Community of Learning – Personal Network of Learning

Technology is the new unstoppable force in education. There is no way of stopping the inclusion of technology in the classroom, so instead, we as educators should embrace this new wave of education and run with it. There are so many positive impacts that technology can have in the classroom, which in my opinion, far outweigh the negatives that have often been put in the spotlight.

An interesting article I stumbled on Twitter the other day was about an 8-year-old CEO who proves that kids are the future. This is what makes it so important to show kids how to properly use technology and use it safely because it has gotten a bad name in the past because of people who misuse it. Of course, there will still be people who don’t use technology safely or properly, but we can always try our best to show students the right way because as we all know – knowledge is power, people!

One of my favorite types of technology to use in the classroom is Twitter. I will admit that it took me quite a long time to warm up to this online resource, however now that I have experimented with it more I have come to really love it. In my first year of university, I joined in order to participate in class discussions using a hashtag in some of my early Education classes . However, it turned into more of a personal account and started following too many people and it become very overwhelming therefore I became frustrated and gave up on it.

However, last year I decided to make a new Twitter account that I strictly devoted to educational purposes and I absolutely love it. It does take some time to build up a strong account, but once you start following the right people, it is very useful in terms of researching education. There are so many educational resources that are shared daily. Not only that, if you researching a specific topic, you can search only that and so many helpful resources are shared from fellow educators. It is really rewarding when other educators tweet at you, or reply to your questions. I was really excited to wake up one day and see that a fellow education account (@Edutechtree) tweeted me a link about educational apps. It is really rewarding to see that this platform is connecting myself to other educators that I can learn from.

Twitter is also a great interactive way to keep discussions going with specific hashtags where we can find our peers discussing a specific topic. For example, this semester we are using #ecs210, and it really helps me see my peers perspectives on certain topics, and at certain times, helps me understand the topic and relate to it more. For example, I found a fellow education student at the handle @aimeefcastillo tweeting really useful things about our lecture on October 21st with Grant Urban that I really enjoyed reading.

There are so many educational tools for teachers to use that help them to include technology in their classroom, especially for older grades with older students. We are being unrealistic if we think our students aren’t going to use technology, especially since it is so easy and available for students to use in all aspects of their lives. I feel like it is our job as educators to show students’ positive and productive ways to use technology now and in their future.

Gaggle is an interesting tool that I found that seems interactive and interesting for students to use, and I definitely want to incorporate into my classroom. It is very similar to Facebook, but is a way for teachers and parents to monitor what is going on and being posted/said. It has a discussion board that students can continue after the bell. It has a blog aspect, as well as a safe emailing system. One thing that I really liked about this tool is that it has a calendar feature that syncs due dates to ALL of the student’s profiles, therefore there will never be confusion to students or parents when assignments are due. It keeps things very organized. This is also a great tool that keeps the parents in the know. For the parents who want to see what is happening in the classroom, this is a fantastic way to show them what their children are discussing and learning. Since all the students have a private profile, it also stores all the students’ grades. It is a digital locker for students to use, which is eventually the way that students will use more prominently.

Personally, blogging was something that was extremely scary for me before I learned how to do it. Now, I find it a really helpful way to further my understanding about certain subjects, as well as reflect about my feelings about specific subjects. When we had Grant Urban as a guest lecturer in our seminar on October 21, 2014, I found it really useful to be able to write about my thoughts and experiences from his lecture. It is also a great way to document my experiences as I go through my education journey and reflect on lessons I create and teach.

I realize now how important it is to educate myself about the growing field  of technology as much as possible.  As I continue on with my Education journey, I am extremely excited to continue learning different ways on how I can incorporate technology into my future classroom.

ECS 210 October 21, 2014 Guest Lecturer – Grant Urban

I found Grant Urban’s lecture to be really interesting. I enjoyed all of his stories that he shared with us. The main message I took away from his lecture is that you can’t judge a student by what their perceived “story” is. We do it so often in our lives, not only in regards to teaching students. Our whole society participates in the idea of judging someone by his or her outward appearance or his or her assumed “story”. What really caught my attention is the story Grant told about his Aboriginal student on the treaty fieldtrip. Of course, we as educators would think right away that as an Aboriginal student he would enjoy this experience, but in reality he actually didn’t want to partake in it in any way.

This made me think of a few instances in my high school education where we would be reading First Nation narratives in English, and my English teacher would point out the one or two Aboriginal students in our class and ask them, “what kind of traditions does your family do? Was any of your family involved in residential schools?” The entire class could tell this made that student feel so uncomfortable because he was specifically pointing this student out and putting him on the spot. This student did not want to talk about this, let alone speak to the entire class about it. This is an example of how sometimes teachers don’t realize that a student is more than just their perceived “story”. My old English teacher thought that since they had aboriginal ancestry that they would want to talk about how he related to that piece of writing. That student didn’t even identify as an Aboriginal because he chose not to. Perhaps that student would have liked to talk about their experiences as an Aboriginal student, but not in front of the entire classroom. We as teachers need to make sure we are not assuming things about students and pointing things out about students because of how they look or how they act.

Another personal narrative that Grant told us that stood out to me was the story about him telling his students to leave their “street” attitude at home because he doesn’t want to have that in his classroom. He probably thought that these kids were trying to get attention and act out. In reality, these students probably had no other idea how to act because that is the only way they knew how to act. That student might not want to identify as a “street” person, or even realized that they were acting in a certain way. Telling a student to be someone else in your classroom has implications to it, and I hadn’t thought of it in that way before.

What Grant Urban was trying to get across is that personal relationships with your students are crucial. Students are not just a number who you are forced to teach. One of the last things he said really stuck with me – that we as teachers learn just as much from our students as they learn from us.