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.


Author: Krista Gates

Hello! Hola! My name is Krista Gates. I have a been a teacher with Regina Public Schools for the past 13 years. I teach high school French Immersion Language Arts 9 & Spanish 10, 20 & 30. I am passionate about student engagement, languages, educational technology and travel. I am a proud mom to Madison and Connor. I am currently working on my third Master's at the University of Regina. B.Ed., M.Ed. MC.

7 thoughts on “Learning from around the world!”

  1. Great post, Krista! I agree with you in that I really like going into the breakout rooms with Zoom to discuss with classmates. I am learning so much from everyone in our class with the breakout rooms, the sharing of resources on Google+ etc. I really like that you touched on the Mental Health reading and said that ‘we must create a school atmosphere where students are encouraged to seek and ask for help’. I couldn’t agree more and I feel like we are lucky to have the learning environment and helpful classmates that we do!
    Looking forward to reading your thoughts next week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post Krista! It really is amazing the learning and collaborating that happened during online learning. Since taking my first online with Alec as well I have grown to love this type of instruction, when done well, and appreciated the connections that I have made over the last couple years.
    I’m not sure I ever thought about mental health and distance education as truly a negative. I see some postivices as well, especially for the kids that have extreme anxiety. I see online learning/distance learning as an avenue to connect with people, learn and possible get out of their comfort zone and communicate.
    Again great post and lots to think about. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Like Tyson, I think the breakout rooms is a great feature of Zoom as I often have small group discussions in my classes and I could then continue this feature of the face to face experience in an online medium.


  4. Loved your post Krista! I really appreciated hearing about your Edtech journey and how passionate you are about teaching. I am also happy you are committed to paying attention to any mental health challenges your students may be having… And I think making efforts to creating an openness with our students by stating up front that they can come to us with concerns.. And the importance of picking up on signs like lack of participation, lack of focus, not handing in required assignments and absenteeism are red flags that we all can gently address with our support.


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