Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Future

What does he future look like for education? One thing that we can be certain of is that technology will continue to grow and be more prominent in classrooms than it is today. No doubt about it. The no cell phones allowed classrooms are disappearing while the BYOD classrooms are taking over. I think this is a great thing for education, considering all the benefits that technology can bring to the table.

The question is, what kinds of technology will we be seeing in the next few years? The NMC Horizon Report: K-12 edition (linked below) identifies and describes 6 emerging technologies that are expected to have a large impact on teaching and learning within education. These are:
1. Cloud Computing
2. Mobiles
3. Game-Based Learning
4. Learning Analytics
5. PLE's
6. Open Content

The item I was happy to see on that list was game-based learning. I am an advocate for this; I think it has a lot of merit. Games are a great way to get the students engaged in their learning. Often games will provide the repetition needed when learning and practising a skill, as well as the instant feedback. It is a great way to adhere to different learning styles as well. This reminded me of the video I put on my previous blog, of the very technologically enhanced classroom. In that video the teacher talked about a couple of different web-based game programs he uses for teaching math. And didn't it look convincing?! The horizon report suggests that games in education can be a great way to engage the learners in ways that other tools and approaches simply cannot. Also according to the report education still appears slightly hesitant on adopting game-based learning as mainstream practice, but it is definitely on the radar as something to watch for! I find this exciting because I do think they are valuable.

You never know what is really in store for education in the future. But if these things really are a premonition of the future, I feel good about that! Only time will tell.

Final Class Post

Looks like classes have come to an end. And this time when I say end, I literally mean the end. Because I am FINALLY graduating! I have spent the last 6 years attending Brandon University, and while it was great, I am happy the end is here. I now get to move on to the next stage of my life... the "grown-up" stage... a career... Yikes! I am very excited to start creating my presence in the world, meet people, and hopefully soon have a job in the career I have always wanted.

All that being said.. it looks like this will be my last blog post. About classes anyway! I hope to continue on with blogging during my placement as well as afterward. After all that is one of my technological goals. I think my learning in this course is summed up pretty well in my summative project, which I have included below. Of course I have a lot more to say about my learning... but I was on a time crunch! Ah well if not in the slideshow at least I talked about my other learning in previous blog posts! A special thanks to Tyler, who helped me in the uploading to Slideshare process! Anyway, watch and enjoy!

As I said in the end:

Thank-you to Mike. For 2 years now you have passed on your expertise in the field of technology, and I appreciate it a lot. I would not know most of this had it not been for these courses.
Thank-you to my classmates of Internet for Educators. You have also provided me with tons of valuable information, provided lively discussions, and of course provided tons of delicious snacks. Good luck in your upcoming placements, and good luck to you next year as well!

And to my fellow graduates... WE MADE IT! It has been a very entertaining and memorable 2 years, and I wish you all the best of luck in your future job search. Congratulations to you all!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Video in the classroom

Using video in the classroom - love the idea. Video's are a great way to enhance the lesson you are teaching. It can act as a fun activating activity, an enhancing acquiring activity, etc. Whether it's showing the students a video or having the students create one, the learning opportunities are always there.

After reading Kirsten's blog I started thinking about how video was used back when I was in school. To go back in time to my elementary years, I don't remember being exposed to much video in the classroom. I remember using the TV to watch movies on fun days... but that's about all. Of course this could be because the school did not have all the technology that schools have now. When I got to high school this changed a little bit. Some teachers would bring in videos about certain topics covered in class, such as mitosis in Biology. However these were not what I would consider good videos by any means. They were very boring, not engaging at all. And still, is this because technology was not as readily available back then as it is now? Perhaps the use of devices and the internet (videos included) in the classroom just weren't seen as useful.

Whatever the case, I think it is great that things have changed. In education technology is being used a lot more, and this includes online video. That being said , do I know a ton of good video sites seeing as I am completely on board for this? Sadly no, I do not! I wish I did. Thanks to all of my classmates' blogs I certainly know more now than I did though!

BrainPOPJr. : This is a website that I have already mentioned in my show and tell, but again I used it all the time. I found a ton of great videos that I used in the classroom on there. I definitely recommend it; a ton of engaging videos for the early years classroom on a large variety of topics.

Below is a video showing a very innovative classroom, taken from This teacher uses technology to differentiate his instruction. He uses a lot of interactive games in math, particularly the programs Planet Turtle and Dreambox. He has the students go on these sites to practice their math skills. He encourages not only the use of the computers, but also the use of different strategies that are best for the students. He has tons of devices in his classroom including lap tops, iPod touches, and iPads. Technologically inspiring!

Differentiating Instruction Through Interactive Games (Tech2Learn Series) | Edutopia

This next video is purely for your enjoyment. Might just be my favourite video right now.

Love it.

Podcasts: Listening to Learn!

Podcasts are a great tool for professional development. In fact I have recently learned that it is one of the better ones in my opinion, because of its efficiency. All you need to do is listen to learn! Listen to it at home on the couch, while you're doing dishes, while you're doing laundry, while you're gaming (Scott), and so on. But honestly, had it not been for this course as well as getting an iPad, I likely would never have explored podcasts. Now that I have explored I see the benefits and the potential they offer.

How can you use podcasts in the classroom? The way I see podcasts being used is as part of a learning venter, or as an assessment tool. Podcasts are a great option when differentiating instruction, to accommodate the auditory Learners. I see it being used during reading time; students can listen to stories rather than reading them silently to themselves. By doing this the students are being exposed to stories in a different way, they are able to hear fluent and expressive reading, and are able to create their own images of the story in their minds. Podcasts would also be a good way to assess a students listening comprehension as well. I think podcasts could also be used as a different and fun way to assess students learning. Have the students create their own podcast. By doing this the students can share what they have learned about a certain topic. This could also be done for students reading. Many different options!

The problem I am having is with finding a podcast channel which consists of reading story books. I think this would be useful for my upcoming placement in a kindergarten room; using it in the way I described above (listening center). Does this exist?! Does anybody know of one? Maybe I am just not an efficient 'searcher' because I just can't find one. I would love to hear about any that you know of readers! Thanks!

A podcast that I subscribe to is entitled: K=12 Greatest Hits: The Best Ideas in Education. It discusses a lot of great topics in education. One podcast I recently listened to was called Keeping up with the Pace of Education Technology. I happened to stumble across this one when checking my updates and thought, hey I might as well see what they have to say since I am trying to learn more about technology! Turned out to be an interesting talk! The discussion was about the increased rate at which new technology is being introduced into education. Concerns were voiced about the older population and how it takes them longer to acquire new information; opposing forces at work. They spoke about the 2 factors in technology adoption: perceived usefulness and perceived ease of use. The part that I found most relevant to me was when they offered advice, in terms of how to ease yourself into technology usage. Twitter was suggested, as a means of finding good online resources (by following other educators). It was also suggested to find a partner; someone you can trust, to explore with and work with, who can both help you and learn with you.
Check it out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Presentations: Great job everybody!

Last class consisted of group presentations, which were all very well done! I left the class having tons of things to think about. The snacks were also amazing; delicious cookies, thank you! And now that I mention that I realize that I haven't mentioned snacks in any other blog post! That being said I will say it now: thank you to everyone for bringing snacks! They have all been so great, I love leaving class with a good sugar high!

Anyway to get back on track here. I liked seeing how everyone chose a different way to present their information. Just goes to show how many great tools are out there! My quick thoughts and appreciations on the presentations:

- BYOD: I thought using Today's Meet during the presentation was a really good idea! I had completely forgotten about that tool, which I now remember learning about in Devin Caldwell's PD. In a school that allows BYOD this would be a great tool to use in the classroom. Thanks for the reminder! Also really liked the infographic used to represent the stats; quick and to the point, and attractive!
- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: It was interesting to hear about the bad aspects of the internet. But I was happy to see that the good aspects outweighed the negative in the end! You gave a great list of GOOD resources too. Thanks!
- Should Schools use Filters? : Thanks to this presentation I now have two new tools to add to my toolbox: Glogster and Padlet. Glogster looks like a really neat way to make a presentation. I will have to try that out. Padlet would be great to use in the classroom; I hope to try that too!
- How Not to Steal From the Internet : First off, awesome video at the beginning! This was a great topic because I am sure it is relevant to everyone. I know that I am guilty of stealing from the Internet, in terms of citing (unintentionally of course!), especially when I think back to high school. Thank you for creating the website with all this information. I am sure it will come in handy for me!

Thanks again everybody for the great presentations!

Looking forward to tomorrow's class... Mmmmm Chilli Chutney's. And tech help!

Show and Tell

So... I still consider myself a bit of a newbie when it comes to the iPad and apps. I have not explored a lot of apps yet; I mainly stick with downloading the ones that are free. I will admit I download a lot of games... due to no cost! I find that many of the good educational apps are not free. Because of this I was a little worried about having something awesome to share! I have awesome games of course, like Jurassic Park and Candy Crush.

But after widening my scope a bit, I thought about tools/sites that I have seen on the internet, and a couple came to mind (other than all of the great ones I have already learned about in this class and last years ICT class). During my last student teaching placement, I attended a few staff meetings. At these meetings teachers would share different apps or websites that they had found useful, just like a show and and tell! It was a great idea. After attending one of these meetings I started using some of the online apps that were discussed, and now I love them! And now I will share them with you; keep the learning train going!
- This is a website that any one can use for free. It is basically a library of picture books, all of which include audio. So you can just click on it, and the book will be read aloud. You also have the option of muting it, if you would like to read the book to the students. Sometimes I would use this at the end of the day, to settle the students down a little bit before home time. I turned off the lights and the students would listen; they enjoyed it, it was relaxing!
- This is a really great tool available online. It can be googled easily (online stopwatch) or you can click on the link here. It is simple, but I have found that the students go nuts over it. Basically it provides a bunch of different kinds of timers. I would use this in the classroom when we were doing a short activity and the students had limited time. As you can imagine.. ."5,4,3,2,1!!!!!!!!!!" They would all scream at the end. A little crazy at the end, but that's why it's great; just adds a little fun!

I was introduced to BrainPOP as a website, but recently I found that it does have an App in the iTunes Store as well. The app is free! There is a free trial available, but then I believe you need to subscribe. This website provides TONS of short animated videos on different subject areas. I used this during my last placement when I was doing a healthy body unit. I pulled up videos about washing your hands, brushing your teeth, etc. The students enjoyed the characters and really listened to the information; provided a great activating activity.

Thanks to everyone for sharing their apps as well, I have already added some new ones to my iPad and checked some out online!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Donald Girouard and Sophia Palahicky: WebBased Courses

Recently we had 2 consultants from Manitoba Education come in to speak to our class about web-based courses. They discussed the advantages of web-based courses, for both the students and the teachers. They also explained the 4 ways to use WBC's: as a teacher resource, with a face-to-face class, with distance Learners, and as part of a mixed learning environment. Sophia and Donald also described the tool Manitoba Blackboard, and give us a tour. While writing this blog I took a few minutes to explore the site as well. I previewed as a guest, so I assume I saw the site from a students point of view. From what I saw it seems very student friendly; very organized and clear. I can definitely see the benefit of using Blackboard, even in the regular classroom as part of a mixed environment. This would allow students to have access to what is going on in class, if they ended to be away.

I have never taken a web-based course. I am not even sure if I had that option when I was in high school. I did consider taking distance courses during the summer months of university, but never did. I doubted myself, thinking that if I were able to go at my own pace to get the assignments done, I would not be successful. Simply because I am a procrastinator. I also thought that I wouldn't get as much out of the course taking it by distance education then I would in a face to face course. But after hearing Sophia and Donald speak about web-based courses and their lets, they sound much better than how I pictured them years ago!

On the topic of web-based courses: While I was browsing around and looking at infographics for my previous blog, I happened to stumble upon one about online education. It compares online teaching and regular classroom teaching, with a definite favouritism for online education. Have a look at it:

Thanks to Sophia and Donald for coming in to talk about the aspects and advantages of web-based courses. This is definitely an area of education I'd like to learn more about!