EC&I 833: Week 2 – Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools.

Writing a blog this week required some thoughtful reflection. James Hamblin’s video, “Single-tasking is the new multi-tasking”, made me realize that screen time becomes an issue when we are tasked with work that requires computer/internet. In my career, about fifty percent of my teacher workload requires the use of productivity suites and presentation tools. The other fifty percent is prep work, researching, correcting, extra curricular, and general organization of my classroom.

The professor posed the question, “Is the internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distraction?”. We can look to the Behaviorist theory of learning when we approach our tasks. The internet can be the stimuli that we interact with and being focused/mindful to the task will shape our actions. We are aware of the consequences associated with not finishing a task, say an assignment that is due the next day. The internet becomes a distraction when we allow it to invade our space. I think a good organizational plan focuses our time and attention to the task at hand. Being mindful of the process would be the reinforcement we seek, the stimuli that keeps us on track. Modelling productive interaction with technology can transfer to students. In the article, “Schools Leverage Apps and Easy-to-Manage Suits of Learning Tools”, J. Bengfort points out that “technology helps students learn and grow”. What better way to learn and grow with technology than to see it modelled in productive ways.

Productivity tools used to produce and present learning outcomes have helped to fill the gap of distance between classroom, teacher, and student, especially during the world wide pandemic. The use of technology to design and deliver learning became almost necessary to deliver instruction. J. Bengfort posed an inquiry to educators, to “focus on the why: Why will a suite of tools help us meet the goals we’ve set for out students?”. The decision to use productivity suites and presentation tools is with the educators, with the support of school administration.

During the pandemic, the time that I dedicated to using technology was limited to availability and professional development opportunities. Distant learning was supported with the distribution of Google Chromebooks to each student. Some homes did not have internet, so I delivered homework packages that corresponded with curricular outcomes. I used a blended approach of homework packages and online learning via Zoom class. The goals I set for my students were aligned with curriculum and instruction through distant learning. When we returned to 100% in class instruction for the last four months of the year, I once again used a blended approach with Google Chromebooks, the smartboard and traditional instruction. Our school set goals for school-wide Nehiyaw language instruction and Land Based learning. We had instructors on staff and learning was experiential, traditional based. We had access to a Nehiyaw language app and we learned to speak together. Connectivism theory applied as students interacted with technology, teachers and community members. I anticipate this blended approach to continue in the Fall and I am excited to get started!

Ekosi. Thank you for reading my blog.

Ramona

9 thoughts on “EC&I 833: Week 2 – Productivity Suites and Presentation Tools.

  1. Thanks for sharing, Ramona! It’s great to hear that your school distributed Chromebooks to every student and homework packages for families without Internet access. I felt like my school division had to start thinking differently about who has access to the Internet and technology at home during the pandemic. For example, students usually aren’t allowed to take school laptops home, but during the pandemic, we distributed school laptops to any families that didn’t have enough devices at home. It was kind of cool to see the shift and I’m wondering if we will see any similar initiatives in the fall. It’s awesome that your school set goals for school-wide Nehiyaw language instruction and land-based learning! Those are both such great experiences for community-building. Which Nehiyaw language app does your school use?

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    1. Good morning. The app I downloaded was from FHQ Tribal Council Cree. They also have FHQ Tribal Council Saulteaux. They are free apps. They feature categories and Elders speaking. Students try very hard to do dialect and pronunciation when they hear the Elder speak.

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  2. Hello Ramona,

    You provided great insight in your blog! I admire how your school set goals of learning Nehiyaw language and land based learning. It is a breath of fresh air knowing that First Nations languages are being incorporated in schools. What kind of land based teachings were provided to the students? I was fortunate to have an intern this year who taught the students how to flesh a hide. The students enjoyed it and many said it was the highlight of their year. They learned so much, and I am fortunate my intern knew how to teach the students this, as it is something I have limited knowledge in. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Miyo Waniska. Good Morning. We have a culture support person on staff. He does the daily smudging, advising on protocal, demonstrations and workshops such as Tipi set-up. He did two workshops with my grade 5 class. Picking sage and sweetgrass and Animal tracks and trails. We published classroom books as a culminating activity and assessment tool. Very engaging

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  3. Hi Ramona — I’m also interested in the Nehiyaw language app. We have Cree 10/20/30 at my school. I did a Google search for some apps; is it the one called “Cree Words”? What was your experience with it — did it work well for you, and was it easy for students to use?

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    1. Miyo Waniska. Good morning. I downloaded the FHQ Tribal Council Cree app and the FHQ Tribal Council Saulteaux app. Interactive apps which feature categories and Elders speaking. My students tried very hard to pronounce the Cree when they heard the Elders speak. TY for your interesy.

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  4. Ramona, your post is AMAZING! I am following suit with my peers of being so interested in the language app and also the Land Based education. Reading about a decolonized classroom in action is always so amazing to read. I would love to hear more about the students receptions of both the language and land based education. How did the community respond? How do you see those programs moving forward in the future with your school and community at large? Did incorporating land based education and language influence/impact student engagement?

    I also stand in awe of you (and Reid did the same thing in his classroom) of finding several ways to share information with students during remote learning. And the fact that you maintained that hybrid learning once back f2f speaks of your awareness that all learners need diverse ways of interacting with the content. I also marvel at how you brought the learning theories into your blog. You have a unique ability of finding a thread between the content, lived experiences while also inviting me to consider ways I can step up in my classroom to support learners. Thank you for your amazing post!

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    1. Hi Jacquie. Our school is on my nation of Kahkewistahaw (flying in a circle). Nehiyaw is our first language and the goal was to always include in every learning experience. On staff is a language speaker and a cultural facilitator. During the pandemic, I introduced Nehiyaw daily and worked with the Oskapiwas (elder helper/cultural advisor) on land based projects. We did Picking sage and sweetgrass in the fall and Animal tracks & trails in the winter. It was wonderful to walk on the land and explore animal homes…we even found a crater. The language apps I used were FHQ Tribal Council Cree and FHQ Tribal Council Saulteaux. Each featured categories and Elders speaking. Students tried very hard to learn when they listen to Elders speak. Those apps were free to download at our school. I also downloaded on my cell phone. TY for the kind support!

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  5. Wow, Ramona! It sounds like you are doing such a great job with your kiddos and at your school. I am also very impressed that you are incorporating language development with your kiddos, and traditional teachings as well. I also really liked hearing about the land experiences you took your kiddos on. I think these are all experiences that they will remember forever and that will help make them feel a greater sense of belonging and more invested in their traditions, because of their teachers and staff that are putting so much effort forth to teaching them. I have really enjoyed reading your posts, and I look forward to reading more. Thanks for providing us with the names of the apps you used as well. I love hearing about new things, so that is exciting for me!

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