Coleman's expressions

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Week 1 - EME5405

I have had great fun reading my colleagues' introductory remarks this week. As usual, I'm always amazed at how "small" our world is and though we are all unique beings, there is usually a form of commonality among us (even beyond the goal of successfully completing this class!).

In my haste of posting the initial introduction, I neglected to specify some of the criteria for the assignment, so I will itemize here:

  • Current job title: Financial Aid Facilitator at L. Walker Institute of Technology - I accepted this role to try to increase the funds for retirement (since it is 236 day contract) and have applied more counseling and teaching to the position that may be required, otherwise I would be bored to tears...the student population (disenfranchised high school age through adult who are more successful at hands-on learning) is especially rewarding for me and fortunately, I am able to also assist with staff development and programming decisions. I don't anticipate staying in the position much longer, since I tend to move around fairly frequently, but the older I get, the more difficult it is to move...
  • EME 2040: When teaching this class, I engage students in a variety of application-oriented projects. As a survey/introduction class, I don't dig deep, but instead focus on giving many experiences. Students are exposed to application of theory (constructivism) and standards (both Sunshine State and ISTE) to technology, hardware (primarily basic and networking terms) and software applications/evaluations, rubrics and portfolios, WebQuests (wish I had time for them to build one, but...), Internet scavenger hunts, and of course the production of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher applications. Sometimes, I sneak in digital camera usage or handheld computer (PDAs), but tough since the equipment is limited (mine!). I always try to model various instructional techniques (i.e., KWL, graphic organizers (Inspiration), jigsaw, etc) so the students understand the integration. They are challenged to develop one technology integrated lesson plan and to participate in a Project Based Learning problem (which is where I incorporate blogs). The last couple of classes, I used WebCT as a tool for discussion boards, as well as online tests - I tested a couple of online lesson plans, but since the class was not advertised as "distance" learning, I had to be careful about what I did.
  • Current use of the Internet and other technologies: teaching a class in technology requires constant research and application of the content, so I use the Internet daily for both professional and personal purposes. Of course, e-mail is a "mainstay" anymore...surprisingly, even my 84-year-old mother depends on it (that and her cell phone - who would have known ten years ago?). I am interested in, but not had a chance to learn more about, digital video and video editing as it relates to educational technology. I embrace all of the technologies (thinking about blogs, RSS, and e-books is often over-whelming, but also exciting!), but I'm not convinced that either students or teachers know all they need to know for effective and efficient use and application - I am particularly concerned with ethical usage (validity of sites, plagiarism, etc), the lack of effective use of search engines, and the acceptance of technology as the "end-all".
  • My goals for this course: I am a very self-directed learner and utilize classes as a way to carve out time for transformational learning. I've always felt comfortable learning in a isolated sense - between me and the content/sometimes the teacher, but I've really grown to believe in the social meaning of learning and think that our current and future technology tools will help me explore that in many new ways. So, it is especially relevant that the focus of this class is on social software (I'd never heard the term before, but it is a connection for me)! I know my learnings from this class will lead to new pathways in my roles as teacher, employee, and individual.


  • Marie,

    Social learning theory is coming into its own with the translation of much of Vygotsky's work. I'm interested in how all of this is going to work online too. Some say that we lose the personal aspect of a class online, but I think I've learned just as much about my counterparts in this one week as I typically do in a whole traditional course. What about you?

    By Blogger brian dopson, at 1/14/2006 7:31 PM  

  • My experience with online classes and the use of discussion boards/forums/blogs tells me that the "social" aspect of learning is alive and well in distance education. Like any classroom, the teacher can facilitate more or less of the social learning, but the platform/tools do not limit - in fact, with my learning style/preference, the online interactions (and subsequent learning) are enhanced due to "any time" and the ability to "reflect" rather than having to make a spontaneous comment that was not well thought out in a traditional classroom setting.

    By Blogger Marie C, at 1/15/2006 8:21 AM  

  • Hi Marie!

    I’m glad you enjoyed your experience at Seoul American High School. I’m sure the school looks very similar to what you remember, since little renovations have taken place. I lived in Itaewon just minutes from the main shopping area. I miss being able to conveniently walk to restaurants, shops, local hangouts, etc. Living in Seoul was an experience I will never forget!

    By Blogger Kim McCalmont, at 1/16/2006 10:55 AM  

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