Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Good, The Bad,and The Ugly....

Thursday - Period 1 - Amazing - Kevin Jarrett on board, flying about the room, a seasoned extraordinary mentor - unflinching in the face of chaos and just a wonderful presence in the project! The kids caught onto the plan for the day, intuitively understood the technology, and within minutes the project was underway! We, the facilitators, jumped in where needed but the kids pretty much worked out the bugs on their own. We were psyched - it was working. The build we were using is very complex with many capabilities that I wasn't quite clear on (couldn't get the chat log to email function going, but we had a go-around by having the discussion leader paste the chat into a notecard and deliver it to Ms. Ivey at the end of class).

3rd period - Even better - because WE knew how to present it to the kids more succinctly and although there were three other classes in the library (one on the other computers, one showing iMovies in the presentation area and one at the front tables doing seatwork) our kids were focused and successful! Kev was again an invaluable asset!

5th Period - A dream - less kids in library - our kids totally engrossed and engaged - literary scholars in deep discussion.

and then it happened...

Somewhere between 5th and 7th period - when there was no actual class in Ramapo but many avatars in world during their lunch period, someone managed to "fool with" the facilitator's podium - and many of the functions were disabled and off in the sky somewhere - unretreivable and useless. Was this malicious? Intentional? I really don't think so - but I think it was curiousity, perhaps mischief - and I feel like I should have known better!

7th Period - Frustration, Nothin working right , kids reporting boredom (the ultimate evil) I was frantically trying to fix things, Kev was going backand forth between tring to help me and trying to address the kids who were startig to get antsy -- About halfway through the class we went to plan B annd just sent the groups off into differennt regions so that their chats would be exclusive but it wan't the same ad the kids cold sense our disappointment - There was just a whole different "tension" in the room and I take responsibility for that...

Lessons learned:
1. Alsways initiate "Plan B" before trying to fix the problem so kids remain engaged.
2. Anticipate disaster (I now know that I could have locked the pods so that visiting avatars were not able to "fly them". (Duh - that's why there is a Turn Flying Off Button)
3. Lighten up Mrs. Sheehy! I was on such a roll from the morning's thrilling success (it is quite intoxicating to see one's vision come to fruition) but I should have rolled with the punches a bit better when things went awry rather than feeling as frustrated and disappointed as I did.

Note to self: Sometimes the mightiest lessons are learned from the things that "don't work" !!!

Thursday evening, into the wee hours, I worked with Firesabre and a Linden to remedy the situation and we were ready to go again Friday AM---This was the truest test for me.

I was scheduled to be away from the building at a district meeting and Ms. Ivey would be on her own with the kids. I was able to login remotely of course and checked to insure that the pods were locked between classes, but guess what? They didn't need me. They were off on their own, their teacher quite capable, everything running smoothly and I was forced to actually pay attention to the demonstration of a new software application at my meeting. "Who'd a thunk? - "

Finally, ou MUST go to Kevin Jarrett's blog - (sidebar link The Story of My Second Life) He has interviewed some of my students, and was able to really elicit some remarkable insights from them. This is the kind of educator he is! In two short and hectic days, he was truly able to develop a lovely, trusting repoire with the kids and it is quite evident from the podcasts on his blog. Pics soon!

1 comment:

ipenda keynes said...

We all have headaches when things go wrong, but the true test of new technologies is the ability to adapt and still make use of it even when it "fails".
Looks like everyone learned from it!