Unit 7 – maybe the last post, but not the last step in the journey

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Wow – this unit was awesome – but soooooo frustrating.

I love the idea of screencasting – although hate the sound of my own voice – stuttering and stumbling as I talk to a computer. Much more comfortable swinging my arms, gesticulating wildly I front of a class – much more my scene. But I’m wanting to spend more time and thought on ‘flipping’ my classroom – and envisage screen casts will play a part in that.

I spent quite some time fiddling with different screencast sites and software –  have previously used Debut but wanted to try something different.  Made some drafts, lost them, found them, ran out of patience when I couldn’t access them to publish / delete. BUT finally got there .

So after much ado I’d like to present my screencast on Dropbox – not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I used a Powerpoint that I had planned to use with students – although my voice over is not really a tutorial.

 

A Brief Overview of Dropbox

 

I was excited to try Storybird, with my creativity at an alltime low,  the witty and wonderful things I’d like to share didn’t quite happen – I could have spent many hours looking for images to adapt……..unfortunately the reality of camps, reports etc got in the way.

My PLN Journey

I have been exposed to so many ideas and resources during the course – I was excited at the beginning of the course and continue to be excited about all the possibilities. I was very happy that this course gave me the opportunity to have an explore of what is available. I am still overwhelmed by the amount of information and in awe of others’ knowledge, skills and what they are implementing in the classroom I still have so much to learn, want to continue to learn and then pick on a few tools to learn well and implement.

There are many things to continue to reflect on – the concepts of digital literacy and fluency, implicit and explicit teaching of Citizenship, digital footprints, cybersafety……it has been good to have the opportunity to consider some of these.

I would certainly encourage others to embark on this online journey – I would tell them its an exploration rather than a course that ‘teaches’ you to do things. During this course, I worked with other colleagues from my school and the PLN that grew from this is very supportive. I would definitely recommend working closely with a ‘buddy’ – at work or after hours – just having someone to share frustrations with, check that you’re on the right track, give you support when you want to procrastinate……………………..

 

this is not the end of my journey, just a great beginning.

I will be exploring more – I will be revisiting some of the tools / resources that I skimmed over – I will be doing more of the online learning

 

thank you.

 

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Unit 6 musings

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  • Progression with technology. How has it  changed the way you learn and shaped your professional practice?

I’m still learning and I’m a long way from feeling competent, fluent – and I’m still a long way from putting my ideas into place. Those baby steps are still happening.

Previously the main contact I had with students was at school. Now through Edmodo I can share links, ideas, reminders, assignments, resources and engage in conversations at any time.  I have one student who doesn’t upload work for submission, but hits the ‘turn in button’ when he finishes it – so it’s been great for his organisation too. But then again I’m not sure whether I like being on call 24/7. 

One of the biggest impacts on my professional practice has been on my organisation – although I am still coming to terms with that too. Using the Cloud and synchronizing my tablet, my smartphone and my laptop are like Wow. Notes, reminders, calendars, emails, contacts. (I love having a brilliant idea and not writing it on a table napkin! (Actually I just love having brilliant ideas))

I spend way too much time finding interesting resources and ideas – even filtering through online communities etc. there is an absolute truckload of good stuff (as well as not so good stuff) – I really have to work on limiting the places I look. I wish I could share – but so many people are streets ahead of me I am humbled.

I really like that technology allows us to share on a professional level – common resources, links, files. Using the Cloud for file sharing has enabled more active collaboration and planning to take place and certainly a streamlining of the proof reading and drafting process. In terms of learning – look at the Webinars – how awesome is that – we can attend a 1 hour PD without having to drive 6 hours there and back to get there. There are so many resources available – YouTube
clips abound to help us with so much. And of course this course. I think one of my concerns is that because most of these things are easily accessible, and in some ways lack the accountability of face to face interactions, they get put on the backburner. Of course there is also the flip side – we can spend a lot of time interacting through a screen – to the detriment of other aspects of our lives.

  • Your feelings about the impact of technology on us as citizens

This is a huge question.

Technology and social media gives us the world at our fingertips, we truly can become global citizens – global issues become more real – the Oklahoma tornado, New Zealand Landslides.  

There are so many good things that social media can be used for –  we can tweet about anything – traffic jams, train delays – Facebook is an awesome way to organise large groups of people (love those Flash mobs, school reunions etc.) and I love to Skype with people in different states, countries etc. – but it’s a concern when using technology for communication seriously detracts from face to face communication (image Christmas Dinners with all the family under 30 were using their smart phones).

When there is a ‘buffer’ in the communication,  so that it is no longer direct, an important part of the communication can be  lost – the nonverbal aspects, reading body language etc. as you unconsciously assess the impact of your comments etc.

But the definition of a good citizen remains the same – technology just adds another dimension that we need to be aware of and embrace

  • Your thoughts about the use of technology in learning and the role educators play in modeling the use of technology

Perhaps my view is simplistic, but I think our role as educators is to ‘teach’ / ‘assist’ / ‘facilitate’ students to be responsible and informed citizens. This embraces all dimensions – social, emotional, physical, environmental and the list goes on. Education of our youth is a shared responsibility – family, school, society etc. Not sure I like the phrase   “or is it better to model behaviour in a platform like Edmodo and hope that it rubs off?” Modeling is a very powerful influence – although much depends on who is doing the modeling.   Educators, parents and the community (perhaps including the global community, media etc.)  should be modeling behaviours and values that are acceptable in our society – this applies equally to the use of technology.  We can teach digital literacy through the platforms that we use and at the same time draw parallels (better to get the students to draw parallels) with the other platforms students use. I cannot begin to imagine that I will have the time, the resources and more importantly the expertise to “teach” the range of social tools.

  • How technology can be used to support your      chosen 5 characteristics of an effective learner

There are many characteristics and combinations of characteristics of effect learning. Technology can support the following

 1.       Curiosity / open mindedness / lifelong learning – Cameron commented on this, but it’s so relevant I need to comment on it again. For both school based learning and just learning new stuff in general, technology can provide a wealth of resources.  One of my most exciting experiences recently was students working with Google Earth – moving from finding their own home then following that with “I wonder if it’s true you can see ….. from space” then doing lots of zooming around, then looking up other resources to find out more. Admittedly they went way off the prescribed task but the wow factor was worth it.

2.       Organising their learning  –  there are many applications available for students to use that will help them with this aspect of their learning –  calendars, task lists, project tracking , sticky notes, reminders – particularly when synchronising these across different devices,

3.       Collecting and organising relevant information. With so much information available, this is an area that is of vital importance. Some of the tools and discussions in this course are relevant here – effectively using search engines, evaluating the resources available, as well as then keeping track of these. Using tool such as Evernote, OneNote and bookmarking such as Diigo etc. are important. As too is using effective file management strategies.

4.       share ideas, work collaboratively. This is another area where technology excels. There are so many formats and forums for publishing and sharing with others – students from their own class, other classes, other schools, other countries, as well as other people. Online collaborative projects, developing webpages….

5.       appreciate when they need to seek help or ask questions – This is probably closely linked with the previous characteristic, where students can work collaboratively to achieve their goals. It requires students to students proactively considering the knowledge and skills they need and tap into the knowledge and expertise of others. With effective use of technology, the teacher isn’t the only expert in the classroom. With YouTube tutorials, skypeing, podcasting, emailing, twittering, learning communities, online tutoring etc. etc. there is plenty of help for students. In fact, knowing a little of what’s ahead with Unit 7 I have just searched “how to make a screencast”. I realise our PLN page will support me in this, but if I didn’t have that, then there is help out there. Learning to ask the right questions and evaluating the resources suggested is part of being an effective learner

  • We’d also love to read your predictions  about how technology will change the way we learn in the future.

Ah the possibilities – It is only a matter of time that the technology at our fingertips will replace teachers’ as the ‘experts’ – perhaps the ‘content’ / subject matter may be delivered through effective use of technology. To that end, I have spent some enjoyable time browsing the future of learning / teaching as others see it. Here is a collection of interesting YouTube clips

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0efppCGqyHo the holographic future

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z23UeJi_uJ4 beam remote presence

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yWzKvQXsYM future technologies

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgV9IILqLD0 twenty first century – virtual classrooms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ9pjyBrCS0  Technology in the 21st Century Classroom: New Literacy – a bit old, but still relevant

After a recent trip to US, I felt like a voyeur as I gained a glimpse of the Amish culture and its rejection of many 21st century trappings. But when I contemplate some of the possible impacts of technology on teaching, I am concerned about the potential loss of human contact – perhaps some of us are already on our way to becoming a “matrix” society as we spend more and more time interacting through technology rather than face to face .

 I feel that many teachers cling to the ‘old ways’ and are slow at embracing technology  in the classroom,  not so much because they are scared of it, or are dinosaurs, but simply because they  do not have the time.  I know I have spent less time working through the units of this course over the last few weeks – not because I am slack or disinterested, but because there have  been so many demands on my time at work and I also would like to have a life that does not involve interacting with a keyboard and a screen . 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvyP-cwpHN8 –how will you teach me in the 21st century?

“We will do it together”

So the notion of “we will do it together “ appeals to me – the students get their head around the technology, somehow the school has the funding and the resources to support this and then the  teachers become the facilitators , the wiser heads , even though the intricacies may be beyond us –

Changing practice some ramblings to get me started

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Online citizenship

I like the description of a good citizen as “ contributing to the common good, considering the needs of other citizens, communicates and works with others, plays an active role in the community and does no harm to those around them’

I consider myself to be a good citizen both online and offline. Initially I felt that online, I was not really an ‘active’ citizen, as I am still very quiet on social media e.g.  Facebook, twitter, blogs and within our online Edmodo community. I carried that thought with me for quite some time, observing my presence online and have decided that I do have an active presence online, but mainly for my work. (Socially and privately not so much, but even emailing, bill paying, online purchasing (eBay, leaving feedback etc.) are still part of that on line presence). Do I have an online personality?  Am I consistent across every site? Yes I am consistent, because I never pretend to be anyone other than myself; it’s what I share of myself that is different, depending on the site and the purpose of the communication. I generally share very little online, very few personal details, opinions – mostly it’s a sharing of information – but always I am aware that a great deal of the essence and nuances of communication are  lost, when there is no face to face contact . This reflective blog is the most I’ve ‘put out there’. So bottom line, I manage my privacy by keeping it private.

I had interesting discussions with three young people 15, 18, 20 – not really sure how typical they were.  The older two felt they were on top of their privacy – using maximum privacy settings on Facebook, limiting what they post on their timeline – preferring to directly message rather than engage in public conversations and sharing of their status. The younger one was not so concerned about privacy, although he too restricted his posts. The 20 year old is a university student, and her lecturers / tutors use Facebook for disseminating information, the students use it for group work and submission of information. They also use twitter to follow, but do not tweet. The 18 year old also has a teacher at school that uses a Facebook group as a communication tool. They seem to be happy to have the same tool in both their learning and private lives, partly because they don’t share too much anyway and also the way their learning groups have been set up.

The aspect that caused the most concern was the tagging in photos – yes, they can get ‘untagged’ but were concerned that it was possible for the photos to be copied etc. They are selective who they are friends with, and indicate they try to avoid being photographed inappropriately, but know that it’s bigger than that.

Hmm. The image of locking students into walled gardens is interesting. Lots of interesting questions, food for thought. Perhaps my view is simplistic, but I think our role as educators is to ‘teach’ / ‘assist’ / ‘facilitate’ students to be responsible and informed citizens. This embraces all dimensions – social, emotional, physical, environmental and the list goes on. Education of our youth is a shared responsibility – family, school, society etc. Not sure I like the phrase   “or is it better to model behaviour in a platform like Edmodo and hope that it rubs off?” Modeling is a very powerful influence – although much depends on who is doing the modeling.   We can teach digital literacy through the platforms that we use and at the same time draw parallels (better to get the students to draw parallels) with the other platforms they use. I cannot begin to imagine that I will have the time, the resources and more importantly the expertise to “teach” the range of social tools.

And just an aside: I enjoyed the resources on the PLN page – I loved the phrase “the teacher is not the only expert in the room” when we are tapping into web resources. I also have common experiences with Kate Mildenhall – I’m excitedly trying to embrace new technology, do a minor flip of my year 12 class (you know what I mean, the YouTube clips, the podcasts etc. out of class so we can discuss, apply, reflect in class – the kids really don’t want a bar of it L

I’m also hoping to use the Jenny Luca: Managing your digital footprint with Year 8  idea too!

Web search musings

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Where to start with a Web Search……. Started to investigate “cows create careers” – a project that is currently underway at our school, but not really something I’m into – so used my Ipad Google app to search mental illness . As promised , auto suggest auto suggested as I typed in each letter. I don’t usually pay attention to this, but it was a bit of light entertainment. I liked this exploration activity. I then used Bing – a similar lot of results, with a similar look and feel as Google and also offering the ‘more’ options. The there was Duck Duck Go – no auto suggest but included a detailed definition of the term at the beginning. I got side tracked exploring Duck Duck Goodies: results for a range of special search queries – I enjoyed the trivia learned that the speed of an unladen swallow is 11 metres per second.
…and then I looked at Instagrok – where do they get those names. What a different look and feel – I loved the features of this one. The key facts at your fingertips, along with previews of the website, the concept clouds and the difficulty rating along with the option to filter themes and concepts made it easy to navigate. With the journaling aspect, this search engine lending itself to research very nicely. There were some rather weird and and random quiz questions. Unfortunately the number and type of websites was significantly fewer than the others. And it so didn’t cope well with the ‘cows create careers’ search.
So a rating …. I think google is probably the most effective – but Instagrok has great potential – perhaps as a starting point for research.

Trusted web resource :

One of the web resources I use frequently and trust is the VCAA site VCAA. I trusted this ‘implicitly’ so it was interesting to examine the site and contemplate why. Clearly at the bottom of the site is the copywriter statement, indicating it is a State Government body. The State Government Logo is not in itself any guarantee that the site is authentic, however, the Privacy Statement clearly states that it is Statutory Authority and includes telephone numbers and addresses for contact if necessary. The Contact Us page also includes more telephone numbers and addresses. So one imagines that its not a dodgy operation. One of the other important reasons to trust this website, is that information on the website is available through other means – emails, written publications – adding authenticity to the information provided.

Online Tools

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Task 1

Online service evaluation

  • Google

Terms of Service and Privacy Policy page

  • Found it at the bottom of Google Search page under Policy and Principles

It suggested that the information was important and offered to cut through jargon as well as provide a FAQ section
It was written in clear language and I appreciated the ‘examples’ it gave – none the less, it was still all a bit confusing.

It was interesting to discover that Google have the right to “use, host, store, reproduce etc. etc. “any content I upload / submit, for “operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones” even after I stop using the service. I’m assuming this also applies to documents, presentations, pictures etc. that I upload.

I did note the rider about some countries not applying Californian Law to some disputes and that local laws etc. would apply. I did read the whole thing and yes, I got bored – but I was always a good girl and try to do what the teacher asks.

NO I did not read the terms and agreements when I signed up.

Back up and exporting data.

  • Thanks to your direction, I found a way to down load my data – it seems as easy as pressing a button.
  • It seems quite easy to delete my account, with a specific button to press.

Would I be happy recommending this service???

Yes – but always with the caution about be very careful about what you share – both in terms of personal details and what you upload and store (given their ‘rights’ as indicated above – it means ‘they’ can get to your data). Not sure how this sits with using Google Drive etc., given that most tablets have limited storage capacity and the ‘way of the future’ seems to be cloud storage.

Task 2

Online Tool

Weebly website creation

Sign up

There are two alternatives provided at when you are signing up – you can sign in with your Facebook account or enter your name, an email account and a password.

Terms of Service

Terms of Service has a great introduction section where it briefly lists content guidelines. Although the Service has no control and does not pre screen the Content posted by users, they clearly state they have the right but not the obligation to remove Content or remove a site that violates their Terms of Service or is considered objectionable. Visitors to a site are able to quite easily report abuse or copywriter infringement.

One of the potential issues of use relate to the use of copywriter material by students and staff – images, information etc – that they do not create or have ownership of.

Privacy Policy

The amount of information initially required is limited to your email address, username. Additionally, any information that you post onto your site is also collected. They also access information from your browser to “improve their service”. They also acknowledge they share this information about your browsing activity to Third Parties, who display advertising that would be relevant to you.

They warn against posting personal information online due to its accessibility and potential to attract unsolicited messages, providing a service to remove personal information – which may or may not work. ( I find this interesting ). This should not be an issue for student or staff users who are sufficiently educated about the public nature of all online activity.

Professional Learning

Using a website for professional learning is an excellent way for sharing content and information that is of particular relevance to that Learning Community. With the unimaginably vast amount of information ‘in cyberspace’ a website is a great way of curating and providing links in a static format, complementing the use of blogs and social communication tools, more anonymously.

At this stage, though, I do not foresee myself being involved in the development of a website for my professional learning. However I certainly use websites in my journey – even if it is just browsing for information, ideas, inspiration etc.

Websites are already being widely used by schools for self promotion and providing information to the School community.

I believe that teachers can use websites with original material as well as links to other resources as a fantastic way to engage students and to impact in positive ways on student learning. I am drawn to the idea of students reading, listening, watching ‘out of class’ then using time in the class to ‘work’ with the information

Education

Student creation of websites has enormous potential, particularly in relation to creating ‘new content’ that is relevant to their community. For example promoting an aspect of their town / area. Along the way, tasks would move through the different aspects of the SAMR model, with the ‘final product’ fitting the Redefinition component. With cross curricular involvement, collaboration with other local schools and allowing for use of so many of the available technologies, students could research the history, current use, tourism and business potential and so much more. They could work in small groups with responsibility for specific ‘pages’, with scope for photos, maps, interviews. As well as using blogging to record progress before the final publication ……goodness – this could get bigger than Ben Hur.

My creation

Sharing webpages is pretty easy, simply providing the link to the site. I have used a Weebly site to provide resources for students that are directly related to their course of study, as well as just plain interesting.

It is still very much a work in progress.

Psychospace

 

social media

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I love the idea of online professional communities – in theory.  Its an ideal forum for brainstorming, sharing resources, ideas, frustrations.  I have had a renewed interest in browsing what’s online and have found ideas and resources that I can implement in my personal life and am amazed at the wealth of information ‘in the cloud’ related to my teaching and learning. I love that other people have found and shared valuable and useful information, saving me from reinventing the wheel as it were.

I have a Twitter account –  up to now, I have used it to keep up with ‘current’ issues that are relevant to me :  traffic conditions in Melbourne, road closures, tram / train timetable disruptions, a few ‘readings’ that are of interest.  I  did not tweet.

I have a Facebook account – I joined at my daughters suggestion so she could post news of her travels just once – at times I post updates of my travel.

I think that  using social media as one way of collaborating with colleagues and extending my networks  is a great idea – but I am totally swamped – too much – too many possibilities – and way too much information to process. The use of Diigo to track my websites is fantastic, but once again I have  huge number of sites that excite me. A key issue, then, is time. I realise I need to become familiar with the different platforms I have been introduced to, others I might find along the way  as well as all the different feeds /podcasts / tweeters ?? / blogs etc.  I follow and limit the ones I keep track of ………

I think using online professional communities to extend access ideas and information that is outside the expertise / knowledge / experience of my immediate colleagues is a great idea – but I place a high value on the social and emotional support that is provided by the smaller workplace PLN’s.

 

….and using it with students ??? I can see values in using Facebook and perhaps Twitter -however,  from current and past experience, my students prefer to keep social media just that – social.  I currently use Edmodo, a Weebly Website  and will be setting up specific class blogs – these are utilised effectively by a very small number of students. Hopefully with my newfound (yet to find) confidence and confidence  my students will engage in this with me …so that the time I currently spend on my website / Edmodo library entries etc will be well spent.

My tweet handle is @julietimboon

 

and the next step

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Wow – what a time filler.  I already had an Evernote account, but spent quite a bit of time loading it onto my devices – laptop, ipad, iphone – as well as with Internet Explorer and Google Chrome –  got myself in a bit of a tangle, but can see myself using it.  Here is the link to my first ‘official post I hope : ‘ Julie’s first note (not really) – http://www.evernote.com/shard/s173/sh/d95b6b9e-3e98-460e-900f-89d3d48c553b/8dd032634cae3d9a53b79210d6958b71 probably not really worth a visit.

I spent ages working with Diigo – I had previously used Delicious – although not very well. I love the use of highlighting text, sticky notes, lists  ….and the sharing ideas. Once again, working with IE, Google Chrome and an Ipad / Iphone app. I also spent some time importing my bookmarks from Delicious, as well as my Browser bookmarks – time well spent. I feel a lot more efficient now.

Now … to the task at hand

What are your current techniques for keeping your work organised, keeping track of resources and sharing these resources with others? How do you imagine the tools covered in this unit will change your workflow 

This year I am using

  • OneNote  (which once again I am trying to synch across all my devices)  I am using this to keep track of my lesson plans 
  • Edmodo – i am using this as an aid for my students to track and submit assignments and their grades as well as updloading resources and activities (in an attempt to ‘flip’ my classroom)
  • Sharing resources has been on an ad hoc basis – emailing links, getting super excited with my colleagues ” have you seen this ….”, sharing at our various team meetings.
  • My work flow is already changing – I  am using Edmodo to to grade and comment on students work – I am excited about using this as a record to refer to for the upcoming parent – teacher – student interviews – my biggest concern is network / internet failure.

Is teaching workflow and organisation techniques to students an important task? What have you noticed about the workflow and organisational strategies of students?

  • I figure that is a rhetorical question – in my experience the majority of students stumble their way through organisation techniques – some  ” get it” others don’t.  It is often not until VCE this becomes an issue with students, when they are trying to juggle work, school, employment and social life. This is an incredibly important skill we should be encouraging students to embrace.  If anyone has any ideas of how to ‘teach this’ I’d appreciate it – at the moment, I am not addressing it formally, but rather attempting to model and share as a need presents itself.

How have digital technologies and internet access changed the way we organise ourselves?

  • It is increasingly important to organise ourselves : great for Left Brained people, those with OCD  and technological Darwinism becomes a reality – with the amount of information that crosses our paths, it is virtually impossible to remember it all. I believe the skill is not in remembering it, but remembering there is something worth remembering and then knowing how to access that information.

ahhhh technology

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I am sure someone out there will feel my pain – an important USB has died – yes I had backed up folders recently – but there’s a few others I reaaaaalllly should have, but didn’t. Another lesson learned the hard way. Looking forward to working on my PLN journey some more, but think I’ll have a cuppa and take a few deep breaths first.

making sure i get it right

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I was so excited about starting this course, that I rushed in, added myself to the map, subscribed to bright ideas and got my blog happening – all in a bit of a whirlwind. Much of my tech time this week was getting Edmodo posts sorted for my senior students – i’m thinking though, that in my excitement for that too i might be ‘overloading them’.  I was disappointed that I was unable to join the webinar (- will be looking at the recorded version shortly),  so I’ve  just spent some time reviewing those first steps.  And to my consternation have found a message in Google Reader that it won’t be available after July 1st  – but by then we’ll all be so tech savvy that we’ll take it in our stride. But to my delight (yes, I’m easily amused) I was able to change my icon on the map, so the Timboon cluster has a bit of variety.

I think I’ve addressed all the points Cameron would like covered ; but here is a nutshell…..

I teach at Timboon P12 School – mainly years 10 – 12 and for quite a few year I have been either a VCE coordinator or Subschool Leader. I am excited to be part of the large group of Timboon staff who are embracing this opportunity and will be able to provide support and encouragement to each other.  Information support and encouragement at our school is available in many ways –  through different types of staff meetings, Learning Area teams and Professional Learning Teams that develop as a result of staff interest and expressed need.  My goals are simple – to increase not just my understanding of, but also my implementation of the wonderful technnology available to us.

I am currently working with Edmodo and Weebly within my classroom – I’m hoping that through  increasing my skills and confidence, this will impact on the students so they have more confidence in the technology and the additional support for their learning that i am striving to provide.

 

 

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