Shelley’s Sandbox Series

This past summer I asked that the college pay for an institutional access to an online workshop. Since it was the end of the fiscal year, an administrator scraped up the money and just asked that I make sure to invite others to the event. I worked with our CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning) and got about eight people (including some adjuncts) to attend. While we watched/listened to the presentation we had a few side conversations. But afterwards, we chatted for about thirty minutes with me sharing ideas of some wacky stuff I’ve already done. And then after everyone else left, I chatted with my CTL contact/friend about how I could have easily done the workshop myself. That’s when we came up with the idea of Shelley’s Sandbox Series (officially called the Technology Sandbox).

The theory behind the sandbox series is that folks need a venue to learn about technologies as well as some time and resources to try out the technologies…in other words, to play. Therefore we designed this series of “workshops” that only have the facilitator (me at this point, but we can easily incorporate others) introduce the technology for 20-30 minutes, pass out some quick “getting started” instructions, as well as a few idea of how to play. Then, give the workshop participants an hour or so just to play.

We had our first workshop yesterday and I think it was a success. Many participants mentioned that they needed the time to play with new technologies (or processes, ideas, etc.). And by slotting it as a workshop, they built the time into their day. I’m very excited that our CTL allowed the series to count as Café credit for the adjunct instructors. By participating in the Café program, adjuncts can get paid for attending professional development workshops.

We have eight workshops scheduled throughout the year. We’ll be covering:

· Thursday, 8/31: Bookmarking & Blogs, Come out and play with cool tools like: Furl, Del.icio.us, Blogger, Uniblogs, & Live Journal

· Friday, 9/29: Blogs & RSS, Come out and play with cool tools like: Uniblogs, Bloglines, Sharpreader, Newsgator, Sage, & Gritwire

· Thursday, 10/26: Wikis, Come out and play with cool tools like: Wikispaces, PBwiki, Writely, & Zoho Writer

· Thursday, 11/30: Social Networking & Instant Messaging, Come out and play with cool tools like: MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, AIM, & Trillian

· Friday, 1/26: iPods & Podcasting, Come out and play with cool tools like: iPods, Audacity, AudioBlogger

· Thursday, 2/22: Idea/Image Networks, Come out and play with cool tools like: 43 Things/Places/People, Flickr, Photobucket, & LibraryThing

· Friday, 3/30: Tagging & Gluing it all Together, Come out and play with cool tools like: Technorati, SuprGlu, PageFlakes

· Thursday, 4/26: Virtual Reality, Come out and play in the virtual world of Second Life. You will be responsible for opening your account prior to attending the session. The sandbox facilitator will send you information about getting an account in Second Life.

And to top it all, the CTL has come up with the coolest logo to brand the series.

Play On!

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