30 Replies Latest reply on Apr 9, 2010 6:16 PM by mhtcjmgenter

    My first Engage group.

      Hi Everyone, tomorrow I am starting an Essentials f2f training in a small rural town. I'm not sure yet what level of skills my teachers are going to have and if any of them are web2.0 savvy. I think Engage is going to meet our needs for the group. I have set up my Group and I think it's going to be great for the teachers to have one log in for tools, blogs and discussions. Our bandwidth in South Africa is not great but I'm really hoping we're going to cope. I may be coming back to ask for help from the Engage community over the next two weeks so watch this space.

       

      I did try setting up an example blog post in my Group space and I inserted a photo but it hasn't showed up. I had this issue once before and I can't remember how I resolved it - actually I think Theresa and some tech people did it for me. Does anyone have a simple suggestion?

        • Re: My first Engage group.
          julesfischy

          Brenda - good luck with you and your first Engage group!  What type of file is your image?  And how large of a file is it? I have not yet had an issue with the group- image but I have had issues with images in other locations. A few times when I had an image it was because of the size of the file.

           

          As for seeing things in your group blog- make sure that you created that blog in that group and not in your personal space.  That has happened to me before - i think I have created a blog for all to see- and it doesn't appear in the location desired - and that is because I created it in my personal blog space.

           

          Good luck- I know there are a few experts that can share ideas that have used the group feature to support training.

          • Re: My first Engage group.

            Hi Brenda:

             

            Best of luck with the Essentials training! I teach TWT often and have always found that participant expertise levels are going to be mixed with the bulk not being very savvy but being anxious to learn. My advice is to (over?) prepare yourself in content, review the course interface in the lab where you will deliver, and check the machines thoroughly (I always run a couple of anti-spyware programs and an antivirus program if the machines have none already installed and in use), and have everything I need in hand. A back-up plan is great too, especially if the lab is already known to lose its Internet connection.

             

            Please let us know how the training goes even though I suspect it will go very well indeed for you!

             

            David

              • Re: My first Engage group.

                Hi David, Thanks for the response and advice. This is actually my fourth Essentials training. I have had some interesting experiences along the way. My second group met in a new lab that hadn't yet gone online - although we had been promised it would be ready. We managed somehow. My third group met in a lab that had no CD roms on the workstations and the usb ports had been disconnected! A challenge indeed.

                 

                This will be the first time I'll be using an Engage group with an Essentials course. I'm really looking forward to it. I haven't yet seen the lab because it's an hour and ten minute's drive from my home but I've asked lots of questions by email. They apparently have a reliable internet connection and all the necessary software installed. I also have the phone number of their local "tech" support guy - always useful. I'll certainly be updated the facilitator "family" in the coming days. Thanks for your support.

              • Re: My first Engage group.
                tlmaves

                I think you will find using the group feature very beneficial. Please do use this thread to ask questions or report how it is going (as well as suggestions).

                 

                Did you see the group highlight on the right sidebar of the Teachers Engage main page? We linked a few discussions and resources about using the group feature. Also, in the public group list is a mock training group that we set up to view.

                • Re: My first Engage group.

                  Hello to all who sent suggestions and encouragement for my group. We did start the Essentials course, the teachers worked hard and we laid some solid foundations for projects but sadly the connectivity failed us. We are all looking forward to the day when we get our fibre optic cable online and we in SA can also have fast, reliable broadband. In the mean time we do the best with what we have. We're hoping the district eLearning co-ordinator will have a more reliable venue for us next week and then perhaps we'll get our registrations in the Tools space done and sign into the Group here in Engage.

                   

                  I am often so encouraged by the dedication of the teachers who come on these courses over weekends and holidays. Saturday and yesterday were really hot days - over 30 C in the little town where the training was held. The lab didn't have airconditioning so by mid afternoon it was pretty uncomfortable. But guess what? The teachers returned for day 2 on Sunday - and they had to travel 90 km. I salute them! The very fact that they are prepared to upgrade their skills is such an encouragement to me.

                   

                  Now, I'm going to have a try at attaching a photo. Let's see if it works.....

                   

                  Right there they are. These guys were waiting patiently for the next session to begin after lunch yesterday. They made a bit of an ass of me. LOL

                  • Re: My first Engage group.

                    Hi Intel Community. I have a question. I have been assured that the connectivity problems at my venue have been overcome and this weekend we will have Day 3 and Day 4 of our Essentials training. The group of teachers I am working with are from rural schools. They have little experience of online stuff and most of them are only just registering for a gmail account this week. I will get them to register for Engage and introduce them to the group site.

                     

                    My question is this: One of the activites in the module "Getting Connected" it to use a wiki to answer questions about using assessment in projects. What tool would you use within an Intel Group to set up these group discussions? I really don't want to get them to register in Engage and then take them off to another site like Wikispaces. It's another whole learning curve. I'd rather we took one step at a time. Would you use a blog? A discussion? If you use a wiki in your training how do you usually go about it?

                     

                    This may sound elementary but this is "my first Engage group".

                     

                    Thanks

                    Brenda

                      • Re: My first Engage group.
                        tlmaves

                        This is an excellent question and addresses a sometimes overlooked feature in our community. You have the ability to do "wiki" like activities right here in Engage; wiki in terms of a collaborative, editable document. What our community doesn't give you is the Web page type wiki with navigation because that would be a bit redundant within our community navigation framework.

                         

                        So, go to "create a document" in your actions block. And then click "write a document". This is the wiki like document. Scroll down to the bottom and you will see collaboration options (you will need to expand this line to see all the option). You can invite certain people to edit the document or the whole community (if you are in a private group, it would only be open to those in the group).

                         

                        You can also manage versions and roll back to previous versions just like a regular wiki. So your participants will get the idea of what a wiki can do without having to sign up for another site. It is actually a simpler way to introduce wikis by showing them the essence of a wiki without confusing them with the full featured sites (but do show them a few public sites they can explore on their own).

                         

                        Just like with any wiki, only one person can edit at a time. And the edit and manage buttons are located in the "Action" block rather than a tab on the page. See image attached.

                         

                        Keep these great questions coming. The great thing is everyone else can read this and I only have to answer once! Maybe we will start a FAQ for using groups in trainings.

                          • Re: My first Engage group.

                            Thanks Theresa, Wow, Engage just gets better and better. It's great that we can login in to one site and have so many tools available. As the teenagers say, "Engage rocks!"

                              • Re: My first Engage group.
                                janet@schoolnet.org.za

                                Hi Brenda

                                Best of luck for tomorrow - it is great to see how Engage works - so much support for us and quick responses to your questions - and I am following avidly just so that I do not fall far far behind you!

                                 

                                I see the forecast for the weekend is still for sweltering weather up here in KZN - so let us pray you have some much needed good rains down there with some cooler weather for your non air-conditioned lab.

                                cheers for now

                                Janet

                                  • Re: My first Engage group.
                                    tlmaves

                                    Hi Janet! Glad to see you here.

                                     

                                    You need an avatar or a picture so your posts are not faceless.

                                     

                                    Check out the great discussion on avatars: Re: Avatar sites or you can just add a picture like I did. The profile pic is different than the avatar pic. One shows up in your profile but then you choose another one to show up with your posts.

                                     

                                    By the way Brenda, this is also a good link to add to your group to encourage your participants to upload an avatar and they also have fun creating one.

                                • Re: My first Engage group.

                                  Hi Theresa, one more question: I have created a document for each group question in Module 3. Is that the way to go? The three docs are visible as links in my Group so the educators will find their one easily. I have also created a real wiki in Wikispaces to show them what that looks like.

                                    • Re: My first Engage group.
                                      tlmaves

                                      Yes, that is the way I would do it. If you wanted to connect those module 3 docs together, just add a link to the other two from each doc. Like this (except they would be your titles of course):

                                       

                                      Using the Community Group Feature

                                      Using the Group Feature for Your Training

                                      Creating a Group to Support a Training

                                      Mock Training Group

                                       

                                      Then they can easily move from one group to the other to see what each group did.

                                       

                                      I used this opportunity to show others who might be reading this thread what other resources we have for using the group feature in a training (these are also highlighted on the main page).

                                       

                                      When inserting a link using the paperclip icon on the editor bar above, use the search content or browse history functions and then it will insert the nifty icon for you and the title automatically.

                                       

                                      One more plug for anyone conducting a group using our community, please add any comments or suggestions to the documents above as you think of them.

                                       

                                      Thanks!

                                        • Re: My first Engage group.

                                          Thanks Theresa, it's 6:15 am and I'm about to drive the 90km (beautiful scenary) to my Day 3 of the course. I'm praying the Internet will work, the promised data projector is there, the temperatures will be cooler than last week and the teachers have all signed up for Gmail. Tall orders? I'm excited and maybe a bit idealistic.... but let's see what the day brings. Thanks for all your support.

                                  • Re: My first Engage group.
                                    holmesg

                                    Hi Brenda,

                                    I have been using the group to do all of my trainings. I have found it to be useful in many ways.  First I used the announcements to share topics I wanted to bring to their attention.  I encourage them to use it as well as eventually it became a tool for sharing accomplishments.  Slowly everyone began  using the tool and a relaxed atmosphere began to develop.  I created a document with all of the links we would visit during a module so they could have one location for all sites.  I encoraged them to use the same username and pasword for all sites registered to; it made it easier for them to remember them. I recored all discussion topics on a word document and the day a topic was to be discussed, I copied and pasted it to the group discussion.  It made things work so much smoother.  In introduce each of the tools within the group during the workshop to build a comfort level and to get them to actively use the tools.  For example I would create a survey to vote for a favorite tool shared and then have them to create a survey on something that interested them.  The group gave me the opportunity to introduce tools prior to showing them that or similar tools found on the internet.

                                     

                                    I would be happy to join your group and share feed back or provide suggestions.  Let me know if I can help!

                                      • Re: My first Engage group.

                                        Gail thank you for your valuable suggestions and encouragement. I'd love to share the group with you once the educators have become a bit more comfortable with using the site. These are brand new internet users.  I have a document with useful links which I will continue to add to. I like your idea of creating the topics in a Word document prior to training and then copying to a document or discussion in the group. I'll use that one. It's so good to know that there are professionals within the Engage community who are so willing to share their expertise.

                                      • Re: My first Engage group.

                                        Well here we are on the evening of Day 3 and unfortunately we didn't get to registering in Engage today. When we arrived this morning the connectivity was not good. Every time the fourth person logged on the whole lot went down. Very frustrating so we went back to updating Project Plans. At about 11 am the teachers tried again and discovered that the connection was good. We helped those who didn't yet have email addresses get them and then we did the work on searching for resources on the Internet. Only one of the teachers had used the Internet before so I showed them how to use a search engine and keyword searches. The level of excitement and energy in the room increased and the teachers had great fun. When we broke for lunch we could talk about how much they enjoyed it and they no longer had to be convinced that technology as a tool is a great motivation for students. They were hooked. So, sadly we will probably not get into Engage before the end of this course unless we can set up an extra day for the training. However I have learnt so much and I now have the basis of a group for any Intel course in the future. We are going to be hard pressed to complete the last three modules tomorrow but I think this has been one of the most exciting groups I have facilitated so far.

                                         

                                        I think in our SA context it might be helpful to have a day/ morning prior to the start of the course to help teachers who have never used Internet or have email to get be "empowered" with skills before we start.

                                          • Re: My first Engage group.
                                            glen_w

                                            Brenda,

                                             

                                            What a story of challenges faced in an Intel Teach training. I well remember a similar experience. One of the adults did not know the difference between a left and right mouse click. I brought in students to help. Students were instructed to "sit next to the teacher and listen to my instructions" they then helped the teacher complete the assigned tasks. One VERY PATIENT young man sat next to this mouse challenged teacher. I would often hear the voice of a teenager saying "click on this side of your mouse to do that" - the adult was understanding of why the young man was helping him and gave this young man many positive comments. At the conclusion of the training, I thanked the young man for his help and then gave him a digital camera. It would have been easy to not allow the teacher who lacked skills to not complete the training. I think you, like me, realize the power of helping such teachers become enthusiastic about what they are doing and how it will benefit their students. In the long run, I think these teachers can become the best advocates for technology.

                                             

                                            If you are able to have a day's training before your Intel Teach course, you could help those who have not used the Internet or have minimal use of computers. I look forward to hearing how your training ended and how much these teachers enjoyed what they learned. I always remind myself these trainings are about the Pedagogy - not the Technology. (We use Technology to implement the Pedagogy.)

                                              • Re: My first Engage group.

                                                That's a great idea for helping a new user with mouse skills, Glen. Thanks for the tip.

                                                I teach Grades 1 to 3 in the computer lab in my "real" job. At Gr 1 level (very few have previous experience of computers) I use stickers on the mouse buttons to help them. I found some shiny stars and hearts. The stars are the left mouse click and the hearts are the right mouse button. I am then able to say "Right Click - the heart button.... " and they immediately get it. By the time the stickers have fallen off they usually know which side to click when I say right or left.

                                                Yes, I agree it is the pedagogy that is important. With all the connectivity problems we've had since this group started we haven't been too distracted by the technology. It has its blessings. One has to remember that in SA we have a history of poor education standards. We are all pulling together to get out of that pit and I'm so proud of my present group of teachers. We sometimes have one or two who drop out after day one but in this group they have all been faithful in coming to every session. They travel 90km to the venue from the west (some in public transport) and I travel 90km from the east and we meet up in a rural town where we are using a secondary school lab that is composed of refurbished computers. We are blessed to have opportunities to stretch and grow. Thank you Intel.

                                                  • Re: My first Engage group.
                                                    janet@schoolnet.org.za

                                                    Hi Brenda

                                                    Your dedication and patience during this course has been admirable.  I am sure that you can go ahead and arrange a follow up day just for Engage and other super resources you had prepared that you were not able to use.  However I realise that you would only be able to do that once you have stable connectivity  - would it be viable to possibly set up this extra day at a venue that does have good access or do you think without the possiblity of continued access it would just be a tantalising taste?

                                                    We will be waiting for the next installment - all the best for today!

                                                    cheers

                                                    Janet

                                              • Re: My first Engage group.
                                                Saul.Pila

                                                Hi Brenda

                                                 

                                                You are a gogetter you know. I have not managed to visit you wiki. What is the address. I hope you are coping just fine with your small group. We will be helping you all the way. Let me know how the training is going on.

                                                 

                                                I have just started with Peer Coaching on Saturday ( 13/03/10) in Gauteng. It is amazing at how some teachers are "hungry" for knowledge of ICTs though they have scarce resources at schools.

                                                 

                                                Saul

                                                  • Re: My first Engage group.

                                                    Hi Saul, my group finished Day 4 yesterday. There's a saying that sticks in my mind and I fail to remember who said it - one of the Rooseveldt's I think: "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." I think you'll agree that's a great motto for South African Intel facilitators. I'll send you an invitation to the Group. I didn't get to use it during the training because of connectivity problems but I now have a model to build on. Thanks for the affirmation - go getter? LOL.

                                                  • Re: My first Engage group.
                                                    holmesg

                                                    Thank you for inviting me into the group.  You did a good job setting up resources for participants to use.  Consider adding a document where the participants can add favorite sites as well.  This will give them a reason to be more involved with the group.  This will also set the stage for them to return to the community to share and look for resources after the course has been completed.