The First ‘Official’ Blog Post!

Prompt from last week’s class: To introduce yourself and your connections to online education.

First of All:

I want to introduce you to my Flickr and Twitter accounts. I will be using Flickr as an extension of my blog, because my Learning Project is on photography! I will discuss what I learned on my blog, but my actual before/after shots will be saved on my Flickr account. I also hope to use Flickr itself as a resource to help me get better at photography.

TL;DR Version:

Below, I reflect on how I struggle with online classes because they require more independence in organizing and completing work. I vowed to take more responsibility for the class.

I also reflected on how online blogging/communication is great for me because I love to ramble – and I can do it here, with minor inconvenience to others, whereas if I get going in person, I could talk an ear off. I also think online can be better than face to face because some people may share more insight than if they have been asked to face to face. Barriers can be broken down easier.

I reflected on my past experience teaching with technology: too many passwords to remember, Online Safety Course (done online) I experienced during internship (very cool, authentic, and engaging), Smartboard exploration, and good old Google Earth!

My thoughts on blogging are that I like doing it, but forget to do it – so this class will help me focus on making a routine out of it!

The “Harder” Version:

(I titled this as such because I had a math teacher who would point out that I often tried to do things a longer, or harder way. It’s punny, because my last name is Harder.)

I have been typing away on this blog for ECMP, but haven’t done the “official” introductory post yet. I just checked the Weekly Plans page, and I realized I should have done that earlier!

  • I know I am a person who likes face to face routine and interaction (I am a people person!) and so I am aware that online classes are difficult in some respects for me.
  • Also, face-to-face classes usually discuss everything you are supposed to do and when you are to do it, and are more structured – whereas, online, you can get farther ahead on things (or fall farther behind) because you are the main decision-maker on when you work on it. You need to take initiative to look at due dates, and pace yourself through the week. Nobody is there standing over your shoulder! Online learning comes easier, I believe, to people who can organize well on their own, and set up their own time management, etc.
  • However, although I am not the greatest at that right now, it is still the beginning of this class and I think this is a great opportunity to work on these skills of being more independent, exploratory, and organized.

Later Tomorrow Now Tick Boxes Procrastination Concept (Vector Illustration Design)

What I have learned from this experience is:

  • Do what you know you have to do ASAP. If you can’t finish it all, write it down (make a reminder blog even?) so you don’t have to re-gather yourself and organize before you start working when you pick it up again.
  • Write out a schedule of what time you need to get things done by. These past two weeks I have said “I will do it tomorrow” then the next day “I will do it tomorrow” and thus begins the cycle of procrastination and, here we are, Tuesday night, scrambling.
  • I have decided now that I will work on any classwork Thursday and Friday nights after work, and use the weekend for my learning project!

I also want to touch on a few things that already stand out to me, in a positive way, about online blogging!

  • I like that it is as simple as Delete/Undo to get rid of things. I type fast and think a lot, and so to write by hand for 2 pages only to scrap the paper is such a waste of time and energy. I like how fast you can learn, and teach, and communicate.
  • When I am face to face, I (and other students) may only share a portion of what we are actually thinking. I believe online communication brings out an honesty and a confidence in people. (We need to be careful in directing this into elaboration and extension – and not carelessness and cyberbullying, as I know online interaction can also unfortunately give people a sense of courage to do things they wouldn’t, or shouldn’t, do in real life).

Okay, so my history with technology…

  • What stands out to me the most is actually a bad experience. When I was interning, my students had three different addresses to access three different resource sites – and it was confusing for the students, and me, to help them remember/track all of them! Some had to have longer passwords and there were other roadblocks, so we couldn’t just make one password straight across the board. I understand the need for passwords for privacy and to teach students to develop a sense of online identity, but it was just such a pain! As a teacher, I think I will try to plan my resources in such a way that students only need to memorize one password, or else have class-passwords up on the board where anyone in the class can access it all from one account.
  • One of the resource sites was an Online Safety course, made by someone within the school division I was working in. A woman came in to introduce it to the class. It was fantastic and matched Grade 4 outcomes perfectly. I loved that it was all done online, for a completely authentic (and engaging) experience. I thought of what we probably would have experienced in the early 2000s – reading pamphlets and writing quizzes on online safety. What point is there in using pencil and paper, when you can be on an actual computer, using how to use it safely as you go? Students got to experience how to use chat rooms, multiple choice quizzes, etc. and it was all very educational. It was set up in modules, so it was very organized and the students always had somewhere to go after they finished what they were doing (and was straight forward to teach).
  • During my pre-internship, I used the Smartboard extensively with students, but not on websites – so not really “online”. It was a visual aid, so we could fill in charts as a group. (My LA unit was almost exclusively writing in charts!)
  • I did, however, use the Smartboard to take students on a trip around the world on Google Earth. We checked out the school we were in and walked around it, and we checked out a city in the Philippines (where many of the students in the class were from) and then even flew a plane over Regina in Google Earth. The kids had immense fun and learned that geography education is literally at their fingertips.
  • In my internship I used the Smartboard less, but the students taught me how to erase information quickly. It really hit me, then, that this new generation is a lot more savvy than even my generation is with technology, and we need to encourage students to teach us as much as we teach them. We need to work together for technological education for all.

My Thoughts on Blogging

I would say I have a distinct online voice, and don’t feel uncomfortable blogging at all. Being consistent in my blogging, however, is another story – I tend to forget my online identity, because I enjoy being in the face-to-face world so much! So, I am excited for this class, to get me a bit more comfortable with making this a routine. I know it will pay off in the long run!

Routine, change - yellow road-sign

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