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.
I was determined this week to branch out from YouTube and find a new resource for learning a new shape. A few weeks ago I had attempted to use Pinterest as a resource but struggled finding good instructions. Last week I heard about an origami instructional app from the Apple Store (I can’t remember the name of the app). I use a Chromebook so I knew I couldn’t use it, but it gave me the idea to search for something similar that I could install on my computer. Aha! A quick search of the Google Play Store led me to various origami apps.
This app is explicitly devoted to animal origami (which I’m not sure if you’ve noticed is my favourite type of shape to fold). The app is pretty bare bones so it’s very easy to use. There is a pretty extensive menu of animal shapes to choose from.
I tried a few at the request of my youngest son (giraffe, elephant) but I wasn’t happy with how they turned out.
In the end I decided to give the crow a chance. I love all birds in the Corvus family (crows, ravens, magpies) as they’re so smart and I’m always reading about these incredible behaviours that they have. Seriously, if you’re curious, Google crows. They’re truly fascinating!
The instructions on the animal origami app were fairly simple. There is no sound at all. There are just simple animations for each fold. The interface is pretty simple with just six buttons you can use for controlling the play and speed of the animations.
Sometimes I found the animations a bit difficult to follow once the folds got a bit more complicated. In those cases I just had to play those steps multiple times until I completely understood what to do. I like that there is a lot of choice as far as animal shapes go, but a lot of the shapes require having solid coloured paper to truly get the full effect. I only have patterned paper so for my crow, I tried to find the least-patterned piece in the darkest colour.
I decided to make a step-by-step infographic to teach others how to fold an origami crow. The program I used is called Canva (this blog post title finally makes sense!). I’ve used this program a few times before to make posters and birthday invitations. I use the free version but there is a pro version you can buy that I’m sure has many more capabilities and has lots of stock images. The free version does everything I need it to do plus it has a lot of templates you can choose from.
I chose a tutorial type of template and just formatted my step-by-step photos. There were quite a few steps/folds so to fit them all in I had to make the pictures pretty small. It’s pretty clear that an infographic isn’t the best way to teach folding origami. I know this first-hand as my previous experience on Pinterest with these sorts of instructions proved to be useless. For origami, it is my experience that video instructions are definitely the best. But I wanted to try something different, so an infographic is what I did! You’ll have to excuse my unclear folding instructions as it’s really hard to put into words the steps for folding origami.
In case it’s hard to see in the poster, here is what my crow looked like in the end.
This week I reverted back to the animal theme that I have visited over and over. Spoiler alert! The first shape I attempted this week was extremely difficult. I think I’m going to save it for one of my final weeks as a finale shape. I didn’t document folding it and it was way too difficult and took too long for me to fold for me to do another one. I’ll just leave it here by saying that it’s the greatest of all time…
Okay so back to the shapes I folded for this post. I thought I would do a couple of shapes that included some ink enhancements to add to their cuteness. The first shape I completed was a dachshund. The YouTube user that posted this video is El Origami.
This video was comparable to a lot of the videos I’ve used in the past. The music was upbeat and the video was nice and clear. There were no illustrations of the folds but this shape wasn’t too difficult so it was easy enough to follow along. As shown in the video, I added the little nose and eye to make it look like a little dachshund which I think really finished it off. It’s pretty adorable and I think I might give it to my son’s sitter who has a dachshund of her own.
The second shape I folded this week was even cuter! The most adorable penguin, complete with eyes and a little yellow beak. As soon as I saw this shape I just knew I had to fold it. If I had solid blue paper like the paper used in the video I think it would have been even cuter but the paper I had worked just fine. This video was posted by OrigamiAko who appears to have some really nice holiday-themed shapes on their channel. The video is completely silent although there were some captions that randomly pop up giving directions. Two elements to this video that I appreciated were a photo of the finished product in the corner (so you could always see what you are working towards) and the folder often points to the corner you’re folding and where you’re folding it to to give a heads up to the next fold. These little elements help a surprising amount when doing these shapes.
I didn’t formally document the folding of the penguin as I didn’t think it was necessary but I’ve included an Adobe Spark video that I made of the folding of the dachshund and the final penguin. I had completely forgotten that I had previously used Adobe Spark in a different class so was pretty excited to use it for this week. It’s really easy to use. It’s pretty limited in its function but for doing a nice little slide show, I think it works pretty well. Oh and you’ll have to excuse Finn and Kylo Ren peeking out in the pics. I was using one of my son’s Star Wars books as a folding surface.
It was fairly easy to find Brooke on these social media / websites by just doing a Google search of her name. In fact, the first page of the Google search brought up each of the sites listed above.
The information Brooke has shared on these websites informed me where Brooke is from, her physical appearance, some of her likes and hobbies, and the musical instruments she plays. Based on what I saw on these sites, I would assume Brooke is responsible, friendly, a loyal friend (the same group of friends were featured multiple times), and that Brooke loves her family a lot. She appears to have been very involved in her school and is creatively inclined. It is also very obvious that Brooke is looking forward to being a teacher. I would definitely trust Brooke and, after doing an online search of Brooke, would not hesitate for a second to hire her.
Doing this activity helped me understand how much one can glean about a person based on their digital identity. I don’t think Brooke uses social media in anything but responsible ways, but I was able to find out quite a bit about her.
While searching Brooke’s profiles, I began to reflect on my own digital identity. I don’t spend a ton of time on social media as I legitimately don’t have the time to be on my phone. I also have made an effort to limit my personal screen time. I’m totally okay with not being super visible online as I grew up in a time without smartphones and social media so it is not something that has been ingrained in me as important or even all that necessary. I have become a lot more active on Twitter since starting my education degree and a lot less active on Facebook. Facebook has always been where I shared personal information (to a lesser extent as I’ve gotten older) but since starting school I’ve been more inclined to avoid “rocking the boat” and share less about myself. I have a lot of strong opinions when it comes to political or environmental issues but I really do not like arguing with Facebook “friends” about these opinions and so have opted to just not share them.
I could definitely relate to Nicole Lee’s article regarding having multiple online identities. Although I have never had multiple identities on any one social media site (i.e., two Facebook profiles, two Twitter handles, etc.), I do have different identities from Facebook to Twitter (the two social media sites I use the most). As mentioned earlier, Facebook is private and my Facebook friends are people in my private life. Twitter is where I am building my PLN and so 99% of my followers on there are in my school/professional sphere. I agree with boyd in Lee’s article that “[d]ifferent events involve different segments of your network and involve different protocols and behaviors. The same is true online.” I have no problem keeping these parts of my life separate, because as mentioned earlier, I don’t place a lot of importance on my digital identity. As I build my PLN on Twitter, I anticipate the importance I place on my digital identity will change.
I briefly touched on why I don’t like debating online when it comes to my personal opinions. As Ted Ronson mentions in his TedTalk, women have it much worse online than men. As he states, “ when a woman gets shamed, it’s ‘I’m going to get you fired and raped and cut out your uterus’”. This is pretty extreme and I have never received any sort of backlash even close to this, but I do believe that women are treated way worse online than men are. Thus I would rather avoid the day-ruining comments and replies that I have gotten in the past from people I hardly/don’t know. An example of this just recently happened to me. I replied to an RCMP tweet on Flag Day mentioning the importance of remembering First Nations peoples for whom the Canadian flag means something completely different than us settler-descendents. Immediately I began receiving replies full of racism and bigotry. Even though these comments were from people I don’t know and will never meet, it still really bothered me to the point where I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I eventually deleted the tweet as I didn’t want to attract anymore negativity to my day. Some people really enjoy this sort of online debate, but I’m far too sensitive and internalize a lot of it so it’s just way healthier for me to avoid even starting anything.
Grace and I had the following conversation this week where Grace was acting as the teacher and I was acting as a concerned parent. In this scenario, I was worried about my daughter being featured in a YouTube video for a social studies project. As the parent, my biggest concern was regarding safety and control over who could watch the video. Grace outlined the security settings on the video and that anytime students had access to it, they would be monitored very closely. Grace explained to me why it is important for students to be exposed to technology such as this and linked it to teaching them about digital citizenship. She also provided a link to the Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools document.
Although my sensationalist comments about perverts getting off on watching little kids on YouTube seem extreme and are obviously exaggerated for the purposes of this assignment, as a parent myself, it is not all based in fiction. My husband and I have restricted our children’s exposure on YouTube for reasons similar to these. Although we would never not allow them to be visible on a school YouTube video, when it comes to their friends’ YouTube channels, we have maintained a pretty strict policy. We do not have control over the security settings that other children may or may not have set on their channels. Although we completely trust that their parents are monitoring their YouTube activity, we’d much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to our own childrens’ online safety. I think it’s important for both teachers and parents to be diligent about online safety. As long as the proper protocols are followed and security settings are all in place, there is no reason that teachers can’t use technology, such as YouTube, in the classroom.
For my learning project this week, I decided to try a Tyrannosaurus Rex – a shape that I found a few weeks ago that I really wanted to try but was a bit scared off by its tiny arms. I found a video that folded a version of the T. Rex with fairly easy-to-fold arms so thought I’d give it a shot. The video is on YouTube and is by YouTube user PPO. The video tutorial was pretty good. It has some catchy music and has clear video of the folder’s hands making all the folds.
I thought this would be a good shape to use a bigger piece of paper with and since I still have not bought bigger paper (by now I think I might just call a spade a spade and say buying bigger paper is just not gonna happen), I thought I would just use a piece of construction paper and fold then cut it to make a square. Unfortunately the construction paper that I have does not fold well at all so I had to scrap this plan and use my trusty 6” x 6” paper that I’ve been using all along. I was reading one of Richelle’s blog posts where she gave some tips and tricks on using tutorial videos and one of her suggestions was to watch the video at 3/4 speed so it’s easier to follow along. Previously I had always been pausing and starting the videos so I could keep up with the folds but this week I tried Richelle’s suggestion and it worked pretty good. Thanks Richelle!
I had some issues with the head (throwback to my issues with folding the crane head and the hammerhead shark head) and made a few mistakes along the way that could easily be undone (it didn’t have a tail for a short while).
This week I decided to make a video of me folding the T. Rex. I used a program called Filmora to edit the video. I’ve used Filmora a few times before. It’s probably my favourite video editor as it has a ton of really neat effects and is really user friendly once you figure it out. It has lots of music options and really cool transitions for photos. Plus I like how it has video and audio layers that are easy to edit independent of one another. Unless you upgrade, it does have a watermark on the finished product, but I don’t think it takes away from the final video. I also had some issues trying to crop the video so there wasn’t a bunch of carpet in the background which is why it jumps around a little bit – I split the video before cropping so attempted to crop each part of the video the same which was next to impossible. Oh well – I’ll say it was on purpose to make the video more visually interesting…
I ended up folding two T. Rex’s. As per usual, I folded the first one the wrong way so the plain, white side of the paper was facing outwards. I learned my lesson on the second go around. These are my two T. Rex’s together.