Blog Post #6 Collaborative Video Project: What did you say? What did you mean?

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Learning Coach deploying 861 iPads on Saturday. My day job. We had a break?


At one time I was the English Language Learners (ELL) teacher at the middle school where I work. That year provided insight into the lives of these children, who come to Hawaiʻi with dreams of getting a good education and becoming successful in life. Yet they struggle with prejudice and poverty, and shame that leaves them torn between their cultures and a new one. It was a difficult time in my life; and these children brought me back to teaching. Having been given the time to listen to them, and work closely with this small group, I was able to support their studies and advocate for them in their classrooms. Full-time DOE teachers don’t usually have that luxury, with 30 or more in 6 classes, my opportunity was impossible for others teachers. So that year, the biggest challenge was to advocate for the students in their classrooms and suggest accommodations that teachers might try in strategies or assessment.

More recently, I have been one of the teachers with large class loads that included ELLs, and my frustration at not having any support for these students because they are NEPs – non-english proficient was unbelievable. Only the LEPs (limited English proficiency) could have classroom support in the form of a teacher coming in and assisting. In fact, one of my students is Japanese, a NEP, and spent a very lonely year, afraid to make friends because he was appalled by the behavior of our students. Luckily today we have the resources to provide some support. I assigned a computer to him that gave him access to Google Translate, and we spent many hours sitting at Google Translate to try and assure that he understood what was being communicated.

This year I invited him to become one of our student iPad mentors because this would provide a safe group of students with whom he could interact. He is beginning to blossom, is speaking more, and I got two comments today from the counselor and his dad. The counselor called to remark that the student excitedly spoke of how he spent his entire (vacation) week prepping the 861 iPads for rollout this Saturday, and the counselor talked about the marked change in him since entering the school. His dad texted that his son was going through a very difficult time, and that I was a ray of sunshine in his life. Haven’t heard something like that in a while!

The biggest lesson from working with this student is, no matter how much he appears to understand what I’m saying, he probably doesn’t! So the art of clarifying meaning has become extremely important. The first step is to listen carefully, and then to take the time to talk and find different ways of communicating until you are relatively sure the other person understands.

With that in mind, I am excited about this project; I’ve been to Japan a couple of times and loved it. I am sansei, (third generation), and because of the Japanese-American experiences during WWII, I was not allowed to learn the language or culture. So I am intrigued about the differences in thinking and practices between myself and these younger Japanese students.

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Blog Post #5: CRAP! How do they KNOW????

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My spam mail folder on Yahoo runs approximately 200 spam emails a day, so I purge it several times a day. Sometimes “real” mail gets mixed in there, so I actually skim before deleting. Each time I skim, I have to wonder, How do they know? How could they possibly know I’m . ..

  • overweight
  • losing my hair
  • need to go to the dentist
  • broke
  • old enough to consider burial insurance

As scary as it seems, I do not have time to pursue this. So I just delete. This assignment has uncovered perfect examples for the fallacies of logic that Sagan lists (Popova, 2014). For example, Dr. Oz, watched and trusted by millions, advertises that I could lose 17 pounds in one month in one easy trick that promises “the rapid body melt for every body type”. Dr. Oz, having “proven” his integrity many times over, creates this argument from authority, appealing to people desperate to lose weight.

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The other revelation from this assignment is that I could probably cut down my spam by opening it up and responding to the required unsubscribe compliance in the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003, the CAN-SPAM Act. All spam email must give you the right to unsubscribe, honor your request within 10 business days, and provide a legitimate, physical address (no PO boxes) for business (FTC, 2009). I actually found these unsubscribe notices on every email in my spam folder, making these . . . legitimate spam! I plan to take action as soon as time permits, in about seven years.

I have actually had the “Fallacies of Logic” in posters in my classroom for years, since critical thinking is an essential topic in social studies. Among my middle schoolers, I sometimes find a few who grasp these fallacies, and they make for lively, engaged debates.

I find I have to add an aside regarding Rheingold, who provides a number of excellent resources for evaluating online information. It bothered me that he stated, “I sat down in front of the circa-1999 computer with my daughter and explained that most of the books she could get from the library could be counted on to be factually accurate” (Rheingold, 2009). I find this to be a culturally biased and historically incorrect premise. We need to be critical of information no matter where it is published.

References

“CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business.” CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2015. Retrieved from https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

Rheingold, H. (2009, June 30). Crap detection 101. Retrieved fromhttp://blog.sfgate.com/rheingold/2009/06/30/crap-detection-101/

Popova, M. (2014, January 3). The Baloney Detection Kit: Carl Sagan’s Rules for Bullshit-Busting and Critical Thinking. Retrieved from https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/01/03/baloney-detection-kit-carl-sagan/

Week #4 Blog – For better or worse . . .

Three parent meetings this week. 400 parents to go!
Three parent meetings this week. 400 parents to go! My day job 😉

This has been a challenging week; I have experienced lots of new social media each day, for better or worse! The challenge – learning to be flexible and willing to try new, unfamiliar tools and learning opportunities without falling apart.  Gee, that sounds vaguely familiar; I think that’s what I ask my students to do. lol

What’s been better? My faith is renewed in the power of collaboration, and the ever-evolving tools available to us in order to meaningfully communicate and learn. For example, Imua! met this evening for our case study from one end of the island chain, the Big Island to Maui, and on to the other end, Kauai, to American Samoa using the chat on our google doc and LINE with its voice feature. This week using MORE twitter, exploring different platforms, like Tumblr, along with multimedia apps in another class – and more – has resulted in a mindboggling week!  I feel fortunate to see the creative, high-quality, fun work the rest of the class is sharing; hope to catch up and offer the same before the class is over. Our group IMUA seems to have found a comfortable rhythm in our work, where we were hesitant and feeling each other out at the beginning.

What’s been worse? I feel like a child in the candy store who orders one of everything, and can’t possibly eat very much at all. I think we were all like that the first night we went on LINE, and the alerts and constant messaging drove me crazy. In addition, I find it very difficult to have to go to so many different places in the course to get the directions for what to do, and when I find conflicting directions, I tend to fall apart. Here is a confession that will only be known to those who read this blog. I lied, yes, I LIED!  LOL Since I didn’t read the directions carefully, and then I panicked as I saw all the other embarrassing moments going up (did I miss a deadline?), I panicked and put up a tale I had only shared with my group. It was surprising to see that only one group thought I was lying. And the story was true, it just happened to a friend of mine. This was only one example of confusion about assignments that everyone in our group experienced at some point in the week. Is the spreading out of information in this course purposeful?

At least this week I am smiling, and not feeling quite as overwhelmed as the first couple of weeks; I’m enjoying what is probably a brief interlude, or I missed assignments and don’t know!  I am definitely hankering for the water cooler , and excited to see what this first case study will bring about.

Aloha and mahalo, especially to Imua!

I think I made it through the first week . . .

In spite of the challenges, I think I might be able to do this because of

  • the patience of my classmates ~ not ONE unkind or harsh word;
  • responses from my classmates offering support for what I did, and tips! lots of how to tips!
  • quick responses from Eddie and Boy, our TAs, to all my (some ridiculous) emailed questions;
  • being able to listen to the computer read to me;
  • being able to reach into the darkness of my long-term memory and intuitive knowledge to figure some things out;
  • my genuine enjoyment of meeting each one of you in the class – a diverse, accomplished, and caring group!
  • an unlimited supply of coffee
  • the Labor Day holiday
  • strategic power naps

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This week, I plan to . . .

  • organize my time better (not sure thatʻs even possible, since itʻs such a finite resource);
  • Prioritize assignments – group work will have to take priority so I can contribute my share;
  • Review APA, Zotero, decide if I want to use EndNote; buy the book;
  • take advantage of no class tonight (and Thursday 651);

Mahalo nui loa, arigato gozaimasu, kamsahamnida, faʻafetai tele lava, danke schön, thank you very much, eh, thanks eh!

Barely Hanging On!

My head is spinning after one week in LTEC; the cohort retreat really was the “calm before the storm!”

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I have spent this last week whirling through applications, assignments, websites, readings, google docs, hangouts – what a ride! It has been overwhelming to “catch up” with all the changes in technology, and true to form, building a community with all of you is the reason I am still hanging on.

My challenges:

  • finding directions, trying to follow them to the tee  – 30 -120 seconds, ok, ok
  • due dates
  • testing out new tools, getting them to work
  • finding the class website
  • why doesnʻt it work???? Twittered haiku 30 minutes after being tagged. Finally showed up 3 days later thanks to Awesome TA reminder about my twitter preferences.
  • wondering if my work was appropriate, would interest anyone,
  • the preponderance of assignments! So much reading!
  • wondering if I could make a decent contribution to our team, not having the foggiest idea what the case study assignment was all about.
  • finally, trying to create a blog that would not be negative and whiny – LOL

Hello world!

Out my front door in Kula . . .

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. . . into the liminal zone 

Welcome to the beginning of my LTEC642 journey! Please visit me often to view reflections of my week, make suggestions or post remedies for my quandaries, soothe me after my embarrassments, and help me through the next few months. I will do my best to kōkua all of you!