Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Internet for Educators Presenters

I admit, I haven't been blogging as much as I would like to. My life has actually been a little upside down lately, but I would still like to take this opportunity to touch on the last few presentations that I was so lucky to take part in during Internet for Educators class at Brandon University.

Tuesday, February 8: George Couros (Prinicpal, Stoney Plain, AB) on "Unintended Benefits"

Unfortunately I had to miss George's presentation, but after doing my homework from my fellow classmates blogs, I have come to the conclusion that the presentation was somewhat similar to the information we gained throughout this class. The presentation was centered around the benefits of the use of technology in the classroom. Enhancing relationships using a variety of social networking tools will be key in our future. George is part of a group called "Connecting Principals". He works to connect principals all over the world.

He also mentioned the importance of teaching students to create a positive online presence. Students should know that they will be held accountable for any blog comments, or posts on social media sites. Holding students accountable for their actions is important in the classroom, both on- and offline.

Thursday, February 17: Darren Kuropatwa on "What can I do now?"

Darren talked about the principles in which students learn.

1. What are the preconceptions that students are bringing with them to school based on previous learning.

2. Knowledge is networked. It is easier to learn new things if you centre it around the “big idea”

3. Learning is facilitated through metacognitive approaches

4. Community - Help each other out when you teach.

One of the things that really stuck out in my mind from Darren's presenation is when he talked about how students must know that it is okay to be wrong. As teachers we must model appropriate behaviour at all times, even when we are wrong. If we make a mistake while teaching, we must admit to our mistake, apologize and model it a positive experience. Both teachers and students must continuously learn and improve themselves based on the mistakes made. A person's ability to make mistakes and learn from them will only benefit them and their tendency to take chances and step outside of their comfort zone in order to authentically learn (more). We must make students feel comfortable about making mistakes and experiencing new things and almost be a "cheerleader" for them both in and out of the classroom.

Tuesday, March 1: Dr. Alec Couros (U of Regina) on "Networked Teacher"

Alec Couros, brother to George from earlier this year, talked to us about how people can manage their own learning, and set own learning. As predicted, Alec shared a lot of helpful tips and suggestions during his presentation. Alec used a really cool communication device similar to Skype called "Elluminate". It works the same way skype does, only it seems to have one or two more toys than skype. Definitely check it out at http://www.elluminate.com/.

Alec talked about "Evernote" http://www.evernote.com , which is a site that allows you to create notes, store pdf documents, and more. Definitely another site to add to your technology teacher resource library.

Alec discussed the importance of collaboration in learning as well as open sharing. I completely agree with the collaborative nature of Alec's ideas. I believe that it is in our best interests to share resources and teaching ideas with each other. The use of web-based tools will be the catalyst in this sharing and hopefully more teachers jump on board with this collaboration of efforts.

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