BC Legislature and are recorded on the official Hansard record. (Becoming a Teacher,  Advocating for School Libraries, and getting Married!)

6) I truly believe in the power of your Personal Learning Network, utilizing social networks like twitter, google plus, blogging and even facebook.  I have gained so much wisdom, understanding and assistance from my different networks in the last 6 years.


7) I am an amateur Astronomer.  I love looking through my telescope at the Moon, Planets and Stars.  I have always loved looking up and staring at the universe around us.  Looking forward to investing in some new lenses and photography equipment in the next year.

8) I am a part-time Scout Leader, having been involved with the Scouting movement for almost 13 years. (2 Beavers, 3 – Cubs, 3 – Scouts, 2 – Venturers, 3 – Scout Leader).  Through scouting, I really do see the value in experience based learning, the importance of demonstrating competencies, failure as a learning opportunity, and badge based assessment.

9) My favourite sport is Disc Golf, a free activity that is a combination of Golf and throwing discs around in the forest.  Usually, you take a few specialized discs (drivers, mid-range, and putters) and throw them at a metal basket.  You follow the usual rules of golf and its a lot of fun!

bridge

10) One of the most ambitious and challenging hiking trips I’ve ever done was into Cape Scott Park, on the northern tip of Vancouver Island.  This trip was wet and challenging, but also amazing and beautiful.  I wrote a trip report all about it here.

11 questions for me from Al Smith:

1. How do you balance time spent on professional and personal life?

In the almost 20 years I’ve been online, I’ve learned when to turn my devices/email/IM/tweets off and when to disconnect and focus on the present.   I have certain times that I dedicate to my professional role, and I have times I dedicate to my personal life.  I am usually working on a few projects, consulting work, or teaching in different roles and have to be very organized to keep it all within balance.  I use my calendars religiously, I keep my email meticulously organized, and I know when to turn my notifications off.
2. Where do you want to go in the world that you haven’t been yet?

South America and Asia
3. If you were Mr. Harper, what would your priority legislation be next week?

Information, Privacy, Copyright.  Not because I think these are the most important issues facing Canada right now, they are far from it.  I picked these, because these are the issues I have been researching, studying and staying abreast of and feel I can offer insight for.

4. What was the last book you read? Did it have a movie adaptation?

Over the holidays I dived into the first 3 books of Frank Hebert’s Dune Series!  It was amazing, awesome and highly recommended.  I very much enjoyed the parrallels between the book setting of the Dune Planet, Arrakis, with my vacation environment of Baja Mexico.  Everywhere I went I gained new insight into the arid environment while enjoying this Sci-Fi classic. It has been made into a great movie, but it was very different from the book!
5. In what school/position was/is memorable to you? Why?

My first job with the Vancouver School Board was working at Kitsilano Secondary, in their Library, as a Secondary Teacher-Librarian.  I worked with the most amazing mentor, Giovanna Bombino that year and she taught me so much about teaching and learning in a secondary library.  I also worked that year part-time at Tupper Secondary with an equally important and influential mentor Teacher-Librarian Glenys Galloway.  Also while with the VSB I worked with Wendy Cowley for a couple of years at Killarney Secondary and gained so much about Teacher-Librarianship.  I owe these three mentors so much for my skills and abilities today.
6. What is a health issue or advocacy you hold sincere?

I am very focused on Diabetes as it is an issue close to my family.  I hope that we can all make dietary and lifestyle changes to help combat this disease.
7. What is the source you rely on most for news about what’s going on in the world?

Twitter!  It is such a powerful real-time network that is responsive to your unique interests and needs.  I get different perspectives, breaking information, unique insight and robust discussion from a variety of sources and people.  Its truly revolutionary.
8. Can you name the 5 CanadaReads titles and/or authors? Have you read any? Check > (http://kssreads.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/canadareads-2014-looks-powerful-join-us/)

I can!  In fact, I went to UVIC with one of the authors, Esi Edugyan as we both lived in the same residence, Ravenhill!  Her book Half-Blood Blues is on my night side table, queued up to be read!
9. Why is liberalism a dying political philosophy or is it?

It is not and I hope to see a rebuilt party rebound in the next election!  Go Justin!
10. If you could advise and/or act on a solution for a more environmental and economically sustainable Canada what would you contribute?

I would contribute to the protection and expansion of the public Park system.  We need to protect our beautiful environments and animals and share them safely and sensitively with others.
11. If answering these 11 with me, What wine would you select?

I would select a IPA craft beer, perhaps something from Driftwood Brewery!

11 Questions I have for others:

1) What is your favourite meal?  When was the last time you had it?

2) Where did you travel to last?  Can you share a picture?

3) What book did you read recently that has got you thinking?

4) What key moments from your educational journey helped create where you are today?

5) What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment?

6) Do you have any advice for new educators?

7) How do you like your coffee? And from where?

8) What is your favourite Song/Band?  Have you seen them live?

9) Do you like to Camp?  Can you recommend your favourite spot?

10) Android or Apple? Why?

So, I am going to recommend my homework to some new colleagues,  former colleagues, and friends.  Its only recommended, no pressure to do it, and sorry if you’ve already been nominated!

@david_mckinney

@simmondsbrock

@mr_shortreed

@tpierik

@stevemacg

@shancurtis1

@fraserfi

@jlw525

@fbyrne33

@renomyclass

@tchrlib

I really enjoyed this activity and hope you do too!

Happy New Years!

Ch-Ch-Chaaanges!

Forgive my absence on the blog for the last few months.  Things have been very busy with turning my life right upside down!  Well, some of you may have heard the big news by now, and some of you may just be learning about it while reading this post! But the big change in my life is that I’ve accepted a new position, working as the Teacher-Librarian for the new Learning Commons at Parkland Secondary, in Saanich BC for the Saanich School District!

I have been working in the Vancouver School Board for the last 10 years, and it has been a great district for me, personally and professionally.  I started off with my student practicum at Tupper Secondary, and then began my teacher-librarian specialization at Kitsilano and Tupper Secondary, mentored by some amazing T-Ls in my first year working in the district.  After that I spent a good deal of time working at Killarney Secondary, in many different teaching roles, from Information Technology to Senior English, to Mini School, Literacy Support, some time in the Library, and even a little Math 9!

Most of my time at the VSB was spent working at the Vancouver Learning Network (formally known as the GVDES) as their first online English teacher, converting all the old paper-based correspondence courses to online, interactive community based learning environments.  I spent 9 years working at the VLN, and have enjoyed my time immensely.  I’ve worked with a great group of educators and administrators who consistently worked hard at meeting the needs of our diverse student population.  While at the VLN, I also pioneered the first “digital library” in BC, what I called the “E-Library”, or an online library services site to meet the information needs of our Distance Learning Students.

During this time, I was also working on some graduate courses and diplomas and was able to complete the Teacher-Librarian Diploma with UBC (2007), and then the Masters in Educational Technology (2010).  These two programs were very engaging and helpful in developing my specialized focus and skillset, helping me get to where I am today! My final portfolio for the Master in Educational Technology was all about Libraries and Information Literacy, and was a very fulfilling and useful final capstone project. From this opportunity, I have been teaching a course with the UBC T-L program, LIBE 477 and now I am currently co-redesigning this course for the UBC T-L diploma program, which is all about special topics in Teacher-Librarianship, focusing on new technologies and pedagogies to extend and enhance teacher-librarianship and school library programs.  We will be offering the next version of this course in Jan 2014 if you are interested.

So, that takes me to the next steps in my Career!  I am now packing up and getting ready to move back to Victoria, on Vancouver Island to begin the next phase of my career as a full time Teacher-Librarian with my very own Learning Commons.  I could not be happier, nor more excited for this wonderful opportunity.  I am excited to work with the staff at Parkland, as well as with the many great Teachers and Administrators who work around the Saanich School District.

For my wife and I, we could not be more pleased with the opportunity to move over to Victoria, as this enables the next phase of our life together.  Vancouver has been very good to the both of us, but it does not have what we need over the next few years, and so we were looking at moving out of the city and into somewhere a little less busy, and more small town.  Saanich is the perfect fit for us.

So, that’s the latest news.  Glad you could stop by and check it out!  You always know how to reach me here, and so this is not a good bye, but more of a “see ya soon!”

Aaron

My week with a Surface RT Tablet

IMG_20130414_084613The Surface RT tablet is the first tablet from Microsoft with the new Windows 8 Operating system.  This new version is focused on a much more touch enabled experience, with a new interface called “Metro” that is a replacement for the traditional Windows desktop without a start menu and a taskbar.  This new version has not totally moved past the old interface however, as you can always “drop down” to your familiar old desktop interface to complete some task or use some program that is not part of the Metro interface.  The new interface is a series of mis-matched dynamic ’tiles’ that can be auto-updating.  These tiles link you to apps, programs, information and games.  The new interface is responsive, and easily customizable, representing a new way to organize your start menu.  A great first tip for using windows 8: when in the Metro interface, simply typing on the keyboard will begin searching for that app, or program, and it is fast!

So, this tablet in a sense is a hybrid between a windows laptop and a app-focused tablet like the iPad and Android.  You can use the Metro interface implementing the touch screen while on the couch, but can also drop down to your traditional desktop and open up your browser or word processor, hook up a mouse, and use the built in keyboard cover to work in a more laptop familiar mode. IMG_20130414_084714 Have I mentioned yet that I really like the kick-stand that holds the tablet up? It also has the full Office 2013 software, which I used extensively in my week, creating MS Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations.

During my week with the surface, I really tried to use the Surface in as many situations, enivornments, and workflows as I could, to really see if it could be a good addition or replacement for my IT toolkit. I’ll describe my experiences shortly, but first its useful to go over the basic specs and features of the tablet for comparison purposes. (you can also read my other reviews of the Ipad 1, Android, and Chromebook for comparisons)

  • 32GB of Storage space (64gb option available)
  • 1366×768 pixels (16:9 widescreen)
  • Quad-core NVIDIA Tegra 3
  • 2GB RAM
  • Wi-Fi / Bluetooth
  • Two 720p HD LifeCams, front- and rear-facing
  • Full-size USB 2.0, (SUPER USEFUL)
  • microSDXC card slot
  • HD video out port

I was able to use this tablet at work and at home, for almost a week.  I was actually pretty surprised and found I was able to be very productive in my regular workflows, as well as on the weekend, socializing and using more entertainment based features.  I shared the tablet with family and friends and they easily picked it up and found it fairly straightforward to use. Even the three year old niece really enjoyed it!  The tablet has the ability to allow multiple users share the device each logging in with either a local account, or a MSN supplied email account if you want cloud integration.  Since I am still an avid Hotmail user, I easily connected into my Skydrive, and other cloud services.

My setup for crafting this blog post.  IMG_20130414_182447

While using this Surface RT for the week, I easily hooked up many peripherals to the tablet using the USB 2.0 port.  I used both wired, and wireless mice, my 1TB Mypassport hard drive, my android smartphone, and a digital camera.  All were detected and installed quickly.  This feature alone really alleviated a lot of concerns I had. I was able to prepare, craft and publish this blog review using only this tablet!

Some of the things I was successful in using the Surface in my time were:

  • Taking minutes for our Staff Committee meeting in a MS Word Document.
  • Responding to my emails and messaging from many accounts. (Hotmail, MS Exchange, Gmail, and my own domain)
  • Marking all of my Distance Learning students submitted work in my English classes.
  • Managing my social media accounts (twitter, facebook, Skype, Messenger)
  • Taking photos and videos
  • Playing games
  • Streaming Netflix and other media from my local homegroup libraries on my home network
  • entertaining my  niece with storybooks,music making, and coloring apps
  • Multi-tasking, watching a movie, while surfing, by splitting the screen.
  • Using flash based websites in Internet Explorer.

Practical Considerations:

Holding and carrying the Surface was comfortable and easy.  It has a different shape than most other tablets, a longer bottom edge, which really forced me to keep it side ways, rather than holding it in portrait mode.  The device feels sturdy, polished, and was reliable.  The kick-stand is a fantastic feature of this device.  It works great and feels solid.  I wish more tablets had kick-stands built-in, just like the bikes of my youth. The USB port is a huge bonus that the surface brings to the tablet table.  It supported anything I plugged in like any other windows device.  The battery life was good enough, going for most of the weekend without needing a charge. During the day, at work, I kept it plugged in using the satisfying magnet clip on power coupling. The keyboard cover was another major plus to using the Surface.  Having a physical keyboard with a mouse track pad allowed me to be much more productive in my regular tasks than I have been using other tablets.  It is such a plus to not have to take up screen space with an on-screen keyboard and have a responsive physical keyboard that doubles as a cover. I was not able to try the HD video output as I did not have an adapter to use.  I imagine it would work easily, like adding a second monitor to any windows pc. The microphone and speakers were decent, but not really noteworthy. The two cameras worked great and took good photos.

The App Store:

The App store had more apps and games than I thought, but its not enough, when compared to Apple and Android.  I remember writing the same sentence about the Android App store a year and a half ago, but now it is a full and vibrant app ecosystem.  I would hope that the Surface gains a lot of Apps and Games over the next months to address a wide gap in the present.  I was able to find lots of interesting apps to check out and found searching and discovery of apps to be easy.  I did not find a fully featured twitter client, as none of the ones in the store included the ability to browse my pre-set Lists. Screenshot (4)For the majority of things I wanted to do, I was able to find an App or a Game that would fit my needs.  It was easy to browse the different categories, and to create custom searches based on price, rating, and then list them.

I definitely felt that this Surface RT could replace my Win7 home Acer Netbook in my personal life.  In the professional space, where I am teaching and doing much more advanced and demanding activities in my regular day I would still like my desktop/laptops.  If I had a Surface Pro however, instead of this RT, this might be a different story altogether, as the ability to install anything you want, and a much more powerful CPU, and I could say goodbye to my laptop/netbook!

EXTRA BONUS INTERFACE COMMENTARY

This faux-laptop is the closest I’ve felt to getting rid of my trusty netbook.  It runs flash in the browser, can hook into my local network libraries, will hopefully have lots of apps and games sooner rather than later, and with the Pro version, can actually be a total laptop replacement I believe. I feel somewhat similar to when I switched from command line DOS interface to graphical interfaces from Apple and Microsoft, it was a little bewildering at first, but over time its for the best.  Touch screen interfaces will help us transition from keyboards and mice, and move towards voice, touch, and eye-tracking interfaces.  Computing should not be constraining, as we have evolved from whole-room mainframe early computers to personal computing at home, and in computer labs at schools, to today with newer mobile carts, with tablets, netbooks, chromebooks and other BYOD facilities served through wi-fi. This surface tablet is one step towards a new way to interact with our computers.  Gestures will be big.  Learning the ‘short-cuts’ of the new interfaces takes a couple of days of dedicated practice.  Proficiency in new interfaces does take time, and it is worth it.  You will be able to navigate, customize, re-mix, inter-act, and direct all the apps and information at your fingertips with much more ability and confidence.  I was just starting to get the hang of most of the interface nuances and gestures by the end of the week, but that’s pretty quick compared to how long it took me to learn to type! (or write cursively as well!)

Overall, the Surface RT is a great tablet that will hopefully keep getting better with updates and growth of the App Store.  It has a ton of potential and has really stepped away from our traditional keyboard/mouse interface in a way that no other tablet has, while still maintaining the closest replication of the traditional keyboard/mouse combo.  Its a contradicting device, but one I was happy to use and eager to pull out in any situation, to see how I could make it work for me.  It may not work for you, but if you give it some time and dedicated practice, you might find something you like as well!

Cape Scott Adventures – A digital story! #ETMOOC

For this section of the #ETMOOC, we’ve been focusing on Digital Stories and have had some excellent presentations and opportunities to practice and learn this fascinating art.  I’ve been really enjoying the #sixwordstories and the Five-Card-Flickr stories that everyone has been sharing, as well as the animated GIFs that have started appearing around the #etmooc Google Plus Community.  I was struggling with coming up with a good story I wanted to share, and how I would create it.  And then I remembered my most excellent adventure from 2004 exploring the long abandoned Danish settlement on the most northern tip of Vancouver Island, Cape Scott.

CAPE SCOTT ADVENTURES

capescott

Cape Scott is no longer a settlement,

but a beautiful park,full of amazing long beaches.  This trip report/website/photo-sharing story I created is a little old, from 2004, but I still think its a great story, good trip report and interesting investigation into the failed Danish settlers.    I hope you enjoy it!

My Weekend with a Samsung ChromeBook (5 series)

Have you heard about the new Google ChromeBooks? chromebook They are new, affordable, lightweight, smaller laptops that are made by manufacturers like Samsung and Acer, and run a browser-based Operating system called “Chrome OS”.  They are super simple, and are a “network” based laptop, in that most of their functionality exists on the internet.  95% of what you would do with a ChromeBook is done in the Google Chrome web browser, using websites and browser based Chrome Apps to do things and complete tasks.

The laptops have a nice size, great screen, excellent keyboard, useful expansion slots (2 USB 2.0 Ports, a mini-VGA out (with dongle), a SIM card slot (for 3G internet), a card reader for SD-cards, and the usual microphone/headset port).  The laptops feel well made, offer good structural stability  and seem quite durable.  One of the best features of these laptops so far is their battery life. Google advertises about 8 hours on one charge, and I have been using this laptop all weekend without having to recharge.  It is put to sleep very easily, wakes up instantly, connects to the wifi instantly and is usable right out of the box.  Here are the key specs:

  • Processor: 1.66 GHz Intel Atom dual-core N570 processor
  • Storage: 16 GB solid-state drive (SSD)
  • System Memory: 2 GB
  • Communications: Wireless-N Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/n)
  • Ports: Two USB 2.0, 4-in-1 memory card reader (SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC)
  • Video out: VGA (via optional dongle)
  • Audio: Built-in stereo speakers, combo headphone/microphone jack
  • Battery: 6-cell battery for up to 8.5 hours of use
  • Webcam: 1-megapixel

What do you need to use a ChromeBook?  Nothing but a gmail account! Once you start up a ChromeBook, it asks you to to Login, either  by adding an account, or browsing as a “Guest”.  When logged in as a Guest, you are able to use the device in a private mode, no data is stored, but you also don’t have access to all your “stuff”.

IMG_20130210_063728
Also, before logging in, its best to connect your Chromebook to your local Wifi Access point, using the System Control Panel in the bottom right corner:

IMG_20130210_063802

 

When you “add a new account” it asks you for your Google account and password, and then you are able to “login” using your information, rather than as a guest.  When you login with your gmail account, you have instant access to all of your stuff!  Your google mail, your google chrome bookmarks, your google calendar, your chrome apps, your google photos, everything and anything that you have attached to your google account either downloads onto the laptop, or available with a single click.

When you are logged into the Laptop, you have a typical looking desktop, and a useful little menu bar along the bottom left with some key icons:

Screenshot 2013-02-10 at 06.57.34

 

Moving from left to right, you have your Chrome Browser, Gmail, Search, Youtube, an Open browser window, a File Manager, and your App Drawer (where all your installed Apps Live).  You can add many “Apps” from the Chrome Store, most of which are free, that add extra functionality, productivity and usefullness.  You can also add fun things like games, and entertainment options as well.

All of your “stuff’ is stored in the google “cloud”, so if anything goes wrong, or you lose your laptop, you loose nothing! As nothing is stored locally on the chromebooks.  You can work “Offline” on your chromebook however, if there is no internet available, and will be able to use your Gmail and Google Docs to read and respond to emails, or to create and edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations, which will be synced and put online as soon as you connect back to the internet.

There are a few built-in Apps that will be very useful, like the “File Manager” which lets you browse, copy, paste and view any files stored locally on your laptop, or any of the portable USB thumbdrives or hard drives you want to connect.  You can also use the built in Media Player to open and watch videos, listen to music, or browse photos on your devices.

Screenshot 2013-02-10 at 07.12.07

 

Another interesting built-in app, is the “Camera” app to use the laptop’s Webcam.  With the Google Chrome store, you can add thousands of Apps to your laptop, just like you would with an Ipad, or Android device, except with the Chrome store, you are adding the Apps to your Chrome Browser.  This means that your Apps are available to you on any device you have the Chrome browser installed, this could be your desktop, other laptop, tablet, or smartphone, allowing seamless integration, access to your data, stuff, and programs no matter what device you might be using at the time.

A quick selection of some very useful “Apps” I’ve installed and have been using are:

These are just a small selection of the thousands of Apps you can install into your Chrome Book, which would then be available to you, anywhere you are using your Chrome Browser.  Because these Apps are truly ‘cross-platform’, it does not matter if you are on a Mac, or a PC, as long as you are using your Google Chrome Browser, you have all your Apps available to you.  A huge benefit!

So, what are my overall thoughts?

The Good:

  • Super easy to use
  • Multi-user environment
  • Very Secure
  • Automatically updates itself,  no IT support necessary
  • cross-platform support
  • cloud based storage
  • responsive
  • excellent battery
  • works with many accessories (extra monitor, keyboard, mouse, harddrives, thumbdrives)
  • deep integration with your Google Account
  • Affordable!

The Not-So-Good:

  • really needs a internet account to be most useful
  • can’t quite buy them in Canada very easily
  • needs more Apps that support offline mode
  • does not have JAVA installed

Google Chromebooks could be an excellent option for you if you live in the cloud, and work most of the time in your Browser.  In our increasingly Web 2.0 connected world, this is more and more the case, at least for me.  I am able to use this chromebook for 90% of the tasks I need to do in any given day. I’ve had very little trouble finding apps that I need to accomplish certain tasks, such as drafting this blog post, using only the Chromebook.  At only $250ish, you can buy 10 of these chromebooks for the price of one Apple Macbook Pro.  Granted, they won’t compare in horsepower, but for functionality, there is a lot of overlap!  I think that chromebooks would be an excellent tool for a shared classroom device that will allow students easy access to their “Stuff” and also allow the laptop to be easily shared among many classes!

 

#etmooc – Twitter Chats and Lipdubs!

Hello ETMooc’ers!

So, in keeping with my resolution to participate more, and lurk less, I wanted to write an update to what I’ve been doing in the #etmooc over the last couple of weeks. I’ve been busy, trying some new types of participation and to try to give back to the larger communtity of #etmooc as someone who’s been around the block so to speak. So, here goes:

  • I’ve committed to regular blog posts about my experiences (this is one of them)
  • I’ve joined the #etmooc Google Plus Community (AND I LOVE IT!)
  • I’ve created two Google Plus Tutorial Videos (Part 1 and Part 2)
  • I’ve watched one of the Blackboard Collaborate sessions live (with Alec Couros) on the Introduction, and I’ve watched another after it was archived (With Dean Shareski) on Sharing as Accountability
  • I’ve participated in the first #etmooc online twitter chat!  It was fast and furious, but a great time and I was able to find a whole pile of people to network with, follow, and interact with.  There were some great questions about what it means “to be connected” and how do we actively share and contribute back to our networks.
  • I’ve responded to comments on my blog posts, but need to spend more time exploring the blog hub and finding etmooc’ers to subscribe to and comment on.  Thats my new goal for the next week.  I’ve already added the #etmooc blog hub to my Google Reader account, so that should make things a little easier!

Whats coming up next?  Well, I signed up to film myself in the #etmooc Lipdub!  This will be a ton of fun, and I really enjoyed watching the example, from Alex Couros, “Thank you for being my friend”  I think this is a fantastic, fun, community building event that will produce something really cool!  Constructivism at work!

I hope to see you all around the #etmooc hitching post!

Google Plus – Whats going on? (Video Demo) #etmooc

Hey #ETMOOC

I’ve noticed that a lot of activity for #etmooc has been happening inside Google Plus, in their fantastic new Community.  Its a wonderful space and tool and I am so happy to see more people jumping into G+ and giving it a whirl to see what its all about!

Google plus can definitely seem a little daunting at first!  Whats a “circle”?  Why do we need to “hangout”?  Basically, google plus is a social network with lots of built in ways to interact, share, discuss, communicate and collaborate.  All with great safety and privacy controls!  Win-Win-Win!

Just to give everyone a little help, I’ve created two basic, quick and easy, screencapture tutorials as a tour of some of the easy stuff.  Please, give them a watch and go start playing around.  Add people to circles, hangout with some friends, make new connections and add your thoughts to some discussions in the #etmooc community!