Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tech Task #10: 21st Century Teaching

Today, in the 21st Century, teachers have a lot more resources - like Google for example, than they did fifty years ago. How easy it is to interact with students through technology and how quickly it is to receive a response. Rather than sending home letters, teachers can now e-mail families or post updates in their blog that parents and students can have access to. Open to students and teachers alike is the internet: the world's fastest way of receiving information. Teachers can use the internet to learn more about their choice of topic, how to introduce the subject, creative ways of exploring it, and interact with other teachers across the world. They can create online tutorials for their students to use and post links to various websites that contain relevant information that cannot be discussed in class due to time restraints, or they may post links to sites that were discussed in class and are needed for future reference. Here are the thoughts about one educator who shares my viewpoints on internet use in schools: Michael Lipinski - The Use of Internet in Schools. Blogging is a tool more and more teachers are using, along with Wikispaces. Here, teachers can post their curriculum, classroom updates, school-wide information, homework assignments, subject information, and learning tools. It is a great and simple way to make learning accessible, since most students today have computers and internet access via cellphones, smartphones, laptops, iPods, iPads, etc. They can also access other teachers' blogs and comment on posts they find interesting or relevant to what they are teaching. Teachers are also taking advantage of social-networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to interact with colleagues, friends, students, parents, and people with similar interests who can give valuable information. This list contains a number of sites that teachers may find useful to connect with others:

Youtube is also becoming a widely used education tool, since educators can record themselves or something they find useful and post it on the web for all to see for free in a matter of minutes. Many educators post educational vlogs (which are basically videos of themselves talking about a topic of interest) that teachers can refer to and show to their class. Everything posted on Youtube is up for grabs, basically. One of the largest, most widely used sources of information is Wikipedia, which some teachers frown upon because it can be updated and changed by anyone in the world. However, Wikipedia holds information about... just about everything imaginable in our world. People collaborate ideas and opinions into an article that is usually truthful and insightful. Nothing on the internet is 100% fact, though, just as how anything someone tells you in person isn't 100% fact, but simply their own opinion and viewpoint.

Suddenly, teachers have all of this information available to them which can be both a good thing and a bad thing. Good, because it makes their job a lot easier since students can have access to information from people all over the world rather than relying just on your knowledge. Bad, because it also makes your job harder by having to filter out the good, useful information and the information that can ruin a child's view on something. Teacher's "digital footprints" must be monitored, meaning that anything they do on the internet can potentially be seen by their students and fellow workers that could ruin their career. However, if teachers are cautious about what they say and do inside and outside of the classroom, the internet can be a valuable source of educational information and communication.

As students, the internet is open to us to learn more. Sites such as the Khan Academy lets students learn online about various subjects like Calculus, Astronomy, and Biology with simple tutorial videos without the expensive costs of paying for a class. There is so much out there that is available nowadays that there really is no excuse to not being able to learn, find information, and gain knowledge. If the internet were available to the entire world, to every single person, don't you think the world would be brought a little closer together and we'd all be less ignorant to different viewpoints?

New Six-Word Stories

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tech Task #9: Six Word Stories

These images tell a story about the current disaster happening in Japan. The first image, Peace, represents the serenity Japan once had. The second image, Destroyed, shows the destruction caused by the earthquake. Lost, the third image, depicts the country in ruin and lost as to what to do with the nuclear meltdown. Lost also goes hand-in-hand with Innocence, the fourth image, which shows a child being scanned for radiation. The innocence of these children have been lost in the disaster. The last image, Hold Strong, shows the Red Cross helping and trying to rebuild the ruined country.

The second six-word-story involves a child who can't learn through sitting and reading. He needs creativity to shine and reach his full potential.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Year as an Arts Ed Student

Today's blog post will discuss my thoughts on the Arts Education program here at the University of Regina.

I am no longer an Arts Ed student, but I would like to say that the past year has shown me so much about creativity and myself. Last semester, I took Theatre 100, Music 100, Art 100, English 100 and ECS 100. I got a taste of what it was like to be a teacher in the classroom through my ECS field work. It was an amazing experience to work with children all throughout elementary, from pre-K to grade 8. It made me realize that no matter what I did, I still wanted to work with children.

The arts-related classes I took showed me who I was as an artist and where I fit in the arts world. As much as I love the arts, I also realized it wasn't for me. I learned a lot, especially in Music 100, Art 100, and Aesthetics 201. It was an experience I don't regret one bit, but rather thank for pointing me in another direction and giving me insight on what it is like to be an arts teacher. It opened my eyes to the amount of creativity and spontaneity required. Being a dancer, and a perfectionist, I found this difficult to achieve at times but it changed my view on the end product and the process. I now respect the process more and take my time on art projects rather than expect a perfect end product.

I have taught dance before to children between the ages of 3-14, but as I learned and discovered more about myself, teaching requires so much more than just showing steps and keeping the children entertained. Although I am very passionate about dance and teaching, I found I just didn't fit in with the Arts Ed curriculum.

However, despite my switch, I definately respect what the University of Regina has to offer for art teachers. This is a one-of-a-kind program meant to educate future educators of every art discipline and become effective advocates of the arts. I recommend it to any artist. It really is a brilliant program and you have the opportunity to earn two degrees- a Bachelor of Education degree AND a Bachelor of Arts degree.

This past year has been, simply put, amazing. I don't regret having my first year done through Arts Education. It definately showed me things I'll take with me into the future, even if I am not going to become a dance teacher.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Just a Ramble

Hey guys,

So I said I would try to post more often on this blog as part of my class mark, but I've just gotten so caught up in many different things. Assignments for other classes, figuring out what I really want to do, if teaching is really for me...

Yeah. About that.

So this is ECMP 355 class - an education class for education students. I am very grateful to have taken this course. I've learned about so many resources that can be applied not only in the classroom, but in different classes I am in now and in everyday life as things become more technology-based. However, as my views change throughout my first year, I am trying my best to keep focused. I apologize for not posting as often as I hoped to at the beginning.

I have actually just applied to the Faculty of Arts Bachelor of Psychology with Honours program. So, with a heavy heart, I say goodbye to the teaching dream I once had. I am still aiming to complete all of my education courses I am in now, of course. It's just that my interests have veered elsewhere. Well, not exactly veered as in an unexpected sharp turn... I've always had an interest in psychology but never thought I was smart enough to make a career out of it, since it is a science and I would have to get a doctorate. That has all changed, though, as I've received a taste of what university is like and have become more ambitious and confident in my abilities as a student. I plan on becoming a Clinical Psychologist and dropping my Arts Education degree with a major in Dance.

So please, forgive me for not updating frequently to this blog. A lot has been on my mind lately, but I've never thought of sitting down and typing it all into a blog. I'd just like to thank the people who have read it and who have encouraged my teaching viewpoints. I am still very passionate about child education and art, but I believe my calling is elsewhere. One day I'll return to this road. I am sure of it.

Thanks for such a great class and for all of the amazing tools it presented!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My Thoughts on Twitter

So today's ECMP 355 class was about social networking - particularly, Twitter. I had already done a blog post on Facebook, so here is my say on the ever-popular Twitter...

When I first got Twitter, I went on it for five minutes then stopped for four months. My friend made me create an account but I didn't really see the point of it. Having random people follow me was kind of creepy and I couldn't talk as much as I could on Facebook since there was only a 140 character limit. To me, it was stupid.

I came back to it because my close circle of friends all had accounts. It was more personal; Facebook has a mass population and I have many friends, whereas on Twitter I only had around 12 followers. I can post simple, quick thoughts and read other people's thoughts. Facebook became more like Rantbook, with people's statuses reaching paragraph level.

As more people followed me, I made my account private. Since ballet is one of my main interests, my tweets became more and more geared toward it. To my surprise, I had begun receiving follower requests from big-time companies like the New York City Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, and some dancers from Europe.

Twitter became both my personal insight to my friends' lives that I moved away from to come to University - I still keep in close contact with each of them, thanks to Twitter, and my professional image to the dance world which helps in my education endeavors as a dance major. I can receive the latest news on choreography, dancer's health, receive discounts on clothing and more. I can then pass on this information to my students. Twitter has become a fantastic resource for information and I can monitor who I follow and who follows me.

For teaching purposes, I would most likely create a separate account for my students and colleagues since the account I have now is still personal. I enjoy the simplicity of Twitter and the ability to connect with different people with similar interests. I can use it in more advanced ways than I can with Facebook, which is also great, but doesn't have the same professional quality that Twitter does.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My First Curriculum Guide!

This is for my Aesthetics 201 class. I'm not finished editing it yet, but it's looking good so far.

I learned how to use Wikispaces in this class. Thanks for showing me this wonderful site! It's basically a site about dance therapy and the benefits of dance, along with a mock lesson plan and curriculum guide from Saskatchewan's Arts Education Curriculum. I am not 100% sure if this is what was supposed to be done for Aesthetics class, so if you are also in my class and would like to add some input, please do!