Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Observation as Professional Development

I've had the opportunity to visit several colleagues' classes this semester. It was a privilege for me to sit in on a variety of different disciplines that are not my direct area of expertise across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

I've volunteered to serve as a peer mentor, which means I sit in on another professor's class to help him or her think about the teaching and learning happening there. There are a small team of us who are doing this. We began by visiting each others' classes and practicing some techniques for providing feedback. We explored different things we can look for, such as tracking the level of questions being asked, mapping the interactions taking place, capturing student engagement (check out their body English--it speaks!), or even just the gestalt "what's-it-like-being-in-this-class?" from an outsider's perspective.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Back to Writing

It's been almost a month since my last post.

I've thought about writing something, and I've even started a few "pieces of string"--just capturing a few rough thoughts as a pre-write for a post--but I just haven't had it in me to write anything of any substance lately.

It just hit me: I think I had some writing fatigue.

Duh?

I've written so much over the past four years during my doctoral work, and especially this past nine months as I've been working on my dissertation, that maybe I just needed some time not-writing.

Friday, March 17, 2017

I'm a Doctor

"Do you feel different?"

One of my colleagues stopped by my office, and after a quick word of congratulations, this was his question. It was interesting to think about this. I successfully defended my dissertation earlier in the week. I am now "Dr. Mulder." Do I feel different now that I have the title?

A photo of me with my committee immediately after my dissertation defense.
We were in three different cities for the defense meeting...ah, online learning!

I guess my honest answer is...a hesitant yes.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Why Science Education Is Essential

I stumbled onto this great image online earlier today...

Thanks, someecards...

As a former middle school science teacher, I heartily agree. In a society that relies more and more on science and technology, I find it fascinating (and disheartening) to see such an anti-science, and even anti-knowledge sentiment so prevalent in our culture. It's perfectly acceptable to be seen as ignorant, and in some cases it's even lauded.

Don't believe me?

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Finishing Well

The end is in sight!

For regular readers, you will likely know that I am currently studying in the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) program in Educational Technology at Boise State University. I cannot tell you what a phenomenal experience this has been for me over the past four years.

I recently submitted my dissertation to my committee, and my final defense meeting is scheduled. This is the culmination of my studies, and I can hardly believe that I am at this point! In fact, as I think about it, I'm now curious how many of my friends and relatives don't actually know the process I've been working through in my doctoral work. So, here it is in a nutshell, for those who are interested...

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Learning from Students

My Twitterfriend, Maggie Bolado (@mrsbolado) shared this image the other day. I love it! She gave me permission to use it for this blog post. (Thanks a bunch, Maggie!)

Image by Maggie Bolado. Used with permission.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Feedback: Timely, Specific, and Actionable

It has been an incredibly busy season of writing for me lately. My dissertation is coming together, and in fact, I have finished writing all five chapters! That doesn't mean the work is complete, however. There are ongoing edits, and then the preparation for the defense when there is a "final" document ready. But it feels really, really good to be at this point.

The best part of being "finished" is that there now is THE THING that can be addressed for the edits. My advisor has been fantastic throughout this process: he gives me feedback that is timely, specific, and actionable, and the turn-around for his comments on each draft has been amazing. I am able to see the strengths and weaknesses of different sections of my writing, where the ideas are solid, and where I need to rethink things. Each draft I work through is a little better than the last, and I am confident that the next draft is going to be even better than the last one I submitted. (At this point, it feels like there is always a "next draft"...but I know the time is coming when it's going to be good enough.)

My writing desk...it's getting worse, but the writing is getting better...

This experience has me thinking about the way teachers provide feedback to their students.