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January 1, 2013

Technology I Loved in 2012 – #30in30


Photo by me using my Nexus 7 tablet

2012 was not a very big technology year for me, at least not for new technology. This is probably good since a really good year would certainly mean I spent way too much money. I’ll share what little I did use in this post and then follow up later with more substantive posts on each technology then. Look in the Tech I Love category for these new posts. I’ve broken technology into two categories: web tools/software and hardware. Let’s start with the web tools/software. This list could be longer, but I only want to focus on the tools I actually used in my classes with students.

The most significant tool I used, and one that everyone in Maricopa will be using next fall is our new LMS – Canvas. I’m an early adopter, so I started teaching in the free version of Canvas last spring (2012). And this fall I taught in the official Maricopa version. I’m really surprised I haven’t blogged more about it, but I really like this LMS, and Instructure sure knows how to throw a party; I mean conference. Next up is Google+. We don’t have G+ turned on for our students yet in MCCCD, but a few faculty have been using it with students via personal Gmail accounts. We had our learning community students use it for blogging and sharing content for the past two semesters, and it’s worked really well. We created a circle for the class and had students posting twice weekly. Students on their own turned it into a way to communicate with each other as well.

The next two are web based tools that I thought I’d give a try this semester, Piazza and GoSoapBox. I’ve already posted a little about both herePiazza is a Q&A system that integrates nicely with Canvas. If you teach a class that could benefit from a place for students to hangout and ask questions and work together, Piazza is your application. GoSoapBox allows teachers to gauge student understanding or confusion levels throughout a lesson, poll students and track the data for future reference. I used GoSoapBox with my hybrid class as a quick way to hold them accountable for their online responsibilities. It works well and is easy to use.

Now for the hardware. Who doesn’t love hardware? You know I do. My most anticipated piece of hardware I used in 2012 I never actually got to use. I just drooled dreamed about using it. Early in the year a found and backed a Kickstarter project Pebble: E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android. As soon as I saw this watch, I knew I had to have one.  I paid my money and patiently waited for production to start. Unfortunately, it’s still in production and none of the 68,929 backers saw watches in 2012. I’m still anxiously waiting though, as they have to be close now.

2012 did bring me two new Android devices, a Nexus 7 tablet and a Samsung Galaxy S3. All I have to say about both is love, love, love. Both replaced older modeled android devices, a Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and a HTC Thunderbolt. Both made me forget I even had a camera, a Kindle, and an iPod.  I’ve pretty much given all of those items away to others, except the iPod. It’s my only connection to iOS, so I’ll keep that around.

So there you have it. Check back soon to read more posts about how I used all this new technology last year with my students. Look in the Tech I Love category.

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