Thursday, December 20, 2007

eLearning Tools

As part of my work with biblical studies and technological tools, I am always keeping an ways I can use and apply the technology in my courses. I've listed some resources previously, but here is a sampling of some of the stuff I check out:

I've also been working on incorporating blogs as one of my course components. I had mixed but mainly disappointing results using them this past semester in a couple courses (on Experiencing the Gospel of Mark and Opening the Scriptures: The OT in the NT), and part of it was simply that the students had no experience in blogging. I spent way too much time on the technology than I wanted to do, but this report on Teens and Social Media from the Pew Internet and American Life Project confirms how young people are indeed using multiple forms of technologies for conversation and sharing content. Course blogging will become not just helpful but essential as a conversation tool. I am also considering how I might incorporate wikis as well, and here are some of the places I'm checking:
Some other things I'm considering:
  • Second Life: There are a lot of educators and institutions committing a lot of time and money into this virtual world. I've been playing around in it a bit, and I can see where this might be going, but I don't know that I want to invest my time into it. (BTW, if you want some experience of SL without actually downloading the software and creating your avatar, etc, HERE is a 44 minute video by ABC of Australia that is quite a good intro to Second Life. A bit heavy on the business and sex stuff and a bit short on the educational resources, but it will give you a good idea of the pros/cons of a virtual world.) There are some interesting installations of universities and libraries and online courses, and churches are getting into the act as well.
  • circaVie: A site that allows users to create their own free timelines where comments, pics, and video can be arranged.
  • Voicethread - Start with an image, doc, or video. Users then respond to that material by leaving voice (using mic or telephone), text, audio, or video comments. It is free, and the idea is that it becomes a collaborative learning space.
Other ideas? I'd be glad to hear what you are doing!

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