Finding resources

Another issue raised by a participant in the Authentic eDesign course was: searching the Internet to find quality resources for online teaching can be time consuming.  One way I address this issue is to subscribe to relevant blogs, or websites that post information about teaching resources and information in my teaching areas.  Each morning when I open my email, I review my daily digests from various sources. It usually takes me about 30 minutes a day to clear my email and review and bookmark relevant resources.

An example of how another educator connects, shares & curates information and resources on the web. Keith Lyons – Connecting, sharing and curating.

One of my favourite sources for information about education and educational resources is the OLDaily by Stephen Downes.  It is a daily digest about a diverse range of educational topics.  In yesterday’s digest there was a link to a news article on the JISC website about a new website, Locating London’s Past, developed to provide users with an interactive way to map information about the history of London.  I thought this might be a useful resource for pre-service teachers interested in creating a history lesson for their students so I added it to the “pre-service teachers” list on my Diigo bookmarks. I can then easily add it to a “group” at a later stage if I see anyone interested in teaching history.

Technology use image
Technology Use by mrsdkrebs (2011)

Talking about Diigo. I start Diigo groups for most of my face-to-face and online classes as I find it a good way to share resources with my students and for students to share resources with each other.  I start a new group for each iteration of a course and populate it with just a few relevant resources. Then as the course progresses and I find things (in my daily review) that are relevant to the course I add them. Students get an email advising when something new has been added (they can set their own email preferences) and through modelling I try to encourage them to add their own resources.   Yes, I could use the same group for every iteration of the course, but I want students to feel it is their space and not overwhelm them with hundreds of existing resources.

As I was writing this post I received my daily summary of bookmarks for the Diigo in Education group that I belong to. An article titled 5 Tips for creating Powerful slides that won’t bore your audience (by Bill Ferriter) caught my attention and led me to a group on flickr Great quotes about learning and change. I use these types of images on my websites so to find a site with over 1,400 creative commons licensed quotes & images was fabulous!

image - waiting to be taught
Waiting to be taught. Langwitches (2009)

There was also a link to an article discussing “Do teachers need to relearn how to learn” . Many of the points John raised in the article resonate with my own beliefs.  The main message that I connected with was, as teachers we need to be self-directed independent learners ourselves.  If we want to teach our students to be life-long independent learners shouldn’t we be  “actively seeking answers to questions on our own?” (para. 8)?

I’ve added this article to the Authentic eDesign Diigo group, however, as most participants have not joined this group yet, I am wondering if I should post it to the discussion forum to see what others think of the ideas John raises in his article?  Hum …I think I will.

Would you rather attend a professional development (PD) course that can assist you to become an independent learner and help you understand how to transfer your existing knowledge to new learn applications rather than attend courses that teach you how to use specific technologies?

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