Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meet me at the wine bar.

Despite my earlier promises to myself, I've not kept up with this blog at all. I have, however, decided to return to my Battblush blog, so if you're following me here, then hop on over there.

Oh, and I got another HD this semester, for Understanding Teachers Work.

Let's not talk about science. I passed with something more than a P. I did not get an HD.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Staring down the barrel of Semester Two and looking back on Semester One

High Distinctions!

I got HDs for both units and yes, I deserved them. I worked hard, I gave it my all and I got the marks to justify my efforts. And yes, I'm proud of the letter I got from the Dean congratulating me on my efforts.

I've raised an extremely high bar for Semester Two and I'm terrified.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Exam muddle

So, I'm sitting in the uni library studying and feeling my way into the exam. Again.

On the whole I've really enjoyed this unit. I've found it engaging, particularly with the hands on stuff.


And but...

Now it's exam time and everything's about to get theoretical. It's one thing to design a web page and to write a blog (my strongest point) but it's quite another to go into an exam and write about the theory of authentic learning when applied to solar panels etc.

And I'm not the only one panicking. I've just come from the discussion boards and a lot of people are talking about the work that has gone into EDN113 and the overwhelmed feeling they're having going into exams. I have to be honest and say that I'd love to say "Waaah! Waaah! Somebody call a wambulance!" except, well, I feel rather overwhelmed myself. This is my second year of doing semester one of this course and I have to say that this unit is the most time-expensive one yet. I expect to put in at least 10 hours a week on each unit. I put in that and more which is why I get the good marks. Only, this unit expects way more than that if you want to just get a credit. I put in about 20-25 hours a week on 2A and got a credit. Now, realistically my time should have been shared with two other people and it really wasn't. I'm not going to whinge. I'm not, but...well... you know. Somebody had to do it.

But, anyway, exams are nearly here. There are hours of theory to research and prepare and I just don't feel anywhere near ready. I know I'm one of their good students and if I'm feeling like I'm drowning in information I can only imagine how others are feeling. I'm trying to re-listen to the lectures and am getting some stuff for my notes, but in general it's hard going. In the end what I'm trying to do is find the generic links between all the questions then try to extrapolate the rest. It's not fool-proof but it's the best I can come up with. I think researching information for 8 questions is a fool's errand so I have to find the best way to deal with it and that's it. It may work. It may not. My exam mark may pull my overall mark down further, but in the end I have to do what is right.

And at the end of the day I still feel that I've got some good stuff for the future in my teaching tool-box just from this unit alone, so it's a win either way.

Later edit: I've just read through this post and, my, there's a lot of 'ends' aren't there? :)Well, I guess I'll be glad when, at the 'end' of the day, I'm at the 'end' of this unit because I'm already at the 'end' of my tether :))

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nearly there

It's just a little tiny bit over a week until exams and now my focus has turned to the questions. I have quite a few to study for and I'm a bit nervous because there's a lot to catch up on.

This is my plan:

Monday (today) listen to one lecture, answer one EDN 113 question.

Tuesday listen to one lecture, answer one question from both units.

Wednesday and onwards repeat above.

That's the plan. I hope I can stick to it.

Edited later: I've now listened to the Week Two lecture and have been able to take notes during it for both Qs 1 and 7, plus I've added to the discussion board about my experience with Twitter as a Teaching Resource.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Assignment 2B is submitted.

It hasn't been an easy semester. I missed this week's lecture and tutorial thanks to Aiden having to be rushed to hospital for an emergency appendisectomy and now Connor is vomiting. I've had a lot on my plate that I've had to deal with, but finally, it's all done. I only have to deliver my reading log for FDN102 and then it's all about exams. I'll start on that on Monday. After the awful time I've had with child-health, I'm taking the weekend off to relax, read and vege out.

I have loved this unit, though, and I'll probably keep this blog going as I continue my journey through my degree. I've leant a lot over the past 14 weeks, both from a unit POV and about myself.

In short, I rock!

And, what's more, I have a full command of correct apostrophe use.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I like to celebrate my little victories by focussing on other people's creations...

My song-of-the-week, Valley Girl by Moon Unit Zappa.

Barf me out gag me with a spoon. Love it!


It has taken all day, but it is finished. My resource is up.

Am I happy with it? Well, yes, I am, thank you.

However, I am very unhappy with the hosting site itself. No matter how many times I've deleted the spaces between the paragraphs, they just won't stay deleted. I've gone back time and again, but next time I look at the site, there they are, great swathes of space between paragraphs. It's darn annoying.

But but but. I'm still happy with the assignment itself. My Twitter resource rocks the grannie's panties. I'm proud of it because it was totally my own idea and I hope to use it one day in a proper teaching situation. I'm happy enough with the Interactive Whiteboard resource that I put into a lesson plan, but that was someone else's idea. Twitter was mine. I went into Assignment 2A being told that an idea had been chosen, I just had to make it happen. 2B is my idea and I'm happy.

I'd squee, but that's a little beneath me.

Oh heck

I've just had a look at the 2B example and I've done it so wrong! So extremely wrong. Thank goodness I checked before putting it up.

Correcting my resource is what I'll be doing over the next two days.


My weekend was supposed to feature me looking up the questions for the upcoming exams and researching half of them. I was also supposed to edit and upload my 2B assignment. Instead I played a lot of Plants vs Zombies and spent time with my kids.

I did, however, get up early this morning and edited the assignment. Now I just have to upload it to the site which I should be able to do within the next few minutes.

EDN113 lecture today. I have been very, very bad about my lectures and it's the one area in which I need to play catch up. That is what I'll be doing today and tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Writers of the Future

I have, once again, entered The Writers of the Future Contest. My beloved Lee was the first Western Australian to win. I was determined to be the second. Sonia Helbig beat me to it, but I'm going to get there one day.

Other than being the best writing competition in the world, I found an added bonus today - a lesson plan! Oh happy day, a way to use WotF in the classroom!


I've been having problems with blogger the past few days, but here I am, again. Yay.

Not long to go now until the end of the semester. I've pretty much finished Assignment 2B and just have to proof-read it and put it up.

One more week and the whole lecture/tute thing will be over. Then it will be study study study for the exams.

No, I can't wait. I've enjoyed these units and I've done well, but I will be glad to take a break from it all once exams are over. I've got some writing I want to do and I just want to push everything else aside to do it. I did find the group presentation stressful and I just want to be alone in my own head for a couple of weeks.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Love it

I can't find the proper way to attribute this, which is a shame because it's brilliant, so I'll put it here, rather than on my website. This slide show (which is all about using Twitter for teaching) is held under creative commons and there are various page authors given. They deserve a round of applause for their great work. Just in case it needs saying, I am not responsible for any of this. The page authors are listed by their Tweet names on their relevant page.

Go to: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_118cfb8msf8

Moving on

I made a decision this afternoon. I could either lose sleep worrying about everything that went wrong with 2A, or I could just move on and concentrate on making up for it with 2B. So moving on it is.

I'm researching using Twitter in education and I'm surprised by the apparent lack amongst my friends. I put this tweet out a few days ago:


I can use Twitter in education by...
and received replies from my teacher friends that basically said "remind students to do their homework."
Ahem. I intend to be a teacher, not a nanny.
I had to explain that I actually wanted to use it as a hands on tool for students but was met with radio silence by the teachers and horror from my parent friends. They hated the idea of their children using Twitter at school. Anyway, I found some good ideas out there, but generally it centred around writing. In my research I also came across this:
which states that students are going to be taught Twitter and Blogging as part of the curriculum.
I admit, when I started this assignment I really didn't want to consider Twitter. I'm not a fan of it (I prefer Facebook) but after reading around and thinking about different approaches, I can see how it could really help children make important education connections.
The biggest theme I'm coming across with technology and education is the presumption that tech is for the teachers and they only use it to record what the students are doing.
This could be a very exciting time to be an education student.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


We had our Assignment 2A presentation today. On the whole I think it went well, losing points mainly on the fact that all three of us read directly from the text. It was hard not to. There was a lot to cover and in such a short time frame that it was hard to ad-lib. Also, I was severely tired from looking after Connor and from my own migraine I couldn't think straight, so reading it was.

Our presentation was quite different to the other groups, mainly because I interpreted the question differently. The other groups focussed on what their resource looked like, while we focussed on how we made our resource. Maybe I was wrong, but that was what I thought we were meant to do.

Anyway, there's nothing that can be done about it now. Done is done. I had other gripes about it, but now I can let it go and concentrate on 2B.

I left the tutorial early today and missed all of FDN102. I hated doing that, but I just had to get home.

Not much of this semester left, which is sad. Out of all the units, EDN113 has proven to be my favourite mainly because I surprised myself with what I could achieve. I always think of myself as being of average intelligence, but I've proven that by applying myself to the full extent of my abilities I can do amazing things.

Turns out, all my teachers were right :)

Today's the day

We're giving our presentation of Assignment 2A today. Connor has an extremely bad cough. I don't want to go to uni, but we have to give it. What to do, what to do. All I can do, I guess, is ask to go first and then leave once its over. This time last year he was in hospital with bronchitis. I really don't want to go through that again.

Anyway, the teaching resource can be found at Team Awesome's Assignment 2A. Feel free to have a mosey around and let me know what you think.

In other news, I received an email from Murdoch University the other day congratulating me on my High Grade Points and inviting me to come to a Masterclass information night on May 16. If I maintain my grades across 24 credit points of study, I'll be able to join the Masterclass programme which, according to the email:

"This program is unique to Murdoch and gives you the opportunity to graduate with your undergraduate degree, as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Business Administration at the same time."

After this semester I'll be 12 down with 12 to go. It's achievable.

I don't know if it's advertising or a real 'well done' but this pleases me no end. I work hard and it's nice to see my efforts paying off.

I'm very interested because it broadens my skill base somewhat should I decide not to teach at the end.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Back towards the light

I'm working on Assignment 2B and judge myself to be about half way through. I'm yet to decide on a second teaching resource, but that's okay. I'm responsible only for myself and to myself and I know I will get there in good time.

I've really been giving a lot of thought to my decision to teach over the past week or so. I admit, I got a little impatient this week, waiting for the assignment to come together. It's still not finished, I'm still waiting, but I've decided that I've done everything I can and there's nothing I can do to force the issue right now. Still, I've not let my impatience show to those concerned. To them I've been the model of patience, but inside...not so much. Ask my beloved husband.

My teacher friends tell me that teaching has up days and down days. They tell me that teaching in the classroom is not the same as working on a group assignment. They also tell me that the majority of teachers who give it up do so in the first three years. Four years learning. Three years teaching. I've therefore made a promise to myself to spend as long teaching as I do learning to teach. That's a minimum of four years. That seems like a good promise to myself.

The thing is, I love learning. I love taking in new information and forming new attitudes with the knowledge I have. I love sharing information. But I love it more if people interact within the process. I love learning so I don't understand it when others don't share that love with me.

Which is why we have to be taught to be teachers, I guess.

And now, here's a song about teaching (or, how not to be a teacher) from when I was at school:

Friday, April 29, 2011

The downside of frustration

Do I really really want to be a teacher? Do I have the patience?

Not so sure anymore.

Almost done

I've spent close to six hours at uni this week putting the finishing touches on the 2A website. All I'm waiting on is one more lesson plan to arrive and I'm done. The best part is, I uploaded the ppt as both a ppt and a pdf and they both work brilliantly! We did away with a timer function, so it has to be clicked over, but other than that it does exactly what we wanted it to.

I will be so glad when it's over and I can concentrate on 2B.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Frustration, thy name be Yola.

Okay, I may have had to pay good Aussie dollars for my website, but at least it works whenever I need it. At this point I'll be putting all our work from Google Docs and onto my website because it's the only way I can work on it.

Hating Yola with much hatiness. Hate.

My favourite part of this week

A good selection of Australia's horror writers having a fantastic dinner at the Balti Restaurant in East Perth, Saturday night. A night off from assignments, children, uni and all things Not Writing.

From left: me, my beloved Lee, Kate Eltham, Rob Hoge, Alan Baxter, Peter M Ball, (unknown blurry person from other table), Jason Nahrung, Kirsten McDermott, Paul Haynes (who had a book launch that made many of us cry), Matt Chrulew, Ben Payne and Rob Hood. Photograph by Daniel Russell who managed to freak out the hardcore horror writers with his oh-so-sordid jokes.

Since I want to at least try to make this about EDN113, many of us own and use our iPads and/or laptops as a normal part of our day. A lot of what we talked about was the publishing of ebooks so we believe in authentic learning. There. I did it. :)


It's holiday time and the family have been out going to movies, the pool, Swancon, watching DVDs, playing video games and doing all the fun things families do on the holidays.

Yes, I've done some of that, too. I went to Swancon because Lee and I were both up for awards (and therefore got together with the best of Australia's Horror Writers for a night of catching up over drinks, dinner, more drinks...) and I saw two movies ("Thor" and "Paul") but other than that, my life has pretty much revolved around my two assignments. I'd say that in all I've probably spent about 25 hours on my EDN113 assignment, doing research, building sites, building the Powerpoint etc. I'm very, very, very happy with the work I've put in. I have worked extremely hard on this, putting in time that I could have spent seeing "Hop" with the kids or playing "Halo" with Aiden and Georgie or having lunch out with Lee during his extended public service break.

And now, when I'm attempting to add various parts of the assignment to the website, I'm finding that Yola is down. Still. It was down yesterday as well. Yes, my paid-for website isn't as newbie-friendly as others, but at least it was always there when I needed it. No issues, at all.

I hate it when things are out of my hands.

Grrr. Okay, I have PMS today and it's possible that this is bothering me more than it needs to. Maybe. Grrrr.

I'm off to meet up with my assignment-buddies at 9.30 to see what they've got to add to our assignment. I'm doing this while Lee takes the kids to the movies and shopping. And I have PMS. All I can say is, I hope they bring chocolate. Those poor, poor people :)

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A new skill put to use!

I have Endnote! And it works! Colour me freaking proud, dude!

And here's a snippy (or two) to prove it. I tells ya, I'm rocking the granny's panties in this unit. And, I'm loving it. Oh, and look. I've even learnt how to upload a snippy (aka screen capture) to my blog.

I've also chatted with my assignment buddies and we've changed the structure slightly. Podcasts are out. Skype is in. I love being in mum-mode :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

After bombing the termite investation in my garage, I then turned my attention fully to 2B. And, tada, I have created my real, first, proper teaching plan. Little happy dance for me.

I did this first by sending out a Facebook message to my teacher friends asking for advice on how to write a teaching plan. My good friend Tehani directed me to this site: http://www.lessonplanspage.com/WriteLessonPlan.htm

I highly recommend this site as it highlights simple steps to follow when drawing up a plan. I then decided to focus on Grade One Maths (I have a son in grade one so it seemed relevant.) I went to the Learning Federation page, clicked on Early Years, then chose the number train.

After testing it out myself I beta-tested it on Connor. First we sat through the tutorial together then I re-explained what he had to do. After one false start he got into it. He worked through three trains before I sent him back to work on Lego.

Yes, it's a winner. Love it.

Assignment stuff

I'm doing research for Assignment 2B and came across a site called ictgames.com. This is my favourite game which seems to be aimed at the year 1 level. I've chosen to work on a Maths component within 2B because, well, at school, I sucked at it. Or, at least I think I did. I think the truth is, I just never found it as interesting as English and so I didn't apply myself. Maybe if it had been presented in a somewhat more fun way I would have enjoyed it more.  I would absolutely use this in my assignment, but I'm not entirely sure that it is a SmartBoard game. I found in by Googling Smartboard free resources, but there's nothing on the site (as far as I can tell) that says it is a SmartBoard resource.

It has been a devastating day for Lee and I. We found two huge termite nests in our bookcases and have to throw dozens of books away. Neither of us can face it just yet, so I'm working on my assignment and Lee has taken the kids to Bunnings to play. I've thrown several of Lee's books away in his absence, just so he doesn't have to do it when he gets home.

At least I have my assignments to keep my mind off things.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Assignment 1B result and other stuff

This year, on February 2, I packed up the lunches for my various children and drove them to Primary School, High School and TAFE. I did so with a heavy heart, knowing that I was, once again, failing life. I had completed just one semester last year before succumbing to bronchitis and depression. I had failed to get jobs that I should have walked into and in general I felt awful. It was going to cost $100 for me to reapply for uni after my deferral, $100 we just didn't have. I felt so defeated by life at this point.

On February 3 I repeated the process, but this time I came home and reapplied for uni anyway and then picked my lecture and tute times. I took a deep breath and committed myself to passing the units.

Two months on I've completed a couple of assignments and the results are in. 17/20 (aka 85% aka HD) for EDN113 and 8.3/10 (aka 83% aka HD) for FDN102.

I am so proud of myself. I have to deal with so much in my personal life (depression, bronchitis, anaemia)but with the support of my loving family, my tutors and with my own determination I'm achieving results. I came home with a renewed feeling of commitment and have forged ahead with the next lot of assignments.

Onwards and upwards, my friends. Onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

More on the authentic learning question

I found this today when testing out Google Scholar. The reference appears at my reference page.
"On the other hand, a syllabus that is based, or that draws heavily on authentic children's stories, provides a motivating medium for language learning while fostering the development of the thinking skills that are needed for L2 academic literacy. Literature can also act as a powerful change agent by developing pupils' intercultural awareness while at the same time nurturing empathy, a tolerance for diversity, and emotional intelligence. This is an important consideration at a time when our world is becoming smaller, yet increasingly hostile."

This is one of the strongest cases I can think of for authentic learning. I read to my children from the time they were born. I also read to my baby grandson. Whether it's through reading or watching TV or just listening in on conversation, children pick up language and culture by what they see and hear. Children start to vocalise before they learn to crawl or walk. My grandson is only four months old but he has been moving his mouth into shapes and making noises when we talk to him since about 4 weeks. He has only just learnt to roll over. Language is one area where authentic learning takes place naturally. By the time children attend school (at around age 4), they're already well armed with the process of language. The only technology we use initially is what we were born with - our vocal organs, our eyes and our ears (or, if you're Helen Keller, the palm of your hand and your fingers).

I believe technology isn't just about gadgets and widgets. It's about what you do with the things you have. We, as humans, have been using technology since the dawn of (our) time. We banged rocks together to break open a nut - technology. We attached a rock to a stick and threw it at an animal - technology. We move the mouse to get the screen to light up - technology.

Technology has always been there as part of our education, whether it be a drawing in the sand, a slate in the classroom or the new uber-cool whiteboards. When cave men sat around a fire showing their sons how to knapp flint they were educating with technology. I just get to use computers to teach in my classroom, but the effect will be the same, I'll be working with technology.

How authentic is authentic?

It's Dome Day Tuesday, the one day of the week where I forget uni, the housework, the kids, Lee (except on the rare, lovely occasion when he joins me), head down to Dome and do nothing but drink coffee and write.


Well, except, this morning I'm drinking tea (English Breakfast) and thinking about uni. Or, more precisely, authentic learning. I'm hung up on it. I know I believe in authentic learning. I know I do. And yet, for some reason, every time I read or hear someone talk about it, I find myself thinking of opposite arguments.

I partly know why. Lee and I have discussions about all sorts of things from writing to religion to the kids to world events to the presence of aliens. Over the years, to keep the conversations going, we've both fallen into the habit of taking an opposite stance to the one raised. This week I'll raise an argument for the implementation of religion in the school system, so Lee will automatically pick up the debate against. Next week, out of nowhere, he'll think of an argument for my side, raise it and so I'll look at the other side. It's part of our communication process and it makes for more interesting conversation than "Which toilet paper should we buy?"

For some reason I have taken this stance into my uni learning. The lecture shows why authentic learning is best and I immediately come up with reasons why rote learning is better or where what seems authentic for me is not authentic for you. Or you.

Take, for instance, an incident that happened last year. We had an assignment for our maths unit where we had to show how we would work with decimals, percentages and fractions in real life.

Straight up I came up with a decimal example - money (we had to work with .40). I made my case, showed an example and moved on to fractions, specifically 5/13 as shown. I more or less stated in my essay that this was not authentic as I had gone throughout my house, my work and my life and could not find one authentic incident in which I would use 5/13. It was a ridiculous notion that was not supportable in real life. I then moved on to percentages.

The following week, when handing back our essays, Barry talked about our use of real life cases. He said that while pretty much everyone had used money to depict the decimal example, only one student had used it authentically. Me. As a bank teller it was a requirement for me to enter money onto my computer according to its decimal value. We don't do this in every day life; ie a shop assistant doesn't ask for .40 of a dollar. They'll ask for 40 cents. Only me, with my bank telling, was able to enter money as .40. I also got marks for making a case against fractions in (my) real life. I have a large family (anywhere up to 9 people in the house at any one time) but I would never use a fraction like 5/13.

So, what does authentic mean? In my upcoming assignment we'll be constructing a teaching plan using various forms of technology. My group and I are using mobile phones to take photos (authentic, seeing as how my mobile takes better photos than my whizz-bank camera), emails for correspondence (authentic) and the iPod/Pad for podcasting. I don't see this as authentic. My husband is a pod-cast published author and he doesn't use the iPod/Pad for this. Maybe I'm missing a step in the process. It's probable I'm about to learn something new (as I did with my previous assignment). However, there is the possibility that podcasting could be this week's Ping, full of possibilities at first glance, but lacking any practical use whatsoever. Did I mention I hate Ping? I hate Ping.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Where I'm at (sort of)

I've just walked out of my lecture and my head is buzzing from all the things we need to do in the upcoming assignments 2A and B. I went to last week's tutorial and got to meet up with one of the people I'm working with. The task had already been chosen - we're working on English and using "Corresponding with a sport's star" as our platform. The technology we're looking at using is: mobile phones for photos, and maybe recording an interview with the star; computers for emailing the star in question and iPod/Pad for podcasts. I'm taking on the email component for the correspondence because it is my strength.

Our lecture today was really interesting. Some of it was regarding our blogs and the sort of stuff we need to be including in it. Fortunately, I've been doing pretty much all of it as a matter of course, so I feel I'm pretty much on track. I could probably do with participating in the online forums a little more, but with there being so many streams I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed as to where to start. I've commented on a couple of them but it wouldn't hurt to make my presence a little more felt. The thing is, I'm such a talker in class, I sometimes worry that people get sick of my voice. I don't want them to get sick of Cyber-me as well.

Anyway, that's it for now. I have readings to read and log for my other unit plus research to do for both. Busy busy busy. I had massive chest pain over the weekend and I want to take it easy while being busy, so at least I have an excuse to study rather than do housework.

Actually, that reminds me. I Facebooked my chest pain on Saturday and had about 30 comments from people I don't even know personally telling me to go to hospital. That's the weird thing about social networks. We all feel connected, even though we're not really. Everyone had a story to tell about chest pain and heart attacks (don't need to tell me, my Dad died at 45 from a massive heart attack) but in the end I went with what my body was telling me. I'm over doing it and I need to rest more.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This widget works

Recipe for assignment

Or, why Jenni Parker wins my Favourite Tutor of the Week award!

It's been a great day for uni. My little boy was sick, my beloved husband was home and I had a headache that was probably more about stress than anything else. I so didn't want to go to uni. However, I had an assignment to prepare for and I wanted to meet up with my study-buddies to find out where we're at. So, I packed up, bought a coffee and a Red Bull and allowed Lee to drive me away from him and our baby.
I'm so glad I went. Not only was FDN102 fun and interesting, but a talk with my Jenni, my EDN 113 tutor, led me in the right direction regards my powerpoint.

Let me say, right here, right now, AuthorSTREAM rocks the granny's panties. It's like Flickr in that you can upload ppts for others to see plus embed them ala right here. It's not perfect. The chimes are just slightly out of sync and I've still lost the page-turning effects but it's a lot closer than what I had on my website. No more making with the clicky as the pages turn by themselves. I've tinkered with it a little, too, because I'm like that. I'm a fiddler, I know...

However, everytime I put it on here, I find that I can view it on "View Post" but not on "View Blog" (it just comes up with a blank white screen). So, here's the link you can use to find it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Cutting edge 21st century accessory ware for the tech-savvy Amish" - Lee Battersby

Lee also calls it Quaintpunk and it's what I do when I'm not writing, studying or looking after the hordes.

It's an iPad cover and I made it while watching the online lectures (so it counts as unit-bloggable!)

 And when it was still a baby and going to lectures with me:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Study study study

Oh my goodness! Smartboards ROCK! I can't wait to be a teacher!


One of the reasons I like this unit

Thanks to a sick child I had to miss today's lecture - again. Thankfully, it was an online lecture week, which I didn't realise until a few minutes ago. I'm doing many of my lectures online at the moment because of child-illness, Aiden's compensation appointments etc. This way, at least, I have some catch-up time.

I was disappointed today to find that my recipe slideshow doesn't work on my iPad. For cutting edge technology, there seem to be some glaring holes. There's a lot I can't do on my iPad, such as watching Biggest Loser, listening to lectures (but that might me my shortfall, not Apple's) and watching my slideshow. Writing isn't perfect on it either, but Angry Birds - Rio is a charm.


I'm also disappointed not to have heard from my tute buddies. We've got a join assignment coming up and I've emailed them with an idea, but have heard nothing back. I'm a person who likes to take ages to prepare then do the real work in the last couple of days. It works for me, but now I have to rely upon others, which is where my nervousness sets in. I want to get cracking on this, but so far I've heard nothing.


Fortunately I am also extremely patient and can wait until Wednesday when I see them at the tute. The only thing is, I'm worried that we'll be concentrating on 2B by then.

Meanwhile, I'm studying up on authentic learning. The thing is, I totally agree with the concept of authentic teaching, but I do think there's a place for rote learning too. I can instantly say what 7 x 12 = because I learnt my times tables by rote. Any other system of learning seems laborious. Surely there's a place for both in the learning environment?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

While I listen to the week 5 lecture.

It's our non-contact week at uni. Lee and I are going away to Busselton for our anniversary this weekend, so I'm using these four days to catch up with uni before I go. So far I've put up a to-do list featuring the on-line lectures, readings and Real Life (tm). What I've actually achieved is much Plants vs Zombies, crochet projects and arguments with Darth Barbie (aka Adult Daughter from Hell).

This morning I decided to side step Darth Barbie (leaving her watching 'Friends') and listen to the Week 5 lecture while crocheting. I have come to the realisation lately that, unlike the on-site lecture situation, I can't sit still and listen to the computer. I need to be doing something creative with my hands. This morning I'm crocheting a blanket using a stitch that is both unusual and easy to execute and my mind is going wild with the assignment 2A possibilities.

I'm feeling a little trepidatious about 2A. We need to create a Teacher's Resource using Multi-Media. I have ideas, but I also have one problem. I have to work with others.

This isn't the problem per se. I'm a people person and as the mother of oh-so-many I'm used to working in with other people. However, as a mother of oh-so-many I'm also used to taking charge, to handing out roles, to delegating chores. I'm aware that this is both my virtue and my failing. I have a great relationship with my children (apart from Darth Barbie, but then she didn't grow up with me) and we work well as a team. I don't want my assignment-buddies to see my management skills as parental heavy-headedness. That leads to resentment and a sub-standard assignment. So, I'm going to have to put forward my ideas and then let the others have their say.

Repeat after me: Must not take over. Must not take over. Must not...

It's just that I want to get brain-storming. I've sent out emails introducing myself and asking for their thoughts before offering my own. So far, no reply. My fingers are itching to get going on this, to open Google Docs and write notes and draw up sheets of thought-balloons.

I think I'll go add to my blanket.

In other news, my lovely daughter Erin received a citizenship award last week for being a good example to other students. This is a photo taken the second after hearing her name called out. Surprised, pleased, beautiful. She was all of these.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Japan explains nuclear crisis to kids with a cartoon about poop and farts

My next assignment deals with using technology for education. I discovered this on the web yesterday and had to share it. I feel so helpless in the face of what's happening in Japan. I want to do something real, something worthwhile. When the floods happened I had an opportunity to use one of my stories to raise funds for the victims. This time the problem is too big and my little works are too small to make any significant impact. Here is someone at the heart of the issue who is doing his bit to help.

Video by Kazuhiko Hachiya and shown on youtube via http://www.youtube.com/user/samarabob

Friday, March 18, 2011

Today's the day

I'm about to upload my assignment for marking. I'm a bit nervous as it all seemed to be easy enough to begin with, but then got more difficult than it had any business being.

When I began this process of creation and blogging I did most of it without even thinking about it. Most of it was point and click. My husband bought the domain name and the webspace and I attached them as directed. I don't think I'll be advising others to use justhost or crazydomains. My unit has shown me that there are simpler ways of making a page than going down this route. I don't know how well other students have done with Weebly or Yola, but I wasn't impressed with what Google docs did to my PowerPoint so I can't imagine their page builder would be all that better.

I did enjoy the process of building my exercise play-list and my recipe ppt. It's a pity so much got lost in translation. I would love to be able to show the ppt I made, but for now it can be seen in its simple slide show form at the website page. The exercise playlist is on its own page. Both pages feature how I made them and why.

Next up is making teaching pages. I so don't feel ready for this. I'm not a teacher. How do I know what's needed for learning?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tech not my friend today

I know I'm an intelligent person, so why can't I put my power point on my website? Time to Facebook the problem I think.

Pingy ping ping.

I don't like it. It hasn't been at all helpful in my assignment apart from giving me something to cut and paste. I don't see the point of it.

After the ease of assignment 1A, I'm quite surprised at how difficult 1B is turning out to be. I decided to focus on making up an exercise playlist that encompasses 1hour of music to take me from warm up to weights to cardio to cool down to stretching and recentring plus a power point of how to make my favourite recipe .

Too easy, or so I thought.

After several hours of trial and error I have finally finished the playlist portion but I don't feel like it's complete. I explained why I chose the songs and the order they appear in, but I can't make Ping work so I feel like I've let myself down. I'm also trying to insert my Power Point presentation onto the site, but nothing I do looks right. Oh, well. I'll just keep going.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Woohoo! I just checked and I got full marks for the first part of my assignment. Now I have to tackle the second part, one which will see me using Power Point (yes, the recipe cometh) and the other using iTunes. Today I put out feelers for a volunteer position that could well take up a lot of my time and energy. This, along with the assignment, made me think about what it is I want from life.

I've always wanted to be a teacher and now I'm on that path. I've always wanted to be a more vital part of the Australian Spec Fic community and now I may well achieve that dream. Do I have to give up one to achieve the other.

Well, no. I don't think I do.

I live in the age of technology. Anything I do for the Spec Fic scene can be achieved via the internet, thanks to social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Live Journal, YouTube and Blogs. I also have access to email. 20 years ago I would have mainly kept in contact with authors and editors via phone, dead-tree mail (aka Australia Post) or face to face. Now I can do all this and more without doing anything more physical than connecting my modem. I really do let my fingers do the walking/talking.

When I set this blog and website up, I didn't really think much beyond this semester and the marks I need. But this unit has really emphasised two things to me 1) I use technology A LOT and 2) I'm quite good at it. I can set up a site and a blog without too much trouble and thought. I am intelligent enough to follow instructions and to improve on my knowledge as I go, simply by applying logic to what I've learnt and extrapolating the next step. For this next part of the assignment we have to blog about the creation process, how we created the website/blog and how we went about learning or refining the process. I'm going to have to retrace my steps and see how I did this. I know there was a lot of asking around, a lot of mistakes made and fixed, a lot of self-editing until things looked right.

Which is a lot like life really.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Trekkin' through my assignment.

This morning I was thinking about my exercise playlist for Assignment 1B and experimenting with songs and order. This one came up on my iPod playlist. My six and nine year olds lost their little minds.

Star Trekkin' by The Firm. 1987

Monday, March 7, 2011

Assignment done!

Kids in the Kitchen - Current Stand
Uploaded by on Aug 3, 2009

My EDN113 assignment has been submitted and now I await approval. This assignment comes in two parts with the first part 1A, setting up my website. 1B will be adding bells and whistles. What I'm being assessed on is: the set up, my blog, my contacts page, a picture and ummm something else. I know I covered all five so it should be okay.

1B will be an extension on this, using social networking. I'll be using iTunes to set up a play list of songs for a complete one hour workout, with reasons for the songs chosen. I've sort of done something similar with youtube on site, so I'm a little familiar with the process. I think.

For now, here is a song that makes me run (good strong beat, up and down rhythm for walk - run transition), makes me get up and work (my personal Eye of the Tiger), makes me cry (reminds me of a dark time in my life), makes Lee throw up (because he has no musical taste :)) If only I could have worked out how to put the song after my post.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Update on techy goodness

I love my iPad. Lee's commandeered the laptop but I can still update my blog. Today, after joining and scouring Flickr I managed to find new photos for my Power Point. Tomorrow I shall begin to rebuild it.

I got a fright while editing the first version. A pop-up, well, popped up, telling me that Norton had picked up 5 major threats from worms, viruses and Trojans. It then offered to fix the issues, to which I readily agreed. It said it had come from an image I'd downloaded which freaked me all the more. I immediately deleted all the images I'd previously taken from the net plus deleted the Power Point. Okay,a slight over reaction, possibly, but the last thing we need is more computer issues.

Sometimes, they really are more trouble than they're worth.

Welcome to the information age.

Georgie showed me how to do a Power Point Presentation on Tuesday. I was so excited. This is tech that's been around for a while, but I've never had cause to do one. So, I chose my subject and wrote it up. Then I surfed the net and found pictures to work in with my subject. Again, much excitement. I found fantastic pictures and made sure to reference them all properly.

Two hours later...Ta da. A complete PPP.

Then I went to uni yesterday and the subject of pictures and copyright came up. I discovered that I was breaking copyright all over the place, thanks to the downloads I'd made. So, now I have to contact all the sources and ask for permission to use the piccies, or else hunt through Creative Commons and find new ones. Lee and I can't afford for me to pay a lot, so I'm hoping I'll be able to find suitable replacements for those who ask for money.

Colour me disappointed, cos my Power Point rocked the granny's panties.

Thinking on the three weeks so far.

You know, I called this blog site Lyn the Luddite, because I perceive myself to be a bit of a techno-phobe, but one thing this unit has brought out is how untrue that is. I use tech lots! I use the internet for Facebook and for email, but I also use it for so much more.

I use it for banking.

I use it for shopping (catalogue surfing to see what's on special and buying stuff via eBay, the Nottingham Forest website, Book Depository etc)

I use it for reseach both as a writer and as a student. And as a mum. And for recipes. And for weight loss tips.

I use Google Calendar to keep track of my week so I know when I should be studying and when I should be going to the gym. Talking of which...)

I use it for music downloads (of course I pay. Don't even think to ask :))

I now use it to buy books for my iPad (although, generally, I download the freebies).

And, of course, I access the uni site for information, discussions etc.

I use the internet all the time.

I can also confidently use Microsoft Office, iTunes, Plants vs Zombies etc.

I am not the Luddite you are looking for.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A new skill is learned

Today I worked up my first ever Power Point Presentation.

Yaaaay! Thanks to some guidance by Georgie, I managed to put together my recipe for "Chilli-Mushroom Chicken." It took two hours (thanks mainly to looking for pictures to accompany the instructions) but it's done.

For now.

I'm off to the gym but this evening I'll be looking at how to upload the presentation to my website.

Now I feel as though I've made proper use of my study time.

Real life catching up

I seem to have hit the point where I'm losing motivation for this semester's workload. I only do one hour on a Monday at Rockingham (for EDN 113) and really, with the cost of fuel as high as it is, it's actually more cost effective to watch the on-line lecture.

So, yesterday I stayed home with a view to doing so.

Such a mistake. Yes, I could do that, but I'm an interactive person and I find I learn best when face to face with my teacher. I know I still have to listen to the other lecture and I'm wondering where I'm going to find the time. By going to the lecture, this time is already provided for me.

Today has been allocated as catch-up day. No housework, no TV. I'm going to work on my reading log and my web-page and download skype. I've done two of the library modules with two to go.

I'm not a technological person and I don't get excited about this stuff, but I do realise I need the marks to graduate and yes, this is important information for when I'm actually teaching, but right now I'm feeling a lack.

I think what I really need is a change of scenery. Time to pack the baby into the pram and my work into my bag and go study on the foreshore with a cup of coffee.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


A tough week at uni, due to the extreme heat, an embarrassing episode with one of my tutors and acute PMS.

If there's one thing I hate more than having a teenager tell me what to do, it's having a teenager who's also a complete stranger telling me what to do. I had one person at Wednesday's EDN113 tute telling me what I can and can't put in my blog and how I have to obey the rules because they do. They also told me I should have more respect for my children's privacy and not put pictures or information about them on the internet.

Nuh-uh. I don't put up with my three teenagers laying down the law to me, and I love them.

Firstly, I do respect my children's privacy. I ask each of my teens permission before I talk about them or put photos of them on line. Secondly, Shut up.

Did I mention PMS?

See, this is why you can't keep units and life separate. If you say you can, then you're only giving a portion of the information. Or else, your life is really boring.

I was very tempted to give up on uni this week. I got news that I have to start paying my ex child support. Fair enough. Blake is my child and I'm happy to pay for him. However, the amount quoted was way too much and I didn't see how I could pay it plus stay at uni. I'm not earning anything, so the person who ends up paying is Lee. Lee's already supporting our two children, plus Aiden, Georgie and Luc. To ask more from him is just too unfair.

So, the solution is to get a job. Which means no uni. Which means never being a teacher. So, in effect, I've done all this for nothing. The website, the blog, the drive to and from Rockingham, not necessary. A waste of time. And space. And time.

Rather than give serious consideration, I phoned CSA. The girl I spoke to listened to my fears and, after working with a technical operator for an hour, helped me with an alternative. It means paying a lot less money but an amount where I can still say I'm giving a fair share. I love CSA today.

See, real life does effect uni. How can I not write about that?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

My Eureka Moment

My beloved husband is currently watching football. Not Aussie Rules, European, you know, the one with the round ball, the snow on the ground, the blind refs...

It's all about context.

I'm using the time to study and somehow I've managed to drown out Lee's yelling at the inadequacies of the West Brom players, the kids' oohing and aahing over their son's attempts at rolling over and even Connor's third attempt at delaying his bedtime by coming out to complain about an old scar.

I'm fully into reading "Learning With Technology: A Constructivist Perspective" by (and here's my early attempt at referencing Murdoch-style as opposed to Edith Cowan style) Jonassen, Peck and Wilson (1999) and taking notes and getting with the groove of learning about a subject for which I have no real prior knowledge.

(Side note: I'm not stupid. I'm a 20th 21st Century woman. I may be in my (extremely) early 40s but I've worked in the banking industry, the health insurance industry, as an Admin Assistant and for the ATO (shhhh). I'm an author and an editor and the mother of teenagers. I may not be able to program the VCR (mainly because it took up room better dedicated to the DVD player and Foxtel) but I know from computers, oy vey. But teach about technology? Not likely.)

Yup, I'm reading and I'm taking notes and I'm hoping something of what I'm recording will stick. I don't know what my lecturer/tutor really wants from me at this stage, but maybe something from the introduction* will be important.

And here are the notes I've taken:

Page 2: Role of teachers and technologies in learning is indirect. Students learn from thinking and thinking is engaged by activity.

Learning is experiential; we experience through contact with objects, events, activities and processes. How we interpret those experiences depends on what we already know, drawing conclusions and reflecting upon these conclusions.

Page 3: This leads to constructivism - the belief that knowledge is constructed, not transmitted. We construct our own interpretations or models of experience.

A belief or teaching can be shared, but interpretation of these beliefs comes from the student's own experience and knowledge. This knowledge then becomes anchored by the context in which the activity occurs.

At this point two things distracted me. 1) West Brom (or Wolverhampton, whatever) did something shout-worthy and 2) I realised my glass of wine ran out. As I poured another (1/2) glass and let my beloved recover from his tirade I tried to think out what I'd learnt.

It came down to this. We know 2 + 2 = 4. How do we teach this concept to a child? As the mother of 5 children, I've dealt with this before. We break it down to real word values; ie If I have 2 apples and you give me 2 apples, how many apples do I now have? After counting the apples, most children will supply the correct answer**.

As soon as I wrote this down I had my own Eureka! moment. I had just applied my own interpretation based on a contextual experience. I had managed to develop my knowledge from two separate knowledge bases, one from my life and the other from the book.

Oh yeah. There was hand-clappage.

*I learnt early in my uni-career that a lot of what we need to learn can be found in the introduction.

** It took Connor (now six) one day to make the knowledge leap from 2 apples + 2 apples = 4 apples to 200 + 200 = 400, 2000 + 2000 = 4000 and 2 million + 2 million = 4 million. He was 5 at the time. Geenyoos, I tells 'ee. Geenyoos. Is it any wonder I let him get out of bed three times with made up complaints?

Oh my goodness, the followers.

I love Facebook. Both Lee and I put out a heads-up on our status about my blog and hey, presto! I have followers.

Thanks, guys. It's nice to know people are watching. Feel free to comment about your own Real Life (tm) and study experiences.

Study study study

It's Sunday, presumably a day of rest, but for those of us with a Real Life (tm) it's anything but. Today I have study to do for both units with my focus mainly being on "Computers as Mindtools for Schools" by David H. Jonassen and "Learning with Technology: A Constructivist Perspective" by David H. Jonassen (the big guy in the industry from what I can tell), Kyle L. Peck and Brent G. Wilson.

Now, at this early stage of the game, I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to be studying, so I'll probably take a skim, hit and miss approach by flicking through the volumes and making notes on any points that strike me as important. This has worked well for me in the past, so I figure, go with what you know.

I spent a large portion of last night watching the Star Trek movie (the latest one) and starting my reading log for FDN 102. Lee and I have decided to get rid of Foxtel next month (the cost of raising two families on one City of Rockingham income) so naturally all the good programmes are coming to my attention now. I watched an excellent documentary on BBC Knowledge the other day which really works well with my Foundation unit. It's an ongoing one that can be really beneficial. I'll also starting surfing the Technology channel* on Foxtel now to see what it has to offer in the coming weeks before our paid viewing goes bye-bye.

Now, back to study. Georgie's dying my hair in a few minutes while I pre-study for today's meeting. Once I get home I'll be tackling my unit reading and making the most of the books I have while I have them. Tomorrow is a short uni day for me. Lecture only with the corresponding tute on Wednesday. This is where a huge overlap occurs with the tute fitting nicely between the lecture and tute for Food for Thought.

Late edit: *There is no technology programme on Foxtel! Eep. There is a science channel, but that has little or nothing to do with technology (not even the "hitting two rocks together is technology" sort of technology.) We can get umpty-million channels on Food (useful for FDN 102 maybe) but nothing on on anything that I can use for EDN yada-yada. Shame, Foxtel, Shame.
(Derryn Hinch. Mostly in the 1990s. Various channels, depending on who was employing him at the time.)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

EDN113 - A review of the first week.

So, I'm supposed to be writing a blog that is only about Living and Learning with Technology. Not about other units. Not about life in general.

How is that even possible?

I'm the mother of five*, the grandmother of one**, a published author*** and a uni student#. I have a belief system that is a major part of my life and I'm an avid reader. I can't even begin to compartmentalise any these aspects from day to day, so how can I compartmentalise this one unit? There is a bleeding of my ordinary life into uni life (witness the massive impact of bronchitis upon my life last year) and vicky-versy.

Besides, as stated, I'm a writer and I can't possibly write a blog about any experience without recording the effect it has upon all other facets of my life.

Last Sunday I bought an iPad. I did this because, as a student and writer, I know that a computer is an important part of my life. So is reading (I love the idea of downloading books) and music (all hail the great god Apple and its minion iPod!) Okay, for the most part, I've used it to complete an entire cycle of Plants vs Zombies, but I've also used it to write pre-study notes for FDN102, to look up information regarding the persecution of religious groups in Nazi Germany and to keep up with my social networks. I've looked up rentals for my son, Aiden, his fiance, Georgie and their son, Luc and I've written and shared a shopping list with my beloved husband Lee.

It's not a perfect science yet. There's still a lot for me to learn when it comes to using my iPad, but on the whole I'm picking up the nuances of how I can use the iPad in my day-to-day life. I'm also sharing this knowledge with Lee and my Georgie.

This is how I imagine I'll apply the knowledge I pick up in EDN113. I love sharing. I love taking what I've learnt and helping others with that knowledge. Take Food for Thought (FDN102). My son Aiden is currently learning Conservation and Land Management at TAFE and we're already swapping the small amounts of knowledge picked up and applying it both ways. Together we've started digging out a vegetable garden with the view that it will help both of us with our various assignments. We're connecting in a way that most parents and teens don't.

Aiden is a teen-Dad. This is a choice he made, not one that was thrust upon him. Still, there's been a huge learning-curve that we've all had to go through as a result. The sacrifices he's made for his fiance and son have made me reevaluate my own life and goals. I reapplied for uni because I was inspired by Aiden's and Georgie's determination to continue with their education. I want to be a role-model to them, to show them that education is an on-going, life-long process.

My hope for this unit is that I'll be able to further my technological knowledge and show the kids (mine and others') that you're never too old to learn.

Plus, I hope to finally believe it myself.

*Cassandra - 20, Aiden - 18, Blake - 16, Erin - 9 and Connor - 6
**Luc Aden Jeremy Triffitt - 3 months
***17 published short stories and counting
# Early Childhood and Primary Teaching. Started last year, but had to defer due to severe bronchitis. Full time, but a light workload thanks to Advanced Standing. Oh, how I love Advanced Standing.