students

“In place of the parents” is not “the new parent”

 

“Teaching involves conflicting roles. Teachers want all children to succeed and to develop a love of learning, yet much of their time and energy goes into controlling students’ behaviour and evaluating students according to external standards. The more one tries to reach students individually, the more one may feel conflict with other aspects of schooling, such as the need to sort students by ability or the pressure to have students conform to rules and standards.” – Young, L., Levin, B., & Wallin, D. (2014). Understanding Canadian schools: An Introduction to Educational Administration (5th ed.).

 

Sadly the above paragraph is one of the main problems that both teachers and parents are struggling with. We want to give students independence and give them the skills to question the world around them, yet our arms are twisted behind our backs with (outdated) curriculum outcomes, budgeting issues, and more responsibilities than ever before. Many educators come into the field to make a difference and help their kids embrace learning… but if they want to keep their job they are required to teach to the test.

 

 

Canadians are more lucky than our American counterparts. The no child left behind policy has decimated their educational system, and they under perform when compared to the First World countries. Teachers go through years of University learning the tools on how to maximize learning for each individual student, and then we enter the classroom and get burdened with a literal mountain of work and lose sight of why we entered the field.

 

JFK’s famous line “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you an do for your country” applies here. When it comes to education, the teachers should not be receiving all these burdens from the get-go. The number one contributing factor to student performance has been parents involvement in their child’s education for decades now. Dozens of major studies have confirmed this. So really, ask not what your teacher can do for you, but what you can do for your teacher is a motto I’d personally prefer to have implanted in the minds of all students and parents.

 

Teacher’s who’ve recently graduated. What are your tips to current student-teachers who are about to enter the field?

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The New Era of Binders

Tech Task #8

It’s clear that schools, students, and people are moving towards a more techy world. Everyone’s grandma owns either a tablet, a computer, or a smart phone. Schools are introducing one on one tablet / laptop programs with high success, but organization with computers from notes and URL’s can be tough (and kids have trouble organizing a paper binder!).

8623652742_5293fe9fd4In a tablet integrated school (or for a student in any grade / post-secondary) an easy way to organize notes by subject and content is using livebinders. Anyone reading this post will have used a binder organizer when they were in school, and this website allows the user to organize notes into any category they want. 

I’ve used computers for the last four years to note take, and I do have to say that organization is difficult (and don’t even get me started on all the things I favorite!). What I normally do is save by date or into one giant document with all my notes, and then use CTRL+F (find) to search for keywords. Not very effective.

Photo Credit: Songralonian via Compfight cc    BocRMBI

For school work I would optimally use this to organize by topic (Math, ELA, science), and then by Unit (Unit 1: Addition, Unit 2: Subtraction…). I could then add a tab for each day or combine the notes all in one, or for similar content (adding single digit numbers, adding double digit numbers, adding vertically / sideways…). This would an optimal experience for organization, studying, sharing notes, and visually for the emerging tablet scene. I myself am sick of making dozens of folders to attempt to organize.

AVeOsiu

This is not just a great tool for students! For educators it allows prime and secure organization of turned in assignments, teaching prep notes, resources, marks, and student categories. The only downfall with livebinders is it lacks a ‘flipboard’ and book style transition. Instead of swiping downwards or sideways the user must click the category.

It’s a more user friendly way of organizing folder on your computer or google drive, and it’s more visually pleasing.

Technology is a door that we as teachers must take

 

I’m going to outright and say it. I was a terrible student in highschool and elementary school. I discovered in my second semester of my first year of college that I had a learning disability which explained a lot about the story of my life. I was diagnosed with dysgraphia, a learning disability that explains a lot from my life. But today I’m in my fourth year of University, with a higher average than many of my

peers. Sounds unreal, yes? All I needed were some tools to help me walk along a path, a path that is not similar to what many of my peers have taken. I went along a newer path that not many take, and that many educators are afraid of.

Today we have text to speech programs, audio books, videos about everything on youtube, and access to every other teacher in the world. Students who learn better hearing instead of seeing have resources. Students who learn better seeing rather than hearing will always have resources. Some students remember better when writing things down for themselves and some like to type. We have the technology to have them take photos of their work and put it online on blogs or wikis, or to have them create videos as an assignment. If us as teachers are having difficulties, we can use a hashtag and twitter, contact and get advice from leaders in the digital world, look online for pre-made lessons or ideas, and many other things.afraid of. I used technology to help my learning. Laptops and tablets for note taking to counteract a crampy hand after a paragraph of writing (i thought everyone had this happen to them!) and so that I could have something to look at while I am listening to the lecture (losing attention) and something that I organized and wrote to maximize my learning and remembering (poor memory) plus a large diversity of reasons.

So why is it that we as educators are not embracing these? They are obvious benefits and by refusing to do so, we are teaching in the hidden curriculum to only stick with what you know, and to not embrace change.

Is Minecraft more than a silly game? (a great teaching tool?)

My classmate Taylor Harty wrote this and I think it’s very well done! This would be a very good read for any math teachers in the elementary years! Minecraft is a game that every student in schools knows about today, and it’s very useful and relatable in the classroom (especially math!) I fuly plan on using it as a resource for my future students (I swear I’m not doing it as an excuse to play minecraft!)

Taylor Hardy

Minecraft Photo Credit: meaganmakes via Compfightcc

Wow. So I never would have guessed I would be writing about this topic since I initially hated Minecraft and had never understood why my brother enjoyed playing such a pixelated game; however, my thoughts are changing. I had initially googled Youtube as a great teaching resource but was surprised when an article about “Minecraft being the ultimate teaching tool”  came up. After reading the article and watching the video I got to thinking that maybe my opinion about the game had been wrong this whole time.

To explain, Minecraft is like a huge online lego game. You have your character who can build, harvest, dig, swim, and many other things. There isn’t a particular object to the game besides stay alive and have fun. There are certain challenges you can take on (like defeating a dragon), but really the game centralizes around…

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Glogster, the online blogs for kids

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Today I will be reviewing the educational tool known as Glogster. This is a blog that allows the admin (Teacher) to invite students to an online community to upload their notes, lesson work, and assignments onto the website in an easy to use manner that is visually and educationally pleasing.

Glogster is a very useful tool for the students, the teachers, and the parents. It allows the teacher to remain organized, send reminders and upload to do lists online, and have a paperless or reduce paper classroom. The students are able to keep on task and be creative with their creations by adding any video or photo that they create or find, while at the same time having fun, reexamining the material to upload, and gaining important technology skills for the future. Parents are able to follow along with teacher updates, as well as their own childs progress and learn exactly what they are learning with the same notes or created material by the students

The software is so simple that I have seen ten year olds create pages that are more complex and visually pleasing than what I was able to make when I was sixteen and working with website creation software and photostop! In just twelve minutes, I was able to turn this into this. It only takes a few seconds to learn how to do and the creativity is incredible. One can hyperlink any text, video, picture, or animation with ease. Furthermore, students can look at other blogs for inspiration or for fun.

Glogster is very affordable for a single teacher to use for their entire classroom, and is an evnironmentally friendly way for students to get their work done while introducing them to important skills in computer literacy.. ..If I was doing this when I was ten I would have been ecstatic to complete my lessons and upload them to my blog!

Personally, I have only seen GLogster used in math class, but its implications are limitless for almost any subject of all ages. This is a tool that I am very likely to use in my classroom, assuming nothing better comes along until then! I would highly recommend this product to any educator that wants to teach their students technology and force them to reexamine the content taught while the students have fun!