What Is Curriculum: Digital Story

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My Personal Learning Network

Months ago, I was asked to start a daily blog and expose my responses to the technological world. I was also encouraged to develop a personal learning network along with contributing to others’. To say the least, I was not very comfortable with the thought of allowing others to see and respond to my personal thoughts. Although I was very hesitant to begin blogging, and to contribute to other personal learning networks, I have greatly evolved to where I am today.

Today I enjoy looking through peoples’ blogs, finding contradicting opinions and analyzing them, and finding useful resources through websites such as Twitter, Pinterest and using Google Docs. Unfortunately, I did not feel this confident a few months ago when I designed my blog or signed up for a professional Twitter account. I now use these sources of technology not only for assignments, but for recreational use as well. With that being said, this did not happen overnight. My technological self has evolved over many months and has been influenced by many different encounters.

Before I began to build my personal network, I used social media and technology for recreational use rather than professional use; Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  I interacted with friends, posted photos and shared stories, but felt no pressure in regards to what I was sharing with others. When I began to explore blogging and other personal networks, I did not quite understand that creating a personal network was very similar to the work I was already doing. Luckily, while it was fun, challenging and rewarding, I had created a professional, personal network that I feel confident in a future employer looking through: Kristi’s Professional Blog. In this sense, I was very ambitious and excited, but in other aspects I felt a lot of different feelings that almost held me back.

My first feeling of hesitation started when I tried my hardest to create my blog using WordPress, but could not figure out the styling or formatting for the theme I wanted. I also had trouble understanding how to post or site things, along with how to add columns and headings. After many moments of frustration, I decided to turn to the useful resource Google. While searching through the internet and other blogs I was lucky to run into a friend’s blog Brady Aulie’s blog. He is now a substitute teacher and I felt very confident in designing my blog with his style in mind. As I started to design my blog, I kept his in mind as it guided to where mine is now. Once I thought I had it figured out, I then reached for more help from my professor Katia. Once I finally had a theme and a design I was comfortable with, I was able to confidently write my first blog post: Kumashiro’s Common Sense.

Once I had posted my first post I did not quickly receive any comments. This made me feel safe; no one questioned my way of thinking or posed contradicting questions. I received my first comment on another post.  This was made by a fellow student Kara Fidelack. At the moment of reading her comment I felt nervous, as this was the first time my way of thinking had been provoked to think in a deeper manner. After this conversation I felt much more comfortable commenting on other blogs and posing questions to promote an educational conversation. Although I found blog posts to comment and converse about, for the future, I would encourage myself to think deeper and more critically: My comments.  I could reach this goal by following blogs that I can relate to, or perhaps, blogs that I find myself asking deeper questions about. Since blogging was a new experience for me, I feel I have evolved greatly, but have some room to grow as well.

Along with conversations through blogs, during this course, I highly enjoyed using Twitter. This social media website was very useful towards my professional learning network. I utilized this website by conversing with professors and peers, and using many resources that I came upon while browsing. For example, I used Twitter as a source of communication with professors. I also had many educative conversations about relevant issues .Educational Conversations

I previously had experience using this website, so it was very easy and comfortable for me to utilize it. I found many peers engaging in wonderful conversations that benefited me each day.  Along with using Twitter as an educational resource, I also used it for recreational use. I feel very confident with implementing this website into my future classrooms.

As I sit back and reflect on the progress of my personal learning network, I am proud of the number of posts and conversations I have had:Blog Stats Twitter Stats

I feel that I have learned a lot from many peers and professors through communication within my network. I also appreciate the fact that I have interacted with other members of the faculty whom I had never met before. By expanding my horizons, I have also gained many tools that I had never used. For example, through group projects and communication through Twitter, I have learned how to utilize Wikispaces and Google Docs. I now introduce others to these tools and utilize them in my classes. They are now sources of technology that I have used to enhance my personal network and also to contribute to other networks.

For future progress, I plan to keep my blog as a professional portfolio that employers, peers and professors can browse. I also plan to maintain my professional twitter and expand even more by using new technological tools for classroom projects such as Powtoon, and other creative websites.  Even though the initial thought of blogging gave me an anxious feeling, I appreciated the technological diversity that this class offered me. I am now comfortable sharing my blog with others and expanding my technological self to help enhance my personal network and to add to others’.

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Right? Wrong? Pass? Fail?

When I think about standardized testing, nothing positive seems to come to mind.  Yet, when I think of standardized curriculum, I feel some comfort in knowing I have some guide for outcomes that I need to meet throughout the year.

Through standardized testing I feel it is impossible to “test” the student as a whole.  I believe standard tests only assess a portion of a student, and unfortunately, this portion does not reflect their knowledge or capacity for success.  Sure, you may be able to retrieve a right or wrong answer for a question, but standardized tests do not allow the student to express their understanding of what is being asked.  Another aspect of standardized tests that I do not appreciate is the pressure placed on the teacher.  The teacher has standards and goals that they must teach their students in order for their class to succeed in these standardized tests.  Some of the criteria being tested does not seem relevant to the standard curriculum outcomes.  Would I completely eliminate standardized tests? Yes.  Would I want to implement other ways of assessing students’ progress and behaviors?  Yes.  Do I believe there are already successful ways of assess students in the classroom? Yes.

I believe that the people who benefit from standardized tests are the government.  In their mind, it gives them some “proof” of where the Provinces’ students learning levels stand.  Unfortunately, it does not give them accurate proof, which is another reason why I do not agree with the implementation of standardized tests within the school systems.

Do I have the answers for change?  No.  But I do believe that within my classroom, I will not appreciate my students having to partake in standardized tests and I will provide all my efforts to help relieve the stresses placed upon myself and students.

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Teaching Through Your Self Identity

This last week I have been putting in many hours for a self identity project.  I have connected this project to our lecture and class discussions on many teaching approaches that we have discussed.  This week we got to learn about a Professor’s trip and exploration of culturally different education system.  I thrived off this experience, and I plan to use an approach she used in my own classroom.  Her journey was amazing to learn about, and I could see her passion when sharing her experiences and allowing us to explore some of their activities with her.  I now have some questions about myself as a teacher…..

After realizing and understanding that teachers teach a reflection of themselves, I have become concerned with some questions that I now have…….. 1. Will I be teaching kids to be just like me?  2. Will my own personal thoughts and beliefs alter their beliefs?   3. How will I deal with parents who have conflicting thoughts and beliefs about their students’ education?

Throughout many assignments this year, I am able to critically think about the questions that worry me.  As a brief blog post, I have chosen to now answer the questions, reflecting my beliefs and presenting part of my philosophy.

1.  I believe in approaches that can incorporate all learning styles, allowing the students to resemble their true selves.  This can be done through many different types of assignments and activities, allowing the students to explore their niche.

2. Everyone in my classroom will be welcome and safe to share their thoughts and conflicting beliefs.  I can use this as many teachable moments, where I, myself can learn, along side with my students.  I belief that is one of the beautiful things about teaching.

3. If and when parents have concerns, I will understand that their child is in our best interest.  Since my classroom welcomes other opinions and beliefs, their concern(s), and questions will be always be important, and an appropriate action will be taken to discuss their concern.

Communication is key.  I believe allowing my learners to know they are in a safe and open classroom will begin their journey, exploring their own self identity.  What questions and concerns do YOU have about being a teacher?

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What You May Not Know About Me…..

As I look back on my autobiography, I feel almost ashamed that I left out connections between where I have ended up, and how my privilege(s) and class has influenced this.  While writing about myself, I focused a large amount on people and experiences that have truly shaped who I have become.   So much of my life had been influenced by a man who had an intellectual disability, I placed a lot of focus on my relationship with him, along with others.

Fortunately, growing up with someone who had an intellectual disability, I learned very early what advantages/disadvantages I had.  More importantly, I never thought he had any disadvantages, and I still don’t.  I also  have a mother who is a social worker.  She influenced me to be aware of my own privileges and that there are others who do not have the same life as I have.  As I noted the important impact my mother had on my upbringing, I strayed away from going deeper.  Perhaps I could have written more about how my family life is very different than the families’ my mother helps to support.  And, how this really affects me?  Or, I could have went in the direction of answering, “Do I get special treatment because I am white and can afford my day to day living without social assistance? And, does this affect where I have ended up in life?”  Or, since I recently found out my grandpa (who has passed away) was Metis, and adopted, I ask, “Has that changed my opinions or outlooks on anything?”  Lastly, I now ask myself, “Have I been treated differently by the people I shared that information with?”

The people closest to me can answer most of the questions I am now posing to myself..  Perhaps, I felt as if those were not necessary because I do not place myself ahead of others because of my race or class.  After having to look at the hidden messages within my autobiography, I feel I am being told that I should be feeling guilty for not including what skin colour I am.  My physical appearance does not define who I am. 

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Your First Condensed Curriculum!

Save this link here http://curriculum.nesd.ca

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Technology and Social Justice Teaching

When you think about technology, do you connect it with teaching students about social justice issues?  Or, do you think of your iPhone, or Macbook, and browsing Facebook or Twitter?  If so, are you being taught hidden lessons about social justice through browsing your favourite website?  These are all questions that have been flowing through my head since my ECS lecture on Monday.

Today, technology is evolving to the point where students are using iPads and phones for agendas.  Students are becoming much more familiar with social media websites, and they are creating projects using solely technology. One may ask themself what are the students benefiting from using so much technology?  I believe creating networks and communities with other learners can be very beneficial for the learners and teachers. Students are able to have supplementary resources for educating themselves.  Although it is good for students to be involved in networks, it is also important to teach internet safety and awareness about cyber bullying.  I think there are many benefits to incorporating technology in the classroom, but students need to be taught about the dangers of the internet (if misused).

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