Dec 132010

No, I’m not talking about doing yoga in my teeny tiny apartment, as was recently suggested when I mentioned this phrase (you know who you are). I’m talking about this final week I’m heading into right now, the last days of my life as an M.A. student.

On Friday, I presented my thesis at the NYU ECT M.A. Colloquium. The event was livestreamed (thanks sava!) and recorded. At some point I will take the video recording and sync it with my Keynote slides and put it all into one pretty movie and post it here or on my main site. But it’ll take a bit of time because:

  1. I’m not done yet, and
  2. I haven’t used iMovie since early 2009 and .. uhh.. it’s rather different now and I’m slightly intimidated, so it is going to be a bit of a learning curve.[1]

Anyway, my presentation went surprisingly well, and I was (am?) quite pleased with myself. In the days and hours before, I had rehearsed it but not nearly enough. I was crazy nervous. I’ve been a teacher for a long time and have also given many workshops to teacher peers, but I have never before stood in one spot and talked for 30 minutes.  (Which, btw, is a bit ridiculous — I’m not sure anyone needs to hear me talk for 30 minutes. I’d so much rather do something with an audience!) Anyway, when I was rehearsing, nothing came out right. I’d get to a slide and completely forget what I wanted to say, or I’d use the wrong word, or I’d jump ahead, or say something off-the-cuff that I shouldn’t, and so on. I was thinking I was going to be a bit of a disaster. Even in the moments leading up to when I got behind that podium (I hate podiums!) and my computer, my heart was beating insanely. I was sure it was going to leap out of my chest and land on the floor in front of me. I had to have a glass of wine to calm down — not even joking. (It helped.)

But somehow, the minute Francine Suchat Shaw introduced me[2] and I began to speak, everything was fine. My heart was still pounding but somehow my mouth knew exactly what to say and how to say it, and my brain did a mighty fine job at pacing, too. At times it felt like someone else was speaking, not me. It was a bit like an out-of-body experience, and watching myself on video later it feels like that even more.

I’m glad it went well — I feel really good about it. Friday was a huge high. :)

However, as I said above, I’m not done yet. I still have to finish my thesis document (that is a design document, and will be roughly 40 pages-ish — my estimate, anyway) and then write two independent study papers. Eek. Yeah, a bit to do.

Worse, in all of the frenzied nervous activity and excitement on Friday, I somehow lost my NYU ID card. Yeah, less than a week to go and I lose it now. Nice, huh? Have to pay for a new one, too. What that meant was that all weekend I was essentially “locked out” of NYU buildings — including the library, where my locker is which contains all my research documents and books. I could have worked on my thesis document a bit, I admit, but I pretty much just turned into a lazy sloth all weekend and vegged out at home, sleeping and getting some much-needed house cleaning done. I also find it quite difficult to do any intense work at home because there is so much else to do there. Not to mention my cat is always clambering onto my lap or shoulders. Anything beyond reading or note-taking is not really going to get done in this space. So, really– I did nothing all weekend.

I’m not feeling too guilty about that, honestly — I know my body needed the sleep and goodness knows my apartment needed to be cleaned. But it’s going to be a very intense week ahead.

Here we go! See you on the other side!

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  1. [1] In the meantime, you can access my Keynote slides here.
  2. [2] For anyone who was wondering, the correct phonetic pronunciation of my surname is Mi-KET-tee. In Italian, “ch” is pronounced like a hard “c” in English.
 13 December, 2010  Posted by at 2:21 am Academia, On the Personal Side, ThesisLand Tagged with: , , ,  3 Responses »
Nov 122010

So here’s the thing:

I’ve been meaning to write for a long time.*

Since my last post (egads– scary how long it’s been), I have written 6 drafts. Yes, 6. The most recent of those I did in May of this year, and it’s a doozy (stay tuned — it involves some post-reflection reflection — how’s that for getting meta?). But I haven’t published any of them. Why? I present to you… The Excuses:

  • Because I’m not good at publishing without revision. (Should I be? is this a Web 2.0/3.0/21st c. skill I want?)
  • Because I didn’t have time.
  • Because I’ve been too busy.
  • Because I didn’t have anything to say. (Okay, that’s a lie — I always have plenty to say. Whether it’s of substance is another story.)
  • Because family was visiting.
  • Because the weather was nice and it’s more fun to be outside than inside writing.
  • Because I moved my blog and it was complicated.
  • Because it’s easier to tweet.
  • Because I write or contribute to other blogs.
  • Because I have 340840198408 pages of reading to do and this grad program does not leave enough time for decompression and reflection.

I’ll let you decide which of those excuses are valid enough to be reasons.

But now this #gradschoolalliance thing is up and running and between me, Sava, and Leslie, I’m the last one who is posting. Me! ME! Me… whom many of my colleagues (former and present) know as She Who Promoteth Blogging the Mostest.

It’s true. I think blogging is da bomb. So much so that I (along with an NYU colleague who is nowhere on the interwebs for me to link to, ironically) designed an online collaborative writing platform for “learning” writers called Beyond Blog.**

But here’s the OTHER thing:

Good writing takes time.

At least for me it does. This very post that you’re reading right now (you’re still reading, right?) began as a bunch of notes on a page that grew from:

  1. watching a recorded webinar on Community Best Practices in the U.S. Air Force, and being awed at how spot-on it was in terms of leveraging social learning for developing a community of professional learners. (For real: why does the U.S. Air Force have well-connected, pedagogically-driven educators but the U.S. school system is so broken? What is wrong with this picture?)
  2. reading my notes.
  3. reading some Wenger, White, and Smith.
  4. participating last-minute in an Elluminate session with Jen, which I was unprepared for but still psyched, and from which I felt more like a lurker (ironically, which I openly criticized) than a participant.
  5. reading my notes again and realizing I wasn’t following my own advice.
  6. zeroing in on THIS:

Zeroing in

Yeah. Don’t you hate it when you’re your own best teacher? It occurred to me that by not blogging, I was not participating fully.

And that’s when I realized the OTHER OTHER thing:

I had taken all this time developing notes for a part of my thesis…

… and I now had something to write about.

I’m back.

(not in black)

Hold me to it, please.***


*Don’t go stealing our ideas, now. I’ve got a prototype, even. Pshaw!

**It’s not like I haven’t written anything, btw. What do you think I am, a total slacker? There’s been this thing called g-r-a-d s-c-h-o-o-l. Would you like to read my article annotations? Yeah, that’s what I thought.

***Gently. No wrestling-grip strength, please.

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 12 November, 2010  Posted by at 11:58 pm On the Personal Side, Writing Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  8 Responses »
Mar 172009

If you’ve been following me on Twitter for any substantial length of time, you’ll know that I’ve been searching for, preparing documents for, and applying to graduate schools for the 2009-10 academic year. Well, after returning from a 4-day field trip in the jungle with 66 sixth-graders, I received this email (abridged) from the program director of NYU Steinhardt’s Educational Communication and Technology program:

Dear Adrienne,
The ECT Faculty Admissions Committee is pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the Fall 2009 Master of Arts class in the Program in Educational Communication and Technology. This is our pre-notification to you. You will receive your official acceptance package from the Steinhardt Office of Graduate Admissions within the next week to 10 days.

The ECT faculty hope you continue to view the focus of our program — the design of technology-based learning environments, informed by theory in the learning sciences — an excellent match with your professional interests and goals.

You Can Go Your Own Way by andy in nyc
Attribution-NonCommercial License
I am thrilled! Although my first two schools did not accept me — I was initially very disappointed to receive rejection letters from both Stanford’s LDT program and Harvard’s TIE program — the idea of going to NYU is quite exciting! They have a very cool research area: C.R.E.A.T.E., which stands for Consortium for Research and Evaluation of Advanced Technologies in Education. And hey – New York! I have never even visited New York, let alone lived there. Big changes ahead…
And for those who might be going through something similar, I will include here my Statement of Purpose, which I submitted as part of my (very thorough) application to NYU Steinhardt.  But please note: unlike almost everything else on connect. create. question., this work is copyrighted — that is All Rights Reserved.

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 17 March, 2009  Posted by at 6:32 pm change, On the Personal Side, Professional Development Tagged with: , , , ,  6 Responses »