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Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Statue   Talking Head - Intro to Lego Challenge Video

Reflection July 15, 2008

Today I attended the kickoff class of the OMET program.  After finding my way around the picturesque campus, I met my fellow students (Cadre 11) for the first time at the School of Education and Psychology at Drescher College. 

After faculty introductions and a brief description of what technology means, we were given several tasks to complete very quickly.  Directions were not clear, apparently on purpose.  For one of the tasks, our names were called off and we were placed in groups of four.  My team was comprised of Karen, Greg, Edgar and myself.  We were all told to videotape a segment introducing ourselves taking a maximum of 20 seconds per person and the entire task was to take a total of 20 minutes to complete.  I found it amazing how quickly we four strangers organized ourselves discovering in moments what our strengths and weaknesses were and then assigning or rather accepting responsibilities (i.e., camera operator, director, location coordinator, etc.).  We shared momentary fears (of the camera), finally setting each other at ease with Karen going first clowning for the cameraman.  We pulled it off but not sure of the quality of the final product as of yet.

Our next major task, still in our group of four, was to cut, dice, chop and chiffonade vegetables and herbs.  Given on minutes to complete the assignment, we once again quickly assessed who should do which vegetable and why.  As we each took turns preparing the various aromatic veggies, garlic, onion and such, I learned that some of us were teaching others not only a technique but also learning more about the person with knife in hand. As the evening wore on, we were becoming a group within a group; trusting each other a little more with our goals, dreams and aspirations.
Reflection July 16, 2008

This is the second night of class.  As I sit here anxious to call it a day, we are asked as a final assignment to reflect on our thoughts for the days accumulated learning.  It all started with an early breakfast followed by a group walk to the classroom arriving at 8:30am raring to go.  I had had my two cups of coffee and was ready for the task at hand.  We began with Bill doing a Second Life demonstration of which I can only jump up and down.  My new-found friends from group 3 helped me get some info on how to learn my way around that new environment.  It is very confusing and I hate computer games anyway.  I am uncomfortable being a cartoon character, let alone one that just stands there or runs around in circles.

We were fortunate enough to have Brandy from Cadre 10, show us a useful tool (to her) called Jott.  I tried to get this voice to text free software to work, but didn’t succeed.  It seems very limiting in that you only have 30 seconds to record your thoughts.  The beauty of the program is that you can email it to yourself.  Todd gave us a demonstration on how to create a web site using Dreamweaver.  I think he knows what he is doing, but he went way to fast for me.  I fumbled around on my desktop playing with photos and text.  What really made me feel totally inadequate was when he sent us to two of his cadre’s web sites.  One was very detailed and looked like the person who designed it was a professional web designer!  I was discouraged to say the least.  I hope I can pick this up and create something decent.

Our final task after lunch was to build a robot out of logos.  And there were plenty of logos – a floor full.  I got into the assignment, but my heart was not in it.  All I could think about was how much this was costing my husband and I for me to play with logos.  After all, I have raised two children and have had my share of time on the floor with toys.  But then, as our project grew and ideas were flowing, I remembered some of the team-building exercises that I have been part of.  It calmed me down thinking that there may be a method to Bill’s madness.

Reflection July 17, 2008

Today’s reflection begins with last night’s bonfire.  It was encouraging that almost the entire cadre showed up for the informal event with marshmallows and chocolate in hand.  We began to socialize in a comfortable [outside the classroom] setting. Although I was tired and apprehensive about standing around a fire on a warm Southern California night, it turned out to be a pleasant experience and I am glad I went.

This morning, Gina Meister, manager of the writing support center at Pepperdine, opened the class today with an offer to help with our Action Research Project paper.  She told us that she will set up an online workshop at freeconference.com where we can access her expertise with our questions and our work.

Margaret Riel followed with a presentation on how to do a literature review complete with how to research online. We were given an on-the-spot assignment, probably to ensure that we could use sites such as ERIC and Wilson.  The task was to find a peer- reviewed article [or book] on distributed learning and then post the reference and link at Mindmaps - Cadre 11 - distributed learning page.

Gary Stager was today’s guest speaker.  He was one of the founders of the MA Educational Technology program at Pepperdine.  He was extremely entertaining and knowledgeable. He touched on the subject of Community vs. Community of Practice emphasizing the importance of the “overlooked” features of a community of practice including elders, experts and newbies. I sensed his passion about the topic and am enthusiastic about his upcoming class on Learning and Technology.

We once again focused on Legos and programming the fragile robotic Olympiads to perform at the push of a button.  We have not yet resolved the light sensor issue and at this point, I don’t have high hopes for its success.

Reflection July 18, 2008

Today was enlightening for many as revealed in our Community Circle tonight.  Some people who were very apprehensive about the program finally “got it” as Brandy likes to say.  We got a lot accomplished in a relatively short amount of time.  Bill showed an amazing video called “Did You Know…” which was made for faculty at a Colorado high school. What was even more amazing is that one of these original teachers is in our class! Anne told us the background behind the making of the video that has now been shown to millions of people all over the world.