January 2011


So I should undoubtedly be working on our final assignment for LRNT 504.  Of course, that would be the logical thing to do.  So I’m not doing that…

I am still at home thanks to another doctor’s note (argh), but I read my emails from school regularly.  The head of our department just sent through a discussion regarding how to improve our diploma exam marks.  In his mind, it is all related to vocabulary.  And while I agree that both Social Studies specific vocabulary as well as the English language is something to focus on, I decided to suggest that more care and attention on objectives, course sequencing and strategies could prove useful.

I know that objectives are something I have ignored for 15 years, course sequencing is something I rarely think about, and my instructional strategies are not as diverse as the could be.  So for me, Instructional Design could very well produce a better finished product, which could very well raise marks.  While I agree that vocabulary deserves attention, I’m not convinced that just knowing what the word means translates into understanding a complex theory or philosophy.

So, I have decided to ignore LRNT 504 for the past three evenings, and type up objectives for the grade 12 course.  I want to PROVE that Instructional Design could help.  And I’ve found this new app for the iPad called Popplet which makes great visuals, and they’ve just released a beta version so I can work on my laptop as well…

Here’s the link to my first crack at objectives for the grade 12 course on Popplet…what comes next is developing the strategies an designing the message. Hmmm…this is a lot of work!

http://popplet.com/app/#/12352

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So I’m still on the hunt for a solid program for collecting and citing references. As you know, I had flirted with RefWorks and Zotero, but still was not fully swayed by either of them.

So I decided to research research! I went to various blogs by professors and groups of professors to find out what they used. My favourite is profhacker.com, and they recommended Mendeley. So I installed it on my desktop and iPad. Will I like it? Tough to say. But I’ll comment more later, when the 2 year old is not in the tub! 🙂

So, I am slogging my way through this course.  I actually find it really interesting, and absolutely amazing that I had never heard of Instructional Design before now.  I mean, I’ve only been a teacher for 15 years!  Shouldn’t this be something they teach to new teachers?  Heck, maybe they do.  But clearly it wasn’t that memorable in my case…

So while I am spending time on our group assignment, I am also dreaming of ways to reinvent the wheel in my own classes.  It’s time to start paying better attention to the objectives set out by the government, and looking at exactly what the students need to know, rather than plunking myself down in front of the textbook and hoping IT does the job for me.

So I am desperate to get back to work.  Which isn’t going to happen until the end of January or later.  You see, I have this teeny tiny autoimmune disorder called Multiple Sclerosis, and it’s really been beating me up lately.  Basically, little lesions appear on my brain, and depending on their location, they can wreak havoc with balance, coordination, vision, memory, or movement.  My lesions really seem to like affecting my eyes, as I have had Optic Neuritis twice in one year.  It essentially wipes out half my vision, making it impossible to read, drive, put makeup on properly, etc.  So my neurologist has taken me off work until February, and has suggested that my career choice doesn’t really fit with this condition.  Apparently, teaching 120 teenagers a day is too stressful!  (Thank you, Captain Obvious…)

On the plus side, it gives me plenty of time to read about Instructional Design!  And plan for courses that hopefully someone will let me teach in February!  But I now know that my job is potentially too stressful for this condition, and so I am working with the school board to try and reduce my work load, which hopefully will also reduce the number of relapses I have.  MS won’t stop me, but it will slow me down.  And really, that’s probably a good thing.  Maybe a Master’s, a full time job and a toddler was a but much…  🙂