learning the way i learn

Day 1 #MAETEL1.

Apparently, I am going to spend the next six weeks tagging every text, tweet, and post with #MAETEL1.

“Baseball score: 3-1 Giants! #MATEL1”

“Did you feed the cat yet? #MAETEL1”

Master of Arts in Educational Technology, Year 1, Michigan state University, and I am suddenly face-to-face with my teaching beliefs, from the student’s side of the desk.

“Any perfectionists here? Remember, you are here to learn, not impress us.” How many times have I told my student’s that, yet I remain a perfectionist?

I have made my first major decision:  to document not only my learning, but my process of learning. Because I can’t be an effective teacher unless I have practiced what I preach.

Let’s step back a bit and I will try to explain.

I am a self-employed tutor and private teacher working with students with learning disabilities. My business tagline is “learn the way you learn”. I deliberately use no capitals in that tagline, this blog’s title, and this post’s title. (Other than that – and my penchant for using phrases instead of full sentences for emphasis – I will be sticking to as many grammar rules as I can).

This is my creation from our first quickfire:

lisa sentence 2


I thought you would rather see what I am talking about, rather than read all about what I was supposed to do, then be shown the picture (process then output). This way, you have context for the activity. Process followed by output becomes creation followed by context. [I prefer this way. Let me know what you think in the comments.]

Our quickfire was to create our own defining statement as an educator, and display that over a meaningful image. I want to turn textbooks into games. I want to do this because the students I work with, the ones who think they are “stupid” before they are even ten years old, are not stupid, and they don’t have learning disabilities. They just don’t have the two primary learning styles around which most schools are organized. I am in Michigan, and outside hockey season (probably a good thing for my study habits), because I believe that technology can change how we go about the business of education. In time, we won’t change education – we will reinvent it. It’s time for education to meet its printing  press, its cotton gin, and its internal combustion engine.

I should stop here, because I think that sounds alright. But I choose to examine my own learning, right? Perhaps I should just edit that bit out.

Let me let you in on the process of creating that quickfire. It was a messy, gooey, glob of thought, attempt, sudden acceptance of failure, workarounds, and stitching what worked together. It wasn’t neat. It wasn’t logical, coordinated, and planned. It just sort of happened out of what was there, like a really small scale version of that scene from Apollo 13 when the engineers had to fit a square connector to  a round hole. We had 30 minutes.

  1.  Use iPad because I left the charger for my Macbook at home and wanted to conserve battery until the charger arrives.
  2. Subsequently miss the instruction on where to find the link to the assignment as I start the Macbook.
  3. Ask for help three times, and quietly remind self that, yeah, you failed at step one and that’s ok. (I didn’t believe myself, but I moved on, anyway).
  4. Find the link to the image making tools and use those choices to decide what sort of image I want (not the more logical other way around).
  5. Make a gif of my three images.
  6. Fail to work out how to save it so that it moves. Hmm.
  7. Realize I won’t be able to superimpose text, anyway.
  8. Ditch the technology, but keep the images.
  9. I have five minutes left. Panicked scanning of the other image tool descriptions grabs the words “Mac” and “comic”. Click that link.
  10. Download comic making program.
  11. Check power level on Macbook (I knew I had hours left, but I am scanning my resources for threats of failure at this point)
  12. Drop in images and text, and take advantage of extra two minutes.
  13. Save, check, tweet.
  14. Present to class, and wonder how the heck I got it done.

Processes may have annoying bugs, but creation is gloriously messy.