Who are you, and what do you like to learn about? (academically, professionally, and/or personally)
Academically, I’m a graduate student working on a Learning Technology Design Research (LTDR) degree at George Mason University. My main area of interest is game-based learning. I like to learn about cognitive and design theory as I am working towards creating my own serious game company.
Professionally, I am a School-Based Technology Specialist at Westbriar Elementary School in Fairfax County. My main job is to help teachers use technology with their students, but I also directly teach teachers, students, and handle general technology issues. In this degree I love to learn about cutting edge technology, educational theory, and motivation.
Personally, I’m a father of two young boys and my main hobbies are Japanese manga(comics) and video games. I enjoy spending time with family and watching my sons grow and learn more everyday. Lately I have very little personal time so I spend much of my gaming time with my children playing appropriate titles. I enjoy learning about new video game technology, game development and reception, child theory, and current events in the anime world.
What hardware do you use to learn? (Eg. smart phone, tablet, laptop, desktop)
The main device I use for learning would be my iPhone. I always have it with me and I am very skilled with it. I can check the news, read articles, check facts, research questions, and watch training videos. It has gotten to the point where I don’t feel complete without it, and find myself experiencing phantom-phone syndrome when it is not in my pocket.
At work and GMU I use my Windows Laptop. When the technology matches the local standard it is much easier to interact with different systems.
When I am at home, I like to use my iPad and iMac. The portability of the iPad and the convenience of my iMac make learning fun and stress-free.
In addition, since I am studying games, I will also include my portable 3DS and multiple video game units at home. Any experience I have on these devices is helping me gain experience in game design.
What software do you use to learn? (Eg. search engines, mobile apps, social networks, eBooks, digital libraries, wikis, blogs, videos, podcasts)
I am a huge fan of cloud computing. I keep everything online that I can. My favorite tool of the trade is Google Apps. I store my files in Google Drive, I make my documents in Google Docs and presentations in Google Slides. I gather information with Google Forms and have group meetings in Google Hangouts. Everything I create is available for me anywhere on any platform. I love the convenience. I also do all of my searching through Google.
Most of the other software I use is on my iPhone. I use my iPhone to access my social networks, eBooks, digital libraries, blogs, and videos. I can also use the Google Chrome browser on any of my computers, but I prefer the convenience of my smartphone.
What digital tools do you wish you had access to for learning? (Eg. any graphic organizers, mind-mapping tools, resource management tools, progress tracking tools, design tools, etc.) Why?
As a technology specialist, I have access to almost any software I could want. In a large school district like FCPS it’s very easy to acquire digital tools. The fewer which our county does not already have, I can request with a purchase order, but this rarely happens.
However, being in an elementary, money is also a large problem. Therefore there is a lot of hardware I would like that we cannot afford. I would love to have programmable robots like Dash and Dot to inspire students. I would love to have a 3D printer to teach design and engineering. And if I could just get anything I wanted, I would want to have a whole learning lab full of technology the students could explore and work on solving problems with.
What might your ideal Personal Learning Environment (PLE) look like?
My PLE would be have to be connected. I cannot imagine learning without the world wide web anymore. I also need multiple devices and displays I can use at the same time. My mind is never just thinking about one thing and I need a workstation that can keep up with me. I want to be able to check multiple sites at once, prepare a document and design visuals simultaneously, and still be able to check facts quickly on my handheld devices. If my PLE can keep with with both my mind and the changing world, I’ll be golden.