Primary Literacy & Coding

This week I decided to take a look at primary literacy and coding. To be honest, this wasn’t even on my radar prior to this course. I have always had a keen interest in primary literacy, which is why I became a Teacher Librarian, and coding was something I dabbled in (if you could even say that) with our Kindergarten classes using Bee-Bot before my maternity leave. However, putting the two together was a completely new concept until Alec suggested I take a look at incorporating some coding into my online course after reading my course profile and my interest grew even more after some “playing around” with coding in class last week. I decided this something I MUST have in my online course. BUT, how could I tie it meaningfully to primary literacy??

To start this learning journey this week I began looking through Kathy Cassidy’s resources on APPS, ‘BOTS AND CODE: THE NEW ABC’S IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM. For those of you who don’t know Kathy Cassidy, she is a trailblazer in bringing technology into the primary classroom, I highly recommend you visit her website and follow her on Twitter. After hours and hours of exploration, I decided that ScratchJr would be a program I would like to use as it hit many requirements for classroom use and more specifically, primary classroom use:

  1. It is aimed at young children (ages 5-7).
  2. It is free.
  3. In programming interactive stories and games, students will learn to solve problems, design projects, and express themselves creatively on the computer.
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Check it out!

 

And upon further exploration, there are teaching resources specifically targeted at primary literacy, which could easily be adapted to fit into my online course. scratch2

Lastly, there are GREAT resources for teachers under the teach tab, with resources, lessons, and videos on how to use ScratchJr in the classroom. It really can’t be any more user friendly or easily accessible. My next step will be creating lessons based on my word study modules for students to code the words we are working on during that unit. I am so excited to continue to explore ScratchJr and make some modules using this app for my online course.

I continued to explore the world wide web to see how everyone else was using primary coding and literacy and I came across a great post by Kelly Hincks on Mixing Reading with Coding in Early Childhood. All I can say is WOW! What a goldmine I found here. She is a teacher librarian just like me and her content is amazing. In her post she says,

As a librarian, my goal is to expose students to all forms of literacy. Coding, to me, is just another form.  Teaching coding allows me to integrate multiple disciplines together. Coding is a process just like the research process. That is why it fits so nicely in the library. Additionally, coding teaches problem solving, cooperation, and how to overcome failure.

With all that being said, I do not believe in just coding for coding sake. I feel it should fit within a bigger picture. Combining coding skills with other literacy skills is always my ultimate goal.

This is so accurate! I want the technology I use to “blend” to be authentic, purposeful, and engaging. It should transform and enhance my end goal and not be used just because it is something “cool” I stumbled across. In her post, she talks about lessons to introduce coding to primary students and lessons to apply coding concepts.

Another site of interest that I explored this week is code.org. They have some spelling lessons and other online courses for primary students that could be used to introduce coding and teach the basics. Although this site probably won’t make an appearance in my online course, it is something I have added to my toolbox for when I get back to school.

In conclusion, I am really glad we had this week to just explore an aspect of blended learning that we are interested in. I was able to find something I could use to enhance and transform my online course and I am excited to see what I can come up with!

 

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Fear not.

I am feeling some of the same feelings I had last semester. I left EC&I 832 feeling digitally literate and confident with my ability to teach digital citizenship, but this week I was thrown a curve ball! I was introduced to many new social media sites and tools. I had heard about a few of these sites, but never really knew what they were, nor had the curiosity to check out.

SOCIAL MEDIA
Photo Credit: filipinooutsourcers via Compfight cc

Many of these sites, such as YikYak and 4chan, allow users to comment and participate anonymously. Nima Naimi says the anonymity offered by the app may lead to a lack of empathy and users saying things that they wouldn’t normally say in person. Participants in these communities can say and do almost anything they want without being accountable. So we should ban them and rid the internet of these sites, right?

Young people are also turning to the internet and social media to cyber self-harm. Students are inflicting psychological self-harm on sites such as Reddit, Ask FM, and Tumblr. They do this by creating fake online identities to attack themselves and inviting strangers to do the same. They may be doing it to finally open the conversation so they can get the help and support they need, they may be experiencing a mental health disorder and this is the most suiting outlet for them, maybe it is low self-esteem or depression. Needless to say, this is a growing issue and is impacting more and more teens and youth. So we should ban them and rid the internet of these sites, right?

Teens and students are also being exposed to porn and explicit images at younger ages. All you need is one kid in the playground going looking for the bad stuff and every kid sees it. Students are seeing stuff on the internet that they are unable to process and are confused about. Furthermore, one student can expose many others to these online searches. For example, just this past week at school we found in the search history on one of our shared tablets “porn” and some other explicative searches. Unfortunately, since this is a shared tablet and doesn’t require a log-in we were unable to find out who (out of the 3 classrooms using the tablet) was performing this search. So we should ban them and build restrictive firewalls of these sites, right?

The answer to all the above questions is NO. Of course we have to be aware of the complicated and sometimes complex issues that may come from these sites, but at the same time there is a bigger picture. How do we teach our students to be empathetic in online spaces? How do we combat issues such as cyber self-harm and cyber-bullying? How do we help kids cope with a digital deluge of inappropriate images?

The answer is not by shoving it under the rug and pretending it is not an issue. The answer is also not by banning students from using the internet and restricting all access. The answer is by teaching and modeling digital citizenship. If we don’t explicitly teach, keep the conversations open, and talk about the issues, we are leaving students to figure out these complicated and complex issues on their own. Something they may not be capable of doing at this point in time.

To be honest, I was quite shocked to hear of some of the popular sites and things available on the internet (even though I consider myself as quite tech savvy). I am thankful for this course and my learning project as it has given me a purpose to:

“Download it, try it, poke around, see how it works, see the kinds of things that are being posted,” he suggested. “And that’s just going to help you have a better understanding and open up a dialogue with kids.” – Dan Misener via CBC News

 

 

The tool may change, but the issues remain the same.

“If you’re going to ignore social media in the classroom, then throw out the ISTE Standards for Students and stop pretending that you’re 21st century.” – Vicki Davis

In A Guidebook for Using Social Media in the Classroom, Vicki Davis lists a bunch of hypothetical questions regarding letter writing, e-mails, and social media. I wonder if these were actual concerns for teachers when they thought about letter writing and establishing pen pals. If I think back to when I was in school, I actually think this was a concern. I remember writing letters in my Operation Christmas Child Shoebox and was told not to put any specific details about my identity (address, last name, etc.) in my letter. However, this form of writing was very powerful and since I am talking about it right now, it definitely had an impact on me.

media
Jason Howle via https://flic.kr/p/e5wZ3t

The “fear” of taking learning outside of the 4 walls of the classroom has always been there. There are risks in everything we do. We cannot allow the “fears” of using social media in the classroom outweigh the benefits. Students will be exposed to social media and engage and create a mediated online identity whether or not we include social media in the classroom. It is our job to help them become digital citizens and digital leaders. As Vanessa said, “the use of social media in the classroom can and should be promising. Like the calculator though, unless students are taught how to use it effectively (as students), it has the potential of becoming problematic.”

Many kids are leaving social networks and transitioning out of broadcast social media (Facebook and Twitter) and switching to narrowcast tools (Messengers and Snapchat). They are personalizing their social media experience and prefer to share more transient posts with their closest friends rather than portraying a sanitized split life. Some 13-year-olds check social media 100 times a day, when they are not posting on social media, they are lurking. With that being said, I am sure the tool in which students use to participate will continue to change, but the social lives of networked teens will continue to encounter complicated and complex issues.

Students will participate in social media either way… How can we harness the power of social media in our schools? How can we teach students to use social media effectively? Why is it so important for us to explicitly address the complicated and complex issues of social media?

There are many risks and benefits of allowing children going online, as teachers and parents it is our job to model and teach students how to participate online appropriately. We cannot ignore social media in the classroom, in the school, and the impact it has on our students lives.

 

Write On: Improving Student Writing

“Remember what writing is for: to share what we see, think and believe, and invite response.” – Blogging in the classroom: why your students should write online

Over my career, I have noticed a common trend in my students when they enter into my classroom. They DISLIKE writing. Sadly, they often come into my classroom with a negative view of writing and when asked to complete the beginning of the year writing assessment, the room is filled with moans and groans. (I hate to admit it, but I was one of those kids too). Just like Elizabeth, writing has never come easy to me and I often struggle with writer’s block, so I can relate with my students when they come into my classroom. Usually by the end of the year my students leave the classroom with a new outlook on writing.

Some of the common trends I see in the classroom that spur on this hatred of writing are:

  • Too much focus on conventions or as Heather says, the writing process. Teachers love their red pen and LOVE marking every error on students writing; however, this is such a small part of the process of writing. In fact, it is on small part of the 6 traits of writing. In my opinion, ideas, organization, voice, and word choice are WAY more important than if you are forgetting a period.
  • Students are told what to write and their only audience is the teacher.
  • Authentic and real-time feedback is often limited.
  • Often the pre-writing process is not authentic and has too much teacher input. This causes students to get stuck on what to write about because they are trying to write what they think the teacher wants.
  • There is a disconnect between reading and writing.
  • When students are allowed to use digital tools to publish their writing it is limited to word processing.

Improving student writing has been a priority within our school division the past few years. At the same time our division has implemented a variety of new technology tools to help enhance and transform the way we teach and learn. One of the ways to leverage student engagement in writing is through collaborative writing tools that help build writing communities. Who are our students writing for? Who makes up the audience? How do they make the audience care?

“It’s not just 21st century skills but 21st century connections and how to make them.”  – Vicki Davis, Reinventing Writing

By reinventing writing and using collaborative digital tools within the digital writing workshop along with traditional methods, we are fostering community, allowing students to explore various perspectives, and with that acquire and synthesize new information. Using digital tools in the classroom doesn’t mean that you can sit back, relax, and let the tool do all the teaching. The teacher must be an active participant by facilitating learning, intervening when necessary, and providing relevant feedback.

It is also important not to get caught up in the bells and whistles of the digital tool. Some key questions to think of when integrating digital tools are:

  • How will this tool further student-centered learning?
  • What outcomes will this tool help to leverage?
  • How is this tool connecting students and creating collaborative learning?
  • Did I sent out information about the tool to parents?
  • How easy is it for me to set up this tool?
  • How easy is it for the students to use it or navigate the platform?
  • How will I monitor student work and passwords?
  • What is the terms of use of the tool?

(Questions from: Writing Assessment & Digital Tools Workshop by Regina Catholic Schools)

When we use digital tools and engage in authentic writing experiences, we are redefining the author’s chair. In my experience a great way to provide purpose for writing and an authentic environment for writing is through a blog. Blogging provides a place for students to develop their voice, make meaningful reflections, connect and collaborate with peers, curate content, and develop transliteracy and digital citizenship. By building your PLN on Twitter and using hashtags, such as #comments4kids, you will be able to connect your classroom with other classrooms around the world to make this process even more exciting, authentic, and engaging.

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.

The move from digital citizens to digital leaders

During the past few months in this course we have explored a large number of topics related to digital citizenship the complex nature of how our digital world impacts identity. In the past there was this idea that we had two separate identities, one in the online world and one in the offline worlds. However, as our participation in digital culture and media has evolved, the idea of digital dualism or an augmented reality is a better way to describe how our digital world shapes everything from our relationships the way we view the world.  This idea that we never fully log off impacts our responsibility as educators to teach and model digital citizenship in schools. Is the term “digital citizenship” becoming dated as well? Should our responsibility be to teach and model citizenship in general? Should we stop there or should we push and challenge students to move from digital citizens to digital leaders?

What is the difference between a digital citizen and a digital leader? A good digital leader can be a digital citizen, but a digital citizen isn’t necessarily a digital leader.

Couros defines digital leadership as:

“Using the vast reach of technology (especially the use of social media) to improve the lives, well-being, and circumstances of others.” (From, Digital Leadership Defined)

Jennifer Casa-Todd interprets digital leadership as encouraging student to use technology and social media to make a difference in our world by empowering others who have no voice, addressing societal inequality, promoting important causes, learning and sharing, and being a more positive influence in the lives of others. By being a digital leader students from apathy to action becoming enlightened, empowered, empathetic, ethical, and engaged citizens.

Conceptual Foundations
Understanding the Conceptual Framework from Renewed Saskatchewan Curricula

Digital citizenship and leadership is embedded across all renewed Saskatchewan curricula through cross-curricular competencies and broad areas of learning. Just as citizenship and leadership is taught and modeled through the curriculum and broad areas of learning, Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship are intertwined and intermingled. Citizenship and leadership cannot be a one and done type of lesson. It must be embedded into your daily conversations, tasks, inquiries, and teachings.  This transformation from digital citizenship to digital leaders allows for critical thinking, collaboration, initiative, adaptability, communication, synthesis, curiosity, and imagination, which are essential skills in the Saskatchewan curriculum. Additionally, it achieves the goal of multiple literacies allowing students to construct knowledge, explore and interpret the world, express understandings, and communicate new meanings.

I must admit, I was feeling a lot like Claire, coming into the class feeling confident in my ability to teach and model digital citizenship, but as the weeks went on, I realized I had much to learn and many ares needing growth. I am now feeling renewed and refreshed my commitment to being a digital leader in my school. 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. This past year I took on a new role as Teacher Librarian and part of the reason I did was so that I could take on more of a leadership role within the school. I am excited that 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. Through my role as a TL I am able to be a leader in helping teachers model and teach the Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from K-12, Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship, and RCSD’s Essential Skills of 21st Century Learning.

As an educator and future parent, I need to model digital citizenship and leadership in my own online identity. We are living in a world where everything we do is immortalized on the web, therefore what may be a silly mistake is no longer forgotten. Although I try to model engaged citizenship in unmediated publics as well, our presence in networked publics affects us in unique ways: Four properties—persistence, searchability, replicability, and scalability—and three dynamics—invisible audiences, collapsed contexts, and the blurring of public and private. 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.

Parents of our students need guidance and reminders that although their children have grown up around technology, they are not automatically positive digital citizens. They still need to be taught how to be positive members of society both online and offline, they need constant reminders and conversations, and they need to be empathetic.

I will continue to be 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 make a difference and motivate a teacher, student, or family member to make a change and become a digital leader as well.

Digital Dualism is old? Now we experience an Augmented Reality?

I really enjoyed reading the article IRL Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson as it made me think critically about the online world, specifically social media, and how it is influencing our behaviour. My classmates Harmony, Amy, Jillian, Andrew and Genna also made connections to this article and raise similar questions to me on how we can find balance in our lives and how we cannot discredit the power of the online world as it has great potential to savour moments and create positive change.

Photo Credit: winnifredxoxo via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: winnifredxoxo via Compfight cc

So for my selected reading this week, I decided to delve deeper into how social media is influencing our lives and chose another reading by Jurgenson called Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality. With the increased use of social media every day in our lives it has caused us to classify between being present in the digital world (online) and the physical world (offline), this can be referred to as digital dualism. But is this idea outdated?

Nathan Jurgenson thinks it is, he argues that although digital dualists see “the digital world is ‘virtual’ and the physical world ‘real’” (2011) they are not separate, they are mashed. Our online and offline lives are so intertwined we aren’t creating a second person in the virtual world, but rather living out our lives in the both the virtual and physical worlds and they both influence each other. A more proper term would be White’s term of visitors and residents. Although some of us see the internet as a collection of tools and don’t leave a trace and others see at as a collection of places and are still present even when they log off, there is no “second self.” The digital world directly influences our physical world and our physical world directly influences the digital world.

Jurgenson purposes an “alternative of view that states that our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once” (2011). Our reality is not a digital dualism, but rather an augmented reality. We are past the point of separating our digital self and our physical self. Digital dualism is old news. We are now living in “one reality, one that is augmented by atoms and bits. And our selves are not separated across these two spheres as some dualistic “first” and “second” self, but is instead an augmented self” (Jugenson, 2011).

He concludes his post by raising a critical question about our lives being influenced by social media in this augmented reality.

Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?

There are many opposing viewpoints on this question and to some degree I think it is a good thing, but then in another I think we need to really look at this critically.

During the first week of class, we were shared two videos that encompass this idea of an augmented reality.

The first video was Photos Every Day.


In this video I see people being so obsessed with taking photos and showcasing the lives they want to show. They edit, filter, retake, and delete until they have the perfect photo.

This video gives me a bit of a bad taste in my mouth and my answer to the question “Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?” would be NO.

But then, in the video FaceTime Every Day, I get a totally different feeling.

My answer to the question “Is a reality augmented by digitality a good thing?” would be YES.

I believe Turkle has summed up my viewpoint at this time about our augmented reality in her recent article, Stop Googling, Let’s Talk. She says, “it is not about giving up our phones but about using them with greater intention” (Turkle, 2015). We always talk about purpose and authenticity when we educate. Maybe we should think about this with our phones and social media. What is our purpose? Is it really necessary to check it now or is it just filling a void? Are generally using your phone for authentic purposeful reasons or just to be on it and connect? Sometimes I think we confuse meaningful/purposeful connections with just going on to connect… But I could be wrong.

References:

N Jurgenson. (2011, February 24). Digital Dualism versus Augmented Reality. Retrieved from http://thesocietypages.org/cyborgology/2011/02/24/digital-dualism-versus-augmented-reality/

S Turkle. (2015, September 26). Stop Googling, Let’s Talk. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/27/opinion/sunday/stop-googling-lets-talk.html?_r=2

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?

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.

Philosophy of Education – Updated

Well, this semester has been a huge learning experience for me! At the beginning of the semester I thought, why do I need to come back to school after me internship… I have already been out teaching, why do I need to come back and be a student again? Well, I have to say that I have grown the most as a professional this year! I was able to use my internship experiences and my new experiences from school to reflect and come up with new philosophies (and I am sure I will continue to develop new philosophies of teaching each and every year!).

So, I was tweeting with David Truss and he mentioned he read my Philosophy of Education, he also shared his with me. As I was reading his post I was inspired to re-write my philosophy of education. He mentioned I should keep my old one to look back on and see the growth, so I have it archived away. While I was putting together my philosophy of education, I looked back through my blog and pulled from different reflections to formulate my final product. So here it is:

Every student should have the opportunity to succeed and achieve their greatest potential. I believe in using various instructional strategies and a variety of settings in order to teach to the whole child. My role as an educator is to know my students and their strengths and challenges so that I can adapt my lessons, so that all students are able to be successful.

Society is changing at such a quick pace, so I need to find out what my students need to learn today, to prepare them for tomorrow. I need to capitalize on those serendipitous moments my students encounter. It is my role as an educator to find out what is important and interesting to my students and incorporate their funds of knowledge into my classroom and lessons.

In order to prepare students for this unknown future, I need to foster interactive engagement, so students experience meaningful learning and intellectual development. My role as an educator is to promote student learning and critical thinking skills.

I believe in using inquiry based learning, where teachers are no longer teaching information, but rather facilitating learning. The teacher is there as a guide, to set up learning experiences for students to ask questions and shape their own learning. Ensuring my classrooms focus on the process, not the product.

I think the classroom should expand beyond the four walls of the classroom. Students are growing up in an open source world and know all about having access to the world and we need to apply this access to the world in our classrooms as well. This can be done by teaching students how to use technology to find information and with the information the ability extract and synthesize it to formulate new meaning.

Classrooms should be considered studios, a comfortable environment where there are few lectures; the students work collaboratively in groups to learn, the students are engaged in their learning, and become independent lifelong learners.

I believe it is important to include daily physical activity into the classroom. Physical activity helps children focus on what they are learning. I want to help my students develop positive daily physical activity habits.

School is preparation for life. I have the opportunity to guide and create good citizens. I want to foster an environment where my students are learning together and thinking together long term.

Special thanks to my PLN who has helped me develop this into what it is today! 🙂

I appreciate your feedback!