My Journey to Becoming a Teacher

Category: Blog

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.

Blogs:

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…

Twitter:

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…


Eportfolio:

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

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 code.org. 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.

Cyber Sleuthing/Digital Identity

This week I am writing about cyber sleuthing, we did a fun engaging exercise in our last EDTC300 class in which we performed cyber sleuthing of people online (all the people we were given to do this on had given permission). It was amazing how much information you could compile about someone from simply accessing their social media accounts and using google. From where people live, the dynamics of their family and their profession and hobbies. It was somewhat unsettling realizing how easy it was to gather all this information in such a short period of time. Combining this with the growing trend of cyber shaming and it highlights the seriousness of online shaming and bullying. Monica Lewinsky speaks about the price of shame and how quickly she went from an unknown to a worldwide figure as her scandal become public knowledge through the media and internet. She says, “public shaming as a bloodspot has to stop” and she is right.

Our wonderful instructor Ms. Hildebrandt writes an incredibly intriguing blog about catfishing and how crazy it has become. Take a few minutes to read her story as it shows exactly how “the internet is an utterly crazy place” as she tells the story of a catfisher/catfishing victim who seems to lack common sense, but what she lacks in common sense she makes up for in nonsense. I simply cannot summarize the complexity of this woman, Srkj, without recounting the entire blog post. But this example shows how someones digital identity can become victim to identity fraud in a way as this individual who Ms. Hildebrandt references, Alec Couros, seemingly has to tirelessly fight to protect his online identity from scammers. As I previously mentioned, this story is definitely worth a read to better tell the story than I ever could.

Tweet Tweet…

Over the past 15 years Twitter has become a staple of social media as it provides people with a source to find information or a platform to express their thoughts, which could be seen as a good thing or a bad thing. Twitter can be personalized to provide the user whatever they are looking for. Based off who you choose to follow you can create a timeline full of political takes, sports updates or even educational resources. I have found Twitter to be beneficial in growing my professional network and in implementing reflective practice as I learn new ideas, see what has and has not worked in the classroom from other educators and strengthened my knowledge base.

During my time in using Twitter I have come across some great educational resources that have already provided me with resources I plan to use for years to come, from Edutopia to Ted Talks there are so many possibilities that I have found very beneficial for an inspiring educator.

This past week I took part in the Sask Ed Chat with my fellow classmates and also other educators from Canada and even a few from the USA. This was my first time in participating in a twitter chat to this magnitude and found it to be a very fast paced, enjoyable experience. It was great to hear from others who are currently working in the classroom as they were able to give real life examples as opposed to the theoretical discussions that normally dominate University classes.

Last but certainly not least, maybe the greatest thing about Twitter would be the Gifs and memes it provides that seem to swallow up hours of time that would otherwise be used being productive!

Youtube… yay or nay?

The digital world is forever changing and growing at a rate we have never seen before and in watching the lecture by Michael Wesch, even if it resulted in me going down a rabbit whole and watching the Numa Numa and other videos for longer than I care to admit, created a nostalgic feeling for me as I was being taken back to my childhood as we were just being introduced to things such as Youtube. As mentioned in the video, the most difficult thing I have found in utilizing things such as Youtube, or even this blog, you must perform/write as if everybody is watching and yet nobody is there. It brings with it a feeling of great vulnerability as you throw your thoughts and ideas out to the web to be interpreted in who knows which way. With that said, it makes me think about how we can utilize the digital work in the classroom while also providing students with a safe and beneficial experience. Wesch refers to the digital space as possibly the most public space on the planet and while that brings with it the possibilities to connect and learn with different cultures or explore unknown phenomenons, it does bring with it that sense of uncertainty that we must ensure remains guarded.

The possibilities offered in the massive digital world offer so many positive, interactive activities that could be used in the classroom and with proper proactive work done we can help alleviate the possibilities of negative experiences. As show in Wesch’s lecture on Youtube, the different “masks” or identities people are able to come up with are alarming and do bring with it an uneasy feeling when utilizing such a tool such as Youtube. I feel that if we as educators are wishing to utilize Youtube as a tool we simply must do our “homework” and do background checks to ensure we provide a safe environment.

One thing is forsure, when writing a blog about Youtube be sure to give yourself a few extra hours of time to complete it as you will undoubtedly waste an amazing amount of time watching videos. And one things we know is ain’t nobody got time for dat!

Nostalgia

We are well into the semester of EDTC300, my twitter feed is alive and doing well as I read others posts, share my own, and grow my online persona. I always thought I knew how to use twitter “good enough” however, I was shown some new thing in last weeks class that have enriched my experience, who can see tagged posts, different people to follow, and how to properly utilize hashtags has been beneficial. As things continue to evolve and technology is further used in the classroom I feel its my obligation to evolve and find new innovative ways to incorporate technology into my future classroom. We are long past the days of TV’s and VCR’s on a wheelie cart following by a couple desktop computers along the side of the classroom (if you should be so lucky). For those of you who don’t know what a VCR is, check it out, its pretty cool!

The symbol that today was going to be a good day

Meet the blogger

My name is Byron and I am in my second year of my Middle Years Education degree. I live in Regina with my wife and two children, I am sure you will see them popping in and out of the screen during our online sessions on Wednesday evenings. My experiences with Education technology are somewhat limited, while I have been an active twitter user for years and like to use it for resource gathering and information sharing, my expertise with it are limited. This will be my first time blogging and I look forward to sharing my experiences in the class and my learning project progress. I have also created a professional twitter account, check it out.

This is Jace and Kyla

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