Worldwide Community

As mentioned by Alec Couros and Micheal Wesch the use of technology, specifically the internet has created a community that reaches to all parts of the world. This new form of community has both its positives and its negatives, but overall is something that no one imagined could happen before it did!

Both Couros and Wesch touch on the impact of memes and dances and how they start at one location in the world and then move onto more and more places through sharing and reposting, this allows for both individualism and the formation of a community, that started from a single post. An example of this is the remake of “Charlie bit my finger” that was mentioned in Couros presentation.

The Original

And here is a remake of the original!

This is just one example of many videos, pictures, songs that are remade and shared throughout the internet. More examples of sharing are trends such as the dab, bottle flipping, and many more! As Couros mentioned, these remakes and trends can both be hindering in classrooms or teachers will use them to benefit their classroom, such as using the bottle flipping challenge as a lesson in physics.

Now putting this sense of community into an educational atmosphere, educators can see both the positives and negatives that will result from their young students building a digital identity. Like Couros mentioned in his presentation to our EDTC300 class, to successfully manage a digital identity we must be taught the dangers and benefits of the internet. Starting with the dangers, we as educators need to understand and teach how to create positive digital identities because privacy and the internet do not connect together well, once you have a digital identity and frequently posting your privacy is gone. Once posted it is in the system forever, and I think that is something many students forget, especially when using Snapchat! If we want our students to have a happy and healthy online identity, the school system also must recognize and spread awareness around cyberbullying that many teens are affected by throughout their life. Recognizing and teaching our students the dangers of the internet and the use of technology will allow our students to incorporate a healthy online and offline presence.

If teachers are then able to help their students build a positive online identity, they will then be able to go and incorporate those apps into their classroom, such as Twitter, blogging, google docs and many other online resources that can be accessed by teachers. Also, as mentioned previously teachers can also take the latest trends such as the bottle flip challenge and incorporate it into their lesson plans to keep the activity fun and relatable to their young students!

As technology continues to evolve I believe our school system needs to evolve and incorporate new technology into the classroom. Incorporating an online presence in your classroom will allow the students to communicate and learn from people all over the world, enhancing their knowledge and acceptance toward our diverse society. Forming an online identity is very beneficial to an individual, however, an individual needs to first understand what it means to have a positive identity and not a negative identity, our educators can help form this knowledge for our students!

Overall I have learned that I need to have my own positive digital identity and have an understanding of an online presence so I can teach my future students about the dangers and benefits of creating their own digital identities!

Photo Credit: college4successk Flickr via Compfight cc

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Lesson 2:Those finger stretching chords…

I have learned many things this week regarding my learning project, however, there is one very major thing I have learned… MY FINGERS ARE TINY!! For lesson 2 of my learning project, I focused my learning on the basic chords for piano, which I did not think was going to be as hard as it was with such small hands. Let me begin by telling you what a piano chord is, a piano chord is when you play three notes at the same time with the same hand, a better definition can be found here. When critically thinking about the mechanisms needed to be able to successfully play a chord you must…

  1. Be able to multitask (which I am getting better at) and,
  2. have long enough fingers to reach the notes you are trying to play together (I lack in this department)

Now after much hand stretching, I was able to figure out a way to play each chord quite successfully. The chords I learned to play this week was from the amazing resource on piano chords that can be found here. Along with this new resource I found about chords I also continued to use my primary resource, Flowkey. This site helps me by going through step by step lessons and allowing for repetition which is key when someone is learning something for the first time! Below is the G chord being taught on flowkey!

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After I learned the basic chords, I then went on to put the chords into songs. I started with some simple songs where my right hand played the melody while my left hand played the chords. Check it out below!

 

The next progression I made was changing the tempo of the song being played. Again in the video below my right hand is playing the melody while my left-hand plays the chords. Notice the improvement and confidence from the previous examples!

My last progression for this lesson was switching what hand played what. In the video below my right hand is now playing the chords while my left-hand plays the melody.

This progression was the hardest for me to learn because I practiced the playing the chords only in the left hand so when it was time to switch my right hand did not have the muscle memory that my left hand made throughout all the repetition!

Overall, I am very pleased with how this weeks lesson went and I am excited to hear all your guys feedback! I want to continue working on my fluidity through my notes in hopes it will stop sounding so choppy, but that will take time! My next lesson takes a further look into technique and beginning to read sheet music! Stay tuned to see how that turns out!

I need to go now though, my little fingers have had quite the workout today!

Becoming United through Literacy

For this week’s blog post we were asked to explore a new tool or resource that could be useful in a classroom setting. I decided to look into a website called Unite for Literacy. Unite for Literacy is a website that has many storybooks available to teachers, parents, and anyone who has access to a computer and the internet. All these books are free of charge and there are hundreds of books to choose from, with varying categories such as animals, earth, friendships, communities, families, health, technology, migrant education program, and many more; this website has something for all learning subjects and children’s interests!

The organization recognizes that availability to multiple genres of books is scarce in school and at homes, and often these books do not recognize the variety of languages that we see throughout the world. The picture below shows both the narration languages for all the books on the website.

The number of narration languages offered through this program is astonishing, however, the written languages do not have near as many options. When it comes to the written languages you have the choice between English and Spanish, which is good when you are trying to get kids familiar with one of those languages, but it makes it very hard to allow children from all over the world have access to read and listen to their own languages. This is the one downfall I have pulled out from this website.

This website not only enhances reading and listening to many households and classrooms but also cuts back the use of paper and other resources that we take from the environment to make millions of children’s books. When looking at this website through a technology lens using the SAMR model I would consider this resource falls under the Augmentation step. The Augmentation step is when the technology tool acts as a substitute, with functional improvement. Instead of paper books, children of all ages, and languages are able to listen and follow along to a book without having an adult read to them, allowing for more young readers! I work at a daycare for the summer and all too often I see young children aimlessly flipping through pages of a storybook not retaining any education or knowledge that book is giving to the young reader. If these young children had access to a website such as Unite for Literacy they would be able to sit down with the iPad or Laptop and listen to a story and learn! I think children of all ages would love reading a lot more if they had resources to help them understand the story.

Teachers would be able to use this resource in the classroom, when kids finish their assignments early and need to wait for the rest of the class, looking for storybooks to help with the lesson being taught, allow for a variety of languages and different genres for a book, and if the teacher is busy they could put a story up on the smartboard and just listen without having to sit down with their class and read it!

Overall I think this is a great resource for many parents and teachers and reaches way farther than just the common English books we often see in libraries. Easily accessed books that are free will allow for more young readers in our communities! For more information about the website check out this page here that gives a quick summary of Unite for Literacy. If you still do not believe how great this website is, check out this review that can be found here.

 

Lesson 1: Getting to know my Piano

First off I would like to say that pianists make it look a lot easier than playing piano actually is! When learning how to play the piano you can not just jump right on to the piano and learn to play, there is lots of basic knowledge you must gain before even touching the keys. Posture and arm positioning are key concepts that allow you to perform your best while sitting at the piano. Your arms must stay light and airy, which will then allow your fingers to move through the keys without resistance! Although posture and arm positioning are very important, they are not the most important skills you must gain before you begin to play. A beginner player must understand the home keys on the piano and finger numbers before playing. The picture below will show you the keys and the finger numbers:

This week I began with the basics. I started with learning my finger numbers, basic keys, and my posture while sitting at the piano. After I knew the basics I then went on to learn the basics of playing. To start, I found a great app called Flowkey that takes the learner through lessons, this will be my primary source for my learning project. I will also be using other sources as I continue to progress, some of these sources will be sheet music, how to videos, and much more! It is amazing how many references you can find to teach yourself piano!

I began by using just my right hand to play simple melodies that stayed in the C position (this is like home base for piano players). I caught on pretty fast when learning to play with my right hand, and I was even able to read the notes off sheet music as I was playing, which was a huge achievement for me! Below is a video of me playing the first song that I learned on the piano using only my right hand!

After learning the basics with my right hand I then moved on to working just with my left hand. I found that my left hand was a little more challenging than my right, I found that weird since I am left handed, and my left is my dominant hand, but who knows? I again went through learning the basics just using my left hand, below is a video of me playing just with my left hand!

Once I understood how to play with both of my hands separate, I decided to then learn how to play together. This was tricky at first because I had to multitask and read the notes for both hands while they were trying to play simultaneously with one another. After a lot of practice on this skill, I believe I have done very well for my first lesson at the piano. Below is the video of my hands playing simultaneously with each other.

After reviewing all that I have learned throughout the week, I can say I am very proud of how much I was able to learn once I set my mind to it. There are a few things I want to focus on throughout the rest of my project such as, fluidity and being able to read the notes without hesitation. Repetition is key in piano so if I continue to practice a little bit each day I believe I will do well in this learning project! Stay tuned for next week where I will be working on chords and improving my technique!

 

 

Twitter is much more than we think!

I am new to the twitter world and am gradually getting used to how it works! Before EDTC300 I never had an interest in Twitter, I could never see the importance of tweets or people who posted pointless things about their day. I saw Twitter as an app people used who obviously had to much time on their hands and needed to tell everybody about their lives. Soon after EDTC300 started, I realized I was somewhat wrong.

Yes, Twitter is used for people to go and make pointless tweets about their day, however, it is much more than that! As I have learned throughout class Twitter is a resource that professionals can use to build connections with other professionals in the same field. A place where you can share new ideas, and hold conversations with people through multiple tweets. Although Twitter is limited to the number of characters you are able to use, I believe that is a good thing, professionals are able to enhance their quality of writing to be able to be as precise to the topic as possible in the short 240 characters. Twitter allows people to express their ideas to a large mass of people that will reply with their own ideas, making one individual idea blossom into something much more than ever expected. This resource is great to communicate with people all over the world and build a personal learning network (PLN) with more individuals than just your colleagues at work! As I continue growing my knowledge around Twitter, I hope I am able to build my own PLN where I am able to share my work and ideas to people across the world. Through Twitter society can become more diverse in their thoughts and actions.

As mentioned previously, Twitter can be used to share your ideas. In an education context, future educators and educators can use this resource to broaden their spectrum of sharing their lesson plans, activities and stories about their individual classroom. This again builds a PLN for educators to communicate with others educators who share the same interests and beliefs as you do when it comes to your career. I believe this would not benefit the individual teacher but benefit all classrooms and students as well. If our teachers of the world are collaborating together to make lesson plans, activities and much more our education system around the world will become stronger. Not one teacher or teaching situation will be the same, however, by sharing personal experiences with other educators are able to take those plans and modify them to fit their situation the best. In the weekly plans, Katia shared a video done by Alec Couros, gives an amazing explanation of the importance of Twitter in the education field! I invite you to check it out, to put the importance into perspective!

As for Twitter in the classroom, I do not think it has blossomed as much as Twitter being used to build a PLN for future educators and educators. I have recently watched a video where a professor used Twitter in her classroom to allow her students to express their thoughts about the topic being discussed in lecture. She stated that the discussion did not just stop when the lecture was over, but it carried on after class and into the weekend, making for a discussion that would have never been brought up in the classroom. The use of Twitter allows for everyone to contribute to the conversation and allows students to express new thoughts and new articles related to the class topics! I believe Twitter is a great resource that can be incorporated into classrooms as well maybe a resource to allow parents to see inside the classrooms in the younger grades! If you need more of an explanation of why Twitter would be great in a classroom check out this video here!

As you can see from the topics discussed above, my knowledge around Twitter has grown tremendously since the start of the week. I am excited to continue building my own PLN through Twitter and my blog. Making connections is one of the most important things one must do to have a successful career, and so I will continue partaking in saskedchats like the one I did early this week around the discussion of a paperless classroom. Connect with me on my Twitter to see more updates on my educational growth and development @MsSydneyMcGrath!

 

 

 

The Internet is Endless!

The internet is endless, as we all know from countless google searches that result in nothing remotely close to what we were originally looking for. That’s why sites and tools such as Feedly are great resources to use when you are looking for specific topics and information. I set up my Feedly account earlier this week and was surprised and relieved by how one keyword search brings so many possibilities to different and relevant information to your main topic! I have mainly focused my searches around two topics, education and Edtech leaving the third feed open to allow myself room to broaden my research and interests as my knowledge toward this site grows, I may decide to make a feed about piano, which is my topic for my learning project!

When looking at the multiple websites, and blog options I often was gravitated towards the blogs that gave both personal experiences, proven statistics, lesson plans or activities and amount of followers. The number of followers seemed to be a good aspect to look at to see how successful each blog was and who that information was for! I learn by watching, reading or listening to what other educators in their classroom or their learning space and take what worked or did not work and use their experiences to apply it to my own scenarios that I come to throughout my daily educator or leader positions. I also like seeing other educators lesson plans and activities to either use or modify the idea to incorporate it into my future classrooms or my volunteer positions! I sometimes lack a creative side, so when I see creativity through other educators it often sparks creativity within me and allows me to make my own versions of different activities and lesson plans!

With technology becoming such a prominent factor in today’s education system I decided finding blogs that give new ideas to incorporate technology into the classroom and into your own life would be a great place to start. I do not completely understand all aspects of technology, and I don’t think I will ever understand it all, so having resources such as Educational Technology and Mobile Learning could help broaden my understandings of technology in an educational setting! This blog gives examples of technology materials that are related to an educational context that includes a variety of sources and ideas! I was really drawn to this blog site mainly because it posts very frequently at a rate of 12 articles per week which I find very useful when you are looking for fresh ideas to incorporate into your daily lesson plans! This blog site also has many followers which allow me to understand that their articles are useful for other educators and parents!

Another key aspect of teaching is understanding that many of the resources that you will be using, you often have to pay for out of your own pocket. While scrolling through my Feedly account I came across a blog page called Free Technology for Teachers, that offers many different technology apps, websites, and ideas that can be incorporated into a classroom. When people look at the technology they often get discouraged because of the cost, but understanding that there are free resources out there that allow an educator to incorporate technology in their classroom is a very good resource that you should be taking advantage of! This specific resource has over 80 thousand followers, and posts about 22 articles a week! The resources coming just from this one blog page is endless! Posts such as lesson plans, how to videos and much more are demonstrated throughout this specific resource. This is a resource I will be sure to use as my education continues into my pre-internship, internship, and well into my teaching career!

This new technology exprience has allowed me to gain a resource that will help me through EDTC300 as well into my future career. I now have a resource where I can go and find relevant posts to what I am looking for in a fast manner. I am excited to continue using Feedly and ready to see what I can all find on this amazing website!

Time to dust off those old keys!

I am super excited to announce that I have decided to take up the art of learning how to play the piano for my EDTC 300 learning project! My mom and dad bought a piano many years ago when I first showed interest in playing and then I got busy with other activities and never started lessons. As of right now, I know nothing when it comes to playing the piano! Now that the opportunity has come for me to teach myself something significant I have decided that I will take up a past interest of mine and dust off those old keys! I am curious about how fast I will be able to pick up the basics of piano and hope after this project I continue to teach myself. I plan to use mostly online sources like musictheory.net, Music Theory Academy, Youtube and many more that I will find as I go along. I also hope to use some community resources like some family friends that play piano who could also give me some important tips throughout my learning! I want to display my learning process through blog posts that include both pictures and videos that show the progress I continue to make each week!

Knowing that learning how to play the piano will take me awhile, I plan to start early this week. I think a good place to start is by learning the basic notes that many chords and songs will be using. After I understand the individual notes and the differences in sound that each note makes I want to then move on to being able to read the notes. Once I am able to read the notes I can then move on to combining both playing and reading at the same time! I have never been the best at multi-tasking but I guess it is time to start! After learning the very basics I will continue my progress by starting with simple chords and songs and moving up in level as my muscle memory and confidence improves! By the end of my learning project, I hope to be able to play a song all the way through using the foot pedals, white and black keys without a book or notes in front of me! This may be a big leap from not knowing anything but, having a goal to reach for will help me stay dedicated throughout the weeks!

This project will not only teach me the basics of piano playing but will also improve my ability on online searching and learning with internet instead of learning through lectures and classes. To succeed in this project I understand that I need to keep myself organized and dedicated and will be doing that by sitting at the piano every day and learning piece by piece. This project will benefit my self-learning skills, technology skills and confidence levels with myself.

Stay tuned for my progress through my Learning Project, EDTC300 thanks for the challenge!

 

 

You mean I can’t only lurk anymore?

Growing up in a small town with a low strength internet connection, you learn how to live without the use of technology very easy. In high school, our teachers avoided the use of technology as much as they could because every time they planned a lesson using the internet, it seemed to never work. I, myself often would rather be outside playing or helping my mom garden that I never grew much of an interest using technology. As I got older I grew a slight interest in the social media world. I made a Facebook and Instagram account where I followed my friends and family, but just like what was mentioned in our last class, I was defiantly a lurker and to this day I still am! I go on social media maybe once a day, see what’s new, but I often never let anyone know how my life is going or what exciting things I have planned. I know it will take me a bit to get out of my lurking stage that I have fallen so deeply in.

When it comes to technology used in an educational space, I know very little knowledge about the topic. In my small school we only began getting Smartboards and Chromebooks in my final year, so I never really had the opportunity to tinker around with them. When coming to University I was surprised at how much my education classes were wanting to integrate technology into the classroom! My educational technology experiences started in my first semester of university when I was in Katia’s ECS 110 class. We mainly focused on blogging, however, that was already a big step for me since I grew up handwriting everything. After getting the hang of blogging after a few assignments I began to start to really enjoy it. The atmosphere of our class was what I enjoyed the most, we were all open to sharing our blogs and our personal stories with the class and that was a good learning tool that allowed me to make many new friends! After reading the first week’s articles about building a PLN and an online identity I believe our blogs will continue to help us not only for classes but well into our teaching careers. Being able to share stories and information with teachers around the world is such a good resource to get a variety of teaching and learning ideas to incorporate in your own classroom!

Entering this class, I am still a little nervous because I look at myself as somewhat technology illiterate at times and often need to watch or hear things more than once to understand how to do it myself. That is also why I think this course will be a great course for me to partake in, hopefully, I can take what I learn throughout this course and apply it in my own classroom to allow an environment that uses many different resources including technology. I am excited to continue my learning about technology and connect with many educators and future educators throughout social media. I have just recently made my teacher twitter account, go and connect with me there! I’m not overly sure how it works yet but, I am eager to learn!

Social Media Butterflies

Photo Credit: Visual Content Flickr via Compfight cc