Parent Info - GAFE and Edublogs
Parkland School Division staff and students utilize online tools and resources to promote engaged thinking, ethical citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit. Schools work daily to provide a place where exploration, creativity, and imagination make learning exciting, authentic and memorable.
This is part of our division Mission and is directly aligned with Alberta Education’s Inspiring Education which sets out to produce Engaged Thinkers who are Ethical Citizens with an Entrepreneurial Spirit.
This work is supported by the Ministerial Order on Student Learning and the Learning and Technology Policy Framework (LTPF). The Ministerial Order on Student Learning’s main goal is to inspire students to achieve success and reach their potential while contributing to the Alberta economy and society.There is a new focus on for innovative use of technology in learning, teaching, leadership and administration to support student-centred, personalized, authentic learning for all students. PSD, We aim to prepare, engage and inspire our students to be their best in a quickly changing global community. Two specific initiatives within PSD have been the use of Google Apps for Education and blogging with Edublogs.
Google Apps for Education
Google Apps allow our students, teachers and administrators to communicate easily, share efficiently and work collaboratively for free. Over 8 million other students and teachers are already using Google Apps for Education (GAFE) around the world! This opportunity represents an important step towards supporting high levels of collaboration and building upon communication, exploration and engagement skills. Within our school division, GAFE allow students to gather evidence of their learning through documentation, presentations, video and audio - an eportfolio of sorts.
“I really like being able to get into class work any time I want to. It’s easy to add, change and update my work whenever I feel like.”
- Student, Grade 7
“Being able to work on a presentation altogether saved our group a lot of time!”
- Student, Grade 5
“I love that I check out staff meeting agendas, documents and collaborating with other teachers. And the continuous saving ability is remarkable too!”
Blogging with Edublogs
PSD students are engaging in developing their writing skills, becoming more transparent reflective learners and establishing a positive digital presence through blogging. Currently in PSD there are two types of blogs: a classroom and student blog.
The Classroom Blog’s purpose is to share and build a deeper understanding of the learning occurring in the classroom. Teachers use the classroom blog to document classroom activities, curate curricular-specific links to educational resources, extend learning opportunities, model digital citizenship and social responsibility, and encourage student and parent responses.
The Student Blog’s purpose is to share and showcase their own learning artifacts and build a deeper understanding through reflection.
Students use their blog to:
- Share growth in their learning
- Leave a positive digital footprint
- Relate to the topic being discussed in class
- Reflect on their own learning
- Support the learning of others by giving and receiving feedback
- Write about their passions and invite guest responses from community members.
The blog improves their level of understanding, develops growth in literacy and numeracy, increases engagement in learning, encourages parent participation. Student can choose how they present their learning on their blog via video, audio, text, images or a combination of these which offers them different opportunities to showcase their work. Overall, blogging is one important way to have students reflect on their learning.
“Students are more reflective about their own learning because of their blogs. I love that they are able to look at their learning, think about the process, and then write about the experience. What a valuable opportunity! Additionally, the kids love feedback that goes beyond our classroom walls. When someone from another city, province or country responds, they get SO excited!”
“Blogging opened up the possibilities of audience in new ways. So, when they are considering writing or publishing for an audience other than me, the teacher, that really impacts how they view what they doing and the intrinsic motivation they have.”
“I have really enjoyed blogging this year. It has been a fun way to learn new writing skills. In 5th grade I didn’t really like writing. It seemed boring and like a chore. When we started blogging this year, I was really unsure about it. I thought it would be just a trick to make writing seem more exciting. I was so wrong! Blogging has been really fun for me. Blogging has let me write about things I like and enjoy, such as holidays and video games. If we just wrote papers and essays this year, I would probably get burnt out. I would not try as hard, and it would not be very enjoyable. I really want to continue this amazing experience next year.”
- Student, Grade 6
“I want to continue to write these posts … because they help me put all my thoughts into words and to stretch my creativity.”
- Student, Grade 8
“Throughout the year, I have learned new techniques for grammar from reading other people’s blogs and from some of my own. Every time I write a blog I learn a new way to use word.”
- Student, Grade 9