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Online Learning Experience Reflection

Today for class we used Skype and Adobe Pro rather than meeting in an actual classroom.  There were a few aspects of tonight’s class that I thought were great, and then there were a few aspects that didn’t go so well.

What did I like?

  • I learned about some of the features of Adobe Pro like the “raise hand” button and the private messages (although I could almost see that aspect being not so good with some students)
  • Don’t need to download Adobe Pro.
  • I felt our conversation on Skype about each others blogs was really good (this may vary between groups).  Everyone had different ideas and inputs that I had never considered before (also was a good confidence boost. Thanks everyone! 🙂 ).
  • Google Docs.  This is a great way to collaboratively work with others from different locations.  Allowing everyone to work on the same document at the same time is great, in my opinion, because then everyone can do their fair share of work and so it’s not just one person doing all the work.  Many of my other classes stress the importance of using Google Docs and this was just another way to reinforce this.
  • The combination of using Google Docs and Skype at the same time.  I thought this was really interesting because while everyone wrote their inputs on the questions, we were discussing it at the same time using the audio feature from Skype.
  • When Skyping with the group, I liked how we were using Google Docs at the same time because it gave me something to look at.  When we did the group call, we could only look at everyone’s profile photos so if I wasn’t also noting on Google Docs what we were discussing, I might have had a hard to focusing on the conversation.
  • Because I was hidden behind the computer screen and in smaller groups, I felt more confident to share my ideas (I think others too!)
  • Closing remarks: Using Adobe Pro for morning announcements and walking around the school and showing the students whats new and going on in the school.  I thought this was a really neat idea!

What didn’t I like?

  • When setting up both Adobe Pro and Skype, we had a few technical difficulties.  On Adobe Pro, we started 20 minutes late because people were still logging in and setting up (which is expected for the first use of an online class).  On Skype, we continuously lost members of our group and kept having to add them back in or restarting a group call.
  • At one point on Adobe Pro I got disconnected from the group and it sent me to a troubleshoot page (4 times! I ended up missing some of what Milissa was saying). It logged me out of the session so I had to exit and click on the link through the ECMP blog (I tried pressing back and it didn’t work).

What did I learn?

  • I’ve never used Adobe Pro before so I learned a few of its great features (“raising hand” button and the other button on that drop down menu, group chat, private messaging, and you can be a host, guest or presenter).
  • On Skype, I didn’t know how to do group calls or add people to the call before and I learned how to today (to do group calls, go to contacts, hold “ctrl” button and click on contacts you wish to call, right click and click on “call group.” To add someone to a call, open up your group call, on the top menu, click “Contacts” and then “Add people”).
  • I learned what other people thought made up a good blog (see Google Docs for everyone’s thoughts).  A few suggestions I will try to incorporate in my blog are: having a balance between videos, pictures, and actual writing and having a “voice” in my writing.

Click here to view the group Google Docs that we created.

Here is an article I found online that discusses more about the strengths and weaknesses of online learning.

Michelle Morley’s Presentation

The main message I got out of Michelle’s presentation was that educators need to keep in mind are the four C’s (Create, Collaborate, Communicate, and Critical Thinking Skills).  When I think of being a Math teacher, my mind keeps going back to how I was taught which was basically only through direct instruction, but what Michelle was telling us is that we need to get our students involved in the classroom (using these four C’s and technology).

Some of the technology discussed that I’ve heard of included skype, wiki, Edmodo, YouTube, pinterest, twitter, and Google +.  A few of these, including pinterest and Google + , I have never thought of using in the classroom and I think these are technologies that I would like to look into to use in my classroom.

There were quite a few technologies that Michelle brought up that I have never heard of before and would like to look into: stixy, bubbl.us, and snapguide.

I really liked how we could have a presenter without them actually being there.  I did like Adobe Pro, although I wish that the webcam was hooked up.  This is because I find I can pay attention better and focus on what the presenter is trying to say when I can see their face and the body language their using rather than just watching screen shots.  Other than that, I really liked Adobe Pro and would definitely use it in my classroom say for example if it was a snow day, I was sick, or needed to provide a tutorial session for my students outside of class.

Cyber Safety Guidelines Article

Here is an article called “Guidelines and Resources for Internet Safety in Schools” by the Virginia Department of Education.  Specifically for teachers, read pages 13 – 15.  If interested, this does provide a lot of general information for others including parents, administrators, and school boards.  It also discusses integrating internet safety into curriculum content instruction.  You can find all the page numbers for these under the table of contents.

No Limits

The article No Limits, by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, discusses how teachers need to find newer and more ways to integrate technology in such a way that is more meaningful to students.  A study has shown that “one quarter of today’s students agree that school is meaningful or their courses are interesting.”  The student’s that are in school now and that will be entering our schools are digital learners, so we as teachers need to find newer and more engaging ways to teach using technology.  I thought she was spot on with this point because I remember back in my high school, my teacher had a smart board but the only way that she used it was to write on the handout she gave us so she could do it with us, which is almost exactly how she had taught her lessons beforehand which she just put on an overhead projector and filled it in with a marker.  So really, she wasn’t really using the technology to improve her lessons any differently or in a more engaging way.  So, I think teachers need to be investing more time into finding different ways to teach their lessons with technology and attend workshops or professional development events that can help achieve this.

I don’t completely agree with the author’s statement: “If you expose students to technology, they are much more ready to do these things that we think.”  I don’t agree with this statement mainly because exposure is not the problem, kids are being exposed and learning at a very young age how to use technology.  For example, Dr. Couros talked about in one of his presentations how his daughter, who I believe he said was 3 or 4, was able to make and edit a video.  Also, nowadays, if you go on YouTube, you can find young people who can edit and create videos that are up to par with the film makers who make millions doing celebrities music videos.  An example is of a 16 year old boy who dances to Beyonce’s song “Countdown.”  This boy is able to create and edit videos just as professional as famous film editors can who have had years of experience.  So, unless maybe I just misinterpreted the statement, I don’t believe that students need to be exposed, I think that teachers are the ones that need to be exposed.

One thing that the author mentioned was how a class used Photostory.  I have honestly never heard of this before and I am very interested in learning about it.  Perhaps this will be the focus of my next blog…

 

Here’s a link to the reading!

Boomers, Gen-Xers, and Millennials

I actually enjoyed reading this article by Diana Oblinger!  It discusses the generations of learners (The Depression Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Millenials), characteristics of the “new student,” and what schools are doing to engage and draw these students’ attention.

One point I found to be quite surprising was when they listed the Baby Boomer’s as a part of the “new student.”  I thought this was quite surprising because when I think of “new students,” it is the children who are still in elementary or high school.  I personally don’t think that they should be applied to this term because their schooling experience was completely different from my generations experience (I’m a Millennial).  I also think the Millennials should almost be split up into two different groups because the earlier Millennials had a different experience from the later Millennials.  I remember in elementary school, we had a single computer lab, a couple TV carts to share with the whole school, and overhead projectors.  Also, we were taught mostly through taking notes from the board or working on handouts.  I compare this to my most recent class practicum, I was placed in a grade 6 class where each student brought their own laptop, iPhone, or iPad and there was a SMART board in each class to replace the overhead projector and TV cart.  Instead of taking notes on the board with paper and pen, students were using all sorts of different ways to do so and also teachers were using PowerPoints, pictures and videos to teach.  So in almost ten years, teaching and learning has changed quite significantly and yet they’re still in the same category for experiencing learning.

One section that I thought had me thinking about was when the author talked about how students feel educators use of technology is lacking and disappointing.  I think that one way to keep up to date with technology and use it so that students are engaged is to ask them if they have any ideas of how you could integrate technology into the lessons or what different types of technologies are available to change things up.  I think that this could also help engage students not only by integrating technology, but because you are getting them involved in finding ways to improve their learning so they will want to pay attention to class and pin point areas that could be improved on or that they liked.

One point that made me think back to a video I had watched in one of my classes last year was “They expect that services will be available 24×7 in a variety of modes.”  I found this video to be extremely funny but also very real in how much people expect nowadays.  “Everything’s Amazing and Nobodies Happy” (watch 2:14 – 6:05)

If you want to read the article, here’s the link!

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy

This week’s reading focused on Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy by Andrew Churches.  This article discussed a little bit about Bloom’s taxonomy and the revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy by Anderson and Krathwohl.  Then Churches went on to discuss his own revised version of Anderson and Krathwohl’s version of Bloom’s taxonomy.  In his version, he basically adds technology to the categories outlined in Anderson and Krathwohl’s version (remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating, and creating), with a few changes, and then discusses the subcategories.  While discussing these, Churches explains a variety of websites, how they relate to the categories and subcategories, and how to use them in a classroom.

One thing that I wanted to mention about the reading was that I found it a bit of a frustrating read because there were so many grammar and spelling mistakes.  It made me just want to whip out a red pen and start fixing all of the mistakes (the whole typical English teacher thing if you catch my drift).  Other than that, I actually really enjoyed this reading.  It was long, but there were a lot of interesting, informative points brought up in this article and there were even a few websites that were listed that I had never heard of until now.  One other thing that I really enjoyed about this article was how Churches explained how to incorporate the websites and technology into the classroom (which were free for the most part), how to actually use this technology, and gave alternatives to use in case we didn’t want to use the suggested website.

http://edorigami.wikispaces.com/file/view/bloom%27s+Digital+taxonomy+v3.01.pdf