Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators (SUNY EDC 604)


Well, course number 3 of COETAIL has officially kicked off. To begin, we have been asked to write a reflective blog post on how the courses to date in this program have changed our teaching for the new year.

I didn’t know where to start actually. One of the things I have enjoyed about this course the most is how practical it is. I read about/hear/discuss new ideas during the classes, and apply them to my teaching the next day. Here are a few examples …

1) Classroom Blog

This was completely new to me last year … well, using it consistently anyways. I had played around with it for a while, but last year was the first time I gave it a real concentrated effort. The purpose was simple – a communication tool between home and school, as well as a way for students to “build and maintain a learning community.” They loved going home and checking the blog. It became a part of our classroom routine, and was used by every single student. Check it out … last year’s blog

This year I am trying to build on this, integrating widgets and at a later point, make students more involved in maintaining the blog. My goal is to have 2 students each week take responsibility for a blog entry … leading towards the intermediate years when they will likely have their own blog. I also plan to make my posts shorter, more frequent, and try to get more parents checking in, more often. Room 210 is open to anyone!

2) Integrate, but make it relevant and meaningful

You can see it on the students’ faces when they see the laptop carts sitting there, waiting to be used. They love technology. But, I have also come to realize that it has to be utilized in the right context, with a clear sense of purpose, for true learning to occur. I want students to understand why we are integrating technology into our learning, and how this can come into play in the future. I don’t want it to take over the lesson, but rather use it in a way that makes learning fun and real.

3) You Tube

I used to fear the thought of using this in the classroom … I now welcome it, but in moderation. I also believe it to be a very meaningful step in educating students about online usage, and how to be responsible and mature when operating online. I even upload videos now for my blog. I guess the more I have used it, the more useful it seems.

4) Smart board technology

I love it. Before this year, I had heard of Smart boards, but had no idea how amazing they are. I now use my Smart board every day for all sorts of lessons … and the kids help me learn along the way. It’s interactive, fun, and allows me to plan my lessons, while creating ways to involve students within the mini-lesson component. I can’t imagine life without it now!

5) Creative Commons

Again, something I had never heard of. It doesn’t have an endless supply of images, but at least what you are using, when cited properly, is legal. Again, a nice link to what we should be teaching in our classrooms.

6) RSS feeds …

I love them. I don’t always have the time to read everything, but it helps someone who has strayed away from newspapers keep in touch with what is going on around the world … in many ways. I probably have around 20 subscriptions in total at this point, organized into 4 folders, and some I visit every day, whereas others maybe once a month or so. It allows me to build a PLN which I can access when I want. My most frequent feed … Football – Mail Online although I discovered a new one which I can’t wait to have a look around … My Several Worlds. Nice, now that we are living in S.E Asia, and I love to travel!

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I know there was lots more that I was exposed to, and still a lot of learning ahead.


~ by yamaguru on October 4, 2009.

2 Responses to “Visual Literacy: Effective Communicators and Creators (SUNY EDC 604)”

  1. You’re a superstar Mike! It’s hard to believe you’re new to ISB this year with all that you’re doing in your classroom. I love the way you’re using your blog and promoting student authorship. I did a few projects with grade 3 students blogging over the past few years and they love having a voice and sharing their input with the class and the world. If you’re interested, it might be fun to connect your class with some other grade 3 class blogs to see what we can learn together. What do you think?

  2. I’m game! Can you help me get started with this? The kids would love it …

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