Personal

I’m Takin’ a MOOC, and this is actually my first assignment….

Yes, yes I am taking a MOOC  (that’s a Massive Online Open Course for the uninitiated….and yep – it’s just about as geeky as it sounds, and definitely more fun!) I have tried this before, and wasn’t really impressed. HOWEVER,  this course, titled “Today’s Blended Teacher: the Blended Schools MOOC” is all about blended classrooms, so it is more relevant, and is much better organized. Whether you call this format blended, hybrid, or flipped (which is not quite the same thing), it appears to be the direction that much of education is going.  For those who are uncomfortable with a fully online class – whether it is in higher education, or elementary and secondary schools, it can really create functional and exciting ways for teachers to teach and learners to learn.  As an instructional designer and an instructor, I frequently suggest that my faculty use this technique, especially for certain subjects – those requiring field work for example, or if they would benefit from complicated real-world projects where the student can go out and get the information online (maybe even doing some ground work), then come back to the classroom to discuss, create, and question.

Blended classrooms are, by definition, at least 50% online and 50% face-to-face. They allow students to do their own learning and discovering, but maintain the hands-on guidance that many instructors and students desire, and some subject matters require.  Some of the examples that we have created in my office are a virtual reality airplane accident for an Accident Investigation class, a crane accident for a Safety class, a three course “block” of blended courses for Early Childhood and Elementary education, and a World Diversity course which is allowing students to discuss some very touch subjects in more protected ways. This course design is allowing these teachers to develop projects and assessments that meet more than one Learning Objective at a time, thereby giving them more time for learning and demanding less time for assessing.  How can that not be a good thing!

Blended learning is here – and it has great places to go. I really am excited about this course I am taking. I have even enrolled my 13 year old son in a MOOC, and if he can keep up, I’m sure he will enjoy it as well. Yes, MOOCs are kind of “geeky” – but then so Runescape and Minecraft….and that being said, I will revel in my Geeky-ness, and continue my search for a certain police box driven by a man in a bowtie….and continue to learn about blended classrooms while I wait.

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Categories: Instructional Design, MOOC, Personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Home – Prayer Will Support PWS Organization

Home – Prayer Will Support PWS Organization.

Raising money for Prader-Willi Research – this is a walk-a-thon in Higginsville, MO if anyone following this is local. 🙂  This is the condition my son has, and the money goes to his geneticist – who is recognized as the leading researcher in PWS.

If you can, come walk; if you can’t – donate a little.  And if you can’t do that – send your good thoughts and prayers.  Thank you for whatever you can do!

Categories: Personal, Prader-Willi Syndrome | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Henry Rollins Comments On Steubenville Rape Verdict | Under the Gun Review – My response

Henry Rollins Comments On Steubenville Rape Verdict | Under the Gun Review.

A friend “tagged” me in a Facebook post that linked to this article by Henry Rollins. This a serious enough issue that I want to address it, especially from the perspective of a parent and school board hopeful. My friend indicated in her tag that she would like to see his ideas in our district. I think the spirit of his ideas are right, but I am not sure about the details. I have to say that he did put the blame where it belongs: on the offenders, but also on the society in which they matured. Rollins says that we need “women’s studies in the high schools” and total sex ed where students can “learn how it all works,” and that “rape is rape.” These are the difficulties I have with Rollins’ ideas. I don’t think the problem is a lack of course work or that these men didn’t know “how it all works.” I think it goes much much deeper than that.

In my opinion, the problem is a lack of responsibility, denial of the humanity of others, little respect for human life, and a belief that there are no real consequences to their actions. I could get behind Rollins’ first suggestion, that women’s studies be offered in High School, but if, and only if, the courses were handled with care and in such a way that they avoided any suggestion of the  “male bashing” that is often expected in these classes. By all means, teach about the heroic role of women in all facets of life and in the in the world, but do it while respecting men. These women were successful and heroic – sometimes in spite of men, sometimes instead of men, but often alongside men. We can not forget that we are two halves of humanity, and I think sometimes this kind of course does that. They need to teach that women are true equals – different in their femininity, but equally strong, intelligent, and capable. Will that solve the problem? I don’t  think so – but for those students who DON’T see women in these roles, it might at least present another point of view for them to develop.

As for total sex ed – I really do not believe this is the answer to this problem. Sex ed is a serious issue, but one for another time. Most men don’t need sex ed to know rape is bad, and “How it all works” has nothing to do with an act being rape or not. Society, family, and general humanity should teach all people – men and women – what rape is, and that it is always unacceptable and deserving of the harshest punishment. Anatomy, contraception, and how to avoid STD’s are not going to teach one not to rape, and in fact there are those who would say it would increase the dangers. Respect is what needs to be taught. The value of humanity and freedom of others needs to be taught. Not “safe sex.”

And Rollins’ last (facetious?) point, that equal time be given to male and female peep shots, I could not disagree with more. However, I could not AGREE more with his last statement: “don’t take that…picture.” It boils down to that – regardless of what the person puts out there, show them we live in a culture of respect.  We can begin growing such a culture when photographers refuse to promote “The shot,”  and schools and families demand respect from and for everyone. If we do that, movies will change, music will adapt, and young people will start living it.  THAT is what I think will lead to fewer tragedies like Steubenville happening in the future.

Categories: Personal, School Board | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Allow me to introduce myself….

Connor, Logan, Mary Collynn and Mom making cookies in the kitchen

The family making cookies…

I am a wife, and I am a mother. I have a 13 year old in Warrensburg Middle School, an 11 year old in Sterling Elementary, and a 2 1/2 year old at home. I am extremely active in my faith, especially with the college students who frequent the Newman Center where my husband is Director. I am the Newman Mom – feeding them on the weekend and chasing them out when they should be studying.

I am a mom of a child with special needs. My younger son has Prader-Willi Syndrome, so I am very active in his daily life at school. I am invested in the quality of our Special Needs programs, so that is of course near to my heart. I also know ALL our kids have some special need – my teenager and 2 year old are proof of that. The needs are different, but they are just as important. My whole professional life (and much of my private life) is spent trying to make students’ and teachers’ jobs easier- as an English and Instructional Technology Instructor I try to teach college students, as an Instructional Designer and Education Technologist I try to help teachers teach, and as a private citizen, I am developing a new “informational hub” for special needs parents and professionals. I think communication and clarity of needs and expectations are two of the most important elements of any relationship, and education is no exception. It is my goal as a professional and as a parent to help improve that communication in any way I can!

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