Tools Reflection

We have been using many tools throughout this course, some I already knew from before like Google forms and slides, others were new to me like Slack, Zoom, Soliya and last but certainly not least WordPress.

1- Zoom

Thursday 12th of March, that was the first time I have ever used Zoom. It was still pre-quarantine world, the university hadn’t even thought of telling us to use Zoom or anything, it was just closed for the day due to bad weather, so in order not to miss our class, Dr.Maha suggested that we’d use Zoom instead.

It was still new to me, I’ve used other video conference apps like FaceTime, Houseparty, or even the facebook messenger video call, but never something like Zoom that can be used for educational purposes I guess. I didn’t even know that we’d ever use it again, just thought it would be a one time thing and that’s it but as we all know now, it was only the beginning..

Still, Zoom for me was a very useful application, it almost felt like we were in class again. Seeing Dr.Maha every class made it feel like we were still somehow all in touch, not just talking to a computer. Other professors didn’t even open the camera, which is okay still because I understand that not everyone would be comfortable to do so, but still it made it better for me somehow when I would see her. The application itself was really easy to navigate and understand, it also had a chat bar which made it easier to send links right away during class, and the idea of screen-sharing was mind-blowing for me. I never heard of it before but I loved it, it’s a very smart idea.

Actually, I didn’t use Zoom just for the university classes. I used it with some of my friends, we had Zoom outings, if you wanna call it that. So, yeah, Zoom definitely helped during this crisis and I would have to say that it was my favorite tool this semester. For future students, if you’re reading this, I hope you learn about it but don’t necessarily have to use it as your only form of communication with your class. God knows if I’ll graduate next year on a Zoom meeting or in real life, we’ll have to wait and see..

2- Slack

I have never heard of Slack before taking this course. We started using it since the beginning of the semester, this wasn’t a surprise “corona tool” like Zoom was. At first, I didn’t get the point of it, I just thought maybe the doctor didn’t want to share her number with us so we could do a normal WhatsApp group like most other courses. It’s just like any chatting application, but honestly for this type of course I realized that it was way more useful than having a WhatsApp group. I’ll tell you, the thing is with this application is that you can have a group of people and then you create like mini chat rooms, which you can name anything you want. So for example, our class had different mini chat rooms, one for assignments, one general, one for Soliya, one that’s random, one that was created specifically for our first Zoom class, and one called digital-literacies. Oh, we also had another mini chat room called class but this one was private, just for us, without the doctor, so now you know doc. This option for me made Slack way more interesting, because if we only had a WhatsApp group, sometimes you get lost and don’t find what you were looking for and everything is just in one place not in order. I would definitely recommend other professors to start using Slack with their students if the course itself has like a variety of subjects or different things. I wouldn’t use it with my friends but I would see the point of using it academically. I forgot to mention that you also have private chats with any one of your contacts of the group, so you can send the professor private messages instead of having to send an email and all of that.

3- Soliya

You can find here my full experience with Soliya but for now let’s just talk about the Portal itself. Soliya is supposed to be like an online exchange portal where you get put in a group with strangers from around the world and talk for 2 hours a week for 4 weeks (I guess the time period depends on the program, I’m not sure). Anyways, it was a website and not an application, I dont think they have an application, which is not very smart of them, because it’s 2020 already, I wanna be able to open it from my phone. The website itself was not that easy to understand at first, it’s not even modern looking. When you enter the room itself, it doesn’t look appealing also. Like for instance, Zoom was also a video conference application, but the video bubbles and the overall appearance was way better. As for the technological aspect, I always had difficulties with the portal, I dont know why. It logged me out several times during the session, and it would stop my camera out of nowhere sometimes. It also made my computer SUPER hot, like BURNING, and that wasn’t only me, I even asked Sara and she said that her laptop would get heated every time we were on it. They need to update their portal or find a new way to connect. Something else that I didn’t understand was the fact that you couldn’t control your camera. It had to be open all the time, no option of turning it off anytime you wanted like Zoom or any other video application. Overall, I wasn’t impressed.

4- Google Forms/Slides

Google is amazing, we all know that. I’ve used both Google Forms and Slides a million times before this course and I’ll keep using them. However, I learned something super fun about them. You can actually make a game on them. It was my first time hearing about that, it’s the way you can link your slides to each other so that when you press on a certain word it would take you where you should be. It was really easy to learn but it took a lot of time tho to link each slide and so on. If you haven’t checked our game yet, you really should!

5- WordPress

I have heard of it before but never really knew what it was about. I knew the concept of blogging, but I thought it was “démodé” I guess. I know that it was used a lot during the 2011 revolution. When we first started the semester and learned that we would be using this website for our assignments, I didn’t think I would love it this much. I won’t lie though, at first, it wasn’t so easy to figure out, like it was still new to me, but after a couple of times you get the gist of it. I’m even thinking of having my own blog after this course. I just hope more people would use it and the blogging-era would come back. So can I put in my insta bio “blogger” now?

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