The Last Howrah

Welcome to my last blog post of EDTC 300, where ill be wrapping up my learning project. As you may remember from a previous post my goal was to learn a few songs from a designated playlist I made. I managed to learn one of my favourites; Sweet Home Alabama. Check out the video of me playing below.

Learning guitar was something I’ve always wanted to do but, something I never found the time for previous to this taking EDTC 300. As someone who had previously never thought of themselves as very musical I was nervous to start. With the help of some great online resources and the motivation form my class mates it turned out to be a lot of fun. Playing guitar is now a regular part of my life and something I plan on continuing to improve on.

Though my goal was to learn 3-4 of the songs from this playlist I’m still happy with learning only one. I was brand new to guitar at the beginning of the semester and underestimated the time it took to master a musical instrument. I was unaware of the basic skills I would have to learn first before catapulting myself into learning songs. With that said, with those skills now under my belt I will be able to progress a lot faster.

From this project I also learned the value of becoming a life long learner. Here is a great article on the importance of teachers committing to life long learning. I had gotten my self in a rut from my previous 3 years of post secondary education of only learning for my classes and not for my enjoyment. This lead to me being well versed in my science classes but, left me missing out on some important life lessons. I’ve decided to carry on taking on a new project every year to keep me out of this rut.

Favourite Resources

I used a lot of great online resources to in learning to play guitar. The magic of the  internet really does make it possible to learn almost anything. The following list shows the resources I used listed in order of my most to least favourite.

  1. Yousician: This app takes 1st place for it’s in time feedback and simple instructions
  2. Marty Music on YouTube: Marty deserves second place for his to the point, easy to follow instructional videos. He has tons of videos available for any skill or song you want to learn on guitar.
  3. Thomas Michaud on YouTube: Thomas Michaud is second to Marty music only because he doesn’t have as many videos available or as wide a variety of song genres to learn from.
  4. Guitar Chords Scales and More: This site has some great diagrams of chords. I always found it helpful to look at chord diagrams to see the exact placement my fingers needed to be in.
  5. Fender Play: This resource gets last place due to the fact that even though its a paid for app its missing a key feature; in time feedback. Though it does have some good instructional videos you can find most of the same information on the internet for free.

Greatest Inspirations

I had a lot of great inspiration in learning guitar. Some I had had previous to learning and were what made me want to pursue learning in the first place and others motivated me well I was learning.

  1. The school of Rock is my all time favourite movie and the my biggest inspiration to learn guitar. Who can resist Ned schneebly’s guitar solo in Rock Got No Reason.

2. Ian Munsick, an up and coming country singer has some mad guitar skills. he has an great ear for music and can make any song sound great on an acoustic guitar.

3. Ben Crosby or @confetticoordinates on Instagram is an awesome guitarist who posts a cover on his Instagram daily.

That’s a wrap folks! I hope you enjoyed following my learning journey this semester. if your looking to read up on some of my other classmates learning projects ill link a few down below. You never know what might inspire you to learn something new!

 

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Communication: The key to Success

Over the past four months in EDTC 300 I’ve contributed to several platforms to build my personal learning network. In contributing to these platforms I’ve gained valuable connections and resources. I’ve also been able to share what I consider to be valuable resources and perspectives of my own to these platforms. I believe the key to both personal and career success is communication. Thus, I tried to contribute as often and as much as I could the platforms used in EDTC 300 via a course blog, twitter, and a slack community.

Course Blog

On my course blog I was able to receive as well as give feedback to my classmates. I followed as many of my classmates journeys through the course blog as I could. I commented words of motivation and encouragement on learning project posts, shared my perspectives on blog posts, and gave honest feedback if I saw an area that could be improved. I replied to comments left on my own blog as well, answering any questions they had or simply thanking them for their feedback. I also ensured to add pingbacks from my other classmates posts if I particularly liked their post, as well as share them to twitter to get more notoriety outside the EDTC 300 course blog. Check out the slide show below to see some examples of my contributions to the learning of others via my blog.

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Twitter

I was new to twitter at the beginning of the semester, but was quick to catch on. Twitter to me, was the most helpful platform in growing my professional learning project. I typically tweeted 3-5 times a day about topics on class content, education in general, or anything else I found interesting that I thought others could benefit from. I explored the use of different hashtags such as, our course hashtag #EDTC300, DigLN, DitchBook, EDChat and many others in hopes of reaching a lager networking platform. I also used the platform to ask questions, take polls, and gain new perspectives to course and some non-course related material . I was sure to contribute to these areas in others tweets as well whether they were classmates, or other professionals I followed.  I was able to share my own blog posts to twitter for those not in our course to see, and my other classmates as well. My favourite part about twitter was the twitter chats. I completed several throughout the semester and made valuable connections from them.Check out the slide show below to see some examples of my contributions to the learning of others via my twitter.

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Slack Community

I used slack often to ask and answer other classmates  course related questions. I also  shared relevant articles to the course that I didn’t feel targeted my twitter audience as much as the slack community. These were often scholarly articles on topics relating to the course. I also had private messages with people in the course such as Danica, where I shared some inspiration I found for her learning project. Check out the slide show below to see my contributions to the learning of others via the slack community.

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Thank you to everyone that participated in helping me grow my Professional learning network! I hope I was able to contribute something valuable to yours as well!

 

Learning E Minor

For this weeks EDTC 300 learning project post I’ll be doing a how to on the E Minor chord, or EM chord. This is a pretty beginner chord. It does not take a lot of complicated hand and finger twisting to perform.  Despite this it still took some time and a few different resources to perfect.

To start I looked up a picture of the finger placement I was to use. I’m a very visual learner so the more visual content I can get my hands on the better. The picture gave me a start to what I would be learning. I learned from this that only two fingers, my middle and ring fingers would be placed on the second and third string of the guitar along the second fret, Looking something like this:

E Minor

Phot courtesy: Takelessons.com

I also used a Thomas Michaud video on YouTube. Thomas Michaud is an excellent guitar player/teacher on YouTube who has great instructional content. His video “3 Ways to play EM (E Minor) on guitar” was very helpful to me. I used the first and simplest way to play the chord. His video was an excellent resource as he explained it thoroughly and left enough time to follow along with his movements.

Lastly I used my yousicain app to help me perform the chord. My yousican app did little to teach me the skill, but did help ensure me that I was playing it correctly. In it there was an practice chord option for each new chord presented. It shows the correct finger placement along the strings and when the chord is played the strings light up in green if the chord is correct and red if incorrect.

em

Photo Courtesy: Yousician

 

I put all the useful information I leaned from the above sources to make this E Minor how to video. I hope it helps! Let me know if you have any questions I can help you with down below.

If you prefer to read on how to do the skill or supplement your learning further follow these steps:

  1. Place your middle finger on the second thickest string, slightly above the second fret.
  2. Place your middle finger on the string directly below the first right along the second fret.
  3. Ensure all other fingers are of the strings to ensure a clean sound.
  4. Strum all six chords.
  5. play your favourite George Strait tune!

 

It’s All About Connection

I believe that the most important thing that students need to succeed is to feel they matter. Before all else, students need to feel safe. They need to feel respected. They need to feel valued. To do this, as a teacher, you have to be connected – to ask questions, to pay attention, to be present, to actively listen. To meet students where they are at, you need to develop a trust and a strong rapport. Education is about so much more than academics. It’s about empowering students to know themselves and believe in themselves. “You matter” and “I care” is the message I want every single one of my students to get and to feel from me. In an era that we are constantly connected by technology, I want personal connection to be my mission.

– Kennedy Glascock

 

A Coding Conquest!

This Week in my EDTC300 class we discussed coding! I previously had no experience with coding, or even knew what it was. For those of you like me “coding is basically the computer language used to develop apps, websites and software. To put it very simply, coding is what tells your computer what to do.” (Computer Science).

To explore the world of coding we were tasked with spending  some time on Code.org and participate in an Hour Of Code. Code.org is a great website that describes itself as “a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.” (Code.org). It’s also really fun! The Hour of Code featured on the site is “a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify “code”, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.” (Code.org).

I had previously thought coding was just reading and typing java script…BORING! Code.org made me realize that coding is so much more than that. Its using creativity and logic at the same time to create whatever you want. Check out my screencast below to see me code the Moana: Wayfinding With Code guided tutorial.

This was defiantly the most fun homework I’ve ever had! I’ve never been someone who’s enjoyed computer games but I defiantly spent a large amount of my day on the website. I also did an Hour of Code on the Code with Anna and Elsa guided tutorial. It was also really fun and a bit more challenging than the  Moana: Wayfinding With Code tutorial. Below are some screen shots of the different images I was able to create with code.

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During my coding experience I found that I actually had a tougher time with the more beginner levels than the higher level ones. It took me a while to adjust to the logical yet creative way of thinking needed to code, but once I caught on I was off! I can see how coding would be a great tool in the classroom to use in developing problem solving skills for students.

Coding In The Classroom

Speaking of the classroom I feel very strongly that all students should get an education in at least the basics of coding. In this day and age our digitally based society depends on coding. We need to ensure students have the skillset to not only participate in this world but help to create it. There is also a very large gender gap within the tech industry that can be corrected or at least helped by implementing coding opportunities in the classroom for all students. Linked here is a great article that I’ve previously tweeted about that highlights this problem  and how to solve it.  A lot of my fellow pre-service teachers feel the same way about the importance of coding in the classroom. Below is a twitter poll I recently tweeted regarding the topic.

twitter poll

Here’s a list of some other benefits of classroom coding:

  1. Establishes problem solving skills.
  2. Practices logical thinking.
  3. Promotes perseverance.
  4. Familiarizes students with technology, something they’ll be using for the rest of their lives!
  5. Prepares students for possible future employment opportunities.
  6. Helps creative development.
  7. Creates good analyzing skills.
  8. Its really fun!

If your looking to learn more about coding check out some of my other classmates posts! There all excellent reads and good beginner coding resources.

 

How To Help Students Combat Fake News with Digital Literacy

Today’s students are growing up in and being fully submersed in a digital world. There’s a lot of benefits to this such as, the enhancement of communication and millions of resources at the touch of a button. One MAJOR disadvantage of a digital world is the “fake news” epidemic that has rather recently become a major issue in society. From reading “Developing Critical Literacies: What We Need To Know in a “Fake News” world” I learned that the “fake news” explosion, along with the internets is no coincidence. The internet has allowed for anyone, anywhere to create and post realistic but false media to any digital platform. In our consumer hungry world this has turned dangerous. The same article points out that in the 2016 U.S. elections the top 20 fake news stories outperformed the top 20 legitimate news stories on Facebook.

digital consumption

Our society is constantly digitally consuming 

This is a particularly concerning topic for students, as we need future generations to be able to disconcert real from fake online! Research done by the Stanford History Education Group concluded that students from elementary school to college “ability to reason about information on the internet can be summed up in one word: bleak” (Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone Of Civic Reasoning). What can we do to change this however? I think the obvious answer is students need to develop skills early on in their education to detect fake news, and false information in general. I believe this important issue can easily be tied into the curriculum in almost every grade level and subject area, while also including the goals of the NCTE’s framework for 21st century curriculum and assessment.

The article “How do we teach students to identify fake news?” has some great ideas for just that, and ones I defiantly plan on using in my future classroom! My favourites were prioritize helping students develop investigative techniques and bring real world examples of fake news into the classroom. These also both meet the NCTE framework in regards to developing proficiency and fluency with technology in regarding  research and finding reliable sources. To help students prioritize investigative techniques the article recommends information verification websites such as Hoax Slayer, Verification Handbook, and Snopes. I did not know most of these websites existed myself and immediately bookmarked them for future use.

By bringing fake news examples into the classroom students can see the forms in which fake news often takes (think political!). Its also a good way for students to check their own fake news identifying skills by comparing a fake news source to a real news source. We did a similar exercise to this in our EDTC300 class, and I found my own skills needed some sharpening. Below is a video I previously tweeted (@Glascockennedy) that shows some good examples of fake news and tips on how to detect it.

In regards to teaching students in my future science classes I have some ideas on how I could incorporate combatting fake news. Research papers are an important part of the secondary curriculum and a great way to get students to focus on finding valid sources. Finding good research sources requires lots of cross referencing to ensure validity, much the same as finding the validity of any other real news versus fake news sources. The assignment description could run along the lines of “find an article that make claims that climate change is fake. Search for valid resources that disprove this and write about it in a APA format paper.

The assignment focuses on being able to identify fake news or research and showing the ability to find valid research as well. It also follows NCTE’s framework in regards to students locating and synthesizing information from a variety of sources, publishing writing in a way that meets a specific audience (science community), critically analyzing a variety of information form a variety of sources, using technology for research and many others.

In todays world its critical students are able to identify fake news. Its not enough anymore to trust what we simply read and hear from the digital world around us. Gaining investigative skills to detect this in the world is more essential than ever. Epistemology is under risk and we need are future generations to be able to challenge this.

fake news

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