Reflection of 540 and Making Connections

This has been my first course in the MET program and I have enjoyed it very much. At the beginning, I was a little worried about my interest in the historical perspectives in Walter Ong’s book. I often had to read and re-read passages to make sense of the text – and I worried that I might not “get” it. The course started out very different then what I had expected and I was not sure if I would be able to engage with the material with my goal in mind – gain a theoretical framework and make it relevant in my grade 1/2 classroom. I long for a practical component when taking courses and the ability to transfer what I learn into my teaching career.

540 did just that and I found it to get better and better each week. Looking back, I am also very thankful for Module One and gaining an understanding of the differences between oral and literate cultures. My first commentary was comparing oral cultures to pre-literate kindergarten students. I was trying to make the readings meaninful in a context (classroom) that was relevant to me. I made a connection with Ryan Edgar’s first commentary as he discussed some of the behaviours of his young daughters engaging with literacy. I also made a connection to his assignment #3 about sign language as I have a little girl who is deaf in my class. I taught her in kindergarten and she is in my class again this year in grade 2. As Ryan mentioned, deaf children (like others) are visual learners and I have so many examples with my students. She can’t sound out words, she hears them differently but she can memorize a whole word by looking at it and visually placing the letters together. His piece gave me a stronger history into deaf culture and I found it to be very insightful and relevant.

My third commentary looked at the ebook and I was able to draw upon a few classmates work. Both Leslie Dawes and Cathy Jung wrote about the ebook. We had some similar perspectives and some different. I think we all discussed the pros and cons of the ebook and mentioned how quickly text is changing. The ebook is on the top of my Christmas list this year.

I would like to thank Soraya Rajan in our class who carefully took the time to read through my commentary #2 about hypertext. She had a different perspective and challenged some of the points I made about associative linking in hypertext. Her questions caused me to go bak and clarify a few points in my commentary, read her’s and even do some further research.

I had the opportunity to work closely with Leslie Dawes, a grade 1 teacher at my school. We were constantly discussing the readings,different writing spaces, research but most of all how we could take what we were learning and the tools we were using and effectively use them at our school.

On opening day this year, our new Superintendent talked about his job interview a few months back. They gave him a question and then an hour to prepare. He said he put the question out on twitter to the education community and synthesized the ideas he got from others and his own. This is not considered stealing other ideas but is a new way of researching and collaborating with others. I thought it was genius and it made me think of this course. The collaboration, different opinions, perspectives and insight each member brings to the table in our class creates an authentic learning experience. I learned so much beyond the readings (how to create video’s, how to use wiki’s, blogging, social bookmarking ect..) in this class and am very appreciative to this learning community.

Thank you Jeff and Brian for all your efforts and for giving feedback we can grow from!

Alison

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