“So long, farewell…”

I hate goodbyes, how about you? I debated on whether that was going to be a good title for this blog post because I feel like “goodbye EDTC300” is a little too harsh. You’ll understand why I ended up going for this title by the end of this blog post.

This is my summary of my Learning Project, where I decided I would learn ASL. It’s crazy, I have realized just how little I actually know even now as I finish up my Learning Project. What I do know, is that I have found some great resources so that I can continue to learn ASL as I move forward, past EDTC300.

Let’s reflect on some of those resources, shall we?

Learning Project Post 1: “And we’re off! (Introduction to ASL Learning Project)”

This post had me very excited. So excited, that even though all we had to do was outline our plan for our Learning Project, I instead decided to start off by learning how to sign my name.

For this post I found a wide variety of different resources which consisted of many apps (which I later found weren’t all that helpful) and the really terrific YouTube account TakeLessons.

Learning Project Post 2: “A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s (ASL Learning Project)”

This week, following along with the TakeLessons videos, I was ambitious and set out to learn the alphabet, numbers 1-20, and colours. The alphabet and numbers came easily. When it came to learning colours, however, I quickly remembered how with more you learn of a language, the more challenging it is to keep things straight.

This week I was filled with excitement about my learning project and figured I should probably learn a bit more about ASL for when I told my family and friends about it. I found a number of websites (“History of American Sign Language” Dawn Sign Press“The History of Sign Language” GoReact, and “A Guide to the Different Types of Sign Language Around the World” Richard Brooks) I planned on exploring for my following post.

Learning Project Post 3: “Standing the Tests of Time”

I decided to dedicate this post to the history of ASL as well as learning about some other sign languages. I utilized the resources I shared in my prior post in my research and they turned out to be pretty good. What I found interesting was that American Sign Language has origins with French Sign Language (LSF). At the American school for the Deaf (pictured below), LSF was combined with new signs developed at the school as well as those brought in from students to create the ALS that I used in my Learning Project.

American-School-for-the-Deaf-Connecticut-West

American School for the Deaf. Image retrieved from: https://www.britannica.com/place/American-School-for-the-Deaf

Learning Project Post 4: “‘I CAN’ sign!”

This was by far my favourite learning I did for my Learning Project. I used a site called lifeprint.com which broke down the learning into “I can” statements which, as a pre-service teacher, I loved.

I CAN for ASL

“I can” statements from Lesson 1 of Lifeprint.com’s ASL lessons. Screenshot retrieved from: https://www.lifeprint.com/asl101/lessons/lesson01.htm 

Overall, this site felt the most beneficial for those like myself who wanted to learn not only how to sign but also the history and culture behind ASL. This site is one I will likely go back to when I continue to learn ASL.

Learning Project Post 5: “Video Editing – What tool to use??” 

This is where I ran into a bit of trouble continuing my Learning Project. We were supposed to find a tool to use to document our learning for the week. I struggled to find a tool I actually wanted to use and liked so I ended up putting the post off. This is probably the trickiest part of learning on your own. Once you quit something it is so hard to get back to it, anyone who has tried to eat healthy or workout probably knows that it’s easier to just keep going rather than taking a day off. FINALLY, I put my foot down and told myself to get to it. I found the app InShot and it ended up working really well for me. I used InShot for all future videos I had in the class!

I tried out another website this week. It was okay, but LifePrint was still my favourite.

Learning Project Post 6: “Can you learn something new on TikTok?”

This was another fun week as I was able to try out another new place to learn: TikTok. I found a lot of signing users on the app, but only a portion of them really gave tutorials/lessons on how to sign. In the end I was able to find three really good users (@boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou). I have since created a TikTok account for myself and followed them so hopefully I can come across more of their videos!

I also played around with InShot some more and was able to add music to my video.

Seventh, and Final Learning Project Post

The Learning Project assignment showed me how easily we can learn an assortment of skills online. Through mine, I utilized so many different websites, apps, and YouTube channels. What I came to realize is there is something for everyone, regardless of the level they are starting from and would like to reach. Because ASL is something I do want to better understand and continue to learn, I was interested in the history and culture, so the LifePrint site was my favourite resource to find. For people who are just curious in learning a few phrases and words for fun, I would recommend checking out TikTok.

I chose to learn ASL because I felt it would help me on my way towards building a more inclusive classroom. After actually diving into the history and getting to see TikTok users who are hearing impaired using ASL rather than just following along with someone who spoke what they signed the whole time continued to show me that this is an important skill. I plan to continue to learn ASL so that if one day I do have a hearing impaired student walk into my classroom, that I can hopefully make them feel welcome.

For my final Learning Project post I hoped to learn a song. Here is a very simple one I found and learnt since this is a goodbye (see you later?) post to my EDTC300 classmates.

Before we get to my video, I will note that although I am fairly musical, that trait does not translate to singing. If you would like to watch me sign while listening to singing in key, feel free to listen to the previous video (I won’t be offended)!

And now, until next time, enjoy!

Collaborative Learning

It’s hard to believe but EDTC300 is now coming to an end. One of the things we were sent forward to do in this class was contribute to other students’ learning and to learn from what others had to share with us. This was a really great way to learn. I always enjoy when online classes have forums so myself and others can share their ideas and question each other. EDTC300 went beyond that, though. We were able to develop a network that we can continue to learn from into our careers and I am so excited to see all that I can gain from my fellow pre-service teachers!

Here are a few of the ways I contributed to the learning of other students in EDTC300.

Blogs

Throughout this course we each developed an ePortfolio blog. These allowed us to share what we were learning through the course of EDTC300 and comment on others’ posts, sharing helpful information or resources. For me, I found that I did not give a whole lot of recommendations on blogs. Instead I mostly provided feedback on Olivia, Lydia, Julia, Lochlin, and Tracey‘s posts, to name a few. Here are a few of the other responses I left on my fellow students’ blog posts:

 

And a few of the responses to people who commented on my blog:

 

 

Slack Community

The EDTC300 Slack community was where I contributed the least. When I wanted to share a resource I did it on Twitter and if someone asked a question I would usually be too slow and one of the other (incredibly helpful!) students in the class would have beat me to it. These are the few times that I did participate on Slack.

IMG-2488                 IMG-2586

Twitter

Throughout EDTC300 I was most active on Twitter. I found that this was a place I could easily hop on to network and interact with classmates and other educators. I participated in #SaskEdChat twice, once with our class and one other time. These were wonderful experiences and I look forward to participating in more Twitter chats in the future. What I really liked about Twitter is how it allowed for more discussion than the two other areas mentioned did. Here are some of my Tweets, replies, and resources I shared on Twitter. I narrowed down the couple hundreds of Tweets to the ones that had some of the most interaction!

 

If you are interested in seeing more of my tweets, give me a follow on Twitter!

As I said, collaboration plays a huge role in the education system. This network and these collaboration opportunities are one of the things I am most thankful for as I reflect on EDTC300. So, to my fellow classmates, let’s stay connected! And to those reading who haven’t reached out but are interested, please feel free! Your thoughts and recommendations are welcome!

 

Coding AKA my biggest technological fear

In the first week of EDTC300 I looked through the syllabus and weekly plans. Everything was looking pretty good, I was excited about the assignments, until I got to one of the daily topics. Coding. As we crept towards this topic I wondered how challenging it would be and how confused I would get trying to work through trying to code something. Until this point All I had experience with was accidentally getting into the code of my WordPress blog back in ECS 100, getting confused, panicking, then quickly shutting my laptop to get it out of my sight. Back then, I NEVER would have expected to be sharing my Certificate of Completion for a coding program, but here it is!

Hour of Code

After our Zoom class, I was stuck between trying out Scratch or using one of the programmed tutorials found at Code.org. When my partner’s brother found out I was doing coding he tried teaching me how to use Scratch. He even sent me a link to the site he used in Computer Science where he learned how to code. After playing around with Scratch I did have an idea of how it worked but was still stuck on how to use some things so I figured I should get a bit more practice before trying it out. I went back to Code.org and decided to do one of the tutorials on building a Star Wars game.

Note: To document our experience with coding we were to use something such as Screencastify or another recording app/extension. I used Screencastify for the first time during this. Somehow I messed up trying to get my microphone on or working well for a couple of the videos so that is another application I will have to work on using.

The tutorial I found was very easy to follow. In this first video you can see that we started by using blocks to code. This was fitting for the grade 5-8 level that the tutorial was aimed towards.

This tutorial had two options: one where you only worked with blocks and another where you also learned the coding language JavaScript. I chose the second option, thinking it would be more interesting for me. In this next video you can see at the start that I use JavaScript. I ended up going back to just dragging the blocks however because it was a little quicker. These levels began feeling more and more like a game because of the added elements of points and different sounds for different interactions.

Throughout the tutorial, there were 3 instructional videos explaining the next steps we would be taking. This is the last video in the tutorial. The others were led mostly by the director of the animations of Star Wars The Force Awakens and others who contributed to the production of the movie. This was a nice touch.

I decided to share this final instructional video over the others because the last level of the tutorial was to create your own game. I liked that students who completed this tutorial shared their games in the video, it even gave me an idea for what I would do with mine.

Creating my own game was slightly more challenging, and it could even be worked on a little further I feel. In this last level I was able to explore all of the functions on the tutorial. This took me a little while but it was a lot of fun getting to play around with the codes to create a game that myself and others could play.

Overall I enjoyed the coding tutorial. I think that block coding is very simple and that it could be taught to young students. The JavaScript was fun because it was a bit more challenging for me and I think I might play around with it a bit more in the future in case I ever end up wanting to teach it to my students.

The question of whether coding is important or not is a tricky one because I honestly feel that a lot of what students take in school is subjective. For some students, this may not be something they want to learn or will ever need to know. For others, learning coding might be an exciting subject or even lead them to pursuing computer science in the future. Searching through the many options on Code.org I found some tutorials that had other educational topics included, such as one on DNA (which I wanted to try but for some reason my laptop wouldn’t let me open that one). Because I feel as though we should give students many opportunities to show what they have taken out of a lesson, I could see myself including this type of coding in a class. This would provide students who are less successful in some of the traditional testing methods to try out a new method, one where they could express themselves and their learning better.

Want to check out the game I made? You can find it here: https://studio.code.org/c/1156297480

Instructions:  Get all of the Puffer Pigs while avoiding the Storm Troopers. Once you get all the Puffer Pigs, catch the Tauntaun to win the game!

Puffer Pigs = +100 points

Storm Trooper = -25 points

Let me know your thoughts!

EDTC300: Summary of Learning

It’s kind of hard for me to believe, but the six weeks of EDTC300 are now coming to a close. This class has been very beneficial for me, especially as we are coming to better understand the logistics behind remote learning, and I am excited about being able to take the resources we have gained into upcoming placements for classes, internship, and my career.

Here is my summary of what Rachel Steele and I have learned.

Title caught your eye? Triggered your emotions? It could be a clickbait article

Teaching students digital literacy can be a challenging task for today’s educators. With the flood of “fake news” on social media, people can be fooled into believing one of the clickbait articles that are full of junk. I’m sure many of us have heard the saying “if it’s on Facebook, it must be true”? As educators, we are expected to shape students and help them become well rounded individuals when they leave our classrooms. This means we must also help them to learn to be critical in what they consume online.

its-a-trap4-1

Clickbait Titles: “It’s a Trap!” Retrieved from: https://fourdots.com/blog/clickbait-titles-seo-2634

So how do we teach our students to sort through the flood of fake news to find credible sources?

Being that my major is in English and my minor is General Science and Biology, I feel like having a variety of resources available to educate students is beneficial. Both these subjects could involve using news and research to supplement the learning. Science courses often use research in assignments. For English classes, I think that understanding Digital Literacy is important because some topics may include reading news articles of current events. You could also have students create some sort of a clickbait article as a writing assignment or challenge them to find an article and identify it as being biased. Overall, I think that teaching students Digital Literacy could be covered in really any subject area and grade level.

From the list of resources shared with us in our EDTC300 Weekly Plans, the first thing that caught my eye was this comic. It teaches viewers about the “backfire effect” which is what causes you to become emotional when exposed to an idea that challenges your core beliefs. What I like about using a comic is that it can help some learners stay engaged, with images in to break up the continuous reading. One thing I would recommend for other Canadian teachers is to try to find a similar Canadian comic. This is an American comic so the examples might not be as effective in showing the way headlines can affect our emotions as one written about our events would be.

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The Oatmeal. “You’re Not Going to Believe What I’m About to Tell You”. Retrieved from: https://theoatmeal.com/comics/believe_clean

Whether we view a statement as being factual or based on opinion depends a lot on whether we agree with it or not. This study performed in the United States showed that people are usually good at identifying factual statements. However, when identifying opinion statements, they were more likely to classify the statements as being factual rather than opinion if it aligned with their own beliefs. If you are interested in trying it out yourself, visit this link. Thinking back to the comic, this is another study that shows how our emotions and personal beliefs influence what we seek out. Many of us want our beliefs to be correct and therefore seek out articles that reflect those beliefs.

I believe a comic such as the one mentioned could be a good introduction to teaching students Digital Literacy. From here, I think the students would need to learn how to distinguish the various forms of news and facts they find. This could be done by using a checklist for things to look out for, as is found here. This blog post breaks down what you should do when you find a new source, from investigating the URL to being critical of images. It then goes on to break down the things to consider when looking at each of these things and asks questions to get you started in thinking critically about the sources being used. The post also includes a link to a folder with all of the evaluating news resources mentioned that can be downloaded on Google Drive.

Here is another Google Doc that lays out a list of things to look out for when determining when a news source is biased or not. It also includes an activity where students are to go in groups to look through three articles, all covering the same event, to identify the biases present in them. This would be something I would use for a full lesson on Digital Literacy. The other resources I mentioned could be used as a quick reminder before sending students to do research. This activity could be used in a Digital Literacy lesson such as some of the ones I mentioned before.

As far as curriculum links, one I could tie Digital Literacy into is some of the Health 9 outcomes. From relationship expectations to the stigma around infections and diseases, you could teach your students to determine an unbiased article from one that is biased.

Question of the day for my fellow EDTC300 students, what are some curriculum links you can draw on using Digital Literacy?

Can you learn something new on TikTok?

For my next Learning Project lesson I decided to take a recommendation from Katia Hildebrandt, our EDTC300  instructor, by taking my learning to TikTok! This was an interesting experience that I could see being useful in the early learning of ASL.

I tried out a few hashtags to try finding some users sharing their own lessons. I first tried #asl. This didn’t come up with exactly what I was looking for. I did however find some users who made videos signing songs (considered trying to learn them, but they went pretty fast!) and others showing what a day in their life was like. It was exciting to see this community on TikTok where I thought people mostly just posted videos of them dancing or trying to do something funny for likes.

Next, I searched #aslinterpreter. I figured here I would be able to find some interpreters showing how to sign some things, or translating what someone else is saying. Again, this isn’t what I found.

Finally, and I don’t know why I didn’t try this sooner, I looked at #learnasl. There it was! I found several accounts showing how to sign various words and phrases. The main accounts I used once finding this area of TikTok were @boonami, @thatdeafcanadianguy, and @chrissycanthearyou.

All three had some great videos. Some, such as the one included by @chrissycanthearyou, were up to date on current events.

Others provided other resources for learning ASL.

@thatdeafcanadianguy

People always ask me for resources or suggestions on learning ASL. Here are a few great ones! #learnasl #asl #signlanguage #canada #oshawa #tiktok

♬ Beyoncé Check On It JBroadway Remix – j.broadway

What I enjoyed most about this online lesson through TikTok was that I was able to find both @chrissycanthearyou and @thatdeafcanadianguy and see how they share their language through a popular app. I can see TikTok as a useful location where we can learn and see others’ experiences. This brings awareness to the larger population and I think that awareness can help encourage a more inclusive society.

Here is my video for the week. I decided to share some of my struggles in the video because often times online we see all of the perfect versions of what we do so you’ll see this as well. Enjoy!