Becoming a More Networked Professional

Social Media Buzz
Our instructor, Alec Couros asked us to reflect on the following question: How have you become a more networked professional after taking EC&I 831?

Twitter – One of the things I mentioned in my summary of learning post is the educational potential of Twitter.  Before starting this class the only reason I used Twitter was for checking out celebrity tweets.  I now use Twitter as a place to grow my professional network in the field of education.  I feel so privileged to follow people like Sue Waters who have inspired me to blog with my class and will Tweet you back if you have a question! It was also nice to follow people in our course because they all came from different backgrounds…from experienced to new to the world of social media and open education.  I have read dozens of articles thanks to those in the course that tweeted out great reads.

Blogging – I actually tried to make a blog last year and I totally bombed it because I was unsure of where to go for help.  What was great about following other blogs through this course is that I was able to learn from other blogs, but also expanded my professional network this way as well.  I want to continue blogging although this course is over and by the looks of it many others will be doing the same or were already doing the same prior to the course.  As others commented on my blog and I was able to blog on theirs I learned many things. I gravitated towards those in my class who work as elementary school teachers because a lot of their posts applied to my work and I will probably run into them somewhere with how small Regina is!

Google+ – There are 64 members in our Google+ community.  Before this course I knew two of those people.  In my books, I feel that I have expanded my network by 62 more people.  Although most of the people were primarily from Regina and area, there were also non-credit members that contributed to our community.  This community was a great place to post my new learning, ask questions, find answers and to be in the know about new things in the educational technology field.  Besides our course community, I also joined other communities on Google such EdTech that has over 12,000 members.  I can’t claim I know each of those members, however being a part of that community has also expanded my network.

The above three things I talked about have helped me the most to expand my network as a professional.  Thank you EC&I 831!

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Summary of Learning

It is hard to believe that the semester has flown by and I am now writing my summary of learning post.  I have gone down a journey of so much learning and I am so grateful for that.  I explored many options for ways to display my summary of learning and decided to go with Screencast-O-Matic.  What I liked about this tool is that it marries both visual and audio tools.  I was able to display webpages as I talked about them.  I saw that Kyle Dumont used this tool to talk about his major digital project.  I really like this tool and could definitely see its potential as a presentation tool for both teachers and students.

It was so hard to list all of the things I learned in this class in a 7-minute video! I thought I would talk about things that I really connected to and enjoyed using, but there are so many other things that I didn’t get to mention.

These are some of the tools we learned about this semester (and the ones I enjoyed most):

Twitter

Blogging on WordPress

Google+

Google Docs

Flickr

Youtube

Flipboard

I talk about some of these tools in my Summary of Learning video.  It is the first time I have made a video of myself speaking.  I hope my classmates give it a listen and can relate to what I talk about.  Check it out!

Incorporation Time!

The school division that I work for has implemented a renewed professional growth and development process for teachers this year.  As a part of this process, teachers are asked to create and implement 2-3 professional goals for themselves.  Throughout the year you meet with your school administration to discuss the progress of your goals.  I made two goals for myself this year and both are related to technology.  My first goal is to continue to create digital stories with my students on our school iPads.  Last year I started this project with some folks from the University of Regina.  I have a handful of students who participated in this project last year and I hope to have them mentor the students who have not experienced digital storytelling.

The second goal that I created for myself is to start a student blog for my students.  I know there are many blog platforms that can be used such as edublogs.  I have been using WordPress however for this class and I find it so user-friendly! So I’ve decided that I will use WordPress for my student blogs.

I have been thinking a lot about having my students blog because they have created so many writing pieces this year that I would love for them to present electronically.  On Friday, November 22nd I had parent-teacher conferences and I ran the idea of a classroom blog past them and most of the parents thought it was a great idea.  A few weeks ago I was thinking about how parents might perceive student information being available online.  As Sue Waters was a great resource to our class this semester I thought I would Tweet her for some advice.  I am going to use her tips!

Capture

My students were also ecstatic when I presented the idea to them as well.  One of my students said, “So you mean I can go on my computer at home and see my writing?!” They seemed to think the idea of that was pretty awesome.  My grade 3s and 4s both get assessed on their writing in the Fall and in the Spring.  My grade 3 students have to produce a piece of persuasive writing.  My grade 4 students have to produce a piece of recount writing.  I hope to post some of this writing on their blog.

One amazing thing I have learned from this class is that I can learn some much from others who have already taken the leap into the technology waters.  Please give me any further tips if you are already blogging with your class!

 

The Sextortion of Amanda Todd

This week I PVR’d and watched the Sextortion of Amanda Todd on CBC.  Although I had heard about this incident in the news, this program showed a more in-depth story to everything that had happened.  This class so far has shown me the positive potential that social media has on professional development for teachers and its ability to be used within the classroom.  It has had a great impact on me as an educator.  However, like most things there are the pros and the cons.

What this program really showed me is how real cyber bullying is and how its negative effects can cause someone to take their life.  I sat as tears ran down my face as I thought about what these bullies did to such a beautiful young girl.  A lot of questions ran through my mind and of course I reflected on my position as an educator and how important it is to protect children from bullying.

Like most things, preventative action is so important in the lives of children.  We often are reactive as society and it is harder to deal with things in this way.  I have listened to a lot of elders speak about youth and why things are the way they are today.  One of the teachings I learned is that our children are losing their spirituality. They also say that children hurting on the inside will hurt other children.  So how can we use tools like social media to bring spirituality back to children?

Just like we model to students how to read and write.  We need to model for children how to use social media for positive things.  It comes back to being a good digital citizen.  There are resources for this.  This is a good video I watched on digital citizenship:

I encourage everyone to watch this program on Amanda Todd.  It really opens your eyes to the reality of cyber bullying and its dark potential.  Here is a video of Amanda’s mom talking about her daughter:

Has anyone else watched this program? Thoughts?

Technology Meets Mathematics

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Photo from: http://www.flickr.com/photos/smemon/5171518129/

Our EC&1 831 “catch-up” class this week reminded me to blog about my experiences using technology in my classroom.  In an earlier post on my blog I talked about a digital storytelling project I did with the University of Regina.  As a result of this project our school was able to adopt the iPads used from the project to use for our school.

I wanted to utilize the iPads for other uses as well because they have a lot of educational potential.  So I decided to explore the iPads for use in mathematics.  In my math class we have the students split into three different groups.  The majority of the students in my cluster are on iPPs which means they are working at lowered outcomes in the curriculum.

The unit we are currently working on is numbers to 1000 including addition and subtraction up to 1000.  So I took a look at some of the apps that our school has purchased and are already on the school iPads.  The first app I have looked at and tried with some of my students is the MathBoard app.  It costs $4.99 in the app store.  What is really neat about this app is students can practice their addition and subtraction skills and virtually write the questions out to solve using their finger as a piece of chalk on a virtual chalkboard.  The students are engaged by using their fingertip versus a pencil on paper.  I can individualize the activities for the students based on their knowledge base of numbers.  For example, if one of my students is practicing numbers 0-20 I can put a setting on the app to only question the student with those types of questions.

This is one of the beneficial apps I have used thoroughly so far.  I have had the students explore some others as well such as:

Mathletics

Mathmateer

Our technology specialist at our school is going to be putting on lunch and learn sessions for teachers to learn more about our school iPads. I look forward to attending and learning more, as well as sharing my experiences with using them in the classroom.

I would love to hear if anyone else has used iPads for math education? Or even with children at home?

The Digital Me

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Thanks to Alec’s Google doc this week I can use some of the questions to explore the idea of my digital identity in my blog space.  I was also inspired by the comments and questions from Kristen Hansen’s blog who also blogged about it this week.  I related to a lot of what she talked about.

1) What happens when you Google yourself?

First of all, it feels cool to “Google” yourself and get some actual results.  Being a newly wed with a new last name I really did not have much content with my name attached to it until this course.  I had googled myself with my old last name and there were a few things that came up.  When I was completing my undergraduate degree I worked with a professor at the University of Regina to create some mathematics resources that integrated Aboriginal ways of knowing.  These resources were put on the website www.aboriginalperspectives.uregina.ca and therefore Google connects me to the website we worked on.  Surprisingly enough, there were even websites that were selling these lessons when they can be accessed for free!  Who knows though it could be spam.  I also won a few scholarships and bursaries when I was completing my undergraduate degree and it links me to the websites with the organizations that granted me them.

Now that I am Jessica Madiratta I have a fresh start on Google.  I feel like I am creating a digital identity for myself thanks to this class!  I had to blush when Google images brought up pictures of me from my blog and about.me page.  The things that come up are mostly related to the tasks I was challenged to do such as creating my blog, creating an about.me page and my Twitter account @wesaquje.

When I was a teenager I didn’t put much thought to what I put online.  I would tease my friends on Facebook and Bebo.  I went through a phase where I used awful spelling and grammar because I thought it was cool.  Now I am correcting my students when they do that!  I didn’t really have in mind what it meant to be a good digital citizen.  I hope that this information and knowledge is taught in high schools because I could have used it then and I feel old to be using it now.  However, there is no better time than any to learn about digital citizenship.

So what happens when you Google yourself?  Are you happy with your digital identity?  How has your perspective on digital citizenship changed over the years?

A Novel Study Meets Technology

My grade 3/4 class is currently doing a novel study on the book Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.  I am collaboratively planning this novel study with the other grade 3/4 teacher at my school.  I’ve done this novel study before in my first year of teaching with the same grades.  Doing it this time around it is much different than my first year.  Collaboratively working with a co-worker this year has increased my resources for the novel study.

As much as collaborative planning has been an asset to my teaching of this novel study, so has technology.  Before when I taught this unit I relied a lot on paper and pencil comprehension tasks.  I think I was caught up in the way I was taught this information and thought of doing it in the same manner.

Taking this EC & I course has helped me to reflect more on my practices and moving towards becoming a 21st century educator.  This time teaching Charlotte’s Web as a novel study I have utilized a lot more technology.  For example, after a few chapters we will look on YouTube and watch the video clips from the movie and compare and contrast between the two.  Also, if students are absent they can go online and listen to the chapter on Youtube that they missed.

One of the websites I have discovered on my journey of integrating more technologies in my teaching is on the Scholastic website.  This Charlotte’s Web webpage gives students the opportunity to create and write their own cartoons based on major points in the story.  I could not pull them off of the laptops!  They were so engaged in the activity and it satisfied curricular outcomes.

How has technologies changed your way of teaching certain subject matters? I am always open to comments and suggestions as well!