Hacking (The Good Kind)

Photo CC-By ChrisA1995

When you think of hacking and hackers what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Well, I can tell you mine was not about hackschooling. It was about computer hackers doing bad and illegal activities. The original definition of hacking is fiddling or tinkering with something to make it work better. Hackschooling is a method of education where the student or learner is allowed to choose their activities and how they would like to learn. I think this is a brilliant way for children to learn, although it would be difficult to implement everywhere. I like that students get to choose special interests that they can learn about in their education, but I feel like young children would need a large amount of guidance in choosing their special interest. In the TED Talk video, Logan LePlante explained that “learning how to be happy and healthy is not taught in school.” This lead his family and many others to pull their students out of public education to be home schooled. These families created hackschooling. In this system they have the freedom to learn about skiing and they spend whole days outside in nature. I think this would be an excellent option for students. Both the video and reading has opened my eyes to the possibilities that I will have in my own classroom. Hopefully, when I have my classroom, I will be able to teach my students about nature outside, show them where their food comes from, and teach them life skills. I know that going on trips every other week will never happen in schools, but teachers have options to teach students in different ways that allow them to learn special interests. The article Centering on Essential Lenses describes how children learn better when they are actually making things with their hands rather than just being lectured. That is really important for future teachers to understand. Schools need to have hands on experiences for their students. The article also describes how playing is a good thing. It isn’t just letting the students do whatever they please. The article says that play is about giving students the freedom to learn and discover while still giving guidance. It also says that “good play requires that you understand what and who you’re playing with, and perhaps even the nature of the game.” This is an extremely important thing for students to learn. When they understand things, they can excel. Altogether, I learned a lot from the video and article.



The Wonderful Subject of Digital Literacy

Where to begin? Well, digital literacy is a person’s ability to navigate and use several types of technology for different purposes such as finding and communicating different ideas. It means that someone is able to use technology for several different things proficiently. Another aspect under this subject that I learned about is digital fluency. Digital fluency is a person’s aptitude for interpreting and communicating information along with forming ideas and discovering the meanings of these communications through technology. In this ever-changing society we live in, it is always necessary that we communicate well. Since we are relying on technology more, it just makes sense that all people should be digitally literate. There are several elements to digital learning that have to be taken into account thought. One is the availability or access that students have to technology. Not all students have regular access to technology. I do believe that technology does contribute to student learning that sometimes cannot be achieved in other ways. This brings me to another element to digital learning: personalized learning. technology opens doors for students that may not be able to learn well in the classroom. Digital learning can be tailored to each and every individual student. There are several other important elements of digital learning but those are the ones that I found most interesting. When reading and learning about subjects like this, it also sheds light on your own literacy when it comes to technology. I admit that I’m not one of the most digitally literate person. I know how to run the programs that I absolutely need. I know how to do things on the internet (such as this blog), navigate our school website and such. I also know how to run word and powerpoint. Beyond that… not much. I am familiar with an Ipad/Iphone. Growing up, my family didn’t use technology every day. I do, however, think I am at least partially digitally literate. I would like to learn how to trouble shoot and solve my technological problems better. I think one thing that we need to do to become better digital learners and leaders is understand that not everything will be learned or mastered in one day. It is a process. while doing this research I found this video about the essential elements of digital literacies. During the presentation, the speakers mentioned that digital literacy and fluency is a process. It is also a condition and is not a barrier. I found all of this interesting. We don’t normally consider ourselves to be digitally literate or illiterate. We just tend to think we know how to use technology or we don’t mess with it. It is a very important thing that should be taught (kind of) in education.

Here is another article that I found interesting and useful in learning about digital literacy: Link

Taught by Nuns

My educational journey begins like most others. As a toddler, I learned valuable life lessons from my parents, such as brush your teeth every day, treat elders with respect,share with others, and so on. Then, they enrolled me in a private, Catholic school. This is my first key experience. The school was ran by our church with a nun as the principal. All the teachers I had in this school held very high standards for their students (although they didn’t smack us with rulers, they were strict). They expected our full attention while they spoke and demanded near perfection in our behavior and homework. As a shy and quiet child, I wanted to please these lovely ladies that I looked up to. So, I have always worked very hard to have good grades and do my very best.

Photo CC-By http://www.audio-luci-store.it

The private school I attended only went through fifth grade. So, in sixth grade I integrated into our town’s public middle school. This is my second learning experience. Change. It was challenging going from a class of seven to a class of seventy. Not fitting in was my biggest concern. I struggled to fit in with the girls I wanted to be friends with. I even went so far as to give a friend answers to a quiz. The only thing that got me was a zero on that quiz, which dropped my grade to a B. This is my third learning experience. Cheating or breaking the rules will never get you true friends.


Photo CC-By Ryan McGilchrist
Photo CC-By Tom Woodward

During my time in high school, I had some amazing teachers. My first choir teacher sat the class down during the first week of school and told us how much he cared about us. Not only as part of his choir, but he cared about our lives and our well-being. He wanted us to know that he loved us all like we were his children. This made me want to learn and simply be the best type of person in and outside of the classroom. The next teacher that inspired me was my civics teacher. I have always been concerned about getting straight A’s. I want to do the best I can do, and I hold myself to that standard. School has always come easily to me, but I struggled in the social science and history classes. My grade had dipped to a B in his class, so I pestered him to see what I could do to bring my grade up. He turned to me and said “Sydni, you might not like to hear this, but grades don’t matter. Ten years down the road, it won’t matter if you got an A in your civics class or if you got a C. It’s just a grade.” What he said bothered me because getting good grades was what I was good at in school. I wasn’t the star athlete and I wasn’t the best musician. I was one that got a 4.o g.p.a. Since this, I have learned that although it is important to get good grades, it isn’t the only thing in school and the learning process that is important. All of these experiences and more have helped shape me into the learner I am today.

Photo CC-By Brandon Giesbrecht


Photo CC-By Michelle TeGrootenhuis