Final Project Work

If you remember…………Kayla and I were working with a Grade 8 Computer Literacy class. The students were to tell a digital story using 2 of many online tools to tell the same story. Once their stories were created the students were to create a Glog promoting their stories, and providing links to their digital stories.

Computer Literacy 8

The blog we created for the students contained all of the assignment details, instructions, rubrics, story telling tools examples and step by step instructions as well as updates on progress. It also contains a page with the Class Glogs, so that students can view their peers work. (This page is password protected to avoid any privacy issues, as the students are underage, and their last names are displayed).

The assignment contained 3 steps:

  1. Compose a story on a Word Document – the story was for marks and needed approval before students could begin.
  2. Choose 2 separate online tools and create the digital stories.
  3. Create a Glog promoting your stories, with links to view them.

What I liked about the assignment:

  • The online tools were great, for the most part easy to use, and interesting to view the final product.
  • we instructed the students had to tell the same story using 2 separate tools – which made it interesting & challenging.
  • The students seemed interested in the assignment.
  • We provided lots of options of tools for the students to choose from.
  • The glogs we had the students create were easy to access the information from.
  • The opportunity to work with different teachers; the co-operating one, and Kayla!

What I did not like:

  • Not being able to see my students in person.
  • The constant string of emails from students.
  • Marking the assignments when technology was not working – links not working, online tools not working, internet browsers not opening programs, etc…..

What would I do differently?

  •  Skype with the students to touch base on where they are at with things, and get to know them.
  • Host an Elluminate session to demonstrate the use of some tools.

Would I use this assignment in the future?

ABSOLUTELY! With more interaction & frequent contact with students, in addition to email this assignment would be great for students from grades 8 – 12. I would recommend this assignment to colleagues teaching; computer & technology courses, english, & social studies among other subjects. I will  most likely use all if not most of this assignment in the future myself.

April 20, 2010 at 2:15 am Leave a comment

Final Reflection

ECMP 455 – Overview

I signed up for ECMP 455 as I had enjoyed the prerequisite class; ECMP 355. I enjoyed the technological ability, experience, and resources I left the class with. The 355 level was a classroom based course, where as this one was based online. As a pre-service teacher I feel that having some technological experience and tools; such as my blogs and online portfolio have me better prepared to engage my students, and meet their needs.

As ECMP 455 is strictly online I found it difficult to navigate my way through the class material. With the class Ning, wiki, and colleagues blogs it seemed almost overwhelming at times with the vast amount of material to review, analyze, and critique. I did however enjoy the opportunity to teach online, and interact using an online conference tool elluminate.

With some teaching experience already on my resume through my internship my learnings in this course allowed me to analyze my career choice. As our class discussions extended from technology to; citizenship, student health, and expectations of teachers. All of these discussions, and my interview with Mr. H only added to my excitement of being finished my time as an official student! With so many ways to connect, and incorporate technology in the classroom I believe that it is a very exciting time to enter education.

With all of the online tools available it is difficult to navigate through ones that are not user-friendly or congruent with using in education. This is such a benefit of this course as I got to explore some tools on my own; Woordle, Google Docs., and most recently Prezi! These are tools that I will use in my classroom. With all of my colleagues in this class doing the same it saves me the time of searching, and examining these tools. I will aim to remain in connect with these future teachers to share tools, and ideas.

As far as collaboration I benefitted from reflecting upon my experiences during internship, and sharing these to receive feedback from my colleagues on how to encourage students to continue to use the new technologies I was attempting to introduce. My present collaboration experience grew from teaching online to my colleagues, and teaching a Grade 8 Computer Class online. I found it challenging to feel as though I was fully understanding my students, and their needs. I did however, imagine how the “cool assignment”, that the “cool university students” created for them online might be fun and exciting! On the other hand, I believe that some of them found it frustrating attempting to navigate their way around the tools for the assignment without someone walking them through it. Solutions to this of course are; screen shots, skype, elluminate, or creating a jing. All of which require time to create, more time than if you were in a room with a student. As far as future collaboration I can see the benefit of remaining part of a social network of colleagues to discuss issues, promote technologies, or just reflect upon experiences.

 While it may sound like I did not like the course structure of the ECMP 455 class I really did. It was important for me to experience an online course of this structure, that was completely independent. As cheesey as it sounds, it really was the type of course that you got out of it what you put in! If you did not contribute to discussions you never had the chance to hear the valuable knowledge that your peers have to share. The learining really went beyond the course description as a class we discussed numerous topics that affect teachers, not just in the areas of technology. But student learning, and teacher guidelines.

By no means do I consider myself an expert on technology or computers in the classroom. but I do feel like I have a foundation of knowledge and experience to build upon. Sometimes I do not give myself enough credit in this area. I just have to remember that if I am going to expect my students to face their fears and attempt using new tools, I must do the same.

In conclusing this is really the starting point as I am looking forward to  being a teacher that continues to learn, experience, and incorporate new methods and technologies into the classroom!

 

 

April 14, 2010 at 2:21 am 2 comments

Interview with a Learner

I had the opportunity to have an email chat with Mr. H, a grade 8 math teacher who incorporates the use of technology in his classroom and the school to increase connectivity, help kids learn, and encourage citizenship among the students.

Mr. H initially provided me with an interesting tid bit of information about blogs when I inquired about his student blogs; “comments drive blogs.” As someone who only presently blogs for academic requirement (as it is part of my assessment) I found this fascinating. I guess with the increase of blogs, and the ability for anyone to become a source of media or information  at some level, it only makes sense that feedback, and acknowledgement of the work is there.

Mr. H has all of his class notes on the class blog, courtesy of a Smart Board and SlideShare. In my internship I had a class blog that I utilized to post notes and class dealings. I felt it was often overlooked or not well accessed by students, this lead me to wonder about his uses of a class blog and the student response. He discussed how the class blog allowed the classroom to be open 24 hours a day to students, and that through a chat box feature students were actually helping each other, by answering questions without being told to do so. With the class being so easily accessible online he had high student participation as they can review the material at any time.

With all the online work and collaborating that was occurring I assumed that every student had a computer at their workstation. This is not the case however. I was surprised to hear Mr. H state that computers in the classroom could be distracting to students, as was often the case with my internship experience. It is often reasoned that students do not pay attention because they are not engaged. However, if they are checking the class site and utilizing the chat box then how are these students not engaged? This leads me to believe that while they are obviously engaged they are still products of utilizing technological conveniences available in our daily lives. Even when I first log on to a computer I check my email, my Facebook, and my university class updates (typically in that order).

Additionally, as the students are more connected to the classroom with a school wiki the parents are able to stay connected to the school too. The  opportunity for parents to participate in conferences online has increased the parental participation in conferences at the school to “90% as they are able to do them whenever they want.”

In conclusion I would like to thank Mr. H for the time he took out of his busy schedule to help me have better insight into my use and incorporation of technology in the classroom!

Making It Interesting

April 12, 2010 at 4:25 am Leave a comment

Google Docs. Forms

For my online teaching I choose to focus on Google Docs. Forms. The forms you can create are simple, easy to use, and appealing!

The forms can be designed to collect data in a variety of ways through different question structures. These include; text, paragraph, multiple choice, options, scale, or rating.

Below is the sample survey my classmates completed during my online teaching of the forms.

Teaching Online – Survey Form

Once the forms have been submitted the data can be displayed in a variety of ways and published online for others to view. Here is the spreadsheet publication of the Teaching Online Results.

While the forms can be used for a variety of data collection methods the contemplation I have if they could be utilized effectively as a method of assessment to evaluate students. I believe they could under the proper circumstances, and would ease some of the marking work that teachers are sometimes overloaded with!

April 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm Leave a comment

WebQuests

A WebQuest is a research or inquiry project that is displayed on the internet and composed of web-based material. The entire project or assignment is noted on the WebQuest page this typically consists of; introduction, purpose, path to follow, task, evaluation, and conclusion.

Here is one I created and utilized during my internship                                         Housing Simulation Life Transitions 20

During ECMP 355 we examined and created small sample WebQuests and I remember NOT liking them at all, and thinking I would never use them. However, when creating the above assignment I knew that I need a progression of steps, and an online place to house all the steps and links for students to access easily repeatedly, as the assignment would be over the course of a few class periods.

 The online tool I used to create my WebQuest was QuestGarden. It allows users to set-up a free 30 day trial account. After the 30 days are over the WebQuest you create can still be accessed, but can just not be edited.  The site also has lists of WebQuests created by other educators that could be used. While the technology does not appear to be the most modern, it keeps the creator of it accountable by citing the reading leve the WebQuest is, and asking the creator to create questions about the learning outcomes they are trying to achieve.

April 6, 2010 at 5:27 am 3 comments

Digital Teaching

I have now completed my online teaching to my ECMP 455 colleagues, and am still teaching the grade 8 students for my collaborative project and wow is online teaching different from face to face, and I do not believe it is for me! Presently anyways.

 During my online teaching lesson google docs. to my peers I felt like I rushed things, probably because I was nervous and because it is always nerve-racking to teach your peers. I also did not want to run out of time, as I wanted to complete all of the steps I had practiced. I am not even sure how long it took me, or if anyone retained any of my teachings. 

Maybe it is just me being a receptive person but I need the audience feedback to gage where I am at. Feedback as far as body language and facial expressions – looks of confusion, boredom, or panic to learn what I am teaching. Also to see who is actually paying attention! Not as though any of my colleagues weren’t during my lesson.

While I have blogged previously about knowing my students, I am still stuck on this. As the students Kayla and I are teaching online have our email address one student keeps attempting to chat with me on gmail chat. Not in regards to the assignment, as I will ask him how things are going but just to chat. I entertain this for a few minutes by asking him how is his day, how are things with the assignment, and what is he supposed to be doing at the present moment (as this is usually during school hours). After a few minutes I say good-bye, and encourage him to get back on task. While I see no harm in this it feels weird, as I do not really know this student. Additionally, while I keep the chats short, and appropriate what if the teacher whose class he is in asked him who is he chatting to, and he replied “my online teacher.” That teacher does not know me, and may feel that I am interrupting their classroom. I guess this comes down to a level a connectivity to my online students, and should be addressed in the future with online office hours in which to contact me.

April 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm 1 comment

Online Dating

With all of my analysis of technology, connectivity, and online tools it only seems fitting that the world of online dating be discussed. Especially since Canadians are apparently one of the worlds leading countries in online dating usage. This article from The Canadian Press highlights the popularity of online dating, and analyzes some of the available tools.

I think online dating is growing in popularity due to its convenience, in addition to our changing lifestyles. As socializing is increasingly becoming predominantly online, it only seems fitting that meeting prospective mates would become an online occurrence too. I also think the stigma of dating someone you met online is dwindling too, maybe this is just due to my aging though. Either way it is an activity that will not soon go away, as mentioned in the article. 

The article did mention how Plenty of Fish   (a popular online dating site) has an outdated look to it. While it is a free source, it is not nearly as modern looking as its competitors. Even though it is outdated in look, it is still very popular. The article credits this to the fact that it is a “tool” and still serves its purpose. I found this very interesting, and unique. As most of the online services I utilize are tools (banking, email, Facebook..) I still desire them to be the most modern and up to date, even in look. You would think that especially in the department of online dating someone would want to use the most high tech up to date tool, regardless the website is one of the most popular.

March 29, 2010 at 5:27 am 3 comments

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