The Summary of my Learning Project – See what I did there?

Over the past few weeks, I have been working on ideas to present the final product of my learning project as well as putting together my summary of learning. I thought to myself, “What better way to show my summary of learning than THROUGH my learning project?!”

After brainstorming with my students of how I could mix together Star Wars, Harry Potter, and The Simpsons, I was able to put together a combination of what my learning project has taught me with everything that we have learned in EDTC300.

I started my final project as I mention previously, through brainstorming with my students. Once I heard a few great ideas, I started putting together a script. The idea of combining my learning project with my summary of learning came to me while I was thinking of how I could present it. What better way than to use the skills that I’ve been learning all semester long through stop motion than to use that to share EVERYTHING that I have learned so far. I started with the idea that Vart (changed name for copyright purposes) would have an upcoming test on blogs and the functions of Twitter. Hairy Potta (again, copyright) and his friends would be able to help Vart study a bit while he explains the functions of those topics. Afterward, those characters end up on the S.S. Killstar (you get it at this point…), where they landing in a room with workers talking about online safety, didgtal literacy and digital identity.

I thought this would be a fun way to end my learning journey and I’m happy with what I learned along the way. From having 0 experience with stop motion to creating a short film with 400+ images and tons of audio mixed in, I learned a lot during this process. Someone who has never done stop motion might think that taking 400+ pictures would be the most tedious part of the process, however the Stop Motion Studio app makes it so easy. The most tedious part by far is adding the audio and making sure that the audio and images line up properly. At this point, I’ve spent many hours putting together different stop motions and learning different skills. My final product might not be perfect, and it is nowhere near what professionals can do but I’m proud of what I’ve created and I hope you enjoy my final product!

Who is the REAL Jordan Puscus?

For someone who doesn’t know Jordan, figuring out who the real Jordan Puscus would not be an easy feat to get to the bottom of. Lucky for me, I do know who Jordan is through a few social events and a mutual friend, however, for someone looking to get the dirty details about Jordan, they would be hard pressed to find any. I started by delete Jordan off of Facebook to really see if I could find any information about him without cheating. To say that this was a challenge would be an understatement. Once I deleted him off of Facebook, there was no trace of his account. Through Google, I could not find much personal information on him, however, I was able to find a little bit of information… Jordan sits as the Vice-President for Regina Catholic Services, he is also the Secretary for the Regina Touch Football league. Other than that, I was only able to find small accounts of Jordan through Google such as his Twitter (which I was already followling) as well as some Spotify playlists that he has as public. Safe to say that if you google Jordan Puscus, you will not find much other than a few professional details.

Where I found most of my information about Jordan was on his blog. Jordan was blessed to be born with a twin brother, he has a social work degree and a masters. He has a wife who is a teacher and he has a daughter. If you would like more details on Jordan’s life, feel free to browse his blog at your leisure, but as far as being an internet sleuth goes, there is not much information available about Jordan that he isn’t willing to share via his own free will.

Digital Identity

As we begin to explore Digital Identity, it is interesting to know that most people actually have multiple social media accounts, on multiple social media platforms. Sometimes, with more than 1 per social media platform. While I say that this is interesting, it is also not surprising to me at all… As I am one of those people. I use Twitter primarily to get most of my news, more I mostly go on Twitter for sports news rather than political news, although I get a mix of both. I have several Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts and Reddit accounts. Most of which you would never be able to find unless you had access to my phone. These accounts are used, as Nicole Lee suggested in her article Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think, to share different opinions and interests that not all of my regular follows on my personal account would be interested in. Rather than flooding different feeds with posts about niche topics, I have chosen to separate my interests with different accounts on different platforms.

Using different account can also be helpful for other reasons. Someone might have some controversial views and opinions that they do not want associated with their personal self. Using a second account or “burner” accounts could be helpful in sharing very controversial opinions while minimizing the risk of people knowing who is the real person behind those thoughts. Be careful though! One would be cautious when switching between these accounts as there have been cases of some high profile figures posting certain opinions or messages while forgetting to switch to burner accounts… *cough cough* Kevin Durant *cough cough*.

Jon Ronson shares an interesting story during a TED talk, which I have shared below, about Justine Socco, who sent out a tweet that was meant to be a bit of a joke but ended up being catastrophic for her life and career. A quick lapse of judgement, that Justine most likely thought not many people would see, turned into the most trending tweet on Twitter at the time. With the emergence of cancel culture, people and especially celebrities, need to be as cautious as ever with what they share. The slightest misstep could prove to be catastrophic to any life or career.

Jack of All, Master of None

Doing this project has been a great learning experience and I’m more than grateful for it. While doing this project, I learned a ton about stop motion and all of the little things and movements that go into it. The editing definitely being the most tedious of all the skills that I learned. Over the past two weeks, I’ve been fooling around with the app more and trying to pin point my ideas for my final project. Over that time, I have come to a tough but simple conclusion… While I have learned a lot and am miles ahead of where I started, I am nowhere near being a master, which has been kind of tough to accept, even though I really haven’t been working at this as long as I’m sure many people around the world have.

It is very difficult to be really good at stop motion and I’ve accepted that my final project is not going to be a professional piece of work… It is going to look choppy at times, the sound effects won’t be perfect, and the editing is going to take a long time simply to make a short story video.

While my final project is coming together nicely, I’d like to share a lot of the content that I’ve found along the way to help me improve!

A lot of the videos I’ve found to help have been through the Stop Motion Studio app. They have a fantastic library available to help beginners with their work and the videos are quite easier to follow and are great for instructional work. I’ve also been on YouTube to help find other tips and tricks as well as ideas for videos to make.

In previous posts, I’ve highlight articles that have helped me on my way with tips and tricks and I’ve even had the opportunity to talk to some of my current and previous students about their experiences with Stop Motion and how they made their projects work.

Overall, it has been an amazing experience and as a practicing teacher that implements Genius Hour in their classroom, this project has given me the opportunity to show my own students the “Genius Hour” project that I’ve put together myself. It definitely speaks volumes as a teacher to be able to show students that I’ve done the same type of project as a student myself and what I’m expecting of my students is not unrealistic!

What do you mean I can’t use Wikipedia?

I believe that digital literacy is super important in the classroom. While teachers are teaching students how to do proper research and to find trustworthy news outlets, it is important that teachers shows students what that really looks like.

As Damon Brown mention is his “How to choose your news” TEDtalk , There are so many outlets available that it is tough to know what is real news and what is not. While they are so many to choose from, the amount of information can sometimes leave us less informed than before we started reading or listening because it is hard to know what is real and what is fake.

Another TEDtalk by Noah Tavlin called “How false news can spread”, Talks a lot about fake news and branches off of what Brown said in his TEDtalk. The way that fake news floats around is incredible and the internet makes this much more prevalent. With so many contradictory opinions around and people trying to prove their points, it is hard to find the origin of most information, and most elementary students do not have the skills, nor the patience to figure that out. It also brings up the idea of researching articles that prove what we want to prove instead of simply proving the truth, which also causes a lot of issues in society when fake news is so prevalent.

I do try my best when it comes to teaching about digital literacy in my classroom and I often enjoy getting new up to date ressources to use. The New York Times lesson is an interesting one that I believe students would really find engaging. It also shows how easy it is for a news outlet to be convincing and act as a true and trustworthy source. I will definitely look into using this lesson plan in my own class going forward!

The NCTE Framework is a really good resource for educators to learn about what students are learning and why students  are learning about digital literacy. I really enjoy that the website almost lays things out like outcomes or “I can statements”

From ncte.org

It focuses on how students can work to figure out what sources are good and reliable, while also teaching educators about the different strategies that websites might use to sway readers into believing that their information is true. This is another resource that I will be using when I focus on digital literacy with my students.

The Beginning of the End

I feel like at this point I have at least tried all of the skills when it comes to Stop Motion and using Stop Motion Studio that I feel comfortable trying right now without pushing myself too far and trying skills that I wouldn’t be able to master. Now is the time to start working on my final project.

I started by asking the help of my class for ideas for script/story line. This was a lot of fun as I only gave them a few parameters to work with. I have a lot of LEGO at home… I gave them the ideas of Star Wars, Harry Potter and The Simpsons to work with. I also gave them the option to come up with an original idea as I have a lot of regular LEGO that isn’t affiliated with any sets. We bounced some ideas around the class, some absolutely ridiculous and some were actually pretty good. It was a really good opportunity to hang out with my class in a casual setting and for them to get to know that I am still participating in creative projects as a student right now as well!

I have started coming up with some of my own ideas based off of what they brought forward and I’m making some progress. The idea of a Star Wars/Harry Potter crossover could be a lot of fun, and also hilarious. I’m still open to ideas! If anyone has any fun ideas of how I could incorporate the themes that I proposed above, that would be amazing! I think I’m going to have a lot of fun putting together my final project and can’t wait to really get going on it!

Let me know if you’ve got any fun ideas as well!

Time To Write Typewriter Concept

Photo by Ivelin Radkov

I made a video game! My childhood dream!

Well today I definitely learned something new! I coded my own video game! Doing an Hour of Code on code.org, I have successfully coded my own video game. The instructions were fairly simple to follow… Even though a couple times I wasn’t quite sure what to do, the program lets you know of your mistake and allows you to correct it before you move forward. This activity definitely felt a little more than a beginner activity but it was a lot of fun to see the work some together in the end. I took a screen recording of the process which is quite long, but it was a lot of fun for myself. Tune in here to check out my progress!

As far as coding in the classroom, I think there is 100% a spot for it. One of my few regrets in life is not learning more how computers work on the inside and with code. Technology is such a huge part of our lives and culture nowadays that I think it is so important that students learn at least the basics of coding. Now that I’ve been able to gain a little bit of experience in coding, I would definitely feel a lot more comfortable letting my kids play around with these programs and I’d feel confident that I would be able to help out students who are beginners in the area of code.

Pre-adolescent boys programming robotics at digital tablets in classroom

Photo by Hero Images/Hero Images

Walkin’ Towards Progress

This is most likely not going to be a very long post, however, I did learn a new skill when it comes to Stop Motion! This week I learned how to replicate a walk cycle of a LEGO mini figure. It was a pretty basic skill to learn but it is also essential to making a short film using the LEGO figures. Below is the walk cycle illustrated in one frame.

LEGO walking sequence

I did make a little video as well with some waving action from the mini figure. This Storm Trooper walking video will probably be the last video that I post before I start working on the final project for this assignment. I feel like I have made a lot of progress along the way and I’m excited for my final product and what I’ll be able to produce!

Thanks for tuning into my quite short progress post!

Can Saskatchewan produce digital citizens via the classroom?

This was a very interesting assignment. I have spent some time doing a little bit of research to try and find something in the Saskatchewan Curriculum about digital citizenship and it has been quite difficult to be honest. In all honestly, I focused mainly on the middle year curriculum, grades 6-8, as it is my area of teaching. As a result, I have STRUGGLED to find anything relevant when it comes to digital literacy or citizenship.

I did, however, find a few interesting things while doing some research. The only outcome in the 6-8 curriculum that I could find that even eludes to digital citizenship a little bit was in the grade 6 Health curriculum which was the following outcome:

This outcome does not say directly that it includes digital citizenship, however, one could make a fairly easy argument that it falls into the category of developing identity as well as dealing with mass media outlets.

During my research, I was able to dive into the Regina Catholic School Division staff portal and find some of the ressources that they offer to their teachers. Unfortunately, I cannot share any of what is on the site through this blog as one would need access to the RCSD staff portal which is only available to staff members… Another important note is that as I was looking, I noticed that the RCSD site eluded to the fact that the PAA curriculum has some Digital Literacy things in it, but when I clicked on the curriculum for PAA on the government site, there was nothing there on Digital Literacy.

As I sit here and say the government has no ressources multiple times, I’d be remised to neglect the Digital Citizenship Ministry Continuum. This IS a document that is provided by the government which outlines Ribble’s Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship. All of the nine elements are important to digital citizenship in the classroom. These elements are especially important when students can access the internet so easily, communicate with others and need to focus on navigating through our digital world securely and while keeping in mind a healthy balance of screen time, relationships and education.

As a current practicing teacher, I ensure that I always focus a little but on Digital Citizenship in my classroom. These lesson often fall into my Health class or Religious studies class as that curriculum includes healthy relationships. I absolutely believe that Digital Citizenship has a place in school and curriculum, I’m just not quite sure that the Saskatchewan curriculum is all the way caught up when it comes to outcomes for middle year students, the age at which most students are first learning and interacting with technology in a more vulnerable way.

The Many Faces of LEGO Stop Motion

This week I challenged myself to do a deeper dive into adding faces to LEGO faces with the Stop Motion Studio app. This process proved to be a lot more time consuming than I anticipated. After taking to initial pictures of the frames that I wanted, I needed to copy and paste those images to ensure that I was using the same frames and only editing the faces on the LEGO figures.

Going through the different facial feature options was a lot as well as making the slight changes to the frames like changes the faces, moving the faces, and rotating them was very time consuming and a lot of work. While I was doing this, I was also adding sounds and assuring that the sounds were lining up with the frames and images. It may not sound like I did much and this is a shorter update than I’ve had in the past but most of my time was simply spent making tiny changes and copying and pasting frames to make the changes.

Below I have added some examples of what the app looks like while I’m editing and making these changes.

An example of the multiple frames and the added edits to add audio and pause frames to ensure the sound/voice effects line up with the images.

This is the look of the page when you add a face to your frame

These are different eye options. Only a few among many more once you start scrolling.

Different mouth features, similar to the eye features.

This is where you can rotate the faces on your image. This is often used to make a character appear as if they are facing a different direction other than straight at the camera.

Here is a short video that I made this week which uses different features such as the faces being added to the frames and voice over effects for the speaking parts. Please excuse my TERRIBLE voice acting… Enjoy! Faces of Motion.

 

Digital Literacy?… Wait, What’re We Reading?

I had the joy of growing up in the 90s and the early 2000s. I grew up with a GameBoy, SEGA and a N64. The big difference between video games today and back then, other than the obvious point of the sophisticated graphics and massive processing units, is of course that there was no online play back then. Once I hit middle school, in comes MSN Messenger, cell phones (flip phones of course) and an early introduction to online video games.

In school, we really did not have any digital literacy or cyber safety taught to us until high school. While I was in elementary school, kids being online seemed to be a fairly new thing and teachers were not talking about it very much. Although we were chatting with MSN, using webcams, and sharing photos, it felt as though teachers and most parents had no clue what was really going on while kids were on MSN and online, whether it was good or bad. Once in high school, I remember a little bit more digital literacy happening, but as discussed with some classmates, it was more of the police coming in and scaring you with committing a crime. Teachers were not educating about online usage. Teachers were not involving themselves with students’ online lives when I was in school.

Now that I am a teacher, I make a point of explaining and teaching my students about digital literacy. One of my favorite ressources is from Common Sense Learning. It is a great interactive resource for all grade levels which includes videos, activity sheets, and stories. I think it is very important to teach digital literacy because our children and students are online so often. It has become such a part of regular life for most people that we often forget the risks of being online so often. My students often tell me about things they’ve done or said online and most of the time I’m pretty surprised and I try to teach them about the dangers. Some students do not take it seriously and I do not think that they will until something bad happens to them unfortunately. I do my best with the resources that I have and hope that it helps most students be more conscious going forward!

Digital literacy word cloud

Photo by ibreakstock