Contribution to Learning

Hello ~

As our EDTC 300 class comes to an end (which is very sad) we are asked to make one last post to say how we have contributed to others learning throughout the semester through different platforms.

Slack:

Slack is such a great place to connect others when they are far away or even within your own classroom. As many of our classmates were not in the same city this platform made it easy to ask questions, post resources and even have a place to direct message privately. On slack you can have different “rooms” (channels) for specific reasons – these were ours:

I found slack very helpful throughout the semester. When I was stuck I was able to ask questions. And it was a great place to share resources with your fellow classmates. This is also helpful that it is private to only the people that the teacher allows into the room.

Blogs (WordPress):

I LOVE blogging now! I find that being able to share my voice on a platform that is my own is such a beneficial thing to grow my positive digital identity. I also love that Katia shared all of the class blogs with every student so we were able to follow along with others learning projects and comment on them. This helped my learning because it is great to hear feedback on your work when it’s an online class – encouragement and even resource sharing can be so helpful moving forward each week of your learning project.

Twitter:

Could Twitter really be my favorite social media app right now? Yes! Twitter is such a great place to expand your PLN and see things that are happening around the world. There is such an amazing teacher network on twitter and am so happy to be a part of it. You are able to share things in real time – videos, articles, photos. I enjoy being able to be up to date on others interests and lives in such a positive way. Twitter chats are also amazing to connect with others with similar interests. Twitter has become such an important part of my teacher and learning experience and I will continue to use it!

I am sad that this class is coming to an end but I learned so many amazing things from it that I can use within every aspect of my life.

Here is a collection of photos that outline how I contributed to others learning (click on the photo):

~Serena

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Gardening Never Ends – Summary of Learning Project

Hello!

It has finally come to the end of my learning project – well I guess not really as with my garden I will have to continue to take care of it for the weeks to come but it is time for me to explain what I have accomplished so far and what resources I have used.

An Introduction to Planting (Technically week 1 but I apparently didn’t start numbering things until next week – oops).

This week I decided that I was going to plant some varieties of plants in order to help #savethebees. I already had some supplies with my bee house and my sunflower seeds from Cheerios. This week I had not decided that I was going to be using my front flower bed yet but decided that I would be planting something.. somewhere within my yard. This week I also outlined my main goals:

  1. Research what I would need – the types of plants, type of soil etc
  2. Get the resources needed in order to plant (soil, seeds, planters/pots etc)
  3. Research where in my yard I should be planting (full sun, shade etc) for each type of plant
  4. Research how to plant these certain types of plants
  5. PLANT
  6. Research and attempt to learn how to not kill these plants, what they need to make them happy etc
  7. Maybe see some bees around my plants?

From what I know now I have achieved steps 1-6. I explain why not step 7 in my video within week 5.

Planting Week 1 – Research on Flowers

This week was my official start to my learning project. Considering I had never really gardened before I needed to do some major research. I learned about what flowers you should plant that bees would love, how to keep bees happy and plants that are helpful to bees all season long. The last article gave me the idea for some of the plants I have planted in my garden now such as bee balm, lavender, chives, and salvia. This week I also learned about bee baths and the importance for bees to have access to fresh water. I also have a bee bath within my back yard as well (underneath my bee house!). I also researched how to plant the plants I aspired to get – because I had never planted before. This week was a huge step in the right direction for my planting journey!

Chives Galore – Planting week 2

This week was went I went on my first shopping trip! I also dug through my backyard shed and found that I had 2 planters laying around. I bought 2 bags of dirt, the container for my bee bath and chives! This article was super helpful that week because I had no idea what kind of soil to buy for potting chives. I had decided to pot my chive plants because they can grow super huge and have been known to spread and take over your garden. This article also helped me learn how much to water my chives, which is a question I did need to google because I had no idea. I also hung up my bee house and set up my bee bath this week. I also received my tomato plant from my grandmother! It doesn’t seem like a lot for a week but it was a big first step for me – I got my hands and face covered in dirt for the first time!

Are you growing yet?! – Planting Week 3

This week I didn’t get much done due to the rain – because I was supposed to dig out my flower bed and make it into a lovely garden but the rain makes mud and mud can be very hard to shovel and is super messy. So instead I gave a weekly update on my chives and tomatoes and did some research. Now, it is amazing to see just how small my chives were because they are so much bigger now!! I’m a proud plant momma. I did research this week on garden centers or greenhouses in and around Regina because as an aspiring gardener I should know where to direct some of my attention and money ;). Dutch Growers, Unique Garden Center, Doorns Greenhouse, and Cedar Creek Gardens were part of my research. I found that I loved when the greenhouse had tons of information or different social media because it helped me understand what plants they had etc. This week was very informative as a consumer and I hadn’t killed my new chives yet! Hahaha.

Out with the old, In with the new! – Planting Week 4

This week was the biggest and most productive within my whole learning project so far. I dug up my old flower bed, went shopping and planted! It is amazing just how different it looks! We also were tasked with teaching the class something we learned and I made a poster on soil (I found some information for it here but I also learned about soil in week 2). I first dug up my currently cover-in-weeds flower bed (see blog post for photo). I then went shopping at Canadian Tire to buy soil (I bought this based off of a poster in Canadian Tire also because I had heard my grandma talk about it before). I decided to go to Dutch Growers because of its popularity but as a new gardener, it seemed like the best place to go as an introduction and for its variety. I spent probably wayyyy to long in there and came home with 8 different kinds of plants and a watering can. This week also introduced me to basic video editing. I used a video editing app on my phone to trim a video of my flower garden update. Here is the video from that week.

Bushes? – Planting Week 5

This was my final learning project post for the semester. Nothing too dramatic changed from last week but I did do another video update and some research to further my knowledge. I did research on how to winter some of my plants and got information from this article on how to winter herbs as I have rosemary and chives within my garden. I hope that I can keep some of my plants alive until next spring – I will have to do more research on that. Here is the final update video (which is also located in week 5):

I learned a ton from my experience with my learning project but here are some main take aways:

  1. There are so many resources online – all it takes is a google to find what you are looking for. Sometimes you have to wade through non-important articles but I’m sure you can find great things. For this learning project, there are tons of gardening articles, websites and even magazines so I was lucky to find an amazing well laid out articles on what I wanted to learn and know.
  2. Ask an expert when confused – I think that with gardening it can also be helpful to ask someone who has gardened before. My grandmother has a huge garden and I didn’t ask her many questions throughout this project but I will be going to her in the future when need be. Also, places like Dutch Growers or garden centers have employees that know their stuff so I wasn’t afraid to ask questions there when needed.
  3. Not everything is going to be perfect – I think that I had huge plans for myself when starting this project and in reality, you can’t possibly get everything done on time or things aren’t going to go swimmingly every time. Plants hold life and are living things and can be tricky when dealing with them, I’m still not sure if what I am doing is correct but it’s okay to make mistakes and be vulnerable when doing something new.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this project. I am proud of myself for being vulnerable and trying out something that can be difficult such as gardening. I will continue to expand my knowledge and my “green thumb” and continue my planting journey in the weeks, months or even years time. Thanks for following along with me.

#savethebees

-Serena

Bushes?-Planting Week 5

Hello and welcome to my last weekly update on my garden!

This week I acquired 3 new plants from my grandmother – which you can see in the video below. I got a bush, a ground cover plant, and a lettuce bed.

What was shocking was the bush as I do not know how to take care of bushes. Luckily the bush is still in a pot and is already a bit grown and it easy to take care of – just water it for now! I did read this article in order to get some basic knowledge. I will be talking to my grandmother about how to take care of it as she has the same bushes in her yard.

My plants seem to be growing well – I speak all about this in the video below.

But I realized that I will be needing a ton more information going on in my planting journey such as how do I winter certain plants? So I researched that a bit this week in order to expand my knowledge for the week. So here is an article I read about wintering herbs – I have chives and rosemary within my garden. Chives I will be able to bring inside while rosemary I may have to winter them outside (but they mayyy be able to be brought inside).

I had an amazing time becoming a “plant mother” over the course of these weeks and I will continue to nurture and grow my plants over the summer and I may even expand my garden next year.

Thanks and let’s hope I don’t kill all my plants 😉

-Serena

Did I Learn Anything? – Summary of learning EDTC300

Hello All!,

for our Educational Technologies course, we were asked to do a final summary of learning.

For my summary I decided to focus on:

  1. PLN’s and Digital Identities
  2. Resources that may be helpful
  3. Participatory Culture and Internet Safety

Here is a link to my google slide show that I made to show some of my learning.

Here is a video I made to outline my learning – I hope you enjoy! It truly was a great class!

-Serena

Can I get Toni Holiday Money? – Coding 101

Hello!

This week in our EDTC 300 course we were tasked with exploring different coding websites and beginning to learn how to code (as many of us had never coded before – myself included).

I decided to explore coding on the Hour Of Code website – this website has many activities and various different grade levels to help teach coding to the newbie or even to the advanced learner.

As a newbie myself I decided to start with a lower level so I chose a grade 2+ activity which is based on Block Code learning (basic commands and actions within a “block” format). I chose the activity/game called The Big Duck Race.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. It was fun interactive and I didn’t get confused at all. I think learning a block method first makes it easier for students – I found it easy and maybe first learning the block method and getting comfortable with it you could learn many other types of coding which Hour of Code does have! I think that coding it super important in a classroom or our children’s lives as it teaches them how to problem solve in a fun and interactive way. It can also teach them the benefits of how computer scientists or even engineers (among many careers that use coding) use math in order to create things and solve problems logically! I think that coding could be used in many different subjects within schools such as computer science, math, science, english and even art!

Here you can watch a video on my experiences with coding for the first time:

Thanks and never stop learning

-Serena

In a world that’s full of fake news…

In a world that is full of fake news… how do we teach our students or even children about the dangers of this??

Luckily, as we are taking this Educational Technologies course we are being taught (at the ripe old age of 19+) how to spot and identify fake news from all around the web. Some of us even fell for fake news articles when presented with them in class – if we can fall for them then for sure the younger generation will. Luckily, there are also many resources (videos, articles and even lesson plans) in order to teach you and your students how to spot fake news in your own online world.

This article even gives you a title that directly connects to this: How do we teach students to identify fake news? This article even has a fact sheet that teachers could put on bulletin boards or share digitally with their classes that outlines:

  • Move beyond traditional – and often ineffective – information evaluation checklists (e.g. RADCAPCRAAP, and CARS), which fall short when applied to the sophisticated tools and techniques often used to create fake news.
  • Prioritize helping students develop investigative techniques where they become familiar with information verification websites (e.g. FactsCanorgSnopes, and Hoax Slayer) and tools like Google’s “search by image” feature or the VerificationHandbook.com resource. Students can also learn about professional fact checking strategies
  • Teach students to identify bias using tools like a media bias chart, which provides a starting point for them to understand that all sources come from a particular perspective.
  • Bring real-world fake news examples that we encounter everyday into the classroom so that students can be challenged to apply their skills and techniques to authentic situations

Articles like this one are able to give teachers direct ideas and examples in order to help teach their students about the dangers of the online world and solutions – like fact-checking websites. I think this could easily be connected to an ELA activity as students will have to critically read in order to identify an incorrect/fake article provided by the teacher. Digital literacy can be directly connected to even a science project – as there are many fake websites or fake news posted about animals or the world around us. If students don’t know they are fake they may include them within their project and share incorrect information. Such as this website here – this animal does not exist, but students could easily be lead to believe it is due to the “credible” looking presentation of its website. Websites like that often make me laugh. Here is even a lesson plan if you want to use the tree octopus example in your own classroom!

What is also important when teaching students about fake news and digital literacy is the connection to emotions and worldviews – as often the internet can shock and amaze our worldviews. This comic can help teach students about the backfire effect. The backfire effect is the tendency of some people to resist accepting evidence that conflicts with their beliefs. This is demonstrated when people presented with conflicting information become even more convinced of their original beliefs rather than questioning them (definition from here). This can be seen often on the internet when people get in arguments over topics that may be sensitive (such as the slavery teeth within the comic). New information may be scary but also may be lies because people refuse to believe the truth based on the backfire effect. Like the comic says “this [fake news] is compounded by the internet, where anything can be cited as a source and every disagreement degrades into a room full of orangutans throwing feces at one another”. It may be important to teach students to be open with their worldviews and not become a part of the feces throwing because:

Source: The Oatmeal

As a teacher you may be thinking – well jeez louise Serena I really want to teach my students to spot fake news and be great digital citizens! – I have got a solution for you. There are tons (and I mean tons) of online resources for teachers and parents alike to be able to teach their students about being effective digital citizens and not believing all this fake news.

This book, by Mike Caulfield for instance, has literally tons of ways for your students to spot sponsored content, know the history of viral videos/photos, verify if a twitter account is true, finding high-quality sources, how to find out when a page was published and so many more! Have I also mentioned that it’s free and online?! I highly recommend you go check it out!

There are also lesson plans. Quizzes. Games. Videos. And so much more out there waiting for it to be taught about. Just remember to keep an eye out for fake news while searching 😉

All of this connects to many curriculum outcomes and could become cross-curricular learning such as art project, arts ed projects, science or even English as I stated above. I would start teaching students this at a younger age because they start exploring the interweb so much younger then we did and it’s important to teach them to be good digital citizens and critical readers early on!

This all also connects to the NCTE Framework as the framework outlines:

  • Develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology;
  • Build intentional cross-cultural connections and relationships with others so to pose and solve problems collaboratively and strengthen independent thought;
  • Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes;
  • Manage, analyze, and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information;
  • Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multimedia texts;
  • Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments

Analyzing multimedia texts is just what students are doing when they are trying to identify a fake news website or information. Hopefully, after learning these skills they can be more proficient with the tools of technology. Making sure your students are not sharing incorrect or harmful information can also abide by the ethical responsibilities of these complex environments.

Let us go out there and teach our students and children how to be safe and productive on this ever-growing and changing world wide web!

Be safe and don’t share fake news!

The Sometimes Scary Digital World (and Cyber Sleuthing)

Digital identity can be a complex and sometimes even scary place to be. As the internet is ever expanding there seems to be no way to control it anymore – unless you try very hard to keep your public life well, private.

This isn’t an easy task and that is why Nicole Lee in her article speaks upon why Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think. The idea that there is 1 perfect online identity can sometimes be a myth – as many people are expanding their identities to fit:

“Different sites, different audiences, different purposes,” she says. “Very simple.”

Nicole speaks about her fake Instagram account to make fun of SuperCuts and other’s in the article speak about having accounts dedicated to their love for french fries – because not everything needs to be posted on your “main” account where you try to make yourself “hav[e] a perfect feed of social moments” (Lee). This pressure of  “the lives her friends were projecting on social media trumped the reality they were privately sharing” (Fagan) is why young girls, with bright futures like Madison Holleran, often get depression or anxiety or feel judged or lonely or many other diagnoses due to the edited version of life on social media. I think as educators we need to teach our students that it is okay to have multiple social media accounts in order to “goof off” on and to release this pressure – if possible. Maybe if Justine Sacco had not posted the tweet on her own personal account she may not have been as connected to the hate that the tweet received. Not that we should teach our students to post racists tweets online but we do need to teach them the horrors of online shaming. Jon Ronson wrote a book and also has a TedTalk on this subject of public shaming. Something like Jon’s TedTalk may be good to share with students – as Jon sat down with Justine and she stated that the tweet was a joke but once something is on the internet it is very hard to get off or even state that it was a joke as you have no idea the intentions behind a tweet or even a photo. Intentions like the happiness that could be seen in Madison’s photos when in reality she was suffering with mental illness or the intentions of a joke that gets people fired like Justine. We need to also teach students to try to end the stigma attached to mental illness so more of our students can come to someone for help when they need it. As the digital world can be a scary one – but there can also be good things that come out of it.

Now onto a more positive note…

This week we were tasked with Cyber Sleuthing a fellow classmate. Me and Bruce Anderson decided to sleuth each other to see what we could find.

My first notice was when googling his name there is a professor at the University of Regina, a Saskatchewan artist, and even a Canadian politician that all share his name! The professor and artist both work/live in Regina so even googling “Bruce Anderson Regina” their names also came up!

This is the real Bruce: He has a blog page and a twitter page.

From his twitter page, I can tell that he:

  • Lives in Regina Saskatchewan
  • He is an after degree education student at the University of Regina in Middle Years Education
  • He is a father of 2 girls
  • He is learning how to bake! (for a class project)
  • He likes fishing
  • He likes to relax on boats during his long weekends! (Lucky Guy!)

As he (like many others in our class) recently joined twitter – he doesn’t have many tweets and his posts are mostly education/educational technologies related. So there isn’t a ton to sleuth about Bruce on his twitter!

Bruce’s blog tells me:

  • 2011 he finished my B.Kin with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle (now called Human Kinetics) from the University of Regina
  • He is married
  • He works a full-time job at a physiotherapy clinic
  • He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association; as well, I am a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiologists
  • He is baking for his EDTC 300 Learning project

As Bruce’s blog seems like it was also recently constructed – there isn’t too much to sleuth on there either but I will for sure be keeping up to date with his baking accomplishments! (I hope he shares some cookies as they look wonderful!)

One thing I did find out about Bruce is that he played football for the Regina Rams in 2008 and 2009! Seems like he was a pretty good player – congrats Bruce!

I think Bruce has a very professional online digital identity. He is not an over-sharer on social media. If I were in a position to hire Bruce to an educational setting I would – he seems very passionate in what he does.

Thanks to Bruce for letting me test out my sleuthing skills. Remember to be safe on the web folks!

 

Are you growing yet?! – Planting Week 3

This week I meant to get 932238298489 things done related to planting and my learning project but unfortunately did not – but I will share some updates and research that I did do this week and share what I will be doing next week!

First – Updates:

Chives:

The chives are for sure a little taller than they were last week it has officially been 11 days since they were planted in the pots and I am no expert but I think they may just survive! I really want them to grow big and strong… so I can eat them. A few of the (technically) 6 plants are thriving a tiny bit more than others as their stems look a little stronger. I water them with approx 2 liters of water every 2 days (1 liter per pot). I think that the day after I water them the soil is still moist enough and that is why I don’t water them every day. It has been very hot lately and maybe I will start to water them every day – everything I am doing is an experiment so please leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for me or if you think I am doing it wrong. I’ll take the constructive criticism!

Tomato:

My tomato plant is also thriving! I thought I had a problem with where I placed it last year as it died on me but my grandma said that it was just a bad batch as everyone’s plant in the family died too early last year – so I will keep it in the same spot for now and move it in the future if needed. It is in its growing stage and needs a TON of water but even due to the heat these past few days the soil has been staying a bit moist. I check on it every day to see if it needs water – so my watering is currently inconsistent. In the hot summer months, I will water it probably every day. I water it approx. 2-4 liters depending on the moistness of the soil and the temperature that day. It even already has some tomatoes growing on it! Those should be turning red within the next week or so! I’m excited to eat them – tomatoes are one of my favorite summer foods!

An Update on my flower bed:

This week I was supposed to turn this:

Into my new beautiful flower/garden bed but I got very busy with other life, school, and work-related tasks and did not have time to start it. I will be starting it this week though!

My goal is to take all of the rocks out of it (all of these rocks are from different trips my mom and I have taken!). Then dig up the dirt that is in it – it is dry and probably has no nutrients in it and it also grows a lot of weeds. If I were to leave the dirt the weeds would continue to take over the bed and not allow my new plants to thrive. I will then put in new dirt and plant my plants. It is probably too late into the season to grow certain seeds so I will also go hunting for pre-grown plants.

Research from this week:

I decided to research different garden places around Regina as I realized I have never been to any of them – but have heard about some on social media or the radio, etc. I hope to visit them very soon!

Dutch Growers is very popular in Regina and is one I had heard the most about.

  • Their website as a neat feature called the Plant Finder which can help you plan your flower bed or garden. With helpful features such as plant height or color!
  • You can also order plants online!

Unique Garden Center was one I had never heard of before. They had very good reviews on google. They also do landscaping services. I think this is why they are known more.

  • I enjoyed that on their website they included Information Sheets for taking care of plants etc. This could be very helpful for a new gardener like myself!

Doorn’s Greenhouse was also a place I had never heard of before. I enjoyed that they had a facebook page and would post photos of the types of plants they had and even sale items. This would be helpful to make sure you know what is in “stock” before you went to the place. This could also be an easy way to contact the place online as they do reply to their comments on posts.

Cedar Creek Garden’s is a little bit outside of the city but I have been hearing about them recently on the radio as I believe in early may they had their opening weekend for the season. Their website is very pretty and easy to maneuver. Turns out they also have a corn maze you can go visit in the fall!

  • They also have Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter pages. I enjoy this as they post frequently with updates. Photos and sale posts are also very helpful to interested buyers like myself. You may also have an easier time contacting them.

These are just a few of the many (!) gardens or greenhouses in and around Regina. I find it very helpful when places like this have a good online presence, it makes shopping decisions and research easier. Also, things like social media are great to have as free advertisements but also so consumers can see your products. I hope to visit some of these places soon! (As I am going to need plants for my flower bed!)

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