For the sake of my class, EC&I 831, I need to stop working on my Final Project. This does not mean however that I will be done with my project, French Immersion Resources for Parents. I have decided that I will continue to add websites when I find them and I will try to keep the blog up to date. I have found this resource to be valuable for myself, as well as for parents and other teachers.
I have blogged about my experiences in the past few months a few times, and if you would like to read up on those posts please feel free. The first time I mentioned the project I was just starting out and I talked about what I thought the project would look like as well as how I would go about reflecting on my learning while working on the project. The second time this project was mentioned was a quick update in regards to what I had done to date and how I felt I was progressing. The final time this project was mentioned in my blog was when I mentioned that I would finally be Tweeting the project and sharing it with anyone who cared to look.
I am also including the Google Docs that I created as a reflection of the process that I went through while working on my Final Project. It is composed of dated entries explaining how I felt about different portions of the assignment and how I felt I had been doing. I hope you enjoy my Final Project and please feel free to pass it along to anyone who you might think can benefit from it.
As this class now draws to an end I have spent lots of time thinking about what I have learned in this class and what I have yet to explore. Each time I think about how great this class has been, I can’t help but think of the Thanksgiving projects that are done every year in school when we list what we are thankful for. Therefore, here is my list for this class. Careful, it is quite long (I never imagined that one class could teach me so much in such a short length of time).
- I am thankful that I got the chance to see that Social Media can have a positive impact in regards to parent communication in the classroom. This past semester, I implemented a classroom blog for my parents and they loved that they could see a little snip-it of their child’s day.
- I am thankful that I got the chance to learn about so many on-line tool. Never would I have had the time to discover all of these tools myself, but now that I know where to go to get a list of tools that I can use, I know that I will be using them in the future.
- I am thankful that I was introduced to the world of blogging. I was skeptical of blogging in the past because I never really saw much of a point to it. Now, having blogged for the last four months (or so), I am loving it. I love that I can share my thoughts with those who want to read about what I have to write about. And if no-one wants to read it that is fine, but at least I have had the chance to share what I was thinking about.
- I am thankful for learning how to use Twitter. It took me a while to start using Twitter but I am starting to get the hang of it. I am still a little sad though that I can’t use it to it’s full potential because I don’t necessarily need to be connecting with other educators right now because of my maternity leave.
- I am thankful for everyone who has become part of my PLN. I love that there are people out there who are willing to support one another and to take part in my learning.
There are many more things that I could list however I think you get the point. I have found this class to be extremely useful, not only for educational purposes but also for personal ones.
For anyone who is interested in how the organizer of Kindergarten Around the World actually uses Twitter in her classroom here is a great new clip that shows exactly how it is done. It is truly amazing to see how engaged these young children are in what they are learning about. Hope you enjoy.
P. S. I am really loving how everything I have learned in class is coming together. I can get awesome ideas from Twitter, blog about them here and link others to these valuable resources also. I am beginning to wonder how I functioned before this class!
Thanks to my wonderful classmates, I have spent a large amount of time today playing around with different tools on-line. I have often seen different posters where there are a number of different words all centered around one theme but I have never known how to create one myself. Thanks to Judy, I have now discovered Wordle and I love what you can do.
While discovering this tool, I have also figured out how to take a snapshot of my screen. This took me quite a while to do, but after lots of playing around I was able to figure it out. It was remarkably easy to do. On my computer I had to use a tool called “Snipping tool”, but once I figured that out, I can now “snip” anything I want. I don’t know for sure if this is how it is supposed to be done, but that was the only way I could get it to work.
Thanks to Katy, I have discovered a tool called Picnik. This tool is amazingly simple to use and so much fun. I think I might just use it to make our family Christmas picture this year a little more interesting. I can’t wait to play around with it. For all of you who were wondering what my daughter might look like, I used this tool on one of her many pics that I have taken.
Thanks to Chelsi’s wonderful work with Xtranormal, I thought that I would give that a try also. It was really easy to use. I could have done more tweaking on my video, but I really was just playing around. The only downside that I could find with this tool is that there are Xtranormal Points needed to publish your video. Once you purchase a character you can use them over and over again, but at a certain point, if you continued to use this tool, you would need to put some money into it. Anyway, here is the video that I did.
EC&I 831 – trial
Well, I think that is all the time I have for today to play. I have enjoyed myself. Let me know what you think of my different attempts with some really cool new tools.
This class has been quite an eye-opener for me. I first enrolled in this class because of the fact that I was pregnant and needed a class that would allow me to not have to go to the university once a week for the entire semester. The idea of technology and social media in a classroom interested me, but I wasn’t sure how much I would actually get out of it because I taught/teach Kindergarten or Grade 1 (yes, that was how I thought a few short weeks ago). I did use technology on a regular basis in my classroom but I never really expected this class to show me how much more I could be doing. Boy, was I wrong!
Now that this class is almost done, I can see the “error of my ways” and I can’t wait to try to implement these new found (for me at least) ideas into my classroom. I had slowly started integrating some of the ideas into my classroom, but I would love to do it on a larger scale. The following is few of the ways that I would love to incorporate what I have learned this semester into my classroom:
- Classroom blog – This was something that I had begun (thanks to this class) but I would like to develop it a little more. I would like to have parent permission to put up student’s working and copies of their work, along with everything that I had already been posting.
- Twitter project – Kindergarten Around the World – Allow the students to connect with other children in a Kindergarten classroom in a different country to compare and contrast our lives.
- Digital Storytelling – After seeing how easy this was with my own children, I would love to do this with my students and then post it for parents to read.
- Incorporate more technology – Hopefully, use the SmartBoards in the school for interactive lessons with the children. My school division was also accepting applications for a “Mobile Device Project”, and if this happens in the future, I would love to submit an application.
Now, when it comes to my own personal use of Social Media, I will definitely be continuing with my blog. I find that by blogging, I have somewhat found a voice. I am able to write about things that interest me in my chosen career and there are people that will read and respond. Therefore, enabling me to hash out different ideas, or develop new projects, or create new themes, etc. Blogging has enabled me to find more like-minded individuals who have helped to encourage and support me in the new things that I have been trying.
I realize that there are still many things that I have to learn in regards to Social Media and the classroom. I would love to give VoiceThread a try. I have heard so much about it through everyone but that is one tool that I still haven’t wrapped my head around. I also haven’t quite figured out how I would use it in the classroom. There are still many of the Digital Storytelling tools that I would like to explore also.
I also would like to continue to explore Twitter. I know there are a lot of great chats that I could follow (and I do follow some really great ones already) but I find that I still don’t share as much as I could. I understand that it is all about learning and jumping in once you feel comfortable but something keeps holding me back. I don’t know if it is because I don’t think what I have to share is important enough or if I am uncertain how people will respond to what I say. I don’t know why I let something like that hold me back, because really if it is something you aren’t interested in, you can simply ignore it. I find that I have been taking some baby steps recently by asking for help with different things so maybe I am taking some of the all important first steps now. We will have to see.
As I sit here thinking about everything that I have learned in EC&I 831, I can’t help but think that I am turning into a lurker. It took me a bit to get into the whole Twitter thing, but I really was starting to get used to using Twitter for educational purposes. I found that by following a couple of hashtags that really applied to what I was doing in the classroom, I was able to discover many new ideas, new activities, new resources, etc. Twitter has helped me to develop a PLN and to discover people who can help me out with small, everyday problems in the classroom because they are experiencing similar situations. My problem is that now that I am on maternity leave for the next year, I don’t feel as if I have much to contribute to the discussion. I know that I can certainly participate with prior knowledge but I don’t know how often I will be on Twitter in order to participate. I find that what I have been doing recently has been watching the Tweets as they pop up on my screen (thanks to TweatDeck) and then every so often I will scroll through the chats that I have been following and look up any of the links that I find interesting. Lately there haven’t been as many that capture and maintain my attention though because I am not living the same reality that I was just a few short weeks ago.
I have to admit that it does seem like it is just Twitter where I seem to be lurking. When I think about my blog I find that I still have many ideas that I would like to blog about. I seem to be a bit behind (in my mind) and I don’t actually blog as often as I would like but I find that I still make the time for that. I don’t know if this is because blogging feels more natural to me and it is easier for me to do or what, but that is the reality that I have noticed. I have noticed also that the feedback and comments that I receive from the blog seem more indepth than those via Twitter. I would think this is because if someone has something to share or comment on, they are able to say it and not have to worry about character limitations.
I continue to read all the posting by everyone else in class also, and have even added some other blogs that I have found on my own that I follow also. I find these blog postings a great way to stay current and to know what is on the mind of other educators.
I must admit that I live in a naive world because I didn’t think that my digital identity would be very much. I don’t consider myself someone who “puts themselves out there” nor did I think that I did much on-line. Now I understand that my digital identity has increased ten-fold since I began this class, but I never imagined that if I Googled my own name so many things would come up. When I googled my name, the first thing that comes up is a write-up that I did for a friend. She was my Hypnobirthing instructor and she had asked my to do a write-up on the birth experience I had after using Hypnobirthing for the first time. I fully expected to find this when I searched my name because I had seen it in the past. However, some of the other things that came up surprised me a little. In my free time I like to run and in the past few years I have participated in numerous running events. Now I knew that when the race was over that I could go on-line and find my official time. I never really thought about this much however and i guess I just figured that the only was you could see this information would be to log onto the race site and click to view the results. I was a little surprised to see that if I google my name, I can find my race time for the Flatlanders Road Race that I ran in October of 2010. I also didn’t realize that when I tweet something that that can also be found under a Google search.
Now there are many things about my digital identity that I did know about. I have a Facebook account, although I am not very active. I occasionally post (although it is rare); I rarely put up pictures; I don’t often post on other peoples status updates. I find Facebook is a good way to keep up with what people are doing but I don’t believe that my life is that interesting that anyone would want to know what I am up to. I know there are pictures of me on Facebook but they are often posted by people that I know. I am not sure how I feel about this however. I don’t like that just anyone can put a picture of me on Facebook without my approval. My children have pictures on Facebook, but my husband does it many so that family members can see them. When my children are referred to on Facebook, usually it is not but name but rather by the first letter of their name or some silly name that my husband has made up for them. Our unborn child has yet to make an appearance on-line (no, we didn’t put up any ultrasound pictures) but the day that it is born, I am certain a picture along with information will be up for all to see. Once again, we would hate to not let everyone know immediately what was going on!
Once again returning to the theme of my digital identity and not that of my children, I guess that I was shocked by what I could find out there that referenced my name. There were a few links that had my name and then a phone number following it. When I clicked on the links however it did not direct me towards a website where I could find this information. I am a little confused as to how information such as that is available when I know that I didn’t consent to it but I have no idea how to see the actual website where I can view this information. I have to say however that my digital identity seems in line with my “real life” identity. There doesn’t appear to be anything embarrassing or incriminating on-line and anything that comes up seems respectful. I try to live a respectful life and it is nice to see that if you searched for me on-line that this is also what you would find.
Was anyone else shocked by what they found out about themselves when they Googled their name? It is definitely interesting what one can find out about themselves by simply looking their name up on-line.