Release Your Inner Goat!

Hiking.

Some love it, some hate it.

I once had a love-hate relationship with hiking until I questioned why.

How is it possible to hold such conflicting emotions for the same act?

While reflecting on my good old love-hate relationship with hiking, I was able to tease out my conflicting emotions and define the why. I realized that it was not the act of hiking that made me love or hate it, it was the conditions of the experience that defined my emotional response.

In that moment, I realized the parallels between classroom learning experiences and the conditions that defined whether I left the trail loving it, eager to go again, or down right pissed off hating every second.

I am now very aware that I have taken some students on some pretty terrible ‘hikes’.

The sad part is, I did it with a smile. I was completely oblivious to the conditions being created in the expereince.

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I am now aware, that on some of those trips (not all) I might as well have led them straight to a hungry ol’ grizzly bear den and pushed them in.

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So, in an attempt rectify my errors and to stop students from being fed to the proverbial grizzly bear, I am going to share with you what I have uncovered.

A journey through the mountains and a learning journey in the classroom have the following elements in common.

Both require,

  • resources
  • an effective guide
  • continual evaluation and assessment
  • and an understanding and awareness of the different experiences each individual brings to the journey

 The Resources

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Before setting out on a journey everyone needs to be made aware of the gear they are going to require. They need to be informed of the type of terrain they are going to travel, and the nature of the steps they are going to take. By making this information clear, only the most effective tools will find themselves in the bag.

Lugging unnecessary gear over four mountain passes is both cumbersome and an ineffective use of energy. Not to mention incredibly frustrating when you attempt repack the bag after dumping it all out, only to find that what you had wasn’t what you needed.

As such, hikers and students, need to know what they are going to encounter. They also need to know how to assess their gear and evaluate it for its merit. It is important that hikers and students look at their resources through a number of lenses. Having resources that can serve more than one purpose can be very helpful when the conditions change.

By making the hiker and student aware of the expectations that will need to be met along the journey, they will be able to pack the right resources and will begin to shape the conditions for a positive relationship with the journey.

LOVE: knowing the route, having an understanding of what is to come, having the gear to tackle the terrain.

HATE: Blindly following, not prepared for the terrain, wrong gear.

The Guide

Hikers, like students want to explore. They want to slow down and follow their curiosities. They want to have the time to uncover the beauty around them. The final destination is not the defining moment of the journey. Therefore, they need a good guide. A good guide does not evaluate success upon reaching the final destination. They define their success along the journey. Did the hikers notice and smell the flowers? Did they have the opportunity to see the reflection in the lake? Were they given the time to enjoy the sunrise?

A good guide, shows them the general direction and allows them to choose the path they are going to take. A good guide, allows the hiker to explore everything in between.

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Most importantly, a good guide knows that it is the experiences had along the way that make the final destination so rewarding.

A good guide, assures the hikers that it is okay to venture off the trail and forge their own way, as long as they keep in mind the direction they need to go. As such, a good guide coaches the hiker to critique and reflect on the path they have chosen. A good guide, prepares the hiker with the problem solving skills they will require should an obstacle appear in their path.

A good guide, provides the hiker with the opportunity to challenge themselves and attempt to conquer the obstacles they find in their path. The guide is always informed and ready to provide support should the hiker need it.

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LOVE: Having the opportunity to sit down and think about the experience you are having. Having the opportunity to select the path that is right for you, even if that means breaking away from the trail. Having someone along the journey that values the beauty that each step brings, not just the arrival at the final destination. Having someone to share it with.

HATE: Being toted along from start to finish, missing everything in between.  Forced to stay on the same path even if it your feet don’t fit.

The Need for Assessment and Evaluation

This is most important.

Hikers must constantly assess their journey. They need to continually reflect on the steps they have taken and the ones they are about to take.

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They have to set goals for themselves . They have to evaluate their capabilities and determine how they are going to achieve their goals.

They need to receive feedback and support from those around them continually.

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They need to constantly assess their gear and adjust as needed.

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They need to reflect on what they require in order to continue moving forward, so that they can be successful and grow from the experience.

Most importantly, with every step they are afforded the opportunity to implement their new understanding and learning about the situation they are in. Every step brings with it reflection. Each of these steps carries a message and by acting on these messages the journey is enjoyable and rewarding.

If the hiker is not made aware of how to collaborate, self-reflect, self-monitor and problem solve, the final destination will bring fatigue, blisters, body aches and little enjoyment and personal growth.

Love: Continually reflecting on the journey and the steps taken.                               Monitoring needs and implementing feedback from self and others. Setting goals and achieving them. Sharing the journey with others. Proud of the accomplishment. Personal growth.

Hate: Left to stumble and navigate the terrain.                                                                     Rushed and unable to monitor needs and make the required adjustments. Fatigued, frustrated, blistered.

Lastly,

Understanding the Experiences and Differences Each Member Brings to the Journey

Assumptions are deadly.

Knowing each persons level of experience and mindset is very important.

Most of the images I have shared with you are from a multi-day backpack trip I took with my mom and my cousin.

Having shared my graphic adventures with my mom time and time again, she began to see herself standing there with us along the ridge. A spark was ignited. She wanted to go. She was ready to release her inner goat.

“If you can do it, so can I” she beamed with excitement and committed to the trip.

I agreed with her. If I can do it, she most certainly can.

For an outsider looking in this comparison might seem a tad misplaced.

This is me!

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Don’t mind if I say so myself, but my 32 year old self looks pretty darn good.  At a glance, I look happy and healthy and more than capable (which I am, because I have the right mindset). However, like with all situations there is always more than what meets the eye.

Assumptions, are deadly.

I have arthritis. I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid and Psoriatic arthritis when I was 12 years old. Quick and easy math – that’s 20 years now that I have been living with it. As a result, I’m missing a few joints here and there, some are just plain and simple fused together, and some burn like hell fire. Needless to say, my body does’t always move the way I want it to or the way people assume it would at first glance. So, it is safe to say that I have my own set of limitations, differences, and experiences. I have a different set of strengths and weaknesses that I bring to the group.

My cousin and my mom each have their own set of limitations, differences, experiences, strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the group.

By being aware of and nurturing these differences we were able to achieve the goal we set out to achieve. We were able to support one another along the journey and grow both independently and together. As we reflected on each section of the trip, we became aware that our varying limitations, differences, experiences, strengths and weaknesses continually shifted and changed as we supported one another.

Understanding this provided us each the opportunity to act in the role of the guide. In so doing, the experience was heightened as each member was valued for the contributions they were able to make.

LOVE: Having your experiences, differences, strengths and limitations being respected, valued and honoured. Having the opportunity to share your knowledge and experience.

HATE: Being in a situation where you are not looked upon for contributions. Put in situations where your limitations are not supported and you are left feeling trapped, stranded, and alone.

When all four of these requirements work together, the hiker and student will reach the final destination with a smile on their face. The conditions of their experience will be embodied with love and they will achieve the highest level of personal growth. They will have had a journey that they will most certainly wish to undertake again.

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On your next hike, where will you end up?

Option 1:

“Its easy, look. Just do it. Ugh, what are you doing? Lets go already! You have hiked this type of terrain 1000 times.”

— Emphasis on the final product, the arrival at the end, not supported, not valued, not honouring the self reflection or assessment the hiker has made for themselves. Ready to be left to behind for the grizzly.

Option 2:

“You can do this, we’ve got you. We will help you through this section. I want you to try looking into the hillside and away from the edge as we go. Move slow and steady, and follow my tracks. One of us can take your bag so you feel more steady on your feet. If you need to stop, say so, and we will. If you would like to try using the poles you can. I prefer being hands free in this type of terrain, you decide what feels right for you. When you are ready we will continue on.”

— Emphasis on the journey, support, feedback. Listening to the hikers self assessment and supporting their needs. Valuing the experiences had along the way. Valued, achieving goals, feeling proud.

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If the conditions are right, the guide will become the hiker and hiker will become the guide.

Who do you want to release your inner goat with?

 

Readings that influenced my understanding:

Module 9

  • Donhauser, M., Hersey, H., Stutzman, C. & Zane, M. (2014a). From lesson plan to learning plan: An introduction to the inquiry learning plan. School Library Monthly, 31(1), 11-13.
  • Fontichiaro, K. (2015). “What’s inquiry? Well, I know it when I see it.” School Library Monthly, 31(4): 49-51.
  • Okemura, A. (2008). Designing inquiry-based science units as collaborative partners. In School Library Monthly, 25(3): 47-51.
  • Stripling, B. K. & Harada, V. H.. (2012). Designing learning experiences for deeper understanding. School Library Monthly, 29(3): 5-12.
  • Style, E. (1988). Curriculum as window & mirror. Listening for all Voices. Oak Knoll School monograph. Summit, NJ. The SEED (Seeking Educational Equity & Diversity) Project on Inclusive Curriculum. Wellesley Centres for Women.
  • Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005a). Appendix. In Understanding by Design, 2nd ed., expanded version(pp. 327-332). Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Module 10

  • Buerkett, R. (2011). Inquiry and assessment using Web 2.0 tools. School Library Monthly 28(1): 21-24.
  • Coatney, S. (2003). Assessment for learning. In Barbara Stripling and Sandra Hughes-Hassell (Eds.). Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 157168). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.
  • Fontichiaro, K. (2011a). Nudging toward inquiry – Formative assessment. School Library Monthly 27(6): 11-12.
  • Fontichiaro, K. (2011b). Nudging toward inquiry – Summative assessment. School Library Monthly 27(7): 12-13.
  • Harada, V. H. (2010). Self-assessment: Challenging students to take charge of learning. School Library Monthly 26(10): 13-15.
  • Louis, P. & Harada, V. H. (2012). Did the students get it? Self-assessment as key to learning. School Library Monthly 29(3): 13-16.
  • Moreillon, J. & Fontichiaro, K. (2008). Teaching and assessing the dispositions: A garden of opportunity. Knowledge Quest 37(2): 64-67.
  • Pappas, M. (2010). Reflection as self-assessment. School Library Monthly 27(3): 5-8.
  • Todd, R. J. (2011). Charting student learning through inquiry. School Library Monthly 28(3): 5-8
  • Tomlinson, C. A. (2008). Learning to love assessment. Educational Leadership 65(4): 8-13.

 

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Must like dogs and romantic walks on the beach.

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Feature Image Source:  Kevin Simmons – Dating (Flicker:  https://goo.gl/QnYUei )

Why did I let Sophie talk me into this? 

This is dreadful. 

Do you have a pet?

No.

Are you close with your family?

Sort of.

Sort of! What kind of answer is that?

Ugh – Will this ever end?

Do you like your job?

Yes, I do.

Riveting, just riveting.

I’ve officially become a real life bobble head. 

Mission control, eyebrows and cheesy smile are ready for takeoff.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hike.

Oh good here comes our food.

Please be our food.

No! Over here you’re going the wrong way.

That’s it, I’m going to the washroom.

Maybe if I’m lucky there will be a window I can climb out of.

If nothing else maybe our food will be here by the time I get back.

The power of the question.

33888154296_6412da30ed_bImage Source: airpix – question (Flicker: http://goo.gl/mHWAlO)

Asking the right questions in the dating world is imperative. Especially if you don’t want to find yourself sitting alone as your date attempts to shimmy themselves out a bathroom window or slip out the back door as you tell the server “oh, I’m sure they will just be a few more minutes, I’ll wait to order dessert.”

Sorry my friend, it appears you will not be having dessert tonight.

It all comes down to:

Engagement

Motivation

Desire

After reading this week’s, modules I would argue that the act of seeking out a relationship and inquiry based learning go hand-in-hand.

I have come to learn that inquiry based learning is collaborative. Relationships are collaboartive.

Many of you would deny it, claiming “I don’t talk about my relationships with others.” We both know that is a LIE! I understand the desire to want to cover this fact up, simply because some topics surrounding our relationships are at times perhaps a bit more collaborative than they need or should be. I dare you however, to try and name a relationships where you didn’t seek the input and dialogue and collaborative perspectives of others. I would continue to argue that, even if you are presently in a committed long term relationship you still enter collaborative conversations to generate ways to problem solve and find answers.

Relationships are collaborative.

I am calling Sophie the second I get to the bathroom.

I wonder what she was thinking!?

Inquiry requires one to draw upon their background knowledge to define a reference point of where to begin.

Dating requires you to reflect on your background knowledge to define what experiences you have had, and which paths you don’t necessarily need to travel again.

Inquiry demands that each individual ask questions that promote curiosity, excitement, interest, and a desire to stay engaged.

Relationships, at all stages, demand that each individual ask questions that promote curiosity, excitement, interest, and a desire to stay engaged.

Otherwise, you might as well have spent the hour getting ready to sit at home.

Feeling fabulous and looking fabulous doesn’t amount to much when your brain has

CHECKED-OUT.

You might as well have gotten dressed up to sit on the couch aimlessly navigating the internet while watching re-runs.

Disconnected and unengaged.

Our dater above is thinking of climbing out a window to escape her terribly unengaging situation! She is putting more effort into thinking about anything other than what has been presented in front of her.

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Image Source: Whateverjames – Bored (Flicker: http://goo.gl/SHlYag )

Hmm. I can name a few students that have behaved in a very similar fashion. They have “checked-out” do to the nature of my lack luster teacher directed questions.

If I plunked my student-teacher scenario into a dating world, I am certain my number would be deleted or it would be dropped in the nearest garbage on the way out.

Yikes!

That is a pretty harsh reality.

Uninterested, unmotivated, disengaged daters.

Uninterested, unmotivated, disengaged learners.

Inquiry based learning and dating have uncanny parallels.

If essential questions are not asked, the dater is not getting a second date and you as a teacher are going to see students who are glassy eyed, eyebrows furrowed, nervous smiles and the quick “yes” to the question you just asked. “Yes!? That doesn’t even make sense to what I just asked.”

Jeffery D. Wilhelm writes that “essential questions should:

  • Matter to the students
  • Connect to students’ current lives
  • Be about quality and require students to make judgements
  • Get to the heart of the matter
  • Possess emotive force
  • Be open-ended, debatable, possible to contend, arguable
  • Be linked to data
  • Be concise and clearly stated” (pg. 38)

Daters and students are seeking the same questions.

Only by using these style of questions, will the dater and the students, be able to move about their sticky-notes of understanding and misconceptions (Fontichiaro, K. & Green, J., 2010) and feel satisfied and interested in engaging in it for a second date or day.

Without this style of questioning, each party enters into what I muse is a speed dating type scenario. Quick rapid fire questions dictated by the looming timer. Disengaged and putting little effort into answering the questions. Why, because everyone has learned that when the timer goes you are just going to pick up and move on. There is no sense of urgency to invest in it (Rothstein D. & Santana L., 2011).

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Image Source: Michael Crane – Speed dating jelly babies   (Flicker: https://goo.gl/tuqWW4 )

At its core, this speed date approach to questioning is not only surface level but superficial. It is impersonal and has little to hold on to.

Well at least Susie came with me this time.

“I like dogs over cats”

Ooh, he’s cute how many times does the timer go.

“Really, you have a dog”

Will he make it to my table?

Disengaged – Distracted – Doesn’t Care

It is time to toss out the speed dating and the online dating profile. The cut and paste approach to seeking information. All that is represented here is what the individual thinks you want to see and hear, not the information that is relevant and important to them. Ultimately leading to misinformation and a cut and paste approach.

His profile doesn’t match what I’m seeing at all.

Im pretty sure he made that all up                                                                                                   or just copied of someone else profile. Ha.

Instead it is time to add a matchmaker. The person who will work with you to refine your understanding and push you in the right direction, to broaden your horizon in the dating realm. Someone who will help you understand the value in the process over the product (personality and contribution to conversation over looks). Someone who will lead the dater “into the shades of grey, the ambiguity or uncertainties of knowing, to places where they will need to be able to reflect and think critically…while they leave the door open for more (Ekdahl M., 2017).”

Ultimately, if done so correctly it shall lead to one very satisfied dater experiencing a whole new realm in the shades of grey. Engagement, satisfaction and forever seeking more.

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Image Source: minm01 – Dating (Flicker: https://goo.gl/bPN0FG )

Readings that have influenced this reflection:

Module 7

Ekdal M. (2017). Module 7: Inquiry learning by design and/or re-design [class handout].

Sessional Instructor Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of

British Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Fontichiaro, K. (2015a). Nudging toward inquiry – Framing inquiry with scenarios. School 

     Library Monthly 31(3): 50-51.

Pentland, C. (2010). Nudging research towards critical thinking. School Library Monthly

26(10): 10-12.

Wiggins, G. (2005). Understanding by design: Overview of Ubd & the design template.

Authentic Education

Zmuda, A. (2013). CCSS (Commmon Core State Standards): A window and fresh air for

learning. School Library Monthly 29(4): 9-12.

Module 8

Ekdal M. (2017). Module 8: Driving inquiry with questions [class handout]. Sessional

Instructor Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British

Columbia, Vancouver, BC.

Fontichiaro, K. & Green, J. (2010). Jump-start inquiry: How students begin when they

don’t know. School Library Monthly 26(5): 22-23.

Koechlin, C. & Zwaan, S. (2007). Power up your inquiry questions. Q Tasks: How to 

     empower students to ask questions and care about answers (p.73). Markham, On:

Pembroke

Rothstein, D. & Santana, L. (2011). Teachins students to ask their own questions: One

small change can yield big results. Harvard Education Letter 27(5): 1-2. Cambridge,

MA: Harvard Education Publishing.

Wilhelm, J.D. (2014). Learning to love the questions. Knowledge Quest 42(5): 36-41.

Do you want fries with that?

Tick…tick…tick – clack.

The hour hand finally falls into its overdue position. Just enough time has passed so that you can dash out without receiving any snickers and sideways glances from your co-workers. Halfway home, the idea of relaxing and sinking into your favourite spot is dashed away. The demand of preparing dinner crosses your mind. Two options present themselves, one that alludes to being quick and easy, and the other appearing to require a little more preparation and time on your part. Exhausted and totally unenthusiastic about the prospect of investing anymore of your time and energy, you chose option one.

There is but a brief moment when no one is talking. The static from the intercom fills the void. “Do you want fries with that?” cuts the silence. Before long you are back on the road, paper bag and disposable cup in hand. Bubbles dances across your tongue and the fizz tickles your senses as you suck back on your soda. With a smile of contentment you head for your favourite spot.

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Image Source: The Hamster Factor – Drive Thru (Flicker: https://goo.gl/fid01Z)

William Badke nailed it!

We are creatures of habit.

We are creatures of comfort.

Most importantly we are creatures of convenience.

This week’s readings had us indulge on the topics of copyright practices and evaluating and curating online resources. As I navigated the streets of these readings, I found myself left with a bad taste in my mouth.

Why?

I had come to realize that I am just as guilty as any other when it comes to the act of indulging in convenience. All the while playing the ignorance card and turning a blind eye to the truth. My menu options were skewed and clouded with the need for convenience.

Are yours?

In the article, The Convenience Factor in Information Seeking, William Badke paints a very clear message. We are creatures of convenience. Our learners are creatures of convenience. When it comes to seeking out information online, Badke states “convenience trumps all other reasons for selecting and using a source (2014, p.68).

Convenience = going to the drive thru instead of prepping and cooking dinner when you get home.

Convenience = using generic search engines to seek information online. Using copyrighted materials because a lack of convenience (the time to read and understand, the time to seek out materials that are not copyright restricted)

Quality

Zipping into the fast food lane certainly satisfies my desire for convenience. It also satisfies my need for consumption (consumption of brain food, educational resources/ Information). However, it is achieved by drawing upon resources that are not of the highest standards and quality. As Badke suggests, they are merely “pretty good” (2014, p.69).  Debbie Abilock, agrees with Badake. The act of pursuing convenience does play a large role in the information gathering process. In her article, How can students know whether the information they find online is true – or not, she indicates that “realistically, we have neither the time not the patience to analyze every source and fact thoroughly” (2012, p.71).

Fast Food = convenient way to obtain “food.” However its quality pails in comparison to picking up fresh produce and preparing it at home.

Fast Food = Sources of information that are lacking in credibility, accuracy, reliability, relevance, expertise [Bromann-Bender 2013, p.42, Abilock 2012, p.71, Badke 2014, p.69]. Using sources of information and not adhering to the copyright. 

So. What’s the big deal? This one time, I was too tired to cook so I went to the drive thru.

Bad taste in the mouth reason 1:

Truth is – we are creatures of habit – it wasn’t just this one time nor will it ever just be ‘this one time’.

As the articles written by J. Bromann-Bender (2013), Badke (2014), L. Hay and C. Folley (2009), and A. Zmuda and V.H. Harada (2008), explain it is imperative that we change our diet. We stop feasting on the convenient buffet of drive thru lanes positioned so perfectly on our route, and start educating ourselves and our students how to feed our brains and our research ethically and effectively.

Bad taste in the mouth reason 2:

Though fast food is convenient and alludes to being fast. Everyone knows that in the long run, all it does is leave you needing more. I am sure you have the shared experience that when you eat at one of those places in a matter of hours you find yourself digging around in the cupboards at home looking for snacks. Your appetite is never fully satisfied. Not to mention, should you attempt to eat while driving, you may end up with a disaster on your hands (caught violating copyright). Spilled soda or perhaps a pesky ketchup drip on your new shirt. The only thing that was keeping you going that day, looking good in your new shirt, now ruined.

Just don’t do it.

It is easy to follow the car in front of you, to get in the stream. What’s the harm, everyone else is doing it.

I call this the lemmings’ road to convenience.

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Image Source: Andrew Barclay – lemming (Flicker: https://goo.gl/NyWhXG)

The harm is that you now know better.

Don’t be a lemming, unless you’re going to be the one blocking the way.

As J. Valenza states in the article Curration, “human filters make a difference. Librarians can be filters in the best sense of the word” (2012, p.20). We need to teach ourselves, teach our colleagues and teach ourselves to steer clear of convenience. In so doing, it is vital that researchers in all stages of life and learning be shown the value in searching curated electronic databases. I can assure you these databases rarely provide misleading information ultimately resulting in futile research attempts (awareness of the electronic databases presented in Lamb, 2013).

Image Sources: Pleuntje – Search (Flicker: https://goo.gl/OpvKjd), Jaime – andes, ny (Flicker: https://goo.gl/2wwLvS), Rachel – misleadning  (Flicker: https://goo.gl/J6LMqo)

It is easy to blame others and seek the path of least resistance. However, you are in the driver’s seat. The choice is yours and yours alone. Are you going to continue going to the drive thru “just this once” or are you going to make the active and necessary change to get home and cook for yourself?

I’ve decided to wait until I get home.


Featured Image Source:

Image Source: Ian Muttoo – Drive Thru (Flicker: https://goo.gl/7rLKBc)

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Below you will find the readings that influenced my reflection in addition to a section titled Growing On.

Readings that influenced my understanding:

Module 5

  • Hay, L. & Foley, C. (2009). School libraries building capacity for student learning in 21CScan 28(2): 7-26.
  • Noel, W. & Snel, J. (2012). Copyright matters! (3rd edition). Ottawa, ON: Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA), and Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF).
  • Zmuda, A. & Harada, V. H. (2008). Looking to the future: Providing resources to support 21st century learning. Librarians as learning specialists: Meeting the learning imperative for the 21st century (pp. 103-115). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Module 6

  • Abilock, D. (2012). How can students know whether the information they find online is true – or not? Educational Leadership 69(6): 70-74.
  • Badke, W. (2014). The convenience factor in information seeking. Online Searcher 38(6): 68-70.
  • Bromann-Bender, J. (2013). You can’t fool me: Website evaluation.” Library Media Connection 31(5): 42-45.
  • Brooks Kirkland, A. (2013). Teacher-librarians as content curators: Strong contexts, new possibilitiesSchool Libraries in Canada 31(2): n.p.
  • Lamb, A. (2013). Electronic databasesEduscapes: Electronic Materials for Children and Young Adults.
  • Valenza, J. (2012). CurationSchool Library Monthly. 29(1): 20-23.

Growing On:

Last week I questioned how the inquiry process was structured and set up within a class. I found that I needed to see it to get a better understanding of how it is organized. As such, I took to the internet. Dare I say, I GOOGLED IT. Oh My! Evidence to what I noted above, I am guilty. Even with all the professional readings I did, I needed to see it in image form to attach it to my schema.

The feedback provided on my first learning log highlighted that inquiry based learning is a collaborative process. It is not individual. This helped refine my understanding and allowed me to take a breath when my initial fear of having 20 different topics was not at what the inquiry process was talking about. Whew!

When I came across http://mrsmyerskindergarten.blogspot.ca the concept of inquiry based learning was solidified. A voice in my brain confidently said “you could do that” and I am starting to believe that voice. For the final assignment I can anticipate referencing Mrs. Myers and her wonderful resource.

Things I was excited about regarding curating:

LibriVox,  PebbleGo, World Book

Things that made me go….oh gee:

Copyright rules around background music – I feel I need to investigate this further.

Questioning how often the resource acquisition questionnaires (ERAC) are actually used at a school to school level. I find that we often purchase resources simply because a teacher has requested it. In fairness one of the articles did mention that this has been a shift in the teacher librarian realm.

Cheers Ashlee Dearin

 

Drop in a Bucket

Inquiry, is a drop in the bucket.

 

As I made my way through the four modules, my understanding around this analogy became more apparent. Though I have not taken direct references from these readings they have certainly shaped my understanding. Perhaps my view will shape yours.

A drop in the bucket.

At first glance, a small drop doesn’t seem to be very insignificant. However, this is not the case, especially when you take the time to question and think about it. One drop can cause a dramatic difference, so too can an inquiry question.

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Image Source: LadyDragonflyCC, Dripping Maple Goodness (Flicker: goo.gl/rx8BnF)

The drop.

A question. Not just any question. The type of question that when it falls will create an initial upset to the learning system. It is chaotic and unpredictable, and yet beholds an immense beauty.

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Image Source: Anthony Roderman, Cylinder Splash (Flicker: goo.gl/wMLqoT)

The beauty is in the unknown.

How is the splash going to impact the environment around it?

Will it make an impact at all?

Based on my new understanding, I can answer it most certainly will.

Once the initial impact is absorbed (the question), and its power is harnessed (linking to prior knowledge and initial guidance), the real beauty is revealed as it ripples outward.

The ripples.

The pursuit of understanding. The active engagement in the process of discovery. As the ripples move outward, understanding is broadened. So too are the ripples.

But why the bucket?

The bucket is key.

Purpose.

Rarely is a bucket filled for a lack of purpose.

They are often filled out of necessity or desire. For sustaining life or for fun. They have a clearly defined purpose.

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Image Source: Bex Walton, A drop in the bucket (Flicker: goo.gl/W8zZfK)

I have come understand that the inquiry is grounded and attached to a meaningful purpose. A purpose that must be directly connected to the person who holds the bucket.

In our current education system, far too often the purpose is rooted in the necessity or desire of someone else.

Sadly, when that is the case, the learner is restricted and has difficulty holding on to the information being conveyed. As a result, our learners are working with strainers. (Reflecting on: Robinson, K. (2013). Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. TEDTalks. Youtube.). It is imperative that educators providing students with the appropriate tools and opportunities to learn how to learn. Strainers need to be sold and replaced with buckets.

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Image Source: MyEyeSees, Strainers (Flicker: goo.gl/sBGFFm)

Some may argue however, that a bucket is too confining. Inquiry is not something to be confined. I would agree. However, when it comes to inquiry is my understanding that a certain degree of confinement is necessary to force the ripples back to its original source.

Reflection.

The return allows the learner to reflect upon and question all that was acquired on the journey outwards.

All the while, drop after drop continue to fill the bucket creating a natural ebb and flow. Ultimately making the learning and understanding much deeper than it was the drop before.

At this point, one might argue that the bucket is still confining.                                   Eventually it will be full.                                                                                                                 Then what?

This is a good point. One must look at the bucket through the lens of a growth mindset.

When the water nears the top, this does not indicate that the inquiry is over. It merely indicates that the learning is now ready to splash over or be poured into new areas of understanding and questioning.

Transfer. The deepest level of understanding.

As mentioned previously, our system is broken. Instead of allowing our learners to interact and play with their drops using the ebb and flow that comes naturally to them. They are being sheltered and confined by the adult in charge (Reflecting on: Robinson, K. (2016). How Schools Kill Creativity. TEDTalks. Youtube.)

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Image Source:  Roy Sinai,Watching The Rain (Flicker: goo.gl/SWzW6O)

How unfortunate.

Millions of drops.

Locked away.

Learners of all ages, and in all areas of learning, must be provided the opportunity to explore areas which holds meaning and purpose to them. When provided the opportunity to explore these areas their true potential of learning will be unleashed.

Image Source: Tom Driggers, Splash Play (Flicker: goo.gl/yrkW9u)                                                                                                      Image Source: Natalia Medd, Paper boat. When all is  possible… (Flicker: goo.gl/eYSZ76)

As I have been working my way through the readings, I have been made aware that I have a lot of work to do. As do many others.

It is hoped, that I will find a way to allow my drops (questions around the implementation of inquiry) to fall into a bucket, so that the waters will not only deepen but perhaps “flow” out of the bucket and into a water table. Ultimately allowing a community of participatory learners to flourish.

Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Boy playing with boat in preschool (Flicker: goo.gl/7B1BI1)                                                                                                                                Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Boys playing with toy boats, (Flicker: goo.gl/7gZCBV )                                                            Image Source: Iowa Digital Library, Girl playing with toy boat (Flicker: goo.gl/AcBdf6)

Inquiry is a drop in the bucket.

It is a catalyst for change.

I understand that and can see its value.

That awareness aside, I feel that I am still very much in “strainer mode”. My days are often filled with surface level teaching. Teaching that I currently feel is not filling buckets. Instead, what is taught falls out the holes my practice has constructed.

I found comfort in Selma wassermann’s article Teaching for Thinking Redux: A Curriculum Model for Classroom Practice. It stated “Not every classroom activity needs to be, or should be, an activity in which rigours thinking is applied (2010, p.84).”

I took this to mean that a certain level of surface learning (teacher directed) needs to be covered in order to provide the foundational skills required. As a result, I grapple at the idea of implementing inquiry learning and finding the balance between the use of the strainer and the bucket approach. Furthermore, I am working on defining the parameters of how I would structure inquiry learning within the restraints and confines presented by the changed curriculum and the disconnect between grade appropriate resources. The readings painted a very clear process. However, I feel that some key information on actual organization and implementation was missing. Therefore, I will conclude by posing my wonder.

While orchestrating an inquiry learning program, do each of the students actively pursue their own inquiry topic? More specifically are they open to selection and direction that reaches outside of the confines of the curriculum topic or theme of the week or time? Envisioning 22 different subject topics and the need to adequately guide and support seems like a teacher nightmare and a fast track to management disaster.

Or is it structured in a way whereby the teacher provides content knowledge on the big idea and theme, and then within that umbrella the students define personalized inquiry question to pursue further?

At the elementary level, I feel that the first scenario would result in a strainer like collapse of understanding. I would also find it difficult for student collaboration to dig deeper in conversation if they were all working within different subject matters.

As such, I hope to continue to grow in my understanding. Im now on the market for a sturdy bucket.

I have some drops to catch.

Ashlee Deairn

Resources that shaped my thinking.

Module 1 Readings

Altman, A. (2014). Skipping Out. Time 183(15): 12.

Coatney, S. (2015). Essential questions and answers for implementing inquiry. School Library Monthly 31(5): 11-13

Stripling, B. K. (2003). Inquiry-based learning. In B. K. Stripling & S. Hughes-Hassell (Eds.), Curriculum connections through the library (pp. 3-39). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Stripling, B. K. (2004). Using inquiry to explode myths about learning and libraries. CSLA Journal 28(1): 15-17.

Stripling, B. K. (2008). Inquiry: Inquiring minds want to know. School Library Media Activities Monthly 25(1): 50-52.

Wiggins, G. (1989). The futility of trying to teach everything of importance. Educational Leadership 47(3): 54-59.

Module 2 Readings

Ekdahl, M., Farquharson, M., Robinson, J. & Turner, L. (2010).                                              Points of Inquiry: A Framework For Information Literacy and The 21st Century Learner. Vancouver, BC: BC Teacher Librarians’ Association (BCTLA) and BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF).

Module 3 Readings

Gainer, J. (2012). Critical thinking: Foundational for digital literacies and democracy. Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 56(1): 14-17.

Knodt, J. S. (2010). Teaching for creativity: Building innovation through open-inquiry learning. School Library Monthly 26(9): 41-44.

Moreillon, J., Luhtala, M. & Russo, C. T. (2001). Learning that sticks: Engaged educators + engaged learners. School Library Monthly 28(1): 17-20.

O’Keefe, P. A. (2014, Sept. 12). Liking work really matters. The New York Times, p. 12.

Robinson, K. (2013). Ken Robinson: How to Escape Education’s Death Valley. TEDTalks. YouTube.

Robinson, K. (2016). How Schools Kill Creativity. TEDTalks. Youtube.

Wassermann, S. (2010). Teaching for THINKING Redux. Phi Delta Kappan 91(5): 81-84.

Whalen, S. P. (1999). Finding flow at school and at home: A conversation with Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi. Journal of Secondary Gifted Education 10(4): 161.

Module 4 Readings

Hamilton, B. J. (2011a). Creating conversations for learning: School libraries as sites of participatory culture. School Library Monthly 27(8): 41-43.

UP, DOWN, and REALLY fast CURVES

My learning journey has been nothing short of a roller coaster ride, packed full of potential and kinetic energy.

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via GIPHY

My ups and downs have been uniquely colourful, especially when attempting to maintain my sanity and level of approachability.

The learning curves have been steep and fast. Yet very rewarding.

I selected this particular roller coaster when a colleague and I had our innovative classrooms project accepted by SET BC. Our goal was to implement the use of iPads in the primary writing program in an attempt to:

1. increase motivation and engagement and

2. make it more accessible for students lacking some of the fundamental writing skills.

We were so excited.

You would have thought this was the first roller coaster we had ever made the height requirement for, and uncle sam just gave us enough money to buy tickets.

Having a burst of courage we quickly ran and bought our tickets. Eeek!

  • We started playing with our own iPads to learn how to use various apps so that when the SET BC ones arrived we would be able to jump right in.

What is it with amusement park ride lines?

They are certainly not very amusing.

Line_waiting_to_ride_on_the_roller_coaster_at_the_amusement_park_8d28117v.jpg

Source: Wikimedia Commons found at goo.gl/GFuZWJ

We went back and forth to that amusement park every day for five months (if you count the two we went over the summer) trying to get on that ride. Each time we got to the front, the park would be closed for the night.

  • Our iPads have just arrived this week from SET BC and are now in processing at our school board office.

As un-amusing this was, I found ways to entertain myself. I started to watch other people ride the coaster. I watched to see how they navigated the drops, curves and loops it sent them. I became so familiar with the clicks and rushing air that my anticipation heightened.

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Source: flickr.com – tenioman, El Toro Roller Coaster found at: goo.gl/SGhn33
  • Frustrated by how long it was taking for SET BC to ship our supplies a bit of our momentum was lost. NOT A GOOD THING WHEN WORKING WITH A ROLLER COASTER. We became very annoyed by the hoop jumping we had to do to meet the expectations they had for us, yet they have yet to meet our expectations in return.
  • Still believing in the value of the plan I read blogs. A lot of them. After a while they started to repeat information. I felt confident I was heading in the right direction. I also took time to really understand who my students were so that I could pair them accordingly for when the iPads arrived. In the meantime, I was teaching myself how to use the apps and started having my students use them. Behaviour issues came to light around who’s turn it was going to be and how “it’s not fair” even when there is a calendar with ALL of their names on it, indicating their times.

I watched so that when it was my turn to come out the other side I would look like a roller coaster riding professional.

Why did this become so important?

More times than not the people coming out the other side were smiling and laughing, and were eagerly waiting to get on the next roller coaster. However, there was always the odd one that came out a hot mess. They were dizzy, confused and well pain and simple covered in puke.

I did not want to make the puke walk of shame.

So I began to ask and question what do I needed to do to come out the other side looking fresh.

  • I read a handful of journal articles that indicated the importance of incorporating technology and  doing so in a way that is organic and not forced.

A few riders indicated that I needed to get in the seat with confidence and determination. I needed to be flexible and fluid and allow my body to move with the roller coaster and not fight against its pull. Being rigid and fixed would result in neck pain and never ending headaches.

Never ending headaches sign me up for that – NOT!

NOTE TO SELF:  Must be confident in approach, flexible and fluid, and allow myself to move with the natural pull. 

Another happy rider indicated that I should think about what I hope to get out of it? He had me question if this was the right ride for me. I was a bit annoyed when he suggested that maybe I should try the tea cups instead. The TEA CUPS REALLY! Who actually wants to go on the TEA CUPS.

My annoyance aside, he had a good point. I need to be sure this was the right ride before I used up my last ticket on something I might not get any benefit from.

NOTE TO SELF: Before getting on know what I hope to get out of the ride.

  • At this stage I reflected on which students I hoped this would most benefit. I had them in mind and planned outward (universal design). Reflecting on this is what defined my search while seeking out different apps for the students to use.

One of the dizzy ones, a little worse for wear but at least better of than puke’a’nator (yes I have been in the line long enough to have nicknamed a few of my favourite displays of gross) indicated that it was important I that have my schedule in order before going on the ride. She was running late, because she hadn’t realized how much time she had actually spent in the line. Once she realized this she spent the whole ride worrying about it making it very un-enjoyable.

NOTE TO SELF: Know what my day is going to look like and if I have time to fit it in and enjoy it. Not just squeeze it in.

Happy riders, dizzy riders, just one more to go and my picture will be complete.

Time to chat up a puker.

Being that she was a bit groggy it was hard for me to really hear what she was saying. She mumbled something about not being prepared, that she had never done anything like this before and that maybe she should have started on the Tea Cups.  Again, with the Tea Cups.

NOTE TO SELF: You don’t need to go on the tea cups. Be prepared, start small and build up your experience.

The picture had been painted I now had a clear vision and the inside scoop.

I had been watching, listening and taking notes. All the while moving closer to the front of the line.

I LEARNED THAT IN ORDER TO UNLOAD FRESH AND FEELIN GOOD YOU MUST

Be confident in your approach, be flexible and fluid, and allow yourself to move with the natural pull.

  • Understand that no amount of planning can ensure that a lesson or activity using technology  will go without a hitch. There are many different things that can go awry problem solve the ones you can control and let the ones you can’t go.

Before getting on, know what you hope to get out of the ride.

  • Using technology in your class should enhance and stretch students learning. It should take the learning beyond what the students can already do. iPads and other forms of technology are not to be implemented to simply do the same task but with a different tool.

Know what the day is going to look like and if you have time to fit it in and enjoy it. Not just squeeze it in.

  • Look at your schedule and know when, where, and how this is all going to fit in to your day. Will the students have opportunities to work on their projects throughout the day or will it have to isolated pockets of time due to device sharing.

You don’t need to go on the tea cups. Be prepared, start small and build up your experience.

  • Start small. Students will have difficulty seeing themselves using the technology if you yourself are nervous and uncomfortable around it. Pick a few apps play with them and master them and then introduce them to your students. Share your new learning with colleagues. It creates a buzz of excitement and often keeps you on track to explore more. A few apps I found to be really easy to learn and use were, Chatter Pix, Tellagami, Explain Everything, Toontastic, Captions (my favourite and theirs), and Skitch. Be sure to practice App Smashing! It sounds fancier than it is – take a product from one app and put it into another to create a new product. Very cool.

It was time to get on the roller coaster. I new what I had to do. Easy to hear about it and read about it, but I knew nothing was going to compare to actually experiencing it and figuring it out myself. So as I approached the height sign, I held my head high, hand over my ticket and climbed into the front seat. Though I was nervous I found the courage and was ready to face this head on.

And I did. It has been one heck of a ride. Take a look for yourself.

Get in line, the ride is waiting for you.

——————————————————————————————————————

WHY MY VISION TOOK THE SHAPE IT DID

My vision project was to create a presentation to share with my colleagues about which apps are available to use in their writing and storytelling program. It was my hope to do this using samples of my students work using the iPads SET BC was going to send us. Sadly I found that I did not have nearly enough samples to do just that, and the ones I found online were not ones I was allowed to borrow. When I was playing around with the various apps I found that my colleagues regularly gave me a smudged up confused face while I described how I was combining the various apps to create an “app smashed” product. That’s when my vision changed. I would create a short video that describes my journey using the same tools that my students have started to learn. I would create it by combining multiple apps to create one cohesive presentation. And I did!

Every aspect of this video I had to teach myself how to do, and now I am taking my video to school to show my colleagues how they too can use them.

I have already shown parts of my video to some of my colleagues, and they now understand what I am now talking about when I say “App Smash”. I plan on holding to my original plan and have tucked it away for a later date (end of the school year). This way I will have more time to collect a variety of samples and make the video I had originally intended. All I need now is for the District office to release my tools so we can truly start creating.

These are the key sources that inspired my vision project along the way:

Coskie, T. L., & Michelle Hornof, M. (2013). E-BEST principles: Infusing technology into the writing workshop. The Reading Teacher, 67(1), 54–58. doi:10.1002/trtr.1189

Chaffey, L. (2016). Digital storytelling Retrieved from http://ictwithmissc.weebly.com/digital-storytelling.html

Hicks, T., & Hawley Turner, K. (2013). No longer a luxury: Digital literacy can’t wait. English Journal, 102(6), 58–65.

Hutchison, A., Beschorner, B., & Schmidt-Crawford, D. (2012). Exploring the use of the iPad for literacy learning. The Reading Teacher, 66(1), 15–23. doi:10.1002/trtr.01090

Lirenman, K. (2013, August 5). Using an iPad in grade One – more ideas One year later Retrieved from http://www.klirenman.com/2013/08/using-ipad-in-grade-one-more-ideas-one.html

Mango, O. (2015). iPad use and student engagement in the classroom. TOJET the Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 14(1), 53–57.

Morgan, H. (2014). Using digital story projects to help students improve in reading and writing. Reading Improvement, 51(1), 20–26.

Northrop, L., & Killeen, E. (2013). A framework for using iPads to build early literacy skills. The Reading Teacher, 66(7), 531–537. doi:10.1002/trtr.1155

Schrock, K. (2013, November 20). IPads in the classroom. Retrieved October 3, 2016, from Kathy Schrock’s iPads4teaching, http://www.ipads4teaching.net/ipads-in-the-classroom.html

Zigmond, M. (2016). App smashing – Zig Zagging. Retrieved November 15, 2016, from http://www.zigzagstech.com/app-smashing

These are the Video and Image Sources I used in the creation of my iMovie:

brownpau (2011). Lightning Racer (Thunder rail), Hersheypark roller coaster (You-Vision video glasses) Retrieved from http://goo.gl/JKDpB2

brownpau. (2013b). Lightning Racer tracks. Retrieved 28 November 2016, from http://goo.gl/VMn0TE

Chan, M. (2011). Wooden roller coaster. Retrieved 3 December 2016, from http://goo.gl/eoxzMS

Clarkmaxwell (2016, November 30). VIDEO – backyard roller coaster. Retrieved from goo.gl/tzdtoF

emilydickinsonridesabmx. (2011). “You must be 54’ to ride the Cyclone.” Retrieved 30 November 2016, from goo.gl/BjcF0b

Vought, S. (2008). Fun forest (7 of 27). Retrieved 28 November 2016, from http://goo.gl/EUBZTs

These are the apps I used in the creation of my iMovie:

Tellagami, Word Cloud, Explain Everything, Skitch and Chatter Pix

Proud to be wearing RED and WHITE

You’re thinking about this now aren’t you.

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Source: Flickr.com

Sad to say it, but you’d be wrong.img_0571

Its okay, take the bait and see this one through.

You might even find that our jobs put us in some of the same situations.

Do you ever feel this way?

If yes, the you and I might have a lot more in common than I initially thought.

I drift…

Take a look at this and I think you can agree that our jobs do have somethings in common.

Bobbers:

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Hmmm. Interesting.

Now lets look at the educators word cloud.

Educators:

img_0560

Well ya don’t say!

I bet you were able to attach a few of those words to parts of your workday.

Bobbers have a very important job. We do get subjected to some unusual situations. Just last week I found myself rolling around in places far from my nice little spot in the tackle box. I also felt like I was being hung out to dry, and not in the preferred way! I bet you have had these days too. I find that I do my best thinking when Im out of the comfort of the tackle box.

That makes me think of this one time…

It all started with a flick of the wrist. I am always sent in different directions.

Some good…

Hazards of the job!

So here’s Ashlee, flicking away.

Sending me this way and that, all in attempt to get a bunch of fish for some project she is doing.

We are a pretty good team her and I, however for this undertaking and timeline, we clearly needed more rods (iPads), and a bunch highly energetic students. Having only the one rod, Ashlee kept hurling me out there, trying to pull in as many fish as we could.

And… in her haste, she dumps me in a tree.

(NOT THE FIRST TIME BY THE WAY)

PROBLEM!

NOW WHAT?

I wait

and wait

and wait.

Dangling away, I was struck by a plan.

Step 1: Get me out of the tree.

Step 2: Continue to use the worms and the one rod Ashlee has, to catch (teacher made samples) all the fish ourselves. Then all we have to do is explain to the tackle how we did it.

Hopefully that will be convincing enough to show that it is possible for students to catch fish with the right worm.

Not ideal, but at least some sort of solution had been found.

So I thought.

It was quickly derailed by my pal Barbless.

Not sure why I always have to be attached to that guy.

He didn’t think it would work.

He even went as far to suggest that the rest of the tackle would say something like this:

Now what!?

Ashlee thought maybe we should just talk about one of the worms (iPad writing and story telling apps).

“No, that just won’t do!”

Reflecting back I probably shouldn’t have said it as forceful as I did. Considering I needed her to get me out of the tree.

I reminder her that:

“If I have to share my spot in the tackle box next to that whole CAN OF WORMS they all need to be mentioned.”

And so…

In a moment of despair…

Barbless and I looked down.

And to our surprise, we met this guy:

PERFECT!

Seek out the fishing experts who have a bunch of rods, years of experience and have tried a variety of worms. It was very lucky he could tell us where to find the fish.

Our initial problem had been solved.

Now all we have to do is battle with this tree (iMovie software and compiling samples to make a presentation).
While I’ve been telling you this story, Ashlee has been watching others successfully cast away (youtube videos on how to create an iMovie). I think once I am out of this tree I won’t be back for a while.

Thanks for bobbing along.

A REEL EXPERT CAN TACKLE ANYTHING. LETS GO FISHING

——— This Blog ———

Stretching my thinking and practice for my vision project.

–> Showing colleagues what students can do with iPads in the area of writing and story telling, and how the use of the technology can enhance the story/ work.

–> Vision of my Project, combine samples of student work that has been created through these applications into one cohesive presentation using the iMovie platform.

Apps I used for this blog:

Word Cloud, Captions, ChatterPix, Toontastic (below). I also created a youtube account so I could post the ChatterPix I made. I played with Handbrake to optimize my little wee videos not because they needed it but so I could simply give it a try.

I am now thinking I should have done an AppSmash where I put the Captions Comic into ChatterPix. Next time!

I feel more like a fishing bobber than I think I can eloquently explain. I had started writing this blog with a much more serious undertone and then when I started experimenting with the apps, it took a drastically different turn. I was not ready to part with the theme, however, so I apologize if it felt forced.

I SHALL LEAVE YOU WITH A SPLASH OF HUMOUR.

Cheers Ashlee

A fun little cartoon I made while learning how to use Toontastic.
It is a tad silly. I didn’t know I could move the characters around until halfway through.

Point!

What am I doing?

  • implementing the use of iPads with emergent primary writers (Grade 1)
  • having students use various story telling and writing apps

Why am I doing it?

  • to make the writing process more accessible to emergent writers
  • to increase motivation and engagement

My Motivator:

In October I conducted our district wide write assessment. After an extensive pre writing process (imaging, partner talk, coaching cards – you name it) and the combined total of 40min. of independent writing time, I had 6 students hand in completely blank writing pages.  Okay fair enough, it is the beginning of Grade One after all, thats not terrible. Therefore I can let myself “accept” these submissions as the students baseline and move the learning forward. Then when curiosity (which I have been know to have and still survive) hits and I give the student an iPad, and what they submit slams on the breaks and stops me in my preconceived tracks. “Accept” is no longer and option. I am unable to “accept” work that has been submitted when my student has demonstrated that they have capacity to complete the task when given the right set of tools.

My Students writing sample before having access to the iPad.

After

I took the students image and uploaded it into the app called captions.

img_0485

This sample of writing (which the STUDENT did on the iPad) clearly demonstrates they have a greater understanding of written language. A far better understanding than what was demonstrated with the good old paper and pencil approach.

Rationale Behind My Project:

The use of the iPads enhances learning and improves the CHANCES FOR STUDENT SUCCESS.

In my experience, as well as outlined in a number of readings, the assistance of technology in the area of writing has either eliminated or reduce inhibitors such as fine motor skills, and sound/ letter/ word retrieval among others. Thus making the writing process more accessible, engaging and motivating.

Who will benefit from this exploration and project? Who is the intended audience?

  • my studentsimg_0481
  • my colleagues
  • myself

What does my presentation need to include to benefit all of those outlined?

  • an outline of how I incorporated the iPads use in my daily schedule, what struggles were encountered
  • what supports I needed to be successful in their implementation
  • how many iPads were used in the class
  • the routines, rules and expectations around the use of the iPads that were put in place
  • a list of applications that were used.
  • an outline indicating the various apps enhanced/ improved the learning condition for the student and the teacher.

img_0477

Teaching myself how to use the captions app

Where I am still struggling?

  • compiling it all into one seamless presentation that will meet my three Es; ENGAGING, EFFECTIVE, EMPOWERING.

What has been beneficial so far?

Playing with, and learning how to navigate the various programs. Some of the products have been down right hilarious.  As a result, I have at times, become a tad too engaged and lets face it simply off task. I think Im a little bit more like my dog than Id like to admit!

Oh well, the adventure is always fun in between. Even though it sometimes takes us a tad longer to get there.

POINT!

…and I’m animated…BOOYA

This particular blog post doesn’t follow my usual format and style mostly because I just keep on learning.

Sadly this learning seems to be occurring mostly by default as I struggle and plug along to  teach myself first.

Good thing I am a teacher. Otherwise who knows how long this might have taken.

I fear this blog won’t be hitting the 250-300 TYPED word range but I think I may have made the mark by allowing myself to represent my learning in a new way. See ya’ later old school pen and paper. Im taking it 21st century style.

Are we excited….. heck yes we are!

UNTIL…..

It hiccups like crazy, the videos stall out, you accidentally hit the home button and          BUH-BYE  goes the best attempt yet and you have to physically restrain yourself from smashing the iPad, all followed by the whisper and muttering of “I should have just wrote it down like I normally do.”

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I felt a wee bit like this. I just had a tad more… self-control? Sanity…?

I digress…

This blog touches on my need to become proficient in the use of the technology I expect my students to use. Only when I become proficient and confident in using it, will my learners be able to. This was a common thread throughout my readings.

Now don’t get too excited they certainly aren’t hollywood production quality but it is a format new to me, and it took me a long time to research how to get the emded code so that you my lovely readers might actually be able to see my attempts. Ha! I won’t even tell you how many times I recorded and re-recorded it. True to nature I still don’t love it. Something about listening to your own voice recorded is oh so very strange and borderline awful. Incase they hiccup like crazy, like they did in my editing window, I have put the address where they are stored under the embed code so that you may go to them directly. For the amount of time I invested in finding the embed code – IT BETTER WORK!

I fear once I post, the files will be too large and you will have to bounce back and forth. Sorry about that.

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Urban Dictionary for the win!

booya 

“Bam!”, “in your face”, and “hell yeah”, all at the same time. A term that self-congratulates, describes excitement, lets others know the magnificence of the celebration as well as the superiority of the user, and is used as an exclamation of those ideas.

Tides are Changing

The rains are falling.

Tides are changing.

A stone has been tossed and the ripples have been sent.

The question now, will I withstand the rain?  Will my ripple meet the ocean? Will I change the tide?

 

I’m holding on to what I love = Teaching = she’s holding on to me

When the rain came, it washed us out to sea. 

I’m holding what I love, she’s holding on to me.

I feel like I have been inundated with a flood of information and demands for change. As it pours down it blurs the lines of what I once deemed best practice. As all objects do, they stand steadfast against the currents and erosive powers of the water. But as fate always has it, the water slowly chips away and weakens the footings. The sand beneath my feet is being lapped away. If I am going to keep my head above the water, I need to change my practices, especially in the area of digital literacies.

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At times I feel like I have almost drowned myself in frustrations of “what now?” and “how am I supposed to do that?” However, as the sand quickly slipped away I began to tread. I have kept my head above the water holding on to what I love the most. I love my students, I love to teach. I hold on to the need to equip them with the skills they will need to survive THEIR future swells.

As such,

It’s no surprise it brought me to my knees.

You’re never really ready,

you’re ready as can be.

How frustrating it is! Having the desire and understanding that change needs to be made but not knowing where to begin, or thinking that you’re not knowledgeable enough, trained or supported enough to take the risk.

And yet….

also deep down knowing that there will never be the exact right time, or the perfect amount of training. To wait for another moment in time is ridiculous. Knowing that at the rate things change, right now, you truly are as ready as you’re ever going to be.

And so, as

the sun was coming up we were sifting through the sand.

Looking for the pieces of our broken plans.

I reflect on my project and the waves of inquiry come crashing down on the shores of my understanding.

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My inquiry project: to explore how I can incorporate meaningful and intentional uses of technology to increase motivation and engagement amongst emergent grade one writers that demonstrate a diverse set of learning needs.

I chose this as my inquiry project as I had been approved in June for a SET-BC innovative classroom based project trying to do just that – engage and motivate emergent grade one writers.  iPads were put on loan and the first step towards making the necessary changes around digital literacy was made.

The timing couldn’t have been better.

So I thought.

Caught up in a riptide I began to sink.

The iPads have yet to show up!

Time to decide.

Continue to swim with the current even though it is going away from the beach. Or stop kicking and give in.

My legs are getting tired, but they haven’t stopped yet.

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As I look at the broken pieces of my plan, I have found my crutch. A crutch I have noticed many of us who fear change hold on to. Limited resources.

My readings have shown me that there are many countries without any resources. Surely, I can achieve something with LIMITED.

Its gonna take a while, we’re gonna get it back.

We gotta carry on darling, we were built to last.

Water always chooses the path of least resistance. I do not. I am built to last. My goal is built to last. It is going to take some time to navigate the waters and find comfort in them. Not to mention catch my breath after all this kicking.

However, through my networks, and our networks WE ARE going to get it back (sense of control and direction).

In the meantime, I remember that,

changing tides, baby thats the hardest part of life.

hold me tight, and we will move as one in the changing tides.

If we support each other and take the risks in putting ourselves out there. We will begin to move with the change instead of being pulled under by the tides.

theres no doubt the beauty that we see,

following the path so much older than we.

Lovers built it with their hands, walked it with their feet,

above the raging waters and the darkness underneath.

Though I am finding the change difficult I support the literature in that it emphasizes the use of technology in the classroom. I also reflect on the changes my colleagues and profession has endured long before I was deposited in this ocean. Through networks, and risk taking we are always able to find the beauty that makes the struggle worth it in the end. There are always going to be things we cannot control and it is important to seek outwardly to find ways to best enhance the things that you can.

I am going to hold tight!

I am determined to seek and develop networks to help me move as one.

Together it is my hope that instead of floating and moving with the tides, we will be the force that changes the tide.

All it takes is one drop, one ripple…

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Let the tides change.

 

keep your head IN the clouds.

Clouds.

No matter where you are on Earth you can find them in some capacity.

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Clouds open the mind to creativity and hold a world of opportunity.

You just never know what your going to see, find, or do when your are working with clouds.

Clouds are also very interesting in that they can take different forms. They can span what seems to be a continuous blanket covering multiple communities, connecting everyone under the same conditions. Or they are simply dotted across the sky in isolated pockets.

Sometimes…

they are nowhere to be found.

They are always changing.

They influence peoples actions.

They are essential.

They can literally cause waves of change.

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They need to be embraced and honoured for the power they hold.

Sugata Mitra, he understands the power of the clouds. He even argues that we should “Build a School in the Cloud.”

After watching Sugata Mitra’s TedTalk it is apparent that mobile devices do belong in our learning commons and in the hands of those in rural communities and developing nations. Though Sugata’s video demonstrated the use of hardwired computers, it is the access to the cloud of information and world wide connectivity that makes integrating mobile devices so important.

This rings true wherever you are.

Stop watching the clouds float by.

Pull them down and start putting them into hands.

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It is important to know that wherever you go, you will never see the exact same cloud formation. The use, style, and format will be very different. Though this does not level the playing field it is a step in the right direction.

Blogger and research Wayne Kelly, reiterates this point when he reviewed and highlighted Cyrus Farivar’s book the Internet of Elsewhere.

He states that “the development and more importantly the application of the Internet is shaped by its locale and context. Different Countries = Different Internet Profiles.”

Thus creating different uses and endless opportunity.

He further goes on to highlight that “Different Communities = Different Internet Reality. To develop effective connectivity and adaptation of the Internet in rural communities, it is necessary to understand the community and its users. Understanding community characteristics and working with community residents to determine how they might use the Internet helps to increase the effectiveness of Internet infrastructure, skills and applications. The example below is one that sits closer to home. Looking at rural communities.

The Gold Trail School District in B.C. has done just that.

Connected Classrooms in Gold Trail School District in British Columbia from Rural Teachers on Vimeo.

A successful use of mobile devices and technology. The need for relationship building and accessing living libraries from surrounding community members was needed and achieved. Those implementing the use took the time to understand the characteristics of the members involved. The power that was given to the young man at the end – fantastic!

Every cloud has the potential and ability to rumble.

According to Wayne Kelly, “digital planning in many rural communities (tends to) stop with achieving general connectivity, while communities should be developing specific digital plans that meets their infrastructure, skill and application goals.”

Furthermore, ITU Committed to Connecting the World states that, “telecommunication services are driven by technological and economic considerations. Setting up backhaul connectivity remains a high-cost exercise. Erratic power supply or a complete lack of energy sources is a major barrier…and…The requirement to maintain sufficient backup systems raises operational costs substantially.”

An article titled, Rural Public Libraries and Digital Inclusion: Issues and Challenges also speaks to the raincloud that follows the use of mobile devices. They also mention the difficulty in creating infrastructure to support broadband internet access in sparsely populated areas, as well as suggest problems surrounding slower connections speeds and less available digital training.

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Cost (infrastructure/ devices), power sources and profitability margins tend to be the hurricane cloud base that are standing in the way.  Sadly, the rural communities and the developing nations of the world have yet to find the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow to rectify these challenges.

Therefore, they look for the silver lining instead.

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These include, government intervention initiatives and grants for libraries to be digitally inclusive (developed nations), and the creation of devices like the BRCK and the kiokit for developing nations. These developments came from understanding the members who would be using it and the need that needed to be addressed.

http://www.brck.com

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As our nations continue to trouble shoot these barriers, it becomes ever more apparent that the use of mobile devices within the education arena (whatever that arena look like) is a necessity.

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We need to stop listening to our grandma’s and mom’s and start “leave our heads IN the clouds.”

Man jump

Man jump through the gap. Element of design.

As long as we have the clouds and the ability connect we will be able to bridge the gap, and help all of our nations be active members of the knowledge-based economy.

Take the leap and stay in the clouds!

Cheers Ashlee

1 Wireless backhaul is the use of wireless communications systems to get data from an end user to a node in a major network such as the Internet or the proprietary network of a large business, academic institution or government agency.

Reference

Eng, K., & Walters, H. (2014, November 7). A rugged, mobile wifi device brings the web to schools in Africa and beyond, thanks to this TED fellow Retrieved from http://blog.ted.com/a-rugged-mobile-wifi-device-brings-the-web-to-schools-in-africa-and-beyond/

Kelly, W. (2011). “The Internet of Elsewhere” works for countries – how about communities? Retrieved from http://ruraldevelopmentresearch.blogspot.ca

Kelly, W. (2059, August 16). Ingredients for e-ready communities Retrieved from http://ruraldevelopmentresearch.blogspot.ca/2012/02/ingredients-for-e-ready-communities.html

Muñoz-Reyes P., M. C. (2014). Bridging the digital and knowledge gap in rural communities through mobile learning. wise ed.review. Retrieved 29 October 2016, from http://www.wise-qatar.org/mobile-learning-rural-communities

Real, B., Bertot, J. C., & Jaeger, P. T. (2014). Rural public libraries and digital inclusion: Issues and challenges. Information Technology and Libraries, 33(1), 6. doi:10.6017/ital.v33i1.5141

Rugged, portable WiFi Hotspot & battery Extender. (2016). Retrieved October 29, 2016, from http://www.brck.com

TED (2013, February 27). Sugata Mitra: Build a school in the cloud Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y3jYVe1RGaU