Category Archives: EC&I 834

OER Commons

For my OER, I chose to look at the OER Commons. This to me seemed to be the hub from which all spokes derived.

Before I begin, I’d like to shout out to Awesome Screenshot for making this blog entry so painless!

The following is a review of their website in terms of accessibility, interface, content, and visual appeal.

OER Commons.png

At first glance, their website seems open and their tag line of “Explore. Create. Collaborate” inviting. So far, so good.

Under their heading banner is a way to create lesson plans to freely share with other educators, like Teachers Pay Teachers, without the paying part. I was interested to see how many lessons or documents teachers are freely sharing with their colleagues, when options to be paid for this work exist (beyond your actual job, obviously). In order to create lessons or resources, you need to login through their system. I created an account in order to see what the process would be like.

Edit Lesson   OER Commons.pngAs you can see from the screenshot, it looks like they use WordPress to create their lessons, as my avatar from WordPress is in the corner. The text editing is smooth and user friendly, perhaps because I was already used to WordPress.

I really liked that I could preview my lesson as a student or as a fellow educator to see what they would see when accessing it.

Next, I went to explore other “hubs” to see what they offered, or where they would take me:

Network Hubs   OER Commons.pngThe list seems massive! Unless I knew exactly what I was looking for, I think I would feel incredibly overwhelmed by the choices presented. Some of the resources were other ones Alec suggested in the Weekly Outline and some were new to me. The one that interested me the most was the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers.

It is a repository of professional resources for teachers:

UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers   OER Commons.png

This seems like a really neat resource to use as a teacher in order to inform practice, both as a professional and as a way to introduce things to students.

What was really interesting was this:

UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers   OER Commons.png

It’s a list of countries and organizations which have adopted the system created by UNESCO. The list of countries include places which are generally seen as “third world” or in need of reform in their educational systems. Does this mean that perhaps they’re taking more steps forward than first world countries in adopting a framework such as this?

OER Commons is a vast network of available resources for teachers and students to take advantage of. It seems user-friendly, authentic, and a really neat way to access numerous free lessons and modules to aid in teaching. I think by using this a teacher could possibly make their learning and teaching more global as the resources come from across the globe.


YES.

download.png
Photo Source: IndyRef2

In a simple answer to this week’s blog prompt: yes.

YES social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile.

YES we can have meaningful discussions about social justice online.

It is our duty as educators to make our students see the world beyond the classroom. In order to teach this effectively, we must first participate. As educators, we need to experience the online world so that we can show our students how it works. It’s just like any other discipline: to become an English teacher I had to take classes on literature, on reading and writing, and I had to write essays (so. many. essays.)

Since I was educated on this subject, I feel confident in teaching it to my students.

It is the same thing with social justice. We must apply ourselves to it, as if it were any other discipline: experience it. Live it. Teach it.

9304dda71d74f3c088a15a5ad5debde7--teaching-quotes-teaching-tips.jpg
Photo Source: Pinterest

Katia’s comment in her blog post In Online Spaces, Silence Speaks Louder than Words, her final comment:

We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to social inequities and injustices. We have a responsibility to risk our privilege to give voice to those who have no privilege to risk.

made me think about “risking” my privilege, in regards to social activism. Christina’s post about slacktivism and band wagon jumping made me think about privilege and social cache in being “seen” to support causes.

The Atlantic piece on social activism as a meme reveals a more selfish part of the concept of supporting something. The piece discusses the Paris attacks in November 2015. Facebook created a way to have a temporary filter over a Facebook profile picture so that people could express solidarity at their convenience. If your Facebook photo wasn’t changed to reflect support for Paris, there was a question of whether or not you really supported Paris in their time of need or not.

The pray for campaigns that come up on social media relentlessly is experiencing blow back as people start to think about how clicks or likes don’t equal actual help as the below video from UNICEF points out.

This graphic from Popular Science shows just how (in)effective liking something on social media is when translating back to real action.

agreeingtovolunteer.png

So how does this translate to the classroom?

As teachers we must be aware of the disconnect between liking something on social media and taking action. Social media can spur people into taking ownership of something, but there has to be a connection, somehow, to their immediate life. Some tangible way to take part. As the bar graph above shows, if someone is connected to personally, privately, they’re more likely to volunteer their time to assisting a charity etc than if they just like something on social media.


Summary of Learning

Completing a summary of learning is never a simple task. I suppose that is why it’s called a s-u-m-m-a-r-y. Having to summarize a semester of learning is never easy.

One comment that stands out in my mind is Andres saying, “Make sure you start planning WEEKS ahead!” Does it count if I have been thinking about it for weeks?

I have used VideoScribe and Adobe Sparke for previous Summary of Learning’s. I found that Adobe Sparke was more user friendly than VideoScribe.

This semester I enjoyed developing my skills with iMovie. My brother creates great iMovies through the app and I have always loved them. One of my previous blog posts, Finally Tried iMovie outlines my experience.

To create this video, I used the iMovie app on my iPad. If you haven’t used iMovie before, you are given options to create a trailer (basically it is exactly like an Movie Trailer) or a Movie. I created an iMovie trailer and then used the trailer in the Movie. I included photos, short video clips, word clouds and screen-casts using Screencast-O-Matic. I downloaded all videos to YouTube and added a sound affect or two. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad it is done!

Thank you to Alec and Katia for planning and creating an online space conducive to learning, communicating with our peers, and providing us with, what seems like every single educational tool available to consider when planning our Online/blended Course Prototype. I think the results of our prototypes speak to the amount of work you both put into this course.

Thank you to everyone in EC&I 834! I am always inspired and motivated to try just a little bit harder because of all of you!

I hope you enjoy my Summary of Learning video!


Final Touches

This course has been interesting.  I found that working collaboratively in a group was very positive for me.  Having amazing colleagues that are all driven and willing to put in a little extra helped me push through the hard parts of the semester.  For the finishing touches of our final project we met and discussed the thorough feedback we received from our peers.

Areas we needed to focus on were: Common Concerns, Appropriate Grade Leveling, and Connecting our Summative Assessment Tool of Blogging.

As my group stepped up for me in my time of need I went through and touched up our Course Profile adding in specific information about the Common Concerns and explained how we would deal with a variety of scenarios if they came up.  As for the grade level conversation we felt that the overall work could be modified for our original grades 3-8 but after reading numerous peoples feedback and their concern for the language throughout the unit being a little to high for some of the younger grades we decided to change the scope to grades 5-8.  We still feel that this unit could be done in a grade 3 and 4 classroom, especially because Jorie teaches a grade 2 class and is doing most of what we have created over the course of the semester as her class has been her guinea pigs for a lot of her learning.

As for the Summative Assessment Danielle went and created an additional video that explains the the 'prior learning' that was assumed to have taken place prior to this unit as an add on for anyone who has not began with the blogging before taking on our project of Genius Hour.

I am very pleased with the overall outcome of our assignment and feel that we all developed not only creative content but also a useful and almost complete unit around Genius Hour that is ready to go.  If anyone is interested in viewing our course please feel free to log in using our student code: ku6m8y.

As for my Summary of Learning, I enjoyed walking back through the different classes and taking snapshots a variety of tools, and learning opportunities I had taken advantage of over the course.

Kyle DuMont's Summary of Learning



Again it has been a pleasure to be a part of an amazing learning community.  Thank you Alec and Katia for facilitating and teaching another outstanding EdTech course.

Final Touches

This course has been interesting.  I found that working collaboratively in a group was very positive for me.  Having amazing colleagues that are all driven and willing to put in a little extra helped me push through the hard parts of the semester.  For the finishing touches of our final project we met and discussed the thorough feedback we received from our peers.

Areas we needed to focus on were: Common Concerns, Appropriate Grade Leveling, and Connecting our Summative Assessment Tool of Blogging.

As my group stepped up for me in my time of need I went through and touched up our Course Profile adding in specific information about the Common Concerns and explained how we would deal with a variety of scenarios if they came up.  As for the grade level conversation we felt that the overall work could be modified for our original grades 3-8 but after reading numerous peoples feedback and their concern for the language throughout the unit being a little to high for some of the younger grades we decided to change the scope to grades 5-8.  We still feel that this unit could be done in a grade 3 and 4 classroom, especially because Jorie teaches a grade 2 class and is doing most of what we have created over the course of the semester as her class has been her guinea pigs for a lot of her learning.

As for the Summative Assessment Danielle went and created an additional video that explains the the 'prior learning' that was assumed to have taken place prior to this unit as an add on for anyone who has not began with the blogging before taking on our project of Genius Hour.

I am very pleased with the overall outcome of our assignment and feel that we all developed not only creative content but also a useful and almost complete unit around Genius Hour that is ready to go.  If anyone is interested in viewing our course please feel free to log in using our student code: ku6m8y.

As for my Summary of Learning, I enjoyed walking back through the different classes and taking snapshots a variety of tools, and learning opportunities I had taken advantage of over the course.

Kyle DuMont's Summary of Learning



Again it has been a pleasure to be a part of an amazing learning community.  Thank you Alec and Katia for facilitating and teaching another outstanding EdTech course.

Course Prototype Renewed

Photo Credit: beetechsolution Flickr via Compfight cc

It was great to hear all of the positive feedback about our course prototype on Genius Hour. Many comments were supportive and enthusiastic adding that this is the type of project that will encourage life long learners. I agree and hope that other teachers choose to utilize this amazing opportunity to have student/teacher links right at your disposal.

Photo Credit: engribk4real Flickr via Compfight cc

One of the concerns about our project was the assignments and course information might be difficult for grade 3 students to understand. Throughout planning of this project, I thought that some of the modules may be geared towards a higher grade but I knew that for my grade 4’s, I would do one of two things.

  1. Use the modules that best fit my students.
  2. Use all of the modules but provide further instruction, a screen-cast, video, etc. where need be.

As a result, there was enough concern that prompted one of our group members to suggest that we change the grade level to 5-8 rather than 3-8, keeping in mind that for younger students some adaptations may be needed. Great idea!

As Danielle stated, our group chose blogging as the “thread” that ties our modules/project together. As a group we agreed that blogging would be a consistent way for the students to process, reflect, and explain their learning as they work their way through the project.

I was certainly on board for blogging because I have blogged with my students for 3 years now.  I consistently see growth, their confidence increase and engagement during blogging. In our discussions, we chose specifically not to provide a specific blogging domain (kidblog, wordpress, blogger, etc) because every teacher might not want to set up their blogs the same way. One thing we missed was including a “How to set up your blog?” section of our prototype just in case.

As a result, Danielle decided to add a short “How to” video for setting up a wordpress blog. Many teachers also enjoy Kidblog, TheEdublogs and I have recently been using Blogger. I switched to blogger this year and the students and I are enjoying it. Especially because of the fact it is free!

As a result, it was an important suggestion to introduce blogging to students who do not have any experience with it.

Lastly, we received feedback about our considerations for common concerns. Now, the prototype includes;

  • technology concerns
  • EAL students
  • cultural concerns
  • attendance concerns or students who are out of town
  • teacher/student communication  


Photo Credit: ONE/MILLION Flickr via Compfight cc

Overall, we had really positive feedback about the organization of the prototype and how user friendly it was. The modules were linked together well and flowed from one to the next. Everyone seemed to like the variety of videos and assessment tools that each group member chose for their modules.

 Thank you so much for the hard work of our Genius Hour group; Kyle , JorieAdam, Danielle, and  Lorraine. Some members of the group really stepped up and went over and above the call of duty!

For myself, I received great feedback on the introduction video for the module that I was tasked with. One comment was specific to the music I added to the video. In fact, I was thinking the same thing. One of my students had added the same music to his iMovie and it seemed to grab the students attention. So, I purposely kept that in mind because I know how easily a student’s focus can be lost, even while watching a stimulating and fun video!

Since completing the Genius Hour Introduction video, I also used iMovie for my Summary of Learning. I worked on smoother transitions and being more cognizant of not cutting out words here and there.

Now that the improvements have been made, it will be even better than before. I hope that it will be frequently utilized by students and teachers!

Check our protype here;

  • go to classroom.google.com
  • click on the + sign to join
  • type in the code ku6m8y

Thank you for reading! Please comment by clicking on the title at the top!


Summary of Learning (Finale)

26429502754_f14bdbf503
Photo Credit: Rachel.Adams Flickr via Compfight cc

You can scroll directly to the bottom of this blog if you want to watch the Summary of Learning first!  🙂

The picture above is meant to represent the mixed feelings I have about being finished this class and finished my Masters. While I am happy to return attention back to my gr. 3 classroom and continue to experiment with all the interesting things I have been learning, it is with some hesitation that I step away from the University.  I have enjoyed the past twenty-seven months of learning time.

The first thing I did to prepare for this final project  (Summary of Learning), was to decide on the format – which I did very early on.  Pecha Kucha is a presentation style that I learned in my very first Masters class.  I wanted to do it again as my very final Masters project.  Every week during this course I kept a journal of what I was experiencing in EC&I 834. I included things I was reading about, online tools I was trying, as well as insights gained from my own blogging experience.  I also wrote about information gathered from reading my colleagues blogs, and from trying out different digital tools my classmates were experimenting with.

After I gathered all the information, I picked the most valuable pieces to include in my Pecha Kucha project.  I used only pictures that were Creative Commons (taken from the website – Compfight). I made the slides first using Powerpoint and added in the timing so that each of the 20 slides would run for 20 seconds:

9570288054_8095b3e571

Photo Credit: juan tan kwon Flickr via Compfight cc

Then I set up my cell phone on a tripod to record myself (after I had rehearsed the timing of my 20 slides).

Here is a link to the script I used:    http://bit.ly/2nY2obl

For the video recording – I used a green screen on the wall and added some powerful photography lights:

 

After creating the green screen video, I saved it to my desktop, along with the other Powerpoint video. Then using software called VSDC Free Video Editor, I combined the two files:

This video editing software was fairly easy to use and it allowed for the video overlay of the green screen video on top of the Powerpoint video.

I then uploaded this video to You Tube.

And voila…

My Summary of Learning for ECI 834 (April 2017)


Final Overview of Course Prototype and Feedback Response

Our Course Prototype Assignment (Exploring Saskatchewan Through Art)  can be found at: https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/

Course Profile:     https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/course-profile/

Rationale:       https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/rationale/

My Module:     https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/

Parent FAQ:    https://exploringskart.wordpress.com/category/module-1/

The three teacher contributors were Ellen, Sam, and myself.

Overview of Creation Process:

I am very pleased with the final product for our course prototype. Way back in January, in a blog post, (Planning to Use Seesaw for the Course Prototype), I explored the idea of using Seesaw for students to be able to demonstrate their learning. I was initially inspired to do this because Ellen said she is using it in her classroom and it works well. Also, Nicole and Amy had identified it as being something they thought would work well for their prototype with grade 2 students. We were planning a prototype for grade 3, so it seemed a good fit.

 

The following week in my blog post, on February 5th (Lots of Decisions to Make),  I was experimenting with using Screencast-O-matic.  In the back of my mind I wanted to try to figure out how to make a ‘flipped’ classroom lesson like the ones I had been hearing about. In that same post, I was searching and trying to decide which platform to use.

On February 11th,  my blog post (Print, Audio or Video – What’s Your Preference?) was mainly focused on Bates and his encouragement for teachers to try and discover what works best for students in terms of preference: audio, text, or video.  This topic really made an impact on me and so after giving it a lot of thought, I knew that it was important to include all three options within my module.

30459584856_24002a7a90Photo Credit: micagoto Flickr via Compfight cc

It was in that same post (Print, Audio, or Video – What’s Your Preference?) that I watched an inspiring Ted Talk with Salman Khan where he talked about how the ‘flipped classroom’ first came to be.  That was it – I was hooked. I loved the idea of students having access to a lesson before hand and being able to watch it over and over in the convenience of their own home, in their own time. So, I decided I wanted to have at least one ‘flipped classroom’ lesson in my module for the prototype.

The March 6th post (A Plethora of Choices) was where I am quoted as having decided with my group that we would be using Google Classroom as our platform of choice. It is also the same post where I discovered Wheel Decide as a fun way to gather formative assessment, and the age appropriate self assessment below (from Teachers Take Out):

Free Self Assessment

In the blog post I created on March 18th called Openness, I found a really excellent Powerpoint presentation that outlined all the great reasons to use Seesaw:

In a post only two short weeks ago, called There is Light, I revealed that our group had changed our platform.  Even though it was late to be making that decision, our layout on the Google Classroom platform was simply not turning out the way we wanted it to look.  I felt a little disappointed after having spent way too many hours pouring over the tips in a book called 50 Things You Can Do With Google Classroom by Alice Keeler.  When we agreed to switch our prototype platform to WordPress, I was optimistic because of the skills and success I have developed over the course of two ‘Courobrandt’ classes (Alec and Katia).  We made that ‘leap of faith’ decision quickly, and never looked back. For all the many reasons why we thought WordPress would be a better choice, we were not disappointed.   As I said in this There is Light post: I am most happy with the visual appearance.  I am a visual person myself, and am drawn in by color and beauty.  I think many students are visual learners as well and will be enticed by the interesting colorful pictures on the site we have created.

In the weeks following, my course Module really began to take shape.  I contacted a woman I found on the Internet named Shelley Banks (from Regina), who agreed to be our local ‘expert’ and said our class could be in contact with her via email. I continued to find interesting digital tools for formative assessment that would allow students to interact with the material along the way.

The Peer Response Assignment has been a valuable one:

As Katia mentioned in her email this week, EC&I 834 colleagues put a lot of work into the critiquing each others Course Prototype assignments so that each group ended up with feedback that is detailed and meaningful.  Our group got together once we had reviewed our feedback individually and discussed repercussions/changes we wanted to make.

Our Group Response to Peer Feedback:

Overall, we had wonderful people giving us feedback. The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive, which is so nice as it was a hard task to create something with little frame of reference.  Below we highlighted a couple of common critiques that came up in our feedback document.

Some of our feedback mentioned that it was a little hard to find our information. While WordPress is a clean and organized tool, our drop down menus were confusing to some, which means they could be confusing to parents and, of course, the eight year olds taking our course. One thing that we would change in response, is to change our drop down menus. Instead of having information on the header of our drop down menus, the header could be used as more of a title, with the content in further drop down menus off of the header. For example, the header of “course profile” could be changed so that the course profile isn’t listed underneath and instead is found on a drop down menu off of the header.  We believe this would help students navigate our site.

We also decided to rewrite our rationale based on some of our feedback. We have now included more details about the reasoning behind many of our specific choices including our LMS and other instructional tools. Our new rationale is more comprehensive in explaining the choices we made in order to maximize learning opportunities for grade three students targeted with this prototype.

Another area that came up often in our feedback was that our modules contain both student content and teacher instructional notes. One area that we would change in response to this, is to have the student content and the teacher notes separated on our WordPress site.  We intentionally created our modules with both, simply for the benefit of this course and we would definitely streamline them and remove the teacher talk if this were to go live to an actual grade three classroom.

Finally, we had a couple of issues with links not working. We went through and double checked our links and also decided we would embed the information in the blog instead of relying on the link. Our example is with the Fotobabble link, we would post the actual picture in the blog post and also include a sound link to avoid the external link issues.

We appreciated all of the feedback given to us and definitely saw this as an opportunity for growth. If we were to ever create another flipped or blended classroom, we think we’d have a good grasp of where to start!

With regard to the comments that were specific to my module, I immediately fixed the two spelling mistakes. As mentioned above, if publishing this I would separate teacher information and student information. This week I learned that there is a You Tube for schools – so I would definitely check that out and might use it for my any additional instructional videos if needed. Once again, only Lesson 6 (the one with my artifact) was fully developed in my Module, the rest of the lessons were simply place holders. I feel confident that I would like to try to complete our prototype and use it with my grade three classroom.

I am grateful for all I have learned with this prototype assignment.

via Gify


Final Blog Post….. (for now)

Hello and welcome to my final blog post for EC&I 834.  This class has been a whirlwind of assignments, information, and relationship building and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photo Credit

Our major assignment for this course was the creation of a curriculum unit that could be taught online or in a blended classroom.  Together with my partner Nicole Brown, we worked to create a version of Macbeth that would be more accessible to learners of all abilities and language skills.  If you are interested in looking over the material yourself, the link can be found here.

Overview of the Creation Process:

I have found this aspect of the course to be the most rewarding because it allowed us to create something that is meaningful AND will allow us to use it in our classrooms.  With the (likely) decrease of PD money in the future, it is hopeful that I can use a Masters class to create projects that will further benefit my students.

Nicole and I used Canvas as our LMS for this particular project.  The first few forays into the site were focused on getting comfortable with the layout and understanding how we could use it to create a cohesive unit.  Once we were more comfortable we created assignments (some new, some we already had) and organized them in such a way so there was a logical flow to the play and the accompanying work.

Next we created a series of modules (short videos) to teach our students about different important aspects of Macbeth.  A further explanation of the modules can be found here.

Response to Feedback:

Upon completion of our course project, we were tasked with evaluating and providing feedback to our classmates’ projects as they did the same with ours.  These were certainly anxious times as we had no idea what other projects looked like and how ours matched up.

Thankfully, the feedback we received was extremely positive.  The reviewers appreciated our varied use of assignments and our creative modules.  One of the most positive pieces of feedback we received was about our modules and how they appreciated our plan to create several shorter modules, which would allow us to keep the attention of our students.

Another important piece of feedback was the positive response to our course rationale.  Unlike most projects that I examined, Nicole and I decided to create a video for our rationale rather than in essay form.  Universally, this choice was appreciated and perhaps more students will choose to do so in the future.

Now the feedback was not all positive, there were a few small issues to point out.  First off, it appears the Youtube version of the play was taken down for copyright violations since we decided to use it.  This is an unfortunate turn of events but it is a reality you have to endure when deciding to use Youtube as a teaching resource.  As well, the reviewers had issues accessing the “Quizzes” section.  At first, we were unclear why this was an issue, but after we discussed it further we realized it was because the reviewers were viewing the course from the outside, rather than being invited and working through it as students.  This is something that we are thankful they found and now we can address it before the course is evaluated for marks.

This concludes our final blog post.  Hurray we did it! I hope you have enjoyed following me along on my journey and I hope to reconnect with all of you in a future Couros/Hildebrandt class!