MOOC. Before taking the Integration of Technology course offered by OECTA this summer, I would have thought MOOC was just the sound a cow might make! I had never heard of MOOCs before and am extremely grateful for the eye opening experience. MOOC, or massive open online course, is exactly that. A course offered to anyone who is willing to sign up. Many MOOCs are free and are taught by some of the top minds in their fields from universities across the world. There is so much to learn and really puts the learner in the driver's seat. It is knowledge of all kinds at your fingertips at times that work for you.
My first MOOC I participated in was called, Get Organized: How to be a Together Teacher. Every year I start my year with an agenda in hand and the vow that this year will be the year that I will finally get organized. This year will be the year that I know all my deadlines, due dates and meetings ahead of time. This year nothing will creep up on me. Then the year comes roaring in and my organization leaves something to be desired. In this course, teachers were guided through building our own Weekly Worksheet to help teachers plan their day to day lives. We were then guided through how to make a Comprehensive Calendar so due dates were never missed. And finally, time was spent on keeping an organized to do list.
I would highly recommend this course to any teacher who feels that they need to bump up their togetherness skills. Although there are due dates on this course it was easy to follow and quite manageable. Timelines were given before each assignment making it easy to know when to fit it in in your schedule. In a busy school year with so much going on, MOOCs would be a great way to increase your PD without having to spend too much time outside of work hours or having to be away from your classroom. The options for learning are endless. I can’t wait to dig deeper into more MOOCs.
Click here for a list of MOOCs that might interest you!
The SAMR Model. A way to guide our thinking and learning when it comes to technology. No stage is mutually exclusive and no one stage should be the solve focus of any teacher’s lessons, assignments, or tasks. When we ask ourselves, what do I hope my students take away from this assignment we can use SAMR to help us meet these goals.
The pool analogy. Augmentation and substitution as the shallow end and modification and redefinition as the deep end. We would never throw our students into the deep end without arming them with the tools they need to swim. The rich learning that happens in the stages of modification and redefinition can only happen when students have the skills they need to be successful. There is nothing wrong with swimming in the shallow end from time to time. After all, it is only when we enhance our skills that we become stronger thinkers, learners and collaborators. Gaining some concrete skills in augmentation and substitution might make projects richer in our higher level thinking tasks in modification and redefinition.
Numeracy has been a focus in many of our school boards for a while now. One thing that we all try and do is find problems that can get our students engaged and that focus on 21st century thinking and learning. Often when you talk about this with other educators the issues that come up over and over again are where do we find these problems, how much time it will take to create the problems and how do we make sure that we are keeping our students engaged.
It's no longer easiest, efficient or most engaging, to open up a textbook assign students questions 1 to 10 and away they go. Not saying that the textbooks don't have valuable information and that they need to be all thrown out, but really what we want to do is have a mix of different resources that meet the needs of our students. With IEPs, differentiated instruction and celebrating the individual students that are in front of us, having a lot of resources at our fingertips is incredibly valuable.
To help me with this gargantuan task, there are a couple of websites that I feel are my go to's.
An idea of how to save yourself a little time by scheduling posts in Google Classroom.
There are so many questions that I have as a teacher. Sometimes I wake up at night wishing I had the answers to everything, but sadly (sigh) I do not. If I did, sleeping would be a lot easier! Last year I spend a lot of time questioning why so many of our classrooms look the way that they do?
Classrooms should be a place where learning can happen no matter where you are. Students do not have to sit in the same spot all day and they can move about the classroom based on what they need. Sitting at a clump of desks means that our students don’t necessarily have opportunities to collaborate and communicate with different people unless there is a seating change.
I posted my thoughts on our class blog site and asked the students to blog about ways that we might create a classroom with the best possible learning environment. Armed with my student’s ideas and hours of research, I did it. I took the plunge and said goodbye to desks. Furniture was difficult to come by so I pieced together what I could find. We had round tables, rectangular tables and desks flipped to create new configurations. We had cubbies at the back that held notebooks, duotangs and textbooks for each subject. At the front of the class we had drawers assigned, one per student that could hold pencil cases and anything that students would have left in their desks. When everything was all set up, I was excited and couldn’t wait to get started.
I feel that going back to a traditional classroom is not what is best for my students, but I have not yet figured out how to make the best possible learning environment. Have you experimented with no desks? What does your classroom look like and how do you foster collaborative communication in your class?
For a good three years now I have sat down in front of a blank screen. I have ideas, thoughts, wisdom and most of all I have questions. I have lots and lots of questions. The idea of starting a blog has intrigued me for a while now, but the blank screen has been so daunting.
What should I write about? What do I want to say? Will anyone care about what I want to say? Am I prepared to hear everything that people say including the good, the bad and the ugly? Am I ready for this virtual presence? With these questions repeating in my head over and over, I let fear sink in and my blank screen has remained blank.
Until now. I am currently enrolled in OECTA’s AQ, Integration of Information and Computer Technology in Instruction. Our assignment, create a blog and start blogging.
So, here it is. My first blog entry…
Why do I think it is important to blog?
In a world that is ever changing, it is impossible to keep up with everything or to expect to know everything. As educators, it is our job to get our students prepared for their future. This is a future that we do not even know exactly what it will look like. We are preparing our students for jobs that may not even exist today. How do we make sure that we are meeting the needs of our students and how do we stay current?
Taking responsibility for our own learning is the only way that educators can expect to know, be and do what our students need of us. Constant reflection of educational endeavours and networking with other educators is an integral part of everyday practice. This is my goal for this blog. Here is where I hope to share my learning, my growth, my setbacks and anything that will help enhance my ability to reach each and everyone of my students.