Saturday, 1 March 2014

ePortfolio, One Sentence Stories, BYTE

It is hard to believe that our last full week of classes is over and after next week I will be finished my last assignments for my university career.  The end of each term is always the hardest and this term was no exception.  There always seems to be those last minute assignments that you forgot you had.  Anyways the highlight of this week for me was creating my eportfolio.  It is not completely finished but it is almost there.  I am very impressed with it so far.  I didn't think that I would have anything to put on it at first but once I got going it was okay.  Having the opportunity to look at other people's work gave me more ideas as to what I can add to mine.  I am still unsure as to how I am going to use this when it actually comes down to interview time.  My next assignment is almost done, this is the one sentence story.  I took my own pictures so I wouldn't have to worry about copyright and am using a quote as my sentence.  I can definitely see myself using this as a tool in the classroom.  Once you decide to do it, it is a very quick activity that you could have your students do to practice representing words with pictures and mood with music.

Outside of class a group of us attended BYTE on Friday.  Once again I am happy that I went.  I left with a better idea of how I can implement project based learning and how to integrate technology in to this.  I also left with pages of neat Apps and computer programs for everything from newspaper articles to classroom management.  Last but not least I finally made my first tweet after having twitter for over a year.

~ Carissa

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Short but Busy Week

This has been a really short week for me and I have missed a few classes so I will talk about some of the other things that I have been involved with.  On Wednesday I was judging science fair.  It is always so neat to see the different projects and ideas that the students have.  One general thing I noticed was that doing internet research almost stifled creativity.  When I asked the students where they got the idea for their project, most replied by saying they found it on a website they were given.  While looking at these places for ideas is great, most students just replicated projects.  I would have liked to see the students modify these to discover new things or try to get different results.  If the internet was not available I wonder if there would be more original projects and different ideas.  I realize that they could just go to books to find ideas but I feel like this would not have as much of an effect.

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday I was at WestCAST hosted by the University of W.  It was great to connect with so many educators that are also just starting their career.  It was interesting that with all of the young people at this conference, there was not a greater focus on the use of technology in the classroom in the sessions that I went to.  That being said, I learned a lot and took away many different ideas that I want to try out in my next student teaching placement.  The one thing that I really want to try is having a 'Genius Hour' which is basically a cool name for time set aside for an inquiry project.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Shooting Video

I have never shot or edited a video before other than simple ten second videos of things like my pets being cute.  Initially I was pretty scared at the thought of figuring out what to make a movie about and how it was all going to come together.  Once we created our big group the ideas started flowing!  With so many different ideas and visions of how our movie should look I think we came up with a better product than we could have each done separately.  We were guilty of shooting some vertical video.  It was amazing that with all 6 of us working together that none of us caught the vertical shooting until afterwards when we reviewed the clip.  Don't worry, we reshot those clips.  Vertical and horizontal video is something that I had never really thought about.  After looking at different clips done in both these ways it is definitely true that watching the horizontal videos was easier on the eyes.  It makes sense that we like to watch things left to right and not up to down.  We got all of our filming done this week and some music picked out.  Hopefully the editing part won't take too long.  We decided to go with iMovie because a few of us were already familiar with it.  I am really excited to view our final product and the other groups as well!

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Editing Photos

I am most definitely the type of person that just takes photos and prints them or puts them online just how they are.  For the most part I generally don't take as many pictures as I want to, I think of taking the picture after something has already happened unfortunately.  This was my first experience with a photo editing tool.  I used Picasa and found it very easy.  It did the few basic things that I would want to do with a picture very easily.  I also enjoyed using the Pixlr photo editing website.  It was a little bit more difficult to navigate but once you figured out how the layering worked it was fairly easy.  The finished product we produced with all of our edited photos was pretty neat to see.  It looked easy enough to complete in a short amount of time which is important for me if I were to use it in my classroom.  This would be a great way to quickly get a finished product from each student if they know that it will be turned into a final product for viewing that same day.  I thought that the using different photo editors could be a neat tool to use in relation to the English Language Arts Curriculum.  You could get students to choose their own photos or a creative commons photo and have them edit it to reflect a different mood, time period or audience.  I think students would enjoy this and be successful at it.

~ Carissa

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Digital Storytelling/Powering Up

I am excited to start learning how I can make a digital story and use this as a tool in my classroom.  So far I have had a little bit of experience with the different tools and apps that we went over in class that can be a part of our story making process.  The digital story that I have already made was nothing special.  I feel like it is very unoriginal and is almost just a version of a powerpoint that you don't have to click through.  I am hoping that my next one will be a lot better and something that I can be proud of.  From what I know already I think that my students would really enjoy making one.
Our group has started a discussion on the Ning page about our chapter in Powering Up.  We talked about some of the ideas in the first chapter, Flipping the Switch.  For myself one of the most interesting points that was raised was the idea of a well-rounded child and if this is really possible in today's society.  I don't think that it is as important to be well rounded now as it was ten years ago.  Now you can be a strong social studies student but not be good at math and get by fine.  If you don't know something in math you can look it up online.  In a job setting it is rare that you are working alone and can usually consult someone else on your team that has different strengths than you do to get the problem figured out.  The text also raises the idea that there is so much knowledge at your fingertips is it even possible to be truly well rounded.  I think that this is a very valid point.

~ Carissa

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Classroom Website

Our next big task was to create a professional classroom website.  I decided to use Weebly and make a site geared towards my next student teaching placement.  Parts of it were hard to make or visualize because I had no real information to put due to lack of a real classroom.  I am happy with my overall product for the purpose of this assignment.  If it were a real classroom website I would want to have more student work or involvement on it somehow.  It is simple enough to navigate that almost any age could update or post reminders after some practice.  In looking for ideas on what to put on mine, I searched through a lot of other teacher's websites.  They were all a way to communicate what was going on in the classroom but they were all so different.  Seeing how they were all different made me feel more comfortable with mine.  After realizing how easy it is to make this is something that I definitely want to use in the future.  Once you have the basic site made it would not take much time to quickly update something or quickly post a reminder to parents.  

~ Carissa

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

ePortfolios EEEK!

The big new idea this week was ePortfolios.  Looking at a few examples in class I think that they look great but also like a lot of work.  There are a lot of things to think about when deciding what to include and what you want to put online.  So far it feels really overwhelming.  For myself I think that I will have to make a rough outline on paper first to organize my thoughts and figure out what I want to include.  I am still not entirely sure how I would want to share my portfolio for the purposes of a job interview.  We talked about the options of putting it online or giving out a memory stick.  I think that once I have the project completed it will be easier to decide what I feel most comfortable with.  I have chosen to make mine on weebly.  So far it is going okay.  The site is proving fairly easy to navigate so far.  I have not done anything fancy with it yet, but so far I think that this site does everything that I want it to do considering it is free.  It may take a while to make it look professional and at the same time personal but I think that in the end my final product will be worth the time.

~ Carissa