Archive for March, 2012

Tech Task #10

For Tech Task # 10 we have compared Schoology and Edmodo as both of these are very common and excellent blended learning tools. We have summarized our comparison by answering a variety of questions. Please see below for our analysis!

  1. These tools are designed to set up an online learning community accessible to teachers, students and parents, organizing assignments, quizzes, blog posts, units, grades and updates about what is going on in the classroom (agenda, fieldtrips, news, etc.)
  2. Our favourite features of Edmodo are: similar interface to Facebook, easy to navigate, interactive as students can post as well, newsfeed, students can see who the group members are and connect with one another. Our favourite features for Schoology are similar to Edmodo but also structured and organized, ability to create multiple courses and resource folders. Both have great Help menus and are Google friendly (eg. Google docs)
  3. From what we could see, some features missing are: connecting with other teachers and schools is limited in Edmodo and found it more difficult. Whereas in Schoology you can connect and share with other educators and add your school colours to identify you. Another feature that would be great to have would be more themes (which you don’t get unless you upgrade)
  4. We liked both tools because they are set up similar to Facebook, which makes them user friendly. Widgets on the side bar and menu are visible and easy to navigate through like our wordpress blog sites.
  5. Both learning management systems are great for blending learning for parents and students. Edmodo we feel would be great for elementary years whereas Schoology would be more useful for high school students. Schoology seemed more sophisticated and challenging in comparison to Edmodo- both sites would require parent involvement for grades K-3 due to literacy component. Parents have a window into the classroom but are only an observer at the same time. This is great for the teacher because if the parents have comments or questions the dialogue doesn’t occur on these websites.
  6. Yes, we could see ourselves using these tools as they are organized and lets the teacher be accountable for what is being learned in the classroom. For example at teacher-parent conferences, the teacher could pull up this site and make reference to what assignments, quizzes or blogs have been completed by their child in the class. It is also a great way to document learning, as it is located on the Internet and not on paper in a binder on some shelf. We also feel that the account settings allow these tools to be private and only viewed by teacher, student, and parent upon approval. On the other hand if we want to share with administration or other educators we have the option for them to be members as well. Schoology has more detailed options when it comes to a Profile page which is great for middle years and up– to share with the teacher their interests, learning preferences and what goals they have for a blended learning experience.

 

– By Amanda, Mary Alice and Brittany

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What Makes Great Teachers Great

found this video when I was flipping through YouTube’s Educational Chanel. I thought it was very interesting. The woman in the video states tha teacher’s have the highest level of influence on how well students will do. Teachers supposedly contribute to educational success more than any other factor–including race, socioeconomic status, wealth, poverty and parenting. In contrast, poor teaching is discussed as not only unfortunate but even detrimental to students.The question raised in this video is whether great teaching is innate or learned. Empathy was considered one of the most important characteristics that great teachers should possess. Compassion was also mentioned. Having a “heart for teaching” was highly regarded. One of the experts believed that this “heart” can often be noticed as early as pre-service (University). High expectations for students, accompanied by encouragement and care can largely affect the success of students. The experts in this video seemed to lean towards believing that this greatness in teaching is primarily innate, it starts from one’s heart. Lifelong learning is key, but having a love for children and a heart of gold is equally valued. High test scores were not regarded as being the primary indicator of a great teacher.

I think that the being a great teacher is both innate and comes from within, but it is also a learned art. I think a healthy balance between these two is what makes a great teacher. I am curious to hear what others’ perspectives are on this topic! Please feel free to share.

Social Networking Cautions and the Benefits of Digital Portfolios/Blogging

Today we had the pleasure of skyping with a guest speaker, George Couros.  As one who is involved in recruiting new teachers he discussed some key elements he looks for when hiring new teachers. He suggested talking about the specific things we have done during our teacher experience. George said he searches potential candidates on Google and Facebook to see if any photos or posts are found that are inappropriate. In inappropriate information in discovered, candidates are automatically disregarded. He talked about the fact that many parents will do the same. If you have something posted publicly, whether intentionally or unintentionally–it needs to be professional and honorable. If your display picture is of you in a bar with a drink in your hand, you will not be considered. He also looks at what we have done in the classroom. Portfolio’s are not very important in his opinion, George is more concerned with getting to know who you are and how you connect/interact with others. He suggested that if you have a digital portfolio, and you can leave a link with an interviewer it makes it a lot easier for the recruiters to have access to your teaching and learning information. Including information on your digital portfolio  that shows you are a reflective practitioner is very helpful. A paper portfolio is not as effective as a digital portfolio. He also suggested we write about what we’re learning in other courses–not just this course; and relating prior learning to the content of your blog. Lastly he said that one of the major benefits of this type of blogging is that you are sharing your learning with others. Alec had previously discussed these topics with us but it was interesting to hear these points from a Recruiters’ perspective. Thanks!

Mukluks Update # 5

This video is pretty short, and it doesn’t end very gracefully–my apologies. I mentioned earlier in my blog updates that I have made moccasins in the past so I am familiar with the bead work process–the real challenge will be making the leg part. The moccasins you see in the video are my first pair I ever made–I was about 9 years old when I sewed them (My mom was a big help and very encouraging). They took a really really long time for me but the leather has stretched with me as I’ve grown and I am so glad they still fit me!

Kony 2012

I had no idea what Kony was until yesterday when it seemed all of my Facebook friends had posted something about “Kony 2012” on their status update. I watched the video and then I did some research….

I think it’s awesome that awareness is being raised about this issue and primarily Joseph Kony who is horrible criminal. However, I wonder how effective Invisible Children’s approach is at actually putting Joseph Kony behind bars.Here is an article that I felt brought forward some valid points.

http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/

I am curious as to what others’ perspectives are on this issue and ways that we can affect change…

Mukluks Update # 4

Mukluks Update #3

This is a little overdue but I hope you’re able to follow it!