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EDTC Summary of Learning

This course was initially both intriguing and intimidating for me. The reason being, it was the first ever online class that I’d decided to take during my university career. At first, I did not know that it would require signing on and video-chatting with the class each week — something we did through the use of the Zoom app. I was nervous because I absolutely hate talking on the phone and this seemed like that on overdrive. However, I found that the classmates were super engaging, and the discussions were lively. It ended up being a lot more fun than I thought, as both the content and interactions were meaningful and interesting. I’m so glad for the experience — and who doesn’t love a class you can attend in your PJs from the comfort of your own bed, surrounded by your cats?

That brings me to the end of this course, and with it comes my summary of learning. I really challenged myself to make this video; I used Screencastify to record me talking over a Google Slides Presentation I made. That in itself was a brand new challenge, but then came the actual making of the video — Screencastify’s free version only allows 10-minute videos, so I had to film two separate ones. Downloading them took about 20 minutes due to the size. Then, I had to combine and format them to be mp4 videos. I did this by using a website called MergeVideo. It was easy to use, but time-consuming, both in terms of uploading the videos (again, due to their size), then combining them, and then downloading the final video (and yup — the size was an issue once more!). THEN! I still wasn’t done: I had to upload to Youtube. Then, after it had uploaded, Youtube told me that I had to have a verified account to upload anything longer than 15 minutes… which mean I had to verify my account and re-upload it.  All in all, it took about 2hrs just to finally get the video on Youtube. And this was the result! I go into detail in about each aspect below the video, as well. Thanks and have a great summer, #EDTC300!

  • We live in a society where technology is everywhere, from advertising to social interactions to the way we consume media, but I never thought about its role in education until I actually went out into the field.
  • My first major interaction with technology being positively used in a classroom was when I was placed in a grade 7/8 split classroom and found the class used an amazing website called Mathletics. My cooperating teacher sat my partner and I down one day after school to go through how he used Mathletics to engage students and make math fun, while being able to see the progress the students made and share results with parents and guardians.
  • This was so intriguing this was to me as an educator — it opened my eyes to the various ways in which technology can be implemented in the classroom, and the amazing companies that are creating websites and apps to make that happen. These include:
  • Even technology that I’ve been using for a long time, such as Twitter and Facebook, can be used to not only enhance learning for students, but to expand my own understanding of the teaching practice.
    • During this course, it was so eye-opening to see the connections that can be made through using something as simple as a Twitter hashtag such as #edtc300 or #uredu. I was able to talk to people just starting out in their careers like myself, as well as teachers, principals, and other members of the education community from all around the world.
    • Using apps like Feedly and Tweetdeck made it so that finding topics of interest was easy and quick, and sharing them to discuss with others was seamless.
  • Some new concepts that I was introduced to during my education journey over the last few years include blogging and coding.
    • I was exposed to blogging in my second year as I started my online portfolio and posted field experiences and responses on there, but it was never as in-depth as this course.
      • This time around, I learned about how engaging it can be to interact with other blogs and grow my professional community through commenting and sharing. I learned more about how to integrate links, videos, and other media into the posts.
      • Also, I’ve found that I quite enjoy blogging; as teachers, we have busy schedules, and being a university student right now is no different. Blogging is a great way to step out of our hectic lives for a minute and just write about what is going on in our lives, whether it relates to our professional development or our leisure activities.
      • It is something that I hope I can encourage future students to do when they need to just let out their thoughts; it also allows for practice of writing — something that I, as an ELA teacher, like to do with students is let them “free-write”, which essentially means that I let them write without thinking about it being “perfect”. I think having students create a blog at the beginning of the school year could be a great way for them to be able to curate their free-writes.
    • The next thing I was exposed to was coding, and this is something I have been interested in since a student talked to me about it last year at the beginning of my internship.
      • It seemed to be fate that the faculty of Education emailed about a coding workshop in October, hosted by CodeToLearn, so I decided to attend it.
      • It was a basic introduction to different types of coding, including micro:bit and MicroWorld, as well as the Hour of Code.
      • Now, some might think that it’s odd for an ELA major to want to know about coding, but I find that the possibilities are endless with coding and it can be a fun, engaging way for students to explore many different subject areas. It’s also something that a lot of students have interest in nowadays, and can make for a good topic to approach to build relationships with students and talk to them about the pros and cons of technology.
  • Lastly, something that I am truly grateful for is learning about digital citizenship. This is important to know about not just to be able to pass on to our students, but for ourselves.
    • As a professional, it is imperative to be aware of the imprint we leave in the digital world, as it is something that can never truly go away. We have to be aware of the privacy of ourselves and the people in our lives, use websites and social media in a safe and secure manner, and set rules and limits for ourselves and what we are willing to share online.
    • Everything from the amount of time we spend on our screens, to the websites we use, to being aware of what is and isn’t good for our emotional and mental well-beings comes into play with digital citizenship.
    • Only once we understand the concepts of digital citizenship can we become able to pass it on to our students.

This course has been very useful to me as I enter the world of teaching; not only have I learnt about types of technology I can use, it has also made me become more conscious of the way I use technology in my day-to-day life.

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Networked Learning in EDTC300

This is it! The end of the semester  — and my degree — brings with it a bittersweet feeling. This has been my life for the past few years, preparing to enter a field that I am so passionate about. I’m finally at the point where I get to do what I love every day for the rest of my life!

As I mentioned in my Summary of Learning post, this class has been one of the most useful classes in my university career. Not only did I learn so much about websites and applications that I can add to my toolkit, I also got to interact with some pretty incredible educators (current and future) that have helped me shape some of my future teaching practices. I am so grateful for Twitter for allowing me to connect with my classmates as well as other peers in the field. I got to learn from other teachers, principals, students, bloggers, authors, and members of diverse communities. This was done through replying to tweets of interest, participating in Twitter chats, going through hashtags that seemed relevant to me, and more.

I often got advice I didn’t even know I needed through Slack. Sometimes, classmates would post questions or responses that seemed useful and relevant even though I was not the one asking or responding. Just knowing I could go there to find things like screencasts of how to do different things on my blog was so helpful. I was able to offer my advice in some instances too.

Finally, I was able to interact with peers through the database of blog posts. Commenting on posts made it so that we were able to encourage each other, offer tips and tricks, and follow up on each others’ progress with learning projects.

I learned how to use Padlet in an ECS class about two years ago, and at the beginning of this semester, I saw Jana utilize it in a blog post. Since it is able to be embedded into blog posts so seamlessly, I decided to utilize its Stacks feature to keep some of my meaningful Twitter, Slack, and WordPress interactions in one place. I like this site because it is dynamic and I can keep adding to it as I go. I can also keep these interactions in this space forever, coming back to the advice and conversations that aided my (and hopefully, my peers’!) learning experience.

Thanks for a great semester, EDTC300!

Made with Padlet

Learning Post #11: A Bee-utiful Wrap-up

My learning project consisted of me using different technologies and tools to teach myself how to handwrite, or do “modern calligraphy”. I found myself practicing outside of the actual project posts but constantly doodling and writing random quotes here and there. I even started taking notes for classes in a much more pretty way, often making my headings up out of calligraphy and trying to organize my note-taking better.

Here are some examples of notes I’ve taken for my English 302 class:

To summarize my process, you can check out the posts here.

I tried digital calligraphy and using websites to learn; I found inspiration in music and songs, and within myself; I tried to record myself practicing using timelapses and editing tools.

To wrap-up some of my learning, and to apply it to my daily life, I decided to create some pages for my May bullet journal. I used the following Youtube video for design/art inspiration, but really took it into a different direction with the way I do my lettering:

This is what I came up with for a “reminders and to-do” spread:

I think that this skill that I took it upon myself to learn can really be useful in the future. I will continue to bullet journal as it is something that calms me and allows me to plan out my life month-by-month. I can use my new handwriting skills to make displays and posters around my future classrooms more appealing and eye-catching. I even had my friend request that I write out the “Will You Be My Bridesmaid?” cards for her upcoming wedding! Calligraphy is definitely a versatile skill that can be utilized in many different settings, and a handy one to have as a teacher — we do often find ourselves writing, afterall. It has also made me more aware of my handwriting in general, and I find myself wanting to write in cursive rather than normal script.

I found it so cool that there is such an abundance of websites and apps that can teach different skills out there. Not only through my process, using sites such as Youtube, Skillshare, Procreate, Instagram, and more, but seeing some of the amazing tools that my peers found and used for their projects.

I definitely am aware of future projects I could pursue using online technology. Some of the many things I want to try is to learn include sign language and embroidery, and I believe there must be a huge amount of online resources to help me with that journey.

I hope you enjoyed seeing my process and I cannot wait to post more hand-lettering adventures in the future! Keep an eye out on my Twitter or Instagram pages.

Learning Project #10: Blending Tutorial

This week, I utilized the following Youtube video for inspiration:

The video makes blending colours look easy, but I found that it wasn’t turning out as beautiful as I wanted it to. Perhaps I have to invest in some nice, Broadline Crayola markers to get the same effect. I also did not have a bowl that my mother would let me ruin, so I used a trick I found online that says a plastic bag works just as well; I used a Ziplock bag:

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Here are my results:

 

I found that the markers dried out a bit from rubbing them over the plastic bag; you can kind of see this at the start of the word “colourful”. Also, depending on the colours used, it was hard to actually see any blending happening. For the “this is super neat”, I mixed in a dark green marker with the red in the middle of writing: before writing “is”, “s”, “er”, and “n”. It varied in colour each time. I think I will definitely try blending again but maybe with better quality markes and a bowl like the video suggests.

Learning Project #9: Always Have Hope!

Hi everyone! This week, I will be sharing a quick tutorial on how to continue to have hope — something I’m sure we could all use as we approach the end of the semester. I decided to show you how you could letter the word hope. I find that sometimes just doodling keeps my hands busy when I need to read or listen to something that I’m studying, and I often find myself just writing out random words in various ways. If you’re anything like me and need to keep your hands busy, maybe you could do what I do and leave a little hope everywhere!

What’s a word that inspires you when you’re stressed out or facing challenges in your life?

I would love to see your attempts in the comments if you try this out!

Learning Project #8: Procreate-ing Lettering

This week, I decided to broaden my horizons and try something new. I treaded on a bit of a different path! It still has to do with calligraphy, but digital calligraphy instead. I got inspired by Instagram user, @ipadlettering. She uses an app called Procreate to do lettering on her iPad. Now, I don’t have an iPad, but the app intrigued me and they had a “pocket” version for the iPhone, so I decided to give it a try. This was the result of me using Procreate Pocket and my finger, rather than an iPad and an Apple Pencil like @ipadlettering!

For both of these videos, I used the iPhone’s screen-recording feature as I did the lettering. Now, one aspect of this is that you can choose to include sound or not, which is great if you want to talk over a screencast of what you’re doing on the phone! For this purpose, I did not need to, so I kept the audio recording off.

The first was a practice go, and I tried lettering the word “love” while listening to Lana del Rey‘s song of the same name. I’ll post it here so you can listen as you watch!

The second was the title of a song called “Naive Spin” by Aaron Lansing. I used the album art as the background and allowed the words to come through.

I really enjoyed this digital calligraphy, as mistakes are so easy to correct! On the Procreate app, you just tap with two fingers to “undo” a move. Even using just my finger felt effortless. Also, much like using pens in real life, the app is intuitive and makes the strokes thicker as you add more pressure. As well, I liked how easy it was to document what I was doing on my phone; I can definitely see the screen-record feature coming in handy if I, say, have to explain to someone how to use an app.

Do you like this kind of calligraphy? Would you like to see me do more like it? Let me know in the comments!

How to Succeed in Stalking: Discovering Someone’s (Digital) Identity

If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a real creep, I recommend Googling someone. Whether it’s a friend or someone you met in a class, there is nothing weirder than finding out about someone through Google, in my opinion! Sure, it opens up a whole world of knowledge on that person — or who they portray themselves to be online, anyway — but it sort of ends up leaving you feeling icky, not going to lie.

Anyhow, that’s what I did this week to find out more about my classmate, Courtney. It wasn’t easy at first because of the fact that she apparently shares her name with a professional baseball player. So, upon Googling “Courtney Hawkins”, I was shown the following:

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Not exactly who I was hoping to learn more about, although he seems like a great guy! Eventually, I had to cheat a little bit — I took advantage of the fact that I do have Courtney (the soon-to-be-teacher, not the baseball player!) on social media.

Here’s what I was able to find:

  • Her Facebook! We are friends on here, so I’m not sure what her privacy settings are like.
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  • Her professional twitter account, which is full of cool articles and discussions related to education and science. It also highlights her humourous personality! She is quite active on here although she only joined this year.
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  • Her professional teaching portfolio, which covers the basics of her career: blog posts, teaching philosophy, an “about me” page, and resources for other teachers to use.
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    • It is interesting to note that her contact page has icons that indicate she has other social media, including a Pinterest account, but when clicked, the icons lead to the homepages for the websites instead. Perhaps this was part of the layout she chose for her blog and never updated to include her actual links!
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  • Her personal Instagram, which I do follow, but is private. I found that out because I was logged in to my bookstagram while searching!
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All of these revealed that Courtney is very passionate about science, is easy-going and friendly, likes to crack jokes, and is quite appropriately using technology and social media. She has set boundaries between her personal/private life and her professional one.

So what does digital identity mean to me?

Well, it’s easy to pretend on social media. Social media can definitely reveal a lot about a person, but often, we only post the good things that are happening to us. There seems to be this constant competition between people, even friends, to have a better, happier, and more fun life. This is so toxic because it just makes people suppress their actual emotions and pretend that everything is okay all the time. I think this concept also feeds into the  stigmas that surround mental health — people are made to think, “why would anyone want to know what I am going through?” When everyone’s life is Instagram-worthy and seemingly-perfect, it makes us think that we are weak for having bad days. This is something I have related to for quite a while, growing up in an age where everyone joined social media as teens and never quit. It feels like almost a burden to reveal tough things going on in our lives to even the people closest to us.

However, it is important to note that there seems to be more emphasis lately on recognizing that social media does often falsely represent peoples’ lives. The effects on mental health are not unnoticed these days, and I think there is definitely a conscious effort to make people realize that social media does not define who a person is; it is rather a reflection of them.

I think for me, my digital identity varies depending on the platform. I use my personal Instagram to connect with friends and to display the various photography-related passions I have, including editing photos and getting creative with them. My teacher-Instagram is to share resources and connect with other educators. Similarly, I have a personal and a professional twitter; the former to interact with friends and rant about things, while the latter is to form connections and explore my career journey. I really do think digital identity changes depending on who the audience or followers of that identity are.