Reflection #2

 

 

 

So after the first reflection, I had an extremely busy week and am just getting to my second reflection now. I am not even sure what to reflect on to be honest.

One thing that I am finding quite challenging in my teaching, is getting students to read the required readings. I feel like every time I get to class, only a handful (if that) of students had done the reading. This can be very frustrating. Especially with my style of teaching. I prefer to have conversations with the students about what they learned from the reading. Talk about what surprised them or challenged their thinking. I want to  answer any questions that may have surfaced for them and to have them share anything they might know that wasn’t necessarily in the readings. This is what I want my classes to look like, but that requires that the students come to class having read the material ahead of time.

I have tried a few different methods to encourage students to read more and to come to class more prepared. Some of those being;

1. Class prep notes (students write down five things they learned from the reading and hand it in before class),

2. Chapter quizzes (students do an online quiz before class so have already been in the material when they get there),

3. Reading Responses (students answer a few questions regarding the material and submit prior to class)

If feels like I have tried others but can’t think of those things right at the moment. But regardless, it doesn’t feel like any of them were all that successful. I wonder if this is more about my issue. My need to have serious, in depth and thoughtful discussion with the students. Maybe I need to just let go of that and recognize that most of the students aren’t going to do the reading and as adults, that is the choice they make. It could be due to lack of time, or ability or even just not being interested in the material. Whatever it is, maybe there isn’t anything I can do to engage them in  the readings. I don’t want to accept that though. I think that there are some students that a different technique might work for. I guess I just have to keep trying. Maybe I’ll ask the students again ( I have had several discussions with different groups over the years about this) and see if they have any ideas. I usually  ask students for feedback after I try out a new technique, but sometimes the groups are just different and what works with one, doesn’t work with  another. I have certainly learned that over the past 10 years!

If there is anyone out there that has any brilliant ideas I could try, I would love to  hear them!!!

Till next week (actually sooner than that if I want to catch up!!)

MelRad

First Reflection in the 9x9x25 Challlenge!!

Okay, well here goes! I am going to do what I can to try to see this challenge all of the way through. I have decided that I need to do some more reflecting regarding myself as a teacher. I will start with answering some questions that have been recommended as a guide to reflective practice in the area of “teaching philosophy.” Thank you to my colleagues Silvanna and Marcia for bringing this resource to Sault College faculty!

So, let me begin with the basics and reflect on what I think my definition of teaching is. To be honest, that is a tough question. I was trained, first and foremost, as a Child and Youth Care Practitioner, not specifically as a teacher. Although if you look at many of the values and approaches to CYC practice, it can be very closely connected to teaching. I have certainly used many of my CYC skills in my work with the College! Teaching, to me can be defined as creating an environment where the invitation for maximum growth and learning can be extended. Teaching is a reciprocal process, I believe, where both the student and “teacher” can learn from each other. Actually making that happen can be very tricky I find though when I am tied to specific outcomes and objectives in a course and I want to ensure that these are met.

This also ties into my thoughts on what I think the definition of learning is. I think it is attaining knowledge that you didn’t previously have and how you get that knowledge might be different from one person to the next. It might be learning through reading or hearing or seeing or doing. What I try to do is ensure that all of my lessons incorporate some component of each of those things so that everyone’s learning style is met. Not a new concept by any means, but is what I try to do as much as possible! I also try to encourage as much discussion in my classes as possible so that students can learn from each other and hopefully I can learn from them as well. The challenge often though is getting students to engage in the discussion. I think I will save that for another reflection!

I really believe that an effective teacher can engage in both the learning and the teaching process in all that they do with their students. I strive to do that as much as possible and I hope that through this reflective process I am able to look at whether or not I do! I look forward to continuing these reflections as we move through the next nine weeks! Hopefully I can learn to up my blogging game at the same time and remember how to do more than just the basic text in my posts!

Time will tell…

Technology Tools: From Web 2.0 to 3.0 and Beyond

Hi everyone! I am taking a course through EdX as part of a Micro Masters program on line. The course I am in currently is called “Instructional Design : Digital Media, New Tools and Technology! So far, I am loving it! This week’s assignment was to develop my own blog, podcast or develop a personal strategic plan using web tools for future learning and development projects. I have decided to share my blog with the group in hopes that I get some feedback on ways to use my blog in my teaching and learning environments. Hopefully everyone has some comments for me!
I look forward to my ongoing learning journey in this world of educational technology!
Comments welcome,
MelRad

New Year, New Semester, New Start

Well I have definitely taken a break from my domain lately. With the aftermath of the five week strike and two shortened semesters, I have finally come up for air and am ready to move forward!
I am finding the use of Quizlet live for review of material from previous courses and for test review to be very useful! The students seem to enjoy using it in class, but as well are using it out of class to help them prepare for tests.
Another thing I am looking forward to is participating in the Extend Kick Off Event on March 6th for the East. I think that by participating in this, I will start to be more active again in the things I had hoped to do but got thrown off track in the fall.

Here’s hoping for ongoing success!

Quizlet results

And the verdict is…..LOVE IT!!

But I learned a few things from this experience. Be very clear for students about the fact that not everything on the test will be covered on quizlet (they need to review the rest of the course content). Also, to make sure that students understand how to use quizlet. The students loved using quizlet as a tool to prepare for their test, in fact, 70% of my students used it!

My plan is to continue using it for students in a variety of ways but making sure that I am communicating and that students understand that they are responsible for the rest of the course content we covered in class. I believe that the more we use it, the easier it will get for all of us! I loved hearing that different students used different tools on there (ie. matching, flash cards, fill in the blank, etc.) to meet their individual learning styles!

Another thing I did this week was attended a “Bento Box Lunch and Learn” Ed Tech Webinar through eCampus Ontario! It was so informative and I loved hearing Joanne Kehoe and Terry Greene present to us about new Techie Tools! I am very excited to attempt H5P this week but have to remember a lesson I learned already….start small!!!! I plan to just take it one step at a time so  as not to overwhelm myself! I will let you know how that goes!

Techie Out.

MelRad

Update

So I haven’t written in a while as it has been extremely hectic. I have been using Quizlet, AnswerGarden, Google Docs and Nearpod quite a bit in my classes. It has been an interesting process, trying to learn the ins and outs of each of these but am really starting to feel more comfortable as I use them!

Some of the struggles are ones that are beyond my control (getting kicked out of the presentation, connection issues, etc.) but ones that I am continually figuring out how to manage! The other struggles are all on me but are becoming less of an issue as I become more comfortable. Those include not doing enough research about a technology and trying to use them before I am ready (creating problems in class) and using technology for the sake of technology rather than making sure the technology is ENHANCING the learning and directly helping students with the learning outcomes of the class. I am definitely learning through trial and error!

I was very excited in one of my classes last week where I used Quizlet live for the first time with a particular class to do a review for an upcoming test. The students were very excited about it and looking forward to using Quizlet to help them study! I’m looking forward to seeing how this might translate for them on the actual test on Friday! I will keep you posted on this one!

That’s it for now!

Melanie

Desire 2 Learn

I have been tinkering with D2L and some of the things that it can do and started using the surveys tool. I surveyed my students about how they wanted to see the class time structured and love that I can make it anonymous so that students don’t feel they need to censor their responses. It is giving me the stats in a nice clear format and showing me the results I want!

Another tool I have used in the past but am trying to use more is the discussion boards. Setting up topics for the students, allows them to go in and have an open conversation about whatever that topic is related to the course content. I find that students aren’t using it as much as I would like but I will continue to encourage them to ask questions and express concerns they may have so that other students can give their feedback and so can I.

I will continue to share what I am doing on my course sites on D2L. Please feel free to share any thoughts or ideas!

Melanie

Google Docs and more…

Well, I have used several different on line tools in my classes this past week. I reminded students that I will not be using ALL of these tools, EVERY week but was just introducing them to some of the tools in order for all of us to  get comfortable with them! One barrier I found was the wireless connection didn’t always work for everyone so became a glitch that took time to resolve or wait for and others began to become less interested in the mean time.

One of the tools I used which was extremely helpful was google docs. I meet with each  of my first year students individually at the beginning of the semester to see how they are doing and if they need anything. I also review their required placement documentation for the winter with them. Scheduling has always been a nightmare for these but this year I created a schedule on Google docs and just put the link into  an announcement on LMS. Each student went in and scheduled themselves for an open time slot! Its perfect! Only thing I’m not certain of is how to make it so that they can’t edit other people’s work. Anyone know the answer to that one?

So happy that these tools are helping me be more efficient with students and my time!!!

Till next time,

Melanie

Back with a Vengeance!

Well, just finished my first class of the semester and used three new technologies in the class! I didn’t intend to use so many but they all seemed to work for what I was trying. The first thing I used was my course trailer that I posted about last week.  Students liked it (or so it appeared!). I definitely need to make the text stay on the screen longer though for ease of reading!

The second tool I used was www.nearpod.com which is an interactive presentation platform that has students go to your lesson/presentation and then you can move through it for them. I used it to link to answergarden.com which had them answer questions about how they are feeling about school right now. The answers appeared up on the big screen so students could see (not who answered what) that they may not be alone in how they are feeling, etc. The students really liked this technology but the biggest barrier was accessing the WiFi as some students couldn’t get on or the service was extremely slow unfortunately. I just had those students pair up with someone who had a device that was working.

The third tool I used was quizlet.com which is a tool that provides flash cards and games to use to study/review content. There is a section that is called quizlet.live and that was what I used today. The students entered the code and a game began! Once students were into the game, the program randomly put them into  teams so they were required to move into their teams. I then started the game. Each student had a question on their device (same one for all team members) but had different answers to select from. The team had to figure out who had the right answer (in this case I used information about course assignments, etc.). When they answer, it moves to the next question! If they are right, their team moves forward on the score board and if they are wrong, they move back. Students had fun with this but did say that it was slightly confusing at first. They said once they are used to it, they will love to use it as review! What I learned was to make sure that I have the correct information on the questions/answers! I think I will definitely use this tool often for review! The students without a device or wifi just joined up with any team they wanted to.

I am excited to continue to explore with and master all of the fun things that these tools can use! I look forward to sharing my journey with you!

Cheers to a new semester!

MelRad

Short break!

You may notice that I haven’t posted in a few days because I have been focused on getting my courses ready for the first week of class next week! I have still been using some of the technologies (nearpod, answer garden, quizlet) but have not had the time to post any details about my experiences in them!

I will post next week after my first class using a technology 🙂