Summary of Learning

Check out Dakota Browne and Stacey Baran’s Summary of Learning Project for our ECMP 355 course at the University of Regina with Katia Hildebrandt.  This course was great and we gained many resources, knowledge, and #edtech tools from it. We had a blast making this video. Hope you enjoy!
Note: Many of my (Stacey’s) answers do not reflect what I actually learned from this course. Many of my answers are jokes.
Answers provided in the video by myself are the true learning of Dakota and I.

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Contributing to the Learning of Others

As the semester comes to an end, one of my final reflections for ECMP 355 course asked me to think about how I’ve contributed to the learning of others throughout the semester. This also includes what others have helped me learn!

My classmate Dakota Browne explains how she believes that, “one of the best ways for students to learn is by teaching and learning from each other.” I agree with her completely, as being collaborative with peers, asking questions and having discussions with them is a productive way of learning. It is easy for students to share with each other their experiences and knowledge on certain topics or subject areas. I find all my peers an inspiration, as they assist me alongside my educational journey with including technology in the classroom. From the content that I learned throughout ECMP 355, I feel more confident with incorporating technology into my lesson plans, activities and daily routines.

As part of my “technological journey” during ECMP 355, I have contributed to the learning of others in this course through the basic platforms that Katia set for us. These social media tools include our classes Google+ Community, my twitter (@stacey_baran), WordPress, and personal interactions.

Google+ Community:
Near the beginning of this semester, I introduced myse
lf in our ECMP355 Google+ Community as it was a way to get to know my classmates who also were enrolled in this course. During the process of setting up my Gmail account, I made a post asking about how I can upload a photo for my profile picture. I got a quick response, giving steps on how to do so. I also filled out a poll for a peer’s learning project, giving my opinion as to what colours of yarn she should use. I am thankful that throughout the course I was able to go to this platform for answers to questions that I may have had, share similar experiences with the “technology struggles” and also tried my best to help my classmates out by answering their questions in return.

Twitter:
I will admit, I was not looking forward to creating a Twitter account for this course. I have had past experiences where I struggled with staying in the 140 characters per tweet and the proper terminology for “twitter users.” I overcame my fear though, of having another social media page to look at and keep up with daily. Only with four months of having a twitter account I am proud to say that I am following over 100 people and in return I have 82 followers (even though most of them are my ECMP355 classmates).

To my realization though, Twitter is a quick and easy way for us as teachers to find resources. For this course particularly, I managed to find EDTech resources, articles and infographics to not only benefit myself (and put into my technology resource pocket), but also for my peers, classmates and those who are following me.
An example below shows how I had a conversation over twitter with a classmate in relation on figuring out how to retweet someone.
And last, but not least, a great way for educators in the province of Saskatchewan to have conversations (tweet) and share resources and information is in #SaskEdChat. This is beneficial, as it gives pre-service teachers the opportunity to connect with experienced educators who are willing to share from their teaching experiences.

 

WordPress:
One way that I contributed to the learning of others through my WordPress blog was sharing technology resources that would link to relevant articles, websites, pictures, videos, etc. in order to share the process and understanding I had about various topics. I created a variety of posts that were available for everyone to see and linked classmates posts into my own blog posts when I could relate to what they were saying and could add my own thoughts and resources regarding the topic being discussed.

Commenting on other people’s blogs is something that I enjoyed doing, as I could see what my classmates were doing for their learning projects and would comment on their progress, encourage and relate to them based on my personal experiences with some of what their learning projects were focused on (knitting, baking, calligraphy, etc).

Personal Interactions:
Throughout the semester, I would discuss with my peers and check in with them on how their learning project and blog posts were coming along. Thank you to Amy Klassen, Brittany Jefferson, and Sarah Munro for being an inspiration to me in having a positive attitude and perseverance in finishing our last semester of our Education Degree strong! A special thanks goes out to my friends, Brooklynn Johnson, Dakota Browne and Kaitlyn Schmidt, who have helped me along my Education Journey (not only in this course, but throughout my whole degree).

P.S. A little Bonus Resource:
I feel there is more that I can do to contribute to the learning of others. Recalling back from the beginning of the semester, Katia was introducing Twitter to us and shared a link of someone who accumulated a LARGE list of educational hashtags. I decided to sift through that list and made a word document listing #EdHashtags that I find can be more useful for us as new educators.

Learning to Code

Learning how to code is important to teach students as it prepares them for the digital world that we live in today. There are many jobs that use coding directly, such as web designers and software developers. Knowing how to code is a huge asset to these occupations. But there is a deeper meaning as to why it is important to teach children how to code.
So what is Coding?
“Coding (also called programming or developing) is telling a computer, app, phone or website what you want it to do. Some educators and experts are calling it the ‘new literacy’—a subject so important that every child needs to know the basics to excel in our rapidly changing world.” – Erik Missio

Within the article Why Kids Should Learn To Code (And How To Get Them Started) – CBC, Erik Missio gives certain reasons as to why students would benefit from learning how to code:
1. Understanding Code Helps Explain The World
– Living in a digital world, using technology or “computing” is almost involved in all aspects throughout our daily lives. Examples are using technology as a communication device (texting on cell phones), social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), online banking, online shopping and the list goes on.
– As educators, it is important to use technological tools in the classroom to engage students while still learning and inspiring children to be creative with their work.

2. Learning To Code Develops Problem Solving And Computational Thinking Skills
– The skills that come with computer programming help kids develop new ways of thinking and fosters problem-solving techniques

3. Coding Allows Kids To See What’s In Social Media
– Educating students on being aware of what social media presents in society is important, An example of this would be focusing on an issue in the community and leading discussions based on the topic.

4. Coding Is Fun!!
– Coding allows students to be creative and express themselves in a variety of ways.
– They can demonstrate their learning through video recording on YouTube, creating a video game, website, and more!

(And last, but not least… there is)
5. A Need For Programmers

A website that teachers can use to introduce students to coding is SCRATCH. Scratch uses a learning programming text to create games and animations. There are video tutorials on the site (along the side) that assists the creator with the different drag and drop options given in order to create a motion picture. Thanks to my friend Dakota Browne, she advised me during the process of creating my own video. I get frustrated with technology easily and she helped me step by step in producing this amazing video of a cat kicking a soccer ball into a net. You can watch my here (and yes I am proud of the sound affects of the voice recording I made)!

Prezi in the Classroom

I decided to review Prezi as I have seen colleagues of mine use it for presentations, but I’ve never tried creating one myself. I usually try to avoid using new representations of technology for projects as I am familiar with Microsoft Word and all it has to offer. I think it is important however, that teachers need to give students the opportunity to engage in their learning, be creative and inspire them to produce quality work that they can be proud of.

“Prezi is a web-based presentation tool that allows you to bring in your ideas, images, and videos into one space and see how they relate. In many ways, Prezi acts as a virtual blackboard or whiteboard, providing users with a multi-dimensional space on which to connect concepts in a variety of different forms.”
Prezi in the Classroom By: Dr. Dana Wessell Lightfoot

Prezi is a useful technological tool that students can use to present concepts visually through mind maps, images, videos, quotations and more. It allows students to create visual representations of their learning, not only through the concepts learned, but also how they interconnect and relate as a “bigger picture.”
After looking over the benefits of Using Prezi in Education, I have realized that there are many benefits of using Prezi over Microsoft Word PowerPoints. Prezi allows students to be creative with their presentation, whereas a powerpoint document confines the ability to personalize presentations and only allows the option of presenting material in a linear fashion. The advantage of Prezi is, it provides “a platform in which users can map out ideas on a big canvas, Prezi helps students visualize key concepts and their relationship to one another in ways that Powerpoint cannot.”

For a brief overview of Prezi and tutorial on how to use the app, check out this Prezi:

Getting Stared with Prezi

8 Tips for an Awesome Prezi

Using Prezi in Education
1. Prezi creates stunning visual impact.
2. Prezi is interactive whiteboard friendly.
3. Prezi offers more freedom of navigation.
4. Prezi is a great tool for interactive classroom sessions or group projects.
5. If you already have all your notes in PowerPoint, you don’t need to start all over again. Use the PowerPoint Import feature to transfer your existing content directly into your Prezi.

In addition to the benefits listed above, Prezi offers a free educational subscription (simply use an email address that clearly belongs to your educational institution). The tutorials on the website (www.prezi.com/learn) are clear and easy to follow. The best way to learn about Prezi, is to experience it  and have a go at creating a presentation yourself!

Tips for Using YouTube in the Classroom

Integrating technology into the classroom is a great way to engage students in their learning and provides them with innovation to contribute to the Digital Society that we live in today.
There are many technological tools that teachers can utilize in the classroom, apply to their lessons and use throughout the course of the school day (through brain breaks, teaching lessons, or having students represent their learning using technological resources). YouTube is one technological tool that teachers can use to promote learning. My classmate Dakota Browne shared an article by Teach Terms that defines YouTube and gives a general overview of how it works (the website also provides definition for other websites, technology, hardware, softwares, and more).

There a multiple ways in which teachers can use YouTube in the classroom. Examples of how to incorporate this technological tool into lesson plans, assignments and other educational video resources can be found in The Teacher’s Guide to Using YouTube in the Classroom.

Some more articles I viewed that outlined the benefits of using YouTube in the classroom are listed below:

Five Reasons Why YouTube Rocks The Classroom

  1. Gives studets inspiration
  2. Is more accessible to them
  3. Global connections
  4. Customize videos
  5. Multiple ways to assess students online

The Pros and Cons of Using YouTube in the Classroom

Using YouTube in the Classroom

YouTube for Teachers resource

Other concerns and potential solutions regarding YouTube in the classroom are addressed in the following voice recording of Dakota (in the role of a concerned parent) and myself (as a teacher). Click here to listen.

To help us generate ideas, we took a look at the following websites:
11 Pros and Cons of Youtube in Education
5 pros and cons of social media in the classroom
Tips for Teachers Who Wish to Use YouTube in Classroom

Discovering Our Inner Strength: Amanda Todd’s Story

Our ECMP355 class had the privilege of listening to Carol Todd, mother of Amanda Todd. She shared with us her journey and experiences in regards to her daughter’s death. If you are not familiar with Amanda Todd’s story, her video is linked below and an account of Her Story; explaining where she was from, a victim of cyberbullying and sextortion, and the process of finding the suspect and putting justice to the end of cyberbullying.

Carol Todd’s visit to our class and the words she spoke really stood out to me. She shared with us her experiences as a result of the loss of her daughter, and provided us with an outlook on her position and input throughout the trial. Something that stood out to me as she spoke was:
“Mental health is so challenging, the only way to destigmatize it is have these open conversations and not be afraid to discuss and talk about these terms of suicide, depression, etc.”

I agree with her words completely and can relate, in a small way, as I also have depression and experienced situations where I’ve had suicidal thoughts, to the point where I was hospitalized in 2015.
Here is a poem that I would like to share that I wrote before I was hospitalized. It gave a voice to my feelings and looking back on it now, helps me realize that I am important, valued, cared for, loved and have a place in this world.

Life is filled with complications and confusions;
Why must I live a life full of allusions?
I’m trying my best to be different from the rest;
Yet I fail miserably, wanting to be like everybody!
Please somebody tell me what I’m doing wrong;
I just want to fit in and feel like I belong.
But people are meant to be different and born to stand out;
But the complications my life bares,
Makes me want to scream and shout!
W
hy am I confused, Why do I feel so used?
I just want to be different, I want to be someone else…
Because life would be much better that way than being myself.

I wrote this poem not only to express myself throughout my life journey, experiences with bullying throughout my elementary and high school years, but also as a reflection shortly after a young girl took her own life here in Regina, SK. She was a youth that attended the youth group that I volunteer for and I am stilled involved in today. I was close to her and enjoyed spending time with her weekly. She seemed to be outgoing on the inside, but deep inside I could sense that she kept her emotions and feelings to herself. I reached out to her saying that, “I am always here for you, if you need someone to talk to, share stories and experiences with, or even just a shoulder to lean on.” These are words I still live by today, and I’m more than willing to offer my time for anyone who is struggling and needs a friendly face to look upon.

I remember that day… our youth minister called a team meeting and asked for all of us youth leaders to meet at the church. As soon as I walked into the room I could sense that something was wrong. He then showed us a picture of the 13-year old girl that attended our youth group. Immediately I panicked, thinking of different possibilities and questions that I had: What happened? Was she in a car accident? Is she alright? Is she in the hospital? Can we go and visit her?. The next thing our youth coordinator said was heart breaking… He explained to us how she committed suicide and had taken her own life. Other youth leaders started crying and rushed towards me looking for comfort (as I was the oldest and in my graduating year, whereas the other youth leader’s ages ranged from 14-16). I hugged them, embraced them in my arms, saying things such as “everything will be okay… we can pray for her,” as I had no other response during that time. But once I came home, I started bawling and went to my parents for comfort as I explained to them what happened, as they held me in their arms. I blamed myself for not noticing any signs of depression from her, wishing that I could have done something to prevent herself from doing this.

I moved forward from this unfortunate situation by talking with youth about what happened. I believe it is important to address mental health and illnesses (anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, etc.) and to have these conversations that help children, youth, and our future students to realize that we need to go against society’s stigmatisms on mental illness and try to “normalize” the conversations around it in support of mental health.

Just as Carol Todd said, “we need to take out the word ‘day’ too,” so instead of only addressing mental health and illnesses one day a year, we can have conversations about it daily so that everyone can feel safe in regards to their psychological and emotional well-being.

I would like to give Carol Todd a special “Thank You,” for being open and willing to share with us her knowledge and how she has taken such a personal, tragic experience with her daughter and turned it into an opportunity to speak on mental health (the affects cyberbullying, sextortion, and other online exploitation have on individuals) and how educating children and students on digital citizenship is important in teaching them how to be safe when using technology.
Some resources that teachers can use to help students be aware of mental health, have conversations about mental illnesses, and end the stigmatizes against it are:
Bell Let’s Talk
Pink Shirt Day (bullying)
Robb Nash Project
(Musician who writes music based on his life experiences with mental health).

 

My Digital Identity- Stalking Myself Online

Throughout ECMP355 we have been talking about the importance of our digital identity. Creating a digital identity that reflects a positive image or information that affirms yourself is important; so if people try looking up your name and googling it, hopefully the profiles in the top links that come up will represent yourself justly for future potential employers. online-identity

“When you have a strong identity online, you will be more visible in the search engines.”        – Unknown

I ended up searching my own name up on Google as “Stacey Baran from Regina, SK.”
I did this to see if I could find any information about myself online that revealed any facts about my that were inaccurate, negative or represented myself in an unprofessional way.

I was very proud to see the first results that “popped up!” on my Google Search. Just within the first page, my Twitter feed, Facebook account, Blog, and Pinterest boards appeared. I then clicked on Google Images and found the results on there interesting… Of course there were photos of random people or celebrities that I had no idea who they were; but when I sifted through the photos and took a closer look at them, a couple pictures of myself were in there! They were nothing extravagant or out of the ordinary, as there was just a picture of myself from my profile picture for my Twitter account. stacey_baran
A few other things showed up in the Google search of myself. It was information on my achievements & scholarships I was awarded and different reflections on experiences that I had written, that were published in the RCSD’s newsletters throughout high school.
A link to the reflection I wrote when I attended a retreat from my Grade 12 Christian Ethics course at St. Michael’s Retreat House in Lumsden is here. My reflection is titled “A Student’s Experience: Demonstrating Christ-like Behaviour” and is located on the third page. st-martins
One last thing that displayed a great representation of who I am and a huge portion of my life there is the parish I attend. I presently am the Youth Coordinator at St. Martin de Porres parish and on their website I am in the Contact Us list. So if you every have youth group inquiries and activities you could use in the classroom involving faith and for religion, I am your Gal!

Overall I feel as though from a basic Google Search someone can find information about myself that actually outlines and reflects a HUGE portion of who I am. From my contributions to the RCSD and the involvement I have within my parish and faith, hopefully will give off a “positive vibe” to whoever is inquiring information about myself. I find that I present my digital identity in a professional manner. From a basic Google Search, I can make a good impression and could be considered a possible candidate for potential employers.

Top 10 tips to improve your professional digital identity by Alex Fenton is an interesting read that I recommend as an educator to look into; to help build a professional description of who you are as a teacher!

“Professional is not a label you give yourself, it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” – David Maister

digital-identity

 

New Culture of Participation

In the new culture of participation, society is able to contribute and be a part of the evolving world of social media. Presently, people use social media to find and represent meanings of their identities through social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, etc. (all forms of social in media in which I use today). These networks allow individuals to have the freedom of expressing their own ideas and thoughts by interacting with others within their own homes, communities, and even with people across the world. The increasing access to social media also allows people to work collaboratively together. Through generating new ideas and creatively working together, people are able to use a variety of social technology-in-the-classroomnetworks such as Blogs and Google Plus to express their ideas and connect with people who share similar goals and interests. Examples of this would be students using Google Docs to collaboratively work together in finishing a project that is due, or teachers sharing their own experiences and resources with each other through their blog posts (like we have been doing throughout our ECMP 355 course).

When Alec Couros presented to our ECMP 355 class, he explained how social media is not only embedded within our daily lives, but it is also something that we contribute to. Therefore, we not only consume social media, but we also produce it. This reason is how we are a part of a “prosumer culture”.

As teachers, we most definitely should include and use technology in the classroom. It helps engage students in the process of learning, as well makes lesson plans more interesting. The first thing we need to do before allowing students to use technology in the classroom, is to teach them how to use it as an educational tool rather than taking advantage of it and not being careful with what they are looking up or viewing online.10-technology-rules-in-the-classroom
10 Classroom Rules for Using Technology is an interesting read that is shared through a blog post written by Jessica Sanders.

Twitter Thoughts?

I recall the day my friend set up a Twitter account for me over five years ago… I was in grade 11 and it was something that “everyone was doing”. I reluctantly let her create my account and listened to her as she proceeded to blab on about tweeting, hashtags, mentions, etc. (I was trying to follow along with all of the information, but had NO IDEA what she was talking about). As far as I remember, I may have made three tweets on my account before google searching “how to deactivate a twitter account.”

So… Why did I deactivate my account?

My reasoning for it was I didn’t have enough information and knowledge about Twitter for me to dive right into it. Twitter was another social media account for me to follow that I didn’t need… like Facebook (more friends signed me up for Facebook when I first entered into high school). I feel like I didn’t have a word in either decision, but here I am today using both forms of social media as well as twitter-birdothers!
Here is The Twitter Glossary that updated me on many terms that I needed to be familiar with in order to start tweeting and use hashtags (#) and mentions (@) correctly. I still don’t understand how I am supposed to make tweets with only 140 characters, while still getting my point across… I guess I will have to start working on summarizing!

I am interested in discovering what Twitter has to offer and share with me as an educator. There are so many resources that people and organizations tweet out that I can use in the classroom. In addition to this, I did a basic Google Search on how to use Twitter in the classroom and the first result that came up was from TeachHub.com with a list of 50 Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom. twitter-feed
An example of how teachers  can start using Twitter in the classroom, is creating a classroom news feed where you can keep students posted on upcoming due dates or assignments, as well, it can also be a way to connect with parents.

Other examples of how teachers can use Twitter in their classrooms is by allowing students to use Twitter to coordinate assignments and collaborate with each other through tweeting, rather than having a huge “e-mail train” to follow up on. You could also create a Scavenger Hunt using QR codes in which students can access social media and online resources to solve riddles that pull from the lesson.

twitter final 2I feel though some of these examples would be difficult to follow through with if you were placed in a primary classroom. Some other activities you could do with students in the primary years instead are following a hash tag (Education Hashtags- Elementary & Secondary) and using it within the classroom, connect with different classrooms in Regina communities or even worldwide!

For my future growth as an educator, I plan to use Twitter more for my own personal uses too. I can start by following issues such as #BellLetsTalk day which gives people the opportunity to talk and ask questions about mental health.

Other Twitter uses are as simple as following social events or things that regularly occur in the media such as political figures, or present worldwide issues. Twitter is also a great way to network with other educators (#educhat) and is a source that I can attach or sync to my WordPress blog. Hopefully I also can start seeing some follow-memore people following me on Twitter @stacey_baran.

So FOLLOW ME if you haven’t already!

I will admit I have only started using Twitter as a resource in my education toolbox; but maybe through #ECMP 355 I will be able to learn and explore what Twitter entails and @hbhildebrandt will be successful in convincing me otherwise from deactivating my Twitter account once again?!

“We need technology in the classroom and in every student and in every teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”                                                                                                – David Warlick

technology-progression