Will Adobe “Spark” Something New For Me?

With this being my 4th class with Alec, I am always learning new things, but this particular week challenged me. I needed to find something “new” to try with regards to teaching with technology. A lot of the suggestions put forward by Alec and Katia are ones that I have already tried or am already using as often as possible. It was Jenn that inspired me. She has spoken quite a few time about Adobe Spark and I wasn’t all that familiar with it.

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CC image via Flickr by Vernon Chan

Bates wrote:

Different media have different potential or ‘affordances’ for different types of learning. One of the arts of teaching is often finding the best match between media and desired learning outcomes.

These particular sentences resonated with my own personal belief about teaching. No two children are alike, so how can we teach one way to all of the children? Back in my days (yup, I’m about to date myself…), we were only taught one way – with notes, worksheets and textbooks. That was fine for me, but, as I look back on my classes in elementary and secondary school, I can “see” the struggle that some of the students in my classes had. In elementary school, my particular group was known as “that class”. It was quite challenging in terms of behaviour. However, maybe it was because some students were never offered what they needed in order to feel successful. Granted, technology today allows for those students to explore more options in terms of what they need in order to learn. Today, I feel that it is my duty as a teacher to make sure I explore all different types of media that will allow my students to be successful. So I was up for this week’s challenge! I wanted to create something that would supplement our Module Assignment and fit a Grade 3 learning level.

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CC image via Pixabay by JeongGuHyeok

I thought I would put together an Adobe Spark Page that described how First Nations used all the parts of the bison. The Smithsonian Institution National Zoo already has an amazing, interactive piece that describes all the parts of the buffalo, so I decided to re-create it using Adobe Spark. I would have likely just directed the students to the Smithsonian link, but I knew that for some students it would be difficult to navigate the very wordy sections. Using Adobe Spark Page, I was able to narrow down the text to just the information they would need. Thankfully, the Smithsonian site has a great terms of use policy that allows for usage with proper attribution, which I greatly appreciated.

I did like using Adobe Spark as a teacher, but I feel it is beyond the capabilities of students younger than Grade 5 without a lot of help from a teacher. I chose to do an Adobe Spark Page because it had the most options I was looking for. I could make it interactive (links), it was visually appealing and it had more features to it.

Adobe Spark Post confuses me. From playing with it, I gather it is simply a “digital poster making” page. I did not see a use for it based on what I was wanting to accomplish.

Adobe Spark Video was my original choice. However, I soon realized that everything needed to be pre-recorded and saved to my laptop. I could not pull from YouTube and it would not connect to my laptop camera. This was a major negative for me. The editing features appeared to be easy to use, but unfortunately, it didn’t have the 1 feature I really wanted: to be able to record directly from my computer or pull video from YouTube. It would appear that I will have to have a chat with Stephanie to see how she managed it!

Adobe Spark Page is a new way to create a PowerPoint or Slides presentation. You do need to have a log in and password to access it, which is always a nightmare when working with younger students. However, as a teacher, it is a new way to provide information to students. The ability to share it with an online link or an HTML embed allows teachers to share the content in various ways with their students.

I would recommend that you give it a try and see if it is for you. I could see myself using it again, but it isn’t necessarily my first choice.

Parts of the Bison

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ECI832 Final Project: Digital Citizenship and the Role of the Teacher-Librarian

From the beginning of class, I knew my final project would revolve around getting into my senior classrooms (Grades 6-8) to teach them about digital citizenship. Using what I learned in ECI831 and ECI832, I put together a presentation that broke Ribble’s 9 elements of digital citizenship in 5 strands: Content, Copyright/Copyleft, Netiquette, Identity and Activism. The strands were meant to start the discussions that teachers could then carry on while doing in-class teaching while using digital technology. I had planned for a 90 minute presentation to cover the strands, but found out I needed in fact over 2 hours to complete it. So, most classes only received the first 90 minutes which covered Content and Copyright/Copyleft.

I was quite happy with this because those are the two biggest areas that most teachers are not comfortable teaching themselves. I was quite happy that the teachers also came away with new tools and understanding for using content online.

During the presentations, I had teachers record parts of my teachings. Below, you will find a summary I created that puts together what parts of my presentation looked like in the classroom.

Teaching Digital Citizenship in the classroom:

 

I also chose to do a Screen Cast-o-matic review of each of the 3 Apps/Websites that I use to enhance reading and the use of technology in the library.

  1. EPIC! is an app and website that offers free online books to students through their teacher.

2. Bookopolis.com is a website that allows students to write reviews about books they have read.

3. Aurasma is an augemented reality app that I use to create book reviews in the library.

The third part of my project was redefining the role of the Teacher-Librarian as Information Specialist.

 

TL as Information specialist old

The above rubric currently displays the role of the Teacher-Librarian as an Information Specialist in Regina Public Schools. In my opinion, this rubric doesn’t encompass the new roles that the Teacher-Librarians have. First, we need to define the new roles of the Teacher-Librarian as an Information Specialist.

As an Information Specialist, the Teacher-Librarian must:

  1. Collaborate with teachers, students and administration about all formats of informational resources to meet curricular outcomes and ongoing social/inclusive topics such as, but not limited to:
    1. First Nation/Metis – contemporary aspects
    2. Gender and Sexual Orientation
    3. Cultural Perspectives
    4. Student interest and reading levels
      1. Emerging: Rarely collaborates with teachers, or only with those at a certain grade level grouping, to review informational resources that are available.
      2. Developing: Occasionally collaborates with teachers and administration to review informational resources that are available.
      3. Effective: Collaborates with teachers, students and administration to identify the needs of informational resources to meet curricular and social topics.
      4. Enhanced: Collaborates with teachers, students and administration to “identify links across student information needs, curricular content, learning outcomes, and a wide variety of print, nonprint and electronic information resources”.
  2. Acquire and evaluate all formats of informational resources to meet curricular outcomes and ongoing social/inclusive topics such as, but not limited to:
    1. First Nation/Metis – contemporary aspects
    2. Gender and Sexual Orientation
    3. Cultural Perspectives
    4. Student interest and reading levels
      1. Emerging: Rarely acquires resources that are related to curricular outcomes and ongoing social/inclusive topics. Rarely critically evaluates current collection to deselect resources that are no longer valid sources of information. 
      2. Developing: Sometimes acquires resources that are related to curricular outcomes, ongoing social/inclusive topics. Periodically critically evaluates current collection to deselect resources that are no longer valid sources of information.
      3. Effective: Acquires and critically evaluates all resources that are acquired and part of the current collection and deselects resources that no longer support curricular outcomes of social/inclusive topics. Supports the use of all formats of informative resources that help support curricular outcomes and ongoing social/inclusive topics.
      4. Enhanced: Acquires and critically evaluates all resources that are acquired and part of the current collection with the teaching staff, students and administration to ensure the needs of all are met. Along with staff, students and administration, deselect resources that no longer support curricular outcomes of social/inclusive topics which allows the critical evaluation process to be understood by teachers, students and administration. Encourages and demonstrates the use of all formats of informative resources.
  3. Educate teachers, students and administration with regards to the ethical and critical views of the informational content and aspects of using both print and digital medias.
    1. Emerging: Rarely discusses any topic related to digital media and digital citizenship but is very current on copyright laws.
    2. Developing: Occasionally addresses with teachers the importance digital content and critical evaluation of the content. Discusses some aspects of digital citizenship.
    3. Effective: Openly invites and discusses current views and trends that support informational content in both digital and print form. Works collaboratively with teachers to address issues of digital citizenship.
    4. Enhanced: Actively engages and collaborates with teachers, students and administration to keep the discussions open surrounding print and digital content and actively participating in a positive manner online by incorporating digital citizenship into all lessons.
  4. Be a technology Leader within the school with regards to technology integration, technology use, and technology etiquette.
    1. Emerging: Often shows teachers and students how to access certain digital content online, where to get the technology and how to maintain the technology.
    2. Developing: Supports technology integration into lessons and research with teachers and students.
    3. Effective: Works directly with teachers, students and administration to effectively integrate technology into everyday learnings. Fosters an open environment to allow for digital creativity. Familiarizes him/herself with all the latest advances in the school’s technology to provide training to teachers, students and administration on its usages. Continues to provide ongoing training about technology etiquette.
    4. Enhanced: Collaborates with teachers, students and administration to provide the fullest curricular experience with technology integration. Provides students, teachers and administration with opportunities to express themselves using digital medias. Models and informs teachers, students and administration with proper technology usage and etiquette.