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My Technological Universe: A Review of 2011

February 1, 2012

The first day of the second month of 2012 seems like a good day to take a look back at the previous year, and what it brought for me in terms of technology, the universe, and everything. Well, everything vaguely technological, that is. I’m writing this in the hope that others might see parallels, or differences, to their own tech life, and that I am in this small way contributing to the overall discourse on technology and its uses in life in general, and in education in particular.

So – for me, 2011 was the year that I made my first decisive steps into the world of online PLNs (Personal Learning Networks).

I became finally active on Twitter, @sabinemckenna is me, and have been attending quite a few online education chats for and with Irish educators (hashtag: #edchatie). That’s taken care of my Monday evenings…. you can read the transcripts after, but it’s most fun if you’re watching the discussion unfold in real time (your broadband connection allowing), and if you’re joining in yourself.

I started a blog with WordPress (this blog).

I tried out online questionnaires with (see my blog on teachers’ willingness to share resources online).

I finally got a Kindle and blogged about that, too. Yeah! I’m still loving it, especially the fact I can send internet articles directly to it, using the Readability Add-On. Great for longer texts!

My Kindle in its purple cover.

Hoping to combine my two passions, teaching and ICT, I started an online Graduate Diploma in Digital Media Development in Education with the University of Limerick, through which I became familiar with Flash, Photoshop, the fantastic Captivate (which allows you to write your own e-learning software) and the even more fantastic (a site where you can get short and to-the-point video tutorials [some free, some not] on most major software packages, which came in particularly handy for my Captivate and Flash assignments).

I got a Smartphone, after having suffered from phone envy for such a long time  – and since got to know Angry Birds intimately, and can now use my beloved  Maps on the go! (wow) (Maps even tells me how long it’ll take me to walk from, say, the Alliance Française to Pearse Station!). It’s a little weird to see that it can pinpoint where I am to a few metres (it seems to think I’m in my neighbour’s kitchen a lot, which I actually am not), but extremely useful.

I heard about, and immediately got, Dropbox, so I can now access my files easily from different computers, or from my phone. Great for students too, for saving their work online!

I learned about MangaHigh, a free maths website which allows teachers to set their classes specific challenges (great fun, do try it!) and WikiSpaces, a brilliant way to co-create web pages.

And in real life, I attended my first CESI meet (CESI being the Computers in Education Society Ireland) and ICT in Education conference in Tipperary in May 2011. It was brilliant, I can only recommend attending the CESI meet and conference later this month, or the Tipp Inst conference later this year, for a truly enlightening and energising experience.

This is also where I learned about Minecraft, a multi-player online sandcastle game which is hugely popular among certain kids from 4th class on (including my very own son, who became one of the craftiest crafters of them all, it seems). And through CESI-list (well worth joining!) and blogs from other Irish educators, especially  Pam O’Brien, I heard about CoderDojo– free programming clubs run by developers etc. for kids who want to code… our Saturdays have not been the same since.

I’ve started reading great blogs, am now following some truly fascinating tweeters, and have subscribed to some useful YouTube channels. And and and and….. and I wish there were more hours in the day!
Out of all the things I did in the technology universe in 2011, if I had to choose one or two that had most impact on me, it would not, however, be a piece of software, or a website, or a gadget. Not even my new phone, or my Kindle. No, it’d be the Tipperary CESI meet and conference, closely followed by #edchatie. It seems that, after all, in my technological universe, meeting people (in real and in virtual life) is what proves most important. Who would’ve thought…!

  1. Fintan permalink

    Fascinating, Sabine. I’m determined to learn more myself, but my starting point is so so so far back!

  2. Brilliant stuff Sabine, I must admit a trip to Tipp is usually the highlight of my year also. Who would have guessed that!! : )
    On a serious note I have really enjoyed reading your blog, congrats. You have truely immersed yourself in technology during 2011 and you have motivated me to delve deeper in 2012.
    take care


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