In response to “Best of Both Worlds”

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Doug Peterson is an edu blogger. I probably read his blog more than any others. It might be because he blogs every day! But the real reason is because he shares such great content. I’ve used many of his ideas and tips in my own classroom. My “Snowflake” eight day learning journey was the direct result of one of his blog post “Coding Snowflakes”.  Doug also writes a Friday blog “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” where he highlights great blogs written by educators fro across the province. Recently, Doug joined with Stephen Hurley of VoicEd Radio for a weekly podcast on TWIOE.

Doug recently wrote a blog ” Best of Both Worlds” which got me thinking. I posted a message on his blog, which turned into somewhat of a blog of my own. For what it’s worth, I figured I’d share it. Thanks Doug, for the inspiration.

Doug, I think I’m more of a blogger than a podcaster, but through some encouragement from Derek Rhodenizer, I have tried the podcast as well.

I like to blog because it allows me to think and reflect and chronicle some of my own learning journeys within my classroom. I also blog with the assistance of my students, where they play an active role in writing and editing. Together, we think, reflect and write before hitting publish. There’s a sense of safety in this method as we are in control of what is being shared with the world. I enjoy sharing what both my students and I have written with the world and use Twitter as the conduit.  It’s always great to hear what others think of our posts. This has certainly helped my students understand the power of social media and has created many incredible connections for my students with classes throughout the world. I can’t tell you how pumped and overjoyed my students were when they listened to you and Stephen talk about what they are doing in the classroom (think Junior Water Walkers, The Snowflake and Shut the Box). It’s simply something I never dreamed of only a few years ago.

I have tried my own podcast a few times and have been a guest on a number different podcasts. Noa Daniel’s P3 was one of my favourites.  I do enjoy the experience as it’s a great way to connect, converse, challenge my thinking and push me out of my comfort zone. My podcasts are anything but perfect and there’s many time when I wished I had said more, less, or had chosen my words differently. Then again, as I’ve been learning…learning IS messy and it’s never going to be perfect. I’ve found that it’s really hard to commit the time to schedule a podcast with someone else. Derek and I have been dabbling with a “slowcast” or “pocket podcast”. We’ve been using Voxer to have an ongoing conversation that we’ve been wanting to have for some time. Eventually, I suspect Derek will publish it. I’ve enjoyed this conversation with Derek as it has given me time to reflect before responding.

I’ve also created a podcast series with my class. That’s been great fun! It’s kind of an “off the cuff” series. We podcast when we’ve had an “ah ha” or feel we want to quickly share our thoughts and conversation beyond our classroom. In fact, we ended up podcasting with Mr. Rhodenizer as well as Mr. Shreffler’s class from Florida. I do know that the parents of my students really enjoy listening to their kids’ discussions as well!

I also have found that having kids podcast (or voice record) their writing or math thinking has been a game changer in my classroom. Tools such as iMovie, Quick Time, Photo Booth and Flipgrid has been amazing to help my students get their ideas down in a different format. Flipgrid allows kids the opportunity to respond to one another as well. In fact, I’ve done workshops in different cities and have had teachers give feedback and input using the power of these same tools. Now that I’m thinking about it, platforms such as D2L and Google Classroom allows my students to share their writing with one another as well as their parents. In turn, they can comment and engage. In essence, they are helping to push one another’s thinking and incidentally, making one another better writers.

And then there’s platforms such as Google Hangouts. I use this type of platform all the time to connect, meet and share with educators from all over the globe. Sometimes the meeting are recorded for sharing and sometimes they’re not. M.A.D PD is an example of how technology has been used to allow people to share and learn together regardless of geographic location at zero cost. Stephen Hurley has continued the conversation beyond the single day in May when we host MADPD and is now engaging presenters in a “MADPD Spotlight Series” where on every Saturday morning though out the year he is interviewing one presenter and digging deeper into their M.A.D idea. And so, the conversation continues. Within the classroom my students have used Google Hangouts to connect with explorers, scientists, conservations, photographers, etc, etc from all over the world. Sometimes our conversations are private, one to one experiences and other times they’re recorded with many classes participating and engaging. My students have presented about being in a “connected classroom” to teachers spread over 5 countries using Google Hangouts. Come to think of it, I’ve presented a keynote virtually, when I wasn’t able to attend in person, due to unexpected circumstances.

So, in short (hold on…..this is really long!), I agree with you! “At this point, I can’t see dropping one for the other. I think they complement each other nicely.”
In fact, I think they build off one another and will continue to move us all forward, bringing us to other platforms and allowing us to be comfortable trying them.

By the way, my students’ biggest complaint, at first, is not liking their voice or seeing themselves on camera.

We have to teach them to love themselves just the way they are!



About mrcameron14

I am a Grade 6 teacher of 18 years in Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada. Passionate about sharing with teachers throughout the world. Teaching students how to use technology 4 good and to make a positive difference in the world. Apple Distinguished Educator 2013, SMART Exemplary Educator 2013, Google Educator 2015.
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