Zen by PowerPoint

I have a love/hate relationship with PowerPoint (PP). I see value in the medium but I struggle to find effective ways to use it. #Oext234 asks Ontario Extenders to consider PresentationZen and to pick one of the 11 recommendations to improve presentations. I am choosing (5) Remove the nonessential and adding photos instead of text. Please understand, this is an exercise for the Daily Extend. I am not suggesting that the new presentation is really much better than the old one but it is a start and this also gives me a change to explore more Creative Commons photos and a new tool.

Sometimes, I have used PP to act as a guide for me; a way of keeping me on track and reminding me of what comes next. I have basically turned them into great big visual presentation cue cards. Whenever I do this, it reminds me of my very first presentation competition in grade school on Carpenter Ants.

I used this approach when preparing to be filmed for an Orientation video based on a transition to college culture workshop that I have done in-class. In this case, the slides were not shown to the participants, they were only for me. Here is a short clip from my practice video where I created a voice over for the slides I had prepared. The final video, edited by St. Clair College’s Audio/Visual department, is at this end of this post.

Using Tall Tweets, I created a 15 second gif of my original slides:

CollegeWayOrignal

Using Unsplash, I added photos and then removed most of the text:

CollegeWayZen

This is the final video used now at Orientation:

 

Feature image: Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash

Look Mom! I’m coding!

A million years ago, or 20 years ago that feels like a million, I quit my day job and joined a computer consulting company as an associate. I loved working with the principle partner, Rick, The more challenging the project, the calmer he became. I learned that you can’t think through thorny problems or multiple steps if you are pissed off.

Back then, you could still build and modify computers and if you didn’t know something, like html, you just taught yourself. At that time, I was quite the QuickBooks expert. I was beta testing and creating curriculum for Intuit Canada. I was teaching two levels of QuickBooks for St. Clair College through Continuing Education. So supporting our clients in adopting Quickbooks was my main role but I also repaired and modified computers, did a lot of printer troubleshooting and learned to code websites.

Funny that, you never actually forget the basics of code. I whipped out my coding skills this year to make BlackBoard do some things I wanted it to do including adding CSS to improve the visuals and layout. I had to adjust my old way of doing things to the new HTML 5 standards but that wasn’t as tough as it sounds.

So with the Daily Extend #221, I am excited. I clicked on the remix button in Thimble Projects and saw code! I can do this! And I did, if you would like to remix my project, it is available here: https://thimbleprojects.org/irenequstewart/511411

Gotta catch’em all!

I am fortunate to have some lovely walking paths very near my home. I enjoyed walk along Mud Creek and seeing all the creatives, real and virtual. And it is something I miss greatly. Particularly in 2016, I was walking 2 – 3 kilometers per day taking pictures of the neighbourhood cat who followed me part of the way every day or of the ducks and geese that regularly blocked my path. During this time, I also enjoyed playing Pokemon Go. It was fun and it kept track of how far I had walked.

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Neighbourhood Cat

I became quite ill in late 2016 and was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis in early 2017. I have not yet reached remission but I am hopeful. Right now, if I work, there is no energy left over and I can make it to the end of the block and back but not to the paths.

These daily adventures taking photos and playing Pokemon Go are probably the most interesting things I have done with my phone. I hesitate to say smart phone because mine is kinda dumb. And I like it that way. I think cellphone and data plans are too expensive in many cases. I do not feel the need to spend a couple of thousand dollars a year to be in constant contact. I don’t check my email or do work on my phone. I have a few close friends and family who have my number.

I know there are many cool and useful apps available and maybe I will find some new one to add but for right now, I am happy to live in the dark ages of cellphones.

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Response to Daily Extend #oext198

 

 

The power of the spoken word

Perhaps it is because we are voting tomorrow and I am wishing for people of vision that my thoughts turned to Martin Luther King’s I have a dream speech on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. when asked where and when I would bring my students if I had a time machine for the Ontario Extend’s Daily Extend #oext195.

Listen to it here from Archive.org

I also thought of JFK’s  Inaugural Address, January 20, 1961, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

Winston Churchill first speech as Prime Minister.

For a different take on the spoken word, may I suggest Figures of Speech from Almeida Theater.  In particular, Patient Zero:

 

Featured Image Photo by Bogomil Mihaylov on Unsplash

 

Linking #MakingSense18 to #oext193

Today’s Ontario Extend Daily Extend (193) asked us to imagine how students would react if we only provided feed back and no grades:

After completing the tweet, I turned to  Day 4 of the MOOC Making Sense of Open Education which was to explore Open Education Resources (OER) online. I collected some OER into a Padlet, adding articles, photos, videos and learning resources around helping student use feedback and the concept of reflective practice building on the thought of whether student know how to use the feedback we give them.

Made with Padlet

I selected one photo and one resource to try to make something new. I adapted a photo from Pixabay by stockpic and a four-page hand out from WestEd from their Formative Assessment Insight open course to create this graphic:

 

feedback

I am growing in both my knowledge and my skills through my professional development this spring but perhaps more importantly, I am becoming more naturally open by practice, practice, practice.

Where do you stand?

Native Land North America

On what land do you stand? Helen DeWaard’s recent post on Hospitality got me thinking again about what Indigenous territorial lands do I live on and territorial acknowledgements. I found this website, Native Land by Victor G Temprano (@nativelandnet). This is a searchable map that reports the nations, treaties and languages of the Indigenous Peoples for that area. Please review the About section of the website to understand how the project was started and how the map is created.

I want to acknowledge that I work on the traditional territories of : Anishinabek (ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᒃ),  Haudenosauneega Confederacy, Miami and Anishinaabe Nations.Native Land Map

I am using the information in the post to suggest a Daily Extend to the OntarioExtend project. If it is accepted and used, I will update this post with the details. In the meantime, check out Native Land and peruse the resources below for some more thoughts about territorial acknowledgement.

Update: This suggestion became a Daily Extend on June 6, 2018 https://extend-daily.ecampusontario.ca/oext196/

Start here with a questioning view of whether acknowledging Indigenous lands is a good thing:

âpihtawikosisân. (2016, September 23). Beyond territorial acknowledgments. |âpihtawikosisân.com.

Shahzad, R.  (2017, July 17). Why acknowledging the Indigenous lands we stand on is so important | CBC News.

Jones, A. (n.d.). Territory Acknowledgement | Native Land.

Canadian Association of University Teachers. (2017). Guide to Acknowledging First Peoples & Traditional Territory | CAUT.

University of British Columbia. (2018). Land Acknowledgements in Teaching and Learning | UBC

Reflecting on Experimenting

Reflecting is an important part of extending. I am finding that I am changing a little bit every day because of this process, because of being part of OntarioExtend. If I don’t occasionally look back, I could miss that. I am becoming a bit more open, through my experiences and through the ideas and perspectives of my ExtendWest my cohort and PLN. This experimenting and practicing out loud is becoming a habit.

My first Daily Extend, my first experiment in extending was on April 26, 2018. I have been extending for just over a month. In that time, I have done 42 daily extends. You can see my work on the Daily Extend Leaderboard. I am proud to say that, at the moment, I am in the Top 10 of all time Daily Extenders!

top ten

Through the Dailies, I have:

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“If I ask a student to take risks, I should too. In fact, I should go first.” Irene Stewart     *Photo by Delfiero Brahmantya on Unsplash
  • found creative common resources to share
  • learned to take some of my own photos creating some original content
  • wrote some poetry and a story
  • made a gif, a video, a meme, an infographic, a poster and a superhero
  • tried free and interesting online services

I also got over my fear of tweeting, found some fellow educators to connect with and have become a part of a community that extends beyond Ontario.

Some of the tools I used:

  • Snagit by Techsmith
  • YouTube with Advanced Search
  • Giphy
  • Marvel SuperHero Creator
  • Open Culture website
  • The Noun Project
  • Randomness Story Generator Widget
  • Imgflip Meme Generator
  • FlipGrid
  • Twitter

Not every experiment went well. Sometimes, I made spelling mistakes. Sometimes, I posted in the middle of the night and no one noticed. And while that is okay, it is nice when someone likes your tweet. My first gif was rough and looked a little odd. A couple of my pictures were out of focus. And while these things may or may not be noticeable, I don’t think I would change it because it is part of my process of learning and extending. I have the privilege of failing, nothing bad is going to happen.

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“It is okay if I am not perfect, I can be a work in progress.” Irene Stewart  *Photo by Bernard Hermant on Unsplash

I will keep experimenting through the Dailies and through the Extend Modules. It feels uncomfortable at times but that is part of extending, stretching and growing. But I will be aware what I have learned so far and work to improve my dailies, my extend activities and my blog. I will also look to be inspired by some of my experimenting to find ways to incorporate what I am doing here for myself to benefit my students and my institution.

If you have not yet tried the Daily Extend or any of the modules, I invite you to join us. It is unlike any other professional development opportunity you are likely to experience this summer!

Featured Image Photo by Rebecca Oliver on Unsplash

Small Institutional Research Projects

It is my favorite Summer past time, because Student Services never sleeps. For most faculty, summer time means an opportunity for a two month break. Not so in Student Services. At St. Clair College, we have two Retention Coordinators and that means, for the most part, one of us has to been available over the spring and summer months. And, I don’t mind working in the summer, the college has air conditioning and the slightly quieter paces means small summer research.

I generally pick a question of interest to me and see where it leads. Some past questions I have explored include:

  • What prevents students who have a GPA of 3.0 or better in their final semester from graduating?
  • For program X, what is the institutional retention of students who drop out? The difference between stop out and drop out over five years.
  • What are the success rates in MTH XXX after offering specialized class walk-in tutoring compared to previous three years?
  • What programs do students who have taken preparatory courses graduate from within five years?
  • Which programs have high tutoring usage, according to KPI results, but have the lowest KPI satisfaction/highest KPI dissatisfaction (in tutoring)?

Because of this activity, the books I read generally have a research focus. This summer, I am scanning two books I have read in other summers: How to measure anything, 3rd Edition by Donald Hubbard and Workplace research by Zina O’Leary and Jennifer Hunt and I am adding Essential Scrums by Kenneth Rubin.