What I Learned in Ed Tech

We had our last Ed tech class this week and as I start to reflect on the past twelve weeks I realize how much I have learned.

I can now use SMART notebook effectively to create lessons, presentations and assignments.  I enjoy notebook, because  it is easy to use and has many different tools to help enhance a simple lesson. I would say my favorite tool is either SMART lab or the screen capture tool. SMART Lab is an interactive system within notebook, it has a few different platforms that allows you to create activities for the lesson. I enjoy the screen capture tool for SMART notebook but also because it lets me save it to other places or programs. I will definitely be using SMART notebook in my classroom with the tools I have learned in Ed tech.

I am now familiar with various interactive systems that allow me to create fun activities for students. I can also recognize which systems are better on handheld or desktop. I used a lot of different interactive systems this semester but my favorite ones were Plickers, Socrative and Quizlet live. I really understand how much fun these systems can bring to a lesson whether that be through teamwork or just plain fun, interactive systems can truly bring a class to life.

I have several professional social media accounts that I will continue to use during my career. I had never used Twitter before this course so when we started using it I was wondered if I was even doing it right. What is a tweet? How do you Retweet? I did not get it and I certainly did not understand it’s importance in the education department. However now I can say I know what a “tweet” is and I value it’s place in the education world. I had used Pinterest but only for personal use, now I use it only for educational use. The ideas for education are endless on this site. I now have a YouTube channel and I know how to operate it which is surprising for me. I barely used YouTube prior to this class but now I have four videos that I created myself! YouTube is a great space for students to explore CrashCourse, or TED talk videos if they are struggling in a subject.

I can use various apps that will enhance future lessons or learning. I can also use those apps or interactive systems to assess students fairly. Most of these systems had great assessment features that were easy to navigate through.

This class helped me learn how to integrate technology into the classroom in a way that will benefit students. This is a skill I will take to my future classroom. It really helped me learn about teaching, unlike my other classes where I’am writing papers and doing projects unrelated to teaching. In each class we learned about a different tool to use in the classroom, which I greatly appreciated.

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When I entered this class I knew of some ways to use technology in the class but that was only from observation in practicums. Now that I’am done I feel more prepared. I feel as though I could make a lesson plan and enhance it with technology.  That was something I could not have been able to do without this class. My “aha moment” was probably when I learned about Twitter. Like I said I knew it existed but I thought it was just for celebrities or sports. However, I have seen a different side to twitter. There are lots of teachers that tweet about their classrooms and education websites that tweet about the latest happenings in ed. I do not think I had a hard time with any of these tools, but perhaps the hardest was the Hour of Code. This was hard but it did not take long to figure out, I talked to my teacher about this and she said it will be easier in classrooms because they would have had lessons leading up to it. This makes sense, and this will be how I will be teaching my students about coding.

I’m not scared or worried about the future of technology in the classroom. I’am excited for it, technology is not going away any time soon and rather than ignore it we should be embracing it. I remember being in high school and cell phones were treated like forbidden fruit. If you were even seen with it, it was immediately taken away. However, it seems times have changed and students are encouraged to use their cell phones to facilitate learning. I’am happy about this change, I believe it is a step in the right direction.

All in all Technology has its place in the classroom and it will have a valued place in my classroom. I’am thankful for what this class has taught me and I will share it with my future students and colleagues.

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Digital citizenship is everywhere

In my educational technology class this week we discussed digital citizenship. Whose responsibility is it? What is it? Where is it? Well to test how well college students are with this our teacher made us take part in a quiz.

This quiz had us go on different sites and answer questions that pertained to the site. These were simple questions that just made us search on the site we were sent to. I think I speak for most of us when I say that we felt stupid after this quiz was over. One of the questions was “what are the side effects of dihydro-den monoxide ?” most of us were not even aware that we were being asked “what are the side effects of water?” Another example was the question “who is the president of Molossia?” most of us thought this was a place. Nope, it was just some crazy guys back yard.

This taught me that we are not always aware of what we are looking at online even if we think we are. Some of us used the excuse that “well it was a race, I was so caught up in that”. Our teacher brought up a good point that even though that may be true sometimes we are so caught up in submitting a late paper that we use false information. We were being bad digital citizens and not being aware of what we were doing online. This was easy to do and that scares me.  This activity is exactly why we need to teach students digital citizenship.

Another place we should be digital citizens is on social media. When I started my education program, in one of my very first lectures my professor told me to clean up our social media sites. This is because parents, students and future employers will be looking at them. I did do this, I deleted pictures and statuses that I would not be comfortable with them seeing. I still am careful about what I post about and do on social media, however I’m still not overly sure I want them looking at it in general. I know they will be one day though, so I should be taking more steps to insure it’s appropriate just in case. This would be things like privacy settings, being extra careful what I comment on or share. As future teachers we need to be super careful with what we put on our social media. I will be more cautious with what I put online. After all when the Superintendent asks me “what social media I’am on and what it says about me?” I want it to be positive. Social media can be used in positive ways it just also needs to be used with caution.

All in all digital citizenship is a skill we should all learn, especially as professional teachers. We will need to teach our students how to act and present themselves online so it only seems right that we know how as well.

 

Are we creators or consumers?

This week in Ed tech we discussed the difference between consuming a product or creating a product. We went through the top 50 educational apps and as a group decided which category they fell into. We were then encouraged to pick an app and create a product.

I used the Stop Motion video app, which can be found on the App Store!

This app made making a stop motion video fast and simple. It step up the whole system for you, all you had to do was snap the pictures and move the objects. This app also allows you to add music and sound effects to your video. This was a very basic app, because although it allowed you to do many things you also had to pay for many things. For example, they had one theme (this would have allowed me to have a filter on my video) and it was not a very good one, if i wanted a better one I had to pay for it. As I said before, there is an option for sound effects however if you also want music you have to pick between the two. The music will drown out the sound effects. However there is another issue with the music. This app encourages you to use your iTunes library and when I went to add music from there it said “Oops not supported”. This was frustrating! I ended up having to play the music from another device and record it with the “voice over” option. The end product was well done and I enjoyed how easy the app was. It would just have been a lot nicer if some features were more cooperative.

I could definitely see this app being used in classrooms. This would be a creative way for students to do projects. Perhaps they could create a stop motion video instead of a book report or a power-point. This app is accessible on phones and tablets so it can be used on various devices. Students would have a lot of fun with this app, even if they just wanted to use it for an art piece. The features provided with the free versions allow some creativity, although for some children it could be limited. I would use this in my future classroom, I just hope that the free version gets an upgrade. All in all this was a basic and easy to use app that got the job done without any fancy distractions. I would recommend using this app for your stop motion needs. Although, if you are looking to be a bit more creative another app may better!

Here is my finished product, I hope you enjoy the choreography I created it myself!

 

As I reflect on the main lesson this week, I believe we are all consumers and creators. We all definitely seem to consume more than create. However we have the tools to create products like this and it is fun to do.

 

Out of all the ways to assess interactive systems are the best!

In the last two weeks we have been testing different interactive systems in my education technology class. This has really got me thinking about my future classroom and which of these systems I would like to use. While each of these systems had their strengths they equally had their weaknesses. We were encouraged to try each of these systems out as students and then as teachers to get a proper feel for their ins and outs.

  1. The best and worst as a student.  

I really enjoyed Quizlet live, as students we got to play in groups and compete against other classmates. This was very easy to access as well, all we had to do was go to Quizlet live, wait for the join code and put our names in. We were sorted into groups that showed up on the SMARTboard but on or devices we were sorted a bit differently.  We were sorted into groups by countries, and once we had found our  group members we were able to play. The question would show up on everyone’s device but we each had different answers. We had to work together to not only figure out the answer but find whose phone it was on.  This was a race and I liked that not only because it added a little kick to the activity but also because it made us work together.  I think most of us used handhelds for this system but I did see some students using desktops and the format looked generally the same. I really enjoyed how fast this system was at moving from one question to another. The topic for this activity was geography were sorted into countries it was a nice touch. There were no distracting elements in this system, the format was very clean and straightforward. All in all this was a very straightforward system that got the job done in a cooperative way. It also made for a competition that got some us going, I was one of them…oops.

I disliked Breakout Edu. I know that you’re probably thinking how is that possible but I honestly did not enjoy this as a student. It was easy access for us all we had to do was click on a link and we were immediately  brought to the page. However I found it very confusing on what we had to do. I understood that there were different codes and passwords we had to find but it was not very straightforward as where we had to go for them and which words were the passwords. I myself felt lost and confused, I can see students in schools not understanding what to do and becoming frustrated. This system was used on desktops and I think if it was used on a handheld the format would be too small for viewing. Although from my understanding this system has a physical breakout kit which I may have liked more.

  1. Best and worst as a teacher.

My favorite system as a teacher was Plickers, I got to use this as a teacher in class and it was pretty interesting. The questions showed up on the board and we each had a piece of digital paper.  These pieces of paper had letters that corresponded with answers on the board and scan codes for the teacher. If you thought the answer was A then you would hold your paper up so that A was on top. The teacher could then walk around the room and scan the code with an iPad and the answers were recorded. This was such a unique way to test students on their knowledge. It was easy access, just hand out the Plickers with assigned names on the back and then open the Plickers app on your account and start scanning. You do need an account for this system along with the Plicker cards themselves and you must create the class before hand. The teacher account lets you see individually how each student answered after the scanning process which is a nice feature. It makes it easy to see which students are understanding the material and who is not. This was just a nice alternative to the usual “enter this code and use your device to answer the question” kind of systems. I can definitely see myself using Plickers in my future classroom.

As a teacher I disliked using Poll Everywhere.  I know that this system is used in a lot of classrooms these days and is used as a quick method of understanding. However my reasoning for disliking it are very simple. This system does not allow for a lot of modification, it allows you to create a question with answers and add pictures. That is it. Poll everywhere also only lets you create on question at a time which makes it hard on the teacher to create a quiz or a survey that is more than one question long. It also lacks modifications as I have previously stated, all I was able to do was add a picture. Another reason was that these polls all look generally the same, and too simple. My Poll was directed at Grade ones who enjoy big pictures and words, this system made it had to do that.  You need to create an account on this system and need to create questions beforehand. This is a join code system which means you unfortunately  cannot see individual answers. My third reason for not liking this system was that it is not a very creative way to check for understanding. I think compared to plickers students would enjoy plickers more because it is something different.

  1. Best and worst for flexibility  

The best for flexibility for me would be Socrative. This system has many different platforms for assessment. They have two categories: quick answers and interactive answers. In the quick answers you can simply ask students a true/false, multiple choice, or short answer question. In interactive answers you can launch quizzes, space races and exit tickets. The space race is a personal favorite of mine it allows students to race against time while answering their questions accurately as a team. This system allows teachers to add in an explanation when an answer is selected to inform them why it is the right or wrong answer. Since this is a code to device system students do not have to be in the classroom to answer these questions. Teachers can simply add questions to their quizzes if they need to. The worst for flexibility would be Padlet. Although this is great to display answers on the board it does not allow for variation in platforms. You cannot make quizzes or games on this system which makes it hard for student collaboration. This is a system that lacks variety in assessment, it only allows you to ask a question and modify the way it shows up on the board. This system would be a lot better if it had more flexibility, maybe if they added a quiz option or a drawing answer it would be better.

  1. Best and worst for feedback.

I know I’ve mentioned this system before but I really cannot empathize enough how awesome it is! Plickers is also great for feedback. This system allows teachers to instantly see their students answers. When teachers scan the Plickers the students hold up it either lights up green or red. This is an system that gives teachers feedback in a matter of seconds. This allows for a completely separate viewing screen for teachers and for students. When you scan over the students answers it tells them on the smart board that their answer has been recorded. Teachers can also view answers after the scanning process. The worst for feedback would be Pear Deck, unfortunately you cannot see students answers individually because it is just a join code and does not require students to put in their names. It makes it hard to assess these students when the answers are anonymous. There is no separate viewing page for the teacher.

 

Overall, my top three systems would be Plickers, Kahoot and Socrative. I like these systems because they are unique, flexible and collaborative. Like I have said before I can see myself using Plickers in my future classroom. I can envision this because it seems much easier than getting students to pull out their devices, log in and answer questions. All they have to do with Plickers is hold up their answer while I do all the rest. I like Kahoot because it encourages collaboration among students.  It allows students to get some blood flowing and think against the clock. Lastly I can see myself using Socrative because it is flexible for different types of assessment. It was a fun week in Ed tech, it helped us as future teachers think about using technology in the classroom in many different ways.

 

 

 

 

Should teachers blog?

Teachers lead extremely busy lives, they teach from roughly 8am till about 3pm, stay late to mark or create lessons and then go home to start it all over again the next day. So when exactly do they have time to blog? Why would they if they barely have time to do anything else besides teaching? Well the answer is quite simple really. It helps exercise the brain. It allows educators to think critically about their day and gives them a chance to express their thoughts. Teachers can also use blogs to share idea’s with parents, students and even other teachers!

In general Teacher Blogs are all about sharing classroom experiences. Some blogs are more student focused which means they allow students to add their work. Other blogs are just personal to the teacher with no contribution from the students. However there are some teachers that do both, they share student videos or photos while still keeping it a personal blog. I personally think it would be more interactive if students could see and share their ideas with their teacher/peers through blogging.

After doing some research I have found my top three blogs that I would recommend anyone to follow.

#1 Edutopia

This has got to be my favorite teacher resource! This website is a collaboration of blogs, posts and more by millions of teachers. If you ever are stuck on how to teach a lesson or even just need help with a troubled student. I’am positive that this website will be able to help you. Every teacher should be following this website for the latest trends, topics and events happening in schools everywhere. This website has three titles, Topics, Video’s and Community. In the “Topic” section you can find resources that can help teachers implement various learning techniques in the classroom. The “Video’s” section is evidence of these learning techniques working. “Community” is a space where teachers can communicate and share thoughts/ideas.

#2 Miss Cassidy’s Classroom 

Miss Cassidy’s Classroom blog is a very close second to Edutopia. Miss Cassidy is very dedicated to her blog, she has a page for each student in her classroom! She clearly cares about blogging and spends a lot of time doing it. The fact that she has a page for each student is really helpful when it comes to parents. Parents can go to this blog and see how their child is progressing without having to directly talk to Miss Cassidy herself.  These separate pages are also beneficial for the students, it seems they are made by the students themselves! This encourages collaboration between students because they can see each-others work. Miss Cassidy really thought about the benefits her students can gain from a blog when she made it which I think is pretty progressive.

#3 Toronto Teacher Mom 

Diana blogs about everything it seems. She includes her personal life, controversial topics, supply deals and healthy living.  In her newest post she talks about a movie that is about to be released in theaters. This has nothing to do with her life as an educator but about her life as a mom. I liked this because she can connect with other teachers on this level. I’m sure most teachers have families and a blog like this would help them plan events with their children. The Toronto teacher mom in her “Back to School” section makes teachers aware of current sales at stores like staples or Walmart. This teacher seems to include everything in her blog which I enjoyed, it was different than the typical teacher blog.

There are so many blogs online and while these are the top three in my opinion there are so many to pick from.

 

 

 

 

 

Technology and Education

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It is apparent that classrooms are becoming more digital, which leads educators to generate an opinion on the matter. In my personal opinion I enjoy technology and have seen the benefits it has to offer. For example I have worked with Autistic students who have depended on devices to communicate with other classmates and their teacher. I fully believe that technology has a valued place in the classroom. If students are going to have devices in the classroom, teachers should be using that to their advantage.

These devices can be used in lesson planning, especially in the department of assessment.  There are apps that allow teachers to set up class quizzes/tests where students select an answer on their device and the teacher can view the results. The possibilities are endless when it comes to educational apps, for example,  blogs, podcasts, QR codes and many more. The use of these devices in some of the ways listed above can encourage engagement and collaborative learning.

However expense poses as an issue for technology in schools, some students cannot afford to have their own devices which can make it harder to have everyone participating. Although some schools are starting to provide students with on campus devices which can be a solution to the problem.

When teacher’s say technology is too time consuming I tend to sit on the fence, because many of those teachers have updated blogs that take up time. However they enjoy writing them because they see the benefits in it. If that is true about teachers, then we should be able to also see the benefits it has on our students.

In the BYOD article written by Alberta Education, the idea of Bringing Your Own Devices to the classroom is discussed. The concept requires students to bring their personal device to the classroom for the “sole purpose of learning”. This can include smartphones, laptops, tablets and iPad’s. This article goes on to discuss the benefits this can have in the classroom a few of those are  familiarity, easy access, and knowledge. Students are already familiar with the devices they are bringing to school. These devices can be taken home which gives them access to work in the evenings. They can find information quickly for assignments. I completely agree with BYOD in the classroom, it can really give the students an advantage.

Digital Citizenship is a term that is more utilized than say ten years ago. This phrase is defined as being appropriate and responsible on the internet. Students are spending more time online and digital citizenship insures they are using it properly.  In the Alberta school system, students are encouraged to use this time online to increase their knowledge. Students are also made aware of the risks being online can cause, such as cyber bullying. This is an important concept to teach to our students, so many students have access to a personal device and it can be easy to forget things like self respect and kindness.

In my opinion technology belongs in the classroom.  It can bring about many benefits for students. I have seen technology be very successful in education and it leaves me feeling very confident that it helps our students learn.