Building to learn Problem Solving

Problem solving is a hard skill to learn when you are told exactly what you need to do in order to solve it. I feel as though communication and problem solving are skills that everyone needs but most people lack. Through code.org’s Computer Science Discoveries curriculum I was able to touch on both of these topics. It is great to see students get excited with student center activities. Also with a little healthy competition the students were able to work through the problem solving steps and make things happen.

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BreakOut Edu

After learning about Breakout EDU from colleagues, I thought about Escape Rooms. I have participated in multiple escape rooms and I loved them. I was constantly engaged until the goal of breaking out the room was accomplished. The thought of having this kind of activity in the classroom excited me and I hoped that it would excite my students. I completed The Faculty Meeting with my coworkers and they seemed to enjoy the activity and wanted to ask Questions. I then facilitated and activity with my students. They loved working together to complete. Watching them struggle and then cheer when they succeeded was amazing. They couldn’t help but ask when we were going to do it again.

 

 

Vision of a Future Technology Integrator

Technology integration is not just throwing an ipad or computer in front of a student and calling it a day. Proper technology integration requires the combination of technology, pedagogy, and content in order to create the best environment for our students. When schools first start to integrate technology they tend to not see how these three components intertwine with each other. Technology does not mean anything if you do not have the other components. Teachers need to be trained on being able to use technology with effectively with their content area. Too often teachers are given technology with little or no training on how to use it. They are scared they are going to fail and are happy with just teaching the way that they always teach. Technology integration does not need to be scary. If done correctly technology integration can be empowering and impacting to both teachers and students. The passion for learning can grow between all involved. It can enhance teamwork and allow both teachers and students to be more creative. Helping teachers to use the resources they are given to be more productive in their classroom can be very beneficial.

Although I have had the informal position of being the technology coach in my school, I would like to have this job as a definite position so it could be my main focus. Technology can open up many doors for increased learning in the classroom. It can connect teachers and students to their community as well as their world. I envision myself being a leader in technology integration and helping with this transition in schools. Being a technology integrator means being dependable and committed to the goal of technology integration. As a technology integrator I would want the teachers I am working with to feel comfortable with coming to me and asking for my help. I would want them to be able to see how knowledge of technology can can enhance their pedagogy and their content. I would want to show them how empowering and innovative they can be by changing their mindset. I would want them to know that having a growth mindset would be the only way they would be able to be successful in technology integration.  

There are many different ways to integrate technology in the classroom. For schools that have a lot of technology, teachers would need to have training on how to use that technology. You cannot just buy technology, make it available, and expect it to be used correctly. Also, throwing a bunch of technology at teachers all at once will be overwhelming. Integrating technology needs to be done slow so teachers feel comfortable with what they are doing. For schools that do not have technology or money to get it, there are many ways that technology can be integrated. Teaching algebra using code.org or bootstrap with the help of computer science topics. Using text to speech or speech to text to help students both read and write. Science labs can be done using online sites to save money on materials. History classes can take virtual tours of places that they are learning about. All of these activities will help to enhance the learning in the classroom. It is not about teaching the technology, it is about teaching what is normally taught and enhancing the material with technology.

Technology, pedagogy, and content are all components that need to be used when working with technology integration. Without the proper balance of all these components, the others will not work. As a technology integrator I will work to create a balance of these components for all teachers I am working with.

Opportunities

Opportunities could mean a lot of things. The opportunity to join this program was the start of it all, but as I continue through the opportunities get better. This year there was three opportunities that I am truly grateful for.

I was able to again dive into the culture of Ireland, but also traveled to London for a couple days before coming to Ireland. I have never been to London and if I was not coming over to Ireland for this program, I would have not make the trip to London this year. Meeting new people, going to new places, and trying new things is something everyone should do. It opens your eyes to new things and makes you more aware of the world. The scratch activity below shows how I have felt through various times this year.

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/71243484/

While being in Ireland I make connections with people all over the world. I not only made connections with the people in this program, but also with other. I connected with some of the people who came to Great 15 and they will now always be part of my network. There is so much we can learn from each other and I am so lucky to get to know such wonderful people.

Check out my map of connections!

In addition to going new places and meeting new people, I also learned a lot. My personal growth over a month is felt. I know that there is things that I learned that I can take back to my classroom and use. This growth will help me to become a better teacher and help to close the gate for students who tend to slip through. This Spartan Can!

Can you ever truly be prepared for an interview?

Sometimes people spend days and even weeks preparing for job interviews, but is there really a way to ever be completely prepared. Job interview are very intimating and scary even if you are confident that you fit the requirements for the job. You go into a room where all the attention is on you, multiple people asking questions, and waiting for what they want to hear. There are many resources out there that help you prepare for interviews, but with all the information who really knows what is right. Being part of the audience was interesting in many ways. I was able to observe an interview as a bystander, something I never thought I would do. Although the students who were interviewed volunteered to be interviewed, their composure and reactions during the interview was not what I expected. Also seeing how interview committees prepare before interviews and hearing from people who are truly involved in interview for their professions was helpful. 

Going back to my first question about being fully prepared for an interview, I expected the students that were being interviewed to be more at ease. They were interviewing for a mock job, they knew the interview team, and they were able to look at the possible questions before the interview day. With all of these factors in effect, the students being interviewed were consumed with nerves. Having a chance to sit near all of them before they were called up was also interesting. They all seemed calm and discussed what they were going to do when they were up there, but none of them did what they said. They were choked up on words during the interview and were extremely happy when they were done. When they were finished many of them discussed what they should have said and were mad at themselves for some of the answers they gave, which tends to be how I fell after leaving many interviews. Seeing that these nerves exist in a mock interview made me think that they exist in every interview. I do not think that you can ever be fully prepared for a job interview, but I do think that you can be well prepared.

What can you do to be well prepared? Hearing from professionals who are involved with interviews at their current jobs was very helpful. I have never had the opportunity to serve on an interview committee, so I was not aware of what goes on behind the scenes until now. Knowing how candidates are looked at before and during an interview will help me to prepare myself for whenever my next interview will be. I have always seen interviews as being very formal and structured environments where professionalism should be displayed throughout. Dr. Roseth mentioned that he likes when candidates make him feel at ease because hiring someone that will make students feel at ease is very important to him. Being a teacher is a professional environment, but it is not the same as being a banker or business man. I never thought about how these interviews should be different. I always was the person who prepared the perfect textbook answers to the questions that I was asked. I do not think I ever gave answers that made me stand out from the other candidates. I feel that I will now focus on what makes me different as an educator and not what makes the perfect answer. I believe in myself as an educator, I chose what I do carefully, I strive to do better, and really think about my students. The next interview I go to, I will be prepared to show them who I really am and what makes me a good educator. 

The biggest take away from the many events that happened this week was the importance of my portfolio. There were many times during the last school year that I thought about updating my portfolio and blog, but I never got around to doing so. It was always one of the last things on my mind because I never felt that I had the time to make it perfect. After listening to Steven Howell emphasize how important portfolios are as well as the discussion that occurred after the mock interviews, I realized that I should have taken these opportunities. Michelle Hagerman and Steven Howell made it clear that portfolios do not need to be perfect. They do not need to only include the best possible work. They are meant to inform other of your thoughts as well as how well you have progressed. This upcoming year I am going to work as hard as I can to update my blog regularly. They might not be the longest entries because of lack of time, but it will show my thoughts to others, which I now know is why I need to have a positive and thought out online presence. This month I have not only thought about my students, but I have really thought of myself as a professional. 

Reflection on my GREAT Presentation

Coming into this year, I knew that I needed to be a presenter in a conference. I have been to many conferences before, but the first as a presenter. I hoped my attendees would be able to use what I was presenting in their practice.  Although a little intimidating, I knew that It would work out in the end because for the most part presenting is my job. I figured I would have a partner to help me out when I was slipping and a content I was an expert in. This was not the case. I did not have a partner and I was presenting on a topic I only started researching two and a half weeks ago. Scared in the beginning, I worked hard to become as comfortable as possible with the content I was going to present.  I felt my confidence grow each and everyday leaving the classroom after various feedback from both my fellow classmates and also my professors. It seemed like the day would never come, then all of the sudden, it was one day away.

Knowing that I need a goodnight sleep in order to do my best work, I did what I needed to and forced myself to go to sleep. I woke up excited for Great15 and happy that the day had finally come. As we completed last minute preparations, nerves began to set in. The clock began to move faster than ever. My presentation was getting closer and I had noway to stop it.

Meeting with Steven Howell, the welcoming speaker, before my presentation somehow made me feel nervous and confident at the same time. He would be attending my presentation and an expert in what I was going to present. Knowing that I was going to quote and mention some of the same research made me feel confident that I did the right research and focused on the right things. My only thought was what would I be able to bring that he did not already know? I stopped trying to focus on this and began to focus on what I did know and what I designed that I thought would be an awesome experience for my attendees.

When presentations begin they go a lot faster then when planned and practiced. Technology problems happen, people were talking and do not listen to directions, and others just did not understand. Accounting for a lot of this from the beginning made my session run smooth. Keeping my eyes on the audience showed me that they were engaged throughout my presentation once it began. I forgot somethings I meant to say and skipped over a few things because of time, but overall I ended my presentation extremely happy with what I had accomplished. I felt a weight on my chest lift as I concluded presenting for 30 minutes something that I had been working on for what had seemed like forever. The rest of the day ran smooth and I continued to learn more not only from my colleagues but from the amazing educators that traveled to attend our conference. When the conference was over it almost seemed as though it went too fast and I wanted more time. Having a place to meet after was a great idea and also reassured my confidence in my presentation.

Having someone that is an expert in what you are trying to achieve tell you that you were amazing and to keep doing what you are doing is reassuring. Not only am I proud of what I did today, I am also proud of how I plan to use this in September. I believe that I was able to create a learning experience that my students will love, as well as learn. Although I have a lot more work to do, I cannot wait till September.

#GREAT15 Presentation

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Computational Thinking – Talking like a Computer or Human

Presentation Resources

Activity 1

Click here for google form for the activity

Click here if you would like to follow along with the results

Activity 2

Partner 1

  1. Click here for virtual manipulatives
  2. Once on the website, click manipulatives from the menu on the left side
  3. When drop down appears scroll down to tangrams
  4. You are now ready to begin. You must complete the shape your partner is describing without looking at the picture.

Person 2

  1. Click here for examples
  2. Pick a puzzle you would be able to successfully explain to partner
  3. You must describe how to make this shape without looking at what your partner is doing

Feedback Form for Jen

Resources

Cookhamriseprimary.org,. (2015). Barefoot Sample Resources | Cookham Rise Primary School. Retrieved 16 July 2015, from http://www.cookhamriseprimary.org/barefoot-sample-resources/

Punya.educ.msu.edu,. (2015). Retrieved 16 July 2015, from http://punya.educ.msu.edu/publications/journal_articles/mishra-koehler-tcr2006.pdf

Runningonempty.acm.org,. (2015). Retrieved 14 July 2015, from http://runningonempty.acm.org/fullreport2.pdf

Static.zerorobotics.mit.edu,. (2015). Retrieved 14 July 2015, from http://static.zerorobotics.mit.edu/docs/team-activities/ProgrammingPeanutButterAndJelly.pdf

Static.zerorobotics.mit.edu,. (2015). Retrieved 14 July 2015, from http://static.zerorobotics.mit.edu/docs/team-activities/WriteItThenDoIt.pdf

Whittington, K. (2004). Infusing active learning into introductory programming courses. Journal Of Computing Sciences In Colleges, 19(5), 249-259. Retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1060111

Wing, J. M. 2006 Computational thinking. Commun. ACM 49, 33–35.