October 2009

We´ve  made it!  After two long flights (10 hours from Toronto to Sao Paulo) we are in Brazil.  It has been fantastic to connect with the other Canadian Innovative Teachers.  I can´t wait to meet educators from all over the world.  Darlene, my project collaborator and traveler, started a voicethread about our travels.  Please comment and contribute.

Our Canadian group also has a blog about our adventures.  http://canadainbrazil.edublogs.org

Our first adventure was in customs at the airport.  We standing around after a 10 hour flight, waiting in line, only to see Twilight stars Tyler Launter and Kristen Stewart in line.  No one was really noticing, but I knew who they were and quietly nudged and poked people to bring it to their attention. I got a lot of who are they?! Not the 15 year old girl crowd apparently.

Jodi was brave enough to ask for an autograph and Darlene snapped this photo:


Everyone was very calm and collected in the customs area and the baggage claim area, but once they stepped out into the main waiting area there was a crowd of screaming girls mobbing them.I was just trying to get out of the way!

Darlene started a voicethread about our travels. Please comment and contribute.

We arrived to a lovely hotel and used the time to get to know everyone and their projects a bit better. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

One week from today I head to Brazil to attend the Microsoft Innovative Educators Teachers Forum in Salvador, Brazil.  My colleague Darlene, and I, will be presenting on our Marvin 3D animation, digital storytelling project.  Check out the project details here.  The Canadian delegation has their own blog detailing their journeys and excitement here.

I am finally letting the excitement get to me as it is only a week away.  I can’t wait to journey to the southern hemisphere and try out the GPS with an S on the screen.  We have a day layover in Sao Paulo and I’m planning on taking Darlene on her first geocaching expedition.  I’m going to take a few travel bugs with me to the south for my students to track. 

At the forum itself we are presenting and getting the opportunity to network and build connections with innovative teachers from around the planet.  We will be collaborating and building global projects to enhance the learning of our students.    I can’t wait to learn and be inspired by amazing teachers from all over the planet! 

My students are going to miss me, or at least I hope they will, but I am going to Skype back with them, blog, and leave comments on their blogs.  I want to model how technology can keep people connected, even across continents. 

Brazil, here I come!

My students have been immersed in the world of blogging for a month.  They are absolutely loving it! I’ve posted previously about why I started blogging and how I am going through the process of blogging with my students.  Now that I’ve been at it for a while with my students I wanted to share some of the upsides my students and I have experienced.

1) Word Processing Skills – blogging gives students an authentic platform to practice word processing skills.  Students always learn better in a real world context.  When I teach about putting two spaces after a period or how to run a post through the spell check function just using word, it doesn’t have the same effect as checking over a post that is going to be published on the internet and viewed openly.  When given an audience students have much more of a drive to learn necessary word processing skills.

2) Global Ties – our blogs have opened up the world.  In just a month we’ve received comments from all over the world.  I can tie in geography by mapping our connections and using the clustermap to see where we have had visitors from.

3) Multimedia – our blog is a great place to collect all of our class artifacts.  We post our podcasts, animoto videos, and photos.  The kids can go back to view them at any time and can easily share them with family and friends.

4) Writing – one of my students commented today – “I love blogging, but I don’t like writing.”  Hmm…you’re writing!!  The students are able to share their viewpoint and find their voice.  They are able to express themselves and share in a journal like format, but one they find much more engaging!

5) Typing Skills – My 10 year olds are struggling with typing.   Many are afraid to try to use two hands and are sticking with the “hunt and peck” method.  It is something we will keeping working on.  Blogging is giving them a reason to want to improve their typing skills.  They want to get more into their posts in the limited time we have, it’s great motivation!

Any other upsides of blogging with students that you have experienced? Please comment and share!

Our class blog with individual student blogs linked: http://jendeyenberg.edublogs.org/

What have I done?

I’ve created a groups of kids that rolls their eyes if I pull out a worksheet.  Ok, so I roll my eyes when I pull out a worksheet.  Generally that worksheet is tied to a project with technology.  My two worksheets of the week were to build a timeline we later created on word, and a page of notes we made mind maps out of.

They expect to connect with the world everyday.  They blog with students all over the world and want to share everything they learn.  We Skype and Videoconference with classes from anywhere with timezones that match up with ours. They want to make a podcast instead of writing notes. I love it!

We are working on building wikis, communicating with other classes using Edmodo and Onenote liveshares, posting to forums on Moodle,  and using GPS to find ourselves and follow travel bugs all over the world. The map shows all of our global connections so far, and it`s only been a month, I will keep adding to it! Zoom out to see the whole world!

Red – Travel Bug Stops
Yellow – Wiki Collaborators (More to Come Very soon!)
Light Blue – Marvin Moodle Collaborators
Blue – Blog Partners
Pink – Video Conferences
Green – Travel Bug Sharing

I had to start a spreadsheet of all of my projects to try and keep everything straight.  I’m completely rewriting my year plans to match the new way I’m approaching teaching.  My entire teaching world is shifting.  Three years ago I taught in a traditional school.  I loved teaching there, but now that I’ve met, collaborated with, and learned from some amazing people my world is expanding.  This is expanding the world of my students.

I’m working away on a master’s program in Instructional Technology Leadership.  This program has led me to challenge the way I look at not only technology, but leadership, and where I want to go with my career.  My Personal Learning Network (PLN) on twitter have been an unending source of inspiration, ideas, collaboration opportunities, and resources.  I read blogs, listen to podcasts, and network with some of the best minds in technology education.  These influences are changing me, my classroom, and my world.

Bring on October!!