Wow, I cannot believe this semester is coming to an end. I have actually enjoyed this class more than I thought I would. I am not one to write a lot if I don’t have to. When I do have to I find it hard to think of the right things to say or the right research to put in. I really enjoyed how this class let you write as yourself and you were able to express yourself and what you thought about the topic we were learning about that week.

photo by google images

There was no right or wrong answer. Looking back at my blogs I did not really notice too much of a change in my actual writing. I do recall not stressing over them as much as the semester went on. I found them to get easier and easier as time went on. I don’t know if that was because of the material or that I was just getting in the routine of writing every week and I was just getting used to it. In all or at least most of my post I tried to include how I would or how teachers should use what we were talking about. For example, Learning The Digital World talks about how teacher today have the responsibility to teach their students about technology and how it works and how to be safe while doing so. They should incorporate the use of technology in their lessons so the students have the opportunity to use the computers or iPads or any other technology that is available to them because they may not have those opportunities at home.

I feel that for the most part I found myself agreeing with every topic we discussed. I never really found myself in conflict or making an argument on any of the topics. If I were to go back and do all of this again knowing what I know now I would try to throw in some counter arguments to the topic. I found my blogs to be pretty broad and I didn’t see myself getting into too much detail. Although, for a blog post readers do not always want to read a full on research paper. Most read blogs for entertainment and quick information.

One problem I think I have in some of my blogs is sentences that seem to go on a little to long. I have always had this problem but feel I may be getting a little better and more aware of when I am doing it.

I think a lot of these post will be worth revisiting, especially when I start actually teaching and want to go back to some of these ideas. When I am doing lesson plans and want to be the innovative teacher I plan to be. I can look back on digital storytelling and figure out a way to have the students now make their own digital story. I think that is one great reason for having put the links into our blogs so we can reference them two years down the line.

I liked the blog writing because it didn’t seem so formal. I felt like I could type to my readers like I am talking to them. At first I had no idea how to write a blog post. I did some looking around that is what I noticed most is that it is like you are having a conversation with your readers. Then add the fact that they can send comments to you to keep the conversation going. I also liked that you can add humor. Although, you should be careful you are not being sarcastic because you can’t type with a sarcastic tone in your words.

With blogging not only did we learn about digital citizenship, ethics and copyrights but we also had to put those into practice. We had to be aware that we are leaving a digital footprint every time we posted something online. Every time, our opinions were put out there for everyone to see. Not only in the blogs but in the comments and in the twitter feeds as well. We are subjecting ourselves and our work and thoughts to others to judge and make their own opinions based off what we post. We also have to remember that those digital footprints don’t go away just because you delete them. If something is posted chances are someone somewhere has read it and shared it with their friends. So, now even if you delete it, it is still out there in cyber land.

We had to practice being ethical to our classmates and followers. Realizing that they are putting themselves out there just as much as we are. The good comments help boost and reassure confidence to the original poster.  When we used a photo or quote in our post we had to learn how to properly site that photo to follow copyright laws.

When I wrote the blog Management Enforced it was about what I was actually dealing with and I was able to tie it into what my independent learning project was for classroom management. This blog was almost a way for me to put my thoughts down on paper and be able to think through a process I was dealing with at work.

photo by

The last few modules of this semester really opened my eyes to how education needs to change. Reading about the Sudbury Valley School and how the kids basically learn how they want through experience and with each other just blows my mind. Where I work in an elementary school and see first hand how some of the kids behave. I could not imagine having 200 students and only 10 adults.

I also really enjoyed the last interview with Peter Gray about Learning Through Play I thought he had a lot of good information on how kids want to learn. They don’t want to sit in a desk all day and be lectured at. They do not retain information given to them that way. They want to get up and move around and explore.

One last thing I noticed I do in my blogs is I try to get the readers to put themselves in the example. For example, in my blog Activism in the Digital World I try to get the reader to think back to before internet and social media were invented. Trying to get them to think about how much we use this digital world to send out invites or share pictures. Think about how different things would be if we all of a sudden lost the internet and all other digital devices. Sure we have done it before but can we go back and do it again?

All in all I think this class has been very useful and I am sure I will turn to it again when I am looking for ideas for my innovative classroom. I honestly do hope that I can take some of these ideas into my classroom, even if it is just a couple. You got to start somewhere, right? And after all my blog is now a digital footprint and a digital story I created of Eng 361 that is going nowhere.

9 Classroom Elephants

We all have things that we are thinking but do not always say out loud. Will Richardson wrote and article called 9 Elephants in the (class)room That Should “Unsettle” Us. In this article he discusses just that, what we do not want to talk about out loud. There are many issues with today’s education system that needs changed but it will take a lot of work and a lot of change but people are afraid of change and that is why these topics are unsettling. We know they are not right for today’s school kids but how do we do anything about it. Will Richardson’s first advice is to acknowledge the elephants. In order to get anything accomplished you first have to talk about what is unsettling. His 9 elephants are: students will forget most of the content that they “learn” in school, Students are bored and disengaged in school, schools were not built for deep, lasting learning, we are accessing things that don’t matter for future success, students and parents are more interested in the grades not that actual learning, curriculum is just a guess, separating learning into discrete subjects and times does not prepare kids for the real world, education does not prepare kids for what is after graduation, and informal learning is usually what “sticks”.

I found these to definitely be topics that people do not want to talk about . I think we don’t want to talk about them because how are we able to fix these problems. The couple I think we should focus on in our schooling is the easier ones. There really isn’t a reason why kids should be bored or disengaged in school. It is not that hard to make a lesson interesting and have it relate to the real world. If the kids realize that they can use this information outside of school they will be more apt to paying attention and understanding what you are teaching.

Another one I think kids would benefit from is not relying so much on grades but more of the content. Students should not be stressed about their grade. If they are able to focus on the content then they will automatically get that good grade they are after. But if they are focused on that bad grade they got they are not going to be ready and focused on what you are teaching now. Grades should be  a measure for the teacher to base what they may or may not need to re-teach.

Becoming Innovative

What a semester! To think it is already coming to an end is crazy. I was a little worried about this class. I am not a writer and did not want to just write random papers that I didn’t care about. But this class was just the opposite. This class was not about putting a paper in the right format but about getting what we have learned and our thoughts on what we learned and read out there. It subjected us to having what we wrote read by others not just the teacher. I feel I have become more of an innovative learner this semester. I have learned to read something and then reflect on how I feel about that topic and how I may end up using that information in the future.

It is hard to describe what an innovative classroom should look like. But one big thing about it is testing should not be a stress factor for the kids. It should be used to let the teacher know if what they are doing is working. Teachers need to find different ways to teach to accommodate all of the learning styles in the classroom. Innovative teachers also have to realize they can not change the education system in a day, night or even a year. In the article “The mindset of an Innovator” by George Couros he states “I recognize that there are obstacles in education, but as an innovator, I will focus on what is possible today and where I can push to lead towards tomorrow.”

I have had to do some unlearning this semester. Not only for this class really but all of my classes. With them being online I don’t get the benefit of the teachers being right there for me if I have a question. In the article by Will Richardson, “The Steep Unlearning Curve: 10 Things We Need to Unlearn” A couple that stood out to me were “we need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom. We can connect kids to people who are far more experienced in different material than we are.

We need to stop thinking we can not learn from the kids in our classroom. We also need to unlearn teaching all kids at the same pace. They need to go at their own pace. One last one I liked was “we need to unlearn the idea that we can teach our students to be literate in this world by continually blocking and filtering access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate”.

Wrapping up Classroom Management

Wrapping up Classroom Management

For my class we got to choose a topic we wanted to learn more about. I chose classroom management because I knew it would be something I would use in my classroom. I also knew that classroom management is not a topic that can easily be taught in a class. So I took this opportunity to learn a little more. I did a lot of research on the internet to start, reading blogs, watching videos and looking at pictures. I then took my research into the classroom. Observing the teachers that I work with, I learned some techniques I would like to try in my classroom that I discussed in my other blogs. I also witnessed some that just do not work. I am sure I will go through several ideas that will either work or won’t work before I find the perfect management that I will use.

I have found that it is hard for me to get motivated if I am not “into” the topic. However, with classroom management I know it is something that I will need in the future so it was not that hard to do the research and write about that research. Sometimes it is hard for me to get motivated but once I do get started I found myself spending more time on it than I anticipated. Towards the end I felt like I was finding the same information over and over again so I think if this project went on much more I would find it more challenging as time went on.ilp-2

I am glad I chose something to deal with my future. I did like having the option to choose what we wanted to learn about. I almost wish we would have been able to do two topics maybe one for what we will need in the future and something a little more just for fun.

I think it would be good to utilize the independent learning project in the classroom because it teaches kids how to look up information. You could have the students either pick anything they want to learn about or offer a list to choose from. Either way I think it would help them be more interested in the project if they choose something they are interested in. After they complete their research you can have them do a project and present it to the class. This way they can learn how to search for what they would like to learn in the future and learn how to make the presentation out of the material they find.

Teaching is Like Gardening

Wow what a project! Not going to lie at all I was stressing with this project just a bit. I had to search a little to find a program to use that I found easy to understand. I didn’t need any more stress this week. Once I got started and found my images I wanted to use it got a little easier and I could once again breath. Figuring out how the program I chose worked was probably the part that took the longest. But once I got that down things went a little smoother. Then the next challenge would be putting everything together so it would make sense. I knew what message I wanted to get across but getting it in the right order to make sense to everyone one else was a little challenge. Anyway, here is my digital story. I got the pictures from google images and the music I found in the Wevideo library.

I chose the metaphor teaching is like gardening because it is the closest thing I could think of that teaching is. You as a teacher are the one planting the knowledge seeds in your students heads. The seed can be the most basic of information and the child can take that information and feed it with other information and it can grow into a whole new concept. It is teachers jobs to provide what the students need just like it is the gardeners job to provide soil, water, sunlight. If that gardener planted the seeds where there was no sunlight and didn’t feed it water the seed would not turn into anything to its potential.  I plan on giving my students the tools they need to succeed not only in my class but tools they can take with them to utilize in other classrooms as well to continue their growing. I want to plant as many seeds in their heads as I can fit. Gardening and teaching are also the same as it takes patience and time with each situation. With gardening you may not see results over night but if you just give it time, you will come out to something beautiful as a flower or delicious as a vegetable. The same goes for teaching. You may not see that light bulb click over their head right away but once you do it is a rewarding feeling knowing that you planted that seed. This is the metaphor I hope to live up to in my future career of teaching.

Canva Creation

After reading the Tech view: Online Creation Tools and Take 5: Comic Book/Strip Creation tools it just makes me realize even more how many great resources there are to do an unlimited amount of projects. There is no reason to not be creative in your life. From posters to business cards. Comic books to informational brochures. The ideas are endless. I personally chose to work with I made an infographic to tell a little about what I have learned in my independent learning project, classroom management. I chose to use what I have continuously been seeing in a lot of the web pages I view. I have alsoclassroom-management witnessed a lot of these tips and trick work (and not work) first hand in the classroom. I did not run into many problems. The one issue I had at first was when you try to add new text. I would click on the text style I wanted and it would not show up, or so I thought. It was working but it would appear down below where I could not see. For the most part the basics of this site are simple click and drag. I could see using some of these as a class project. I think the kids would like to use the comic book site to make a story or movie scene. I did run into one more thing that was frustrating about the canva site. If you want to insert a picture most of what comes up you have to pay $1. I did not find very many free pictures or clip art in their library of pictures. There were a few but very very basic. I am going to have to find time to explore the other sites as well to see which one is better. I think it is important to let the kids know what is out there and learn with different programs. This will help teach them how to navigate through different sites so they will know how or will be able to figure out other sites for future projects. I would have loved to have these to work with while in school. All I knew of to make projects with when I was in school was power point.

All of these creative sites have numorous ways to tie in fun creative projects to your lessons and the kids will enjoy them. Another reason these would be good is not every student is a good drawer or artist. These give those kids a way to show their creative side and not having to worry about their drawings looking like they want them too, or not.


Digital Storytelling

First of all, let’s start by figuring out what digital storytelling is all about. It is defined as the act of using computer-based tools (desktop, laptops, tablets, cameras and smartphones) to tell a story.storytelling Sounds simple right? Well, it can be or it can be combined with different activities to make a full lesson and make the learning part a little more fun when used in the classroom. By using digital means to tell a story there are unlimited ways to tell the same story. Which means you can keep your students entertained and involved in the lesson. Some may think that using digital storytelling students would lose out on writing skills. That is in fact the opposite. Students would have to write out what their digital story is going to look like. If it is a video they would have to write out the script so everyone knows what to say and when to say it.

From a students perspective they are working with what they already love, technology. This allows them to also explore and learn what is out there and they can see other digital stories other people have done already.

podcastsAnother means to storytelling digitally is using podcasts. Having the kids sit and listen to podcasts allows them to listen to stories two to three reading levels above the level they read at. Doing this would expose kids to higher vocabulary and potentially increase their reading level. I would not recommend using podcast all of the time because the students would still need to work on their actual reading.

I could see a few disadvantages of digital storytelling. One being the project size could get complicated and time consuming depending on how detailed your lesson is. But, if you keep it simple it shouldn’t be too bad. I could also see a teacher overusing the podcast thing and not making an actual good lesson over it. You would have to inquire questions out of the kids to make sure they are paying attention and turn it into a discussion.

I would like to have the students create some sort of digital storytelling as a project. I think it would be fun for them and me to see what they all come up with.

My biggest take away is the fact that with the pod cast students can enjoy readings that are above their level. It gives the students who struggle with reading the opportunity to read a book they may not be able to that their friends are reading and talking about. I also like that they can get on them at home. Kids could listen to the podcast at home and come to school the next day ready to talk about and discuss it.