Monthly Archives: February 2017

3 Myths About BYOD

When I consider how my classroom is set up, I am pleased with the inclusion of blended learning for my students. I observe quite a difference in the amount of engagement I see. Students working on a Google Classroom project or writing in their blog looks quite different than whole class assignments or lectures where students sit in their desks and take in information. The students are engaged, interested and eager to learn when that iPad or Chrome book is in their hands. But, as Natalie shared in her post, there are So Many Questions to consider!

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 In Kyle’s blog, he took a look at the CONS of blended learning, as well as possible solutions. There are many questions to think about with varying degrees of pros and cons to consider. One problem is access to computers due to their high cost and a possible solutions is BYOD. If students bring their own device, there are more teaching/learning opportunities now available.

I love the idea of having more options for implementing technology tools for student learning. I often hesitate because BYOD is is a new teaching approach for myself. I wonder how my students can handle even the idea of being allowed to bring their device, how do I introduce the idea to my class, how will they adjust to the rules and expectations of bringing their own device, who won’t have a device to bring, will I have devices available for these students, etc.

To start, watching this video was very helpful and encouraging for me!

 

Since I am interested in having my students bring their own device (BYOD) to school, I want to share an article; Using BYOD In Schools: Advantages And Disadvantages that I thought answered a lot of the questions often asked. The beginning quote really resonated with me!

Do you remember how classrooms used to be during your school days? The blackboard, the whiteboard, chalks being used by teachers to impart the lesson; you being given paper copies or writing down notes with your pen. However, copies, chalks, and blackboards are fast becoming more and more irrelevant every day that passes by, thanks to the advance in technology. More and more schools and other educational institutions are using technology at a brisk pace; and to make technology an integral part of the classroom, they are implementing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

Photo Credit: anitakhart Flickr via Compfight cc

The first question that educators often have; Is BYOD Really Helpful?                                                                      

1. Offers Comfort Of Using A Known Device.

-when students bring their own device, they bring something familiar with them.

2. Leverages Students’ Love For Their Devices.

-students are learning through a device they ‘love!’

3. Advanced Technology Makes Learning Easier.

-new technology programs are best utilized when a student is comfortable using their own device.

Common Problems With BYOD; Distractions and Security

The 2 most common problems to think about are;

How do I reduce the distraction levels and Are the networks of the institutions properly secured?

A school in Georgia;

serving about 39,000 students in grades Pre-K through 12, gave BYOD a chance. They found that the use of personal devices in the classroom wasn’t a distraction for their students. On the contrary, they often became more engaged, motivated, and self-directed learners.

Despite the few disadvantages, the benefits that BYOD offers are driving its increasing popularity across the globe and it is expected to be a regular integration soon in many more educational institutions around the world. In fact, BYOD is being dubbed as the upcoming revolution that the world of education is expected to experience quite soon.

Finally, I wanted to share what the 3 Myths about BYOD are; 1. BYOD: Bring Your Own Distraction  2. BYOD is not safe 3. BYOD will deepen the digital divide.

To uncover the truth behind these 3 myths, follow this important link!

For myself, the article answered many of the questions I have and I feel more confident about implementing BYOD in my classroom. I hope it answered some of your questions too!

Have you had questions and concerns when considering BYOD in your classroom? What worked well/did not work well? What suggestions would you have for a grade 4/5 classroom?

Thank you for reading! If you would like to leave a comment or suggestion please click on the title of my blog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Let there be teachers

Image result for google classroom Hi friends, It has been awhile.  Reading week has given me some time just to relax and catch up on a few household things, oh yeah and my baby turned 5 months.

I decided with my time that I would ask my group “who would like to take the lead and create the Google Classroom account“? I decided rather than send that email, I would just take it into my own hands. I recalled that as a group we couldn’t use the RBE Google Classrooms because one of our group members is with another division.  I decided the best place to start would be to reread the Google+ Community posts to use the to figure out how to use the education.uregina accounts.  I scrolled through all the posts and managed to find what I was looking for. Ohh and now looking back, there is a search option at the top. I then went to create the Google Classroom account, all went well, or so I thought.  Setting up the initial info was just a matter of filling in a few feilds and a few clicks.  I attempted to invite teachers to my class by adding my group members using their email addresses. My first road block was that they were not contacts, so I went back to the Google menu and added them.  I then tried to invite my new contacts again, and it wouldn’t work.  I then realized I would have to track down their uregina user names.  Aimee replied to my email right away and I added her as a teacher, and voila it worked. Now just to wait for the other two gals!!

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Tell me if you ran into any road block while trying to get your project up and running!


Blended Learning….Why Not?




With my perspective around digital learning, specifically around flipping or blending the learning environment, I thought it would be interesting to look at why I should not. I have stated relentlessly, in the last couple years the multiple reasons for why I should flip/blend my teaching, but I have not every taken the time to find a reason not to. Similar to the other Kyle that's what this week has been about.

After reading a variety of blogs I found the 6 Disadvantages of Blended Learning by Scott Winstead, it had a very strong tone with a great question of why are we:

disrupting the battle-hardened educational system with its solid methodology, academic backup, strong instructor figures, and developed intellectual and psychological bonds, is hardly a wise thing to do.

I had to do some searching to find the origin of a couple of news reports, but the article Meet the Classroom of the Future was well wrote and is found through the NPR site.  This article got some news coverage and had a couple other reports wrote about it.  All in all, these articles broke down the 6 issues of a blended classroom as: Infrastructure,  Mentality, Pace of Advancement/Amount of Learning, Negative Impact on Teacher: Overwork, Negative Impact on Students: Cognitive Load, Plagiarism/Credibility.


Infrastructure is always going to be an issue, whether it is in terms of physical space, or digital one. This is never going to change, and the costs are always going to be there.  My thought on this... Deal with it.  The elected and hired individuals have a responsibility to ensure that the infrastructure is up to code/date.

Mentality is a harder concept to 'solve'.  This is because it deals with individuals perspectives and pedagogy around education and where they value their knowledge and their skill sets.  To overcome this barrier there needs to be an appropriate amount of PD put into place before any technology initiative becomes school/system wide.  Everyone needs to have a modicum of confidence and willingness to take on an initiative such as this.  

Photo Credit: Giulia Forsythe
Pace of Advancement is an interesting concept to have to battle through.  You want to ensure that your class is moving forward, while ensuring that each student is completing and understanding each task.  This in my mind is more of a planning issue with an individual teacher.  The assignments need to be chunked, and broken down so that you can have check ins with students in the face-to-face classes along with the ones who are predominantly online.  I believe as educators we can not allow a student to go days, let alone weeks/multiple assignments or classes without checking in with them in some regard.

Negative Impact on Teacher: Overwork is a big issue, especially in our political climate here in Saskatchewan with negative budgetary issues and scare tactics of prep time, or contracts being dismissed due to re-legislation.  This is a serious issue, but I do not believe it is independent to a teacher engaging in a blended learning environment.  My wife, who teaches with a more traditional classroom approach, brings home more "work" than I do.  While I see it as menial, she explains that it is all about prep and making sure she can use her time in the building for the things that need her full attention, and she would rather bring home the photocopying, cutting, and prep work to do at home.  All the while, I am on my phone checking in on my students and answering questions coming in from my LMS from multiple students about the homework due in the coming days.  

Negative Impact on Students: Cognitive Load is also a big issue, but similar to teachers being overworked, it is not independent to the blended teaching community.  Teachers need to know their students and they need to adapt or expand assignments for individuals who need them.



File:ME 109 Thief.png
Photo Credit: Nina Palay
Plagiarism/Credibility is a constant issue with my classes at the beginning of the year.  Students like to try to trick me, and get away with their assignments being rushed.  I have developed a variety of tools to demonstrate how easy it is for me to prove the students have not done the work in a proper manner.  From demonstrating how Google docs work, to simply copy and pasting sentences into a search bar and finding the documents they are plagiarizing from, or to the more complex ones of I have to search my own files for students work from previous years, but again it is a quick search and i am generally able to show the students, that I recognize when it is not their voice and I can usually prove it.


Blended Learning….Why Not?




With my perspective around digital learning, specifically around flipping or blending the learning environment, I thought it would be interesting to look at why I should not. I have stated relentlessly, in the last couple years the multiple reasons for why I should flip/blend my teaching, but I have not every taken the time to find a reason not to. Similar to the other Kyle that's what this week has been about.

After reading a variety of blogs I found the 6 Disadvantages of Blended Learning by Scott Winstead, it had a very strong tone with a great question of why are we:

disrupting the battle-hardened educational system with its solid methodology, academic backup, strong instructor figures, and developed intellectual and psychological bonds, is hardly a wise thing to do.

I had to do some searching to find the origin of a couple of news reports, but the article Meet the Classroom of the Future was well wrote and is found through the NPR site.  This article got some news coverage and had a couple other reports wrote about it.  All in all, these articles broke down the 6 issues of a blended classroom as: Infrastructure,  Mentality, Pace of Advancement/Amount of Learning, Negative Impact on Teacher: Overwork, Negative Impact on Students: Cognitive Load, Plagiarism/Credibility.


Infrastructure is always going to be an issue, whether it is in terms of physical space, or digital one. This is never going to change, and the costs are always going to be there.  My thought on this... Deal with it.  The elected and hired individuals have a responsibility to ensure that the infrastructure is up to code/date.

Mentality is a harder concept to 'solve'.  This is because it deals with individuals perspectives and pedagogy around education and where they value their knowledge and their skill sets.  To overcome this barrier there needs to be an appropriate amount of PD put into place before any technology initiative becomes school/system wide.  Everyone needs to have a modicum of confidence and willingness to take on an initiative such as this.  

Photo Credit: Giulia Forsythe
Pace of Advancement is an interesting concept to have to battle through.  You want to ensure that your class is moving forward, while ensuring that each student is completing and understanding each task.  This in my mind is more of a planning issue with an individual teacher.  The assignments need to be chunked, and broken down so that you can have check ins with students in the face-to-face classes along with the ones who are predominantly online.  I believe as educators we can not allow a student to go days, let alone weeks/multiple assignments or classes without checking in with them in some regard.

Negative Impact on Teacher: Overwork is a big issue, especially in our political climate here in Saskatchewan with negative budgetary issues and scare tactics of prep time, or contracts being dismissed due to re-legislation.  This is a serious issue, but I do not believe it is independent to a teacher engaging in a blended learning environment.  My wife, who teaches with a more traditional classroom approach, brings home more "work" than I do.  While I see it as menial, she explains that it is all about prep and making sure she can use her time in the building for the things that need her full attention, and she would rather bring home the photocopying, cutting, and prep work to do at home.  All the while, I am on my phone checking in on my students and answering questions coming in from my LMS from multiple students about the homework due in the coming days.  

Negative Impact on Students: Cognitive Load is also a big issue, but similar to teachers being overworked, it is not independent to the blended teaching community.  Teachers need to know their students and they need to adapt or expand assignments for individuals who need them.



File:ME 109 Thief.png
Photo Credit: Nina Palay
Plagiarism/Credibility is a constant issue with my classes at the beginning of the year.  Students like to try to trick me, and get away with their assignments being rushed.  I have developed a variety of tools to demonstrate how easy it is for me to prove the students have not done the work in a proper manner.  From demonstrating how Google docs work, to simply copy and pasting sentences into a search bar and finding the documents they are plagiarizing from, or to the more complex ones of I have to search my own files for students work from previous years, but again it is a quick search and i am generally able to show the students, that I recognize when it is not their voice and I can usually prove it.


Look on the (not) Bright Side, the drawbacks of a Blended Classroom

For today’s blog, I decided to take a contrarian point of view.  With good reason, the majority of instruction has focused on the positive aspects of blended learning.  Therefore, I decided to research some articles that focused on the negative aspects and drawbacks of a blended classroom.  However, being that I am an eternal optimist, I will attempt to offer a solution for each negative aspect.  Let’s begin.

My inspiration for this blog format came from one of my favourite childhood cartoons Anamaniacs.  Let’s take a break and remember, Good Idea Bad Idea.

CON #1

The first article I read opened with the most obvious concern, that being the financial cost of establishing an infrastructure necessary for a blended classroom.  Factors such as school location (urban/rural), economic status, and internet connectivity, are all capable of derailing a blended classroom. In the same way you need water to fish, you also need infrastructure to create a blended classroom.  If the schools cannot afford to create this structure, then the idea of a blended classroom is over before it can begin.

SOLUTION #1

While there is no perfect solution to solving this problem, there are some potential workarounds.  The most obvious solution is BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology).  A vast majority of students now own their own tablets, phones, or devices.  If we are capable of creating a blended classroom that is accessible

CON #2

Jennifer Hofmann discusses a number of different challenges and their solutions.  One of the issues she discusses is “resisting the urge to use technology simply because it is available”.  Teachers who are not as well-versed in technology, may simply push technology on their students without a full understanding of how to do it effectively.

SOLUTION #2

The easiest solution to this problem will come with time.  As more teachers become comfortable with technology and how to effectively integrate in the classroom, they will be able to pass this knowledge on to their colleagues.

Now of course, there will always be pushback and trepidation from teachers.  The best bet is to bring those teachers along slowly, allowing them to see the benefits themselves, rather than simply piling it all on their plate at once.

CON #3

The final issue we will discuss is brought forward by Arumina Majumdar, who states that “trying to keep track of learners’ progress can be the most difficult challenge to address”.  Arumina discusses how students may complete an online course, but if they have not developed a deep understanding, then the learning impact is wasted.

confused-studentsPhoto Credit: https://cdn.meme.am/cache/instances/folder121/65265121.jpg

SOLUTION #3

The answer to our third and final problem can be found in the type of assessments we provide for our students.  The students must be given both summative and formative assessments, to ensure that their learning has reached the appropriate level.  Furthermore, because we are discussing a blended class, and not just an online course, teachers must utilize the in-class time to evaluate and discuss the learning objectives with their students.  For me personally, I can examine the assignments a student hands in, but my best method for determining their level of understanding is from reading their faces after the explanation of a question.

Despite all the technology at our disposal, we must integrate it with traditional teaching elements in order to ensure the understanding and knowledge of our students.

In the comments, I would love to hear about other issues you could see arising from blended learning, and how best we could defeat these challenges.

Thanks,

 

 

 


Blended Learning In A Physical Education Classroom

I was very excited that this week’s blog was left open so we were able to look into things that were of interest to us.  As a physical education teacher who rarely uses technology in my classroom I was looking for others who have successfully integrated technology or the blended learning approach into their physical education classrooms with success.  When I think about technology in they gymnasium classroom there are many positive things that come to mind as well as many challenges that will be faced.  Prior to beginning my research, I was able to read a few of my colleagues blogs that I thought directly related to my topic this week.  Natalie stated that nothing will ever be perfect but we need to begin somewhere and that’s what is important.  In her blog this week she also attached a photo image that was very useful for educators that are trying to incorporate blended learning into their classrooms, I found this to be very helpful in my quest to have a blended learning classroom for physical education.  Adam talked about the use of cellphones in classrooms.  I have discussed this in earlier blogs and once again it has come up.  I always say pick your battles, and cell phones are definitely one battle I am not willing to pick.  Some may think that the use of cell phones in the gymnasium may be more of a distraction than it is helpful however with all the different apps and resources that we have access to now days I do believe that they would be beneficial to our students learning.  Again like anything it is our job as the teacher to ensure that our students are using technology appropriately and to model/teach good digital citizenship.  Angela talked about technology being a great way of engaging our learners, and I would agree.  Students are motivated by technology, they use it on a daily basis and what better way to get them excited about learning than to incorporate something they are so passionate about.  Angela discussed how technology provides us with opportunities that we may not have otherwise.  I am a testament to that, with already having an almost 2-year-old at home and my daughter being due Jan 7th, having two kids and taking a class at the university seemed impossible.  It was this online class that enabled me to continue my education while being at home for my children and family.  As Angela stated like anything challenges come with the positives, however these challenges are just mere obstacles that we can handle!!

In my quest to find blended learning classrooms (physical education specific) I came across three different resources that I found useful.  The first was a YouTube video that essentially discusses why blended learning for physical education can be positive for both the students and the teachers.  Blended learning classrooms allow us to create interactive classrooms where we are teaching students to be engaged in movement activity at school and at home.  An example that was used was Xbox Kinect.  This type of technology, although some might not see it as physical activity gets our children up and moving and encourages movement activity.  The Xbox Kinect could be used in the classroom and at home.  The use of technology in our gymnasiums allows parents to be involved in their child’s learning, this may also encourage our parents to model physical movement and participate in their child’s learning/movement activities as well.  It gives parents an opportunity to observe lessons, participate, and provide feedback.  It allows teachers the flexibility of planning lessons in a different fashion and students are able to complete homework assignments via technology rather than wasting in class time.

The second resource I found was also very supportive of blended learning physical education classrooms.  The article suggests that people often look at online learning as students spending the majority of their time in front of a computer screen and this couldn’t be further from the truth.  With the use of blended learning classrooms, it allows for flexibility, for both the teachers and the students. Flexibility has proven to ensure a higher success rate among our students in the physical education setting.  Blended learning allows one on one time to be spent with students working on THEIR needs to meet THEIR goals.  It allows opportunities for a more personal approach, is more engaging and teaches our students to be lifelong learners with healthy active lifestyles.

The last resource I found was a YouTube video of a teacher who is teaching a lesson using the blended learning approach.  Following this video, I was inspired… if she can do it why can’t I.  She was able to show how blended learning can be successful in the gymnasium.  How students can be engaged in movement activities while using technology.  She shows how technology can be incorporated into her lesson and how the students use it throughout the class time.  At the end of the video students provide a testament saying they prefer this type of learning, it is more personal and helpful in meeting their needs.

Like anything comes the challenges.  Some challenges that come to mind when I think about blended learning in a physical education classroom is:

-connection issues

-access to technology (at school and at home)

-where do we store technology that we are using in the gymnasium

-would we get funding to purchase technology

-in a 45-minute class period how much time is wasted logging on etc. or do we simply make use of the technology outside of the gymnasium and use our time in the gym for hands on, one on one time?

-keeping students on track and using the technology for its purpose ex. Not snap chatting their friend that can’t dribble a basketball

-What age group is this ideal for?

I love the idea of blended learning, the flexibility and being able to meet the individual needs of all our students would be amazing.  I do believe it is all about trial and error, I am going to have to try it out and see what works, learn from my mistakes as some might say.  Wish me luck, as soon as I get back from mat leave I will be on a mission!!


Spark a movie?

This week I decided to look into something that has been talked about a lot in class: iMovie.

I know, I know. How original. I’ve never used it before and didn’t know I had it on my iPad. On a whim, I looked through my apps and lo and behold, I had iMovie.

So I decided to give it a go:

I tried to replicate the video on Adobe Spark (using the app on my iPad) and was instantly frustrated. I have nothing to show for my half hour attempt at using the app. Maybe it just wasn’t meant for doing that? I’ll have to try it using a different idea.

I found iMovie incredibly easy to use, though I just used their trailer function. I think it created a polished, cohesive product that was quick and intuitive to do.

I think I can use iMovie to create my module, though I don’t think I’ll use the trailer aspect, but create from scratch.

Fingers crossed it works!


Why you should start creating your own curricular and pedagogical content for your class

So for this week, I chose to read a quick article that broke down the 6 blended learning models. As I was reading through each model, I started searching for videos relating to the ones that I was more interested in. Here is a list of the models and some resources I found while reading through the list:

THE 6 BLENDED LEARNING MODELS

1. The Face-To-Face Driver Model.

2. The Flex model
Flex model example

3. Rotation model
Great explanation of how to implement the rotation model in a classroom.
Blended Learning with Catlin Tucker: Episode 2 – Station Rotation (Part 1)

Blended Learning with Catlin Tucker: Episode 3 – Station Rotation (Part 2)

4. Online Lab School Model.

This model involves students traveling to and attending a school with total online educational delivery for entire courses. There are no certified teachers on hand, but, rather, trained paraprofessionals who supervise.

5. Self-Blend Model.

6. The Online Driver Model.

Alright, so I didn’t really dive in too far, but I did read into a few of these models in greater detail. After a little reading, the area I chose to focus my attention on today is the rotation model.

The following model drew a few questions and observations on my behalf. I came to a few realizations and some brainstorming occurred as I wrote this. I only say this because my thoughts may be all over the place, so PLEASE BARE WITH ME!

The rotation model is something I see all the time in elementary schools; but it is definitely still something I haven’t learned to execute properly. Other than the one year that I taught grade 2 (6 years ago) and had a coworker literally show me and give me everything I possibly needed for daily five….I’ve never been able to successfully implement this model in my class (this is partly due to my stubbornness btw.).

As I was watching Catlin Tucker’s video about station rotations, I started to think about how this would look in my grade 6 classroom and how it would affect the learning environment I would be creating for my students. I’ve always struggled to implement these types of models in my classroom because quite frankly, I’m a little old school when it comes to teaching. I like to talk; I like to lecture; I like structure; and I really don’t do too well with noise and chatter. I realize a rotation model doesn’t mean kids are going to be talking and fooling around (in a matter of fact, if students are trained and shown what I’m expecting of them, this shouldn’t even be a thing I should ever worry about), but truth-be-told, I have an illogical fear of losing control of everything.

The more I think out loud however, the more ridiculous I realize how I must sound. As this semester has unfolded, I’ve started to realize that implementing blended learning models in the classroom, especially in regards to rotation models, wouldn’t mean I’d be losing control; I’d actually be gaining much more control, knowledge and overall understanding of how my students are doing, because I would be much more involved in their learning.

I think another more important thing I’ve come to realize this past school year is the importance of sharing the power in my classroom. Why on earth am I the only one calling the shots? I’m trying to distance myself from the traditional lecture-style approach; because this style leaves very little room for the student to make any form of decision on their own learning. Whether it’s transforming my traditional lecture-style lessons to more inquiry-based and open-ended group discussions, or blogging, I’ve definitely started to make a stronger effort to break out of this shell I’ve locked myself in.

At an elementary level, one-on-one or small group teaching is highly effective, so it really makes no sense not to be teaching this way, especially since every kid learns and sees things differently from one another.

Now before I start deviating too far from what I am supposed to be talking about, let me refocus my attention on technology. Catlin’s video made me realize that providing students with online lessons, activities or assignments are excellent ways to keep my stronger students busy and challenged, while providing students with tools that they can learn from in new and perhaps more effective ways. Some students work way better by themselves. Some students prefer individual style lessons like some of the module-based learning Catlin and other professionals have used in their stations. At the end of the day, these tools aren’t just to keep students “busy”, it’s an effective way of providing them with different ways to learn and explore content on their own terms…which is something I personally would love to do a lot more of.

I keep going back to math on this one. I mean, math is a great example that depicts varying levels of understanding in a classroom. At no point will you ever have the entire class be on the exact same page; there’s always going to be a few people who either find what we’re working on to be way too easy, or some that will be so behind, that you may as well continue working on foundational skills.

So I’ve kept asking myself this question: how would online components look like in this scenario? Well, now that I’ve started seeing more and more examples, I’m starting to get more ideas on what I can personally do. This past year, I’ve enjoyed creating my own media. It started with my first summary of learning assignment last year for my eci830 class, where I used Windows Movie Maker to edit all the footage I recorded using my Iphone. I’ve always enjoyed cinematography, and thought to bring this into my summary of learning project in a fun and creative way. I found that creating content (video in this case) was not only fun, but a challenging and meaningful learning experience for not only myself, but my students as well.

My summary of learning from ECI830 this past spring:

Not only did my class participate in the video, many of them helped me film the footage. As I worked on my assignment, I constantly showed my class my progress. Students saw an early draft of my summary of learning, and obviously got to see a screening of the finished project when I was done. They loved it. They loved that they were in the video. They loved that they helped film the video. They loved that they had input on some of the ideas, music and details revolving the final project. I found that students were extremely engaged in the process and they got so much out of the experience. By the end of the year, everyone wanted to make their own videos.

So why not?

And perhaps more importantly, why not explore this area of interest? Students obviously are drawn to these sort of projects, so why not create modules WITH them?

Although there are tons and tons of online lessons and resources that I could use for math stations, wouldn’t it be more fun (and not to mention COOL) to make my own? Or maybe even have my students help me make them? Being that I’m a French immersion teacher, I find that it’s next to impossible to find great French resources that my students will understand. Keep in mind, most French resources are for native-French-speaking students; not French immersion students who are still learning the language. If I show my grade 6’s a video we would typically use with grade 6 students in Quebec, good luck…it’s going to go over most of their heads. Unfortunately, this is usually the case, which means I rarely ever end up using online resources, other than the English ones I end up finding (completely defeating the purpose of teaching in FRENCH!). Creating content specifically for these students would be HUGE! I could make quick videos WITH my students. A lesson can be filmed and edited and USED the following year (or posted later for parents and students on our class blog). I could be building my library of online lessons RIGHT NOW!

I could start a YouTube channel and post all my lessons on there for students and parents to see. How useful would that be? A student is away on holidays, they could still do all their work online. Students are away sick? No problem, they can sit down, watch my quick lesson, do the assignment and hand it in online. A student is struggling on a concept, parents can help them out by getting familiar with the concepts by using the same videos I’d be providing my students in class.

I know this blog post is all over the place right now, but I’m finally starting to piece together some of the main things I want to do for my blended learning prototype. Content creation is something I’m really enjoying right now and I’m trying to find fun and exciting ways to bring my artistic skills to use. I feel like I have a lot to offer, so why not dive in and see what I can do with all of these tools? Furthermore, setting up stations would allow the opportunity for content creation to take place, as you’d be putting together everything for the stations either way.

Before ending my post this week, perhaps I should ask you what you’re doing in your classroom that involves content creation. Are any of you doing any of the things I’ve been discussing here? How often do you create your own content for lessons? Do any of you have online modules that you’ve personally created over the years? How long does it take you to put all of these things together? How realistic would it be to create EVERYTHING from scratch? How are some effective ways that I can involve my students in the process?

As much as I’m learning about all this stuff, I’m still sort of in the dark about it. This is all my doing of course, as I’ve avoided doing a lot of these things in my classroom because I’ve been unsure of how to execute this type of model successfully. I guess nothing works out perfectly the first time, and maybe that’s the first thing I need to start realizing; perfection is something that takes a lot of trial and error to reach, and even then, you should always be striving to improve and make things better than what they already are.

Thanks for reading everyone, and thanks for all the input.
Have a great week!

Dre


Technology Can Be Inspiring !

 

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Photo Credit: 13winds Flickr via Compfight cc

The more I read, listen to and watch – the more I become convinced that using technology in the classroom is an excellent way to engage learners.  My engagement in this technology class is a prime example.  Even out of my comfort zone, I find myself drawn in by all the exciting tools that ignite the imagination.  I believe that if a professor had shown me a screen like the one above to explain some of the biological information about cells during my science degree – I would have been hooked in a different way.  I am becoming inspired to learn to use technology in the classroom and hope that I might spark student engagement in different ways than with the traditional teaching methods I have used in the past.

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Better Late than Never !

 

I was searching for online articles that show how technology in the classroom and having students engaged in their own learning can be inspirational.  I found a TED Ed talk by a woman named Shelley Wright in Vancouver who used to teach traditionally, like I did, and then she took a class with a man by the name of Alec Couros that inspired her to teach differently.  I really resonated with her opening and then, when she said who her teacher was – I could hardly believe it.

 

So you see, it must be a story more common than I realize. Teacher is going about their same old sameness until they realize that something could make a significant difference in their students lives – as well as their own.  Most teachers that I know, care enough about their students to want to make changes when they realize it could really help their students – so they give it a try. Here I am, walking a similar path to many who have gone before me, and I’m sure there will be many more to follow.

 

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In our reading last week, Bates suggests that teachers should consider their instructional approach, what content they want to include, as well as the skills they want students to develop. So now what lies before me is to do what Bates suggests: look at my audience, decide what I want them to know and how they will learn it, and then pick the style of lesson that will best meet learner’s needs.

This week I read a number of articles that lead me back to a term from a couple of years ago – student centered learning.  Underneath the discussions of online and blended learning there are ideas of having students be able to choose what they are interested in.  Also, they are able to work at they own independent pace, learn in different ways, and show their learning in a variety of ways. This is an example of one of the posts I read that reminded me of student-centered learning.

 

When I read Elizabeth’s blog this week I had a funny thought…  I have been feeling so inspired to explore the technology route, that I had not considered that people would write articles outlining the downfalls of using technology in the classroom.  Of course there are many things that could be considered ‘drawbacks’. One article indicated in her blog talks about how educators are not always properly set up for success with technology.  I would consider myself in this situation.  Yes, the responsibility is mostly mine, but there are many logistical factors that make using technology at our school difficult.  Firstly, there are computer carts that are shared by all teachers.  We are only allowed to book twice in two weeks for one hour of classroom use.  Then, there is the difficulty that not all students are able to successfully log in.  By the time the hour is up – sometimes, very little can be accomplished.

I am grateful for the technology education that I am getting at present.  If there were no online courses offered, perhaps I would not have been able to have access to this class.  Online learning allows people who are working and have families to have access to higher education.  What could be the downside to that ?

 


Learning, Digital Learning, Teaching…

We as educators generally focus on the types of learners we teach and how we need to teach to them through a variety of ways that they will learn best. Through reading Bates article about the pedagogical differences between media I found it interesting that I see a lot of my own preferences within my own teaching. The main section that I found myself aligning with Jenn, that learning through video is probably my top choice. When I look at how I learn, relearn, or inquire into new tasks I always find myself turning to videos. Some of my favorite are usually around how to butcher game, to learning how to properly Sous-vide different foods.



I love to cook and am always trying new meals, appetizers, and techniques. The reason I use video so frequently is because I know I learn from seeing how the professionals do the technique and I try to emulate them. I have a plethora of cookbooks and I love to get my inspirations for flavours from them, but when they are talking about a new technique I almost always find myself searching for a video for confirmation of how to learn the new skill rather than reading about it.



Now through reading the Bates Chapter, and skimming through peoples blogs I am realizing how prevalent text is within many of the videos I use to learn, and that I share with my students when learning. As I was reading Kara's blog I agreed with her comments about how I read, and what I do when I am reading, which is to highlight, jot down notes, and even go to the extend to type notes into a Google Doc to ensure I do not have to rewrite/type information when it comes time to write responses. Therefore I am realizing that even though I may enjoy the video aspect, I do learn most through text.
Flickr: House of Cards

One thing that also made me connect my enjoyment of text is within TV shows (House of Cards is a favourite) and movies now. When someone receives a message the message in some shows, or movies is being overlaid on the screen so we can see who it is from and what the message is. This idea made so much sense to me and I have commented on it a few times as my wife and I watch different shows.


With respect to my own personal learning, I know that one type of learning is never enough. I know that even when I am strictly reading, I do not get enough out of the straight text, so I typically read out loud to help myself keep focused and I know I retain more information when I read aloud to myself. Similarly when listening to an recording of a book, or I am following someone read, I have a hard time not reading as they speak. This is where the love of video comes from. I feel I need to be as engaged as possible. I need multiple stimuli occurring to keep my focus. That may be due to the fact that I should have been diagnosed with some form of squirrel watching/bike riding/need to be active diagnosis, but I also have realized that the more interactive, whether it is physically, or multimedia style of learning is where and how I learn best. One is never enough.

Fig 7.7 from Bates, 2011

As I look at the pedagogical framework from Bates' article I found myself being mostly a connectivist style learner. Most of my learning come from blogs, YouTube, Wikis or straight up Google searches. Where I see my classroom, spans all three of the categories. I feel most of the deep learning comes in the connectivist zone, but we typically work through the objectivist, and constructivist areas in the early and middle portions of the year to get the students ready to be work within their own inquiry based topics.