WEEK 3: Sept 24-30

The main focus during this week was collaborating with my group members on the project that will be our main focus for the remainder of the course. The project was designed to represent two phases. As outlined on the course outline. Begin by choosing a topic or theme for your content AND a framework for your module (project-based learning, I-Search or WebQuest*), being aware that depending on your choice, your actual web-based module. Clearly work through together, the concepts that need to be included in the web-design project, as described in Assignment 3. Accommodation of at least 3 of the 9 multiple intelligences must be apparent in the design of the web-based lesson.

Our group decided on a WebQuest designed for grade four students ages 9-10. Our WebQuest is built around a real world, authentic task which is designed to be interesting, engaging and relevant for the students. The tasks for our students will be to create a presentation promoting a destination for an online travel company. to target students in grade four in the area of social studies.

During this phase our group needed to create a concept map outlining the project. In addition a write-up needed to accompany the map describing the WebQuest project. I have had some experience working with mapping software like inspiration, and kidspiration. However I did find a software program that I began using that seemed to be very user friendly. Cmap tools provided the required environment needed to create our concept map.

WEEK 4: Oct 1-7

After some discussion with my other group members we decided to divide up the work for our project. This seemed to be the way to go and from previous experience the collaboration worked out very well. I took the lead role in designing the concept map and sent draft copies to my other two members for feedback. It was important to have each member working together to ensure all members were working on the same theme.

As the other two members worked on the write up they too sent drafts for suggestions, additions etc. It was important that the write up and the concept map matched our vision and that it laid the foundation for the next assignment which was to follow. apart from some minor corrections and tweaking I believe we are close to finishing assignment 2.

During the end of the week while reading online I found and interesting article at a website I visit quite frequently. Education Technology Solutions ETS is an online magazine discussing educational technology in Australia. Even though the magazine is Australian based I find may of the articles very relative to our system in North America. The article I am referring to was called //Digital Education: Comparison In Attitudes.// The article which discussed the results of a study began with the hypothesis that “there is a disconnect between the digitally capable students and digitally challenged educators in schools with laptop programs, limiting effective use of DT in the classroom”. DT refers to digital technology.

I found some interesting findings that I feel are very similar to what we are experiencing closer to home. Specifically the study showed “A majority of students (58.3%) and educators (67%) agree that schools should allow students to explore self expression using DT. A majority (students 72.4% and educators 87.9%) also agree that students should be encouraged to use new technologies in schools.” I think that these results echo many of the sentiments felt in our school system. Clearly I am basing this on my own findings. I also find it very interesting as well when the study claims “Educators agreed that student misuse is common (60%) and students thought that educators have difficulties in using DT (57%) causing time wasting due to a lack of knowledge or technical constraints.”

Speaking with many students and colleagues I too agree that these results parallel our situation here. Many of my teachers tell me that they do not use technology in their classroom simply because they do not feel they have the technical background to deliver the content.Lack of training has and I believe still is a major roadblock on preparing our teachers to become more proficient in using technology in their classroom.

The study goes on to further provide recommendations for getting digital technology implemented in the classroom. One underlying thing I see that jumps out at me is the cost for the support one needs and ensuring that all parties have a vested interest in the implementation. From teachers, to students, parents, school council, government agencies and specifically school board have to be pulling on the same side of the tug-of-war rope. Then and only then will we have a better chance at succeeding in the 21st Century environment.

WEEK 5: Oct 8-14

After a very enjoyable Thanksgiving with my family and friends experiencing the traditional turkey dinner and pumpkin pie it was nice to get back to the routine of returning to work and sharing stories with colleagues and students. This was to be our final week to finish assignment 2 of our concept map since it is to be submitted at the end of the week. In addition to this my main focus will be on working on my e-portfolio. Putting the finishing touches on the concept map and the accompanying paper is close to being finished. Ensuring the concept map is exactly what we wish to portray in our next assignment is very important. The concept map must match what the WebQuest will deliver.

The majority of my other time has been spent on developing my eportfolio. I have decided to use wikispaces. I am somewhat familiar with the site and I like they way it looks and ease of use. I will put a link up on the forum at the end of this week to allow other participants to provide feedback. This has been a very busy week but feel I have accomplished some worthwhile material that I will be able to build on as I move forward along the remainder of the course timeline.