Getting to know my peers through… cybersleuthing ?!

In our Education Technology lecture this past week we learnt all about Digital Identity and the trace we can leave on the internet. We were assigned an interesting task this week – to get to know our classmates through a cybersleuth… can’t say I have every had an assignment like this before!

Follow me along my cybersleuth!

I got to know my partner, Jorden Robitaille in a very non-traditional way… but I am thinking this is not out the norm for the world we live in now. I follow and interact with Jorden on twitter so had already known from her bio that she is busy being a mom and student, which is incredible! I have really enjoyed being able to connect and follow along with her dancing journey as she teaches herself and her son to do some cool moves through online learning!

Taking my “creep” to the next level I turned to Google where I found Jorden’s blog (check it out by the way, click here!). From Jorden’s blog I learnt that she lives small town Sask now but was actually born in Quebec and moved here quite awhile ago – cool! On her blog you are able to follow along with her educational journey, she has created a strong professional presence online. Moving onwards with my deep dive into Jordan’s online persona, I learned she is not the only Jorde(a)n Robitaille out there… just a little bit different spellings! She even shares a name with a Canadian Idol contestant… if anyone remembers Canadian Idol lol.

To sum up my search, I didn’t find much personal information about Jorden online but I did get a good idea of what kind of person she is just from her professional pages.

Let’s talk about Digital Identity!

It is a scary thought that you can have this entire online persona and it is even scarier to know you might not be able to control how you are perceived through the internet. Madison Holler’s story on ESPN  really spoke to me and had me wondering about how people might perceive me through my posts on social media and If how I am perceiving my friends is really how they are doing.

So often I think to myself – “Wow. I haven’t talked to “so and so” forever, I should check in but I know they have been busy since they were posting on Instagram.”. Reading about Madison and how she was struggling yet living a different life via social media breaks my heart. We see other peoples best 10% of their lives online and make the assumption we are seeing their whole life and that it is wonderful, but we shouldn’t.

As per the screenshot from the story about Madison – we feel this pressure from social media that we aren’t doing enough or that

Snippet from Split Image

we simply aren’t enough because we only see people’s highlights. This then causes us to create a digital identity that does not accurately represent our actual identity – and unfortunately, it seems like a vicious cycle.

Digital Identity in my classroom!

I want to be transparent with my students in explaining the “Split Image” a digital identity can often cause and that things are never just as they seem. We post what we are proud of and what we want people to see, I understand that and I know that might not change. What I want to do is allow my students to build their toolkit to also understand that so that hopefully they don’t feel this pressure at some point in their lives.

Watch – Do – Teach

Hi Everyone!

This week I tried out something different for my learning project. Not only did I do a small piece, but I also taught my roommate a few basic stitches and she created a piece as well! I am travelling for the month of December so will not be home for Christmas, so we thought we would use our time over the break to do some festive crafts.

I did what I think most anyone would when looking for a DIY project – I turned to Pinterest.

We both found designs that we wanted to do, but unfortunately, they were both being sold by Etsy store fronts. While I enjoy using Pinterest to find ideas for embroidery I have found it is mostly just doing that on the platform, finding ideas. It seems as though there are not as many free resources for patterns or tutorials for hand embroidery as I first expected – it can be a little disheartening when you find a design you really like only to click on it and see that it costs $8.95. Back to the positives, I am able to find a lot of ideas and inspiration on this platform though, and that is how we used it this week.

We both found designs we liked and I figured I had a good idea of what stitches I could use and so I just drew a basic outline of what I wanted and got to work on my piece. Mine used only one stitch – the satin stitch, but I felt like all my recent projects that used a satin stitch just didn’t look as nice as it could – it was uneven and just looked kind of messy. I asked Google for help on “How to make your satin stitch look better?”.

Jessica Lang’s Satin Stitch Tips

My search brought me to a blog post “Satin Stitch Secrets” by Jessica Lang Embroidery. This post helped me understand the techniques to improving my satin stitch work, using sections and only 1 or 2 ply floss (not what I was wanting to hear as I knew this meant it would take longer). There was also a YouTube video linked in her blog , but I mostly relied on the instructional photo you see in this post.

The above also helped me in teaching my roommate how to perfect her project. I taught her how to start off her project, follow a pattern, and three types of stitches (satin, french, and single back stitch). We decided that while doing the tree, the stitches should be a little bit thicker, so taking note on what I learnt from my search – instead of using 1or2 ply like me, she used 6ply with her green floss. When she did her satin stitch, she also used 2ply to ensure she had a neat looking stitch.

I had so much fun teaching a friend how to do this, I think this is going to be a hobby that sticks after our learning projects are done! My roommate seems to be hooked as well 🙂  Check out our final products below – the next step is to get them finished off and hung on our Christmas Tree!

I love that this journey has allowed me to feel like I am successfully completing DIY projects – Woohoo!

DIY Meme from makeameme.org

 

Thanks for reading!

 

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet?!

What is Digital Literacy?

To be completely honest, up until the beginning of October, I had no idea what it was. If you would have probably said something along the lines of “IDK, reading e-books or something”. So before I get into the rest of this blog let’s go over some definitions of Digital Literacy so we all have a better idea moving forward.

Visualization of fake news through the digital world
Fake News – Science

9 Elements of Digital Citizenship tell us that “Digital literacy includes the discussion of media literacy and the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news.”

The Ministry of Education and Child Care in British Columbia says digital literacy is “the interest, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital technology and communication tools to access, manage, integrate, analyze and evaluate information, construct new knowledge, create and communicate with others”.

To summarize the common ground from the definitions below I have come up with the following personal definition:

“Digital Literacy is the ability to locate and evaluate information within the digital world and come to an informed decision on whether it is fake news, or real news” 

What is Fake News?

Umm, lets start with maybe saying its news that is not true? But to be more specific, TRU Libraries says it well: fake news is a hoax that is meant to mislead in the hopes of a financial or political gain of those spreading it, with its’ purpose being that it spreads information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, which is used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

Let’s be honest – fake news doesn’t just exist in the digital world but, the more time we spend on technology, the more we are exposed to both fake and real news through digital platforms. In my personal experience, I see it multiple times a day on Facebook and other social media platforms.

How can/ should  it be taught in a middle years classroom?

YES! It absolutely should be taught in the classroom – I know if I am seeing fake news on my Snapchat, my Grade 6 students probably are too. This is the age where students are starting to get their own emails, phones, social media accounts, etc. where they will be exposed to all sorts of fake news, phishing emails, trolls and so on.

I think that the best way to approach this with students is to teach them how to find reliable news sources so they are starting their search on a strong note. By complimenting the first approach we should also teaching them how to identify fake news because chances are they are going to be exposed to that without even searching for it.

  1. Finding reliable news: Get the news straight from the source, avoiding the “middle-man”. This could be from news websites, social media pages rather than from a blog post by a local high school teacher who was not involved in any capacity. Allow
    Show how pieces of news can create a full picture
    Screenshot from Devon Brown

    for news sources to get the news, check a few times a day rather than every 3-5minutes. Build a puzzle – if a direct source isn’t available, take the commonalities from multiple sources to piece together the story.

  2. Teach our students what fake news can look like: Bring REAL examples to the classroom (like I said, they are everywhere so this shouldn’t be hard). Increase activities where students are encouraged to put on the detective hat. Though this was not in the article linked above, I think it is important to have classroom discussions around what sort of organizations would email you for information vs. those that wouldn’t – helping identify phishing emails.

In our EDTC 300 class we worked through some “Fake or Real” examples and they can be tricky! I think that this would be an awesome activity to do with a middle years classroom – it is not only eye opening but definitely fun and engaging.

Grade 6 Social Studies Curriculum

Many outcomes in the Saskatchewan Curriculum has the word “Investigate” – for example see the screenshot to the left. I think that this is an invitation to have students conducting their own investigation through online sources – be it current or historic. It is important students can identify the difference between real or fake news for both academic and non-academic reasons – it is a life skill that I think the curriculum has encouraged us as teachers to build in our students.

 

 

NCTE Framework

When teaching Digital Literacy in my classroom I am positive I would be implementing many NCTE frameworks. To remain consistent with the earlier parts of this blog and how I would incorporate digital literacy into my classroom I believe that this would allow for my students to Consume, curate, and create actively across contexts. Especially in connection to my example with the curriculum I believe I would encourage students to analyze, examine, review, etc. of the information that they find digitally.

Let’s Go on A Code Quest

Hello Everyone!

“Hi class, today we are going to learn how to code!”  – this might be a phrase that could potentially cause anxiety as a student, I know I felt immediately overwhelmed when I seen coding on our Weekly Overview for EDTC300 – turns out, it doesn’t need to be as crazy and complex as we might think!

This week we were tasked with spending some time working on a coding project or learning more about coding, I decided I need to know a little bit more. I took my learning journey to Code.org, an online resource that provides interactive 1-hour tutorials (honestly, they were games) that help introduce coding! Since I know very little, quite honestly – nothing about coding, I decided to find an activity in the Beginner level but for those who want to challenge themselves, there was a Comfortable level as well.

There were many activities but ultimately I decided on SciGirls: Code Quest

SciGirls: Code Quest

 

It was a cool activity with the focus being to get the submarine, Subby, around the underwater world to collect data on organisms under there. To get Subby to a specific area or organism, we are tasked with the challenge to move Subby by using sequences. The little I do know about coding is that sequences are a big part of it (what that means, I am still not entirely sure).  These challenges start off simple with just a Forward option, slowly more get added in. I first was confused by the idea of using sequences, but again, as we moved through the activity it became much more apparent that using the sequences and the “short cuts” the activity provides allows for a more seamless process. Check out some of my sequences below:

 

 

This activity said it was appropriate for Grades 2-8, I found that it would be understood by students in Grades 4-6 best and still allowing them a bit of a challenge. I am excited to explore more of the activities on Code.org as I found the instructions to be very clear and the game itself to be very interactive. It allowed for a high ceiling but a low floor as well, this could meet students where they are now and work with them to build up – I think that is a great tool!

Why is coding in the classroom important?

Problem solving skills and again louder for those in the back, PROBLEM SOLVING SKILLS!!!

I am sure that there are MANY other reasons to why coding in the classroom would be important but from my personal experience in this simple coding activity, the way I had to problem solve was incredible! I tried and failed on repeat, but this game allowed me to do so and increased my ability to problem solve and creative think my way through it.

We are living in a world where we are so reliant on technology – why not give our students the opportunity to strengthen not only their understanding of the inner-workings of some of these technologies but also improve their life skills as well?! Sounds like a win-win to me.

Finishing What I Started

Happy Wednesday Everyone!

My oh my, I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by and I have a feeling our learning projects will be complete before I know it.

I was really looking forward to this week

The start of my pumpkin decor!

of my learning project, if you read last weeks you know I had made embroidered the outline of a pumpkin (see photo evidence) and my goal for this week was to spice it up a little bit. I am happy to announce that I did accomplish my goal – with the help of classmates, photo inspiration, and for finishing Gilmore Girls so I could finally quit procrastinating and get some work done!

The end goal in mind was still from the inspiration that I had gotten from And Other Adventures’ DIY Fall Floral Pumpkin Hand Embroidery . The final product by And Other Adventures was definitely the goal, but my skills just aren’t quite there yet, and, not to make excuses BUT, I “YOLO’d” the roses and two leaves then used another leaf outline from a completely different pattern… so my final product is make shift.

So like I just said, this project was just a punch of different resources thrown together to create this small piece of fall decor:

  1. Inspiration from And Other Adventures (an embroidery company)
  2. Pumpkin outline from Google
  3. DMC – a website with MANY free embroidery patterns. This was actually recommended by one of my classmates, a true lifesaver as I was running out of resources to use!
  4. Past knowledge – I already knew how to create a wheelbarrow rose and a few leaves, so I free handed those!

Step-By-Step Pumpkin Decor

Step 1:

Found an idea pattern, unfortunately this pattern was not free. Knowing I still wanted to do something similar, I decided to piece this project together.

Inspiration Project from And Other Adventures

Step 2:

Find a pumpkin outline – Google was my friend on this one! More details on this step can be found in last weeks blog post which you can find, here.

Step 3:

Check out more floral patterns, DMC helped with this one! I found a floral pattern I liked, which you can find linked here! Again, I knew I had to get creative, so I picked out the flower/leaf that I wanted. Printed this pattern off and copied it onto my project. The patterns from DMC are amazing, they have a full PDF tutorial for how to complete the project – I will definitely be returning to try out an entire project!

 

Step 4:

Putting my prior knowledge to use – I already knew how to do a rose as well as a leaf with a satin stitch… so I got busy!

Step 5:

Finished Product!

COMPLETE… Kinda.. I think I do want to add more detail to it later on as it seems a little empty in comparison to my inspo pic, but I am happy with it for now!

Thanks for reading about my mismatched project! I think this was my favourite part of the learning project so far – it allowed me to create my own piece by using the assistance from multiple online resources, even my prior knowledge had been built using the internet… pretty cool!

 

Digital Citizenship In The Classroom

How does Digital Citizenship align with or fit into the Saskatchewan Curriculum?

Simple answer – it aligns in many ways.

Detailed answer – keep reading.

I believe that there is a time and a place for the digital world in a classroom and the more we rely on it in our society, the more it should be included in our teachings. Technology has opened a whole world of new potential skills to be learned, which again, means more things that can be taught in the walls of our classrooms!

While creating a lesson plan for another class, I had been going through the Grade 6 Social Studies curriculum and had noted the below, with the focus word being research:

I immediately assumed that outcome IN6.2(b),  the research of different cultures would be done through the use of technology – this may be because this is the norm that I have come to know and maybe because it is a much more effecicent type of research. I mean, we have the internet at the tips of our fingers and with some sort of tablet in majority of classrooms today – why not use it? As I mentioned earlier, as a society we rely on technology for things like this – so I think that there should be space to learn it in school, and learn how to do so correctly.

With keeping in mind that research on the internet can be a major information overload with both real and fake information, it is awfully important to help our students learn to decipher the difference. This leads me to my discussion on one of the Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship –  Digital Fluency, helping our students build a foundation of tools on how to better navigate this information overload.

In my future classroom, I hope to have access to technology so that my students have the chance to explore the digital world and we can experiment with how it can best aid their learning. In particular I will teach Digital Fluency – this can be done in a few ways:

  • Teaching students that the choices they make online should align with what they would decide “in real life”, meaning that I want to stress to students that though the digital world can provide a bit of anonymity – it does not mean there decisions will go without consequences, to themselves and others.
  • There is good information and there is false information – it is important to know and understand the difference of what that might be and where you might find reliable information.

 

I just keep fallin’ for embroidery

Hello Everyone!

My goal this week was to work on transferring patterns to my embroidery cloth… with ease. I had such success last week with simply googling what I was looking for, so I gave that a go again this week. My Google search of “How to transfer a pattern to embroidery fabric” brought me what I swear was a million results, at the time I searched it was after a long day so I thought a video would work best for where I was learning was at that moment.

I selected a quick 4:27 minute  Youtube video to help guide me in my learning, Kristen Gulu with Gulush had an excellent video on How To Transfer an Embroidery Pattern! With my low attention span, I’m not going to lie… I did not watch the video in entirety (I know,  I know), but she had showed me what I was looking for in the first 1:40 minutes. WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER.. right? Anyways, with Halloween right around the corner and having a very limited amount of fall decor in my house, I thought I should make some!

OK, so I did another Google search (side note: what did we do before Google? I can’t remember), this time in the search of “Free pumpkin embroidery patterns”. Surprise surprise, my search for a free pattern came up short. I did find some inspiration from And Other Adventures – an embroidery company based in the U.S. – lets take a minute to appreciate how CUTE these pieces are

I didn’t think it looked too hard:

  1. Outline the pumpkin with a stitch of my choice
  2. Statin stitch the stem
  3. Add some cool detail

Easy money. I learnt how to do that my first few weeks. Back to my handy dandy friend, Google, for yet another search, this time “Pumpkin outline” in the hopes I would find a basic pumpkin I could embroider. After finding what I was looking for it was time to get started. Since this week my focus was transferring the pattern onto the paper, I did that and not a whole lot more. This week my progress ended with outlining the pumpkin with a chain stitch.

Screenshot of the pumpkin outline I used

I found transferring the pattern the way Kristen explained in her video to be seamless, and not how I would have done it without using Youtube. If you have been reading my posts, it is no surprise that I struggle with the chain stitch, so in the spirit of making your weaknesses your strengths (or at least a little better), that is what I chose to outline my pumpkin with.

 

 

 

 

The start of my pumpkin decor!

Next Week

DETAIL, DETAIL,DETAIL! I am going to find a fun way to make my pumpkin into more of an aesthetically pleasing piece of decor. Decorating my house is a fun way to express myself, so I think I am going to have some fun with this!

Embroidery is RAWRSOME!

I am not going to lie, I felt as though last week I was starting to, dare I say it, get bored with my embroidery journey BUT – This was my favourite week yet!! Put some of the skills I have learned so far to the test with doing more project-based practice. Let me tell you, this made a world of difference in my motivation to keep on learning!

This week I had seen my two year-old nephew and he reminded me of his love for dinosaurs and in particular that “Auntie is scared of dinosaurs”. A little backstory on that, I was Facetiming my nephew and my mom, he wanted to show me his new dino that made noises, I made a BIG deal about it scaring me and he has NEVER let it go! Anyways, this had me thinking – if I was going to make an embroidery for my niece… my nephew needs one too, right? The answer is YES.

So I got started by google searching “dinosaur hand embroidery pattern free” (I feel like I have gotten in the habit of searching for ‘FREE’ things since being a student!). I did a scroll through my google search and ended up picking the first result, not because it was first, but because it didn’t look too complex and it wasn’t just the outline of a dinosaur.

Gathered, a crafting website had the pattern of the dinosaur I decided on – Free quick dinosaur embroidery. I found that this website articulated the steps of this pattern almost similarly to how a recipe would be:

  • Outlined the stitches I would need to know
  • What materials will be needed
  • Free template
  • Step-by-step guide to the actual embroidery

 

So far this has been one of my favourite learning resources – it was simple and everything was laid out for me to follow. I am not sure if this would have worked as well when I was learning the stitches, but it worked pretty darn good for following a pattern!

The ‘recipe’ had 3 dinosaurs, but I decided to do only one and to make it bigger… this ended up biting me when I ran out of embroidery floss, not once… but TWICE. I ran out when doing the bottom part of the brontosaurus so had to switch colours for the legs… which I then ran out of that colour as well. I will be finishing it after a quick trip to Michael’s but here is a picture of my work in progress!

Dinosaur ‘WIP’

I still haven’t aced the transfer of template onto the fabric, so I know what I will be working on next week!

 

Is there more to teach about cyber safety than just… cyber safety?

The digital world has been a part of MY world for the majority of my life – be that Club Penguin, MSN, or the more popular platforms now such as Tik Tok, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. This puts me in a group that navigated many social media platforms much before their parents and teachers had, which, resulted in a gap between what our parents and educators knew and what was really happening on these platforms. Though, I am confident this gap still exists, many adults are now on these platforms so they are at least exposed to some of the things their children and students are.

My first memories of cyber safety being mentioned in school would have been with regards to instant messaging on MSN, this was when the idea of “not everyone is who they claim they are” first came into the picture. Though, I do not remember this being stressed by teachers or truly understood by students as we just thought it was too far-fetched.

Unfortunately, digital and cyber safety wasn’t stressed much more than what I explained above while I was in school. Now that I reflect, it was only ever introduced as a reaction to something that had already happened rather than in a proactive nature. I understand that this could be related to the fact that the online world is one of constant change, but, I don’t think that is enough of an excuse.

I think that teaching students the importance of cyber safety is just that, important, BUT I am not entirely sure what the best approach would be in doing so.

Does the scare tactic REALLY work?

To reflect on my experience in school, when teachers brought up cyber safety it was in a response to something that had happened. When it was taught, it was done so with the scare tactic approach – we heard stories about 50-year old men pretending to be our 14-year-old peers or that anything posted online can never be deleted. Did this work? No, not always. I do not think you can tell these stories in hopes it will “scare your students straight” – I think this is an outdated approach to education. Students in this “day and age” (LOL – this made me feel so old in saying that), are aware of what can happen, but in some contexts, are doing it anyways.

If not the scare tactic, than what? 

I think like many things in life, cyber safety can be taught through the teaching of other things. For example –  Cyber bullying is bullying on steroids, but, it is still bullying – what has changed is there is now a  computer and the ability to be anonymous. I am not sure if I am being naive, but would emphasizing kindness and embracing students’ differences as a positive thing in the classroom not help with bullying?

Would guiding students through activities where they build and explore their values create a more lasting lesson with a stronger emphasis on transferability?

Instead of scaring students about what is out there, could we teach them the tools to act in a pro-active way?

With relation to cyber bullying – would how we address face-to-face bullying in our classroom apply to cyber bullying with a few alterations?

Anyways, to summarize, I guess my question is – can we teach cyber safety by building strong value-based foundations in our students? 

 

Can TikTok be Trendy AND Helpful?!

Week 4 on my hand embroidery journey, here we gooo!

This weeks goal: To be able to successfully embroider lettering via TikTok tutorials

I am not going to lie, I spend my fair share of time on TikTok – trust me, you do not want to see my screen report summary. By no means am I a TikToker… as I have never posted a video, but I feel pretty comfortable using the search bar. SO that is what I did, I opened up the app on my phone and did a search “Embroidering Letters”. Please refer below of a screenshot of the results to my search.

I allowed for my search to become more refined by selecting one of the options you can see in the screenshot above and to the left under “Others searched for”. Continuing this search by selecting “Hand embroidery for beginners letters”. This allowed me to pick a TikTok with ease as one account, @emily_bea, came up in my original search and my more focused on.

It was a pleasant surprise when I clicked on her account and seen 37 tutorials on hand embroidery!!!

I followed Emily’s tutorials for the following lettering:

Hand embroidered lettering
  1. Simple lettering
  2. Block lettering
  3. Handwriting

As you can see, I didn’t love the way my block lettering looked as I filled it in, but, I do like how it looks with just the outline done!

I liked that the TikToks are short, about 1 minute in length, and though they can be hard to “rewind” in time on my phone, it is very easy to do when on the computer! There were a ton of different resources on this platform, with a wide variety of skill ranges. I found that TikTok was less of “buy my products” push than what I experienced with Youtube. Again, I enjoyed that the videos were short and to the point and VERY easily paused when needed. All in all, I found these TikToks incredibly easy to follow and I will absolutely refer back to Emily’s page as I continue on my journey.

My consensus on TikTok is, YES, it can be trendy and helpful! I would love to know what everyone else’s thoughts are on TikTok – any other ideas on how it can be used as a positive platform or learning resource?

Next weeks goal: To transfer a pattern to my embroidery fabric & work on putting all my newly learned techniques to the test!

Please see below the three videos I referenced during my progress this week:

@emily_bea

How to embroider cursive writing! #embroidery #embroiderytutorial #embroider #diy #howto #tutorial #stemstitch

♬ [Hip-Hop] Sad LoFi Sound – アイスカプロジェクト

@emily_bea

How to embroider block lettering! #embroidery #embroiderytutorial #embroider #diy #howto #tutorial #lettering

♬ A little uneasy lo-fi hip-hop(794918) – kai

@emily_bea

How to do simple lettering! The first of a few I want to make #embroidery #embroiderytutorial #embroider #howto #diy #tutorial

♬ Lo-fi hip hop(219685) – NAO-K