The benefits of utilizing wikis in the classroom

September 24th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

wiki imageA wiki is an online tool for sharing and managing information in one centralized location. It eliminates the need to resend documents/files from one person to another and allows multiple users to curate the content.

Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites, to build file-storing websites and to record personal notes or share ideas. You may also see wikis used by organizations to manage and share content. If you or students in your program have ever used Wikipedia to look for information, you have successfully accessed a wiki where various users can contribute to the content.

Google Calendar – organize your life

July 30th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

google calendarGoogle Calendar lets you organize your schedule online. One of many applications available through a Gmai account – such as Documents, Sites, Maps, Images, and many more – it lets you keep track of your own events and share your calendars with others. 

With its simple-to-use interface, it is also a great tool to help literacy students manage their time, plan meetings and get organized.

Voki – create speaking avatars to communicate and interact with your students

April 30th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

Voki is a quick and fun way to create a talking digital representation of a person, often referred to as a speaking avatar, to enhance online content.

Combined with audio or even video, these speaking characters can add a more ’human’ or interactive element to the online classroom, website or blog. For example, practitioners can use a voki avatar to introduce a course or a topic or to read out specific instructions, and students can use voki to enhance their assignments and activities.

Street Haven Learning Centre is using Pinterest in their classroom

March 19th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

Pinterest has been the new buzzword in the community and at large as the newest star of social media.  The more familiar forms of social media, e.g Facebook and Twitter have had limited potential for application as an educational tool. We have watched discussions about Pinterest shift from its use as a way to collect images and manifest creative brainstorms to its potential use in the educational field. We have seen a similar evolution of its use within our organization.

A staff member was using Pinterest socially for herself, after a friend had turned her on to it. When we began discussing how to get our clients talking about their goals and dreams for the future, the conversation naturally turned to using visuals to help identify their aspirations. Alongside this, we’ve been having an ongoing dialogue about how to integrate the new OALCF curriculum into the classroom. Pinterest seemed to be a perfect opportunity to meld several competencies into a single activity that would be fun and engaging.

Pinterest – a tool to bookmark or “'pin”' your favourite images and videos on virtual boards

February 28th, 2012 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

pinterestPinterest is the latest social media hype. Described as an online pinboard to organize and share the things you love, Pinterest had almost 12 million unique visitors in January, even with its beta stage and invitation-only registration.

The premise is simple. You sign up for an account using your Facebook or Twitter account, set up various categories to organize the images or videos onto virtual boards, browse through other people’s pinnned content and when you like something you find, you can “repin” it to your board, “like” it or “comment” on it.

Creating fun and dynamic presentations – it isn't as difficult as you might think

December 30th, 2011 by Monika Jankowska-Pacyna

When I was asked to talk about AlphaPlus at one of the literacy conferences, I was worried…

Not only I am a big chicken when it comes to speaking in front of a big audience, but I am also not a big fan of PowerPoint. We have all been to sessions where there is too much text on the slides and the presenter, overwhelmed with all of the content, simply reads from the screen.

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