Monday, July 09, 2007

Teaching and Learning Institute/Gainesville

I've just completed my first day of training at the Teaching and Learning Institute. I was granted permission to go into the "advanced" group which was great. I am working with 3 other people and will be completing a project. We all agreed that we feel many teachers are reluctant to embrace technology as we have. Of course, we are an overzelous group and have probably done more than just embrace it. I know for me, it is a way of life...a way of teaching...a way to connect. Our project will be based on teaching and how things were, are and how we envision they should be. We used Inspriration software to gather ideas and are still deciding on how to proceed. As a whole, many of the participants want to do something with podcasts that include that's are adventures for tomorrow. I'm excited because this will be new territory. I'm all about sharing knowledge and can't wait to return to school to share. My main concern, however is time. There just never seems to be enough! Technology is such a great tool, I just need to know how to implement it...regularly :o)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

R2 - Reflective Discussion

In this discussion, I'm assuming the role of a distance educator. Upon review of my classmates discussion on problems and concerns faced by offering courses in DE, I am faced with the question of, "is it all worth it?" As an elementary school teacher, 3rd grade, I don't see that I will be offering such courses to my students. However, I believe that I am going to do quite a bit more research on project based learning and portfolios as a future method. I am so intrigued by this methodology and excited to spend some of my summer researching and educating myself so that I can better serve my students. That leads to the DE part. I am thinking students could enter portfolio or research project online and create projects for others to see via the web. It is all in infant stages at this point and something so new to me that I haven't begun to even process it all. One of my first steps is to discuss it with my administrator. To see if she knows about PBL and may be able to add insight. From what I read, PBL is providing rigorous lessons but having students responsible for their own learning and accountable for it as well.

Barriers are my own shortcomings. First I must gain the knowledge necessary to act on what I want to do. Then, obtain buy in from my administrator (support). Finally, my biggest obstacle in teaching, in general, TIME! I need my days doubled. I never knew how valuable time was until I entered the teaching profession. My job is never ending. There is never a sense of completion.

In conclusion, I am going to work on ways to incorporate PBL and portfolios into my teaching. It isn' directly DE, however, I relate best to what I can apply in my future.

Monday, January 15, 2007

R1 - Reflective Remarks on being a Distance Learner

I have taken at least 10 distance/online courses over the past 4 years. I find that every class I have taken to be different in so many ways. They all have posed some problems and all have had positive aspects as well. I appreciate the fact that I am not held to a strict classroom schedule and can login when I am ready. I also appreciate being able to spend as much time as I wish working in the class. This is luxury not afforded in traditional classrooms. I believe I am an auditory learner which online learning poses challenges. However, I believe it the convenience of online classes far outweighs any negative aspects that I have encountered. The thing I learned mostly about online courses is that communication in group work can be difficult and a method of periodic check ins should be established early. This helps prevent ‘disappearance’ of classmates for long periods of time. Finally, I learned to avoid procrastination when possible. Though online learning allows for flexibility, it is easy to get behind.


Welcome to my blog. My name is Cassandra Duff, however, very few people call me Cassandra. My friends and family call me Candy. I am writing this introduction for EME 6936 Distance Learning course through the University of South Florida. I recently graduated (Spring 2006) with a BS in Elementary Education. Luckily, I was able to get a teaching position in Sarasota County as a third grade teacher at one of the best schools in the county. This is a major accomplishment since the district had a hiring freeze! Since teaching is a career change for me, I decided to continue on to seek a Master's Degree in Instructional Technology. (I just turned 40 y/o and didn't want to wait too long!) This is my third semester, however, I'm taking only 1 class each semester so that I can devote time to being a new teacher.

I am married to a wonderful man who recently retired after 22 years from the military. (11 years US Navy and 11 years US Army). We have two children, Lance who is 17 years old and Faryn who is 11 years old. Brian is currently working for a company out of California and travels. Lance attends a military school, competes on the drill team and fencing team. Faryn is a swimmer for the Sarasota YMCA Sharks. She has competed in junior olympics. We have a 2 year old Boston Terrier named Bailey.

I'm taking this course because it was one of my elective courses and I believe that understanding and embracing distance education is important in the 21st century as an educator. I hope to gain a better understanding of distance learning and to know how I can apply it to my future students. Distance Learning is a new topic for me, however, I have personally taken more than 10 online courses.

I am pretty comfortable with computers. (not programming) I am comfortable in MS Word, MS PowerPoint and MS Publisher and am a quick learner. I also have a digital camera. I am willing to fill most roles within a group. I live in the south part of Sarasota County so I am about 1+ hours from the Tampa campus but am willing to travel if in person meetings are necessary. My schedule can be pretty flexible, however, I do work full time, so I am not usually available Mon-Fri until after 5 pm. Most weekends are free, except when there is a swim meet for my daughter. However, I also travel with my computer and stay at a hotel with internet service, so my availibility should not be affected. I check my email frequently and am responsible and dedicated to doing excellent work as a team member. I also follow through on assignments and meet deadlines.

One thing about me that you might find interesting is that I was an registered nurse for 9+ years. I chose to change careers and be a teacher because I love teaching!

Thank you for visiting and considering me as a team member. I look forward to great semester.