“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” – Bill Gates

CEP 810: Not Such a Novice Anymore…

on June 10, 2014

For the past three weeks, I have been teaching myself how to make a Slovenian pastry called potica, using only YouTube videos and Internet help forums. My first two attempts actually turned out better than expected, partially due to my thorough research beforehand and partially due to my history of baking. My journey, however, was still full of learning and progression!

In the video embedded below, I demonstrate the entire process of making potica from start to finish: activating the yeast, creating the dough, making the filling, flattening the dough, rolling up the dough, and finally, baking the potica! During the video, I talk about changes and improvements I’ve made throughout my journey.

As the video above demonstrates, I became very comfortable with the process of making potica over the past couple of weeks. During my first attempt, I was constantly checking the recipe and consulting the visual aids on Joe Pastry‘s blog. By my final attempt, however, I felt much more natural and relaxed during the process. I had my recipe printed out, but I didn’t feel the need to examine my other resources as I baked. I also felt more comfortable to make adjustments of my own during my final attempt, having been through the process two times before.

Adjustments Made During Final Attempt 

  • Substituted Active Dry Yeast for Fast-Rise Yeast
  • Omitted egg wash before baking to reduce over-browning of dough
  • Used less filling and didn’t not spread as close to edges to prevent leakage
  • Baked for 43 minutes (instead of 45)
  • Hand-mixed filling for less mess

As I learner, creating a Networked Learning Project was very revealing. From the beginning of the project, I found myself thoroughly engrossed in the assignment. This was largely due to the fact that I was able to choose something that I had always wanted to learn how to do. My engagement in the project was directly tied to my ability to choose what I wanted to learn – a simple, but powerful thought to remember in my own classroom.

Restricting research to only the Internet was also an eye-opener. First and foremost, this project showed me just how much knowledge can be gained from the Internet, even on lesser-known topics like potica. Through reading online help forums, I saw firsthand the power of networking and communicating. I had several questions during my project, and many of those questions couldn’t have been answered by any of my personal acquaintances, for none of them are experts on potica. For example, I learned about using a floured bed sheet for easier rolling, that some minor filling leakage is normal during baking, and that different types of yeast yield different results. This project has demonstrated that the Internet has the ability to bring together people worldwide who have shared interests. It is a place where ideas can be discussed, altered, and expanded in a matter of minutes.

I plan on transferring my newfound knowledge regarding networked learning into my own classroom in the future. I believe wholeheartedly that students should be given the opportunity to choose topics that are of interest to them, within certain limits. Additionally, I think that allowing students to explore different networks online can give them knowledge that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.



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