Posted in ECI 834

Yay or Nay to LMS?

Throughout last weeks class, I felt quite ‘Out of the Loop’ when learning about the different CMS (Content Management System), LMS (Learning Management System) & VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) platforms. Usually, when I feel overwhelmed during class, I hear my inner voice saying;

“You will figure this out, just give it time and this is just how you learn”                                                           Photo Credit

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It usually works for me and I simply forge ahead.  Reading some of the blogs always helps because I find that I’m not the only one. I have some experience with Google Classroom and I’ve used Blackboard for Alec and Katia‘s EC&I 832 class.  I’ve heard of MoodleEdmodo, and Canvas but have never heard of BrightSpace or Schoology.

No worries because I have started using Google Classroom this year and my students are currently enjoying their Google Slides projects in Science. Luckily, my group was interested in using Google Classroom as well.

After reading a few blogs, I appreciated that others felt the same. Jayme and Natalie expressed their unfamiliarity with the many LMS platforms available. As of last Tuesday, I was literally figuring out the acronyms that night. I was even googling them to help answer a question in the feed.

So, I am not surprised that this is just something else that is unfamiliar to add to my knowledge of educational technology. I know that I am not alone and will continue to allow myself time to learn.

I agree with Rochelle when she began her blog by saying;

how about we first realize that most educators in Saskatchewan aren’t even aware of what an LMS is! Heck, most of Saskatchewan’s educators are still “digital visitors.”

I think about this fact almost every Tuesday evening when I am introduced to another aspect of how to use technology as a tool for student learning.

There are still many 1.0 Educators (who dabble in 2.0) who do their best and provide learning opportunities within their comfort zone. Working in an elementary school, I see the apprehension and feelings of anxiety when  “edtech” tools are unknown and misunderstood. So, planning Google Classroom and our upcoming project provides mixed emotions of anticipation, excitement, anxiety, with a dab of stress. Do I have a clear understanding of what LMS looks like for students? Not 100%, but I see engagement everyday during blogging, Mathletics, RazKids, researching, and assignments done through Google Classroom. I also see excitement as students rush to get a chromebook. It is the only time, all students “get started right away,” without hesitation.

I love that when my students do have the opportunity to use technology in the classroom, they are engaged and focused.

On the flip side, after reading Audrey Watters blog, Beyond the LMS, I certainly had mixed feelings. Each week I hear about all of the positive learning and excitement that occurs in our classrooms. So, reading Audrey Watters blog post put everything back into perspective. I found her blog post to be very powerful and insightful. It is important to be reminded that we need to think about why we choose a particular ‘edtech’ tool. I appreciate that I’m reminded to ask myself these questions. Does it enhance student learning? Does it provide individualized, blended, and/or interactive learning. Am I replacing an ‘edtech’ tool with an Education 1.0 and thinking that I am enhancing learning just because my students are using a computer? I learned to be cautiously aware of the next technology tool that everyone is talking about.

As far as choosing a platform for our blended/online learning group assignment, my group chose Google Classroom right away. I feel confident that I can answer “yes” to my questions and am happy with our choice. We have a variety of experiences using this platform, ranging from no experience to experienced. I am looking forward to creating our online blended course on Genius Hour. It will be a project that I will use with my classroom for at least the next few years (until the next big movement of “edtech” is created). I have no doubt that the members of my group, Adam, Danielle, LorraineKyle and Jorie will find Google Classroom to be a great fit!

Thank you for reading!

Please click on the title to leave a comment!

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Posted in ECI 834

Genius Hour

For the Online/Blended Course Prototype Project, I have joined a group who will be developing a course on Genius Hour. Kyle and Jorie sent out a message on google community looking for interest.  As a result, the group now consists of Adam, Danielle, Lorraine, and myself for a total of 6 members.

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What is Genius Hour?

As many of you may already know, Google allows it’s engineers to spend 20% of their time to work on a project of their choice. Simply put, when people are given the opportunity to work on something of personal interest, productivity goes up. For google, 50% of their projects have been created in this 1 hour creative time period! genius-hour-post-one_origThese same principles apply in the classroom! The teacher provides a set amount of time for students to work on a ‘passion project.

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  1. Students choose a project and receive approval by their teacher.
  2. Research their project (usually for several weeks).
  3. Present and share what they have learned.

Currently, there are many educators leading the way with passion projects in their classes, but much of their inspiration came from the book The Passion-Driven Classroom: A Framework for Teaching & Learning by Angela Maiers and Amy Sandoval. A.J. Juliani also wrote a recent book about Genius Hour and 20% Time   in education. It is no surprise that many teachers and students are raving about Genius Hour.  A great quote found in the Genius Hour website is;

 A goal of every teach should be to create lifelong learners.  Genius hour projects are a huge step towards that goal.

I am looking forward to designing ways to introduce Genius Hour to my students and to share through our group’s project.  I have some great ideas found in the Genius Hour website that I plan to implement but am also looking for any suggestions from anyone who has taught Genius Hour before.

Do you have any ideas that worked well in your classroom when you introduced/facilitated Genius Hour?

Are there any design practices that worked really well in your classroom and/or suggestions of what NOT to do?

I have facilitated Genius Hour in my classroom once before and it went very well so I am now looking for new ideas or suggestions to really engage and hook the students.

Fortunately, I am glad to see that the introduction video suggested by the website is the same video we (team teachers) used in my classroom 2 years ago.

Posted in ECI 834

Class Number 4, Here We Go…

My name is Jennifer Huber and I am working on my fourth class with Alec and Katia. This will be my 9th class towards my degree and I plan to take a spring class and finish my master’s degree before the summer! I have learned more than I ever would have imagined from our fearless leaders; as well as each and every person taking these courses. Ultimately, after all the learning, uh huh moments, wows, disbelief, achievements, “ooh, I’m going to try that in my class,” etc., I realize there is still so much more to learn out there in the World Wide Web!

I have been an educator for 24 years (9 years as an Educational Assistant in PreK) and  have taught Grade 4 (or 4/5 split) for the past 7 years. I have definitely always loved this age group!

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       This will be my 3rd year team teaching at Dr. Hanna School and it has been going well! My team teaching partner Lisa and I work very well together. We have similar ideologies and pedagogies in our daily practices, have fun together, and are able to balance our strengths and weaknesses within the subjects we teach. Team teaching allows us to have more time with smaller groups and/or to work with students one on one. We continue to add technology in our teaching whenever we can (depending on computer availability) and are both open to trying something different in hopes that it provides more support for our students.

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          I am lucky to have a team teaching partner who supports me throughout my process of learning. When I am excited about something I learned in an EC&I technology course and would like to try it with our students, she always encourages me to “Go for it!”

Check out our classroom blog if you have a few minutes!

  • My goals for EC&I 834 will be to comment on more blogs each week. I find that I have comments that I’m thinking about while reading and then fail to type them at the end due to lack of time or feeling exhausted.
  • I plan to continue my activity on twitter, share more posts and develop more of a network.
  • I definitely plan on being more relaxed and hope to feel more at ease this semester. I intend to be more present in my learning and positive about the ups and downs of what is thrown at me in everyday life. A lot has been thrown my way in 2016 so I am looking forward to a smoother 2017!

Posted in ECI 833, Summary of Learning

Summary of Learning 2016

Another semester has quickly gone by. This fall and past semester started out a bit slow at first. I was feeling overwhelmed with the start of school and this class. I was counting down the weeks but in the back of my mind remembering what my grandmother used to say, “Never wish for time to pass quickly! Enjoy every day because you never know how much time you have.”

This is very true!

For other Summary of Learning vidoes, I used Videoscribe and Animoto to post videos on my blogs. After watching Tyson’s summary of learning video, I decided to try SparkAdobe. It turned out to be very user friendly and I only had a few glitches to deal with. Much better than the amount of time I initially spent on Videoscribe!

Thank you to Alec and everyone in EC&I 833! Once again, I learned a ton!

I love the learning but I don’t always love the amount of time it takes me to write/create/edit/formulate thoughts/research my blog! At least, once it is said and done, I am happy with the end result.

See you on Tuesday for pizza night and sharing of our learning!

Here is the link to my Summary of Learning Video!

https://spark.adobe.com/video/MkQwkyuUUACwA/embed

 

Posted in ECI 833

AR & VR Plugged In!

My experience using or teaching with Augmented or Virtual Reality is pretty much nil! I am familiar with games like Minecraft and I’ve heard a lot about Pokeman Go (not just from Alec). I have also watched numerous examples of virtual and augmented reality on TV shows and in movies. Yet, I really haven’t given it a second thought, other than thinking it was “Cool!” In this day and age, I am introduced to new technological innovations almost on an everyday basis. It’s almost embarrassing to think that I am missing out on so many opportunities to explore such an engaging and meaningful way of learning.

After Logan and Bill’s presentation on Tuesday, my level of interest and intrigue continued to swirl around in my head. According to Hatuna Matata’s article, Augmented Reality is in the lead. Who knew there WAS a lead? The difference between the two is described as;

With AR, users continue to be in touch with the real world while interacting with virtual objects around them. With VR, the user is isolated from the real world while immersed in a world that is completely fabricated.

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Augmented VS Virtual Reality

It is not surprising that Augmented Reality is in the lead due to the fact that users are “in touch” with the real world. Meron Geretz‘ viewpoint about being in touch with the real world really does make sense. Pokeman Go is a great example of a game that provides real life interaction with friends and family while progressing through the game. It seemed unreal when I first heard about it, but Meron Geretz’ Ted Talk video helped me to realize the value in it. Building interaction rather than isolation seems like the logical choice to me.

Edutopia’s article; Augmented Reality Brings New Dimensions to Learning describes it as redefining the learning space. The article states that;

 

 

Most people who interact with AR for the first time have a mind-blowing experience but fail to consider classroom applications. In our elementary school classrooms, we use AR to create active learning experiences hitherto inconceivable.

It is surprising that people who interact with AR ‘fail to consider classroom applications’ and/or how augmented reality can ‘redefine the learning space.’ I am guilty of not considering it myself. Most of my day is so consumed with the hustle and bustle of a hectic school day that I do not often think about what else I could be doing until I am introduced (via EC&I 833) or stumble upon these opportunities by chance.

In the YouTube video, Teaching with Aurasma, it is easy to see how a classroom space does become redefined. A bulletin board is typically filled with student work or colourful art work, rather than covered with 8 1/2 x 11″ white paper with black font. It is hard to imagine our bulletin boards and classroom spaces becoming part of an augmented reality where black font on white paper comes to life in video and a fourth dimension. Mind blowing hardly describes the experiences and mindful learning that has started taking place in our classrooms.

I remember hearing about Aurasma at one of my classes during the Summer Institute in 2015. I downloaded the app and then basically forgot all about it. I had the app on my phone for over a year and had never used it. I’m not exactly sure why I didn’t just google what it was and actually start using it. One possibility is that I was taking 2 classes in 3 weeks!

I am definitely intrigued with Aurasma and am looking forward to using it in my classroom. I already have plans to use it for book reviews. From there, the options seem to be endless! Bill and Logan not only piqued my interest but Tyson, Allison, and Luke (just to name a few) seem to be intrigued as well.

The question is; Where do I go from here? Aurasma will be a great starting point and from there I would love to learn more about the 4D Classroom and get my hands on Google cardboard.

This video seems to be a great place to start. The problem is, there are 1000s more just like it! I just remind myself to take it one step at a time and continue to plug into life long learning.

Posted in ECI 833

Never Ending Benefits of Assistive Technology

My experiences with using Assistive Technology has predominately been through the use of a sound system for students with hearing impairments. I found that many of my students benefitted from having a sound system for the obvious fact that the students can hear better, therefore be able to understand the instructions and lessons more effectively.  As well, it would save myself from having to speak loudly to ensure everyone can hear. The article; Using Hearing Assistive Technologies in the Classroom: Why, When and How?, explains that;

Classroom audio distribution systems (CADS) or sound field system makes it easier for all students in the classroom to hear over the noise coming from classmates, squeaky chairs, and loud ventilation systems. Additionally, teachers experience benefits in the form of reduced vocal strain and a decrease in need for repetitions.

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Fortunately, my students and I have benefited from having the CADS system in our classroom. It is an excellent tool!

A couple of years ago, one of my students, who was visually impaired, required assistive technologies. She had access to many supports through PSVI; Program for Students With Visual Impairments. The goal of the program is that;

all students with visual impairments acquire skills, knowledge and confidence needed to learn on par with their peers.  This requires specialized instruction in the areas of the Expanded Core Curriculum as well as classroom instruction to meet learning outcomes for Saskatchewan Curricula.

Based on having these tools for my student over a one year time period, I found that there were certainly many positive supports for students through this program. My grade 4 student was provided with a specialized desk. One side of the desk would tilt up slightly, so that she could see her work better and she would also use a slant board. slantboard

She was provided with Social, Science, and Math textbooks reprinted in large print. Notebooks were provided for her with darker lines, larger spacing, special fonts, etc. This particular student was also provided with a desk that had a special magnifier screen that would enlarge any handouts or books that she was unable to see written in 12-14 font size. Basically, I was provided with the necessary tools to support my student’s success. I was thankful and appreciative of the PSVI program and yet, at the same time, somewhat overwhelmed. It was a bit of a struggle figuring out how the tools worked and how I could be a support for my student, but it worked out in the end.

magnifier                                                                   Link

As Krista mentioned in her blog post, some students feel a negative stigma when they are using a tool that is for their benefit, but yet, are not enthusiastic about using it due to the need to fit in and be like everyone else. This was certainly the situation for my student. She was very social and therefore, loved visiting and spending time with her friends. She was not interested in going over to the magnifier desk or pulling out her larger textbook or notebook with large print.

I can probably count on 2 hands the number of times I noticed her using the magnifier desk. The question I often asked myself is; Do I insist she use the desk, knowing it is a helpful tool or just gently remind her that it is available for her? Will I be embarrassing her in front of her friends?

Fortunately, this particular student has moved to Arcola School where they have the PSVI program. She can fit in with visually impaired students just like herself. Hopefully her comfort level will improve and she will become more willing to use the many helpful tools that are provided for her.

It is clear from my personal experiences, the Tedtalk video, the handouts, and the video below, that assistive technologies are essential for many people. It is clear that there are an increasing number of opportunities for all learners to learn.

Since we don’t all learn the same, we shouldn’t be expected to learn using the same tools!

 

Posted in ECI 833

An Assessment Tool for the Rapper in You

This week my group, Tyson, Natalie, Nicole, and myself (@MissHuber6) presented on Assessment Technologies. As per usual, my group and I discovered an overabundance of technology tools that are currently available. Our group shared lists of the top Assessment Tools; 35 Formative Assessment tools,  Top Tech Tools for Formative Assessment, and Fantastic Comprehensive List of Assessment Tools for Teachers, which lists 40 assessment tools. Through Google Forms, Nicole created a questionnaire that asked what was the favourite assessment tools being utilized among our classmates in EC&I 833.

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Not surprisingly, many teachers in EC&I 833 are already using many of the tools that were found in the articles shared on our Weekly Schedule document. As well, many of these tools were new, already being used as an assessment tool, or in many cases, had never been heard of before (myself included). I continually appreciate having the opportunity to collaborate and learn from one another during class and through sharing of our weekly blogs. I’ve enjoyed reading many blogs this week and, as a result, am feeling excited about trying some of the tools that have been enthusiastically shared.

As per usual, as a Grade 4 teacher in a school with limited access to Chrome books and students with limited access to (BYOD) their own devices, I can say that I have not experienced using many of these tools in my classroom. What I did come to realize is that, I had better get on it! In the process, I continuously ask myself many questions;

  • Am I not implementing enough Formative assessments?
  • Are my current assessment tools enough?
  • Am I engaging my students enough each day?
  • Am I implementing “Show what you know,” as Erin shared, throughout my planning (daily lesson plans) and assessment choices?

Throughout this process I realize, once again, to give my favourites a try, one step at a time!

As a result, my ideologies and teaching philosophies are shifting and I’m seeing my role as a teacher through a slightly different lens. When I think about my students blogging, I am asking myself if I am actually using it as an assessment tool or simply because it includes technology and the students enjoy it.

Shift #1 -switch my class to Blogger instead of Kidblog. After a discussion with Natalie, Kyle, Luke, and Ashley on Google Community a couple weeks ago, I was convinced that Blogger is a better fit for my students. It has more functions, will hopefully become compatible with GAFE, and will be more user friendly.

Shift #2– Transition my mindset to being more open to technology tools that require (BYOD). I haven’t asked my students to bring their own devices before so I really don’t know what it will be like until I give it a shot. I have taken away quite a few devices to know that many of my students do have them.

This week’s blog posts, as well as Nicole’s Google Form’s findings, show that Kahoot is a favourite. kahoot1 I have participated with Kahoot a number of times and I see the draw and excitement of Kahoot even though I have never won! I appreciate reading about the enthusiasm that Heidi’s, Krista’s, and Roxanne’s student’s have when participating with Kahoot.

As an adult, I welcome having a game implemented during a meeting or a presentation. It is hard for adults to stay focused on their learning, so providing students an opportunity for a kind of brain break activity, sounds like a great idea to me!

Kahoot reminds me of when the Jeopardy game (minus BYOD) was a popular tool for assessment not so long ago. jeopardyboardIt now appears that FlipQuiz is a newer assessment tool that provides educators with a quick way to create your own gameshow-style boards for test reviews in the classroom. flipquizTraditionally, these are created tediously, using poster board, chalkboards, PowerPoint™ or dry-erase markers on overhead slides.

Another form of assessment I find intriguing is Seesaw. Due to the incredible enthusiasm of Erin and Nicole, I feel compelled to check it out. They have both been extremely passionate, descriptive, helpful, and positive about their students experiences with sharing their learning through Seesaw.

Shift #3; give some a try! I am looking forward to trying Socrative,  Plickers and Google Forms. I appreciated Andrew’s vlog/blog post for the simple fact that he touched on many of the concerns I have with Kahoot and Socrative. I think Plickers would work well for students who may not always have a device to bring to school, it provides a truer example of their progress, and it can decrease the competitive nature of the game. I see a lot of enthusiasm towards Plickers and am really looking forward to trying it in my classroom. I like to mix things up in my classroom as well, so implementing some of these assessment tools will definitely intrigue and grab the interest of my students. We will see which tools work the best!

The assessment tool that I have used regularly this year is Flocabulary. Check out my screencast for more information!

Some of the negatives of Flocabulary is that it is not free. There is a 1 week free trial available to see if you’re interested. One option is to share the cost with your school or other teachers!