Crocheting Check-in #diglitclass

Well, my Independent Learning Project has been going great! I have been working on two project in the last two or three weeks. I am loving this project to the fullest extent!

The two project that I have been working on include my dad’s ripple afghan and another bunny. On the ripple afghan, I have changed colors of yarn several times to begin making a pattern. I am super relaxed when I am working on this project. I can just let my mind wander. I also made another stuffed animal bunny this week. This one was smaller than the last one I made. I plan on getting some black yarn and making some eyes for them. I believe that these bunnies and maybe some other ones will be given as Christmas gifts to my little sisters and cousins. I have also considered donating some of these to hospitals for children.

Others projects that I have decided to make are bow ties for my brothers for their birthdays and Christmas. One is in his final, professional year before becoming a teacher, so he is professionally dressed all the time. My other brother is in high school and likes to dress nicely very often. Another thing that I think I will be making this year is a little stuffed animal elephant for one of my best friends. She loves elephants and has voiced her desire for me to make her a stuffed elephant. In the next several weeks I plan on making some baby hats as well and donating them to the neonatal intensive care units and the nursery at the community hospitals.

So far, I have loved this project. It is my stress reliever for the day. I tend to do more than the required amount of time each week simply because I love crocheting and have the time to continue. While looking at ideas on Pinterest, I found this article about how to make your yarn softer before crocheting with it rather than after you have made your project. It involves putting your skeins of yarn in a netted laundry bag and putting it in the washing machine and dryer. Your yarn will come out so soft! I think this is great! I hope to get a laundry bag so I can do this. It works so much better when the yarn is softer and more pliable.

Here are the pictures I took of my projects that I did this week. I hope you like them!

Digital Activism #diglitclass

There are people all around the world initiating and making change in their communities and across nations through the help of social media. This is known as digital activism and is the use of electronic communication such as social media to bring about political or social change. This can be through technologies such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, E-mail, Google+, and many others. Now more than every, social media sites are being used as a platform for diving into the world of activism and making change. An article that I found useful on this topic was The New Face of Teen Activism.

In the article, The 6 Activist Functions of Digital Tech, I learned that there are six functions of social media for digital activist. These are to shape public opinion, make a plan to action, protect activist through ambiguity, share a call to action, take action digitally, and the sharing of resources. This article states that these are the finite functions that technology does for activists.

Young adults or teenagers are using this type of activism. Through social media, teens can get their ideas out there for people to see and this also spreads their ideas far and wide. Through social media, their campaigns do not just stay in their individual areas or communities but travel to different states and even different countries across the globe. Teens are using digital activism by tweeting, blogging, making video blogs and several other methods to get their campaigns out there for the world to see. I believe that this type of activism is effective in part. When it comes to national or even state or region concerns and campaigns, I feel like social media is a great way to get information out to a broad range of people in a big area. However, when it comes to small, community social or political change, I think that it really impacts people to have physical representation and real life interactions.

In all honesty, I do not think that I have participated in digital activism as much as I should. I like and share some social change campaigns on social media like Facebook and Twitter, but beyond that, not much. I am not a big fan of “stirring the pot” when it comes to politics. I have my own opinion and others have their own. I may have face- to- face discussions with people if I am passionate about a controversial political topic, but I tend to stay away from social media debates.

There are several key issues that are spurring digital activists into motion. Some of these are rape culture, bullying and cyber- bullying, mental health and self-harm, and political change. These are very important issues that our country, as well as many others struggle with constantly. Some questions that I have is how can digital activism help in small communities? How can one go about becoming a digital activist?

Photo CC-By Brian McDonald

Google Me? #diglitclass

Photo CC-By SEO Google

It is weird to think that someone could just drop your name into a search bar and find out what you have been up to. When I went to search my name, I was not expecting too much to pop up about myself, maybe a few links and a picture or two. That is pretty much what I got. When simply searching my first and last name, Facebook was the top result that came up and my profile was on the list of people with my name. The next link that actually was about me was a Hudl account my track coach set up for me back in high school. I have never used it but it seemed to pop up. The only other link that was about me was an article on a scholarship I received as a graduating senior. It doesn’t have a full bio on me or anything, just mentioning that I received the scholarship. In the images, one picture is of me that is linked to another scholarship that I received last year. Other than that, the rest of the results were not of me, but of other young ladies. When I put my name is quotation marks, many of the same results come up.

Something funny pops up when I add my middle name. The first few results are for Stevens Institutes of Technology mentioning students with my first of middle name. I do not show up at all in this search result.

I would say I am most active on Facebook online. I would say besides that, just class websites for school. That’s about it. I much prefer face- to- face interactions.

A potential employer might find that I have a Facebook, but everything I do in my account is presentable and as it should be for a teacher. They could see that I was awarded some scholarships, which could be a good thing for them to find. I do not think they will find much else that is actually of me.

In general, I am pretty careful what I do online because I know people can see what I do. I think my online identity and my true identity are the same. Why portray myself differently than who I really am? It confuses me when people portray themselves differently online. I guess I like people being their true self. I am curious to hear others opinions on this topic.

Digital Citizenship #diglitclass

Literacy in the Digital Age is a course that is very different from any other course I have taken thus far. I never quite know what I will be learning in the week to come, and I always learn things about myself and topics I didn’t even know existed. This week’s topic is digital citizenship. When I saw how many resources there were to choose from, I was a bit overwhelmed. Once I read our assignment, though, it was much better. I could choose whatever resources I would like to learn from! I first picked this site that explains that digital citizenship is “the norms of appropriate, responsible technology use.” To be a digital citizen, it is your responsibility to be safe, kind, and appropriate online. This site also describes nine elements to being a digital citizen. Some of these are access to a whole online society, commerce of electronic buying and selling of goods, online communication and etiquette, and digital literacy.

Another resource that I really enjoyed learning from is a TED Talks Video featuring Juan Enriquez on the subject of your online life, as permanent as a tattoo. He explains how whatever you do online, it is permanently out there. You cannot erase anything from the internet and it be gone forever. Enriquez explains that tattoos shout without using words and they tell stories. That is the same with how people act online. Electronic tattoos are like your digital footprint. They can be found by everyone and can tell millions of details about individuals. He explains that our digital footprint or our electronic tattoos are immortal. They will exist much longer than our lifetime. So Enriquez advises to be careful what you post, not to look too far into the past of those you love, do not fall in love with your own reflection, and that we are threatened with immortality far worse than the threat of death. So, Enriquez is reminding us to thing about the legacy we want to leave behind when we go, specifically the digital footprint we will leave.

Finally, I read the article The Digital Citizenship Survival Kit. This article shows some props that could be used to explain digital citizenship to students. The kit contains: a padlock to remind students to keep secure passwords and locks on their devises, a toothbrush to remind students that you don’t want to share your passwords just like you don’t want to share your toothbrush, a permanent marker to remind them that everything you put online is permanently available for people to find, and toothpaste to show that once you put something out there, it is near impossible to take it back.

Digital Citizenship is everyone’s responsibility and as a future teacher, I hope to instill the importance of being a good digital citizen in my students.

Photo CC-By Marcie Casas

Why I Write #tdc1747 #diglitclass

As children, much of our creativity involves our imagination and play. It spans from playing imagination to drawing or creating things such as crafts. Many times creative writing is not something that children just naturally do when they are young. We learn to write in school. So, naturally, we associate writing with school work instead of a creative outlet. Even if schools do encourage creative writing, many times the focus is on writing essays or speeches that are grammatically correct and worthy of an A plus grade. Writing is so much more than that. This is the reason I write.

I write to clear my head. Whether I am using sticky notes, which I use quite often to make lists, or other outlets like this blog, I can write things down. That way I do not have to worry about forgetting them. Without doing this I would be a complete disaster. I would forget meetings and appointments. I would forget who said what or information I need for assignments in my classes. In total, I would be a mess. Writing enables me to keep a clear and focused head.

I write to express myself in more than one way. I express my thoughts and feelings in a personal and creative manner or in an educational and professional manner. If something is really bothering me, I can write what I am feeling down and it helps me sort out my feelings. Writing also helps me tell my story. I can write my thoughts and emotions. I am also really shy. Writing helps express my thoughts for school in a way that does not stress me out like face to face presentations. I am able to write out my professional thoughts and ideas carefully and in the order I choose.

Writing is very important for me. It allows me to be myself or create a whole different universe just by using a pen and paper. I am able to sort out the jumble that is inside my head in a professional manner. I have a pen pal and we write handwritten letters to one another. Writing helps us connect to one another on a deeper level than simply emailing or sending text messages. Writing should be very important to every person. It is how people communicate, present knowledge, and discover things that were previously unknown. Go out and write, create, discover, live!

Photo CC- By Damian Gadal

Reflections at Midterm #diglitclass

We have officially reached the halfway mark of this semester! So far, it has been a really great semester full of valuable learning moments in and out of school. When heading into this semester, I figured Literacy in the Digital Age would be a rather boring technology and writing class that was something I had to take simply to meet a course requirement. That could not be further from the truth. During the first week, I already knew that I would enjoy this course. It seemed like we would gain valuable knowledge and that the workload would be a big commitment, but I was up for the challenge. At this point, I had certain expectations of the class.

My expectations of this class were quite open. I expected to learn about many technological tools that could improve my teaching and my students’ learning, but beyond that, I did not know what to expect. In some part, the lessons have met my expectations. We have learned about technological tools that will help me to improve my teaching, such as the personal learning networks, and tools that will help students learn, like the passion-based learning could help students explore their interest. Yet, there are several things that were different from my expectations like using a vine to create small teaching moments and actually creating personal learning networks.

I think the most interesting module thus far would have to be either module 2 or module 4. I really liked learning about hackschooling and how that could be adapted to the traditional classroom. Module 4 was also really interesting because we learned about passion-based learning and I think that would be great to add to my future classroom. The most challenging modules for me to learn were module 5 and module 7. Module 5 was about the personal learning networks. The idea of a personal learning network is not hard to learn about, but there was just a large amount of work to complete for that week. Finding 100 educators that I would like to follow on Twitter was challenging. Module 7 was over ds106. I was really excited and am still excited to begin the daily create challenge, but exploring the course site for ds106 was really challenging and hard to learn about. After simply googling it and looking for other articles about ds106, I understood it much better. Mainly, I think these two modules were challenging for me because I had to work extra hard to learn what I was supposed to learn or they were extremely time consuming for me.

I am not quite certain what I am expecting from the rest of the semester. I hope to learn techniques on incorporating technology in an elementary classroom. In another class, we have learned about digital storytelling. I would like to learn about it in this class to see how others view this topic.


Monkey Business and Progress #diglitclass

This week for my ILP, I did two projects. For another class, I was assigned to make a stop motion video on a routine or something I do often. Naturally, I decided on crochet. I could not be the main person in the movie, so I got a little creative. I decided my sock monkey would be the main character in this short movie. He “made himself” a stocking cap and scarf. Since this was for another class, I decided that it would not count for my ILP, but I felt like it should be mentioned. During this project I felt super focused on how monkey should move from one picture to the next. I really enjoyed creating this project especially since it would show the progression from beginning to end. This is the last picture from the movie after my sock monkey finishes his crocheting.


For my two hours devoted for my Independent Learning Project, I began making my Dad’s afghan. I decided on starting with the burgundy color. To begin, I made a chain of about one hundred fifty. Then began with a single crochet building off the chain. after six single crochets, you do three single crochets in one loop. This begins your ripple effect. Then you do six more single crochets. Next, you skip two loops and crochet six single crochets again. Then another three single crochets in one loop and so on with this pattern until the end of the row. Then you chain one, turn your project around and begin again. The picture below shows how much of the afghan I have completed so far. I have just gotten to the next color of yarn I am using, grey. I am very excited about continuing with this project. The only thing I am struggling with so far is that I do not know if I like the third color of yarn I have chosen for this project. It is the darker red color in the picture below (right rolls of yarn). I like it, but I’m not sure if both red colors will look good together in one project. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.


I also have another thing I would like feedback on. So, I’m making this great afghan for my Dad. I don’t want my mom to feel left out. I have thought about making her a fancy pillow. But that isn’t super personal. I also found a design for a doily with her name in it that I could make for her. I think she would really like that, but again, what can she really do with a doily? Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

ds106? #diglitclass

Digital Storytelling 106, or ds106 for short, is a free online course through the University of Mary Washington. In this course, students will learn to develop their digital skills through storytelling. Students will create a digital identity through telling stories in the forms of audio, video, photography, drawing, writing, and and other creative forms. Students will also examine the digital communication landscape as an avenue for storytelling. Before doing some research about ds106, I had no idea what it was. The really interesting thing I have discovered from my research is that this course is open and free to not only the students attending the University of Mary Washington, but to everyone. It is available for anyone to explore. You can begin this course whenever you choose and can, in turn, leave the course whenever you desire. I find that very handy. You can work at your own pace. This puts the control in the students’ hands, which can be unnerving to some teachers. However, I feel that this is a great way to inspire learning. I found this article to be very helpful in learning about ds106.

The way this course is set up and run, it allows for so much creativity. The daily assignments are given with the challenge to complete them in the most creative way you can. This is such a great idea for all age levels. I really like the daily create challenge. I think that using all the forms of creativity (audio, video, writing, drawing, photography, etc.) is a great way to challenge students to think outside the box.

Some things that I found awesome while doing my research were the music videos students/ teachers have created to explain things in their lessons. I found one that was about math concepts such as the slope of a line. It was really clever. Another thing that I found awesome was the video about advise for future students (found here). It gave advise from the teacher and students on how the class is and helpful tips. It allowed me to get a better feel for the class rather than just reading about it.

I will definitely apply what I’ve learned through my research to my life and future classroom. I think the daily create challenge will really push me out of my comfort zone, which I will benefit from considering I’m really shy and quiet. I also think this will benefit my classroom. I will allow the students to create things on their own and have creative ways of completing assignments. As a first grade teacher, I hope to have several projects for my students where they will use their creativity in any way they choose.

Photo CC-By Bryan Alexander

I found this image to be really relevant to our lesson this week on digital storytelling. It show that storytelling, social media, and gaming overlap. We have also learned about this in several of my other courses this semester.

Personalized Learning #diglitclass

Photo CC-By Tessa Watson

Personalized learning is a student-centered pedagogy and curriculum that is focused on the individual students’ needs, interests, struggles, and aspirations. Personalized learning is just that, learning that is personalized for the students. However, this type of learning is not necessarily a one-to-one ratio of teachers to students. Personalized learning can happen in the regular school classroom setting. This type of learning is important because it is focused on the strengths, struggles, and needs of all the students. The teacher can customize the curriculum so that all their students learn in a way they can understand. This is extremely important so that the students can get the most out of their education. One article I found on personalized learning explained that:

“personalized learning is intended to facilitate the academic success of each student by first determining the learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students, and them provide learning experiences that are customized for each student.”

This explains that personalized learning is very customized for each student. The classrooms that use personalized learning sometimes look like every other classroom: kids at their desks, listening to the teacher, but then there can be sessions or lessons that are  in small groups working on individual topics. Some students could have to be taught a lesson again, or take more time to understand lessons, while other students are working ahead or on supplementary assignments. Another way the classroom could be set up is with stations or different areas that the students could learn at depending on their needs and interests. Technology can also play a big role in the learning process in personalized learning. Classroom time is spend on lessons and activities that are tailored toward the students’ needs and interests. A personalized learning classroom is usually messy or busy. children doing different things at different times. I think a teacher would decide to use this approach because it better customizes learning for each student and their needs. In this course we have discussed how all students learn differently and at their own pace. This approach better facilitates learning for students of all abilities levels. I think that is also a major advantage of personalized learning. A disadvantage is that one teacher can only be in one spot at a time. It could be a challenge to personalize their lessons so everyone learns best in the time allotted on one subject. How do you teach several different ways to twenty different students in an hour and make sure everyone understands?

While researching personalized learning I found some examples of classrooms that use personalized learning. I also found several professional teachers on twitter that discuss personalized learning. These include Bryony Kinnear, who teaches Middle School Math in San Diego, Dee Gambardella, a Reading Specialist, and Hilary Lundgren, a 5th grade ESL teacher.

Another resource I found useful when learning about this approach is the blog Personalize Learning. This has great thoughts on this subject.

Finally, I found a video on Personalized learning to be very useful.