Thursday, 17 January 2013

So I just read that I am supposed to prepare an introduction.  I'm choosing, at this point, to write it as a blog post.  My very first post was about my recent journey into the world of Twitter.  I think it pretty much summed up where I am at with technology (not very far), so in this, my second post, I will tell a bit about myself and why I signed up for ETMOOC.

My name is Jenni Scott-Marciski.  I've just entered the 16th year of my teaching career at Nip-Rock High in Red Rock, Ontario on the northernmost shore of Lake Superior. For the first couple of years I taught a bit of this and a bit of that (art, Special Education, merchandising, native studies, civics, career studies, Canadian history, drama and English). I then spent several years teaching English and leading the Communications department. I'm now in my fifth year as our school's guidance counselor and as the leader of our Student Services department.  Our school has fewer than 200 students and we continue to try to run as comprehensive a program as possible which means we are developing a reliance on elearning courses to help students fill their timetables.  In fact, all of our university-bound students must take elearning courses in Grade 12.  In addition to my 197 kids at school, I have two at home.  My son is just about 10 and my daughter is 7.  One of the main reasons I signed up for ETMOOC is so I can better serve all of my kids (the 197 at school and the 2 at home).  I`ve been asking for PD around technology for years and this opportunity was put before me by my principal.  Besides me, she has signed up for ETMOOC as have 2 other teachers from my school.  This morning we were working on one more of our teachers to sign up and I think we might have convinced her.  Anyway, I digress.  I just couldn`t pass up this opportunity to learn about technology in education.  It`s way too daunting to  try and figure this out on my own because there`s just so much out there that I don`t know where to start.  

I have to admit though, I have a second reason for joining ETMOOC.  And it`s kind of selfish.  But I`m trying to convince myself that I deserve it.  I`ve joined because I really, really need something in my life that`s about me.  I have been feeling as though I`ve lost all desire to do anything lately and with the loss of desire has come a loss of confidence.  The prospect of learning something new has sparked an enthusiasm in me that I haven`t felt in a long time, so that is why I'm getting excited about ETMOOC.  (Now, if only I could get through an entire blog post without 10 000 ``Mommy`s."  You know what I mean: `Mommy, I need to upgrade itunes.  Is that ok?" And "Mommy, I deleted this app on the computer but it's still on my ipod. itunes is kind of unreliable."  And "Mommy, I just did an experiment and the chocolate milk powder tastes WAY better than the chocolate milk syrup." And "Mommy, it's a good thing I figured out where to put the resistor in the last project I did, isn't it?"  And  "Mommy, do we have any 3D glasses anywhere?"  And the most recent, "Mommy, you know how we couldn't figure out how to install the Aether Mod, well I just found instructions 'How to install any mod.'"  Seriously, I heard all of this and more during the writing of this post.)

Well, I wrote this post the evening of the first etmooc Blackboard Collaborate session, just before it started.  Apparently I saved it instead of publishing it.  Since then, I've been pretty excited by what I've participated in so far.  I'm now thinking that I had better try out some new things and make a visual introduction that's more fun than this one.  Hopefully I'll get that introduction done before etmooc draws to a close.  I'm now on TweetDeck and Hootsuite.  I'm ready to try Google Reader.  And I've got some ideas I want to blog about.   (Note:  during the addition of this final paragraph tonight, I heard  4 facts about nuclear disasters, each preceded by, "Mommy...")

Sunday, 13 January 2013

I Think of my Principal as @Fryed

I'm starting this blog because I've signed up for ETMOOC and one of the requirements is that participants blog. Despite everything I've read about the importance of blogging for educators, I've not yet arrived at a place where I feel that it is necessary for me but I'm willing to give it a try.  Despite my willingness to give it a try, I've sort of been avoiding getting started  because all of this technology stuff is uncharted territory for me and thoughts of participating in my first MOOC are making me a bit anxious.  I knew though that I couldn't put it off forever and when it dawned on me earlier today that I could write my first post about my first foray into connectedness (Twitter), I decided that today would be the day I picked a blog provider (or forum or platform or whatever it's supposed to be called) and got started.

I joined Twitter in the fall. I didn't know much about Twitter, or rather I had only  misconceptions about Twitter, but @ColleenKR, (who is my friend and the art teacher in our school where I am the guidance counselor) convinced me that it would be a great place for me to connect with other educators who are passionate about learning.  She convinced me to give it a try, just as she had been convinced by our principal, @fryed.

Although I got off to a slow start, I am making steady progress.  Since joining Twitter I've moved from following only people I know to following people that the people I know retweeted to following people who were retweeted by strangers and had things to say that provoked deep thought on my part.  I've moved from checking Twitter every couple of days to checking it first thing in the morning, last thing before I go to sleep and many, many times in between.  I just don't want to miss anything.  I've figured out how to tweet and retweet and change my profile picture.  I understand how to use hash tags effectively (although still forget to do so, most of the time.)  I'm finding myself looking forward to tweets by certain people I'm following more than others.

What's got me a bit worried about the role of Twitter in my life is that I've begun thinking of the people I knew before joining by their Twitter handles.  When I get up I think, "I wonder what @fryed tweeted this morning or I wonder if @ColleenKR or @KimberNipRock replied to my tweet or I wonder if @wallwins tweeted to say she made it home." But what's even worse is that I'm thinking of these people outside of Twitter  as their Twitter handles too.  When I put on my favourite blue shirt in the  morning, I wonder if @ColleenKR will show up at school wearing hers.  I wonder if @KimberNipRock will drop by for a chat during her prep.  I wonder if @fryed and I will have time to get together to work on...  I'm not sure what this means, but I sure hope I snap out of it!  I am fairly certain that at very least I've taken some baby-steps toward connectedness.

Well, I've been at this for awhile so I'd better go check mean make supper!  (And that's my next concern:  time management when there's just so much to explore...)