Today I will be sharing my mid year presentation of learning or mPOL. The focus of my mPOL is to have an opportunity to improve as a learner and be able to reflect back on some of the projects from the beginning of the year to see what I can improve in my performance. At the beginning of the year I found I was often struggling with keeping up with all the different assignments. We tracked these using the apps Showbie and Basecamp which outlined everything I was supposed to be learning.
Now that I have gotten used to the apps and the process of checking-in with the Milestones which highlight step-by-step progress, and I find that by checking assignments everyday, I have started to be much more proficient with doing these things. I now find the apps really help me to stay on track. As a bonus, they are always available for reference whenever I am stuck on something which helps me to keep going.
One example of forgetting assignments that I needed to complete was with the Student Blogging Challenge. I found it really hard to keep up with all the due dates as I wasn’t checking the due dates as often as I should have in Basecamp and when I did, I often could not find the exact details of the assignment that I was looking for. For the first few weeks I did not know where to hand-in my work, so I missed the due dates.
I also never got a spot to be public in the Google form, so I was not able to have anybody else look at my blog. Whenever I got stuck, instead of looking in Basecamp I would just look at other people’s blogs and then tried to see what they were doing differently than me. When I saw that everybody else was getting tons of people to look at their blog and there were even views from people in Australia and yet I wasn’t even getting a single person to look at my blog it was really upsetting. It actually made me un-motivated to continue with the Student Blogging Challenge. Eventually, I went to my mom who had helped my brother do the Student Blogging Challenge and she asked me if I looked in Basecamp for the instructions. I said, “no” and then she said that I had to look in Basecamp for the details.
I felt like such an idiot for not thinking about that! She showed me exactly where to look, then I started to get people to come visit my blog. I finally felt good about it. I started handing things in correctly online which allowed people from around the world to read what I had spent so much time producing. It was really satisfying when people took the time to comment and ask questions about what I wrote. I felt so good when I looked at my notifications one morning and saw that I had gotten my first visitor. I immediately showed my mom and she said, “I told you that you needed to look in Basecamp.” That was when I really took it to heart that I could just look in Basecamp if I was ever stuck on the instructions for something.
Another thing that I struggled with was the project entitled: The Media is the Message. This was the very first project and being totally new to both High School and PLP, I didn’t quite know what to expect. When we read out what we were going to learn, I admit, I started to tune out since I was thinking about my future, and if high school was going to be fun, and if PLP was the right thing to join since the workload started immediately in the first few days. So I definitely didn’t get much out of that start. Then when it was time to do some work. I feel I started out ok and with good intentions, but as the work started to build up with all the different assignments: the Big Life Journal for Maker, Fractions of your Time for Scimatics, and Media is the Message for Humanities; it was really hard to decide what I needed to do and when.
Some of my assignments where easy and I thought that I could do them in like an hour or so, but boy was I wrong! It took a much longer time to do some of the assignments and others only took around 30 minutes. I was a little confused on how to plan as there was such a big difference in the time required to do different assignments. I started to cram in multiple assignments on the last day that we had to complete them. Whenever I got feedback, I would just put it aside and then work on finishing the next project. Soon the work was too much to keep up with this work practice. I handed many things in late but whenever I got feedback and was expected to revise things, I forgot about them as it felt so overwhelming. I didn’t listen to the feedback to make my work better. I believe my primary problem was that I didn’t ask for help when I got behind.
It was also hard for me to make decisions on simple things with designing the ads for Media is the Message. As a result an assignment that should have taken around an hour would take me two or three hours. Here is the blog post that I produced for the project Media is the Message.
I have had a lot of ups-and-downs in PLP. Something that I believe demonstrates this was the Oregon field study. I really struggled in Oregon. Some of the time I really remember what I learned, other times it is a bit of a blur. One of my key issues was that I forgot to take my ADHD medications. These are critical for my ability to focus. It can be nearly impossible for me to focus on one thing without them, so a trip with so much going on was understandably extra challenging. I know I was very inconsistent with my focus.
It was hard to complete parts of assigned activities such as zip-lining. I literally wasn’t in the right mindset. When there was a zip-line that was high up, I didn’t think that the ropes would hold me. I have always been afraid of heights, so this made my thoughts go mad! All I was thinking about was all the things that could go wrong! I had thoughts about the rope snapping or my harness unbuckling, etc. so I didn’t think that I could do them so I didn’t. It really bothers me to this day, I still feel bad about it as I know that my own brain stopped me from doing something that would have been really fun. This was a very strong reminder to me that I have to program alarms into my devices so I don’t ever forget to take my medication. I need to take responsibility for being my best and giving myself the tools to do it.
During the Oregon trip, we had to write a book about our experiences. We had plenty of time over the trip and we had a few days after so I thought that I could just do it at home quick and easy. Then I remembered that we had to write a blog post about the trip as well and embed our book into it. When I handed in the blog post, I was asked to revise it and so I did a whole new blog post. Here is the link to the Oregon blog post if you would like to know more.
On the other hand, some of the things that I did well over Oregon was getting to know much more about my class peers. This was really important as so much of PLP involves group projects. Now when I have group projects with any of them, I am able to relate to them in one way or another from our shared experience.
One project I think I did really well on was my Blue Sky Star Wars project because I was really engaged. I had a great deal of fun with my research. I have always been a really big Star Wars fan. I did well because I was becoming comfortable using Basecamp and Showbie so I was really able to use that to my advantage. I was always able stay on top of things. I had a plan in place for exactly how much I needed to do each day. I was also having fun with making a full set of Mandalorian armour for my project which makes it even easier to complete. If you would like to know more that project, here is my blog post about the Star Wars Exhibition
So overall, I think I had a bit of a rough start. I have learned a great deal about how I can use the available tools to make it easier to manage. Looking back, I think I’m in a very different place mentally and am much more comfortable with the program, asking for help and knowing how I work best. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year.
Thank you for listening to my mPOL blog post!