Curating Resources – Blogging in the Classroom — October 10, 2015

Curating Resources – Blogging in the Classroom

PearlTrees was a great tool for curating my resources on Blogging in the Classroom.  I was able to create a board titled: Blog About It!  Using Blogs to Motivate Students.  This will be the topic of a professional development session I will be running in November.  I looked for resources that would help get the teachers started, motivated, and excited about using blogs.  I plan to use these curated resources to spark conversation and be guides for teachers once they leave the PD session.  PearlTrees allowed me to break the board down into sections.  I wanted it to be easy for the teachers to navigate through during and after the PD.  I was also able to annotate the resources.  This would help the teachers pick and choose which resources might be most important to them at the time.  To help me through curating these resources, I used my PLN’s curation criteria.

Click here to view my Blogging in the Classroom curated resources.

Blog About It

You can view my curation evaluation using my PLN’s criteria here.

 

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Curation Criteria — October 4, 2015

Curation Criteria

This week I learned about content curation and how to be an effective curator.  Curation is the process of collecting resources and adding meaning to them, in a place where all interested in the topic can view.  Before when I thought of curation, I consider the digital text sets I have created for my students or resources I have shared with my colleagues on different educational topics.  But these examples were more “collections” of resources, rather than curated materials.  Adding meaning plays a large role in becoming a curator rather than a collector.  To assist people in curating material, my PLN members and I created a Curation Criteria Checklist.  We collaborated throughout the week using Google Docs and email to complete our checklist.  Our ideas blended together well and our final product has given me a great checklist to use when curating materials.

I am excited to use the concept of curation in both my professional growth and in my classroom.  Curating materials for professional growth will help me to gain a better understanding of a topic, but putting in a place for for others to view will benefit all in my PLN.  I can also see the benefits in my classroom.  I would love to have my students grow as “curators” of resources.  Many of the resources provided in this module suggested having students curate materials on a topic, rather than have the resources always come from the teacher.  I think this is a great way to have students study a topic, gain ownership in their learning, and practice 21st century skills.

This week I will be curating materials related to my content area.  I am planning to use Scoopit for this assignment and am looking forward to seeing the benefits of a new digital tool!

EDTECH 543: Creative Expression — September 12, 2015

EDTECH 543: Creative Expression

This module helped me understand the importance and effectiveness of being a connected educator. Since graduating college, I have been leery of social networks, fearing that students may find me online, or job prospects may disagree with a post.  But this module’s resources showed me that my growth as an educator is dependent on my ability to stay connected and continuously learn.  I no longer need to wait for my districts next professional development day to learn new ideas and design new learning experiences for my students.

I used Piktochart for my Creative Expression.  My image includes four parts:  Personal Learning Networks, Communities of Practice, Connectivism, and the educator/user.  Each of these parts are separate pieces that come together to create new opportunities, new learning, and new resources.  The “puzzled educator” would represent someone who may be new to connected learning, or someone who is searching for answers or feedback.  It is up to them to become a connected educator.

For the Personal Learning Network puzzle piece, I used some social media icons to represent ways to form your PLN and as places to guide your new learning.  They surround a wireless symbol showing how they are all connected.  Daniel Mackley describes PLNs as “deliberately formed networks of people and resources capable of guiding our independent learning goals and professional development needs.”  Using resources, such as Twitter, Blogger, Google Plus, etc., educators and all professionals can form connections with people from all over.  Those connections can be used to gain ideas, feedback, and spark conversations.

Another aspect of connected learning, are Communities of Practice.  These allow for more specific focuses and interests.  My image is of people connected surrounding a light bulb.  This represents COPs which are groups of people who share similar interests or passions who come together to share ideas.  They join together and build relationships to learn from each other.  The COPs share experiences, ideas, tools, and feedback to furher their own knowledge and expand their practice.  These communities can be formed in person, but can also be formed through your social media sources.  For example, my district has an “Ellington Teachers” group on Twitter.  We are able to share ideas, share our students’ experiences, and build off of others ideas, even though we are not all in the same schools.

The final puzzle piece, displays Connectivism.  I used the image of a world with an Ethernet cable connection in it exemplifying how connections can be made throughout the world.  Connectivism is based on the idea that knowledge and resources are constantly changing.  Staying connected is essential in the digital age of learning.  George Siemens explains learning as being connected to information sources and “continually acquiring new information.”  Being able to connect with people and resources around the world are essential to concept of connectivism

Putting the pieces together, allows educators or any professional to participate in continuous learning.  The ability to stay “up to date” and gain instant feedback can be essential in professional development.  We no longer need to wait for our next professional development day, we can learn on our couch, while traveling, at any time or in any place!


Putting the Pieces Together

References

Mackley, D. (2014, May 13). What is a Personal Learning Network/Environment? Retrieved from https://blog.yorksj.ac.uk/moodle/2014/05/13/what-is-a-personal-learning-network/

Siemens, G. (2004, December 12). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. Retrieved from http://www.elearnspace.org/Articles/connectivism.htm

Wenger-Trayner, E., & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015, April 15).Introduction to communities of practice. Retrieved from http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan — July 19, 2015

RSS Feed Reader Lesson Plan

This assignment introduced me to a great resource and also led me to create a practical lesson plan I can use this fall.  While using an RSS Feed reader, like Feedly, can be great for everyday life for staying up to date, it can also be a great tool for a social studies classroom.  Feedly was easy to set up and provides great “starter-kits” for new users.  I was able to find some great education sites to follow, as well as news sites.  I love the ability to view all of these sources up-to-date and in one place.  This helped inspire me to create my lesson plan.  While Feedly can be a great resource for current events, I wanted to make a connection to “past.”  After a lot of thought, I decided to create an “On this day in history” lesson plan.  Students would use provided links to discover events from the past that happened on the day of the lesson.  Then they would use Feedly to access the most current news sources.  After evaluating the events, students would create a blog post in Blogger, titled “On this day in history,” combining what they learned about the past with the current events.  My school uses Google Apps for Education and all students have created a Blogger using their Google Account.  Overall, I can see how this lesson could be a great way to engage students in both content and technology.  Feedly and other RSS Feed Readers will be a great tool to use this upcoming school year.   However, it was challenging to discover a way to incorporate an RSS Feed Reader into a lesson, while still relating to my content area.

I also enjoyed learning how to use Screencast-o-matic.  It was challenging to use at first, but after a couple of “trys” I was able to create a flip video on how to use Feedly.  This will be a great tool as I work towards a “flipped” classroom in the upcoming years.  One thing I would like to learn is how to make the transitions between takes look “smoother” so it seems more seamless to a viewer.

If I had more time, I would have worked on adding more examples to my student worksheet, for students to use as a guide.  I also think that with more time, I might have found another tool for the students to create an “On This Day in History” project.  While I think Blogger is a great way to start, I would have liked to have researched other tools that student could use to combine both content and technology.

Currently, I am unable to test this lesson since it is summer break.  However, I think this would be a good activity for my students to do early on in the year.  It will help introduce them to two new tools, while also getting them excited about the content.

 

Digital Divide & Digital Inequality — July 15, 2015

Digital Divide & Digital Inequality

Researching digital divide and digital inequality helped give me a better understanding of the gap that exists in our digital world.  I now understand how the divide goes beyond just simply having access, but also looks at how that access is being used. Internet access is increasing worldwide, through wifi, and mobile broadband.  But with that increased access does not come increased digital competencies.

This assignment has helped me understand my role as an educator in ensuring that my students become digital citizens, and that they are prepared for their future professions.  The National Education Technology Plan, created in 2010, provides a great resource for improving technology use for students and for helping teachers in the process.

In reflecting on my district’s technology plan, I began to realize some areas where the digital divide was present.  There have been many times where I have had to modify an assignment or provide an extension to a student without technology access.  I have also encountered a big gap in digital skills.  Some students are “tech wizards” while others struggle with using Google Docs, Microsoft Office, and many more basic applications.  I can see the importance of setting standards for all students to achieve.  My school uses standards-based report cards for content knowledge and skills, I now see that it should also include digital skills within the content.

One area that I would like to learn more about is the idea of “connected-teaching” where teachers essentially work as a team to share ideas, create lessons, and work with the students.  I think that having this collaboration among teachers would be invaluable!

This project also helped me learn more about multimedia principles.  I learned how to keep a presentation focused and effective.  Garr Reynolds’, Presentation Zen, was a great resource.  It gave good guidelines to follow when creating a presentation.  I like how he emphasizes starting with an “end in mind” and not “diving” right into Google Slides.  I created an outline before hand to make sure I had all of the proper content in my presentation, and then went back through to find graphs, images, and statements to include on my slides.  This will be a great resource as I complete future presentations for both projects in my coursework and also for professional development in my district.

Digital Divide Voice Thread Presentation

Digital Divide Google Slides