Featured

My First Blog Post

Welcome!

“Tweet others the way you want to be tweeted.”

Germany Kent, You Are What You Tweet: Harness the Power of Twitter to Create a Happier, Healthier Life

Welcome to my blog! This is a new experience for me! I have a lot to learn. I am excited to share my journey of learning throughout my class. My first online class and I’m learning about the online world. I am excited and nervous as a lot of this class will challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone.

Summary of Learning-The Journey Has Come to an End

Well here is it, my very last assignment in my graduate studies. What a journey it has been! I am so thankful to have been able to end with this course. It has been fun to learn along side great classmates. I used WeVideo, Canva, and Screencastify to create my video. Enjoy!

Thank you for all your support!

Have an amazing rest of your summer!

Christina

Week 4- Assistive Technologies

Janeen, Reid, Darcy, and Daniel guided us through learning about assistive technologies. They gave the definition from Idea (2004) that assistive technology is, “Any item, piece of equipment or product system whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability.” I would not agree that it is just for kids that have a ‘disability’. Assistive technology can help boost a student that could be struggling to meet the standards of the curriculum.

Assistive technologies can be a huge success and promote inclusion in our classrooms. In my experience, I have been able to utilize beneficial assistive technology for students. Reflecting on the technology in my classroom, I believe it invites inclusion into our classrooms. Without assistive technology, many students would not be able to be included in ‘mainstream’ education. Schools today have a variety of learning needs. Technology gives students a voice and helps teachers to be able to adapt for all learning needs. Voice-to-text is a great tool for students who struggle to write or read. Janeen discussed the variety of tools used to assist in literacy. Clicker is a tool a few of my students use for their writing time. Google Read&Write has allowed many of my students see themselves as writers. Technology can give confidence to our students that learn in different ways. I have had students with visual impairments in my classroom. Each student has different needs and ways to learn. Some use Braillers to write and read, others use computers with a large, yellow keyboard, and others use a CCTV which is a device that allows students to magnify their books or work under a camera. The technology that we have to adapt for students with visual impairments is remarkable. Years ago, we would not be able to have students with visual impairments in a ‘mainstream classroom’ but today with the technology we have these kids can be successful learners with their peers. As Cranmer (2020) states, “It is essential that disabled children have access to the same opportunities to participate in society as their peers” (p.315). Inclusion is so important in our classrooms and assistive technology allows for this to be possible.

CCTV

It can cause difficulty if educators are not trained properly how to use the assistive technology. If teachers are handed a new tool they are not familiar with and have no time to explore or learn about it, it is not going to be helpful. Same thing goes with the students. If they are not trained how to use the technology as a ‘tool’ not a ‘toy’, it is not enhancing learning in the classroom. Many of my students that have assistive technology may not be using it effectively. I believe there needs to be further professional development so we can utilize the technology to be as beneficial to students as possible.

In order to receive assistive technology it is quite a process. I think there are many students that could profit from assistive technology that slip through the cracks. Students that ‘stick out’ as needing something to help them in learning and have support of parents pushing may receive assistive technology while a student that also needs it but may not be a busy kid or have behavior issues could easily fall behind. I often look around my classroom and know many students could use more support. There is a budget in education and sadly not all kids will receive what they need to be successful.

My classmates made a list of many important questions to ask when considering assistive technology.

Asking the key questions we have been discussing during the course is always important before implementing assistive technology.

  • What is made possible/impossible by this toolset? What are the effects (both positive and negative) on teaching and learning?
  • What types of students and teachers are privileged and disadvantaged by these technologies?
  • What makes a “good student” according to adopters of this technology?
  • What are the perceived, idealized, and actual impacts on education?

As I reflect on what I have used in my classroom and think of what else I could try out, I will keep these questions in my mind.

Thank you for reading!

Christina

Web 1.0 and 2.0- Week 3

“The web offers so many opportunities to people with disabilities that are unavailable through any other medium. It offers independence and freedom. However, if a web site is not created with web accessibility in mind, it may exclude a segment of the population that stands to gain the most from the internet.”

(Naik & Shivalingaiah, 2009, p.10)

Katherine, Arkin, Chris, and Rae did a fabulous job on Monday presenting Web 1.0, Web 2.0, and Web 3.0. The discussions and learning really had me reflecting on the changes in technology I have experienced over my schooling and teaching career. The video my classmates shared is full of memories and prompts to reflect on technology then verses now.

Prior to my classmates presentation, I was not familiar with the terms Web 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0. Although now that they have been explained I can understand and consider the features of each.

Naik & Shivalingaiah (2009)
Naik & Shivalingaiah (2009)
Naik & Shivalingaiah (2009)

The web influences people’s way of thinking, doing and being, and people influence the development and content of the web” (Gerstein, 2014). I believe the web has a huge impact on people’s way of thinking, doing, and being today. Without the web our society would be very different. We would not have the same access to knowledge and to each other as we do. But is this a good thing? Should education keep up with this evolution? Does the web play a positive role on humanity today? Who is advantaged and disadvantaged using the web? All of these questions have been stirring in my head within this class and topic.

It is hard to imagine a life without the web and the technology we now have today. Classrooms would not run the same today without the web. Accessibility is an important topic when considering the web. Just within my short career teaching primary I have noticed a big shift. Of course the pandemic pushed the internet on to us and has been amazing to still be able to learn and stay connected. I think often about what it would be like to have gone through this pandemic 30 years ago and have to find a way to educate students safely.

Shifting from Web 1.0 to 2.0 to now 3.0 I believe we as educators need to have an open mind to this change. As my classmate, Rae, outlines in her blog, we should approach Web 3.0 with a growth mindset. Staying connected with other educators through twitter and other resources the web offers is crucial. The amount of resources and ideas I have acquired from classmates over the web is huge. Doing the majority of my masters over the web has been a great learning experience. I am privileged to have access to the technology I need to complete my masters classes smoothly.

What impact does the shift to Web 3.0 have on education?  What types of students and teachers are privileged/disadvantaged by the shift to Web 3.0?

Privileged

  • Teachers and students with access to technology and web.
  • Those with good internet connection.
  • Those able to afford technology.
  • Teachers and students with knowledge around the wed.
  • Teachers who receive professional development

Students who have a knowledge around using the web and are creative will thrive with the implementation of Web 3.0. Students with opportunities to use and learn how to properly navigate.

Disadvantaged

  • Digital divide. Access to technology at home and in schools.
  • Access to internet in rural areas.
  • New technology that works with apps, LMS, resources.
  • Religions and cultures against technology.

There can be many concerns about privacy and data collected through the web.

Many cultures and marginalized populations do not see themselves in the white dominant culture of the web.

Inclusion is important when discussing Web 3.0. Are all voices being heard? Is it a human right to have access to the web today? Is there equity in who can access and use the web?

These questions will continue to be the forefront of conversations as the shift to Web 3.0 is happening. We as educator need to think critically and cautiously while teaching these skills to students too.

Thank you for reading!

Christina

Assessment Technology- Week 3

“No matter which tools you select, make time to do your own reflection to ensure that you’re only assessing the content and not getting lost in the assessment fog. If a tool is too complicated, is not reliable or accessible, or takes up a disproportionate amount of time, it’s OK to put it aside and try something different.”

(Thomas, 2019)

The polls are in:

The majority of classmates seem to be familiar with assessment technologies and have used them within their classrooms. The global pandemic forced us to have to learn to assess student learning remotely. This gave educators time to explore some of these tools and apply them in their teaching. I wonder what these graphs would’ve looked like prior to the pandemic.

There is a wide variety of assessment tools online. My current classmates and some former classmates contributed to the following lists of assessment technologies.

Check out the threads below!

Clearly there are a lot of online tools that can be used for assessment. During remote teaching I used Seesaw. Seesaw provides many ways for students to display knowledge. Students can write, take pictures, videos, draw, etc. to show learning. Teaching primary grades I tried to keep things consistent and simple. Over Zoom I used strategies addressed in Thomas’s (2019) article, 7 Smart, Fast Ways to do Formative Assessment such as thumbs up, down, emojis, whiteboards, check-ins, and discussions. I found it difficult flipping back and forth to in-person and online and trying to get an accurate gage of learning when not all students participated online.

Throughout my career I have to admit assessment has not been my strong suit or a part of my job I particularly enjoy. I have felt like I can get a good read on students learning by observing, doing check ins, small group instruction, and discussions. I rarely have given a formal test or only marked a worksheet to fully understand their knowledge. As a student I would become very anxious when I had a test and often completely blank. I knew the content but tests were not a good way to be able to display my learning. Becoming a teacher I knew that was not a way I wanted to assess kids. Teaching primary kids I can get away with not giving out tests and being able to prove students knowledge without a worksheet. These assessment technologies create fun ways to show learning. I think I would’ve thrived as a kid using some of the tools above.

My teaching practice now when it comes to assessment would mostly exhibit the constructivism learning theory and some cognitivism. Prior to the pandemic I hadn’t used any online assessment tools to formally assess students. I use Razkids in my classroom which tells me a lot about my readers but I don’t take it as super accurate because many students are more excited about getting ‘stars’ than making sure they are answering the comprehension questions correctly. Moving forward into next year I think about implementing assessment technologies into my classroom but feel there are a few barriers. Access to devices at school and home are limited. I wouldn’t be able to accurately assess student learning. Not all students would participate. The only way I could is if students took turns on my six classroom iPads. In person it just seems easier to be able to walk around and assess without technology. If I was teaching online, I would definitely use all the great tools discussed on Monday. I cannot see myself using many within my classroom. But I am open to trying some as I have throughout this past year. My school board is changing to a new LMS so I will not be able to use Seesaw anymore. Within the LMS there may be ways to do online assessment but I know it will take time to get all students and families connected and familiar to a new tool.

I have never received professional development around assessment technologies. I have received PD around certain assessments that I do in my classroom. In my career there have been changes to mandatory assessments. I used to have to do an assessment for grade two math that no longer happens. I do formal reading assessments at the beginning and end of the school year. Having knowledge around assessment technologies is a great bonus but I am not certain I will be using any this year. But like the pandemic you never know what could change and come. There are many advantages and disadvantages.

Thank you for reading!

Christina

Being Productive!- Week 2

  • Can we focus on one thing at a time?
  • Are we constantly distracted?
  • Is the internet decreasing our ability to concentrate?

Watching the above video, Single-Tasking is the new Multi-Tasking, I found myself relating to James. As I was watching the video, I was doing many other things, I had many tabs open, my phone distracting me, my kettle boiling with my next cup of tea, I had the washing machine and dishwasher going, etc. I am never doing just one thing. Had the internet caused me to live like this? After laughing at this video I really started to reflect on the use of the internet and how it has affected us all.

I think media balance is so important. I believe we need to teach this starting at a young age. Prioritizing time for everyone to do a single task at a time and shut everything off is important. Taking time to be mindful and meditate is a way I try to clear my busy mind and do some self-care. Common Sense Media has great resources to teach Digital Citizenship. Below is a song for primary students to learn and sing.

It is natural in our world now to become distracted. It is socially acceptable to be on phones while interacting with others. When I got a cell phone I was not allowed to be on it during supper or any family time. Time to connect is very important and I believe that is fading away. Distractions are a part of our world.

Katia asks: Is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions?

It is now essential to know how to work productivity tools. In certain context they are very helpful for organization and work. I enjoy having access to Google and Microsoft through my school board. When I started teaching I did not utilize all the features in these suites but now find them to be part of my everyday. I use Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Jamboard, Google Slides, and Google sheets almost everyday for work and with my personal Google account. There are positive and negative aspects to using productivity tools. I cannot picture life without them now. Even if you are not using them for work or school, they are a household item in many places. Maybe I was more productive before these tools came into place. I always think of teaching before the internet. I can’t imagine not having it as a part of the classroom and to easily access resources. Educators before the internet did not have the same access to resources and spent a lot of time creating their own lessons. I bet the time spent creating doesn’t add up to the amount of time we waste on the internet now.

In the article, How Google Took Over the Classroom, the author asserts that we now rely on Google for so much. It has been embedded so quickly and easily into schools. Google now has access to the privacy of many students and classrooms. All students at my school start using their school email accounts through Google at grade 3. They will continue to use those emails throughout their schooling. Raquel, Deidra, Allison, and Kelly highlighted the privacy concerns around these productivity tools. They emphasized the positive and negative features of productivity tools.

It is hard to even remember back to before the internet being a part of our everyday lives. The question of whether we are more productive as human beings now or then is a mystery to me. What do you think? Are we more productive than we were pre-Internet and pre-Microsoft Office?

Thank you for reading,

Christina

Online and Remote Learning- Week 2

“In almost every way, education drives development resulting in
technological changes that push the educational agenda.” (Ananga, 2020, p. 310)

Remote learning came at us out of nowhere and has had the whole world rethinking education. In March 2020 when it was announced we would be moving to online learning, my heart completely dropped. I cried a lot of tears. I did not believe there would be any positive that could come out of this situation. I worried so much about my students that I knew I wouldn’t be able to reach and would fall so far behind in reading. I happened to be taking EC&I 830 about Educational Technology and Digital Citizenship at the time. Through this course I was learning about many educational tools and finally taking time to explore them. When the pandemic hit, I had already been trying out tools with my students that I would end up using for remote learning. It made it a bit more of a smooth transition. I was very thankful to have been taking this course and received lots of help from my classmates that I could pass on to my colleagues.

During remote learning I used:

In the fall when we came back to in-person learning, it was crucial to have students set up to these online tools right away. Seesaw became a large part of the classroom. Knowing we could be shut down any day and have to move to online created a frantic energy to make sure we were prepared this time. Around Christmas, we moved to online teaching and were able to use Zoom. I was able to see my students each day and assign work through Seesaw. I did not have the best attendance so it was difficult to assess or teach anything new. Fast forward to being shut down for a month in April, I started to loath online teaching. We had a great routine and I was having better attendance but I still found it not ideal for my students. We needed to be together and learn. I found the hardest part trying to manage them and keep them focused with all the distractions around. I constantly had to tell them to “stop unmuting yourself and interrupting”, “stop playing with toys”, “come sit down and focus”, “we already saw your cat in show and share many times”, etc. It was a good experience and I learned a lot but was VERY thankful when they announced for us to come back to in-person. The time during this pandemic I learned about so many tools that I will continue to utilize in my classroom.

Seesaw is a great tool for teaching primary grades. The assignments are easy to create for teachers, teachers can share lessons, and it is easy to assess learning. Students can show their learning in many different ways. When they add a response to an assignment, they can speak, make a video, illustrate, write or take pictures to display their learning. This is also helpful as many students are using a variety of devices that may be old or not sync well to many educational tools. Moving forward, I have found many ways to implement Seesaw into my in-person teaching to create a blended learning experience. When we were in person, I created assignments on Seesaw each week that covered the topics or themes we were learning. This way if any students were sick or had to stay home, they weren’t missing out on the key concepts being taught. I will continue this practice as I found it very effective. Students also were more engaged in reading apps during the weekends after using them for remote/online learning.

Mike, Jacquie, Fahmida, and Josie did a wonderful job describing tools for distance and online learning. They sparked me to reflect on my experience online and what I liked and disliked about it. As stated above, there are useful tools I will bring with me that I learned through teaching online. It is something I can add to my resume but do not think I would chose to do again. I prefer having the energy of the kids in front of me. My classmates started their presentation by asking what we prefer for learning in graduate school. I only took one in-person grad class. I have really enjoyed being able to do my masters from the comfort of my home. Not having to find a parking spot and walk so far to class. (especially in winter) I never thought I would prefer the delivery of online learning for myself as a learner but have grown to prefer it. My professors were able to create a great learning environment that still allowed us to feel connected. I learned so much from classmates and was able to check-in about our pandemic teaching experiences as well. I do not like teaching this way, but liked learning this way. The connection felt in the classroom with students is something I did not feel online. Going back and forth teaching online and in-person really created a gratitude when we were together. Knowing we could be shut down at anytime made us treasure each moment we had in-person together and created a strong classroom connection. This past year teaching was full of ups and downs but I felt like I knew my students better then any other year because everyone got to share their homes while we were online. I was able to see them in the comfort of their own home-something I hadn’t experienced pre-pandemic. There are many pros and cons to my experiences throughout this past year that I can take with me moving forward and ones that I can shed and never look back on. Teaching young children, there is a need for connection and social-emotional learning that is a lot easier to learn in-person.

Thank you for reading,

Christina

Technology, Power, Knowledge and Learning

“technology has changed from being a peripheral factor to becoming more central in all forms of teaching.” (Bates, 2014)

When I think of my own definition of educational technology, I suppose that it is all technology that can be used for an educational purpose. Whether that is embedding technology into your classroom through whole class instructional videos, interactive whiteboards/smartboard activities, games, etc or utilizing iPads and laptops to enhance learning. Anything that involves technology and increases learning in the classroom would fall under the term educational technology. But we would also have to look at the definition of technology. Any tool such as a chalkboard could be categorized as technology. In Bates (2014) article, A Short History of Educational Technology, he taught through the history of development of oral communication, written communication, broadcasting and video, computer technologies, and social media. Each of these categories are used today in learning and within the classroom.

Of course not all learning online takes place within the classroom today. This became very clear this past year as more students learned in an online/blended/ asynchronous/synchronous way. Educational technology has been a part of all students lives in some form or another this past year. It has grown and evolved more than ever. Educators learned and adapted to this new way of teaching quickly. Educators became tech savvy as they attempted to engage students in a way that was not familiar.

Before taking EdTech courses, my view around technology in the classroom was not very great. I didn’t see the benefit, I thought students spent enough time on video games. I felt like they needed to rest their eyes and be present in the moment. A big lesson I learned was the importance of teaching students about media balance. Technology is not going away and is a big part of the world. Educators need to teach students how to properly utilize and navigate the big world of the web. Common Sense Education has been an extremely helpful resource in helping me have conversations about technology and media with my students. Not all parents are aware of what their children are doing on the internet because it evolves so fast. Educating students to be able to make good choices and be safe on devices is crucial in our world today. Teaching the concepts of digital citizenship and media literacy can easily be embedded into instruction and tie into curriculum.

Reflecting on the technological change that has happened just in my lifetime is grand. Every time something new is introduced, humans seem reluctant to change. It could be as far back as the act of writing, as Bates (2014) mentions in his article to the blackboard being placed in classrooms. There are always debates and pros/cons to new ideas. Educators know that all students learn in a variety of ways. Every time there is a new concept or idea in teaching, many teachers are hesitant of the change. The way my instruction has developed over the years has been adapted as I have learned about different students needs. Modelling is my number one instructional strategy that I use today in my teaching. Using the model ‘I do’, ‘We do’ and ‘You do’ is how I deliver most subjects to my students. I learned quickly at the beginning of my career that my students needed to be engaged in a variety of ways and be able to make connections to learning. Regarding instruction, Ertmer and Newby (2013) assert that “It should organize information in such a manner that learners are able to connect new information with existing knowledge in some meaningful way” (p.54). I learned this early on in my career while teaching reading. When young students were reading a book with me that they had no prior knowledge to or were not able to connect to, of course they displayed no comprehension. For example, if I was doing a reading assessment and the student was reading a book on camping but had never been camping, it wouldn’t be a good representation of their reading skills. Learning must be meaningful to students and make sense in their lives. Technology is meaningful to many students, it is a significant part of their lives. Most students are able to connect to technology which is why it has become a big part of my teaching.

How do we continue to keep up with the evolution of technology and not allow it to run our lives? Have we already gotten to that point without recognizing it? Postman (1998) states that “We need to proceed with our eyes wide open so that we may use technology rather than be used by it” (p. 5).

Who holds the power of knowledge? Today it is also important to be able to determine misinformation and/or ‘fake news’. This is a skill educators must be teaching students. It is hard to know what is true when it comes to the knowledge fed to us online. Is it real or is someone in power controlling what is allowed to be known? Postman (1998) regarding the age of information that was approaching asserted that, “This age of information may turn out to be a curse if we are blinded by it so that we cannot see truly where our problems lie. That is why it is always necessary for us to ask of those who speak enthusiastically of computer technology, why do you do this? What interests do you represent? To whom are you hoping to give power? From whom will you be withholding power?” (p.3). Being a critical thinker is so important and educating students to ask questions is key. Have we allowed technology to take over? To be in control of what we can learn today?

In Katia’s lecture the question was posed if technology makes a difference if the beliefs about knowledge or learning remain the same? Technology has made a great impact on knowledge and learning. We as humans and educators need to learn to keep up with the ever changing ways of knowing, learning and technology. They are clearly linked together and I believe will not stop evolving.

“Learning theories are concerned with the actual process of learning, not with the value of what is being learned” (Siemens, 2005, p. 3). My teaching journey has progressed towards the value of what is being taught. What is most important? How do I consider that? I am passionate about teaching social-emotional learning to my grade 2/3’s. I believe through my experience that this is the most important part of my day. Having ‘mindful minutes’ and taking time to check in with our emotions and needs allows us to be able to learn. I find that more valuable and effective than many items I am mandated to teach.

Knowledge and learning has become more accessible due to technology. Anyone can look up the curriculum from anywhere in the world. One can take an online class from anywhere that has internet access. There is a world of possibility through the access of technology. I remember how exciting it was to unplug the landline and hook up the internet. It was slow and loud but amazing that we could type in any question and get an answer. Before this I believed libraries held all the knowledge. Encyclopedias were a common house hold item. I now am looking at these critically and am thinking about who wrote encyclopedias and why that knowledge was deemed correct? I would have to look at an encyclopedia again and analyse this. As I stated above there are many ways to gain knowledge now. We can learn from each other online through twitter, blogs, community of practices, etc. Siemen (2005) states “Learning is a continual process, lasting for a lifetime” (p.1). Learning happens all around us in an informal way. Formal education is not the only way people are gaining knowledge today.

Discussing technology with teachers now at the end of their career, they would have never imagined how much technology is now incorporated in their classroom. This shift has been huge especially in the last year due to Covid. I know my beliefs around education has changed with each year I have taught and will continue to do so. What is deemed important to teach pupils is also changing. Like the need to start teaching media literacy and digital citizenship at a young age. Coding has become a part of many classrooms as well. My students seem to pick up on the concept of coding so easily as it is a part of their everyday online lives. “These tools are needed in this digital age for students to flourish” (Siemens, 2005, p. 7). My own teaching theory has become farther away from the curriculum with each year I teach. Learning to decolonize the classroom and education has geared me away from what was deemed important at the beginning of my career. I now ask why certain subjects and topics are necessary and where did that come from?

The origins of educational technology have drastically changed. Collaboration is a major key in educational technology today. Educators are able to connect with other teachers around the globe. Professional Development is offered all over the internet. Resources are easily accessible. Community of Practices, conferences and networking all can happen online. The shift has many benefits for teachers and students.

Learning about the beginning of educational technology and the development through the years, I am curious to see how it will continue to evolve. My own teaching practices and philosophy has evolved with time and experience and will continue to.

  • What changes do you believe we will see in the next 5, 10, or 20 years regarding educational technology and learning?
  • What predictions can you make about the shift in education by the end of your own career?
  • How has educational technology changed since the beginning of your career?

“Thus it is fair to describe the impact of the Internet on education as a paradigm shift, at least in terms of educational technology. We are still in the process of absorbing and applying the implications.” (Bates, 2014)

Thank you for reading my thoughts,

Christina

Bitmoji Image

Bates, T. (2014). A short history of educational technology. https://www.tonybates.ca/2014/12/10/a-short-history-of-educational-technology/.

Ertmer, Peggy A, & Newby, Timothy J. (2013). Behaviorism, Cognitivism, Constructivism: Comparing Critical Features From an Instructional Design Perspective. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 26(2), 43-71.

Postman, N. (1998). Five things we need to know about technological change. Denver, Colorado28.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. https://jotamac.typepad.com/jotamacs_weblog/files/Connectivism.pdf

Summary of Learning!

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

The end is here! For my summary of learning I wanted to try a new tool to showcase my thoughts and learning. I have tried a few video maker tools while in Alec’s classes previously. I wanted to try something brand new to me. I like the look of Videoscribe and video creator tools similar but struggled to figure them out. After seeing Darcy’s summary of learning using Explee, I needed to try it too! I blended Explee with WeVideo and created my Summary of Learning. I am out of my comfort zone when it comes to anything online. This year has definitely made me step out of it! Enjoy!

I learned so many valuable tools and skills that I will put in my teaching toolkit. Thank you to all my classmates for teaching me so many great ways to engage my students!

Keep safe everyone!

Christina

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

Course Prototype Final: Social-Emotional Learning

Photo by Noelle Otto on Pexels.com

Here we are, the final course prototype! After a lot of change, doubt, editing, fixing, removing, adding etc.-I have finished. Although I have changed my mind many times and made adaptations, I am happy with how it has turned out and hope it will be helpful. I have designed the course to be flexible and easy to adapt for any type of learning and grade (K-5ish). My Course Profile outlined my beginning thoughts and processes around my Social-Emotional Learning course. I believe this is an important subject to be teaching not only during a pandemic, but all the time. When schools shut down in March 2020, my biggest worries for my students were not about the math or literacy they would miss, but for their well-being. It is important for educators to be able to teach important skills online, blended or in-person. I highlight this in my Course Profile and why I choose to create it. This course gives an opportunity for teachers to be able to use the content whichever way works best for them and their students.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I started with eight modules then narrowed it down to six. I found once I started making my lessons many of my topics connected so I took out the ‘Positive Affirmations’ as it became a part of the Mindfulness module and Growth Mindset. It is a big theme embedded throughout the whole course. I also took ‘bucket filling’ out as it’s own module. It connects and ties in with Feelings and Friendship. I settled with six modules that include four lessons each.

(Actual footage of my brain)

Once I decided to simplify all that I wanted to do, I was able to actually practice what I am trying to teach and create lessons in a mindful state.

For my lessons I am comfortable using Seesaw and that is what I choose to use. It is easy to share the lessons with primary teachers. I wanted to challenge myself and try a new LMS. I tried out a few but it was difficult for me to wrap my head around how they would work with younger students. After exploring a few, I decided to try Google Classrooms and create lessons in there. I made my modules on both Google Classrooms and Seesaw. I later decided to scratch Google Classrooms as it is not a platform I use or understood enough. I enjoyed learning about it and creating lessons but felt Seesaw was the best way to go for me. (If you are a Google Classroom User and would like me to send the lessons I created, I’d be happy to!)

In week eight, we learned about tools to create discussion and peer collaboration within our courses. This challenged me to add ways to engage and connect with classmates which is something I hadn’t thought about with only having experience on Seesaw. I explain how I wanted to do this in my post Impactful Virtual Connections. I added Flipgrid and Padlet to the end of a lesson in each module to create opportunities for students to see their classmates ideas and work.

In week nine, I watched the webinar from Contact North by Dr. Linda Nilson titled, How to Design Online Teaching for Engaged Learning: Merging Instructional Design and Teaching and Learning Research. Although the webinar gave instruction geared toward courses aimed at high school or post-secondary education, I took away the importance of students understanding the goals, framework and outcomes of the course. Dr. Nilson showed many examples of graphic syllabi that got me excited to design one for my course and make sure my lessons have clear goals or ‘I can’ statements.

Canva has been a fun tool to use in the design of this course. I am thankful I was introduced to this and able to have a free account. I used this tool to make it easy to share my course with others as you will see below.

Flowchart

A challenge I felt throughout this process was creating the course for others to use AND make it specific for my students. If it was strictly for my own students to use then I would have made more videos of myself reading or teaching. But I wanted to allow others to use the course and not have my videos floating around. I created a balance of using content already made and having myself read a story or teach. I also used, for example, many books on Epicbooks that I assign specifically for my students so in my lessons some educators may not be able to access those books if they do not have an account. I did not want my account and class code out in the open.

Below is the Canva I created with all the links needed for the course followed by an overview video.

Social-Emotional Learning Course

file:///C:/Users/christina.patterson/Documents/Social-Emotional%20Learning%20Course.pdf

Walkthrough Video of Final Course Prototype

I hope others will see you the value in teaching these skills. I am passionate about all students being able to learn these skills whether they are remote or in-person!

Thank you for reading,

Christina

Impactful Virtual Connections

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Building meaningful connections is my favourite part of teaching. The relationships built are so special and important for students and teachers. When schools moved to online last spring, I shed many tears about not being connected to my students and those relationships being stripped away out of nowhere. It was difficult to connect in a meaningful way with so much uncertainty and crisis going on. Online platforms were new to the students and to parents. Navigating them under the stress of a pandemic was not easy and we did not want to put any pressure on families.

Now, a year into the pandemic, families are more familiar with the online platforms. Zoom and many other online forums are popular in our everyday language. Connecting is a lot easier than it was a year ago and I would argue our society has become more tech savvy in the last year. Teachers all over the world have worked hard to find ways to engage students and build impactful communities within their online teaching.

Childs’s (2021) asserts the three types of student engagement are cognitive, emotional, and behavioural. In her article, Virtual Student Engagement Isn’t Impossible, she discusses the importance of putting students needs first, even in a virtual setting.

Childs’s (2021) gives many suggestions and practical ideas on how to create a learning community, build strong relationships, growth mindset, class norms, restorative practices, collaboration with others, authentic experiences, high-order questioning, and learning strategies that can be applied to in-person, blended, or online learning. Connection is a huge part of each of these ideas. Students first need to feel like they belong to a community where they are safe, heard, and loved before authentic learning can take place.

Students absolutely crave connection. It is part of our human nature and that has been very evident over the last year. Moving to online learning the week before and after Christmas, gave me a deeper understanding of how important this is. My students missed socializing and their friends very much. They wanted to talk and catch up every day. In our zoom meetings I dedicated the first part of our meeting to check-ins and sharing time. If I didn’t do this they would not have been able to focus on any of the learning. Students were so excited to talk and share about what was going on in their lives and homes. This time showed me the importance of human connection. I have had to allow more chatter within my class this year knowing at school may be the only socialization they could be getting.

In our reading, Online Collaborative Learning, Bates’s (2018) suggests in order to create meaningful conversations there must be; appropriate technology, student orientation and preparation, clear guidelines, meaningful feedback, and regular instructor presence. 

I struggle with this aspect teaching younger students as they do not always have access to technology or are using old devices. Students are still learning to read, type, and use technology properly so the collaborative/peer feature online is a bit more difficult. In my experience, students need assistance to access and complete the online learning. Talking with teachers that are strictly online, I have learned that students have become more independent and are able to engage in the points Bates’ suggests.

The tools used for engagement and interaction must be easy to use. I do not want to add a variety of tools into my course that students have never used before. This is not only hard for young students to figure out, but difficult on the parents as they may need to help their child figure it out. My course is designed to fit with what works for the teacher and students using it. If the class is fully online, they can have full group discussions and break-out rooms. There are many options embedded to make the course work for whoever is using it. It is flexible for teachers to choose possibilities of what works for them. Whether they are online, blended, in-person, have attendance issues, or in a community where not all students have access to technology, they can make the course work.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

I thought about ways to implement peer connection and collaboration within my course designed for primary students. Using Seesaw and Google Classrooms for my course, many ideas circled as I learned and read what would works best. In Seesaw, I thought this would be the most challenging as students cannot view each others work or connect to each other. Reading my classmate, Jennifer‘s blog allowed me to remember and learn about the Seesaw Blog feature. This feature allows students to share, comment and connect to each others assignments and learnings. Unfortunately, my school board does not allow us to use the Seesaw Blog for privacy reasons so I had to look beyond the platform and see what I can embed that is simple for a younger audience to use.

Padlet

Padlet is a great tool for seeing students responses and asking questions. I have never used it with the age I teach. I believe it is simple enough for students to figure out and great for them to see each others ideas.

My Gratitude Padlet allows students to add what they are thankful for in a variety of ways. Students can write, draw, upload a picture, voice record, etc. This gives students an opportunity to share in a way that works best for them and their abilities.

Flipgrid

I implemented Flipgrid when schools shut down last March as a way for students to connect with each other. It was easy to navigate and for students to figure out. The videos were a fun way to see each other and keep in touch. I would like to use it again within my course as a way for students to respond and see each other.

I would like to use a Flipgrid and/or a Padlet within my course for each module. This will give the opportunity for students to discuss and hear from one another. As I discussed previously, my course is designed in a way that can be used fully online, blended or in-person. If teachers are teaching fully online, further discussion questions can be done over Zoom or whatever platform they meet on.

In Google Classroom there are already great features embedded into the platform that allow for student engagement.

My lessons include;

It is difficult for myself to think about assessing the interaction that is being done between the students. We can tell if it is meaningful conversations and if students are understanding the concepts being taught in a whole group discussion on Zoom or in-person. But to assess understanding this way may be hard. Students may be shy or not able to express themselves well. There could be many great conversations and ideas but it is hard to view each child’s full understanding through responses on Padlet, Flipgrid, Google Drawings, Jamboards or Seesaw. I do like that each tool has a variety of ways to show understanding. But students still may really understand each concept and express that understanding another way. I believe it is important for all students to have a variety of opportunities to show their comprehension and learning of each topic. Each student is different and deserves options to show their knowledge. That is why I plan to strive to add many ways for students to display their learning within my course.

I do not have much experience teaching a full course online or assessing students work online. I am continuing to learn from my classmates how they engage students online and assess the learning going on. I look forward to learning more through my classmates courses.

-What are your favourite ways to engage students?

-Do you have any experience teaching a variety of grades online?

-What are challenges you face teaching younger grades online?

-What are your favourite assessment tools?

Thank you for reading,

Christina

References

Bates, A. T. (2018). Teaching in a digital age: Guidelines for designing teaching and learning.

Childs, M. (2021). Virtual Student Engagement Isn’t Impossible.

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started