Monday, March 7, 2011

My Final Summative Project

     Well, here it is.  The final blog?  No!  Those who know me, know you can't get me to shut up that easily.  Although, this may be my final blog for ICT class, it is not going to be my final blog.  I'm going to take this site in a new direction
                        the only problem is
                                                      I don't know which direction yet    : )

But for a final project in class, I decided to attempt to sum up my entire life in the education program at BU, focusing on the ICT portion of it, in less than 5 minutes.  (That's because gave me a 5 minute max.  lol)  I would just like to close by letting it be known, that these pictures were in fact referenced in my power point presentation, but it was cut off when videoized.
     Those that took the time to read and comment on my blog, I thank you, it was a lot of fun.
But a special thanks goes out to professor Nantais, Mike, thank you very much.  You walked me through both of my ICT classes and through a Math methods course.  These courses were the highlights of my 2 years in education and were among the most useful as well!


Friday, March 4, 2011

Our Final Visitor, Dr. Alec Couros

            Well, this was it, our final visitor in a series of excellent presenters in the field of ICT.  Dr. Alec Couros, an education technology professor at the University of Regina, found the time to visit us via elluminate (a skype-like program for those who are unfamiliar).  He shared with us his views on PLNs and PLEs (Personal Learning Networks / Environments), we took a look at the networked teacher, and we had a chance to discuss the various beneficial websites online.
            One thing I enjoyed was the idea that the students should also have the freedom to set up their own personal PLN/Es.  A great example was the following video which was shown to us.  It’s a video of a young lady who was using symbaloo to improve her PLE.

            Together with a nice round table about the programs we use and ideas to make them better, such as using screenr with twitter and using dropittome with dropbox, we had a fantastic visit with Dr. Couros.  Thank-you very much to him for taking time out of his schedule to say a few words to our class.  Especially just a few days after making one of the keynote speeches at our school for westcast recently. 

Mr. Darren Kuropatwa Comes To Town

1620  <---  link to teacher tube video

     The above linked video is what our class was opened with.  1620.  That's a pretty large number when put into most contexts, but this was the number that was calculated to determine how many tests the average student would write by the time they graduated high school.  Then the video ended asking a simple question...  "is there a better way?"

     Well, I agree with Mr. Kuropatwa getting outraged at having something like this broadcast across the net.  Is this in fact what people think of teachers?  Test giving machines?  Too bad it wasn't that easy, just assign some textbook work, hand out some tests, call it a day!  Wow... teachers have the easiest job in the world!

     Now, let's fastforward out of the 1900's view of teachers and step into something a little more current.  Today's classrooms are seeing fewer and fewer orderly rows, teachers talking, and tests being thrown at the students indiscriminately.  Students are starting to leave their seats, converse with one another, and are taking many different paths to achieve the same outcomes.  Isn't this a better way? 

     I think we have found a better way, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Kuropatwa for coming in and introducing us to some additional ideas out there.  A couple of these ideas that I will try and integrate in my classroom (when I get one) will be using flickr and its hotspots for some good collaboration assignments, and using youtube to publish a false video that the students would have to repair… a good  error analysis approach.

     One final note I’d like to throw in is a video we were introduced to, which along with some good moral applications also has many possible educational applications as well.  The video is great and I’d like to try to make something myself for a science style question… enjoy…

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Class Video ... "Filtering & Blocking the Internet in Schools"

For class recently, the students grouped up to do presentations on various internet related topics.  These were all very well done and help deepen my understanding of the cyber world.  However, one that stuck with me was Tiffany, Alanna and Dory‘s video on filtering and blocking of the internet in schools.  They really got me right off the hop with their intro, flashing many familiar “this site is blocked” type of screen shots.   In two of my student teaching placements (both in Brandon) I had to deal with the overly protected internet, and thus the loss of a large amount of the most helpful information around.  My eyes were finally opened in my last placement, in Dauphin, where there was a lot more freedom.  Social networking sites were still blocked out, but many of the sites (youtube immediately pops to mind) that made my job of presenting different views on one topic were accessible.
The funniest thing about the filtering of the internet, which the video points out with a great short clip, is how there is ways around the filters.  The funny part is, the students are more likely to find these loopholes than the teachers are.  The problem that arises is that now the students are going online unmonitored.  Most of the students, presenters we’ve had the pleasure of seeing in class, and myself feel that with the way world and the technology is progressing we have no choice now but to teach what it means to be responsible online.  We have to teach what it means to create a positive online presence.  We have to teach students how to keep themselves safe when online.  And we can’t do that if we don’t have access!
Lots of good quotes and comments that made me do lots of good thinking.  Great video Tiffany, Alanna, and Dory!