Tag Archives: mentorship

Final Reflection

reflections

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

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Mentorship Projects

Reflections…

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.

Thank you!

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

Technology in the Classroom

For my mentorship project, I have been working with Ms. Edward’s classroom on helping her students write news stories to publish on their wiki.  It is a major learning process for her students.  They have been working on practicing interviewing and questioning skills to gather information for writing their stories.   As well, they have started the writing process because I received a link from Ms. Edwards for their new story drafts.

I read through each of the drafts and I can see the variety of interesting stories developing in her classroom.   I learned something very interesting about Ms. Edward’s students from reading these stories.  Currently, Ms. Edward’s students are visiting through Skype with the Presbyterian Day School in Memphis, Tennessee.  The reason for their Skype meetings is to teach the students from Tennessee  about Native American culture and dances.  The first meeting was on March 4, 2009 and the students from Ms. Edward’s class welcomed their new friends by sharing traditional Native dances.  It looked like a wonderful experience for the students to share their dances and teach the students more about Native American culture.

After reading about this story,  I looked at Ms. Edward’s blog as well as Mrs. Trefz blog (teacher from Tennessee) to learn more about the learning experience happening between these two schools.  I can see that this is a wonderful learning experience for both classrooms. The students are sharing important things with each other and learning about the similarities among these two cultures.

From this experience, I think it proves how valuable technology is for bringing together collaborative learning around the world.  These teachers would have never been about to develop this type of learning without the tools and resources in technology.   These students are able to see each other and talk with each other, even though they are miles apart.  As well, I would have never been apart of their learning without technology.  I am able follow their experiences through pictures and comments on their classroom blogs.  Technology opens doors to sharing experiences, so it is like I am in the classroom with them.

Throughout this semester I have been reflecting on the importance of technology in the classroom and how I can use it with my future students.  I can definitely see the benefits of technology and how creating relationships with other people will expand the learning for students.  Technology can develop a rich learning environment for students and invite them to become active learners. In the future, I will use technology in my classroom for providing my students with active, engaging lessons.

I am going to continue to follow this journey with these students and reflect on the valuable learning and relationships that are being made because of technology.  I want to thank Ms. Edwards and her students for opening up their classroom and sharing their learning experiences with me!

If you are interested in learning more, here are some links:

Ms. Edward’s Blog (Coulee Dam, Washington)

Mrs. Trefz Blog (Memphis, Tennessee)

My Mentorship Projects:

Miss Teale’s Blog (Regina, Saskatchewan)

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.

Mentoring Program

On Wednesday our we had a very exciting online ECMP 455 class.  During our Elluminate session, we had educators from all over the world join us to share information about how they are currently using technology in their classrooms.  It was amazing to hear about all the wonderful things teachers are doing with their students from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in various subjects ares.  I was especially excited to hear about all the primary grade activities because I am currently finishing my Early Childhood degree, so I want to find ideas for my future classrooms.

The purpose of our class talking with these teachers is that we are going to start a mentoring program with their students.  The assignment varies depending on the age level, school and teacher.  Our job is to work with the teachers and students on the current programs they use, as well offer any suggestions or new ideas we may have.  Many of the teachers have a classroom wikis or blogs for their classrooms. This  is a learning opportunity for everyone involved!

Also, it is definitely an opportunity to build my PLE and PLN (Personal Learning Environment and Perosnal Learning Network).  I have already been in contact with a few educators on twitter and I am so excited to talk more with them to get ideas and resources for teaching my students.  I am looking forward to this mentoring program working with new teachers and students.  This is an amazing opportunity for me to make connections with these people and gather resources for my lessons. I know this is only the beginning to my personal learning network!