I can unlearn and innovate

I believe that I am more of an innovative thinker when it comes to my ideas of what teaching means to me. I have not fell victim to being stuck in my teaching ways so I am constantly scribbling down the “musts” I will include in my methods, and cutting and pasting a collage of methods that will one day make up my own methodology. I have been innovative this semester because I have collecting and absorbing the plethora of information that we have had access to and formulating my own ideas from them. Like a recipe list I have been adding to what type of teacher I plan to be.

I have always had an open mind about the way learning can take place yet before this semester I have never really had the word that I now center the rest of my idea around. That word is PASSION, my biggest take away from this semester has been this new way of designing a lesson or a classroom that has come to light for me. I do not have a procedure or a way to put this in to action but I believe it will tentativly be something that takes a students passion as the core and builds other skills (content) around it. This idea is still foggy when I try to put it to life but I believe I eventually will I will be an innovative educator indeed.

I have unlearned that the teacher must delegate which questions should be asked and answered. Really, students will come up with deep questions without them being served to them, or force fed in some cases.

“I question thinking. challenge ideas, and do not accept “this is the way we have always done it ” as an acceptable answer for our students  or myself.” – George Couro

This quote from George Couro is a great one, I love this mindset that he shares in his post.

“We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.” Richardson states in his article The Unlearning Curve. This is something I want to unlearn, I want to be a teacher who is not afraid to discover resources along with my students, because I do not hold all of the answers. We as educators need to unlearn a lot of things to become innovators of education, which is what our school systems needs so badly.

 

9 Elephants in the Classroom

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When you choose a project…

Often through this semester my Independent Learning Project has been the highlight of my week. I have had loads of homework that often produces a groan and a bit of procrastination from me, and then there is logging hours for my Independent Learning Project. I can be tucked away in my office, with the music cranked and my eyes glued to my computer screen for so long that sometimes my husband would peek in and see if I needed to hydrate, or if I planned on coming out sometime soon. I feel like I chose the perfect Independent Learning Project for myself, learning Photoshop has always been something I have wanted to do, and ironically  during this semester I have been taking pictures for a web designer, putting my new skill to work. I have done some but not all the editing for the projects we have embarked upon, now I am even going to get my own watermark to protect my photos, this is EXCITING!!

I have learned that it is never to late to start something that you want to learn, you are never “to old”, ” too inexperienced”, or whatever else we tell ourselves because we are to scared to start something new. I feel like as adults sometimes we don’t want to learn a new skill because we don’t want to be “bad” at something when we begin.  I think that embarking on this project this semester has taught me the importance and hard work of learning a new skill. I often think if the conversation I have with my stepdaughter she states  “I can’t do that, I’m not good at it” and I ask her “well how do you get better at it?” She smiles and answers, “practice.”  I say it and mean it to her yet I sometimes do not take my own advice. Throughout this semester I have been practicing what I preach…and it feels good!

I think that the best part of my ILP was being able to edit something with my new skill that I will treasure forever. I edited my wedding photos and printed one of my creations onto a canvas for our living room. It is a beautiful picture of a magical day, and it also reminds me that with some practice I can accomplish what I intend to.

I will use Independent Learning Projects in my classroom because it is a good way to incorporate passion into content. I think they can be used as things that kids work on when they have “free time” as well as be incorporated into lessons we are learning. Learning a skill and adding to it something kids have chosen on their own will give them ownership and pride, they are likely to  work harder because it includes something they like. I hope to be open minded and find opportunities that allow students to use their Independent Learning Projects as ways to show what they have learned through other lessons.

Tech tool Comics

//www.pixton.com/embed/cs95w4ju”>my comic

I am wordy, more so  when I write than in person, but I am fairly wordy then too. So when I began writing my first comic using Pixton I was 6 boxes in and I still didn’t have a punchline. As fate would have it my computer had a malfunction and rebooted, leaving the unfinished comic nowhere to be found. I am not saying the one I created next is on it’s way to Marvel, or even the “funnies” but it is better.

I could see kids loving this tool, I would like to give them the chance to create a quick comic about our literature circle books, possibly a foresight they are sensing in the novel. I think that would be a fun way to get the discussion going and ensure that kids are looking deeper into their books.

I was a little distraught when I could not download the Comic Book App that featured turning pictures into cartoons, because that is right up my alley. With a big deep breath I moved on to Pixton and I can confidently say that this is actually  tool I could see myself using as a teacher.

The universe seems to be working a double shift for me in hindsight.

Piktochart and Canva are awesome tools, I was trying to embed one of them into a lesson I am creating for another class but before I can comfortably do that I need to be a little better myself. I think with some training in the class students would be able to construct a piktochart quite efficiently. It would be fun for kids to use in debates and things that kids can see concrete evidence of. This could be an awesome way to show research and make some real life connections to math and business. Love both of these tools for the classroom.

Podcast Frenzy

I love the Serial podcast, things like this really make me wish I was going to be teaching older students. I really liked how the students can use the podcasts to help capitalize their abilities to use critical thinking, argumentative stance on things and overall interest in the scenario that leaves them connected to what they are learning. Having mock closing arguments on behalf of the victim and defendant is an awesome gateway to all kinds of avenues from government, humanities and  English. I was impressed by how much content can be derived from the podcasts, yet just like a book, the well of knowledge is deep. The advantages are great with podcasts, for all ages. They give students the opportunity to absorb literature that may be above their reading level, and gives them a new avenue to gaining deeper meanings  from the story. Linking a podcast to other literature can be done and strengths and new ways of thinking may come to light with the contrast of the two methods. I think the disadvantages of using podcasts may be for some learners how auditory learning is not a strength of theirs and they may zone out. With practice students may become better listeners though, or increase their note taking abilities if they were interested in the podcast.

The Digital Story Telling Teachers Guide was a great article. I can’t agree more about how much a student can get from creating a digital story. From research skills to understanding the emotions of lyrics and using those emotions to set a “tone” of a plot or scene… The possibilities are endless. Also kids love to use technology, so as teachers it makes sense to incorporate something they love, into something they are learning to master. Getting students excited about the events of Abraham Lincoln’s life may be a daunting task, but if they get to create an animated video about it, the hill may just change slopes.

I believe I will absolutely have students that will create in my classroom using podcasts and digital story telling, it is a part of today’s world and can be an important tool for them as future students and career holders.

Independent Learning

I have learned so much in the last couple of weeks with my new camera and my new editing programs I am pretty proud of myself. I have began taking pictures for a web designer here in town that was in need of a photographer and bam, I was in. I have had to edit my own pictures in a timely manner to be prompt in getting them back to her and so far she has been very pleased. Turns out she is a photoshop master so I will be learning some new things from her as soon as I get the chance to spend a day in her office like a fly on the wall with a notebook. Since she is the photoshop guru I have decided it would be best for me to take this opportunity to learn Lightroom. I am able to add filters and minimal editing now quickly and upload to a drop box  without having to watch a 30 minute tutorial to do so.  I have been able to produce some quality pictures in a short amount of time, and that is an accomplishment. However my true goal is to get fast at Photoshop and that is a whole different ball game. DSC_3878

Here is a picture I edited and created a filter to keep for in Lightroom. It’s always more fun to edit pictures of big events in your own life, so this was a blast for me. It’s too bad the shot didn’t capture Elvis though, my brother married my husband and I wearing a sweet Elvis jumpsuit.

The learning continues …. as a my photo editing skills progress so do my photo taking skills. Yippeeee!!!!

Digitally Mindful

I feel that I am generally pretty aware of my cause and purpose on the internet. I do not use Facebook so I run out of things to do on the internet faster than some people.  I can waste time on Ebay or Pintrest quite easily. I consciously try to avoid opening or “surfing” on my phone when I am with friends and family.  When the hint of boredom begins creeping in though I have been guilty of aimlessly swiping my phone just to stare at something.We loose so much human connection when we are tethered to our devices. Things that can suffer from being attached to our phones or tablets can be how we have forgotten how to fill silences, how to keep eye contact or a conversation engaging, how to get the nerve to make an unwanted phone call instead of just texting…things like that.  This is not true for everyone but these could be things that suffer from the way we act with our devices. I know I will be a parent that will teach my kids to be respectful with their use of phones and tablets. I hope that as a teacher I will be able to teach my students some of the ways to be respectful and thoughtful with their devices in their lives as well.

I think there are times to let loose on the internet and play around, but there is never a time to forget about your digital footprint, the tattoo that is forever. Sometimes we can stumble onto creative ideas and concepts by surfing the internet without a cause and this is the great thing about the endless world of the internet.

We are programmed to multitask, as a teacher I will expect my students to multitask at times. There are times when multitasking can take away from the best possible results, such as editing one’s paper,  focusing on a difficult task, or focusing on a person.

The video about disconnecting from the internet made me think of how this man that had been consumed by the internet, lost site of friends and conversations  or inside jokes had all surpassed him while he was on his break. This feeling seemed to be common even among the teens who gave up their phones for three days, the feeling of disconnect. Before reading about these experiences of teens and adults that disconnected for a time I would have argued that our phones disconnect us from what is right in front of us. Yet I guess there is a reason that we call it “connecting to the internet” because we truly are connected to many things through our devices. Though without thoughtfulness about when and where we are “connected” I do feel that they can be a portal we stare into to “disconnect” to what may be right in front of us.

I think that many teens and even adults feel insecure without their phones and giving them up or disconnecting from time to time is the only way to build confidence in ones self without the dependency of social media connection. It is important to break away from the internet and TV and video games to concentrate and to be completely cheesy “to smell the roses”!

 

Digital Activism

 

Digital Activism is such a big thing going on in today’s world and it is no surprise that it will be a part of our classrooms. I loved the article My kids, a cause and our classroom blog. I think it is wonderful to get kids actively making a difference, that is what it is all about. Giving them the power to make a difference in the future and today, its awesome and it gets me thinking of all the ways that kids can make a difference using technology to their advantage. Give our kids a little rein, and something to get passionate about and I feel like we can really see the sparks fly.

The effectiveness of this digital activism can be as powerful as any other I feel. Not only can our words and posts be seen all over the world, they are instant. The only thing that starts to take away from the effectiveness is that around every corner of the internet one can find something to be boycotting or involved in. Regardless I think that the amount of change we can generate through digital activism can and will be extremely useful to schools, students, teachers, everyone.

I have not truly been a part of any digital activism yet in my life, I have read a lot things I believe are worth standing for yet I have yet to be an active participant.  I have read and discovered many things that I believe to be important but I think I have felt like many others have in thinking that there are so many others that are already writing and advocating for this, what difference does it make if I join? I think after this module,  that thought has faded for me, my voice should be heard with others.

Issues to consider include choosing which topics you want to be associated with, researching your position before and while you are a part of any stand you are making.

I was interested in the teen activism movements, I love reading about how they can make a difference in one another’s lives. I also liked to see that these teens were conscious about what they were posting and the effects of what others post. This was an inspirational reading and discovery for me because I can see me using examples of teens like these to inspire my own students.

Digital Citizenship

 

This topic of digital citizenship really had me going this week. This is such an important part of the lives of us as teachers and the lives of our students, yet I think it is often overlooked. We tell our students about how hurtful cyber bullying can be yet we sometimes forget to tell them how portraying ourselves online as responsible and in a positive light can be important as well.

I really enjoyed this video about your digital footprint being as permanent as a Tattoo . The speaker had some great points about good or bad, what you put on the internet it is forever. I also got a lot from the  video about the dangers of social media. This video was really telling about just how easy it can be to find out a lot about someone by only a few clicks on the internet. The scary thing I began thinking about was how our students are beginning posting so much of their lives onto the internet that by the time  they become old enough to become a part of the work force there will be so much of them on the internet. Not only being a part of the work force but we all know how an old photo album can be mortifying to a new group of friends, imagine every photo and “tag” and “post” available to your new boss or perhaps the coworker you just took a promotion from.

What can we do to instill into our students to be responsible on and off the internet I think comes down to not letting them be fooled by the cloak of the internet. Often kids and even adults feel that they are invisible and able to do and say things without consequence over the net. This is far from the truth, and if we are teaching them and encouraging their kindness and responsibility in their daily lives, this will affect how they act on the internet as well.  I want to be a teacher that will remind and teach my students to protect themselves and take precautions to be who they want to be all of the time.

 

Google yourself and throw away the key

Lucky for me I have been very cautious about what and where I have traveled on the internet. I worry most about my crazy friends and their incessant posting of pictures that could be undesirable.  After googling myself I did not find anything easily, and it was a good feeling. I had avoided being easily googled but I as I have been learning, there is always something out there. I quickly found my wedding registry but that was about the extent of it. If I created an account I could have found a little more information but it was not easily accessible.

I am a photographer and I keep a journal, but I do not do either on the internet, I like my privacy. Posting online is like a journal with no hidden drawer or secret hiding place.  My dad was a bit of a conspiracy theorist so I must have it ingrained into me to not share my lunch, my grievances, and the like over the internet. I am loud enough in person, I don’t need to be loud online too.

I would have to say that googling myself went very well and I intend to keep it that way.