Author Archives: kellerd

Bridging Principles to Ideas

For my final multimedia response (hip hip hooray!) I chose to create an infographic using Canva. On my infographic, Bridging Principles to Ideas (please click on the link to view the entire infographic), I represent the key points made in the Technologist Module from the Ontario Extend‘s website. Through this reflection, I chose to explore the design-thinking approach:

When I first read through the Technologist Module, my mind kept returning to the main concept in Five Moore Minute‘s video titled “The End of Average?! Disrupting the green of education.” Individuals and their learning abilities are not one-dimensional objects that can be measured like height. A huge error in our education system is that we have been trying to fit students into a standardized curriculum created for the mythical “average.”  The video continues on to explain that it is the learning that should be made adjustable, and we need to look at the range of the learners instead of the average. In addition, the teachers should be the ones to teach the students to make the adjustments to better suit their learning.

I believe that this idea for creating a curriculum that fits all learners can be achieved through the design-thinking approach. First, the educator must empathize with their students and understand their learning needs. Next, the educator must determine the challenge that may be causing a problem for the students’ learning. It is important to note that the design-thinking method is a non-linear process (i.e. it will take a lot of design, sharing with the students, and refining in order to create an effective learning experience).  As the article “What is Design Thinking and Why is it So Popular?” written by Rikkie Dam and Teo Siang explains:

Design Thinking is often referred to as ‘outside the box thinking’, as designers are attempting to develop new ways of thinking that do not abide by the dominant or more common problem-solving methods – just like artists do.”

I believe that by creating such a curriculum and learning experience, education will be open for all. It will create equity for all students to learn the material, as not all students learn the exact same way. Teaching students autonomy skills and providing the tools for students so they can adapt their learning to best fit their needs is something I would love to incorporate in my teaching philosophy. Effective teaching requires collaboration and student feedback in order to provide effective learning for the students.

I believe that lesson differentiation should not solely be focused on gifted students. All students have unique needs that may cause challenges in their learning experiences. Therefore, I believe that differentiation can be achieved when educators teach students to adjust/chose the activities that meet those needs.

Caught in the Crossfire

Happy Halloween everyone ?

For my Multimedia Response #2, I read the article titled “Teaching in a Participatory Digital World” by Dr. Michele Jacobsen and watched the YouTube video titled “The Influence of Participatory Culture on Education” by Dr. Henry Jenkins. I decided to do a Twitter essay, which evidently turned out to be a lot more challenging than anticipated (my Twitter handle is @missmadisonbeth, please click the link to find the full essay). I am a very visual person, so I actually had to make my own sketch note after reading/watching the content to organize my thoughts and ideas. The most challenging part about using Twitter was the character limit. I had SO much I wanted to say, but creatively…Twitter was too limiting for me. Organizing my thoughts into the small character limit took a lot longer than I wanted and I ended up getting very frustrated. For my Multimedia Response #1, I designed a sketch note where I had complete freedom in what I incorporated. For a couple of my tweets in the essay, I drew words on pictures to help reflect what I was thinking, as seen on tweet #2:

My favourite component about Twitter was the ability to add a poll in the tweet itself. I thought this was a great, engaging way to get a discussion going on a topic. Another great component on Twitter is the ability to use emojis and gifs to help others understand the tone of the post. Twitter allows collaboration with peers and the ability to incorporate other resources to your thoughts to give further evidence (like adding a website link or a screen shot of research data).

Before reading the Jacobsen article and taking this Digital Tech & Social Media course, I never imagined that social media platforms could be used in a learning environment. During my high school experience, cell phones and personal social media was kept personal and would never have been thought to be integrated into the class lessons. I believe students today are caught in the crossfire between the way they have learned to communicate (i.e. they have grown up networking and collaborating via podcasts, social media, blogs, gaming, etc.) and the ways in which learning in the education system is taught (i.e. working individually, having standardized tests, collaboration is seen as cheating, etc.). Our education system appears to be frozen in time in the 20th century and is too stubborn to evolve with the rest of the world. I believe the uses of digital technology in the classroom should not be feared as it can provide teachers and students great value to the learning process. I agree with Dr. Michele Jacobsen in her article when she explains that digital technologies and platforms allow students to be creative and to actively participate with one another. Statistics show that the workforce is changing as the job opportunities in Canada are transitioning towards tertiary sector jobs (jobs that provide a service rather than extracting raw materials, like the primary jobs, or manufacturing goods, like the secondary jobs). Students should learn the proper skills to be critical thinkers, innovators, and collaborators in order to contribute to this changing society. Jacobsen argues that implementing open source platforms with technology in the classroom will provide opportunities for students to learn these required skills.

Jacobsen brought up the idea, that in order to unleash the power of using open source platforms, such as Twitter, in a classroom setting, the firewalls and filters would need to be obliterated. This information completely changed how I previously thought about the safety provided on the school networks. In order for the education system to evolve in the 21st century with the rest of the world, students need to be able to understand how to navigate and collaborate effectively and safely. As I posted in my Twitter essay, I believe internet safety and ethics need to be taught to students at an early age as individuals are beginning to use technology earlier and earlier. This article was truly inspiring and I believe that educators have the power to truly make a difference in individuals’ lives, as Jacobsen said, “engaged teachers and engaged students go hand in hand.” I am inspired to provide challenging, inquiry based tasks that have true value beyond the classroom for my future students. I want to provide a learning environment that encourages passion-based learning, as I learned from the Jacobsen article.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post!



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Pushing the Pendulum BACK

I created a SketchNote to demonstrate the main points of the podcast titled “Questioning Learning.” The coordinator of the podcast, Chris Friend, had special guest Amy Collier to explain her thoughts on how education is viewed and how to challenge the norms. The title of my SketchNote, “The Push for Critical Pedagogy,” refers to the image of Amy Collier pushing the pendulum back to the other side of the page. In the podcast, Amy describes that the pendulum has been pushed by the restrictive education system and we need to PUSH BACK in order to have critical pedagogy.

On the left side of my SketchNote you will see cooler colours and a noticeable difference in structure to the right side. The left looks like it was built from building blocks that could be found in a kindergarten classroom. This is to show how structured and confined the learnification pedagogy is for students and teachers. There is no room for interpretation or to think outside of the boxes. The image of the cannon demonstrates all of the information being shot at students, which is then required to be memorized. There is no creativity or encouragement to question the world. I chose to draw the left side of the paper as if it could be found in the teaching curriculum. The learning outcome tells you exactly what you will end up with if you follow the steps. The following steps do not promote critical thinking, curiosity, risk, etc. To the left of the building blocks you will see a picture of a student’s thought bubble being manipulated by a teacher with puppet strings. Teachers are telling students how to think. The conveyer belt at the bottom shows the end products from following the instructions–robots. The students are being taught to think the exact same and this is very dangerous to our society. School is becoming a factory, which I tried to represent here. Society needs unique, critical thinkers in order thrive.

On the right side of my SketchNote, you will see bright, happy colours. I decided to create this side of the SketchNote to represent a road. In the podcast, Amy suggests that learning outcomes can act like a road map for students, and they aren’t always negative. The right side of my SketchNote almost looks like it is under construction with the yellows, oranges, and reds–which is exactly how I think learning outcomes should be thought of. As I wrote on the bottom, the road of learning and understanding is never complete. We will be learning our entire lives and cannot be restricted to the end-products of some learning outcomes defined in teaching curriculums. Amy Collier describes the term “not-yetness” and how students can be on their way to building the experience, but haven’t fully grasped it quite yet. Amy says we should be embracing risk, uncertainty, discomfort, unpredictability, creativity, and curiosity.I made sure to put trees, flowers, and green grass to show growth on this side of my SketchNote. Our students will be on their way to find their fire–or as Amy referred to it “what makes you tickle.” I decided to put a welcome sign, like students would be arriving into a town on the road, for when the students finally find their fire. I also noted that the students will not only survive, but THRIVE. This is so important in education, and I am so happy I listened to this podcast, which has caused me to really think about the structure of the education system and what we can do to make change.