As happy as I am to be done another year, it’s a bittersweet feeling knowing this will be my last assignment for my University career.
When trying to pick a class for this last semester — like any fourth year, I was looking for a class that would teach me something new, but also wouldn’t bombard me with things that weren’t relevant to teaching — which surprisingly, can sometimes be hard to come across. I had heard a lot of great things about ECMP355, so I knew I had to give it a go.
Looking back to where it all began, I actually can’t believe how much I have learned. Not because I ever doubted this class, but because I have been surrounded by teachings of technology for the past three years and I still wasn’t totally convinced up to this point. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always thought that technology had some place in the classroom, but I just didn’t fully understand how much. When I reread my first post, I laugh out loud at the naivety I presented and the fact that I actually thought I had a pretty good sense of technology…boy was I wrong.
Coming into this class, I did have a basic set of skills and knowledge in relation to educational technology. I already had a blog set up from previous classes with Katia, and I had dabbled with the Twitter world every now and again. I used technology in my internship, but it was limited to the beloved Kahoot. I think I had more of an understanding of what technology could do for me in terms of PLNs than I did on what it could do for my students.
But this class quickly made me realize how much more there is out there. I couldn’t even keep up with all of the online tools that were introduced to us: both for our students — Pear Deck, Socrative, Smore, Scratch… and for myself: Ad Blocker, Feedly, Duck Duck Go...the list goes on and on. One particular tool I decided to explore in a separate post was Twiducate; a school-friendly tool similar to Twitter. Unknowingly, I had limited myself and my interning kids, because I just didn’t know where to start. But now, I feel like I have a stronger understanding of what I am looking for — whether that be assessment, presentation tools, etc. — and how I can find these different resources — you can basically find whatever you want online…it’s amazing.
I also found I was limiting myself in terms of reflecting on my own growth on my use of technology. Coming from a past where technology was NOT a part of my life, I have definitely come a long ways. In particular, this class has demonstrated to me the significance of being a more active member in my PLN, especially on Twitter. Before this class, I was very much still in the lurking stage. While I wouldn’t say that I am anywhere close to where I would like to be, I do appreciate learning alongside classmates who were at the same level as myself, or who needed even more encouragement than I did. And the more I posted my own resources and ideas, the more willing I was to participate in #saskedchat, because I felt more confident that I was better able to contribute to the conversation. Also…Tweet Deck is a gift from the heavens.
In addition, I have a much stronger appreciation for blogging. While I still really only blogged about what was expected from the weekly plans (and expectations from other classes), I have definitely been much more innovative and unique with the perspective that I take with each post. And I now understand how much blogging can contribute to my own opportunity to reflect and collaborate with others — going beyond a simple writing assignment. I loved reading other posts about the same topic, because it gave me a stronger understanding of the varying perspectives that can be had. I never realized that blogging in itself could be such a crucial PLN development opportunity. My goal for the future is to continue blogging to record my growth and how my own perspectives change throughout my teaching career.
And that is what I have found to be most significant throughout this course — learning experiences that came from the conversations that went beyond the online tools that could be used in the classroom. This is the first time I have heard of participatory culture, which was brought forward brilliantly by guest visitor, Alec Couros. We truly are in a world of producers — which can be such a significant learning opportunity for our students…to see how they can become a part of that culture, or how they already are – an idea that can strongly link to online social activism. This class has now made me ask the question: “Why wouldn’t we want our students to get involved?” They literally have everything they need right at their fingertips, and they can make such a huge difference in their world. Technology can bring people together, and our students need to recognize that…teachers need to recognize that.
But of course, as with anything there are always implications. One that was demonstrated to us was the idea of sextortion and cyber bullying — something that is too close to home for Amanda Todd and her family. My classmates and I are so fortunate to have gotten the chance to hear from Carol Todd — the horror that she faced when she found out what was happening to her daughter, but also the learning experiences that can be taken from it and what we as educators can do for our students.
I have realized throughout this class that implementing technology into the classroom is not about how fun you can make learning, but to truly have purpose behind it — and I think that that is something that was lacking in my teaching approaches before. I never really took the time to explore why a certain online tool was beneficial for my students; I only thought I had to implement something, because it was on my IIP. We can truly develop digital citizens in our classroom if we take the time to research and try out online tools for ourselves, to see what more they have to offer. Why wouldn’t we take as many opportunities as we could to help children make healthy decisions and demonstrate a sense of maturity and responsibility in different formats. Ultimately, my perspective has changed dramatically on this idea — that technology has benefits beyond super cool assessment games.
But if we are talking about super cool games, isn’t coding the first thing that pops into your mind?? I can’t even believe I’m saying that. I absolutely hated coding when I first
tried it out in my ECS 311 class. It was so hard! I couldn’t believe that people actually did that kind of stuff for fun. But, that’s what second chances are for right? This time around, I took coding head on, and ended up creating a super cool solar system using Hour of Code. As a teacher, this was a great learning experience, because it demonstrated the importance of problem solving and working through the frustrations you have when learning something new…that’s what school is about after all!
And finally being open to taking risks and trying out new experiences is what got me where I am today. For my summary of learning, I thought “heck, let’s go out with a bang and try all new tools to create this bad boy.” I had so much fun creating the video below and I think it highlights how much you can truly do with technology. This class has done wonders for me — there is no way even four months ago that I would have tackled a task the same way or with as much competence. I still have a long way to go, but I am so fortunate to be in the position I am now as I head into the real world of teaching.
To create and edit the video, I used Wondershare Filmora — it’s the iMovie for Microsoft — but a million times better. Seriously people, if you haven’t checked out this video editor you need to. It is the simplest tool I have ever used. You can crop your video, add music, create cool effects, and make everything run smoothly in a short time frame. It even has a screen cast mode and you can film all of your footage right within the program. And the best part is, you get everything for free! (The only thing is there will be a watermark over your final product). I was initially very nervous to be using an editor I had no experience with, but I don’t think I will ever use anything else.
To create my jeopardy game, I was originally going to use the standard Jeopardy
template. However, I decided that I would explore a little more and see what I could find. I soon came across FlipQuiz. The template is basically the same as Jeopardy with a modern feel and super easy to use format. FlipQuiz was created to provide educators with a quick way to create quiz boards for test review games in the classroom. These review games are traditionally tedious to create, difficult to present, and can largely just be used once. With FlipQuiz, questions are displayed on-screen (with answers if desired) and boards are saved for later (re)use. With a beautifully designed board, students are more likely to be interested and stay engaged with an otherwise boring test review process.
For time sake, the whole jeopardy game is not displayed in my video, so please check out the full thing here for a greater reference of what I learned throughout the semester: Jeopardy: Exploring the World of Technology
These last four months have been an absolute whirlwind, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else in the world. Who knew that in your fourth year you could still be learning so much…heck, I’m going to be learning for the rest of my life and I can’t wait!
I wish everyone the absolute best in their future endeavors and I look forward to continuing learning with you wherever we end up! 🙂
Here’s the video of my summary of learning: