Tech Task #3: Connecting

Educational Blogs

Below you will find links for the 4 new educational blogs I have started following. I am interested in educators who are finding ways to push education to be about student experiences and how they can develop life long skills, so I chose blogs based on this. Each of the following really caught my attention as they contained blog posts that either inspired me or made me say huh…

Dangerously Irrelevant

Dare to Care

Roots of Action

What Ed Said

Twitter

I have started following these people on twitter:

@CE_Studios

@EdSurge

@edutopia

@joe_bower

@scope_stanford

@hbarlaam – science specific

All of them (except the last link) tweet on the topic of general education and what we should be doing to make our classrooms better. From integration of new technologies to conferences we should be looking to for inspiration, all of the above will provide various resources for teaching in every classroom. I followed them in the hopes of being kept up to date of what is out there and with what fellow educators are talking about.

Web Based Learning Event

I chose to go through edtechteacher.com and watch a webinar (archive) on communication, collaboration and reflection in the classroom. Specifically this webinar (link below) focused on student produced artifacts for learning and the creation of a digital portfolio to share and reflect on student learning. Furthermore, there was discussion of the value of students having the ability to collaborate with others and find meaning in their learning through sharing their digital portfolios. Overall, this webinar helped me to see how to implement sharing of student work (something that Dean mentioned during the first live session) in a classroom.

I found it very helpful to be learning from individuals who have more experience with technology in the classroom. It was much better than just reading an article on the subject (admittedly I get bored easily…).

Creating a Curriculum Based on Communication, Collaboration, & Reflection

Love | Short Film

Such a cool way for students to share their passions. Gets them thinking about what they appreciate in the world and what they want to change.
Note that the boy who produced this video is a high school student who is interested in film. Shows the power of letting students pursue their passions.
LOVE IT:)

Tech Task #2: Exploring Google Forms *results*

FORM FOLLOW-UP:

13 people filled out my form on technology use during internship

  • 8/9 (of those who answered) did their internship in an elementary school.
  • Only 3 of you felt that you used “tons” of technology in the classroom, the rest admitted they could have used more.
  • The following chart demonstrates the types of technology used:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 1.04.35 PM

  • The following chart demonstrates the various limitations we had when trying to use technology:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 1.08.52 PM

  • Lastly, 3 out of 13 gave students the option to hand in assignments online and the rest chose to not.

In summary, I am most interested in the limitations we had when trying to work with technology, nearly half of those who answered felt that they were not comfortable using technology in their classrooms – throw me into this group as well. As technology is a tool which is available and should be used to enhance learning, maybe we need to be better educated in this area throughout our undergraduate degrees? This course is one of the first opportunities I have had to learn about all the opportunities to integrate technology into our classrooms… and I chose to take this course, rather than it being a required part of my degree. I have been given vague guidelines in other classes, but nothing that made me feel comfortable with actually using (as much) technology as there is available. Technology isn’t going away and I think we should be more prepared to use it in our classrooms for the betterment of our students.

Creating an Inviting Classroom Environment for All

The Ultimate Guide to Worldwide Etiquette

I came across this site (click the link above) which likely has the main goal of informing individuals who are visiting other countries what is and is not acceptable where they plan to travel. I see it as an educational tool that I can use to inform myself about different customs around the world. Specifically I like the two sections I have highlighted with a yellow box: gestures / do’s & dont’s.

Worldwide

Knowing the different ways of greeting individuals can help me to refrain from being offensive to my students when I would have no intention to do so. Specifically I have my EAL students in mind. For example in Nigeria (as seen above), it states that a thumbs up is considered rude. So instead of it coming off as a sign of encouragement to a student, they may be offended by my actions.

Helpful things like this create a more inviting classroom environment for all students!

Perception: Becoming Aware of Our Goggles

For my first official blog post… I would like to share a portion of a book that I am reading:

“We all look at the world through goggles. Many of us are unaware of this fact (and those who are aware are loath to admit it), but we all perceive the world about us through tinted lenses – tinted with the ideas stored in our memories. Only by referring to the millions of ideas we have consciously and unconsciously logged in our brains can we continually make sense of the world we experience. No one has a goggles-free view of the world, because no living brain is ideas-free.” – On the Origin of Tepees

This idea of viewing the world through different lenses isn’t something that is new to me (although it was only 2 short years ago). Through our education courses, I have become aware of the importance of thinking about how my past experiences have shaped who I am and how I perceive new experiences. Although I am aware that each of us is wearing a different set of “goggles” I still find that I must remind myself of this when I encounter new situations. This brings up the idea of perception. How we perceive everything in our lives shapes how we react to what we see around us on a daily basis. Being conscious of our goggles is absolutely important in shaping our actions in the classroom. We must have an understanding that each individual we interact with will have a different set of life experiences that will alter their view of school, their abilities, strengths, weaknesses, even how they perceive us as teachers. We must be sensitive to this in a way that makes us responsive to each learner as an individual.

In order to gain understanding of individual experiences and how they affect each person, we must cultivate empathy in our society. Below I have included a video about the science behind empathy. Humans are naturally empathetic but I think we need to tap into this more in order to create an inclusive and improved society.

The video gets you thinking about our desire to help others and how it is engrained in history. We need to hold on to this instinct and use it.

I think it is important to not only be conscious of our own goggles and how they affect our teaching, but to also make students aware of the goggles that each of them are wearing. Through introducing students to this idea that each of them is wearing a set of lenses, perhaps we can get them to develop more empathy and general awareness about those around them. How can we get students to not only realize they are wearing goggles, but to also consider what it would be like to wear a classmate’s goggles for a day? What valuable life skills might our students learn from doing this?

So far I have done my best to customize my new blog… It has been frustrating but I think I have figured it out. I tried to create different pages to better organize the different required sections for this course but quickly learned that you can’t (or as far as I can tell) post on each page in the “blog post” format – making me revert back to having 2 pages. I plan to add more pages (such as a resource page) as I further develop my page.

Hoping to learn lots in this class!

Where I come from…

I was born and raised in Regina; I have a younger brother, a younger sister, and two very supportive parents. My family leads a very active lifestyle. Throughout my childhood I participated in many organized activities including dance, swimming, gymnastics, soccer, volleyball and piano, as well as leisure activities like snow-skiing, hiking, running and skating. Into my adolescence, the dance studio became my second home; I was there nearly every day rehearsing for competitions and exams in several styles of dance. Through my time spent dancing, I learned the importance of commitment, time management, perseverance, and many other skills that have helped me in numerous areas of my life.

Throughout my schooling, I have made many connections in the community through volunteering and work. Most prominent of these experiences being my position as senior science instructor and science camp coordinator at Summer Sports School, a day camp where I planned out daily science activities for the campers.  Through planning and implementing engaging activities, this experience mimicked part of what I will be doing in my own classroom. I have also instructed dance to young children through my dance studio, and I choreographed a dance group at my high school for a yearly performance put on by the students. Both of these experiences use skills required in the classroom and in extra curricular activities.

My life story leads me here.. in my final semester in my education degree with the excitement (plus a bucket of nerves) of not knowing exactly what my life will look like come May of this year. Through my internship experience I was able to become even more certain that I have absolutely picked the correct career for me. I have never invested so much time nor felt so passionately about anything in my life. I love teaching. Everything about it. I cannot wait for the joys, hardships, uncertainties, and learning experiences my teaching career will bring me.