Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Reflections and Revisions

We've all had to live with the ISM for a while now, and it is not an unqualified success. I'm now scuttling back to the drawing board and trying to decide what will improve this child of mine.

MindMeister has an incredible online tool for thinking things through, and it has helped me realize that the ISM is trying to accomplish too much in too little time.

Just like our students, we all are learning at different paces and using different manners. The ISM needs to reflect this. I've been playing around and wonder if I've found the right sequence. Let me know if you find this helpful, and email me if you'd like to become a collaborator. This is a group project, after all!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

If you build it...

they might come. Then again, they might *not* come. I'm not certain if it's the way I put the whole ISM together, if it's the way it relies on people being comfortable experimenting, or if I just need to tear the whole thing down and start again (AGAIN). Whatever the reason, the ISM is not what I would call an unqualified success. In fact, it's not what I would call a success at all. A disaster? Maybe.

I really need feedback from all levels of users. So far I've had a meager handful complete the thing, and only a couple of them "got" the Reflections thing. How can I restructure this vital part of the ISM?

Just like our students, if we don't reflect on what we've learned, it becomes something dead in the back of our minds. We *are* learners! Now I just need to discover the right mode for helping myself and others learn to use these new tools.

Back to the drawing board? You tell me. I'm going to get another cup of coffee and then head for school. Perhaps this afternoon I'll have people take me up on my invitation to start the ISM from school. That should give me a chance to discover first hand what is so off-putting about the whole thing.

Talley Ho!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

First Pothole on the ISM Road

(Note to self: Go to another computer to test features, when you have your usual computer set to automatically log in to sites.)

Checking my school email at 10:30 p.m. last night yielded feedback from the first teacher trying to work through the ISM:
I am having trouble on the module. There are several places that ask me to give my "Reflections" on a page but where I am supposed to click "Edit the Page" it is saying "Protected." This module is really hard to understand most of the time. I am getting really frustrated. I feel like I am wasting my time.
Oh No, that certainly isn't what I intended! But it is invaluable information, and showed me some major bugs...
  • the instructions about joining and the TTR wikispace at the beginning of the Getting Started section must not be clear enough, or s/he would have been able to edit the page
    • I've deleted those instructions, and changed the wiki settings (see below)
  • requiring membership in wikispaces is a pain - I'm not constantly at my computer (no matter what my colleagues think!), so can't be certain of getting the membership requests moderated in a timely fashion.
    • I've changed the settings to Public, so membership isn't required to edit pages
  • The My Maps feature in Google Maps is really cool, but it turns out that "sharing" doesn't mean people can add to the map, it just means they can view a map set to Private
    • I've deleted the Exploration recommendation that the user "add to the map"
True to life and Murphy's Law, was down when I tried to work on it last night. After tossing and turning and failing to find sleep, at 2:30 a.m. I was finally able to get into the site and make the changes. I've emailed updates to the teacher, in hopes s/he will be willing to give it another shot and provide me with more feedback. Does the phrase "Not Ready For Prime Time" ring a bell?

Now I'm worrying about the usefulness of the physical handout. I created it by copy/pasting directly from the wiki, but that means the handout is out of date almost as soon as it is made available. Let's hope I find a solution before bedtime; I'm not worth much on 2 hours of sleep!