Challenge Accepted!!

This week’s blog is an interesting topic with much debate.  Some people would say that a closed forum is more beneficial than an open forum and to be honest I don’t know which side of the fence I would be on.  I have thought about different pro’s and con’s that come with both types of forums, however, I think it all depends on the type of students you have, the material being taught, the kinds of resources etc. that you are using.  Have you done pre-teaching in terms of being good digital citizens prior to introducing them to the world of forums?? So many things to think about when it comes to the online world!!

Chalyn discussed in her blog this week about her experiences with different types of forums.  To be honest I am in a similar position as her and in my own learning the only forums that I have been introduced to have been the ones through the online classes I have taken.  I do agree with Chalyn that the google plus community is very informational, supportive and could have been an asset is all grad courses not necessarily just the online classes.

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Google plus also allows everyone to take responsibility for their own learning, you are able to post, view, read other posts etc. which can expand your knowledge and introduce you to new areas of learning.  Chalyn and Ashley both talked about the age of your students being a deciding factor on whether you have an open or closed forum.  I do agree with this statement and I also feel that it is dependent on the personalities of your students as well.  Many teachers wouldn’t introduce a forum on the first day of class generally because you haven’t had an opportunity to get to know your students and perhaps do some pre-teaching in regards to appropriateness, online etiquette etc. in those types of spaces.  As an educator it is our job to determine what type of space best suits the needs of our students and we need to incorporate these spaces appropriately and for a purpose rather than simply incorporating to say we did.

Aimee also brought up some valid points this week that are worth touching base on.  One main, very important point she discussed was the safety of our students.

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When working with open and closed forums we need to keep in mind their safety, what types of things are others going to know about them, what information are we showing to others, their name, location etc.  If this type of information is visible for others to see are we doing our due diligence and keeping our students safe?? We are trying to help our students in creating their digital footprint, however we need to ensure that they are safe and that they are creating and leaving positive footprints online.

I was really able to relate to Aimee when she was discussing being an itinerant teacher and the challenges that may be faced with incorporating forums into our classrooms.  Once challenge that is faced is we teach many or almost all students in the school and without the support of our colleagues and administration it would be nearly impossible to even attempt to incorporate forums with all classes into our classroom.  Media release forms is another challenge, it would take a lot of effort on the part of the classroom teacher and myself to figure out who all had media release forms and had permission to participate in the forums etc.

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One way I see forums working in our position is if the classroom teachers already had some type of forum created for their own classroom and added us on as admin so we could add/edit/change things that are relevant to the material we are teaching.  I think collaboration between colleagues is essential if any itinerant teachers would be interested in incorporating forums into their classrooms.

Natalie brought up a really good point that is worth touching upon.  She mentioned how audience can play a key part in the learning of our students.  Often times if students know that there is a larger audience, ex. That their work may be displayed on YouTube they are more likely to put in a better effort and the end result may be greater than if they knew their audience was simply going to be their classmates and the teacher.  The novelty of others viewing and being able to comment on your work is pretty amazing…. so we need to make sure our work is amazing too!

Lastly, Jessica talked about the different roles that she takes on (mother, teacher, student) and how a closed space seems more safe, comfortable and authentic.  As a mother, teacher, and student myself I would have to agree, I feel that a closed space is more fitting for my learning style and my comfort level.

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I do see the benefits of an open space and how many people would enjoy and appreciate those spaces, however for my own learning purpose and my personality I do feel that the closed space allows me to feel more comfortable and confident.

Many thoughts and ideas were running through my head as we have been discussing this in class.  One thought was how do I even incorporate any type of forum into a physical education classroom setting?? In our group discussion last week seesaw was mentioned.  I have never used seesaw, however as they began to describe the program and gave me ideas of how I could incorporate a forum using seesaw into my phys ed classrooms the idea really grew on me.  A goal of mine upon returning back to work from mat leave will be to touch base with my teachers and see what types of forums they are using in their classes and if there is a possibility that I could be involved as well!! I am excited to try new things in my teaching and I think my students will be just as excited!:)

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The 3 Musketeers Are In Action!

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3 Musketeers ready to take on the challenge!!

Our course prototype has been a work in progress, however now that we have had some time to meet, discuss and learn in class we definitely have a better understanding of what our final product is going to look like and what elements will be included. After reading Roberta’s blog I definitely felt like our group was in the same shoes.  We had to take a step back and do some reading.  We then we needed to find/create a framework (it’s always nice when you can find a framework that already exists as we don’t need to reinvent the wheel).  We needed to find ways of engaging our students, enhancing our lessons and increasing efficiency (choosing tools that are easy to use and will meet the needs of multiple learners).  Once we have done these things we provide our students with an opportunity to play and get familiar with a variety of resources, apps and tools.  Once they have found a tool that best suits their needs and the requirements of our assignment then we allow them to create and have fun while doing so.  I loved reading this blog as it gave me a sense that our group was on the right track with our project and were moving in the right direction.

Roberta suggested that one worry that she had was students misusing technology.  I think this is a fear that many of us have however it is essential that as educators we teach our students how to use these different types of technologies and resources in an appropriate matter.  We model what we would like to see.  We teach and model good digital citizenship.  When we do come across students who are misusing the technology we need to have consequences and a plan in place for their learning.

Andres has already given a detailed outline of what our prototype is going to look like so I am going to piggyback off of his blog this week.  We have all been in situations where technology has been a challenge, especially those teachers in the younger grades.  Students are unable to log on; internet access is low etc.  so what better way to get our students using technology then to buddy them up with an older student who perhaps more experience using these tools, apps, resources etc.  We have decided that our buddies will be a big part of our project, involved, commenting, providing feedback, learning etc.  We have decided that google classroom will be our collaborative space, that our students will be able to access information, resources, apps, seek support etc. through this environment.  Google classroom also provides students with an opportunity to work at their own pace, and offers a variety of resources that will meet the needs of all of our learners.

Essentially we would like to present our students with a number of tools, apps, resources etc. to use to represent their work.  Most learning happens better in small steps; therefore, we have outlined our project step by step so that by the end of the semester they will have the necessary tools to create their final project.  Our lessons throughout the semester will be “how to lessons” this will give our students an opportunity to play around with, learn, test a variety of tools and decide which one best suits their needs.  Some of the tools that we plan to include in our prototype are Read and write (google), google docs, google drive, animation tools (ex. Video scribe, etc.), how to film and how to edit film, how to create podcasts, and time lapse videos.  It is our hope that our students will have enough knowledge and feel confident in using one of these tools to create their summary of learning.  We have seen many examples of teachers and students using tech as a source of learning with and without reading buddies.

Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc

Firstly, we want to pair up our students with a buddy, with their buddy using some of the tools we have taught we want them to brainstorm ideas and begin to create an outline for their story.  Once they have a base idea then we want them to begin creating their actual story (using one of the tools provided).  After they have created/written their story like many stories there needs to be a visual (so again, using the resources, apps, tools learned it is their job to create some sort of visual to accompany their story).  It is our hope that we will be able to meet with our buddies weekly do discuss progress (this will be dependent on time, availability to resources/technology etc.)  As Andres mentioned we are putting a lot of emphasis and focus on the process, therefore we will be evaluating every step in the creation of their final summary of learning.

Photo Credit: duaneschermerhorn Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: duaneschermerhorn Flickr via Compfight cc

Once our students have created their final product we plan to upload it to YouTube to broaden their audience, that way their masterpiece can be viewed by others outside of the classroom as well. As the teachers we hope to follow our students closely, with the use of blogs, google classroom, google docs and all our resources and tools we feel that there will be sufficient student/teacher interaction and we will always be available to provide feedback as our time will be spent together and/or online.

Overall, I think we have a good framework and am hopeful that this will work in our classrooms. I am looking forward to continuing our work on this project with my wonderful colleagues and am eager to see what our final product will look like!

Blended Learning In A Physical Education Classroom

I was very excited that this week’s blog was left open so we were able to look into things that were of interest to us.  As a physical education teacher who rarely uses technology in my classroom I was looking for others who have successfully integrated technology or the blended learning approach into their physical education classrooms with success.  When I think about technology in they gymnasium classroom there are many positive things that come to mind as well as many challenges that will be faced.  Prior to beginning my research, I was able to read a few of my colleagues blogs that I thought directly related to my topic this week.  Natalie stated that nothing will ever be perfect but we need to begin somewhere and that’s what is important.  In her blog this week she also attached a photo image that was very useful for educators that are trying to incorporate blended learning into their classrooms, I found this to be very helpful in my quest to have a blended learning classroom for physical education.  Adam talked about the use of cellphones in classrooms.  I have discussed this in earlier blogs and once again it has come up.  I always say pick your battles, and cell phones are definitely one battle I am not willing to pick.  Some may think that the use of cell phones in the gymnasium may be more of a distraction than it is helpful however with all the different apps and resources that we have access to now days I do believe that they would be beneficial to our students learning.  Again like anything it is our job as the teacher to ensure that our students are using technology appropriately and to model/teach good digital citizenship.  Angela talked about technology being a great way of engaging our learners, and I would agree.  Students are motivated by technology, they use it on a daily basis and what better way to get them excited about learning than to incorporate something they are so passionate about.  Angela discussed how technology provides us with opportunities that we may not have otherwise.  I am a testament to that, with already having an almost 2-year-old at home and my daughter being due Jan 7th, having two kids and taking a class at the university seemed impossible.  It was this online class that enabled me to continue my education while being at home for my children and family.  As Angela stated like anything challenges come with the positives, however these challenges are just mere obstacles that we can handle!!

In my quest to find blended learning classrooms (physical education specific) I came across three different resources that I found useful.  The first was a YouTube video that essentially discusses why blended learning for physical education can be positive for both the students and the teachers.  Blended learning classrooms allow us to create interactive classrooms where we are teaching students to be engaged in movement activity at school and at home.  An example that was used was Xbox Kinect.  This type of technology, although some might not see it as physical activity gets our children up and moving and encourages movement activity.  The Xbox Kinect could be used in the classroom and at home.  The use of technology in our gymnasiums allows parents to be involved in their child’s learning, this may also encourage our parents to model physical movement and participate in their child’s learning/movement activities as well.  It gives parents an opportunity to observe lessons, participate, and provide feedback.  It allows teachers the flexibility of planning lessons in a different fashion and students are able to complete homework assignments via technology rather than wasting in class time.

The second resource I found was also very supportive of blended learning physical education classrooms.  The article suggests that people often look at online learning as students spending the majority of their time in front of a computer screen and this couldn’t be further from the truth.  With the use of blended learning classrooms, it allows for flexibility, for both the teachers and the students. Flexibility has proven to ensure a higher success rate among our students in the physical education setting.  Blended learning allows one on one time to be spent with students working on THEIR needs to meet THEIR goals.  It allows opportunities for a more personal approach, is more engaging and teaches our students to be lifelong learners with healthy active lifestyles.

The last resource I found was a YouTube video of a teacher who is teaching a lesson using the blended learning approach.  Following this video, I was inspired… if she can do it why can’t I.  She was able to show how blended learning can be successful in the gymnasium.  How students can be engaged in movement activities while using technology.  She shows how technology can be incorporated into her lesson and how the students use it throughout the class time.  At the end of the video students provide a testament saying they prefer this type of learning, it is more personal and helpful in meeting their needs.

Like anything comes the challenges.  Some challenges that come to mind when I think about blended learning in a physical education classroom is:

-connection issues

-access to technology (at school and at home)

-where do we store technology that we are using in the gymnasium

-would we get funding to purchase technology

-in a 45-minute class period how much time is wasted logging on etc. or do we simply make use of the technology outside of the gymnasium and use our time in the gym for hands on, one on one time?

-keeping students on track and using the technology for its purpose ex. Not snap chatting their friend that can’t dribble a basketball

-What age group is this ideal for?

I love the idea of blended learning, the flexibility and being able to meet the individual needs of all our students would be amazing.  I do believe it is all about trial and error, I am going to have to try it out and see what works, learn from my mistakes as some might say.  Wish me luck, as soon as I get back from mat leave I will be on a mission!!

Bates… Our Then VS Our Now!

Bates’ article this week was very informational and provided me with an opportunity to glimpse back at my own teaching and learning throughout the years.  Bates suggested that different media allows for different learning opportunities.  In Lorraine’s blog this week she talked about coming from a world where there was virtually no technology to a world that we are surrounded with technology.

Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: madisonpubliclibrary Flickr via Compfight cc

Were her learning experiences growing up much different from the learning experiences of her students today?? Most definitely, Lorraine discussed the use of simulation, allowing her students an opportunity to experience things “real life”, where as prior to simulation her students were able to read, view images, perhaps do some hands on things but never had the opportunity to experience it in real life.  These experiences are brought to us by technology, because we have been in a world that revolves around technology, we are exposed to it on a daily basis, what better way than to find ways of incorporating technology to benefit both the teachers and learners.  The only downfall of moving into a world of technology is cost.

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Photo Credit: aonefinancial Flickr via Compfight cc

Not all schools/students are afforded with the privilege of having these wonderful tools within their classrooms.  How do we ensure that we are providing equal learning opportunities for all of our students?

Bates also states that when choosing different types of media, we need to be cautious, are we choosing the best media possible for the content we are trying to portray?  As educators we need to decide what learning tools are going to benefit our students, each student has individual unique needs, therefore we need to ensure that the media we are choosing to use in our classrooms is going to meet the needs of all of our students and provides opportunities for all of our students to be successful.  Being able to choose different types of media allows us to teach content in a variety of ways which in turn affords our students with opportunities for deeper understanding.  With deeper understanding our students are also able to develop a wide variety of skills that may benefit them in their future.

While writing my blog this week I began reading other’s blogs, there were a few that I was able to relate to. Stephanie brought up a good point in suggesting that if our students had more choice in the material they were reading would they be more engaged?  I would say yes, I think about my own experiences in school and as a teacher and I am more likely to be interested and engaged in whatever is going on if I am interested in the text being read.  She talked about reading with her kids, and reading captain underpants.

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Photo Credit: katherine lynn Flickr via Compfight cc

I think about reading with my son, there are numerous times I have picked out a book and he looks at me and says “NOOO” because he wants to read a book that he can relate to, he wants to read a book where we can talk about the pictures and he knows/can identify what the things are.  He isn’t interested in reading a book where mommy reads and tells him what things are and we talk about the pages. It is all new content to him, he has no background knowledge, nothing he can identify, nothing he can relate to therefore his interest in the book dwindles quite quickly.  I find it interesting that in our classrooms when we do RAD testing, and all these different types of tests that we provide our students with the same text, most times they have no prior knowledge or are unable to relate to and we expect them to do well and be successful, how is this fair??  Stephanie also brought up the fact that she appreciated when teachers used a wide variety of tools.  I would agree with this, I also appreciate the use of various tools, it allows us an opportunity to find something that meets individual needs, and ensures success.  I’m sure our students feel the same!

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Our world has ever revolved from when I grew up. In elementary school I remember copying notes from the overhead, I was often bored as I could write faster than most of my classmates.

Photo Credit: juhansonin Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: juhansonin Flickr via Compfight cc

I found myself waiting around doing nothing while they continued to copy then notes.  I remember a computer lab that we were so fortunate enough to visit once a week where we were able to practice our typing skills using all the right type, play number munchers and every once and a while we even surfed the internet. Once high school hit our world became a little more tech savvy, I took classes that revolved around computers and the various programs you could use.

Photo Credit: quinn.anya Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: quinn.anya Flickr via Compfight cc

The programs were a little outdated in comparison to what we use today, however none the less we were being introduced to how to use computers and the features that were available to us at that particular movement in time.  University was similar to high school, I used a computer for assignments (mostly typed) and that was about it.  The teachers often used PowerPoint to go along with their lecture.

My own learning experience was similar to that of Jessica.  She described herself as a visual learner, someone that preferred video and text over audio.  I was similar growing up.  I loved to read, I loved watching movies, videos, television etc.  but I also loved being active and doing things hands on.  I was never one for listening to something and being able to complete a task.  This may have something to do with my background in sports, I often think of coaches, they will explain something but as they are explaining they will be drawing on some sort of board.

Photo Credit: bidyarthi Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: bidyarthi Flickr via Compfight cc

I learned best this way and now that I am a physical education teacher I can say that I teach similar.  I feel that the diagram or image is definitely beneficial to many students.  If I were to explain something without the use of an image I feel like students would be lost, unsure and question what they should or shouldn’t be doing.  As educators it is essential when integrating technology, apps, resources etc. into our classroom we need to ensure that however we are incorporating it meets the needs of our student and is compatible with the content being taught.  Everyone comes from a different background; with different knowledge it is our job to find ways of teaching to the needs of all our students to ensure they are successful citizens in our society.

Logan addressed two wonderful questions in his blog this week that are definitely worth taking into consideration.

Photo Credit: Ekspresevim Flickr via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Ekspresevim Flickr via Compfight cc

Would I be a good student in my own classroom? And What will my classroom look like in several years?  When I look at these two questions I can answer yes to the first as I am teaching in a way that I found success, however does this mean that all my students will find success in this same fashion? Not necessarily!  And secondly, my classroom I’m positive will look very different in several years as we are always changing, things are being updated, adjusted, added, etc.  Our students are always changing, our educators are growing, we are learning from experience and often adding resources to our wonderful collections.  As Bates suggests we need to be cautious when selecting our type of media, as we need to choose one that best suits the content being taught and all forms of media will offer a different learning experience.

 

 

The Possibilities Are Endless!!!!

After this week’s class I left once again feeling overwhelmed!  Story of my life when it comes to technology!!  First and foremost, I like Elizabeth am new to the mac world and am currently trying to figure out the ins and outs of these mac computers.  I have always been an hp user until I went on mat leave had to give up my ever so loved hp computer and trade it in for my husband’s mac.  Now the learning begins!! From what I understand Mac computers have quite a few wonderful tools that are solely available to mac users.  IMovie is definitely one that I am interested in looking into after seeing Elizabeth’s creation this week and after seeing some of the summary of learnings from last semester that were created using this program were absolutely amazing.  I know for a fact that IMovie will be something I need to sit down with someone one on one and go through a tutorial, I can see myself testing it out on my own, getting frustrated and giving up.  Therefore, it is my hope that eventually when life slows down a little I will be able to sit with someone one and one and get this tutorial, how cool would it be to create IMovie’s featuring my own children as the stars!?

Would love to create a movie trailer at some point… how cool!!!!

I was able to browse through a few of the tools suggested before reading several peoples blogs who attempted go animate and had positive reviews.  After reading these blogs I decided I would attempt to work my way through go animate.  I definitely was not brave enough to post any of my attempts at go animate but I would like to give a big shout out to Benita and Roxanne, I watched both of your tutorial videos you created using go animate and you both did a wonderful job!

Brief GoAnimate tutorial for beginners!

Both Benita and Roxanne mentioned that Go Animate provides us with a 14-day free trial.  I signed up, patiently awaited my confirmation email with my login id and password.  Once I had all the necessary information I was able to access the tool and work my way through the very useful tutorial.  The tutorial was fairly easy to understand and follow along with.  The tutorial was step by step using animation, text and arrows showing you exactly where things were and what you needed to do.  Like I mentioned before I am easily overwhelmed, however this tutorial left me feeling at ease and confident in my abilities with this tool.  Although I signed up for the free trial there were other purchase options for this tool, perhaps something I would look into if I were to use this tool in my classroom long term.

Some cool features within this tool were that it is a safe, secure environment where outsiders cannot access.  There is an educator experiences blog that you can follow along that may be helpful in using this tool in our classrooms.  In this tool there are several aspects where teachers can customize to make it their own.  Under account settings you are able to customize your own profile.  Under manage, whomever is using the tool is able to add students, teachers, groups etc. to your subscription.  In the explore section you are able to search students and teachers (this will allow you to locate and view videos).  Another interesting feature of this tool is that you can send messages to others.  You are also able to moderate student’s videos and comments before they are published (this is a great feature, especially when working with students in our classrooms).

Some of the pro’s and con’s of this program would be as follows:

Pros:

-You are able to test out the tool using the 14-day free trial prior to making any purchases

– It is easy to navigate (use of the tutorial through the program)

– It is cloud based therefore it won’t take up a ton of space on your computer

– You are able to import your own content

-It is a tool that enables students and teachers to share videos and information.

Cons:

-Internet access is a requirement to use this tool

-If you choose not to use your own video recording and use the text to self that is provided by the program the voice and be quite robotic which may leave our students feeling bored

-Finances (do our schools have the necessary finances to purchase this tool, if not the 14-day trial only gets us so far)

Overall, I would highly recommend this tool to others.  It is easy to navigate for both teachers and students.  It also allows opportunities for fun, uniqueness, imagination and creativity to sky rocket! We are all about finding new ways to engage our students and I definitely believe that this tool provides different opportunities for our students to be engaged and create something that reflects their knowledge and experiences.

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!! = Google Classroom!

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**Proof that Google Classroom is liked by many**

Learning Management What?? After this weeks’ class I was feeling a little bit stressed, overwhelmed, and perhaps a little in over my head.  So many people have had experiences using a variety of learning management systems and here I was clueless, have never used anything other than UR Courses and ZoomMoodle, blackboard, canvas, edmodo, bright space, google classroom all of these different management systems were brought to my attention this week.  I was struggling to wrap my head around which one would work best for me in my own teaching and learning and which one I (who often struggles with technology) would be able to figure out and manage for my classroom.

I was able to spend some time with my colleagues this week exploring google classroomAndres, Roxanne and I were able to meet with “our go to tech guy” at school.  He was able to give us a detailed tutorial on google classroom and explain how it works and the benefits of using google classroom in our own teaching and learning. He uses google classroom in his own classroom and it has benefitted him and his students in preparing them for the world outside of schools and ensuring that they are set up for success.  Being able to see google classroom in action has reassured me that the program is pretty great and is beneficial not only to the students but to the teacher as well.

I was able to spend some time reading other’s posts in regards to google classroom this week and found them to be helpful and was able to relate to what was being said in their post as we are hoping to use google classroom as the platform for our project as well.  Jannae mentioned that google classroom can be beneficial for reminders for students, parents and teachers in regards to assignments, due dates etc.  She also made a good point saying that it provides students with a space where things can be re watched, or looked at more than once.   This is beneficial for students who may need to see/hear things several times before being able to make a connection, complete an assignment etc.  Google classroom also provides us with convenience, now students don’t have to haul around textbooks, there’s no excuses “I lost my homework or My dog ate my homework” etc.  Jannae also discussed the frustration that many students have when work is lost (aka via technology, got deleted, didn’t save etc.), google classroom ensures a smooth transition so that this is prevented from happening and students are getting credit where credit is due.  Lastly, she provided a wonderful overview of how to use google classroom, I found this helpful as I worked my way through the program itself.

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Roxanne, had a great post this week that obviously I was able to relate to as we will be working together for our project.  As I stated earlier and she mentioned in her post as well that meeting with a colleague to review google classroom was found to be very beneficial.  Through our learning together we found that google classroom can be a great tool for not only students, but parents and teachers as well.  Google classroom allows all parties to view assignments, due dates etc. which in turn could encourage accountability for our students.  Roxanne made a great point in stating google classroom can be accessed from a variety of sources and doesn’t have to be accessed only at school.  This could encourage our students to not only complete tasks at school but find ways of completing these things outside of our school environment as well.  We are trying to ensure that we are setting our students up for success, we want them to be engaged, successful citizens in our society and I believe this is a step in the right direction.

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Benita had me laughing as I was reading her post.  For the record I was not laughing at her expense but at the fact that I myself have been in her shoes on several occasions and could totally relate to what she was talking about.  We have it all figured out the night of class, then when we need to figure it out on our own, bam, nothing works, it’s not as easy as it looked, what happened I could do this two nights ago? why won’t it work now!? This has happened to me on several occasions and has left me feeling frustrated, discouraged and incompetent perhaps is a good word.  I’m glad that for the sake of this project we are able to navigate and explore these programs in a group, this allows me to feel supported and not alone.  Benita did a great job of sharing the pro’s and con’s of google classroom.  Like any program everything will have pro’s and con’s, essentially it is up the the teacher decide if the pro’s outweigh the con’s and if this program will be beneficial for the teaching and learning in their specific classroom environment.

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I do think that google classroom is a great program to use in our classrooms.  It allows technology to be brought into our environments in a positive fashion.  I was able to spend some time reading online as to why google classroom is great and should be used in our classrooms today.  This article suggests that it is a great tool for teachers because it gives us exposure to an online platform. It provides easy access to materials (for both the teacher and the students), Less paper (meaning environmentally friendly), less lost work (from both parties, teachers and students), and lastly engagement.  We are in a society where our children have grown up with technology and if we can find ways of incorporating technology into our classrooms to enhance their learning then all the better.  Overall, I think google classroom is a great program and am excited to continue learning with this tool as we work our way through our project this semester.  I am also confident that I will be able to use google classroom in my own teaching and learning now and in the future.  There are many reasons (as mentioned throughout the post) for incorporating google classroom into our experiences and am excited to see what the opportunities this will bring for me in my own classroom.

Striving For Redefinition!

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Prior to last class I really had no knowledge in regards to online/blended leaning other than the online courses that I have taken in the past with Alec and Katia.  Last class I was able to gather some information that will hopefully be of use in the creation of our project.  We have decided to take the blended learning route, which from my understanding would be a combination of online/hands on interactive/face to face learning that optimizes student learning within our classrooms.  With this route I feel that we will be able to personalize learning for our students, we will be able to create opportunities for them to learn at their own pace and be engaged in a variety of ways, hoping that it will be more student directed rather than teacher focused.  Essentially we are trying to prepare our students for the real world and real life and regardless of their situation we would like all our students to have equal learning opportunities that meet their needs.  For the purpose of this project I will be working with Andres and Roxanne.  We are colleagues at Elsie Mironuck and figure that we can design a program where the students in our school feel confident, comfortable and successful.   While throwing ideas around between the three of us Andres found a website that was really useful in directing where we wanted to go with this project.

We want to incorporate the use of technology into our classrooms while transforming the learning experiences for our students, we are hoping that by doing so this will result in our students achieving at higher levels.  This website discusses four different aspects when incorporating technology into our classrooms. Substitution which is defined as “tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with no functional change”.  Augmentation “tech acts as a direct tool substitute, with functional improvement”.  Modification “Tech allows for significant redesign”.  Redefinition “tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable”. 
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While discussing the project with group members we decided that as a group it would be our goal to create a program that revolves around the redefinition aspect.  We want to incorporate technology in a way that is purposeful and useful rather than just incorporating it for the sake of saying we did.  These aspects are directly linked to blooms taxonomy.  We would like our students to be at the highest level of thinking, if we revolve our program around redefinition then our students will be creating and evaluating rather than if we revolved it around substitution where they are remembering rather than applying what they have learned.  In a nutshell this is what our project is looking like so far:

-Grade 6 Students

-English Language Arts is our focus

-Students Aged 11-12

-75% of students being of low income families

-We have decided to take a blended learning approach

-Some considerations that we will need to look at would be: students access to technology in and out of the classrooms, attendance of our students, ensuring our students are good digital citizens and ensure we do background teaching in regards to technology and digital citizenship prior to incorporating various forms of technologies into our classrooms, students home life (their priorities, how is what is going on at home impacting their learning at school.  Ex.  Lack of sleep, nutrition, ongoing family situations, students who are in and out foster care etc.  Internet access, how do we go about our teaching to our program and to the needs of our students if we don’t have internet access, or students are unable to log on the computers for whatever reason etc.  Do we have a back up plan?  I’m positive there will be many more things that come to mind as we begin to work our way through our project and see how it will play out with our students in our classrooms.  Some different resources that we’d like to include in our project are the use of blogs, google documents/google classroom, google read/write etc.  We haven’t been able to finalize all details of our project as we are still in the preliminary portion of trying to figure out the minor details and how we can incorporate our learning from class into our project.  We also haven’t finalized any type of assessment which I’m sure we will once we have a more concrete understanding of the direction we are moving in regards to this project.  We are hoping that in the upcoming weeks the class content will be able to aid in finalizing, making adjustments and changes to our final product.

Bates’ article this week brings up several questions that our group will need to take into consideration in the developing stages of our project.  These questions include:

These questions will help us in creating a program that is successful for both the instructors and the students.  I am excited to continue my learning journey and am eager to see the development of not only our final product but that of our colleagues as well.  If anyone has any additional ideas/information/comments/suggestions etc. please feel free to share.