Friday, November 28, 2008

Learning Adventure 9

The Learning Adventure after that (through Thanksgiving) will involve the viewing of the "Comedian" film.

Like Donna, one thing I noticed is how much trial and error there seems to be in perfecting his craft. While watching the movie, I was immediately struck with how similar teaching is to Seinfeld's process. Much like Seinfeld, I find myself starting over year after year coming up with new and interesting material and trying it out on my students. I want them to have a learning experience in my classroom like no other, and I am certain that Seinfeld wants his material to make an impression on his audience as well.

What amazed me too is how we all learn from others. Learning clearly is a social activity. Seinfeld takes cues and advice from the experts around him, as we do as educators. We try something out, see how it goes, gauge the reaction of our audience and either build off the results or regroup and go a different direction. Also, the teacher who tries something different isn't always respected as Orny showcases. I think teaching and comedy are crafts that require reinvention to continue to engage your audience. Also, the feedback from the audience allows for the educator or comedian to grow and change or to become more stagnant feeling that the audience doesn't know what they are talking about.

I have to say what I really loved about this learning adventure was watching my favorite comedian reflect on his craft. You could watch as he reflected and embraced the change, he grew. It is so scary to try something new, to put yourself out there for others to criticize, to build new material and not rely on using what has always worked in past.

I am excited to hear everyone else's reaction. Donna and Matt- well done.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Learning Adventure 8 reflection


A cadre member suggested that it would be good to organize a web-based(and perhaps other media too) advocacy campaign on behalf of the upcoming Give One, Get One promotion from the One Laptop Per Child Foundation.

The web site OLPC is

Give One, Get One begins again for a limited time on November 17th.

Let's collectively build an advocacy site that does whatever is necessary to convince folks about the value of OLPC and encourage them to invest in Give One, Get One. By advocacy, I mean FOR the program. That requires the message to be consistent and positive.

I of course can guide the process and answer questions, but it would be worthwhile to learn all you can about OLPC, its value and what makes it unique before designing the site. This should be finalized within two weeks.

The past few learning adventures for me have been an interesting ride. I had more trouble with the technological side of things than I had wanted so the quilting, mapping and Snac-man all were more challenging with that than the learning I had wanted from the adventures. But then, we started the adventure that seemed to me to have purpose, and a greater purpose than just completing something. The purpose could be truly life changing for kids around the world and this is something I have great passion for. I am a teacher who believes that education can be the change agent to steer countries that are poverty stricken or impoverished into a new direction. OLPC is a project near and dear to my heart. When I heard Nicholas Negroponte speak about three years ago, I was ready to pick up my family and move to help these kids. The OLPC organization’s motto so powerfully speaks to my faith, my belief in education, and my passion about technology. So to combine this LA with things that are near and dear to me, really made this an adventure I could be excited about. Plus, when I started talking to my students about what I was doing, and the site we were creating, they too wanted to help.

As the learning adventure began, I had challenging time writing. This may come as a surprise to many, but I struggle as a writer and yet I am an English teacher. I have never been a confident writer, and over the years of teaching writing, have found my own writing to grow with time. But, with each writing assignment and reflection, it takes me quite some time to process what I want to say and then to actually put it down on paper takes more time. I just knew in my heart what I wanted to write for OLPC’s G1G1 website, but I couldn’t seem to get the inspiration to do it. Then one day, it just hit me when I was sitting in church. I was listening to my pastor talk about HOPE, and it all came together in my head that that is the message I want to send out. The G1G1 project is all about giving hope to kids. After writing my thoughts out for the benefits section and OLPC section, I volunteered for the editing job as well. I edit all the time so I figured it would be something that I could give to the cadre.

Andwhat I really learned from this whole adventure is giving. We each gave of our times, our gifts (Colby with his website prowess, others with their technical skills, some with editing, some with support and reflection), but we all were giving over the course of a couple of weeks. I am so grateful to have seen each of our gifts shine in different ways and then combine in an unbelievable collaboration. It was a piece of work to watch it all come together and besides the incredible writing and editing hours (whew!) I am glad and so thankful I get to work with all of you. You all make the world a better place and you all provide the much needed hope to this world. After all, as I said in my write-up we are people of hope and we need to continue to provide hope for all of those out there who cannot advocate for themselves. Technology can break down the barriers that generation after generation has built up. Technology provides limitless opportunities for kids to learn differently and in ways that benefits them not necessarily benefits School.

So, thanks Gary for the hard work, the chance to collaborate on a globally meaningful project that speaks to my heart, my passions, and my desire to CHANGE THE WORLD.

Here are the links to the website we created and the wiki where we did our planning:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Learning Adventure 7-Snacman

I finished! I am so excited. Thanks so much to Kathleen, Dan, Greg and Donna for getting me started on the right foot this morning. It makes me think and reflect about how important it is to have encouraging teachers on our students’ side. I had such a better attitude about this learning adventure because I was relaxed and felt somewhat confident about completing this task since I had some background knowledge to apply to my new learning.

Day One: I watched the Microworlds videos a few days ago with my stepson Jackson. He actually wanted to watch TV but as soon as he started watching my computer, he quickly left the TV and wanted to do the assignment with me. I love that.

Day Two: After thinking about the original videos, and preparing for our big group meeting, Dan gave the best advice which was to watch the Snacman videos because everything he learned, he just completed after that particular segment of the video. I did the same thing and it was like being a kid again. I spent so many days playing Pacman at Happy Joes pizza in Minot, ND and wasted a lot of allowance on the game in order to get my name on the highest points list. If I would only have known that at 34 years of age I could make my own game with the small price of a Pepperdine tuition, well… :)

The group meeting this morning reminded me of how much I love to learn with others. I love the dialogue, the support, the encouragement, and it seems this is what I need as well as others to start us on the right foot. It really gave em a clear big picture of what the project was all about. After the large group meeting, I took Dan’s advice and watched the tutorials stopping and starting while working in Microworlds at the same time. It was genius and it gave me the small satisfaction to keep working and moving along. Some questions I had while I was creating the snacman costume was why does the size of the snacman change shape when you put him in the up or down direction? Is it the inversion of the x and y axis? Also, I couldn’t seem to make my program copy multiple dots to eat. I could only cut and paste one at a time. I even tried Dan’s trick of using the lasso. Oh well, it all ended up working out in the end.

One huge tip that I learned in a tragic way is that your controls should be in an enclosed area to avoid being eaten by your snacman. It was like watching a car crash! Dan also showed us how to use a keyboard control he snagged off the vocabulary instructions in Microworlds. So cool! That gave me many happy memories of playing on my parents Apple IICE and trying to make Frogger get across the road before the cars would crush him.

Besides the copying of multiple dots, I couldn’t seem to hear the music that I created. I am not sure what is going on. Any suggestions would be great.

Overall, I had a great time completing this adventure. I am so thankful Gary for the tutorials and the time it took for you to complete them to assist us in our learning. It even made me want to paragraph out my response in a nice fashion just for you. And it made my learning an enjoyable experience. I really just relaxed and had fun seeing what I could do. Everyone in my family wants to play the game and I am really anxious to maybe show this to my students. How about a Fahrenheit 451 game with Montag being chased by the Mechanical Hound? And he eats up books for points? Thanks LC and Gary.

I posted my Snacman game on GG as SnacmanAnne