Class Collaboration

Collaborating and working with classmates is an important aspect of being a teacher. Throughout the semester in EDTC 300 there were several opportunities to connect with classmates. Two ways I chose to connect and support classmates was in class conversations as well as on each others blogs.

Class conversations were a big part of EDTC 300, and I offered my opinions, ideas and knowledge to my classmates where appropriate and applicable. In break out room meetings I was engaged with conversations to benefit and support the learning of my classmates.

In our blog hub I offered words of encouragement, and curiosity on classmates blogs. As I engaged with the contented they presented from class, as well as their experience with the learning project, I attempted to offer meaningful comments. I did find when commenting some comments connected to my blog, some to my old blog, and other comments linked anonymously.

A few examples include the comments I made on Rachels Learning Project 3 post, Yohan’s post regarding Internship, Jordans post, and Olivia’s post.

The collaboration aspect of this class made learning more meaningful. Connecting and building relationships with peers is an essential part of being a teacher, and being able to communicate in a respectful way is an important skill.

Will the Journey Continue?

My learning project was a great way for me to get back into the swing of things and play some piano. At the beginning of this journey I had big goals, that I soon realized were un realistic. Although I wanted to be able to play long elaborate pieces, my end goal was having a better understanding of how to play piano, and enjoying it.  

Looking at various videos, websites, and apps I discovered it was not as easy to learn how to play piano and read sheet music online as I thought. I did find some great tools, and resources that helped with my learning process however I found it hard not to have a set teacher, or a set place to go for questions. 

The first few weeks I really focused on note reading. I practiced drawing notes in week two, and although I did not document all of it, I continued to practice drawing notes throughout. This was a lot tougher than I thought, and definitely one of the things that looked easy as I watched someone do it, but I needed lots of practice.

Week 3 and week 4 I really tried to put my learning to the piano. To me it seemed like two totally different aspects, playing piano and reading notes. During these two weeks I realized I made an unrealistic goal and I began getting frustrated with my progress, or lack of at this point. I was still practicing as much as I could, but I still had a lot of work to go.

This is when I really decided to focus more on the enjoyment of learning the Piano and not the outcome of playing the piano. As I found fun apps to aid in my learning, and watch educational videos more for fun, I noticed I gained more of an appreciation for the piano.

I might not be able to play great, but this learning project has taught me a lot. I think it is important to be willing to change goals, and adapt learning. Although I was hesitant to admit I couldn’t reach my original goal, I was much more successful ones I tailored to my needs.

Now that I have a solid base understanding of piano I hope to continue playing for enjoyment to further my skills.

Last Week

Last week I talked about the frustration I felt and I really wanted to enjoy piano for the rest of my Learning Project. I made a goal to play a little bit of piano every time I walked by the piano. As it’s on the way to my room this is quite often, and although sometimes I would just play a few notes, I found it more enjoying to play just for fun. Without thinking about how well I’m playing I definitely found more enjoyment in playing and practicing. 

This week I discovered a few new online tools that will further aid in my learning. The first website, Piano Keyboard Guide, offered free lessons, including videos. As I went through all the lessons provided I gained a better understanding of how to play. This site went over some of the basics I had already learned, like hand positioning and note lettering. It was very helpful to have more information on the rest and pause notes that take place in piano from this source as this is something I found that I struggled on in the previous weeks. The website also got into more tough concepts like the inversion of triads which I still don’t really fully understand. 

Although sometimes not the easier to navigate I also found Zebra Keys helpful. This website offered sheet music, as well as information on keys for each piece. This helped me to explore different playing options and try out new songs.

Oh, Twitter!

Oh Twitter, it brings back so many memories of lurking as a young kid. I had twitter back in the day, and remember just scrolling through what I called “dumb” tweets for something to do. Every now and then I would retweet something, but I mostly just had it because someone told me to get it. 

And I meet twitter again. This time, a purpose, EDCT 300. After learning about all the cool tools that twitter had, and the amazing PLN that can be created with twitter my mindset quickly changed. I knew it was no longer a site that had silly tweets (although I’m sure it still does), but something that could be used for educational purposes, to help grow and strength ones digital identity, and a place to share and collaborate. As I saw all the wonderful qualities I almost immediately got anxiety about it. It was a place where one could connect with SO many people and they could see EVERYTHING you tweet, retweet, like etc. As a person who has full private social media accounts and rarely posts this was something that made me very uncomfortable. 

I loved the idea of connecting, and seeing other people’s perspectives, but being more than simply a lurker freaked me right out.  I went on the app several times, and was instantly overwhelmed with everything going on. After re-watching the parts in the lectures where Katia talks about twitter I still felt like I was doing it wrong or like I was the wrong person to tweet.

Although I loved the idea of collaborating, posting in such a limited number of characters, to such a wide audience sounded like a recipe for disaster for me. All I could think about were the mis-interpretations that could happen, and the lack of clarity that could be given. Although I am sure this is something that happens so rarely the thought that I couldn’t explain my who thought /opinion, and only was able to share a small tidbit, deterred me from the site.

Twitter is definitely an aspect I will keep, and teach too. However it is a site I only feel comfortable lurking on for now, and that may change in the future as my identities strengthen.

Is Kindergarten too Young?

We have learned so much about what digital citizenship is, and how to create a positive online digital identity. These aspects are so important to bring into the classroom as early as possible. By teaching students young about online participation, and how to be mindful and respectful online, it will give them the tools to make the decisions they want. 

In the grade 2 Saskatchewan Health Education Curriculum students are supposed to learn about others thoughts, feelings and well-being (USC2.1). This outcome can teach towards digital identities, and digital citizenship. Teaching students how to be respectful of other thoughts and feelings in person, as well as online could have more impact on minimizing cyber bullying.  This is just one example of how it can be brought into the classroom, and how I plan to bring it into my classroom.

I think students should always be taught about digital identify, however in a meaningful way. If students do not understand what they are learning or how it is impactful for them it will not be beneficial for them. For example, in Kindergarten, students should be taught about how to be respectful when using apps like See-Saw. Although they will not understand digital citizenship, teaching them these small starting blocks will allow them to be more receptive to bigger ideas around digital identity when its more meaningful for them.

What Can You Find?

The term ‘cyber-sleuthing’ is something I had never heard before. I have heard many people talk about ‘creeping’ people online or ‘stalking’ people online but it was interesting to know the actual term for this. 

While cyber sleuthing my classmate Rachel, I realized it is a lot harder to look information up about someone you do not know anything about. Although I know Rachels first and last name, finding information online was tough because I was not sure who she actually was making it tough to pick out her information. From what I think I found, I believe Rachels birthday is August 19th, however from all her private accounts this was all I could find. 

It is interesting to see what my classmates found out about me. As someone who posts on social media a very small amount, all my accounts are very private. Although the information that Lochlin pulled about me was correct, most of it was could be pulled from my public blog for school. Aspects in this blog are all important aspects of my life however the points that Lochlin found are directly related to me teaching journey, which in fact most of my friends would not know. 

I think this relates to the  discussions in class when we talked about the idea of having two identities, or displaying ones self-different on different platforms or in real life. The idea talked about in the article Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think is something I can relate with as my blog is more targeted towards education. On my personal Facebook I am more connected with my family, and often share different things on there compared to other platforms like Instagram. I think it is important to remember that no matter who your platforms are targeted too, they can be reached by anyone in the long run.

Instead of Giving up Find Enjoyment

After sitting down for several hours over the course of the week at the piano I became easily frustrated. Piano was always something that I wanted to do so badly, but got easily frustrated when I tried to practice. Throughout week 4 and into week 5 all of this frustration came back and made me not want to play anymore. 

I am not where I want to be with my piano playing, and I found I have been mostly focusing on note reading. Although I have been watching several videos explaining how to read notes, and how they relate to piano keys, reading music and paying at the same time is a whole different ball game.

I began reflecting on this frustration and how my learning process can change to better meet my needs. I have been so focused on being able to play long elaborate pieces, that I have lost the enjoyment and that was something I needed to find again. 

I have been enjoying learning piano online as I have been able to watch several videos, with different perspectives, to help solidify my knowledge. However one aspect I have found particularly hard is the inability to ask questions, or further clarify with the instructors in the videos. I often found myself confused of a section, and when looking for answers elsewhere I easily gave up as I was never able to find the direct answer to my question. This definitely impacted the frustration I felt.

This week I decided I needed to take a step back and find my enjoyment in learning piano. Although I want to be able to play amazing pieces I know I am not at that point yet. Instead of getting 10 steps ahead of myself ,  I needed to take a few steps back and really practice and enjoy my new ability to read notes. 

On my Iphone this week,  I downloaded two apps, Virtuoso, and Piano Academy to help with my online piano learning. 

Virtuoso did not seem to be to helpful however I really enjoyed playing around with Piano Academy. The free version of this app offered some tutorials as well as songs to play on the app to practice note reading. 

The Piano Academy app really helped me gain confidence as I was able to put my note reading to test a little more in-depth. Although the notes are labelled on the app, it allowed me to see where notes are placed on the staff, as well as helped me to practice moving between notes. Although it was a very simple way to practice note reading, and piano playing together it was definitely an enjoyable aspect that took away from the frustration I was feeling. 

I took this screen record of the Piano Academy app:

After a nice refreshing week of continuing my piano learning I have decided that I want to focus more on enjoying putting music to the piano, and be less focused on the complexity of the pieces I play. 

Teachers Online

As they say, teachers should always have their teaching hat on, and the same thing applies for teachers on media. Teachers play an important role with social media as they have a duty to teach active citizenship, and anti-oppressive education to students in and out of the classroom. However I do not think this means teachers have to be always active members of social media, and constantly be positing to different platforms. 

As Katia mentions in her blog post, In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words, silence is just as impactful as speaking. This reminds me of the saying ’ if you say nothing to stop it, you are just as involved with the negative impact of the situation as those who started it’. I think this is something that stands to light in meaningful learning experiences that happen around the world, an example recently seen is the Black Lives Matter Protests. Teachers have a responsibility to share anti-oppressive information to education students on important meaningful events, and media is one way of sharing this information. During important educational times if teachers chose to post, they should use their platforms to benefit the learning of others and progress important education. 

However with that being said I do not think teachers should have to use social media platforms to teach about active citizenship and anti-oppressive information. Although it is one great strategy, opinions and thoughts can be misinterpreted and it is only represented of one what is physically there. There are many other ways teachers can educate people and students in times of need, and during important events that will help allow teachers to share their whole thoughts/knowledge in more meaningful ways. Students can be taught how to create positive digital identities, and how to use their voice online, if that is something they choose to do. 

Piano With Animoto

This week for EDCT 300 I reviewed the App/ website Animoto which allowed me to create quick, easy videos from saved media on my devices.

This week while I continued my piano journey I documented some aspects to used to create a video. I later used the website Animoto to put it all together into this video.

This week I stepped out of my comfort zone and recorded a few of the pieces I was practicing. Although this was something scary for me, I thought it was important to record the progress I am making as well as not be afraid to make mistakes. I made mistakes throughout the recordings and it reminded me that not everyone is perfect and to keep practicing.

Watching this youtube video helped me feel more confident in my note reading ability and gave me the motivation to record my practices.

I hope to create video documentation of more of my piano learning process.