Tuesday, June 25, 2013

My new MOOC and SCRATCH Intro Coming Soon...

First let me say,  I joined clmooc and I am very excited,Making Learning Connected, how much more can a 21st century educator or self appointed connectivist such as myself ask for.   I see some old faces and connections and many new ones to make, very exciting.

We have some great facilitators and I am really looking forward to it.  I love the concept of Make Cycles as each week/session is dedicated as such. I missed the first weeks session but that's OK, I watched it last night, posted here.

I love the idea of Find Fridays where we are challenged to go out and make connections via blogs, comments, google plus etc.  What a great way to help foster connectivity in a large MOOC.  So I hope to connect with some of you for joint projects soon!  This week I'm playing catch up and didn't want to do my introduction/make in my usual ways, for example, My animoto below, Go ahead watch it if you want.

I'm taking on what I thought we be a new but easy challenge, I have loved Scratch from MIT for years and have actively taught it for four years now.  Well, I havent been to the site or taught it in oh six, seven months and boy have there been some amazing changes.  Maybe they happened earlier and I never looked, I just taught and uploaded off of version 1.4.

To look at the new online interface and new features is awesome!  So While yes, I will be making a Scratch Introduction,  I will be taking the time to learn all the new online tools and am looking forward to the journey.  I'll post as soon as I'm done and let you know what I think.

I am looking forward to sharing and learning with my new clmooc community. As I finish this post I am already pondering this weeks questions.
  • What does it mean to be a maker? Why make? Why now?
  • What happens when makers converge around shared interests and purposes? What opportunities might we seize? What barriers do we face?
  • How do we find and build  diverse and inspiring networks of people, resources, and places that support our making and learning?
Thank you clmooc, I am already reflecting and I love it. :)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Looking for new Mooc

First I must apologize to mozilla.org as I did enjoy teachtheweb but after week 2 and a laptop issue,  I found I could not get re-interested. I quess this is why I tell people, MOOC's are not for college students or at least not most of them. It takes a high level of self discipline and a passion for the subject matter.  I quess I am not that passionate about coding. Shame really, teachtheweb explained it well in week 1 "The more you put in/invest the bigger the return".  I could not get excited enough to invest much and it shows.

I loved mixing pages and boning up my html and css skills but missed not being able to make the weekly session due to logistics. Week three brought grouping and I came in late; no one replied to my Google Plus so there you have it.

I'm way to much of a connectivist to feel so alone and a little behind.  Different from Etmooc, where I had no problem catching up if I lagged off.  But the wierd thing is I finished all of my "assignments" from etmooc.org (though not a valid word for a MOOC I suppose).  Everyweek and day, I looked at my google plus others blogs and had a blast.  This is me.  Not #teachtheweb, which is a total bummer as I really need PD hours after a year of working at the post-secondary  level and doing social media.   I have lost the focus I had for etmooc.  But I'd like to try again.

Anyone of my fellow MOOCer's have a new MOOC or course to suggest?  I need a new MOOC for the summer.  I am a connectivist at heart and have become a strong believer in connectivism and rhizomatic learning. Thanks to Alec Couros  and Dave Cormier for opening my eyes. :)

And to my followers, I missed you, I'll blog more, I promise, or better yet, I'll comment more!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

WebMaker's Thimble - Week 2 of MOOC

Well as you may or may not know, I am now participating in #teachtheweb sponsored by Mozilla.org.  Week 2 has begun and I have found some interesting changes from my last MOOC, etmooc.  More about that later….Ok, This weeks assignment, to create a “webby”.  As put on the home page of #teachtheweb the goal was to: create a webpage or video using Thimble,Popcorn Maker or Xray.

Please view my very simple Thimble project here.

Good thing, my link was in my browser history as I couldn’t begin to tell you how one goes about finding their projects on Thimble. At first I thought this would be a great tool for teaching html but I find myself on the fence.  Here are a few of my issues and remember, I love to jump in and play and learn as I go so I created a "persona", required by Mozilla and off I went.

 1. Once I picked my template, I did not like the font. Nothing in the documentation to help you there, umm, where is the Q and A ?

2. I found myself using the html code I already had knowledge of in order to make some adjustments. This would be cumbersome for a newbie to coding, there is no way to find out how to do things your template does not allow, such as center, enter or remove a page break, change columns etc.

3. Once you sign in, I literally could not find my project.  There was nothing under my login name except the option to logout. I have left a screen shot below. I was surprised that not only could I not find my project, that meant I could not edit it nor do I have any html for embedding.Does it have that option?

On the plus side, using the templates provides does help a student learn html and some css as long as they are willing to read the comments thoroughly and be willing to do some googling for features, fonts, colors, headers.  I think that it is great that you can see the changes you make to the html and css directly on the create/edit page which does help the beginner a great deal.  I believe if you can immediately see your work it makes more sense and their I give Thimble huge kudos.It was great to be able to see how your changes affected your page in a dynamic creative environment.

On Moocing, I feel bad as I do not nearly have the time I had during etmooc.  I think it is funny that people are worried about due dates and such.

The MOOC experience is just that an experience and you will get highly stressed out if you look at all the posts and feel behind.  My advise, take it at your own speed, digest it, it's Ok, not to be right there with the tide, you will catch up and if not I am sure what you will find that what you have learned you have also digested, analyzed, created and shared.

The connectivist approach used in this type of MOOC allows for a NEED FOR TIME. You need to have and give the time to read other's blogs, look at their work, comment comment away and then find yourself amazed with all that you have learned when you do have the time to sit back and reflect and blog (hopefully).

As we move into week 2, connected learning, I urge you to look at Rhizomatic Learning by Dave Cormier. It is an amazing concept and to give you an idea I will quote Dave's Blog post

"The rhizome is a stem of plant, like hops, ginger or japanese bamboo, that helps the plant spread and reproduce. It responds and grows according to its environment, not straight upwards like a tree, but in a haphazard networked fashion.  As with the rhizome the rhizomatic learning experience is multiple, has no set beginning or end, – “a rhizome creates through the act of experimentation.”   The idea is to think of a classroom/community/network as an ecosystem in which each person is spreading heir own understanding with the pieces the available in that ecosystem. The public negotiation of that ‘acquisition’ (through content creation, sharing) provides a contextual curriculum to remix back into the existing research/thoughts/ideas in a given field. Their own rhizomatic learning experience becomes more curriculum for others."

Looking forward to week 2 and miss the online meetings.  They really help me to stay motivated and focused when I was in etmooc.

Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm MOOCing Again, TeachtheWeb

Hello fellow, #teachtheweb particants.  I am so excited to be a part of a new MOOC. Please feel free to look around my blog and get to know me. 

 I have to warn you I loved Etmooc!  So I may have big expectations, but that's Ok, I'm a self motivated learner and hope I can share and produce as much as possible.

So, I think I like MOOCs.  This one is different, the format changes but not too much, my google plus community is still there just a new one.  I love participating in online sessions via chat or blackboard, skype etc. but am not able to make the 11am timeframe here in NH.  No problem, I can still watch and reflect but I will miss the live online interaction.  I am not a fan of twitter chats, I get lost down one road and boom, the conversation is over but I will always try to participate and share when I can.

I'm leaving my animoto video here to say hello and introduce myself.  I hope you enjoy it. I'm working on my Mozilla Thimble page and I already love the tool for teaching.  I can see a whole new blog post in the works when I am done playing..  I have taught web design and blogging for a while and it makes HTML so easy!!  I promise to post my new page when it's done.  For now, saying hello to new teachtheweb friends and new connections!

Where are the Computer Teaching Jobs

Today, I blog with a purpose.  With 21st century education being on top of the educational hit list, I find myself utterly shocked at the lack of postings for Computer Technology Teaching Positions.  Even the computer integrator positions have gone down drastically.  Did my months participating in etmooc make me blind?  There were so many other computer teachers, or like minded people that I  truly hoped and believed the postings would start in April as usual.  Go to Google and type in Computer Technology Teaching Positions, or better yet, try any of the famous searches I have done, "digital media" "social media" "adjunct professor" "computer educator" "computer integrator" "technology teacher" "computer teacher".  You will not find much if anything.

I got my master's in computer technology integration as I love computer technology of any kind, I truly do.  Ok, I have a special love for social and digital media as well as citizenship and digital storytelling, but you get the point.  I can and love to teach education, computer productivity applications and have a special passion for teaching blogging and web 2.0 which allow for communication, collaboration and creativity (the building blocks of the 21st century learner).

I am truly starting to think I should have gotten my master's in a content area such as science (as the positions I do see are always "core" subjects), and while I like science a lot, I'm not ready nor can I afford the classes needed for a new certification.  Hmm.. now in order to teach, I am considering leaving what I consider to be the most important subject "computer technology"??  Here in the state of New Hampshire, I think we are progressive yet as I have extended my search to include the state of Massachusetts with not much success.

Has computer education falling to the wayside?  Am I living in the wrong location?

I wonder how many will see this for I am not self promoting though I do think I am an amazing teacher, but as my master's classes fall to the wayside due to lack of enrollment, I look to other colleges and public education and am truly surprised at the lack of posts for positions for which I am qualified, here in NH, with a certification and master's in Computer technology integration and five years of experience I am left to wonder if I picked the wrong field, the wrong state, or the wrong country.  I hear technology is at the top of the educational food chain in some European countries, and I know it is obvious when I look at my community from etmooc. I guess I'm just a frustrated computer technology teacher displaced and needed to rant.  Ok, I miss teaching full time, I admit it, but how do I fix it?

I would geniunely love to hear comments on this one!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Why do You Teach?

I believe this quote sums up how I feel.

As I get ready to rejoin the public education system.  It has not been without some fears or hesitations.  I am a strong believer in student relationships and connections.  I have found the more I foster these relationships and connections no matter how small, I and my subject matter come to life for my students.  Am I alone?  In my time in public education, I have found it is the small things that matter.  Small conversations, welcoming your class, a hand shake and a proper saluation.  Having solid procedures and a good management philosphy are the coor of a great class, to me, but always remember, Respect goes both ways.  We should respect our students as we would like them to respect us.  So why do I bring this up, because, 

1.  I'm nervous, interviews and such.
2.  What if I lost my touch?
3.  I feel I am connected and qualified enough to be able to say I do not feel I am so much the intervewed as the interviewer.  I have worked in three, yes three school districts and I know what I am looking for and what it takes to help make a teacher successful, a well supported open community of eductors and administators.  A great school philosophy and mentality and a love of authentic, 21st century learning... AND

4. I recently came across a great post, Young People Don't Be Afraid To Become a Teacher, and it was very potent.  I love that the author stands by her convictions that are the reasons why I know I am a teacher and need to teach:

We need great teachers in public schools.  Don't be shy until you try.

Teaching can bring incomparable joy, Nothing I have done has brought me as much joy.
I can honestly say that when teaching public school there was never a time when I didn't want to go to work, I enjoy spending hours online to jazz up a lesson and provide visual resources and paths other than me, and that the spark of a students interest is immeasurable to me.  My five years, like the author has made me grow and has brought me great joy.

It truly took my year off to pursue Higher Ed that has shown me, I am happiest in the classroom and yes, ages are important.  I love and miss middle and high school but I would have never found out how rewarding everyday was until teaching higher ed.  This was the year I found me, and I am a teacher.  I believe in relationships, cooperation, collaboration, connectivism and I love the varied challenges that stem from teaching teenager's.  I love being a guide and a mentor.  I am blessed I have had this change to reflect and figure out what type of teacher I am.  Sometimes we as teachers need to find our place and I am solid in knowing my place is with the confused and hormonal, call me crazy.  Many have.

Sadly enough, so yes, while many of the pitfalls noted in Randy Turner's post, Young People, dont become a teacher, are very very true.  Sometimes, you just don't fit.  Admistration and lack of discipline can be difficult at times, horrifying at others, I swear it is still worth it.  Administration can be appeased, look to the student and not the test and the test will improve. Difficult students are just that difficult, but why are they difficult, are you williing to take on the challenge of trying to crack this student, spark an interest, show them that someone cares?  

I won't lie, it doesn't always work and if you do not feel supported to remove a student or administer consequences then you are probably going to have a really bad quarter or year, BUT, you might make a connection and make the difficult student your "peer tutor" allowing them to get up and help (ok talk), it's possible.  

While teaching is not always cherry's and can be difficult and darn right exhausting, for those of us who thrive to make a difference, it is those one or two or fifty sparks and joys received from being an educator, the look on a a students face when they finally get it, sharing knowledge and preparing, contributing to a student's growth that is worth every underpaid or unappreciated moment.  So, I'll ask again, Why do you teach?  Love comments!!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Thank you ETMOOC, I Need To Connect

Wow, I miss you already. I am so surprised, I have been so upset that I have had no time to blog and stay connected with a new job in social media. I am doing what I love doing for myself for others and well. It's OK. Fun, yes, but can you imagine blogging and following feeds and composing tweets on a topic you do not love?? It is not an easy task, and I don't think I thought about that. Lesson learned. Oddly, I got the job because of my activity on #etmooc so thank you, my social media skills have increased two folds. I have also recieved gift certificates and new online promotional and early releases and tools from google blogspot, twitter and bufferapps. Pretty neat stuff. Who knew?

Thank you ETMOOC, you brought me out of my online shell. I'm actually quite loud and extremely excited when discussing education and technology in person, yet I can honestly say, I have officially gone from lurker to contributor and producer, again, Many many thanks.I created a lenthy reflection of etmooc here for you reading pleasure.

For the many connections, well that just rocks, I feel like there are at least 8 - 10 people, I would not be afraid to ask for help or to maybe webcast with one of my classes. You know who you are, or do you? I wonder if the connections I feel, feel the same way?

Alec Couros, Thank you so so much for an amazing learning experience that was better than any course I have taken, sorry Jeff... It's just that I had and was allowed to learn at my own pace and while I put a lot of hours in, I had a blast commenting, creating, sharing.

Heck, I created or borrowed new content for three master's level courses. Please check out my new emerging technology class here. I would love suggestions, I think the flow could be fixed/changed. Content is mostly from #etmooc and the thousands of amazing links, resources and the general OER environment, My diigo to read list is full and may take the summer and I am grateful. In my time of not teaching in public school and feeling lost, I found #etmooc, or it found me. Thanks to all, Wish me luck as I continue my journey and attempt to move back into public education. I miss the middle schooler's, I miss the engagement and I miss the relationships. While higher ed rocks, the teacher in me, needs the crazy I guess.

Connected Technology Educator is Seeking Middle or High School Position in NH or MA.
Huh, the first time I used my blog for self advertisement. I think.

More to come, I found that I get literally sad when I cannot be myself, connect, blog and tweet away .