Final Blog Post: How I Helped Others Learn!

Hello and welcome to the final blog post for EDTC 300. Our task for this final blog post is to talk about how I contributed to the learning of other students in the class. Unfortunately for me I am not one for social media and did not keep good track of these details, but I do have a few examples!

I don’t have any pictures of it, but I commented during the class instruction and helped some students with certain ideas. As well I let the class know about “Lucid Chart“. I’m sure some people knew about it already, but others have commented on the blog post I made about Lucid Chart saying that they think it looks interesting!

As well, I also commented on Blog Posts from time to time. Here is one example of replying to a comment on my blog, as well as commenting on another blog:

commenting on Erinn

commenting on Hillary

 

My main example of helping other students’ learning has to be my video “EDTC 300: Everybody’s Name in Japanese!

Here are some comments on the Tweet I made:

Twitter and Japanese video

Two different students in the class referenced my little activity in blog posts as well. Danica even made a video:

Thanks again Danica! Maytlind referenced it in one of her final posts too!

Helping Maytlind

As well, Justine mentioned my video on Twitter!

Justine Twitter mention

On a different note, my professor Katia Hildebrandt also replied to one of my Tweets!

Katia Twitter

Overall, I did not contribute to other students’ learning as much as I probably should have, but due to my distaste for social media, I think some is better than none!

Thanks for reading one last time folks, it’s been a wild ride. I wish you all the best in the future and I will see you next time.

  • Garrett

 

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Summary of Learning: Lucid Chart Video

Hello and welcome to my Summary of Learning video submission for EDTC 300! Within the video I talk about subjects such as Facebook in the classroom, educational blogs, classroom tools, digital citizenship, etc. I apologize for going over the 6 minute mark but I feel as though limiting myself to such a short time frame did not accurately reflect the work I put into making my concept map. Speaking of which, I used the tool called Lucid Chart, which is an extremely handy tool! The only unfortunate aspect is that the free version is very limited. Therefore I signed up for the premium membership for $5 dollars.

Here is the link to my Lucid Chart: EDTC 300 Summary of Learning Concept Map

Furthermore, I made a video that summarizes my learning experiences within EDTC 300 while I commentate over my concept map. Again, I apologize for the length of the video, but I think it turned out really good regardless.

Here is the link to my summary of learning video: EDTC 300 Summary of Learning

Thank you for reading and thanks to all those who watch the video!

  • Garrett

Learning to Code

This week we were asked to try out either “Code Academy” or “Scratch“, which are two different websites that help you to learn how to code. I did the introductory lesson on Code Academy, and it was quite informative! I have had minimal experience with coding, but when I was 16 my friend and I wanted to become video game developers so we jumped into it. We got as far as making a questionnaire using Python before deciding that it was just too difficult haha! It was a lot of fun to learn but it was so hard to wrap our heads around it.

When I was young my dad once told me that learning to code is essentially learning a new language. I didn’t quite understand what he meant until I learned that there are several different coding “languages”, and it literally is “learning a new language”. I find this concept fascinating, but looking at code for too long starts making it all jumbled in my head. I guess the same could be said for Japanese though, so it must just come down to lots of practice.

The introductory lesson in Code Academy really brought me back to the days I mentioned previously, and reminded me of the joy of slightly changing variables which result in drastic consequences. I quite enjoy that aspect of coding, and the introductory lesson does a great job at highlighting that. It literally asks you to break the code by messing with the variables beyond recognition. I appreciated that it showed the real time process of your actions having consequences.

The second part of this blog post asks me to give my opinion on whether I think coding is important or not. I give a firm “yes” to that question. Everything we are capable of doing on the internet is thanks to the power of coding. However, I think the question meant to ask whether or not we think that coding is important for the classroom, to which I answer “sort of”.

Coding in itself is really not for everyone, especially not for every student, as it requires a level of abstract thinking that not everyone can do. I think there should be a course in high school that offers introductory level coding on a widely used coding language. It would be helpful for future web designers, video game designers, etc. As well, it would give students a far better grasp on the level of work that is put into every single piece of technology we use today. It would also give students a chance to find out whether or not they even enjoy coding at all! Some people who have never tried it might find that it is their passion after taking a course on it in high school.

So is coding important? Yes! Is it important for high school? Not yet! Could it be important for high schools in the future? Absolutely! I will go back to my previous statement and make the assertion that it *MUST* be an optional elective (Hell it may already be in some places). If a student who does not like working with technology is forced to do a class on coding, it could sour it for them forever. Let students who want to learn, learn. Do not force students who do not want to.

  • Garrett

Talking About “Fake News”

For this week we were asked to write about how we (myself and the other teachers in training) plan on teaching digital literacy, and more specifically, how we will teach students to spot fake news. As I am an English teacher, I think the opportunities to teach this subject is more slim compared to someone like a Social Studies teacher (although that is my minor). However, there are times that it can be slipped in, such as assignments that require research.

My general plan is to do just what I stated, incorporate it into assignments that give students access to computers. As well, there are a few resources that our wonderful professor Katia Hildebrandt has provided that would be exceptionally useful to show to students. Two in particular stand out for me that I think would be extremely accessible to students.

The first of these two resources is this comic. It takes a slightly humorous and scientific approach to why people reject news that is opposite to their valued world beliefs. Furthermore, it talks about how it is okay to change and grow because of what we learn. We do not have to simply accept or deny something, instead we can sit on it and think about it, then re-evaluate our world beliefs to see if new information has changed our mind. I feel as though this would be beneficial to students because it only takes about 5-10 minutes to read and is in a comic format.

The second resource professor Hildebrandt provided that I find interesting is a TED educational video that talks about how to find more reliable news sources. The best line of this video is when it states: “With freedom comes responsibility.” I like this line for two reasons. Firstly, it is close to the famous Spider-Man line “With great power comes great responsibility.” Secondly, I think students undervalue just how much freedom they have by simply living in Canada. The very fact that we can choose where we get our news from is evidence of that. The line makes me hopeful that students might think deeper about how lucky they are. The video itself is very useful to students because it is less than 5 minutes and gives concrete examples of how to find more reliable news sources.

To end I would like to share this article on why the term “fake news” is problematic in itself. I agree with her conclusion that the term is too simple to accurately portray the greater issue here. It’s not that it is only “fake”, but it is purposefully misleading. The word fake is too broad to describe the many different reasons why people will willingly falsify information meant for the average consumer. I cannot remember where I heard this phrase, but I remember hearing that we have left the “information age” behind and are now in the “misinformation age.”

Thanks for reading.

  • Garrett

Powtoon First Impressions

For this week we had to use a new educational tool and write a quick review on it. For my post I decided to use Powtoon. I had never used it before but had seen various examples online, so I thought I’d give it a try.

Honestly, I wanted to give it a bad review because of how frustrating it was to use, but in the end I came away with a positive feeling. While it did crash on me 4 times, in which two of those times I lost progress, it still only took me 45 minutes from starting fresh to publishing. It’s pretty intuitive for any new time user and has plenty of options to choose from. Furthermore, when you first make your account, you’re given 3 hours of premium service, so I got to make a premium Powtoon for free!

The options are slightly limited for what sort of background animations you can choose, but overall there’s a nice variety. I wanted more Japan oriented backgrounds but instead I had to choose more nature/outdoor backgrounds. It still worked so I cannot be too displeased.

Overall I would recommend it to a student because it’s far more interesting to look at than a PowerPoint, and it’s free! While it may crash from time to time, it is still worth using. Here is a link to the Powtoon presentation I made:

5 facts about my learning project Powtoon animation

Thanks for reading this week.

  • Garrett

Digital Identity

Hello and welcome to this weeks blog post! I didn’t have a group of fellow students to do the cyber stalking, so I am just going to talk about digital identity.

Digital identity is a very strange concept to grasp because when we think of identity, we usually associate things that are within you or apart of you or something you do. With digital identity, it is an ethereal concept that we cannot physically grasp. To have something so intrinsically bound to you, while also having no physical connection to you, is a breeding ground for having an identity crisis. This article suggests that having multiple online identities is completely normal, and I would say that I have to agree!

Generally I try to not associate myself with my online self. I like the idea of being someone else online, especially on Reddit. I am an exaggerated version of myself there, and the things I say are not connected to ME, but the ME that lives in the ethereal web. With that said, I still have to uphold my morals when I am acting as my online self. I would never offend anyone, or do anything that could bring shame back onto myself in real life.

My anonymous online self can study and comment on topics that I wouldn’t want people to know about in my real life. For example, if I were a gay man but grew up in a very religious family, I could have far more freedom with my online self than I would if the things I looked at/comment on were tied back to my real identity.

That can also be a dangerous for individuals who want to be a more vile version of themselves online. There is a reason that website like 4Chan are completely anonymous, as it allows people to be a far more barbaric version of themselves. With that said though, I would much rather people get out their evil feelings online than in real life. It’s like a release valve for people who can barely hold their bad words in. I wish people weren’t like that, but I think that would be far too idealistic.

There is a certain danger to having your real life identity tied too closely to your online identity. As this video suggests, one tweet can absolutely destroy your life. For some people, this is completely justified. For others though, your life can be completely ruined by a lie that someone else said, or by you simply not articulating your words well enough and a misunderstanding being born because of it. Having these identities too close can be a nightmare!

For a thought exercise, imagine that Trump only went online anonymously. I think the American people would be far less likely to be embarrassed on a weekly basis. He could be his vile self and nobody would know. Some would say that it is better we know about these people’s real thoughts. However, I would argue that our online thoughts do not accurately reflect our real thoughts because of the disconnect between reality and the ethereal web. We can shoot things out thinking that no one will see it, so why should it matter.

There’s no right or wrong answer to any of this. This is just one man’s ramblings about a topic that I am by no means an expert in!

  • Garrett

Facebook In The Classroom

The following conversation was held between Garrett J. Bates, Hillary Mercier and Erinn Flory. It is a conversation on whether or not Facebook should or should not be used within the classroom. The conversation was recorded and is transcribed below.

Erinn: I am Erinn and I am taking pro-Facebook in the classroom.

Hillary: I am Hillary and I am also doing pro-Facebook in the classroom.

Garrett: I’m Garrett and I am anti-Facebook in the classroom. So we can just start by sort of saying our personal experiences with Facebook, like, when did you guys get on Facebook? How old were you/what grade were you in?

Erinn: I didn’t get any type of social media, including Facebook, until first year university, so I had never used Facebook in the classroom or in high school.

Hillary: I got my own personal Facebook account in grade ten I want to say. But yeah none of my high school teachers used it in the classroom or anything like that, so I’ve only ever known it as like a personal platform.

Garrett: I remember I got Facebook when I was in grade five. It had just come out and all my friends were talking about it. We all got on it at the same time. There are pictures of me, on Facebook, when I was in grade five. So I’ve had it for over ten years now.

Erinn: Yeah it’s definitely more of a personal platform than a communal platform.

Garrett: So why don’t we just jump right into it. What’s uhh, why is it good to have in the classroom?

Erinn: Well I’m thinking that it’s great for creating a class community. So teachers can create private pages that have privacy settings on them that only their class members can join. It’s just a great way for the class to interact with each other, I feel at least. What about you Hillary?

Hillary: Yeah I agree and the article I read talked a lot about how it’s heavily used by everybody. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have it, so it’s very easy to connect and it’s available 24/7. You can reach out to these people and it will ding in their pocket and they’ll look at it almost immediately, so it’s not like you’re waiting for emails where it could take a day for them to respond. People respond to Facebook quite often.

Garrett: People kind of treat it like texting almost, to a certain degree… Why Facebook instead of something else, is my big thing. Why Facebook instead of something like Google classroom? Or anything else that’s more private and can’t be seen from the outside right? Cause after looking into Facebook in general, especially the link I sent you guys, the Guardian article said that 50 million users data was breached. So even just being on Facebook in general is kind of…

Erinn: I think it kind comes with what Hillary said, like everybody, or almost everybody, would have Facebook so I think it’s something that students would already know how to use. You wouldn’t really need to teach them much on how to use Facebook, and I think that when they’re scrolling through their news feed they can just click on their classroom page and just see what’s going on.

Hillary: Yeah, and also to add onto that I don’t think it’s such a question of why Facebook over other things, I think it’s more: why not use Facebook in addition to Google classroom? Using all these different types of technologies in your classroom. Because, for instance we use Twitter in our Ed Tech class and I’m still not a huge fan of Twitter, so it’s kind of nice that if like students had multiple things they could go to, and like one better than the other kind of thing.

Garrett: Okay yeah, so you guys are advocating for multiple things, not just a Facebook strictly, it’s an addition to multiple things.

Erinn: Yeah, like a why not? Instead of a why, a why not?

Garrett: Okay yeah, I guess for me it all comes down to privacy, especially for my students, and depending on what grade I’m teaching too, like, if it’s a grade 9, 10, 11, 12, if I do get into high school then privacy isn’t much of an issue, but I’m more thinking of elementary level. Definitely not. Would you guys say that you would only use it in high school and not in elementary? Or would you use it wherever, in anyway?

Hillary: In my personal classroom, I would only use it in high school, just because I only got Facebook in high school, and any earlier I probably would’ve been so confused. I don’t think little children need to be on that type of media at that age.

Erinn: I agree, I think it is a high school thing. I think you need to have a maturity to understand how to properly use it, and wouldn’t advocate for it to be used in an elementary classroom. I think that’s just not something that should be done.

Garrett: Okay, well, just to go further on that point, would you say that when you start your class right at the beginning of the semester, or the school year, kids walk in, teenagers I guess. Would you say: “Okay we’re gonna have a Facebook group, so I want everyone to join that.” Or would you have a big lesson on digital citizenship and all that privacy stuff? Would you say you’d start with that and then move into using Facebook, or would it just be strictly a “This is our group. Join it. Go home and join this.”?

Erinn: I think they coincide with each other. I think you’d get them to join the Facebook group and through that you would teach them and they would learn through, like, hands on learning that would be digital citizenship and privacy. I think that learning how to interact with others online is a huge part of it, and I think they don’t really understand that until they actually have to interact with others online.

Hillary: And there’s like that big collaboration piece we touched on a little bit, and how important it is that they can reach out or talk to these people right at their finger tips whenever they need to and whenever they want to. That kind of takes that class dynamic out of the classroom.

Garrett: So what I’m kind of gathering here is that it’s not so much a substitute for anything else, it’s not really for like assignments or what not, it’s more just to foster a community within the classroom, right?

Erinn: It’s another tool that’s already familiar to the students.

Hillary: It could be used for assignments I think, but I think generally it would be really good for group work, or like journal questions that you want to send out over Facebook every night or something. I don’t know what you’d want to do, but there’s ways to do it as an assignment.

Erinn: I mean yeah, creating fake Facebook profiles for characters in books, when you have to write: “What is their bio? What is their job?” Things like that, just making it a real life personal thing.

Hillary: We did that in internship. I had them make Facebook profiles and they really liked it. It was awesome for me to like, go through them and find all the different pathways, like “What are you interested in? What are your hobbies?” And all that stuff. I thought it was a really cool assignment.

Garrett: Is it possible that could be extended into, not just assignments, but maybe that you tell students to create a new Facebook account. Use a pseudonym and that will be like, you in this classroom. That way you can post assignments and opinions and stuff without having to worry about it coming back to you necessarily. If you know what I mean?

Erinn: Yeah! Like making a separate account for like, not one that you would have all your friends on, but one that would be more your professional one?

Garrett: Yeah!

Erinn: For sure, but I think as well in that, if you’re going to have students do that, you still need to ask them to evaluate their friends’ profiles a bit, like their profile for their friends and say: “Are you having good digital citizenship? If somebody you didn’t know looked at this, what would they think of you?” I think it just comes along with really good lessons about how you’re presenting yourself in the digital world.

Garrett: Definitely. What subjects do you think this would be the best for?

Hillary: I teach English and it worked awesome, like I said we do the character profiles and everything like that, so I’d recommend it for that.

Erinn: I can see it being really good with social studies as well. Group projects, even finding current events, things like that.

Garrett: Speaking of current events, with the advent of “Fake news”, do you think the kids are susceptible, teenagers I guess, to seeing fake news? Like seeing things like that isn’t necessarily true, and then internalizing that. Really believing that. That’s one of the big problems, apparently anyways, with Facebook that spreads a lot of misinformation. So should we be wary of that if we introduce Facebook into the classroom?

Erinn: I think that goes along with teaching them what is a credible news source. You know? Like, if you’re looking online, maybe the Buzzfeed articles are not necessarily the most credible, but what about the CBC, the CTV, and The National, and things like that. I think teaching them what are good sources and teaching them kind of what you can invest your own belief in.

Hillary: I agree.

Garrett: Is digital literacy, digital citizenship, is that an English curricular thing? Or is there even one? Is it health?

Hillary: Not as far as I know is it in the curriculum.

Garrett: Do you guys think it should be introduced to the curriculum?

Hillary: Probably. At this point, in 2019, I feel like it probably should be in there. I think that especially with all the different platforms and social media’s there are, I think how bad some people’s posts are, I think we could definitely learn a lesson from that and educate our students on that.

Garrett: Absolutely.

Hillary: So a question for you then Garrett: what is your counter? Why would you not want to use this in the classroom?

Garrett: I have a lot of, like.. With Facebook doesn’t just come a classroom element, it comes with the big idea called FOMO. Don’t know if you guys have every heard of it, it’s F. O. M. O. It’s the “Fear Of Missing Out”.

Erinn: Mhm.

Hillary: Okay.

Garrett: So, yeah we can use Facebook in the classroom, and it’s all good and well, and we can use it for assignments and what not, but at the same time, students are still on Facebook. I try to totally avoid it. The reason being that it, in my opinion, fosters two different things: anxiety big time, and the fear of missing out. So FOMO is basically that you see all your friends, they are, it looks like they’re having fun. They’re going to parties, they’re doing all these things that you’re not doing, right? So when students see that, anyone see’s that, it triggers something in them that’s like “Aw that hurts. I wish I was there too. Like why isn’t my life as fun? Why isn’t my life like that? Why aren’t I as cool?” Right? So it just breeds comparison, which is unhealthy for for our students especially. You could say that they’re going to be on it no matter what, but in my opinion, the less social media, anybody’s on really, the healthier mentally they are. So that’s why I am very hesitant to bring it into a classroom setting instead of something like Google classroom where there’s no actual social media element to it.

Erinn: I can understand that yep.

Garrett: So that’s why. I just think it’s like unhealthy mentally, but that’s obviously a personal opinion. I don’t know if the studies are still out on that, cause social media is a  new-ish phenomenon.

Hillar: No, I’ve heard all that before. I think the only thing that I could say, is that, if we use it in the classroom it wouldn’t really be a personal level like we had talked about. Maybe like changing your name, like what we did for our Twitter’s, we put our teacher names, kind of thing. And that that Facebook would be specifically for school, so you wouldn’t be like posting pictures of you having a good night out kind of thing.

Garrett: Yeah.

Hillary: In the school setting, I think, I get that it might still cause anxiety for people but I think that it would be a lot more of like, a community place and not a “look what I’m doing and you’re not doing” kind of thing.

Garrett: I can definitely get on board with it if there’s two separate accounts. You have, like, your private account that’s like your life, and then you have a public account that’s like, your public life essentially. I can get on board with it that way. But if you’re supposed to use your Facebook account, like the one I’ve had for the last ten years, there’s no way I’d be comfortable with doing that. Especially cause like, even as teachers, going back and like scrubbing our social media accounts of anything stupid that we did when we were kids. Especially me because I have like, you know like grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. I had to go back and make sure through all that time I didn’t say anything dumb or offensive or anything. So yeah, I could get on board as long as there’s two.

Erinn: I mean yeah I definitely see both sides of the argument. Like I can understand why, especially people would be hesitant to do it. I think it’s something that people should be open to. But I think it also just goes with your classroom climate. Like, judge “who are your students? Do they get along well? Do you think they can grasp the concept of a positive digital citizenship?” I think you have to evaluate who you are as a teacher . Like, will you be able to keep up with doing the online stuff? Will you be open to other options? Will you be able to work with students? Do you think you can adequately put things online for it in a way that everybody might understand? I can see both sides of the argument for sure.


 

We ended the conversation there after reaching a pleasant middle point. Thank you for reading.

  • Garrett

 

“An Anthropological Introduction To YouTube” Thoughts

Wesch’s video titled “An Anthropological Introduction To YouTube” is a good, but very outdated video. I should clarify that I only watched the first fifteen minutes of his video, but from what was shown, a lot of the good will surrounding YouTube is forever gone.

YouTube was a great website for many reasons, and continues to be good, but it has lost the good will that supported for years. After YouTube was bought by Google, a lot of things changed and now it runs on an agenda rather than on the community. The trending section often does not reflect what is actually trending on YouTube, especially if the video is not advertiser friendly. For that reason alone, I recognize that YouTube is a company, and not a tool for humanity. Censorship and false-copyright-flagging has become a serious issue, to the point I no longer trust the website myself.

In regards to the questions asked by Professor Hildebrandt, I have mixed feelings. The questions are as follows:

  1. Reflect on our changed world and the new culture of participation as described in lecture and by Wesch.
  2. What does this mean for your future classroom?
  3. What does it mean for schools in general?
  4. How might we rethink the idea of schooling and education in our networked, participatory, and digital world?

My answers are as follows:

1. Our world has certainly changed, where at least in North America, it is actually more strange to NOT be on social media than it is to be on it. I am among those affected as I personally hate social media. I didn’t realize this class had a Twitter component, and I am a vehemently against it. Social media is bad for people who suffer from depression or anxiety or any other self-esteem issue. I am not saying that I am one of those people, but I can tell you that I gain no joy from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or Twitter. The only social media I will participate in willingly is Reddit, and mainly because it is anonymous. I hate having the fear of missing out when using more mainstream (not that Reddit isn’t mainstream) social media platforms. YouTube propagates this fear, that if you are not looking at this website every day, then you may not know what people are talking about tomorrow. I hate it. I hate that I will end up on YouTube without even thinking about it and then waste an hour. However, YouTube IS a great addition to the world, I just don’t like how it has become a corporate feeding ground. I suppose anything successful is doomed to that destiny. I think the culture of participation that it has created is hilarious, but I’ve never been a part of it so I have troubles commenting on it.

2. I hope this lecture means nothing for the future of our classrooms. I do know that many classes use Google Classroom now though, so I guess it has already changed us. However, I do not think this has anything to do with the culture of participation, I just think some teachers appreciate being paperless and being able to access theirs or their student’s work at any time.

3. For schools in general, it means a lot of the beauty and problems that come with the online component. On one hand, it is awesome when a whole school is participating in a viral phenomenon. Everyone gets involved and everyone has fun. On the flip side, cyber-bullying is a serious issue that will not go away as long as the culture of participation exists. Everything good has an equal dark side. I suppose that is only fair, as having all the worlds knowledge at our finger tips basically makes us God’s in comparison to people even 100 years ago.

Now that is an idea I would like to expand upon. THAT is the real change within our classrooms. Where our ancestors (like my parents) would have to go search a library for any fact they did not know, we can find out in less than 30 seconds by Googling it on our smartphones. Imagine going back in time and telling people that a little glass machine can tell me any fact I want to know in seconds. Anything goes. Any fact, no matter how small. They wouldn’t believe you. And if they did, they would think you came from thousands of years in the future. I struggle to comprehend how it will ultimately affect classrooms when people my age are the oldest generation of teachers in schools. We effectively grew up with the internet always being there. How will that change schools in 40-50 years? How about 100 years? That is the stuff I love thinking about.

4. I wouldn’t want my classroom to be participating with the rest of the world. Sure, another classroom of similarly aged students I can get behind, but I wouldn’t want the students sharing about themselves willy-nilly in the classroom. Teenagers have enough to worry about without adding potential online embarrassment to the mix. Perhaps that is a cynical view, but I believe the negatives outweigh the positives in this regard. If students on their own, on their own time, want to participate in a social media like classroom, then by all means let them. But for my classroom, I don’t want to be associated with it at all.

Ending thoughts:

Let me end this by saying that I love technology and I love the internet. I love what the internet has done to the world (the only world I’ve ever known) and I love what the internet can do for individuals. Some of my best memories are playing online games with complete strangers. I remember when I used to play “Habbo Hotel” with a dedicated group of people I met on the internet. I would talk to them and play with them every day of the week for months.

However, I think that social media and the culture of participation, belong at home. Nowhere near the classroom. School? Sure. Classroom? Nope.

Thanks for reading.

  • Garrett J. Bates

 

Twitter Chat Experience

This week we were tasked with participating in a Twitter chat! I have never attempted to participate in one before this class, as I did not know they existed! I was, and in some regards still am, confused about how they worked. On February 4th I put a question into the #engchat (which is an English teachers chat), which was “How do you get students invested in books?” I didn’t expect an answer because it seemed as though no one was participating, but instead I got a really good answer:

“Read to them. High interest, higher than their level books. Relate the characters to their lives. Put them in the story, “What would you do?” Leave them hanging in critical situations, change the story and add suspense. Let them love a story without doing the work themselves.”

I think his suggestions are really strong, as relating stories to peoples real lives is absolutely critical when teaching a novel. His idea of “What would you do?” being the most important of them all. When we can engage students and get them to relate stories to their own lives, a sort of bond is created with the novel without them having to force themselves into liking the book. I subscribe to the belief that people generally want to talk about themselves, so when a novel study can be a gateway to that, it will turn out really well!

Twitter chat is extremely interesting and can be a great avenue for teachers to connect to other teachers! Thanks for reading my blog once again.

  • Garrett J. Bates

Feedly Is Neat!

Today I signed up with a website called “Feedly”. Feedly is an RSS reader that I will use to follow multiple education websites, such as “Education Week” and “NYT Education”. This is useful because it allows me to keep track of different opinions and articles on the education topic. It is a one-stop shop for all my daily educational news. It is quite neat!

The process of me choosing my blogs/websites is quite simple, I just typed in “education” in the search bar and chose blogs/websites that I had heard about before. Doing it in this fashion is nice because when you choose a blog/website, Feedly suggests some other blogs/websites to follow as well. Therefore I chose the ones I had heard about and followed some of the ones it suggested.

The blog I like the best is the one I mentioned earlier: “Education Week”. They post about 90 articles per week and cover a wide range of topics. They talk about current education news, such as recent developments or tragedies, as well as suggesting showing new studies in relation to education. I find this helpful because I am never in the same mood to read about one topic. Anytime I sit down on my computer, I am always interested in reading different topics! For example:

feedly news feed picture

You can see on just the posts from today for “Education Week”, they cover a wide range of topics. From talking about child abuse hotline posters, to American senators backing new laws in relation to recent tragedies, they talk about a lot! Not only does this help me keep up to date on the news, but also informs me of things I would never of learned otherwise!

I’m still pretty new to Feedly so I imagine I will find more blogs/websites to help me in my development, but I’m finding it pretty awesome so far!

  • Garrett J. Bates