Monday, June 08, 2009

GDLT Signing Off

EDIT: Not any more ...
Studies this year have been kind of odd. I have solidified my views on a learning environment of the future, helped Scot with an eLearning course I completed last year, and have developed my own sustainable Personal Learning Environment. All this with little or no input from the 2 subjects that I actually took this year. Supportive Learning Environments triggered a number of lively debates regarding "the right to an education", but overall felt a little too politically correct for my continued enthusiasm. Literacy and Numeracy had some practical models to follow, but didn't really grab me.

Assignments. Another reason to pull the plug. My grade 7 teacher introduced me to an interesting concept; homework was what you didn't finish in class. To me that was brilliant because I could really apply myself and get everything done in school time to have no homework at home. I continued this mentality throughout high school and by Uni I'd become an expert in not having work to take home. I purposely chose subjects with a greater than 70% final exam so that I didn't have to bother with assignments. With this course being 100% external and ~100% assignment based, it was rubbing me up the wrong way. Having 2 unfinished assignments hanging over me probably helped with the decision.

Teaching was way easier than last year, and with the flexibility to deliver my unit and webquest developed last year, IPT (especially 10 IPT) was a lot of fun. On the flip side, the maths subject felt constraining and stressful. With no wiggle room in the curriculum to do anything but the prescribed text, it felt like you were always pushing and pushing to get the work done. There was hardly any room to develop PLEs or classroom2.0 technologies.

Maths also exposed me to an issue I knew I didn't want to deal with; teaching students who didn't want to be there. I remember back in highschool when I first started thinking about becoming a teacher that senior (11,12) was way better because of this fact, only to be trumped by the uni philosophy a couple of years later. After a couple of talks with Bernie and Nick I realised that there would be very little likelihood of teaching only senior if I were to enter the general teaching population, so I know for sure that I'm NOT going to be a full time school teacher. That wan't my plan on starting this course; I was more thinking of being a supply teacher for St Luke's, but with IPT being the only thing I'd be interested in teaching, I'm basically cover for Nico if he ever got sick.

The volume of work in the course is also an issue. Even though it's been sooo much easier in 2nd year than last year, for the last month it's felt like I'm doing nothing but coursework, teaching and work. I knew my gaming would suffer, but it's virtually been non-existent as well as having to skip other regular events. I've missed being me.

So in the end the decision seemed pretty obvious; why bother doing something that the outcome is getting less and less desirable? The costs are outweighing the next 6 months of learning and the piece of paper on completion. In fact I'm not looking forward to the 6 week prac. I'd rather just work.

So what now? One of the pressures keeping me in the course is that it's safe. It's a decision I've made and it provided me with a framework of what to expect for the next 6 months. Now I need to deal with an uncertain future.

Upon reflection of the whole course, I'm glad I did it. I've learned a whole lot more about teaching through the course, as well as developing my own PLE, unearthing ideas from the past that are only now able to be implemented, being exposed to David's and Stephen's philosophies on summarizing thoughts for your own use, and generally taking eLearning issues more seriously. I'm still keen on pursuing some sort of teaching career, just not in a school. Uni's are still firing people rather than hiring, so that's still out. Maybe VET? I'd be much more confident going into the TAFE position I was interviewed for before starting with St Luke's. Hopefully there'd be a lot of concessions in a Cert IV from all the prac and study I have done. I'll need to research a bit more about the positions available and what feels like the best fit.

A big thing to take away from the course is my own personal development. I'd really like to continue following topics such as PLEs, games in learning, VLEs/CMSs, etc and hope to put at least 2 hours a day aside for personal learning, reviewing and contribution. Even focusing on things like Brainy Gamer and LO3 can keep the professional discourse going in other areas of my life.

With more dedication to summarizing and analysis, I'm also thinking that I'll need to learn touch typing; something I've put off for 25 years. I'm still hoping that voice communication would be ubiquitous at some point, but with things like Google Wave on the horizon, it's going to be at least 5 years before voice gains an appreciable foothold. It'll certainly be handy for the AAR Fiction stuff too.

In summary, plans for the future:
- Investigate VET
- Investigate Teacher training positions in eLearning
- Commit 2 hrs a day for PD
- Learn touch typing
- Revisit PhD work

Big list for a procrastinator...
EDIT: Not any more ...