Over the course of the past three weeks, I worked with three classmates for the placement assignment. We worked with Ms. Law to complete various science-related activities. Here I will share my experiences as I reflect upon the entire placement.
- Did you enjoy the experience? Why or why not?
I enjoyed this experience because the projects aligned with my interests and skills. The three projects I’ve completed up until today include the Ottawa trip, space educational app, and Mackenzie Science and Engineering Olympics (MSEO) website.
I was excited to work on the trip itinerary for Ottawa because I like to travel. I found the research on tourist attractions interesting because the destinations were intriguing. Discovering these special exhibitions of various museums engaged me to transfer my recommendations to the document. Having been a member of the science club and been on similar fantastic trips, the idea of planning a superb trip for my friends and I, was a motivation for me to work towards that expectation. My experience and interest in these tourist attractions made this project more relatable and rewarding.
Researching notable space educational apps was a fun project to do. The process of testing app features was exciting because I had the opportunity to play with an app that was designed to be interesting and educational. Exploring the elements of the game was an enjoyable experience because I was looking for an interactive app that appealed to high school students. Having been able to find an app that matched the said requirements made my task of describing the app’s detail an enjoyable experience.
Designing the MSEO website was a great experience as well. Our task involved reformatting the old Google sites onto a new template. This process involved a designer’s approach which aligns with my interest and skills in design fit into this task nicely. I enjoyed selecting a new theme, color scheme, and text format. This task provided an opportunity for creativity which is an element I value since it allows freedom in the work.
Overall, I had an enjoyable experience working on tasks that really interests me. It provided opportunities to research on engaging topics which motivated me to put in my best efforts in all three projects.
- What went well with your placement?
All three of our placements projects went well. I believe the reason why it was off to a good start was because of the thorough in-person interview with Ms. Law. At the interview, we established the projects for this placement and viewed the ones completed by previous years. Having been able to see the various sites and hear her comments were much more detailed compared to an emailed response. I’ll now go into detail about the aspects that went well with the projects.
The first project we completed was the Ottawa Trip. What made the project run smoothly was the consistent communication we had with Ms. Law and tourism businesses. From our initial interview, Ms. Law informed us about her prep which was the same period of our IDC class. We were able to ask her questions in the science office which made it very convenient to get over any issues that came along our way. In addition, Ms. Law responded to our emails by the end of the day which was important when we needed clarification and feedback on the documents and websites.
Knowing Ms. Law is open to questions made it more convenient to work through the space education app assignment. I was able to visit her in person and demonstrate the apps’ functions. Allowing Ms. Law to also interact with the app ensured that she gave me the proper feedback needed to select her preferred one and better understand her needs.
The communication with the tourism businesses including residences and transportation was made by emails and phone calls. Calling the businesses resulted in immediate answers to our inquiries such as quotes and the bus capacity which are a significant sector of the itinerary. In the minor occasions when our calls were not picked up, we left a voicemail and sent an email to the business. This was done with the goal of receiving the information needed prior to the next IDC class and not falling behind. Another reason why emails were sent was to receive documents that contained detailed information about the services offered. This also went well when selecting a residence because we were able to reference a source with images to better understand the environment and rather than just comparing it based on the fee.
The group projects went well because of the ability for multiple users to be working on one document and website at the time. Google Docs and Google sites were the two websites used. This was great, especially for the MSEO website assignment. I was able to navigate through the pages and create subpages without interfering with my partner’s work. The multi-user function on Google docs facilitated the division of work amongst us four which allowed us to work faster.
The placement went well because of the convenient methods of communication and technologies used for group work. This played a huge role in ensuring I was on the right track as I constantly sought feedback from my team and Ms. Law. Taking these suggestions and working on the projects efficiently allowed me to complete my assignments in a timely manner.
- What difficulties did you have with your placement?
Two difficulties we had included finding a residence and creating a new Google sites.
The first difficulty related to the finding a residence for the trip to Ottawa. However, searching a decent hotel near the city’s attractions are way too expensive to be considered. Hotel and motel rooms that are cheaper seems unpleasant and are a driveway from the city’s downtown core. In addition, the cheaper hotels were not suitable for a group trip and many could not accommodate our large group. We were also looking for a residence that could provide breakfast. Reflecting back on a similar trip with Ms. Law, we had stayed at a University residence that well suited for our needs. Hence we decided to choose the University of Ottawa. However, due to the selection of rooms to choose the type of room and meal plans, it was difficult to discuss our plans over the phone with the University’s representative. We overcame this difficulty by emailing the University’s residence center and they emailed back a PDF with all of the details. This was perfect as it contained the pricing, room styles and meals in one comprehensive document with photos to refer to.
The second difficulty related to transferring the old Google site to the new template. Out of the three websites, there was one which was challenging due to a number of documents, files, and Google drive links on the old website. In addition, the amount of subpages to be created and uploads would be too big of a task load in regards to the time allocated for other assignments. This would not have been a problem if Google had created a tool to assist with the website content transfers. In the end, due to the amount of hassle associated, we decided it would be best for this task to be completed in an efficient manner with the assistant tool which will be released in the upcoming year.
- Do you consider your placement a success?
I believe this placement was a success. I was able to complete our tasks in a timely manner and up to the standards of Ms. Law’s expectation. For the MSEO website, my partner and I took the initiative to design a more aesthetically pleasing theme and create a new banner logo. Factors that contributed to this success included strong communication and the proper use of technologies. Ms. Law was happy with the results of projects and I believe that was because my interest in them was reflected on the end product.
- Do you think the project is useful/has value for IDC students/teachers/students of placement teachers?
Yes, this project has a useful value value for teachers and students of placement teachers. Teachers will be able to refer to our itinerary for the trip to Ottawa. As prices may change in the coming years, the links in the document easily directs teachers to the updated information. In addition, as the amount of attractions are too many for the upcoming trip, teachers may choose to select different ones depending on the interests of students.
The space education app is useful and has value for teachers and students of placement teachers. On the 1st of November, Ms. Law had emailed me requesting to share one of the interactive space app with all of the science teachers. Students of Ms. Law and other potential teachers who will make use of it, will benefit from an educational tool designed to be engaging for high school students. They’ll be introduced to a different learning experience from a cell phone app which is uncommon in school.
Teachers and students of placement teachers will value the MSEO website. Every year, a great amount of Mackenzie students help run the MSEO and will refer to this website for event details. Not only is this site aesthetically pleasing to view now but it also includes helpful features such as the school map which was missing in the old website. I’ve also updated the information on the website so teachers do not need to edit it until the following year.
- How could the project be improved for future IDC classes?
I believe this project could be improved with the requirement of due dates for each assignment in our placement. I had convinced myself that would be able to complete all the tasks in a timely manner which I did, but reflecting on this experience, I believe there would have been a better way to do so. I realized I’ve spent time dwelling on telephoning hotels more than any other sections of the Ottawa trip. If there was a due date, this delay would have been more explicit and ideas for other residences would have came up sooner. By noting the due dates, I would create a plan from the beginning and identify what I plan to do. This can be recorded in the daily log chart. By logging in the tasks I’ve completed each day, I would be able to identify the progress or how tasks are being delayed.