Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FInal Project Update!

Hey guys, guess what?? My Wikispace has been updated once again. For my final project I decided to create a wikispace all about photography. Dean said we could use inspiration from another project we were doing in another class, to my advantage I used, like many, EAES 201 Personal Arts Project. My EAES project was learning photography. So i decided, why not create a wikispace using all of my research and putting it all on one page later on for my reference.

Using a wikispace is brand new to me so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity for my ECMP class to learn a new technology:P Starting out was a little on the rough side because when it comes to technology, i tend to depend on other people a lot. I am considered "technologically stupid". Aka. why i said earlier in a previous post, that Robin was my life-line this semester lol!. Anyways, so as I began this wikispace I learnt that I am fully capable of learning technology on my own! IMAGINE THAT!!! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT, ME??? ON MY OWN!!! TECHNOLOGY!!! As you can evidently tell I am very excited to have my independence back:) lol.

A wikispace is very challenging, but very resourceful. I learnt how to embed videos, add pictures, insert links, and even create a table of contens for each individual page. For most, this would be very simple. For me, this was quite challenging. So, I think this project was great for me to learn on my own. My wikispace is not finished, and probably won't ever be because information and technology are constantly changing! So, this page will change also.

Learning the basics of a wikispace was a great project for this last big project. I plan to use this in the future because as an Arts ed teacher, I will need a variety of resources available to me for quick references--photography being one of them.

Mentorship Overview

For my mentorship, as I have previously posted, I have been working with George Mayo. Our first contact looked like this (this is his first email to me):

Hi Nicole,

Nice to meet you. Really looking forward to having a mentor or two for my 7th grade Reading class. Here's the link to my teacher webpage and our class blogging page where all the student's blogs are located.




After a few more emails back and forth we arranged to skype on the occasion just to get a general idea of what we both wanted to come from the experience for his students. Mr. Mayo finally arranged for the beginning of the experience to start. This was the initiating email I received to start off the new experience:

Hi Nicole,

So I added you to the blogroll on our class blog homepage. Cindy, Johana, and Rocio are the students you are mentoring. Rocio left you a comment today on your blog during class. Maybe our next step could be you stopping by their blogs and dropping them comments. When we are in the computer lab this Wed they will see your comments and approve them to be published. That would be very exciting for them to get a comment from you on their blogs! Here is the link to our class blog where you can access Cindy, Johanna, and Rocio's blogs in the sidebar. Your blog is there as well.


As the weeks passed, the blog i created for those 3 students developed. This blog was called: Mentorship09
Although the posts and responses are few, I believe each of the students received valuable lessons from the experience. One student, Johanna, loves to read! Each of her posts to me were about the books she was reading and how they made her think. On the occasion she would ask me questions based on what I thought. I also suggested my favourite books to her and why. This was important for her because as she explained it to me, "reading was her way of escaping the real world." This really got me thinking about my life. Taking a closer look into my life, I realized that I do not take enough time to value reading. Language is fascinating!!

As my semester came close to an end, my mentorship students were unable to respond and leave me messages as often. We all seemed to get really busy and the mentorship experience kind of faded off. I am sad to say that I have not heard from these students in a couple weeks. Overall, I believe this experience has been extremely beneficial to me as a teacher. It is important to consider that all students are uniquely different. They each have their own set of strengths and weaknesses. As I read their posts, I could really see that they were still learning the basic concepts of english sentence structure. At the beginning, when i read the posts, my attention went immediately to the mistakes they had made in their writing. After a while i began to look behind the mistakes and actually read the words these students were saying. Sometimes, as a teacher we must learn to look past a students weakness and find the strengths within the student instead. If we only focus on a students strength, the student will only feel negative feedback. If we acknowledge the strengths a student will become confident in their daily work, and inspire them to continue their hardwork into the things they seem to struggle with.

I have definitly benefited from this experience, even if it did not carry on for very long. I answered all of their questions, and even gave them a bit of insight onto how my life as a student has inspired me to become a teacher.

Johanna discussed a book that she was reading, and asked me that if I had the power to know things before they happened, would I use this when doing homework or writing tests. I think I gave valuable advice to her: "To answer your question about the character in your novel, I think that if you were to have such powers as those, their would be pros and cons to the power. It would be great to know things right at the beginning. As a student I know we all wish sometimes we had the answers to the tests. But, the negative thing about it would be that she would never be able to socialize and find stuff out on her own. Getting to know someone is sometimes the best part in creating a great friendship or relationship with someone. If you always had the answers to tests or assignments then eventually you wouldn’t learn anything. Experience is important to an individuals growth, and learning is part of it. If you never failed or did poorly at something, you would never know the feelings of accomplishment or satisfaction in accomplishing a personal goal. Just think about it, how awesome do you feel when you know you worked hard and got an A an assignment or test?? That feeling should tell you that it is important to not know all the answers all the time."

That response I wrote, proves the experience I recieved from this experience. Before this experience, I would have said yes to wanting that power and to always know what will happen next. I have grown significantly over the past year, and I am very happy to have gotten the chance to work with Mr. Mayo's class:)

Tech Task #13

For this tech task we were to create our own podcast that was between 1-3 minutes. I talked with dean the other night and I asked if it was possible for me to just discuss what my podcast was about and a bit about the process. The reasons for this are because my computer decided to keep losing the my file of my podcast, so I ended up doing it 8 times before I gave up. So instead of stressing myself some more I decided to talk about podcasts. I found a video that tells you exactly how to create a podcast, starting out by telling you what you need to make podcast and how to get the correct software.
Here is the video:

For this tech task I made my podcast resourceful to me personally. I have been reading novels for my english 110 class, and realized that I had to read a novel for my final exam. In hopes of being able to study on the move I decided to begin reading my book so i could put it on my ipod. This will definitly help me because I work so much, so I can just listen to the novel while working instead of sitting down and reading. This is a great resource for me to have as a teacher, because it would allow me to give my students who may struggle with their reading to still listen parts of the book and create less stress for them.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Social Learning

If you are not tired of reading my last post, here is another post to add to those tired eyes of yours:) lol! In this class I have learnt a great deal about talking efficiently with my peers. Although I have not had many replies to my posts, I have had a select few individuals and who brought great insight to my thoughts.

Robin : has taught me not to scare my self so easily with challenging assignments. She was amazingly helpful in all of my progress and I couldn't imagine getting the same experience I did without her! Even in class, she was the first to get grab a link or answer a question for someone. Thank you Robin for all of your help this semester!!!:) You were my life line:)

I have learnt a great deal also from reading Robin's posts. Some are just a simple photo with a bit of insight, the others are random bits of information or tech tasks. I have learnt that tasking risks is all about the experience. It is not really an experience without the risk. Another way that I have learnt through social learning is being online for class. Most of the time it was just sitting and listening to insightful conversations about a wide variety of topics. We had guest speakers and fantastic presentations from teachers all over the place! As a teacher it is important to recieve and give feedback!! Just because we are teachers, this does not mean we stop learning. For example:

Wikispace Update:
Robin Howell said...
Oooh, Nicole! Your wiki looks so good - I'm so happy you figured out how to change the Look and Feel; it makes a huge difference. Are you planning on adding more pages? I guess a better question is; what is your end goal for your wiki?

Having this feedback encouraged and motivated me to continue with my final project. But one thing you might not know just by reading this post, is that she had just finished helping me that night with my wikispace and giving me some good pointers, OUTSIDE OF CLASS!! Then she was more than willing to follow-up with me and let me know that I was getting the hang of this. This was important to me because that night I was really frustrated with myself and techology in general lol!

I have learned a great deal from Robin, as well as from reading my fellow peers' blogs. I did not comment as much as I would have liked, but most of the time reading was all i needed to get me thinking. I was a little disappointed that people did not comment on my blogs as much as I had hoped, but o well. Even if my social learning was considerably small, I have learnt a great deal about others as well as myself!

The Experience of ECMP 355

As the semester comes close to an end, I would like to reflect on my experiences within ECMP 355. In the beginning, I thought this class would be very easy to tell you the truth. I thought, "o this class will be a breeze..because it is online and all i have to do is blog." Well I OBVIOUSLY thought wrong!!!

As the class took off on a good start, I began to recognize that technology is not what I thought it was. Technology has come a loooonnngggg ways. As a teacher I need to acknowledge the fact that our world changes everyday, and so does the classroom environment. Using technology in the classroom will advance our schools to a whole new level. Personally, before this class I was considered "techologically stupid." I knew NOTHING!! I had no idea that Google good have so many amazing gagets that I now use on a day-to-day basis. Things such as google reader, google docs, google alerts, gmail, etc... I couldn't even imagine my life without these simple little gagets. As a teacher, I need to learn as many little short cuts as possible. Our world has hit the technology era, where our list of new "toys" become endless/

Once I learnt about Google, we moved onto the fascinating life of EDtalks. These videos are a great resource for me as a teacher that I can use. Not only does it supply me with neat little teacher facts, but there are videos that also teach me about the fun stuff TOO!!! One important thing that I have learnt in this class is that teaching is meant to be fun, and technology does not have to be SO scary. The fear of technology is in our heads! If we make an opinion on an experience without personally experiencing it ourselves, we lose out on the true experience!

Another neat thing I learnt in this class, is a thing called a Podcast. I had heard this term many times in my life before this class, but never really thought about or wondered what it actually was. Podcasts are fascinating really! Exploring itunes store allowed me to see the wide variety of podcasts created. Educational things like grammar tips, Interesting things like the Best of Youtube, and fun things like The Daily 10's Hollywood Rap. Having podcasts available at your finger tips are a create way to incorporate technology into your day. Also, even as a student, reading certain novels for certain classes are a drag, but now, there podcasts of the novels we are reading to make our lives a little easier. If you listened to that podcast of your novel, every student would be more productive in the learning process. Personally, reading to me makes me tired. Reading is the one thing I always put to the very end because it is my least favourite thing to do.

This brings me to my final thoughts. The one thing that got my thinking from this class is how far will technology continue to develop? Will this negatively effect our classrooms and be a disadvantage to our students' learning? How do we make sure that technology doesn't replace the basic fundamentals of any young individuals development (things like reading, and writing)?

Another thing I have realized this term, is that the profession of a teacher has changed drastically over the years. I mean before it was the basic, teacher in front of the room all day reading from the text while students are taking notes from the chalkboard. Now, the classroom environment is encouraged to adapt to the technological world and use technology within the learning environment. This scares me greatly!!

The only negative thing I can think of about this class is that it has me questioning whether or not teaching is the right thing for me, if this is what it is going to become?! Overall, I believe this has been a great experience for me. I have learned new things about technology and how they positively have become a part of my life. I blogged about twice a week all semester, if not more sometimes, in hopes of sharing my thoughts. Thanks to everyone for making this experience so wonderful!!! Thanks Dean for all of your help this semester, it was all extremely appreciated!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tech Task #3

For this task i decided to post about a blog i read on Betchablog. The post I read was called Human Tetris The video he choose to embed on his blog is a really cool.
Here is the video.

On this post, he discusses that a student of his, with a learning disabilty, finished her work early and asked if she could play tetris online. He discovered that she was amazing at the game. This is from a girl who really struggles with many other intellectual tasks. So he decides to call her main teacher and discuss the new discovery with her. Her regular teacher had never really tried Tetris, so she was not very good at it.

It is important to note that teachers are not perfect or good at everything. If teachers were more hopeless at things, our classroom environment may be a little different. He concludes his post with this, "Often in schools we judge our students performance based on the things that we deem to be important to us, rather than what is important to them. I’m not suggesting that everything should always be a game, but I suspect we should always be actively looking for opportunities to let our kids be “smarter” than us."

As a future teacher, I have realized that it is important to focus on my students strengths rather then my own. Adapting my lesson plans and assignments around my students would allow them to be more successful in their day to day lives. As a teacher, I am not there to show my students my strengths, but I am there to expand their strengths and encourage them to succeed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tech Task #15

This is an image of my map from google earth. These are the most recent places I have been lately, but this doesn't mean you should stock me. I avoided giving any details of who I am or where i work so i did not include those places.