Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Reflections on ICT


Looking back over the last couple of months, I feel that I have grown so much in my technology adventure because of ICT class. The amount of information and resources that I have used and been exposed to in this class will be extremely beneficial in my teaching career. Understanding the vast amount of programs, apps, and tools that are available to bring into my class to heighten student engagement will only provide benefits for both my students and myself.

I appreciate the way that this class has been structured. Having instruction followed by experience has been very positive for me. Not having a lot of background in using different applications, having the opportunity to practice using the different tools in a safe environment where I can ask questions and see classmates examples has allowed me to feel more comfortable in my ability to implement these techniques in my classroom.

Looking back two years ago when I started the Education Degree program I never would have anticipated the confidence that I would have in implementing ICT in my future classroom. I can not thank Mike enough for the resources and opportunities that he has provided for me. Allowing me to gain connections, both through I4ED as well as ICT, has given me the opportunity to develop a PLN that will encourage me to continue my learning in ICT.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Creating My Eportfolio

This week has been a challenge! The task. . . create an eportfolio. Yikes! Not only does this mean that university is coming to an end and looking for my first teaching job is just around the corner, but it also meant creating another website!
As I started to dive right into the process I quickly realized how important the process is to me. Not only do I want to present myself in the best possible manner to potential employers, but I also want to make sure that I include all that I can about my past, as well as goals, in order to create the best representation of who I really am. Although I spent many hours creating my eportfolio, I really did enjoy the process. It was an excellent way for me to reflect on my learning up until this point as well as think about what is important to me on a personal and professional level. I am glad that I now have the foundation for my professional portfolio and will be able to add and change it as my career and life progresses. I hope that others are able to learn more about me through my portfolio and as a result see the person that I am and the teacher that I hope to be.
You can view my eportfolio at www.erinduchart.weebly.com

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Creating Moments & Memories

This week ICT was once again full of great information and excellent new resources, but my deeper learning came from experiences that were created, not taught. Our Thursday class was with John Evans who provided us with a lot of information on Maple and the services and networking that it provides for teachers. While I appreciate the information given and will be sure to use it in the future, John provided a deeper experience when he decided to end his presentation early so that  we could watch the Canadian women play for hockey gold at the Olympics. At first we were all excited to watch the game and cheer on the women that were representing our country. The experience that followed is one that I will not forget anytime soon. As we watched the game on the projector screen, we came together as a group. . . yelling, cheering, holding our breath in unison. The celebrating that followed the goals to send the game to overtime was amazing! As we waited, anticipating the overtime that was to come, sharing the experience with others brought a group together who would not normally be in this particular situation. Everyone talked as a group about the plays that had been made, and shared anticipation of what was to come. Stories were shared about prior experiences and everyone became focused on pride for our country and our athletes. The cheer and excitement that erupted the moment Canada scored to win the GOLD is a moment that I will take with me as an amazing memory.

I learned the power of not always sticking to a lesson plan, the power of focusing on what is important to your students, and the power of providing opportunities to connect students on a level that will impact their lives forever. As I read through Twitter this weekend, I saw parents thanking teachers for allowing students to watch the Olympics in school over the last two weeks and my feelings from class became stronger and validated. It is not always about following the curriculum and lesson plan exactly, but creating moments for students that they can build on with others in their class. If we provide students with opportunities to create pride and unity, teachers in return will have a class that values each other and has a common link that can be built off of, creating an amazing classroom atmosphere and learning environment!

Thank you again John & Mike for an amazing class!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Using Videos in the Classroom

This week in ICT we have been focusing on creating our own video for class. Having never made a video before, not only am I learning a lot, but I am also seeing firsthand the amazing benefits that video creation could have in the classroom.

Learning the proper techniques and applications that are needed in video creation have been an important part of this week for me. Seeing the tools needed to effectively piece together footage and add audio for the desired effect will allow me to encourage my students by providing them with tools to make the best possible video that they can. (Shooting horizontally will forever be engrained in my brain!)

While making our video, the amount of collaboration, team work, and creativity that has been involved has been exciting to see. Working in a group with five others, I have been able to experience first hand the benefits that my students would experience when creating video as an assignment. While the technical and production aspects are important, the skills required for the group work aspect of video making are so beneficial to students. A video can not be developed without collaboration and commitment from all members, making it an incredible tool for the classroom in bringing students together to use group work skills.

I am so excited to see our video come together. The project has not only been a great learning experience for me, but we are excited to make it public and hopefully have a positive influence on those around us!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Digital Story Telling

This week has been a very informative week for me in ICT class. I have never really played around with photo editing or digital story telling before this week. I have always been interested in the process, but having so many programs that can be used is overwhelming!

I used Photo Story to make a quick digital story in class. I have only ever made one digital story before this week, and looking back I wish I had known about Photo Story before! The process was so easy and fast. I can't wait to be able to use this process with a class now. Prior to this week I thought that digital story telling was too complicated and time consuming for students to use. Having had a much more positive experience I can now see how students could use this tool for so many applications in the classroom, allowing for more creativity in presentations and experiences.

Photo editing has been another focus this week in class. The two main programs that I have used so far are Picasa and Pixlr. Using Picasa first, I was happy with the result but felt that I wanted to do more. After using Pixlr, I was excited with all of the options that I were available. I really appreciate this class and the hands on use of the programs. Having an opportunity to be walked through a program and some of the options within it allows me to have so much more confidence in using the tools that are available. Photo editing is yet another tool that I can't wait to use in my class. I know that students will love to manipulate and add to photos, but also having a quick option of referencing on photos is a really important tool for students to have.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

John Finch

Today in our ICT class, John Finch came and spoke to us about literacy with ICT in the classroom. He talked about some key points that we have heard before, but what really caught my attention was the way that we need to prepare our students so that they can be effective in using ICT in their studies. John spoke about how students need to be able to think critically and creatively while also being ethical and responsible. I think it is really important as teachers to be conscious about teaching students these three key areas. So often the use of the internet as a source of information is so easily accessible that proper use is assumed and as a result problems arise.

John also made a point of discussing the vast amount of information that is on the internet and as a result needing to equip students with tools to properly access the information and resources that they are seeking. John suggested teaching students to look at the internet through three lenses: validity, reliability, and currency. Too often students enter a search on the internet and take the first few results that pop up on their screen, looking further would be too overwhelming! As teachers, we need to give students the tools to look for valid, reliable and current information. In providing students with tools to look at the internet in this manner, they will in turn think more critically about the information that they are taking away.

What John talked about echoed what I read in Powering Up this week. How do we educate students so that they are more well rounded thinkers? With information at their finger tips for every question imaginable, students do not need the background knowledge or skills the way that they used to. John began to answer this question for me by talking about how students need to always reflect on their learning so that they will constantly be asking deeper questions and seeking answers and information. When students are taught to look for valid, reliable and current information, they will hopefully not only find the answers they are looking for, but also be curious to search further and delve deeper than they initially intended. As a result they will become more well rounded and educated with background knowledge in areas that interest them.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Creating a Website

This week has been another “first” for me in the world of technology. I have started building my first website for my future classroom. Once I got past being intimidated yet again by the process, I realized how much I have to learn. For some people, technology comes easy, unfortunately I am not that person. After two days of struggling with the program, I am beginning to see some progress and aspects of my website are actually taking shape! I am excited to see it all come together and the vision of my website take shape. Actually making a website has forced me to seriously think about what I want and need to include to make it complete. Starting to think about different aspects that are important to students, parents, as well as myself as a teacher starts putting things into perspective. I am excited that the possibility of having my own classroom is just around the corner, but at the same time I scared about all of the little things like creating a website that need to be done and consume so much time! I need to remember that it is a slow process and it will all come together in time.