When the idea of creating a something to showcase what I have learnt throughout this semester of EDTC 300 was mention, my mind was spinning with ideas! After much consideration, I decided that I would combine my new found tech knowledge and my love of art and create a scrapbook that outlined the major takeaways I gained from the class! I spent many hours working on this project and after I finished the scrapbook, I created a video using iMovie of me presenting it to my mother (a retired teacher) in order to merge our very different education experiences! Although I shared a lot about the course through my video and scrapbook, there was so much more I wish I could have included! I have enjoyed this class and the knowledge I have gained will help me to continue growing my PLN and become an educator who does not shy away from technology, but embraces it!
*Below the video I have attached a gallery of my scrapbook pages, as well as a script I used throughout the video*
That’s me, Lauren, a soon to be second year Elementary Education student at the University of Regina! Welcome to my summary of learning for EDTC 300!
When I first decided to take this class, I thought I was super well prepared. After all, I did have my own social media accounts! I was active on Instagram and Facebook, and of course I knew how to rock those Snapchat filters, but little did I know that this class was going to cover a whole lot more than I could have ever imagined! There was a whole other tech world out there that I was about to explore and I was more than excited to be doing so!
I had never taken a live-streamed online class before, and for a girl who doesn’t like to video chat, it came as quite the shock when I realized that I would be video chatting with my entire class using a video conferencing app known as Zoom! Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, our EDTC 300 class would meet in our zoom room for class! I was amazed that this app allowed for students across the province to come together and learn as if we were in a classroom together! The fact that I could participate from the comfort of my couch was just an added bonus!
On the first day of class, we were introduced to the idea of creating a PLN, personal or professional learning network, which involved building a positive online presence through sharing, connecting, and interacting with others. I had never heard of or considered the importance of creating a PLN and was surprised to hear that I had already started creating mine without even knowing it, as everything I had done online in the past can contribute to how I am represented and how others see me. So in my eyes, my biggest goal for this class was to contribute to my PLN in positive ways and let me tell you, we were given multiples ways to do so!
I was quickly introduced to the wonderful world of blogging! I created a WordPress blog where I began forming my e-portfolio, and showcase my learning. I learnt how to navigate my dashboard and how to create pages, categories, menus, and widgets, all of which help to organize my blog. I learnt the basics of how to write interesting blog posts by incorporating links, images, and videos! I also learnt how to comment on others blogs and how to access the comments that were made on mine! This communication and input from others allowed for me to improve upon my blog in substantial ways.
For the first time ever, I was informed about the use of a Google Plus Community, something I had also never heard of before. This was one of the many places that my EDTC classmates and I were able to come together to share ideas, information, and ask questions. If I ever had a doubt about anything, this became my go-to stop for clarification.
The next step in my journey towards building my PLN was to join Twitter. I was not overly familiar with Twitter or how it to use it, but I was more than willing to learn. I started by creating a profile and bio that represented who I was as a future educator, being sure to link to my blog for others to view. I then slowly began to learn how to write my own tweets using the appropriate hashtags, how to retweet and favourite others tweets, as well as how to direct message. I began following both my classmates and other educators in order to build my network and form new relationships. I then started participating in numerous twitter chats through a tool called Tweetdeck. I had no idea that twitter chats existed and quickly began to fall in love with the many ways they allowed me to connect with educators around the world! Some of my favourite chats include #saskedchat, #newteachertribe, and #bekindedu, all of which taught me so much about education and technology! Little did I know, twitter is about more than just sharing what you did that day. Twitter is place to share ideas, thoughts, resources, and stories. It’s a place to form new relationships and learn with and from others!
Another major portion of this class was my learning project. I was given the opportunity to take something I was interested in and learn about it through technology. I chose to focus on baking and cake decorating, as it was something that I have always wanted to learn how to do. Each week I explored various blogs, websites, YouTube channels, and television shows in order to find resources. I then began to blog about my learning process, encouraging others to share their thoughts with me online in order to improve. Looking back, I can see the ways in which I have improved, all through technological means! Talk about amazing!
Throughout the semester, I was introduced to and given the opportunity to explore a wide range of amazing apps and tools. Some of the most memorable ones I came across included Screencastify, Grammarly, Google Drive, Flipgrid, and Kahoot! I didn’t realize the tools that I had access to because I never thought to look! These are tools that I will save and continue to utilize whenever possible.
Guest speaker Dr. Alec Couros joined our class one evening to share his presentation on “Educating the Selfie Generation”, where I learnt about the new culture of participation that exists today because of technology and what that means for future classrooms and the education system in general. We discussed the many dangers of the internet, such as sexting, scamming, trolling, cyberbulling, and an overall lack of privacy. We also discussed the many positive uses of the internet and technology such as the formation of new relationships, sharing of knowledge and ideas, and expanding our PLN. This taught me the importance of maintaining a balance and knowing when it is and is not appropriate to use technology.
To quote Dr. Couros, “we are never truly offline”, which brought us to the topic of digital identity and how it is virtually impossible to separate our on and offline selves. This means that technology is a part of who we are now and while we don’t have to fear it, we must be aware of the ways in which we present ourselves both on and offline. I learnt about the permanence of my digital identity and how the things you post online never truly disappear. This means that one post can make or break you. I also learnt the importance of teacher’s role in preparing their students for the internet and how to develop positive digital identities and avoid the dangers of the internet. We need to teach the importance of acting appropriately online and participate in positive digital citizenship. I learnt that we have rights and responsibilities to uphold and that is why it is important to THINK before you do anything online.
So what did I learn in EDTC 300? The better question is what didn’t I learn! I began this course not knowing much of anything about technology and in just 2 short months I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined. I now know how to do everything from blogging, to tweeting, to coding and more! Most importantly, I learnt the ways in which technology can be implemented in the classroom and the ways in which I as an educator can teach my students about safe online use that will benefit them in life! This class may be over, but my edtech journey has just begun!
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