Category Archives: EDTC300

Networked Learning

Well, EDTC300 is wrapping up, against my wishes! This has definitely been one of the most practical and applicable courses I’ve ever taken. In this post I’ll be showcasing some of the ways I’ve (hopefully) helped others learn throughout the past couple of months, as others have certainly helped me!

One thing I noted was that I was one of the only (if not the only) working/experienced teacher in the class. So as soon as I was told I am expected to contribute to the learning of others, I felt suddenly quite a bit of responsibility fall on my shoulders. I suppose because I figured I should be using my experience as best as possible to help the learning of others. This was then done through various forms of technology, but I found that my classmates were the most active on Twitter, so I posted most of my experiences on Twitter, to hopefully help my classmates! Here are a few examples of times I supported the learning of others via my own educational experiences:

In addition to sharing some of my experience, I also shared resources! This was done over Twitter, but also in our Slack Community as well:

I also took some time to read and comment on other people’s blogs, as I was fortunate enough to experience others reading and commenting on mine as well!

So overall, what did I learn about networked learning?

In one of our class discussions a classmate said “I used to think it was better to be offline, than online” in reference to how often times, as educators, we try to erase any digital footprints we have to perhaps appear more professional. After looking through the dozens and dozens of screenshots I’ve posted, how can we say that being offline lends itself to being MORE professional!? Look at the resources I’ve shared with others, the blog posts I read of my fellow classmates, the Twitter interactions we shared regarding professional learning or even teacher related well-being. Being actively engaged online is necessary, in today’s world, to being an effective teacher and I thoroughly believe that. I think that there are obvious benefits to understanding how blogs, Twitter, Slack, etc. all work in terms of possibly using to incorporate in the classroom. However, more impressively, these mediums are so essential to an educators growth as a professional! I sincerely cannot express how much I’ve learned just from being on Twitter for 10 minutes a day. Things about my profession that I haven’t been exposed to in my seven years of experiences. So simply put, we as educators need to broaden our horizons to include an extensive digital professional network. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the ability to share and collaborate with other professionals online is genuinely one of the most valuable tools I think a teacher can put in their pocket!

Keep it going..

My learning project has been so much fun. For real. Not once did it feel like something I was forced to do, or a requirement. It was something I enjoyed, and I am making a promise to myself to keep it going. I want to continue to improve my golf game over the summer, and I have a feeling for the rest of my life (the teaching life lends itself to getting a few golf games in)! I will continue to use some of the different resources I’ve found along the way to help me improve any imperfections I may have (and trust me, I have many) in my game, including Chris Ryan and Meandmygolf, along with various tools used as mediums to help me with my game including Twitter and YouTube. Here is a recap of my learning over the past few weeks!

My very first blog post was about how good I would look on the course in my attire. In hindsight, super irrelevant!

Week One:
I remember starting this blog, talking about how little I knew about golf and seemingly adamant that the most important first step was having these new golf shoes that I got for Mother’s Day. The shoes ended up being a bit too big and I had to exchange them, however because they were bought online the new pair still hasn’t arrive. I’m telling you this because I want you to know that even though I thought that was the most important element to my game, I ended up enduring my entire project with just basic running shoes. That is certainly one thing I took away from this learning process, you often don’t realize the most important tools and skills until you are actually hands on learning! Very reflective of some of the content I’ve experienced throughout my time in EDTC300. I never realized how important Twitter was, until I was actively using it!

Possibly the widest stance in golf history?

Week Two:
This was my round at Deer Valley. Despite the incredibly breathtaking scenery, there was something hideous on that course that day. My golf stance! This is when my horrific driving stance was first brought to my attention. I always knew I kind of looked like I was hitting a baseball when I was golfing, but I didn’t realize quite how much it looked like a full body slapshot/baseball swing until I had it captured on camera! This was a great round for a baseline, to see where I was at, and see what needed improvement.

Week Three:
During this week I took what I noticed at Deer Valley, and I worked on correcting it. For example, I narrowed my stance, and also took some time to fine tune my pitching thanks to a tutorial on one of my favourite golf YouTube channels. Here is some of the improvement I saw after these changes were made:

Week Four:
This week had me out on the range at the Murray Golf Course, again focusing on my pitching and my drives. I used a super cool app called Video Blend to help me spot differences between a good swing and a bad swing (based on the product of the swing). Here are a couple cool examples of my overlays:

The face of my driver incorrectly faces down instead of out in front of me.

Week Five:
My husband had pointed out the face of my driver when I swing my club. He noted it seems to be pointing downwards as I start my backswing which actually, in turn, changed a lot of things about my swing (my right knee collapsed and rotate in too much, my hips unlined, etc). So I took to the internet to find out how to solve this and of course, trusty old YouTube came up with this awesome video. This allowed me head into my next practice on the range with a bit more knowledge and expertise!

Week Six:
Next it was time to put in some practice! Here you can see me changing my swing (this was NOT EASY) by adjusting my backswing to incorporate what I had learned the week prior.

Week Seven:
This week I took all the knowledge gained and headed out to Flowing Springs to put it to use! For once it wasn’t extremely windy, which was really nice!! I shot a 98, which is high, but I’ve never shot under 100 in my life. It’s pretty incredible what some practice can do over only a couple of months! Here’s a slow-mo of my final swing, where I put it all together:

Wrapping it up..
So to sum it all up, I’d like you to take a look at the following couple of videos. This is my husband and my daughter. My husband often just practices his swing around the house just focusing on little technique changes here in there. Notice my daughter, copying him:

I didn’t just add these on for the cuteness factor, although this totally does melt my heart! I wanted to give simple proof that kids are always watching, and what we model as educators is always being observed by kids. So although many of us pride ourselves on being life long learners, I think it’s important to show that to students as well, if that’s genuinely what we want them to be! Whether we are modelling appropriate digital citizenship or our desire to continuously learn and improve, kids are watching and they are silently demanding the best of us, so that they can, in turn, be their best as well!

My new drive!

This week I was working on opening up the face of my club when I’m driving the ball. Recall that prior to this, I had done some research and learned that I need to have the face of my club facing in front of me as I swing. Here is how the face of my club looked before:

As you can see, the face of my club was facing slightly towards the ground as opposed to straight at the camera. Ideally, if the camera man is looking at me straight on as they are in this view above, the face of my club would be looking right back at the camera man. Here the face of my club is not quite doing that!

So I took to the driving range to give this as go. Remember, even slight changes like this can be quite drastic. As I practiced this new swing I felt super awkward and uncomfortable. I know I need to get out of the comfort zone of what I was doing before because it wasn’t consistent, but it certainly takes a while to get the hang of! Here are four of my new and improved swings:

As you can see, on my backswing the face of my club was facing up (in front of me, to face the camera man) way more than last week! I was curious though, if it was remaining opened as I brought my backswing back down as I go to the hit the ball, so I took some screenshots to compare:

As you can see, the follow through portion of my backswing still has the face of the club facing ahead, but I think not quite as much as the backswing itself, so this is something I’ll work on for next as well. This weekend I’m going to go do a full round of golf and hopefully try and tie together all the different tricks I’ve been working on over the past seven weeks or so!
One thing that I’ve definitely noted is that you don’t just switch a part of your golf game and a miracle happens where everything is better all of the sudden! There is so much fine tuning and practice needed and this was proven to me today. It was pretty ugly to start, but I can see how this change could increase consistency in my drives over time!

Summary of Learning

For my summary of learning I wanted to showcase not only what I learned from class content, but I also wanted to tie in my learning project, which was golfing!

First, I want to describe some of my highlighted takeaways:

“keyboard” by fsse8info is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Blogging:
Although it was a bit of a struggle, I was able to navigate my way through WordPress to create an education centered blog. This type of blog is something that could be useful for students in a classroom, as we’ve seen in class. Teachers assist students in creating their own blogs so that they may use this as a platform to model, monitor progress, and showcase learning throughout the year. I am extremely grateful to have learned this tool during EDTC300!

Twitter:
From lurker to tweeter in under two months! I genuinely never understood how Twitter was so highly recommended as an educational tool until I took this class. Because I was just “there” on Twitter prior to EDTC300, I followed maybe 10 or 20 random accounts, basic news and politician accounts. So when I found out I would be using Twitter I started searching up as many education based accounts I could find, now I follow 181 accounts! That’s about 160 different people, worldviews and perspectives that I wouldn’t have been exposed to had it not been for my increase in participation on Twitter. I am blown away how much more I like it than other social media platforms. It’s certainly far more fast paced than other medias, but it’s extremely informative!

Digital Citizenship:
I would be lying if I said I even knew what this term meant prior to this class. I now know that digital citizenship is about how to appropriately contribute to, engage in, and learn in online spaces. We explored many examples of digital citizenship through various lenses, for example in the eyes of employers and the eyes of students as well. We learned about instances that make us reflect on the history of digital citizenship through experiences of many including Amanda Todd, Monica Lewinsky, and even Gary Brolsma. We also discussed the importance of modelling appropriate digital citizenship and even the importance of being digital activists as well!

Online/Offline Balance:
I can honestly say that I have never been online as frequently as I have these past few weeks. A large part of that is due to our current circumstances (distance teaching, video chats for socializing, etc), however, definitely the online engagements of this class forced me online more than I usually would be. Here’s the main thing: that’s not a bad thing! I have gained such valuable knowledge and genuinely applicable experience during this class that I wouldn’t trade this abundance of screen time for the world! I will say however, that at times, it felt a little overwhelming. As I mentioned prior, Twitter can feel a little overbearing at times, almost as if I couldn’t keep up. Part of that is due to my personality; I really feel a strong need to know everything, all the time. I simply had to find a way to create some balance. I had a weekend at the lake where I really did nothing online at all, and it was very refreshing! After that, I knew I wanted to still be engaged online, but this time I made sure I balanced my time online, with my time offline. I set limits to ensure I was still engaging, contributing and learning, but had my offline time to decompress as well. I think that in the long run, this kind of balance is essential to establishing our online presence and portfolios.

Technology as a Tool:
This is something I learned naturally throughout this course. One thing I absolutely loved, as a practicing educator, is that we were provided with so many online resources to use as tools in the classroom. I’m obsessed with some of them and wouldn’t even let Katia finish her lessons before I was texting coworkers to tell them about some of these amazing tools. Having said that, I remember one tweet I read that described how irreplaceable teachers are and how evident this has been throughout this pandemic. I think that technology is an incredible tool and there are so many different ways we can use it to enhance our teaching through engagement, differentiation, etc. However, I think that the person using the technology is a very important piece to how that technology is utilized and the effectiveness of it as well. That’s why I felt this class was so important. Not only did it teach us about the various technologies and medias, but it taught us how to be digital citizens modelling how to use them as well!

So there’s a summary of my learning! If you’ve got the golf itch after watching my Summary of Learning video, remember to check out the Learning Project section of my blog for some golf tips I’ve learned along the way!

Crazy about coding!

Today I got to try my first ever session of coding. It’s funny, we’ve had coding sessions at school where students get to try out different activities involving coding, but I always seem to teach another class or something during those sessions so I was super pumped to finally get to try it out today! For my exploration I visited code.org/learn. Here you can choose lots of different difficulty levels ranging from pre-readers to high school. I chose a middle years age range as that’s the age group I teach. I would say that as an adult with moderate technological abilities, but zero coding experience this was a “medium” challenge. There are instructions to guide you through what you are doing and the level of challenge increases as you go, but it usually took me a few attempts to get it right before I could move on to the next level.

For my coding activity I chose to do The Grinch game because nothing says June like The Grinch? I honestly love Christmas and everything Grinch related so why not! There are other activities for students to explore as well based on interest, which is awesome! It took me probably 2 minutes to figure out the “work space” and how commands fit within it, but I think students would possible take equal or even less time to figure that out (based on my experience with techy kids!), but if it’s confusing for them I think a quick tutorial on the SMART Board would help very easily. I also envision this process as most computer activities go where kids are so engaged in their screens they often don’t even ask the teacher for help, they quickly just shoulder tap the student beside them for a quick question then get back on the road!

I found right around level 18 I started to have some difficulties figuring out what to do, but I soon realized that this was actually a valuable learning experience for me as a practicing code participant, and therefore would be valuable for students as well! I think the idea that you can choose different levels of difficulty might allow some students to identify “nope this is too hard, I need to try a different level”, and vice versa for students who find it too easy.

I think there is very obvious value in coding for students, as displayed here by Derek Tangredi:

http://www.hackededu.com/2016/08/benefits-of-coding/

Overall this was a really cool experience and I actually have already incorporated a lesson plan in for my distance teaching next week! I also noticed when driving in Regina last week there is actually a Code Ninjas here just off of Arcola! They have distance education programs available which I thought could be cool activities for students to do over the summer. If not, I highly recommend using code.org/learn for free, and you can even score a super cool certificate like I did! 🙂

Digital Literacy; the answer

Before you begin reading this blog, I strongly recommend you take five minutes of your life and visit a pretty awesome comic linked here.

If you don’t have five minutes to spare, I’ll summarize; but you do have five minutes of your time but you think you have the answers to everything, then go back and click on the link because you are the one who needs to hear this most.

“Just remember that your worldview isn’t a perfect house that was built to last forever. It was a cheap condo, and over time most of it will fall apart.”

https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean

This comic ties in perfectly from last week’s discussion regarding active digital citizenship and its place in the classroom. This comic also helps supports the importance of teaching emotional ties to new information that is being processed. I would certainly use this comic in my classroom, and likely uses pauses to gauge student’s emotional responses to learning new information. This would introduce the idea of understanding fake news and how the introduction of news can set off an entire neurological reaction that student’s don’t even know is taking place!

I think, in the middle years classroom especially, when students are beginning to explore online platforms, educating students on appropriate digital literacy is so important. Students need to know how to appropriately put out information, but to also interpret information as well. They need to think objectively and constructively about what they are viewing online. Speaking of thinking critically, take a look at the video below:

“Critical thinking citizens are good for democracy, and that’s good for everyone.”

-John Spencer

This video provides a model of ways to help critically analyze the information presented before students online. John Spencer also mentions that according to a Stanford study of high school students, only 25% of the participants were able to accurately identify a real news story as opposed to fake news stories. Pretty alarming as these are the students who will be proceeding to vote within the coming years (not that this lack of proficiency in digital literacy is exclusive to non-voting-age citizens by ANY means)! If students aren’t able to identify which news source is accurate, it’s not possible for them to make a voting decision based off of genuine and authentic pieces of information.

One site that really caught my eye was Facticious. This site allows students to practice their capabilities in terms of identifying real news sources vs. fake. I think this would be a great activity to do as a “beginning of the year” assessment of where students are at, then to complete near the end of the year to reassess and see their growth in digital literacy! That’s one thing that seems hard to come by, some sort of benchmark or rubric to assess digital literacy. I think as it becomes more ingrained in our curriculum, this is certainly something we’ll start to see more of!

Cyber – Sleuthing

For this week we had the challenge of cyber-sleuthing a classmate, which was a totally enjoyable task. I feel like I am guilty? of being proficient at cyber-sleuthing. Sometimes it’s all to easy living in a smaller city-center to simply look people up and find 50 mutual friends with that person! My partner for this activity was Hailey Sills. Hailey is a third year education student at the University of Regina. She is active on Twitter, Instagram and . She has a cat named Hobbz and also does some beautiful embroidery! She lives in Moose Jaw and has a boyfriend named Nicholas. Hailey is 20 years old and grew up with her parents and younger sister. Hailey seems friendly, outgoing, and very happy in her social media presence. There is nothing I could find on her that would make her seem unemployable, besides the fact that it seems like she might be a Maple Leafs fan….. lol!

“social media” by Sean MacEntee is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Of course because I played detective on Hailey, that meant she got the opportunity to sleuth me as well! This is what Hailey had to say about me:
I found nothing alarming about any of her social media accounts. She is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and of course her WordPress blog. My overall impression of her digital identity is that she is a happy woman with a husband and a child, and she seems very active based on a couple photos I found. She shares a lot of great resources for teaching on her Twitter account, and her Facebook and Instagram accounts were private. In her Twitter bio it says she is an elementary teacher with a math certificate. There is absolutely nothing on any of her social media accounts that I could find that would hinder me from hiring her, if I was in that position. She seems like a genuinely friendly, outgoing, kind person based on her digital identity. 

This was all certainly good to hear! I know I’ve certainly tried googling myself before but it was kind of reassuring to hear I’m represented well online! Recently, I watched Monica Lewinsky’s Ted Talk on online compassion. In her talk, Monica talked about how online harassment nearly cost her her life. She describes a time when she was legally required to listen to recordings of herself from a year ago, and recall a time when she was not always her nicest and most kindest self. To me, this sounds so difficult. I know there are times I am not my best self and likely have said things I wouldn’t want future Kendyll to hear, but then having to hear that out of context, a year later, and then have the entire world replay it online over and over and over again, I cannot imagine.
I am happy, after Hailey’s review, that I am represented as my best self online, however, after hearing Monica’s story, I can’t help but feel compassion for people who possibly aren’t represented as their best selves online. I know after listening to her Ted Talk, that I will go forward with compassion when sleuthing online! The consequence of being online in the absence of compassion can alter the trajectory of someone’s life in a way that others cannot even understand, and we as a society need to be mindful of that.

Let’s face it..

My focus for this week will be concentrating on the face of my golf club. One thing my husband had noted last time we hit the range was that I seem to be intentionally trying to keep the face of my club in the same spot so that it doesn’t move when I go to make contact with the ball. This is a common misconception in golf because you just want to be sure you hit the ball square, however, this actually can bring up a lot of inconsistencies.

This video from Chris Ryan gives some practice swings I will be trying out to work to improve this.

So as you can see in the video, the goal is to have the face open up so that it opens parallel to the ground almost. So when I swing, it should open up so that the face points in front of me. Here is an image (left) from when I began working on my drive at the start of this learning project. As you can see, the face of my club is pointing down. This is where I will need to work to clean this up this week.
“Fore”warning you that this is actually a really big adjustment to your swing. Essentially everything I’ve been doing thus far will be affected by this. I tried to correct this once last weekend and I was unable to hit the ball well every time. So hopefully the tips suggested in the video above will help me out, but we’ll see! I know this will add some more consistency to my drives, but it might be an ugly process getting there! Stay tuned!

Listen, learn and reflect; the teacher’s responsibility to model active citizenship and anti-oppressive education in digital spaces

First of all, this is uncomfortable. The topic of discrimination can feel touchy and one can feel as though they never want to say the wrong thing. This “walking on eggshells” mentality is so uncomfortable to many, that often people would rather just bypass the conversation all together. Let’s be quite clear, we have to become more comfortable, becoming uncomfortable.

In the education world we model everything. It’s this idea around “kid’s don’t know what something looks like, until it is modeled for them”. We model read alouds, we model think alouds, we model school appropriate behaviour; model, model, model. But the second we need to model something that’s uncomfortable or that could address our own vulnerabilities and weaknesses in terms of prejudices and discrimination, we seize up. Sometimes, as teachers, we don’t want to expose imperfections because we don’t want to appear insufficient in front of the kids. When in reality, everybody has imperfections, everybody has weaknesses or areas they can work to improve upon, so why not model the process of addressing said weaknesses in front of our students? Because of the timeliness of it, let’s focus on racial discrimination. If there is more I can do (which there is!) as an individual to learn, listen and identify how racial discrimination impacts everyone, then I need to be doing that, and my students need to be seeing that. Me addressing my own inadequacies models for students how they can be the best versions of themselves. It also models that we are ALWAYS learning, and we must ALWAYS be listening to those who are oppressed. My inexperiences and my shortcomings does not define me, but what I do about them does.

My fears.
If you would have asked me two weeks ago about my fears of modeling active citizenship online, my answer would have been that I am scared to appear too radical. I would be scared of “stirring the pot”, I would have been scared of parent push back, I would be scared of being seen too political.

This week, however, is a little different. After our discussions in class along with incredible feedback from teachers all over the world, I’ve noted that this really isn’t something I need to fear. Rather, I should be fearing what might happen if I am NOT modelling active citizenship. I also have received positive direction as to ways to appropriately go about this, including a modeled digital presence providing resources for others (including for students) to do their own research, and educate themselves on topics of anti-oppression.

Students need to see me continually trying to grow, continually trying to learn. I proudly call myself a life long learner, and that needs to include things that are uncomfortable to address as well. Nobody wants to look themselves in the mirror and say “I’m not doing enough”. But we need to have those tough conversations with ourselves, and I think we need to have kids see that questioning happening as well. They need know it’s okay for them to explore what is right and just, and by modelling, they can see how to appropriately act on those explorations.

For additional reading, here is a great blog post regarding the impact of silence on social justice issues in the classroom.

Eat some hay, I can make things out of clay, and create an overlay

If you don’t get the title of this blog, you need to click on the video below to see a clip of the world’s most iconic golf movie of all time; Happy Gilmore.

Now that you’re up to date on pop culture, this blog post will discuss an app called Video Blend. This app allows you to create overlay videos which take two separate videos, and fuse them into one, allowing you to identify the minor differences between the two. For example, here are two separate clips working on my chipping from this past week on the range at the Murray Golf Course. For this clip I am using my pitching wedge.

Next, I fused the two videos together to create an overlay on Video Blend.

For some insight, I was aiming for the same flag both times. When I use the overlay technology, I can see that I used increased acceleration on my “bad chip”, meaning I was swinging faster than I needed to. This was something I addressed in my last golf post where I discuss letting the club do more of the work, and have me doing less. Here is another example of two separate swings, this time with my driver.

Then, again here is my overlay of the two swings.

So what are the steps for creating a slow-motion overlay video like the ones seen here? First, I had my husband record me at the driving range. He stood in the same spot for the comparable videos to ensure the angle was the same. These videos were recorded on an iPhone X, using the slow motion filter. I then used these videos to upload onto Video Blend. Once I had the two videos on Video Blend, I could tell if I had to go back to adjust my original videos to make them overlap better. For example, in the “Drive slow-mo overlay” video seen above, I adjusted the start of my bad swing, so that it started later than my good swing. This is because I wanted to line up the time when my club made contact with the ball, as I was suspicious it was the contact itself that impacted my shot. Likewise, you could adjust either video to be able to compare any point in the video to analyze your back swing or follow through for example.

Here you can see the formatting of the app itself. At the bottom, you upload the two videos you’d like to overlay, and there are filters readily available as well. You simply press play to see how the videos overlap. I found that when I went back into my original videos to make sure the slow motion filter applied to the whole video, that ensured that the videos were playing as true slow motion videos. Another option, if you don’t have the slow motion option on your phone, would be recording and overlaying as usual, then upload onto iMovie to convert into a slow motion video.

I think this app could be a really cool tool to incorporate into the classroom. My first thought would certainly be in science class. I think it would be awesome for experiments when comparing variables and how they impact the results of certain reactions. In my opinion, the app was a little slow for my liking, and would freeze if I tried to download the overlay video to my phone. Instead, I uploaded to my Google Drive, which didn’t result in any freezing. I chose this app because of its star-review, however upon reading comments and reviews, a lot of people found the same problems I had.

The one thing I really liked about this app was how user friendly it was. I didn’t need a single tutorial or video to help me out, just a few trial and error runs which I can now use as experience to help show my kids how to use the app. I think once the bugs are worked out and it runs a little more smoothly, this app could be really cool to use in school. Keep in mind the app is free so of course there are ads that come up here and there, however from my experience they were all kid-friendly! Super cool to have given this app a try!