TJ’s Talk

Chat about teaching, teacher education, business education and lots of other stuff.

Final Project Reflection April 9, 2009

Home page of wiki space

Home page of wiki space

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:

Business Communication



Information Processing

Communication Production Technology


Personal Finance/Consumer Studies


Business Law

International Business


General Business


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 ( 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.


Mentorship Self Assessment April 6, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 1:08 am
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So the second assessment that I need to do for ECMP 355 is the self assessment of my mentorship experience. Compared to my work done blogging and social learning my mentorship contribution was much lower. Here are my posts on mentorship throughout the semester, I know very minimal:

Mentorship Update

“Individually we are one drop.


I did try to make this work, it just did not come together for me. This was in large part to my errors and I will take responsibility for that.I didn’t take the initiative necessary to make this a successful experience, that is all on me, I was too content to wait for instructions and then it was already the end of the semester. Some of my classmates had an exceptional mentorship experience and I commend them for the work that they did to make this happen.

Having said that I know how beneficial a mentorship process could be as I move onto my educating career. Not only beneficial for my students but for myself as well. As I mentioned in an earlier post I plan on using a similar process with an instructor at SIIT and her students. I am also hoping that Dean would consider using me as one of his mentorship classrooms next year for ECMP 355.


Podcasting with the help of a classmate… April 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 5:23 am
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I don’t think that she even knows it, but Amber helped me out a lot when I was trying to figure out how to make a podcast and use Audacity. Thanks Amber! Her how-to blog post was excellent and I read it a few times…oh the power of technology. I had questions, I was able to search out classmates to find the answers…awesome!

Oh there were issues, and I think that I was even close to tears out of the pure frustration that I was feeling from trying to get this done. It frustrates me that it takes sooooo much time for something that is really so simple. I checked Dionne’s blog to and saw her post about Audacity and found out about needing to download LAME to be able to export my sound file to an .MP3 format. Then I had to try and figure out how to get my podcast onto my blog, just one more thing to frustrate me. I couldn’t figure it out so I starting searching the web for how to embed a podcast into WordPress post. I found this which turned me on to Podbean, a free podcast hosting site. So I signed up for that and got my podcast onto the internet. (At this point I am hoping that I am almost done with this tech task…) Then I checked the WordPress FAQs site for how to add audio to my post and came up with this result. Man I hope this works because my level of frustration may have just surpassed Erika’s.

Here is my pod cast about my biggest passion besides my family and my chosen profession (okay it might be close to both of those things, but I promise that I like them more…most of the time!)


Update: So obviously what WordPress said didn’t work so here is a link to my podcast.


Tech Task #3

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 3:54 am
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I know that this probably looks a little out of place, but I missed this tech task, now to go back to completing it. In tech task #3 we had to add blogs to our Google Reader (which I did, it was the next part that I missed) and then blog about something we had read from one of the educators blogs we had added. notgoodenough1notgoodenoughnotgoodenough

The blog post that I would like to comment on is that by Cool Cat Teacher on sharing what you can. I found this post interesting because I always find myself thinking that I am not posting on my blog enough. It is not even a matter of quantity that I find myself having a problem with it is the matter of quality. I am thinking, not only am I not writing that much but what am I writing that anyone would want to read. Would I read my own blog posts if I wasn’t me?

Twitter is much the same way, I can see the possibilities that are there and it is not that I dislike it at all. I just wonder what I have to say that other people are going to want to read, and I get caught up in trying to find something to say that I think is worth saying/reading and I really end up not updating that much.

Anyways back to Cool Cat Teacher, the line that I really liked from this post said:

Share what you can, when you can and that is enough.

Great line, so true. I can only write on my blog when I both have the time and feel motivated to write. I don’t want to write about a bunch of nothing, I want to be passionate or at least have some feelings about what I am writing, I want to have an opinion and feel the need to express it. And that is enough, for me that is enough. I found these words encouraging for me, they reminded me that I can only do so much with my online identity when there are so many other things going on in my life. Things that just have to be a priority. In the post, Cool Cat Teacher, talks about how reading to her child every night has become the priority to blogging at night. Exactly as it should be.  Technology and online presence are important, there is no doubt, however there are so many physical world things that are more important and it is important to know this and find that balance. We have talked about this balance in many of our online ECMP classes, how do you balance learning in the physical world with learning in the digital world?

Then there is the idea regarding comparing yourself to others:

Don’t let your self-comparison of yourself to others let you get down and quit.

My best is good enough. The fact that there is room for me to grow as a digital learner and contributor is a good thing. I am still learning, I am still mastering this process, I will get better. Until then, my best is good enough!

Thanks Cool Cat Teacher, just what I needed!


Mentorship Update April 1, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 5:26 am
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My mentorship project for ECMP 355 has been sorely lacking…due to my own issues and downfalls. I received an email today from Eldon Germann, one of my mentorship teachers, telling me about the projects his students were blogging about. Digital citizenship/responsibility/safety are all things that are important to me, as you might have noticed from prior posts. I was excited to see that Mr. Germann’s students were learning about these issues! – Here is an example of some of the student’s work! I really like the first picture, very colourful, gets my attention and it gets the message across. (For some reason it will not embed so a link will have to be good enough)

Here are some of the comments that I have been making on the student’s blogs:



mentorship-picture2Most of the students were also blogging about their Google Readers and their favourite sites that they subscribe to. Many of the students expressed their favorite as being a celebrity gossip site. I guess it never even crossed mygossip-comment1 mind that this would exist. I posed some questions to the students about what they think of this site, is it just gossip, is there any truth…those kinds of things.

celebrity-gossip-postI pose this question to all of you, not really sure of the answer myself…are sites like these just a form of cyber bullying?

So that is the newest update on my mentorship, there should be a few more over the next week or so!


Final Project Update March 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 1:51 am
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So the final project for ECMP 355 is coming along pretty well. I have mostly finished my part of the Business Education PLC that we have been developing on wikispaces. Here are some screen shots of one of the pages that I have been working on:




At the SBTA Annual Conference this past weekend we started the next phase of the project. Getting the wikispace out to Business Education teachers so that they can use the resources and add their own to the project. This is probably the most important part of the project as we really want to get this page to be a learning community for Business Education teachers. We want it to be a place where we can come together, share resources, and communicate best practices with one another. We want it to go beyond the realm of just creating a wikispace for a class project, it has been designed in a way that we think will be useful for Business Educators in the field, and that is very important to us as we work on the project.

If you go to the Business Education PLC you will notice that it is not yet complete, there is a group of 6 of us working on this project and although some people have completed their work not all parties are done yet. The deadline has been set for March 31 so the expectation is that everyone will be done their peices by this time. Then the second phase of the project really takes shape. We will get the wikispace out there to other Business Education teachers and associations using email, Twitter, and other social networking sites. The site will be opened up and anyone will be able to add their resources to the wikispace, further expanding the number of resources and teaching ideas that will be available through this wikispace.

I am going to be doing a post over the next few days about the joys and sorrows of working in groups, I think that this is an important topic – not only in terms of this project but also in terms of being a classroom teacher. Stay tuned!


“Individually we are one drop.

Filed under: Uncategorized — tjordan @ 12:46 am
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Together we are an ocean.” – Ryunosuke Satoro

As part of ECMP 355, each of us was given two classes (at a minimum) to mentor. Some people are having amazing success with their mentorship project, others not so much. I fall into that latter category. From what I have been reading in her blog, Robin has been having a good experience. You can see Marcy’s experience here and here,  Christa’s here, Dione’s tutorial for her mentorship class here. There are many more that I could share that are really connecting with their mentorship classes.

working-togetherUnfortunately for me this connection has not happened for me, partly because of my own shortcomings. Living in my small town for the majority of the time over the last three weeks has meant that I only have access to slow dial-up internet. While I love spending time at home, not having access to the internet is a challenge that I am not sure I could deal with on a large scale…yes I know that may sound silly but when you have things that need to get done (papers, assignments, tech tasks, etc) not having the internet is a challenge. Throw in getting a new puppy, having to move three times over the next month (including from the home we lived in for 14 years), having to put my dog down, painting in my brother’s new house, and tyring to get ready for my competitive golf season and I have barely had time to sit and think over the last thee weeks. Okay enough of my rant, back to the mentorship thing.

I was at the Saskatchewan Business Teachers’ Association Annual Conference this past weekend and had a great time reconnecting with many of the teachers that I have met over the last four years of my education. Not only that I was able to get back to my old stomping grounds, A.E. Peacock in Moose Jaw where I completed my internship. While there I was talking to an instructor from the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) about the job that I have taken for the fall teaching in Northern Saskatchewan. She teaches 100% Aboriginal students, I will be teaching probably very close to 100% Aboriginal students. We put our heads together and all of a sudden we are talking about how we can connect these two populations. I have heard many times how Aboriginal students do not see role models of their own cultural background in schools or in successful positions. While I may not be able to directly give that to them as a white female, maybe this connection with Aboriginal students at the post-secondary level would give them that opportunity. The SIIT instructor also thought that this would be an excellent experience for both groups of students and this might be able to happen through blogs. Each student could create their own blog and then be paired up to work on projects across the distances or they could just communicate through their blogs. There are nine SIIT locations across the province that I could make connections with for my students, possibly in different areas of interest for my students. Ideally if I end up teaching any Business Education classes there would be an awesome partnership as they focus on business and technology courses. Even if I don’t end up teaching Business Education classes I think there is a real possibility here to make an awesome connection for my students.

I also think that this will be an awesome experience for me, the SIIT instructor taught in Prince Albert for 5 years and has been at SIIT since leaving there. Her entire education career has been made up teaching mostly Aboriginal students. I am a new teacher that will be in a new world up North, in a setting that will be totally new. Not only will my students be engaged in a mentorship project but I will be too. I will be able to share my experiences with the SIIT isntructor and she can do the same for me. I can learn from the experiences that she has had teaching Aboriginal students. What a great resource for me to have in my first years of teaching, or throughout my career. Also connecting with her students maybe I can get some insight into what they found successful in their education careers, I can get some pointers on how to incorporate Aboriginal perspectives, how to approach elders, etc. The possibilities are endless! And these posisbilities have left me very excited about what next year will hold and the success that I can have in my first year of teaching.

I am sure that there are going to be growing pains, that there will be trials and tribulations, that there will be great successes as well. But  that is part of being an educator, part of taking risks to be a better teacher and make learning more engaging for my students, part of wanting to make a difference. So it will start in the fall…I will keep you updated!

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