Mar 16

Avatar of Cindy Hopkins

Trying NOT to go BIG

My dear friend Lance Brogden frequently says “Go Big or Go Home!” However, this time I think I was actually trying to go too BIG. I know – not possible right, well, no, I think it is possible.

I have been mulling over this whole Final Project – just the words – FINAL PROJECT – are big. Lots of stress involved in a FINAL PROJECT. There are lots of points involved in a FINAL PROJECT. As much as I would like to say, it’s the knowledge that counts, not the grade – we are all conditioned to want a good grade as well… thus the stress.

So I was trying to think BIG – and I did. Then I realized it was getting too BIG and I needed to focus. While refining my final project, I have also been reflecting on all we have learned in this class. When you read the assignment sheet you think, 5 blogs, 5 comments and 1 final project, easy, I can do that.

Then I think about all the new tools I have really learned or at minimum been exposed to: Google Docs (I really didn’t like this tool before, now I see some real potential here), Word Press, Google’s RSS reader, Flipboard, Vimeo, Twitter (no I do not have an account yet, but I know I will soon), the chat feature in Google Docs, Google +, Big Marker and that’s just the ones I can rattle off without researching it.

That’s when it hit me, I wanted my final project to be this HUGE well researched deeply intellectual project, but is that necessary? No. What is necessary is that I add my new knowledge to my current curriculum and take it to a higher level. As technology is the focus here, I need to add some technological tools that will facilitate my students learning process and provide them with some universal skills that will help them in any career choice they make.

All week long I have been playing with a few toys online. I sent my students a link to a Google Doc (a spreadsheet where they can input their email address in one location) via the Edmodo Site so that I could send out a mass email from Dropbox where they will turn in various assignments they create in PhotoShop. In addition they all created Google + accounts where I plan on having them do a class critique of their photos in a virtual classroom and then document their comments on a gradesheet similar to the one Jeff (@jutecht) uses with us. That’s a lot of technology, that’s a great final project.

I look at all the programs they used in just the one class period: Google Docs, Edmodo, DropboxPhotoShop and Google +. All of my students used one or more of those programs for the first time. All learned at least one universal skill. This is not a BIG assignment, nor is it the deeply intellectual FINAL PROJECT I wanted to create when I was trying to “Go big or go home.” Yet, it is a lesson that is chalk full of skills my students will use and refine in the future.

Writing up the lesson in the formal format with all the teachereze is the final step for me in the final assignment. I will work on that this weekend. However, that is only the end of the assignment. The best part is what comes next. I can’t wait to see where my students and I will go while using these new tools and our newly forming skills.  Buzz said it best, “To infinity and beyond!”


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  1. Avatar of Jeff Utecht
    Jeff Utecht

    Love IT!!!!

    So many great tools and what I love most is you’re focusing on putting a system in place so that your students can learn. I think that’s our job now as educators, to put systems of support in place so our students can learn connectivly? (If that’s a word)

    I’m interested to see how the G+ works out for you. I do think it could be very powerful especially if you start having students create circles. A Circle of all their classmates, a Circle for research, etc. Nice!

    Now’s the easy part…just putting it in a format that the education system says you have to, when we all really know this post….really should be all you need. ;)

    1. Avatar of Cindy Hopkins
      Cindy Hopkins

      Thanks Jeff!!! I will be putting it in the “teachereze” tomorrow. What I like most is I put it in practice this last week and will be following up in the weeks to come. I will keep you posted on how Google + circles works. It is totally experimental.

  2. Carrie Zimmer


    As I am continually adding more Coetailers and blogs to my RSS feed, I’m just now reading your post about the Final Project from Course 1 but some of your words sound similar to my own thoughts about the integration of technology into classrooms. I think that far too often we get these spectacular huge project ideas in our heads and then get bogged down in dealing with all those details! I keep reminding myself (and my teachers) that the activities and projects we set our sights on don’t have to be huge, then can be simple and easily accomplished so that we can find success along the way and have less fear of jumping into the deep end in the future!

    1. Avatar of Cindy Hopkins
      Cindy Hopkins

      Hi Carrie – I am so glad I didn’t go really big. I am about 4 weeks into this whole venture and I keep adjusting things here and there. I plan to do a follow up post on what I have learned as well as the kids. When it’s all said and done, it was bigger than I thought it was – I can only imagine what it would have been if I had gone BIG. ;) Thanks for the response.

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