Final Frustration…ending thoughts


I can’t believe this is it!! I have been on a roller coaster of so many emotions! Talk about peaks and valleys! I went from frustration to okay this I can do, to again a feeling of frustration! I think the biggest thing for me right now is where I am at professionally…I just started a new position at an elementary school teaching grade 5/6. I didn’t think that I would find the time management that hard with work and taking this class! My frustration surrounds not having the time to sit and play enough or sit and learn! I am typically a keener and love to try new things…I find myself angry because there are so many other things I need to be doing with work. With new curriculum, new students, a change in pace with marking, I found that I put class last on the list after work and family! And when I signed up for the class I didn’t really understand exactly what it was and I guess I thought it dealt with computers and I could do that but this was beyond my imagination! I think that my currently in my classroom I am not sure how it applies in great depth, but on the surface it is there, I can apply it and allow my kids to play, learn, try new tools and educate them on appropriate use! At the elementary level I do think we are resistent to letting them do this as they are not truly mature enough, but if given the right tool they can do it!

I love the tools offered, I am amazed at what is out there! I have tried a few of the tools, starting with the youtube video (which took me 4 hours!) and I had only ever worked in Powerpoint and thought that was pretty amazing! I then created the blog with my classroom to keep parents informed! I loved sharing the site at parent teacher conferences! They were very excited to learn more of it, see it at the conference and now to check it regularly! My final project was my blog, completely informational and I will be after Christmas allowing viewers to leave comments and to have my students blogging! I feel I need to learn more about blogging and how to add a few more tools to my page and spice it up, make it more user friendly. Twitter is still something I do not get, I do not understand the excitement around it and I barely have time to Facebook! And it again just puts my life on display and that makes me uncomfortable to some extent and I think that after doing this more this feeling would change!

In the area that my school is in I am amazed at how people stereotype the “community school” as not having the money to have access to computers and internet! It is not so, they do in fact have the web at their finger tips so in connection to the class content it allows me to encourage communication with students and parents. 

There are so many positives to all of these tools! Prezi and Scratch are two tools that I played around with and loved!  But did not have the time needed to really make a dent! I love the idea surrounding sharing, it is amazing to me that I could be online with 12 other colleagues and share lesson plans and then have many more lessons to add to my toolbox. Right now the toolbox is being created day by day with my new lessons with all curriculum so I find it easier at this point to remain on my own to get my head around it all! But this time next year I am sure that I will be in a different mind set and a different perspective! I honestly do not think that I had a positive outlook on each class, although that didn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy the speaker. I found myself being worried I would be even further behind with being aware of what was going on. What I did find was that many people were in the same boat! 

I feel like a little hamster running on a wheel, with the frustration factor I have had a lot of support from comments of those in the class and with colleagues at school and close friends in the class. I think the bottom line is to take from the class what I can absorb right now and apply it to my current position. There were a few presenters that sounded like they were speaking a different language! But I endured and took from those that there is a lot out there to be absorbed and I have a lot to learn! Never did I think I was old and out of touch, but with this stuff I definitely am! 

As a professional I am aware that I can definitely continue to learn more about blogging and perhaps dive into a wiki! I am not sure if wikis will still be the thing to do by the time I get to it! But I do hope that with the idea of sharing we can do so much! As I spoke to a colleague about, we could have a huge advantage if we had some professional development time to share, but time doesn’t seem to allow so! Even when it comes to the school division MOODLE people don’t know what it is or where it is or what it can do! I love it and so do our office managers because there are so many things available to us! No one has come and told us about this and if it was emailed some don’t check email! 

A challenge we had with our school division this last report period were our report cards and doing them online, with a new program and in a new way! This is a fantastic way to do the report cards and we loved it but it was slow and took lots of time, which took time away from playing with other tools but it was playing with technology, working with colleagues and sharing a lot with them!! It was an overwhelming time but we had a huge learning curve!!!

When I started this class all I saw was big steps, and now it is all baby steps and work through things! From my perspective I feel that I have made progress with being aware and knowing what is out there a end that I can’t do it all but I can pick the things I am comfortable with!

I am hoping to be a part of the next Smartboard crew and take some time with learning how to use this tool and engage my students. I have found that many students in my class I am not able to let free with a laptop or a computer because they do not know how to use them responsibly without a lot of supervision.

This current generation definitely works differently with technology and they are excited to use it, I do still worry that they can’t read and write so I feel I am resistant to lots of “technology” stuff because they are so weak in many areas. But at the same time I recognize that we need to engage students in learning and teach them the tools of the future! I just need to be comfortable in teaching them these tools! The language is a huge part of the learning curve! It is not only the tools to be learned but the language surrounding that!  I have talked about blogging in the classroom and many have no idea what that is! When I asked to create a link to my blog from the school homepage I got a look of confusion! Many took blogging as emailing! Many don’t like to email, it is like we don’t trust it! I think that is a generational thing…a trust thing…a “I want to see your face” thing! It is very much a personal and personality thing with many! I am one of them. I don’t deny that one bit. Since the beginning of the class to now I have come around, but when I think online I think “creeper” think “bad”. This class offered me the opportunity to put myself out there and out of my comfort zone!

As we end this course, I will share this little tidbit…I still don’t have a mic on my pc and I am still learning the little things with Ellumiate live! Using Elluminate was a big step for me!! 🙂 It has been a very unique experience with the backfeed, the raising hands, etc!

I do agree that to be a “up and coming” teacher I need to learn and be aware of these tools, but a part of me still thinks that it is okay for us to be using the tools we currently have and we should not be left to feel badly or less of a teacher because we are not computer savvy. I think we need to be cautious and sensitive to those who are not at this point or be critical to those who are not in the position to take a class such as this. It is important now for those of us who are learning these things to share and be open to those who are resistent. It is critical in my mind that we still have the engagement of the teacher at the front of the room or using different tools to work with kids.

I have enjoyed the class, I have enjoyed learning from the rest and reading blogs and comments! I appreciate the efforts of the class members in taking the time to comment and give feedback! I look forward to future encounters!!Thanks Alec!


Add comment December 9, 2009 jmets

Experimentation flop!

 Although the tools shared with us last week may be all fine and good in some worlds, for me… not so much! I am frustrated and feel like I am right back where I was at the beginning of this class! It is as though I am listening intently yet the words are like “wa wa wa”. I am not saying that these are not good tools or that I am against them or resitent to them but what I am saying is, my class blog for my classroom and this blogging is way beyond anything I have done in front of a computer besides check my email! So I am leaving this post with thoughts of frustration and anger because I thought I was starting to get it, but I guess not!

Add comment November 25, 2009 jmets

Project has begun…construction zone!

 minds under construction

My project is under way! I have created a class blog to inform my parents and students of what is going on in the classroom. Often I find the students are not diligent or interested in using their agendas and we all know those kids who always forget or don’t get a signature so they get a 😦 stamp! So as a class we looked at the classroom blog and we discussed its purpose and use! I had students wanting to know if they could have one, could they leave me messages? I told them at this point there are a number of things that we need to be clear about and learn in order to have a blog. For now this blog is strictly informational, comments cannot be made to daily posts but there is access to my email.
It is amazing to me how many kids actually went on with their parents, looked and were excited to look at it in class when on the computer! It is great!

I think this tool (the tool that once scared me to death and I really didn’t know what it was!) is already proving to be valuable because it is easier for students and parents to check! With an email daily it is just like getting a bill in the mail…uh I have an email from Ms Metcalfe! But this way they can check and take a glance at it and know what’s going on!

By the end of the month  I am hoping to have this as a usual routine! I do hope that we can follow this up with the kids blogging by Christmas!

Love it!


Add comment November 4, 2009 jmets

Catch the wave… I says pardon?

come in we are open

Another new term, another new moment of “what?”! The learning curve continues…and the paradigm swings! What caught me even more was the incredible amount of Open Education abroad! Incredible!

With this being my first class in this form I have definitely had a learning curve the size of Mount Everest! It is amazing what is out there! From a bird’s eye view it is overwhelming and vast…

bird's eye view

 from a worm’s eye view it is right there above me and smothering!


In my own home this concept of open education is there! My step son who is 16 is constantly learning in the “open world” every chance he gets he is on Youtube watching or posting, he is always showing us examples of what kids put on there. He gave us the one link to show what a group of kids from Sheldon did for a project to show their city… incredible! Posted on Youtube and shared with the world to see and learn from! They do a great job of creating a story but also teaching about community and the city!

Enjoy! Those of you from Regina will recgonize a few locations!:)

Although this is not via the net with a host speaker it is still in the world of a teenager open education! Perhaps not as formally as we are doing with EC & I ! They think nothing of creating videos and posting them, they think nothing of taking videos via the internet and learning from them. These kids would have no problem with this class! Although I do think that many kids, although comfortable with technology are not as familiar with blogging and things we discuss. It is evident that yes they should learn these tools but when we look at those in our profession, not all people evolve with change. In my son’s ELA class the first thing they did was research on the internet and then create a video which took the attention off them. Is this what should be happening? Should kids not know how to present? Or is this presenting of the new millenium?

With the idea of open education I wonder about those who are still resistent to this form of learning? I see it as being able to allow access to learning for all but I still think there is something to be said about meeting face to face with Professors, colleagues, peers and presenters. So much gets lost in the translation.

Ha ha! But seriously without knowing the facts or without seeing people to interact is whole learning occuring? I have always thought that part of the learning process is the interaction with others. So to be at my house or where ever in a room with my laptop/computer not really interacting socially (socially as I know it) is odd to me. I always feel that a person’s eyes tell a lot, their body language, their interaction…is this not important? I see how open education allows a broader connection and that it is social but I still struggle with the idea that it creates a surreal world or an accpetance of being somewhat “anti social”. Perhaps after taking this class and perhaps future classes I will be enlightened fully.

Surrealism at it’s best!


I do like what Jon had to say about the topic and it again is very informational. I do wonder though how far this will go and how then do we prepare students adequately at a highschool or even elementary level to take courses outside of what the traditional classroom is? As I see it we are so far behind already when it comes to this how ever will we get them caught up to speed?

Will the educational paradigm again swing back to where it was 20 years ago but still want to be in the new millenium? Furthermore how does funding and economics fall into this? Can our educational systems afford what is needed? As it is we have 4 computers per room, with a set of laptops that can be booked in hour sessions. We have one smartboard that can be shared by all rooms. Realistically speaking we are not able to use computers in the capacity needed to use some of these tools. As well many students do not have computers that they can do this on, many check email but that is the extent.

My project is to interact with parents and students on a class blog. Many of the parents are older or the same age as myself, no idea about a blog, facebook yes! Students dont’ blog so this will prove to be an interesting process. Lots to reflect on!

Open education use to mean open a book, read! Many of us remember using encyclopedias, using a library, finding information, today they type in google! Standardized testing is a whole other can of worms but this was interesting to find out. The CAT 3 test scores from last year indicated that our students were low in the area surrounding library skills and research (not exact on the category) but students do not know how to find a book, use resources, nothing! They walk to the library find an interesting book and leave! These wonderful libraries and no students using them. So we are booking times to help our students learn these skills. Keeping in mind that some of these kids are from another country and new to Canada. This also poses another issue other than the influence of social media!

With technology I wonder and am concerned with the fact that kids have computers to edit, spell check, create cartoons, videos, art work, research, EVERYTHING at what point do kids learn to read, write, present and do math on their own? Are we fostering poor skills through these tools? Are we fostering poor social skills through these tools? I don’t know because I did not grow up with these. But I do think that we are further ahead as a generation than the current generations in some ways but they are infinity and beyond when it comes to social media and technology.


Being an avid sports fan this made me laught but at the same time I thought it is so true!

basketball camera

Does life stand still in a world where we can fastforward, rewind, PVR, recreate? Perhaps, yes it does!


Add comment October 28, 2009 jmets

Hot topic…

Why has the use of games in the classroom become a “hot” topic in education lately? I again post with caution as I am not sure I am on the same page here…but I do see this as a hot topic because it is a mass marketing world! In the media (media of all kinds) what do we see? What do kids see? It is all about ipod this, that and more! I can rarely sit down, open a newspaper, magazine, watch tv without their being a push for some kind of handheld something or other in my face. In the edcuation world we tend to embrace the here and now, the what is new out there attitude! What can we get to enhance learning. Perhaps I am not delving deep enough into my inner skeptic, but it is a big “catch phrase” right now. And why not it seems to have all the tools we need…it is all there at our fingertips in some fashion. We can learn via a tv/computer screen/ touchscreen no problem! We will be smarter in minutes! My stepson is a prime example, every device you can imagine, he has purchased, he is constantly finding weird and interesting facts at his fingertips or keeping himself busy with some game as we drive.

Sylvia shared many interesting things and conversations surrounding this topic were great, I think I just need to try it more and maybe too I will see that it is as good as being said. But I am cautious with the idea that with all things there is another side and I worry about that with this topic.

Add comment October 28, 2009 jmets

Synonym for game…pastime, diversion, sport, amusement, entertainment, competition

When I think of game I think of sport and play! With my background and past history game was something you did for fun when you had free time. In the dictionary it is defined in 24 different ways! A game, a gamer, a gamest… so like many things we have to be able to define what it means to us personally and how it applies to the setting we are in! I think that there was a lot of great conversation around the use of gaming, the benefits of gaming, the engagement of students, and the list goes on.

I do have a few thoughts that perhaps some might find not suffice.

1. Fitness – students/children have been hit with, bombarded with what I call videogames, which has been a direct result of a decrease in fitness in young children and increased obesity. 

It is all fine and dandy to say okay today we are going to break out the Qii and do some workouts and play some games that make us sweat but at the end of the day has fitness increased? Has obesity decreased? Has proper nutriton been taugt to supplement the workout program? Have we taught them lifelong learning of health and fitness? It does not teach kids to be healthy and to live healthy, it simply replaces the reality with idealism.

I think that using things such as a Qii for introducing a skill might be okay but really I am not sure it really teaches kids how to do the skill as in reality using equipment is quite different than swinging a remote with batteries. It also concerns me that kids don’t know how to go to a fitness facility and interact with people and learn social behaviors but they can hop on their stuff downstairs by themselves! It is the same with adults and I feel it creates an antisocial individual. It may be handy and quick and easy but it can’t be the only thing done. Having said all of this I realize that we are not replacing teachers with Qii’s but maybe that just hasnt happened yet! Yikes 🙂

Rockband for Arts Education, great idea but again is it really so bad to just learn a real guitar! Is it reality to think that because they can play Rockband they can read music or play? I see that it could be a fun addition to a lesson or perhaps a nice incentive to engage kids but I think I am still stuck in the idea that some things are unique with their history and that to replace it with such things has it lose it’s value and defaces it somewhat.

2. Using gaming for math seems to be a nice reward for kids, however even getting on site to do that is cumbersome because it is all blocked! Or they can’t download applications, systems don’t allow it. I think that some folks made interesting comments surrounding this topic and perhaps I need to experience the virtual world, the world of gaming to appreciate the positives behind it. Because right now, not having ever done it myself, I think it is odd and not for me. I need to be more educated and experienced before I can say that you can’t learn from it.

What ever happened to board games and learning math through the good old form or Yahtzee, cribbage, cards?

3. Engagement – the whole idea about engaging students is bang on! Kids do need to be engaged, they do need to be hooked on a line to learn but does that always have to be with taping into the technology world? I think sometimes it allows teachers an escape or a mask, then they themselves don’t have to engage students. As we discussed engaging students I thought of Dead Poet’s Society and here is a link I would like you to watch.

I think that he does what we can all do, with yes some enthusiasm! “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm!” – Ralph Waldo Emmerson

I love how this teacher was outside the box in a time that he could not use technology! I do agree that we need to change with the times, but I do think it doesn’t have to be always! I wonder sometimes about how students can use all these things at home, games of all kinds and then come to school and know that it is school not their basement. Because with using them at home comes with many different rules and social acceptances, can students understand the fine line between home and then at school? I know it is possible if used and taught properly but it is just one of those things that I sit and think do we need it as much? Maybe we do and I will grow into it further after having taken this class!

I really do believe that kids have so much of this outside school. I believe that kids should be allowed the opportunity to learn with tools of technology but I am not sure about extensive use of it in classrooms. When I look at my students and how some can not read well, grade 6 reading at a grade 1 level or not being able to add or subtract I worry that we have bigger issues here than to feed them with more use of games. But again this goes back to defining games. It has many forms and perhaps that will be part of my growth with this class. I do think that kids can learn through games, but how much is needed or needed at all to enhance learning?


A little humor on the situation! But really this is what technology has done in the education world to some extent. It has allowed us many opportunitites but I do think that some of education and teaching of the “old” school is good to, not to be taken over with technology but to be enhanced and “highlighted” with technology.

Kids are allowed to be kids with us, allowed to be in a world at school that is so safe and different then the daily world outside and around us. Don’t you think it is nice to sometimes have that time with them without the outside influences and pressures? At times I think that technology doesn’t always allow kids to be kids, have imaginations of their own, run and play and be creative. Instead they have handheld devices that take them places on a tv screen with no fresh air. They create worlds of pets and surreal places, they don’t have a pet to walk outside at the park, to feel the grass!

In moderation I think that these are great tools, but I still believe that kids need to engage in curriculum without the “attraction” of games and gaming, technology and the mass market of technology. I think teachers can be those creative pieces in the classroom as seen on the youtube link.

What does game mean to you? To me it is obviously not directly the game that Sylvia spoke of. But I do have the mind set that it will evolve and I will continue to move forward with this idea and continue to allow opportunity for it in my classroom.

I will now pause and breathe as I hit Publish. 🙂

Add comment October 28, 2009 jmets

Stories of old prove to be new age!

 banner_digital_storytellingAfter having had some time to reflect I went from feeling like this too feeling that really this is nothing new! When one thinks back to the days in school from k – 8 many times we were asked to create a timeline that included pictures! A form of storytelling one would argue! Because back in the 80’s computers were not something we even dreamt of using! We sat with our new markers and new construction paper and wrote out our life and then glued pictures to paper, adding that special touch with marker! Do you remember that? I do as clear as yesterday! But no one called it storytelling, that I remember anyways! Storytelling was sitting infront of your teacher listening to a story! Digital media!! What the heck was that in the 80’s, even 90’s! We had a camera with a flashbulb that you had to change and we had to wait almost a week to get photos back! But really we were before our time in a sense!
But isn’t it funny that when “digital” or “technology” get added to something it throws you for a loop! Especially for those who are not sure or aware of the ways of technology! 

I was completely amazed by the links provided from this session! Amazed! It is incredible to think of the time, pictures and effort put forth to create such a piece of art! As I looked at each link I was steadfastly coming up with ideas to incorporate this in my classroom! I was motivated and excited, I was ready to take an assignment that I did with my students in Religion and have them take their Lifeline and create a digital story of themselves! Super! But suddenly…


roadblock 2


What if students didn’t have pictures, what if they aren’t comfortable with the technology? Do I need special software? I have a number of students who don’t have pictures to work with so I can have them create cartoons? Find pics to insert that allow them to recreate themselves, but then it is not really them! If I need special software kids can’t download it on our school computers…then they can do it at home…not all have computers…wait a minute I only have 4 computers but 25 kids!

Suddenly I was overwhelmed with many things I didn’t think of that required some attention! So I researched and this link brought things into perspective!

They don’t have to use their life, they can use anything to tell a story! I really thought this article simplified the process and started with the basics! What I did notice was the date, 2002! This has been around longer than I want to admit and where have I been? Teaching the same way I have been for years and not aware of what is going on around me!

As the class progresses it is evident to me that we can’t do it all, but to have a starting point to go from and to try a few things is where change occurs! It doesn’t have to be like the Pen Story, but to work towards the Pen Story, to be inspired!

I believe nothing is impossible and this form of learning and creating allows students to express, be confident and to learn in ways that can allow them to use further and to not only memorize and regurgitate but apply!

To be aware…     “The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”~ Henry Miller




Add comment October 28, 2009 jmets

Sue calms the “waters” about blogging…

After Sue Waters presentation I was surprised how at ease I felt about blogging.  The first kick at the blogging thing caused me great angst, I was against it, I was scared about it and I was almost opposed to doing it!

But like many things in education I got over it quickly and did it! I created an account and did what was required as that is what we have been told to for our whole life in education. So…here I sit…pondering weekly about posting my thoughts, reflections on a site that is out there and visible for all to see. Being a very private person it has encouraged me to express with many I don’t know and have not formally met. The nice things baout blogging with students or parents is that they have already formally met me and I them. We have had a face to face encounter and that sometimes puts many at ease to know who they are reflecting to.

At first I would have said absolutely not, I would not blog within my classroom, but that was before I myself was educated with it or comfortable with it. So here lies the learning process, students may feel the same or some may not, but regardless they have to feel comfortable, they need to trust and they need to be educated before set free to express via blogging.

I for sure would and could use blogging in my classroom for so many things. For science, ELA, phys ed, everything really! It allows connecting with others, with me, with peers and at any time. Although I was cautious about what parents might think about it, I have also come full circle in my thinking. I beleive that if they too are aware and educated they will see it as a useful tool too!

Add comment October 21, 2009 jmets


After getting brought up to speed from last weeks session, I thought it appropriate to respond to how far should we should go, as educators, to support non-formal and informal learning?

I think it is important given this day and age of technology and the changing world to support the idea of informal learning, as it is going to happen wether we want it to or not! Our students, our children, our society are at a different place than most of us! They are more open to this technology and we as educators can embrace it or buck it! If we embrace it we too can continue to learn and be open minded! If we buck it we are going to be further disconnected from our students! Do I think it is
“the” way to educate, but I do think that it is a tool that can be useful! I have a number of students in my classroom who are from a different part of the globe! If we can connect somehow via these people I can enhance a part of the curriculum from first hand knowledge! It is important to remember that it is a tool and it needs to be taught to our students how to use it and how NOT to use it!
I do agree that privacy, safety and security is an important thing to address! Simply because students do not think of that! I even had no idea when it came to emailing parents for my classroom that I had to send all contacts as a bcc instead of in the to box to protect the privacy of emailing! It is encouraged that I send  a weekly email home to parents and even in time create a webpage or a blog page so parents know what is going on in my classroom! It requires A LOT of education on the teachers behalf to know how to do this properly and safely in class! I do not feel ready to do this, so I won’t just yet! I do however feel like I am in the dark ages because I am not on the up and up, this class has made me very aware of this! It has provided me with a number of things I need to learn and things I can use! I do not however think it will happen before Christmas! Emailing parents is a big start!

How do we deal with the fact that we are part of a formal system when we know that a heck of a lot of learning (many say, most) happens outside of our formal learning systems?

We need to embrace it and learn! Learning never ends! It is a lifelong process!

Where do we fit into this? We are faciliators and learners! Some people are more than that! It depends on where we are all at personally with this whole idea of “connecting”! Or in summary, the key question to consider is “what is our role in non-formal learning?” In non formal learning our role is to take it for what it is and use it as a tool to connect and enhance learning!

Add comment October 7, 2009 jmets

Still not sure…

As I started my new “venture” of creating a video I was suddenly taken back with the fact that I had no idea where the camera was on the household laptop or where the mic was! My 10 yr old stepdaughter showed me! As I got my video created (minus the mic and camera bc I had no idea how to make it work even though I knew where it was now located! I worked for an hour on how to upload the video and my 16 yr old stepson sat with me while I struggled to upload my video on youtube and walked me through it!

I was struck by both kids knowledge of how to navigate through sites, instructions, programs! It was crazy! They did’nt think anything of putting their pics on youtube or a video on youtube! I on the other hand was quite uncomfortable putting it all on there and am still uncomfortable with it being there!

So far I have found doing the intro things to be time consuming and find that doing the readings and responding are not getting attention. I still do not understand how to reply on “blogs” or “twitter” so at this time I feel like this class is way over my head as I cannot wrap my head around using this technology in the classroom, nor do I have an opionion on it because I am trying to grasp the idea of using it myself and finding the time to follow and respond in a day. How do people have time to sit and respond in a day when there is work, family, kids activities, and time with those you love and don’t see during the day? No offense but the last thing I want to do or have the energy to do is sit at my computer when it is nice out and my fiance wants to walk the dog or spend time with family? I am torn and very overwhelemed. Of course it must get easier as you become more comfortable with everything?

The web and the “putting yourself out there” with strangers is a tough thing to come to terms with when you are not comfortable with it or knowledgable with it!

4 comments September 23, 2009 jmets

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