Tech Task #3

Twitter. I had a twitter account for quite a few years, but have never really got ‘into it’. I recognized it’s benefits, but with so many other social media sites, I found it difficult to keep track of all of them … Twitter was one that fell to the wayside.

Since beginning this course a few weeks ago, I have revived my twitter account. I started following more people who share common interests. Since doing that, I find myself checking into my twitter account more frequently. I enjoy the links to great educational websites and articles that the people I follow share. In the future I hope to continue this, for I want to stay up to date with what is going on in the education world and twitter is a great platform to do that!

Check out my profile and Follow me on Twitter! @szynnnn

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Week 3

This week we are focusing primarily on web based courses. On Tuesday, Donald Girouard and Shannon Horne came to talk to us about web bases courses. I enjoyed their presentation, for I have had a lot of experience with web based courses.

HNBI. Hutterian Broadband Network Inc. This network provides many Hutterite communities with a stable, high quality network to enable video conferencing so that their schools can offer Interactive Instructional Television (IITV) for high school students. It allows Hutterites to ‘share’ teachers among the 50 or so communities involved. I took a number of courses through this system, and enjoyed it a lot! The school I attended only had 8 high schoolers at the time, and there was no way we could have enough teachers to teach everybody the courses they wanted to take. Because of the IITV system I was able to take courses such as Pre Calc and Psychology that would otherwise not have been available.

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A Hutterite classroom during an IITV course.
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HBNI run. Each year students on the IITV system take part in a 5/10km walk/run. Source: http://www.hutterites.org

University Online Courses. To speed up my education, I took online courses during the summer from various Universities (Athabaska University, University of Manitoba, and University of Winnipeg). Each of them provided a very different experience. U of W had online lectures, that gave you the option of being there in person, or simply watching the class online. The lectures even had a transcript, so that you could ‘read’ the lecture rather than watching it. U of M had no lectures, but provided a timeline in which everything had to be completed. There were tasks to be completed online (such as Moodle) and we had to comment on our classmates’ work. U of A was by far the most difficult. There was no timeline in which things had to be completed, but you had 6 months to complete the course. Professors were not always available for help, and a reply to an email was received up to a 4 days later.

Overall. Since I have quite a bit of experience with online courses, I feel confident to be able to use some of the features in my future classroom. I really enjoy the idea of students posting something online, and having their peers comment on it. I feel that it teaches them how to voice their opinions online, improves their writing skills, and most importantly respectfully disagree with others.

 

Tech Task #2

Digital Curation is the is the selection, organization, maintenance, preservation, and collection of digital assets. Previously the term has been used to describe the work of archivists, librarians, historians, scientists, and scholars. Today it has been applied to interaction with the online world and the ways in which we can collect, organize and display the data and information we, as individuals, access online.

I wasn’t even aware that I was doing it, until I actually thought about it. On my laptop, I have a bookmarks bar where I have shortcuts to all the websites I access regularly. I also have bookmark folders where I add links to webpages that I know I’ll want to access in the future. I have separate folders for each subject such as sports, ELA ideas, Science etc.

My phone acts as my mobile curator. It organizes the apps and other information I put on it, but I control how it does it. It organizes my photos, videos, emails, and news into easily accessible apps, and I can control this by creating folders for some apps, adjusting the notification settings, and organizing the information in the format that works best for me.

I also use Feedly and Pinterest as online bookmarking sites. Feedly I generally use for websites that I only want to access if something has changed (such as blogs). Pinterest, on the other hand, I mostly use for the creative being inside of me. If I need an idea for something in the moment I’ll go on there. So I guess I don’t use it as a curation tool myself, but to access other people’s curation efforts. My main problem with Pinterest was that all my friends, who were following me on Pinterest, could see all the posts I had saved. Rather than find out how to make it private, I just stopped using it.

I feel that curation is very much a personalized concept. We can show our students what it means to be organized online, but everybody will have their own ways of doing that. Our devices already help us stay organized, we just have to be aware of the different apps and websites available to do that.

In my last placement, my Cooperating Teacher used Seesaw to share students’ work with their parents. This is an app from which students can independently document their learning and provides an audience for their work—their peers, parents, or the world. Their parents can access the app from home (or mobile) and view their children’s work. The students were excited about sharing their work with their parents, and the app provided a great platform to do this. The app automatically organized all the information into private folders for each child, so that only the people they had given access to it could view it. I hope use Seesaw in my classroom. I felt that it worked really well for students to organize their work to show their parents. I will make my students aware of applications such as Pinterest, and give them the option of using it or not.

Week 2

On Tuesday we started by talking about how we organize ourselves online and how we connect with other people both online and offline. I sometimes feel that I have more contact with people online than offline, something that I struggle with. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat etc. seem to fill the social void when I don’t take the time for offline relationships. It’s just not the same though. Overtime I have realized that the most important relationships I have developed are those offline.

Echo Chamber. We tend follow people who think like we do. As a result, there is a chance that we may become echo chambers, because we fully believe what other people say (because we agree with them). This can be dangerous. We should always be aware of people’s point of view who may differ from ours and be up for the challenge of entertaining different ideas. “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” -Aristotle. As difficult as it may be sometimes, I learn a lot from some of the people I disagree with the most. I feel that it’s important for us to teach our students to respectfully challenge ideas they don’t agree with, and not to be afraid to change their own perceptions about something.

Piktochart. Why have I not heard of this website before?! This is an infographic design app that requires very little effort to produce beautiful, high quality graphics such as posters and signs. This can be a great tool in our classroom, not just for ourselves but for our students as well. They can be given the opportunity to design their own infographics. (I hated drawing and colouring my own pictures in school!)

Alec Couros. What an incredible person to listen to! I have seen few people as comfortable online as he is. His presentation was very engaging. He spoke quickly. Had great slides. And most of all engaging ideas. One thing he touched on was the concept of ‘Do we need to teach kids stuff they can find on google?’ I struggle with that one. Yes, kids can learn long division on YouTube, but will they? We cannot rely that they will, because every topic in math (and school in general) is based on previous knowledge. Every year it just gets built upon. So if we rely on students to research concepts themselves, and they don’t, what then?

Another interesting thing about Alec was his comfort level of people creating fake accounts with his information (photos, name, etc.) What I took away from that is that we should always be aware that it is going on. It could be happening to us. It could be happening for our students. We have to teach students about it, and what to do when we find out about it. (Albeit, I doubt there are many fake accounts being made with my photos 🙂 ) it’s still something to think about.

I definitely hope to keep in touch with Alec through Twitter and his blog. Great guest speaker!

Week 1

Week 1

Hello. Welcome to my blog. I have created this blog as part of a course I am taking at Brandon University called Internet for Educators. In this course we will be learning about many different resources that we can use in our classrooms as educators.

This week was just a beginning. I have created this blog where I will be posting everything I am learning during our lectures. I have included a link to my twitter account as well as other social media accounts I have.

Feedly. I had never heard of this before, but it’s pretty neat! Basically it brings all the sites to you, rather than you having to go to all of them. I created an account and started following news sites. This is useful because if i am looking for a certain story, I can just check all my favourite news outlets at once, rather than going to each one individually. I also followed  my classmates’ blogs. Now I only have to sign into my feedly account access them and to check if they have new blog posts to comment on.

Discussions.

Digital Identity: This is your online identity. It is not necessarily similar to your offline identify.

Digital Dualism: The belief that your digital identity and your offline identity are separate. They are separate, but still part of the whole being (you). We should teach students that who they are online should not be different than who they are offline. Cyber-bullying would be an example of people abusing this.

Technological Determinism: This is the belief that a society’s technology drives its development.