Info & Comp Part II – 2 Thumbs Up!

mobile_devices_2Overall, taking this course has been an enriching experience. I learned about new technology and methods to integrate it into my teaching practice. I’m also leaving here with a more thorough understanding of previous technology that I heard of before but never quite implemented. Ultimately, I wanted to get an in-depth understanding of the interrelationships of different technology between the students and the impact it has on teaching. I feel that I achieved that throughout this past month.

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At the end of the day, integrating technology into the classroom is an engaging method to reach diversity in learning styles.  Not only did I want to improve as a teacher but I also want to better prepare students that I teach for the future. As the world becomes progressively more technology-dependent, it becomes even more essential that to be successful people, the future generation must learn to be tech-savvy. With the aid of technology, students have the opportunity become more responsible. For example, if an assignment was assigned through Google Docs, a student can’t say that he/she did not receive, didn’t know the due date or forgot it at home because everything is online. Since it is online it could be accessed from any computer or device. Furthermore, technology helps make teaching and learning more significant to the student. Students are also able to collaborate with their peers through online tools applications such as Google Classroom. At the end of the day, technology is integrated in all facets of our lives, and the students who comprehends this well are the ones who will be more equipped to be successful.

 

Copyright Right Policies in Schools

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Especially with the advent of the Internet, the line for copyrighted materials has been blurred. Many people including myself at times have been unsure of what you can and cannot use.  All school boards state the use of copyright materials for education somewhere but they are not always easily found or addressed frequently. There are so many priorities at a school that rules for copyrighted materials are not always emphasized as strongly and consistently as it could be.

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Policies on copyrighted materials is something that is brought up annually at my school but never really brought up again. Going forward, I think schools could do a better job at this to ensure teachers know what they can and cannot copy. In reality, laws can be confusing to read. Most teachers would be more compliant to the laws if they had a better idea of what they were actually stating. Many teachers have somewhat of an idea of the materials they could copy but many would have problems defining what “Educational Use” of copyrighted materials.  To add more confusion, when I completed an online search for Canadian copyright laws, I found this 6 page document that might even leave more teachers mixed up on what to do. Overall, this practice could be improved upon. It can be a serious problem so it is something I would like to learn more about. This video does help explain this copyright dilemma video:

Mental Health in Schools

mhsn_widMental health is an extremely important issue that touches either us or someone we know. Mental health affects how we think as well as our actions. Furthermore, many people with serious mental illness are challenged twice as much. For instance, they have to face the symptoms that result from the illness; and on the other hand, they are faced with the labels that result from misconceptions about mental health. As educators, we need a better understanding the impact of stigma on students with mental illness. In many incidences, we think of it as an issue that mainly affects adults but it is something that impact a person at any age from childhood through adulthood.

I like how school boards are making more of an effort to put mental health on the forefront. When that is the case, teachers are more willing to promote healthy social and emotional development, prevent and respond and not just identify and refer those with severe problems. When schools take it upon themselves to promote healthy social beings, teachers have more appreciation and awareness of a diverse student body. They are also more likely to embrace the importance of cultural competence.

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As a teacher, I did encounter a student who had some mental health issues. I took it upon myself to better understand the student.  From that point on I paid closer attention to potential triggers and the student’s overall social well-being each day. After that I was able to identify possible early warning signs and concerns when things weren’t consistent. That allowed me to respond early before things got worse.  Also, I was able to connect with the Child and Youth Worker to discuss the students issues and it increased my awareness of the students’ mental health.

FNMI (First Nations Metis Inuit) education in the Classroom

First Nations Metis Inuit has been incorporated into in my classroom. I just think it’s really hard to understand Canada without first understanding the people who were here before Europeans arrived. At times, their history has been ignored and even forgotten. It is such an important element to this nation that it just can’t be swept underneath the mat.

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History at times is not all roses and rainbows, students should be aware of that. There are many harsh truths about things that occurred in our past.  As learners we should think critically about our nation . By studying FNMI, we get an opportunity to reflect on our past and hopefully learn and develop a better future for Canada.

Learning about First Nations Metis Inuit can be incorporated all across the curriculum. In addition to learning about in-depth in Social Studies, History and Geography, I have included it in Language. Students have HaidaArtread books by FNMI authors or read about FNMI themes. We also studied Haidi art in Art class. Not only did the students have to create their own art but they researched about its origins as well.

Technology can facilitate this learning through researching up-to-date websites about FNMI. Teachers could provide links to informative websites. Videos about FNMI could also be incorporated into the lesson. If students cannot meet an actual member of the FNMI community in person, a teacher could see if they could schedule a Q&A via Skype with an important FNMI member, educator or leader.

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Culturally Responsive Pedagogy

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Culturally Responsive Pedagogy is a student-centered method in which the students’ distinctive cultural strengths are recognized and cultivated to promote student success and a sense of well-being about the student’s cultural place in the world. To achieve this, it’s important that we truly understand all our students in our class.

At the end of the day we want all the students to succeed. As teachers, we want to ensure that our students’ exceptional strengths are being recognized to encourage achievement.  A culturally responsive pedagogy provides a great framework for this.

Every child has the right to experience success and feel included. An obstacle to successful culturally responsive teaching is for teachers to get rid of their own cultural biases and learning about the backgrounds of the students. First, it’s integral that we examine our own personal beliefs before facilitating balanced discussions. As well as refrain from offering personal opinions without having first reflected on how our personal beliefs might hinder the formation of an inclusive environment.

As a teacher you want to develop a culture in your classroom where every student feels valued. To do accomplish this, a teacher should take the time to learn about their students as well as their culture, race, religion and academics.  This allows them to bring who they really are into the classroom and feel appreciated. This can be achieved through learning about the community, conversations with students, or by conducting an interest survey at the beginning of the year and then incorporate their interests in your planning.  For example, you can take the time to understand their faith and acknowledge important dates in class. This information also allows you to avoid planning something important where there might be a lot of absentees due to the date.

It’s important that they see their race or culture represented. In addition, you can also put up some of the students best work on the walls of the classroom to ensure they feel respected.

Gender equity is also essential. Both genders have different needs and interests, so it’s important that they’re both equally encouraged in the classroom. As a teacher you have a heightened awareness of any potential subconscious biases and not project it in the class.

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Academically, it’s important to know your students with special needs. You should take the time and know their IEP to understand their challenges and make the appropriate accommodations. You should be aware of what he/she needs outside of special education. If they have any specialized equipment with special programs, understand how to use it so they can better access the material. For example, if a student has reading and decoding issues, you can scan a document and upload it so their computers can read it to them.  In addition, if you have any ELL learners, know where they are on the continuum and what modifications you need to make to have an inclusive classroom. Get to know the ELL teacher, so you can better meet the students’ needs.

Overall, a culturally responsive pedagogy only enhances the classroom experience for all students.

 

Internet and Web 2.0

The Internet has completely changed education forever. Students and teachers have more access to information than ever before. That means students can learn about current news taking place in real time; or they could also go back and learn about history by accessing a textbook online.

But the use of technology to access the Internet can be an ongoing issue. School boards, schools and teachers can sometimes be apprehensive about how much should be incorporated into today’s classroom. The hesitation could stem from a variety reasons.

Google-classSome challenges include availability, appropriateness, trust, and security. Furthermore, many schools have limited resources; school administrators have also blocked certain sites because of questionable content; the ease of cutting and pasting makes it easier to plagiarise.

However, in today’s classroom, it’s important for the students’ to engage in meaningful discussions, and to have opportunities to work collaboratively with one another. If used correctly, the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies (i.e. Google Docs) can enhance the learning the experience. Overall, the benefits of using internet and technology in the classroom outweigh any of its negative aspects.