Final Reflection Guidelines Part 2: Tools for Learning:


In this class, I was introduced to several platforms that I had not used before in my life. I got introduced to Canavs, Slack, lots of generative AI tools, and WordPress which were not used in any of my previous courses. These tools taught me a lot and will definitely use them in the future. 

1- Canvas:

Canvas and Blackboard nearly do the same functions. The difference is just in the user inference and user experience. I think Canvas is very well organized in terms of dates and material uploading. It’s easier to navigate and check the dates of everything, and easier to access Zoom. It’s linked with other platforms such as Zoom and Panapto, which makes it easier than Blackboard. In my opinion, Canvas is better at navigating material and keeping track of grades. However, I think Blackboard is better than it in user experience as Blackboard has several colors so it is more eye-appealing. Overall, they both may offer the same functions but Canvas is better at navigating and organizing while Blackboard is better with the user experience. Using Canvas as a new platform was beneficial as I managed my time and schedule on it better. Also, I discovered that no matter my level of experience with technology I will still get confused using a new platform but it was a really good experience that taught me to adapt to new things. Canvas was used in the class as the operating heart. All the materials and instructions for the course were there, and with the high organization interface, it was better to keep up following the class progress. 

2- Slack:  

Using Slack was really fun and confusing a little at the beginning but I can say it’s far more advantageous than Whatsapp for class communication. Slack was so well organized. We can add channels and name them, particularly for a certain topic, and we can message each other privately. I like Slack more than Whatsapp cause I think it is more private and professional. Slack is great for keeping things organized and clear without the hustle of Whatsapp of searching for older messages. WhatsApp is more of general usage day to day so sometimes I might not notice some messages sent to me. However, Slack is just dedicated to certain things which keeps me more focused. Just the one issue with Slack is that it does not have voice notes so we have to rely on text. My usage and the class usage behavior of Slack was to ask quick questions and attach links, which was more effective and faster than any other platform. 

3- Word Press:

The reflection blog website for me was an amazing tool. It saved me a lot of time and inspired me to do some assignments in different ways. I have never used it in any course before and I’ll urge all of the instructions to use it. The best advantage of the reflective blog is that each one in the class can upload their work on it and the others can view it. Sometimes I am stuck in understanding the instructions of an assignment and don’t know what to do. So, I just opened the website and viewed my classmates’ work. By doing this, I saved myself a lot of time in understanding what’s needed, adding what is valuable, and bringing inspiration to write effectively. This collective work and reflections for sure have fostered better writing to engage my classmates. Also, I learned from reading other’s reflections that each one of us may have a different perspective or experience on the same topic, which was insightful.  

4- Google Forms:

I used Google Forms to do my narrative game. I can say that Google Forms is easy to use and difficult at the same time. It requires no technical skills but requires very concise organization of the sections and the answers. When I was doing the game at the beginning, most of the sections were not following each other in the correct order. So, I had to draw a chart on a piece of paper to visualize the form and make the right order. Besides, Google Forms is very good at being interactive. I can add images and texts as I want in any place. Also, it is easy to share with others, which helped me get many responses for my game. I learned from using Google Forms in the narrative game to be prepared, organized, and think in different dimensions at the same to reach the final goal. I would definitely use it again if I develop a game again in the coming semesters, but I’ll need to be more prepared by drawing flow charts. 

5- Smartboards:

I took a class before in a smart class but I was not dealing with the boards as in this class. We used the smart boars in this class in various and different ways. We used it as an interactive tool, a learning tool, and a collaborative writing tool. Having more than one board was extremely beneficial as sometimes I can’t see far text. But in this class, I would just look anywhere beside me, and I’d find a board. I think it made participation easier. Also, we used the boards to brainstorm on different aspects while being able to see the final results on each board and discuss. I would really enjoy that each class contains these smart boards, so group works can be presented separately and simultaneously. The boards made the class more interactive and interesting than other interesting classes. 

6- AI:

The knowledge that I got from using AI in this course is not comparable to any knowledge that I acquired before. We used in the class several AI tools like Chat-gbt, Gemini, and Dall-E. Not only that but I learned how to prompt engineer these tools to get the desired outcome that I want. This knowledge benefited me in doing research for other courses in a very effective way. Now I know how to write to get my desired outcome in a very efficient way. Not only this I also learned about how these generative tools work, how they obtain data, and how they get the results. The process is not as complicated as it seems to be. Simply, it all depends on the data that these models work on or have access to. This helped me understand why sometimes Chat-gbt and Gemini can have biased results. This is because these models are trained on specific data and do not have access to a wide range of data from different countries other than the USA, China, and Europe. This is the only reason for AI limitation but I am sure that these limitations will be over when we have wider data access from several countries or regions. I think AI can enhance education as it allows students to have better research results, and to have a wider spectrum of the researched topic in a blink of an eye. The issue with AI is just as I said it does not have full data so students should use a brainstorming tool and support their research with credible sources of information. I think AI will not only stop at the current but will continue to develop to be used and tailored to anyone’s use case. Further, I urge everyone to start getting familiar with AI cause it will transform our interactions with machines, the digital world, and real life. 

Overall, my experience with the various tools that I used in this course has added much to my knowledge and skills. I can say that the most important aspect while taking this course and using different tools is to be open-minded to experience something new, cause it will enhance your learning and expertise.