Posted in ECI 834, Summary of Learning

Summary of Learning

Completing a summary of learning is never a simple task. I suppose that is why it’s called a s-u-m-m-a-r-y. Having to summarize a semester of learning is never easy.

One comment that stands out in my mind is Andres saying, “Make sure you start planning WEEKS ahead!” Does it count if I have been thinking about it for weeks?

I have used VideoScribe and Adobe Sparke for previous Summary of Learning’s. I found that Adobe Sparke was more user friendly than VideoScribe.

This semester I enjoyed developing my skills with iMovie. My brother creates great iMovies through the app and I have always loved them. One of my previous blog posts, Finally Tried iMovie outlines my experience.

To create this video, I used the iMovie app on my iPad. If you haven’t used iMovie before, you are given options to create a trailer (basically it is exactly like an Movie Trailer) or a Movie. I created an iMovie trailer and then used the trailer in the Movie. I included photos, short video clips, word clouds and screen-casts using Screencast-O-Matic. I downloaded all videos to YouTube and added a sound affect or two. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad it is done!

Thank you to Alec and Katia for planning and creating an online space conducive to learning, communicating with our peers, and providing us with, what seems like every single educational tool available to consider when planning our Online/blended Course Prototype. I think the results of our prototypes speak to the amount of work you both put into this course.

Thank you to everyone in EC&I 834! I am always inspired and motivated to try just a little bit harder because of all of you!

I hope you enjoy my Summary of Learning video!

Posted in ECI 834, Final Project

Course Prototype Renewed

Photo Credit: beetechsolution Flickr via Compfight cc

It was great to hear all of the positive feedback about our course prototype on Genius Hour. Many comments were supportive and enthusiastic adding that this is the type of project that will encourage life long learners. I agree and hope that other teachers choose to utilize this amazing opportunity to have student/teacher links right at your disposal.

Photo Credit: engribk4real Flickr via Compfight cc

One of the concerns about our project was the assignments and course information might be difficult for grade 3 students to understand. Throughout planning of this project, I thought that some of the modules may be geared towards a higher grade but I knew that for my grade 4’s, I would do one of two things.

  1. Use the modules that best fit my students.
  2. Use all of the modules but provide further instruction, a screen-cast, video, etc. where need be.

As a result, there was enough concern that prompted one of our group members to suggest that we change the grade level to 5-8 rather than 3-8, keeping in mind that for younger students some adaptations may be needed. Great idea!

As Danielle stated, our group chose blogging as the “thread” that ties our modules/project together. As a group we agreed that blogging would be a consistent way for the students to process, reflect, and explain their learning as they work their way through the project.

I was certainly on board for blogging because I have blogged with my students for 3 years now.  I consistently see growth, their confidence increase and engagement during blogging. In our discussions, we chose specifically not to provide a specific blogging domain (kidblog, wordpress, blogger, etc) because every teacher might not want to set up their blogs the same way. One thing we missed was including a “How to set up your blog?” section of our prototype just in case.

As a result, Danielle decided to add a short “How to” video for setting up a wordpress blog. Many teachers also enjoy Kidblog, TheEdublogs and I have recently been using Blogger. I switched to blogger this year and the students and I are enjoying it. Especially because of the fact it is free!

As a result, it was an important suggestion to introduce blogging to students who do not have any experience with it.

Lastly, we received feedback about our considerations for common concerns. Now, the prototype includes;

  • technology concerns
  • EAL students
  • cultural concerns
  • attendance concerns or students who are out of town
  • teacher/student communication  

Photo Credit: ONE/MILLION Flickr via Compfight cc

Overall, we had really positive feedback about the organization of the prototype and how user friendly it was. The modules were linked together well and flowed from one to the next. Everyone seemed to like the variety of videos and assessment tools that each group member chose for their modules.

 Thank you so much for the hard work of our Genius Hour group; Kyle , JorieAdam, Danielle, and  Lorraine. Some members of the group really stepped up and went over and above the call of duty!

For myself, I received great feedback on the introduction video for the module that I was tasked with. One comment was specific to the music I added to the video. In fact, I was thinking the same thing. One of my students had added the same music to his iMovie and it seemed to grab the students attention. So, I purposely kept that in mind because I know how easily a student’s focus can be lost, even while watching a stimulating and fun video!

Since completing the Genius Hour Introduction video, I also used iMovie for my Summary of Learning. I worked on smoother transitions and being more cognizant of not cutting out words here and there.

Now that the improvements have been made, it will be even better than before. I hope that it will be frequently utilized by students and teachers!

Check our protype here;

  • go to
  • click on the + sign to join
  • type in the code ku6m8y

Thank you for reading! Please comment by clicking on the title at the top!

Posted in ECI 834

Winding Down our Course Prototypes

Learning about blended and online learning has been something very new to me. I find that writing a blog post about new concepts is challenging and often time, overwhelming.

Photo Credit: AuthenticAng11 Flickr via Compfight cc

For myself, I have only experienced online classes with Alec and Katia’s EC&I courses. Other than that, one of my master’s classes used UR Courses as a message board and for sharing content.

This semester, I have continued to learn something new every week and realized that the saying “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know, ” continues to be very true!

As EC&I 834 winds down, the finishing touches have been added to our course prototypes, changes have been made and modules have been added.

For myself, I switched what I had originally planned to do. Needless to say, I felt a tad bit panicky! For my course module, I was in charge of planning the introduction to Genius Hour. I planned to create a slideshow on Google Slides and then I would create a screencast. I soon realized that this would not require 5-15 minutes of content AND the introduction is supposed to HOOK the learner.

Luckily, my class had been working on creating an iMovie in Language Arts and I had made an iMovie trailer once before, so I felt confident enough to give it a try.  It went very well and I was able to use many of my own photos in the video. I didn’t want to have to worry about having to credit all the photos, so this plan worked out splendidly!

Take a look!

If you are interested in trying Genius Hour in your classroom, you will want to check out our Course Prototype. You will find modules that also cover, Digital Citizenship, coming up with “Your Driving Question,” the importance of “Quality Research,” “Presentation Tools,” and “Assessment.”

If you would like to leave a comment, please click on the title!

Posted in ECI 834

Online Open Education in Grade 4/5? Hmmm…

Like Jayme-Lee shared, I also do not have experiences with open online courses. So I will focus on how my grade level affects the choices that we (my team teaching partner Lisa and I) make as educators when considering the possibilities for open course environments. It is clear that there are many benefits, as well as challenges to open online forms. For myself, the unknown is hard to imagine in a grade 4/5 classroom.

Throughout discussions and chats read in class, I found it difficult to connect with a lot of open online forms because they are unfamiliar to me. Throughout my own education, I have experienced face to face classes at the University of Regina for every one of my undergrad classes AND 5 grad classes. Due to my lack of experience,  I feel a bit out of the loop after reading the chat messages and hearing about all of the widespread experiences of everyone in ECI834. There seems to be many class members who have participated in an open online course and/or discussion board.

I enjoyed reading Andres’ post about his experiences and suggestions for open communication boards. He shares a personal story and includes the benefits of this form, as well as the challenges of having it in a classroom. One challenge being that a moderator/facilitator would have to be reading the comments regularly. How would that be managed?

I often don’t even comment on open online social media sites when a topic is controversial because I’m not comfortable with the unknown of who might be out there. The few times I have commented, I end up thinking, “Why did I even bother?” The comments that some people write and feel are acceptable as well as the trolling occurring online is scary, to say the least. Do I want to put myself out there? According to one of Alec’s tweets, “How Complacent Are You?” I am complacent! Apparently, I need to step up my game!

Photo Credit: Gatto Mimmo Flickr via Compfight cc

As far as in my classroom, Lisa and I have been building a blended learning environment as we feel comfortable tackling new tools, always keeping in mind the size of our our classroom and the number of devices available.  Of course, this is a challenge because we have limited access to computers and 47 students. So far, we are managing it as best as we can!

In addition to blogging, online reading sites and educational apps, we introduced Google Apps this year. It was a learning curve for sure, but I really think it has been valuable for the students. They love being in control of their own learning and race to the computer cart (figuratively, of course). They walk quietly to the computer cart and get started right away. Ha Ha!

The students are now learning how to navigate in google docs, google classroom, gmail, and google slides. Those who learn quicker or have experience, are happy to help out other classmates so they don’t fall behind. Parents have the opportunity to see their child’s progress at home (if there is a device and/or internet). Considering that nearly all grade 4’s are new to Google Apps at Dr. Hanna School they are doing very well!

I don’t really use online open forms because of my grade level but I’m always willing to have an open mind. I found an edutopia article about Online Educational Resources with numerous ideas and options for students. Something I will now have an open mind about for next year and the remainder of this school year. Here is “Why Open Education Matters.”

One change I would like to make next year at our first parent/teacher/student conference is to take a few minutes to share each child’s blog address information right away. Seeing their child’s blog and progress first hand will help to ‘bring them on board’ to online learning even more. This year, parents were sent home a note as well as, inviting them to Class Dojo. Most parents are loving class dojo because communication is so much easier. They also can see work posted directly to their child’s portfolio page, similar to Seesaw. But with blogging, I have some changes I would like to make to encourage participation by family members as well as students in the classroom. Most students really enjoy writing in their blogs and love to receive comments from their peers, family members and teachers.

I’m willing to continue learning more about open online learning opportunities. For now, I will keep building our Grade 4/5 blended learning environment and look forward to trying more and more new tools along the way.

Would you have your grade 4 or 5 students share their blogs on an open online platform?

Please feel free to comment by clicking on the title!

Posted in ECI 834

Communicating Within Genius Hour


Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Communicating and interacting with others will be a common practice for students and teachers during Genius Hour. Learning opportunities such as this provide numerous opportunities for face to face communication, engagement, and interaction with not only peers and teachers, but technology tools as well.

As Natalie indicated in her blog, she feels confident in the  relationships she builds with her students. This is very true for me as well.  My favourite moments as a teacher are during a small group activity or one-on one interactions.  Time and again they occur in the classroom, the hallway or even sitting on the bus on our way to Government House or Agribition. Those are the moments when the students are excited and free from the pressures of completing daily work and assignments in the classroom setting. These occasions provide me with opportunities to get to know each student and build relationships.

Photo Credit: Pioneer Library System Flickr via Compfight cc

Projects like Genius hour provide time for students to interact and communicate with their peers and teachers. Relationships, trust and learning ultimately get stronger, kids are excited to learn, they now have more opportunities to share with their peers and teachers and they are often eager to engage in their learning. Encouraging and providing the opportunity to also engage with technology tools will certainly bring Genius Hour projects to a greater level of learning. That is one of the many benefits of blended and online learning.

Communication tools such as a Discussion Board is something new to me. As the Edutopia article explains and as Kyle shares, there are many benefits of discussion boards for student learning. I found this article to be full of really good ideas and links to websites. When will I have more time to check some of them out?

At the same time, feeling uneasy and anxious about implementing something new often stands in the way. Speaking from personal experience, ensuring that detailed instructions are given and explained certainly helps with ensuring new pedagogy and learning runs more smoothly. Here is a brief explanation of guidelines for proper etiquette when using a discussion board.

My planning of daily activities has developed and grown over the years to include more student engagement rather than teacher led lectures and Euro-centric views;

“Euro-centrism is the practice of viewing the world from a European perspective and with an implied belief, either consciously or subconsciously, in the preeminence of European culture.”

Stepping away from this model of teaching and taking the necessary risks at developing a more blended learning style has shown several positive benefits. I have noticed changes in students attitudes towards certain subjects, enthusiasm towards learning something new, levels of anxiety have decreased, increased engagement in activities, and improvements in academics. As a result, I feel much more at ease:)

For our course prototype, our group will be using Google Classroom for our LMS so I plan to have the students complete Google Forms to collect feedback on student’s understanding of Genius Hour. After this week’s topic on Discussion Boards, we also discussed how we can use it withing Google Classroom. Here is an article with instructions on how to include discussions within Google Classroom and a ‘How to’ video.

In addition, we will be including a blogging and commenting component throughout our course to ensure consistency within the assignments. Blogging will provide a platform for student reflection, sharing and collaboration. It will also provide a forum for teachers to be able to give valuable feedback on the student’s progress and offer comments or advice to further guide the student in their learning.

I am looking forward to beginning this project with my class for the second time. If anybody would like to try Genius Hour in their classroom, we hope our Course Prototype will be helpful for your classroom within a wide range of grade levels. What are your experiences with Genius Hour? Do you have any experiences to share?

If you would like to comment, please click on the title and thank you for reading!

Posted in ECI 834

3 Myths About BYOD

When I consider how my classroom is set up, I am pleased with the inclusion of blended learning for my students. I observe quite a difference in the amount of engagement I see. Students working on a Google Classroom project or writing in their blog looks quite different than whole class assignments or lectures where students sit in their desks and take in information. The students are engaged, interested and eager to learn when that iPad or Chrome book is in their hands. But, as Natalie shared in her post, there are So Many Questions to consider!


 In Kyle’s blog, he took a look at the CONS of blended learning, as well as possible solutions. There are many questions to think about with varying degrees of pros and cons to consider. One problem is access to computers due to their high cost and a possible solutions is BYOD. If students bring their own device, there are more teaching/learning opportunities now available.

I love the idea of having more options for implementing technology tools for student learning. I often hesitate because BYOD is is a new teaching approach for myself. I wonder how my students can handle even the idea of being allowed to bring their device, how do I introduce the idea to my class, how will they adjust to the rules and expectations of bringing their own device, who won’t have a device to bring, will I have devices available for these students, etc.

To start, watching this video was very helpful and encouraging for me!


Since I am interested in having my students bring their own device (BYOD) to school, I want to share an article; Using BYOD In Schools: Advantages And Disadvantages that I thought answered a lot of the questions often asked. The beginning quote really resonated with me!

Do you remember how classrooms used to be during your school days? The blackboard, the whiteboard, chalks being used by teachers to impart the lesson; you being given paper copies or writing down notes with your pen. However, copies, chalks, and blackboards are fast becoming more and more irrelevant every day that passes by, thanks to the advance in technology. More and more schools and other educational institutions are using technology at a brisk pace; and to make technology an integral part of the classroom, they are implementing the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy.

Photo Credit: anitakhart Flickr via Compfight cc

The first question that educators often have; Is BYOD Really Helpful?                                                                      

1. Offers Comfort Of Using A Known Device.

-when students bring their own device, they bring something familiar with them.

2. Leverages Students’ Love For Their Devices.

-students are learning through a device they ‘love!’

3. Advanced Technology Makes Learning Easier.

-new technology programs are best utilized when a student is comfortable using their own device.

Common Problems With BYOD; Distractions and Security

The 2 most common problems to think about are;

How do I reduce the distraction levels and Are the networks of the institutions properly secured?

A school in Georgia;

serving about 39,000 students in grades Pre-K through 12, gave BYOD a chance. They found that the use of personal devices in the classroom wasn’t a distraction for their students. On the contrary, they often became more engaged, motivated, and self-directed learners.

Despite the few disadvantages, the benefits that BYOD offers are driving its increasing popularity across the globe and it is expected to be a regular integration soon in many more educational institutions around the world. In fact, BYOD is being dubbed as the upcoming revolution that the world of education is expected to experience quite soon.

Finally, I wanted to share what the 3 Myths about BYOD are; 1. BYOD: Bring Your Own Distraction  2. BYOD is not safe 3. BYOD will deepen the digital divide.

To uncover the truth behind these 3 myths, follow this important link!

For myself, the article answered many of the questions I have and I feel more confident about implementing BYOD in my classroom. I hope it answered some of your questions too!

Have you had questions and concerns when considering BYOD in your classroom? What worked well/did not work well? What suggestions would you have for a grade 4/5 classroom?

Thank you for reading! If you would like to leave a comment or suggestion please click on the title of my blog.










Posted in ECI 834

My Learning Style Is….

My immediate response to this week’s blog post is that my preference for learning is through video. Don’t worry Nicole because you are not alone!

I have always loved movies, music and have had my fair share of favourite TV shows. As a learner, I zoom into videos and am able to remain focused without becoming distracted. Similarly, my students seem to respond the same way. More eyes and ears are focused on videos as opposed to listening to me attempt to teach and/or explain a new concept. The music, tone of voice, and graphics are a clear cut way of engaging focus with the intention of grabbing the attention of more learners. If I am not engaging enough, my students let me know!

Photo Credit: Manolo Frias Flickr via Compfight cc

I find that not only are videos more engaging, but the concept that I am intending to teach is often explained in a more entertaining and concise format. For myself, I have to be careful not to go off on a tangent or I may risk loosing the attention of more students.

Clearly I am not alone when it comes to watching and creating videos! It is hard to believe that there are so many tools available for learners and educators. Video making has literally exploded over the past few years. According to Tubular Insights,

  • By 2019, 80% of global Internet consumption will be video content.

  • It would take an individual over 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks every single month in 2019.


Photo Credit: Ania Mendrek Flickr via Compfight cc

I kind of have the opposite experience of Kara who initially felt that her learning preference is reading text. Like Kara, after reading a few blogs and from chapter 7 of Bates, I realized that text had more of an impact than I initially thought. I have learned through text and lectures for most of my life. All throughout elementary school and high school. Watching a video was rare and group work only happened sporadically.

I even remember taking 3 Sociology classes from the same Professor who’s style was ONLY lecture, note taking and textbook reading. He assigned a midterm, essay and a final exam for all 3 courses. Clearly, I was comfortable with his style of teaching even though I was aware that he did NOT show videos, plan for group work, projects or even encourage discussions. What I did like is that I knew what to expect from his assessment and expectations. As a result, each time I took his class my mark would go up!

I realize that the majority of my learning has been through print and listening to lessons/lectures. As I continued my education in the BEAD (Bachelor of Education After Degree) program, group work, discussions, and/or projects were, for the most part, a new style of learning for me. It is actually strange to realize this!

I certainly agree with Ashley and Nicole when referencing the fact that books and reading the written word has stood the test of time. The touch and smell of a book have feelings of nostalgia for most people, it allows us to unplug for awhile (rather than read from a screen) and it is comforting to sit down and read a book.

I started reading Nicholas Sparks‘ books well before they started coming out in the movie theatre. As Ashley stated, reading a book allows for deeper connections to be made compared to watching a movie at home or at the theatre.

When considering audio, the majority of my educational experience was listening to music in my free time and listening to my teacher during school time. As a young learner, audio tapes or listening to someone on the radio weren’t interesting to me.

Photo Credit: hsucherng Flickr via Compfight cc

Likely because I connect more to audio and visual. When listening to a teacher, I have the visual connection of the speaker’s facial expression, hand gestures, and the many possible visual aids; chalkboards/whiteboards, diagrams and posters just to name a few.

But wait a minute! I have to admit, when traveling a long distance to Ontario, I downloaded an audio book to my iPhone. I knew that during such a long drive I would need a break from listening to music. To my surprise, the audio book did the trick and I really enjoyed it. Hmmmm…….

Ultimately, I found it very interesting to read about the many different perspectives of audio, text, and video preferences. Kirsten’s viewpoint is basically the opposite of my learning preferences. It really goes to show the diversity of learning styles among us as educators and it is an important reminder that there are many different learning styles in our classroom. Hmmm! Teach to the needs of our students…..

What was your big take away?

Were you surprised that your initial learning style choice changed after the Bates’ chapters and/or reading blog posts?

Please feel free to leave a comment by clicking on the title!