DoWn The RaBBiT HOle

After spending “at least one hour” (turned into many more) searching for resources that would hopefully support and very possibly debunk my inquiry topic, I ended my session feeling very much like I had fallen down Alice in Wonderlands rabbit hole.

tumblr_lkms0kj0qw1qhc137o1_500

I came out the other end feeling as dazed and confused as poor Alice. I think my keywords were well selected. However I wanted to try something new. Maybe I should have taken a hint from Alice and not bite off more than I could handle. My search shot up and down, this way, and that. My keywords and phrase were both too small and too big. I found that some keywords limited the search too much and some not enough. In addition to taking risks, go Alice go, I tried to find some good leads on TED Talks, and Twitter, and YouTube. Boy was that helpful. Not!

I must clarify that I did come across some fantastic thinking along the way, however I was taken so far off track it was ridiculous.

lost-alice

In Twitter I came across the lovely hashtag #makewriting. From here my search in twitter went like this: make writing —> maker space —> digital portfolio —> sharing writing —> engagement. All of these searches provided a hint of a direction, but none of them really showed me the way. Yet I persisted and found a few resources that may just help me along the way.

One resource I stumbled upon was a short post on the use of iPad in a grade one classroom. You can find the post by clicking the link below.

http://digitallearning.cdnis.edu.hk/2015/09/25/ipads-in-action/

I found this post, helpful because it made catching the the “white rabbit” (my inquiry topic) a possibility. In this post, it mentioned how iPads can be used “to develop digital literacy skills and learning outcomes that were previously unattainable.” Though the site does not offer a lot of information, it was the first bit of information I came across that reassured me I hadn’t fallen down this crazy rabbit hole for nothing.

Another resource I find useful is the website http://teachthought.com                                     I will definitely use this site again and again.The posts are well categorized and the site is easy to navigate. In addition, all of the posts are quick to read and packed with information that I see myself being able to  implement in my learning/ teaching environments.

While on this site I came across a bunch of different articles.  One post that caught my eye was written by Terry Heick titled 13 Very Different Tools To Help Students Find Their Voice (May 2, 2014). I was drawn to this post as a result of this particular quote: “This (correctly) implies that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for students to express themselves and interact with the world. You can indeed insist that all students blog because, from your perspective, it sounds justifiable and beneficial, but if the goal is to help students find their own voice, they will need choices.” As I take my tumble down the rabbit hole, I am coming to realize just how much teaching really does need to change. I guess you could say I have finally bumped into my Queen of Hearts, with her “Off with their head!” remark when things are not done her way. The old way.

tumblr_nkcyfegqdb1rawb5do4_500

My inquiry topic is to explore how I can incorporate meaningful, intentional uses of technology to improve student learning in the area of writing. If I am going to achieve this inquiry project, I am going to have to face the “Queen of Hearts”engrained in my teaching practices and collapse her commanding reign. I need to help my students find their own voice, and do so by introducing a variety of platforms they can choose from.

I recommend this website to others, as there are a variety of topics on this site.

Another resource I found helpful was the good old trusty English Journal. I did have to dust this one off a bit. In Vol. 102 No. 6 of the July 2013 English Journal I read an article titled No Longer a Luxury: Digital Literacy Can’t Wait written by Troy Hicks and Kirsten Hawley Turner. In their article they stressed the importance of understanding that “digital literacy is about more that just adding technology into the teaching we already do (pg.60).” It strongly states that we as teachers must embrace the way technology is interwoven throughout our lives. We need to become familiar with the various programs ourselves. The classroom applications referenced in this article are directed more towards a high school audience. However, I found that I am able to apply the big ideas to my primary setting. The hiccup I have with this article, is when it come to selecting age appropriate programs for primary learners, and knowing/ understanding how to go about implementing their use. Where to start?! I need to learn and refine my understanding of which skills and sub skills are required to successfully implement writing/ story telling technology for primary students. I think I just stumbled upon a new key search query.

The last resource I’m going to mention is the twitter feed @BookCreatorApp. While browsing this feed, I found a variety of posts outlining how the app opened up writing avenues for students. It spoke of engagement, motivation, and connectivity, all of which I am looking to bring to my learners and our learning environment. It also outlined how to introduce the app to your class. Thus making the “where to start” less daunting. I will continue to seek out other twitter feeds for similar platforms and apps. Especially since I have found that I no longer wish to be The Queen of Hearts.

I guess this rabbit hole wasn’t so bad after all.

Sincerely, Alice  (Aka Ashlee)

One of my random but very exciting finds was BLOXELS! Have you ever heard of BLOXELS? My guess is yes, as you probably don’t live under a rock like I have been. If you haven’t I suggest you check it out.

www.bloxelsbuilder.com/

 

Advertisements

Curiosity doesn’t always have to kill the cat.

In this particular situation I guess I’m the cat. I don’t think my curiosities will “kill” me, however they may drag me through the ringer a few times, especially as I explore my wonderings and create new perceptions. What am I interested in? What do I wonder? I have so many wonders. At times my brain feels void of wonderings, mostly because so many build up in there my brain goes numb to all of the “hmmm?” going on.

I am however going to try and narrow it down to one. HA! I know – good luck you say. I recently read ‘What is educational technology, anyway? A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field‘ authored by Denis Hlynka and Michele Jacobsen. The article opens by saying “we are in a rush to incorporate new technology into teaching-learning situations on campus and in schools.” Isn’t that the truth. Sadly, I find that for many of us, our understanding on how to incorporate new technology meaningfully seems to be amiss. Too often as educators we are thrown the buzz phrases and new trends and told to dance. Sadly, I never look as cute as the little money wearing a vest holding the small coin cup. My approach is a tad more spastic and considerably haphazard in nature.

organ_grinder_with_monkey

Image: saved from skagwayfolklore.blogspot.com

As an educator, how we manage the little time we have should not have anything to do with the descriptors spastic and haphazard. So as I explore my wonderings, my goal is to replace ‘spastic’ with ‘intentional’ and ‘haphazard’ with ‘methodical’.

In Hlynka and Jacobsen article they inserted a quote pulled from the article ‘Educational Technology: A definition with commentary (2008)‘ written by A. Januszewski and M. Molenda.  The quote they used outlined the new definition of Educational Technology. This definition can also be found with a simple Google search. It states that “Educational technology is the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.”

When I read this, one of the “hmmmm’s?” in my brain sounded a tad more prominent than the rest. It grew even louder when I continued reading and read how Hlynka and Jacobsen broke the definition down into its parts. “The purpose of educational technology is facilitating learning by improving performance.” Technology in our classrooms and learning commons should not be there so that I can simply hand my students a device with a fun app (where the spastic and haphazard comes in). It needs to be far more meaningful than that. It must improve performance and students understanding of whatever competency they are exploring.

I have a few YODA’s in my corner of the education ring, that resonate the very wise statement “pick one thing and do it well”. I want to explore how I can incorporate meaningful, intentional uses of technology to improve student learning in the area of writing. More specifically, for my grade one emergent writers that demonstrate such a diverse set of learning needs.

Meow….for now

  • Dearin

————————————————————————

This is where I will being my topic exploration.

Keywords/ phrases:

digital literacy and writing, digital text, digital portfolios, engaging learners through the use of technology, software/ platforms to support emergent writers (clicker 6, CoWriter, Kurzweil, Solo6, Moviemakers, Photo story, Book creator), Multimodal literacy

Online Resources/ Articles:

Handbook of Emerging Technologies for Learning – George Siemens, Peter Tittenberger, March 2009

BC Ministry of Education Digital Literacies

The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies

————————————————————————–

If you have any others suggestions send them my way. It really would be very helpful.

References:

Hlynka, D., & Jacobsen, M. (2009). What is educational technology, anyway? A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology/ La revue canadienne de l’apprentissage et de la technology, 35(2).

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (2008). Definition. In A. Januszewski and M. Molenda (Eds.), Educational Technology: A definition with commentary. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Where the journey begins

Hello classmates and strangers!

I have created this blog as part of a class requirement, so I’m not really sure of the life it is going to take on. Hopefully it won’t be one of misery and sadness. Being honest (sometimes to a fault), had it not been for this class I probably would have never created one, so I fear my dear readers it may be a tad painful at times. I promise that I will try my very best. Either way, this technological journey of mine is underway. Wish me luck!