Off to a Start

There’s probably going to be a lot of jumping around in this blog. There’s also probably going to be more questions asked than actual reflection. I’m hoping that a lot of these questions will be answered in the information that this course (COETAIL) leads me to. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe there aren’t any clear cut answers to the questions I have. Well I hope at least to be able to articulate my questions a little better as this course pushes forward.

I just finished reading this article by Will Richardson for the second time and, wow, I feel a little overwhelmed. I feel a little overwhelmed because it’s given me so much to think about. It’s made me reflect on both how my students and I use computers on a daily basis – both inside and outside the classroom. It’s got me looking at technologies that I already knew about in different ways – Google Docs and blogs being the big ones. It’s made me rethink the boundaries I’ve drawn up in my mind separating learning technologies from socialising technologies. It’s opened me up to a world of new possibilities.

After I read the article for the first time, I realised that I need to start analysing my computer habits and, where applicable, start applying the technologies spoken about by Richardson. You could say that I need to step out of my e-comfort-zone. For if I’m not adept at using these technologies (Google Docs, blogs, wikis and so on) then how can I seriously expect my students and I to harness their power? My students are probably already advanced users of these technologies. It’s time for me to catch up.

Yesterday, my colleague sent me our grade seven mathematics assessment programme which I printed out so that I could make copies for my class. After picking it up off the top of the printer, I realised that there was a typo – he had forgotten to edit the course title field and so it read “IB Mathematics HL”. I edited the field so that it was correct on my copy and then made my prints. I considered sending it back to my colleague but I decided that it was going to be too time consuming and that I’d instead just mention it to him the next time I saw him in the hall. A little later I realised that we’re using the wrong tool for the job. An assessment programme is a document that should be accessible and editable to all teaching staff involved. We should be using something like Google Docs to give us this capability. It came to me that we need to start asking questions like “Who needs readable and/or writable access to this?” before we go to Start → All Programs → Microsoft Office. We’re living in the Collaborative Age.

These are two goals that I’m going to set myself in the short term:

1. I need to start choosing the right technology for any given job.

2. I need to become aware of the technological possibilities out there.

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3 thoughts on “Off to a Start

  1. Using the right technology for the job. I can agree to that. However, I just tried sharing my team minutes via google docs and unfortunately, the formatting required my teammates to eventually download the document in order to make it easier to view. Hmmmm. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Daryl
      I’ve only been using Google Docs for a short while so I don’t really have any good suggestions for you. If something like this was happening to me, I’d probably just put the file up on the network and share its path with my teammates (making sure they could edit it). There are still a lot of improvements that need to be made to Google Docs in my mind – its interface being one of the big ones.
      Cheers
      Jamie

  2. Great post! I love the way you’ve interwoven the concepts from your previous post (and by the way, I totally agree that you need to use the right tool for the job) and this week’s reading. I appreciate that there may always be more questions than answers, and I think it’s so important that you’re asking – that’s what learning is all about. Although I do agree that it’s important to have some grasp of what tools are out there and what they can do, I don’t think you need to know the ins and outs of everything. Your students will be quick to figure that out – you just need to “know the verbs” (i.e. what you want your students to do with the tools). You’re off to a great start!

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