Course Work, EDTC300

Give A Little Bit…

This is sooo sweet with the kids in the background! Have a listen…

Give a little bit? Yup. That’s the theme of this, my last post, of EDTC300. Officially? It’s a post about how I’ve contributed to the learning of others throughout this course. But honestly that makes a bland title. Starting with a great song is so much better, right?!?

“Giving a little bit” was what I did as I interacted with my classmates in EDTC300 as well in other professional spaces. When I look through some of the interactions I had, that I logged here, I realize that my go-to is to encourage my colleagues. Even when I look through my Twitter feed, I see the same trend. For example, I’ve become quite taken with an educator I’ve discovered through Twitter – Kristin Wiens. She puts together visuals that I find incredibly helpful, like this one

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I’m a visual learner, so her visuals make my brain light up! And so, my go-to reflex was to let her know…

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The great part about putting the good vibes out there, is that they come back! It feels good to know I’ve encouraged her. Working in education is tough slogging at times and if we can reach out with a kind word to one another from time to time, it makes such a difference.

In addition to my contributions on Twitter, on some of the blogs, and on Google+, I had many opportunities to contribute right here in the school I work in, with my colleagues. I’ve posted graphics I love (by Kristin Wiens, of course!) on the staffroom door, introduced teachers and E.A.’s to Web Clipper, Screencastify, SparkPost, SparkVideo, Feedly, AdBlocker, Zoom, among other tools, as well as talked up Twitter as a great resource for all of us educators!

Reflecting on how I’ve contributed to my classmates learning this term, I wish I’d done more. Reflecting further? I’ve been asking myself, why I didn’t. And I think it’s because in addition to being a part of this course, I am working full-time in the classroom and then go home to my own kids. So on the contributing spectrum, I’m on the “kinda maxed out” end. Now to be fair, that does not excuse me from developing and maintaining a healthy PLN (personal learning network), because to be an educator means to accept that “being maxed out” is a risk we must continually learn to manage. Prioritizing our own learning networks requires each of us to treat it as compulsory and integral to our personal and professional development, not as an elective.

However, in the midst of trying to strike this necessary balance in my own life, I also employed yet another one of my mantras (two of mine are mentioned here and here) – “Do what you can do. Perfection is not the goal, participation is.”

My Post (3)

made with SparkPost

And so I participated in contributing to the learning of others (and will continue to do so) because I value the concept even though I won’t do it perfectly all the time. And as I do it, I’ll grow in my capacity to do it better and better.

So it all comes back to the song this post started out with, “Give a little bit”. Giving a little bit is a great place to start and a great place to launch from. That’s my ongoing commitment to contributing to the learning of the folks around me and beyond.

Committed to cheering us all on to…

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

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Course Work, EDTC300

It’s In The Can! EDTC 300 – Summary of Learning

Whew! Well, that was a bit of gong show!

via GYPHY

It finally happened to me. I have been on the receiving of this line, dozens of times, but now I had to use it…

The computer ate my homework!

Yet another example of how becoming a student has made me that much more empathetic to my students! Two hours before I had to submit my “Summary of Learning” for my EDTC300 course, POOF! It was gone. I don’t know if it was pilot error (probably) but it sure gave me a chance to exercise having a “growth mindset”!

But now it’s done (again), so you can have a peek at it here.

I put my summary together using “Spark Video” which is a tool I’d recommend. It was fairly straightforward and didn’t take oodles of time to learn. I’m looking forward to getting students to try it out; I think they’ll enjoy the variety it offers! (If I have to watch another Powerpoint…)

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I’d love your feedback!

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

 

 

 

 

Course Work, EDTC300

What’s Your Code?

Codes are everywhere.

Where ever are they? Can’t find them?

Keep looking. You will.

A silly start to a post about learning something I know very little about. Like haiku. And like my attempt at haiku, I wasn’t very good at it but I did it anyway!

This week my challenge was to learn to code for one hour. If this idea is new to you, hang in there. All that means is that I did one hour of “computer programming for the computer illiterate”. Now, the reality is that today we all use computers everyday, effortlessly and seamlessly. But truth be told, most of us haven’t got a clue about how they do the fascinating things they do. Well at least for kids growing up in Canada’s schools, that’s changing. Kids right from Grade One and up are starting to learn about what is involved in coding and as usual educators are developing innovative and fun ways to learn.

And it’s important! Frankly, we, as well as the upcoming generations, need the opportunity to learn about how this stuff works. For those of us in the older group, it will create increased appreciation and awe at what it takes for us to have the advantage of this technology. And for the younger folks, this is a HUGE trajectory in the area of careers. Unless they are exposed to these concepts, students won’t have the same opportunities to discover if this is their passion and maybe a career they want to pursue.

For my learning, I dove in and checked out Code.org. First I tried doing an independent project in the “Artist” space but quickly aborted mission when I realized I was in way over my head!

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So then I moved on to taking a tutorial which was much better. You can see in the top of screenshot below that I’m on level 8 but my level 7 needs work (indicated by the light green). I found it interesting to observe my learning during this session! I was feeling rushed (my “things to-do” list was nattering at me) and could recognize that in order to really think through the sequences needed, I needed to allow myself the time it would take for my brain to process things. Valuable self observation.

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By the time I progressed past level 7, I was at capacity for the day! (and my nattering “things to-do” list won out)

Via GYPHY

Next time I opened up Code.org, I looked at some of the games and found one just up my alley! My oldest son (gr.11) is presently in a performing arts program in Whitehorse and this May, they are putting together a full length adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. So this game caught my eye!Screen Shot 2018-04-07 at 7.00.49 PM.png

It was a perfect! Apparently my comfort zone in coding is “Grades 2-5” but no self-judgement here. We all gotta start somewhere. After I finished the game (awesome learning disguised as a game), I even received a certificate that I shared on Twitter, of course!

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I highly recommend Code.org! Give it a go, whether you’re an educator or not, it’s a great way to …

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

Course Work, EDTC300

I have entered an alternate universe… 2.0

You might recognize this title from a previous post. Well, I’m experiencing the “rabbit hole” feeling again while trying out a variety of apps and tools to review for my #EDTC300 online course (Educational Technology and Media 300) at the University of Regina.

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via GYPHY

Here’s my challenge. Given a list of dozens of apps and tools that I could choose from – there are sooo many great resources out there! – not only is it difficult to select one, BUT THEN I HAVE TO LEARN IT in order to do a credible review on it!

So what?

That’s where I run into problems. At least for me, learning takes time. With whatever I’m learning, it takes time for me to get acquainted, familiar and then proficient with what I’m learning. Now that’s no problem if time’s a commodity that I have a lot of. But I don’t. And there’s the rub and the focus of my review.

Educators are notoriously overworked and underpaid professionals. The amount of time and energy a classroom teacher spends, just staying one foot ahead of the students, is extraordinary. Regardless, they continue to not only strive to keep their heads above water, but also be progressive and innovative. So for all my teacher colleagues out there,  and in keeping with my k.i.s.s. mantra, this review is for you…

I’ve tried a tool out that fits the criteria nicely. It’s

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use

Web Clipper – Evernote

Web Clipper is an extension that you can add to your Chrome browser toolbar. Go to https://evernote.com/products/webclipper and sign up for the basic plan (free) and follow the instructions to install the extension. It hangs out up in the right hand corner unobtrusively waiting for just the right moment in your planning.
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I tried it out and liked it almost immediately! As I have begun this journey towards earning my B.Ed, I am inundated regularly with articles and resources that I want to keep track of and Web Clipper does this nicely. Let me give you a peek at what that looks like.

Here’s an article that the kind Cassidy Oesch brought to my attention that I want to take the time to read in detail. When I saw her recommendation, it wasn’t the right time to read it, so I made a mental note of it and liked it in Twitter so I could go back to it. BUT NOW LOOK WHAT I CAN DO! First, here’s the webpage…

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After hitting the Web Clipper icon, I saved the article and it looks like this…

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I’ve created a “Notebook” (to do that just hit the notebook icon I’ve circled in red) and called it “Cassidy’s Gems” where I can save all the great articles she tells me about. Now I don’t have to go on a lengthy treasure hunt looking for them, when I want to sit down and absorb some great info. Cool right?!?

When I hit that notebook icon, this is what it looks like so far. (“Note” is just their word for an article)

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I’d recommend this tool! I found it intuitive and simply laid out, easy to learn and easy to use. There’s a ton of value in having a handy resource like this to organize all the resources that come our way as educators! It drives me nuts when I forget where I saw something and can’t find it again! Like this…

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Back to my teacher colleagues. This is a tool worth checking out. Web Clipper will not only provide you a place to stash all those articles you’re wanting to carve out time to read, but it also provides a place for you to stash the articles (or portions of articles) you want your students to read! I think you’ll find it helpful.

There you go folks, if you try it, let me know what you think!

Keep learning,

Dianna

 

Course Work, EDTC300

Grief, Hope and the Internet, oh my!

So what on earth do grief, hope and the internet have in common? Carol Todd. That’s what. Or rather who.

via GYPHY

Carol, mom of Amanda Todd, visited us in our class the other night, and what a gift she was to each of us. It was one of those times where you are aware enough of a person’s story that your soul is hushed when she speaks because she’s journeyed through “the dark night of the soul” and come through the other side, changed forever and a testament to the human spirit. She is this lovely woman who although she has experienced something most of us will never have to, is so down to earth, approachable, and humble, you just know you would have the most wonderful time visiting over a cup of coffee with her in your favourite little coffee shop! If you ever get a chance to hear her speak – take it. Her spirit is infectious.

I was struck on a number of levels from our time with Carol.

First, like I mentioned, the resiliency of the human spirit is breath-taking. Each of us is afforded the opportunity to meet profound grief in our lives, almost without exception. And without fail, it provides us all with the opportunity for tremendous growth and change in who we become moving forward. We can become full of bitterness or grace, destruction or hope. We make life changing choices along this path of grief. It’s devastatingly powerful, this journey. For myself? Stories like Carol’s inspire me to continue to grow and be refined by my own story and be a conduit of hope.

Second, suffering is not reserved for us adults. Coming through our classrooms, at every age level, are kids who are facing difficult, heart wrenching realities. As educators we have such a powerful place is these young peoples lives! Will we be sensitive to our students? Or will the pressures of getting the job of “teaching” done, blind us to their stories outside of class? Will we be compassionate individuals who come alongside and fan the flame of resilience in our students and be depositories of hope for them to make withdrawals from? Just as Carol came alongside us and infected us with her buoyancy, I want to be that kind of person for my students, my colleagues, my family, and my friends.

Last and certainly not least, I was once again struck by the awesome impact of the  internet. When the first car was ever built over a hundred years ago, I’m sure they never imagined all the ways it has impacted our world! Our world completely adapted to this technology! And oh, it’s good! I just returned from a lovely day trip to Skagway, Alaska where I got to smell the ocean air, watch a sea otter play, climb up to a frozen waterfall and eat halibut at a local restaurant!35672248131_f6b3829b6f

Photo Credit: Edward Mitchell Flickr via Compfight cc

I live in a little village an hour and a half from my mom so I get to visit her regularly. All because someone long ago created the automobile. It’s amazing. But it hasn’t been without it’s downside. Accidents, pollution, drunk drivers. Vehicles have been just that. Vehicles of great things and horrible things.

The internet is no different. I can now face time with family in other provinces. I can learn impossible math concepts from a professor in Mississippi!  It’s an amazing gift, this internet. But like the auto, it can also be a vehicle of destruction. People have had their identities stolen and some have had their life savings plundered. In Amanda Todd‘s case, it became a conduit of unbearable pain and suffering that led to her death by suicide. It’s awful. So, just as driving is something we all require instruction in before we get behind the wheel alone, using the internet is a powerful vehicle that requires us all to be very mindful and deliberate about how we use it and how we instruct young people to use it. It’s people like Carol, who we can lean into, where we gain the wisdom and clarity in how to accomplish this. Our ability to teach our students safe internet practices is paramount in this time of opportunity that the internet has brought!

Moving forward for me? Keep learning. About resilience, about internet wisdom, about imparting hope, each and everyday.

And Carol? Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom. You are a gift. XOXO

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, EDTC300

Cellphones Allowed In Class?!?

This week’s assignment for my Ed Tech class was a pretty neat experience. We had to connect with someone from our class and look at how some kind of technology could be  used in classes and present opposing viewpoints. I knew right away I wanted to debate the use of cellphones in the high school classroom and my classmate from Regina, Daniel Lee took the challenge! (check out his blog here!)

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via GYPHY

It’s been a while since I’ve worked with a partner and I’ve never done it virtually so this was new for me. We texted each other to hammer out our idea for how we wanted to present our info, emailed a bit and did all our work in a shared Google Doc. So seamless! We live in such a connected world; it’s astounding. Anyway, read on to see what we came up with…

A Simulation of a Conversation Between a Parent and Teacher

Class email received by parents/guardians of of Mr. Lee’s grade nine Social Studies

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Text conversation between Mr. Lee and Ms. Roch…

Ms. Roch – Hey, there. It’s Jay’s mom (from SS 9A), Brenda here. You mentioned in the class email if we had any questions that we should text you at this number. I have a few questions.

Mr. Lee – Of course Brenda! What can I help you with?

Ms. Roch – I’m just worried about everyone being on cell phones in class. They’re already on them so much. I thought classrooms were where they wouldn’t be on their phones but learning from the teachers.

Mr. Lee – I understand your concern. Let me reassure you that I am not allowing the usage of cell phones to hinder the students learning; it is the opposite. I want to teach my students how to use their cell phones professionally and respectfully. The students will not be allowed to use their cell phones all the time. As an example, when we are having a class discussion, I will be asking the students to put away their cell phones and to respectfully listen to their classmates. However, when they are doing, let’s say research, cell phones are a very useful tool to look up information online if we can’t book a computer lab or laptops.

Ms. Roch – That’s helpful to hear, but what about them wasting time and just texting each other or checking their social media? Won’t cellphones be a huge distraction?

Mr. Lee – Students will be on social media during class regardless of cell phones being allowed or not allowed. Yes, by allowing cell phone usage in class I am allowing more chances for them to be on social media, but I hope to teach the students to use them as learning tools rather than just social tools. Cell phones are a part of our daily lives now and will probably be an even bigger part of our lives in the future. I plan on teaching the students how to utilize cell phones for their educational benefit. Also, please be assured that I will limit the use of social media as much as possible. I will be actively roaming the class during the times that cell phones are in use to help ensure students stay on task.

Ms. Roch – But there just seems to be so many articles out there telling us how too much technology are bad for kids. It’s overwhelming.

Mr. Lee – I’m sorry but I have to attend a teacher meeting but in the meantime I hope you will check out these articles!

www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm  

https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher

I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Ms. Roch – The nea.org article states that 58% of kids had cell phones in 2012. This article https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018 states that 68% of people are mobile users. Although it is not restricted to just students, it means that not everyone has a cell phone. What will the students without cell phones do? Won’t they feel left out?

Mr. Lee – I have a number of cell phones that have been donated for my class use, so no one will be without. Keep in mind that cell phones are not the only form of resources the students have. We have an amazing library filled with many books relevant to my class. Like in the nea.org article, working in groups is another option. The school also has laptop carts and many computers throughout the school. However, the problem with laptop carts is that we may not be able to book it for our class, since it is for the use of the entire school. The computers are outside my classroom and if a student or two leaves the classroom to use computers, I will not be able to supervise them.

Ms. Roch – You make valid points, but I still feel that the students will not use their cell phones for the purposes you want. I still believe that cell phones should not be used during class time.

Mr. Lee – Here is an interesting article suggesting why kids do the exact opposite of what they are told.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-dont-follow-directions-2013-8

I have noticed that some students do like to rebel against what teachers tell them to do. To combat this, we will not be taking away their cell phones completely, but teach them to use it to benefit their education.

Also, I would like to point out that we have had our our entire conversation at our own individual leisure because of cell phones! This is a much more convenient way for us to discuss your concerns rather than making time out of your busy schedule to meet with me and talk to me in person.

Ms. Roch – You do have a point there! Thank you Mr. Lee. I feel a little more at ease now about the use of cellphones in class! I hope it works out the way you envision it to! I will be checking your weekly updates!

Mr. Lee – Please, Brenda, call me Daniel. 🙂 Cheers!


 

There you have it. What are your thoughts about this topic? I find it really interesting to see how my own opinion has changed over the last 5-6 years. Five years ago, I would’ve been dead set against using cell phones in class. Now, I just see so much opportunity!

Now before I sign off, I did let my partner, the amazing Daniel Lee, know that I’d be bragging about him as a partner in this project. So here it is…

If you get a chance to work together with Daniel, do it! Easy going, cooperative, flexible and all around nice guy. Seriously, someone you’ll enjoy working with! 

cheer applause GIF by Peanuts

via GYPHY

Oh, and Happy Pi Day! Yum, I love pie. Rats, now I want pie. Blueberry pie. Oh dear…

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, EDTC300

Sarah Smiles

So hit play and enjoy some tunes while I fill you in on the one and only Sarah Reimer! (Loud cheering inserted here!)

via YouTube

My mission, which I chose to accept, was to cyber sleuth my classmate, Sarah Reimer and fill you all in on all the juicy details… here goes.

While I referred to Sarah as the one and only Sarah Reimer!, I may have exaggerated a little. Using Google as my search engine, I found LOTS of Sarah Reimers! However, once you find her, you do discover that although her name is common, she is not.

On Twitter and her blog, SARAH REIMER – ELEMENTARY EDUCATOR, you are greeted by her great, inviting smile and digital environments that exude both warmth and professionalism. It’s a balance that she does well. Sarah is a fourth year eduction student who is obviously passionate about teaching and has put time and effort into how she presents herself not only to the public but to potential employers. Her portfolio is full of her work that give evidence of the quality of her education and skill. Seemingly little things, like identifying herself as a “white settler” on her Twitter bio, increases her credibility as a culturally sensitive individual whose teaching would reflect that sensitivity.

I couldn’t find Sarah on Facebook other than in posts the Yara Centre did in 2016.

via Facebook

I loved this next one!

via Facebook

That’s it. That’s all I could find! Just a clear digital idea that Sarah is who she says she is. Way to go Sarah!

I venture to say that if you were a student in elementary school, you’d definitely want to be in Ms. Reimer’s class!

via GYPHY

hee hee hee…

Keep learning,

Dianna