Digital Stories #diglitclass

This week, I completed my second digital story making experience. The first was an art assignment where we created a stop motion picture. I mentioned this project earlier this semester in one of my crochet posts. So, I went off of my previous knowledge to create this digital story.

Our assignment was to create a digital story with the topic of a metaphor of our experience as a learner or a teacher. I chose to do a combination of the two. My metaphor I decided to have as my central theme was that learning is like gardening. When cultivated, cared for, and nurtured, a garden or student will flourish and thrive. When a student’s potential is overlooked, nothing good will happen. I chose to make my video over this metaphor because I believe that understanding this and applying it to a classroom is very beneficial to all teachers and students.

I found our reading for this week very intriguing. The article on Poetry for Everyday Life, discussed how metaphors relate to many aspects of our lives. we use food metaphors when discussing ideas. We use war metaphors when on the topic of arguments. Health metaphors are used when discussing relationships with other. I never realized how the metaphors we use every week relate to each other or how they correlate to other aspects of life. I also did not realize how common metaphors are in my life. I use them all the time, and do not really realize it. How odd. We say things all the times and never realize that we mix topics or conversations, one to the next.

The topic for this week, along with many things I have encountered over the holiday weekend, have really gotten me thinking. I have come to the realization that I should take a step back and really look at how I run my life. I should probably pay more attention to what I say and do and how these things affect the ones around me. Although, focusing on myself is important when necessary, I need to keep in mind what is truly important, why I am doing what I am doing and who I am doing it for. These are things I will be pondering and working on in the near future.

Here is my digital story. I uploaded it to YouTube. Hopefully it will work well for others. It played well for me.


Wrapping up my ILP #diglitclass

In terms of my Independent Learning Project for class, this will be my last post. I have learned so much about myself through this project. I have learned that when I am excited about my work, I enjoy completing it and am more motivated to do it. Every week, when it  was time to work on my Independent Learning Project, I got to work crocheting right away instead of procrastinating and waiting until the last minute. I learned that if I am motivated, I can learn anything I would like. Another thing that I have learned through this project is that without a set time to work on my hobbies, I tend to set them aside until my class work is done.

Most of the time, it was extremely easy to motivate myself to work on my project. With the amount of course work I have, I didn’t have much extra time besides the hour or two a week to work on my projects. I would say that one of the challenging aspects of my independent learning project was figuring out which crochet projects I would like to do.

In my opinion, the best part of this project was that I got to make gifts for people and bring a bit of happiness to other people. I got to do something that was relaxing to me. Those were the best parts. In the future, I could see myself applying some of the things I have learned to my future classroom. Something I could do in my future classroom is to have a time for students to explore their own interests. Maybe during free time. I could have a craft that involves yarn, but maybe not something like crocheting or knitting. For a young elementary classroom, I think trying to teach a whole class of six and seven year old students may be really challenging.

I did not get to some of the projects that I wanted to. That does not mean I won’t. I have the supplies to make the baby hats for the hospitals and plan on completing them in the near future. I am close to half-way done with the afghan for my father. For my brother’s birthday, I have made a bow tie, pictured below. I plan on making two more bow ties, one for each brother for Christmas. My crocheting adventure does not end because we are done with our Independent Learning Projects. I hope that I will be crocheting for many more years. Hopefully, I will also be able to keep blogging about my crocheting creations.

Here are the afghan in progress and my brother’s bow tie.

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Creating Graphics/Visuals #diglitclass

When I was in elementary and middle school, my favorite part of beginning a new class and having a new teacher was getting to see how they decorated their room. Every room was unique and creative. There were always colorful posters and pictures, a fun lay-out of the classroom, and an interesting way to run their class. These colorful posters would grab my attention and make me want to read the information on them. And in class, when my teacher would pull our a graph or some visual aid, it always sparked my interest because it was different and new. Graphics are extremely important in every classroom.

As a future educator, I am very glad for this module lesson on creating visual tools. I decided to make a presentation on Canva. I created this presentation on the benefits that I have learned throughout this semester of crocheting. Some of these I have learned through personal experience and others I have heard of from other sources such as my mother and grandmother.

The process of making this presentation was quite simple. You pick a layout, like a presentation, poster, flyer, etc. Then you can begin creating it. You can put text into it, upload pictures, add shapes or other elements like charts or icons. I added some pictures in this presentation of projects that I have completed. I enjoyed that I could upload pictures or take pictures from the internet in the tool. The only thing that was slightly challenging for me was finding where the options were. Where were the options for adding text or pictures? It was very simple to use once I found them, I just was not looking in the right spot. To figure out what information to include in my presentation, I thought about what I had done throughout the semester with my independent learning project and what I would like people to know about crocheting.

I will definitely use this or another tool like it in my classroom. I can use it to make flyers to send home to parents. I can use this to create presentations for my students. This adds great visual aspects for the visual learners. I think it is a great tool for teaching. I do think there is value in presenting information in visual and graphic styles. This moves away from the same old boring ways of teaching and learning. It keeps students engaged and excited to learn.

My advise for all teachers is to creating visuals for students so they become and stay engaged and excited about learning.

Story Time, Online! #diglitclass

As a young child, what was your favorite thing to do before going to bed? For many children, it was story time. Parents all over the world read bedtime stories to their children to leave them with happy thoughts before drifting off to sleep. As children get older, bedtime stories occur less and less as children learn to read and grow up. Story telling turns into writing essays and filling out scholarship applications. However, the creation of podcasts and digital storytelling have brought back the love we as children had for story time as digital stories.

Educators are especially enjoying the benefits of podcasts in their classrooms and lessons. Podcasts are a great resource for supplementing lessons. These help students who are auditory learners and also just give students a different way to learn. Podcast and digital storytelling benefit students’ cognitive skills, speaking, and listening skills. These also are of interest to students due to their interest in technology. This is discussed in the article Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling. This article also gives ideas for possible lessons that could involve podcasts and digital storytelling. Some ideas involve children interviewing people and making podcasts or digital stories. This helps develop communication skills. One disadvantage that I notice is that there are some students that have hearing impairments. There would have to be some written transcript or something for them to use to be able to learn the same things as the podcast.

I do think I will have students create both podcasts and digital story videos. I think it gets students thinking in a different way than simply reading something and doing a worksheet over it. Students learn secondary skills such as how to work as a team and problem solving. I also think that it is great to get students actually creating things. It shows them that they can do things they never thought about before. It gets them to explore their creative side. In my Art for the Elementary Teacher class, we had a whole unit over digital storytelling. We read several articles on this subject and then we created a stop motion video on a routine or story we wanted to tell. It was great to be able to have an assignment like this because I could really do whatever I wanted, within reason of course. I learned so much about myself as a student through doing this. I had to figure out what I wanted my story to be, how I wanted to set up the pictures, the format I wanted it in, and much more. I really find it interesting how two of my classes taught about the same topic, but were worlds away in the delivery and the focus of the topic. I find that in Digital Literacy, we focused heavily on technology and how that benefits our students to hear stories using technology. In my Art class, we focused on the storytelling portion. How telling stories benefits children and things like that. I think both classes taught the subject well, just with different viewpoints.

My biggest take away from this was that telling your own story, like the children did in this article, can bring you closer to your friends and family, and that technology is a great way to get your story out their for people to hear.

Photo CC- By Alan Levine

My Activity Log #diglitclass

Isn’t it curious how we all think of ourselves in a certain way simply because we are ourselves? We know our perception or ourselves and what others tell us we are, but our true self can remain hidden from us. At least, hidden from our conscious self. Sometimes, the only way to grow and learn about ourselves is through projects like the one we have been assigned for class. We are to log five or more of our online sessions. Five times we are online, doing whatever we do, taking note of certain aspects of our time. These include: the physical space we were in, the device we were using, what occurred during this time, what we did, how we felt during this time, what worked, and what did not work. The purpose of this assignment was to have us learn how we spend our time online and how it impacts us.

So, to begin with, I logged five of my online sessions. Three of them were times where I was completing assignments of doing something academic and the other two were when I was just on my IPod to pass the time pretty much.

My first three sessions were my assignment sessions. I was sitting at my desk for all of them, in the living room. Two times, my roommates were also doing homework or hanging out in the same room. The other time, I was the only one home. I learned that while doing homework, I am pretty even keel. I am really just focused on learning what I need to learn and completing my assignments in the best possible way. Sometimes I was frustrated with how my homework was going or overwhelmed with the amount of things I needed to accomplish, but overall, I was alright. I found it interesting when I came to answering the what worked/ didn’t work part. In the first session I tried to listen to my show while doing homework. I couldn’t function well so I switched to listening to music and it went much better. The second session I started off listening to music, but that wasn’t working well, so I shut off my music, but left my headphones in my ears. That worked well. The third time, I had learned that having the earbud in my ear with nothing playing actually helps me a lot. The earbud block some of the background noise from the room, but doesn’t add any noise. I found that I work very well by doing this.

My last two sessions were mainly on social media sites. I was relaxing on the couch or chair with friends. My birthday was yesterday, so I was commenting and thanking people for wishing me a happy birthday. I felt very happy and blessed to have such kind and amazing people in my life. Today I was the only one home and was occupying myself by scrolling through Facebook and talking to my sister and friend through Snapchat. I was feeling very tired after a long day of school. I was not interested in Facebook, so that didn’t last long. My conversations lasted for awhile and lifted my spirits some.

Altogether, my sessions were fairly even between academic work and social media. I have learned what works for me when doing homework, but I do believe that I should spend less of my free time online and more time doing things worth while. I will keep that in mind in the future. Now, I don’t think that I have truly found out who I am, but I have learned several things about myself that I didn’t know before this assignment. I encourage others to analyze your usage of the internet. You may learn things you never knew about yourself.

Photo CC-By Marcelo Graciolli 


Technology Mindfulness #diglitclass

Photo CC-By

Have you ever been to a dinner party or gone out to a restaurant and looked around at other people? How many times were they all glued to their cell phones when there was a lag in conversation? Many times, this is the case. We use our technology as an avenue of entertainment and route to forego awkwardness or boredom. I myself struggle with this. I tend to gravitate towards my devices when I have breaks throughout my day. With that time I could be doing more productive things. This was our focus for this week, mindfulness on the internet.

In regards to myself, I think I use technology mindfully most of the time, but not all. Maybe close to three fourths mindfully, one fourth not. Much of my time online involves doing homework for my classes. Otherwise, it is just a time filler. Not good. I think much of my inattentive time comes from scrolling through social media like Facebook and Twitter. I have just downloaded the Moment app, but haven’t really looked at it yet.

When learning about technology mindfulness, I watched a TED Talk about someone who quit using the internet for a whole year! The video is at the bottom of the post. I found that so interesting! Without technology being a distraction there would be so much time to be creative and have fun! This is discussed in an article that I read: Bored… And Brilliant? A Challenge to Disconnect from your Phone. This article shows a study that found that “spacing out inspires creativity and deep contemplation.” This brings to mind the picture that I had at the beginning of my post. Yes, I think it is a bit harsh, but I think there is some truth and value to it. To be a true intellectual or poet or anything on that list, you have to be that in real life, not just online.

I would love to quit using the internet and my technological devices like my computer and IPod, if I did not need them for school. I think I would have loads more time for more creative projects and more quality time with family and friends.

One question posed in this lesson is ‘When do we need to stop multi-tasking?’ I find this question very interesting because I have learned that no one can actually multi-task. The physical act of doing multiple things at once cannot really be done. Sure we can all do two projects at relatively the same time. I can listen to music while writing an essay, but I don’t really absorb what music is playing until I stop focusing on my essay briefly to switch songs or sing along. We have become very good at switching from one task to the next quickly which makes it seem like we can multi-task. Back on topic, we should stop ‘multi-tasking’ when it impedes our ability to perform the tasks proficiently.

When tethered to our devices, we lose our sense of identity and authenticity. We think our lives are in our devices, when we should be out living our lives. Some articles I read explain that there are negative effects of being on technology for too long like this Huffington Post article. It described that when you are on Facebook for more than 20 minutes, you become sadder. A Mind Shift article described a lesson where students gave up their devices for three days. This was interesting to see how students felt about giving up technology.

From this lesson, I learned that although technology is great for many things, too much technology can be detrimental. We need to focus on our priorities and focus on them. Don’t let the internet get in the way. I hope to be able to quit using the internet for an extended amount of time, but for now I will try to simplify my internet usage. The article Simplify the Internet from Zen Habits has great tips for ways of simplifying your internet usage.