I’ve Heard… that You’ve… Narrowed it Down, That You… Found an Idea, and You’re Asking for Help.

A Super Quick Insight into Our Major Learning Project

A Little Preface Before I Chit Chat Away

Welcome, everyone to my blog, and thanks for stopping in. Like always, I appreciate each and every one of you that stop by and I know that sometimes it can be a lengthy read, so thanks for spending your valuable time with me. I am so grateful for all of the feedback and inspiration that comes my way.

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Before I get started on the main course of my blog prompt for this week, I wanted to briefly let all my new peers know that the goal of the course isn’t to be the most current on Twitter, to have the most detailed, researched, and professional blog out there, or even to be the most knowledgeable student in the class in the subject matter we’re discussing that day. Let me tell you right now that I know exactly how you feel, and I was once in that same position too. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the amount of information you are consuming and feeling like you need to put it into action immediately, take a deep breath. Slow down. Like a very wise teacher once told me, start at the start, begin at the beginning, and commence at the commencement. It’s about starting a journey and growing throughout. Having a growth mindset attitude is the most important thing in this class, or from what I have gathered taking three previous classes very similar to this one.

I have to thank Gerry for reminding me of this. Although he was asking me for some blog help, in the end, I felt like I took away more from our conversation than I had anticipated. Remembering that we are all new at something making us feel vulnerable, sharing our ideas, and building community is what makes us stronger, smarter, and more well-rounded. I too still feel scared out of my Blunds for the Summary of Learning, and definitely don’t want to share with the group after Dylan goes (he’s pretty much a legend… seriously!). But I do have to say that after Brittney was able to use my previous Summary of Learning template, I feel a minuscule better about creating another one. So, cheers to all Y’all, and I can’t wait to learn from this very special community.

Ps. I have to say that I am a little relieved that Christine has also created a tracker form, and now I can breathe a little bit easier knowing that I am not the only super type-A personality out there, and we’re normalizing the tracker form a bit more, hey Raquel, Amanda, and Curtis? Also, it’s crazy that Christine and I took our first few years of education together and now are together once again. What a small world!

An Innovative Idea

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I’ve got a bit of a secret to admit here… even though this isn’t the first class that I have taken with Alec, the Major Learning Project for this course really had thrown me for a loop. In the past, I have been able to think of an idea almost immediately, or at the very least pretty darn quickly. But this one… not the same at all. Maybe it’s largely due to the fact that teacher burnout is very real right now, and schools have been a pretty grim place for most of us. Looking towards the brighter days can only go so far with substitute shortages, weeks of missed preparation time, supervision coverage, COVID cases, indoor recesses, and more. So right now, I am going to attribute my lack of a fast idea to that (hopefully that’s the case and I’m not losing my touch). Anyways, that’s a rant for another day and another time.

Just when I felt hopeless coming up with an idea I felt worthy of spending a whole semester on that would provide insight, collaboration, and usefulness in our schools, Durston came to the rescue. His idea is not only innovative and creative, but it’s really a step outside of the box which is something that I really appreciate. So before I get started discussing some of the things that we hope to achieve, I want to acknowledge that Durston is the MVP here and needs all the credit you can throw his way. It’s obvious to me that leadership is a great role for this one!

Setting the Table

You may be wondering by now, what the heck are they doing for their major learning project? So, let’s finally set the table here. Although we don’t have Alec’s approval as of when writing this post, we hope to do a combination of options 1 and 4. For those of you that are reading this outside the walls of our EC&I 832 course, the option outlines as per the course syllabus are as follows:

  • Option 1: Development of a curriculum-supported digital citizenship/literacy resource: Students selecting this option will investigate and develop curricular connections that support the integration of digital citizenship and digital literacy competencies. Students should develop a comprehensive digital citizenship/literacy resource that includes a scope and sequence for a grade (elementary) or subject area (secondary).
  • Option 4: Student-designed project: Students are welcome to propose an alternate project, subject to instructor approval. Students-designed projects should entail an equivalent amount of work and should be directly related to some aspect of digital citizenship or media literacy.
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Our plan is to create a mixed medium project, of starting and hosting a podcast discussing with each other, as well as other key stakeholders such as teachers (veteran and new), administrators, teachers in technology roles in our divisions, as well as other guests. Our podcast will aim to discuss digital literacy and citizenship in schools, what role schools have regarding this subject matter, as well as how we approach it in our practices, and more. Even though we have a rough idea right now, it’s still early and we will refine it in the next few weeks here. We hope to plan loosely guided questions to steer the conversations, but not rigid guidelines that take away from the authenticity of the dialogues created. Incorporating the voices of people is important for us, as we want a well-rounded and diverse project.

Paired with a podcast, we hope to create a middle school continuum of subjects/ideas that should be discussed in each grade to avoid hoping the teacher before us has discussed and taught a particular content area in terms of digital literacy and citizenship. Even though we haven’t concretely decided what grades the continuum would support, we hope to work out the details soon and fill Y’all in soon! So, keep following along with us, as we’re both pretty excited about the potential of this project!

Ironing Out the Details

Even though we have a pretty good start on setting up our major learning project, we know that there is still a lot of work to do to get started. Some of the things that we already have talked about that need refinements, considerations, or careful planning are as follows:

  • A list of guiding questions to get the conversations started, or steer the dialogue when conversation isn’t flowing, etc. We want them to be loosely based, as we want the dialogue to be as authentic as possible.
  • Schedule for podcasts with potential guests, topics, etc.
  • Choosing a podcast name, format, cover art, intro music and intro to the podcast, episode format, recording and editing (and potentially so much more!), and,
  • Supplementary resources based on the topic we’ve discussed that week to support our intended audience for that episode.
  • Specific grades, format, content, delivery, support, etc.
  • Presentation and network sharing,
  • Supplementary materials and resources,
  • Examples of educational technology and media tools and how it aligns with the continuum.

We have a lot of details to work out, and we may be biting off more than we can chew. But hey, it feels great to feel the fire under our feet, the passion in our hearts, and think outside of the box. Not only do we have a lot to work out, but we have a lot to consider and learn. Let’s be honest, we both know that it’s a pretty hefty idea (without approval as of yet), but it feels great to embark on a new journey (aside from feeling a bit overwhelmed and a lot vulnerable). Make sure to check out Durston’s page for more information, and all the things that I have potentially missed or haven’t covered. As I said, we have a lot of work to do! Cheers to learning!

Help a Gal Out! I’d Love to Hear from Y’all!

I know the first few classes always seem like a lot and can be super overwhelming! But know that we’re all in this together, and historically, everyone is always super helpful and outright wonderful. But as always, I am so thankful that you’ve taken the time out of your busy schedules to read my blog post! If you want to answer one or however many of my guiding questions, please feel free to do so. Or if you want to write a general comment, share an idea, or story, that’s always helpful too! Even those that are too tired but want to contribute, I see your likes and they always warm my heart. Keep on keeping on, Y’all! Stay healthy out there!

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  1. EC&I 832 people, what are you planning on doing for your major learning project?
  2. Do you have any ideas that you think we should consider, or that would fit so well with our project? If so, we’d love to hear all about it!
  3. If you could give a few tips for someone like us starting out a podcast, what would they be?  
  4. What are some great podcasts (education related or not) that have a solid foundation, great tools, are fun to listen to, or are downright addicting?
  5. Have I totally lost the mark on teachers feeling a serious sense of burnout lately? What inspirational things have happened at your school that show dedication to teamwork, leadership, or strength through community?  

11 thoughts on “I’ve Heard… that You’ve… Narrowed it Down, That You… Found an Idea, and You’re Asking for Help.

  1. Great post Kelly, and I felt the same in picking a project, and also believe it is due to the busyness of education lately. Although I am not narrowed down, I have an idea to start with (2 – Social Activisim), but yours and Durston’s idea seems really, really good. Podcasts are one of my favourite pastimes while working or driving and I look forward to hearing yours. My most listened to podcasts are Radiolab (Nerdy Science stuff) and ChooseFI (Financial Literacy stuff), and I believe Jonathon M (co-host of ChooseFI) has a podcast info course here: (https://genesiscourses.com/pc3-podcast-workshop-with-jonathan-mendonsa/). Great idea, I am admittedly jealous of your choice!

    1. Thanks for popping by and giving me some great leads, Dylan! I am really excited to see your project shape up. I am super new to podcasts, and really only know a few of the ones my spouse listens to (Spittin Chicklets and Joe Rogan) which aren’t exactly school-related… Maybe I should tweet them directly and see what kind of advice they may have for a few educators starting a podcast. Think they’ll tweet back? Lol. But in all seriousness thanks for the suggestions! I will have to look into them and check them out asap!

  2. Thanks for sharing your ideas, Kelly! I am excited to see your project unfold. I feel like I learn something new from you everytime I read about your ideas. I enjoy listening to podcasts as well. I feel like I have been listening to more of them these past few years. I am really interested in the mental well being of our younger students. I work in a community school and positive messages for our students is critical and so valuable for them. Looking forward to hearing more about your ideas! Take care and thanks for all of your help.

    1. I am so excited that you stopped by, Kola! Aren’t you just the sweetest. I am glad that I can help you out in some way. I’m going to have to pick your brain about what makes a good podcast then, as it sounds like you are well-versed. I look forward to seeing your learning project unfold, and to learning from you and your hubby! If you ever need any help, please let me know.

  3. Love your idea! And really love how you empathetically introduced your post and the process of getting to where you are when it comes to Ed tech! Very cool! I look forward to seeing… and hearing more!

    1. Chris, it’s great to hear from you again! Although the ideas are really loosely put together right now, we hope to narrow it down more this week and get things started up soon here. I am super new to the podcast world, so it’s going to be a learning curve! Thanks again for stopping in and leaving some comments!

  4. Hey Kelly,
    I am glad I am not the only one who is stuck! I am also having a hard time coming up with ideas for the major project! After taking a few classes from Alec, I feel like the bar is set even higher and I / we need to keep up to the standard! That is why I am unsure about doing the app critique and implementation; therefore I am leaning towards creating digital citizenship tools in my classroom and probably trying to integrate the apps mentioned in the syllabus to develop this content.

    SO many ideas floating around and it is hard to put them into a plan with (as you said) being in a grim environment these days!

    1. I think a lot of us are in the same boat, Dalton. Keeping up with the Jone’s is always something in the back of our minds (I think that’s the saying anyway). Before really burning yourself out, think about what is best for your mental health, while balancing your professional and personal lives. I think there is a lot going on in life right now and I would recommend doing what you feel is best for your current situation. Also, who’s to say that you won’t take a lot out of learning about different educational and technology tools? It may in fact be more rewarding than you think.

  5. What a beautiful blog site Kelly, it is so elegant! I am glad that there are a few more A Type personalities out there with me as we journey through this class together. It put me out of my comfort zone to share but I thought it might be helpful to some; I noticed today that I had missed a few people so I am hoping no one was offended and people just added themselves onto the list. It is so hard to believe that our undergrad degree was over 10 years ago; when I began my Masters journey I was hoping that I might come across some undergrad classmates but I wasn’t sure if I really would. I only wish that I had more time with our cohort, you were all amazing people!

    Your collaboration piece for your project sounds very intriguing and it sounds like you have a great partner to do it with. I am excited to see it unfold as the semester continues. Here are some of my thoughts for your questions:
    1. Consider those type a teachers (those who need guidance and clear lines)
    2. Keep your podcast light, funny, and engaging, mixed with some serious stuff (find a balance). What comes to mind is True Crimes & Cocktails!
    3. Guest speakers? People who speak on mental health. Dr. Jodi Carrington?
    4. Share daily struggles, create connection, show emotion
    5. This one is all about your last question… we have implemented in our school SPREAD JOY, the message is powerful. We spread joy in many different ways we spread it to Jesus, Others, and You. We are constantly looking for ways to spread joy in these areas, sometimes the joy we spread is just for others or it can be a combination of any. We do not only spread joy in our school but we bring it out to the surrounding community, other schools, etc. We have even received spread joy things back. Our initiative is even recognized throughout Moose Jaw; Starbucks has the students at Sacred Heart during the Christmas season decorate their coffee sleeves with spread joy messages or just a hand drawn picture. When we come together in these spread joy moments the joy is not easily missed and is even impossible to miss. Students randomly do it for staff members, or to other students, teachers will surprise other teachers or school staff with spread joy activities (treats in the staffroom) anything that brings us together.
    There is something to be said about the community we have at Sacred Heart that has helped throughout this difficult teaching time that keeps us going.

    1. Wow! What a detailed response Christine! It’s funny how life works and how small Saskatchewan really is. Although our time was short together, you also had something amazing come out of it too!

      Thanks for all of the great advice! I will have to share it with Durston. I love that your school spreads the message of joy. What a simple concept that has such a big impact. It’s neat that you have teamed up with local places as well to help spread that message. It sounds like you could have done a community online activism project too with what you have going on already! Thanks again for stopping by and leaving such rich feedback for us.

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