Summary Post Explaining my Professional Learning

This is just a summary post for my Networked Professional Learning Assignment for ECMP 455. I decided to increase the development of my blog by posting blog posts about recent articles, tools, ideas that I found on Twitter (@MandyVanrobaeys), internet, things I learned in the class lectures, or things I found from other classes. These posts were found on my Posts Page of my blog usually once or twice a week. I also blogged about my new learning experience of crocheting once or twice a week to help build my professional learning network. I also “professionalized” my Twitter account to tweet about educational topics, tools, or ideas. I now focus on a professional Twitter account instead of using it for personal feelings or ideas. I have definitely matured that way. I liked bouncing ideas and using ideas from other colleagues in this class as well as other professionals such as @LuvEdTech, @BAMRadioNetwork. Lastly I commented on other classmates blogs, tweeted/retweeted to other colleagues, and used #ecmp455 to discover a lot of my learning.


If I had a million dollars? NO… If I hadn’t taken ECMP? YES!!

Here is a final summary of learning that Evan Neibrant, Kaely Weir, and I have done for ECMP 455. I had a wonderful experience in this class, met a lot of wonderful teachers/teachers to be, and learned a ton of information and technology tools from Alec Couros. Thanks to everyone who I collaborated with, all who viewed my blog and have helped me to become the teacher I am today! I will definitely be using these tools and all the tools mentioned in this class in the future!

Check out the video:


Now this is the teacher I want to be!

Many people have been talking about the Saskatchewan teacher who sent letters to his students 20 years later. Now these letters weren’t just a simple hello, they were letters that they wrote to themselves 20 years earlier when they were in high school. I think this is so cool as I would have loved to know what I would have written myself when I was back in Grade 9. I know that I would have had some of the same dreams that I have today, but I would have probably said some pretty crazy stuff that probably would never come true.

In news paper article about the man who sent these letters, it states that he wanted an assignment that would be special and that students would remember. Well I think this assignment is very special, especially when he followed through with what he told them he would do. (mail them out). The effort that he put in to find their addresses, and keep all the letters shows that he truly cared for his students and he wanted them to learn from this experience. He inspired one of his students, who is now a teacher, to live up to this memorable experience and hopefully one day he will do something similar.

After reading this article, it inspires me today to be the teacher that everyone wants to relate to or be like. I think it is very important to build relationships with your students and hold on to those relationships for a long time. I think it is cool when I can look to my previous teachers for advice and talk to them about education and simple things in life that will help me in my future.

Organizational Tools

Recently my goal has been to become more organized on my computer with such things as my bookmarks, documents, pictures, etc. Some tools that Alec has discussed in our ECMP 455 class have been Evernote, Delicious, and Dropbox.

I have been using Dropbox for a few years now. It is a neat site to log into and save any important documents, notes, pictures, etc. from your computer. This allows for easy access to those files wherever you are and you don’t have to have your computer with you. I found that this came in handy when doing presentations so I wouldn’t have to take my flash drive or computer everywhere I went. You can also share files with other people by allowing them permission. I have not had a chance to do this but I have ward it is reliable. One downfall of this is that you need internet but usually you have internet almost everywhere now. This is super useful for doing work at home and then taking it to the classroom, or if you are using it in the classroom students can go to the shared file and read or use it at their own discretion.

Delicious is very new to me. I recently just signed up for this because I found I was getting too many bookmarks on my computer so I thought it would be nice to have them in one place and that way I can also log into any computer with internet and find my bookmarks of websites that may be needed.

Evernote is also very new to me. It is a neat app on your computer that allows you to save notes,schedules, pictures, places you want to go. It is nice to have for classes that you type notes in and is also similar to Dropbox which I recently talked about. Evernote would be helpful to students with organizational difficulties who need to keep their notes in one place, especially if they have an iPad or computer in the classroom.

If you are reading this, I would like to hear your opinions on the three tools that I have talked about and if there are any other organizational tools that you found are handy?

How technology can help all students

I was reading my textbook for my other class called “Creating Inclusive Classrooms” by Spencer J. Salend and the chapter was about Differentiating Instruction for Diverse Learners. It started off speaking about Backwards By Design lesson plans and planning your units and lessons by first determining the assessments you will use to evaluate your students. I think this is important in finding your students learning styles and how they like to be assessed whether it is through projects, presentations, or orally and then planning your lesson based on those needs.

This chapter then turned into talking about using technology to promote inclusion. I think this is important for ALL learners and can be easily incorporated into every classroom in today’s society. Different text size, fonts, and styles are easy ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. Visuals and backgrounds can be easily contrasted in different ways for students to be more motivated in the classroom. Making sure that all our students can see the text easily is very important in the classroom. Staying away from the use of bright yellow or green will help the learners stay more focused on your presentations and make it easier to read.

The last bit of this chapter discussed using instructional technologies and assistive devices. “Computer based instruction help you individualize your instruction and assessment by directing students to items related to their skill levels and allowing students to work at their own pace” (Salend, 2011). This includes using drill and practice, instructional games, videos, tutorials on the computers that students can take their time at and help improve their skills while using technology. I think the flipped classroom is a good example of this.I think tutorials online are very helpful in the classroom, especially for our visual learners. Digital videos and stories are also helpful for students with disabilities who maybe are afraid to present to their classmates or peers. Websites, blogs, podcasts are ways to allow students to share their opinions and beliefs and learning styles online for everyone to see.

Even though this text shared ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, it didn’t share where to find these resources. I am happy to be in a class such as ECMP 455 where I get to use and practice with different resources and types of technologies that I will be able to use eventually in my classroom. I know that people can now connect with other professionals on twitter to share different types of helpful technologies in the classroom. I found this helpful resource the other day on Twitter from a previous instructor of mine about effective eLearning tips. Here is the link below:

BYOD – The Idea of Using Your Own Technology in the Classroom

My fellow classmate Mitchell Ernesto recently tweeted about BYOD – Bring your own device. There are many different views and opinions of educators and students about using a device such as an iPad, cell phone, computer, or any other piece of technology in the classroom. I would definitely allow my students to use their devices in my classroom in an appropriate way whether it is for a poll or an assignment. I do feel very cautious in saying that I would allow it though since I think it is all in the classroom management and respect that you as a teacher receive from your students. Some students will choose to misbehave and misuse their technology which I would then have to eliminate the idea of bringing their own device.

Statistics are high for students in high school (aged 12-17) who have a mobile phone. 78% of these students have a mobile phone. So why not use it in an educational way! They are probably going to try and hide it and use it anyways so if you show them that you are allowing them to use their phones in an educational way then maybe they will continue to use it and find new ways to communicate.

I have found some examples of using your own device in the classroom from a EDTECH website. These are 10 examples of using the BYOD approach:

Poll Everywhere- allows teachers to make a poll (multiple choice or open ended) and their students text in their answer

Ask Google Questions- Students and teachers can ask any question by texting it to GOOGLE.

Provide Classroom Instruction of QR codes- QR codes can create links to content and information.

Flashcard App- Students can practice their study skills using their notes and this flashcard app.

Share Ideas over Text- Students can text feedback to one another and they can be displayed on a big screen for the whole class to see.

Google Voice- connect with students and parents after school

Educational Podcasts- student can learn material through podcasts- a different way of learning something.

Explore Outside of the Classroom- Using such programs like Google Earth you can take a field trip in the comfort of your own classroom.

Capture Lessons with a Camera- Students can use a camera to capture certain moments of the lesson that will help them remember.

Video Conferences- Students and teachers can welcome guest speakers via Skype or welcome pen pals into their classroom.

SCAM- How do we really know?

Today I received a really interesting phone call from someone from “Microsoft” who received a report about troubles that I have been having with my computer. Now I really haven’t been having any trouble with my computer, so I went on to tell him “I don’t have Microsoft on my computer”, but I do remember reporting a problem I had closing a Word document that I opened from UR courses so I did report it just in case (not expecting a phone call). He then said that I need to allow him to fix my computer and he seemed to know that I had a Mac computer. I followed through thinking maybe this is real, allowing him to use TeamViewer to get onto my computer (1st Red Flag) and share with me some viruses that have been taking over computers (through google news articles). Thinking all of this may be legitimately correct, I continued on listening to him and then he said “What kind of Anti Virus software do you have on your computer?” I told him “None. It’s a Mac.” He then went on to say I need this Mac Software and Anti-Virus and I was like ok, I don’t know about this anymore. He then tells me the deals he is offering and shows me that I have to go onto WesternUnion to transfer money (2nd Red Flag) and as I was about to fill out the information I realized this is complete NONSENSE! I politely refused to go through with this and said I do not want to give my information out to you, and he said you can go to one of these locations (one being WalMart) to transfer money to India and gave me a name to transfer it to. (3rd Red Flag) All of this seemed legit; he gave me his name, his ID number, and a phone number; until he tried to sell me something.

I guess my point of this whole story is “How do we know when a scam is happening and who do we report this to?” This information could stop people from taking our money, ruining our computers and help any gullible individuals like myself. This is the article that they tried to convince me that I had a virus with.

I know I fell for a lot and I feel really stupid about falling for it. Thankfully the wonderful employee at iWorld-Regina helped me and told me “DO NOT GO ALONG WITH THIS!” and I have an appointment to get my computer checked out tomorrow afternoon.

I guess I am just warning anyone out there to not fall for this nonsense either and watch what information you are giving out because you never know who could be stealing your information to take your assets.

Role of Business Education- Is it Important?

Recently I retweeted an article called “Why it’s time to Rethink the Role of Business in Education” and related this to my major of Business Education. Recently the University of Regina is in the process of cutting the program of Business Ed because there is not enough interest and applicants into the program. This is a disappointment as it is sad to see programs that are useful in today’s society of teaching children communication, team building, and problem solving skills be diminished. My question is why are students in high schools not showing interest in these courses? Do they not know enough information about the Business courses in high school or are they ignoring the fact that the skills taught in these classes are useful in today’s society of gaining a job. I loved these real life classes in school as they related what we are doing to our future lives of business skills, finance skills, and entrepreneurship skills.

I think our education system is becoming so academic that in small town schools especially they are missing opportunities to take classes that are considered electives because there is not enough interest in them and students are so involved with taking the right classes to graduate and not focusing on what you want to pursue after you graduate from high school. I think we need to emphasize and advertise about these Business classes and try to promote the program in order to get more students to show interest and be involved in these classes.

This paragraph really stood out for me in the article:

“In 1970, the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1999, the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving and interpersonal communication. We need schools to develop these proficiencies in young people, which is why making business leaders an integral part of our education system is crucial.”

I think these skills are so important in the futures of our young students. I was lucky enough to have some of these skills when I came to University but I know that if I didn’t when I got here I would have struggled in my first few years of business classes in University.

Whether our students are being farmers, oil workers, engineers, or educators I think in all of these professions around Saskatchewan these proficiencies are important and will help the students succeed and not turn to failure of not getting a job.

Lastly, I want to say that the reason why I thought this article was really important was because when I looked at Twitter the next day after I tweeted this, I found that my brother, who never uses Twitter and is very new to it, read the article and favourited it. He is an entrepreneur himself and he realizes that those skills are important especially because he never had any post-secondary education when starting his business, but by having those skills and being able to build a relationship with his customers his business is very successful. Even though his business targets farmers, they need those skills to become successful.

My final question is “Do you think that these skills are important for our students to succeed and what are some things that we can do to make these classes available in our schools?

You can read the article using the link at the top of this post. Enjoy!

The Feeling of Being Missed

So my reading week has gone by way too fast and I haven’t blogged in a while! I have been busy visiting with family back home in Manitoba and I will admit I haven’t been doing a lot of “reading”. But hey who does anyways? Many people go on vacations to hot destinations but I would rather be here on my home farm in Deloraine, MB relaxing with the comfort of my mom and dad in the same house with friends a close phone call away. I miss this! Yesterday I took a short drive to Carnduff, SK to see the students and staff that I had the pleasure of doing my Internship with. Let’s just say I missed them and the school and I am happy to say they missed me as well. As I checked in at the office and walked down the hallway I said ‘Hi’ to the principal and some straggling students getting to class late. I then walked into the classroom where I left my Accounting students and about 10 of them left their seats and ran to the door to give me a hug. I thought to myself “this is what it feels like to make an impression on someone and be missed.” That feeling right there made me feel good. I was happy to realize that I did make an impact on someone and I am in the right profession. I also had the chance to talk one of the other teachers and the coach of the volleyball team that I had the privilege to help with. She is in the process of learning how to crochet as well and I gave her some tips from the project that I am doing for ECMP learning how to crochet. This made me realize that if you take the time to learn something new you can pass on that skill to someone else and help them out along the way of their journey.

Overall I have had a nice, relaxing vacation back home to touch base with the people who have had an impact on me and the people that I have made an impact on. This all feels good and I know that I am on the way to the right career and on the right path in life. I want to say thank you to the people that help me in life and I hope that I can help many people in the future the same way that they have helped me.

Flipped Classroom- Accounting

As a Business Ed major one of the classes that I taught during internship was Accounting. I really enjoy teaching Accounting as it can relate to everyday life and how to manage your personal worth. One way that I would use the “flipped classroom approach” in Accounting is I would post to my blog and give the students a handout of what Assets and Liabilities are and allow them to take it home, read it over, and think about different assets and liabilities that they have in their own lives (or what their parents have). They can then come back to class the next day and we would create a list of different types of assets and different types of liabilities that is personalized and then eventually create a Balance Sheet to see what they are worth. This will allow me to get to know my students and it will allow them to see that you can personalize the information that we are learning. Even though this isn’t using technology it is allowing the students to interact with their parents and show them what we are learning about in class and it gives them time to think about what they own and who they owe.