My Dystopian and Utopian views

utopia

The Mooc has finally started!

Adrenalin has somehow diminished as we have been sharing our fears and anxieties with the whole group. People have really been very supportive and we have exchanged a lot of interesting ideas and experience.

Time to dedicate to the course, blog,  prepare this week’s chat and work full time. Not much. Even so, I managed to watch the four movies and have  a quick look at the first reading.  As I come to think more about these issues and despite not being pessimistic I have the feeling that the view conveyed in most of them is really dystopic. Society depicted in Terminator, Blade Runner,I, Robot, A.I. and others is Technology dependant and controlled. There’s always an aura of chaos, negativity and somehow unhappy endings. Bendito Machine is such an example. Technology addiction and dependance with a sort of chaotic ending. Thursday draws the picture of a tech obssessed society as opposed to nature surviving in between. I found New Media quite a disturbing scenario of what future life may/ could be. Again disturbing.
Finally, I really enjoyed Inbox. It is real, tender and even romantic! It also shows our dependance on machines but on the other hand it offers a quite utopian view on what ‘they’ can do for us.

I have just been showing the students a film that could easily be included in this list. A.I. by Steven Spielberg. It elicits moral and ethical issues other than just providing us with a dystopian or utopian perspective.

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How to organize your digital stuff

pearltrees

We are loaded with new articles, links, videos, pictures, interesting things everyday.
Then we lose all. We can not stick a post it on them or keep the information locked in a drawer. Favourites in our computer can’t do with the number of items we try to include there. So what can we do? We have to choose a curation tool to help us.
What is to curate?To curate is, in brief, to keep track of all the websites you find important and provide access to them whenever you need. In other words, it is a sort of online digital library you visit when you need.There are a lot of curation tools: Reddit, Del.icious, Diigo, Scoop.it, etc.Personally I go for Pearltrees. I can’t really tell why I chose this one specifically but I guess that the idea of having a tree growing is visually appealing. Plus, you can add a picture to each pearl that grows in your tree which is also eye-catching. This ‘library’ stays online and other people can pick your pearls which can cause a bit of disconfort for some but the good news is: you can also pick pearls from others enrichening your selection on a certain subject.
Good news: it is already Android compatible.
Anyway no matter what you choose it is time to start organizing your stuff as the course will sart in… 20hours, my calendar says.
http://www.pearltrees.com

Why are pupils distracted?

Why are puplis unmotivated at school? What distracts them? Why are they being  diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder)? Are we, educators, leading them to it? Is it a social problem? Do they have excess of stimuli? Is routinely anaesthetising them with Ritalin the solution?
I am sure we all share the same concerns.
I have watched this video from Sir Ken Robinson which ilustrates these concerns quite well. Have a look.

Edmodo: exchange and learn

http://www.edmodo.com

Image

This is a platform I started using last year. It is a kind of socialnetwork but for teachers and students. The communities within are vast: you can find Language and Arts, Maths, Science and so on. You join one of those communities and start interacting with teachers all around the world. Believe me, it is worth. Despite learning a lot you get free access to all kind of resources; you ask others for advice and suggestions; you get ideas for projects, lesson plans and webinars. Along with this, you can also interact with students: you just have to create a group, provide the students with the password, which is then created, and have them sign up in that group. After this you can do a lot of things: assign tasks, send messages to the whole group or private, post pictures, videos, audio,  text, make quizzes and even tests. Those who register get the chance to customize their profile by inserting a picture, info and favourite quotes. Every time you get an assignment back from the students you are notified- as in Facebook, even the layout is similar – you also get notifications for messages and posts. You can have your own ‘library’ where you store all the resources borrowed from members and you can also keep a record of the students’ progress. It is also possible to send them feedback and if you click  ‘insight’ you get funny icons that show how you feel about what they’ve done. As additional features, recently updated, you can monitor activity and view who has been viewing your posts, when and how many times.

Really worth trying

Be creative using Voki

Voki is a nice tool that can  be used with students, in an informal presentation or just for fun (I usually make Vokis for people’s birthdays and send them by email). All  you have to do is access the site http://www.voki.com and create! I have registered so as to keep track of all my vokis.

1st step is to choose a character – they have several although some are destined for voki classroom which means they’re not free.

2nd step – choose a voice – you can record your own or simply write the text and choose a voice from their selection (they actually have different accents of English and different languages too!). You can listen to it and edit, if it’s not right.

3rd step- get a background scenario

4th step – you can opt to include props, bling etc.

5th step – save it, email it or publish it in your website

Enjoy!

Creating with Imagechef

Yesterday I found out that someone else had a blog with the same name as mine so I decided to change it. I wanted to make use of the energy of the sound MoooooC and so I kept it as a verb. I’m not MOOCING AROUND anymore, I’m urging you to MOOC!

To ilustrate this, I leave you a picture I’ve used a tool called IMAGECHEF. It’s free and very simple to use, you just have to register and create. There is a wide variety of possibilities as the templates are quite vast: You can add photos and text. When ready you can embed your pictures to a blog, social network, etc. It can be done directly, using the pic’s URL, Candies or directly to your blog using its URL or even by “saving image as” in your computer, which is precisely what I did.

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