Summary of ECMP 455

journeyWhat a journey! Wow – it is hard to believe the semester is coming to an end and that it is the last semester in my University career. I found ECMP 455 one of the most engaging, informative, and inquiry based classes I have taken in my entire university career.

The major concepts I have learned through ECMP 445 are:

1. Develop a PLN – 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. Here is a documentation of my PLN from this course.

2. Capitalize on Open Source Education – There are so many valuable resources out there. These resources can help you as a professional and your students. Through our synchronous sessions I have learned about digital story telling tools, google docs, delicious, second life, smartboards, visual design, digital video, podcasting, and much more! We have had so many experts visit our class and I think you can do this in your classrooms too.

3. Focus on the process, not the product – Through my blog, twitter, and mentorship project I have been able to focus on the process. Learning is not a linear process, it is a cyclical process. By focusing on the process in my own learning I have grown and developed a great deal, so this would play true with my students as well.

Along with my colleague, Sarah Hill, I was able to create a teacher resources for using Twitter in the Classroom. This is a comprehensive resource that explains what twitter is, how to set up a twitter account, how it benefits your PLN, how to use it in the classroom, FAQ, and testimonials. As an undergraduate, I have found Twitter to be such a beneficial resource and I think it can be used to enhance learning in your classroom. One of the barriers I had when making this project was using Jing. I think Jing is an awesome resource, but without Jing Pro, there are some restrictions when trying to upload your file onto the internet.

Overall, this class has been an amazing journey. My philosophy of education has developed a great deal since the beginning of the semester. I have grown so much as an educator and I am looking forward to my continual growth with the help of my PLN.

Online Learning

We were having a discussion in our ECMP 455 class last week regarding online learning. Some of the questions brought up and discussed were:

  1. Does the fact that one student sees the nature of online learning less social than the other simply a personality issue or is there something about the experience?
  2. How do we get support? How do you get help in other course?
  3. How do we balance the guided, structure nature of our current schools with the potential need and desire to create life long, independent learners?

I found this conversation very interesting as I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this online class. Before taking this class I was a bit weary because I had never taken an online class before. I am a very personable person and enjoy F2F interaction. Thus, I thought I wouldn’t like this class because this interaction would be missing. However, this was totally opposite. I have developed some of my best professional relationships through this course. Plus it is not restricted to just the 20 people taking my class. I have been able to gain relationships with many other professionals through the world.

1. Does the fact that one student sees the nature of online learning less social than the other simply a personality issue or is there something about the experience?

I don’t think this is just a personality issue because at the beginning of this course I would have considered my personality to not match the format of the course. However, I engaged in the class thoroughly. I took any opportunity that I could as a learning experience. These experiences have helped me develop a great deal as a professional as I have gained further insight about topics, I have built a network of professionals who are available and willing ready to help me, and I have been able to explore topics on my own and use critical thinking skills instead of the ‘stuffing model’ of other classes.

“Teachers and learners become information artisans, mining for information raw materials, remixing and re-networking what they find, and then communicating their new and valuable information products for re-mining.” — Warlick

2. How do we get support? How do you get help in other course?

I have found that with this course I have had the most access to support. 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! I have found with other courses I have to wait for answers, but with this course I am able to connect with people when I need help and I am able to help others when they need help.

3. How do we balance the guided, structure nature of our current schools with the potential need and desire to create life long, independent learners?

I think inquiry based learning is the way to go. It will feel uncomfortable for learners, educators, parents, etc for a while; however, the benefits of it are much more than a traditional based classroom. We need to facilitate and guide our students in their learning. I have encountered this model a few times through this semester and I have felt the most growth from those classes. I have actually for the first time in a while been able to truthfully  focus on the process, not the product. I had always said that this is important, as in education it was drilled into our heads (in a traditional classroom), but I never knew what it meant or felt like. This semester and this class has helped me a great deal to focus on the process and in the end the product does turn out much better. I do think it is important to have structure in our classrooms; however, the use of a dynamic curriculum is so important. We need to capitalize on those serendipitous moments our students encounter.

Final Project – A How to Wiki

My colleague, Sarah, and myself are working together on our final project for our ECMP455 class. After some discussion with Alec Courous and Dean Shareski, we have decided to create an extensive ‘How to Wiki’. What this wiki will contain is a step by step tutorial on how to use a program and how you can take this application into your classroom.We are hoping to make up some lesson plans and other activities so you can make this experience authentic and engaging learning for your students.

So my questions to you is: What application do you want to see a Resource made up on? Is there any other information you would like to see on this Wiki? Would you like this focused on any particular subject? Any other suggestions.

I made up a Google Form for you to fill out with this information. You can also make any comments here. Thanks for your input. Your ideas and input will help make this project useful.

Below is the way we will be assessed on this assignment for your reference.

Major Digital Project Students will develop a digital project related to technology in teaching and learning. This project is wide-open to possibilities. Some ideas: portion of an online course or unit, digital video (e.g., presentation, advertisement), educational resource website, course blog or wiki, etc. Students will be expected to submit a proposal for approval. There will be a reflective component to each project, which will be tied in to the blogfolio. 35%