Well, I can’t believe I’ve made it this far already! This is my 10th (and final) class in my masters program and I will have completed half of my degree with edtech courses from @courosa and @kbhildebrandt! I cannot believe how much my teaching philosophy and practice has changed in the 2 years that I have been taking these classes. These classes have been so beneficial to me and have given me an even greater appreciation for this profession, and I hope if this is the first one of these classes for you that they will have a similar impact. It didn’t happen all with one class, it’s been a progression with each new class, and while Alec has been the director of each class, it’s really been the class community that has had such an impact on me. Each new class has had it’s own unique community and I have learned so much from many of you and others, and it’s really this style of learning experience, this learning community, that I have come to love and have been transitioning my classes more to this model. I would like to describe myself now as a teacher as a motivator and community builder, and just yesterday in my health science 20 class I got to witness something beautiful. Students either selected a novel to read or took a MOOC related to health science and then created a tri-fold poster and we set up a class fair to share their learning with each other. Half of the class went yesterday, and the other half will go on Monday. While half are presenting, the other half of the class are going around and talking with the presenters and evaluating them as well. I wasn’t sure how many students would select and complete MOOC’s, but probably about three quarters of my class completed courses from prestigious universities. Their commitment, their engagement, and how the fair proceeded was amazing to see, and I just got to be like any other student and go around and visit with each student and talk about their learning experiences, and boy did they learn!
I know this is an introductory blog to introduce ourselves and I feel like I am digressing, but a big part of who I am is being a lifelong learner and educator. My experience with my class yesterday is an example of how these courses are helping me to advance my teaching practice. I want students to feel a part of a learning community. I want them to realize how learning doesn’t need to be only valuable if it prepares them ‘for their job’, but that learning enriches our lives daily. I am particularly excited for this class because I think distance ed and online learning open so many possibilities for us as learners and teachers. I have taken MOOC’s, I have screencasted explanations, Crash Course videos are a big part of my classroom. I love it! This John Green Ted Talk has had a profound impact on my professional development and philosophy as well and if you haven’t seen it, is a very good watch in relation to this class.
On a more, well less career-related note, I am a husband and father. My wife and I will have our 5th anniversary a week after I complete this course and my Masters degree, and I have a 2 year old daughter who will turn 3 on pi day. As a science teacher, having my child born on pi day and sharing a birthday with Albert Einstein is about as cool as it gets! I love reading, particularly science related books. I am currently nearing the end of Spaceman, the autobiography of astronaut Mike Massamino. If you watch The Big Bang Theory, he’s the astronaut who gives Wolowitz his astronaut nickname of fruitloops. I’m a huge Toronto Blue Jays fan, and also love my Riders and Toronto Maple Leafs. I enjoy me some video games, cooking, and just being outside going for a walk or just enjoying the great outdoors. I also used to be a competitive curler, and represented Saskatchewan at the 2010 Canadian Mixed Curling Championship.
My goals for this semester are to develop further in course design (I would love one day to create a locally developed astronomy course), to continue to become more Twitter fluent and increase the size of my learning community, and to be as helpful as possible to the rest of you!
I look forward to getting to know you all and learning from you, and I hope that I can be of help to you as well!
Live long and prosper