One of the cool things about #DigPINS is that we do not use any one digital technology but rather explore a whole host of different environments. Our “platform” is the internet itself! There are several benefits to this including building digital fluency and resilience but also getting an opportunity to explore the affordances and limitations of a variety of tools. On this page we outline some of the tools that we are planning to use though it is not uncommon for a new tool to be included as the #DigPINS experience emerges.
Yes, this very site is part of our digital tools! New information will be posted here weekly as each of our major topics are explored including readings, activities, videos, and even interactive games/content. When new info gets posted I will also make an announcement on Slack that something new is available.
We will also use this site as our blogging environment so those in the UMD cohort will log-in to this site to post their blog posts. See more on this below under the “Blogs” heading.
One note – that umd.digpins.org is our “UMD #DigPINS hub” but our partner schools also have their own hub sites and while we are all generally following the same curriculum you may notice some small differences between the content on each hub site. Some of the hub sites look very similar so be sure you are at umd.digpins.org (Look for the Block M in the upper left) to get the info for the UMD group (though you can feel free to explore the others too).
Slack will be our main communication tool and backchannel for the UMD cohort – meaning that we are only giving access to those who are participating in #DigPINS Summer 2019 UM-D cohort. You will need an account which will be invited to via an email invite from me – Autumm – during Week 0.
Slack is a text based chat program that is a little more fun than similar technologies. Conversations are broken up by “channels” to keep things tidy but you can also private message individuals and create private groups. It has fun features like emoji reactions and gif responses. As a messaging app you are encouraged to drop in questions and comments about our shared experiences (readings, activities, videos, etc) as they come to you. You should not expect immediate responses but the chance of immediate responses does exist and in this way adds a bit of spontaneity to the group. You can respond to others in text, gif, emoji reaction and more.
You will stay most connected if you download the app for desktop and mobile device and turn on notifications or at the very least login once a day to read what is going on and contribute at minimum once or twice a week. You should establish access to Slack by the beginning of week 1.
To help those who are new to slack Taylor Jadin (facilitator at St. Norbert College) created a quick video to overview some basics. I couldn’t fit everything into this video as Slack has a lot of features but I think it is mostly easy stuff that we can learn as we go.
In the beginning of #DigPINS you may receive a few emails to get things started but we will move away from email and to Slack for communications as we progress. Still, I am planning to send calendar invites for synchronous events and those will generate an email and if I’m having trouble reaching out to someone I may email to check-in. Finally, things do happen and no technology is foolproof so in case of Slack or any of our other systems failing I will use email as a fall back.
As part of developing a digital identity participants are asked to write public blog posts on a weekly basis as well as reflect on others who are blogging about #DigPINS. Our UMD cohort will be blogging on this very site – umd.digpins.org. During Week 0 you will receive an email invite to claim an author account on this site. You should claim your account and access the blog prior to week 1.
Blogging is about more than just writing posts; it is also about connecting with others who are posting about similar experiences. Our partner schools will be blogging on their own hub sites but we have set up a “discussion hub” that actually pulls all of the posts from all four partner schools into one place! We call it discuss.digpins.org and it also has links to each of the other schools’ hub sites. You can use discuss.digpins.org as a way to explore what those at other institutions are thinking of the readings, activities, and other parts of #DigPINS and when you post at umd.digpins.org it also automatically gets posted to discuss.digpins.org. *Note* that St. Norbert College and Kenyon College have run #DigPINS several times in the past so there are currently quite a few postings from those past cohorts – feel free to check them out.
Throughout the course participants are encouraged to join in on live Twitter chats with some established online communities, as well as the ongoing asynchronous conversation using the hashtag #DigPINS. You may want to wait to establish your twitter account till after week 1 if you are still considering aspects of “digital identity”.
Hypothesis is a social annotation tool for the web and digital documents. You will need an account which you can sign up for on the Hypothesis website and a browser plugin is optional. This tool allows us to collectively mark up a text that we are all reading in-line with comments, questions, and even video and images. You will be prompted to create your account during the week that we will actually use Hypothes.is
Sync Video Calls
Typically facilitators organize a synchronous video calls a few times throughout #DigPINS and often invite special guests. You will need a camera and microphone to be able to participate; this could be a webcam on your computer or a smartphone/tablet. You will also need a strong internet signal to connect though many of the providers also allow for a phone call to connect – though this only allows for voice communication. Some sync video platforms are Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, and others. The platform will be announced when the call is announced.
We will participate in a few synchronous events in #DigPINS – meaning that several events will happen at a specific time. Examples of these are video calls and twitter chats though there may be others as well. To help us stay connected about synchronous events I will send a calendar invite to the UM-D cohort participants. Synchronous events are not required and you are encouraged to be creative about how you might be able to connect with synchronous events before or after the event.
Week 0 focus areas
Week 0 is broken up into four pages –
The Overview Page – What is this all about?
Participation – What does it mean to participate in a connected learning experience?
Structure – What is a connected learning experience?
Digital Tools – (Psst… you are on the Digital Tools Page)