A Journey in Educational Technology in the Curriculum

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Fitting my Teaching Philosophy within an Online Context

My initial reflections on the Kanuka article involve an alignment with the Humanist and uses determinism pedagogies. Much of my Montessori training involved the role of the teacher as being “facilitator, helper and partner in the learning process”. In fact, in the Montessori approach we do not call ourselves teachers, but rather, guides. I view the role of e-learning technologies as, under the right circumstances, providing “flexibility, convenience, and meeting individual student needs”. The e-learning technologies mostly relate to myself as a learner, because as an elementary educator I don’t find myself in e-learning situations, however I am interested in new programs for homeschooling and distance learning for students with a variety of needs.

I found it interesting that Anderson & Dron highlight that “we have seen a generational shift from one where content mediated between sage and pupil, to one where a teacher became a guide, to one where the teacher is a co-traveller, perhaps a role model but no longer the sole creator or guide in the learning experience” (p.12). I would like to move from being a guide to a co-traveller. I love that analogy!

I am still digesting the content of Anderson & Dron’s article, especially as most of it relates to distance education, therefore I have a harder time imagining how I would teach elementary students through distance education. As an educator, there are many cognitivist/behaviourist approaches that I might use as an educator to prepare lessons, but I’m not sure about using them with my students. I agree with the social component of social-constructivist pedagogy and view interaction with peers as a vital element to learning. I appreciate the international nature of it because I have experienced first-hand the importance of engaging with global learners while studying at TRU. I am new to the connectivist pedagogy and am looking forward to learning more about it in the readings on MOOCs!

October 8, 2016   No Comments

Social Bookmarking

I have found an exciting remedy for the overwhelmingly large amount of bookmarks in my web browser that includes useful navigational tools, categories, and tags, and that can be shared with other people including active links! My first experience with social bookmarking took place this week through the course readings and by viewing Keith’s Diigo resources for EDDL 5101

I might use a social bookmarking service in my teaching by creating a list of resources for my students to use in their research for a project. I would first apply the resource evaluation criteria from my earlier post to ensure that I was choosing appropriate websites for my students to use and then provide them with a link to a page of my Diigo library. In the younger grades, I might provide this list to my students to show them the different websites that they were allowed to “play on” once they were finished their work, such as Cool Math Games.

For my professional development, I have started to create a Diigo library where I can have sections of bookmarks for my university studies such as the entrance page to the ERIC TRU Online Library which I use often to search for Scholarly Articles and Journals. I might categorize different lists in my library based on professional development interests such as Special Needs, Montessori Education, Classroom Management, and Neuroscience. I might share the resources on social bookmarking with my colleagues (if they don’t know about it already) and see if they were interested in creating their own library, and whether we might be able to collaborate and share useful links together.

October 1, 2016   No Comments

Web-Resource Criteria

I have chosen to base my criteria off of Kathy Schrock and Acadia University’s use of the following 5 questions for my evaluation of content-type resources found on the internet. I believe that every resource should be addressed with a critical eye and common sense before it is used by students.

Who

  • Who is the author and are they reputable? Can you contact them or verify their credentials through a separate search?

What

  • What information does the website provide? Does it make sense? Is it biased?
  • Look closely: What is the last part of the website’s address (URL)? .gov, .org, .com, .ca?

When

  • When was it published or last updated? Check the top or the bottom of the page.

Why

  • Why was this website created? Ask yourself whether the information given seems biased. Are there ads all over the page?

How

  • How is the website designed? Is it easy to navigate? Do you spot any spelling errors? Downes warns that even nice websites can contain false information, however, it is a good starting point to question the site design.

My Evaluation:
I chose to evaluate the website https://www.poetryfoundation.org/

Who

  • When I clicked on the About Us section, it says that the Poetry Foundation is an independent literary organization and also the publisher of Poetry Magazine. I was able to verify the reputability of the author and its credentials through a separate internet search.

What

  • The website provides information about poetry. It has an extensive selection of a variety of poetic styles including Children’s poetry. It does not appear to be biased.
  • The last part of the website’s address (URL) is .org which indicates a level of credibility.

When

  • The website was last copyrighted in 2016. The most recent post I could find had yesterday’s date, however many of the posts are from as little as two days ago.

Why

  • There are no advertisements and this website clearly specifies that it was created to present a “vigorous presence for poetry in our culture”.

How

  • The website is designed beautifully. It is easy to navigate. There are no advertisements outside of the opportunity to sign up for their newsletter.

Overall, I would encourage my students to use this website. I would be sure to clarify the genre of poetry that they should be looking at by providing a direct link. I would check it ahead of time to ensure that the poetry within the genre was age and content appropriate.

Evaluation Using Delano’s Criteria:

Web-Content Criteria:

The 10 second glance

  1. URL:  .gov  (government)  .edu (educational institution)   .mil (military)  .org (non profit)  .com (commercial) or .uk  .br  (country origin). The url is .org.
  2. Author:  Author’s name provided or anonymous?  (Search the author) The author isn’t a specific person but a reputable organization.
  3. Purpose: Teach/Inform/Persuade  or  Sell Product? The purpose is to teach, inform, and to create a presence for poetry in current Western culture.
  4. Links:  To other relevant information   or  Click Advertisements? The links are to other relevant information.

The 60 second scan

  1. Authority:  Biased or Fair?  POV? Profession?  Reputable? The authority appears to be fair. Their point of view is to keep poetry relevant and give it a presence. It is a reputable source and profession as they even publish their own magazine on poetry.
  2. Pass the smell test?  Use your OWN opinions. In my opinion it definitely passes the smell test.

My Reflection:

I found it quick and easy to use Delano’s questions. They were clear, direct and each question stood on its own (no sub-questions). I liked how he numbered his questions. I didn’t think to include the definitions of URL’s, which I found very helpful, or to ask if there were links to other content. I also like how he provided a suggested timeline for the questions (10 second glance and 60 second scan). Overall, the results for the website’s credibility were the same, however, one difference that we had was asking how recent the content was, or when it was last updated. With that being said, I feel like Delano’s “smell test” might be where he intended to ask this question. Great job Delano! I might be reworking some of my questions for the future thanks to the smooth experience of working with yours.

October 1, 2016   No Comments

Finding Reusable Content

The following are a few useful items in our teaching context. The permissions given are listed directly below each link:

Open Educational Resources- Educational Blogging
Permission: Remix and Share

Open Educational Resources – Social Networking
Permission: Remix and Share

September 26, 2016   No Comments

Digital Literacy

In the section of Luciana Pangrazio’s article titled: A critical media literacy approach – acknowledging the personal, she states in regards to balancing the pleasure of social media with critical practice that “the approach treats the individual’s personal response to digital forms as a type of ‘resource’ from which to explore the formation of their beliefs, values and responses [linking] critical literacy with the process of shaping social identities” (Pangrazio, 2014, p.166). This is the vision for my student activity (Option C.)

Before I was able to do my student activity that develops digital literacy, I would ensure that the students were an appropriate age, I would have established a Digital Citizenship framework in place to manage risk, teach students about their rights and responsibilities, and guide their appropriate online behaviours and I would need to obtain permission from their parents and school administration to do the activity. I would only proceed with the activity after many lessons surrounding Digital Citizenship, and with the confidence that my students were ready for this next step.

My idea is to use Twitter through Social Literacy in the form of networking and Communication Literacy to create a forum where students can comment on each other’s ideas and reflections about course content such as a reading or reflection. I would ensure that the student’s accounts were set up in a confidential way so as not to expose their identities. Students would be able to respond to one another, share their ideas and use links to other ideas all while using appropriate Twitter language. I would be curious to see how certain student’s participation marks rose as they were no longer asked to speak up in front of the class in a face-to-face environment. Once the activity was going well, I might see if we can collaborate with another class studying the same content (that were good Digital Citizens) either at our school or another school!

September 25, 2016   5 Comments

Educational Technology Help

The elements of educational technology that I have found to be the greatest challenge in my learning journey so far have been navigating new programs such as Moodle, RSS and Blackboard Learn. As a full time online M.Ed Leadership student, I have had to adjust quickly to navigating the world of online educational technology.

The following are resources for technical help in exploring, using, and creating web-based educational content and tools:

IT Service Desk:
So far the greatest asset to me has been the TRU IT Service Desk employees as they have helped when I was unable to access certain parts of Blackboard. It is so helpful to speak with someone on the phone who can access my same personalized content to better assist me.

Fellow Students:
In Blackboard Learn there is an area in the discussions called the Student Cafe. Students can post within it to ask questions to their peers. Another aspect that I find particularly helpful with regards to my online learning journey in this course is being able to view the blogs of other students.

Instructors:
My instructors in each course have been fantastic to work with. I feel comfortable asking them questions and often they will fix work out any technological glitches before I even notice them!

Web-Based Resources:
Often I will just google how to do something such as a screenshot of my computer or if I am having an issue with my printer. There are you-tube how-to videos as well as “help” areas of programs. Sometimes google will take me to a forum or a blog, but I have now learned through my RSS subscriptions that I can utilize these sources for help too!

The challenges that I anticipate the most in this subject area are with regards to accessing new programs that I am unfamiliar with. I always find that I need a bit of time to become comfortable with a program. For the most part I can figure it out on my own, but I am grateful to know that there are resources available to me.

One goal that I have for the end of the course is learning more about coding and how to teach it!

September 25, 2016   No Comments

State of Technology in Education

My present conception of the state of educational technology use in my field is reinforced by statistics found in the MediaSmarts/CFS document, particularly with regards to desktop computers being the most commonly used classroom technology, with 92% of teachers saying that they used the supplied devices “significantly” or “somewhat”. As a TOC, I taught in a variety of schools within the Vancouver School Board in low socio-economic and affluent areas. For the most part, I found the same dated desktop computers that were around when I was in elementary school which would frustrate students with how slow they were and would often freeze. This statistic, for me, raises the question of funding and whether enough is being done to update educational technology. Is it fair to put the onus and financial responsibility on students to bring their own devices?

The other statistic that stood out to me was that just over 50% of teachers felt that they had sufficient support and training on how to use networked technologies. This number needs to change. Perhaps funding could help this area of need as well.

SMART boards were a large investment several years back but for the most part I have seen them used simply as projectors. With that being said, I have see useful technologies. What I have found particularly useful is an elmo visual projector for looking at a particular page in a textbook. For some reason, students seem to connect more with the projection than their textbooks and enjoy following along. I have also seen iPads as useful educational tools.

I believe that the state of educational technology use in my field is headed in a direction where funding for adequate teacher training and up-to-date devices will become necessary to access new and relevant educational materials.

September 23, 2016   No Comments

RSS Subscriptions

I chose to subscribe to Feedly.com as a RSS reader, based on the recommendation of the article by Waters. At first I added RSS feeds within the Feedly website. But then I ventured out, as the video shows, to other websites where I found the RSS symbol and added from there. Finally, to make things easier, I added the Feedly app to my MacBook to streamline my use.

A few of the feeds that I subscribed to were:

  • TED Education because I enjoy the length and relevance of the majority of the clips and it is a community of learners that resonates with my shared educational interests.
  • Edutopia RSS and Edudemic because of the relevance of the articles to my own educational interests (such as strategies to better support students).

September 14, 2016   No Comments

Introduction

andreaober

Hello everyone, welcome to my first blog and website!

I recently moved to Kelowna from Vancouver where my husband and I lived for four years, however, I am originally from Ontario. I did my undergraduate degrees (B.Ed and B.A.) at Queen’s University in Primary/Junior (K-6) Concurrent Education. After I graduated, I taught in Australia for a year at a Special Developmental School, and later worked in Business Development. After moving to Vancouver I trained as an AMI Montessori teacher and became an Early Childhood Educator. That schooling allowed me to work at a fantastic independent school teaching Junior Kindergarten with a Montessori focus and later helped me to obtain employment at the Vancouver School Board as a Montessori Teacher On Call. After our recent move to Kelowna, I am hoping to Teach On Call while taking a full course load this semester in the M.Ed in Leadership stream. My area of interest is Kindergarten to Grade 3.

The independent school that I taught at had a one-to-one laptop program in the older grades and all grades had extensive technology support. I would say that access to iPads is universal in my experience in education and I have found them to be a useful educational tool. Many classrooms also have a SMART board.

This course is an elective as a part of my M.Ed but I can already tell that it will be a valuable and exciting addition to my current course load. My expectations for the course surround gaining comfort and ease in accessing a variety of tools and in building a useful collection of technological resources. I think my ‘gaps’ in the use of educational technology are mostly in regards to knowing what relevant resources are available to me and how to integrate them with the curriculum.

I am excited to meet each of you and to embark on this journey of learning together! I can be reached through my TRU email: obera16|at|mytru|dot|ca

 

September 14, 2016   2 Comments

Hello world!

Welcome to Student Blogs – Open Learning. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

September 14, 2016   No Comments