Final Networked Learning post

Usually I just use social media to lurk from afar and “creep” on others, so it felt a bit unnatural to actually talk to others on Twitter.
But in an effort to grow my PLN, I did reach out to others!

I asked questions, and helped others in the process.

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I participated in #saskedchat and connected with educators from all over the world

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I also interacted with my classmates by commenting back and forth on each other’s blogs

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I also retweeted resources and articles that I thought might be interesting and useful to my peers

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Although I took this course while sitting on my couch at home, I didn’t miss out on interacting with my peers. I feel as though I got to know them just as well as, if not better, than if we were face to face in a classroom. Not only did I learn a lot from my peers and the other educators I connected with, but it feel great to know that I helped their learning in some way too.

 

 

Summary of learning

Well ECMP 355 as a course is over, but my learning about technology and digital citizenship is nowhere near over. It feels odd not having anything physical to produce as evidence. I can’t hold up a project I did or paper I wrote. But my learning can be seen online in so many forms.  I have made so much progress on my blog, connected on Twitter, and have posted videos on YouTube.

I used YouTube video editor to create this brief and engaging (ha) video highlighting my learning in ECMP 355.

Thanks for watching!

Sometimes, there’s no substitute for human interaction

This is my final post wrapping up my learning project for ECMP355.

By learning to play chess, I learned a lot about learning (that makes sense, right?)  What I mean is that I’m taking away so much more than knowledge of playing a game. I rediscovered a lot about the actual process of learning. I don’t remember the last time that I consciously learned and developed a new skill. Especially as teachers, I know that we are constantly learning and growing, but it is something else entirely to concentrate on learning one particular skill. I’m not getting any younger, and I’m sure it helps to keep the mind sharp to learn a new skill or game every once in a while!

I was stuck in the substitution and augmentation levels in my journey learning to play chess. Yeah, I was using technology, but not in a way that greatly benefited of transformed my learning. I think that if I had chosen a different learning project I would have been able to move more into the modification and redefinition levels. A goal for my teaching is to stay out of the substitution area with tech in the classroom!

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So what I came to realize through teaching myself a new skill through the internet…
Don’t force it. Don’t use technology just for the sake of using technology.  If the internet or tech tool you are using doesn’t feel right, try something else. Yes the internet is an incredible learning resource, but it has so suit your learning style to be useful. In watching videos, reading tutorial, and playing matches against the computer, I felt like I was lacking the hands on interaction that helps me learn best. So like I said before, the internet is great but it doesn’t work for everyone’s learning preferences. Sometimes there is no substitute for good old fashioned hands on learning and human interaction. Once I decided to return to playing chess with my boyfriend in real life, I caught on so much quicker. It really helped my learning to physically move the piece and interact with another person.

Which leads me to another nugget of knowledge I’ve obtained:
Don’t be afraid to access people as resources! While I struggled with learning online for weeks, there was a real live person sitting in my house the whole time who could have helped me. Use people as learning tools! I also found it helpful to reach out to other chess players I found on Facebook groups. Take advantage of the wealth of knowledge that other’s can offer you. I’ll be sure to remember this in my teaching. I’ll keep in mind that often student’s parents and family members could be excellent experts to invite into the class, Nothing wrong with admitting I don’t know everything! I’ll ask for help and invite them into the classroom to share their knowledge.

Although I didn’t end up loving learning through the internet, I definitely used technology to show my progress. I used Snapchat, YouTube video editor and uploader, Screencastify, and so many littler tricks on WordPress. I think I learned more about these resources than I did about playing chess! (Maybe that was Katia’s intention all along..?Sneaky..)

 

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I may not be a chess master, and I may not even really like the game… but I discovered a lot about myself as a learner and developed new skills in using technology!

I am a slacktivist

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? Is is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

Initial thoughts: Yes,  absolutely. Online is the perfect medium for social activism. The internet and social media connects people in so many ways, so why not in regards to activism too?  Life is being lived online more and more, and social activism movements can join.  I am fully behind other people using social media for social activism, but its not personally my style. I tend not to post anything too personal or controversial on social media so I myself wouldn’t take up any social issue online. (The most I ever do is retweet an occasional article that would subtly reveal my stance on an issue) But I never post anything personal. I kind of look at online social activism as something for other people. There’s a possibility that I don’t take it very seriously. I could be completely wrong but it seems that when something goes viral, it loses its credibility

Example of what I mean….

Is this/was this supposed to be social activism? The purpose was to raise awareness and money for ALS research (which I didn’t actually know for the longest time) so I suppose that would be considered social activism.  It seems like when these causes go viral and eventually get ridiculous that everyone loses sight of the real purpose. Is this wrong? I don’t know.

Online social activism is all fine and dandy for other people, but its not really my thing. I think it can be a powerful tool and great way to reach people. But I’ll leave it to others.

This reminded me of a short video I had seen a while ago. Something to think about.

I am definitely a slacktivist.

I then read an article by Katia Hildebrant called  In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words  (link to her blog) She takes a somewhat different perspective and made a few points that I had never considered. I want to take some time to unpack the contrast between my initial opinion on social activism and my thoughts after reading her article.

“I have a responsibility to use my privilege to speak out and use my network for more than just my own benefit or self-promotion; not doing so is a selfish act. Being a good digital citizen is about so much more than being safe and responsible online. It’s about participating in meaningful ways to promote equity in networked spaces.”

-Katia Hildebrandt
katiahildebrandt.ca

Whoa.

Okay I know that I am incredibly privileged and I am learning to consider the ways that will impact my teaching. But I had never thought about my privilege in regards to the internet and online social activism.

First off, not everyone has internet access and the ability to speak freely. I can literally say anything I want on the internet without facing and cultural, religious, or political repercussions. The worst that could happen is I might upset some of my peers. So many people do not have this luxury as I do. Now I feel like I owe it to them to stand up

So now I’m torn. Is it wrong if I choose to use social media solely for my enjoyment? The initial intention for most type of social media was for entertainment, connecting, and sharing. The original purpose wasn’t for social activism; that’s something new that has slowly been developing. I just want to use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for their original mundane purposes!  Am I really doing a bad thing by avoiding controversy and social activism in those spaces? What if I decide not to use any social media at all?

Returning to my initial questions Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? Is is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?   …. I don’t know. I think so. But I’m sure we can do better.

Now I’m rambling and still very confused. Please share your thoughts.

 

Flappy Bird #HourOfCode

I had my first experience with an Hour of Code tutorial. I picked the Flappy Bird game to try because it looked familiar to me.

The Grade 4 students in my pre-internship classroom were into coding and creating their own Flappy Bird games. I watched them but was really able to help or answer questions because I was unfamiliar with it. So I wanted to give it a try and see what all the hype was about!

With this game from code.org, you can use drag-and-drop programming to make your own Flappy Bird game, and customize it to look how ever you want! It takes you through step by step to learn how to select different blocks to create the code.

flappyOnce you complete all the steps,  you are free to create your own game however you please!

Here is a short screencast of me creating my own game and giving it a try! I did it very quickly; of course you could spend more time choosing which features you prefer. So much fun to be able to play a game you made yourself!

One complaint with Screencastify: the free version doesn’t allow you to trim/edit your recordings 😦 I would have liked to cut out the bit at the end but wasn’t interested in paying for the premium version. Don’t you hate when that happens!

Coding in the classroom:
I would absolutely implement coding into my classroom someday. Not only would students love it because its fun and engaging, but it can increase problem solving skills.
I came across an article on edutopia.org outlines the benefits of learning to program.

Being able to follow programming logic trains the mind to think in more analytical ways. I believe that debugging a program leads to better problem solving skills.

…is where the computer’s true power as an educational medium lies — in the ability to facilitate and extend children’s awesome natural ability and drive to construct, hypothesize, explore, experiment, evaluate, draw conclusions — in short to learn — all by themselves

Here is a link to the full article.
I’m not an overly tech savvy person, but as a teacher, I am fully behind anything that is fun and great for learning at the same time.

I think I’ll stick to checkers

Okay so chess isn’t exactly my favourite thing in the world. I wanted to give it a fair shot and really understand how to play before I decided whether or not I liked it. Well I know the rules and am capable of playing a whole game… and I just don’t really like it. Not my thing.  I’ve been practicing online at chess.com  which is really a fantastic website. You can customize all the settings to changing the level of difficulty and hints it gives you and the speed of the game. I played against the computer but you can also play against other people in real time. It was a great way for me to practice up!

Here is a short screencast  of my playing against the computer-just to give you an idea of what it looks like. If you are interested in playing chess or wanted to gain some experience, I highly recommend this site!

Just a short sample, but you get the point. I ended up losing this match… Beat by the computer (sigh). My strategy isn’t exactly the greatest. (Okay, I have no strategy whatsoever). But the important thing is that I understand how to play chess!

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My favourite form of self expression is through internet memes. Image from chess.com

At the beginning I was really hoping that I would turn out to be a naturally awesome chess player and would love it, buuuuuut that’s not the case. Not my thing. But that’s okay.  I went through the process of learning a new skill and can cross one thing off my bucket list. And I have a new game to play on my phone when I need to kill some time, and that’s the important thing right? 😉

Facebook: not just a useless time suck

As suggested by one of my ECMP355 classmates, I used Facebook to make connections with other beginner chess players.  I would never have thought to try Facebook as a learning resource, so I was appreciative of the advice!  Who know it was good for more than creeping people’s vacation photos?! I was able to join a few groups for chess players where beginners can get advice, ask questions to other members, and connect and play together!  One group is called Chess Lessons with more than 8,000 members! It is a place to teach, share and learn about chess through knowledge and experiences, and help improve your game.   I haven’t quite built up the confidence yet but I am looking forward to reaching out to others from around the world who are also learning to play chess. When I have questions come up, I now have a community of people I know will be willing to help!

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I was feeling really excited about this new discovered use for Facebook, which got me wondering what else I can use Facebook for that I don’t know about yet. I searched Google for “uses for Facebook in education”  and I was not disappointed. I found a really great article about 99 ways you should be using Facebook in the classroom  It gave me a lot of suggestions for resources, projects and assignments, collaboration and discussion, and sharing. I think that sometimes Facebook gets a bad rap and is excluding for many classrooms but this article points out some really interesting uses! Some of them might be better suited for upper elementary or high school students since they are likely on Facebook already. I wouldn’t ask my primary students to get Facebook accounts but there are a lot of other uses for it without the students actually being on Facebook.

Leave a comment telling me what you use Facebook for!