My Personal Learning Network

At the beginning of this semester, I had never blogged in my life and I did not have a recent Twitter account. I honestly rolled my eyes when we were told to start a blog and encouraged to join twitter. I cringed at the thought of a blog because I’m self-conscious about my writing. I don’t even let my boyfriend read my writing and I was supposed to post it openly on the internet for the whole world to see. No thank you! However, throughout the semester, I have started to change my views on twitter and blogging.

 Blogging has been a tough task for me. I have started to feel a bit more comfortable using it as the semester has passed but I still find it difficult to post my writing for the world to see. Something that I really enjoyed about blogging was following other blogs and seeing what other people had to say about the things we were learning. This allowed me to open my eyes to the different perspectives that people had on the same topic.

 Reading other people’s blogs also helped me to gather my own thoughts as I would read something and immediately know that that’s how I viewed a topic but just couldn’t put it into words or a clear thought. An example of this would be for one of the first blog postings we had to make regarding Kumishiro’s common sense. I had read the chapter and felt unsure about what I had read and didn’t want to screw up my first blog post. Before I had made the post, I checked out other people’s blogs in my seminar section and saw that my thoughts were roughly on the same track as everyone else, so I wasn’t out to lunch like I thought I was.

 I felt great when I made one of my first posts that was not prompted by ECS210. I had watched a video in my ECE325 class and thought it was quite powerful, so I decided to post it on my blog. Sarah Ross commented on it and thanked me for sharing it as she was in a different ECE325 class and didn’t watch the video. This was my first “ah-ha” moment with blogging. I realized that something that I liked and posted could also be beneficial and new to someone else.        

Twitter has taken a bit longer for me to get comfortable with. I used to have a twitter account a few years ago but found it quite useless so I deleted it. I wasn’t going to sign up for an account this year but mid-semester I decided to give it a shot.

 I started twitter out by just following fellow students in ECS210. After following a few people and them following me back, I started to get a few people I did not know following me. The thing is, they all had something to do with education. This went to show me how easy it is to start building a PLN on twitter and how willing people are to follow you and give advice when asked. I noticed this by looking up different hashtags. Some examples that I was looking at were #ecs210 and #edchat. I would also just click on hashtags that other people had in their tweets.

 I currently don’t have very many tweets because I have mainly just been using twitter to look at #ecs210 or retweet the odd tweet from someone else. Ashley Arndt sent out a tweet about going to Malawi, Africa this summer and wanted people to check out her blog post on it. I took that opportunity to retweet it in hopes that my followers would see it and check it out. Not only was this building my PLN, but it was also helping Ashley build hers. That is something that I have come to realize about twitter. By retweeting and mentioning people in your tweets, it allows people to look at who you are following or connecting with. This is how I have followed some people because I saw someone else retweet or mention them.

 Building my personal learning network has been somewhat of a slow process. Because of my uneasiness of posting on my own blog, I found it difficult to comment on other peoples’ blogs and start conversations. I also had very little comments on my own blog so I didn’t have much to build on. This put a little dent into developing my PLN. However, I have the ability to start following other blogs and gaining new followers from that. This is one way that I plan to expand my PLN. I also plan to start using twitter more and to start tweeting my own things. I also hope to gain new followers to expand my PLN and so I can reach out to them for help.

 Using technology is a great way to develop a personal learning network and seek advice/tips from others. I look forward to expanding my PLN with technology as well as my own knowledge about what can be done with technology!

 

Twitter: @alyshiagoertzen

Blog: www.teachingwithalyshia.wordpress.com

Standardized Testing

Standardized testing is a touchy topic when it comes to education. Part of the reason that people may agree with standardized testing is because it can then hold schools and educators accountable for the low grades of their students.

Standardized testing puts everyone on an equal playing field rather than an equitable one.  This does not allow students to express their individuality or incorporate their backgrounds. Curriculum involves so many components that aren’t strictly textbook related and cannot be specifically tested on. Another thing to keep in mind is the immigration rate in Canada. There are so many new families coming to Canada that do not speak English as their first language. Standardized testing can be very discouraging and frustrating for these new students as they are being tested on stuff that can be very new to them.

Saskatchewan is talking about bringing in these standardized tests. This is something that we as educators are going to have to deal with regardless of what happens. It is our job and we will have to make the most of it, even though I may not agree with it.

This is still a new topic for me to look into and explore. It has definitely opened my eyes to some different perspectives and I will be inquiring more about standardized tests. 

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Wordle Visual Representations

Wordle Visual Representations

This post is a bit late as it was meant to be posted last week, however, I finally got it done!

I chose to do a visual representation for the 4 stories from The New Teacher Book. I created a wordle for each story with some of the words that stood out to me and that were used quite often.

1. Creating Classrooms for Equity and Social Justice by the Editors (page 157)
2. Building Community for Chaos by Linda Christensen (page 67)
3. Why We Need to Go Beyond the Classroom by Stan Karp (page 287)
4. The Best Discipline Is Good Curriculum by Kelley Dawson Salas (page 241)

Reconsidering My Autobiography

We were asked to take another look into the autobiography we wrote for our ecs210 class and look for hidden messages and things that we did not address such as gender, sexuality and race.

I did not directly address that I was a female in my autobiography because I had the assumption that it would be known from my name. I did mentioned that I had a boyfriend and that he was from Jamaica, but I did not state that I was white because it is usually, unfortunately, assumed. I talked about learning a new culture and from this it could be assumed that I am not Jamaican but it still doesn’t say what race I am.

I found it important for my identity to address my Jamaican boyfriend because he has supported me throughout the school semesters and learning about his culture has changed my views and has opened my eyes to many things around me.

Written Response

I chose to do a written response regarding the story “Brown Kid Can’t Be In Our Club”.  Following the few lines from my paper, you will find a link to the full written response.

“To start off, the main reason I chose this particular story is because my boyfriend is from Jamaica and we are a bi-racial couple.”

“As a white person, I cannot say that I completely understand what people of other races feel when they are being discriminated against, but I have had a small taste of what it would be like. “

“I believe that teaching students about different races and getting into topics about race and skin colour at a young age can help the students in many ways.”

“Although teaching these topics can be difficult, I feel that it is essential for all students to learn them.”


ECS 210 Written Response

We Are All Treaty People

On Monday, we had a guest lecturer for our ECS 210 class. Claire Kreuger did a presentation about Treaty Education and I don’t think I’m wrong by saying many, if not all, of the students enjoyed it. I found this lecture extremely beneficial!

Claire shared with us some of the ways she has integrated Treaty Education into her classroom and how she used technology to expand on it. I really appreciated that she shared the mistakes that she has made for us to learn from. I also enjoyed seeing and hearing examples of the projects her students have completed. It is always good to remember not to estimate your students because those grade 3/4’s did some amazing work!!

It’s important to remember that as educators, it is our job to deliver Treaty Education and that the students do value the information. Teaching Treaty Ed can be far from easy, but nothing is impossible!!

I strongly suggest checking out Claire’s blog:
http://treatypeople.edublogs.org