All posts by amberbarwellseducationblog

The End of an Era… well a Learning Project

Well, the time has just flown by. Eight weeks is next to nothing. I must say I have really enjoyed this class and the opportunities it has provided me over the last few weeks.

For my learning project, I decided to give scrapbooking a try. Not only was it something that I was extremely interested in trying I also found that it was the perfect personalized gift that I could give to my grandparents for their 50th anniversary this fall.

What I didn’t anticipate was just how difficult and time-consuming it was overall.

My first week I started by creating my baseline. I was extremely excited and was eagerly anticipating how fun it was going to be to try something new! Here is my baseline blog post for the first week of my learning project.

The next week I was able to finally dive in. I was limited on supplies here in Yorkton so I resorted to online shopping using Amazon. It was so exciting to sneakily convince my grandparents to let me snoop through their photo albums! I also started going through different tutorials on youtube. you can read that blog post here.

The following week it was time to dive into it! I started trying to figure out how I wanted the overall project to look. I started experimenting with watercolor painting and found a few amazing online tutorials to guide me through it. You can see that blog post here. Following this week I really began to struggle with the learning project. I wasn’t happy with my work and I found that I was struggling to piece together a project for a grade. I realized that I needed to make a change and start approaching this project differently.

I then made the executive decision to get rid of everything I had done up until that point and start fresh. I was still struggling with finding online resources that stimulated me creatively. Here is that blog post.

The next week I had a real setback. I had some personal issues and a family emergency that made it very difficult for me to work on my project. I continued to look at old photo albums and watch tutorials to help me out. Here is that blog post!

My most recent post was about my experience with learning calligraphy for my scrapbook. This was by far the most difficult thing I have tried for this project. While I did notice improvement throughout my work there is still a lot of work to be done. Here is that blog post.

Overall while I enjoyed most of the process for this learning project, I feel like it is not very easy to learn online. While I did have some success with certain videos and blogs, it ultimately is a self-taught project that is mostly trial and error. It is not something that has strict steps for you to follow to for you to do it correctly. There are so many different ways to do it. Because of this, it is easy to become lost online because you have to weed through so many different tutorials to find one thing that kind of looks like something you would do.

Unfortunately, I was unable to complete my scrapbook. It is going to be a collection of photos of my grandparent’s life together and gradually morph into more recent pictures showing the growth of their family. And unfortunately, I won’t be able to complete it until after their anniversary because I want to be able to include photos from that event. But I will be sure to post a finished product when it is done!

Thank you for coming along on this journey with me it was fun!

 

 

 

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The Letters are Scrambling!

Last week for my learning project I decided it was time to start practicing for the scariest part of scrapbooking (in my opinion) the lettering.

I have ok penmanship, but I have often found myself jealous of my mother and grandmother’s writing. For my project, I decided that it was time to pick up my pen and start practicing my calligraphy. I knew that I would have to practice this for hours before I could even consider putting any writing on the pages for my project. Now you may be asking why don’t you just write normally? You could easily just do bubble/ block lettering, you could even use a stencil. Well, my answer to that is I don’t know I guess I like to torture myself.

In all reality, I like the overall look that calligraphy gives and I think it will really add to the overall project. I also have been left in charge of signing envelopes for the anniversary party and I thought this would be a good excuse to get some practice. Who doesn’t like to kill two birds with one stone!

I watched a million tutorials online but this one seemed to be the most helpful.

I purchased the Sheaffer Calligraphy pen from my local Staples. What I soon realized is that most people do not use actual calligraphy pens anymore and most of the tutorials on Youtube are “cheat” calligraphy.

I am in the process of breaking the habit of writing in cursive. They say the trick of Calligraphy is 9 different pen strokes and I have mastered none of them. Another thing I am still getting used to is the different nib sizes. I didn’t realize that was a thing.

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Learning this online I think was easier than from a book in the sense that you could actually see what they were doing in order to achieve their end result. What was difficult was actually finding a video that actually used a pen that was similar to my own. Most “calligraphy” tutorials online don’t actually use calligraphy pens they use markers. That isn’t a bad thing but I found that I had a lot of troubleshooting that was just trial and error.

I have a lot of practice before this gets put in the final draft of my scrapbook!

 

What have I really learned?

Well, everyone… I did it. I will say that this project was not easy. You ever hear of Murphy’s law? that was this project for me! I decided I wanted to do a whiteboard video and I got a free trial of Videoscribe and got to work. Unfortunately, I realized a few hours later when I went to review the finished product, that the watermark went across the entire screen making everything I wrote a headache-inducing experience when you tried to read it.

So I decided to scrap that and go old-fashioned whiteboard and marker project. I dug out my whiteboard and it appeared that the kids I babysat last had written on it with a permanent marker. No problem! I’ve still got markers and a sketch pad so we kill a few trees…

So I go to grab my camera and tripod, my sketchbook and markers. I sit down and check the markers and sure enough, they are dry as sand in a desert. So I broke out my crayons and got ready to set up. It turns out I have no memory card for the camera and the tripod is broken.

So this is my final set up…

sum of learn

I knew those nursing textbooks would come in handy someday! I had to duct tape my phone to a meter stick which was propped up by textbooks and a speaker. I then had to record in 2-minute segments because my phone was overheating. I guess duct tape is a good insulator?

I guess you could say I was forced to be creative! Anyways here is my frantic and frankly probably a little irritated summary of learning project. Enjoy!

Cree 100-S90 Final Project

Tânsi! It has been a very fast 8 weeks! I feel like I have learned so much that my brain is going to explode but I know that I have barely scratched the surface. Cree is a language that is very beautiful but I find it so easy to become confused when a word is slightly mispronounced.

I have decided to do this final project on my family because I felt that it was important to include them on my journey to learning this language. Other than French many of us do not have a second language other than English. I got everyone involved in an attempt to help the words stick in my brain. It was interesting seeing them attempt to learn the language without any real context.

I created my Youtube video using Powerpoint and Screencastify. I hope you enjoy!

My Contribution to EDTC300

Well, Katia was 100% right (as always). She had warned the class our first day that this post was coming, she also predicted that we would likely forget about it and have to scramble at the last minute to put it all together! Consider me scrambled. This class blew by in the blink of an eye and I can honestly say that I am not prepared for it to end. I have learned so much but it feels like there is still so much to be explored!

Overall, I feel like I gently contributed to the learning of my fellow classmates throughout the last 8 weeks. I try to remain active on Twitter by commenting on and sharing posts that I believe could only benefit my fellow educators. I try to comment on my fellow student’s blogs to help provide encouragement and knowledge when I can volunteer it. I tried to answer questions in the Google community as quickly as possible but I found that more difficult because I often was working when the questions were being asked and when I finally got to see them one of my fellow classmates were already on it! I also tried to remain active in the chat during our Zoom sessions to provide information where I could and voice my opinions and views in or mini-breakout sessions.

Here are a few of my contributions on twitter:

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I tried to take part in twitter chats like the #saskedchat and most recently the #edtc300sum chat which was hosted by two of our very own classmates Aurora and Sydney. I went from zero tweets and one follower to 197 tweets and 79 followers at the time this post was written. I am very proud of the contributions I have put forth on Twitter.

Next are a few examples from Blogs!

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Most of the input I gave was on learning project, particularly the baking and cooking ones. They are always something fun to look at. I felt that
I was able to give advice in this area because I have quite a bit of training in them and I wished I had thought to do something this fun for my learning project! Everyone’s recipes turned out so amazing and it was so cool to see their progression from the first post to now!

My community contributions!

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Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to save the chats from our zoom room sessions and they are now lost forever. So instead I will end this post sending best wishes out to all of my EDTC 300 classmates. I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to my learning this semester. I hope to continue to maintain my twitter profile and continue posting as I do now to help broaden my network of future and current educators!

 

Hello Coding!

Well wasn’t this an interesting week! If you can’t tell by the title, this week in My EDTC 300 class we were introduced to coding and for an assignment, we were supposed to dedicate some time with either Scratch or Hour of Code to get ourselves familiar with the topic. initially, I was super excited because when I opened up Hour of Code you were able to personalize a Google logo!

I decided I wanted to attempt to make my own logo (I have been obsessed with designing one ever since I knew that it was an actual job). When I looked into it I thought it would be perfect for the assignment because you used a combination of scratch and Hour of Code to complete the logo! However, once I got set up to do so, the introductory video very quickly crushed my dreams. After watching a 5-minute video it informed me that it would not allow me to share or document my finished product. The exercise was for educational purposes and was the property of Google. Well since I fully intended to do all of these things I had to revisit that project on my own time.

For this assignment, I decided to create my own Flappy Fish game. Honestly, it was mostly because the fish kind of looked like Nemo, and I haven’t been able to get Finding Dory out of my head lately. Also, who didn’t jump on the Flappy Bird bandwagon at some point!

Here is my journey from start to finish!

 

I even got a certificate!

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Overall, I think that the program was really great. I enjoyed that it gradually picked up in difficulty and gave gentle reminders so that I was able to pick up on it. I also enjoyed that even though it was in block code you could see the Javascript text version as well once you completed a level. I thoroughly enjoyed this assignment.

I think that it would be great to use in the classroom because there are varying levels that can be used for different grade levels. As well you can select the teachers comfort level. With the way that technology is becoming a part of our day to day life, I think that it is very important that our students learn to understand and write basic code. And if they are going to be doing it anyway, then they might as well enjoy themselves by creating different characters and games!

If you want to give the game a try you can play it here!

Not really learning…

This is not going to be my typical learning project post. This past week has been very difficult for me and because of this, I feel as though my learning project has suffered. Something that many people don’t know about me is that I have anxiety and depression. While on a normal day I can function exceptionally well I have triggers just like everyone else that gets me into a state where I have to take a step back and re-evaluate what I am doing and see the change that needs to be made to make the situation better.

This week I had an incident that took place that made it necessary to take a step back from school this week and I am slowly clawing my way back out of the homework pile that I have built for myself. While I love working on my learning project I found that last week I could not bring myself to get motivated. I was overwhelmed and I think this may have been a result of trying to learn online.

While I enjoy being a creator and being able to teach myself there comes a time where you need a little structure and guidance and that is where I was at last week. I was watching tons of different youtube videos about scrapbooking and a number of different blogs. What I found was that they were all providing inspiration and starting points but never really explained what to do once you reached the point of how to tie it all together or how to create a cohesive theme. This is the point I am at in my learning project.

I have tons of ideas and I have attempted to start putting them together but I am getting frustrated with how difficult it is to be satisfied with the overall look and feel of the project. I have been fighting with it now for a while and I have already restarted a few times but one thing I did not really take into consideration was the overall cost of the project.

I knew that there would be a startup cost. My first shopping trip to get the basics like a book, paper, and protective pages was $70. Then I realized that I don’t live in an area where I have easy access to art supplies so I had to make a trip to Regina and order the rest online. My online order got left out on the step in the rain and everything was damaged so I had to wait twice as long to get my materials. Shoutout to Amazon customer service for being awesome and trying their best to help me out in a crummy situation. Boo to FedEx who claimed someone signed for a package when it was left outside in a storm.

To make a long story short I will be posting an actual learning post this week after I have some time to make some actual progress.

For anyone else who is also struggling to balance work, school and life here are some awesome online resources:

Mental Health Wellness Week (Good Mental Health Strategies)

Crisis Center (Coping Skills)

Positive Psychology Program (Stress Management)

 

 

An Argument for and Against Youtube in the Classroom

For:

Youtube is an amazing platform where you can create and share content with people all over the world. It can be a great resource for educators in and out of the classroom. Through this assignment, I actually discovered a few channels that were dedicated to education.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 11.51.12 AMScreen Shot 2018-06-18 at 11.52.00 AM I then found an article explaining how it can be used in the classroom. They suggested:

-it allows the teacher to bring in and show videos that incorporates a fun element into a lesson

-the teacher can use youtube to set up playlists for assignments or extra resources for extended learning

-you can record and share lessons to reaffirm learning and use for studying

The blog the Educational App Store had a few other suggestions for how Youtube could be used in the classroom:

-trigger interesting and unique discussion

-use videos to inspire themed reflections

-access free high-quality educational instruction videos

-have videos of poets/ authors reading their work

-using clips from documentaries to provide context to a topic

-provide alternate forms of a lesson for visual learners

-a good student research tool

-demonstrate experiments

-help hone listening skills

I think that there are a number of ways to use Youtube positively in the classroom as long as you monitor the content being covered is approved and accurate. It allows parents at home to stay connected to what their children are learning in class and can provide them with the resources to assist them with their homework assignments. There should be steps put in place to help prevent wandering and distractions.

Against:

There are a number of reasons to be wary of using Youtube as a platform in the classroom. Alec Hale’s blog highlighted a few very common concerns with Youtube in the Classroom.

Issues with music and language filters: there can be some issues with using certain music videos and covers in the classroom. Classic youtube filters will not always catch when there is an inappropriate use of language used in a recreation in a song and may be flagged as safe when in actuality it is not appropriate for the classroom.\

Issues with embedded videos: embedded videos make it easier for educators to share content however, the filters can get overexcited and will block all embedded content whether it is appropriate or not. Because of this, it can make some resources unreliable.

The pesky comment section: The comment section is a very dangerous place, especially for young and impressional students. Even on some of the most lighthearted content, it is not very hard to find some terrible comments. Cyberbullying can become commonplace and it is best not to subject the students to this if at all possible.

A few other reasons why Youtube may not always be the best in the classroom:

-It can replace meaningful discussion

-Students could easily get off topic by selecting suggested videos

-students could be watching “educational” videos that are giving them false information

-while there are privacy settings it is all or nothing, either hardly anyone sees it or everyone does, this can open you up for criticism.

While youtube can be dangerous for students I think that there are also ways to get around it. Using Distraction free youtube can help with keeping the students on task and hide the comments.

A Cautionary Tale of Digital Identity

This week in class we were asked to watch Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk titled “and Jon Ronson’s TED Talk titled, “How One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life”.

When I watched these video’s I was reminded of another video that I had sent to me in high school that really resonated with me.

Amanda Todd lived only 35 minutes away from my grandma’s home. I was living in Yorkton, Saskatchewan at the time that time video was originally posted and it was being sent around all over the internet. The unfortunate thing about the video that many people failed to realize was that the video was intended to raise awareness of bullying, however, for Amanda Todd, it had the opposite effect. In fact, the cyberbullying had become too much and she, unfortunately, took her own life on October 10, 2012. She was only 15 years old.

I personally avoided all forms of social media in high school, with the exception of Facebook (to stay connected with family on the coasts). I was heavily bullied through elementary school and I was able to overcome that. I made the decision to avoid a platform that could be used for negative purposes. Seeing the Amanda Todd video being shared by everyone I knew reaffirmed that decision. Amanda had made a simple mistake that many teenagers have, but her mistake was broadcasted across the internet and in turn across the globe. I waited until I had left high school to join other social media platforms.

When I was in school digital identity was not discussed or dealt with. Many of the educators were unfamiliar with or did not care enough to learn about it. In today’s education system they are a lot more conscious of what is going on in the classroom online. Unfortunately, there is no way to control what goes on outside of the classroom. What educators can do is educate their students about the impact of their words and the permanence of their online presence.

We live in a world where everything is instant. There is no thought or effort that has to go into posting anymore. Without that time to process what it is that you are sharing with the world, it becomes very easy to post something that you will regret later on. Even if it doesn’t get spread around it can still have an impact later on in life. While that picture of you and your friends having a few too many drinks may be funny now, it won’t be as funny when you are looking for a job down the road and it’s the first thing that pops up when they search your name.

 

Cyberstalking I mean…sleuthing?

This was a very interesting experience. I have never been someone who really enjoyed cyberstalking… or in this case sleuthing. I don’t like my own personal space being invaded and this feels like a big invasion of privacy. But hey! If you put it out on the internet you have to be prepared for the world to find it. Now, mind you this was not the most intense deep dive but there comes a time where you have to stop looking through the 1000+ photos on someones Instagram.

 

At first, I didn’t really see the value in this exercise then I really thought about everything that we have been learning the last few weeks and realized just how important our online presence is in today’s world. We have to consider the fact that our future employers will likely look at our online footprint before they even consider us as candidates for a job position. Natalie Severt wrote a really interesting article that helps you determine if your social media platforms and online presence needs a little dusting or a deep clean before you start applying for jobs. Feel free to give that a read.

For this sleuthing exercise, I was given permission from Ms. Maple Jane Baxter to creep up on her online presence. I must say she was a little disappointed when I showed her my findings, she wanted a little more dirt. I guess I don’t have a career as a P.I. in my future if education doesn’t work out. I went through several of her profiles and I have a complete collection here. Last names were kept private for friends and family because we don’t all need to go to their pages later.

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The first thing I looked through was Facebook. You couldn’t tell if she had the privacy settings on or if she just didn’t bother to include certain information. There were no inappropriate pictures or posts. For the most part, the posts that could be seen were just looking for information or notifying others of news or events.

 

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.59.23 PMNext, I looked through Instagram. This is where I found most of her friends/family. Her pictures were all very appropriate and definitely Instagram worthy! One thing I found was that she often tagged friends in her photos. This is innocent enough but one thing I considered when thinking of my own accounts was how far people would be willing to look into things. While we may have very professional photos on our account, it is very possible that our friends may have less flattering photos on their accounts.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.59.03 PMI then looked through Pinterest. I didn’t expect to find anything wild and crazy here it is just one of my favorite platforms and I like to see what other people like. I think that it is a really good platform for educators to share resources and ideas. Maple had a very interesting account full of recipes and ideas. I even gave her a follow because I am interested to see how her education board grows as she progresses through her education career.

Screen Shot 2018-06-18 at 7.58.42 PMAfter I got lost on Pinterest I decided to move on to her Twitter. Be sure to give her a follow! She shares some really awesome content that ranges from articles and resources all the way to personal experiences. The overall layout is very warm and inviting and makes you want to know what she is going to do next. As she moves forward I hope she continues to engage more with fellow educators and professionals.

Last but certainly not least looked at her blog. Overall it is very well laid out and as she continues on I’m certain that it will get better and better. She has used this blog for a number of classes and her posts are very well written and give a really good perspective.

Overall, this was a very valuable lesson, I gained a lot of insight into my own accounts and online presence and hope to build a more enriched and positive footprint moving forward!