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Tech for the Littles?

I’m jumping back into the world of #edtech only now I’m preoccupied with the consideration of how best to teach our littlest learners how to navigate the online world. By school age, they know that they exist in a physical sense but would it be helpful if we begin to teach them that they also have a digital self too? An online footprint? I think so…only, how do we do it? I don’t know yet. I’m making it my mission to begin to figure this out over the next few months.

…and ya know what the best part is? I have two boys who love Youtube…I think I see a parental social experiment in their future.

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Summin’ it up, Y’all.

Fresh Faced and fancy-free I was ready for the adventure ahead but wasn’t actually sure what the course was going to have in store that I’d be able to connect to my practice and implement.

I love hashtags so we were off to the races when we introduced ourselves with hashtags that summed us up. With more detail and background we took to Google + to more formally introduce ourselves to our classmates. We were a mixed bunch with some overlap in our background but it was lovely to me that we didn’t all fit the mold.

Getting familiar with Google + was my first learning experience. I knew about it but until this course, I hadn’t had a reason to engage with it or get familiar. I referred to Google + weekly to check was was new and read the Weekly Plan but other than that I found more meaningful engagement from Twitter and the blogs.

Twitter is a place I feel comfortable now. I had an account from like, 10 years ago but I’d only posted a grand total of 5 times. It was an easy throwaway and starting an account that was about engaging and sharing with the professional community we a great reason to start a new one.

I mentioned in my post about my contribution to the learning of others but I’ll reiterate it again – I really did believe that Twitter was a soapbox on which to stand as you yelled out into the abyss of the internet. I’ve learned otherwise over the course of this class. I have found my Twitter voice and developing a professional learning network that I feel comfortable to tap into and engage with.

Blogging was something I thought other people did. I didn’t feel like I had a reason to blog. Oh, boy was I wrong. I. Love. To. Blog. Having a space to share and think through the consideration associated with learning, tech and professional life is proving to be really valuable to me.

The content of my posts has been the real culmination of my learning through this course. I have big “take away” ideas and questions about how to help guide even our youngest students toward a healthy and positive “digital identity”. The questions this course has opened up for me are ones that don’t really have conclusive answers…but that’s kind of how I like my questions – never-ending wormholes to more learning!

I wrote and reflected about changing our educational paradigms, and about how – in a broad sense- we can rethink our classroom tools. The ideas we’ve covered has been both practical and esoteric. I appreciated that I have come away with a big picture understanding of my role in tech in education and also with knowledge about what practical classroom tools are available to me.

The consideration of ones digital identity is a new one for me. In adulthood I’ve felt like the best thing I can do is to just stay off social media platforms because it always felt to me like there was a risk in putting yourself out there. This class forced me to engage. And it wasn’t a bad thing. Jumping in with two feet and starting a blog and a Twitter account opened my eyes to the positive contribution I could make to the professional learning of others in my PLN’s but also it’s helped me understand how I can control my digital identity.

Responsible digital citizenship is an interesting thing that will continue to float around in my brain as a continue to work in elementary education. When we talk about “kids being online” we often infer that we’re talking about teens or preteens who are beginning to step into the complicated world of social media and the difficulties they face navigating their online social lives. In my own practice, I work with a younger segment of the population that is still forming social bonds in person; they are not yet diving into social media. I am grateful that I’m now cognizant of what lays ahead for this crew of Littles.

 

We’ve each been asked to summarize our learning in a video. We could use interpretative dance, rap, or something more conventional but we needed to be in it – either our selves or our voices. I have never before made a video of myself chatting about one thing or another so I was completely overwhelmed about where to start. I didn’t know of any software that would or could give me what I wanted. I zoomed the interweb for about 4 days researching different styles, editing software, yadda yadda, yadda…and what I found was a program called VideoScribe. It aimed to help you produce a “whiteboard” type video. So, I produced…as best I could a summary of my learning in a whiteboard style video. It is not polished! I don’t think i have the skills to produce a polished video – yet! (I’m sticking with it and I’ve vowed to up my VideoScribe sofetware knwoledge!) What you’ll see below took me hours and hours…you probably won’t even belive it once you watch it but really it did – I tought myself the saoftware using Youtube videos (as best I cuold in the timeframe) and then blocked out with sketches how I wanted the video to flow. I made notes along teh way and refered to those as I voice over the fly through. There is a finess in the rate which with you speak and the rate with whish you have the sofeware render the drawings…taht is also something taht took hours and yet is still a work in proress.

 

Without furthur adue…

We’re in this together, right?

Ok. It’s been a trip, friends. This course has been a game changer for me in how I look at tech as a tool in education and at how digital literacy has the capacity to positively change the trajectory of a life. And I certainly didn’t come to these realizations in a vacuum behind the screen of my computer. The peeps in this course have been a fantastic resource to learn from and lean on.

Twitter is my new bestie! I love making and finding connections on Twitter now. I used to think of it as a kind of soapbox – you yell out into the abyss hoping to maybe get something in return. Not the case, obviously! The ed Twitter community is robust and active.

 

Tweeting and hearing back to perspectives of my classmates always brought a smile to my face.

 

Finding new ways to invite engagement was interesting.

 

Sharing kindness is my fav way to connect and twitter makes it easy! 🙂

 

Participating in the #edchat was fantastic, a real eye-opener. It made me realize I had a thing or two to learn about my knowledge of and technical engagement with Twitter. But it also made me realize for the first time how instant and rewarding the feedback from the Twitter-verse can be. Pandora’s box of magic!

 

Having my first shoutout by someone I followed but didn’t know personally was very sweet. Again it highlighted for me the humanity of Twitter. Real people connecting with real people.

 

Google + was a new experience for me. I referred to it a few times a week to access the Weekly Plans and check out what was happening but throughout the course, it wasn’t my go to connect with my classmates.

I stared the course by sharing my blog info and Webster and Nicole were fast friends!

 

….Bloggggggs! Alright, so I’m a convert. I used to think blogging was for other people, not me. Well, not the case anymore. I blog weekly now – course-related or not – and peeps have been lovely. What I have learned in reflecting on my blogging journey as it related to connectedness of learning is that I should have been screen capturing each comment I made. Lesson learned.

A shout-out on a classmates blog brought home the connectedness of all of learning. Seeing how others are viewing the same material can shed new light.

 

Nicole always had kind words to share and seemed genuinely interested in my journey. I was grateful to her from the start for showing support. It was really encouraging.

 

Posting a final comment on a classmate’s concluding blog was bittersweet. I was happy for the journey Nicole has had but was sad at the thought that weekly posts would likely pitter out in frequency.

 

I have really enjoyed getting to know my classmates through their blogs and Tweets. I was concerned that I would feel disconnected from my EDTC crew from way up here but that wasn’t the case at all.

Cultural Connection

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has exercises, projects, and activities for students aged 4 to 16. Parents and educators, taps into resources like this. Voice, history, and acknowledgment are steps toward reconciliation. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Integrate aboriginal content. Encourage the child questions. Be honest and if you don’t know, say so. Then do some research together. We’re all learning together.

The Toronto District School Board is engaged and moving forward progressively. Check out their resources here.

Professional Knowledge

Hi friends,

I’ve been thinking of something recently…Professional Knowledge.

What an interesting thing…to take in the world around us in…in all it’s gloriousness and misgivings and then process it in a way that contributes meaningfully to our practice. I’m really looking forward to the journey ahead. Life is fan-flippin’-tastic, isn’t it?! Not just the path I can see laid out ahead of me but in all the trials and tribulations along the way that will color and shape my practice as an educator. There is so much excitement for me in the unknown. Leap. Work hard. Trust.

Culture of Participation

I’m a baby-boom kid. Well, adult now. But what it means is I grew up as the first generation with a cell phone, the interweb, Facebook. And I Juuuuuust missed the tech boom in high school that now means students 18-24 yrs old are engaged with social media platforms about 74 times a day. If you’re 25-34, it’s more like 50 times. Neither are small numbers. In fact, if your 18-24, odds are YOU checked something – FB, Insta, SnapChat on your phone with 5 mins of waking up. And odds are you fall somewhere in this 18-34 age range.

We are officially a Culture of ParticipationIt means we have moved from a culture of consumers to a culture of participators. Michael Wesch, Cultural Anthropologist, asserts in his keynote address presented at the Library of Congress on June 23rd, 2008, An anthropological introduction to YouTubethat the rise of YouTube marked the monumental shift in social participation and engagement. By using the example of the young chap who lip-synced to a Japanese pop song into his webcam and uploaded it to Youtube Welch points to the legion of regular people who paid homage by lip-syncing their own covers. It wasn’t to mock, it was to connect. Wesch says it was really a groundbreaking moment in Youtube – an all social media – history.

Dr. Alec Couros, Associate Professor of Information and Communication Technologies at the University of Regina, speaks passionately about the useful tool social media can be for children of all ages. His children – some of whom are under 10 years old – have begun and maintain blogs. They imagine, develop, produce and curate the content. No small feat for anyone. And perhaps the nature of the tech-beast is that taking on such a task would be harder for the generations that came before the gen-Y’s. If you’ve grown your whole life “plugged-in” and “participating” then it’s assumably second nature, no? Dr. Couros cautions that for all the wonderful magic our new culture of engagement holds for its users it is rife with creeps, trolls, and unintended consequences. Buye-…poster beware!

If we want to be plugged in because it offers unique opportunities to connect but those opportunities come with an inherent risk, how do we walk this fine line in our classrooms? What is our role as educators in guiding and teaching students about responsible social-media participation? They are the ones who could teach us a thing or two about the actual platforms….so where do we even fit in the equation?

It’s All About The Angle, Baby!

Soooooooo Friends, my scarf is now more like a giant baby blanket thingy. I realize now that my desire to keep casting on because I wanted a “thick chunky infinity scarf” when I started this yellow-yarn adventure is really turning out to haunt me. Ugh. I think I’m going to love it when it’s done – not just ’cause I’ll be proud I did it myself but because I think it’s actually gonna be kind nice lookin’. I’m excited to get this one done. It’s kinda been the experiment after my initial experiment. Remember that one? The brown wallhanging. Just a beauty. If you missed it, please be my guest and take a look, it’s a ridiculous thing that came from waaaaaaay under anticipating how much yarn it would take to make a scarf. Woops. I’d like to say I’ve learned my lesson but I’m not sure that’s true.

 

So, I’m doing my MEd with SFU and the way it works is a Prof flies up (if they don’t live here) every three weeks or so and we hold court up at the college for the weekend as a cohort. Well, this weekend was one of such weekends. As my brain fills up, my hands stay busy. I get a lot accomplished on my sudo-scarf as we wave through conversations about pedagogy, leadership structures, research methodologies, and educational policy. A friend and fellow MEd student was delighted the other week when I brought my knitting in and click-clacked away for the weekend that she brought hers in too. Sitting beside me she pumped out a lovely, blue, chunky, long scarf. In 6 hours. I felt inadequate and inspired.

About noon on Saturday I reaches knot in my yarn. One I fiddled with for some time trying to loosen. Alas, in my attempt to gently tug the knot free (I know, who does that, right!?) my yarn broke. My head whipped around and I stared at my kitting-buddy with big scared eyes. Shhhhhhhoot. She laughed at me, right out loud. Then she said it’s an easy fix. And it was.

Here’s what you do, when you have about 12inches of yarn left before the break, stop and line up the two tail ends, then you knit as if they were one string of yarn. You can see below that it creates a little bit of a thicker knit but my holy-scarf-thingy if full of character already so it doesn’t bother me one bit.

Ya know what…now that it’s on my screen…turns our you can hardly tell where the chunky, double yarn bit is. Awesome!

 

Another super fun knitting detail this week was scoring a tiny cute knitting (supposed to be for books, I guess!?) canvas bag from Coles. Yay.  #HappinessIsInTheDetails

And this is what I wanted to show you. She looks good, right? I sweet little sudo-scarf….

Well, think again. From another angle all her “character” shows. Now she unique, not just cute. Even better.