Glogster in Practice

The following post written by  Dr. Claudia Mausner details her  experience using the Glogster application in the classroom:

An Example of a Student Created Glog: Full PDF of the Glog (pictured below)

Glogster

My friend calls me the technology wiz who really dislikes technology.  I accepted the iPad loaner challenge, recognizing that it behooves me to join the 21st century and explore the world of tablets.  I attended the monthly user group meetings and learned about the Glogster app from Education department professor Peter McDermott.  My understanding was that students could use this website to create multimedia posters online.  Little did I know introduction to this app would mushroom into a major class assignment!

Each semester for the last few years I have arranged a Sustainability Tour on both NYC and Pleasantville campuses for my videoconference course ENV 235, Sustainable Living in Our World.  This year I would be unable to attend, as I was organizing an environmental conference in Washington, DC.  I wanted to be certain that students participated in the tours despite my absence and I also wanted students to share experiences with their classmates on the “other” campus.  My “aha” moment came when I realized students could create posters with Glogster and, to increase the excitement level, I could turn the assignment into a contest.  One of the students needed extra credit and thus volunteered to create a Survey Monkey questionnaire allowing her classmates to rank the posters and provide evaluative comments anonymously.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about technology, it is to expect the unexpected.  The complexity of this assignment grew at every step.  I hadn’t realized that Glogster required the professor to open an account, but when students couldn’t access the software I went ahead and purchased a relatively inexpensive 1-year account that provided space for 30 student posters.  Only to learn after-the-fact that a more limited free version was also available.  In order to post the completed glogs on Survey Monkey they would have to be in PDF format, but Glogster is designed for online use only.  With guidance from the company helpline, I downloaded freeware from Bullzip to convert the glogsters into PDFs.  Since the Sustainability Tour posters were beautiful and students spent far more time on the assignment than I had anticipated, I decided to have them printed.  The posters were hung and admired at the new Environmental Center in Pleasantville during a recent party introducing the new Environmental Studies and Sciences Department.

All of my original goals were met, and then some.  Students loved using Glogster.  The full version has many exciting tools, including built-in survey software.  Students did not include videos in their multimedia posters because this was not compatible with Survey Monkey, but in the future that would certainly be an option.  There was 100% attendance for the tours despite my absence, and I could determine by reviewing the posters that they listened and learned.  And students had an opportunity to share their experiences with classmates on the “other” campus.  New technology has many challenges and can often be time-consuming . . . . but it offers incredibly rich surprises to strengthen the learning experience in wonderful ways!

November 6th, 2014 Meeting Recap

Today we had our second user group of the semester.  Our presenters were Devin McLaughlin from Apple and Amanda Villavicencio from ITS.  Both presented on some very interesting topics.

Devin has been with us before and always gives a nice presentation.  One of the very cool things that he introduced to us was the Apple iBeacon.  iBeaconIt’s a Bluetooth enabled device that essentially provides location based information that you can access through your other iDevices.  Devin gave the example of recently leaving his iBeacon in a checked bag on a flight and being able to track its exact location once he (and it) was on the plane in ‘proximity.’  Quite a cool feature and something he thinks many will start using in all sorts of different ways as far as location based offerings are concerned.

Here is some more information about the iBeacon.

 

Devin went on to discuss iOS 8 and the new features that it comes with.  Some of the highlights include:

NewiOS8

  • Screen capture between an iOS 8 device (with a lightning connection) and your Mac (running Yosemite).  Essentially you are able to perform an audio/video recording using QuickTime.
  • The introduction of new 3rd party keyboards.  The most popular is Swype (currently free, normally $0.99) and another is Swift Key.  These are what many Android users are already used to and a welcomed addition to the standard Apple keyboard.
  • Having the Continuity feature which allows you to start a task on one device, and continue/complete it on another.
  • The ability to make and receive calls on your other devices (as long as your iPhone is within Bluetooth range) as well as pickup an iMessage or even SMS text message conversation on another device that you started on lets say your iPhone.
  • Specific to EDU, the introduction of extensions which allows iOS 8 users to reach into another app and access documents.  Also a direct connection with DropBox via iCloud drive which is very useful for lots of users of these two services.
  • For managing apps, e.g. with volume licensing, there is now the option of assigning and revoking access.  So this is something that may work well in the EDU field (and other fields of course) where shared iPads and apps had become quite costly.
  • The Apple TV now has the ability to talk to your devices via Bluetooth instead of the complications of having to be on the same network.  This could be a game changer for using this tool in higher ed spaces.  The Apple TV was designed to be an at home product, but as Devin mentioned there are so many uses for it, especially in the EDU environment.  With this new option it may open the door for increased usage.

iOS8

There is so much more out there now with iOS 8 and the new Yosemite OSX.  Please let us know if you know any other tips and tricks below.

ePortAmanda, one of the ITS eTerns, discussed the many changes that ePortfolio just had over the past few months.  There is a new option for changing your layouts and making your ePortfolio more appealing.  More on the new layouts can be found by clicking here.  Amanda referred to it as a “pyramid” when showing us her showcase page which started with her most current accomplishments as a Graduate student and went back through Undergraduate and High School as well which was very cool.

Some other additional features include:

  • The ability to embed PDF files, not just upload them.
  • A new editing menu which stays with you as you scroll down your pages for easier accessibility.
  • A more responsive design for mobile editing.  You no longer need to be on a computer for the this, you can now edit with your smart phone, tablet, etc.
  • Badging has been introduced and is a way to show off accomplishments in a digital fashion.
  • You now get a warning when you are about to delete a journal, so there won’t be anymore accidental deletions!
  • There are now quick links on the dashboard page which allow you to quickly create something or share something in a simpler fashion.Green_ePort

Please follow the ePortfolio blog here: http://eportfolio.blogs.pace.edu/

Please contact the ITS Academic Technology Dept for any questions regarding ePortfolio: acadtech@pace.edu

Thanks to both Devin & Amanda for their informative presentations.

We look forward to seeing you at our last meeting of the semester on Tuesday December 9th, 2014 at 12:10pm in Miller 16 (PLV) and E319 (NYC).  As always please feel free to leave comments below and if you have any ideas or would like to present at an upcoming or future meeting please email me at rmiller@pace.edu