Posted in ECMP 355

Learning Together

What I loved most about this class was the emphasis on connecting with others online whether it was helping them learn, learning from them, or giving individuals credit for their awesome Twitter finds or well-written blogs.

I contributed to the learning of others through three different social media pages:

Sharing resources, commenting to help others, and asking questions on Google+ was not one of my strongest areas in the course. I found it hard to engage with. I’m not totally sure why but it probably had to do with balancing all the other tech tools I was dabbling in. In the beginning of the course, I asked a couple questions because I was drowning in the technicalities of WordPress. This is another piece of the course that was great to have was immediate feedback and help. As for my contributions via Google +, I made a few comments on other people’s posts but that was the farthest it went.

WordPress is a great place to learn and help others learn once you get past all the technical jargon of creating a web page and fancy tabs (struggled with this for awhile before this class). There were SO many people in our class but I did my best to search through the class link and comment on a few people’s blogs each week.

Something I really struggled with at first was figuring out how to juggle all the tech tools and responsibilities we had in this class but I knew I had to figure it out fast. Below I shared my method with Tanya who was curious what I thought about all of the tasks we had at once:

Many of my comments on WordPress consisted of compliments and sharing resources. If I were to try this again I would have tried to have more dialogue with my fellow bloggers. Generating dialogue is sometimes something I struggle with. A way I tried to combat this is by reading through a blog, commenting, and ending the comment with a question.

My most successful form of contributing to the learning of others happened through Twitter. I shared articles daily, had my followers retweet my articles daily, commented on other’s tweets daily, and participated in three #SaskEdchats in the last few weeks. I enjoyed this form of networking the most because of how easy it was to connect with people not only from my class but from around the world through a single hashtag.

When I first used Twitter, I posted articles related to education here and there and added the occasional photo. After a pep talk on Twitter etiquette: how to get more followers and the richest experience possible… I tweeted often but also gave some love to my followers and those I followed. By doing this my retweets, likes, and followers increased dramatically.

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I did my best to share articles related to education frequently (at least once a day):

One of my favorite contributions to other’s learning online was through #saskedchat on Twitter, this is one I will absolutely continue utilizing past this class and into my career. It is beyond awesome to be able to connect with educators around the world on a level that feels so close. I write more about this connection in Learning in a Network World:

I cannot say it enough… being pushed to network with others online in diverse ways has opened up so many doors for me as an educator. I appreciate this experience in an exceptional way because I know I will for most of my life, teach in small communities that do not always have access to resources. Technology makes resources for me limitless, and for that I am thankful.

Posted in ECMP 355

Digital Citizenship in my Classroom

As technology grows to be the leading topic in society today, I believe it is important to teach students how to use it not only for social reasons but as a tool that impacts the environment they are in and society as a whole.

When I think about teaching digital citizenship, I immediately think of safety online. Teach students how to avoid predators, keep their identity safe, etc. However, there is so much more to it than that. Digital citizenship is:

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The piece I want to draw your attention to in this definition is, “prepare students for a society full of technology.” Reflecting on this definition and considering the reading from Jason Ohler, technology is part of our identity. Everyone is impacted by it in different ways and everyone can create an impact with it in different ways. Therefore, learning about online safety is not enough. 

Jason Ohler mentions that the “One Life” model of tech in the classroom invites students to use technology in the classroom but also discuss it’s greater use as a society. I have not seen digital citizenship taught in the classroom much, and if I have it is limited to online safety.

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Photo Credit: Rohit_csebrat Flickr via Compfight cc

I believe this is happening because:

1) Teachers have limited knowledge of technology

2) Teachers are afraid to teach about technology

3) Teachers are against technology in the classroom (The two lives model from Ohler).

So, what do we do about that? Well, we could start with having classes and subject areas dedicated to digital citizenship. While I see a place for digital citizenship in all areas of the curriculum, I believe it is so engrained in our society and so fragile if not handled properly, that we need to teach it exclusively by educators who are specialized in that area. In a dream world you’re thinking… am I right? Most likely you are thinking that especially if you come from small town Sask. and felt the effects of the budget this year.

So….what do we do about THAT? Funding is complicated and being a teacher can be tough on a small budget. However, a little creativity can go a long way… AND if there is anything I have learned from this class, it is that technology is a teacher. We have access to the internet where we can LEARN to do anything.

Make student book holders out of tomato boxes, use cans as pencil holders, etc. the list goes on! Digital citizenship is still a new topic that is also difficult to understand, navigate, and teach in an effective way without the proper training. Fortunately, there are great articles like the Nine Elements, that can give us a little help along the way.

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With consideration of these Nine Elements, I think I could sit down and begin planning something great for teaching digital citizenship with success. The rest is up to plenty of trial and error and many more internet articles to work from!

 

Posted in ECMP 355

The Pinterest of Blogging Bookmarks!

Just when I thought the internet couldn’t get any better… enter Feedly! As a Pinterest addict, I naturally fell in love with this reader. Not only can you search for blogs using key words that interest you, but just like Pinterest, you can sort the articles you find into boards! My organizational brain says, “thank you!” 

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To locate the blogs I wanted to explore I typed in topics related to my interest i.e. education, technology, special ed., health. My method for choosing which blogs I find “worthy” involves a few criteria:

  • Is the information being shared by this blog up to date and research based?
  • Does this blog promote the kind of education my philosophy is based on?
  • Is the material I am reading on this blog applicable to my life as an educator or person? 
  • Does the blog have good ratings, reviews, likes, followers?
  • Do they address a variety of topics for multiple age groups and audiences?
  • Does the blog have asthetic appeal? 

Some of my top blog sites that I’ve previously followed through Twitter but also added to my Feedly education board, include Edutopia, Larry Ferlazzo on EduBlogs, and MindShift. I chose these blogs as my top rated because they meet every single criteria I have laid out for blogs that I find useful for education. 

If you scroll through my Twitter feed these are often the blog sites I retweet resources from. All three blogs have resources for teaching students in modern research based instruction, working with diverse student populations, working with parents, and so much more.

Here is an example of the variety of topics that come out of Mind Shift as I scrolled through my feed this morning:

 

 

 

 

Posted in ECMP 355

The tech adventure begins!

This blog marks the beginning of a new and improved adventure with technology! For the people joining me on this journey as we document and watch each other’s growth, my name is Alexus and I am so happy we are all in this together.

I would say my experience with technology has been positive yet challenging. I say this because although I was raised in the tech era, I have not found how it could be used in a meaningful way until recently. However, I am yet to learn the full potential of it all. From the purpose of a hashtag, to understanding how to create “pretty” hyperlinks..

My tech use as a teacher goes as far as a fantastic Pinterest board collection. (WARNING!! You may find more wedding related items in my feed… skip to the education boards):

Access to resources created by teachers for teachers on TPT (Teachers Pay Teachers):

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Teacher trolling abilities on Twitter that have led me to fantastic blogs and reads:

and the wonders of Google Docs and document sharing.

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My experience with blogging began when I was a teenager. I used blogging as a venue for my writing skills. All through high school my teachers begged me to go to Journalism school but I never pictured my work being more than a therapy outlet. However, as I have aged (23 is soooo old, lol), I cannot deny that I would love to become a blogging star that gets paid to write fantastic educational blogs on Saturday’s and sip coffee on the porch. I imagine it would look like this:

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Photo Credit: FootMassagez Flikr via Compfight

I often have, and still sometimes, associate technology with addiction, distraction and disconnect between people. Reflecting on this, I think my ideas are so centred around negativity towards tech that it has been hard for me to make the effort to explore the positive presence of tech in the classroom. 

I once loathed Twitter. I resisted it with my whole being. Until…. I realized how much useful links there are for education articles and resources (next best thing to Pinterest and TPT!). Twitter is one of my most loved avenues for pumping information related to education out to the world!

One thing I can be sure of is that technology is not going to go away. I want to learn how to use it in a way that creates opportunity for learning, growth, and adventure, rather than viewing it as something destructive.