So the final project has been completed! Yah!
For my final project I collaborated with five other students, all involved with Business Education either as a major or a minor. Josh LeBlanc, Michael Knight, Megan Charlton, Dave Campbell, Jeff Kitts and I started working on this project back in January as it doubled as an assignment for another class 5 of us were taking. What we decided to do was create a wiki space that would act as a professional learning community (PLC) for business educators.
Some of you might be asking why business education? (Hold on this might turn into a bit of a story…) When I started in the Faculty of Education I was a Physical Education major and Chemistry minor. Then I found out that they would not transfer my chemistry classes from previous post secondary institutions so I changed to a Business Education minor because of my background in a management program at SIAST and ability to transfer some classes. I then added Health Education as a minor because I only needed to take two extra classes to achieve this. When I entered my pre-internship year (third year) I started to realize where my real passion lie. Business Education made sense to me, I related to the material, I was involved in the student organization for Business Education, I was attending provincial and Regina based meetings for Business Educators. I felt connected, I felt that I belonged. I began to think about my pre-internship and ultimately my internship and what I wanted these experiences to be like. How did I want to spend my career. So I applied to chance my major to Business Education and have Physical Education and Health as my minors. From that time I have not looked back, I have been on the executive for the student organization for two years, as well as the executive for the pronvincial organization. I have attended conferences in Canada and in the U.S. on Business Education, I have made presentations at conferences on the importance of Business Education, and my next goal is to re-establish the national business education association in Canada, CABET (Canadian Assocation of Business Education Teachers).
As I am so passionate about Business Education, I am not okay with the current direction of the field. Josh LeBlanc has posted about the present state of Business Education in Regina specifically. I am going to make every attempt to make sure that Business Education stays in our schools and hopefully becomes even more prevelant. I see the wiki space that we have created as one step to doing this.
The Business Education PLC came to life with the six of us brainstorming the different subject areas that are considered Business Education. Here is the list:
Communication Production Technology
Personal Finance/Consumer Studies
Once we brainstormed all of the subject areas that we wanted to include we split them amongst the 6 of us. This was challenging, as working in a group usually is. Trying to be sure that everyone does their fair share of the work was difficult and frustrating for me. Knowing that your mark relies on the work of others, or even that your work will give them a mark bothers me. I don’t believe that working in a group should mean that everyone deserves the same mark or that some people can just tag along for the ride. Heard the saying that there is one of those in every group? This may be true but something that I have learned through my education is how to stand up for myself so that I am not being taken advantage of in a group setting. In the end, everything ended up working out just fine. Everyone did their work and the project has been completed.
Each page listed above contains a variety of resources that we added to start the sharing process. Some of the resources that were included are: curriculum guides, videos, games, lesson plans, and more! We set the requirements for what needed to be put on each page. Then it was up to the individual to search the web or their resources to meet these requirements. Some were more challenging than others to find as many of these subject areas do not have Saskatchewan based curricula so this required some in-depth searching online to access curriculum in other jurisdictions.
Although most of the work could have been completed independently we did have a couple of meetings to make sure that everyone was on the same page. A couple of us also got together to finish our parts of the assignment. We shared resources and bounced ideas off each other to come up with the resources for our page.
The home page was also created to explain the purpose of the wiki space, and to invite people to join and contribute. Josh also created a Memberships and Associations page. This page gives a list of all the different Business Education associations across North America, complete with links to their websites or contact information.
Now that the first part of the project has been completed, the second part needs to begin. The second part of the project is the real challenging part. The whole idea for this project is to not only create a wiki space with resources for business education but also to get other educators to join the wiki space, use the resources available there and contribute their own. For that reason our wiki space has a public setting so that anyone can update the pages to add their resources. Trying to get the wiki space address out there and getting others to join has now become the focus of the project. I have invited people that I have email contacts for through the wiki space invite people option. I have also contacted Dr. Cyril Kesten at the University to ask that he send out the link to his Business Education mailing list. This has been completed and we have had a few members join from this email. I have also tweeted out the wiki space address to the people that follow me inviting any of them to view, join and contribute to the wiki.
I am hoping that this project will not only allow me and my classmates to share resources but also that other professionals will join us in sharing. There are so many great resources out there, why reinvent the wheel? Also I think that this project is a way to bring Business Educators together so that we can collaborate on a common ground. Also it makes connection for future plans, like CABET.
I think that there is great potential for this wiki space to be used in the future by Business Educators in the field of those in training. I will continue to encourage people to join and I will continue to contribute myself.What we have created here can be used for practical purposes for years to come.
Working on this project was not only fun, we also created a useful resource for all Business Education teachers. This project not only enhanced my knowledge of wiki space but I was also able to use my searching skills and some of the tools that we learned about in class.
Collaboration was a big part of this class and creating this wiki space not only allowed me to collaborate with my peers, but it will give me the opportunity to collaborate with other Business Educators and expand my learning network. It has been a really good experience; I look forward to seeing how far this will go, to expanding my learning network, and to continuing to collaborate with other professionals.
Wiki spaces is not a difficult technology tool to use. One of my frustrations with this tool however is the inability or the struggle to make a wiki space visually appealing. There are a lot of limits to what you are able to do visually with wiki spaces. I did find this site recently, through one of my contacts on Twitter, Getting Tricky with Wikis. This site gives step by step instructions on how to do different things with a wiki space, like adding a table of contents, managing the space, coloured text boxes and many more. I wish that I had this site before we had started our wiki space as it explains how to do many of the things that would make the page more specific to our topic, be more visually pleasing and unique. Now that I do have it however, I am going to go back and try to make some changes to our wiki space to try out some of these options that I did not know of prior to finding this link.
Any questions feel free to comment on my blog, comment on the home page of the wiki space or email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Josh, Megan and Mike all posted about our project as well, read their posts for their insights on the project, on Business Education, and on the future of our subject area.