Summary of Learning

Last week I took a look at the big ideas and major takeaways of EC&I 834. It has been great to connect with all of you. You have helped me create an online course for the grade one students in our school division and I look forward to continuing to develop and use blended learning with our youngest learners.

I have really enjoyed reading your blogs, following your tweets, and our breakout sessions in zoom. I look forward to crossing paths with many of you again sometime soon!

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Big ideas and Major Takeaways!

I always love writing these posts at the end of Alec’s courses because it is amazing to see and reflect on the amount of growth that has happened over the course. This course was extremely challenging for me as I am currently on maternity leave (and my 9 month old is a stage 5 clinger… and my almost 3 year old is much better. haha!). At the same time, I am so proud of what I accomplished this course. Creating my online course will not only benefit me, but also all grade 1 teachers within Regina Catholic schools (and really any other teachers using a word study program) because all of my lessons are shareable and editable.

At the beginning of this course we were asked to list our main goals for the course. I have listed them below and have reflected on them and how I progressed this semester.

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! (YES! I did it. I was able to keep my deadlines straight in my head and did not miss an assignment, WOOHOO!). 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. (My understanding of what blended learning is has completely shifted over this course. At the beginning of the course, I was merely scratching the surface of what blended learning was and I was limiting it to my preconceived notions and past experiences of  fully online (distance) learning. As we progressed through this course, I gained understanding on the pedagogical issues of blended and online learning and have found creating a course prototype and being a student in a blended course simultaneously has helped me to develop a strong pedagogical understanding of online learning).  
  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. (WOW! There are so many tools out there to create a blended learning environment. My view of blended learning before this course was very distorted and I thought blended learning could only be achieved successfully in the older grades or post-secondary education. This course has opened my eyes to the way we can blend with many different ages and populations. It has been so great following everyone else’s journey to see how they would blend in their courses). 
  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. (Yes! Yes! Yes! Like I said above, Creating my online course will not only benefit me, but also all grade 1 teachers within Regina Catholic schools (and really any other teachers using a word study program) because all of my lessons are shareable and editable). 

I feel like this course went by in the blink of  an eye. Here is a quick timeline of the major takeaways from the course related to designing for online and blended learning.

What is Blended Learning? from The Learning Accelerator on Vimeo.

My mind was blown away with the learning activities we did together in our first class. I have taken other classes with Alec before, but it just seemed like doing group work and connecting with others was SO easy and natural in the course. In our first class we worked in breakout groups to define what is blended learning and online learning. At the same time, Alec polled Twitter to get their definition and within a few minutes we had a collaborative document that was created by 25 individuals and a twitter thread with multiple responses. I was very excited to see what the rest of the course would entail.

I really like this definition of blended learning by Vaughn, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison:

Blended learning can be defined as the organic integration of thoughtfully selected and complementary face-to-face and online approaches and technologies. A direct result of the transformative innovation of virtual communication and online learning communities, blended learning environments have created new ways for teachers and students to engage, interact, and collaborate.

One of the most crucial readings to my development this course was the Tony Bates Chapter on the continuum of technology-based learning.

Blended learning can include a wide variety of designs. One of the best things about this course was seeing the wide variety of courses designed by my peers and all the different ways ( CMS/LMS/VLE and selected platforms) their online courses would take place.

‘Blended learning’ can mean minimal rethinking or redesign of classroom teaching, such as the use of classroom aids, or complete redesign as in flexibly designed courses, which aim to identify the unique pedagogical characteristics of face-to-face teaching, with online learning providing flexible access for the rest of the learning.

-Tony Bates

One of the most challenging (and rewarding) things done this semester was creating my content modules. I thought this would be fairly easy when I first looked at the assignment, but after many, many hours of work, edits, and design, I found that perhaps creating an online course is more work than teaching F2F. I feel like a lot of the work in in an online course happens at the “design” stage and you really need to think of what you want to accomplish in your course and how you are going to get there. BUT… once you create your online course you can use it again, again, and again. So it is worth it to put in the effort at the beginning.

I really liked having the opportunity for some free exploration this semester to look at creation tools, open content resources, and tools for videos, audio, and presentations! Being on maternity leave basically back to back has left me feeling a bit in the dark and the opportunity to explore these tools will help me a great deal when I get back into the classroom!

One of the BEST experiences in the class was reviewing my peers courses and receiving the feedback on my course. This was so valuable as I was able to see what my peers were doing and also reflect on the changes I needed to make my course better. This feedback was really a game changer in my online course and if you look at my first submission to my final submission, you will notice that A LOT has changed.

The community created in this course was one of the best communities I have had in my graduate studies and it was through an online course. I really appreciated the time to do breakout sessions with my peers where we could discuss and work together to deepen our understanding of blended learning. I enjoyed connecting with everyone on Twitter and working with my PLN to find and share resources on blended learning. And I enjoyed reading everyone’s blogs to see how their journey was going this semester as well.

Here’s to one more week!!

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!

A summary of my learning, but the beginning of my journey

I came into this course feeling confident in my ability to teach and model digital citizenship; however, as the weeks went on, I realized there was a lot for me to learn! During the past few months in this course we have explored a large number of topics related to digital citizenship and the complex nature of how our digital world impacts identity. We explored the interconnectedness of media literacy, online identity, and how to be responsible citizens in our global networks and society.

During Module 1, we were introduced to media literacy, looking at the foundational theories in media education and the implications of our views of media literacy and digital citizenship in education. In the past there was this idea that we had two separate identities, one in the online world and one in the offline world. However, as our participation in digital culture and media has evolved, we are moving away from the term digital dualism to the term augmented reality as a way to describe how our digital world shapes everything from our relationships to the way we view the world.  The idea that we never fully log off impacts our responsibility as educators to teach and model digital citizenship in schools and how we can challenge students to become digital citizens and leaders.

Module 2 explored identity and citizenship in a mediated culture. We looked at what it means to be a (digital) citizen. The reason I have digital in brackets is because as we live in an augmented reality and our online identity directly impacts our offline identity and vice-versa. Even though we may portray an edited version of our self online, it is still impacting us socially, emotionally, and  psychologically. We looked at stories such as, One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life, Split Image, and The Sextortion of Amanda Todd which identified the challenges of identity in a mediated world.  We need to be aware of our identity in both online and offline spaces. We are living in a world where everything we do is immortalized on the web, and what may be a silly mistake is no longer forgotten. danah boyd notes that our participation in mediated publics affects us in unique ways such four properties:

  1. Persistence : what you say sticks around.
  2. Searchability: what we do and where we go can be searched.
  3. Replicability: content is copyable, so it is difficult to determine if it has been doctored.
  4. Scalability: Our potential audience is grand.

Our mediated publics are also impacted by three dynamics:

  1. Invisible audiences: not all audiences are visible when a person is contributing online, nor are they necessarily co-present
  2. Collapsed contexts: The lack of spatial, social, and temporal boundaries makes it difficult to maintain distinct social contexts.
  3. The blurring of public and private: without control over context, the idea of public and private become lost too.

As the context of our online identity is open to interpretation by others and is everlasting, it is extremely important to portray yourself the way you want to be remembered. With that being said, it is also important to model empathy and encourage our students, parents, administrators, and society to be empathetic to mistakes made online. Key ways to model and teach citizenship were explored though Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship and Saskatchewan’s Digital Citizenship Continuum.

Module 3 pulled the prior knowledge we gained from module 1 and 2 together looking at media and our students. We looked at the new and emerging literacies and their impact on future work skills and how we should be teaching to the 21st century learner. Additionally, we looked at the social learning theory and participatory culture in literacy. This course has pushed me to publish my thoughts and ideas and to contribute to a learning community, which was sometimes uncomfortable. However, this push has challenged me to be a more critical thinker, produce better products in my reflections, and both learn and contribute to my PLN (something I had been slacking at prior to this course). I have gained more from this course and being connected with others than I have in prior courses in my graduate classes and I think this due to me creating and sharing with others and learning from others in the course. One of the best learning tools in this course, was my reflections on my blog. It was nice to have guidance on key topics, but also the freedom to dig deeper into topics of interest.

In addition to the modules, reflections, and connections made in my PLN, I was able to create a website for Teacher Librarians for my major project.  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, engage students in inquiry based learning, and to teach students how to use technology as responsible digital citizens. The purpose of the 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 website includes teacher resources on inquiry and research, evaluating resources, creating and sharing, and digital citizenship. My major project follows the lesson plan format from our Educational Technology team in RCSD. It is my hope that this project will continue to grow and develop with input from other TLs within our school division.

As I said earlier, I came into the course feeling confident in my ability to teach and model digital citizenship. However I leave this course feeling renewed and refreshed in my commitment to being a digital leader in my school and society. Teachers need to shift their view from the “I should…” to the “How can I?” thinking critically about how we can incorporate digital citizenship and leadership into our daily teachings. I am excited to continue to grow as a digital leader in my school, my PLN, and family. My impact may be small to start, but hopefully by modeling my own leadership, I can motivate someone teacher, student, family member to make a change and become a digital leader as well.

Thank you Alec and Katia and fellow EC&I 832 students for making this term a valuable one! I look forward to continued learning and growth with you in my PLN!

 

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.

IT Summit 2009

Formatting didn’t work as I planned, but here it is:

IT Summit 2009

it-summit1

I am so thankful that my prof Alec Couros invited me to help present and attend the IT Summit on Monday, March 23 and Tuesday, March 24. This experience has helped me develop more as a professional. I only hope that one day I can possible measure up to some of the presenters. I was in awe at some of their presentations and keynotes. Their knowledge, dedication to their students, and innovative ideas were beyond what I expected.

Here is a wordle summary of what I learned from the IT Summit:

it-summit-sum

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