Reflection on Week 4
I am feeling like part of this exercise is to help me sympathize with my students even more. This weekend was catch up weekend. However when I arrived to teach in Peach Springs and set up my equipment my computer crashed. I was then problem solving to get work done. As I sat in the Hualapai Lodge lobby on the computer trying to look at all the videos and articles, each one that was offsite of the homepage was blocked. The Hualapai tribe (as is OFTEN the case with many tribes) has a very strong firewall. Lesson? If many of our native students don’t have access to independent VPNs, then chances are they cannot access links to videos, youtube, flickr, and other wonderful sites.
It is important then to remember two essentials of teaching. 1) know your material frontwards and backwards so that you can differentiate instruction, and 2) always remember that your delivery model has to be adapted for “special needs”. Typically we think of adaptions as pertaining to individuals with IEPs, etc. However “special needs” can also be situational.
I see great potential in the use of visuals for course content. As an online teacher I already embed pictures, videos, and webinars into my courses. One of the pitfalls of online is the amount of reading we insist students do. Creating a video allows for differentiated instruction as well as a different kind of class intimacy (no, not that kind please).
When you combine videos with opportunities to interface through Hangouts, Skype, or WeChat there are more opportunities to experiences virtual classrooms.
There remains the issue of students who don’t have reliable Internet access, or who don’t “get it”. As an instructor of Eportfolio I find myself on the phone with students talking them through what they are seeing on their side. This requires absolutely CLEAR communication, and an understanding by the student to NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING WITHOUT PERMISSION. Sometimes they “get it” and click ahead. Then we are both lost in the darkness of the telephone trying to talk each other back-to-center. It can be very frustrating.
I don’t believe anything will replace the sound of a voice or the nonverbal communication of seeing a face. Being a human is about being connected, and NOT isolated. Online can further distance some kinds of students in a detrimental way. Creating opportunities for live-time interactions can help bridge that gap.
But it is necessary to “reach out and touch someone” as the old telephone ads promoted. It is easy to make assumptions about students ( and teachers) who aren’t showing up in a course. We have to be very mindful. It is our responsibility as instructors to engage students to the best of our ability.
Of Mice and Men:
“Tell me about the rabbits again, George, please?”
Help I have fallen in the rabbit hole and I can’t get out! Well, I started the week relatively confident. Skype? Been doing it for years. Google docs? Had it at work although never used it. Add new tools like Twitter and Google plus? I have an Iphone – no sweat… It gets dark from here.
My phone (IOS4) would not download either Twitter or Google plus without an IOS6 system. I was instructed to connect to Itunes on my computer and sync with my phone (it was more complicated than that but I am already having post-traumatic symptoms so I will spare the reader).
This did not work. So I went to the Verizon store yesterday and found that I had too many apps and not enough storage. I needed to upgrade my phone. But wait! There’s a deal! For $6.99 I could get a recycled phone, charger, cords and case. So, I bought 2. (I love bargains!).
I agreed to connect my phone with my WiFi at home. While driving I realized that my old phone no longer made calls. A dull panic set in. I got home sprawled phone paraphernalia all over the kitchen table and turned on the new phone.
“ENTER PASS CODE”. What??? I alternated between random pass codes and having the phone disable.
I have no other phone to call on for help. Fortunately the Verizon 611 number worked on my old phone. I spent 40 minutes with 3 different reps re-explaining what was going on, once getting disconnected.
No luck. No pass code.
I figured out how to reactivate my old phone and was able to call the Prescott Verizon store; which by-the-way does not have a direct phone number (THAT was another adventure).
The employee switched my number to the second phone I bought (see! and you thought me a spendthrift).
I activated it and have twitter, Google +, and Hangouts on my phone. My twitter account is @sopadepiedra.
That is the Spanish title for the children’s book Stone Soup: a great story about leadership, problem-solving, and community organizing.
I can’t use my gmail from work (administrative issues) so I am now using 1 of my other 4 email accounts. I have this vague sense of floating out into to space (or maybe it’s the Prozac). I’m not sure what passwords are where, what comments I haven’t responded to and where they are located.
But hey, like Adam Levine said (in the 32:19 minutes I watched before the video wouldn’t play), I am choosing to see the good things that are coming from the growth that I am experiencing.
And, if nothing else, I haven’t killed anyone. That’s good, right?
I am coming in under the wire as do so many of my students. This has been a frustrating week for me as time pressures have interfered with what I had hoped to be a relaxed-creative time on my blog. I had difficulties with templates, and colors, and disappearing text. I’m still not sure if this contrast works well visually for most readers.
I have two lines of comments and I don’t know how to get rid of one. I do what I always do with the computer…when I reach a wall, I punt. This can lend itself to some pretty bad habits which may include taking the long way around. But I think I am making progress. We will see what happens in week 2. I foresee perhaps another plea for face-to-face time with Todd and/or Thatcher in my magic 8 ball.