Collaboration – Working together

Blog Challenge Week 4 – Collaboration – Working together. What does it mean to work ‘collaboratively’? How can we foster collaboration? Is it important? Why?
First year of my education degree, I was taken back with the amount of assignments requiring group project. I was unsure and even uncomfortable sometimes how group work would work, perhaps because I have never been evaluated as a group in elementary to high school as a student.
I remember having a great time studying together with my friends, asking each other question and learning from each other, but I had this mentality of: “you get what you work for,” and I only needed to work solely for myself. Perhaps many of my classmates also felt same way, dreading about working in groups.`One of the biggest concern we talked about was: if someone in the group will not pull his/her weight and tries to take credit.
Another concern is time. With the busy schedule of classes and work/sports or whatever you committed to, it is dreading to coordinate dates to meet, discuss and work on assignments.
So what happens often is we quickly split workload, work separately on own sections, and put them together at the end to present.
But I wonder, was this true collaboration? What does it really mean to work ‘collaboratively‘?
Dreading feel of group work changed in my second year. I think you need to build good personal learning network for you to be able to work collaboratively in this profession. Getting to know each other and becoming colleagues, collaborators, and allies from classmates who sits beside you; that was the key to enjoy the group work. It enabled to:
  1. Build trusting and secure place to share and discuss
  2. Understand and use each others’ strengths
  3. Communicate casually and frequently with each other using technology (email, texting, Facebook messenger, Facetime, GoogleDoc, WordPress, Evernote, etc.)

As well, it definitely takes away the stresses and dread you had for the group work assignments. Furthermore, collaboration with good PLN will take your work into next level. I can draw pretty good but not gifted in music, but someone is. Collaborative discussion will bring more ideas, creative solutions that you could never imagine.

To end this post, I sincerely would like to thank my colleagues for the great experiences and accomplished works.

From ECE325

From ECS210


Let the imagination flow

#saskedchat blogging challenge no.2.

How can we foster imagination in the classroom? Why is it important for kids to be able to use their imagination in school?

It took me a while to write this, because I know it is important for kids to use their imagination anywhere but I really did not know how can I foster it in classroom. And here is why I did not know.

I am pretty good with my hands and I can draw or create things fairly well. And while I was helping in classrooms as an EA or doing some after school programs, I found many times that some students (not everyone, but quite few sometimes) did not want to try to make/draw something after seeing what I did. They wanted me to make things for them, they wanted something that made pretty already. Or simply to copy what I did.

Perhaps they are so used to having patterns or models to create something. Look at the store, there are too many KIT of somethings. At school, there are crafts for bulletin boards that everybody make same things. I am not saying that is terrible, because it foster to develop the skills to follow directions (listening, literacy, hand-eye coordination, manipulation, and many more) to meet the targets.

I said I am pretty good with my hands, but I should say I am good with following directions. I had good training for that from formal schools. So I have really hard time creating/drawing things without some sort of model, I can’t use my imagination well. Usually what I imagine (or think I should say) are something safe, things that I know it works because I’ve seen it somewhere. That’s right. I am not imagining freely, I am thinking. I am reasoning and making conscious rational decisions on what it should be like all the time.
Perhaps, I am afraid to let go of my rational.

So how can I foster imagination in classroom? How can I encourage children’s imagination and creativity.

And there, I stopped my writing. I needed some insight. So I read blog posts from Kelly Christopherson (Teachers as Creatives and Untethering Imagination) and Alan Stange (There is no box).

Their posts are very positive and encouraging, reminded me that we, educators are all creative beings. I still remember when I entered education program in U of R and stunned by the fact that there are no lesson plans laid out for us. Curriculum is not really a lesson plan, it is goals. Teaching is autonomous profession, permitted to be as creative as we want to be. And with our creativity, we plan for students’ successes.

I would like to finish this post with inspirational words of wisdom from Kelly and Alan.

“– teaching is a profession that, at it’s heart, is a creative endeavour every single day! It’s about being helping other achieve their greatest potential and supporting them as they find their own creativity and passions.” – by Kelly Christopherson: Teachers as creatives, Educational discourse

“As teachers, we need to introduce possibilities in student’s minds. Mostly, they will run with them.”

“We don’t need to think outside the box. We need to realize there is no box.” – by Alan Stange: There is no box, Edustange



Organizing/Productivity Tools

The topic of #saskedchat blogging challenge has come: Share how you stay organized and the tools you use to manage your time and focus on being productive.

When it comes to organizing my schedule, actual calendar that I can write on and schedule/planner book work the best for me. I tried using iPad’s calendar to type in all my appointments and class schedule, but it took me more time to type, re-schedule, etc… so I stopped using it. Diary app did not work either.

But I must say, I cannot live without my iPad mini now.

It is light and small enough to fit in my hand. Whenever I find time, I can do quick access to internet to search of projects, articles, or whatever. Check my Twitter account and join the chat just after my baby’s bed time routine and laying on the bed. Check my email, write my blog, read books, watch YouTube video tutorials, take photos… bunch of photos. Skype, instant messaging and banking.
Plus, everything I have done on my iPad can be simply connected to iCloud and I can work them on my PC, and it works other way around as well.

I do want to utilize more apps to get organized though.
I look forward learning what others use and try some out.