Friday, January 28, 2011

Teaching week 1

At the end of Week 1 into the journey of high school teaching I'm a little stressed, a little excited at the opportunities, and tired, very tired. I knew toward the end of last year that I'd be revamping the 11/12 work program, but arriving at the school for the first time as a teacher it seems that the 7-10 work program is also inline for an upgrade.

I knew last year that I'd be wanting to use Moodle for most of my courses. The content is largely self-paced already, so having the course work in Moodle allows easier submission / marking than before. Homework wasn't a strong point in the old work program, so moving to moodle will also allow students to continue their work from home, or catch up lessons if missed. The main reason though, is the hope that moodle community hubs have a very big opportunity to bring the diverse leaning environments I would want in a VLE of the future, and I want to be there either as a course creator, a community hub manager, or simply as a teacher with many more options.

Maths has been a dream compared to ICT/IPT. So structured, so precise. The content is still a little steep to get through, but at least you know exactly where you're going and that there's no real wiggle room. I like wiggle room, but I have that in spades through the ICT/IPT shakeup, so having a couple of courses that are largely taken care of has been an unexpected blessing.

Of the 4 classes that have participated in the "Introduction to Moodle" course that I put together, most have had difficulties with technology at some point through the process. New accounts and password resetting eats up a more time than it should, emails are finally being set up properly, but there are still teething issues with that process, and the login process onto moodle itself is not straight forward and needs direct instruction at critical points along the way. One class was completely derailed by student not having access to their documents directory. I know it's teething issues, and I know from being over on the other side of the phoneline that there are legitimate reasons for the hiccup, but it still wiped out all the progress the students could have made during that lesson to establish their moodle access. When technology fails, it tends to fail specacularly, and that 1-2 minute window you have for attempting to fix the issue before the kids lose patience is too narrow to do anything substantial about it while standing up the front.

Thinkin' on your feet? Yep, need that.