Category Archives: Learning Project

Information Overload & Project Progress

I will admit, with every article I read I feel fairly overwhelmed at this point. There are so many avenues to share and connect with not only parents, other classrooms, authors -you name it – that it is impossible to predict where this project will take us. I’m a little OCD and am very clearly a type A planner so not having a solid road map is a bit terrifying. I do look forward to exploring with my kiddo’s and evolve as a teacher in the digital age. Perhaps now that I’ve moved up to grade 4/5 this project takes on more meaning as the percentage of students who do use social media after school increases significantly. During a conversation with my class today we did a quick poll of the social media apps my students are using and nearly all hands went up for apps like Instagram and Snapchat – Facebook wasn’t far behind.

apps pic for blogI was a pretty shocked. I expected a few hands to go up but not every hand. I quickly can see my Twitter learning project to branch off into another teaching area – implementing a digital citizenship curriculum alongside our use of Twitter within the classroom. The two go hand in hand and make complete sense – although I didn’t expect my project to take me in this direction initially.

Right now I’m battling the pressure (and slight intimidation) of how many amazing ways there are to bring Twitter in the Classroom, yet I want it to be authentic and connect to our learning at the same time. It’s easy to get ahead of ourselves but I want my students to clearly understand what Twitter is, it’s purpose, how to use it – essentially spread the word about everything I have learned up until this point.

Twitterjacobmath

Accomplishments Update:

  • We “toured” Twitter together as a class
  • Learning Twitter Terminology  – retweet, hashtags (and their purpose) etc.
  • Followed other classrooms and people who will add to our learning experience.
  • Shared our favorite learning moments to our families – ongoing
  • Taught lessons on Private and Personal Information, The Power of Words and Rings of Responsibilities 
  • Introduced our “Classroom Twitter Feed” – A practice tweet station on the white board where students can develop tweets. As a class we revisit them and edit and necessary and tweet them out on the projector.
  • Connected with other SK Classrooms

twitterboardpic

Here is a picture of our “Practice” Twitter Feed. Clearly we need to develop our use of hashtags and punctuation – but one step at a time…

Twitterjpegpic
I’ve been using my personal Twitter account to seek advice about my project.

twitterquestionpic.jpg

Essential Questions Explored:

  • What kinds of responsibilities does a good digital citizen have?
  • How can you protect yourself from online identity theft? What should you do when someone uses mean or scary language on the internet.

    Next Week:

  • Continue with Digital Citizenship Lessons
    • The Key to Key Words – Which keywords will give you the best search results
    • Whose is it Anyway? – How can I show respect for people’s work
  • Establish a routine to do the Tweet of the Day
  • Continue to explore ways to use Twitter
  • Continue to explore digital citizenship resources

 


2 First Days of School & a Learning Project: Follow the Journey @cameronscorner1

This has been a very unique start to the school year and it all began the day my school gained a teacher halfway through the month of September. What does this really mean? Well all of our kids re-shuffled grades – including myself. I went from teaching a group of 3/4 students to a new group of 4/5 students and experienced 2 “First Day of School’s” in one school year. I’ve taught grade 4/5 before so I wasn’t too thrown off by the sudden grade change, however I am feeling a tad bit behind in my teaching and where I would have hoped to be at the beginning of the October in terms of classroom routines, teaching content, and of course my learning project which involves my students & bringing Twitter into the classroom.  The positive side is this minor set-back in time has allowed me to explore Twitter behind the scenes apart from my classroom and begin to read – read – read!

Welcome to our classroom at the new Connaught Community School!
back to school pic.jpg

The end of September was spent establishing routines (again) with my new group of kiddos , attending the internship seminar and getting to know my new students learning styles areading picnd personalities. Since this was a hectic 2 weeks in the classroom I spent my learning project time focused on setting up our classroom Twitter account, researching the “Do’s and Don’t’s” of using Twitter in the classroom, collecting parent permission for social media use,  exploring how to use Twitter in general, informing parents of my intentions of using Twitter in the classroom.  along with brushing up on issues of student privacy.

I have a rarely used personal Twitter account from my bachelor degree days – so the basics were a much needed review but were fairly straight forward. What bring me anxiety was reading the hundreds of ways to use Twitter. Ah! Where do I even begin??

So to wrap my head around it – I browsed the many possibilities Twitter has to offer and decided to focus on my own classroom Twitter and get my feet wet by sharing our learning. Currently to get started, I’ve Tweeted out the first few updates and will slowly transition to a point where students will take over the responsibility of sharing and creating tweets.

I have also explored Alec’s recommended documents with suggestions of educators to follow, education related hashtags and the tips and tricks demonstrated within class.
Learning the Basics!
twitter-cheat-sheet
Photo via edudemic

Inform & Connect with Families
I came across an educator online from Windsor, ON by the name of Kristen Wideen. Mrs. Wideen’s blog provided a very helpful starting point for me and it’s definitely worth a visit!  I also adapted her Parent Letter, as seen below, as my own starting point for a letter. I pulled key points and adapted her letter to fit my own situation. I took her advice regarding following only other educators – not necessarily following parents back as I hadn’t considered the repercussions of others personal twitter content popping into our classroom news feed.

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I really enjoyed reading about other teachers mistakes using Twitter and what they learned in hopes to avoid any trouble and start rolling with my project smoothly. For example, Kristen identified the following rather helpful “mistakes” which you can explore in further detail here.

#1 Classroom Twitter Mistake
The Teacher creates and publishes the tweets.

*Rule # 1 and already an Oops in my project 

#2 Classroom Twitter Mistake
Jumping right in without laying the ground work first.

#3 Classroom Twitter Mistake
Leaving the parents out of the loop

#4 Classroom Twitter Mistake
Keeping the Class Twitter Account Locked Down

These common mistakes were a great starting point to lock down areas of focus during the first two weeks. My priority has been connecting to families, following educational accounts, and sharing our learning. Basically – jumping into it and building upon my learning each week. From here I would like to continue to explore issues of students privacy and check out how other classrooms are using Twitter within the classroom.

Now time for my shameless plug – follow our classroom on Twitter @cameronscorner1 🙂

Wish me luck!
Ms. Cameron

 

 


Stop-Motion Summary

Can it be? Is it already that time? I feel as though we just began this course, and yet we have covered so much in such a short amount of time. I have truly enjoyed the debates every week, particularly because they made me reconsider – literally every time – how I thought about a specific controversial topic in the realm of educational technology. It has been fun, challenging, and it went by so fast. Yet here we are!

For my final summary, I decided to try out a Stop-Motion project. Please do not judge the primary drawing and colouring skills; I am no artist, and have never been a particularly visual learner. I had my mind set, though, on what I wanted to do, so my lack of innate skills would not hold me back!

Enjoy this summary of the debates we have seen thus far, and if you so choose, you can read the script below. It has been a joy learning with all of you over this semester, and I really appreciate everything Alec and Katia have set up for us in this short amount of time!

See you all in the fall semester, hopefully!

Opening scene:

Once upon a time, in a not so distance past, there lived a traveler name Sceptique, whose search of EdTech was being delivered at last. She had been traveling for years, unsure of where to go, when she finally found the land of EC&I 830, and her knowledge began to grow.

Forest scene:

It all began through the forest of SAMR, where tech as a learning enhancement was on display. Strolling through this forest of controversy, our traveler came upon two warriors without delay.

“Begone” thundered Warrior A to Warrior D, “Tech is here to stay.”

“But you must know, Warrior A, tech is the reason for foul play. It is a distraction, time waste, and causes more difficulties than I can even say”

“These are problems we see every day, Warrior D. They are not because of technology. Tech helps bridge the gap for those who need it, and engages learners in their daily tasks, so beat it!”

“Warrior A, you know not of the upfront cost, nor of the lack of training offered for those using it. It is not worth the risk, when it never works and nobody knows how to fix it!”

The debate ensued, and Sceptique was but along for the ride. Enjoying the warriors lament to another, she finally decides:

“Warrior D, you make some great arguments, I do agree. However, Warrior A, I can’t deny that tech has become a classroom mainstay. Difficult as this may be, Warrior A, please come with me”

So Sceptique and Warrior A continue through the forest of SAMR, crossing soon into Google-Me, a land full of glamour.

Ocean scene:

Leaving the forest of SAMR, Sceptique comes upon a beautiful ocean view. Then she notices a fish… or two!

“Hello fish” she said, “How are you today?”

“Not well, not well!” Said Fish D “Our school is not teaching us anything that can be googled, you see”

“Oh Fish D,” responded Fish A “don’t you know Google isn’t always great? It limits creativity, and makes our knowledge stagnate. We remember less than before, and it gives us a false sense of knowledge once more”

“What an exaggeration, Fish A! Basic facts that can be googled HAVE to stay! Memorization in our school is a very important tool. We need this foundation before we can think deeper, and grow our wealth of information much steeper!”

“But Fish D, don’t you see, we should teach our kids to wonder and create. They should be practicing the thought-process, and not just the first search engine results, my dear classmate!”

The debate raged on, as Sceptique saw, and she interjected, to a small hurrah.

“Oh Fish A and Fish D, your points are valid, I do agree, but I was wondering if you, Fish D, would come with me?”

And so Fish D joined our traveler as they began to flee. But before they could leave the land of Google-Me, they came across two turtles arguing about technology.

“Turtle D, you know the studies are true. Tech results in negative physical and mental effects, for both me and you.”

“But Turtle A, you are not considering the positives of technology!  The healthy apps, the open ed movement, and growing PLNs are just a few of them, you see.”

“It all depends how you use it’ said Turtle A ‘and now our society is not using them as they should, okay? It is leading to obesity, the awful side effects of cyber bullying, and let’s not forget anxiety.”

“You are blaming the tool, Turtle A, and not the real problem: the parenting and education of today”

Sceptique saw both sides to be true, but asked that Turtle A join her and her crew. So the group left the land of Google-Me, to reach Mount Share, all Sceptique and her three.

Mountain scene:

As the companions moved through Mount Share, they came upon two Rams arguing about things that are unfair.

Ram A was telling Ram D: “Sharing in schools is unfair, believe you me. It risks exposure and may change opportunities in the future, can’t you see?”

“Embrace the future, my friend. There is value to sharing and the thought-process in the end. A good digital footprint and being a good digital citizen can prepare students for the world we are living in.”

“Ram D, there are no guidelines teaching them how to be. Oversharing and danger are by products of this, you will see!”

“Perhaps, Ram A, but they are learning opportunities for children these days”

As the argument progressed, Sceptique took a side and expressed: “It is time to live in the now. Ram D, please come with me and take a bow”

Sceptique then continued through Mount Share and with the four members of her crew, she came upon a mystical city of childhood (atchoo!)

City of Childhood scene:

Arriving in the city, the travelers came upon two taxis saying things that were awfully witty.

“I think technology is a force for equity, with all the accessible online courses and learning opportunities”.

Taxi D answered: “But not all societies are getting what they need. Is that not a part of equity?”

“Yes it is, but so is assistive technology, like Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil, smart pens, and medical robots, obviously!”

“Okay, but what about the digital divide? Lack of access? Or the lack of inclusivity for all disabilities?” Taxi D chided.

Both taxis continue to debate, with Sceptique choosing Taxi D to join her and her mates.

Continuing through this city of controversy, the group came upon two children, arguing about social media beside a tree.

The little girl began by agreeing that social media is ruining childhood, for the time being.

But the boy replied “Stop living in the past like our parents, social media has a lot of benefits inherent. Kids are less lonely now, have a sense of belonging, strong friendships, and a voice too. Their learning NEW skills that will be essential for the future, it’s a real breakthrough!”

The little girl remained suspicious. “There is just too much cyberbullying, health problems, pressure, and scrutiny; it’s just vicious! Kids are maturing too quickly and cheated out of life skills. Social media is ruining their childhood, for unimportant thrills!”

As the kids continued to fight, Sceptique learned some new insight. She may not necessarily agree, but she said to the little girl “Please join me”

The group all together left the City of Childhood, to arrive at the EC&I classroom, their final destination, for good.

Classroom scene:

Walking into the EC&I classroom, the group sees two pencils arguing about the corporate interests involved in public education; how could that be?

 “It’s all about the money, Pencil B. Corporations care about the bottom line, can’t you see? Pepsi, coke, and let’s not mention Pearson, all have relationships with our education.”

“Yes, that’s true, but critical friendships are important for education to pull through. We don’t get enough funding, and these mutually beneficial relationships with aligned goals and curricula are an important way to get resources unending!”

“At what cost, Pencil B? So they can control our testing and results, for everyone to see?”

The debate pursued, and it being the closest one yet, Sceptique thought awhile before asking Pencil B to join her and all her duets. As all the debates closed, Sceptique looked at her group of extreme personalities, and finally disclosed.

“Although you won your debates, that is true, fact is, extremes do not rule. Having a balanced approach and seeing both sides is truly the only way one should decide. That being said, I must ask, that all previous debaters come back at last”

So all the warriors, fish, turtles, rams, taxis, kids, and pencils came back, giving Sceptique all the tools and information she needs to make decisions about technology in her own little backpack.

And they all lived happily – debatably – ever after.

The End.

(Of course, it is not really the end. Merely the beginning).