Being a teacher, or a learner for that matter, in this world today, is all about being innovative. We have pretty much swayed with all of the traditional models of teaching. While back in the day the traditional model was all that was required for job skills, now-days, we have to learn how to create our own means of employment. We have to learn how to be creative in discover and exploration. One of the thing’s that I’ve really learned this semester, to be innovative, you have to do your research (with the vast array of knowledge available to us now), and be very pursuant and headstrong in accomplishing goals that you have set out for and created yourself.
Take for instance, our learning projects, you looked something up that might be fun to learn, but not really because you felt that this is something that you will continue to do (a thought at the time anyway) but is something that our teacher, as a learning guide, prompted us to do. Therefore, to get a good grade and meet our overall goals in life (becoming a teacher) we did it. This is what we have to do for our student’s as well. Set them up for their learning, but essentially, we are only giving them ideas and resources, and they set out to complete the work on their own.
How many careers can you think of that expect you to research, learn for yourself, use your creativity, and build upon it to meet the demands of the 21st Century? Pretty much all of them anymore.
So this semester, I have unlearned the boundaries of ordinary and traditional teaching roles, and relearned what it is to adapt new technologies and strategies to guide my students, instead of teaching them directly, we want student based learning. In Richardson’s “The Unlearning Curve“,”We need to unlearn the idea that we are the sole content experts in the classroom, because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching.We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.”
From George Couros’ “The Mindset of an Innovator” he explains that; “I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”3. With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point. I believe that my abilities, intelligence, and talents can be developed, leading to the creation of new and better ideas.”
So we can learn from this long standing educator, that innovation and thinking for our student’s sake, is starting with believing in yourself, and your open-mindedness abilities as an educator. I believe in this fully, to make sure what’s best for our learners, we have to continue to learn and teach ourselves as well.
Our life in essence, is a metaphor. We live our lives so contradictory to our beliefs, and we don’t really even realize it. Like me, I love school, but can’t wait for it to end. I want to be at teacher and a career woman, but fully believe in woman staying home. I love camping, but stay home and read.
When I first started taking this class, I literally had NO idea what was in store for me. In fact, I was scared, because as good as I am at computers, I had never experienced most of any of the technological strategies we have learned in class (another life metaphor)! I wanted to conquer my fears, yet in my mind, I was thinking, RUN!! See what I mean, we contradict ourselves all the time.
Do you suppose that this is something to remember when your teaching? Students might say one thing, and mean a completely different idea. Then again, do you think that us as teacher can be contradictory? Yes, most definitely. We want to tell students one thing, but sometimes it comes out in a different meaning, or a meaning that could be taken many different ways.
I have done some reflecting on what life poetry is, and it’s something that’s so common, and yet so unknown, that we don’t realize how beautiful it is, and how much we can learn from ourselves after searching for our life metaphors. I invite you to check out my quick presentation of what I think, I have found out about myself.
I have finished my learning/sewing project. I have had a long journey, and have had some struggles and some successes. I had a hard time getting motivated to do the project, the beginning was the hardest for me because I had no idea what I was doing. Then, as I progressed through the project, my morale picked up, because it was starting to look so good!
The best part of this project, for me, was seeing the finished product. Going through all of my struggles, and then seeing the end product. I also really enjoyed the fact that for the most part, I learned to do something on my own. I can literally say, “I did that” and I did a really good job on it!
Learning how to do this project has done so much for my self-esteem. If I can teach myself to do something, I have more confidence in being able to teach my students topics that I have researched and discovered as well. I can also help model for student, what it means to learn, and the pay off of your achievements.
Sometimes, I think the biggest questions students have in school, is “why am I learning this, and when am I ever going to use it?” Well, I can honestly say I asked myself that a few times going through this project. Why on earth did I choose to do this? I’m probably not going to be doing it forever. Pointing out to students that what we learn isn’t always about retention of the material, but of the fact that we are learning how to learn, so that we can eventually take those learning strategies and research our interests or find what we need to learn for our careers or family life.
Of course, all material we learn in school is vital for living. However, I think that teaching students the skills to think critically, be open minded about learning, and have the motivation to learn. I think that this comes with seeing what we are capable of, and seeing that we pushed ourselves to learn and to achieve all that we have, causes us to push the limits and keep on going!
I hope that I can use this to help my students understand, and push their own limits of education. I want to give my students projects like this, so that they might see their achievements, and boost their morale to learn in school. This way, they will not only be learning, they will be succeeding!
I added a Ted video on Procrastination, this is something I have had to fight really hard this semester. I feel that many of you could relate. Thank you for reading my blogs through this journey! Enjoy!
This week I did some research on some new learning tools for the classroom. I found one called Piktochart, that you can visually represent an idea or topic on just about anything. I really enjoyed using the program, in fact it is very simple to use once you get it figured out. It also has a tutorial with it that kind of guides you through it. I really like when programs incorporate instructions, if your like me, you can’t you figure out all of the cool different thing’s that you can do with the program, unless you see it.
Here is the Piktochart I made, on my learning project, and the steps I have learned that you have to take to make a quilt.
I think that it’s a great program for visual learners, and I will definitely use this as a graphic organizers for my future classroom. I think that this is a great way to visually represent any lesson that you could think of. The best part of this, is that you pretty much have to only put the main details, or the most important information on this visual. There is no room for much more.
However, I think that this is really good for special needs students especially. They can scan over the summery of what you discussed in class, and master the main points, or what the need to know for standardized testing. We also know that when information is written down in small parts, it is easy to group, and retain that information in the brain.
I don’t know about you but I personally learn more if I can see a step by step process laid out for me, in order to better understand it. I could remember it better if I can visually try to remember it, taking in the pictures and comparing it to what I know, and using it to help understand new information. I think that this will be great for my students as well.
If you are interested in using Piktochart, here is a great little tutorial for you to go by. I found it to be pretty simple. You can change any background colors and fonts to fit your needs. You can also make printouts of this, so that you can give them to your students for easy studying!
Using Podcasts in the classroom, has come into my life recently. I mean, really come into my life. Like, I cannot stop listening to them, an other digital stories. So, podcasts are these stories that might be fiction, nonfiction and many of them are biography’s. They are radio “listening” stories, that student’s tune into them.
I have found them to be completely addicting and so have many students all around U.S. The fact that people are becoming so absorbed with them, opens a window of opportunity for teachers. We can use them to gain our students interests, and keep their interest might I add, and relate the stories to educational curricular content. Some teachers feel that students are learning, and what makes this so great, is that they don’t even know they are learning.
I think that one of the best factors relating to having podcasts in the classroom, is that the stories are so raw, and they relate to life as we know it now. I think that learning the classical stories are great, and all students should read those because they are full of history, opinions and they still bring about great discussion and facts. However, they do not relate to some of the real world problems that our youth are facing right now, and what they will have to deal with in the future.
I, like many other educators are sometimes skeptical about sharing all of this raw material in the classroom. However, we can still introduce the idea of podcasts and digital storytelling with more appropriate content in the classroom, but give students the resources to also view the stories that fit each students specific needs, on their own time. I think that they will view them on their own time, not just because they are interesting and relate to their lives, but because they want to know more, and they have questions. We know that having questions is the key to critical thinking and critical thinking is where real learning and memorization takes place!
I already have many great ideas of lessons that I could use podcasts and digital stories for. I feel like having students write their own ideas down and their own stories, and then make their own digital-story based on that, not only would express themselves and teach others about differences of other people, but also accepting those differences. As a future special education teacher, I feel this is really important for many of my students, and they feel the need to share, so what better way!
I found some great resources for digital storytelling. On that I use myself is “Storybird” and “Pow-toons” I literally digital story-tell for all of my college classes. So, this goes to show that you can make a story out of any learning material.
Here is an excellent example of digital storytelling, I would love for my students to see! (And a little comic relief!)
So, in a recent blog post I wrote, I talked about how much time I spend on social media. Well, I kept track for five days of how much I actually used social media, what devices I plugged into, and how long. Check it out!
March 29th 2016
Physical Space/Device Description: I am in my room, on my laptop, and my phone. I am on my online classes, making a presentation through Google+. At the same time, I am using my Google talk app on my phone to ask questions, it is much faster than typing it into my computer.
Duration: I was doing this for about four hours. It took a long time to finish my homework.
What Occurred: I did use my time productively for the most part. However, while I was using my phone for homework, without really even realizing it, I was getting notification for Facebook, and for Twitter, and I would frequently get on to check to see what they are, and reply/comment to them.
March 30th 2016
Physical Space/Device Description: Sitting on the couch during dinner time, on my phone, on Facebook, just scrolling through my timeline seeing what other people have posted.
Duration: 30 min.
What Occurred: No talking, ate way to fast, and learned unnecessary information to my life.
Physical Space/Device Description: At the bar with a couple of friends. On my phone, checking Facebook once again.
Duration: 20-30 min.
Physical Space/Device Description: On my phone checking social media, have my computer open checking email’s and have my Hulu on catching up on my favorite TV show.
Duration: 1 and a half hours.
March 31st 2016
Physical Space/Device Description: Sitting in my room, working on homework, have my phone next to me (glancing through emails as they are received, along with Twitter and Facebook notifications). I also have the TV on, during all of this.
Duration: 2 hours
April 1st 2016
Physical Space/Device Description: I am working on homework, which involves typing on the computer and Tweeting for class. I am also watching TV at the same time. Then checked my email, then Facebook, and watched TV some more via internet.
Duration: I spent about 5-6 hours total.
April 2nd 2016
Physical Space/Device Description: I am blogging in my room, with my Twitter open.
Duration: about 2 hours.
Oh my Goodness!! After looking this over and recording my times this week, I realized how great I am multitasking! However, I should not be doing this in front of my family. Although most of my family members use some type of media during our dinners, if we were all to stop this, I think we would be more emotionally and spiritually connected to one another. I do not really spend as many hours as I think each day on media devices, maybe it seems so long because it’s after work hours. However, it does consume all of those after work hours, and then I don’t have as much time to spend with others, nor do I have time to do other things that I would much rather be doing.
However, actually most of my online time is working on homework, and that it important (can’t really unplug for that). My hope is that eventually, when I get my degree and no long have to be SO plugged in and involved in social media interactions, I will be able to take a step back from it and spend time on the things that I do want to do after work, and not feel the stress of my phone constantly sending me alerts.
Adding to the long time debate of whether social media is beneficial or not, how long has it been since you’ve been on some type of social site? Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest
, Instagram, or what have you? Well I can honestly say I have been on each, switching them up for about nine hours out of my day so far. My social media day starts right from the moment I get up, checking all of my notification’s and comments or likes on my posts, to see what new boards have been created. I bet you do the same! Then I get online to my Google accounts and do homework for HOURS at a time.
I literally live in an online world. Everyone says it’s addicted, and you know what, they are right! It is addicting, I get bored. I mean, I have to do something during the commercial’s on TV, right?! So, I get on one of these and check things out, scroll through and see what my friends have posted, laugh at the meme’s and then be done. But I do this at least 6-10 time’s throughout my day. My family get’s irritated because I’m not present, my significant other get’s annoyed because I tune out important conversations. When does social media start to become a problem?
I recently watched a Ted Talk on unplugging for a year. What you should and should not let go of, when it comes to all of our technological devices, and what happens when you do unplug. Paul Miller dropped it all, and he became more aware of what was around him, he filled his time that he usually spent on social media, creating thing, using his brain power to benefit others. He was more present emotionally and socially in conversations, and found out who really would reach out to him as friends, when he called instead of instant messaging. He found out what really matters, and found out who he really was as a person.
I can honestly say that this year more than anything, I found out how social media can really mess with your life. One post or share can cause you to loose those people who are really close to you. I have gone through and deleted anyone from my friends’ lists that I feel aren’t close to me. I don’t need to view their unnecessary posts and comments. I only care about those people who do call to check on me, and those who do make an effort. I feel like I was involved in all of these other people’s problems, and it was unnecessary thoughts and stress, like things that I shouldn’t even know.
I have unplugged from media, and started writing, and focusing my time on my school work, reading a book, finding out career information, making a resume, etc. I have made more time for me and for those people in my lives who truly matter. However, I still do check social media far to often, it’s exhausting! Sometimes I think our lives would be so much easier without it.
I also read a blog about what we can do help ourselves cut down on our device usage. There are many of those I could not complete. I would never delete my Facebook completely, because I do have family that live far away that is much easier to stay connected with through Facebook.
However, I do feel that if we cut back, like WAY back, than we might find ourselves using more of our brains for positive improvements in our lives and with our relationships and I think THAT, is the essential point of unplugging. (But it’s so hard!)