Category Archives: EDTC300

Pitch perfect(ly)

“Golf” by alexabboud is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

After my round of golf last week two large takeaways of areas of improvement were my pitching and my drives. This week I began cruising YouTube to see what I could find on tips to improve my game, particularly in these areas. In fact, I know so little about pitching that when I asked my husband to come out and film me pitching he asked me if I was practicing pitching, or chipping. I didn’t even know there was a difference! I have since learned that chipping has a lower trajectory so that the ball rolls out on the green, whereas pitching has a higher trajectory with less roll out. So once we got THAT sorted out, it was time for some practice.

Here is a quick glimpse at my unedited pitching swing. Here I do a full back swing extension (this is for a shot about 60 yards from the green), and as you can tell there is a whole lot of wrist action taking place. This is important to note as I will describe further.

This is where my “faking it as a golfer” has gotten me thus far. I made good clean contact with the grass, as I’d hope to during an actual round of golf. So this unfairly convinces me I’m doing everything well. Of course, the smallest error or gap in swinging technique can make a drastic difference in the trajectory of the ball. So, I obviously had to do some adjusting! Here I found a YouTube channel called Meandmygolf. Here we see golf pros Andy Proudman and Piers Ward instructing in a video called “5 Golf Tips to Break 80”, which is hilarious because I’m looking for “All the Golf Tips to Break 100”, so that I can get away from my current practice of “Zero Golf Tips, Break Windows”. Around the 10 minute mark you can see Andy working on his pitching technique. Here he emphasizes the importance of reducing the over used wrist motion by increasing the angle created between the wrists and the club.

You can see the emphasis on the angle being obtuse, as opposed to acute. This shows that there is more control in the rest of the body working together, and less room for error in over engaged wrists. In the first video you can see that the angle created at the top of my swing (between my arms and the club) was less than 90 degrees. Here are a couple of my attempts in clearing up this mistake.

Here you’ll see a larger angle, even from the first correction to the second. This is created by an increase in rotation of the abdomen and a decrease in activity in the wrists. You’ll also notice I use a shorter back swing. This is another aspect I am working to improve as I know I have to let the club do more of the work. A pitching wedge is already angled enough to put the ball where I want it to go, I don’t need to overcompensate for that. I am very excited to try this out at the driving range this week!

The next area of focus I wanted to work on, was addressing my stance while teeing off. I had mentioned in my last golf post that I couldn’t believe how wide my stance was while driving the ball. Here is a replicated stance and swing of what I would commonly do during a round of golf.

Here you can see my stance is quite a bit wider than my shoulders (I used to always hear “hip width apart” and know I’ve got wide hips so always just went with a wide stance I guess!). You’ll also notice I don’t lift my head up after my swing like I usually do, it can be tricky not to develop bad habits when you’re not practicing with an actual ball! In my adjusted swing I aim to close the gap between my feet.

With this adjustment you can see I have a narrower stance, only slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. One really remarkable thing I noticed is that, because I narrowed my stance, my right knee didn’t bend in as much as it did in my original swing. This shows I have a more controlled rotation and am staying more central to increase consistency in my swing!

A friend also recommended I check out a few other YouTube channels including Mark Crossfield so while I wait until this weekend’s visit onto the driving range, I’ll likely spend some time browsing his, and other’s recommendations! Hopefully my next outing turns out pitch perfect!

Meet my big sister, the internet.

This class has opened my eyes to a lot of really cool new resources, tools and apps that I’ve never seen before. All digital, all applicable, and all enjoyable. I genuinely feel like I’m learning something new about the world wide web every single day. We recently watched a YouTube video called “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”. In this video, we learn of the ever evolving progress of the internet, and the impact humans have on such progress, and vice versa as well. In the video, Michael Wesch describes a very familiar tune that could probably send anybody my age on a trip down memory lane. As the song Numa Numa played, I was taken instantly back to high school when I first heard this song and laughed, along with millions of other viewers as Gary Brolsma danced and mouthed the words fearlessly. It was such a fun video, and simply reminded me of my time spent with friends circa 2004 when we would make “hilarious” web cam videos of us singing and dancing along to songs. The video, and the concept of videos on YouTube never really seemed new and exciting to me, it just seemed like something that was always and had always just been there. A tool that technically did just show up at my fingertips, but seemed to have been around forever.

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

This familiarity reminded me of a discussion we had in class where we talked about lots of the different popular tools, sites and apps that have evolved with the internet over the years. Since, in a way, I feel like I’ve grown up with the web, I can’t help but feel those same feelings to familiarity. Anytime something new came out ie) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc, I didn’t feel like it was new at all. I felt like it was something that must have always just been there, something that has inexplicably always been around! So I’ve decided, based on this feeling of acquaintanceship, to describe the internet as my big sister.

“2011 06 01” by jamie h is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Something that’s always been around, and something that has guided me through the world. This analogy isn’t simply in regards just to familiarity. A sister makes you feel connected, a sister can be funny, empathetic, a great listener, and at times cruel. I’ve chosen a sister for this comparison because I grew up with three brothers, so I felt like adding some dynamic to the family! 🙂
As I explore more sites, apps, and tools throughout this class, I feel as though I’m growing up alongside my sister, discovering new things and adapting to the ever changing world. I wonder if people of other generations feel the same way? In terms of my timeline, when I was ready to start to learn about computers and technology, I happened to be 8 years old when I learned about email, so naturally, email and I grew up together. When I happened to be of the age where social media was important to me, MySpace and then Facebook became readily available to me. It seemed to have just happened organically, my growth along side “my big sister”.

“snapchat” by shreminem is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

As Michael Wesch so appropriately put it “I think of media as mediating human relationships, and that’s important because when media change, then human relationships change”. This is of course from the perspective of an anthropologist, however I can totally relate to his more humanistic view on the use and application of media, including that of the internet. It’s far more an extension of ourselves as people than I think some people tend to give it credit for.
So we’ve come a long way, but I can honestly say that my big sister isn’t done growing, and I’m not done growing alongside her!

Par for the course..

The Deer Valley Golf Club did a fantastic job of promoting social distancing and provided a very safe experience!

Well I tackled my first round of golf this weekend! I’m not sure we could have chosen a more windy day, literally ever, but in Saskatchewan, that’s pretty “par for the course”. My family has a cabin out at Last Mountain Lake, so on Sunday myself, my husband and my brother headed out to the beautiful Deer Valley Golf Course.
You might be wondering what the golfing experience was like with the modifications made for the pandemic. To be honest, not a lot had to change! Deer Valley did a remarkable job going over the expectations and changes made to accommodate social distancing practices, but our experience, generally, did not have to dramatically change. Once we arrived we had a cart cleaned and sanitized right in front of our eyes, and instructed that only people who share households should share carts. We then headed to the driving range until our tee time was up, and had a comfortable 12 minutes between each tee time. Once we got to hole one an employee was there to go over some guidelines including no touching the rakes or flags (a device was attached to the flag poles so you simply use your putter to lift the flag up and the dish at the bottom of the cup rose up to bring your ball out). He also instructed that there was no dining in at the club house, rather, you simply called a number (provided on the golf cart along with a menu) once you were on hole eight and your food/drinks would be ready by hole nine. Overall, it was a great experience and I feel so enthused that we are all still able to enjoy such a fun game even with safety measures being implemented.

As for my golf game.. let’s just say it did not go quite as smoothly. I tried to use this round as my “baseline”, something to compare it to. I golfed as “naturally” as possible, using the baseball/slap shot hybrid swing I mentioned in my previous golf post. I actually golfed okay. I had an honest score of 109, which isn’t great, but I hit the ball well for the most part. Without seeing any footage of myself golf, I would have said that the weakest part of my game would have been my short game (primarily chipping, using my pitching wedge within 20-5 feet from the green). However, after watching some slow motion footage of my drives (thanks to my handy photographer, aka my husband), I noticed that I really need to clean up my swing when using my driver. Thanks to the replays I found that, despite hitting the ball well MOST of the time, I need to fix my form to be able to be hitting the ball well ALL of the time. For example, my stance was very wide, like horrifically wide. I honestly didn’t think I stood with my feet that far apart until I actually replayed the footage and saw it.

So with this review, next round I will particularly be focusing on using my pitching wedge, and refining my stance when using my driver. To prepare myself I will begin by searching and following golf pros on Twitter, and using YouTube as a tool to combine tips and recommendations to better enhance my swing. I will also practice said tips in the park behind my house, without a ball. I will also have to get my handy camera man to take some footage to I can compare and correct my stance. Wish me luck!!

You should see my Christopher Walken impersonation..

Okay but really, I think I do an awesome Christopher Walken impersonation. And a Sean Connery impersonation. In fact, I think I’m really good at impersonating others. This isn’t helping me on Twitter.

Here’s the thing; if it wasn’t for this class, I probably wouldn’t be active on Twitter. I’ve had an account for years and prior to being enrolled in EDTC300, I had one tweet on my page. As my prof described it, I was a Twitter lurker.

Now that I have a bit more of a presence on Twitter, sometimes I feel like I am imitating how I think a Twitter user should act. I think my tweets sometimes regurgitate information that I don’t think I’d be sharing on my own accord. So naturally, I can’t help but feel like my tweets aren’t genuine or authentic, rather, that they are replicas of what an active Twitter user may produce. I’ve felt a little weird about that.

Then, Thursday night we had our #saskedchat where teachers and becoming-teachers from all around the province came to collaborate and discuss questions provided by a moderator. The questions weren’t hard, they weren’t ridiculously academic or in isolation of teacher context. Instead, the questions were personal. They were questions that gave a glimpse into how these people thought and felt, what they’ve experienced, what they’ve struggled with, and what they’ve overcome. These people were personable and relatable; and all of the sudden I didn’t feel like an awkward robot on Twitter, I felt like a member of an authentic community. My presence on Twitter doesn’t need to be embarrassing, or awkward, or ingenuine at all. My presence on Twitter has a purpose, I simply didn’t know the intention.

Joining the #saskedchat was my first time in a Twitter chat. It was fast paced, and at times overwhelming, but I walked away with a sense of the community I am lucky enough to be a part of.

Thursday evening shifted my perspective. I am not on here for just myself. Sure I’ve learned so much about Twitter and so much teaching related information along the way which has been nothing short of beneficial for me professionally. However, it’s simply not just about me. It is about me contributing to a community of learners. Our class has an underlying theme where we should be able to address the question “How have I contributed to the learning of others?”. Focusing my attention on how I can help others, gives me far more confidence and motivation to effectively share my thoughts and findings on Twitter.

So my challenge to myself; stop impersonating, stop imitating, stop pretending. My most authentic self is being a natural helper, a motivator, a teacher! I’m capable of contributing to the learning of others, and that’s really what my purpose is to do.

Google Classroom and a Look Ahead

I think, whether mandated or not, I will certainly be keeping more of my teaching online than I have in the past. This fall invites quite a bit of uncertainty as we start to plan ahead to deliver lessons and engage students in the most effective way possible. Everything I’ve been doing since engaging in online supplemental learning has been done through Google Classroom. It’s been a relatively seamless transition for both myself and for my students and has opened my eyes to more tools than I could have imagined. For example, my classes are set up for Math and ELA (obviously with as much cross-curricular content as possible) and students know to check out the suggested weekly schedule for the objectives of the week, links, activities, tools, etc. I genuinely thought Math would be the hardest subject to teach virtually but there are so many great prepared videos online to pair with any of my video teachings, and even online tools to replicate the physical use of protractors and linking cubes! All of this can be done while organizing my lessons in chronological order for easy access in the future. Google Classroom also lets me assess and record grades to help organize come time for report cards. I’m not necessarily thanking this pandemic for opening my eyes to this online platform, but had it not been a necessary option for me, who knows if I ever would have explored it! So regardless of what happens in September, if we’re back in the classroom or still teaching online, I will be maintaining my integration of Google Classroom into my teaching practices.

Incorporating Google Classroom come September, comes after a discussion with a few teachers and education students about what we project the future of learning will look like in the upcoming months, and even years. One person mentioned that they could foresee us going back into the classroom to start the year, then possibly facing a second wave of Covid-19 and therefore heading us back into distance education. Implementing and then maintaining Google Classroom as a platform for my class would make that transition a lot easier, so as to prepare ourselves for another quick switch of environment for our learning as we faced in March.

In another discussion with a colleague this morning, she mentioned discussions that are happening in Alberta right now regarding the September return to school. A primary option being considered would be having half the class attend school one day, then the other half the next, with the presumptive goal being to moderate traffic and possible exposure if an outbreak occurs. I wouldn’t doubt this as a possibility here in Saskatchewan but we certainly have a lot of time to wait and see. Currently, with zero active cases in Regina, I can’t help but feel cautiously optimistic we will be back in the classrooms come September. However, I do strongly believe that the return will be accompanied with the expectation of technological integration stronger than what we’ve seen in the past as to prepare ourselves and our students for another shift.

What about in five years? What’s our educational world going to look like then? Again, I can’t help but feel optimistic that everything we are experiencing now is going to only positively impact how we educate and engage our students down the road. I am hoping that with more technological integration, in five years we will look back and say “I can’t believe we were teaching any other way”. I think over the next five years, certainly after this pandemic, we will have opened our eyes to so many new possibilities in the education world that we would have traditionally resisted. Prior to today, teachers could have continued doing things how they always have, and probably gotten by okay until they retired, simple as that. I think that being forced into doing something new and different is likely hard and at times frustrating for some, but for others (myself included), it has been remarkably eye opening. There are of course barriers to overcome like the access to technology, literally nation-wide, which is something that will need to be addressed in the coming months and years. However, much like moving my classroom online, every new challenge has its barriers. We simply need to have the determination and most importantly the support, to overcome them.

And fore! my next trick..

For my learning project in EDTC 300 I have decided to take up the sport of golf, and not of the mini variety. That’s right, full blown, 18 holes, take your hat off to shake hands at the end of the round, golf.

To fill you in on where I am at, I’m definitely a fake it ’til you make it kind of golfer. I am a self proclaimed jack of all trades, master of none, and I think that is relatively clear when you see me swing a club. I’ve played high level hockey my whole life, so I understand the basic fundamentals of taking a stick, and striking an object with it. Although I’m moderately proficient at this skill, literally a caveman could and did do just that. So what separates me from a caveman? At this point in quarantine, very little in terms of hairiness and hygiene. However, unlike a caveman I have the world wide web at my disposal!

What I am looking to do for this project is break down the basics on golf swings to improve my drives, irons/chipping, and my putting as well. Right now, I’ve kind of adapted this baseball/slap shot fusion of a swing that has gotten me through the odd round of golf, however, I know that this produces inconsistent shots and another stop at the pro shop for new balls by hole two.

In order to refine my swings I will need to do extensive research on YouTube, follow pros on Twitter for the latest tips and tricks, and of course I’ll need to get on a course to practice. Covid-19 restrictions have limited some of the ease of accessing a tee time, so I will likely begin by scheduling tee times as soon as possible to ensure I have ample practice time. Lots of locals sometimes simply hop on the local golf course when it’s not busy or once it’s closed to have a quick couple practice strokes, which I may end up doing as well. All illegal activity aside, I will also be able to practice my swing without actually needing to hit a ball as well (by the looks of some primary research I’ve done), so my backyard will also suffice as practice grounds.

Speaking of primary research, I did what I assume all moms do, and I told my husband exactly what to get me for Mother’s Day. So with that, I’ve recently received a pair of brand new golf shoes which I cannot wait to break in! I can actually see myself getting on the course with my new shoes and a probably extremely expensive and utterly unnecessary skort, hacking away like the aforementioned caveman. But hey, that’s something we’re going to work on!

My first ever piece of golf apparel; it was a youth XL shirt so half the price! I have two other golf shirts, but I have a hole in one. Oh yeah, get ready for ALL the golf puns!

Old Dog, New Tricks

Welcome! If you’ve navigated your way to this introduction page I must have either listened to instructions and set up my blog appropriately, or perhaps just got lucky! Either way, I’m certainly glad to have you here. My name is Kendyll Herauf and I am a grade 7/8 teacher in White City, Saskatchewan. Now despite this entry’s title, I am neither old, nor a dog, but I certainly feel aged beyond comprehension when following directions to create an easily navigational blog. I have never done this before, so perhaps the title could have been more aptly named, simply, “new tricks”. As I swiftly head into my 30’s this summer I certainly am beginning to reflect on things I’ve accomplished so far in my life. These feats include a degree, a career, a marriage, a beautiful daughter, built a house, completed a full marathon, mid way through my Teaching Elementary School Mathematics certificate, and soon to add to the list and arguably the most impressive; “moderate proficiency in WordPress”!

I am an avid sports fan and still participate in relatively competitive soccer to this day. Something I’ve noticed about my soccer career is that in my early 20’s I was always the “young, energetic one” who could outrun anyone simply because of my youthfulness, as if age was measured in m/s. At an almost constant rate, each summer brings about a certain amount of lost energy and a larger chip on my shoulder as I scowl at the youthful 20 year olds who have begun to beat me to the ball. This is relative to how I feel about technology. I find that I am shaking my proverbial cane at the younger teachers and recent education grads who seem to know so much more about technology than I do, shouting “back in MY day” until my dentures fall out. Although still capable and “getting by” in the technological age, I can certainly relate to the fear and uncertainty with new technology that some people face, completely and unjustly based on a lack of understanding of the unknown.

So, here I am! On paragraph three of my first blog post and somehow nothing has blown up yet. I’m strapping on my cyber soccer cleats and hoping for the best. In all reality I am excited to venture my way through this class and learn some new ways to implement technology into my classroom, and into my professional world as a lifelong learner. If you enjoy watching paint dry, please check out my Twitter page, as I slowly and likely painfully try to figure out said social media platform. However, once the paint is dry, I like to think of it of a primed canvas, ready to go. So hopefully I can transform that into a work of art!

I kid you not, right as I was wrapping this post up a friend sent me this screenshot and told me it reminded him of me. I thought the timing couldn’t have been more perfect, so I’ll leave you with this, an apparent holistic representation of who I am as an individual.