Week Nine – The Final Post

The other day, my mom mentioned that her friend, who has been a teacher for 25 years, has decided to retire. She’s still an active and vibrant 50 something woman, and still loves teaching. When my mom asked her why she’d decided to retire now, she replied “teaching is changing, they are starting to use so much more technology and I don’t have the energy to keep up, or learn new things at this point in my career”. This really struck me – it’s clear that my mom’s friend feels like she’s stretching to keep up with those who have embraced using technology in their classroom. I can sort of relate… Before this course, I really hadn’t given much thought to using technology in the classroom and I didn’t really want to! I assumed it would be a burden, and just another new ‘thing’ I would have to make time to learn about. Needless to say, I was a little bit reluctant to take Using ICT in Education. But as the course went on, I found myself more and more interested in what we were learning about from Dr. Nantais and through reading Kathy Cassidy’s book, Connected From the Start. I now feel that I cannot close the door on using technology in my classroom. I would even go so far as to say that I  don’t think teachers should have an option not to use technology anymore. I know that is a bold statement, especially coming from someone who had zero plans to integrate technology into my classroom program and bordered on being “tech illiterate” before this course. I’m not saying that I think teachers somehow need to get their classrooms outfitted with iPads or that you have to find a classroom somewhere in New Zealand to Skype with, but I personally think that I would be doing my students a disservice if I didn’t give use technology in my classroom, or at least give them some choice to use it. We’ve heard a lot throughout the education program that children need culturally relevant authentic learning experiences, etc., etc. Well I can’t think of anything more culturally relevant today than using technology! We all use it in some form or another, and most of us rely on it. I’m still not sure how I will integrate technology, or to what extent but I know that it’s something I need to incorporate somehow. I liked Kathy Cassidy’s advice, which is to “start with just one thing”–after nine weeks in Using ICT,  we’ve learned lots of “things”, so I’ve got a lot to choose from!

Thank you for great nine weeks or learning Dr. Nantais!

There are a couple of last things I want to share…

Usually if I’m surfing the internet for education blogs, it hasn’t really got anything to do with ICT, but now I find myself going so much deeper into the blogosphere searching for teachers who are talking tech. You can find so many helpful ideas, links and resources. The latest blogger I came across is Erintegration. She shares so many creative ideas for using technology in the classroom. On her blog, I found a resource that I think is worth sharing called Homeroom. It’s like Instagram, but it’s private and you only connect with the parents of the classroom. I like the idea of this because our phones are so accessible, we can be taking photos and sharing snippets of what’s going on in our classroom rather than having to maintain a blog. It’s also great because it can be accessed on a computer, iPad or phone–whatever parents prefer.

Through my online travels, I also found this site called BloomBoard — it’s basically a website that is all things Education. Other Educator’s use it to make ‘collections’ to share resources and strategies for teachers and learners. It’s like Pinterest, but it only links to other articles. The collection I wanted to share on here is called Making Peace with Technology and it provides links to a ton of other ICT resources and tools.

Week Eight

I have to start this post off by talking about what we did at the end of this week in ICT…

At the beginning of the semester, Dr. Nantais gave an overview of what we would be learning throughout the course and mentioned that we’d be using robots at some point during the semester. At the time, the thought of using robots didn’t really interest me at all–I now know that I just had an outdated idea of what robots were 🤖 However, on Wednesday and Thursday, we were introduced to Sphero by fellow education student, Eleni Galatsanou. After the first day, I went home and told my husband how much fun I had, and  that I think we really need to buy one for our kids (more like for myself).

I don’t know a lot about computer sciences, but Eleni gave an excellent presentation about computer programming, coding and using Sphero. She directed us to several resources and lesson ideas for using it in our classrooms.

One of the resources Eleni gave us was Hour of Code . They offer several tutorials and activities for children of all ages on their website. I have heard of other teachers doing this, and I think for anyone beginning to think about implementing computer science into their teaching program, this is a great place to start.

Earlier in the week, Dr. Nantais showed us Storybird. This is a web based platform where you can create stories using images that are made available by other illustrators. I really liked this resource. I think it would be such an awesome way to introduce students to the writing process. In an early years classroom, you could use ‘storybird time’ in small groups or with the whole class. This could be a class project that you can publish and put in the school library. There is so much potential with this resource! Digital storytelling is a powerful way of encouraging students to share and create their learning. It gets them excited in their learning, and I think will allow them to be more engaged.

I came across the graphic below on Pinterest. It lists several tech tools (some of which Dr. Nantais has already shared with us), but I like how each of the tools are organized according to task. The woman who created the image, also has a blog called Cult of Pedagogy . I really encourage you to check it out. On the blog, she shares an extensive list of tech resources as well as her rationale for using them in the classroom. I learn so much from reading other educators blogs. It’s so helpful for me to see what other teachers are actually doing in their classrooms and how they implement certain strategies, especially if I am unfamiliar with them, or uncertain about how I could use them in my own teaching.

Cult of Pedagogy.png

Week Seven

This week in ICT was dedicated to creating a film using video editing software. Working together in a group, we started off by coming up with the idea for our video which was  “a day in the life of a student” (a popular choice, I gather). We decided that we would shoot our own footage with our own devices and then make a mash up of our day by editing it into a 2 minute video. This seemed like a great idea, but when we actually went to upload the video, things became a little bit complicated. Getting all of our video footage on one device became a difficult task — it involved Airdrop, USB’s and e-mail. Eventually, we got all of our footage uploaded one way or another. Given the choice to use Microsoft Movie Maker or iMovie, our group decided to go with iMovie. Considering that myself, nor any of my group members were familiar with iMovie we really thought the editing process was going to be much more difficult than it actually ended up being. But once Dr. Nantais showed us a few tricks, it was smooth sailing after that. By no means are we now experts in video editing, but as a group, we managed to create a cute (and sort of professional looking) little video. In fact, over the weekend, my son was in a hockey tournament, and unfortunately, my husband couldn’t be there to watch him so I made sure to record his games. When I went to send my husband the videos, they were too long  and included footage that my son wasn’t in, so I decided to edit the video to iMovie, and even added some slow-mo for effect! Using iMovie wasn’t so bad after all, and I actually think I’d like to incorporate making videos with my students should the opportunity present itself.