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What have I learned? March 4, 2009

Posted by handspiker in Uncategorized.
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Alec asked near the end of class last night, what have we learned from our experience within 831. In reflecting on this last night and this morning two things have become more clear to me as how this class has impacted upon myself.

Firstly is the idea of excitement and potential. More comfort level with technology has seemed to increase exponentially. I find myself asking questions, can I do this? How can this be done? Can I use technology to better this? I am not as frustrated with technology on a whole. When things go wrong I solve them in a rational manner, thinking things through. With this chip off of my shoulder, I am actively seeking out ways to improve and connect to students, parents, colleagues, friends, and family through technology. Just this morning I thought why couldn’t I use a Blog + Google Docs (the form option) to create a survey to gather info on the upcoming Regional 8: Drama Fest. With posting the menu online and having students/directors/chaperones fill it out, in a nice spreadsheet form I will have everything I need to prepare, in exact numbers, what is needed. No more counting by hand. I would not have thought of this prior to this course, and it is exciting to figure this out.

The second way this course has changed me is in my idea of sharing. I have always shared before, and will always continue to do so. This course however has convinced me to reach out and interact with more people through sharing/talking/asking. I am excited to share these ideas I have running around in my head. Jim [Snodgrass] and I have been talking tech like mad, sharing ideas and thoughts about how to use technology creatively. Just the other day I was telling him about the PowerPoint option of WordPress and he was telling me the ease of Podcasting. We seem to spark one another to try and develop our ideas, maybe even pushing one another into new areas, perhaps trying to out do one another [much like our golf games]. But to share with a colleague in person or online has been an awesome experience. Ironically it has placed me as one of the “tech experts” on staff. That is a scary thought!

Another thought on sharing comes to mind. As I have been working on my final paper I found a resource that sounded much like my project. I was excited and scoured the Internet for it with no luck. It has been discontinued and even the publisher has no e-copies of it for sale or to share. My excitement quickly turned to disappointment. However I thought with academic sharing why no contact the author. I fired them off an email and two days later the author emailed me a copy back of the paper. Wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but it showed to me that the spirit of sharing was alive. I had this doubt in back of my mind that they would offer the paper to me, perhaps the pessimist in me coming out. I emailed them back thanking them profusely. Would I have done this prior to this class? Probably not.

So this class has opened my mind to new ideas/thoughts, it has created a thinker open to new ideas and challenges, and one willing to share. How can one not be impressed with a class that does this?

It has begun… January 31, 2009

Posted by handspiker in Uncategorized.
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Yesterday in my Work Exploration class I introduced the world of blogging to my six students.  As I have made reference to before I am doing this to stay connected with them during their work placement.  In my talks with other previous W.E. teachers they sometimes feel disconnected from their students when they are out in the field.  He likewise asked them to reflect upon a series of questions to hand in the week after their placement.  However this was hit and miss with who would remember to stop on by and drop them off because they get so used to not going to “class” when they don’t have to.

One thing I have enjoyed during this Masters program is the self-reflection I have done.  I think this should be an integral part of the W.E. program and something I have espoused over the last two days to the students.  So taking what the previous teacher did I hope technology, through blogging, will help increase the odds of these students to self-reflect.  His return rate was about 33% so I hope I can increase that.  After each week they are to blog about some of the aspects of their learning/job to share with myself and each other.  These questions are pre-set and they were given to the on Friday.  I have subscribed to them via Google Reader and one student has already written a comment about herself blogging.  Woohoo!  Hopefully this catches on.

It was an interesting experience on Friday as I led them through the setup of Blogger for each and every one of them.  Most were cool with the idea but there was one that was reticent about using it.  I could not help but think was this what I was like when I started.  Cautious about change, fearful of the unknown, uncomfortableness with technology.  I gave him some kind words of support and offered to just try it out and see what happens.  Once completing the sign up and setting up the Blog they began to explore and have some fun with add-ons.  One thing I did notice is even in the student that was not embracing it right away, which is fine with me, how comfortable with technology they all were.  Quite a different perspective from my own experiences with more mature students…lol.

I find it ironic how the wheel comes full circle with me (yes me) teaching technology.  Reminds me of a quote from a favourite film.  “When I left you, I was but the learner, now I am the master.”