Module 7 – Task 1 – Exploring Unfamiliar, Intriguing Resources

Creately: This website is a great online application that’s a breeze to use! It is well organized with high quality tools. It was so refreshing to look into this sight because usually diagram applications are grouped into two categories, “the easy to use, low value diagramming applications that leave you with nothing but a static image and the high-end tools that can be very useful but are expensive and difficult to use.” Creately is free (unless you are buying templates) and you can draw your own personalized charts and graphs. Theres smart shapes and connectors and it is like Google Docs where you can invite people to collaborate on your project. There are also thousands of FREE templates to use as well, including K-12 Templates! Teachers and students can work together on diagrams using real-time collaboration features. cannot wait to use this with my students one day. Visual learning is my life! Below is a screenshot of Creately in action!
Screenshot 2015-04-16 22.35.45
Flubaroo: This site provides grading tests with the click of a few buttons. Although I personally love this feature because it would save on time so much, my underlaying critique would focus on how the classroom teacher would have to be mindful in the amount of times they create online tests. Cheating for students becomes way easier with the touch of a few buttons and standardized testing isn’t always the best option. When the opportunity arises for such tests to be done this way I will utilize this web application through Google Docs to my advantage! Students will enjoy this feature too because they get their marks back much faster! I love that with the click of a button the report and analysis of student performance pops up. The average of the class is quick and trustable to figure out so in light of the fact the teacher doesn’t have to worry about putting all the marks into a calculation 25 times hoping the math is right. When it comes to inputting marks in the future I know my OCD will get the best of me and I will be typing numbers into a calculator or computer multiple times before I am satisfied they are right. A little triple checking never hurt anyone! 

An Open Letter to Myself: Don’t Give Up

This teacher’s blog is inspiring to read. He recently posted some words of wisdom for when everything is failing that as teachers we still cannot give up.

AFFECTIVE LIVING

Twenty-four of my students are failing. Only two are passing. They are failing in the grade book. They are failing in mastering content. They are failing in overcoming the abyss of apathy that is a characteristic of the students I teach. And, because of this, I am failing.

I have tried dozens of techniques and watched them bomb. And then tried new ones and watched them bomb again. I am frustrated and at a loss and exhausted.

For the last month I have fought hard not to admit this to myself, but it’s time I live by a credo to speak hard truths:

I want to give up on them.

I have heard it over and over again from dozens of teachers: Some kids can’t be reached. Such kids have a perfect storm of disadvantaged genetics, dismantled home-lives, and self-destructive mentalities. One teacher cannot reach them. Nor can one school…

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Module 5 Task 2 Response

Question: Now that you have had an opportunity to explore issues, ideas and thinking around BYOD, what is your opinion and or experiences regarding students bringing their own devices to school?

Answer: Ruby-Ann hit the nail on the head here. I am a solid believer in BYOD as long as I have expectations in place to create a safe space for students to reach their full potential. The only issue it hurts my heart to think about is if a student couldn’t participate because of the expense. I would NEVER want to experience this in my classroom. On twitter in the #saskedchat last night, a tweet that I favourited can be applied to the BYOD controversy. Below I have ebbed the tweet: 

If schools weren’t tied to budgets, teachers could give their students endless opportunities to succeed with technology access! This would then solve the expense issue for low income families. Limitless budgets, dare to dream right? A friend of mine has a classroom blog in their grade 7 classroom, she told me about how a student had posted inappropriate material and explicit language on their blog to get the rest of the class’ attention. She had a private talk with the student and administration about what the student thought would be the appropriate way to apologize for his actions and fix his post. The student came up with the idea they would write their own personal apology and post it to the class. I thought this was an effective way of showing how scary technology can be to give to children to use freely. But again when setting boundaries, students can learn from their mistakes and grow together as a classroom community.