Summary of Learning

I’ll be honest, I dreaded this summary of learning all semester long. I knew that I could easily write the reflection portion of my project, but I struggled to decide how to actually present my learnings. As I split my time between around four locations, I knew that a group project wouldn’t really be an option for me. However, I also knew that there was no way I was going to write or sing a song without others doing it with me! After a lot of research and reflection, I finally decided to use PowToon for my project. As it is a tool that I have never used before, I felt that I was able to step outside my comfort zone and really challenge myself. I loved using the tool, but wish I would have done more research into it before! I did not realize that free presentations can not be more than 5 minutes long… until I was 5 minutes into my 6 and a half minute  (already audio recorded) presentation. I then had the idea to just make two presentations and upload them into iMovie… until I realized that I could not download my presentations as mp4’s without paying the premium price! After lots of panicking, I finally decided to make two presentations, screencast them with Screencast-O-Matic, upload my screencasts to iMovie, and merge the two presentations as one. So, basically what started out as using one tool to make my project ended up in the use of three! Even through all the ups and downs, I am happy with how my project turned out. I feel that I was able to summarize my thoughts and learnings in an entertaining, professional way. Check out my presentation below!

My Contribution to the Learning of Others

At the beginning of the semester, my ECMP class was posed with the question: “How have you contributed to the learning of others?” We were asked to consider this question throughout the semester and reflect on it as the semester comes to an end. My personal learning network, or PLN, has grown significantly as a result of my ECMP 355 class. This class has given me the opportunity to both learn from others and contribute to the learning of others. Throughout the course, I found Twitter and the class blogs to be the most effective ways to connect with others.

Twitter:

This class has officially instilled a love of Twitter in me. I had used it sporadically in the past, but found that using it so regularly during this class allowed me to make greater connections. I usually just used it for tweeting out articles that I thought were interesting in regards to educational technology, inclusive ed, and other related subjects. I also made sure to retweet and like many of my classmates’ tweets. I not only did this because I felt what they had to say was important, but also because I know how great it feels when you realize people actually value what you are posting! When the opportunity arose I also commented on others’ tweets with questions, advice, and opinions.

Below you will find one example of a time when I believe I contributed to the learning of others on twitter. While this exchange didn’t necessarily result in a lot of interaction, I felt that I shared a great resource for blending traditional math manipulatives and technology.

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Another instance of providing a classmate with my opinion and advice can be found below. My answer is pretty brief, but I felt that by sharing ideas I had seen in the past, I provided Kayla with the opportunity to connect Minecraft to the curriculum.

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I also made sure to tweet out any resources that I found especially helpful, an example of which can be seen below. I know that it can sometimes be a challenge to find a new way to learn a skill, so I thought that I would show my peers a resource that I found to be effective.

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I also tried to start conversations by asking questions about what my peers posted. For example, during this exchange I not only wanted Ashley to feel that what she posted was of interest, but I was also curious about why she chose the project that she did.

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During a twitter chat put on by STARS Regina, I felt that I was both learning from others and contributing to their learning. The chat, on mental wellness, was my first time joining a chat, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! As I tweeted quite a bit during the chat, I wont include a screenshot of all my tweets, but the Storify for the chat can be found here

One of the things that I love most about Twitter is that it allows people with likeminded interests and views to connect and collaborate. My first year roommate (now an education student at the U of S) shares views on education and technology that are very similar to my own. As you will see below, she tweeted out an education related question recently and mentioned me in it. It felt great to be able to provide her with my opinion on something that I am passionate about, and felt even better that I was able to connect with someone I do not catch up with near often enough! 

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Blogs:

To be honest, I did not comment on nearly as many blog posts as I had hoped to. I have no better excuse than I often just got caught up by other things and forgot to comment. However, when I did comment I really tried to write comments that were of good quality. I tended to keep my comments pretty positive, and provided many compliments. There were so many high quality posts, and I wanted to make sure that my classmates knew what an outstanding job they were doing. Whenever possible, I liked to include questions to provoke further conversation and reflection. I also provided my classmates with helpful advice or resources when applicable. There will be a link to all of the blog comments that I have made at the end of this post, but below you will find just a few examples of the comments that I made.

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When writing my own posts, I also liked to mention others’ posts when I felt like they were especially well-written or contained important information that added to my own writing.

This post, on reconciliation, mentions both Ashley and Ryan’s posts on the subject.

This post, about my opinions on the sexualization of children, mentions Raquel’s post on slut shaming and cyber-bullying, as well as Zachary’s post.

This post, a reflection on Carol Todd’s resilience, mentions Kerrie’s post, as she provided a great summary on the talk.

Here is the google doc containing all of the comments that I made on others’ blogs, as well as screenshots of a selection of instances where I felt that I contributed to the learning of others on Twitter.

Overall, I am proud of the contributions that I made on Twitter and the blogs. While I wish that I would have commented on peoples’ tweets and blogs more often, I felt that the comments that I did make were substantial and helpful. I feel that I have built a more substantial and positive digital footprint as a result of this class, and look forward to continue building my PLN even after ECMP comes to a close.

 

 

Saying Yes to Yoga: My Learning Project Summary

Yoga Mat

Photo Credit: Kejohnson0319 via Compfight cc

It’s so hard to believe that this semester is already coming to a close! I know it is said all too often, but the time really did seem to fly by. The end of the semester also marks the end of my formal yoga learning project. It feels like I have barely begun my journey, even as I am finishing it. If you take a look at my first learning project post, you will see that I chose to learn yoga for my learning project for a multitude of reasons. Yoga has always been something that I have been interested in, but I never seem to stick with it long enough to see the effects. I felt that if I chose to learn yoga for my project, the project and subsequent required documentation would hold me accountable and lead me on the path to a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, I am really interested in incorporating yoga into the classroom someday, as I think there are so many physical and emotional benefits to it.

At the beginning of my learning project, I felt nervous and uncomfortable, and put off actually starting my project as a result of these feelings. I think as a society, especially one where technology is so accessible, we put so much pressure on ourselves and others to be perfect. I worried that the pictures and videos I took of myself practicing yoga would look silly and others would judge my abilities. While these feelings didn’t totally disappear by the end of the semester (this post is evidence of that), they did start to lessen. I learned to (somewhat) let go of my anxieties and just focus on the yoga. I also learned that my worries about facing judgement from others were unwarranted. Yes, maybe people were sitting in front of their computer screens laughing at my attempts, but I seriously doubt it! The comments that I received throughout my yoga journey were all positive ones. They uplifted my spirits and pushed me to continue with my project.

Throughout my learning project, I feel like I truly discovered the numerous benefits that yoga has to offer. When I started yoga, all I hoped to gain was flexibility and an outlet for final semester stress. Looking back, I realize that yoga has benefitted me both physically and mentally, however I think that the mental benefits may just hold more importance than the physical ones. While there is no doubt that I made progress in my flexibility, I am much more proud in the growth in mindset that I gained. As mentioned before, when I started I had low self-confidence and had a hard time just “letting go.” Now, I feel confident in myself and my abilities, and am able to use yoga as a time to decompress and self reflect. Practicing yoga brings a sense of calmness that I did not think possible before starting my learning project. This may be the end of my learning project journey, but it is not the end of my yoga journey. I’m really grateful for this class for allowing me to learn a new skill. I have learned to love yoga, and hope to continue practicing it regularly.

My Learning Project Posts:

  1. My Learning Project: Becoming Stretched and De-Stressed
  2. Sun Salutations
  3. I Bend So I Don’t Break
  4. That “Aha” Moment
  5. Put Your Back Into It
  6. SWORKIT Yoga
  7. After Work Revitalizer
  8. Pushing Past The Need for Perfection
  9. Saying Yes to Yoga: My Learning Project Summary

 

We Are All Snowflakes

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Photo Credit: Rogg4n via Compfight cc

As I dig more deeply into social media and the world of technology, I am continuously awed at how effective technology can be in bringing people together. This week, my ECMP class had the privilege of “meeting” Amanda Todd’s mother, Carol Todd. For those of you who don’t know, Amanda Todd was a young girl who was mercilessly bullied on and offline as a result of a picture that she took of herself. Eventually, the sextortion and cyberstalking that Amanda endured day after day led to her decision to take her own life. Her mother, Carol, has since started “The Amanda Todd Legacy,” and aims to educate others on internet safety, mental health awareness, and cyberbullying.

During her talk, Carol shared a mix of personal anecdotes about Amanda, information about her case, and her own thoughts and analogies on education and digital citizenship. My classmate Kerrie Craske does a wonderful job of summarizing Carol’s talk, which you can read about in her post titled “The Legacy Continues.” All of Carol’s talk was meaningful, but what I found to be most incredible was the overall positive attitude she continues to hold, despite all the hardships she has had to face. During her talk, Carol told us a story about an internet troll who went out of his way to say some horrible things about her and the work that she does. Instead of arguing with the troll and stooping to his level, Carol chose to ask him why he felt the need to write such comments. This resulted in the man explaining his life to Carol, and he eventually got involved with the Amanda Todd Legacy. While this type of story does not seem like it would be the norm for every case of trolling, it reminds me of the quote: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” I admire Carol’s ability to see past the negative and look for deeper meaning in every situation.

Carol’s positive attitude extends to the use of technology, as well. It would be easy to assume that someone whose daughter’s life was arguably ruined by the use of social media and the internet would be against it, but as an educator Carol understands the importance of teaching students to become responsible digital citizens, rather than scaring them away from technology altogether. She used a variety of thought-provoking analogies to explain the importance of teaching children how to use technology responsibly from a young age. One analogy that I think really speaks to Carol’s positive personality is one that can be found on the legacy’s website:

” We know that every snowflake in the world is unique and different. No two are the same.  Snowflakes are fragile.  Just like people.  Snowflakes are unique. Just like people.  Snowflakes are beautiful.  Just like people. Don’t people deserve to be treated in the same way as snowflakes?  No one should be made fun of regardless of who they are, what they look like, what they like to do or wear.  We are all snowflakes.  Everyone is special.  No one should be BULLIED for being uniquely their own person.”

Carol’s passion for social justice was incredibly evident during her talk, and her messages are not ones I will soon forget. She reinforced the importance of teaching others to be positive digital citizens, and the importance of being kind to one another, no matter what.