ECMP 355 Final Reflection

ECMP 355 Final Reflection

Well, I can’t believe that this course is over already. It’s gone by so fast! During so little time we managed to cover a lot of material! It was hard to pick what I was going to talk about in my final reflection!

I decided to use VoiceThread! It was quite easy to learn how to use and easy to integrate different types of media into. I was able to insert documents from PowerPoint, I uploaded pictures from Flickr, took screenshots, and even managed to use my webcam to upload a video for the introduction of this video. All of these things are things I wouldn’t have been able to do prior to this class. 

Take a look and see the reflection of my learning in this course! 

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Social Learning Review

This was my first time taking an online class. I was skeptical at first, but my experience has been a positive one. It was a course that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone so I was able to learn. By taking part in online sessions and connecting by reading blogs I was able to learn from others. Before I begin talking about specific things I have learned I just want to say that I have learned that this class is full of inspired teachers who want to make a difference.

To contribute to this class I took part in the live sessions and asked questions during them. I attended All Things Google, Why School, Becoming a Better Blogger, Creating Your Online Identity, and Storytelling live and I watched the other three shortly after they were posted. I found that it was more beneficial to watch the sessions live as participating and listening to the conversation that was going on helped me to understand the topics. After I watched the sessions I would complete my tech tasks and or create a blog post about what I had learned or things that had challenged me. I believe that this was a contribution to the class as I was able to reflect and my colleagues were able to comment. These two things are a crucial part to learning, especially in a distance course. I read numerous posts and commented on posts that interested, challenged, and inspired me. If I didn’t attend a session live, I would go onto our course site and read others blogs about the session. This made me eager to watch the sessions and learn about the course, Mobile Learning, and What this looks like in the classroom.

Communicating with others was a huge part of this course. Together we’ve created a positive environment where we can learn from one another. I’m going to draw on some specific “things” I’ve learned from a few people during this course.

On the first day of the course we were asked to create a blog then have it posted on our classroom site. I had created my blog, but was unsure of how to get it uploaded to our site. I was about to give up when I looked on the comments portion of our page and realized that more than a few people were confused about this as well. Soon after we realized that all we needed to post was our URL and Dean would connect our blogs!

One of the first sessions we had was about Google. Our tech task was to explore something Google. I was reading others posts about what they had found when I came across Adrienne’s post about Google Calendar. I read that she was able to sync it to her phone. I had been looking for something like as I definitely don’t carry my agenda around all day. Now I can put events and to do’s into Google Calendar and it syncs to my phone.

Near the beginning of the “semester” I was reading one of Shandra’s posts on inquiry based learning. I, too was just taught this approach and was pondering about how I was going to use it in the classroom. After reading Shandra’s post about inquiry I could clearly see that this process benefited our students as they are discovering and engaging in topics and questions that interest them. Thanks Shandra!

I also learnt something from Swati commenting on one of my posts. I created a post about my colleagues using the internet at work and how they struggled to do tasks that we would probably find quite simple. She replied to my post by asking about the older generation and how they would/do adapt to technology. I had never thought of it that way. Swati asked a question that made me think about the older generation. This is one thing I loved about this course. People have different views and opinions which let us see different sides to things. Reflecting using blogs is a great way to generate discussion about difficult topics.

There were many inspirational videos posted throughout the duration of this course. One that stands out in my mind was a lyric video of the song “Who You Are” by Jesse J. This video, along with Maria’s post reminded me that we should teach our students that they should be proud of who they are and stand up for what they believe in. Sometimes we need to be reminded of these things and the arts are a great way for our students to connect to who they are.

I have also learned about numerous tools from this classroom and others; google drive, google earth, google docs, forms, remind 101, Flickr, etc. I could go on forever. By posting I was able to see how others used these tools. I had created my google form and went back to see that others had titles and color in theirs while mine was just plain. Even from just looking at theirs I learned that there were more things I could do when creating a Google Form!

One main thing I have learned from this class is its all about exploring! Exploring new tools and blogs to enhance learning! Communicating through blogs, sessions, and Twitter was a great way to learn from others!

 

 

Introducing Michelle Baldwin!

For the past few days I have been “stalking” Michelle Baldwin’s Blog as well as her Twitter Feed. I wasn’t sure who I was going to learn about for this assignment, so I was looking on the list of educators that Dean provided. I looked through a couple educators Twitter Feeds and when I clicked on Michelle’s her information at the top had me intrigued. It reads, “ If you’re teaching kids to prepare them for OUR would, you’re at least 20 years behind!” Michelle’s blog posts and twitter updates have challenged my views on what school “should” be and has given me some great insight to what the 21st century classroom should look like.

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Michelle is an advocate for teaching and learning in the 21st century…what it means to teach students in “their world.” She returned to the classroom in 2009 after coordinating technology in a Suburban District. Michelle is a music teacher by trade and now teaches grades 3 and 4 at Anastasis Academy in Colorado. Anastasis Academy is an inquiry based school, which Michelle’s teaching style follows.

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After reading Michelle’s posts I can clearly see that she wants her classroom (as well as others) to reflect the society in which we live. I can see connections between the viewpoints of Michelle and the viewpoints of Will Richardson.

One of the posts I read talked about “techno fear.” She defined it as “a state where humans feel they are losing control due to advances in technology.” I can definitely say that I have/had this and it’s because I was taught the “old school” way as opposed to the “new school” way. Michelle challenges the old school ways of teaching and provides reasoning to why we should be teaching students skills that can be used in their world.

Michelle has also taken a look at norms in our society; what does success look like to you? It can mean different things for everybody. To most it means going to elementary/high school, then post-secondary, and lastly find a job and contribute to society. In one of her blog posts Michelle talks about what she believes success means. She believes it means to find your strengths, find your passion, and find a way to make the world around you a little better than how you found it.” This challenged my views on what success looks like. What about you?

By reading one of Michelle’s posts I have learned that she believes all subjects should be interconnected, not isolated. If subjects are isolated students have trouble making connections to other subjects and most importantly real life experiences. After all we are helping our students obtain skills that can be used in today’s society, right?

Michelle is a great educator for many reasons.I believe her views on teaching are described well in her post called The Beauty of the Middle. In this post Michelle talks about how people like clearly defined lines. This would be our isolated subjects, schedules, etc, but learning isn’t always clearly defined. The grey line would be a blurry line or the middle. Michelle believes that its best to be in the middle; there is no end to learning it’s a journey and you can see all around.

After talking to her and reading her blog I can see that she strives to get to know each and every one of her students to the best of her ability. Michelle uses blogs , a classroom Twitter account, and endless apps on ipads to connect with her students and help them reach their goals. She gives her students choice and guides them along as they discover and explore their interests through an inquiry approach. Michelle’s also uses a project based approach with her students; as they can create a piece that is meaningful to them. Michelle inspires her students to learn by letting them reflect and respond to what they are learning about, which is a crucial piece in the learning process. With that being said I’m sure you can clearly see that Michelle’s classroom is student centered; her students are in control of their learning while she guides them as they continue their learning journey. Now that’s a classroom for 21st century learners!

So Many Ideas!

I have just finished listening to an enlightening session from 4 educators who use technology in their classroom. There were many different tools highlighted. I’ll mention a few things that stood out for me. 

Our first presenter was Heather Durnin. She talked about a lot of tools that she used in her classroom such as:

I would like to integrate these all into my classroom! Prior to this session I wanted to use blogging with my students, but wasn’t sure how I was going to use it. Heather and Kathy have put my doubts to rest about blogging with students. Kathy Cassidy , another one of our presenters showed how this helped with literacy in grade one! Using blogging is an interactive way to help our students with their literacy skills. They are also collaborating with each other this way, which is even better! One thing that surprised me was when Heather mentioned that technology use tends to decrease in high school. After she explained why it made sense (scheduling and access to tools and resources), but at first I was stumped! 

I was impressed by the sense of community all four classes have by integrating technology into the classroom! During this course my views have been challenged. One thing that scared me was that our students weren’t going to have social skills with all of the technology that is used, but after this course and particularly this session I can now say that technology can increase our students social skills. 

Diana Williams was our next presenter. She talked about the Kiva project her students are working on. Her students have decided to give loans to countries who are poverty stricken. Diana has integrated social studies, language arts, and math into this project. This is awesome! Check it out!

Darren Kuropatwa was our last presenter. He talked about Scribe Blogging. This is an awesome way for students to express what they have learned. What Darren did was ask his students what they had learned that day. They essentially got to write their own textbook for the class. How cool hey? This way students aren’t reading a boring textbook. They are describing what they learned and how they learned it. This would be great for learning about the learning styles of your students. Darren also talked about how it improved the literacy skills of his students. I definitely want to try this out!!! 

There were so many great ideas shared today! I can’t wait until internship to try some of them out! 🙂 It was amazing to see all of this technology at work in a classroom! 

We Can Use Our Cellphones? What? Tech Task 7

I have always wondered when teachers were going to use cellphones in their classroom’s.  I mean we’re always carrying them around with us, so why not use them? Liz Kolb has many great ideas and resources for using cellphones in the classroom! 

While listening to her session there were a few that I would like to try out. One of them is QR codes. I’m interning in a grade 6 classroom, so some of them may have cellphones and a lot of them probably have iPads or iPods. This would be great for students who missed school as well as reviewing purposes. I would record performances, presentations, and experiments then convert those into a QR code. It would be great for parents to see what’s going on in school as well! I would use them on assignments with experiments and presentations, so that parents have an idea of what their child is working on. 

I also liked the idea of using Twitter. My students won’t be able to make their own Twitter account as they are under 13 years of age, but Liz informed me that they don’t have to create an account in order to follow people. You just need a cellphone or iPad/iPod. All you have to do is send follow @twitterid” to 40404. This would be great when learning about certain topics in school. Students could do some researching about who is an expert in a particular area on Twitter and follow them. They would then receive updates on their cellphone every time that person tweeted. This would also be great for class communication. I have seen a lot of teachers use Twitter to remind their students of what’s happening in the classroom for the week. If students follow you on Twitter using their cellphone student/teacher/parent communication is increased. 

I was also looking around Liz’s blog. There are a lot of great resources on there as well! One resource that I would like to try out is mobile apps for classroom management. One is called Class Charts. You can crate your class seating chart and share it with your colleagues. One other feature it talked about was for behaviour. This would be great for focusing on the individual child. It has positive and negative behaviours in which points can be accumulated or lost. It also states the child’s reading levels. This would also be great for sharing with colleagues and parents during interview times. This is a tool I am going to try out during my internship. It looks/seems pretty cool! 

Surprise!

I met my cooperating teacher on Wednesday. I am excited to work and learn alongside her.
It was great to get shown around the school and meet the staff and some of the students.
Prior to going to the school I was under the impression that I was interning in a grade 5 classroom. We had to do some switching around, as I was originally supposed to intern with the principal, who also teaches grade 5. He got a principalship in another town so he will not be there next year. Thankfully the grade 6 teacher offered to take an intern. I will be interning in a grade 6 classroom!
This is exciting as I will get to see what different grades are like but also a bit overwhelming since I have done my pre-internship in a 1/2 classroom…that’s quite a big jump, but I think it will be beneficial as I am seeing a variety of grades.