Author Archives: chalynsmith

Do you sleep with the door open or door closed?

What a title hey? I started thinking about how this course allows for us to have open communication versus having a closed forum, then I though about the door for learning being opened or closed.  I like to sleep with my bedroom door open but my husband prefers it closed.  I guess that having communication forums closed could be a preference for some people but just like my bedroom door, I like it open.

As a learner I have not had much experience outside of this course in terms of open online space.  I appreciate the Google+ Community for so many different reasons.  I love being able to post a quick question or even a fabulous article or medium that I feel reliant to our course.  Our Google+ Community is so supportive and helpful of one another, I find that just by reading different posts it saves me from running into common pitfalls. So far I have taken eight Grad Courses and feel that a Google+ Community would have been an asset to all courses, it allows us to pose different questions, share insights or ask each other for help as needed. University students are often given information in UR Courses but I think the experience would be so much different if there were a way to allow students to communicate in an open space.  I think that our course has really come alive with the use of the Google+ Community. The community can offer us so much more than what is being taught in the course.  Allowing students to become each others’ co-teacher.  Our blogs have also allowed us to learn from others, Amy mentions that “we learn from others’ perspectives while considering our own”.

I agree with Ashley that we must consider the age of the students when we decide to use an open or closed forum. I definitely think that younger students should have closed forums in order to protect them.  Although, I think that allowing parents, caregivers, or even classmates the opportunity to comment or share would allow for meaningful learning.  Amiee also mentions that student safety is a valid concern for educators. Shes also points out that students may have already become immersed into social media, but we should still consider that we are putting them into a wide open public space where we may not always be able to protect them in  an open forum.

Although, educators such as myself have to realize that students are developing their own digital footprint, this is where we have the teaching moments! I think that teachers can help students understand that there is no going back once pictures or even text hits the net.

Like Ashley, I too have enjoyed the break from blogging and being able to focus on my content creation has been wonderful.  My group even had time to meet up last week and go over some of the fine tuning of our course prototype. I feel that my group has made some great strides in getting our course up and running.  I know that with just a little more tweeking my module will be up and running.

Have you ever experienced any negativity in using an open forum?


EXTRA EXTRA read all about it… details about my LMS that is

Hi Friends, This week I wanted to give you a bit of a run down on how I intend to facilitate my Blended Course.  These are just my preliminary ideas and are possibly subject to changes, as I find I am learning more as I go. Sarah has some fabulous ideas in her blog this week in terms of establishing boundaries and participating for her older students.  Although, I think that working with young grade 3 students there is only a need for pre-teaching about “Netiquette” and digital citizenship

how to start a blog in 4 stepsI think for student/student-instructor interactions I will implement a blog. This form will be used so that students can publish their assignments and respond to readings or video’s. I think that once students get the hang of commenting on each others posts they will quite enjoy it. Although I believe that it may be difficult to create a community, this is something that the students have to do for themselves. Elizabeth had a great point when she said “we can try to foster a welcoming, open environment in which students feel a sense of community, but we can’t ensure this in all of our classes”. Image Source 

Choosing this form of student interaction is beneficial because grade 3 students are smart and full of great ideas and they will be able to share their thoughts with their peers online. Perhaps there is a way to moderate as the facilitator so that student blogs and comments can be reviewed before being posted. I also like the idea of commenting on students post, they will see that the teacher has read and thought critically about their post.

Cute small kid girl thinking holding the head. Isolated closeup potrait on whiteWhen facilitating an Blended Classroom I will make sure interactions between students and teacher are genuine.  I believe that awarding marks for participation is a starting point for students.  By encouraging participation with marks, students will begin to explore using blogs and commenting on their peers work and do so in a appropriate manner. This is the first step in meaningful interactions. Students will gain confidence by having fellow students reading and responding to their blogs. I think that both peer assessment and self assessment have value in a blended classroom. Elizabeth mentions the importance of teaching students to use pingbacks in their blogs as it “further encourages them to read other people’s blogs at their leisure and quote them in their own. It is important for students to read other people’s work, and to know that their work will also be read. This will help them see the value and importance of blogging, and the importance of reading something over before submitting it.” Image Source

I thought that I would check out the hyperlinks that were found in the document  Mastering Online Discussion Board Facilitation for some assessment ideas.  I was very disappointed to find out that all the hyperlinks that I tried were broken.  I think that it is very important when setting up a Blended Classroom for students 3-500x254to make sure that all links are working.  By not checking for dead links an educator can run into a lot of wasted time in terms of having students refer to a link provided.

Well this is my starting point, oh yeah and rubrics.  Have you ever used a blog platform in your classroom, which one?


Let there be teachers

Image result for google classroom Hi friends, It has been awhile.  Reading week has given me some time just to relax and catch up on a few household things, oh yeah and my baby turned 5 months.

I decided with my time that I would ask my group “who would like to take the lead and create the Google Classroom account“? I decided rather than send that email, I would just take it into my own hands. I recalled that as a group we couldn’t use the RBE Google Classrooms because one of our group members is with another division.  I decided the best place to start would be to reread the Google+ Community posts to use the to figure out how to use the education.uregina accounts.  I scrolled through all the posts and managed to find what I was looking for. Ohh and now looking back, there is a search option at the top. I then went to create the Google Classroom account, all went well, or so I thought.  Setting up the initial info was just a matter of filling in a few feilds and a few clicks.  I attempted to invite teachers to my class by adding my group members using their email addresses. My first road block was that they were not contacts, so I went back to the Google menu and added them.  I then tried to invite my new contacts again, and it wouldn’t work.  I then realized I would have to track down their uregina user names.  Aimee replied to my email right away and I added her as a teacher, and voila it worked. Now just to wait for the other two gals!!

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Tell me if you ran into any road block while trying to get your project up and running!


Extra, extra, read all about it…… or just watch the video!

downloadThis week our blog prompt asked us to look at pedagogical differences of various types of media. Like many other classmates, I will be looking back on my experiences as a student. I have always been challenged by reading text.  As a child I struggled learning to read, my mom even hired a reading tutor to alleviate my frustrations. Stephanie mentioned that in her undergrad she began to enjoy reading, for me the opposite I struggle reading chapters, my eyes get heavy and it all turns into a blur and I want to fall asleep.  I even experimented with Kurzwell, having it read to me, but the voices were too boring and I had a hard time following what was being said.

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Roxanne’s post, made me think back to my use of technology in my schooling experience, I recall having Mac computers in elementary school but we rarely used them.  I did manage to figure out how to use the Printshop program to make cards, banners and certificate.  In high school, I took a typing class but we used a typewriter and created cartoon pictures by following written directions of letters and spacing. Although I do recall, my English teacher had us go on the computer and practice typing with these boxes over our hands so we would learn where the keys were, I remember her saying hands on home row.  I did sign up for a Practical Applied Arts in grade 11 and 12; I managed to do all right in the computer class rotation.  We had small assignments such as internet scavenger hunts and sending emails.  I still use my Hotmail account that I created in that class, and lucky for me it was not dorky like powerpuffgirl@hotmail.com my younger cousin had to change his as his first email account was spongebobjtd@hotmail.com.  Teachers really did not incorporate much media into their classes maybe a video or a film on the old projector.

After reading the section 7.4 in the  Bates text I realize that video is a much richer medium than either text or audio. Video can be used as presentational material.  I have always been a visual learner and hands on learner, learning through pictures, demos, videos, and doing an activity.  When a teacher can not provide a learning experience for the class that’s when media comes into play. One thing that really stuck out to me is how Bates notes that video can substitute for a field visit, by:

  • providing students with an accurate, comprehensive visual picture , in order to place the topic under study in context;
  • demonstrating the relationship between different elements of a system under study
  • through the use of models, animations or simulations, to teach certain advanced scientific or technological concepts

I automatically thought of how Ms. Frizzle takes the students on an adventure but we the audience learn through media exposure to the video.

I believe that Roxanne makes a valid point that teachers need to be incorporating more technology and media into the classrooms, there is never enough. By allowing use of media and technology in the classroom it gets students ready for the real world and come to understand and explore the internet in a safe guided manner. Like Roxanne and Loraine I use Kahoot for changing up quizzes and assessment, Kahoot allows me to check for understanding while talking through correct answers.  The students even asked “can you make a Kahoot” or even to create their own.

As an adult learner in an online class, I am finding that technology is allowing me to connect and create with others who are not even near me. I enjoy everything that Alec and Katia share, I am also forever learning from my peers in the Google+ community.

Well friends please let me know which media type you learn best from! Even better share an media learning experience.

 


My thoughts on Adobe Spark

Hello friends, this week I figured I would check out all the hype with the content creation tool Adobe Spark. I had a lot of fun playing around making my own Adobe Page.  I used it to present my findings. final It was super simple and easy to share to my blog.  I would say that I played around with it for about 30 minutes.  In that time I walked away from my computer and it saved my page for when I came back.
Click here to check out the page I made My thoughts on Adobe Spark

I also made a post.  It was super simple, I found a quote and with just a few pushes of a button, I was able to create this cool looking meme.

adobe-spark

Final thoughts on Adobe Spark

Adobe Spark is pretty cool.  You can easily upload to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or just use it as a photo editor.

Pros

  • free
  • easy to use
  • a tool for everyone
  • no download or install
  • high quality end result
  • 300,000 royalty free images to use

Cons

  • Need a up to date computer to use the video feature
  • mobile is only available for Iphone

I hope you find a few minutes to check out Adobe Spark.  From this moment forward I would much rather use Adobe Spark than Powerpont or Prezi.  I find Powerpoint to be so very plain and Prezi makes me motion sick haha!  Let me know your experiences!!

 


I see Google Classroom in my future, do you?

The plan
zoomlogosmall After a brief Zoom meeting with my project group we decided that we would use the blended learning platform Google Classroom to complete our prototype project.  I know that it is early on to make the decision, but Aimee, Rochelle, and myself have access to Google Docs and we thought that was a start, a place to share and organize information. It was just a matter of adding Justine. Image Source

You mean to tell me…  google-class
Now for Google classroom, last class Katia provided user access to U of R’s Google Classroom account.  I already have access to RBE’s google apps, but I did not know that I could have been using Google Classroom until just a few days ago. Last year I was creating assignments for my students using Google Docs. I would create an assignment duplicate it and share it with the students.  My students loved using technology, they would have to find my assignment, follow written instruction and complete the task, then share the document with me. in the mean time using my email address to share it with me, one student is still emailing me about his high school experience. Wow, now if I would have used Google Classroom my shared documents and google drive would have not been a disorganized mess.  My repetitive method of instructing students to name the assignment with a certain title would just clutter my drive and I couldn’t decipher whose was whose on first glance. Image Source

32005426070_4929caf7a1I wonder if all RBE teachers know that they have access to Google classroom, did I miss the memo.  Someone should have provided some information on this. Not a single teacher in my building was using Google Classroom last year, I can’t speak about this year I am at home on a mat leave with a new baby.  How did other RBE teachers find out about the availability ???

Photo Credit: USEmbassyPhnomPenh Flickr via Compfight cc

Google Classroom it is!!
Our group plans to work together to create our modules, lessons while also uploading evaluating methods  onto our Google Classroom site. The Google Plus Community clarified that we need to use the university’s Google Classroom as Justine is not in the RBE division and would not have access to RBE’s platform.  By each having access to our Google Classroom, we will be able to collaborate ideas even though we are physically apart.

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My Thoughts on Google Classroom
Before I even ventured to check out Google Classroom Roxanne’s Blog caught my eye.  I like how she added the video that gave a brief overview of Google Classroom.  Her video had me searching for others, perhaps I could learn more about Google classroom by video.  I really liked Jamie Keet‘s video.

 

After watching the video’s I am feeling pretty safe about my choice of platform.  I can’t believe that I was using Google Doc’s when I should have used Google Classroom all along. The setup is very basic if you are familiar with Google Drive then it’s very similar. I love the simple layout with the options of customizing themes but still keeping it neat and tidy.

Take a moment to watch the video and then jump in and try it out using the login info from last class if your division does not have Google Education Apps.  Share your experience with me by leaving a comment!

 

 

 


Omg too crazy, and ohh I have an idea!!!

Okay about the OMG too crazy, it all started when Danielle commented on my blog post last week about being a new mom and collaborating this semester.

chalynI replied to her  and mentioned adding her to a Regina Facebook group for fall babies, as I just recently added Justine. Danielle’s stealthy skills allowed her to find me on Facebook. Last night we chatted through Facebook messenger and we quickly learned that our babies are the same age. Danielle put it together that they actually share a birthday, and we were at the hospital at the exact same time. The babes were just born 12 hours apart. She then went on to say that she was already in the Facebook group for fall babies.  Danielle connected that we are even taking the same Wednesday night class together.  This gal totally gets me, talk about collaborating!!  danielleThen I checked out her Blog.  Danielle has been blogging for quite some time, it is apparent from all her categories and tags.  She is even blogging about our EC&I 814 class. I am sure if anyone has any questions about WordPress, Danielle has the answers.

Side note, this old laptop surprised me with how easy it was to capture a print screen.  At first I used my googlecell phone to take pictures of Danielle’s and my blog but it looked like garbage.  Then I did what anyone would do, I googled. I managed to make my pictures way more appealing to my audience, woohoo! A huge upgrade from some of my other blog posts last year, where I would upload cell phone picture. Yay me!

Now for my idea for the course prototype project.  I asked a colleague of mine Aimee if she would like to pair up, I then asked if Justine would like to join us. Aimee, Justine and I are all Elementary teachers and wanted to incorporate a First Nation focus. A few days later Aimee asked if Rochelle could join our group as she had some neat ideas for us to explore.  I told the gals that we would jump in the Zoom room rather than meet up.  I liked the idea of a Zoom meet as I have a lil babe who likes to keep me at home and I know Justine also has a wee babe and lives about an hour away.
treaty During our Zoom meeting we decided to explore a unit on Treaty Relationships. I personally think that now is the time for reconciliation  because there is so much ignorance and mis-education when it comes to First Nations and Treaties. Also, working in a school that is home to 97% First Nation students is reason enough to explore First Nation culture. Rochelle mentioned that she did some work with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner this summer, breaking the lessons in the treaty kits down into big ideas. Our group is going to tailor the unit for a grade 3 group.  We figured that Google Classroom would be a great platform for us to use as it offers a blended learning environment.google-class

Well that is it for now.  If anyone has tips on Google Classroom, please share as I have never used it before.  Also please share any experience in teaching the treaties in your classrooms.


3rd online class is a charm!

Hello everyone and welcome to a new category in my blog.  My name is Chalyn Smith and I am currently on a mat leave, when I am in the classroom you can find me at Kitchener Community School’s SLC class.  My classroom focuses on providing a safe, nurturing and caring environment where my students feel comfortable building relationships with all team members and students. I strive to meet each student’s social, emotional, behavioral and educational needs. I encourage and focus on the strengths of our students.

This is my third online course with Alec and Katia.  This semester I am facing a few challenges. I am a new mom, so finding an online class lets me stay at home while figuring out this tiny human.  I also have to admit that I like blogging, being able to tell my story and hopefully entertain along the way.

Baby ty

When I started my mat leave division office required me to turn in my laptop, I begged to keep it but tech services mentioned they have sent police at times to repo equipment. I only realized that I would need a computer to use as I signed up for two classes, and don’t have a home computer.  I figured using my cell phone or smart tv would be too challenging.  I had a an idea, I could borrow one from my uncle, he’s a lawyer and probably has like, ten extra kicking around his office.

OLD PC

Well, the laptop that he gave me is quite fast but I am sure it is from about 2000.  I was excited as I had a laptop that I could use and I didn’t have to buy one as that was my other choice.  however, one morning as I lay awake in bed it dawned on me that this sweet machine doesn’t have a webcam.

I decided while at Walmart to buy a webcam that would just plug in.  I asked an associate and he told me they didnt even carry a webcam.  Luckily I strolled down an isle and found a $30.00 one.  But I decided that I would stop by Visions instead and use my $40.00 gift card.

Walk into Visions carrying my little man in his baby bucket, cause shopping is so fun lugging around a car seat.  I locate a sales person and ask for a webcam, he laughs and tells me that they no longer sell the as most laptops now have they built in.

 


We are way too dependent on technology

As soon as we are with a group of friends at a restaurant or sitting with family visiting, someone pulls out a smart phone and somehow the domino effect takes place.  Less people are socializing with the bodies that are present.  Some of the people with gadgets begin to engage with online activities.  I am sooo guilty of it, I have even coined the phrase “what are you FaceBooking around?”, because of the amount of times people get distracted by their gadgets.  I understand how awkward it makes it when your friends are attempting to talk to you and you are choosing to engage with online likes, comments, texts and tweets.  It is terrible when you miss out on someones accomplishment because you choose to engage with tech.

I agree with Sherry Turkle and her Ted Talk Connected, but alone that receiving an affirming text is just like getting a hug, as I write vjmkqthis I think that I should text my step-daughter and let her know that I am so proud of her today.  I have know her since she was 7 and today she wrote her last grade 12 exam.  I was going to send the message as imagined in the fake text message on the right that I made using the fake text generator.  Then I thought that giving her a hug in person and congratulating her is better than any text message that I would send.  I guess I have some control as to when I should be talking in person and when I should send a quick message.  Later that evening I congratulated her in person and had tears in my eyes thinking about watching her grow from a 7 year old little goofy girl to a beautiful graduate.  I am so glad that I realized that I needed to send a message to her but face to face was the best as I could look into her eyes, with the little stream of tears running down my cheeks.  This connection is what we both needed!

urlBut, it is sad to have to admit, but the first thing I do in the morning is roll over and grab my phone, as it is only an arms reach away.  I like to peak at my emails on Hotmail, my Facebook, and perchance I went to bed earlier than my friends I might have a text to read. Sadly, I continue with this routine before I drift off at night.  Let me tell you it is so so easy to lose track of an hour on Facebook.  Just this morning one of my students pointed out that we should unplug ourselves from technology and games for at least two hours before bed.  However, I do find many posts on Facebook that I save using the new save feature.  In the morning I fire up my computer in the classroom and share my findings. Just today I was able to share the New Heritage Minute that explores the dark history of residential schools, this was an amazing tie into National Aboriginal Day and Truth and Reconciliation that I have been focusing on in Literacy and Social this term.

Between this course and 831 last semester, I have made a conscious effort to include more technology in the classroom. I started finding current events that I could share with my students in my Facebook feed.  In class we would read the article off the whiteboard then allow students to use persuasive writing to chose a side of the issue. My students were not writers but now I can present an article on Harambe or the Japanese boy who was left in the forest as punishment, and watch them go.  I creatimgresed an outline and expectations for their writing and shared it with them on GoogleDoc’s.  Now I can help them edit online and teach them the ins and outs of typing and formatting.  My class despised using pencil and paper to write.  Now they are ecstatic to grab a Chromebook.

However, I am guilty of attempting to multitask by using my phone during meetings to send out emails.  The days of the to do list are gone, because now we just do it at the comfort of our fingertips. Sherry Turkle further talks about just paying attention to what we feel is important, how do we even know what we are zoning out?? Zoning out information while we are doing what we want on our computers and phones isn’t a skill we should be bragging about.

Last night as I was sitting for supper, I had my computer connected to zoom and my Husband and I watched the intro video by Janelle, Kyle O., and Dean.  My husband quickly pointed out that I should mention it was only 2 weeks ago when we were travelling to mapYellowstone national park.  Having to turn our cellular data off made for a long car trip.  We drove 2800 km and enjoy conversation and scenic views. Luckily we had a GPS that guided our travels, a gift I had received for Christmas.  When we would get chatting, something would come up, Arron at the wheel and me as passenger, I would say “just pass me your phone, I’ll look it up, let me google that”.  I must have said it 50 times on our trip, and we both had a good laugh.  What a fond memory, Aaron made a great connection to the into video.  All because of the atrocious data charges that happen once you leave Canada.

Text or Talk: Is Technology Making You Lonely? made some very great points that I have to agree with.  The article pointed out that a recent study found that 48% of respondents only had one friend orimages companion . It is true I have a huge social network online, but the depth of my networks offline has decreased. I have a few confidants at work and basically only one friend that I can confide in outside of work. In fact I sent my friend a text just this morning that I missed her, as I haven’t had a face to face conversation with her in like 10 days. Yes, technology has made it easier to stay in touch while keeping distance, I find myself feeling distant when I haven’t made connections with people in person.  

I truly believe that myself and larger society is was to connected and addicted to social media.  I think that social media acts as a safety net that protects us.  Once we say or do something in real time, there is no taking it back. Online activity  allows us to control what we share with our friend, family, or even strangers. We can make all sorts of edits and add filters to made us appear happier, better or just different.  I think the bottom line is to make sure that we keep the connections that we have with our real life friends.

 


The end is near SUMMARY OF LEARNING

It’s unimaginable to think that another semester has passed, and scarier yet another school year for all of us teachers. I love the flexibility and freedom that online courses have.  I will admit I don’t have a cat but being 7 months pregnant makes me want to be a home body, and I have no trouble getting cozy and doing my blogs or zooming in for class. imgresI have taken four EC&I classes, and two of which have been with Alec and Katia. Being able to interact with other Grad students through Google+ and also with our blogs has been awesome.

 

Talk about learning, signing up for the first debate was a little scary but Kayla convinced me to get it out of the way, peer pressure I tell you!  Having Steve on our side of the debatefile25508 was awesome.  When we first me up for our game plan, h mentioned being on the debate team in high school.  I figured I would post this picture in hope that someone may believe that Steve was the one holding the victory trophy. Of course Steve being way too honest admitted that he was not in the photo, but either way I had a good laugh.

Well now to sum up what I have learned over the semester

But first a flash back to last semester… Some of you may recall in EC&I 831 Kayla, Dallas and I attempted to use Nawmal to make an animated movie for our summary of learning.  For anyone who wasn’t in that class and needs a good laugh I suggest you read my summary of learning from last semester.  To make a long story short Nawmal left a bad taste in my mouth.  Kayla suggested that we give PowToon a shot.  PowToon appeared to be easier to use that the software that we had used prior. I figured we would go ahead and use it.  The software came with a 2 day free trial that allowed you to use all the customization options. If I needed to buy more time it would just cost $19.99 billed monthly.  Friday afternoon we began working on our project by selecting a some-what ready made layout .  With about 2 hours in we decided to call it a day.  Luckily we were able to save our project, I even opened it on another computer before I shut the browser window.

Saturday morning I decided to set my alarm and get up and attempt to work on it again. Little edits such as making sure the  color in each slide matched, there were 200 to choose from, and that green looks like the other 50 greens.  Another edit that took a long time was making sure the text boxes displayed in the right order. I must have spent 4 more hours just tweaking the presentation.  I did have a tough time attempting to get the spy song to loop through the whole presentation.  I fought the spy song battle for 2 days before I uploaded it to YouTube.  The 2 day trial came with a little timer that appeared in the corner of the screen that somehow just stressed me out.  Although, I was curious what 2 day trial really meant, I was going to look it up, before I got locked out and lost all our progress.  I think PowToon has many great features and would student and teacher presentations look awesome but I think the people would also feel the time crunch, if it was not a paid subscription.

Well folks for the moment you have been waiting more!!

Well I guess the time has come to thank everyone for their input, contributions and insights to my learning, and  a special thanks Alec and Katia for everything that they prepared, brought to the class, and for all of the fast paced discussions that they facilitated. Ohh yeah and I love the debate format, so much more engaging than straight forward presentations.