Contribution to the Learning of Others

This is my summary of my contribution to the learning of others for EDTC 300. The two main places where I contributed to the learning of others was on twitter and on my blog. I will include some screenshots for examples of my contributions near the end, but there will be many more links to everything all throughout this post as well.

Week 1 (May 3rd– 9th

            This week I did not really contribute to the learning of my classmates as I was too busy learning myself. This week we were just getting everything figured out for the class and setting up our zoom, slack, twitter, etc. accounts to use to do so. I had not had a lot of previous experience with any EdTech tools so I really had to learn how to use these tools myself. I posted on twitter about my blog so that my followers were able to find my blog posts and learning project posts for this class. I also followed many accounts on twitter including those of my classmates and other educators so increase my Personal Learning Network (PLN). 

Week 2 (May 10th-16th)

            This week I posted multiple articles on twitter. These included articles about: Distanced Learning, Mental Health, and Visions for the Future of Schools. I also replied to many articles that others had shared as well. I also wrote a blog post all about myself and my experiences, opinions, goals all about using technology for educational purposes. I also commented on Julia, Annissa, Shelly and Sarah’s blog posts. I also attended saskedchat on twitter and gained many new people to follow/followers to connect with, including the founder of saskedchat, Kelly Christopherson.

Week 3 (May 17th– 23rd)

            This week I posted an article to my twitter to share resources and information with my EDTC 300 class. These included topics such as: Focus/Productivity, Optimizing Time, Online Resources, Instruction Differentiation, Brain Breaks, Thriving with Distanced Learning, and Reducing Workload. I also replied to many articles that others had shared as well. I also wrote a blog post about my projections for teaching and learning in the fall, as well as what I think education might look like in 2025. I also wrote a blog post all about Twitter and using it as a professional development tool, as well as my opinion on using Twitter in the classroom! I also commented on Cassie, Madeline , April, and Jordan’s blog posts. I have continued to expand my PLN by gaining valuable accounts to follow and interact with. 

Week 4 (May 24th– 30th)

            This week I shared many useful resources on twitter including topics such as: Virtual Teaching, Googling instead of Thinking, Pros and Cons of Tech in the Classroom, Growth Mindset, Screencastify, Engagement, and Documenting History. I also wrote a blog post on our changing technological world and the participatory culture that we are living in. I also wrote a blog post all about how to use Powtoon and my opinion of it as a valuable resource to use in teaching and learning. I did a screencast for a quick tutorial explaining exactly how I used this tool to create my learning project video for this week, so others can use it too! I also commented on Kaeli, Tamantha, Meegan, and Stevie’s blog posts this week with constrictive and encouraging comments!

Week 5 (May 31st– June 6th)

            This week I shared many more resources on twitter including topics such as: Remote Learning, Public Statements, Images, along with many various retweets sharing various images and resources directly on twitter! I also wrote a blog post all about teachers’ responsibility to model active digital citizenship and anti-oppressive education in digital spaces. I feel this was a very important topic to speak on! I also commented on Jordan, Sarah, Kendyll, and Carmel’s blogs with constructive and encouraging  comments.  

Week 6 (June 7th– 13th)

           This week I shared many valuable resources on twitter about topics such as: Webinars, YouTube, Online Resources for Children, Schools Reopening, and Connection. I wrote a blog post about my experience cyber-sleuthing a fellow classmate and the importance of creating a positive digital identity and online presence.  I think that my commenting on her digital identity (as far as what I could find) definitely would have contributed to her learning in how she could improve her digital identity, as hers did for me! I also wrote a blog post all about the importance of digital literacy and scoping out fake news. I also commented on Tracey, Lochlin, Mikaela, and Raylin’s blogs with helpful comments for encouragement and improvement. This week I attended #edadventures Adventures in teaching chat and gained more valuable people to network with and shared many ideas of my own to try and assist others as well!

Week 7 (June 14th– 17th

            This was the final week of EDTC 300. I shared resources about Studying, Communication, Tech Tools, Books about Racism, and Marking the End of School. As well retweeting many other valuable resources right on twitter and replying to those shared by my classmates! I wrote a blog post all about coding, what I think about it, and also demonstrating my own experience doing it. I also created my own summary of learning video and posted it to my blog to demonstrate everything that I have learned over the past 7 weeks all summed up into 6 minutes! I also wrote blog posts about I also commented on some final blog posts from Madeline, Lydia, Kaeli, and Frank.

Overview of how I contributed to the learning of others during this class:

  • I replied back to every comment on my blog being active in keeping the conversation going!
  • I commented on the blog posts of many of my classmates with encouraging and helpful comments!
  • I posted 2 blog posts each week that were directly related to the topics we discussed each class to give my informed opinion on the matter and share more resources!

  • I was active on twitter almost every single day sharing resources, commenting on the posts of others, chatting with other fellow classmates and educators, and continuously following those who followed me and reaching out to follow others to increase my PLN and really start my lifelong journey of networking online!

This class has encouraged me to be more active on social media than ever before. Before this class I was mainly just a “lurker”, never really contributing anything to the conversation. I also had never had a “professional” or career based social media account and had never interacted with other professionals in my field. This class definitely pushed me outside of my comfort zone and forced me to interact with others in my future field in a professional and educational manner. This class has given me a voice online that I have never had before. I am looking forward to increasing my PLN and continuing to contribute to the conversation and give as much to online spaces, as I take away from them!

Closing Time

This is my summary of my 6 week learning project of learning to play the ukulele. I am so grateful to be getting back into playing music and really gaining a new valuable hobby. I have learned so much over the past 6 weeks that have set me up for a life of taking the time out of my busy schedule to focus on my hobbies and what makes me really happy! In this summary, I am first going to go over what I learned each week and the main resources that I found. I will then do an overall conclusion of everything that I learned over the past 6 weeks learning to play the ukulele.

Week 1 (Part 1 and Part 2)

This week was all about figuring out what exactly to do for my learning project. I was torn between many things as all my extra time in quarantine was fuelling my passions and hobbies such as cooking, learning Korean, and learning new instruments. I ending up choosing to learn to play the ukulele since what I really wanted to do was learn to play the guitar, but my new guitar did not come in time and I was able to get my hands on a ukulele fairly easily. I soon realized that this was a happy accident because the ukulele was a smaller (less strings) instrument and would be much easier to learn and progress on over the short 6 weeks that I had to complete this learning project. However, my post this week was entirely guitar oriented so I shared many resources regarding:

What helped me decide what guitar to order:

What guitar I ended up getting:

Apps for learning to play the guitar:

Apps for learning to tune the guitar:

Week 2

This was the week that I finally began actually getting my hands on the ukulele and starting to learn.

The main things that I learned this week included:

  • C major chord
  • G major chord
  • F major chord
  • A minor chord
  • Strumming with thumb
  • Strumming with index finger
  • Strumming on the beat and counting bars (4 beats) as I play
  • You are my Sunshine song

I basically began my searching beginner ukulele videos on YouTube and found a plethora of content and resources on there including:

Week 3

This week I did some more building off of what I started with the week before. I tried out the Yousician app. I began their beginner tutorial and spent a lot of time progressing through this tutorial and practicing the chords and strumming from the week before. I found that a lot of these beginner tutorials begin the same way which gave me a lot of practice on the first 4 chords that I learned and getting more comfortable using those. I also watched some videos about strumming including:

I continued the free 10 day course that I started the week before and kept building off of that. I also found some other resources such as Bernadette Teaches Music on YouTube among others, that I planned on incorporating in the weeks to come.

Week 4

This week was a little different. We were tasked to find a new tool to use to share our learning projects with the class. I used Powtoon. I found that it was a really great tool to create quick and easy animation videos for just about anything that you could think of. It had tons of wonderful templates too so that you did not have to start right from scratch if you preferred not to. I used this tool to create a little video to show the class my goals for my learning project. I also went in depth about my experience using screencastify to share my tutorial on how to use Powtoon. Overall, this week I gained some great sharing tools that had added to my tool box of online resources. I did not do anything new on the ukulele and simply continued practicing everything that I have covered thus far.

Week 5

This week I got back into really practicing the ukulele and improving my skills. I had 4 main focuses for this week:

  1. Practice smooth chord changes (between C, F, G, and A) 
  2. Learn strumming patterns 
  3. Learn a new simple chord song (similar to “You are my Sunshine” from week 1 update)
  4. Find a different resource online (other than YouTube or an App)

As far as the resources I used:

Chord changes:

Strumming:

Overall, I learned the importance of first focusing on developing your finger strength, flexibility, and independence and then using this to improve your smooth chord changes and strumming patterns. This week really taught me the importance of going back to the basics and really developing the basic skills necessary to teach your fingers and hands to move in the way that you want them to.

Week 6

This week I kind of brought my learning to a bit of a conclusion and made some plans moving forward. I realized that throughout the past few weeks I kind of lost my way regarding what I should do next and how to keep improving. In attempting to try out as many different online resources as I could, I often found myself finding them all very valuable, but my skill level just not up to par. This led me to going to back to the 10 day and 30 day beginner courses that I found on YouTube in week 2. These types of free courses are extremely beginner friendly as they start very simple from never having needed to have touched a musical instrument in your life, and gradually progress to more advanced playing. Since they are set up in this way, it makes them really easy to follow along with and gradually improve as you go rather than jumping around never knowing the skill level required for a certain resource until you actually try it out (and can’t do it).

The two main videos that I watched this week were: “4 Chords 15 Songs Tutorial” by Lindsey’s Uke and Day 3 of the Andy Guitar course that I started in week 2. Both of these videos did basically the same thing of combining the chord progression of C, G, Am, F and the strumming pattern down, down up, up, down up to create a little tune that can be used to play/sing tons of different songs! I have not gotten to the level of being able to actually play and/or sing these simple songs yet as I am still really trying to perfect my smooth chord transitions and consistent strumming without any mess ups (at least for long enough to play a short little song like the ones in the videos mentioned).

As I really began understanding last week, I learned that there are many more skills necessary to learn besides knowing the different chords, when learning to play the ukulele. This emphasis on practicing the basics until you are really comfortable changing between chords and strumming consistently on the ukulele, as well as staying with the beat of 4 counts, before attempting to play full songs or sing along while you play has given me a lot of guidance on my future plans of improving my ukulele playing!

Conclusion:

I learned that learning to play a new instrument is very difficult. I used to play the piano as child and into my teenage years and as I progressed through my learning project I had a lot of similar feelings coming back to me. In the beginning it is very exciting as you envision all the wonderful songs you are going to play one day and how cool it would be to be really good at playing a musical instrument. However, once you actually get into it, you quickly realize that in order to actually play anything you need to first focus on the basics and practice those for what seems like forever. For it is the basic finger strength, flexibility, and independence that needs to be developed in order to have smooth chord transitions and consistent strumming and eventually having both of your hands working together in unison. I also learned that it is really easy to want to give up immediately when you are not good at something as soon as you try it. However, when you are able to overcome the initial doubt and discouragement, it is this persistence, determination, and dedication that will really show you success in the end. I am very grateful for this class being the force that pushed me to start something that I have always wanted to try. I am looking forward to really committing to learning to play the ukulele in the future – and who knows, I might even post an update on here for y’all to see!

My ukulele sitting in my favourite chair. Lol.

I truly appreciate anyone who has taken the time to follow along on my learning project journey and I hope to hear from you in the comment section here, or on twitter @caitlinrkendall !!

Nearing the End

With my ukulele learning project nearing the end of its course I spent time this week thinking about how I will continue moving forward. I have been very busy with school and work and it has definitely put a damper on my progress lately. This week I definitely experienced feeling like I was not making very much progress or rather, I wasn’t really sure what to do next. I feel like this would come with learning any new instrument. I just do not feel very organized with a clear plan of what to do next. To overcome these feelings, moving forward I am going to go back to the 10 day and 30 day course type of videos that I was following along with on YouTube in the beginning. I strayed away from them as the weeks progressed because I wanted to see what other resources were out there and I definitely did find some other very useful ones as well! However, in doing this I definitely lost my way a little and would come across lots of great resources but feel as though my skill level was never quite there. I know that this will all come with more and more consistent practice. So as this class comes to an end and I continue to learn and improve my ukulele playing on my own, I am going to mainly use free course types of video playlists on YouTube. These have a slow and detailed progression and allow you to gradually improve and build your way up to becoming more advanced. This is why this type of online resource would be my first choice moving forward and what I would recommend to other beginners.

As for what I did do this week:

I tried out SkillShare as recommended by a fellow classmate! This was an amazing online resource that you could use to learn just about anything! It has a free 2 month premium membership trial which is great so you have a lot of time to try it out before committing to a paid membership. There are tons and tons of different classes on this website for you to learn a variety of different skills online. I did not have much time to really search around on it and try it out but for what I did get to check out it seems like a really great online resource!

I also continued practicing my smooth chord transitions and strumming patterns from last week. I combined both of these in the following little tune I play for you. I got this from the YouTube video: “4 Chords 15 Songs Tutorial” by Lindsey’s Uke. The chord progression goes: C, G, Am, F. The strumming pattern goes: down, down up, up, down up. This was a great way to combine what I learned last week. I think I have played this over and over probably 200 times. I plan to continue to repeat tunes such as these to really get my fingers used to moving in these different ways smoothly and get both of my hands working together and moving in sync.

Week 6 Update

I chose to include all of my mess ups in this video. I think it is important to see the negatives as well as the positives to understand that learning an instrument is not easy and takes a lot of determination, persistence, and of course, practice. I was a little disappointed with my video this week as I do not feel as though it demonstrates my improvement as well as I feel like I am improving off camera. I was struggling to play as well as I wanted and I show that in the video! This is just a part of learning something new and I wanted to make sure to share it with you all.

What has really stood out to me in learning to play the ukulele (and I did touch on last week) is getting really good at the basics before trying to move onto more advanced chords, patterns, songs, etc. Many of the beginner videos that I watched really reiterated this, but I don’t think that I truly understood it until I had been trying to learn for multiple weeks (often with a lot of discouragement). Learning anything new can be really difficult because I don’t think that any one actually enjoys trying to do something that they are bad at. It is so easy to give up when you cannot catch onto something right away. I feel as though this is why many people struggle with learning new instruments, learning new languages, learning to cook, or learning essentially any new hobby or task. It is so easy to want to be instantly good at whatever chosen activity and not feel like you are making any progress until you are actually “good” at something. For example, in my case, the past few weeks all I wanted was to be able to whip out my ukulele and play a song. However, over the progression of this learning project I have quickly learned that until you really perfect those chords and strumming, your songs will never sound “good enough” to you.

The best way to learn a new instrument, such as the ukulele, is not to try and learn a whole bunch of chords all at the same time but to progressively learn more and more as you go and improve, and as your fingers get used to playing. It is much better to focus on fewer chords and learning how to use them, how they work together, and how songs work in general. There are many other skills that come into play when learning to play the ukulele, other than just knowing the different chords. Day 3 of the Andy Guitar course that I decided to return to and actually complete reiterates this notion. He used the exact same chord progression and strumming pattern from the video mentioned above. This week I used this tune that I played for you above to play some of the easy 4 chord songs he demonstrated in this video, using the 4 chords that I have been focusing on throughout my learning project. I am still working on getting my rhythm right and sticking to counting out the 4 beats as much as I can, before I will ever be able to move onto singing along while I play.

It is exciting to see how I have improved in changing between these chords over my progression of this class and I now feel lot more confident in changing between them and using them to play some easy songs. Especially the G chord. In the very beginning of my learning project I was doing the G chord completely wrong and even once I corrected this, I still struggled to go to and from the G chord. However, this is actually an easier one for me now, especially when C is before it and Am is after it, as demonstrated above. My strumming is still a major work in progress. What I did learn this week regarding my strumming is that it is extremely important to loosen up your wrist when strumming. I noticed that when I put and effort into keeping my wrist loose and able to move freely, my strumming way a lot more smooth. It is very easy to tense up and be very stiff, especially when trying to have a firm, strong finger for your strumming. However, having a loose and smooth moving wrist really helped with my strumming this week.

My post for next week will be my summary of what I have learned over the past 6 weeks of my learning project on the ukulele. I look forward to revisiting everything that I have learned, really being able to see my own progression over the 6 weeks, and bringing it all to a bit of a conclusion. More than ever, I am really looking forward to being finished with my spring classes and being able to really dedicate the time and energy necessary to really improve on playing the ukulele. It’s only up from here!

Source

Summary of Learning

Below is my summary of learning video for EDTC 300. I used Animoto to make my video!

This class completely changed the way that I view technology. I also gained tons of valuable resources that I will definitely be using in my future education career. I cannot imagine having not taken this class, as it has inspired me in the way that I use technology for the better and opened my eyes to a whole new world of professionalism online! 10/10 recommend.

Sources for Images used in video:

Google 

Social Media 

Friends 

Zoom 

Friends 

Twitter 

Twitter Networking 

Slack 

Padlet 

Digital Identity 

Help 

Ukulele 

Computer 

Online Resources 

Mentimeter 

Google Docs 

Prezi 

Duck Duck Go 

PechaFlickr 

Feedly 

PLN 

Twitter Chat 

One Tab 

Praticipatory Culture 

SAMR 

Digital Citizenship 

Activism 

Cyber Sleuthing 

Fake News 

Coding 

Flap Flap

To be honest, coding is not something that I have ever had an interest in. I cannot recall ever doing it before, as I never took any computer science (or anything similar) type of classes throughout my education. However, I think that it is actually a really interesting process to try out doing, at least once. On any of our devices (nearly anything with a battery), any time that something is clicked on, this generates an event and for every event there is a code to determine what to do when an event occurs. A code is a precise set of instructions that a computer can understand to carry out a function. It is interesting to understand the process behind the interactive computer programming that surrounds our lives, whatever it may be. Many items that we use every single day such as cellphones, microwaves, cars, etc. all rely on codes to make them work. So essentially, we rely on codes too, so that we can use these items to better our lives. When something is so prominent in our lives, it can be important to come to understand how it works. Even if you do not plan on majoring in computer science or ever creating a computer program in your life, coding is an interesting skill to try out to help you better understand what is working behind the scenes in our increasingly digital world.

Here is a short video to explain what coding is and why it is significant:

What is coding?

I decided to try out one of the Hour of Code options on Code.org. I chose the “Make a Flappy Game” option because I recognized the game Flappy Bird and thought this would be fun to try out. The video below was the first instructional video that played before I started making my own. As I have never done any coding before that I can remember, this video was very helpful.

I intentionally chose an option that seemed like it would be fairly straightforward as I do not have a lot (or any) experience with coding. There were great instructions to tell you exactly what to do throughout the practice run. After completing all of the puzzles, the last one was to create your own flappy game. I created a screencast (below) of me creating and playing my own flappy game.

My Flappy Game

Here is the link to my Flappy Game so you can play it: https://studio.code.org/c/1153631396

The Hour of Code options on Code.org are extremely user friendly and a super straightforward and engaging introduction to coding. This is definitely a tool that would be extremely useful in the classroom for any age group as there are so many different options on the site to try out! Starting off very skeptical to my interest in coding, I actually really enjoyed it. It was fun to put the specific directions in and then run the game and see the words really come to life. I would highly recommend using Hour of Code to introduce coding into the classroom! Not only is it super fun and interactive for all ages, it also teaches the very valuable workings behind all of our computer generated devices that operate within our lives.

Also, this certificate of completion that you receive after finishing could be great for younger students to take home and show their parents! What a fun way to demonstrate our accomplishments!

Source

“Fake News”

There are many dangers that exist regarding falling into and spreading fake news. The internet has widely increased our ability to spread news and information about everything going on in the world, no matter how small (or how accurate). It is essential that all consumers of such “knowledge” increase their digital literacy so that they are able to effectively decipher between reliable sources of information and what we might refer to as “fake news”. We are experiencing a dangerous age of social media where propaganda is no longer used to simply push an agenda and encourage us to believe certain things, or act in a certain way, but rather, there is so much information being put out constantly, that it is used to exhaust our critical thinking and essentially “annihilate the truth” and our ability to find it. We are constantly being overwhelmed with information from a variety of sources on a variety of topics, it becomes nearly impossible to decipher right from wrong. According to an article on “Developing Critical Literacies” the line between the two is seemingly more and more blurred and uncertain. This is why developing individual and collective digital literacy is so essential to the wellbeing of our society.

Source

The best way to improve our digital literacy as a society is to start young in schools. If students are able to learn proper digital literacy from as young as they are able to consume such media, then they will grow up to be effective consumers and refrain from spreading “fake news” and contributing to the problem. “Fake news” can be extremely dangerous especially when involving powerful politicians, public health, dangerous people, etc. It is essential that young learners develop critical thinking when it comes to the consumption of any media, especially online sources. This is why I think it is absolutely necessary to include digital literacy education in schools. The NCTE framework provides an effective outline of implementing the basics of this into the classroom. KQED learning also has a great lesson plan with many helpful additional resources to incorporate this learning in the classroom. For younger kids, storybook type of resources can be really helpful in teaching to determine fact from fiction. Also, looking at articles such as “How Students can Spot Fake News” can be very helpful in finding ways to combat this issue. The dangerous issue of fake news is so prominent in our lives today that they are many, many resources online to assist one in educating themselves and others on resisting falling into the media’s traps, and being critical consumers at all times.

There are many tips to help consumers spot fake news. Some of which include:

  • determining what outlets are covering the story, and whether all outlets have a similar/differing spin on the topic
  • sensational headlines, often emotion provoking
  • out of context photos included
  • inability to do a background check to see if source is reliable (not a lot of information on it)
  • awareness that social media is filtered to present a certain view
  • is it based on evidence or opinion?
  • determine what government officials, health organization, other reputable sources have to say about it

Here is a great visual framework to assist in teaching this concept as well:

Source

The TED Ed playlist: Hone your media literacy skills also has some great videos that could be included in teaching students how to identify fake news.

There are so many resources out there that can be used to educate your students (as well on yourself) on identifying fake news and being critical media consumers. As a society we must do everything that we can to ensure the voices spreading the facts of heard and those spreading “fake news” are silenced. This begins on an individual level so educating yourself and your audience on how to decipher between fact and fiction in the media is essential. With social media and the online presence of information so present in our lives, one share can lead to ten more and before we know it, everyone quickly believes the message being passed on. We need to ensure that as a society we have the collective digital literacy to stop fake news in its tracks.

Here are some additional articles about people combating fake news and the dangers it poses to us:

Be in Control of How the World Sees You

Digital Identity

With the constantly increasing prevalence of online presence taking over our whole world, the concept of IRL (in real life) is losing it’s touch. As mentioned in many of the resources I am going to share with you in this post and discussions I have had in my EDTC 300 class, the concept of IRL suggests that our digital world is NOT real life. There is an increasing notion that not only is our online world, very much real to our lives, it is our real lives, and just as much a part of our real lives, as our offline world. The overlapping of these two “worlds”, so to speak has created an increasing significance of the concept of digital identity. The following video introduces the concept of digital identity:

What is digital identity?

Essentially, your digital identity is a permanent online collection of data about you that expresses how you see yourself and influences how others see you. Even without intending to, a whole lot of your life probably exists online, just by being a “normal” citizen within society and being relatively active in your use of the internet (with this often comes some type of social media use). The above video mentions how it is important to realize that your digital identity is not just a permanent footprint you are leaving on the web, but rather is it “like a tattoo” that comes along with you, everywhere that you go, as a permanent documentation of who you are.

My Cyber-sleuthing Experience

In the beginning going on a full out cyber-sleuth to find out everything that I could about a near stranger, felt oddly invasive. It was interesting because I feel as though any 20-something female like myself has surely cyber-stalked someone, at some time or another (see TikTok). However, in this setting it definitely felt a little strange to search up a fellow classmate, as I can definitely say I have never put my FBI level cyber-stalking skills to use in a professional/educational way ha ha. Overall, in the end, this experience taught me a lot about myself and what I need to work on more than anything. It showed me that I have a lot to work on digital identity wise. It is very clear that in my life many people are going to do the same thing to me as, I did to my fellow classmate, whether they be future employers, or anyone. Therefore, I need to maintain an up to date, professional and accurate portrayal of who I am, who I want to be, and who I want them to see me as.

Now, as far as my experience cyber-stalking my classmate, Annissa, it was interesting to see what I could find about someone that I had never actually met before. I mostly based my search on this digital sleuthing exercise. I already had access to her blog and twitter account (used for EDTC 300). I decided to start with a simple google search to see what would come up. The only google image that came up when I searched her name was a video from one of her blog posts for this class. Facebook was the first social media that came up in my search and the first account that came up was hers. From Facebook I gathered that she is from Swift Current, but there was no other information on her about page that I could see (not being friends on Facebook). The only photos that I could see was her current and past profile pictures. In checking out these photos I learned (assumed) a few things: she’s in a relationship, graduated in 2013, used to be in dance, likes kids and seems to have lots of kind friends. Thats about all for Facebook. It was clean, limited, and private for those who she chooses to add as a friend. Next her twitter (that I do follow) came up. Her twitter account was of course very neat, professional, and used for her education. From her twitter I learned that she is in her third year of education, and identifies as a life long learner and plant mom! I checked out Instagram and found that she’s pretty active on there, showing little pieces of her life and what she is like but still keeping everything very clean and professional (she also met Daniel Radcliffe which is just really cool so I had to include). The last place where I cyber-sleuthed Annissa was on her blog. On her about me page I learned that she is 24, in Elementary Education, and lives with her partner who is also a teacher. I also found that upon going to University after high school she left school and moved to London as a nanny which helped her re-discover her love for children and lead her back here to take Elementary Education. This is such a cool story, that I totally relate to regarding the feelings of uncertainty and is something really great to share with her audience to give a little insight on what lead her to where she is today. My overall impression of Annissa is that she’s friendly, motivated, supportive, adventurous, loves to travel, and is just a good person overall. Based on her digital footprint, I would undoubtedly trust her, hire her, and be her friend! I did not find anything that was questionable in the slightest. I would say regarding personal life, Annissa is an under sharer, rather than over sharer (with strangers) which is not at all a bad thing. I would say she shares a normal amount of information that makes sense to share. However, regarding more professional life (especially through the use of a really nice informative blog and sharing many education resources on twitter) Annissa shares a lot of great information for those checking her out to learn about her professional life and who she is as a future educator.

In cyber-stalking Annissa, the article “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think” came to mind. This article reiterates the idea that most people have multiple different social media platforms for different audiences. It mentions the idea of “different sites, different audiences, different purposes” and that “people have diverse, rich lives that aren’t contained within a single idea and persona”. This notion of having multiple identities is indicative to just how multifaceted people are. In checking out what I could about Annissa with the little access to her digital identity that I had, I kept this in mind. The information that I gained about her identity was only a piece of her life that she chose to share. This is something that everyone needs to keep in mind when analyzing a person (especially someone they do not know personally) online.

Personal Reflection

In the video “How one tweet can ruin your life”, Jon Ronson explained that social media has done the wonderful deed of giving voices to people who have never been able to have a voice before, but we have now created “a surveillance society where the smartest way to survive is to go back to being voiceless”. He outlines a case where one tweet did essentially ruin a woman’s life because of the way that people used social media to band together and demand her life be ruined. He stated, “Twitter took control her life and dismantled it piece by piece”. This is an extremely important statement clearly demonstrating the power that social media has over our lives, if we let it. I never want to give anyone or anything that much power over my life and how I am perceived. It becomes clear here that everything that we do online can be recorded, analyzed, and resurfaced at any time. For many people, there is evidence of everything that we have done, available out there for anyone to see, and do with it what they want. We have no protection from this, so we need to ensure that the online presence that we exhibit to the world is something to be proud of. We all make mistakes as part of growing up, but now these mistakes are being projected onto a world stage. As educators, I believe that it is largely our job to prepare our students for that world. In collaboration with students’ parents, educators have unique access to their students minds/lives to really inspire who they become. It is important that we take care of having such an important role.

Prior to taking EDTC 300 I had honestly never really thought about what could be out there about me and representing who I am. I think that to some extent I have always been aware of the potential consequences of sharing distasteful posts, photos, comments, etc. online so I am not overly worried about something bad that I have said or done being dug up, although that threat is ever present. However, having had access to the online world and many forms of social media all through middle/high school years growing up, this is definitely something to become aware of and get in control of. This lesson has made me extremely inspired/enlightened to put a serious effort into cleaning up my digital identity from when I first had access to the internet/social media and shape it into who I am now and who I want to be, so that people can have an accurate and current perception of my identity, online and offline. It is my job, and my job only, to make sure that I have an online presence which promotes myself the way that I want to be portrayed, by my friends and strangers, alike.

Does what I have currently presented online represent who I am? To an extent. Rather, it probably represents pieces of who I once was, or who I want to become. With this comes the overarching notion of the importance of establishing a positive digital presence. Being active in a positive way online and putting out there what you want people to see, not only increases your audiences ability to find the current, positive, and beneficial information first, and push down the old, irrelevant, or less prideful online existence that you may have had, but it also puts the power in your own hands, and allows you to be in control of displaying how others see you and how you are presented in this very real, digital, world. One should always desire to be in control of their own digital identity so it is essential to make yourself present online in a way that displays what you want to be known for and how you want people to see you.

Lastly, I just wanted to provide a link to an article that really stood out to me regarding all of this. “The IRL Fetish” by Nathan Jurgenson provide a lot of great information about how every moment of our lives being over saturated with digital potential (texts, emails, status updates, photos, check-ins, tweets, etc.) has actually created this phenomenon of most people being more obsessed with being offline than ever before. He states, “we have never cherished being alone, valued introspection, and treasured information disconnection more than we do now”. With this being said, this highlights the notion mentioned above that even when you choose to be offline, you digital identity is still there, for anyone to see. Also, in limiting your online presence, you may be confining/hindering yourself without even realizing it. So put an effort into creating a digital identity that is a current and consistent representation of you. Make it something that even when you are off living your “IRL” life offline, speaks for you. Make it something you are proud of and will be proud of for the many years to come. In a lot of cases, our digital identities will outlive us. Without even meeting you, anyone with access to the internet can develop their own idea of you. So make an effort to create and maintain an online presence for yourself, that presents not only who you are, but how you want others to see you, in such a way that it speaks for itself.

quotes - Stress Buster
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Back to the Basics

This week I had four main focuses:

  1. Practice smooth chord changes (between C, F, G, and A)
  2. Learn strumming patterns
  3. Learn a new simple chord song (similar to “You are my Sunshine” from week 1 update)
  4. Find a different resource online (other than YouTube or an App)

The first thing that I focused on this week was practicing smooth chord changes between the chords of C, F, G, and A. I found some short videos on YouTube to help me with this.

The first video that I watched was “How to Practice Chord Changes on the Ukulele” by Elise Euckland. In this video we mostly practiced moving from A minor to G to C. This video was extremely encouraging, reiterating that it doesn’t matter where you are starting from, if it takes you 10 seconds to switch chords or 30 seconds, you just have to keep practicing over and over and with consistent repitition, your fingers will get more used to moving in these different ways. She mentioned to start practicing chord changes with only single down strums to keep it slow and simple. Overall, I would definitely recommend this video for learning chord changes as she went really in depth showing exactly how to move your fingers one by one to change between the chords.

The second video that I watched was “How to Practice Chord Changes” by Cynthia Lin Music. In this video we first practiced moving back and forth from G to C and then from G to F. This video was even more in depth, slow paced and step by step than the one above. It was an amazing tutorial to show exactly how to move your fingers one by one from one chord to the other. She emphasized to practice very, very slowly and focus on improving finger strength, finger flexibility, and finger independence. I did not understand what she meant by finger independence until she was trying to get me to move my middle finger while holding my ring finger down and it seemed nearly impossible. She talked about your fingers wanting to fly away in between chords and during different chords even without you noticing. I found that this was definitely an issue for me in my Week 1 Update Video as I had very little control of my fingers that weren’t being used in the chord in the beginning (still working on this). She demonstrated a good chord switching method of focusing on moving your finger for the next chord, then lifting the fingers from the previous chord, just a little so they are still hovering over the fret board. She explained how there should never be a time when you have no fingers on the fret board as you should not have lifted all of your fingers from the last chord until at least one of your fingers (depending on the chord and number of fingers in it) are moved into position for the next chord. It sounds really confusing in words, but in this video she explained it really well, demonstrating exactly how to go finger by finger then finally lifting fingers you aren’t using before strumming for these chords specifically. She also mentioned how you can apply this process to any chord changes by moving one finger at a time, leaving leftover fingers in place until last minute, then slightly lifting, and strumming. You do not just take your entire hand off then place them down into the net chord. Once I started practicing these movements I found myself improving even in a short period of time. When I was very first trying to use her method of moving one finger at a time it seemed literally impossible like I would never be able to do that. But with a lot of practice, repetition and concentration, you can train your fingers to do exactly what you want them to when you improve their strength, flexibility, and independence.

Chord Transitions Week 5

The next thing that I focused on this week was practicing some next strumming patterns. I found one video on YouTube that taught me a lot all about doing this. It also taught me aspects of strumming that I didn’t even know that I needed to know such as exactly how to strum to the beat and stay in rhythm. This video also directed me towards a website that I will mention later in this post that had a lot of great information as well.

The video that I watched to learn strumming patterns was “5 Effective Strumming Patterns for Beginners” by Ukulele Tricks. The 5 strumming patters mentioned in this video can be used to play thousands of different songs on the Ukulele. He gave a great background all about strumming. He mentioned that strumming is a form of rhythm and that rhythm is all about keeping a steady beat/count that listeners can follow along with. So he said that when practicing these strumming patterns, it is important to count out loud to a beat of four. He demonstrated exactly what this should sound and look like very well. As far as a video to learn some different basic strumming patterns, and how to strum to the beat, this video was fantastic! I would highly, highly recommend.

The 5 strumming patterns are as follows:

  1. down, down, down, down (“1, 2, 3, 4”)
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2. down up, down up, down up, down up (“1 and, 2 and, 3 and, 4 and”)

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3. down, down up, down, down up (“1, 2 and, 3, 4 and”)

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4. down up, down, down up, down (“1 and, 2, 3 and, 4)

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5. down, down up, up, down up (“1, 2 and, and, 4 and”)

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Strumming Patterns Week 5

I decided to hold off on learning a new easy song until next week. Between practicing smooth chord changes and these 5 strumming patterns to the beat, I had enough on my plate this week. The website that was linked in the strumming pattern video was also extremely useful and expanded on this video a little bit with pictures and examples of how to take your practicing of this a little further. In the video we stuck to a simple C chord the whole time, but the website mentions practicing moving between different chords as well, while practicing the strumming patterns. I am going to continue with this website next week and read his next section on “Knowing when to Change Chord when Strumming a Song”. There were also a few easy songs mentioned on this website, that I want to try out next week to utilize this different resource some more. I am really glad I found such a useful website as my last focus this week was to find a resource other than YouTube or an App, and I was successful!

Here is a little bonus of some progress on the song “Riptide”, as well as my final remarks about this week!

*BONUS* Week 5

I also continued Andy Guitar’s “FREE 10 day ukulele starter course” and Bernadette Teaches Music’s “30 Day Ukulele Challenge on YouTube, and the app Youcisian’s daily Ukulele course as well. I have not been as consistent with these course type of resources as I want to be but I have been continuing them slowly as I find the time to, and I know that these online resources are something that I will definitely get more into once I have more time and am not taking 3 Spring Courses online which require a lot of time and effort. Course type of resources are super handy for beginners because they often take you from a very beginner level of just learning basic chords and strumming and then keep building slowly each lesson until you are much more advanced than you once were, without even realizing it along the way! I would highly recommend all of the courses mentioned above, as well as the resources for learning smooth chord changes and strumming patters that I mentioned this week! There are so many amazing resources to be found online, to learn just about anything! If anyone has any suggestions for other resources to use or ways that I can improve my chord changes and strumming (in videos above), please let me know below! Thanks!

Teachers, be the Change.

As I’m sure that anyone reading this is extremely aware of, social media activism is a huge part of our digital world today. Through this, many people who would otherwise not have a voice in the matter at all, are able to have a place and a platform to speak out on the injustices that are affecting them, and so many others as well. We are no longer living in an age of ignorance, where society is just expected to believe what they are told on the news, what they hear on the radio, what they read in newspaper/magazines, etc. all from one perspective, telling a story that is written for a certain group of people, which intentionally leaves out anything that might make that group of people uncomfortable. Now that those who have been marginalized, experiencing great injustices and oppression are able to speak up, have their voices heard, and their message spread worldwide, there is no choice but for change. With the new technological age that we are living in, people are able to capture horrible injustices which contribute to systematic oppression, on camera and share for the world to see. Even if these instances are not happening in your community, or to your people, and you feel “uninvolved” in the matter, you have no choice but to witness the oppression that people are experiencing through the widely shared first hand accounts. With social media activism being so involved in the injustice/oppression going on in our world, if you have access to the internet, you no longer have the option, or rather, the privilege, of turning your back and just ignoring it, because it “isn’t affecting you”. If you are able to see it, it is affecting you as a member of society, whether you like it or not.

“change bumper sticker” by Leonard J Matthews is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

With this, arises the responsibility that teachers have as influential leaders, to contribute to this conversation. I believe that it is extremely important that teachers model active citizenship and anti-oppressive education in digital spaces. Teachers are in a position to influence the minds of young people who will grow up to either contribute to the change for the greater good, or turn their backs on those that need their support. It is important that teachers discuss social justice issues in an informed, mature, and professional way and encourage their students to do the same by modelling proper active citizenship in digital spaces. By talking about important issues in person, or online, this encourages those that look up to you to do the same and demonstrates to them that they are very much capable of contributing to social justice changes. Through anti-oppressive education, teachers must also teach students to be informed/conscientious consumers of information in digital spaces and fact check all resources ensuring that they are reliable before sharing them. The message needs to be reiterated that you cannot just believe everything that you read on the internet or just conform to trends (created in good nature) without understanding and promoting the important message behind them. In participating in active citizenship, students (and teachers alike), must be very informed when choosing what to believe, what to stand for, and what to present to the world. It is very easy for things to be taken the wrong way online, so it is very important to ensure that you never take away from the voices of those directly being affected by trying to be involved. In saying this, whether directly impacted or not, your support to those who are, can make great moves in anti-oppression education for all people. When becoming involved in the fight against injustices and systematic oppression, it is crucial to become informed for yourself and then spread the awareness to others through the sharing of reliable and accurate resources.

“Eckhart Tolle Awareness is the greatest agent for change” by symphony of loveis licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

As far as any foreseeable benefits for staying silent in the midst of social justice movements dominating our digital world, these are minimal. Staying silent may benefit some in giving them the ability to refrain from presenting a message that they may wish to take back or change later on. One very tricky thing about modelling active citizenship in our digital world, is that once you put something out there, it is out there forever and cannot be taken back. This is where an ability to apologize when in the wrong and correct your wrongs to the best of your ability is extremely important. You should not simply “block” people who question you, or call you out on your wrongs. You should always be open to taking proper criticism, continuously learning in any area that you can, and being a better and more informed citizen because of it. To avoid such instances, it is important to educate oneself first, and then pass on the message in a responsible, mature and professional way. Staying silent in times of significant social justice movements, whatever the reason may be, would present the notion to your audience (students) to reflect such actions and would encourage the same reaction from them in times of trouble. This does not benefit anyone.

If you feel as though you are not educated enough on a topic to speak out about it and have an informed opinion, then recognize this, and do better. It is not enough anymore to just accept ignorance and move on with your life. They say, “ignorance is bliss”, but this only applies to those who have the privilege to choose this option. As we are seeing more and more as social media based social justice movements are making huge waves for anti-oppressive protests, there are many, many people out there who do not have this option. So it is critical that those who do are able to recognize this privilege that they have, but not stop there. They must educate themselves, so that they are able to share resources, educate others, and continue the conversation, for those who need them to. Peoples lives quite literally depend on it. As a teacher you are in a powerful leadership role where it is your job to do this for yourself, and also encourage your audience (students) to do the same. As an article on education post mentioned, “we must commit to teaching in a way that totally disrupts and dismantles the system of oppression”. Present the idea that it is okay to not know enough about something to feel comfortable to publicly speak about it. Furthermore, present the idea that is not okay, to stop there. This is when you must decide to become aware and inform yourself on such important matters, so that you can contribute positively to the conversation, and movement, which alters the existence of our society and all of the systems that make it up, for the wellbeing of all people, regardless of who they are or what they look like. Educate yourself until you can speak up about it. Do it for those who can’t. As teachers we must be the change that we want to see in the world (and encourage our students to do the same).

New Tools!

This week I chose to learn how to use Powtoon to present my learning project goals for this semester! Powtoon is an extremely useful tool to make quick animation videos for a variety of different uses and/or topics. The free version definitely offers enough features to meet your needs and get you a great animated video, but there is also a premium version with many more options as well, if you so desire. There are many different type of videos that you can create such as for student projects, teachers and faculty, administrative staff, training, announcements, etc. There are tons of different templates that you can use as a basis to create any video that you might need such as information summaries, lessons, personal/company goals, resumes, project pitches, reports, safety/protocol training, skills training, etc. You name it, you can probably find a perfect template for it on Powtoon. Once you choose a template, Powtoon is extremely user friendly and easy to use. There are tons of options for backgrounds, images, transitions, animations, etc. so that you can customize your video to look exactly the way that you want it to look! If you would rather start from scratch than use a template, this is also an option. There are many different options and features that you can play around with to create the video that you desire. After watching just a couple short tutorial videos on youtube about how to use Powtoon, it was smooth sailing for me, and I am no tech person at all!

The tutorial videos that I watched on youtube to learn how to use Powtoon included:

Both of these resources are really great in depth tutorials all about how to use Powtoon. They have great step by step explanations of everything you might need to know as far as downloading, using the different features, finding different options, transitions, and animations, sharing, etc. They demonstrate everything that you could need to know to start a video from scratch or use the templates for some guidance. They both show a ton of different free features that you can use to create a quick, easy, and shareable, animation.

I also created my own screencast to make a quick tutorial of how I used Powtoon for the purpose of presenting my goals for my learning project this semester! The tutorials that I mentioned above go a lot more in depth than I do and are also a lot more articulate than I am. This was my first time making a screencast, so it is a bit rough. I used screencastify to create my screencast, which is a top rated and extremely user friendly screen casting tool, that even amateurs like me can use. I found a few tutorial videos on youtube to give me a rundown of what screen casting was all about and specifically, how to use screencastify. All the tutorial videos that I watched were super useful and gave me a good idea of what I had to do regarding downloading and using the screencastify extension on chrome, creating the actual screencast, editing it, and sharing it for my chosen audience: you! There were also a few very quick tutorial videos on the screencastify website once you download the tool, that are super useful as well!

The tutorial videos that I watched on youtube included:

  1. Easy Screen Recording with Screencastify: great in depth, step by step tutorial of the whole process from how to get the extension in the first place, all the way to sharing your own.
  2. How to use Screencastify: quick and thorough tutorial, very helpful if you do not have a lot of time and want to get straight to the point.
  3. 5 Screencastify Tools you Should be Using: also very short and to the point, pointing out some interesting additional options that are good to know, without going too in depth.
  4. Screencastify Website: 3 short informational videos including, overview video, how to make your first recording, and screencastify knowledge base.

My screencast of a quick tutorial about how I used Powtoon:

Screencastify is a great tool to use to create a screencast. It is extremely simple and easy to use. I totally understand why it would be a top rated extension on chrome and why I have heard so much about it regarding creating screencasts. The only things that I struggled with regarding creating a screencast were I was super rushed because the free version only allowed me to make a 5 minute video at the maximum and also I had to redo it about 15 times because I kept stumbling over my words and not saying everything that I wanted to. I am sure that I could have done more editing to fix these problems, if I had more time than 5 minutes. In my case, I had to do it effectively in one go, as I did not have any extra time to cut down/edit. These issues are less of a complaint about screencastify as a tool and more about utilizing free versions and clearly needing more practice in creating tutorial types of videos!

My Powtoon about my Learning Project goals for this semester:

Overall, I am so glad that I tried out Powtoon for this assignment and have added it to my toolbox to use in the future. As I mentioned, it is extremely user friendly and if you use one of the many template options, you can create a great animation video, in no time at all! It is so easy to use, has so many free features/options, and is shareable to tons of different platforms (or you can just download it as well). I cannot imagine why anyone would not want to try it out! I wish I had known about something like this sooner as it totally would have come in handy when I was in high school working on BOSS (Board of School Spirit), SRC, and Yearbook. Powtoon is such a fun to use and extremely useful tool in making engaging animation videos for so many different purposes!

As for my learning project and actually ukulele playing, regular scheduled programming will resume next week. I dedicated this week to learning to use a few new presentation tools that I will definitely be using in my future as an educator. I definitely neglected playing my ukulele this past week. I cannot wait to get back into it this week and make some more progress in my chord changes and strumming patterns. Since I did something a little different this week, my plan moving forward from last week still stands. Hopefully by next week I will be able to share another new little song (maybe with some more advanced strumming?). And I will definitely have some new great resources to share with you next week that helped me get better at playing the ukulele. Thanks for your time!