Spring 2016

JohnAlthough it’s currently 9°F, I am thinking about the Spring 2016 semester.  The semester begins in a few short days and many changes are on the horizon.

For ECH 415: Teaching and Learning Mathematics: Grades 1-4, I plan to delve deeply into Mathematical Mindsets.  Mindsets are a relatively new-to-me philosophy that focuses on the research that shows that a brain can learn new things quickly.  The belief that a person has a math-brain or doesn’t have a math-brain are false.  I have always felt this was true, but research I am reviewing shows that there are some exciting things happening to make mathematics education exciting.

For ED 417: Teaching with Technology, I am planning to focus again on topics that have proven valuable for teacher candidates.  Hopefully, introducing Google Classroom will add to the Online Presence, Presentations, web design, and SMART content.

For ED 610: Mobile Educational Technology, I will be reviewing new apps and content, all while focusing on the same modules as in the past.  ED 610 is great fun and I want it to stay that way.  Students discover and share wonderful resources in this class.

Spring 2016 should be a productive semester and a few other projects are in the works.  Blogging will be a struggle, as always.  But coming back to WordPress after a long hiatus seems to be a wise decision.

Here’s a quick little review of who Dr. McCullough is… using a wonderful app called HaikuDeck.   Don’t be afraid to explore Haiku Deck.  It can be used on a desktop or laptop computer, but it really shines when you use it on a smartphone or tablet.  I prefer it over PowerPoint for simple, elegant presentations.  The “Deck” I have posted below is text and visual, no audio.  Enjoy!

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Getting bloody…

“When you live on the cutting edge, you’re bound to get bloody.”  I’m sure I didn’t create this quote, but I certainly say it a lot and seem to live by it.

Well, I’m bloody.

I made a variety of mistakes with my ED 620 class during the first week regarding posting of dropbox and grade items.  You would think I would learn my lesson, that I’m bound to get bloody whenever I try and do new things in an online class.  But I always make mistakes, get bloody, and then take it harder than I should.  Students are usually very understanding and I certainly appreciate that… often.

One of my personality flaws is that I’m not understanding of my own mistakes.  I lost a lot of sleep over my recent D2L mistakes.  I still haven’t forgiven myself for accidentally shooting a hole in our swimming pool with my crossbow… and that was several years ago.  Another story for another time.

I guess the main point of this post is that teachers make mistakes, especially when they try new things.  So, some teachers don’t try new things.  Unfortunately, the education culture is such that many teachers don’t want to make mistakes, especially in front of their students.  Most want to appear as the all-knowing, always-right, authority-figure at the head of the classroom.  In reality, those stereotype-driven, wishful-thinking individuals are actually attempting to model characteristics that are completely unattainable in every avenue of life.

Try new things, get bloody, you’ll heal.

Luckily I don’t take myself seriously enough to worry too much about the worldly consequences of my mistakes.  And by the way, the pool still leaks.

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The Little Things…

The main thing I wanted to reflect on in this post, besides stress and being the anti-blogger, is the design of my courses.  It’s no wonder D2L drives me crazy… there are so many options, so many design possibilities, so many ways to screw up.  I am very meticulous about details.  I make sure every content item is within a folder, I make sure most course files require little or no scrolling, and I always try to use a large, readable, sans-serif fonts.

Just as there are pedagogical things I consciously do in a face-to-face class, so too are there things in online classes.  Yet I wonder if anyone ever notices.

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Summer 2015

I have vowed over and over again to be a blogger, a good blogger, an interesting blogger, a consistent blogger.  I am not. I sit here at my laptop feeling guilty because I do not post often.  I will try.

Since my ED 620 class is required to post, I will post too.  I suspect nobody will read it, but that’s not the point.  I try to model reflective learning, yet I tend to consistently avoid it personally.

In order to start this re-blogging mentality, I wanted to start off my sharing my “pain.”  I have 2 online graduate classes that I am currently teaching as of yesterday.  Each class is exciting, interesting, and great fun to teach.  But one is a new class and is taking much of my time related to planning and designing.  I am always uncomfortable with new courses and I always suspect that I will not be able to create a valuable learning experience for students.  I think I’m usually wrong, but there is a lot of stress that I place upon myself.

The other “pain” I am feeling is that me and my family are at a beach house this week  I probably shouldn’t share this, in case a student does actually read my post.  But in reality, I guess it doesn’t matter.  I don’t think it was a good idea to plan a vacation and the first week of classes on the same week, but I think we’ll all survive.  I have great Internet access, all the time in the world to devote to class, and no other commitments.

I hope I can live up to my and my students’ expectations!

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A New Semester Begins…

After a hiatus from blogging with WordPress, I’m back.  I’ve tried several other blogging platforms on several occasions, but I always come back to WordPress.  I find myself always missing the ability to customize posts in the WordPress way.  So, after six or seven months of trying other platforms, I’m ready to stay with old faithful.

As I write this, my mind is focused on the upcoming semester.  It’s hard to believe that the “Spring” semester is beginning in just a few days.  But the thing that is even harder to believe is that it’s Spring 2015.  I remember so clearly picking up the phone at about 12:01am on January 1, 2000 to see if the Y2K bug had killed our infrastructure.  That was 15 years ago?  My goodness, how technology has changed during this time.

In those days I was teaching ED 217, a cutting-edge technology course for educators.  We explored futuristic devices like CDs, DVDs and the World Wide Web.  We were talking about how the internet may someday be available for everyone.  There were no iPods, no iTunes, no cellphones with cameras.  The changes since then are mind-blowing.

As the Spring 2015 semester begins, the technologies we are exploring will likely be gone in just few short years, replaced by unimaginable new devices.  Where do you think we are headed?

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Just a test…

Here’s to hoping I can help a classmate.  She is trying to embed a digital story into her WordPress, but not having success.  So I’m trying to embed it in my blog…  Seems to work for me.   The problem may be that while creating the new post in WordPress, you must switch to “Text” view instead of “Visual.”  The “Text” view allows you to paste the embedded content.
PicLit from PicLits.com
See the full PicLit at PicLits.com

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A Week Under Our Belts…

ED 620 is already into it’s second week.  During the first week I was introduced to some old and new friends, and I look forward to working with them during our class and beyond.

Week 2 may be a challenge, because their is lots of content and some of it is stuff teachers often don’t look forward to doing.  

It should be an interesting week for me too… our two youngest sons are on a mission trip, leaving just Leeann and I at home.  It’s really quiet, however… our oldest son and his wife are vacationing at the beach.  We are doggysitting their two dogs, giving us a houseful of 3 dogs.  So far, so good…

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