Hi everyone! My name is Justine Stephanson-Kyle and I teach grade two at Carlyle Elementary School in Carlyle, Saskatchewan for the Southeast Cornerstone School Division. I have been teaching in Carlyle for seven years since I received my Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Regina in 2009. I cannot believe that this is my tenth and final graduate class at the University of Regina. I am still in shock that I am thirty-nine days away from reaching my goal and finishing my LAST CLASS for my Masters of Education degree in Curriculum and Instruction. When looking through the Google Plus EC&I830 community I was so excited to see so many familiar faces in this class and having the opportunity to continue to learn along side classmates that I have met through the nine previous classes that I have taken. I am also looking forward to continue to build my professional learning network (PLN) and to meet everyone through our weekly class on Zoom and reading everyone’s blog posts on the EC&I830 blog hub.
I know that Twitter is not mandatory, but I encourage you to check it out! When I took EC&I831 in the fall of 2014 I was introduced to Twitter and was very overwhelmed. From taking the class and all of the people I have met in that class inspired me to give Twitter a try and begin to explore what Twitter had to offer. Over time I have become more confident in using Twitter and I use it mostly for professional development. Kelly Christopherson @kwhobbes was a part of the class and introduced me to #saskedchat on Twitter. On Thursday’s at 8:00pm the educators that organize the chat ask questions focusing on a variety educational topics each week. There are usually around six questions each Thursday evening and the chat runs from about 8:00-9:00pm. On the Thursdays I am able to take part in the chat allows me to learn from fellow educators from around the province, from Canada, and even other educators from outside of Canada. Today the #saskedchat the topic is Inclusive Education!
I encourage you to follow that hashtag because it is a great beginning place to begin to build your PLN. On the nights I am not able to attend the chat during the hour time frame I am still able to read the tweets to learn and grow professionally. Twitter also provides the opportunity to still comment and ask questions even if the chat is over. Some other hashtags that I learned about from taking other classes that I follow now are: #digcit, #edtech, #digitalcitizenship, #playmatters, and #edchat just to name a few. If you want to learn more about hashtags for education check out this link! On the link it lists hashtags that are popular/trending, hashtags for all the different subject areas, and hashtags topics that involve education. You can follow me on Twitter at @JNSteph87.
Reading Kyle Ottenbreit’s very first blog post today reminded me of my very first graduate class when I took ED800 in January of 2014. The last few years have gone by so fast and I am so happy that I decided to go on this journey. For people who are just beginning their graduate journey or new to online learning this is a great class to be a part of! This will be the third class that I have taken from Alec and Katia and their classes have provided me a great opportunity to learn and grow as educator. While I was reading Haiming Li’s blog post, I loved the photo that she used in her blog. The photo had a quote that stated “do not compare yourself to others.” I can remember when I took EC&I831 and I was very overwhelmed reading everyone’s blogs because I was brand new to blogging. Everyone’s blogs looked amazing! My best advice is to remember that everyone is at different stages in their journey. Some colleagues are beginning their degree while others finishing. There are also many people who are experienced in educational technology and blogging while others have taken this class to begin to explore and learn more about educational technology. I like looking back to my very first blog post “Life Is A Journey…” because I easily see my growth since my original post (that contains no links, pictures, or videos since I was new to blogging). I think it would be amazing for students to have a blog that they can write in each school year so they can see their personal growth from year to year! Through taking EC&I831 I was able to learn more about blogging and even did my major digital project involving blogging with my grade two students.
While continuing to read everyone’s posts on the bloghub I saw that Heather posted some great tips and tricks on her blog if you are new to online learning. I could make a lot of connections to what she talked about in her post as I have also had moments of when I thought I lost everything on my blog post on wordpress blog. I did learn and found the magical button beside revisions that allowed me to get back parts of my post that I thought I lost. While exploring more blogs I noticed on Aubrey’s blog post that she talked about teaching her students how to be safe and happy digital citizens. I also share the same passion and belief it is vital to educate students to be good digital citizens. Digital citizenship was such an important topic and when I took EC&I832 during that semester we learned about some fantastic resources! Here are just a few that I used for my major digital project in that class and they are resources that I use today to help me teach digital citizenship :
- Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools- This document is “a policy planning guide for school divisions and schools to implement digital citizenship education from Kindergarten to Grade 12.” The planning guide was written by Alec and Katia in consultation with other educators from Saskatchewan. I encourage you to check it out! There is fantastic information and tools to help educators implement digital citizenship in their classrooms. Further as you read into the document you can learn about Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship and the digital citizenship continuum.
- Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Scope and Sequence– This is an AMAZING website that has units, lesson plans, student interactive activities, and assessments that teachers can use to teach digital citizenship for students in Kindergarten to Grade 12. There are also great information for families and professional development opportunities.
- The Government of Saskatchewan Digital Citizenship Continuum from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve– The digital continuum “is intended to support professionals as they infuse these concepts and skills into their teaching.” This document is formatted using the nine elements. For each element there are essential questions, what students need to know, what students need to understand, and what they need to do from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
It is bittersweet that this is my last class. During the drive home from class on Tuesday Tyler and I were talking about what is next after we are finished our degrees. I know personally I want to start a family and professionally that I can continue learning through my PLN on Twitter and there is always the option to take MOOCs (Massive open online courses). I do not want to think about the end quite yet! I am so excited for Tuesday’s first debate and continue to learn more about educational technology from everyone! It is going to be a great six classes!