Teaching Technology

My two main questions when thinking about technology in schools are:

How is technology integrated into the classroom?

Where are we teaching students to be aware of technology?

As school is partially online and in person students are learning different skill about how to communicate with each other. Without knowing it, students are becoming more aware of how to write emails, how to talk “professionally” to a teacher or staff member and have to be motivated to show up to school each day. As time continues I believe we will see students who are extremely self-motivated but lack social abilities due to their time with online learning. Online learning can be amazing for some students but others have a hard time focusing and being able to learn online. 

Technology can be an amazing resource for teachers and students. If a child is non-verbal they are able to share their thoughts and feelings through a device, which in turn creates a stronger social bond with other students. Teachers are able to find and share different resources and activities with fellow teachers. Different activities and programs can help keep students engaged and interact with their learning. 

My biggest fear with technology being integrated into the classroom is it replacing actual teaching. As we discussed in class there are times when it is easier to teach with online websites and resources rather than having to create in person learning. 

The internet is not always a safe place and I believe students need to be aware of this but how is it going to be taught to students all over the province. 

  • What is being taken out of the curriculum to fit more digital awareness?
  • Is a new class being added?
  • Are PAA courses being adapted?
  • When are we going to start teaching digital understanding?

I think that all students should have access to technology at school to help strengthen their education but technology should not be used as a band-aid for issues within the teaching and school culture. Good teaching will always shine through, as well as poor teaching that uses technology to replace poor lessons.

My online identity as an educator

I originally took EDTC 300 in the spring of 2019, in which I found that my online identity is small and mainly based around my previous jobs and community involvement. 

Since then my online identity has not changed much. When googling myself I used 3 different phrases to try and find myself…

Sarah Wright Estevan (my home town)

Sarah Wright Education

Sarah Wright teacher

I share a name with a well-known actress so I do not appear when my name is searched in isolation

I knew based on my research in the previous course that I would appear if I searched myself paired with my home town. Since that point the only thing was added was my involvement in the U of R Education Students Society. 

Both my Instagram and Facebook is private and with a large amount of restrictions on it but that does not mean that it is invisible. From experience I know that students (especially middle years) will find your social media and try to find more information about you. My students did find my Instagram and brought it up in class but that allowed us to have a healthy class conversation about digital identity and privacy. I was also glad to have my twitter in my tool box because they were able to view it since it is professional based and not my personal account. There is nothing online that I would not want people to see but I like to keep some distance between the school and my life by keeping my accounts on private. 

There is very little within my digital identity that shows me as a teacher or educator. Through this course I would like to continue to grow my twitter and E-portfolio to reflect my current views on education. To be proud of my digital identity I need to continue to reflect on my past posts and see how my ideas and understandings have changed. I started my E-portfolio in the winter semester of my second year and even though that was less than 2 years ago my views and understandings have changed and developed so I need to go back to see if my post accurately describe my teaching and educational philosophy. 

Intro into EDTC 400

Hi my name Sarah Wright and I am in my final semester of my middle year’s education degree. This is not exactly how I pictured my last semester, moving home to Estevan and taking my classes online but that is the world we are living in. 

I completed my internship at Oxbow Prairie Horizon School in Oxbow, Saskatchewan. I taught 2 sections of grade 8 ELA, math and science. 

Because of the shortage of teachers, I will be subbing within South East Cornerstone throughout this semester. Learn more about Saskatchewan teacher shortage

My goal going into this course is mainly centred around the online teaching and in person teaching with technology. 

My goals are…

  • Learning more about online teaching (including engaging resources and different platforms)
  • Create or become aware of resources that can easily move from in person to online learning
  • Become more informed on the latest trends in educational technology

Technology

Technology

Over the summer I took EDTC 300 in which I learned about a variety of websites and other gadgets to help engage students.

Twitter this is both helpful for students and teachers. There are hashtags and pages that share teacher resources and can make a community of teachers from all around the world. Twitter can also be used as a great summary resource. This teacher used twitter as an exit slip to make sure students were summarizing the main learning points of the lesson.

Local libraries– there are so many resources available to people with a library card. Library cards are free within the province of Saskatchewan, and a local library card works at every public library across the province and online. Applications such as Libby can open up the classroom library to a place that was not even possible.

Storyboard That this is an online story board website. This can be used for brainstorming, especially when writing a story or creating a script.

 Digital Flash cards these websites can help students practice their information and gives another formative assessment for teachers. It is very beneficial for EAL students who are still learning the language alongside all of the other information they are learning. It also allows for audio and video recording for those who need to.

Assessment Techniques

Assessment

I love to do small formative assessments at during my closures just to see how much students understood from the lesson. This website has a great list of closure/ quick assessment ideas.

My coop teacher has students correct their own work many times, which gives the students a chance to provide their own feedback and understand where they need to improve on next time.

The class still has tests, primarily for math units, but there are other techniques she uses.

Assessment as learning

Within my field experience I did a lot of group work. This is both helpful and harmful because students get to share their ideas but it is harder to know if all the students are understanding the information. To make sure that I am assessing all students, I ask a question to a different student every time I pass their group. If a student is struggling to understand a topic I will as one of their peers to explain it to them (while I am still present just in case they do not say the right thing), this shows me that both of those students now have an understanding of the topic.

Assessment for learning

I was doing this primarily during my lessons to see where students are at when I begin the lesson and where they are when the lesson ends.

For this I use

  • Entrance and exit slips
  • KWL charts
  • Whip it (classroom discussion where students through a ball to each other to answer the questions)
  • Having short worksheet in which the students correct their own

Summative/assessment of learning

I have found that I prefer jigsaw style of activities for students to show their understanding. Students will do presentations and artist projects to show their understanding.

  • Real world examples
  • Plays or acting it out
  • Presentation
  • Art piece that connects to their identity or an outcome

Making Connections

Because this class is looking at how technology can help people connect, we were asked to keep a log of the conversations we had with our classmates and others on the internet.

The slack community

IMG_8324I struggled a little bit with the slack community in general. Many of the questions that my classmates had were either questions that I also had or questions that I did not have the answers to. Some of the resources that my classmates shared were helpful such as the website that Alexa shared.

Some other classmate questions were somewhat simple answers but the answer was dependent on other factors. For example I only know about video editing on a mac because that is what I use so that would be an easy fix for someone with a mac but a little harder for someone without one.

Blogging

I enjoyed commenting on my classmate blogs about their learning projects. Many of the posts were so descriptive and had great sources, it almost felt like I was learning along with them.

For example, I love following Mary-Anne’s project because it kept me accountable for cleaning my house as well. At one point when Mary-Anne was preparing her camper I was able to give a few tips that I have learned over the years.

I enjoyed looking at the weekly blog prompt posts, especially those who were in a different grade area than me because they look at issues through the eyes of a different aged child.

Twitter

I was able to connect with others even outside of my classmates on twitter. During my time in this course I was able to participate in 2 #saskedchats,the one we did within class and one on June 20, and the themes were new/pre service teaching and summer professional development.Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.52.54 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.51.12 PMScreen Shot 2019-06-22 at 5.50.45 PM

Screen Shot 2019-06-22 at 6.29.44 PMI started to also connect with EdTech K-12 Magazine and Texthelp for Education (the company that owns the EquatIO)

There were times and questions were my job as a librarian and reading program coordinator came in handy.

 

I was also able to have great conversations with my fellow classmates about different topics.

 

Screen Shot 2019-06-06 at 9.31.29 AM

Shared and met some current educators.

 

Even one of the local elementary schools in my city started to share some of my resources.

IMG_8421

I will be totally honest, I forgot to screenshot a lot of my conversations (even though Katia told us not to forget). Many times it felt like a natural conversation so taking screenshots was not what I was thinking about, as I was actively involved with the conversation.

I found that portion of the class was vital, especially because it was online. We were able to make connections with classmates and other educators around the continent.

 

Coding

This week I started to learn how to code, which was one of the things that I was scared of at the beginning of this class. I chose to learn through Hour of Code playing the Dance Party game. Dance party is a coding game for grades 2-5 that has the user manipulate aScreen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.21.35 AM mascot to do popular dance moves. Students learn to create a code through block coding meaning the person takes one block from the block station and moves it into the corresponding work station to make the mascot move.  Within this example I was learning how to make a second dancer, which is really easy. All that was needed is another starting block but as you can see I some messed it up. My mess-up was simple, as I just needed to move one robot to the side, but it made me think how easily one line of code could change the entire goal.

Near the beginning I realized that only one block within the pattern Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.20.37 AMmatters and the rest can come in any order after. Within this one, the green block saying the amount of time before changing dance moves needs to go first because there is no indent on the top just the attachment on the bottom. These patterns are really good for students to find because it helps practice their problem solving skills.

Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.31.27 AMAs I was coding I realized that the website itself has a particular code that it needs to follow. For example, I tried to have my mascot move along to the treble of the music but that did not match the code that the website had which was the mascot first had to react to the bass of the music.

I was on level 5 was when I began to have problems. The point was to Screen Shot 2019-06-21 at 10.24.55 AMuse the “every 2 measures” block but when I did the website must not have liked it because it would not let me move to the next station. I was able to move past it but I still do not know what happened.

A few years back the library that I worked at introduced coding for kids between the ages of 5-8. I was impressed with the outcome, there were at least 8 in each class. Students are able to be creative in new ways through coding and it helps strengthen their brains to look at situations in multiple ways. This article explains why every child should learn how to code, it even explains that coding does not need to be online but can be through paper and a pen as well.

 

 

Final Photos

So we have finally arrived at the end of photography journey (or it may be just the beginning, as there are always many new techniques to learn.) This past weekend was my sister’s high school graduation, which is held in a hockey rink (horrible for lighting). The ceremony portion is done with the house lights off and alternative stage lighting. I went back to the tried and trusted article of  How to take great pictures in bad lighting and I also found one that outlined 10 Graduation Photography Tips. Though many of these tips were self-explanatory I found it helpful to refresh my knowledge to make sure I had everything.

The first photos were under the arch at the top of the stairs.  This was difficult because I had to zoom in from far away. To paint you a picture I was sitting where the ice would be as my sister was at the top of the stands. Thankfully our last name is at the end of the alphabet so I was able to practice on a few students before she passed through the arch. I was able to get her in the pictures but I think that the focus missed her a bit and was more on the arch.

Thank goodness she was on the opposite side so the light was able to hit her face.

The second group of photos was her actually crossing the stage to receive her diploma. Though this had better lighting, the subject had to be in the right spot to be hit by the stage lights, meaning when she was coming and leaving stage it was hard to see her through the camera.

The second half of grad is called the grand march, where the graduates are in their suits or gowns and walk around the rink. Though the house lights were on during this portion making it easier to see, the lights were on everywhere meaning the crowd could be in focus when I was hoping to get a photo of someone walking by. They also go in reverse alphabetical order so I did not have time to practice on other people before my sister processed. The first two photos show how different a change in the light meter can do. In the first photo the light meter was centered at zero but as you can see it is very bright and almost 2D, the subject look flat to the background. This was due to the light meter miss reading the amount of light, because of the large white screen in the background. With the second I moved the light meter to around -2.5 to help even out the light. I love the set-up of this shot because of the blurry foreground that helps to frame the photo.

By the time I got to the third photo I had figured out the perfect light ratio so that the subjects were light but the background was not. The fourth photo was a complete accident but I love that it just shows the raw emotion.

The final part of grad is the dances. So my father and sister were so nice to me that they dance right under the stage lights so the lighting was much easier.

Around this time, I was close enough to my subject that I could use my flash and it focus on the right area.  It just happens that my sister has a sensitivity to light because of her concussion so she graciously wore her sunglasses. I was also able to drop my ISO to make the photos less grainy.

The two weeks that prepared me the most for my final week were week 3 (Sunsets) and week 5 (portraits). Week 3 taught me who to take pictures in bad lighting and to adjust my light meter quickly every time I moved. Week 5 of course taught me how to take pictures of people but I also learned how to make my camera take multiple pictures at once.

Week 1

I was trying to mimic what I thought the photo should look like and was not stepping out of a box view

Week 2

During this week I was able to play with lighting and color. I went back to the basic of exposure triangles and focusing.

I was given this website afterwards but it was very helpful, thanks Serena

Week 3

The sunset week. This maybe one of my favorite weeks because I had such a short matter of time to get these photos but it was so cool to see how I could and did improve. This was something I had never done before so it was so cool to see the process that goes behind a picture like that.

Week 4

This is the week where I found how my creativity could match with my photography skills. I love looking back on these pictures and the vibrant colors they have.

Week 5

Coming into this I did not like taking portraits that much, I actually found them quite stressful because you are portraying a person.

This focused me to be present, I was not thinking about anything other than my subject. I was able to use photography as a creative outlet to put myself into as I was both learning and creating.