I’ve been watching the ETMOOC introductions fly by for about a week now, and am struck by how overwhelming it all is. There are, at last count, 1647 participants in this course, and if everyone posted only once in the past week I would end up with far more than I could ever possibly hope to read.
Online learning, building Personal Learning Networks, and such has that problem with it. I’m on Twitter, but I try to keep the number of people I follow fairly low (presently it’s at about 180) so that I can keep up with them a bit and hopefully learn about about them as people.
I’ve seen other teachers on Twitter follow as many as 5000 people. I have no idea how you can do that and learn anything substantial about the people you follow. One of the people I follow lives in the U.S. Northeast, is passionate about teaching English, and seems to be something of an amateur jazz musician. It’s hard enough to learn about 180 people, could I really learn about and learn from 5000?
MOOCs look great, but I’m starting to think that a smaller scale might be more useful. After all, when you took a course in university, did you feel a greater connection to your prof in the course with 400 first years students, or the 4th year seminar with only 15 people in it?
Greetings, ETMOOC community!
I`m James, a school teacher in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I consider myself a Social Studies teacher since history is really what gets me fired up. I work with our regional heritage fair (the Red River Heritage Fair) to get kids fired up about history, and try to do informal events to link social studies teachers together face to face.
However, as the teacher who dabbles in technology, I`ve ended up becoming a computer media teacher as well. I do all those courses like digital photography, and desktop publishing that no one else wants to do. I didn`t train to do any of that stuff since most of it didn`t exist when I got my teaching degree. I think I`ve learned to do most of it fairly well, but never having been formally trained at it, I tend to be a bit unsure.
I go by the handle `mrpuffin` on most networks, so I`m easy to find on Twitter and it wouldn`t be hard to guess my GMail address.
I`m currently playing with black and white photography to improve my eye for when I have my students work with it. Fortunately for me, my son is a willing subject who really likes to ham it up for the camera. I`m enjoying the experiment. It`s curious that I`ve always looked down on the old technology in black and white and now I`m seeing new possibilities in it.
I hope to `meet`a good number of people in this ETMOOC, or at least to learn from them. It`s pretty simple to learn a couple about computers, or collaboration, and then think you`ve arrived. I hope to be stretched by this experience and see new ways to get the kids put things together in a fresh way.
I registered a few days ago for the Education Technology and Media Massive Open Online Course (try to say that quickly) which, as of January 5, had 680 registered participants from all sort of wild places around the globe.
It looks like a promising way to connect with teachers from all over the place who are interested in education and technology It also looks like it may encourage me to be a bit more reflective. For example, it looks like some blogging is part of the process. While I’ve had this blog for several years, I haven’t used it a lot lately. That’s kind of a shame since a blog is a great way to reflect on what you’re doing, what’s going well and what you could change.
I’m looking forward to learning a lot in this course. I’ve already learned that there is a whole category of courses called Massive Open Online Courses (I didn’t know that). If just by registering I learn something, that’s not a bad beginning.
Posted in ETMOOC, Musings
Chemistry Mobile is another cool (and free) Android app, this time useful in the science classroom. It allows you to do things like calculate molar masses, and balance chemical equations. There’s a built in periodic table inside and several other things that I’m not enough of a chemist to really understand.
It’s received positive reviews all around. There is no version to which you can upgrade since it seems that the developer of this app is willing to give you everything for free.
A few days ago I stumbled the idea of a history bee, and, as I am wont to do (not often you get to use wont in a real sentence), I started to wonder what that would look like.
For now I’m thinking that the best format would be in teams of three or four in a kind of Reach for the Top format. The students could, in theory, help each other study for the actual event.
Naturally, you’d need to narrow down, just a bit, the area of history that you cover. Since I do Canadian Social Studies, I would cover Canada, possibly even limiting it to a subfield like prime ministers, or immigration.
I’m not sure where I’d come up with all the questions. I’m picturing doing this with two Social Studies class (52 kids) which would likely mean I’d have 8 teams per class. I could re-use questions between classes, but I’d need more questions still if I had a playoff between the classes.
Motivation is also one question that leaves me wondering. If you could get the kids enthused, this would be fantastic, but in a day of student-centered education, can we get the kids working really hard studying bits of historical trivia just because it’s fun.
I’m not sure how a history bee would work out, but I’m sure going to think about it.