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From My Heart

Over the course of this class, I have been challenged to use my creative and technical skills to design and create a wiki that will serve as the basis for what I might use in an actual classroom environment. I had the most fun designing the unit of instruction. It was one of the earliest assignments in the class, and I thought it would be the most dreadful process, but I ended up really enjoying it. I began to see the process as a way of solving a problem. According to the state, students need to learn A, B, and C. They need to meet certain standards in those subjects. My job is to devise an approach that helps students meet those standards, learn the subjects, and (if at all possible) isn't painful, boring, or otherwise deficient. So, I learned that my problem-solver attitude will fit nicely with the work involved in creating units of instruction.

The most challenging parts of this course were the ones where I needed to talk about myself. I prefer to keep the focus off of myself and learn about others. This section of the wiki, for example, is pretty difficult for me because I generally do not express my thoughts or feelings. The Why You Should Hire Me and About Me sections were among the hardest for me to complete, especially the short video. I prefer listening to talking. I think this quality will suit my teaching career because it will let me guide classroom discussions rather than lecture incessantly.

I was pleased to create a set of classroom rules and policies. It is the first time I have ever written down how I think a classroom should be run - the same for my educational philosophy. I didn't really have one until I wrote it for this wiki. Doing this helped me break down what I believe into small communicable bits that ended up making perfect sense to me when I looked at them all together. I hope that my philosophy and policies are reasonable in a real classroom setting. I fear I may have to become strict and curmudgeonly when I actually have to teach a class that prefers to misbehave.

Having somewhat rejected my technical background for a more old-fashioned attitude, I was a little resistant to the idea of using a lot of the Web 2.0 tools in a classroom environment. I wasn't intimidated by any of the tools at all, but I found myself questioning their usefulness for students. I found myself playing with them more and discovering their "wow" factors and then I realized that students of all ages enjoy the cool things that can be found and used on the Web. While I still maintain my old-fashioned attitude that real tools and experiences win over virtual ones any day, I am now aware of what tools and experiences are out there that I might not have discovered otherwise. With a little creativity, I can easily put the Web to work for me and my classroom.

I truly can't think of anything I would have done different with this site. I suppose it could have used more decoration. If I had felt like I had more time to dedicate to it, I might have put my script-writing skills to work and built a fully dynamic and animated wiki. I used to enjoy coding websites back before code generators and wikis were available. I could see myself getting back into it when I have a classroom and more material.

Thanks, Dr. Stocker, for the great assignments and for showing me the different utilities that I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. I plan on using this wiki or something similar with my own classroom, when I get one.