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

Sources:

 

 

 

Show Me, Show Me! Yousician vs. Fender Play

Yousician vs. Fender Play

In our EDTC300 class we were tasked with finding a new tool/ app to document our learning project. I chose the “Show Me” screen casting app. I used the app to compare two apps that I’ve been using in my guitar journey so far, Yousician and Fender Play. Both apps are geared at learning guitar, and in Yousicians case several other musical instruments. Both have been helpful in my journey so far, but since there paid for apps, I thought a review comparing the two might be helpful, in order to help you save some $$$$. Click the link below to check out my review on the two apps.

https://www.showme.com/sh?h=hXClT6m

Show Me Review

As you saw from the video Yousican was the clear winner of the two apps. Now it’s time for a review of the “Show Me” app, which ill be honest from the start,  was a BUST!

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“Show Me” describes itself as an “interactive whiteboard”, in which teachers can create lessons for students and post them online using an iPad. A good idea, that I can see myself finding useful in the future, unfortunately the apps interface was not up to par.

show me.jpg

A screenshot of  the app as it appears on the App Store.

Though I did not find the app to be user friendly there were still some things I did like about it, including:

  1. the ability to record voice memo’s
  2. the app deign is easy to navigate
  3. the ability to add photos to a presentation
  4. the ability to watch and make lessons from anywhere
  5. videos can be organized into multiple subject categories and sub categories
  6. there’s a limited free version

The following video is a short screencast I made of a how-to lesson explaining the features of  “Show Me”.

Now for the disadvantages of “Show Me”.  Though the app was easy to navigate, its missing some key features that would make it a lot more useful. The app does not have the ability to add graphs, charts, or shapes too it, a key feature in creating math or science lessons. The apps “draw” feature is also flawed. It is constantly misinterpreting demands and turning on at inconvenient times. Its quite glitchy as well, an Apple Pen is a MUST for anyone who plans on using this app to create even semi-neat lessons (hint: the neat diagrams and lesson seen on the app stores page probably aren’t going to happen!) . Below is a list of a few more things I dint like about the app.

  1. it is only for iPad
  2. you have very limited amounts of presentation time before having to buy the app (1 hour)
  3. Even with premium you are limited to a certain number of presentation hours.
  4. the premium version is $12.49 a month.
  5. You can not upload presentations to YouTube or download them to your own device (hence only the link to my Show Me presentation above).
  6. The voice memo recorder is hard to use as its tricky to delete and restart without losing progress on the presentation if you make a mistake or background noise interrupts (I lost progress and had to restart several times because of this).
  7. From comments on the App Store it appears many people are having problem with the app crashing.

Overall, the apps main idea of an interactive whiteboard is a good idea. The ability for students to watch and re-watch lessons is great, but the apps hard to use functions and limited presentation hours make it a no for me. My final feelings on Show Me can be summed up by the picture below. Its ok, but there are better alternative screen casting tools.

show me feels.gif Here are some similar apps to Show Me, that could be more helpful to you:

Rock Got No Reason and I Have No Time!

Is Anyone feeling the stress of full blown midterm madness? Because same! Luckily I just finished my last biology midterm today. If you want to know anything about the evolution of the 7 kingdoms of land plants or the serial endosymbiotic theory I’m your girl! if you want to learn about tips and tricks to playing power chords on guitar I am unfortunately, not your girl this week. I didn’t even get a chance to watch and review the film “School of Rock” as promised. However, I did grab an awesome clip from the movie that incorporates power chords. I embarrassingly have to admit that “Rock Got No Reason” might also be one of my favourite songs.

Also is Ned schneebly teacher goals, or what?! Now that’s someone who gets the importance of developing teacher, student relationships, and providing opportunities for all students.

I did manage to pick up and tinker with my guitar a bit this week, but did not get enough footage for a video. I continued to work on power chords, using the song Mississippi Queen. My trusty Yousician app was the only source used this week. I continued to make progress, and am beginning to feel more confident in the music coming from the strings of my guitar! A video of my progress will come next week.

Now that midterm season is over for me id like to look into finding some more learning sources for guitar. Ill be downloading the Fender Play app this week, and comparing it to my Yousician app. Fender describes itself as “the complete learning app for guitar, bass and ukulele”. This is very similar to Yousician, but has less instruments available to learn. I also notice that Fender is cheaper at only $14 a month compared to Yousician’s $28 a month. It’ll be interesting to see if yousician is worth the extra cost or not.

Stay tuned for next weeks progress video, and a Fender Play vs. Yousician Comparison!

 

What Does Your Digital Identity Say About You?

During the last few weeks in my EDTC300 class we have been focusing on the topic of digital identity. There’s many different ways one can explain digital identity. One I think reflects it best though is “Your digital identity is a permanent collection of data about you that is online” (BinaryTattoo). Digital identity can be contradictive to ones True identity. The definition of identity being “The distinguishing character or personality of an individual” (Merriam-Webster). In other words, the way many people live their lives offline is different to the way they portray their lives online.

digital identity

What do you think your digital identity reflects?

A sad example of the false or seemingly different identities one can have online is Madison Holleran. In the article “Split Image” by Kate Fagan I learned Madison was a young, pretty girl who ran track at Pennsylvania University.  Her digital identity  displayed a very positive, happy person. She had many pictures of her smiling and laughing with friends and enjoying time with family on her Instagram. Her online persona, unfortunately was not an accurate display of her life as on January 17th, 2014 she committed suicide.

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A few smiling pictures of Madison

The above example is an extreme, but not an uncommon theme of the differing identities one can have online vs. their real life identity. The article “Having multiple online identities is more normal than you think”  by Nicole Lee (Twitter: @nicole) goes beyond just having one identity online into several identities or personas. She mentions the idea of a “finstagram”: a fake Instagram separate from your real, and tailored to perfection real Instagram to take the pressure off having a perfect feed to present to the world as “you”. Nicole did a poll on her twitter regarding how many of her follower’s had more than one twitter account , and to my surprise the results were fairly even.

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The results from Nicole’s Twitter Pole.

I was curious to see what the results of this same type of poll would be among my own age demographic and peers. I tweeted out my own poll, via my  twitter account(@GlascockKennedy). My results yielded an even greater number of multiple accounts among the same platform, not surprising due to our digital obsessed generation.

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Thanks to everyone who participated!

I asked the voters to respond with their reasoning for having more than one of the same social media platforms, there was defiantly a trend in their responses. All the voters that responded mentioned having a professional account, besides having a personal account. Defiantly understandable in this day and age, when a google search of someone’s name goes hand in hand with a resume when applying for jobs.  There was also some accounts used for different interests, such as pets!

twiiter com 2twitter com 1

To go along with our discussion on digital identity this week in EDTC300 we got a fun assignment to Cyber Sleuth (creep) our classmates! Me and Justine Garret partnered up for this. This happens to be a speciality of most of me and Justine’s generation so I’m excited to see what she can dig up!

I started cyber sleuthing Justine the same way any rational millennial would, A Facebook search. It took me a loooong time to find Justine’s Facebook, and a fair amount of hardcore creeping. When I Finally found it though I realized she had her privacy settings locked up tight, the only way her account was identifiable was her profile picture.. She even subbed her last name for her middle name. not a bad idea for a teacher.  I’m embarrassed to admit that I took this assignment so far as to make a fake Facebook to find this out, as I don’t have a profile at all…talk about a false online identity. Next step, Instagram.
justine facebook

I was shocked to fin out Justine wasn’t on  Instagram. How does she stay up to date on her friends selfies, food pics, and nights out?! I wouldn’t be surprised though, after the lengths she went to make her Facebook private if she did have a very private account under a different name. Either way, a bust on that account. Next I tried a place I knew I could not fail, her twitter.

Justine’s twitter is very professional. Her tweets and likes are almost entirely connected to education. From her twitter feed it seems she passionate about Agriculture, anti-bullying, being a life long learner and educational technology. I was able to read some great post regarding “The Power of Life Long Learning” and “Chrome Tips For Teachers” and a few others. If your not following Justine already I Suggest you do (@msjgarrett).
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Justine had her blog address linked to her twitter bio, so I headed their next. She has a really great professional blog. I loved her blog design! I headed to her “About Me” page and found out a lot about her!

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I read that she grew up on a ranch in Cabri Saskatchewan, which I already had an idea about. She has a passion for sports, dance, her family, and owns a Clydesdale horse named Diesel…COOL! I also read her reasons for becoming a teacher and found that there very similar to my own. She wants to inspire students and provide as many opportunities as possible to them.

Lastly I finished up with the ultimate test of an online sleuth, a Google search. I found little else that I already had about Justine. A few results came up showing her involvement in her high schools SRC as Prime Minister, and some sporting events she participated in including track, and volleyball. 

Justine’s overall Digital Identity is a very clean one. Though her identity is minuscule, when she does have accounts made public their very professional and positive. Her passion for agriculture, education, and sport is evident in almost all her online foot prints. She comes of as very put together, compassionate, and kind!

 

 

Marty Music And Midterm Madness

This week for my learning project I learned POWER CHORDS. Power chords, are chords played with only two notes (only two strings are used to play this). Their most commonly heard on electric guitars in rock songs. Some of the most legendary guitar solos have been played with the use of power chords, thus, they’ve been dubbed the back bone of Rock ‘n Roll. Below are some of the all-time great songs of Rock ‘n Roll that highlight the use of power chords. These songs include “You Really Got Me” by The Kinks, “Come On To Me” by Paul McCartney, and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benetar (Hint: all songs are linked to Apple Music).

Along with my trusty Yousician app this week, I also enlisted the help of Marty Music on YouTube. As I’ve learned previously, learning new chords is tough. They require repetition and muscle memorization. With the help of the above resources though I was able to learn the basics.

Watching Marty’s video on YouTube was very helpful. I was able to slow down the video in order to follow exactly where his fingers moved along the guitar, and follow along at my own pace. Marty is a great teacher, and has over one million subscribers on YouTube to prove it! He’s able to explain guitar theory and skills at a level even the most beginner players can follow. He also uses both acoustic and electric guitars in his video’s. This is helpful as it seems a lot of online resources are based solely around electric guitars. The sound between an acoustic and electric guitar is no where near comparable, so its nice to find learning resources compatible with my own acoustic guitar. Marty’s YouTube channel is defiantly a great resource I will continue to use and suggest to others, whether  a beginner or an expert! Below is the video I used oh his lesson on power chords.

I used my Yousician app and iPhone camera this week to measure my progress.  I found one of my favourite songs “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain on the app and, thought it was a perfect fit for learning power chords.  Below is a video of the progress I made this week.  In the bottom left corner I overlaid my yousician app, displaying the notes played and whether I hit those notes correctly or incorrectly.

My progress was marginal this week. I was a tad bit too eager at the beginning of the week and, managed to give myself a blister on my strumming hand. It turns out strumming power chords requires a lot more force than I expected. I was forced to take a dew days off to let it heal but, I was still able to hit my practice goal of three hours a week. Some progress is better than no progress!

Next week I’m in full blown midterm mode, A.K.A I will basically be completing life’s bare necessity tasks of eating, sleeping, and studying. This tight schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for practicing guitar. Thus, I’m seriously considering dedicating a week of my learning project to the important major motion picture School of Rock and its relevance to standardization in school systems and cultural effect on young musicians, particularly guitar players. Not sure how my awesome EDTC-300 instructor, Katia Hildebrandt would feel about this, but I think it has the potential to be a very educational theory project. On second thought maybe ill just stick to learning some new chords. Stay tuned to find out!

My top tips for learning power chords:

  1. Learn with a fun song – there’s so many legendary songs you could use learning this skill. Learning Mississippi Queen made the experience a lot of fun for me, and I practiced regularly because of it.
  2. Don’t over do it – playing power chords are particularly hard on your strumming fingers, as your applying a lot more force to the strings than usual. Limit your playing time your first couple of sessions to avoid the painful blisters I received midway through the week.
  3.  If you don’t sound like Black Sabbath don’t worry about it – If I’ve learned one thing so far, its that learning guitar takes above all else patience. Keep practicing and the results will come!