That’s All Folks – Final Blog

Digital Literacy – Last Blog

I think that I have come a long way this semester while working on my blog.  I have read, reflected on, researched, and learned about a lot of different things about technology and education.  I used the Four C’s, communication, creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking while in this class.  I learned to communicate through Twitter with complete strangers and I found friends who I can now converse with through Twitter.  I was able to be creative in a number of ways in this class.  I got the chance to learn how to enhance some of my artwork and photos on the computer.  Through my Independent Learning Project I was also able to work creatively.  Finding new ways to express myself creatively was one of my favorite parts of the class.  I collaborated with my friends and children to learn how to do some of the things technologically, such as creating a Vine.  Lastly, it took a lot of critical thinking to figure out how to do some of these projects and how to write about them.  Many of the things I learned about, I didn’t even realize existed or how they worked.  Some concepts I had heard of, but after researching them and learning to do them I realized they were something else entirely.

Digital Stories, Vines, and DS106 were all very new to me.  It was nice having a teenage son who was able to help me out a bit.  My son being able to help me out also showed me the importance of become somewhat adept at using these tools.  I find that it is important to be able to teach students through different outlets.  Technology is something which students seem to be really interested in and it could make different aspects of teaching fun and exciting for them when using technology in the classroom.

In my posts I tried to write like I was talking to someone, like they were sitting across from me.  I tried to approach it as if I was explaining something I had learned or wanted them to learn.  From the beginning to the end I think that I was fairly consistent in what I wrote and how I wrote my posts.  I did notice a couple of times that my post was a little short.  I looked at the dates on those occasions and noticed that they coincided with busy times.  In the future I need to take more time instead of waiting to get things finished up.

I like my Independent Learning Project, but after going back saw revisions I could have made.  I could revisit my Independent Learning Project posts and elaborate on a lot of the things in which I wrote about.  With my Independent Learning Project I think I could have gone into a lot more detail about some of the different techniques that I use when sewing.  Not only did I research and learn a few new things but I know that I have a lot of useful tricks that I could have shared.  After reading through the posts I see a lot more ideas I could have written about.  In saying all of this the thing I enjoyed the most about my blog posts was doing the Independent Learning Project.  This project pushed me to work on something which I don’t often take time for.  Not because I don’t love doing it but I don’t leave time for myself and this project forced me to do that.

I also really enjoyed learning about DS106 and Digital Storytelling.  When I read the directions for the first time, I thought “oh my gosh how am I ever going to be able to do any of this?”  Through the wonders of technology I figured it out and my teenage son.  I have become more confident in how I use and work on the computer through this class and I hope that is reflected in my use of technology in the classroom.  I now know that there is a tutorial for just about anything I could dream up on the internet.  If I can’t find the right tutorial I could just ask a teenager, it amazes me how much they know.  Not only do they know a lot but it interests them.  This is why you would want to use some of these formats in the classroom.  They are new and fun for kids to use.  I think that this would be something I would potentially use someday in my future classroom.  I also really enjoyed looking at all of the fun ways people have made up their own interpretation of the DS106 directions.  I also liked how open a format the course was.  I can see making up my own version of DS106 for students to come up with projects loosely based on something we were working on in class.  The possibilities are endless.  I became somewhat addicted to watching different peoples Digital Stories.  There were so many to look at that interested me.  You could find a story for all different subject areas, and I really liked that. I found so many different stories which interested me and I could possibly show my students someday as well.

TED Talks have now become something I look to www.ted.com/talk.  I have learned a lot from watching these talks and have learned to find new information through them.  Talking about education doesn’t need to be dull or boring, Ted Talks are a lot of fun to listen to and make learning new concept fun.  Sir Ken Robinson has become one of my favorite educational speakers to listen to.  He was funny, informative, and a joy to watch.  I can see how people would use TED Talks in the classroom.  There is something out there for every subject and every person.  I can see this being used with older students as well as younger students.

I think you could use any of the technological applications I have learned to use this semester in a classroom.  Some of them may just be shown to younger students or paired down but I could still see using any one of them.  Teaching students to be responsible members through technology and the importance of copyright laws was another thing which stuck out in this course.  I have seen people use pictures and ideas that they claim as their own instead of copyrighting them and if we start when students are young and emphasize the importance of copyright they will know better.  As I learn I hope to impart what I have learned on my students.

So yes I have come a long way and learned a lot in this course.  Yes, I still have a long way to go and a lot more to learn.  After all learning is a never-ending journey.  At least now I have learned how to use and how to find new tools to help me in this journey.  With technology always changing I know that there will always be something new for me to learn and perhaps teach my students.  I do know that I now look forward to, instead of cringing, when I think about the fun new things I get to learn with technological advances.

 

 

 

Innovation and Unlearning

I have been an innovative learner and thinker this semester by stepping out of my comfort box.  As I said in my first blog post, I am not a huge technology person.  Do I wish I knew more? Sure, who doesn’t, but I think that I have come a long ways.  I realize I still have a long way to go but I the key is to keep learning.  It is important to me to continue being a lifelong learner.

Innovation in learning to me is applying the best procedures to help students meet their potential.  It is how you work to meet those goals and how you teach those skills.  I had not thought much about how I would use technology in a classroom other than playing educational games and using a Smart or Promethean Board.  This class and my classmates have opened my eyes to a lot of fun creative ways to use technology in the classroom. From the reading the most important concept I took away was Couros’s “The Mindset of an Innovator”  “I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask, “what is best for learners?”.  I feel it will be important to ask myself that even when I get comfortable teaching.  We need to challenge our notions and question our goals so that we keep moving forward.

As far as unlearning, what I have learned is that we must put antiquated notions of what teaching is behind us and move forward.  This includes technology.  Technology is always changing and educators and students alike need to change with it.  Quoting, Richardson’s “The Unlearning Curve”, “There is no curriculum for unlearning, and, of course, in many ways it’s simply learning to see things differently or to at least be open to it.”  The one unlearning concept that I found the most interesting, is that we all learn at our own pace.  I knew this, having worked in a school system, but it is a nice reminder.  I wish that more educators would unlearn this concept.

After taking this class I hope that I can grow at unlearning and being an innovator.  I have a lot of work to do and a long way to go, but I have nothing but time to do that in.  I hope that I can continue to find new, fun, and creative approaches to teaching kids.  This class has sure opened my eyes in that direction.

Independent Learning Project – Wrap Up

Independent Learning Project – Wrap Up

During my Independent Learning Project I have learned quite a few things about myself.  It was nice to have a project which I needed to finish.  I have a whole tote full of unfinished sewing projects, ranging from small to large.  During this class I have had a due date and that kept me working on some of those projects rather than putting them down for another time.  I always say I will finish something when I have more time, but that time doesn’t seem to come around very often.  This class really motivated me to finish my projects.

When this class first started I wasn’t sure what I would get accomplished.  As I stated above I have started projects that I don’t find the time to finish or I grow bored with.  I wasn’t sure I would finish my quilt, much less the other projects I finished.  I am thrilled that I have finished that quilt.  I like the fun colors and design and I’m ready to use it.  The other projects were just icing on the cake.

The best part about my independent project was taking the time for myself and doing something that I really enjoy doing.  Since moving this last fall I still have the majority of my crafting and sewing in totes in my basement.  It was fun to dig through and find some projects to do and organize my sewing room so that I could use it.  Doing these projects has reminded me of how much I enjoy doing my projects and the importance of taking more time to do them.  After all they really didn’t take that much time to finish.

I can see using this concept in the classroom.  The students get to choose what they want to work on so they will most likely be more enthusiastic about it.  I think that letting them choose is great but I would have guidelines which they would have to adhere to.  I would want to be sure they had a project that would be appropriate and have enough substance that they could work on it a while.  Working at your own pace may not be a good idea for younger students.  In the younger grade levels I think it is best if they have due dates with clear objectives they need to meet.

IMG_0670IMG_0988A couple of my favorite projects which I finished this semester.  I am grateful for the motivation I had to get them done.

Online Creation Tools

I had not heard of Piktochart, Canva, or Comic Book/Creation Tools before doing this assignment.  I found that after looking at the examples they gave us that I recognized some of them.   I can see many different fun uses for these different kinds of graphic creations in the classroom.  It would be fun for students to try some of these instead of the same old written assignment.  Technology is always changing and students need to learn how to use it responsibly.  This is a tool which could potentially grow and change and give students the chance to create something neat.  I think that after students had the chance to play with the different applications and with a little guidance they could come up with a lot of very neat projects.

For my project I chose to try out Canva (www.canva.com).  Canva is a free site, but you can purchase different elements if you would like.  They do have enough different free elements or you can download your own pictures and items, that I can’t imagine ever paying for anything.  Canva had a lot of different projects you could choose from.  They had fliers, posters, presentations, and you can make cover photos for other social media forms.  Canva also had online tutorials and teaching materials available.

I chose to make a poster about my independent project.  It wasn’t hard to figure out what I wanted to do.  Each step of the way they guide you through it.  The project is auto saved for you so you don’t lose your work, you could log off and come back at a later time very easily.  The options were endless as far as I was concerned.  If I had any questions there is a help button at the bottom of the page that helped guide me through the process.

I chose two pictures that I used previously from my independent project.  The beginning shot when it was just a pile of fabric and the finished quilt.  Pictures were easily downloaded and sized to fit.  It was a really neat tool to try out.  I can see myself using this in the future.

Stitches In Time

Podcasts and Digital Storytelling

Podcasts and Digital Storytelling

This was the first time I have ever watched a podcast.  I had heard of them before but hadn’t thought much about it.   I wasn’t sure what they were and I certainly hadn’t thought about how they were made or could be used.  I like the idea of using technology to tell a story.  After watching a few of them, I can see how a person could like watching them.

The three I chose to watch were:  I Read Banned Books by Kristina Abshire 2013, Kindertransport: The Unknown Children of the Holocaust by Eliz Markowitz 2013, and Portrait of Dr. Gachet: My Story vs. Van Gogh’s Story by Amy McClurd 2013.  I chose these three because they all had something that interests me personally.  I liked how they gave the author a way to get their point across and preserved history.

In the classroom I can see using this with mainly older students.  I can see older students partnering up or even working individually would work out.  It may help students become more competent with technology.  Students are clearly interested in using technology and making videos and taking pictures of one another so I can see how students would be interested in digital storytelling.  I like the creativity that goes along with a podcast.  Students still have to write, edit and expand on what story they are trying to tell.

If I was to use it with younger students I would use it as something for students to watch and learn from.  Perhaps putting younger students into larger groups and working closely with the teacher to get a podcast made would work.

I think that podcasts could be a good jumping off point for some great conversation and discussion in the classroom.  With a little bit of looking I think that you could find a lot of different lessons which other educators have already made.  With a little bit of effort a teacher could find a lot of podcast which would be relevant to a lot of different areas in the classroom.

Mindful Technology Use – My week at a glance.

What a week in technology looks like for me:

Monday:

  • I check the weather every morning to see how my children should dress for school.
  • I use the net to look at what the week will bring in my 3 online classes.  This totals around 45 minutes for today.
  • I work on homework online.  I look up information and watch a required video.  This takes approximately 1 hour.
  • I check my social media.  I spend approximately 45 minutes doing this.
  • Check my email.  Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Played a game online for approximately 15 minutes.

Tuesday:

  • Check the weather.
  • Check my email.  Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Work on school work.  Approximately 1 hour.
  • Check social media.  Approximately 1 hour.
  • Watch a silly video with my daughter.
  • Played a game online for approximately 15 minutes.

Wednesday – Friday:

  • Check the weather.
  • Check my email.  Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Work on school work.  Approximately 1 hour.
  • Check social media.  Approximately 1 hour.
  • Played a game online for approximately 15 minutes.

Saturday:

  • Check my email.  Approximately 15 minutes.
  • Check social media.  Approximately 10 minutes

Sunday:

  • Homework. Approximately 2 hours.
  • Social media.  Approximately 30 minutes.

So as you can see from my week, I tend to spend most of my time using the net in a fairly responsible manner. There are days I spend way too much time on social media and silly games. I think that is something I need to work on and get the amount of time spent there down. It is really kind of useless. All in all I do believe that I spend most of my time on the net in a useful and mindful manner.