Thursday, 7 March 2013

Sad that it's over :(

Well I think that I am one post short for my blogs, so I thought it would be worthwhile to write a quick thanks and good luck to all of my fellow classmates. It has been such a great term, I have learned so much from Mike and many of my classmates *cough* Tyler *cough*!

At the beginning of the term I had never blogged, so I questioned whether I would keep something like this up after this course. I am happy to have started one, and excited to keep it updated with educational resources as I come across them. (Hopefully some of you do too so I can continue to borrow ideas *cough* Tyler *cough*!)  In all seriousness- I am sure we are all on the same page with the usefulness of blogging and all of the other resources that we were introduced to this year!

I am excited to say that this course has not only introduced me to new resources, but it has pushed me to share more and not just take from the internet! I shared my first resource on Smartexchange today- (and just as soon as I figure out what I am doing wrong and why it won't show up when I search for it- I will post the link!!) I was thinking a lot about sharing resources lastnight when I was creating it. It probably took me, realistically, 3 hours to make in total- which for one attendance resource is a lot! It was comforting to think of all the other things that I can save time with though thanks to everyone else sharing online- so it made it worthwhile!

All in all- I couldn't be happier that for whatever reason, I was placed in this course at the very last minute. I am crossing my fingers that we will be able to take this course again next year- I know there is so much more out there that we haven't even brushed on!

Good luck everyone :)

The Future of Education

When I consider the future of education, I am excited to realize that it will not only be my students that will be learning over the course of my career- it will be me too! Technology is always advancing, and I find this to be both motivating and inspiring. I hope that I will keep up with all of the new ways that I can incorporate technology in both my classroom and my everyday life, and inspire my students to do the same. This course has made me realize that even the most tech savvy of us have so much more that we can learn!

One thing that stood out in the horizon report was the gaming devices in the classroom- I had never considered this tech option. I'm not too sure what my thoughts are on it? I feel like as a parent (which I'm not yet, but if I was!) I wouldn't LOVE the idea of my child on gaming consoles in school. That being said, I know that not all forms of technology have always been accepted so maybe my opinion could be swayed on this!

The other comment in the report that was no surprise to me (but worth mentioning) was the idea of too much technology in the classroom. I know when I first started this Internet for Ed course I felt overwhelmed, so is this something we need to be keeping in mind with our students as well? That being said, I have never learned so much useful information in one course as I did with this one. Is it worthwhile then for us to possibly overwhelm our students with technology when it is all useful or relevant? Maybe we need to have classes dedicated to technology in middle years or high schools too that can help ease the load for our students?

So much to think about- and all of it is well worth our time. Technology is going to continue to advance whether we approve of it or not- so how much is ok for our classroom?

Thursday, 28 February 2013


This is the first time that I have ever listened to a Podcast, once again this class has opened a window that I had never considered!

So one that I found that I thought would be good for my upcoming placement was "Today in Canadian History"- which is exactly as it sounds! I'll be teaching grade 6 so it would work out well as a side note for lessons on Canada. There are a lot more out there other than just this one that would also work well for current events in the classroom. 

Since I hadn't really ever considered Podcasts to begin with, I also had never considered them in the classroom. I was coming up short for ideas so I cheated a bit with this one and googled ways that they can be useful and found a ton! These were a few of my favorites that I found...

Explaining/Teaching: If we are teaching a new method to math problems or explaining other types of ideas, we can record ourselves so that students can access the instructions later as well. This would work well for students that don't understand and want to try again at home, but also for students who are absent that day. It could be posted to your class website so it is accessible anywhere the student needs it to be! 

Interviews: I can remember doing interviews as a student and recording all of the information on paper, but why not do it as a podcast now? It would be a good way to know that the student took a professional approach to the interview and didn't just hand someone a list of questions to answer.

Stories: There are lots of books that have accompanying audio, but why not make your own to any book you like for your students? This would be good in earlier years when students are first learning to read. They can put on a set of headphones, listen and follow along with the book in front of them. (You could get fun with this too and get a few people to read different characters in the books). This might also be a good activity for older students to do- let them get a few ready for their young reading buddies!

Once again, a tool that I would never have considered before this course! Thanks for the ideas Mike!


This tech task is up there with my favourites now that I've finished it! I have seen these infographics lots before, I have just never considered them for my classroom! (Partially because I didn't think it was something that could be done so easily!)

I think these most definitely have a place in the classroom, it is just one more option for students to present their work that they have done. I think it would be a perfect accompaniment to an oral presentation, highlighting key points while the students expand on their topic.

I found a couple of sites that were free to use to make these, but Piktochart was my favorite. (And by favorite I mean user friendly... other sites had fun templates but no amount of screaming at my computer worked to insert my own information..which is odd.. normally my computer responds well to outbursts like that....)

I used an article written by Simona Siad for my infographic that used statistics taken from Statistics Canada to show how stressed out our teenagers are these days. The article was written for in May of 2007. I thought it was applicable information that we should be keeping in mind as we move into the classroom, especially those of us that might teach high school. I think we need to be remembering that these students are a lot like us, trying to balance school, work and a social life. I think that, especially during these last few weeks of class, we can all relate!

I look forward to using this tool in both my student teaching placement and in the future with my own classroom!

Digital Footprint

Well I'm happy to say that when I "google" myself- nothing horrifying pops up for anyone to see! I think the first thing that comes up when you get to the actual "me" is my old Hi5 account which hasn't been used in years. This does bring up the important point that everyone has been making though about the importance of always keeping your digital footprint in mind. I know that I didn't have a career in education in mind when I had that account, yet it is still searchable today. I think this is an important thing to teach our students- hopefully they can understand the importance of their digital footprint. I do think this will be hard to do, young kids especially but also teenagers might not be able to put it in perspective at a young age. (Or be able to consider the fact that actions that they take today can have an effect on their lives years down the road).

Our digital footprints, to me, are the scariest aspect of technology. It is a fun tool that is so often incredibly useful, yet one wrong move and it can be the end of a career or one of many other consequences. There have often been times that I have felt frustrated and considered deleting certain accounts, such as Facebook, but I almost wonder if that would be worse. At least right now I know that I am (hopefully) being tagged in any post about me or picture of me. Without an account I would have no idea what pictures, posts or other information was being posted online without my consent. So I figure it is better to keep the accounts!

I do think that I need to work on more of a digital footprint for myself that reflects my future as a teacher. I would like a principal to be able to google me and find information that reflects my knowledge in the field of education. For this reason I am excited that we were able to take this course a year early, I now have some more tools that I can use for my digital footprint. I'm definitely leaving this class with a lot of good food for thought- and lots to work on over the next year!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Video in the Classroom

During my student teaching placements I came across a few YouTube videos that quickly became my favorites! I was teaching in a grade ½ classroom so one thing that came to my attention quite often was their need for a little movement break! I think that this is only one of many good reasons that we can use video in the classroom, but definitely one of the ways I used YouTube the most often in my first placement!

(I will warn you now that this song tended to stick in my head for hours after playing it- so listen at your own risk!)

The second video that I wanted to share was also used in my first placement but for a different purpose. I think we can all think back to rhymes that help us to remember certain things, whether it be for math tricks or spelling rules. I thought this video was pretty cute and helped the students when they were trying to learn how to add doubles as a math strategy.

I think that video in the classroom is extremely useful for many different reasons depending on the age of your students and the class that you’re teaching. It can be used as an activating strategy, a complimentary video to a lesson you are teaching, movement breaks, catchy songs to help kids learn, and so much more! Another way that I used video every day in my placement was to read my students a book at the end of the day. (I know it sounds like I am being lazy- but I would read to them myself in the mornings! The end of the day book was my time to get their Zippy’s and anything else ready to go home- it also served as a great reinforcing tool! The students knew that they would get to listen to a longer book if they were quicker at cleaning up the classroom, putting their chairs up, etc!)

(Many websites make you pay to use this site- this one is through Perth & Union District Library so there is no charge…After all of our talk on proper use and sharing online- I worry that maybe this is breaking a rule?? Leave me a reply if you think I am crossing some lines!!)

I do think that as a teacher I would love to be able to allow student or class made videos. I think there are many fun ways (like Kid Snippets) that they could play around with video but there are also many other reasons to bring it into the classroom. I think it is a very real world type of skill for them to have- many YouTube videos are teaching something, whether it is how to play guitar or how to bake a cake. Why not teach our kids how to share knowledge that they might have with others? I think this is another one of those areas that fall under the “let’s teach them properly” column. I think it will happen regardless- why not teach them in our classroom?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Some Fabulous Projects!

Today we went through and took turns sharing our I4Ed Projects, some great information was shared by our classmates! I made a few notes on what stood out with each group as every group had some bery good points!

Devices in the classroom- should we or should we not have them? Although there are arguments for both, there was an example given in the presentation that really stuck with me. The girls talked about the example of a red, green, yellow and (blue?) light when using devices in the classroom. Each color would have a corresponding rule in terms of device use- from no device at all to free use of devices. I think this was a great idea, keep devices in the classroom and use them when the time is appropriate but know when to draw the line.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly - issues that we have when it comes to the internet and new technology that we have in our lives and classrooms. There are many arguments for both sides, but we decided as a group that we believed there would always be good, bad and ugly- but what we need to focus on is proper education and utilization. If we can teach our students the proper way to be using these tools- they can be amazing resources that help all of us succeed with education and many other areas of our lives.

"How Not to Steal" from cyber space. They talked about how easy it is these days to be stealing information and mentioned a point that is always worth coming back to, and that is to be vigilant in monitoring our students work. We need to be sure that we are teaching our students  how to properly cite materials that include not only text, but music, pictures and anything else that we are using. With this project I appreciated their points on creative commons and copyright issues, I think it is important to understand the differences. Although it can sometimes be much more difficult to find pictures or other material that you prefer using proper copyright, our students need to understand the differences.

As far as filters  go in our schools, I think that I agree that filtering should be more specific and not go overboard. I also agree that students can go home and search for anything they want, we might as well be teaching them how ot use these resources properly!

The last group took a different spin on things and made a video to present, loved it! (Sidenote- this is why we should let videos into our classroom- it was my favorite presentation!) This group did a GREAT job of pointing out the differences between bullying and cyber bullying- and I liked that near the end they pointed out that more bullying happens in every day life as opposed to online. I also like the point that the social media tends to exaggerate cyber bullying (although it is terrible, it can still be overplayed).

Great class, thanks for all of the presentations!