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How much fun is this!  And what a handy tool!

I took some of the resources I had on my blog, and added it to my Library on Diigo.  I also added the good sites I discovered while working on this course. Ideas are starting to form …  A simple highlighting function teamed with a sticky note, and I have communicated to my grade 11 students which terminology they need to know for the year.  All they need to do now, is click on the highlighted link to find definitions and examples.  I don’t have to supply them with the list, and they don’t have to search words from the list on the website.  It is already done.

Another idea is to share articles or essays, and to challenge them to identify topic sentences, thesis statements, main ideas, etc. They can also summarize a paragraph / short article on a sticky note.  (Note to self:  see how many characters the sticky note can take.)

I can see myself teaching novels and plays through Diigo.  If you can find the novel or play (and Shakespeare is, of course, available online), you can have students communicate and share notes with each other in groups – like online lit circles.  We are at the point where our Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet books are quite shabby.  I have been thinking of simply accessing the script online – so much easier – and Diigo makes interactive learning a real possibility. The students will love it.  The only stumbling block is the availability of devices.  I have tested the waters, and only about 75% of my students have access to laptops or iPads that they can bring to class.  I suppose phones can work.  The small screen might be a bother.  Then again, students are permanently on their phones and used to the small screens.  Something to ponder, for sure!

As for my own development, the accessibility of others’ already identified websites and blogs, makes the searching for good sites much easier; that is, if you get through the 22192 postings under the tag “education.”

 

 

PART A: Annotated Resource List

I looked into the following websites / webpages:

1. Quick and Dirty Tips – Grammar Girl
2. Poetry Soup
3. Education First: Resources for Learning English
4. teachHUB
5. Teach With Movies: Literature
6. Where are the children

CATEGORIES:

SITE

Web address? (edu / gov / org / com / k12)
1. .com.
2. .com
3. .com
4. .com
5. .org
6. .ca

Name/Title?
1. The title Quick and Dirty Tips does not seem very professional, yet has a fun feel.  It is not solely based on education, but definitely has a comprehensive cover of key issues in grammar usage.
2. Catchy name, and obviously about poetry
3. Uses buzzwords: Education and First
4. Catchy, providing clear idea of intention of site
5. Intention of site very clear
6. Catchy title, emotively charged, referring to the children in residential schools

Easy to navigate?
1. Yes 
2. Many hyperlinks are provided – different ways to get to poetry – covering a huge variety of options, yet some amount to nothing, i.e. no information is provided, or there is only a promise of information.
3. Yes, although not all the information is available from the Homepage. As you follow links, you discover additional information.
4. Very busy homepage, but clear enough if you take time to understand all the hyperlinks.
5. Yes
6. Yes

Working hyperlinks?
1. Yes
2. Yes and no. At times, a link would provide no information.
3. Yes
4. I could find one link that did not work: “Graduate Programs for Teachers” – page has been removed.
5. Most links work, with the exception here and there. Did not hinder me in the path I took.
6. I could only find one link that did not work: “Edu-Kit and Teacher Bundle”

 

WHO

Name of author/creator(s)/owner(s)?
1. Mignon Fogarty is the author of the site page “Grammar Girl”, but also co-owns the site with MacMillan Holdings LLC.
2. Arczis Web Technologies owns the site. Budding poets publish poems, but the site also hosts poems from more established poets. Articles are posted with names of writers.
3. EF Education First Ltd. – Zürich
4. K-12 Teachers Alliance. Bloggers provide names or pseudonyms. Names of writers of articles provided.
5. teachwithmovies.com Inc.. Creators of lessons provide their names.
6. Legacy of Hope Foundation. Chairman: Georges Erasmus; Curator of exhibition: Jeff Thomas; Partners: Aboriginal Healing Foundation, Library and Archives Canada, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, Department of Canadian Heritage, Nation Media, Donna Cone, Isite.

Biography / resume?
1. B.A. in English from University of Washington and M.S. in Biology from Stanford University, magazine writer, technical writer, author of 7 books, entrepreneur, senior editor and producer of number of health and science websites
2. Articles are posted with names of writer, as well as a date in most cases. Citations are provided for articles.  Poems are posted by all members of the site, but does not provide info about each poet.   
3. No information.
4. Only first names given, with links to a private Disqus site. Links are provided to follow bloggers. Some writers provide a short resume.
5. Yes, detailed with regards to their experience and expertise.
6. Jeff Thomas, member of the Six Nations Reserve (List above shows obvious connection to Aboriginal Peoples of Canada.)

Way to connect with author/creator/site?
1. Google+, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  Provides opportunity for questions, report of technical problems, and media or speaking inquiries – links don’t work.  However, if you go to the bio page, the link to her email works.
2. Address is provided in Georgia, USA, as well as an email address. You can also follow them on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest.
3. Address and phone number provided – in Zürich
4. Address in Illinois is provided. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+. They provide an RSS Feed.
5. Email address of one of the founders, and authors provided. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.
6. None given


 

DATE

When was site created?

1. Earliest record: 2006.  Copyright 2016.
2. Earliest record: of posting is 2007 (no other information obvious)
3. Not clear
4. Only provides date the site was first copyrighted: 2009.
5. Not clear, although it states “Terms of use agreement effective August 19, 2013.”
6. 2001

When was the last update?
1. New posts are added with regular intervals.
2. No indication
3. Not clear, but Privacy Policy was last updated on 2/12/2015
4. Not clear, but copyright listed as until 2016.
5. Dates provided when lessons were revised.
6. Not clear

Date of post?
1. Each new post is dated.
2. Articles are dated.  Dates are provided when poems are posted.
3. No dates provided
4. No dates provided
5. Dates are provided when lessons were revised.
6. Site was created to support exhibitions of Aboriginal stories. Last exhibition was in 2013. Site features as an online exhibit.

 

SPONSORS/ENDORSEMENT OF SITE & ADVERTISING

Reputable?
1. Writer’s Digest, Writer’s market, Writer’s Digest University & Writer’s Digest Shop.  Awards:  Best Writing Website, and 29 other awards (website and podcasts)
2. RBC advertisement, grammarly.com, education.com, CIBC, Infiniti, Home Depot, AssetCloud (by Wasp), Classifieds – bookstores, books from amazon.com
3. No apparent sponsorship
4. No apparent sponsorship
5. grammarly.com
6. Canadian Government – Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development and Canadian Heritage, and Royal Bank of Canada

Reputable sponsors or connection to subject-matter?  
1. Related to subject-matter
2. Reputable and related to subject-matter
3. n/a
4. n/a
5. Yes
6. Yes

 

INFO

True / useful?
1. Yes
2. Not always. At times link provided page with no info.
3. True, but definitions could be clearer. Some links simply provide a list of words, e.g. list of 50 most common adjectives in English. It is not clear as to the purpose of the list which makes it useless.
4. Yes, but not for higher grades. Articles that I was interested in re. technology, more aimed at the reader who is very new to the game.
5. Very much so. “Fair use” doctrine, thus “TWM grants free limited licenses to copy TWM curriculum materials only to educators in public or non-profit schools and to parents trying to help educate their children.” “More than one paragraph copies – must be attributed to TeachWithMovies.org.”
6. Very much so.

Mechanics: spelling, grammar, punctuation?
1. Lenient approach to use of punctuation
2. Punctuation errors, and the odd spelling mistake
3. Punctuation used according to Oxford system.
4. Good
5. I picked up on some spelling errors, e.g. “tremendious.” Seems just an oversight as lessons are written in clear, good English.
6. Excellent

Citations provided?
1. Yes
2. Yes, for articles, but not for older or classical poems
3. No
4. No, articles posted seem to be the original production of author
5. Only for movies
6. Resources provided – for example extra reading – with proper citations

Generalized, biased statements vs. factual, proven, objective (depending on the site)?
1. Factual and correct
2. Factual. Listing of poems, biographies and quotes, although some biographies from wikipedia which might need additional confirmation.
3. Factual
4. Articles and blogs largely based on opinion.
5. Factual as for information re. movies. Rest of information an analysis of movie, i.e. rather factual, although you cannot escape a hint of subjectivity.
6. The purpose of the site is to allow the story of the Aboriginal People of Canada to be told. It is obviously subjective. Facts are provided about names, locations and dates of Residential Schools.


 

My intention was to find websites that would support the different genres I cover in English Language Arts, grades 9 and 11.

A.  Quick and Dirty Tips – Grammar Girl

This is a fun website that provides explanations, complete with examples of common and pressing grammatical issues and tips for writing. My focus was the site pages on Grammar and Writing. For the audio learner, there is the option of listening to podcasts while, or instead of, reading the explanations of rules. Links are easy to follow, and the fun element is a bonus.

 

B. Poetry Soup

The website promises a lot, but does not always deliver. It is easy to use, and interactive by interlinking many different categories. An irritation was the inconsistency of the use of line numbers – nitpicking, but an indication of unprofessional and slipshod management of the site.

This website serves the the following purpose – for grades 9 and 11:
~ provides a huge variety of poems from famous, reputable poets to novice poets. No discussion on poems, though, and that is a negative.
~ is a source for students to find poems to read on our Poetry Day.
~ will help with rhyming words when writing poetry
~ has some terminology with definitions.
~ provides opportunity to create a fun Greeting Card / Poem Art Generator with your own or a favourite poem.
~ provides the opportunity for students to publish their poems. (You have to join though, and the one-year membership will cost $39.) There are other sites where this can be done for free.  I see this as a negative!

 

C. Education First: Resources for Learning English

Using the buzzwords “education” and “first” was clever. I only ventured into the site page “Resources for learning English.” The part of the site is almost minimal, with a homepage that does not list all the links that this website provides. As you dive deeper, more information is provided. There are better websites available.

 

D. TeachHUB

The homepage is too busy. I initially googled “technology in the classroom,” but the article was basic. Only 5 lessons apply to grades 9 and 11 – not enough reason to join. The blogs provide easy reading, but as a resource for my English classes, I do not see myself using this site.

 

E. Teach With Movies: Literature

What a gem! The BC Curriculum includes film. This site offers full lesson plans based on a collection of great movies.

Here is a list of the categories they offer, and the movies I am considering:
Literature of England: Animal Farm (gr. 9), Oliver Twist (gr. 9),  Great Expectations (gr. 11)
Literature of the USA: 12 Years a Slave (gr. 11), Great Gatsby (gr. 11)
Literature of Other Countries: The Book Thief (gr. 11)
Literary Devices and Lesson Plans relating to ELA : The Boy in the Striped Panamas (gr. 11), Cast Away (gr. 11)
Stages and archetypes of hero’s journey: Big – gr. 9
Non-fictionMao’s Last Dancer (gr. 9)
Social SatireGulliver’s Travels (gr. 9)

Another possibility I am considering, is the Lord of the Flies movie. It is not an award winner by any stretch of the imagination (I see a fun-to-write movie review), but their lesson plan will trigger critical thinking skills, yet provide fun at the same time. They ask thought-provoking questions, and dig deeper by challenging the students to make a “moral-ethical” and a “socio-emotional” evaluation. And, of course, comparing the novel with the movie is a great way to teach synthesis.

 

F. Where are the children

The new BC Curriculum expects the teacher to “Develop an awareness of the diversity within and across First Peoples societies represented in texts” (written or oral), visual texts (like photographs), digital texts, visual elements like film, and oral storytelling. This website is the jackpot. Although this site was originally created to advertise exhibitions held from 2002 – 2013, it now serves as an online exhibition. It provides:

~ photographs of residential schools and students, dates and locations, with explanations of the culture
~ a timeline
~ 47 videos of stories (in the form of interviews) told by students who attended residential schools
~ reading lists for different age groups (12-14, and adult being relevant to my teaching)
~ links to “The Inuit Experience of Residential Schools” and “Forgotten Metis.”

 

RESOURCES:

(n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.teachhub.com

(n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://wherearethechildren.ca/en

(n.d.). Retrieved October 9, 2016, from http://www.poetrysoup.com

Create lesson plans for English Language Arts and Literature classes based on movies and film. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.teachwithmovies.org/literature-subject-list.htm

English Language Arts. (2016, October 3). Retrieved May 25, 2016, from https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/curriculum/english-language-arts/9

Fogarty, M. (n.d.). Grammar Girl. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl

Resources for Learning English. (n.d.). Retrieved October 8, 2016, from http://www.ef.com/english-resources/

Web-Resource Criteria

I have recently discovered a grammar site which, upon a quick glance, looked like a good reference site to use in my class.  I chose this site – Quick and Dirty Tips – Education – to review according to the following criteria:

 

SITE
Web address? (edu / gov / org / com / k12)       It is a .com.
Name/Title?       The title Quick and Dirty Tips does not seem very professional, yet has a fun feel.  It is not solely based on education, but definitely has a comprehensive cover of key issues in grammar usage.
Easy to navigate?       Yes   
Working links?       Yes

WHO
Name of author/creator?       Mignon Fogarty
Biography / proof of expertise?       B.A. in English from University of Washington and M.S. in Biology from Stanford University, magazine writer, technical writer, author of 7 books, entrepreneur, senior editor and producer of number of health and science websites         
Way to connect with author?      Google+, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.  Provides opportunity for questions, report of technical problems, and media or speaking inquiries – links don’t work.  However, if you go to the bio page, the link to her email works.

DATE
When was site created?       Earliest record: 2006.  Copyright 2016.
When was the last update?       New posts are added with regular intervals.
Date of post?       Each new post is dated.

SPONSORS/ENDORSEMENT OF SITE
Reputable?       Writer’s Digest, Writer’s market, Writer’s Digest University & Writer’s Digest Shop.  Awards:  Best Writing Website, and 29 other awards (website and podcasts)
Related to theme of site?        Yes

INFO
True / useful?          Yes
Mechanics: spelling, grammar, punctuation?          Lenient approach to use of punctuation
Citations provided?          Yes
Generalized, biased statements vs. factual, proven, objective (depending on the site)?          Factual and correct

 

To summarize:  I like the feel of this website.  Clearly she has made a name for herself in the grammar and writing world.  I find her use of punctuation when explaining rules a little lenient, but there is no other issues.  It is a great source.

 

Yay for creative commons

In the spirit of sharing!

morguefile.com

You can use these photos for education, commercial purposes, and with other content.  You can even adapt it.  You have to alter it before you sell, license, sublicense, rent, transfer, distribute, or claim to own it.  If you use the photos without any alterations, you have to give the photographer credit.  (Side note: claiming the photos for myself, even if I have altered it, seems wrong.  I would want to credit the photographer, but mention that it has been altered.)

OER COMMONS:

So much potential – cross curricular as well, it seems!

  1.  I had a look at the Lord of the Flies unit, and although it is for grades 9 and 10, I do see potential for Comm 11.

Buzzwords:
Use: reproduce, distribute, display, transmit, perform, use as individual teacher & other educators in school or educational organization – non-profit – only in a classroom or workshop, including intranet

Therefore, as per my individual need, I may copy and hand out to students, and make reference on my blog as it is closed.

Revise: Not allowed
Remix: Not allowed
Share: Yes, but in original form

Even though I could not find the link to the “fine print” (the dreaded “Page not Found” message), I will give credit to the copyright Holder: Nobel Media AB 2013, and add link to the website.

It seems that you might need – depending on some of their other material – the permission of the rights holder. I do see potential for story here – a lovely link to Teaching for Transformation. They provide an email address for you to contact them to get permission of the copyright holder.

2.   For the purpose of our course currently, I have found the following:   Evaluating Web Resource

The licence allows you to share – either the original or adapted format – by copying, adapt – by remixing, transforming or building upon.  You may use this for educational or commercial purposes.  You have to give the licencor credit, provide a link to the licence and mention any changes.  You may not make it seem as if the licensor is endorsing you.

 

 

My take

Last year I revised my Poetry 9 unit. It turned out a fun unit – for students and teacher. It was a hefty unit, so I am trying my best to explain it in short, and with some creative paragraphing.

We started by listening to music to show how they are all singing poetry when they sing or rap their favourite music.  (Well, most of their music, and not all award-winning poetry, but that was not the point.) Students were encouraged to listen to their own music, and identify the poetic value of the lyrics. We shared! Next, students had to find their own definitions and examples of a list of figures of speech I provided. They had to transfer this to the handout. Googling for information was fun and quick for some, and challenging for others – especially since they expected me to provide all the links, and even the information. After students set quizzes for each other, completed and marked them, we moved on to discovering different types of poetry. This time I provided the website. Students had to write their own poetry: acrostic, limerick, cinquain, haiku and a short lyric – the lyric only if they felt up to it. After reading, chatting about, and analysing several poems – all with a theme related to earth-keeping – we started working on our end-of-unit project. In groups, students were provided with some online reading (several articles that had to be synthesized) on why recycling is important, how to recycle and what happens to recycled goods. Groups had different topics: a general overview, batteries, paper, aluminium, composting, glass, plastic, electronics, and hazardous waste products. Each group reported back to the class. Next, students were given the task of creating something beautiful from recycled goods. I shared some ideas with them, mainly via YouTube, and then they were given time to search on their own. In the end, each student had to:
~ write a poem on earth-keeping
~ publish the poem somewhere, e.g. on social media, chalk on sidewalk, post to postboxes, and take photos of him/her doing so
~ film him/herself / or find someone to film him/her creating a new product from garbage (recycled material) –  glass, fabric, wood, paper, plastic, etc.
~ build a PowerPoint (and present to the class) on which he/she published his/her poem and read it to the class, placed the photos of his/her publishing his/her poem, and embed the video of his/her recycling project.                                                                    ~ He/she also had to write out a commitment to being a better earth-keeper, and share it with the class on the PPT.

One of the issues I found interesting in Pangrazio’s article -“Reconceptualising critical digital literacy” (2016), and a little troublesome at the same time, was the reference to issues of social class, race and gender. It reminded me of the challenge we, as teachers, face to meet our students on equal ground. Social inequality was somewhat of a challenge, as a few students could not do any work at home – either because there was no computer (believe it), or because a family had to share one device, or because the computer was outdated / did not have access to PowerPoint. Students worked together, sharing devices – computers, iPads and phones. The multimodal feature of this unit also involved students on many levels. They found that not all websites were trustworthy, or provided clear examples, forcing them to be critical of the information they found. It also forced them to be engaged with each other as they read and shared, not only what they have read, but also their opinions on the viewpoints of the authors. Students remarked how ironic it was to work on, read about, and discuss mountains of discarded devices that litter our world, and how best to recycle them to limit the damage – on exactly those devices. It made for interesting conversation.

 

My investigation into possible tools

So it turns out I don’t have a foot in the native world, but only a toe. I am deservedly humbled! I have enough of a clue of the technology I am using, but there is more of the muchness I was not even aware of.

BLOGGER vs WORDPRESS:

In the spirit of information sharing, WordPress would probably serve me, as educator, better. Should I, as teacher, therefore make my blog public, I will probably change to WordPress. However, for the purpose of sharing information with only my students, Blogger seems a fine choice for now.  Make a website hub – WordPress vs. Blogger was quite useful.

                   BLOGGER

                  WORDPRESS

Easy operating More complicated
Basic, easy set-up More complicated, time-consuming set-up
Free Cost involved
Google owns it.   wordpress.com: Owned by Automattic
Upkeep not complicated Demands upkeep (back-ups, WordPress updates, theme & plugin updates, etc.)
100 posts max. – more than enough for a year’s work Struggled to find a definitive number.
School used gmail – easy set-up and login
Good enough for casual blogging, response and comment.

 

After I had finished, I went searching for more websites to see if they can sell WordPress … or not.  The seven disadvantages of using WordPress supported some of what the other sites mentioned.  It seems so subjective, though – some absolutely love others dislike.  I guess I will have to make up my own mind.  After completion of this course, I should have a good idea, having operated in both.

I do worry about cyber bullies. The reason why my blog is closed, is because I want to protect my students. It seems a valid reason. While most students are opinionated, I have some that are sensitive, and, as educator, I have a duty to protect their vulnerability. I do see how this keeps them from maturing in a digital space where they must learn to deal with prejudice, and where their footprint becomes a responsibility for them to manage.

As for commenting, I came across some interesting blogs that I will be sharing with my students. The Chronicle of Higher Education discusses Commenting, moderation, provocation – especially of highly provocative and opinionated students.  In the search, I also came upon this little gem while searching and following links, which I might just add to the Kondos Library on my blog:   Quick and dirty tips .

Another question I have asked myself, is how I will deal with assessing approximately 160 blogs, if I expect each student to have one. Mark Sample offered some advice at  A rubric for evaluating student blogs , but the mere idea scares me to death. This is not an admission of laziness. I do think it will be an awesome venture into a digital space that takes social media away from the individual into a responsive and responsible space. Perhaps only the grade 11s? I would give the student and the parents the option whether to have a closed or open blog. I do believe that there would be some paperwork involved. From my readings, I have come across the following advantages:
1. Student will be encouraged to share information and opinion, which will improve his /her writing, analysis and critique
2. Assignments can be shorter, and formal or informal.
3. It allows for inclusion.
4. Interaction between students will be encouraged, thereby giving them opportunity to respond in a mature, meaningful and respectful manner.
5. While class time is limited, this opens up a whole new world of response to online material. While I post on my blog for comment, the student can be encouraged to find material on which to comment and reflect. A well prompted directive will prove valuable to learning.

Mark Sample  offered more advice and interesting ideas at A better blogging assignment.

DIIGO:

I am planning a big project for assessment in the third term with my unit on Lord of the Flies. Initially, I planned to have students open a blog per group where they can post their research, findings, analyses, and opinions, and where they can comment online to keep the conversation going. After reading Yehia’s post on the pros of using Diigo, and also reading Kevin’s response, I thought to investigate that as a tool. The following YouTube videos were helpful:

What is Diigo?
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbRxBRgDUg8[/youtube]

Diigo in the classroom:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T36PbLStbSs[/youtube]

Dig V5.0: Collect, Highlight and Remember:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHWapAF1Txw&w=420&h=315[/youtube]

I believe this will be a helpful tool for me as educator, and I have joined.  As for the students, I went searching for the novel Lord of the Flies online, and found it. I am toying with the idea of reading it online, and using the highlight and note feature to connect with my students. It will be an excellent way for my students to take control of their own learning, and be of assistance to others by sharing what they have found.  Great community right there!

PODCASTS:

I also read up on podcasts, but don’t see it working for me at his point.  (I am not snubbing it and its potential, and might work it into lessons in the future when the right assignment asks for it.) Students have always just used their phones and recorded their voices. To do proper podcasting, it seems, you need some extra equipment – and that makes it something that is not feasible at this stage. I will share links to the sites I visited:
1.  10 Podcasting projects teachers should try

2.  How to start your own podcast

3.  How to create your own podcast

 

In conclusion:

I realize that I can do more, and, in fact, should do more with my blogging. Student blogging is a dream, and I will test the waters back at my school. I do worry about not being able to keep my finger on the pulse of each of the student blogs. I will see how this pans out.  Diigo seems wonderful, and I am eager to start using it.  I did not delve into YouTube – that I will do at a later stage.  I visited many websites and blogs – some really not worth the time and effort. I have, yet again,  come to the conclusion that I should not aim too big, and do what I do, well!

The state of educational technology

Bates in Teaching in a Digital Age (2015), offers a more recent view of online teaching. He does not try to coerce the reader, but, instead, mentions “that every subject is different, and every instructor has something unique and special to bring to their teaching.” He guides the educator / teacher / facilitator to make the appropriate choices.

English is a super course to teach if you want to integrate technology. We are encouraged at my school to see technology as a partner in teaching.  The new BC Curriculum (grade 9 English) includes a variety of media, which invites the use of the internet.

In my field, and for my own use, the following points:

  1.  YouTube (visual) is great for music, snippets of plays, interviews, reading of stories and poems, biographies, historical information, explanation of grammatical concepts, etc. Students love watching the videos, but are not so comfortable creating their own. Many dislike seeing and hearing themselves – something I certainly can relate to. Because of so many student-generated material on YouTube, choosing the right material is imperative. Students must be warned that not everything is good or correct.
  2. Podcasts (audio) are great for reading of short stories, poems and interviews. Students will present recordings of interviews (as on a radio), or readings of poems written by them. They are more comfortable with recording just their voices.
  3. With the blog I try to limit the carbon footprint, but many students still ask for a hard copy. When I find an audio version of a book, short story, or poem I like to give the students the text so that those who want to follow can do so.
  4. I love his suggestion of making seminar a workable format. I can see this working in my classroom setting, more specifically when I do “Lord of the Flies.” We chat about the appeal of dystopian, the Milgram Experiment, the Stanford Experiment, The Cold War and propaganda, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Groups could research a topic and present it to the class. Love the idea!
  5. As a school, we have been discussing the creation of viable space for cross-curricular connection, and project-based learning. There is a definite movement towards this goal. We will achieve this soon!
  6. I use email frequently to remind and inform. Google Docs are great for tests loaded with photos, graphs and graphics. Students repost to Google Docs when they are done.
  7. The blog as a form of social media is still under-utilized. I plan to get the students more involved by creating more posts for them to comment on – something like a forum.

The possibilities can actually get quite overwhelming. Especially in my field, there is just so much you can do. Choosing what works for you in your environment is the way to go. You’ve all heard this one: “It is far better to do a few things well, than to undertake many good works and leave them half done.” (St. Francis de Sales)

Why those websites?

For a great many years, educators much smarter and braver than me, but with a similar vision, have been passionately advocating for a change in education. Many have experienced the failure of the old system firsthand – either as a teacher in the classroom, or as a parent to a child. Many have given their vision wings, and have stepped away of the safety of tradition, wandering into uncharted terrain. They are the pioneers. These are the people I want to listen to.

I subscribed to Classroom 2.0 more than a year ago.  I am on their emailing list, and receive regular updates.  I am ashamed to admit that I have not paid enough attention to these revolutionaries.  This past year has been a difficult one for me, and responsibilities at school, and elsewhere, kept me too busy.  It is a wonderful website, though, and I invite you to investigate.

The buffs who write for The Daily Riff are the kind who do not beat around the bush.  No innuendo there;  just the truth as they see it.  I did an additional course in pedagogy some years ago, and some of our reading material came from this site.  It makes for interesting, and often powerful reflection.  Their focus is on the flipped classroom.  (I am also now following them on Facebook.)

I am also interested in blended learning.  A brand new (to me, anyway) site – or blogazine, as they call it – I’ve come across is P21 Partnership for 21st Century Learning.  There is a lot of information to scout through, but I have already discovered a skills map in PDF format.  I took a peek, and I am quite excited.  I cannot wait to dig in.

I guess you could say my aim is to move away from “sage-on-the-stage” (so to speak), and to explore ways in which students could buy in to their facilitating their own learning. I have by no means achieved this yet, but the heart is willing.

I have more feeds.  You are welcome to check them out.

There is so much information available on the net.  You simply cannot claim ignorance anymore.  In the “olden days” people often jealously guarded their knowledge, or attempted to sell it in book format.  Isn’t it wonderful what you can discover just by gliding your fingers across a keyboard?

 

 

 

 

 

Hello!

kondos

Hello everyone,

My name is Louise Kondos.  I teach English 9 and 11, Communications 11, and Yearbook 11/12 at Langley Christian High School.

I am married, and have two wonderful kids. My daughter is in grade 12 – finishing high school, while my son just started high school in grade 8. For many years, I taught in a curriculum that promoted a regurgitation of information, and lots of it. There was just no time to allow students to experience, reflect, grow, and learn – at their own pace. We rushed through prescribed poems, novels, stories, dramas, and lists and lists of formal grammar, which would then be examined to the smallest fact in tests and provincial exams. This article explains it all:  Five reasons why CAPS is harming our children.

It is so refreshing to be in the Canadian system where students are encouraged to learn by themselves, to show their learning in creative ways, and to do so at their own pace. I am loving it.

I have taught since 1990, which puts me “comfortably” in the Digital Immigrant group. I love technology, though, and have been teaching with a blog for the past 2 years. The Digital Native will probably, at this point, snigger. It was an exciting step for me, though. My principal is incredibly supportive, and embraces technology. I am still the only one at the high school with a blog. My own website is the next step.

I use Blogger. I have chosen a closed blog to ensure students and parents that their comments will be protected from scrutiny by the world out there. Of course, students already have a huge digital footprint with Facebook, Instagram, etc., but somehow bringing learning into the mix robs them of confidence. It is much easier to respond on a social level than it is to make yourself vulnerable by showing your level of learning. This is the resistance I get from some. So much potential right there, I know.

I do some flipped classroom, but have discovered that some parents have had a negative experience with the concept, and they are, thus, weary. As for blended learning, I have only just begun to touch on the incredible possibilities it offers.

The reason why I have enrolled for this course, is to maximize the use of technology. Info is available everywhere, and students don’t really have to memorize anymore. I want students to love English, and learn and experience within their comfort zone. Evaluating learning has changed, and I would love to explore all the possibilities. I know I can do more with my blog, for example. We have two sister schools – one in South Africa, and one in Korea. I dream of sharing our learning space with them. The closed blog does not allow for that – cap of 100 participants – but I believe this course will show me what is available.

I am on my school’s Teaching for Transformation leadership team. In short, Teaching for Transformation nurtures, invites, empowers students to make a difference. Story is used to teach and connect with the real world, real people and real problems. We encourage our students to make the connection between what they learn through course work, and life, and to apply what they learn to themselves and others. Often, learning is taken outside of the classroom and school, and applied elsewhere. Technology plays a huge role in achieving this, and I want to maximize what I can achieve.

I look forward to connecting with, and learning from you.