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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?

Sharing… February 4, 2009

Posted by handspiker in Uncategorized.
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Last night’s presentation by Dean Shareski was an excellent one about the values of collaboration of ideas, thoughts, work, values and perhaps morals. I have been fortunate upon my arrival here in Meadow Lake to be able to learn from some of the best teachers I have had the pleasure to meet. What makes these teachers the best I have ever worked with? Collaboration! Unlike my previous teaching experience teachers within Carpenter High are very open to working together, sharing ideas, resources, labs, computers, time, etc. This sharing permeates the atmosphere of CHS causing a very strong will to help students succeed.

Upon my arrival here back in 2001 a senior social science teacher took me under his wing to share his “isms”, experiences, and most importantly resources. As a beginning teacher with a new curriculum and the spectre of departmentals hanging over me, his help was greatly appreciated. This sharing allowed me to survive what would have been a tough year. Since then I have vowed to “pay it forward” and become as open to sharing anything I can without hesitation. Just this past week a superintendant contacted me via email about the resources I used in Psych 30. I guess his daughter (whom I have taught) is engaged to a young man who just was hired to teach this course for the first time. Without thinking I simply copied everything (notes, tests, movies, etc.) to assist him in making the most of his first year. Whether it be at Carpenter, or elsewhere, [modeling] sharing only helps improve one another [in educating] and ultimately, we hope, benefits the students.