Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

What’s Poppin?

I was a bit turned off a this point as I believe good platforms will have plenty of information and examples for you to view prior to having to sign up. I did some quick googling to try and find more information. It appears that the platform is free for the website version, but the app store lists it as 3.99 for the app named Popplet, or free for something called Popplet Lite ( I am not sure the difference between the two…). I ended up having to go to Youtube to find more information on the site. Before signing up I wanted to see what it could actually do and their website did not offer that. I did find this video which seemed to be the best explanation of how to use the platform:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxLDsWHsQ1g

It seemed like something that would work well to use with all ages of students. I teach middle years and thought it might be a good fit so I made an account. All they asked for when I signed up was my name, email, and a password. I quickly created a Popplet based on a few things from our current novel study:

Screenshot of my popplet

I found that when saving I could only save from my computer as a PDF, it would not let me save as a JPEG. I am guessing that is a function only for use on the ipad. Having to take a screenshot makes it difficult to read all of the text.

Positives

  • Easy to naviagate
  • App and computer version which could allow for usage in many types of classrooms & at different grade levels
  • Free (at least the computer version and the Apple Lite version)
  • Public popplets that could be used
  • Allow students to be creative when using the platform
  • Could be used for synchronous or asynchronous learning

Negatives

  • One app version requires payment
  • Website provides little to no help/information
  • All students need their own accounts- seems to be the option to sign in with Google Drive or sign up with email/password like teachers would do
  • Very basic, only useful for creating graphic organizers
  • Not the best tool to use if you are wanting to collaborate as a class at the same time
  • Can only save as a PDF or share to social media sites from the computer, no JPEG.

Final Thoughts

This seems like a basic platform that is easy to use and is good for the one thing it is designed to do. It appears to be a good choice if you are looking for something simple that younger students could navigate easily. I am still not sure whether this is a tool I want to use in my classroom. I don’t know if I want to have my students create accounts of their own. Since it allows a sign in with Google I am guessing it would be okay, but I would need to look more into our division policies and the websites’ privacy information before commiting to letting my students make accounts.

Cloudy With a Course Profile

This course will follow the Saskatchewan Curriculum guidelines for the Earth and Space Science: Weather – focusing on outcomes WE5.1 , WE5.2 , and WE5.3.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Target Audience & Timeline

This course is intended for students in grade 5 at a Saskatchewan school. Students may also be in a 4/5 or 5/6 combined classroom. This course will take 8-10 weeks to complete.

Teachers are encourage to use adaptations when necessary to make content availible to all students. Students with ROA’s and who are following an Adjusted Grading or who are EAL may require extra support.

Course Format

This course will follow a blended learning format. Students will be able to access this course synchronously while at school, or asynchronously from home. Any direct instruction from the face to face time will be offered to asynchronous students via teacher prepared video lessons or Youtube lessons.

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Course LMS

Throughout this course, Google Classroom will be utilized (primarily for the asynchronous learners) along with a variety of online tools to deliver content and provide a variety of learning opportunities. Some online tools that may be used include: Youtube, Quizizz, Mentimeter, Kahoot, Padlet etc.

Course Communications

Teachers are encourage to chose the tools they see fit for communicating with students. Some benficial tools may include:

Edsby – this LMS can be useful for reminding parents and students of deadlines as well as communicating grades for assignments.

Google Calendar – This can be a useful tool for the students who are completing the course asynchronously as the due dates for assignments will sync with Google Classroom. Synchronous students can also check here, but will be provided with reminders to write in their agenda when face to face.

Google Meets- Can be used to include the asynchronous students into discussions happening with face to face students, or allow the asynchronous to connect to the teacher/other asynchronous students when discussions or help is needed.

Assessment Tools

Students will be able to view all assignment due dates on the agenda board in the classroom or on the Google Calendar/Google Classroom. Students who are absent for extended periods due to trips, illness etc., can complete the missed work asynchronously.

Students who are completing the work asynchronously will use the turn in feature on Google Classroom to share their assignments with the teacher. Face to face learners may also use Google Classroom while at school for certain assignments, and can turn their work in there as well. Synchronous students can also hand their work in directly to the teacher.

Learning Objectives

The following outcomes as listed in the Saskatchewan Curriculum will guide the planning and instruction of this couse:

WE5.1 – Measure and represent local weather, including temperature, wind speed and direction, amount of sunlight, precipitation, relative humidity, and cloud cover. 
WE5.2 – Investigate local, national, and global weather conditions, including the role of air movement and solar energy transfer.
WE5.3 -Analyze the impact of weather on society and the environment, including technologies that help humans address weather conditions.

Course Guiding Questions

  • How do we collect data on weather?
  • How do the types of clouds differ and what does the type of cloud indicate in regards to predicting the weather?
  • What is the function of simple weather instruments?
  • What is the water cycle?
  • What is the difference between weather and climate?
  • What different climates exist?
  • How can we show data collected regarding temperature and rainfall?
  • How does the climate/weather effect the choices we make in our daily lives?
  • What are examples of severe weather events and how have they impacted our world?

Course Assessment

Course assessment will be both formative and summative. Assessments will be provided virtually for students who are completing the course asynchronously. Students who are completing the course face to face will use a combination of pencil/paper assessments and online assessments. Some assesments will be individual and some will be completed in partners or groups (for the synchronous learners). Assessments will follow Regina Public Schools’ assessment scale.

Acheivement Scale provided by Regina Public Schools

Course Concerns

Internet and technology access will be availible for students who are learning synchronously. Students who sign up to complete the course asynchronously as opposed to face to face should make sure that they have proper access to technology and a stable internet connection.

Adaptations- adaptations will need to be put in place according to the specifc needs of the students in the course. Some examples of adapations could include: scribe for students who struggle with writing, Google Read and Write for students who need help writing or to listen to a text, Google Translate for EAL learners, lists of key words translated for EAL learners.

It is assumed that all students have had instruction on using the LMS Google Classroom prior to the start of this unit.

Rationale

This course is designed with the idea in mind that face to face learning is not always the best choice for every student. We must recognize that education is constantly evolving and that we need to evolve our practices as well to meet the needs of all students. We can help students to feel safe and develop good digital literacy skills by offering blended learning courses.

Blended Learning & Me

When I first heard the term blended learning, this is what immediately popped into my mind:

I had thought that my experiences with blended learning pretty much came down to the pandemic teaching experiences where we were in class and then online constantly due to fluctating case numbers and random classroom shutdowns. However, in class last week Katia showed us this diagram that is super helpful in defining blended learning. And, as it turns out, blended learning is much more than what I had originally thought! I had not realized that face to face learning while using technology classroom aids was considered blended learning. So, with this new definition in mind let’s start!

Now that I better understand what blended learning is, I have realized that there are many ways that I use blended learning in my classroom. Some examples of my usage are:

  • Using gamified learning to help engage students and vary how we are learning and reviewing topics – some examples include Kahoot, Blooket, and Quizizz
  • Using technology to make learning accessible for my students – using Google Read and Write as well as my in classroom microphone/PA system
  • Using technology to adapt to students’ needs – using a variety of tools and online ressources to help my students find information at their level
  • Stations/Rotations – using a modified daily 5 format which includes 1-1 time, independent work, and tech time
  • Building connections – using platforms like Zoom to communicate with community members and learn from others, we Zoom with our school’s Elder a few times every semester.

Benefits

As you can see from the ways I used blended learning, it can be a very useful format for face to face classes! Aside from the ways I utilize blended learning in my room, there are also benefits to using other models of blended learning that incorporate even more technology usage outside of the classroom. Some benefits of using any form of blended learning include:

  • Provides a safer learning environment for students who are needing to spend more time working at home due to medical or social issues
  • Increases student engagement
  • Can help to imrpove student understanding and comprehension due to a variety of instruction forms being utilized
  • Provides students more autonomy
  • Make better use of instruction time that is face to face
  • Facilitate the gathering of data so that teachers can spend less time correcting and more time doing the things that matter – like building relationships

Challenges

Although blended learning can be quite usefull in the classroom there are still some challenges that could occur. For example:

  • Motivation – students may feel less motivated if the format requires them to complete lots of work independently at home. This could also impact student participation and attendance.
  • Technology knowledge – it is possible that students (and teachers) will stuggle with using the technology, platform, or websites properly and efficiently
  • Technology trouble – let’s be real, there is ALWAYS some issue with technology not working properly at one time or another
  • Digital divide- not all students have access to technology tools and internet outside of the school. It can also be expensive to provide the technology needed at school.
  • Training – teachers need to know how to properly create and implement the blended learning program that they are utilizing. This could be more difficult depending on the teacher’s experiences, comfort levels with tech, and how much of the course is being completed online.

How about yourself? Do you see yourself as a blended learning whiz, or a newbie? What benefits and challenges have you had while using blended learning?

Bonjour! Hello!

Hi everyone. My name is Brittney Clyde. I was born and raised here in Regina. I completed my educational program at the university of Regina and finished with my undergatuate degrees in French Immersion Education and French (arts). I am currently working on my masters in Curriculum and Instruction. This is my 8/9th class and I am excited to be done following the spring semester. I am currently teaching grade 4/5 at Elsie Mironuck school. I usually teach in the French Immersion stream, however this year I was switched to an English 4/5 due to high English numbers in our school. I LOVE 4/5 so much so it is still a pretty good year, although I do miss my French!

Outside of school and work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and our cute corgi Loki. We spend a lot of our free time travelling (I have visited 32 countries and 15 have been with him!) , watching tv, eating out, and playing board games.

As for online/blended learning, my experiences come down to the online teaching world of Covid 2020. I had never taught online prior to then. I feel that the online teaching experience that came with Covid is not necessarily what online learning should be like/typically is? I am excited to learn more about this topic during our classes this semester.

Summary of Learning!

Woohoo! The end of a semester always feels so good, espcially when Christmas is right around the corner.

This is the last EdTech class that was availible for me to take so I am very sad to likely be going back to writing boring papers instead of blogging and doing fun projects like this.

VR in the Classroom: Reality or Fantasy?

  • Increase memory power and knowledge retention 
  • Boost excitement and engagement in the classroom 
  • Improve learning outcomes 
  • Focus student attention on the lesson 
  • Open up new opportunities and create accessibility for every student 
  • Improve understanding of complex, conceptual subjects  
  • Build emotional intelligence, awareness and understanding 
  • Improve communication and collaboration skills  
  • Reports of abuse in online VR enviorments, this includes sexual harassement which has had many reports recently, but here is just one to reference.
  • “Perceived threats in virtual spaces – like somebody invading physical space, intimidating a user, or even assaulting an avatar – may be interpreted by our brains as actual threats.” (p.12)
  • “The area of immersive technology that has the highest potential for human rights abuses may be biometric data.” (p.13). This includes companies tracking eye movement, using facial recognition software, and behavioral analysis that immersive technologies give companies. – I can’t imagine giving people access to my students’ personal information such as this.

The thing that stuck out to me the most this week was the quote that Heller included at the beginning of her article:

[Immersive technology] is just like the atom splitting. It can be used for helping mankind, lifting mankind, or it can be used for destroying mankind. That’s where we are with virtual reality. We’re on the cusp of having powerful tools like fire. What are we going to do with it? How are we going to use it? How are we going to put in safeguards so that we don’t get burned?

Dr. Thomas Furness, Developer of first immersive technologies

I think that this quote speaks volumes to the topic of VR in education. At this time it is just so new that we do not know how to use it properly, the impacts it may have, and how to keep our students safe. Things like Augmented Reality in which a headset is not required and students are viewing something (like a virtual field trip) seem like a safer option at this time. I don’t belive that VR has a place in elementary or high schools. Perhaps it is best to keep it for training adults in fields where having the 360 immersion could be benificial (flying simulation, surgery etc.).

Makerspaces

I had never heard of makerspaces prior to this week. Unfortunately I also missed class and thus missed out on the interactive action that came along with it. Luckily, since classes are recorded I was able to catch up on what I’d missed and also find some more information on my own.

What Are Makerspaces?

Positives of Makerspaces in Education

  • Makerspaces foster innovation through hands-on experimentation.
  • Hands-on learning takes the concepts taught through lecture, video or textbooks and allows participants to move from an abstract concept to a real-world understanding.
  • Participants learn how to make failure into a learning experience and not become discouraged or frustrated when something doesn’t go as planned.
  • Exposes students to new opportunities.
  • Builds critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Develops a wide range of 21st century skills.

Downsides of Makerspaces in Education

Conclusion

All in all, I am still not sure if makerspaces are the best in a school setting, espcially elementary. It seems that they would fit quite well with a high school as an elective as high schools generally have more space and the students are a bit more mature and able to utilize tools. I think that many of the great concepts and positives of makerspaces can be brought into the lower grade classroom through activites like STEM and student lead enquiry. I am curious to know if anyone has any experience with having a makerspace in their elementary school?

Assistive Technology: More Than Meets the Eye

Going into tonight’s presentation I thought that I had a good idea what assistive technology was, but boy was I wrong! Originally my thoughts of what classified of assistive technology was very realted to my own personal experiences and what I have witnessed directly around me. Some examples of assistive technology that came to my mind were:

  • Speech to Text Programs – We use these alot at our school to support students. Programs like google read and write are used daily by students in my classroom.
  • Listening Aids– This includes many things such as hearing aids, microphones (I have used ones in the past that connect direclty to specific students as well as my own personal classroom assigned microphone to help with voice issues). I would also say this could cover the tools that help students such as by reading to them when they are on webpages etc.
  • School Tools – I am not sure the “category” for this but there are many tools at school such as special chairs, desks, fidgits, pencil grips etc. that students have used that could be considered assistive technologies.
  • Driving Assistance Tools – My mom had a friend she went to university with who had no legs, he would use a skateboard to get around and had special tools in his car so he could break and accelearte with his hands instead. It was very neat and allowed him to live a very independent life.
  • Things in the Community – Other AT tools and serivices I have seen around me include braille, large print menu options, ramps, lifts/elevators, accessible parking, closed captioning, and items to help people move around such as walkers, wheelchairs etc.

However, the presentation tonight definitely showed that there is MUCH more. For example, I had no idea that glasses/contacts were considered an assistive technology. But I guess it makes sense as without them I would not be able to drive.

So What Other Tools Exist?

  1. Vision – magnifiers, talking devices, screen reading softwares, braille, enlarged buttons and large print items.
  2. Hearing – personal amplification systems, closed caption systems, specialized apps, and amplified phones.
  3. Speech Communication – communication boards, speech output softwares, speech generating divices, voice amplication systems and even artifical larynxs.
  4. Learning, Cognition, and Developmental – memory aids, note taking and reminder systems, audio books and text to speech tools (that aren’t related to vision issues).
  5. Mobility, Seating, and Positioningitems such as canes, walkers, wheelchairs, scooters and crutches.
  6. Daily Livingdressing aids (such as long handle shoe horns and zippers), adapted kitchen tools and eating utensils, bags designed to fit onto walkers, and switch adapted applicances
  7. Environmental Modifications – these are often items in the community such as ramps, automatic door openers, remote controlled appliances, and lifts.
  8. Vehicle Modification and Transportation – car lifts and ramps, raised roofs, adaptive seatbelts, tools for driving (such as using hands instead of feet).
  9. Computers and Related Peripherals – items like alternative keyboards and softwares like voice reconition and magnification programs.
  10. Recreation, Sports, and Leisure – some examples include playing card shuffler, camera mounts and adapted sports equiptment.

Benefits & Challenges

Although these are all great positives of assistive technologies, I believe that the biggest positive in that they enhance the quality of life as this can have numerous impacts on peoples’ physical well being, mental health, employment possibilities, successes at school and feeling fufilled.

.

Although it can be difficult, time consuming, and sometimes expensive to procure and utilize some of these technologies, the assistive technologies that exist now are improving peoples’ lives for the better. I have really enjoyed seeing just how many different things can be considered assistive technologies, and I am hopeful that many new tools and technologies will emerg in the future to continue to improve many aspects of numerous peoples’ lives.

Crazy For Quizizz

I first discovered Quizizz just last spring in ECI832 with Alec. It is a program that was new to me and I decided to explore it further as a part of my major project. Due to last week being so crazy + conferences upcoming I did not have time to try a completely new tool in my room. However, I figured now would be a great time to reflect further on Quizizz.

What Is Quizizz?

Quizizz is a “gamified student engagement platform.” Essentially, it is a website that allows teachers to interact with students in an engaging way. As I mentioned during our presentation this week there are many options for the types of questions you can include in your quiz :

  • polls
  • multiple choice
  • fill in the blanks
  • open ended questions
  • drawing
  • slides
  • audio response (super aka paid version only)
  • video response (super version only).

On the free version, you can add images to your questions and answers. If using the super paid version, you can also add videos or audio. You can also add equations and answer explanations to your quiz which is very helpful if you are using a Quizizz for review purposes or want to further explain a concept. The basic free option allows up to 100 participants per quiz or lesson so there is more than enough space to have a full class complete it at the same time. Finally, you can assign the quiz to be completed independently or choose on of the two way to run the quizizz live:

Instructor paced: This is similar to Kahoot in which the teacher controls the pace of the game and the whole class goes through each question together. This is great for whole class review in which an educator wants to elaborate on the questions or answers or for classes with lower reading levels so that the instructor can read the questions and answer options out loud.

Student paced: this format allows students to complete the questions at their own pace. There is still an option to display a leaderboard with live results. This is likely the better option if you are wanting to use it for a summative assessment as it can be less stressful for students as they can move through at their own pace.

Challenges

Personally, I did not experience many challenges using this tool. I found that since it is so similar to Kahoot that it was fairly easy to figure out. If you are someone who is more technology inclined you will likely have no trouble using this in your classroom. On the student end, I find that the challenge for my students is just getting to the website and getting all set up. It is not difficult per say, but my students are still quite young and this is often their first year using the computers at school so it often just takes a little more time than you’d expect.

Student Response

My students last year were the first students I tried this platform with. They absolutely LOVED it. They said that it was better than Kahoot. My students this year also said the same thing when I first introduced this tool in October. They are always very engaged and like to participate. They still ask me daily if we are going to be doing a Quizizz anytime soon.

Quizizz For Assessment

I mainly use Quizizz as a formative assessment or review tool. The first time I used it last year we did a review for our science test with mostly multiple choice questions. I have also used it this year for a math review/practice in our representing numbers unit. I do find with my students that I mostly use the multiple choice questions. My group presentation this week was the first time I branched out to some of the more open ended style questions.

I often prefer to use this as formative since it is super quick and easy to find a premade one and to assign students a random name with the name generator. After exploring the assessment side of the application more this week, I plan to try and use it for summative assessments in the future as a way to mix it up in my classroom. I believe this tool is excellent for formative assessment, but if used correctly it can be good for some types of summative assessments as well.

Pros & Cons

PROSCONS
Free to useNeed to create the quiz yourself if the topic you want is unavailible
Fun and engagingStudents can feel pressured to answer quickly, espcially if playing for points with a score board
Easy to set up/navigateRequires internet and devices to access
Can be used for both formative + summative assessmentNo read to student option (this would be great if using indepentely instead of guided by a teacher)
Offers multiple ways to present to help adapt to student needsStudents must put in thier proper name if you are going to want to use it for summative assessment

Overall, I love this platform and I hope that it remains free forever.

The Social Dilemma

The Negatives

Let’s start with the negative effects of social media as the documentary primarily focuses on the problems that have arose in recent years.

A few years ago I was defintiely someone who thought that people saying social media was bad were overly cautious and unecessarly worried. However, when rewatching the documentary, and after taking many digital citizenship + EdTech courses, I realized that I am much more aware now of how technology and social media can negatively impact people. Here are some points that I jotted down while watching the documentary in relation to the issues surrounding social media:

  • This is the first time in history that program designers have impacted so many people.
    Tristan Harris spent a lot of time trying to convince Google that this was an issue and needed to be adressed as a few poeple should not be able to control how millions of others will think/precieve something.
  • Social media compagnies are selling customers to advertisers.
    A quote that really stuck out to me during the film was that “If you’re not paying for the product then you are the product.” This was crazy to me as I never thought of it this way, but it is true. These platforms are free for us to use but at what cost? We are essentially allowing ourselves, our data, our preferences, etc., to be sold to advertisers. It is not just our data that is being sold, but “the models that predict our actions [which are created by these compagnies] are what is valued.” They refere to this as Serveillance capitalism in which “market places trade exclusively in human features.”
  • Social media is not just a tool
    Another quote that got to me was when they said that “Social meadia isn’t a tool waiting to be used, it has its own goals and means of pursing them by using your psychology against you.” This connects back to the fact that they have all these algoritms gathing information about you in order to use that inforamtion and your preferences to place adversitments and content that will interest you.
  • Social media has caused increases in suicide, self harming, mental healt and negative body image issues
    The documentary, as well as numerous articles and studies (see here, here, and here for some examples), indicate that since social media has become popular there have been increases in all of the above listed things. This is espcially prevalent amongst the genereation of kids who were growing up when social media emerged and they were in middle school. We are living in a generation of people who are more anxious, depressed, and less comfortable taking risks.
  • Social media is divding us
    Fake news and misinformation are causing great divisions between citizens all over the world, and social media is only fanning the flame. Social media worsens this by allowing its algorithms to promote untrue or possibly false information constantly. Newsfeeds and google search terms are personalized by algorithms based on your interests, views, opinions, location etc. However the algorithms can’t always know what is true or accurate. This information that you recive impacts how you perceive the things around you.

Aside from the negatives touched on in the documentary, there are other ways that social media can negatively impact people. A few more ways presented by Siddiqui & Singh are:

  • Loss of intereste or engagement in face to face interactions
  • Distraction
  • Hacking, catfishing + impersonations
  • Addition to social media itself
  • Saftey issues- this can rang from privacy issues to predators using social media to find victims for things like abductions, human trafficking, and sexual explotation

The Positives

Althought The Social Dilemma focuses only on the negative aspects of social media. There are also still some positives that exist. Some more examples from Siddiqui & Singh are:

  • Social media can make it easier for some people to feel more comfortable communicating
  • I can allow people to form and grow connections and relationships
  • I can allow people to better reach supports that they need
  • It can help businesses recieve feedback from customers and promote their products and services, this can be especially helpful for local compagnies and people who do not have budgets for advertising.
  • Positive changes in society by uniting people for good causes
  • Sharing information across the world
  • Can allow for self expression and building of ones own identity

How Can We Make It Better?

We all know that social media, and technology in general, can have both postive and negative effects on people, especially our students who are younger and are all growing up in this digital age. We as teachers have seen these effects first hand: rising mental health concerns, lack of concentration/distractions, cyber-bullying, fake news + more. Even though it seems like there are so many negatives, we need to focus on the positives that exist because social media is not going anywhere. It is up to us as teachers to educate our students on digital citizenship skills so that they can use these platforms safely. We can also continue to work on moderating usage and educating students about the negatives that come along with using social media platforms. Parents also have a role to play outside of school as these skills need to be taught from a young age, before even entering kindergarten. Lastly, the tech industry and the people who created these programs and algorithms used by social media have a role to play as well. I will finish off with a quote they used in The Social Dlimma that perfectly sums up the idea that they compagnies and platforms can fix many of these problems if they choose to accept their role in the creation of these issues.

Human beings can change these technologies for the better if they are willing to admit that these bad things are coming from their work.