Todd’s Blog


A Combination of Talent – A Reflection of ECI 831
April 9, 2008, 11:32 am
Filed under: ECI 831

As I have preused the postings of digital projects and listened to the presentations of projects last night, I marvelled at the talented people in this class. There are so many good ideas being used to educate our children, and help others learn. This class has certainly benefitted the students in our classrooms. Although I know teachers in general are creative and talented people, we don’t often get a chance to ‘parade’ our work. There is so much out there, and easily accessible to me. I found myself in the staff room this morning discussing the many projects, pointing out ideas to people who I thought would be interested in similar projects. I also found myself offering to spend time with these colleagues, showing them what I have learned and what I have seen. This class, as mentioned by others last night, has molded many of us into role models, mentors, curriculum leaders. Like Cindy mentioned, the learning and connections made will not with this class. I for one am glad to have been part of it, and the network I have gained is invaluable to me. I’m glad we had the opportunity to get to know each other, learn from each other, and share with each other. These types of connections are so important in the world of education.

Thank you everyone for helping me to grow as an eduator and a learner.



Final Reflection of My Digital Project
April 9, 2008, 11:31 am
Filed under: ECI 831

My major digital project was a collaborative wiki developed as an independent unit for a Visual Arts 30 class for another teacher in my school. The collaborative part of this project was the development of the materials. Though my colleague had a few of the materials prepared in paper form, many of the resources, assignments, instructions, and evaluation rubrics were created from ideas we brainstormed together. We would talk about what she would like to see then I would create them, bring them back to her for proofing and possible revisions.

 

On the technological side, my contribution started with the development of the wiki. I started with the creation of the home page and added pages and links as the project started to take form. Some of the assignments would be needed by the students so I used my ftp account to store these files. I also created a worksheet for my colleague that required me to use Frontpage 2003 to make a single web page. One final piece to the resources was the creation of tutorials using Jing so that students could see how to add to the wiki, or use the required software which they need for the project.

 

As the wiki started to take form, I often asked my colleague to view it, getting her opinion on feel, flow, and whether her students would be able to use it independently. There were times I was not happy with the layout, and her opinion helped make the wiki navigate more smoothly. Once the unit goes into use I will act as an assistant to help students when they questions or need help. I will also be using the time to show my colleague the technological side of this project so that she will be able to modify it on her own and possibly create her own project some day.

 

Though I feel I am comfortable with computers and using software, I believe that I had a high degree of learning. The building of websites is not something I am familiar with or have done much. The learning of and use of a wiki was excellent for me. It opens the door to creating web pages and having others use and add to it without knowing html. Being able to create pages, link pages, add files, hyperlinks, images, etc was something I hadn’t done much, and it gave me some ideas that I can use with my students. Using an ftp account and creating a single web page, though creating a little more grief for me, was a good experience as it created a more comfortable feeling using them. I also learned how to use PhotoStory 3 and Windows Movie Maker more extensively. Though I had ‘played’ with them, this was my first experience really using them as a teaching tool. Along with that I learned about and used the program Jing. This was extremely important to me as I feel this is a tool I will use continually. What better way to help students learn to use the computer, software, and create things than through a step by step tutorial that they can see. Putting this project together has given me excitement to do more than I ever have before.

 

Fortunately the barriers were few and less significant in the grand scheme of things. One disadvantage to using a wiki is that it does limit what you can do, especially if you do not know html or css. It does peak my interest to learn more so that I can enhance what I am doing. Some examples of restrictions are: pictures don’t always go exactly where you want them, themes are limited (unless I want to pay for it), what can be added to the page is limited in how it is added and how it appears/acts, styles and formatting of fonts are limited. Also working with someone else has it downside. Much as two heads are better than one, being tied to someone else’s schedule can be limiting. Overall my colleague was quite cooperative. Lastly, I wish a blog could be integrated into the wiki. There is a journal writing part to the assignment and though it does have a discussion section, it isn’t exactly what I want. I thought that setting up an external blog was unnecessary so I settled. Who knows, as the assignment gets used and grows, the need for an external blog may be necessary.

 

I believe this is an excellent resource for Visual Arts and welcome any others that want to share it. My colleague is quite excited to use it, and it feels good to do something constructive for someone else to make their job a little more creative and easier.



Calming the Monster
April 6, 2008, 4:56 pm
Filed under: ECI 831

It’s a nice feeling, knowing one’s almost done. A week ago I blogged about the anxiety I felt about my major digital project. I was happy with how it was going, but it felt like I was having trouble controlling it. I had many ideas, but nothing seemed structured. Well, one week later, I feel great. The project is on the verge of being done. My collaboration with my colleague has gone well. Though there are a couple of instructional points to be added, the bulk of the unit is ready to go. It looks organized, and easy to navigate. This once reckless monster has been tamed into a friendly opportunity for students to learn. In the next couple of weeks we will be moving into the implementation stage, and getting students to use the project. My colleague is quite excited. She is happy with how the unit has turned out, and is looking forward to this new way of completing the unit with her students. I will play the role of helpdesk. Helping with issues, questions, and working along side students as they run into difficulties. Also, the two of us will see how students use the site and what ways we can imporve or change it for the better. Possibly even looking to add or remove segments.

I am feeling good about what I have done. I have learned so much. I know there is more I can do and I look forward to that opportunity as this digit unit I have created grows.

You can check it out at http://va30.wikispaces.com/. It feels good to have created something of value, and to help out a colleague in the process. If anyone has suggestions to add to or improve the unit, your suggestions are welcome.