Monday, April 11, 2011

Powering Through PowerPoint

I haven't used this much PowerPoint in years! I find myself wondering if I am slipping right back into the "old ways" of building a presentation in PowerPoint with usinga template and just plugging "important points" into my already predetermined bullets. Ugh, I am already bored myself.

Trying to make the conscious decision to use what we read in Presentation Zen is sitting in the forefront of my mind everytime I place a word on a slide. Although I had a high level of anxiety about the Ignite presentation, developing it ended up being really therapeutic and inventive. Oddly enough, it provided me the same purpose that I hoped my students would get out of the assignment I created for my P3 project. I expected to write my project and have it totally completed before I worked on my Ignite presentation, but it ended up being better to use my Ignite presentation to help continue to develop my project - so the assignment I am creating might actually work!! That is very encouraging, and with how overwhelmed I am right now, I could use all the encouragment I can get.

This new sense of encouragment and empowerment with PowerPoint makes me think that there really is something to using genre as a form of invention. I will mention in my Ignite, as well as in my project, using Google Wonder Wheel to help spark new ideas and give a new insight to a topic. The Google Wonder Wheel is definitely something I will introduce to students to help get them started on brainstorming a project.

I know I shouldn't admit this - especially in writing - but knowing that there are better forms of PowerPoint out there (instead of just literally copying and pasting the paper) kind of drives me a little crazy. It forces me to be more conscious of the words and images I am choosing to put on my PowerPoint. I feel guilty just choosing a template and plugging in bullets.

I was so hesitant about the Ignite at first, but I definitely see the positives of it now. I am nervous to be constrained to 15 second intervals, but I am excited about my slidedeck. Granted, I am saying this BEFORE I have actually delivered my presentation, so my tune may certainly change after tomorrow's presentation...

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Wait ... it's April WHAT?!

I honestly don't know how it is already April 7th and next week is our last week of classes. I am trying my best to prioritize what needs to get done and do it in power chunks of time. This is something new I am trying for this season's finals. I figure if I give myself 40 minutes chunks of time to power through something, then take 5 minutes to take a break (which could include getting something to drink, checking Facebook, my email, my phone, etc) then get back into something different for the next 40 mins and so on for 3 to 4 hours. So far, so good. When I am pressed for time, I have to get down to business. I don't have time to check this and do that. I have one task at a time to attend to and there are NO disturbances (yeah, right ... only in a perfect world). These power chunks of time may be something that sticks with my thoroughout the rest of my grad career. Phew, I finally figured something out! Which brings me to my "Rewinding the Tape" for 516. As I try to be reflective as possible, one of things that I have been considering lately that I have gained from this class is that there are things that I like, and things that I don't. I know that sounds really simplistic, but I think that is really important. I used to dwell on why I didn't use a certain program, or why Diigo wasn't right for me. But, I have learned to just say to myself, "It just isn't right ... right now." This certainly doesn't mean that I can't go back later and re-evaluate. This lends to me becoming more flexible. This being flexible thing is something that I want to work on in my "summer time" (I say that as if I can just pick it up ... but I am sure going to try) so that I can bring flexibility into the classroom. I think bringing flexibility into the classroom will allow me to utilize technological resources better and allow me to relax a little bit. I have never really been a go-with-the-flow sort of person, I have always had to plan. But, I think now is the time to try.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trying Not to Freak Out ...

With the end of semester looming, I always get a little anxious ... there's always so much to do with so little time. I don't know what happened to this semester. It seems like I was just pouring over my P1 bundle trying to decide if I wanted to use Twitter and trying to decide how many blogs I thought would be acceptable for the semester. More than anything, this semester has caused me to become self-reflective in many of my "homework practices." I put that in quotes, because I still think I am trying to figure out what those are and what works for me. What makes me want to nail this down is not just the next two years of my master's, but beginning to teach in the Fall. When we have more to do than time to do it, it forces us to prioritize. This semester I have been so-so about prioritizing, but I know that when I start teaching, my students will take priority over anything else. But, I have to also remember that they will be in the same spot I am in right now. How do I respect their time, but still expect them to deliver good, quality work? How do I build in all the assignments I have been thinking about over this semester in this class into a single semester for my students in the Fall? I don't. How do I know when some is too little and when enough is enough? I guess that is what the summer is for. But first, finals and my ignite presentation ...