March 15, 2010

Surviving the Tsunami of ICT Information

This text was initially published by Profweb under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 International licence, before Eductive was launched.

As a Pedagogical Counsellor (Conseillère Pédagogique), specializing in Information and Communication Technology (ICT), one of the biggest challenges we face is how to provide faculty and staff with relevant and up to date information that they can access at a time convenient for them. Everyone today knows the feeling of information overload and the struggle to sort out the relevant from the irrelevant.

After using various approaches to address this challenge I realized that I was re-inventing the wheel and part of the solution had already been provided to me by the Profweb organization. Profweb is the portal to many ICT services available to teachers free of charge and funded by MELS to help them in their efforts to integrate technology into their classroom. (Link here for a guide to these services.) Norman Spatz, the Anglophone rep working for Profweb is at our service!

After using various approaches to address this challenge I realized that I was re-inventing the wheel and part of the solution had already been provided to me by the Profweb organization.

Now, when I come across an event that may be of interest to teachers, I simply email the information to Norman, and he edits and posts the information under Events. This information is now available for all teachers in the CEGEP network, not just those at John Abbott College (JAC). Upcoming Montreal events that I have sent in which are now listed in the Events Section of Profweb include the Crystal Ball Conference (CRIM) discussing social networks and the impact that mobile devices are having on our lives as well as the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences taking place in Montreal and discussing such pertinent issues as Technology and the BookExploring Canada’s Digital Future and The Shape and Scope of Canadian Writing Instruction.

Several stories about John Abbott College teachers’ use of ICT in their classrooms, including collaborative projects with other Cegeps, have been recently published in Profweb with more to come. Search features are readily available to help faculty/staff find what they are looking for either specifically at JAC or in the College network. Any teacher can send event and story information to Profweb. Suggestion forms are on many of their pages.

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the volume of emails we receive. For those who would like to keep their Inbox mail to a minimum, yet not miss out on important ICT information involving the CEGEP network, I suggest that they subscribe to the Profweb Expresso newsletter and receive an email only once a week (every Monday A.M.) with highlights of the updates on the website. Biweekly contributions are made by La Vitrine, and APOP Net Talk events are also advertised in the Profweb Expresso newsletter and website. A quick scan of ProfwebExpresso’s email message will let you know if there is something that interests you, and then simply follow the links to access the complete information.

Certainly there are ICT topics that relate solely to the John Abbott Community and these will continue to be posted internally on our My JAC Portal intranet. If there are internal topics, however, that are best suited by using a blog, a wiki or a threaded discussion forum, I will be using the Personal Space available to me on the Profweb site.

All teachers have access to web space hosted and maintained by Profweb (MELS), and free technical support from the Profweb technician Jonathan-Marc Lapointe. He is also available to provide assistance with some software that teachers may wish to install. The teacher’s website can be open world wide or it may be set it up to be restricted to a specific group of their choice. Step by step instructions are available to help teachers set up a wiki (Wikimedia), a blog (WordPress) or a threaded discussion forum (PHB BB), and Jonathan-Marc is available to assist you should you encounter difficulties. JAC teachers – stay tuned for an announcement on the date and time of a hands-on workshop about your Personal Space on Profweb!

Recently, at our technology committee meeting (Pedagogical Use of New Technology) the Profweb services were presented by Norman Spatz, and committee members were encouraged to use services of interest as well as to spread the word to their colleagues on what was available to them through MELS. As JAC teachers become more familiar with the site and begin using these services, I will continue to work closely with Profweb, to ensure that any concerns are addressed.

Realizing that we as individuals cannot do everything alone is a key to surviving the tsunami of information we are all faced with. I encourage teachers to check out the services available to them through Profweb, sign up to receive the Profweb Expresso newsletter and contribute to our College ICT Community of Practice as we move forward together, building the 21st Century classroom.

Please use the Comments space below to share your opinions about making Profweb a more meaningful part of the ICT Integration strategy of your college.

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