September 14, 2014

WEEK ONE – BEGINNINGS

As part of my ECI 831 Social Media & Open Education grad class I am required to complete a major digital project and document my process. With that in mind I am using this tab on my blog to share my thoughts as I work through my project.

There are three options and lots of flexibility with how to proceed which makes the ‘deciding’ a little tricky for fence-sitters like me! My first thought was to develop a comprehensive, online unit to support my new adventures in Grade Two inquiry, particularly in Social or Science. My collection of resources is a little skimpy given this is my first time teaching it so creating a unit plan would certainly be beneficial and practical.

There seemed to be a lot of interest from other students in learning an instrument online (Option B) and though as a former music teacher learning guitar has been on my list of things to do, I don’t want to devote the amount time to practicing that I know is involved! At this point in my career I would prefer to direct my energies to something more applicable in my classroom.

Option C also generated a lot of interest. I had heard of MOOCs before and had even begun one quite some time ago but I thought at the time I’d rather devote my learning to a masters program, a more ‘legit’ mode of learning in my estimation. I had all but dismissed the idea for this project but thought I’d at least have a look online at the offerings. I was somewhat surprised at the array of choices–some free, some not; and some more ‘pedigreed’ than others! How do you tell which ones are more reputable or resume worthy? (…not that I’m looking to pad my CV with impressive looking MOOCs; I’m more concerned with the quality and accuracy of the instruction.) How do I pare down the choices?! As someone who likes to check out all my options before deciding this is, of course, a near impossible task! This is one of the things that I find personally challenging about working online whether looking for teacher resources, product information, medical information (,…you name it!) One could never go through ALL the choices out there so it forces me to make a decision despite not having turned over every stone.

As usual, I like to consult the ‘experts’! It’s an annoying trait that for some reason I can’t just follow my gut the first time;)! I have put a feeler out to a couple of tech savy and admin bound friends who are more in the know of useful MOOCs that might be out there. In the mean time I am almost decided on couple of MOOCS to check out: a gamification one that I’m hoping would be useful in my primary class and an iPad in the classroom one that would be immediately applicable to my teaching practice. And the unit plan…? I think for now I will continue sourcing online pages and friends for the resources I need. So far I’ve found lots of great things that I can tweak for my use. Adding more to my knowledge base might be just as useful as collecting resources.

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