Portfolio of Alex Gill Alex Gill

Biography

Hi, My name is Alex Gill. I teach at G.C. Rowe Junior High School in Corner Brook. I teach technology, Outdoor Education and Woodworking. I, like others, am starting to see the light as I am nearing the end of my Masters in Technology. I am married with two children, ages 11 and 12 and they keep us pretty busy. We have a three year old dog and a brand new guinea pig who also keep us busy and bring lots of joy. In my spare time I enjoy car racing (watching it that is... unfortunately) as well as making furniture (when I get time). It's going to be a busy summer but I'm sure I will learn lots that I can implerment in the classroom.   

I have previous experience teaching in Northern Ontario, Terrenceville, Placentia, Dunville and St. Brides.

I enjoy living in Steady Brook (very close to Marble Mountain) and am hoping that once my courses are completed I can get back to woodworking and complete some home renovations.

I hope you enjoy my portfolio.

Cheers,

Alex

 

 

 

Skills Inventory

Here are the results of an inventory I completed that measured the various intelligences

MY SKILLS INVENTORY RESULTS

Date: July 7, 2010

Profile for user 738906:

Linguistic - 21

Mathematics - 33

Visual/Spatial - 37

Body/Kinesthetic - 32

Naturalistic - 28

Music - 28

Interpersonal - 25

Intrapersonal - 23

 My areas of personal strength are visual/spatial, mathematics and body/kinaesthetic. I am not surprised since I am a very hands on person, enjoy woodworking and teach a woodworking course as well. I have built furniture and cupboards without any pattern and find I learn best by examining and sizing things up, looking at pictures of various types of furniture and so on. I have also taught Art and consider myself strong in this area.   

I discovered that I am more of a visual/spatial and body/kinaesthetic learner which did not surprise me as I am a very hands-on learner, enjoy woodworking and teach a woodworking course as well. I have built furniture and cupboards without any pattern and find I learn best by examining and sizing things up, looking at pictures of various types of furniture and so on. I was surprised that I scored slightly higher on mathematics than on body/kinaesthetic as I generally did not excel in math in school. However, I do calculations in my head reasonably well and was good at geometry. I think I would be surprised at my student’s answers because I probably wouldn’t pick up on their preferences from just observing students in class. In woodworking class it is obvious to identify who is better at hands on but it does not identify the other types of intelligences.

In terms of teaching, I have tried to choose to teach courses that reflect my personal learning style. I teach Robotics, technology, outdoor education and have taught art in the past as well.  

 

Teaching Ideas & Technologies Used

MY EXPERIENCES TEACHING USING NING

Ning is a social networking site that allows you to create your own social network. I have used Ning with my junior high technology classes in June 2010 when I was teaching the air pressured rockets unit. Students were required to post their projects and information on Ning for comments and feedback and incorporate audio podcasts as well. The students really seemed to enjoy the interaction and were engaged. Preparation wasn’t a problem since all they had to do was log on and continue where they left off. However, issues encountered were problems with the system, not Ning itself. Our school does not have the infrastructure to run the graphic intense software that resulted in the systems becoming lagged or locked up. This resulted in frustration for me and the students, so until we get upgrades, we will hold off on using Ning. However, I still attempt to incorporate other Web 2.0 tools where possible.  

WEB 2.0 Tools I try to incorporate in my lessons

I commonly use Wikipedia and Google in the classroom with the Smart Board. I often use YouTube when showing demonstrations in Science. Flickr, a photo sharing site, has also been very useful in my science class where students can view pictures of planets, rocks, plants, etc.

BLOGS

I have used blogs with my outdoor education students where following a field trip, they are required to keep a blog of their experiences and comment on other students’ blogs. Students seemed to be more engaged and interactive than they would have been had I used the traditional paper and pencil method. I also found it easier to correct their typed work.

Digital Cameras

 Through research and my own experience using a digital camera in the classroom, I am definitely in favour of its use in a context of learning. Digital cameras can encourage faster learning and make learning more fun and interesting in the classroom. Digital cameras can also generate more creativity with photography (Lightbody, 2009).  They help in promoting visual literacy and enhancing learning through the use of images along with words.  This is great for students who are not auditory learners.

According to Lightbody (2009) digital cameras can also enhance communication for students and teachers by assisting in capturing classroom activities for newsletters, web pages, and reading inventories. Digital cameras can be used to enhance and supplement lesson worksheets, teacher overheads, tests, as well as demonstrate an exercise in physical education (Lightbody, 2009). Beck (2005) provides practical examples of other uses of a digital camera to promote learning such as using it to record field trips, demonstrate Science experiments, illustrate steps through pictures and words, create portfolios, bibliographies, or documentaries.

I agree with the views presented in the article, “The use of digital cameras to enhance the learning experience” (www.TechKnowLogia.org) where it is stated that “teachers believe that digital cameras help students to become more involved with the subject at hand” and using digital cameras becomes a cognitive process where the students must reason and plan what pictures they need to take and why those pictures are needed.  I have seen this firsthand, especially when I used a digital camera in Science.

References

The use of digital cameras to enhance the learning experience (January-March, 2003). techknowLogia. Retrieved on Sept. 15, 2009 from http://www.TechknowLogia.org.

Beck, S. (February 2005). Going digital in the classroom. Retrieved on Sept. 15, 2009 from http://www.forsythcountyschools.org/its/sbeck/digital/goingdigital.htm.

Lightbody, K. (August, 2009). Digital cameras enhance education. Retrieved on Sept. 15, 2009 from http://www.zardec.net.au/keith/digc

 WEBQUESTS & Websites

Date: August 8, 2010

After completing the section on Webquests and working on the actual Website, I am very excited about doing a Webquest in the fall with my students.  

Date: August 9, 2010

Reflections: I am still trying to get used to adding information to the website. Cutting and pasting can be very taxing and requires modifying most times.

TEACHING TIPS WHEN USING YOLA & creating websites

To create a website for a WebQuest on World War I, I used free Yola software. While there are some good things about it, it has it's frustrations as well. I would not recommend using Yola if you have an extensive amount of links.

Here are some Website tips:

- Use a Website template but make sure it has editing features in case you want to change the banner or background.

- Whatever theme you are using I would recommend you find images related to that theme. For example, if you're doing a website on the environment, use earth tones and not really bright colors. Also, be careful not to overdo it with bells & whistles as this can actually take away from the content and overwhelm the user visually.

- Be prepared to edit images in other software such as Paint. For example, re-shaping a banner or fading background

- I strongly recommend you create one folder on your computer to upload images and documents to the Website database.

- Have all the images, background, clipart, jpegs, videos, etc. prepared in that folder to bring up when you need them.

- I learned this tip the hard way - do not try to cut and paste information from Microsoft Word (at least not when using Yola). It is less time consuming to type your information directly onto your Website.

- Be patient and be prepared to put in some hours. It took me every bit of 20 hours to complete a Webquest.

Hope this helps.

Date: August 10, 2010

After 3 painstaking days of working on the group's website, it is finally completed. It took much longer than I expected (about 25 hours). It probably didn't help that I am a perfectionist and kept going back changing the font size, making the pictures larger, only to make them smaller again, trying to get just the right image or poem. You could spend days on it so if I were teaching students how to make websites, I plan on advising them to keep it simple and not get too caught up on the nitty gritty details.  

Lesson Plan Ideas

LESSON PLAN INCORPORATING MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

Objective:

This lesson is intended for grades 7 and 8 woodworking class. The objectives are:

1) To familiarize the student with the hand saw and its uses

2) To stress the personal dangers involved with using hand cutting tools and methods of minimizing and eliminating risk.

3) To instruct the student in the proper techniques for using hand saws and the reasons for selecting it as a tool for use.

Materials:

-          Saws (for use and display)

-          Handouts with diagrams

-          Powerpoint projector

-          Wood

-          Goggles

-          Pencil

Introduction:

 

Discussion of class objectives: 

a) Learn how to use hand cutting tools safely

b) Understand how injuries occur while using hand cutting tools

c) Learn and practice the basic skills of using hand cutting tools

d) Discussion of normal steps taken to cut lumber using a hand saw

e) Marking and scribing layout lines

a) Starting the cut

b) Following a line

c) Ending the cut

d) Safety discussion

Evaluation:

Students will demonstrate how to measure and cut lumber using a hand saw.

Students will explain how to use a hand saw to a partner following PowerPoint demonstration.

Students will respond to questions on safety use of handsaws and why we use handsaws.

Gardiner's intelligences can be used to teach these concept as follows: 

Linguistic Intelligence: These students may find their strength in watching the PowerPoint presentation and in discussing and explaining to a classmate how to measure and cut the lumber as well as asking and responding to questions. 

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:  These students may find their strength in using measurements, the measuring tape and constructing various angles on the wood to get different lengths and sizes.  

Spatial Intelligence: These students may find their strength in designing the cuts, and in sketching and designing a plan.  

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence: These students may find their strength in actually using the saw for cutting and in feeling the different types of wood and saw blades.     

Musical Intelligence: These students may find their strength in identifying the sounds and pitch made by different types of wood and different saws.

 Interpersonal Intelligence: These students may find their strengths in this lesson if they were permitted to work in pairs or small groups where they could demonstrate and/or assist one another through cooperative learning techniques.  

Intrapersonal Intelligence: These students may find their strength in this lesson by using the saw independently, reviewing and analyzing the handouts and by watching the PowerPoint demonstration.  

  

 

 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflections/Comments on Articles

Date: August 8, 2010

Article

Muilenburg, L., & Berge, Z. (2002). A framework for designing questions for online learning. Retrieved from http://www.emoderators.com/moderators/muilenburg.html  

This article focuses on the context of online discussion using the constructivist model. It reflects on 4 types of thinking that are promoted through discussion: critical thinking, higher-order thinking, distributed thinking, and constructive thinking. The article shares research that outlines some of the factors that discourage constructive thinking: such as schools transmitting mainly existing knowledge, lack of teacher education regarding constructivist thinking, and difficulty grading constructivist thinking with objective tests. The article also points out that experienced online instructors have shared that expanding or divergent questions tend to produce the richest online discussions.

The authors propose that well thought out higher-level questions that promote thinking are key to encouraging rich online discussions. They share research from experienced online instructors who recommend that to formulate effective questions, one must follow these procedures: learn about the various question types and cognitive levels (using Bloom`s Taxonomy), size up the educational situation, think about goals and how the questions meet these goals, write the questions and determine the effectiveness of the questions. The authors share examples of questions based on methodological research that can be grouped into various categories such as interest-getting, diagnosing and checking, recalling specific facts, managerial, allowing students to express their feelings, and encouraging higher level thinking. The article goes further and provides sample questions that incorporate a variety of approaches such as focusing on the main topic, providing several divergent questions with expanding follow-up, describing scenarios, using case studies, role play, and so on.

The authors recommend that once the discussion is flowing, it is best for the instructor to take a back seat and resist jumping in but instead summarize the key points to end discussion on the topic or ask questions to prompt and re-start the discussion. They conclude that when facilitating online discussion, asking the right questions is more important than providing the correct answer.

Reflections

I agree with the authors that there needs to be a happy medium with regards to how often the instructor gets involved in the discussion - too much may lead to stifling, not enough may lead to lack of direction or insufficient participation.

Date: August 8, 2010

Article

Ho, Suzanne (2002). Evaluating Students' Participation In On-line Discussions. Paper presented at AusWeb 2002.

Review of Article

This article focuses on the analysis and evaluation of on-line participation in text-based discussions with the underlying pinnings of social learning theory. The article shares research that recommends the need to identify teaching goals, students' prior knowledge and abilities in order to select appropriate teaching methodology. The authors describe three common attributes to effective participation: thorough understanding of the content or material, critical evaluation of ideas and meta-cognition. They propose that there is an increased opportunity to engage in discussions online that incorporate higher level cognitive skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation more so than face-to-face since there is the assumption that learners will read and interpret postings, in addition to sharing their own opinions.

The authors caution that participation inequality that includes irregular participation or lack of reflection on previous discussions can actually decrease the learning outcomes and experience for students. There were mixed reviews regarding whether or not it is necessary to evaluate participation with one study suggesting it can deter students from participating and that students were more willing to participate in discussions where the perception was that conversation was free flowing and encouraged. If evaluation is to be used, the authors recommended grading in reference to the students` predetermined strengths instead of comparing them to the performance of other students.

The authors conclude that to address issues related to evluating discussion participation, effective facilitation from the educator through modelling and scaffolding is necessary as well as providing explanations and evaluation criteria.

Reflections:

Based on my experience with online discussions, I feel I am more inclined to post when I know my work is being evaluated. It motivates me to research and put more effort into my posts since I know others will be reading them and perhaps offering comments and feedback.

I feel the same is true with students. When students know their blog will be read by others  and that they will be evaluated based on their participation, they seem to take more pride in their work and want to get the extra marks.  

Date: July 29, 2010

Article

Hill, Janette R. (2001). Building Community In Web-based Learning Environments: Strategies And Techniques. Paper for AUSWEB01 found at this URL.

Reflections of Article:

         I found it interesting that the article highlighted how many of the learners indicated that they felt more of a connection to their instructional design buddy or to specific individuals rather than the larger group. I think this is true not just of online learning but in the regular classroom as well especially at the junior and senior high levels. When I think of grade 11 Math, Physics, English or even technology class, how many students can say they felt a connection with the entire class. Usually you connect with the people next to you or those in your cooperative learning group but not with the entire class. There are probably rare exceptions, but I think in most learning environments we connect to the people we are most in contact with, either online or face to face.  

        Through some research on this topic, I found other suggestions regarding ways to improve communication and lessen feelings of isolation via online learning. Mahoney (2005) recommends vvirtual lounges as an outlet space meant entirely for students to vent and share informally.Sing, Klaur and Jamklar (2008) also suggest real time synchronous methods such as chat sessions, video and audio conferencing, group assignments, case study discussions, as well as using technology to directly link students to each other. I found from personal experience that using Elluminate Live in one of my Masters courses made me feel more connected and provided an opportunity to ask questions without feeling I was the only one confused or needing direction. I think offering more communication opportunities such as these will promote online learning in a very positive direction.

References

Mahoney, P. (2005). The eleventh off-campus library services conference proceedings, volume 2, 67-73. Hawthorne Information Press. Binghamton, N.Y.

Singh, P., Kaur, N., & Jamklar, M. (2008). Challenges of web-based learning. Retrieved from http://sites.google.com/site/faimertraining2008distlearn/challengesofweb-basedlearning

 

 Date: July 29, 2010

Article  

Dixon, S., Osment, M. & Panke, S. (2009). Comparing Effectiveness of Traditional versus Blended Teaching Methods: Efforts to Meet the Demands of Students in a Blend 2.0. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications 2009 (pp. 2765-2774). Chesapeake, VA: AACE.

 Reflections of Article:

    I found this to be a very interesting article that still highlights the important role of the instructor in learning. It also highlights that even though digital natives appear to be technology savvy, it does not necessarily mean we can assume they know how to apply this knowledge for educational uses. Survey results by Chan and McLoughlin (2008) revealed that overall students have low familiarity with wikis and blogs and may require assistance in creating and using this software. Moorman (2009) also points out that students sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between the kinds of writing completed on FaceBook versus the appropriate writing required in an academic course through using Ning or writing blogs. I have found this myself in using blogs with students who have to be continually reminded not to use slang or abbreviations when completing a group project online. I agree with the discussion portion of the article that more interim meetings would help students become more comfortable with the blended learning environment. The first time I used Elluminate Live I was nervous and did not ask questions. However, by the third time I was very comfortable with this forum.  

References

Chan, A. & McLoughlin, C. (2008). Where are we up to? A survey of Web 2.0 uptake in a  regional high school. Proceedings ascilite Melbourne: Concise paper. Retrieved from http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/melbourne08/procs/chan.pdf

Moorman, H. (2009, Summer). Adventures of Web 2.0: Introducing social networking into my teaching. Horace, 25(1). 

Date: August 9, 2010

The perfect moderator reflections

 

I would want to see links that are active and easily accessible to save time and reduce frustration. I like seeing the course overview, content and evaluation options.

I like the option of being able to edit a posting within 30 minute period as is available through Moodle because sometimes you post and forget to preview it prior to posting and realize only after posting that there were spacing issues or that I forgot to attach a reference. This option is great.

I would want to receive feedback within a reasonable time frame. It is important to get feedback on the first assignment prior to working on the second assignment especially when they are linked and success of the second assignment is dependent on the first.

I would need to know deadlines and criteria for assignments. For assignments such as  electronic portfolios and Webquests, it would be very beneficial to see an example of completed work from a student who completed the course previously.  

Frustrations would include inactive links, not receiving feedback for weeks, not hearing from group members within 1-2 days of posting a response to them. This is particularly important for deadlines related to group work. Another frustration is incompatible software between group members – some students using word perfect or old versions of word, difficulty opening attachments.

Another frustration is not being able to open Internet links that were provided in the course readings or assignments section.   

Date: July 29, 2010

Article

March, T. (1999). Ten stages of working the web for education. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20041130093841/http://www.infotoday.com/MMSchools/may99/march.htm

Reflections on Article

      I agree that there is a cultural shift from teaching students in the classroom to teaching with students in the classroom. Since the integration of e-learning, it seems that teachers are no longer the experts and knowledge givers but more the collaborators and facilitators of knowledge. I would hope that teaching kids in the classroom involves  using more participatory approaches such as brainstorming activities, group discussions, cooperative learning, and collaborative writing activities through blogs and Web Quests instead of the traditional drill and practice or regurgitation of material. However, I am not sure all teachers are ready to embrace this so called `new job` for teachers.  

      I agree with Ash (2010) who proposes that teachers need to be brought up to speed on technological advancements so that they can transform classrooms from isolated learning environments to collaborative, connected teaching models in which teachers use online tools to share and build on best practices, according to the plan (Ash, 2010). Similarly, Natriello (2007) stresses the need for reshaping the role of teaching where teachers will need to manage more diverse learning styles and teaching strategies and function outside the school setting in contexts more relevant to learning tasks. I believe one of the biggest changes in the role of teachers will be expanding our thinking beyond the classroom doors and that this shift will occur when more teachers engage their students in blogs, podcasts, Ning, and other interactive mediums that can be viewed, commented and contributed to, and evaluated long after the school bell rings at 3:00.  

References

Ash, K. (2010, March). U. S. Ed-Tech Plan Urges rethinking in K-12 schools. Education Week,    29(24), 1, 16-17.

Natriello, G. (2007). Imagining, seeking, inventing: The future of learning and the emerging  discovery networks. Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 7-18.

Date: July 13, 2010

Article

McKenzie, J. (1994). Grazing the Net: Raising a generation of free range students. The educational technology journal.

Reflections on this article & student feedback

       I think the future is here but we will look back ten years from now and say to ourselves, “look how far we’ve come in the past 10 years.” The future is relative as it is changing as we speak with new technologies being developed daily, new blogs being written, wikis being updated, millions of tweets, texts, podcasts, etc. occurring as I am typing this. I agree that we have come a long way from factual regurgitation of information to more analyzing, debating, theme and project-based learning. McKenzie (1994) posed the idea of infotective that is interesting and great food for thought. I think some students are learning to master this while others still require much help in this area. Many students in my junior high classes have been warned about plagiarism. To deal with issues of plagiarism, Harris and Rea (2009) suggest that teachers caution students about it and use a quick Google demonstration to show them how easy it is for a teacher to locate so called “lifted” passages in the hope that this would be a deterrent. I think we need to work on teaching students how to handle this wealth of information as suggested by McKenzie.

       I believe we are on the right path towards moving closer to the ideas presented by McKenzie. However, there are still some resistors in education who are out of their comfort zone when it comes to Web 2.0 tools such as social networks. I agree with Wehrli (2009) that educators “need to enthusiastically accept what matters to students and figure out how to harness their interests” (p. 3). Williams and Chinn (2009) propose there is an increased focus on engaging students, and teachers must consider the impact of this generation who has a preference for experiential learning, interactivity and immediacy. My view is that we owe it to our students to tap into their comfort zone even if it means we are out of ours and help them become a generation of free range students so we can engage them in learning.

References

Harris, A. L., & Rea, A. (2009, Summer). Web 2.0 and virtual world technologies: A growing impact on IS education. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20 (2), 137-144. 

Wehrli, B. (2009, Summer). Technology as a fence and a bridge. Horace, 25 (1), 1-4.

Williams, J., & Chinn, S. J. (2009, Summer). Using Web 2.0 to support the active learning experience. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(2), 165-174.

 

Date: July 11, 2010

Reflections on Tapscott Article

Hi Dave,

I understand where you are coming from. I often wonder where my kids will be 10 years from now in terms of communication skills and how much of an impact this Digital Age is having on our youth. I found research as well that points out some of the downsides of social networking. Jones and Simon (2009) discuss how today’s youth are different from any generation before them as they are exposed to digital technology in virtually all facets of their day-to-day existence, and ascertain that it is not difficult to see that this is having a profound impact on their personalities, including their attitudes and approach to learning (p. 1). 

Boon and Sinclair (2009) suggest that the structure and functioning of Facebook may encourage superficiality and popularity over the meaningful and complex, confusing trust and truth. They also argue that Facebook may sustain users initially but that eventually the connections created become hollow compared to real life. Similarly, they discuss how virtual environments such as Second life make it almost impossible to determine the true identity and/or authenticity of another use leaving some users feeling isolated, disengaged and disconnected (Boon & Sinclair, 2009).

Let's hope we can work with students to see the advantages of technology but still keep it real.

Date: July 11, 2010

Reflections on Tapscott Article

Hi Ryan,

I agree with your line of thinking. The Net generation and this social revolution empowers rethinking of education (Wehrli, 2009). I feel we as educators need to have a cultural shift and accept that the role of a teacher is becoming more of a co-leader and facilitator of knowledge than the expert. Instead of avoiding what is novel such as social networking we need to teach students how to use the Internet safely. Research by Manzo (2009) proposes that students of the 21st-century need to be taught digital citizenship and appropriate ways of sharing and using everything that's available on the Web. Hauser (2007) suggests two good websites (i-SAFE and WebWiseKids) to help students learn wise use of the Web.

References

Hauser, J. (2007, February). Media specialists can learn Web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 6-10. 

Manzo, K. K. (2009, September). Filtering fixes. Education Week, 29(2), 2

Wehrli, B. (2009, Summer). Technology as a fence and a bridge. Horace, 25 (1), 1-4.

  

Date: July 8, 2010

Reflections on quote by Tapscott, Growing up digital

            Given my background and interest in technology, along with my kinaesthetic and visual teaching style, I feel I am in a good position to teach students who are growing up digital. I would much prefer to read student blogs and view podcasts than correct traditional papers anytime. I have used blogs with my outdoor education students where following a field trip, they are required to keep a blog of their experiences and comment on other students’ blogs. Students seemed to be more engaged and interactive than they would have been had I used the traditional paper and pencil method. I also found it easier to correct their typed work as opposed to trying to decipher handwriting. Students are as likely to learn from blogs and wikis as they are from assigned textbooks (Conrad, 2008).

 I have been trying to integrate Web 2.0 tools in my classes as much as possible. I use Wikipedia and Google in the classroom with the Smart Board. I used to refer to YouTube when showing demonstrations in Science last year. I think we as educators need to remember that social networking is going to be a key part of how students process information in the future and it correlates with how they already experience their everyday lives. Research has indicated that 74% of children aged 11-16 have reported use of social network sites (Sharples, Graber, Harrison & Logant, 2009) and 61% of 13-17-year-olds have a personal profile on a social networking site (Lamb & Johnson, 2006). Chapman (2009) points out that if Face Book was a country, it would be the fifth-most-populated in the world. I think we need to tap into students' way of life. There is much research to indicate educational value in using FaceBook and MySpace for learning. Social Networking  is the one area that I need to work on as a teacher since I generally do not have a big interest in Face Book and need to learn more about ways to integrate it into the curriculum since there are learning benefits for students that would engage them in learning.

References

Chapman, C. (2009, July). Social network design: Examples and best practices. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social-network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

Conrad, D. (2008). Reflecting on strategies for a new learning culture: Can we do it? Journal of Distance Education, 22 (3), 157.

Lamb, A., & Johnson, L. (2006, October). Want to be my “friend?” What you need to know about social technologies. Teacher Librarian, 34 (1), 55.

Sharples, M., Graber, R., Harrison, C., & Logant, K. (2009). E-safety and Web 2.0 for children aged 11-16. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 25, 70-84.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Useful Websites

The following Resources are great ways for teachers to start their own professional development without waiting for an expert to come to you or having to ask for funding or days off work.

WEBCASTS

Valenza & Johnson (2008) propose that one way of learning these new technologies is through Webcasts that are a cost free way for teachers to take in PD sessions, presentations, conferences, and workshops that may not have been feasible such as k12online-conference.org or hitchhikr.com. He promotes teachers going onto this website: edublogawards.com.

This site provides links to Web references and images, as well as information on the various kinds of Webquests.

 http://www.brighthub.com/education/k-12/articles/80206.aspx

 

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING SITES

Greenhow (2009) makes similar suggestions for teachers to access social bookmarking sites such as Diigo, CiteULike, etc. since they can provide the resources to facilitate a scholarly approach to teaching and allow educators to research best practises.

Social bibliography tools such as Classroom 2.0 and the website www.teachertrainingvideos.com provide teachers an opportunity to recommend and share scholarly resources, websites, and make useful contacts.

Greenhow (2009) also recommends i-SAFE and WebWiseKids as two good sites to help students learn wise use of the Web.

Teachers can get legal advice by examining websites such as Creative Commons’ Podcasting Legal Guide or the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Legal Guide for Bloggers (Hauser, 2007). 

References

Greenhow, C. (2009, March/April). Social scholarship: Applying social networking technologies to research practices. Knowledge Quest, 37(4), 42-47.

Hauser, J. (2007, February). Media specialists can learn Web 2.0 tools to make schools more cool. Computers in Libraries, 6-10. 

 

Here is a link to a slidshare presentation on Virtual learning environments and how they affect student learning.  

http://www.slideshare.net/alexgill6610/alexgill6610module3/1/yes

OTHER USEFUL WEBSITES WITH DESCRIPTIONS

http://www.freeclipartpictures.com/

Free Clipart Pictures

This site is visually appealing, fun and can be used by students with limited reading and spelling ability. This site offers over 1,000 free clipart pictures and webpage backgrounds, and free wallpaper and screensavers. There are numerous pictures of foods that would be great with helping students independently plan meals, make a menu, sort healthy and unhealthy foods and organize various fruits and vegetables and other food items into charts. This site would also be great to use when students need quick pics of animals, sea creatures, flowers, etc. for their projects. I can really see this being a popular bookmark for primary and elementary teachers where students do not have to know how to spell the name of a certain animal or flower once the heading is selected.

http://www.gradekeeper.com/quick-tour.htm

GradeKeeper- Gradebook Software for
Windows, Mac OS X, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile

This resource is geared towards reducing teacher workload and saving time. GradeKeeper computes grades, prints reports, creates seating charts, sends email progress reports, and allows you to post marks online. Companion applications are available for your Palm OS or Windows Mobile handheld, where you can record grades and attendance during class and synchronize with your desktop computer at a later time that is convenient. Gradekeeper is an affordable software where a single license is $20, school license is $100 and a district license is $500.

http://www.alfy.com/Teachers/sitebuilder/intro.asp

Cool@Class Webpage Builder

Cool@Class is a fun, quick and easy tool to help create a website for your class or school. It guides the educator through all the stages of building a home site and is designed for teachers with no previous technical experience. Cool@Class provides opportunities to post upcoming events, list student birthdays, or post daily homework assignments. 

 

 

Group Work Reflections

 Here are my comments, reflections and contributions for assignment 2 (group work progress) that outline some of the process involved in group discussions, as well as my learning and growth in this process.

August 12, 2010

Hi Carol & Ryan,

I figured something was missing when I read Ryan's framework & lesson plan. Carol I would suggest you add portions of your framework to Ryan's most recent revision (your framework has references re: multiple intelligences & some good ideas as to how it relates to our webquest). Ryan's revision was already checdked by me and follows APA style - I would not go over 2600 words though. 

As mentioned in previous e-mails, I do not have the site map completed and would appreciate it if you clould do this please. Hopefully this assignment will be ready to submit late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Take care.

Alex 

August 11, 2010

Hi Ryan,

Did you get Carol's framework she sent today? Is the document you recently sent a combination of yours and hers?  She has some good points about multiple intelligence that I did not see in your document. Just wondering if you received hers. 

Regards,

Alex 

August 11, 2010

Hi Ryan & Carol,

Ryan you did an excellent job combining the 2 documents. I edited it & added very minor changes in red. With the actual document, I shifted the paragraph spacing to coincide with APA. It does not matter as much for the lesson plan. Ideally, if this could be finalized tomorrow we could post it Friday morning. I wouldn't worry too much about being a bit over in word count.

Carol, can you do the visual reprsentation? We need to include the URL to the website as well. I am hoping to go away for the weekend as well so I hope we can have this completed soon.

Take care,

Alex

August 10

Hi Ryan & Carol,

After 3 painstaking days of working on the website, it is finally completed. You will see I added a poem under poetry and music.

Since there is a lot of content, it might be wise to write in under the lesson plan section that the Webquest will be worked on over the course of a few periods or whatever time frame is needed to complete the tasks required.

Please check for spelling or grammatical errors on the website in case I overlooked it.

I am looking forward to reviewing your sections of the assignment when completed.

We are nearing the end...... at last!

Cheers,

Alex

 

My reflections:

 

It's been  a long process but the course is nearly finished. I learned so much from creating the website - it took longer than I had anticipated but I have lots to take back to my teaching & now feel confident that I could teach this to students more efficiently.

 Date: August 9, 2010

 

Hi Guys,  Carol I just got your e-mail as I was writing up this. Sounds like quite a trip. I realized after I sent the e-mail on August 5th that I did not send the attachment. I have spent several hours on the Website & I am hoping that after today I may be able to post it for you to offer suggestions.   Carol, the changes you made look fine. Please see the changes I made as well. How is the written part going re: multiple intelligences and how it relates to the lesson plan? With regards to the questions you added, I was wondering if maybe we had all students complete part A and B and one of C,D,E (which one include Carol's questions and my suggestions. I just don't want it too be too much. What are your thoughts?  Here is the framework for the written section. I have not used Inspriration software. Do either of you know how to show a graphical representation of the web-site? Once I show you the Website it may make more sense.   

    Here are the changes     

Technology Integrated:

Technology is integrated through the Webquest in that students are using the computer for researching and surfing the Internet for a wide variety of resources. Students are also incorporating interactive resources through use of the World Wide Web. As well, they are exposed to the Interactive Whiteboard during the brainstorming session. Students who use the blog option will also be integrating Web 2.0 technology. Students who choose to videotape an interview will become familiar with using a video camera. (this is assuming we integrate these into the lessons). Here is a link to You Tube that demonstrates how to make a blog (the 5 minute blog) 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXiJ6jY3qB4

 Here are links to You Tube that play songs related to World War I

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH4-fYIfC-E

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDHo7TaRnCA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1haknqX0D8

Carol maybe I could include these song links with yours and incorporate this music portion into the lesson plan. 

I don’t think we need to worry about having too much if the students have choices – what are your thoughts?

 

Cheers,Alex   

Augusty 5, 2010

Hi,

I would consider offering the students options regarding what lesson they would like to complete - we would want to make sure it relates to the multiple intelligences. Perhaps offering a lesson around listening to World War I songs (I found some songs but Real Player would need to be dowloaded) and conducting either an oral presentation describing the song, the emotions, etc. or writing about the song or even singing one of the songs could be an option. Also, Art work could relate to Kinesthetic intelligence. We need a hands on lesson.

Ryan, I noticed one of the lessons (the questions about what is bully beef, etc.) was taken from a WebQuest site. Do you think we should change the questions somewhat or are you okay with referencing it as it is? 

We will also need a description of each role so that when I put in a link to the soldier role it will be followed by a description of the lesson for that particular role & what is expected of the student. We could mention the blog or podcast option. What do you think?

Talk to you soon,

Alex

August 4, 2010

Hi Carol & Ryan,

I found an article with info. related to technology & Webquests & perhaps we can use this in part of the background information – you can revise it if you would like:

According to Ezell, Klein, Hines and Hall (2003), Webquests can be designed in a way that  enhances students’ technological competencies and are important tools for differentiating instruction. Ezell et al. (2003) argue that the Webquest is a technological tool that is often used to enhance the quality of teaching and learning.

With regards to the question on technology I am assuming she wants us to explain how technology is integrated into the Webquest & lesson plan – after all of the Web quest is completed what technology would have been integrated?   

Technology Integrated

: How is the technology integrated? What limited your choices?   

I was thinking of something like this:

Technology is integrated through the Webquest in that students are using the computer for researching and surfing the Internet for a wide variety of resources. Students are also incorporating interactive resources through use of the World Wide Web. As well, they are exposed to the Interactive Whiteboard during the brainstorming session.

Can we incorporate more technology as the objective states "Students will operate a variety of media, computer and other educationally appropriate equipment for learning?"

I was wondering if students had the option of using the videocamera or digital camera as part of their project – perhaps videotape – this might be an option for the reporter role – they could do a mock interview.

Also, the soldier could perhaps set up a blog instead of the traditional journal entry to record information, thoughts, etc. and other people could respond by commenting on the blog. Podcasts could also be an option. It is grade 11 students and many of them are more adept in using these technologies than we are. What do you think?    

Reference

Ezell, D., Klein, C., Hines, R., & Hall, S. (2003). Using Wequest with students with disabilities.

Center On Disabilities, Proceedings: Technology And Persons With Disabilities Conference, Retrieved from: http://www.csun.edu/cod/conf/2003/proceedings/104.htm 

Alex

July 29, 2010

Hi There,

Just wanted to check in and see how we wanted to split up the work load for the major assignment due in 2 weeks. There appears to be 3 components:

-the actual Website with links

-a write up section related to theory, multiple intelligences, etc.

- the actual lesson plan written up with objectives

 I was thinking we could each add to the website content as we search for interactive links related to WW1 and how to ingtegrate it into the Web Quest.

It might flow better if 1 person did the background portion and another the lesson plan but I'm open to any suggestions. I do think we need to pose a question related to WWI if we are using the WebQuest format. Any ideas? When you came up with the topic did you have any specific goals in mind? Let me know how you would like us to proceed as I think we will need to get started soon. 

Do either of you have experience constructing Websites or suggestions as to which software we should use?  Hope to hear from you soon, 

Alex 

Hi Ryan,

That is a great site - I agree we could use it as a link for our WebQuest. I will start the Website and when you & Carol get the lesson plans created please forward them to me so I can include them. I will keep looking for interesting links as well. Take care.Alex

August 01, 2010 11:15 PM 

Subject:

RE: WWI WebQuests

Hi, I found links to WWI WebQuests to give you an idea as to how to arrange it. I think you would take ideas from the concept map to determine lesson plans related to the topics. For eg. if we go with what are the effects of WWI on Canadians? then we could do lesson plans on topics related to this - maybe different sections on effects on women, occupations, etc. Let me know how you wish to proceed re: lessons so I can start searching for pictures & links. Thanks.

http://www.milforded.org/schools/foran/kdefonzo/wq/worldwar1b.html

 http://www.sonic.net/bantam1/medic_wq.html

 Alex

 July 30, 2010 9:26 P

Hi,

I could do the Webpage but I need to know what information to put in it. I know how to design a Website but I'm not sure what content will go into it. Do I wait for you guys to give me info. re: the lesson plans? Any ideas? I will use Yola software to create this Website. You guys can decide between the 2 of you how you wish to do the write-up and lesson plan & provide me with links and info. for the Website. With regards to the question for the students, the question needs to be related to the concept map. The guidelines for the assignment were to expand on either the entire concept map or parts of it. I did a google search on questions re: WWI and there were lots of ideas but I think keeping it more general makes it easier to find info. What about something like "What effects did WWI have on Canadians?" Talk to you soon.

Alex

July 29, 2010

Hi There,

Just wanted to check in and see how we wanted to split up the work load for the major assignment due in 2 weeks. There appears to be 3 compents:

-the actual Website with links

-a write up section related to theory, multiple intelligences, etc.

- the actual lesson plan written up with objectives

 I was thinking we could each add to the website content as we search for interactive links related to WW1 and how to integrate it into the Web Quest.

It might flow better if 1 person did the background portion and another the lesson plan but I'm open to any suggestions.

I do think we need to pose a question related to WWI if we are using the WebQuest format. Any ideas? When you came up with the topic did you have any specific goals in mind?

Let me know how you would like us to proceed as I think we will need to get started soon.

Do either of you have experience constructing Websites or suggestions as to which software we should use?

Hope to hear from you soon,

Alex

July 24, 2010

Hi Carol & Ryan,
Great work. I have made some minor revisions & tried to put them in red. Let
me know if you need anything else. Thanks.

July 24, 2010

Thanks for your hard work guys. I will try to do more in the next round.

Ryan THE GREAT WAR is fine. Like you said no need to do all that work again.

Carol, looks realy good. I am sending it in word, word97 2003, and Rich Text. Hope you can read it this time.

Regards,

Alex

July 24, 2010

 

I found 2 cites that provide some theory re: Webquests & constructivist theory. Carol, you may want to use these.

Findings by Galarneau (2005) conclude that constructivist approaches put the learner at the centre of their experience and provide the user an active role in the construction of knowledge allowing them control, active participation and exploration. WebQuests inspire students to view thematic relationships, contribute to the real world of learning and engage in metacognitive processes (March, 2004). 

References

Galarneau, L. (May, 2005). Authentic learning experiences through play: Games, . Paper presented at the 2005 International Conference. Retrieved from: http://ir.lib.sfu.ca/handle/1892/1537

simulations and the construction of knowledge

March, T. (2004). WebQuests: The fulcrum for systematic curriculum improvements. Retrieved from http://rsdweb.k12.ar.us/departments/tech/WebQuests/webquest_fulcrum_necc.pdf

Should we present the topic to students as a question? The more I am reading about WebQuests, it seems to indicate that it would start with an open-ended question. Here is an excerpt from an article on WebQuests. Perhaps we could pose the question: What should we know about World War I?

"A WebQuest is a scaffolded learning structure that uses links to essential resources on the World Wide Web and an authentic task to motivate students’ investigation of a central, open-ended question, development of individual expertise and participation in a final group process that attempts to transform newly acquired information into a more sophisticated understanding.

http://ci5451literacystrategiescollective.pbworks.com/f/webquests_tom_march.pdf

July 23, 2010 

Hi Carol & Ryan,
Great job Carol. Here is the revised version of what you sent. I made some
slight changes. When following APA format, the present tense is supposed to
be used. If I discover some new ideas I will make sure I get them to you by
lunch hour tomorrow. Take care,

Alex
 

July 23, 2010 

Hi Carol & Ryan,
Looking forward to reading the written part. My personal preference would be
WWII since I have great interest and more knowledge in this area. However,
if it is going to require more work for Ryan we can leave it as WWI. Let me
know what you think. I will gladly offer suggestions once you send me the
written part. Thanks.
Alex

July 23, 2010 6:48 PM
Subject: Re: RE: Mind Map

Hi Carol & Ryan,
If no one has started the write-up I can do it and post it you tomorrow
afternoon for feedback. The points you made on the e-mail were helpful Ryan.
Carol if there are any other points I should include in thre outline please
let me know. Are we making any changes to the concept map? Will all parts of
the concept map be taught to the grade 11 students or just parts of it? I
can start the Webpage using what Ryan sent as an outline. I will start
looking for lesson plans related to the topics on the concept map. You guys
can also look for resources that I can add to the webpage that utilize the
various intelligences and perhaps one of you could do the write up portion
(lesson plans, etc. as outline in assignment 3). Just some thoughts. Talk to
you soon.

July 22, 2010

Hi Ryan,

I e-mailed you on Moodle yesterday under discussion 2 section. From now on I will e-mail you here. Take care.

July 20, 2010 11:09 PM

Hi Carol,

I e-mailed you yesterday on Moodle (group 2 discussion area). What is the status of assignment 1 that is due on July 25? Is the map completed? What about the 500 word overview. I could help if I knew what you and Ryan intended re: the topic & what the format will be. Please check my e-mail on Moodle. From now on, I will try to contact you from home e-mail. I have no problem doing more in assignment 2 if you want to submit what you have. Also, if you need me to do something for this one please let me know what is required.

Thanks,

Alex

REFLECTIONS ON GROUP WORK

July 26, 2010

Initially, I was having difficulty connecting with group members and could not access the group discussions but eventually we connected through our home e-mail addresses. I felt out of the loop since the topic was decided and I had to figure out what had been completed thus far. It didn't take too long to get caught up though and my group partners seemed very understanding.  

  • A section that explains where you have included some of the constructivist theory and principles in your module or web-site.
  • A description of the provision of at least 3 of the 9 multiple intelligences must be discussed in the web-based lesson.
  • A section that details the creativity used in the web-site or module. Be specific with examples.
  • A graphical representation or site map of your module or web-site. This is not as detailed as a storyboard. Include lines that show the links or connections between each card. You can do this using Inspiration. Your module or web-site should be non-linear in nature.
  • A description of copyright and other issues that arose as you created the module/web-site.

August 8, 2010

I feel I have learned a great deal that I can apply to my teaching from completing this Webquest and creating the Website. It has been taxing at times but I almost have the Website completed. There are several things I wlould do differently next time & I wrote about them when I attempt to get my students to create Websites in the Fall.

Hi, My role in our group project was to create a website for a WebQuest on World War I. I used free Yola software. While there are some good things about it, it has it's frustrations as well. I would not recommend using Yola if you have an extensive amount of links.

Here are my reflections and tips on coducting a Website (Webquest for students)

- Use a Website template but make sure it has editing features in case you want to change the banner or background.

- Whatever theme you are using I would recommend you find images related to that theme. For example, if you're doing a website on the environment, use earth tones and not really bright colors. Also, be careful not to overdo it with bells & whistles as this can actually take away from the content and overwhelm the user visually.

- Be prepared to edit images in other software such as Paint. For example, re-shaping a banner or fading background

- I strongly recommend you create one folder on your computer to upload images and documents to the Website database.

- Have all the images, background, clipart, jpegs, videos, etc. prepared in that folder to bring up when you need them.

- I learned this tip the hard way - do not try to cut and paste information from Microsoft Word (at least not when using Yola). It is less time consuming to type your information directly onto your Website.

- Be patient and be prepared to put in some hours. It took me every bit of 20 hours to complete a Webquest.

Hope these tips are helpful.

  Final Reflections on Group work

 August 12, 2010

I have been e-mailing my group partners back and forth througout the past few weeks and we are finally nearing the finish line. I received positive feedback from them regarding the Website and do not need to change anything which is a relief. I edited the lesson plan and framework and hopefully by tomorrow our assignment will be completed. It has been a great learning experience and I look forward to applying what I have learned in my teaching this upcoming year.  

 

Resources

This section is a compilation of resources that I have found beneficial both in writing papers and for use in the classroom.

BC College of Teachers. Facebook 101. Retrieved from http://www.bcct.ca/documents/tc/2007/tcmagazine_winter_2007.pdf.

This article provides good information on the uses of Facebook in the classroom.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Chapman, C. (2009, July). Social network design: Examples and best practices. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/07/13/social- network-design-examples-and-best-practices/

This article describes uses of Facebook as well and proposes that if Facebook were a country it would be the 5th largest in the world.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________-

Hong, W. (2008, October). Exploring educational use of blogs in U. S. education. US-China Education Review, 5 (10), 34-37.

An excellent article on incorporating blogs in the classroom.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Williams, J., & Chinn, S. J. (2009, Summer). Using Web 2.0 to support the active   learning experience. Journal of Information Systems Education, 20 (2), 165-174.

This article provides ideas and ways to use Web 2.o technology in the classroom.