Byron Alexander

My Journey to Becoming a Teacher

Goodnight and thanks for tuning in…

It seems like only yesterday I started this learning project, but soon I’ll be putting away my books and pens for another semester.  This semester I was able to try my efforts at playing the piano which is something I have always wanted to try out.  I can gladly say that I am proud of my progress but there is still lots of room for improvement, but I coming into this I knew that was going to be the case.  When I look at my progress from a high level it is easy to scoff at what I have accomplished, but then I started diving down into where I was and where I am now and it makes me proud of what I have learnt in this short time.

Here is an overview of my journey from Week #1 to where I am now…

Piano? Sounds Easy.  

What was I getting myself into?  I don’t think I was really sure at this point.  I knew that I wanted to be able to play piano somewhat, I just wasn’t even really sure how I was going to do it or what my goal was.  Come to think of it, I am not sure I ever really laid out a goal for me in regards to piano playing.  It was such an unknown for me that I just wanted to go with it and see where it would take me.  I started my first week referencing my daughters piano book that she was using for her lessons and it was a great resource to kick start my learning.  It was a Lesson Book – Level 1A and I would recommend it for anyone (especially children) that are looking to begin playing piano.

Keep practicing…. 

This week I focused on finger placement and understanding what the book was referencing when it used letters such as A,B,C,D,E,F,G.  In all my previous music classes I have taken (including EMUS101 last semester) I have come to realize that I tend to play music by ear, I have never been an overly technical person and I was quickly seeing that when it came to notes and sounds.  I would much rather make my way through the keys until I found combinations that sounded the way I thought it should to match the song I desired to play.  The only problem with that is, what I think I sound like playing and what I actually sound like are often two very different things, I often think of it as karaoke.  Those of us who have been brave enough to venture up onto the stage truly feel like this is our American Idol moment to serenade the audience, however, the moment as experienced by the audience is often not synchronized with that of the performer.  Back to practicing piano.

Old MacDonald

Piano man?  Close but not yet…

Quarter notes, half notes and whole note!  This would not have meant anything to me a few short week prior to starting this project.  This was the week I actually learnt my first song, wait for it…. Merry Had A Little Lamb!  I also started to utilize YouTube this week for my learning as I was able to find numerous awesome videos that helped me!  This was the week that I finally felt like I was making some progress towards becoming a master pianist!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Tickling the ivories…

This week I was able to utilize a video from YouTube titled top 5 piano exercises for beginners.  This was also the week that I started to experience hand cramping, which was the worst!  I finally got to a point where I was playing for longer stretches of time and was making (what I thought at least) some good sounding music.  I had found that my left hand was much more precise than my right hand when it came to playing piano even though I am right handed, which I found to be surprising. Practice was going well!

They’re creepy and they’re kooky

As I had been seeing through my project, each week tended to take on a life of its own.  This week I just so happened to stumble across The Addams Family and the theme song that went along with it.  Again, through a great online tutorial from YouTube I was able to find another fun song to play and learn on the piano. Check it out…

The Addams Family

Left side, strong side

This week’s focus was on my left hand, as I had seen my left hand doing well off the start, it had started to fall behind the more I practiced.  It may have been more of my right hand getting used to what we were doing and surpassing my left hand.  So again, I went back to YouTube and found some exercises that stress the left hand to complete the majority of the lesson.  While this may have been one of the more frustrating weeks as it forced me to grind away on something that was not coming easy to me, it was definitely beneficial. 

Is that Byron or John Legend?

This is the week that I began my journey towards transforming into John Legend on the piano!  I choose to try and learn the song All of Me.  While there are numerous different versions of this song that you can find online, some more complex that other.  I was able to find one that was not overly difficult, the beginning of it atleast!  I was able to get the start of the song down pat fairly quickly, but then the song has a lot of individual key stokes that get somewhat complicated.  Back to practicing…


Ok, so I feel really confident with the beginning of the song All of Me.  A few comments have asked that I sing while playing this song and while I think that would be awesome, I will have to pass for now.  I can barely look away from what I am doing when playing piano without messing up, let alone sing.  I really have a new appreciation for artists that are able to make that skill look so smooth and seamless because it is incredibly difficult!  This is as far as I was able to get with All of Me, I plan to continue working to incorporate my left hand for the entire song!

All of Me

Well, this bring me to the end of my FINAL post about my learning project.  Learning the piano, or I should say, beginning to learn to play the piano was an awesome experience.  It is such a difficult instrument to play and people that have devoted themselves to mastering it got my vote!  It is an incredibly satisfying thing to learn, even if it just elementary level song like I was able to play.  My plan is to continue playing the piano and potentially even take lessons from someone.  While online instruction videos are great (and many of them free) they can only take you so far, for me at least.  Thank you all so much for coming along with me for this journey, for you 90’s babies out there, you might recognize this last song.  Thanks to a duet with my wife and amazing camera work by my 6-year-old daughter, I am very happy to share my last video.  Enjoy…

Heart & Soul

Not Goodbye, Just See You Later…

This semester has proven me many opportunities to grow my learning network online through different avenues that I ever imagined.  I had built an eportfolio in my first year of University for ESC100 and while I hadn’t kept it up to date as I would have hoped from that time, EDTC300 kickstarted me back towards utilizing it and showcasing some of my work, while also connecting with others!

Building these relationships through Twitter, Slack, Zoom and blogs have provided us all with resources that we can utilize in the classroom as we grow as educators and continue along our journey as lifelong learners.

While many others have certainly contributed to my learning this semester I am going to highlight how I feel that I have contributed towards the learning of others over the past 4 months.


I have been privileged enough to have had access to numerous informative blog pots created by my fellow classmates and that has given me the opportunity to grow personally and I hope through my contributions has helped others do the same.  I feel that one of the most important ways that you can contribute to the learning of others is being supportive in their learning and pushing them continue along their journey.  Here are a few examples of my contributions towards blogs and Slack this semester…


I have found Twitter to be the most useful and informative tool that we have used during my time this semester.  I have been able to connect to so many different people through posts and comments, I feel that I have substantially grown my digital footprint in the process.  Check out some of my integrations this semester…


Creating and sharing resources through my Eportfolio I have found a new connection to my eportfolio, it’s almost like my long-lost friend who I reconnected with.  I knew it was there and that I enjoyed my time interacting with it, but for whatever reason it just never happened.  Until now!  Here are some ways that I utilized my eportfolio by sharing my own experiences and findings towards the learning of others…

While this will be my final network learning post, it is not goodbye, just see you later. This journey is not over yet, not even close. Thanks for tuning in.

13 Best Good Bye Gif Images

My Daily Routine

kîkisêp nânitaw nikotwâsik tipahikan nikî-kakwê-nipân mâka nitânis waniskâw.  Kî-nohtê-kistâpitêho. niya êkwa nitânis nikî-mêtawânân nikî-mêtawânân pihcâyihk, nikî-mêtawânân Hide & Seek.  nikî-nitawi-pimipahtân wayawîtimihk miyaskam kisêpânêhkwêwin.  mitoni ê-kî-pimipahtân wayawîtimihk.

nikî-mâci-pêyako kihci- kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk tipahikan anohc.  Niki-pēyako- sîsawewin-nikamoyân anohc.  Ê-wî-nikamoyân kiskinwahamâtowikamikohk tipiskâki.  Niki-kakwê-têpwâtâyêk nimâmâ nîso tipahikan anohc.  Niki-kakwê-mîciso mîcisowikamik tipisakâki. Êkosi!

What is the Matrix?

That is a great question Neo!

This week I was able to venture into the world of coding. I have noticed this growing trend as stores are even popping up such as Code Ninja around the city. I must admit that when I previously thought of coding it didn’t exactly fill me with excitement or a growing desire to learn more. In fact, my mind would think of The Matrix and binary numbers floating through the air.

There are numerous free websites available to try your hand at coding and I feel they would even be beneficial to utilize in the classroom in a lesson about coding. After some very preliminary research into coding it becomes apparent that the topic of coding could be used in a variety of different ways in the classroom. After all, coding is everywhere around us, from sending a tweet to swiping a debit card, there are a set of instructions that have been written that a computer can understand and then perform a certain function.

The focus of my coding for this week was around creating a simple game through the website While I understand that what I was doing was very elementary in regards to coding, it was still a fun exercise that I feel students would also enjoy. Through the process of simply dragging and dropping commands I was able to create my own version of Flappy Bird. Check out my screencast to show you how the process worked…

Although I did not grow up in an era where there was much of a focus on coding in schools, technology is more and more prevalent with each passing year. Utilizing something that is already of interest to students can be a great way to jump start the discussion around internet safety and how rapidly it is evolving. There are so many available resources that including coding in the classroom can be an interactive and fun activity. And if that still doesn’t do it for you, just show them The Matrix!

Fake news?

The amount of news at our finger tips these days is more than anyone could ever comprehend, and the amount of it that is simply not true is even more staggering. From what seemed to be reliable media outlets broadcast news that seems to be fabricated, too retweets and sharing of fake news among people on social media, the amount of fake news seems to be overtaking the real news in a landslide. The spreading of this fake news through social media outlets such as fake news is not by coincidence, studies show that the most important catalyst of fake news was the precision in which the purveyor targeted the audience. This article goes on to explain how the fake news can spread like wildfire when the initial targeted audience is poorly informed and struggle to tell if news is real or fake. So how do we educate people in determining if news is fake or not?

Fake news has been around forever, the only difference appears to be the skill that these fake news creators have obtained. When teaching about collective digital literacy in the classroom there are many effective strategies that can be employed to help teach these skills at a young age. Using real world examples of fake news can be an easy way to show students how fake news can be so easily believed and spread. Additionally, we must teach students to identify bias using a variety of media bias charts can be a great way to understand that all stories have a perspective attached to them. Being able to separate fact from opinion is much more difficult that it would seem and as Damon Brown mentions in his TED Talk about How to Choose Your News he mentions that very thing and stresses the importance of reading from multiple outlets as we must verify news before spreading it.

As we increase the usage of technology in the classroom we must be sure to stress the goals of the NCTE framework and in particular, that delivering inaccurate information is dangerous. While we might think that sharing clickbait type news stories will be great for mentions or likes, it can have unintentional effects on society. By not fact checking news before spreading it you could be contributing to a message that has a much deeper, darker meaning that you intended. Furthermore, we have Heads of State that seem to spread fear through misinformation on the regular. Finally, Dr. Alec Couros and Katia Kildebrandt provide a list of strategies that can be used in dealing with fake news, from investigative techniques to critical disposition, this article provides information that can be taken into the classroom as we strive to create digitally literate students. Although it may be next to impossible to rid ourselves of fake news, by educating students we can help turn the trend for the better.


This last week of my learning project was unlike anything I have ever experienced. With everything going on I found it difficult to devote much time to it to be honest as there were seemingly plenty of other things to do. However, I was able to put in some more time towards learning All of Me by John Legend. I feel that I have a pretty good handle on the intro to the song and I am currently working my way through the remainder.

Check out my progress…

While the video is short and sweet, it is progress nonetheless. I will tell you, while it doesn’t necessarily look like much, using both hands it much more difficult that is appears. One great piece of news is that I found a new video that completely breaks down the song into six separate parts, which I think will really help me be successful in my journey.

I have found some easier versions for the second part, so I may only utilize this for the intro, but we will see how it goes.

I hope everyone is keeping healthy and taking this opportunity to spend some time with their immediate family and loved ones. Until next time…

Is that Byron or John Legend…

My learning project has been coming along nicely as I recently completed week 7 of the project. I did not practice as much as I would have liked to this past week but still feel that I am progressing. As I mentioned last week I have decided to devote my time to learning a song. The song that I have chosen is All of Me by John Legend . I almost have the beginning of the song down pat as I have found a great tutorial on Youtube that shows the chords to play at a very slow pace. After practicing at the pace of the tutorial for awhile I was caught off guard by how fast the actual song seemed when I went back and listened. But I figure if I can get a good handle on the chords at a slow pace I can slowly continue to increase my speed as I get more comfortable.

This is John, he is a legend

I have found that I no longer get hands cramps while playing piano and that in itself is a success in my mind. It is an incredibly instrument to try and self teach yourself, I would love to one day take lessons from an instructor. As for now, I will continue to utilize Youtube videos and my daughters learn to play piano book. On that note, has anyone taken piano lessons from anyone in the city that they would recommend?

On that note, I must get back to practicing if I want to serenade the masses one day. Thank you for reading, until next time.

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