Testing PACEbook on a different class . . .

Tomorrow should be an exciting day for information/qualitative data gathering as I will introduce “PACEbook on FACEbook” to the PACE 12 class.  Having taught most of the students last year, I  already have a solid bond with them.  Furthermore, since they are just 7 1/2 months from graduating, my thought is that this site will hold more purpose/interest for them.  Listed below is the lesson plan I will give the students.  I want them to spend the class period looking over the site, then e-mailing me with their reflections/responses. 

I hope their feedback validates my theory that creating an online mentoring site will be helpful in answering questions they have about the post-secondary world they will soon enter, in addition to seeing if they can see themselves mentoring upcoming Belmont grads.  I also wonder if they will focus more on the responses of more recent Belmont grads (those currently in their 1st or 2nd year of their studies) as opposed to older, more career-established grads.  My thinking is that they want to know what to expect upon graduation (be it work, school or travel) and they will gravitate towards those responses.  After reading my PACE 11 responses, I am under the assumption that they cannot (do not want to?) see too far into the future.  Be this because they are unable to do so, or cannot make the connection with a “stranger’s” posting/advice, I am unsure.  Perhaps this could be a focus of my second Field Study? 

 

Finally, I wonder which of the Discussion Posts will draw their attention the most.  I will make this a focus when I read their reflections . . . I also plan to check back with the PACE 12 class to see if they access the PACEbook site at their own free will, without needing the encouragement of the teacher (or a mark).   Then, truly, will this site have served its purpose.

 

 

PACEbook on FACEbook – Response/Reflection

November 10, 2008

 

Hello Grade 12 PACElings,

 

Thank you for joining me (against your will?) today.  My hope is that what you explore this hour at will be useful to your post-secondary lives.  Whatever the outcome, your responses and reflections will, with your permission, be part of my SFU field study.  To begin, sign in to “PACEbook on FACEbook” and peruse the various discussion posts.  For your information, the questions for posts #’s 1 and 2 were formulated by the PACE 11 class and, as you can see, garnered over 200 responses in total.   Skim through the collection and note what interests you or grabs your attention.  The topics/questions are listed below.

 

Discussion Post #1:  “Career Advice Wanted”


1. What are you doing now (and how did you get there)?
2. How did you know what you wanted to do/be?
3. Does your current career path differ from what you had planned? If so, how? Why?

 

Discussion Post #2:  “Details, details . . . ”
The PACE 11 class thought it would be useful to get some specific “WHO, WHAT, WHERE” details to help us to create categories for future reference.

1. When did you graduate from Belmont?
2. What post-secondary institution(s) did/do you attend? (And when?)
3. In what faculty(ies) were/are you enrolled?
4. What degree(s) did/will you attain? How many years did you take?
5. Was/Is it useful for your current career? (Explain if necessary).

 

Miscellaneous Topic:  “Taking Time Off School”

 

  • This discussion post was started by one of the PACE grads and garnered some interest.

 

 

Your Assignment:  (Yes, I will give it to Mr. Feser to include for your Term 2 mark)

 

Please e-mail your reflections/responses to me at jfroess@hotmail.com.  

 

  1. What did you find out that was new/useful to you?  Explain what/how/why/why not.

 

  1. Which of the career/degree paths that you read about hold an interest for you?  If none do, analyse/explain why that is so.

 

  1. Does that fact the advice given you is from mentors who are former Belmont students have any extra bearing on you?  Does it matter that they are former PACE students?  Discuss your thoughts.  (ie:  Would it matter if these were random people from anywhere in Victoria?  BC?  Canada?  The world?  Would their advice/words have any more/less impact?)

 

  1. Can you see yourself becoming an on-line mentor for future Belmont students?  Explain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Reflections . . .

November 1, 2008

 

Reflections on Data Gathering:

 

Today’s session was quite useful.  It was helpful to clarify the types of data collection that I can use for my Field Study.  So far I have collected:

 

  1. Teacher Notes  (my blog responses)  Re-read and reflect on my musings.  What do I notice about what I wrote?  My thoughts?  The direction I have followed?
  2. Baseline survey  “Pre-Assessment Questions – Checklist”  (Collate the data in order to help figure out Discussion Posts questions)
  3. Student Artefacts  (Collect, review and summarize student reflections on the various Discussion Posts)
  4. Student interviews = a snap shot of what is going on at the time  (Sit down with several students around the third week of November)
  5. Focus Group – Summarize in a PACE 11 discussion group (3rd week of November).  Take notes.  Paraphrase/Synthesize student responses.

 

 

When looking at my notes: 

 

“What did I choose to observe as opposed to what I could have observed?  What did I not observe? Why? 

 

r     Qualitative Research = Story Telling

r     Organize the data that speaks to each area of my question

r     Interpretation:  examine data from different points – use readings to support my claims

r     KEY FOCUS = Implication Drawing

 

What are the IMPLICATIONS of PACEbook?  (Is there a use for it with Grade 11’s?) 

 

r     Open up to the PACE 12 class to get their opinion on PACEbook.  Theory:  Will mentoring be more applicable/useful to students closer to graduation?

r     What did I find out about the Discussion Posts?  How do I have the students become more responsible for coming up with post topics?  (Presently, we discuss as a class what we want to post, but what do I need to do to get them to take the initiative to volunteer weekly post topics?)

 

 

Other thoughts:

  1. Pay attention to the students who I might not usually pay attention to.  Ask those students who don’t/can’t find a connections to PACEbook to explain why?  What sort of system would work for them?
  2. Who is in control of the learning? 

Thoughts for PACEbook Analysis:

 

  1. Can you see yourself contacting a specific mentor for advice? Explain.

 

  1. What do you know now that you did not know in September about finding a career path?  About choosing a post-secondary institution?  About knowing what you want to study (do) after high school?

 

  1. How useful is PACEbook for you?  How could it be made a better fit for you?

 

  1. Do you need these life/career questions answered right now?  Can you benefit from someone else’s experiences or do you feel you need to experience life for yourself, first?

 

 

Other Useful Tips:

 

  1. While reading, keep a copy of my Field Study Question in front of me so I can read mindfully.

 

  1. Address the data that doesn’t address my question and state how I might deal with it next time.  (ie:  Is it a new finding?  Or is it impeding what I want to do?)

 

  1. Perhaps look at reshaping the question (sub-question) as the study grows . . . what findings have changed what the students want/need to know?

 

This was a good time to reflect . . . Now I need to review my previous posts and assess where I was going and the path I want to continue to follow.

Who Would have Thought?!

October 20, 2008

 

The Fun Continues . . .

 

Who would have thought, mentors interacting with mentors . . . and even mentoring each other!  At least this is what appears to be happening with a few of the PACE alumni.  I guess this is what social networking truly means, though it is not something that I foresaw.  It is interesting and fun at the same time. 

 

As of today PACEbook on FACEbook has 375 members and continues to grow.  I am only limited by time.  I need to sit down for another couple of hours and track down grads off of current PACEbook members’ “friends” lists.  Interestingly, my director at the Board Office has taken an interest in this and has employed a former principal (and other colleagues) to help in the search for more PACE alumni.  This could turn into a district project of some sort . . .

 

However, the most fulfilling and thrilling aspect so far has been the response to the first “Weekly Discussion Board Question”

 

The 2008 PACE 11 class hopes to post a set of “theme” questions on a weekly basis. Here is the first set of questions. Answer as thoroughly as you see fit . . . We are interested in ALL responses. Thanks!

1. What are you doing now (and how did you get there)?

2. How did you know what you wanted to do/be?

3. Does your current career path differ from what you had planned? If so, how? Why?

 

 

Since being posted on Friday, 60 PACEbook members have responded, ranging from 2009 grads to ones from 1989.  The responses have been insightful, comical, honest and thoughtful.  And so different from each other.  They truly address different needs and interests of the PACE 11 class.  I can’t even begin to classify them (but I will eventually).  The PACE class will look at them later this week (in class and at home) and together we will decide how we want to respond and what need they fulfill.  I hope that through these initial responses, that some mentor-mentee relationships will be born – to what depth I know not.  My plan is to post a second “weekly question” by Friday (or Monday, depending on the continued responses – I don’t want to rush the process and also mentors need time to get onto the site and respond to the discussion board). 

 

All in time . . . I need to reflect more on how to best use the discussion board with the PACE 11 class and allow them to take the lead with what they want to do with these information resources and where to go next . . .

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Created a Monster . . .

October 14, 2008

 

As of today, there are 318 members signed onto PACEbook on FACEbook, and there  are many more to find/contact.  My Hotmail Inbox has never been so full and neglected with 131 unopened e-mails from PACE graduates . . . I am thrilled and at the same time overwhelmed.  However, my original problem still remains (and has gotten worse):  how do I create that “personal” contact with those former students?   Case in point: in PACE class today a student was looking at my “confirmation pending” notice (of 99 people)  and said, “You should get to your page more often.  Your “friends” list is piling up.”

 

I replied, “That’s just from yesterday.”

 

She was impressed . . .

 

For those who we have been able to find on Facebook, the response has be overwhelmingly positive and plentiful.  All who have signed on have expressed an interest in being an active member.  A sample of responses follows:

***********************

 

Some are still working on their undergraduate degree and have yet to narrow down a career focus (Good news for those high school students who feel the pressure to decide what to do with their lives).

 

Hey Mr. Froess,


Okay so I’m officially a member of PACEbook on FACEbook and I’d love to help out in any way I can. It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to you. How are things at Belmont?
 
I’m in my third year at Queen’s, still pursuing my Bachelor of Commerce degree.I still haven’t decided what I want to do when I graduate, but I’ve narrowed it down to marketing, law or opening my own restaurant – I know that’s kind of broad, but I figure I still have a year and a half to decide.
 
In January I fly off to Bangkok, Thailand to take part in a international exchange at Chulalongkorn University. I’m pretty excited to travel and study abroad – the best part is that I get to wear a traditional Thai uniform.
 
Anyways, I should stop rambling and get back to studying – I have four midterms this week. I’d love to help out in any way I can with PACEbook so just let me know what I can do.
 
Talk to you soon,
Erin

 

**************************

 

Some students I found via certain PACE grads’ “View all friends” tab.  It was helpful, but I was limited by the size of the message I could send.  As a result, I have to get back to them with the full details.

 

Hi John,
 
I haven’t been contacted about PACEbook…but I’d be interested to hear what it is…especially if it’s part of a Grad project you’re doing.
 
Life is good for me. Living in Shawnigan, enjoying life, friends and family. Working in sales for Schneider Electric (formerly Power Measurement) in Saanichton. Staying active and enjoying all kinds of outdoor adventures!
 
Take care,


Lynn

 

***********

 

Re: PACE at Belmont!
 
“I did get a message and I signed up on the site. Sounds interesting. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.”

 

Shannon M.

 

**********************

 

Some students got connected via their siblings . . .

 

Hi Mr. Froess,
 
I saw the group when my sister and a couple of my friends joined up. Life is good. I’m currently working up island as a radio reporter. I’d be happy to talk to any of the current pace students.
 
hope things are good.
 
Elizabeth

 

***************************

 

Some were contacted directly by my PACE 11 class . . .

 
“Hi Mr. Froess! I think someone named Kaitlyn (?) asked me to join, which I gladly have. What exactly is the mentorship program? I’m guessing maybe there will be more details to come on facebook. Either way I’d be more than happy to be a part of it. I’ve just finished an M.Sc. in Marine Biology, so if anyone has any questions about how to become a marine biologist you can certainly direct them this way.”

 

Caroline

 

***************************

 

Some will use PACEbook to get back in touch with former classmates

 

Re: Hey!

That’s great that you’re still connected with Nicole! I think about her often and would love to talk to her again. Is she on facebook? I’m living in James Bay, just got married in August and started my M.A. in counseling psychology at UVic – it’s been a busy last few weeks!

Tracey

 

****************************

 

One student stated that she is rarely in town, but Facebook would be a feasible way for her to participate.
 
Subject: pace mentoring
 
“Ya for sure I got their msg. And I told them I would be intrigued to do so :D. I’m not ever usually in town but if its over facebook I’d be game for that. Just keep me posted for sure!”

 

Melina

 

****************************

 

Another PACE graduate would prefer not to use Facebook, but would still like to mentor.


“Hey, good to hear from you. I’d rather not be in a facebook group but would be happy to mentor students via email if that would work. I’m in the Kinesiology field so any students interested in that area could contact me at my work email. Let me know if you would be interested in this option & I will follow up with my email address.”

 

Thalia

****************************

 

Some PACE grads need to spend more time editing their e-mails . . . (and to think I taught this one English 10 . . . )


“I defenatley will and how are you mister Froess its been ages! haha i was actually trying to remember what you taught me about shakespere the other day because i have to translate a whole monologue into scansion and im like gonna have a break down if i do it hahah thats college though”

 

*****************************

 

Some students already started related-posts of their own (Such is the spontaneous nature of a Social Network site . . . )

 

Subject: Hey John
 
I certainly have been informed, and yes I joined the group.. then I made a wall post regarding the “smelly foods” rule.
 
How has Belmont and been treating you?

 

Matt

 

******************************

 

Some needed a push/friendly reminder to join (after all, PACE grads are busy people!)

 

Hey Mr. Froess.
 
Thanks for the reminder about the PACEbook/FaceBOOK group.
 
Hope all is well.
-Kara =)

 

*******************************

 

Some responses tell me that I have to be clearer with the wording of my invitation . . .


“so do the new pace students email us questions and we try to answer them or how does this work ??”

 

Kyle

 

********************************

 

Some had a lot to say . . .compliments and all  (And it’s incredible to catch up on their lives)

 

Re: PACEbook on FACEbook
 
Hi (Mr. Froess!) John,
 
Thanks for the message. It’s great to hear from you, and thanks for the writing compliment. You were one of the few instrumental teachers in my life who really built up my confidence and got me serious about school and life.
 
It sounds like an exciting project that you’re working on at SFU. I joined the pacebook/facebook group, and I’m happy to help in any capacity that I can. Although I should warn you that, to be honest, I really can’t recall if I was registered in pace between Gr. 10 and 12. It feels like I must have been at some point, but I’m not sure when it was. Harry Brown was my Creative Writing teacher at one point, and I’m pretty sure my sister had some classes with Judy Bellis, but I can’t recall any pace classes with either of those two or with you. Still, I think I must have taken it at some point. It seems to one of my classes helped guide me in applying to post-secondary institutions and for scholarships.
 
My life since finishing high school…
I’ve had a very enjoyable ride through life since high school. I went to UVic, majored in Writing, went through UVic’s Art & Writing co-op program, gained valuable work experience in local News Group companies (i.e. Oak Bay News, Sooke News, etc.), also did a co-op term in provincial government. When I finished UVic, I got hired right away with the Sooke News Mirror, starting as reporter. I was quickly promoted to editor, but then decided to switch to the provincial government. My switch was poorly timed, during 2001 when the government decided to cut a huge percentage of its staff, so after a year of government, I grabbed a job as a publicist at a board game company in Saanich. After a couple of years in that job, I moved to the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce as a policy coordinator. A couple of years later I jumped back into provincial government, starting off a research officer, then an education officer, and more recently as a senior advisor. Somewhere in between all that,
I also fell in love, got married, bought a house, had a baby girl, and managed a bit of travel to places like New York and Costa Rica.
 
Anyway, I’m glad to see you on facebook, and if I qualify for your project, I’m very happy to help any way that I can.
 
Bryan

 

**********

 

And others even more to say . . . (It’s great to reminisce) 

 

Hi Mr. Froess,
 
It’s been a while since I’ve thought about my PACE experiences, but it’s nice to revisit them. I’m not entirely sure how you envision the mentorship program, but I’d be happy to be involved. I’m a little reluctant to post a lot of details on an open FB group (did my MA thesis on surveillance and still overly cautious) so that might be problematic for your project, but let me give some details and you can slot me in where you need me.
 
I graded in 1996 (when Belmont was still just 2 grades) and went straight to Bishop’s University in Lennoxville Quebec. I spent 4 years doing an honours degree in sociology and a major in women’s studies. Thanks to PACE 12 and Mrs. Bellis I had a lot of scholarships to help me through. I had an amazing time at BU and wouldn’t change the experience for anything. I learned a lot and it helped me continue on my academic path (not to mention that the it was a lot of fun–didn’t take morning classes after the first semester). I almost became a English major, but I kind of fell in love with sociology.
 
From there I went straight to a Master’s program at Queen’s University in sociology. My thesis was on video surveillance in Canadian public spaces. Queen’s was a good school and I met a lot of good colleagues there, but I was happy to move on from Kingston.
 
From Queen’s I moved up to Ottawa and am currently at Carleton working on my doctorate in sociology. My dissertation is titled, “Boundary Breaking and Path Making: Women’s Alternative Narratives in Public Space” (or something along those lines). I hope to be done soon, but it’s been a long process.
 
I also taught a second year sociology class at Carleton University this summer and will teach it again this winter (teaching doesn’t really come naturally to me, but I’m learning).
 
In the past decade or so I’ve also co-founded and coordinated the first women’s centre at Bishop’s University. In Kingston I volunteered at a sexual assault crisis centre. And at Carleton I’ve become involved in the Student Government within the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.
 
On a personal note, I’ve been living away from Victoria (except for summers during undergrad) since Sept. 1996. I’m currently living in Ottawa with my boyfriend and cat and am pretty content with how life has unfolded so far.
 
I would love to be involved in mentoring, I think that it’s a really important aspect of our social lives to mentor those coming after us. There are a good number of things that I did or didn’t do because of the good advice of people who had been there before me.
 
I hope that this helps and I hope that you are well. Thanks for being a great English teacher (10 maybe?) and PACE too. The skills and encouragement that I took away from your class have served me well in my academic life post high school.
 
So there’s 12 years in a nutshell.

 

Tamy

*********************************

 

And others are more to the point . . .

 

Re: Join PACEbook on FACEbook!
 
Hey there Mr. Froess, John! I like you’re idea, afterall experience is the best knowledge of all. Id like to join in and help out!
 
Aaron………..

 

*********************************

 

Some have cool jobs . . . (and I bet they pay well, too)

You asked what I’m doing in the city: in Vancouver, for the last year, I’ve been the US commissions payroll specialist in corporate accounting at Colliers International. It’s a commercial real estate company. It’s interesting work, but I’ve been in Vancouver for over two years now and am starting to get itchy feet again. I think I’d like to stay with the company another year at least though in the hopes of making my resume look a little less flaky.

 

Stephanie

 

*********************************

Some PACE grads have been out for almost two decades and offer a wealth of experience

 

Good morning, John
 
It would be a pleasure to participate in some mentoring. I graduated from Belmont in 1989. I’ve been incredibly fortunate and had many wonderful experiences since I left Belmont – in Asia (a year in Taiwan before McGill), at McGill (B.Eng, M.Eng, MBA), in my aerospace career, and with my business start-up. Highschool really was a fantastic experience for me, and I’d be happy to share. I’m currently in Montreal. Please let me know how I can help.
 
Best regards,
Cindy _____________  P.Eng
(formerly _____________)

 

************************************

 

Finally, we have been fortunate to hear from members of the original PACE class who had many good things to say about 22 years of PACE  . . .

 

Hey John – This sounds like a wonderful, and very ambitious, project. I would love to be involved. I was one of the first 18 PACE students to selected for the pilot project. I guess that will make me one of the oldest Pacers out there. I have often told anyone who cares to listen that PACE has impacted every area of my life. I am truly and deeply grateful for the opportunity that was offered to my all those years ago. It changed the way I look at the world and my place in it. It changed the way I view a problem or opportunity. It changes the way I tackle a project or face a challenge. It changed the way I viewed myself and my abilities. That sounds like a lot from one program but it is true. The program was considerable different then; it was a new project with more money than there is now I am sure. We did great and wonderful things. I am happy to share some of my experiences if anyone cares to know about them. Truthfully a lot of my gratitude grew a bit later in life as I met other people and realized that I really did look at things a bit differently. Out of that gratitude came a desire to give back. That is one reason I am so happy to be teaching in this district. It feels good to give back to the district that I feel gave me a lot (my elementary years were amazing as well). Gee, I sound pretty cheesy – put me on a hallmark card quick! It is the truth though… let me know how I can help.

 

Kristen

 

********************************

 

As you can see, the multitude of responses poses a problem for me.  How do I do these people justice?  After all, social networking is just that – social.

 

Until next time . . .

 

Problems, problems . . . and Solutions!

PACEbook on FACEbook – Issues to Work On . . .

 

 

After focusing 2 class periods on beginning initial contact with 2000+ PACE graduates, we noticed a few trouble spots within the first few minutes.  Fortunately, these problems allowed my Grade 11 students to trouble-shoot some solutions, most of which had some success.  Overall, we realized that the initial contact will take longer than anticipated.

 

Issue:

 

r     not every PACE graduate has a Facebook account

 

Solution:

 

a)       We can ask those who we do connect with to send up e-mail address (or other contact #’s) of fellow graduates

 

Issue:

 

r     there is a problem with finding the correct person (i.e.:  there are over 500 Dave Anderson’s with a Facebook account) or those women who are listed under their married name

 

Solutions:

 

a)      eliminate out of country/province names

b)      click on their “friends” list to see if other Belmont Grad names appear

c)      plug in “Belmont Alumni” to help narrow down the search

d)      ask PACE’lings from each grad year to forward the PACEbook invitation to people they are still in contact with

 

Issue: 

 

r     I am unsure how I will connect individually with all the respondents.  I would like to have more of a personal connection with most of the graduates, especially the ones that I taught.   As of today, PACEbook on FACEbook has 199 members.  I am unsure of how I am even going to manage the site . . . there is so much traffic on it already.

 

Solutions:

 

r     Two of my students set up a “wall” for respondents to leave comments on.  It is a great way to make a brief, initial contact (but it still requires time to respond back).  One of its benefits is that it is open to all to view, and has the potential to creates dialogue between PACE students of different grad years.  The opening “wall” question asks former PACE’lings to comment on their favourite PACE memory, teacher, activity, etc.  The responses (27 so far) are a combination of humour and nostalgia, and are all positive in nature.

 

 

This week I hope to organize the respondents into categories pertaining to such areas as:  educational background/degree level, university alumni, career area, travel experience, co-op work experience, etc., but before I do this I have to first elicit this information from them.  I will ask my current students what the easiest way would be to do this. 

 

 

It’s Time to Find 2000+ Belmont Graduates . . .

So here is the process my PACE (Program for Academic and Creative Enrichment) 11 students will be following the next two classes as we begin the search process for 2000+ PACE graduates and invite them to become online post-secondary advisors/career mentors.

 

Since they are the Facebook experts, I am looking for guidance and input to streamline the process and make it run as smoothly as possible.  Let the fun begin . . .

 

PACE 11 – October 2-3, 2008

“Inviting PACE Grads to join PACEbook on FACEbook”

 

Process:

 

  1. Sign up to be responsible for a PACE class list from 1986 – 2008 (23 total)

 

  1. Work alone or in pairs.

 

  1. Goal: To send out a PACEbook on FACEbook invitation to every name on the list.  (Remember, you are the only contact person for that particular group of PACE graduates).

 

  1. Log onto PACEbook on Facebook site. 

 

  1. Start inviting former PACE’lings to join the mentorship group.

 

  1. Attach the “Invitation”:

 

Welcome to “PACEbook on FACEbook”.  If you were ever a member of the PACE program in the Sooke School District from 1986 – 2008, (be it for one year or several) come join the newly-created mentorship program.

 

7.  Is there anything else I/you need to do???

 

 

Note:  Just do what you do when inviting friends to join your Facebook site.  At the same time, please teach me what to do to make this process as streamlined as possible.  Any and all suggestions are welcome . . .

 

 

Questions to which I need answers:

§         How do I manage all the people who reply and want to join PACEbook?  (There is a potential for up to two thousand). 

§         How do I attach/send the Invitation/Explanation letter (1 ½ pages) to everyone?  Do I do it as they respond or can I send it out later? 

§         How do I organize/categorize them so you can find the people who can help advise you/answer your university/career questions?

§         Is there a way to compartmentalize by:

Degree?  University Attended?  By career?  Travel Info?  Scholarship Info?  etc.

§         Have I forgotten anything??

 

 

Check out PACEbook on FACEbook!!

September 25, 2008

 

 

Today was “launch day” for PACEbook on FACEbook!  However, I did not do it on my own.  Instead, I decided to enlisted a couple of PACE students to help set up a group site and to advise me on appropriate languaging and formatting.  I’m glad I did so. 

 

Jared G. was most helpful.  He is a logical thinker and a natural teacher.  Though he is not an avid Facebook user, he does know the site and how to maneuver around it.  Within half an hour he had me up and running, and showed me how to download the PACE flag too! 

 

The interesting thing was that when I was inviting my current “friends” to join (PACE graduates who I had taught in previous years who were on my personal Facbook site) I got an instant reply back.  It seems that a student on my invitation list was online at the time in a class at UBC . . . supposedly listening to a lecture. . . It was quite amazing the speed at which this worked.  By the end of the class – 20 minutes later – five former PACE students had already joined my new site and were asking what it was all about and how could they participate.  I was thrilled.  This supports my theory that it is a practical and expedient method of contact.  In conversation with a group of Grade 11 girls who were working beside me in the class, they said that they don’t care to blog as a form of connecting with others; they Facebook.  It is much more interactive.

 

This morning I had my PACE 11 class fill out a small checklist, to survey their needs and questions to ask of the mentors.  I also asked if this online mentoring Field Study would serve their needs, and I asked them to answer honestly.  After all, like many of us, we jump through the hoops of school to get to our desired outcome (whatever that may be) and we do what we need to do to “please” our instructor.  Two students, out of the 25 present, stated that they thought that this mentorship program would do little or nothing for them.  Fair enough.  I cannot expect to fulfill the learning needs/likes of every person.  No one can.  Hopefully the majority of students will get some use out of it, as will the mentors.  Perhaps others will realize that online mentoring does little for them . . . perhaps the two who feel this way already may find some use for it eventually.

 

In the end, it feels great to have the site up.  I cannot wait to find and get the invitations out the other PACE graduates . . . all 2000+ of them.  However, I did have a small epiphany this morning just by seeing the five students respond back to me:  How am I ever going to find the time to connect with the others who join up and want to connect with me?  Any thoughts??!

 

 

In order for the PACE 11 mentees to buy into PACEbook on Facebook, they have to have input into the set-up process, and also share control of the site, its set up, its format, and the management of it.  They also need to be prompted on “what they don’t yet know but need to know before they can find out what they don’t know.”  Got that??!

Here is what they received on September 24, 2008.  Their responses will follow later.

 

Field Study Action Plan

20.08 2008

Inquiry Question:

 

How can social network sites assist high school students to research and select post-secondary institutions – and apply for scholarships – that best suit their needs?

 

 

How my inquiry connects to a significant educational purpose:

 

  1.  
    • I believe that high school students can be successfully mentored by alumni who know the “system and shortcuts” regarding scholarship applications, choice of university, and future career path.
    • As an educator in the senior grades for the last 10 years, one of my passions has centered upon helping students find their university/career path.  For five years I worked as the school’s Scholarship Coordinator and as an unofficial university counselor. 
    • I saw first hand how time-consuming the process is and how students do/will not apply if they do not know what to apply for, the process(es) to follow, or if they lack the confidence in their academic abilities.
    • Having helped students acquire scholarships ranging from $500 to $40,000 (to multiple university entrance offers) I know how with the right advice, guidance and support, a huge difference can be made in their lives.  In fact, this scholarship money and/or university acceptance can be life/career changing.  This is why I teach.
    • However, I am only one resource, and for several years I have wanted to set up a mentorship program with Belmont graduates and have them counsel/guide/advise students in Grade 11 and 12.
    • I also want these connections to cultivate a sense of “pride” in their alma mater, so that graduating students will continue to give back as they move on into their post-secondary education and careers.

 

How my inquiry connects to recognized educational research: 

 

I want:

  1.  
    • students to understand that they are an incredible source of knowledge and experience (positive and negative/triumphs and mistakes) which needs to be shared with those who come after them.
    • How better to develop a mentorship program than by implementing it on-line, in order to facilitate ease/speed of communication and to reach as many mentors/students as possible?

PACE 11 – Pre-Assessment Questions

 

What do you want/need to know from these graduates?    Checklist:

 

University information:

r     Where to apply/attend?

r     Recommended faculties/programs/courses

r     Faculties/programs/courses to avoid

r     Residence vs Home vs Off-campus?

r     Social dorm vs Study dorm

r     Study habits?  Strategies? 

r     How do you balance fun and good grades?

r     What educational path did you follow for your career?

r     Advantages of college vs university vs technical institute?

r     Private vs Public institution (advantages and disadvantages)?

r     Certificate vs Diploma vs Bachelor’s vs Master’s vs Doctorate?

r     Timeframe for completion – Complete without a break?  Take time off to work/establish a career?  Gain experience? 

r     Course load recommendations (ie:  fulltime vs part time)?

r     Recommended co-op programs?  Other work-study formats?

r     Scholarships/Bursaries to apply for?  Criteria needed?

r     Student loan advice?

r      

 

Travel Information:

r     Recommendations on where to travel?

r     When?  Immediately after high school?  Summers during under graduate degree?  Post graduation? Once a career is established?

r     Mode of travel?  Recommendations?  Length of time?

r     Work/Study/Travel programs?  (GAP, Rotary International?  Other?)

r      

 

Career Information:

r     How did you get to your present position?

r     Likes/dislikes?

r     What would you have done differently, knowing what you know now?

r      

 

Finding/Contacting Former PACE’lings:

 

r     What will be the easiest/fastest/most wide-reaching way to contact PACE graduates on Facebook?

r     What rules (privacy, etc.) do we have to be aware of?

r     What process needs to be set up to make contact and reply information organized, efficient and easy to access?

r     What other questions need to be addressed before we open the site?

 

 

 

Letter of Invitation

September 22, 2008

 

To:  All former Belmont PACE students from 1986 – 2008

 

From:  John Froess – Current Belmont PACE teacher (and former Dunsmuir PACE teacher)

 

 

Dear former PACE’ling:

 

Do you often think back to the wonderful, carefree days of high school?  To the happy hours you spent roaming the halls of Belmont?  To the stimulating intellectual challenges of PACE class?  Do you recall the joys of being Academically and Creatively Enriched?   If so, you can relive those days once more and at the same time GIVE BACK to your alma mater’s current PACE’lings. 

 

I am working on my second year of a Technology in Education Graduate Diploma though Simon Fraser University.  My major project/Field Study focuses on creating an online mentor-mentee program between current and former PACE students called PACEbook on Facebook and studying value to all participants. 

 

You have all moved on past high school in whatever career/life path.  You are a valuable resource to upcoming graduates who are in the midst of or completing their three years at Belmont.  Your life plans, fulfilled or not (altered in any way, shape or form), your successes (hopefully many) and failures (hopefully few) are all useful to a PACE’ling planning his or her future. 

 

You can offer advice in a abundance of areas?  Which college or university to attend?  Which courses or profs to take or avoid?  Should you travel before going on to post-secondary education?  On your own or with friends?   Should you work for a year (or more)?  What about a GAP year?  Or Rotary International?   Are there other travel opportunities to check out?  What kind of degree should you get?  Avoid?  Why?  Should you look into a technical institute?  A diploma program?  A Master’s? A doctorate?  What are the advantages and pitfalls of each?  Should you live at home or in residence or with school friends?  What about student loans?  Is it wise to go this route?  What scholarship opportunities did you apply for?  Receive?  What process did you follow?  Did your life turn out at you planned – if you even had a plan?  Is your life still in its planning stage?  Is that okay?  Finally, what would you do differently after high school if you knew what you know?

 

As you can see, there is so much you can offer, first hand, that the education system cannot.  If you are willing, you can be involved as much or as little as you feel comfortable.  My current PACE 11 students are contacting as many former PACE students as possible using Grade 10 – 12 class lists from 1986 to the present day (Sandra Webster-Worthy and I kept most of them), and we ask that if you know of anyone who has been left off to please pass this Facebook site on to them. 

 

To those of you I taught personally, I am truly looking forward to hearing from you, where you are, how your lives are progressing and what you have been up to these last number of years.  For you other PACE’lings, Sandy WW feels the same way, as the early PACE students were part of a longitudinal UBC study for which she would like to gather information.

 

As teachers, we don’t often get to see what happens to many of you after you leave our classrooms.  PACEbook on Facebook might answer some of these wonderings.  I hope you join me. 

 

All the best to you,

 

John Froess

Reflection and Action??? When??!

September 21, 2008

 

If “reflection and action are linked as ongoing elements of the inquiry process”, then I need to do a bit more of both.  With the start up of the school year, it seems like the days fly by, everyday life takes over, and before I know it, another week has gone by . . . like this one . . .

 

I appreciated the process of the annotated bibliography as it forced me to look at the two dozen (plus) resources I had acquired, but at the same time it kept me from actually starting the action-process of my Field Study.  I know what I want to look at with regards to social networks and their practicality/usefulness with students researching their post-secondary choices, but I have yet to set up the actual site and begin the contacting between mentee and mentor.  Why?  I am busy, but I also need to prioritize my tasks more carefully.  Unfortunately, this is my non-spare semester and I have a large number of weak, lower-skilled students.  A large percentage of my time is taken up just prepping for and managing my day.

 

However, enough of that – tomorrow I will commit to creating a Facebook site for my PACE students to work with.  I must have it ready before the end of September so I have time to gather material to analyze and reflect upon it throughout November.

 

More to come . . .