EC&I 834

That’s All Folks!

Completing another class puts me that much closer to reaching my destination and finishing this leg of the journey.  After having come this far in such a short time, I believe I will be looking for the next new thing once I have completed my masters program in July.  The options are endless and the desire to continue to learn is deep within me.  I have enjoyed working with all of you. Collaborating and learning from each of your in our Zoom times and through all of your posts has been invaluable to my learning experience.  Thank you Alec for another great class, sadly my last one and thank you to each of you.  I hope you enjoy Amy and my’s Summary of Learning.

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EC&I 834

The Finale

EC&I 834 has been an exciting course. It’s really great to create something that I can actually use in the classroom.EC&I 833 and 834 with Alex have helped me build a repertoire of resources that we were able to use in our prototype. We were able to create, connect

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and collaborate in a number of different ways within the context of our small group, our class and finally with our students while test-driving our prototype. With my Connected Ed obligations I am required to complete 6 lessons, never did I dream that  I could develop a whole course. With this, comes the greatest take-away of this class – collaboration. My classmates Amy, Kyla, and I worked very hard putting together an interesting, engaging prototype that meets our Saskatchewan curriculum requirements. Completing this in isolation would be very difficult, having people to collaborate with is a  key component to successful product.

Planning would be the next important take away. Planning for diversity within the context of the curriculum and with the tools I am able to use to have my student show what they know. As a young teacher, years ago, I spent hours and hours planning: day plans new units and as I changed grades I plan for that. After awhile I was

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able to work without as much planning, still coming up with new ideas but relying on my experience to help guide me. Planning a unit such as this one was overwhelming, yet so rewarding. There is a feeling of satisfaction knowing that the diversity is built right into each component of the unit.

A major question came to mind as I was reflecting on this week and teaching students on-line. As a classroom teacher I know the students who are coming into my classroom. We have reports on them, spoke with their previous teachers, we have and idea of who they are and what they’re capable of from previous years. When we receive students online how do we know anything about them? How do we make that connection with them? Where is the personal part, and how they connect without that face-to-face aspect. Can young children make the same connections as adult online learners?  I guess that is more than a question….

I look back at how much I have learned since September.  Reviewing my last Summary of Learning, seeing how my teaching has changed, watching what my students can do. Blended learning is working for me as a learner and for me as a teacher.

EC&I 834

Putting it all together.

Our prototype is a digital or online book club. The theme of the book club is bullying which is a very difficult and important issue that

Anti-Bullying

teachers have to teach each year. We have chosen a number of leveled resources and have divided our students into homogeneous reading groups. Each teacher is facilitating a group of students using one novel. Each week students will use a plethora of resources and online tools to complete assignments regarding a number of curricular outcomes. The classroom teacher will implement reading times as well as computer times for students to work on assignments.

On the first day students will be given a blog and creative assignment students will have read a section of the novel and will begin commenting on that section in their weekly blog post. On the first day the classroom teacher will show a video to the students with a number of questions that they will discuss on the Yoteach app the following day. Day Two will be the live chat happening with the students separated into groups according to the novel they are reading. The instructor will lead the chat beginning with the questions from the video that was shown the previous day, then the instructor will get into that section of the book that was to be completed reading for the Monday prior. Days 3,4 and five allow the students to work on their posts with the opportunity to chat with their classroom teacher, as well as their online instructor for any help they need and creating their blog post as well as the creative post. Students will have the opportunity to use many applications in order to finish their posts. An example would be creating a poster; the classroom teacher will introduce a Site or application, but students are allowed to use which ever tools they would like to in order to complete the assignments. Over the weekend the instructor of each book assesses the blog and they creative  post using the rubrics included. Students receive their mark, feedback and ideas in which to improve and have completed the next portion of reading by the Monday in order to start the cycle all over again. For senior students, grades 6-8, this timeline will feel somewhat quick paced, but I believe teaching deadlines and time management is also a skill that will be part of this unit.

Groupwork

Amy, Kyla and I met several times in order to figure out how to put this unit together. Our first objective was to locate books and sites in order to build a repertoire of activities for the students. We looked at other book clubs and blended learning situations in order to piecemeal something that we could handle in our classrooms. Our profile is located here.

Our theme is an important one and we wanted to ensure that the readings our students were signed, the activities they participated in and the videos they viewed would help to develop their understanding of bullying and ways in which they can actively work to stop it from happening.

Ar this point we do not have a full 5 week unit.  We have more than the number of activities required for this course. If you are interested in viewing our Unit you can find it here.  Feel free to add and adapt what it here it make it your own.

EC&I 834

Blended Learning – How can I make it work?

In my classroom, I use a number of different student- student and student–instructor interactions. The Collaboration Space in OneNote is a great one. My non-risk takers really like it, as they don’t have to speak to everyone. They are able to give their thoughts without having to step out of their comfort zone (though there is a time to have them step out). We have tried Padlet, and it works in the same manner, as well as having different options. We have portfolios, using Flipgrid and Seesaw, that we use interchangeably. The Seesaw posts go straight away to the parents and the Flipgrid is used at conferences. Menti is great it has many different options.

 

If we decide to kick it up and make a competition, Kahoot allows you to put your student into teams.  This is a team building activity but competitive.

When we made our Prototype we utilized a number of the apps and extensions that I already use in my classroom.  Google Classroom is an extension of Google that seems to be widely used.  My division uses Windows so OneNote is what we are encouraged to use.  As this is our system-wide tool, it works very well when connecting to other teachers, it also works very well for my students to connect to other teachers.  Teachers at other schools can invite my students, and I theirs, to a Notebook where assignments and interchanges between students can occur. We used Kidblog instead of the WordPress, Poster my Wall, Yoteach, and Adobe Spark. I feel confident in my ability to use these with my students and my students are able to help each other almost better than I.  I had students create PSAs ( public service announcements). We kind of emulated our idea around The More You Know, I suggested Adobe Spark but many  chose to video themselves. I am finding that my students, after being on the computer since September, are finding sites and applications that the prefer to what I am asking of them. I think this lines up with this weeks readings were the learner is taking ownership of what and how they are learning.They are collaborating with each other and basically moving away from me as the instructor.  They have their own ideas and how they want to represent them.  This is very cool to observe as they are 12 years old and totally into their own learning.  Listening to them reflect on the learning is amazing, you will have to wait for that in my Summary of Learning.     Credit

EC&I 834

Evaluation Feedback Post

The feedback we are reflecting/commenting on included the following:

  • Does it excite students or engage them differently?
  • Does the complexity of what you are doing combined with three classrooms full of “strangers” have a negative impact on student learning?
  • What to do if people are not aware of how to use the programs?
  • Timetable for student due dates  
  • Missing vocabulary (word study)
  • Add reference to YoTeach

 

 

Differentiated learning is a huge part of twenty-first century teaching. Typically doing Literature Circles in one classroom means that one teacher is in charge of 5 books with different groups in the classrooms. By having one teacher in charge of one book, this can deepen the students learning because it limits the amount of interchanging teachers have to complete. Teachers are not splitting their time up with each novel group, s/he focuses on one novel and the students within that grouping. Splitting the novel up amongst 3 schools allows for smaller groupings for teachers and students to work with. We could also include our teacher librarians which would allow teachers to have even smaller groups, this would also open up more book choices as well. This way if students need a challenge, teachers can add content, challenge the creative component, ask higher level thinking questions, or if students need some differentiation, there are several options we could implement.  Examples of this enclude: having audiobooks, using speech to text, or Google Read and Write(prediction tools, dictionary, etc.)

We do not believe there is a negative impact on student learning by working with strangers. We think this can engage those students who are introverts because it gives them a space where they can engage in conversations about their novel without the restrictions of being face to face. In addition, we feel that it provides students with a goal each week and there are specific apps that can allow us to view the progress of our students. If we see that a student is struggling with their online posts, individual teachers can speak with those students and encourage them along the way. With YoTeach for example, teachers can print out the discussion forum and you can track what students are commenting throughout each week. This can track student engagement and involvement. In addition, because they do now know who they are working with and who they are speaking too, they are more confident in terms of what they are sharing online.

 

Organization of structure for students could also be added to the course itself. Something like adding Google calendar would really help students stay on track as well to remind them on important due dates. Google calendar is super easy to use and could be accessed on a personal device as well online. It can be shared amongst all the
members in the reading groups and anyone can be given the permissions to add to the calendar itself. As well, depending on the difficulty of the novel, a word study could be added to each module. Reviewing and going over important words that will be used in the chapters will help students comprehend the book deepening their understanding of the questions being asked of them. In addition, getting each leveled group together at the end of the unit would be a great culmination! Just being together and chatting with both the strengths and challenges of the unit can create some great, constructive, and important conversation between the students.

 

There are many different tools being utilized within this online blended course. If students have limited knowledge of these tools, mini lessons should be given prior to the beginning of the unit. This way, students will be confident using the different types of tools and technology being used in the class.  If needed, there are videos below that would support teachers if they were unfamiliar with the platforms provided.

Adobe Spark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2oyYMTjDQg

Yo Teach: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6m6BErGnLU

Postermywall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uwrSwNZoWDg

KidBlog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSQ_MXfPisw

Google Read and Write: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwC_hJ7KmAg

YoTeach-  The Classroom teacher goes over questions that will be addressed in the live chat prior to the chat. This gives students the opportunity to see the videos, focus their thinking and then engage in the chat.  Teacher who is leading YoTeach then puts the questions into the YoTeach forum, then students answer them in the live chat.

 

We have completed more than the required modules for this assignment.  We hope that you can use what we have constructed and to continue to build on to it as we will.  Bullying is a topic that should be taught at all grade levels. We believe this unit, with different novels, could be used from grade  4 and up.

Thanks to my group, Amy and Kyla for all of their hard work

EC&I 834

Blended Learning and Higher Education.

I had a really difficult time trying to decide what to write my blog post about this week. Blended learning means so much in so many different ways and I thought about how the three blended classes that I’ve taken have provided me with different learning opportunities. And that’s when my idea popped into my head.

Differentiated instruction, different learning opportunities. As a primary teacher I spent much of my day looking for ways to adapt my lessons to accommodate the needs of all of my students. Do people in higher centers of learning work to achieve the same goals as I do? As I pass my students onto the high school level, I’m aware that all of the adaptations I make are not available to them in high school. 70% of their science and math marks are all about exams. Exams are not the primary focus in elementary school. I asked my high school counterparts what does blended learning mean to you and how are my students going to be ready to enter your classroom? This then translates to how are high school kids ready to enter university?

It’s a well-known fact that class sizes are increasing. Increasing at the elementary level, the high         giphy      school level and the post secondary level. Are all instructors having difficulty in reaching all of their students? Is blended learning the answer? Searching for articles that could help me answer my question…and then tadaa!!!      giphy

Boelens, Voet & Wever (2018). article, The design of blended learning in response to student diversity in higher education: Instructors’ views and use of differentiated instruction in blended learning. Blended learning not only gives us the opportunity to reach the distance, but it gives us the opportunity to diversify the instructional lesson and requirements that need to be fulfilled by the students.

Differentiated instruction through Blended Learning looks at four components; these are content, process, product, and affect. Flexibility in content is adapting the curriculum or modifying resources and how curriculum is being presented. Process is understood as how content is being processed and the acquisition of new skills. Product is how the students show what they know and affect is how students feel about the classroom environment. Most of the studies on differentiate learning have been done in the elementary and high school environment, although blended learning holds great potential for face-to-face and online activities in higher education. Unfortunately a large population of higher level instructors do not believe in the use of a blended learning environment.

I have been working in my classroom to develop blended learning with a number of other teachers through novel studies that we are teaching. My students are thoroughly enjoying the interaction that online learning, in conjunction with the face to face times is giving them. I would say out of the three classes that I’ve taken in a blended learning environment, two have been very enjoyable for me. Should differentiated instruction be part of higher learning, and can blended learning by the key to this?

EC&I 834

Useful, or not so much?

So I looked at a couple of different options and shut them down right away. Photobabble looked like a cool option, but I already use SeeSaw  that you can use voice over on and Flipgrid whereby students hold up a picture (test, work, etc.) and talk about it. Smore flyer creator looked like something I could use to have students create a project with, but we already use Adobe Spark and we make excellent videos and posters with it.  We also use PosterMyWall which works great for my students. Powtoon looked like a very cool site.  I thought I could have students use this to create messages for Health, Career Guidance or Religion.  I set about to try it out and had some of my students try it too.  They always seem to catch on quicker than me.  If they are able to try it with me, I then have a few helpers in the group. So three kids started with me.  One student made an entire story about how to help with stress. She liked using the site but found it did not save well and she had to retype a few times.  Retyping for kids who have no keyboarding skills is treacherous.

Two of my boys thought they would made how-to videos.                                       Cass’ help 

I thought I could have my students create book talks or book reports using this template

As the boys tried to share their ideas, they had difficulty saving their creations.  They started over twice and I called it quits.  This turned them and me off of the site.  Saving should be the easiest part the process.  Having to restart and restart is off setting.  I thought that this is a different option for my students.

The idea of the site is pretty cool.  There are a number of options to use for presentations as it is a presentation tool.  I do not think I would use it from much other than book reports.  It has has a very limited number of templates and you cannot upload any of your own pictures or images.  It does have a blank template but you have to use the material provided thus limiting the end result.  There is a time limit on the free presentation material and a cost if you go over the time limit.  As a teacher, I am always looking for free…free just about anything.

I think there is probably something better out there.  What I would like to know is who has time to find it.  I admit I am not at all good with looking for new ideas.  I will try out a number of things but seem to fall into using what I think is good and then get stuck there.  Ideas anyone?