Signing out…

It’s been over 15 weeks ago today since my very first blog post, and I feel like now would be a good time to sit back and reflect on the semester that was. For the record, I am still #confused in relation to all things Twitter, but I can assure you that I have ventured on a fulfilling journey of learning, exploring the potential of ICTs in education.

But let’s be clear here for a second, this wasn’t a beautiful, tranquil journey down a coastal road with scenic sunrises and spectacular sunsets…oh no. It was more like venturing through a gloomy, isolated forest, ridden with tree stumps and fallen tree branches which I had to combat my way around…and look if we are really giving this analogy all we have, it probably had at least 3 sharp-teethed grizzly bears and 4 flesh eating hungry foxes. You get my point, right?

However, 15 weeks on and finally I can spy a speck of light glistening through the trees at the end of the forest and I feel like now is a good time to appreciate the things which I have gained from this semester…(apart from a chronic drinking habit and some grey hairs).

Much like Lauren, I feel like the most valuable thing that I will take away from this course, beyond that of my ICT learning is my new found determination. I remember in week one staring at my calendar and fearing my own failure. Not only was this semester bursting at the seams with assessment, most of it was at the back-end, gloriously combined with 3 weeks of professional experience….

But I survived.

Right now, I feel like I can not be beaten, and with the right combination of hard work, persistence and passion, I can do whatever I put my mind to. I know it sounds as cheesy as a traditional 3 cheese Italian calzone, but you know, sometimes things might seem impossible. Sometimes they seem too hard. And sometimes it would just be easier to give up.

But you know what? Things that are worth while don’t come easy and when you want to give up, it’s important to remember why you started in the first place.

It’s been an adventure, EDC3100.

Adios!

Engagement is delicious…

The Interactive Whiteboard…

It has to be the best thing sliced bread!

Honestly, I never truly understood that saying…was the introduction of sliced bread really that innovative? How did people even eat bread before that? Did folks just take small bites out of the sides of large, whole bread loaves? Hmm, could’ve been messy!

Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is that they’re pretty great… to say the least!

Without doubt, that bad boy was fired up every single day throughout my professional experience, acting as my trusty sidekick while I pretended to know what I was doing!

From the morning interactive calendar, to the projection of our daily flag, the interactive paragraphs that we punctuated together and to the online attribute blocks …it was simply fantastic and most importantly, it was clear to see the potential, which this ICT had in enhancing students’ learning experiences!

I have to admit however that the engagement which such technology provided really was the ‘big seller’ fScreen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.48.56 pmor me…

There is an abundance of research that has shown the importance of student engagement, suggesting that it is engagement over time that is the vehicle through which classroom instruction has the potential to influence student outcomes.

Therefore, just like a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich without Peanut Butter…learning experiences are not delicious I mean, working to their fullest potential without student engagement.

One does not simply fold a fitted sheet!

Wow, what a testing few weeks it has been! Though, I am proud to say… I survived!

Don’t get me wrong my professional experience wasn’t that traumatic, I had a wonderful mentor, a great bunch of kids and aside from the mind-numbing daily commute through peak hour traffic I had a positive learning experience. However, throw 4 large assignments in there, all due around the same time, an exam cheekily rearing its head around the corner…. as well as 4 weeks of unpaid work and what feels like a thousand bills to pay…you know, just to top it off!

Exhausted isn’t a word that even begins to cover my state of mind right now, however I am proud to say that like Amanda, I had the pleasure of submitting two assignments last night, and have just one assignment and an exam left to go…oh, is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel?

I will be honest, there have been more tears and more bottles of wine and blocks of chocolate consumed this semester than perhaps in my entire life, but you know what they say, whatever it takes, right?

I have decided that if I come out of this semester alive and relatively sane that I am officially indestructible!

Screen Shot 2015-06-09 at 9.17.03 am
Obviously…

Mt Everest, come at me!

Superman? Yeah, he ain’t got nothing on me.

And finally, folding a fitted sheet neatly? Yep, all over that too!

Ha!…Okay, the last one is obviously unrealistic, those damn things are impossible!

But you get the point right?

The important questions!

Okay, I need a brown paper bag, quick! Because all this prac talk is starting to get a littleeeee overwhelming! (or…just a bottle of wine? Okaaay, I’ll settle for that!).il_fullxfull.191301637

Don’t get me wrong, I am beyond excited to begin placement, I have met my mentor and she seems fantastic…vibrant, creative and most importantly passionate! I am really looking forward to working along side her with my first class of year two students!

BUT! Am I ready for this!? Like, really…truly…ready!

The teaching requirements for this course have increased from past placements (duh!). While this is no real surprise and I knew this was coming I am still, three years into my degree, having a minor confidence crisis! Am I ready for this?

Much like Liz, I am beginning to ask the question, is uni really teaching us everything we need to know? Well Liz, thinks not! And you know what, she might just be right!

Can I write a lesson plan? Well yes I can! (Gold star for Miss Mulrine!)… and you know what, sometimes I can even whip up some high distinction worthy stuff…(woohoo, even bigger gold star for Miss Mulrine!)

But! Here’s the thing, I often spend weeks working on those assignments, and who knows if they really work?

Am I really catering for diversity?

Are my students engaged…

 …or are they making paper planes and scribbling in their books?

And you know what even if they are, am I able to re-direct my lessons effectively in order to re-engage them?

THESE are the important questions!

Deep down, I know that now is the time! Now is the time to let go of my insecurities and to take risks and to experiment within the classroom, while I am supported by an experienced teacher, but it doesn’t make it any less terrifying! The whole idea of these placements are to learn, right? No one is expecting 3rd year teaching experts, right?!

RIGHT!

Enough of the worry, it’s time to let my insecurities go, and to go and learn the most I can from my fantastic mentor, to be the best teacher that I possibly can…Wish me luck!

Not a travelling, cocktail sipping, 20 something young woman….

The count down is on folks!
Placements have been released and there is officially only 7 days until professional experience commences!image

As I’m sure you can imagine, excitement and nerves have both kicked in and preparations are in full swing! From my sun-safe hat for playground duty, to my prize box made up of adorable novelty rubbers which resemble tiny ice creams and jungle animals, it’s all happening!

However in the months leading up to my placement, there is one particularly important step that I take in order to effectively prepare myself for the life of a teacher and that is, the banishment of my online presence. If your wondering, this includes an official name change on social media sites such as Facebook and an unidentifiable profile picture to ensure that my personal life stays just that…personal!

Make no mistake, my Facebook profile page has always been and always will be set at the highest of privacy settings regardless of professional experience. For my own safety, my posts and photos are always limited only to my immediate family and close friends. Although as you would’ve read in my last post, technologies and the internet can often act in mysterious ways so It is incredibly important for me take which ever additional precautions I can in order to protect my reputation as a professional.

Now that I am completely private, I feel like I can rest assured that my mentor will get to know me and judge me based only on my professional impression during my time in her class and not the travelling, cocktail sipping, sometimes-sleeping-on-the- beach, 20 something young woman that I am in my free time.

My ice cream rendezvous are none of your business!

Aside from the fact that my guilty pleasures will be exposed, including the fact that I have been to Cold Rock Ice Creamery twice already this week to indulge and I haven’t set a foot near the gym in a few too many months…no one needs to know my where abouts! Right?

Wrong…apparently!

So, is technology stalking us? That is the question being asked this week, and my good friend Hayley thinks that it is! I remember her mentioning the ‘stalking tendencies’ that recent smart phones have adopted and in all honesty, I kind of shrugged it off. Careless? Well, I didn’t think so. I rarely use the ‘check-in’ options on social media to up date my location and I never post photos of my holidays until I return home. So, I thought I was safe….Wrong again!

According to this article, without our knowledge and consent, every move we make is being tracked in alarming detail! (Yes, including the late night ice cream trips!). Little did I know, that the ‘Frequent Locations’ system on my iPhone has been pinpointing every place I have been on a map, how many times, and the exact times of my arrival and departure!

Umm, just a little creepy apple! You sneaky little stalker, you!

My iPhone was stalking me!
My iPhone was stalking me!

This is a screenshot taken off my mobile phone tonight, which I found when I delved into my location settings! (Again, CREEPY!). In all honesty, my first thought was ‘is this a joke?’ This absolutely, can’t be real, but ohhh it was and oh, so accurate!

In all seriousness though, I am shocked, but not because of what I saw, but more importantly, because I am thinking who else can see this!?

I have since disabled this feature on my iPhone, it was super simple and took almost no time at all. If you too need to do the same, there are some simple steps outlined on this page right here! Remember, the internet is an amazing thing, but it is also incredibly powerful…be mindful of what you share and what you enable, because you never really know just who you might be sharing with!

To blog or not to blog?

Right now I’m feeling like a tiny unsuspecting ant being squished under the heavy foot that is this course. I’m suffocating, and it would probably be easier to just kinda roll over with my tiny little legs in the air and croak (err, kinda pessimistic I know, but seriously, ahh!).

Although I must admit I am finding some peace in writing my blogs… I love writing, I could write all day and I’m finding it somewhat therapeutic to reflect upon my learning and to sometimes just get “it” all out you know… (I.e whining about the daily struggles of a third year uni student like it’s the end of the world).

I was thinking this morning about Hayley’s blog a few weeks back and her initial hesitation to create a blog and express herself, which has now transformed into a slight obsession as she has grown to become comfortable, writing in a context that feels more relaxed and segregated from a traditional academic setting. If a blog has this kind of influence on Hayley (and I’m sure many others in this course), just imagine the possibilities it could open within the classroom?

Curious, I did some research and was excited to find hundreds upon hundreds of pages outlining the benefits of blogging for students (hmm, perhaps our course examiner didn’t just create this task to beef up our work load and watch us suffer…). I found that providing students with an outlet such as a class blog has the potential to improve students’ writing skills and build their confidence as writers. I also found that by blogging, students can take ownership of their writing, become better observers of others’ writing, and develop a more immediate and powerful understanding of audience which works to provide more authentic learning experiences, empowering students with valuable skills necessary for success in life.

Convince me no more…I am beyond excited to one day have the opportunity to get my students blogging in the big wide bloggy world!