I have enjoyed the experience of both my mentorship projects this semester. Although, I did not get to interact much with the students and teachers directly, it was a great learning experience for me. I learned many things about teaching with technology and incorporating technology into the classroom. Also, I learned about how hard and time consuming mentorship projects can be to arrange and organize schedules for meetings. I learned about how life is very unpredictable and things come up at school or home. As well, technology does not always work successfully when you need it.
For both of my projects, I created a second blog for us to use it as a communication tool. I posted a few reflections about our experiences together, shared information and pictures about myself with the students, so they could learn more about me. Both teachers commented that the students enjoyed watching my introduction video!
My friends from Knoxville, Tennessee…
I enjoyed working with Teryl Magee and her grade four students. I was able to successfully connect with Teryl and the students once through Skype. It was a struggle for us to balance our schedules and find time suitable for both of us talk. As well, we had several troubles with Skype and we were unable to connect the first two times. When we finally did connect on the third try, I was very excited to talk with her students and answer their questions about Canada. In the few minutes we talked, I think that all of us learned new things about living in Canada and the United States from our conversation. From my experience, I can see the benefit of using a mentorship program with students to learn more about other cultures or countries in the world.
My friends from Coulee Dam, Washington…
I also enjoyed working with Sheri Edwards and her grade six students. We decided for this mentorship project that I would help her students create news stories for their classroom wiki. Through my blog, the students were able to learn more about me as well as, I provided them with ideas and questions to write their stories on. As I mentioned earlier, time is a factor with these projects and the students have only started writing their stories. The interviewing and writing process took longer than originally expected. I have read through their drafts and I can see that in a few weeks the students will be ready for me to help edit their writing. Even though my ECMP class is finished, I plan on continuing this project and working with Sheri’s students. I really like reading their news stories and learning more about their school and community.
I want to thank both Teryl and Sheri for opening up their classrooms and inviting me to take part in this learning experience. This mentorship hase not only taught me about the specific projects we worked on together, but the endless opportunities technology has to offer in the classroom. Through our emails, Skype calls, tweets and blog comments I have gained a wonderful understanding of how these teachers value technology and support it in their teaching practices. I know that in the future, I can contact them for support and resources to get my own lessons and projects started in my classroom. Thank you both for all the support and guidance this semester!
To read more about our projects visit Miss Teale’s Blog
After completing my digital storytelling project, I am gathering additional information and resources to use for creating a teacher resource wiki. My goal is to create a resource sharing my experiences using digital stories in the classroom as well as to collect information from other educators who have used digital stories in their classrooms. If you have created digital stories with your students, please take a few minutes to fill out this google form to share your thoughts and ideas. Thanks for your help! 😀
Please fill out the form, then click submit so I can review your responses. Thanks again!
Digital Stories Questionnaire
On Wednesday during our ECMP 455 class we had a presentation was on using Second Life (SL) in the classroom from teachers in Regina, Saskatchewan. Prior to this presentation, I had never heard Second life or knew what it was. For anyone who does not know about SL, it is a 3-D virtual world that users imagine and create their own world. Erik Van Dusen, Marcel Lorenz and Garnett Gleim shared their experiences with incorporating SL into their classroom. As well, they took us through a brief tour of their social studies project with the grade eight students. It is evident that great learning experience they have created for the students and the benefits of using interactive learning in the classroom. For their project, Regina Public School has their own island in SL, so the students and teachers can create their own place. The benefits of a virtual project is that the students and teachers can access it from school and their homes.
Many of us questioned the safety of using it with the students, but they explained how strictly monitored it is for others to join their island. The students have to create their accounts at school with permission from the teachers. As well, any adults that wish to join must have a criminal record check completed and permission to join. It was obvious the detailed planning and decisions made by the teachers involved with this project to create a successful learning experience for their students.
Personally, I thought SL looks very interesting, but I am not comfortable with using it in the classroom. I know that if I was to use it with my students, I would want to become more familiar with it. As well, I think that it was a great project for the grade eight students, but I am not sure how well it would work with younger children. I am planning on teaching early elementary grades, so I do not think that I would include it in my lesson planning. Does anyone use it with elementary aged students? What types of projects can you do with the younger students? Benefits? Problems? I definitely want to learn more about SL and hear other experiences from educators. I hope someday to create my own SL account and explore the possibilities of using it and how it could be used as an educational resource in my classroom.
For our ECMP 455 class, we listened to inspiring stories from Darren Kuropatwa, Clarence Fisher and Kathy Cassidy. It was amazing to hear what each of these educators are doing with technology in the classroom. They all teach different subjects and grade levels, yet they have a common vision for their classrooms. The vision of supporting their students and providing them with the tools necessary for successful learning.
I think the big learning moment for me was that there is no formula for incorporating technology in the classroom. It will vary from teacher to teacher in how much or how little technology they use with their students. Personally, I have been searching for someone to tell me what tools I should incorporate and how much technology I should use in the classroom. I learned from this presentation that the answer is inside of me. I have to decide as a teacher, what is important to me and what I am comfortable with using in my classroom. I have to decide what tools to use for supporting my students learning. Why would I choose not to include technology in my classroom, especially since my job is to prepare students for life long learning and teach them life skills? I liked the point Kathy Cassidy made about, “I teach my students to live in a digital world.” I completely agree with her because we are living in a digital world, so we should educate our students about how to use these tools in their lives.
Another important point to their presentation was collaboration. They all shared comments about how they work with others for creating new ideas and activities in the classroom. I have definitely learned from taking this class that building a strong personal learning environment (PLN) is very important for expanding my own learning with technology. Also, I think that because my class is online, I am forced to rely more on my PLN to provide me support and resources for my own teaching and learning. I think that I am lucky to have this class to develop my PLN and gather great resources before I have my own classroom.
It was very inspiring for me to hear them say start small and slowly build up to using more and more technology with students. I know that starting teaching is gong to be very overwhelming, especially to try and incorporate technology into my lesson plans. As a new teacher, I think that it is important to start my career with small goals and slowly take steps into incorporating more technology.
I learned many important things tonight about teaching with technology from these presentations. Before starting this class, I always thought that teaching technology relies on personal skill level and experience, which I lack both confidence and skills in. One of the presenters shared this image below from flickr (by superkimbo) that is very powerful and inspiring to me.
I know that in order for me to succeed in teaching with technology, I need to believe that I can do it as well as develop realistic goals for my classroom. Also, I think that I need to reach out for support from my PLN and not be afraid to ask others for help. I think this image says it all, using technology successfully is a mindset and we all are capable in reaching this mindset if we believe in it! 😀
Here are links to these wonderful educators classroom blogs: Darren Kuropatwa, Clarence Fisher and Kathy Cassidy
Last night in ECMP 455, Dean Shareski gave an entertaining presentation on creating videos. First, he shared the different types of videos that you can create:
- talking head
- screen casts
- caught on tape
- the slide show
- the mash up
- the edited movie
Dean referred to this question several times in his presentation, “what is the purpose of your video?” He told us how important it is to think about that question when you are working on a video. Dean had several examples of videos for us to watch and discuss about creating, editing and shooting a video.
Then, we were given a set of tasks to complete in small groups. The tasks came from a website called AFI Screen Education, which this site has a handbook guide for educators to download and use. The first task was to create a short 30 second video about a door scene. We had specific parameters and limitations, which were outlined on the assignment sheet. Dean provided us all with a flip video camcorder. My group shot our video with no problems. Then, he got us to work on creating a storyboard for a new video. Our storyboards included illustrations and text to outline the next videos. This time we had us switch storyboards with another group in class and go record their ideas. It was challenging to try and record someones idea. From this task, I definitely learned about the importance of details when creating storyboards. The more details about shots, angles, dialogue and positions, the easier it is to create a video. As well, storyboards are important step to creating videos because it gives a specific outline to follow for recording a quality video.
Sarah, Kristina and I had a lot of fun recording our videos last night, so I decided to share our first recording of the door scene. Hope you enjoy it 😀
This was my first experience with using a flip video camcorder and I loved it. It is very easy to use and practical for using in the classroom. I think that it is a good investment for teachers to have in their classroom for various lessons or activities. As well, it is very user friendly for the students to use and create their own videos. I definitely want to learn more about flip video cameras and the different ways to use it in the classroom. I would love to hear from people their ideas, thoughts and experiences using a flip video in their classroom.
Last week, I received an email from my Professor Dr. Patrick Lewis from the University of Regina. His email was in regards to a blogging program that he does with his second year education students at the university. He offers the blogging program for his ELNG 325 class, which focuses on teaching writing.
I had completed the course a couple of years ago and when I took it, I was involved with the test run for the blogging program. We were the first group to start blogging with Kathy Cassidy’s grade one students. I can remember how exciting it was to work with her students and get that hands on experience with young writers. For my class, we each had a blogging buddy that we responded to their blog a few times a week. When I first started, I remember how hard it was to translate invented spelling and understand what my buddy was trying to tell me. As time went on I definitely could see an improvement in their writing from all aspects. My buddy’s spelling was better, he had clear thoughts and ideas, as well he used punctuation. The program definitely had benefits for both the grade one students and the pre-service teachers. At the end of the semester we went and visited the students at their school to celebrate our blogging journey. It was a very rewarding project and I am lucky to have been able to experience it. I am glad to see Dr. Patrick Lewis is continuing to work with Mrs. Cassidy’s grade one students on their writing process.
Technology definitely opens the door to new and exciting learning experiences for both teachers and students. It is amazing how a simple blogging program can provide so much learning for everyone involved. I hope you check out the program my professor has developed with Mrs. Cassidy’s grade one students. It is very inspiring for teachers to start blogging with their students.
Here is a link for the K12 Online Conference that Dr. Patrick Lewis and Mrs. Kathy Cassidy put together about the blogging buddy program.
Here is a link to Dr. Patrick Lewis ELNG 325 classroom blog.
Our first online ECMP 455 class on Wednesday was really good. I enjoyed using Elluminate to talk, type and share things with the class. It is easy to use and convenient to use from home 😀 I think it is amazing how technology has advanced and changed so we can do all these things online for this class. After the class, I got thinking about how important it is for me now to take time and explore all these new resources. During class we talked about google reader, google docs, Delicious and twitter. I have signed up for many of these accounts, but I have not had a chance to learn more about each and become comfortable using them. I was a bit overwhelmed at first because using computer and technology is not one of my strengths, but I decided that my goal is to become confident in using these resources during this class. I know it is going to take time and I will truly have to commit to trying these new things in order to gain confidence. I think if I reach my goal, it will be definitely beneficial for my future career. Also, I do want to build a network of people and supports to keep me using technology throughout my profession. So in the next few weeks, I will be exploring, exploring, exploring!