Last week in class we learned all about sketchnoting and Twine. I really enjoyed this class and felt like I came away having learned a lot.
Sketchnoting is something that really interests me but I know it’s something that I’ll have to work on to improve with. For those who don’t know, sketchnoting is using symbols as well as words to take notes. There is loads of research to back up why this is beneficial to use while learning and taking notes. I admittedly have very poor printing. I don’t like the way my writing looks and because of this, I tend to type everything if possible. I also have a very shaky hand because of medications that I have to take so drawing straight lines or pictures is challenging for me. I am a person who constantly is writing in my planner and using different colours to classify things so sketchnoting makes sense for me. I am a visual person so having things draw out in different colours is very helpful for me. I liked that in class we practiced drawing various icons and got a chance to spend the time to “play” with them. In the future, I would like to use sketchnoting more but I don’t think I would be able to take notes as quickly as I can on my computer. I want to begin by using it to journal and maybe when I am taking reading notes before I begin using it during lectures. I also want to use it when I listen to podcasts or Ted talks.
Twine was interesting for me as well. For those who don’t know, Twine is a platform where you can create “choose your own adventure” stories. I can see myself using this tool with students in older grades and even with younger grades as a class. I wish I was more creative with my use of it. Just before our class last week I was talking to my sister on the phone (she lives in Calgary) and so I decided to make a Twine story to send to my sister. I made a story called Claire’s Best Day Ever where the choices were just different ways for her to spend her day. I think she liked it and I liked getting to discover this new tool.
This week we also had the opportunity to experience a presentation from Jesse Miller (@mediatedreality). This was hands-down my favourite presentation we have had this year in our program. I found the actual presentation to be engaging and very informative. I feel like I came away with so much knowledge but I didn’t feel “scared” like I often do after tech presentations.
I appreciated how a lot of the things he had to say were really relevant to our elementary school students that we will be working with. Miller reflected on how children who are using technology in pro-social ways are actually doing “quite well” and that children who play violent video games might not actually be violent kids (like we are constantly told). We also talked about if young kids actually need phones or social media and how phone issues in schools are often rooted in parent anxiety.
Some helpful tips for new teachers (or people in general) that I came away with from this presentation were;
- Use only your professional device for professional related things
- Don’t use your phone number when signing up for things because the computer will try to connect everything to it
- Don’t add teachers that you work with on social media
- Use your district email for all things school related, it is traceable.
- Demonstrate acceptable use of technology to your students
Miller explained how we need to be focused on network citizenship with our students and ourselves. This includes; digital identity, digital rights, digital literacy, and use of communication networks (including social, professional, and personal).
Miller spent loads of time discussing how it is inappropriate for educators to share personal information or images of students on our personal social media accounts. For myself, I felt like this was really common knowledge and I feel like I would never even consider posting anything pertaining to my students on my personal social media. I would even feel hesitant to post anything on a classroom social media. I would need more information and permission from parents to be able to feel comfortable doing this.
We also had the opportunity to discuss what we should expect as teachers and public figures in terms of how we should be monitoring our own social media content. I think we are one of the first generations who has really grown up with social media and thus we have become quite aware of how social media can transfer into our reality. We discussed how even accounts that are “private” can be accessed by someone who really wanted to see them. This was a bit of a wake-up call because I have always had a false sense of security that if my accounts are private, I’m all good but I definitely need to be a bit more mindful of what is on my personal social media accounts.
I found that I really benefitted from the ed camp experience we had in class time today. Our group was focused on the topic of “Are we being too accommodating for students?” with the sub-question “Is discomfort always a negative thing?”. The conversations that spelt from this topic were very interesting given what we are currently learning in our program.
Our group was not in complete agreement on this topic. Some people find that yes, we are being too accommodating and that our students will not be ready for the “real world” when it comes time for them to leave the classroom. Others find that no, we need to continue to accommodate our students and catering to their own specific needs.
A point that was made that resonated with me was a discussion of whether or not comfort and accommodation are exclusive. I find that I tended to feel that if we are accommodating a student, we are making them comfortable. When in reality, we might just be making the experience not traumatic for the student or just a tiny bit easier for a student. This also stemmed the conversation that as teachers, we must know our students know when it is appropriate to push them, and when we need to let them decide how they are feeling and if they are ready for something. This is where scaffolding our students comes into play and when we must build them up to be able to independently succeed.
As a professional, it is imperative to be constantly learning. Especially as a teacher in a world that is constantly evolving and as we work with new and different students each year, we must be prepared to learn and adapt to our new students’ needs and abilities. We must be constantly learning about our students but also about the world that we are teaching these students to understand.