Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thank you, NW eLearn!
I did some major self-promotion today!
I have uploaded my PowerPoint slides from my presentation on

Scroll down to the bottom, and you can download the slides. Feel free to contact me about anything I talked about, and I really appreciate all of the kind regards listed in the chat. I have one more presentation on this topic, and then I have to write a paper to be published before everything I am researching is obsolete.

This my favorite slide about "how technology came into our classroom." It cracks me up, so thanks to the person who posted "Hahaha" in the chat.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For The Birds
One of my favorite little stories to get teachers to think about technology and its use in the classroom, is to talk about the great Alfred Hitchcock film, The Birds.

When I was in college, my film professor used the scene of Tippi at the school to teach POV shots. We'd clap every time there was a film cut from Tippi to her POV. It was a pretty cheesy tactile exercise, but I understood POV and cuts from that point on.

Remember how the birds start coming one by one by jungle gym? They appear ever so slowly until there are so many, it's quite scary. Hitchcock uses real birds (and some puppets) to set up that suspense.

Then remember the scene where the birds are attacking the children as they run from the school?

If you have not seen this movie, I demand that you get off the Internet right now, and watch this movie. Then return to my blog. Pronto.

To our modern day eyes with all the green screen CGI, the bird scene is pretty dated, if not silly. The blood on the little girl's face is ketchup-like, and she could use some acting lessons. Is that fishing line on that bird puppet? The sound, however, is grating, if not terrifying. Tippi's face fills us with fear. We want her to protect her perfect green suit and her incredible blond hair. We forget that the special effects are dated, and we're scared. If we are good students of history, then we'll remember that at the time of this movie's premier, this scene was cutting edge. Audiences were terrified!
Our modern day eyes can forget the out dated special effects, and we're right back into the story. The content is good, and the story fills us with wonder. You never quite look at a group of birds the same way. You may even want to go to Bodega Bay, CA. You eye all fire places with suspicion forever more (or maybe that's just me).

So how does this connect to technology and teaching? It might be a stretch, but I like to have teachers think of themselves as Hitchcock, and the technology is what you use to tell a great story, to teach a good class, to share your learning. Why not try to do something that you haven't tried before and see how the audience reacts? If your content is good (like a quality film script), then the audience will be engaged.

Maybe the technology you use could be that spark for your students to learn something. Something new may take flight.

Friday, May 24, 2013

NW eLearn Webinar
Thanks to the lovely folks at NW eLearn, I am honored to share my research via webinar. Just as a fair warning to my readers, one of the audience members at the ATL conference said my presentation was like "learning on Red Bull." I think Red Bull tastes like melted Sweet Tarts and it gives me a headache, but I think she was sincere in giving me a compliment.

Another person told me later (as I was stuffing my face with the free food), that my presentation helped her see that "she could do it, too."

                                                My goal is to give you wings, not a headache.

I am doing a webinar on May 30. I'd love it if you could join me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Trenches of Curriculum Development

What does 12 days of sunshine, five bike rides, four runs, two days of gardening, two classes, one project, one conference, and one graduate class equal? Zero time for blogging.
I've just got to let it go that I can only get to this blog when the spirit moves me. I'm thinking of cancelling my Twitter account, so I am slowly shedding some of the practices that I picked up with the ETMOOC. Still, in terms of life-long learning, I think what I have accomplished with just trying new technologies is part of the success of that MOOC.

Just jumping into it all and seeing what sticks makes it worth it. Twitter just feels redundant since I'm actively using Diigo. Maybe I'll change my mind. Do I tweet a Diigo tag then Pin it and then blog about it? Geez. It's just too much. Especially when all I want to do is ride my bike.

Today, it's easier to work because it's windy and rainy (I hate riding in the wind).

In four hours, I will sit for my oral defense for M. Ed. I've spent the last two days making lists, reviewing notes, thinking about what I'll say, and trying to memorize names and publications (I'm awful at that, by the way). When I started this program three years ago, we were told to keep a binder of all of our work for our portfolio. My paper binder is no longer an option, and now I've got to figure out how to make this giant puzzle of my learning come together. I'm pretty confident I can talk about it tonight, but how I can summarize it all into a portfolio is a bit mystifying. Also, I've got to create an "applied research proposal" and this is the nail on the coffin of my future as a graduate student. I can't stand the idea of "proposing" anything that I will never execute any more. I've spent way too many hours on the theory and I'm ready for the practice. I suppose a doctoral program would allow me to actually do the research, but I think I'm just going to give it a go on my own.

Thinking about more graduate work is no longer exciting. It's totally exhausting. I started this whole odyssey back in 2007 when I didn't get the full-time job that I really wanted. Since then, I've been on search for something new. For a time, graduate school has been just that something new I needed. With two classes to go, I'm ready to pass the finish line. Motivation is tough to come by, but I must keep on.

On a positive note, I found one quote from a course that I took in April 2010 that actually matches some of my current interests with the Title III grant and my work with the eLearning department. It's pretty hilarious how I weave scathing institutional critiques with my own reflections on teaching! Who am I kidding? What terrible writing! I know better. I teach better writing skills than what I produced in this class. (Note to self: do not take this tone into your oral exam).  I have this two paragraph rant about how a full-timer got "release time" to develop an online class the same quarter I wrote a class during spring break (without pay). So it goes.

Here's my quote:
"In the future, I hope to advocate for more professional development support for adjuncts who teach OL. They are often the ones in the trenches of curriculum development with very little support and funding. They do not have the option to ask for release time nor can they opt out of teaching a class one quarter because they aren't satisfied with the content. The institution gets a real return-on-investment when it supports teachers who use technology. I'd like to be that person who helps those teachers."

Well, here I am three years later, and I'm doing exactly what I hoped for. Amazing. But I still have to graduate.

When I get the time, I'll post more about what I learned at the ATL conference, my work with OER, and some of the very cool projects I am working on this summer.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Pleased to meet you!
Hello Assessment, Teaching, & Learning Conference folks!

Welcome to my Personal Learning Network!

Thanks for attending my presentation today. Here is the blog that I mentioned in my presentation, and once the conference is over, I will post my presentation wiki here.

Hope to hear your ideas!