Friday, February 11, 2011

Just ask!

One of my mantras in life is, "If you don't know, ask!" Yes, I was that kid in school. The one where everyone else is ready to move on and probably understands already, and school was over 2 minutes ago, and my hand goes up. Groans all around. [Many moments of embarrassment are based on this situation. But I digress.]

True, this is an irritating habit, but it solves problems, and it is even more beneficial as an adult. (I have become a little less irritating to others, thanks to Google :-)) Asking helps me find out what's going on at the airport when we can't figure out what the issue is, in grad school when I don't understand my assignment for the next week, and at the restaurant when I don't understand where that obscure $20 charge came from. (In fact, with customer service issues, I include the additional "Call a real person and ask." I'm telling you, it gets stuff done.)

The most recent way this habit has been helpful to me was a few days ago. I was to be meeting with the other district Photojournalism teachers. It ended up being just me and one other teacher, but we covered a lot of ground. We were showing examples of student work, and she showed me a slideshow of student photos in movie format. I asked how she had done this, because my students were creating photo essays, and I'd been attempting to have them upload everything to, but this was not working particularly well. (This was from no fault of Edublogs, but some of my 8th grade classes are not geniuses at following long sets of instructions.)

She explained that she had the students create the actual slideshow file within iPhoto, display captions through the settings bar, and then export it as an .m4v file. This sounded WAY easier to me, so I tried it the next day with my classes. Just to put the next statement in context, the previous day the old method had gotten classes maybe 1/3 of the way finished with the project. As I took these students through the process, step by step on the IWB, I was floored at how simple and quick it was. In 10 minutes, most students had completed the entire project. Done. Unbelievable. :-) (I'll post one sometime soon.) So, next time your frustrated with something, ASK and see if there's a better way. There probably is! :-)