Contributing to the Learning of Others

ECMP 355 has been an incredible journey. Over the semester I have been able to accomplish things that I never expected. Along with learning things for myself, I also contributed to the learning of others around me. Through Twitter, blogging, and Google+ I was able to build my PLN and engage with others like never before. I want to cover the learning that happened on Twitter first because over the semester I found myself always gravitating towards Twitter and it was the place where I did most of my interactions!

Twitter

Before ECMP 355 I did have another Twitter account, however, I never interacted with anyone on it and I did not follow other educators or education organizations. Now, after joining ECMP, I have created a professional Twitter account that I am proud of. You can visit my professional Twitter account here. At the beginning of the semester I began by following my fellow classmates and other educators around the world. In addition, I followed tools like ClassDojo and SeeSaw. Once I had followers I started re-tweeting resources to share with others. Not long after that I also started using hashtags (examples: #edchat, #edtech, #k12chat, #elemchat, #inquiry) to provide resources to an even bigger audience. Now on Twitter I am also sharing resources I found on other sites to benefit other educators even more. Through Twitter one of my favorite Thursday night tasks every so often turned into joining #saskedchat. It is great to connect with educators and share resources that we otherwise might not hear about! I will definitely be continuing to grow my PLN through Twitter and will also use it as a resource bank throughout my teaching career. Below are just a few of my interactions on Twitter.

Blogging

Throughout the semester I wrote many blog posts for others to see. Within these blog posts I shared tools and resources that readers could use themselves. In this blog post I  share tools I found helpful when completing my learning project. In others like this blog post I gave a review on a tool (VoiceThread) educators can use for themselves and with students. By writing these reviews and sharing these resources I was contributing to the learning of others. My classmates and other readers could access my posts and quickly learn about resources and tools they could use themselves.

In addition to my own blog posts, I also contributed to others learning by commenting on their blog posts. Over the semester I made efforts to comment on my classmates blogs regularly and give them feedback I had. I found it really important to comment on people’s blogs because I found it comforting myself when someone else would give me helpful feedback and encourage me to keep going in whatever task I was doing. In addition, I was able to offer resources that I had come across and may be helpful to the person I was writing to also. Below are some comments I have made on my classmates’ blog posts over the semester. Here is my Log of Significant Blog Interactions. This includes links to more of the comments I have made on blog posts throughout the semester. I have not included all of them, just ones I found significant.

Google+

Over the semester I mainly used Google+ as a place to ask questions that I had related to the course or technology. This contributed to the learning of others by my classmates also being able to see the questions and answers provided for them that were on our page. Also, asking questions showed others that they were not alone in learning new things! Below are some of the questions I have asked over the semester on Google+ and some responses to them.

 

 

Often when others asked questions on Google+ I had the same questions myself! This made it hard to answer others questions. However, as time went on I found I could answer some questions, which showed me I was learning a lot myself. In addition, it contributed to the learning of others when I could share what I knew about what they were asking. Below are some instances where I was able to share resources or what I could contribute to the questions being asked by my classmates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am very thankful for the experiences I have had this semester and am hopeful that others were able to benefit from my interactions with them!

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ECMP 355 Summary of Learning

Well, the semester has almost come to the end!

When signing up for ECMP 355 in the beginning I was a little worried to be honest. I didn’t really see myself as a person who is very “tech friendly”. However, over the semester I have learned so much! I know I still have lots to learn about technology, but I also know that there are things I would have never thought I would be able to do that I can now do! Some of these things includes sharing videos on YouTube, making screencasts, and creating my very own blog! In addition to these skills, I have also gained important knowledge that will help me better teach students in the future. Please watch the video below of our summary of learning to understand just how much I have learned over the semester and the key points I will take with me as I begin my teaching career. Shae-Lynn Kowaniuk and I completed our summary of learning together. Enjoy!

Special thanks to Katia Hildebrandt and all of my fellow classmates for making my ECMP 355 journey so successful!!

My Learning Project Wrap Up!

My learning project wrap up is here! The time has gone fast and I am now testing myself with this little creature below.

Preparing for my turkey dinner took quite some time. First of all, I needed to decide what I wanted to cook besides the turkey and find those recipes. Not long after that I decided to nail down who I would be inviting. From there I used Out of Milk to organize myself for the dinner. I found Out of Milk after trying out a few tools I could use in my last blog post about my learning project found here. Below is part of my to do list on Out of Milk that I followed to get things done. I found this tool very helpful and would encourage anyone to use it if they are trying to organize a meal or event that you are cooking food for!

I decided to make a traditional turkey dinner- a turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, and a lettuce salad.  I am not going to say the whole process of making a turkey dinner was easy, but it was better than expected. Everyone enjoyed being together and the food was great! I am happy with how everything turned out. Below are some pictures of what I made and the recipes above them. Sorry there are no “how to” videos, my webcam has stopped working!

Turkey & gravy. Recipe here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mashed potatoes. Recipe here.

Stuffing. Recipe here.

Salad.

Here is the final product on the plate below.

Finally, I want to wrap up all that I have learned throughout this whole process of my learning project. Before beginning this learning journey I wan not confident in my ability to cook! In one of my first blog posts I share that basically my only strong area in cooking was preparing breakfast! Now that I have embarked on this learning experience I feel a lot more sure in my ability to prepare meals for myself and others. Throughout the semester I have learned how to make meals such as lasagna highlighted here and pork chops highlighted here.  These meals I would not have attempted before beginning my learning project. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to teach myself something through a class!

As I completed my learning project I also found and used a variety of resources that helped me learn new skills. Some of these resources are highlighted in this blog post where I gave reviews on some of the tools I had been using.  In addition to these tools and a few others I also found tools that I can use in the future as well! Cliptomize and Out of Milk were very helpful for my learning project. Cliptomize allowed me to create an online digital cookbook and Out of Milk kept me organized for my turkey dinner. To access my cookbook on Cliptomize click here. Completing this learning project has allowed me to broaden my knowledge of resources and tools that are helpful in this ever increasing tech world!

Not only did I gain resources, but I also had to learn how to blog about my accomplishments and teach others about what I did. In the beginning this process was daunting to me. I could not imagine trying to upload pictures, create videos, etc. However, now I am confident in sharing my learning with others and have learned how to document my learning. Below is one of the “how to” videos I created to teach others about what I was doing (in this case layering lasagna). Going through this process I have not only learned myself how to use online tools to document learning, but also can carry this knowledge into teaching students to do the same. Win, win!

My last words are don’t be afraid to try new things. You never know the possibilities there are until you try, with anything!!

 

Online Social Activism- Should it Exist?

This week we were asked to dive into online social activism. This topic is of interest to me so I was pumped when I found out we would be needing to do a blog post about it. First of all, I want to state that I believe there is definitely a place for online social activism in this world. The internet is increasingly becoming a place where we do many tasks, so why not use it as an activist tool as well. I think we should never underestimate the power of the internet in transforming our society.

 Photo Credit: Flick’gAbility Flickr via Compfight cc

When researching about online social activism I came across a source that I find to be powerful. 5 Really Important Reasons to Stop Dismissing Online Activism expresses valid reasons for why we need to practice online social activism. The unique thing I found about this source is it also recognizes that online social activism is not perfect and we still have a ways to go in making it effective for everyone. I agree with this source and realize the importance of online social activism, but also that there are areas to improve.

Here are the reasons 5 Really Important Reasons to Stop Dismissing Online Activism highlights as important in continuing to practice online social activism:

  • Online activism can be more available to people with disabilities: people with various challenges, illnesses, and exceptionalities can access online activism easier than offline activism. In addition, online activism can help some anxious people gain confidence to speak and engage with others.
  • Online activism can be used to build community: engaging in online activism can enable you to be part of a community that understands your thoughts and feelings.
  • Online activism can be used to educate: our knowledge can be broadened through online social activism because we often have access to more opinions and ideas.
  • Online activism can help people pool resources: online activism allows for people to exchange ideas in a timely manner and develop plans faster.
  • Online activism can increase efficacy of offline activism: online activism can enhance offline activism by bringing awareness to more people and building a larger network of support.

I think these reasons are significant and are food for thought for anyone that thinks there is not a place for online social activism.

I want to wrap up with the point that this source makes in the last couple of paragraphs. Unfortunately, online social activism is not accessible for everyone. Often the privileged only have access to online social activism. However, this does not mean that we should not participate in online social activism at all. Online social activism is not perfect, but it can be effective in helping gain social justice where needed. I believe it is an extra tool to use as we seek to create a just world.

Coding, you receive a P on my report card.

Coding… what? What is coding? Sounds scary!

This is what I have previously thought about coding. However, today I had a positive experience with coding and it isn’t so scary anymore! My positive experience could be because I had a chance to play with Flappy Bird but I will never know! Anyway, below is a video explaining what coding is and how it is a major part of our world.

Today I chose to complete an hour of code and that involved making a Flappy Bird game. This hour of code was for Grade 2+ but you have to start somewhere right?! Anyway, I made my way through the program and learned the basics of how to make game work using the basic coding it had.  Below is a Screencast of me completing Puzzle 2-4. (P.S. I learned how to Screencast and upload it to YouTube!)

As the program went on it took me through step by step on how to make a Flappy Bird game that actually works! On puzzle 10 it was my turn to make my own game after learning all of the steps in the previous puzzles. Below is the game I created. If you watch the video you can see that I am not very good at Flappy Bird! However, in continuing to try to get past the first pipe, I learned that I need to change the flap to slow in order to make it easier to get through the pipe!

The cool thing about this program is you are able to share the game you created with others. This would be a great hour of code for students to complete and then share with their classmates. Students could play each others’ games. You can play the game I created here. Enjoy!

Coding, you turned out to be not so bad after all. You receive a Pass on my report card. In the future I look forward to trying more complex coding and introducing coding to my students. Katia, thanks for telling us to be optimistic about coding. You are 100% right that we need to face every task with a positive attitude, not only for ourselves, but for our students. I think coding is a great opportunity for students to think outside the box, understand the sequence of events, and learn math concepts. In addition, there are so many coding resources out there that I did not know about. We are sure to find ones that fit our students if we work at it!

Who knew “Out of Milk” was a good thing!

Last week for my learning project I began planning the turkey dinner I am going to be having in the next couple of weeks. This week I wanted to find an app or website that would help me plan out my event. After searching for two hours I finally found an app that works for me!

First of all I tried an app called Punchbowl. At first I thought that this app allowed you to plan out an event, including food, guests, etc. However, after signing up and exploring I realized that it only has invitations that you can create and send to people. Although I think this is a pretty cool app, it does not fit my needs for my turkey dinner! However, if you are ever wanting to make invitations and send them digitally, you should check this app out. It looks pretty cool! Below is what Punchbowl looks like. (Little side note: I learned how to snip a shot from my screen and save it as a picture!)

 

The next app I wanted to use was called AnyList. AnyList is an app that allows you to create a grocery shopping list and also add recipes onto the app. However, after further reading up on the app I realized that I could only access it on an apple product. I am a Samsung girl so there went that idea! Anyway after learning about the app I think it would be useful for anyone out there with an apple product and wants create shopping lists and keep recipes in one place! Below is what AnyList looks like.

And last… finally…

Out of Milk! Out of Milk is an app that allows you to create shopping lists, to do lists, add groceries to your pantry, and also find grocery deals close to you. First, I signed up for Out of Milk and explored the app. It appears that it will work well for me! I will mainly use the shopping list and to do lists to organize my turkey dinner. I have already began adding things to my to do list and have added some things to my shopping list. Below you can see that I have added roast turkey to my to do list. Also, you can see the different options you have to visit and build on (shopping lists, pantry, to-do lists, grocery deals).

 

 

Here are some other things I have decided on for my turkey dinner aside from finding an app to organize myself:

  • I am hosting the dinner at my brother’s house
  • There will be 6-8 people attending
  • I will be roasting a turkey and having somewhat traditional side dishes

 

Stay tuned for more about my turkey dinner later!

Gamification in 21st Century Schools

Today in classrooms and schools there are many different tools educators can use to make learning more engaging and meaningful for students. There are many debates on what should be used with students with a whole bunch of resources out there. I want to analyze gamification in the classroom as a free choice blog prompt relating to ed tech this week. Gamification is a fairly new idea to me that I want to explore to see its’ possible benefits or challenges it can create for students and teachers. I often see things on Twitter relating to gamification so I thought I would check it out!

 Photo Credit: eltpics Flickr via Compfight cc

To learn more about gamification I had to do some research. According to 10 Specific Ideas to Gamify Your Classroom, “gamification uses game elements such as challenges, feedback, levels, creativity, and rewards to motivate students to learn, and master concepts”. Before reading up on gamification I thought it was just playing games in school! My naive thoughts were definitely wrong. Gamification is a lot more complex than that. There are a variety of things it can entail for students including the following taken from 10 Specific Ideas to Gamify Your Classroom:

  1. Make Students Co-Designers: students are allowed a voice in the learning destination. They get to contribute ideas to things like goals and class design.
  2. Allow Second Chances. And Third: students are allowed opportunities to learn from their mistakes and try again.
  3. Provide Instant Feedback: students give and receive feedback so learners know where they need to go next.
  4. Make Progress Visible: instead of giving number grades, use progress bars.
  5. Create Challenges or Quests Instead of Homework & Projects: present work in a fun and challenging way.
  6. Give Students Voice & Choice: give students a variety of options they can use to reach their goals.
  7. Offer Individual Badges & Rewards: offer badges or rewards for recognizing student achievement and giving incentive for students to continue.
  8. Have Students Design A Class-Wide Skills & Achievement System: an environment where everyone can celebrate individual and collaborative accomplishments.
  9. Implement Educational Technology: find creative ways to use technology to help enhance your gamified classroom.
  10. Embrace Failure; Emphasize Practice: allow students to try, fail, and learn while supporting creativity and enhancing the curriculum.

After reading some information on the benefits of gamification I also wanted to weigh in some of its possible challenges. 4 Pros and Cons to Learning outlines some possible cons to using gamification in the classroom. These include:

  • Decreased student attention span: critics of gamification believe that students who experience the fast pace and immediate feedback expect the same kind of response from all education and if they don’t find it they get frustrated.
  • Cost: Although cost is based on the type of system you are using, there may be equipment costs, software costs, and training costs for teachers.
  • Student assessment: When using gamification it is not always clear how the results will fit with the curriculum outcomes.
  • Game logistics: As a teacher you need to fully understand a game before you present it to students, this can be time consuming.

After doing some research on gamification here are my thoughts:

  • I think there are ways to definitely incorporate gamification in the classroom, even if simply just using the idea behind it and not actually using games specifically. For example, #3 of 10 Ideas for Gamification states to provide instant feedback. This is something we should be doing in every classroom, even if we don’t embrace gamification.
  • Gamification would be an interesting concept to try out. I think it would create fun and engaging learning experiences for students.
  • Although gamification seems like a great tool I have a couple issues with it. First of all, I think it would be challenging to find the right games to use with students. It would be time consuming finding a game and then learning it before introducing it. Also, you have to be careful with rewarding badges or not rewarding badges. You would not want students to become dependent on that.
  • Overall, there are great things to pull from gamification and I think there would be benefits for students. It would create a unique and exciting experience.

Until next time…

P.S. What are your thoughts on gamification?? Would you ever try it?

Heeeeeerrrrreeeee turkey turkey turkey!!

This week I thought I would start thinking about my learning project finale coming up for my ECMP 355 class. Over the semester I have been able to learn something of my choice and get marks for it- NOT too often does that happen in University!!

Anyway…

Here are just some of the skills I have learned over the semester so far through choosing to become better at cooking:

  • How to use a variety of kitchen tools (example: actifry)
  • How to make delicious soups (I was afraid of making soups from scratch before!)
  • How to find good recipes online and a variety of sources for learning cooking techniques.
  • How to make a digital cookbook to save my recipes!
  • How to make “how to” videos– haha
  • How to budget time in order to make time for cooking (cooking is a great way to relief stress for me.)

 

So you may be wondering why I have a turkey below….

Photo Credit: xadrian Flickr via Compfight cc

I have decided I want to host guests and make a turkey dinner for my learning project finale!!

Here is what I think I need to do so far:

  • Find a turkey recipe (and also learn how to carve a turkey!)
  • Decide what side dishes I want to make
  • Shall we have dessert?
  • Make a grocery list
  • Decide who I want to invite (probably family)
  • How will I entertain my guests?

I am not sure what I am missing because I have never hosted people for a big dinner before- any tips for those of you who have would be great!

For this week I am going to start with trying to find a turkey recipe and beginning to plan out how I will set up my turkey dinner. Below are some resources I have been using so far:

Here’s to hoping my turkey looks like this when I am done with it!

Photo Credit: Carly & Art Flickr via Compfight cc

Let me know if you have any ideas for my turkey dinner! Stay tuned for more later.

VoiceThread- An Online Tool for Educators

This week in our ECMP class we were asked to find an app or tool that we are unfamiliar with and and try it out! For this exercise I chose VoiceThread– an online tool that allows you to upload things like pictures, videos, and documents. Once uploaded you can make comments on these files using voice, text, audio file, or webcam. You can save these files and share elsewhere (like on WordPress for example)! VoiceThread is free to use, however, you can purchase additional services such as the K-12 Single Educator License. Check it out if you are interested!

Here are a couple YouTube videos showing some examples of how VoiceThread can be used in the classroom and also the basics of how to use the tool.  (I know some of you are visual learners!)

The following is my review of VoiceThread:

Strengths:

  • Free to use! Just sign up for an account.
  • Seems fairly easy to get a hang of how to work it. Within about 10 minutes of signing up I understood how to upload files and make comments on them.
  • There are tutorials right on VoiceThread if you are having troubles. Just click on Home and then go to the drop down menu and click Tutorials.
  • They have educator licenses you can sign up for!
  • So many benefits for teaching and learning- check out below!

Weaknesses:

  • Once I  commented on my file it took a very long time to upload and save. I wanted to upload the example I created however it is still uploading! I am not sure if it my computer or connection causing the problem. On the tutorial videos I watched it uploaded almost instantly.
  • Can’t find any other weaknesses yet besides the one above!

Ways VoiceThread is helpful in the classroom (for those of you who like to read instead of see something visual- like me!):

  • Teachers can create slides with comments on them for students to follow.
  • Enables students to create engaging presentations showing their learning.
  • Students can use Voice Thread for a variety of assignments, including how to teach others about any topic.
  • VoiceThread allows you to differentiate instruction for a variety of learners.
  • VoiceThread is easy to use.

For additional information about VoiceThread go here. Also, check out YouTube as there are lots of informational videos about VoiceThread and how to use it on there!

Here are some questions for you to ponder now:

1) What are your thoughts about VoiceThread?

2) Can you think of other ways VoiceThread can be used in the classroom?

3) What might you have to teach students about before using VoiceThread (ex. digital citizenship)?

The smallest action can make someones’ day. (learning more than cooking here!)

People appreciate it when someone does something for them, even something small. I encourage you all to think about someone special to you today, or even someone you hardly know and do something for them. As I have become an adult I have recognized how important it is to do things for the ones you love (and other people of course)!

The smallest action towards someone can make their day.

Today I am thinking about my fiance. He does a ton of things for me all the time and I owe him. I am spending the week with him and I wanted to make him a nice meal after a long day’s work. So here I am trying to impress him with stuffed peppers. I hope I succeed!

This week I heard about the stuffed peppers recipe I am trying through a friend. It’s crazy to think that simply texting a link can allow you to access a recipe so fast. No more sifting through paper cookbooks I guess! Anyway, here is the recipe for those of you interested. In the recipe it calls for ground turkey but I am using ground beef simply because of availability! Sometimes you just can’t find the right ingredients at a small town grocery store.

Skinny Taste is where the recipe came from. I like this site because it provides the nutritional values for all the recipes on the site. This is helpful if you are trying to track calories! There are tons of recipes on the site with interesting categories to browse including a kid friendly category. Also, they have diets you can follow. Great site, you should check it out!

OK, here is what I did…..

First I had the ground beef cooking in a frying pan with onions and garlic. I also added the necessary seasonings at this time (parsley, garlic powder, cumin powder, salt & pepper)

Once this cooked for about 10 minutes on low I added 1 cup of fat free chicken broth and a 1/4 cup tomato sauce, then stirred.

Once the ground beef was completely cooked through I added the rice. I chose to use Uncle Ben’s Bistro Express which does not take long to cook. I simply added the rice to the ground beef mixture straight from the package. Here are all of the ingredients combined and ready to go into the peppers.

Here is the stuffing process….

 

 

 

 

The stuffing filled the 6 bell pepper halves I had. There was stuffing left over so keep that in mind if you are wanting to do this recipe. Once I stuffed the halves I added cheese on top. On the bottom of the pan I added the left over chicken broth to bake. I baked for 45 minutes at 380 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now I am sitting here waiting for my fiance to get home……. hope he likes it.

Thanks for reading!