Where will I find the time for social media?

On the crusade for some great blogs to add to my blog wall, I came across ‘Mrs Hargreaves’ ICT learning journery’.  A blog post written by a fellow EDC3100 peer, Mrs Hargreaves hooked me right from the start.  The title ‘A classroom Twitter Wall’ spoke about how a teacher known to her had successfully integrated twitter (social media) in the classroom.  I particularly liked the idea of having students tweet about experiences in the classroom.  In this instance, social media use was quite controlled (specific times of the day), yet open in that they could tweet about various classroom learning activities or things of interest.

I must be honest, I have never used social media in the classroom.  My initial concerns were, how would I do this and is it even possible in a classroom environment?  Relying on the PLN I have been developing on twitter, I put it out there and asked, for the sharing of twitter integration in primary classrooms.  To my surprise, some kind people conducted a google search to show me ways I could integrate twitter in the classroom.  Check out some of this ideas and the conversation by clicking on the twitter conversation below:

The post ‘A classroom Twitter Wall‘, got me thinking about my use of social media.  Being a mother to two young children and studying 3 subjects, one being ICT, I was left to wonder how could I find time for social media?  The question was, what could I do to make it easier for me to continue to build my personal learning network (PLN) via social media?  This is where social media in itself was extremely valuable.  While I was on twitter, I stumbled across a link to ‘The Busy Person’s Guide to Social Media’, tweeted by Edudemic.  The ‘reach out to others‘ technique caught my eye.  Here it mentioned in the beginning to connect with people on twitter and not wait for them to come to you (hence, building a PLN).  The section on ‘watering your plants’ talked about finding a balance, don’t leave it alone for two months and expect it to survive and don’t overexpose yourself.

After doing some further course reading and being prompted to use Google reader to manage RSS feeds, I Created a Google reader account.  This way at the end of each day, I can go through the feeds and look at those of interest or importance and leaves those deemed as ‘not as important’.

In my eyes, social media is a great tool that can be used in the classroom and on a personal level.  For me it will be important to regularly stay in touch with my PLN and evaluate the usefulness of posts that come through my Google reader.

Already I can see the power of a strong PLN, the connections and sharing of information is irreplaceable.  Where do you think I got the instructions and idea of creating a blog roll?  This was kindly mentioned on our EDC3100 Facebook group.  This is a good example of how I have used my PLN to source information.  I think with some time dedicated to social media each day and some careful analysis, I can simultaneously build a PLN and the skills to implement it in the classroom.

 

Planning my development by using the ‘Stages of teacher development’

I have just viewed the ‘Stages of teacher development’ (Finger, Russell, Jamieson-Proctor & Russell, 2007) and currently I position myself at the beginning of the ‘Investigation stage’.  This stage is defined as developing ICT interests, where the teacher takes actions to fulfill such interests  (Finger et al., 2007).

To reflect on this further, I need to ask and answer the below question:

Q. What is my level of interest (or perhaps fear) about the use of ICT’s in teaching?

A.  My learning journey in EDC3100 thus far, has encouraged a genuine interest in ICT’s and how I can best use them in a classroom setting.  I feel I am yet to take the ‘steps’ needed to fulfill such interests.  I am using the course learning activities to expand my knowledge of various ICT’s and slowly discovering how to best integrate them into a classroom setting.  However, I have to admit I also am fearful of what lies ahead.  One of my biggest fears is the unknown.  I have been told my practicum teacher is very knowledgeable in ICT’s and integrates them regularly in her teaching and with a 6/7 composite, I am worried that I may already lag behind the students.  Will they know more then me?  Will I be unfamiliar with the ICT tools that they are currently using?  How can I be sure to fulfill my ICT interests?

This being said, according to the EDC3100 professional experience requirements, I am needing to progress towards the ‘Application stage’ and beyond if possible.  With this in sight, I need to be aware of what the ‘Application stage’ entails.  Finger et al. (2007) define the application stage as competent and confident regular application of ICT’s.

To move towards this stage I need to ask and answer the below question:

Q. What do I need to know in order to be able to “competently and confidently” use ICT’s with my students?

A.  The things I need to do:

  • Fulfill my genuine interest in ICT’s – How can I apply my developing interests?  Where can I use my developing interests?  Can I practice using any of these tools?
  • Solve my fears by finding out more about the classroom context (the unknown) – What prior experiences do the students (in my practicum class) have with ICT’s?  What is my mentor’s views on the integration of ICT’s in the classroom?  Are the students novice ICT users?  How much time is currently used to integrate ICT’s?
  • Complete a The Computer Practice Framework (CPF) (Twinning, 2002) of a typical day in my practicum class
  • Analyse this CPF (Twinning, 2002) diagram to assist me to answer the above questions
  • Utilise connections I have developed in my PLN to share information, ideas and to gain support

While it appears I have a lot to consider and think about to develop and move towards the ‘Application stage’, I do have two things going for me:

  1. I have an interest in ICT’s and have managed to bypass the ‘Inaction stage’ (no interest in ICT’s)
  2. I have a growth mindset and am ready for a challenge and any obstacles that may come my way

References

Finger, G., Russell, G., Jamieson-Proctor, R., & Russell, N. (2007). Transforming learning with ICT: Making it happen. Frenchs Forest, NSW Australia: Pearson Education Australia.

Twining, P. (2002). Conceptualising computer use in education: introducing the Computer Practice Framework (CPF). British Educational Research Journal, 28(1), 95–110. doi:10.1080/0141192012010977

The limitations of ICT’s

Well I think I have found a limitation of ICT’s.  While there are a plethora of free platforms available to use, there are also various platforms that I have come across during my learning journey that I would like to use, however have steered away from due to an associated cost.  When selecting Voki to do my introduction, an attraction of this tool, was that I could use it and not have to pay an additional cost.  It was able to meet my needs without an additional subscription.

A post on a fellow peers blog; ‘Keeping up with the times‘ got me thinking.  On this blog, Michelle wrote about the ease of Animoto and how it had allowed her to create a free 30 second video.  Had the video been longer than 30 seconds she would have had to upgrade her membership.  In some ways I see this as a limitation.  Had Michelle of had the option of creating a longer video for free, would her Animoto been longer than 30 seconds?  What she has done looks great, I just wonder whether had she of had the free option of creating a longer video whether she would have jumped at the chance.  This is something I will ask her over at her blog, which you can see here.  I have discovered that a lot of ICT tools tend to have free snippets of their platforms, however when it comes to things like more recording time or additional scenes etc. this requires a ‘premium’ membership with an associated cost.

On a personal level, I have been unable to embed video’s and clips into my Edublog.  The reason for this is I have not upgraded to a Pro subscription.  To do this I would need to pay an associated cost, which I have done before for other ICT platforms, however being a University student with no income, I need to be selective in which platforms I choose to upgrade.  However where there is a will there is a way.  As an alternative I have taken a screenshot of particular video’s and tweets I would have liked to embed (had I of subscribed to pro) and have instead pasted them into word and uploaded them as a jpeg.  I then have uploaded the image and attached a link directly to my video or tweet picture.  This has managed to ‘pretty’ up my blog, and created an alternative.  Not quite what I intended but never the less a better alternative then just adding a ‘boring’ looking link.

I have just recently tweeted a similar comment, in regards to the limitations of ICT’s due to associated costs.   Click on the image below to join in the conversation.  I look forward to hearing your experiences (both positive and negative) with ICT’s and associated costs imposed.

 

The things that ICT’s allow us to do, using my PLN to build a collaborative list

As a result of reading two worthwhile readings that both go on to define the operations that ICT’s allow the user to perform, I have decided to create a list that describes the various operations on information that electronic tools allow us to do.  Please feel free to comment below with any additional operations and I will add them to my blog list.

If you are interested in reading about how these operations on information can be used by utilising electronic tools please click on the links below the references heading.

I have also stumbled across an excellent post titled ‘8 Ways Technology is Improving Education’ (Kessler, 2010).  It lists the benefits of using technology in the classroom and lists some great platforms to do so.

I would like to thank the following people for kindly contributing to my ICT operations list, your input is greatly appreciated.

  1. Emma Smolenaers

References

Anderson, J. (2010). ICT Transforming Education: A Regional Guide. UNESCO Bangkok. Bangkok, Thailand.

Kessler, S. (2010). 8 Ways Technology is Improving Education [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/11/22/technology-in-education/

Lloyd, M. (2005). Towards a definition of the integration of ICT in the classroom. In AARE’05 Education Research – Creative Dissent: Constructive Solutions. Parramatta, New South Wales.

Do you want an easy platform to create a speaking avatar?

Well if you are looking for a relatively easy platform to use that is capable of creating speaking avatars, look no further than Voki.  I must admit, I had used similar programs such as Xtranormal, but wanted to try something new.

I feel creating my Voki was successful largely due to the fact that I was able to transfer knowledge of using a similar platform to the Voki.  Using my knowledge from creating various Xtranormal video’s, I applied this to the Voki.  For me, this cemented that in a classroom, students should be prompted where possible to transfer learning from various ICT platforms to assist them when attempting to use new platforms.

You might be thinking, well I don’t have any prior experience using a text to speech program, so can I use Voki?  The answer is YES, of course you can!  Back to one of my older posts titled ‘Technology problem solved’, this is where you need to access information that is at your disposal.  Use google, try taking a You Tube online tutorial or simply ‘play’ with Voki following the simple step by step instructions.  Activate your growth mindset and the sky is the limit!

As the website mentions, Voki would be a great platform to implement in the classroom.  In a nutshell, I think Voki in a classroom is a positive because:

  • Assists in comprehension
  • Assists students who struggle with oral communication
  • Effectively implements technology
  • Increases language skills
  • Increases a sense of ownership
  • It is fun

For those interested in using Voki in a classroom, I have just noticed that they have a classroom management system, where students do not have to sign up.

Voki is a program I will with no hesitation implement in a classroom setting.  It is something I am keen to try during my practicum in May, as I think the students would get a great kick out of designing their avatar and watching it their text come alight.

Technology problem solved

As the title suggests, this post is a reflection of how I overcame a technology challenge by conducting a simple Google search.

I was trying to embed a Voki into my blog (see About page) and this is where I was met with a challenge, it would not embed.  Instead of adopting a fixed mindset where I was to give up and avoid the challenge, I found an alternative.  Rather than throw the laptop at the wall, I decided to conduct a simple Google search.  Surely if I was having this problem, so were many others.  Taking my lead from a great blog post written by Mr Salsich (Salsich, 2012), I went back to basics and realised the information I needed was at my fingertips, staring right at me.

Had I not of conducted a quick and efficient Google search I may of never known that I needed an edublog pro account to embed a Voki.  Therefore, drawing on Mr Salsich’s  (Salsich, 2012) advice, I transferred learning from another platform (Webquest), to add a link to my Voki to open in a new window.  No, this didn’t allow it to embed how I had originally intended, however it did let me create an alternative, a link to it in a new window.  Surprise, surprise adding a link in edublogs works similarly to that in the webquest.

What a huge SUCCESS.  Not quite what I intended, but I saved a stack of time by doing it this way by drawing on knowledge at my fingertips.  I now recognise the power of encouraging learners to become self-directed.  This experience is easily transferable to an educative context, we should be assisting students to develop resilience and the ability to become self-directed learners.  I hope this encourages you to find the power within and use it to your advantage.

 

Resisting a fixed mindset

Ever felt like it would be easier to avoid ICT’s?  Are you one that avoids a challenge, due to a sense of fear?

Prior to designing this blog, I must admit I had a sense of fear.  How hard would it be?   Would I be able to transfer prior ICT skills to this platform to make it work for me?

The timing of reading a blog on fixed vs growth mindset could not have come at a better time.   Both mindsets were included in Michael Graham Richard’s blog (Graham, 2007) and prompted me to think about the benefits of adopting a growth mindset in this course.

First of all I had to identify as either having a fixed or growth mindset.  Generally speaking, I feel I have a growth mindset when it comes to ICT’s.  While I am not suggesting I am fearful of the unknown, I am up for the challenge.  I realise challenges and obstacles will come my way and I have to work through these to come out the otherside.

Yes ICT’s, are a relatively new and unfamiliar territory for me, however was my mindset ready for the challenge?

On first glance at the course and its week 1 requirements, I knew I was going to be up for a challenge.  Without embracing the challenges thrown my way (like setting up this blog), I was not going to grow.  How could I expect my students to try new ICT platforms willingly, if I was not going to adopt a growth mindset and embrace the challenge?  Isn’t the saying, practice what you preach?

So here I am, starting my ICT learning journey.  I am ready for the challenge and although I will face obstacles along my path, I will face them head on with a strong growth mindset.  Where there is a will, there is a way!!