Word work, work in progress…

To download a copy of the course prototype, please click here.

Introduction

Please see my course profile for a scope and sequence of the course.

This is a working document as the course is still in the development stages. This course protype is based off the units created by Regina Catholic School Division. This course may be most successful in a connected educator classroom during balanced literacy/guided reading time; however, it due to the nature of the station rotation, this course is accessible to other classrooms who have access to a smaller number of devices. Devices such as tablets are best for the station-rotation model as they eliminate the need to log in and provide quick access to materials and lessons.

The format of this blended course uses the gradual release of responsibility.

GRR

Unit 1: Short Vowel Word Families at, an

High Frequency Words: like, my, ran, the

Resources
Magnetic letters

Words Their Way Level A by Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston

Big Book of Rhymes

Reading A-Z Mentor Series: Short vowel “a”

Reading Rods (Word Families)

Making Words Grade 1

Tablets

Seesaw Activities

 

Traditional Classroom Instruction
Day 1:

·         Introduce Sort 6-TG page 26 (Words Their Way). You may want to use highlighter tape to highlight the –at and –an words.

·         Project short “a” book, Nap and Pap, from Reading A-Z. Follow the lesson plan on Reading A-Z (contact Jillian Laursen – RCSD ELA Consultant – for your log-in information)

·         Sort 6: -at and –an word families TG page 26 (Words Their Way)

o   Introduce Picture/Word Sort TG page 26 (Words Their Way)

o   After modeling this activity, students will complete at the Word Study Station through Seesaw activities. In addition, students could re-sort their cards. Next, students make the words with magnetic letters and then print the words in their word study notebook.

·         Introduce high frequency word(s).

 

Day 2:

  • Reread the short “a” book. Omit the last word of each line, and have students provide the missing word.

·         On the projector, model using the reading rods to make short “a” words.

o   After modeling this activity, students will complete at the Word Study Station on Seesaw activities.

·         Practice the Sort TG page 26 (Words Their Way).

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 3:

·         Apply the Skill TG page 27 (Words Their Way).

·         Show the Making Words Lesson 1 pages 5 and 15 (Making Words for Grade 1)

o   Make: an, at, pat, pal, pan, tan, plan, plant

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 4:

·         Complete the Sort-Paste in Place TG page 27 (Words Their Way).

·         Learning Phonograms: -at, -an page 292-293 (Phonics Lessons for Grade 1).

·         Learning Phonograms: -an page 304-305 (Phonics Lessons for Grade 1).

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

 

Day 5:

·         Introduce/review high frequency words.

·         Assessment

o   Spelling Test (“-at and -an” words and a couple of high frequency words).

 

Station Rotation Activities
Watch the video: Short Vowel Word Family Lesson Review -at, an

frame (1)

Seesaw App:

For the purpose of this course prototype, please use the following to sign in:

If you’re using Seesaw for the first time:

1.       Go to app.seesaw.me

2.       Choose “I’m a Student”

3.       Type in the code: JDLP XCCT. This code expires on February 19, 2019

 

In the actual course setting, grade 1 students will access seesaw using the following steps:

seesaw.png

 

After you sign up as a student in my Seesaw class, you can access the following activities:

3.      Scratch Jr. Coding

Recognizing and Naming Uppercase and Lowercase Letters:  This project reinforces a student’s knowledge of writing and recognizing uppercase and lowercase letters.

scratchjr

 

 

Unit 2: Short Vowel Word Families ad, ap, ag

High Frequency Words: all, how, be

Unit 3: Short Vowel Word Families op, ot, og

High Frequency Words: if, she, big

Unit 4: Short Vowel Word Families et, eg, en

High Frequency Words: put, run, you

Unit 5: Short Vowel Word Families ug, ut, un

High Frequency Words: as, not, for

Unit 6: Short Vowel Word Families ip, ig, ill

High Frequency Words: am, has, day, cat

Unit 7: Consonant Diagraphs ch, sh

High Frequency Words: one, out, him

Unit 8: Consonant Diagraphs th, wh

High Frequency Words: bus, or, get

Unit 9: Review of Consonant Diagraphs ch, sh, wh, th

High Frequency Words: her, back, had, saw

Unit 10: Beginning Consonants and Blends s, t, st

High Frequency Words: by, dad, his, mom

Unit 11: Consonant Blends sp, sk, sm

High Frequency Words: make, of, did

Unit 12: Consonant Blends sc, sn, sw

High Frequency Words: was, now, have

Unit 13: Consonant Blends pl, sl, bl, fl

High Frequency Words: are, into, that

Unit 14: Consonant Blends cr, cl, fr, gl, gr

High Frequency Words: said, got, let, lot

Unit 15: Consonant Blends pr, tr, dr, br

High Frequency Words: very, us, been

Unit 16: Beginning Sounds k, wh, qu, tw

High Frequency Words: our, but, your

Unit 17: Word Families at, ot, it

High Frequency Words: ball, from, man

Unit 18: Word Families an, un, in

High Frequency Words: what, here, play, who

Unit 19: Word Families ad, ed, ab, ob

High Frequency Words: with, they, this

Unit 20: Word Families ag, eg, ig, og, ug

High Frequency Words: two, went, when, will

Unit 21: Word Families ill, ell, all

High Frequency Words: look, red, then

Unit 22: Word Families ick, ack, uck, ock

High Frequency Words: fun, old, yes

Unit 23: Word Families ish, ash, ush

High Frequency Words: dog, just

Unit 24: Short Vowels a, o

High Frequency Words: bed, new, there

Unit 25: Short Vowels i, u

High Frequency Words: hit, sit

Unit 26: Short Vowels e, i, o, u

High Frequency Words: review

Unit 27: Words with Beginning Consonant Diagraphs and Short Vowels a, e, i

High Frequency Words: review

Unit 28: Short Vowel Words With Beginning Blends

High Frequency Words: review

Unit 29: Short Vowel Words With Final Blends

High Frequency Words: review

Unit 30: Short Vowels a, e, i, o, u

High Frequency Words: review

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Is Khan for Kids?

This week I decided to do a review on a 1st Grade Math Unit from Khan Academy on Place Value. Since my major project is for a grade one classroom, I thought I would explore a digital unit for a primary grade. I was interested in seeing how Khan Academy set up their unit for such young learners and I wanted to see if a grade one could really do this unit independently and “learn” online.

The slogan for Khan Academy is:

You can learn anything. For Free. For everyone. Forever. 

When I first landed on the website I thought the slogan was very catchy and I was very excited because this is an amazing concept and I truly believe in open education sources. I was hoping I would be able to find an English Language Arts unit for primary grades on Khan Academy, but it seemed to be more Math and Science focused.

khan

I decided to do the module on Place Value for the first grade. I was able to get through the modules fairly quickly (as you would hope!), but I tried to look at the modules critically, specifically I looked at the following aspects:

  • production values
  • perceived difficulty of creation of the module
  • potential impact on student learning
  • whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content

Here is my review…

Production values: I found the actual module itself fairly basic. The lesson was a basic screen cast with narration and the quiz was a simple picture with a box to enter your answer. To be honest, I was underwhelmed with the aesthetics of the whole production. This is a free resource, so I understand why it is so basic, but I can’t imagine a grade 1 student being engaged or excited about this lesson.

Perceived difficulty of creation of the module: I feel like this module would be fairly basic to put together. I could see myself using Khan Academy in the future to create and find modules for my students as an added dimension to their learning. Although I think this would be a fairly easy way to create an online course, I don’t think it would be my first choice for the primary grades.

Potential impact on student learning: This course was very, very basic. I don’t think there would be much impact on student learning. I could see accessing this module with parent help at home, but this wouldn’t be my first choice. I feel like there are many other options out there that are more engaging, such as YouTube videos,  IXL Math, or open source interactive sites.

Whether the format adds value to or impedes the facilitation of the content: Unfortunately, I don’t think the format of Khan Academy adds value to teaching place value to the first grade. I think it is a good resource to have as an “add-on” for parents who need help understanding, but I really don’t see this course being used in a grade one classroom.

I did try out the app Khan Academy Kids  as well and did find that it has more potential than the online modules for the primary grades, but still needs some development to reach its full potential. Something I will keep in mind when I begin making my course is the accessibility of it for grade one students. I found this course wasn’t super easy to navigate and wasn’t super appealing to a grade one student.

 

Course Profile: Grade 1 Word Study

A lot of ideas went through my head when I began thinking about the online course I would design for EC&I 834. I am on maternity leave right now, so I am not tied to a grade or subject and when I am back to work, I am teacher librarian, so this also affords me a lot of flexibility and the ability to collaborate with different grade-levels and subjects. After much contemplation and discussion with our divisions English Language Arts consultant and Information and Library Coordinator, I decided the most beneficial thing not only for me, but also our school division would be creating an online course for grade one students on word study.

The importance of creating smaller learning cohorts within the larger classroom environment is critical to a balanced literacy program.By creating smaller learning communities, the teacher is able to customize and personalize instruction for individual students or small groups. A first grade classroom brings a wide range of abilities, especially when it comes to literacy. Using blended learning and specifically the station rotation model, an educator is better able to accommodate and engage the individual learners as you are able to customize the lessons to the individual students. Although creating an online course for grade ones will bring challenges, I am looking forward to see how can be used to enhance and transform learning in the primary grades.

Please keep on reading to see my course profile. This is a working document and appreciate all feedback and comments you may have for me as I am sure this will change as I “work-through” the development of my prototype.

Target Audience

Students who are in grade 1 in Regina Catholic Schools.

Course Timeline

This course would run over the duration of the school year. This course is based off of Words Their Way by Invernizzi, Johnston, Bear, and Templeton. Words Their Way is a developmental spelling, phonics, and vocabulary program that is part of a balanced literacy program.

Course Delivery

This course will be a blended course using a station rotation model, which includes online instruction, teacher-lead instruction, and collaborative activities and stations. There will be a set time for face-to-face instruction, followed by online work. Students will be divided into groups based upon their reading level.

The course outline, teacher modules, and all other pertinent information will be housed on a google document. The face-to-face lessons will be reviewed through an online module that students will be able to access via a YouTube video. Students will scan a QR code to get to the appropriate module. Following review, students will learn and practice the spelling features by completing activities such as word sorting, word hunts, making words, and other games through Seesaw activities. Students will have the opportunity to work individually, with partners, and in small groups to encourage cooperative learning and individual responsibility. Communication and assessment will be communicated through the Seesaw app.

Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

The objectives and outcomes of this course are developed from the Saskatchewan Grade 1 English Language Arts Curriculum. Throughout this course students will:

  • Explore letter and sound relationships (phonics)
  • Examine word parts to denote meaning (morphemic analysis)
  • Develop automaticity for sight words  

Course Materials

This course would may be most successful in a connected educator classroom; however, it due to the nature of the station rotation, this course is accessible to other classrooms who have access to a smaller number of devices. Devices such as tablets are best for the station-rotation model as they eliminate the need to log in and provide quick access to materials and lessons.

There is no required text for this course, but the following resources will be used:

  • Phonics Lessons for Grade 1 by Fountas & Pinnell
  • Words Their Way Level A by Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston
  • Rebus Chants Volume Two “For Popular Themes” by Kim Deibert
  • Jolly Phonics

During the course, a variety of materials will be accessed and/or made available online and accessed through the Google Doc and Seesaw Activities.

Special Announcements

As this course follows a station rotation model and allows for individualized instruction, the needs of any students with a disability, injury, or illness who feels they may need academic accommodation will be dealt with as they arise.

Attendance and Punctuality

Regular and punctual attendance at school is an essential part of student success. It is especially important as this course is based on participation and experiential learning rather than lecture.

Assessment

Students will demonstrate understanding through the Seesaw app and activities. The activities and data submitted will be assessed through this app as well. Students will also complete a weekly pre-test and post-test each week as summative assessment.

Assessment Strategies

Students will be assessed in a variety of ways including but not limited to seesaw activities, weekly spelling tests, and observations.

Assignments

Assignments will be shared in each individual module. Assignments will be assigned to students based off their reading level and spelling inventories. 

Blended Learning and Me

My experiences with blended learning as a student are very similar to Michael. I can also remember the time when classrooms had access to one or two computer and we used them to practice keyboarding using All the Right Type or to print banners that we could later colour in or in some of our progressive classrooms to search the world wide web. As a person who has always been interested in technology and exposed to different technologies as a child, I was always excited to get the chance to use technology to change the way I was learning something.

paper_for_dot_matrix_printers
ProjectManhattan [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
As I entered into high-school, the development of computing technology, the Internet, and the World Wide Web continued to shift and impact education. In grade 11, I received a scholarship to study abroad in Brazil for a year. Since our education systems are so different, in order to graduate at the same time when I came home, I had to take one class through correspondence, which introduced me to my first online learning class.  This was an interesting experience for me as I am most definitely a social learner and enjoy peer interaction and thrive off of discussion. This class was on the far right of the continuum and was fully online. I am sure distance education has changed since my experience in 2003-2004, but I never met or spoke with my instructor, my assignments were all listed through an online management system, and I was responsible for being motivated enough to get through the course on my own. I was really left to my own devices. Luckily, I was successful with the course (although I did procrastinate big time)… however, the way this course was set up wasn’t my favourite way to learn.

Through my undergrad, technology and how teachers used technology to teach really transformed and we started to see a mix between traditional classroom learning and online learning, which is typically known as blended learning. I really enjoyed reading the Bates chapters and thought the continuum to describe online learning as pictured below was really helpful to understand the different types of online learning.

Taken from Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates
Taken from Teaching in a Digital Age by Tony Bates

This is my fourth graduate course I have taken in a blended learning environment and I must say I find them very enjoyable, social, and convenient. I would also say that some of my deepest learning and reflection has happened in these blended learning environments compared to the traditional classroom environment. Seems a little backwards, but it is true. I find myself more engaged and active in the online community than I do in the classroom. I also find myself making more connections when we are not in class and my learning continues through the week and is driven by open source materials, not just a singular textbook. Of course there can be the challenges of your internet not working fast enough or your mouse dying mid-broadcast (haha!), but generally my overall experience as a student in a blended environment has been very positive.

As an elementary school teacher, my experiences with blended learning have been quite limited and haven’t reached much further than station rotation blended learning.

Station-Rotation blended learning is a: “…model (that) allows students to rotate through stations on a fixed schedule, where at least one of the stations is an online learning station. This model is most common in elementary schools because teachers are already familiar rotating in “centers” or stations.”

Taken from TeachThought

I would like to include more blended learning in my teaching, but I need to wrap my head around it and ensure that it is enhancing and transforming teaching and learning and remember the relative importance of instruction and pedagogy versus educational technology and media on the quality of learning. My goal is to jump into the SAMR swimming pool and use technology to enhance and transform my teaching.

 

Anxious, yet Eager.

It is really hard to believe that this is my fifth course with Dr. Alec Couros. It all started over 13 years ago in ECMP 355 (Intro to Computers in Class), in the Fall of 2006. Around 20 of us huddled in the computer lab working on desktops building websites using code and exploring this fairly new site called YouTube. Fast forward three years to the Winter of 2009 and I was back again with Dr. Couros in ECMP 455 (Classroom Computers Advanced). A LOT had changed in those three years. Twitter was a new and emerging tool and people were beginning to grow their Personal Learning Network (PLN). The concept of 21st century learning and bringing learning outside the 4 walls of the classroom was also beginning to get some traction. ECMP 455 was truly a game changer for me and has helped me become the educator that I am today. To be honest, Dr. Couros is the reason I decided to pursue a masters in education. His commitment to innovative approaches that promote student-centered teaching and learning is something I aspire to.

I began my Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction in the Winter of 2015. This is class 7 out of 10! I have taken EC&I 832 (Emerging Media Literacies) and EC&I 831 (Social Media and Open Education) with Alec, but this is my first class on a maternity leave and I am really hoping I can keep things straight! I have two beautiful girls. Isla is 2.5 years old and Scarlett is 7 months old. Needless to say, they keep me busy and there is never a dull moment.

2 4x6

I am really excited to be taking this course, but I am also feeling rather anxious. As a mother of two (both who aren’t the best sleepers), I am struggling with keeping things straight in my head. It is my hope that I don’t miss anything!

coffee smartphone twitter application
Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

I appreciate you all helping to keep my focused and on task through Twitter and our online course community. When I am not full-time ‘momming’, I am a Teacher-Librarian with Regina Catholic Schools. I love this position as it allows me to combine a few of my passions in teaching: literacy, technology, and innovative teaching and learning.

In Regina Catholic Schools, the school library and the teacher-librarian are integral in strengthening student learning.

​Our school libraries are home to dynamic instructional programs that connect with the educational programs of the schools.  Through collaborative partnerships, teacher-librarians and classroom teachers design and implement inquiry-based learning opportunities that support curriculum learning outcomes.

Literacy development is the cornerstone of our school libraries.  They promote the enjoyment of reading, viewing, and listening. ​Our libraries prepare students for the future by developing the abilities and skills necessary to become information literate.​

Taken from RCSD Information and Library Services

My number one goal for this course is to get through it without missing a deadline and being able to produce the quality of work I am used to producing! Three other goals I have are:

  1. To develop an understanding of the pedagogical issues (e.g., learning strategies, developing content, delivery/facilitation formats/options, developing presence, cultivating community, etc.) of blended and online learning. As an elementary school teacher, I see very few instances of blended and online learning (although we do have some excellent examples of it happening right within our school division by extraordinary teachers, such as Matthew Bresciani) and I would like to explore how we can help close that gap.
  2. To examine and evaluate blended and online course content, pedagogical practices, and tools for implementation.  To be completely honest, I don’t know what is really out there (other than YouTube and MOOCs) for designing online and blended learning. I would like to explore, evaluate, and examine the various tools used to deliver the course and the pedagogical practices that need to be in place in order for them the be successful.
  3. To create something that is useful and can be used again. This is one of my favourite aspects of Alec’s courses — everything that we do is purposeful and has true meaning and the ability to impact teaching and learning.

… but in all honesty my number one goal is to not miss anything!

Summary of Learning…Channel 831 News!

Upon entering this course, I knew I would learn about Social Media and Open Education, as that was the name of the course. Through our modules, we  learned about how Web 2.0 tools and free & open source software have changed the way we teach and learn, the changing views of knowledge, emerging literacies, and the development of personal learning networks.

BUT, we didn’t stop there!

We didn’t just look at how social media and open education can enhance and transform education, we also explored much deeper societal, ethical, political, cultural and administrative issues that are associated with technology and media in education and society. Take a look at the EC&I 831 News (co-created with Genna Rodriguez) to see a summary of what we learned this term!

Learning to Learn: The process of an online learning project

Context…

It is a bittersweet feeling coming to the end of this learning project. If you have been following my progress on my blog, you have learned about the struggles and successes I experienced over the past 13 weeks of my learning project.

Participating in the learning project rather than focusing my major project on something I could integrate into my teaching and I knew I would be successful at was a risk. But as the saying goes, high risk, high reward. This term I was able to experience authentic life-long learning, something that is often preached about in education, but also something that is often neglected in undergraduate and graduate studies. Engaging in the learning process was a bit uncomfortable at times, but it reminded me that the process of learning is far greater than the product.

If we think of the SAMR Swimming Pool, I was able to use technology to transform my learning experience through this project. It is very easy to get caught in using technology to enhance learning. I hope to use the skills I have learned as a learner to impact how I teach.  It is my hope I can use a similar process to transform the traditional learning process for my students through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and the ability to use technology to support and document learning.

Where it all began…

The first thing I had to do was choose something to learn about. I appreciate the freedom and openness of not being told what to learn, but rather to choose something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby.

Prenatal yoga fit all the criteria of the learning project as it was: complex to learn, worth learning, and of great interest to me.

Before I could jump into my learning project, I had to do a pre-assessment to see where I was at. This allowed me to look at how pregnancy was impacting my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and anxiety of childbirth.

Over the past 13 weeks I have not only learned a great deal about prenatal yoga, I have also acquired knowledge about labour, delivery, and postpartum. As you can tell in my post assessment, I have also grown physically and mentally in that I am able to use my new found skills to treat the aches and pains of pregnancy and I am more mindful.

post assessment

In addition to meeting my outcome of learning yoga, I have also learned a great deal about the process of learning online.

Learning Prenatal Yoga Online…

I was able to find a plethora of learning resources online related to prenatal yoga, but finding a learning community that went further than following, liking, watching videos, and reading was challenging. I tried to find some MOOCs on prenatal yoga, but was unable to find any on the topic that were free. So I worked with what I had and I found the PLN I was able to create was quite instrumental in my success of this learning project.

In my PLN I was able to use social media, online communities, videos, websites, and face-to-face resources to transform and enhance my learning. Here are a few of the highlights:

Social Media

  • Instagram: Instagram was by far the best place for me to develop my PLN. I felt like my Instagram account kept me accountable to my learning project and allowed me to follow others who are going through the same experiences and gain support. Even though the extent of my connections were through a like or small comment, I really felt supported and felt like I had developed a community. I have 47 followers and am following 90 quality accounts. The key to this was using appropriate hashtags. Once I started using powerful hashtags, I was able to connect with many more people. I feel quite happy with where I ended up on Instagram as I started a new account and all these people are new followers who are following me just to see my prenatal yoga process.
  • Other places I tried: I tried Twitter, Facebook pages, and Google+ community to connect with others and build a community. Although I was able to gain some resources through these networks, I didn’t find them instrumental to my success. They were just another place for me to extend my learning.

Online Communities

  • Pinterest: Although some might argue that Pinterest is not an online community, I found this as a key resource in developing, following, and managing my learning resources. Pinterest allowed me to keep my resources organized, follow other boards who were interested in prenatal yoga, it also allowed me to contribute to the community by pinning resources I found useful.
  • Other places I tried: As I said earlier, I also connected on Twitter and Instagram. I also joined an online community through Prenatal Yoga Center, but unfortunately it wasn’t what I expected. Basically, it was a blog hub for all the blogs they produced. It was a good source for information, but I found the community aspect missing.

 Videos

  • YouTube: The best place for prenatal videos and sources was YouTube. I subscribed to a few channels and I found myself visiting YouTube often during my practice. It was nice to be able to practice and learn something without having to leave the house!

Other Sources

  • Face-to-Face: I really enjoyed connecting with others through my Face-to-Face resources as well. I participated in yoga at Everyday Sacred and my gym Anytime Fitness. Although I was able to find many sources online and was able to do the majority of learning online, it was nice to connect with people on a more personal level through my Face-to-Face resources.
  • Other places I tried: As I went through the learning process, I visited many blogs and websites which I then pinned on my Pinterest board. My top two places for yoga resources were PopSugar and Prenatal Yoga Center.

Reflection and Process…

During this project, it was hard for me to focus on the process of learning and not an end product as I was going through this learning process, but in the end I am quite satisfied with how it all turned out. I suppose I didn’t realize it at the time, but throughout my whole process of learning and the documentation of my learning project through my blog, I was creating an end product. In making my learning visible, sharing my struggles and successes, and reflecting on the process of learning I was creating a portfolio that demonstrates what I learned.

This reflection on the process of learning and the learning itself was instrumental in my success of this learning project. It helped to keep me accountable, gave me a direction on where I should go next, shows where I have been, and allowed me to connect to a community of learners.

Continuing the Learning Process…

Although this learning project is coming to a close as my pregnancy is almost over, I plan to continue my learning in an online setting. It has been life changing to have this opportunity to engage in the learning process as it has reminded me that life-long learning can be related to things other than professional goals. So where am I going to go next? On top of continuing my yoga practice… I would really like to train my dog how to greet people at the door politely. I sure hope there is a strong online community for this topic as I think in training him, I need to train myself first!

When was the last time your learned something just because?

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Follow me: prenatal.yoga.yqr

This term I was afforded the opportunity to learn something new. Not something that was dictated to me by my professors, but something that I was passionate about, interested in, and was of substance. I was also to use open education resources to guide my project. I took a risk in doing the learning project as I had some quality ideas for the other option of the major project, that I knew I would be successful at, but I wanted to experience something I haven’t in a while… learning for the sake of learning. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I haven’t learned anything in the past few years, but between graduate classes, teaching, new positions, and the general busyness of life, I haven’t allocated time in my schedule to explore and learn just because I am interested in it. This project has reminded me of the joy of lifelong learning and how important it is to fit time in to learn something of interest. We are so lucky to have a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips and we should take advantage of it.

My learning outcome was to study and practice prenatal yoga to increase my flexibility and prepare myself both physically and mentally for the birth of my baby. As I went through this process of learning, I focused on assessing my sleep quality, hip and lower back pain, mindfulness, and the feelings of anxiety of childbirth. Even though I had an outcome of where I wanted to go in my learning project, I found myself learning much more than just what I had planned. On top of learning and experiencing how prenatal yoga helps me through pregnancy, I also found myself learning about labour, and postpartum.

I hope to use the experience of this learning project in my future classrooms to encourage students to access open education resources and learn something that is meaningful to them. This could be done through the use of genius hour, the maker movement, project based learning, or passion projects. I think in experiencing the freedom, riskiness, and openness of going through the learning process using online tools to not only enhance my learning, but essentially transform it, has allowed me to experience something I haven’t before and has taught me the importance of trying something like this in the classroom. When thinking of this online learning project in the context of the classroom, I can’t help but think about the SAMR swimming pool. In this learning project, I was able to transform the traditional learning process through the effective use of social media and open educational resources for learning and my ability to use technology to support and document learning.

 

Interactive SAMR Swimming Pool

 

How do you plan to use what you’ve learned in your learning project in your classroom?

Please stay tuned as I post a summary of my experience with this project in the next few days!

 

 

Can we really call online activism slacktivism?

I think there is a big difference between online activism and slacktivism, although people often use the terms synonymously. Just like I think there is a difference between cyberbullying and online harassment.

We all have the friends on social media who are slacktivists. We may have been tempted to or already have stopped following them as they share, like, and flood your network with controversial issues, but never seem to really do anything about it. Yet they feel like they are doing their part to bring about real social change and feel good about it.

humane

Slacktivism in this essence frustrates me as it gives people who are actually fighting to provoke change a harder time to make a difference. I also wonder if the people who share these stories actually take the time to read them and make critical decisions on them or just share them because the title, photo and caption are captivating.

Slacktivists are criticized for people who just want the image of a change-maker, but aren’t actually doing anything to help. For example, they will post, share, and comment about issues, but it stops there. They won’t make a donation, volunteer, or organize a rally because they feel they have already done their part.

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Photo Credit: danielito311 via Compfight cc

Just talking about social justice issues on social media isn’t going to drive social change and change the world, but it may be the reason something catches fire, cause others to do more and begin a social movement, it might move people from being passive viewers to active witnesses who see something and do something, or even get the conversation going. In using our voices on social media we can make the actions of a few active protesters visible to millions of people, all over the world. Although we might not have the capability or resources to be on the ground with the protesters fighting for change, we are able to use our voice to shed light on social justice issues.

Online activism is more than just sharing social justice issues through 140 characters, comments, and a clever hashtag.  Social media is just another outlet to use our voice and speak up about these causes. It helps to generate empathy around the issue and hopefully breaks the stigma of talking about it. However the activism shouldn’t stop there. You should strive to be a change maker, conversation starter, and active participant in offline spaces as well.

But maybe in the end the very essence of this post makes me a slacktivist? Or maybe, although it may be small, I am using my voice to start critical conversations and bring awareness?

A Guide to Learning Online

This week I decided to make an e-book that provides the basics of completing an online learning project. It includes: how to get started, documenting the learning process, your learning communities, and how to stay on track.

Next week I will use this e-book to help me summarize my learning process for my EC&I 831 learning project.

Unfortunately, one of the limitations of the free version of FlipSnack is I am not able to embed it into my blog. (I  even tried FlipSnackEdu). Please click the link below to view my FlipSnack!

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A Guide to Learning Online