missmillerslearningjourney

My ideas, thoughts, and experiences

Author: msemilymiller (page 1 of 3)

Reflection on Technology Handbook Summaries – What’s in it for me?

What issues were the most interesting for you and why?

It is clear across all articles in this book, that knowledge has not increased at the same rate as technology innovation has. New technology applications and platforms are being introduced faster that teachers and students have time to experiment with and dabble in. The important thing that Information Technology leaders in schools need to remember, is that it is not the quantity of technology or even the usage of current technology, but how it is helping the learners in the space. Just because a platform or software is new, doesn’t mean that it is the best thing to support students. There is no perfect delivery system, it depends on the individual what is going to work best.

“good usage is the usage that matches instruction and gets the best outcomes for students”

Something that really stuck out to me from one of the chapters was the idea that just because students are exposed to a lot of technology at home, we should not assume that because they are competent technology users. I have seen this first hand as a primary teacher. Students self-report extended technology access and programming at home. This usually entitles video games and YouTube. However, these applications do not help students develop skills to use technology appropriately. For the most part, they do not know how to type, do not know how to search information, use technology to make life easier, or what applications are outside of the gaming ones they are always on.

One thing that my district is quite interested in right now is assessment. As our curriculum in BC has changed, our assessment practices need to change as well. With the increase in technology, assessing the use of technology and using technology to assess has revolutionized assessment. As mentioned by one of the groups, assessment needs to be multifaceted. In our district, we have developed an assessment visual that shows the different things you need to consider when developing your assessments – insure its clear and intentional, timely and ongoing, inclusive, communicates student learning, and is a shared responsibility between student, teachers, and family.

Another aspect of technology that I found interesting was the use of game simulation to help solve real world problems. Students are building engagement through the use of this new approach and not only developing technology skills but also problem solving and collaboration skills. It is something very interesting in theory but something else in practice I think. I was in one of our Grade 6/7 classes last week doing coverage and I decided to bring in something fun. I decided to have the students do a Breakout EDU game. I made quite a few assumptions before bringing it into the class – such as, they had knowledge of breakout games and that they had strong problem solving and persistence. I was quickly shown otherwise. Students were quickly frustrated when the instructions did not tell them exactly what to do. And they did very little to move closer to the answer. I had to start providing hints in order to get them re-engaged and successful. For next time, I will ensure I start with an easier activity and maybe do one as a whole group before having them engage in small group work.

Technology is an interesting concept in elementary classrooms. There are so many opportunities to provide students in order to develop curricular and core competencies, however, it’s hard to know what is best.

 

Which issues have implications for you in your own personal situation (both in your current position and in your current research topic for your MEd project.?

I am coming to understand this more and more. I originally thought of my job as constantly bringing in new things to staff to explore. But that can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those staff members that are already uncomfortable with technology and are hesitant to change their ways. I am coming to the realization that instead, it is important that teachers feel that they have input, time to practice, and support from other teachers and admin in the building. Trevor and I’s chapter was all about Educational Leadership in the field of IT. The main message was about how to create the space for optimal learning and growing and how to foster that as a leader within a school staff.

This means spending time having discussions as staff about our pedagogy and values around technology in education. Until you do that, as a leader, you will not have a solid understanding of where the staff are coming from and will not be able to choose new technology initiatives that fulfill the schools needs, wants, and goals.

It’s also important as a leader, to understand what the possible factors for disruption there are, in order to mitigate as many as we can. There can be a lack of time given to staff to experiment and play with technology before bringing it into their classroom. As a result, there is a lack of experience which leads to being uncomfortable. And we all know that no teacher wants to teach from a place of discomfort. In addition, depending on what generation you grew up in – you may have more or less risk tolerance and self-help strategies when it comes to technology. Availability is a huge factor as well at schools around the world. It is a rarity that all students have access to a device. Therefore, it’s important to have some supplemental devices and activities that do not need to be completed online. And access to funds could either help or hinder this. In many schools in my districts, there are strong PAC’s which raise a lot of money to help buy and maintain technology. Whereas in other schools, that is not always the case. There is also the agendas of stakeholders to keep in mind. When  technology is introduced to a school or a district, there are usually already agendas that administrators have before presenting. It’s difficult to get buy-in from teachers when it is an initiative that is being done to them and for them instead of with/alongside them.

One thing that I really liked from the K-12 Tech Usage Report linked below, was the Batavia district strategy in regards to technology integration. It consists of 3 levels:

    • Core materials that get widespread use
    • Supplemental materials for remediation or enrichment
    • Materials that might just meet an individual school/student/teacher need *these are few and far between and often transition into the second section

This provides a good way to categorize technology apps and usage with staff in a way that is clear.

Something I would like to learn more about, connected to my M.Ed project:

  • How to use technology to enhance assessment – especially when job sharing/have multiple teachers?
  • How to use technology to share the learning that is going on in my classroom/community through digital portfolios for primary students?
  • Where is the balance between technology use in classrooms and place-based learning outdoors? What skills can we develop with the use of the one over the other? Or both?
  • How to harness students experience with social media/technology to share their outdoor learning experiences? (YouTube? Class Instagram? FreshGrade?)

Resources:

  • Voogt, G. Knezak, R. Christensen, & K-W, Lai (Eds.) Second Handbook of Information Technology in Primary and Secondary Education, pp. 3-12. Springer International Handbooks of Education. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-71054-9]

Models for Technology Implementation in Schools – TPACK vs. SAMR

My context is that I am currently a grade two teacher, the Vice Principal, and the technology support teacher at my school. The school district that I am a part of strongly supports technology use in the classroom and are often pushing out different types of opportunities. With the school and PAC funds that we have access to, our school is equipped with iPads and Chromebooks and students in Grades 4-7 are strongly encouraged to invest in a personal device. We also have dropdown projectors in all classrooms and a SmartBoard in our school library. I would say, for the most part, that the technology devices and applications that we use within our school have either been suggested by the district or apps that are gaining public popularity. As I applied for this Master’s program, I was hoping that it would help me to tighten up our systems, develop a vision for our school, and a structure to more thoughtfully reflect on what and how to implement ‘new’ technology into our practice.

Through these readings, I am leading more towards the TPACK model. There seems to be more research behind the implementation and use of the model to develop and create deep learning experiences for classroom teacher and students. As an administrator, it would push me to be extremely thoughtful and intentional with what I brought to staff. I would have to think about the content knowledge, technologic knowledge, and pedagogical knowledge of all staff.

“The basis of effective teaching with technology, requiring an understanding of the representation of concepts using technologies; pedagogical techniques that use technologies in constructive ways to teach content; knowledge of what makes concepts difficult or easy to learn and how technology and help redress some of the problems that students face; knowledge of students prior knowledge and theories of epistemology; and knowledge of how technologies can be used to build on existing knowledge to develop new epistemologies or strengthen old ones” (Koehler & Mishra, 2009).

Teaching is a complicated and confusing profession and with the addition of technology, it often just becomes an add on. In the past, I have found that our school brings in technology that is new and exciting but it often sits unused because teachers don’t have an understanding of how to use it, how it will assist in developing their pedagogical understanding, and how it will help enhance content knowledge – a perfect example of that is our SmartBoard. Something that could change the way that technology is perceived and understood would be to go through the different types of knowledge need to be developed before the full introduction of a new technology or application. Providing the research, having conversations with staff about our collective understanding and vision in regards to technology, providing sessions for educators to play around an explore with the technology, and building content capacity before introducing a technology to support.

However, I think the SAMR model also has a place in the school. I think it serves as a great reminder to implement a variety of technology in the classroom. We shouldn’t be spending all of our time at the bottom with substitution and augmentation and challenge ourselves to modify and redefine the learning in classroom with technology. The reference of the SAMR model with staff, could provoke thought provoking question and reminders about what we are doing in our classroom – such as why are we using what we are using in the first place? Is it the best thing to do? Is it going to have an impact on the learning? It provides a starting point to have conversations about technology. Based on the articles given for this week’s readings, there doesn’t seem to be much research about the process of implementing the structure and many questions surrounding the efficacy of the SAMR model. In the education community, there seems to be concerns around the contextual implementation of the model, rigid structure where activities are only supposed to fall within one of the four levels, and the primary focus on product instead of process of learning (Hamilton & Rosenberg et al., 2016). Therefore, I would start by moving through the TPACK model when implementing or introducing new technology, and use the SAMR model to facilitate discussion around what we are already doing and what we can move towards.

 

Resources:

Hamilton, E.R., Rosenberg, J.M. & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: a Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends 60(5), 433-441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2009). What is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK)?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 9(1), 60-70. Waynesville, NC USA: Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education.  https://www.learntechlib.org/primary/p/29544/.

Clark vs. Kozma – Media and Learning

Image result for technology fighting
The Clark versus Kozma debate on the connection between media and learning has been going on for decades.  It all started in 1983 when Clark stated that media “are mere vehicles that deliver instruction but do not influence students achievement any more than the truck that delivers our groceries causing changes in nutrition” (Clark, 1983, p. 445).  Based on articles on the topic at the time, Clark made the definitive argument that there are no learning benefits to the use of technology and to not continue wasting effort on the question until a new theory was developed. He was hoping to start a conversation – and start one he did.

Kozmas response to these findings are that we should not have to change the question, but reframe it – not does technology influence learning, but will media influence learning? In his perspective, educational technology is not a natural science but a design science. That meaning that the relationships between the two might not yet be there because we have not yet made one.  As we have come to understand, learning is not a static activity or something done to us. It is “not the receptive response to instruction Image result for kids on computer with friendsdelivery, but an active, constructive, cognitive, and social process by which the learner strategically manages available resources to create new knowledge” (Kozma, 1994). Learning is the interplay between the individual and the environment – which includes the mode of instruction

As I reflect on this debate, I wonder what repercussions it had in the field of education. Did it stop schools from investing in technology? How did this affect classroom teachers? Was it an excuse for teachers? What was Clarks motivation for negating it in the classroom? What does he believe are the benefits of technology? How would  he suggest we prepare students for the world we live in today – which is primarily digital.

As we think educational technology in the 21st century. Many things have changed since this debate started. Technologies have changed, access has changed, families have changed, schools have changed, and the economic environment around us have changed. Although there remains to conclusive evidence that any one medium is more effective than the other, I believe technology plays an integral part in the education of young people today.

As our third perspective on this topic stated, “five decades of research suggests that there are no learning benefits to be gained from employing different media in instruction, regardless of their obviously attractive features or advertised superiority” (Becker, 2010). In my own experience, this has been the use of technology in the past. Educators have used technology as a way to improve student engagement on the conceptual topic. However, as times, technology, and the world around us have changed, students need to learn the skills to utilize technology to their advantage.

Image result for bc core competency visual

The new BC Core Competencies are the skill that we want students to leave our school system knowing and demonstrating. These skills will allow our youth to transition into successful roles and relationships within their communities. And technology is an avenue in which they need to be able to demonstrate those skills. Students need to learn how to be effective communicators, thinkers, collaborators, and connected to each other and their environment. All these things can not only be accomplished in the four walls of a classroom, but through the use of different applications and resources online. According to an article by Visual Capitalist, over the past decade, the technology industry has created more than 1 million jobs across the United States. Between 2010 and 2017 there was a job growth average of 6% – more than four times the national average across all industries.

Visualizing Job Growth in Top Tech Markets in North America

I agree with my colleague Rochelle’s perspective on the debate: When content is the goal I fully agree with Clark, media is not going to make a difference to the learning. However, when building skills and competencies is the goal, I believe Clark’s argument is outdated and no longer applicable to education.

The most impactful and truthful quote came at the end of the third article in;

“the truth of the matter is that technology, in and of itself, can neither improve or impoverish instruction. Instructional technology only works for some kids, with some topics, and under some conditions – but that is true of all pedagogy. There is nothing that works for every purpose, for every learner, and all the time” (Mann, 2001, p. 241)

This quote accurately describes teaching approaches clearly.  As educators, we try to use as much as we can that is available to us in order to both engage students and provide new opportunities for learning. This, all in the hopes that it will reach one of our students in the right way and push them towards learning in a deeper way.

Resources

Becker, K. (2010). The Clark-Kozma Debate in the 21stCentury. Paper presented at the Canadian Network for Innovation in Education 2010 Conference. Published under Creative Commons. (http://mruir.mtroyal.ca:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11205/143/clark_kozma_21century.pdf?sequence=1)

Clark, R.E. (1994). Media will never influence learning. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2),  21-29. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299088

Kozma, R.B. (1994). Will media influence learning? Reframing the debate. Educational Technology Research and Development. 42 (2), 17-19. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02299087

EdTech Trends – from MSN Messenger to VR

Photo from: https://www.nsnews.com/news/virtual-reality-brings-the-world-to-west-vancouver-students-video-1.23298859

 

Introduction

Our generation has seen a large shift in technology over our lifetime. Growing up, personal computers were just coming out. Our home computer was in an open space and it was not used much. As I transitioned into school, we would have weekly visits to the computer lab for typing practice (All the Right Type). In high school, I had my own device and was using it to take notes, type papers, research information for school projects, and instant message friends of course! As we got older, Apple products started to be released, personal computers become more prominent, and the wealth of knowledge shared on the internet has grown substantially.

As we have gone through these different phases of technology use, we have adapted extremely well. Most people my age are quite technology literate and can adeptly problem solve and troubleshoot.

However, just a few generations above and below, they both seem to be at a loss. As the resident technology support at school and at home, I am constantly asked questions from students, colleagues, and family members about how to stop pop ups, how to reset passwords, and how to change the settings to project presentations.

It was been exciting to watch and engage with new and exciting trends in the world of technology. Especially as I have moved into my role as an educator. As I moved into the classroom, the conversation about students and technology was that students were more technology literate and we, as educators, needed to start leveraging those skills in order to increase engagement and excitement for learners.

However, in my experiences. That has not been the case. Students come in knowledgeable about how to use and access specific apps on phones and tablets, but when it comes to using devices to find information and share ideas – which I believe is the primary purpose – they seem to be unsure.

 

Summary

As Leanne mentioned in her blog, here are the top trends in educational technology as per our course readings:

  1. According to Labullier  the top trends are: 1:1 learning devices, mobile devices, wearable technology, cloud computing, collaborative computing, robotics, internet of things and game based learning, STEAM/STEM and AR (augmented reality).
  2. Randles identified computational thinking, Professional Learning, AR, VR (virtual reality) and mixed reality, AI (artificial intelligence) and global learning, learning sciences and digital citizenship and student centered learning.
  3. Jobanputra identified them as customizable learning experiences, cloud computing, speech to text options, VR/AR, 3-D printing, learning analytics.
  4. Lambda Solutions identified coding, seamless resource access, remote learning and gamification and learning management systems.
  5. According to Technology in Education 2019: 5 Trends to watch, the top trends are classroom learning as a supplement to online learning, MOOC’s ( Massive online open courses), AR, 5G ( faster networks), content on demand, inclusivity/ exclusivity and collaboration.
  6. Jarman, sees them as: Smartboards, AI, AR, VR, blockchain technology, learning analytics and adaptive learning.

The commonalities between all of these are: AI, AR, VR, anytime/ anyplace learning (enhanced by mobile devices, 1:1 devices), global/collaborative computing/ learning and student centered/focused learning results.

 

Reflection

There are many things to consider when reflecting on these readings. When looking at these articles, it is important to question and wonder who is writing the articles. If an author has a connection or relationship with a technology company, it could easily persuade and direct the messaging that comes out. It is also important to think about how the author got their information, and for what audience is it for. It would be important to know if these trends were city, province, state, or country specific. And because the articles are not academic pieces of writing, how can we determine how reliable the information they are providing are.

I am currently teaching grade two in a small affluent school district in Metro Vancouver area. In our district, we are very lucky to have support and access to a variety of technology. At our site, we have iPads, Chromebooks, SmartBoard (not that anyone uses it anymore), access to the district set of VR headsets, use of Google Suites, FreshGrade learning and reporting portfolios, coding arcades, Math IXL, and free access to the Discovery Education platform. Students from kindergarten to grade seven have exposure and access to these different avenues. And our teachers are adept at making sure that the learning is developmentally appropriate and that it makes sense for their context.

We are also lucky enough to have quite a high ratio of students to devices. Students in grade four to seven are required to bring their own device and younger students have access to iPads and are starting to explore the use of a Chromebook. This access is invaluable as it allows learners to develop a sense of independence and connect with peers in their classroom, a classroom down the hall, or half a world away.

The exciting thing about AI, AR, and VR as mentioned in one of the articles, was that the predictive nature of it, it could take some pressure off the teacher and allow them to work more closely with the student in developing a learning plan and providing targeted support based on feedback from the automated device that is designed to catch irregularities.

In addition, many trends in education seem to be moving in the direction of student centered – as it should be! The classroom is a place for students to be excited and engage with the curriculum. With the addition of inquiry and concept based teaching, students are pushed to think critically and ask questions that go beyond what you can search on Google. Technology helps everyone to access information to help them on their learning journey.

However, here is where I agree with Holland and Holland. I strongly believe that students shouldn’t be given the technology just for the sake of using it. As they mentioned in their article:

“Students still need to have the knowledge and command of effective two-way communication skills including recording their thoughts, knowledge, opinions, discoveries, and inventions in a clear and concise way” (Holland & Holland, 2014).

There are many applications that can help students explore and practice those skills, but they are not the only way. Adoption of programs and types of educational technology is projected to increase, however, we as educators need to make sure that we are supplementing with other ways of knowing.

 

Biggest Trends in Educational Technology – My Perspective

In my context, things seem to change from year to year as excitement for the latest and greatest technology shift and change. But as it stands right now,  these are the biggest trends in educational technology in my context.

  • Global Learning – Not only connecting globally, but also connecting online with peers in order to be inclusive of students who are not able to make it into the building. Also, by connecting with people from all over the world, gaining real time news and information from all over the world, communication platforms (e.g. Mystery Skype, KidBlog, FlipGrid, etc.).
  • Collaborative Computing – GoogleSuite, Kidblog, Padlet, FreshGrade – Allows students to share their information with a community in order to gain feedback and develop their understanding of a topic or concept.
  • Coding – Learning the mechanics of computers and how to get it to do what you want (Coding Mice, BlueBot, Wonder, Dash, etc.)
  • AI, AR, VR – Programs could not only help the teacher manage and catch any inconsistencies and patterns in student work, AR and VR are extremely motivating and exciting opportunities for students (Google Expeditions).

As you probably noticed, all of these trends are student centered and accessible for all learners.

 

Conclusion

I am so excited for all the amazing things that technology is bringing to the world of education. I think it is great that we are providing opportunities and the audience in which to safely share ideas, thoughts, and work. However, this quote really stuck out to me as thought provoking:

“It is not a bad things, but there are implications, whether it is simply a new medium, or whether we might be missing some of the underlying bits of important knowledge needed to carry us forward in a digital era” (Holland & Holland, 2014).

Is new always better?

There are so many new technologies out there and we want to ensure our students have access to exposure to the latest greatest thing. however, I am finding that we did so in the past, with out taking the time to consider the consequences. Something that is starting to come up more and more now is data security. Where is the information that students are sharing being housed? What information is being shared? What am I agreeing to in the Terms and Conditions? These are just a few questions that are now coming up.

I look forward to continuing on my edtech learning journey this term!

Resources

Holland, J. & Holland, J. (2014). Implications of Shifting Technology in Education. Tech Trends. 58(3), 16-25. http://vincross.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Holland-Holland-2014.pdf

Where am I now? – Final Blog

As I began these courses at the beginning of July, I thought that transitioning into this program would be easy. I have only been out of the post-secondary world for five years and felt like my classroom experience, leadership exemplars, and ability to hoop jump would guarantee smooth sailing throughout the program. I was incorrect. The platform, layout, and thoughtful guest speakers have allowed my classmates and myself to reflect on our own pedagogy, consider new ideas and perspectives, and be vulnerable to sharing the strengths and struggles that go on in our own school contexts. EDCI 515 and EDCI 568 specifically, have pushed my thinking in ways I was not expecting.

At my school, I am not only a classroom teacher, new administrator, but the technology support teacher – a role I took on from a colleague as after she left on maternity leave. Being a millennial, I have an understanding of technology and digital platforms. But as I learned throughout this month, there are many other things I need to consider in my role.

My school has a range of technologies that we are working with – iPads, Chromebooks, and personal devices of students as they bring them from home. We have had staff and classroom conversations about how the technology is to be used, however, I think going forward we need to be more clear and intentional with our use of technology school and district wide. Throughout the revised BC Curriculum, digital literacy has been included, however, I had no idea that there were international standards for technology integration  that we should also be referencing in order to ensure students are capable learners in the twenty first century. I hope to share this with my school staff. And to build off of that, I am planning on developing a school technology agreement with my staff. As a collective, we need to decide what our shared understandings, government and district privacy policies, creative commons, copyright, and our school expectations around technology are. We cannot continue to be willfully blind. Now that I have been directed to this information, I feel obligated to share and ensure, as educators, we are modeling safe and respectful technology for our students. As Jesse Miller says, “we cannot change the world of technology that we and our students live in, therefore, we should be focusing on building networked citizens” (personal communication, July 9, 2019)

As society is delving deeper and deeper into the world of technology, it is important to be intentional in our teaching. As Dr. Martin Weller mentioned, “we need to think critically about the resources and tools that we are going to use” (personal conversation, July 22, 2019). This means, to find the balance – not cut it out completely, but also not to champion it blindly.

One of the benefits of digital media is the ability to connect through social spaces online. Christine Younghusband explained that through the use of Twitter she has been able to make connections with educators around the world which has grown her own wealth of knowledge and understanding on different topics. Through our exploration of academic articles such as ‘Twitter Use and its Effects on Student Perception of Instructor Credibility’ by DeGroot and VanSlette, I have begun to understand the use of social media for digital scholarship. Something that I continue to struggle with though, is considering whose voices are heard through published research online. In my experience, research favours a certain demographic. I believe that in order to develop a clear and unbiased understanding of something, we need different perspectives. It becomes tricky, however, to get gain a variety of insights in digital scholarship when there are some cultures that are “still predominately based on orally shared intergenerational knowledge” (Bowers, 2018). This starts to create a gap between cultures and generations. Digital scholarship should be used to connect people, not to drive them further apart. As Dr. John Willinsky put it, “how can we use open digital scholarship to become a better educated society?” (personal communication, July 23 2019).

Another idea that has transformed my thinking over the past three weeks was when Shauneen Pete said that it is an educator’s responsibility to get informed and educated about Indigenous history (personal communication, July 16 2019). First of all, Indigenous knowledge is “not a uniform concept spread across all Indigenous peoples, it is a diverse knowledge that is spread throughout different people in many layers” (Onwu & Mosimege, 2004). It is not the responsibility of the first peoples to educate us. I have been feeling this idea inside of myself for a while now. In B.C. there is a big focus on Indigenous ways of knowing as it has been embedded in all aspects of the curriculum. Support teachers and district principles have been hired, but they are constantly being pulled in so many directions. How do we gain knowledge without putting pressure on our local communities as a result of being uncomfortable with our settler history? Through Shauneens’ sharing, I have realized that we should connect and learn through story (personal communication, July 16, 2019). That is how she communicated her masters and doctoral theses and shared her story with us. Based on her suggestions, I have added a list of books that share stories of different perspectives that I hope with confront and challenge my settler identity.

Listening to some of the guest speakers this week, have also led me to question the learning design that takes place in my classroom. Coming into this program, I have five years of teaching experience, have taught in IB schools {Level 1 Trained}, have participated in a district inquiry club, and helped to create and integrate an inquiry cycle at my school. Listening to Jeff Hopkins speak about how he has thoughtfully designed spaces, places, and people to create an environment of inquiry at his school is phenomenal. I appreciated his thoughtful prompt in his TedxTalk – “the world is changing so fast, is our learning serving a purpose in this world?” (TEDx Talks, 2014). If I think about my own classroom, I would have to say no. Students are learning what is in the curriculum in a combination of ways, but I do not think that they see a connection between what they are learning and how that applies to the world around them. I do understand that I need to consider age and stage of my students and how they are able to inquire into the world around them. I have a wide range of learners in my classroom, as most teachers do. I have readers, non-readers, English language learners, native English speakers, students with Ministry designations, some without designations, and students from a variety of home lives. Recently, I heard about this visual that helps educators to plan competencies and curriculum for a unit of student exploration. Picture an upside-down triangle split into three equal sections; in the biggest section at the top, the teacher will write what all students will understand, in the middle, the teacher will write what most students will understand, and in the smallest section at the bottom, the teacher will write with he or she wants some students to understand. This allows educators to plan for a wide variety of learners and to provide effective learning activities for all.

Trevor Mackenzies’ sharing also reminded me that I was on the right track when scaffolding my students through inquiry activities throughout the year (personal communication, July 15 2019). I am hoping that this next year, with older students, I am able to start in the guided inquiry section and move more quickly into the free inquiry portion in order to provide opportunities for my students to explore their own passions and interests – similarly to the PSII students with Jeff Hopkins.

How these understandings are shaping my research area of interest

There seems to be research about the importance of play and inquiry in the classroom for primary students; but how does that translate to intermediate students? As I transition into an intermediate classroom this year, I am hoping to take some teaching and learning strategies from primary and applying them in the middle years. Outdoor exploration and free-play are of particular interest to me. Over the past few years, I have noticed an increased number of students who are unsure and uncomfortable in nature. As I am exploring, there are many factors to consider for this, but one of them is the increased use of technology for our students.

Through the exploratory outdoor play, I am hoping to increase students’ sense of place and connection to the environment. This approach is closely linked to the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Along with the integration of effective applications, I hope to use technology to capture, record, and reflect students’ experiences in nature. Through the interconnection of these two approaches, all learning is accessible and it allows for an even playing field with shared experiences and natural differentiation. With this two-pronged approach, I hope students create a strong understanding of themselves through ‘two eyes’, as Colin Madland shared – one colonizer perspective and one indigenous perspective (personal communication, July 16 2019).

Because being outside and engaging with technology is an experiential process, I think the inclusion of multiple research methodologies would allow for a well-rounded understanding of the topic. I am looking forward to my literature review as I am wanting “to understand what has been doing before, the strengths and weaknesses or existing studies, and what they might mean” for me (Boote & Beile, 2005). The mixed methodologies approach will help to provide quantitative and qualitative data for me to analyze. Built into this approach is validity, trustworthiness, credibility, quality, and rigor (O’Cathain, 2010).  The action research approach might also be beneficial as it would allow me to move through the process of questioning, testing, gathering results, and moving forward, similarly to Dr. Simon Breakspears’ Learning Sprints. In order to enhance my understanding of students’ experience of outdoor learning, I could also engage in a phenomenological approach to gathering data. This would, rightfully so, put students at the center of the research.

As my students and I delve into the world of social media and sharing, we need to be conscious about the use of technology. My educational technology pedagogy is aligned to the SAMR model of technology integration (Hamilton, Rosenberg, & Akcaoglu, 2016).

I believe that it is important to use technology for modification and redefinition of learning activities as opposed to using it for the sake of a new and exciting app. I think it is okay to move through the different types of technology integration at different times, but we should be aiming for the top two tiers of this model. And in order for technology use to be effective, educators need to be proficient in the tools and the ecosystems in which they exist (Alec Couros, personal communication, July 8 2019). In my search for effective tools, I will need to ensure that the platforms comply with the FIPPA standards. As well, alongside teaching the use of the app, my students and I will have to explore what it means to be digitally literate in the twenty first century so they know the ‘manners’ of online communication.

What I hope to aim for with the interconnection between outdoor free-play and documentation and reflection using technology, is ensuring balance. There seems to be a focus for primary students on experiential learning and in later intermediate it seems to be on technology. How can we find a balance of both in the middle years? What should students be engaging with and for how long? I look forward to continuing to develop my understanding and adding new insights and approaches to my journey as an educational researcher.

 

Resources

Boote, D. N., & Beile, P. (2005). Scholars Before Researchers: On the Centrality of the Dissertation Literature Review in Research Preparation. Educational Researcher, 34(6), 3–15. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X034006003

Bowers, C. A. (2018). Ideological, Cultural, and Linguistic Roots of Educational Reforms to Address the Ecological Crisis: The Selected Works of C. A. (Chet) Bowers (1st ed.). https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315193403

Guskey, T. (2002). Professional Development and Teacher Change. Teachers and Teaching, 8, 381–391. https://doi.org/10.1080/135406002100000512

Hamilton, E. R., Rosenberg, J. M., & Akcaoglu, M. (2016). The Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) Model: A Critical Review and Suggestions for its Use. TechTrends, 60(5), 433–441. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11528-016-0091-y

O’Cathain, A. (2010). Assessing the Quality of Mixed Methods Research: Toward a Comprehensive Framework. In A. Tashakkori & C. Teddlie, SAGE Handbook of Mixed Methods in Social & Behavioral Research (pp. 531–556). https://doi.org/10.4135/9781506335193.n21

Onwu, G., & Mosimege, M. (2004). Indigenous knowledge systems and science and technology education: A dialogue. African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 8(1), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/10288457.2004.10740556

TEDx Talks. (2014). Education as if people mattered | Jeff Hopkins | TEDxVictoria. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5O5PK6LsymM

EDCI 568 – Assignment #2

Overview

In 2013, educational researchers at the University of Southern Australia – Marj Fracis, Kathy Paige, and David Lloyd were interested in learning more about middle years’ students’ experiences in nature. Therefore, they decided to engage in a small scale case study. Marj was inspired by her own nature experiences in childhood and how that developed into her personal passion for environmental science. They were also influenced by the sweeping educational movement in Australia towards place-based learning (PBL) practices when teaching to help cultivate safe, positive, and healthy learning opportunities for students.

Unfortunately, they had been noticing that “increasingly, children today are becoming disconnected from the natural environments resulting in a diminished sense of self, place, and community” (Francis, Paige, & Lloyd, 2013). For a variety of reasons, students are having fewer direct experiences in natural environments, which can have negative impacts on their health, concentration, creativity, and sense of well-being.

They first started noticing during their pre-service teaching that not all students respond to learning in natural environments with positive attitudes or enthusiasm, which affects the effectiveness of the PBL approach to learning initiatives. This lack of connection and identification with the natural world around them is “likely to impact the most heavily on decisions, planning and design of human settlements which continue to place a greater strain on the ongoing natural and physical systems that enable the Earth to maintain life, challenging the sustainability of the natural world” (Francis et al., 2013). Therefore, there is a worry that if students do not develop a committed and connected relationship to nature, they will not take measures to protect from further decline in the future.

This specific case study focuses on the ways in which children play and experience natural environments during free-time activities. Its aim is to inform place and community-based learning practices that will create better nature-based opportunities for children and young people in the community It has been shown that learning is strongly connected to play and it’s important to know how students’ initial experiences are shaping their perceptions, ideas, attitudes, and concepts about nature (Francis et al., 2013). According to another researcher in the field, when children engage with natural play environments, there are seven ways in which they will direct the play: adventure, fantasy/imagination, animal allies, exploration, creation of a special place, and creation of small worlds (Sobel, 2008).

This study was conducted within a project called ‘Citizen Science: Urban Ecology Network in the School of Educational Aspirations Project [SEAP]. Participants in this case study were twenty-five year six and seven students within one classroom in a SEAP school (Francis et al., 2013). The class moved through this case study in two phases. Phase one began with a drawing activity which included a place in nature, how they used the outdoor space, who shared the experience with them, any animals or creatures also in the space, and what manmade structures (if any). In addition to the drawing there was an open ended questionnaire portion of phase one. In phase two, only a small portion (seven) of the students, were involved in focus group interviews (Francis et al., 2013).

In order to sort the qualitative data, the drawings were classified into two main categories: domesticated and wild nature settings. See examples of the difference between domesticated and wild nature settings below.

Overall, according to this small sample size, “wild nature settings were preferred as subjects for drawing and sharing experiences about nature experiences (15) over domesticated nature settings (10) – with some students expressing concern and reluctance to include domesticated nature settings when comparing their own experiences to peers” (Francis et al., 2013). The difference between the two nature settings becomes more notable when considering how students accessed nature experiences and the types of activities in which students engaged in. The majority of students accessed nature experiences as semi-structured outings or family gatherings at places of interest or for specific purposes (Francis et al., 2013). These activities were mostly directed by adults (e.g. bushwhacking, sight-seeing, exploring, fishing, camping, playing ball, etc.). This finding reveals that there is a heavy reliance on families to transport students to spaces and place where they can engage in what they value, as a nature experience. During these activities, play tended to be organized and supervised by adults. It also shows a lock of opportunities for creative and imaginative play in nature. However, this study also showed that students have an awareness and empathy towards nature; they understand the risks that the world is facing and the impact humans are having on it (e.g. concerns of animal extinction) (Francis et al., 2013).

My Story and Connection to this Topic

 For the past five years I have taught a combined grade two and three class. Recent research has noted the positive impacts of play for young learners. Therefore, I have been incorporating into my practice more and more. But I have noticed that some students have a difficult time engaging in ‘free-play’ and need frequent opportunities to practice. Each year I have also noticed that when I take students outside, there are a growing percentage who do not know how to ‘play’ outside. They are unsure how or what to play and some are disgusted by the thought of being dirty. I understand that not all students enjoy being outside, but where does that feeling or thought come from? In North Vancouver, B.C. we are extremely lucky because we are surrounded by nature all the time. We have mountains on one side and ocean on the other. Therefore, I find it difficult to comprehend why some students are not engaging with nature. And why are other students becoming disconnected with the natural environments around them? There are so many different variables that could contribute to this change in environmental identity – technology, culture, parenting styles, socio-economic status, and more.

In addition, I have noticed students more engaged in technology outside of the classroom and in the home. Information comes out at sharing time as well as trickling back into the classroom when their morning discussions revolve around a video, song, game, or app they have been engaging with. I reflect back on my childhood and I remember playing outside in the cul-de-sac with neighbours for hours until it was time for dinner. I remember having our family computer in the common area and having a time limit for our use. Technology and outdoor education seem to be on opposite sides of the education spectrum. What I want to know more about is how families, communities, and educators can get to a place where there is a balance of the two, especially in the middle years.

Area of Interest, Research Problem, Purpose, and Questions

 This year I am transitioning out of the primary grades and into intermediate in my urban elementary school. However, there are some aspects of primary education that I believe would be extremely beneficial for intermediate students as well. One of these areas is play. I am hoping to look at how to effectively balance outdoor education with educational technology instead of it being one or the other, or that overexposure to one is to the detriment of the other. This is important in order to develop students into a well-rounded individuals who have a strong sense of environmental identity, as well as develop critical thinking and problem solving strategies through the use of educational technology tools and applications. Some of the questions that I am starting to consider on this topic are:

    • Is there evidence of the increased use of technology for students, as a factor of the decrease in a lack of environmental identity?
    • How can you effectively engage middle years’ students in outdoor play?
    • How can you incorporate grade-level curricular learning outcomes into outdoor play?
    • How can you use educational technology resources to capture and report on the learning in an outdoor play setting?

More to explore on the topic

Journal Articles

Role of Significant Life Experiences in Building Environmental knowledge and Behaviour Among Middle School Students by K. Stevenson, M. Peterson, S. Carrier, R. Strnad, H. Bondell, T Kirby-Hathaway & S. Moore (2014)

The home electronic media environment and parental safety concerns: relationships with outdoor time after school and over the weekend among 9-11 year old children by H. Wilkie, M. Standage, F. Gillison, S. Cumming, & P. Katzmarzyk (2017)

Design for Play: A guide to creating successful play spaces by A. Shackell, P. Doyle, N. Butler, & D. Ball (2008)

Play, Learning and the Early Childhood Curriculum by E. Wood & J. Attfield (2005)

The importance of outdoor play for young children’s healthy development by G. Bento & G. Dias (2017)

Contrasting Screen-Time and Green-Time: A Case for Using Smart Technology and Nature to Optimize Learning Processes by R. Schilhab, M. Stevenson, & P. Bentsen (2018)

New concepts of play and the problem of technology, digital media, and popular culture integration with play-based learning in early childhood education by S. Edwards (2015)

Place Based Learning and Inquiry in a Digital Culture: Honouring Student Voice Through Digital Storytelling by M. Sauerborn (2015)

 

Teacher Resources

http://www.metrovancouver.org/events/school-programs/K12publications/GetOutdoors.pdf

http://resources4rethinking.ca/media/B2N_Into-Nature_English.pdf

 

Student Activities

-nature walk with camera or plant guide

-scavenger hunt

-plant identification apps

-digital recording device

-digital microscope

-BookCreator for stories

-Edutopia Pinterest board

 

Experts in my #PLN

Twitter                         Instagram

@msflett                                 the.nature.atelier

@Roomtoplay             opalschoolportland

@CreativeSTAR                     natureplaykids_

@SylviaMarieKing                 nurturing_with_nature

#outdoored

#outdoorlearning

 

Blogs Posts

-Creating Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs through Outdoor Ed

-Getting kids outdoors with tech

 

Other

Movie – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1567665?ref_=vi_close

 

Resources

Francis, M., Paige, K., & Lloyd, D. (2013). Middle years students’ experiences in nature: A case study on nature-play. Teaching Science: The Journal of the Australian Science Teachers Association, 59(2), 20–30.

Sobel, D. (2008). Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Educators. Stenhouse Publishers.

 

Kitchen Stories

Director Bent Hamer’s movie ‘Kitchen Stories’ is based on a real-life social experiment conducted in Sweden during the 1950’s. Post World War II, a research institute is looking to modernize the home kitchen by observing a handful of rural Norwegian bachelors. See a quick trailer below.

As we were watching this movie, our professor prompted us to reflect on three questions, which we then shared in a small group discussion today:

1.) How does this film connect to the topics we have been learning in the readings?

We started out this course learning about quantitative data collection. Academic research is filled with quantitative data studies and it provides so many advantages to the ever changing science of the world. However, as we have learned about more research methodologies such as quantitative, action research, and self-study, it is moving in the direction of the researcher being integral and at the center of the research. By doing this, it allows the researcher to understand much more contextual information.

For example, something that kept coming up in discussion today was there were a couple instances in the movie where the researcher asked the homeowner questions, as their relationship developed, that he would never have understood by just sitting and observing for days on end.

As Leanne and her group mentioned in their break out discussion today, is that the movie is a great satirical representation of an ‘old style’ of research. Quantitative data has a place and a purpose but we need to understand, as researchers, and George mentioned this last week in his discussion, that when we focus solely on that kind of data, we might miss the humanity in the people that we study. Brene Brown has a great line about this in her 2013 Tedx Talk called ‘The Power of Vulnerability’ – “stories are data with a soul.” I think that comment is so profound and hits right at the core of what we need to understand as researchers. In order to develop a well rounded understanding of a concept, we need to understand our place and our role as researchers.

2.) What does this film pull at? How do you do research?

Something that become quite apparent to me throughout the course of this movie was the importance of the chair. A tall chair is built in order to observe a willing participant in this study. The researchers are given strict instructions to not have any contact with their participants as this taints their data.

However, what is made painstakingly clear, is that human beings are social beings. We are wired for connection and some of the researchers in the movie have a hard time abiding by the guidelines. In my small group discussion, Dale brought up a great point. He said that as soon as the researcher and the participant acknowledge and nod at each other, the objectivity of the research is null and void. He likened this to the feeling of waking up early before everyone else on Christmas morning to find your presents and when you go back to bed you have to pretend to fall asleep when your parents wake up. All the while, you are second guessing yourself about what your actions should be because someone is watching and you feel the need to act in a certain ‘correct’ way.

3.) What does it pull at for you or remind you about your work and your practice?

As I reflect on myself as a teacher and researcher, I do a lot of observing and quantitative data collection. However, when it comes to assessment, that quantitative data falls flat and doesn’t tell the whole story of a student. However, I am able to do so from the anecdotal notes I take and conversations I have throughout the year. I am realizing that I have incorporated these research methodologies into my practice without even knowing what they are.

School Structure Redesign?

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a flame” (Hopkins, 2014).

In our class discussion with Jeff Hopkins today, each of us were intrigued and interested about the amazing things that are going on at the Inquiry and Innovation school he has created. He has moved through multiple roles within the public education system from classroom teacher, to administrator, to superintendent. However, he was never able to find a position where he could really make a systemic change for students in the way he saw needed to be made.

He realized that people didn’t need to hear him talking about it anymore, they needed to see it being done successfully to implement it on a larger scale. Therefore, he built – and they came. Today, Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (PSII) has upwards of 80 high-school students who are all engaged in personal inquiry projects. These projects move way beyond the four walls of their building but reach into the community around them.

If you spend some time perusing the @PSII Twitter feed, you will see student examples of high level inquiry projects and learning such as this:

As we rapid fired questions at him this afternoon, I began to put together some of the driving factors for what makes their space and place effective. Here is what I came up with:

  • Students are not designated or grouped by grade or ability level
  • Using students interests as a springboard into deep learning
  • Gives students an understanding of the purpose of learning
  • Gives students an understanding of who they are and how they contribute to the world around them
  • Connection, collaboration, and community and build into their program (teachers, students, families, outside community)
  • Trust is built in naturally, but it is key to educator and student success within this program

These are just the main ideas that kept resurfacing throughout our conversation. I appreciated the detailed information Jeff gave us about how his school runs. He also provided us with some documents that PSII have been developing over the last few years that might be of interest if you want to know more about them!

I look forward to brining these ideas back to my school, thinking about how we could take aspects of this and apply it to our location, and hopefully talking a group of my colleagues into visiting PSII in the future! *fingers crossed*

Inquiry Discussion with Trevor Mackenzie

Trevor Mackenzie and Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt (with the help and inspiration of Sylvia Duckworth) have used sketchnotes in their books as a way to capture their teaching learning in an easily understood visual. I am going to use their visuals as a jumping off point to discuss my thoughts, past experiences, and hopes for the inquiry process in my classroom going forward.

10 REASONS…

Trevor started out with this visual and asked us to reflect on our own teaching and come up with one or two of these that are evident in our classrooms. Personally, I chose number three. If you were to walk into my classroom and hang out at the back for a week, you would notice that I am intentional in my community building and fostering connections with each one of my students. As this grows and develops over the year, students become more comfortable to take risks in their learning. Therefore, they are more engaged in what they are doing. That in conjunction with planning exciting and fun activities throughout the year such as: a hands on dissection of a local Coho Salmon, making root beer floats to explore the properties of solids, liquids, and gasses, and participating in the creation of an art piece by Qwalacktun (Rick Harry) that is now on display at the West Vancouver Police Department.

In taking more time to look at this visual, and hearing reflections from my classmates, I am realizing that I need to take the time to be more intentional in some of the other areas. And as Trevor Mackenzie noted, these things do not happen every day but over time and you will develop strategies to put into your ‘toolkit’ of how to emulate those characteristics in your own classroom.

This would be a great visual to reference with a whole staff in order to identify where staff individual strengths lie and where they feel they need more work/support. It would open up a great dialogue and naturally flow into individual, small group, and whole group professional development.

TYPES OF INQUIRY

This visual demonstrates the different types of inquiry. Throughout the year, Trevor moves from one to the next – starting at structured and ending in free. His context is a little different because he is a middle school teacher and has limited time with his students in the week.

As an elementary school teacher, we have the flexibility to be wading in and out of these different areas throughout the days, weeks, and months. Personally though, I find that I spend most of my time in the shallower end of the pool. With my young students we move through the first three levels as the year progresses. There are so many foundational skills that we need to develop as a group before they are even ready to think about free inquiry. My grade two and three students are developing their questioning techniques, practicing their non-fiction reading skills and strategies, learning how to take notes, learning how to research online, digital literacy, and the list goes on….However, my goal this year is to make it to the deep end! I am moving into an older grade level and working with colleagues that are excited, supportive, and experienced with inquiry in the intermediate classroom.

What about Inquiry in Kindergarten? One would think that everything in Kindergarten is inquiry based learning, and to some extent it is. But in order to make it relevant to students, it needs to be meaningful. If you are a Kindergarten teacher in B.C. and you are wanting to know how to implement an inquiry mindset into your classroom, take a listen to Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt discussing her thoughts on the KindSight 101 Podcast last summer: Episode #32.

HONOURING QUESTIONS

I find this visual so helpful as a reminder of making the thinking and learning visible in the classroom. I was inspired by Rebecca Bathurst-Hunt’s amazing Kindergarten room (you NEED to follow her on Instagram: @inquiryteacher) and created a ‘Wonder Wall’ on the old blackboard that covers one wall. The students pondering faces were adorable, however, I never used their thinking bubbles. The students would come up with questions and I would write them on the board or put them down on a KWL chart. I like the idea of having a wall, but when the kids are so little, it becomes a teacher make work project to write down all their questions that come up at random times during the day.

However, after seeing this visual it got me thinking. As I am moving into an older grade, I am thinking that it would be so cool to have a virtual ‘Wonder Wall’ where students are curating their wonderings, research, and findings on a digital platform where myself and parents can check in at any time!

Trevor also mentioned the Question Formulation Technique (QFT) as a way for students to developing their questioning ability. This technique allows for students to come up with as many questions as they can on a topic, allows for identification of open and closed  questions, and discussion of the importance of both, and prioritize the ones that they come up with.

THE INQUIRY STUDENT: CAPTURES, REFLECTS, AND SHARES THEIR LEARNING

This visual is so straightforward and easy – but a great reminder about what to do at the end of a learning cycle in order to deepen the understanding. Rebecca and Trevor suggest ways in which students and teachers can capture the learning, prompts for reflection, and some avenues for sharing it out.

Often I find that students learn new things in class but don’t always know the purpose, especially in socials and science. Really, the whole purpose of learning is to acquire competencies to communicate, think, and build and nurture relationships with ourselves and each other. In order to make learning relevant to them, students need to know what the purpose of the learning is, how to capture that learning effectively, reflect on the importance, and be able to share it with a particular audience (parents, peers, other teachers, people around the world).

Voice and choice is an important concept for teachers and students. Teachers need to be modeling this to their students in their teaching by taking risks, sharing, and teaching in different ways. Therefore, at the end of a learning cycle, students can start reflecting on their own about who their audience is and what and how they are sharing their understanding of a concept. I want to try out some of these applications with my students this year. That way, I am demonstrating my own ability (to my staff AND students) to be vulnerable and try something new.

As we listen to more and more guest speakers share on the topic of social media, a common thread that keeps coming up is ethics and privacy. I need to make sure, for the sake of my students and families, that these great technology initiatives and apps are within my districts privacy policies. This is even more important as I move into my role as administrator. Myself, as well as staff, students, and parents needs to have a clear understanding of our responsibility , the rules and policies in place, and a mutual agreement of how we are going to use the materials we have. I am thinking of putting the outline of a technology agreement together in discussion with my school community so that everyone is on the same page and clear about what is going on online.

THE POWER OF A PROVOCATION

The power of a provocation provides students with an opportunity to engage in something new and exciting. Students are immediately engaged and naturally curious. There are so many examples of provocations out there:

– Field Trips, Experiments, Challenges (STEM, STEAM), Hands on activities, Explorations, Book, Photo, Video, Artifact, Special Guest, etc.

Trevor mentioned that in his middle school class, he sends out a ‘What are you passionate about?’ survey to all his students at the beginning of the year. This gives him to opportunity to target students who seemingly don’t have passion while also weaving in the interests of other classmates.

And sometimes, provocations are unplanned. A phrase that I really enjoyed from Trevor was ‘the magic pivot’. In this, he was referring to the ability to drop everything that was previously planned, and go with the students interests. It is a hard thing to do, especially in the older grades where there is so much content to get through! But WE KNOW that students are more engaged in their learning when they are interested, passionate, and hands on.

I definitely struggle with this one. I am still very much a student product of the system that I went through. I sometimes fall back on easy and reproducible activities in the classroom and get wrapped up in the stress of having to get through all of the curriculum – core competencies, curricular competencies, and content. My goal this year is to push myself in some of the other inquiry domains that Trevor and Sylvia show in the first image in this blog post.

My confidence and understanding of inquiry based education is always evolving and I am looking for implementing some of these new ideas into my school community!

Unsettling the Settler

In one of our classes this week, we had the opportunity to hear Shauneen Pete speak. As my classmate Heather mentioned in her blog post, Shauneen didn’t come with any PowerPoint or slides to speak to. She shared with us a story – her story. As she mentioned at the beginning of our session, sharing stories is the basis of connection and helps us to understanding who we are engaging with.

She started her career in education wanting to make her students teaching and learning experience better than the one that she had received. Part of that, is ensuring that ALL students get exposure and learn about Indigenous content and come to terms with their own settler identity. She has bravely and courageously pushed the people around her into that uncomfortable place of learning in this particular area – unsettling the settler.

Something that she said that really resonated with me and something that I have been grappling with is the growing pressure we are putting on our local Indigenous community members. Our responsibility as allies is to do the work ourselves – do the research, read the books, have the tough conversations. And then reach out to community members for follow up discussions on things we are still struggling with. It is not their responsibility as community members to teach us the history.

I have been on this journey for a while now, and I recognize that I have a long way to go in my guilt, discomfort, and understanding in order to move more towards reconciliation. Therefore, I have collated some of the resources I have found on the topic, strong Indigenous community members and educators on social media, and some books that I have picked up recently for my continued professional development.

Teacher Resources

 

People to add to your PLN (#Twitter)

Bradley Baker (@bradleyrbaker): District Principal in the North Vancouver School District, 2017 Governor General of Canada’s Leadership Council Member. Proud member of the Squamish Nation

Jo Chrona (@luudisk): Curriculum Coordinator for the First Nationals Education Steering Committee (FNESC)

First Nations Education Steering Committee (@FNESC)

Senator Murray Sinclair (@SenSincmurr): Member of the Senate of Canada, retired judge, and former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation  Commission of Canada

Reconciliation Canada (@Rec_Can): Company that was born from the vision of Chief Dr. Robert Joseph (Gwawaenuk Elder). Using the platform to lead the way in engaging Canadians in dialogue and transformative experiences that revitalize the relationships among Indigenous peoples and all Canadians.

The First Peoples Cultural Council (@_FPCC): Provincial Crown Corporation formed by the Government of BC in 1990 to administer the First Peoples Heritage, Language, and Culture Program.

Strong Nations (@strong_nations): Publisher of Indigenous books. Based in Nanaimo, B.C.

Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (@noiie_bc): Voluntary, inquiry based, network of schools in British Columbia. Creators of the Spirals of Inquiry.

Indigenous Education Network (@IENatOISE): Indigenous Education Network at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

UBC Indigenous Education (@IE_UBC): Local Indigenous content and information about focused courses provided by UBC.

 

Reading List

Already read…

Speaking our Truth: A Journey of Reconciliation by Monique Gray Smith

 

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

 

 

21 Things You Didn’t Know About the Indian Act by Bob Joseph

 

 

Price Paid by Bev Sellars

 

 

Looks Like Daylight: Voices of Indigenous Kids by Deborah Ellis

 

 

Up next…

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by DiAngelo, Dyson, and Michael

 

 

Settler: Identity and Colonialism in 21st Century Canada by Lowman and Barker

 

 

Indigenous Relations: Insights, Tips, and Suggestions to Make Reconciliation a Reality by Bob Joseph

 

 

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer

 

 

 

*This post will continue to be updated as I come across new and interesting information and resources*

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