Tag Archives: blog

Revisiting Participatory Culture

One of the best elements of the web is the ongoing learning and sharing that takes place.  While in many ways, you never really know what impact you will have with a tweet, retweet, participation in a chat, a blog post,  commenting , creating a podcast, video etc.   I like the notion of the ripple effect.

ripple effect

More and more though, I am thinking about levels of learning.  Even though all of the examples above can be classified as participating, contributing, sharing and learning.  I wonder though,  what is it that  actually triggers one to find the PLN that will help you learn, challenge you, push you, and follow through to grow and change your practice?

I am sure that many web users enjoy the variety of ways to participate.  I do too, but I find both the enjoyment and learning that comes from reading blogs and the related comments to be a great experience.

Here are a few highlights from my web travels this week:

Comments on a  CBC podcast 

Do you live in a bubble? by  Donna Fry (@fryed) 

The 10 day blogging challenge

The nudge from @tina_zita 

An invitation to participate from Heather (@HTheijsmeijer)

Why not join in?  Are you up for the challenge?  How will you participate this week?

~Mark
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Blogging from the Start

Edu Gridlock Part 1:

I enjoyed hearing Seán Ó Grádaigh’s (@SeanOGraTek) presentation at the 2016 uLead conference.  In his presentation, Sean shares the journey of preparing pre service teachers for experiences in schools with 1:1 iPad programs.

Throughout the journey, information was gathered about individual technology skills (quite varied), attitudes towards using technology with students, building skills and capacity to use the technology more effectively and changes within these areas. Evidence collected showed significant growth in each of these area.

The interesting twist in the story was the shift to extending the use of the technology to something transformative – tools to capture and document their own (pre service teacher) lessons, experiences and reflections.  With intentional development of new ideas, the students used a variety of tools including facetime, audio (GarageBand), video (iMovie) and writing tools to capture their learnings and reflections in different formats.  iTunes U was used as a platform to share and comment within the class group.

In follow up correspondence, Seán has shared these 2 books which outline  practice:

Digital Reflection on iPad by Seán Ó Grádaigh
MGO ITE Programme by Seán Ó Grádaigh

along with this resource:  The Story of 1916 by Seán Ó Grádaigh
https://itun.es/ie/erY1bb.n

I was impressed that the journey ended with improved skills in using technology to enable better teaching and learning, that attitudes changed and that personal, and professional reflective practice was established in this manner.

In reflection, I note that the use of the Apple environment allows for seamless flow in the process of learning, documenting and sharing.  The notion of using a system that is easy to use, reliable, and has high compatibility is an important consideration in the planning and that there are other ‘device agnostic’ platforms that could accomplish this.

I wonder, what would education look like if this happened in all preservice teacher programs?  Would you change your practice and help move the mountain?

mountainview

~Mark
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Meet the Teacher Night Tech Slam

At this point in my life I find myself with one university graduate and one in first year and on the way.  It has certainly been a long time since I attended an elementary school meet the teacher night.

In a  recent summer conversation with WRDSB teacher  Alison Bullock,  my interest in the parent  aspect of  school year startup was rekindled.  Alison was enthusiastically sharing about her plans to provide parents attending with a fast paced “tech slam” – a quick tour through many of the different online services students would be using in their learning journey with her.  I approached Alison about attending meet the teacher night,  and I was thrilled that she readily agreed.

On parent night evening, I arrived at portable 4 to find an energized room of parents and students.  Students were eagerly leading parents to their seating area.

QRdesk

On the top of each desk was a  QR Code  that linked to a personalized welcome video for each parent.  Students were visibly excited to show their parent(s) how to access the video and have them watch it.

Now it was time for the tech slam.

Wow – actioned packed, filled with key learning statements and clearly highlighted  the connected learner robust technology enabled approach to be used in the classroom.

Casual conversation with parents afterwords showed excitement and interest  about the  approach to learning their child would participate in.

If I had elementary school aged children,  this is the type of classroom learning experience I would want them to have.

Related Resources:

Follow Alison’s class on Twitter: ESTP4.

~Mark

On or Off Line: a Perspective

I happened to come across  Aviva’s  post yesterday, titled
online-offline-where-to-draw-the-line.  Aviva makes that point that “students need a safe place to make mistakes, and I don’t know that social media provides this safe place.”  Check out  the comments from some of the readers  [here].

We do live in interesting times for sure.  Perhaps this is all a lesson in media literacy (& life).   From my perspective,  there are a few important points in the mix.

In my view blogs are indeed a social media tool.  In today’s world, you DO have a voice through a variety of social media tools.  One’s actions in a social media environment have reach and impact.  This begs responsible and ethical use: do good, ask good questions, ‘poke’ at things in a respectful manner.   It is likely safe to say that not all real life experiences  will have these characteristics, and from this perspective,  Aviva’s blog post raises a great point when considering the learning environment.

blog

In response to Aviva’s post,  Doug Peterson wrote a great blog post this morning  called  Learning about Social Media  in which he  makes a strong case for using blogs as an excellent entry point into this world.  I certainly support Doug’s view that blogs are indeed an excellent starting point.  I also think that  the K12 educational experience needs to move beyond this.  Our  students live in a world where new online tools and platforms are ‘born’ all the time and having some appropriate experiences  in new arenas is also important.  I like the idea of gradual release of responsibility (age appropriate), and I am excited about the positive experiences I am seeing WRDSB students having within programs such as the Futures Forum Project (FFP).

I don’t think one can underestimate the power of positive role modelling.  Do you see this as an opportunity for educators? or perhaps a responsibility?  Either way, social media is here to stay.  Reach, impact, connections, relationship building and establishing trust are all important aspects of this digital world in which we live, and important areas to develop in young people.

Great topic.  Please weigh in.  I welcome your thoughts on this discussion.  Leave a comment or connect in some other way.

~Mark

That! is a blog post

This blog post has been in draft mode since I attended the CASA13 conference in July. Every time I sit down to work on it, I think of another angle, write a bit more,  and things stay in draft mode.  Today, I read  Choose to Write  by  Angela Maiers  via Facebook. I would call that synchronicity given the topic.  So, finally, here we go.

I had the pleasure of seeing presentations at the CASA13 conference by  George Couros  and  Dean Shareski  as well as having personal conversations with them – always interesting and enjoyable.  Dean raised a great point in his  closing keynote. “Is the best PD process as simple as choosing something to learn and blogging about your experience?”  WOW – great question, great insight.

Relating to his Huffington Post article  “Want to create better teachers?” Dean states that ”  The reflective writing has been valuable but definitely the nearly 4,000 comments have been even more of a learning experience. This is the single best professional development experience I’ve had. Dan Meyer, a Mathematics teacher in California writes: … blogging was the cheapest, most risk-free investment I could have made of my personal time into my job.”   I suggest you read the full article here.

Next, I decided that I would gather material related to this topic by watching what my online professional learning network (PLN) was writing about it.  I have selected a variety of blog posts related to the value of online writing that I became aware of over the 2013 summer. Please take a moment to check out the insightful comments they shared about blogging and the learning that resulted from the process.

1.  What’s the big deal about blogs by @ColleenKR.

2.  The Reach of Education Blogging by @SheilaSpeaking

3.  What are you Thinking by @fryed (Donna Miller Fry)

4.  The Benefits of Blogging by @PeterMDeWitt

5.  Challenge: Five things I’ve Learned by @fryed (Donna Miller Fry)

6.  Why My Six Year Olds Blog and Yours Should Too by @KathyCassidy

7.  How Blogging Can Help Reluctant Writers/ by @DRPconsultants (Patricia Fioriello)

Now, coming full circle, the conversations around the value of blogging come to life again with the beginning of another school year.  But, what does it take?  There is a journey for each of us to travel:

  • finding your ‘online voice’
  • being comfortable with who you are online (you must be yourself)
  • settling on your own writing style
  • recognizing that you have experiences and insights to share
  • you never know who you might help

As we settle in for the 13/14 school I challenge you to be observant, look for that opportunity to reflect and share, dig in, find your online voice and BLOG!

Related Resources

Dean Shareski’s blog

George Couros’ blog

Angela Maiers

Letting Go by Stacey Wallwin

and a special thanks to my PLN for their willingness to share through blogging.

~Mark

Jenni van Rees: Blogging with primary students

Meet Jenni van Rees.

JVR

After a casual conversation at  Ed Camp Hamilton,  and some email correspondence, I arranged to do an interview with  WRDSB  teacher Jenni van Rees to further explore her work in blogging with her grade one students. The interview was initially done live on the internet on QueST Radio 1-24 .   The audio recording is now available as a resource to this blog post, and will also be rebroadcast on QueST Radio 1-24.  Watch radio.markwcarbone.ca , Twitter and G+ for announcements.

Guiding Questions for the Interview

1. Introductions

2. Professional technology interests

3. What drove your interest in getting your students online and blogging?

4. Administrative support?

5. What did you do in the area of communications with parents?

6. Describe/share how this has worked, benefits to students,

7. Did anything surprise you? anything unexpected happen?

8. How did you prepare the students in the area of digital citizenship?

9. Based on the results, will you continue to encorporate blogging as part of your instructional practice?

10. Closing comments.

Jenni provided excellent insights into these interview questions.  Hear her thoughts on professional learning, role modelling, real world audience, digital citizenship and PLNs in the  QueST Radio 1-24 broadcast recording .

Related Resources

Jenni’s class website

Jenni’s student blogging site

Jenni’s professional blog: Thinking about Teaching.

Collaborating with Division 18 in B.C.

Follow Jenni on Twitter

Follow Jenni’s on class on Twitter

Kathy Cassidy’s Connected from the Start: Global Learning in the Primary Grades

Happy learning.

~Mark

Student Voice: social media in the classroom

My daughter Charlotte just completed a grade 11 online secondary school course (HNC3OE) on fashion & creative expression here in the Waterloo Region District School Board.  She was recently sharing with me,  her work completed for the summative project on the topic of creative expression. There were 4 components to the work in addition to a personal reflection on the course.

The first component of the summative was a research assignment that reports on sweat shops in the apparel industry. The report is called  The Ugly Side of Fashion . Another component was to review wardrobes used in a high profile event such as a fashion show, new collection, red carpet event or video. Charlotte chose a  Costume Review.  One of the aspects of the summative that Charlotte really enjoyed was designing new clothing.  Her Fashion Design (graphic) was prepared using a drawing tablet and multi layer capable software called Art Rage 3.

The last component of the project really captured my interest. The idea was to research and explore, in a real life manner,  how personal  perceptions of attractiveness relate to how others see you.  The research methodology included comparing the subjects opinions of themselves, Charlotte’s perceptions  based on knowing the subject and input gathered from others who did not know the subjects.

Charlotte has an active online component to her life as a fan fiction writer and co-administrator of 3 blogs.  The one blog, administered with 2 online friends from Malaysia, is  kpop fans can relate, and has over 15,000 followers. This blog was used to gather anonymous input from people for the research.  I thought this was a great use of social media and crowd sourcing some feedback to provide an authentic context to research.  This also demonstrates an example of why students should have access to social media and web 2.0 tools to support their learning. The topic, research and findings are presented in this Fashion Video (12 min.) which was planned, filmed and edited by Charlotte.

Note: All noting and final documents were prepared using Google Drive. The video was produced in iMovie and uploaded to Google Drive.

I enjoyed learning how social media added a key component to this learning opportunity.

~Mark (& proud Dad!)