Summary of Learning

Looking back, my journey started almost five years ago, in January of 2016. I started working as an EAL teacher in the fall of 2015, and even though I had completed the Education Program twice ( once in Europe and once in Canada), and I had the experience of learning foreign languages, I still had the urge to learn more in this field. So, I applied for the Masters Certificate Program in TESOL with the goal of becoming a better EAL teacher. It was a great experience but I had to write a LOT of papers. After completing the program, I was thinking of continuing my studies but it seemed that my only option was the Masters Program in Curriculum and Instruction, meaning more papers… When someone mentioned to me the Masters Certificate Program in Educational Technology, I immediately knew this was what I wanted, this was what I needed. Although the name of the program sounded scary because of the lack my experience and knowledge in this field, I pushed myself through the application process and after being accepted there was no turning back.

Was it easy? If you ask my children, they would probably say “Thank God, you’re done!” I cannot describe the guilt that I felt throughout the years for the many hours I had to miss out on. I hope that them seeing me pushing through these past five years and learning new things that even they can benefit from, will teach them to fight for their dreams and never give up. They did such a great job giving me strength to accomplish my goal.

Words cannot describe how thankful I am to my professor Dr. Alec Couros for being my GUIDE through my journey in the world of Educational Technology. The patience, understanding and support he provided truly helped me through this steep learning curve. Thank you Alec for believing in me and sharing your knowledge and expertise in such a unique way. What I find the most amazing is the connections you were able to build with your students and within your class. Instead of preaching about Educational Technology, you immersed us in it. I had the experience to not only learn, but try out so many amazing tools. I feel confident that I can incorporate ed. tech into my teaching in a purposeful way now. Being part of an amazing PLN also gives a great sense of belonging and support.

This semester was very unique since I had the privilege to work with Curtis and Dean on our project on Makerspaces and Coding. Thanks to them, I had the opportunity to meet and learn from Dr. Bryan Sanders, the Codebreaker Brian Aspinall and our amazing colleague, Megan Moore. During our project, the idea of creating a Minecraft world with EAL students came up. Since I had absolutely no experience with Minecraft Education Edition, I couldn’t even imagine how coding could become part of language learning. When Dean’s student, Nico demonstrated how things can come to life in Minecraft, I started seeing the potential in it. So, I asked Dean if he’d like to work on the Summary of Learning with me? He graciously offered to help me learn about Minecraft Education Edition and we used it to create our final project. Under the Summary of Learning Wakelet Collection you can take a peak at our EC&I 833 Island in Minecraft that has several huts, each hut representing a topic covered in class. We also included the information found on the boards in each hut, as well as links to our blog posts. Since Twitter played an important role in our learning journey, we added tweets from our team members as well. It was absolutely amazing to work on this project with Dean. He is a true mentor!

It is hard to say goodbye but I feel I learnt so much, I need some time to think things through and take everything that I learnt to the next level. I am looking forward to continue learning from all of you in the future.

I would like to say thank you with a song called “Rainbow” that I learnt recently. Learning how to play the piano was my childhood dream and one of Alec’s previous classes made that dream come true. I had to learn something new, and I picked the piano. This actually became part of our lives since both of my children and I are learning. Of course they are more advanced than me….

Thank you for being part of my amazing journey!


Let’s ‘Make’ It Happen

By Dean Vendramin and Melinda Demeter 

There are couple of movements, which although not entirely new, deserve a push, poke, and a plug.  These movements are coding, and makerspaces being infused in the classroom.  Recently, in an Education Master’s class, we examined the learning theories, tools, and complexities of these movements.  We were listening to a podcast recently about making and coding in the classroom.  It went along the lines of this … ‘the mindset that we need to prepare students to climb that ladder and be able to win the race is no longer relevant in today’s world, the ladder has been replaced by a maze that students need to be able to navigate, pivot, and create their own path in’.  We believe that this reality is true and that it is education’s responsibility to provide students with learning opportunities to best prepare them for their future. Both coding and makerspaces provide these opportunities. 

Coding in the classroom usually gets designated to Computer Science classes and maybe a math class.  However, coding should not be just relegated to a couple of specific classes.  Also, coding isn’t just a 0s and 1s thing or advanced coding language, block coding makes the entry point easier and one can even do coding ‘unplugged’ where one can use paper cutouts to create computational learning opportunities.  Exposing and engaging students with computational thinking opportunities provides them with skills to solve wicked problems.  The goal isn’t to have all students become computer scientists but to allow students to construct their learning and grow a valuable growth mindset skill set.  

As both Dr. Bryan Sanders and the Codebreaker Brian Aspinall highlighted during our interviews ( ), coding has a lot to offer when it comes to teaching various subject matters, for example Language Arts. Hour of Code ( ) offers a variety of examples that can be easily implemented into teaching. Scratch ( ) is an amazing tool for story writing as well as Minecraft Education where the stories can come to life. Saskcode ( ) offers different ideas and lesson plans on coding as well as PD sessions. Using the Bee Bot, Ozobot, Arduino, etc. are fun and engaging ways to take learning to the next level. Having coding infused into our classrooms also helps reaching the various needs of our students. One might even call them a type of Assistive Technology.  

If you are asking yourself if implementing makerspaces is truly worth the trouble, you need to listen to Jennifer Gonzales’ podcast ( ) where John Spencer not only describes the importance of constructionism and connectivism makerspaces offer but the depth they give to the process of learning and teaching by being fully immersed in the beauty of creating.  In the above mentioned podcast, John Spencer also provides a few ideas on creating our own makerspaces and incorporating them into teaching various subject matters to help all our students play an active role in their own learning. 

Hope this provides some insights and resources that one can use to start or continue their coding and makerspaces journey.  For more resources and tips check out .  You don’t have to be an expert or have all the bells and whistles to start being a part of this journey.  There are many entry points and many people willing to offer their time, talent, and treasures.  So next time you are thinking of having your classroom experience level up, make it happen. As always you can reach out to the two of us on Twitter @vendi55 and @Melinda74108321