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Memorandum

 

To:            Donna Shea, Instructor

From:        Phil Fournier

Date:        10/27/2004

Subject:    WR4 Professional Plan for Personal Technology Development

I signed up for EVOC 519 primarily because I need the course for my BVE degree, but I also wanted to learn something about website development.

I began my expansion into computer technology nearly simultaneously with my branch into teaching.The first computer that my wife and I shared was a dual floppy disk machine with no hard drive that cost $1,000.(Just today I ordered a machine with about 1000 times the power from Dell computer for use as a file server in my business for just over $900!)This first computer had a very simple word processing program and I began using it to write my lesson plans for my first teaching class.I recall my one year old daughter toddling around me as I worked the keyboard and taking a whack at it with her little baby hand.This froze the computer and I sat there and stared at all my work on the screen which I had no way to save!So, we live and learn, and learning to save work often is one of those skills that has current day application, in spite of technology advances (like auto-save)!The computer saved my skin during those early days, when I lacked nearly every skill that a teacher should have, and was called upon to design a brand new course and be the first one to teach it.My department head gave me a bootleg copy of the venerable Word Star 4.0 program, a DOS based word processor that allowed me to do some decent word processing, though its graphics capabilities were just about zero.Since those early days I have continually worked on improving my computer skills, including a staff development course that taught me enough about desktop publishing to design my own newsletter using Microsoft Publisher.I continued my education by taking several courses in the use of Microsoft Office at MSJC and by studying programs I bought on CD.I also took advantage of PowerPoint mini-courses offered during California Automotive Teacherís conferences.†† While I still donít consider myself to be particularly proficient with PowerPoint, I have designed several seminars of my own using the program.As to my expectations in starting 519, my hope was to learn something more about using graphics and photos in my presentations, as well as learning how to use software to develop web pages.

 

As to my future goals in the use of technology, I really would like to continue learning PowerPoint, in particularly, the ability to insert digital video into presentations.I still feel myself deficient after years of learning and using Word and would like to continue to improve.Web page publishing is also of great interest to me.After taking the 501 and 519 classes, I am thoroughly impressed with how the internet can be used to greatly enhance student learning.The e-text is marvelous and makes all kinds of sense as a textbook that can be access from anywhere there is internet access.At present, the lack of universal use of the internet is still a drawback that would prejudice an all-internet system against a number of my students, particularly those who are low income. (You have to understand that about one half of my students delay buying the textbook for several weeks into the class due to money constraints.) Still, it would be of great benefit to be able to post assignments and projects for those who could make use of them.I am hoping to start the process with this 519 and continue to build on what I learn here for the future.

 

As to a time-line and specifics on how I intend to accomplish my goals of improving and building upon my use of technology, I will have to be realistic.I am a serious over-achiever and have a driven personality.I am happiest when I am really busy and right now I am REALLY busy.I run my own small business as both the president and the lead technician.I am taking eight units from CSUSB and hope to continue to do so for the next two quarters, possibly three, and I need to focus on the EVOC courses.I am going to Chicago next Saturday for a week to do automotive instruction in Spanish.I have also committed to writing a technical article, due by November 12th, on BMW cars, which I know very little about and I suspect my editor will continue to ask me for more.I also write a weekly Bible study in Spanish which I send out via e-mail and serve as editor for a Spanish periodical.I am scheduled to teach on Friday nights at MSJC in the spring semester, and Standard Motor Parts wants to schedule me for six weeks of teaching during 2005.Given that schedule, any work I do on development of my skills in the use of computer technology is going to have to take a temporary back seat.Nevertheless, Iím pretty good at squeezing things in here and there, and Dr. Pendleton has given me this website address http://aimtechtraining.com/ which has online training for a number of programs that I would like to improve at, namely PowerPoint, Word, and Front Page.I donít dare start right now, or I will get wrapped up in it and not be able to shake myself free to do the stuff I have to do.But if I donít take the online health course during the December break, or try to squeeze in a trip to Venezuela, I will make it a goal to begin the online course in one of the three programs mentioned above in December.Anything beyond that is going to have to wait for at least two years while I continue my goal of reaching my BE by June, 2006.

 

As to the improvement of 519, my suggestion would simply be that the course be modified into modules, or else available in both a beginning and advanced version.I could see during the times I came to class that the students who were attending had only very basic computer skills and needed the skill set offered in the current 519 curriculum.For myself, I would have liked to take just the Front Page portion and had the option to do some advanced stuff with PowerPoint.However, in the current format of the three options, there is lots of flexibility for those who already have most of the competencies.

 

 

Shady, you might want to correct this sentence on the website:

http://www.etext.net/etexts2/She519/Trad%20option/Instructions/WR4.htm

Although all of collective your suggestions may not be immediate implemented for any number of reasons, each suggestion received is given consideration and maintained for further reviews.