Week 1 MAET Program Abroad

This first week of class has been fantastic.  It all started on Monday, June 27.  My roommates and I went to breakfast for the first time, with the help of JP to guide the way.  Breakfast in Ireland was not much different than breakfast in the United States.  They had eggs, sausage, hash browns, cereal and fruit.  The biggest difference was the crescant , which I absolutely love! Something about crescants in Europe is just so much better than anywhere else.

After breakfast, we headed to our first class.  First order of business: setting up our classroom.  Originally, we had chairs with small desks attached, set up in pairs throughout the room.  None of us were content with this, so when we were given the opportunity to rearrange it, we were all for it!  We ended up with some tables from another room and were able to set them up in a “U” shape.  After tables were arranged to our liking, we had to do the traditional introductions.  Chris, our instructor, started us off by talking about himself.  But being we were in the Ed tech program, of course we couldn’t just do the standard go around the room and say our names thing.  After Chris’ introduction, we were given our first Quickfire challenge (more on Quickfires later).  We had to use a new technology and come up with a presentation about ourselves in half an hour.

Presentations took quite a bit of time.  We didn’t finish before lunch time.  We have an hour lunch break daily.  Lunch is served in the same cafeteria in which we had breakfast.  It is a great opportunity to get to know my fellow classmates, as well as talk to some of the year 2 and 3’s.  After lunch, we were introduced to quite a few different projects, including one involving making a website.  While at the end of the week as I write this I feel fairly confident working with wordpress, when I started, I was extremely frustrated.  I had used weebly before, and done fairly well with it.  Weebly was easy for me to use, easy to put in all of the information into, and just generally easier for me to use.  Wordpress…..well, wordpress was not.  I added pages, but they weren’t where they should be when I opened the website.  I created a blog, and it tried posting on all of the pages except the one I wanted it to appear on.  There was a lot of trial and error involved in creating this site, and I am extremely proud of the fact that I did not throw my computer across the room in the process of creating this.  I’m also proud of the fact that I managed to create this site.

Tuesday started with another quickfire challenge.  We had to create a mind map of our professional learning network (PLN)-all the people we are connected to that help us on a professional level.  We continued introducing ourselves, and still did not finish.  Afterwards, we discussed Learning and Understanding based on our reading of the book “How People Learn”.  It was a fantastic discussion that took some time, but was well worth it.  After lunch we were assigned yet another assignment, this one involving team teaching with a partner, and were given time to work on any of our assignments/projects.

Wednesday we started by doing another quickfire, this one making a word cloud as part of the game taboo.  Our classmates had to guess our word based on the cloud we created.  Following this, we had a discussion regarding literacy.  What is literacy, what is it not, what  are the new literacies?  All of these questions were discussed with classmates.  We also talked about the power of asking questions.  Not only asking questions, but also what kind of questions make good questions, and how without action steps relating to the question it is just a complaint. Before lunch, Leigh stopped by and discussed the importance of having an online presence and how it can help us remain connected with educators around the globe.  After lunch we did speed dating.  Not real speed dating, but speed dating with a tech tool.  We each looked up a new tech tool and had to explain whatever we learned about it in one minute or less to our “date”.  Following this, we were given worktime, which was greatly appreciated.

Thursday was primarily about copyright, questioning and using technology to remain organized.  While I like the idea of using technology to help organize my to do list, it is something I have trouble keeping my mind open about.  While it may not be the most convenient way, I like using just a planner and sticky notes.  There is something about having tasks written on paper that makes it more real to me.  I’m keeping my mind open and will see how this goes.  We were given quite a bit of work time this day, which was very helpful.  I worked with my partner on my team teach, which we came up with a an outline for.

Friday was only a half day! We started at 9 instead of 8:30 and started with a fun activity.  We were counted off into four groups, and each group was given a kitchen tool to use.  We then were assigned a set of food, and had to use the tool to combine the food as required.  This was supposed to represent making sure to have the right tool for the right job.  Following this, we listened to two pairs of classmates present to us about technology and education.  They all did an excellent job, and this took us right up to our first week cross share. The cross share is a presentation between all three years of our program.  Each year has a group who tells the rest of the students what has been going on in our classes.  After this, we watch the news, which the third years put together as a form of satire.  They create most of the content themselves, but each of the other years contribute a segment based on the theme. They did a fantastic job! Class was over at noon, so we are officially one-fourth of the way through the program!

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