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My Contributions 

“How have you contributed to the learning of others?”

That is a very good question. It has been a long semester filled with ups and downs, indecision and a rather hectic schedule for me.

I will say that this is my weakest link. When my life got busy, my responses and comments got pushed to the side. I also have a tendency to lurk, seeing how others have solved the problem rather than answering the question being asked. I also felt limited by my lack of knowledge in this topic of technology. It took me awhile to actually comment on Google+. Below are some screenshots from comments I made and posts I shared on our Google+ community.

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I began the semester hating Twitter. I had tried using it as a personal account and I just didn’t “get it” but thanks to this class, I now love twitter! I love learning new things (especially about teaching) and meeting new people.

I shared a few sources with my #ECMP355 classmates like Love, Joy, Feminism and Youtube extensions for teachers (see embedded Tweet above). I also helped a few classmates learn more about a particular ed tech tool- Flipgrid by Tweeting about the tool and created a topic using Flipgrid on which my fellow ECMP classmates could use Flipgrid as a student and respond to a prompt.

I also participated in a few Twitter chats such as #CVTechTalk and #imaginEDchat and I would love to keep participating in chats such as those in the future (when I can, Spring and Summer are hectic times for me due to our ranch. We start calving in mid-March through May and then there’s seeding in the Spring and haying in the Summer in addition to our branding and helping our neighbors with theirs).

I love the Twitter chats because you see so many different opinions from a variety of sources (which I could see easier thanks to Tweetdeck!). These chats are also a way to expand your network  based on your interests (Social Studies, anyone? Social Justice? Teach like a Pirate??) which I think is great, I can learn better methods that are catered to the issues that pop up in a Social Studies/History classroom.

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I could have commented on more posts, but as I’ve said before, my life got busy and I pushed the interaction part of this class to the side. It is a terrible excuse, but I am owning that this was my weakness and I could have done better.

My next post will be all about what I’ve learned! Stay tuned!

Wiggle Engraving

So I decided to play around with wriggle engraving the other week. I’m so sorry that I’m a few weeks behind, between calving season and subbing I’ve had a pretty full schedule!

I saw this engraved trumpet while on a google search adventure and I absolutely loved this design! I had to try something like it!

Fig. 6, 69, Engraving Detail

Detail on the engraved trumpet.

Online learning is difficult, especially if the concept or skill is particularly detailed or not well-known. Engraving is a skill that is all detail. Engraving well involves attention to detail, knowledge of the tools and materials involved and a whole lot of feel. I don’t have great feel yet, but with practice and perseverance, my feel will develop.

Until then, I will keep practicing and honing my skills! After this bracelet, I began engraving an aluminum stirrup (I’ll post about it later) and I’m so excited about how it is turning out!

This is my attempt at wiggle engraving.

Learning online is great, however; it poses its own challenges to different learners. I am very much a hands-on type learner. I like to try new things and experiment until I find a strategy that works for me. With engraving, it is a great strategy, but it can get expensive when I need new materials to experiment with or if I need a new tool to try a new technique.

Sometimes our students don’t learn the same way we teach. That’s OK, great even! We as teachers need to acknowledge those differences and structure our classroom in such a way that everyone can learn in different ways.

Technology Integration

Tech is everywhere. We engage with technology everyday as consumers, whether by using our an app on our phone or on the job. It is clear this is the 21st Century. Just how can technology benefit schools, students and educators?

Education technology is a wonderful thing, it can open up a whole new world to students who live in extremely rural areas (like I do) and it allows them to broaden their experiences when life is not limited by locale. 12158666264_61c44094fa This can be done via virtual tours such as this one of the Louvre or via linking classrooms via video conferencing. Students in smaller schools may also be able to access classes that otherwise might not be offered.

Photo Credit: Wayne Stadler Photography Flickr via Compfight cc

Another way that education technology is a wonderful thing is that teachers can utilize technology to encourage student voice and promote democracy in the classroom. Students who are introverts can be encouraged to use their voice via technologies such as Flipgrid or Mentimeter or through a platform such as blogging or Twitter where they might be more comfortable rather than speaking in front of classmates. Students can also give teachers feedback on lessons, topics and classroom activities. And for other students, technology can provide a real audience for them to share their ideas and practice their writing skills. Blog platforms such as Edublogs can provide a safe environment in which these students can blog about topics and hone their writing skills with real-life applications.

Technology can also streamline instruction. To quote Alec Couros, “if you can google it, why teach it?” Instead of focusing on information overload, teachers can focus on teaching skills such as writing, digital citizenship, branding and other 21st Century skills that may help them in college and career readiness. Our students should be becoming critical thinkers, engaged in asking questions and making their world a better place instead of focusing solely on the memorization of dates and names that they might forget after the next test (dates and names are important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing on our students’ minds).

We can all agree that technology is a good thing, however; there are a few things to consider before we jump in feet first. We must consider student access to devices if our classroom is “bring your own device,” some students cannot afford a smart phone or tablet or computer and making your classroom BYOD might create some issues.

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How much is too much? Can too much technology be a bad thing? According to Science Daily, writing notes by hand might make learning easier and the information might be absorbed better than if those notes were typed. We as educators need to find a balance between technology and regular classroom instruction.

Photo Credit: DawMatt Flickr via Compfight cc

We should seek to pick and choose types of technology that fit our classroom and school environments instead going overboard and adopting things wholesale. What works in one classroom may not work in another. This is especially true right now when many educators and administrators are concerned over budget cuts and what kind of impact those budget cuts might have upon our schools.

Overall, there are many advantages to integrating technology into our classrooms, but there are many things to consider before we jump in feet first. Technology integration should be smooth with students in mind.

Inspector Gidget

This week I took on the role of cybersleuth, or in my own terms,”Facebook creeper” as I partnered up with Skylar Jack for the blog post assignment. Before this assignment I considered myself an expert-level Facebook creeper, all skills learned in college when I would “creep” on potential boyfriends, or when I would check out the Facebook profiles of the new additions to the rodeo team every Fall. But Skylar has stumped me. She is hard to find on Facebook! Skylar even provided me with her married and maiden names (told me which she used on Facebook) and still I could not find her on that account!inspector_gadget_thinking

I did manage to find her blog and Twitter thanks to the Voices of ECMP 355 blog hub! Her blog  tells a little about herself, she is married and has a son, she is in her last year in the Indigenous Elementary Education program at the First Nations University of Canada and she lives in her home community where she has adjusted to living away from the city.

I was so excited to see that we have something in common; she talks about her husband taking care of his dad’s horses! She is also tackling piano as her learning project and I am excited to hear her progress with it.

Overall, it was difficult to find out a whole lot about Skylar. That’s okay, she does have an online presence, but she chooses what she shares and when, to with whom she shares (since I couldn’t arbitrarily search for her and find out oodles of information). It is important that we take ownership of our digital identity and control what information is out there.

Overall, it depends on how much a person shares online as to how much you can learn about them. I will use myself as an example, in one way or another I’ve been active online since my early years in high school. I can admit that I’ve posted a lot (for me, anyway-I’m sure there are people that have posted way more).

Another thing I’ve discovered is that it is difficult to filter searches with fairly “common” names, or if the person shares a name with someone who is very active. I’ve discovered I am not the only Robbi Keller out there on the internet! There is another Robbi Keller who is a vocal artist and voice coach. Please do not confuse that person with me and ask me to sing, I might hurt your eardrums!

Searching “Robbi Keller” on Google and DuckDuckGo comes up with a page of people who are not me (ok, on Google, I am listed on the bottom of page one with posts from Google Plus). Searching “Robbi Nace Keller” on DuckDuckGo brings up brings up my Twitter, my old Blogger account, my Instagram account, my mother’s obituary and my “other” blog where I post about barrel racing, horses and rodeo.

I have discovered a few things about myself that I had forgotten: an old Photobucket account with pictures from my senior year in high school, and and old blog from “way back when,” and though I find some images embarrassing (like an old picture of an ex boyfriend from high school with hearts), I do not see anything negative about them. It is a reminder that things don’t just “go away,” they are there to stay. I think it is a comic reminder to watch what you post and to control privacy settings on your accounts.

Photo credits:

“Inspector Gadget Thinking” from the Inspector Gadget Wikia