Innovation and Unlearning: A Teacher’s Reality

“We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.
We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process (Richardson, 2007).”

 

Teachers are meant to be innovators. Really, in any profession out there, there is a need for innovators in that field. This past semester for me has been very eye opening as to what it means to be an innovator in the classroom. I have been an innovative leaner this semester because I have found different ways to complete homework and I have learned how to look at a situation from all angles, not just the angle that I think of first because I think it is right. Being a sorority President has also helped me do this because I have to have all sides of a story before trying to help people with their situation or help some of my girls with a conflict they are having. It’s what being a good leader is all about, it starts with being an innovator. Innovation in learning can come out the same way. Not all students learn the same way or understand an explanation on the first go. You’ll need to be a creative innovator in order to come up with ideas on what other ways there are to explain a situation or try to help a student understand the material.

 

“I am an educator.
I am an innovator.
I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners”. With this empathetic approach, I will create and design learning experiences with that question as a starting point (Couros, 2015).”

 

From this semester, I have unlearned that education is not an event. It is a continuous experience that you will always have. Learning does not just happen in one day and you learn for the rest of your life. True learning will never end. I really believe that, for me, this was something that was hard to unlearn. It was hard to unlearn because I’m the type of person that wants to learn something and get it correct the first time that I do it. I always strive to do my best and always strive to try to make sure that I know what I know. It’s hard to admit that, even if a certain thing is your specialty, you will never truly know everything there is to know about it. This is the same with education in general. You want to know and learn all that you can, but the truth is, we will be learning until the day we die. While this was the main thing that I unlearned this semester, I’m still working on fully being okay with it.

Creating of a Comic: Using Toons in the Classroom

There I was, sitting in the Chadron State College Student Center with a website called ToonDoo pulled up on my laptop. ToonDoo is a website you can use to make comic strips on and use graphics to tell a story. Anyway, I’m getting glances as people take a look at my laptop screen and then at me. They are probably wondering what in the world a college student is doing on a comic making website and what type of class allows them to do that!

The first thing I had to do was create an account. That alone took me a while to do. Every username I typed in was already taken! I went through my whole name before it finally allowed me to make my username MikaelaFranz. Two letters away from my whole name and two letters away from me choosing a different website. The next step was choosing what type of comic I was going to make. Was I going to make a 3 window strip comic? Perhaps I only needed one window. I finally settled on the 4 window square comic. Next was trying to come up with what I was going to create a comic about. To be fair, I probably should have thought about what I was making the comic strip about before choosing that I was going to create 4 windows worth of material.

What was I going to make my comic strip about. I had no clue. There were so many possibilities, yet I couldn’t even think about one. A break was needed.

After a short break, I found myself back at my laptop. What on Earth was I going to create a Toon about?! Procrastination! I have a great habit of doing that!

COMIC

As far as using this in a classroom, I totally would! I love the idea of having the minds of students go wild with imagination. I would be great to see where their minds lead them and see the outcome of what they can do when given the chance to do it! I also believe that there is a benefit to presenting information in a graphic kind of style. You can verbally say information as many times as you want, but some students need to see what they are learning. Especially if it is seen in a fun way!

Using Podcast and Digital Stories in the Classroom

Podcasts are becoming more and more popular in today’s world and with technology growing, digital story telling like those that happen in podcasts open up a person to a world of opinions and facts. Imagine the one piece of information or one subject that you have longed to know about. All of a sudden, you have the information you’ve always wanted to know about at the tip of your fingers. For those who have a hard time reading, it’s helpful for them to listen to the information instead of having to read it. You have the opportunity to keep your students involved and interested in the lesson. It also opens up a new world of opinions and information that they might never have the chance to have without podcasts.

While there are so many advantages to podcasts, there are also a few disadvantages. When you open up the world of podcasts to students, you are also opening a world of possibly negative information that they can access of they are not careful. Some of these negative podcasts can be etched into the minds of students and can cause undesirable outcomes to their education.

I would consider having my students create podcasts or digital stories. Mostly because some students feel more comfortable having their voices recorded during a presentation to the class rather than having to stand up their and speak in front of the class where they can get nervous and forget their train of thought in front of the whole class. It gives students a second option to class presentations as well as gives them an outlet to get their creative juices flowing. It gives them an opportunity to get their opinions in the real world as well as the information that they know and want to share.

An article I read called “Meaningful Stories: How Teens Connect with StoryCorps and Podcasts” by Linda Flanagan brought the practice used by Alex Fernandez into her article. “Social science teacher Alex Fernandez is encouraging his students to think about these deeper experiences by spending one day a week discussing their own life stories and sharing them with classmates. At the end of the school week, he sits down with his students at World Language High School, in Chicago’s tough Little Village neighborhood, and invites them to talk about their futures (Flanagan, 2015).”

Students should want to share their personal stories without the thought of being made fun of or judged for what they have been through. By sharing their stories, not only will the people that they know get to know them better, but they have the opportunity to help someone across the country or world.

Technology used Mindfully?

 

Technology. We use it every single day whether we like to admit it or not, I mean, you’re using it to read this blog post right now! But, what if you had to take a challenge which included you giving up the internet for a whole year. Yes, you read that right: a whole year! Could you do it? Personally, I feel like I could if I didn’t have a degree that I was working towards where most of my homework is completed online. Here’s another question to make you think. Could you live without you phone or any devices for 30 days? How about even a week? What if you got paid to live without technology like your phone or laptop? 

 

 

I feel like I use technology mindfully. I like to say that I use it when I have to and when I don’t need it, I’m reading a book. Although I am reading a book on my phone. We need to be aware of when we should be using our technology and when it is time to put it away for a while. When eating dinner with your friends or family and having a real face-to-face conversation is a time to put the technology away for a while. Make sure that, while technology is a very useful resource, you are using it wisely and when needed. I’m not saying that you should give up your phone for a certain amount of time but pay attention to when you are using it instead of mindlessly scrolling through different social media sources. Stop have a face-to-face conversation with a friend while writing a text message or an e-mail. Be present. I know, I know. You can listen and type at the same time, but when you are doing that, are you really paying attention to what they are saying? Are you taking in their mannerisms, looking into their eyes, or seeing their real emotion? How will you know if something they say bothers them or not if you are not fully committed to the conversation? What if they did what you are doing to them, how would you feel? 

 

 

If your eyes are glued to that phone screen, you are missing out on so much. Take time to look up from the phone screen and put it away for a while. Take a walk and notice things that you may have never noticed if you hadn’t put your phone away at that moment. Be present. Be aware.

 

Independent Learning Project: My Chance to Teach

My week was just made! My best friends little sister, who I also consider a little sister, really wants to learn how to crochet. The school that she goes to, the Family and Consumer Science program was taken out of the school the year before she was going to be able to start in the class. I remember how bumbed she was that she didn’t get the chance to make an orange Julius or to have an egg baby. She messaged me and told me that she wants to learn how to crochet a blanket or something for one of her art projects. I was surprised to hear that she was actually interested in learning how to crochet and I was shocked to hear that she wanted to take on a project as big as a blanket! She is in 8th grade, I’m a college sophomore and I’m having a hard-enough time finishing a blanket! While talking to my friend about it, she asked what would be a good way to keep her sister interested in the project long enough to finish the blanket. If I’m being honest, I didn’t know what to tell her at first. I mean, with all the homework and crazy events going on that I have been needed at, I really don’t know what keeps me going on my blanket.

 

I thought about it for a couple of day to try to find what really kept me crocheting my blanket other than the fact that it relaxes me. What could I tell her that would keep her going and motivated to finish it? (Just to fill you in, she has a really bad habit of starting a project and then never finishing it. Kind of like me, but worse!)

 

Here’s my advice:
– Imagine the final project. Make sure that you have that goal in mind when you start crocheting and make sure that you can see the finished project. If you can see the final project, it will motivate you to make that final vision a reality.

 
– Have a reason for doing it. For example, I’m crocheting my blanket for my dad. The thought of my dad being proud of somethings that I took the time to make him keeps me motivated to continue to crochet.

 
– Be proud of your project. People may not be impressed at first about what you are doing. That’s okay! You know that what you are doing is something that you want to do. It should matter about what others think or say about your project.

 
– Don’t set an exact timeline for yourself. If you set a timeline for yourself, then it will make you stressed to finish the project in a hurry. If you finish it in a hurry or sit down and crochet for 3 hours straight, you’re going to get tired of it very fast. Set a time of when you would like to finish, that way you keep going, but make sure it is enough time to finish.

 
– Make what you want, choose the colors that you want, and don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. If you don’t like it, then you’re not going to want to do it.

Digital Activism: A Way to Spread the Word

“Sit-ins, marches, picket signs—these are the images we conjure up when we think of activism in the traditional sense, but for teens and twenty-somethings, change is starting with the click of a mouse (Manrodt, 2014).”

With the creation of technology, the possibilities are endless when it comes to teens being able to spread their message throughout the world. We have seen both the positive and negative effects of being able to spread messages to millions of people with one click of a button. But sometimes I believe that people forget that, while there are those negative people in the world, there are positive people out there who are trying their best to help everyone they can. Theses people are trying their best to help people who are going through rough times and spread words of positivity through social media.

Today I’m writing an article about internet activism. What is activism? Activism is the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. Everyone time I log onto my computer every day, see a new act of internet activism. But who are the people behind this internet activism? Most of the time, they are teens. Those teens who are working and running social media accounts that help those who need someone to talk to. Those that feel alone and ashamed of all of their problems have the opportunity to talk to someone anonymously that can help them get through their problems. These teens post inspiring quotes, posts, and pictures that are used to help people remember that they are worth living. If you would like to explore a great example of a Twitter account, the account The Help Hotline. The account was created by 16-year-old Kasey Lemley in September of 2012. Her goal? To change the world through positivity. The account The Help Hotline is a finalist in the 6th annual Shorty Awards in the Teen Activism division. Exploring through her Twitter account and her Instagram account, it is easy to see why she is a finalist. Most of her posts are about mental issues and issues that teens may have.

I loved learning about teen activism and being able to explore different accounts that are made to help others. I personally like accounts that talk about personal experiences and how they were able to help themselves. I especially love it when those same people make it their mission to help others with their problems. I like to spread positivity, and I’m glad to see other young teens like to still spread positivity too. While I know that there are negative influences in the world, I hope to always see positivity win.

 

Independent Learning Project: What’s Up

During my Spring Midterm Break, I had a lot of time to spend working on my independent learning project. As grandma-ish as it sounds, just having the time to work on it was really relaxing. I have decided to give the finished blanket to my dad. In deciding to give it to my dad, I have also decided to make it a surprise. I believe that was a hard part during my time at home. I would work on it as much as I could, but when my dad came into the house after checking cows or doing farm work, I would have to hurry to hide the blanket before he had the chance to see it. Hiding it in a hurry sometimes caused the crochet hook to fall out of the blanket and for me to loose a couple of stiches. Even though it was frustrating to loose stiches that I had just created, I know that it will all be worth it in the end. With the semester coming to an end here pretty soon, I really need to make sure that I am taking all the time I can to work on this project. I still have a little bit of tan left to crochet, an olive green, another tan, and then the final navy blue set of yarn.

What did I learn from this past week of working on my independent learning project? I learned that you shouldn’t leave a crochet project on the floor when you have a very enthusiastic neph-dog in the house unattended. I learned that it is a bad idea to try to crochet while watching a really good TV show because you won’t even thing about paying attention to what you are doing. That I how I ended up with a row full of ridiculous looking clusters that I had to start all over on, but it was funny when I realized it! I also learned that you should leave the ball of yarn on the floor that you are crocheting with while there is a puppy in the house. He WILL play with it and it will be the cutest thing that you will ever see, I know it was for me! Lastly, I learned that if you freak out over not being able to find your project and you’re scared that you left a very important project at home, always check the trunk of your car first before freaking out.

Other than that, I can’t wait to see the end of this project come together!

Digital Literacy Class: A Reflection on the First Half

If I said that I thought this class was easy, I would be lying. This class as been one of the most eventful classes that I have taken, along with one of the most challenging. What I expected from this course was to simply learn how to tweet and how to communicate with Family and Consumer Science teachers from around the world. I expected from this class to gain ideas from other teachers and learn how to write a blog as my experience from a student to a teacher that I can use to look back on to see how far I have come since college. I expected a lot to come out of this class, and so far, I have not been disappointed. As far as expectations go for this class, they have been met.

For me, the most interesting module from this class has been module 4 about passion-based learning. I loved learning about a way to drive students into what they want to learn and how to make lessons something they are passionate about. I really think that you can bring project-based learning and passion-based learning into together to make the classroom a more interesting place. All in all, I like learning about learning.

The most challenging module for me has been module 7, the module about the DSL106 learning course. While I liked learning about the daily creates and I like creating them, I found it challenging because it is 30 days of creates. When it comes to something that I’m not used to doing every day, I can sometimes be forgetful and forget to do the daily create. 30 days to do something new, for me, is hard to imagine.

As for the second half of the semester, I hope to continue learning about new resources and about how to bring digital citizenship into my classroom. I hope to continue to network and learn about new things that will help with my online presence.

Digital Citizenship

As the internet and anything that has to do with digitalization in the world becomes more and more advanced, we are seeing a lot more cases of people who don’t really know what it means to have digital citizenship. So, let me ask you these simple questions before you continue to read my article. Do you practice good digital citizenship? Did you school when you were growing up teach you about digital citizenship?
Due to the growing digital footprint, it is more important than ever to make sure that students know that, while the internet is a great resource, it comes with great responsibility. It comes with the responsibility of not give out personal information over the internet to a person or website that can not be trusted and to make sure that they realize that whatever the put on the internet will always stay there. What you say over the internet can also be a huge point to bring up to students. Some think that just because they can not see the face of the person they are saying something mean about, then it is okay. But is it really the school’s responsibility to educate the students on how to be a responsible digital citizen. While discussing the topic with some of my friends, they believed that the parents or guardians of the student’s putting the devices in their hands should be the ones to educate the students. What I think that they are forgetting is the fact, in schools, we rely on that the students know how to use the internet. Most schools provide computers so that students can do research and do their homework. In an all-around way, schools are the ones putting the devices in the student’s hands.
It is on us, all of us, to teach students how to use their technology wisely. To teach them that digital citizenship is not a responsibility to take lightly. A lesson on digital citizenship does not have to last a whole week. A lesson of digital citizenship can last one day or one class period. Below are done link to some resources and articles that can help teach students on the subject. Looking over these resources helped to remind me about digital citizenship, perhaps it can do the same for some readers.

http://www.craigbadura.com/2013/02/the-digital-citizenship-survival-kit.html

https://www.commonsense.org/education/video

Independent Learning Project: Finding a Meaning

I’m back to writing more about crocheting and how my independent learning project is going. If I’m being completely honest, it has been hard to focus on the last couple of weeks. With so much going on in my life, I have found it hard to do the same stich over and over again. That is why I decided it is time for a change. Currently, I am on the middle stripe of the blanket I am crocheting, so I went ahead and changed the stich to switch it up a bit. I had a friend come up to visit me this weekend and thought it was one of the most ridiculous things in the world that I was just changing the stich pattern on a cluster just for the middle stripe. It would look ridiculous and wrong if I changed the stich just for one stripe, that I should just keep going with the same stich.

 
As odd as you think that this post may start out, there is a meaning behind it. I promise. Here it is: Not everyone is going to be proud of the same things that you are proud of. People are going to think that what you are doing is ridiculous and that it doesn’t make sense. But that does not mean that you should stop what you are doing just because someone thinks what you are doing is dumb. As I’m sitting here writing my post, I’m thinking of my future classroom. How at times will there may be students like my friend? She was not really being rude in any means, but there will be students who, without knowing it, will put your other students down.

 
I understand that it is her opinion and I’m not hurt by it. But it made me really think into my teaching career. I’m 20 years old and have had to go through rough situations just like everyone else, but my students will not have had the chance to have those hard ships yet. They will take things personal and be hard on themselves because they are still trying to figure out who they are. We need to be careful that we do not crush their confidence and that we try to make sure that other students do not crash their confidence either. Let’s be the difference in the classroom, the kindness, and the educators that push our students forward.