#EdTech · EDTS325

The End of the Semester Already? My Final Reflection on my Educational Technologies Class

Holy Smokes! The end of the semester is already here, I cannot believe it! It feels like it was just yesterday that we were just starting this semester. When I initially enrolled in this class, I assumed that because of my previous technology experience I would find this class and the technologies we used to be a breeze. That was a mistake. The

Word Art 1technologies we learnt over the semester were sometimes frustrating at first, but by the end, I loved almost all of them!

Throughout this class, I was introduced to a variety of different websites, apps, and tools that will be extremely useful in my future classroom. I had heard of a few of the programs we used, such as Smart Notebook and the websites we used in our Personal Learning Network including Twitter, Pinterest and blogging. Although I previously knew of these systems, I only knew the most basic functions, and would not have thought to use all of them in a classroom environment. The more advanced features I learned through this class, will be much more effective for my students. This technology class also introduced me to many brand new programs that can be used in a classroom, as well as just improved my technology and computer skills.

This class has stressed the importance of our individual learning networks from a professional standpoint and the wonders it can do for our professional identity. Our personal learning network (PLN) consisted mainly of different social media accounts including Twitter and Pinterest. We learned the creating a well organized and professional PLN can help school superintendents learn about you and your beliefs as a teacher, it allows them to see your commitment from the beginning of your education and how you have grown through your experiences. Our PLN’s focused on making ourselves look and feel more professional with the technology we use. Being able to have learned not only what to post about education, but learning how to find interesting and valuable educational information through these social media accounts will be a skill that I will never be able to overlook. It can assist me in my professional growth from now until I retire.

We touched on a diverse amount of websites, apps and tools to be used in the classroom setting, so overall I do not believe that there is anything else I wish we would have learned. There is a ton of technology out there that I have yet to discover, but over the course of a semester, we cannot cover it all. I found that what we covered was the most likely to be used in our future classroom, as well as helped us to build generic technology skills enabling us to learn new technology as we find it. I will continuously be searching for ways to expand my knowledge of technology.

The amount of new knowledge this course provided me with, fills me with excitement because I know I will be able to use it directly in my career. The different programs we have explored have given me so many ideas of how I can use them in my future classroom, as well as just having the ability to use them in my future courses for projects. These technologies in my future classroom allow me to not only use them for lessons, I can use them for assessments, or the students can use them for their creations. Why continue boring handwritten exit cards, when you can get the same outcome for one of these technologies that students are going to enjoy way more. There have been systems and programs that I have found to be challenging to use and create on them, however, for the most part, the programs we learned this semester were easy to use and user-friendly. I do have to say I loved all of them for their own unique features they offered the users.

I realized I really loved integrating technology into the classroom when we were testing out the multitude of interactive systems from the student perspective. When our class was testing them out and to see how engaged we all were and how much fun we were able to have while still getting our work done, it made me wish that as a teacher my classes would be like that. After this course, I think I really learned the skills in order for me to make this possible. As frustrating as technology can sometimes be when I would get frustrated with a program and want to give up, that I really just have to slow down and take my time. I often tried to rush through some of the steps in the program which led to the problems. This was the aspect I struggled with the most throughout the course, I just needed to learn to take my time and follow the proper steps.

The future of technology in the classroom, I think will eventually reach a point where there will be a minimal amount of human interaction. However, I do not agree with this. Human interaction is a major part of education, but I do think technology should be a part of technology. Education that involves both human interaction and technology would offer the students the best outcome. The use of technology to improve learning is an amazing tool that teachers now have the opportunity to use, and they should definitely take advantage of it.

Overall, I found this class to be very educational and practical. Many courses you cannot directly make the connection to how your career will benefit from it, but this is definitely one of the classes you can. I really enjoyed taking this class and learning the many ways to incorporate the wonderful technology we have access to into a classroom.

I’d like to thank Cammie Kannekens for the wonderful semester and all of the amazing knowledge I got from it!!

 

 

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#EdTech · Classroom Tools · Digital Citizenship · EDTS325

My Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is the trail you leave everytime you use the internet. No matter you do on the internet, there is some sort of mark you left behind. Digital footprints can cause a huge controversy for educators and others that work in a school. Yesterday, I read multiple articles on teachers and social media and the consequences they have had to face because of certain images they have uploaded to their different social media accounts.

My Digital Footprint

I have wanted to become a teacher for as long as I can remember and because of that, I have also been self-cautious of what I have posted on my social media accounts. From being cautious from the beginning of my social media accounts, I believe that my digital footprint is fairly good. I have recently gone through all of my social media accounts and ensured that all of my posts are appropriate and all of my accounts are private. My posts on my social media are appropriate that students and parents could see them, however, I do not think I would choose to invite them to browse my personal accounts because I would like to keep my professional and personal life separate.

How Can I Improve my Digital Footprint?

Although my digital footprint is appropriate, I do believe that there are many ways I could improve my digital footprint from an educators perspectives. I think that by adding more professional content on ‘top’ of my digital footprint would improve it because a majority of my footprint is related to high school achievements and sports. These are not necessarily bad aspects, but eventually, when I will be looking for a job, those are not the kinds of things a Superintendent is going to look for. So by the creation of this blog, my educational twitter and Pinterest pages, will help to create new professional accounts and aspects of my digital footprint that will interest my future employers.  These professional social media accounts will help me as a future educator because it will show the Superintendents that I have been professionally active since the beginning of my education and show that I am passionate about my career. It will allow them to read about my thoughts on education practices and to see aspects I find important to education. Having these accounts to show a Superintendent in the future could help me to secure a job, by telling them about me and my educational beliefs.

Take a look at my Twitter page and my Pinterest page to see how I am using them to improve my digital footprint!

 

#EdTech · Digital Citizenship · EDTS325

Information Race & Digital Citizenship

The internet can be a scary place, there is a lot of information and people out there. This is exactly why digital citizenship is such an important thing to learn about as a child and a student. Digital citizenship is the idea that you understand how to use the internet properly and safely. I have recently been learning and discussing this topic and I would like to share how I came about the importance of digital citizenship.

Information Race

I competed in an information race recently, this is where you try and find specific information in the shortest amount of time. During this search, I realized how many fake websites and the amount of inaccurate information there is out there on the internet. Throughout this race, I came across 3 websites, in under 5 minutes.

By experiencing this, I had a major realization of how scary the internet actually is and how digital citizenship can really protect children and people new to the internet. I believed that I had a reasonably strong digital citizenship because I have had access to the internet and surfing the internet since I was quite young, but during this information race I was so concerned with the race aspect, I was not considering my digital safety.  As a pre-service teacher, I believe that children need to learn about digital citizenship in order to find safe and reliable information, whether it be for school or in their personal life. The internet has a ton of information on it, not all be safe or correct, yet so many people do not realize how important digital citizenship is.

How Does One Learn Digital Citizenship 

I believe that digital citizenship should be a required topic in education for students who are going to begin to use the internet in school, let alone in their daily lives because of the many aspects that can be found on the internet. I think that by incorporating digital citizenship into education will decrease the number of children that are not able to learn about it. This will ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn how to use the internet safely and not leaving it to chance that the parents will teach them this in their home lives.

#EdTech · Classroom Tools · EDTS325

Screen Casting? Use Loom.

I recently just created my first ever screen cast. I made it on How to create a tweet and use hashtags on Twitter. To create this screen cast I used the program “Loom.” For anyone creating a screen cast especially for the first time, I would definitely recommend using Loom.

Downloading

Loom does not require any downloading, it only requires you have Google Chrome as an internet browser. If you have Google Chrome, you just have to add an attachment on to it. This only requires a click of a button. Not having to actually download a program and only requires to add an attachment to the browser makes it extremely easy to access. It also allows more people to use it because it does not take up as much space on the computer.

Operating

Loom was also extremely easy to use when you were ready to begin your screen cast, you just had to click the small icon on the Chrome Tab you want to cast. It gives you a choice of the video you would like to cast, your face and the webpage, just the webpage, or just your face. When you click to begin your screen cast, it gives you all the options you have, after you make these decisions. You have to click begin, and it will even give you a countdown to prepare you for when the video will begin. This ensures that you are ready for your video and will help ensure that your video remains professional.

Sharing My Product

After finishing my video, the sharing and saving of my product was also very easy. As soon as you finish taking the screen cast it automatically takes you directly to a page for you to share the video. It gives you the options to share the video through email, through a link, or you can save it to your computer. Having the video be instantly ready to share, as well as giving you the multiple options to share it with made it extremely easy to use. I was able to save my video to my computer with no complications!

Classroom Use

I think you could use Loom in a multitude of ways in a classroom. I think I would mainly use it for directions with my students, if I premade a loom video for my students of what I would like them to do, all they would have to do is click the link and they would know what to do. This could be used for homework, so they have the instructions and details whether they are at the school or at home, and it doesn’t require the students taking home all the instruction pages. Another way you could use Loom in the classroom, is to have the students create a screen cast. You could have the students create a screen cast as an assessment tool, this would ensure the students actually know how to use and work whichever computer idea you are working with, rather than just memorizing knowledge for a short period of time.

Check out my screen cast I made on Loom here, to see what a beginner can do. I can only imagine what a pro on Loom could do!

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Classroom Tools

Creation vs. Consumption – PowToon

Consumption

I recently used the website PowToon for the first time, I have seen some of the different products from it before, but I had never actually created one. The videos you can make on the website are typically short animated videos, but they can be made for almost any topic. I love the idea of using them in the classroom to get some of the information to students because switching up how we present topics to the students which can increase engagement. I think PowToon is a great tool for teachers to use to help them hit all the different learning styles!

Creation

During my creation process, I found PowToon very straight-forward and easy to use. As I started my process to create my own PowToon video, I searched throughout the website through all of the different templates they offered. As I went through these templates, it helped me see all of the different things that I could do with my own. However, some of these options I later found were on the premium and upgraded plans so I could not use everything I saw, these mainly included more prestige backgrounds and other additional add-ons that are not necessarily needed. I could still do plenty of other things with the free version though. Overall, I found that PowToon was actually very easy to use and I was able to figure out how to operate all of the options they offered with little to no struggle. Although, I found that PowToon was very finicky at some points and you had to be very precise with where you were placing your mouse and how you were moving it. There was one other aspect of PowToon that I found to be slightly aggravating it was that after I had taken the time to decipher the timings for all of my slides when I would go to delete the extra time at the end it would interfere with the timings I had already created. It would take a second away from my already positioned timings, as I took a second off of the end of the slide. I found this to be slightly challenging initially, but after I got into my presentation I began to get used to how to adjust for this.

Classroom Involvement

I would highly recommend using PowToon in a classroom, whether it is just to present a topic to the students and using it just as a consumption tool or using it as a creation tool. If you are teaching students that are old enough to work with a presentation tool like PowToon, I think it is a great idea for them to use to create something. There are so many opportunities that could arise from a website like this and such a diverse number of ways to use it with your students. I used it as a way to introduce my students to all the important figures in the school, I intended it for the students to then create one on something that they find important to them. Another way you could integrate PowToon into the classroom is by having them create a “Facts About Me” presentation to help you get to know them and for them to get to know their classmates. You could also have them use it for class presentations rather than a basic PowerPoint slideshow. PowToon offers a multitude of opportunities for students to take advantage of and take their education into their own hands.

For extra help using PowToon, feel free to check out this link for 10 Helpful Hints to help you create a great PowToon.

Click here to check out my finish product made on PowToon.

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Classroom Tools

QR Codes in the Classroom

I have previously never really used QR Codes before. I knew what they were and had seen them in a few places, but I had never truly interacted with them before, until this week in my Educational Technology class. We got to use them as students to see how a teacher could use them in a classroom environment, and I loved it.

QR Codes from a Student Perspective 

I enjoyed using QR Codes in class because I got me out of my seat and moving around. We initially tried to use them to find words throughout the hallway that were connected to the QR Codes we would find, and I really like how it made a simple task a little more fun and allowed me to interact with my other classmates.

QR Codes from a Teacher Perspective

As a teacher, I love the idea of using QR Codes in the classroom because of the increased student engagement I think could come out of it. They have the ability to make a usual boring topic, fun. We watched a video on how a teacher used QR Codes to give her class their spelling words, I think I would definitely use this idea in my future classroom if I ever have to give out spelling words. We also used QR Codes for a Goose Chase Scavenger Hunt and this was so much fun. We went around the College and looked for places that have QR Codes, what they provide for that location, and what areas could benefit from adding QR Codes. Goose Chase could be used in a variety of ways not relating to QR Codes at all. It could be used for any type of Scavenger Hunt where you can take pictures of the tasks and earn your points. For example, in my future classroom, I would love to use Goose Chase for a Grade 4 Science activity where they have to go find different pulleys, levers, and gears. This would allow them to make real-world connections to the material we are learning. I think in my future classroom I will take advantage of both of these technologies to try and create more engagement with my students!

Classroom Tools

Using Technology to Create an Interactive Classroom

Over the past couple of weeks, we have been using a ton of great websites and technologies that can be used in a classroom to increase the interaction the students have in their learning! We used over 10 different systems, they all had some great features to offer teachers looking to engage their students through interactive technology. I had previously used some of these systems in my classes, but some of these were brand new to me. These systems offer teachers an abundant amount of things and they all vary greatly. I will be discussing my favourite systems that I can’t wait to use in my classroom and the systems I am not positive I will use in my classroom. I will discuss this through specific categories including teacher use, student use, the flexibility of questions, and feedback.

I think the most important aspect of these interactive systems is if it can meet the student’s needs and how it can benefit their education. I believe that the best interactive systems ensure to involve all of the students, and I think that most teachers will agree that the students come first. Now with that, well exploring these systems from a student perspective I thought that Quizlet Live was great for its student involvement and engagement. It was great because it allows students to work together in teams and created a competitive aspect that I found to increase student engagement even more. Quizlet Live did only offer multiple choice style questions, but I found that this restriction was out-weighed by student benefits of the system. My least favourite system for student use was Padlet because it was restricted to only short answer style responses, which I know as a student were my least favourite. I also found that I did not become as engaged in it because if I didn’t know my answer initially, I could just wait for another student to respond before answering for myself. I felt as if I would not use Padlet in my classroom to increase student engagement, but I would definitely use Quizlet Live.

Throughout my exploration of all of the different interactive systems, I found some easier to use and to modify for my needs as a teacher. I found that that the system I found to be my favourite for teacher use was Plickers because it was very straightforward to use and it offered the teacher instant feedback on the student answers and I think this is a very useful aspect to the teacher because they can instantly see what the students are grasping and the areas where the students need extra help. Plickers also only requires one device for the teacher to use, so by doing this, it helps the teacher need fewer materials for the interactive systems. The system I found the most challenging to deal with for teacher use was, unfortunately, PearDeck because I initially found it quite difficult to create questions and modify questions to make it applicable to my classroom. I also found that after I created questions through the Google Slides add-on it was difficult to find the completed slideshow. Although I loved PearDeck from the student side I do not know if they out-weighted my struggle creating the presentation.

Many of these systems question flexibility was restricted to a few choices, but Wizer.me did not which is why this was my favourite system. Wizer.me offered  4 different styles of questions including multiple choice, short answer, drawing, and matching. Having this variety in question style allows a teacher to reach many different learning styles and I believe this is an important aspect in order to create a positive interactive classroom. Although Quizlet Live was great for student use, I found that the question variety was quite limited because it was restricted to only a multiple choice/flash card style questions. If a student struggles with learning from this style of question you cannot do anything to change it or modify the questions to fit their learning style better. It also gives the student the opportunity to just guess an answer, but this can result in teachers reducing their ability to view the full understanding the students have.

The last category I was looking at while using these interactive systems was the feedback it offers the teachers on student answers. I found that the system that offered the best feedback for the teachers was the Socrative because it offered instant feedback to the teachers. It offered this feedback in real time showing where the students are going wrong and allows the teacher to save the data from the class, and put it into excel, or other forms. My least favourite system for offering feedback to the teacher was Padlet because it doesn’t actually give the teacher any feedback, the teacher would have to go through and read all of the student posts and decide whether they were right or wrong as they read through them. Therefore, adding an additional step for the teacher to have to screen all of the student posts. 

After exploring all of the different interactive systems I found that overall Socrative was my favourite because it offered a competition aspect to increase student engagement, as well as it could be used on multiple devices. It also had a wide variety of question options to help with students not becoming bored of continuously having the same style of question. It also included great feedback for the teacher, as well as being fairly easy and straightforward to great for the teacher. This is why Socrative was one of my favourite interactive systems to use.