Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fresh start

I'm not sure if we're actually supposed to be posting anything this class, but I figure I might as well. I've always been torn when it comes to technology education. To me, technology is something to be explored, learned inside and out, and used to its fullest.

I like disassembling things. If something isn't working, rather than take it in for repairs or buy a replacement, I will take it apart piece by piece and fix it myself. When I was in high school, this was something that clashed very strongly with how technology was being used. Teachers would expect us to be using new tech, but they would only teach us the very basics to get us off the ground. I didn't have a problem with this per se, but the expectation was that we would only use the techniques that we had been taught. I don't like being restricted in the techniques I can use. I like playing and experimenting.


We were given an assignment in computer science (at the university level!) to perform a series of operations on an array of objects and gracefully end processing once the list was finished with. For those not familiar with programming internals, most programming languages don't have a lot of built-in checks for things like the end of a file, a disc error, or undefined objects. If the language expects something and gets something else, it will throw an exception and crash. So the "end of list" check was supposed to be something we had to think hard on and figure out a way to program.

Now, I was taught the standard method for "catching" and handling exceptions before they crashed, as this can be a very handy feature in advanced programming. So my check function consisted of a simple catch for the list-end exception. I lost marks because we "hadn't learned that technique yet and that's not what I was looking for". Very annoying. It worked, it was a language-kosher way of handling it.... what's the problem?

This happens too often. If a student can run circles around classmates, let them. Mark them at a much higher level and hold them to a higher standard, but let them work at their most advanced level. It's obviously something they love, and they should not have that enthusiasm squashed with a "no, wait until the class is all in the same place.

Just my rant.


On a completely separate note, here's a cool video that everyone here should see. Nothing to do with technology whatsoever.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Class Switch

Well, that changed things. Due to a scheduling mishap/forgetfulness/bureaucracy, I've been switched into a new section of the Teacher Tech course. This blog may or may not apply anymore, but we will see.

Apologies to the cohort for dropping off the grid; to all my new classmates, I hope that I can integrate well.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First post!

When it comes to tech classes, I'm usually the one meandering around, looking bored, not because I don't get it but because I'm usually done before the explanation is complete. As a result of this I tend to get very impatient when it comes to technology related topics. They often run at a far lower level than what I'm already familiar with – not that the topics being discussed are irrelevant, I'm just usually running several steps ahead of the crowd. This is one of the reasons that I enjoyed the computer science courses offered here.

As an educator now, I need to begin learning how to teach students that are not working on the same technical level as I am. I'm hoping that this course will show me some new learning resources that I haven't come across yet, as well as showing me how to make these resources available to students no matter what their skill level may be. I've done this with with music, now it's time to do this with passion #2.

Launching off on a tangent for a moment, I want to comment on the video from the first class. For the time, that was a very well put-together collage of different live and animated media. A good use of stop-motion and animated overlay of live film make it something out of the ordinary for the day and age. That being said, as a sound engineer and technician I take some issue with the misbehaving microphone cliché. Most microphone mishaps are either caused by the user or by an inexperienced technician. One of the things that my fiancée did in the Teacher Technology class last year helped at least get her classmates up to the level where most of these problems would no longer present themselves. She took the whole class over to our church, where we both work as sound engineers, and showed them in a little over an hour what every component of a basic sound system, how to connect them in an efficient manner, and how to prevent and/or correct a lot of the problems that occur most frequently with sound systems. This is something that I would like to do this term if the opportunity presents itself.

Anyways, I think that's enough for now. Takes me ages to start, then I start rambling.