MEd Musings…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I start the final year of my Masters in Education in Educational Practice at SFU in September. I’m very excited, but there’s one small problem – could someone please remind my overactive brain that I don’t start for another five months? Why? Because the MEd is constantly invading my thoughts – inquiry questions, plans for research, the slant the questions should have, the resources I’ll need…and on and on and on. It’s like my brain has kicked into high gear already.

These are my thoughts (ramblings, really at this point) so far:

  1. Through the use of video conferencing, Elluminate, SMART boards and Bridgit (all of which I need to learn about first) teach a Digital Media 11/12 course (probably, I would guess the Visual Arts: Media Arts 11/12 curriculum) to students throughout the district. Several teachers in my district are in the first year of this type of teaching in the district, although the only courses offered this past year were (I think) senior math and biology, no electives. This type of teaching seems to be the future for our district (and others) as the school district is comprised of several small towns and smaller isolated communities, all spread out over a vast geographic area. You need to drive over four hours of windy mountainous highways to get from one edge of the district to the other. Being able to offer more choices to students using technology is a direction I believe the district is headed in. I could help build on that at the (almost) initial stages of the project.
  2. The project started last September. I’m guessing most of the major bugs have been worked out and there are three teachers at my school that have taught in this manner already. This means that resources, both of human and technical nature, are in place.
  3. I could focus/teach units on how to use digital cameras, digital photography, image editing software and free online photo editors, multimedia slideshows, audio and audio editing, story boarding, digital storytelling, video, movie making, and all the information literacy that comes with working in an online environment (copyright issues, royalty free music/audio, creative commons licenses, online safety, and digital footprints/online identity). There’s more than enough in what I already teach that could be adapted to teaching via video conferencing.
  4. I am curious about the student/teacher relationship and how to establish and maintain rapport when teaching and learning in an online environment.
  5. I wonder if that rapport and that relationship would develop differently in an elective, arts based course as compared to a core course with less personal curricula.
  6. I’m curious about how the video conferencing project fits in with Clayton Christensen‘s theories on disruption in the field of education. I even have nation wide statistics that I’d like to match with the formulas in Christensen’s book, Disrupting Class. And I have a previous offer of help from the books co-author, Michael Horn, to help run the numbers with the formulas in the book 🙂
  7. I wonder about visual literacy and how visually literate students could become learning in this type of course with the technological tools in place.
  8. I wonder about the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and how that would affect online learning environments of students in BC and beyond.
  9. I wonder about how to best engage students in the critiquing process when in an online learning environment.
  10. I wonder how best to engage, teach, motivate, guide, focus, and learn from learners in an online teaching environment.

My questions at this point are:

  • Do my ideas fit in with the direction the district is taking? Will I be able to participate in the project?
  • If my plans do fit, would I be able to teach the course in the second semester when I would need to do the research for my Masters?
  • What happens to the 9 weeks of Black and White photography with manual SLR cameras and traditional darkroom techniques that I usually start the VAMT course with? Would I have to shut down the darkroom for a year? Can I really teach students how to fully understand how to use digital cameras without teaching them how to use manual SLRs first?
  • Would the other schools around the district have the resources available for students that I’ve managed to accumulate at my school? We have six digital cameras (one a beautiful digital SLR), three digital video recorders, Inspiration Software, Photoshop, Adobe Premier and a MAC with Final Cut software.
  • Are students around the district interested in this type of elective course? I know that I’m the only full time art teacher in the district and that my art program offers more course offerings than other schools offer in the district.

Those are the thoughts that have been racing around inside my head. Of course, along with all this is, as always a strong desire to advocate for the visual arts. Up until now, I’ve advocated in my school, the other local elementary schools and in the community. With the Masters, I may have the opportunity to extend that advocation throughout the district and provide students with opportunities they may not otherwise have.

Exciting stuff!! Maybe, if you’ve made it through all my ideas, just maybe, you’ll understand why I’m constantly thinking about my future MEd inquiries.

As always, I’d love to hear your comments!

4 thoughts on “MEd Musings…

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  2. Wow, you really are geared up for your MEd! I’m intrigued with the idea of teaching via video conferencing. A number of years ago I observed a History 12 class in Kamloops that was linked to a class of 5 students in Logan Lake. There were video cameras on both classes so the teacher and students could see each other. On occasion the classroom teacher would teach from Logan Lake. It was an interesting set-up.

    I’ve used Elluminate Live a bit — mostly to provide tutoring to my DL students. Last summer I did a Pro-D session on using Elluminate Live. I have the information from my session here if you are interested. The information I’ve posted is geared towards the beginning user; how to sign up for an Elluminate Live room plus some general tips on making sessions interactive.

    And my last comment; so does this mean you’re returning to your high school art assignment again next school year?

    All the best!

    • Hi Claire! Yes, I am returning to the same assignment next year! Teaching art/photography is pretty wonderful! Despite rumblings of moving due to my husband’s retraining, we’re staying here for awhile! I have to admit, the district is very supportive of me finishing the MEd next year, so it’s definitely a good situation for me to stay!

      I’m really interested in teaching via video conferencing. There are three teachers at my school that are teaching in this way already (so they’ve worked out all the bugs!) and one other colleague starting next year (and I have HUGE respect for her, so I couldn’t be learning how to do all this with anyone better than her!). In our little school of 280 students, we’ll have at least five courses offered via video conferencing technology. Pretty cool!

      Thanks for the link to the Elluminate resource! I truly am a beginner and have a great deal to learn about teaching and engaging students in that environment! I’m excited and terrified all at the same time!

      I always appreciate your comments, thanks again!

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