Just Say No | Reflection Week 4

What have you learned or gained thus far? Details.

I think I have noticed the hero’s journey formula without realizing it many times before. I am sensitive to this idea and the general concept of archetypes because while I see their effectiveness in storytelling? I find myself drawn to unpredictable storylines. I love reading books, watching movies and television shows. I am drawn to stories. Watching a television series unfold episode by episode is much like reading a good book and advancing through the different chapters. I tend to go for thrillers, mysteries and other similar genres because they’re often unpredictable and thought provoking. My husband, on the other hand, loves feel-good movies and comedies which are often quite similar and predictable. It’s interesting to me to study these concepts and think critically about their application to learning. The Kurt Vonnegut video made me laugh pretty hard.

Friends don't let friends watch rom-coms

So far I think I am learning to come out of my shell and explore new ideas and tools rather than trying what I am familiar with. Even though I like my stories to have a good twist and mystery to them, I am a creature of habit. I don’t stray from my favorite item on a menu or venture to new places without some stress involved. I know what I like and fear trying new things sometimes in case they aren’t as good. Luckily within the LDT program I have become much better at this and have enjoyed learning about new resources and tools. The challenge to use different tools for each project, though, has forced me to think more creatively and plan my course of action more thoughtfully, which is good for me.

What would you like to learn more about? Why?
I would love to learn more about branching scenarios and storytelling for learning. I think this is a fun way to learn and gives learners more agency. Of the limited exposure I’ve had with it I think learning to utilize flow charts and mapping are important but I’d love to learn about more tools to accomplish this type of project effectively. Much of the work I am doing currently is around employee training for interpersonal skills and this type of learning could be a great addition.

I utilized layering in Storyline to do some branching (See planning map above)  for an interaction in one of my projects which was neat but I have seen many examples of more intricate branching scenarios and I am curious what tools are used and how they do it. One fascinating example I came across recently was BBC Click’s 1000th Episode.

The process to make the episode was over a year long and utilized a program called StoryKit. My mind is boggled and inspired at the length and dedication this project took. The concept of a truly personalized learning experience with several million possibilities is incredible. I would love to learn more about this concept and see what other tools exist to accomplish this type of learning.

Have you left the status-quo behind? Do you feel challenged? Explain.

As discussed previously I do feel challenged. I have felt the need to think about each project and the tools I will use well in advance because we are being asked to utilize each primary media only one time. This is hard for me because I am not always a planner as much as I should be, but it’s good to learn and become better at this skill. I also consider myself to be a very linear thinker and this class, especially with all of the different resources, is harder for me to follow and figure out sometimes which is a challenge in and of itself. This is good, though, because in life we will not always have teachers, bosses or peers that do things the same way and learning to adapt and do things differently is healthy.

What did you expect coming into this course, and what have you actually received, thus far?

I wasn’t sure what to expect. I think I expected there to be more formal writing for some reason, but there’s no concern there. I love thinking visually and representing ideas in new ways. I am also a huge fan of utilizing audio, video and graphics. I appreciate stretching my mind to think about how to portray and represent ideas in new ways.

The biggest thing I have received so far is a wealth of new ideas and tools to consider and utilize in my daily life and professional life. I love Slack and think it’s a wonderful collaboration tool for an organization. Though I’d been exposed to it previously I never used it consistently. My new organization uses Skype which isn’t as useful for collaboration. It’s nice to see what’s out there and how things can be done differently.

What would you like to learn and do for the second four weeks of our time together?

As mentioned previously, I would love to learn more about storytelling and branching scenarios. I have also yet to find an animation tool that I like. I have found many of them to be complicated to use and they don’t produce the quality that I would like for a project. I would be interested to see tools in storytelling and animation.

I would also love to continue to explore more tools in general, which I am almost certain we will. It’s excellent to see so many different resources and ideas and get away from Canvas for a bit. Since this will be my final four weeks in the program I am looking forward to learning as much as I can and soaking in all of the information!

Reflect specifically on the ideas/ideals presented in the videos above, and the article we annotated this week. With whom do you agree or disagree most strongly - Sir Ken Robinson, John Seely Brown, or Henry Jenkins? Explain.

I agreed with points from all three of these different sources. I agree with Sir Ken Robinson the most, though. There needs to be a change in the way we educate students. It can’t be done the way it’s been done because the world is shifting and changing. Learning needs, student population, technology, etc. are all different.

I like the idea of introducing a PBL (project based learning) model into more schools. I think encouraging students to think about real-world problems and working collaboratively to solve them is a powerful way to restructure and change the classroom. I saw a lot of success with this model in the school that I used to teach at. Students worked with many different subjects to tackle problems and issues in our local community and solve problems together. They worked with community members and felt pride and ownership in their work. It allowed for students to find and identify their interests and passions, as well.

The issue with PBL is funding. So many schools can’t afford the resources that are often necessary to do PBLs, especially if they require building or creating things. It also requires giving teachers more planning time, which districts are not likely to get on board with. Fundamentally there is an issue with the educational system as a whole. Teachers are doing their best with what they have but there’s too much coming at them at once from testing, extra duties, coaching, etc. From my experience in the classroom teachers are burned out and students aren’t getting what they need. There has to be a solution to change the system and add value back into the teaching profession, but sadly it isn’t happening yet.

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