Tag Archives: learning

Mobile Education – Let’s Start Here

15 Feb

This is a QR code.  It so happens to be a QR code that links to the wiki our class has created, specifically the page about using cellphones and mobile devices in a classroom.

How can we use this?

This is a question I have been asking myself over the last couple weeks.  I have spent lots of time acquiring knowledge of mobile learning, reading blogs and thinking about how we could use it in the classroom.  I have thought of hundreds of ideas, but up until a couple days ago there wasn’t one that seemed good enough.  We have to present our technology to our class, but more importantly I wanted to find a way that I could actually use this technology when I am interning and eventually when I’m teaching.

What really got me thinking was QR codes, and it is where I decided to have my focus.  My first real question was are they just a commodity?  They have the same function as many other things do on their own, but they are just very easy to use.  Regardless of if they are a commodity or not, their convenience is something that is going to become more and more evident in advertising and social media aspects.

So how can we use it?

Today I pitched my idea to my group members, who will hopefully be commenting on this post, and we agreed that it is what we want to do.  We are going to make a QR scavenger hunt.  Maybe the word scavenger hunt isn’t the best word, we can think of it more like stations.  Something that we have to focus on is teaching the rest of our class the different tools cell phones use, so we are going to be able to do this in the form of this stationed work.  At each station there will be a QR code directing each person to a different aspect of cellphones, for instance a Poll Everywhere question, or a youtube video to watch, a discussion to post onto, upload a picture to a site, upload a video, make a podcast etc.  These stations will show the vast ability to be able to use a cell phone to do all those things.

Now let’s think in a classroom.  What this could enable is the use of all the different types of learners.  You can different stations that focus on the different types of learning which could all be connected to the same concept.  You could have students teach a concept and have them instantly upload the video to a place accessible to the entire class.

Ok.  Thinking too small here.  Let’s bring in the social aspect of this.  How big could you go…

What if you post your “scavenger hunt”, or stationed lesson, whatever you want to call it, on your blog, or website, or whatever you use.  You could then send it out to the world.  All a teacher, in any place, would have to do is print off a page of QR codes and the stations and lesson are ready to go.  Then, the teacher and the students can see the connections they can make with other students and schools all over the place.  The possibilities with this are endless.

Let’s think different subjects.  Math.  You could teach basically any  concept, come up with resources, and create these stations.  You can have students making real life connections with a concept related to their area and post them instantly.  You can have students teach a concept in their own way.  You could have students creating their own math problems and questions and post them ready to be answered by others. This is just a small portion of what you could do.

Let’s go art now.  Not only could you connect with the art you see in your community and share it, as well as share the art you have created, you could go crazy with collaboration.  If you had students sending in videos from all over the place in a response to what you or your students want, you could create film pieces, or photography pieces, even music pieces.  And all from your cell phone.

Science.  What if you had students create their own labs or questions to labs and have them post them for other students to complete.  You could have lots of people getting results to experiments or adding their input.  In English, or any language, you could do creative writing workshops, collaborative writing, pen pals and so much more.

Really the list could go on.  These are things that could completely be done without the QR code too, just by using them you are appealing to a different generation of learners.  Cell phones are very common, and smart phones are increasing as well.  These codes create a convenience to use these different technology aspects.  I know that even I have stopped relying on my laptop very much and almost do everything on my phone.

Since we are in a position that we are going on an internship in the next year, it would be extremely easy for us to collaborate on a project like this, granted we get the permission to use cell phones.  Something that we would have to work with, which we will already see just in our class, is that not everyone has a smart phone, or a phone capable of using QR codes.  There will have to be adjustments made to accommodate this.

This is just an outline of the idea’s that I have been having.  If anyone has any comments, suggestions, ideas, feedback… anything, it would be greatly appreciated.


Reflecting Upon Reflection

25 Jan

This semester is requiring the most reflection I have ever done in my entire life.  It’s a good thing I really like thinking about these things, but at the same time it is very difficult and thought consuming.  In EPS 350 we have been given different articles to read and have been given numerous ideas to think about.

The first idea is that of a teacher identity and of professionalism.  The idea that we have a teacher identity and that it is important to let it encompass our entire being is important in the education process.  In the book Teaching Selves by Jane Danielewicz she talks about how she is still becoming a teacher.  There is this idea of a teacher and it is what we are striving to become but it is a place that we will never actually arrive.  The process of “becoming” is ongoing.  The “teacher” is always going to be changing as society and the world is always changing, so becoming a teacher is something that needs to be happening constantly.  There are external things that help to shape you into the person that you are and you can’t control or predict those things.  You can’t expect anything to remain constant without changing, so in order to meet these changing needs you also have to change too.  We are also constantly learning and experiencing things, and the more knowledge we get from these things will change us too.  The important thing is that we identify the teacher in ourselves and we do this by reflection.

Reflection itself is where the most growth can come from learning.  When we experience things, whether they are right or wrong, we have the ability to learn from the experience.  The only way we can learn from this experience is if we do actually reflect and think about what is right and what is wrong and where we can keep things the same or fix them.  Self-reflection might be the most difficult thing to do in teaching as it can be very difficult to accept when you have made a mistake.  I have a hard time thinking about mistakes, not because I know I did wrong but because I am overwhelmed at the consequences.  I find that especially right now, when I am not in a classroom teaching, I am extremely worried about screwing up.  I’m worried that I am going to screw up the life of a person.  Teaching is such a great responsibility and it has the opportunity to produce great things and very negative things.  The thing that I am going to find difficult is letting myself screw up.  Obviously I am going to screw up, no one can do anything perfect, I just need to remember that I, as well as my students, will be able to learn from everything.  Right now I am very overwhelmed.  There is so much to remember when teaching that I am scared I can’t possibly remember it all.  I want to be a “good enough” teacher, and I am hoping that it is a good thing that I am thinking about these things and constantly changing my mind about who the best teacher I can be is.  This self-reflection could be very difficult in a sense that it will be difficult to think about these things, but also easy because it’s going to be the way to cope with these stresses in the classroom.  Self-Reflection is the time when you can make something good come out of something bad, and help not to dwell on things.  It will help me grow not only in my practice but in myself in all aspects of life.

Reflection is required in all of our education classes and I find that many of my peers don’t want to do it.  Taking the time to slow down and type out my thoughts on these things has made me think more critically.  I find reflection to be the most important aspect of my education because its challenging me to think about why I am learning what I am learning and how it is going to help me.

Do You “Get It”?

4 Nov

I’m not exactly comfortable with blogging, yet lately it is something I feel like doing often. I have been realizing many things not only about myself but also about others that have been greatly affected me in ways both professionally and personally.

I am starting to realize that some people “get it”. I am not exactly sure what this “it” is, but it definitely shows through in certain people. The more education classes I have the more I realize that most people just do not get “it”. What is this “it”? It could maybe take on the word oppression. It could represent a greater understanding of people, and of life. It could represent this generation of teachers, and how we need to start acting differently and changing things before we can progressively move ahead. This “it” is something I see in my peers, and I would like to say I can see in myself. This “it” separates the teachers from the pre-service teachers. “It” is what I want to be reflected in every aspect of my life.

This is really confusing, and the reason it is so confusing is that I really don’t even understand it myself, I can just see it. Mostly what I see is that a lot of my peers do not have “it”. My first experience with this was over the course of my second year of University. I wrote a blog about my roommate and oppression, and for the first time I not only was starting to realize that some people don’t have “it” but also realized that I was starting to understand “it”.

It’s happening again. I obviously understand that racism is everywhere, as well as oppression, but the more I meet new people and get involved, especially within the education faculty, I am finding that oppression really takes on different roles. I am used to feeling oppressed for being Aboriginal. It’s not a good thing, but I am very used to the feeling. Writing a paper on oppression last year was the single most important assignment I have ever done in my life. By defining what I thought oppression was I really found a way to recognize it in my life.

Currently I am starting to understand different kinds of oppression. The voting that has taken place within the University has had a real impact on me, and has helped define numerous aspects in my life. I am finding that many of the people around me have taken a definite stance on this topic and by doing so they are affecting others around them. Today someone told me, “Did you see that girl right there? She did a presentation in our class about CFS, and ever since then I haven’t been able to have any respect for her, just knowing that she voted yes.” This has stuck with me all day. It is driving me nuts. I never said anything; it is another one of those situations where I couldn’t decide whether to say something or not. I chose not to say something because I knew that by expressing my opinion to this individual it would change our relationship, and I would have a difficult time in the future as I spend a lot of time with this person due to extra curricular activities. It took me a while to realize the feeling I had was so similar to when I don’t say something concerning an Aboriginal topic. It is very tough listening to comments like this, because people’s opinions are their own and I just don’t find it very fair to judge them on that. Knowing someone voted yes in the referendum should not change an opinion of anyone. I have a bunch of friends who felt strongly on this referendum and on both sides of the vote, and they have never once made me feel like if I didn’t agree with them our relationship would change.

It’s very frustrating.

What’s more frustrating is when I am in a situation where I feel uncomfortable like this; the person making me uncomfortable is usually a teacher.

Over the last two weeks a bunch of things just seem to be happening at once, and I have felt like I have been overwhelmed with frustrations. My thoughts have been extremely focused on the referendum, and really not so much with the referendum itself but the actions taken regarding the referendum. Another thing that has been brought to my attention is people’s thoughts on addiction. I am in a position where addiction’s haven’t really affected my life directly, but has affected people who are extremely close to me. Seeing addiction in a person, and how it has affected the lives of those around me has made me understand a lot of things about addiction. Saying that “getting rid of alcohol” would make the world a better place seems to be an empty statement filled with ignorance. Who are we to judge whether a person is “bad” or “good” based upon the addictions that have affected their lives.

Back to this concept of “it”. I find the people who really understand it are those that have been affected by some form of oppression. This first hand effect gives them a different understanding, and I really can see it in different people. Wanting to change things seems to be a huge factor. I constantly want to change things, make them better, and find ways to make things more efficient. I find things that are wrong very easily, and I would like to think its because I can put myself in the positions of others. I find the more I go along in education the more I cling to certain people, and the people I can really trust and tell things are these people who “get it”. My closest friends seem to “get it” and I feel like I can talk with them. I am fortunate enough to be very close with my best friend, who lets me vent to her my frustrations, but at the same time understands where I am coming from. I find her to be one of the biggest supports in my life, and by having her, as well as other friends who I trust completely, I feel like I don’t have to stand alone all the time.

I find myself drifting away from the people who “don’t get it”, I easily become frustrated with speaking with them and I don’t connect in the same way. This frustrates me greatly because I don’t think that is very fair of me. For the last two weeks I haven’t spoken very much with one of my closest friends because she didn’t understand why I have been upset. This hasn’t been fair of me, and I recognize it and am working on it… but at the same time I have also become closer with some people over the past couple of weeks. I connect better with people who are also in education; it makes sense because they have the same aspiration as me. I want to surround myself with these people because I want to learn as much from them as possible. Surrounding myself with these people who “get it” seem to make me understand people more in general.

I ramble on forever, and it probably doesn’t make any sense, but I feel the need to collect my thoughts into sentences. Typing it out seems to give my thought some substance and help me make more sense of it.

Reflecting is a big part of teaching right?

That’s all I have for now,

192 Times

4 Dec

I dont know if anyone else has seen this commercial, but it is easily top ten favorite commercials, maybe even top five.  I always pay attention to commercials, they really interest me, if they are effective or not… and my favorite ones are the ones that have  a good message.  Of course I love the coors commercial where the mountains turn blue, but the one i think about a lot lately is a Never Stop Milk commercial.

They always have really good messages and the classic “always grow, grow all ways” saying is very well known.  Right now the commercials are really awesome… but my favorite is the one about baseball!  I absolutey love baseball, so of course it hits a soft spot when i watch it… but the message is amazing.  This commercial is about a baseball player, he has struck out 192 times… and in the end he leads the team and sets a record in home runs.  The message is to step up to the plate.  The writing displayed on the commercial is:::: the only limits are the ones we place on ourselves.  It is such a strong message it gives me goose bumps every time i watch it.

I couldnt find the video on youtube, but I did find one that includes the baseball (this one reaches to more interests but I dont enjoy it as much as the one just about baseball)

haha i probably seem so dorky getting goose bumps from a milk commercial but I always do… whatever I am doing I always stop when I see that commercial come on.  This would probably be a cool type of video for a class to make… maybe would take  a lot of work but would be amazing!


OH by the way… in EPS class I was clever and changed it to….

Always Learn… Learn All Ways.

My future classroom

3 Dec

My future classroom will be one that welcomes everyone. I want my classroom to be open to all cultures, beliefs, and ideas. I want every person who walks in my room to feel comfortable and safe, so that they can learnecmp best.  I want students to feel comfortable asking questions, so they can learn the best!  I want students to be able to have access to any tools they need to help them learn.

    I am a secondary student but the grade level I would most like to teach is grade eight.  My grade eight room would have computers for every student, all the same so they are working with the same thing.  There would be a smartboard, and all of the notes and lessons I would teach would be done so digitally.  There would be a bookshelf that covers an entire wall of the classroom, with books for every reading level and interest!  There would also be a catelog for those books so that each student could look at it for a reference when they were looking for a book! 

      There would be individual desks, not tables, which would get moved around frequently… from pods, to a circle classroom, to many different shapes to keep the classroom interesting, and see which format they would learn best in.  There would be a water fountain in the classroom as well as a bathroom… so getting a drink or going to the bathroom wouldn’t disturb class.

   There would be a class wall, that was covered in material and paper that the students could write or draw on… so they could work on something together as a class.  Another wall would be a giant bulletin board where the students work would be posted.

   The tiles on the roof would all be painted… it would be the first assignment in their art class.  They would get to design and paint their own tile, so they can feel that the classroom is really their own and they make an impact on why it is their own.  Over the semester they could add to their painting if they wanted to.

   Every subject would incorporate technology some way… from a type of presention, to blogging.  My class will post their projects on the internet.  The classroom would have a camera as well as a video camera.  The camera would be used throughout the semester to document the changes made in the class, as well as take snapshots of memorable moments.  The video camera would work the same way, to document the class as well as video projects.  At the end of the year a slideshow or some kind of presentation would be made to recount the entire year for the students.

  My classroom will have lockers, because it is important to start using one before highschool.  There also has to be lots of windows, even though i seem to have all my walls used up, because there needs to be a link to the outside world.

   The classroom will have a cd player, as well as many many different cds so that students can work with music. 

  I wont have a desk.  I will have file cabinets to put my stuff on, and supplies and stuff will be open for everyone to use in an organized way, but i will not have a desk.  I want to be active throughout the classroom as much as I can.

    There will be a HUGE recycling can, because they will know you don’t waste you recycle.

  There are so many things I would want in my classroom, but the main thing that is necessary is the first point.  The class could be filled with millions of learning tools, and everything possible… but if my students don’t feel comfortable they won’t want to come to class.  I want to give students a reason to come to school, and the classroom is the first part.

You live, you learn…

9 Oct

One day i was sitting on my computer and decided… im going to teach myself how to play the piano. Sounds wierd, but i really wanted to teach myself the song Love Song by Sara Bareilles. So i sat down on my mothers piano and played the piano for three hours and taught myself how to play the song. Then i played it for my mom, who has a degree in music, who told me: read me some music and i will be more impressed… so i showed my friend who was amazed (a much better response)! Then she bragged about it to another friend, who really doesnt like me obviously, and said well really its not that hard of a song. So then i came to this conclusion: I dont play the piano and i taught myself a song that is more complicated then you would think, to just play by ear! I used to play the piano with my mom when i was little, and just couldn’t be bothered to read music (probably have ADD or something who knows, and hence my moms little comment about reading music)… i also played the flute! i would never read the music… just ask my mom to play it first then i would copy it back to her pretty much identically! i enjoyed it, but at the time there was no way my mom could really teach me… but now there are a lot of programs that deal with playing by ear (if those were around when i was a kid i would be pretty awesome i think! haha) I’m like that movie drumline, haha which is probably why i want to play drums! Sooo i guess that means im a self learner… right?

i also work really good when i get to bounce ideas off of other people and get their responses… sooo am i a group learner?

wait that contradicts the first learning…

so i guess maybe im a hands on learner?

well wait i am good for just reading a text book and understanding it…

Ok. so i have no idea how i learn best… it feels weird, but i just seem to be able to learn anyway like exactly the same. I always seem to have that problem, just being a little bit of everything. Like those STUPID personality tests you had to take in highschool to determine what you should become when your older, i always got like perfectly even scores in all types of personalities and such… how is that supposed to help me! All my counsellors and teachers just said, oh i guess you will do good in whatever it is you do, but really… if i didn’t know i wanted to be a teacher then how would that have helped me at all
which brings me to my second point, maybe thats why i should be a teacher? if i can learn in different ways, either by working hands on, or reading, or memorizing, or whatever all the types of learning is, then should i be able to help students more effectively? If i can imagine myself in the shoes of each student, and understand how they learn and find that way in me, can i help them even more? I always had a teacher tell me that there are many ways to skin a cat, which i always thought was disgusting, but i always took into consideration when doing math. I would do a each question in a section a different way just to get a better understanding of the questions… haha yes im wierd and i love math also…
Soooo helping my friends study has always been easy, because i know my friends really well, and have always known how to teach them in ways that they understood, which they always thought was weird because their teachers could never make them understand (but really, not many teachers have time to teach a class in a million different ways).

So now you know how i like to help other people learn, and i just love learning! Like love retaining useless information like the fact that your height is equal to the length from the tip of one finger to the tip of the other finger when you hold your arms straight out (for all of those who tried that i swear it is so true), and looking at movies and being able to name five movies that every actor has been in (if they have been in that movie) but really… what kind of learner am i?

p.s. that was not a rhetorical question, please someone shed some light on this for me, what kind of learner am i?!?!?!?!