Today was my first day back at work after a year on study leave, and what a day it was. I realized that nothing much has changed (not a good thing) and that I will face more challenges than anticipated in the upcoming semester.
Although today was only the first day it was clear of what lies ahead. In a earlier post titled ‘Reflections’ posted a day or so ago I reflected on how I intended to use my newly acquired knowledge and skills on the use of Web 2.0 tools in my teaching. Today however the brought me right back to reality as problems with internet connectivity that plagued the organization a year ago still exist. This is somewhat disappointing initially as I could immediately see the challenges that lie ahead.
But after some deliberate thought I decided that I will not be disheartened but will continue to do as I have done in the past, always have a back-up plan if any technological is incorporated into any lesson plan I present. This has been the case before I left for study leave and it is apparent that will be the case for some time to come.
It is situations like this that cements my arguments that teachers need to be paid more. The amount of preparation that usually goes into a lesson plan (the initial plan, the back-up plan, the back-up to the back-up plan) is a tremendous burden on an individual. Anyways I will keep my head up and hopefully by the time the semester starts I will have some good news.
Because I honestly can’t wait to transfer the knowledge and skills gained to my working environment and share with my colleagues some tips on improving the design and delivery of the courses at the Barbados Community College – Hospitality Institute.
Now this is what I am talking about.
Getting techy in the kitchen. This article on Mashable discusses how this iPhone app can track the temperature of the food that you are cooking and tell when it has reached the perfect temperature.
Not only was this cool, but the list at the bottom of the article also had some super cool products that can help techies in the kitchen with my favorites being the voice activated coffeemaker (AWESOME!!!) and the Beer Tender (mini draught beer dispenser) , but not voice activated (shucks).
But what great tools to have in your home for those nights that your are studying or working hard. Just shout in the kitchen for more coffee, downside is that you still have to get up and go for it.
The past six weeks has been very intriguing. There are so many things that I have learned and really enthused to put into practice in my job. With all that I have been getting my hands dirty with it will be a real task to just select the best tools. But I believe I will have to use each tool on it’s own merit.
I have always liked Facebook as a social network, but this course has showed me the numerous ways in which instruction can be effectively woven into the design and delivery of courses. Pinterest is another Web 2.0 tool which I can start incorporating into my lessons immediately if I so desire. The nature of what I teach in Hospitality is really adapt to several Web 2.0 tools.
It is my desire to continue to explore various ways to use Web 2.0 tools in my classrooms and also in my own personal development. With my job being based in Barbados I am very keen on MOOCS as part of my future self development plan. Having had sudy leave for one year already I don’t believe they will be very keen on awarding me any more study leave any time soon. That means that I will have to be creative to pursue the developmental path that best suits me.
Here is a really cool link to some best practices to follow when using Facebook. I believe that it is essential to acknowledge some ground rules when using Web 2.0 tools in instruction and education. It is also important that these Web 2.0 tools are used to augment what the objectives are in the lesson and not replace the learning objectives.
Facebook is one of those Web 2.0 tools that people may still be hesitant to use, but this resources shows that it is possible once it is planned and executed properly.
I found this Infographic, and although it does presents many things that we discovered over the past few weeks it presents them in a very organized fashion. The author does acknowledge that in a few months the list of Web 2.0 tools that impact eduction will change, and advocates for anyone to add, edit or change his list.
Now that is in a true Produage spirit.
The Pro-Am Revolution article by Leadbetter & Miller lead me to look at my role as one of the founding members of the Barbados Bodyboarding Association back in 2002. The perspective gained from the article was definitely not my focus back then. I was merely contributing in any way possible to push a sport that I loved and participated in. Another reason was that I saw that there was limited opportunity for those Bodyboarders who really excelled as the umbrella body of the Barbados Surfing Association did not really recognize the efforts of local Bodyboarders.
The passion I had for the sport back then lead me to organizing local committee meetings, procuring sponsorships, basically volunteering a a large amount of my personal time to getting the association up and running. And the founding members did not look for any rewards, we just did what had to be done. Which meant a small core of people did everything until the association gained momentum.
I have not been very active in the association for the past 2 -3 years, but it is still going strong with another core of volunteers leading the way. I have promised to come back and play a role in some way in the future, and I will stick to that.
It is only after reading the article that I realize how pivotal volunteers and persons who contribute their time and energy to their passions are in the development of industries, jobs, and hobbies. It also show the fine line that do exist between professional occupations and hobbies, and how they links between the two are created and maintained.
It never ceases to amaze me at how comprehensive Google is with their pocket full of Web 2.0 tools. A month or so ago as I beginning to tell my son about the transition that was going to occur in his life (moving back to Barbados), I looked for ways to help explain what was going to happen.
I remembered using Google Earth to help explain the distance we were going to travel, amongst the many other questions he had, could we drive to Barbados? Couldn’t we just live between Tallahassee and Barbados? etc.
Google Earth was great in showing him the distance between where we were and home, also highlighting the fact that is a vast ocean with many islands separating the two destinations. The animation of the world turning and zooming into the destination was really cool. Then I could show him a picture of where our home is (similar photo depicted above) and we could zoom in as much as we wanted.
And yes, he wanted me to zoom into our favorite beach but unfortunately Google hasn’t come up with a way of teleporting us there.
Or have they? We will continue to dream because it will sure beat the high airfares and the long flights.