Technology is the face of the future, as many say.
In elementary school, we were lucky enough to have laptop carts that were shared among other classrooms. There were desktops to use in the library, which were not available for every student, and could only be used during scheduled library times. In high school, laptop carts and library desktops were again the norm.
These were my experiences at fairly wealthy schools, so I'd assume that other less-fortunate schools had less technology around the same time.
For high school homework, I didn't need any fancy programs other than Microsoft Word, so I didn't use a laptop/tablet until Grade 12, which was shared with my family. I used it only to type Chemistry lab reports (which were the death of me).. Never again. High school was also when I was given my first cell phone, grade 9 to be exact. This was disappointing for me at the time, to say the least.
My younger sister, who is only 2 years younger than me, had the exact same experiences as I did in school, but doesn't know what a floppy disk is. I have used them for games on our home desktop for years. My sister's lack of knowledge of this technology has been a recent source of laughter in my family.
The increasing technological items that students have access to, way before grade 9, I might add, is astounding. Grade 7 and 8 students that I taught this year have their own phone (and not just for emergencies), and have had a phone for a number of years. Their phones make a daily appearance at school, with few exceptions. In my pre-internship, my first considerable teaching experience, with grade 7/8, I realized that I was entering a world of technology that I wasn't equipped in. From my experiences, to those of the students I teach, there are gaps. And, as I continue to teach, the gaps will only become larger, and even more important to close.
In EDTC, we compared the evolving experiences of consumption of technology over decades.
Michael Wesch, who speaks in "An anthropological introduction to Youtube," highlights this too.
I have never been overly interested in watching Youtube videos for hours and hours, so the stats were extra shocking to me. In 2008, 9232 hours of content uploaded each day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I would guess that it's at least doubled by now. What do we think?
So, students that were born in 2008, some of which I have taught this year, are experiencing that wealth of content on Youtube. Of course, not all of it, but it's available. And that is what has evolved in our technological world. Wesch states that every 6 months there's a new tool that can do new things that weren't previously imagined (6:42).
Wesch summarizes the craze of Youtube, and, subsequently, technology consumption, nicely; "It starts to look less like an infectious than a new cultural order" (4:16). Little did we know at the time, that is what technology would become. Not only part of our culture, but a form of empowerment (4:55).
Students and adults alike can use technology for empowerment. Empowerment to showcase interests, events, passions, hobbies, gatherings, and anything else you can imagine. This is a path that I would take into my classroom. Teaching students to properly use technology to empower them, in appropriate ways, can offer students confidence as well as new ways to learn. Utilizing technology as a safe way to participate with peers, have discussions and show learning. The potential of technology to hinder and grow is very real in today's world.
After humming and hawing, I decided to use Fotobabble. I considered doing stop-motion, but with this blog post falling in the same week as Thanksgiving, I thought it would be best to use a tool that would serve the same purpose, showing visuals, but require a little less labour intensive. I think I found that in this app!
Let's take a look, together. To keep it simple, I recorded the initial tutorial using the built in iPhone screen record feature.
Right away, due to its ease of use (and its clever name), I would give Fotobabble 4 out of 5 stars. Additionally, photos can be edited on the app, captions and audio allow inclusivity of the audience. Really, it reminds me of a private Instagram account. Enough said.
The reason for withholding the fifth star, is because it requires an account. This feature ruins many tech tools for me.
If you're interested in what others are saying about Fotobabble, the reviews are difficult to find. Here is what others are saying about this tool from the App Store. And, more importantly, here is what teachers are saying about this tool at Common Sense Education.
Although this tool seems so simple, how it is used in the classroom is what really matters, in order to get the most out of it. Fotobabble has so many uses in the classroom that align with the SAMR Model, as discussed in class.
As a teacher, I could use Fotobabble as a way to record and present a read aloud. This would be especially useful for teaching expression, fluency and pronunciation while reading a passage. Or, for younger students, teaching these things with a story book. Students could go back and listen, and see the text/pictures as many times as they want.
Students may consider using Fotobabble as a portfolio to showcase their work. This could be photos of written work in ELA or Math, steps of an experiment, art work, etc. A simple way to showcase work and provide commentary.
Students could also use this tool as a way to verbally respond to prompts rather than writing or typing their answers. The prompt(s) could easily be shown as a picture while the student speaks.
I also imagine using this as a way to spark creativity with storytelling. All students may have to use the same photos, but each student's commentary of the way the photos connect, would be different.
I imagine this level of the SAMR model to include using Fotobabble as a way to virtually tour, and interpret, an art gallery. Students can take photos of the art they see and add commentary during or after the tour, or both. Their initial interpretation and, perhaps after having class discussions or doing research on each piece of art, their new interpretation can be added in afterwards. Students could even record an interview with experts outside of school and share with their classmates.
Stay tuned to find out how I use Fotobabble for my learning project, here.
Twitter is definitely something that I had to get used to before I really started to see its purpose and benefits.
For a professional purpose, Twitter is probably the best way (so far, that I'm aware of) to connect with other educators (and students) around the world. This opens up so many possibilities! PD opportunities, new learnings, a new PLN - exciting stuff! #saskedchat is just one of those exciting connections. As you can see, many of the people I'm following are teachers, professors, #saskedchat participants, etc.
In this week's #saskedchat, the best learning opportunity was discussing the taboo around teacher's mental health. The best Twitter chats are those that provoke discussion and further insights.
I use Twitter for professional use only, because otherwise I don't see it having a meaningful purpose. For personal use, I stick to Instagram and Facebook. With Twitter I try to make connections with other educators and post/retweet educational related content. My favourite is stumbling across lessons or activity ideas for in the classroom and learning about new YA novels to put in my classroom library! A favourite account of mine for finding books is a fellow graduate, Trisha. Her knowledge of books is impeccable. Trisha has encouraged me to want to post about YA novels that I've enjoyed. Here are my most recent ones. Both of these novels are in my grade 7 classroom library. When I made the tweet about One of Us is Lying, the author, Karen M. McManus liked my tweet!! So I had a fan girl moment. No shame. Thanks, Twitter, for making that possible.
Although I'm much more comfortable with using Twitter since when I was first introduced to it in the first year of my B.Ed., I have not used Twitter in the classroom. I'm not quite convinced that I could get Middle Years students to buy into it. Kind of like a "too cool for Twitter" attitude. That being said, I do see practical uses for it to enrich student learning. If I do try to use it in my classroom, though, it would be to practice concise writing about various topics and ideas. The character limit and public publishing can encourage students to be aware of their digital citizenship - How do you present yourself online? How do you interact with others on social media? What positives can come from social media? How does your digital presence influence others and vice versa?
The learning that can come with using a public social media account for education has so many benefits, for students and myself. How do you use Twitter? Leave a comment below!
To begin my journey of finding teacher blogs to follow, I started with the blog suggestions from Katia from the lists of the best bloggers, but for some reason they weren't intriguing me. While trying to pinpoint why that was, I noticed all of the bloggers are from the US. Aha! I wanted to follow along with Canadian bloggers - those that are familiar with Canadian curriculum and its variations, those that know about Canadian residential school history, and those that know what Saskatchewan is..
So there I began, googling Canadian ed tech blogs.
This is where I had more success with results that interested me. I found bloggers near and far, from Winnipeg to Nova Scotia, to Quebec. This seemed like a better option.
Since I teach Middle Years, specifically grade 7-8, and that is my interest area, I don't really care about the primary years - playful learning, watching kids pick their noses and teaching how to do up a zipper aren't my jam. I would much prefer invigorating ideas and resources for higher elementary. From there, I looked for blogs with key words, such as, Canadian, Middle Years, education, technology, resources, engaging activities, work-life balance, etc.
I FOUND SO MANY!! Yay.
I wonder how all of these teachers make time to have a side gig like this..
I also thought it would be a good idea to look for blogs about DIYs, since that's what my learning project is all about - duh! Here's a look at some of them. I'm following 6 DIY blogs, which is just enough for me not to feel overwhelmed. This also ensures what Katia highlighted in class - online PLN are always on, but I don't always have to be on.
Stay tuned if I use any of those DIY blogs as inspiration.
Once I knew what blogs I wanted to follow, I made my Feedly account - take a peek! (Dark mode is the best mode.)
From all of the blogs that I scoured for, this is my favourite: eLearning Learning Daily
They post once a day, which I find is sometimes nice to have new items to look at. It bothers me when there's nothing new! It also seems as though eLearning Learning Daily takes related blog posts from other blogs and filters them to one spot; I like the variety. I'm still on the hunt for a good blog that provides free resources and activities. Pretty much I want a more intimate Teachers Pay Teachers.
Hey there! I'm Erin Zinger!
I'm pumped to be a part of EDTC 300. I feel fairly confident with using technology in the classroom and in other educational settings. My favourite app for personal use is Instagram, here's mine. My favourite educational technology, although I would argue that Instagram can be used for educational purposes as well, would be Padlet, Google Apps and Kahoot (sometimes). My blog has been a space for the past 4+ years where I've put my most important learning experiences. It has also helped me to feel confident in using technology for professional use - starting a blog has been intimidating! I think that teachers that blog are super cool (does that make me a cool teacher because I have a blog, lets say yes). And the author of this article agrees that teacher-bloggers are superb for 5 reasons. Check it out! My favourite teacher-blogger is teachmestyle. Maybe I can aspire to be her with my fashion DIYs during my Learning Project - stay tuned!
Thanks for reading!
If you think I'm interesting, feel free to check out my Twitter that is all about teaching. Enjoy!