Something that I found very interesting in our learning from Unit 1 was the different pedagogical models that integrate technology, especially those that are originally based on Blooms' Taxonomy. I was really interested in the SAMR model because it seems to allow some flexibility for teachers and focuses on students utilizing technology to create or complete a task. Both of these ideas are very important for me.
Some of the examples that we saw are things that I started doing in my classroom after learning about tools through previous classes. I have had students create PSAs using Adobe Spark's video option, and it was very powerful. I have also had students create their own research-based websites. What I've found is that with the availability to create something, students are also more prone to learn and synthesize new information.
I think that I would use the SAMR model in my classroom because it allows students to create and it also allows them some autonomy in the classroom. I teach high schoolers, and allowing them to utilize their own technology in ways that makes sense for them is incredibly important. The SAMR model also allows for students to stay organized by using technology, and it allows teachers and students to modify what they need to make the most sense for them. For instance, it allows students to modify their product that they will turn in for an assignment. Instead of writing by hand or creating a poster, students are able to use technology to create digital copies.
Lisa Francis Personal Learning Network Assignment.
Before learning about Personal Learning Networks, I had never before considered the web of people and resources that I use on a daily basis to help me learn something new or understand a topic. I now understand that what I have been using to facilitate my knowledge of good teaching practices as well as my content is my own personal PLN.
My most important learning network is Pinterest. This resource is invaluable to me to find lesson plans and ideas from other teachers around the world. People comment, modify, and give advice through the blogs that are “pinned” or in the comments section. My education board, English Teacherness, is where I have compiled some of the most creative and best lessons that I use throughout the year.
I have a second PLN that I didn’t even know was a PLN until I learned the definition. Recently, I was invited into a Google group through my instructional technology resource person at school of educators around the region who have input into what technology is best for the classroom. While it is nice to have this available to me, I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would.
I think I am in stage 2, the “know it all” stage, of Utecht’s model. I have found myself knowing which resource to go to the most for information, and I focus on those, but I haven’t quite become overwhelmed by the need for knowing it all yet. Like Utecht mentioned, some people don’t go through each step, and I’m hoping that I skip the step that keeps me from living a balanced life (Utecht, 2003). While PLNs and other resources for becoming the best educators we can be are important, so is the need to unplug yourself from your career, or we will quickly burn-out.
I believe that I will continue to use Pinterest and the Google group, as well as Youtube and other online tools to facilitate my learning for my content and teaching strategies. I’m hoping that in the future, I can even narrow down my Pinterest boards to those that I will follow regularly, as I think that is the most effective way of learning without being overwhelmed.
Resources: Utecht, J. (2008, April 03). Stages of PLN adoption. Retrieved May 14, 2017, from http://www.thethinkingstick.com/stages-of-pln-adoption/
I have used Twitter before to retweet snapshot information to my students or to just send small bits of information, but I was really impressed by my classmates' use of the social networking site! I have, in the past, used Twitter to follow important blogs or new sites to stay informed, but I had never thought to use it as a PLN. Some of my classmates posted questions about best practices or tools, and some even posted polls (which I have never done, but hope to do in the future!) I was also really impressed that I could just search the #edim510 to find all the questions posted by my classmates, and answer them or glean information from them, instead of looking at each individual profile.
I think one of the struggles that I have is putting myself out there. I love sitting back and watching, but I think I will have to be more forthcoming so that others may learn from or correct me in the future.
If you would like to follow me, my handle is @MsFrancisWCHS.
• Who is the audience for the blog you are reading and does the content, writing style, and navigation meet the need of that audience?
The audience for the Discover Education blog (http://blog.discoveryeducation.com/) seems to be any one that is in the education field. Made mostly for educators, the blog covers everything from spotlighting new technologies, upcoming trends, or innovative educators. Because it has such a wide scope of audience, the writing style is more formal and informative, so that it can reach all educators, no matter their level or subject matter. The navigation is really helpful for this blog because if I am an English teacher that just wants to learn what’s new, I can quickly navigate to the “literacy” page through their navigation bar at the top of the screen. I think the organization for this is spot on.
The audience for The Innovative Educator (https://theinnovativeeducator.blogspot.ie/) seems to be more of a secondary education audience. While she writes blogs on technology that could be used in any classroom, some of the technologies (like cell phones and Facebook) she addresses are mostly used by secondary-aged students and their educators. Her writing style is more informal and has a sense of humor to it, which I really enjoy when reading a blog. It helps to keep my attention while keeping me informed. The navigation, however, leaves something to be desired. To find a specific topic, you either need to scroll through or scroll down to find a tagged topic on the right hand side (because that’s how blogger is set up). Her categories of navigation are based on technology or trend in education, rather than content, which is actually a little more helpful than trying to group information by content. I might be able to use a technology that a math teacher uses as well.
The audience for Literacy, Technology, and Policy.. Etc. (http://www.litandtech.com/m/) blog is even more focused than the previous two blogs I viewed. It is written mostly for literacy teachers who want to use technology in their classroom. Some of her posts don’t even mention technology, but as an English teacher, it’s really nice to get a mix of tech and non-tech in a blog. There is only so much technology that I can use in my classroom until it becomes an instance of “I’m using technology just to use technology instead of to aid learning for my students”. Her writing style is very relaxed and, again, has a personality to it, which is best for a fellow educator who wants to inform her peers on what she experiences. I think it helps her audience to know that she is experienced, but also trying to figure all of this out just like they are. The navigation isn’t very good, however, because it really just lists archived information based on the date it was published, rather than the topic. I don’t think this is helpful at all and it would take a lot of time to find something you had read previously, or to even find a specific topic in her blog might take more time than you have.
• Is there anything similar in the blog-writing styles across all the blogs you read?
I think the main similarity in blog-writing styles is that bloggers first introduce a problem that they’ve had in their classroom and then find a solution to it, whether that is technology related (most likely) or not. Most blogs are written by one person, which allows them to have a voice in their writing. The only difference for the discovery education compilation of blogs is that there are many contributors and because of this, I think their voices in each blog post is more formal than if they had their own blog to contribute to.
• Is reading a blog different from other types of reading? Why or why not?
I think reading a blog can allow for some people to read biased information, and by biased, I mean that the writers are allowed to have an opinion and have no restraints on expressing it for fear of copyright or some other type of infringement. There is nothing in it for bloggers other than to inform/educate others on what they are writing. Because of this, bloggers are able to write real experiences and opinions, rather than try to be as neutral as possible about a given subject. I find that a little refreshing. I can actually read a person’s opinion on a technology because they have used it and know the pros and cons of it. They list them, they give their experiences, they give their examples, and then from that, I am able to decide if it’s something I want to try.
• Does it seem that writing blog entries (not comments) is different from other types of writing?
It seems like writing blog entries requires a person to imagine himself having a conversation with the audience, rather than informing them with facts. It’s almost like mixing narrative and informative writing, so that the audience doesn’t get bored with dry, textbook-like texts.
• Do the comments from others on a blog post help make the blog post more meaningful?
Most of the time, I don’t find comments from others to be helpful at all. They are either a quick “thanks for the information. Loved your post!” or a complete bashing of whatever that blogger has just written. Neither is helpful to me as an educator. There are, sometimes, examples of comments from others in how they have used the information in a post in a different way in the classroom, almost as if they want to add to the blog to be able to give educators options with a specific technology or topic. These are few and far between, and because of that, I tend to stay away from the comments section.
• What aspects of a blog would enhance student learning and why?
I think the interactive quality of a blog could enhance student learning. It would allow a student to receive feedback from his/her peers on a writing piece, an idea, or a creation. I think it’s also a great way for students to showcase their work in different mediums: text, graphic, video, etc. Plus, the low-risk system of it being informal, it’s as though a student can use a blog just like they would use a journal or portfolio of work
Creating a Podcast
I honestly didn't think that creating a podcast would be as easy as it was. I used ipadio.com and recorded a podcast by calling in with my cellphone! Really, the most difficult part of this whole thing was writing the script that I was going to read. The nerve racking part of it was that if I messed up at any point, there was no way to go back and edit a specific part of my podcast. I would have to start over from scratch. I was also a little nervous that the whole recording and publishing portion of this podcast was completely out of my hands. I literally recording a message on what could be equated to an answering machine somewhere and a company is doing the work for me. For a control freak teacher, this is a little difficult to handle and understand, but I am doing my best. Overall, I think it was a good experience, and I can understand why some teachers are creating podcasts for their classrooms, especially to describe in detail a topic for students or even substitute teachers. I can definitely see myself doing this process again in the future.
My podcast RSS feed
Reflection of RSS Feeds
I think that being able to follow, or aggregate, large sums of information through the use of RSS feeds in incredibly useful for the average person, but it is also very useful for a teacher. We are constantly trying to stay up to date on current events, new trends in education, new trends in technology, and using RSS is one way to simply stay on top of the onslaught of information.
Personally, I have never used one of these before, but I have my blogs and websites that I visit regularly. I usually have them in the "bookmarks bar" at the top of my browser, and I slowly go through them one at a time about once a week. Using RSS, however, I would be able to quickly keep track of what was new on each of them, and even if I wanted to check out that information.
As I was reading and learning about this, I really thought that I would be able to use it in my English and especially Creative Writing classes. I usually have students create assignments on Google Classroom, which is very nice for me to have everything in one place, but to create more of an "online journal," students would be able to each make their own blogs. They could use these blogs to post original work, reflections, reactions, ideas, etc. I could subscribe to each of theirs and they would be able to subscribe to their classmates blogs as well through the use of RSS.
I could use RSS in the opposite way as well. I could create a classroom website, and students could subscribe to it, and hopefully other teacher' websites, to stay up to date on what's going on in the classroom. They could also subscribe to calendars (possibly Google Calendar?) for the class, and I could keep lesson plans up to date there for students and parents to see. I'm sure there are many other uses that come with RSS that I've yet to find. Hopefully I will get the chance to utilize this in my classroom!
Every year, I have my 10th grade students write a research paper. I have taken it for granted until very recently that they would be able to find reliable sources and tell the difference between what is reliable and what isn't. In fact, it's becoming increasingly obvious to me that being able to distinguish between reliable and biased or unreliable is getting harder each year. I think having an entire lesson (or mini unit) on evaluating information is critical to our students now. In fact, it's become such an important topic that it is one of our standards here in Virginia, as I'm sure it is elsewhere. In my critical evaluation survey, I simply asked teachers if they taught how to evaluate information before they assigned a research project. If I were asked that question, I would have to answer no, not yet. But I wanted to see how many people had caught on to the fact that we are working with students who can maneuver through the Internet well, but might not be able to judge it well. Only about 40% of the people who responded said the DID teach critical evaluation to their students, which, honestly, is higher than I thought it would be.
I think teaching students critical evaluation, along with creative commons licensing and proper citation techniques is very important when teaching them how to research and write. Not only does it prepare them for the next step (either college or job), but it also teaches them that information or work that is not ours should not be packaged as such. It really refers back to the idea of plagiarism. We teach them not to plagiarize or to copy from other students because that's bad, but we very rarely show them how to cite what's not theirs properly, or to give them avenues of "free to use". In my opinion, teaching all of this information simultaneously, as well as teaching MLA or APA would work well. These are skills that our students need to practice, so teaching them multiple times throughout their education career is also very important.
Here is my Critical Evaluation Slideshow that I would show to my students.
Here is the link to my first padlet with some great pictures of summery joys!
Adobe Spark Video
Here is my reflection on creating online presentations this week. I think that Adobe Spark is more useful for students than Padlet, but overall, both are readily accessible in the classroom. Reflection Link
Google Album Timeline
I honestly sat here for quite some time trying to figure out how I would use a Google Album in class, especially if I were to create a timeline of some sort, and I honestly don't have any inkling that I would want to. I found the entire process very involved--first to find the photos, somehow save them (I actually had to save them to my computer and THEN save them to Google Photos), organize them into an album, and then try to move text boxes around them. All of this seemed like a lot more work than it needed to be. I really believe that there are programs out there that would be much better suited for the classroom, even dealing with pictures. We have used software that creates infographics. Even using Google Slides would have been easier for this project. So, if I'm being completely honest, I don't believe that I will ever use Albums and Google photos in my classroom. Here is my timeline.
Here is the link to my blog post about how I would utilize inforgraphics in my own classroom: Link
I took on the role of a parent as I viewed and reviewed the two videos that we were to watch. Both videos took on very different ways to communicate ideas. As a parent, I would probably be wary of anything that had to do with my child, but I can understand and appreciate these ideas. Here is the link to my blog post with my reviews.
PSA Project #2
Taking on the role of a parent, this PSA is to promote the use of technology in schools. Click here to see my PSA.