Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Five Things I Know For Sure

Wow, this course quickly came to an end. To think, just yesterday, I was writing my first blog post and today I am writing my last. I honestly did not think I would ever understand how to blog or even incorporate links in my blog but it is almost like riding a bicycle, once you get the hang of it, you just know how. I know I am being a little melodramatic but I like the idea of blogging or even just being able to write my thoughts and inspiring someone to write as well. It is quite exciting and gives me joy. With that being said, below is my trading card of briefly the five things I know for sure.

All these 5 things I feel are what stood out to me the most. Of course there were very intricate details about a lot of things but I felt essentially, the five things stood out to me and summarized the gist of what I need to become a successful educator. I had an awesome time blogging and was happy that I got to share my ideas with all of you. Until next time.

What Peer Review Means To Me - My Experience

Hello Again! Hmm... what does peer review mean to me. Peer review is actually quite valuable because it is the process of looking over someone's work and getting their opinion. It is allowing another perspective to come in and view your work and give constructive criticism on what they feel should either be changed or added to the work that you are doing. Peer review is also the process of making sure that your work is up to standard and giving any critiques that the person who is reviewing sees fit.

In class, we were asked by our professor to review some of our fellow classmates blogs. We sat in groups of 3s and shared our blogs and talked about what we had so far or what else we would add to our blog. Through this process,  it was actually helpful because I was able to gather some suggestions on what I could do to better improve my blog. It was also nice seeing the different ideas that my classmates had and how they felt about blogging. My group discussed their growth in writing and they felt that they improved a lot from when they initially started the course. What I also noticed is that within my group, we were all able to help each other out and take different ideas from each other's blogs. All our layouts were visually different and the way we all wrote was different but somehow we were able to add a bit of each opinion to each of our blogs. I felt that the whole process was outstanding. What also helped was that I did not initially have pages on my blog but one of the girls in my group quickly showed me how to do it and also complimented my colour scheme and showed me ways in which I could enhance my colour while still having the transparency of the background behind my words.

I have experienced peer reviews before but mostly with my friends and often times I wonder if they are giving me their honest opinion. I know with most friends, they want to spare your feelings so they will not give you the blunt and honest truth but this experience in class was different. We had to sit with people that we have never sat with and exchange blogs. Of course initially I was nervous but it turned out to be pretty good. My group was very honest with me and gave me ideas to still showcase my personality through my blog but also to make it look professional as well. My other experiences with peer reviews is back in high school when you have to have a rough draft written and exchange it with a classmate and have them look at it before submitting. That helped improve my writing drastically as well as editing skills and made me exposed to having people read my work. Peer review also helps pick up on mistakes that maybe you would not have noticed on your own so it definitely has its benefits.

In the future, I will try this process with my class, because I feel as though it will help build their writing skills. It also helps build communication and connection skills because they are sharing their work with each other. There is also building of mental and cognitive skills. Peer review in the classroom gives the students the opportunity to provide feedback and their own ideas to help improve another classmate's initial thought. In the end, the results will showcase in their writing. I definitely encourage adding peer review to the classroom, you will be happy you did.

As Tony the Tiger said, Peer Review is

How To Inspire Student Learning

Hello There! Today's post as noticed by the title will be about inspiring student learning. Now take a look at my bitmoji presented below. How as educators can we prevent students from looking exactly as my bitmoji does; sad and gloomy to come to school. How as educators can we make school or even class active and fun with including technology of course?

Inspiring students, I believe is one of the most important things to do when becoming a teacher. More recently, technology has also become an important factor in helping to inspire these students and motivate them the same. Currently, it is important as future teachers to find a way to utilize technology and incorporate it into lessons. For example, there was a video presented in my Digital Learning Class about a teacher that made a video for her future students that were supposed to be attending her class that year. The video involved her showing the class the technology that they would be using and showing them around the classroom as a way to 
give them an idea or a visual of where they would be learning and what they would be using that school year. Upon recording the room, she stopped at a quote she had on her door that said “I believe in you” and I thought that this was important. I find that quote to be quite encouraging because it lets the students know that their teacher is there to support them and believe in them if they need any guidance or assistance. I also like the idea of the video because it relieves any anxiety that any of the students may be feeling about starting their first day of school. This is also a great way to show the parents where their children will be learning and an idea of what the classroom atmosphere will look like. Here is a glimpse of the video below. 
I for one wish that my teachers had done this because I always had anxiety with starting a new year and wondering what the classroom would look like and which students were in my class or even how my teacher looked like. Knowing that this is an option, I will be now using this idea for my future class as it is a great way to introduce yourself as a teacher to not only the students but to the parents as well.

It was noted in one of the videos that students remember 70% of what they learn and 90% of what they do. I found this to be interesting because I did not realize that the percentage would be so high. With knowing this, active learning is essential. Students need to be exposed to more activities and hands on materials than just listening to a lecturer or teacher talk about a topic. Group work and discussing ideas can help students with this problem as well as seating arrangements in the classroom. Placing desks in groups or even a half circle around the teacher can encourage inclusivity as well as participation. It is essential for students to be active participants as this will encourage critical thinking and communication and active engagement of the lesson. As mentioned, the three key factors that help motivate students to achieve or complete work is autonomy, mastery and purpose. I feel as though if students contain these factors, they will be well on their way to succeeding. With going back to using technology as a way to inspire students to be active, I feel as though it assists in making advancements in the classroom and develop new ways of interacting. There are so many different ways to incorporate technology in the classroom. One of the ways is having one steady blog and having students upload their thoughts on lessons or what they are feeling to the blog. I will be taking some of these ideas with me and would encourage some of you to give these a try. Let me know what you all think on what you feel inspire student learning!

Curation and Collecting

Hello everyone!

Welcome to another blog post. In class I learned about curating and collecting data, so this post will embody some of the websites that I collected and the different resources that can be very useful to me or soon to be teachers such as myself or to any of you who are either teachers.

The first website that I felt was interesting is called Teacher Tube.
This can be an excellent resource that I can use as a future teacher. Teacher Tube is created by teachers for teachers and it includes videos of lesson plans of how to teach certain subjects. I feel that this is a beneficial resource because I will be able to get different ideas and different teaching methods for teaching subjects. By doing this, it allows for different perspectives to come to light; especially if as a teacher, I am confused about how to teach a subject that is probably a weakness to me or my students. 

The second website that I found is called Academic EarthThis is more of an educational based website. This website has different lectures and courses as well as videos online. The lectures are also coming from all over the world and from very prestigious universities such as Yale, Harvard, Princeton and Standford. This website creates an environment that allows for easy access to information as well as material that is also easy to use. 

The next website that I found is called Symbaloo. Here is just a short instructional clip on how to use it.
This tool is another great source that teachers can use. This is a visual bookmarking tool that helps with organizational skills. You are able to have all your favourite websites within your reach and have the ability to share your online resources with anyone. This is especially useful because I will be able to compile my favourite sites and bookmarks into one interface as well as be able to access it on any device. 

The fourth website that I felt would definitely help both teachers and future educators is Ted Ed
Ted Ed is an incredible website and will be very helpful for any teacher. This website is similar to Ted Talk but is more education based and contains different lessons that are shared between educators. This website highlights teachers voices from different parts around the world. What is even more incredible is that the lessons are built around youtube videos so it allows for a much more visual aspect of learning. This will be exciting for students because it changes up the dymanic in which they learn. 

The next website up is a bit well known and that is Pinterest. Here is a quick clip giving a bit of explanation of what pinterest is for those who may not know what it is. 
  This website is known for having creative designs. Pinterest serves as a book marking tool and holds a platform for producing great ideas. The different crafts that pinterests has allows for different methods of creativity to be formed. As a future teacher, this can be helpful whenever stuck on what art creations to give the class. 

The final website that I have that I thought was great is called Kids Tube.

-       I found this website to be absolutely amazing. This filters out videos that are approved just for kids so it saves the extra time that it would take to find videos that may be age appropriate for much younger students. This also allows you as a teacher to be able to upload your own videos. You will also be able to create groups or join groups and engage in educational discussions. 
 Hope you all enjoyed the fun websites and definitely make use of them! They are simply the best and extremely helpful. See you all on the next post.

Do You Have A Personal Learning Environment and Network?

Hello There!

Today in class we learned about PLE and PLN which stand for Personal Learning Environment and Personal Learning Network. You may be wondering what these two terms mean. Well, a PLN is a network which consists of people that a learner may interact with. PLN then coincides with the concept of PLE. PLE is a manifestation of a learner's informal learning processes via the Web. PLN's are all about making connections and building personal relationships with teachers and others all around the world. For example, online, many people are able to connect with each other all over the world. PLN is all about sharing ideas and resources and collaborating with different people. PLNs are mostly used for networking and can be seen as a worldwide thing. These connections do take time but are well worth the effort. With knowing that, it shows how much teaching has evolved. The internet is seen as a great resource for a teacher, not only for materials but for again making connections. As an important thing to remember is that there are other people out there who are also trying to make similar bonds. Your PLN then allows you with that bond to include those who may be close to you and help you along your journey of becoming an educator. Another helpful tool that helps with your PLN is social media or other social forms of connection which is what your PLE includes. For a better understanding of what a PLN is, here is this video that will better help explain.

So based on this video, hopefully you have a better understanding of what a PLE and a PLN is. I had the opportunity of creating a mind map with a website mindomo. It was a bit confusing to work but I was able to produce what my PLE and PLN possibly looks like.

With looking at this, it showcases some of my networking skills. The whole purpose of a PLN is making connections between teachers and students. PLE is beneficial to teachers because it can help control and manage their own learning. This helps set learning goals. It is also important to stay connected. 

This video showcases how important PLNs are to the educational system. This showcases how education benefits from having PLNs.

With knowing that, what are some of your PLNs or PLEs? Do you have any experiences in either? If you do then you are well ahead of the game. If you don't then do not worry, it is never too late to start.

Wordy Word Clouds

Hi again! This new post is going to be on word clouds. 

 You may be thinking, "what are word clouds?" Well, word clouds are visual collections of data but instead uses words. So for example, the more specific a word appears in a source of data, the bigger and bolder the word becomes. So below is my example of my word cloud.If you look closely at the shape in which my word cloud is in, it is in the shape of an "e" because it signifies the world wide web. I purposely chose that image because this entire course is based on the use of technology which stems from the internet. I found it as a way to pay homage to technology because of course, the internet helps connect people together from different parts of the world. It is especially an essential component for a lot of the technology that is used today. 

The words that stand out in my word cloud are students, digital, learning and technology. I chose students because these are the individuals that will be taught about technology. Students are also becoming the new era so it is important that they are highlighted. They are going to be the ones to be learning about becoming digital learners and how to become digital citizens. 

The next word is digital. Digital is the core component of what this course is about and it is understanding the digital component that will help elevate and provide growth in the classroom. Digital is also showcasing a new way of doing things.

Learning is also very important in my word cloud. Learning is based off of teaching. Without learning or grasping a concept, teaching is pointless. Learning is acquiring knowledge and students who acquire new knowledge will be very beneficial to the world. By students learning, they will be able to go out and hopefully practice what they are taught. It is definitely a process but it comes from an educational stance and will allow students to grow and become diverse and mentally stimulated. 

Word clouds are great tools for teachers to use. It can help students improve and develop their vocabulary. It can be used as a method of self assessment. This helps students take responsibility for their learning. Not only are word clouds great visual tools but they can also be used as a way for teachers to get to know their students. It allows for bonding and seeing what your students are thinking or what they expect when given certain topics. There are many different ways to incorporate word clouds into the classroom. They are also just as easy to create. Try it out by clicking on word cloud, you will not be disappointed. 

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

I Write Because...

This particular post was inspired by Laurie Azzi because her post about writing inspired me to express my own passion of why I like to write. This post was in response to her beautiful and articulate post on writing and her thoughts reminded me of why I liked writing in the first place.

I really admire the deep passion that she has for writing. It is great to know that there are still a lot of people that genuinely like to write recreationally. I feel as though her and I are quite similar in a lot of ways. I actually started writing when I was around eight or nine and I used to write stories and entries on my life. I was a bit melodramatic and thought my life to be a lot more interesting because of my extravagant friends and family. I also had a big imagination. Whenever my family and I would go places, my mind would drift and wonder and the stories would come naturally. I was able to put my mind in each character and completely feel every emotion and words that the characters were supposed to feel. Of course my writing changed drastically from when I was nine to the time I turned sixteen because the topics that I was interested in were different. In high school, my English teacher actually was the person that made me realize that my writing was actually better than I thought. When I used to write, I would only write for me and it was a way for me to relieve stress and anxiety and actually be someone I wasn’t for a while. I would create characters for stories or write diary entries of my day or my thoughts and it would just be a way to privately get everything off my chest. So when my high school teacher had the class write a short story on anything we wanted, my mind of course wondered. I remember writing a short story on a boy that I had a crush on in my school but I altered the story by changing the names and adding characters and changing the scene. Handing in that short story was one of the hardest things I had to do because it was making something personal public. When I received the paper back, I had gotten perfect and a little note from my teacher telling me that I should continue writing. That was the best thing someone could ever say to me because it really made me feel confident about my writing.

There was a part where Laurie mentioned that writing forces you to look deeper into yourself and analyze the person that you have become today. I personally find that writing is a very out of the body experience. It really gives you a chance to self-discover and reflect on personal events in your life. I definitely agree with you when you say that you can only write about topics that are true to your heart and that touch you deeply. I feel as though that is the only way my writing comes out the best. I find that my biggest struggle is writers block. I find that I have writers block whenever I cannot relate to the topic that I am writing about or I am not inspired. Do you often find yourself in that same predicament? I have heard of people saying to leave what you are writing, clear your head and come back but that usually does not work for me. There is a website called buzz feed and it had a link on twenty-two Tumblr posts that will make writers laugh and it really does help with freeing up your mind and having funny relatable memes that writers can understand. Click the word "buzz feed" in case anyone wants to have a little laugh anytime you feel stuck writing. Her blog post is very motivating and her desire for writing is clearly shown through her post. Hope you enjoyed the read from a passionate writer.