Thursday, March 10, 2011

Summing it up: My PLN for You

Well, the end of the road has appeared, eh fellow teachers? For my summative project, I hummed and hawed for pretty much two weeks, wondering what I could do. While sitting in one of our exciting classes, I asked Tiffany what she had done. She gave me an overview of how she used screenr to voice-over her prezi presentation. I didn't have experience with either tool, but it sounded very cool indeed. I also asked Alanna, and she said she used Livebinders to organize all that she learned. This also sounded very practical and neat.

So what I did was take part of both ideas and use screenr to talk about my livebinder. Thank you for sharing your ideas Tiffany and Alanna. Your projects were awesome, and I will definitely be referring back to them in the future.

As you'll see, my livebinder is rather minuscule in comparison to Alanna's. So, I tried to make it personal a bit and share the information that I found very useful, as well as a few resources that will help us out as new teachers. This course was by far the most useful course during my two years in the Education Program. I highly recommend that it become mandatory.

Anyway, here's my masterpiece:
video

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Internet Making Us Stupid or Smart?

One of our tech tasks in the course was to comment on whether we think the internet is making us stupid or smart. The basis for our opinions was to be the two articles listed below:

Does the Internet Make You Dumber? by N. Carr
Does the Internet Make You Smarter? by C. Shirky

Basically, I do not agree with either of the articles, totally. Both point out some valid points, but I think it all comes down to the individual that is using the internet. There are all sorts of uses for the internet, and everyone uses it for a various reasons. If you were fortunate enough to take this course with Mike, you should have a good idea of how to use the internet efficiently in order to learn.

I found a video on youtube of a guy who, by the sounds of it, did an assignment very similar to the one we were asked to do for this tech task. Although he just made a video of himself reading his blog, the information he gives is indeed true, in my opinion. If you can get passed the slight degree of weirdness, and a few 'F' bombs thrown in at the end, take a gander and see if you agree.


I guess  I would tend to agree more with the fact that the internet is making us smarter. At least it should, shouldn't it? Having access to basically any information and any person in the world gives us the opportunity to learn far more than we ever could have without the internet. It's the whole idea of sharing - the main point of this course - that allows us to broaden our knowledge and experience base. It's there for the taking, so why not jump on the opportunity.

Networked Learning with Alec Couros

Our class had the privilege of listening to Alec Couros talk about Networked Learning and openness in terms of sharing and teaching. This has been a recurring theme in this course, and hopefully we have all received a good understanding of the huge benefits of forming teaching and learning networks with colleagues from all over the world.

Alec presented to us using an online tool called Elluminate. This is similar to skype, but allows for more interaction between multiple users, and also allows users to post presentations and other material on a shared white board screen for further information trasnsmission. If you haven't taken a look at Elluminate, here's a link for you check it out: http://www.elluminate.com

For anyone who was unable to attend the class where Alec shared with us, here is a video I came across of a presentation he did last year. This presentation goes farther in depth into the kinds of stuff he was showing us. Take a look and see what you think:
 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Closer Look at Web-Based Courses

I finally got around to taking a gander at the web based courses that MB Education has to offer. I sent in a request for the three subjects I will be teaching in my last placement - Science 10F, Science 20F, and Biology 40S.

I took a look through the material for Grade 12 Biology and found it to be potentially very useful. The lessons are laid out in a very organized way, easy to follow, and correspond directly to the curriculum documents. I like how the amount of text students need to read is minimal (which I'm sure they will enjoy as well).

I also like the interactive aspect of the web based courses. It encourages class discussions, which lends to the idea of sharing knowledge and creating a learning community. This would be a great opportunity to start students off on the advantages of using social media and other internet resources to help them learn.

I will definitely be using these web-based courses as an added resource in my upcoming placement. The lessons and assignments will be very useful in helping me diversify and differentiate my classroom instructional methods.

Here is a link to MB Education's Distance Learning web page:  
http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/docs/policy/online_learning/index.html

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Edublogging it Up

Like hopefully everyone else in this course, I have decided to follow George Couros' blog - "The Principal of Change", found at http://georgecouros.ca/blog/. I am also following George, as well as his brother Alec, on Twitter. I chose George because he is extremely "connected", and by joining his network, I am increasing my own network of learners and educators exponentially. I look forward to using all the amazing resources these guys have to offer, and I know my teaching job will be made easier as a result. Let the sharing continue!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Personal ICT Devices in the Classroom

As part of our class work, we were asked to pick a topic relevant to ICT and education and, in groups, we presented our findings to the class. I enjoyed all the presentations and found them very informative. One presentation that stood out for me was the examination of personal ICT devices in the classroom, which was very well done by Shaun and Tim P (nice work guys!). I liked how they broke down their critiques into categories such as accessibility, authenticity, features, etc. This allowed me to think a lot more critically about each of the devices, and make a more informed decision.

After the presentation, as well as drawing from my own experiences, I think the most useful device to use in the classroom is the laptop. I think there is still a potential place for the other devices in schools, and the more devices being used, the better. However, the many uses and features of a laptop are hard to beat.

One website that I found while browsing for potential uses of ICT in the classroom was called "Shambles". Again, there are hundreds of links to many useful resources for all subject areas. Because my interest is in teaching Science, one link I found rather interesting can be found here:

http://www.shambles.net/pages/learning/ScienceP/scict/
This is a page containing lots of ideas for incorporating ICT into science lessons. Take a look, and bookmark it up!

Look What We Can Do Now!

Darren Kuropatwa came to our class and gave a very interesting presentation about giving students the opportunity to show us what they have learned. He asked the question, "How do we know what our students know?". This is a very good question to ask, and when you think about it, it's probably the most important question teachers should ask themselves. After all, the answer to that question is the basis of what we are getting paid to do.

I really enjoyed the information he shared, because he pointed out that our jobs as teachers should be a lot easier if we are using the myriad of talents and interests shown by our students. I especially liked the idea of using flikr in math class to have students search for links between the content they are learning and their everyday lives.

I came across a website entitled "Sound Out: Promoting Student Voice In School" - http://www.soundout.org/teaching.html , which has a lot of interesting resources for incorporating our students into their own learning. There are links to programs being used in schools, as well as more tools that teachers can add to their repertoire.