Wednesday, February 27, 2008

#7 The Scoop on Scope

Last week in class Dr. Ball discussed the importance of scoping a project and the necessity of tasks, resources, and due dates in order to put the arms around the project’s depth and breadth. I think scope is especially important when approaching technology as there are confined areas within the software or hardware that pose limitations within any project. It allows expectations to be aligned by all parties involved. In addition, technology offers endless possibilities that may need defined operational, cost, and time guidelines.

As I was pondering this cooking analogy, I consider similar questions as I begin the planning phase for an upcoming party. A milestone party is somewhat like a project in that it is temporary with a definitive beginning and an end. The duration and extent of planning revolves around essential questions such as the number of guests, the magnitude of who will be involved, the expense, and the breakdown of tasks and time frames. These factors impact food planning and preparation in order to determine what food will be purchased or made. The invitation also phrases the scope of the party with pertinent information. When there are organized and coordinated processes of steps, the final event becomes less daunting.

However, with all projects come unknowns and unforeseen difficulties. This is also noted in Chapter 2 of The Project Management Context, “Because projects are unique undertakings, they involve a degree of uncertainty” (p.11). Technology isn’t reliable and often breaks during critical moments. For instance, during our last class I was excited to participate with my laptop and to show my teammates my personal wiki. I was experimenting with creating and editing pages with pictures and adding links. Although I merely had basic entries, I was thrilled at the ease of maneuvering and navigating through a wiki. However, despite numerous attempts, my computer would not turn on and in my frustration; I wanted to throw my laptop out the IPFW window. This reinforces the value of having a well-developed plan in advance that takes time delays into consideration. Scope’s alignment creates security, encourages a favorable outcome, and leaves a lasting impression of the project (or party).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

#6 Fun Times

Fun motivates. There is something amazingly powerful in experiencing something that is truly pleasurable. Often I wonder why I prioritize, participate, and tackle the myriad of daily tasks. In the mundane are the sprinkles of delights that bring pleasure. For me, the thrill of cooking is found in the fun of creating and making a mess.

As a young girl, I would often stand on a chair in order to reach the countertop so that I could mix, get my fingers sticky, or cut out cookies. From an early age I learned to appreciate the value of fun connections. Similar to technology, there are moments when I turn on the device not only to learn, but for pure amusement. For instance, this week I paused to enjoy a slideshow from various pictures taken from the past 2 years. Digital photography captures moments that can be more easily shared with others. There are endless examples of how my life is enriched and expanded by the diversion of technology.

In addition, this week I took the time to relax and simply enjoy technology instead of spending so much time trying to figure it out! I’ve read funny articles, viewed movies, downloaded more tunes, and actually smiled while viewing the numerous widgets. For the same reasons as cooking, I think many people are drawn to technology because it offers an engaging approach. I came across a humorous site in the Houston Chronicle at: in which people are encouraged to write a novel in 6 words. I am still trying to pen my own and I am inspired by the idea. Technolology inspires fun!

So far…Love willingly sacrifices one’s own life.
Next...Life is short. Jump in puddles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen

This week I have found that there is a genuine motivation for everyone in my family to want to participate in the cooking process. The problem is that I only have a certain number of steps that can be easily divided into smaller tasks. Eventually there is only one bowl that a limited number of bodies can clump over. Of course, the best part for some is the lick of frosting at the end.

Again I begin to compare this participatory process with technology. With cost efficient tools and the ease of distributing materials, technology users have become producers instead of passive consumers. There is a comfort with lots of cooks’ freely designing, editing, and publishing lots of media. An example of this is the convenience of the free software tool, BubblePLY at: that I discovered this week. This software easily allows users to add bubble text to their videos and send them off to various contacts. I am impressed with this site’s videos that represent adventurous risk-taking creativity. The ingenuity humors me also.

What is the positive aspect about a kitchen full of cooks who all want to produce and to create a masterpiece? I think it is found it the connections of savoring bites, moments, and ideas. Contribution often fosters connection. The appeal for many is by active engaging in technology’s tools; people have the power to learn from numerous approaches. For teachers, this often means relinquishing some control and being open-minded to the possibilities of allowing their class to become content producers. For instance, students can create maps and video of the series of events in World War II. Through these opportunities, I think authentic learners appreciate all the cooks interacting and enjoying the results of the final production. With technology, perhaps there is no such thing as “too many cooks in the kitchen!”

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Like a recipe with several modifications, technology also provides many options of adapting the same product in several varying methods. I like having options. If something does work out well one way, I can always try another approach. For instance, I tried using Gliffy this week in order to complete a diagramming assignment. At first I was thrilled with the simplicity and the overall appearance of the visual images. However, the more I tried to type and move the objects, the more frustrated I became with my lack of knowing the basics of this tool. New technology creates a loss of control. Unfamiliarity of the tool seemed to stall and hinder ideas that were flowing at first.

Learning current technology trends, updates, and latest gadgets is also time-consuming. I wonder how many people devote time to thoroughly reading manuals when they first experience new computers, cell phones, or mp3 players. Most of the people I know just “learn as they go.” I think seasoned chefs have the ability to be flexible and to transfer those critical thinking skills.
The result of my impatience was that I resorted to previous application tool that I have used before. I could easily manage and manipulate drawings and rely upon my experience. This also saved me time. I wonder how many people give up on different ways of trying alternative tools because of time and effort considerations. Technology options allow for preference accommodations and provide different routes in order to perform identical tasks or products. To me, this is like trying to decide between two similar recipes that vary only slightly by one ingredient. I almost always modify or choose the ones without nuts or coconut.