Have You Ever Seen a Dinosaur Eat a Donut?

To explore more of the world of coding I decided to check out the app Scratch! I have actually seen this website used within a classroom before making it very intriguing to me. during my pre-internship my cooperating teacher brought in a few representatives from the  Saskatchewan Science Centre into our grade 6/7 classroom where they were introduced to coding. They did a quick presentation on what coding is and the importance of it then guided the students through creating their own game. The students were absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to do this and were excited for free time to have more opportunity to code! seeing this really opened my eyes to how great and beneficial coding can be within classrooms!

OBack view of woman coding on computer, professional female programmer working in roomnto my experience with coding! Although I watched this being done I never actually go the chance to do it myself. This was a while ago so I really did not remember too much. I really enjoyed using Scratch, it was very user friendly and allowed me to create a cool project pretty quick and easy! There were many tutorials that you could follow along with to create whatever you wanted, but it is also pretty straight forward to the point that you could easily make a creation yourself!

 

I was able to create a background with two different sprites in which I was able to code both do do what I wanted from them. I was then able to make a variable to give my game a point system where the player gets one point each time they make the Dinosaur touch the donut.

I definitely find coding to be important. There are a lot of jobs in coding and I have even start to see different simple coding basics being used within company communication apps. Coding also involves a lot of simple critical thinking skills and definitely keeps you mentally involved. If all else, it is overall fun to do!

Try out my game here!

Marty The Great!

Right from the beginning of my research I found that this guy named Marty kept popping up, I even had a classmate mention to check him out. After looking through Marty’s Youtube page I quickly found out how great of a resource he is. He has over 3000 total videos that are all guitar related! A large amount of these are song tutorials which he seems to have one for every song you could ever imagine along with a lot of other guitar teachings. I truly can not say enough good about Marty. You can tell how passionate he is about what he does, making him so great at it. You can also find Marty on his website, Patreon, TikTok, Instagram, Reddit, X, and Facebook.

 

I will say learning this song was probably my biggest challenge so far but being able to learn from Marty definitely made it a lot easier! I have always loved the song Fast Car, especially Luke Combs version he made which inspired me to learn it! With a quick google search Marty’s video popped up and I decided to check it out. I really like that all his videos will begin with him playing it so we as listeners see exactly what we will be learning. He takes his time with these videos which I really like. Usually I find that when watching videos I will have to pause or go back often but the pace he goes at you can usually play with him and learn at that pace. You can tell Marty has a lot of patience and takes the time to really break down each aspect of playing. He often discusses within his teaching different ways to flair up the song a little bit making it as easy or challenging as you wish.

Overall, if anyone every brings up that they are trying to learn how to play guitar I will definitely tell them about Marty. I really think he is a great teacher for absolutely every level go guitarist. I know whenever I find a song I want to learn he will be the first resource I go to check out.

Is Any News Real Anymore?

With the growing world of tech, especially tech that is used within classrooms it is essential that teachers and students both have the knowledge of how to pick accurate articles. Understanding the grade level and subjects you will be encountering within your classroom is a great place to start when deciding how to focus on digital literacy for your specific classroom. Understanding that students are easily influenced and heavily involved in technology within their lives. When I think of my future classroom when it comes to digital literacy my two focuses will be choosing sites for students when possible and doing the background search myself, but also educating students properly to be able to do it themselves when needed (understanding that I won’t always be there for them to do this). 

Digital literacy concept cell background 3d illustration

Personally, I have been grateful to have an amazing presentation during my university years. Kim from the GDI library in Regina came in and discussed digital literacy with us as both students and teachers. She created a presentation for us along with guiding us through activities to help us find real from fake, identifying bias, and more. I really enjoyed these presentations and learned a lot from them. It is nice having this connection to Kim and definitely something I can consider looking into for my future classroom. 

There truly is an endless amount of resources out there when it comes to digital literacy. Here are just some of the many I will definitely incorporate into my classroom whenever I see fit – 

CRAAP – The Craap test is definitely something I will not only discuss but keep displayed within my classroom. Having this reminder and these steps is a great way to ensure a chosen resource is credible.

Choose Quiz – I really enjoyed doing the choose quiz and it was a great interactive way to  learn! When you can take these important teachings and turn it into a game it will definitely get students more engaged and allow these lessons to stick with them longer.

Oatmeal Comic – A really cool comic resource about how fake news comes up and how it is spread. This being a comic style would definitely make it a great resource to educate 

Media Literacy Skills Videos – This is a great playlist on Youtube that is full of amazing short kid friendly videos on digital literacy! Something like this could easily be fit into a lesson right before students are given the free time to do research on their own.

Overall, as educators we play a large role in teaching our students the importance of choosing proper websites while doing their research ensuring they are getting credible information. It is not enough for us just to tell out students this it is also important that we teach them the proper ways and resources to do these. The curriculum allows time and space for this and creates many opportunities where these skills will be critical in using.

My Classroom’s Digital Citizenship

Digital citizenship is very important to not only talk about but also implement within your classrooms. I really enjoyed reading the article on the 9 elements of Digital Citizenship. It is important that students learn these things at a young age whether they are learning it in school or at home. As we are seeing, kids are getting introduced to the digital world at younger and younger ages. This makes it that much more important to introduce and discuss these elements as soon as possible. Obviously in a perfect world I would like to introduce all 9 of these, but understanding the limited time you have to teach outside of the curriculum. That being said, here are some of the elements that I would ensure to highlight within my classroom – 

Digital access – I find digital access to be very important within classrooms. There are so many different kinds of technology that can be greatly beneficial within classrooms. Ensuring students have access to different school resources so they are able to access assignments, grades, ect. Many of which will ensure that parents also have access to and students can access from home as well as school.

Digital communication and collaboration – Digital communication will definitely be used within my classroom. Examples of this could include communication through email or school resources such as google classroom. Not only will these be used within my class I will make sure students understand the proper and appropriate ways of using these. 

Digital Fluency – I really liked the article’s way of describing this, I will definitely focus on many of these components mentioned such as “understanding technology and its use” “make good decisions online” “supporting others” and “media literacy”. 

Digital health and welfare – This will definitely be one of my biggest focuses as a teacher. Understanding the positive and negative effects of technology and finding a good balance of lessons that incorporate tech with lessons that do not. 

Person using a laptop computer from above

As previously mentioned I hope to have the opportunity to teach all 9, but it is also my hope that they will be getting this education outside of school as well. Overall putting most of these tech decisions on the students will be a focus. Making sure they understand my expectations when using technology and the consequences of not using it correctly.

 



Guitar Tutorials are Taking Over my Life!

While scrolling through instagram this week I came across a video that really stuck out to me. It was the song “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber being taught on guitar by Thibault. I instantly went to pick up my guitar and started learning. It was a pretty simple song keeping the same shape for the most part, but it took a while to memorize the movements and the picking pattern. Going back to this picking style that I did in my first week was a lot of fun, I definitely plan to go back to this more often. 

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For me personally I found that watching someone play a song and being able to pause, slow down, or rewind to see the chords they play and how they transition along with their strumming or picking pattern has been a great way for me to learn. For someone with a similar learning style to me I would definitely recommend using a good mixture of videos along with website and apps such as GuitartTuna to learn quick!

Being a beginner I find some of the apps and websites very tough to use as they need you to be able to read music or already know how to play. It is nice seeing these videos made where people take the time to break it down on apps that I am used to and comfortable with. I have found that the videos I am seeing on Instagram and TikTok almost all the people on the apps teaching have a great pace and take the time to really break down each aspect of the song. I will definitely continue to keep taking the time to watch these videos that have seemed to take over every app I am on. Even if it is not a song that I want to learn, I know I can definitely pick up a thing or two from listening to new people. Overall I am having a lot of fun learning guitar along with finding all these cool resources to help me!

Check out me playing here!

If You Wouldn’t Want Your Grandma to See it, Don’t Post it!

To be completely honest I do not remember much on being educated about “cyber safety” within my life. I like to think that most of it comes with common sense and respect for yourself and others; but it is obvious many people do need this education and true understanding of impacts.

The one time I do remember being educated on cyberbullying would have been when I was around grade 6/7 and some of the Saskatchewan Roughriders Players came into our school for a presentation. I was able to find an short article on this anti-bullying program here! This being a long time ago I do not remember much, the two things I do remember were the quotes “the internet is forever” and “If you wouldn’t want your grandma to see it, don’t post it!”. Obviously two smaller messages but ones that have still stuck with me to this day. This example was definitely more focused on education to proper use over scare tactics. I believe both can be beneficial when done right. For example when using scare tactics it definitely makes a bigger impact when it is close to home, whether that being a local story or even just a story like Amanda Todds being within Canada definitely made it taken more seriously for me.

 

sad young boy sitting on the floor with text stop bullying written with chalk on chalkboard. social problems of humanity

When I think of my university experience with this it is definitely something that has been Brough up often. Especially being in education, a common conversation is regarding our digital footprint. Understanding that our future employers, students parents, and more will be seeing what we post and everything we have posted. One good way it has been put is that we always hav out “teaching hat” on so it is important to always understand the greater impacts of our actions.

The Future of Participation Culture

It is truly amazing the impact participation culture has had on the world. I really enjoyed the example of how fast YouTube grew in the video. I think today’s obvious example would be TikTok. It grew insanely fast and if you are a frequent user you can see how common participation culture occurs on the app. Every new original video you see on the app whether it just be a dance, a song, or a voice over it is rare that you will only see it once. Over time depending on how popular the original video got there will be thousands of recreations making the video seem like the next big thing, until a new one comes around the next week.

Since 2014-15, TikTok has arisen; Facebook usage has dropped; Instagram, Snapchat have grown

This graphic was one that really shocked me. It is crazy to think that one app can have such a large amount of people using it until the next app comes out and we see it slowly fade away. Im curious to see as we get into out later years of teaching what this will look like. Will Facebook even be a thing? Will everyone still be using Snapchat? Will something have replaced TikTok?

As for future classrooms, I think participation culture will continue on the path it has been on. Not only students but teachers will be continuing to look for new technologies to assist them with learning and teaching but also continue using the new apps during their free time. One thing that comes to mind for me is the use of AI, we have seen it absolutely takeoff in this past year. Personally I seem to find a new AI tool out there at least every week. It will be interesting to see where AI goes and as teachers and students how we will be able to take advantage of it and monitor it in the right ways.

Every Breath I Take I Get Better at Playing Guitar

This week I tried out a resource that I did not realize was right in front of my eyes since the beginning of my journey. I downloaded an app at the beginning of my journey called guitar tuna. I strictly just used this to help me tune my guitar, but this past week I decided to explore it more and see all that it had to offer. I found out this is a great tool for learning    songs at all skills levels.

The app not only assists you in tuning your guitar, it also has thousands of songs that can be chosen in which it will walk you through the background of the song, and all the steps you need to know to learn hot to play the song. Each song has an option to learn the simplified version or the intermediate version. Each song includes six steps to learning – video (song background, chords, and strumming), Trainer tool, verse chord trainer, chorus chord trainer, strumming trainer, and the play along. You can go through these steps in any order you chose.

Overall this was a great tool, especially for a beginner! I found the steps easy to follow and allowed me to quickly learn the song. It was nice being able to take each step as slow or fast as I wanted and always being able to go back to any step. I definitely would recommend this tool and plan on using it often throughout my journey.

Check out me playing here!

Bringing Your Whiteboard to Life

I was able to explore the website Videoscribe. This website allows you to create different animations mainly including whiteboard animations. It is quite easy to create your own animation within the app. Right after signing in, a short video pops up that breaks down how to use the website. There is the option to start with a blank canvas or to pick from one of their many pre-made templates for almost any kind of presentation. The presentations allows you to add text, audio, multiple scenes, images, and shapes that are all put together and played through a video.

As a pre service teacher I understand how often presentation are used within the classroom, whether that be us as teachers creating the presentation for our students or getting students to create presentations. This website can definitely be utilized within the classroom often and is a great way of reaching levels of the SAMR model. Some examples  include creating an animation for your students to teach them about a certain topic rather than the more traditional way of standing infant of the class talking to them; or getting students to create an animation on the website rather then completing worksheets or poster board presentations.

A Tech Filled Life

Technology has always been a big part of my life and continues to grow more and more. I feel like being in this generation we have seen tech grow in so many ways at a very fast rate. You can use tech to find out almost anything, teach yourself anything, keep yourself organized, and so much more. For me I definitely use tech a lot for both school/work uses along with social media/entertainment purposes. As for the more social side I find myself using Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and iMessage a lot in my day to day life. I definitely have a pretty busy life with work, school, and football; but a large amount of my free time between those is spent on those apps. As for the work and academic side of tech I find myself mostly using my email, UR Courses, google docs,  and iMessage. For the most part I feel like my tech usage is pretty balanced between work/academic pursuits and leisure/social interactions.

close up of calendar and alarm clock on the green background, planning for business meeting or travel planning concept

One thing that comes to mind when I think about tech is time management. Especially coming out of High School during Covid times and spending my first year of university online I spent a lot of time using technology and had to learn the importance of time management skills. For me my biggest focuses have been staying organized along with always having a plan. For organization I keep my phone and computer separate. My computer is only used for work and school purposes and has a specific calendar and notes app with all the information I need for both of those. I also often use my notes and calendar on my phone to help stay organized with everything but it is more football and leisure focused. For always having a plan I like to map out how my days/weeks will look. Making sure I know all my work tasks I need to get done, assignments I need to work on, and times I need to be at football. To avoid distractions I have often used a bit of a “reward” system with myself, for example if I am working on homework I will work for an hour straight then take a 10-15 minute break on my phone. I find this works well for me and creates a good balance of work and rest. The ways I have set and am used to have worked well for me so I plan on continuing with them. I also understand how tech is growing and there are so many tools to assist with organization and time management. I enjoy checking these out and trying them out whenever I have the chance and continuing to find better ways to do things.