Online Formative Assessment Tools

Ever looking for an online assessment tool that will work in your classroom, check out the links below that give some possibilities!

  • Mentimeter: Resource that allows feedback from your students. You ask a question and on their device, they then go and answer those questions. You can have multiple choice questions, bar graphs and many more!
  • Edublogs: A resource that allows for classroom blogs, that the teacher can supervise there students work and comments!
  • Seesaw: seesaw is a student ran digital portfolio that allows them to document their own work that they did in the classroom and share it with their teacher and guardians.

These are just some examples of many possibilities for online learning!

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Google Extensions in the Classroom

Google extensions are a lifesaver in and outside of the classroom. Check out these awesome google extensions that you could incorporate into your classroom today!

  • Grammarly: Helps students fix grammar mistakes made on documents!
  • Google Translate: Help your students translate words on the internet with the use of google translate!
  • uBlock Origin: Wanting to show a website to the students, but are afraid of what ads may pop up? Install uBlock Origin and no more worrying!
  • Distraction Free YouTube: Say goodbye to the comments and videos on the side with distraction free YouTube. Allow your students to watch a YouTube video with no longer worrying about what they will see on the page!

These are just a few examples of great Google extensions to incorporate into your classroom!

 

Coding? That Sounds Complicated!

For this week’s EDTC300 class we learned about coding. Now, what is coding? To simply put it coding is used to classify something; more specifically coding is what creates a computer program! If you are still having some trouble understanding what coding is, check out this great visual below! This video really helped me understand the term coding in a technological sense!

Now that I have a basic understanding of coding, I am able to understand, like mentioned in the video, how every kind of device we use has a coding mechanism that allows the device to do it’s normal function!

Now onto the fun!

Once I was able to understand the basics, I can now learn how to code! From beginning yesterdays class without having any idea of what coding really was, I decided to introduce this new concept gradually! The best place to learn was using Hour of Code, a website that walks you through step by step of how to do both block codes or Javascript! Below is a screencast of the home page of Hour of Code!

hour of code home

There are over hundreds of possible activities for all ages to learn coding! I decided to start off easy and make my own game! I used the Make a Flappy game as my template for my learning! This activity was really good because students would be able to learn about coding and follow instructions while putting their own creative touch to the assignment! Check out my progress throughout the game!

Starting at step one I went through the instructions given to learn at my full capacity. Below is an image of the second step I did when I was creating my Flappy game.

start of code

As you can see from the picture above, Hour of Code likes to start their learner off with simple tasks to get them used to the program. This website gives inciteful directions which allowed me to fully understand what they are asking for!

I continued working through my activity, with each step adding new blocks. The more blocks, the more I was able to customize my game to the way I wanted it to be! Watch the short screencast I took of my final game! I was able to fully customize how I wanted it to look, sound and much more just through simple block coding! (Don’t judge me, I have never been good at these kinds of games!)

Overall, I really enjoyed this app and would use it in my future classroom when it comes to teaching codes to my students. I learned the basics of block codes, and coding in general, along with the importance of teaching codes in the classroom.

I also received my certificate so that was super exciting as well!

Certificate of completetion

So, why is it important to teach or learn codes and how to code?

Discussed in last night’s class, coding helps more than just understanding how our technological devices work, it also helps individuals form a sense of logic and problem solving through these activities. I know my logic was sure tested in some of the code activities I have done over the past two days! Here is an awesome link that explains five great reasons why now is the time to learn and understand how to code! This article is a broad sense to why it is important to understand coding, however, why should we incorporate coding into our teaching? As mentioned before coding allows for logic and problem solving, but coding specifically to young students helps prepare them for jobs, build teamwork skills, allows them to create content online and not just consume content and coding can just overall be lots of fun! Here is a great article that talks about why coding in classrooms is a must going into the school years to come!

To conclude, I was very happy with all I learned about the coding world! It was great information that I wish I would have been taught in my earlier years, but now that I have this new knowledge I am excited to take it into my future classrooms! I really enjoy coding and understanding the process of coding and think it is super beneficial for our students!

Linked below are some credible posts my classmates did on the topic if you need more reasons to fall in love with coding as I did!

Lauren Sauser: Coding in Wonderland

Raegyn Fulmek: C?o?d?i?n?g? AKA. What?

Now go learn to code yourself!

Creating Positive Digital Identities

In a society where digital identities are a huge part of one’s self-identity, I, as a future educator must understand the good and the bad of social media and know how to teach my future students the importance of creating a positive digital identity.

To start this assignment, I decided to do a quick google search on cases where digital harassment led to death. The number of cases that popped up was huge! But, sadly I was not surprised.

digital harrassment examples

This one simple google search gave me 12,400,00 results. I flipped through lots of the pages to see how accurate the sites stayed to my search and it was sadly accurate. This simple google search really puts things into perspective for me. Education of social media and digital identities needs to be taught in the classroom!

I grew up with technology, getting my first social media account at the age of 14, the prime age where uneducated teens start posting. At the time I never thought of the dangers, or the positives it was to have a social media account, I just got it because that’s what all my friends were doing. I am now 18 years old and understand how important it is to keep a positive digital identity, even when you are just a young teenager. In my school and at home, technology was rarely used, so it was rarely talked about. We never took a class or a unit on the safeties of digital identities, I mean I did not really fully understand what a digital identity and digital footprint were until starting EDTC300! My lack of knowledge could have caused some serious consequences to my young self, luckily it never happened, however, who is to say it couldn’t?

Teaching positive digital identities can not just come from the child’s home. Teachers and schools must also incorporate these safe teachings throughout their subjects and the school years. We can not solely depend on the parents to teach their children, because we need to recognize that all children come from different homes. Some will be taught the importance of a positive digital identity, and some will not be taught! In the article, “How to Help Your Child Build and Maintain a Positive Digital Identity,” Devishobha Ramanan gives some key strategies and points to help you successfully teach your children to have a positive digital identity. A key strategy that she suggested that I really liked was the strategy of creating a positive image of your own digital identity. Children learn by watching, and as a parent or educator students constantly are looking up to you. If we want to successfully teach our children how to build a positive digital identity, we must also listen to our words and do the same!

I personally do not think we can ever fully protect students from social media and digital harassment. There are people out in the digital world who look for a target and take action, no matter how protected your social media accounts are, no matter how positive your digital identity is. However, like mentioned in yesterday’s class educators can teach their students how to keep a positive digital identity and educate them that you still have control over your account, and there are ways to keep your online presence safe. Instead of discouraging the use of social media to our students, we need to embrace all that an online presence can do for our students learning and future!

“Facebook doesn’t curtail the offline but depends on it. What is most crucial to our time spent logged on is what happened when logged off; it is the fuel that runs the engine of social media. The photos posted, the opinions expressed, the check-ins that fill our streams are often anchored by what happens when disconnected and logged-off. The Web has everything to do with reality.” ~Nathan Jurgenson~

The quote above was pulled from one of the assigned readings for this week’s class, “The IRL Fetish.” This quote explains the importance of understanding that the physical world and the digital world are interrelated. They are combined together, so when you think you are getting away from online, your not. This is another important lesson children must understand. Once logged in, you lose a sense of privacy that you once had before your social media account.

My first thought when I was introduced to digital identities and educating your students in the classroom about creating positive digital identities I thought to myself “oh I don’t have to worry about that, I will be teaching younger kids.” I was wrong, mentioned by Alec Couros in a presentation he made to our class, Couros stated that many children have thousands of pictures uploaded to the internet before they reach the age of 5. In an article, I found that studies the importance of a positive digital identity, they suggest that the best time to start teaching about digital identities is the last two years of primary schooling, my teaching will still fall into that position! Understanding now how young children get involved in the online world puts things into perspective that in this society, we are all connected to the world wide web!

To conclude, throughout this assignment I have had my eyes opened regarding digital identities. I have not only learned about my personal identity but also the importance of educating my future students on the importance of digital identities! This was a very rewarding and informative lesson!

“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think” ~Margaret Mead~

 

Check out my fellow classmate’s thoughts on this topic!

Amber: A Cautionary Tale of Digital Identity 

Aurora: The On- and Off-Line World 

Crystal: Digital Identity in the Age of the Internet 

Becoming United through Literacy

For this week’s blog post we were asked to explore a new tool or resource that could be useful in a classroom setting. I decided to look into a website called Unite for Literacy. Unite for Literacy is a website that has many storybooks available to teachers, parents, and anyone who has access to a computer and the internet. All these books are free of charge and there are hundreds of books to choose from, with varying categories such as animals, earth, friendships, communities, families, health, technology, migrant education program, and many more; this website has something for all learning subjects and children’s interests!

The organization recognizes that availability to multiple genres of books is scarce in school and at homes, and often these books do not recognize the variety of languages that we see throughout the world. The picture below shows both the narration languages for all the books on the website.

The number of narration languages offered through this program is astonishing, however, the written languages do not have near as many options. When it comes to the written languages you have the choice between English and Spanish, which is good when you are trying to get kids familiar with one of those languages, but it makes it very hard to allow children from all over the world have access to read and listen to their own languages. This is the one downfall I have pulled out from this website.

This website not only enhances reading and listening to many households and classrooms but also cuts back the use of paper and other resources that we take from the environment to make millions of children’s books. When looking at this website through a technology lens using the SAMR model I would consider this resource falls under the Augmentation step. The Augmentation step is when the technology tool acts as a substitute, with functional improvement. Instead of paper books, children of all ages, and languages are able to listen and follow along to a book without having an adult read to them, allowing for more young readers! I work at a daycare for the summer and all too often I see young children aimlessly flipping through pages of a storybook not retaining any education or knowledge that book is giving to the young reader. If these young children had access to a website such as Unite for Literacy they would be able to sit down with the iPad or Laptop and listen to a story and learn! I think children of all ages would love reading a lot more if they had resources to help them understand the story.

Teachers would be able to use this resource in the classroom, when kids finish their assignments early and need to wait for the rest of the class, looking for storybooks to help with the lesson being taught, allow for a variety of languages and different genres for a book, and if the teacher is busy they could put a story up on the smartboard and just listen without having to sit down with their class and read it!

Overall I think this is a great resource for many parents and teachers and reaches way farther than just the common English books we often see in libraries. Easily accessed books that are free will allow for more young readers in our communities! For more information about the website check out this page here that gives a quick summary of Unite for Literacy. If you still do not believe how great this website is, check out this review that can be found here.