Tag Archives: ECMP 455

Final Reflection


It is hard to believe this semester is over and I have finished all of my university classes.  It honestly seems like yesterday when I started my final semester.  I admit at the beginning of ECMP 455 class, I was nervous and unsure if I could handle the course load and assignments.  I look back now and I am so glad I undertook the challenge and tried something new.  I have never considered myself confident using technology and often would choose to avoid it.  This class made me realize that I avoid technology because it is new and always changing.  It is scary to me because I am unsure of the unknown.   I have learned that a person needs to become completely immersed into it in order to fully understand and gain confidence in using it.  I have always used technology in my personal life, yet I rarely thought about its role in education.

I have grown a lot since ECMP 355, not only with the skills I have acquired for using technology, but in my outlook as well.  My understanding and values of using technology have changed in the past two years.  I remember taking the last ECMP class and thinking of how good it would be to learn more skills for my benefit.  On the other hand, this semester was strictly focused on learning how to incorporate technology into the classroom.

This class challenged me to learn new skills and explore new tools associated with technology.  I think the style of an online class forced me out of my comfort zone and gave me the chance to try new things within the boundaries and support of my personal learning network.  I think if someone asked me to do these assignments previous to this class, I probably would have laughed because I never thought I could do it.

I have enjoyed all the assignments in this class because they fostered my personal growth and skill development.  The assignments supported my learning needs by allowing me to work at my own comfort level and by building on my technological skills.  These assignments encouraged me to further my learning and helped build my confidence with technology.  I enjoyed having the freedom to choose the topic of each assignment based on my personal interests.

The assignments were relevant and useful for teaching.  For example, creating our personal blogfolio is a tool to show our professional reflections while we learned how to use it in the classroom setting.   I enjoyed having the choice to create an idea for our major project.  for my major project, I decided to challenge myself  by teaching students an actual project.  I know from working with the students I have learned a lot about the advantages and challenges when creating digital stories.  As well, I now have an experience to reflect on for future lesson plans.  This project challenged me to learn a new skill as well as to realize the value in collaborating with others to create a successful project.  After completion of this assignment, I fully understand the benefits of including technology in the classroom.

During this semester, I have developed a strong personal learning network by communicating with other educators with tools like Twitter, Skype, educational blogs and email.  I have learned in this class how important collaborating and sharing resources with people is for a successful learning outcome with technology.  I have only started building my PLN and I know it will gradually grow with more years of teaching.  I realize having a strong PLN is beneficial just knowing someone is there to support you and offer advice for any problems you face.

Overall,  I have not had many challenges with using technology this semester.  The  major problem I faced was finding enough time to spend exploring and teaching myself about new programs and tools.  I enjoyed having the challenge to learn new things, but it was always time consuming to not only teach yourself something new, but then taking the time to reflect on it.  I learned how to use various programs and tools in this class including Google Apps, Twitter, Elluminate, Delicious, Wikis,  Photo Story 3 and Videos.  I learned new skills like how to upload videos to You Tube and embed videos onto my blog.  As well, I learned to acknowledge and reflect on my digital identity and the footprints I leave in the world.   The most important thing I have learned from this class is I am capable of using technology if I believe in myself and allow enough time for me to learn these new skills.  There are many tools and programs I would like to explore and learn more about when I have extra time including Google Earth, Audacity, Animoto and Bubblr.  Another challenge I had taking this class was conflicting schedules.  For my mentorship projects and my major project, it was always difficult to find time which worked for both myself and the students.  This caused the projects to take more time then originally allotted.

This class thoroughly exposed me to the expanding world of technology while allowing me to develop my technological skills on both a personal and professional level. My goal for this class was to gain confidence using and teaching technology to young students.  I believe I have reached this goal, but not entirely on my own.  My confidence has expanded through my exploration and learning in this semester.  I will take the knowledge and resources from ECMP 455 and use it in my classroom.  I want to thank Alec and Dean for their wonderful classes, as well as my personal learning network.  Their advice and support have helped me to learn and grow as a young professional during this semester.

I want to share this quote, which reflects my feelings for teaching and learning with technology:

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.”

~ Anatole France


Getting Started

Finally, I have a few minutes to work on my final project for ECMP 455.  I decided earlier that I am going to create digital stories with my internship classroom in Carlyle, SK.   My plans are slowly coming together and I hope to make it to the school next week to work with my grade four students.  I am actually glad to have waited to work on this because the past three ECMP classes have been very beneficial to my project.  Dean Shareski presented and discussed with us the importance of visual design for creating videos as well as information about using flip video.  These presentations provided me with resources and ideas to get the students started on their stories.  As well,  Alec Couros provided us with a list of digital storytelling resources.

We had an amazing presentation from Alan Levine talking about 50+ ways to tell a story.  Allan talked about his experience in creating digital stories and shared many good resources to use for creating our own.  His wiki has an abundance of resources for digital storytelling, which many of them I had never heard of before.  During the presentation, he went through and highlighted a few of his favourites, which I thought was very beneficial for starting my own project.  Honestly when I saw the big list of resources, I panicked and thought how will I ever know where to start?  I am the type of learner that likes to have freedom of choice, but specific boundaries.   I feel that way especially working with technology because I do not feel confident enough to explore it solely on my own.  I like some direction to get me started.

From conferencing with teachers at the school and getting a better understanding of the resources available to me, I will start the students out with creating their stories on Photostory 3.  I know that there is so many other options and tools to use, but these students have very little experience with using technology.  In January, the school received all new computers, including laptop carts for transporting into the classroom.  All the computers have Photostory 3, so I think it will be easy for the students as well as the other teachers to use.  I hope to create a wiki about digital storytelling for the teachers at the school, so they can continue to create stories in their classrooms.  I only have a few more things to finish up before I introduce the lesson to my students.   I find the hardest part about planning for digital stories is finding a topic of interest.  I definitely want it to be a creative and fun project, yet I do think that the students need a general topic and guidelines to follow.  I want the students to experience the chance to share their own voice.  If anyone has some topic ideas or experiences they would like to share about digital stories, I would love to hear about them! 😀

I am ready to begin my process of creating digital stories with my students, which I will share my progress on this blog.  Thanks again to everyone who sent me resources and ideas about digital storytelling! If you are interested in learning more about this topic, a colleague of mine, Sarah Hill posted a wonderful explanation of three important steps for digital storytelling.

Midterm Review

I can definitely say that my last semester is going by really fast.  I can not believe that I only have a little over a month before I am completely done my university degree.  Honestly, I am feeling the midterm pressure and my stress level is high!  I have tried now for days to write a new post, but my life has taken me in different directions. On the weekend, I started to panic because I had a two day First Aid and CPR course, then I had to work on a group presentation, as well as two other assignments for Monday and Tuesday of this week.  Needless to say I did not have anytime to work on any projects for my ECMP 455 class.  I realized this week how important it is to keep up  with everything, yet there are times when I have to let go of somethings, so I do not burn out.

Also this week, I was able to see how important technology is in my life.  I have always said that I am not a technology person, yet I use it everyday.  I use it for various things including personal, social and professional purposes.  For example, my  group project relied on the communication of text messaging and emails to get through or presentation planning as well as share documents important to our topic.   Technology is definitely makes collaboration easy with communication tools so easily available.  As well, for our presentation we created a PowerPoint for a visual aspect in our presentation.  Our PowerPoint was a collection of pictures to support our information and we had no text on it!  I learned a few weeks ago in ECMP 455 the  importance of using quality images for presentations to capture the audience.  We found videos on You Tube to support our topic and music on the internet for the presentation.  Without technology, our presentation would have looked much different.

Another way I have been using technology is through email, twitter, skype and msn chat.  These past few weeks I have been relying on these tools to  help me with assignments and  planning.   Last Friday, I used skype to call Teryl Magee, a grade four teacher from the United States, to make arrangements for my mentoring project.  It is an amazing tool to use for connecting with others, which not only allows you to chat, but also use video.   From our conversation, we decided that I will be calling her classroom this week and discussing with her students facts about Canada.  As well, I will be sending pictures of Canada for them to see.

A major tool I use all the time is email, I find that I am checking my email several times during the day.  I use email to keep in touch with family, friends and peers.  For my other mentorship project, I have been constantly emailing with Sheri Edwards, to finalize plans for our project.  I will be working with her grade six students on their classroom wiki to create and edit a school newspaper.  For my mentoring projects,  I created a second blog to communicate with the students and an introductory video.  If you are interested in watching it, I posted it on my all about me page.

Technology also plays a big part for my teaching career opportunities.  Now, for all my interviews, I am contacted through email for job opportunities and appointments.  As well, school divisions post all their job openings and applications forms online for easy access.  A few divisions even have a complete online application process.

I definitely have learned a lot this semester about the importance of techology in the classroom as well as our lives.  Although I think that I am not a technology person, I need technology in my life.  By taking time to reflect, I use technology more than I ever realized.  My confidence is building from my experiences and the more time I spend exploring new technology tools and communicating with others the more I learn.  I appreciate having this opportunity to develop my PLN and I understand the importance of establishing a support system.  I know that the key to my success with using technology is collaboration and communication with others.  I know that this is only the beginning to my journey with technology, but I look forward to my continous learning through my personal learning network and personal learning environment.

Digital Storytelling

I have decided on doing my major project for ECMP 455 on creating a digital story.  I have never created one before and I am very excited to get started.  Last week,  several people sent me links and resources  on twitter to help me get started on the project. As well,  on Friday I made a visit to the school where I completed my internship and made arrangements to work with the grade four students on this project.

On my visit I met with my cooperating teacher to explain my goals and ideas, as well with the technology support teacher.  My cooperating teacher is very excited to get started and learn how to create the stories, so she can continue making them with her students.  The technology support teacher and I spent time discussing the programs to use and created an outline for my project.  We planned out the materials I would need to get started and any materials I will need while teaching the students.  It was very resourceful to hear her ideas and advice for my project.  She gave me some suggestions on where to get started and told me that she would help me along the way.

I left the meeting feeling really confident about my project and excited to get started.  Now, I have to start gathering my thoughts and creating a lesson plan to deliver to the students.  It is really comforting to know that I have a lot of support from everyone involved to get my project up and going.  I think that is a a major key for trying new things because that support  is what will help me through all the challenges and celebrate my success!  As well,  the students are really excited to get started on the project.  They do not know exactly what I will be teaching them, but they know that it includes them using the new computers.  In January, the school got all new computers, including laptops that can be moved into the classrooms, so the students are ready to try the computers.  I can already see the first step in my project is getting the students familiar with the laptops and developing rules/procedures for them to follow while using the computers.

I am truly looking forward to this project and I know this is an amazing learning experience for myself and the students.  As well,  I know it will be very rewarding to work with all these supportive people!

Needing Inspiration…..

I am starting to feel the pressure of my university classes and life in general.  I haven’t had much time on my computer in the last week, so I feel a bit behind.  I am trying to organize myself so I do not end up in a super stressed situation, but I feel like I am at stand still.  I have began to investigate and discuss with some educators about ideas for my major digital project in ECMP 455 class, but I can not make up my mind.  I am a little nervous about where to start or what to do, so I am hoping that someone can give me a little inspiration to take the challenge and start working on it.  The assignment is very open to trying new ideas and using different technology tools.  I am not completely confident with using technology, but I want to challenge myself to try something new.  I would like this assignment to be beneficial to my career and something that I can use in the classroom with my students.   I am open to any suggestions or ideas other people used or have tried with their students.  I would love to hear from others and gather ideas so I can get started.  I think I just need a little push in the right direction…..which ever way that is?

Struggling to Get Started

I realized that it has been two years since my ECMP 355 class when I last used a blog and I am struggling to remember all the details.  I decided to create a new blog account and start fresh for ECMP 455.  I am really excited about this semester and I know it will challenge  and push me to do new things with technology.  On the other hand,  I am a bit nervous because it has been awhile since I worked on computers doing some of these tasks, but I am ready to take the risk.   The reason I took this class was to challenge myself to use and learn more about using technology as a classroom teacher.  I felt in my internship I did not have many oportunities to try new things and explore using much technology with my students.  I hope this class will boost my confidence and prepare me to teaching with technology in the future!