Tuesday, October 31, 2006

This morning I'm talking with the ITBL students at University of Calgary - all being well?! You never can tell what the technology is going to do, of course, so we'll just do what we can ... It should be fun! :-)
Hopefully a couple of my 618 students will be able to join in too - who knows?

So we'll see what students in Calgary think about what my students have been able to do & their uses of the tools for teaching. I'll post more later after I've met these people ...

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The last drop-in session came & went, my students asked their last questions, & panic & frustration was still high about getting final web-based projects looking just right & working just so ...

On the one hand it is gratifying for me as a teacher, that commitment is so high. On the other, it is frustrating for me to be only an on-looker at this stage. I have to just trust in the strength of the community of help & support they have built up among themselves - which seems to be working for most of them - certainly for those who have been most active.

And I keep reminding everyone that when I come to mark, I'll be looking for pedagogical rationale for what has been produced, reflection on what was tried, what worked, what didn't & what might be done differently next time. I'm looking for reflection, learning from experience & reflection & thoughts on plans of action about the usefulness and appliciability (or otherwise) in their own contexts and for their backgrounds, of the projects produced and the tools that have been learnt. And, of course, I keep in mind the starting points in the course of each individual student in terms of experience & expertise with technology ... some have had higher & steeper learning curves than others. Some have focussed more on the technology side because that is where they felt weakest - and this has caused a mixture of frustration & a sense of achievement. Others have focussed on the pedagogical side and gained some insights ... and experienced confusion. Still others have tried (sometimes precariously?!) to keep a balance between the two ...

And I feel humbled by the efforts & commitment of every one of them.

It has been an interesting experience for me this semester & I can't wait to see all the final projects as they are starting to be posted. I am also looking forward to reading the rationales and self- and peer-reflective commentaries as they are posted too. What a great, hard-working, enthusiastic group of people it has been my pleasure to work with this semester!

Friday, October 20, 2006

I was just cruising through some of the HP tutorial sites hoping to find a solution to Julie's picture problem without having seen the problem in action :-) when I came across this site of Andrew Balaam:

If you follow the link to the word document, I think it contains all the information that is necessary to solve picture problems (hope you're reading this Julie?). So I thought I'd post it here rather than in the comments cos I know you're all strapped for time. I'll also post it on the wiki.

Hope someone brings a camera tonight cos I forgot mine - we need some celebration photos, I think - to show that we all actually *made it*!! 8-}

and of course, don't forget the food & drink so we can make merry ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Jacarandas! It's that time of year again with the flowering trees in full bloom around Brisbane. If you're a student & getting stressed about final assessment for the year, DON'T LOOK!! This is a beautiful one just outside my study window.

I've just finished chatting with Norm at University of Calgary about the talk he wants me do with his students and it sounds like fun. We used Elluminate Live! with text chat, audio, webcams & desktop sharing & I'm feeling much more comfortable now about doing this. I showed him a couple of my students' webquests & he wants me to share these with his students too. So this means my students will certainly be gaining an international profile?! :-)

We had an interesting drop-in session last Friday with Basim joining us in chat from Oman to ask about some problems he's been having with the Hot Potatoes activities and Dreamweaver. So I hope that's sorted now. No doubt he'll be in touch again with any further questions he has. This Friday will be our last formal session together, so I hope everyone's travelling ok ... I know there were sighs of relief all round when I announced that there would be an extension for the final projects - except for me, cos this means I'll have less time for marking. I guess if we expect the students to burn the midnight oil to meet deadlines, we can too?! Hmmm ... I think there's something wrong with that line of reasoning?

Monday, October 09, 2006

I've been having a wonderful time marking the students' webquests - does that sound strange? There are so many good ideas & they really seem to have "got" the point of how to construct them - from both the pedagogical and technical perspectives. It's great having such a responsive, hard-working group (again?!) :-)
It's also been good to see this semester's students making use of the projects, tips & hints of students from previous semesters, and also some students from last semester also interacting with this semester's students, giving advice, answering questions etc (special mention to Robee!). It's like a community extended across time, where one semester segues into the next. Great stuff!!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Wow! Life never seems to cease to amaze me ... apparently my students nominated me for an online learning and teaching award - which I won?! Sometimes things like this happen and just re-affirm for me how exciting and involving teaching and learning can be ... Thanks everyone! :-)
(more later when I've recovered from the shock ...??)
I wonder what to spend my millions in prize money on?? ;-P