I cannot believe the semester has come to an end and I am sitting here reflecting on what I have learned. As I look through my notes, emails, twitter and blog I am shocked at all the knowledge I have gained in these few short months. At the beginning of the semester when I learned that a lot of our learnings would be technology based, my stomach did a little flip inside. I am not a technology literate person, it took me over a week to find my documents on my macbook. I was a very to the book kind of girl, and thought that a pen and paper, some hands-on activities, and community circles would do the trick for a successful classroom. I was soon proven wrong, as I saw how technology can be incorporated into each lesson. Technology is key to communication with educators and resources around the world and I wanted apart of that. I realized the importance of modelling 21st century teaching to our students, which meant a lot more technology and opportunities for everyone.
To begin with my professional learning network, I created a blog and a twitter account. This was a big step for me as I never thought I would be able to share my opinions and ask questions over the internet for everyone to see. This was a big stepping stone and I am thrilled that I took it. I definitely grew as a professional, but I want to share something with you where I grew personally. I had written in my autobiography that an aspiration of mine was to travel the world, but the fear of flying was holding me down (literally). I received an email one day saying I had a comment on my page. As I read it, I saw that there was a little inspirational blurb and video from Julie stating that if travelling was a dream of mine, I should definitely go for it. I highly recommend watching this and incorporating it into your class to inspire your students. I wanted to say thank-you to Julie for giving me the push of courage I needed. I have officially booked a trip to take in the fall! I think that sharing ideas for the classroom, sharing teaching strategies and resources is an excellent thing, but sharing information to improve your personal growth is something to celebrate as well.
Twitter was something that was new for me as I never realized how quickly a question or comment could circulate and where your post could end up! My favourite thing about twitter was that if you saw an idea, a quote, or some resources, you could retweet or favourite them so they were there for future reference. There was no need to write it down in a note book or memorize it until it was the only thing you were reciting, all you have to do was go visit your ‘favourites‘ page and all of the tweets would be right there. I found my followers were so quick to respond to any question I had, or comment and favourite those that they wanted to use in the future. It brings a good feeling to a future educator as you know that your words are important to others. Just as I felt that what I said was important and useful, I found other people’s tweets to be to. Sometimes a person wonders about something but figures that everyone knows the answer so doesn’t ask. Kaylene rose a question that I had been wondering for awhile and got the answer we’d been looking for. I could see all the comments and could favourite the tweet so I had it to refer back to. Below is a picture of the conversation:
With school projects varying in the styles in which they are submitted, I had a tough time knowing how to create my digital story. I simply used the 140 characters twitter allows me to ask my fellow future educators. I got responses quite quickly that helped me begin to create my project. Below are some of the responses I received via twitter:
I think twitter is a wonderful resource. It has allowed me to follow and communicate people who can provide me information, assistance, and resources to help me make my career the best it can be. Some of the people I would recommend for my fellow educators or those who just want some insight on some professional opinions I suggest Amy Lawson, Grant Urban, Claire Kreuger, Julie Machnaik, and Katia Hildebrandt. They have provided me with answers and new perspectives that I can take into my teaching for the rest of my years. I am truly honoured to be able to use the adivce of these inspiring people as I find everything they say can be a learning experience for all.
The Inquiry Projects were a big topic this year in our ECS 210 class. The amount of time and effort everyone put into these projects was phenomenal. The amount of resources and information that I took from these gets me excited to apply them to my classroom. A major theme throughout all these projects was the incorporation of Treaty Education. This is a topic that is not being applied into our schools enough, and the upcoming education graduates will change that for the better. There was clear evidence that the outcomes and indicators for Treaty Education was referred to throughout. Before beginning the project, I was very nervous to even think I could Treaty Ed. I thought that I didn’t know enough about the topic and it was not my heritage, so what gave me the right to think I could teach my students this? Well Claire Kreuger changed my perspective on this. She proved to me the importance of teaching Treaty Education, how to incorporate it into my class, and if I did not know, use my resources. It is okay not to know, but it is not okay to avoid the topic because I don’t know.
These Inquiry Projects provided me with another resource that I am beginning to use, Pinterest! It allows you view an abundance of ideas on whatever topic you want and provides you with another set of resources. For my Inquiry Project, my group did Inclusive Education. We developed a Pinterest board with lesson plans, activities, and information about Inclusive Education. We have a number of followers and people are pinning to and from it everyday. I am honoured to have got to work with the group that I did as everyone brought a different perspective to the table and different resources from their own twitter and blogs. It was nice to have my own blog where people commented their posts and ideas. When beginning the Inquiry Project I didn’t know where to begin in regards to the topic of Inclusive Education, I posted the question to my blog and these were the responses I got.
I am still new to the idea of technology and I am working towards becoming more familiar and successful with it. I replied to some tweets, favourites others, read some blog posts, and would occasionally share my thoughts. Looking at some people’s experiences through technology, it encourages me to work harder at it. I used this semester to learn how to navigate through the sites, build on the people I follow, becoming comfortable with sharing my opinions with the world, and finding resources to help my education. I plan to continue to use this technology to build on my learning and become more involved with helping others build on theirs. I found that I read a number of tweets and blog posts and if I had something to share, I would send the person a text or talk with them in class. Reflecting back on it now I am wondering why I did that. If there was one person with a question, chances are there is someone else wondering the same thing. I could have commented so everyone could see my answer to the blog post or tweet and use what they want from it. It could have sparked new conversation, or led to different resources. I now see how when everyone contributes the success is much greater. I cannot wait to dive into the social media and technology more as I can see the benefits it has for us future educators.
Knowledge is power. When our society puts our individual knowledge together the outcome is infinite. From being in ECS 210 and building my Professional Learning Network, I can see how technology is really benefiting education today. I am thrilled that I got my feet wet in using technology this semester and I cannot wait to jump right in for my future years. I am thankful for the people I have met, and those who have guided me along during my journey to become a teacher. I know that my Professional Learning Network is only going to grow and I am excited to see it happen.