Summary of Learning

Here is my summary of learning for ECI 833. I enjoyed putting this summary together and reflecting on how much I have learned in such a short period of time. I used the tool Thinglink and embed Powtoon, You Tube, images, and text. I used screencast-o-metic to put it all together. It ended up being a bit ling but the end had a great laugh that I think is worth sticking around for. To watch my summary please see the link below:

Summary of Learning




I have to admit that when I heard about Virtual reality and Augmented reality I thought about gamers. Like Jaymee wrote in her post, I thought about all the useless hours kids spend in their basement playing games.My eyes rolled and my mind went to, “sure another excuse for gamers and game developers to rationalize the virtual world of gaming”. Is it not enough that kids are in the basement playing this stuff that we have to bring it into the school where they can have a break from the fantasy world they life in? My brain automatically goes to the negative effects of gaming and videos on kids and adults. So I thought that I would play devils advocate and search out the negative effects of gaming on kids to prove that this technology is not all good and that we should be cautious about what we bring into the schools.

I found a TED talk about the brain on video games and was excited to hear about all the negative effects. Daphne presented the question that many of us may have thought, “playing video games all day will give you vision issues.” I remember my mom saying, “Do you have to sit so close to the TV, you will go blind?” Don’t forget TV’s were really small back then…2854932811_c242dc3425_m

Daphne took this question to the lab to test what vision issues are related to playing video games. What she found surprised me! A gamer has better vision in two ways!

  1. A gamer can resolve small details in the context of clutter. This means that a gamer will be able to read the small print on a pill bottle better that a non-gamer.
  2. A gamer can resolve different levels of grey better. This means that if you are driving in fog a gamer will be able to see better in the fog than a non-gamer.

Okay so that’s only one issue that was proved wrong. What about the negative effects that gaming has on attention? Daphne took this to the lab and to my dismay gamers can resolve conflict more quickly that a non-gamer. For instance a gamer can track objects around in the world better and quicker that the non-gamer, meaning that the glance at the phone while driving may not be as bad as “they” say.

Okay I kept watching the video for the negative effects of gaming, I figured they were still coming. The next issue presented was the idea of multi-tasking. Are gamers better at multi-tasking? Argh….yes they were. Gamers can switch from task to task very quickly. The only time this is not the case is with multi media tasking. So people that multi media task (listening to music while searching the web and talking to friends on Facebook or instagram) do not do better. Yahoo I found one, but only one :(.

She did point out that gaming is beneficial in moderation, as everything. If your interesting in watching the video the link is” target=”_blank”>Your Brain on Video Games – Daphne Bevelier (TED).

Okay so I was not ready to give up yet! I found a short video from Stanford university on the psychology of virtual reality. Here was my saving grace, finally the negative.

Stanford university examine the psychology of virtual reality in this short 2.5 minute video.

Sadly no, the video only managed to explain that virtual reality is an effective way to educate students and more and more research is being done on the best ways to use VR and AR in the classroom.

Okay so maybe VR and AR are not so bad…in moderation. How might we use it in the classroom? Adam Krammer talked about Google Cardboard in his post. I had never heard of Google Cardboard before Bill and Logan’s presentation. Adam did a great job of explaining and describing the advantages in the classroom. Amy Singh did a great job of talking about the potential for real-life problem solving. This linked really well to our reading Augmented Reality Teaching and Learning by Dunleavy and Dede. They describe the situated-learning theory (p. 5). Situated=learning theory is that, “learning takes place within a specific context and the quality of the learning is a result of interactions amoung the people, places, objects, processes, and culture within and relative to that given context “(p. 5). Therefore learning is “transformed through their actions and reactions in the world” (p. 5). Dunleavy and Dede write about augmented reality in relation to research and experiences. For example, one experience is Outbreak at MIT. This is an inquiry based simulation that investigates a disease outbreak and attempt to contain it (p. 9). These types of simulations will help teach and support learning in case of a real outbreak. This type of knowledge transfer allows a person to solve related problems in real-world contexts (p. 6).

I certainly can see the advantage of this type of learning and now I see AR and VR beyond the games and I believe that there are classroom benefits (hate being proved wrong, argh). Students would benefit from experiences that support problem solving. In the article When Virtuality Meets Education there is a great quote, “Perhaps the most utopian application of this technology will be seen in terms of bridging cultures and fostering understanding among young students” (p. 1).

Thanks for reading:)




Assistive Technology



Source: Flickr

Assistive technology has been around for a long time as I learned when researching the history of this technology. When I think back to when I was in school and assistive technology, I really can not remember seeing a lot of it. I certainly wasn’t offered any alternative technology to use in class. I do remember a few students that were impaired in some way, such as a wheelchair or hearing aid but as for students using assistive technology there were very few if any at all.

When I entered university I did see some students using computers and scribes for their class notes. I also saw EA’s that would work with some students on basic understandings and organization. There were classes that accommodated for students with impaired hearing and professors would share their notes with students that were unable to write.

When I started teaching I was working with students with behavioral challenges. Most of them were not programmed for appropriately in the regular school setting and would act out in class. Many of these students did and do not have learning disabilities but there were many gaps in their learning due to attendance, family, addictions, justice, and behavioral issues. These students generally are not engaged in school and have a very hard time building relationships. When they have exhausted all their options in the regular school system they are referred to my school. It is the job of my school (CAMPS) to build a relationship with the students, find out where they are academically and fill the gaps. They are also referred to any outside agency supports (mental health, addictions, etc.) if needed.

Although many of my students do not have a diagnosis for assistive technology they all benefit from it in some way. I have used Dragon Naturally Speaking, Kurzweil, computers, ipads, TV, audio tapes, fidgets, body breaks including treadmills, elliptical machines, stand-up desks, stairs and a stationary bike. All students have the opportunity to use any assistive technology that they may need. I believe that all students should have access to technology, it is here to stay and students should have knowledge about what is available. 

Ted Talk – Technology in the classroom by by Ethan Dickens

I think that some of the limitations of assistive technology are support, training, funding and access to what is available. Another limitation is restricting the use of technology to only students with diagnosis.

Thanks for reading


Stick It Up Your….!

Okay now that I have your attention!


Source: Flickr

The assessment tool I choose to try was Lino. This formative assessment tool is a free sticky and canvas service that allows users to create a board with sticky notes or images. I chose this tool because part of our school initiative this year is to increase our student independent reading time to a half hour a day. Within that goal is to make the reading purposeful and to do that we are having the students put two to three sticky notes in their book each time the read. They are given a poster with a key as to what to code each sticky as they go. Some sticky’s may be a question about the reading, something that surprised them, something they did not understand and so on. The poster looks like this:


Source: Benita Struik 🙂

The students are okay doing this but often grumble at the sticky note part of their reading. By using Lino they can present their questions and understanding of the book in a fun and engaging way. My hope is that after they are done reading the book they can share their sticky board to the rest of the class and even use it as a tool to sell the book to other students.

Setting up the tool:

Initially I had to have all the students on computers to get set up on Lino. If you have a large class you may want to do it in groups. To sign up, students had to create a username, password and add their email. That was all and the were ready to go. I gave them all 5 minutes to go crazy pushing buttons and checking it out. After that was over I had them all pull up a new board of their choice and I went through how to add sticky’s to the board. I explained that the purpose for the boards was to show there learning as they read during independent reading. They were required to make two to three sticky note per section that they read (approx. half an hour). Then they would get the last few minutes of class to open up their board and add their notes. During their book and at the end I would stop them and have them go through their sticky’s with me and the other teacher so that we could conference with them on their understanding. Because I only had one week to try this we only got 6 sticky notes up so far per student. We did see the students engaged in making the sticky and posting.

Student Response to the tool:

Students initially thought the sticky note taking was silly and they hated to stop reading to write down their thoughts. When they found out what they were doing with the information (Lino) they were more willing and some excited about writing things down. They seemed more willing when they new they could post them on the computer using Lino. At the end of the week we (teachers) talked to the students and had a chance to look at their boards. All the students had created at least two notes per section they read with one making many more. I learned that I would have to give the students a minimum and a maximum number of sticky’s per reading.

How the tool was used for assessment:

Lino was used as a form of formative assessment. According to the article, “Every Teacher’s Guide to Assessment”, the definition of formative assessment is an assessment that is, “given throughout the learning process, formative assessments seek to determine how students are progressing through a certain learning goal” (pg, 3). I used Lino to show case the students understand and learning process as they read a section of their chosen book. They were able to display their learning on the sticky board and will eventually have one sticky board per book. Rather that having a book full of single sticky notes stuck throughout a book they will be able to display it in a fun and collaborative way for sharing.


Pros/Cons to using the tool:


  • The bulletin board is easy to organize, its colourful and displays learning well.
  • Set up is super easy as long as your students have access to a computer.
  • It has unlimited canvases to choose from.
  • You can colour code your sticky’s to show different ideas.
  • Great for sharing ideas and brainstorming.
  • Its FREE
  • Can add multi media to your board (pictures and video links)


  • Many of the features are web based therefore they do not show up well on devices. It ends up looking to busy on phones.
  • Your students do need an email account so this may pose a problem for younger students.
  • Board can look chaotic if too many sticky’s are used.
  • Cannot convert it to a PDF.

In the end I would recommend giving Lino a try, especially for brainstorming ideas, idea webs, reading, etc. Thanks for posing a blog post with a challenge. I am not sure I ever would have tried such a fun tool! There are lots in the reading and on the links that Nicole Reeve, Tyson Lepage, Jennifer Huber, Natalie Schapansky posted that I will look at and try as well.


Push for HELP…


Source: Flickr

I feel like I just got a semblance of a handle of Web 2.0 and now there is a Web 3.0. When I started school in 1977 (OMG) there were no computers in the classroom. We learned by teacher, TV, VCR, and the good old blackboard with chalk. Fast forward to 1985 and I was 14 being introduced to computers and dos programming (Web 1.0) and then year 2000 Web 2.0 and now 2016 and Web 3.0 is coming. I think I am still somewhere between Web 1.0 and 2.0 and am not ready for 3.0 yet.

If teachers are supposed to be experts in their field and give students the best, newest and most relevant learning experience, then the definition of teaching may need to change. Teachers are working tirelessly to give their students the best learning experience they can. With that teaching comes learning all the new and wonderful technological tools that are available. Education 2.0 is alive and learning to thrive in our schools. Students are learning synchronously, asynchronously, and directly interacting with content as Gerstein states in her article. For me Web 2.0 is a work in progress. I am in the “progressing” column in regards to learning Web 2.0, I am not in “exceeding” as of yet.

Jackie Gerstein  describes the andragogical model of education. She gives the example of project-based learning, were the focus of learning is on “authentic, real world problems, networked learning, and use of collaborative digital tools”. This type of project based learning is still very new and yet here comes education 3.0. Education 3.0 is considered a “personalized, self-determined education” (pg. 90). Education is, “self-determined, interest-based learning where problem-solving, innovation, and creativity drive education” (pg. 90). Gerstein characterized Ed. 3.0 as (pg. 90-91):

  • learners play a key role as creators of knowledge
  • social networking and social benefits play a strong role
  • space/time and artifacts/people/process become blurred
  • institutional change
  • emphasis on learning and teaching processes
  • about the three C’, connectors, creators, and constructivists.
  • Learners become the authors, drivers, and assessors of their learning

In order for education 3.0 to be adopted as practice, education 2.0 will have to be fully accepted and adopted. I agree with Erin that we may be to rooted in “tradition” in order to change our practices and that teachers do not have a 3.0 definition of teaching and understanding of this new role. I think that the Web 3.0 will come whether we fear it or not and we will slowly learn to live with it. When will it be accepted in mainstream school? Will teachers embrace it or fight? Will there ever be enough institutional change to support a growing web?



Snap-on versus Mac?

When I reflect on tools that we have learned about and that I have tried I feel like I am comparing good versus good or like the title, Snap-on versus Mac. Although I realize some tool connoisseur’s may have a strong preference for one or the other.

The tools that I have used or tried so far during this class are:

  • Zoom – This has been a great experience so far. I really like how you can see everyone in class and it seems easier to talk and give input. The chat bar is always great although I find that I need to focus on either the class presentation or the chat bar. I find the chat moves so quickly at times that by the time I comment it has moved on to a different topic already. The presentation side of zoom is what I find so interesting. Being able to share your screen and present information easily is a great feature. It really makes me feel like we are in a class together and not just having content delivered to us. It is great to be a part of the Brady Bunch .
  • PowToon – I have never used this before but I am working on my summary of learning through PowToon. So far I really like it because there are lots of choices for displaying information. Some of the slide choices are limited yet I am learning how to change it so that I can fit more information and make it more visually interesting. I haven’t see a part to add audio yet but will look further into that.
  • Feedly– I wish I new about Feedly in my first class of Alec’s. What a great space for viewing blog posts. It makes it much easier and I will use this in the future.
  • Kahoot– I have been apart of a few Kahoot’s during our School Division PD days. I have never done one or tried to use it in class. I had just finished a novel study with my students and decided to do a Kahoot to review the material before the final test. The students looked at me like I was crazy when I asked them all to get out their phones. We don’t normally allow cell phones in class. One student did not have a phone and used one of the computers to log in to the Kahoot. The students loved using their phones to review the material and then became very competitive. I asked them to use secret names so that they didn’t feel pressure or stress for getting a wrong answer. Most of the students shared that they were comfortable using their own name but we used secret ones to protect those that didn’t provide input. In the end they enjoyed the review and asked if they could do it again. I would use Kahoot again and again.
  • Mentimeter– This was a fun tool to use in class and it let everyone have input that you could see right away. We are looking at using this for our presentation and I will try this in my school.
  • Screencast-0-matic– I actually used this in my las class by Alec but I like it so much that I am adding it again because I hadn’t used it since. I found screencast so easy to use and had great editing abilities. I was reminded how much I liked it and now I am practicing with it for a presentation with my students.
  • GoAnime– I just started to play around with Go Anime. So far I seems good but I will need to explore it some more.
  • WordPress – I have used wordpress before but added it because I am still learning all the things that you can do. I was looking at Tyson’s blog and I love how he added pictures of his travels on the side on he page. I would love to do this and will add some to mine.

I enjoyed reading blog posts this week. Amy Singh did a vlog and talked about distance learning creating a deeper understanding for students. I completely agree with Amy in that I to believe that distance learning creates deeper understanding because students are required to be more independent and to learn through each other. Rather that simply being instructed on content we are forced to research, create, and seek information. I also had a similar first experience with online learning as Tyson Lepage . I remember the course as strictly being information and assignments that you read and hand in. There was no face-to-face or collaboration involved.  Logan talked about teachers providing online classes and charging a tuition of some sort. He raised a very interesting question as to whether this was something teachers should do or can do. I am still thinking about that one and extend the question to others:)



Multitasking…new or old?

When I watched the video Single-tasking Is the New Multitasking I literally laughed out loud! I had 4 tabs on my task bar running, was texting work and thinking about making a coffee, oh and doing laundry. Our world is moving so quickly that single-taskers would struggle immensely, but is this a new idea?

I do not believe that the idea of multi-tasking is new, at least not when I ask the women around me and my mother. She (pre-internet) would describe life as constantly multi-tasking. She would be doing laundry, making supper, doing dishes and watching three young girls at the same time. This would be considered a normal day. Multi-tasking isn’t new but the tasks are increasing or adding to the life we are in. Now we do the laundry, made supper, wash dishes and watch the kids while we answer texts and check email.

The work place is no different. What I do see as different is that we used to have more time in between the information coming in. What I mean by that is, when we received a job or task at work via phone call, office snail mail, or morning meeting agenda items, we had the day to complete them. Now with texting and email there is an expectation of immediate response. Our job may be the same but what is added on during a day can be intense. I truly miss the days when my phone was connected to the wall at home and I had an answering machine for the important information. I look around in restaurants and constantly see people on their phones when they could be interacting with the people across from them. I am guilty as well. The other night at supper, we had a conversation where we couldn’t remember a name. So what did we do? We googled.

Students talk about the countless hours they spend on You Tube. They just watch videos or browse the internet and sometimes they learn interesting stuff but ultimately they loose 1, 2 or 3 hours of time. So back to the question, is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions?  Yes and no. I believe the internet is a powerful tool for information and learning opportunities. I believe it can be productive when the person has the focus and self control to stay on topic, but what fun would that be. Is it an endless series of distractions? Yes to that question as well depending on your personality. Many people can use the internet in a productive way, many can not. Maybe the single-taskers out their will be better off in the end and be able to focus on one thing at a time. I am just not sure that they would survive well in such a fast passed world.

I enjoyed reading Amy Singh’s blog post. I can relate to her yoga experience and it truly is a great example of how had it is to shut everything out an be mindful of where you are in the moment. When I started yoga (12 years ago) I struggled in Savansana. This is where at the end of a yoga practice you lay on your mat for 3 to 5 minutes and be in the moment. Its also called the Corpse Pose because it is supposed to be a time when you sit everything off and are closest to death. Savasana is the most difficult pose in a yoga practice.


Amy is correct in that it is a time when the brain has trouble shutting down. I remind people in Savasana that for the next 3 to 5 minutes to let go of everything that you had done today, will do tonight or have to do tomorrow because none of that will get done in this moment, so enjoy the few minutes you can gift yourself by shutting down and being mindful.

I am not sure that our world will slow down any but I am sure that it s extremely important to take a few minutes a day to let go of all the expectations be mindful of the moment. Your body and mind will thank you.