Monday, 25 January 2010

Images4Education and Moodle for Gardening and Cooking: Course Update

My EVO Images4Education course is going very well and I am enjoying exploring all the new features and connecting with other participants. I now have a Flickr account and I have been learning a lot. I have also found out about all sorts of lovely sites to use to edit photos in a fun way. Big Huge Labs is an amazing tool just waiting to be played with and well, dear reader, I certainly have played to my heart's content! The following photos have been simply re-edited with different effects such as create a stamp, a magazine cover, a postcard, a film poster and so on.

How can this tool be used in class? Well, the students can create projects, promotional posters, visual prompts for poems, they can use their imagination (like I have!).

The following pictures show you some of the special effects you can create on Big Huge Labs.

The first picture below was taken yesterday by K. It shows me with one of the 5 new olive trees I bought with some birthday money from my family. It made me reflect. I don't have any children, but these 3-year-old olive trees should last for many centuries, so for me, they represent a very powerful symbol of what I will leave behind for future posterity and that is something which makes me happy. I just hope this young olive tree below will last the course! I will be writing up a blog post soon on the topic of "Olive Tree Cultivation."

I love the film poster effect and this is one I have created, starring the elusive and very mysterious film star Arabella Cascarino and her Creator. Rather cheekily, I have taken the liberty of nominating the film for 5 special and imaginary Bit's'n'Bobs, Show'n'Tell Oscar awards.
Oops! The film star is Isabella Cascarino (the sister).

Abruzzo poem

Part of week 2's imaginative and challenging tasks was to write a poem based on a photo depicting your origins. The photo of the mountains is one of my favourite and I have referred to it many times in my blog, for example here. I really enjoyed this activity and I let my imagination run freely and the poem came straight from the heart.

I am now from the wilds of Abruzzo
from central Italy
I was from the cosmopolitan hub
of a medieval university city
The two forever linked
by nonna Natalina's move
from rural village
to sophisticated Oxford
The mountain of adventure beckons
enticingly amidst the cool backdrop
of ancient olive groves, centuries old
learned trees, the fruits waiting
to be picked by my fair hand
Ice-capped peaks denoting a
majestic grandeur
The valley of adventure waiting
to be explored
Virgin territory as yet untrampled by
swarms of tourists
I am off the beaten track
No postman dares venture beyond
the old ruined farmhouse
perched precariously on the hilltop
Isabella and Sofia rule the roost
Nikita and Chikita as yet unborn
Soon to be united in a glorious
mingling of all creatures great and small
This is my destiny
This is my future
This is where I am now

Interesting Links to Explore
Natasa is also taking the Images4Education course and her writing and feedback is inspiring. The poem she has written is amazing.

Carla Arena is one of my brilliant facilitators on the course and her blog is very inspiring. Her knowledge and fantastic use of Flickr is incredible and her enthusiasm is infectious.

Ana Maria from Life Feast blog is also one of the excellent co-moderatators on my course and I am learning a lot about how to exploit images from her.

Here is an interesting blog post I found on the resource-packed Box of Tricks which focuses on Using Images in the MFL (Modern Foreign Languages) Classroom.

Larry Ferlazzo has a very interesting post on "How do you use Photos in the ELL Classroom".

Just seen and will add "10 Sites for Playing with Images of Students" from Graham Stanley's excellent Digital Play blog.

Moodle for Teachers-3 Gardening and Cooking Course

I am also busy on my Moodle course. There was a weekly live Wiziq session on Saturday and I presented a Power Point presentation on behalf of my team mates on the Gardening and Cooking Moodle course. It was the first time I had done such a thing "live" and I actually enjoyed myself. The slides were a collaborative project via Google Docs and we have been organising ourselves with daily emails and weekly meetings on Skype and Google-Wave. My Team members come from Canada, USA, Canary Islands and Japan. We also use Diigo to bookmark useful links for the course that we are developing. We are now busily working and collaborating to present and showcase our future course next weekend. No rest for the wicked!

As you can see, I have been able to combine some of the new things I am learning from my Images4Education course. I am delighted to share them with you here.

I hope writing this post will inspire you to experiment with a few new tools. Are there any other Web 2.0 tools for using images that you like and that you would like to share here? I'd love to hear about them!


Carla Arena said...

Dear Janet,

Your post is what makes all this collective experience so rewarding. It is just wonderful to see how participants can spice up their teaching and personal lives just by experimenting with what the Web has to offer. Thanks for taking the challenge and so thoroughly described your experience with our Images4Education group.

You know you can count on everybody there to keep pursuing your own learning goals.

I'm sure you'll find very special resources in our Diigo Group. There are tons of interesting places being shared there.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Carla

Thank you so much for all your amazing support. I am having a great time as a student on your course!!

I look forward to learning much more as the weeks go by.

Alex said...

Hi Janet,
As usual you have written a very compelling post. You always allow your readers to feel your excitement and you always make me smile. Thank you for that.
I'm taking the 2 courses you are, plus other 3. I really have to learn from you. I didn't want to pass out on such great opportunities, but know I realise that trying to do so much at the same time is preventing me from enjoying it. Silly me! Lesson learnt though! ;)
Congratulations on your presentation on saturday. It was great to finally hear the voice that goes with the face and the writing.
Here's something I found on LiveBinders - it's about great gardening sites -
Hope it's useful.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Alex

Thanks for your very kind comments! I enjoyed your team presentation very much and it's already on YouTube!! I'm very impressed by what your team has achieved. Well done!!

Doing 5 courses sounds like incredibly hard work!!! How are you managing to keep up? It's difficult with "only" 2! I am sure you will find a way. Best of luck!

Thank you so much for the LiveBinders link. It looks fantastic and I have already added it to my diigo gardening bookmarks and I'll add it to the Team-H course as fab reference material.

Look forward to connecting and sharing more fun activities with you via the Moodle or on the Ning.

Make sure you have a break from all the studying :)

Natasa said...

I just love your pictures and your poem and your trees. Your optimism and creativity is an inspiration.
I am going to take the Moodle course next time they offer it (I think it is in March).
Thank you for your kind words and for all the support you have given me.

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Natasa

It is lovely to see you here and great to share so much with you.

You will enjoy the Moodle course very much I am sure, because it is full of exciting new learning experiences with wonderful facilitators!

Mary Willis said...

This is absolutely amazing! I am really enjoying the images4education. I seem to be learning, expanding my horizons every day! I hope to eventually be able to put something like this together but to be perfectly honest, I wouldn't know where to start! Thanks for sharing this with the group! (I don't know how the others were able to include their photo!)

Janet Bianchini said...

HI Mary

It's lovely to see you here. I agree with you, we are learning so much on our Images4Education course and it's great fun!

I need to get my head around Slideshare and Big Huge Labs slides- can't work them out yet!!

It's a great learning experience. I'd be happy to share my knowledge with you whenever you need help. Please don't hesitate to ask and I'll do my best!

See you on the Ning!

The Book Chook said...

Janet, I enjoyed seeing the results you got from the Big Huge Lab tools. Sometimes these simple images are just enough to give a student a fresh perspective or allow them to re-focus.

I also very much enjoyed reading your poem (Somehow i got lost and couldn't find them on Flickr!)

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi "Book Chook"

It's lovely to see you here. Thanks for popping by.

I look forward to seeing you on the Images Ning soon. I've been a bit busy this week with the 4 new "chooks". They've kept me pretty busy, but they're great fun.