Darin Janssen’s Weblog

March Teach Us Something

After watching part of the recording, I have to apologize to everyone who sat through my presentation last night and has watched the recording.  I clicked the pointer tool and was using it to point to different things on my slide deck while I was presenting, but it was not showing up for you.  I must have had to actually click on something else to engage the pointer on the screen.

Well I feel this presentation went better than the February one but I still have some work to do with presenting online.  I stumble a lot, but not as much as last time.  That was a plus.  I guess I need to practice what I am going to say even more.  I really need to be more conscious about how much I say “uhh”.  I need to get rid of the verbal thinking because it makes me sound like I do not know what I am talking about.  It is one thing to pause to think, but to verbalize a pointless sound sounds terrible.

I kept referring to Smart Notebook Software as PowerPoint.  This was especially bad because I was teaching about Notebook Software.  I can attribute this to PowerPoint being such a staple word to our vocabulary; much like referring to all snow machines as “Skidoos”  even if they are Arctic Cat snow machines.

I was disappointed with my slides after they uploaded to elluminate.  When I created the slides all the images and text were clear and legible; not so when they were uploaded and converted.  I created all my slides in notebook and then exported them to PowerPoint so they could be uploaded to elluminate.  The slides still looked good in PowerPoint.  My screen shots of notebook were not clear and therefore hard for everyone to clearly see what I was talking about on the screen shots.  At this time I do not know what the fix would be for this problem.  Maybe it has something to do with the actual image quality of the shots before they are uploaded.  Quality must get decreased when the images are converted so I would need to use a much high quality of image in the first place so the image is still of decent quality in the end.

I struggled with the idea of creating a slide deck verses screen sharing.  My experience with screen sharing has not been the best for two reasons.  One is that the screen sharing opens up too big in elluminate.  I then have to scroll left to right, and up and down just to see where the presenter is talking about.  I think that the screen sharing should only open into the same size window as the whiteboard and show the presenter’s entire screen in this space without the need to scroll.  This alone would make screen sharing more effective and I would not be so hard on it.  The second reason is that there is a delay in what the presenter is doing on the screen and what is shown to the viewer.  If the presenter is moving through steps too quickly or is scrolling up and down, the viewer can not see anything but flashes or messed up images.  I realize this is a limit to screen sharing because of the time it takes the data to move over the internet.  Presenters have to be aware and conscious of these problems when using screen sharing.

In the end I decided to use a slide deck because of the possibility of few technical difficulties and easier for everyone to see everything I am talking about.  The problem with a slide deck for this assignment is we were trying to teach about a program.  This is not done easily without a huge slide deck.  It is really hard to visualize what the presenters are explaining to me when I do not have any experience with their programs.  I decided to create my slide deck and use the pointer tool to help explain what I was talking about.  As my apology above states, the pointer did not work for me and thus my classmates did not receive my presentation to its fullest.  My classmates who used the screen sharing, even with its limitations, were able to do a better job of showing their program then I was.  Next time I will have to look at using a combination screen share and slide deck depending on what I am explaining at that time.

Overall, the teach us something lessons were great.  I wish we had more time to do another presentation.  I would have liked to use what I have learned to improve.  Who knows, I may have the opportunity to teach online in the future and I will then use what I have learn then.

Here are the links to the Smart websites I mentioned in my presentation:

SMART Products – http://www2.smarttech.com/st/en-us/products/

SMART Training – http://smarttech.com/Trainingcenter/

SMART Exchange – http://exchange.smarttech.com/curriculum.html#Saskatchewan%20Standards

March 31, 2010 Posted by | ECMP 455, Reflection | , , , | 1 Comment

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

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