Learning is a Never Ending Journey

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Virtual Book tour!!!

can link to

The Virtual Book Launch will happen on 14-15 April 2007

Tour Hosts
Heidi Ruby Miller 28 March 2007Joshua Palmatier 30 March 2007Dynastic queen 2 April 2007Leicester Review of Books 3 April 2007Robert Runté 4 April 2007Absinthe and Cookies 5 AprilThat Grrl 6 April 2007Sci Fi Chick 9 April 2007 Out of the Cube 10 April 2007Planetalyx Information Bureau 11 April 200

Monday, October 17, 2005

What are WebQuests?

A WebQuest is an activity where a student draws information from the Web to use in an activity that has a specific topic. The most effective ones are those that make the most of a learner’s time. There are basically six main components that can be identified with a WebQuest. These include, an introduction, the tasks, information sources, the process, evaluations and conclusions. These will tell the learner what the assignment is and its purpose or goal, what activities and topics the student will be engaged in, where they can find information for the project, and what the end result of their research should be.

I think I could use a WebQuest for an elementary social studies class since according to the program of studies, students need to learn about various cultures an their differences and similarities to the student’s own. As the teacher, I could create a WebQuest where students would visit various web sites I assign and look up information about different cultures. They could have a specific set of questions that they were expected to answer in terms of the cultures they are learning about and the pages they are viewing. As well, I could also develop WebQuests in terms of assignments on specific topics for junior high students. I could ask the students to choose a topic that they are interested in and want to learn more about for an English Report. I could then take in all the topics and create individual WebQuests for each student. That way, I could monitor what information they would be viewing, but the topic would be something they would enjoy and want to learn more about.

When I visited the Web Awareness Canada site I was surprised at the vast variety of information that the site contained. There is so much information and it is separated into three main sections, awareness for teachers, parents and librarians. Since I am neither a parent nor a librarian I simply looked at the teacher awareness one. Wow! It is amazing to think of the many issues concerning the Internet that we as teachers need to be aware of. It is quite sad to think that children, if they are not properly educated with the safe use of the Internet, can be the victims of privacy invasion, cyber-bullying and online predators. As well, other negative impacts include subjection to misinformation, witnesses of violent or hateful content as well as pornography and gambling. A teacher needs to properly educate the students about the safe and proper Internet use so as to monitor a student’s use so that a useful tool does not negatively effect them. . I was very happy to see that there is information for us on how to encourage and teach students to be safe on the Internet, especially because they can be subjected to harassment and situations that can make them uncomfortable. It is nice to know that there is information out there on how to educate students to understand and determine the difference between truthful and misinformation. As well, it is helpful to see that there are resources to help us teach children to be safe, wise and responsible Internet users.
Integration of Spreadsheets and Graphing in the Classroom

Spreadsheets are an effective tool that can be used by both teachers and students and in just about any subject. They can be easy tools to learn to use. Once the basics of spreadsheets are learned, one could use them in so many ways and for so many purposes in the classroom. Some people believe that they are extremely important to use in the classroom because they enhance teachings.

I have used spreadsheets a lot and I totally believe that they are beneficial for any number of activities and projects. Some of the ways that they could be used in the classroom include, as a teacher’s organizational strategy. A teacher could use one for keeping grades organized and using the spreadsheet tools to calculate marks for individual students and class averages. One could even use a spreadsheet to make a rubric, lesson plan or observation checklist.

In terms of students, teachers could have students use spreadsheets in the classroom to make pie, bar and map charts to represent data in various subjects and projects. As well, they could be used for a math class to determine various averages etc. through the formulas that are available. Yet another way to use a spreadsheet is to make a timeline of events for a specific topic. To teach the use of spreadsheets effectively to students, online tutorials can be used. They can be used to provide instruction to a large group of students.

If I were teaching a class about spreadsheets I would definitely use the web site www.internet4classrooms.com/excel_create_chart.htm. It is a very informative web site that gives step-by-step instructions on how to effectively and efficiently use the spreadsheet program Excel. An activity that the students could do to begin using a spreadsheet could be a simple activity like tallying the various pets students have. The students would then go to this link and they could use a few specific categories like how many students have a dog, a cat, both, none or other and learn to chart the information. This activity would be a great way for students to learn how to use Excel effectively.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Concept Mapping

What is a Concept Map?
Concept mapping is a method that can be used to represent ideas and concepts through visual means. The concept maps I will be focusing on are the ones that are created through a computer program like Inspiration. Concept maps involve the identification of relationships between concepts. These relationships, when broken down into single ideas and points, are no longer complex, but rather easier to understand and comprehend. The way a concept map works is that it involves various ideas where lines connect the ideas that are related to each other. Concept maps can be used for a number of reasons. These include, brainstorming ideas, designing complex structures, communicating complex ideas, aiding the integration of new and old knowledge, assessing understanding or determining misunderstanding, enhancing the problem solving phases through generation of alternative solutions, encouraging positive self-concept, and supporting reading comprehension. A main feature that distinguishes them from other organizers is that concept maps involve many networks.
What are some advantages and disadvantages of Concept Maps?
Concept maps are very beneficial tools that would be helpful in the classroom setting for various reasons. Some advantages include, they are very helpful for teaching students with various learning styles and preferences. As a teacher it would be beneficial for some subjects like social studies for example, to use a concept map to review for a test. While a teacher could make an outline on a paper, he/she could also make a concept map on that paper as well. That way both the visual and auditory learning style needs are met. They could basically be used in any subject to better organize or add an extra visual way to explain a concept, theme or relationship. Through the use of the concept map program Inspiration students gain use of a new form of technology. As well, the entire learning process is made more fun and interesting because students can move beyond the typical pen and paper work. Concept maps can also be used in overheads for presentations so that people can see how the information fits together as a whole. For a teacher’s own personal use, they could also be used for lesson planning to help stay focused about a concept and determine how to bring other ideas into the class that relate to what is being learned.
Like everything, there are some disadvantages to concept maps. One disadvantage with using a concept map computer program is that the teachers would need to learn the program and understand how it works and then be able to teach it to the students. As well, as with any new technology, there will always be people who do not want to use it. This could cause inconsistencies in the school because some students will be taught and learn through visual and auditory means whereas the other students will not be given that luxury. As well, the schools would have to purchase a concept-mapping program, which in some schools may not be a budgeted item. In terms of just using a concept map, whether made on the computer or freehand, a major necessity is that it is comprehensive and accurate. They also must be clear and concise and not too many ideas that are cluttered and difficult to understand. If concept maps are not clear, concise, comprehensive and accurate, the students and teachers will be negatively affected, as they will not be achieving the proper understanding of the material.
What is an example of using Concept Mapping for a school subject?
A concept-mapping program would be a beneficial tool to use in a grade eleven English language arts class. If the class were studying the novel The Glory Field a concept map would be very beneficial for understanding the many characters and their family relations. If students have a hard time keeping track of all of the characters, they could create a concept map to better picture and visualize who each character is, how they fit into the story and how they are related and connected to the other characters in the book.
Connected ICT outcome could be:
C7 4.3 ~ Use appropriate presentation software to demonstrate personal understanding.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Integrating Online Sources into Teaching

Title of Activity: Wetland Ecosystems

Reference Section:
Earth Day Canada (2003). EcoKids Online "Chain Reactions." Retrieved Sept. 28, 2005, from
Description of the Activity:
Students will go to the web site,
http://www.ecokidsonline.com/pub/eco_info/topics/frogs/chain_reaction/index.cfm#, and play the game "Chain Reaction." They will learn about omnivores, carnivores, herbivores and plants. They will learn about what eats what and the way that a food chain works. They will then have the chance to attempt to put together a food chain in the same program. They will have as many chances as they want to keep trying until they get it right. Once they get it right, the food chain, through a video like clip plays out before their eyes, showing them exactly what eats what. The students will then have to go into a word processor and make their own food chain, using different animals then they recently saw on screen. They can get their pictures by going into Google and doing an image search, then copying and pasting them into their document. However, what can and cannot be copied and pasted will be firmly explained so that the students do not break copyright rules and/or plagiarize. They will also have to label each species correctly (omnivore, carnivore, herbivore, and plant).
General Learner Outcome:
5-10: Describe the living and nonliving components of a wetland ecosystem and the interactions within and among them.
Specific Learner Outcome:
7: Draw diagrams of food chains and food webs, and interpret such diagrams.
ICT Outcomes:
P 1.2.1: Create and revise original text to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms and techniques
C 1.2.1: Access and retrieve appropriate information from the Internet by using a specific search path or from given uniform resource locations (URL’s).
Rationale for Computer Integration:
By using the Internet students will be able to observe a food chain unfold before their very eyes, something a text book could not do. They will be able to visually learn about food chains and understand just how one works. They will be able to test their knowledge about food chains by attempting to put together their own once they are done the reading. The students will also be able to use the internet (especially Google) to look for specific pictures, thus learning to navigate between various sites. The students will learn to search the web pages to find the pictures that they need to make a food chain. They will also have practice at using word processor and learning to copy and paste items from the Internet right into their assignments.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Using PowerPoint to Meet Technology Outcomes

The purpose of this post is to explain a specific technology outcome related to using PowerPoint in the classroom from the Alberta Learning web site.

Specific Technology Outcome Being Integrated: P.3.1.2 create visual images by using such tools as paint and draw programs for particular audiences and purposes

Subject: English Language Arts

Grade: 1


In this lesson, students will learn to use and become familiar with a paint and draw program on the computer. This lesson could be used to help students in a unit about a holiday such as Halloween. This activity could supplement a writing project. Students could have previously written Halloween stories. To demonstrate their ability to choose pictures to represent words they could create images in a paint and draw program that will accompany their writing. The teacher could then make PowerPoint presentations of each child's story including the pictures and writing on each slide. This will show students that their own writing can be made into electronic stories. To take the project a step further, the students could read the stories aloud as they appear on the screen.
What is Technology Integration?

The easiest way to describe technology integration is to say that it is the inclusion/use of technology in the classroom. There are many ways to integrate technology into the classroom. However, there can be both positive technology integration and negative technology integration. The purpose of this post will be to explain and then examine a few examples of what exactly good and bad technology integration is. This post will also look at some of the barriers to technology integration.

The best way for technology to be used in a classroom is to enhance and improve both the teaching and learning process. One key thing to remember is as Lynne Schrum in her "Technology in the Classroom: Asking the Right Questions" article explains, technology should be "the means not the end. Technology merely provides the tools to be used for authentic learning." The following are some examples of what I believe are good ways to integrate technology into the classroom. If students are going to use computers, they need to use them regularly so they learn how to properly use them. This use can be in many forms. First, the Internet is becoming a very beneficial tool more and more every day. Students can use it for assignments to find information through online encyclopedias, government web pages, online newspapers, Internet searches, web pages, and databases etc. They can use the Internet for just about any subject they wish. This includes math (good sites explaining how to do equations), English (sites explaining effective poetry writing etc.), science (sites about experiments) etc. Another way to integrate technology is through blogging. As I described in the previous post, there are many ways to integrate and use blogging in the classroom. I believe that in order to integrate technology in a positive manner teachers need to use it with most, if not all of their subjects. After all, it has been proven that students who use computers make faster progress in their learning of various subjects.

As with everything, there are positive and negative factors, so now we will focus on bad technology integration in the classroom. In order for technology to beneficial in the classroom it has to be integrated into the learning process. In other words, it should be used as a supplement to various subjects. Bad integration would be to have the technology/computer as just simply a play tool. Students should not just be able to use it for 'fun' in terms of games, and checking email etc. If it is going to be integrated properly and be beneficial then a teacher needs to only let their students use a computer for fun as a reward for work well done. Or, the games played on a computer could be learning based such as a math or science question game. Integrated technology should always help to improve the learning process. If the technology does not benefit a student's learning, then it is probably not good technology integration.

As I said previously, this post will also address the possible barriers to technology integration. First, a barrier could be not having any or enough access to technology due to the money issues. If a teacher wants to use technology but only has one computer, it is hard to allow all of the students equal opportunities to use technology. Another barrier could be a teacher not wanting to, or not knowing how to use technology. Some people are afraid of/intimidated by or disagree with the use of technology in a classroom. Thus, they could not effectively teach their students to use the technology. These all present barriers to the use of technology in the classroom.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

My First Impression of Blogging and How I Believe it is Beneficial in Education!

I have never blogged before so this entire experience has been new to me. I had no idea what exactly a blog was before I read through our various class links and the readings/exercises. However, I have to say that it is quite an interesting form of technology. I have already attempted to try a few things on my own, like make up my profile and add some pictures through the "hello from picasa" program. Already it seems to be a very 'fun' online tool. I look forward to learning more in this online education class about blogging and the ways it is helpful in the classroom.

In terms of my first impressions of blogging in education, I think that the program is beneficial but also has some setbacks. I believe the positive attributes include firstly, that it is an easy way for people to keep in touch. More specifically, it is a way for teachers and students or teachers and parents to communicate. This communication can be in the form of listing up to date homework assignments, or even as a way for students and other students or teachers and students to ask and respond to questions for exams, homework assignments or just questions about the topic of the day in the classroom. It is extremely beneficial because the posts are always there, so if a student would want to or need to go back and read a past assignment or find an answer they could easily access the archived posts.

I think that it is also very beneficial because it creates a different way for students to voice their opinions and beliefs then just voicing them in the classroom. Many students have a hard time speaking up in class for various reasons, this could be a way for those students to show their teacher and peers that they too have useful and insightful information to contribute.

Blogs could also be beneficial in helping students and teachers to get to know one another better. Through profiles and various journal-like posts, the students and teachers could share information about themselves to achieve a better understanding of each other. Through this, a teacher could also monitor a students writing style and typing skills and offer tips for improvement.

Most importantly, blogging offers students a chance to learn a new technology and try out a different way of learning. This may be for some, a more fun way of learning rather than just writing and reading from paper and pen. It could provide a challenge to some students and teachers, but, it will probably achieve the outcome of expanding their knowledge and allowing them to try something new.

While I do believe all of the above are very positive attributes of blogging, I do believe that blogs could be a very negative technology if not used properly. The teacher would very specifically have to explain the purpose of the blogs to the students and encourage them to use them in an school or classroom appropriate manner.

Ultimately, being a first time blogger, I have been impressed with the technology. I see it as being a very beneficial tool for the classroom and I look forward to learning about other ways blogging can be used for education.
Who Am I??
To start out I just want to say Hi to everyone who reads this! My name is Cassandra Catherine Bachmier and I am in my fourth year of the combined BA/BEd program at the University of Lethbridge. That means I only have 2 years left including this year and then I can begin my dream of becoming a teacher!! My major is English/English Language Arts Education and my minor is Social Studies Education.

My hometown is the very small village of Fox Valley, Saskatchewan (south west part of the province). I hope to one day go back to that community and teach there so that I can give back to the people there, because they are largely responsible for how far I have come in my life, and have helped shape me into the person I am today. Of the people in the community, my family and boyfriend are the biggest contributors to my success. These include my mom, Joanne, my dad, Wayne, my older sister, Stephanie, my younger sister Kimberly and my boyfriend Kolton. Their constant support and unconditional love have truly shaped me and helped me to fully realize my dream of becoming a teacher. I like to think the person that I am today is a loving, caring, compassionate and hardworking one. I have big dreams, especially that of becoming a teacher, and I tend to follow all of my dreams and achieve all my goals!

My Rabbit JJ Posted by Picasa

My Dog Harley Posted by Picasa

Our Family Dog Tanner Posted by Picasa

My Mom (Joanne) and My Dad (Wayne) Posted by Picasa

My sisters and I (L-R Kimberly, Myself, Stephanie) Posted by Picasa

My Boyfriend Kolton and I Posted by Picasa

A picture of me at my Highschool Grad 2002 Posted by Picasa