What Blended Leaning means to me!!

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Blended learning and the integration of technology, in my eyes, is very important for the success of our students in the classroom.  The idea of blended learning became more and more popular ever since the idea of progressiveness was introduced to the world. Incorporating values and principals from progressive educational theories such as Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, ect.,  who believed in more of a student centered approach of teaching, has definitely shaped and continues to shape the type of education that exists today. In saying that, I believed that the main purpose of education is to prepare young children to become successful members of society. As well, to use their interests and to help motivate and guide them in a direction in life that can allow them to be successful. However, I also believe that a teacher should be using a variety of philosophies to accomplish this. In other words, using a blended learning approach, is how I believe students will be successful in the classroom. The Video: What is blended learning? that Alec showed described blended learning in a way that really stuck with me. Basically, they said that blended learning is the combination of the best teacher and computer instruction. Therefore, for my response this week, I am going to reflect on the pros/cons of blended learning, as well discuss my own experiences with blended learning.

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We had great discussions in our zoom session this past Tuesday about the history of blended learning as well the pros and cons . During these discussions, I was jotting down notes on the ideas and information that was being talked about. This includes the pros and cons of blended learning. In the chart below are these ideas. A couple of the ideas came from the zoom chat. I will be sure to credit those who shared their ideas!

Pros

Cons

  • Personalized learning
  • Small group instruction
  • Student driven (Kyla M)
  • Empowered learners (Wendy)
  • Opportunity (Kelsey)
  • Not being able to meet curriculum guidelines
  • Technology changes, hard to keep up
  • Hard to teach an old dog new tricks
  • Cost of putting technology in school
  • Lack of PD

There were many other ideas discussed however those stood out most to me. Do you have any ideas to add?! In the end, I believe that the pros and cons even out, and that blended learning is still the way to go to make our students successful.

In terms of the blended learning and integration of technology in my own classroom, I do my best with the time, materials, and resources I am given.

By using the classroom computers and school tech carts, I try to use as many applications and suites as possible. For example, and as Kyla talked about in her blog post this week, I have used google classroom in the past. It is super easy to use as well I found it kept the students online work organized. I also have been trying to incorporate more experiential learning into the classroom. I find giving the children additional time to explore inside and outside the class can create richer learning experiences for them.

I have been faced with a few challenges when trying to do this. Drawing from the challenges I presented already in the post, I would say the lack of PD, the resources provided, and availability

of technology is most challenging for me. I am currently without a data projector in my classroom and still in the process of getting one (4 months later). Overall, I believe that it is important for students to have the opportunity to be exposed blended learning opportunities as well technology.

On a side note, Alec showed this theorist chart in another class. I LOVE it and have used it several times when learning and writing about all the educational theorists out there. Click the link to view it more clearly (learning-theory).

 

Thanks for reading!

Amy 🙂

Traditional VS Progressive Education

Ever since I began my journey of becoming a teacher, I have believed that the main purpose of education is to prepare young children to become successful members of society. As well, to use their interests and to help motivate and guide them in a direction in life that can allow them to be successful. However, I also believe that a teacher should be using a variety of philosophies to accomplish this including the both Dewey (1938) discusses, progressive and traditional. 

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Dewey (1938), outlines many principles of each philosophy. I found myself caught in the middle of deciding which philosophy I felt can best meet the need of my future and current students. I reflected on the principals and properties of each and was able to think deeply about which I truly believe might work best in the classroom. For this response, I will share my reflections on both philosophies and the two qualities I find most appealing.

 

The traditional way of teaching is not all that bad. As Dewey (1938) discusses, it is the attitudes of both the teacher and students that can make an experience a positive or negative one. Two principles of the traditional way of teaching in Deweys (1938) book, and also in my own experience in elementary school, stood out for me. As we know, the progressive way of teaching is all about students having learning experiences. However, there are many opportunities in a traditional setting for students to have similar experiences that can impact their learning greatly. Dewey (1938) concurs by admitting that “it is a great mistake to suppose, even tacitly, that the traditional schoolroom was not a place in which pupils had experiences” (p.9). In my early elementary years, I would have considered my school experience traditional. Despite that experience, I remember having many memorable experiences that I was able to learn from. Next, I believe that learning about history and the ways in which society has been and not been successful in the past has a lot to offer. I remember appreciating learning how our history has shaped our world today. Dewey (1938) raised a great point when stating that “how shall the young become acquired with the past in such a way that the acquaintance is a potent agent in appreciation of the living present” (p.8). I did not mind being taught information and answering questions as I found myself truly comprehending and learning the content. Therefore, having experiences and learning about how our past has shaped our future are two principles that I found attractive about the traditional way of teaching.

Progressive education, on the other hand, has many principals in which I believe can benefit students both in and outside of the classroom.  Aside from the “organic connection between education and personal experience” (Dewey, p.8), progressive education is not contained to potentially dull textbooks. Progressive education provides more flexibility for the teacher and students. As well, teachers are able to really focus on the needs of the students rather than trying to educate our students with irrelevant and foreign knowledge. Another positive element of progressive education is the fact that it provides a better quality of human experience. Dewey (1938) also states, “can we find any reason that does not ultimately come down to the belief that democratic social arrangements promote a better quality of human experience” (p. 12). In my five years of teaching, I can name dozens of experiences in which children who have learned through experiences, conversations with peers, and through doing. Therefore, the flexibility and opportunities for endless experiences are two principles of progressive education the stood out for me.

Overall, I believe that it is important for students to have the opportunity to be exposed to different teaching philosophies. I don’t believe there is one right way to educate our children. I believe, and continue to believe, that the way in which a child should be learning depends solely on their needs. After all, “teachers are agents through which knowledge and skills are communicated and rules of conduct: enforced ( Dewey, p.5)”.

I hope you enjoyed reading my response 🙂

References
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York: Collier

Introduction Post to EC&I 834!!!

Hello everyone,

My name is Amy Cross and I am in my fifth year of teaching for Regina Public Schools. I have had the opportunity to teach grade 3,4, 6, 7, 8. Although I did the Middles Years Program at the University of Regina, I have been enjoying teaching more the primary grades, mostly grades 3.

I am currently enrolled in the Curriculum and Instruction Master’s program here at the University of Regina. I am in my 8th and 9th class this semester.

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I began my master’s journey last January (2018), so it definitely has been a rather quick process, yet enjoyable. This is my third class with Alec and I am so very much looking forward to it. Three goals I  have for this class include:

  1. To learn about that the history and foundations of blended and online learning. I am interested to learn how online learning started and how we came to be at the point we are today (if that makes sense).
  2. To learn specific strategies and techniques on how to incorporate online learning in the classroom today.  I am definitely interested in incorporating MORE online learning in my current and future classrooms.
  3. To get to know and work with everyone in the class. Most importantly, LEARN from others projects, shared experiences, and the stories they tell!

Thank you everyone for reading and I am VERY excited to be working and learning alongside you this semester!

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Feel free to follow me on twitter by clicking the link:)
@Cross16a

Thank you for reading my first post!!

Assessment CAN be fun sometimes!!!

Kids can have fun AT the same time as being assessed!!! Did you know?!?!?!?

To be honest, I don’t use assessment technology tools a whole bunch because of the availability of technology in my school. So although I wish I could use it all the time and have a lot of experience, I can’t! In saying that, I have used Kahoot (https://kahoot.it/)  in the past and absolutely loved it as well as the students!

I really enjoyed the presentation by week by Melanie, Sage, Sonja, and Justine. I found it super informative and learned a lot about assistive tech. In saying that, as described in the article posted called  Fantastic Comprehensive List of Assessment Tools for Teachers :

“With kahoot teachers can create fun quizzes and add content that in turn is played by students in the form of competitive games. It works as a student response system, which turns the basis for the assessment of the students. Kahoot is helpful for students of all ages from kindergartento older students. This tool can be used to assess any subject and any class. Questions, along with answer choices, are projected onto a classroom screen while students submit responses using a personal device. Teachers and students over 16 have access to publicly shared quiz templates, which can be used as-is or edited. Alternately, teachers and students can create their own new kahoots (games or quizzes).”

Below, are the reflection questions in which I will answer to the best of my ability!

 

Why did you choose this tool? I choose this tool because I have used it before and the kids loved it as well as me!
Challenges to getting set up to use the tool As long as you have the technology available to do kahoot, there are not many challenges. The website is very simple to navigate and setting up quizzes, or looking for quizzes is also easy.
Student response to the tool In my experience, student are mostly engaged.

They enjoy learning using the tech

How did you use the tool for assessment

I have only ever used this for formative assessment. I can get a pretty good idea from the responses of what students know and what they don’t know.
Pros/Cons to using the tools Pros-student engagement, working together, learning together, free to use

Cons- tech availability

Is its purpose more formative assessment/summative assessment or both For me, the purpose is definitely formative


What are your thoughts on Kahoot? Have you ever used it? Do you enjoy it?

Another app in which can be considered assessment technology is flipgrip. In Colette’s blog this week, she describes a few examples of how she uses it in her classroom. I LOVE it. She has a video of one of her students as an example. I suggest you check it out!

Assistive Technology

With all the challenges teachers are facing and have many diverse needs in the classroom, I can’t imagine the classroom without assistive technology. Although it can be timely and costly, the benefits can have a huge impact and the barriers that may come in the way, are definitely worth fighting for.
In my 5 years of teaching, I have to say that my favorite assistive technology I have used and am currently using is the FM system (if you want more info about the hearing system, check this website out http://www.hearingloss.ca/fm-systems/)

If you have never used or heard of an FM system, it is basically a headpiece that the teacher wears that has a little mic on it. In the room somewhere there is a speaker hooked up and my voice projects throughout the whole classroom.

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I often get told I look like a superstar-singer (LOL)!!!
Anyways, The reason why I need to wear it is for a student I have in my class who has a hearing impairment. I absolutely love it.  In fact, I believe it does not only benefit the child with the hearing impairment but the entire class.

Below, are some reflections questions (that were used for last weeks prompt) that I thought were good reflection questions for this week too!

Why did you choose this tool? I chose this the FM system because I am currently using it. I also got the opportunity to use it in my second year of teaching.
Challenges to getting set up to use the tool In the past, I have had a few challenges with the FM system. However, usually, when I do have a challenge it has to do with the on and off button. It often gets stuck. As well,  I have had an experience where the batteries blew up in the system and that part needed to be replaced.

This becomes challenging because when it is sent away to get fixed, the student with a hearing impairment is without the adaption.

Student response to the tool The student loves the tool. The student can hear instructions, and not miss out on anything said in the class.
How did you use the tool for assessment n/a
Pros/Cons to using the tool Pros

  • All students can hear instructions more clearly.
  • Teacher does not need to raise voice at ANY TIME during the day (before using this, I often found my voice hurting at the end of the day)

Cons

  • When something breaks, takes a while to get fixed. Therefore, the student with a hearing impairment may have difficulties learning during that time.

In saying that, I think it’s safe to say that some limitations to assistive technology in the class can definitely be the cost, as well as the process in which it takes to actually get an assistive technology.

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Budgets in education continue to be cut and therefore funding for things such as this become more and more sparse. As well, the waitlists for referrals are extremely LONG. What should take weeks to get something may take months, in which learning time is sacrificed.

I appreciated the section on Universal design in this weeks presentation by Channing, Kelsey, Jill, Haiming. I think it’s important for all teachers to recognize just how much UD can benefit our students. Below is a snippet from the article Universal Design for Learning in BC: that they posted that outlines the many implications it can have on teachers and students.

“UDL provides a framework for addressing the diversity of learners in our classrooms. Rather than individually adapting for each student’s needs, teachers create student-focused environments by designing curriculum that is accessible to a wide range of learners. This systematic approach removes learning barriers by clarifying learning intentions and providing fl exible instructional environments.”

 

Sage could not have said it any better. “With advances in assistive technology, the classroom has become more and more accessible to students.  It allows for “flexible and differentiated learning experiences [and increased] student engagement and independence” (Source). “

Overall, I think using assistive technology in our classroom to meet the needs of our diverse students is very important. Children are so much more comfortable and confident when they know their teacher is doing everything they can to help them be successful in class despite what their needs are.

Thanks for reading:)

What is your favorite assistive tech that you have used?!

 

Changes in OUR Tech World!

!!Initial thoughts on the quote by Gerstien!!

In terms of change….Change is inevitable! Change is continuous! There is no argument there. I think life would be boring if everything stayed the same.

In saying that, change has the potential to be very difficult and stressful for people. Relating this back to the education of our students, I definitely think it’s important for education to continue to change and improve, especially to keep up with our current changes in society, specifically technology. If the goal of education is to create future contributing members of society, then we must continue to update and change our teaching practices.

So much has changed in the last 20 years in the tech world. Exposing and introducing productivity suits and web tools to students is very important and can have many positive impacts. The following of all the examples of what web 2.0 and web 3.0 has to offer for yourself as well as our children.

I use so many of these already in my everyday life, and try to incorporate them as much as I can in the classroom. In not incorporating these into the classroom, I at least make an effort to talk about the the web 2.0 and web 3.0 apps. Jana, Katie, Brooke, and Kyla O did a fantastic job discussing the benefits and barriers of the web. I definitely think these are very important to consider when introducing different aspects of tech to students. Below, are some of the ones the outlined.

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I also found the article The Role of Web 2.0 Technologies in K-12 Education  that was posted by the group helpful in terms of all the ways in which you can use the web in the class. In the section Classroom Examples of Web 2.0 Applications in this article, you will find many great ways to use web 2.0 in the classroom. Blogging, social networking, wikis, and social bookmarking are all great examples mentioned in the article. As well, and as I mention before, “Our students will be living and working in this networked environment in which they must be able to locate, manage, create, and communicate online content. Even now, Web 2.0 tools are being utilized in the workplace, media and home” as stated in the the section Relevance for Teaching and Learning!

On a side note, I LOVE the image Sage posted in her blog! Great way to picture how a teacher can view web 3.0.

Thanks for the great presentation ladies!

 

What are your favorite web 3.0 apps?!