Wrapping up my Learning Project
Posted On June 19, 2022
The spring semester is coming to an end which means so is my learning project. I definitely have some mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I’m happy that I can start baking “just for fun” again, and on the other, I am going to miss the experience this gave me. I have realized just how easy it is to learn a new skill through the technology that is easily accessible to me. My learning project was all about learning how to decorate cakes, and through the process, I have learned so many new skills and techniques (all from online sources – so cool!). In this blog post, I want to share an overview of what I have learned about decorating cakes and what resources I would recommend for a journey like this.
An Outline of my Journey
Week One: Learning to Add a Little Sweetness to my Life
This was basically like “week zero” because it was mainly an introduction to what I was planning on learning and how I planned to do that! I also shared some of my inspirations for wanting to learn how to decorate cakes (and even some hesitations I was feeling).
Week Two: Learning to Dress up my Cakes
During this week I used this Youtube video to learn a few different piping techniques. I ended up creating my own Youtube video to document my process of learning with a visual and a voice-over! It became apparent very quickly that I was definitely not perfect at this, and it was going to take some work to get better at making the icing look good. Something I learned that was definitely not expected was that I would need to colour correct my icing before adding colour, or it wouldn’t give me my desired result.
What I learned:
- I need to colour correct my icing (add a bit of purple to get rid of the yellow hue).
- Practice will definitely make perfect!
Week Three: No Crumbs to be Found Here
Honestly, after my first blog post, I realized that I needed to step up the formatting of my blog. I wasn’t impressed with myself or the result of the week 2 blog, so I put in a whole lot more effort to make it more aesthetic for readers. During this week I decided to learn how to do a crumb coat and then use the rosette technique to decorate my cake. I used a blog to learn how to make a crumb coat and used the previous week’s video to do the decorating. I tried out my crumb coating, and unfortunately, I did have crumbs in the icing on my cake. Even though it didn’t turn out how I wanted it, the process helped me learn what mistakes I made and how to fix them. You can check out the process in this TikTok video I created!
What I Learned:
- I need to add a little bit more icing to the crumb coating.
- I should put my cake in the freezer before the crumb coat and after!
- Make more icing than I think I’ll need (I actually ran out this week).
- It is okay for things to be imperfect.
Week Four: Weavin’ my Worries Behind
This week I decided to learn how to do a basket weave icing design, and I challenged myself to find it from a new source. I decided to learn from TikTok this week using this video as my guide. It was actually a great video that I learned a lot from, so I went ahead with trying it out! I was a bit underwhelmed with my results, but I was still proud of myself for trying. I also tried out a resource that I never had before (Screen Cast O’Matic) – originally I had planned to edit my video there, but my video files weren’t compatible with their site. This was slightly frustrating, but I ended up screen-recording using their site to show how I edit on iMovie.
What I Learned:
- Using new tech resources can be REALLY hard!
- The compatibility of videos is extremely important – if it isn’t in compatible mode, it probably won’t work with editing services.
- I need to find a way to practice icing vertically (to simulate actually icing a cake).
- More practice WILL make perfect (maybe I’ll try this design again in the future).
- Screen recordings are really cool and can be useful in the classroom!
Week Five: Rolling my Way into a New Technique
Up until this point, I was focused on using buttercream for my decorating, but this week I changed it up and tried out using fondant for the first time! I chose to try out learning from Instagram this week with a video (which took me forever to find). I tried out laying fondant over the entire cake, and I also tried out some pretty simple fondant flowers and leaves.
What I Learned:
- Fondant shows off the imperfections in cake size; it needs to be almost perfect!
- You can use fondant to smooth out fondant.
- I need to put more focus on smoothing the top of my cake first.
- Instagram may not be the best place to learn.
Week Six: Cake’s Anatomy
I threw together some of the previous week’s skills (buttercream and fondant) and tried them out together! Before I could actually start the decorating, I tried out leveling my cake and went back to learning from a Youtube video. This week was super fun because I got to see how all of my newly learned skills combined can make a cake!
What I Learned:
- Chilling your cakes before doing anything with them (leveling or decorating) is super important!
- I can actually recall previous learning attempts and use them for new cakes! (Which means I’ve actually learned something about decorating cakes – exciting!!)
- Black dye apparently doesn’t create black buttercream (who knew!)
- It’s a good idea to look for pictures for inspiration NOT expect to create a perfect replica (this is something that has taken me a long time to realize).
- I’m starting to get really quick at video editing with the iMovie editor.
- Youtube is probably my favourite place to learn different skills!
So… What did I Actually Learn?
My Top 4 Take-Aways
In the past, I have solely used and written off Youtube as an entertainment platform. I never thought to myself “Oh! I really want to try out learning this, time to head to Youtube”. After this project, I most definitely will be saying this to myself. I definitely need a visual of the process of whatever it is I’m trying to learn, and Youtube provides this. I find that having a picture to reference really encourages me and helps me through the learning process. It is also very saturated with content, so if one video doesn’t work, you can always try out another one!
- Having an online presence can be helpful and encouraging:
I know that this is not entirely true which is why I said “can”. I think the important part of having an online presence is to create a PLN that surrounds you with people who are helpful and encouraging and don’t bring a negative feel to whatever platform you’re using. This can be difficult, but I have learned that this is possible! The amount of positive feedback and constructive criticism I received on my posts was SO encouraging, and it made me excited to start the next week. I’m a perfectionist, so when my cakes didn’t come out perfect, I was often pretty upset about it. The kind comments left by my peers made me realize I might just be my own worst critic.
- iMovie Editor:
If you go through my posts, I used iMovie as my editor in almost every single one. I definitely got comfortable with using this to edit videos, and I found that it was very user-friendly. The downside to this, of course, is that this editing program is exclusive to Apple users. I do wish that I would have branched out and tried a few more editors, but I also think there is value in learning how to use this one editor really well!
- Learning skills online is possible:
I feel like this one might be a bit obvious? But somehow, it wasn’t obvious at the same time. I truly did not think that you could learn an entire skill exclusively from online sources, but this project definitely proved me wrong. In this case, I’m not just talking about my own learning project, all of the projects from this class and previous classes prove this as well. You can learn just about anything online which is crazy yet inspiring. I am so looking forward to using some of my classmate’s blogs to pick up some new skills this summer! My online learning won’t stop after this project, and that is SO exciting.
This project has been absolutely amazing and truly eye-opening to the possibilities that the internet and different technologies can provide for us! I just want to take a moment to thank my EDTC 300 classmates for all of the kind and thoughtful comments that were left on my posts. I also want to thank Katia for presenting such an amazing opportunity to learn and inspire learning.