ECMP 355

And That’s A Wrap!

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I can easily say that this learning project was by far my most favorite assignment I have EVER received in my four years of education.

When I began this learning journey, I mentioned that I had a list of multiple things I have always wanted to learn. I would scroll through Pinterest and constantly pin recipes I wanted to cook, scarves I want to crochet, paintings I want to replicate, make-up looks I want to try, etc. But never made time for ANY of it. My Pinterest boards were building and building, but I never gave myself the time to actually spend time learning any of these skills I so badly wanted to learn. This learning project was the exact excuse I needed to finally get started.

Now that I have spent multiple weeks learning to crochet, I can honestly tell you that I picked the right skill to learn from my list. I can say with confidence that crocheting is something I will continue to do, even though this learning project assignment is complete (this is both because I love it, and because I now have a cupboard in my place full of yarn that needs to be used). I find crocheting to be extremely relaxing and it is now my go-to for a relaxing evening. As a person who also has a really hard time sitting though an entire movie, I found this is my way to sit with my family to watch a movie while also feeling productive as I crochet away. I love the feeling I get when I can look and see what I, myself, have created.

As the purpose of this assignment was to engage and learn from technology, I thought I would give myself a little survey to see what I learned about myself and what I learned from technology.

I do not learn from: Reading 

In the beginning, I skimmed a few blogs which tried to teach crocheting from written instruction and diagrams. I honestly could not learn from these at all. One of the major issues I had with learning from written text was that they would offer instructions using terms that I had never even heard of. Even with diagrams or images, it didn’t compare to actually having someone point to the term they are talking about and seeing the motions instead of trying to replicate what I think they mean.

I learn best from: Watching Videos 

I love watching videos: everything about videos. I learn best from videos because they give met the visual assistance that I need. I love that I can watch what they are doing and follow along with them. I feel like it also taught me so much more because I was about to learn about terms and different methods that much quicker. There is also tons of videos, so i was able to watch numerous ones until I find ones that worked perfect for me.

 

What I look for in a good teaching video: Repetition & Exaggerated movements

When I learned the best was when the creator of the video did very exaggerated movements. When she was doing these movements, though extreme, I was able to follow along SO much easier then if they quickly did small, little movements. I also learned best when the crocheter would continue to the stitch over and over, allowing me to follow along through the whole process. That way I still had someone to keep me on track, even after I thought I had it down-pat.

What will make me shut off a video: Rushing & Fast-forwarding 

I really struggled to learn from instructors who rushed through their videos. Especially when I was beginning to learn, the rushing really got me frazzled and thrown-off. They would often do a few stitches and then fast forward through the remainder of the row until they finished- this often left me lost and in the dust.

Where is the best place to look for advice/help: Crochet Bloggers 

When I had questions or issues, I learned best from visiting top crochet blogs. I liked learning from these individuals, because they provided straight forward answers that always worked. They knew from experience and I always had success following their advice.

Where is the worst way to look for advice/help: Crochet Discussion Forms 

While I enjoyed that crocheters came together a “tight-knit” community (hehe), I really struggled to actually learn from these discussion forms.  Whenever I needed an answer, I
wanted one RIGHT NOW. I did not want to surf through question after question until I found one which actually related to my issue. I also found that with so many crocheters giving their opinions, there was often numerous different suggestions provided. This made me feel overwhelmed as I tried to select what method I thought would work best.

Overall, I had a very positive learning experience. I learned not only how to crochet, but how to learn online. This well help not only me in the future, but my students as I gained a better understanding of how technology can help them learn in the classroom. I have come so far, as both a crocheter & digital educator.

 

Thanks for following along in my journey of becoming a crocheter!

– S

 

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So… What Have I Learned?

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I can’t believe that another semester has come to an end.  

I have learned so much from my ECMP class. From how to screen shot something, the simpler way to make a blog post, how to tweet, to learning to use padlet, how to make a screen cast, and much more. Not only has this class taught me ways to use technology, but it has also deepened my understanding of what exactly educational technology is and why it is so important. In this class I learned about digital citizenship and why it is so important to educate our students on the topic. I learned about PLNs and how to be in charge of my own digital identity. This class has equipped me with so many amazing resources to incorporate into my classroom and has provided me with the understanding of why educating students on technology is important.

I want to give a huge thank-you to Katia Hildebrant for taking away my fear of technology and making me a confident, tech-savy teacher. And also a big shout-out to all my ECMP classmates, who offered support, encouragement and ideas all throughout the way!

With all that being said, I am excited to share the project my classmate, Brittany Jefferson, created that summarizes our learning in ECMP 355!
(FYI, we used Video Scribe to make the video- check it out, it’s super cool). 

 

Thanks for joining my on my ed-tech journey!

-S

How I Helped Out My Fellow Teacher-Friends

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For our final blog post we are to share how we contributed to the learning of others in our ECMP 355 class.

I will be honest in saying that this prompt gave me 2 feelings: 

  1. Awkwardness: I really don’t know if I contributed to the learning of others that much…Like I would like to think I did… I tried… But I don’t know how helpful my non-tech-savy self really was to anyone… I feel I was more the poor, confused soul that people had to help.
  2. Regret: You know when Katia mentioned at the beginning of the year that this would be a blog post topic and that we should be recording all of the times we help others out? Ya… take that advice.

I actually did try to help out my classmates as much as I could. I will admit that as a not very tech-savy person, this wasn’t as much help as some classmates gave. I wasn’t able to help out too much with tech issues, but I feel I contributed to the learning of others by offering words of encouragement for learning projects or sharing resources on Twitter. I would say that Twitter was probably the platform I used the most to network with others, as I found it the easiest to interact and use!

I figured I would break it down in to a few of the ways I contributed to the learning of others in class!
(I also apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures, I think they may appear a little blurry for some reason?)

  1. Offering Encouragement: 
    Now I recognize that this may not be directly helpful to the learning of someone, but I think that offering support to someone as they begin a new task is always motivating! I tried to do this by commenting on my classmates blogs when they shared their learning projects or replying to their posts on Twitter!

  2. Providing Solutions:
    This is one of the rare moments that I was actually able to help someone with a tech-related question. Though I did not have too much knowledge about tech coming into class, I was always willing to share what little I did know. I actually ended up helping out classmates in person more than online. I would find that when a group of us were together, questions would often come up and I was able to help out right then & there.

  3. Networking With New Educators:
    I used different hashtags on Twitter (such as #elemchat or #sasked) to interact with different educators! Whether I shared an educators post, inquired about a resource they shared, or replied to one of their tweets- I was able to network with some great individuals!  From this process I was actually invited to talk about my internship on an educators blog from the States- I know right, sooooo cool…

  4. Providing Valuable Resources: 
    I used Twitter a great deal to share resources! I would use Pinterest to find resources I thought would be helpful to share, re-tweeted tweets that had great ideas, and would be sure to tag people if I thought a resource could help with their learning project! For one of my blog posts, I also did some research and created a list of Google Chrome Extensions I thought my fellow educators would find helpful.

  5. Interacting with Peers
    I interacted with my peers in a few different ways. From asking for their opinions in making decisions for my learning project, discussing with other crocheters about different techniques to try, sharing their posts for others to see, replying to their questions on Twitter, voting on their blogs, or conversing through #saskedchat, I was an avid participant in our class!

6. Sharing My Knowledge With Others 
As I have said, I would not have previously considered myself to be great with technology; however, when I began to learn a few tips n’ tricks, I was eager to share with whoever I could! I would use some of the new resources I learned about in presentations for my other classes , like padlet or powtoon, which would spark their interest and desire to add these resources to their own tech-toolbox.  I would also reach out to some of the educators from my internship placement, and share with them resources I knew would work well in their class.

Overall, I have really enjoyed this ECMP class. I have learned so much- and actually quite confident using technology in the classroom moving forward! It’s not as scary as it seems people.

Thanks for your support & encouragement, everyone! I look forward to staying in touch and continuing to see the great #edtech resources you share!

-S

Social Activism… What’s That?

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This week my class was tasked with diving a little but into social activism, questioning if it could be meaningful and productive online. For those of you who may be a little unsure what exactly social activism is, it’s intentional actions with the goal of bringing about social change. Basically any cause you feel strongly about, and participate in some way to bring change for that cause-  you are being a social activist.

How can you be a social activist online, you ask? Well let me bring you up to speed. Unless you have hidden yourself away from any form of social media for the last year, you have probably heard of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This is a social activist movement. Activists use this hashtag throughout social media to raise awareness for the Black Lives Matter cause. By using this hashtag on posts, articles, videos, etc. they are spreading their hashtag, causing people to see this hashtag and likely explore it further. There are tons of other examples, like the #idlenomore movement, or #notmypresident. 

Not only cause people use hashtags to be social activists, but simply by raising awareness of causes by turning it loose to the people of the internet and letting it be spread world wide. I remember in my grade 12 year  “Kony 2012” was a huge thing. It was all anybody was sharing on Facebook and it quickly spread throughout school. Our school actually ended up doing a fundraiser to send funds the the organization. So if you were to ask me if I think social activism can actually be productive; I would say yes. However, I think that this is not the case with every situation. I know of many individuals who posted a video for the ALS ice bucket challenge, but didn’t donate (which was the entire point of the video…) So while the videos spread throughout the internet and were definitely viewed by thousands of people, how many of those individuals actually donated money to the cause? 

This is where the idea of “Slacktivism” comes into play. Basically slacktivism means that instead of actually doing an action for a cause, we are slacking and think we are making a change by simply tossing a hashtag on the end of our posts. So while I agree that social media can definitely be used to raise awareness for cause, I think it is not always the best course of action.  

How much are we actually doing when we share a post online? Is putting a hashtag at the end of our tweet enough? Just something to think about!

I would love to hear your thoughts on social activism!

– S

My Wavy, Chunky-Knit Blanket

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I have always been in love with those huge, chunky knit blankets you see on Pinterest. Those massive, comfy-cozy blankets that are just made to curl up in and watch Netflix in. However. Whenever I see those blankets in the store, they are like way above what my little student-budget can afford. So as I have now finished my scarf, I decided I would attempt to make one of these chunky- knit blankets of my own.

After some searching online, I fell in love with this pattern I found on Mama In Stitch’s Blog. Its comfy. Its chunky. Its cozy. Its everything I was looking for. I headed out to the wonderful Walmart where I bought some chunky balls of wool (I actually didn’t know that there was actually specific “chunky” wool, so I was pretty psyched when I came across it). I bought two skeins (that’s the fancy word for “balls of wool”, FYI) and thought that would be more than enough. Ya…I was wrong. So very wrong. I am maybe 1/10 of the way done my blanket, and am halfway through my second skein. Hopefully good-old Walmart has a few more of my color on hand. Anyways. I also bought a new hook, this one is a 10mm (N), where I was previously always using a 5.5mm (I) hook. I love this new hook. I find this project is going by 10 times faster, as the stitches it makes are pretty much double my original sized stitches. So far I am loving the look of this blanket. It is coming along nicely, and thanks to a new season of Scandal being released, I was able to get quite a bit started.

However, as I now have quite a few rows done, I have noticed a problem. As I have previously only done smaller projects, I never really considered counting stitches to be very important. I have now come to learn that that was a HUGE mistake, and one which I deeply regret. As you can tell, I have obviously added and forgotten stitches as I crocheted the rows, leaving all my rows with different number of stitches. This has left my rows my rows very uneven, creating a ripple/wavy edge along my blanket. I was planning on just trying to fold the edges in and crochet them secretly into the blanket, but when I was searching, I came across this video I hope will help me fix it when my blanket is complete.

 

 

Or if anyone has any ideas on how I could possibly fix this, let me know! I have debated pulling all the rows out to fix it, but I worked so hard I would really rather not, so I am hoping I can come up with something at the end!

Keep checking back for progress on my wavy-chunky knit blanket!

Thanks guys!

  • S

My Encounter with Flappy Bird

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When we were given the task of coding, I thought this would be a cake-walk of an assignment. I consider myself a fairly techy- person, and will say I was not very intimidated with when faced with the Frozen and Flappy Bird Coding Programs on the Coding Website.

I decided to stick with the Flappy Bird program.  It somewhat reminded me of the “video games” from my childhood where you had to blow on the rectangular game before you stuck it  into the good old Nintendo slot (don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about, we all did it).

When I first started out with the first few coding programs, I will admit I was pretty unimpressed. The top of the screen literally told you which codes to attach, and all I had to do was click a button. As you can see, I whipped through the first code pretty quickly, and this momentum carried throughout the next 5 codes. While I understand that this program is obviously for kids, right now I am currently viewing it as more “practice of following instructions” rather than actually coding (mind you, I am still not 100% what coding all entails, so this could be it for all I know).

(Also, the following links throughout my post will take you to a google doc recording of my coding experience. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to actually save the recordings as files to input- sorry!) 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9axANeeEtXBTXB6eTk0bWRNWFU/view

When I reached the fifth stage of coding, I still found it quite easy. They had a few different options of coding you could choose which was interesting. At this time in the coding, you were now able to make a few changes to different aspects of the game, and make it more your own. I honestly didn’t get too crazy with the changes, but it did make the game a little more engaging, and felt like I was actually able to control some aspect of the game other than just clicking.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9axANeeEtXBUnpGR1dmMEowWHM/view

Flappy Code 8 is what got me. I again entered this stage with the cockiness I had as I flew through the previous 7 stages. I whipped the codes into place and clicked the run button to move onto the next stage. This is when the “Game Ended” pop-up appeared. Seriously? I chucked the codes in the right place, what is the problem? Again, I clicked the run button because in my tech-savvy brain obviously the game had made an error. Nope. The annoying little “Game Ended” box appeared again. Below is a little clip showing you about 1/20 of the time I spent trying to beat this level of code. I honestly have no idea what to do. I tried changing all the codes around, adding more codes and taking way others. All of my attempts were unsuccessful, and after about 20 minutes of trying to get that damn little birdy to fly, I gave up. I am sad to admit, I was defeated by flappy bird.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9axANeeEtXBTFoyYzNOdWFUQms/view

Overall, I guess I feel like I haven’t had enough experience with coding, or heard enough about it to form my opinion yet. My first impression of it was that it was more like an opportunity for students to follow directions rather than actually create anything. What I did like about coding was how your ability to be creative increased as your progressed. When students reach the higher levels and are able to make changes to the game that they can actually see, that is when I think coding is a wonderful idea.

Again, I am not familiar enough with coding to actually decide on its importance for students. I think technology is growing in the world everyday, and is quickly becoming essential to everyday life. I am not sure if I think coding skills are crucial for students, but I do think having basic technology skills are.  I grew up going through school, life and university all without the knowledge of coding and I would say my lack of knowledge did not limit me in any regard. However, while I may not think coding is crucial for participating in society, it does provide other opportunities that I do think are really important. I think coding gives students the opportunities to be creative and to work on inventing and designing different programs. I love this because it has the immediate “action and cause” effect, where students can immediately see the results of what they code. As I was trying to build up my knowledge of what coding was, and why it is important for students to learn, I came across a really wonderful article by Tynker that gave some great ideas on why coding is awesome for kids to learn.

I would love to hear about your opinions of coding, and your first experiences with it! I would be happy to learn some new information and gain understanding of why you love the program!

 

Thanks,

  • S

Lets Get Googling

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Write about something you are interested in related to Ed Tech. That is what we were tasked with writing about for my ECMP class this week. When I read the prompt for this week, I was excited and relieved- this was going to be such an easy post, I have tons of ed tech ideas I’d love to explore. I immediately went to my Tech board on Pinterest to choose my topic. Google Classroom. Powtoon. Classroom Blogs. Maybe choosing one topic wouldn’t be as easy as I thought…

After some thinking, I decided I was going to explore Chrome Extensions. I figured this was my sneaky way of being able to talk about numerous programs at one time. I actually wasn’t even aware that you could add extensions to Chrome until my professor, Katia, introduced me to Screencastify and Clipular (which are wonderful apps by the way; actually life changing).

Anyways, I decided to explore different Google Chrome Extensions that would be beneficial to have in a classroom! Whether they are great for teachers or students, there are some great resources at your fingertips!

Without further ado, here are…

My Top 5 Google Chrome Extensions

 

1 Goo.gl URL Shortner Extension
So just like the name suggests, this chrome extension shortens your URL link into something much smaller and shorter.  I know there are many other sites that do this as well, like tiny.cc. But what is cool and different about Goo.gl is that it also allows you to turn these massive links into QR codes. These QR links are wonderful and allow students to simply scan the code with their mobile device or IPad and takes them directly to the site, no typing involved!

Why is this awesome for teachers?
Well first, if you decided to just shorten the link, it makes it much easier for students to type it in and get it right! A short 10 letter link is much easier to type in than a 40 word URL filled with backslashes and random capitalized letters. But secondly, if you decide to go the QR code route- it’s even easier! And would also be a great addition to a daily five program or some other student-based activities! Check this site out for some awesome ideas on how to use QR codes in the classroom!

2. Select and Speak
This is an unreal app and should honestly be added to every teacher’s toolbar. This extensions turns text into speech. So any website you can possibly find can be read directly to you; it also allows you to select if you want  specific sentences read, or entire bodies of writing. What is another wonderful aspect of this extension is that it will read to you in different languages and allows you to change the speed of the reading as well.

Why is this awesome for teachers?

This is awesome for teachers because it is awesome for students. English as a Second Language Learners are the first group of students I thought of when I saw this app. This extension would provide two options for EAL learners: they can either build their English vocabulary by following along as an English-speaker reads, or learn quickly follow along with the class by having the text read to them in their first language.  This site would also be awesome for students with visual impairments or students who have dyslexia.

3. Screencastify
This is a wonderful tool which allows you to record your movements on your screen. You can choose to record your movements on one specific tab, or your entire desktop. With this extension you can make instructional or demonstrational videos, or engaging class presentations.  You can also make great videos, as you can see on this website which provide 14 ways to make an engaging video to show students! 

Why is this awesome for teachers?

Are you tired of running around the computer lab, jumping from child to child, trying to help them with the next step in following along? Are you bored of creating endless power points? Then this extension is for you.  Use screencastify to record your movements and create an instructional video for students to follow along with at their own pace. Use this extension to create a video filled with clips, text, ,other websites and links.

4. Newsela
Okay so this is kind of cheating because this is a google app, not an extension. But it is my blog and I can do what I want- plus it is just that awesome that it needs to be included. This site compiles news stories from multiple note-worthy news sources, and publishes them in five different reading levels from students from grades 3-12. Each article also includes assessment for students to complete. Students are able to select from school subject, age range, current events, speeches, biographies, and other topics.

Why is this awesome for teachers?

This is a great way for you as a teacher to engage students in current events and get them interested in what is going on around them. This app makes it possible for students to engage in topics that are often deemed as ‘too difficult for youth to understand’. It provides them the opportunity to educate themselves on social justice issues, develop critical thinking skills and many other areas. Check out this helpful start guide for teachers to use Newslea. 

5. Kaizena 

This extensions will save you hours. Literally. This extensions allows teachers to upload student assignments, and provide verbal feedback throughout their paper. As a teacher, you can go through the assignment and highlight specific sentences.  With the highlighted text, you can then speak, and the extension records your feedback and attaches it as a voice clip to that text. When the student reviews their paper, they are able to simply click each highlighted portion, and listen to their teachers feedback. Students can also reply written or verbal feedback to teachers.

 

Why is this awesome for teachers?

The Kaizena website states that providing verbal feedback rather is 75% faster than typing comments. That alone is reason enough to add this extension to your list of top 3 extensions. I think that I would personally provide much more feedback to students if I could talk rather than type all of my thoughts. I think it also also adds a personal feeling to the comments, as it allows students to hear your tone and adds a sense of personality.

 

Honorable Mentions: Here are a few of my other top finds of chrome extensions.

  • Share to Classroom:
    Instead of waiting and running around the classroom trying to have all of your students properly type in a website, use this extension to push a website to all of your students devices so it instantly pops up- hassle free! Shake Up Learning provides a wonderful article on how to use and introduce Share to Classroom to your students. 
  • TLDR: Too Long Didn’t Read:
    I am heartbroken that I did not find this extension when I began my university career.  Too Long Didn’t Read creates a summary of the entire article so that you can get the basic idea of the article without having to fully read. This is wonderful if you are looking for background information for a class, or looking at a new teaching resource.

  • Move It:
    This is a wonderful tool that I think should be on every working adults task bar. This extension lets you set a timer, and when the timer goes off, a simple brain break appears on your screen that gets you up and moving for a short break! I don’t think this would be super useful during a regular class day (because you are literally never sitting at your desk anyways). But I think it’s wonderful to have if you are lesson planning on the weekend, or spending hours staring at your computer screen during report card time.

I hope this post gave you some ideas for some extensions that you can add that will make your life as a teacher a little bit easier 🙂

Cheers,
– S

 

The 5 W’s of Dojo

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If you haven’t heard of Classroom Dojo- I suggest you check out this post! It is an app which I explored this week that I think would be wonderful to have in a classroom. Here are the 5 W’s of Classroom Dojo to help you decide if this is something that would work in your classroom!

 


Who
Can Use Dojo?

EVERYONE. Any teacher can use Dojo in their classroom by simply creating an account- for free! You can also have multiple classrooms on your account, so don’t worry if you have numerous classes you want to use Dojo for. Another cool feature is that you can connect to your school, and create a school-directory of sorts.

What is Dojo?

Dojo is a great class management, communication, and portfolio tool. It has tons of great features to use in your classroom- you can choose to use just one aspect of Dojo that works best for your class, or go ahead and use it for everything! Take a look at some of the main features:

 

 

  1. dojo-feedbacStudent Behaviour:

This feature allows you to record and give feedback to student behaviour. Dojo has two feedback options, either “positive,” or “needs some work.”  What I love is that you can choose to use it for only reinforcement of positive behaviour, or to monitor both positive and negative behaviour-  up to you! Dojo has listed a few examples of each behaviour that you can use, or you can also add your own examples, such as “helping others” or “blurting.” If you select that a student displays positive behaviour, you can select the behaviour they showed, and a point gets added to their character! Visa versa with the negative feedback; however, points are taken away from their overall score instead. You can also create groups of students, such as table groups, and give points to teams!

 

 

2. Classroom Stories:
One of my favourite aspects of Dojo is the story feature. It enables you to create a classroom story, which allows the teacher to post pictures or videos of what is going on in the classroom, post documents such as newsletters, and write posts reminding parents about special days, events, or what went on during the day! It is a great and easy way to keep parents informed and updated on what is going on in the classroom!dojo-sotry3. Student Mode:
Student mode allows students to post images and statuses to their own story! This is a great new feature which works wonderfully as a student-created portfolio. This feature works great for student/parents/teacher conferences, and creates student accountability for their work! Teachers also have the ability to approve posts before they can be viewed by the students’ parents.

4. Parent Communication:dojo-sotry
A great feature about Dojo is that parents are also able to create an account which allows them to monitor their child’s feedback! Dojo creates invites for the parents in the room, so all parents have to do is create an account and accept the invitation. They then have access to view their child’s individual story, as well as the class story. They can also view their students points, and see how their day is going by looking at their behaviour feedback.  Dojo also has the messaging feature, which creates direct messaging between the teacher and the parents (without actual phone numbers having to be exchanged.)

5. Other Neat Features
– Attendance- Keep attendance!
– Random– Randomly selects a student from the class list: great for picking volunteers!
– Timer- Use the timer throughout the day!

 

Why Use Dojo?

It connects teachers, parents, and students- “they can work together as a team, share in the classroom experience, and bring big ideas to life in their classrooms and homes.” Dojo is great for students, as it offers immediate feedback, and allows students to monitor this feedback throughout the day.

Where Can You Use Dojo?

One great thing about Dojo is how easy and accessible it is to use. Not only can you have Dojo favourited on your computer, you can also download the app onto your phone! If you keep your phone at your desk during the day, you can easily walk over during the day to add or take away points. This is also convenient for parents, who can download the app to their phone and have notifications to let them know when a message has been sent, or a photo has been posted to their child’s story!

When Should You Use Dojo?

Throughout the day- before school, during school, after school; whatever works best for you! Another thing I should mention is that if you have the Dojo app on your phone, you can set “quiet” hours for the app. This means that notifications for the app will be turned off during the quiet hours, and you will get them when the next day starts! This makes sure that you are not constantly being bombarded with messages or likes during your evenings, and ensures you have time to unplug after school!

 

 

class-dojo

 

It is a great app that you can use however works best for you in your classroom!

 

  • S

So, What’s Next?

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This is my cat, Avalanche, who would stare at me like this for literally hours while I crocheted.

Ladies and gentleman, I am proud to say that I have finally completed my first crocheted scarf.

Now I will admit that the entire process was not sunshine and rainbows.  There were times I wanted to throw my crochet hook and just let my cat play with my ball of yarn that he was ever so obsessed with watching. But I powered through, and can now save myself $40 by crocheting a scarf instead of buying one. (Also, I now know what every single one of my friends and family members are getting for all future holidays- what is better that a home-made scarf created just for you!?)

Anyways.

This last and final step of creating my scarf was to combine the grey strip and the white strip together to form the actual scarf itself. I can easily say that this part is what I found most challenging about the entire process. Literally you guys, I crocheted all the rows I needed and almost quit because I couldn’t get them to form a “scarf shape.”  There are a two main reasons why this struggle occurred:

  1. I miscounted the stitches: Yes, I somehow managed to miscount the number of stitches in my rows. And not just by a few, by like, 25 stitches. This resulted in the white part of my scarf being about 6” longer than the grey part. So, when I went to attach them, there was about 6” of white scarf just dangling there. (You cannot have a dangly scarf people, it looks weird.) When I googled how to fix it, there weren’t many suggestions.I guess most people took every crochet bloggers suggestion to count your stitches more seriously. I ended up overlapping the extra part inside of the scarf and stitched it in, it looks quite odd but I guess it works.  (Also, just a friendly tip: Do not count your stitches while you are watching the season finale of Greys Anatomy- it does not end well.)
  2. Apparently, no one makes a two-colored scarf: When I was searching YouTube for a video to show me how to combine my two colors, I honestly could not find one. I found tons of videos of how to combine colors by overlapping them, like attaching a flower onto of a hat, or a heart on top of a sweater, but those were quite unhelpful. I finally found a few videos attaching just strips together but struggled to find one I actually liked. Most of the videos I found made a ridge when you attached them together, and I really wanted them to attached seamlessly. But beggars can’t be choosers and I ended up doing a single crochet combination I found. It turned out okay, but I really would have rather it looked like a more natural change of colors rather than the noticeable seam.

 

Here is the final product. Overall, I am pretty happy how it turned out for my first big project. I like the overall look of the scarf, but it’s a little to short for my liking, and I want to learn a few tips and tricks to better attach my ends for future projects.

Now onto my next project!

I am stuck on what I want to tackle next. I have been searching Pinterest day and night, and have finally narrowed my list a list of 5 things I am considering for my next project. (I know 5 doesn’t really seem like “narrowing down” that much, but you should have seen my Pinterest board before…) I am hoping you will help me with deciding what I should do next! Please vote below as my indecisive personality is having one heck of a time choosing 😊

 

 

Thanks guys!
– S

Twitter Use in the Classroom

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For our ECMP 355 class, we were tasked with creating a conversation that presented likely issues that could arise regarding technology use in the classroom. 

Twitter Use in the Classroom: A Conversation between a Concerned Principal and a Tech-Savvy Teacher

By Brittany Jefferson & Sarah Munro

Administrator:

Good morning! I had some concerns brought to my attention from a few of your grade 8 parents that I wanted to talk with you about. They are worried about your use of Twitter in your class, mainly regarding privacy issues, and pictures of their child being posted online for others to see.  

 

Teacher:

Sure, I completely understand. As I am using the site primarily as a way to stay connected with parents, I am more than happy to make our feed private so that only approved parents or guardians can view what is posted!  Do you know if these parents completed the consent form for permission to post images of their child online? I am aware of a few of my students whose parents did complete this form, and I am very careful to not have them identifiable in any pictures I post. If there are more parents who have this concern, make sure they contact me and I can send a form their way.

 

Administrator:

That sounds like a great idea, I will touch base with them and let you know. Another issue I wanted to discuss was their concern regarding having their child interact unsupervised with other individuals online. They are worried about the possibilities this could create, and who exactly their child could be in contact with.

 

Teacher:

As a class we actually only have one account that the students and I both use. I use the site primarily to post updates and reminders, but the students are encouraged to use it as well. However, the students are only able to post something if I approve it first, and we always discuss the importance of thinking and reflecting on what they post before it’s submitted. Also, the students do not have access to the iPads without my permission or supervision, so I am always able to monitor their use. I really believe Twitter is a great tool to use in the classroom. Many educators use it for a variety of things. I provide resources for parents to learn ways Twitter is being implemented in the classrooms and the benefits it has.

http://www.teachhub.com/13-reasons-use-twitter-classroom

https://elearningindustry.com/15-ways-twitter-in-education-students-teachers

 

Administrator:

That sounds great, it’s obvious you have put a lot of thought into this. However, I am worried about the implications of introducing the students to Twitter. This could lead them to wanting to create a private account for their personal use, which could result in some parents feeling uneasy. I am also concerned about the potential issues using Twitter will create in our school, such as cyber bullying, inappropriate posts, or feed into a lack of social interaction with their peers.

 

Teacher:

These issues are constantly being addressed in my class as we have been learning about digital citizenship. Digital Citi

zenship prepares students to use technology in a way that is responsible and appropriate. I think many parents resort to restricting the use of technology for their kids to keep them safe, but I really focus on teaching them how to use it properly and safely.  Whether we like it or not, technology is a huge part of their lives and they need it to be successful in our society.   If any parents want to learn more about the importance of teaching digital citizenship, they can check out http://www.digitalcitizenship.net/

 

Administrator:

You seem very competent in this topic, how do you teach digital citizenship in your classroom?

 

Teacher:

I think one of the most powerful ways to teach digital citizenship is to give youth real life examples. One of the of the examples that we study is Amanda Todd. We look at clips of her stories and discuss how those decisions online impacted her.  We also look at the positive ways Amanda used technology to promote her love of singing, but we also look at how her involvement in chat rooms negatively impacted her life. We look at the consequences of her actions, and how her peers responded by cyber bullying. We also try to communicate with parents that we need to create a safe place for students to share with us what is going on with their lives. I highly recommend parents to look at the documentary of Amanda Todd. They then can begin to have a conversation about digital citizenship at home with their child.

 

Administrator:

Thank you for addressing all of my concerns. I feel much more comfortable with technology in the classroom! I think you presented some great ideas that would be really beneficial to introduce to the rest of the staff.  Have a good rest of your day!