Tag Archives: ecmp355

My Learning Addiction

When people find out that I’ve just completed a university class and have registered for another one next term, years after getting my Bachelor of Education degree, they often ask one of the following questions:

Are you getting your Masters? (No.)

Do you *have to* take this class? (No.)

Well then, *why would you* take a class?

The fact that I would invest my time, energy,  and money into a course without there being a requirement from someone to do so is shocking to many people, but the truth is, I love learning.  I love to be innovative and to try new things and to implement methods and ideas before they become mainstream.  And, truth be told, I am hoping to get myself back into a classroom of my own, after being away from the profession for a few years.   I have been substitute teaching for over a year and I am really shocked at how few people seem to be embracing and utilizing technology and digital learning in the classroom.  I took ECMP355, Technology in the Classroom, to help me understand how digital learning can be utilized to create amazing, motivating learning experiences and environments and now I am excited to start implementing what I have learned.  ECMP355 gave me the chance to be quite self-directed and I was enthusiastic and motivated to explore and participate.  I love learning, and this was a great way for me to re-enter the formal education arena.

Self-directed learning and exploration is what struck me as being the ‘idea’ behind ds106, which is a free open online course called Digital Storytelling.  I’ve heard ds106 thrown around in connection to its live-streaming station that is used to broadcast projects from this course and found that there was a keynote address about the ds106 on the K12 Online Conference 2011.

What strikes me is the sheer numbers of people who are choosing to become involved with ds106.  The voluntary participation in the assignments for the course is amazing and the quality of work that is being produced, ‘just because’ is quite astounding!

Jim Groom, who presents the keynote in a light, entertaining fashion, suggests that ds106 might be a ‘cult’ or an ‘addiction’ and as someone who loves to learn, I can see why people get so caught up in it.  It’s an amazing creative outlet in a supportive community of people who share and create together.

The theme of the K12 Online Conference 2011 is Purposeful Play, and you can see how people are playing together, sharing ideas, having fun and being engaged in the ds106 community.  There is definitely something to be said for using this type of platform to learn.  It becomes something that we enjoy doing, want to do more of, continue to do, and yes, perhaps get addicted to doing.  And we learn from it and become part of a supportive community as we go.

How can it possibly be shocking to people to want to be involved in something as awesome as all that?


ECMP Reflection Presentation

For our final presentation/final exam for our ECMP355 class we had to do a modified Pecha Kucha presentation – we used 16 slides for 15 seconds each.  The theme was to explore what we had learned in our class over the term, providing narration for our slides.  Aside from a small sound glitch where YouTube Babbling Baby was not on silent, as it had been on my computer, I think it went pretty well.  I know I talked super fast but I had a lot to say!  15 seconds is a challenge!

Thank you to my classmates for sharing their presentations and to all of the presenters and “Knowledge Ninjas” who shared their experiences and expertise with us.

This is the presentation that I put together-apologies on behalf of WordPress which won’t let me embed!

ECMP355-Trina Crawford


My ECMP Presentation

So, I’m getting ready to head to class to present my final reflection for my ECMP 355 class.  I just hope I don’t sound like this:

I will post my presentation slides later but for now, just wish me luck. Looking forward to seeing all of the other presentations!

Learning Project, Final Reflection

So I managed to pull together a workable Webquest for my ECMP355  Learning Project but haven’t yet been able to try it out; I hope to be able to in the new year.  This will be my last formal reflection on my project for this term but I will update when I have a chance to elaborate, apply or re-create another webquest!

I’m very much a self-directed learner.  One who likes to teach herself things.  A visual learner.  One who likes to see things done but doesn’t have the attention span for long videos or movies.  I am a sitcom watcher, not a movie-goer.  The online class has been challenging for me because it is a long time for me to focus on a screen and voices.  But I was up for the challenge.

When teaching myself something, I generally know where my learning is going, but because my vision changes the further along I go, and the more ideas I come up with, I never really know what path I’ll be on.  I just know that when I get to where I need to be, I’ll know.  It’ll look and feel and sound right.  I don’t like to ask for help before I try to solve a problem myself.  I enjoy problem/challenge identification and the problem solving process to figure things out. Having to be transparent meant that I was very cognizant of every piece of information that I gathered for my project.   I did research online, saw people’s experiences via YouTube, spoke to teachers who have used Webquests, took information from our online and face-to-face ECMP355 classes and considered suggestions from people online during our class time.  Much of my learning was trial and error, and I think that because I was allowed to choose what I wanted to learn I was much more motivated.    I think that a project such as this one makes me realize that it is easy to rely on one way to learn something but if we use a variety of sources, we are able to get so much more, not the least of which is continuing to build a Personal Learning Network to exchange ideas in the future, as well.

I was the kid who started a million projects and didn’t finish them because I got bored of them.  Drove my parents crazy.  I am the adult who has bought all the materials and taught herself how to scrapbook, do stained glass stepping stones, do stamped card-making, cake and cupcake decorating, and a little bit of photography.  But never at the same time.  I do one, get bored, move on.  Now I’m driving my husband crazy.  My little ‘interest stashes’ all over the storage room are a bit out of control!   That is one of the reasons that I chose a learning project that would have a product that I could ‘end’ with.  I know that learning how to do a webquest doesn’t have to end.  It can always be developed at a different grade levels, use different types of problems and reach different levels of webquest taxonomy.  I was afraid that I would ‘give up’ or ‘get bored’ without a product in mind.

So being transparent was sometimes a challenge.  I would wake up at 3 in the morning with a GREAT idea and would jot it on a notepad on my bedside table.  Then I’d search out the information online the next day.  I didn’t document everytime I did that or I would be documenting All.  The.  Time.  I was surprised at the amount of learning that I got from various places, having been a person who was used to researching in books and articles.

I didn’t realize how much of a perfectionist I was until I had to be transparent.  It has been hard for me to break down the learning to my project publicly because I like to keep my process my ‘secret.’  I like people to see the sparkly, fabulous product or result of my learning endeavours but not the messy, unorganized process that I take to get there because that is inexplicable, even to me. I want them to see how brilliantly creative I am (What?  Too much?)  and not the struggles and frustrations that I went through to make it so.   I tried to be reflective and show those things for this project, though.

Our class was asked to contribute to the rubric or to help identify what we would look for in a successful learning project.  I contributed the following to our Google Doc for class discussion:

Regular updates via blog on progress (weekly?)
Identification of struggles/roadblocks
I am happy with my learning success, the process, and the product and I have been thankful for the opportunity to take part in this project.   I have also truly enjoyed following the  journeys of my classmates, Dean Shareski and those others in the web-world who have taken up Mr. Shareski’s challenge of the learning project, such as this one by Mr. Jared Nichol.  I wish everyone the best in their learning and would encourage them to continue on the path of being forever-learners.

Welcome to about.me

Our ECMP355 class was about digital citizenship this week.  For our Tech Task this week one of our options was to create an about.me page, linking my different visibilities on the internet.

Mine is here and I hope to continue to add different services to it.



Let’s get SMART(board)!

We had the opportunity to ‘play’ with the interactive white boards (IWBs) this week in our ECMP355 class.  I am of the opinion that SMART boards are a valuable teaching tool and I look forward to having the opportunity to design with and use them in the future with a classroom!  Reading reviews of IWBs online and talking to friends who are administrators of schools and have the potential to purchase those devices, there is still a lot of hesitation and negative thoughts about the use of  IWBs.  If these devices are being used as glorified overhead projectors, primarily for the use of the teacher to display or interact with, with students only observing, I think that the potential is being lost.  “Good” technology in the hands of ‘bad’ teachers doesn’t automatically create ‘good’ lessons!   We need access to information and support to ensure that these tools are being used effectively.  Our presentor, Ward Milligan, spent a great deal of time showing us several different ways to create interactive activities for our students to use to enrich and enhance their learning.

Our Tech Task this week is to find and explore a couple of interactive white board games relating to a specific Saskatchewan Curriculum objective.

I chose the following Grade Two objective:

Life Science – Animal Growth and Changes (AN)
AN2.1 Analyze the growth and development of familiar animals, including birds, fish, insects, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals, during their life cycles

(Saskatchewan Curriculum, Grade Two Science)

The two activities that I found are based on the book The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

The first one is literacy based and relates directly to the caterpillar’s life cycle as it is presented in the book.  It is called The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  There is a video (no internet required) to watch the Eric Carle’s story and then there are a number of activities for the kids to do, including memory games and counting as well as recalling and sequencing the caterpillar/butterfly’s life cycle.

The second is also related to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and explores the life cycles of other animals as well as the caterpillar.  The title of these activities is Life Cycles.  This set of interactive activities explores the life cycles of mammals, insects, amphibians, and birds. Kermit the Frog makes an appearance and there are videos and songs included.

Both of these activities were found at the website SMART Exchange which is a resource filled with activities for all subjects and grade levels.  It is a community that encourages submissions and sharing by educators.

Webquest Rubric Development

A key part of a webquest is to include the tool that you would use to assess the learner’s progress.  I have decided to develop a rubric to include on mine.

I have used a variety of scaled assessment tools in my time as a teacher but since I have been away from the profession for a number of years I have never developed a rubric or had any professional development on doing so.  I started with some Googling, and specifically searched for rubric materials that were specific to Saskatchewan Education.  I came across this document and spent a fair amount of time reading it.

After reading it, I searched out a number of sample rubrics and based on those and what I read, I tailored one as best as I could, with my project in mind.  It took a long time!  I was actually surprised how long it took for me to finish it.   I tried to get the wording *just* right so that it was clear and detailed but not overwhelming.  I also included a section in my rubric for self-evaluation by the student.

My rubric can be found here.

I have forwarded it to the teacher who will share my webquest with her class for her feedback on its effectiveness.