Darin Janssen’s Weblog

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

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