Miss Gagan Vaid

It takes a BIG heart to teach LITTLE minds!


Before the start of Practicum 491, I had chosen the word resources to focus on for the year 2020. I felt that in the past I had a difficult time finding resources because of my lack of knowledge on where I could locate educational resources at my district. My goal was to find and use a variety of different resources within my district. Once the effort was placed to finding resources, I thought my goal was reasonable to attain, as it was not highly difficult to achieve. I knew I had to do some digging and researching about my district as I knew very little about the district itself.

Once I started practicum, I reached out to the Principal of Marie Sharpe and she took me on a tour around the school. She showed me multiple resources in many rooms around the school. There was a resource room, open spaces where I could do my prep time, music/science room, and technology resources I could use in the library. As well, I reached out to the staff of Marie Sharpe and they were more than willing to share resources with me. For example, the speech teacher gave me some literacy activities to help my students during literacy centers. Also, during weekly meetings with the staff, teachers shared resources during this time and it helped me gain ideas on guided reading for my students. I had no issues finding resources as I utilized the projector, iPad, computers, math and literacy tubs, library, teacherspayteachers, and staff of Marie Sharpe. I think focusing on the word resources helped me think about what I needed to achieve to get resources for my practicum. I did take the steps of finding resources by socializing with the staff and getting to know my school during my own time.

Some things I learned were to take that extra step in knowing the school you are teaching for and in all honesty, the simplest resources make the biggest difference. You do not need fancy smart boards to make a difference, a simple book from the library can make a huge difference. As an educator, what I learned about myself was that I worked with what I could and I made the best out of any resource I could find. One thing I learned about my students was that they highly enjoyed videos and technology-based resources and were asking me consistently “Do we have online read aloud today Miss. Vaid? Are we going to do movement breaks through videos?”

As the world is getting more and more advanced, students are becoming more and more knowledgeable about technology. I think in the world we live in; we must research and stay up to date on what our student’s interests are and the many methods they can learn from. I think I chose the right word to focus on and I couldn’t have chosen a better word for the year 2020. It was a great learning experience and I was satisfied with my results. -Gagan Vaid

My EdTech Reflection

What is EdTech? EdTech refers to technological resources that can be utilized to facilitate learning and educational purposes. As future educator’s educational technology is highly important to each one of us. EdTech helps students and teachers learn and teach through modernized technology. I, Gagan Vaid attended Education 431- EdTech class and gained knowledge on how to utilize technology in my future classroom. In all honesty, I did not know much about educational technology and how I would incorporate it into my future classroom before I attended the class. One of the main things I learned is technology can be utilized in various creative methods to meet every student’s needs. For example, students can publish or just practice creating different types of books on the Book Creator app online. As well, technology has multiple open-ended apps online where teachers can choose from and adjust accordingly to their student’s level of learning, for example, the DDM reading app can be adjusted depending on the student’s level of academic skills by having students only go to level one and others go further to challenge themselves. The app is great for listening and enhancing English language arts skills.

How I would use EdTech in my classroom is having students experience through different types of technology. I would bring in iPads (if my school had them), computers, projectors, whiteboards, microphones, camcorder, and even mobile for learning purposes. As well, I would include digital field trips, let students create digital content, have an online classroom calendar, incorporate video and multimedia into my lessons, have students browse through different educational websites, have them try different social media apps like twitter, and give them a chance to use the electronic whiteboards. Altogether, I would choose from the wide-ranging technology resources to meet my student’s academic level. There will be many apps that may be too difficult or too easy so I need to find that common ground for my students and also try the app myself before I let them experience it.

EdTech was quite enjoyable as I got the chance to observe and learn from various presentations that helped me realize that EdTech is indeed important in the education system. I am glad I took the class because I think without the class, I would have had little knowledge of how to include technology in the classroom. The world is advancing more and more everyday and it is essential to keep up with modernized technology as it relates to our students and is a big part of everyday life. Maybe decades ago, technology would have not mattered as much but now it’s so advanced and so out there that you need to be keep updated on the different forms of tech and how to utilize them. Technology is taking over the world one step at a time!

Janet Chow’s Using EdTech with Purpose

Janet Chow joined us to present on using educational technology with a purpose. She is a program consultant in the city of Burnaby, British Columbia. Janet talked about the power of stories and its cultural significance.  Stories are a journey of where we are going. Further, stories connect the past to the present, almost like a time machine going back into time while we are currently in the present time period.  Stories create a purposeful atmosphere.

Janet talked about the purposeful creation of environments of learning. She modelled this by bringing up the fire starter question to us about what is your story? build your hopes, wishes, dreams, as an educator. I enjoyed this soooo much! We had to build it visually with the supplies given in a paper bag.  I built a beaded mountain. The beads represented my accomplishments-my Bachelors of Arts Degree, and my future degrees to come -my Bachelors of Education Degree and Masters Degree. The paperclips represented general hurdles and challenges that will be in my learning journey. The top was three happy faces representing my end goal- to have a family one day of my own. This activity was awesome! I would do this activity in my future classroom for sure with a different question. This activity made the presentation meaningful to me and captured my interest of the overall presentation. The video below highlights my why I want to be an educator and the importance of teaching. Every educator has a story to tell, just like Rita Pierson. 


Kristina Tzetzos’s Assessment as Learning

Kristina Tzetzos presented via Skype on the concept of “Assessment As Learning” as a platform for students to self-reflect and build their meta cognitive skills. Kristina believes learning is social and comes in many forms. Additionally, she states  you need to find yourself as an educator and be the person you want to become. She is sharing and showing us ideas that we can take away from and specifically use her as a resource to gather ideas.  Kristina has experience ranging from Elementary to Secondary as she has taught English, literature, and writing at the secondary level and grade 5 and 6 in the elementary level.

Through this presentation I learned that assessment like math is literacy-it needs to be practiced. Just because you were a student does not necessarily mean you will be a fit teacher as she explains. You need practice, practice, and practice to self-reflect and improve through time.  I think this really stood out to me because she was honest and did not just jog around the concept. I agree with her like I feel sometimes I get ahead of myself and think I can do the task efficiently but then when I do it, sometimes I really am not understanding but just doing the work to get it done. For example, if a student hands in a story and I mark it based on completion and not if that individual understood the story – I am missing essentially if my student is understanding the material and that is much more important then completing the task altogether. Above is a link of assessment for learning vs. Assessment of Learning which helped me understand the difference and the benefits of each concept.


Sandra McAulay’s Coding in the Elementary Classroom

Sandra returns for a second round presentation on teaching us about coding in the Elementary Classroom.  We started with Sandra giving the learning intentions for the activities she wanted for us to do for example, I can make a code to get from start to finish in a maze and I can make and follow a set of directions with a small group. I thought it was a great way to start a presentation because as teachers we need to tell our students the learning intentions so they know what they will be learning. Furthermore, she modelled how she would teach a primary classroom on a lesson on technology- we as teacher candidates acted the part of primary students (grade 1) and participated.

I really enjoyed the sequence lesson she taught us. She was very clear on instructions and describing the actions. I think the idea on how to implement sequencing in the classroom really resonated with me. We made our own sequence route and we all took turns walking the code. I thought the idea was very cool because it really shows the students how to physically learn sequencing by doing it themselves. However, I would suggest sequencing for older students or modify it for primary grades as I find it can be difficult to learn all the rules on the actions (for younger students) and might be hard for primary grades to understand the concept rather then intermediate grades.

Podcasts with Tim Cavey

Tim Cavey, who moderates and creates podcasts himself, gave us students a presentation on podcasts.  Tim is a 8th grade Teacher from Surrey, BC.  Surrey is a growing multi-cultural city with many opportunities which I learned from Tim. He has recently graduated with a Masters in Leadership/Curriculum at B.I.U and he developed a thesis on podcasts and the idea of it.

Tim is really passionate about the concept of growth mindset. Tim stated that when he tells his 8th grade boys on how to grow their muscles in the gym, he gives the advice that they need to put themselves in uncomfortable positions in order to grow. That idea became fundamental to Tim as it became the motivating factor to which he started doing podcasts. Moreover, he said  “If I am not being challenged I am not growing”.  His podcast journey began…

Something that was important to me which I learned from Tim Cavey was the idea of TeachersOnFire. TeachersOnFire is something I never heard of in terms of podcasts. I do not generally hear podcasts during my free time but I did not realize how educational it can be and beneficial for me as a future educator. For example, what Tim has learned through  podcasting his work is reflecting on the student’s reading where he gives questions related to the text and student’s fill out the reflection on google classroom and record on their devices. It is a great way for students to be introduced to podcasting and a way to include technology into the classroom. TeachersOnFire is about growth and transformation for educators around the globe. Some benefits of these types of podcasts for us future educators is that it really helps us critically think, communicate, collaborate, it has universal access,  and essentially enforces the question of how can we share great learning.


Karen- Supporting Student Learning

Karen, from Vancouver school district gave her insight on supporting student learning in terms of educational technology. Karen feels strongly that everyone can access technology and it can be adjusted to suit anybody. Technology has multiple open-ended apps for students to learn and enhance their learning . Furthermore, technology is a safe tool and is a great tool for making mistakes and reflecting from them.

I personally utilize the app Grammarly for my essays because it helps me catch those hidden mistakes. The app is a safe and easy tool to use. Karen states that buttons like undo or spelling error often helps students visualize the mistakes they have made and further helps them reflect on those mistakes, so they do not repeat them again.

Something that resonated with me was the “Book Creator” app that Karen stated is her favourite.  It is a simple tool where you can create eBooks and publish them. You can create any type of books like picture books, chapter books, journals, textbooks, and even photo books. It can be used through iPads, computers, chrome books, and the internet. I thought the app was pretty cool as I looked on the internet on how it was utilized.  I would love to use this app in my future classroom. I would love to create books based on my lessons for my students to see what I did as a teacher. Students can also practice their writing skills by writing a journal or practicing their spelling words on their own. It allows students to learn best in a way that works for them because the student can create their own book and in their own style. A great presentation by Karen 🙂

Carrie- Computational Thinking

Carrie arrived to UNBC Senate Chambers to give us a presentation on computational thinking. We started off the class by thinking about what we thought computational thinking was. We learned that computation thinking is a problem-solving process. It helps with logical reasoning, develop algorithms, break down of problems into discrete steps, find patterns and generalize, use abstraction, and involves evaluations. Altogether, it helps recognize the problem and develop solutions for it. It can be as simple as writing a poem, dancing, or even baking a cake.

Something that resonated with me was the video. The video made it easier for me to understand the concept. I am a visual person so it helped me a lot. The video had a father making a peanut butter sandwich from reading his children’s hand-made instructions.  I think the topic can be a bit dry and the video made it more humorous. The video’s purpose was to show how specific things can be.  After multiple attempts, the children figured out how to make the instructions.  Some computational thinking that came from the video was algorithmic thinking- looking at equations , they had to find patterns- looking at what worked and what did not,  and logical reasoning. In the end, the father evaluated the sandwich to see if it met expectations.


Fresh Grade with Cliff Waldie

What is Fresh Grade? Cliff Waldie arrived to UNBC to give us Teacher Candidates insight on how Fresh Grade works for teachers.  I learned Fresh grade is an online portfolio that gives permission to comment and interact on student’s school work in any given device. Fresh Grade is a platform utilized mainly for communication.

What can Fresh Grade do for you? I learned it can be used to enhance student assessment and facilitate student/teacher/parent communication. For example,  if a student creates something in class that they want to share, they can share it on the portfolio where the student’s parents can see what they did in school. You can upload videos, PDFs, documents, and much more. Some examples include, notes, awards, evidence of growth, and specific activities.

What resonated with me? I feel like I enjoyed knowing more about Fresh Grade because I honestly did not know much before.  What stood out to me was the idea around Fresh Grade.  I feel students take ownership in their work when they can see the comments and questions on their work. I feel like students get a sense of pride knowing that there work is up on display and that they are very much proud of their work.


Sally Song Overuse of Tec

Sally Song, a grade 7 teacher, gave teacher candidates an insight on her choice of technology in the classroom. She has been teaching 7 years altogether and has a passion to teach intermediate grades. She finds technology can be used throughout all grades as observed from K to grade 7 herself.

Sally stated things were much different back in the day as she only witnessed a few types of technology in the classroom. Today, she says things have drastically changed and now you see iPads everywhere. Something that resonated with me was when Sally stated that life got easier when she got Twitter. It helped her open doors to get ideas from education chats, teachers, class blogs, and much more. However, she said she got pretty burned out from keeping up with her twitter blogs, apps, and her personal blog. She realized she needed to slow down and eventually it became a pride thing for her -to get followers, do retweets, make videos, etc. Today, she states that you need to make it meaningful and pick and choose what works for you. Do not think you have to do it all.

Sally’s insight really made me think about picking and choosing because I am the type of person to think -I can do it all. I agree, that you should choose what works for you and go for that rather than burning yourself out for no reason. I think once it becomes a pride thing, it shifts away from it as being meaningful to you. As well, thinking about the overuse of technology- technology should not replace core competencies- students need to think for themselves and be more aware. I think technology should be used as a resource to grasp information but the students need to think what to do with that information. -Highly insightful presentation


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