Monthly Archives: April 2011

What I Will Take Away

Through my reflection and my final project I have learned a lot in this course that I can take away from it.

The reason that I find the final project we did a good reflection of learning is becuase it is a organized compilation of many resources that I can see myself using the future.  When I think about the fact that I may one day have a smart board I will have no clue where to start.  Since my partners have used a smart board before they were able to add their favorite interactive websites for it.  There are many helpful resources and I like the page with the many resources that we learned in class.  In a year I will not remember all the websites that we learned about in class but I will always have access to the wiki we created so I will always be able to go back, read the description and use the link to get to many great websites that can be used.  The final project was also great because we got the chance to learn how to better use a wiki, and connect resources to it.  A wiki is a great collaborative tool to use with a classroom or small group of students so they can all work on one document on seperate computers and share ideas and resources.

My reflection was also very beneficial for me.  Not only do I mention many great website that I can use in it and how I can use them but I also learned some really neat new tools to create projects with.  Jing and camtasia were free versions of screen recording tools I worked with to create a project.  I can see students who don’t like being in videos being interested in a program like this.  Also, with my final project and a few others this semester I have created a youtube account which is new technology to me as well.  Not only am I able to watch videos, but I can also create and share videos now as well.

These are two great examples of my summary of learning.  I, of course, took away more than just my two final projects.  I have also learned the importance of technology in the classroom and many important topics that have not crossed my mind ever.  I learned that students are smart with technology, and that incorporating technology into a lesson will help them in many different ways to learn.  I learned that I do need to give students some instruction on computer usage so that they are using the internet appropriately, espcially if the computers are not blocked from certain sites.  I learned that I need to keep my digital identity a positive one for when parents, students and potential employers are looking to find things out about me.  I want to have my students start their own positive digital identiy.

Overall I learned a lot about technology and how it relates back to the classroom.  Thanks for the knowledge Alec!


My Daily Usage

What is a typical daily usage of the internet like?  Mine usually includes writing a paper or creating a project of some sort on microsoft word.  Along with that is constantly checking Facebook to add to my procrastination, as well as hotmail, job postings or anything that can take my mind off homework.  I also use my computer for music downloads and updating electronic devices.

Photo by: William Hook

I want to see my computer usage go in a different direction in the next month (when I will actually be in the field).  I want to see myself researching articles that might really help me build my career and knowledge base for being a first year educator.  I hope to, and plan on continuing to blog.  I have many reasons for wanting to continue to blog.  First of all I hope that having an online space may impress my potential employers and it can be a space where they can go to learn more about me.  Also, because I do want to expand my knowledge base it will be a great spot to do short summaries of important points that can help me as an educator.  When I first get my own classroom, depending on the grade, my first task I want to do is have each student set up their own blogs (depending on the division of course).  If I do not blog regularly I can not expect my students to.  I think it would be a great space to share thoughts and artifacts with my students.

I also see myself using wikispaces, google docs, skype, diigo and other various websites we have learned about.  I also have a image of what my students daily usage is like.

I realize that getting laptops every day in a school may be unrealistic.  I would like my students to blog a couple times a week.  Other days we may create assignments together on the projector, go on google earth tours, watch videos to assist our learning all on the pojector.  If I have access to a smart board I want to use it as much as possible in my daily lessons.  Whether I am teaching on it or the students are doing interactive learning on the board it is my goal to use at least one form of technology a day.  I realize that this is not going to come easily and that my visions of technology in my classroom may be time consuming and difficult at times but I have a goal and a starting point, now I just need a classroom :)!

What other ways do you use technology now? What visions do you have of technology in your classroom?


How Much is Too Much

When it comes to getting to know students and their personal lives, I would have to think where the line should be drawn.  What about the students and my personal life, what am I comfortable with them knowing?  I would have to say this is where I am lucky being in and elementary setting.  I recall my days in high school when I would hear of my friends trying to sneak into the Weyburn bar under age.  When teachers would catch them there I bet the teachers felt a very personal dilemma of what to do.  The teachers in Weyburn always made sure the students got kicked out becuase it was illegal for them to be in there in the first place and it could ruin their career.  There are many stories out there where teachers do inappropriate things and get caught and lose their job over it.  Worst part is, the things they do have nothing to do with school.  In this article a teacher has internet relations from his home that get him fired.  I apologize for the content of the article, it is very one sided but it proves the point that no matter what teachers do, in the school or in their own time, they need to be cautious

Being in an elementary school that is not one of my concerns.  I am concerned however that I may ask a question too personal for students that a parent will come back at me and question me on, or parents and students will dig too deep into my personal life.  For me I am all about getting to know my students.  I like to know what their weekends consisted of, who they live with, what sports they are playing and their favorite games and things to do.  In elementary they love sharing this stuff with me as well.  I am not much different, they knew my first name, always bugged me to find out where my house was, knew what sports I played and one student even knows where my parents house is (his cousins were my neighbours)!  This was fine with me becuase I was only in internship but I had a great connection with my students and I can’t imagine having anything less!

 

Photo by: apc33

Just looking for some insights.  I think it is okay to share moderate amounts of personal information with my students and to get some from them, but this is at an elementary level so I can see how high school may not agree.  I love having some connections with my students like discussing our hockey games, or our favorite tv shows.  Do you think it is appropriate to let your students know you personally and where should the line be drawn?


Animal School

Here is a video we watched in EPSY 322 tonight.

For our final day of class we had two men from the ministry come in and give us a presentations on inclusivity in schools as well as a parent who has a son with Asperger’s came to give us information on their life and their relationships with the school.  There are so many things to take into consideration with just one exceptional learner in the classroom, how do teachers do it? 

Throughout some of the conversation tonight I picked up on one point in particular, and it really caught my attention.  It was discussion around the cutback of EA’s.  They guys from the ministry said one reason was because they were leaving the work of certain individuals up to EA’s when the classroom teachers were the ones with the training.  The discussion around cutting EA’s has always made me wonder, what would a classroom teacher do without an EA if we had a polar bear, a fish, an eagle, a squirrel and a duck in our classroom.  Teachers do get by and through learning experiences they come up with ways of creating an environment that works for all students.  But a CBC report done a year ago said that we were going to cut EA’s from 3400 to 800.  In the same news report it says that is not possible!  I think that there are so many roles in the school that need to be recognized.  There are so many students in the schools that need to be recognized.

Animal school shows us how important it is to understand each student and treat them all as individuals.  To be flexible with the curriculum becuase it is not going to suit every student.  To do this we need to take advantage of the supports offered in the school and collaborate with parents, school board, administration and in school support services.  Animal school taught me a lot about students I may have and pointed out that the curriculum can not be set in stone (adaptations!!!).


Where is Technology Going?

As I was sitting looking through the syllabus on the first day of one of my classes I noticed that there were ten novels I had to buy and read for the course I was in.  I went hom that night and checked out if I could buy the books on my sony ereader and I could.  So I went to my professor and discussed if I could buy them on there since it is half price for the books.  Here is the problem.  Electronic devices are not allowed in a final exam (even though it is not an offical final exam).  I explained to my professor that the sony ereader I own is nothing more than a regular book.  I can read it, highlight important sections, tab pages and make notes on the sides of my pages.  I have no internet access on it becuase of the brand that it is.  But it still did not matter since the university code says no electronics in the final.

woordenaar

This incident made me think about where technology is going in schools, and if the university is caught up or behind.  I love my ereader because I am able to buy and share books with others who also have the sony ereader.  It is great for travelling, bringing to school for my breaks and taking outside since the screen is made like a book and gets no glare from lights or sun.

A website that I read had the benefits and drawbacks of ereaders in school.

Some benefits include:

Books can be kept up to date more easily, students can write in and on their reader through creating notes and highlighting without wrecking them (deleting is simple), saving money on importing books and the cost of books, can obtain a specific book wanted within minutes, and students are used to more of a computer style screen.

Some drawbacks include:

While the books on ereaders are cheaper, getting a set of ereaders will be expensive.  It also takes a lot of trust that students will not steal the ereaders.  Some great books are still not ebooks yet and for those who don’t know how to work them, and aren’t willing to learn, it will not be beneficial.

I see so much benefit from ereaders.  Also, rather than buying ereaders, although ipads or more expensive if the schools have the budget ipads have readers among many more aps.  I am interested to see where ereaders go in the next few years.


Cell Phones in the Classroom

I have been in controversy with myself over the use of cell phones in the classroom.  I have been in and out of schools in the past few weeks subbing for TA’s and went into my first high school the other day.  As I went from class to class I noticed many of the students using their cell phones.  They were using their cell phones during instruction and during work time.  During instruction they would show friends things on their cell phones and laugh or discuss, completely interrupting the teachers instruction time.  Of course not every teacher will react the same, and I only seen one teacher try to take a cell phone away (but gave up after arguing with the student). 

I understand there are positive uses of cell phones in a classroom as well as negative uses.  When we were in the illuminate session with Dean Sharski he shared with me how one of his schools in Prairie South used cell phones in their classroom for educational purposes.  You can check out the recorded session to see what he said about how a class in that division used cellphones in a positive way.

This blog discussess project K-Nect which is where students do school work over their cell phones.  It argues that students doing work on their cell phones is more fun for them making school more engaging.  It also brings in inclusivity since some students who may not like speaking in class might be comfortable speaking on a blog in class.  When students are in class and stuck on a question rather than asking in front of the class or having the teacher come over, the student can ask on the blog, this seems kind of lazy to me and I think I would prefer explaining to my students at their desk or mine.  Cell phones have many more capabilities than pen and paper do and the amount of things and lesson that can be done on them is endless.

Of course the questions are as follows.  If the cell phones do not get donated or funded, what about the few students that don’t have cell phones.  Students need to learn to be internet safe before we are letting them all over the internet in school and that students might just not pay attention.