Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Back in the good old days, news information was mainly delivered in the form of paper, magazines, radio and television. Now, as to whether the information was false or accurate, it seemed easier to detect fake information when its delivery was simpler. For instance, tabloid magazines will often feature stories using a silly headline in … Continue reading Extra! Extra! Read All About it!

Back in the good old days, news information was mainly delivered in the form of paper, magazines, radio and television. Now, as to whether the information was false or accurate, it seemed easier to detect fake information when its delivery was simpler. For instance, tabloid magazines will often feature stories using a silly headline in a large font. They specifically do this in hopes to capture your attention and read the content found in the magazine. In my experience with browsing tabloid magazines, the “National Enquirer” and the “Star” often distribute exciting yet suspicious information/stories. Celebrities and breaking news are usually easy targets for conflict. Inaccurate information, conspiracies, lies or changes to a narrative are spread often but now a days it can be more challenging to detect fake news due to the growth of the internet and social media.

In today’s digital world, news information can be found everywhere. Sites such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook contains a ton of stories and informational content, which we can choose to accept as true. It can be very easy to get caught up in an interesting headline or two. However, we must be aware that online websites will intentionally try to pass themselves off as authentic when they’re not.

I must admit, I have been fooled more than once with believing fake news to be true and after realizing it is not, I feel pretty ridiculous. As we learned from last week’s class, fact checking is important, especially before sharing creditable/non-creditable information using social media sources. Although it can be difficult to spot fake news, here are five different practices to detect a non-creditable resource:

  • Look for Unusual URL’s
  • Dissect the Layout
  • Dig Deeper
  • Cross-check
  • Try a reverse image search

As an educator, it is important first and foremost that I understand how to detect non-creditable information before I can teach my students about how to detect it. But, if I am not confident in this process, how can I expect my students to be? Doing this requires both research and critical thinking. When identifying fake news, it is essential to discuss examples of creditable and non-creditable resources with our students. In Ryan’s blog, he states “Fake news doesn’t mean we need to panic, and distrust everything’. ‘It does however mean that we need to slow down and read’. ‘Not just read the title of the article, but read the article, and compare it to information that we already know’”. I completely agree with Ryan. By presenting students with the tools they need it will assist them in identifying trustworthy resources, but also teach them how to critically analyze digital literacy. As teachers, we need to model this process and offer our students practice so they may develop self-assurance in their abilities to identify fake news and information.

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Learning in the open…should we be concerned?

In today’s digital world, people have become dependent on technology. Both our personal and professional lives are dependent on technology because it has transformed the way we do things; the way we live, the way we obtain information, the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we entertain, and the way we learn. … Continue reading Learning in the open…should we be concerned?

In today’s digital world, people have become dependent on technology. Both our personal and professional lives are dependent on technology because it has transformed the way we do things; the way we live, the way we obtain information, the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we entertain, and the way we learn. In fact, technological advancements occur due to people’s demands and life-style changes. The specific needs, wants and knowledge of society are what drives technology to evolve. Moreover, the advancements of technology are driven by adaptive learning, even if knowledge is commoditized.  

It is apparent that the advancements of technology present both positive and negative effects. Positive, because technology has simplified the way we operate. Technology is convenient, saves time, increases productivity, simplifies communication, and improves education and health care. Negative, because technology can be distraction, eliminates the need for face-to-face interaction, and can contribute to the development of unhealthy habits; such as obesity, addiction, and tendonitis. Despite the positive and negative effects of technology, our world could not function without it.

For this week’s post, we were asked to share our biggest concerns for teaching in the digital (social media) age. Let me start off by saying that I am all for social media. Social media is used often within both my personal and professional life. Social media allows me to communicate with my family and friends, access news and information, and expand my professional development as an educator. As an experienced digital citizen, I am aware of the potential dangers that comes hand-in-hand with using social media. However, my biggest concern is that educators will shy away from using digital literacy within their teaching practices simply because they fear the potential risks involved while using social media, and that alone. As explained in my blog from last week, social media can be a productive and valuable teaching tool, if it is used appropriately and in a controlled environment. Thanh Hoang Nam Le, a fellow classmate of mine, expressed his thoughts in regards to open education and sharing students work online. He states, “Before engaging students to learn in the open, professors need to introduce students to an established media guidelines and policies that clarify the appropriate use of social media tools”. I could not agree more. In order for social media to be viewed as an effective teaching tool, it is the responsibility of the teacher to educate their students about digital citizenship, digital footprint, social media etiquette, and the specific purpose of the selected tool they intend to use. This educational process is concerning to me as potential online dangers can be avoided, only if the necessary preparation/precautions are taken before we encourage our students to learn in the open.

With technology being so convenient, it also makes me wonder about my profession. Should educators be concerned about their careers? Nowadays, anything you want to know about can be Googled or watched on YouTube. Are we expected to incorporate social media within our teaching practices? If so, how much time is expected? If we avoid it, are we doing a disservice to our students. Therefore, the big question is: what is the role of the teacher? Well, the truth is teachers do not need to feel intimidated by learning in the open because teachers offer a learning experience more essential than technology offers. Teachers offer personal connections and one-on-one learning experiences that “virtual learning simply cannot do”. Teachers teach students critical thinking skills and inspire students to be lifelong learners. Teachers also establish trust and special bonds that lead to special memories in the lives of students. So, with confidence, I can say “relax teacher friends”! Technology cannot replace us but rather assist us in our teaching practices! So, get out there and show our students how learning in the open can be fun and beneficial. But under the supervision of the teacher, of course!

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Share, connect and chat!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to showcase students work publicly. As you already know, there are a wide range of social media sources which can be used to display student work or to assist in learning. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, … Continue reading Share, connect and chat!

For this week’s blog post, we were asked to consider some of the advantages and disadvantages of using social media to showcase students work publicly. As you already know, there are a wide range of social media sources which can be used to display student work or to assist in learning. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and blogging are some of the most commonly used social media sources by teachers today.

For instance, teachers can create a Facebook Group Page, specifically designed for their classroom. On this page, teachers can showcase their students work, post assignments/reminders, control its group members and maintain steady contact with both students and parents. Instagram can showcase student work by offering a place to feature student art work. Twitter provides a place where students can access current information about the world and use the information they find for classroom discussions, activities, or projects. However, there are many more social media tools available that each serve a different purpose. Some teachers may note that social media, when it is used appropriately, can be a useful tool rather than a distraction.

If you do not have experience using social media as a teaching tool, here are some of the pros and cons involved:

Pros of using social media in the classroom:

  • Social media sites can increase student collaboration
  • Using social media in the classroom can encourage more participation
  • Social media sites can be useful for homework help
  • Share resources quickly when using social media in the classroom
  • Social media helps keep parents, teachers and students all on the same page

Cons of using social media in the classroom:

  • Social media can be a distraction in class if it is not used in a supervised/controlled setting
  • Improper use of social media in the classroom
  • Using social media in the classroom can detract from human interaction
  • Cyber bullying on social media websites
  • Posting inappropriate content on social media websites

With social media being an ingrained part of today’s society, it seems almost impossible to avoid it. So, before you make the decision to dismiss it, consider “learning in the open” to be a positive experience. Moreover, the many life lessons we can learn from using social media. As teachers, we have the ability to control the setting and the way we allow our students to use social media during class time. But if we expect our students to be responsible digital citizens while using social media, then we need to teach them how to be. Many of our students are unaware of the consequences associated with the inappropriate use of social media. Therefore, we need to educate them about internet safety and all that comes with it; such as the do’s and don’ts when sharing or posting information online. We must also model appropriate commenting skills and social media etiquette. Yes, social media can be used for enjoyment but these tools were also created for a reason. Therefore, introducing social media sources to your students while also demonstrating their specific purposes through a teacher-guided lesson is recommended. Remember, there are many social media platforms that have great educational potential. So, it is time to start exploring them and discover all the different ways they can showcase student work but also contribute to learning.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 


I blog, so let’s all blog!

Hello everyone! I would like to begin my first blog post for EC&I 831 by saying how excited I am to be a part of this course and to be working alongside all of you! Throughout this semester, I look forward to reading all of your blog posts and collaborating with you in the Zoom … Continue reading I blog, so let’s all blog!

Hello everyone!

I would like to begin my first blog post for EC&I 831 by saying how excited I am to be a part of this course and to be working alongside all of you! Throughout this semester, I look forward to reading all of your blog posts and collaborating with you in the Zoom room!

For my major digital project, designing and implementing an open student blogging project has always been an interest of mine. Why? Well, since I began the blogging process last year through online courses with Alec and Katia, I have been able to demonstrate my learning in a productive and creative fashion. Blogging allows an outlet for me to express my thoughts and opinions about specific topics in a professional manner. It also provides an environment for me to explore, collaborate and learn from people who share the same profession as I do. I have never considered myself to be a confident public speaker and although I have been teaching for 8 years, I still feel uncomfortable with public speaking, more so in front of adults. However, blogging creates a comfortable setting where I am able to share information, in the form of writing. Blogging has also encouraged me to reach out and explore the digital world in many different ways, as well as utilize social media as an effective digital tool.

That being said, I would love to provide my students with the same positive learning experience, by designing and implementing an open student classroom blog. Although this is simply an idea at this point in time, I have created a basic outline of content which would need to be taught to the students before the actual blogging process could begin. Only after the following content is covered by the teacher, may we begin to navigate through the classroom blog site.  It is important the students are prepared and fully understand how to demonstrate responsible and accountable behaviour before posting or commenting online. The outline of content is as follows:

Step 1- Introduction to blogging.

  • What is a blog and what purpose does it serve?
  • Who can blog?
  • Why do we blog?

Step 2- The Do’s and Don’ts when sharing information online.

Step 3: Appropriate and responsible blogging (teacher-guided).

  • Quality vs Quantity
  • Sourcing of information
  • Review examples of appropriate and inappropriate blog posts/comments

As for the LMS I intend to use for the student classroom blog, I am unsure at this point in time. Although I blog often, I only have experience using WordPress. So, if any of you have any suggestions for possible blogging programs I can use, I’d love to hear from you! Also, please share your experiences while working with blogging programs! Within the near future, I plan to do some research using social media tools, such as Twitter and YouTube to assist me with the process of selecting a classroom blog site as well as setting it up.

For those of you who are new to the blogging experience, blogging can be beneficial for both teachers and students! And here’s why…blogging engages both students and parents, it serves as a form of student expression, reaches marginalized students who may be more comfortable writing than speaking, serves as a great classroom resource, aids in teacher and student relationships, and encourages self-directed study skills. It is important to note that blogging cannot replace the role of the teacher, but it can serve as a fun and engaging learning experience as well as teach our students how to be effective digital citizens and navigate the internet safely. I mean, let’s face it, we now live in a digital world and technology is advancing every day. So, we can choose to reject it or use it to our advantage, whichever way that may be.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

 


Last Blast for the M.Ed.

With tonight being the last class I plan on sharing some of the apps, tools and plans I have to become as paperless as possible.Throughout the semester I have discussed how I want to embrace BYOD and hopefully create a paperless classroom.  I have…

With tonight being the last class I plan on sharing some of the apps, tools and plans I have to become as paperless as possible.

Throughout the semester I have discussed how I want to embrace BYOD and hopefully create a paperless classroom.  I have come to a conclusion that 100% paperless is not going to be a reality as there are so many obstacles to overcome.  I do plan on encouraging and developing as many of my lessons, classes, and units to be integrated with technology to their fullest potential keeping in my my students needs, curriculum, and the appropriateness of the concepts.  

I will break down my ideas into my subject categories:

Mathematics -
Photo Credit: MeanGirlsWiki
1. Teachings - I plan on utilizing a variety of sites and also creating my own content videos.  My go to site for content will be Khan Acadamey, Mr. Kouyoumdjian's Classroom, I will be using both Adobe Spark and straight video to develop my own lessons.

2. Assignments/Evaluation - I am going to be using Mathletics for most of my assignments next year.  This site has the Saskatchewan Curriculum connected to it, along with the approved pre and post assessments that I use throughout the year as my formative assessment tools.  When the opportunity arises I plan on using the manipulatives within my classroom as a stepping tool to bridge the gap from the concrete concepts to the pictorial that the students will be working on within the Mathletics program.

Science -
Photo Credit: Pearson Canada
1. Teachings - As I do not come from a science background I have to rely mostly on the Pearson text and teacher guide as my go to sources.  This is nice because each of the students within my board have Pearson e-text passwords and we are able to utilize the online versions often.  For supplemental lessons I typically find videos through our library services or YouTube is always a favourite.

2.  Assignments/Evaluation - As much as Stager relented about Google and its dangers, I do love it, and I find it very useful.  I focus a majority of my assignments around the Google Classroom platform, whether it is docs, slides or forms for a variety of assessment practices.  What I hope to do this year is connect with other schools within the division and hopefully Collaborate (I know another dirty word Mr. Stager does not enjoy).  On top of that I also plan on incorporating Kahoots for formative assessment along with Flipgrids as exit notes to check in with my students quickly.


English Language Arts -
1. Teaching - This is an area where my "paperless" classroom may be a grey area...  I have access to the Pearson E-Text library for the middle years which gives me a plethora of options, but I also work with a teach of teachers that have a 2 year ELA plan that aligns with our curriculum.  We use short stories, creative writing, integrated cross curricular plans.  My attempt will be to utilize PDF ve
rsions of our short stories as long as it doesn't breach any copyright laws, and then I am hoping that through utilizing the tools built into Google Classroom platform that the students will become more efficient through their written outcomes.  
Photo Credit: GAFE


2. Assignments/Evaluation - I will primarily be using GAFE as my LMS, therefore a majority of my assignments will be evaluated digitally as well.  We will be focusing on more of the process of the writing traits and reading strategies that the students need to improve upon over the year.  I feel that through using an online format I will be able to help identify and improve my students understanding of the process of learning through language arts.  I believe that the issues of plagiarism, copying out weigh the problems of incomplete/lost assignments and there will be less excuses for these issues.  As long as I am diligent in checking in with the students along the way I hope the copying issues will be less frequent.  

I am interested in getting into blogging with my students but I am going to need to get the other members of my teaching team to buy into my philosophy before I will be able to make this a fully integrated part of my Language Arts program.  

Over the course of the semester I have been compiling my information into a slideshow so I can share with my staff and school community in the fall.  I have a link to the document here, but it will not be "finished" for a few more days (by end of June for sure!).  Keep an eye out for it and if you would like me to share it with you so  you can edit it please send me a message and I am more than happy to share.  


Finally I would like to thank my colleagues/peers/friends who over the last number of classes we have worked together and got to know one another in many different aspects.  I will miss spending Tuesday nights with you.  At this current moment I am excited to be done, but at the same time I feel that I will miss being involved regularly on Ed Tech topics through classes like Alec/Katia's.  I am sure that the free time I will have will eventually be filled with kids activities and honey-do-lists from my loving wife.  

I'm Out!
GIF Source: Reddit
Kyle DuMont   M. Ed. (soon to be...)



My Last Summary of Learning!

It is hard to believe that this is the last blog post for my last class. Having the opportunity to end my Graduate Degree taking a Directed Reading course could not have gone better. I am very thankful that Jayme-Lee, Andres, Elizabeth, Kyle, and Jorie chose to take this course too. I had discussed this […]

It is hard to believe that this is the last blog post for my last class. Having the opportunity to end my Graduate Degree taking a Directed Reading course could not have gone better. I am very thankful that Jayme-Lee, Andres, Elizabeth, Kyle, and Jorie chose to take this course too. I had discussed this option with Alec in December, so I am thankful that it all turned out in the end. I learned so much more,  through our small group, than I could have hoped to learn if I had done this course alone!

Photo Credit: http://tvorbaweb-stranok.sk Flickr via Compfight cc

Initially, when this Directed Reading course began, I felt out of touch with my own teaching practices in my classroom. For 8 months of this past school year, I had a responsibility to write a blog post for EC&I 833 and EC&I 834 based on the particular topic that week. On top of that, there were other projects and assignments to complete. After awhile, having extra time and/or energy to spend on planning, became few and far between.

I was looking forward to focusing on my own teaching practices and how I approach technology in my classroom. I had the usual questions that I believe many educators have. Are the technology tools contributing to authentic learning? What tools should I be using for assessment? Am I providing a more student-centred approach? Are my students engaged? Am I providing balanced literacy? How can I provide enough time for students to blog with a limited number of Chromebooks? The list goes on and on and on!!

So Many Questions??

I chose to focus on including technology in a team teaching classroom because I struggle with having 17 Chromebooks for 47 students. How do I make the most of having Chromebooks, when I only have them for a limited time each day, or not at all?

What I learned is that I am on the right track! When I found articles about team teaching and teaching with larger groups, I also found information about blended learning and grouping students in smaller groups.

In this particular blog I found an article with great tips for team teaching and the importance and effectiveness of collaborating. From that point, I realized that working with large groups of students is challenging, and splitting students into groups is what most, if not all educators do, especially with limited technology/learning needs. Having more time to reflect, helped me to realize there is no magical solution to my frustrations. I just need to continue what I am doing, by making my decisions based on current research/information as my ideologies and pedagogical practices continue to change.

In week 2, I blogged about the negative aspects of technology. I’ve noticed that during daily conversation with different people like my EA (educational assistant), co-workers, friends, or family, I often notice that people who do not understand what educational technology has to offer, are the ones who are the most negative about it. It is understandable for sure. When people are misinformed, uneducated, or basing facts on ‘what we hear’ to be true, the comments tend to be “negative.”

One article that I shared shed some light from a different, yet relatable perspective. As you can see just by the titles, the article is worth the read.

Complexity Photo Credit: B Barr Flickr via Compfight cc
  • Why Some Teachers Are Against Technology In Education

  • The Problem With The #edtech Conversation

  • Technology Is Designed To Stir Emotions. So Here We Are, Stirred

  • Honoring The Complexity Of Teaching & Learning

Where some see a revelation, others see expense, distraction, and a lot of rhetoric.

I think it’s safe to say that based on our weekly conversations and each of our blogs, emotions were stirred, the #edtech conversation is deep and intense, and the complexity of teaching and learning is certainly challenging.

In week 3, we focused on preventative measures of cons. As I’ve already mentioned, I found some articles on collaborating and team teaching that confirmed what I have already been doing, as well as reminded me that I am the type of person who benefits from collaborating and having conversations about best teaching practices. It keeps me accountable!

In week 4, we looked into interesting finds. One topic of discussion was the limitations on the number of iPads and laptops allotted for each school in the RPS (Regina Public School Board).  My big take away(s) from this week was to focus on what we do have, since it doesn’t look like new laptops or iPads will be coming our way any time soon. I have plenty to learn about GSuite and the capabilities of Chromebooks, as well as transitioning to a more Blended Classroom. Next year, I will continue to try something new, including figuring out what else Chromebooks and GSuite have to offer!

Week 5 was all about the benefits of educational technology. There are more than enough articles that support the inclusion and importance of educational technology. Our students have grown up with smart devices and have had access to the web their whole lives. It is not a surprise that technology is something they gravitate towards.

I shared an article or two that help to remind myself and its many readers why educators continue to make the transition to a more blended classroom to meet the new learning styles of today’s students.

  • As much as 60 percent of schools in America, issue laptops or tablets to their students.
  • 41% of students are in favor of taking virtual classes.
  • 50% of students in middle and high school use the internet to complete work 3 times a week.
  • The students that study on computers, phones, or tablets, study for an average of 40 minutes more per week than those who do not.

The Future is Tech, Get Ready

This quote from the article; 5 Benefits of Technology in the Classroom says it all. Yes, we better get ready! It should actually read, “We better get moving!”  Eventually, educators will get on board, for the simple fact that we don’t have much choice! As technology transitions into Web 3.0, we as educators need to also be transitioning into Education 3.0. My blog from last spring provides a summary of how these are so connected.

In conclusion, not only did I learn an enormous amount of valuable information, I was also reminded about many of the new advances that educational technology has made. The enormity and complexity of the #edtech world is beyond my wildest imagination.

On top of that, connecting with Jayme-Lee, Andres, Elizabeth, Kyle, and Jorie provided me with so much awareness for the variety and complexity of our jobs as educators. I now have a much more personal appreciation for teaching Physical Education, French Immersion, high school Social Studies, tackling a paperless classroom using BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and being a Grade 2 teacher transitioning into an administration role. As a group, we were able to provide support, make connections, and learn from each of our roles as teachers in Regina Public Schools.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity! I am very thankful for the chance to take this Directed Reading Course for my final class! Thank you Alec for providing me with this amazing platform where I’ve grown as a person, professional, co-worker, and technology guru for 5 of my 10 courses throughout my Graduate Studies!

Dream Big

 


THE END!

Let’s take a quick look at our journey over the course of 6 weeks.  It has been a wonderful experience and I have really enjoyed being able to work with such amazing colleagues researching and reading about things we are so passionate about.  If we glance back at the beginning of this course I was … Continue reading “THE END!”

Photo Credit: Tom_Sugden Flickr via Compfight cc

Let’s take a quick look at our journey over the course of 6 weeks.  It has been a wonderful experience and I have really enjoyed being able to work with such amazing colleagues researching and reading about things we are so passionate about.  If we glance back at the beginning of this course I was full of excitement, eager to learn about an area of study that I am so passionate about.  Excited to take on the challenge of finding ideas, resources, answers, solutions etc.  Hesitant about what might come of my findings, but optimistic that change can occur.  This is my very last class in my master’s degree and glad I got to end it this way as it has been quite the journey.  Over the past 6 weeks, I have gone from feeling really good about incorporating tech into my classroom to moments of uncertainty.  Now that we have come to the end of our journey I can say that I am confident walking way from this course with many ideas, resources, connections, solutions, answers etc. of how to incorporate technology into my physical education classes.

 

Photo Credit: genpal Flickr via Compfight cc

 Week 2 we discussed the con’s that can be involved when incorporating technology into our classrooms.  A physical education classroom is a very different atmosphere in comparison to the typical classroom, however it was interesting to see that many of the negative aspects of technology in our classrooms could overlap from one classroom to the next.  Teachable moments are a big thing for me, when something arises I like to take advantage of those situations to teach our students something that might not typically be learned in a classroom.  I am very thankful to have taken several classes from Alec and Katia and have been able to witness this first hand.  While being a technology focused class they both have the ability to take a comment, question etc. and run with it to ensure their students are getting the full learning experience.  If I have learned anything from my 2 year old son, one would be that you learn from watching, then by doing.  Many people fear that by incorporating tech into the classroom we will lessen the chances of these teachable moments arising, I think it doesn’t necessarily change how often these moments will happen, however it may change the context of the conversation.  Perhaps our conversations will revolve around our devices, perhaps not. I guess it is something that we will have to wait out, time will tell!  It has been a focus of conversation all semester, tech as a distraction.  Like I mentioned earlier, I am a very optimistic person and there are just some battles that aren’t worth picking.  Why not use the tech to our advantage.  If our students are excited about using it for their learning then we need to find ways of incorporating it appropriately and not just for the sake of incorporating it.  I think if we allow chances for our students to be engaged and use tech on a daily basis we will minimize the distraction piece.  Liz mentioned earlier in the semester about tech check ins.  It is my goal when I get back to work after my maternity leave to incorporate tech check in’s into my classroom, I think this will also help minimize the distraction.  Another goal of mine upon returning to work is to find a way to communicate with students and parents online.  I think this leaves opportunity for students and parents to see what is happening in our classroom as well as seeing how their child is progressing.

Photo Credit: taihwaterryho Flickr via Compfight cc

In my list of con’s I listed several apps that had both pro’s and con’s, like anything there are always negatives to go along with the positives.  I am going to try several of these apps in my classroom and hope that with trial and error we can perfect how they are being used and integrated into my classroom.  All the apps that I plan to incorporate into my classroom will hopefully provide a different, fun, engaging, challenging, interesting learning experience for all my students.

Photo Credit: mick62 Flickr via Compfight cc

Prior to incorporating technology into my classroom I think it is essential for my students and myself to come up with some guidelines of how and when our devices can be used appropriately. It is essential that I teach them to how to be good digital citizens.  The one thing that I am still pondering is I don’t want students to have their devices in the change room.  I think for privacy and safety of everyone devices should be left outside of these areas, in saying that I am left with “do I have a bin where devices are kept until used?” “Do I have like a mail slot type thing where they each have their own spot to keep their device?” How do I ensure for the safety of everyone that no devices are making their way into the change rooms?  This is definitely something I need to think about and perhaps even having a conversation with the students and hearing their thoughts/opinions would be helpful.

Throughout the semester a hot topic of conversation was also that of funding.  I was always under the impression that SCC was unable to purchase technology for the classrooms.  However, upon conversing with colleagues etc. the SCC would be able to purchase a variety tech pieces that would work wonderfully in my classroom (ex. Pedometers, heart rate monitors etc.)

Photo Credit: evil.heather Flickr via Compfight cc

Upon my return to work I hope to write a proposal to our SCC asking them so if they would like to help expand our physical education program.  In my proposal I plan to address why I think it is essential that we have these pieces of equipment and how it will benefit our students.  Our SCC has been very generous with things in the past, so I am very hopeful that they will be willing to help a physical education teacher who is on a mission to make a difference.

I have been very fortunate to have read many wonderful things both positive and negative in regards to technology in classrooms over the course of this semester.  Through these readings it has been evident that technology in our classrooms has been doing some pretty great things and many teachers and students are loving the variety of opportunities that come along with using tech in our classroom.

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I am a firm believer that with using technology in our classroom we are able to meet the needs of all of our learners.  We are able to make adaptations, provide differentiated instruction etc.  One thing I really struggle with in my physical education classroom with grades 5-8 is to motivate each and every individual to actively participate in every class.  Some students simply aren’t interested in participating and I struggle with constantly finding ways to encourage them to participate.  Now that I have had a semester of simply focusing on tech in physical education I do believe that tech could definitely be a motivating factor.  If I find ways of incorporating tech into my classroom that interests them perhaps they will be willing to participate in the activities.

I am confident that with tech being a revolving door like our society

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Regina Pubic Schools will begin to expand their shared visions.  My colleagues this semester have been able to point me in the right direction as to who I need to talk to in regards to tech related things in my classroom which has been very helpful.  I hope to be able to use this contact in the future to successfully implement technology into my own teaching and learning.

Photo Credit: Sally K Witt Flickr via Compfight cc

Overall this semester has been quite the whirlwind, from ups to downs, to challenging moments to wonderful ideas.  I am so thankful that I have been given the opportunity to learn alongside these amazing people who have given me such a great experience.  My colleagues have supported me throughout the last leg of this journey and encouraged me to find new ways of teaching physical education.  I hope that once I get back to work we can get a tech support group started and begin to put all my wonderful ideas into motion.  Physical education has always been a passion of mine and I want my students have the necessary tools and resources to live healthy active lifestyles outside of school in their community, home, workplace etc.  I am optimistic that with some changes, some trial and error, some ups and downs that the integration of technology and what is has to offer will be a success in our school.  Thank you so much for a wonderful semester and I look forward to staying in touch with all of you and seeing how your tech journeys are coming along!


The Countless Advantages of Technology

When I think about the pros of technology, I think a lot about how much more engagement I see in my students when using technology tools and the positive feedback from them. I witness a lot more focus, interest, willingness and motivation to get started right away, remain on task, and complete the task at […]

When I think about the pros of technology, I think a lot about how much more engagement I see in my students when using technology tools and the positive feedback from them. I witness a lot more focus, interest, willingness and motivation to get started right away, remain on task, and complete the task at hand. There will always be students who are distracted by YouTube or their devices, but I always feel their excitement during educational technology tasks compared to teacher led, or independent student learning. This is what motivates me to keep planning lessons that include technology.

Student Engagement

There are so many articles available that support educational technology, so it is my job to take the information and learn first hand whether or not it might be beneficial to the group of students I have in my classroom. According to the article, “7 Benefits of Educational Technology in the Education Sphere,”

The future of the educational system is practically determined by the development of technology.

The teaching strategies based on educational technology can be described as ethical practices that facilitate the students’ learning and boost their capacity, productivity, and performance. Technology integration in education inspires positive changes in teaching methods on an international level.

#4. Thanks to technology, students enjoy learning!

Students are addicted to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Digg, and other websites from a very early age. The internet can distract them from the learning process, but you can also use their inclination to spend time online for a good purpose: Making learning enjoyable.

5 Benefits of Tech in Ed

My students are connected to technology in their daily lives in some way or another. It is definitely a learning curve to have to introduce them to the inclusion of technology as a learning tool if they are not used to using it in school, but as I explained earlier, I see a lot of enthusiasm, engagement and eagerness to use technology and share what they have learned using Google Slides, Google Classroom, blog posts on Blogger, sharing work on Class Dojo, or creating an iMovie or WeVideo.

The students I interact with each day have grown up with smart devices, having been entertained instantly with videos, movies, games, sounds, visuals, etc. It isn’t a surprise to me that they are connected and drawn to Chromebooks,  and iPads when we use them in class.

Technology is certainly here to stay and as the poster says, “The Future is Tech, Get Ready!”

So, it is my job to keep an open mind to new ideas and opportunities, to try something new with my students and to deepen their understanding and motivation for learning the best way I know how.

Reading this article and watching this video from the article; “10 Advantages and Disadvantages of Technology in Education,” shares a couple of different perspectives (as well as common ones).

1. Parent’s Peace of Mind
Cell phones allow easy access for parents and children to communicate with each other at school too.

2. The Information Highway
Any answer to any question can be found with a few clicks of the keys on the computer or smart phone.

3. Broaden The Mind
Having access to the technology will expose children to things outside of their parents interests and help them to form their own opinions.

4. Brings Some Fun Into The Classroom
“Learning the same exact way from the same person every day can really get…boring,” which results in a real lack of motivation. “When they are able to integrate computer learning into their normal schedule, they become much more excited to learn.”

5. Applicable Education
In the working world, in nearly every job you may take, you have to know how to operate a computer. Teaching this skill in children early will give them advantages and a learning curve for when they are adults.

Each one of these 5 perspectives make sense and are common points of view. As a teacher, having to compete with technology devices is no easy task, so jumping on board is the logical solution, even though it is often challenging and full of obstacles.

The following video really showcases an interesting perspective from children about what “Technology is, how people learned before the internet, technology these students use in their daily learning, and what technology will look like in the future. Very entertaining video for sure!

It is hard to believe that these students are guessing and unsure about how we learned before the internet. “I think they had to go to the library, ” They read books,” etc. Interesting responses for sure!

There are so many amazing ways that technology can improve students learning, and yet at the same time it can be challenging. I have found that my students have more success when we try a new technology tool, it is best to start small (a daily lesson or a shorter project that takes 2 or 3 lessons). Once my students are familiar with that tool, we can move on to a more in depth project. One step at a time!

Next year, I will continue to build a blended learning environment.  It will take some time, especially if I follow a model like the one I shared in last weeks blog post”3 Essentials for Success in a Blended Learning Classroom,” but I already have a great foundation and I see the benefits for/in my students every day. This is the way it has to be for our students who are growing up in a digital world.

In closing, I want to share Jessie Woolley-Wilson’s Ted Talk about the divide in education based on a student’s zip code and the decline in funding for education. This reality has narrowed her determination to provide quality education no matter what zip code a child has. Jessie shares a story about a California teacher who shifted to blended learning using an Adaptive Technology that “learns the learner as the learner learns!” Based on the individual student, the software determines what lesson the student needs to support their learning based on previous answers given. Sounds great to me!

What technology tools do you really like? What technology tools work best for you and your students? Is there a technology tools or software that you continuously use?


Reasons For Technology Within the Classroom!

For most of this class I have been antagonistic in my approach to technology in my classroom.  This week I am feeling much more natural in researching why to incorporate technology.  Janelle Cox writes about the Benefits of Technology in the Classroom.  While her stats are from an undergrad study I can appreciate her stance.  What I did like within her blog were the links she connected with and how she shared her knowledge.

Photo Credit: Lon Levin

I stumbled upon an awesome blog that laid out how to incorporate tech into a classroom for the .  While I have not found any evidence supporting higher grades, reduced drop out rates, or any form of legislation forcing educators to incorporate technology into the classroom in Saskatchewan as of yet, there are other signs that technology has a huge importance in our society today, especially in the field of education.  Our federally funded national news company CBC continually does spots on the importance of digital literacy, coding, and incorporation of technology within schools across Canada.  While we are not being forced in any means to work on digital skills, we are approaching the point of:  if you are not teaching digitally, you are doing a disservice for your students.
technophobic teacher

The benefits to incorporating technology seem to outweigh the current arguments against the concept.  From personalizing education for specific students with high needs (extending curriculum or condensing), to the increased availability to teach through inquiry based methods, into blending or flipping your classroom to support the varied needs of time management for the every busy student.

Photo Credit: 2013 PBS LearningMedia

Students are feeling more comfortable with the idea of using technology within the classroom.  Not only is the ownership of technology (Laptops, tablets and smartphones) going up but the usage for school work is increasing dramatically.

Photo Credit: 2013 PBS LearningMedia

In terms of how the students are learning within the classroom is also changing.  As of 2013 over 80% post-secondary students have experienced online classes in some aspect.  I am sure these trends have continued.  We have seen this within our own university and the amount of online classes being offered.  With this we can see why it is important for the younger students to be introduced to technology within their education voyage.  The idea of readying students for their future workplace also falls into this category as well, because if the students do not know the basics of technology, how we expect their future employers to hire them for jobs that revolve around technology.

How to integrate technology is a topic of discussion we have had in many of our ed tech classes recently.  We know that different divisions have varying policies on what devices are to be in schools.  Within my division we are allotted 1 tablet for every 3 students in grades 1-4 and then 1 laptop for every 5 students from grades 5-8.  The message we have received for the reasoning behind not being able to purchase more tech for individual buildings is based on the financial upkeep and the workload to keep all the tech running at a working capacity.  Through studies my division has determined that through strategic planning every student can access the technology enough that the schools should not need more technology.  This is where most of us (actual classroom teachers, shake our heads at the utopia dream world most of the decision makers live in).

BYOD is a concept that my division is creating a policy on and as going to expect their schools to adopt. How it is rolled out and how the communities will accept it only time will tell, but I am hoping that with the board approved policy it gives the schools a little more substance to stand on when we ask our parents to support sending private technology to school for their children to use.  One of the policies I have read through and feel is substantial in how they plan on dealing with BYOD issues is from Alberta.

Another concept I found interesting and could very well combat the cost issues with our division is a Parent Owned Device Program.   With this concept the parents purchase a device and the school division would upload all the software needed to connect with the schools servers, and the students can access all the necessary digital needs, while off setting the cost based on the devices being owned by the families.  While this is from a private school, I feel the concept is worth looking into.  There will certainly be the conversation about have and have not schools, but similar to our new public MRI policies in Saskatchewan I’m sure we could adopt something similar in the public education system.

Throughout my research I am finding that everything to do with technology is a balancing act.  From how much screen time a student is exposed to, or how effectively the students are retaining the information they are learning.  We need to be sure that what we are planning for our students is productive and appropriate.

“One-to-one and BYOD are game changers, giving students access to digital tools throughout the day, across all subject areas. This paradigm shift challenges teachers to rethink and redesign learning activities to capitalize on their school’s investment in technology. ISTE

This puts more pressure on the teacher to develop the appropriate content for each grade/subject level.  This brings me back to the point I made earlier in the course about teachers and technology, whether it is 1:1 or BYOD that neither are legislated or mandated to have to be including this concept into the classroom.  While I feel technology is very important, I need to understand that colleagues around me may not have the same passion or belief.  The goal to education needs to be improving the students, based on curriculum first, and if you have the time, energy, or motivation then you can add in the extras such as technology.

For most of this class I have been antagonistic in my approach to technology in my classroom.  This week I am feeling much more natural in researching why to incorporate technology.  Janelle Cox writes about the Benefits of Technology in the Classroom.  While her stats are from an undergrad study I can appreciate her stance.  What I did like within her blog were the links she connected with and how she shared her knowledge.

Photo Credit: Lon Levin
I stumbled upon an awesome blog that laid out how to incorporate tech into a classroom for the .  While I have not found any evidence supporting higher grades, reduced drop out rates, or any form of legislation forcing educators to incorporate technology into the classroom in Saskatchewan as of yet, there are other signs that technology has a huge importance in our society today, especially in the field of education.  Our federally funded national news company CBC continually does spots on the importance of digital literacy, coding, and incorporation of technology within schools across Canada.  While we are not being forced in any means to work on digital skills, we are approaching the point of:  if you are not teaching digitally, you are doing a disservice for your students.
technophobic teacher

The benefits to incorporating technology seem to outweigh the current arguments against the concept.  From personalizing education for specific students with high needs (extending curriculum or condensing), to the increased availability to teach through inquiry based methods, into blending or flipping your classroom to support the varied needs of time management for the every busy student.

Photo Credit: 2013 PBS LearningMedia
Students are feeling more comfortable with the idea of using technology within the classroom.  Not only is the ownership of technology (Laptops, tablets and smartphones) going up but the usage for school work is increasing dramatically.








Photo Credit: 2013 PBS LearningMedia
In terms of how the students are learning within the classroom is also changing.  As of 2013 over 80% post-secondary students have experienced online classes in some aspect.  I am sure these trends have continued.  We have seen this within our own university and the amount of online classes being offered.  With this we can see why it is important for the younger students to be introduced to technology within their education voyage.  The idea of readying students for their future workplace also falls into this category as well, because if the students do not know the basics of technology, how we expect their future employers to hire them for jobs that revolve around technology.

How to integrate technology is a topic of discussion we have had in many of our ed tech classes recently.  We know that different divisions have varying policies on what devices are to be in schools.  Within my division we are allotted 1 tablet for every 3 students in grades 1-4 and then 1 laptop for every 5 students from grades 5-8.  The message we have received for the reasoning behind not being able to purchase more tech for individual buildings is based on the financial upkeep and the workload to keep all the tech running at a working capacity.  Through studies my division has determined that through strategic planning every student can access the technology enough that the schools should not need more technology.  This is where most of us (actual classroom teachers, shake our heads at the utopia dream world most of the decision makers live in).

BYOD is a concept that my division is creating a policy on and as going to expect their schools to adopt. How it is rolled out and how the communities will accept it only time will tell, but I am hoping that with the board approved policy it gives the schools a little more substance to stand on when we ask our parents to support sending private technology to school for their children to use.  One of the policies I have read through and feel is substantial in how they plan on dealing with BYOD issues is from Alberta.

Another concept I found interesting and could very well combat the cost issues with our division is a Parent Owned Device Program.   With this concept the parents purchase a device and the school division would upload all the software needed to connect with the schools servers, and the students can access all the necessary digital needs, while off setting the cost based on the devices being owned by the families.  While this is from a private school, I feel the concept is worth looking into.  There will certainly be the conversation about have and have not schools, but similar to our new public MRI policies in Saskatchewan I'm sure we could adopt something similar in the public education system.

Throughout my research I am finding that everything to do with technology is a balancing act.  From how much screen time a student is exposed to, or how effectively the students are retaining the information they are learning.  We need to be sure that what we are planning for our students is productive and appropriate.

“One-to-one and BYOD are game changers, giving students access to digital tools throughout the day, across all subject areas. This paradigm shift challenges teachers to rethink and redesign learning activities to capitalize on their school’s investment in technology. ISTE
This puts more pressure on the teacher to develop the appropriate content for each grade/subject level.  This brings me back to the point I made earlier in the course about teachers and technology, whether it is 1:1 or BYOD that neither are legislated or mandated to have to be including this concept into the classroom.  While I feel technology is very important, I need to understand that colleagues around me may not have the same passion or belief.  The goal to education needs to be improving the students, based on curriculum first, and if you have the time, energy, or motivation then you can add in the extras such as technology.