Google Me? #diglitclass

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

 

Bunny and Butterfly (ILP) #diglitclass

To fulfill my two hours of independent learning project time, I scattered it throughout the week. I did some Monday and some Thursday, and finished up today. I did three separate things this week. They were all very unique and required different skills to do. I also reacted and felt differently during all three projects.

My first project I did this week was a stuffed animal bunny that I had been wanting to make. Okay… confession time… I have a stash of yarn hidden under my bed. Yeah I know, it’s strange to think that a college aged student has a box of yarn under her bed. Oh, well. I love it! So, I was going through this box to find the perfect color to make my bunny. I was thinking a yellow or mint green color, but I eventually settled on a brown color. More realistic. For this project, it is made by using a single crochet stitch and making a square or rectangle. Then you thread yarn through the square to make a triangle. Pull the yarn tight so it makes a sort of circle with two corners sticking out. Stuff the circle with stuffing and that is now your head. I struggled with getting the body the right shape but I figured out how to make it round. Then just make and attach a puff ball for the tail. During this project, I was relaxing and watching a movie with my roommate. I felt calm and happy while making this. I might give this bunny away as a present to someone, but I’m not sure who. Any thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

On Thursday, I ventured to Walmart to buy yarn. I know, more yarn? Yeah. This was for my dad’s afghan project. I decided on two shades of red and a grey. Red is his favorite color. I didn’t really consider what I was feeling on this trip. Just determined to get what I need and get out. I’m not a big fan of shopping.

My final project for this week was a butterfly that I made. I used a ball of yarn that shifts from red, to orange, to pink, and back to red. This project is worked in a circular pattern and then folds over into a butterfly. I used a double crochet stitch to create this. While making the butterfly, I began to relax. I hadn’t been feeling well today, but once I sat down, turned on a movie, and started to crochet, I quit worrying about things and just got lost in what I was doing. I don’t feel 100% better, but it has definitely helped.

I plan on starting my dad’s afghan this coming week and possibly making some baby booties. Thanks for visiting!

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These are my own pictures of what I have been doing this week. The top two pictures are two different views of the bunny I made. The bottom left picture is the skeins (balls) of yarn for the afghan. The bottom right picture shows the butterfly I made and the yellow butterfly is one my mother made and I use as my guideline. Thanks for reading!

Personal Learning Networks

Photo CC-By Caroline Bucky

Personal Learning Networks are something I had never heard of until now. I learned that they are a network of people to reach out to in order to learn and connect with others. It’s not specific to teachers and education. A personal learning network can be created for any type of profession or hobby. It really help to connect a teacher with other educators to communicate and sometimes even collaborate with them. It helps teachers to share ideas and resources to others and in return, they can find ideas and resources from their personal learning networks. These allow for teachers to understand and connect with others that struggle with the same things or go through similar situations in their classrooms. Personal learning networks help form connected educators, which benefit the students they interact with. I kind of see a personal learning network as a form of social networking that focuses on a certain topic, such as education or physical therapy.

To begin creating my own personal learning network (PLN), I started thinking about what kind of PLN I would like to have. I decided on education in general but almost solely focused on elementary. I began by reading about PLNs and how to create them. Then I searched for the best people to follow on Twitter in education. I found a whole host of sites that offered lists of people to follow. I started sifting through the lists and reading through these peoples twitter feeds. If I thought they would be good to connect with, I added them. I then moved on to searching for education blogs I could follow. I struggled a bit with finding ones that are updated regularly and that were relevant to what I was looking for. I found many that were simply a host of resources for worksheets and activities for teachers. That would be great to follow once I graduate and am actually teaching, but I was really looking for education discussions rather than resources right now.

The article, How to Cultivate Your Personal Learning Network, was very helpful in learning about this. I learned that there are several things that you have to do in order to cultivate and keep your personal learning network relevant and fruitful. You have to keep improving your PLN by picking and choosing who you want in your PLN and who no longer benefits your learning. I have already began to discover who I would like to keep in my PLN and who doesn’t fit well. Another thing you have to do is share information yourself with your PLN to benefit them. This also helps you engage with people and inquire on subjects you need help with.

One thing that I think I will kind of struggle with is finding and feeding my PLN with valuable information. I’m really unsure of how to go about finding information to share with my PLN. Maybe by reading education articles and journals? That might help.

I have begun to find great people and groups to follow, including Teaching Issues. They always have inspirational bits of information for teachers, including the one below. I am already enjoying the exploration of my PLN.

 

Coffee Cozies and Benefits #diglitclass

So, this week not only did I do some actual crocheting, but I also researched some of the health benefits of doing yarn crafts such as crocheting. For my actual project that I did this week, I crocheted coffee cozies for a friend of mine. She loves coffee and bought some coffee mugs. They aren’t the easiest to hold while hot coffee is in them though, because of how hot they become. So, she asked me to crochet her some really simple coffee mug cozies. This project didn’t take me quite two hours to complete though, so I decided to do some research on the health benefits of yarn crafting. In the article 10 Most Important Health Benefits of Yarncrafting, there are some huge benefits. One benefit is that knitting and crocheting are stress relievers. they allow people to just forget about their troubles for a short time. Yarn work also decreases anxiety. Crocheting and knitting also relieves depression. The article states that the repetitive motion of crocheting releases the natural anti-depressant hormone serotonin. Crocheting and knitting also has been linked to the postponing or reducing of dementia. The article says that the act of knitting and crocheting soothes those experiencing memory loss and that the simple acts of these activities can postpone memory problems. Another benefit that hits a different area of health is a higher self-esteem. The completion of a project is a satisfying feeling. It boosts your self-esteem to see that people think you are good at something. Crocheting and knitting can work at relaxation which in and of itself is a huge health benefit. Another benefit that may benefit a person in a slightly different way is crocheting and prayer. In my church, we have a prayer shawl ministry. Prayer has been proven to be a huge health benefit for many people and crocheting is an outlet to give you the time and clear mind to pray.

In the weeks to come there are several projects I would like to begin and complete. I still would like to make a stuffed animal bunny. I should be able to begin and complete that fairly soon. I also want to start on the afghan project for my dad within the next week or two. I would also like to complete some baby hats to donate to the local hospital.

To get some ideas of projects I could do, I reached out to my friends over Facebook. One friend messaged me asking if I would like his mom to send me some patterns. I said sure and gave him my address. A few days later, I received a stuffed envelope full of small magazines that had patterns and several paper copies of random pattern ideas from my friend’s mom (whom I’d never met). She enclosed a letter explaining what some of the patterns were for. She also enclosed a bookmark cross made by crocheting thread. It was so awesome how crocheting builds a community and helps make friends. I might try crocheting using thread.

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The left picture is the coffee cozies that I made. The right picture is the mail I received from my friend’s mom! Both pictures were taken by me.