what are your experiences with distributed learning?
In high school, I lived in a small town where course options were limited. This meant I had to go elsewhere to take the courses I wanted to. So, in grades 10, 11, and 12 I took online courses. I took Accounting 11, Social Justice 12, iPlay and Comparative Civilizations. I did these courses because it was what I was genuinely interested about and it was extremely helpful to have everything online and only talk to a teacher when needing help. If we needed help we would contact them via email or they would be in a classroom once a week for us to ask questions. I found it was a great way to broaden my horizons and learn how to stay on task without someone constantly telling me to.
Distributed learning is really being pushed by the government today where we can have face-to-face and online mixed together. I think this is a fantastic idea because it allows students to access their work wherever but they can still get instruction and help from a teacher. While this idea is new from the ministry, there is still many aspects being worked out like does every child get a laptop? How do you monitor if students are working or not?
Overall, I think this is a great idea and I would love to incorporate this into my class and show students that technology can be our friend not our foe.
Today we learned all about Google Classroom, Twine and the importance of sketching while note taking from Richard McCure and it was fantastic as always. I always find Richards lessons very engaging and interesting and he is always to lend a helping hand when needed. Google Classrooms is a great tool that he showed us how to work around as it it becoming a big part of classrooms today. I really enjoy using Google Docs and Drive so I was really onboard with using Google Classrooms. Google Classrooms allow teachers to share information with students and students are able to access the information from any computer. The one thing I also love about all the Google apps is it saves everything you do so you never need to worry about losing your work.
We also learned how sketching is beneficial to note taking which I found very interesting because most of the time when someone is sketching instead of taking notes, teachers view this as students not paying attention or being bored. But actually, this can help students retain information better.
We then learned about Twine and how to use it. I was slightly familiar with Twine because in my first year English class one of the final project options was to make a Twine but I opted for an essay because I didn’t feel confident to make one. I then learned today that Twine is actually really easy to use and pretty fun! I found it fun to come up with your own story and how it plays out it up to who plays the game.
Today we had Heidi James and some of her students come in and teach us how to use Minecraft as an educational tool. I found this was such a great way to interact with students and learn something new. I have been in multiple classrooms where students are obsessed with this game and I had no idea what it even was. I thought it was super awesome to have the students become the teachers. I personally found it very difficult to understand everything at once but as I progressed, I really enjoyed it. When Heidi was talking about how as a teacher the abilities you can have in the game, and how to utilize it in the classroom was great but for someone like myself who is not very technically savvy, I don’t know if I’d be able to do the same. I really liked how she explained how you can use it for social studies by making it like the middle ages, and how with math how the students are able to use it for x,y and z coordinates. I can’t even do that! Overall, great time with the students and learned so much, I can see how this can be addictive.
Today we also had the pleasure to have Jesse Miller come in and give a presentation about internet safety and privacy. Miller was a crucial piece to working on the Amanda Todd case and works closely with the RCMP to give advice about social media, the internet, etc. I found his presentation to be extremely informative and really helpful as I have heard him speak before. However, listening as a future educator and how serious it is to think about what we post, made me quite scared but also informed on what to be conscious of. We really spoke about the guidelines to posting images of children in our class on social media, as I never personally would because I am not an avid social media poster, I did find it interesting because I follow many teachers who post lots of images of their students on their personal social medias. Also, I found it very informative as to what people hiring are looking at and what they can see. As I know, anything you post is never really gone and have always been conscious of that, it still is very scary knowing that people can hack it. Miller also told us that if you have a iPad or phone from your work, you should not have your personal accounts on it. I have never thought of this being an issue but I’m glad it was brought to my attention because I now know not to.
I found it also very interesting how he said that video games have no influence on violent behaviour which I always thought it did. I also found it was interesting that he said online gaming will be an olympic sport soon.
Overall, I was really content with the information Jesse Miller gave us. To be quite honest, I was really stressed about this presentation because I thought it was going to freak me out and terrify me but I rather found it helpful and informative.
Today we had a great video conference with Verna Robert about open pedagogy. It was really great to hear her opinions and what she has found throughout her study. I found it was really cool how she started the conference by getting all of the viewers to participate in a poll so we could see what everyone said. She then went on to explain to us about this group of grade 10’s who work out of a garage to do their school work and they build a house together. They still learn math, science, history, etc. but they are doing it in a different environment and have shifts to work on building the house. I found this to be so awesome because it gives students real life lessons and gives an opportunity for inquiry-based learning.
I also really liked how she asked the question “what if we used our imaginations to rethink the possibilities for learning” I found this to be a very interesting point and have found that this is the way education is going. She also explained to us how to practice open education in K-12, by designing for sharing, participatory learning, learning networks, safe learning spaces, and expanded learning environments. I found all these points to be justified for this practice as you want to share with as many people as possible your ideas, resources, etc., to have learners to participate and have a safe learning space for students to explore. One way we can make this easy for students to understand is by giving clear assessment, clear connections to learning and thinking, reflections and feedback and good foundation skills. These are all simple things for an educator to give and show that can create opportunities for open education.
Today we went to George Jay Elementary School to meet with the co-author of “Inquiry Mindset” Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt to learn about incorporating inquiry based learning into our own classroom. Rebecca is a Kindergarten French Immersion teacher who has been working towards an inqury-based curriculum over the past 7 years. In her classroom she really focused on environment by using natural colours, natural materials and made it a space that the students were able to contribute to the look. She then showed us some easy ways to have inquiry-based learning in the classroom like her “Wonder wall” which is a wall in the classroom where there are pictures of each student with a thought bubble over their head with a question they were curious about. She said that this guides teachers to make lessons geared towards what students are curious about which I really liked because it aids teachers to plan properly. She also showed us parts from her book and how to build up a proper inquiry-based teaching practice by starting with structured inquiry and making your way to free inquiry which I enjoyed because I was always confused on how to start an inquiry-based teaching practice.
One thing I loved is that she had an image called her “teacher heart” which is essentially why she teaches and what she focuses on. She really emphasized that relationships are key to a positive learning experience and really spend the first few months forming relationships with each of your students. Also she said she enjoys focusing on celebrations even for something small which I agree with because as a student I loved when I was celebrated.
Overall, this was a very great learning opportunity and has made me so excited on what I can accomplish with this practice!
Today we had a lesson on copyright and the rules around it. I never knew anything about copyright or the rules around it but now I realize how serious some of the issues can be surrounding it. We discussed how textbooks are copyrighted; Valerie put it into a good perspective because tax payers pay for most of the salaries for academics who then go on to do studies and write the textbooks, then once published and copyrighted, the tax payers then must repay to pay the textbook and access the information. If someone was to post the textbook online who was not the publisher they could sue them for damages from money lost on sales. I found this to be crazy because if we are paying for the people to write the textbooks then repay to access the information. We also learned about creative commons and how it helps you get the license features you want and how much you want to share. This is different to copyright because creative commons lets you share your information with everyone freely. Attributions are a mode that allow you cite the author, talk about their work on your blogs and copy and paste their work which I find so great because as an educator I find we learn best when we collab together. The information we learned in todays class will help us as educators to ensure we are following protocol online and to teach our students the same so they don’t get in trouble for copy an image without giving credit. Now, I also learned that lots of the photos I used when creating my blog weren’t giving permission for me to use so I did an advanced search on google by going to setting then advanced search, scrolling to the last option and clicking non-commercial use so it was all done properly.