Contributing to the Learning of Others

At the beginning of the semester, our EDTC300 class was told that we were going to have to make a post about how we have contributed to the learning of others throughout the 7 week course. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by very active classmates, so this was not an issue for me at all. I feel like I did my part by giving people feedback, and sharing resources that I thought were relevant and helpful. As a result of the contributions that my classmates and I have made, I feel like I have expanded my PLN (personal learning network) which we discussed early on in our class. I quickly learned that the only way to get feedback is to have those interactions with the people in your network and put yourself out there. Our class used 3 tools to help connect with others online. These were; Twitter, Slack, and through our ePortfolios.

To start, here are the contributions that I have made on Twitter:

Here is a tweet that I made that is an easy to understand video for people of all ages about racism. The video is a bit long, but it was a good resource to share, especially because of the current state of our world with the Black Lives Matter movement:

Here is a reply that I had on Twitter that also relates to racism and difference in people:

Here is a reply to one of my fellow Twitter users that asks about social media detox:

Here is a tweet that I shared that outlines important characteristics for teachers to build their educational philosophy around:

Here is a reply on Twitter that I discuss the importance of opening up conversations with kids about racism:

Lastly, here are a few of my answers to the SaskEd chat that we had with our class at the beginning of the semester:

Next, here are some of the comments that I made on my classmates’ blog post on their ePortfolios:

This comment was made on Twitter in the Classroom by Celine Miskolczi:

This comment was made on Reflection on the New and Changed Culture by Cassie McCallum:

This comment was made on Internship? By Yohan Yemba

This comment was made on Summary of Learning by Caitlin Kendall:

Finally, this reply was to Cassie McCallum after she commented on my post Grandma’s Bun Recipe:

Unfortunately, I can’t say I contributed to the Slack app as much as I probably should have. I did not have any questions to ask, and a lot of times when my classmates asked questions to the group as a whole, by the time I saw the question someone else had already answered it. I thought Slack was a useful tool because there were a lot of times where I went back and rewatched parts of our lectures when there was content that I didn’t quite understand the first time it was being explained. However, I don’t think I got the full benefit out of the app because I spent most of my time and energy on Twitter, and looking at my classmates’ ePortfolios.

Overall, I thought the interactions I had with my classmates were very helpful and uplifting. Seeing people comment on my posts and ask questions made it easy to stay engaged with my posts and think about changes that I could make for future posts. It was nice to get the opportunity to look at other people’s ideas on different platforms and be able to give them feedback or ask questions. I hope to keep in touch over Twitter with the great future and current educators that I’ve had the chance to get to know, and hopefully I will meet more people like this in the future.

Learning Project Wrap Up: Learning to Cook

First off, I want to say what a good experience taking EDTC300 has been. The semester absolutely flew by, and the amount of work that was required for this class really made things go by quickly. I have learned so much in the technology aspect of the class, and I am also grateful for the learning project that was required of this class. I always wanted to become a more diverse cook, and EDTC300 has given me the opportunity to do so. I am glad that I have everything saved and organized so that I can always look back at the work I’ve completed as a reference point.

After 6 weeks of successful cooking, I am very happy with my progress. When I dove into my first week of cooking, my skills included very simple things such as pasta, chicken, rice, soup, and grilled cheese. These foods required only a couple of steps and did not require much effort or thought. For this class, there were definitely some weeks that were easier than others, but I felt like I had a good balance of easy and hard weeks considering where I started from before this class.

Now lets get into the week by week progression of my project:

Week 1: Introduction

  • Established a plan for my project
  • Reflected on where I am at right now in terms of my cooking skill
  • Set goals for where to gather recipes and information

Week 2: Chicken Caesar Wraps

Resources:

Assessment:

  • Started off easy but set an attainable bar to match
  • Stuck with something familiar by using chicken
  • Challenged myself by making my own salad dressing
  • Good starting point but could have upped the difficulty a bit. Something like this is not very difficult to mess up, but felt the need to aim low to set myself up for more challenges in coming weeks.

Week 3: Shrimp Jambalaya

Resources:

Assessment:

  • There was a LOT of cutting for this meal with the sausage, onions, and celery needing to be cut into fine pieces.
  • The meal was very spicy. Although I like spicy food, I would use caution when adding the cayenne.
  • I could have used a video to show how my cutting was, but I wanted to focus on doing a good job and taking my time so that the meal turned out well (I also didn’t want to accidentally cut myself on video, haha).
  • As far as progressing my learning, this was a huge step for me. I had never made such a big pot of food that required multiple steps. I had to be patient and there were times that I wasn’t sure if it was going to turn out well.

Week 4: Grandma’s Bun Recipe

Resources:

  • InShot app
  • Family cookbook (Royal Canadian Army Cadets- Naicam 2815).

Assessment:

  • The bun making process is very long, especially when you knead the dough by hand instead of using a mixer. All of those times that my grandma made buns for me, I didn’t realize that she was working very hard.
  • This was also another big step for me because it required a lot of patience.
  • I used a different tool to document my progress this week and I think that this contributed to developing more of my skill with technology. InShot was not a very complicated app to navigate through, but it was different than just posting pictures of each step like I did in previous weeks.
  • At this point I feel like I had taken 2 big leaps in this week and the week before and really pushed myself to try new things.

Week 5: Deviled Eggs

Resources:

Assessment:

  • This recipe was probably the easiest out of all of the recipes that I’ve picked. It did not take long at all, and if I have one regret from this project, it would be that I feel like I didn’t push myself very much during this week.
  • I did like how the eggs turned out. The filling was delicious, and it made a lot of a good snack with relatively few ingredients.
  • As far as my progression, this week did not hinder me at all because I did try to make something that I haven’t before. However, like I said, the process wasn’t as detailed or as complex as I would have liked, and I felt as though I could have picked something more challenging to make.

Week 6: Banana Cream Pie

Resources:

Assessment:

  • This recipe was easily to follow, but easy to mess up the whole creation. Making sure that the milk didn’t burn while mixing up the pudding mixture could have ruined the whole pie. I thought this was a bit stressful but helped me pay close attention to make sure that I was constantly stirring and monitoring the pot.
  • The overall taste of the pie was good, but I should have waited to refrigerate it so that it stayed together more. The pieces of pie did not come out as actual pieces, it came out more as just a mixture of pie crust, bananas, and pudding.
  • I thought this week’s project is deceivingly hard. It really was challenging to make sure that the aesthetic of the pie turned out, as well as the taste. I am happy that I tried to make this, and although I failed as far as the appearance of the pie when I cut it and served pieces of it, the taste of it was exactly how I pictured it to be.

Final Thoughts:

For this project, my goals were to cook something different every week, gather recipes from online sources, family, and recipe books, and to improve my skills in the kitchen. I believe that I achieved all of these things throughout the weeks, and gained some valuable knowledge about making different food. I definitely enjoyed the cooking experience as well as learning some new tips and tricks for making my blog more appealing when making posts about my project. I feel as though I have added more diversity into my cooking and I will continue to improve my skills by staying consistent with making challenging meals more often.

Banana Cream Pie

For my final cooking creation, I wanted to make a dessert because I haven’t made a dessert like meal yet. Last week when I made Deviled Eggs, I covered the appetizer aspect of a meal, and other than that, I only had breakfast and dessert to make. After some searching for ideas, I decided to make a banana cream pie. I have always liked this dessert so I wanted to give it a shot.

For the recipe, I found it at allrecipes.com. It seemed fairly straightforward and easy to follow. It goes as follows:

  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1/3 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 inch) baked pastry shell, cooled
  • 4 bananas, sliced

Step 1:

Lay out all of the ingredients (put pie crust in the fridge until needed).

Step 2:

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, and salt. Add in the milk while stirring gradually. Cook over medium high heat. (stir constantly for about 2 minutes, then remove from burner).

Step 3:

Beat the eggs, then stir a small amount of the hot mixture in step 1 into the eggs. Once mixed, add the egg yolk mix into the saucepan that the hot mixture was in. Cook for 2 minutes.

Step 4:

Remove the mixture from the stove, add butter and vanilla. Stir until it has a smooth consistency.

Step 5:

Slice bananas into cooled pie crust. Top with pudding mixture.

Step 6:

Bake at 350 degrees F (or 175 degrees) C for 12-15 minutes.

Step 7:

Chill for one hour and serve.

The pie turned out pretty well. Nothing fancy, but I am happy with it. Overall, I am happy with the progress I made in all 6 of my cooking projects. I will summarize all of them in my next blog post which wraps up the complete learning project experience.

Coding at it’s…Finest

This week’s task involved learning a new skill for myself that we talked about in class on June 11th, which was coding. Although I had heard of coding before, I had never done it myself and did not know the true purpose of it. For the task, I chose to go to Hour of Code and pick one an option from there. We talked about how Hour of Code was more for beginners instead of the alternative option of Scratch, so as a first time coder I figured this would be the best option for me.

As I started going through the website trying yo figure out which game to play, I thought it would be best to stick with something that interested me, which is sports. I thought I might want to try out the Minecraft version of their coding game, but ultimately decided to do the coding basketball game.

The game was broken down into an 8 level progression that got more complex as I advanced in each stage.

Level 1:

Learning how to move using the keypad.

Level 2:

Learning to move in both directions using the keypad.

Level 3:

Learning how to bounce the ball.

Level 4:

Learning how to add the same action to different movements.

Level 5:

Moving and bouncing the ball at the same time.

Level 6:

Scoring points for and against.

Level 7:

Changing the speed, and other custom settings.

Level 8:

Creating custom rules.

I really enjoyed this activity and can see how coding is a useful skill to teach students. It forced me to think things through as a step by step process, and to think of all of the possibilities of each step. During the last step, the first time I submitted my custom rules, I forgot to add in “throw new ball” after I scored a point, so I didn’t get a ball after I scored. This made me realize how useful coding can be because it forces you to pay attention to detail through every step.I think that coding makes the most sense to use for problem solving activities in the classroom, but it can be used in all subject areas. I would like to explore a bit more and see some other examples of coding activities in all subjects.

My first experience and impression of coding was a positive one. It seems teachable to younger grades, as well as older grades because the complexity of activities can vary.

The Problem With Fake News

In today’s world, digital literacy is very important because of how easily accessible Information is online. With that being said, online platforms can display information that is attractive to readers to entice them, but this information may not be necessarily true. This is referred to as fake news. Some examples of fake news include click bait and exaggerated stories that are partially true, but are manipulated into a different story. A big reason for why fake news is so big now is because of how much technology is available. People are able create fake pictures, videos, and messages, therefore making it easy to trick others into believing their stories.

In the article “Developing Critical Literacies: What We Need to Know in a “Fake News” World,” Katia Hildebrandt and Alec Couros discuss some strategies for dealing with fake news that I thought were extremely helpful:

  1. The first point of the article emphasizes developing investigative techniques. This includes being aware of the different types of technology and web tools available to people, reader over information in close detail, and understanding biases.
  2. The second point points out how using rich examples can be beneficial in identifying fake images, such as Google reverse image.
  3. The third point encourages readers to be critical and watch for clues of non-legitimate content.

As for using these strategies in my classroom of middle years students, I think that these are extremely relevant for students at that age. Middle years aged students are typically just getting heavily involved in technology at this age. Creating social media accounts and cell phone use are usually just starting to increase dramatically for this age of students, so having a structured plan of different strategies to use would be key for the students that I’ll be teaching.

In addition, the comic strip You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You emphasizes how easy it is to trick anyone into believing that a statement is true just by adding a seemingly credible source as to how the information was obtained. The part of the comic that stood out to me was how it explained what George Washington’s teeth were made out of. The comic said they were made out of wood, and then gold, and then slaves teeth and then proceeded to explain how a reader’s brain would soften to all of the ideas, except for the example that said his teeth were from slaves, which would get a rise out of most people.This is a perfect example of why it is important to educate students from a young age not to believe everything they hear and to be critical. Although some information may be true, some forms are just meant to get a rise out of people to give them something to speculate about.

Lastly, How to Choose Your News by Damon Brown offers more support for the comic strip and the article about how false information can be portrayed. The video explains that long ago, there were only a few reliable sources that you could trust, and it took a lot longer to find things out. Now, with so many sources, it is hard to determine which ones are the right ones. This us why it is important to educate yourself and keep track of the sources that do provide legitimate information. Teaching students that picking sources to trust will help them use their judgement as they figure out some clues to look for to weed out the bad sources.

Digital Identity and Cybersleuthing

This week, our task was to pick a partner and do some research or “cybersleuthing” on this person. My partner was Meagan Flunder, so I began looking to see what I could find out about her. We did not have any prior connections before this class other than following each other on Twitter. Meagan’s blog is very clean and organized, and has lots of tabs including her educational philosophies and some lesson plans. When I Googled Meagan, all of her social media accounts showed up. She has a professional teacher’s Twitter account, and also a personal account, which is private so I couldn’t access any of her content without requesting to follow her. I did find a couple of pictures of her on Google images, but they were just her profile pictures from her Twitter account.

From what I gathered, Meagan is a student at the University of Regina who wants to teach elementary education. I did not find any harmful content that would jeopardize Meagan’s chances of getting hired, or anything else that would get her into trouble. I think Meagan is smart by having her personal accounts private so that she can approve of who has a view into her personal life.

As far as digital identity goes, this assignment made me think more about how I wanted to be perceived online. Like Meagan, I also have a personal and professional Twitter account. My personal account isn’t private, but I am very careful with what I share, and the posts that I like on that account. A lot of the content that I interact with has to do with sports, but I still make sure there isn’t any inappropriate posts that show up on my profile.

Katia mentions in her blog “The Curious Case of Srkj Rife, “Victim”-Turned-Harasser” just how easy it was for her to find out information on her anonymous person in under 30 minutes by looking into the “deep web.” This is a bit alarming, but important to consider because anyone could dig up some dirt on anyone they choose if they look hard enough. That is why it is crucial to monitor what you put online at any stage in life. On the other hand, it is just as easy for someone to trick people online into thinking that they are someone that they aren’t or live a life that they don’t. Online, people can be whoever they want, and what they post may not reflect how they are as a person. Posting online is only a small portion of someone’s life, but it plays a large role in how people see you because technology is so popular in this day and age.

Deviled Eggs

This week for my learning project, I wanted to keep things simple and use a recipe that was quick to make. Last week, when I made buns I put in a lot of time and effort into making the buns and editing the video that I used to document the step by step process. I’ve always really liked deviled eggs, so it was a good opportunity to see how they’re made.

For the recipe, I found it using Mario Batali‘s Big American Cookbook which I also used for Shrimp Jambalaya. The recipe was on page 77.

Step 1:

Lay out all of the ingredients that are needed

Step 2:

I used an instant pot to boil my eggs. It was quick and easy, and I didn’t have to watch over my eggs like I would have if I used a regular pot on the stove. It took about 7 minutes for the eggs to be hardboiled.

Step 3:

Once the eggs were boiled, I placed them in a bowl to cool them off.

Step 4:

I peeled the egg shells off, and cut the eggs longways. I transferred the yolks to a bowl.

Step 5:

I mixed all of the ingredients that were needed to make the filling with the yolks.

Step 6:

I put the filling into the centre of each egg.

The eggs turned out awesome and I definitely would make them again. They had a bit of a kick to them, and it was an overall success. There was some filling left, but I just filled 24 egg halves because that’s all of the eggs that I had.

Active Citizenship in Digital Spaces

After an in-depth conversation during our last class session, and considering what is going on in the world right now, I have had sometime to think about my role as an educator for promoting anti-oppressive behaviour. Much of our class’s discussion revolved around the Black Lives Matter protests, and some of the social media trends that have risen from this. As a Black man, it is uplifting to see so many people bond together by creating awareness about what the Black Lives Matter movement is about. The online world is a great way to convey information to people in a short period of time, and it can be very powerful. I have seen more people sharing resources and doing their best to educate themselves about the oppressive issues that Black people have endured for centuries. It is unfortunate that the murder of George Floyd has just now opened the eyes of some to how the racial discrimination of Black people has to change.

In our class discussion last night, we talked about how there is some controversy about whether to stay silent on social media platforms and online spaces in general when it comes to social justice issues. Most of this controversy comes from a place of discomfort because people do not want to say the wrong thing, or offend anyone. Personally, I feel as though speaking out in a professional manner is beneficial, but to be cautious with your language and word use. Speaking out shows that you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in, but choosing the right words and conveying a professional message is extremely important. As a future educator, I believe in providing resources and interacting with people in a non-condescending way is the best approach to posting online content.

On the other hand, what you post online is important, but acting on and staying consistent with your beliefs that are conveyed to others via social must be replicated in the real world. Teachers and people in general can post just about anything they want to create a positive identity for themselves online, but can contradict those posts with their behaviour. It is also important to educate yourself and be sure of the content that you post. There is a lot of false information and underlying meanings in resources and posts. Gathering information from trusted sources is crucial, especially when you are sharing content on your own personal accounts.

Lastly, opening up conversations with students in a classroom setting is going to be the difference that we want to see in the world. The next generation of people are largely in the hands of educators, and providing them with an opportunity to learn about race and equality is only going to help them. It is an uncomfortable topic for everyone, but race needs to be acknowledged. Understanding that there is difference in the world, and accepting that difference is what we need to strive to achieve. Introducing race and the acceptance of race to students from early on in their schooling can be as simple as picture books and colouring activities. It does not always have to be an extremely intelligent and political conversation, especially with younger students.

Grandma’s Bun Recipe

This week for my learning project, I was faced with a bit of a challenge by using different technology to document my cooking. I have been just taking pictures of the step by step process of the recipes I have been using, so making a video was a new experience for me. Last week, I made shrimp jambalaya, which was a big success (but very spicy). This week was not as complicated of a recipe, but the process was longer because there was a lot of waiting time between certain steps. It was a nice change of pace, and good to learn how to make a simple food that is very versatile.

As for the tool I decided on, I contemplated a few different apps while exploring the EDTC300 collaborative tools list, as well as looking at some of my other classmate’s blog posts. I ended up settling on InShot after looking at Tracey Beaven’s blog post. InShot was very easy to use and I found it very fluid. The app is free, and has many features to edit photos and videos. I was able to add some of the music that the app provided, but there was also an option to add some of your own personal music from your iTunes library.

The app is homepage is very simple and gives you three options to choose from. When I picked the video feature, I just had to pick previously recorded videos from my iPhone. From there, it gives you the options to add text, music, add more videos to the existing video, crop the video, and a whole bunch of other awesome features. Adding and deleting content was also very simple just by clicking on the portion of the video you want to edit, and the pressing the delete button.

For the recipe, I only needed my grandma’s brain for help, but luckily she also had it written down on a piece of paper so I could follow along a bit easier. I was fortunate enough to have her guide me (and also videotape) because I have eaten a lot of her baking, but have never learned how to make any of it. I laid out all of the ingredients and followed her lead. (The recipe is the middle one).

The process itself was not very long, but putting all of the steps into one smooth transitioning video was the challenging part. It would still take me a few more tries to make the buns on my own, but this was a good start:

The simplified version of the process was captured in about 4 steps, but there was a lot of work in between. I definitely have a new appreciation for the work that goes into the buns that I’ve been eating for as long as I can remember. After reflecting on the baking, the entire process took a lot longer than I expected. The buns turned out very well and were very filling. The recipe ended up making 3 dozen buns.