"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Author: aliciamc (Page 2 of 3)

2nd Round of Presentations


Today we attempted to have a conference call with Dr Verena Roberts from the University of Calgary. She was kind enough to agree to talk to our class on the day of her convocation. The topic was meant to be related to open learning designs. Unfortunately, we were unable to hear her speak due to a bad connection. That said, her topic seemed really interesting and relates to my seminar inquiry. Hopefully Michael will share her presentation with us and I can take a closer look at what she was trying to say. I was able to catch a few comments from Verena during her call that stuck with me.

She mentioned that learning happens everywhere and that we need to consider how we access all that learning  and ensure that students have access to those learning opportunities as well. In connection to that, she said “learning is learning – it doesn’t matter how”. In this comment she highlighted the idea that learning doesn’t have to happen in formal environments and as teachers we need to learn how to harness learning experiences that happen informally and formally to create and build learning ecosystems. Verena highlighted that two important components to creating learning ecosystems are reflection, from both teacher and students, and building relationships.

She mentioned 4 stages in the process of building learning ecosystems with students.

Stage 1: Building relationships

  • find out who these students really are
  • get to know them and how you can best support their learning

Stage 2: Co-design learning pathways (with students)

Stage 3: Building and sharing knowledge (use digital tools to share knowledge)

stage 4: Building a personal learning network

She also provided us with a couple bit.ly sites for us to look at:

(A high school program where students learn core competencies through building houses)

(Open Readiness Assessment Rubric)

It’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to hear all of Dr Verena Robert’s presentation, but in the meantime I found a few websites related to the topic that might give me a basic understanding of the topic:


Proposing OLDI (Version 1): An Open Learning Design Intervention for K-12 Open Educational Practice


7 things you should know about open education practices



Dr Verena Roberts attempted to share with us some ideas about inquiry learning and how it related to her topic. As a result, we had a class discussion about inquiry. Through this, we began to discuss the importance of building strong relationships with students and allowing students the opportunity to find connections in their learning to support inquiry learning.

The following videos touch on these topics.



Some notes from Michael’s slides:

Distributed learning is becoming more prominent and might be important/ common in our future careers.

Some examples of how it is being done:

  • robotic presence
  • conference calls
  • table top robots for learners who are stuck at home

Traditional classrooms – if you are there you are there, if your’e not, you’re not.

  • lots of different configurations but often some forced configuration with the teacher at the front

Online courses:

  • a big problem is that a lot of people think online courses mean just putting content out there for the students
  • can have asynchronous, fully online or blended
  • most people that teach online courses were thrown into it and it is a totally different kind of learning
    • video conferencing (every connection to that environment is dependent on its personal connection to the environment)
  • synchronous online classrooms

Blended class

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  • some face to face and some online
  • want people to prepare with online and then can use the most of the face to face time

We have to be flexible for learners who can’t make it to school – how can we support all learners needs and preferences?


OPENED RESOURCES – Ruth & Hannah’s presentation

We have looked at openEd resources in class before, but Ruth and Hannah did a great job sharing the possibilities and usefulness of Comonsense Education. This is definitely a resource that I will make use of. It has webinars, lesson plans and resources. Hannah also showed us that we can use the site to look up teacher reviews of tech tools. For example, we could look up apps or videos and see how other teachers used it, why they used it or maybe why they didn’t use it.

Ruth also mentioned the Math Through Stories website, which would be a great website to support learners with math.

Finally, they reminded us that we have fair use for what we use in the classroom but if we choose to share what we created outside the classroom, we need to consider all copyright laws.



When tech is integrated seamlessly students become more engaged and take more control of their learning:

  • students can construct their own meaning
  • empowers learners
  • less teacher directed, more student directed

3 questions to ask yourself when considering using screen time with young children:

is it appropriate?

is it meaningful?

is it empowering?

The main take away of this presentation is that a lot of our concerns around screen time come from myths. We should focus on the content on the screens as opposed to the screens themselves.

Other considerations:

  • the same technology tools need to be introduced and used over a period of time so students aren’t wasting all their time getting to know how to use new tools
  • preview all content before sharing it with students
  • be comfortable with the technology tools you introduce


3D PRINT DESIGN – Jamie and Nick

Jamie and Nick’s presentation was really interesting. This isn’t a topic that I would have considered or looked into on my own, so I was happy that they were able to share some information.

I loved this video that they shared with us.

They mentioned that Spencer Middle School already has a 3D printer. I found a few videos that discuss the use of 3D printing in the classroom:


Teacher Education Competency 2: Developing a GROWTH Mindset


“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment” (Dweck, 2010).

While intellectually, I believe in this quote and hope that I would be able to impart its sentiment to my future students, I am also well aware that I am still working on internalizing it for myself. Part of my struggle with growth mindset is a fixation with achieving top scores, marks or outcomes as opposed to considering my progress and development as the mark of success. This is something I see valuable not only for a practicing teacher, but for a mother. Although it is easy for me to be focused and most excited about progress for other people, I realize that if I am not modeling a growth mindset for my son and future students, I will be giving contradictory signals.

After watching Carol Dweck’s TedTalk I began to consider the changes that I have been making to develop a growth mindset and what I can do moving forward. When I started the program, I was very excited to learn for the sake of learning, but also very focused on the thought that I might one day want to do a Master of Education and should therefore aim for higher scores. There was not always a healthy balance between wanting to really internalize new concepts and wanting to complete assignments in exactly the way necessary to achieve a top score.

When discussing children of a fixed mindset, Carol Dwek mentioned that “they run from the error, they don’t engage with it.” I can remember the first assignment I received back in this program that wasn’t at an A range. It didn’t matter to me that it was still a B, only worth 5% of the final grade, or more importantly that the task had pushed me to read critically and reflect on ideas that could be applied to my future classroom. Although I was determined to get an A on the following assignment and did work for it, I don’t think I engaged with my error or truly took the time to consider what I had learned or what I could learn from the task. As a result, I don’t think I every really identified my errors in that first assignment. My scores on the next three assignments fluctuated, proving that I wasn’t truly considering where my understanding could be improved but rather shooting around in the dark trying random strategies to improve my score.

In contrast, Carol Dwek mentioned that students with a growth mindset “process the error, they learn from it and they correct it.” I am very lucky to be taking this program with an incredibly supportive cohort. Over the first few weeks I was able to start developing support networks with other students and I think this is what really helped me to start moving toward a growth mindset. I started to talk a lot more about different subjects and assignments with my cohort. As my comfort level grew, I was able to ask others about assignments and share my own questions. As opposed to getting frustrated by lost marks, I was beginning to switch my focus to finding deeper understandings and connections between what we were learning and how they apply in both the classroom and life. Although I can’t say that I am never focused on grades, I would say that I make use of my cohort to engage in errors and misconceptions. Although I might still be disappointed if I lose marks on an assignment, I allow myself to be vulnerable by sharing my mistakes with my peers. I seek out conversations or clarifications and look for ways that I can apply my new learning.

Because I was an untrained teacher for 8 years before coming into this program, I new that I was going to learn A LOT but also be confronted with many of my own bad habits and mistakes. I came into the program preparing myself to feel really uncomfortable and potentially embarrassed at times. I know that I have started to move toward a growth mindset because now I find myself purposefully thinking about what didn’t work in my classroom and why. I focus on what I have learned and how much my understanding of class management has evolved.

In her Tedtalk, Angela Lee Duckworth mentioned that successful people have ‘grit’. Grit is the perseverance and resilience to follow through and achieve goals. She connected having a growth mindset with grit and said we should live “life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint”. Balancing this program with being a mother and wife has been extremely difficult. There are definitely times where it is difficult not to see failure as a permanent condition both at home and at school and this is why working on having a growth mind set especially important for me now. I can see that I have already made progress, but I also think I have a way to go. I may not be practicing a complete growth mindset YET, but I am working on it.

I have found that reflecting and talking about ideas has been really helpful. With this in mind, I will make sure to seek out colleagues and peers both in this program and in my future career. Having a growth mindset is not natural for me yet, so I will also need to be mindful and remind myself of what to focus on.

I found this website that lists 25 ways to develop a growth mindset.

As a previous science major, I think the suggestion of following research on brain plasticity will be helpful. I also really like the idea of making goals for yourself and then creating a new goal as soon as the last is accomplished.

Having a growth mindset is something that will always take a bit of work and reflection, but I can see the benefit of doing the work and am looking forward to the journey!

Image result for journey

1st Round of Presentations!


Image result for presentationImage result for presentation

So today was the start of our group tech inquiry project presentations. I was really impressed with what people had put together and will definitely be taking some time to look into some of the resources.

Stop Motion

Stop Motion Love GIF by Mochimochiland

Keiro started us off with a presentation about stop motion animation. This is honestly something I have never given much thought to, certainly not in the classroom, but maybe it is something I need to consider. Keiro was so enthusiastic about stop motion and I can see that involving students in a stop motion video could be really engaging and exciting. I think it would be a good connection to ADST. Like Keiro said, stop motion is time consuming so I doubt that it is something that I would be doing without the students, but I like the idea of becoming more capable myself so that I could potentially aide students in projects.

I will take a look at some of the resources Keiro mentioned, like the waldportfolio website and the education microsoft website.


Google Geographic Products

Connor, Anne, Eliza and Kelly did a wonderful job explaining the various features of google maps and google earth. I was not aware of all the features and how well they would apply in the classroom. Of course, we have to consider FIPPA if we want students to be individually working on these applications, but many schools in Victoria give out  consent forms automatically for students to have Google suite accounts. Connor, Anne, Eliza and Kelly gave a lot of great classroom application ideas, so I will link in their presentation here when I have access to it. In the mean time, I found a few resources on my own:


Ten Ways to Use Google Earth in Your Classroom – It’s Not Just for Social Studies


10 Ways to Use Google Maps in the Classroom



Taylor, Brie and Katrina looked at the question “what is digital Literacy and how do we teach it in the modern classroom?”

This was a particularly relevant questions and they did a wonderful job walking use through what digital literacy is, strategies and best practices, pros and cons of tech use, how to talk to parents about digital literacy and also why we should consider digital literacy in relation to sex ed. There was heaps of information, so I won’t go through it all now. Instead, I will link their slides when I have access.

Brie shared some very useful resources for our own education and also to share with students:

She mentioned that the following video would be good for middle students, but fast so we might want to slow it down or take bits:

She also suggested the MediaSmarts website for Canadian specific content. She did mention that they had some slightly outdated lesson plans but that they could be easily updated and used.

Another thing that Brie mentioned was citizen science projects. I think this is a great way to get students to apply their learning in meaningful ways. I found a list of citizen science projects on the National Geographic website.

Katrina shared some good websites that could be excellent resources for tweens or teens. One website was Scarletteen and an app to look into is Okayso.



Michael shared a quick google doc hack for us. Instead of going into drive to open a new doc or slides, you can simply type in  doc.new or slides.new etc. into the browser bar.

The we talked about how to integrate tech into the classroom, focusing on the SAMR model.

SUBSTITUTION:  tech as a direct tool substitute with no functional change

AUGMENT: tech acts as a direct tool; substitute with functional improvement

MODIFICATION: tech allows for significant task redesign

REDEFINITION: tech allows for the creation of new tasks, previously inconceivable

A good website to check out is: https://www.schrockguide.net/samr.html



Visiting an Inquiry Classroom

Although I am familiar with inquiry as a method of teaching, our visit to George Jay has given me a number of resources that I want to explore further explore. Rebecca was kind enough to provide us with a link to her presentation along with examples and sites and ideas. A few of the major ideas that I took away from our visit were:

a) inquiry can and absolutely be scaffolded. As shown in the top pool photo illustration, there are various levels of inquiry and students need to feel confident and comfortable at each step as they work toward a free inquiry, or the benefits will be negated.

b) provocations are key, not only to the start of an inquiry, but also throughout the process to maintain student engagement and encourage depth of though.

Rebecca’s classroom was full of provocations that were not related to any specific inquiry, but simply available to incite curiosity and wonders. She mentioned the need to value questions and model being inquisitive to help foster an environment conducive to inquiry.

I was especially interested in her work with Padlet as it relates to my seminar inquiry question. This is not a program that I was familiar with before, but I can see it having a really positive impact on collaboration and connection making at all age ranges. I hope to have some time to get familiar with Padlet.

Here is a video that outlines how Padlet can be used by teachers.

I would also like to explore Canva a bit more to see if it would be a valuable tool for me as a student and potentially as a resource for my future students.



All that PowerPoint Has to Offer!

Image result for happy gifFile:Microsoft Office PowerPoint (2018–present).svg


So today we looked mainly at PowerPoint as a means to create graphics. Although I did learn about a few new features, I am quite comfortable with PowerPoint because I used it for most of my lessons when I taught in Indonesia. However, the version that I used was quite old. So I decided to explore some of the other new features in PowerPoint and now I am super excited! I have only explored a few features, but this is what I have discovered so far.

The first feature is automatic, but I love it. It’s the design options that come up on the right hand side of the screen as you start to work on your slides. You can see it in the image below. I love this feature because it does tend to show you a number of unique options and usually with themes that are not listed in the designs.

The next feature blew me away. If you choose the Quick Starter when you open PowerPoint, you can search for your presentation topic and get a PowerPoint layout that matches your topic. It gives you a general outline of subtopics that could be explored and some slides will even include information and notes. It is sort of a bare bones presentation, but could really help a student who struggled with organisational skills and needed a bit more scaffolding for essays, reports or presentations. It does appear that most of the information comes from Wikipedia, so if you were to use this with an older student, you could challenge them to find similar information from more academically recognized sources. The pictures below show my steps when I used Quick Starter to access a slide about rubrics. It wasn’t exactly the type of rubrics I was looking for, but still had some relation to the PowerPoint I had just made for our 407 Assessment class.


The next few features I discovered at about the same time. First I discovered that if you have a subscription to PowerPoint you can access all these free 3D images to insert into your PowerPoint. Some of these images are animated and just oh so much fun! PowerPoint also has a build in instructional presentation about how to use the 3d animations. Following this presentation, I also discovered that my duplicating a slide, moving around desired items and then pressing ‘morph’ in the transitions menu, you can automatically create an animation that moves all the items you moved around in one click.

Just image the interactive lessons that could be created with these new features! I’m so excited!

I then found that you can record your slides. While recording your slides, you can also record your voice, draw on the slides and erase what you have drawn. Later, when you go to the slide show, your voice and any drawings you did on the slide will play automatically.

Finally, I discovered that you can put subtitles on your slide. Unfortunately, you cannot record these subtitles; they only work live. However, I tested them in both English and Indonesian and found them to be pretty accurate. What a great option if you had ELL students in your class. Here’s what it looks like.

Needless to say, I can’t wait to do some more exploring and see what other features PowerPoint has included! I realise that not all classrooms will have easy access to PowerPoint presentations and that not all lessons lend well to being presented this way, but it’s so great to have this as an option.

One last think I found was the Microsoft accessibility checker. While trying to find a way to record with subtitles (not possible apparently) I found myself on this website. It has some great tips and outlines methods for making Microsoft documents and presentations more accessible for all:)


Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry Visit

    Our visit to Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry was inspiring. Although we had all watched Jeff Hopkins’ TedTalk, Education if people mattered, visiting the school and seeing how all the students went about their day was eye-opening. I was surprised that the space was so small and that the “classrooms” were so tiny, but after Jeff explained that classes only really occur as specialized workshops for students who need it, it made a lot more sense. Most students were just hanging out in their common room working on their own projects but also socializing in small amounts with their friends. The amount of autonomy given to these high school students was incredible, they seemed to thrive in it.



Although I am familiar with inquiry, PSII’s style was next level! I have to admit I was pretty jealous of the students and the level of agency that they had developed through this process.

In his talk, Jeff mentioned a number of good resources for inquiry based teaching. Here are a few that I hope to look into:

An education that fits your child.


Kathleen Gregory


Minecraft in the Class


So this was my first experience with Minecraft and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed. I am by no means a gamer and although I was interested to see what all the fuss is about, I wasn’t convinced that this would be a tool to consider for future classed.

However, the presentation highlighted how Minecraft can be used to explore curricular competencies and act as a tool to build on core competencies with little intervention from the teacher.

The grade 8 students that spoke today were able to easily explain how using Minecraft at school had helped them learn communicative and problem-solving skills. They were also able to draw connections between the game and their future career goals. They mentioned ideas and topics that they were able to learn more about through the game as well. Beyond this, I was blown away by their ease in the room of adults and how easily they took on the role of teacher. The interest and motivation that had been sparked through Minecraft was evident in all the students that came today.

I think the aspect that shocked and pleased me the most about our experience with Minecraft was how quickly it encouraged prosocial behaviour. The room was busy with chat, people were helping each other, comparing, joking and just really engaging with each other through the game. At one point I heard one of our cohort mom’s say to her son “you’re teaching me things, this is fun”. What a wonderful way to interact.

It sounds like Minecraft works best with Social Studies units and core competencies. The teacher discussed using Minecraft for students to work on ancient civilizations in relation to studying ancient Egypt. She also talked about a unit in grade 6 where students were asked to create extreme environments. In this unit, I liked that the teacher said the students were given a choice; some students created their environments on paper and some worked in Minecraft.

The teacher also mentioned doing formative assessments for core competencies by walking around the room and making notes about who is helping who, how groups are working through problems and what creative things are being built. She also mentioned doing in depth self reflections that related to core competencies at the end of projects.

I love the idea of bring Minecraft into the classroom and it seems like it could be used with a large age range. One student mentioned that she started playing in grade 1. Although the teacher mentioned that she didn’t think teachers needed to have a whole lot of knowledge before using it, I wouldn’t feel comfortable unless I had some experience and a better picture of how it could be used. I would need to do some research. That said, there are a TON of resources for both emerging Minecrafters and teachers wanting to implement Minecraft. Some are listed here:





Personally, playing Minecraft made me dizzy. I enjoyed the experience and will definitely give it another shot, but not being a gamer, the movements of the screens made my head spin. This is something to consider when implementing it in the classroom. We can’t assume that all students are used to gaming and gaming screens. The teacher also mentioned that Minecraft has not been a spark with every group and that while it is a great tool, it won’t inspire the same kind of educational benefits with a group of kids that simply aren’t into it. As with all teaching tools, it will be important to consider the students of the class, try it out and use what works when it works.


“We shape our tools and thereafter, our tools shape us.” –  John Culkin

Jesse Miller’s talk today gave us a lot to think about. He highlighted the need for us as future educators to (a) be responsible and conscious in our use of technology and (b) be ready to have open conversation about technology and technology use with students. This all through the lens that technology is not going away. On his website, Jesse says: “THE CONNECTED SOCIETY IS THE NEW NORMAL, WE KNOW IT, OUR CHILDREN EXPECT IT. WE HAVE CREATED THE REALITY.
Instead of fear mongering, we need to discuss, inform and model responsible technology use for our students. This led to the idea of digital citizenship. I think that this is a really important concept. I found this website   website with some good resources for teaching digital citizenship.

When talking about internet bullying, Jesse also mentioned Erase BC. I looked it up and found that not only does it have online portals where students can report issues, it also has an online support system for student and provides help to schools. The site also encourages students to share positive, caring stories from their community using #erase.

I was really shocked to hear how video gaming has become something of a professional sport. I found this documentary style video about it on YouTube.


Jesse also has a Ted Talk that I haven’t yet watched, but will hopefully find time for soon.

Pompom Explosion

So in my search to find textures and colours that my son, Noah, would enjoy on the busy board I am making him, I decided to try a sensory activity with pompoms. I thought that a way to add texture to the busy board might be to simply glue some pompoms on in a shape, a little like they did in this video below.

Before settling on this idea though, I wanted to see if Noah even liked pompoms. He had never seen or played with them before. My mom, a kindergarten teacher, just happens to have bins and bins of them in her classroom and in her basement. I then read about pompom bin sensory activities on websites like Busy Toddler: Making it to naps one activity at a time . My mom had also read about the pompom bin activity and used it in her classroom. Although Noah was only 11 months at the time, most people said this activity would be good for children a year up and we thought Noah was close enough.

The following video gives you an idea of how this activity can be set up and what it might look like.



I also found other videos like the one below that showed various activities young children could do with pompoms.

Notice how the children are so focused and neat in their attempts to take part in these activities. This was not the case with Noah. we set up a nice little sensory bin with pompoms, a measuring cup, tongs and a paper towel roll. First, it took some serious convincing to get Noah to even look at the bin. He was FAR more interested in everything other than the bin. Once he finally did make it over, the tongs seemed to be the only aspect of interest. In the end, Noah did what he does best: he dumped the bin and made as big of a mess as he could!


Although he might seem to be engaged in playing with the pompom’s in the pictures, that wasn’t really the case. He was more interested in the bin.  There were pompoms of all different colours and sizes, but they didn’t even seem to make it on his radar. So I think I can conclude that pompoms just aren’t his thing! I may still try gluing some pompoms down and see if he might have a different reaction when they are held in place, but for the moment, pompoms are not on the blue prints for Noah’s busy board!

Creative Workshop


Today’s workshop on  iMovie, Audacity and Screencastify  was a useful learning experience for me. I will have to remember to look over the workshop instructions again later on. Students in my classes have always amazed me with their ability to create movies, but I never knew how to do it myself. Although I think creating movies on iMovie may be a little to time intensive for an everyday lesson, iMovie could be great for documenting or for creating examples.  I also think it is really useful as a teacher to understand how applictions like iMovie work so that I can provide support to students who may want to use it in the future.

I also really liked the Audacity part of the workshop. My colleagues and I have taught a podcast unit in middle school before and never knew how to use this application. Although I am pretty sure some of the students used it, again it is good to have an idea of how it works.

I didn’t get a chance to try Screencastify yet, but I imagine it could be a very useful teaching tool. It could be used to show examples during class or videos could be given to students so that they could watch it on their own and at their own pace, all feeding into a universal design.

I had some fun playing around with video and audio from my son Noah after this workshop! Check out what I created!

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