Blogging, Twitter, and Trello

Blogging:

Previous to this class, I had never blogged before. Likewise, I never considered myself to be the blogger type. However, from this experience, of blogging about multiple topics consistently over the semester, I have come to realize that anyone can be a blogger! Moreover, blogging can be done on any topic or interest, which makes it so inclusive for readers and bloggers. By the end of the semester, I came to really enjoy the time I had to blog. It allowed me to sit down and synthesize my learning in each topic. I also like that I can now come back to my blog and see my progress of learning on a plethora of subjects. I would highly recommend blogging to others, and would implement this into my classroom to teach students how to respectively have presence on the internet, as well as learn to summarize learning and show it in a presentable way.

Twitter:

I created a twitter account dedicated for teaching. This account allows me to follow school districts to stay involved, and also allows me to find likeminded people who are inquiring about ways to strengthen their teaching practices. Through this platform I have found some great twitters that have amazing ideas which have sparked creativity for things I could implement into my own classroom. Heidi James focuses on Minecraft and how it can be used in classrooms and Rebecca Bathurst – Hunt focuses on inquiry in the classroom. These are just a few of the people I follow that I can see the great things they are doing in their classrooms and build upon them.

Trello:

I did not utilize Trello as mush as I should have this semester, but I do see the potential it has in the classroom. I saw it firsthand at the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry school when students used it to work collaboratively with each other on multiple projects. It creates a way for students to connect through multiple devices and organize thoughts and things to be done. I acts as a wonderful organizer and medium for students to create through.

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QR Codes, VR, AR and more

The first half of this week we listened to multiple technology inquiry projects. These topics included, Place-Based Learning, Podcasting, and Freshgrade. I found all of these presentations to be quite in-depth and informative, as they groups have had several months to learn and master these topics and depict key aspects. The rest of the class we touched on QR codes, Augmented reality, and Virtual reality. Below I briefly talk about each and pull out some of the highlights.

Place-Based Learning:

Some great activities that can be utilized for place-based learning with a class are Questagame and geocaching. Questagame is an app that allows students to document wildlife, which contributes to an online database! Not only do children get the reward when they find species but they are also helping to track species across the world. With this app they are able to create clans to compete against other clans and learn about species. It is a fun way to get outside and explore what species the world has to offer in a way that engages the new era of tech savvy children. Geocaching was another activity that is a great way to learn navigational and critical thinking skills. This also gets students outdoors and guides them to think in others perspectives when finding the geocache. There is also the option to create your own geocache, which has students think of hints that would help someone else find it.

Podcasting:

The appeal to podcasting is that it can have very specific topics because it is designed for a narrower audience. This makes it so there is a podcast on any topic, so everyone can find one that suits their interests. Podcasts are “auditory blogs.” In a classroom situation, podcasting could be used instead of an in person presentation if a child has performance anxiety. There are also amazing podcasts that are made by middle school students for middle school students, like “the unexplainable disappearance of Mars Patel.” They are wonderful tools to learn while multitasking, for example doing chores or drawing. In my classroom I could put one on and have students draw a visual map of the topic. However, for all the great benefits it has to offer, there are a few things to consider. Podcasts can be made by anyone and for this reason are not always valid information. If used with a class, this point should be made clear so students do not think everything they hear is absolute.

Freshgrade:

One thing in particular stuck with me about Freshgrade. It’s not what did you learn today it is HOW did you learn today. Parents have the chance to visually see what their child is doing, grading is no longer an arbitrary letter to compare to others. For example, if there is a dance unit in PE the parent could look on Freshgrade to watch a video of the dance their child created. It integrates them into what happens throughout the day so that is no longer the question they are asking when they pick their child up from school. Another great feature about the grading tool is that students and parents are able to comment on work, which creates a collaborative and progressive way of learning and grading. This new way of sliding scale grading also takes away grade oriented learners that only focus on the outcome, and allows students to enjoy the process.

There has been lots of pushback with the introduction of Freshgrade. However, one of the takeaways from this presentation was that at first it is more work to document as you go for every individual student, but with practice it actually becomes easier to grade throughout the year instead of cramming it into 2 weeks at the end. Another point against it is that some parents do not use technology at home. In today’s day and age, technology is becoming more and more prevalent and easy to access. Even for the few that this relates to, it can be remedied easily by using technology in the community or even coming into the school to see what their child is doing in the class.

GAFE (Google Apps For Education):

GAFE is educational google apps that can be used in schools. It was briefly touched upon in class but one can get their google certifications for levels 1 and 2 for free to gain more knowledge into the workings of it. A great feature is that when logged into a gmail ID one has access to “classroom.” The one problem with this is that things done out of the districts server can’t be exported into school district, so one would have to start again when in a new district. However, the practice done would help strengthen understanding and speed up the process.

QR Codes:

QR codes are scalable square codes that link to other resources. These can be put on bulletin boards, worksheets, or any other similar material. An example of how to use one could be putting them on math worksheet to link to video going over topic. With them you could also link to audio or video files, record your own voice, provide answer keys, or scan for question. Here is one website that helps generate QR codes.

AR (Augmented Reality):

Augmented reality takes QR codes to the next level. With the help of an app called “HP reveal” one can create a hotspot and when that hotspot is scanned it can link to resources, helpful videos, answer keys, and other amazing links. Augmented reality goes further than QR codes. It can also create visuals that “pop” out of the page and can be seen through the screen of the phone that scanned it, and show then end product of buildings if pointed at a construction site hotspot. Argon is a browser that allows others to see augmented reality. The one downside is that the hotspots, sometimes referred to as auras, take the place of QR codes but can be missed unless you are aware they are there.

VR (Virtual Reality):

Virtual reality is similar to augmented reality however it involves a headset. With this headset students are immersed in a new environment and can move around 360′ spaces. This can be beneficial if students are studying about a certain place, it allows them to transport there and experience what it would be like. I have also heard of architecture students using VR to practice looking at dig sites around the world. The con to VR is that it should not be used by children under 13 and should be limited to 30 minutes. It can also induce sea sickness.

Skitch :

Skitch is an app that allows one to take photos and blur out faces before it is uploaded to the cloud. When using other blurring apps, the original photo is still in the cloud. With skitch, the original photo is taken on the app and blurred before it is sent to any storing space on one’s phone. Then the photo can be uploaded. This is a handy tool to use in the classroom when the faces of non-consenting participants are in photos.

I have found this lesson plan template to work the best for me personally:

Units:

Kindergarten

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Middle School

Lessons:

Kindergarten

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Middle School

Coaching Experience:

This past year I was involved in co-teaching the senior dance team at Montessori Elementary. This experience showed me how a dance program could be implemented into other schools and I hope to apply this knowledge so I can implement a similar program in the future.

Sports:

I grew up competitively swimming which gave me a competitive spirit and the ability to work as an individual as well as in a team. It also enabled me to develop a healthy life style, learning how important physical activity is for one’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being. On top of swimming, throughout the years I have also been apart of every sports team in school. I have always loved competing and being on teams, I find it amazing to have a unified goal with a group of likeminded people. While in university, I have been focusing on volleyball. I enjoy the team aspect and have made many friends through it. I am a huge advocate for getting involved to meet new people and it also sparks my competitive edge.

Dance:

As much as I love sports, I also thrive in artistic activities. I have found that the arts enhance my creativity and allow me to tap into my emotions. Dance over the years has become an outlet for me to express myself and I have found it to be another way of developing good mental health.

Rock Climbing:

More recently I have become interested in indoor and outdoor rock climbing. I was first introduced to it in my grade 12 outdoor ed course, and have been hooked ever since. One of the things I love most about it is that it is a social activity. Rarely does someone climb alone, and I find I am forever meeting new people. Not only is it physically exhausting at times but also has a huge mental component. I have found some of the biggest things I have overcome in rock climbing were feats that took mental strength, not physical. It has allowed me to face my fears and push my boundaries. Rock climbing continues to be a way for me to rise to a challenge.

All photographs in this post are mine and licensed by Creative Commons

PIMS: Math Tutor

Since entering the education program at UVIC I have continually volunteered for every Pacific Institute of Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) Math Mania session throughout various elementary schools. I have taken part in the multiple games such as the bone stick game, the penny slide, and other fun and engaging math activites.

It was eye opening to see how many students come to play math games in their time outside of school. I believe it’s because of the fun and engaging nature these games create. This organization is great to work with because Math Mania believes in not making math hard so children develop a love of it while learning valuable skills. These games are ones I will take with me to implement so math can be fun for everyone!

Dance Instructor:

I co-choreographed and co-taught the senior dance team at Montessori Elementary School. As a team, we worked for months to practice and prep a dance routine to be performed at a festival. This experience gave me an insight into what level of dance routines are appropriate for what ages, as well as how to effectively manage a group of grade 5 girls early in the morning! My co-teacher and I worked after hours to choreograph and discuss details for the festival attire. I learned where to find costumes on a budget and how to be flexible when choreography had to be changed.

Since I was young I have always had a passion for dance and when I see others with that same passion I want them to have that opportunity to explore that avenue. That is why when I am teaching in a school I hope to join, or initiate, a dance program. I think dancing is a valuable way to express oneself non-verbally and should be an outlet that students can explore. Having this outlet can reduce stress, anxiety, and help positively impact mental health.

Course Work

Year 1:

ASL 100: American Sign Language 

ENGL 135: Academic Reading + Writing

ENGL 146: The Literature of Our Era

PSYC 231: Into to Social Psychology

LING 100: Intro Linguistics

RS 200: Intro to Asian Religions 

ASTR 102: Exploring the Cosmos

Year 2:

ASL 200: American Sign Language

CS 201: Canadian Environmentalism

EOS 120: The Dynamic Earth

HLTH 251: Healthy Sexuality

MATH 161/162: Math: Elementary School Teachers

POLI 101: Canadian Politics

Year 3:

EDCI 250: Elementary Field Experience Seminar

EDCI 300: Mathematical Processes

EDCI 301: Learners and Learning Environments

EDCI 302: Literacy and Language

EDCI 303: History and Philosophical Foundations of Education

EDCI 305A: Drama Education

EDCI 306: Music for Elementary Classroom Teachers

EDCI 307A: Art Education

EDCI 310/311: Physical Education for General Classroom Teachers

EDCI 336: Technology Innovation in Education