Monday, July 29, 2013

Here is my attempt at a slide presentation on what I have learned so far in my networked learning project.  It is the easiest way to demonstrate what I have learned up to this point.

Please feel free to comment or ask any questions.  To answer the most common question that will come though, no you cannot have my dog Brady.  I know he is the cutest dog in the world!


Please click on the following link to view the slide presentation:  NLP - Blog 2

Friday, July 26, 2013

I can't stop thinking about this week's module readings and videos......

I don't know about anyone else, but this week's readings and videos on collaborative inquiry has really inspired me to think of more opportunities for my students.

Will Richardson's video on how his daughter learned to play Journey by using YouTube and the example of the film making student from Canada gave me some great ideas.

My school is a magnet school in New Haven and part of our magnet theme is technology.  The primary focus of the technology theme has been robotics for the past few years at our school.  I love robotics and I have been involved in the after school program, but I do feel there is so much more that we can do to prepare our students with regard to technology.

The woman who held the position of the technology enrichment teacher during the school day focused her classes on robotics.  She just recently retired from the school district and our principal has been discussing what to do next with her position.  Boy do I have some ideas thanks to this week's module that I cannot wait to share with her.

The readings and videos from this week's module about creating a digital footprint makes me want to create a curriculum based on that thought alone.  I want to teach my students how to, as Ian called it, create and curate their digital footprint.  They need to know how to do this, because it will matter in the future as we saw from the video of the young man sitting for the interview while the interviewer was viewing his Facebook page.

How amazing would it be if there was a class for students where they could create personal blogs and learn how to build a professional digital footprint?  If this was an enrichment class it could grow from year to year.  In 6th grade the students could work with setting up their blog and creating their digital resume.  Then in 7th grade they could be given an assignment to learn, which they must use the Internet to research and blog their experiences and demonstrate their progress, similar to the ED 714 Networked Learning Project.  In 8th grade they could be given a freedom of choice project where they decide what they want to learn for the marking period.  They could be like the Canadian student who learned from a variety of teachers to make films.  If they start in middle school, then it gives them a good basis of knowledge of how to use technology to educate themselves on all levels.

I have so many ideas running through my brain on how I could implement this at my school.  I was approached to take over the robotics enrichment classes next year and I said I honestly did not want to do it yet.  I wanted to go through this program and learn about different things that I could use to enhance the curriculum and take the technology enrichment class to the next level.  These readings and videos have really inspired me to have a conversation with my principal and look at possible opportunities in the future.

Cooking with TPACK

The following is a video of my cooking with TPACK project.  Boy was it an interesting project to take part in.  Of course I found out afterwards that my husband had seen this type of project from an 092 course he took a few years back.  He intentionally picked my son's plate, bowl and utensil because he thought it would be funny to see me use them to make something.

I have to report that he was pleasantly surprised by my results!  I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Networked Learning Project - Part One: My lifelong dream of becoming a photographer.

In my second life I want to be a professional photographer.  My husband actually believes I have an addiction to photography in this life, actually to cameras not photography.  You see every year or two I say that I need a new camera.  I go out and buy a new, fancy digital camera with all these great features and different modes to take pictures with, but I only end up ever using the automatic mode.  I never take the time to learn how to really use the cameras.

For my networked learning project I have decided to learn how use my digital cameras to their fullest.  I want to learn how to take pictures like a professional photographer and save some money on paying someone to take pictures of my family.

This motivation comes from having family portraits done this past month while visiting family in Ohio.  We paid my sister's friend $75.00 to spend an hour with our family and take pictures.  I was not aware that she was actually a teacher until I asked her long she had been a professional photographer.  She responded with, "Oh I am actually not a photographer, I just read my manual to my camera and take pictures for fun."

FOR FUN!  FOR FUN!  $75.00 an hour FOR FUN!  My first thought was I could do this....FOR FUN!

Why this would be perfect for my networked learning project?

I am more of a watch a video, read a few website type of learner instead of reading my manual.  I like to see examples and pictures of how to use things instead of reading words, if that makes any sense.  I figured this project will force me to learn the ins and outs of my camera and help me with my lifelong dream of becoming a photographer.  Or at least taking pictures as a hobby for fun!

Wish me luck!

TPACK - Doing what is best for our students

I have really enjoyed reading and watching a few videos on the ins and outs of TPACK.  It makes me wonder where this thought process was when I was becoming an educator.  I did not go through the traditional undergraduate degree program for becoming a teacher.  Rather I completed a summer program through the Connecticut State Department of Education called the Alternate Route to Certification (ARC).  Time was so tight in the program and most of it was dedicated to receiving more content and pedagogy instruction rather than technology.  Since it was a few years ago, I hope the curriculum for the ARC program now has implemented TPACK into the outline of the program.

If I had to describe to a fellow teacher what TPACK is all about, I would actually refer them to the following video:   

The author of the video, Royce Kimmons, gives a great, brief explanation of TPACK.  In my own words, I would describe TPACK as taking the knowledge we have as educators in our content area, pedagogy, and technology and combining them to provide our students effective and beneficial lessons in our classrooms.

Punya Mishra's keynote speech from the 21st Century Learning Conference - Hong Kong 2012, provides a great explanation of the importance of TPACK not just for educators, but also for students.

Punya Mishra and his colleague, Matthew J. Koehler, explains that teachers' understanding of content, pedagogy, and technology, can be integrated with one another so that both the teachers' and the students' knowledge can improve.

Mishra and Koehler have written numerous articles pertaining to TPACK.  They have sited teachers that have used the TPACK process and have truly made their classrooms ones where content, pedagogy, and technology have worked together to present meaningful information.  The following is a link to an additional article writtnen by Mishra, Koehler, and other that I found helpful:  TPACK - Development and Assessment Preservice Teachers.

In short, TPACK is taking what we as educators do in the classroom to the next level.  We utilize technology that is available to us to present our students with content in an effective manner.  By doing so, we not only enhance the learning experience of our students, but we also become better educators and students ourselves.  It allows the students to experience information in a multitude of ways and from multiple sources. The learning does not stop when they leave the classrooms, rather we give them the ability to continue learning on their own with the use of technology.

It is a great time to be a student, but it is even a greater time to be an educator!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Educational Philosophy

Throughout the past six years I have been asked to write my educational philosophy numerous times.  Some of the writings were for past courses I took and others were for professional development workshops.  I have noticed that none of my past philosophies are exactly alike, but they all share a common theme.  As I experience more things as an educator and as technology changes, I have found that I tweak my philosophy to adapt to the experiences and changes.
Please enjoy reading my philosophy and I welcome any comments or suggestions.
Elizabeth Ferry's Educational Philosophy:
I believe that teachers in the twenty-first century hold a multitude of roles in the classroom.  When I was a student, I only saw teachers as primarily educators in a specific subject area.  Now that I am an educator, I realize that I am viewed not only as a teacher, but also as a role model, counselor, and parental figure.
Every teacher brings something more than the knowledge of the subject matter to their classroom.  Teachers leave lasting impressions on students.  Whether an individual had another profession before teaching or has always been a teacher, they have had more life experiences then all of the students.  Teachers should share their life experiences with their classrooms and express to the students that there are endless possibilities for them out in the world.  
According to John Dewey, education is acquired through the experience of the learner and the teacher.  If the teacher has experiences that can enhance the students' learning, they should use those experiences in their classroom.  In addition, teachers should provide students with tools that are available for them to have new experiences. 
Advances in technology allow students today to receive information quicker then ever before.  Teachers should use technology to introduce information and knowledge to their students.  It is also the responsibility of teachers to help the students learn to use technology to further their education.
As a teacher, I felt it was my duty to further my education and that is why I decided to complete the 6th year certification program for Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy.  I am aware that technology today can provide our students with an endless amount information that I could not provide to them during a typical class.  The IT&DML courses will enable me to bring the necessary skills into my classroom to better prepare and educate my students for their futures.  In addition, I hope to share my experiences with my fellow teachers to encourage them to utilize technology in their classrooms as well.

The First Step....

Welcome and thank you for following my blog as I take the journey through the 6th year certification in Instructional Technology and Digital Media Literacy.  I hope you enjoy following my progress and please feel free to leave comments and suggestions.