Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Online Learning

Recently I was able to take a look around the web based courses on the Manitoba Education site and I was pleased with what I found. I took a look at the grade 11 history course and I thought that it was a much better resource than the actual curriculum.

First of all I really like how the course was laid out on the site. It was easy to navigate through all of the different topics in the course with the links on the side. I like this because I am able to jump around from topic to topic so easy which makes it much more efficient when looking up different areas within the course.

As for the content I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of information put forth on the course. It was nice to see some content about the subject and all of the outcomes listed clearly. In the online curriculum guide for the grade 11 history course there is only a few essential questions that should be covered within the course. On the web course it looks at different topics within the curriculum and outlines very clearly the expectations. In my last placement I actually taught a block of grade 11 history and I now wish that I had this resource available to me at the time. With the web course there are a number of topics for discussion and different assignment ideas to use in the class. When I taught the course I had to rely on all of my own research and planning where as this web course would have been so much more helpful to have at the time. I don't think that I would use this as an online course but I would definitely take content from the web course to use in my classroom.

Great Resource!

Until we meet again...Cheers!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Social Media in the Classroom

Becoming a Tweacher?

After the presentation from John Finch about social media in the classroom my mind is now somewhat at ease about the use of this type of technology with my students. I have to admit that I am a bit skeptical about using social networking and other types of internet sites in the classroom because of privacy issues and the boundaries that can be crossed having students always looking at your profiles and such and Im sure I am not the only one who feels this way. I am glad though to see the different types of ideas put forth in class about ways to use social media effectively in the classroom.

Before the presentation I never thought that Twitter or Facebook could be a useful tool in the classroom. I know that we are in the digital age and times are changing which means social media in school is something that will become mainstream sooner rather than later. When I think techonology and interenet in the classroom I think of using blogs or wikis as a source of posting assignments and having students comment on different ideas presented in class. I also like the idea of using the social networks in the classroom as long as it is tasteful and appropriate. With Twitter teachers can post different questions and assignment details or have their students follow important figures in society like politicians and other social figures related to a social studies class. I also like the idea of using Facebook and having the students create a profile of an historic figure and edit all the details about their life.

I really enjoyed the group activity in which we all searched the Internet for different ways social media can be used in the classroom and I am happy that I now have so many ideas that I can incorporate into my lessons. I think that it is very important to try and incorporate the Internet into the classroom because of the way students interact these days. Adolescents are constantly on Facebook or Twitter or texting on their Blackberry or listening to music on their Ipods, if we can bring this stuff into a educational setting I think that students truly will enjoy it and will become more engaged in their learning. Learning should be more than dry boring textbooks and students will jump at the opportunity to use any type of technology without even realizing how much they are learning.

That's all for now.... and a shout out to a southwest Manitoba legend Ron Thompson, Easy does it!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rookie's first Blog

So here I go with my first official blog. I'll have to admit right from the start that if I were not enrolled in this class there is a pretty good chance that I would have never had a first official blog. Being a big sports fan I frequently cruise the web searching out blogs that have opinions and rumours from the sporting world but never thought about creating my own mostly because I wasn't sure of what I would talk about. I am happy that I joined this class and now have the opportunity to join the blogging world sharing my thoughts with the my classmates and who ever else stumbles upon this site. After only a couple weeks of classes and two different presentations I believe that blogging could be an advantage in my career moving forward. I think it will be a good tool to use in my class to post a number of different things from class info to due dates and everything in between.

I look forward to the rest of the term in this class gaining tools and experience from different aspects of the internet. After only 3 classes I have taken in some good insights from both our presenters. Mr. Evans seemed like he was quite passionate about his work and was excited to present his thoughts about personal learning networks. I think that developing a personal learning network could have a lot of advantages for a teacher. I liked how joining very simple websites can open up so many opportunites to so many resources. When you join twitter and other social networking and bookmarking sites you can see so many different ideas and resources posted by other teachers. I am happy that I will be able to look to these sources as I enter the profession and get as much support as possible while gaining experience in the field.

Howard Griffith also did a good job of outlining the details of online learning. I was surprised to see the statistics that showed how a combination of web based course work and face to face time resulted in higher marks. I think that online learning can have its advantages for a number of different people who aren't able to attend classes or don't have the resources available at their school. The Internet has become such an important tool in our society and it is good that we are able to take advantage of it in education. I will admit that I do have concerns with some aspects of social networks that take away some of your privacy but overall I am in favor of Internet use in education.

Annnyways I am happy to get my blog off the ground and running and look forward to the rest of the term in Internet for Educators.

Stay Tuned......