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One of my goals for this course was to create website with pages for every subject I teach, starting next semester. I had no idea how to get there, which platform to use and how much to expect from this site. Quest had begun quiet some time ago. Initial idea was to construct the website “from scratch; I have even begun to read C+ books. Soon realization came that amount of learning this project may take will never justify basic and dull final product.

I heard about Moodle and Wiki, but didn’t know enough to adopt them for my task (after taking this course I can do it with ether one of them). So in the beginning of this course I had no clue where to start.

During this course ideas and skills started to accumulate slowly but surely, and breakthrough came about a month ago,  when I’ve recalled conversation with Kelly Haydukewich from Edcentre.ca. We’ve met during teacher’s conference in Prince Albert past October. So about month ago i’ve phoned Edcentre.ca and had a conversation with Ted Green (accidentally he was “present” during previous ECI 831 session). Half an hour later I had a Moodle account (Sand Box to play) and promise of full support.

I’ve downloaded the “Moodle for Idiots” type book from Moodle Website and started…

Another breakthrough came a week ago, I’ve met Kelly during ”in serves” for math and science teachers in La Rounge.  We have skipped couple presentations talking about new technologies, tools and ideas. During that time Ted (over the Skype) and Kelly submerged me in to Moodle more than I could dream off (talking about PLN).

So here is my Moodle page for Math B-30 how student see it.

I’ve started with embedded videos, that made page-loading slower…

I have changed it to links…

here are some pros and cons:

It takes students away from the page, and the lesson, but they can get better-quality video from original website, as well as loading time improved, and you know how patient our students are…

And here is Teacher’s and Administrator’s view:

All these icons and menus make it easy to manipulate with materials.

So here is Link to the site, you can log in as a guest.
http://g5.edcentre.ca/portal/login/index.php

It is still under construction and will need so much time in the future and it definitely worth it.

It isn’t fully on-line-course; it is more “system backup”.  Attendance is very important issue in northern communities. Students are missing couple classes due to family tasks or cultural activities and are coming back to meet complexity of getting new material and doing “trouble-shutting” on the missed one. It is often leads to dropout.

I hope this site will help students to keep up to date with a class even if they miss a class or two. In addition it might be great remediation and two-way communication tool.

From now on I am going to use it. It looks like logical way to go…

Here it is, My Mind Map of this course:

Don’t get lost…

Read More »

Last week session turned up to be very positive and valuable experience. I would like to thank our fellow students for great performance.

Display of themes and brevity of presentations made it easy to talk about numerous topics in a short time. This type of presentations has its advantages:
• Fits attention span “time brackets”
“Most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than   about 20 minutes at a time, although they can choose repeatedly to re-focus on the same thing”.(Wikipedia)
TED Talks is probably the best example. Jamie Forrest wrote about it in My Own TED Experience

• Evaluation of newly obtained knowledge is highly rated by educators; Bloom’s Taxonomy places it at the top level.
Recommended article ‘The Objective of Education Is Learning, Not Teaching’ presents interesting points when examines learning through teaching.

I might test this concept myself soon enough; I was asked to plan for a presentation, introducing teachers to new technologies in the classroom.
(I am only teacher with a Smart Board in a class, and two new ones are in their boxes since beginning of the school year, seems like its instructional value is not recognized. It took couple of reminders to bring this issue to a discussion.)
I am planning on including WEB 2.0 tools into my presentation. Hopefully development of presentation material will help me to complete my own puzzle.

I have found this short TED Talk and it sparked my interest. I think it is examining one of the fundamental dilemmas that educators are facing in increasingly reactive world.

Question of delayed gratification was brought to my attention by our vice-principle. It didn’t catch my attention then. Interest appeared during this course, I have tried to use nay and every string of technology in my classes. One of latest changes I’ve made was creation of spreadsheet-based application for organizing, calculating and visualizing students’ marks. It created a situation, when student can instantly see result of his work, as well as her current mark.

It appeared to be a successful way to encourage students. Anyone who worked in northern schools (not exclusively) knows how difficult it is to promote education among student. Many students do not see any value in education.

There are many reasons for it:

overall low education, clash of cultures, etc.

One of the reasons is more pronounced here: lack of role models created by low graduation rate and high dropout in universities, as well as reluctance to return after completing higher education.

So no regrets, it works. Although some “side effects” are visible already:

marks becoming an ultimate goal,

more “pragmatic” approach to knowledge (is it on the test?).

How will it affect my students in the future?

Any Ideas?

During this course I had to sacrifice confidence in my ability to adopt to new technologies .

Thanks to my experience and education (I am certified Microsoft professional, MCP, Servers and Cisco Certified Network Associate, CCNA) any new gadget: computer, Smart Board, application or service, quickly became simple and easy to use. So, since September, I’ve been waiting for the feeling of familiarity, and waiting, and waiting…

Instead, I’d realized that technology or mathematical logic (I am a high school math teacher) has nothing to do with social networking proficiency. On the contrary, they kept me away from understanding it.

I often see:

users as IP addresses;

communities as active directory domains;

posts, and messages as well as tweets as groups of pockets with certain number of ones and zeros.

I do exaggerate a bit, but overall picture is accurate.

“The PLN thing has gotten out of hand” by Lisa M Lane has helped to understand idea of PLN, although I wasn’t turned off by technicality, perhaps wasn’t stimulated enough by technical aspect of it. Great post, I hope to be able to get Lisa’s skills’ level one day…

So far, I am trapped  in Web 1.99999… (good name for a post)

According to Sir Ken Robinson we (teachers) are killing creativity and feeding students with useless junk. Sometimes, usually by 4:00PM I begin to agree with his views…

I don’t know how new education system will work but I see that educational system that I’m part of barely does what it’s supposed to do.

School must give students necessary skills for the real world, although, following current tendencies, our students will live in a rapidly changing world, everything that is important now might not make any sense in the future. Latin and Greek, Bible Studies and other “whales” of yesterday’s education lost its significance. New subjects appeared and evolved and will probably vanish in future.

What is the role of school in our society?

Academic institution, extension of government or religious institutions, adopted family, babysitting service …

My ultimate goal is to create virtual meeting places for all of my courses.

Students and teacher should be able to:

  • get there from any computer (device) in and out of school
  • see all materials from the course (syllabus, calendars, notes, presentations, etc.)
  • post or privately send their assignments
  • follow their progress (confidently)
  • communicate in real time
  • deliver instructions over internet to groups or individuals (instructor to students and student to student, )
  • perform assessment (online tests, quizzes, projects)
  • “strangers” have ability to “see but not touch”
  • And… If you have something else to add to this list, please do.

Help if you know any existing tool or combination of tools that can perform these tasks, or share links to similar projects.

Any help will be appreciated!!!

Last Tuesday we had Zoe’s presentation; Interesting and full of useful info. She is full of energy and ideas. Loved every minute of it.

Here are questions Alec gave us to think about.

  • What are your thoughts so far on open & networked learning?

Although this way of learning seems to be unintuitive to me, I like it. I acquire new skills, play with new tools and get in touch with colleagues from around the world, what more can I ask for?

I believe open type delivery courses will be used more and more often in high, undergraduate and graduate schools in the future. Effectiveness and affordability of existing tools and emergence of new ones will make it more attractive for institutions and students.

  • What are the pros and cons of this type of learning experience?

Pros:

We are lectured and counseled by top experts in their fields. It will be hard to achieve something like that with another type of course delivery.

Newly obtained skills are used for numerous tasks (we are scoring high according to Bloom’s taxonomy).

Cons:

Usually I dedicate time for specific tasks; it doesn’t work well in this class…

  • How can we improve this learning experience?

Honestly, I don’t have enough data to give any suggestions, yet.

  • Does any of this inform the way you teach or learn (or could/should teach and learn)?

I am using some of the discussed systems and planning to put into action “course meeting and exchange place” – Wiki-based and available to everyone.

How do you see future of courses like ours?

I am glad to read some of my course-mates’ posts about overwhelming enlightenment they experience. I can only report eagerness to understand and adopt ways and ideas of social media. Social Media’s technical skills are developed much faster than recognition of usefulness and moral benefits.

There are some exceptions: I do appreciate Google Reader, begin to adopt Delicious, LOVE reading my colleagues’ posts, and listen to lectures; somehow I fill connected to this network.

On another hand I can’t stand following people on the tweeter. Just does not make sense to check directionless internet digging, performed by dozens of people when I have great quality reading, four books, which are started and scream for extra time. ( If there are science teachers, what do you think about “Full history of everything” by Bill Bryson and if you are history teacher about “On killing” by Dave Grossman.

Every time tweeter gets opened, two or three hours are lost, producing very fresh but shallow and often contradictory information. This time should be subtracted (stolen) from planning, reading, hunting, fishing, sleeping… (that’s, pretty much it). I know it sounds like whining, but that’s how I feel.

Although,  idea that I can ask and get consultation or advice in real time shows potential.

I have read my post and recognized that everything except tweeter made perfect sense. May be, I am not that lost after all…`