Every couple of weeks, we get a new topic with #etmooc a recent one was about the meaning behind the buzz words like digital literacy, media literacy...you know what I mean...
I thought a lot about it...what does it mean to me? And is it important? And why?
And I realized that my whole transformation as an educator is because of my digital literacy. Two years ago I began a quest to improve as an educator. I wanted to take my teaching to the next level. I thought that meant integrating technology and so that is what I aimed to do...I was going to be a fabulous teacher because I was going to do all kinds of awesome, techy things with my class! I signed up for twitter
, registered for the ITDA
program at SFU
and started this blog. And amazing things happened. I became more digitally literate, but more importantly, I met all of YOU -- I became a connected educator.
And so, I think what I have come to realize, is that it is not digital literacy that makes us better and stronger educators (people?) but it is the amazing connections that we can now make because of our digital literacy that is really more important.
Image by Abode of Chaos – Thierry Ehrmann
5. Personalizing education is so important. Not all learners are the same, so why should their education be the same? Genius Hour allows students to choose their own projects, personalizing their own learning.
4. Kids need time to be creative! Check out Sir Ken Robinson's TedTalk below.
3. Passionate people are successful people. Students need time to find their passions. I am amazed by how many of my students struggle to communicate what their passions really are. They need time to explore their wonders (and often need some guidance with this too) so that they can figure out what they love to do.
2. Inquiry based learning. During Genius Hour students form inquiry questions to investigate. Being able to ask questions is a key competency that we need to develop in students.
1. Teaches resilience. Students will fail during Genius Hour. And they will problem solve and figure out another way to look at the problem. We need to reinforce this learning strategy and Genius Hour is the perfect time for this.
***Genius Hour is FUN. In a survey I did with my class last year, most students listed Genius Hour as one of the top things we did that year!***
Did I miss anything? What would you add to this list?
Haven't tried Genius Hour or 20% time yet?
You will love it!
Check out the Genius Hour wiki and this post and this post.
So, should I change the name of my blog?
About two years ago when I started this blog, I meant for it to be a journal of some sort about the things I was learning to do in my graduate diploma course, ITDA, at SFU. I was determined to figure out how to integrate tech in meaningful ways and wanted to document my journey. Hence the title, "Integrating Technology: My Journey". Well once I started the program and started analyzing my practise to see where tech needed to/could be integrated, I actually began an amazing journey
which didn't only involve integrating tech, but rather I started truly reflecting on my practise and looking at WHY I was teaching the way that I was. And I was examining everything!! It wasn't just about integrating tech anymore...it became much, much more.
I started thinking about student centred and project based learning. I completely changed my math, science and social studies program in order to make them more hands on.
I fell in love with Genius Hour and Passion Based Learning and now offer my students an hour each week in which they can learn about anything they want.
I partnered up with Hugh McDonald
and we took down a wall in our school (one of those sliding ones, no hammers needed) so that we could team teach all the time!
We got rid of individual desks and were lucky enough to have our school get round tables for us so that our students could collaborate on everything.
With the support of our principal, we brought in alternate learning spaces and set up a couch area and bean bag area, giving students choice about where they wanted to learn.
We cut our boring spelling program and now teach it as needed.
I gave complete control of my the bulliten boards to my students. They own their learning and their learning space now.
And we haven't even got to the technology integration yet!!! Which has been fabulous
(students are able to create amazing projects using iPads, we blog, we have ePortfolios, twitter, and so much more...the tech has been fantastic! But certainly not everything.
I started this journey thinking that all I needed was to learn about some great apps...but it turns out my journey has been much, much more than that. And I am so thankful and I look forward to where the journey will take me next...so it is about my journey...but more than just tech.
So, should I change the name of my blog? Hmm...
I have been playing (yes, playing, I think playtime is so important and necessary with new technology) with Digital Storytelling since I first got an iPad. But my experience really changed after I heard Dean Shareski
talk about the 60 one second movie. Well my colleagues and I loved this idea and we got right on to playing with our iPads and making our own sample movies. Making a movie myself was very important...at our school we talk a lot about the importance of going where we want out students to go! My Thanksgiving 60 second movie is below.
Our students then created their own 60 second iMovies. The challenge: Tell the story of School in 60 seconds
(thank you to our prinicipal, Antonio Vendramin
, for leading this with the grade 6s while the teachers went to camp with the 7s). The results were fantastic! The kids told a story using short video clips.
We have also told the story of Healthy Living, using the Learning Outcome: "Describes the benefits of being physically active on attaining and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle" (BC Prescribed Learning Outcome)
as our inspiration. Again, students used the 1 second clip type of iMovie to tell their stories.
And last week, in time for Valentine's Day, we told our stories through music by creating Friendship Music Parodies. Our inspiration was the learning outcome, "identifies characteristics of healthy relationships
" (BC Prescribed Learning Outcome
) and of course Valentine's Day too.
Well, we certainly discovered that this type of storytelling (music video) was very difficult! Students had to:
-choose a song
-rewrite the lyrics so that they were about healthy friendships and relationships-storyboard the song, thinking about how they were going to make the video images consistent with the new lyrics and the music
-film the story
-sing their parody version of the song and layer over their video
-edit and add in friendship quotes as they saw fit
Students love storytelling. Next up for us, telling stories using book creator with our little buddies. We did this last year and they loved it!
And then I am looking forward to trying out some new ways of digital storytelling! Obviously you can see what types I am most comfortable with, but thanks to #etmooc, I am learning about so many more methods! More to come soon...
Last week I had a fascinating conversation with Ben Wilkoff
and Sheri Edwards
about the rewording of PLN from Personal Learning Network to Personal Learning Neighbourhood. And it really struck a chord with me (see blog about that here
). Well, since that conversation, Ben and I had another conversation about Mr. Rogers and the power of a neighbourhood and Ben suggested we put together a little PLN/#etmooc
theme song. The recording of our duet is below and the lyrics to the song are below that.
For me, the making of the song was really a metaphor of the song's sentiment. We are celebrating meaningful and professional connections by connecting and collaborating with each other.
It is one of the nicest things I have participated in online.
Thank you all for being a part of my Personal Learning Neighbourhood.
It's a beautiful day for an #etmooc,
A beautiful day for some learning,
Would you connect?
Could you connect?
In my personal learning neighbourhood,
We blog, and we vlog and reflect what's good
Would you comment?
Could you comment?
I have always wanted to have a neighbour just like you,
Always wanted to take this learning path along with you
So let's make the most of this beautiful day,
Let’s tweet and lets chat, in a backchannel way,
Would you move in?
Could you my friend?
Won't you be my neighbour?
Won't you post,
Won't you link,
Please won't you be my neighbuor?
Okay, I am going to be honest here. I haven't had a chance yet to join one of the #ETMOOC Blackboard Collaborate classes online. I have added them all to my calendar with great intentions, but they all seem to be at a time where I already had a previous engagement or was still in the middle of my schoolday. Life can just be so busy sometimes (and eastern time can be oh so early)
That does not mean; however, that I haven't been able to learn with my fellow #ETMOOCers! Thank goodness for the twitter chat, hashtags and google+ group because that is how I have been able to stay in the loop, join great conversations, and check out your blogs and vlogs. I have even, most recently, joined a Middle Educators Neighbourhood wiki (thanks to Sheri Edwards for including me in this). What a fantastic way to put it...a neighbourhood! I just love it! I have said in a previous blog post that you are all my colleagues in my new virtual hallway via twitter, but there is something to the word: neighbourhood.
It reminded me of the intro song to Mr. Rogers (one of my childhood favourites). And just how his neighbourhood had a magical feel to it, so too, does my virtual neighbourhood with all of you! I feel so grateful to have found you all and to have even made friends in my online neighbourhood. There is something magical to this indeed.
Thank you all for pushing me to best educator I can be by sharing your blogs, tweets, vlogs, comments and words of wisdom.
What fantastic neighbours I have!
Connect in the Middle Wiki created by Sheri Edwards. If you are a Middle Grades Educator, click on the picture above and join us!
On the "Connect in the Middle" wiki, Sheri has taken some of the #ETMOOC prompts and encouraged us to blog about:
- How important is connected learning? Why?
- Is it possible for our classrooms to support this kind of learning? If so, how?
I think connected learning is so important. And not just for my students, but for me as well. As an educator, my practice began to transform when I became connected and started joining "neighbourhoods" of learners and educators. Hang out in these neighbourhoods long enough and you can't NOT start to reflect on your own practise, start questioning education and make changes/improvements in your classroom.
And if it works for us, then it should work for our students too? I believe so. My students are always excited when they get a comment on their blog from a student in another school. They loved being a part of the Global Read Aloud
, and they keep reminding me that we have to connect with Mr. Hong
's class again! Connections are HUGE. To all of us.
Thank you all for connecting to me and for being in my neighbourhood.
ETMOOC. Here we go:The first assignment was to create an introductory video about ourselves. I have made quite a few videos on iMovie lately and seem to keep finding myself in situations in which I have to talk about myself. That can be awkward, can't it? But, it is good too. It foces me to really think about who I am and gives me the opportunity to reevaluate my teaching philosophy. Something we should all do once in a while...don't you think?
Anyway, here is my little one minute video...
I have never participated in a MOOC before, but the other day I noticed a bunch of people tweeting about #ETMOOC and I thought it looked interesting. At first I was a little nervous about committing to a course since I am already teaching full time and in a part time Graduate Diploma Program at SFU, but once I realized that this MOOC is classified as a network-based MOOC where participation is "encouraged but not mandatory", I was in! Iove learning and this format sounds really appealing! I think I can handle it!
This week is orientation week and we are supposed to introduce ourselves on our blog somehow; I will be working on a video tonight!
Want more information? Check out the hyperlinks above and see what orientation will look like here.
You can still register for #ETMOOC this week! Looking forward to learning with all of you!
We tried something new this past month in Health & Career 6/7. Hugh McDonald
and I wanted to give the students more opportunities to be creative (besides their Genius Hour
time of course), so we gave groups of 4 students a Learning Outcome and an iPod and said make a short 60 second movie (inspired by Dean Shareski)
proving your understand this Learning Outcome:
"Describes the benefits of being physically active on attaining and maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle" (BC Prescribed Learning Outcome)
Students had a wonderful time creating these short movies. They:
-COLLABORATED to decide on a story/scenes for their movies
-CRITICALLY THOUGHT about what the learning outcome meant to them. Side note: many decided that although the learning outcome didn't mention healthy eating, they ought to include it because then it would be easier to be physically active, since they would have the energy from the nutritious food.
-CREATED short skits and took turns filming
-COMMUNICATED their thoughts through video and shared online
A nice, short unit that is very student-centred and encompasses many aspects of 21st Century Learning
I am so thankful that I have such a great teaching partner, Hugh McDonald, who thinks up great ideas like this all the time!
Here are a few examples: