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December 21, 2010

Hi Blog:

It is the longest night of the year and the shortest day – the winter solstice. For many people this was the death of one year and tomorrow the beginning of the next.  As a society we observe similar deaths in technology: beta video tapes, 8 track tapes, and approaching rapidly – the death of the typewriter.

I believe this death has come as a surprise to the typewriter.  After all, this machine was the supreme tool of secretaries, students, writers, and the general public for creating pristine (due to White Out) documents as recently as fifteen years ago.  Mastery of this tool brought glory to those who could type at incredible speeds without making a mistake, owning one once meant freedom from paying someone to type your term papers, and teachers everywhere sang the typewriter’s praises when assignments were handed in that were readable.

But a piece of all typewriters still lives on although I am not sure of for how long.  The keyboard is still with us as it continues to evolve.  I can speak to this evolution.  When I was about five I remember a typewriter in our house.  It belonged to my sister and as we didn’t have a lot of money, I suppose she  bought the best typewriter she could afford.  I would guess it came from the thirties or forties and it was glorious.  Shiny chrome and black with a black and red striped ribbon that you could watch come out of one canister and disappear into the canister on the other side.  The keys were little round circles with the letter in the middle of each one and when you pushed it you could see all the parts of the key move until it struck the paper.  I’m sure my sister enjoyed having me lean over her to watch the magic of her fingers hitting the keys, the keys flying up, that ribbon jumping steadily along, and the delicate ring of the little bell at the end of the row.

I was forbidden to touch it and so of course I did every chance I got.  I liked to sit and pretend to push the keys.  It was easy to pretend because my little fingers did not have the strength to move the keys let alone try to make a capital letter.  Capitals meant pushing the shift key which LIFTED the entire roller, return handle, and supports up so that the capital letter would strike.  It must of weighed five pounds and your pinky did all the work. My last memory of that typewriter is the day I managed to actually push the keys down far enough for the striker to hit the paper.  Problem was I had pushed several keys and they all hit at the same time and ……….. got stuck.  My memory is of the horror of breaking my sister’s typewriter!  I was worried of what would happen now she had proof I had touched it, but worse of all, the thought that the glorious typewriter was ruined was horrible.  In desperation I flicked at the jammed strikers, they came free, and the keys returned to their resting place.  I don’t think I touched it again.

The next typewriter I touched was the one in grade nine typing class.  This one was a manual typewriter too although the design had changed and you did not have to have pinkies of steel to make a capital.  I sat on one side of the room with the other pretenders.  We were the students who were in an academic program and not in the secretarial program.  We wanted to learn to type so that we could avoid paying twenty-five cents a page to have our assignments at university typed.  The students who were in the secretarial program used electric typewriters which we were not to touch.  Of course I needed to touch one but now I was not as reckless as I was at five.  The typing teacher was fearsome and I did not want to be sent to the office for touching an electric typewriter!

However, one glorious day I got to work on one for the whole block.  I don’t remember why but suddenly there I was among the real students typing on an electric typewriter in time with the typing record.  (For you young ones, the typing record typed out the rhythm we were supposed to keep up to as we typed.  Each selection was a different speed and if you could match the record you knew you were typing at 20 words a minute!!)  But an electric typewriter turned out to be scary.  It hummed at an alarming frequency.  Sort of the frequency of I’m just about to be electrocuted.  And it was touchy!  I was used to pounded a key down.  My regular pressure made the key type the letter five or six times.  It went off like a machine gun.  Worse of all, the typing teacher kept glaring at me as her precious electric typewriter was being abused by an academic student.  It turned out to be a very stressful block and I got a terrible mark when I handed in my paper at the end.  Seems typing words like andddddddd and theeeeeee took off marks.  I was glad to return to the rest of the pretenders on our manual machines.

My next typing experience was at university.  I didn’t have the money to buy a typewriter but my roommate had one and she was awesome enough to share.  Mind you, I got it when she wasn’t using it which meant typing through dinners and after midnight but it was free.  It was a  nasty little manual typewriter though.  The ribbon tended to jam in one place which meant you could be looking at your notes as you typed only to discover three lines were invisible because you had typed a hole through the ribbon and no ink had gone on the paper.  Worse of all was the dreaded typing mistake.  Each mistake took off a mark so you had to hand in a perfect paper because you also lost marks on the content of your paper and goodness knows I needed all the help I could get to get a B+.  (B+ meant I could apply for a masters program one day so I really needed that mark.)  There was no White Out in those days. You had a pencil that was really an eraser with a little red wire brush on the end.  You carefully moved the carriage lever up a few lines so that you could gently rub forever on the mistake.  You had to rub out the mistake but not rub out the paper.  If you made a hole you started over again.  But if all went well and you rubbed out the mistake, you carefully moved the carriage back down until you could strike over the mistake with the right letter.  Except on this machine it would seldom line back up again and so the letter and the rest of your sentence would be out of alignment.  Some profs would overlook this but most wouldn’t so…..you started over again.  The easy part was there was only one size and one font so at least you couldn’t make a mistake on that.

By the time I was in my second year of university I was desperate to have my own machine.  And there was a glorious typewriter available.  It was electric but it had a little display window where about 40 letters would appear BEFORE the key struck any letter.  You could type and delete (first time delete was on a typewriter, I bet) mistakes before they were typed onto the paper.  And you could buy font wheels and change the font and the size.  Glorious.  It was $700.00 dollars.  Tuition for a year was $1200.00.  Luckily I had worked at a government job that summer and I had made $3000.00.  After room and board and tuition, I had $500.00 left and Mum and Dad and my brother put up the rest for birthday and Christmas presents until 2011.  (Thank goodness they didn’t hold me to that.)  I knew that I would use that typewriter forever.

In 1979 I meet the apple computer.  4k of power.  Glorious.  It had a keyboard but you couldn’t really type anything and print it out as the first word processing programs were awful and printers were something used to turn out newspapers.  My typewriter had it beat until the day Clarisworks (forerunner of Pages) appeared.  Suddenly you could type out your whole assignment and correct mistakes before you printed it.  And wonders of wonders, you could cut and paste sentences or paragraphs and move them around.  But an apple and printer set you back about $4000.00 dollars so my typewriter lasted a few more years.  About five years ago I found my beloved typewriter stored in the garage and put it out at a garage sale for $5.00.  Not one taker and it went to the garbage dump.   Sniff.

Now I have a Blackberry and I am learning to type all over again. Thumb typing on teeny weeny keys that have multiple functions if I can squint well enough to see them.  Who knew that all those typing classes were for nothing.  I bet those students in the secretary program are sorry.  The saying “She is all thumbs” has taken on a new meaning.

So here comes the conclusion to this long entry.  The typewriter is dead and the Qwerty keyboard may be on its last legs.  I am sure someone is designing a smart phone with a shape for thumb typing.  But the video I have selected shows that even the typewriter can evolve enough to survive in a new role.  Glorious.

September 23, 2010

Hi Blog:

I really don’t have the time to make an entry here but ……..

I always wanted Spock’s computer.  When I was older I wanted Spock to come with it but that is for a different blog than this one!  I watched the original Star Trek when it really was the one and only Star Trek with new episodes every week.  I was too young to pick up on the social commentaries embedded in each episode and sometimes the monsters were a bit scary.  (Anyone who is sneering at this point about being afraid of the cheesy monsters and special effects needs to remember that Howdy Doody  had been a hit show only a few years earlier.  My family’s TV was a tiny black and white with an antenna that picked up Hockey Night in Canada and the CBC!  Star Trek was mind blowing.)

What I loved was the technology and I wanted it.  The communicator that became the cell phone of today, the onscreen conversations between two people on two planets that became the Skype or Elluminate of today, the tricorder which is evolving into the iPad of today, and the computer that would link Spock to all that information which has become the personal computer of today.

So why do most teachers have to walk into the time warp of their classroom where the teaching methods are locked into the technology that is available to them.  Technology that for the most part is from the real world of the 60’s and 70’s – TV’s, one or two old computers, and audio/visual that cannot be changed by the teacher or student to fit the situation. (I concede that we have moved up from projectors to DVD players.)

I am so lucky to have my SMART board, classroom computer, and a lab to work with but I would be even luckier to have one-to-one in my classroom.  I had a class set of ibooks on loan for 3 months last year.  The students created math questions for each other that allowed all students to demonstrate their knowledge, taught others what they knew, and for some, gave them the chance to go beyond the skill they were supposed to be working on to enrich their learning.  They made presentations of their socials and science projects and took over the class.  These students used the SMART board to demonstrate their experiment with movies they made with their family digital cameras.  They brought in clips from Youtube to show background information to support their project.  They used clickers to see if the students understood their project. (Some of the questions were hilarious and had nothing to do with their project but they had their peers engaged!)

My students were grade twos and threes – six, seven, and eight year olds.

I look in the doors of other classrooms and see teachers dreaming of Spock’s world of technology.  I see teaching methods hobbled by the lack of the technology needed to move into this world.  I see  many adults who grew up in classrooms 50, 40, 30, 20, and even 10 years ago deciding the future of education with the belief that Spock’s world is still out there in TV land and not in the hands of the students of today.

At this point the cliche would be to say “Beam me up, Scotty.  There isn’t any intelligent life here.”  Well, Scotty died.  James Doohan, the actor who portrayed Scotty died in 2005 and some of his ashes were launched into space.  If public education doesn’t move into Spock’s world soon, its ashes will soon join him.  And goodness knows what alien education system will take over!  Where is Spock when you need him?

I show this video to other teachers when I can.

September 12, 2010

Hi Blog:

I knew the first three weeks of September would be so heavy with course load and school start up but really…………..  It feels like everything is being done with a lick and a spit just to keep things moving.

I am now behind on my readings.  So do I read really fast and cover as much as possible knowing that I will not gain as much.  Or do I read slowly and understand as much as possible knowing that I may never get back to the readings I missed.

I have this course’s assignment figured out in my head, have contacted the people I need to talk to about actually doing it in school (yep, if I am going to all this work I am going to use it in my district), checked out the technology requirements (have to make sure I cite a telephone call correctly), and have the assignment in my head as I read.  It does make it easier to collect data this way.

But then am I reading to learn a wide range of knowledge or am I reading to learn about what I can do in my assignment?  Sigh.  The self reflection is even worse during a Masters program than it is during a school year.

Two last things to comment on.  First, I find it very interesting to find the characteristics, procedures, learning styles, and learning outcomes of our Masters program in the books.  Second, I think that our two main course books for this current course are badly out of date.   Caffarella’s book was published in 2002 but is a second edition!  It was first published in 1994 and so I wonder how much of a change she made in her data collection.  Data from 1994 and 2002 may be okay for some subjects but not for technology.  And Poole and Bate’s book is not much better.  This book was published in 2003!

So it is interesting to reflect on the reasoning behind our profs using methods and books based on data that is at least 8 years old and most likely even older.  Is it deliberate to show us what is currently being used for online learning in many institutions?  Are we supposed to see that certain parts of online learning don’t work very well if you want to target all learner styles?  Or are our profs using what is currently the only way of presenting online learning.  So far (and remember, I am behind on my readings) I haven’t seen anything better being shown.

I think that there needs to be face-to-face when we are working online or in a classroom.  If we are online there needs to be a fast easy way to talk face-to-face.  Skype and Elluminate fill this role somewhat but both are clumsy to use in some cases.  Skype because some students don’t want to use it for their own reasons and Elluminate because is difficult to set up through RRU.  (I have to ask my prof to set it up.  What a lot of steps that aren’t needed.  There should be a button on the website and “click” the meeting is created. )

For face-to-face learning I think I will research the podcast method of delivering the lecture online and using  classtime for discussing the lecture.  This would be a “backwards” approach to the way face-to-face class lectures combined with online learning seem to working now.  I would prefer the  lecture for homework and the face-to-face for discussions and brainstorming the written assignment.  Right now most courses seem to offer the lecture in classtime and for homework the learners  trying to remember the discussions and create the written assignment in the isolation of their own home.

For online learning I think our cohort approach is already solving some of those problems.  We are reading for homework and discussing face-to-face (or as close as we can with Elluminate) the ideas and assignments we have.

So going back to one of my first questions.  Is this a deliberate ploy of the profs to let us think our way to better online delivery techniques or are the books and delivery techniques we are currently using the best there is right now?  Sigh, more reading required!  And I am behind on the assigned readings!!

The video I am attaching is one of my favorites for creative writing which…I can not use.  After you watch it you can imagine the phone calls from irate parents about terrifying their 7 year old about new cars, jogging, and lakes!  I usually give it away to teachers of older children.  I would stop the video when the jogger reaches the car and ask the class to predict what would happen next.  We would comment on commercials and talk about watching out for misleading messages.  And then I would play the whole video

Why put this video in this posting?  Perhaps the older books are the bait and we are supposed to notice they are the bait before it is too late.  I’ll let you choose which of our professors you would like to cast in the role of the creature.

Sept. 5, 2010

Hi Blog:

The first week of the next course is done and our cohort assignment is in.  I don’t know about anyone else but I find I am torn two ways about the courses and the assignments.

In one way I find the assigned readings and writings to be interesting and stimulating.  I enjoy seeing how my cohort interprets the knowledge and how it triggers a new direction for my thoughts.  I am excited to start my assignment to plan a program and I think I have a real life situation lined up to make it for.

Yet in the second way I find the assigned readings and writings to be an annoying distraction that is pulling me away from the direction I want to go.  I don’t want to spend the time reading my cohorts’ thoughts because I want to get going on the path I have started down.  I want to start my assignment and research readings that will help me complete it successfully.

I know I have things to learn from my peers and the readings but there isn’t enough time to participate with them and focus on my interests.  I even am wondering about following the research path rather than the thesis path.  I was determined to do the research paper so that I can continue to participate in the classes and learn more.  I need that kind of direction and cohort support.  Yet I would like to get going on my own research and I don’t have enough time to do this if I keep having to work on course readings and discussions.

I don’t know if anyone is still reading the blogs and my blog in particular but I would like to know if others feel this way and what are they doing about it.  A song says much of this for me.

Everywhere I turn to begins a new beginning but never finds a finish…I can still find the way back to the moment I took the turn and turned to begin a new beginning still looking for the answer.  I cannot find the finish.  It’s either this or that way! It’s one way or the other! It should be one direction. ( It could be on reflection.)  The turn I have just taken, the turn that I was making, I might be just beginning.  I might be near the end.” (Enya) (Nope, not cited correctly.  This is my blog, not an assignment.)

My video is from Enya and includes those lyrics.  I was listening to it in the car and the some of the words seemed to stand out.

August 25, 2010

Hi Blog:

Wow.  The first two courses are over, the residency is over, my work for these assignments is over, and I feel…………..

I feel tired.  But that isn’t due to the courses as much as that is due to trying to cram so much into the summer.  Kitchen reno, trip to Oregon, trip to Denver, two weeks of residency, Touch N Go conference, painting……

I think that the courses plus teaching will actually be a relief.  I will have less to do when school is in session that I have had to do for the summer.

I have started to organize my many ideas for the research project.  Organizing will be the most important part of this.

Touch N Go was a great success and I put in a plug to all who read this to plan to attend next year’s conference.  I am sure the dates are the week right after the two weeks at RRU.  I will post a link here as soon as there is one to post.

Tip for everyone.

Part of Touch N Go this year was to start a Twitter account and Tweet.  At first I resisted.  I don’t really have time for this blog and I sure don’t want to tweet and deal with meaningless stuff.  However, I found out that you can “follow” other people who write meaningful tweets.

The most important tip is that there are book lists out there (so I was told) that have been created by well read people.  So I am going to look and see if there are tweets about UDL and AFL and adult learning.

If I find them I will post the links here.  If anyone else finds them please send me a link.  I may even become so online literate that I will start a delicious account with bookmarks.  Maybe.  If I find time.

What did I discover from Touch N Go (TNG)?  UDL is growing because teachers are recognizing how children use technology outside of the classroom and are modeling their teaching practises on what works for children.

This was just one presentation at TNG. A team of science teachers use podcasts to teach their lesson.  They film the experiment and lecture and put it up on a site for the students to access as the homework.

The students watch, listen, and discuss at home with their classmates.  They can watch the lesson and experiment over and over again.  They contact each other to ask questions and plan their hands on assignments in class.

In class they bring the questions they have generated to small group discussions with their instructor.  They move through stations and perform the experiment that they have watched and discussed or they write up the experiment with support from their teacher

The students described this way of learning as listening to the lesson at home instead of in class. They did their homework in class with a teacher, not a parent, there to help them with their learning.

If children are going to have to do homework to complete the requirements for a subject, it seems so simple and logical to provide the lesson/lecture as a podcast. A podcast provides instant replays of the information provided by the teacher.  If you were listening and missed something, you needed to stop and do something else, or you didn’t understand what the teacher was explaining – you just play it again.  If you are home sick or off on a holiday with parents or just skipping class, you could catch up on the daily lessons.  You could chat with your classmates or you could research on line if you had questions.  You could save those questions for the class next day to show the teacher you had been watching and thinking about the podcasts. Finally, you would have accurate study material for the upcoming tests.

This was the only workshop/keynote that I saw really changing the way technology is used in the classroom.  There were a lot of really great workshops with fantastic ways of using labs, Garageband, ipods, SMART boards, on line sites, etc but this was only one I saw (and I didn’t get to many as I was presenting too) that used technology as a teaching method.

Blast.  I’m not describing this well but I can’t quite grasp what struck me as so different about this.  I will reflect.  If anyone can add to this, please do.  I need the conversation to sort out my thoughts.

Perhaps this video explains how I feel about how we use technology with children.  Please use the link and watch it first.

Okay.  Teachers are like the orchestra.  We are well trained and we have all this great technology (instruments) and we present our lessons (music) to the classes (ocean).  We mimic the ways children learn and communicate (whale music) and it goes out to the classes (ocean) and sometimes we get a response (whale sound).  We smile and we continue to use technology to present our lessons.  But do we really listen to the responses of the children (whale sound) to our use of instructional technology (whale music) or do we just smile and continue playing?  Are we learning how to use technology the way children think about it and use it.  Or are we just using technology to teach the same ways only with different and faster hardware?  Are we communicating and understanding or just mimicking the sounds and smiling?

Hi Blog:

Wow.  The first two courses are over, the residency is over, my work for these assignments is over, and I feel…………..

I feel tired.  But that isn’t due to the courses as much as that is due to trying to cram so much into the summer.  Kitchen reno, trip to Oregon, trip to Denver, two weeks of residency, Touch N Go conference, painting……

I think that the courses plus teaching will actually be a relief.  I will have less to do when school is in session that I have had to do for the summer.

I have started to organize my many ideas for the research project.  Organizing will be the most important part of this.

Touch N Go was a great success and I put in a plug to all who read this to plan to attend next year’s conference.  I am sure the dates are the week right after the two weeks at RRU.  I will post a link here as soon as there is one to post.

Tip for everyone.

Part of Touch N Go this year was to start a Twitter account and Tweet.  At first I resisted.  I don’t really have time for this blog and I sure don’t want to tweet and deal with meaningless stuff.  However, I found out that you can “follow” other people who write meaningful tweets.

The most important tip is that there are book lists out there (so I was told) that have been created by well read people.  So I am going to look and see if there are tweets about UDL and AFL and adult learning.

If I find them I will post the links here.  If anyone else finds them please send me a link.  I may even become so online literate that I will start a delicious account with bookmarks.  Maybe.  If I find time.

What did I discover from Touch N Go (TNG)?  UDL is growing because teachers are recognizing how children use technology outside of the classroom and are modeling their teaching practises on what works for children.

This was just one presentation at TNG. A team of science teachers use podcasts to teach their lesson.  They film the experiment and lecture and put it up on a site for the students to access as the homework.

The students watch, listen, and discuss at home with their classmates.  They can watch the lesson and experiment over and over again.  They contact each other to ask questions and plan their hands on assignments in class.

In class they bring the questions they have generated to small group discussions with their instructor.  They move through stations and perform the experiment that they have watched and discussed or they write up the experiment with support from their teacher

The students described this way of learning as listening to the lesson at home instead of in class. They did their homework in class with a teacher, not a parent, there to help them with their learning.

If children are going to have to do homework to complete the requirements for a subject, it seems so simple and logical to provide the lesson/lecture as a podcast. A podcast provides instant replays of the information provided by the teacher.  If you were listening and missed something, you needed to stop and do something else, or you didn’t understand what the teacher was explaining – you just play it again.  If you are home sick or off on a holiday with parents or just skipping class, you could catch up on the daily lessons.  You could chat with your classmates or you could research on line if you had questions.  You could save those questions for the class next day to show the teacher you had been watching and thinking about the podcasts. Finally, you would have accurate study material for the upcoming tests.

This was the only workshop/keynote that I saw really changing the way technology is used in the classroom.  There were a lot of really great workshops with fantastic ways of using labs, Garageband, ipods, SMART boards, on line sites, etc but this was only one I saw (and I didn’t get to many as I was presenting too) that used technology as a teaching method.

Blast.  I’m not describing this well but I can’t quite grasp what struck me as so different about this.  I will reflect.  If anyone can add to this, please do.  I need the conversation to sort out my thoughts.

Perhaps this video explains how I feel about how we use technology with children.  Please use the link and watch it first.

Okay.  Teachers are like the orchestra.  We are well trained and we have all this great technology (instruments) and we present our lessons (music) to the classes (ocean).  We mimic the ways children learn and communicate (whale music) and it goes out to the classes (ocean) and sometimes we get a response (whale sound).  We smile and we continue to use technology to present our lessons.  But do we really listen to the responses of the children (whale sound) to our use of instructional technology (whale music) or do we just smile and continue playing?  Are we learning how to understand the use of technology the way children think about it and use it.  Or are we just using technology to teach with the same ways only with different and faster hardware?  Are we communicating and understanding or just mimicking the sounds and smiling?

I was very unsure that I would be happy working in cohorts.  I have worked in isolation in my classroom for a long time and I have come to rely on myself to learn new things, organize my work, and meet deadlines.

So I am amazed at how easy it has become to rely on the member of the various cohorts I have worked in for support, approval, and input.  I feel some trepidation of working on the blog assignment without having the opportunity of showing it to Susan and Tony for their thoughts. I certainly didn’t feel this way before I came to the residency.

MALAT 2010 is a group of people I find easy to work and learn with.  At first I thought it this came about through the morning ice breaking activities. Next I thought it was because we were a group with the same goals.  Perhaps it was because we were all suffering through the long days of focusing on lectures and new information.  However, I now think MALAT 2010 is a cohesive group of people because of all these bonding activities and because we are all respectful of what each person brings to the group.

I am quite happy to work in cohorts.

—————————————————————————————-

The lectures I have listened to over the two week residency have clearly described the steps I will need to use when I begin to focus on my research paper.  The need to read widely, to record my thoughts carefully and accurately, and to list my resources properly have caused me to reflect a great deal on my ability as a learner.

In Bill’s lecture on “Introduction to Research” I learned I will have to be objective about my topic, techniques, data, and approaches. His following lectures on Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research showed me that I should not eliminate or favour one over the other but strive for a balance as dictated by the research topic I have chosen.

In Judith’s lecture on “Introduction to Learning Theory” I learned that I will have to think about how my students and myself learn. Her following lectures on cognitive learning, developmental learning, and social learning theories showed me that I have to read more about these theories as I search for my research topic.

This two week residency has been the most intense learning time for me in many, many years.  I have concerns that I may not have been able to absorb the information as deeply as I should have.  I am glad the program is two years in length and I have time to fill in the missing pieces.

————————————————————————————–

I have observed in the last thirty years a motivational shift from extrinsic to intrinsic learning. I have seen the role of motivation moving from resting solely with the teacher to a shared role between the teacher and learner. I believe that more of this shared role is moving towards the student as my teaching methods change. I use assessment as a formative tool instead of only a summative one and as I show the students what they know and what they need to know I expect them to focus on the areas they need to improve in.  I help them by providing the tools and materials to work with and the constant assessment to guide them towards the goal the curriculum states they should achieve.

Thirty years ago it was the teacher who was supposed to make the work “fun” to motivate the children into engaging with their assignments.  I provided stations for all subject areas for the children to rotate through.  Through this form of “play” they would grasp and expand on the concepts hidden in the hands-on materials while the I tried to keep track of where they had worked, what they had done, and where they would work next.

The workload was huge as I researched books to find the hands-on activities. These activities were then copied, coloured, cut out, laminated, cut out again, and stored in folders.  The children would then use the activity while I tried to keep the pieces with their folders at the end of the day.  Often parts of the activity would be damaged or lost and I would have to recreate it.  This was when my colleague pointed out to me that the children were supposed to do the work, not me.

The children were rewarded for their work with copious amounts of stickers and praise and punished with staying in during recess and lunch if their work was not done.  This extrinsic learning resulted in many children focusing on their work in order to get something for doing it.  Reporting supported this by telling parents what their child could do.  Teachers were directed not to use the words “can’t” or “needs to improve” when talking to both children and parents.

Today intrinsic learning is resulting in many of the children focusing on their work because they enjoy leaning new concepts.  The many forms of technology have supported this shift as the children create pod casts, slideshows, movies, and a variety projects showing what they have understood and are expanding on.  I believe that intrinsic motivation will result in life-long learners and I will do all I can to prevent a shift back to the extrinsic motivation of the past.

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I discovered today that laughter yoga isn’t very funny.

My cohort and I assumed that the MALAT 2010 group would find working with Hillary Leighton and Laughter Yoga as enjoyable as working through the Briggs-Meyers form.  We were wrong.  Although Hillary’s enthusiastic presentation was made in a beautiful setting, many of the MALAT 2010 group felt uncomfortable, embarrassed, and angry.

This activity was supposed to help bond us into a cohesive group that would maintain these same connections over the two year program.  Instead the activity actually divided the group.  It was easy to see by facial expressions and body language that many people were tolerating the activity as something to get over and done with.  As the time dragged on into one of the longest half hours I have experienced in a long time, more and more of the group refused to participate and simply stood by and watched.  After the activity was over people either walked back to class silently or in groups conversing in irritated tones.

It was a relief to see people actually start to laugh about it as the day went on.  I went outside on the afternoon break to find a growing circle of our group laughing about something.  When I joined them it was to find they were laughing at the laughter yoga session.  Our cohort actually managed a bonding exercise in a round about manner.

We made several incorrect assumptions when we planned this activity.  We accepted Hillary’s offer to present Laughing Yoga without any research into what it was about and assumed it would be something amusing. After we went online to examine Dr. Kataria’s Laughter Yoga program we realized that this activity might become awkward but assumed that an introduction session would not be very stressful.

These assumptions lead to an activity that many people did not enjoy and made me most uncomfortable about asking them to participate in it.  I have learned things from this about the MALAT group and myself.  Those members of the MALAT 2010 group I spoke with about Laughter Yoga had gotten over their anger, embarrassment, and discomfort enough to joke with me about it.  I learned from this experience that the previous activities had indeed made a cohesive group.  The discussions about introverts, extraverts, birth order, face to face, and online participation had paid off in that people were able to move on from an experience that wasn’t very funny.  I learned that I must not assume anything without researching it first, even if I think the people involved know all about it.

I have learned that Laughter Yoga isn’t very funny but it can be useful in bonding a group together.

Kataria, Dr. Laughter Yoga International: Global Movement for Health Joy & World Peace. (http://www.laughteryoga.org/)

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How to protect the virtual Royal Roads University Library from the physical fate of the Library of Alexandria

The availability of information made possible by the connections Royal Roads University has with both online and physical libraries is amazing, exciting, and frightening.  Access to this huge quantity of books, articles, papers, and other materials is both a privilege and a responsibility that I had not expected.  It is a privilege to be able to use the knowledge of other researchers as I work towards my Masters.  It is amazing and exciting to realize how much knowledge has been recorded for people to read, discuss, discard, and use. Yet it is possible that this access to knowledge could be lost just as the access to knowledge was lost centuries ago when the Library at Alexandria was lost.

It is frightening to think that I must be careful to choose material that is accurate and reliable so that my work does not build upon inaccuracies and mistakes.  I must make sure I do not contribute material that will undermine future research because I did not follow proper procedures in order to maintain a high level of ethical and academic integrity.  It is only with this care that the integrity and accuracy of the online library will continue to provide knowledge to all those who access it.

Teresa Bell’s lecture on academic writing and using the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) to record my references accurately seemed overly particular to details.  Although she presented the material in as light a manner as possible, I was taken back by how careful I need to be to record this information.  It wasn’t until I was able to access all the resources in the online library that I realized how vast and rich this source is.  I also realized how fragile the integrity of this library is.

Colleen Hoppins gave a detailed lecture on the expectations for documenting my sources for my research throughout the Masters program.  There was much more to be careful of involving plagiarism that I had thought.  I had not realized that I could plagiarize myself if I quoted from a previous document and did not list that in my references.

These two lectures have made me realize the responsibilities I bear towards using and recording other researcher’s work.

FROM TIME TO time throughout history, bad things have happened to great manuscripts. Centuries before the invention of the printing press, for example, much of the world’s ancient literature was lost forever in a fire at Egypt’s legendary Library of Alexandria. (Luddy, 2007)

I believe lack of care in research will cause the integrity of this worldwide online library to collapse in ruin just as the library at Alexandria physically burned and collapsed into ruin. It is up to practising and new researchers to protect and contribute to this modern library by maintaining great care to produce work of the highest integrity without plagerism.*

Luddy, Chuck. (2007, Mar). When good manuscripts meet bad ends. Writer. 120(3), 8-9

* Please note: I italicized the quote because I could not indent it according to APA guidelines.  This blog does not allow you to do that.

August 10, 2010

Hi Blog:

Yikes.  I’ve messed up the first part of this assignment. I missed one key line in the explanation. I was supposed to write in an academic manner, not a rambling list of ideas during the residency and not after.

I read this as make a draft of your thoughts and then flesh them out after the residency.  So even now I will reflect on the fact that I need to read the assignments more carefully.

The only way to fix this is to continue on the way I had planned.  I will create five blogs in an academic manner and then complete the assessment.  Not quite what I was supposed to do but the best that I can do in hindsight.

Rats