Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Best of Div1EdTech in EPSB 2016

A Look Back

Do not have time to read all of our fabulous blog posts from 2016? With the help of in-person conversations, the stats from Blogger and the +1s we received on Google+, we have compiled this year's Best Of list for you! 

Top Posts

  1. I Co-Taught... With Myself! - Using video when you need to model something for your students.
  2. An Interview With Nick Reilly - The first interviewee for the new feature: Div1 Edtech in EPSB Interviews. Nick shares his thoughts on educational technology.
  3. Be Proactive! Teach Your Students How To Problem Solve Technology Issues - technology classroom management tips.
  4. Reflections and Learning from 'Movies and Math' - A summary of math related tips, tools, student blog posts, movies, and apps.
  5. Pear Deck In Grade Two - Using slides but in an interactive and very visual way that gathers formative assessment data as you go.

What is Next for 2016?

We are excited to continue the interview series into 2017. Stay tuned for some new guest bloggers, too!

Join Us!

Many of our bloggers have moved out of division one in the last year or so. We are looking for new authors to join our team!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Google Expeditions!

Virtual Reality in the classroom seems like a far away place, or something that's very expensive, or supremely technical to get into. Teachers are unsure of how to implement it, how to set it up, or how it applies to the curriculum that they're currently teaching. With the Google Expeditions Kit put together by our wonderful friends in District Technology you can bring Virtual Reality to your classroom in a free, very easy to use fashion. 

What is Google Expeditions?

Google Expeditions is a teacher directed Virtual Reality experience using 360° still images to immerse students in different environments and places around the world. It uses themed images and questions to guide students through different experiences around the world.

How does it work?

Google Expeditions is an app that works on iOS and Android devices. Expeditions has two sides to the app. There is a "Guide" side, and an "Explorer" side. 

  • The Guide will be able to direct the expedition, control whether students will be able to use the viewer, point things out on the screen, and tell how many people are logged on at a time. 
  • The Explorers will be able to view the experience on their devices when they are connected.
In order to start an Expedition, you'll need all of the devices to be attached to the same WiFi network. (The District kit does this very simply), and then have the Explorers choose "Follow" inside the app. Once they've done that, they're ready to go!

Who can run the Expedition?

Ideally, a teacher. 

But I had Grade 5 students run the kit and lead Expeditions for Grade 2 classes in our school. The reason a teacher is ideal is that it is a guided process. Guiding questions and pointing out things that you're looking at with your students are very helpful in leading discussion about what is being viewed.

What do I need to do?

As a teacher, there's a little more prep to do ahead of time for this to be successful. There is a listing of all of the Expeditions available, and it's worth a look to try to check some of them out beforehand. Getting the app on your own device could be a good way to preview some of the Expeditions, but if you plan on using the kit from District Tech, they've got a tablet that can be used for this. Once you've figured out which Expedition you'd like to lead your class through, it's time to start. Luckily, there's a start up guide.

What benefits are there to using this?

This is a great opportunity to talk about different environments and places, how those things affect people, and to see places and things we wouldn't normally see at school. Our kindergarten kids were very excited to see jungles and the animals that lived in them. It is a great opportunity for inquiry based approaches as well, as the expeditions lead well into questioning and getting kids to ask questions about what they're viewing. This is a great opportunity to get to see things that maybe your field trip budget won't allow for, and using the Google Street View app with some of the older kids would allow unguided exploration of some areas, too! (It's worth checking out beforehand).

How have other teachers used the kit so far?

At Balwin, a lot of teachers used them for guiding younger kids to see things they normally wouldn't. Our junior high students used them to inspire questions about what they were viewing and how it applied to what they're learning. The kit comes with a Theta 360° camera which allows us to take pictures and create content in a unique approach, allowing us to think about and find inquiry based opportunities around us.

What problems might we encounter?

The most common problem that we encountered was that the devices weren't always on the same WiFi network, which was a quick and easy fix with the router provided. The other thought was that we needed lead time to take a look at the Expeditions and think about how we wanted to apply them. 285 of them is a lot. With our use, there wasn't many problems that we encountered. It was a very straightforward process. 

In short, Expeditions is a great way to show your students other places or things around the world, and is an amazing way to start a discussion with students of all ages. We'd really like to look at creating content at Balwin, and were very impressed with the experience. Kids were always asking when they could use the kit next. I'd love to hear what people do with the kit as time goes on, and how they've used it to attach to their curriculum. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

An Interview With Amanda Fahey

A Little Bit About Amanda

Amanda is a grade three teacher with the Lethbridge School District No. 51. She is on Twitter, @amandafahey13, and Google+. Her Google+ profile says: Never let an opportunity pass you by! And if you follow her on Google+ or read her blog, Mrs. Fahey’s Class, you will see she does not let an opportunity pass her class by. 

I have always been inspired by Amanda's ideas and classroom activities. I think after you read this interview you will be, too!

What technology skills should students have before coming into the grade(s) you teach?
Students should know the basics:
  • how to log on
  • how to find various programs (Chrome, searching with Google, Word)
  • how to copy/paste
  • how to save documents to a USB.

Where do you get your educational technology ideas?
I get ideas from Google+, Professional Development Days, colleagues and blogs.

What type of technology do you use in your school?
My school has laptops, desktop computers, iPads, webcams, and Smartboard.

Imagine you only could keep one technology at your school. From the ones you listed about what would be the one you would keep? 

Based on your response to the question above. Why would you keep that technology?
There are so many useful iPad apps that I enjoy using with my students. Students can still access the internet (Google) from an iPad, as well as use Google Docs, or Microsoft Word to complete class assignments. It also opens opportunities for new apps and ways to complete assignments rather than basic paper and pencil. As well an iPad has a camera, therefore we could complete Hangouts with other students.

What is one piece of technology would you like to try in your classroom that you haven't had an opportunity to yet?
3D printer

What is something new or different you are planning to try this year?
I plan on teaching one-on-one Google Hangouts with our penpal/collaborative blog class. I am also going to attempt a Robotics lab this year. 

How has technology changed the way you teach?
Technology has allowed me to go outside my comfort zone and find new ways to be innovative within the classroom. Instead of all students having the same project, which needs to be completed in the same way, I find technology allows me to give my students more opportunity to be unique and creative and find their strengths to show their learning. As well, technology has allowed me to meet and collaborate with so many other teachers all over the world. Completing mystery hangouts, or collaboration projects with classes in the USA, Brazil or Australia has allowed me to change the ways I teach being a Global Citizen and how to be a "safe" technology user to my students. My focus is to teach my students about a positive digital footprint.

How do you decide what is worthwhile for students to learn through technology, given literacy and skill challenges in division one?
Technology is incredible, but students still need the opportunity to use paper and a pencil. However, I decide what is worthwhile based on my individual students. I assess their needs and go from there. I try to find apps or tasks that can be easily modified to meet my students needs. For example, having a built in voice recorder or a "read to me" feature is always helpful for those struggling readers/writers. 

What apps or technology tools do you use? Are there any that you use for specific projects?

  • Google Hangouts - As a class, we complete many mystery location hangouts, mystery number hangouts, as well we meet with our penpal class. This year we are working on a Connected Reader’s Club as well which is absolutely fantastic!
  • News-O-Matic - I use this app for our Newspaper day. I also incorporate it into Daily 5 centers for a listen to reading center.
  • Popplet - This is a favourite when we are brainstorming, specifically before a writing task.
  • Green Screen - I use across all subject areas. I enjoy using Green Screen mostly for social and science as a way for students to show their learning at the end a specific unit. For example, students use it when describing an animal, or a country in social studies. We've also used Green Screen as a way of publishing fractured fairy tales. Students draw the scenes, and as we read the stories, their drawings are the backdrop. Super student friendly.
  • Class Dojo - I use it for classroom management.
  • Google Translate - I use this to support ELL learners.
  • Google Earth - I use Google Earth when we have mystery location hangouts. This year we’ve used Google Earth quite a bit as an introduction to the Grade 3 Social Studies curriculum which focuses on Peru, Tunisia, India and Ukraine.
  • Word Clouds - I use this for writing activities.
  • Skitch - This is a great labelling app which is extremely useful, specifically in science, when introducing a new topic. As well I use it in Language Arts for vocab development in word work centers.
  • QR Code Reader - I use this app mainly in math for games or problem solving. Students use the QR code to check their work. However, we use QR codes in language arts for tricky words, and to listen to reading.
  • KidBlog - We journal using Kidblog rather than a typical journal notebook. Our blog is then linked with our grade 3 classes throughout Canada and the USA, where we discuss various topics, and complete collaboration writing projects.
  • Quiver - This is a fantastic app that makes artwork pop like 3D! 

What are your hopes for educational technology in the future in your classroom? Alberta? Canada? Globally?
I would like to see a specific technology curriculum, where skills are broken down into grade specifics. Not all teachers are as comfortable with technology as others, therefore we get students who still are unsure how to log on etc which makes things rather difficult sometimes. But in order for that to work, more professional development would have to be offered. I hope that educational technology becomes the norm within our classrooms, and students become great global technology users where they are aware of how to be safe and effective users.

I also hope for generalized programs where the province or even country can use similar programs, ie. Google Apps for Education, so that students of similar grades can collaborate with other students throughout the country, opening up more opportunities and giving students a wider perspective on the topic, or life in general.

Check back for the December interview with Marjorie Foth.

Related blog posts:

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween: Dance Their Energy Away (With Tips For Using YouTube)

Lots Of Halloween Energy? Try Some Halloween Energizers!

I remember the excitement I felt around Halloween as a kid. As a teacher, I tend to live more vicariously through my students now. As fun as it is to see students excited, it also can be challenging to keep them focussed and motivated. I find movement breaks can help.

In this blog post I will share Halloween movement break videos (see the playlists embedded below), I will walk through how to create and edit YouTube playlists and how to save playlists made by others. At the end I will share how I try to minimize distractions when using YouTube.

Thanks to M.F., S.M., and A.K. for their suggestions!

Halloween Dance Videos

FSL Halloween VIdeos

Halloween Movement Breaks (Younger Students)

YouTube Playlists

Movement breaks are a regular part of my classroom routine. During exciting times of the year, I use them even more. To help me access them quickly, I create YouTube playlists. This is helpful because it helps me organize the videos and then I have them ready to go year after year. I also like making playlists because often the videos are too short for what I want. For example, my Halloween physical education lesson is often done in class as the gym is often closed. If I want to have the dance portion of my lesson to be 20 minutes, I create a playlist that links a number of dances together. I still have the option of pausing or skipping a video.

To create a YouTube playlist you will need a YouTube channel. If you have a Google For Apps for Education (GAFE) account, you will probably already have a YouTube account. You may just need to activate it. When you go to YouTube.com, look in the top right hand corner. You will either see a blue sign in button or your avatar/icon for GAFE (this indicates you are already signed in).

Tip: If you do not have time to create a playlist, you can find the videos you watched most recently by going to "History" on the left side panel.

If  you want to create a playlist, there are different ways you can go about it. One way is to select My Channel or Library on the left. I suggest selecting "Library". Then you will have the option to make a new playlist. The new playlist button will have a plus sign.

You will be prompted to make a title. Also consider if you want your playlist available to others. You will see a globe with the word Public and an arrow. Public means anyone can search for and find your playlist. Unlisted means it is not searchable but anyone with the link to your playlist can use/view it. Private means only you can access/view the playlist. Note the default is Public and you have to select drop down menu to see the options. 

Once you have created your playlist YouTube will take you to the playlist settings page. Here you can edit your playlist. There are many options. Three that are important to know (to start with) are:
  1. You can delete you playlist from this page. Select the three dots on the right.
  2. You can change your playlist from Public to Unlisted to Private here at anytime.
  3. You do not need to know the videos you want to add yet. 

If you do know the video(s) you want to add, select add video button and follow the instructions. If you do not know all the videos you want to add yet, you can leave your playlist settings page (no need to save) and start searching videos. 

When you find a YouTube video you like, you can add it to one or more playlist you already have. If you are like me, and have many playlists, you may want to use the search tool (box with magnifying class under Add to) to find the playlist quickly. You can create a new playlist within this option, as well. The create new playlist option is at the very bottom of the drop down menu.

Does Order Matter?

Depending on what/how you are using your playlist, you may nor may not care the order the videos appear. YouTube will play the videos in the order you have added them to your playlist. If you wish to change the order, you will need to go into your playlist settings. To access the playlist settings, select library (left hand menu). You may see the playlist you have been working on underneath the word library (click on the playlist). If not, click on library. You should see your created playlists on the right-hand side. Select the playlist you want to edit. You can click and drag the videos by selecting and holding the small bar on the left-hand side of each video.

When you click on a video in your playlist, a drop down menu will appear on the right. It will say "more" and an X will be to the right of the menu. The X is how you delete a video from a playlist. The drop down menu gives you the option to move the video to the top or bottom of the playlist, to edit/add notes about the video or set the video as the thumbnail for the entire playlist. 

Tip For Next Year

It is useful to look at your playlist before you used it each year. Over time videos get deleted for a number of reasons. Your five video playlist from 2016 could end up being only two videos in 2017. Remember you can delete videos from your playlist. You can access the edit features when playing your playlist by going to the gear in the top right corner. 

Use Someone Else's Playlist

If you want to use someone else's playlist, you can! You will have no control over the playlist but you also do not have to spend time creating it! To find a playlist, include the word playlist in your search terms. Select view full playlist to check out what videos are included. 
When you select save playlist, it is added to your library.  To accessed any saved playlists, simply select the library option on YouTube's menu. You will see all your saved playlists under the ones you have created.

Free Is Great... But All Those Distractions

Using the extension ImprovedTube helps with some of the distractions that come with using YouTube. As it is an extension, once you install it, it will be available from your Chrome browser (to the right of the omnibox). You will have to select the setting you want to use. Click on the ImproveTube extension icon and you will get a dropdown box. I suggestion looking through all the settings. I use the options under Appearance Settings. I hide the related sidebar and I hide comments. Under Player Appearance I select Start In Large Player for player size.

Sharing Is Caring

This post is by no means exhaustive for how to use YouTube playlists. Please share your YouTube tricks or treats in the comments. Or share your favourite Halloween videos or playlists!

Further Reading/Viewing

Monday, October 10, 2016

An Interview With Alicia Kuzio Part Two

A Little Bit About Alicia

Teaching is Alicia’s second career. Alicia is currently teaching grade three. This is her third year teaching. In her short teaching career she has taught everything from grades one to six, including FSL. Check out her class website

You can find her on Google+. To quote Alicia, “in the early years of teaching, it is so vital to be connected to other educators with varying backgrounds and levels of experience to share ideas, resources, advice. We are better together.” So please add her to your PLN!

Here is part two of my interview with Alicia. Don’t forget to read part one!

The Interview Continued

How has technology changed the way you teach (if at all), as a beginning teacher?
The online and professional communities that I am a part of have enabled me to connect with other like-minded educators. In the early years of teaching, it is so vital to be connected to other educators with varying backgrounds and levels of experience to share ideas, resources, advice. We are better together.

I often reflect on how supportive the technology in my classroom is for assisting the literacy and skill challenges in my classroom. It allows opportunities to differentiate the ways that students can express what they know. I can present information and content in different ways to deepen and motivate learning.

How do you decide what is worthwhile for students to learn through technology, given literacy and skill challenges in division one?
I think of technology as a tool to support and extend learning. Given the diverse range in literacy and skill challenges in my classroom, my goal is to provide opportunities for students to have meaningful engagement in their learning and deepen their understanding.

What apps or technology tools do you use? Are there any that you use for specific projects?

  • Google Apps for Education! We most often use Docs, Slides and Forms.
  • National Film Board for short, relevant and engaging videos.
  • Canadian Wildlife Federation for their interactive classrooms (Wild Spaces) that allow classes across Canada to interact by sharing pictures and stories about the wild space that they have created or post environmental school events.
  • Storybird for creating original stories from a stock of interesting and captivating illustrations and images.
  • Kidblog was very engaging for my students to publish original texts and to read responses.

What are your hopes for educational technology in the future in your classroom?

My hope is that educational technology continues to grow social, cultural, global and environmental responsibility and understanding through interconnectedness. Through innovation and creativity, I hope that it can be equitable and accessible to all learners.

Check back for the November interview with Amanda Fahey.

Related blog posts:

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Interview With Alicia Kuzio Part One

Perspective From A Beginning Teacher

I have had the privilege of knowing Alicia Kuzio from almost the start of her teaching career. She was a nine-week student teacher in a grade one class I taught health to for thirty minutes once a week. We have kept in touch via Google+ and email since. What struck me about Alicia from the start was her positive attitude, her interest in developing a PLN and her desire to be a life-long learner. I was thrilled to have a chance for a face-to-face chat this summer.

About Alicia

Teaching is Alicia’s second career. Her first career was publishing and marketing but it did not fill her heart the way teaching does. She wants to make an impact on the world. I think after reading this interview, you will realize that she does.

Alicia is currently teaching grade three in the English program in a German Bilingual School. This is her third year teaching. In her short teaching career she has taught everything from grades one to six, including French as a second language (FSL). She has started an environmental club that created a school garden at her school which was supported by grants through Evergreen Canada and Canadian Wildlife Federation. They actually provided Alicia with plants that attract pollinators! Check out the Canadian Wildlife Federation documentary at the Muttart Conservatory which her class was a part of last year.

You can find her on Google+. To quote Alicia, “in the early years of teaching, it is so vital to be connected to other educators with varying backgrounds and levels of experience to share ideas, resources, advice. We are better together.” So please add her to your PLN!

The Interview

What technology skills should students have before coming into grade three?
I would like students to begin to develop their problem solving/troubleshooting skills. For example, turning a device on/off when they encounter problems and interacting with their peers prior to asking for my assistance. I have found exchanging information and sharing ideas helps create an encouraging and collaborative learning community.

Other key skills:
  • independence with logging into a device
  • an awareness of password confidentiality
  • a growing understanding of digital citizenship

Where do you get your educational technology ideas?
I am grateful for the diversity in the learning communities online that allow me to connect with other educators and share ideas and resources. I like the immediacy and reach of Google+ and the ability to be a part of specific learning communities and connected educators and other inspiring individuals.

Teaching can be isolating so I think having a combination of an online and a physical community of people makes all the difference.

My colleagues at Rideau Park have been incredibly supportive and collaborative. Our leadership culture fostered this community of sharing ideas and resources. We are very fortunate to have an  Edmonton Public Library (EPL) right across the street from our school. They have fostered a collaborative and supportive relationship with our school.  Everyone in my class received their own library card. EPL facilitated a makerspace in our classroom last year with Makey Makey and LittleBits Technology. By having the EPL programs come into your school, you are having them promote literacy (and digital literacy) as well as their educational programs that at the heart create a place for people to connect and have access to tools they may otherwise not have access to.

What type of technology do you use in your school?
Chromebooks, iPads, Smartboards and desktop computers.

Imagine you only could keep one technology at your school. From the ones you listed about what would be the one you would keep?

Based on your response to the question above. Why would you keep that technology?
I am interested in the usability of Chromebooks and how they support the diverse needs of my students to create, innovate, communicate and explore. They are great for working with Google - Gmail, Docs, Drive, and everything is easily stored in the cloud.

What is one piece of technology would you like to try in your classroom that you haven't had an opportunity to yet?
It would be fascinating to try a 3D printer to connect with our grade three Testing Materials and Designs Science unit.

What is something new or different you are planning to try this year?  
I really enjoyed learning about the Global Read Aloud last year on your blog. I am interested in the opportunity to connect and collaborate with a global community of educators. I love that the simple goal is: “one book to connect the world”. It is a beautiful way to weave global citizenship, literacy and technology together.

Check back next week for part two of my interview with Alicia.

Monday, September 19, 2016

GoNoodle Brain Breaks, Many Possiblities

Have you ever tried GoNoodle's videos and games to help keep your students moving inside the classroom? These desk-side movement activities geared towards K-5 classrooms are selected and projected by the teacher from the GoNoodle website. Sign up as a teacher at gonoodle.com, fill in some information and then choose your class "Champ". Champs are the primary motivation system in GoNoodle. Every time you play an activity with your students, you help grow your Champ. When you grow a Champ completely, you get to choose a new one to grow. (For more info about Champs click here). There are over 200 GoNoodle videos to choose from. 

Here is how to find the right activity for you:

  • Explore: Explore is the default view after clicking the Play button from the champ page, featuring the newest and featured GoNoodle activities. Use this page to see what's new, what's coming soon, and to find activities you may not have played before.
  • Channels: GoNoodle is like a music collection – think of channels as artists! If you know you want to dance with Zumba Kids, you can go straight to the Zumba Kids channel.
  • Categories: Think of Categories as genres. To see all the dancing videos, for example, head to the “Guided Dancing” category. A variety of genres makes it easy to find the right video for your classroom’s energy level.
  • Search: Searching GoNoodle is super easy. Simply type in keywords to see all the videos that match. Try “mindfulness,” “Pop See Ko,” or even “2 minutes” for videos around a certain length. Perhaps a 10+ minute video for that indoor recess?

Quick Subject Transitions 

In the Explore view search for videos and activities by duration. Grab a 1 minute clip and wiggle your way into the next subject area. I thoroughly enjoy Awesome Sauce's "Dance like this Dude". Silly dance moves everyone can get into to get the blood flowing for the next part of the day. 

Here are some highly recommended options for your next GoNoodle Adventure:
(You'll need to already have signed up to view these channels and categories)

  1. Testing: Calming category.  Ease anxiety with several calming, stress-reducing activities.
  2. Indoor Recess: Mega-mixes. Longer GoNoodle videos for the times you’re stuck inside.
  3. Mindfulness: Think About It. A series of positive, one-minute reflections, perfect for morning meeting.
  4. Great for the active: Koo Koo Kanga Roo. Awesome beats, hilarious dance moves.
  5. Special needs favorite: Mr. Catman. Emphasis on coordination and concentration.
  6. Sluggish afternoons: Zumba Kids. Dance your way back to life!
  7. Bouncing-off-the-walls energy: Free movement category. A group of videos that let students get the wiggles out.
  8. Older grades: Fresh Start Fitness.  Seriously intense workouts!
  9. Younger Grades: Maximo. Simple stretching moves, led by a silly monkey.
  10. Celebration: Guided Dancing category. Pick a dance-along, and go to town

Read more about the features and specifics or GoNoodle here. How are you GoNoodling in your class?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part Two

An Interview With Shannon Pasma Part Two

I recently sat down with Shannon Pasma at Cafe Bicyclette for a chat about everything grade two and educational technology. Here is part two of an abridged version of our chat. Don’t forget to read part one!

A Little Bit About Shannon
Shannon teaches in the Elk Island School Division and is going into her fourth year of teaching grade two (her favourite grade). She has also taught grade one and five. Her school is one-to-one Chromebooks grades two to six. She also has five iPads in her class and access to sign out a whole cart of iPads as needed. You can find her on Google+ and on Twitter as @ShannonPasma. She is also the co-author of an e-book for grade two social studies which she created as a part of her masters in Educational Technology in Elementary Education.

What apps or technology tools do you use? Are there any that you use for specific projects?
Anytime an app has dual application (like being able to record your voice), I like that.  If I can use it across the subject areas, I’m good with it, rather than a one-off app. Some of the tools I use all the time are:
    • I especially love Google Slides. I like to use it for pretty much anything from How To writing to Non Fiction writing to Timelines. I like to use Screencastify to have voice connected to work if images are just included.
    • Or any recordable whiteboard app. Again, great for anything you want the students to explain a process or thought. I like this especially for math. My students create problems and then solve them recording their work and voice.
    • Great for digital posters or scavenger hunts in 2D shapes and 3D objects. Lends itself well to labelling.
    • Great for social studies, too. Students can make a poster about the community.
  • Popplet for mind maps.
    • We often turn a story into a script. PuppetPals is used as a choice to act out the script if students don't want to perform in front of the class. I also like to have the students do a Bug Talk Show and interview various creatures in science. I love to see their creativity come out.
  • Seesaw (but you can’t upload from Google Drive)
  • Google Classroom is an absolute must in my room!
    • During the first weeks of school we create iMovie trailers to show/teach/reinforce classroom routines. My students like to also use the DoInk Green Screen app to integrate with iMovie.
You made an e-book. Do you still make them?

They take forever. You have to find images you can use. You have to write your own content. You have to cite all of your stuff. You have to record each of your voice sections and then put it in the book. Each of the widgets we had, most of them were from third party sites so you had to download them and then upload them. Saving it on the Mac (iBooks Author) and then trying it on your iPad. The hardest part was finding a site to hold it and share it out so people could download it. It is so huge to download it so it takes forever. It’s a lot of work.
After we made the first one, I saw how successful it was with my students.  That’s when I had a student with a learning disability, so I couldn’t take that away from her. So I just had to do them.  It would take me a whole Saturday and Sunday to make them. But now that they are done, they’re done. However I have noticed a couple of the videos are missing because they are not on YouTube anymore. So now it’s about going back and fixing them. Then re-downloading and re-uploading them again.

You can download them here: Exploring Iqaluit, Meteghan, and Saskatoon

You had a five week student teacher this year. How prepared did you feel they were edtech-wise?
Very unprepared.

I want to make a course or workshop for preservice teachers to learn how to use technology. I would open up my classroom to them. They could come in and observe some tools and see what there is. In the course/workshop we’d talk about the tools and how to use them. They would have to create lessons to go with the technology so they actually feel prepared. Most preservice teachers have no educational technology skills.

If you had to interview someone for division one educational technology. Who would you pick?
You know who I really want to sit down with? Catherine D off Twitter. We had really great conversations at the ERLC Educational Technology Innovation Summit. I would love to sit down with her for the whole day.

Last question for you, what are your hopes for educational technology in the future in your classroom? Alberta? Canada? Globally?

If kids don’t learn some technology skills, like coding,  I can only imagine 2025! They are going to have to have these skills. I feel if you don’t start teaching them these things they are going to be behind and unprepared. I feel that if teachers don’t get on board with the current educational technologies they are going to be even further behind and then you are doing a disservice to your students. This [phone] is your life. Literally you can do everything on here and you don’t need anything else. I hope that teachers catch on.

It [the future] is going to be kids coming with greater skills and expected to do a lot more but connect globally. I  feel like it is no longer about working in the isolation of your classroom. I feel that Global Read Aloud is the start of zero barriers. You are going to be learning from each other.   

The flexible seating movement is on the cutting edge of - you don’t need to learn in “this” way, you can learn in your own way. I feel like there is going to be more individualized learning. I think desks and rows are by-gone things now.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens.

I would like to thank Shannon for an extremely enjoyable chat through an epic thunderstorm.

Check back for the October interview with Alicia Kuzio.

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