Feedback vs. Evaluation

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Photo Credit: ClassicsOnTheStreet via Compfight cc

My Week in Review

I really liked how my colleague, Erin Benjamin, reviewed her goals on her major project by colour coding them, so I thought I would do the same. Here is my key:

GREEN = I achieved my goal this week! Yay Me!!

BLUE = I need to revisit this goal this week. I wouldn’t necessarily say I failed at this goal, but it requires a bit more attention in order to be considered accomplished.

RED = I didn’t get a chance to complete this goal and it got pushed on the back-burner. I will look at trying to accomplish it this week!

My goals for this week were to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Get at least 20 posts on my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

I was very thankful to get feedback this week from Katia Hildebrandt. I appreciated the detailed review on how I was doing in the class and in particular with this learning project. Not only was the feedback detailed, it was personalized and I could tell there was a genuine interest in my progress in the class and provided me with ways in which I could improve. As the tweet states below, feedback that is received at the end is not feedback, it is evaluation. I am finding EC&I 831 is not only teaching us about effective pedagogical approaches, but is also modeling it.

 

One recommendation in my feedback was a join an online prenatal yoga community. I found an online community with Prenatal Yoga Centre. In this community I am able to read blog posts, comment, and connect with others. I have enjoyed following the blog posts in this community and have learned a lot from them, but don’t find this is the most functional space for my learning. I will continue to be involved in this community to see if maybe with some time it becomes more natural.

I have enjoyed growing my community on Instagram. This is where I am finding most of my learning and connecting is happening. I find that Instagram for the purpose of my learning project is very similar to Twitter for my professional learning network relating to teaching. It is a very natural space, I am able to quickly get a “snapshot” of yoga resources and motivation and if I wish to investigate further, I am able to dig deeper into the post and the account.

I am looking forward to a slower week with report cards being finished so that I can take some more time this week to work on my learning project!

My goals for next week are to:

  1. Continue to attend and participate in prenatal yoga classes both through online resources and in my face-to-face communities.
  2. Pin a few more prenatal yoga resources.
  3. Share my learning and connect with others through my Instagram account.
  4. Decide on how I will summarize my learning project.

Thanks for following!!

 

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Connect, Collaborate, Communicate: Learning and Knowing in a Digital Age

This past year I have taken on a new role as teacher librarian at Sacred Heart Community School. I felt like I needed a change from being a classroom teacher. As a classroom teacher I was able to encourage my students to become networked students, but I felt like I was in a rut and was not engaging as I had in previous years as a networked teacher. I was looking to connect with others within the school and take on the role as an educational leader. I thought the role of teacher librarian would be a perfect fit.

As a Teacher-Librarian I have the unique opportunity to:

  • manage library services while working closely with students in a variety of capacities
  • implement technologies in our learning areas and be proficient in those technologies in an instructional environment
  • plan collaboratively to enable students to explore and answer questions, connect with each other and the world (create instead of consume)
  • encourage a love of reading and support the development of reading literacy skills
  • become an instructional leader

The role of the TL supports the and is evolving to embody the ideas explored this week in the course readings about the pedagogy of abundance, the theory of connectivism, rhizomatic learning, and the evolution of 21st-century social media literacies.

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Networked Teacher by Alec Couros

A Pedagogy of Abundance

As I am new in this role and open to change as a person, I think the pedagogy of abundance is a very positive shift in our education system; however, I know many TLs are finding this shift very challenging and troublesome. The pedagogy of abundance breaks down the four walls of the classroom AND the library. The library is evolving from a place where you go only to consume information to a place where you can also create information. TLs are no longer the keepers of information, but rather engage with teachers and students in resource based learning, problem based learning, and inquiry projects. While engaging in learning, students are encouraged to develop and modeled information processing abilities while sifting through excessive abundance of information. The ultimate goal is for students to develop multiple literacies, and teach students how to use technology to find information and with the information the ability extract and synthesize it to formulate new meaning.

Theory of Connectivism and Rhizomatic Learning

As students are engaging in learning through an abundance of information, they should also be making connections and collaborating. This is important because not only do we learn inside ourselves, but also outside ourselves. Allowing students to participate in rhizomatic learning and personal learning networks, such as we are in this course creates an authentic experience that is adaptable to personal contexts. Connections and learning takes place in a variety of communities both online and offline, such as blogs, cooperative learning groups, Twitter, conferences, etc. One of the most important things to remember when thinking about connectivism is the tools themselves are not as important as the connections made possible by them. By collaborating, creating, and sharing, we are allowing our students to be successful as a 21st century learner.

“Formal education no longer comprises the majority of our learning. Learning now occurs in a variety of ways – through communities of practice, personal networks, and through completion of work-related tasks.” Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age by George Siemens

21st-Century Social Media Literacies

As I stated above, the 21st century learner, teacher, and school is more than tools and technologies. Essentially, we are modelling and teaching students digital skills and multiple literacies. Howard Rheingold describes the social media literacies as attention, precipitation, collaboration, network awareness, and critical consumption. These five literacies are interconnected and when fluent in the literacies, students and teachers, are able to interact with the abundance of information and be connected in their learning communities.

I am so glad I took a step out of my comfort zone this year and became a teacher librarian. Although the role has been challenging and demanding at times, I believe it is a key proponent in transforming education to meet the needs of the 21st century learner.

Final Project Feedback

This week I was able to create (and hopefully finalize) the landing pages for my final project on Transliterate Librarians. I would love some feedback on what I have written… Have I provided enough information on each topic? Have I provided a good explanation on each topic? Do you feel the videos match what I am trying to explain in my writing or do they take away from it?

Thanks!

Opening Page

The role of the Teacher Librarian is changing. TLs are no longer the keepers of information, but rather media specialists and educational leaders. TLs collaborate with other teachers to implement engaging and innovative technologies to improve student learning, engage students in inquiry based learning to help develop multiple literacies, and teach students how to use technology to find information and with the information the ability extract and synthesize it to formulate new meaning.

The purpose of this website is to provide a comprehensive resource for TLs and teachers that includes lessons and resources on the four domains of what TLs teach according to Joyce Valenza and Gwyenth Jones.  The four domains as listed in the poster below are inquiry and research, evaluating resources, creating and sharing, and digital citizenship.

This website takes into account Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, the Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from K-12, Teaching in Education Framework, and RCSD’s Essential Skills of 21st Century Learning.

Please use the menu above to locate and access the lessons and more information on each domain.

Inquiry and Research

Inquiry is embedded across all renewed Saskatchewan curricula.  It can occur in many ways, in the moment, integrated in a lesson, planned as unit, within a subject area. Inquiry allows students to explore and engage in learning opportunities that fosters deep understanding. Inquiry encourages students to ask questions, perform investigations, and build new understandings. Research is a key piece to an effective inquiry as students are searching, synthesizing, and formulating new knowledge, meanings, and understandings. In addition, inquiry and research promotes reading and writing as students explore and formulate new knowledge.

Evaluating Resources

Students need the skills to locate, use, and evaluate information. While doing research, students should be able to choose an appropriate media outlet for their purpose, check the currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose of the information. It is essential for students to develop this skill at a young age as they are turning to the technology to access information and learn new concepts. However, they need the digital literacies of how to use technology effectively, such as navigating the web appropriately, keeping track of sources for reference, using search engines and keywords successfully, and ensuring information is accurate and reliable.

 

Creating and Sharing

Creating and sharing are important components of transliteracy as they give learning a purpose, an audience, and allow for connections. Through creating and sharing students should appreciate literature in all media forms. It is important not to get distracted by the “bells and whistles” of things and to remember your purpose. Through creating and sharing students are taught how to communicate their message. They are also encouraged to be critical thinkers about media messages that are presented to them. Creating and sharing can be done through a PLE or PLN and allows student to express themselves authentically and purposefully.

Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship is an essential skill in transliteracy. Often it is assumed that because students are young, they are digital natives; however, they need to explicitly be taught digital citizenship. They need to understand that other people have created and own content that is posted online and it is important to attribute their work appropriately. This can be started at a very young age by just writing the author and title of a book and it will grow from there. As well, students should know the difference between copying, remixing, creating, and sharing whilst developing the skills of content curation and how to use creative commons. Additionally students need to manage their digital footprint and realize what they post online is available widely, therefore they need to protect their online identity. Lastly, students need to be respectful online, respectful of themselves and respectful of others.

What does it mean to be literate?

As Doug Belshaw discusses in his TEDx talk on ‘The Essential Elements of Digital Literacies’, we need to move beyond elegant consumption. Students (and teachers) should not only consume information in the digital world, but also engage with it. Belshaw describes this as digital literacies, rather than digital literacy, as it is not a linear concept. We should shift our thinking to a spectrum of literacies, rather than viewing digital literacy as either basic, intermediate, or advanced. There are many different literacies and varying levels. I compare this to the idea of digital immigrants vs. digital residents.

“Digital literacies effect your identity because every time you’re given a new tool, it gives you a different way of impacting upon the world.” – Doug Belshaw

Belshaw states that there are eight elements of digital literacies as shown below. We should look as these literacies as fluid and dynamic and not forget about the remix.

Slide via Doug Belshaw
Slide via Doug Belshaw

How does this shift our view as educators? Rather than looking at students as being digitally literate, we should engage them with digital literacies. Which takes it beyond technological skills, to 21st century learners and thinkers. Amy posted this week about “Seeing the Big Picture.” In her post she talks about technology being an essential tool during the learning process where students use complex skills to find, create, and share their learning.

Ashley brought up many important questions this week in regards to preparing 21st century workers. She also questions herself on if she is creating 21st century learners and if she is preparing her students for a future career. This is something that is important to her as a high school teacher, in that she is preparing students for their next steps in life. She wants to use technology to enhance learning in her classroom and not for the sake of just using it, but she has hit some roadblocks in the past with strict device policies.

Why are we still hitting so many roadblocks? Are they fear based policies? How can we help students along the continuum of digital literacies when it is not authentic? How can we shift this thinking to use technology to not only enhance learning, but also transform learning?

The demands of a 21st century learner are changing the way teachers look at educating. 21st century learners are no longer expected to just be literate in reading and writing, but rather are faced with multiple literacies. Teachers should reflect on the demands of the 21st century learner and a good place to start is the NCTE Framework for 21st Century Curriculum and Assessment.

How do we meet the demands of the 21st century learner?

I giggles when I saw the Pencil Metaphor on Integrating Technology in schools. I think many of us in this course (and others who are actively thinking about integrating technology) find themselves on various parts of the pencil… even though we don’t want to admit it!

We all want to take the plunge to be a “leader” or a “sharp one,” but on the same level we have some fears. Fears of the unexpected, the troubles, push back, and management. But are we doing our students a disservice by not integrating technology? Technology has impacted education since forever and I am guessing throughout the process, there has been some fear when new and emerging technologies came into the picture. We need to see the challenges and take the plunge aware that some things may not go as planned, but that is part of the process. We are teachers in the 21st century and we need meet the demands of our 21st century learners.

The wheels are starting to turn

This week has been a huge progress week for me as I tackled some “big idea” questions for my final project. I was fortunate to attend two very relevant PD sessions this week within our school division which have helped guide the way I would like my final project to go.

Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools
The Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship via Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools

The first session was on Digital Citizenship and the Balanced Approach to Learning. We looked at the role of digital

technologies in education, the essential skills for 21st century learning, and the digital citizenship continuum. We then had a chance to create a lesson that integrated 21st century essential skills and digital citizenship concepts and skills. As I was looking through the digital citizenship continuum, I thought this would be a perfect place for me to start with my lessons for my final project as I could integrate the 9 elements of digital citizenship with my transliteracy lessons. With permission from Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell and Genna Rodriguez, I am able to use the lesson plan format they created to create the lessons for my Transliterate Librarians Website (which is still very much a work in progress… Stay tuned for a draft publication!).

I am very excited about this breakthrough because I believe by collaborating with other professionals in our school division, we will create resources that will have a purpose and be used and shared with others within the school division. The lesson I created (Boutilier – Digital Citizenship Lesson Planning Framework / Animal Research Report), ties in directly with the inquiry and research section of my website. It is an expository writing lesson (for grade 2) which uses online databases to research an animal and write a report.

RCSD 21st Century Skills
RCSD 21st Century Skills via RCSD Digital Consultants

The second session was our TL EdCamp. This was my first year participating in the TL EdCamp, but I came out of the sessions feeling renewed and refreshed! It is so great learning from your peers and being able to participate in a conference in a non-traditional way. I went to a session on Genius Hour/ Maker Space where we focused on the book Invent to Learn.  The next session was on a new resource from National Geographic Learning, which focused on 21st century reading: creative thinking and reading with TED Talks. We looked through this resource and connected it to the Saskatchewan curriculum. I am really looking forward to working with teachers and this resource. The next session was Social Media in the Library. This session had some heated debate on digital citizenship and whether using social media in the library and in schools was ok or not. We also talked about the media release form and how perhaps it needed to be updated to reflect social media. The last session was about using tools such as Kahoot and Quizizz to engage students in review.

This week has helped me kick start my final project… I am excited to see how it progresses over the next month.

“Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool, it is a way to prepare students for a society full of technology.”

– Dr. Mike Ribble

It’s all about the process…

Initially I had decided to do the internet-based social activism project as my final project; however, I ran into some glitches with the class I was going to work with and decided I would rather do this a personal project than a final project for this class. I am still very passionate about bringing our AR program outside of the school and in turn make a larger impact on the school community. Our school has applied for the I Am Stronger grant and is still actively present on our blog and twitter. Follow us at @heart_library.

Photo Credit: charlywkarl via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: charlywkarl via Compfight cc

I am VERY excited about implementing and creating my new project that will directly relate to my new role as a Teacher Librarian. This position interested me because the role of the teacher-librarian with RCSD is evolving. It is my hope that through this position, I will be able to collaborate with other teachers to implement engaging and innovative technologies to improve student learning, engage students in inquiry based learning to help develop multiple literacies, and teach students how to use technology to find information and with the information the ability extract and synthesize it to formulate new meaning. That being said, I think my final project will help me achieve my goals as TL.

Photo Credit: Joyce Valenza & Gwenth Jones via joycedownunder cc
Photo Credit: Joyce Valenza & Gwenth Jones via joycedownunder cc

What I would like to do is create a webpage based on the ideas on an image created by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones. I was amazed when I tweeted this image and my twitter account blew up! This image combined with the proper hashtags gave me the most action I have ever seen on twitter. It had around 100 retweets or favourites and I gained a plethora of followers. This gave me confidence that pursuing a final project based on the evolving role of the TL would not only have importance to me, but also others. As I said, part of the reason I left the classroom and took on the role of the TL was so that I could be involved with helping other teachers and students with transliteracy and I think this project will help me accomplish that.

My final project will be a webpage that is a comprehensive resource for TLs and teachers that includes lessons and resources on the four domains as listed in the poster (inquiry/research, evaluating resources, creating & sharing, and digital citizenship). Specifically I would like to focus my lessons on the Gr. 1-5 range. This website will have lessons, ideas, and resources that address the bullet points listed on the poster. My next step is to start gathering resources, developing lesson plans, and creating a practical resource for TLs to help develop transliteracy.

Major Project Thoughts

I was very interested in the internet-based social activism project after it was explained in class. It is my first year at Sacred Heart Community School in Regina and I believe this project will have a great impact on our school community. This summer as I was preparing for school, I asked one of the veteran teachers at our school, Adam Ward, if there had been a chosen theme for AR in our school. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a reading program where students read a book then take an online quiz to earn points. Most schools in Regina Catholic School Division have an AR program, but I have learned none have the same impact as the one at Sacred Heart.

Students at Sacred Heart take great pride in reading books, setting goals, and achieving their goals. Students are rewarded at various levels and once they reach 100 points, they are awarded a themed t-shirt.IMG_3360

“The shirts are yellow: It is our school colour, it is the same colour as the sun which is the highest point in the First Nations world view, and it is not a gang colour in North Central…in fact it is associated within the community as a reading colour now” (Adam Ward, Sacred Heart School).

To some it may seem like just a shirt, but to our school community, it is much more. The AR committee has described the past shirts below:

AREagle feathers are a sign of honour.  Many years ago eagle feathers were presented to acknowledge great accomplishments among First Nations people.  For the past four years all of our 100 point t-shirts have included an eagle feather in recognition of the importance of 100 AR points.  100 is forever. The feathers are also a reminder that our reading is not only for us but helps our community as well.

Elder Mike Pinay has told us that “Education is the new buffalo”.  For many years the great herds of buffalo provided many of the basic necessities of living in Saskatchewan.  The First Peoples relied on the buffalo to survive and thrive.  Today people in Saskatchewan are sustained by their education, making it the new buffalo.  When we succeed in reading we are taking control of our own lives, helping our community to thrive.

Inukshuk have been used in the vast lands of Northern Canada to guide travelers and to mark fertile hunting and fishing areas.  By earning our AR points we are creating landmarks that help us guide our lives to where we want them to go.  Being a community of readers we are also guides for everyone all around us, setting an example of how we can succeed and follow our own path to success.

The Métis infinity symbol represents the joining of two cultures and the existence of a people forever.  Our infinity symbol reminds us that when we earn our 100 points that it can never be taken away from us.  We combine our AR reading with the rest of our education to create a foundation that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.  Our infinity means we make our own choices and go where we want to go.

This year, the shirt has a totem pole on the front that incorporates the four previous symbols into the structure of the pole.  Totem poles are traditional more to the west coast First Nations, but is a significant Aboriginal symbol within Canadian culture.  The sleeves have 100 on them and the back has the RCMP logo, our school 100 point logo and the wording “Working Together Strengthens Us All”.

“AR isn’t just reading at our school.  It’s an anti-gang strategy, cultural education and a community builder.  We run reading contests throughout the year but we make sure students celebrate themselves and each other, competition is a motivator but accomplishment is the take away.  One person getting 100 doesn’t mean another person can’t so one person’s accomplishment is everyone’s accomplishment” (Adam Ward, Sacred Heart School).

Bookmarks are awarded weekly to students as they make their way to 100 points, at 10, 25, and 50 points and beyond 100 points. Teachers are also encouraged to participate in AR.

On top of reading during school hours, we also host a monthly reading night where staff and the RCMP come into the school to read with students and their families. This is allowing for positive connections between students, families, and the greater community.

So what does this have to do with internet-based social activism?

I have created a Sacred Heart Library Website where our accomplishments will be highlighted through pictures, videos, and blog posts. Additionally, our school library has just set up a twitter account (heart_library) where students will take on a leadership role and post how they are reading with younger students in our school to help them achieve their goals. The hashtag #100isforever will be used as our hashtag campaign.

I plan to apply for the #iamstronger grant as well. I understand that this initiative doesn’t directly address bullying or cyberbullying, but I think it connects on a bigger level to creating a culture within our community to help students become readers, set and achieve goals, and help others to achieve their goals.

What are your thoughts? Does this achieve the goal of the internet-based social activism project as listed on the syllabus?

Hello again…

It is hard to believe it has been SIX years since my last professional blog post! I was looking back through some of my posts a from ECMP455 and during that time I would have never thought I would have fallen off the wagon for 6 years. Although I have blogged with my classrooms through kidblog and have created classroom websites through weebly, I haven’t taken the time to reflect on my professional space since beginning my teaching career. It is amazing how time flies, the realities of teaching settle in and how easy it is to loose sight of something that was once so important to you.

I am really looking forward to making and renewing connections with all the people in this course, but also the people not in this course. That is the beauty of using tools such as blogs and twitter to connect. It makes the learning and growing more authentic to our purpose. This course is not only teaching us how to teach media literacy, but it is also causing us to become more media literate. We are engaging in the use of a variety of media technologies to analyze, synthesize, access, and create.

Can’t wait to connect with you!

Who are your TwitterSheep?

I was browsing through my GoogleReader and I came across David Warlick’s post on Who are your Sheep. I thought it would be interesting to see who my ‘flock’ of followers were.twittersheep

Twittersheep, with your Twitter login, captures the profiles of all of the Tweople who follow you and then generates a tag-cloud representing the most often used words in those profiles sized by frequency.

It is similar to Wordle and many other applications that formulate tag clouds.

I also thought I would check out who my Twitter BFF’s are. I have been seeing this around in presentations and on blogs. So I thought it would be interesting to see what my social network looked like and who I talked to the most.

bff I guess the whole purpose of this was to see what my social networks look like right now. I would be interested to see how they will change in the next year. They are fairly small right now, but it is a quality network.

In a mere 4 months I have created a network that helps define who I am as a professional. followers

My PLN

Well, I have talked about Twitter and my PLN a lot in my previous posts:

The best thing about my support team is that it comes from experts of the topic. I was able to build this ‘network of experts’ through Twitter. I think Twitter is a great application that has helped me build my PLN, but it is not about the application that makes my PLN, it is the people!

Today, on Twitter I came across a post called: Nine great reasons why teachers should use Twitter. When I was reading this post I couldn’t help but think, YES! YES! YES! Twitter has greatly impacted me as a teacher. I have seen so much growth in myself as a professional over the past few months and I have to attribute part of that to my PLN. I have grown so much that when I looked back at my philosophy of teaching I realized, I need to update that!

My PLN consists of so many intelligent, engaging, and innovative people! The people I aspire to be someday. I think the following quote will help you build your PLN:

Remember, your experience on Twitter is only as high quality as the people who you follow and the information you share.

I am following high quality people and I feel privaleged when these high quality people follow me in return. The people you follow and the people that follow you are what make Twitter the great resource that it is. 707625876_46aa44851f_o

I know now the importance of filling in your bio of your Twitter account. A lot of educators won’t follow you unless they see you as an asset to their PLN. I have a commitment to my PLN that I will contribute thoughtful, relevant, and interesting information.

The world is a big place, but it seems that we are able to know more about the world and collaborate with so many more people because of technology, in this case, Twitter. I was reading a blog by Jeff Utecht called I don’t like learning alone and I have to admit, I too do not like learning alone. Twitter and my PLN has taken away the ‘4 walls’ and has allowed me to use open education to the best of my ability. Twitter allows me to grow and learn with many other educators around the world. My network has constantly grown, every day, which means my bank of knowledge and resources are growing every day.

Twitter is such a valuable resource! Once you have your PLN you have a variety of resources at your fingertips. These resources will guide you in your professional development.

How has Twitter impacted you as an educator or other professional? Please give us a testimonial via Voicethread on our Twitter in the Classroom wikispace!