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Tag Archives: Life Long Learner

The last post of the year

It has been a wonderful year.  I enjoyed being with my family and friends and have had some great opportunities to learn and share this year. My PLN of friends has grown with people from around the world and I have learned a great deal.  Thanks for everyone that has stopped by for a visit to my humble little piece of the internet.

I hope you have a very Happy New Year, and always remember to keep on learning.

Danny Silva

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Posted by on December 31, 2010 in About Me

 

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Camtasia, Jing & Snagit – Great tools for educators from TechSmith

In my last post “How to become a Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer” I mentioned using Camtasia, a TechSmith product. It made me reflect on their outstanding products and how I use them in my different roles in Education.

As an Educator, I find myself consistently using software from TechSmith. I have used Camtasia for the last two years at school and Jing for at least that long. In my experience, their software is simple to use with outstanding results.

As a teacher and Technology Coordinator for the Le Grand High School District, I use Jing to quickly take screen-shots and screen-captures to help my students and staff. If I need to easily show someone where the submit button is on the screen or how to reserve a room using Google Calendar, Jing is the software I open. With a few clicks I can quickly take a screen-shot or a screen-capture, save and upload it, and have a URL to email or post for students or teachers to view. I find myself also using Jing more and more for twitter to help answer questions or to ask my own questions.

As a Google Certified Teacher and a Google Certified Trainer I have had the opportunity to be a Lead Learner (presenter) for professional development sessions for educators from around the world.  I have found Snagit to have that professional polish for taking screen-shots to add to my presentations. Snagit is as simple to use as Jing but with some great added features, like drop shadows and transparency to name a couple.

As a blogger and an online teacher, I find Camtasia Studio to be a wonderful tool. Camtasia allows me to make great how-to videos and simply save them locally or send them to Youtube to be published to the world or my class. For on-line courses it’s a must have. I can show and explain the process the students need to perform simply, with no confusion. As a blogger some of my most viewed posts are ones with screen-captures demonstrating cool applications or software. Again, TechSmith makes things easy in Camtasia just like in Jing and Snagit, but still gives you the added features to take your screen-capture productions to the next level.

TechSmith has an Education Community and an Education Blog for more information on using their products in Education.  I would love to hear how others are using these products or similar ones in their classrooms.  Please use the comments below and be sure to leave a link to your How-to’s.

(Full discloser, I have been using Jing and Camtasia for two plus years and was recently given a copy of Jing Pro, Snagit, and Camtasia Studio for free from TechSmith through the Google Certified Teachers group.)

Update: Here are some tweets with links to great examples of TechSmith Products in Education;

DeputyMitchell David Mitchell – @iteachag I don’t have ‘How to’ but my 10 year olds do!http://bit.ly/cUfm4z and this is Thomas: A must watch http://bit.ly/fkoe1O

ianaddison Ian Addison  – @iteachag http://www.stjohnthebaptistprimary.co.uk under staff. @baggiepr‘s are on www.ictvideohelp.co.uk

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Teaching, Tech Tid Bit

 

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How to become a Google Apps EDU Certified Trainer

I have noticed a pattern over the last few weeks of people asking, how do you become a Google Trainer and what does that mean.

The process to become a Google Apps EDU Trainer is fairly straight forward.  I think of there being three stages to this process: Using the Training Center, becoming a Qualified Individual, and finally becoming aCertified Trainer.  The Training Center is always available and it’s your choice if you want to go through all the stages.

The Training Center

The Training Center is available to “teach yourself to become an Apps expert in the classroom.” The great part about the Training Center is that it is broken up into six training modules: Google Apps Education Edition, Apps Mail, Calendar, Docs, Sites, and Other Tools.  What does this mean for you?  It means that if you are in the Training Center to find out more about Calendar, my favorite, you can.  Just go straight to the Calendar Module and become a Calendar expert or look for that one piece of information that you needed.  Don’t forget to use the “Search this site” button in the top right hand corner if you are looking for something specific.  As a teacher you could use the the training center to become more proficient in the use of Google Apps for your classroom.  So if you just want the information, it’s all there waiting for you in the Training Center.

Individual Qualification

If you are interested in testing your new knowledge acquired in the Training Center you can take all six exams.  Passing all six exams will give you the honor of being “Google Apps Education Qualified” and earn you a certificate. Google Apps Certificate The exams are $15 dollars each and you will need to pass each exam with a score of 80% or higher.  You could give your students the chance to become qualified.  I know there are Computer Application courses in high schools that allow students at the end of the course to take tests for certifications for various manufactures of software.  Why not let the student take the tests and at $15 dollars per test, it is very reasonable compared to other exams.

Certified Trainer

You’ve passed all six exams and have decided to go for the gusto and become a Certified Trainer.  Now what?  According to Google, Certified Trainers have extensive experience in teacher training and Apps deployment.  So, if this fits who you are and what you do, go for it.  Here are the requirements from Google’s Program Details web page.

“Certified Trainer” individual applicants must:

  • Have previously achieved ‘Qualified Individual’ status.
  • Demonstrate work history and experience in technology instruction and/or professional development. Strong references from school or business clients are required.
  • Create sample learning materials and provide a short video which demonstrates your ability to create and present instructional material.
  • View the complete application here.

The application is not too difficult, but where most people get hung up is the short video.  If you have given tutorials before in person then you are not that far away from creating a video.  One of the video hang ups is what do I put in the video?  My advice: pick a topic from the training center that you like, something you know how to do, that was new to you, or something that you know colleagues have had problems or questions about in the past.  This will make the video have a personal connection.  Use the Training Center to help you with your script.  The other hang up on the video is how do I create it?  There are numerous versions of screen recording software out there on the web for sale.  There are also a few websites that will let you do the same thing.  I would recommend  Camtasia. It has lots of great tools to cleanup and put the professional touches on your video. Best part is that TechSmith gives you a 30 day trial with no limits.  Here is the video from my application:

And what will you get out of this Certification:

What’s in it for you? As a Google Apps Certified Trainer, you will receive:

  • Early access to technical training and support materials.
  • A Google ‘badge’ for your online marketing, and other marketing collateral.
  • Additional visibility in the Apps Marketplace as a Solutions Provider.
  • Shared training resources from the community of fellow Certified Trainers.

I hope this helps to answer the question.  How do you become a Google Trainer?  Please feel free to ask more questions in the comments.  Now get out there and do some training.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2010 in How To, Teaching

 

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How will the new Digg v4 change how we share information?

If you have never heard of Digg.com than you might not find this interesting, but if you are into sharing and finding new information then please, read on.  Digg.com is a place where the public decides what “news” ends up on the front page. I used to head to this website on a daily bases, sometimes multiple times per day to see what everyone was sharing.  That is, until Twitter came along.  Twitter allowed me to only follow the people that I wanted to follow and this allowed me to “filter” the information that was being provided.  Digg had all the content posted from anyone that wanted to share and of course, some of that was information that I was not interested in.  Now comes along the newest version of Digg.  Digg4 allows an individual to follow the people you want and you then have the choice to view just information shared and “Digged” by the people you follow or you can see Diggs from everyone.  This now brings what I loved about Digg and Twitter together.  The new version will also allow you to auto-submit content from a Blog or website that you own to Digg through an RSS feed.  Digg4 is in private beta at this time but you can sign up to get in early at http://digg.com/new.  If you get an invite and need someone to follow, I am iteachag on Digg and on Twitter.

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Posted by on July 13, 2010 in Tech Tid Bit

 

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Use the Power of Twitter to Build Your Personal Learning Network

Last week during our school’s bi-monthly collaboration day, I introduced the teachers to the idea of PLN’s or Personal Learning Networks.  To most of the staff a PLN was not something they had heard about before.  The last year and a half we have been talking about building a school wide Professional Learning Community (PLC), the idea of the PLC is the entire staff would have the same goals and expectations for the school, students and learning on campus.  For myself, the idea of a PLN is the building block to a better PLC.  Everyone is their own individual with their own ideas and backgrounds, meaning everyone will have their own PLN (that’s why it’s a “personal” learning network).  If every teacher can bring their own PLN, we make a larger, more experienced PLC.

This is were the power of Twitter comes to play.  In my last post,  Learning to Twitter, Tweeting to Learn I discussed how I thought Twitter could help us build a great PLN and help us to stay life-long learners.  Let’s just say I did not do the power of Twitter justice.  Yesterday I was part of my first educhat on Twitter.  I am not sure if any one individual was the person who came up with the idea; I do know that two people from my PLN played a very big  part, Rodd Lucier and Bud Talbot. What is educhat? It is a way that anyone interested in educational technology can come together and talk through Twitter.  Everyone involved in the discussion uses the hash tag #educhat.  A hash tag allows you to follow the discussion of all the individuals, whether or not you are officially “following” them (please see my last post if you are unsure about what it means to follow someone).

The true power of Twitter unfolded before my eyes.  During educhat, there were a large number of people that all came together for a specific purpose, to talk about educational technology.  The best part is everyone brought their PLN’s with them.

In a way our students are ahead of us in building PLNs.  They do it all the time on social media websites like Facebook and Myspace.  Now if we can leverage this power for education,  just think of the learning opportunities for our students.

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2009 in Teaching

 

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Learning to Twitter, Tweeting to Learn

Twitter was a little like a new toy at first, I used it a few days and then stopped. I don’t know if I got tired of it or maybe I was just frustrated with the lack of interaction. I started by following all my tech favorites: Leo Leporte, Kevin Rose, Sarah Lane, John C. Dvorak, Patrick Norton, Amber MaCarthur and Cali Lewis.  Then I also followed a couple of teachers that had a podcast or Blog on the internet like Rodd Lucier and Mr.Teacher.  Most of these people have so many followers that they can’t possibly follow everyone in return and so no interaction.

Lets take a step back and help some people out.  First off, Twitter is a service that lets you tell people what you are doing, feeling, ask a question, or simply interact with others all in 140 characters or less.  You can follow people and you will see what they “Tweet” (what you call a post on Twitter). People can follow you, and they are not necessarily the same people that you have followed.   Are we thoroughly confused now?  The best way to start is to follow people you think would have the same interests as you and hopefully the same type of people will follow you.  Now this is the best part of Twitter in my opinion.  This is where new networks and communities are formed.

So I stopped using Twitter until I found out I should search for people that would have the same interests as me.  I looked for more people involved in agriculture, teaching, teachers using technology in classrooms and people involved with the FFA.  I did not just search out internet superstars.  You see that was my problem at first.  I was following people that had great information that I could gather, but I had no interaction with.  I went from about 15 people I was following to about 50.  Within two days I was overwhelmed with people who started following me.

This is when Twitter came alive for me.  I first started by repeating information others had Tweeted, a Retweet.  It is kind of like a bibliography and a nice tweet all at the same time (The proper way to retweet – “RT @username tweet from person”) This will put you on someone’s radar that you like what they are talking about plus it helps promote the other person by allowing people following you to see someone else’s tweet.  The next step was to start “replying” to people (@username – tweet).  This will allow the person to see that you are saying something to them.  This is a bit like instant messaging except everyone can see what you have written.  The last thing you can do is Direct Message someone or DM.  A DM will get a message to a person without anyone else  reading it (if you do it correctly – D @username – tweet). You can only DM someone when you are both following each other.  Of course you can just tweet something of your own.

OK, enough about how to use Twitter.  What can it do for you?  You see, when I said earlier that Twitter came alive for me, what I meant was the interaction with others had started.  As I “met” new people by following them I was learning new things that people had tweeted and I was able to ask questions and find answers from several sources.  I am always after new ways to bring technology into the classroom and the education process either for students, teacher, or the entire school.  Twitter helped me to build a network of people that were Tweeting their ideas, Retweeting the ideas of others, or putting up links to websites that people had found useful.  I consider myself a life long learner, that is I am always looking for ways to increase my abilities and Twitter has helped me to stay on top of the cutting edge of Educational Technology or Education 2.0 as some people call it.

Twitter is used by many different people in many different ways.  I found out for me that as I was learning to Twitter, I was also Tweeting to Learn.  Twitter has allowed me to broaden my own PLN or Personal Learning Community.  I hope educators can see the power of Twitter for themselves as well as their students.  They need to see that it is not just another social media site that students “waste time on.”  What a great way to have students, teachers, and parents interact and share information and learning with each other.

For more information on Twitter check out these websites: mashable.com, Twitterforteachers, Once a Teacher… or search for Twitter on Google.

Here is a great presentation by Evan Williams: How Twitter’s spectacular growth is being driven by unexpected uses.

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2009 in Teaching

 

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