Jocelynskogberg's Weblog

So for the past 13 weeks while I have been taking this EC&I831 masters class I have been trying to use some of what we are leaning in my teaching.  The biggest thing I think I have started using is Twitter.  When I remember to take out my phone I am trying to snap pictures of what the students are doing around the school and post them on twitter.  I have a lot of other teachers, students and parents who follow me and comment on what we are doing.  Aside from people in my school I also have other educators who are following me and who I follow and get new ideas from.  This week I went with the grades 2/3-5 classes to Agribition and was tweeting some of our experiences.  While we were there I had some new people follow and comment on me just for adding #agribition2014 to some of my tweets.  It was exciting to see who else was following that hashtag and I showed my student that someone commented on the picture of him birthing a sheep.  He was excited and it’s great to see learning go so far outside of the classroom.

Another thing I have been working on is a project with my grade 6/7 and 7 classes for them to use digital media to share some information about themselves using pictures to help tell their stories.  I talked to them about using iGo and the slides in there to share their ideas.  When I wrote my last post I mentioned that I didn’t have time to take a picture and on Wednesday I finally caught some of my kids screens on camera to share a piece of their presentation.

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This is my summary of learning for my EC&I831 class.  I can’t believe how fast this semester has gone for me.  This class has been a whirlwind of new things to learn.  I had a hard time concentrating on the main things that I learned this semester since to start off I hadn’t even used twitter or Google Plus and my experience from my blog was very limited.  From here on in I will vow to not steal people’s photos from the internet and use credited images.   I think I can safely say that I have more than just dipped my toes into the water this time and I’m ready to keep exploring the wide world of technology and social media and how I can use both in my teaching.

Below is a GoogleDoc presentation that I made to reflect on my learning and a version of I’m All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor which with the help of a friend I’ve changed the words to become I’m All About That Class.  I decided to use Google Docs Presentation to create a video and I used Snagit (another new tool for me) to capture it with sound.  It took a while and I used a few tries and cuts from the video but it gets my point across.

If you are interested in checking out the lyrics to my new song you can see the link to my google doc page here.

Thank you to everyone in the EC&I831 class and to Alec Couros and Katia Hildebrandt for all their help and ideas during this class.

So I decided to do a quick summary of what I’ve learned so far in Spanish and show my growth.  As with my students I like to get them to self evaluate first.  Also, since the tools I’m using don’t give me a score on different areas I thought I would wrap up my learning through self evaluation first.  From what I’ve learned I think I have learned Spanish by language recognition (reading), writing (spelling), listening and speaking.  As a language teacher I really think culture should play a big part in your learning but it was not very evident in my tools.

My self evaluation listing my skills in order of what I think I’m best at:

Vocab Learning

words

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I think this is my top area of learning.  Both tools really gave lots of opportunities to see the words and match to what they meant in English.  On the down side I think I also got good at memorizing words for a short term.  Luckily, both tools made me go back and keep remembering the words that I was forgetting.

Listening

listen

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Both tools gave me lots of opportunities to listen to a phrase in Spanish and either write it out in Spanish or translate it to English.  I think that with both my ability to remember the words and my background in French I did pretty good in this.  In fact this area really helped me move ahead some levels.  This is probably my second best area in Spanish right now.

Writing

Write

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Again, I’m not going to say I’m a writer by any stretch of the imagination but I do feel that this is my third strongest area.  My biggest issue was that I needed to spell the words correctly.  I’ve always been a bit of a poor speller in English and then I threw French into the mix.  After that I added Spanish and trying to remember what accent goes on the letter and if the word had an e or not really was difficult.  I was really happy that the Duolingo app made you do spelling because I have to confess I usually didn’t chose that game option on My Spanish Coach.

Speaking

Speak

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Wow I feel like I need to go back and apologize to my students who get nervous speaking in French because I now really get where they are coming from.  Add on the fact that I just put that on youtube that’s scary.  Although this is an area I want to improve in so that I can try to communicate with people when I’m in Mexico and on future travels I think I will need to focus on a couple of key phrases while I’m down there.

Culture

culture

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This area I don’t feel like the tools I used really showed me.  On My Spanish coach it gave a few interesting facts about different areas that spoke Spanish but nothing in Duolingo.  I do however, have the chance to redeem myself by going to Mexico and enjoying some culture while I’m there.  Right now I would say this is my weakest area that I hope to improve.

Formal Evaluation

duofinishspanish

My Spanish Coach had originally given me the rating of a baby.  Now I am happy to say that I have moved up to a grade 6 level so I think that is a big jump.  I might not be a great grade 6 student but I could probably pass in some areas.  In Duolingo I started at a level 1 (I think I should have been set at level 0 but I guess 1 is their lowest) and now I have jumped up to level 7.  With Duolingo I also started at the basics and by the end of this semester I have gone through 21 areas.  What I really enjoyed this semester was the fact that I tried learning Spanish from 2 different sources that gave me instruction in two different ways.  It wasn’t until later that the two really started to overlap.  I hope to continue to learn Spanish after this class is done however, I am really happy I had this to focus on this semester so that I made it a priority.  I really did see that the times when I learned the most were weeks when I was using both tools almost every day.  As soon as I missed a day it was easy to just skip the next day too and then I lost strength bars in duolingo because I had forgotten words that I knew before.

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Wow, I can’t believe that tonight is the second last class of the #EC&I831 class.  Its hard to believe all that I have learned over the short couple months of this class.  Tonight’s class was done by Alec Couros and we were talking about Living and Learning in the Digital Age.  Its funny because I have thought that I am part of this technology age.  As a relatively new grad I have in most ways grown up with technology.  We got our first computer when I was in elementary school and I was a pro at All The Right Type (although I must have used the first version not the 4 that I found a link for).  I was given a cell phone in grade 12 and perfected the art of texting without my teachers noticing.  I was also part of the group of people who it was legal to drive while texting and talking at 17 (now that was scary).  That being said, as I moved through this class and I realized how much I didn’t know it has become really apparent that I am not a technology native (although I’m close).  I have the advantages of figuring I will just keep pushing buttons until what I want appears like what I was doing tonight when my chat disappeared, however, I also remember a world without Facebook, Instragram, Snapchat and Twitter and I’m happy that I was able to spend my childhood and most of my adolescence “offline”.

Facebook

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During class we talked about how technology can connect you.  I look at my parents and how disconnected they are with some of their cousins and extended family.  When I think about Facebook one of the biggest things I use it for is to connect with family and friends.  I have relatives that live in other provinces that I only see about once a year if we are lucky.  With Facebook I feel like I am more connected to them.  I see pictures of their kids and know what they are doing.  They see pictures of me and what my hobbies and interests are.  When we do get together we sometimes even talk about something I saw on their wall “I saw you have a new dog he’s so cute!”.

Privacy

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On the flip side, technology has brought around the other side of things which is a lack of privacy.  This photo to the right was one that I found when searching the word Facebook in compfight.  We talked in class about how it’s great for our students to see us as humans and to see the personal side of us.  I agree but with reservations.  Although I love sharing some personal things with my students there are somethings that I like to keep private.  And for that reason, I have private Facebook, Snapchat and Instragram accounts.  I decided for this course when I was starting a twitter account that since it was a professional account that I would keep what I post things about school.  I chose the username MsSkogberg and that is my professional identity.  I also have many students who follow me.  Therefore I like to keep my twitter account about my school and education in general.  I don’t know if this is the right answer but it’s what works for me.

Technology is becoming so in our faces that almost every student that I teach in grades 6-8 already have their own phones.  I have students in grades 4 and 5 who are wondering why we don’t allow them to bring their phones to school (which cost $700) but they still can’t keep track of their own tuques.  I wish I could say it was only a problem that students are always on a screen but I have the same problem myself.  I feel like I am missing something when I don’t have my phone on me.  I am so used to being always available that I worry if my phone is forgotten at home someone will need to get a hold of me and I won’t be available.  We have so much information available in our hands and we need to teach our students how to use that.  We were given a few great examples of when someone posts something without thinking and the repercussions of that.  I love the advice that instead of hiding just keep flooding your name with positive information.  A teacher at my school has a quote on her wall that says “Act in a way that if someone spoke badly of you no one would believe it”.  I think the same advice can be said for online that if you are always watching what you say and slip up once people might assume it was by accident instead of that this is your character.

Phone
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We also talked about technology fixing education.  Looking at that picture of a teacher smiling and pointing to the computer while the student smiles only made me think about what my reality is really like.  I think of my last few weeks doing a project in French with computers.  I am literally run off my feet.  I don’t know if I could keep up with my stduents if I only had 10.  As I reflected when I did my blog post I haven’t had a chance to pull out my phone and take a picture of students working because I spend the whole time running from one computer to another.  The bonus is that I feel like I am teaching so much and some students are becoming experts who can teach the next student.  However, giving them a computer isn’t the easy route. So it was asked, how do we connect our students and have them contribute to their own learning? One way that I see is by using things like #geniushour.  This way we allow them to facilitate their own learning with us there to guide instead of decide what they learn.  Another great idea is the flipped classroom where students will come in with a question instead of to receive the information like the one that Jennie Davies is creating for her project.

As we talked tonight I was reminded of a country song that I love by Brad Paisley called Welcome to the Future.  The lyrics that I like are listed below.

“When I was ten years old
I remember thinkin’ how cool it would be
When we were goin’ on an eight hour drive
And I could just watch TV

And I’d have given anything
To have my own Pac-Man game at home
I used to have to get a ride down to the arcade
Now I’ve got it on my phone”

It’s amazing how far we have come in technology and education.  I’m sure in another 5 or 10 years I will sit back and think about the days where we had to book out computer carts or how we had slow internet.  I know the future will continue to offer changes to our learning and teaching and in ways we can’t even imagine right now.  I hope that I can keep working to learn about these changes and use them in my teaching throughout my career.
Equality

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Tonight we had a presentation from Audrey Watters. We were asked to really think about what it means to be online and if it is equitable to be online.  As I sit here taking my class, I am working on my fiance’s laptop, that he helped set up with a second monitor so I could look at more than one window at a time, and I never once thought about technology and gender.  In our house we don’t have defined roles.  We both need to cook and clean and since I am taking my masters right now my fiance has taken up some of the slack of the household duties to help keep me less busy/stressed.  That being said, as I am a teacher, and he is an IT specialist in our house he would be the “expert”.

I’ve never really thought about the online world and gender equity.  As I’ve explained before I have a fairly private online life (until I started sharing my feelings online to everyone) and I haven’t been interested in online games.  I grew up with a twin brother so its not that I didn’t have access to that world its just that I honestly wasn’t interested.  Maybe we were pushed into our gender roles or maybe this is just who I want to be.  I am definitely not a meek female who cowers or stops talking when men are around.   In fact anyone who was around to watch my brother and I grow up tells me that I was the one who was a little controlling and made a lot of the decisions for the two of us.

I knew the online world wasn’t always equal and I have heard boys talk about girls who game and expressing shock that she is good but I didn’t know the full extent of what people can go through online.  I find it so scary and crazy that women are targeted online.  Another new word for me tonight was doxing.  The act of someone who will find out your personal information like your house address and phone number and post it online so people can harass you in person and not only online.  The internet is advertised as this place where no body knows where you are but the more we talked tonight the more you can see that women are targeted online.

Two factor identification is something we touched on at the end of class.  This is why I think the online world is so scary.  The more I listen to some of the horrible people out there the more I want to start shutting down my online identity and put my head in the sand.  Yes, I know it’s not the solution but this world is scary.  I wouldn’t have thought people could be that cruel to go online and try to ruin other people’s lives.  I didn’t even know this was a thing until this class and now I just want to hug my students and protect them from this scary world.

 Online
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That being said the more I live in the online world the more I think it is our job to teach students about the online world and being safe.  Especially for our girls and students of minorities it is important that we teach everyone we need to stand up for everyone’s rights online. So, I know what I want to do…… does anyone have suggestions of where to start or stories of what they have done in their schools?

Hola

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Here is a sound recording of me trying out speaking in Spanish.  Katia suggested that I try soundcloud which is a great program that is on your computer or a free app for a cell phone and I could even figure out how to embed the code into wordpress (I think).  I needed to make it public and I had a hard time finding it on my computer log in after saving it on my cell but after a bit of searching here it is.  This is by far my weakest skill in Spanish so far.  I've gotten pretty good at recognizing words in Spanish but speaking kind of scares me.  Its not surprising as I know my own students are often scared of speaking in French.  I try to hard to make my classroom feel open and inviting so they can open up and speak but wow after trying it in Spanish I can understand their fears!  I know I have a bit of a French and English accent while reading this paragraph.  My first language is English and I teach French so both come out before Spanish.  Throw in being nervous and just trying to finish the paragraph I feel like it is a good first attempt.  Take a listen and see what you think.

Duo

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My major project for this class has been to learn Spanish.  I’ve been using both Duolingo and My Spanish Coach for the DS.  I originally downloaded Duo lingo last year hoping to use it with my students at school.  At the time I tried one lesson in French, found it was a little on the hard side (I was hoping for a less intense app for the ipad that I could use in a center type activity for my younger students), and gave up.  Next I started taking this class and was planning a trip to Mexico so I figured kill two birds with one stone and learn Spanish before I go.

My next step for these last 2 weeks and moving forward is to start connecting what I am learning in class to my teaching.  I started with Duolingo.  To be totally honest the grade 8 French teacher is also using Duo and she happened to start 2 weeks ahead of me so it really helped that he students that I taught last year were asking if my grade 7s this year would get to use it because they like it.  Then I had to explain that I wasn’t stealing her idea I had planned to do it myself just needed to get started.  So last week I booked out some computer carts, prepped myself to try something knew and tried to think of some problems that might arise before they happened then jumped in.  As I mentioned in a previous post computers are always a lot of work to book out at my school and not always readily available.  I decided that duolingo would be a great add on to class that students could access it at home and I could give them time to work on it if they finished a class assignment early.

To start off I introduced the program asked them all to create a username that was school appropriate like their first name and numbers and we area using our igo email addresses.  I then asked if anyone had their own device at school and told them they could talk with their parents and download the app before the next class.  So for the first class I had to only use one computer cart with 2 classroom computers and my own along with about a dozen personal devices from my students.  They loved using Duolingo at school and even though it was working on grammar and spelling in French they were excited to be using the computers.  Again, I didn’t get a chance to catch them using it in class last week as it was a crazy day and I couldn’t seem to get my phone out to take a picture before someone needed help but I will get one this week or next.

Here are a few of the students quotes during the work period:

  • Wait…that’s not fair it marked me wrong and I just spelt it wrong
  • Hey is apple masculine or feminine?
  • How do you spell suis?
  • Why isn’t it accepting my speaking(your mic isn’t on)
  • Why isn’t it accepting my speaking (you are speaking too fast or this word is really _____)
  • Ummm how can I get a life back I didn’t mean to click enter yet
  • I like this
  • I worked on this last night
  • look how many points I have

It was a busy class and I had lots of excitement.  I have to say the students seemed to really like the app.  The next class they were asking if we were going to play on duolingo again.  However, that was the class that I was introducing the project.  I hope to use both the project and duolingo for the next week or so and split up the class while having something for some early finishers to use.  My students have just gotten started but a couple students in the grade 8 class already have 900 points! Wow pretty amazing.

Do any of you use Duolingo in your class?  If so how does it go?

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