The World is Yours to Explore

Category: EDTC 300 (Page 1 of 2)

AI in the classroom – good or bad?

The AI tool I chose to experiment with was Consensus. This AI tool helps users find papers related to the user question and gives a detailed summary of them. It lays out important elements like where it ranks in the hierarchy of evidence, methodology of the paper and how many times the paper was cited. It also provides a link to the actual paper if you wish to explore the paper further. Consensus can also analyze the papers and show a poll as to what the likely answer to your question will be. You can then see and read the different papers that show the different views. 


This tool is fantastic because it drastically cuts the amount of time one has to read to find whether a paper is relevant to use in a scientific report. It enhances teaching in that students can be more engaged with the material to what they want to learn about rather than trying to read a lot of papers only to find no relevance to the material. The tool also easily demonstrates the idea that a given question doesn’t always have a clear-cut answer in science. There are different perspectives to take into account, which may affect our understanding of the subject. 


Of course, this is not to say that Consensus should be heavily relied on. During this point in time, the developers acknowledge that Consensus is a generative AI and may provide incorrect results. They also confirm the AI is only 90% accurate with its results and may exclude vital context. While I would introduce this AI to the classroom to get them engaged with the material, I would want to teach them how to read a scientific article properly. 


I am uncertain how I feel about integrating AI into the education system. On one hand, there are plenty of AI tools that can certainly help students with their learning. They are tools that teachers can use to fulfill the Saskatchewan Adaptive and Inclusion documents. One example is the speech to text AI tools. There are also tools that can assist students in how they tackle a given subject. If a student does not have a creative mind, Dall-E and Midjourney can help shape their thoughts into a visual picture which the student can then use to express themselves or use on a given assignment, On the other hand, there are AI tools that could help students find an easy way getting something done without necessarily having to learn it. Students could use ChatGPT to insert a prompt for an English assignment, then hand it in to the teacher without doing the work or understanding the learning behind the assignment. 


In the end, I suspect AI will play a role quite similar to the introduction of the internet back in the early 2000s. It will become a medium that will be used both for good and bad. My hope is that it will become a tool students can use to aid in their learning, rather than become a distraction and detriment.

Something strange crawling in the news….who do you trust? (Digital Literacy)

Incorporating digital literacy in highschool science is an important step to focus on in a student’s learning. Science is the subject that looks at the natural order of the world. If a student has misinformed ideas, it can be a detriment to themselves and society as a whole. David Lazer and his colleagues even suggest in their paper “The science in Fake news“, misinformation can influence people towards cynacism and extremism.


Health Science 20 focuses on the human body and nutrition. A student without proper digital literacy can go on a diet from a random influencer without taking in the full consequences of what they are about to go through. Science 10 has a unit on humanities influence on the environment. If a student sees an article promoting the idea that nature hasn’t changed at all in the past 100 years, they might go on to continue a lifestyle that feeds into a destructive ecological cycle. 


At the beginning of the given school year / semester, I would start the first couple of classes teaching about digital literacy in science. I would demonstrate that google can’t always give reliable answers (Source). Another source I would use to teach digital literacy would be Media Manipulation and Disinformation online and apply it to a scientific lens. Throughout the semester, I would also attempt to implement a current topic or debate to the appropriate subject (genetic cloning for bio 30, climate change for science 10, etc..).

Solve the puzzle with coding!

I love puzzles, especially ones that involve logic. It’s a form of mental exercise that is sometimes lacking in life. It’s satisfying to stretch the muscles and find different possibilities to tackle a puzzle. And when the solution is found and the puzzle is complete, there is a silent yet cathartic release of dopamine in the brain that leaves you pleased with the work you put into it. Or if it was a puzzle you were working on for days and had a really easy solution, a loud cathartic groan can be heard along with the palms in one’s face. Puzzles are great.


This week, I went to and chose Minecraft Hero’s Journey Hour of Code. I was a bit confused at first as I thought I would be inputting the code for Steve (the character). I quickly realized I was inputting the code for the robot companion, which I should have realized had I read the instructions properly. Once I understood what was going on, I began to breeze through the puzzles, one by one. I then noticed the additional objective of retrieving the diamond before ending the puzzle. From that point onwards, the diamond was the priority before finishing the level. I finished all the levels within 30 min, which was great but also annoying as I wanted to complete more. The last level was a free play level, encouraging the user to create code using what they just learned. I fiddled around with it and made a loop. It was a bit more tedious than expected as I needed to cross over the river. I spent more time attempting to figure out how to create the loop than any of the previous levels. Part of that time was understanding some new commands that were not previously there before. The other part of that time was understanding where I went wrong, fix the mistake, then wait for the code to reach the fixed point. I eventually did create my loop and was satisfied to shut the program down. Overall, it was a great experience and a great introduction to coding for students.. It did a good job at keeping me engaged with the coding material with something I was familiar with (Minecraft texture). 


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I never had much coding experience growing up. I had a friend that dabbled in it from time to time, but I had no interest. It looked like a foreign language that I would never have to think about. When I came to the UofR, I had to take a computer science course, which meant I had to learn coding. The material itself was bland at first, but once I understood the building blocks, I had more fun with it. That being said, it was still stressful, especially when the code didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I had a better appreciation for coding once the class was done and can see why so many people are fascinated by it.  I think students are hesitant to learn coding because portrayals of coding in the media can be seen as “complicated” or “nerdy”. Websites like Hour of Code or Code Academy break the stigma, showing that the material can be broken down to digestible bite-sized portions and be relatable in their artistic endeavors. 


As society leans more heavily into technology, it makes sense for students to learn about it prior to university. Coding is utilized everywhere, from computer programs to phones to cars. There are tons of job opportunities that come with it. Coding also allows students to think with logic using visual aids. They can see the consequence for each of their actions and can correct them accordingly. They are able to understand the logic for themselves without having to be told where they went wrong.

Welcome to the dark side of the internet

I don’t remember much education on cyber security or digital citizenship during my pre-university years. Most of my education surrounding cyber safety was through my dad, who was an RCMP officer and was aware of the dark side of the internet. I vaguely remember 3 instances of school-driven education around this topic.  


One was the scare tactic based ads during middle school. When I watched them, I viewed them as informative rather than being scared of the internet. I learned to be aware of the choices I made on the internet and only contacted people who I knew.  I also didn’t have Facebook, Instagram or any kind of social media until grade 11/12. This choice was partly due to my parents, but also partly due to my recognition that I didn’t need it. Most of my communication through middle and highschool was through gmail and the textplus/nextplus app on my ipod touch. I was satisfied with that level of communication until there was a need to upgrade it for school projects (Facebook messenger). 


A couple months into grade 10, we had an assembly regarding the suicide of Amanda Todd. I remember watching the original video. I recall having a sense of shock and sadness at the time, questioning why or how someone could do that. We were aware of the concept of cyber-bullying in middle school, but Amanda Todd showed us what kind of repercussions cyber-bullying had. Although it was tragic, I learned that bullying didn’t have to be seen in the school for it to happen. 


Finally, the last instance I remember was an assembly with The White Hatter. I don’t recall whether it was during middle school or highschool, but he did leave an impression. He advocated for online privacy and internet safety. He would systematically go through what a black hat or predator would do to achieve their goal, then give solutions and countermeasures against them. I found the methods black hats / predators used were fascinating and solidified my approach to the internet and how I used it. I would argue that while this could be a form of a scare-tactic, it was also informative of its approach.


I think the best way to approach digital citizenship is to be informative. Show that while the digital realm has a lot of positives to gain, there is also a dark side of the realm one needs to be aware of and that it can take various forms. The direct dark side reflects the “stranger danger” and cyber-bullying aspects while the indirect dark side reflects privacy agreements and invasions with various media platforms.

The Trend of Viral Videos and Memes

When I reflect on Wesch’s video, I think it’s fascinating how explosive the culture of participation grew. There are more viral videos and memes floating around the internet every week compared to the internet’s infancy. That being said, the trend fades more quickly than those of the internet infancy. One week it’s a trend, 2 weeks later it dies. There are constantly new ways people innovate how to participate online. Some are reaction videos on content itself (ex. React channel), while others use the audio of a viral video to make it their own (tiktok). After watching the video, I went to Wesch’s youtube channel in hopes to find an updated video on the subject 15 years later. Unfortunately, he has not made an updated video on the modern internet. However, he did make some comments on another video about teaching and engaging with students online, which I found pretty interesting. 


I think there’s a possibility where the new culture of participation can coincide with the future classroom. The participation can be used as a way to engage with the students and potentially be used for teaching depending on the subject material. For example, the ALS ice bucket challenge spread across the internet in 2018 to raise money for charity. In a biology class, you could potentially participate in this challenge and then afterwards teach the class on what ALS is and how it affects the human body. Another way to potentially engage students is through memes. Depending on the meme itself, you could break the meme down in scientific or sociological terms and how it relates to the subject matter. 

I think one of the best ways to balance the challenges and possibilities is talking to the class about expectations. Being open to talking about internet and participation trends for the first 5 minutes of class engages with the students. You could inquire about the trend interest via polls and opinions, and again, attempt to find a way to connect it to the subject material itself. On the other hand, trends should also have a time and a place – it shouldn’t take up the whole class and take away from a student’s learning.

Vocabulary List? Answer:Mango

Welcome back to another week of learning German,  where the title for this post sounds like a key phrase spies like Johnny English and Austin Powers use.

I mentioned in my first post that I wanted to find useful tools for 3 areas : Verbs, Vocabulary and Sentence structure. I successfully found a verb and sentence tool, as seen in my earlier posts. This week, I found the vocabulary tool.

Introducing Mango Languages!

One of the best things about this program/site right off the bat, is that it’s free! “But Josh, I’m combing through the website and its definitely not free!” A true and astute observation. However, I wanted to add more links to this post and that was one way to do it (sorry not sorry).

The way to access it for free is through a medium funded by the public…. the Regina Public library. Here’s the direct link.

Once you sign into your library account, BAM, its all in your fingertips. I would recommend creating an account with Mango as its a way to track your progress and also be able to login the app via your mobile device. You can choose to do German or another language.

Mango splits German into 5 units, with a varying amount of chapters, each with its own subject and vocabulary that its related to. Depending on where you’re at with the language or if you’re interested in a specific subject, you’re able to bounce around from subject to subject without any major barriers. You can jump from learning vocabulary related to numbers to shopping to airports and customs.

Another nice thing about this program is that it shows you both the singular and plural versions of the same word all in one. The lessons take you through the vocabulary step by step and asks you to recall earlier words and/or translations. All of this is through the age-old strategy for learning exams — flashcards.

This is the tool I wished was implemented in Duolingo. Instead of having to scramble through a Duolingo lesson or two to find a specific word you want to remember, you could interact with a bank of words the game has shown you. If this was implemented, it would allow people to have easy access to jump right back into lessons and succeed, instead of choosing to give up.

That’s it for this week! Hope you’re enjoying it so far and let me know if there is anything I can do to go further! And for fun, comment your favorite spy movie and/or favorite fruit!

Noir movie character mango isolated on white background, clipping path, full depth of field

The Conjugation Champ (ft. Decent quality video editing)


It’s been another week and I have taken up the task of video editing! (Heads up, the video is way better than the last 2 posts).

I was always a bit apprehensive with video editing because I thought it was a time eater and too complicated to deal with. After looking at it for a couple of hours, it’s a lot simpler than I expected it. I’m no means an expert, but I can navigate it well enough to continue with these edits in the future (given enough time).

I used Microsoft ClipChamp for my video editing program.

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  • Editing Clips

  • Auto Closed-Captioning

  • Transition options

  • Text options and other goodies

When you open the program to create a new video, one of the first things to pop up is the option to import media, which is as simple as click-drag-drop. Once the video clip is in, you can add it to the template and edit it right away. You can splice sections you’re not happy with (like a long pause or rambling on too much) and add transitions afterwards (if applicable). You can add all kinds of other media (texts, images, gifs, music…) and move them wherever you want, both on the screen and the timeline. There is even an option for automatic closed captioning, which does a decent job of translating the audio. I thought about adding it to my video and editing the closed captioning, but the length of the video was pretty long already and I didn’t want to waste time (maybe next time). There is an option to pay premium to access more features and options, but the free version is good enough for me right now.

If you plan to use this tool in the future, I’d recommend creating short clips first and then edit them in ClipChamp, as opposed to making one long video. It saves a good chunk of time in the editing bay.

I can see myself using this tool as a future educator. I would primarily utilize it to create review videos for the class, in case they were struggling on a particular subject or if they happened to miss a class. It would allow me to assemble the material together in a concise and clear way, without droning on and repeating myself. On the SAMR model, this would likely be regarded as Augmentation.

For Substitution, a teacher could use it to create a funny video that has no educational purpose.

If students were assigned a project and wanted to utilize video to convey the material, ClipChamp would be useful to bring all the ideas together in a fun, creative way.   This tool could be an introduction to those unfamiliar with editing technology (Modification),

Finally, for redefinition, I could see a project based around news media outlets/game shows, in which a class-led dramatic scene is filmed and students have to find creative ways to edit the clips to convey certain emotional or knowledge based ideas. The projects could then be uploaded to Youtube for future grades or the public.

Without any further adieu, here’s this week’s progress!


Grasping German Grammar (feat. Laura)

Week 2 is here and I feel a bit more confident than the last post! 

In the previous post, I wanted to find a way to understand German grammar and how it was implemented in a basic sentence. After some research, I can happily say I found a site that answered most of my questions!

German with Laura is primarily a site to buy their German course (similar to Rosetta Stone and Busuu). However, the website has some fantastic articles on various grammar topics. It takes a grammar topic (ex. nouns) and explains how it is used in an English sentence. It then compares the English sentence to a German sentence and explains the similarities and differences between the two sentences. It does a great job at breaking down each case, provides a good amount of examples and exceptions to each rule. Some of the articles also give good study tips and advice on how to tackle the subject. This site helped clear a lot of confusion I had when I started Duolingo last week. Now when I use Duolingo, I can use some of the strategies and pattern recognition from German with Laura to clear the units without losing a lot of hearts.

I found another annoyance with Duolingo. I wanted to look back at some of the vocabulary and sentences I practiced in Duolingo and compare it to the general rules on gender groups (whether the word is masculine, feminine or neuter) from German with Laura. It turns out there are guidebooks as to what kind of material you’ll be learning in the unit, but there is no set list. If you want to find a word, you have to go through some of the review units or redo a previous lesson, which in my opinion wastes time. Perhaps one of the reasons to not include it is to, again, emphasize the game element of the app. I will continue to use Duolingo as it is a good practice tool, but I will search for another alternative that allows me to access vocabulary lists to look at and practice with.

Maintaining balance in the digital realm

The websites I use most frequently nowadays include Google, UR courses, Youtube and Spotify. To a lesser degree, I also use Facebook and Instagram. Google and UR courses are mostly in line with my academic pursuits in education. I’ve used Youtube as a way to take breaks from school work. To ensure I don’t go down a rabbit hole, I keep my watch history and search history options off. I use Spotify to provide subtle background music when I’m working on assignments. I only have Facebook and Instagram on my PC and check it once or twice a day for a couple minutes. I find if I have those apps on my phone, I end up doom-scrolling for an hour or two, switching between apps as needed. This in turn caused my productivity to decrease drastically. I’ll also use Steam once a week to play games with online friends


No recommended distractions here

I’m fairly old-fashioned when it comes to organization and productivity. The only digital tool I use is Google drive, as it is a convenient storage medium that is easily accessible whenever I use my chromebook or phone. Whenever I write papers on Google Drive, it points out grammatical/spelling errors and it automatically and frequently saves whatever I’ve done.

I have physical paper calendars sticky-tacked to a wall, which have all important deadlines and events coming up, both academic and personal. I create study schedules with a big portable whiteboard and try my best to follow the schedule. I physically write important notes/flashcards when studying for a test and I use my whiteboard to organize my thoughts and ideas for papers and projects. If I feel gross from staring at a screen for a long while, I’ll purposely go for a walk or read a book to readjust.

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  • Printable Calendars + Hand-written schedules

  • Important notes for the Learning Project

I believe these methods help create a healthier boundary between technology and myself. My goal is to use technology only as needed. I personally think society has become too reliant on technology. Whilst technology has its benefits, I think it has more drawbacks, especially if it malfunctions or dies at some point. I ask myself “Am I able to do this task if technology is not available?”. If my response is negative, I try my best to find a non-technological method. The reason I do this is to ensure that I have personal growth independent of technology. My identity and abilities are not tied to technology. 

Establishing goals is the first step to balance technology and personal wellbeing. Recognizing what is distracting you and how you deal with it are the next crucial steps towards balance. What follows afterwards is maintaining discipline to reach your established goal. Once some time has passed, the final step is re-evaluation. Are you more productive with your academic work whilst having a healthy mental state? Do you need to have a stricter regiment or can you have a more relaxed regiment? Are there any loop-holes you have to address? When you understand that achieving balance will take time and not be instantaneous, you will excel. 

Romancing the Germanic

I love languages, real and fictional. I find it fascinating to see how different words and sentence structures can be between languages. I also loved the twists and surprises a language can carry in terms of similarities as well. Modern day English is a stew of many different languages.

When I was in grade 6, I decided to go into french-immersion. I recognized it was a skill that would be good to have in the future, for occupational and traveling opportunities. I stayed with the french immersion program till I graduated highschool and enjoyed it thoroughly. There were some challenges to overcome, but I was able to complete them with ease. 

When I came to the UofR, I discovered they offered Latin and Greek courses. I took the Latin course because latin is the root of the 5 romantic languages (french, italian, spanish, portuguese and romanian). If I knew some of the Latin vocabulary and how it was structured, I could use it as a baseline for learning other romantic languages in the future. I completed the course with ease, thanks to my French immersion background. 

One of my dreams I’d like to fulfill one day is to travel Europe. I’d like to visit countries like England, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I’d include more countries, but it’d be pretty expensive for one trip. I’d love to spend a week or so in each country to see the history, to eat unique dishes, and to experience the culture. I believe I have enough French/Latin  to do moderately well for half of the countries I’ve listed. The other half is another story because their languages are not based on romantic languages, but rather the germanic languages. The Germanic languages are another branch on the tree of languages with its own vocabulary, verbs and sentence structure that generally have no relation with the Romantic languages. 

I believe learning German will prove to be a bit of a challenge considering I don’t know a lot about it. I know a couple of words and some of their pronunciations because of movies and world war 2 documentaries. I have two advantages going into this learning project. One is that I have a general idea as to how languages work and where to begin, thanks in part to learning French and Latin. The other advantage going into this is my knowledge of English. According to the tree of languages, the English language is a branch off of West Germanic, the same branch as the modern German language.

For the first week, I wanted to learn some basic verbs (to be and to have), adjectives (hot, cold, loud, quiet, beautiful, etc…) and nouns (family and food). I decided I would try Duolingo, as it is one of the more popular apps to learn a new language and I know some friends who use it. After using Duolingo for a week, my conclusion for now is that it is an alright app for beginners.

I was able to get through 3 units in the Rookie section. I think it is a good tool to practice new vocabulary.  I’ve been able to go through some of the units fairly quickly because of the combination of pattern recognition and repetitive practice. The sentence structure portion has been fairly simple, which is understandable given what level I’m starting from. However, I’m disappointed the app has only had me learn partial conjugations for 2 verbs so far – to be and to come. I was expecting to know the full conjugations for those verbs and learn the verbs ‘to have’ and ‘to do’. 

Duolingo is one of the free mobile apps to learn a language, but it is also plagued with 30 second long ads after each lesson. The other drawback is that you have a limited amount of hearts/attempts to complete the lessons. If you run out of hearts, you can gain one every 5 hours. This isn’t a great way to learn a language as it punishes you for making mistakes, which is inevitable when learning something new. By the time you get back into the lesson, you may have forgotten what your mistake was, and then get punished again. Duolingo provides opportunities to regain hearts by practicing, spending diamonds (money) or subscribing to their Super plan. I was tempted to try their Super plan to see how much more efficient the course is. However, I recently tried the PC version of Duolingo and because I have an ad blocker on, I don’t see those pesky ads! The heart system is still lingering in the background, so I have to be careful. 

For the next 3 weeks, I want to expand my knowledge in 3 areas. Each week will focus on a different verb tense (present, future and past). I want to continue growing my vocabulary and will focus on numbers, colors, emotions, vehicles and more. Finally, I want to understand how to properly compose a sentence or question. This last point may seem odd, considering that Duolingo content seems to imply an English-like sentence structure (from an English speaker’s perspective…technically it’s the other way around). However, the French language places their adjectives and adverbs a bit different from English. With Latin, there is an order to follow where to put nouns, adjectives, adverbs first and verbs at the end of a basic sentence. 

I may be a bit ambitious with what I’m wanting to do, but I hope for the best!


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