Learning Project Wrap Up

If you think about it, we are constantly engaging in learning projects. Recalling a discussion we (ecmp255 class) had with Alec Couros, we talked about this idea when he invited us to think about what we all have taught ourselves to do via online. Things like cooking, playing a musical instrument, how to change a tire, different kinds of crafts, and document formatting were some of the experiences presented. It’s crazy, really, how accessible it is to learn how to do something (almost anything) by clicking in a search bar or using youtube. It is also so exciting to me to imagine how I can apply this in the classroom. If we are constantly engaging in online learning, why not bring in digital literacy and citizenship into it! Creating a learning experience in the classroom by doing this is a fantastic idea and one I will adopt in the future. Having some sort of documentation and applying outcomes will foster skills that will allow students to explore recourses, what is credible and what is not, finding support, determining the difference between real and fake news, as well as learning about the elements of the digital citizenship while exploring online. In addition, literacy is being brought into this because of the documentation element, science can be brought into this for learning an experiment online, math, physical education, arts education, anything!

What better way to teach about something than to teach from experience? Engaging in my own learning project for ECMP355 has been an experience that gives me a understanding of the process I spoke of above. I taught myself (or, the internet taught me) some techniques and chords on the guitar that I have been interested in. Something interesting about my learning project is that it did not necessarily go exactly how I planned, but realizing that is okay, is all part of the process! I started out with trying to learn the song Like a Star by Corinne Bailey Ray using this tutorial and began practising the first four basic chords. I realized that as the chords progressed I knew that it might be the type of thing I will go back to after some more basic training and practice with the technique of picking and playing chords. I started to use this website and learned a new song and was able to accomplish a lot more! I used other websites throughout this process to help me with understanding various techniques and exercises as well as some moral support throughout my project. As I said, since I engaged in this myself, asking students to participate in this type of learning experience will be so much more authentic. I can show them my example which would hopefully make them excited to engage in this learning experience.

I created this short little video to give an overall look of what my learning project journey looked like. Enjoy! (videos referenced in this are all found in my blog post in my Learning Project category)

Contributing To Other’s Learning

I think a huge part of being an educator is how we contribute to other’s learning. Not just students, but colleagues as well. Throughout this ECMP355 course, this was put into practise as we were encouraged to interact with classmates and other professionals in an online environment. Commenting on blog posts, tweeting, and providing questions, answers and resources on a a Google+ community are ways in which I demonstrated this process. I have created a document with a select few of screenshots that represent what my online presents looked like throughout this course. This can be found on this google document.

On twitter I found myself posting a lot of teacher resources and interesting articles and blog posts around education such teaching strategies, useful tools, and lesson planning ideas. Liking tweets and retweeting was also something I was doing on a somewhat regular basis to demonstrates my interest and appreciation for other’s sharing. Check out my twitter account to explore what this looks like.

Using Google+ is another great way to interact with people online to share resources and ask and answer questions. It is was so nice to see how helpful everyone was and how interested everyone was to contribute and provide support to others. The word community definitely accurately describes this space. I set my notifications for this application on my mobile phone so that whenever someone posted I received an instant notifications. I did not know the answer to many of the inquires posted here, but I generally did what I could (many times, others beat me to the punch!)

Blogging is such a great way to interact with others online. I was given the opportunity through this course to share my personal opinions and growth on different topics and it was interesting to read other’s stances as well. Sometimes comments I made were simply just acknowledging that I agreed or were giving encouragement. Other times, though I did not comment as regularly as I probably should  have, I liked to provide a substantial comment with questions, thoughts and/or suggestions. 

The post for the above reply I made to a comment from a classmate is found here. It is a post about social activism in the media where I raised some questions to consider around the idea that our different social medias perhaps are used for different purposes and the implications of privilege with this. It received some insightful comments that I feel contributed to some of my classmate’s learning as well as my own. Overall, I think creating an eportfolio is an effective way to demonstrate more personal opinions on matters of education and social issues and topics. Blogging allows us to explore our own thought process and consider other’s points of view which is essential when considering an open mind.


Lyric Time

It was time to put some lyrics in. Slightly out of my comfort zone, I must demonstrate my progress as per project requirements! Singing and playing is actually not very challenging, however I am still trying to practice how to make my chords sounds a little more smoother without such emphasis on certain strings. I continued to refer to the Ultimate Guitar website which I highly recommend for anyone who is interested in learning a song on the guitar. Some of video tutorials on the bottom in order to learn about the strum patterns and picking, but I prefer to listen to the actual song over and over again to get an understanding of the rhythm and pattern.

Picking is definitely the next step I want to perfect with playing guitar. I have never really done too much looking into it, but I figured there must be some exercises that could contribute to this learning. I found this site here that does just that! As I continue to learn, I will look into some more (simple) songs that I can try and play. I am thinking of possibly looking into the song Hallelujah performed by Alexandra Burke.

To Speak Or Not To Speak

I have always avoided controversial and political discussions on social media. I find i get extremely irritated at the ignorant comments and conversations that just seem unproductive. Further, it is in these conversations, online, that allows such idea of being a lot “tougher” behind a computer screen to really show through. However, as I discuss this issue with my ECMP335 class as well as consider some insightful messages from my professor and her colleague, I have developed some contradictions to my own thinking.

Does it fall under the idea that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Even if these comments are ignorant and extremely and painfully sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic etc., it is still having the conversation. The more we talk about it, or perhaps post about it, the more we making the issue a topic to talk about which is ultimately presenting the idea that it is worth talking about. The main resistance for me, personally, is that I fear I do not always have the facts or knowledge to “argue” my opinion. However, to reference Weistheimer which is discussed here, in order to be a justice oriented (digital) citizen, presenting these opinions as a way to take action are crucial. Some people may argue that social media is not a place for this, but making social media a place to only talk about memes and selfies implies that issues of inequalities do not effect oneself, which is arguably seen as privilege.

The thought discussed here reinforces the idea that silence is oppressive in itself. Throughout my educational career as an undergrad, I firmly believe in this statement. Those who do no talk about oppression and inequalities are those who is does not explicitly effect. If I stay silent, my life does not significantly change good or bad. However, for any marginalized or minority group, if they stay silent, they will never have an equal opportunity for success and justice.

But technology as a vehicle to be an advocate and an activist for this is difficult to comprehend because of the fact mentioned above about being behind a screen. As well, many people (at times, myself included) may feel like social media is not an accurate representation of what we truly care about. Perhaps it does matter what social media account we are talking about. For instance, my twitter account displays resources and articles about social justice whereas my Facebook account does not have as much as a voice for that. The reason for this is the people who are affiliated with these accounts. Should it matter? I think this is a very interesting topic, and one I plan to keep in mind when reading and posting. Digital citizenship is a part of my life, and it is only going to become more prominent in the future. Therefore, addressing and understanding the fact that beliefs and values around social justice must expand to the web.

Why Coding?

Coding is not my jam. I heard a little about coding and what it was last year in my ESCI class when we were exploring technology and I have occasionally watched one of my brothers do it (he creates games from scratch just for fun…) but it has never really been clear to me what it is, exactly. So, this week I learned it is the “behind the scenes” in the digital makeup of things. However, having some knowledge of what it is and actually doing it is presenting yet another struggle for me. I attempted practise some coding skills on Scratch, but could not really figure it out. I realized I desperately needed to start from square one. So I did a coding activity intended for young children (like age 5) on code.org.


I was able to successfully progress in this, as well as it helped me understand the basics. It kind of felt like it was a maze, and I was required to ensure my little fluffy ball passed through all the stars and to the finish line. I dragged the arrows in the order I felt would accomplish this. It seems simple, I know, but I think for beginners, like myself, it is what we need to do understand the fundamentals. If I was to introduce students to coding, this is the type of thing I would introduce them to. As I progress and grow in my own coding skills, I am able to understand the steps and procedures it takes because I lived it! I am aware that there will be students who are quite familiar with coding and so I plan to utilize online resources to provide the opportunity to challenge themselves.

So, why coding? I was interested, so I did some research. In addition to understand the language and make up of programming, I found this to be a very insightful and interesting point,

“We all know the future of our world is digital…so what can be more important to a child’s future than to provide a child now with a rich foundation in these integral thinking and problem solving skills that will be so valuable for success in his or her future world.” Found here

I had a conversation with my future intern coop and principle, and we had a conversation about educational technology and how their school has been doing learning experiences around coding. This definitely gave me incentive and motivation to keep learning about this subject (beyond my age 5 level of understanding – not saying anything is wrong with age 5!!). I have decided I am going to speak to my brother about this, because I feel like I will learning better with someone explaining it to me along side using a website.



Expanding My Horizons

Learning to play a song on the guitar via internet is going quite well. As I have mentioned before, playing the guitar is something I am kind of familiar with, but there are many elements I have yet to learn. For this learning project, I wanted to focus on and explore picking, and I used Like A Star to begin this process. As I engaged with my youtube tutorial, the chords got more complex then I had anticipated and I wanted to actually be able to have a finish product for this overall project!! So, as way to use what I learned from this song (and still learn from as I carry on with this particular song), I have expanding my somewhat limited picking abilities to other songs as well! Why not provide some variety, right? Basically, I noticed myself sitting playing guitar and after slowly but surely somewhat playing music, I want to actually play a song. I found a really nice country song titled, Girl Crush by Little Big Town which I have begun practising as well.

I applied what I learned from Dean from Fundamental Guitar and used this website to learn the chords. The thing I like about this website (many guitar chord websites have this feature) is that just by playing your curser on the chord above a lyric, it displays an image of what the chord should look like.

Also, side note, I learned how to take a screen shot on my macbook. This is not very exciting to most, I’m sure, because it was painfully  simple as I simply googled, “how to take a screenshot on mac” which directed me to the apple website with step by step instructions. Press Shift-Command-3, or for a portion, Shift-Command-4 and drag pointer, in case you were wondering. This is going to next my next few blog posts so much easier 🙂

Here is some picking progress I have made with this new song:

The Web of Shame

The web has a way of making it extremely accessible to shame people. Instances like what happened to Amanda Todd and Monica Lewinsky have shown that the media can create a giant web of shame that can have detrimental consequences. For example, Amanda Todd was the victim of sexual exploitation and cyber bullying because of something she deemed as a mistake. Unfortunately, in the worst of cases like such, this can lead someone to become so vulnerable to the point of suicide. In other instances, such as the Lewinsky case, it causes years of shame and humiliation that one must learn to cope with, have been a victim of moral judgement.

Although I strongly believe that the faces behind the screen that drives this “culture of humiliation” should be at the forefront of this conversation, teaching digital literacy and citizenship to young children and adults becomes an integral part of it. People make mistakes. People have been making mistakes for centuries. Unfortunately, there are people out there who make it their life goal to belittle and bully someone based on these mistakes and use social media as tool to do so. As and educator, I want to prevent this by teaching students about consent, safety, and that it is not their fault. I think a part of shame has to do with the overwhelming feelings developed by the harsh and moral judgements of other people. Then, social media makes it easy for this to happen because people are a lot tougher behind the screen which brings public shaming to a whole new level.

However, it is important to address the fact that sexting (sending and/or receiving sexual messages) has become an increasing problem with children and youth. According to this article, in a 2013 Kids Help Phone survey, “28% of young people who had sent sexual messages felt pressured into it.” Again, I think we should be also talking to the “pressurer” but those being pressured are most at risk. There are many things we can tell students not to do online, but another strategy is telling student what to post online. Scaring children and youth about the potential consequence of sexting is not always going to work, so why not create and promote a positive digital identity and environment? Teaching about the do’s and not always the don’t’s (even though this is also a conversation to be had) can show students proper and purposeful use of technology.

In addition, an interesting strategy that has become popular is the Don’t Get Sextorted, Send a Naked Mole Rat campaign.This campaign provides “a way out” of getting sextorted by using a naked mole rat to differ conversations. This allows for a humorous, less serious approach when talking about this issue. It could be introduced by educators if they are unsure of how to approach this subject. However, the serious factor must accompany this, because cyber bullying, sextoration, and public humiliation is not funny. Creating a safe, warm and welcoming environment for students is basically the best thing, I think, teachers can do around this issue. If relationships are created, students will ultimately feel safe to confide in their teacher if a problem arises.

“Just Like a Song in My Heart”

I have been so busy this spring semester taking over a full course load so it is important for to me make time for myself and do things I enjoy doing. I am grateful that this project has required me to do just that. I have been a little behind, but I need to remind myself of that joy in this, not the work! As the song comes along, it reminds me of the joy playing music brings me and so when I get frustrated with this song I am learning, I will stop and play something I already know which gives me confidence and motivation to keep going.

I have been practising my chords here and there, but here is some video evidence that shows this is somewhat becoming a “song in my heart.” I warn you, this isn’t the prettiest four chords you will hear in your life thanks to me, but it’s just my progress, okay!?

So I found some online support. Here is a blog that lists 10 things to keep in my when learning how to play the guitar. Something that I found particular inspirational was the idea to, “Play what you like, like what you play.” It is very true. We need to like what we are learning in order to enjoy the process. I have noticed that throughout my musical “career” growing up and currently, I am interested in different types of music in different contexts. With regards to playing song on the guitar, I find myself really enjoying slow, country, bluesy, singer-songwriter songs. I had mentioned in one of my earlier posts that my motivation is to be able to play this song around the campfire this summer. Because I enjoy this music so much, I think “liking what I play” will really enhance that motivation!

A Spoon Full of Digital Citizenship

What does digital citizenship say about heath and wellness? I wanted to explore this particular element of digital citizenship because I think it is important to look at how technology and our digital world has an influence on the health and wellness of our society. There are obviously a number of positive implications, some of which I can think of off the top of my head being, progression of technology in the medical field, keeping us connected in our long distance relationships (Skype), support groups, Kids Help Phone, fitness websites, healthy living resources, and really, the list can go on and on. However, there are serious issues that come along with a highly digital world, and I believe as digital citizens, we should be aware of these and understand ways in which we can address and overcome these issues.

Addiction, mental illness, and physical issues are all by-products of our digitalized world. According to this article, about 7.5% of children over the age of 12 (in the US) are addicted to the internet and can have withdrawal symptoms that include depression and emotional attachment. This, is not using technology purposefully. There is a lack of monitoring going on here which results in over-unproductive use of the media. Stats aside, I personally feel that we see forms of internet addiction everywhere. The idea of unplugging for a weekend camping trip sounds beautiful, tranquil and peaceful. However, when service makes its way back into my life, I once again become vulnerable to my own device! Furthermore, mental health issues associated with cyber bullying and the psychological effects of viewing  filtered “realities” are other issues. It is our jobs as teachers to become educated in order to educate way in which we can prevent unsafe situations and how to handle them once they arise. The way I see it, safety is at the forefront of digital citizenships when talking about the heath and wellness factor. In terms of the physical effect, well, here is something to think about:

“An increase in exposure to technology goes hand in hand with a decrease in physical activity. As children spend more time sitting in front of the TV or computer, they spend less time outside running around and burning off calories — and energy. Over time, combined with an increase in snacking, this can lead to significant weight gain.” Article found here

Bike ride with my little sis

I have been resistant to the culture of technology because of the influence it has on me and the people around me. Comparing a childhood of no technology to children born with a predisposed digital identity is a hard thing to wrap your head around. This is just my perception, but I feel like children are finding more joy in front of a screen than they are playing outside. I am generalizing, I know, and I am basing this on the children I am exposed to in my social context. However, I have learned to stop fighting against technology and become allies with the significant potential of it when used in purposeful ways. I absolutely love that I will have an influence on children through my teaching career in order to provide young children and youth the tools to understand digital citizenship and what it means to us and how to be safe.


I truly do dislike looking at the bad rather than the good in things. However, I like to promote healthy, active living, and I cannot think and talk about digital citizenship and educational technology without looking deeply and seriously into all the effects. I believe we are able to use the good in technology in order to gain insights and overcome the bad in technology. For example, here a video to help with posture! I definitely needed to watch this.