Darin Janssen’s Weblog

Collaborative Project Rolls On

After our online lesson Jordan and I taught the grade 7/8s we had a few days where nothing was happening.  It turned out Mr. Park was doing some PD so he was not in the classroom.

Some of Mr. Park’s students have uploaded their presentations to Google Docs now but I have not seen all of them yet.  Jordan and I found some problems with one of us being invited to the document and not the other, but in the end it was because the students had typed in our email addresses wrong.  We fixed the ones we have access too, but are unsure about the rest of the class at this time.  I have been able to check out the presentations I have access too and have made suggestions as to how some slides can be improved.  Some of the things I have noticed on the presentations which are easily fixed are with image placement, poor colour combination, writing everything they want to say on the slide, and generally slides which are too busy.

Mr. Park is having some problems now with not being able to edit the slides in Google Docs.  Jordan and I are able to edit the presentations, so it must be something on Mr. Park’s side.  We are trying to figure it out and resolve the problem now.  We are also thinking about a possible plan B.

The project so far has being a great experience for me.  The problems with technical difficulties have been a pain, but nothing every works out perfectly.  With more experience with the tools involved I am sure there would be few difficulties.  The concern I have is all the extra work which Mr. Park and his students have had to do so that the project is collaborative.  I am sure that Mr. Park could have had students fix up their projects in less time than it is taking now.  But, the experience of working with someone other than Mr. Park and to gain insights on their work from someone else will be beneficial to the students in the end.  It would sure be nice if everything worked as easily as we thought they would in the original plans.

March 31, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455 | , , | Leave a comment

Collaborative project

For the collaborative project for ECMP 455 Jordan and I have been working with Paul Park’s grade 7/8 class.  Our project is to help Paul’s students create better presentations.  Because Paul is teaching in Mortlach we were able to meet face to face to discuss the project.  It was great to be able to have that initial meeting face to face and get to know each other before the project began.

Jordan and I then met a couple times and emailed with Paul until we were all sure of where we were going with the project.  Jordan took on the part of researching good a bad presentations, and I took on the tools side of the research.  We originally wanted to use either Slideshare or Google docs to do our collaborative side of the project with the students and use WizIQ or Skype to teach a lesson in Paul’s class.  After some research on the programs and their capabilities Paul and I had conversations using Google Chat, Skype, and WizIQ and came to the conclusion that the best route would be to use Google Docs and WizIQ.

Jordan and I prepared a lesson for the grade 7/8 class and made sure all the technology worked the way we were hoping it would.  On the day of our lesson everything went well accept for some minor difficulties.  Even though we tested everything the day before we were unable to get the screen sharing to work properly and the Youtube video would not play.  We came to the conclusion that with WizIQ running on twenty computers plus the added band width of video it was too much for the school server.

The lesson went well other than these minor issues and I was very please with how the lesson turned out.  I am pretty sure that the students learned something from us and I know that I learned from this experience as well.  I learned that no matter how many times I rehearse and practice a lesson beforehand there is always something that can go wrong; especially when using technology with students.  We just have to roll with it and do the best we can.  I also learned not to trust that screen sharing will work.  Before this lesson I did not trust screen sharing because of how poorly it works during elluminate sessions.  In testing, screen sharing worked so well, but when it was time to actually teach with it, it failed me again.  I am not saying that I will never try to screen share again, but I will always have a backup plan.

March 17, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, school | , , , , | 2 Comments