What I have learned…..

What have I learned throughout this journey?

I have learned how I never want to make my students feel and how I always want my students to feel. I have learned a whole bucket load of new acronyms which align with teaching and behavioural management strategies and some of these have been added to my ever expanding toolkit. I have continued to build pedagogical knowledge which will contribute to the kind of learning environment and culture I wish to create for my future students to thrive in.

I have learned how important it is to allow students the time to build knowledge and practice and experiment with concepts and new learning and have seen first hand how detrimental it is not to allow this. I have learned about myself, I continue to be passionate about education children especially in the early years and I believe everyone could learn by observing the authentic learning that takes place within any quality early learning environment. I have learned that I want to continue to inspire students to believe in themselves and to build their individual competencies and capabilities. I have an ultimate goal and vision that I will be able to contribute to every one of my future students developing a positive view of themselves as successful learners in their own right which will contribute to a strong foundation to build upon throughout their lifelong learning journeys.

ICT-wise I have learned to ‘stay calm and Google’, to always have a ‘plan B’.  I have developed a whole lot of new fancy tricks and have learnt that ultimately it is important to focus upon how ICTs can be integrated to support the and enhance the teaching and learning experiences rather than what ICTs are going to be used.  I have also learned without any doubt at all that it is not physically or mentally healthy to spend a large proportion of each day and everyday staring at a screen.  Real relationships matter and it may be necessary that I book an appointment to see an optometrist and a therapist when I eventually close this chapter of my story…. or even better a weekend full of therapy with family and friends .

Along the way I built upon existing knowledge and was reminded of some valuable lessons. I refreshed my knowledge in regards to never being to proud to ask for help and in not letting negative corrosive personalities affect my own outlook or my journey.  I remembered that this type of behaviour is usually a reflection of who that person is rather than who I am. I have been reminded that in order to inspire enthusiasm and a passion for learning in others it is important that I model and reflect these attributes towards my own learning journey.

Most of all I have learned that I definitely want to be a teacher! My amazing mentor from my professional placement believes that I will make a great school teacher, but honestly at this stage I am firmly at peace with my decision to become a Kindy teacher. Although who knows what the future may bring?  I know anything is possible, I know I can make a difference and although it may not be a graceful journey to the ultimate destination, I know I can do this!

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Is the summit in sight?

I know I am not alone, but I do feel very isolated at the moment. I have a mountain of work to do, I am behind on the course content and learning paths for all three of my courses and have assignments due/overdue for each of them.  I would like to add this is not for lack of effort on my behalf, it’s a very long story and I know many of you know it well and are living it yourselves, so I won’t elaborate any further at this stage.  I struggle to see how it would be humanly possible to keep up with other courses during prac when so much work is required, it’s not an exaggeration when I say rarely made it to be before 1am and I was up at 5.30am at the latest each morning to organise my family and  make the commute to school.

I honestly believe that allowances need to be made for those who have are not following a traditional study pattern. I challenge those that believe that making allowances under these circumstances would be unfair to those who manage to make the deadline, especially when others have had the benefit of knowing where their placements are well in advance to commencing professional experience and additionally have had other courses pause or their workloads greatly reduced throughout the duration of their placements. I actually believe allowances should be made to make it fair.

I  have been advised to ensure such a clash with my study pattern does not occur in future as this is not an ‘unforeseen circumstance’. Once I work my way through the next few weeks of work I am going to investigate how I could possibly achieve this, as there is no way I would like to end up in the same situation again. I have been clearly aware of the challenge before me since the beginning of semester and contacted each of my lecturers with my concerns, I was assured that the situation was manageable….well as I have mentioned I might just yet survive, but the whole experience has not in the slightest way been manageable. I feel that it is not for lack of  effort or organisation at my end that I have found myself in this situation, I have given it all I have, at detriment to my health and family, I guess time will tell if this is enough.

Although I am relieved I survived (well up to this stage), I am disappointed as in a way I feel as though in a way we were set up to fail, it feels like a survival of the fittest scenario.  I don’t think this is ok, not for school students, for uni students or for anyone in that fact. This is not an environment that fosters success,  I don’t believe it is the way of the future and honestly it is everything I dislike about the education system.  I believe it needs to change, it is always exciting to hear uni lecturers promoting a paradigm shift in education, it would be absolutely thrilling to see it in action.

I am lucky enough to have experienced how inspiring it is to play a small role in such a powerful revolution in a previous life, which ironically is partly the reason I find myself here in this less than inspiring situation right at this moment.   I feel for those that did not make the grade during a difficult PE, who did not successfully fit into the required boxes under extremely difficult circumstances, especially as they had to have been committed and have put in a great deal of effort to get to this point.  I am beyond relieved that so far I have managed to just keep my head above water, but I am aware that I shouldn’t be too excited at this point as there is still quite a distance to the finish line…..and I’m so very, very tired.

 To be cont….

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Outside of my comfort zone.

The end of this learning journey is near, but it is not quite within my sight yet.  I am more than aware that I am repeating myself when I say this semester has been a huge challenge.  When I say challenge, not the type that builds capabilities and competencies and makes you want to strive to achieve, but quite the opposite it has been difficult to keep positive the whole experience has been quite detrimental to my outlook and mindset.

When I reflect upon what has been and what is still before me, it is extremely difficult to view this journey on a whole as being positive, although I acknowledge that there have definitely been moments (mostly on PE)  that I will treasure.  I am hoping that once I find the time to breathe once again it might be possible to ignite the passion, enthusiasm and commitment I had at the beginning of this journey when my growth mindset was in full working order and I was ready to change the world for the better.

I have well and truly been outside of my comfort zone throughout this journey and I am hoping that I have grown in some way, although honestly at times it has felt as though I have taken two steps backwards rather than forwards.  Overall my professional experience was successful and a steep learning experience indeed I spent my last few weeks learning in a year two class full of an eclectic mix of diverse needs. There was a major focus upon behaviour management and it was right in the middle of testing time was a world away from the Kindy context I am familiar and comfortable with, although I believe I successfully met the challenge. 

I feel as though I was able to incorporate student centered planning into the C2C planning process, it was necessary for me to take part in a crash course in the required classroom behavioural management techniques which are in stark contrast to the techniques I am familiar with, but overall I believe I was able to make a positive contribution to the class and each individual in a short time frame. I learned so much in such a short period of time and I am grateful to all the knowledge my mentor shared with me.

I was pleased that many of my beliefs, skills and approaches were transferable across the different contexts, although I found the time constraints within a school context problematic and maybe my biggest challenge. I struggled with the necessity to keep moving through the curriculum/syllabus content before students had grasped concepts. I was definitely the tortoise in the race that was each school day.

 To be continued…..

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Are we there yet?

 I am exhausted, this semester has been an absolute marathon effort, this journey is definitely taking its toll.  The relief I felt at the completion of the professional experience was very short lived.  The very next day I was back in full time uni mode and I haven’t looked up since…..apparently there was a long weekend that flew by without me noticing. I’m struggling to climb the mountain of work that has been piling up while I was in the vortex that was prac and time is definitely not on my side.

I haven’t been able to work through any of the ICT assignment yet as I have a couple of assignments that need urgent attention before I get to it on my to do list. Although before I begin I know it is going to be difficult incorporating ICTs was quite problematic during my placement, it was difficult to gain access to the school equipment and due to time constraints it was often just not viable, often what I had planned was not possible to implement.  My mentor thought it was hilarious that it was supposed to be an ICT placement as she has been having the year from hell in terms of ICTs.

The classroom had an IWB that was only used at a projector, the ICT support teacher had been attempting to get it working all year and did not respond well to my offer to troubleshoot.  During the three weeks my mentor went through 3 different laptops due to a new batch of laptops that seemed to be faulty and it was not recommended that I use my own laptop or iPad with the IWB. In my third week it was brought to my attention that I shouldn’t actually be using data on a memory stick brought from home to use on her laptop!  I have yet to sit and reflect upon whether the ICTs transformed learning in any way, but I envision it will be stretch to claim that they did, although I believe if I could have implemented what I spent countless hours planning for it may have been a different story. I think the ICTs that I did manage to incorporate into the teaching and learning would mostly have definitely sitting firmly within the replacement category.

A huge positive was that my mentor was amazing, we made quite a formidable team, she had an absolutely overflowing toolkit and used each one masterfully, I am thankful and grateful for the time I had to learn from her. I only wish that we both weren’t so time poor, due to the context there was not a lot of time to observe, we hit the ground running from day one, it was all hands on deck at all times. It was three frantic weeks, I soaked up a ton of information, my working memory was at full capacity for the majority of the time, but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  Another positive note is that I feel as though I quickly developed meaningful relationships with each and every one of the 22 students.  I’m not proud of making seven year olds cry but a handful of them were in tears when I said goodbye…..I think they will miss me and I will definitely miss them!

The laptop is my only friend again for a few more weeks yet….I absolutely cannot wait until I reach my destination, it’s hard to remember what life was like before ICT and Pedagogy, but my family keeps reminding me that life was a whole lot better than it is at the moment.

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My Acronym collection: ICT & Pedagogy theories, models, reports, approaches & strategies

I am thinking I probably spent more time than I should have on this today, time I definitely do not have!  I have been putting it off for exactly that reason, I couldn’t put for any longer though, trying to get all my little boxes ticked so that there is one thing crossed off my ever expanding ‘to do list’. I think many of the models below will be quite useful in the next few weeks and although it was time consuming it was good revision to attempt to summarise each approach and strategy, Neoni summarizes the Clem model nicely in her post ‘Clem it up!!’

Although it is a work in progress I thought the time spent on it was probably deserving of a blog post so here it is my eclectic table of theories, models, approaches, strategies and reports that will hopefully guide the way and support me through the ICT and Pedagogy professional experience journey.
Image designed with Tagxedo 

Theory Purpose Application to Assignment 3/Professional Experience
CLEM Model Help understand how to learn about a new ICT and how to use it to enhance student learning. If there are any new ICTs you need to use it might help your explorations.

Hence might be useful as a part of the planning process for Part B.

TPACK framework Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge:  The combination of how ICTs can be used to enhance teaching and learning experiences and PCK (Pedagogical Content Knowledge). Can be used to guide how and why ICTs can and should be incorporated into learning experiences.  Helps to identify the links between what is being learned (content), how it is being taught (pedagogy) and the ICTs that are being used (tools).
Backwards design Objectives/Learning Outcomes + Pedagogy + Curriculum

There is a focus upon, what students need to learn, the desired outcomes and how the students will be supported to learn.  The teacher begins by determining what the learning outcomes will be then plans the curriculum, choosing the learning experiences and resources that will foster student learning.

Will be useful when developing unit of work and lesson plans.
RAT Framework Replacement, Amplification & Transformation Framework: 

Used to guide how ICTs are used/incorporated into learning experiences.  Supports the process of assessing if the technology enhances the learning, instruction and the curriculum within the learning environment.

A useful tool that can be used to guide what, how and why ICTs are incorporated into the learning experiences.  Will be used as a guide when planning experiences and lessons and when reflecting upon how successful the experiences were in practice within assignment 3.
TIP Model Technology Integration Planning Model:  A planning model which can be used to design ICT rich teaching and learning experiences. Can support the process of incorporating ICTs into teaching and learning experiences within lesson plans
UDL  Universal Design for Learning encompasses a set of principles for designing curriculum that provides all individuals with equal opportunities to participate and learn.  Universal Design and technologies promotes inclusive technology, which is any ICT used to increase, maintain or improve functional capacities.  UDL will support differentiation and supporting diversity within the classroom and for planning teaching and learning experiences.
WALT & WILF WALT:  We are learning to….

WILF:  What I am looking for….

Ways to share learning objectives at the beginning of the learning journey

Strategies that can assist lesson planning and support students in understanding what they are aiming to learn.
Connectivism A learning theory for the 21st Century.  A theory which emphasizes the role of social and cultural context. The relationship between experience, learning and knowledge is central to this theory.  Thinking and emotions influence each other.  Learning is a knowledge building process not just a process….not only knowledge consumption Guide pedagogy and practice on professional experience and the way learning experience/lessons are designed. Also will be used to justify the approaches adopted within assignment 3.
Bloom’s taxonomy A framework for planning and assessment of student learning. Knowledge Dimension:

·  Factual knowledge

·  Conceptual knowledge

·  Procedural knowledge

·  Metacognitive knowledge

Cognitive Process Dimension

·   Remember

·   Understand

·   Apply

·   Analyse

·   Evaluate

·   Create

Bloom Revised Taxonomy will be a useful framework to use when planning, implementing and assessing learning experiences on professional experience.  It will be a useful framework to guide the reflection process during assignment 3.  Blooms Digital Taxonomy will be a useful resource when considering how ICTs can be successfully incorporated into learning experiences

http://edudemic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/padagogy-wheel.jpg

Postman’s 5 things 5 Things we need to know about technological change:

· Culture always pays a price for technology

· There are always winners and losers in a technological change

· Every technology embodies a philosophy, an epistemological, political or social prejudice

· Technological change is not additive, it is ecological

·Technology becomes mythic

Toolbelt theory/TEST framework Toolbelt Theory can empower students to assess needs, requirements and contexts and develop/build toolbelts (embrace tools) that will support their learning journeys and assist when faced with challenges. The TEST Framework:  Task; Environment; Skills; Tools; assists with identifying which tools would successfully be incorporated to support the process of achieving or working towards a specific task or outcome. These frameworks can be used to support differentiation and diversity within the classroom and enhance learning opportunities and outcomes for
PKM Personal Knowledge Management:  A process that will support me as I explore build and develop ICT my knowledge, communities and resources which will support individual contexts and requirements Will be used as a source of information and support during professional experience and will simplify the research process during assignment 3
Decoding Learning Report The Proof, Promise and Potential of Digital Education:

Learning from experts

·  Learning with others

·  Learning through making

·  Learning through exploring

·  Learning through inquiry

·  Learning through practising

·  Learning through assessment

·  Learning across settings

 

  No technology has an impact on learning on its own right; impact depends on how it is used.

  Rather than categorising innovations by the type of technology used (eg, do games help learning?), it’s more useful to think about the types of learning activities we know to be effective, such as practising key skills, and exploring how tech can support these activities.

  The report identifies  eight learning themes that show significant promise of impact when combined with digital technology.- See more at: http://www.nesta.org.uk/publications/decoding-learning#sthash.MKYiiyKm.dpuf

These learning themes will be helpful during my professional placement in practice and when designing and reflecting upon lesson planning

 

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Another day another few new acronyms to add to the list.

I have worked as an early childhood educator within a Kindergarten for nine years and have come across my fair share of acronyms in that time, but this semester has opened up a whole new world to me.  Over the past few Semesters I have been gradually building my acronym library as I navigate my way through each new course, but never did I think it would even be possible for me to fit so many acronyms into my vocabulary in the space of a few months!  Additionally I am shocked with my abilities to remember so many of them….it’s like my new super power.

Today I have learnt about the CLEM model (Community, Literature, Examples, Model), WALT (We Are Learning To…) and WILF (What Am I Looking For).  The learning path explains that the CLEM model can support us in learning about new ICTs and these may be used to enhance student learning.  It might be useful if there are any new ICTs we encounter on professional experience that we might need to use and therefore also useful for the final assignment.

The next part of the learning path requires us to know what IWB we may be using throughout our professional placement, so I’ve got everything crossed that tomorrow is the day all systems are go!

I thought I might leave you with Tracey’s ‘OMG’ moment that made me ‘LOL’ (sorry Tracey, I do also honestly feel your pain).  In her post ‘Googling myself’ she explains how her squeaky clean digital footprint was sabotaged by her own daughter using who has limit access to the internet using her Google account.

“Consequently, anyone googling me would think I “liked” Justin Bieber, a young girl called Samantha singing about ‘that boy’, another woman singing to her “Dear future husband” and how to make a converse shoe cake”.

Absolutely hilarious and mortifying!

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Inclusive Technology

This Mother’s Day I have been attempting to step back from the screen and ICT & Pedagogy, but alas I have found this difficult, as I am more than aware of the valuable minutes ticking away before I am totally absorbed in the world of my professional placement, wherever that may be.  I’m not unaware of the amount of work I should be accomplishing this week, it’s terrifyingly clear to me.  I am on the other hand unsure if it is humanly possible to achieve it all within the time frame available, I guess time will tell.

Thankfully the study desk has finally given me access to the course content needed to prepare for my other courses that I will be missing while on prac and while revisiting some  of the readings for Diversity and Pedagogy I thought I would share some of the relevant information with you.  I realise for many of you this course  is a blast from the past and I have access to new text so I’m unsure if it is similar to previous editions, but I found Chapter 6; Inclusive Technologies in Adrian Ashman’s text Education for Inclusion and Diversity (2015), very informative and it very much aligns with and adds to what we have been learning and discovering throughout the ICT and Pedagogy journey (Ashman, 2015).

I particularly love the following quote borrowed from Ashman (2015), although there were also many others that I scribbled old school in my lecture pad as I flicked through the pages.  Not very innovative of me really, but I definitely believe I am well on my way to building my  Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) that will guide they way I embrace ICTs as I continue my journey to become the teacher who I strive to be.

“Technology in and of itself should never be considered to be a magic wand.  An alternate acronym for ICT use in education might be “It Can’t Teach.”  The ideas presented in this chapter are not definitive solutions to the multitude of problems that confront teachers at every level of education.  However, technologies can provide valuable supports that would otherwise leave students struggling with the curriculum or, in some cases, left completely outside of it.  Many technologies can extend the possibilities in learning for all students.  Looking at ways in which technologies can help students access learning, and can demonstrate leaning in the day-to-day delivery of education within the curriculum, is the starting point.” (Ashman, 2015,  p. 164).

I also enjoyed reading through The Daily Byte’s blog post ‘Happy Thoughts’, these thoughts align very much with my own at this stage………and it’s always nice to know your not alone.

Ashman, A. (2015) Education for Inclusion and Diversity, Melbourne, Vic: Pearson Australia. p. 162-196.

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