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.

Week Six

This week we continued to explore different resources for digital storytelling…

For our tech task this week, we needed to come ready with at least 10 photos. Dr. Nantais then introduced us to Animoto, which is a video creation service that allows you to make video slideshows using a selection of your own photos. It was very simple to use and the result is a really professional video. This tool would allow you to make an engaging end-of-year video slideshow for your students that you could either send to parents, or upload to a classroom blog.  Our children spend so much of their lives at school, being able to capture and share photos of them with their families is definitely something I will do for my own students. I know as a parent, I would appreciate this so much.

We also took a look at Windows Movie Maker and iMovie which are two video editing software applications. These tools are user friendly and make it easy to edit and produce movies. You can add titles, music and visual effects to enhance them as well. From a early years perspective, I think only myself as the teacher would be able to use this technology. But in a middle or senior years classroom, movie making applications offer another creative alternative for students to demonstrate their learning.

Dr. Nantais gives these ideas for ways to use movie making applications in the classroom:

  • create full length movies – including writing the script, shooting, editing, and final production
  • newscasts (for school or local Access TV
  • stop motion movies
  • reenactments of historical events
  • safety videos, or videos with an important message
  • write skits or plays and record them

(taken from Moodle)

This week, we also finished reading Kathy Cassidy’s book Connected from the Start. In it, she gave a lot of useful information and resources for us to consider as we plan for our own classroom program. I also recently stumbled upon another blogger named Matt Miller. He has an awesome website called  Ditch That Textbook, and offers his e-book for free. Even if you aren’t convinced to incorporate technology in the way that Kathy Cassidy, or Matt Miller has, I do think it’s helpful to see how it can done by real classroom teachers.

Week Five

To kick off the week, we did a pop quiz using a web based game on the website, Kahoot. It was actually pretty fun to take part in! Kahoot allows you to create multiple choice questions in any subject for the whole class to answer on their own device or computers. This activity would be an excellent way to quickly assess your students understanding on any given topic.

For the remainder of the week, we explored digital storytelling which is  the use of  tools to share a story, or message. We are in a era where digital storytelling has become a very powerful medium because it involves the use of many different formats that can enhance the experience of the viewer, and anyone can create and share a digital story with relative ease.

Some of the formats to create a digital story include:

  • Slideshows
  • Digital pictures
  • Animation
  • Video
  • Digital books
  • Audio
  • Podcast

(this list was taken from Dr. Nantais’s Multimedia in the Classroom!  Prezi slideshow that he used to introduce digital storytelling)

Our tech task this week was to find an image to express what ‘learning is…’ Dr. Nantais directed us to  Compfight to find an image that we can freely use under a Creative Commons license. We then used the web app Pixlr to add text over our chosen image.

This was a quick and easy task, and produced a visually pleasing final product. I think it could be a really effective assignment to use for older students who are learning about metaphors and imagery in an ELA class.

Check out my final product:

Adrianne Rome .jpg

Tip: Another great site to do this type of photo editing is Canva, which is a graphic art and image editing app. It is modern, very user friendly, and simple to use.

Week Four

In my last post, I had indicated that I was warming up to the idea of using an e-Portfolio for myself, but also for my future students. Coincidentally, in Chapter 5 of the text we are required to read for class, the author, Kathy Cassidy, discusses her rationale for using a digital portfolio with her elementary students. She provides links to many of the resources she uses that allow her students to share their learning in their portfolio. However, I still remain on the fence as to whether this is something I want to do in my own classroom. There is no question that I think a student portfolio is essential for sharing a student’s work as well as their achievements throughout the school year, but to commit to doing this in a digital format is something that still overwhelms me. I can certainly appreciate that Kathy is able to do this successfully in her classroom, but I feel as though being new teacher, I  would first want to get a handle on more traditional ways of creating a student portfolio before taking the leap to creating them digitally. I realize 💯 that literacy using ICT is very important in a child’s learning, but at this point, I would incorporate technology in my own classroom in a much more conservative way.

For my elective this term, I chose Multi-Level Classroom Management. Our teacher, Devon Caldwell is pretty amazing and has shared so many tech resources with us. She uses a lot of ICT in her classroom practice, not only with us, but with her Kindergarten students as well. Between our ICT class with Dr. Nantais, and Ms. Caldwell’s, I have learned of so many awesome resources to use in my own teaching practice. Before this term, I would have considered myself ICT illiterate and really didn’t have much to offer in my first teaching placement in terms of incorporating ICT in any of my lesson plans. Now I’m looking forward to lesson planning for my next placement using some of the ideas I’ve got from Dr. Nantais, Kathy Cassidy’s book, and Devon Caldwell to enhance my planning.

Here is a link to Devon’s website as well as her blog that may be useful for you, too!

Week Three

This week in ICT began with guest speaker, John Finch, who is the coordinator for the Learning Support and Technology Unit with Manitoba Education. He came to scare us speak with us about copyright law in Canada and how it affects us as teachers.

What I learned:

It is our role and responsibility to adhere to the copyright laws that dictate everything from how we display our students’ artwork, to the resources we are able to use in our classrooms. Mr. Finch’s talk was eye opening for me with regards to just how stringent copyright laws actually are. However, I do understand that, as teachers, we must be aware of and respect copyright laws in order to avoid infringing on them.

Mr. Finch left us with the booklet, Copyright Matters, which outlines some questions and answers for teachers with regards to the Canadian Copyright Act.

This week we also began talking about creating a professional web presence. e-Portfolios are a great resource for myself as a teacher candidate to showcase my skills and express myself as an individual. In addition to a regular portfolio, an e-portfolio will provide an opportunity to share things with a potential employer that I may not otherwise be able to express in an interview. I think this is an especially useful resource because it allows the potential employer to recall information about you without having to request to see your portfolio again. By sharing your e-Portfolio link, they can access your information at any time. As teachers, our resumes and personal profiles are living documents. We are constantly enhancing our learning through further education and professional development workshops that offer new insights, which may even alter or personal philosophies of teaching. In this sense, e-Portfolios are an efficient way to edit, update and share our professional evolution.

Dr. Nantais shared several web platforms that we can choose from to create our e-Portfilios which I’ll share below ⇩

Weebly
Wix
Yola
Google Sites

Personally, I’m leaning towards using Weebly to create a personal website. This way, I’ll be able to create a modern, visually appealing place to organize and share my portfolio. I think one of the most surprising things I learned this week is that it actually isn’t that hard to create a good website and the idea is something I’m really warming up to, not only for myself, but also as a tool for my future students.

Week Two

This week in ICT we explored many online tools for content curation. Basically, curation is sorting and storing web based content and organizing it in a way that is useful to you. If you’re like me, you probably hadn’t heard of content curation before and actually might even be curating without knowing it! Pinterest is a great example of how curation works, and is probably one of the most popular curation tools that the web has to offer. Users are able to search for content, save the links and organize them in their online pin board. I know for myself, it’s been an excellent resource to find lesson resources and classroom organization ideas.

Here are some additional curation tools that we were introduced to in class:

Feedly
Symbaloo
Evernote
Diigo

Symbaloo was my personal favourite from this list. Not only is it visually appealing, but you can actually use http://www.edu.symbaloo.com and http://www.lessonplans.symbaloo.com to search and store education and teaching resources. The Symbaloo website can also be used as your home screen for navigate and access popular resources for yourself, and perhaps even your students to use on a classroom computer.

We were also introduced to Google Forms , another amazing resource that Google provides. I had to “Google” Google forms to find out what it actually is. Here’s what I found: “You can plan events, make a survey or poll, give students a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way with Google Forms. You can create a formfrom Google Drive or from an existing spreadsheet that can record the responses to your form”. So there you have it. It is an awesome, interactive way to involve your students, young and old.

Week One

While I am not a “tech” person, I do recognize the important role that it has in the 21st century and that it does have a place in early childhood education, not only to facilitate learning but also to prepare students for life in the “real world”. I am anxious to learn about strategies and resources for incorporating ICT into my classroom that will enhance my teaching and student learning.

So far, we’ve been introduced to several resources that we’ve had the opportunity to use. Listed below is a description of these resources which include; Padlet, Google+, Wordle, Tagxedo, Blogger and WordPress.

Padlet

Padlet (www.padlet.com) is like an online bulletin board where students can go to answer questions, ask questions, express their thoughts or share various content. In class, we used Padlet as an admit slip to answer several questions. In this case, it was used as an introductory activity to share some details about ourselves.

Using Padlet for admit or exit slips can also be used as a great way to recap a daily lesson as well as assess student understanding. By having the option of posting anonymously, students wouldn’t have to “put themselves out there” which would allow myself as a teacher to better help those students. Another great activation strategy that Padlet would be ideal for is the KWL strategy. In the early years classroom, I might be the one in charge of posting what students know, want to know and learned about a topic. However, in a middle or early years, they could do this independently.

Google+

Google+ is another social media platform that enables users to communicate and share information and connect based on particular topics of interest. I think this is a great resource for older students to communicate and share information with classmates.

Tagxedo & Wordle

Both of these sites, http://www.tagxedo.com and http://www.wordle.com, allow you to create word clouds with the text you choose. You can get creative by choosing your own layout, font, and colours. I actually already had to opportunity to use a word cloud that I created on Tagxedo in my Evaluation and Assessment course. I used a word cloud as an activation strategy to introduce several new terms from a case study review before discussing them with group members. Word clouds would also be a great introductory activity for students.

Blogger & WordPress

Both http://www.blogger.com and http://www.wordpress.com are sites that allow anyone to create and publish their own blogs. As you can see, I chose to go with blogger because (from the limited experience I have with both sites) it seemed the most simple and user friendly. However, I do want more time to explore WordPress because it appears as though you can get a little bit more creative with the blog layout. In terms of blogging for teaching, keeping a class blog is an interactive way for teachers to stay in touch with parents and to allow them a peek inside the classroom each week.