Some say insanity is defined as continuing to do the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I guess that means my sister and I were insane as children because I cannot tell you how many times we would mix butter and peanuts together and expect to create peanut butter! To this day, we laugh about our numerous failed attempts, and yet I still find myself sometimes doing things over and over and expecting a different outcome.
This week, though, I tried something completely different. I had no idea what the outcome would be. And it was good.
In preparation for our larger project due in a few weeks, Team Merlot collaborated exclusively online for this week’s assignment to create a learning session about making the perfect peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As the subject matter was familiar to us, the project provided much more learning for us, the designers, than for those actually “learning” about the sandwich.
We used Google+, which was a new tool for me, although somewhat familiar since I’ve used Skype. The coolest thing I learned about hanging out on Google+ is that you can patch people in via video or by phone. This feature came in very handy given the spotty internet access we had because of the storms this past week.
We also used Prezi, which was a relatively new tool to all of us, I believe, on Team Merlot. Prezi did give us a few hiccups, but frustrations and cursing aside, it was good learning to do now on a relatively small presentation to build our confidence in using it, should we decide it is the right tool for our larger, online teaching presentation later this month.
Technology aside, we also learned about each other and about our team dynamics. We established trust that we can and will all contribute equally. We provided ourselves the flexibility to reschedule or outright punt on a scheduled meeting in light of extenuating circumstances. Maybe more importantly, we confided in each other about our fears, concerns, and stress over this transition to the online portion of this class. We may not have written out a formal team charter, but through our work on the PB&J lesson, we have set the ground rules and expectations that should serve us well as we embark on our next team project.
Oh, and last but not least, I learned that not everyone uses a spoon to spread the jelly on their PB&J! What do you use?