My final project and reflection…I’ve come a long way! :)

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(This presentation is not narrated, but gives an overview of what I did for my final project.  The Screencasts shown here are just clips from a couple of my students’ Projects.  To view any or all of the full videos done by the students, click on the Google Site link below)

Ms. Roseleip’s Honors Algebra 2 Google Site

End of Project Reflection Survey

My Reflections:

I believe that completion of these COETAIL courses and specifically course 5 and this final project have brought me to the Modification level of technology use and to some extent Redefinition.  I believe the math problem solving reached the Modification stage because creating a screencast forced the students to have to significantly redesign their strategy from being the “student”, the receiver of the knowledge, to being the “teacher” the presenter of the knowledge.  Although they do this informally in class as they explore and discuss the mathematics, the screencast forced them to have to articulate and present the information in an understandable way, the first time around.  They don’t get a “second chance” to explain “how to” in their videos, so they really need to plan it out and break it down in a way that presents it thoroughly and understandably.  Modification

As for the integration of technology for this project, I believe that I reached the Redefinition stage, at least for myself.  At the start of this year, I was in a spot of doing “old things” in “new ways”, what with posting all of the class notes electronically instead of giving kids paper handout outs.  Yes, they were using their laptops, but just as a note-taking tool.  Then, as the laptop became an integral part of their recording, I found them utilizing it to help them explore the mathematics…to look up the meaning of a math term that I was using in class that day because they didn’t know what it meant, or to check their answers to a problem after solving it (using Mathematica solver).  I found that my students, the digital natives, were finding themselves more at home in my classroom.  So I took the ultimate leap, the one I have been sweating over and mulling over since the start of this certification class…to let go and let them figure it out.  So I did.  I gave them a single task…choose 2 problems to solve and create a video that shows how to solve it.  The leap was the I didn’t give them ANY GUIDANCE on “how to” use this multimedia program or that, namely because I DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE THEM myself.  But I finally trusted that I could let go of their hands, that they would flounder around a bit, but that they would eventually figure it out, because they had to.  And although they complained a bit at the beginning, because I wasn’t “doing it” for them, in the end, they found that they actually enjoyed doing it and learned something significant, both mathematically and technologically.  The knowledge acquired is something I don’t believe they could have acquired, as significantly, without the technology.

But the ultimate redefinition was within myself, when I was putting my final project presentation together.  As I spliced video clips together in Camtasia (after hours of cursing through frustration and program crashes) I KNOW that I was barely touching the tip of the iceberg when it came to utilizing some of the multimedia tools that the kids had used to put their presentations together.  But even through the frustration, I kept thinking, this presentation wouldn’t be the same without the technology.  To present and share what the students had done would be inconceivable without the use of technology.  So I kept trucking forward, trudging on, through the frustration until I figured it out.  And, at the end I had to pause and say, WOW, I was JUST LIKE MY STUDENTS!  I had been released to “figure it out” and after much struggle, cursing, frustration and near tears, I found myself intrigued and wanting to learn more and searching for the answers, and asking questions to people I knew who knew the answers.  And I finally GOT IT!  And as I presented my final product to my class on Saturday, I couldn’t help but laugh because through these 5 course, Jeff was me and I was my students; he presented us with “tasks” and let us loose to “figure it out”.  Maybe my continued hesitation to “let go” with my students this year centered around my own fear of letting go myself and taking the plunge and figuring it out.  Now that I have done it once, and seen what others are doing, it motivates me to take the next steps forward in my redefinition.

In summary, I’ve learned how to do stuff because I’ve been forced to, but had I not been forced to, I never would have taken the time (or the frustration that comes with it).  So I’m thankful for that :)   And I’m highly grateful for all of the resources that have been introduced to me throughout these 5 courses and the online community that I am now connected to.  Prior to this course, I wouldn’t have known how to go about getting connected and now I feel like there are so many connections out there, just a tweet away :)

I will say that looking back, the biggest thing I would do differently is to TAKE THE TIME throughout, to “play” and “search” and learn little by little, instead of having to CRAM it all in the few weeks before (that would relieve some of the frustration!).

Thank you Jeff Utecht for sharing your expertise with us all.  This COETAIL program has been life altering, in a good way, to my online self ;) .

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