Au revoir!

This was without a doubt, my favourite part of EDTC300. Learning about new resources, creating a personal learning network, encouraging others and being encouraged to grow in return.

I experienced all of those things while using Twitter, Blogging and Zoom. I had the option to use Slack, but I didn’t find myself going in that direction when I needed guidance. I am grateful that I also had the opportunity to work alongside an EDTC400 mentor. Although I did not utilize that tool either, I am appreciative that it was another tool in my toolbox of resources learning about Educational Technology.

I feel that Twitter has been the most impactul during my experience in this class. I was able to connect with fellow classmates, but also those who are in different classes at the University of Regina, and also in other parts of Canada and even the United States education system. It is inspiring to know that there are educators out there that have the same educational goals and philosophies, and that we can all learn from one another. Even those with differing views, we are still able to learn from one another. That is where the real grown happens! Being challenged.

Here are some ways that I have contributed to others learning, as well as learning from others.

TWITTER

BLOGGING

Blogging was not the easiest for me when it came to the learning project, because I chosen something a bit too challenging. However, network learning posts were much more engaging for me because I actually understood what I was reading and writing. Definitely easier in English.

I have to say that going through some of these past contributions to the learning from others and contributing to their learning, I know that there could have been a lot more to learn, but with the circumstances of what is happening in our world right now – it is important to give ourselves grace and know that we tried our best. Just because this semester is over, it doesn’t mean that we have to stop learning from one another and connecting. We are blessed to be in the digital age where even when we are stuck inside, we have many opportunities to reach out to others and the world with just a click of a button!

Overwhelming…

Learning how to speak Hebrew was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I would put it as more difficult than giving birth! Haha, okay… maybe not THAT difficult. But, it was difficult nonetheless. So difficult that I had a hard time really setting time aside to work on it.

Although I first decided to learn how to play the piano for my learning project, I thought it would be more fun to challenge myself. Especially because being Hebrew is part of my ancestry. Unfortunately I think I bit off more than I could chew. I do not know anyone who speaks it personally. My father spoke it as a child, but doesn’t anymore and his parents have both passed and they were the only fluent ones in my family.

In terms of my pre-assessment, I literally had nothing to go off of. Unless you consider words like, “Shalom!” which I feel like everyone knows? But, that is a huge generalization. 

After all is said and done, I still don’t speak Hebrew. I would have to look at the words and their meanings in order to translate. I believe if I was able to practice with someone on a regular basis, it would be easier to remember. I know the University offers a language club, but, I believe it is only in French and English. 

Looking back, I wish I would have stuck with piano, as I feel that my progress would have far outweighed my Hebrew progress. As I read and saw the progress of a few other students, I was a bit discouraged with my own, or lack thereof. But I was also inspired by one student in particular. Byron! Byron also decided to take on the piano for his learning project. One of his last posts was the introduction to a John Legend song. That was really impressive to me! Because of that, it has motivated me to try piano again.

Needless to say, Hebrew isn’t my cup of tea, especially right now, since I have other priorities. But, that isn’t to say that I would never try pursuing the language again in the future. It is something that would need a lot of my time and effort. I would also need to have more support in place, like a conversational partner. Because Hebrew is in my blood, it will always be a part of me and for that reason, I don’t think that desire to learn will ever completely go away.

George Washington had wooden teeth?

We have discussed teaching digital literacy in our class quite a bit. The consensus is that it is never too early to learn about it. Considering most children start using technology before they can read or write, and sometimes even walk; it is important that digital literacy is taught both inside the classroom and outside of the classroom.

I am pursuing my degree in Middle Years education which is from grades 6 through 9. I would hope that the students would have already had at least intermediate to advanced skills in digital literacy, but particularly in identifying fake news. We are constantly surrounded by it. For the tweens, it is rampant among social media. Since social media is the most popular medium on the internet for young people, it is imperative that I guide them regarding how to identify false information that they are bombarded with on a daily basis. 

Teaching digital literacy in this age range would require some creativity to keep them engaged. I don’t think just standing in front of a classroom would suffice. As I was browsing the articles to reference for this post, one of them gave me an idea. In the article. ‘You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m Going to Tell You’, it presents a comic strip to showcase different ways the media can perpetuate fake news by using the emotions of the reader. I believe using a comic strip could be a great way to engage students in learning how to identify fake news. There could be 5 or 6 groups where students would work together to create a comic strip. Some would have fake news, some would be real news. Once completed, the entire class would work together to determine which one is real and which one is not, based on different factors, like sources, fact checking and wording. 

screen shots source: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean

“Ultimately, in a world where it is increasingly dangerous to simply trust what we read and see, it is critical that students are taught to approach the world around them with a healthy sense of skepticism to avoid being misled, duped, or scammed(De. Alec Couros, Katia Hildebrandt).” 

This quote from the online article, ‘How do we teach students to identify fake news?’ provides a plethora of resources for students and teachers alike, to help them determine which sources they are receiving information from, are legitimate or not. The websites included help searchers with information verification, sample media bias charts and other practical resources. I will put some quick links below, but for a more detailed list, please check out the article hyperlinked above.

Lastly, I think the most practical way to teach my students about digital literacy, is to provide them with unlimited access to information they need to watch out for. I could do this by posting a few posters in the classroom. For example, the one from Media Literacy for Citizenship that shows 10 Types of Misleading News.

picture source: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEnxvISXoAAyRg8.png

Teaching digital literacy does not just apply to computer class. The subject of literacy ties to other parts of the Saskatchewan curriculum like English Language Arts. For example, the students are reading and observing important information that can lead them to identify simple things like incorrect grammar and punctuation. Another tie could be through Social Studies, as students are expected to learn how to treat others around them with respect and kindness. Not simply because it is the right thing to do, but because it is also the law. This not only applies to one another in person, but also on the internet. Which leads into Health Studies. A healthy digital identity is important, because it will carry over into our mental and physical health.

If you would like more information specifically pertaining to Digital Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schools, there is an incredible Policy Planning Guide that can be very helpful in understanding why it is important to teach it to our students and teachers.

Well, that was interesting…!

Coding is hard! At least I found it difficult. I started on Scratch, then went to code.org. Alas, I just couldn’t figure it out after trying for at least an hour. So I then decided to try using Code Academy. I managed to have some success as it was very guided. Telling me exactly what I need to do and then click next to go onto the next portion of the coding. Here are some pictures below.

This is the first step. As you can see on the left side of the screen, it gives instructions.
Now it was my turn to put my name in instead of the ‘ready to code?’ prompt.
In this step, it wanted me to change the colour. So, that I did. By typing the colour I wanted. I also included a new message.
I then had the option to make the word(s) be more than one colour by typing in the order I wanted the colours to be in. Fun!
This step was my favourite. When I place my mouth over the letters, it changed the way the dots react to it.
Here is a screencast of my last step. Making the dots react!

The Pros and Cons of Coding

Coding seems to be all the rage these days. I never grew up learning how to code. But, that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful now. As our world continues to become more technological, I only see it as a positive. However, not every person will decide to pursue Information Technology as a career path. Allowing coding in the classroom and schools gives children the opportunity to experience it first hand. Which will either inspire them to pursue it further, or deter them. Either way, I think it is a great idea to include it in the curriculum.

I really wanted to compile a small list that is as unbiased as possible, regarding what some may see as the pros and cons of coding in the classroom.

  • Coding can be useful in the job force someday
  • Coding builds logic and problem-solving skills
  • Learning to code can bring creativity
  • Teachers have to learn to code first in order to teach the children(do we have time?)
  • Kids don’t need to hunched over a computer – let them go out and play
  • Technology is advancing so much that coding wont need to be done by people, rather coding software

These are only a few different reasons. I find the positives outweigh the negatives. What do you think?

Detective Alicia

It’s probably not very often when a professor encourages you dig up dirt on a fellow classmate. SPOILER ALERT! We had to ask for permission from the person we were about to cybersleuth.

Urban Dictionary (the most respected dictionary of all dictionary’s) defines a cybersleuth as “Security professional who’s primary role is investigations, forensics or detective type work.” So for the remainder of this investigation, you can call me Detective Alicia.

I will be cybersleuthing my fellow classmate Nikki.

The first thing I often do when I want to dig up some information on someone, I google their name. So, that is what I did.

As you and I can see, the first information that pops up is Nikki’s business. A rating of 4.7 out of 5? You go girl! This leads me to think that Nikki’s digital identity is mostly found in doing hair. As I continue to scroll, it provides me with other links to her business media accounts online. One in particular I will share is of her Instagram account.

From both of these screen shots alone, I can already tell you which city Nikki lives in – Moose Jaw. What salon she works at in Moose Jaw – Vanity House Salon, including its address.

Because Nikki is my Facebook friend, it didn’t really take any effort in looking for some information about her through her feed. One thing that stood out to me that I did not know about her before doing this activity, is that she is an amazing baker! Get ready to be impressed.

Some other information I came across was that she is in a long-term relationship with a man named Nathan for over 10 years. She has a famous artist sister named Jamie, whose art you can see around the city, particularly in cathedral. Looks like creativity is a family affair.

To come across all of this information, it only took me a matter of minutes. The only social media accounts that I came across were her Personal and Business Facebook Pages, Instagram and Twitter. The only difference between her Twitter account amongst the others is that it shows more of her Teacher identity.

As I watching the TED video by Ron Jonson, he talks about how Twitter is basically a mutual approval machine, where we surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do. Just like any other social media, we want people who think the same as us, to like what we have to say, and share it with others. The problem is, what if how we are thinking is harmful to others? Where is the line? Is it subjective? Is it harmful that when we post things on social media, it is usually only from one perspective? In the article about Madison Holleran – she portrayed herself online one way, but internally she felt completely different. I have been guilty of doing this as well.

The way we represent ourselves online is important. It is important to be professional, especially as future educators, but it also just as important to be real. What that looks like for everyone is not the same, but what we do online can contribute to the wellbeing of others, or it can perpetuate harmful expectations.

Putting The Cart Before The Horse

As previously mentioned in my last learning project post, it was impossible for me to learn how to read traditional Hebrew without knowing symbols. So, instead of putting the cart before the horse, I figured I would try something a little more feasible and up my alley.

In this post, I would like to talk about the most commonly used words in Hebrew. These common words are the exact same as nearly every other language, except the word itself, is different.

Shalom – Literally means “peace” but also commonly used as a greeting or farewell, like hello and goodbye.

Sababa – Alright, this is your basic “cool”, “great”, “alright”. A word to use whenever you really feel like. I essentially see its’ use as similar to awesome in North American English. Want to go to the beach? Sababa. Want to ride bikes? Sababa. Want to make out on the roof? Sababa.

Beseder – When awesome is too much, but you don’t want to turn down that make-out session. This is a more neutral word for Okay, let’s do this

Chen & Lo – Yes & no.

Ma nishmá or Ma korehWhat’s up, what’s going on, what’s happening? Basically asking someone if they want to hang out with you and hoping they don’t have any prior plans.

Toda (also Toda Raba)Thanks and “Thanks a lot!” This is a fun word to say because it sounds like you’re a 5-year-old who’s just finished a dance recital. Ta-da!

Be te’avon – If you like to eat, you’ll learn this one quick. It’s Hebrew for Bon Apetit!

L’chaim – The toast/cheers when you clink beer glasses, it translates “to life!”

Tov – When something goes well, say tov — it’s Hebrew for “good” and has plenty of uses in everyday conversations.

Boker tov — Good morning

Laila tov — Good evening

Mazel tov — Good fortune (literally) but you’ll know it as a congratulatory phrase from pop culture.

Last but not least, my favourite!

Ach shely (or Achi) – In American frats you’ve got “brah”, and in Israel, you’ve got ach shely. Roughly translates as “My Brother” (or Brother).

I imagine that some of you can recall hearing some of these words before, specifically Shalom! Or Mazel tov! These two phrases seem to be widely used in the film industry.

I think I will start using achi every time my daughter asks for a new LOL (please click this, and you will understand why) doll. Which will be daily!

Looks like I’ll be picking up Hebrew rather quickly.

Duolingo + XRecorder

I wanted to try learning Hebrew through an app. that is more accessible. So I concluded on Duolingo. I have used Duolingo in the past to help with my desire to learn French. I was taking French as a second language certificate through La Cité at the University of Regina, and we were encouraged to use apps as resources and to continue practicing outside of the classroom. I had a lot of success with it, so I figured would not try it with Hebrew! Not to mention, it is free – forever!

screen shot source: https://www.duolingo.com/

Unfortunately I found it incredibly difficult with Hebrew, as I have not yet learned how to write in Hebrew, since it is not the same as letters in English. I think when learning a new language, if its roots are similar to your native tongue, it will be easier to understand and translate. But when you are going from a language of letters to a language of symbols, it would be highly difficult.

screen shot source: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=videoeditor.videorecorder.screenrecorder&hl=en_CA

I attached a video which I made on my phone with an app. called XRecorder to provide a visual and audio explanation. XRecorder was easy to use and very straight forward. I would recommend it, as it is free!

Alefbet

The last two weeks, I have been learning the Hebrew Alphabet. Interestingly enough, it has 22 letters and all of them are consonants. Each letter has its own sound and numerical value. Learning how to pronounce the first ten were my goal, as I had to learn that the pronunciation is different in Hebrew even if it is written in the English Alphabet. Hebrew is different in English as it writes from right-to-left.

In this audio clip – I have spoken the first ten consonants, which you can refer to as I speak. Don’t forget to follow along reading from right-to-left! Starting at Alef and ending at Teit.

Twitterverse

CatnipComic018“CatnipComic018” by Catnip Cat by Jeff Hoyle is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

I thought I would start my blog post with a little humour.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way. I would like to talk about my thoughts on Twitter. It is a great tool for accumulating a PLN. What is a PLN you ask? Personal Learning Network. A Personal Learning Network is a great way to interact, learn and question those who you may have similar interests with. For example, as a future educator, I have been encouraged in this Educational Technology class to engage in Twitter by following other educators. I have chosen to follow different people based on a similar interest like Anti-bias Education or Social Justice in Education. This experience has given me an opportunity to learn from those who are my peers but also veterans in the field. I would see this is a form of Professional Development in itself. But, Twitter could be used to simply promote Professional Development opportunities for local teachers as long as they are following Saskatchewan Teachers Federation.

As for Twitter in the classroom. I have yet to experience it as an educator, but I have experienced it as a student. And my favourite experience, thus far, has been the EdTechEthics and CdnEdChat. This was a great opportunity to learn and hear from other students who are also in an Educational Technology class. It was pretty cool as the chat was live, and the students were from varying provinces across Canada. We even ended up trending in Canada! Some of the other students mention different apps they have used and will use in the classroom like Kahoot, Quizlet and Seesaw.

Since I am studying Middle Years Education; I tried to think of some ways that I could use twitter in the classroom. Here are some ideas:

  • Posting student work
  • Posting assignment due dates
  • Students can communicate and ask questions about assignments with one another, but as a teacher, one would also be able to interact
  • Students interacting with other students from different parts of the city, province, country or even world (so they can learn from another perspective)