Networked Learning: A Semester in Review

Faceless woman with cup of tea and laptop and book on bed

The biggest takeaway from the EDTC300 course is the utilization of online sources to support learning. This was evident from our learning projects and from the course discussions. We always cycled back to how we can use online sources safely and effectively for our education as well as our student’s education. Throughout the semester we utilized a variety of online platforms to connect with our class and other educators to support our professional learning. I will highlight below the various ways I tried to connect with others through the different platforms.

Twitter

I was very familiar with Twitter prior to the course and was happy to continue using the platform for my learning. I started the course following 200 people and only had 141 followers. I followed an additional 73 accounts and grew my following to 212 followers. I did however, unfollow some accounts as they were inactive or were no longer of interest.

My Twitter profile at the start and end of the class

I participated in a few #SaskEdChats and used Twitter to support some of my classmates, as seen in the evidence below:

My Tweets also gained the attention of my employer and superintendent which are positive representations of my teaching and as a professional. Our local newspaper saw some of my tweets and then reached out to me about writing an article about one of them. These were positive interactions for me, the school, and the division.

I was also able to use to Twitter to help my students connect with a Stanley Cup winner during Oilers STEM Week. I wrote about that experience on this blog post. I also had my students participate in March Mammal Madness which was hosted on Twitter throughout the month of March. We read the tweets together in class and connected with other classrooms who were also participating in the competition. I made another connection which provided me with to some teaching resources for MMM.

Lastly, my best Twitter interaction was when John Legend liked my tweet on Valentine’s day. I made a recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook (his wife) and used part of a quote from the recipe in my tweet. It just goes to show the power of Twitter and how you can make connections with a diverse amount of people.

I think Twitter was a major contributor to my teaching and learning this semester and will continue throughout my career.

Slack

Another community we had was found on Slack. I had not used Slack before, but found it useful for the course. It was way better than when I used Google Plus for a previous class. I wasn’t super active on the platform, but was able to provide some lesson support, shared how to make reusable blocks in WordPress, shared some resources, and provided some encouragement for my classmates. You can see some of my interactions in the slideshow below:

Blogging

A major component of the course was our WordPress blogs. They were our personal hubs for all our weekly learning and reflections. Prior to publishing this post and my summary of learning, I have 24 posts, 4 pages, and 79 comments on my blog.

I did do some additional posts on my blog that were not part of the weekly prompts such as this one, this one, and this one.

Below are some of the comments I added to my classmate’s blogs sharing some support and insights.

Podcasting

Since I have some (13 years) of teaching experience, I wanted to share some tips and tricks with my classmates. I paired up with Allysia, who also has some teaching experience. We sent out a Google Form on Slack to the EDTC 300 and EDTC 400 channels and on Twitter soliciting teaching questions from emerging teachers. We were able to gather quite a few questions from our classmates and created two podcast episodes that we shared on both our blogs. We used Anchor to create our podcast which was easy to do while working remotely. You can listen to the podcasts on my blog or on her blog. This was done in addition to our weekly blog posts.

School Social Media

I know that this wasn’t particularly part of the course, however, a part of my job is communicating to our school community through our closed Facebook page and our SRC Instagram page. I utilize Canva for most of the posts, so they stand out and get the parent’s attention. I have the Canva educational account so I have access to more features and templates. I have included a quick video of some of the items that I post about for our school.

This was quite a lengthy list of ways I interacted with my classmates and professional learning network over the course of the semester. I was able to receive some fantastic feedback and support as I conclude my certificate. Don’t forget to follow me after the course if you would still like to connect!

P.S If none of the evidence I showed above convinces you that I connected with the class community, how about my Kahoot! ranking? #HumbleBrag

-Tina

Rewinding Back to Ribble’s Elements of Digital Citizenship

Person in gray long sleeve shirt using macbook pro

Way back on March 17th our class discussed Ribble’s nine elements of digital citizenship. It was a fantastic class full of great, thought provoking information, however, life got a way on me and I am just being able to blog about it now. Turns out leading a school though a pandemic takes up a bit of your time.

Ribble’s Nine Elements for Digital Citizenship are as follows:

  • Digital Access
  • Digital Commerce
  • Digital Communication and Collaboration
  • Digital Etiquette
  • Digital Fluency
  • Digital Health and Welfare
  • Digital Law
  • Digital Rights and Responsibility
  • Digital Security and Privacy

Each of these elements should be integrated and woven into our specific curriculums where developmentally and thematically appropriate. I was going to highlight some very specific outcomes and indicators, but I found a fantastic website that already completed that!

Media Smarts Website – Click image to access the hyperlink

The Media Smarts website has a variety of curricular connections already identified as well as links to specific lesson plans that link to the nine elements of citizenship. It is not all inclusive, but is a great resource to start with.

Currently, my school division as well as others are teaching remotely. This has really highlighted the first element – digital access. We have tried to accommodate each need, but access isn’t equal. Our division provided our families with 40+ Chromebooks, hotspots, and bus drivers delivering paper/hard copy materials for families. Teachers, myself included, have also been very flexible in how students submit assignments to work around any technology needs.

SaskTel supporting teachers and families with online learning and digital access

In our new world of online teaching, digital etiquette has also been highlighted. Muting microphones, being appropriate on camera, and using the tools such as “raise hand” and the chat box to answer questions has become the new routine. (Although I would like if the students turned on their camera at least once for some visual feedback). Something that wasn’t as relevant at the start of last school year is now the norm.

Since I am so late to the game with this post, I am able to link so some of my classmates blog posts on the same subject. Check out Laura, Ian, or Trista’s blogs for some more great resources and insights!

-Tina

Sew, What Did I Learn?

sewing, thread, craft

We have finally reached the end of the semester (and my certificate – I think!) which means my learning project is also now complete.

Sew. . . lets recap my progress over the last few months.

Weekly Recaps

Week One – #Learning Project

In the first post, I discussed my intentions for the project and my general outline. I wanted to be able to sew a button, learn basic stitches, mend my clothes and fix a zipper. Turns out I was able to accomplish 3/4 goals.

Week Two – Buttons are Sew Much Fun

Resource: Treasurie’s YouTube
This week I focused on learning how to sew a button onto felt. I was able to complete this task for both 2 holed and 4 holed buttons.

Week Three – Running with Scissors

Resources: Apartment Therapy Blog, Instructables Blog, Rokolee DIY YouTube, Melly Sews YouTube
This week I learned how to do three basic stitches – running stich, ladder stitch, and blanket stitch. These stitches would help create my later sewing projects. I also learned that videos are way better than blogs in learning these skills.

Week Four – Sewing is a Hoot

Resources: Juicy Bits Blog
My week consisted of creating tiny stuffed owls out of felt. To create the owls, I had to use the skills from the previous weeks – sew buttons, running stitch, and blanket stitch. I was able to make 2 different owls this week.

Week Five – Those Who Can’t Do, Teach . . .

New Tool: Wakelet
I really stepped out of my comfort zone this week by teaching 80+ students how to sew. I had a class a day for four days and each student was able to make their own owl or two. I had to practice my skills so I was able to teach it, be able to problem solve their trouble spots, and provide adaptations to meet all my students needs. Oh, and meet all the COVID protocols for shared materials.

Week Six – And Sew it Continues . . .

Resource: Treasurie’s YouTube
The next project I wanted to make was a scrunchie, however, I need to learn how to back stitch first. This week I went back to Treasurie’s YouTube channel and learned how to backstitch.

Week Seven – Scrunchie Sunday

Resource: Sew Crafty Me Blog
Scrunchie making consisted of using my previous backstitching and ladder stich skills to make a cute hair accessory. The blog was super informative and easy to follow, but mislead me on the time commitment. The blog said a scrunchie could be made in 15 minutes and it took me much, much longer.

Week Eight – Scrunching for Time

New Tools: iMovie and WeVideo
In response to last week’s project, I decided to try the scrunchie making again and attempt to beat my previous time. This week I filmed the whole process the best I could and used the two video creation tools to make a high speed video.

Week Nine – Mask Making

Resource: Sew Crafty Blog
It wouldn’t be 2020/21 without some kind of mention of a face mask. I returned to the Sew Crafty blog and used their instructions to make a cute face mask.

Week Ten – Hashbrown’s Modelling Debut

Resource: Charmed by Ashley YouTube and Blog
Last official sewing project was a cute collar bandana for my favourite friend – Hashbrown. She is my very spoiled pup and I wanted to make her something to make up for all the extra computer time.

Week Eleven – It’s a Secret

New Tool: Canva video
There is no blog post for this project, but stick around to watch my summary of learning to see what I have been up to lately.

Learning Reflections

To learn the various skills and complete each project, it was very beneficial to have videos and blogs to support my learning. It was best when there was a blog and video rather than just one of the tools. To document my process in learning the skills, I relied on pictures for a few reasons:

  • Easy to do by myself
  • I don’t own a tripod or an easy way to prop up my phone
  • Most projects took over an hour so when you edit down the video I would loose some of the details.
  • My hands got in the way

Therefore, if anyone wanted to learn how to sew they should utilize any of the resources I used instead of using me as a resource. I particuallry liked Treasurie’s videos and the Sew Crafty Me blog which I accessed multiple times.

One resource that I didn’t explore, that I maybe should have, is Tik Tok. I currently do not have a Tik Tok account, but knowing who I am as a person I know I would spend too much time on there and get even farther behind in my work. I’m an expert procrastinator and I needed to stay focused this semester.

Although I wasn’t able to replace a zipper, which was one of my original goals, I feel confident that if I needed to replace one, I could access online resources to learn the necessary skills to do so.

In conclusion, I was successful in learning how to sew using online sources. I was able to increase my skill set and create a few fun cute projects along the way. I was also able to try a few new tech tools to help me document the process.

What are your thoughts of my learning project? What do you think my secret week eleven project is?

-Tina

Coding Creations

text

Coding is the language of computers, apps, blogs, and all electronics. It is also a fantastic critical thinking skill that can engage students in the classroom. From the Teach your Kids Code Website they highlight 8 reasons why coding is important for kids to learn:

  • Programming helps children learn to problem – solve
  • Computer programming gives kids a challenge and helps them develop resilience
  • Coding teaches children how to think
  • A child expands their creativity when they learn how to code
  • Computer programming is the future
  • There is a lack of skills in the software industry
  • Coding helps children learn how to have fun with math
  • Coding is learning while having fun

There are a variety of free resources available for educators to access to support their learners to learn coding.

I have some experience with coding already. I have played with/used Microbits, Spheros, Makey Makeys, and Hour of Code within my classroom.

Here is some of my students work

Originally tweeted by Tina (@tinambowley) on January 8, 2021.

Since I have some experience coding already, I decided to try coding with Scratch.

Coding With Scratch

Upon first impressions, I was really excited to try Scratch as there was tons of options and easy to use block coding. However, I really missed the step by step progressions that is offered with Hour of Code. The level of inquiry was too broad for my linear mind. I prefer step by step instructions, like a recipe. So, I did a few tutorials and Googled some how – tos to create the animation I envisioned.

Below is my attempt at Scratch coding. I was able to change the costume of the unicorn, add sounds, and make another sprite appear. The sound quality is low from using Screencastify, but trust me when I say there was some epic fairy music.

Final Impressions

I think all the tools I have used (Makey Makey, Spheros, Hour of Code, Microbits and now Scratch) are all applicable to use in the classroom. Each tool has a variety of levels and adaptations to accommodate all learners abilities and engagement. Even though I didn’t like the openness of Scratch, as much as the step by step sequence of Hour of Code, I was still invested in finding out how to do it. I think coding is a very valuable skill to teach students and any of the above tools would be a great place to start.

-Tina