Activity 8.1 — HTML Practice

HTML Practice
The code I created is available at the following link:  https://www.w3schools.com/code/tryit.asp?filename=FWNP3SEBSL6V

What is HTML?

html picAccording to Wikipedia, “HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language for creating a webpage. Webpages are usually viewed in a web browser. They can include writing, links, pictures, and even sound and video. HTML is used to mark and describe each of these kinds of content so the web browser can display them correctly.” 1

What is my experience with HTML?

I have used HTML in the past when working on websites and blogs, however, I am definitely a novice. I usually resort to using HTML when I am looking to manipulate an existing blog or website template in order to get the desired text formatting or overall appearance. In order to manipulate existing HTML code, I usually resort to YouTube tutorials or google forums for help.

HTML Resources Used

  1. Code Academy
  2. w3schools
  3. Hour of Code
  4. Scratch

Some Commonly Used HTML

HTML CODE DESCRIPTION
<h1> – <h6> Headings
<p> Paragraph
<i> Italics
<b> Bold
<a> Anchor
<hr> Horizontal Rule
<ul> & <li> Unordered List and List Item

Take Away

Most of the coding required for the lesson today I found pretty straightforward, although, creating the table was difficult and after an hour fiddling with it, I still don’t have it looking the exact way I would like. Overall, I’m glad that for the majority of my purposes I am able to use website and blog templates and just fiddle with small snippets of the HTML code rather than create from scratch.


“HTML.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Oct. 2018, simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML.

7.3 Make a Mind Map of Your Learning Network

Below is the mind map I created using MindMeister:

In my own teaching, I used mind maps a lot when I taught in the elementary classroom.  I found them a great tool to use in writing, science, and social studies.  I also used them in math as a way for students to demonstrate concepts with pictures, numbers, and words.  Now that I am no longer in the classroom, I see myself using mind maps as I work with teachers to plan for the future.  Specifically, with Alberta putting out new curriculum my colleagues and I are using mind maps as one tool to help teachers plan for implementation.

7.1 Emerging Technologies and You

Although the 2017 Horizon Report focuses on higher education most of their findings are also relevant when discussing technology in both the secondary and elementary environment.  Though, I would argue that elementary and secondary classrooms are even a little ahead of post-secondary when discussing technology in the classroom.  Blended learning environments, which are becoming more and more popular in post-secondary, have been showing in up in both elementary and secondary classrooms a lot over the years.  Students are increasingly able to use technology to not only personalize their learning but also to meet their different learning styles and abilities.  I see this particularly in the numeracy and the literacy environment.  Online tools such as Raz-Kids, Mathletics, Dreambox Learning, and Reading Eggs are tools I see employed in many an elementary classroom that allows teachers to provide resources at each student’s required level and also give students choice in regards to preferred learning style.  At the secondary level, many a classroom teacher is using online tools such as Khan Academy, IXL, and Newsela to do the same thing.  I have also seen a couple of teachers who have created videos of all of their lessons and ask students to watch them prior to class so class time is spent having engaging discussion and critical practice.

As mentioned in the Horizon Report “the pervasiveness of mobile devices is changing the way people interact with content and their surroundings” and this is especially true in the secondary environment (2017, p. 40).  As a secondary teacher, I used the ubiquity of cell phones to my advantage.  On a daily basis, my students were using their mobile devices to access tools such as Quizlet, Remind, QR scanners, and Kahoot.  They were also used to do research, collaborate with their peers, give feedback, and respond to formative assessment.  As personal computers and mobile labs have become more prominent over the last couple of years, students are also expected to become more competent in the use of cloud-based tools.  Students as young as grade 3 are using Google Apps for Education on a regular basis and are also becoming familiar with learning management systems such as Google Classroom.

All of these tools have allowed teachers to take education to further heights.  We are no longer confined to the four walls of our classroom nor the 8-3 timeframe of a school day.  Students are able to easily communicate with their peers and their teachers through a variety of online tools and can easily access information that used to be out of each.  The issue for us as educators is figuring out how to best harness all the technology related tools to create meaningful and pedagogically sound learning experiences for our students.  As mentioned in the Horizon report ” training must go beyond gaining isolated technology skills toward generating a deep understanding of digital environments, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation of content with others” (2017, p. 2).


The New Media Consortium. (2017). NMC Horizon Report 2017: The Higher Ed Edition. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/publication/nmc-horizon-report-2017-higher-education-edition/

 

Assignment 2 — Ethical and Safety Issues

I chose to do Part B of the assignment this week.  I created the following lesson to share with colleagues at a high school in my district.  The lesson plan in is in the gray box below and the presentation is below that.

Lesson: Plagiarism in the 21st Century – A Teacher’s Resource

Objectives:
-Develop and use pedagogically sound strategies and resources to teach students about plagiarism.
-Introduce online tools available to both students and teachers to help prevent and monitor plagiarism in student work.

Essential Questions:
What is Plagiarism?
Why do students plagiarize?
How do students plagiarize?
How do we deal with plagiarism?

ResourcesPlagiarism In the Digital Age Google Slides Presentation

Instructor Notes:
Slide 2  – Discuss essential questions as a group.
Slide 3  – Discuss graphic
Slide 4  – Have group complete the online plagiarism quiz.  Discuss the results.
Slide 5  – Take a look at the hyperlinked student resource guide.
Slides 6-9  – Go through the 4 Teach Them… methods.
Slide 10  – Discuss best practice.  Go to hyperlinked academic honesty policy.
Slide 11  – Show them the post by the Cult of Pedagogy and the lessons provided.
Slides 12-13  – Go through web-based tools teachers can use to check for plagiarism.

6.2 Copyright

I would argue that teachers are some of the highest copyright infringers on the planet.  Every teacher I know has photocopied a book or played an illegally uploaded movie from the internet.  We justify it to ourselves by saying we are doing it to meet the needs of our students.  Whether that is the case or not, the bottom line is we are breaking copyright laws.

In my current role as an adaptive technology coordinator, one of my responsibilities is managing digital texts for students who require accommodations.  In today’s day and age, it’s not as hard finding these resources as it used to be, as most textbook providers include pdf copies of their books when purchased.  The issue becomes ensuring students who require these resources have access to them under fair dealing provisions.  I find the sharing permissions in Google Drive very helpful in this regard.  When students require digital textbooks, I share the document as view only.  I also turn off permissions for downloading, printing, or copying the file under the advanced sharing settings.  This allows students to use tools such as Read&Write to access the accommodations they require in regards to reading text.

As a teacher, I often found it helpful for all students to have access to digital versions of textbooks.  It eliminated the “I forgot my textbook” excuse and also allowed students to access their learning while traveling.  In order to meet fair dealing provisions, I had a couple of different strategies I used to give students access to texts:

  1. If the textbook was available as a licensed resource on LearnAlberta students could access it there using their district sign in information.
  2. I posted links to current chapters on my class website.  The link would take students to a file in my Google Drive that was only shared with current students in my class and had permissions set so that they could not download, print or copy the file.

Overall, I try really hard to model behavior the follows copyright laws for my students.  How can I expect them to follow them if I don’t?  That being said, when I was teaching in a classroom there were still quite a few images in my interactive flipcharts and Google slideshows that were not properly attributed and the occasional movie from YouTube sometimes made an appearance in lessons.  As a district coordinator, however, I strive to do better and as I create new material I work very hard to ensure I follow copyright laws and fair dealing provisions.

 

6.1 Cybersafety

Cybersafety has always been a concern for me, specifically in online gaming environments and social media platforms.  As both a teacher and a parent I am always talking to children and teens about being aware of who they are talking to online, what they are saying to and about friends, and what they are sharing.  There are too many instances of students being cajoled into behaving in ways they would not normally if they were in a non-digital environment.   Whether it is talking to strangers, bullying others, posting or sharing inappropriate images, and/or engaging in other morally questionable behaviors, youth often struggle with the everchanging digital landscape they are exposed to.  It is our role as educators and parents to teach children about the variety of dangers online and model an appropriate online presence.

In the last couple of years, however, I am becoming more and more aware that it is not only gaming and social media environments where we need to be concerned with regards to cybersafety.  Any online platform that we encourage students to use, even in an educational setting, opens students to risk.  Therefore, it is our job as educators to ensure that we choose platforms that are both secure in regards to data, but also safe in regards to protecting students privacy.  This can be tricky.  How do we know what is or what is not safe to use with our students?  How can we be sure?  For myself, there are some specific criteria I look for:

  1. Does the platform integrate with Google Apps for Education?
    • GAFE has very strict security and privacy policies.  All GAFE products follow:
      • The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act
      • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
      • EU Direction of Data Protection1
    • Google has also taken the Studnet Privacy Pledge2
  2. Has the digital tool been examined by Common Sense Educators (HERE).
  3. Does it use https:// rather than http://

With the ever-changing digital landscape students are exposed to we have to be on our game.  It is our job to do everything in our power to keep students safe while online.  That doesn’t mean blocking websites, online restrictions, or overbearing monitoring, instead, it means staying knowledgeable about potential risks and educating ourselves, parents and students about them.


eduatgoogle. “G Suite for Education: Legislation &amp; Certifications.” YouTube, YouTube, 6 Oct. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGNOHnms2YQ.

“Pledge to Parents &amp; Students.” Pledge to Parents &amp; Students – Leading School Service Providers Pledge to Advance Student Data Protections for Student Personal Information, studentprivacypledge.org/.

5.1 Activity Evaluation

I have chosen to use the SAMR model to evaluate my lesson:

Evaluation of a Learning Activity I have Previously Conducted:
The following activity was one I did while teaching middle school over the last 5 years:

When this activity is evaluated using the SAMR model I would consider the technology used to follow under the following level:

The outcome is still the same but has been transformed.  By using multimedia students are able to enhance their learning and the learning of others.

Evaluation of a Newly designed Learning Activity:
In my new role as an adaptive technology coordinator, I am working with Texthelp’s Read&Write tool (HERE).  The goal is to have students with accommodations use the tool to meet their needs.  However, to get buy-in from teachers, I am going to show them ways they could use the activity with their whole class:
When this activity is evaluated using the SAMR model I would consider the technology used to follow under the following level:

Done something that is inconceivable without technology.  By using the Read&Write tool all students are able to work with a text in a transformative way (vocabulary list).  For students requiring accomodations, it has allowed them to complete a reading and writing
activity independently and within a reasonable time.


By Lefflerd [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

Assignment #1 – Exploring IT resources

I have chosen the web-based tool Padlet for this assignment.  The following is my evaluation of Padlet:

Ease of Use:
Padlet is very user-friendly.  Instructions are very clear and it is easy to move throughout the platform.  The help section contains videos, an FAQ section, and ways to contact support.  You can create an account using Google, Facebook, or Microsoft or you can use your email.  Up until April of 2018, Padlet was free, but sadly it’s not anymore.  If you sign up for an account now, you get 3 free Padlets and then must pay.  There are a variety of pricing plans, you can get Padlet Pro for 8.25/month or you can go with the teacher version, Padlet Backpack, and you can check out the prices HERE.  For those of us who already had Padlet accounts, we do get to keep all the existing Padlets we made and can make up to 3 more before having to purchase some type of membership.

Confidentiality of Content/Discussion:
Padlet is a secure website that follows both a strict content policy (HERE) and privacy policy (HERE).  When sharing your Padlet wall there are a variety of privacy options and user options (see graphics below).  Sharing your wall with others is easy.  You can copy the link, post it to common social media sites, use a given QR code, post to Google Classroom, and even embed it.


Transferability/Scrubbability:
Padlet is very easy to embed in a variety of other platforms.  In the sharing settings, they provide an embed code that is useable on a variety of other applications.  They also have a variety of apps, plugins, and extensions (HERE) which allow you to interact with Padlet in a variety of ways.  If you want to remove access to your Padlet wall you can easily change your sharing settings and you can delete the wall from all locations with a single click.

Appropriateness for Academic Use:
I have used this tool in my own teaching over the years in a couple different ways.

  • Sharing reference information with students on a pinboard like wall (HERE)
  • Have students add information to a shared Padlet wall which they can use as a resource on a project (HERE)
  • In jigsaw type activities where students learn about one concept and then come back to teach it to the rest of the group (HERE)
  • Have students use it as a presentation platform (HERE)

Although I have only used Padlet with ninth grade students, it’s ease of use would make it appropriate to use in lower grades as well.

Class Discussion:
I thought it might be fun to run the class discussion of Padlet on an actual Padlet wall.  All you need to do is click on the little box with the arrow located in the top right corner of the Padlet wall embedded below to open it in a new screen.  You can then double click under a question to add your response.

Made with Padlet

 

4.2 – Networked Learning Discussion

As I read through both Brennan’s critique of cMOOCs and Downes rebuttal I found myself viewing them through 3 different lenses; the online student, the elementary/secondary teacher and the parent of a child with a learning disability.  Reading through both I found many valid points and depending on the lens I was looking through I either agreed or disagreed.

As an online student, I tended to agree more with the points by Downes.  Specifically, her argument against Brennan’s point that cMOOCs contain “tasks that are too complex with no guidance in how to achieve them” by saying that the “problem here is one of mistaking a menu for an obligation” (Downes, 2013, p. 7).  Through my own participation in MOOCs and online courses, I have found that there is always choice.  Whether it be in choosing which readings to focus on, how to complete an activity or assessment, or the level of discourse you want to partake in, it is up to you as an online student.  Downes also addresses this when she argues against Brennan’s points on cognitive load.   I couldn’t agree more with Downes when she says “success or failure is found in the quality of the experiences you do choose to have, and are reflected in your own assessment of yourself, not against some arbitrary and impossible external standard” (2013, p. 6)

As a teacher I found myself seeing both sides of the argument.  In the classroom environment, I completely agree with Brennan when he states ” there is no “one size fits all” student” (2013, p. 2).  As a teacher, I am constantly finding ways to differentiate my instruction in order to meet the learning styles and needs of all the students in my classroom.  I am always aware that each student varies in regards to prior knowledge and that cognitive load has an impact on the mastery of skills and objectives.  That being said however, as we move towards newly developed concept-based curriculum I’m having to rethink my delivery and assessment of content.  My goal is now shifting towards building capacity in my students which really aligns with Downes’ statement “The key is to stop thinking of these as content to be mastered, and to start thinking them as skills to be practiced.” (2013, p. 7).

As a parent of a child with a learning disability I 100% follow Brennan’s arguments.  My daughter definitely does better in learning environments that are scaffolded in order to support her needs.  If she has the supports and the differentiation in place to address her specific learning difficulties, her ability to confidently meet learner expectations drastically increases.  Brennan’s assertion that “Good educators provide encouragement, and verbal persuasion, which can increase a student’s self-efficacy” (2013, p. 4-5) really speaks to me.  My daughter in particular flourishes in a classroom that has a teacher who offers praise when she is successful and support, rather than criticism, when she is not.

As you can see, the lens I’m looking through really shapes my judgment, which I can honestly say is a consistent reality in my life as a whole.  That being said, I find that having the ability to switch between lenses has allowed me to be a much more well rounded, open-minded, and empathetic teacher, student, and parent.


Brennan, K. (2013). In Connectivism, No One Can Hear You Scream: A guide to understanding the MOOC novice. Hybrid Pedagogy. 24 July 2013.
http://www.hybridpedagogy.com/Journal/files/Guide_to_the_MOOC_Novice.html

Downes, S. (2013). Connectivism and the Primal Scream. Half an Hour. 25 July 2013.
http://halfanhour.blogspot.ca/2013/07/connectvism-and-primal-scream.html

4.1 – Fitting Your Teaching Philosophy Within an Online Context

As I read through the articles by Kanuka and Anderson & Dron I kept thinking of a question I often get from colleagues in regards to assessing using online tools or meeting students accommodations with adaptive technology: “How do I stop them from going on the internet and googling the answer?”  I always bring them back to Bloom’s Taxonomy.  What level are you assessing on the pyramid?  Is it the bottom level; knowledge and comprehension?  Then using online tools probably isn’t the best idea for your assessment or activity.  However, if you are trying to have students, create, evaluate, analyse, and/or apply then what are you worried about?  Some people would consider this quite a progressive viewpoint, however, I tend to think of it as more of a humanist approach.  For me, the role of technology in education is to give teachers an environment where they can “create the conditions within which learning can take place” (Kanuka, 2008, p. 107).  In the online learning environment, my pedagogical beliefs tend to lean more towards the social-constructivist end of the spectrum, as I firmly believe learning is “an active rather than passive process” (Anderson & Dron, 2012, p7).  Overall, however, I also agree with one of the final statements in Anderson & Dron’s (2012) conclusion “that all three current (and future) generations of distance education pedagogy have an important place in a well-rounded educational experience.”


Kanuka, H. (2008). Understanding e-learning technologies-in-practice through philosophies-in-practice. In T. Anderson (Ed.), Theory and practice of online learning (2nd ed.). Athabasca University: AU Press.  http://www.aupress.ca/books/120146/ebook/04_Anderson_2008-Theory_and_Practice_of_Online_Learning.pdf

Anderson, T. & Dron, J. (2012). Learning technology through three generations of technology enhanced distance education pedagogy. European Journal of Open Distance and E-Learning. 2012-2.  http://www.eurodl.org/?p=archives&year=2012&halfyear=2&article=523