Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn ~ Benjamin Franklin

Category: EDTC 300

Future Classroom in a Changing World

When I think back to my experience with technology in school, the resources available were the computers in the computer lab. It was always an exciting day when we got to go to computer class! On these computers, we learned how to type with a program called, “All The Right Type“.  Is learning to type still taught in school I wonder? We also engaged in a game known as Treasure Mountain (see video below), which presented word problems as challenges. The game incorporated various word problems, including mathematical operations like addition and subtraction, as well as questions on nature, planets, rhymes, comparing, and sequencing. Each time we used these, we were required to load the game from a CD-ROM into the computer to play.

Fast forward to todays technology and many classrooms have easy access to technology in their classes such as IPads, Chromebooks, etc., These types of technology no longer require you to insert a disc as they have “apps” and programs readily availble on them to use. Teachers today utilize more technology to conduct their classes. Reflecting on the current technological integration in classrooms, I realize there is much for me to learn about SMART boards and the various interactive educational platforms in use, such as Kahoot, Flipgrid, Google Classroom, and others.

The video “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” by Michael Wesch,  highlighted how the web connected people in unexpected ways through blogs, videos, and tagging. At first, this was an incredible development. However, observing today’s classrooms, it seems that our face-to-face social connections have slightly faded due to the overuse of technology. Students are often observed engaging with their technology devices during recess or break times instead of interacting and conversing with their peers. Thus, we are more connected digitally, and there is a decline in our want or ability to communicate without technological means. The constant availability of technology seems to have created a digital dependency.

Lastly, there’s the shift towards adopting AI tools. Conversations with teachers reveal they find these tools useful for creating lesson and unit plans, and some even use them for reporting comments. Yet, there’s a differing opinion on allowing students to use AI tools for their assignments. It will be interesting to observe how this evolves and whether AI tools will eventually be permitted for all student use in classrooms.

 

 

 

How Many Cricut Vinyl Products Are There?

The main reason I purchased my Cricut machine was to design t-shirts. After purchasing the Cricut, I also bought a heat press, knowing it was essential for transferring designs onto the fabric. With all the supplies I thought necessary, I began watching YouTube  and TikTok tutorials to learn the process. The tutorials frequently mentioned using iron-on or HTV vinyl, which stands for heat transfer vinyl. However, when I examined the vinyl that came with my Cricut, I found premium vinyl only. Realizing this, it seemed I needed to shop for the right materials. At Walmart, I noticed the iron on vinyl was pretty expensive for the amount of product you got in a roll. Since Walmart is the sole retailer of vinyl where I live, I opted to compare prices with Amazon.ca‘s offerings. To my surprise, I discovered more favorable deals online and proceeded to buy a package that included both black and white HTV vinyl. Pictured below is the product I purchased. The vinyl is scheduled to arrive at my doorstep June 13, 2024.

 

The variety of vinyl options at Walmart, including removable, iron-on, smart transfer, permanent, and infusible ink, etc.,  was quite overwhelming. I wondered about the uses for all these vinyls.  It seemed I would need to conduct some additional research to understand the differences. According to the cricut website, there are 213 results for vinyl materials! I decided to do a quick Google search to learn about each type of vinyl and discovered an article that details everything one needs to know about every kind of vinyl. I also came across these two cheat sheets that I find will be helpful for my future projects.

 

As I wait for the transfer vinyl to arrive, I will begin learning about the heat press and pick a design to use. Keep an eye out for my upcoming post where I’ll delve into making my first shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

All You Need Is Love & Plants

Last week, I perfected the cutting technique on my Cricut machine by creating a floral design from cardstock paper. See the picture below for reference.

Uncertain about what to create this week, I turned to Cricut Design Space for inspiration. The platform offers a selection of free templates. However, it also encourages signing up for Cricut Access, which grants access to over 750,000 images. Initially reluctant, my inexperience with Cricut made me feel restricted. Consequently, I opted for the 30-day free trial of Cricut Access. Once the trial ends, I have the option to cancel or subscribe annually for $129.99. As I explored the vast image library on Cricut Access, a particular design caught my eye—a decal for a plant pot! (See photo below)

I clicked the ‘create’ button at the bottom of the template, and it uploaded the image into the Cricut design space. Then, I needed to determine the size required for the pot I intended to use. Lacking a physical measuring tool, I resorted to the measuring app located in the utilities section of my iPhone, which was included with the phone at purchase. Below are the photos of me digitally capturing the measurements of my plant pot.

             

After taking measurements, I returned to the design space and adjusted the dimensions to 9cm by 10cm. Then, I had to sift through the samples of vinyl included with my Cricut machine to determine the most suitable one for my project. I’ve also come across numerous mentions of “mirroring” a project, but I’m uncertain if it’s necessary in this case. I’ll need to resolve this before beginning. Upon consulting Google, I located a set of step-by-step instructions.

“Creating a decal for a plant pot using a Cricut machine is a fun and creative way to personalize your gardening space! Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

  1. Design Your Decal: Use the Cricut Design Space to create or upload your desired design. Remember to keep the size appropriate for your plant pot.
  2. Prepare the Pot: Clean the outside of the pot with isopropyl alcohol to remove dust and fingerprints, ensuring the vinyl will adhere properly1.
  3. Cut the Vinyl: Place the vinyl on the cutting mat and set your Cricut machine to the “vinyl” setting. Then, proceed to cut out your design.
  4. Weed the Design: Carefully remove the excess vinyl from around your design, leaving only the decal.
  5. Transfer the Decal: Apply transfer tape over your decal, use a scraper tool to remove any air bubbles, and then peel the backing off.
  6. Apply to the Pot: Position the decal on your plant pot and use the scraper again to ensure it’s fully adhered. Carefully peel away the transfer tape.

And there you have it! Your plant pot is now beautifully customized with your own vinyl decal. Enjoy your crafting! 🌿✂️”

I also came across this YouTube video that walks you through each step if you are more of a visual learner like myself, you will find this helpful. Although the project I have chosen is a bit different than the one in the video, it is still the same steps that I will need to follow.

 

In this project, I had the opportunity to work with vinyl, including weeding, applying transfer tape, and using a scraper tool to eliminate air bubbles. The process was relatively straightforward, although I neglected to adjust my machine’s settings to ‘vinyl’ as instructed in step 3. Instead, I cut with the ‘cardstock’ setting, which resulted in a deeper cut and complicated the transfer. Despite this, I managed to apply the vinyl to the tape without restarting. An unforeseen challenge was the non-flat surface of my plant pot, which made applying the vinyl quote to the ridges tricky. Overall, this project has been quite the educational experience. I’ve also produced a picture video of my project using Capcut, the tech tool I reviewed for the EDTC 300 blog post.

Pictured below is the final result of my work.

 

Understanding The Cricut Machine

The initial phase of this learning endeavor involves unboxing the Cricut Explore Air 2 machine and acquainting oneself with its various components. My purchase (shown below) came with a bundle pack, which included all the necessary supplies and tools to commence numerous projects.

After viewing the welcome booklet, it became apparent that it lacked step-by-step guidance for operating the machine. Consequently, I sought assistance on YouTube and discovered a video titled “Unbox a Cricut Explore Air 2” which provided an in-depth explanation and setup assistance for the machine.

From this video, I learned that to use the machine, I needed to go to  cricut.com and create an account (it’s free). Next, I had to download the Cricut Design Space App. Once loaded, the program prompted me through a setup where I was to plug in the machine, turn it on, and let the machine connect to my computer. Everything seemed to be going great until it could not complete the final step. The final step in the setup was to cut a piece of cardstock paper. However, nothing happened past this point, and I got a notification that it could not connect to the cutting tool. In the video below, you will see the machine trying to work but is missing the connection for some reason.

I searched Google for troubleshooting methods and came across an article titled “How to Fix Your Cricut Explore Air 2 in Minutes With a Simple Reset.” The article described a “soft reset” as the initial step in troubleshooting the Cricut. I rebooted my computer and followed these instructions:

A soft reset allows you to restart your Explore Air 2 without erasing any saved profiles or custom settings. It’s the first method to try:

1. Press the power button to turn off your Cricut Explore Air 2.
2. Disconnect the power cord from the outlet.
3. Wait for 10-15 seconds, then reconnect the power.
4. Press the power button to turn on your Cricut again.

This quick power cycle can clear the system memory and reboot your machine for improved performance.

After restarting, I tried the cut once more and also replaced my cardstock paper in case it was contributing to the issue. To my delight, the machine began cutting! I’m so relieved that the solution was straightforward. Below is a video of my first successful cut with the Cricut.

Once the cutting process was complete, the Cricut Design software prompted me to unload the mat (the large green square mat displayed in the video). Afterward, I removed my design from the mat by following the advice given in the ‘Unbox a Cricut Explore Air 2’ video at 14:25. The image below captures my initial experience with the Cricut, where I mastered the use of the machine and executed a cardstock paper cutout.

I’m excited to enhance my creative abilities using the Cricut—more projects coming soon!

Exploring CapCut: Assessing the Simplicity of Video Creating

What is CapCut you may be asking? CapCut is a free video editing tool and can be used on many platforms such as iOS, Android, Windows, etc. You may have noticed that CapCut is widely used for TikTok videos.

To start exploring this tool, I first needed to download the free CapCut app onto my phone. Once in the app, you can select premade templates that have music embedded in them.  You will want to select a category at the top of the page that way the app knows what type of templates it should provide you with. Shown below is a screenshot of the various categories to choose from. For this blog post, I will be looking into how we can create videos that are TikTok quality.

I had an idea in my mind that I wanted to create a video of my dogs. So within the template categories, there is a search bar. I typed “dogs” in the search bar and a bunch of templates came up. I selected the one shown below by selecting the blue button on the bottom of the template that says “Use Template”.

 

As soon as I selected this template, the app asked for access to my photos on my phone. You have to allow the app access in order to proceed. Once the app had access, the template prompted me to start selecting photos. As you can see on the photo below, it already had the timing of the photos set up, I just had to  simply click which photos I wanted in the video template. At the bottom of this screenshot you will see the words media, audio, and text. After selecting the photos for the media, you are given the option to add or change the current text within the template. You can also select the audio section and change or edit the default audio that came with the template and replace it with other suggestions that are built into the app. For my video creation, I chose to change out the audio within the template to a more suiting audio track for the video.

Once this step was complete, I hit the export button on the top of the screen. This took me to another screen that asked where I would like to export my video to and gave me a few options. The picture below shows the options that are available to choose from. Since I am not an active member on social media, I had no where to officially post the video so I just saved it to my camera roll which was a neat option too.

In order to share the final product, I uploaded the CapCut video that I had created into YouTube. You can view the video below. This app was very user friendly. It was way easier than I thought it was going to be and now I am left with a feeling of wanting to create more!

My explorations with CapCut were fairly simple as I didnt stray to far from the premade templates. Perhaps that is something I can explore in later posts.

I could see students using this program to create videos of projects or perhaps a visual journal. This app could have students exploring and expressing themselves through digital creativity in a stress free way with all of the built in templates. Teachers could also use this app to highlight student learning, create lesson “hooks”, and create informational videos for lessons.  Different levels of SAMR could be achieved by using this tool, Substitution- Create an educational video for students to watch as a “hook” to a lesson,                        Augmentation- Students can begin their own research and collect photos. These photos can then be used to upload into CapCut. Student will explore using CapCut and its features by looking at the premade templates,          Modification- Students create videos with audio, visual, and text that showcase their learning , and        Redefinition-  Students create a video that captures their overall learning  and then they can collaborate with others and share/publish their work online. Students can then give peer feedback to one another.

Technology and My Daily Life

When it comes to technology, I spend more time on my phone than I would like to admit.  It is always shocking to receive the weekly screen time report that tells you how much of your time has been used up on technology.

A young child shows a shocked expression while using a laptop in a dark room, highlighting the impact of technology on youth.
I mostly use my phone for social interaction, Facebook, and quick access to the internet/Google. I find that texts and notifications on my phone are my biggest distraction. After looking at a text and replying, I find myself scrolling Facebook reels while I wait for the person to reply. Long after the conversation is over, I find myself still scrolling and before I know it, I have lost 10-20 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

When doing schoolwork on my computer, I find I can easily get off task if my phone is nearby. One thing that I find helps me stay on task is setting a timer on my phone using the iPhone Clock App.

A phone with a black and white 25-minute timer to study with the pomodoro method on a blurry background. Perfect for students planning their time studying, doing homework, being productive.

 

Here are step-by-step instructions on How to Set a Timer on The iPhone Clock App. When doing schoolwork, I will set a timer for 30 minutes and work for that full 30 minutes. If a text comes in during that 30 minutes or a notification, I will ignore it and open it when my timer goes off. Setting a timer, helps me stay focused and increases my productivity as well since I try and finish my assignment before the timer goes off. I usually take a quick break at 30 minutes and then start another timer to continue my work. Here is an article explaining the benefits of setting a timer for your daily tasks, 6 Ways in Which Setting a Timer Can Boost Your Productivity  

What are some ways that help you stay on task?

 

 

 

Introduction

Hello, my name is Brittany Silzer and I am currently in my third year of elementary education. Before attending University, I worked for the YMCA of Moose Jaw Childcare Centres. During my time working for the YMCA, I took part-time classes at Saskpolytech and achieved my Diploma with distinctions in Early Childhood Education. After 11 wonderful years of employment, I decided it was time to go back to school and I enrolled in the Early Elementary Bachelor of Education program. I currently still live in Moose Jaw with my spouse, three kids, two dogs, and a cat. Below is a picture of my two dogs that my family and I named after flowers, Lily and Poppy.

My Experience with Educational Technology

When I was in school, our form of educational technology was having a movie day with a giant box television that was on a roller cart. I have posted a picture below of what this looks like in case you went to school with more advanced technology options.

We also had a computer class with big chunky computer screens. I may have just aged myself, but I feel that by sharing this, you can understand that I did not grow up with much technology and so most of these programs that are used in classrooms today are very foreign to me. I am taking this class to learn more about educational technologies as I feel this is an area of consistent growth as technology continues to take over and expand.

My Thoughts on Blogging

When it comes to blogging, I have no clue what I am doing. I have never written a blog before, and I feel nervous about sharing my thoughts and experiences openly. However, I am looking forward to becoming more comfortable as I navigate and learn all about blogging.

Crafting With The Cricut Machine: Introduction To My Learning Project

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to explore the world of creativity and design by creating my own t-shirts. However, when I first developed this idea, it was many years ago before the Cricut Machine was invented. I used to make shirts by using this special Iron on Printer Paper. I could print onto this paper from my computer printer and then iron it onto the shirt. I have made a couple of projects by doing this and it works but it does not give the results a Cricut machine would produce. After a few washes the decal, design, or picture you put on the shirt or fabric begins to crack and wear down. I have eyed the machines for a long time but never took the plunge to buy one…until last year when I finally purchased one, the Cricut Explore Air 2.

What next I asked. Not knowing how to use it, I placed it to the side and said, “I will need to find time to explore it and figure out how to work it”. The machine has now been sitting unboxed in my basement collecting dust. I am still waiting to find that “time” to pull it out and start a project. Well, there is no better time than now to finally crack open the box and explore what I can create through this learning project.

I have many ideas in mind of things I want to create, and I am looking forward to finally setting time aside to learn the ropes of becoming crafty with the Cricut. It is my goal to try something different with the machine each week. Come along with me on my learning journey where I explore many online formats that will give me inspiration for many different projects.

It is time to blow off the dust and finally try this machine out!

 

© 2024 Brittany Silzer

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