Friday, January 28, 2011

Course Reflection

Course Reflection

General Course Experience

a) IDC was not like a regular course where I would have homework nearly every night, projects in between, and a test to asses my knowledge of each new unit, it was different from that. This is not to say that everything was easier, but instead of being assesed on how well I could remember facts, I was assesed on how I could apply those facts in a real world setting. Given, there was some learning in the beginning portion of the course for the purpose of gaining an understanding of web software/technology, but for the most part of the course I was being graded on how my knowledge could be applied and extended. I think what i enjoyed most about this course is the ability for me to expand my horizons as a student both in terms of the things I am able to do (research using Diigo, Google Doc applications, Google Sites, etc.) and my ability to organize myself. There was a lot of freedom in this course, which was a very pleasant surprise when compared to other courses I had. It allowed me to work at my own pace, something that I truly enjoy. I would have to say though the part that I didn’t enjoy about this course was the marking schemes. Before I do a project I want to be able to know at least generally what I’m expected to do. I understand that creating a rubric for each individual student is near impossible, but they’re really not much that can be done about it, at least during this semsester anyways. There was not much that I didn’t enjoy about this course, apart from the vagueness of some of the projects. I believe that that problem is now solved though, because, generally the projects will follow the same guidelines as this years. However, all in all, this course was quite a blast.

Areas for Improvement

c) I think that the thing that I would emphasis the most to future IDC students is to learn to prioritize their time. I understand that this course might be labelled as a “joke”, but there is actual work that needs to be done, and if one does not manage one’s time effectively, things can really catch up. Most students who actually try in this course will hand in everything, and have their projects complete on time, but that’s not to say that it was done effectively. I’d say that the number one thing that a student could do is write down and plan out everything that they need to do in their planner and set separate dates within large projects( such as the placement or project 3). Even though I did all of my projects on time they were rather last minute and caused me considerable amounts of stress. I’d also highly recommend to complete one’s daily log, ON A DAILY BASIS! Too many kids in my class would forget, and that would make it harder to write it all down. It takes 2 minutes, and can relieve a lot of panicking and stress. I would also suggest that one should use class time effectively. Sometimes, it may seem easy to slack off and not work during class because you are waiting for something from you placement teacher( happened to me), I highly suggest that you don’t. There is always something for you to do. You will always be able to find it. And if beyond all doubt there is nothing else to do, play with the Smartboard (if it’s not being used) and start to get familiar with Mackenzie technology so you can teach more teachers how to use it!

Technology in Education

a) I believe that technology, as it grows ever more, will become increasingly effective in our classrooms. I believe that it will definitely increase student involvement, at least for a short period of time. I saw this when I was on the netbook team. When we gave a tutorial I noticed that almost all of the kids were genuinely excited to get to use this new piece of technology. I think that reaching out to kids on our main level of communication will be a very effective way of conveying information so that we become more engaged. We all now seem to operate with technology now anyways, I think that it’s only fitting that we start to learn through technology too. If get our education through technological means, not only will we understand it better because we can easily relate to it but it will become easily accessible to us outside of the classroom. I found this especially useful with science-related courses. Studying for my biology tests, I often referred back to available materials on Ms. Batras’s website for understanding key terms and concepts. As we’ve read in many articles over the course of this semester, incorporating technology in our classrooms has its ups and downs. I believe that the pros outweigh the cons. Most kids nowadays have relatively low attention spans and must have something there to keep them engaged. There are so many tools and applications that can  have practical uses in the class room and be used to keep kids engaged in the curriculum. There is no harm in adding technology. Eventually technology is going to be entrenched within our society, so we might as well start to incorporate it into our classroom so it can start to develop into something as regular as calculators in mathematics. The change is inevitable so we might as well do it now and reap the rewards earlier. Incorporating technology into the classroom is a necessity and will immediately increase engagement and understanding by students. So let’s get started!


Although I may not have displayed the most leadership and involvement in the class, I am confident that I went above and beyond what is expected. I started out in the Netbook team working hard to install all of the software. At one point i was managing multiple installations on 9 different netbooks with Steven. We were only expected to do one at a time, but we decided that doing 9 at once would be much more time effective. After that I also took additional responsibility by doing several tutorials of netbook installation in class rooms, (I volunteered to do those, I wasn’t assigned). Finally, I would say that I took an obvious role as a leader in the classroom by being the Co-Project Manager with Ariel. I decided to take on the feat of managing the not-so-keeners in the class. It was a struggle trying to get people to do what we needed them to do. In the end however, I believe that together Ariel and I were able to organise the group together and have the website ready for a deadline. Being a project manager was a lot more work than I thought that it would be, but I’m glad that I did it because I was able to learn what it takes to actually organise more than 3 people in a group. It takes careful planning and supervision, something that I believe Ariel and I both provided.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Placement Wrap Up (Also found on class blog)

Teacher: Ms. Mancini
Subject: Media Studies
Technology Used: WordPress, Windows Movie Maker
Description: What Ms. Mancini requested was to have an online forum where students could showcase their works. She wanted a place where everyone could upload their assignments, whether that includes video projects,  music files, or general assignments. The key thing that she wanted was a place for her student’s works to be showcased. Originally we suggested a simple YouTube account with a privacy setting limiting the videos uploaded only viewable to her Media Studies class. We all decided to go with a blog idea because it would provide more opportunity to upload and chat about a wider variety of things. Not only does a blog serve as a host to a video uploads, but class discussions and just fun things like a new song that someone likes can be shared on this blog. There is just simply a wider array of material that can be showcased on a blog. Thus, we created a simple, but sleek blog for her class to not only showcase the students work but allow for an extension on their class material. The blog created also allows students to comment on their peers work and critique them. It essentially provides personal learning environment outside of the classroom. If one kid know a certain trick on Windows Movie Maker he/she can share that with the rest of the class, through uploading a tutorial or example on the blog.
Possible uses in other classes/subject areas: The idea of a blog can be applied in virtually all of the social sciences courses or art courses. Our version of the blog is mostly about continuing class discussions, and showcasing the works of students online for the rest of the kids to examine, critique and learn from. Specifically, courses like Philosophy can be paired with a blog to create online discussions that can go on for pages. Similarly, courses like photography can be used in partnership with a blog to have an online art gallery where students can showcase their work as well as provide input on their peer’s projects. The idea of having a blog domain where students can discuss their problems can also be used for such courses like biology or mathematics. Oftentimes students will do last minute prep work for a test or assignment. A blog where students can discuss strategies and methods could prove very useful. Essentially the idea of a blog for a class is limitless, the aforementioned topics are just a few ways it could be used.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Article Response: Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

I find that this is one of the most conflicting subjects of the 21st century: whether or not to support technology, especially when it deals with the children in society. So often, people are divided between whether or not to support technology being used in our school system. Many, like several teachers at Woodside High School, believe that technology is ruining the attention spans of children, and is distracting, thus meaning that they will not focus on their school work and creating a wholesome future. Other people like the principal at Woodside; David Reilly, believe that the only way to truly teach the children and reach them on more than just an academic level, but actually get them interested and anxious to learn is to expose them to as much technology as possible. The fact is however that while both sides may have valid points, each backed by scientific evidence, they are both radical points of view. Unfortunately, most things in our society that are radical are unappreciated, highly criticized and often quite closed minded, and frankly, in my opinion just plain wrong. In our world most things must come in moderation. Applying this to technology : too much technology will detract from the classic and proven learning experience, while too many restrictions on technology creates a hostile environment for students, and restricts their will to learn. I believe that it cannot be written in stone that every child should have "this much" techonology involved in their learning processes and homework methods. Some kids may need to use technology to aid them in their studies, while others may not need it at all but prefer to use it for purely recreational purposes. It all depends on the child, and the parents that are raising them. Limits must be placed that are proportional to control habits on the child. If a child is able to maintain a 90+ average while playing video games or surfing the web for hours a night, then let it be. That child will obviously be a very good multitasker and will be able to handle such a workload. Other children might be able to maintain a 90+ average without playing video games, but with the addition of such forms of media their average and focus may drop significantly. I believe that it should be the responsiblity of the parents, but more so the child to learn "the ways of the real world" and know what self limits he/she needs to set for himself/herself.

This however, is only scraping the surface of the whole issue. There are so many other factors that contribute to this ever growing debate. I believe that like Vishal, I have trouble sometimes prying myself off of my playstation 3 (not so much computer) and going full throttle into my homework. This however only happens on the weekends. I am able to control myself and know that when I have something to do (i.e. an upcoming test, project or assignment) I am able to organize my time effectively and not only finish my homework, but more often than not schedule some time for relaxation (a.k.a. video games, tv, or social media). I like I use technology as a reward for myself. I believe that if more kids had this mentality as well as self control there would not be so many problems. I personally feel fulfilled when I complete a lot of homework and then still have an hour so to play Call of Duty :) There have been several nights however where i have not been able to control the amount of games I play and I end up playing for an extra hour or two, or three, or four. This does not happen often though. Only when I play for more time than I expected do I find that gamin effects my sleep patterns, because it is essentially reducing the amount of sleep that a I get, which might also affect me for a night or two after. Oddly enough however, sometimes I find video games act as a nice relaxant and may actually make me tired before I go to bed. Maybe that is just me, but I find it as a nice way relax after a long day.

I don't consider myself to be an average child when it comes to this though because I am able to severly limit my technology usage in order to prepare for something or focus. Most kids in my opinion have lost the sustainabilty to focus on things for longer periods of time. "Back in the day" it was all about repetition until one learns somethings. Now it is not so much repetition, but short activities and hands-on learning that attempts to teach kids the lesson. I believe that Alan Eaton is 100% justified in saying that technology has led to a "balkanization of their focus and duration of stamina." Like Vishal says, its all about the instant gratification. Most kids are doing multiple things at one time and becuase they usually can't handle that capacity of information coming they have to limit the amount of information actually being able to be absorbed. They must be able to absorb the info in that instant and then either move onto the next tidbit of information or revert back into the technology. This only happens because most kids aren't able to determine how to compartmentalize things effectively and thus must take smaller pieces of info at a time, its a little sad. Makes me think of what the world will be like 50 years down the road if children have not learned to compartmentalize things and organize themselves effectively.

All in all, I think that technology should be readily available to students in school becuase it will be available to enrich the learning process. It's important that everyone should understand that technology in an educational sense is meant to enrich the lessons, not replace them. In my opinion, the best way to teach a child, and truly make sure that they understand, absorb and retain the information is to have an effective teacher that understands the child's needs. In some cases, that might simply be a computer screen, but in most cases, it is an involved teacher who actively seeks to help the kids understand and remember the lesson material. After all, money can buy all of the newest gadgets, gizmos and teaching software, but they mean nothing without a valuable  teacher to back them up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Placement UPdate

1) We consulted Ms. Mancini on Wednesday to talk about what she wanted to do with her class. We found out that she needed the netbooks from tuesday to thursday to have her media studies class edit their videos in class. She wants us to come and give  little introduction about Movie Maker and actually do a tutorial in movie maker. We set up tuesday (tomorrow) for Igor and Anzella to go to her class 1st period and do the tutorial. They will be there for most of the class, helping students with anything they need. We also talked about creating a website or a private youtube account for the students in their class to showcase their videos online

2) Ms. Mancini wants us to go to her class and hold  tutorial session for Windowws Movie Maker on at least 1 day (Tuesday) out of the three (tues- thursday). We have to have our thoughts outlined before tuesday so that we will seem professional and actually know what we're talking about.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Placement Blog Post

1.  Good @: Teaching teachers and students to learn technology and sofware
                     Learning New pieces of software

     Not-So-Good @: Developing innovate classroom lessons using technology

1) Creativity- 6 I do have my moments, but those moments often take a while to come. Its not my strong suit but i can come up with good ideas

2)Responsibility- 9 I am very responsible. I dont abuse my power and i am able to stay within my assigned limits. I am also very trustworthy. Being responsible will not be an issue.

3)Web Design- 5 I made a cheesy website in Gr. 5 about Ancient Rome and that is all of my experience. I'm sure though that it is not that hard, and that I will be able to figure it out

4)Developing Action Plans- 9 I've done alot of working breaking down large projects and making sure that they will get done in time. I have successfull experience of creating action plans (Pink Day, SAC events, and other committies)

5)Teaching Other People- 9 I am good at teaching people, because I have patience and enough communication skills to make them understand.

6) Meeting Deadlines- 9 I am almost always ontime with my assignments and other various projects. It is rare for me to miss something, except for extenuating circumstances.

3. I am very comfortable leading students, I've already done it with the netbooks.

4. Team, then partner, then solo.

5. Most comfortable would be English, then Biology. All other things are fine, but those two would be most comfortable

Enriching Technology --> Should it happen????~!?!

I think that this a very realistic idea that can easily be pursued. I think that it might be handier to adapt it from not only an English class but to all classes in general who have large assignments, that need to be studied by the other students. Some of these classes could include History, Geography, Chemistry. I think that this idea could benefit alot of students. It may result in a lot of work in the short term but it should prove useful in the long term, especially exam time. I think that if we were to approach any teacher, regarding the original idea (English Seminar) we should approach Mr. Tebbutt (who teacher Gr. 12 ENG), I am on very good terms with him (SAC) and he has shown interest in the netbooks and has constantly been asking when they are ready to be used, while the netbook group was working on the cart. I think that Mr. Tebbutt would be anxious to start using this idea.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Enriching Technology Blog Post

Whew, i'm finally touching technology for the first time this weekend. My blog post was late because i was in hamilton the entire weekend spending time with the family. It also gave me some time to think about how technology could be used at Mackenzie. I think that it goes without saying that technology is useful, but  its hard to find useful uses (if that makes any sense). I think that in order to do new things in new ways, we have to start off by making baby steps. Education is a system that will take ages to progess. Technology is the complete opposite, which is part of the reason why there have been so many issues trying to unite the two. The idea of a baby step, in my opinion would be starting to use technology with projects. One project that i think could benefit from the use of technology are the Grade 12 English seminars. I'll outline what the idea is in the format that was given to us on the class website.

Idea details:

The Grade 12 English seminar is a large group project that is worth about 10% of one's final mark in English. Groups of 4 students are to analyze a certain theme in 1984 or Brave New World and then in a sense "teach" the class about that theme. The idea being that, every group must present in order for the entire class to learn about the themes in the book. What I think would be effective is if we can apply the netbooks to the hour long seminar. Student will create a website, with links to either a prezi or Google docs etc for their main information and points. Within the seminar there are also certain discussion questions that must be addressed. These can be addressed in the form of an online survey where comments can be posted and where the results can be viewed on a common screen. In addition student will be able to study  the notes created and discuss things online and have interactive study sessions from home through programs like diigo, and google docs, etc. To sum up, students will create an interactive website that will teach the class about themes and motifs of the select study book that the english class is studying.

Technology Needed:

-Access to the Netbook Cart
-Website creation tool
-laptop projector kit


-It allows for a more interactive presentation
-Makes sure that all students must participate and continue
-Ensures that a conversation/discussion can be started. (Results of the survey)
-A website can be acessed by everyone and can be used for future notes outside of the classroom (Most people didn't remember what the presentation was about: this solves that problem)
-People don't necessarily have to meet up to work on the project (a major problem i had last year)


-Some people might have difficulties creating an engaging website
-The class using the netbooks can results in alot of distraction during the presentation
-Might be hard to coordinate so that all of the technology will be available for each presentation
-Depending on class sizes, not all students will have a netbook

What Needs to Happen to make the Idea Work- Who is Responsible

There is not actually alot of work that needs to happen in order for this to happen. It is an indepentdent project after all. Student will have to train themselves and learn how to create the websites. The teachers must outline what the students have to do and also ensure that they will have the netbooks and projector for each scheduled presentation.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

eInstruction Video Submission

As cheesy as it sounds i think we should do a parody rap video. They are always the ones where one can say the most and still make sense. I think that we can kind of do the same idea i stated earlier for the future shop thing, except with more twists. Essentially have students rise up out of their seats and do short little rap testimonials about how all of this stuff would rock in our class rooms. The good thing about doing a rap video is that randomness is common, so having a placement for one of their products wouldn't be out of place. Not only one person can make up these ideas though, so i think that an additional group should be formed to brainstorm even more ideas and start making the fine details of the video and then pitch their ideas to the class and then we'll vote or something. I think that we have to show that we have character and a sense of comedy, but are also serious enough to be able to handle all of this technology. These are just my ideas though, i think that ideas are more effective if groups collaborate and create them.

And thats the last of my ideas :)

Future Shop #6

I think that this could be the hardest of the contests to win. Our school is not really in need of any new technologies, especially since we just got 30 new net books and library computers. If we do try it though i think we should try to take a comical look at it (for the video). Have kids looking confused with the confusing lesson that they are getting the board and then some magical future shop fairy comes in an flicks its magical wand and it then the shot goes to a classroom of people who are all now understanding things better because of the added technology. We could have things like testimonials, from students who would like to use technology to aid in the classroom (  A.K.A. us   ). I think it would be good to include important stats in our written letter about how technology helps kids in the classroom. ( We can use that ideas site that you showed us on the first day for more info). We should also emphasize how much we need new computers and more smartboards/ projectors in the upstairs classrooms. However, i dont think that this should be our main focus for a contest.


That was Easy! (#5)

So, apparently its not that easy. 1 of us has to write a 500 word essay to win us $50 000. I think making everyone in the class to do an essay would be a little unrealistic, but putting the pressure on one kid is too much to handle. I think that the best solution would be to create a small group of lets say 3 or 4 people who will collaborate to create an essay. To make sure its up to all of our standards, we can display it on the smart board and leave it open to discussion from the entire class. The actual topics of the essay should include such things as our switch program, and also our recycling program that we did last year which won us the netbooks. We can also start making pledges or something to be more eco friendly.

Maybe it is that easy :P

Monday, September 27, 2010

Four..... chan

1. Netbook Cart Team- I liked working with the netbooks, and I think that it would be cool if i could continue with what I started
2. Web 2.0 Tools - I want to learn how to use some of these software tools and I think that it could prove very useful, and I'd like to teach some teachers new things, reverse the tables for once.
3. In depth software development-I dont really want to develop software, just learn how. I also dont want to develop lesson plans, yuck.

I like working with my hands, and i also like to build stuff, and i've already got experience with working with the netbooks.

I dont think that software development, specifically creating lesson plans is right for me. Some times I lack a "creative ability" and it might be a bit boring, informative, but boring for the teacher.

Blog Post #3

So we had a supply today, and we had to figure out what types of things we wanted to do on the worksheet. When it comes to dabbling: i think that we should just try some new things here and there. Such as putting a new engineering software in the Tech class, or doing cyber art in the art class rooms. It's best to just try everything and see what works and what doesn't. For old things in old ways, an effective method, which has been proven to be effective would be to submit and write things electronically. For old things in new ways, we can use simulation programs and other interactive programs to help teach kids new things using new technology such as our netbooks. For doing new things in new ways, I think that we should try to completely revolutionize the system and make everything digitalized, eventually that is what our society is going to become anyways. Change everything. Revolutionize it.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Numero DOS!

The course so far..... Hm... I still feel like i dont know enough about ti know really comment on it. I think that once we start actually interacting with teacher and things like that it will be more interesting. To me, right now, this course just feels like a preparation course, getting ready for things to come. I'm also not sure exactly how those things that are to come are going to happen. I'm a little confused, but i'm sure that in due time, things will become more clear. Right now, its just what i look forward to after Law. Blech.


The FIRST POST!!! (Evals)

My very first post.... ever.

I"m supposed to evaluate myself on my progess when setting up the netbooks. I think i'm going to find it a little difficult considering that it waws more of an individual thing that was either done or not done. But here it goes:

  • Competion of task= 4. This is a pretty basic mark, either i finished it or i didn't, and both of my netbooks; Mac7 and Mac21 were sucessfully completed.
  • Cooperative participation= 4. Once again this was generally an individual task, but if anyone needed help i was able to offer it. The only that we really had to share was power outlets, and i was on the ground several times, plugging other people's in.... I guess that counts as cooperation. 
  • Creative and critical thinking= 3 There was not really that many questions that needed to be thought about, and i had to ask questions here are there about what to do with certain computer problems.
  • Initiative=4. I felt that i was productive when setting up my netbooks. I had to miss a class for a SAC event, which put me a little behind, but generally I felt that i used my class time wisely when installing programs.
That is all for my first post, stay tuned for up coming posts!!