Tech Task #7

Infographics. An infographic is basically just a visual image used to represent data. Great infographics can be very useful in that they convey a lot of information in a little space that can be easily interpreted.

Classroom Use. I like the idea of using infographics in the classroom. I wouldn’t only create them myself, but I feel it could be a great learning experience to have students create one themselves. There are some great sites available that have neat templates, but there are some students who would enjoy using Photoshop or inDesign to create one entirely by themselves. I find that many teachers have great resources hanging on their wall, but they never refer to them, or even explain them to students. Infographics on the wall may look good, but are pointless if not used.

Infographics can help students understand important, but complicated concepts. In grade 2 students are already learning about the water cycle and for students who struggle with the science language (such as EAL students) using infographics could be very beneficial.

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From: http://www.kidsdiscover.com/infographics/infographic-water-cycle-for-kids/

Infographics about world issues such as pollution would also be great for the classroom.

coral-pollution
From: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/infographics/ 

 

I was playing around with Piktochart to create an infographic. Using their templates, it was quite easy to piece something together. new-piktochart_836_7ec2ea1a23324e127257a6d9b32a52491cd309f0

Tech Task #6

Personal Learning Networks (PLNs). A PLN is an informal learning network that consists of the people, websites, and applications a learner interacts with and gets knowledge from. Here is my PLN:
https://www.mindmeister.com/maps/public_map_shell/843830828/the-connected-student-susan-waldner-pln?width=600&height=400&z=auto

I have divided my learning networks into 5 groups; Projects, Social Bookmarking, Online Communication, Entertainment, and Social Media.

Projects. In this category I have included the different platforms I use to work on any projects that I have going on. Dropbox and Google Drive are great for sharing many documents with people. For example, if I’m working on a group project for a course, we would just create a dropbox folder, invite everybody to that folder, and then everybody has access to all the information needed. These websites have apps that can be used on most devices that automatically update when you open them. I have also included my blog in this because in the past few months it’s become a place for me to post valuable websites, ideas, information that I hope to use in the future (or make other people aware of this information).

Online Communication. It seems that so much of our communication is done online these days. On a personal level: my family is spread out across NA and I rarely get to see some of my brothers and sisters. Being able to connect with them daily online is great! On an educational level: most communication websites also have the option of creating group chats. I have quite a few of those and it’s great to simply post a question have other people with the same interests help you. For example, we have a WhatsApp chat group for most Hutterites here at Brandon University. It’s great to have that connection with friends! In the future I hope to connect more personally to other educators and have a group related directly to teaching! Zoom and Skype can be used to invite guest speakers into our classrooms, as we have already experienced in this class.

Entertainment. This is part of my personal and professional PLN. I use Spotify for most of my music. I use iTunes for my podcasts. I subscribe to about 10 different podcasts that generally have 1 episode a week. I find that this is a great way to stay up-to-date on many current issues/trends happening in the world. I have included some of the educational ones I subscribe to. I use websites/apps such as The Score for sports updates.

Social Media. I feel that this has been talked about quite a bit in this course. Twitter and Facebook are great tools to connect with people. They provide a great opportunity to not only access new information, but for individuals to share information as well. You can comment on, react, and share information, resources and documents with others.

Wrap up. My PLN seems quite limited at the moment. I hope to keep building on to it and keep develop it. As educators we can never stop learning. We always have to make an effort to find new and innovative ideas for our classrooms.

Week 6

A bit of a unique post for me. I wasn’t in class this week and instead of writing about the presenters I wasn’t there to see, I’ll write about my week.

WestCAST. WestCAST (Western Association for Student Teaching) is an education conference held annually by the Faculties of Education in the western provinces of Canada. This year it was in Nanaimo British Columbia on Vancouver Island. There were over 400 students and faculty memebers together engaging in conversations that are relevant in today’s world of teaching.

Shelley Moore. Shelley was one of the keynote speakers who talked about inclusion and special education in classrooms. She gave many everyday scenarios that we think are inclusion classrooms, but in reality are not. This video she made about her PhD focus is a fantastic 3-minute summary of her talk.

Escape Rooms. I’ve always liked the concept of escape rooms. The puzzles. The techniques. I went to a session by Charlotte Dobson from the University of Winnipeg where she talked about encorperating escape rooms into her classroom. (She did this during her placement). She then divided us into groups and we all had the opportunity to participate in one of the escapes she had set up during one of her placements. I definitely want to do this in my classroom. I feel that it could be a fantastic summative assessment for a unit!

Thinking outside the books. This was a session by Peter Bjornson that encouraged us as teachers to think outside the books. He challenged us to take some risks and create  lesson plans to engage students in experiential learning. His focus was on history. To get his students to catch a glimpse of homelessness he had them build their own shelters by gathering material from around town (Gimli). He also created an archeological dig site for his students in his backyard. He shared many more. In the end he asked us what we noticed about all of these activities…none of them required any technology. I liked that. We focus a lot of time on how to use technology in our classrooms, but it’s hands on activities like these that create great learning experience as well. It’s all about balance.

Week 5

I thought I had posted this already! But when I checked today, I realized I didn’t! Sorry it’s late

On Tuesday we got a much needed break! Mike decided that rather than having class, we’d have a working period. I feel that I’m pretty well caught up in this course, and in most others. That has NEVER happened to me ever before!

Daniel Dillon. Daniel is a teacher in Flin Flon and he connected with us through Zoom. Zoom has been an excellent platform to connect with guest speakers for this class. I find that the audio and visuals are very clear! It feels that he’s in the next room.

Daniel has a certain passion for teaching and incorporating technology into the classroom that I have rarely seen. Yes there are teachers who go the extra mile for their students, but what I saw in Daniel was different. He seems to embrace what technology has to offer and finds a way to bring it into his classroom. He doesn’t have students put away their phones in class, but actually has them use it for educational purposes I realize that not everybody would agree with this, but for his class it seems to work well!

What I appreciated the most from Daniel’s presentation, was that he brings the parents on board. He lets the parents know what he’s doing with the students, what technology they are using, how it work, the benefits etc. I like that! I feel that we have to be aware that many parents would feel a certain uncomfortableness with teachers using technology that is foreign to them. If the teachers make an effort to educate the parents, it can go a long way.

Virtual Reality. Daniel uses virtual reality in his classroom. Virtual reality is basically computer technologies that generate realistic video, images, and sound that replicate a real environment. For example, using a virtual reality headset, a person can experience a roller coaster ride almost as if it were happening in real life. I had never thought about using this in the classroom, but when Daniel mentioned that he uses it for geography, a couple lightbulbs went on in my head! The opportunities are endless. You can take your class anywhere in the world using this technology. I like the idea of partnering up for safety.

These are some Virtual Reality ideas, apps and sites to use in the classroom: Google Cardboard. 360 Video (youtube). Titans of Space. InMind. Expeditions. GoPro VR. Old Drive VR. Google Arts and Culture.

Finally, Daniel also talked about allowing students to take control of their own learning. If you give students the power and space, they will do incredible things. One way in which he does this, is that for Social Studies he gave them all a copy of the outcomes and they work through them together. The students are aware of what they will be learning, and it allows them a little freedom in selecting how they want to prove that they have met an outcome. For more information about this you can visit www.20time.org.

Tech Task #5

Digital footprint. This is a term used to describe the traces people leave behind online. It includes emails and attachments, uploaded videos or images, and any other information people put online. All of it leaves behind a trail of personal information about ourselves that can be made available to others online. Some people are very active online. They share their name, photos, videos, and other personal information online. An example would be Alec Couros. He’s very comfortable having this information publicly available online, but at the same time he’s very savvy with how to shares this information, and the implications of doing so.

My digital footprint is there, but it’s not as public as most people’s. I use variations of my name for some social media sites. If I google my name, Susan Waldners show up, but none of them are me, more than likely because I spell my name Suzan Waldner on Facebook. I didn’t find any photos of myself when I did a google search, using both spellings.

I don’t want to avoid people finding my digital footprint. I’m just generally not the type of person that posts a lot of photos of myself, friends, or family online. I also don’t broadcast my every move. It’s simply not me. But I completely understand people who do.

It is very important to teach children about their digital footprint. That everything they post online, no matter where, can become public information. Take Snapchat for example. You can take a video/picture and send it to a friend, and control how long he/she can look at it. After that the picture disappears. Seems safe. Reality? No. The person you send it to can take a screenshot of the photo, and it’ll be on their phone for as long as they want. They could even pass it out to other people, if they wanted to.

I do not want to discourage anybody from creating a digital footprint.We all have a digital footprint, we should just make sure it’s what we want it to be. Social media can be a great platform to allow the world to hear your voice. People share thoughts and ideas, as well as comment on articles and ideas that are important to them. The main this is that we stand behind our words. We may choose pseudonyms for things we don’t want to become a part of our footprint, but we have to keep in mind everything can be traced back to us. We are still legally responsible for our actions. We should try to be the same person online that we are offline. We should uphold our integrity, values, and always treat everybody with respect.

Tech Task #4

Dan Meyer is an Edublogger that I have been following for over a month now. I came across this blog as I was scrolling through some of the Ed twitter people I follow. He used to be a high school math teacher, that taught students who do not like math, this is what caught my attention. He’s advocated for better math instruction on CNN, Good Morning America, Everyday With Rachel Ray and Ted.com. “I sell a product to a market that doesn’t want it, but is forced by law to buy it.” Dan Meyer on teaching high school math.

Every math teacher should follow Dan Meyer’s blog. I’ve only been following it since the beginning of the year and I’ve already gained new insights on how to teach math, and at the same time make it engaging for ALL students, not just the A++ students.

Through Dan Meyer’s blog I have been introduced to Desmos – a collection of unique and engaging digital math activities, which are FREE for teachers and students. It also includes a great interactive graphing calculator. I can’t wait to fully explore this resource when I teach middle years/high school math!

In some of his blogs he also takes some common math problems and changes them to make them more engaging, creative, and understandable for all math learners. He shows a math problem that seem difficult, but actually requires NO mathematical thinking. Some students have quickly realized that given an equation, they can simply insert the given numbers and spit out an answer. They have no idea what they even did. Dan Meyers challenges the A++ students, and at the same time, empowers the students who feel disadvantaged. This is a great example of this kind of blogpost.

If you find any of these 5 symptoms in your math students, you need Dan Meyers!

  • Lack of initiative
  • Lack of perseverance
  • Lack of retention
  • Aversion to word problems
  • Eagerness for formula

He encourages math teachers to

  • Use multimedia
  • Encourage student intuition
  • Ask the shortest question you can
  • Let students build the problem
  • and be less helpful

Good Luck!

Week 4

This week’s blog will be a little different than most. Rather than an outline of our 2 classes, I’ll just share snippets of information. (Gotta switch it up a little)

Digital Citizenship/Digital Literacy. “There is no going back. We live in a connected, wired world. Students need to be taught how to engage those connections, collaborate, and communicate globally in a fluent and skillful way.” Literacy is more than reading and writing in today’s world.

“Access to many media empowers only those who know how to use them. We need to go beyond skills and technologies. We need to think in terms of literacies. And we need to expand our thinking of digital skills or information literacies to include social media literacies.” These include: attention, participation, collaboration, network awareness, and critical consumption.

Creepy Tree house. This is a term used to define adults who create online accounts and websites that their students tend to avoid. My social media accounts are clean. I do not have any photos or posts I would be uncomfortable sharing with anybody. I do not post excessively. I do not share my political views. In saying that, I would not add any of my students to my account. I would definitely not send them a friend request, nor would I accept one. At BU I have had some of my professors add me as a friend, and even that made me feel uncomfortable. It’s worse to decline it, so I generally just accept them. We’re adults. It’s different.

John Evans – “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”

“If I die, I hope it’s during an in-service because the transition to death would be so subtle.” Fortunately, John Evan’s presentation was not like most in-services. It was short and informative.

16_domo_data-never-sleeps-4
Source: https://www.domo.com/blog/data-never-sleeps-4-0/

I found these statistics mind boggling. I always do.

If you want to know more about John Evans, check out his website. He has some pretty amazing resources on there!