Learning Leader Reflection 2013

The 2012-2013 learning leaders course has been a wonderful area of professional development. The integration of new apps and technologies has provided an interesting dynamic to my early teaching career. In response to the final learning leaders session I have discovered the following information over the course of the school year:

As a continue to develop my niche as a school teacher, I have found that technology can be very useful for classroom instruction and organization. In particular, Google drive has been extremely useful and practical to teach my students. I am constantly learning all the wonderful uses Google drive can be for a school teacher. At first I struggled to keep everything organized because it was a constant swarm of shared docs. However, I learned that it would be a lot easier if the child ‘shared’ their main folder with their name (Ex. John D)  and this way everything they created in their named folder, would automatically be ‘shared’ into the folder that I already have.Furthermore, I just recently learned about the importance of naming each document appropriately. Naming each document is very important because it makes it a lot easier to search for a child’s work. If everyone in the class uses the same title structure, it is very easy to look through the database and find a particular assignment about a particular topic. The way that I will begin to title my documents are by writing the title of the assignment followed by first name, and last initial(ex. Provincial government – John D). I am finding that the more time I spend using Google drive, the more comfortable I become teaching the app to the students. I am excited to dig further into this application for students and my sake.

Moreover, social media was another area of exploration for the Learning Leaders course. I have already been exposed to the value of social media in education by George Couros. I have found that Twitter can be very valuable for networking and gaining help from others. At first, I will admit, I did more “lurking” then contributing to the educational twitter world. I still find myself looking through Twitter but I am finding it is just as easy to click the ‘share’ button and have others read, think and learn about a helpful or critical thinking article, blog, lesson, etc. As I continue on in the educational world, it is exciting to think about the possibilities with networking.

Building Capacity – “Do or do not there is no try” Yoda 

Lastly, the session and discussions that I have been taking part with my colleagues in school have been very interesting. Our school has got a good start on blogging with the upper middle years school. Also, grades 5-9 have made great use of Google drive. Seba Beach School has a small staff, and it is interesting because in starting out a school wide initiative like classroom blogging or Google accounts, we have developed great foundation for next school year. As we move forward it is imperative that we as teachers model good us of classroom blog and Google drive.

For more discussion find me on twitter @Ferzlig



Hook ME or Lose ME

Attention span is defined as the “the amount of time that a person can concentrate on a task without becoming distracted.” Many studies have shown that people will only be able to maintain concentration for no longer that 8 seconds. This is known as focused attention.”Focused attention is a short term response to stimuli that attracts attention.” To simply explain this definition, think about all the different stimuli that people experience every day, every hour, every minute. It can be overwhelming and impossible to think about all the little details/ stimuli that people experience with their senses throughout the day. Thankfully, the human brain is able to sustain knowledge and information that we receive by processing it into short or long-term memory. A lot of research has shown that adult’s attention span is no more than 20 minutes on average, while infants at the age of 2 have an attention span of 5 minutes. Why is this information so important to educators around the world? As we continue to advance in the technological 21st century; if educators can not hook a child or teen into learning, than attention will be lost!

A recent blog post has suggested the importance of making sure students are engaged with their work. No matter the topic, if the students were not invested in their project, they were not invested in their learning. Simply put, they didn’t care about it. Apathy can be a daily struggle for many teachers. Investments for students are short term.(sometimes only 8 seconds) Therefore, this knowledge is a powerful tool for teachers to more effectively engage their students? I was inspired to write about this topic because my personal experience of losing interest in my learning when I didn’t understand or as a youth into the lesson. I truly believe using this knowledge is crucial to ensure students are engaged in their learning. To read more about engaging students in the classroom, read the following article that inspired me to respond to this topic.


Learning to Share

One of the fundamental skills a child first learns upon entering kindergarten is sharing. This idea of sharing can be a difficult concept to grasp for many children especially if they have had little exposure of sharing at home. Just as this is one of the first skills we learn as a child; sharing idea’s, lessons,resources etc needs to be a skill that is appreciated by all educators. Of course this is not a new idea in education, but with the world becoming more connected, it is a great opportunity to share using new technologies.

During the second “Learning Leaders” lesson, we were introduced to the wonderful work of Dean Shareski. His work in promoting technology and “sharing” in education is an example for all to follow. The wonderful app, “Haiku Deck” was shared by Mr. Couras, and has proven to be a very useful tool in the class.


<iframe src=’http://www.haikudeck.com/e/ghTKgb6hyr’ width=’640′ height=’511′ frameborder=’0′ marginheight=’0′ marginwidth=’0′></iframe><a href=’http://www.haikudeck.com’ style=’font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:8pt;’>Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad</a>

Teaching in the 21st Century with a 20th Century Model

The learning leaders course is an excellent opportunity to connect with educators within Parkland School Division (PSD) and all over the globe. As a 2nd year teacher I am very excited to solidify my own teaching style. A philosophy that I hope to never lose is connecting/sharing resources, ideas and knowledge to further develop the learning of students. However, “cherry-picking” from different educators isn’t a new concept at all; in fact, I am constantly reminded that “teaching is all about recreating what has already been created.” A skill that I am learning daily.

Seth Godin explained the educational history of the western world in the 20th century in his video clip” Stop Stealing Dreams.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXpbONjV1Jc I have been pondering his explanation of the “industrial model of education” and can’t help to think that education needs to adjust to a model that is NOT just about efficiency, order and obedience. Now, the 21st century, skill-based projects and inquiry research projects helps move away from this 20th century teaching. However I am curious, to what extent should we move away from the 20th century model where order, efficiency, and obedience are the primary role of education? Are these skills not valued anymore?

I am sure I will develop a solid answer to this question as continue through my educational journey. Let me know what you think? @Ferzlig