On Wednesday, November 1st, 2017, one of our staff members, Julie Mallon had the opportunity to take her son, Kieran, to work for the day. Below is a reflection of their day written by Julie Mallon.

Today I had my Grade 9, 14-year-old son Kieran “come” to work with me.  This consisted of the long commute from bed to the home office!

He was able to have the full experience in that he created “curriculum”, experienced all 3-course platforms and even had the opportunity to “teach” by presenting his “curriculum” to our staff members.  Also, just like mom on some days, he was able to do all this without getting out of his pyjamas!

This experience was an eye-opener for me in that Kieran asked me some questions about certain things that I take for granted everyone knows.  One of these questions was “What do you mean by “fly-in”?  I explained how we try to service remote, Northern, Indigenous communities who have numerous obstacles in front of them before even entering a SABA live course. Things like lack of access to internet and transportation during bad weather among others.

A discussion ensued to get my son thinking about how different a community such as Sandy Lake might be from the town of Port Dover.  We started the discussion by looking at Google satellite map images of the two places as shown below:

I asked him to try and pick out some differences and he stated that our community was more densely populated and that there were numerous roads leading in and out of it, whereas we could only see one road (?) leading out of Sandy Lake.  When we further zoomed out, I wanted to try to make it clear to Kieran how isolated some of our client communities are and the lack of employment opportunities and/or infrastructure that is available.

He was blown away by the fact that someone like himself would have to move hundreds of kilometres away if they wanted to attend high school and that they might have to billet with people they weren’t familiar with. I also wanted to impress upon him how a fly in community member would likely undergo culture shock in moving from a small community to a larger centre where new experiences might be daunting ( tasks that many in Ontario may take for granted such as deciphering a bus schedule to get where you need to go!)

Another aspect of today that I came to realize was how much information and skills I have gained throughout my time with Good Learning Anywhere.  From OALCF competencies, tasks and milestones, to the number of steps taken just for a learner to enrol and access our courses, I tried to offer my son a well-rounded experience and the knowledge needed to conduct my day to day job.  I particularly enjoyed having him “answer” milestone task questions that would be assessing each level.  For this activity, I gave him my recent registration page information for an upcoming professional development symposium I will be attending.  Using the OALCF Curriculum Framework chart, I had him verbally answer the question “Where is the symposium taking place?”

Kieran was asked to answer the question using the parameters for each level indicator for Competency B2.  Here are what his verbal answers looked like:

B2.1 – Write brief texts to convey simple ideas and factual information

Ohsweken, Ontario

B2.2 – Write texts to explain and describe information and ideas

It’s taking place at 2160 Fourth Line, Ohsweken, Ontario N0A 1MO

B2.3 – Write longer texts to present information, ideas and opinions.

The symposium is taking place at 2160 Fourth Line, Ohsweken, Ontario and is being hosted by Six Nations Polytechnic.

Though his answers may not have actually followed the parameters, I think this activity gave Kieran a good understanding of how each Milestone task assessment increases in difficulty.  It was also a good exercise to review how the level indicators should work.

I asked Kieran to reflect on his day by having him answer some questions.  The questions and answers are below.

What 3 things did you enjoy today?

I liked the experience of sitting in on Linda’s class and learning about Google docs.

I liked presenting in the live class.

What 3 things surprised you about Mom’s work?

The number of steps that are taken from a learner registering to getting them enrolled in a PLATO course.

Was there anything else?

I found it odd that the classes are free and you get funding, to get paid to teach others who can’t do a lot on a computer.

All in all, the day was a success and I think that Kieran has a better understanding of what I do and perhaps understands a bit more about the experiences of a new learner taking on new tasks as well as presenting in a live class setting as the “leader”.  He was very nervous, but with some coaching from mom, he did a great job!