ecmp355

Summary of Tech Savviness

 

Well… this is it. My final summary of learning for ECMP355: Introduction to Computers in the Classroom through the University of Regina. This has been one of the most useful and overall most awesome classes I have ever taken. It could be because I actually really want to be friends with technology, even though sometimes we seem to glitch and not get along.

It was suggested that we create a video of some sort to tell a story of how and what we learned this semester in this class. Dean Shareski, my prof, suggested making an RSA animate style video. I thought this would be a challenge and fun, so I took it on. He gave us a link to a blog that proved to be quite helpful, but there was still a lot of experimentation and problem solving that was involved in making this video.

I started out with making the story line and deciding what pictures to draw for each section of the story. I then had to talk nice to my daughter to borrow her white board and markers. (It worked). Then came the recording. I thought it would be easiest to record the drawings of the pictures using my iPhone so I set it up so that the camera eye was hanging over the edge of the table and I drew the pictures onto the white board that was on the floor. The original film was just over 15 minutes long. This is where I ran into a problem… I couldn’t figure out how to get my video from my iPhone to my laptop for editing. The video file was too large to upload to youtube and emailing it to myself wasn’t working either. I decided to try and upload the file using Vimeo. So after contemplating and trying various methods for a day and a half, this last option worked like a charm.

I then took my video from my vimeo account on my laptop and opened it in movie maker for editing. After speeding it up 3x and inserting audio and narration I had finally completed my project. I then saved it as an MP4 file to upload it to youtube so that I could embed it into my wordpress blog.

After rereading this post, it sounds a whole lot easier than it actually was. Trust me, a lot of time was put into this one. I believe that it is a great example of how tech savvy somebody can become over the course of one semester. After all, before I started, I didn’t have a youtube account, a Vimeo account or know what movie maker was. I’m looking forward to seeing my classmates finally summaries of learning too.

 

 

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Q & A Session with Diana Williams

I had the opportunity to have a questions and answers period with my mentor teacher Diana Williams today. It’s been one busy day, as I had a Google Hangout with her class this morning where I taught them a lesson on friendship and then the interview this afternoon.

It was great to have the chance to connect with a teacher who is using technology in the classroom and to see what it’s like to tackle that terrifying task. Technology can be daunting and down right terrifying, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned by taking my ECMP355 class, it’s to not be afraid of it. After all, if it works it works, and if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.

Building my PLN (Personal Learning Network) has been such a great experience and as teacher Diana said during our interview, “somebody will know somebody that can help.” It all comes down to knowing people and how to connect to the right people for the job. (Dean… you were given the kudos in knowing so many people. I may be calling upon you someday to find someone or maybe as a possible presenter.)

Diana talked about how technology offers students from lower socio-economic status’ the opportunity to see the world and gain those experiences that might not otherwise be possible. This is a great point of view, and a great sense of motivation for all educators to embrace technology and use it to its full potential.

A great big thanks to teacher Diana for the wonderful opportunity and the great feedback. It’s been a slice.

Friendship across the miles

Today has been awesome! I got to finally meet my mentor class in Surrey, B.C. via Google Hangout. The more things I learn about Google, the more I like it.

Teacher Diana and I agreed that this Wednesday would be a good time for me to Hangout with the class and present a lesson on friendship. I felt like I already knew some of the students through their blog posts that I have been reading and commenting on, but this was a great opportunity to put faces to the names. Diana’s grade 4/5 class called me this morning first thing at 9:00 a.m. and we chatted it up. I introduced myself and talked about how important friendship was. I read them the story “Ribbon Rescue” by Robert Munsch to give them a base of what good friendship was about. I also drew some pretty rocking pictures depicting being a good and bad friend for them to distinguish. The students had a good discussion about what being a good friend was and how to not be a bad friend. We talked about feelings and how being a good friend makes everyone involved feel good.

These are the pictures I drew… I admit, I googled “cartoon drawings of …” and found and attempted to reproduce them here. I’m not that great of an artist but I can reproduce if I have to. 20140402-110223.jpg 20140402-110217.jpg 20140402-110211.jpg 20140402-110201.jpg

I gave them a little project to complete on top of it all. I’ve asked them to write a story about a ‘good friend’ and post it to their blogs so that I can read them and comment on them. I can’t wait to see what they will come up with. As an added challenge to the students I asked that they try and incorporate at least 8 ‘ly’ words into their stories as their class is currently learning how to use ‘ly’ words to enhance writing. We’ll see what they can come up with. Let the imagination run wild.

At the end of our session I asked if the kids had any questions for me. Of course they did. They were all random questions, but it gave me a chance to get to know them and for them to get to know me. It makes it fun and a little more memorable that way. I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

google hangout

Exploring WeVideo

Last night I decided to explore WeVideoWeVideo is a site dedicated to making movie making very easy.  This site was mentioned during our ECMP355 class and I thought I’d give it a shot just to see how easy it really was. I was going into the whole experience fairly skeptical as I’ve had problems with making videos before on site that are “user friendly”.

I searched out the site on my laptop and signed up for an account. Sounds fairly easy right? Well then I realized that none of my videos or pictures were on my laptop. I had them all on my phone and realized, “it’s going to take forever to email all these things to myself so I can create a video on my laptop.” Well…. not to worry. There’s actually an iPhone app for WeVideo. I simply downloaded the free app on my phone and uploaded all my videos and pictures that I wanted to use through that. (This saved me a load of time).

Anyway, I then went back onto my laptop and signed back onto the site and BAM! my photos and videos were all there. I watched the short tutorial video and played around with it a bit. This is what I ended up with:

Even though it’s my first ever video, I think it turned out well. I know my children love seeing themselves as the feature actor and actress.

I would strongly encourage anybody new to movie making to try this site out. I’m a newbie making this type of video, so anybody can make this type of video. I think that this would be a great resource for students in middle to upper years to make video documentaries or projects with. It doesn’t take extensive movie making knowledge to operate.

I personally think that I will use this as a teacher to make a video of the year in review and send it to all the students and their families. It would be a nice little memento of their time in my class.

So my questions for you are:

1. Have you used this site to create a video? (because you should check it out)

2. What ways can you see this being a great resource for school? (or anything else)

 

A little more about the “Code”

Well this week I’ve been busy with catching up on and finishing the last of my assignments for this semester.  I’ll be glad to be done with writing essays for a while once this semester draws to an end.  It’s not that I don’t “like” essays, but I’m rather tired of doing so many of them. I’d like to sit back and read a book of my choice and partake in some activities that I choose, rather than focusing on school all the time. 

I’ve also been playing around with coding more. I’ve completed the 20 hours of code from code.org and found it very interesting (I’m kind of a bit of a computer geek sometimes, once I get hooked). I just seem to find it all so interesting and I want to learn more about it. I’ve decided to look a little deeper into the topic and have decided to continue with my learning on writing code with javascript using the site Codeacademy. There is also a free app from iTunes. I remember touching on this a little bit when I attended the University of Saskatchewan in 2001-2002 when I was enrolled in Commerce. Of course this was quite a while ago and computers have advanced quite a bit since then, but I’m finding that some of the information is coming back to me again. (Isn’t it funny how you forget that you know something when you don’t use that information?) It’s serving as a great refresher and I’m hoping to get a website set up sometime in the future for classroom use. 

codeacademy

Though I’m still unsure of all the possibilities of learning code in school, I’m finding it very informative for myself.  I would hope that some students would find it interesting as well and maybe strive for a career based in computer science.  After all, it’s a profession that isn’t going to be abolished any time soon. 

I’m wondering if any one has opinions on javascript or any of the other languages used to write code? Does anybody know if one is better to learn and for what reason?

Padlet Power

As part of this week’s tech task we were asked to explore some of the resources that were give to us by Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo during our ECMP355 class. Right off the bat, we were introduced to an amazing site called Padlet. This site is essential a bulletin board. You make different “bulletin boards” where you can store all sorts of different information. It’s possible to link websites, videos, pictures, or documents and each “bulletin board” can be customized by using different backgrounds and choosing the method to sort your posts. Padlet has so many different uses for the classroom. I chose to make a board that has all sorts of different brain breaks available to me at a moments notice because we all know that when students need a brain break, they need it now! I figured that if they were all ready and waiting for me to grab, I’d be more likely to use them. I love how it’s easy to add, delete, and rearrange the board as well. Here is a screenshot of my first board:

Padlet

This will be a work in progress that I can add to anytime I find a good resource. I can see the value in having a central location for all your information when developing lesson plans and units as well.

During our class it was also mentioned that this resource could be used as a sorting activity for kids as it’s easy to drag and drop photos to different areas of the screen and “in a sense” sort them out.

A great big thanks goes out to Steve and Adam. This is a great resource that I will certainly be putting to use.

Does anyone else have any ideas how this resource could be used in the classroom?

Untangling the web

On Monday we had a great class in ECMP355. It was all about untangling the web with Adam Bellow and Steve Dembo. They showed us many things about the wonderfully wide world of “The Web”. For our tech task this week we were asked to explore some of the things they showed us, (I haven’t gotten to that yet, but I’m working on it) and to complete an assignment from the Untangling the web community page. I’ve chosen to complete the motivational poster using the website http://bighugelabs.com/motivator.php. This was a very easy site to use where I could upload my own photo and insert my own quotes or sayings. I had the option to change border colors and design to suit my needs. I did find it a little difficult to navigate in the sense that every time I made a change I had to create the project to see what it would look like and then revert to the edit screen to make my changes rather than being able to see my work in progress as I made the changes. This added a few more minutes and steps to my project but the end result turned out just fine.

 http://bighugelabs.com/photos/fd0a6d4a2ef88e0025f627d7e96fdc8c/motivator2028ea26771bc06c031b5bc0e598e4ba5a670e4c

poster

As a part of this task in Untanglingthewebcommunity, we could post our project to the site. Unfortunately, I couldn’t register for an account in order to post my final project to this site. I’m not sure what the problem was, but it did ask for my “state” and I don’t live in one of those. I tried to put in my province, but it didn’t want to tell me what was wrong with my registration. Oh well, I guess. I still got to make the neat poster.

Has anyone else tried to make inspirational posters using the bighugelabs site? And if you did, what did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you.

Maker movement?

I thought I’d write a post about the maker movement. We recently had one of our ECMP355 classes focus on this topic. It might not be what you think… I know I certainly thought that the maker movement was geared towards the technology that is currently over running our lives, but I was wrong (to some extent). It’s all about making things. Whether it’s a cardboard sleigh, a computer program, or how to build a robot. With society changing and therefore schools changing, as teachers we are faced with helping our students be prepared for an unknown future. Our students have to be ready to adapt and have to have the knowledge and skills to survive in an ever changing world. The maker movement helps students achieve this by giving them the opportunity to build something that is interesting and challenging to them. It proves as an outlet for students to problem solve and collaborate with one another. They have the opportunity to develop new relationships with people who have the same interests. The thing with the maker movement is that we’re all a part of it without even realizing it.

My daughter is actively involved in the maker movement, and I didn’t even realize it. I always knew that she was crafty and liked to sing and dance. I never really thought much about this until after this class. She’s always looking up how to do something on you tube and is currently fascinated with hair and nails. Like I said, I never really thought much about this… she is a young girl after all. But these are skills that interest her that she will have for the rest of her life. Even though the things that she’s interested in aren’t technology based, she does use technology to do research and study up on these topics. Here is a photo of a pen that she made into a flower using duct tape:

20140312-190338.jpg

I thought this was so cool. What a neat way for her to express herself. It probably cost me more in duct tape than it would have been to buy this up town, but it’s the fact that she thought of the idea, researched it, and made it herself that intrigues me. I’m very proud of her.

So this week I decided I was going to become part of the maker movement and make something that didn’t involve technology. Well, that’s a little bit of a lie because I got the idea from Pinterest and researched how to do it. This is the original post. But I really did make the rest of it myself. It’s a work in progress, but I am thoroughly pleased with how this turned out.

20140312-190516.jpg

(Don’t mind my missing paint. That is thanks to the Hot Wheels Wall Track that wasn’t supposed to rip off paint. Oh well.)

How do you feel about the maker movement? Does it make you want to try something new? As a teacher, how can you incorporate this into your classroom?

And to top it all off… I challenge you all to make something without using technology. (Or as little as possible).

 

 

It’s all in the code

This week’s ECMP355 class was mind blowing. I was very intrigued when I found out that it was all about coding. I’ve never had the opportunity, nor have I thought about pursuing it myself, to learn how to code. In fact, I’m not even sure that I really knew what it meant to ‘code’.

It’s amazing to think that it’s everywhere. How many of us play games or use technology of any sort? Answer: All of us. Whether we know it or not, code has been used in all sorts of things. I now have a new appreciation for all the apps and programs out there. I find myself asking, “how long did it take someone to figure this out?”

For this week’s Tech Task we were asked to experiment with coding. Simply play around with it a bit and see if we can make something up. I checked out a few of the options available and here is what I thought…

Espresso Education

This site requires a username and password and our instructor Dean Shareski was kind enough to get us access to this resource. I played around with the simple codes for quite a while and I wasn’t really sure what I was doing. I kept thinking the whole time… what’s the point of this? and is all code written the same way? do these same buttons show up for all code? Well, my answers were really never really answered and I got tired of doing the same things over, but found that if I skipped ahead I had missed some important coding information and couldn’t succeed without it. Maybe I just didn’t have enough patience for this one off the hop. I’ll check it out again when I’m ready to sit down for a while.

I also checked out a tutorial on code at code.org

I found this site very interesting. Maybe it was because it started with coding for angry birds and then zombies. I worked my way through the first hour of code and then discovered that you can signup and complete 20 hours of code that will teach you so much more about it. I signed up and plan on completing these 20 hours sometime along the way. I would strongly suggest this site. 

coding

This is a screenshot of a stick man that I coded. It took plenty of trial and error, but I felt like I had cracked the code in the end. Yaaa!

Hopscotch

This was another recommendation from Dean regarding learning to code. This is an ipad app. I have downloaded it, but haven’t had a chance to give it a fair shake. Hopefully I’ll get time in the future.

Thanks for reading!

Mashup Assignment

Oh what technology can do… This week our tech task for ecmp355 was to complete two assignments from the DS106 site. I have previously posted my first assignment which was Draw it! Today, will be a look into the mashup assignment called The @IamTalkyTina Headswap. Take a look at the assignment:

Assignment Value: 1 Star - Easy Peasy2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars - Really Frickin Hard

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Take Tina’s head and place it on another person or animal or fictional character or something. The original idea was to swap a babies head (now I ain’t saying Tina is a baby) and a dolls head. So like you could find an image of a baby and a doll and put the dolls head on the baby and the babies head on the doll. Just search “Talky Tina” on the web and stick her head on something else.
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This assignment tweeked my interest, as I have never before done something like this.  As with my previous assignment I used the program GIMP. I searched out some help topics and got at it. These are the two photos I started with:babyPhoto Credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/25859982@N07/12151894244/”>Matthieu Luna</a> via <a href=”http://compfight.com”>Compfight</a&gt; <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>cc</a&gt;

Talky TinaThe two pictures seemed to go well together in my mind, so I mashed them up and this was the final result:
mashupNow isn’t that cute?
This was a fun assignment to do and it didn’t take a whole lot of time; therefore, I think that this would be something that could be taught to possibly grade 5 or 6 students. These types of files could be used to intrigue students or to use as a picture prompt story starters.