Category Archives: Technology in Education

Do Your Part – Social Justice in the Classroom and Online

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This week in class, we discussed social justice in regards to educational technology.  Throughout my four years at university, we have talked about social justices issues over and over and over again.  However, never have we talked about social justice as it relates to educational technology.  I think this needs to change.  With the digital age we live in, technology needs to be addressed as it pertains to these pertinent issues.

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Photo Credit: Playing Asian via Compfight cc

So how can we address social justice in our classrooms?

Positive Digital Citizens: we need to teach students to be positive digital citizens.  As teachers we need to encourage and model to students what it looks like to be a positive digital citizen.  Talk about things in class and get them on the track towards beginning their online identity.  We can teach students by showing them examples of negative digital citizenship, such as cyberbullying, and tweets gone wrong, (#hasshelandedyet).

Raise Awareness: make sure that students understand what it means to be unjust to others online.  For example, the recent situation at Dalhousie University.  There are tons of examples that we can share with students in order for them to understand consequences for actions on social media.  We can also use the story of Rehtaeh Parsons to help students understand.

Have Consequences in Place: schools have huge problems with bullying – especially with the rise of social media in our society.  Students who cyberbully, need to face consequences.  One school, got on board with the RCMP and implemented fines and jail time for bullying.  This is one way we can work to combat bullying and our social justice issue.

I think it all comes down to education; we need to educate our students to positive citizens, especially in the digital world.  We can’t change the attitudes of all internet users out there – but we need to start small and implement the change in our own classrooms.  If everyone educates their students on social justice and how to be positive digital citizens, we can go a long way.

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ELA Resources

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A few technological resources that could assist in the ELA classroom!

Turnitin

Is a writing lab where students can produce multiple drafts of their works and teachers can see this. As well, teachers can use this an evaluation tool for grading assignments.  This eliminates paper.

Livebinder

Is an online binder that allows for the compilation of resources.  Your students can add to this as well as you.  Could save time when looking for websites to research.  You chose who the binder is accessible to.

Grammar Guides

Of course there are all sorts of online grammar guides that can be useful for references for your students or for teaching them a specific skill.  Try a few and pick one or two that work for you – may be different then other people around you

Ex.Owl @ Purdue

Citing Guides

This can be lifesavers for your students.  Again, find a website that you like, and teach your students to use it.  There are many that cite really weird, so let the students know which ones are approved by you.

Ex. Owl @ Purdue

ROVER

Is Recommended Online Video Education Resource that streams videos for teachers and students in the education system.  It is managed and maintained by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.

Collaborize Classroom

Free collaborative education platform for students and teachers.  Allows for student participation, eliminates photocopying, receive detailed reports about student’s participation online.

Edmodo

Is a social learning platform for teachers, students, parents.  It is FB for schools.  Allows for online private discussion but allows the teacher to be completely in control of the discussion.

Google Classrooms

Is a learning management system that aims to simplify creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless way.  It is a feature of google apps.  You school should subscribe to this in order for use?

Concept Board

Allows for online collaboration.  Ability to communicate in real time.  Manage ideas in a safe place.  Can have teams of any size.  Do not have to be in the same place to make work.

Google Maps

Helps students visualize and understand the world around them.  Allows for exploration, creativity, and collaboration with mapping tools.  It is important for students to be taught geographically as well.

WebQuest

Inquiry oriented lesson format in which the information comes from the web.  Teachers can find webquests or have the ability to make their own.

DropBox

Is an online storage so you can access it from wherever you are.  You can use any mobile device that has internet. You can also chose to share with whomever you like.
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Scratching it Out

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Scratch Project

Yup, Coding is certainly not for me.  I spent an hour trying to figure this out and this is what I came up with.  As for using this in the classroom, if students already knew how, I would have no hesitation to them using it!  However, I think I would be ineffective in teaching them how to use it.  I would likely not implement this in my classroom at this point in time.  It is simply something I have never used before and therefore have next to know understanding about.  I am always open to learning something new.

Technology and ELA

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An idea I created/compiled for completing a Digital Novel Study:

Book of Negroes

PREREADING:

1. Use Google Maps to plot locations in the book

– Give students a list of important places in the book and have them use google maps to plot the locations. This will allow students to be able to visualize and have a better understanding of where places are as they are reading the novel. It is more effective to have them do it themselves than you creating a PP and showing them – they will retain more.

2. Create an Author Study

– Do this in the form of a webquest. Students will independently learn about the author. You would have to make the webquest up ahead of time, but they could use the internet to answer your questions and educate themselves about the author.

3. Vocabulary

– Provide students with a list of more challenging words that appear in the novel. Have them use dictionary.com or another online source that will allow them to find the meaning of the word. Extend the learning to figure out what origin it comes from. This will allow students to refer quickly to their list as they are reading so they can decode what the word means.

4. Online Quiz

– Use a quiz as a Preassessment tool to figure out how much your students know about the historical background of the novel. You can use this information to guide other prereading activities – things you need to cover and things they may already know.

5. Research History

– Religion, Abolitionist Movement, From Americas to Africa, African Culture, Slave Factories/Slave Trade, Slavery in Americas, Slavery Rebellions and Escapes, War of Independence, Black Loyalists. You can have students present this historical in any number of ways – PP, speech, role play, essay. It would be best to present to the class that way everyone learns about each historical category.

DURING READING

1. Literature Circles (21st Century)

– The discussion director can use questions posted online by the teacher to guide the group in discussion. This way the students have access to the questions if they spread out around the school.

– Vocabulary Enricher should have access to a dictionary website or app so they can provide the group with information about unknown words.

– Connector can add pictures, video, Popplet mind map (allows for organization of ideas). If this is online, all group members can add to this so it would be a working document.

– Summarizer can use comic strip apps or things like iMovie to summarize chapters. This makes it easy to review as a class to make sure everyone is understanding the chapters.

– Literary Luminary can read aloud on an ebook and can highlight important passages as they are reading that they can come back to later when they are in their groups and use the passages for discussion.

**All of these tasks would be uploaded to a site like Edmodo for the teacher to evaluate – or just to make sure students are on the right track.

 2. Reading Journal Assignment

– Students would be given journal prompts as often as you, as the teacher, decide necessary. You could post the prompts online and students could respond on a blog. They could also be active learners and comment on other students’ blogs in order to extend learning. This is an easy way to keep all assignments in one place.

3. Character Analysis

– A good way to make this relevant and digital is to have students create a FB profile on their selected character. They can include things like physical appearance, personal traits, friends, family, etc.

4. Class Discussion

– You can have students engage in an online discussion where they can remain anonymous, or not. Here they can ask questions and respond to questions in a less intimidating environment. You can use programs such as Class Chatter, Poll Anywhere, Twitter, etc.

5. Skype

– Skype another classroom who is learning the same novel you are. This allows for collaboration and also may give another insight that you may not have considered as a class.You could also skype the author of the novel.

POST READNG

1.Family Genealogy

– Have students trace their own family history. They could write a narrative of an ancestor. They could do this through online websites, emailing family members, or conduct some type of an online interview.

2. Explore Real Historical People

– Email history groups and research stories of real people who went through the same things as the main character in the novel. This could be presented or handed in.

3. Have an Online Class Debate

– Have students prepare and go online in a safe space and formally debate something that may have been controversial in the novel.

4. Dramatic Readings

– Have students prepare a dramatic reading of the novel. They could use PP and include images that may enhance their reading and make it realistic.

5. Webquest
– Have students complete a webquest after reading the novel, perhaps looking through historical websites or other websites that may supplement their reading of the novel.

6. Panel Presentation

– Allow students to research in groups controversies related to the novel and have them present action plans of how they, as a social action group, would work to combat change in the world. Allow time for questions of other classmates and have the learning be extended as much as possible.

Join Ebineezer in his Adventure!

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Five Card Story: A Dog’s World

a Five Card Flickr story created by Taylor


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching

Meet Ebineezer. Ebineezer has a look of yearning in his eyes because he saw that he could not pass through the gates. Ebineezer wanted to go through the gates so that he could get his paws on the delicious looking ice cream sandwiches. Incredibly determined, Ebineezer thought that maybe the taxi van could give him a lift and help him get to the ice cream sandwiches. Sadly, it did not work out for Ebineezer, so he pondered the day away on the sidewalk staring at the incredibly green leaves on trees.


“Sext Up Kids”

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After watching the video, “Sext up Kids,” it is shocking to see how popular culture has changed the lives of young children.  Everything we watch, read, and consume portrays the world that we live in.  I’ll be watching TV at home and after watching a commercial, by the end of it, I will have no idea what they were trying to sell.  The only thing I will have seen is something sexual, and I can say to myself, I guess sex sells.

Its hard to see how young this is happening to children in our society.  Going from Princesses to Barbies to texting naked pictures to crushes.  It is amazing to see how something like media is corrupting our society through the minds of young children.

Girls are so self conscious all of the time.  We need more workshops that will help to combat these negative habits that are acquired at such an early age.  Since technology increases the pressures that are put on kids, we need to teach them how to be safe on the internet.

This all relates to digital identity because everything you ever put on the internet becomes you.  Once you take that naked picture and send it to someone, it is out in cyber space forever.  We need to teach children how to be safe and how to cope in this sexualized culture.  Perhaps this should start before children are able to use technology.  They need to be able to see and understand what they are doing before they chose to do this.  They need to know that whatever they put on the internet, will follow them forever.  I think it all comes down to teaching and parenting – if we can’t change the media, we need to try to shape the children to be proud of who they are and know that they deserve to be respected and need to respect others.

We need to teach girls how to love their bodies and be happy with who they are and boys how to treat women appropriately.  Children need to be children.

Ways to Communicate

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Ways for your Classroom to Communicate

As a future educator, I have begun to think of ways that my classroom will be able to communicate with others.  So far, these are some things I have come up with; while some of them may be ‘old school’, I do not think some of that should become obsolete as it may be effective.  Below I have listed some communication ideas:

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Photo Credit: seosam2011 via Compfight cc

Technology

  • Use parent/teacher emails to keep in touch. These emails can be parents asking simple questions or teachers passing something along. Emails should not include all information, however it is up to the discretion of the teacher what information should be shared in person.
  • Class website/blog to create informal communication between students, parents, and teachers. Teachers should post what is going on in the classroom daily, due dates, and expectations. This is a way for parents to quickly refer to what is going on and can potentially answer questions they have in an easy way.
  • Twitter.  This is a cool way to connect with other classrooms all over the world.  Share what you are doing and work on things together.

Take Home

  • Beginning of the year mail out. This should include what students will be learning throughout the year and classroom expectations. It is a way to quickly introduce who you are as a teacher to your students and their parents.
  • Monthly newsletters can be sent home with the children on the last Friday of every month. These newsletters will include upcoming events in the classroom and what is going on at the current time. This can also include samples of student work that shows student learning.
  • Samples of student improvement can be sent home to the parents of the child to show that outcomes are being met and students are improving in your classroom. This will help both students and parents to be proud of student learning.

In Person

  • Meet the teacher night at the beginning of the year. This is a way to introduce yourself to your students and their parent’s. You can demonstrate student expectation and what you hope to accomplish in the year. You should also initiate to parents what your plan of communication will be for the semester.
  • Parent/Teacher conferences are a way to communicate both positives and negatives with student work, behaviours, etc. Be honest with students and parents in order to warrant any kind of improvement if necessary. This is also a good time for parents to ask questions and raise concerns that they may also have.
  • Curriculum night is an evening at the end of the school year, usually June, where students and parents can find out about the courses offered at the school. You can find out about courses and meet the teachers you will have for the next semester of school. You can also meet other staff on at the school such as principal, librarian, etc.

Community

  • Posting articles in the newspaper. This will inform the community about what is going on in the school. It will detail things that have happened during the month and upcoming events that they should be aware of. It will also invite community members to events if necessary.
  • Community bulletin boards will be utilized as another way to inform the community about upcoming events. Sporting events, performances, etc. This is a way for all members of the community to be informed even if they do not receive or read the newspaper.

I like this video because it comes from a parent’s point of view about communication with the school, so it allows us to see the other side of things.