Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Collaborative Project Final Prezi

For the collaborative project Jordan and I worked with Paul Park and his grade 7/8 class. For our reflection Jordan and I created a Prezi to show what we did.  Our Prezi is bellow.

I would like to thank Paul and his class for the opportunity to work with them. Due to the end of the university semester we were not able to finish the “final” presentations yet, but I will continue to help where I can.

Jordan was a great partner and I would also like to thank him for all he has done for the project. He is extremely good at designing excellent presentations.

We used WiZiQ to teach our lesson to Paul’s class and google docs to give feedback to the students helping them improve their presentations. Below are links to my two previous blog posts on the project and the lesson we taught.

Post # 1 – Collaborative Project

Post # 2 – Collaborative Project Rolls On

WiZiQ lesson – This is the recording of the lesson we taught. If you would like to watch it you will need to sign up for a free account. The recording is not the best because there is a lot of feedback. The first 15 minutes were our set up time so you will have to fast forward it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “ECMP Collaborative Project“, posted with vodpod

April 19, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, General, school | 2 Comments

It makes no sense to me

Yesterday I was talking with a friend of mine about how stupid it was that the Canadian men’s hockey team beats Russia in a quarter final game and it was getting more press then actual medal winners.  Canada’s women’s bobsleigh team wins gold and silver medals and the short-track speed skaters take the silver, but they are not written about until section C Page 2.  But the big news in the hockey game, not only front page news of the A section but also the C (sports) section.  I just can not figure this out; it is just a quarter final game and not a medal win.  I guess I should state that I am not a sports fan.  I generally do not watch any sports other than Saskatchewan Roughrider games with my wife.  She is the sports fan in our family.

I went out to get the newspaper this morning and what do I find on the front cover…”One Gold one to go…”  Congratulations to the women’s hockey team on their gold medal.  The problem is not that the women won the hockey and it is front page news.  My problem in my mind is the headline; Canada has seven other gold medals already, this is not the first one.  Secondly, “one to go”, does only one other medal matters?  In the spirit of the Olympics all the medals matter not a certain sport’s medals.  I then look at the sub-headline which reads “Hockey: only sport that really matters”.  There it is the headline which confirms what I was thinking yesterday and been thinking for years.  Rob Vanstone says in the article “With all due respect of aficionados of bobsled, biathlon and snowboarding, the 2010 Olympics is now, in essence, a hockey tournament”.  Hockey is not the most important sport which is happening at the Olympics.  The Olympics are a celebration of sport and competition not just hockey.  After a quick scan of the sports section, which also has hockey on the front page of that section, I did not see anything about the bronze medal which was won in women’s figure skating.  Why is this?  Joannie Rochett deserves some attention for her win doesn’t she?

I never have figured out why watching sports is so important to some people, especially males.  I know that I am in the minority of men.  I can also state that I am abnormal in other respects as well.  I do not watch much TV at all (maybe one hour a week), I do not drink coffee, tea, pop,  or alcohol, usually water or apple juice, and I do not smoke.  So the questions I have are:   Why is watching sports so important to you?  Why are some sports, especially in the media, given so much more importance than others?

February 26, 2010 Posted by | General | , | 4 Comments

Spark

I listened to a few of the spark episodes which Dean suggested and found them to be interesting.  I have now subscribed to Spark and I will continue to listen in between my camping and kayaking podcasts.

The one I am going to write about today is the Episode 77. QWERTY and salvage old technology.  I found the discussion about how the QWERTY keyboard came into existence interesting because I did not know the history behind why our keyboards are the way they are.  The only thing I knew was the keys in the middle row are the keys which are the most used when writing words.  The episode then went on to discuss why people always want the newest technology which comes out.  I think there are two main reasons.  One reason is people like new things.  We buy new things because we like “shiny new” things to play with.  The other reason I would say is “keeping up with the Jone’s”.  My friend or neighbor got something new so now I have to get the same or better.  I too live this situation.  I want a new computer, but in reality I do not need a new computer.  I can make up all kinds of excuses as to why I need a new computer but in reality my computer will do me just fine for a couple more years.  I sure would like replace my pc with a new macbook though.  I can say the same thing about many other things as well.  My phone, my car, my camping gear, my kayaks, as well as others.  They are all thing I would like to upgrade but I really do not need to.  I just know there is something new and better out there.

Now let me look at schools.  New computers for the entire school system or every couple of years some new focus or better way to teach students.  Are the computers needed or the new focus/way to teach actually better or are they just “shiny new” things that administrators or bureaucrats want to try.  Funny “no proof” that they are better or needed.

I was in a discussion before the break with some classmates and the professor of my moral education class and my professor related students being hungry at school to smoking.  Odd comparison but here is how it was related.  Years ago the discussion was around if smoking was bad for us or not.  Many doctors said there was “no proof” that smoking was bad for us, so we can smoke all we want.  After many years of testing we now have “proof” that smoking is bad for us.  My professor said “look at a chimney”; we have to sweep chimneys, what is smoking doing to our lungs?  Now look at schools where kids do not have breakfast and come to school without lunch.  How can they learn if all they are thinking about is how hungry they are?  I know that when I am hungry food is all I can think about.  We know in our heart that students need to have food in their stomachs in order to learn, but there is “no proof”.  Why do bureaucrats need “proof” before they move on something that is so obvious yet on other things they just do it.  They will spend thousands of dollars replacing computers in an entire system every three or four year for “shinny new” ones but they will not spend money to feed students who need a lunch in order to learn on those “shinny new” computers.  I think community schools should be feeding kids the lunches they need and then in ten years the bureaucrats will have the proof they wanted that kids can not learn if they are hungry.

February 21, 2010 Posted by | General | 2 Comments

Stuck in the Past

We were asked to discuss university classes which are rooted in the past.  I have two of these classes this semester.  One is a Religious Studies class where the professor stands at the front of the class lecturing for the entire class.  He has his notes up on the smartboard to refer to, but only allows us to see two lines at a time.  At the end of each section he asks if anyone has any questions but rarely any questions are asked.  It is a daily struggle to stay awake during the class.  My other class is History.  This class consists of lectures as well.  He has thrown in some pictures, music and a couple of discussion periods but for the most part he just talks at us during the entire class.

For the most part I find education classes to be different.  Professors do not stand at the front the entire class and lecture.  They do lecture some times but there is generally half the class time spent in small group or whole class discussions.  The problem I find with some education classes are that they do not practice what they are preaching.

The professors who I find are the best at teaching are the ones who are still teaching in the school systems.  The downfall to this is they are all night classes because the professors are teaching all day.  Maybe all university professors, especially the education professors, should be teaching kids part time so they are still experiencing what is happening in schools.  This would allow them to relate their topics to what is actually happening in schools now.

February 21, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, General | | 5 Comments

Smart Training

Last week I attended SMART notebook software level one and two training in Calgary.  It was not the best time to go because I am so busy with school, but it was so worth it in the end.  Except, of course, for all the work I am trying to catch up on now.

I found myself amazed at how many things the software can do which I had not found or figured out yet.  I have spent some time working with notebook software both at the university and during my internship.  I had figured out the basics of how to create a presentation, but it was time consuming.  But then again creating any presentation is time consuming no matter what software you are using.  I have now learned many short cuts to doing things and many things that I did not know could be done.

In the course for level one there was a woman who had not spent any time working with the software.  I could tell that it was hard for her to comprehend the basics let alone the advanced ideas which the other two participants and myself were asking for and figuring out.  The good thing for her was she knew the other two people and they would be able to help her when they returned home to Yellowknife.  I would definitely suggest to anyone who is thinking about taking the training to get into the software and play around before going to the course.  You will get a whole lot more out of your time and money.

The level two course expanded on what were learned the previous day going into all the advanced features the software provides.  And boy does it have some advanced features which I did not have a clue about.  I only hope that I can remember them all.  We spent the entire day learning about a feature and then pushing the limits of the feature.  We experimented and figured things out which my instructor did not know were possible.  If there was something which we thought should be part of the software my instructor wrote it down to put in as a request for the next version of the software.  It was so wonderful that we were able to explore the software together rather then just being shown how it worked and lectured at.  By exploring I am sure we have learned more from the training then the course was originally meant to teach us.

Dean, my ECMP instructor, has asked me to use what I have learned for our teaching portion of the course.  I think it is a great idea to share what I now know with my classmates, but I do not know where to begin.  Before the training I had showed some people how to work the basics, but now I do not know where to begin or where to end.  I am struggling with the idea of either going through and showing all the possibilities quickly with no detail, or show the basic with some detail.  I guess the first thing I should ask is if anyone has any experience using notebook software.  Do you?  Please let me know so I can then decide how to teach it in less then fifteen minutes.

I like the thought of having a smartboard in my future classroom, but the reality is that it may not happen.  Option two for me is the wireless slate and a projector.  Before the training I was going to try to find the money to purchase my own slate because I could see the potential and if fits my teaching style.  Now that I am done my training, I realize that I definitely need to find the money to buy the slate.  The potential for teaching and student learning seems endless.

If you are at all interested in the use of smartboards or any other technologies which SMART offers I would highly recommend taking the software training so you can get the most out of the tools.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | General | 8 Comments

Reflective Blogging?

When I was reading this article it stuck me that most of my professors have been telling us to reflect on everything we do as teachers, but not really helping us find a way which works for us.  I think the problem is that whenever I handed in some sort of reflection there were no comments back; no pushing of my thought process.  Most of the time there was comments like interesting, insightful thinking, or just check marks (which are the ones I hate the most).  Check marks are not helpful or thought provoking.  How do I even know they read it or thought about what I was saying?  My four year old son can put check marks on a page.  Thought out comments or suggestions are the most helpful to me.  I know that meaningful comments are time consuming to write, but they are useful and will help me and others become more reflective about what we are doing.

The next thing to think about is why it is hard to become a reflective blogger.  From my perspective I have some things that challenge me to becoming, what I consider, deeply reflective on my blog.  One is that I am still learning how to think more deeply about the ideas which go through my head.  That is where most of my reflection happens; in my head.  I have never been someone who wrote a journal so I have little experience with writing my thoughts down.  I usually keep them to myself.  One reason why I keep my thoughts in my head is my second reason why I am challenged to become more of a reflective blogger.  I am unsure of what I should be posting on the internet.  To clarify, this may help.  I am a pre-service teacher who is married with two kids.  On top of my family, I also have a mortgage and other bills which need to be paid.  I need a teaching job!  I hope that my future employer takes the time to look me up on the internet to see what I have been doing.  I am scared that they may see something that causes them to not to hire me.  I would hope the fact that I am being reflective about my life and teaching would be a huge positive to a future employer, but that is something I will never know.  I even question what I have written above; should I post this or make changes?

In the other stuff which Dean suggested to read and the presentation I watched, I have started to change my mind about what is important for me as a teacher.  I know that reflection is important, but I think that a possible conversation about some of my reflections are also important to push me to places which I never thought of.  I should not be afraid to post something because of what some potential employer may think, because what is important is my personal growth.  It will continue to be a challenge for me to be more reflective online, but I can now see that my blog can be a place where I can gain some comments on what I have written, which I need to push my thinking and learning.  Now I just need to start commenting on some of the blogs I follow to draw more people to my blog.  I guess I need to stop lurking and start conversing.

January 18, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, General, Reflection | , , , | 2 Comments

Footprints

I leave or do not leave may different types of footprints.  Whenever I am out camping I try to Leave No Trace so I minimize my footprint.  As a family we recycle some of our household waste but not all of it.  We have made a good start and over time we will become better at not leaving that footprint for future generations.

One footprint I am leaving is with this blog and the other things that I am doing on the internet.  I do not receive many visitors to my sites so my footprint is not that big right now.  But over time I will develop a larger list of people which I connect and communicate with and I probably will receive more visitors to my sites.  Being mindful of what is posted on the internet is always in the back of my mind and I always think deeply about everything I post.

The other footprints which I am leaving are in the minds of the students I have taught and the students I will be teaching in the future.  I do not take this very lightly and that is probably why it takes me so long to create unit and lesson plans.  I think about if the students will understand what I am teaching them or if it is the correct way to teach a lesson.  Is it all curricular.  I am shaping young minds when teaching.  I am putting my footprint in the minds of my students.  Other then with my family, this is a much larger footprint then I make anywhere else in my life.

The saying in the poster is very important.  The words are words to think about and live by, but part of the meaning is taken away by the image for me.  When I look at the poster again and think about it, the image is of footprints in the sand.  When the next wind blows those footprints will disappear.  I do not know of an image which could visually represent how my footprint, whether physical, digital, or mental, will always be present.  Our footprints are always visible and we need to remeber they are present with everything we do.

January 5, 2010 Posted by | General, school | , , | Leave a comment

I have had some time

I have had some time over the break and it has been nice to not only catch up and spend time with my family but also try some new stuff on the computer.

We have spent many hours as a family during this break and most of it was spent enjoying the time together not really doing anything.  It is too bad that we all have to go back to school and work in a few days.  We have not done a lot of things but it has been great.  Garrick and I went out to the beach to help my parent put on baseboards and move furniture, and we found an hour to take a break and go snowshoeing.  Christmas was spent not only with our direct families but also “orphan Christmas day supper” with friends and family who are in town and want to join us.  We had 15 people for supper this year.  We had some time to go tobogganing, playing cards and games, shopping, house work and probably going to see Alvin and the Chipmunks the squeakquel today.  I am still hoping to get in a few hours of snowshoeing before school starts.

Over the break I have been able to spend some time on my computer.  I have caught up on some of the blogs and podcasts I follow.  I also went through all my pictures on Flickr and tagged them, put them in sets and collections, and deleted the ones that should not be there in the first place.  Now I just have to upload all the pictures from the last year, which is going to be a big project but I still have a couple days before school starts.

I signed up for  Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Both have been on my list of things to explore for a long time.  I still have not figured out what all the hype is about Facebook; it has only been a week though.  I like Twitter so far.  I have not tweeted much but I can definitely see the potential once I build my list of people I follow and people who follow me.

I decided I am going to try my own 2010/365 photo project.  I do not know if I will be able to accomplish it but I am going to try.  I have enjoyed a couple of professor’s projects and the idea really interests me.  I enjoy taking pictures and carry a camera all the time but usually do not remember to use it.  I think that my focus is going to be on exploring what my camera can do and taking photos which interest me.  I have asked some family and friends to take up the challenge as well and I hope they do.

January 2, 2010 Posted by | Family, General | , , , | 1 Comment

It has been a while

I have not posted in quite some time.  I had a busy summer and then I went straight into internship.  I made some choices as to what I had time for and what I did not and the blog went to the wayside.  I have a couple of reflections which I did at the end of internship I am going to copy and past into the blog before this one.

I have some more time now so I hope to blog some more, and I am taking the next level of educational computers in the new year so I will probably end up blogging for that class as well.

December 28, 2009 Posted by | General | Leave a comment

What’s wrong with this picture?

Kayak on the roof

Other than the mess in my garage, what I find wrong with this picture is that my kayak is hanging from the roof.  Today is -24 degrees Celsius and all the lakes and rivers in the area have been frozen for three months now and will be for at least another three months.  The reason I have a problem with my kayak hanging form the roof is because of peace.  Inner peace to be specific.  Being out on the water paddling my boat is one of the few times in my life where is have inner peace.  I define inner peace as a point in time where there is nothing else happening in the world or in my life; everything  just melts away and I am not thinking about anything accept what I am doing.  I had one professor last semester for my ED Aesthetics class describe it as an aesthetic experience, but inner peace is a better for me to describe it.  I am very busy between family, school, Scouts, and life in general and sometimes I need to just get away from it all and not have anything to worry about.  That boat hanging from the ceiling gives me that.  I can put it in the water and within ten minutes nothing else matters; one stroke after another leaving my busy life and all the things I have to worry about behind for a little while.

A break in snowshoeing

Another time I have inner peace is with my family.  In the picture above we went out snowshoeing with friends.  You would not think that snowshoeing with four kids ranging in age from 2 to 10 would allow for inner peace, but I did for me.  We went out on the Trans Canada Trail here in Regina.  We snowshoed for half and hour, stopped for hot chocolate and snacks, and snowshoed back to the vehicles.  It was a wonderful time.  Only an hour but one awesome hour.

Most of my moments of inner peace happen in nature; kayaking, snowshoeing, hiking, camping, canoeing, biking, and even watching a sunrise or sunset.  But sometimes all it takes is being with or in the arms of the ones I love.  Inner peace moments generally do not happen often enough in my busy life, but when they do I am reminded of what life is all about.

Darin

January 23, 2009 Posted by | EPS 255, ESCI 215, General, Pre-internship | Leave a comment