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



Learning Leader Reflection

Throughout the learning leader session’s I have come across many app’s that I have been able to explore and implement in the classroom and personal use. By far the the app I use the most is Zite. I enjoy the large variety of subject article/blogs that are offered through this site and the ability of the reader to customize subject categories so that you do not have to flip through articles trying to find what your looking for.

My A-ha moment recently is in discovering that the amount of people supporting technology in the classroom is growing and I believe starting to overwhelm those who have been opposed to it. In the past the voice of saying “I’m not doing this (technology)” is either decreasing or are not being as vocal. I believe teachers are starting to see the advantages of using technology and social media as people such as those that are in the learning leader session’s continue inform and work with peers on how to use technology and what to use. I look forward to this trend continuing and everyone growing together.

The first session that Amanda and I delivered was showing the app Haiku Deck. We had created our own Haiku Deck to show the advantages of using the program and then gave every staff member an ipad to design their own short presentation. It was well received by staff and many are planning on using it in their classrooms with their students. The teachers liked how easy and simplistic the app is and really liked the availability of images that are free to use. Teachers also liked the fact that students do not have to register in order to use the app.

The second session was focused on using twitter as a collaboration tool for our staff. I set up a hashtag #spc70 that our staff can now use to collaborate with each other and put it into immediate action by showing the video “I will not let exams determine my fate” and had them tweet their thoughts and opinions. This turned out well in ways that I did not anticipate.

1) staff with twitter accounts already that regularly used them started tweeting even before the video started.

2) staff with twitter accounts already but are regular users of twitter came prepared (new their passwords) and were eager to start tweeting.

3) staff without twitter accounts were paired up with staff that had accounts and brainstormed with their peers on what to write , and a few even set up accounts right then and there with help from their peer that was paired up with them.

I then learned (quite easily) how to use Storify to collect all the tweets written by the staff and published them for everyone to easily see what was written. Below is a link to the Storify.


Learning Leader Reflection

I have explored many apps during my learning leader year.  One of my favourites is haiku deck.  I love this one due to the simplistic nature of it.  It makes it easy for my grade 2s and 3s to use with minimal assistance.  It is a powerful tool for them to reflect on their learning as well as to teach others a topic.  I have also enjoyed zite.  There have been some excellent articles to read on zite to do with education and technology.  Through the use of zite, I have felt more comfortable with tweeting out articles which has helped me to be less of a lurker.

An aha moment for me was when I was using evernote.  This helped when I went to visit another school.  It helped me to take pictures as well as to add notes.  I was able to keep track of everything that I saw while on this visit.  It makes so much sense and it was so easy to do.  I also enjoyed the simple fact of google drive on the ipad.  It makes making and sharing documents so much easier and it’s right at your fingertips.

Bob and I did a presentation on our PD Day on May 10.  We presented haiku deck to the staff and it went really well.  The staff were engaged as they were able to make their own by creating 3 slides and could really see the benefit of using this app in the classroom.  We also presented the value of twitter.  We watched a video and had each person send a tweet on what they thought of our video to our new SPC hashtag (#spc70) which is newly created by Bob.  Even staff that are tech savy and enjoy twitter enjoyed this.  It went very well and it was great to show staff who were not familiar with this technology how it can be valued and how it does not take a great deal of time to do so.  Bob showed me how to use storify (another aha moment, would be great for presentations) and here is the storify of what our staff did while watching the video.

I will continue to explore the twitter world and hope to learn even more.





Learning Leader Project in Review

When I first started the sessions in the Learning Leader Project, I was worried it was going to be all about Tweeting and blogging. So yes, maybe I did have some preconceived notion of what to expect. Well, I am very pleased to  say that it was not just what I expected. It DID help me to appreciate and understand tweets and to feel more comfortable tweeting about it. It DID show me that I do not have to read every tweet and that I can use it when I need to and that a wealth of knowledge, support and resources are only a tweet away.Thanks to Hoot Suite, I no longer feel overwhelmed by my tweets and now actually enjoy sending out a tweet or two about something awesome.

That is only the beginning of what I have come away with after the Learning Leader Project. By the end of the sessions I have created my own personal magazine with ZITE, (only the sections I am interested in and no advertisements) found easy and engaging ways to support and reflect on my students learning(Evernote and Google Drive) AND found ways for my students to use the iPad in the classroom to share their learning and engagement (iMotion and Haiku Deck).

I have used what I have learned to education staff, my own children and created better and more innovative ways to teach. With all of this, I think the most important thing I have learned through these sessions is to look for an opportunity, come to the table, learn and share. We are in this together!


Learning Leader Final Project

I have enjoyed the learning leader project, learning many new apps that has benefited my teaching and learning of my students.  The first app I have found to be a great benefit for myself and students is Dropbox.  Dropbox is an app that allows you to store pictures, video and files on the cloud enabling you to obtain your files with any device you have Dropbox on.  Many students use it instead of using the school server to save their work which they can only access at school.  Students can place their projects and notes on Dropbox at school and work on them from home.  They can create notebooks to save their studies on and share their notes and projects with others.  The second app I really enjoyed is Google Drive.  Google drive is another web based app that allows you to work on Google docs efficiently with your ipad.  Google has many free programs that emulate software on regular PC’s such as word, excel, etc.  These programs can be used by any technology that you can access google chrome on.

Although I have seen the benefit of connecting with others through social media, Facebook and twitter, I have found that it take a lot of extra time.  For many people who spend much of their time on social media it might not be much of an issue.  I will still use social media in times when I feel it  may be useful in a situation but I can not currently see myself prioritizing Twitter or Facebook, however I do see the value in blogs with sharing information and learning as well as the positive influence commenting on learning through blogs with in the classroom setting.

I have shared learning and information with staff and students during PD days, after school meeting and classroom lessons.  Although these sessions have had a positive impact on students and staff the impact is stifled with the lack of technology.  The information giving in the sessions is found to be useful and exciting by others learning the new programs on the Ipad, or PC and teachers want to use their new knowledge.  It is not for lack of trying that teachers are not using their new knowledge, myself included, it is the lack of computers, Ipads, and technology that is hindering the progress of using the new knowledge in student learning.  I will continue to share and help others use technology in meaningful ways regardless of how much technology we have however there is so much potential waiting to be discovered in all of our classroom.

I have enjoyed learning leader and have found many programs to be very useful in my lessons and student learning.  I look forward to learning more.


Learning Leader Session 4 (April 24 or April 25)

As the session begins, please sign in using this form.


1.  Please take a look at the “Evernote” app.  This is a great app to be used for assessment, voice notes, and can be easily shared.

Group Discussions

1.  What have been your favourite apps that you have used during this project and why?

2.  Have you had any “A-ha” moments in connecting with others through social media?

3.  Discuss some of the sessions that you have delivered to your staff.  What has been the impact in school?

Final Video

This is an extremely powerful video on education and the way our world has changed.  Please share any of your thoughts to the #psd70 Twitter hashtag.

By May 10, you will need to finish your final assignment for this project.  Please go through the requirements located on this page.

Learning Leader Session 4 (Overview and Information)

As this session will be done totally online, please comment on the bottom when you are done going through the material with either a general comment, or something specific to the content.  Please feel free to ask questions or share your thoughts with others to spur on some conversation.

1.  Joe’s Non-Netbook – This video is a great one for discussion with students and educators to show how ‘text’ may not have the same feel as an iPad or computer with the lack of interactivity.  Check out this short, funny video done by students:

2. ShowMe – ShowMe is a great iPad app for creating video tutorials on different content, but you can also easily create presentations using pictures and upload them as videos to the web.  These videos can be shared and embedded into different websites, but below is a tutorial on how to create a slideshow using this app:

Before you make a video, you may want to check out what content is already at the “ShowMe” community.

3.  SoundCloud – SoundCloud is a great audio recording site that works not only from a computer, but also Apple Devices as well.  This can be used for students reading books live and putting into a portfolio, recording lectures or talks, or making easy podcasts.  There is simply a”record” button that will save your audio on your iPad, but be aware that this will be posted onto a website.

The nice thing about this, is that the content can be easily shared on Twitter, a blog, or Facebook.  You can also record music or any type of audio file.  Below is a SoundCloud tutorial on how to create a recording from a computer:

This short video will also show you how to easily embed a SoundCloud file into your blog.

Here are some questions for this session:

1. What are you thoughts on “Joe’s Non-Netbook”?

2. What are some ways you can use ShowMe in your classroom with either staff or students?

3. What are some ways could you use SoundCloud with either staff or students?

Thanks for your dedication to this project!  Details for the next session will come out in May!


In my adventures in iPad apps, I have consistently ran into the same problem.  What do you do when you have a great app you would like students to use for a project when not all students have and iPad?  In my iPad adventures, I have found that several of the Interactive Whiteboard apps have amazing potential to be linked to project-based learning but virtually all of them involve owning an iPad.  Now, with the iPad 2 now selling for a cool $419.00, the price is dropping but the majority of students still do not possess these nifty devices.

So I began searching for apps that students could use on an iPad or on a computer.  One of my administrators, directed me to a cool app called Voicethread.  The program allows you to upload pictures and make handwritten annotations on the picture while also recording your voice or recording video.  You can upload several pictures to make a sort of…well…story.  As a language teacher, I thought that this would be a great tool to use for my Japanese class, so I pitched it as an optional way to complete the Japanese Festival Project in my Japanese 30 class.  Many of the students opted out of using the new app and stuck with the familiar PowerPoint program but I did have a couple of students who gave the new program a shot and it made marking an absolute breeze!  The students who used the program used it in two different ways.  The first did it on her computer and was not able to make the written annotations but was able to record her voice while advancing through her uploaded pictures.  The second student actually used his Blackberry tablet to complete the assignment and he was able to make written annotations while also recording his voice.  While it was unfortunate that the written annotations were not available using a computer, I was pleased that a $199 device like the Blackberry tablet was able to incorporate this feature (a world of caution…one thing that some of you may not like about Voicethread is that you are not able to get the video as a file. You instead, have to share the link which does not allow you to save the video file.  Although this is typical to almost all of the interactive whiteboard apps out there, it is still something that I believe limits the flexibility of this particular application.  In addition, if you want to see one of the videos that your student has shared with you, you must already have a Voicethread account to watch the video.).


Learning Leader Session 4 (Prep)

Hopefully you have been finding some great resources on your own through this project, and I have appreciated the blog posts.  Please make sure that you have written your 3rd blog post before April 24 if you have not already.

For the next session, please download and set up the following apps:

1.  Soundcloud

2.  ShowMe

You will have to go into each app and sign up for the service to be ready for the session.

Also, a reminder that each participant is expected to deliver 2 sessions to their own staff.  A form will be coming out soon for you to share what you have taught within your own school.

Below is the form to sign up for next week’s session:

Please let me know if you have any questions.