Summary of Learning by: Heidi and Holly

Yet another great Ed. Tech class.  Holly and myself decided to work together to create an imovie.  This was my first every movie, therefore I was extremely grateful to work and laugh alongside Holly , as we stumbled along creating our summary of learning.  I would also like to thank her for feeding me as we worked well past dinner time for many of nights.

We attempted to demonstrate that we are constantly training and evolving as teachers in a world of technology.  We have to be willing to try things out and take risks.  In this course, I felt exposed to a wide array of tools that I can use in my classroom.  I felt the constant desire to test these tools out each week.  I was constantly trying new things with my students.  We have played and created Kahoots, connected on twitter, created flipgrid responses, discussed a novel on Today’s Meet, took a virtual fieldtrip on nearpod, created a google slide, used google docs to work through the writing process by sharing work with each other, I opened up my blog to families, and used google read and write during research.  My confidence in using technology in my classroom has improved immensely. Student are directly benefiting from technology being used as more than a research tool.

During writing today my students were commenting on a peers work using google docs, when a student yells out, “I love using the computers to do this!”

This might seem simple, but it meant the world for me to hear.  Editing work of peers became fun!  I seek to teach through engagement.  Technology is very valuable in our classrooms and I am so glad to be building my skill set and confidence in this area.

Sit back and enjoy watching us train our bodies and minds in the area of educational technology under the direction of @courosa!

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A Complete Mind Shift

To be honest, going into this weeks presentation much like Erin and Jayme I didn’t know much about the topic.  I do not enjoy video games, and to be honest often get frustrated hearing my students spend the majority of their nights and weekends inside gaming.  I spend a great deal of energy encouraging my students to get outside and be active.  This made me extremely skeptical of this weeks topic.

Logan and Bill did a wonderful job in presenting the benefits of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality and education.

When Virtual Reality Meets Education raises many of the benefits of VR and teaching.  I absolutely love the example of taking the English class to Verona while reading Romeo and Juliet!  I would love to take my students to see different parts of Canada while teaching social, or going to see natural disasters or examples of extreme weather while teaching weather in science.

My eyes have been opened to the potential that these technologies have.  The 3D virtual field trip videos were pretty neat.  I am now able to view these technologies as more than games.  I had never heard of google cardboard before this week.  I was very interested and excited to look into this.  I feel like I should have known about these before now!  Thanks to Adam for sharing this video:

This video had me even more interested in creating google cardboard headsets!  I found this video describing how you can build your own!

Has anyone made one of these?  If so any pointers?  Would students be able to create one for themselves?

We do PAA groups once a week at my school.  Students go to a PAA class for 8 weeks to work on a project.  I was thinking this would be lots of fun to create with students.  They would then be able to explore VR and take fieldtrips.  I would like to make one of my own first in the next couple of weeks, so any pointers on both the constructing or their use would be amazing!

The one disadvantage I can see is the the lack of all students having a piece of technology.  This has me pondering if VR technology is widening digital divide?  At first I would say yes, because students who do not have the technology do not get the same opportunity to use such technologies.  On the other hand, I would like to suggest that it may be closing a gap in experience.  There are many students who never get to experience and explore the world.  VR technologies would enable many students to see and experience the world who otherwise wouldn’t be able to!  So in a sense it might have the potential to close the gap in regards to experience.

I went into this week thinking that anything related to “gaming” really didn’t fit into my classroom or my philosophy of teaching.  I have experienced a complete mind shift this week.  I can see VR and AR as more than games.  They have the potential of providing opportunity for students to experience their world!  This being said, I still feel like I’m swimming in water over my head.  I’m just going to keep on swimming and hope that I can learn more and find opportunities to incorporate it into my teaching!

just-keep-swimmingImage Source  

 

 

Assistive Technology can support all learners, not just those with disabilities.

 

Firstly, I would like to thank Allison, Benita, Launel, and Holly  for being so wonderful to work with on this weeks presentation on assistive technology. I could not have asked for a better group of ladies to have laughs over zoom with!

My first experiences with assistive technology was extremely similar to the flip grid response I shared in this weeks presentation.  When I was first introducescreen-shot-of-padletd to assistive technology, I found it very frustrating. I was teaching at two schools as a specialists.  I was teaching over 500 students in a given week.  When I was handed Kurzweil information with no explanation other than this ONE student may use it.  The information booklet hit the read tomorrow pile on my desk, and remained there until the end of the year.  After doing research, I found that in fact lack of training and support is a huge challenge when it comes to assistive technology.

Dave Edyburn states the following in regards to this issue, “There is little evidence that preservice teachers receive adequate training in assistive technology to prepare them for their responsibilities to consider assistive technology in each IEP meeting. Similarly, there is little evidence that inservice professionals have received adequate training. Hence, the paradox of consideration: How am I supposed to consider AT when I don’t know what the options are?” (pg. 18). 

I agree that lack of training is an issue, however we lack training in many areas.  The accessibility of assistive technology has increased. With technology such as google read and write at our finger tips, I believe we would be doing a disservice to our students to not access the tools we have readily available.  While this does take time to set up and learn, I believe if we allow ourselves to admit to students we are learning alongside them, our very students will help teach us how to best meet their needs.

Google Read & Write

Many people discussed google read and write in the chat this Tuesday.  In September I decided to set all my students up with google read and write.  Firstly, it took me awhile to set it up myself.  I then played around with it.  I figured I might as well just jump in!  Here are a few pros and cons.  The process of getting grade 5/6 students to add this google add on was not easy.  It was many hours of chaos with students frustrated and everyone wanting me to help them.  Students needed to be logged into chrome as well as their google account.  What I ended up having to do, and looking back would recommend to others, was setting each students account up with them individually and making sure it was working.  Once things were working I introduced the puzzle piece icon so they would relate that to this tool.  Many students found neat things that they can do on their own when given time to explore the new tool.

Where have I used it so far in my class?  Many students used google read and write to highlight and read information on websites while doing research.  I have also downloaded snapverter and have been able to take pictures and upload pages from textbooks onto google drive.  Students are then able to access these through shared google docs and listen to the texts.  I hope introduce and use the text prediction tool, to aid students on our next writing assignment. All in all a very valuable tool with lots of options, however you must be willing to put in the time to get your student’s set up and started.

Here is a video I found on google read and write for those of you interested.  Anyone else use this tool already and have suggestions?

When considering what I want to see in the future of assistive technologies, I tend to think not of what technologies I hope to see, but rather who is accessing and using these technologies.  I strongly believe that all students, even our most capable learners are able to use assistive technologies to improve their work.  I have even used the dictionary tool on google read and write while completing readings in my masters program.

Chris Bugaj, presents assistive technologies from history that are now used widely to assist and make life easier for everyone.  In this video Chris questions, “instead of planning for students that don’t have disabilities and then making all sorts of modifications for students with disabilities… what if we planned and created materials for students who have disabilities and then just applied those to everybody else?”

 

In closing:

Would you ever tell someone they couldn’t use a ramp, because they didn’t have a wheelchair?  Sometimes ramps come in handy when I am carrying a heavy load or are using a wheeler to move boxes.  So why would we deny a student a piece of technology just because they do not have a diagnosed disability.  Sometimes work loads are unpredictably heavy for our students.  All students can benefit from utilizing ramps from time to time!

 

 

Assessment tools will shape my students journey.

I would like to start by thanking Nicole, Tyson, Jennifer, and Natalie for sharing so many valuable assessment tools this week.  I feel as though I have added a number of tools to my toolkit.  

  1. I have reflected on current assessment tools I have been using
  2. Tested out a new tool in my classroom
  3. Hope to try a few new tools in my class in the near future!  

 Kahoot!

I use Kahoot regularly in my classroom.  The number one reason I use this assessment tool is because my students get so excited as soon as they hear the music!  While they think they are playing a game, I sneakily see what they know.  I have used Kahoot as a pre-assessment to see how much my students know before beginning a concept.  I have also used Kahoot as a formative post assessment to ensure that students understand concepts before moving forward.  Most recently my class created a Kahoot for our Global Read Aloud and posted it on Twitter.  The next week another class created one and shared it with us.  By creating one Kahoot, we became part of an online community who shared quizzes enabling us to review previous weeks reading before beginning our weekly reading.

My students were so excited to see student’s in Australia playing the Kahoot they created!

Plickers

A new assessment tool I would like to try in my classroom is Plickers.  I like the low tech, high tech aspect of this assessment tool.  I would use this for formative assessment.  The reason I am drawn to this particular tool, is the simple fact that it is adding the technology dimension into the learning and assessment even when I do not have access to devices for my entire class!

Nicole, thanks for sharing this video tutorial on Plickers.  I hope to use this tool in the next couple of weeks!

Today’s Meet

Natalie sold me on Today’s Meet when she suggested it’s use during book clubs.  I tested this tool out on Wednesday and am able ttodays meet.jpgo see benefits of using this in the classroom.  I set up a reading reflection chat on Today’s Meet.  I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to set up and access. I was also shocked with how engaged some of my “typically off task” kids were.  Two students who rarely complete reading assignments started asking valuable questions on the chat.  This being said after about 5 minutes in typical middle years style off topic posts started to appear, as you can see in the picture to the right.  This led to a perfect conversation around digital citizenship. We discussed how Today’s Meet can act as a space where they are able to practice sharing valuable information and thoughts.  Many kids were able to share times when they read things on Facebook or Instagram that were not valuable or appropriate.  I can see myself using this again for both formative and summative assessment.

PowerSchool – Gradebook

Roxanne provides a wonderful summary of gradebook in her blog post this week.  I also enjoy using Gradebook and PowerSchool for a number of reasons:

  • Communicate grades to parents in real time (summative)
  • Provide feedback on individual student assignments (formative feedback)
  • Attaching standards (outcomes) helps in my planning
  • All marks are all online and can access and grade from home
  • Write descriptions of assignments for families to see
  • Indicate if assignments are missing or late
  • Run missing assignment reports to send home
  • Access student information/transition pages/assessment data/contacts/attendance records

We had a PD day on Thursday and in our staff meeting I was thinking about this weeks reading and blog prompt when we were reviewing our reading assessment data . In this weeks article, How Technology Can Change Assessment it was stated,  “technology makes it possible to use large-scale testing in a more formative way.”  As we were looking at graphs of reading data input into PowerSchool, I realized that this is an example of how technology is compiling data and allowing us to view it in many different ways.  Technology is also enabling us to observe growth of cohorts and individual students over time.  This is formative information that drives instruction.

 

 

While all assessment is important, I believe technology is able to improve my current “assessment “for learning,” where the primary goal is to inform the learning process.”  Using new tools for the purpose of formative assessment, will help shape the journey of my students!

Quote About Journey Not Destination

 

 

Welcoming change is in the best interest of students!

While reading Gerstein’s article, Moving from Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0.  I had similar feelings as Andrew this week.  I didn’t really understand the 3.0, in fact I didn’t even realize that there was a web 3.0.  Both the the video posted by Nicole and Andrew, as well as this weeks assigned ted talk helped me develop a better understanding of what web 3.0 exactly is.

I get that it might help me buy groceries in the future, which I must say is pretty awesome!  It seems as though productivity will be increased with the use of web 3.0.  This being said, I still struggle to visualize what this looks like in regards to the future of education and my classroom.

I think I struggle to visualize this because I am part of a newer generation of educators.  I am not stuck in the old, however I was only taught education 1.0 style.  As  Naomi suggests in her post this week, even the university is largely teaching using traditional education 1.0 methods.  I am the learner and I will be taught.  I often wondered in undergrad classes, why my professors were teaching me to teach using inquiry, via a power point slide presentation (direct instruction).

Gerstein’s article states the following about student learning and education 3.0

  • Demonstrate their learning through methods and means that work best for them. It could include using their mobile devices to blog, create photo essays, do screencasts, make videos or podcasts, draw, sing, dance, etc.
  • Take the initiative to seek feedback from educators and their peers. It is their choice whether or not to utilize that feedback.

I see this shift in this EC&I course.  Firstly we have the freedom to use devices and technologies in our own ways. Our summaries of learning will take on many forms.  As learners we have many freedoms to express and explore our own learning.  Secondly, we blog and provide feedback to each other. Often times comments left by others confirm, alter, or change my original opinions and ideas.  I am constantly growing and learning.

So what are the disadvantages of web 3.0?  As Rochelle suggests in the twitter chat last week, many students and teachers do not understand how to learn and teach using technology.

Benita suggests this week, “in order for education 3.0 to be adopted as practice, education 2.0 will have to be fully accepted and adopted.”  I agree with both of these points.

Gerstein suggests that education 3.0 is also said to allow learners to, “determine what they want to learn and develop their own learning objectives for their learning, based on a broad range of desired course outcomes” (pg. 94). I fear our large curriculum’s are putting our learners and teachers at a disadvantage.  While there is a push for inquiry and student driven learning in education, there is also a push for accountability and checking off boxes/assessing outcomes.  If our curriculum was more open ended and reduced in content, I think more teachers would approach new teaching methods with a more open mind. For as long as teachers have large curriculum with specific outcomes or objectives required there will be stress that students will not learn everything they are “supposed to” in the given year.

I do feel that ready or not, web 3.0 is coming into our classrooms and lives.  I feel that just as quickly as education 2.0 bombarded the world of learning the same will happen with web 3.0.  I don’t know that you can prepare yourself for change, you just need to welcome change with open arms.  We need to remember that school is for the students as stated by Gerstein:

“The bottom line, though, is not is what is in the best interests of the teacher, the administration, or the politicians. It is what is in the best interests of the learner” (pg. 95).

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.

After doing reading/viewing and blogging, I am still wondering what this looks like in my future classroom.  How does a classroom move beyond education 2.0?  I would love to hear some ideas.  Is this change already happening?

Does online learning provide flexibility in teaching and socialization for students?

This week we have been asked to reflect on our own experiences so far with tools used to provide distance education to us.  This is my second online course with Alec.  I am a social person and while I enjoy using zoom to meet and connect, I still feel online courses miss a social component.  Much of my learning comes from chatting with peers before or after class.  I enjoy having conversations and sharing ideas.  This being said the blogs enable me to connect and learn from others. Being a talkative person, I just do not think reading and writing replaces the oral interactions for me.

Is the online community and learning environment of distance education, meant to replace the traditional classroom environment?  This is a question posed by Andrew this week in his blog post.  When I compare the two environments they are very different in nature.  As mentioned above I enjoy the social aspects of face to face classes.  As a teacher I love the relationships I build with students outside of the classroom.  Many of the students I work with are not necessarily those I teach.  Some I coach, have in extra-curricular programs, or meet in the halls or playground.  These are some of the most important relationships I have.  The relationships I have with students are important and make me want to go to work everyday!  Which reminds me of this video that you should watch!  Beware of tears!!

Furthermore, jump into my classroom and you will never find me following a rigid unit plan.  I like seeing where my student take things and I often come up with fun activities on the spot, most of which are ten times more exciting compared to my original plans!  I just don’t know if I would have that flexibility to allow students to lead me down their learning path in a distance education setting. This being said, I think that regardless of the setting, content can be taught.  Audrey Waters states this in The Future of Education: Programmed or Programmable

Whether it’s in a textbook or in a video-taped lecture, it’s long been the content that matters most in school. The content is central. It’s what you go to school to be exposed to. Content. The student must study it, comprehend it, and demonstrate that in turn for the teacher.

Content is most important.  We have curriculum and it needs to be taught.  I think either setting both distance or face-to-face provides opportunity to engage in content.  I think the distance education provides many opportunities for learners that a face-to-face environment does not.  I enjoy being able to be waiting at the doctors office and reading and commenting blog posts.  Alec is able to be in Hawaii and Japan and class goes on!  I too can work from wherever!  We are able to interact and learn from people around the world.  My students most recently connected with students from Australia and Ontario which was amazing learning opportunity for everyone involved.

I also understand that not all student’s want to be in school.  Providing a different environment for students to be successful is a huge advantage of online courses.  The fact that there are accessible online schooling options for students who otherwise may not attend, makes me very excited for future graduation rates!

Image result for you make me want to come to school everyday

Photo Credit 

Online classes have made me a better teacher in a digital world.  Having to use technology to communicate and learn, has enabled me to become more comfortable and confident in using and learning technology alongside my students.  I hear myself saying to my students,

“I’m learning this with you!”

I also ask my students for help and we solve problems together.

Logan asked two questions in his blog that I have also been wondering about after hearing Jade’s presentation.

  • If [distance education] lends itself more to direct instruction?
  • What about the socialization…and engaging with other students in the classroom?

Jade mentioned that they provide distance education from Kindergarten too grade 12.  I was beyond shocked.   I feel early childhood education is about building social interactions and understanding how to act in social settings with other children.  Is online education disregarding this key factor of early childhood education? What about the importance of play?

What are your thoughts on distance education and socialization, play, and interaction with others?

Is my prep over already?

Another great presentation on productivity tools this week from Andrew, Nancy, Jayme, Roxanne, and Ashley.

Thank goodness it is #tablessthursday not tabless Tuesday, or else I would never make it through our class!  As I was “watching” the video, he totally called me out by saying, he wouldn’t doubt that I was doing something else while watching!  I burst out laughing. Totally true.  I am constantly trying to do TOO much.  I need to spend more time on completing just one task then moving onto the next.

Multitasking, as suggested by both Amy and Benita is not new.  I remember even as a kid having to eat supper, do homework, tell my parents about my day, and sneak in some of what was on the TV at the time.  If it all wasn’t accomplished in a timely manner, there was no going out or going to sports that night.  The pressure was on!  This all being said I honestly think that I have become worse and multi-tasking.  Is technology distracting and decreasing my productivity, OR is it simply through technology I am being expected to accomplish more? I am not entirely sure but I think there is a bit of both.

Does this sound familiar? Sometimes an hour prep goes by and I realize all I accomplished was going to the washroom, filling my water bottle, and answering my emails.

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Apparently I should take some lessons in multi-tasking and do this all at the same time. Maybe that would free up more of my prep time!

Kyle mentioned in this weeks chat that his administrators prefer face to face or phone conversations.  I tend to agree with this comment.  As stated in this weeks reading,  “A drawback of rampant growth in email has been less use of more personalized communication.”  This I believe to be true.  I feel that face to face or phone conversations strengthen my relationships with families.  At the same time email provides quick communication between families.  Both serve their purposes.  Email takes the place of notes, but should not replace a relationship we have with others.

This weeks blog prompt reminds me of some of the conversations I had in the EC&I 830 course around unplugging from technology.  In my final blog post in that course, I discussed taking a daily escape from technology.  I still believe this to be true.

I think it is important to take a daily “escape” from technology!  Take a break and enjoy something that is not found on a device.  Take time to build relationships or to relax and be at peace with yourself!

We do need to take some time to relax.  Amy’s blog post about not being able to relax during yoga, reminds me of my students.  I have been doing cool-down mindfulness exercises with my students after lunch to allow their brains and bodies to relax before asking them to begin learning again.  My school counselor introduced me to this strategy while working with my students last year completing the friends program.  Many students find it difficult to relax and it is no wonder they also struggle to focus on their learning.

To conclude, I think this is all about balance.  Balance is difficult but we do need to be mindful of how much time we are spending on certain tasks.  For me this sometimes means setting a time frame and whatever I have done is what gets done and I walk away.  For example: I might go into the school on the weekend and give myself an hour to accomplish as much as I can.  After that hour is up, it is time to leave.