Contributions to learning.

I find this post a little difficult to write because I find it difficult to believe, I contributed to others learning, when I know so little about technology.  It would be much easier to for me to write a post on how much I have learned from my classmate.

I posted my blogs and I hope that my classmates gained something from them to add to their knowledge.  I know reading theirs gave me plenty to think about.  I started out with a goal to leave at least one comment on everyone’s blog this semester, unfortunately that didn’t happen.  I did try to leave comments that would maybe generate a conversation like on Laura’s post Monica and Amanda. I left  tips and tricks on learning project blogs.

I also tried to contribute to the Google+ community, in any way I could.  I tried to make sure that if I didn’t have an answer and the poster didn’t have any other comments, that I left a response to such.  I guess I was prompted to do that because I didn’t want anyone to feel they were ignored, I wanted the poster to know that their post was visible and hoped that it would generate some new attention.

I shared very little tech on twitter but did try to share relevant things to education.  I also tried to share some topics that we specific to Regina and Canada.  I hope that the few contributions I made on Saskedchat and the Digciz chat added something for someone.

I tried to offer words of encouragement, because I know they meant a lot to me when they were offered, when I felt over my head.  I know I got a lot more than I gave.  So I made a short Youtube video of some of my contributions. Thanks for a great class.



Its been a stitch.

Let’s put this learning project out of its and my misery shall we.  This project ended up being way more difficult and frustrating than it needed to be.  What made it difficult and frustrating you ask? Several things actually.

Let’s start at the beginning.  In order to find resources, I went to trusty google and searched for hand applique patterns to find something I wanted to create and came up with this football banner.  I needed to know how make this so I searched beginner hand applique, beginner needle turn(alternate term for hand applique) and when those didn’t yield the level of instruction I was wanting and needing I switched beginner for learn to.  I came across this blog I didn’t read it depth but it looked like a good tutorial so I proceeded.  When I was scanning through I noticed this blog said to trace the pattern directly onto the material, I didn’t want to do that.  It is much cheaper to toss paper than fabric.  So I went in search for directions to create a freezer paper pattern and found this blog.  The pictures looked good and the instructions seemed to be clear on first reading. As I proceeded through using both blogs there seemed to be an assumption of a certain level of skill and understanding of applique.  That is when I should have stopped and moved on looking for other directions. But I didn’t and I got really frustrated and lost focus on the whole point of the project. Once I got back to the true purpose of this assignment, I took another avenue, looked at Youtube and found this lovely ladies tutorials lovely ladies tutorials and in a matter of two hours I was stitching the piece. Had I gotten out of my own head I may be close to having a great piece done, but oh well.

I didn’t learn as much as I wanted to about hand applique but I did learn something about learning online.  The first thing is that certain things are harder to learn online than others. I have had success in the past learning other things, so was a bit surprised when this was difficult.  I also found that for nearly all the resources for my project even though I found them under a learn to search there was an assumption of some skill and understanding.  I also found it difficult not to be able to ask questions because when I searched the comments to see if the question had been asked and answered, I discovered that both blogs I was using were no longer active.  I think if you are going to keep the information up and not deactivate the blog take a minute and put a warning that the blog is not monitored.  I think it took me so long to get to Youtube to search was because google didn’t for some reason have any Youtube videos in my initial searches.

In fairness I do like learning certain things online and will continue to do so mostly using Youtube for detailed instruction.  If it is a little more complicated I will be looking to make sure the blog is being monitored to answer questions.  I wish it had been more fun like my last 2 posts but I learned a few things, so it was not a fail.



Rethunk, Reset, lets do this, again.

Before I get into this post, I just want to clarify something.   My last two posts about this project were written and worked on 2-3 weeks ago.  They have been sitting in my rough draft folder waiting for me to figure out what to do.  So I have been mulling over my next course of action for that long.  I don’t want you to think that I am that good and got over and on with this project in less than 24 hours.

Now that you know I have mulled this over for a few weeks I had some clarity.  The big one was that I got so caught up in the project itself and got hyper focused on the end result of the project forgetting the true purpose of the assignment.  Once I refocused on the purpose, which was trying different avenues to learn the project, the light began to flicker.  My brain also messed with me and for some reason, I was convinced that turning to Youtube was some how cheating.  We will just attribute that flawed thinking to life circumstances colliding head on with school this semester and the end result a brain fart(maybe I shouldn’t write that).

With my new focus, and now under the gun to get a couple more posts in before midnight today, I turned to youtube.  I found some really helpful ones.  The first one was on how to use my seam gauge.  This handy little gadget found here and how to use it here.  Problem one solved.

My next and biggest issue was prepping the pieces.  The issue surrounding the pieces was how big to create the seam allowance(the part that is turned under in sewing, to prevent fraying) and how to measure it.  There has been some discrepancy between the seam allowance being 1/8 in and 1/4 in.  In this video, that I found the most helpful, she uses a 1/4 in, so that is what I am going to use as well.  The next issue was to create that seam allowance as close to 1/4 in as possible.  All the videos and blogs I have used have told me to eyeball.  We have seen what a disaster that is here.  I will measure the 1/4 in straight on to the fabric before I cut the pattern out. I did a brief video to make it a little clearer check it out.  I have a piece to work with and show you the next step. Stay Tuned.


Silence, a form of activism?

They say “silence is golden” but is it always.  In certain situations silence is a good thing but when it comes to online social activism it may not be.  Katia Hildebrandt talks about this in her blog post In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words.  As always what Katia had to say has given me some food for thought.

I do not consider myself much of a social activist online or in the real world.  When I came across this chart that describes the different types of citizens I definitely fall into the personally responsible citizen.  I donate food, toys, sign petitions etc as I feel inclined to or money allows but rarely do more than that.  When it comes to online activism I will share the occasional post about something I believe in but I often weigh how offensive it is to someone who might see that.  Since I have decided to come back to University and attempt to enter the Faculty of Education, I found that I have been even more cautious about what I share, like and comment on in regards to social justice issues.  Most of the time erring to stay silent.

Like Katia points out in the Online spaces blog post, many of her students tell her that they are fearful of the possible consequences for future jobs if they post controversial things.  They opt to stay neutral as possible.  I am one of those people and I am fully aware that there is no neutral.  Still I really cut down my sharing of things that I thought could cause me potential placings, jobs in the future.  I chose to stay silent on the things I supported and didn’t support out of fear.

Even though fear was/is the biggest motivating factor in my silent activism, I also try not to engage because I often feel that it is difficult to get a point across in the written word.  I don’t feel that I can write well enough to argue a point effectively. Also with the written word the tone is often misinterpreted or meaning twisted and you end up arguing about how you said something or what you meant.  In that way I don’t think discussions are very effective and often the lead to personal attacks on character which I don’t agree with.  As I write this I came to the realization that I don’t stand up against those personal attacks either.  That very thing happened to me today.  I realize my silence on the matter means that A) I agree with everything in the post or B) I didn’t see the post.  I saw the post.

So as I sit here and try to finish this post, I feel sick about my inaction as the realization about what my silent activism says.  In this particular case, I agree with the poster about the event but I do not support the resulting comments about the character of the people involved in the event.  I know what I should do am I brave enough to do it.  Am I willing to risk some of my privilege.




A new world, a new citizenship or is it

In the last 20 years there has been a whole new world emerging, that of a digital nature.  The online world has grown so quickly and immensely.  In 1997 we were using Netscape to enter the web, and encyclopedias on cds to get our information.  There was no such thing as social media the biggest concern for digital citizenship was keeping yourself safe by using screen names.  Fast forward to 2005 Youtube launches and Facebook and Twitter follow soon after, now a mere 10 years later we are connected to each other in ways that we didn’t think were possible.  With this connection though we seem to need a new set of rules, a new code of etiquette so to speak or do we?

I would say maybe not new rules but a tweaking of the old real life rules.  I think the rules of courtesy still apply, but need to be tweaked to remind ourselves that the people with us in present time need to be respected by our attention and presence to them by putting our devices away and engaging in real time.  I also find that people seem to be more brave hiding behind a keyboard and screen than they are in real life.  They type much more vicious things, or are less likely to type positive things.  I think we forget there is a feeling person reading the things we type, if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face don’t type it.

Outside of courtesy there are other issues as well.  There seems to be little governance or laws to enforce behaviour, unlike in real life.  We are now in an era when what we put online is there for everyone to find FOREVER, that is a mind boggling concept.  Employers, banks, customs officials, etc are now using online presence to see if you are an acceptable candidate.  There is no rules saying what can be used against you.  So if you post something stupid as a teen, it can come back to haunt you when you apply for that dream job, or mortgage 10, or 20 years down the road.  Where we do we draw the line at that.  In real life if you do something not so great and get caught when you turn the age of majority some these records become a non- issue. Not so in the digital world.  So as teachers we need to make sure that kids understand this but really as teen do they get this and should they have to worry that their immature actions as a young teen are going to affect their future careers.  Just to be clear I am talking minor stuff not criminal activity.

Then there are the legalities of the digital world.  It is tough for law enforcement to find and prosecute criminals and predators due to encryptions,  hidden IP addressesl and false digital identities. Then there is the murky area of prosecution of when someone is caught whose laws apply, the country where the victim is or where the criminal is.  In addition to those problems is the seemingly harmless things like copying an essay.  Many kids see it online and don’t think anything of it, they won’t get caught, they don’t see it as stealing.  They aren’t harming anyone or so they think.  Then there is the whole sexting issue where young people are sharing inappropriate photos because everyone is doing it.  They don’t see that this is illegal as it often involves their same age peers, and many think of it as joke. However, some of those teens are now facing real life consequences.

So where does this all leave us as parents and teachers.  Well we have to first and foremost educate ourselves to know  this digital world deeper. We also have to model good online presence and respectful use of our devices.  That means when we are in class our phones are away, when we are supervising on the playground our phones are away.  We model that they have our undivided attention, and we expect the same. Our next priority is teaching the kids how to keep themselves and friends safe and real online.  Talking to them about digital identities and how they are often not the complete story.  I talk about that in this post.  Next we have to talk to them about the dangers, not be afraid to bring up things like sexting.  Not to scare them but to educate them that there actions have real consequences to themselves and others.  Finally we have to show that there are many good and advantageous things to being online if we are good citizens.

Coding, so fun.

(for June 15 class)

During class we were introduced to coding.  I always thought coding was boring, a whole bunch of written script that I didn’t understand, nor did I need or want to.  Coding was some other persons job to make sure everything worked just right so non-techies like me could just open the page and do what we needed or wanted to do.  Well I learned a whole other side to coding today.  There is a super fun way to do it.  I chose to play around on.  It has a section called an hour of code and that is where I focused my attention.

In this section it had a variety of settings you could make codes for.  This would be very appealing to young children as it had popular games and movie characters to choose from.  There was also a classic maze, which I choose, or an artist tab as well.  The idea is to code to make the characters move to a certain point or do accomplish a certain task.  The coding starts out really simple with 2 or 3 moves to code and gradually works up.  I got to 9 moves before I stopped and I wasn’t half way through.

I also discovered on this site that they have activities that are for as young as for up to adult.  There is more too it than the just code for an hour portion.  They have lab sections as well.  I know the code for an hour portion is free but I am not sure if there are fees for the other sections.  I do know that I had a lot of fun with this. I will be introducing it to my boys for some constructive screen time over summer holidays, when the weather isn’t cooperating for them being outside.

Here is my  screencast.  I am so sorry about the length of the video.  I didn’t realize screencastify let you go for a whole ten minutes.  I guess I should read the directions first.

Kaytlyn Placatka thanks for the directions on how to include the video without youtube.







Super cyber sleuth

My mission was to cyber spy on (with her permission of course)Lila Gaertner.  The best place to begin any web search is Google so that is where I started.  When I googled Lila’s name her Facebook profile was the first thing that popped up, followed by other social media accounts.  On the first page of the Google search it was all about Lila and her various social media accounts.    The images row on the Google search page had three pictures of Lila and then some pictures of her crochet projects.

I first checked out Lila’s Facebook page and discovered that she does not post very often there.  Her last post was on March 10 about Valentine’s day.  I also found from Facebook that she likes Boston pizza and that is where her and her partner Tyler went for supper on Valentine’s day. I also discovered she is from Tisdale and studied at CLBI in Biblical studies. She has a decent friend list on Facebook.

Her next links are for Twitter and Pinterest.  On Twitter I discovered Lila, is a new user, likely signed up just for this class, much like I did.  I also noticed she is a 4th year Middle Years student, almost done yay! She has a link to her blog as well.  Her birthday is in February.  On Pinterest I discovered some of her interests, crochet(probably has to do with her learning project), she is a fan of Dr. Who, Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Lila also has boards for writing and math resources, crafts and quotes.  She has many other interests too.

As I continued down the google search I found that she was on Google +, a video she created for one of her ECS classes, Instagram and her blog were also on the first page and she is a Student Peer Chaplain at Luther College.  As I browsed around there was nothing I came across that would send red flags for future employment as a teacher. I think Lila a very positive online identity.