Week 1 Reflection
The resources provided this week are a great way to start this class. I hope this is truly just the beginning of the tools that we will encounter along the way. The last several classes I have had, have not been as resource “heavy” as previous classes and I am excited to see what other tools will be presented. I felt Kathy’s video (Schrock, 2015) was a fantastic way to be introduced to the content this week. Digital resources along with instructional models were provided in order to support our learning.
Digital storytelling and project based learning have been the two concepts that have stuck with me throughout my courses. I was excited to be introduced to various tools to try for both models. WeVideo is the digital storytelling tool that I am most familiar with. I made these two videos (All About Me) and (Interview) for my digital storytelling class using WeVideo. I also made this snapshot of augmented reality using WeVideo for another class.
There were several tools that I would like to try out with my first graders. The word cloud tool on ABCYA would be a wonderful summarizer at the end of a unit to determine what vocabulary terms stuck with them. Vocaroo would be a great way to record books and then give them a QR code for the students to scan to hear them being read aloud. Google Slides could be used to create digital stories for my students once they have completed a writing unit. I believe they would enjoy recording their voices and watching the slides play.
I found the article by Pat Galagan (2010) to be a great supplement to my classwork from my previous classes mainly due to the comments in there about how student boredom leads to distractions. If students were given more hands on opportunities, they wouldn’t have time or the desire to be on their phones. Engaged students stay on task and develop a vested interest in their learning.
Overall, I am excited to see what else this course will offer because it is off to a great start.
Galagan, P. (2010). Burp, Chatter, Tweet: New Sounds in the Classroom. Training & Development, 26-29. Retrieved May 1, 2017, from https://live.wilkes.edu/d2l/le/content/227585/viewContent/2422593/View.
Schrock, K. (2015). Creating With Online Tools. Retrieved May 03, 2017, from https://vimeo.com/121203978
Week 1 - Pedagogical Model
Again, reflecting back on my previous classes, I believe the various pedagogical models are often overlooked. The models that were provided this week are a fantastic way to integrate technology. It should be our goal as educators to encourage our students to pursue creative problem solving by focusing on higher-level thinking. In general, I believe educators often become distracted by the sheer number of concepts that need to be taught each year and rarely consider the depth of coverage. By using any of the models discussed this week, I believe we could integrate more technology into our classrooms and naturally promote higher level thinking. By allowing our students the freedom to explore and create, they will develop a vested interest in their learning.
I think my favorite pedagogical model that we discussed this week was the TECH model (Roberts, 2013). It directly emphasizes student choice and control. It also allows for differentiation and encourages a project based concept to naturally emerge. I believe it is the verbiage that resonates with me the most, “student interest,” “flexible choice,” “authentic product.” All of these phrases emphasize a student centered learning environment.
The Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy by Andrew Churches (2009) was beneficial, but I could also see it being overwhelming to some teachers. It is a very thorough way for teachers to “get their feet wet,” thanks to the tools that are demonstrated for each Bloom’s level along with rubrics. However, a 75-page handbook, might seem daunting. There are wonderful infographics available online that provide a snapshot of the concept presented in Churches’ text. For the purposes of this class, Churches’ text will be a fantastic resource as we continue to explore throughout the next several weeks.
Churches, A. (2009). Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from https://live.wilkes.edu/d2l/le/content/227585/viewContent/2422593/View
Roberts, J. (2013, November 30). Literacy, Technology, Policy, Etc....A Blog. Retrieved May 01, 2017, from http://www.litandtech.com/2013/11/turning-samr-into-tech-what-models-are.html
Personal Learning Networks
Consider your own personal learning networks. What are they?
Personal learning networks are the groups of individuals that you surround yourself with in order to learn from one another (Tobin). They may or may not be people you work with on a daily basis (Tobin). They may simply be people you interact with online (Tobin). My personal learning networks include my coworkers to an extent, but more so, my online communities. These include Facebook groups, Instagram contributors, Pinterest, bloggers, the Teachers Pay Teachers community, etc.
Have you evaluated what networks are most important to you? Have you narrowed down your list?
Over the last few years, my personal learning networks have evolved based on the season of my life. When I taught for Tulsa, I had a fantastic team of first grade teachers that I worked with. I also had teachers in other grade levels that I was able to talk to about social media, favorite blogs, etc. We also received professional development due to requirements along with having free choice over the summer to attend various sessions at no cost to us. As my social media presence grew, I found more and more teachers and instructional coaches to follow online. I didn’t need to buy any curriculum because I made any resource my team needed. When I switched districts and grade levels, my personal learning networks crumbled. I felt lost and very alone. I also had a baby at home and a much less friendly building than I was used to. Very few teachers talked about blogs and my team did not collaborate. I was in survival mode and drowning fast. I had to figure out third grade on my own with no sleep and no time to plan. It was at this point, that I realized I had to use the experts around me and I did not have to create all of my own materials. Every night, when I was up feeding the baby, I would search Pinterest for ideas to use in my classroom in the upcoming weeks. In third grade we taught one standard for math and one standard for reading each week, so I setup my Pinterest boards for each standard. When it was time to actually plan my lessons, I would pull up the board for that week and gather what I needed. I didn’t know the bloggers or fellow teachers, but they helped me survive. It was the only “professional development” I received. Since transferring back to first grade this year, I have been able to get back into my comfort zone a little bit. I started following groups on Facebook where we can ask each other questions and offer suggestions. The Tech With Us Community is one of my favorite technology groups. I also started following instructional coaches such as Jen Jones from Hello Literacy. She ran 15 professional development sessions about reading on Facebook Live. My teammate and I could get professional development on our couches at night or in the morning while we got ready for work. There have been groups that I have left or bloggers that I have stopped following since moving back to first grade, but I know that I can always go back to them if the need arises.
What stage of Utecht's scale do you think you are?
I believe I am working on Stage 5. It is all about balance. With a fulltime job, two part-time jobs, a two-year-old at home, and a master’s degree, there is always something that is not getting my full attention. I have started turning off my notifications on social media so that I can check it when I have time, and do not feel obligated just because I heard the sound of my phone. I have also been using the “save” feature on Facebook or saving it to Pinterest to read later. I’m not sure when “later” will be, but it’s there when I am ready. Sometimes, a few days pass by before I have a chance to read the articles or question and answer posts that I saved, but then I will catch up on four or five items at once. My PLN will always be there thanks to the internet. I am naturally a “helper” or “people pleaser” and I am also very independent, so balance is hard. I can’t help everyone in my life or in my networks online and I need to take time to help myself. Also, work is not the most important thing, which is hard for me to even type. The work will always get done somehow, and sometimes, a toddler just needs you to sit and hold him a little bit longer.
My personal plan for utilizing your networks to their best advantage:
I plan on continuing to seek out personal learning networks based on my current needs. Even though my district does not provide professional development, it does not mean I have to be stagnant. Personal learning networks enable educators to grow and develop wherever and whenever they have a spare moment. I plan on continuing to develop my presence online through the use of social media and curation tools such as Pinterest, in order to find more contacts and build my network. Often times, teachers can feel very lonely in their rooms, however this does not need to be the case. Millions of educators are now available online in order to collaborate with and explore new ideas. I hope to continue to seek out balance with my career and home life as both entities deserve my best efforts.
Tobin, D. (n.d.). Building Your Personal Learning Network. Retrieved May 09, 2017, from https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=http%3A%2F%2F000gel3.myregisteredwp.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2Fsites%2F3971%2F2017%2F01%2Fbuilding-a-personal-learning-network.docx
@who_is_on_1st Twitter is not a social media platform that I have been able to embrace. I am more comfortable with Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. Although, I understand the benefits of having a limit on characters, it sometimes forces people to shorten words to a point where it becomes difficult to understand. I appreciate the fact that you can embed links directly into your tweet, where on Instagram you cannot. I tried discussing people’s favorite apps, and posted in a Facebook group for teachers encouraging them to join the conversation, but did not have anyone join in. I then tried discussing STEM/STEAM projects and posted pictures, added a variety of hashtags, but only had one response from one of my grad classmates. There was a broader selection of hashtags on Instagram that I know many teachers in the blogging community use, many of which did not come up on Twitter. When I posted in the Facebook group asking for help with our other assignment, I had several responses immediately. So it was surprising that I didn’t have that same willingness to tweet. I had more than 20 likes on Instagram this week, but only 1 on Twitter for the exact same photos. I also dislike the way that conversations are not threaded on Twitter. For example, if several people reply to a tweet from someone that I’m following there are other random tweets in between. This makes the conversation difficult to follow. I use the If This Then That app which helps with social media management. If I post to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, it automatically posts to the other sites so that I don’t have to post anything three times. As far as classroom use, I would just as soon use a private Instagram account or the Seesaw app to engage with parents. We are not allowed to use any social media at our school, so Seesaw is my only real option. I thought this week might turn me into a Twitter believer, but I’m just not there yet. I understand, Twitter takes time to gain followers and find people to follow to build your personal learning network. Maybe as time goes on it will grow on me, but for now I will continue with other platforms.
The podcast assignment was new to me as I have never used iPadio before. The hardest part of the assignment for me was selecting an app that was available on computers, iPads, and Android tablets. Use on all three devices is sometimes hard to come by. I chose the Trading Card Creator App by Read Write Think and you can view my podcast here: http://www.ipadio.com/channels/IpntB5cmmHf8ru380tMGVQ/rss Once I recorded it, I uploaded it to iPadio and inserted a screenshot that I had from one of my sample cards. Uploading was quick and easy. I could see how this would be beneficial for educators to connect with students or fellow teachers in a quick manner without a lot of fuss. A short message about an upcoming event or a new app that someone might find useful only requires a few minutes to record and publish.
For this week's Blog Reading Assignment I chose to read:
Discovering Farmland: Four Ways We’re Sustainable On Our Farm from the Discovery Educator National Network – This blog focused on one family’s efforts to keep their farm sustainable and provided specific examples of how they accomplish this. I think sustainability can be a daunting topic for students as they have a hard time making connections to how it applies to them. This article would give them an inside look at life on a farm and help them understand just how much science is involved.
Education Technology Thought Leader Interview: MobyMax CEO Glynn Willett from EmergingEd Tech – I chose this article because our school recently purchased MobyMax to begin using next year. The price point was unbeatable and the content was very beneficial for our fifth grade team that tried it out this year. It was nice to hear from the CEO about how they designed the program and hear about specific examples of why their program is so successful.
10 Essential Apps To Help Elementary Students Learn Grammar from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning – Oklahoma recently added a grammar portion to our third grade state test and it proved to be very difficult for our students. This article was a quick list of apps that we can use as grammar practice.
Spot It! Gamification For The Win from The Daring Librarian – This blog post featured the integration of card games into a library or classroom. Card and board games seem to have lost their appeal over the last few years with the high influx of technology. However, I can’t help but appreciate their value in the classroom. Students learn communication, strategy, problem solving, and even work on visual processing with games such as Spot It. Spot It is one of my students’ favorite game and even my students who typically struggle in school, shine while playing this game.
Who is the audience for the blog you are reading and does the content, writing style, and navigation meet the need of that audience? Is there anything similar in the blog-writing styles across all the blogs you read?
All of the blogs were directed towards educators. The general formats used were question and answer style and the ever popular “listicle” or an article made from a list such as the top 10 ____ or the 5 best apps for _____. The blogs used a casual writing style often speaking in the first person.
Is reading a blog different from other types of reading? Why or why not? Does it seem that writing blog entries (not comments) is different from other types of writing?
I find both reading and writing blogs to be more personal than a non-fiction book or article. It depends on the style of the blog, but often times, the blogger tends to speak as though they are having a conversation with you. It is a much less formal way to connect with your audience. Bloggers tend to discuss their personal experiences so that their readers realize they are in this together and are experiencing similar things.
Do the comments from others on a blog post help make the blog post more meaningful?
I do not read comments on blogs as much as I probably should. I often find them redundant and not all bloggers are good about responding to comments. I should make more of an effort to read the comments and learn from even more educators and their experiences.
What aspects of a blog would enhance student learning and why?
Student blogging would be a great way to showcase student learning. Assigning one blogger a week for example would allow them to take ownership for their work and feel proud of their accomplishments. Sometimes, doing a formal writing assignment can seem stressful for a student, but incorporating technology, such as a blog, can relieve some of the pressure as it is something new and exciting for many of the students. Having students read other classroom blogs can help them understand other students’ experiences in order to compare and contrast.
RSS and Aggregation
Blogs have grown exponentially in popularity over the last several years. There are many fantastic resources for people to follow, but time is never on our side. Remembering and clicking on dozens of websites each week to stay up to date is time consuming and exhausting. With an aggregator such as Feedly or Blog Lovin’, users are able to subscribe to various websites and get updates whenever they post something new. Gone are the days of bookmarking your favorite sites and trying to figure out which one is which. Feedly keeps track of all of the blogs or Twitter accounts that you enjoy and keeps the most recent posts in a nice, neat, easy to read format. Blog Lovin’ sends you emails based on the time frame you setup where your favorite bloggers’ most recent posts are all in one place.
As far as using this with my students, I believe I would be the one managing the Feedly account. I teach first grade, so reading blogs is not something they are likely to do on their own. However, as project based learning experiences become more popular, so do the use of classroom blogs to help document their progress. Classrooms in general have started using blogs more and more to keep parents up to date on the exciting topics they are studying. We could also connect with another classroom as virtual pen pals and update the app with the latest fun things happening in our room. We study the continents in first grade and I would love to find a kid blog or classroom blog from each continent. We could use a translation app on the web so that we could read it in English and see pictures from real classrooms from around the world. In any case, I would probably be the one to display the Feedly account on our SMARTBoard and choose the blogs to read as a class.
Critical Evaluation Presentation for First Grade
Analyzing websites, is not something many teachers consider as a skill for our students. However, imagine how many times a day we use that vital skill even in our personal lives. If an article comes across our newsfeed and it is too difficult to navigate or too slow to load, we close the tab in frustration and move on. Our students need to learn how to navigate the web efficiently so that they can gather as much information as possible without wasting time. My survey question focused on the very beginning of this skill: “Do you use a website as a whole group before asking students to use it on their own?” Often times teachers load a website, find their page, and only show students a small portion of it. Actually demonstrating how to use Google or how to type in a URL is often overlooked. Website menus and tabs can also be confusing. I teach first grade so demonstrating how to navigate a website is the first step to demonstrating how to evaluate it. The results of my question showed 1 teacher demonstrates websites before asking their students to use them, 5 sometimes demonstrate websites to their students before asking their students to use them, and 0 do not demonstrate websites to students before asking their students to use them.
After looking at the elementary survey on Kathy Schrock’s site, I still felt it was too hard for a first grader to use. It would be perfect for the upper elementary grades though and is a fantastic resource for teachers to consider. Many first graders come to us reading only a few basic site words and phonics patterns. Searching for an author or creation date on a website would be overwhelming. I used the opportunity to condense the information down to a first grade friendly format and terminology in my slide show.
Choosing photographs for the slide show brought up the idea of Creative Commons. Creative Commons is always an interesting topic to discuss because there are so many perspectives and issues to consider with the integration of technology. As a teacher, I believe a common courtesy would be to allow works to be used in the classroom. However, as more and more of our work and the work of our students’ goes online, it becomes apparent that citing our references is crucial. It is a challenging skill for our students, but a vital lesson that teaches respect for others. Partnering with Discovery Education has been a wonderful experience and I am grateful for their working relationship with Wilkes.
Padlet In The Classroom
Check out my Padlet for our Continents and Oceans unit: https://padlet.com/nichgrif/7ziopmsowten
Each group could add photos from their continent based on their research.
Adobe Spark Video - Cause & Effect
Online Presentation Tools Reflection
This week we explored two different online presentation tools, Padlet and Adobe Spark Video. I explained my process and my thoughts on the projects here on my blog.
Creating a timeline or sequencing events can be a great way for students to see the big picture and how events are related. One of the hardest parts of the assignment this week was choosing a relevant topic and finding images that were Creative Commons licensed. Once I had gathered my images it was time to try out a few tools.
The first tech tool up this week was Google Photos. Users can simply drag and drop photos from their desktop which makes uploading very simple. From there, I created an album, titled it, and began to add text boxes. Adding text boxes was the most difficult part of the assignment and not as user friendly as most Google tools are. I would click a half dozen times before I could actually get a text box to load. I finally figured out that you have to make sure nothing is selected when you are trying to add a text box. You can check out my album concerning the history of Mickey Mouse here.
Next up was Canva to make a timeline infographic. I used the same photos and text from my Google photo album for this assignment. I chose a timeline layout and then customized it from there. I chose to use the Mickey Mouse color theme and adjust elements as necessary. From there I was able to add my photo and text. The only disappointing part about Canva was the inability to extend the length of the infographic without joining. There are several other infographic programs out there that enable you to continue to extend the length to fit all of your information on one page. I had to create a second page for all of the URL's for citations.
Teachers could create infographics for their students in order to condense the information into one easy to read graphic. Students could take photographs of important events in a book and create a timeline. Students could also use infographics to persuade others to see their viewpoint on a topic. I think infographics are the "poster" of the 21st century. No more cut and paste and late night runs to Wal-Mart for poster board. But rather, an easy to use, tech based, graphic design challenge for your students that can be completely customized.
Infographics On The Blog
Infographics are gaining in popularity, not only with companies, but also with schools. Check out my blog post discussing my experience with infographics and also comparing the two I made this week to one I made previously.
Public Service Announcement Reviews
When viewing videos online, it is important to look at the message from various viewpoints. This week, I took on the role of a teacher and watched two short videos about technology integration in the 21st century. Check out my blog post here.