Archive for the “Professional Development” Category

I have been noticing lately that since I don’t have a TV, I spend much more time in my Google Reader. I feel like I am reading MUCH more lately, in general, but it’s been nice to have time to actually peruse the items in my reader that before, I used to gloss over.

However, I’ve noticed that rather than get to all those posts from The Guy/Girl Who Posts 12 Times Daily, I am find myself looking forward to reading those posts from The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month. What I mean is, while I thought I’d be happy about spending more time in my reader because I’d finally have time to read all the stuff from the people who seem to have tons of time to do nothing but write blog posts, I’m finding that these people — the ones who post incessantly — are not the ones whose blogs I look forward to reading.


Well, I’m starting to think it’s because I favor quality over quantity. Just because you’re writing all the time does not mean you’re writing something good all the time. Some of it’s good, and some of it isn’t. In fact, I’d venture to say that of The Guy/Girl Who Posts 12 Times Daily, about 20% of those posts are worth reading. Granted, even 20% of 12 each day still more than The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month, but which posts are staying with me later? which ones am I remembering?

The ones from The Guy/Girl Who Posts One or Two Nuggets Per Month.

Isn’t that interesting?

And I find myself really excited when I see something new from Nugget Guy/Girl in my reader, whereas when I see stuff from 12-Posts-A-Day Guy/Girl, I kinda find myself groaning about how I’m going to have to sift through all the post titles to find what’s actually valuable. And even being worth reading is not the same as lingering in my mind and causing reflection.

I’m still thinking about how and why this all is, and may post a follow-up at a later date… just thought I’d record my thoughts while I had them.

What do you think? Do you, like me, seem to prefer reading Nugget Guy/Girl over 12-Posts-A-Day? Or is it not possible to generalize? What makes specific posts in your reader stand out?

Striped Bachelor by Matti Mattila

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Hello? Anybody home?

First things first — I am still alive and around.

Yes, this blog has been neglected as of recent months. But I have been around on Twitter, Skype, IM, and a few other places. I haven’t disappeared altogether. It’s just that I find it so hard to properly upkeep this blog when life gets insanely, ridiculously busy. I wish I could be the kind of person that hammers out blog posts whenever I have an idea. But I just can’t. Am I a slow-blogger? I’m not sure. I think it’s just that I am constantly in editing / re-writing mode. So, for me to write a quality post usually takes a long time — at least a couple of dedicated hours, and not fragmented hours. I need time all in one space to write.

Secondly — are you still here?

Is anyone still reading? Or have you all stopped checking into the blogosphere and simply are relying on Twitter and Facebook to keep you in the loop? And really — is anyone still reading my blog? I’ll be honest, if I were a reader of connect. create. question. , I’d be wondering what the heck is going on.  So, here is what has been going on since May 15, 2009 (the date of my last post).

The Nut-shell Version

  • The Final Four Weeks: Not only were the final weeks of the school year at UNIS Hanoi busy with exams, assessments, and clean-up like the end of any academic year, but they were particularly emotional for me as I prepared to leave UNIS and Hanoi, my home for the past three years. There is not enough space here for me to adequately describe my feelings about leaving. (I’m terrible at endings.) Let’s just say that it was difficult, scary, and yet exciting on so many levels. I was a bit of a mess for a little while, trying to sort through all the debris, both figurative and literal. Not to mention packing up my house, cats, and international life to return to the very developed world of the USA. I realize I am highly condensing a very intense time and by doing so I am probably not giving it the full respect it deserves, but I am not certain that this blog is the outlet for such things. Thus, I leave it at that for now…
  • Travel: My final hurrahs in Asia included a lovely trip to Hoi An, a true getaway to my favorite island of Bali, and a brief check-in with a dear friend in Bangkok. All were fabulous, memorable, and a perfect send-off.
  • The Death of the iBook: In the middle of a much-needed creative writing session — in fact, in the middle of the 2nd draft of a poem about the lessons of grief, inspired by Sark — my beloved 5-year-old iBook crashed and died, as I sat on the balcony of my bungalow on Nusa Lembongan, sipping a Bintan and gazing at the sunset. I cried.
  • The Return: because my visa documents for study in the USA could not be sent to Vietnam (postal woes), I had to return to Canada for a few weeks. Plus, there’s family and friends of course, whom I wanted to see. I was able to take in the Calgary Folk Festival, a true treat, and mix & mingle with several cool people whom I love dearly. It was good to be home. I spent a week at my grandmother’s house and thoroughly enjoyed picking garden lettuce, playing bocce, and eating my grandmother’s cooking! Deeeee-lightful. Yet, the stress of The Visa Papers lingered… would they arrive in time?
  • The Fall: shortly after my return to Calgary, I received word that one of my cats, Scout, had fallen off the balcony of the 8th-floor apartment where she was being cared for. She did not survive the fall. This heartbreak arrived the same day as I learned that Michael Franti had to cancel his Folk Festival show due to illness, and I got a $95 parking ticket because my ticket was not completely upright on the dashboard. It was a crappy day all around.
  • The Move: within a very short time, It All Happened. The Visa Papers arrived, I booked a flight, and BOOM — I landed in NYC.

And Here We Are

So, I’ve been in NYC for about 3 weeks now. I have a (very small) apartment, and I am a registered full-time graduate student in NYU’s Educational Communication & Technology M.A. program. To say I am experiencing rapid lifestyle changes across the board would still be an understatement. I am adjusting to a major life upheaval. The main challenges for me so far, and in this order, are:

  1. adjusting to being in a very developed consumerist society, after having witnessed abject poverty in far-flung corners of this planet
  2. wrapping my head around being a full-time student, with no $ coming in and lots going out
  3. wrapping my head around being a full-time student in the 21st century, and understanding how to read, take notes, and BE a student in a tertiary program when it has been 11+ years since I’ve had to think about academia. I feel like I am learning a new language and modality, and it’s difficult.
  4. finding my niche in NYC, a huge intimidating city with many micro-communities
  5. managing my time between unpacking boxes and all this school work that is already piling up, while at the same time trying to make new friends (I know very few people here) and take in all that this city has to offer
  6. finding space in my Teeny Tiny Apartment for the whack of stuff I have accumulated over the last 8 years overseas — and that’s after 4 boxes already went in storage in Calgary. I have already called Manhattan Mini Storage for a quote…

The Education: What’s in Store

Classes started last week. So far, so good. (I still have not unpacked all my boxes, nor visited Ikea, but they will have to wait.) I haven’t even bought all my books yet. But my classes seem pretty cool and so do my classmates — a very diverse group of people from a plethora of backgrounds. My courseload this semester:

  • Representation & Interaction Design for Learning
  • Educational Design for Media Environments
  • Cognitive Science and Educational Technology
  • Professional Applications of Educational Media

(You can find descriptions of these courses here.)

So far I am finding my readings to be really heavy on the design aspect, which for me is good. Coming from an educator’s perspective, my understanding of the design process has all been about instructional design and I am quite comfortable with it. However, looking at design from the perspective of media and technology in learning is something new to me, and I daresay it’s one of the main reasons I’m here. :) But more on that later. I will be blogging about my readings for several of these courses, and will save such thoughts for those posts.


Thanks for reading, if you’re still kickin’ around! I can safely say that I will be blogging more often now that school has begun. Several of my professors have requirements for us to journal about what we read and learn (I love that they implement pedagogy like this) and I intend to use this space for some of that.

P.S. I do now have a new MacBook Pro and an iPhone, and quite happy about both!

Image credits:

Is Anybody Home? Free Girl Looking in Window by D Sharon Pruitt under this license

Bathmophobia III by Tarnishedrose under this license

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If you’ve been following me on Twitter for any substantial length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been searching for, preparing documents for, and applying to graduate schools for the 2009-10 academic year. Well, after returning from a 4-day field trip in the jungle with 66 sixth-graders, I received this email (abridged) from the program director of NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Communication and Technology program:

Dear Adrienne,
The ECT Faculty Admissions Committee is pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Fall 2009 Master of Arts class in the Program in Educational Communication and Technology. This is our pre-notification to you. You will receive your official acceptance package from the Steinhardt Office of Graduate Admissions within the next week to 10 days.

The ECT faculty hope you continue to view the focus of our program — the design of technology-based learning environments, informed by theory in the learning sciences — an excellent match with your professional interests and goals.

You Can Go Your Own Way by andy in nyc
Attribution-NonCommercial License
I am thrilled! Although my first two schools did not accept me — I was initially very disappointed to receive rejection letters from both Stanford’s LDT program and Harvard’s TIE program — the idea of going to NYU is quite exciting! They have a very cool research area: C.R.E.A.T.E., which stands for Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education. And hey – New York! I have never even visited New York, let alone lived there. Big changes ahead…
And for those who might be going through something similar, I will include here my Statement of Purpose, which I submitted as part of my (very thorough) application to NYU Steinhardt.  But please note: unlike almost everything else on connect. create. question., this work is copyrighted — that is All Rights Reserved.

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I’ve decided to participate in the latest suggestion by Sue Waters over at The Edublogger. And I invite you to join us for for Gr8tweets for the month of March in order to:

  • Commit to trying out Twitter for a month
  • Find interesting people to follow on Twitter
  • Share what you value about Twitter
  • See what others value about Twitter
  • Help build your Personal Learning Network

Here’s how it works: For the month of March, a group of educators and lifelong learners will be picking a “Tweet of the day” and Re-Tweeting it with a tag: #gr8t

For more details, please visit Sue’s post, where she explains it in more detail (including a bit on how to use hashtags). You can also visit the Wikispace which has more details, as well as a list of participants.

For me, a “gr8 tweet” will be a tweet that does one or more of the following:

  • causes me to think differently
  • inspires me to action or change
  • challenges me to justify the philosophy behind my actions
  • makes me laugh in ways I hadn’t before
  • gives me sincere hope for the future, the community, or the planet

There aren’t many rules, really, and if you have questions, jump on over to Sue’s post. Oh, and if you’re not on Twitter yet and you’re looking for someone to follow, feel free to find and follow me. You can then send me a tweet or two and find some other people to follow to expand your network. My username is @amichetti.

Happy Tweeting! :)

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Alas, it hath been written:

Hello -

Thank you for applying to the Google Teacher Academy at the
Googleplex.  We had over 250 applications for only 50 spots, and we’re
sorry to inform you that all 50 slots have been confirmed.  We realize
that there are many amazing people that won’t be able to attend, and
we wish we had room for everyone.

Thanks again for all your hard work and accomplishments. We wish you
luck in your continued endeavors.

Cheers and best,
The Google Teacher Academy Team

So I guess this year I will not be one of these:

Google Certified Teacher

But I am going to send them a quick reply asking what kept me from being in the 50 Definites as opposed to one of the Purgatory Delegates.  Surely if I try again I could get in?  Especially if I have been Wait-Listed before?

But I will save that e-mail to the GTA team tomorrow, for tonight it is already late and sleep beckons.  Thanks to all of you well-wishers and the positive support you gave me in my personal learning network.  I appreciate your kind words more than you know.  :)

In TeacherTechGeekyness,

A very tired Ms. M

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Hi Adrienne -

Thank you for applying to the Google Teacher Academy at the Googleplex on June 25th. We’ve reviewed all the applications, and we recognize that you are doing some great things. As a result, we’ve placed your name on the Wait List. On Monday, June 9th, we will let you know if there is room to include you. You will have 24 hours to respond to us by the end of the day on Tuesday, June 10th.

The above is the e-mail I received on Thursday evening (Thursday morning, GoogleTime).

So, I’m not one of the 50 Definites, but I’m also not one of the 200+ Definitely Nots. I guess I am pretty pleased! I was not really expecting to get in, mostly due to the poor quality of my 1 minute video once it was uploaded to YouTube / GoogleVideo. And now, here I’ve gotten what I am viewing as honorable mention. Not bad, not bad at all! :)

But I still am not in, and thus I wait in In-Between-Land . . .

Photo credit: Life Is The Space In Between by drp licensed under a CC 2.0 license.

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Some of you already know that this week I submitted my Google Teacher Academy application for this June’s session on the 25th in Mountain View, CA. I was pretty excited, as this is the first time that Google is accepting applications from outside of the immediate area of the GTA, and indeed, outside of the U.S.A. Woo hoo! (I heard about this Google news via the Infinite Thinking Machine Blog, btw. If that blog isn’t in your reader, get on it!)

What an experience for me just to put together the 1 minute required video. Fun, but definitely challenging. For my reflection and for your enjoyment (or perhaps mockery!), here are a few things I learned:

  1. It is impossible for me to put my entire teaching philosophy about Classroom Innovation into 1 minute. Impossible! Perhaps I have too much to say…?
  2. I can definitely type faster than I can write. The screen vids of me inking those memorable quotes across the screen of my tablet didn’t make the cut because I can’t ink three words in less than 9 seconds. But I can type three words in 4 seconds! (Thanks to my university days as a temp, I tell you!)
  3. I have an incredibly talented partner who knows more about making music than I do, even on a computer. ;) And I promise next time I will not ask him to do the music edits at 11 p.m. on a school night.
  4. I have a lot to learn about using video software, though I have discovered that it doesn’t get much easier than iMovie.
  5. The end of May is not a good time for me to be making movies (exams, report cards, people leaving, etc.). Mental note taken, stored, and written in cyberstone here. Amen. I think this vid would have been much better if I had not had 2398989712 things going on.
  6. The difference in quality from my raw mp4 file (pretty good) to the Google Video / YouTube upload is REMARKABLE. My exported mp4 (using iMovie’s “Expert settings”) looks great — super sharp and clear. Upload to Google Vid / YouTube looks grainy and all around sucky. Anyone have tips on this? (Note that I am new to this kind of thing; most of my contributions to the digital world have happened via written text and photo. Video is a whole new (fun) ballgame.) Sadly, what this means is that the Google Earth portions of my video are not viewable in the way I intended. Wah.
  7. I do not know enough about recording screen shots on video. Need to learn more about this.

And for those who are interested, the software / hardware I used:

  • CamStudio – on the Vista Fujitsu Tablet
  • Inspiration v.8 – also on the Vista Tablet (hat tipping to UNIS)
  • Google Earth – on the Vista Tablet, my iBook G4, and partner’s MacBook Pro
  • iMovie HD v.5 on my iBook, and then later v.6 on MacBook Pro
  • GarageBand on MacBook Pro

Lastly, for those who are interested, here is the vid itself:

Photo credit: Jan 24, 2008 “Reflection” by shannonpatrick17

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