Final reflection Major Project

Enjoy this last screencast!  To reiterate in simple words…. I LOVE classroom blogging.  I have enjoyed the increase in communication between parents, students, and myself.  I have a tendency to be long winded when I speak.  I edited it to make sense:)

My number one learning:  Things do not always go as planned and sometimes we forget to take pictures…. poor kindergarten’s.  Now, they are reminding me!  That is so helpful:)

 

Summary of Learning

Final reflection:

As I mentioned in my summary of learning, I do NOT claim to be a singer.  This was just to find an entertaining way to summarize the semester.  I certainly have learned many new tools but I highlighted the ones that were the most meaningful to me.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this course and the dialogue between colleagues.  In the last couple of weeks, I have really engaged with Twitter and certainly become a bit more comfortable with it.  I have graduated from using post-it reminders to go on Twitter to thinking of different ways to use it.  This week I made a comment about Agribition and it was favourtied!  That was nice to see.  (All of you Twitter pros probably wouldn’t get as excited as I:) )

This certainly was not an easy task.  I was trying to manage my mouse, the recoding, reading/singing the song while looking at the screen and pressing the apporpriate pages.  It took time for sure.  I think the 3 minute video actually took an hour and half to do.  I had to start and stop…. rewind… delete…try again many times!  You can see my mouse highlight and the awkward pauses but some I was unable to delete or fix up.

 

Here is a link the the Google Document I used.  As I got a good idea for a lyric, I used my Google Drive app on my phone to write it down.  I used the syllabus to remind me of the weeks people presented, the actual lyrics of All about that Bass.

Google Docs

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1VTHGfEg9Obs7JpmSjbN8aqQtY2HzWhkfzcZeJ5mGrtM/edit

 

Music by:

The music I found on Youtube.  Credit to PiaknowItAll.  He created piano tutorial for popular songs.  I needed one without lyrics.

 

Anyway, here is the video.  Take it with a grain of salt.  Appreciate the humour… you are the only ones who can truly appreciate it.

 

Thanks for the view!

 

Personal Digital Identity through Social Media

What is my Digital Identity and have I used it to its full capacity??

…. Here is where you will find me on the internet.

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I use Twitter as a professional identity.  I have only had Twitter for 4 months and I know I am still not using it to its full capacity.  In typical “Kenna” fashion, I have found certain people I follow and continue to check.  I have not expanded my search on my own, only taking guidance from others that I follow.  I really enjoy following @isteconnects, the #edchat, #edtech, looking at what colleagues are typing, thinking on #ec1831, and running through the others.  I had mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy reading them and look at them daily but certainly my activity online would not show that.  I look, think, bring it to my staff and discuss in person and then think “Oh! I should retweet that, or favourite or do make a comment”.  I have had the most difficult time staying “connected” and sharing like so many others in our class.  I see quite a few people on Google+ who are posting and commenting regularly.  There is great collaboration with everyone. I am happy to be a part of the comments and posts on that… I suppose because it is something that only my class can see??

 

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Facebook is something that I use for personal use.  I have never shared anything related to my career.  I hardly ever use it anymore.  I enjoy looking at pictures of friends, sending private messages but post nothing about my life anymore.

 

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On my Kindergarten blog, which I have mentioned I am quite proud of, you do not see me.  The focus of the blog is everything that the Kindergarten’s do and we are both very proud of.  I am the operator of the blog but I am careful to not associate myself with the blog.

Digital Footprint

Photo Credit: Natesh Ramasamy via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Natesh Ramasamy via Compfight cc

I am a huge advocate of technology and technology in the classroom.  I am on my way to using it better.  The focus of this post is not on my classroom rather my own personal progress. When I started this course I thought I would embrace each of the materials presented without hesitation- trusting that this process is safe.  I believed I had but listening to Alec’s presentation in class this week brought to the surface my issue with privacy.  It has taken me a long time to wrap my head around being “safe” while connected on the internet.  It has been a lot of work to change my thinking – I am a very stubborn person.  I love reading them and watching videos like

and share it via email and then talk about it later with people.  My thoughts did not go to Twitter or Facebook butttt I posted this earlier on Google+ and that was one of the first posts I had written that got a response.  I actually felt connected!  I realized, honestly, the network you can create by expanding beyond four walls.  I know that seems silly especially since that is the course objective but it took me nearly 3 and half months to connect with the idea of through social media.

Finding Balance

I think I have unintentionally found balance.  I look at my colleagues and a bit of jealousy surfaces when I see how active they are.  I remind myself to take a step back and look at the progress I have made.  Finding balance was crucial for me because otherwise I could become overwhelmed with the content presented in the course.  What I enjoyed the most was the blog hub, and Google+.  It was nice to receive notifications of posts and activity that was happening in the course and reminded me to maintain activity and staying connected, which I believe was the purpose of those tools:)

I found this article: Social Media vs. Having a Life: 3 Ways to Strike a Balance.  Certainly a good read and encourages the reader to find a way to make social media work without taking over your life!  Point #1: Pick your Poison – “Don’t go willy-nilly into all social networks…”  For this course, I felt we needed to do that because I had to get connected to a few new networks!  I certainly do not regret them but if you look back to my post on needing help with Twitter I was not sure how to connect properly.  I knew my audience but I did not know how to reach them.

This weeks presentation really had me thinking about the progress I have made and the continued growth I can make.  It is easy for me to think about what I may not be using best (Twitter) but I am choosing to focus on what I have connected with and have found work best for me.  I look forward to making progress using these tools in my classroom and for personal use.

Major Project Reflection

In the beginning of the semester, I had set a goal for myself to make one or two blog posts a week on my classroom blog.  I have been able to maintain this goal until last week.  I struggled to find moments to upload.  After looking at my day plan from the week, I could see that there was nothing that was of great excitement to post.  I had emailed my parents and explained to them that not every week will there be content to post.  I had to be careful to explain that it is not because of the learning happening but the lessons didn’t need pictures, videos, or mention on the blog. Frankly, sometimes there is not enough hands to do all of those tasks in a day!  I did not have any parent comments or responses to the little content uploaded last week.

 

Fast forward a couple of days into this week and it is the opposite.  The Kindergarten’s have quite the itinerary lined up for them this week!  This means that I will need to be on top of the blog and make sure I do not forget anything.  I find that to be a bit overwhelming with the nature of the week – report cards, interviews, and volleyball.  Interviews and volleyball are outside of school time and I will not be able to do the work during the day.  I already have post its and notes in my day plan. It looks a little more organized that this for both the post it use and calendars but very busy still!

 

Photo Credit: Neena.Rée Kroll via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Neena.Rée Kroll via Compfight cc

 

All manageable!  Looking at the schedule and seeing any available time to sit down and do work on the blog is critical. Already today, I have posted the letter we are working on and the visits from Theresa at Visitation House.  The Kindergarten’s are doing a Christmas Service Project.  Check out the link to see how awesome these kids are:)

 

 

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You can see here that even if there is time, computers have their own ideas!  It took several minutes to upload 17 pictures.  I suppose it teaches me not to rush through.  I tend to be a little more patient when there is time – as I am sure most people are.

 

I believe the only assistance i need this week is to get my categories working.  I have been choosing categories like ABC or Kindergarten so parents are able to click on the letters without leaving the home page.  I just noticed today when I was showing the kids that it doesn’t come up on the home page.  It just adds as a post.  I learned how to create categories but they will not direct you like it does on wordpress.  Is anyone a Weebly expert?  My searching has not given me any direction yet.

Thanks for reading:)  I am so excited that I have a project that I am enjoying and have figured out how to utilize it and not be TOO overwhelmed with updating it frequently.  I know it is important to the teachers…. and for myself.  I have enjoyed watching how the kids have grown and to know the “back story” to the pictures and see the progress!

 

My calendar picture will not move:)

Photo Credit: countableSet via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: countableSet via Compfight cc

Major Project Reflection

Parent Contact:

Katia had asked how I have been successful in communicating with the parents.  For the first month and a bit of school, my reflections were speaking of the concern of parent communication.  It is still a concern but fortunately I was able to connect with my parents on November the 7th and they were able to give me some feedback!  I struggle staying connected solely through the computer but often times it is our only option.  I arranged a Family Day to conclude the unit we had on LEGO.  When our family day started, I showed the families present our blog.  I commented on where they can make blog comments and highlighted the different pages available to them.

I had a very positive conversation with one of the parents.  She asked about a tool I had introduced at the beginning of the school year, ClassDojo.  She saw we were using it in the classroom and is now using it with her daughter at home.  This same parent said she was going to start her own personal blog as a way to connect with people in her life.  It was such a successful day.  I did have a realization.  I know that the best way for me to feel connected is through person to person contact.  I need to have the opportunity to speak to families directly.  Balance is everything!  We are not able to connect daily in person so this blog and emails certainly are helping me fill that void.

After the family day, the Kindergarten’s received a positive comment on the blog from one of the parents and our Vice Principal.

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They were so excited to see someone make a comment!

 

I also learned, when talking to the parents, that on two of my pages you cannot make comments.  Those two pages happen to be the ones that are for the specific rooms.  I have played around and attempted to change the style from standard page to blog page but have not been successful, as it appears I will lose the content already on there.

This is an image of the blog page:

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This is the standard page:

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If you take not of the two pages, you will see that one has comments above the title of the post and one does not.  This was a mistake on my part and as I mentioned, I am currently trying to rectify it.  I will be putting this link into Google+.  I am fairly confident that someone will know how to fix my problem.  I would like to find way to fix this problem.  The resources and knowledge of blogging I have is not large enough for me to make the appropriate change.

 

I have noticed that my reflections have not gone as in-depth as they should. I think around mid October, I become comfortable with the process of loading, taking pictures, uploading,  posting, etc and just ignored any struggles or didn’t think to list the successes that were happening.  In the next few weeks, my goal is to pay more attention to the process instead of the project.  I am proud of my classroom blog and so are the students.  I am looking for ways to improve it and, as a result, have neglected the process.  I felt that creating the Wordles, Screencasts, and using pictures was helping reflect on my process but I see how it is more of using a tool. Here I am reflecting on my reflections!  Feeling a little disappointed that this far into the term it appears I have not been doing an adequate amount of work, all the while feeling successful using new tools!  It is a learning process right?  (even the process of reflecting)  With 3 weeks left, I am determined to go more in depth.

Resistance in the Classroom?

The week leading up to student progress reports are typically an above average stressful time. Teachers feel overwhelmed and are meticulously checking their lists to make sure they accomplished all they need.  In our staff meeting today, it was apparent that teachers plates were full.  A couple committees were giving information regarding deadlines and work needed from classroom teachers.  As I was sitting there, it appeared that people were resistant to what they were being asked to do.  It was surprising to see from my staff as, typically, everyone is “all in” and open to trying new things.  I had to think and reflect a little.  I was feeling a little disappointed in what I saw but later realized what was the route of the issue.  The resistance is not because they do not feel what is being presented is good for the students, or even that it would be a tremendous amount of work, it was because of time.  Time can certainly be our enemy in the classroom.  We are continually facing changes and initiatives and we have no choice but to accept them.  So what often appears to be resistance is a result of teachers priorities and what is working best for them.

 

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Photo Credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/93252788@N00/3704164372/”>bernat…</a&gt; via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

How is this relating to the world of technology in the classroom?  Teachers are maxed out!  I was doing some reading in this area and found two articles that support how we are feeling.  On pages 32 and 33 of, “A Framework for Addressing Challenges to Classroom Technology Use”  by  Jennifer Groff and Chrystalla Mouza.  They highlight the role of the classroom teacher.  The article states other  elements like: Division, administration, and parents but I am going to focus on the classroom teacher. “Effective use of technology often requires extensive changes in classroom routines which can also produce significant levels of anxiety and concern.”  (2008, p. 32)  Change in routine requires a new time management task.  I think from a primary level where it takes, at this time of year, an average of 10 extra minutes to get a class ready to go outside for recess.  Introducing student blogs, tablets, tools for making videos, whatever the new program takes time.  It is difficult to manage and if you are not comfortable in the area it also comes with nerves.  I think that we put too much pressure on ourselves.  We want to make things perfect and be the “master” when we are introducing new tools.  It is possible but it requires extra time to become familiar… hence the resistance.  It can be done!  Teachers do adapt but we all need to support each other to be patient.  Our students are learning incredible skills from us. 

The second article, “WHY ARE TEACHERS RESISTANT TO CHANGE? KEY ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATION”, speaks about teacher attitude.  Certainly our attitude towards new initiatives can be resistant but I know personally I always come around.  My experience in the schools I have taught in is similar.  Some may take more time than others but eventually we embrace the change.   This article is not a new publication.  I might suggest that data would be different if assessed recently.  Teacher’s are not as resistant to technology in the classroom but perhaps the type of technology and how it is introduced.  Our attitudes change throughout our careers and if we were being asked about new initiatives in these recent weeks, most of us would should that resistance the articles are speaking of because of other areas that require our attention.

What I am suggesting is that teachers do get the work required done and go beyond.  We have many obstacles in our way but we find way to overcome them.  Just as time can be a contributing factor to resistance it eventually is the same factor that aids us in our patience.  Remember, the next time you see resistance from a colleague.  Think about where they are at and where they are coming from.  It isn’t because they do not care.  We know teachers have a tremendous capacity to care.

 

Resources:

Groff, J., & Mouza, C. (2008). A framework for addressing challenges toclassroom technology use. AACE Journal, 16 (1), 21-46.