Tag Archives: reflections

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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Pecha Kucha Presentations

Learning more about Pecha Kucha…

The first minute of this video shares background information about Pecha Kucha presentations.  Then, it continues with an example to illustrate this specific presentation format.

Planning my presentation…

Last Wednesday, we celebrated our final ECMP class with pizza and Pecha Kucha presentations.   It was the first time I have created this type of presentation, so I had to learn about it before getting started.  For our class, @shareski decided on the presentation format to be either 10 slides timed for 20 seconds each or 20 slides timed for 10 seconds each.  I decided to create my presentation using 10 slides for 20 seconds each.

First, I created a PowerPoint with 10 blank slides and set the timer to change each slide after every 20 seconds.   Next,  I organized my thoughts  and ideas about what I wanted to say during my reflection of ECMP 455.  Then, I searched for pictures to illustrate my ideas.   I had majority of the pictures in my computer files, but I searched for a few more on Flickr.   Finally, I arranged the pictures in order and rehearsed what I was going to say for each picture during my presentation.

Taking it one step further…

After the ECMP class, I wanted to share my Pecha Kucha with everyone reading my blog.  I decided to try using Voice Thread.  I had never used it before, but I wanted to teach myself something new.  It was simple!  I signed up for account, uploaded my pictures, recorded my voice and I was done.  It was easy and very user friendly!  I will definitely use this tool in my classroom for various lessons to record my voice as well as the students’ voices.  It is a great way for students to share their learning and experiences with their peers.  Great self-evaluation and self-reflecting project! The only problem I found was it did not allow me to embed it in my WordPress blog.

If you are interested in listening to my reflections about ECMP 445, click the link below to see my presentation.

My ECMP 455

Pecha Kucha Presentation

Storm Stories

laffy4k

Dark Clouds over Huntington, Indiana

I thoroughly enjoyed working with the grade four students while creating digital stories.  I will definitely use this project idea in my classroom.   This was a great learning opportunity for teaching with technology and I learned how to support my students interests and learning needs.  This project challenged my students to think creatively as well as to build on their problem solving abilities.   It is an engaging project for the students to teach others about their thoughts.  I know there are many possibilities for students to create these stories in various subjects in the Saskatchewan curriculum.

It was a wonderful to see the students engaging and learning to create their own stories.  I saw the confidence and pride in the students while they worked on their stories.  This project gave them a sense of ownership of their learning. They had to make choices to create their stories and decide on the text, pictures, fonts, and transitions  appropriate for their stories.  It took responsibility and co-operation to create the stories.  It was rewarding to see the happiness and excitement the students shared during the process of creating the stories.

I felt that my job moved from directly teaching the students in the lesson, to becoming a facilitator to their learning.  I took the role of supporting the students and offering suggestions rather than telling them what they should do.  The stories were solely their creations.   It was a great experience for me to learn how to let go and allow the students to explore and make their own decisions.  As well, it was rewarding to know I am helping them develop skills and tools they can use in the future.

Reflections from the students during our process:

“This is the best assignment ever, Miss Teale!”

“This is fun!”

“Cool!”

“I didn’t know I could do that.”

“Can we do this again?”

To wrap up our learning and exploration of digital stories, I am visiting the Grade Four students again before the end of April 2009 to have a celebration of learning.  We are going to invite the parents in for the afternoon and share all the stories the students created about storms.  It will be a great opportunity for parents to see what the students have been working on and for the students to share with their classmates the work they have completed.  I look forward to celebrating at the end of the month!  As well, I will be creating a CD of all the stories for each student to take home and share with their friends and family.

Here are a few examples of our storm stories:

The Tornado

The Crazy Storm

Blizzard

The Big Storm

The Hail Storm