About Me and My Educational Philosophies

About Me:

Hi there! I am Darian Zadorozniak, and I am currently in my fourth year of my Secondary Education degree with a major in Social Studies and a minor in English. I am preparing for my internship in the winter 2024 semester, where I will be interning in Southey. I am very much looking forward to this experience!

Here are some fun facts about myself:

I love sports (playing them and watching them), and my favourites to partake in would have to be football, basketball, and bowling, although keep in mind I am definitely not the most gifted athlete…

I am originally from Weyburn – although I have lived in Regina for about 4 years. I have certainly grown to appreciate the quietness of Weyburn over the years!

I love video games! I’m a huge sucker for Nintendo games, and the GameCube has a special place in my heart. I don’t lose to anybody in Mario Kart.

My educational philosophies:

While my educational philosophies are something that I find are constantly changing, one thing which has remained the most consistent throughout my experiences is a firm belief in providing equitable education to my students.

To me, this means that as an educator, we should all be striving to treat all students in a manner that displays genuine care for their learning, and shows that we are genuinely invested in their success.

These are things that I find incredibly important in my young career as an educator. Taking an investment in the success of my students doesn’t mean that success will always look the same in every student that I will encounter, but it does mean that I will do my best to conform to the needs of the learners around me in trying to attain success for these students. I feel that this is highly attainable through a variety of teaching strategies, assessment strategies, and creative lesson planning. Equity is not just limited to these features of education and teaching, however, and I feel that the career of an educator is a career which relies heavily on providing equitable opportunities for all students.



My Final Networked Learning Post: “How Have You Contributed to the Learning of Others?”

Hey readers,

I have compiled some of my comments from various points in the semester (I could not find a lot of them, and it was difficult to remember which blog posts I had commented on, but alas, I did find a few to share). There is also a contribution from the EDTC 300 Community Discord server shared in the document.

Here it is.

Aside from what I have shared, and other comments on my peers’ blogs that I just could not find, most of the other contributions that I made to learning were more so done in-class, through consistent contributions in both breakout rooms and class discussions.

Thanks for reading,


Lesson plans that I have made so far…

Hey readers, here are some lesson plans and other resources I have compiled through internship experiences.

Most of these lesson plans are from my Pre-Internship at Balfour Collegiate in March of 2023, in this experience, I got to teach ELA 9, Mental Health and Addictions 10/20/30 (which is a very recently developed course, that was a cool experience), and History 30. I have google drive folders which include all of the lesson plans which I made in this time.


Mental Health and Addictions

History 30

Trying out an AI tool – Speechify

Hey readers,

For this week’s assigned blog post, we have been assigned to try out an AI tool that was discussed in last week’s class. I checked out a few of them, but the one I enjoyed the most was an AI app called Speechify.

It took me a while to figure out how to get extensions working on my web browser, as I am not super familiar with them, but I managed to get Speechify to work and had it read out a google document for me! My first impression of it was that it is indeed kind of creepy for AI to be able to generate the voices of random people throughout the world.

It’s like a dream come true to hear people like Mr. Beast or Snoop Dogg reading my writing!!

Just kidding.

But all jokes aside, having features like this is a fun novelty… and having options like this could also improve student engagement with the app. I personally hate the robotic Microsoft text-to-speech voices, so I could definitely see myself using this program in instances where I am too busy to read but want to listen to a more human-like voice… Does that make sense? I generally struggle to engage when it’s Microsoft Mary reading a chapter of my textbook to me.

And that’s where I see the usefulness of this app in contexts of education. It’s a fairly simple app that can be usefully applied to pretty much any grade-level, and could be used to help elementary students who may struggle with their reading or high school students who just don’t enjoy reading, all the way up to post-secondary students who may just be trying to multi-task. I also think for students who are visually impaired, having a more human-like voice reading to them is a lot more engaging than the previously mentioned Microsoft text-to-speech voices.

Another nice thing about Speechify is the customizable speed of the text-to-speech. You can slow it down or speed it up to whatever speed is most conducive to your learning.

As an English minor, I admit that I am kind of biased against the use of AI, and am overall worried about its uses in the context of education. With tools like Speechify, I find that my stance on AI kind of softens, as it serves a purpose of providing further accessibility to students who may struggle with reading.

Continuing DuoLingo and More – Week 9

Greetings readers!

I just wanted to begin this 9th learning project post with a little pat on the back for myself as I have officially completed 10 weeks of French training on DuoLingo. I definitely intend to continue using this app even after I have completed my learning project.

This brings me to my subject for this week’s blog: How I intend to continue with my learning after the course.

The nice thing about DuoLingo is that it familiarizes the user with the written form of the language. I’m not sure about other languages, but for French, being able to read the language doesn’t really equate to being able to coherently understand the language when it is spoken to you.

Moving forward, I will continue learning with DuoLingo but more importantly I will be looking to incorporate the use of speech into my learning. I have been finding resources online which help to explain how I can better start to understand French speech as it is spoken, as I have become fairly confident in deciphering written French I feel that this is the next step.

This video that I found on YouTube helps to explain why French can be such a difficult language to understand when it is spoken. The creator of the video explains that the French language is often spoken very fast – so fast that it is common for many words to be contracted. There are many examples provided, and the creator of the video illustrates the auditory differences between the written and spoken versions of the language.

Videos like this are overwhelming in the sense that I find it is very difficult to understand a lot of the speech being said to me, and that while I have a good grip on the written form of the language, I think that is going to be a lot easier than learning the nuances that accompany the spoken form of the French language.

Having subtitles on these videos is pretty much mandatory for me. I’ve found it helpful to flip between French and English subtitles when watching videos such as the one linked above.

Increasing Digital Literacy in Secondary Education

Hey readers,

With the assigned topic of digital literacy for today’s post, I am reminded of last week’s activity in class where we spotted the troll. Prior to this activity, I was under the assumption that my digital literacy skills were good. In trying to “spot the trolls”, I performed very poorly and got nearly every guess wrong, which was an eye-opening experience. It is a fun activity to try on your own.

While I’m not on the internet as much as when I was as a teenager, the fact that I am going to be in a classroom teaching about digital literacy means that I still need to prioritize learning digital literacy for myself. For this week’s post, I spent a lot of time looking at resources aimed at improving digital literacy, and teaching digital literacy for this blog post, and am going to relate some of these to how they could be applied in secondary education.

Looking at the NTCE’s Definition of Literacy in a Digital Age Article, this article was incredibly interesting. It breaks down a definition of digital literacy into a lens that makes it applicable to curriculum. It makes a criteria of what successful participants in global society must be able to do (seen in the list below)

I found this criteria similar to outcomes; further down the website these outcomes are further broken down with “indicating” questions that help to answer whether these outcomes have been achieved or not. This is a really useful site, and as an educator I think it provides us with a good framework to better know the levels of digital literacy that exist within our classrooms.

We live in a highly sensationalized, and highly politicized world. With people on the internet more and more every day, we constantly see news. Identifying whether news is real or fake has become nearly impossible for the untrained eye, and I find this frustrating as a social studies teacher in training, who will have to navigate through all of the manipulation that takes place in the digital world. Knowing how to spot media manipulation is something that is becoming extremely important in this context. I spent time checking out the Data Society Article, which discussed this topic in depth. It provides the reader with ways that we can spot fake news/media manipulation which I find to be extremely relevant within a context of secondary social studies.

There is a lot to know behind why trolls exist online, what trolls are trying to achieve, and how to spot trolls and manipulators online. It is kind of overwhelming, but luckily in the digital world, there are near-infinite resources out there. The NTCE article was kind of my favourite resource that I looked at, as I enjoyed that it was looked at very specifically through a lens of curriculum/education that can be easily related to my practice as an educator.

Learning Project Post 8 – 2 Months in!

Hey Readers!

Can you believe we’re 2 months into our learning project? Or that we’re 2 weeks from the end of semester? Me neither!! Personally, I’m so ready for a break at this point – between the approaching end of semester and Christmas shopping, I am beyond exhausted.

The other day I officially hit a streak of 60 days on DuoLingo! This is pretty exciting for me – I think over the duration of this semester, I have learned more French than I did throughout all of my elementary/secondary education. I like to think that this is not due to a lack of good teachers (I had great teachers), but rather the motivation that I have gained throughout this learning project.

It’s kind of funny to think that something as silly as a “streak” is something that has become incredibly motivational for me, but whenever I’m feeling burnt out I get a notification that my streak is in jeopardy- and then I go into a panic and spend the next 30 minutes on DuoLingo.

Obviously I’m not alone in this feeling, for when I look at the DuoLingo leaderboards I often see people who have streaks of 3+ years of daily DuoLingo lessons.

This week I’m really thinking about my motivation, as a 2 month streak on DuoLingo was not something I foresaw myself achieving when undertaking this learning project. More specifically, I am curious as to why I wasn’t as motivated to learn French as a youngster. As a question to the readers, did you enjoy additional language classes such as French when you were a student? If so, what motivated you in those classes? If not, why do you think that is, and what do you think could have motivated you in these classes?

As always, thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to hearing your input!!

Trying out an Hour of Code – Flappy Santa?

Hello readers!

So, this week, I became a game developer!

We were assigned to try out some coding softwares which are designed to spark the interests of kids who may have passion for video games/coding/computer science. I chose to try out one called Hour of Code.

As a brief preface, I would like to note that I have very limited experience in writing code. I took Computer Science 20 six or seven years ago, and I sucked at writing code! In that class we used a program called Python to write code, and maybe it was just me, but I was not good at writing code and as a result I have always avoided activities relating to computer science ever since.

Hour of Code features many different “games” which the users choose from a library of options. The user is able to practice writing code for the game which they choose, essentially creating the game for themselves, customizing it, and then being able to share it for their friends to play. This ability to create and share creations with friends really reminded me of the SAMR Model which we discussed earlier in the course. Apps like Hour of Code are redefining the ways in which disciplines like computer science and coding are able to be taught and learned.

I spent an hour or so playing around with Hour of Code, and decided to make a Flappy Bird game, since it seemed simple enough. Below are some screenshots to illustrate the kinds of things that I was doing on Hour of Code.

Looking at the image above (for whatever reason the resolution has gone downhill, so my apologies), you can see that this is a much more simplistic piece of code than the creation that I finished with on the image below. I really enjoyed how the app eases the user into coding, and familiarizes you with some of the language. I feel like if I had access to software like this as a kid who loved to play video games, I would’ve probably seen coding as a much less daunting task when I tried it in high school.

The image above is the final piece of code that I designed. I chose to make a Flappy Santa game, since it’s almost Christmas time! If you would like to try it, here it is.

As always, thank you for reading! I hope you are all doing well as we enter this last stretch of this semester.

Sticky Notes!!!!! Learning Post Week 7

Howdy readers!

I had a really busy week, as I have been moving back up to the city (finally)!!!! No more commuting is going to not only save me a lot of time and money, but also the stress of winter driving, which is a nice bonus.

Of course, after moving I made the compulsory post-moving Walmart trip. While I was there I finally got around to picking up the sticky notes that I have been wanting to use to make little cue-cards to practice the phrases that have been giving me grief in my French lessons.

Please excuse my horrible photography skills (it took me 5 minutes just to find out how to turn the flash on my camera), but I will save that for my next learning project. Here is a page of the “cue-cards” I have made out of sticky notes to stick into my notebook.

Also, apologies if the image quality is poor, I had to downsize the file to get it onto my blog post so hopefully it doesn’t look as bad for you as it does for me.

Phrases like parles/parle/parlez-vous which mean the same thing but are different depending on context, and feminine/masculine words are the main things that I have been practicing with these cue-cards. I have folded the answers underneath the cue cards so I can check if my answers are correct.

The cue cards also come in handy whenever I am on DuoLingo and get stumped about feminine/masculine words. I kind of use it to cheat (don’t tell Duo), but I feel it’s more “constructive cheating” than anything. Does that make sense?

My question to whoever may be reading this: Do you find cue cards to be an effective strategy for memorization? I personally enjoy cue cards, I find it useful to write things down to memorize them, and with cue cards you can test your retention of very specific things, so it is going a little bit further than simply writing things down.