The Learning of Others

The Learning of Others

Here we are counting down the final days of University (if you’re a 4th year) or just finishing the semester.  In this class, we were expected to help contribute to the learning of others. In this post, I will be summarizing my interactions with my fellow 455 and 355. I’ll try to make this entertaining as possible and break it up with lots of pictures/tweets.

Our Tasks:

1. Commenting on classmates’ blogs

This first one I struggled with in the beginning. I felt at times I didn’t have anything to say and I wanted to leave a “good” comment. I didn’t want it to feel insincere but to make the writer think. I do feel like I was able to accomplish this.  On Lydia McLeod’s post, Supporting Diversity in the Classroom I commented this.

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I also commented on Brett Loeppky’s blog post, Control Your Children People My Goodness.

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I want to highlight these two comments because I honestly think they were the best ones I made all semester. Brett actually shared my comment on Google+ because she wasn’t sure how to answer it. I think they are my best because I believe I made both writers think about what I was asking.

2. Writing posts in response to blog posts that you’ve read 

I pinged a couple classmates throughout the semester because I felt that they had valid points on their blog that I didn’t want to regurgitate. My post, Mental Health is not a JOKE! however was a response (kind of) to Matthew Lothian’s blog post, Do You Care About Politics. It was kind of a response because something in his post inspired me to write my own about politics.

3. Modeling the process of giving constructive feedback by commenting on ECMP355 blogs

The best constructive feedback I believe I gave was on Ashton Mills blog post, Pushing Past the Need for Perfection. She had posted some pictures of her doing yoga for her learning project and I noticed something she could do to help in a pose she was having difficulty with.

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4. Interacting with others (both students in the course and others) on Twitter by answering questions and contributing to conversations.

This tweet I sent out was an article that I thought was interesting and relatable to class. I had several classmates comment on how it was really useful to them!

I also created this picture so that people could see the comments they made since many were asking how to view it. Too bad you can only see 2 – 3 weeks back….

5. Participating in education-related Twitter chats

#ecmpchat, #saskedchat, #STARSchat, #saskedchat (again) and #STARSchat (again too). So I believe these are all the twitter chats I participated in during this semester. These are insane. So fast paced you need to stay focused in order to keep up.

This was one of my most popular tweets during a twitter chat.

6. Interacting with others on Google Plus by answering others’ questions

My most recent interaction was with Nikki Keller on Google+. She was asking about how to view comments she made on other peoples blog.
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The one on the left is what I posted and the one on the right is me trying to help through words (didn’t work so well)

7. Creating screencasts to help classmates with a particular skill

I showed Tori how to find her stats.

I showed Kylie how to upload PDF’s to google drive and then get a shareable link.

So there we go this is my semester crammed into a blog post. If you want to see EVERYTHING i did check out my Log Book. It doesn’t have any pictures or links but I do describe everything I did. I hope you enjoyed my journey through ECMP and another step to becoming a teacher.

Tech. Talk

Tech. Talk

Let the blogging beginning (again)! I don’t know if you noticed or cared but my last blog post was roughly 9 months ago, so that means I am rusty at this whole blogging thing. Every now and again in class, we are expected to blog and at first, I am not excited. By the time I change my theme, move things around, change my picture and then sit down to write I am pretty eager to get going, the only problem is I don’t know what to write about. Thank goodness we were given a blog prompt (hopefully we get one each week?) and by the end of the semester, I hope to be able to write blog posts without being prompted. My goal for this semester is definitely working hard on my PLN and continuing my blogging even after class is over.

Now that I got that out of the way let’s get down to the actual post. If you can tell from the title it’s going to be about technology …. in the classroom. Whether you love it or hate it we have become a very technological world. I believe that it would only make sense to include technology into our classrooms. I understand that there are many teachers who don’t want to use technology in their classroom but I think that we can reach students in ways we couldn’t before with technology, as long as it is used in a correct way.

But, what is the correct way? There isn’t only one right” answer to this question. I think the correct way is anyway as long as it teaches and engages the students. I have seen many teachers use the same tool but in different ways that both benefitted the class. I personally love Kahoot, if you haven’t checked it out it’s a quiz game where students log in through a pin number that is randomly generated when you start a game. Students then answer the questions from their phone, tablet or any other electronic device they have. I’ve seen a lot of teachers use this as a fun diagnostic tool or a different way to write a quiz. When I used this app I used it as brain break in my math class. I had a lot of students who could not sit through a sixty-one minute class (I mean who could?) So around the half way point, if there were one student who were working exceptionally hard I would ask them what kind of Kahoot they would like to do, they would give a suggestion (colours, shapes, Disney Characters, The Simpsons, cows – seriously these were all suggestions)I would find a quiz that was appropriate and we would take ten minutes to do the quiz. After we finished I told students to put away their devices and get back to work. In the beginning, I struggled with getting them back on task but towards the end, they knew exactly what to do after a quiz which was great.

I love using technology in the classroom. I think it is a great way to help students learn. I also found that sometimes the students didn’t get what I was teaching, so that night I would find a video or cool website that re-explained what I was teaching in a different way that the students might understand. In science 8 we were talking about the gas exchange process and the students were not understanding how it worked so I found this cool website that together we went through to actually show them how it worked. By the end of that class, students were actually getting it

Just recently I joined in #saskedchat on twitter. Coincidently that night we were talking about technology in the classroom. Why haven’t I done this before?!

I love the fact that I was able to collaborate with so many other people and will be definitely be doing this more often!

As teachers, we need to remember that technology is their to broaden and enhance the students learning. I know through twitter and blogging that I will enhance my own learning and because of that I will have learned how to better incorporate technology in my own classroom. I am excited to expand my PLN this semester and can not wait to continue learning.

Personal Learning Network

Personal Learning Network

When it comes to education, technology has been a huge impact. Teachers are able to communicate with other people around the world in a matter of seconds. For new teachers I think it is important to establish a mark in the social world, but it can be very intimidating to do so. We are told from the beginning of university that what we post stays on forever. This can be scary since you never want to post something that you will regret later on. But through encouragement from many professors I was able to start a professional online presence.

A great place to start is through Twitter, you can start your PLN by just reading and re-tweeting important tweets that you find beneficial. On you can search what hash tags you are interested in and all the tweets that use that hash tag are shown on one page. You can also see tags related to your search that might interest you. A couple of good hash tags to search are; #ecs210, #useful, #edchat. I’ve had Twitter for some time now but I still only comfortable with reading and re-tweeting other peoples tweets. The one tweet that I actually created was back in my first year of university when I saw an interesting post.

Some of my favourite tweets from other people are;

The only issue with twitter is that it limits your tweets to 140 characters. You have to be really talented to be able to get your point across in such a small frame. Personally for me, this is my I find blogging to be better.  I have started a few different blogs in the past but I never seem to be able to stick with them. Hopefully with this blog I can continue using it even when this class has ended. One of my post popular blog post was one of my most recent ones, where at the end I asked “Do schools value grades or do we value student learning? This blog received a bunch of different comments that got me thinking about, how do we change how we value what is important to schools.. In our class we are also expected to  read other classmates blogs. Reading other blogs is a great eye opener, you are able to get a different perspective on a topic which you may not have thought yourself.  One blog post that I really enjoyed and commented on was by Leanne, she talked about how teachers are ones to jump to conclusions if the student is not a “good” student in the common sense way (so they are fidgety, loud, etc.)

When it comes to blogging though there are many different ways to do it. Another domain of blogs is through Tumblr. With Tumblr you are able to search hash tags or topics that you want to know more about and they will bring up some blogs that are related to what you have searched. Some useful blogs that I have found are Matthew Maddux, We Are Teachers, and Girl With a Lesson Plan. These blog range from useful tools to humorous stories to inspirational quotes and much, much more. A few of my favourite posts on Tumblr are;

Blackout Poetry (totally check this out!!!!)

When I first started Tumblr I used it for just personal reason. Looked up funny cats here and there but it wasn’t until I saw a blog about charts that I realized that it can be something more. I still thoroughly enjoy looking at cats but I also can see all the resources that I have access to at the tip of my fingers. Another website that I used for personal reasons at first was Pinterest. This site is useful for everything and anything.  You create boards for your topic and then “pin” things to them. I started my own teaching board where I have gotten different ideas about classroom management, classroom decoration (see below), lesson planning and plenty more.

Overall there are many different ways to create an online presence. Most people who have created any social networking account have created some sort of PLN and the way we use the sites are going to determine how useful they are to us.  For myself I am not at the point where I am creating my own posts/tweets.  However I have created my own PLN where I am able to find resources and helpful tidbits. Hopefully soon, I will be able to feel confident and post my own ideas without being prompted.