Week 1 Reflection

Overall, I feel like I succeeded in completing the requirements of this week’s assignments. When I first looked over DS106, our syllabus, blog, etc. I was overwhelmed by the challenges facing me. I have never blogged before, never used twitter, and honestly had no desire to, but this class has forced me to rethink my ideas about sharing via social media. The engagement and the use of hypothes.is are two things I have really enjoyed. I have to admit, I still don’t love doing the Daily Creates-they are a bit more out of my comfort zone.

I think the overall flow/requirements are giving me the most trouble so far. Just when I think I tagged everything I also realize I need to blog it, tweet it, and annotate it. I feel like I’m repeating myself and not really sure why. I probably enjoyed the sharing between my fellow students the most. I loved the use of hypothes.is for our readings, and I’ve really enjoyed reading their blogs. I learned a lot from the readings and my fellow classmates, but I have to say what I probably learned the most was how much I overanalyze or hesitate when I’m unsure. Due to the ambiguity in the class I’ve found myself reading and rereading all of our resources in fear of making mistakes. I think instead sometime I need to just DO.

As for larger issues surrounding my work-I’m really feeling like still don’t completely understand how the Daily Creates, and Assignments from DS106 connect to our focal theme-or how to connect them to my focal theme. As time goes on I hope this becomes clearer, and in the meantime I plan to read over the tips Lisa posted today.

For now I would say my work is overall meeting expectations. I believe (still not 100%) I completed all of my assignments correctly, and on time. However, as I don’t totally know what I’m doing, I can’t say that I exceeded anything just yet. I also feel like I was completely engaged in the course throughout the week. The one thing that really helped me is making sure I spent time (a lot of time) working on the course every single night this week. Remi said to expect 15 hours/week, and I definitely exceeded that! I made sure to space my work out so I wasn’t scrambling at the last minute to get things done. I plan to continue this throughout the course-I think it’s probably the only way to survive!

Upside Down Daily Create

TDC1361 asks the creator to take a photo and flip it upside down. I chose this one because I liked the different perspective. Makes me think about all the different perspectives I have in my classroom some days. I also chose it because today’s daily create wasn’t one that I really connected with-so I searched the list of popular TDCs and came up with this creation! DSCN4648

Week 1: Story Critique

This week I chose to a video from teachingchannel.org that directly connected to my theme: teaching diverse learners, or meeting the needs of diverse learners. The video, actually titled, Meeting the Needs of Diverse Learners, focused on a classrooms use of stations to help support all learners. The educator who narrates the video explains a lesson where students visit different stations in order to deepen their understanding of citing textual evidence.

For my critique I focused on the following three Jason Ohler’s assessment traits:

  1. Story
  2. Flow, organization and pacing
  3. Media application

The story, clearly intended for fellow teachers was clear and engaging. The teachers featured in the video present a real challenge, faced by many teachers, and go on to explain one way to face that challenge. For most educators I’m sure the story is very relatable, and therefore engaging. It also presents new ideas that viewers can take into their own classroom.

The flow, organization, and pacing was smooth. I would have considered adding to the video just a bit in order to feel less rushed. There were a lot of ideas, reflections, and overall content in a short 11 minute video, and although I appreciate getting to the point I think because the audience would be seeking out this video to better their own teaching practices it could have been a bit longer to avoid the rushed feeling. As for media application-the use of media was great! Throughout the video I was impressed by the use of additional features in order to enhance the story. For example, I loved when four different clips were shown on the screen to represent the four stations the teacher had set up for the lesson. I also loved that every question, reflection, worksheet, etc., that was referenced in the video was shared in some way with the viewer. What these traits fail to capture is the overall inspiration educators can find in this video. Although at times I found myself jealous and frustrated that this particular class had four adults in the classroom at one time. It is definitely an advantage to have more adults in order to help meet the needs of your diverse learners-a luxury not all teachers have. However, as stated above the one thing I would reconsider is the overall pace of the presentation, which at times felt rushed. On a personal note I was excited to see this class was reading the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It is an amazing book (seriously, read it), and a story I am currently reading to my students. They beg me to read it on a regular basis, even my students who don’t typically love reading. This personal connection made the video even more interesting-something to consider in digital storytelling, or I suppose with any production of work-know your audience.

 

Week 1: Reading Response

This week we were asked to read Lankshear and Knobel (2007) Ch1 in addition to a piece of interest-driven scholarship. As my focus is teaching, specifically teaching groups of diverse learners, and because the required reading focused on new literacies and mind-sets in the digital age I landed on the following article Communicating with the World: Connecting the Language Classroom to a Global Audience Using Web 2.0 Tools. Both articles challenged me to tho rethink my ideas surrounding language, social media, traditional schooling, and technology as a platform for connections.

When I began reading Lankshear & Knobel’s (2007) I wasn’t sure how it would connect to my life as an educator, but I quickly realized so much of their discussion was related to my profession, and to everyday life. For example, their discussion surrounding primary and secondary Discourses immediately made me reflect on how important understanding my students as a whole person (getting to know their family, their communities, their cultures) can help inform my instruction. Better understanding their primary Discourse can in turn help me understand how they interact with our school/classroom culture, and what their varying needs are as students. It is also a great reminder to activate student’s background knowledge for every lesson. I’m always amazed by what my students know, and what I assume they do not.

Lankshear & Knobel (2007) idea of new literacies and the mindset that embraces the idea of the internet being a place of collaboration, relationships, and sharing of information complements the ideas expressed by Lori Langer de Ramirez, Ed.D., in her article Communicating with the World. She starts by sharing a story of a class who blogged their poetry for a high school Spanish class and were thrilled when a published poet from Peru, a native speaker of Spanish, commented on a students work. This connection and feedback was not surprisingly highly valued by the students and helped to make the work matter more. Both articles made me think twice about the possibilities for technology in the classroom, even at the elementary level. The idea of creating and sharing work over the internet is such an important idea for students, and more schools need to give teachers the ability to take on such project-based learning with the help of technology. I think anything we can do to make our lessons more meaningful to students is amazing, and from a teachers perspective I think it also makes lessons more fun to teach!

As for questions…I can’t help but wonder how parents, fellow educators, and administrators would respond to some of these ideas of embracing Web 2.0 tools in the classroom. There are always privacy concerns which make me think twice about the students ability to collaborate online. There is also the issue of access. Many of my students do not have access to computers at home and our own classroom access is severely limited. I wonder if all of these ideas are just introducing more inequities into our school systems. However, I do believe if the access is there, introducing new literacies in the classroom can benefit all involved-making lessons more interesting, engaging, meaningful, and fun.

What’s in the bag?!?

A view into my teacher bag. Visual Assignment 1556 required I take a picture of the essentials in my bag. Luckily my school bag was sitting right next to me filled with papers begging to be graded.

I connected to this visual assignment because what I’m carrying around in my bag on any given day really tells a story about my life at that specific time. For example, a few weeks ago my bag was stuffed with MLS listings, as we were house hunting. Now it is filled with the following:

bag

  1. Sunglasses-I don’t go anywhere without them-my fair eyes can’t take the sun.
  2. A folder from the elementary school I’m teaching at filled with persuasive essays, and EOY math assessments that need to be graded.
  3. TWO planners-one school, one life-with my new grad class and the last few weeks of teaching for the year, on top of personal life, things are busy!
  4. Pretty pens and pencils-essential for all teachers.
  5. My wallet, still filled with Euros from a recent trip.

Funny to think that in just two weeks the contents of my bag will change dramatically, once again telling a the story of my life.

As for the process I didn’t get too technical. I’m still getting use to all the new tech platforms for our course. Therefore, I dumped the contents, took a pic with my iPhone, emailed the pic to my gmail, and uploaded the pic on my desktop. Once I understand the flow of the course more I intend to increase the challenge. Tweeting, blogging, DS106, feedly, and TweetDeck, are giving me enough of a challenge for now.

Getting my create on

My first Daily Create! I won’t share how long it took…between my struggle with image size, switching between desktop and iPhone, and my general over-analyzing…it’s embarrassing.

Daily Create asking me to share what has made me happy recently was not a difficult task though, once I fought with the tech for a bit. Sharing happiness is important and something I ask my students to do at the end of most days at school. We sit on the carpet and share our rose of the day, so this didn’t seem much different.

My pictures: Aquarium w/students, Ireland w/husband, and Cape Cod w/family-all representative of the most important aspects of my life. Another theme, which I didn’t notice until now, is water, more specifically the ocean-another thing that makes me happy no matter what.

DC!

A Teacher in a Tech World

Yesterday after a busy day with my fourth graders I came home and spent hours in front of my computer, outside of my comfort zone. Blogs, Twitter, GIFs, oh my, all things I’ve never spent much time thinking about, and when I’m surrounded by report cards that need to be completed and persuasive essays that need to be graded, it all seems a bit strange. That said, I’m trying to listen to my professor and “embrace the ambiguity.” This class, Learning with Digital Stories, is not what I was expecting when I signed up for my last required course for my education related masters, but as I have learned many times before flexibility is key.  If anything this class is a great way to put myself in the shoes of my own students. It helps to be reminded how it feels to be a student uncomfortable with content-it can only improve my teaching practice, right?