Evidence of Learning #1
In my quest to gain deeper understanding of Growth MIndset, Resilience and Grit I wrote a blog post on the power of "yet" and created a Symbaloo lesson.
Date of Creation: January 2016
Reflection to Support Evidence
My recent experience in my own teaching practice has shed light on the need for social and emotional learning. In particular I have witnessed many students who lack resiliency, grit and a growth mindset. They give up without giving their full effort; they believe their talents or intellect are fixed and struggle to rebound from academic and social challenges. This is why I chose to examine research and examples pertaining to these areas.
OLTD 509 was presented in a gamified environment. This inspired me to revisit a tool I had played with during the summer. I had become a certified "Symbaloo" educator. Symbaloo is a tool that allows you to curate and share "webmixes" that are essentially links to videos, documents, websites or audio files. They had also added "lesson plans" which allow educators to lay down a sequence of resources for students to view followed by a question of the educator's design. Depending on the response, the participant is directed to another link which will either reinforce a topic or direct the learner to a resource that extends the topic. I had not yet tried building a lesson than but thought it was a good fit for this gamified environment.
OLTD 509 allowed me to experience first hand how engaging, motivating and effective a gamified learning environment can be, Symbaloo provided me with another option for providing students with a similar experience.
In creating the Symbaloo I had the opportunity to examine many resources on social and emotional learning in a variety of formats including videos and print. I examined material by Carol Dweck who is recognized as the originator of the term "growth mindset." Viewing this material and related resources from the Edutopia dashboard on grit and resiliency solidified my opinion that social and emotional learning must be a priority if our students are to be successful not only in school but in their personal lives.
Both blogging and Symbaloos are conducive to a teaching practice that embraces connectivism as they involve creating material for others or consuming material created by others in an online environment, thus learning from and with each other.
Symbaloos allow students to consume content at their own pace, reviewing material when necessary, and allows multiple means of presenting content optimizing the chances of reaching more learners. The gamified environment adds a level of engagement and motivation for many students making it an effective tool.
The content of the blog post and Symbaloo supports the movement to including social and emotional learning in public schools. Research cites its effectiveness in promoting both social and emotional as well as academic achievement. My goal as an educator is for my students to be successful in life long after they leave my classroom. Fortunately there are an increasing amount of quality resources available to support this emerging practice in the classroom. I plan on using Symbaloos to deliver an online portion of my instruction as well as resources such as Fun Freinds, MindUp and Smiling Minds to promote grit, resiliency and growth mindset so that my students will understand the power of "yet."
Evidence of Learning #2
Being immersed in an online learning environment inspired me to explore technology in classrooms. I created a blogpost summarizing my learning and added a supplemental Pixton comic that introduces my two fictional sisters, Chantoui and Chantenon who help shed light on both sides of the issue.
Date of Creation: February 2017
Reflection to Support Evidence
Participating in the OLTD program has provided me with many opportunities to gain first hand experience with some of the educational technologies currently available. This inspired me to delve into some research on the topic and try my hand at another tool I had been introduced to but not had the opportunity to experiment with - Pixton.
Graphic novels are a popular form of print among our students. They are familiar with them. Pixton takes advantage of students' familiarity and engagement with the medium. It can be used to demonstrate understanding of a concept, as I have used it in this example, or it can be used as a means of introducing a topic to students. UDL supports providing students with multiple means of representing learning. A tool that allows students to create their own topics would appeal to many students, particularly those who prefer a visual medium. I liked that it combines text and graphics and even allows creators to link speech bubbles to reference their sources.
I personally own a blackberry, an iPhone a laptop, an iPad, a tablet, an e-reader and a Surface Pro tablet/laptop. I embrace technology. I wanted to learn what research said about incorporating technology into classrooms.
The bottom line seemed to be that technology is already embedded in the lives of our students and we might as well embrace it. The key is using it in a purposeful and thoughtful manner that truly enriches the educational experience. Personally I use my laptop and projector to demonstrate lessons to the class or save my voice by playing an animated storybook while my students eat their lunch. It is an integral part of my literacy instruction as I have adopted a station rotation model that includes practicing literacy skills online using Lexia on laptops while I assess students or work with small groups.
Technology allows me to stay in touch with families. I don't have to rely on planners going back and forth to keep families informed. I use Freshgrade to send announcements with a single click.
Embracing technology means being open to a shift in one's role as an educator. Less "sage on the stage" and more "guide on the side."
Embracing technology, such as Pixton, can help engage and motivate students that might otherwise be marginalized. Employers have an increasing expectation that employees will be at least reasonably proficient with technology. That includes educators. I feel we have an obligation to give our students experience with these skills to prepare them for the work force and life in general.