Follow, Lead, do both Or ….

We can all follow behind someone and still not meet everyone or do everything that the person we are following has done or met.  Calling those experiences, made for us, my reflection is about what causes us to see ourselves as followers and not leaders.

All Things Father related

  • Could it be that we are seeking to be the proverbial “father” that has been defined to us as a savior, hero, or prophet?
  • Does this make it a Male portrayed role?
  • Does this make it defined by only one person?
  • Does this require that we see, do, or believe only one thing?

Constantly reminded of how much religion seems to get away with missing information.  For example, a great many of Jesus and other prophets are missing written reflections of their lives.  Entire segments of their existence are not known or written about.  When they are written about it is a considerable amount of time later.  Religious text are often written more in biographical form rather than auto biographical form.  There is a growing and often very different nature about questioning or challenging what is known.  

Thinking about my experience of a woman named Pat, and attending her funeral, it may be easy to relate to how our stories get told.  Are we direct without fear? Are we direct to a fault? Is it easier to accept or laugh about when it is told by someone else?  Leading to a question I have always asked

How come Jesus didn’t just write the story himself and be direct?

What is the purpose of text written in Parables? 

When I met Pat, a women who inspired me, with her direct approach to answers, she wasn’t in a traditional church.  As I had known churches up to that point this was a very untraditional kind of worship.  She shared with me parts of her life story.  I didn’t know if she shared them with anyone else.  Thinking about what she shared and now after a couple of years have gone by, what affect they had on me. Two things keep me asking challenging questions:

How come Pat’s experience inspired me?

Years later what makes it important for me to share her story?

Let me share a short story about some of what seems inconsistent and indirect.  Using a challenging issue for today’s time:

Growing Up Gay

Standing in the book store it is amazing how many books there are and how many, that are not even on the shelves, that exist without being seen as much.  To stand in the LGBT section is in itself a huge thing.  Someone may ask, How come? A very valid question.  When asked sincerely with an open mind and heart.  A person may hear it answered:

It takes courage.

To be seen looking at what people have judged so cruelly and with such malice.  Could be similar to being seen holding a naked child in the middle of a public place.  Would it matter that this emotion be too much for some people to experience?  Would it matter how this experience was handled?  Would it matter what questions were asked or even if questions were asked?  

Sexual orientation has mattered and my question remains, How come?  Thousands, hundreds of thousands of books have been written and speak of the very same things as LGBT books address. It remains a mystery to me exactly why a majority of people when asked a question about LGBT acceptance respond with answers associated to sex and how some book or person has defined sex.  My thought remains, How come?  Who exactly has that power? Who has given it to them and how come if a definition of sex is so defined an overwhelming majority of people violate the very act of behavior they seem to define?  What also comes to mind is how many people find themselves in fear or shame about sex.  Does this fear and shame have an affect on the # of violent acts of assault or abuse?

These questions won’t all be answered in a blog or by one person.  They probably won’t be answered in my lifetime. However, I can ask and I am confident that when I do I will hear what people really fear about LGBT issues.  Considering that it wields a mighty sword and comes with some big implications of values, ethics, and morale’s my reasonable reflection is that sex drives people to do things and act in ways that are beyond what someone is really willing to define.

Is it who we follow, what we lead, or both?  Is it more about being ‘right’ or being judged?  Where does the impact occur most and what is not being addressed in those instances?  

Questions continue and considering an expanding portal of people and opportunities to engage in sexual behavior it could be a good guess to think that it will continue to be an issue.

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A Woman Named Pat

[Photo not available due to putting people at risk for retaliation or unwanted exposure. Sad.]

 

What I laugh and learn is how easy it becomes for anyone to take something and run with it. The title of this blog brings to mind a few things for me.  First, a woman named Pat, I think, was similar to a T.V. show based on a character that was named Pat.  She was an androgynous comedy character that everyone seemed to be enamored with at the time. Second, it brings to mind a person I respect and has shared many times and treasures with me. Finally, it reminds me of a woman who inspired me even though I knew her for such a short time.

What will I write about? What will this blog actually contain?

Answer: A true story of a woman named Pat who inspired me even though I only knew her for such a short time.

Pat was a founder, if you will accept that title, of what is now known as The Zebra Coalition here in Central Florida.  I met her briefly at a church I was attending.  At the time The Zebra Coalition was just a project that she was working on.  Here is what inspires me to support The Zebra Coalition now that it is completed.

I had the privilege of meeting Pat at breakfast after service one morning.  Our interaction was brief, I asked her why she decided to write the Church newsletter each week.  Her answer was: “Someone has to do it.”  Plain and simple.  No unwrapping required in that statement.  Was what it was.  I laughed and we shared a smile.  Then I sat with Pat at a diversity development meeting.  One of the many ways church goers can become involved in a project to serve the community.  Being a large woman and very experienced it was easy to see how Pat would be found in a room from anyone attending a meeting.  As we began discussing how things were progressing in diversity development, Pat chimed up with a statement (almost exact to) “There were only two people who showed up on Saturday to assist with the clean-up at The Zebra house.”  This was my first meeting so I really didn’t have anything to say, although, I could tell there were a lot of mixed emotions at the table from that statement.  Someone asked who they were and someone asked what time they were suppose to be there and when it was posted to the congregation.  Someone else asked some questions about if so and so or so and so contacted her.  There were statements based on what happened.  Pat remained as steady as an arrow.  Answering each question with a very direct answer.  I sat quietly thinking there is some part of Pat that is in all of us.  There was one other conversation between Pat and I before she passed away.  It was a short interlude of exchanging where we had been and what life had given us as we were.  Pat shared a few bits of her life and to this day I don’t know if she shared them with anyone else.  I learned a fraction of Pat’s life story.  Pieces that she was willing to share and statements that made me laugh and made an impression on me for life.  Pat passed away a short time later.  Before The Zebra Coalition was completed.  It was her ‘pet’ project, yet she never got to see it finished.  It came as a surprise to everyone I met at her funeral.  Hearing people reflect on her life and their experience with her was moving.  She was consistent about direct answers.  There was no cover-up with Pat.  She would tell you just how she felt.  To a fault, in some peoples jokes.  However, that was Pat they would all say laughing through the tears.

The Zebra coalition is open now.  LGBT youth are welcomed to drop in and they are asked to fill out some questions.  They are given support in ways that can be provided by who is available to them depending on needs.  In addition, there is a place now where LGBT youth between a certain age can spend the day, get a ride, do their laundry, or even take a shower.  These are important things for a community.  This was the first LGBT youth location, it is a needed service.  Typically when LGBT youth have a challenging time in life it is because they have been removed from a situation.  They are in struggle and need support in basic care giving ways.  The Zebra Coalition offers them a place to begin.  A place to find something they may not have had before, an adult who says “It doesn’t matter who you are you deserve to have support.”

Pat didn’t get to see her project come to completion.  Although somehow I think she probably hangs out there most of the time, lol.  What I know in my heart is how come that project meant something to Pat.  She shared with me her very direct answer when I asked her what was so important about The Zebra House.  She said, “Someone has to do it.”

In memory of Pat I am more inspired by that statement and agree wholeheartedly that Pat was very clearly saying “Someone has to do it” and I take that challenge with me.

A woman named Pat gave me more reasons to do what has to be done.

Month 10 AR Blog Post

I am providing this podcast as an interactive  approach to delivering the results of my Action Research Project.  I hope you find it informing and enjoyable.  I have enjoyed the process of bringing it all together.

Full Text

The purpose of my Action Research project was to integrate a Web 2.0 communication tool into classroom environments to improve communication between parents and teachers.

How did your CBR project turn out for you? Did the challenge exceed your overall expectations?

My CBR project turned out better than I thought given the size and scope of the project.  The experience allowed me to uncover several opportunities within the process of communication, as it pertains to the overall participation and success of students.  Teachers identified barriers such as lack of consistent internet access, security, and lack of administrative privileges.   The challenge exceeded my expectations by highlighting the concerns outlined in my literature review and demonstrating an improvement in communication utilizing an online Web 2.0 tool.  

Is there a connection between the data produced from your Phases and the research reported in your Literature Review?

Yes, my literature review best described the data of my phases in the article Beyond Dichotomy (Malhotra, Galletta, & Kirsh, 2008).  The three factors identified as contributing to the integration of technology were feelings of autonomy, combinations of perception, and finally impeded by a conflict.   My cycle 1 and cycle 2 data identified the benefits and barriers to effective technology integration and are linked to these similar factors.

The questions in my Pre & Post Survey’s supported similar results as the studies in my literature review.  The survey’s were conducted, via an online web forms, including currently employed classroom teachers working in K-12 environments.  Numeric results indicated 1 person out of 47 reported they had Constant Communication with Parents, 32% reported they had Non-existent communication, 24% reported having some Communication, and 37% reported very little communication.  Similar to the results indicated in my literature review.

During your Phase implementation what learning objectives has your target audience met?

The learning objectives participants met were;

  • Teachers set up a Blogging tool to encourage communication with parents.
  • Teachers distributed information to parents and students on how to access and participate in Blogging.
  • Students actively participated in small group activities structured to provide content.
  • Parents participated by providing feedback via the blog.

Is a personal learning environment or an LMO something that could be part of your CBR project in the future? Why or why not.

Yes, a personal learning environment or LMO can be very effective in enhancing the communication between students, teachers, and parents.  Allowing students to conduct conversations between peers and teachers allows for dynamic learning environments. Personal learning environments simulate a classroom experience from various locations.  For example, interaction between students who are home from illness or injury, traveling with parents, and allowing interactions with classmates monitored or facilitated by teachers allows for work group participation that may not have otherwise occurred.  Extending learning into the process of homework.

Overall my Action Research project has allowed me the opportunity to become a better researcher, a more insightful listener, and a more empathetic technology integrator.  Having taken the time to fully understand the issues facing parents, educators, and community members I believe that I am better equipped to provide reasonable, reliable, and significant solutions to the challenges that will continue to arise due to lack of communication.

Gaming and Motivation Lesson Plan

Knowledge

The objective of the game I’ve created is to engage students in the topic of finance and challenge them to be involved in the learning process.  With success there will be an increase in awareness and understanding of what it takes to build and participate in a community.

Utilizing the online game CityVille; a web based social networking game created by Zynga. (www.Zynga.com) I will challenge high school students between the ages of 15 and 17.

Timing

Teachers will create a calendar of events to occur over a 4-week period.  The calendar will include: Time for small groups to meet for 15 minutes to conduct neighbor interviews.  Identifying days that challenge activities will occur along with bonus days. 

Image

Example Calendar

The learning objectives I hope to accomplish are;

Explain the components of a community based on the research they provided visually using a form.

Explain the process of Cash Flow based on a form they have created during the activity that informs the class what they purchased and how they were able to obtain their coins.

Describe the challenges and requirements of an expanding community.  Based upon the challenge cards that were provided to invoke family and community events that led to obstacles in growth or development.

Explain the impact of family planning and family members.  Based on pre-determined family choices additional expenses or lack of planning challenge students to invest more in expansion and lose points based on lack of resources.

Understand the benefits of working together with neighbors and community partners.  Working in small groups of 3-4 once a week encourage students to meet and make new neighbors based on a questionnaire they have created before playing.

How Learners will learn the game 

After obtaining permission slips and answering any questions students will be introduced visually to the elements of the game.  

Creating the Story

A CityVille account can be created for the students participating.  During the introduction the students will be presented with the questions;

  • What type of home would you like to own someday?
  • What profession will you have? 
  • What role does it play in the community?
  • What are the important functions of a community?

Students will have 30 minutes to research what the current salary and cost of a home for their family will be.  In addition, they will research the terms associated with each of the forms.

Each student will create a form for an Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Family Planning Worksheet based on the responses to the questions they have answered.   Working together socially online and in small groups once a week students will have 5-10 minutes to interview neighbors and build their communities.

Actions, via Cityville, during online work will include (What students will control during the game)

  • Harvesting crops to feed the community (Achievement-Short Term)
  • Building a community building to advance the productivity of the community (Achievement-Long Term)
  • Building homes for their neighbors (Achievement-Short Term)
  • Visit their neighbor’s communities (Achievement-Short Term)
  • Improve their communities by adding buildings, businesses, and infrastructure. (Achievement-Long Term)

Students will also improve their networking and interviewing skills based on role-plays that introduce them to neighbor’s.  Which can help students make connections and continue building their learning outside of the classroom.  During challenge and bonus days students will be rewarded based on their current level of achievement measured by cash on hand, neighbors, and community size.  Additional playing time will be awarded to the top three students.  In addition, there will be challenges that offer a new obstacle to overcome.  Family expansion, natural disasters, and loss of job cards will be randomly selected by students, which they will record as a part of their worksheet.

Endgame

At the end of the four weeks students will be given a short answer quiz on the terms related to finance.  In addition students will be able to compare their points, cash on hand, community growth, and neighbors to visually share performance and the top three students will be awarded no homework for one week.

Assessments

Student’s will create and plan a social community via CityVille that demonstrates their understanding of how and what constitutes a community.  In addition, students will create Income and Cash Flow statements that indicate what impact their decisions had on their prosperity and how events directed them to change their direction. 

Fun & Motivation

Allowing students to create their own environments engages them in learning.  Allowing them to create the worksheets, questions, and play the game with those elements in mind reinforces the gaming principles and creates a fun educational experience.

Month 9

ACTION RESEARCH BLOG

The methods I used to collect data for cycle 1 of my Action Research project included a quantitive pre and post survey provided via a linked Google Doc.  The qualitative approach I used was informal and formal discussions during and outside of instruction such as online discussions.

The results between my cycle 1 and cycle 2 data are best described as individual.  Given that my pre-survey focused on K-12 classroom teachers who had not yet been formally instructed on media in education and my post-survey reflected results from participants who had been trained on several technology tools to assist them in engaging parents and community members.  Each survey reflected similar questions, therefore, they were comparable and could be synchronized due to the questions asked being relevant of the same intended finding.  For example, the question specifically associated with the limitations and/or obstacles that could be present in implementing a Web 2.0 tool would relate to both K-12 classroom teachers before training and those who had completed training on Web 2.0 tools.  Due to the amount of prior knowledge the participants had about Web 2.0 tools.  In addition, my findings represented 45 participants in the survey provided to K-12 teachers prior to being trained and 28 participants that had completed training.  More information would need to be acquired in order to determine the factors involved in the lack of participation post-training.  In terms of increased communication between parents and teachers.  Cycle 1 data* reflected 54% (26 out of 48) of participants reporting very little to some level of communication with parents.  29% (14 out of 48) reporting no communication and one reporting constant communication with parents.  Whereas, cycle 2 data reflected 18 out of 28 (64%) participants reporting little or some communication and two participants (1%) reporting constant communication with parents.  The remainder being six (21%) who were still reporting no communication with parents.  Overall there appeared to have been an incremental improvement of approximately 10% between cycle 1 and cycle 2 survey participants as it pertained specifically to reporting some communication with parents.

(* denotes that an additional three surveys were considered in this summary versus the cycle 1 reflection data, due to the timing of the blog post)

GSM contributed to my Action Research by providing me with an in depth discussion of the skills, interactions, and applications of games in an educational environment.  In respect to communication it has been widely held that participants who are involved in a game or simulation environment typically develop problem solving skills that encourage them to ask questions and enjoy competitive actions that allow for conversation.  Gaming and the development of games by nature involve multiple components and invite interaction.  If a student or adult learner is involved in a game it is common for them to be involved in a conversation either of their experience (success) or their confusion (lack of ability to overcome an obstacle).  This type of dialogue opens up a new process of engaging student interactions.  When shared or connected to real world learning concepts they can involve a richer discussion of activities or enhance the enthusiasm to participate in learning.  My Action Research project has been specifically impacted by the ability to interact in discussions with others about games currently utilized and expanding the premise of utilizing even more gaming concepts in the future to welcome open and safe environments for competition and learning to happen simultaneously.

Aside

FPE_Capstone Blog Update

May 4, 2012

Cycle One

Change:

After re-evaluating my Action Plan in month 7.  I used the last 30 days to incorporate Blogging into the community I had more contact with in my recent professional career.  The Real Estate Industry has certainly had its fair share of media attention and so I embarked on trying to display alternatives for Real Estate Professionals, Home Owners, and Community members to converse about how or what the market needs or expectations were.  I used the techniques acquired throughout the EMDT program so far to present questions or material in different ways.  Asking questions relating to what was being experience from different perspectives and how it could be distributed or created to increase the participation or support to the community.  I solicited support from industry professionals, friends, and outsiders.  Each participant that I asked agreed to view the site and comment on what related or invoked a thought to them.

What happened: 

Over the course of cycle one I experienced a different level of participation.  It became relevant to me that the ability to support and facilitate the dialogue of my project was being impacted by outside influences.  Busy schedules, emotional conflicts, and disagreement between perspectives and expectations elicited an environment of combativeness versus connectedness.  Real Estate content is certainly a fragile topic given its economic influence and personal impact on communities and during a highly contested debate about future gains or losses of community members, home owners, or financial institutions it was a less than positive experience.  Although there did not appear to be any comments via the blog as it is presented on the web.  There was dialogue informally that led me to continue the project more mindfully.

Future:

In cycle two I will continue to look for participants and present the originally created tracking survey’s.  I will continue to post questions and content that I think could engage viewers to participate formally and hope that they will feel secure in making public comments.  I will look for signs within the group to help engage them or remind them with care that I am intending to offer a conversation that is not just to support my Action Research but that could be helpful to them in some way if they choose.  Cycle two occurs for me this month.  I believe the material I learn in FPE will further hone my skills in being able to actively and accurately assess the success of my Action Research participants or further an understanding of my project on an individual and more personal level.  Maybe if I can find a way to bring a single point of agreement to the table we as a community can work together from there to help others.

Overall, I look forward to continuing my research and my Action Research project and hope to have more tangible results to report at the end of cycle two.

Month 7 MTA

Here is a summary of my progression of my capstone project.  I look forward to providing more updates and information as it happens.

Q:  Are you still on target to complete both implementation activities? If not, why? Analyze any potential hurdles, how do you plan to address these conflicts that may postpone your implementation?

A:  Although my project has taken a new direction in terms of content I am still on track to completing the process by the end of month nine.  Some hurdles involving participation, follow-up, and new content creation still exist; however, I see no reason they cannot be overcome with diligent effort and creative thinking along the way.  I will use a new method of contribution providing participants a way to easily access and make comments to the blog that I have created as well as offer an interesting and diverse collection of information relevant to the participants that are following.  At this time I do not see any thing that will require me to postpone my completion of the project cycles.

Q:  Estimate how long will each implementation take to complete.

A:  Cycle One will be completed between March 27th and April 22nd.  I intend to create and support a minimum of 10 people in an interactive discussion and sharing of Real Estate Data, Services, and Resources.

Cycle Two will commence on April 23rd and continue until May 20th.  I will continue the process, as proven in cycle 1, that are successful and make any necessary changes or updates based on participation and post analysis data.

Q:  Will you be completed with the implementation process by month 9?

A:  Yes, my project implementation will be complete by month nine.  With a firm commitment to ensuring that willing participation is available and my skills and abilities are meaningful and well executed I see, at this point, no reason that this implementation could not be completed barring any unforeseen or unfortunate instances of connectivity.