Aaron’s Final Reflection

Final Blog

I can say it has been quite a journey.   I had no idea what I was in for.  After the first day I was pretty overwhelmed with it all.  I blogged about it.. or tried to.  I couldn’t post the blog and couldn’t get on the internet with my home computer.  The most logical way I thought of to prove to Dave that I attempted to do the work was to take a picture of what I had typed for the blog and I emailed the “cave-man screenshot”!  (Yes, I did not even know how to send a screen shot; so I took a picture of my computer screen with my phone!)

Today I have been able to post blogs, tweet links to programs that I have used to track other tweets, use programs I never heard of and I may even open up Socioviz (just for the fun of it)!  I would like to be able to see a graph of my learning cure over the last week.  (There is probably a program for that; I will tweet about it later.)

I can also say that my confidence has been boosted when it comes to technology.  Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be teaching this stuff any time soon, but I think now I can navigate through it without Dave sending me a message from “LMGTFY”.

On a side note, I liked the opportunity to network with other professionals.  The CAE program is giving me exposure to folks I wouldn’t  normally cross paths with.  I have learned a lot from our conversations and look to continue collaborating.  We have some common issues in all of the programs.  It is just nice to know that some of my problems are not figments of my imagination and that others have similar issues.

I made sure that I signed my name to my course evaluation.  I have no issue saying that I liked this, or disliked that. As for ED366, I want to make sure that Dave and the powers that be know what a benefit this course is.  As a coordinator first- teacher second, I benefited greatly even though I am a pure kinesthetic learner (I just threw this in to irritate Dave!)

I will miss our mornings together, and I just hope that the next CAE course is as engaging.

Good luck everyone,

 

Aaron

Aaron’s Presentation Reflection

ED 366 Presentation Reflection.

What I have tried to do is to capture the thought process when developing my presentation through my Work plan

Topic:

Here is what I want to do.  I want to present a survey to the group.  I want to survey their thoughts on the topic of how to develop a better way to asses students.  The plan is to give a presentation (google slides?: because I have not used it before) to the group based on what I want to develop.  Then I want to give the group a survey (google Forms: because I have not used it before either), and use the results to help me work on this problem.

Planning:

Experiment with Google slides to get my head around that program and develop the slides that I need.  I also need to develop a form that I want to submit to the group.  Do I embed the form?  Do I email it to them?  Do I use a link on Superfuntimes?  When I send the form, where do I get the results? Do they go to my Gmail account?

Development:

Google slides:  very similar to PowerPoint.  Formats the same

Google Forms:  Went through tutorial… easier to use template.  Chose the “survey” form because it seemes to accomplish what I am looking for.  Form itself is easy to develop (WATCH FOR SPELLING ERRORS!!!!!  IT DOES NOT SPELLCHECK AUTOMATICALLY)

How to link the two documents…..

I want each person to fill out the survey during the presentation.  This will start a fresh conversation around qualities of a good officer.  I want a further discussion as part of my group activity (with the survey).

LOOK AT THE TOP RIGHT HAND SIDE OF THE FORM…. THERE IS A LITTLE BLUE BIRD ICON!

Test:  I clicked on the Twitter icon and entered #ED366 and there it was, on our twitter chat.  Now a little damage control.  Had to tweet the group to make sure they did not do the survey before the presentation.  I reopened the survey to accept submissions so I could test it before class.

Delivery:

0830: I tweeted the #ed366 group the link to the survey.  Tested it, it is working.

0840: Started my presentation (opened Google slides and Google Forms document).

0850: Got to the survey slide and had everyone open twitter and do the survey (actually I had everyone open twitter while I was trying to log on to the computer at the front of the class).

0855: Survey complete and I switched to Google Form “results” screen to show results.  Worked well, was able to see the live results in the presentation.. cool!

0857: Heckled by Dave about the spelling errors (damn you spellcheck!)

0900: realized I was over time and ended presentation

Overall Reflection:

Overall I was able to accomplish what I wanted.  My plan was to use something new, and it worked out pretty good (in my opinion).  I was able to use Google Slides, Google Forms and Twitter all together.  NEVER would have happened 7 days ago!  I don’t know about anyone else, but I was impressed.  And, I got some really good feedback about evaluation methods!  (Bonus for me)

Aaron’s Article Blog #2

Article Blog #2

The second article that I read was “Technologies of Online learning” by Rory McGreal and Micheal Elliott.

The document talks about “some of the most exciting technologies and features used today”.   The article goes on to reference Skype, YouTube, CD-ROM , Napster, Wiki …   I have to admit that I felt pretty good until I read “Imagine the power of the Internet in the palm of your hand, using a Portable Digital Assistant (PDA)”.  It was at this point I stopped and went to the back of the article and read the references.   All of which ranged from 2000-2007.  Then I realized that all of the technology they were referencing was outdated.  I was originally confident because I recognized the names of the programs, but soon lost my smugness when I seen how old it all was.  I then had a flashback of Dave going on a mini rant about how he refused to spend a week teaching us programs that would be obsolete in a year or two (or less).  He managed to teach us how to fish (figuratively) with me knowing it at the time.  From Dave’s refusal to spoon feed, I am far more confident seeking out new technologies and experimenting with them.

When I step back and look at the concept of the article, I see that it is still valid and applicable.  If I take out the actual references to a specific site or program, the concepts of what they do and how they can be used in the class still apply.

To me, the technologies of online learning are not about the specific programs, but more about reaching a specific teaching point with the student.  Perhaps they need to see/hear/do/participate/re-play… the activity in order to fully grasp it.  This is what the online world offers.

Aaron’s Article Blog # 1

Article Blog #1

The article I read was titled “Teaching in an Online Learning Context” by Terry Anderson at Athabasca University.  The article focused on what the presence or role of the instructor is on an online course.  This concept is totally out of my realm.  I have completed one course (the Adult Learner) on-line.  I am not sure if I would have done better if it had been face to face or not.  What I really took form the course was that I need an update, fast!

The article goes on to talk about maximizing the effectiveness of facilitating online courses.   At my level of technology understanding, this is like a kindergarten student reading algebra.  I can make out the letters and symbols, but really have no concept of the formulas they combine into.  I will admit that I have made great progress in the last week, but this kindergarten student needs some time for it all to come together.

Taking the technology out of the topic, it is reassuring to see something familiar.  The author talks about social, cognitive and teaching presence that combines to build an educational experience.  I believe this theory holds true to any educational setting.  I think where I am struggling the most right now in a (technological setting) is in the area of cognitive presence.  I seem to be able to participate (with lots of guidance) but I really don’t know how it all happens.  (I know the car will start if I turn the key, but the concept of internal combustion seems to be missing.)

There is a section that talks about assessment.  Either I am hyper sensitive to assessment strategies or they seem to be everywhere.  The article talks about similar (conventional techniques) to what I am used to.  Quantity, quality, format, rubrics…. All summarized by a number.  The number then represents a reflection of performance.  I still am struggling for a “better way” to do my assessments, so that I can represent what I feel is importand. (I will leave the spelling error just for fun!)

At the end of the article the author talks about qualities of a good E-teacher.  I had a laugh when I read “an excellent e-teacher is an excellent teacher”.  This I agree with, except that I would be the first to say that I personally would be a terrible e-teacher!  Does this mean I am a poor teacher?

Aaron’s Day 6 Blog

 

My organizational skills are something that I would say is a personal work in progress.  Over the years (like in Dave’s) I have created/stored/lost numerous documents just because of a poor cataloging system.  Just two weeks ago I spent several hours looking for an important document that for the life of me I cannot find!  I know I have it…. But where?

I like the fact that Dave coerced us into using Google docs .  I see the value of having all of my notes in one spot (rather than on pieces of paper scattered all over the place).  My task this week is to figure out how to format the table of contents so that the information is more useful.  Right now I think I am on page 4 of one big run-on document!

The link tracker is a great idea.  Again, something I had no idea existed.  Just in the last week I have seen/heard of dozens of links; that if I don’t organize soon, will be lost in the jumble of un-formatted information I have collected.

I like the term “Personal knowledge Management”.  If I could figure out how to move some of my useless information (except for trivia night) and make room for the “stuff” I really need to remember, I would be much more productive.  For some reason I can now recite the first poem I ever memorized for grade 4; but spent 15 min looking for my keys this morning.   Management seems to be the key!  Which takes me back to improving my organizational skills.  For me, I don’t naturally format/categorize things.  I will often “half organize” my documents, but not fully commit to the process.  My workbench is a perfect example.  Some tools are neatly laid out, while others are in a pile right next to the unfinished project I am tinkering on.

I see many students who lack these same skills.  I will sometimes say “you need to get organized”.  While in the back of my mind I will know that I should be taking the same advice.  Does that make me one of those “do as I say and not as I do” types???

Aaron’s Day 5 BLog

After reading the article I feel that the acts of self-assessment and remediation are two of the most important attributes of a professional.  I think that act of professional development/evolution is largely based around ones motivation to do better.  I don’t know of anyone who was born with a “perfect skill set” (Even Wayne Gretsky had to practice!).  I think that motivation moves us to become better.

I found out later in my life the value of self-assessment and remediation.  I don’t know if I it was a maturity or motivation issue; But, I did not consider myself a professional until I was in my 30’s.  I can’t recite the day it happened, but at some point I started looking at the “professional” me and wanted more.  Part of acquiring more involved development and evolution.  The development was not random.  I looked at where I wanted to go, what was needed to get there and compared it to where I was at the time.  The act of filling professional gaps seemed to fix the roadblocks that kept me from being where I wanted to be.  Now the process is an active part of my professional life.

I have a 1,2 and 5 year plans.  I know where I want to be at these milestones and have assessed what I have versus what I will need to get there.  Even participating in this course is part of my 1 and 2 year plans.

This is the motivation that I am trying to imbue in our students.  Professionals should want to do better.  How can they do better if they are unwilling or unable to asses themselves?  We all have to take ownership and like you said be able to control our “learning behaviors”.  We can increase our professional potential when we reach this state of mind.  It may have been nice to hear this before I dropped out of university!  (Perhaps someone did tell me and I was not able to comprehend the concept at that time.)

 

Another good day in ED366

Aarons Day 4 Blog

Grading Contracts

Today was another day of “new learning”.  I got to experience the student side of the concept of grading contracts.  I am not too sure that I want to experience the Instructor side of the debate!  Ever since last week (when Dave first emailed this “contract” business) I have had no real idea what was being eluded to.  Now I think I have a taste, and it may be one of those things that over time you develop an appetite for.  Right now, I don’t think this is the tool that will be at the top of my “to do” list when I go back to work.  This is what I did not like:

  1. The “negotiation” is too open. I don’t consider myself a control freak, but I do like some structure.
  2. There were too many people negotiating. It was like asking everyone at Canada Post what their issue was… and trying to talk to them all in the same room!
  3. How do you decide who’s needs are more important? I may be wrong, but I think at some point folks in the room just stopped participating because they were tired of the process.  So if I am stubborn enough, I may be able to sway the outcome (perhaps that is the way of all negotiations?).
  4. It takes a long time to make a seemingly simple decision. It felt like we spent an hour talking about one or two points that were really not that important one way or the other.  I felt that someone should just make a decision so we could move on to the next point.

What I did like was:

  1. I felt empowered (to start, before i became frustrated). I thought that I could sway the marking scheme to best suit my strengths (I am not sure if this happened or not… probably not).
  2. The transparency of where the marks came from. The presentation is worth 20; why, because that is what the group decided.
  3. The floor was open to everyone. I could voice my opinion at any time about any concern.
  4. Everything was negotiable (I think).
  5. It’s a new way of looking at assigning marks (I agree with Dave on being adverse to assigning a % for the sake of needing a number)                                                                                                                                                                                                           In Dave’s article, he talks about being open to student control.  Today’s session may have closed the door on the concept for me (for now anyway).  Perhaps because it is new, perhaps because I don’t want to give up control, perhaps because I am uneasy about the final outcome and committing to it.

All in all, it was a good day.  I learned and experienced a new concept.  So let’s see how tomorrow will go…

Aaron’s Day 3 Reflection

Today was a very good day. Here is what I liked:

  1. The day was totally centered on adult learning principles. I went into the class wanting to learn about new “stuff and things”. I felt that the topics were directly related to what I wanted to learn.       The setting was informal with only enough guidance to keep us on task. Whether Dave was using more of his “secret curriculum” powers or by coincidence, I think it worked!
  2. I learned a new (to me) technology. We started from scratch and were able to create a presentation using a program neither Alan nor I had seen before.
  3. My confidence started to overcome my frustration! I saw real progress where the little victories outweighed the defeats. I would say if this were baseball, the coach would at least consider me to warm the bench (three days ago they wouldn’t let me in the parking lot).
  4. It was a positive energy in the group.       I felt that everyone experienced the same level of small victories with something new.
  5. I was able to see the journey of other groups in the same circumstance as me (given 20 min to present a new technology to the group). I was able to see the success, the ease of use and the hiccups along the way.
  6. I was able to log on to some of the sites without using the pictures on my phone
  7. I left wanting to see/learn more.

 

It was a very positive day overall. I am looking forward to tomorrows class!

Aarons day 1 post (I know its day 3!)

My reflection for day 1

 

First of all I would like to say that I enjoyed the class. I have heard all kinds of horror stories, but they seem to be “urban legends” so far…

Second I would like to state that I am overwhelmed by all of the “new stuff”. I know it is not new, but up until now I have been avoiding things like Face book, Twitter, and anything social media based. Basically I have boycotted all things internet related other than Google/YouTube. I will say that I did create a Twitter account today, and I am pretty sure that I posted two comments. So this for me this is a victory! Having said that, my attempts to post this blog today have ended with failure. Even though I had Dave re-set my password to get on the site, I still managed to forget it (and yes I did hear the clever hint about taking a picture of the password)! Anyway, that will be a bridge crossed tomorrow. As for my goals… it should be very evident that I NEED to get my head around technology! What is out there, what it’s used for, how can I use it personally/professionally and how I can relate it all to my job.  I will stop here as it is only a 7 day course and I should limit my expectations somewhat. As Dave said today, I am more looking forward to the journey as I have no idea where the actual destination is going to be.

 

At the end of the day I would like to be able to participate (if not coordinate) in “stuff and things” that are related to technology and social media. At this point I don’t know what I don’t know. I will give a shout out to Dave’s partner and state that according to ED366 I am currently “unconsciously incompetent” regarding technology “stuff and things”. So I would say that my greater goal is to move forward and be aware of some of what is out there and what it can do.

 

I am looking forward to the next week!

Aaron’s thoughts

Is it really cheating?

I think the name of the article is a little misleading. My concept of cheating is: an act that gains unfair advantage. In an educational context, is it unfair to have more knowledge than another student?

I think we all can agree that there are many ways to learn. We all can individually re-invent our own wheels (or live without); or we can figure out a way to make our lives easier. I think the concept of collaborative learning is more of a learning strategy. What I mean is if someone tells me the answer on a test, I have to make a few decisions. First I have to decide if the source is credible (I don’t need help flipping a coin, I can do that on my own). The next step is to look at the answer and evaluate if I think, to the best of my knowledge, it is correct. Next I have to commit to the answer and let the chips fall. If I am really keen I will look back at the question and answer. I can use the follow-up information to assist in answering the first three questions I had on the next test question. To me this four step process is more complicated than just “getting the answer from someone else”. The process may even get complex, depending on who I choose to ask for the answer.

My issue with the concept of collaborative learning is “trust”. There are only a few people I would trust enough to blindly believe their answer. The rest of the answers I would have to submit to the 4 step process I listed above.

I see the issue when you state “Most people in the educational technology industry aren’t able to understand the technology by themselves. We all rely on each other to help us learn and understand our work”. In my industry, individuals are held accountable for their decisions through the courts. They are judged and scrutinized months after they are forced to make a (sometimes instantaneous) decision. Therefore, it is a foundation skill that I have to instill in my students that they have to make their own decisions based on their perception, skill set and situational factors. I would not want police officers to rely on “phoning a friend” when faced with a problem. Can they increase their skill-set through collaboration? Sure, but as a problem solving strategy for police cadets….. I have some reservations.