Friday, August 5, 2016

Together We Learn More: Creating Communities of Learners

I was presenting at the MoodleMoot Virtual Conference today  on my favorite topic: Creating learning communities in face--to-face and virtual classrooms. It was well received. I enjoyed sharing my experience with interested educators about designing and teaching courses where I spend the first two or three weeks of the semester creating the communities of learners. Here is the link to the webinar on WizIQ.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Less We Teach The More they Learn!

This logo reflects my philosophy of education of future teachers. Since the beginning I designed my lessons with focusing on the learners ' engagement and active participation in different class events. It was hard to do as students are used to be told what to do and how to perform the task. My goal was and is to leave teacher candidates with some uncertainty, some room for exploration and creativity. Usually learners feel uncomfortable and try to find out what the professor wants. They are thinking of ONE answer to get a good grade. I was in trouble many times because of my approach to course and sessions' design. "The LESS we teach the MORE they learn" works in my classroom. I see fruitful results when I observe teacher candidates in the field or during their student teaching but mainly when I get letters from graduates who thank me for preparing them well for the field or for empowering them with the tools for their career.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Summer Research Whirpool

This summer is very busy.  Together with my colleague and friend, Dr. Bojan Lazarevic I wrote a proposal for Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and invited one of my most recently discovered talents, Veronica Malloy. She was in my spring Science methods class and showed mature attitude and thinking to learning how to learn to teach innovatively with technology. She excelled in the class in so many dimensions. She initiated projects, learned fast the new tools and immediately applied them to lesson plans' or projects' design. She accepted the challenge of going above and beyond what was in the school science textbook/curriculum and helped in implementing the Seeds of Science Roots of Reading /Aquatic Ecosystems unit with the fifth grade science class at Bishop Dunn Memorial School. She spent extra time to read the teaching/learning materials, for brining the living things ordered from the company to the students and kept an eye on the created tabletop ponds in the fifth grade classroom for the students to learn about the properties of Aquatic Ecosystems firsthand. Students were thrilled and engaged throughout the entire process!

Veronica accepted a challenge to participate in the SURE project. AND... accepted the position of the President of the KDP local chapter that I am a counselor of. I will see Veronica a lot!

So -- I am working with Veronica and Bojan on the project "Transforming Classrooms with Emerging Technologies." Bojan and I also writing an article to share our views on the process of changing the paradigm forced by emerging technologies . Our plan to later write a book for a potential online Masters program in Learning Technologies. We agreed to write at least two paragraphs each day. I keep the promise!

I submitted three proposals for two summer conferences. They are both in Canada!
The first one is in Vancouver:
My friend and colleague from Canada, Nellie Deutsch and I are giving a workshop on how to use Moodle to engage learners in authentic learning.

The second is a paper presentation based on the experience my husband, Michael Edelstein, Nellie Deutsch and I had in 2014 running Healthy and Sustainable Living MOOC.

From Vancouver Mike and I will drive to Calgary where I will run a workshop "Going Double Digital: The Synergy of Technology and Pedagogy."

Besides that, I start teaching two course in summer semester II, beginning on June 28th, Psychology of Learning and teaching with Technology.  All in one time! 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Power of Connection

The Internet provides an opportunity for educators passionate about teaching to get connected, exchange ideas and collaborate. I received a message today from the Community Outreach Specialist of the Fusion Yearbooks Team, Danny Rabara Jr. in regards with my blog post about Project-based learning.
I was excited to find out that my blog is visited and read not only by my students and learners from the technology workshops I run regularly for teachers and educators but a wider audience. Here is an article and the resources that Danny shared with me
I am a big fan and passionate about project-based learning. All my methods courses have projects and creative tasks that help students connect, collaborate and express themselves creatively.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Happy International Women's Day

Today, 8th of March, is  the International Women's Day! A nice beginning of the day  - flowers from my husband and a poem from Ayka, our international student! I always share this tradition, the celebration of women on March 8th, in Russia with all my classes. It is a National holiday in Russia and is very loved by all. Women are showered with flowers, presents, surprises, and love. Mothers, sisters, girl-friends, grand-mothers - all are celebrated and worshiped. Teachers are probably the most. Because most teachers at schools are women. I remember the days when I was dean of the school of Foreign languages. The door to my office could not be closed for hours, days, almost a month. Students, faculty, parents, fiends were coming to wish Happy Women's Day! 
The International Women's Day was followed by my birthday that here, in the U.S., I usually spend in my favorite place Mohonk Mountain House.  The birthday cake below is from the chef of the Mohonk exquisite kitchen!


Sunday, January 24, 2016

I am Ready! I Love Challenges!

Tomorrow a new semester begins. I will be teaching four courses: methods of teaching science and social studies for elementary school children. I am always anxious to know what teacher candidates will be in my new classes: adventurous, curious, creative, open to new ideas and ways of teaching, or those who just want to slide through the course and get a grade. I am inspired by those who want to learn to teach and go above and beyond in exploring the are of teaching.

I have just found out that one of my best students, Lindsay Roe, who I wrote a recommendations, was accepted to Vanderbitt University with a merit scholarship. She thanked me in her Thank you card for helping her achieve her goal and "setting her on the path of looking for different opportunities and she called me "a guiding light." Such moments make my sleepless nights, hard work on the courses' design and improvements, worthwhile.

It is always challenging to start teaching a new course. Science attracts me, I am excited to learn new and revisit topics I studied long ago, but at the same time, I understand, science is not my field of expertise! I have already spent and will probably do more on exploring the science concepts and ways of teaching them in order to feel comfortable to share my insights with the learners in my classes.
I am ready! I love challenges!

I will be taking notes of my experience this semester to keep record of my discoveries and things I would not use again in the future.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Training Teacher for edTPA, a New Certification for Teachers

A new system of certification for teachers edTPA caused a lot of controversy and debates. The debate is never ending but the training of teachers needs to be adjusted to this new professional demand.

I have been always video-taping teacher candidates and since my first years of designing and teaching education courses I required students to keep blogs for developing their reflective thinking and create their professional e-folios to learn how to add the content to their professional portfolios and make their personal professional story. Now it is a nation wide requirement!

Last year I was asked to design a professional web mix of the resources about and of edTPA and I was awarded some grant money for that!

Student teachers like the resource. This year I have been supervising student teachers and noticed that some are afraid of using other lesson plan formats than just a direct instruction lesson plan framework. I requested to make a workshop for student teachers and called it "Implementing edTPA: From Teacher-Centered to Student-Centered Continuum" and explained to them how important it s to use a variety of pedagogical methods in teaching diverse learners. It is always safe and effective to start introducing new content, concepts and skills with the direct instruction and follow all its steps and then after reaching the mastery of the content encourage students' critical thinking skills, inquiry and exploration via problem-solving and inquiry-based approach and engage learners eventually in cooperative learning projects to show the results of the learned and mastered concepts and skills. MY presentation was a success. I created and shared the google folder with the three types of lesson plan formats and illustrated the continuum with the examples from the field. One of my current student teachers shared her experience with the lesson plans' design and implementation and how rewarding it was for her to see the educational effects of this approach to teaching and planning.  Almost every day I am getting now messages from student teachers to look over their lesson plans and give them advice on how to improve their lessons and teaching.