My journey as a secondary science teacher candidate at UVIC

Tag: personal learning networks

Dialogue Circle: An opportunity to reflect on my personal learning networks

Today’s class was in the form of dialogue circle, albeit lacking a bit of the circle form as we were on zoom. Nevertheless it was an invaluable opportunity for us as a class and cohort to come together, reflect on how we are all doing so far in the semester and support each other. The online nature of this program can make you feel pretty lonely sometimes and today was an incredible reminder of the support network that exists within our cohort!

So what is a dialogue circle? This video shows some insight into how we ran ours today, and some of the education applications for dialogue circles. I really love how the video shows that in using dialogue circles, students are able to have equal voices in the classroom. In many ways, you are handing over some more agency to students in terms of the classroom conversations.

Although I am far from done this program, today also got me thinking about further emphasizing my own personal learning networks beyond this program and into my career as a teacher. So far I am currently engaged in developing my own network within my cohort which I know will prove invaluable beyond this class and this program. But beyond my peers I am recognizing the importance of growing other learning networks whether that be through twitter, feedly, other social media platforms etc. I have set up much of the accounts and platforms to build my personal learning network but haven’t spent much time growing these networks over the course of the semester. I have started to follow many of the recommend twitter accounts for education in BC, but admittedly I don’t find myself engaging to the extent I would like due to my already high screen time, and the workload of this program. I would like to make this more of a priority moving forward though! Inevitably, there will always be learning to do as a teacher, and developing those networks now will be so valuable!

One final call out to any fellow educators: any education podcast recommendations?

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Distributed Learning and Online learning Modalities: A new way of thinking about learning

I really appreciated learning about distributed learning and learning modalities in class this week! It made me critically think about how education can be delivered outside of the traditional brick and mortar structure of schools! Admittedly, the brick and mortar school is system is what I know best and as a result it is what I feel most naturally comfortable in. I attended a Vancouver public schools for my elementary and secondary education and then moved to Victoria, where I attended UVic. I was fortunate enough to have no restrictions to accessing any of these schools, although in reflecting back on them they were not always set up to work the best for me.

Throughout my entire secondary and post-secondary undergraduate education, I was training and competing as an elite triathlete. In high school this meant I had very long days with early morning practices, followed by more training after school and into the evening as there was no system set up for me as missing class or obtaining the class through some other modality was not a possibility. As I moved into university, I often structured my class schedule as best I could around my training, but there was limited flexibility there and I spent a lot of time travelling to and from campus with all of my training gear and school gear in hand to pursue both parts of my life. Additionally, once I had reached University, my sport also required a fair amount of international travel to race and for training camps. In most cases, when presented with a letter from my national sport body professors were fairly willing to work around me missing classes here and there. However, despite the lecture notes being often posted to some extent online, I really felt that there was no replacement for me being in class and I avoided travelling as much as I could during the semester. The rigidity of the school schedule also lead me to take a few online classes through Thompson Rivers University that would transfer as credits to my UVic degree. I completed both of these courses during the summer while also in the height of my racing season. These courses were largely self-taught from the text book, included a few discussion forum posts and assignments but I really felt fairly anonymous in the whole experience. I did not enjoy learning in this way, however the alternative was that I miss all of my swim practices for the semester had I taken the course at UVic. As an elite triathlete, missing your swim practices isn’t really an option!

In learning about blended learning, flipped learning and multi-access learning which is  perhaps is the most all in encompassing form of learning modalities, I realized that what I thought was best for me at the time could have been improved through access to a wider range of learning modalities. Much of my current education experience is a blend of synchronous and asynchronous online learning. I also have one day a week in which many of us are synchronously meeting face to face during our school observations and seminar course. Those days are by my far my favourite of the week! However, I can also see that there would be some advantage to a blended learning model for both myself and others. Especially when considering that many students are also balancing a variety of other life factors. For me, during my undergrad it was sport, but it equally could be family, work, mental health and variety of other variables. In this way I now recognize that online learning could actually be preferable in certain cases. Additionally it has an opportunity to include more people in education who might be limited in their ability to interact in a traditional face to face setting for a multitude of reasons. Although I would prefer to be meeting predominantly face to face for our classes in this program, I have also been surprised by the connections I have been able to make with my peers and professors over zoom and through group chats and emails. My personal learning networks which I interact with asynchronously are still enriching my education, extending my learning and connections beyond the classroom.

Furthermore, as we consider the current pandemic we are operating within, having a multi-access learning platform should be top priority for educators and administrators. Imagine a child is immunocompromised or lives with family who is immunocompromised, it is truly ethical to reopen schools without having a plan in place for these students to received equal education while not being present at school? I ask this question, not be overly critical but to place ourselves in the shoes of students who pandemic or not are currently excluded from our standard brick and mortar schools. Technology can be an incredible tool to increase inclusion in our classrooms!


Photo by Samantha Borges on Unsplash

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Teaching in a digital world: Social media, Personal learning networks and Privacy and Safety

It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that technology and the digital world will be interwoven into my future classroom much as it is in my own personal life. With this prominent digital landscape comes a lot of opportunity to engage in a variety of ways and through a variety or resources, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility to engage correctly and responsibly, especially as an educator. As I think about my future role as a teacher, the task of ensuring I am doing it all right when it comes to technology is a little daunting. Thankfully, I have been pointed in the right direction throughout this first month of my Ed-tech course and I am going to share some of those resources here.

Privacy and Safety as an Educator

One of the biggest responsibilities I feel that I have as an educator when it comes to using technology is to uphold the privacy and safety of my students, myself and other educators as we engage with the digital world both inside and outside the walls of a school.  FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act) provides the laws by which we as educators must follow when considering privacy and safety. The office of the information and privacy commission for B.C. also provides many resources the educate yourself on privacy rights, one of which is ‘The BC cloud computing guidelines’. This document was particularly helpful to me in outlining some of the key considerations to look at when implementing an online learning tool.

Some considerations when looking to implement online learning tools:

  • How does the company make money?
  • Where is the company headquartered and what are the privacy laws there?
  • Where is the data stored?
  • Are there security settings within the platform?
  • Ensure you have informed consent!

Social Media as an Educator

Jesse Miller’s guest lecture emphasized just how important it was that as educators we understand all of the above. He talked a lot about the use of social media as teachers and the fact that as educators to remember that we are held to a higher standard than most when it comes to how we display ourselves online. He pointed out that students will be using social media and therefore teachers need to have social media literacy. As a user of many social media platforms, I have always prioritized being professional within my personal platforms and all of my social media accounts are set to the most private settings purely because I am a pretty private person. I am not on social media to have a certain number of followers or to obtain a certain number of likes, it is more of a personal way to curate my life and share that with my friends and family.

However, as I am learning through this course there is also a potential to engage more publicly with social media through a professional education platform. What this looks like for me personally I am still figuring out, but I am excited to explore personal learning networks such as twitter or blogging as I move into my education career. That being said I am coming to the conclusion that I don’t want my personal platforms intermixing with my potential professional platforms. What I took away most from Jesse’s talk was that as educators we must be digitally literate because our students are interacting with the digital world more than ever. Furthermore, it is important that we as teachers are modelling responsible behaviour as we navigate the social, personal and professional communication networks.


Photos used as follows in chronological order:

Photo by Clarisse Croset on Unsplash

Photo by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash

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