Summary of Learning

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.

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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.

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The Art of Professional Learning Networks: Demonstrated by ECMP 355

With this semester coming to a close, I can’t help but to reflect back on all the ways I have grown within these last four years. Throughout this journey, I have continually been questioning, sharing, and experiencing different learning opportunities with professors, classmates and colleagues.

Looking Back

I started on this path like a sponge — appreciating it all and soaking in as much information as I could. But I only based my learning off of what was given to me in each of my classes. And as I watched my professor’s eyes scan the room for a conversation contributor, I faced the next 2 minutes with a feeling of utter terror and uncomfortably sweaty hands.

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Oh the irony – my first retweet

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A Farewell to the Accordion

I bet you’re wondering if I am an epic Accordion player. Well first, let me answer the questions I’m sure you all have. Was it a nice break from homework? HA! Did my neighbours appreciate the beauty of the bellows? Well, they only knocked on my door twice. Did I find a lot of cool online sources? Heck ya! Does that mean I enjoyed the process? well not exactly… This project really challenged me, and I’m 100% convinced my playing ability has not improved in any such way. But what this experience has provided for me is a brand new perspective about learning online…a perspective that I believe will help my in the future.

Now don’t get me wrong, when the journey began,  I was having the time of my life:

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Look at that face…so carefree and full of excitement…

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And then somewhere along the line something went terribly wrong:

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Online Social Activism: Taking Reconcili-ACTION in Treaty Education Through Technology

It seems that every day we learn a new tactic, social media tool, or argument about how technology has been over-hyped or undersold. Due to the widespread availability of

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Photocredit: RiverMillAcademy via Flickr cc

modern technology we are experiencing a level of interconnection that we have never seen before. Specifically, technology in the classroom is most often imbalanced with using it to change it up versus using technology, because it is actually beneficial to that learning experience. As teachers, we sometimes lose sight on why we should be implementing technology into our classroom. And sometimes, we can be very unsure…but what if one thing we were sure about was using technology as a means to help our students make a difference through online social activism?

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Where Have All the Good Times Gone?

This song doesn’t even really have any relation to what I’m about to talk about. But the title in itself is indicative of the emotions that are flooding through me right now. Not because in less than a week I am done school and will be thrown out into the real world where I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do because I don’t have a job…but because I actually can’t believe where the time has gone and how I have spent it on my learning project.

As I was happily reading through past posts I have made about the joys of learning the accordion, I realized that I hadn’t been actually playing as much as I wanted. While it was fun at the beginning to grab the accordion and mess around, I ended up getting really frustrated every time I tried a new song. Not to mention it was so tough to transfer it back and forth wherever I was going for the weekend.

And while the online lessons with instructors were extremely helpful, they cost too much money for me to keep up with it..and .there ain’t no University life that can pay for that.

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Coding Through Space: A Daunting Task or Great Discovery?

Oh Coding…One of the things that I have been absolutely terrified of ever since I was first introduced to it in Katia’s ECS 311 class.

What is coding you ask? The best way I can describe it is that coding is a precise set of instructions a computer can understand — kind of like a recipe — a recipe that is seen almost everywhere!

Image result for frozen codingBut because I am not a computer, coding was like an alien form of communication to me. The first time I tried it, I remember I was attempting to make a character from the movie Frozen skate a specific pattern, and it was an absolute nightmare. She turned right when I wanted left, the degrees were all off, and I had no idea how to connect each coding piece together.

As soon as that class was over, I threw coding out of my repertoire. I was so frustrated with it that I thought there was no way I would ever be able to incorporate this into my classroom.

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Let’s Polka!

This week, I came across an amazing blog about accordions called Let’s Polka. Without going into too much detail, the blog provides a number of different tips, tricks, and everything you need to know about playing the accordion.

But instead of showcasing it on here, I tried out a new tool called Smore. Smore is a free site that helps you create amazing looking newsletters and share it with anyone around you. This is a particularly helpful tool for myself, because I loved sending out newsletters for my internship. However, I built them on Microsoft Word which was an absolute nightmare. Every time I typed one thing in, the other five would move and nothing lined up the way I wanted it to.

But with Smore, all your information is super easy to place, because the format is already built for you — not to mention there are a variety of formats to choose from depending on the look you are going for.

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While newsletters are a great way to keep in contact with the families in your class, but they can also be used for student learning as well. We all know how daunting writing an essay can be, but why does that need to be the only option? Giving the option to write a newsletter or similar opens up another door for your students to demonstrate their learning — it’s easily readable, and incorporates a sense of creativity into their writing to enhance appeal. Even better, you can showcase these newsletters around the school and even share them with their parents; with a higher guarantee they will actually be read.

How often do we actually type in essay format? Unless you are in University or have a research job, you very likely might ever do it again. But what if you are running for a campaign or wanting to sell your own product? Then, you need to develop different ways of writing separate from long essays with super formal writing (I know, I’m the one to talk.)

Anyways, to actually get anything related to my learning project, check out my Smore newsletter here: Let’s Polka!

Move Over Twitter, There’s a New Bird in Town

Last week, Amy, Chelsey and I created a mock parent/teacher/administrator meeting on the potential implications and concerns that a parent might have if a teacher wanted to use Twitter in the classroom. And while Amy brought forward amazing strategies of how she would implement Twitter into her teaching and Chelsey was on board, this might not always be the case.

So, of course this got me thinking. Is there another way that we can introduce our students to digital citizenship and online learning? That’s when I came across Twiducate.

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Exploring Different Perspectives on Using Technology in the Classroom

Sometimes as teachers we get caught in our own world when coming up with unique and innovative teaching strategies for our students — hopefully based off of the interests, strengths and needs that our students have presented to us. But often times, we tend to forget another significant perspective…the parents. One strategy that some parents are particularly concerned about (but not all of course!) is the use of technology and social media tools in the classroom. While we as teachers know the advantages and disadvantages of implementing such tools, not everyone has the same experience in how this can be done.

When we hear the term ‘social media’ and kids, we often resort to the worst idea possible. But its inevitable that in some point in their life, an individual will be online.

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