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My Final Reflection of EC&I 832 April 1, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 10:09 am

As EC&I 832 comes to an end I would like to take this time to reflect upon my own personal journey through the ‘sandbox.’  This journey started with the question: How can educational technology support students’ learning? I felt that my compass points directed me to the LoTi level 2 –exploration phase.  My goal this semester was to move towards level 3 (infusion) where digital tools and resources would emphasize higher levels of thinking. 

When I first started this class I felt I new a variety of educational tools that could support my teaching and learning through basic skills such as math facts, spelling etc.  However with a new curriculum being implemented and the latest research on cognitive growth I was determined to reconsider my teaching approaches and the ways technology was used to support students learning.  As my new understanding of learning has evolved from our class readings, reading and responding to blogs and playing in the sandbox, I feel my understanding of how technology can support learning, has broaden. 

You can’t imagine what is possible until you try! This is how I felt during my second life experience.  Even though I was frustrated at times during the process, however the wealth of information and resources available on second life was astonishing.  I also enjoyed playing in the sandbox.  To actually sit down and take time to sift through the many Web 2.0 tools readily available, and focus on how to use each one effectively in the classroom was a great experience.  I have been able to network with many new educators through this process and have found some incredible blogs that share some tools to use in the classroom. The most influential on my horizon of understanding would be my reading and responding to blogs.  This process really inspired me to share my thoughts and learn from great educators how to use Web 2.0 tools as an integral part of a child’s learning experience. 

Lastly, I really enjoyed this class experience as a whole. Throughout the process, we were very much active learners and evaluating ourselves throughout the entire process.  Marnie was a great facilitator in allowing us to explore on our own and meeting our needs by providing different avenues to travel down.  A true constructivism model! Thank-you to everyone in the class, your experience and knowledge of technology has definitely broaden my horizons! I wish everyone well on their life-long learning journey!

Flickr CC: katmere


Online PD March 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 7:56 pm

I attended  the Classroom 2.0 Live: Engaging Students with Interactive Technology with special guest: Adora Svitak. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience as it was interactive, I had a chance to network with teachers globally and learned many new and interesting Web 2.0 tools that are available.

Elluminate was used to broadcast the session. At the beginning a poll of questions was taken in which all participants answered.  This was a unique way as we had a chance to see what other people were at in the use of web 2.0 tools.  I found the conversation in the chat room very useful as it answered questions along the way and it provided the web links to the tools they were explaining.  I did find it hard to keep track in the chat room as well as listen to the presentation all at the same time.  I guess I meed to work on my multi-tasking skills.  Couls or should this be a skill we need to teach our students? 

 Adora Svitak is an adorable, humorous and passionate teacher who is only 12 years old. I was absolutely astounded when they showed the youtube opening about Adora.  After listening to her speak you would have never known she was only 12 years old.  She has been a teacher for the last 6 years and loves to teach writer’s workshop.  She presents many video conferences to students all over the world.  If you have not met her, makes sure you check out her website and video.    During the presentation she shared advice for many different topics in regards to interactive technology.  She would love for teachers to continue teaching “best practices” in the classroom as students of the 21st century like the control over their learning experiences. 

I enjoyed the set up of the presentation.  She went through a list of challenges schools are trying to meet and technology tools that will help with those challenges. Adora also provided examples how to integrate them in the classroom as well.

  1. Visual Thinkers:

–          Imagine a room that texts have sound and video

*Tools to use: Glogster and Prezi

–          Big blocks of text can be intimidating and not very understandable for many students

  1. Responsive students not wanting to ask questions:
  • Tools to use: Fruit machine ( random name picker)
    • Classtools.net
  • SMARTboard: students love to learn in an interactive world; using the SMARTboard students get involved with learning
  1. Beyond the Walls of the Classroom:
  • Tools to use: video conference (CILC.org
    • To provide visual learning and connections with experts around the world.

I have had wonderful experiences with video conferences. The first one I did was from the Royal Tyrell Museum.  A Palaeontologist showed us parts of the museum and explained about the different dinosaurs. The students got to ask any questions they would like.

 My second experience was an author study. My students met up with Laurie Keller the author of “Do Unto Otters as Otters Would Do to You.” Another great experience where students go to ask questions and discuss how to get ideas for writing.

  1. Thinking in Letters
    1. Students may not be motivated to read with intent or write well
  • Tools to use: Blog
    • To showcase what they have learned, and learning to build an online presence
  1. Groups are having difficulty working together
  • Tools to use: Wikis
  • Lee Lefever provides many examples on how to understand wikis.


  1. Projects Getting Lost
  1. Connecting with Students
    1. How to get all to interact with one another

                                                              i.      Tools to use: Twitter & Edmoto (send out short announcements, and links)

  1. Testing Students
    1. Tools to use: Quizzes: Quia, Proprofs, Quizlets

There were many other tools that were described but I felt these to be noteworthy. I thought this went very well with our class EC&I 832 as we are learning to use different tools in the classroom as we dig through our sandbox.  I wish I had watched this presentation during block 5 as this would have been very useful. 

I found this presentation extremely helpful and some tools could be implemented right away. The next day I was having a Spelling test, so I quickly put all the students’ names in the random name picker (fruit machine) and that was how the partners were chosen.  

I would definitely show this presentation for teachers who want to step foot and are beginning to use the tools in the classroom.  This gives them many different tools to try and shows them how each tools works.  Of course having a 12 year old teacher sharing this information with teachers is inspiring all on its own. I am still in awe over the presentation. I never realized the potential of online learning until I heard this presentation.  I got more out of this presentation than I did spending a whole day at a PD conference.  I also like the fact that if I missed something I could always go back and listen when it was finished as it was recorded.  Classroom 2.0 Live seems to be putting on presentations on a weekly basis and I am looking forward to participate in more of the presentations.  In the end I like Adora commented that we need to “keep learning and teaching yourself and be open to having your students teaching you.  Which makes you realize that community is the best Web 2.0 tool of all.”


What Web 2.0 Tools Can Do For Us March 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 8:19 pm

The FischBowl article, “Sometimes This Stuff Amazes Me,” resonated with me because I am still amazed at the abundance of tools that are at our disposal.  When I needed to collect data for projects, it was paper surveys, handed out and tabulated by hand. Not only did you have to wait many days for the surveys to be answered, you didn’t have the numbers that you could possibly have nowadays.  Just like the example in the article, his daughter needed to collect data for a math project. He tweeted out to his community and on his blog for help and instantly got responses.  This world is different now days, which was a strong message in his article. I think we need to use these tools to their full advantage and utilize them in meaningful ways.  I also believe as educators we need to be in the know (what tools are available) and kept up to date with the tools and how it can be used effectively in the classroom.  I agree with Karl’s statement, “What can we do now (that is relevant and meaningful for students) that we couldn’t do before?” needs to be in the forefront of our teaching.  EC&I 832 was and is a class that has definitely helped me see the  potential technology has on learning in the classroom.  The final project is a showcase of how technology can be used in many different settings.  My Inuit project could have been the same as it was always done before; however after having a chance to play in the sandbox, I know my Inuit project is more than just a project, it is a project that has been redesigned with the help the web 2.0 tools.  My students have become more engaged and are excited to showcase their learning in a new way.  And as Karl put it, “Sometimes this (technology) stuff amazes me!”



Education and Copyrights March 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 7:36 pm

Legal Quicksand of the Internet

        I chose this adventure to familiarize myself with the different forms of copyright.  Even though I have heard of some of the forms (creative commons) I never realized the extent of copyright on the internet.  I now feel guilty all of those years I have been posting pictures from Google images and had no idea about the copyright on them.  Well I spent the last couple of days viewing and learning about the different forms of copyright.  David Warlick made the point on his site, “One of the most important lessons that we can teach our students about Net-based information is the concept that information is property.”  http://landmark-project.com/permission1.php

After sifting through the information on copyrights and terms associated with it (creative commons, mashup, copyleft) I feel I have gained a better understanding of each of the concepts. One concept that I had never heard of was mashup. Mashup is a term to “describe a web application that combines data or technology from several different sources.” http://www.britannica.com/bps/additionalcontent/18/31613324/Make-your-own-mashup-maps.  Mashups have been popular in the music industry.  I guess it has helped some music artists with their career, improving record sales, expanding the group’s listener’s base and of course media attention.  From my understanding Mashups is some form of expression-without the permission of the copyright owner.  Along with mashups come questions about privacy and the ethics of sharing or borrowing information from online sources.  However, according to Judy O’Connell’s blog it stated, “For teaching purposes Screenlights licence lets you record short extracts from television and radio, and create a compilation. Students can also make a fair dealing with a work for the purpose of study, or criticism or review.” http://community.enhancetv.com.au/forum/topics/is-doing-the-mashup-a In the end, it is important for teachers and students to be aware of these different types of copyright laws and to understand its implications for such activities as Internet research, downloading programs and documents, creating websites and so forth.  Now that I am more aware of the Fair Use, and  copyright guidelines, I can provide students with better support.

Alec Couros has some videos on media literacy and technology posted on his blog called Open Thinking.


Education 2020 March 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 4:19 pm

I just read a past article on Teacher Paperless about 21 things that will become obsolete in Education by 2020.  If you haven’t checked out, it is a very quick and interesting read.  I can definitely see maybe desks, paperbacks (I love my new amazon kindle I just bought!!!!), and homework on their way out, however there are many that I question.  One I question is parent/teacher conferences.  As much as I dread that night, parent/teacher conferences is a time to connect with parents.  It becomes a very different feeling from when you talk on the phone or email with a parent versus meeting them face to face.  Moving towards a virtual reality scenario, teacher paperless believes we will “become closer than ever as a result of virtual communication opportunities,” I think we will definitely be communicating more using different tools, but in the end which one is “better” meeting over Skype for instance or meeting face to face?  Or in end is it the same?  Do you get the same point across using either method?  Is meeting face-to face more sincere than using a virtual communication tool?

It will be very interesting to see what comes true out of this list and what will remain come 2020.  What will education look like in 2020, which in reality is just around the corner!


Pathway Part B February 28, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 3:56 pm


While working on Pathway B of Week five of my course, I watched the presentation by Michael Wesch: “The Digital Writing on the Wall.”  I found this presentation very powerful and it made me realize how deeply my own life is embedded in media and technology. He portrayed a very engaging discussion of our digital footprints and the expansion of the classroom beyond its four walls. 

           Wesch mentioned that “media are not just tools, that they actually mediate and change our relationships.” I believe this message is about people realizing that media is important to our lives.  The use of number driven statistics changed the way a small Indonesian community lived, built and organized their houses, and even mediated the names they used for a census.  The “number talk” driven census created the necessity for people to essentially make up names as we know them.  The introduction of a new tool then actually changed (or could have) the weight of a persons name, from being relational to individual.  This is a great example of how media are not just tools, but can change the state of our living. 

Media also has an effect on our lifestyle.  Not just commercials, music videos, video games etc., but with communication tools like Facebook, instant messaging and texting.  The fact that you can “talk” to someone without making any sort of verbal or visual contact with them has huge implications on relationships.  Boundaries between people change.  Even the word “friend” does not necessarily have the same meaning that it did twenty years ago. 

I believe as educators we need to help students to realize that all knowledge is constructed and that they must be active constructors of knowledge in order to understand it.   I think using a variety of technologies in classrooms is a valuable way to connect students to and involve them in the construction of knowledge and relationships.  I think it is imperative for students to learn how to evaluate the information they find on the internet and in various forms of media.  We need students to start to think critically about how they will respond. 

            As Wesch states, “We don’t have to tear the walls down. We just have to stop pretending that the walls separate us from the world and begin working with students in the pursuit of answers to real and relevant questions.” However, the greater challenge remains, because knowing what needs to be done is not the same as doing it.

A link to the video: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/3929554


Week Five Wrap Up: New Technologies

Filed under: Uncategorized — leahdewhurst @ 12:29 pm

             Over the past three weeks I have been trying many web 2.0 tools. I chose pathway B, as I have been familiar with Web 2.0 tools, however I love finding new tools that will enhance students learning.  As I started this process, I viewed the presentation by Dr. Michael Wesch: The Digital Writing on the Walls.  As I viewed this presentation I took in account “what it means to learn in a digital age.”  I wanted to find tools that provided my students another way to express their thoughts and tools that would encourage new experiences for my students. Here are some of the tools I worked with: 

       This week my students wrote a story about a sport they invented.  Intended to use the program Shidonni, for them to create a mascot and portray their mascot completing the sport they invented.  Shidonni is a drawing program, in which your drawing comes alive.  For example, if you create an animal, you can feed it, take for a bath, put it to bed etc. You end up creating a world for your animal.  I personally found it hard to draw in that program; however, I thought I would give it a try with my students.  I tried out about five computers in the lab to see if it would work, all was well, so I assumed all the rest of the computers would be the same.  I brought all my students in, and found only half the computer were compatible with the program.  You do need to download Microsoft Silver Light.  So half the students created their works in Kidpix and the other half created their work in Shidonni.  Overall, Shidonni did not lead up to its capability and I would not recommend this to use in the classroom. The students also had some issues drawing their mascot and didn’t like how it turned out.  Very disappointing!  To continue this project, we are going to use the trusty voicethread to showcase their Olympic Sports.

A student example using Shidonni. This is Liphin (part lion, part dolphin), she loves Swim Cross.  Where animals of the ocean compete through an obstacle course. 

I have been posting about my experiences using Google Earth.  This tool took countless hours in trying to put together a tour.  In the end, I am happy with what I created, but I think I only got to the tip of the iceberg in what you can actually do with this program.  I can see many more hours being spent in learning the different tools and activities that can be done with Google Earth.  As I was searching for different tour options, and how to create tours, I eventually found a teacher and skyped with her for help.  Another great learning experience.

 I have also been looking at slideshare as a possibility to show my students Heritage Fair projects.  I think I see some great value to this site. I will see once the time comes, how this tool enhanced my student’s experiences with their project. 

Lastly, I came across piclits.  I have actually incorporated this site in my morning routine.  It is a picture that students need to come up with a sentence using only the words that are provided. The object it to put the right words in the right place and the right order to capture the essence, story, and meaning of the picture.  Since I work with primary students, I had to do some tweaking with this site. I chose some of the pictures and words from the site and made a powerpoint presentation.  I post the picture and the students write a sentence. One student gets to use the smartboard to write their sentence. Some piclit pictures I use right from the site.  At first the sentences were very basic, but now that they got the hang of the process, I have noticed that they are interested in using “big words” in their sentences. Some have even asked if they could look in a dictionary to find out what some words mean in order to make their sentence make sense.  This has definitely increased their vocabulary and their sentences have grown from very basic to more detailed.  I love seeing the different sentences that the students have come up with for that one picture.  Everyone has such a different viewpoint of what they see in the picture.  Here are is an example of one piclit my students have done.

 The pandas are sucking milk fro a bottle.

We are so hungry.

 The adorable pandas suck from a bottle.

 The furry pandas are hungry for milk.

 I have definitely enjoyed my experiences playing in the sand.  One frustrating event that occurred while exploring, was most programs required some kind of download (ex. Flash) or you needed the updated version of a program.  Since our school computers are locked, this made it impossible for me to share some of the tools I found on the web.

I have discovered many new tools that can be used in the classroom.  Like Kim Brown mentioned in her blog, you really need to stop and ask your self these questions while you are experimenting and exploring the many different tools. 

5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities

1. What is the curriculum related purpose of the activity? The outcome or assessment should be aligned to your lesson objectives and standards.

2. Does the Internet enhance the activity? If the answer is no, find a more appropriate place to integrate the web.

3. How will students use the online resources? Once students locate information, they should be asked to apply, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, or create. The activity should require them to move to higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

4. Do students have necessary information analysis/information synthesis skills or am I including these in instruction? The project should not become simply an exercise in locating information. Students must have the necessary background knowledge and pre-requisite skills to complete higher level tasks or these must be included in instruction prior to the web-based learning activity.

5. Do I have the necessary time and support for the activity? Double your original time estimate and always have access to technical support to resolve problems efficiently.”

“Lists are based on those outlined in Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching by M. D. Roblyer.” source: http://unhub.com/rXKd