One of the aspects of EDTC 300 that I most appreciated was the opportunity to connect with my classmates, other education students, lots of professional educators, and so many others in the education community. All of these connections I made have helped me build a professional learning network (PLN) that I hope to maintain for years to come. At the same time that I have been building my PLN, I have had the opportunity to contribute to the learning of my classmates by commenting on their weekly blog posts and Twitter posts, tweeting articles and resources I have found through Feedly or others I follow on Twitter, and answering questions/connecting using Slack. I have also begun collecting educational resources that I or my classmates have found and placing them in a Resources tab on my eportfolio that anyone and everyone is welcome to use. Besides these regular online connections, I was also able to connect every week on Zoom during our weekly class. I really appreciated the breakout rooms we were put in each week and the opportunities to connect in smaller groups to discuss various issues and topics. Here is a summary of ways I contributed to the learning of my classmates through each of these platforms.
Slack was a useful tool for connecting one-on-one with my classmates and with Katia when I had technical issues or questions. I shared some resources on Slack closer to the beginning of the semester. As the semester went on, I found Twitter a better platform for sharing resources because I’m on Twitter daily and I can connect with a larger and more diverse group in my PLN. But I really liked Slack for engaging with individual classmates, especially when it came time for group assignments and finding partners.
For me, Twitter was the most effective way to connect with classmates and the education community on a regular basis. Always using the hashtag #EDTC300, I contributed to the learning of others on Twitter by:
Tweeting resources and articles that I found using Feedly
Commenting on classmates’ tweets with encouraging words or appreciation for resources they shared
Retweeting interesting/useful/heartwarming/funny/inspiring tweets from users that I follow
Tweeting my own personal experiences/learnings/questions/thoughts/feelings
I connected using Twitter at least twice per day everyday, and often more than that. Here is a screencast of all of my tweets and replies to the #EDTC300 hashtag this semester.
These are some examples of specific tweets highlighting the contributions I made as per the list above:
In addition to daily interactions on Twitter, I participated in two Twitter Chats. To be honest, I would have liked to have participated in more, but finding the time was very challenging for me. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the two that I did have the chance to participate in. I made so many connections during these chats and was able to grow my PLN substantially because of them. The second chat I took part in I found to be really good for me psychologically because it was right after my pre-internship was cancelled due to COVID-19 and I was feeling very uneasy and unsettled. Hearing that so many others were feeling the same way was comforting. I think I offered some good insight during that Twitter chat as well.
Everyday I would open the Voices of EDTC300 webpage and read one of the most recent blog posts for that day. I was always so impressed by the quality of the posts my classmates put on their blogs. I tried to always tell them what I enjoyed about their post as well as how I personally related to something they had mentioned in their post. I learned a lot from my classmates through their learning project journeys and weekly blog responses. I tried to encourage them and leave positive feedback. I always felt very lifted up when I received positive comments on my posts on my blog and wanted to do the same for my classmates. This is a video summary of all of the comments I left for my classmates on their blog posts this semester.
Throughout the semester I shared and collected educational resources that I saw on Twitter or found through Feedly. I collected these resources not only for my own future use, but to share with my classmates or anyone else who would like to use them. I posted these resources on the Resources tab of my eportfolio.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my education degree, and especially during this class, it’s how much we can learn from each other and grow as teachers if everyone is willing to share what they’ve learned and lift each other up. This has been one of the most motivating and positive classes I’ve taken and I have my classmates and Katia Hildebrandt to thank for that. I hope I was able to contribute to the learnings of my classmates as much as they’ve contributed to mine. Thank you to everyone in EDTC300!
Well folks, the time has come for me to…fold…my cards. I took up origami for a while…but it was just too much…paperwork. One might say I…folded…under pressure. Okay, I’m done.
Learning how to make origami this semester has been (just one more) two-fold…fun and frustrating. Most of the fun was in the actual folding of the paper and seeing the finished products. A lot of the frustration was also in the folding of the paper and seeing some of the not-so-pretty finished products. Here is a summary of what I learned throughout my Learning Project journey:
Origami folding takes a lot of patience and perseverance because it can be time-consuming and if you rush it, the final piece will end up less than stellar (but more about that later).
I learned so much about online learning through this process. I will break down some of the different apps and programs I tried in a bit but overall I can say I learned how to find different resources online and different ways to highlight my learning from week-to-week. Although I mostly stuck with YouTube, I did try Pinterest and a downloaded app to find origami folding instructions.
With origami, video instructions are by far the best format for learning new shapes. The other platforms I tried used either step-by-step photo instructions or short animated step-by-step videos and these were not nearly as effective at teaching than the YouTube videos. I definitely needed videos to learn from.
Origami has its own little online community with many resources and examples of some really beautiful work. I recommend checking out the Joseph Wu Origami gallery page. It’s unbelievable what can be made just using paper!
Shape Folded: In my baseline post, I didn’t fold anything but instead I introduced origami and some of the reasons I chose it for my learning project. I wrote about the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes and some of the history behind the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima. I wrote about the materials I had purchased for my project and showcased some of my own personal origami.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: I did not start folding any shapes this week so I didn’t use any new technology for documenting; however, I did use some technology for my blog post.
Shape Folded: For my first learning project shape, I absolutely had to fold the paper crane because to me, that is the pinnacle of origami. After a long saga of choosing what pattern of paper to use, I ended up folding multiple cranes to really get the hang of it.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: This week I searched out my first video to use to teach me how to fold my shape. The tech and digital tools I used this week were:
Shape Folded: This week I was determined to fold a jumping frog because I saw a video for it the previous week and I loved how it could jump. Out of all of my shapes, the frog was my favourite just because it turned out exactly how it was supposed to and I loved the paper I chose for it. I doubled-down on the shapes this week and included a butterfly just because I felt guilty that the frog was about the same difficulty as last week’s crane.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: I used a lot of the same technology as previous weeks, but I did use the screenshot function on my Chromebook to mix things up a bit.
Shape Folded: For my shape this week, I got my first taste of failure and started out with a very unsuccessful hammerhead shark. After drying my tears, I picked myself up and tried a great white shark with great success.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: Once again, very similar technology as previous weeks.
Shape Folded: This week I wanted to try to fold a flower. After some more origami fails, I found a really pretty multi-piece shape that I decided to try. It turned out really well and I ended up making three flowers. I achieved my goal of folding a multi-piece shape! I also folded a heart for Valentine’s Day which, unbeknownst to me at the time, came into play a few weeks later…
Technology/Digital Tools Used: I used two new pieces of tech this week. First, I wanted to try a resource besides YouTube, so I searched on Pinterest for some flower tutorials. I ended up using a YouTube video anyhow, but it was still interesting to see how many tutorials are available on Pinterest. Secondly, we were challenged to try a new digital tool or app we had never tried before which I used to document this week’s shape.
Shape Folded: This week I tried my hands at folding a Tyrannosaurus Rex. This was another shape I had wanted to fold for a while but had to find the right tutorial as some of the T. Rex tutorials are pretty advanced.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: This week I documented folding using a program that I’ve used many times and really love. It makes me feel like a professional video editor everytime I use it!
Shape Folded: This week, my main shape was one of my favourite birds, a crow. I also tried an elephant and a giraffe but they were pretty simple and the fact that I had to use scissors to make their legs made me feel like they weren’t true origami.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: Instead of YouTube, I used a new app for my folding tutorial this week. I found an app that I could download to my Chromebook that is strictly animal origami. I was also tasked with creating a step-by-step guide for my shape this week so I used a program I’ve used quite a bit for other projects called Canva.
Shape Folded: I had previously folded a heart back when I folded a flower near Valentine’s Day. I wanted to fold some more as my community has been participating in various neighborhood scavenger hunts during social distancing due to COVID-19. People have been putting all sorts of shapes in their windows, including hearts, for others to look for when they go on walks. I enlisted the help of my three sons and together we folded some more hearts to hang in our front window.
Technology/Digital Tools Used: I didn’t mention it in my blog, but I used iMovie for the first time to document this shape.
Shape Folded: For my final shape, I chose to retry folding the most difficult piece yet. A goat! I had previously attempted (and succeeded at) this shape a few weeks previous when I folded the dachshund and penguin. I wanted to fold another one, but wanted to make sure to document it this time. It didn’t go nearly as well as the first, but it was still fun to try!
Technology/Digital Tools Used: I didn’t use any new technology to document this week but fell back on some old familiar ones. I circled back to the very first YouTube user that I used for my first shape (paper crane) and used Filmora to edit and significantly shorten the video of me folding the goat.
Initially I didn’t think to post notifications on Twitter that I had a new learning project post available. But in the 4th week or so I thought to start doing that. Here are some of the tweets from my Twitter account.
This learning project was one of the most enjoyable assignments I’ve ever been assigned! Not only was it so much fun learning how to fold origami, it was so interesting learning about all of the different technology and digital tools available to document the process. YouTube was definitely my go-to resource but it was neat to see the different apps and websites I could also learn from. My family also got quite involved in this project and always got a kick out of the new shapes I’d create each week (at least they acted like they enjoyed it…probably just humouring me). And so I will leave you with this shot of all of the shapes I folded over the past few weeks. I’ll hold onto a few but I might send some to friends or drop some in neighbour’s mailboxes to brighten their day.
In my very first baseline blog post I mentioned that my final goal was to create a multi-shape piece, but I was able to create a multi-piece flower in Learning Project: Shape 6 so for my final piece, I attempted the most difficult piece I’d folded all semester. I gave a bit of a hint about the final shape in my Learning Project: Shapes 8 & 9 post but attempted it again this week to show how far I’ve come. Buckle up buttercup! Because this week I had the ultimate origami fail when I tried to fold a goat. A few weeks ago I chose the goat to try because it looked really cute and I absolutely love goats! They have so much personality and can be such trouble-makers. The YouTube video I used is from Tavin’s Origami which, you may or may not recall, is the same YouTube user for the crane I folded in Learning Project: Shape 1. Aha! Full circle moment! The video I used is 16 minutes long! That was a first hint that this would be a doozy. In the video, Tavin says multiple times how difficult of a piece this is which was a pretty clear indication that I may have taken on more than I can manage. I didn’t even think to document the folding of that first goat and when I was done, I was extremely impressed with the final shape.
I knew I wanted to attempt this shape again as the finale to my learning project. Which brings me to the second attempt at the goat. This time I made sure to take a video of me folding. By the time I was done, the video was over 30 minutes long and the final product was…well…I’ll let you come up with your own description of what this is.
In case you’re curious, this is what Tavin’s goats look like.
I cut the video down to about six minutes (most of it was just me repeating folds and sitting completely motionless as I watched Tavin do folds over and over) and then sped it up so if you’re interested in seeing part of what went into this second goat, here’s a quick video. I sort of gave up in the end.
Similar to Tavin’s crane video I used in my first learning project shape, his goat video was very well done. There was a clear image of each fold along with narration and a drawing in the corner showing each fold. This piece is just so difficult that unless you’re a really experienced folder and know all of the origami terminology, it’s just too much. I think my first attempt at it was a fluke as I just couldn’t get the second goat to look anything close to what it’s supposed to look like. Here are the two side by side.
As an aside, I mentioned earlier, I really love goats, especially the babies, and all the hijinks they pull. If you have the same affinity for them, I recommend this video.
Also this last one that combines two of my favorite things, screaming goats and Game of Thrones!
I attempted to use Scratch to code some crabs (called sprites in Scratch) moving back and forth across a beach. I had an image in my head of what I wanted them to do so kept coding until I got them to the point I envisioned. This is a quick summary of what went into coding the two crabs moving back and forth on the beach.
I started by just coding one crab moving to another specified spot along the x axis while keeping the y axis the same (to show it moving in a straight horizontal line). I added some sound with the movement and then a word bubble. After I figured out how to get it to move from one spot to another, I added some more code to have it keep moving along that x axis across the beach. It took me a while (not to mention a lot of code) to get the crab to move all the way from one side to the other and then back again. I was surprised how much code it takes to make such a small movement. But I guess it makes sense as the computer will only do exactly what you tell it to do.
Once I accomplished that, I decided I wanted to add another crab. To do this, I had to duplicate the first crab by right-clicking on the crab sprite and clicking “duplicate”. This created another crab with the exact same code. I wanted this crab to be located at a different spot on the screen, so I had to go through each motion code block of the duplicated code and change the y axis so the second crab would be “higher” up on the background. I also wanted this second crab to start at a different spot than the first one so they weren’t in unison. To accomplish this, I had to rearrange the code a bit so that crab #2 started at a different spot along the x axis.
Here is a bit more detail about my code:
I learned a lot about how to use Scratch as far as adding code and duplicating sprites. One of the biggest lessons I learned during coding, is that it would be way quicker and easier to perfect one sequence of code before trying to replicate it. For example, in my code, I should have figured out exactly what I wanted the crabs to do each time they moved before duplicating blocks of code. I did things the hard way and decided to add the “pop” sound after I had already coded everything, so I had to insert that block over and over after each movement. Another big takeaway from this exercise is that when it comes to coding, you have to think in as simple and uncomplicated steps as possible. You have to remember that the computer is incapable of guessing your intentions so if you forget one little command in the code, the computer can’t fill in those blanks (like a word processor would). Feel free to try my program and/or manipulate the code.
I think Scratch is an amazing program with so many capabilities. I know I just “scratched” the surface of what a person could do on it. I think that it is something where the more you use it, the easier it becomes. I’m sure there are ways to save blocks of common code that you could reuse for new projects so you don’t have to start from “scratch” every time. I didn’t do a ton of exploring as far as the different sprites and backgrounds available, but I know there are lots there.
From an educator’s perspective, I think Scratch and other similar coding programs are invaluable when it comes to their benefits for kids. At one time, this sort of technology was only available to actual computer programmers. But with free online versions, such as Scratch, available to anyone, everyone can try their hand at coding programs. Other programs such as Hour of Code are perfect for younger grades and provide the scaffolding necessary to work their way up to more advanced programs like Scratch.
The skills that are developed while coding are so unique and help kids think in completely new ways. Coding is similar to composing music and they share a lot of benefits. I noticed that writing my code and running the final program reminded me of composing and playing a piece of music.
Besides all of these benefits, coding is fun! What kid doesn’t love playing computer games?
My family and I want to dedicate this bonus origami shape to all of the grocery store employees (clerks, unpackers, shelf stockers, etc.), careworkers (nurses, doctors, pharmacists, technicians, custodians, etc.), teachers, kids, parents, and anyone/everyone doing their part to social distance who are affected by this moment in history (so basically the entire world!). The area I live in has been doing a bit of a social distancing scavenger hunt where people hang hearts in their windows or on their doors.
My children and I wanted to participate and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to use what I’ve learned during my learning project to spread some love and positivity in my community, including my online community.
As a future high school biology/science teacher, it will be extremely important for me to help students develop digital literacy skills. Technology and science go hand-in-hand so having a solid foundation of digital literacy will serve students well in their science classes. Students in any class will naturally come from a diverse range of backgrounds and belief systems, often adopted or passed along from their parents. As Camila Domonoske points out in It’s Easier to Call a Fact a Fact When it’s One You Like, people are more likely to believe an opinion statement if it aligns with their political beliefs. The same is true for kids and the beliefs they are exposed to in their homes. Students often mirror the opinions they hear from their parents and when students’ parents don’t have digital literacy skills, it’s important to help students understand why they need to develop those skills.
To help students understand how to become digitally literate and stop the spread of fake news, I would start by having students practice looking critically at where they are getting scientific information from. Everytime they find a source of science information or news, they should be asking themselves lots of questions such as:
Who funds/runs the site?
What do other reputable sources have to say about the site/source?
Does the information sound correct or outlandish/extreme?
Why is this information considered important?
Who is being privileged by this information?
Who is being silenced by this information?
The TedEd video How to Choose Your News offers a few more suggestions on how students can critically consider the legitimacy of information. One fantastic suggestion is instead of using the article that interprets scientific results, students could use the actual original material or data. The video also suggests reading coverage from many different outlets or sources instead of just relying on one. And one suggestion that I think might be most important when it comes to digital literacy is teaching students to verify news before spreading it.
I would also introduce students to concepts such as clickbait and pseudoscience that “fake news” sites use to manipulate readers. Media Literacy for Citizenship includes these types of misleading news in their 10 Types of Misleading News graphic. Science students should be well aware of the pseudoscience fake news that spreads like wildfire, especially when it comes to hot topics such as vaccinations and climate change. An example of a pseudoscience website, that even Facebook has banned, is Natural News. Sites like this spread misinformation and conspiracy theories that some students may believe and share on social media.
Data analysis images such as graphs are a big part of science and interpreting scientific information. Teaching students how to properly read graphs is an important skill as science students. It is quite surprising how misleading graphs can be when not read correctly. The TedEd video How to Spot a Misleading Graph does a great job of explaining how graphs can be misleading and sources of misinformation.
Using digital tools such as blogs and online forums to research, interpret, and express scientific information can intersect with the NCTE framework by encouraging development of writing and discussion skills. There are a multitude of technology education tools that can help students make connections between social and physical sciences while increasing both language arts and digital literacies. These are not exclusive of one another.
The Saskatchewan Science 10, Health Science 20, Environmental Science 20, and Biology 30 curriculums (and others, I’m sure) state that “[t]echnology should be used to support learning in science when it is pedagogically appropriate; makes scientific views more accessible; and, helps students to engage in learning that otherwise would not be possible”. The curriculums discuss how technology should be used to support student inquiry but must also be “based on sound pedagogical practices”. The inclusion of digital literacy with science education in the curriculum is a clear indicator that science teachers need to know not only how to incorporate technology into the science classroom, but how to teach students to be responsible digital citizens through digital literacy and the ability to spot fake news.