Thursday, January 28, 2010

New blog title - motions, emotions, & commotions

I've retitled my blog. It's now titled "motions, emotions, & commotions." I selected this title from a textbook I used more than a decade ago in the course Intro to Educational Psychology. The course was taught by Ron Gentile who was a fabulous and memorable teacher. I hope I can inspire as many fond memories in my students, as I'm sure Ron has done in the minds of his students.

I recently reminisced about the first class I had with Ron Gentile. He sang and danced to inform us about the idea of "rapanoia." Rapanoia is opposite of paranoia. Paranoia is an irrational fear of imaginary or unreal threats. Rapanoia, a term coined by Ron Gentile, is the fear of real threats that should be feared. It took me a while to recollect what the point was that Ron so deeply ingrained into my brain with his singing and dancing, but it is deep within my memory banks and it will stay with me for the rest of my life.

My title selection, "motions, emotions, & commotions," is used in Ron's book that describes the emotions associated with acts of learning. Through writing this blog I am experiencing many emotions. They range from anxiety about who will read my text, elation that someone may possibly  read my text, and dread that I'm writing this public yet privately reflective text.

Ron also uses this phrase about commotion in the section of his book that discusses classroom management issues. This is an area that I'm currently involved in developing a professional development conference to assist UB faculty to learn to effectively engage their students in order to minimize classroom disruptions. This is also an area where I have my greatest fears about my own teaching abilities. You might say this is where my paranoia derives, and this is where my rapanoia derives. I have real fears that I'm unable to effectively engage students.

Through this class about the use of computer applications in the School Library Media Center (SLMC) I hope to gain greater confidence about my role as an instructor in the classroom. With this new knowledge I'll be better able to assist other faculty to overcome their rapanoia.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A historic look at my career and future predictions

This LIS568 course is my final course before receiving my MLS degree. This will be my second masters degree with my first masters being an inter-disciplinary degree in education and communication design. For the past decade I have been an instructional designer for the University at Buffalo. The first half of my employment I worked with the technology division of the professional schools (Law, Social Work, Education, and Library & Information Studies. About 5 years ago I moved to the division that supports the entire university. A little more than two years ago my center transformed from a center with the main mission of assisting faculty to effectively utilize instructional technologies to a combined mission that also includes assisting faculty to gain expertise in general teaching effectiveness.

My expertise certainly encompasses the varied uses of instructional technologies for teaching. Using instructional technology has always involved knowledge about effective pedagogy. However, I feel out of my realm providing advice to faculty about how to improve their teaching. This is one of the reasons I have chosen to be a continual lifelong learner. I would like to improve my knowledge about how to guide faculty to improved teaching practices. The only way to do that is to continue to research what is being said in the field and by reading more about educational theories.

I also need to stay abreast about new instructional technologies. The rapid developments are very difficult to keep up with. This blog is a good example. I often recommend to faculty to use blogs in their classes to get students to communicate about what they are learning. But as I mentioned in my initial post, this is the first time I am writing in a reflective fashion for a public audience.

I've also never used Diigo. I used Delicious for a while but soon afterwards I reverted to using traditional bookmarks again. Reverting back to using bookmarks resulted from inadequacies I found in Delicious and by the discovery of the Xmarks tool. Xmarks is not a social bookmarking tool, but instead a tool to synchronize my bookmarks among a number of computers in a more organized manor. In this class we are asked to create a shared library in Diigo. I hope to again discover a new technology tool that improves upon my current methods. This is just one more example of needing to practice and implement what I preach. There are just so many tools out there, having the time to experiment with them all is unrealistic.

So, how does my upcoming MLS degree help my future career? I do not expect to leave UB at least before I can officially retire. Although I have only worked at UB for a little more than 10 years, I have secured a permanent position and a slew of built up vacation and sick time. It would be very difficult to locate an alternative position that would allow me to do as well as I am. I enjoy my job. This last sentence is the heart of it.

I can see myself moving to alternative positions in the UB Libraries with similar instructional responsibilities. I can also picture my days after retirement taking advantage of my MLS degree and becoming a part of a local library or school district. I'm finding it odd to talk out loud (or type out loud as I often like to say) about my retirement. Although I am still quite young, I now need to consider the next phase of my life.

Having requirements to use new tools and read current literature about effective teaching practices is very good for my career.

Blog intro

This is my first official blog posting that contains my reflections. I have posted to other blogs, but its mainly been as a comment to another person's post or to treat a blog more as a discussion forum. I am uncomfortable in this new realm. I fully understand the value of reflective thought, however, I find it difficult to do so in print and in the public eye. This will be a new experience for me.

To clarify why I have difficulties in this area I will describe further. I hope that the main audience for this blog is the instructor for my LIS568 course for which this blog is a requirement. I will try to open up and describe my inner thoughts. I may very well delete this blog after the course is over (of course keeping an archive). But I am very aware that whatever is said on the Internet is very possibly being said to the world.

I recently found out how to create Google Alerts. I have since created "alerts" for my name and a separate alert for my street name and town. I now receive emails whenever a new or old page is discovered and indexed by Google. I have been reminded of some "blasts from the past" - comments I made to listservs years ago. I've been kept up-to-date about news items relating to my neighborhood sooner than I would have found out through the local TV news or the newspaper. I've learned that a colleague borrowed some text from a recent PPT presentation I created. I was also recently honored that an important researcher had made a mention of me on his blog. And I learned that whatever is posted to the Internet is not private.

I'm also always self-confident about my writing and speaking my mind, although people who know me would never think this is the case. With that being said I will try to share my inner reflections about this course and how this course relates to my current and future career through this blog.

Here goes it!