Teacher Candidate Bloggers

Last week, I threw out an invitation to introduce yourself to @zbpipe’s technology class and invited people in that class to give us a shout back with Twitter IDs and a link to their blog.  A few of the students did share the links to their blogs and you’ll see them below in this posting.

I’m really excited for these teacher candidates.  The ability to make connections to other educators just wasn’t there when I went to the Faculty of Education.  The best we could do was hold our breath until we got assigned a teacher for practice teaching.  At that point, we got the eyes and thoughts of an educator and occasionally another one or two on that staff if we were lucky.  Through the use of social media, these educators are able to make diverse connections right now through their Twitter account and they’re already using their blogs to post their thoughts and share reflections publically.  That’s a huge step – nobody is really sure of what they’re doing as a teacher at least until the fifth year if at all!  It’s just one year of continuous learning after another.  What benefits and richness social media brings.  It’s not necessarily all good – but it’s the connections that provide a wide variety of perspectives.  That’s so valuable.

Let’s continue to support the work of these Ontario Educators to be.  Check out their blogs and roll back a few years and picture yourself one year into a professional learning program…

Zach Blashkiw
I like the “eyes open” approach to this blog post.  It’s pretty sad to think that the only learning that goes on in a student’s life is in your class.  They’re constantly learning and Zach asks a really important question in this blog post.  Just what are they learning outside the classroom?

It’s only when you determine the answer to that question that you start to get into the mind of your students and understand just what makes them tick.  It gives you the ammunition to have important conversations with them and to create a learning environment that is customized so that the problems are interesting and relevant to the students.

Journey of a new teacher
You’ve got to like a teacher looking for ways to engage students.  In this case, we get a chance to read some thoughts about the use of Prezi as an alternative to Microsoft’s Powerpoint.  I suspect that ultimately, it won’t be a complete replacement but it certainly is nice to have to shake things up periodically.  After potentially four years of professors using Powerpoint presentations in class, this would undoubtedly be a breath of fresh air.

Ultimately though, you have to consider content first and then choose the medium for presentation.  It’s not a good idea to rely solely on one tool.  Following the logic and we’ve got a couple of different ways for presentations.  There are more out there – keep digging and never stop!

Shadowing Shailja
Isn’t this the thought of any beginning blogger?  Am I good enough?  Will people actually read my thoughts?  What if I say something that someone takes an exception to?

But, you know what?  Social media wouldn’t have the value that it does if people agreed on every issue.  And, you don’t knock every post out of the park.  Your social psyche comes by posting enough to establish a presence and who you are and post enough to generate some discussion about topics near and dear to you.

And the Joy of Discovery
One of the most powerful things that an educator can do is share resources and thoughts with someone else.  If you’ve discovered the good stuff, why keep it all to yourself?  By posting and sharing, everyone has the chance to grow and become better at our chosen profession.

In this case, we’re introduced to the warehouse of goodies that PBS offers.  There is a wealth of resources there.  Like all resources, they do need to be previewed to make sure that they meet Ontario Curriculum Expectations.  And, if they do, you’re off to the races.

Ecce Cogitationes Regis
I really like the question in this post – “What do you do if you throw a party and nobody comes?”  The big question here deals with competing with Facebook and YouTube.  Ooooh, such a big challenge.  If you find the answer, I know that a lot of teachers will pay big bucks for the solution!

I see a couple things – your site would have to provide something that neither Facebook nor YouTube could provide.  That’s going to be a challenge.  Or, if you can’t beat them, join them.  Could you use the Facebook or YouTube resources to enhance your content or vice versa?  A lot of people want to know the answer to that!

Holloway’s Happy Thoughts
What a cool name for a blog.  If that doesn’t inspire readers to press on with a positive frame of mind, I don’t know what will!  From this entry, it looks like we’ve got another Google fan in the making.  The observations here are pure Google – collaboration and cloud storage of documents.  It really is a blueprint for student project success.

The one thing that was missing was the stability of having the document available anytime and anywhere and a professional service doing your backups for you.  It’s a Happy Thought – collaborative life is good and you’ve been using a terrific tool.

edtech talks
One of the powerful uses of Twitter for professional learning happens when you get a bunch of kindred souls together to solve all the ills of the classroom and share learning experiences around a particular topic.  In this case, the blog post talks about the excitement of joining a Twitter chat.  The author is correct; if you haven’t experienced something like this before, you really should.

You can wait for practice teaching assignments to get one or two different perspectives on a topic or the profession but there’s nothing like the explosion of thought when you get all kinds of educators online at the same time firing off their thoughts as they come.  I really enjoyed this post and this definitely is a Level 4 use of Twitter for professional learning.

My Teaching Journey
This post brought back some fond memories for me.  My first day of observation didn’t involve going very far…it was at UTS which shared the same location as the Faculty of Education.  How different real life is compared to the contrived classroom setting at the faculty where we taught our first lessons to adults.

I also remember my first day in a French immersion kindergarten classroom.  Instructions are given in French a couple of times and then switched to English to help the process all the while being able to have a conversation with me and knowing just what every child in the class was doing.  I remember thinking that there must be an operation that happens during your year at the faculty where you get a set of eyes installed in the back of your head!

In this case, we’re jumping right into classroom reality.  Not only are we observing students in action but also digging into IEPs and accommodations for those students who need it.

Whew!  What great reads from these newly started blogs.  What brave souls to open up to us and sharing thoughts as they begin their exciting careers!  I would encourage you to wander around these blogs and just picture the excitement that being at the beginning of a career brings.  To the bloggers, keep it up!  At the end of the year, you’ll have a wonderful resource to look back on for reflection and you’ll be amazed at your own personal growth as you head towards your education degrees.

You’re well on your way to building a personalized network to help you learn and grow.

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OTR Links 10/07/2011

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.