Final Farewell EDT400

I think I fall in the same boat as many of my fellow EDT400 class members in that I was very surprised as to how much I benefited from this course.  Like I have said before, I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into when starting this course.  Over the semester I grew as a student and as a potential teacher so much!  I had no idea the vast opportunities available at the tips of my fingers.  I always thought that things like smartboards and laptops were a great idea to bring into the classroom, but I had no idea all of the ways you could use these tools to really benefit every student.  I started this semester using facebook, google..and that is pretty much it.  Since then my PLN has grown much larger, and is still growing everyday as I keep exploring the internet’s potential.  Here is a list of some of the things in my PLN that I have grown to utilize.

Follow me on Twitter! >!/amandacotier

Check out my blog on WordPress. >

Review my resources on Diigo. >

Look at my Netvibes page! >

Take a peek at my Wiki. >

Jump into Classroom 2.0 >

Stay caught up with Google Alerts >

There is no doubt in my mind after everything I have seen and learned that the use of technologies in education is a fantastic idea.  Some people may see a downfall, but a downfall can be seen in anything if youre pesamistic.  There is so much potential it blows my mind that some teachers consider NOT using technology.  I think one of my biggest goals for my future in teaching, is now, to get the word out there and inform teachers and school systems why incorporating different forms of technology is a must for the 21st century.  Once we get the word out amazing things are possible in the world of education!

My first attempt at really getting my thoughts out there is with my Networked Teaching and Learning Project about the use of Virtual Field Trips in the Classroom that I’d love you to check out!

My Philosophy of Education

As an elementary education major, I am hoping to become a teacher within the next few years.  I hope to be a teacher known for being able to engage my students and help them not only to learn, but also WANT to learn.  In my opinion the best way to go about this is to figure out what it is that kids are interested in.  Technology provides many opportunities to get kids involved and excited about learning.  I have always been interested in the idea of using technology in education, but until recently I had no idea how many opportunities there really were.

Kids are using technology all the time in their everyday lives.  The idea of incorporating these tools into their learning is fantastic because it will provide kids with things they are familiar and comfortable with and actually enjoy using, for their learning.  This is the 21st century and technology is everywhere.  As soon as students leave the school building, they are in totally different world. The connection with technology needs to be made.  Textbooks and lectures no longer can hold the attention of many students.

Technology is always changing and always growing, just like he minds of learners.  As a teacher I hope to be able to stay up to date with new technologies, bring them in to my students and let them explore and grow as learners.

Technology is a great way to stay connected.  Things like virtual fieldtrips and Skype can connect you to anywhere in the world from your classroom.  Things like blogs and wikispaces can keep students parents and teachers all up to date and working together.  Things like Diigo or Evernote can be extremely helpful in school projects.  There are just so many exciting possibilities that many teachers and students do not know about.  I am definitely going to bring these things into hopefully not only my classroom, but the rest of the school I become a part of.

I do not just want my students to get good grades, I want them to be excited about their good grades, and the processes in which to get there and reach their goals.  Technology in my classroom will be a great way to do this as far as I’m concerned.  I think that grades are not the best way to show what a student has learned, but examples of how a student can actually use his or her new knowledge in something that effects their world, seems more important to me.

After learning extensively about the benefits of technology in a classroom this semester in EDT400, there is no doubt in my mind that I want to spread the word.  I want to create a learning environment for my students that consists still of some traditional views using hands on activities and so on, but I absolutely want to incorporate computers, cameras, and all the new technology coming out all the time, so that my students are interested in learning.  If my students benefit from this way of teaching, I want to do all I can to provide them with that.

Google Tools

Google is not only an amazing tool that helps you search the internet, but it also has so many other tools that can be useful to everyone.  Until recently I had no idea the possibilities that Google had to offer. One tool that I have found most beneficial to me recently is Google Alerts.  This has been an awesome resource for trying to put together my project for EDT400. Google alerts literally “alerts” you through email any new webpages or posts around the web that have to do with a key word or words of your choice. Because I am working on a project to do with virtual field trips, that is what I receive emails about almost everyday with a couple new webpage for me to look at.  Another tool that I have recently found beneficial is Google Docs.  We have used this in our EDT 400 class as well.  

I had heard of a few of these Google tools before such as Google Earth and Picasa and Picnik.  Google Earth is  tool that I have been introduced to in previous years of schooling because it will literally take you anywhere in the world.  It is pretty amazing that can be right at your fingertips, and for free!  Picasa is a great organizational tool for photos and Picnik is a quick and easy photo editor.  I have used both of these in the past for my own personal fun!

Theses are only a few of the possibilities that Google offers.  There is blogs, blog searching, calendars, directories, mail, and so much more.  It is definitely something worth checking out.  Best of all it is all free!


What is a PLN? I don’t think that there is a specific definition to what a PLN is besides to say exactly what it stands for, a personal learning network.  Everyone’s personal learning network is different, some much more extensive than others.  I am working on expanding mine all the time.  Before being in this EDT400 class I used Facebook, watched occasional funny videos on YouTube that my friends showed me, and that’s about it.  I have expanded my use of the internet for much more beneficial reasons.  I am now an active member of WordPress for blogging, twitter to share things, Netvibes to connect me to my classmates, and the list is still increasing!  I have become a part of an online virtual community that is teaching me so much about what I have the possibilities to do, create, and be! I think that my most useful tool I have come to utilize is WordPress and creating my own blog posts, as well as reading other people’s blogs.  Twitter has also been a really useful tool to me.  To help my organization, Diigo has been amazing! For creating projects mahara and moodle are fantastic.  I never even knew that more than half of these tools existed until I was introduced to them through this class. There are so many possibilities out there and tools to utilize that I think more teachers and students need to be introduced to.  Establishing your own personal learning network is the first step to success. Knowing what tools you have, how to use them, how to benefit from them, and share them.  Getting out there and being fearless to try new things there will always be more possibilities.  As an almost teacher, I want to learn as much as possible now so that when I finally get out there, I can share my ideas with my colleagues, my students, their parents, and anyone else who will listen! Students deserve more credit then they receive a lot of times and if they are taught to use things like YouTube, Skype, Facebook, and so on as useful tools for their education, they are less apt to abuse their privileges.  Like iv said before, education is constantly changing, we need to keep up and try to get ahead of the game as future educators.

reflection benchmark two

As an Elementary Education major I am always ready for new things to come my way. Education is always changing and always growing.  Technology is a huge influence on education in the 21st century and this EDT400 class has been a huge influence on me, and my ideas are constantly changing and growing.  I signed up for this course, honestly not knowing what I was getting into, and now I am happy to say that it is starting to make A LOT more sense to me and be an extremely helpful course.  The things I have learned in this course are more relevant to my future than any other class I have taken so far.

I never knew how much potential I had in using technology to benefit my learning.  I always knew there were possibilities out there to “help people do stuff” but I did not realize that there were so many tools that could help me become a great teacher.  I have learned, in this course, how to really use tools to my advantage, investigate resources to find beneficial information and to think outside the box when it comes to planning what kind of teacher I want to become.

There are so many new tools that I have been introduced to over this semester such as twitter, WordPress blogs, diigo, evernote, elluminate, Netvibes, moodle, and the list seems endless!  At the beginning of this course I had a very hard time keeping up with all of these and trying to remember what each one did, my login names and passwords, and it was just a huge mess in my head.  After practicing with these tools and learning how they can be used to my advantage, I am finally getting the hang of it. I am currently using twitter more frequently, and posting blogs as often as possible.  My schedule, as well as many other people’s im sure, is becoming very busy at this time of the year and I do not have as much free time as I would wish for.  I believe that my strengths in this course are finally starting to show through my use of twitter and my blog, as well as an unseen tool diigo. Diigo is saving my life right now.  There are so many pages on the internet that pertain to what I am trying to do for my final project and it is such a great tool for organization. I just started using diigo so I still have more to learn but I am off to a great start. I think that one of my strengths is also trying to stay involved with my classmates blog posts and learning from them as well as outside sources.  Although I do not post on all of them, I read many of them and think about what they have to say!  I definitely see my weaknesses in the area of going outside of our EDT400 community.  I am learning so much from this small area, and I know there is so much more I could learn by reaching out and becoming more involved in other communities.  By doing things such as reading blogs of people outside of this community, I could expand my horizons greatly.  I have been working very hard to explore as much as possible but there is always room for improvement. I think my biggest weakness is my project.  I have been finding and bookmarking many things that relate to my subject, but I have not put in the time I should in starting to create and put together my project into a displayable work.  I need to get myself in gear and sit down, and organize everything into a manner that will work into mahara.

I think that some of my blog posts are definitely better than others and I think that their quality depends greatly on the amount of time I have available to work on them! I hope that my posts, although sometimes short, have valuable, worth reading, material in them though and hope that I continue to have readers.  In class discussions I usually add in my point of view and try to always take in other people’s opinions.  Discussions are very valuable to me as a learner.  I always second guess my thoughts though and never know whether I should share them or not in fear of being wrong.  I am working on this in all parts of my life and this class would be a great place to exercise that!  I think that by taking more time, exploring more, and listening to my classmates and teacher I will be able to improve upon these weaknesses.

I think that my favorite part of this EDT course is blogging.  I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on articles, videos, and anything else that is relevant.  I also very much enjoy reading my classmates thoughts on these things.  It is an awesome way to get my thoughts out there without worrying what the look on someone else’s face is going to be when they read it!  I am free to express myself and have time to think about it.  I have also really enjoyed stepping back and watching my progress over the semester and comparing my old ideas to my new.  It is really exciting to me to be able to talk about these ideas with not only my classmates, but also my uncle who is the principle of the elementary school back home, and my friends and family.  The world of education is changing, and education affects everyone, so we might as well spread as much new knowledge as we can.

who meets the standards?

Meeting the standards was always a relief to hear in school.  In high school the standards were always something that was a confusing way of saying exactly how to do a project or assignment. After reading the NETS student standards it definitely got me thinking about my classes I am taking here at Orono, and the classes I have taken throughout my high school years.  Everything in life seems to have standards. These make a great deal of sense to me and have made me realize that some classes take standards more seriously than others.

The student standards have six different categories including creativity and innovation, communication and collaboration, research and information fluency, critical thinking problem solving and decision-making, digital citizenship, and technology operations and concepts.  All of these standards seem to defiantly be met in my EDT400 class, but that is the only one.  Many of my teachers in my highschool classes were not yet into the technology aspect of schooling in the 21st century.  Therefore did not meet these standards in any way.  Some of my classes here in Orono meet some of these standards but man have a lot of work that could be done to get there.

Looking at the NETS teacher standards I hope to be able to be a teacher who meets the standards when I have my own classroom.  This is definitely a great resource to read and look at when checking out how you yourself is being an effective teacher.  The categories in the teacher standards include; facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity, design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments, model digital-age work and learning, promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility, and engage in professional growth and leadership.  I believe that these are all very possible for me.  I definitely would like to give a lot of that credit to my EDT400 class this semester. I have learned more in that class than any other that will help me in my future as a teacher in the 21st century.

piecing it all together

I previously wrote a post about my project progress and I believe it did not post so I am going to do another overview just incase! The project I have decided to do for my EDT400 class is about virtual field trips in elementary school classrooms.  I would like to make a compilation of resources that can help teachers, students and parents learn the pros and cons of incorporating virtual field trips into curriculums. Using things such as Skype and flip video cameras, this is very possible!  While researching for this project I hope to find other people’s opinions on the idea of virtual field trips along with facts.  I see it as purely beneficial and hopefully the information I find can support and back up my opinion!

I find virtual field trips an excellent way to get out into the world, by staying in the classroom.  If a school doesn’t have the funding to take students on field trips, chances are there is a computer they could use to go on Skype, which is a free resource, and be able to get connected and participate in field trips that way.  Field trips are a very valuable part of a students education because I see no better way in learning then seeing something first hand and getting to experience it.  This may also benefit teachers in a huge way as well. By keeping a field trip in the classroom, there is no need to find chaperones, a bus driver, get permission slips, everyone just needs an open mind and to show up for school that day.

Upon completion of this project I hope that I am able to show people my thoughts on virtual field trips, as well as other people’s thoughts and hopefully bring people to understand the capabilities and opportunities that can happen. 

During the last class I attended I noticed that many people have a really good hold on their projects already and I am still a little overwhelmed and feel like I may be behind. I have not started the actual process of creating my project yet, but have gotten a decent start on collecting web pages and some other resources that I will be able to include.  I am starting to search more in-depth and just created a google alerts account which I hope becomes helpful.  I am excited to see all the information I find and I hope others find it beneficial as well!

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