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.