Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Learning Styles

Your link didn't work for me, Michael so I used the VARK questionaire

Mild Kinesthetic
It showed that I have a mild Kinesthetic learning preference.
• Visual: 2
• Aural: 6
• Read/Write: 7
• Kinesthetic: 10
I totally agree with this - I do have practical bent but when I study I go through reams of paper as I have to summerise and rewrite constantly. I used to envy my husband who recorded his notes, then just sat in a comfy chair and listened while I was desperately writing and rewriting!
I am also a list writer! Trouble is I feel so good when I write a list that I may not actually get anything done.
Reading the VARK definitions I found that it fit me perfectly and also fit my employment history - originally I was a Medical Technologist (hospital labs) and now I teach computer - I guess that I am not a square peg in a round hole.

Students and VARK
I used the VARK questionaire on my recent VCAL students and apart from the student who ticked everything without reading it, they all proved to be visual learners. I then adjusted my learning resources to suit and they did much better!

Cup Day Weekend
Took off and spent the Cup Day weekend at St Leonards. Lovely to get away. Weather wasn't brilliant but managed to get some walks in without getting blown away or drenched.
The photo is of pelicans I encountered on the beach.
Also managed to get some of my Cert IV TAE work done. I am trying to customise purchased resources so we can get it on our scope and finding it tough going.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thoughts on Blogging

Just realised that I was supposed to reflect on blogging in my first blog so here goes:

The Start of my Blogging Experience
I started blogging last year when it was a requirement of my Dip TAA course. I felt a bit insecure about the whole concept so I only shared my blog with my assessor to start with.
At first I wrote out my blog long hand and then edited it and keyed it in. That became a drag after a while and very time consuming so I tried just typing my blog straight in. This worked well as I had the security of being able to go back in and edit a blog at any time.
I got very positive reinforcement from my assessor so I continued.
Then I realised that I was blogging every day and not getting my work done - much as I am now!
I set restrictions on myself that I could only blog once a week. Then I got very busy and found that I was only only blogging for each unit I completed.
I was pleased with the feedback I received from my assessor - very positive with the comment that he always enjoyed my blogs.

Reflections on Blogging
I enjoy blogging and found that it enabled me to reflect on the unit I was in the process of completing.
I could reflect on:
- what went right
- what went wrong and why
- how I could do better
- how I felt about the whole thing
This reflection helped in my learning and also with my credit result!

I tried to continue blogging as I had enjoyed it so much but found it quite difficult as you can see - this is the blog I started after I completed my study.
So I guess that I really have to have a purpose to blog or at least I find it easier if I am doing something that I need/want to reflect on.
I tried to encourage my students to use a discussion forum in wiki to create a reflective blog - not a very positive response. To be perfectly honest I am not comfortable blogging in a discussion forum - I feel a discussion forum is more for short questions/answers/reflections/comments.
I like to have a big space where I can put all of my thoughts down as you can see.

23 Things
This is great for me as it has got me into blogging again and given me a purpose to blog.
I look forward to taking the time to really investigate the aspects of blogging I have not taken the time to explore and really learn how to make my blog lot more attractive or at least interesting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

23 Things

Just attended the first session for 23 Things.
Sounds like it will be a great adventure if I make the time to take advantage of it.

Should do
I know that I should be doing this in WordPress but I already have this blog and was not really using it so I am here.

I intend to take the time to add stuff to make this blog interesting but not today.

I have been in Elluminate sessions since 3.30pm - nearly 4 hours and I am hungry, stiff and my eyes have just about given up.

I do like the idea of 23 Things but I am not sure that I will be able to convince my e-leaders as most of mine are admin staff and are time poor.


I had wonderful intentions with the MOOC even though I knew I was in for a busy time.
It didn't work!
I was teaching on Tuesday mornings so unfortunately I missed all of Carole's Elluminate sessions. Will catch up with the recordings.
I also missed a lot of Junita's Thursday sessions as I have a class that finishes at 8pm on Thursdays.
I did enjoy the session I co-presented on the Wednesday night.
Hopefully my chaos has been resolved and I can get back to normal. I have been teaching VCALs and have found it a consuming challenge to engage them and design assessment tasks to enable them to show what they know. Most of them are great kids and we all do our best for them but it just takes one disruptive student to destroy a carefully planned session.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Google Sites

17 August 2011
Coach Carole and I presented Google Sites to e-T@lking. I showcased my Diploma e-portfolio and used print screens to show how to create a Google site for an e-Portfolio. Carole showed two of her Google Sites. One for Her e-learning journey and one for her geneology. She demonstrated adding a new page and discussed the planning needed before creating a Google site.

There are always problems. Carole intended to create a Google site in 5 minutes but Google was not co-operating as we could not get into it. Not too much of a problem as we had just about used our time and we answered questions.

How did it go?
I felt that it went well. I tangled up my words a bit but Carole of course was very smooth. It was interesting to see Caroles sites as they were very different to mine. Also interesting to hear the experiences of others.
We are all on the same e-learning journey!

Google Docs

11 August 2011
Pam and I presented Google Docs to Community Connect as part of the ePcop MOOC.

A new person to work with
It was nice to work with Pam as I have not worked directly with her before. We didn't manage to get together before hand as we seemed to miss each other. But I think it worked well.

Session content
Pam covered Google Docs general stuff and I covered Google forms and showed my Google e-Portfolio.

I created a Google form and intended to share the application and ask participants to contribute by adding questions to the form. I thought this would be a good way to involve the participants and to get a range of different question types. But! When I tried the link to get into it I seemed to be the only one able to edit the form. It took me to a sign in page with my email address as the username. I wondered if this was because I had asked my computer to remember me. But! when I tried it on my husband's computer I got the same result. So, I scrapped that idea and created a form with the same question in various question types and just demonstrated it in application share. I felt very isolated when I used application share in Blackboard Collaborate, it was the first time I had used it in the new format and it takes up most of your screen so I had to rely on Pam to watch the text chat for questions. She, of course, did that very well for me. Next time I will see if I can resize the application share.

How did it go?
I felt that our presentation went well. Pam was very well prepared and great to work with.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thoughts on Blogs

I missed some of the MOOC session tonight but what I did see was inspiring. Manjit spoke about using blogs with refugee learners. She has overcome all kinds of obstacles to do this.
I had intended to use reflective blogs with my VCAL learners but was daunted when I observed some of the levels of literacy. Junita has had great success with blogs with VCAL learners. I just need to work out how to do it. I guess that I would just have to schedule time into the lesson plans - that would do it.

I will be teaching Cert IV TAE next year so I will definately be requiring those learners to create reflective blogs.
Two clear advantages to this:
1. learners have the opportunity to reflect on their learning
2. I will know how they are going, what their thinking is, etc. It will also give me feedback on my teaching.

My experience
I have just completed my Dip TAA and as part of the course I was required to keep a reflective blog. I found that it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my learning/problems I encountered/successes/time constraints, etc. Some of my blogs I submitted as evidence of competency. I did feel comfortable with the fact that I could keep my blog private - just between my assessor and myself especially at first. In fact I had to limit the number of blogs I was writing as I did not have the time to spare. But I do see the advantage in having a class blog where learners can share and learn from each other.

I was required to use Blogger. I found it very user friendly and love the fact that it is free and portable. I don't like the idea of not being able to access my blog after my course is completed.
Give it a go you may find you like it and blogging becomes a way of life!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

MOOC - exciting stuff! Blackboard Collaborate??

MOOC Introduction
Just attended the Blackboard Collaborate MOOC introductory session. And it is going to be MASSIVE! Great to see the fantastic attendance. Congrats to organisers.

Blackboard Collaborate
I was a bit thrown by the new format of Blackboard Collaborate.
I missed the layout facility and found it confusing not to be able to instantly see who was speaking. Also I like to see the chat full length so that I can catch up with it after concentrating on the whiteboard.
Also found it confusing to find the microphone, smiley faces, etc but I am sure that it is just that they have moved.
I was pleased that I didn't drop out but noted that some people did. It is very frustrating to drop out and I was pleased to see those that did persevered and jumped back in again.
Pleased to find that the Web Tour loaded much quicker.

MOOC works! - learning already
I have just been on the epcop Learn Space and read a blog about how to make your blogs interesting - this is looking like a lump of text - oh, well, maybe next time it will be more interesting.
Decided to try to add a photo and some subheadings - maybe that will add some interest!

This is a photo from the recent holidays taken on the only fine day - spent the rest of the time huddled inside next to the heater and out of the rain. It shows that the MOOC is working already as I have never added a photo to my blog before!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Disengaged learners - how can I engage them?

A class of young disengaged learners with low LLN skills and behaviour problems.

I tried podcasts after attending a PD telling me that podcasts are the way to go. As all of my learners are visual learners not one of them even listened to it.
Flash Movies
I tried creating flash movies from Microsoft PowerPoint presentations with recorded narration and saved as flash movies with iSpringFree. Learners loved them! Most of the pictures were ClipArt but even so they still loved them. Unforunately they take me a lot of time to create.

Scrap the podcasts
Create more flash movies