Give and Take

Over the course of ECMP 355, I have gotten lots of support from my classmates. It was very reassuring to know that if I ever encountered a technical issue or simply had a curiosity, I could turn to a community of people who had my back and were willing to contribute to my learning. However, as we learned throughout the course, part of being a good digital citizen is not just taking but also giving/offering something up in return. Good digital citizens are not simply voyeurs, but those who actively participate. Keeping this in the forefront of my mind, I also, in turn, contributed in various ways to the learning of my classmates whenever possible. This took many forms.

  1. Twitter. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:
  • connecting with classmates and others online as a means of helping fellow educators build their PLN.
  • tweeting over 245 times!
  • sharing classroom photos, videos, and student work to help give practical lessons/ideas to others that they themselves can use or adapt.
  • liking posts/tweets as a means of supporting others thoughts and acknowledging that I find links/resources helpful.
  • commenting on others’ posts by offering up my own insights/points of view from a French Immersion classroom.
  • retweeting useful links, resources, and blog posts so that others could have access to them. It was also a means of promoting my classmates and giving their blogs exposure.
  • using the ecmp355 hashtag as a means of contributing to our online resources and categorizing our posts.
  • engaging in various chats on my own time as a means of engaging with PD and collaborating with others (SaskEd chat as well as a DigCiz chat hosted by our professor, Katia Hildebrandt).

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2. Google+. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:

  • responding to classmates’ questions about blogging, tweeting, etc. and offering up answers. If I did not know an answer off hand, I worked to find it online.
  • offering up questions that I had, and that I had a feeling others had as well. This saved others from asking and created an archive of Q&A.

3. Blogging. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:

  • inviting others to comment on my blog posts and attempting to create discussion/dialogue in the comments sections.
  • posting feedback, opinions, and questions on others’ blog posts on a regular basis.
  • using pingbacks to various classmates, including Kim Thue.
  • creating screencasts that guide others through various online processes (coding).
  • responding to others’ comments on my blog posts to spark and develop deeper discussions.

4. Online Sessions. Over the pas 2 months, I could be seen:

  • offering up thoughts, opinions, and commentary in the chat section of our online courses (Tuesday and Thursday nights).
  • sharing insights after breakout sessions.
  • attempting to answer other students’ questions in the chat so as to lighten Professor Hildebrandt’s load.
  • engaging/participating in others’ initiatives (uploading to Padlet).

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My hope is that this give and take between classmates will continue after the course is done. Many of them will be in my PLN for a very long time, as the ideas, opinions, resources, etc. we have shared over the past 2 months has been invaluable. Technology really does lend itself well to collaboration and PD. Great experience!

Itching for More

 

My goal this week: stepping up my background game.

I’ve chosen a Simpsons character this week that lends itself well to a detailed background. Itchy and Scratchy is a cartoon show within The Simpsons that parodies classic cartoons such as Wile-E-Coyote and the Road Runner. The catch is that the mouse is trying to catch the cat and most of the time, he succeeds.

This week, I painted Itchy (the mouse) and used the props from his plans to capture Scratchy. In Looney Tunes, you’d often see Acme products, whereas in The Simpsons, Itchy uses more realistic means.

To draw the TNT box that Itchy is coming out of, I used the following video:

This box was my own addition to the painting and was not included in my reference image. I also chose to include a wooden background. I used this YouTube video to help me with that pattern:

YouTube videos are always great for my original sketches. I often choose the shortest ones, however, as I sometimes feel that they are too slow. In an article with pictures, I can work at my own pace, whereas a YouTube video limits me to working at someone else’s pace. In the above videos, I found that I skipped ahead quite often.

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In terms of the actual painting, I have definitely found my groove in terms of the characters (colour, proportions, etc). I have also become quite fast. My first painting of Marge took me 3 and a half hours from start to finish and did not include a background. This one took me about 2 hours, background included. Little points of progress such as this definitely help to build my confidence and encourage me to continue taking more risks. The documentation of progress through blog posts has allowed me to visually see my progress, which allows me to see that I am not standing still. I am moving forward every week.

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Next week, I will be wrapping up my learning project by exploring various options for my artwork (other than cluttering the walls of my apartment). Stay “tooned!”

“SIGH”berbullying

As I read up on cyberbullying this week for ECMP 355, I can’t help but sigh. The more I read, the more I ask, “Why?”

  • Why do people cyberbully?
  • Why do we allow it to happen/think it is okay/ignore it?
  • Why is cyberbullying such a big part of our online culture now?
  • Why do children, teens, and adolescents keep cyber-bullying from their parents?

I will not attempt to necessarily answer any of these questions this week, but rather, I will raise them and begin to explore them. I encourage conversation/for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below in response to these questions. My goal is to start an important conversation.

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Photo Credit: Mugunghwa Dream Blog Flickr via Compfight cc

Understandably, cyberbullying is much more present among adolescents, teens, and children (compared to adults). This article is absolutely filled with statistics on cyberbullying. It states, “Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.” To add to my ongoing list of questions, I wonder if cyberbullying is replacing face-to-face bullying. Has bullying in schools gone down as a result of cyberbullying? Or is the amount of bullying (in any form) simply gone up with the creation of the Internet?

In the CBC documentary series, The Fifth Estate, there is an episode that features around Amanda Todd, a teen who committed suicide after falling victim to a cyberbully. One woman states that young girls in particular are “naïve and trusting” while online. This is partly because when teens are online, they feel disarmed. They feel removed from the people they are interacting with/do not actually view them as human. They do not sense a threat and are therefore more open. Young people are generally naïve and trusting, however, this is amplified while online. This causes them to say and do things, such as cyberbully, which they might not normally do. It also allows them to be more accepting of cyberbullying, as they do not view the bullies as real people either. They tolerate a different level of communication while online. When was the last time you read comments on a YouTube video and didn’t see a hateful comment? Did you report it? The online language is much more critical and vulgar than verbal, face-to-face language. And we tolerate it.

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Photo Credit: Ares Project Flickr via Compfight cc

The reporter from the same documentary says “[Amanda’s] impulsive gesture was immortalized,” which raises another important question: Why are we so easily disarmed while online when everything we do can be held against us? Everything we do is documented. At least in person-to-person conversations, we do not leave a trail behind us. We need to educate youth in classrooms about being more vigilant while online and to not be so trusting. We need to teach them to think and judge for themselves and to react accordingly. No one deserves to be cyberbullied, and no one deserves to feel like it is acceptable if they are. Students need to be educated to develop the mindset that cyberbullying holds the same consequences as real bullying, affects people the same way as real bullying, and can be documented. Potential victims of cyberbullying need to be aware that what they post and say online can be held against them/manipulated to paint them in a negative light (remix culture). My main point here is that there is a lot of education that needs to take place!

This education starts in the classroom. We cannot avoid it or assume that youth know how to navigate this online world. Look at where that has gotten us? Students don’t simply need a long list of consequences or things they shouldn’t do. They need to understand. We need to equip students with the knowledge to think and react and interact for themselves.

In the TED Talk “One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life” by Jon Ronson, he states (talking about Twitter) that “People would admit shameful secrets about themselves and other people would say ‘Oh my god’ I’m exactly the same.” He talks about people finding their voice online. A powerful voice. This could answer some of the questions from above. People are seeking out a community online. They are seeking to be heard and listened to. This makes them vulnerable. This allows them to tolerate negative words or actions that target them.

Ronson also refers to “That sad feeling when the Internet doesn’t congratulate us for being funny.” His example is when a tweet does not get any likes or replies. This forces us to up our game. To raise our ante. We want to be noticed. We want to find a community of people online who give us affirmation. In the case of Justine Sacco, this lead her to tweeting out something incredibly inappropriate that, as the title of the TED Talk states, “ruined her life.” Obviously no one deserves to be cyberbullied or cyberharrassed, however, this particular tweet set her up for an overwhelming amount of hate directed at her online. Her vulnerability and trustworthiness caused her to post something that was A) documented for all of the world to see and B) incredibly offensive and sparked the responses of thousands of people.

My hope is that this post opens up some discussion. Please comment below to join the conversation. For anyone wishing to read more about cyberbullying and its permanent nature, check out this article that reinforces the idea that “The Internet has no delete button.”

For anyone who is currently the victim of cyberbullying, please read this article that outlines a number of options that you have and reinforces the fact that it is not your fault.

Painting over mistakes is like sweeping dirt under the rug. No one will know unless you want them to.

Having finished my third The Simpsons painting (Milhouse Van Houten), I definitely feel as though I’ve hit my stride/found my groove in terms of style. This is where I belong: painting the Simpsons, one character at a time.

This being said, however, even the smoothest of grooves contain a few bumps here and there. The final result is perhaps one of my best (stay tuned to later in the post), however, it wasn’t easy getting there. Normally when I draw my characters, it goes pretty flawlessly. This time was different.

I, for whatever reason, struggled with Milhouse’s proportions and erased and redrew at least 10 times. Each time I erased, my new lines were harder to see so I had to press more firmly with my pencil, creating darker and darker lines. Then when I erased those lines, I had to go even darker the next time. Long story short… I made a mess.

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Normally my sketch is just a bunch of dotted lines as you can see from my Squidward sketch.
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This week, I had to use actual lines. Compared to the Squidward above, these lines are much darker and harder to paint over.

My plan was to simply paint over the pencil lines over and over again until they went away. This would have been difficult considering the yellow I use is fairly light (I mix it with white). Luckily, I found the following video that seemed to save several layers of paint, a few hours of repainting, and the piece in general.

 

This site, as well as art-is-fun.com (which has become one of my go-to sites) also offered some great solutions. It was, however, much easier to watch the video on YouTube. The Internet has many articles that are super informative, but in this particular scenario, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

So here is my final product. You can see that this character is much more detailed compared to my previous characters. In particular, the glasses were quite complex. I also painted his entire body instead of just his head.

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Lastly, I’m quite proud of his facial expression and the background that enhances the character’s mood. I’ve found that my best work comes from bringing the characters to life, and this one in particular seems to portray a sense of emotion. I consider this a victory.

All Aboard the Digital Citizenship!

Every year, my class participates in Student Vote. We learn about the electoral system, research candidates, and go through the motions of voting. I try to create an authentic experience for them, highlighting what it means to be a Canadian citizen.

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Photo Credit: hi fi parasol Flickr via Compfight cc

Digital citizenship, however, isn’t quite so easy. Many teachers assume that the younger generation knows more about technology than they do. This is true in a lot of respects, however, many teachers overlook that students require knowledge in 9 different fields, according to Mike Ribbel. Denying a student an education in any one of these areas means not giving them a complete picture of what it means to be a digital citizen.

The nine elements of digital citizenship:

  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Commerce
  3. Digital Communication
  4. Digital Literacy
  5. Digital Etiquette
  6. Digital Law
  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
  8. Digital Health and Wellness
  9. Digital Security (Self-Protection)

Often, we impose rules on students. Don’t go on Facebook. Don’t take videos during class, don’t buy stuff on eBay while I’m lecturing. However, teachers lack the training to truly educate the essence of being a digital citizen. It is not simply adhering to rules. We must teach our students to think for themselves and use their judgment. We do a good job of this in all subject areas, however, this is one area where many teachers feel inadequate. Students need to feel comfortable enough to engage online, not just observe and consume. This is what it means to be a citizen.

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Photo Credit: technovore Flickr via Compfight cc

Don’t get me wrong, this feeling of inadequacy, and having the students be experts/teachers themselves is fantastic. However, the teacher needs to have and ultimate goal in mind and a working knowledge of digital citizenship to get there.

It is never too early to begin teaching digital citizenship. Just like treaty education, it is important to start early and to “dive in” despite thinking you are not informed enough. Learning alongside students goes a long way and models the learning process for them. If students start early, discovering and laying the groundwork, they will subconsciously be equipped with a working knowledge of what it means, in general and to them, to be a digital citizen.

They will also be well on their way to forming their digital identity. The knowledge of digital citizenship will allow them to create an identity that will not come back to haunt them later on in life, like this example. Students will be able to paint a picture of themselves, from the beginning, that will present themselves to the world in a positive, confident, intelligent, and mindful way. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, this is becoming increasingly more crucial (specifically in the job market) because your digital identity is the new “first impression”.

Slow your roll, we need more control.

As a member of Instagram, Facebook, and now Twitter, I often reflect on my own digital identity. What you send out electronically has replaced what used to be called “first impression”. Now, people can judge you/form their opinion of you before they even meet you. Their first impression of you now comes from the Internet instead of the standard face-to-face encounter. Handshakes and eye contact have become rarities.

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Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

Since my Facebook is mostly private, I use this social media platform for personal posts (my weekend plans, vacations, my engagement, things I find funny etc.). It is rare that I will post professional posts on my Facebook account, however, I do occasionally share resources that I find from teacher-based groups (Ontario French Teachers). On Facebook, I share details of my personal life with colleagues, friends, and family. However, in case something does get out of my private Facebook sphere (never underestimate a student’s ability to snoop), I am careful to never post anything that would get me in trouble. I filter everything through a “common sense” filter. It is important to take time to reflect on how others will view your post/if your post detracts from your professional image.

My Instagram account is run in the exact same way. I used to use it for professional posts as well (sharing what we’re up to in the classroom), however, Twitter seemed to become the frontrunner in terms of professional content. This is simply, in my view, because it lends itself well to professional networking (retweeting, hashtags, chats).

 

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Are you aware of the digital fingerprints you’re leaving behind?   Photo Credit: diedintragedy Flickr via Compfight cc

When I Google myself, the first result is my profile on RateMyTeacher. That’s right – the first result that appears is one that I did not create/put out there myself. In fact, I don’t know who created a profile for me or who wrote my reviews. Luckily for me, the reviews are positive and I have a good rating, however, it’s scary to think that my first virtual impression to someone when they Google me could be in the hands of someone else. This lack of control over my impression to others fuels me to contribute more to my digital identity. This book mirrors a lot of my thoughts, for anyone looking to read up on controlling our digital environment.

Following this, my Twitter account appears. My general profile page is displayed, but so are specific posts. Again, I feel a lack of control, as it appears that random posts appear in the search results – not necessarily the most recent or most popular ones.

Newspaper articles from when I used to write for a local newspaper also appear, as do a few of my short stories that I got published in University. Google images displays several photos from my Facebook and Google + accounts – all of which I’m happy with but have had no control over. Because of how random these results can be (which pictures appear in search results and which ones don’t), I again, am thankful for my “common sense” filter. I know that whatever Google (or other search engines) chooses to display, will not come back to haunt me.

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Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc

I look forward to continuing to contribute to my digital identity, mostly through the form of this blog (which also appeared in my Google search for myself). As Katia Hildebrandt said in our session last night, the more you put out there, the more control you have. I want more control.

UPDATE: Feel free to check out my classroom website as well, which is also a part of my digital identity.

Paint Time with Finn and Jake

This week, I branched out into painting characters from a third television show: Adventure Time.

My goal this week was to really up the ante, step out of my comfort zone, push the envelope, and any other generic cliché that you can think of. Here are a few challenges I set out for myself:

  • Putting 2 characters on the same canvas instead of only one
  • Using the canvas landscape style, not portrait
  • Experimenting with different colours for these different characters (not just Simpsons yellow)
  • Using darker background colours (black) instead of softer, lighter tones
  • Working with 3D effects
  • Using water colour
  • Using black paint for important outlines and features instead of black marker
  • Not copying an image directly from my computer and taking more creative liberties
  • Incorporating a video into my blog post

For this Adventure Time piece, I first consulted the  YouTube video below to learn how to draw Finn and Jake. This site was also helpful with drawing Finn and his features.

With their sketches done, the painting was underway. Unlike my The Simpsons characters, I did not use the darker and lighter tones effect. I kept their colours solid, much like in the actual show (Adventure Time).

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In this picture above, you can see I used red water colour paints instead of acrylic. Like the name suggests, the water colour paints are much wetter and runnier than the acrylic. This made it more challenging to stay within the lines I had set out for myself. This type of paint also didn’t cover my pencil lines as well as the acrylic, so I had to go over it several times. This site was very helpful and had a lot of good tips for working with water colours.

As mentioned earlier, in addition to the water colour challenge, I attempted to use black paint for outlining the majority of the characters’ features. I used marker for the explosion effect in the background, simply because it lends itself well to the 3D effect I was going for, however, the rest is mostly done with a thin, stiff brush, black acrylic paint, and a steady hand.

Below you can see the characters with the background coloured in, the final product for this week, and finally, my updated collection to date. Again, I feel like I have made a lot of progress, but there are still many things that I would like to improve upon. Stay tuned to more of my blog posts on this page to see what I mean.

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I used darker colours for my background this time. I find it really makes the characters “pop”.
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My final product.

Next week, I make a return to what interests me the most and attempt to recreate an iconic character that I have been eyeing up since this project began. See you then.

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My updated collection. Still figuring out how I’m going to sign the latest piece. Please leave suggestions in the comments section below.

 

Pick Me, Pick Me!

This week, I have reflected a lot on the culture of participation, as outlined by both Michael Wesch and Alec Couros.

In Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, he shows a number of videos of people dancing and singing to the same song, Numa Numa. From all around the world, people belt it out into their webcams, “expressing joy” for others to see. He seems to suggest that these people are all connected and that they feel the need to participate and be a part of something bigger than themselves. He describes the uploaded videos as “a celebration of new and unimaginable possibility” and “a celebration of new forms of community.” I, on the other hand, feel that the exact opposite is occurring. These people are not wanting to be a part of a community, but on the contrary, want to stand out as a singular and unique individual. These people participate out of a need and a desire to be noticed. They perform for the Internet and expect something in return: their 10 minutes of fame. They do not want to fit in with a community, but instead want to stand out. This causes them to engage with the most ridiculous (sometimes dangerous) behaviour. However, their reasoning and motives aside, they are nonetheless participating.

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Photo Credit: benpal4 Flickr via Compfight cc

Alec Couros also talks about a different form of Internet participation, also known as “Catfishing.” This is simply when an individual or group of individuals poses as someone else online, therefore misleading others for either, money, sympathy, attention, information, etc. Couros shares an example of how he himself was part of a “catfish”. His public photos were used by someone else to create a phony Facebook profile. These “catfishers” participate online as a means of exploiting. They use others’ identities, or made up identities, to engage with others and get them to participate online in a way that will benefit their own personal motives. As I highlight the negative forms of participation culture online, it is clear that weather one is looking to make their identity known/be recognized, or hide their identity altogether, this participation can be done with deceitful or selfish intentions. However, the classroom seems to be a place where the participation culture can be used for something positive.

Through technological participation, students are able to demonstrate their knowledge. Much like the Numa Numa singers, they seek to be noticed – but for they acquired knowledge. They are “showing off” what they have learned as a means of being assessed. This could be through the form of videos, songs, commercials, Kahoot quizzes, etc. Students engage and participate using technology as a means of demonstrating knowledge. This enhances the evidence of learning and makes assessment easier. This is where the participation culture positively affects an entire field: education. If we’re looking at the SAMR model, this culture easily lends itself to the “Redefinition” category.

In closing for this week, I’d like to research other positive and negative effects of the participation culture and will be watching the rest of Wesch’s An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. Until next week, web surfers.

Let the Hunger Games Begin. This year’s arena: Twitter.

I just recently joined Twitter and am in the process of building my online PLN (Professional Learning Network). Twitter had never really appealed to me before teaching. The 140 character count limit seemed to suggest that nothing important was being said. Now that I am a working professional, I see that the character limit simply makes important discussions more direct and to-the-point. There is no “extra” – just what needs to be said. As someone with a lot on his plate professionally, and an ongoing/constant list of 100 things I should be doing, this brief and succinct form of PD is actually really appreciated.

I was lucky enough to join the discussions in Saskedchat on Thursday night. In one of my tweets from Thursday, I compared myself to Katniss Everdeen as she is about to be launched into the Hunger Games. I went into it knowing that the chat would be a bit overwhelming and that lots of people would be contributing, however, I quickly realized that you just pick and choose what you wish to engage with. It’s a personalized form of PD that reminds me of our school PLCs (Professional Learning Community) where teachers get together once a week to talk about practice, student engagement, literacy, numeracy and basically anything that helps us as individuals become better educators. It’s about engaging in important dialogue that helps you reflect on your practice. The difference is that you can engage with anyone in the world. Just because the character count is limited does not mean that your scope of people to engage with is. Quite the opposite, actually.

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Photo Credit: webtrakya Flickr via Compfight cc

For me, Twitter is currently my professional social media platform. This might be because of how public my profile is. Facebook is great for posting pictures of what I did over the weekend or catching up with my grandmother through the chat features. Instagram is great for looking at hundreds of cute dog pictures or sunsets. These accounts are both set to private for me. However, Twitter seems different. It’s more focused and allows you to use it in very specific ways, partly because of the hashtags. I look at it as a professional platform and do not want to remove myself from people who aren’t currently in my inner circle. I want to bring them in and see what they have to offer. The amount of resources and articles that are shared under educational hashtags is perfect for teachers and keeps me from deviating from educational material. I don’t feel distracted or the need to explore other topics just yet, as I’m still consuming the plethora of educational resources.

For your Twitter experience to be successful, however, you must contribute as well as consume. It is a give and take relationship and you must also offer something to others. I think that Twitter is a useful tool for modern classrooms (sharing pictures, posting homework). I am not yet a fan of the chat feature, simply because Facebook and Instagram offer the exact same thing, however, I could see myself using it for professional dialogue only.

As I continue to navigate through ECMP 355 with the University of Regina, I will continue to build my PLN and will hopefully have built something that I can return to when the course is over. For now, my primary reason for engaging with Twitter is simply to explore an online professional world that I previously did not know existed. I look forward to seeing how that evolves as I spend more time on the social media platform. The Hunger Games continue.

For more information about Twitter, check out this page by David Truss.

Bienvenue/Welcome

My name is Jordan Ingola and I am a grade 5/6 French Immersion teacher at École Connaught Community School in Regina. This is my second year as a teacher and I love incorporating technology into my classroom wherever and whenever I can. Many of the students in my class are still too young to have phones/technology or do not necessarily have the means to purchase such devices on their own. For many of them, some of their first interactions with certain types of technology are in the classroom – which makes it essential that they understand the responsibility that comes along with its usage. It sets the tone for the rest of their technological education. They must learn how to use it appropriately before using it to their advantage.

As an immersion teacher, Google Read & Write is a tremendously positive and useful tool in my classroom that gives students the opportunity to edit their work by listening to it orally. As the computer reads back their work to them, they are able to follow along and catch errors more easily. They are also able to improve the flow and fluidity of their sentences. As for students who are researching or reading articles online (working on comprehension strategies), they can easily look up definitions of new words or have them read back to them. Both the text-to-speech and speech-to-text features really are a great asset to any student.

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Photo Credit: Teknobeyin Flickr via Compfight cc

Staying on the subject of Google, Google Docs and Slides are a staple of our classroom projects. Through these, students can instantly share their work with me and allow me to track their edits and changes along the way. I can also add comments and provide students with feedback mid-project. Stay tuned to my later blog posts for more on Google within the classroom.

As part of ECMP 355, I will be updating my blog twice a week. Blogging is incredibly beneficial in terms of sharing of resources and professional collaboration among teachers and colleagues. It is a great platform to engage one another on a professional and educational level and allows teachers to put their thoughts into words at the end of the day – something that seems to get lost in the chaos of teaching. The self-reflection aspect of blogging is perhaps the most appealing from a personal standpoint.

In addition to my blog, feel free to network with me through my professional Twitter profile.