Monday, March 7, 2011

Final Thoughts (for now!)

The title of this post is not implying that I am finished with this blog, as I hope to continue it as I head off for student teaching, but rather signifies an end of another semester and in fact the end of another degree!
I created this blog as an assignment for the Internet for Educators course that I have been taking this term.  It has been an excellent course and I have certainly been introduced to many new ideas regarding education, technology in education, and ways to continue to learn and grow as an educator.  

Throughout the course there were some very clear themes presented to us through a variety of presentations regarding the internet and education.  The idea of creating PLN’s or Personal Learning Networks for ourselves and our students, the idea of incorporating Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, or Ning into the classroom and to use them as a learning tool.  We looked at ways students can learn online through virtual worlds and web-based courses, how we can incorporate mobile devices into the classroom, and use Web 2.0 tools for student assignments and learning.  As well we touched on many issues regarding using technology in classes, such as safety, blocking and filtering of sites in schools, what type of mobile device could be best suited for the classroom, and on how we need to educate students to be responsible digital citizens.  We covered A LOT in the few weeks that we have been in this course!  

When I paused and reflected on everything that we had done in this course and on what I had learned in the course for our summative assignment, I decided that I wanted to create something that could serve as a future resource to myself and others covering what we had done.  We were introduced to so many valuable resources and ideas throughout the course that I wanted to try and compile them into one resource.  This resulted in creating a LiveBinder at, titled 'Internet for Educators'.  LiveBinders was a site that I was introduced to during the course and had felt that it could be very valuable to an educator as it is an easy way to keep all resources on a particular topic in one place, and as well save some research for others working in the same subject area.  I feel that the use of LiveBinders holds some serious potential for students in our classes, especially for any research projects that they may do.

Feel free to use this binder as you like.  I attempted to put in many of the resources that we had discussed and as well find some other resources that could assist us when attempting to incorporate technology into our classes.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Networked Learner

Alec Couros, who is a professor at the University of Regina, joined our class Tuesday, via Elluminate.  He discussed the idea of a networked learner with us.  Early in the course we were introduced to what a Personal Learning Network (PLN) was, and how we could create an educational online community to learn from.  This network is created through the use of social networking sites such as Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, through individual blogging and subscribing to educational blogs, Google Docs, Flickr, and Skype, to name a few. 

The idea of a Networked Learner is when the concept of a PLN is applied with our students.  Students can create their own learning networks, using many of the same tools that we have been introduced to they then have the ability to become a networked learner.  Applying this in class would be very beneficial to students as they will discover that learning can be done in various locations and at any time, learn how to seek answers from their own personal learning community, and discover the wealth of information available to them. 

By having students create and develop their own PLN’s, and demonstrating to them how we use our own PLN’s, I think this will help instill the idea of lifelong learning in our students.  Having student’s create their own PLN’s puts them somewhat in control of their own learning, and they can discover how easily they can collaborate and help others, and learn from others.

The following video was one that we watched during the presentation.  In it a 7th grader explains to the audience how her learning network is set up, how she uses it, and how she benefits from it.

Within the idea of PLN's comes the theme of collaboration.  Alec discussed using your PLN as a method of collaborating with colleagues and experts from around the world.  The same applies with our students.  By having students create and manage their own PLN's we are providing them with the opportunity to collaborate with other students and teachers world-wide.  This in itself provides students with unique learning opportunities that may not otherwise be available to them.
Alec Couros has made many valuable resources publicly available through his “Open Thinking” blog ( and his “Open Thinking Wiki” (