Back to it.

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Well, it’s been far too long. As Gretchen Rubin likes to say, the days are long, but the years are short. Saturday nights have been relatively uneventful however, so it’s the perfect time for reflection. 

I don’t know when I got over my fear of looking stupid. I went to a hackathon today, and although it would have taken me days to code the programs that they put together in the hours we had, I stuck around. I wanted to see the final project, I wanted to see the sausage made and see it through to the end. If anything it inspired me to spend more time coding again, so I can get better. Once this degree is over. Let’s get to December and get one goal done at a time. 

What surprises me more is that people are flustered by my inability to care about looking stupid. I have no problem throwing out bad ideas publicly, even if they are bad, because they are part of the process. We need to get through the crap ideas to get to the good ones. People may remember the silly ideas, but the end product is the most important. Who cares if the process is bumpy? You learn along the way, people riff off each other, and the diamond in the rough will emerge.

So who cares if you fall seven times? You’re getting up eight. 

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It’s gonna be a Happy New Year.

Listening to: http://antwon.bandcamp.com/album/end-of-earth

So here we are again. First off, Blogs, I love you, but please stop with the end of year re-posts of all your other posts. Please do something different.

Now that that’s out of my system, I would rather discuss a typical NYE in Chez Boucher.

  • Working. Yes, I really enjoy working on NYE. Since many people take the holiday, it’s usually quiet, and it’s a great time to wrap up projects and set up for next year. Since our hosting skills are deferred to next week for the pre-Kickoff party, we don’t make a huge deal out of the holiday. 
  • Reflection. This is a must-do for me. Since I’m awful at journaling free-hand, I need a prompt. The best one I know is Leonie Dawson’s workbook, which I’ve bought for the third year in a row. Warning: the workbook is reaaaaally girly (watercolors and Goddess talk) and I’ve since unsubscribed to her blog since it got super-salesy in this past year, but the yearly workbook is worth the $10 as it’s super comprehensive. It forces me to get granular with my goals.
  • Something fun. Although I will miss watching the annual Monarchs Baby Race, we’re going to the Palace Theatre instead. I’m excited to do something different.
  • CNN. Because I can’t get enough of Anderson Cooper, mostly.

 

I’m ready for an amazing 2013. I’m putting it out there now, and I can’t wait for it to begin.


Adults and generations

INSDSG 602 – Class 4

Last class was one of those where it flew by – I was shocked when I looked at my phone! Those are the best classes. We split up into “generations” and summarized how we felt about ourselves and how other generations felt about us. I was pretty surprised that out of a class of 30 there were only 5 of us who could classify as…ugh…”Gen Y”. I can’t stand that term, probably because it feels so throwaway compared to Gen X.

When discussing what defined us, the internet was an obvious choice. Somehow, though, I had forgotten that 24 hours news and the advent of cable was such a defining point within our generation as well. I’ve never known a time without hundreds of channels, each with differing viewpoints. I remember watching OJ Simpson and his Bronco and when Princess Diana died. I remember 9-11 and when we were electing a new Pope. All of those instances would have been completely different without constant news coverage.

I’ve also grown a new appreciation for adult learning, or andragogy. I never thought of myself as teacher material, hanging out with kids all day and lecturing. My training methods definitely lean more towards the andragognous: making learning a conversation, including lots of activity, making learning relevant to real life.


The discussion board is dead.

I’m not going to bury the lead here: I think it is lazy for e-learners to rely on integrated discussion boards as a complete and authentic discussion solution.

Last semester I was in two classes that were completely online. Both have a “discussion” part of the grade that I was failing miserably at. Why? Because the discussion is so forced. Each of them require I post by Wednesday and then by Sunday I have to respond to five classmate’s comments. While I don’t mind at all posting to the board with my thoughts on the reading, I think what bothers me most is that most everyone is phoning in the responses. I don’t think my classmates are bad people, or that the intent was poor.

But I do think it is lazy. Here’s why:

  • In an ID program, you are failing to explore new technologies by relying on the pre-baked board. So maybe you don’t have a choice in the LMS that your program chose, I understand. And I’m familiar with the school policies that require a participation grade. But to rely on the technology that comes within the LMS is like sitting on the sidelines when the rest of the world is dancing. There are so many more ways to have discussion! Web chats, video responses, the list goes on and on. And by exposing new Instructional Designers to the many ways to get discussion across over the internet, the more they are likely to adopt it in their future portfolio.
  • The internet is no longer a closed-wall universe. Back in the early ages of the internet, it was almost required to have a discussion board. But as sites become more social and there are more and more places to login I follow an acquaintance on twitter who was encouraged to post discussion on twitter with a particular hashtag. I
  • Focusing the grade on the original response does not encourage discussion. If the rubric explicitly states that I get full credit if I respond to five students, then I will respond to five students. If that student responds back, I will not get notified until I log back in again. When am I most likely to log back in again? Next week, when I have to respond to discussion again.

Please don’t get me wrong and think I hate discussion boards, because I think they still have lots of use on the internet! I’ve been involved in the same board for over a decade and keep coming back because the discussion is thorough, the technology on the board alerts me and allows me to rely via email, or through an app.

Sure, whining on the internet is about as old as the discussion board itself, so how do you stretch discussion beyond the board?

  • Make comments public. Most people try to put their best foot forward when something is being publicly scrutinized. Students will do the same, and even better, if they can take it with them in an online portfolio, then there is a double benefit.
  • Encourage discussion with a broader audience. Allow students to comment, but make them engage their own audiences instead. Have them command their own discussion and show how their friends and colleagues respond. This encourages students to build their networks and utilize them in constructive discussion.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while, but I think it’s time to get back into blogging. I should be commenting on my current classes to make sure I get the full points allotted, but I felt the need to finish it instead. Funny how that works sometimes.


Spring, Running, and Zombies…..a review.

Since we had an unusually warm winter spring has come sooner than expected, which means I’m running on the road sooner than expected. I’ve had just the running app to test out since then that I must admit is pretty cool. It’s called Zombies, Run! and is available in the app store. They’re currently working on an android version now. This app started out as a kickstarter, but I got in on the pre-order after I read a blog post about it.

Now, I’m not a huge zombie fan, but I love the idea of the gamification of running. Sure, many apps out there try to get you to get your friends to join and compete against each other, but that’s putting it back on me to talk their app up. What I love about this is that I can get started right away, no cajoling required.

I wish I had read the deeper instructions beforehand or had this piece included in the tutorial, but most missions are 20-30 minutes long. I didn’t know this going in and realized that I was way beyond my turn-back point in my run. Not a bad thing, but I would love to set a midpoint time that tells me to head on back. I hear they’re working on audio cues for time, so I’m happy to hear this should be resolved soon.

Also good to know is that if you have the GPS enabled, you can take part in zombie chases, which are basically sprints up to 1 min against a pack of zombies. The faster the beeping, the closer they are, so it’s a great way to get an interval in there.

Basically the gist of the run is story -> song -> story, repeat. The quality of the story voices is great. It’s got a Jericho-ish feeling to it (no, I haven’t seen Walking Dead yet, although I’ve already been told I need to), but I really wish the quality of the voice while the music is playing (the one that tells me I’ve picked up an item) was better. No matter how far I turn up the volume it doesn’t seem to improve. I’m sure that’s also on the way – Runkeeper made great improvements on their voice in their later revs, I’m sure they can do the same.

When you get home, you can allocate the supplies you picked up into different areas of the compound and build it up. I’m interested to see where this goes. They’ve also slated improvements such as RunKeeper integration, celebrity voices, and other fun things, but I have to say at first blush this app is pretty great. I’ll spend anything to keep my running habit up!


Sprint-Painting

The other half of painting the upstairs includes finishing the bedroom. After finishing the loft, my painting resources (aka, my husband) would not be available to help for quite a while. So sometimes, you just have to do it yourself.

This is what I like to call sprint-painting. This occurred over a weekend where I didn’t have anything scheduled and my husband was scheduled for most of the weekend. Here’s how it went down:

Sprint 1 – Friday: 5pm. Get out of work, head home, raid the fridge, and move all your furniture into the middle of the room. Sand down the seafoam green.
Bedroom beforeBedroom before

Friday 10pm: Wash the layer of dust off, sleep in the middle of the room.

Sprint 2 – Saturday 8am: Wake up, find another set of painting clothes (aka not the dust covered ones), and paint the part that needs to dry first. In this case, that’s where the bed sits.
Bedroom midway

Sprint 3 – Saturday 11am: Shuffle stuff around and paint the other half while the first half dries. Head out and find lunch.

Sprint 4 – Saturday 3pm: Shuffle stuff back and paint the 2nd coat.

Sprint 5 – Saturday 8pm: Have your husband call and ask, “you painted? really?”

Really, even two coats of paint is totally doable even if the room is a good size and you plan it out well. Anyway, here’s the results!
Bedroom after!
The cleanest my table has ever been
Hellllllo closet space

And my personal favorite, with a little moooood lighting…
A little mood lighting