Monday July 8
Guest – Alec Couros
Reading – I have pulled the first paragraph from the blog post I made on that day:
This article brings up many questions, and foremost has to do with the constantly changing face of social media. Any studies that reference social media platforms risk that information to be seen as either invalid or unreliable, since the shelf-life of a particular platform is quite short, supplanted relatively quickly by something else. Given that the study was published online in 2015, that is already a lifetime ago in social media terms, since the data would have been collected earlier than 2015 as well. Since this article deals with college students from likely 2013-2014, the use of Twitter may or may not apply to 2019. That in and of itself would be needed to affirm its reliability. Another complicating factor is whether this information can be extrapolated to apply to younger students, such as in high school. In that case, the difference between the relationships forged between a young adult and a college professor and that between an adolescent and a high school or middle school teacher is very wide.
The “Bring Out Your Dead Services” meme was tragically funny.
Guest – I must admit that with all of the people and information that we have been given thus far, I cannot visualize Alec from our linked feed. I did take notes and remember some of the visuals he displayed, like the graphic SAMR page, but even in googling his name and seeing his face, I cannot quite retrieve the memory. Of course I did comment on my own observation about going full circle with my teaching material (a comment about the “photo math” video he showed).
Reflection – As I have mentioned in class, having taught the new English 10 curriculum, and especially the New Media 10, I became acutely aware of the moving target that is current media. In prepping students for readings and assignments, I had my own cut-off of three years for articles about media. Too many articles were about a different media landscape, and thus were not useful. An example was of a great lesson plan by a site called, “schooljournalism.org.” There were some great ideas and lesson plans, but one as an example, was for students to make a Vine. Although Vines have recently been resurrected and there are still archives of them, the platform largely is gone, and certainly does not have the popularity that it once did. It was gimmicky, and like many pop culture fads, came and went. So the course has a shelf-life of about one year, as not only does the content change, but the way it is integrated and received also changes. While I love the topic, I see the prep as extensive and perpetual. One may argue that all courses are like that, and to an extent that is true, however with other areas the knowledge is relatively static; the ways to learn and teach may vary, but the content mostly does not change (at least not in one year).
Tuesday July 9
Guest – Jesse Miller
Readings – FIPPA is a very technical, legal document that cannot be read easily or quickly. It is made for use in legal proceedings when freedom of information is an issue. This is useful, but a cumbersome read for someone who is not a lawyer.
The BC Cloud Computing Guide is laid out in a format for the layperson (advice column style of questions and answers). Information is accessible. This article is written for those public bodies whose information is on a cloud service. One of the general themes of EDCI 568 is about how much information people are willing to not only share, but store, online, and this is covered in the guide.
Privacy Education for Kids is a resource page on the Office of Privacy Commissioner of Canada webpage. There are resource links for teachers and parents on the web page. There is also a link to a reading resource for kids in graphic novel or text format. The graphic novel, while geared towards high school students, is more at a middle school level. The information is relevant, but the style and writing is young.
BC Digital Literacy Framework is a document from the Ministry of Education. It sets out the curricular connections for digital literacy in BC schools K-12. The document is written in a format similar to the old Integrated Resource Packages.
Guest – Jesse was very personable and knowledgeable about online privacy (hmm…an oxymoron?) and the risks involved with having an online presence. While I found his presentation to be informative and valuable, he speaks very quickly, and it was almost impossible to keep up with all that he had to share. Having a powerpoint or pdf to share might have made it easier for reviewing after the fact.
Reflection – In day-to-day personal online interactions we put our private information at risk constantly. There are countless news pieces on what we sign away with the accepting of terms and conditions documents with the check of a box. As is pointed out, most people not only don’t bother to read all of the conditions, but they are written in “legalese” to dissuade those non-lawyers with enough temerity to attempt to read them. When, on top of that, you are a teacher, the issue of privacy, both of your own and that of your students, increases tenfold. In my school emails, it seems to be common practice to only use student initials in the subject line. While the body of the email may contain the student’s name, the subject line is supposed to safeguard their privacy. At the same time, there are email services that not only give the receiver the subject line, but also the first few words of the body of the email, so any mention of a student’s name in the first few words will appear in the preview.
This is an issue that will only become bigger, not smaller, as more and more of what people do is and will be online.
Wednesday July 10
Guests – Christine Younghusband, Ian Landy
Readings – Related to Christine being a guest speaker, Evolution of my PLN is her blog entry. As she describes in her blog post, Christine has found that through Twitter, she has found a number of people with whom she can make connections on a professional level. This group of people from all over are able to share ideas and grow through social media. The ability to make these connections sometimes without ever meeting face-to-face, highlights the “social” part of social media.
David Truss’s Twitter EDU Guide is a humourous, yet informative guide to starting on Twitter. David’s approach, while heavy on the persuasion, is also grounded in the reality that readers of the guide would be skeptical of Twitter. While he doesn’t shy away from promoting its use, he is aware that for many people, there may be misconceptions about the usefulness of Twitter. Maybe this comes from Donald Trump’s perceived overuse and misuse of Twitter.
Guests – Christine and Ian were both patched in remotely, and this reinforced the message they were espousing. Both guests shared a good sense of humour as they gently ribbed each other. Christine talked about the experiences she had because of Twitter, namely her involvement with the core Competencies Ed Camp in in Richmond. At one point, Christine and Dr. Val had us divide into the groups we had established before, and answer three questions and add to a google doc of Twitter hashtags, handles, and blog addresses. My group did not complete our tasks in time, although we did have fruitful discussion.
Reflection – While I am not a Twitter user, I am always looking to learn new things. If Twitter does half of what I’m being told it does, it will be very useful for me, and I should start following the Twitter EDU Guide. At the same time, at the moment, my head is swimming with the number of applications, websites, social media sites, blog-writing information, etc., that I must master quickly, so I can afford to wait to get a Twitter account. I can still read and follow on Twitter, and that will have to do for now. 🙂
Thursday July 11
Reading – Making Reflective Practice Visible: Supporting Shifts in Practice Towards Personalized Learning by Tanya Ross
Reading – This paper is consistent with the direction that education in general is going – that is, towards a more personalized learning approach. In previous class discussions, we talked not only of students’ personalized learning, but of the approaches used to create the personalized learning, such as inquiry, problem, and project-based learning. As Tanya points out, BC’s new curriculum stresses a different approach to teaching and learning. At the same time, there is both autonomy by the teacher, and Learning Outcomes that are used to maintain a minimum standard for that grade level. The combination of new curriculum and a shift in pedagogy is key in this paper.
Reflection – Anecdotally, most of the teachers that I know are not satisfied with their approach to teaching. Not one waits for a Professional Development day to work on improving, but rather is always developing. I call it, “teacher brain,” because an idea can strike at any time, anywhere. The teacher brain never turns off – I might be in the middle of a grocery store and think of a new way to teach something. Recently, I was driving to school in the morning when I came up with a great idea for teaching poetry. As soon as I arrived at school, I wrote it down and started to make a lesson plan. I am never satisfied with my teaching and am constantly looking to be better than the day before. I don’t see that as extraordinary, but very ordinary.
Teaching using a personalized learning approach is not difficult, but it takes a lot of work to redefine one’s lessons. As well, very dedicated teachers spend much of their time both in and out of school on their students’ “success.” As I mentioned earlier about making Shakespeare more “human,” I would say that teachers must allow themselves to be “human,” and occasionally take the easier route of facts recitation and worksheets because, well, they are tired. This should not be met with derision, but with encouragement about getting through the day, or week. The reality about teaching is that some days we are flying high and are ready to tackle anything, and some days we want to just mail it in. Students are the same. Come to think of it, that is also life in general.