Monthly Archives: October 2016

Utilizing Tech tools Within My Classroom

Throughout the semester we have heard of a variety of tools that have been used to what are currently being used in the classroom.  I am currently in my 6th and 7th classes in my Masters program at the University of Regina.  Within these classes I have taken 3 that have been web based - distance learning opportunities like this one with Alec.  I have taken 2 other ones that have been MOODLE/UR Courses based and then the other 2 have been face to face.

The tools that are used constantly in all of my classes are slide shows, whether it be PowerPoint, Google Slides or other ones such as: Prezi, Powtoon, KeyNote, or many others.  Each class has some sort of information sharing tool that resembles this concept.


PowerPoint

PowerPoint Icon via Microsoft Office

My favorite for my own usage is a PowerPoint.  I am most comfortable with it, and if it is a presentation that I am doing for a professional or in depth project I like all the extras that are available.  I find with PPT, there are more options for transitions, slide timing, animations and much more.

For my students I encourage Google Slides.  Mostly for the collaborative nature of the Google program.  Every student is able to log in and add/edit/collaborate with their own device on their own time.  It also allows me as the teacher to keep an eye on who is accomplishing what and when.  It is very easy to hold the students accountable with their work when you check in on their edits/changes and you only ever see one or two students doing all the work.

Other tools that I use in my classroom are YouTube and Khan Academy.  I love using these sites because of the opportunities that it gives me to share ideas/images/science experiments (that we don't have to proper tools for) and so many other great learning opportunistic.  I also include these sites as a method to develop a blended learning environment for our students who are heavily involved in sport/culture/dance and art programs outside of school.  With the students missing a large portion of teaching, it gives them the opportunity to watch and learn on their own time and stay caught up with the rest of the class.

Kahoot and Google Forms

Wiki Commons: Kahoot Logo
I have used Kahoot for the last year and a half and the kids love it!  It makes for an interactive and fun class where the students are able to each share in the excitement.  The only issue with this is ensuring we always have a one-to-one device day.  Most of the time I have not run into this problem but it has held us back a couple of times.



Wiki Commons: Google Forms
What I have started this semester with my class is utilizing Google Forms to get a quick summative evaluation so I can see if there is any area that is weak across a class that I may need to reteach before a unit test, end of unit project or other big idea assessments.  I am finding this is a great tool to ensure that all my students needs are being met, and that I can isolate those that are missing or have gaps in their information quickly.














Google Docs

Wiki Commons: Google Docs

Like Amy and Erin Google Docs has provided me with a lot of valuable lessons, not only this semester in class, but also in my own classroom.  See my blog post from a couple weeks ago in how I broke down how I am using it in reference to the SAMR model of using tech in your classroom.














What I would like to do


I would like to see my class begin a unit study with another class in a different city.  I would love to share or ideas, have the discussions and share knowledge with a different community.  Somewhere up north, or on one of the coasts would be great to start with.  My thought would be to do a literature circle book study and have a variety of books so the students can be placed in a number of different groups and then have to share their learning, understanding of the books and topics with others from the different class.  I think this would be a fantastic interactive tool and a great opportunity to learn with another class.  If you know any one that teaches middle years in one of these areas of Canada, and has a similar interest please let me know!

Utilizing Tech tools Within My Classroom

Throughout the semester we have heard of a variety of tools that have been used to what are currently being used in the classroom.  I am currently in my 6th and 7th classes in my Masters program at the University of Regina.  Within these classes I have taken 3 that have been web based - distance learning opportunities like this one with Alec.  I have taken 2 other ones that have been MOODLE/UR Courses based and then the other 2 have been face to face.

The tools that are used constantly in all of my classes are slide shows, whether it be PowerPoint, Google Slides or other ones such as: Prezi, Powtoon, KeyNote, or many others.  Each class has some sort of information sharing tool that resembles this concept.


PowerPoint

PowerPoint Icon via Microsoft Office

My favorite for my own usage is a PowerPoint.  I am most comfortable with it, and if it is a presentation that I am doing for a professional or in depth project I like all the extras that are available.  I find with PPT, there are more options for transitions, slide timing, animations and much more.

For my students I encourage Google Slides.  Mostly for the collaborative nature of the Google program.  Every student is able to log in and add/edit/collaborate with their own device on their own time.  It also allows me as the teacher to keep an eye on who is accomplishing what and when.  It is very easy to hold the students accountable with their work when you check in on their edits/changes and you only ever see one or two students doing all the work.

Other tools that I use in my classroom are YouTube and Khan Academy.  I love using these sites because of the opportunities that it gives me to share ideas/images/science experiments (that we don't have to proper tools for) and so many other great learning opportunistic.  I also include these sites as a method to develop a blended learning environment for our students who are heavily involved in sport/culture/dance and art programs outside of school.  With the students missing a large portion of teaching, it gives them the opportunity to watch and learn on their own time and stay caught up with the rest of the class.

Kahoot and Google Forms

Wiki Commons: Kahoot Logo
I have used Kahoot for the last year and a half and the kids love it!  It makes for an interactive and fun class where the students are able to each share in the excitement.  The only issue with this is ensuring we always have a one-to-one device day.  Most of the time I have not run into this problem but it has held us back a couple of times.



Wiki Commons: Google Forms
What I have started this semester with my class is utilizing Google Forms to get a quick summative evaluation so I can see if there is any area that is weak across a class that I may need to reteach before a unit test, end of unit project or other big idea assessments.  I am finding this is a great tool to ensure that all my students needs are being met, and that I can isolate those that are missing or have gaps in their information quickly.














Google Docs

Wiki Commons: Google Docs

Like Amy and Erin Google Docs has provided me with a lot of valuable lessons, not only this semester in class, but also in my own classroom.  See my blog post from a couple weeks ago in how I broke down how I am using it in reference to the SAMR model of using tech in your classroom.














What I would like to do


I would like to see my class begin a unit study with another class in a different city.  I would love to share or ideas, have the discussions and share knowledge with a different community.  Somewhere up north, or on one of the coasts would be great to start with.  My thought would be to do a literature circle book study and have a variety of books so the students can be placed in a number of different groups and then have to share their learning, understanding of the books and topics with others from the different class.  I think this would be a fantastic interactive tool and a great opportunity to learn with another class.  If you know any one that teaches middle years in one of these areas of Canada, and has a similar interest please let me know!

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?


Blogging, Zoom, Google +, Twitter In Relation To My Own Teaching And Learning

Technology has never really been my thing and I can say without reservation, technology is a work in progress for me. I was fortunate to have taken a class from Alec last semester that enabled me to feel more comfortable in this semester’s session.  Some of the tools were introduced to me last semester I continued to use this semester that aid in my learning are: my personal blog page, zoom, google plus and twitter.  I have also been introduced to a variety of other tools through presentations of others that could be useful in my own teaching and learning.

29899036983_08f4003721_mAPA format; I can write at ease and can include a variety of media sources into my writing.  I like the idea of the blog in the sense that once I have created it, I will always have it.  I can use my blog for educational purposes (my own teaching and learning), personal reasons (family etc.), and as a means of communication to others that I don’t often see. There are many uses for a blog. Once it is has been created there are many ways it can be used.  The blog hub that Alec has provided for us has been very helpful for me in connection to other people in the class.  I can remain updated on their learning through the blogging process.  This leaves us with opportunities to read one another’s work and to comment or have discussion about what we are learning.  I am more confident with the blogging process and how to use a blog in general, however, I think if I was ever in a position to teach other’s how to use a blog I would be doing them an injustice.  Alec and Katia did a wonderful overview last semester and broke down the blogging process step by step which was very helpful for me to understand blogs. There are always new things popping up as we learn and I think blogging is an example of this.  If I taught an online class or distance education class, I think blogging would be a great way of keeping track of my students and their learning – my only concern is how I would evaluate?  Assessment is a big component in education and I think blogs would be difficult and challenging to assess.

28804881450_3776a5e4c7_m-1Twitter is another tool that many of my master’s classes have decided to use. I like the idea of twitter because I can connect with my classmates as well as others.  Twitter enables me to read about a variety of things that pertain to my own teaching and learning. Twitter also allows me to collaborate ideas/resources etc, It gives me the opportunity to be engaged in a different way.  I would love to incorporate twitter into my own teaching. I know many teachers that have used it in their classrooms and it has been very successful for them.  My main concern with Twitter is the privacy issues and the formalities that go along with it.  I attended a session during one of our professional development days that discussed the use of twitter in your classroom.  I found the session very helpful and informative but would prefer to have someone walk me through the steps of setting up a twitter account for a classroom. It would also be beneficial to understand the pros and cons, and the responsibilities of both the teacher and learner when it comes to the account.  If I was in a situation where I taught an online class or a distance learning class, I would incorporate Twitter into my teaching. Like blogging, with Twitter I struggle on how I would perform any kind of assessment.

29638632081_dfb670e0bb_mZoom is a tool that I have been fortunate enough to use these past two semesters. Like Alec discussed in our last class zoom is great in the sense that it is affordable and you can share it with several colleagues.  As an educator I think having the funds to do things or use certain programs etc. definitely play a part in what we choose to use.  I like Zoom because you can log on as a class, communicate with classmates, can speak or just listen (depending on your comfort level). The chat feature is a great option for those that aren’t comfortable verbalizing all the time and as an added bonus the features within the breakout room are great. If I was teaching an online class, I would use Zoom because it’s affordable and I am pretty comfortable using it.  There are always new and updated features that can be learned, but those can be learned with trial and error as the program is being used.

Google + is another tool that has been used in my online classes. I like the idea of Google Plus, however, I am guilty of not using it as much as I could.  Google + offers a great way to collaborate, share resources/ideas and ask questions etc.  Overall I think Google + is a great idea! I just need to get in the habit of using it more often so I can become more comfortable with it and all the features it has. Having said this, I am going to leave this open-ended;  I am not certain I like the idea of it but I haven’t used it enough to know whether or not I would incorporate into my own teaching.

google-plusSource

Face-to-face interaction versus online interaction can impact learners in many different ways.  I think it really comes down to the learner and their style – what is more comfortable for them, how as an educator can we meet the needs of these learners regardless if it is online or face-to-face.  I think teaching an online class with the teacher present and visible is more beneficial than teaching an online class where there is no teacher present.  Personally, having a teacher present keeps me accountable, on task and I have a heightened comfort level. I think that if there are ever situations where I have questions or concerns having a teacher present they are able to respond.  It is also nice when you can put a face to the name and have interaction instead of just working on a course at my own pace without any guidance other than a syllabus.  I think it depends on the individual, there are many people who would rather work on a class at their own pace and their own time rather than having to log on to Zoom at a scheduled time. However, based on my needs and my learning style I would run a class similar to how Alec is currently running his online classes.

30477751251_88cf1fd6dd_m

Productivity or endless distractions…?

This weeks blog post once again reminds me to think about the amount of time I spend on the Internet and to what extent am I using my time wisely! Am I being productive or surrounded by an ‘endless series of distractions?’

For me, mindless TV watching at the end of the day is what allows me to escape a busy and hectic day! Some people read a book, soak in a hot bath, watch sports, go to the gym or have a glass of wine. I choose all of the above but often times, I end up watching a favourite TV show.

I used to only be plugged into ONE technology device at a time. Sometimes the phone would ring and I would stop and have a conversation, or god forbid, have to call the person back after my show!

Jump to the next decade where I had a desk top computer in my spare room. I would come home from work, check my emails, make supper, and then watch my favourite TV show. It seemed so simple then:)

Now, I have a macbook computer AND a smart phone which connects me to more distractions than I can possibly keep track of. All I know is that I can easily become extremely unfocused on the task at hand.

In the blink of an eye, I went from this…..

tv-watching

Photo Credit

to this….

multitasking

Photo Credit: Teen Safe

Week after week, the topics discussed tend to take me back to my childhood. A time when I didn’t have a computer or cell phone to distract me. In relation to this weeks topic and the video assigned, my life was once ‘Tabless Thursday!’

The fact is, the Internet is both productive and extremely distracting! I have spent countless hours being productive on the Internet as well as feeling distracted by the tabs I have open or the articles and videos that I scroll through daily.

The development of emails in the 1990s allowed me to communicate with co-workers, friends and family in a more time consuming and affective way. At times, I do prefer to pick up the phone and call someone rather than send an email or text; but sending an email to a group of 10-15 people can take less than 10 minutes, rather than having to call people one by one. According to Lifehack’s article, there are 5 ways to make sure the Internet increases your productivity. This article provides ways to be productive when sending emails or when searching the web.

Do you follow some of these productivity tools?

According to Lifehack’s article; “15 Websites That Make Your Time Spent on the Internet More Productive and Quora’s article; What are the most productive ways to spend time on the Internet?;” there are numerous websites that Internet users need to know about! These websites range from vocabulary, coursera, ted talk videos, how stuff works, good reads to wikipedia. Check them out for some great suggestions!

There is no doubt that our productivity can be improved and simplified in relation to this video. The question is how much of a distraction is the Internet? Undeniably, the Internet forces its users to be partially focused on more than one task at a time. More often than not, Internet users are faced with multitasking at numerous times of the day.

I really can’t imagine how many times my focus is shifted throughout a day. I am constantly thinking about what I have to do next, answering questions, planning, dealing with technology tools, and guiding lessons. To say that my day is fast paced is an understatement. It seems that no matter what profession you are in, people are on high alert!

It’s one thing for adults to be affected by multitasking but it is a whole other thing for children. Having balance is more important now than ever. Too many negative effects of being Plugged in to technology are becoming more researched and are important to comprehend. The more clear our understanding is of the impacts on ourselves and children due to multitasking, the better choices we can make.

Infographic

Infographic

 This Huffington Post’s article shares the implications of what constantly being Plugged into technology is doing to teens bodies. Here are a few of the statistics;

  1. It’s estimated that children ages 8 to 18 spend an average of seven hours a day behind screens.
  2. Teens send an average of 3,417 text messages each month.
  3. 97 percent of adolescents have at least one electronic device in their bedrooms.

An InfoWars article describes the Internet as the Matrix, indicating that the average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device. Broken down, our connection to the Internet looks something like this;

  • Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes
  • Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes
  • Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes
  • Using  a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes
  • Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Sadly, the common phrase, “you are what you eat,” has different and yet, accurate connotations.

Taking a step back to recognize the implications of our choices in regards to our ‘daily dose’ of technology is essential! We all know that the Internet is extremely useful, productive, educational, amazing, interesting, entertaining, etc. What are we missing out on while we are so focused on technology?

This is a great video that makes you think about your technology use?

What are your thoughts about it?

 


Productivity vs Procrastination

The Internet, My Mysterious Web

I love the internet.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, NFL, CFL, MLB, NHL, TSN, UWW, just to name my top 10 sources utilized in the last month.  I think that like anything else your level of focus is dependent upon your interest/commitment/procrastination level.  James Hamblin shares his thoughts on "Single-tasking" in the video from this week:


While I see my young students (grade 7/8) having this problem, I can say with confidence that when it comes down to working seriously I do not have this issue.  When it is time to get to work on a paper, blog, readings, or simply marking, I find I have the capacity to get the work done.  Typically I need to be in an environment conducive to this as well, so I usually hid in my basement, and make sure the TV is off and I get to work.  On the other hand, on a Sunday afternoon, when I am watching football, I open my phone, look through countless threads, feeds, news stories, games, etc., but when it is work time, I am pretty good at shutting off the "other" things and getting the work done.

My Classroom, A Constant Buzz

In my classroom that is not always the story.  Keeping an eye on 26 students who are supposed to be working on their projects via technology can be difficult.  Setting the standard for what is acceptable behavior online, during class takes time, and reinforcing it without extrinsic rewards is even more challenging.  This is where the concept of "single-tasking" and teaching is non-existent.  I can not think of a time where I can do this within a classroom setting.  Weather it is in a digital world, or the physical (most of the time it is blended).  I will typically have one to two students at my desk asking for clarification, while others have their hands up for other reasons, all while I am opening a variety of linked documents through Google Classroom to see if the Chatty Cathy's in the back are being productive or not.  All of this transpires every minute or so for an entire class.

Every once and a while to help us (the students and myself) de-stress from our connectedness we will read a story that has been photocopied, or utilize a resource straight from a textbook when available.   My students find this practice relaxing and I typically find them very engaged, especially when I am reading aloud to them, with my terrible accents and all.  This would be one of the only times I am almost single-tasking within my room as a teacher.

Now in terms of whether or not the internet has created a world of multi-taskers or not.  Aside from the opinions that multi-tasking is a myth, I am going to say not... I think most teachers are skillful at this task.  In terms of multi-tasking online, I am not sure we can't be skillful at this as well.  I think of our weekly ECI 833 class.  At the end of most nights my browser has more tabs than you can use your fingers and toes for, or in many of my teaching environments, I will have open multiple tabs to jump from one to the other to ensure that the lesson flows smoothly, so I am not waiting for pages, to load (or not).

Productivity vs Procrastination

The Internet, My Mysterious Web

I love the internet.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, NFL, CFL, MLB, NHL, TSN, UWW, just to name my top 10 sources utilized in the last month.  I think that like anything else your level of focus is dependent upon your interest/commitment/procrastination level.  James Hamblin shares his thoughts on "Single-tasking" in the video from this week:


While I see my young students (grade 7/8) having this problem, I can say with confidence that when it comes down to working seriously I do not have this issue.  When it is time to get to work on a paper, blog, readings, or simply marking, I find I have the capacity to get the work done.  Typically I need to be in an environment conducive to this as well, so I usually hid in my basement, and make sure the TV is off and I get to work.  On the other hand, on a Sunday afternoon, when I am watching football, I open my phone, look through countless threads, feeds, news stories, games, etc., but when it is work time, I am pretty good at shutting off the "other" things and getting the work done.

My Classroom, A Constant Buzz

In my classroom that is not always the story.  Keeping an eye on 26 students who are supposed to be working on their projects via technology can be difficult.  Setting the standard for what is acceptable behavior online, during class takes time, and reinforcing it without extrinsic rewards is even more challenging.  This is where the concept of "single-tasking" and teaching is non-existent.  I can not think of a time where I can do this within a classroom setting.  Weather it is in a digital world, or the physical (most of the time it is blended).  I will typically have one to two students at my desk asking for clarification, while others have their hands up for other reasons, all while I am opening a variety of linked documents through Google Classroom to see if the Chatty Cathy's in the back are being productive or not.  All of this transpires every minute or so for an entire class.

Every once and a while to help us (the students and myself) de-stress from our connectedness we will read a story that has been photocopied, or utilize a resource straight from a textbook when available.   My students find this practice relaxing and I typically find them very engaged, especially when I am reading aloud to them, with my terrible accents and all.  This would be one of the only times I am almost single-tasking within my room as a teacher.

Now in terms of whether or not the internet has created a world of multi-taskers or not.  Aside from the opinions that multi-tasking is a myth, I am going to say not... I think most teachers are skillful at this task.  In terms of multi-tasking online, I am not sure we can't be skillful at this as well.  I think of our weekly ECI 833 class.  At the end of most nights my browser has more tabs than you can use your fingers and toes for, or in many of my teaching environments, I will have open multiple tabs to jump from one to the other to ensure that the lesson flows smoothly, so I am not waiting for pages, to load (or not).

#TablessThursday…. I Could Get Used To This Idea!

I would like to start off by saying how much I loved this video. I think this video portrayed a day in the life of me.  I often find myself running off on tangents, having a million tabs open, clicking around trying to figure out which tab I need in order to complete what I am working on.

img_1940

(Right now I currently have 13 separate browsers open, most of which have nothing to do with one another… ooppss!!)

I agree that I don’t remember the last time I concentrated on working on one thing without trying to do something else at the same time.  I had a good laugh at the end of the video when he says I don’t doubt that you were doing something else while you were watching the video, of course I was!  I was watching the video, trying to take notes, and organizing piles and piles of things on my desk at work… he caught me

In the video he brings up some good points that are worth discussing.  With the help of research it was suggested that Facebook and texting have negatively affected the overall GPA of College/University students.  I can see why; many students in College/University have their lap tops with them and rather than paying attention to the instruction from the teacher they are focused on Facebook.  The students may think they are able to do both well, however, research shows that if we focus on one thing and only one thing you will be able to do that thing well and to your fullest capability rather than putting in half the effort.

One thing that he has adopted into his own life was Tab-less Thursday.  Tab-less Thursday suggests that you don’t use the internet in a traditional way, you single task, you do one thing, you can do work but only on ONE thing at a time.  Once you begin working with this mindset you can make a judgement call, “Do I want to finish what I am working on or do I want to stop and do something else?”  I really like this idea. However, in my daily life I think it would be a hard task for me to exercise this mindset on a continual basis.  I would love to say I am only working on one thing and can devote all my attention to what I am working on. However, I often find this becomes quite a challenge for me.  I am the kind of person with a million things going on at once. I will watch television and be on my phone at the same time. I will make supper while watching television and still check my phone continually.  When I am working on a computer I always have several tabs open researching a number on topics and for a variety of different reasons.  I would say I am up for the challenge, it is my goal one day a week to set everything aside and focus on one task at a time.  If we make a conscious effort to do this, I think the things we are focusing on will be more successful.  “Tabs are a metaphor for life, if you can have one open and focus on that you will do great at it.”

This video suggests “Heavy media multitaskers are more susceptible to interference from irrelevant environmental stimuli” – proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  When I hear this statement I think about my students at school.  I think our students are growing up in a world where multi-tasking is the norm.  Multi-tasking can be a great quality to have but it can also create obstacles and challenges along the way.  Our students that are used to interruptions and things going on around them will often find themselves being distracted.  I think about trying to teach a lesson and all the distractions that go along with it. I never would have thought students who are heavy media multitaskers are more likely to be interrupted by these distractions than those who don’t – this does not surprise me.

Technology and how we interact with it has affected us in everyday life. Are we developing an inability to focus because we don’t focus on one thing at a time? He brought up a good point and I would definitely have to say yes.  We are constantly multi-tasking and trying to do more than one thing at a time, therefore, our focus is being divided up among many things.

If our focus is being divided up into many things, this would attribute to our inability to focus on one thing for an extended period of time.  I often see this in my students. I know there are many other reasons why students are unable to focus, however, I do believe and agree that the use of technology perhaps has attributed their inability to focus on the task at hand.

Another interesting point that was addressed in the video was “When workers don’t check email, they focus for longer on tasks and show less physiologic signs of stress” – Mark & Voida, Proceedings of SIGHI Conference on Human factors in Computing.  I think about my work life; email has become a big part of it.  Just today I had a parent emailing about their child’s grade that they were able to view on gradebook.  This added to my stress as I was already trying to teach my classes but also felt obligated to return their email explaining their child’s grade.  If I hadn’t of checked my email until the end of the day, I would definitely have been less stressed about everything going on.  This is just one example of how email can attribute to a person’s stress levels.

When I think about life in general, I think we are all multi taskers in some fashion or another.  My husband would be a prime example.  He went over and above when he decided the basement needed to become a “man cave”.  In the man cave some nights he is watching television (football or hockey), playing a video game, doing something on the Ipad, texting and has the baby monitor down there listening for my son.  It often crosses my mind how he could possibly be doing so many things at once. Although he is able to do all these things at once, is he doing them to the best of his capabilities? Probably not!  I would definitely say the internet can become a big distraction, however, it also enables us to do many things that without it would or could be impossible.  I think we need to moderate what we are doing and learn to focus on one thing at a time, this way we can ensure we are putting our best effort forward towards the task at hand.

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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.

 


October 19th 2016

We had a blast at the Science Centre! The EPRA gave us a great overview of recycling electronics. The students then played trivia and some other games before having the opportunity to explore the rest of the science centre! Lots of fun!