That Google Classroom, Remind, Instagram and Snapchat are lit!

Hola! Bonjour fellow EC&I 832 classmates!

My name is Krista Gates and I am a teacher of languages. I teach French Immersion and Spanish at the high school level and I love to take traveling adventures with my students and my own family.

krista paris

I completed my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction in the summer of 2015 and I am currently working on my last class for my Master’s certificate in TESOL, where I have been mainly focusing on Second Language Acquisition.

Even though I have blogged before I currently have the case of “mom brain”. It seems like I am trying to remember everything about blogging all over again. Though I am super pumped to be taking another class with Dr. Alec Couros and yourselves!


The main purpose of my blog post this week is to share and outline my major project. I have decided to do option 2: my personal journey into media. As a teacher / mother, I think it is super important to have an understanding of the digital world and the many apps and programs that our students and in fact that our own children are using.

I am looking at this project as a professional and also a personal journey into social media, and what it means to be a digital citizen. The educational apps which I will investigate are Google Classroom, and Remind. I will be using these apps during the second semester with my students and of course I am always curious to see how this will impact education and learning with regards to communication. I am also wondering how I can use these apps more effectively for educational purposes.

Google classroom


The apps that I am also curious to examine with my students and myself are Snapchat and Instagram. I have personally used Instagram for a few years and enjoy posting about family memories. For Snapchat I just created an account out of curiosity a couple of years ago. Though in my teaching world, I see students using these apps on a daily basis and I am always curious to fully understand the social aspects of these popular social media apps. I am also curious to see if our students are truly aware of their own privacy, their own digital citizenship while using these apps since Snapchat and Instagram continue to be used for sexting and bullying.

My steps for the major project (Personal journey into media) will be (hopefully) as follows:

  1. Explore the educational apps that will be used in my classroom. (Google Classroom & Remind).
  2. Explore the social apps (Snapchat and Instagram)with my students and myself.
  3. Document the findings from all 4 educational and social apps) via blog posts, surveys, pictures and videos in regards to effective communication, education, social media, digital citizenship, privacy, concerns and positive effects of all apps in and out of the classroom setting.


I look forward to investigate our digital world that our students and our children use on a daily basis.
Has anyone ever used these apps personally and professionally?

Thanks! Gracias! Merci!































Until we meet again EC&I 833

As I type this post, I cannot believe a semester has already flown by and we have already reached the end of our EC&I 833 course. Bellow you will find my Summary of Learning with my partners Luke and Liz. Not only am I lucky to have done this project with these two fine classmates, I am also proud to call them my teammates at work.

The impacts of what I have learned in this course have been profound as they have and continue to shape the way I teach. This is my second Master’s and I still feel as though there is always more to learn and share with my fellow teaching colleagues.

I have understood that technology can be used meaningfully while teaching curricular outcomes.  I will continue to try a variety of tools, assistive technology tools  that are beneficial for my teaching and that are useful for all learners.  I am still wondering what technologies are purposeful and useful for EVERYONE in the classroom.  As I go on in my teaching, I hope to find answers to that question.

The historical background of technology helped me process where we were and where we have come to today. Theories such as Connectivism, Constructivism, Behaviourism, Cognitivism, and Social Constructivism all play a role in how I am teaching through the curriculum. There is so much out there to use in the classroom. I continue to learn in my own teaching practices and try new technologies that are both meaningful and engaging.

There is sometimes resistance where we teach…… I think of Katia’s presentation on audio-visual technologies and how tech tools were seen as dangerous tools. This is not so different from today, as some educators are still against using technology in the classroom. Though I do believe with the understanding of teaching of Digital Citizenship, technology can be used purposefully and safely with our students.

I have found that a variety of tools specifically Kahoot and Mentimeter have changed the way I teach my students. These tools not only help me follow curriculum, they can also be used for formative assessment purposes. There are so many tools out there such as Socrative, Google Classroom and Poll Everywhere.  I am determined to continue to use these tools and new ones as they come into play in my teaching career.

Something that was an eye opening experience for me was how our Educational Systems has been and continue to be controlled by some technology systems like Google. How can we benefit from these systems and ensure that our students are receiving the best education? If students do not have access to education from the face to face contact, how can we ensure all students have access to online learning? How can we ensure that all students can have access to a device? How can we continually promote Digital Citizens with the new Web 3.0? How can we continually understand that technology can be used safely and meaningfully? As educators this is something that we will be continually working on as we move onto new technologies in our teaching careers.

The learning will never stop. Period! It is forever ongoing.

I wanted to say a huge thanks to Alec, our guest speaker Katia and fellow EC&I 833classmates for a wonderful semester.  Thank-you for sharing your knowledge and insights.

May we all continue to grow alongside our students within technology in the classroom and help create positive digital citizens. Thanks for having such a positive impact on my learning #EC&I 833. Please stay in touch via Twitter and our PLN.

Gracias and merci!



Virtual and Augmented Realities in Education

Gracias to Bill and Logan! They did great job on the discussing the benefits of augmented and virtual realities in education. I am super impressed with the tool Aurasma…….thank-you for sharing the benefits of this tool Bill especially for language learning!

I was quite hesitant about this week’s class topic like Erin as I have really never used these tools in my classroom before.

Though at the same time, I agree with both of our presenters this week, that there are many positive benefits with integrating VR and AR in the classroom with students. I actually have access to 30 Google Cardboards.  I just recently began to play with this tool.

For example  I can take my  language learning students for a quick tour of the Eiffel Tour with Google Cardboard via Urban Hike with their own cell phones. (I took the following pictures while playing with Urban Hike).


From there my students can also take a swim in the Great Barrier Reef in Belize:


They can also check out the Coliseum in beautiful Rome and even the Westminster Bridge Road in London.



It is very neat for our students to experience the world of travel via VR and AR through a virtual scavenger hunt. Though in reality, it is truly a better experience for our students to see these places in the real world.

Reede and Bailiff’s article on When Virtual Reality Meets Education was very informative. They discussed how VR is a useful tool as it provides immersive experiences for our students. That classrooms can use these tools to collaboratively construct historical sites as well as architectural models. Immersing our students with AR and VR is truly a transformative experience for our learners as they are able to learn interactively with many new and innovative resources.  This is all so truly amazing!

Though as we know with advantages come also disadvantages.

Some teachers may not view this as a learning tool but only a “gaming” tool. In reality these type of tools can provide positive learning experiences for our learners…..even gaming tools!

Also, not all students will have access to the tools that they will need for VR and AR technology. As well as some of this technology is quite expensive to use and for this reason some may benefit more from it than others. Though the Google Cardboard is a great start! This tool can be found online for roughly $20.00. I also understand that with cardboard you can create anything….perhaps educators could also help create VR and AR with their students with a simple piece of cardboard. Within this topic anything is truly possible.

I will for sure be trying this tool with my students shortly….stay tuned! Though in the meantime, do you know of any other AR and VR travel apps?



Assistive technology is for all learners!

Huge thanks to Holly, Allison, Benita, Heidi and Launel on their awesome presentation on assistive technology. It is true that assistive technology is not just for struggling learners. There are many great assistive tech tools for all learners.

When thinking back on my teaching career and my first experiences using assistive technology, it was a speaker and microphone set (for my hard of hearing learner), a laptop for a learner and the Kurzweil program.

The speaker and microphone set was lost when it was required for my student. I spent roughly 2 weeks looking for the sound and speaking system when it was transferred from the elementary to the high school setting. During that time my hard of hearing student sat close with me and was able to understand my teaching, though not to her full potential without the required equipment. It turns out the equipment was locked away at the board office over the summer months and was unfortunately given to a different student within the system at  the start of the school year. Luckily a system was found not used and I was able to pick it up for my hard of hearing learner. There was no training to use this system, luckily my hard of hearing student taught me on how to use the system for her.

For the Kurzweil program all teachers in the high school that I was at, received the start-up training.

The unfortunate part, French Immersion resources were not able to be used with some of the programming at the time, which was very frustrating for a language learner and teacher. When teaching over a 100 students in a semester, being expected to know how to use new assistive technology, though the assistive technology does not support all French Immersion resources I found myself not using it, and looking for other suitable tools to help my learners.  To make matters worse, when we were trained, the training was not complete. It required two more training sessions. Unfortunately, we did not receive these training sessions due to lack of time at the schools. The information was emailed without more supportive training for the teachers.

The laptop (to support my student) arrived a month late during the semester. To make unfortunately, the laptop was not updated and was slow. I was able to bring the computer to the board office to receive its proper updates.

My first experiences using assistive tech were frustrating ones. Though these tools were necessary for our learners, so I guess you could say I just dealt with my frustrations and moved on.  As Dave Edyburn discussed in Rethinking Assistive Technology, teachers are frustrated with assistive technology because there is not enough training on this assistive tools, “there is little evidence that in-service professionals have received adequate training”. (P.18)

And on the other hand these days, there is an enormous amount of assistive tech tools out there, that some educators do not know which ones are the best tools  for their learners. It is best to learn/review an assistive tech tool “one at a time” to not overwhelm the teacher tech tool learner.

I have a grade 9 student who is reading at a grade 4 level. She has other cognitive learning disabilities that are impacting her learning in the classroom. My next assistive technology tool that I want to use / try with her is Google Read and Write for our French Immersion resources. I am in the process of learning this program on my own and I am trying to figure out on how to get my French Immersion resources added to this program. I found out that not all French Immersion resources are supported by this program….this is a common theme for French Immersion teachers….not all tools support French Immersion.

This video was very informative on the Google read and write program:


When researching the Google Read and Write program, I will need the following for my student:

-A Board office issued laptop for my student.

-Chrome installed on this laptop.

-Insuring my student knows her RBE Google account.

-Learn this program for myself.

-Help my student learn and understand this program.

-Help our LRT learn this program.

After having revised some of the Google Read and Write program, I am realizing that this tool (if it supports our French Immersion resources) can be a useful tool for all my Immersion students. Assistive technology can be used for all learners not just for students who have disabilities.

There is a stigma in our classrooms and we all know what it is. For some reason when a student is using these tools, they are seen as the “weak” student. Now and in the future, I want my own children/ students to understand, that there is nothing wrong when using tools to support your learning. I am hoping that we can break this stigma and have all students understand that using supportive /assistive technology is for all learners.

Do any of my fellow EC&I 833 classmates know of any other awesome assistive tech tools that supports French Immersion students?




Assessing assessment technology tools that are out of this world!

I was quite excited for this week’s class topic on Assessment technologies. Huge thanks to our fellow classmates Tyson, Jen, Nathalie and Nicole on your many great tools that were shared for effective students learning and assessment. Not to mention the great list of resources that was shared! So awesome to collaborate on what works in our classrooms as educators as this is in itself another great resource….sharing!

Gone are the days (for some educators) where we use tests (paper and pen) for every assessment to see if our students understand the required outcomes.

With technology has also come unique and varied assessment tools that can be useful for every educator from the elementary, high school and post-secondary settings.

As discussed in previous discussions from my blog, technology use by educators is “one day at a time” method so new Ed TECH learners (teachers) are not overwhelmed. Though in reality there are so many assessment tools out there, it’s important to reflect and review what technology assessment tools may be useful when assessing your learners.

Kahoot is awesome! Plain and simple. Once the students in the classroom understand the rules of cell phones and the meaning behind Digital citizenship, this tool can be quite useful to see of there in comprehension for what has been learned. From a personal example, my students read a novel and instead of a written quiz, they participated in chapter reviews from a Kahoot to review the novel. It’s a great way to assess if my learners have been reading and if there is understanding of the required chapters. It’s also a way for me to see what I can change for future understandings of the reading. As Heidy’s discussed in her blog, there is excitement and engagement when using this tool for our varied learners.


Though with every assessment tool comes technology issues. For example, not all students have access to cell phones. In this case I have students pair up and make teams so every student can participate. With teams, brings less stress and more collaborative learning in the classroom.

I just began looking at Plickers and I am very invested to try this assessment tool in my languages classroom setting. This You Tube instructional video was quite useful too:

-I noticed is it quite easy to set up.

-The cards are re-usable (better to laminate)

-I can create a free account

-Can use one device (teacher device) instead of multiple devices

-Very easy to use true and false or multiple choice questions

-Can use an opinion survey

-Can easily create questions

-They even have a calendar item… great for planning (for varied subjects)

-I can look back to see data reports for my students

-Gives me data from my students in real time

– I can use 63 bar codes per class

-Assigns the card number per students (to keep track of assessment)

-The questions can be projected to my students using my data projector while they use their cards.

-See if students have understood a learning concept.

I am super interested in using this tool for my languages classroom. The benefit is, you only need one device for many instances. It’s also a great tool for formative assessment.

There are so many positives with assessment technology. For example as discussed it is flexible, it is faster and efficient and most importantly, it can provide differentiated learning opportunities. Did I mention it improves student engagement in the classroom setting (when used effectively)? Of course as mentioned earlier there are some drawbacks such as bandwidth connection issues as well as not all students having access to technology.

Though to increase student engagement will also require “at times” the use of technology tools when assessing our learners today. Not all will support this idea, though with time and learning these tools will help support our students in their learning.

Fellow EC&I 833 classmates, what is your favorite technology assessment tool? Can you recommend a great one for languages learning?



Change is constant in Education & the Web

Huge thanks to our fellow classmates Kyle, Angus, Erin, Naomi and Heidi for their presentation on Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0. I really enjoyed our #eci833chat via Twitter and the great discussion that took place.

Secondly…….Web 3.0 : Your presentation and this video explains it perfectly:

From an educational standpoint, the changes from Web 2.0 to 3.0 will change the way we use the internet. It’s important that students and educators take note of this change as it will change the way we use the internet in our classrooms. Web 3.0 as Jackie Gerstein explained in her article, will provide even more collaborative knowledge through interaction and will also increase the learning opportunities for both the student and the teacher. Learners will become constructivists, they will be able to make even more connections and create in meaningful ways through Web 3.0.

As an educator who has embraced technology in education, it’s important that teachers educated themselves about the transition to Web 3.0. The internet and educational tools are constantly changing that for some teachers this may be overwhelming. It truly is, though at the same time it’s important to stay up to date about the new tools that will help motivate our learners in the classroom. Our learners are already learning about these tools, to the point that our students are sometimes teaching the educators about them.


My students have been using Google Docs and varied programs for quite some time. In fact, they have been collaborating, co-creating in projects prior to coming into my classroom. Teachers have also been using collaborative tools in planning as well as using presentations tools with their students and fellow staff members. By using and implementing these tools in a meaningful way for our students, the transition into Web 3.0 will be of a smooth transition, as most educators and students have already been using these collaborative tools for quite some time.

I enjoyed the quote from Heidi’s blog this week, “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” Of course with change comes resistance. Not all educators will “buy in” and accept Web 3.0 in their teaching practices. Lunch and learns, interacting and collaborating with our own personal learning networks, professional development, Grad classes will help ease the stress of learning new educational tools and encourage the implementation of Web 3.0.  By using new tools while implementing the curriculum, our students will meet the outcomes in the most effective and inspirational way.

I know that every teacher on this planet wants to teach the curriculum in an effective manner as well as inspire his/her students in the process. Our students also come with varied learning backgrounds that will require varied teaching styles in order to successfully meet the outcomes. Technology will help in this process, it’s just about taking that next step and accepting and learning about what’s out there and helpful for our students and their learning.

What are your thoughts? How can we can educators to use and meaningfully integrate Web 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 in the classroom?







Learning from around the world!

I was super pumped for Kirsten Hansen’s, Adam Krammer’s, Stephanie Grand’s, Lorraine Wagner’s, Venessa Vogel’s and Sharon Flaman’s presentation tonight on Tools for Distance and Online Education. It was also very cool to meet Jade Ballek as I have been a huge fan via Twitter.

I first discovered online education in 2013 via an ETMOOC led by Dr.Alec Couros.  From I remember Dr. Couros was on a sabbatical leave and was using his sabbatical time to connect with educators.  He used  Blackboard Collaborate as his tool for Distance and Online Education.  For a month we took part in a free online class where he invited anyone to come chat, learn and share from around the world literally. Connections from all over were made and I began to understand the importance of Personal Learning Networks and Connections. This was real authentic learning where everyone was trying new technology in education as well as stories were shared of what worked and did not work. Resources were shared and an online community was built via distance and online education. Check out the Lipdub our #etmooc created :

The terms connected learning, digital literacy, the open movement, digital citizenship, digital storytelling, the anatomy of a tweet were inspiring and great learning topics for newbie tech teachers. We were introduced to ED tech guru @Sue Waters, where she taught us about creative commons and proper online commenting etiquette and tips.  This open online concept truly blew my mind to online learning and all of the positive impacts of it. It pushed me as educator to share my resources and to make connectors with other language teachers.  In fact the whole process encouraged me to pursue and complete  my Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction.

This time around while pursuing my Master’s certificate in Second Language Acquisition, I am using new distance online learning tools like Zoom. Again this whole process has opened my mind to even more learning. I can go into breakout rooms like we did tonight with other classmates and have meaningful discussions. Using tools for online education has had a big impact on myself as I am learning to blog again. It is something that I enjoyed doing in the past and it has rekindled my joy for writing and sharing learning experiences with others. It has also given me the time to re-connect / connect with other educators as well as learn new tools that are available for teaching.

While teaching French Immersion and Spanish I would feel comfortable using these tools with my students such as Zoom especially for online / distance education classes. It would give my students the opportunity to connect with others who are learning a new or second language. Though I also believe my students would miss that face to face contact while learning a language and I believe that is an important link to have when learning a language. Face to face learning is a great opportunity to make a direct connection with students.

After having read the article on Identifying and Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Online Students in Higher Education, it was truly an eye opening learning experience.

It was quoted that “online educators need strategies for identifying mental health problems in their students, resources available to offer the distance student, and institutional policies addressing mental health and student performance”.

I was reminded about the sometimes negative effects of online learning especially for students who are or who may be suffering with mental illness. At the school we have direct contact with our students and where educators can hand can tell if my students need guidance. Though if teaching online students if would be difficult to do so. I was reminded that if teaching an online class we must create a school atmosphere where students are encouraged to seek and ask for help.


Thanks so much.


It’s all about balance

Hi all!

Happy Saturday night!

While my children are sleeping, it is now time to work on my blog post for this week.

Being a full time teacher, wife and mom of two, I have become a night owl these past few years. It gives me a chance to focus and read my EC&I 833 classmate’s blogs.

HUGE thanks to Roxanne, Jayme, Ashley, Nancy and Andrew for their presentation on productivity tools that they did for Tuesday’s class. A HUGE thanks to Alec for showing me the beautiful image of a Hawaiian beach. Thanks to you, I began my search for a beach to relax on with my family. I checked out the travel site Sell off Vacations  for hours after our class. I was distracted by all the beaches and resorts that I want to see. (So thanks Alec!) I’ll be spending some $$$$ this Christmas break I am sure.

Even though this week was a short school week for teachers (we had three way conferences in the high schools Thursday) it was a crazy and busy week. Does anyone ever feel like it’s Groundhog Day every Monday? It starts over and over again,  the weekend goes by way to fast and then boom… it starts all over again on Monday. Why are Monday’s always so crazy?!?

I have to admit, I’m a bit of a workaholic as I prep, mark and check my emails daily ….even on my weekends. Does anyone here find work emails these days excessive? I swear they grow in size that sometimes I have to start filtering the less important ones to the end of the day.


As we discussed in class, technology is becoming more and more distracting and less productive. Emails can be productive and useful when used properly. I have to be honest, I receive repeat emails from the same upcoming school activities that I have no idea why. Perhaps the sender is worried that:

a) No one received it.

b) No one read it and deleted it

Still by me reading these numerous, sometimes unproductive emails, my day is becoming less productive with this technology. Instead of running to the photocopy machine to prep, or to call a parent about a concern, I am being more unproductive by reading unproductive emails. Is there a balance? Should I only read emails once in the morning, once after school and again before bed? What if I miss something important? It truly is a balancing act with our technology these days as sometimes communication at work is via email, phone and less by face to face contact as suggested in the class readings for this week, “The impact of email in the workplace”.

I could easily relate to this quote when discussing emails in the workplace:

“Sending emails when a fast response is needed isn’t a good move. When time is of the essence, talking with someone in person or making a phone call is typically a better approach.”

Let’s be honest, we are communicating less and less via face to face contact. Since when did this method become the norm? Think about the parent emails we have sent in the past in regards to concerns for our students. Would it not have been better to do so via face to face or via the telephone to have open and clear communication? What if our message via email is being read or interpreted wrong?  As educators it is truly important to make that connection with our student’s parents if need be. I think because our days have become so hectic, we have slightly moved away from making true connections with our student’s families.

I also need to reconsider my email checking at home. I need to re-focus my time away from work on my family and less on the technology such as my work emails. It’s all about balancing the technology at work these days and to not bring it at home.




Educational Software & Media…so much fun!

I wanted to start my blog by thanking my fellow partners: Liz , Luke, Rochelle, and Amy for collaborating on our classroom presentation on Educational Software and Media.

We hope that you enjoyed our student lead research and we look forward to read your blog posts about Educational Software and Media.

This year for the first time, I began using “The” Google Classroom. I was against it at first, though since my school is looking at “less printing” and using Chromebooks, I decided to jump in and try it. So far, it has been going really well. I am still “killing trees” and printing assignments for my students, though I am enjoying the organization of the program as my students can easily view and post their own assignments. I am also enjoying that I can  quickly asess their assignments and provide quick feedback for my students. 

 The other day I posted a review with a program called Kahoot to review a movie that we had just viewed in our French Immersion class. They quite enjoyed it as it had the students were interactively using their own devices. I did have  acouple of students who did not have acess to a cell phone, so I had them share in partners. I was reminded that not all students have acess to the internect as well as acess to certain smart phones.

When looking at other Educationl tech, I have grown quite fond of Skype Classroom. Being a French immersion and Spanish teacher it’s been a great tool for my students to authentically practice a language with other language learners.

I feel that Skype Classroom is an amazing and engaging learning tool for my students. Teachers from all over the city, Country and world can connect with each other via engagement, learning and resources. It’ a very cool tool to open your classroom walls beyond the school building.  It’s also an opportunity for students to see what’s out there in regards to language learning, diversity and cultures.

Years ago in elementary while learning French in the French Immersion elementary setting, my teacher had our classroom do pen pals via letter writing to a classroom from Quebec. It was exciting on a monthly basis to talk with my pen pal in this format. But now with all sorts of technology out there, I can take language learning further with my students. To integrate this technology, it is not just for the sake of integrating it, it is so the students are feeling engaged but at the same time putting to use what they have learned.

By using Skype in the classroom, my students are very engaged for the reason that the are practicing language learning authentically with other language leaners. This type of technology is useful not only in language learning but also valuable in all core subject areas.

Have you ever used Skype Classroom? If not, how and why would you try using this tool? How would this benefit your students and their learning? What are your thoughts?