Getting Personal

When I completed my PDPP training in 1997, I was using overhead transparencies as if they were going out of style.  That about sums up my skills utilizing technology as I entered my new career! Substitute teaching for only two years, I fortunately landed into my former Physics teacher’s position at the high school at which I graduated from. Now, seventeen years later, I remain in the same classroom where I had been taught Science 8 and Physics 9-11.  Thankfully, I no longer use overheads!

One of the reasons why I love my career choice is that I am never bored.  Even though, Physics 11 has not undergone any major revisions in the past two decades, I NEVER teach it the same way.  Different labs, different demonstrations, different field trips, different technologies, different assessments— there are countless ways to keep my job fresh and personally engaging.  Thinking back on my own high school years, I remember little to none of the content, which is why it is very important to me to produce opportunities within my classes that are attached to an emotional experience.   Will my students remember Newton’s Three Laws twenty years in the future?  Probably not.  However, they will likely remember measuring their g-forces on the roller coaster at Playland and the excitement of their spaghetti bridge being destroyed in front of an audience.

My primary goal for this course, and ultimately, for my Masters degree, is to find a way to deliver the complex content of senior math and physics courses, in engaging, collaborative ways.  My students are post-secondary bound and rely on me to prepare them for the rigor of first year calculus and physics.  I can not afford to dabble in “fluffy, feel-good, let the learner pick their own learning outcomes”- practices.  My courses are content driven and skill based, despite the attempt of the BC Ministry of Education’s shift to “Big Ideas”.  What is particularly exciting to me about B.C.’s draft curriculum for Grades 10 to 12, is that they number of learning outcomes are noticeably fewer.  Should the government also abandon the choke-hold inducing, Provincial Exams in Grades 10 through 12, academic teachers may be afforded some breathing space to adopt less content driven pedagogy.

no provincial
As we enter our third week of the course, I find myself at an impasse.

Two weeks ago, I was thrilled to be earning course credit for evaluating both WordPress and Moodle.  In two of my three courses come February, I am having my students blog and I have heard many positive comments about the “awesomeness “of Moodle.   Where I am now having difficulty, is that I have been advised by my district’s educational technology coordinator, that the district is “going Google”.   Google Classroom, that is.  It was his advice to stick to this route, using Google Sites as my blogging platform.

To complicate my dilemma more, I am currently in a love affair with Weebly.  I have authored or co-authored three sites with Weebly this year (here, here, and here) and without question, it is slick, incredibly simple to use, versatile and the free version is pretty robust.

Regardless of whether or not I will be permitted to evaluate Google Classroom instead of Moodle in ETEC565A, I recognize that by learning about and evaluating platforms such as WordPress and Moodle, I will be acquiring transferable skills to other platforms.

Looking at everyone’s digital creations will likely be my most effective learning strategy in ETEC565A.  I liken it to interior design, in that I find it very difficult to design the aesthetic of a room myself, although when I walk into a room that appeals to me, I recognize this right away. Seeing people’s sites and LMS Platforms will definitely help me develop my own digital aesthetic and functionality.

To summarize, I am really happy to be here, in this course, learning about cool stuff!  (Did I mention that I like to avoid writing formally, whenever possible?  Probably not the best route to go in a Master’s course, although it is much more pleasurable to blog in this voice, I must say!)

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