Archive | March, 2011

QR and Art

31 Mar

Recently I decided to try and use a qr code in an artistic way.  Below is what I created.  Each qr code links to either an art piece of Andy Warhol’s, a quote from him, links about him, or videos.  It has to be larger in order to scan the codes, a majority of the small ones don’t actually scan (the entire thing would have to be enormous for that to work).

 

QR Code Andy Warhol

Fanatic

27 Mar

I find myself to become quite the fanatic when it comes to sports.  It really doesn’t matter the sport, I love them all, but if I get in the habit of following them it’s rather consuming.

I can’t help it.

I like having a team to follow, know everything about, and watch constantly.  It gives me something to do, and is much more fun!

I come from a family where we were brought up knowing it was important to watch our siblings play their sports.  I have watched more sports games of my brother than, probably, anyone else.  It’s easy to be a fanatic when it comes to my brother, I never miss.  Over the course of his Midget, Bantam and Pee-wee years of baseball I missed under twenty games.  Considering how much baseball he plays, that’s a small amount.  When summer comes I am consumed with baseball, my record of games watched per week last year was 12.

I need the live action.  Sure I watch MLB games on tv, and a lot of the time on the internet, but the live games are where I get hooked.

This winter I watched more hockey than I normally do, and it was because I was able to watch the WHL games.  I needed something to fill the baseball gap.  It’s pretty amazing how my attitude of living in Regina changed.  Up until this year, on the weekends, I was always home.  This year I found I had a reason to be in Regina more so, because I could look forward to a hockey game.  It sounds pretty silly, but it has made living away from home that much easier this year.

Now that hockey is slowly winding down (how sad), I can finally start getting myself ready to watch baseball, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Easy Assessment Vs. Easy Marking

26 Mar

Which would you choose?  The ability to assess easily, or the ability to mark easily.  I suppose for some teachers this could be a difficult decision for them.

I just don’t see how though.  If the only reason for making a “test” or “assignment” the way you do is because its easiest to mark, who is that benefiting?

I have been marking multiple choice tests recently, and doing them myself also, and find that I can’t even figure out what the question is asking me some times.  I also find that I know nothing about what my students know or don’t know from these questions.

So I ask myself, why would I choose the easy marking?  Sure it might take longer to go through different assessment tools, or even just making notes about the students from day to day, but it’s easier for me to assess in the end.  The actually assessment, not the evaluation of marks, but the assessment, is incredibly easier when I can see the progress my students have been making every step of the way.

The easy marking might save the time when having to fill a report card with marks.  If I’m filling this report card with numbers that don’t mean anything, what is the point?  I can see that my students are purely motivated by the marks that they get, but there are still ways to give marks for authentic assessment.

Some may think that giving marks for the things a teacher observes isn’t as credible as having concrete marks from an assignment or an exam.  The numbers might seem to be “made up” by the teacher.  My question is:  What is the difference between numbers “made up” by teachers from their actual assessment of a students progress, and the numbers given from a multiple choice.  A number given from a multiple choice test can be just as pointless, considering you can’t really see the knowledge from a multiple choice question.  What is more beneficial for the student?

It’s sad to think that a reason someone would do less actual assessment because its less work than marking, say, a multiple choice test.  I choose to do more work, if by more work it means more time on my students, because it will be easier to assess, because I can see much more clearly what my students know and, more importantly, need.

Multiple… Choice?

23 Mar

We have all taken them, and probably given them, the dreaded multiple choice test.  Although they are convenient, how much do they actually assess?

Recently I have been in a class that had only multiple choice tests and I found myself wondering what the point was of even doing them?  If they are made good, they can show some things, but if they are made badly, then they seem to be completely useless.

I understand that in some cases a multiple choice test are the only option necessary (or so the teacher might believe), but if they can be avoided then why aren’t they done so?

The first type of assessment I have encountered in my pre-internship, not administrated by myself, has been multiple choice.  While going through the quiz I wondered how much I could actually understand of the students knowledge depending on which letter they circled.  The only beneficial aspect of this quiz was going over it question by question, and actually seeing if the students could do the questions when they were asked.

So if that is the purpose of the quiz then why do it at all?

The real purpose of the quiz is quite simple: a grade.  There needs to be a numerical number to attach to a students name in order to make up the grade for the course.

If we are teaching students to understand we should be teaching for understanding not teaching for a grade.

Open The Door To Learning

11 Mar

I have realized recently that I have had very few opportunities to do a real open-ended project in my life, but I have had more than others.  Luckily, within the education program, I have had various experiences, and I have noticed a couple of things from each of them.  The first thing I have noticed, however, is how I have changed from project to project.

My first project would have been in ECMP 355, where we were allowed to do any kind of final project we wanted.  In my first year of university I didn’t know what this was really.  Rather than pushing myself I chose a topic that I thought to be safe.  I made an Online Portfolio, a task that I do think is beneficial, but not something that really pushes myself.  Sharing myself online isn’t something new for me, and making an online portfolio wasn’t that big of a jump.  I also left the project until the week it was due and basically did the bare minimum I thought was necessary to pass the assignment.  How sad.

My second project was in EVIS, again a final project completely open-ended, this time specifying on what would make me a better teacher or artist (or both).  This was my first subject focused education class, and I was very overwhelmed.  I had no idea what this was, and didn’t know what that asked me to do.  I created a resource binder for tessellations, and although it is very useful and made wonderful connections between math and visual art, I again left the assignment last-minute and didn’t put much thought into it.

When I started to really change my outlook on these open-ended assignments was in EPS 200.  We did an inquiry to teaching and learning and I chose Anti-Oppressive Education.  This was the first time that I have ever done any kind of research where I found the articles and read them over and over again because I wanted to get as much out of them as possible.  It expanding my thinking greatly and helped me through a difficult time.  Although this was a research paper, what I received out of this was much like the rewards I have received from my beneficial open-ended projects.

My first project where I found myself actually trying was in Ed Aesthetics 200.  This was a class that I actually didn’t enjoy that much, but found many things in it useful.  We had another open-ended art assignment, and this time I decided I wanted to look into something that truly interested me: graffiti.  My teacher basically told me that my project wouldn’t be useful in the classroom setting because no administrator would allow graffiti.  If it wasn’t for her telling me I couldn’t do something, I probably wouldn’t have taken the assignment the way I did.  I self chose to make a unit plan… I know, crazy talk.  I made a unit plan on graffiti that was applicable to grade 10, 11 and 12 and made the curriculum connections for all three grades.  I worked on it for well over a month, something basically unheard of for me.  When I was finished I was 100% proud of what I had accomplished.  That is the most important thing.  I did that assignment and for once actually took pride in something I created, a first in my University experience.  Even when I look back at other assignments I was happy with, until this project I knew that I could have put a lot more effort into them and done much better on them.  The really important thing, though, was that I planned to continue to add to my binder on graffiti, and it is something I still do to this day.

My most recent open-ended assignment has changed my views on education.  Our technology project, specifically my exploration into cell phone use and QR codes, has been one of the most beneficial things I have ever done.  For a majority of January, February and March I spent multiple hours every single night working on this project.  I want to make myself an expert.  I want to learn as much as possible.  I want to share everything I find with others.  These wants aren’t something I have felt this strongly in any of my education before, and I am happy with what I have learned about the project itself, but more importantly on teaching in general.  I want to be able to create assignments, and teach students, in a way that they have a strong intrinsic motivation to learn and can feel the rewards I have felt from this assignment.

If more education was like this, I couldn’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to learn.

Why We Share

8 Mar

This semester I have realized how much sharing is important.  I have become very dependent on my peers for ideas and support throughout this semester especially, and the growth I have gone through because of this has been unlike any other in my university experience.

My presentation on QR codes has taken a vast majority of my interest the last couple of months.  It all started on my blog so I thought I would finish it here.  Except, I’m never going to finish it.  This project has become something I am so incredibly interested in, I want to keep going and become on expert.  I want to know what I’m doing, and look at all the pros and cons of its uses.  By researching just this one type of technology I can apply the process and many of the same skills used it to other technologies, and hopefully be able to learn as much about technology as I can.

My favourite part of this project has been my ability to share it.  Tomorrow is our presentation on what I have learned, and I have never been more excited to present something… ever.  I want to be able to show everyone the wonderful things I have found and hope to spark interest in them to do the same, and that is what teaching is all about.

My wiki, Education QR Codes,  has become my pride and joy.  I want to keep adding to it whenever I can.  I also want to try and use these things in the classroom and share what I do.  I want to share it all.  The most rewarding thing for me is knowing that I can share the information I have and have just one person be grateful for it.

What I would really love is if people all over would do the workshop we have planned for tomorrow.  It is a set of 7 QR “stations” that utilize QR codes and cell phones in different ways.  Some of them include posting your name and where you are from to a PollEverywhere survey, and uploading a picture to our class flickr.  It would be really cool to show my class how you could make that connection with people and have multiple people doing the same lesson.

Regardless of how the presentation goes, and especially the mark I receive, I have satisfied my hunger to learn more this semester than I have in a very long time… and that’s enough for me.

QR Codes

3 Mar

The more I have continued on with our technology project the more I love QR Codes.  Our focus has completely shifted to them, and there is so much that I’m learning I don’t even know what to present anymore.  On Tuesday we have to teach everyone what we have learned and the biggest thing I want to focus on is using our tool to teach the tool.  I want to make sure that all of what we are using is done on the cell phone and presented through QR Codes.

Another important thing for our presentation will be discussion of the pro’s and con’s of using cellphones and QR codes in the class.  We are so limited on time we are not going to get to have the in depth discussion that we really could have.

 

I have made a QR code for my personal information and played around with it trying new things out.  My love of Marilyn Monroe made me decide to put her in the background of my code.

Finally, I have put together a wiki, Education QR Codes, for all of the things I have been working on, and on it we are going to put up everything that we will be presenting on Tuesday!  I hope everyone is excited as me.