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!

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EC&I 831 Survival Kit

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Photo Credit: Over the bridge – and beyond

Before I get into my survival kit, I thought I would share a little background… I am currently in my first year as Teacher-Librarian this year at Sacred Heart Community School. I am really enjoying the challenges and new experiences I am gaining with a new position and being able to be an educational leader within my school. Prior to that I’ve taught grades 3-6 (in a variety of variations) with Regina Catholic and Calgary Catholic schools. I am lifelong learner and began my graduate studies in January of 2015. I am currently taking class 4 & 5 in my course route.

I also have a passion for health and wellness. I enjoy running, biking, and being active. Additionally, I have been a group fitness instructor since 2006 and currently teach and manage the fitness classes at Anytime Fitness. I am hoping to use this passion to guide my major project… stay tuned for more details.

I am thrilled to be taking EC&I 831 this semester. Carla and Amy have expressed many of the same feelings as me after taking EC&I 832 last term. I experienced a lot of growth last tem and left feeling refreshed and renewed. I look forward to continuing this journey over the next few months!

The survival kit…

Last term I experienced like many others (as I stated above) a very steep learning curve of getting back into the groove digitally. I thought I could share some the key things that helped me stay in the loop in EC&I 832 so that you can experience a smoother transition than I did!

 

 google plus 1. Google + App

I didn’t download this app until partway through the course and it was a game changer! It made it so much easier for me to stay in the loop with the conversation and not feel overwhelmed. I usually checked this app whenever I had a free moment to make a quick comment. However, I preferred posting my own links, etc on the web version.

 tweetdeck 2. Tweetdeck

I had used TweetDeck when I took ECMP 455 (back in 2009), but I signed up for Hootsuite as well to check it out. I preferred TweetDeck as my main use was for twitter. It was a great way to keep my tweets organized and allowed me the ability to multi-task while tweeting.

 Capture 3. Twitter App

I tried to check my twitter app a few times a day and made an effort to tweet something relevant and meaningful every day. I followed hashtags such as #edchat, #edtech, #digicit.

 o365 4. Drafting blog posts in O365

I would always draft my blog posts in my O365 account (google docs would work too). I found it easier and calmed my mind to draft my posts outside of WordPress and then transfer them in when they were ready. I would include the hyperlinks in my draft, but would add my pictures and videos once I transferred it over.

 

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Photo Credit: My Sharing Loop (Updated)
5. Grow your PLN                                  

What is a PLN? A PLN is a Professional Learning Network. The more people you follow, connect with, and engage with the better your experience will be. This is a highly collaborative course and by being engaged with others, you will gain more from this course. You are in charge of creating your experience.