Getting Up and Running
This course is divided into 16 units, each a stand alone unit meant to bring you up to speed in using that particular type of tool.
Start each section by viewing the presentation - a brief overview - with and/or without audio, and then read "What's this all about?" This part includes explanations of why and how, with links to the tools and other explanatory materials. The more of these various links and readings you look at, the better prepared you will be. Note that there is a discussion forum at the end of each of these sections. Feel free to post questions and comments there. For other questions, there is an "Ask Us Anything" section at the end of the course. Post any miscellaneous questions/comments there.
Next, read about how this material differs from the teacher's and student's points of view.
Once you feel that you have a grasp on the material, go to the Practical Application. This part is where you will actually get your hands dirty. It is important to actually use the tools, to follow along with the tutorial - either the ones in this course or the ones linked to. After using the tool, show what you have done to someone - a friend, a colleague, or an instructor if you are taking the course with one. Feedback is invaluable.
In many units, we talk about the pedagogy - using the lens of the RAT technology integration model discussed earlier. This is a good place to think hard about how technology will impact your teaching and the students' learning.
Be sure to end each unit with the Self Assessment. This is a time to reflect a bit on the tool and assess your level of comfort with it. It is also an opportunity to think about how you might use this tool in your teaching.
The Links & Resources section is a recall of the various links and resources found within the unit for your reference and further investigation.
The last section, More to Explore, has additional links to websites and articles. These are not referenced in the course, but are nonetheless valuable resources as well. We split them out so that, when you come back looking for even more content, you can easily find good quality materials that you have not yet seen.
We suggest you create a Google account. We will discuss many tools that are part of the Google Apps suite. Google accounts are free and include Gmail, Google Drive, etc. If your school is already using Google Apps for Education (GAFE), then you are all set.
We strongly suggest you keep a Developer's Notebook - an electronic one - as you work through the course so that you can organize the information in your own way. Use it to take notes, jot down thoughts about how you might use something, etc. You should also do your reflecting about each unit in this document. You will find this to be a valuable resource when you have finished the course.
Here is a link to a sample Developer's Notebook template. (NOTE: You will need to already have a Google account to make a copy of this document. If you click on it without having or being logged into your Google account, it will not work.) You will be prompted to make a copy, so do so. If you like it, you can use it to take notes during this course (and also think about whether such a vehicle would make sense for your students to use).
Another suggestion is to create a wiki to store materials - your own and those you happen upon during the course. This is a place to start to get organized online. Create a new one by going to https://www.wikispaces.com/ and click on I'm a Teacher.
K12 Wikispace wikis are free, so just give your wiki a name and get started. Use it throughout the course to park materials and links, and generally start to think about how your online content will look and be organized. For more detailed instructions on using Wikispaces, see the next section on CMS, Content Management Systems.
We will assume that once you have started on the course content, you have a wiki, a Google account, and a developer's notebook all set up and ready to go.
Note that questions, concerns, problems, etc. can all be emailed to us at [email protected]. Emails will be responded to promptly, certainly within 24 hours but often more quickly than that.
Questions can also be posted in the various discussion forums that are associated with certain units. It is our hope that the forums will lead to discussions, as well as providing a place to get questions answered, whether by us or other students.