Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Reflections on #EDU776nz

Over the last four months, I've been a student in a graduate course called Integrating Technology Into Programming, Services, and Instruction.  Our instructor, Nicole Zumpano, asked us to reflect on our learning journey through the course. 

I love to use technology, both personally and in the classroom.  I've always been an 'early adopter' and risk-taker when it comes to instructional planning and technology use, often developing units and facilitating project-based learning for my students.  I've always felt comfortable with tech as a learning tool, so that part hasn't changed.   

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Tech Tac Toe: Word Clouds


Word clouds are another great tool for visual learners.  A word cloud takes a selection of text and organizes it into a design.  The really cool thing about word clouds is that the size of each word is based upon the frequency it appears in the text.  One can customize the shape, font, and color of a cloud (based upon the application used).  There are many word cloud generators to chose from, but I like Tagul and Wordle best.  Making a word cloud is a simple as copying and pasting a selection of text into the chosen generator.

Here is a word cloud I created using Tagul, and I customized it based upon the subject. Can you guess what this word cloud is about?  

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tech Tac Toe: Screencasting


A screencast is a video recording of one's desktop, usually with narration.  Over the summer, one of my teammates needed to know how to create a spreadsheet to view responses on a Google Form. Since we were both at home, I made a screencast to show her how to do it.  I saved the screencast to my Drive, then shared it with her.  So simple!  

There are many applications one can use to record a screencast, but I prefer the Chrome extension Screencastify.  Screencastify is a screen video recorder that allows one to record one's desktop an narrate what is occurring.  I could give you the step-by-step directions of adding the extension and recording a screencast, but it is easier to show you.  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Tech Tac Toe: The power of infographics

Infographics have changed my life!  

I have just used Canva to create an infographic for my students, and I am beside myself with excitement!  Where have infographics been all my life, and why have I not used them before in my teaching?  I am thrilled to think about the infographic possibilities!  

Visually appealing?  Check.  Easy to create?  Check.  So, so awesome?  Check!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Technology and optimal learning spaces

I’ve just learned about the New Media Consortium's Horizon Report.  Holy cow!  Just give me some chocolate, my loosies, and a glass of wine, and I could happily settle in for the night reading this annual comprehensive report on upcoming trends and developments in educational technology!  Particularly interesting to me was the discussion on classroom redesign to reflect a more collaborative, creative space to integrate technology for active learning (Redesigning Learning Spaces). 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Data mining is scary!


I do not have a tattoo, and would never get one.  I can't even imagine ever liking something that much that I would want to live with it forever.  I remember once back in the early 90s I went to a tattoo parlor with a friend.  She ended up getting a tiny rose on her ankle.  There was a brief, fleeting moment when I actually considered joining her.  Thankfully, I came to my senses.  What would others think of me if they saw it?  Would they think I was cool?  Ridiculous?  Impulsive?  Reckless?  And what would my parents think?  Ewww...how embarrassing.  

But what about a digital tattoo?  I have one of those...and it is definitely permanent. My digital tattoo is comprised of everything I've ever shared, posted, and liked online.  It also contains any information that others have posted about me, or digital records of any sort shared publicly, like my address, my salary, and my criminal record (which is completely clean; but you could find that out by Googling me).  


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Telling a story, visually

In the technology class I am taking, we were asked to compose a digital story.  A digital story is a story told through a movie, using a variety of media such as photographs, video clips, text, sound, and narration.

I decided to tell my story about birds.  I am an avid bird-watcher, and nothing is more relaxing to me than walking through the woods or meadow, binoculars and camera around my neck, looking and listening for different species of birds.  I've been watching birds seriously for a few years, and I continue to marvel at their beauty and resiliency.  My story shows some of the different species of birds I've seen over the last few years, and talks about how my love of bird-watching developed.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

My Twitter PLN

I love Twitter!  In my opinion, there is no greater resource for educators.  I've joined global projects, shared resources, learned about new technology and pedagogy, and discussed philosophy with members of my Twitter PLN...most of whom I will never meet in person.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Active learning in the classroom: is it really important?

What is active learning, you ask?  According to the Center for Learning and Teaching at the University of Michigan,
Active learning is a process whereby students engage in activities, such as reading, writing, discussion, or problem solving that promote analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of class content. Cooperative learning, problem-based learning, and the use of case methods and simulations are some approaches that promote active learning.
In the graduate course I am currently taking, we engaged in active learning to examine the topic of active learning.  We partnered with a colleague to prepare a presentation demonstrating and analyzing forms of active learning taking place in real classrooms, shared our presentations with our colleagues, and reflected (via this blog post) on our experience.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hello from Karrin

My name is Karrin Burns and I am a Third Grade teacher in Illinois.  I am currently taking a course called Integrating Technology Into Programming, Services, and Instruction at Dominican University.

Hi, this is me!
Image source: Karrin Burns's personal photo
I am taking this course because I want to be able to use technology to provide a dynamic and more personalized learning experience for my students.  Here is my classroom website if you'd like to take a look!

This is a year of firsts for me: my first year teaching Third Grade, my first year using Google Classroom, my first time taking a course at Dominican...I even crashed my car for the first time this year (bummer).  I am very excited for all these new beginnings (except the new bumper)!


How did I come to teaching?


I am from Michigan, but have lived in Illinois for 27 years.  This is my fifth year teaching.  I had extremely diverse and exciting career experiences before becoming a certified teacher.  I attended Fashion Institute of Technology (F.I.T) after high school (dropped out), worked as a make-up artist, then moved to Chicago and worked in the restaurant business.  I started culinary school at Kendall College, and worked in many French restaurants in the Chicago area.  I met my husband, who is a chef.  After some years, I left cooking for the hotel management business.  True to form, after a few years, I decided to leave this career to go back to school to get a B.A.  I graduated from University of Illinois at Chicago in 2007 with a degree in French (minor Art History).  I started my graduate studies in Art History after working for an art conservation company, but I decided that probably wasn't for me.  On a whim, I started substitute teaching, and immediately fell in love!  I got my M.A.T from National-Louis University in 2010.

Always learning...


In my free time, I am an avid birdwatcher, and I love group fitness classes.  My husband works at Wrigley Field, so I am also a dedicated Cubs fan.  I am a very curious person and always learning, wherever I go.

I am so excited to join my colleagues to learn together and improve student learning.  I will use this blog as a reflective portfolio and professional resource, so please check back to read my thoughts and learn about tech resources to implement in your own practice!