Tag Archives: PLE

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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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.

Learning More About PLE

During  my ECMP 455 class last night,  we discussed the importance of visual design and how to use it successfully for presentations.  We talked about how good images, less text and appropriate colour and sound really enhance a presentation.  Then, we shared things about what not to do when creating a visual presentation for an audience.  It was really interesting to spend time discussing and analyzing various pictures and presentations online.  I think that this was a really important topic to cover because so often we have to make presentations for colleagues, students or other professionals which should be appealing to the audience.

We had to complete a few tasks on visual design during the class.  One was to search for a good slideshow on SlideShare.  As I was searching,  I found this slide on Personal Learning Environments (PLE) by Graham Attwell.  It is a good visual presentation and helped me understand more about what a PLE really is.  As well, it really shares the importance of finding your own PLE and using it to collaborate with others and exploring new things.  I did understand the concept behind PLE, but this slideshow captures the whole meaning through images, text and voice for a deeper understanding.  The slide ends with two questions: “What a Personal Learning Environment is? What can we do with that Personal Learning Environment?”

I am creating my own PLE through this class by exploring and using various forms of technology.  My blog has been a window to open my thoughts for others to read and reply with advice and support.  I am teaching myself new concepts, as well as collaborating with others for ideas and resources.  I think that we all need to find our PLE and what we do with it is endless.  Personally, I am finding that the more time I spend collaborating and sharing with others, the more opportunities there are for me to expand my PLE.

Expanding My Network

I have to admit that a few weeks ago, I was really nervous to about working on my PLN.  What is a PLN you may ask?  Well before taking this class, I had no clue what is was either.  PLN is a personal learning network and for my ECMP 455 class I will be assessed on developing my PLN.  I had no idea where to even start finding people interested in sharing their ideas and supporting me through my struggles, so I took advice from others and tried a few new things.  I started using twitter, which I love to use for talking to educators around the world.  As well, I am finding that my blog is really opening up a whole new support network for my career.  I am so thankful for all the people that have taken interest in my posts and send me comments or advice in my blog or on twitter.  I can honestly see the point of developing a strong PLN because it helps give me the confidence and support I need to try new things.  I admit that starting this class I was a little doubtful about building my network, but now I am excited to find all these amazing people and resources.  There is a lot of support for teachers using technology and I am glad to have already connected with these wonderful people 😀