Author Archives: justinewheeler

Learning through connections

What do I think are open online spaces?

When I think of open online spaces, I focus on word open. This makes me think of openness of people having access to the information and questions we put out to the world. It is a way to open up to other people we may not come into contact with on a regular basis. It is an open environment where anyone can join and learn from each other. It is a place to have open space technology.

“Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 20+ years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.”

From this open environment where people can learn from each other there can be Connection based learning.


When I think of open online spaces I think of people using technology to connect to one another. This allows people to comment, discuss, question and learn from one another.

Why do they scare me so much?

With an open space anyone can see what you post. Everyone sees what you are thinking and how you are learning. It is place where you cannot hide what you think. This makes me feel extremely vulnerable. With an open space there are people all over the world that access your information. It makes me nervous to know that anyone can read what I am posting right now. With that, I am constantly thinking what is okay to post? Will I get judged? Do people agree with my ideas? Am I posting something to “risky?” With an open space a person is completely putting themselves out there to the world. With twitter and hashtags a person is branching out to anyone who follows them or looks at those hashtags. #scary  #public. With a blog, anyone who googles Justine wheeler edublog can find what I post. They can go into my blog and see what I think on certain topics. There are many positive aspects to open spaces and connecting with others, but it is scary to put yourself out there. It is nerve racking to know that anyone can see what I think and how I learn.

What do I use?

As a teacher I would prefer a closed space for the grade that I teach. In grade 1, they are just learning how to log onto a computer. They are just learning how to write and sound out words. They are just learning how to type and explore the internet. I think throwing them onto twitter is difficult. I love using see saw. See Saw requires a special code to access. It is not open for everyone to see. See Saw allows parents to comment on their own child’s work. It allows students to comment on each others work and gives them a safe space to learn from each other. Parents are also more open to having their young child work in an environment like this.

Photo Credit: securebacklink Flickr via Compfight cc

That being said I have tried blogging with my students. It is very simple. I write a question and the students comment back with their response. I have to send out permission slips to all of my parents before we start this. Not all of the parents let their child do this . They do not want them posting on the blog and adaptions need to be made. When the students post they only write their first name. I feel that the students and I cannot be completely open in this space  as it is easy for anyone to access. I am so worried about what they are posting all the time. I am a lot more comfortable with them using see saw.

We do use twitter as a class. Here I do not post pictures of the students. We use it more to connect with other classrooms and educators on twitter. Last year we used twitter to contact the author of Howard B. Wigglebottom and our favorite group from gonoodle the one and only Koo Koo Kanga Roo.

As a teacher I use open spaces, but my students are more closed and secure with see saw.

As a student I do use open spaces. I go on twitter to connect with other educators. I like how easy I can connect to others. I am able to learn a lot through an open space. This class and others have made me open up to open spaces. I am required to blog which makes me feel vulnerable. I do however, like reading other people’s blogs and commenting. I feel that the openness allows me to learn with them. I enjoy forums. I like our google plus environment. I like how it is a bit more closed and I am more comfortable to ask questions.

To conclude, I think there is a time and place for open learning spaces. I think they are a great way to connect and learn from others. They allow a person to collaborate with a wide variety of people. They allow students to learn in a different and enriched way. I think that a person does need to be careful with how they are used. Teachers should have parent permission and let administration know what is happening due to how public everything is. There is a time where open learning spaces are very beneficial and should be used. You just need to know how to use them.



Issues on Creating Interactions

My Issue

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In my prototype we are using google classroom with grade 3 students. Student collaboration and teacher support is very important which was shown in our articles we read this week. In ECI 834, I have also seen the importance of this communication. We have a lot of support with google plus, blogs and twitter. It is easily accessible to ask someone a question, collaborate and work with Katia and Alec to support an issue we are having. Thus being said, I am 26 years old and know how to use all of these programs.

For our prototype I am struggling with creating these same interactions with the students I have in mind for this prototype. I am creating a prototype for younger students who do not all have easy internet access and people who may not be able to support them. This is a struggle for me. How can I get such young students to interact with each other? What can I do if students do not have access to the internet? The best solution I have came up with is to create a flipped learning environment.

Here is what I know..

Remind works. In my school I use remind. People have cell phones and can get text messages. Therefore, I will use Remind for students to interact with me. I can send messages out to them and they can respond with a text message. Yes, grade 3 students do not all have phones but their parents do. I know parents want to support their children in any way possible and will use remind to allow them to communicate to their teacher.

Students get 15 mins at school every morning and do have recess during the day. Our school does have a computer lab and does have iPads. Students can access the videos I have recorded before class using school technology if they do not have access to the internet at home.

Students will be using google classroom. Students can comment using google classroom. We will have to make sure our settings allow students to comment and interact with each other as well as their teachers. I have seen students ask questions using google classroom and get a response from the teacher.

Here is what I am thinking…..

If I can create a flipped learning environment the students can collaborate and interact with me on the project part at school. Blended learning is a combination of face to face and computer time.

This will give these young students the opportunity to still get support. They can turn to their neighbor and ask a question. I would use this because I know with flipped learning all of my students in some way will have internet access. I know that they will have the programs they need to use on the computers in our school. I know that students can collaborate. I know that they will have interactions.

Now that being said, this prototype is not supposed to be all in the classroom and does have a blended aspect to it. Students can post on google classroom to ask questions and interact with each other. With google classroom, they will be using this to post their assignments and see the videos. I know that they will be using it because they have to see it. This way I can guarantee that they have access to it. Like I stated earlier even if it is before school, at recess or during the time they get to work on their project they will be on google classroom. I also know Remind works for my school and students. I will use remind to allow students to interact with me.

As you can tell I am still trying to think this through because I am at a loss with these 2 big issues with interactions and this prototype.

So how can I asses this?

In the article, Effectiveness of Using Online Discussion Forum for Case Study Analysis, there were 2 tables that stuck out to me for assessing interactions. One talks about reading articles and showing evidence that the responses have to with the assignment and the other is about number of posts.

I thought these would be a good starting point to create guidelines. They would obviously need to be adapted. I was thinking I would assess students on talking about the assignment and the video I posted. In the video there are questions I am asking throughout. Students can comment in google classroom on these questions which I could assess them on based on participation. Students will be able to discuss these questions there. I could even leave a prompt in google classroom to encourage conversations.

The other part I could assess them on is if they are asking questions and interacting with each other for the assignment. With google classroom I will be able to see if they are asking questions and answering each other. With remind, I can see if they are interacting with me. I would assess this on participation if students are asking questions and interacting with others they would get a participation mark. I think at this age it is difficult to create a specific rubric. I think if they are asking questions and interacting with each other that is great. I think at this age creating collaboration and supporting one another is more important than a summative mark. It is more for their benefit and is more formative.

To conclude I am going to leave you with the question, what do you think I could use to help with my issues?

Can Flipped Learning Be Used At Any Age: My Learning Journey

In our class I have heard lots about flipped learning. We have not gone in depth with what it exactly is and what it entails. This is what I wanted to find out during reading week.

First Step

My first step was to find out what flipped learning was. I turned to google and youtube to help me grasp the concept. Wikipedia describes it as

“Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor.”

I then found some good videos to help me understand this better.

The Next step

After I wanted to find out more. How can it be used? What are the pros and cons? I turned to blogs written by teachers. What I found was more pros then cons. Here is what I found.


  • Individualized
  • Students can learn at their own pace
  • Lesson content is more accessible to watch over
  • Students have more control with their learning
  • Parents can see how a topic is taught and can provide extra support
  • Students can collaborate with their work
  • Student- centered
  • More time for hands on work at school
  • Can be more efficient


  • Not everyone has internet access
  • Trust that students are doing thee prep work for class
  • Lots of teacher preparation.

Can I even use it?

I teach grade 1 and was curious if teachers used flipped learning in primary grades. All the articles I read and discussion I heard was for older grades. Could this model be used with my little people? I went to twitter and our google+ community to find out if anyone used it in primary grades. On twitter I hashtaged many primary chats #kinderchat, #1stchat, #2ndchat, #3rdchat, #edchat and even our #eci834. I was impressed with the response I got. Teachers were it with grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3. Not only were thy using it but it was working. Here is some of the response I got.

I then had deeper conversations with these teachers and they explained some of the tools they used. I found flipped learning happens a lot in math. My findings showed me that primary teachers could use it and be successful.

How can I use it my classroom?

I found an article that simplified flipping a classroom. It said

Don’t flip a class:  Flip a lesson.”

This makes sense. Why complicate it. Start simple, start small. In my class I assign take home reading, sight words and sometimes math homework. With the stuff I assign home I get asked a lot about how my parents can help their kids with reading. I think this would be a great place to start. I could make videos of different reading strategies or comprehension strategies for students to watch with their parents. This way my parents know how I teach this and they can help my grade 1 students with all of the technical stuff that is required. After this is done and all parties understand what to do, I can expand to other subject areas and lessons.

Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell said that it was used in a grade ½ classroom as well as a grade ¾ classroom with a tool called flipgrid. After looking into this program it is a tool I could use. On twitter I was told that a grade 2 classroom used google classroom to flip. I also use seesaw in my classroom and am already connected to parents and students at home. I could use this to post videos of my mini lessons. I am excited that there are some tools shared with me that I could try. Needless to say I am very inspired and excited to get back to my classroom to try it.

Here is how it is done. I flip, you flip, we all flip!! Let me know if you flip and how it goes







Evolution of Technology Through my Eyes

Bates outlines the three different types of education, classroom teaching, blended learning and fully online classes. Throughout my education I have experienced classroom teaching, blended learning and fully online learning.

As I got older and made my way through the school system I got to see technology change and saw how it was used more often.

It all started with Classroom Teaching

In my elementary school days it was explicitly classroom teaching. The only type of technology we had was a cd player. Every couple weeks we got to go to our computer lab full of desktops and play kidspix or all the right type. When I was this age I loved this type of learning. I liked having the face to face interaction with my teacher. They were right there to help me with anything I needed. As I continued into high school and university I continued to have classes in this style.

I agree with Bates

Many students coming straight from high school will be looking for social, sporting and cultural opportunities that a campus-based education provides. Also students lacking self-confidence or experience in studying are likely to prefer face-to-face teaching, providing that they can access it in a relatively personal way.”

This is what I was looking for. To this day, I still enjoy learning in a face to face environment and having my educator right there.

Then it moved to Blended Learning

Technology was not a huge part of my education experience until I reached high school. As I moved into high school some teachers used blended learning. When I was in grade 12, we were lucky and got a new computer lab full of mac desktops. I took a computer class. In this class our teacher setup a blended classroom. We had face to face teaching but we also got to learn on our mac desktops. We got to create videos, songs on garage band etc. This was done by us exploring and learning at our own pace. We were given choices of how we wanted to represent our learning. During this time as well our school was getting smart boards. This changed the way material was presented to us. We could see videos, and interact with the smart board. I love this style of learning. You have interaction with the teacher and the delivery of information is done with technology. This is how I try to teach because I have seen the benefits as a learner.

Then there was Fully Online Learning

I have taken a couple fully online classes. Bates says

            “that fully online courses are more suitable for more experienced students with a strong motivation to take such courses because of the impact they have on their quality of life.”

I agree with this statement. In high school I went on an exchange to Quebec for 3 months. For me to get all of my credits I needed to take an online class. I choose chemistry. This class was a lot of text based. I had to read and answer questions. The teacher was hard to get a hold of and with mostly text the material was hard to understand. I ended up getting help from other chemistry teachers in the school. I was not ready for this class nor motivated.

As I entered university I tried more online classes. As Bates states

“Students study in their own time, at the place of their choice (home, work or learning centre), and without face-to-face contact with a teacher.”

This is the reason why I choose online classes in university. It was on my own time and I do not have to go to the university. I enjoyed these classes better than my high school online class. Professors are more accessible. Videos and recordings are integrated so I am not only reading text. I was ready and motivated to learn. I got to choose these classes and it was not just about getting the credit to graduate.

The Elements and my Experiences


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“Text can come in many formats, including printed textbooks, text messages, novels, magazines, newspapers, scribbled notes, journal articles, essays, novels, online asynchronous discussions and so on.”

Throughout my education text has been a major part. Bates provides different formants text comes in. I have interacted with all of those. Throughout school you are reading or writing essays. You are reading textbooks and novels. You are finding online articles. You are writing journal entries or blog posts. You are reading notes on the board. All schools have libraries. Classrooms are filled with books. Text is everywhere and an important part of education.

I have noticed the evolution of text. It started as a book I would sign out in the library and has changed to an article I will find and read online. I used to write in journals and now am blogging. I used to hand write notes in a notebook and now I am typing up notes on my laptop. Text has changed as technology and blended learning is being implanted. The delivery of text is changing and will continue to change.


I have got to see video in classrooms transform while I went to school. It started with a big box TV on a rolling cart. When you heard the TV rolling down the hall it was an exciting day. We got to enjoy magic school bus on VHS. Our VHS changed to DVD’s and a smaller TV. This eventually moved to YouTube videos on the smart board. When the Mac lab came in high school teachers and students could now make their own videos. Teachers could record what we were doing and create videos. The limits became endless.

“The ability to stop, rewind and replay video becomes crucial for skills development, as student activity usually takes place separately from the actual viewing of the video”

I agree with this statement. As video was integrated into my education experience you could stop and ask questions. You could replay something you missed. We got to learn all of these skills. For me, video made learning more fun and allowed me to take control of my learning.

Social Media

“The main feature of social media is that they empower the end user to access, create, disseminate and share information easily in a user-friendly, open environment.”

I agree with this statement as well. During university I have learnt that I can learn from social media. With social media being an open environment you have so much access to resources and other people. This is where I have done a lot of my learning lately. I am able to connect with other people on twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. and learn from them.


I am enjoying where technology is taking education. My favorite style of learning is blended learning. I enjoy having the connection with the teacher in a face to face way. I like how social media, text and video are integrated to allow an engaging way to present content. I love how accessible information is in blended learning.  I love how you learn at your own pace. It is a program that is made just for me. This is the style I learn best in and the style I would like to teach in.

What else is out there?

I am always looking forward to finding new ways to my engage students. This week I was excited to see all of these new programs I could use and got to choose one to try. But which one should I try first? After reading Chapter 7 of the Bates textbook   my question was answered for me.

                “One of the arts of teaching is often finding the best match between media and desired learning outcomes.”

I love using videos to introduce a new topic. I am constantly looking for attention grabbing videos on youtube that get my desired outcome. When I am feeling ambitious I do make my own videos on iMovie to show what happened with our leprechaun trap, to introduce myself at the beginning of the year, or make dance videos for our project in the dance unit.


The problem with this is it takes me an extremely long time to edit. I am putting hours in for a 2 minute video. There has to be a better way to do this.

I was happy to see that there were other options for making videos on the list provided. I needed to try one. I went with Animoto which “creates short, appealing videos quick and easy.” Perfect! I had the perfect topic, my baby boy. This is what I came up with.


As Alec and Katia described it did indeed make short, appealing videos. Animoto was quick and easy to use. The longest part was taking the pictures from my phone and importing them onto the computer.

How easy was it you may ask, I will walk you through it.

                Step one- create an account

                Step 2- Choose your video style

                Step 3- Choose your theme

                Step 4- Import your pictures

                Step 5- Add your captions

                Step 6- Pick your music

                Step 7- Preview and download.

The whole process took me about 10 minutes start to finish.  I am then left with a nice memory video. The final product looks great.

                Let’s Compare


  • Easy to use
  • Does not require much exploring
  • Finished product looks great with n0 editing
  • Does not take long time to create a movie
  • Harder to personalize (that I could see couldn’t add in different transitions, or choose duration of the clips)
  • Would only use this for pictures


  • Harder to use
  • Takes time to explore
  • Versatile
  • Can be very creative with your videos
  • Cool effects

My Conclusion

I would use Animoto again. It is very fast and easy to make videos. I would use it to put together pictures. This could be used for assemblies, parent teacher interviews, showing student work etc. I will still continue to use iMovie to make my videos for teaching and videos that would not just be a slide show.



To Use or Not to Use

Our group has decided to use google classroom for our prototype. I have heard great things about this LMS (Learning Management System) but have never tried it. This week gave me the perfect opportunity to try it out. Google classroom is new to me and I had no idea where to start.

What is google classroom?

According to Wikipedia

“Google Classroom is a blended learning platform for schools that aims to simplify creating, distributing and grading assignments in a paperless way.”

Photo Credit: lizzieisdizzy Flickr via Compfight cc

My Exploration

I started by watching our Jan.24 class. I had no idea how to even set up an account. With watching, emailing Alec and seeking help in the google+ community , I finally figured out how to get onto google classroom as a teacher (thank you everyone for your help). I then explored adding assignments, announcements etc. However I found this to be a false trial as I had no students. I then enlisted the help of my sister (a fellow teacher) who uses google classroom. She kindly gave me her login and I got to explore how google classroom worked with students. I was able to see how students could interact with assignments, how they could comment with questions and how you can see students’ progress. I also enjoyed seeing that an educator can mark students work. After seeing the teachers point of view I wanted to see how students could interact with google classroom. I used youtube to help me with this.

I enjoyed exploring the LMS our group will be using for our prototype.

What do I think?

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Overall I was happy with this LMS. With anything I did find some pros and cons.
I found quite a few pros to this program. I am excited to be able to work with it.


  1. Easy to use- Google Classroom has an easy to follow layout. It is easy for teachers to post assignments, grade work and track student progress. It is also simple enough for students to add and edit their work. With a little instruction this would be a great resource to use in a classroom.
  2. Can see students’’ work- A big part of teaching is seeing our students process. Google classroom allows you to do just that. It allows you to track students’ progress. You can see who takes extra time, or the process students are doing to complete an assignment.
  3. It is mobile- Since google classroom is online students and teachers can use it anywhere. It can be used for homework assignments. If a student misses a class they can find everything they need on google classroom. It can be used as a platform for an online class or it can be used in the classroom.
  4. It is paperless.
  5. Versatile- Google classroom does not only allow you to post an assignment. Students can work on their assignments. They can ask questions and interact with their teacher. A teacher can insert their resources for students. They can add announcements as well. Google classroom can be used for a number of reasons like an online class or a place for communication for a team. The number of possibilities is endless with this LMS.


  1. Not everyone can use it – I work in a division where a gsuite is not given to us. Therefore, it took a long time to get onto google classroom and this is something that will take a while for me to set up in the future. It is frustrating that you need the gsuite. I found this is a LMS that not every teacher has access to. If I was not taking this class and was given a domain to use, I would not be able to use google classroom. This is something I am talking to my division about as they are starting to give teachers access while they are introducing chrome books to our schools. Also all students need a gmail account to access this which is something not everyone has.
  2. Not for younger kids- I teach grade 1 right now and I think this program would be very hard to use with a class younger than grade 3. I would prefer seesaw. It is much more user friendly for the little people as it includes pictures, does not require students to type in a logon. However, I would still try it to see how it went.

Overall I am very pleased with google classroom. I am looking forward to using it for the prototype for grade 3 students. This is something I would like to use in the future and I am looking forward to it being introduced into my division.

Connecting to my students lives through blended learning

Why Treaty Education and blended learning?

I teach at George Gordon Education Centre which is located on George Gordon First Nation. In our school we take pride in bringing culture into the school environment. We are constantly incorporating our students’ culture into our celebrations, daily lessons and activities. It is very important for me to do this with our online/blended learning prototype as well

We will be doing our prototype on grade 3 Treaty Education. This is an area where I have never used technology to teach. I am beginning to find that my students love working on

ipads, or on the computer. They are very engaged when I can incorporate technology into a lesson. I am excited to learn how I can expand into this area and use more technology in my lessons. I want to go beyond writing on the smart board and showing a video on youtube. I want to allow my students to create and explore with the use of ipads and computers.

Photo Credit: kcdcloud29 Flickr via Compfight cc


What is Treaty Education?

How can I accomplish this?

Treaty Education is cross curricular so we will be covering a number of different outcomes and indicators in different subject areas. In my module I will be discussing the inquiry question; How have the lifestyles of First Nations people changed prior to and after the signing of treaties? I will be focusing on the area of living on the reserve. I want to talk to the people on Gordon’s and get their views of living on the reserve. I will be creating a video that incorporates my instruction with the people from George Gordon. I would then either like to use Seesaw or google classroom for the students to do their assignment. I am thinking a vlog would be nice so the students can talk about their experiences in connection to what they have learnt.

I am excited to incorporate the lifestyle of the children I teach directly into their instruction and assignment. I want the students to have a personal connection to what they are learning. I want them to be able to be flexible in their assignment and individualize their ideas. Students can be more engaged when they can directly relate to their own lives. I hope everything can come together nicely.

If anyone has any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Who am I?

My name is Justine Wheeler. 12249954_10156250414265644_3461606658926166515_n[1]

I am a teacher, mom, wife, student, daughter, sister and dog owner.  I love spending time with my family. I enjoy watching Netflix and chilling with my husband and my 1 month old son.  I love the outdoors. I enjoy camping, swimming and spending time in the sun.  I like spending time with my family and friends.  I am very passionate about my career. I have spent my teaching career at GGEC teaching grade 1. I have been teaching for 4 years and I love every minute of it. I am on maternity leave so right now I spending my days at home with my baby boy.

I am currently a student in the graduate program. I am taking my masters in curriculum and instruction. This is course number 3 and I am excited to continue my journey as a life long learner.  In my last tech class I loved using twitter. My link is here.

In the class I have 3 learning goals. I would like to become more familiar with the google community. I did not use it much in my last course and would like to use it more. I would like to learn from the other people in our course by reading others blogs. I would also like to learn how to create an online learning space for students in elementary school. I am excited for ECI 834

What do you find when you google yourself?

On March 15 we examined digital identity and reputation. I was amazed what can be found about someone on the internet. Over the past few weeks we looked into trolls and internet identity. With this I started to think of my digital identity.

In everything I post I make sure my security is high enough so no one could see anything. Or so I thought. I went and googled both Justine Hagel and my name after marriage Justine Wheeler. I was pretty shocked with what I found. The websites I thought had high enough security still show up and you can see aspects of my life. Places like twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, school pages and others show up.

When I was younger about 12, I did judo competitions all the time. This information is posted about me everywhere. I even found a picture of myself in google images from when I was 12. I am surprised by this. I never posted this picture and neither I nor my parents gave permission to have this picture up.



I was shocked by how accessible information is. Something you think is secure may not be. People may be posting about you. It is so important to be sure of what you are posting. When something is posted on the internet it is there, and it follows you. Anyone can see it. I found a video talking about Justine Sacco and others who lost their job for what they tweeted.

With this post the point I am trying to state is that you need to be smart about what you post. It is there forever and can be found. It is important that we teach our students this as well.

We need to make sure we are not posting things like these people did. We are in the public eye we need to make sure we have a positive digital identity. We also need to teach our students about this and encourage them to also create a positive digital identity. The internet is a very powerful tool that has many benefits. We need to be smart about how we use it.