Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Possible Interview Questions and My Answers

In Interview Questions for Schools going 1:1 from The Thinking Stick , Jeff shared questions he will use in an interview. Even though I’m not in the schools right now, I thought it would be good to practice answering these. First of all, it will help me focus on what I believe in about technology and education. It will also help me look to the future in what I would like to accomplish. I think this would be a good thing to reflect on at least once a year. Here are his questions and how I would like to answer them.

What computer platform are you most comfortable with, Mac, PC or Tablet?

I am most comfortable using a PC but very comfortable trying other platforms because I love to learn new things and compare them with what I already know.

Why do you want to work in a 1:1 school?

I think it would be awesome to work in a 1:1 school and wish all schools could be that way. This environment opens so many doors for our students and would enable me to teach according to their needs. We would be able to get away from the cookie cutter learning and it would allow the students to explore and create on a daily basis.

What particular challenges and learning opportunities excite you about working in a 1:1 school like ours?

I think the challenges would include finding out where each student is at this point in their learning and see what direction they should go in. l would want the students to learn how to create, connect and collaborate but first I would need to know what basics they know. I would not want to overwhelm them with my excitement and ideas.

Being able to look up information and resources on the web is an important skill. Explain how you go about looking up information on the web. How do you verify that the information you found is trustworthy and of use to you and your students?

I use Google to search for information but I also use my network on Plurk and Twitter to find new resources. I read many blogs by other educators to stay current on topics in education.
The source of the information is very important for finding trustworthy information. I look at government and education sites (.gov and .edu) for reliable information (of course that means “what the government wants you to believe and know). I would explain that wikis can be edited by users and may not actually be factual.
(Actually this question made me realize that I do not know enough about verifying whether information is trustworthy enough and will need to learn more about this so if you have suggestions on how I can do that, please share this with me).

Knowing we are a 1:1 school and that we expect students to use their laptops for learning. What is something that you would start learning and thinking about today to prepare you for this new learning environment?

First I would decide on the topic that I plan to teach and then think of which tools the students can use to learn this topic. I would look at blogging, wikis, Voicethread, podcasting, Skype, and other tools that might be available to them. I really like project based learning so I would want to present them with the project and ask them to input what tools would be needed. There may be some that they mention that other students want to learn how to use also.

At what times do you feel that it would be appropriate to have “lids down”? When do you believe a laptop is not a tool for appropriate use?

I think that it would be appropriate to have “lids down” if we are practicing listening skills. Other than that, I have no problems with backchanneling because I would be monitoring it. I think backchanneling would help many who are too shy to ask for help in front of the larger audience. Since I really believe in project based learning instead of traditional testing, cheating would not be a concern of mine.

How comfortable are you with using online resources in your classroom? What are some resources you have used in the past? How have your found these resources?

I would share my Wiki page (http://loonyhiker2.pbwiki.com/) that lists many different resources that I am comfortable with. I would also show personal examples of how I have used them. Most of these resources I have learned from my PLN which consists of reading other blogs, emails, plurk, and twitter.

Tell me how you think the future you are preparing children for will be different? We need to move away from traditional teaching and work with our students in the world they will be facing. This involves not just using the tools of today but also knowing how to find new tools and how to prepare to learn how to use them. We don’t know what will be out there in the future but we need to teach our students how to find them and how to learn how to use them when they do find them. We can do this by modeling this behavior in our own lives and including them in our own learning process.

How often do you/have you taken part in technology Professional Development opportunities?

I think being a teacher involves lifelong learning so I take part in this on a daily basis. Since I read blogs, plurk, and twitter daily, I am always learning something new in my profession. As for formal professional development, I attend Council for Exceptional Children state and national conventions. I have also attended seminars in Second Life where I have learned about new tools or new strategies. I attended the Educon 2.0 conference sessions and K12online conference virtually.

Do you read any professional magazines or educational blogs as part of your own PD?

If so, which ones? I use Google Reader and have a multitude of educational blogs that I follow and read. I also read Teaching Exceptional Children journals on a regular basis.

Do you have an RSS reader? If so, what do you subscribe to?

Yes, I use Google Reader.

Do you belong to any online communities?

Yes. I use Plurk, Twitter, Ning, Facebook, Plaxo, Google and Yahoo groups.

Do you have a Personal Learning Network? If so, can you tell me a story of how you learn from your network?

I first started reading blogs and found out about Twitter which I joined. From there, I heard about Educon 2.0 in Philadelphia which I attended virtually. The more I connected on twitter, the more resources and information I learned about. I also learned about Plurk from twitter which helped my PLN grow enormously. I learn new things on a daily basis from my PLN and can’t imagine teaching without them.

How often do others come to you for guidance in using technology? Do you offer guidance when not asked? If so, describe how you did this recently?

Many colleagues as well as personal friends come to me for help with technology. I sometimes offer suggestions on things that might help them but I hope I do it in a way that I don’t come off sounding like a “know it all.” Recently I was sharing about Voicethread and how effective it can be used in the classroom. This prompted the teacher to recommend that I come to her school for a full day teacher workshop to share some of my knowledge.

Original image: 'Introduction to monstering' http://www.flickr.com/photos/76074333@N00/318034222


Pam Shoemaker said...

Great questions (and answers)! Looks like many could be used as discussion starters during professional development sessions.

loonyhiker said...

Pam: That is a great idea! I like that.

stoneTeacher said...

Pat, thanks for sharing. Simon Brown

loonyhiker said...

Simon: I think this helps keep me on my toes and not become complacent about what I do.

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