All teaching, all learning

This semester, we were asked to comment on the posts of our classmates, whether it be on Twitter, the Google Community or on our blogs.

The purpose of this is help each other through the use of technology by commenting and giving our honest feedback and commentary on what our classmates were doing.

Here are just a few on the conversations I had, comments I made, and comments made on my own posts by others throughout the semester.

Blogs:

  

On Twitter:

On the Google Community:

A huge thank-you to everyone who gave feedback or made comments on my posts this semester! You all rock!!

Here is a video of all of the contributions I made to other students’ posts, featuring an unfortunate (but free!) watermark:

These conversations helped me grow as a student and educator by pushing my thinking further. I was able to do this for others as well by giving feedback and asking questions, and in a way we formed our own little Professional Learning Network. Luckily enough, the internet doesn’t end after this semester, so our PLN can continue to learn and grow together as we develop professionally.

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Summary of Learning

I  really can’t believe this semester is coming to an end. Maybe it’s the eight-week course thing, or the fact that I had a ton of fun with this class that it doesn’t really feel like this is my last post of the semester! But hey, all good things must come to an end.

Thanks to everyone who followed along with me on this journey! This semester I learned more about technology in the classroom than I thought was even possible and even more than that I learned about myself, and my own preferences in regards to classroom technology. And thanks to my amazing EDTC300 classmates who contributed to my learning by providing resources, comments and more online. You guys really are rockstar pre-service teachers!

This semester I learned about amazing resources and extensions like Google Read and Write, Screencastify, Twitter, Tweetdeck, Feedly, and I learned how to be the facilitator of these resources for students. Below is my Summary of Learning video, which I hope you all enjoy!

Thanks again everyone, it really has been a blast!

Wrapping it Up – ASL in Six Weeks

I chose to learn American Sign Language for a number of reasons. As an educator, American Sign Language will help me communicate with colleagues, parents and students who may be deaf or hard of hearing. My partner also has family members who are deaf, and I wanted to be able to fully communicate with them. I also work in the service industry, and want to be able to accommodate any customer I might encounter to the best of my ability. Simply put, I want to open my lines of communication and be as inclusive as possible as a person communicating in a world with others.

My Goals

When I began the ASL learning project, I set out to use lifeprint.com, and complete lessons 1-15.

Lets all take a minute to stop and laugh.

I had no idea how difficult it would be to learn American Sign Language in six weeks, and in setting that goal not only did I overestimate my ability, but I underestimated the difficulty of such an important skill, and the ability of all those who use ASL to communicate every day. After the first week, I decided to see just how far I could progress myself, without setting a goal for the end of the semester so that I could learn at my own pace, and not pressure myself to learn too much too quickly.

Technology Used

The first website I tried to use for learning ASL was lifeprint.com, which features the American Sign Language University.

 I didn’t really like the layout of the website or the order of the lessons, so before I ever used it for a lesson, I found two new resources: ASL THAT and signlanguage101.com.

I really liked ASL THAT because of the simplicity of the videos, such as the video I used to learn the Alphabet.

via YouTube

What I liked a lot about the signlanguage101.com videos, were that they were full, comprehensive lessons, and the teacher always included language tips and tips about deaf culture, so that you weren’t just learning basic ASL, but learning how and why certain rules existed, such as in this video I used to learn gestures.

via YouTube

As I continued on, I started to branch out and find more resources, such as Signing Savvy, an online English-ASL dictionary, and Sign Language Blitz.

I also found great videos from the South Dakota School for the Deaf’s YouTube Channel, such as this one, that I used to learn adjectives.

via YouTube

Finally, the last resource I found is the one I wish I had found first, Rochelle Barlow’s website and YouTube Channel, which featured lessons from beginner to expert, and downloadable worksheets that help learners keep track of progress at home.

What I liked about the use of technology for this project was the fact that I was able to use many different resources of my choosing, and choose lessons that I felt that I wanted to do. I was able to skip any lessons I wanted, and learn any lessons I wanted. This helps make learning more personal and tailored for learners. I also loved being able to film myself each week and watch myself as I progressed. When I got bored, I could simply look around on Twitter and other online spaces to find new resources to use.

Progress

Week 1: Choosing ASL

  • A goal was set 
  • Resources were chosen 
  • Basic outline of my learning plan

Week 2: The Alphabet, Gestures and Body Language

  • The Alphabet (A-Z)
  • Yes/no, come on, car, swim, no way, whatever, I don’t know, what’s up, drink, house, key
  • Facial expressions

Week 3: Colours, Pronouns and Basic Phrases

  • Colours: red, blue, yellow, white, black, green, orange, pink, purple, tan, brown and grey 
  • Pronouns: he, she, them, they, it,  you, me, they, we, my, you, your, ours, myself, yourself, themselves, ourselves, someone, each other and other. 

Week 4: Everyday Signs and Verbs

  • Yes, no, maybe, good, want, don’t want, restroom, lights on, lights off, go, stop
  • Verbs: Eat, drink, jump, walk, run, sit, stand, sleep, sleep, fly, fly, cry, wake up, stop, pick up, push, pull, open, close, wash, kiss, throw, drop, hit, hit, cut, fall, hug, drive, turn around, kick, pour, pour. 

Week 5: Common Phrases, Adjectives and Basic Sentence Structure

  • Hello, goodbye, how are you, see you later, see you tomorrow, my name is, what time is it, yes, no, please, thank you, welcome, I’m fine, excuse me, be careful, good morning, good afternoon
  • Adjectives: Hot, cold, big, little, happy, sad, clean, dirty, broken, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, pink, brown, one, two, three, yucky, silly, soft, fast.
  • Sentence structure 

Week 6: Numbers and Animals

  • Numbers 1-30
  • Animals: Cat, dog, elephant, rabbit, bird, duck, fish, cow, monkey, bear

Wrapping it Up

So just how much did I learn in six weeks? Well to recap, to start with all I knew was a few letters of the alphabet, and by the end of six weeks, I had learned:

  • The Alphabet (A-Z)
  • Yes/no, come on, car, swim, no way, whatever, I don’t know, what’s up, drink, house, key
  • Facial expressions
  • Colours: red, blue, yellow, white, black, green, orange, pink, purple, tan, brown and grey 
  • Pronouns: he, she, them, they, it,  you, me, they, we, my, you, your, ours, myself, yourself, themselves, ourselves, someone, each other and other. 
  • Yes, no, maybe, good, want, don’t want, restroom, lights on, lights off, go, stop
  • Verbs: Eat, drink, jump, walk, run, sit, stand, sleep, sleep, fly, fly, cry, wake up, stop, pick up, push, pull, open, close, wash, kiss, throw, drop, hit, hit, cut, fall, hug, drive, turn around, kick, pour, pour. 
  • Hello, goodbye, how are you, see you later, see you tomorrow, my name is, what time is it, yes, no, please, thank you, welcome, I’m fine, excuse me, be careful, good morning, good afternoon
  • Adjectives: Hot, cold, big, little, happy, sad, clean, dirty, broken, red, blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, black, white, pink, brown, one, two, three, yucky, silly, soft, fast.
  • Sentence structure 
  • Numbers 1-30
  • Animals: Cat, dog, elephant, rabbit, bird, duck, fish, cow, monkey, bear

They say that you are fluent in a language once you have one thousand words in your vocabulary, and while I’m quite far off, I can see it becoming a real possibility as I continue to study ASL. Is it as much as I would have liked to learn? No, but I’m just getting started, and I enjoy being able to go at my own pace. I can’t wait to continue learning ASL, and keeping my blog and Twitter up to date on my progress.

Thanks for joining me on this learning journey!

-Kali

 

 

 

Learning ASL – The Fun Stuff

This week to finish off my learning project, I decided to learn some more basic, but important words in American Sign Language: numbers and animals!

I had already learned some of the numbers in previous weeks, but I really wanted to solidify my knowledge of numbers up to 30. I went back to the first YouTube video channel I tried, ASL THAT.

via YouTube

Here was my attempt after some practice:

One thing that I wasn’t crazy about when following along with this video was that it didn’t display the numbers in  on the screen, or say them out loud so it would have been difficult for someone who needs to pause the video to follow along.

After this, I decided for my final lesson that I would learn the signs for different animals. I decided to use another “First 100” video from the South Dakota School for the Deaf, “First 100 Animals”.

via YouTube

I really liked that each sign seemed to just focus on a characteristic of the animal (except for dog), which made the signs really easy to remember!

I really enjoyed the entire process of learning ASL, and will definitely keep working on it! Stay tuned for one more learning project post: the wrap up post, and follow me on Twitter to stay updated about what I’m learning next!

Coding the Colours of the Rainbow

For this week’s blog post we were asked to use one of the coding websites provided (Scratch, Hour of Code , Code Academy) to code a short project. I chose to use Hour of Code, which has a ton of different projects to choose from!

I decided to go for this really cool looking project called Street Artist, which runs on a coding website called Kano.

I started off with the tutorial, which was really user friendly and easy to follow along with!

I really liked the instructions at the top, because they would often say “Stop and read the code, what do you think will happen?”. They really want learners to understand why a command will do what it does. After I got to level 1, I continued on making a spray paint effect.

After I learned how to code the spray paint effect, I learned how to do it in a bunch of cool different ways, like a rainbow changing spray paint.

Finally I made it to the end and scored a sweet Street Artist Master Badge!

What I really enjoyed about the coding experience was that the instructions weren’t just there to guide learners, they were here to help learners understand coding on a deeper level by asking them questions about why certain codes will do certain things. I can absolutely see the benefit of teaching coding in schools. As technology in our world continues to advance, many more jobs are going to start appearing where coding is the focus. Coding itself is also a great way to have students think logically and carefully about each step that they’re taking, and why each step is so important!

Learning ASL – Common Phrases, Adjectives and Basic Sentence Structure

This week to continue my ASL journey, I finished the last half of signlanguage101.com‘s video, “Lesson 3: Everyday Signs and Common Phrases”

via Youtube

A good language tip that I learned from this video is that when you’re fingerspelling, it really doesn’t matter which hand you use!

From here, I moved on to the South Dakota School for the Deaf’s “100 Adjectives” video.

via YouTube

What was nice about this video was that I already knew some of the signs! I remembered learning the colours just a few weeks back, so this video really helped solidify that knowledge.

I also watched this video that I saw in the YouTube sidebar titled “Sign Language Sentences- The Basic Structure”. The video is by Rochelle Barlow, who I found out also has her own website and program for learning ASL.

Rochelle’s video was really insightful and helpful! Even though I’m still a beginner, these tips will really help me as I progress even after the Learning Project is done. She has a lot of other videos and resources, and even has a link in the description of this video to a page on her website where you can download worksheets.

I decided to try it out, and it asked for my e-mail address and first name so that the worksheets could be sent to me via e-mail.

I downloaded the worksheets, and honestly I wasn’t expecting much. Rochelle features a lot of free content on her website but I know that a lot of her content has to be paid for, so I was a bit worried that the free worksheets would’t be that great — but boy was I wrong.

I’m a sucker for pink. I’m also a sucker for beautiful fonts, so these worksheets had it all for me. They are easy to follow, provide examples, a recap of what was learned and answers. They are printable as well, making things just that much easier.

Rochelle’s website and YouTube Channel are resources that are absolutely amazing for people learning ASL, from beginners to experts. I really like her teaching style, as well as the range of content available. I only wish I had found it sooner. Join me next week as I wrap up with some fun stuff: numbers and animals, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.

 

To Tech or Not to Tech

Technology can be an engaging, efficient way to run daily activities in the school and classroom. So what happens when a teacher is reluctant to use technology because they don’t want to, are afraid to or simply don’t know how? Below is a sample conversation between Ms. D., a tech savvy teacher, and Ms. K., a teacher who is wondering about technology in the classroom.

Ms.K is a very traditional teacher. She does not care for technology use in the classroom and takes away the students devices before each class. She has never cared to learn about any of the new digital tools available for teachers and does not understand how technology can be more effective than a paper and pencil.

Ms. D is a tech-savvy teacher who loves to use technology in the classroom, believing strongly that it will benefit her students in the end to be tech literate. She is always trying to find new ways to integrate technology in her classroom, and this year decided to use Google Classroom for much of her class work.

-A conversation between Ms.K and Ms.D in the high school in which they both teach at:

Ms. K: I cannot understand why my students keep talking about your classes and how fun they are. They must not be learning anything if they are on the internet the whole time.

Ms. D: Oh Ms K., they’re just on Google Classroom. It’s a place for the class to meet online. I can post lesson material like Powerpoints and documents for them to see, and they can hand in assignments and receive feedback. Plus,I can send out reminders to them!

Ms. K: Aren’t those reminders just giving them an excuse to have their phone out in class? I make sure my students keep their phones put away during class so they aren’t distracted by things like that.

Ms. D: Well you’re right there, Ms. K., but the students are probably going to be on their phones anyway, no matter how hard we try to get them off. Why not embrace what’s already happening and use it to engage students? At least Google Classroom gives them something to do on their phone that isn’t just texting or social media, and it can help them to understand how useful technology can be for things other than those.

Ms. K: Well, I have seen Google Classroom and it does not look efficient at all. It would take me too long to add all of my content onto each class when I could just keep my Powerpoints and Word Documents. Also, if I need to remind or inform my students on anything, I can do so in class. If I used Google Classroom, I would be encouraging my students to go on their devices instead of learning the curriculum. It does not seem like a tool that would benefit me or my students.

Ms. D: Well it might take a little while for everything to upload and add, but in the end it is a great time-saver! If everything is on Google Docs, it makes it easy for students to collaborate on a project without needing to get together. And as much as we like to think we’re being heard in class, how often do students forget about important events and due dates? With Google Classroom they have access to the classroom calendar so they never have the excuse of not knowing when something is due. Plus, it has the added benefit of keeping students who may be sick or away caught up on class activities!

Ms. K: I guess that is a good point. If I would be saving time and keeping students up to date, then maybe I should try Google Classroom out. But I am a bit nervous to start using my computer, I do not know much about technology. And what about student privacy? Aren’t my students more vulnerable if their information is on the internet?

Ms. D: I can come and help you after class tomorrow and we can run through it together! There are so many neat things that you can do with Google Classroom, and plus, you are saving paper! It is also very private, so it can be a safe place for your students to learn about digital citizenship, which I can also show you tomorrow! You should read this article that I found this week about 6 reasons why Google Classroom is such a great tool for teachers!

Ms. K: Okay, that would be great. I am excited to check this new tool out! I think that my students will also be excited to hear that I am engaging in technology as well. Thanks!

 

When Trolling Becomes Bullying

Watching Monica Lewinsky’s TED Talk, I couldn’t help but think back to high school. when in I was in grade nine, an eighth-grade girl sent naked pictures to her boyfriend, who sent them to everyone he knew. She came to our school the next year, but a good majority of the school had seen her naked before she even became a student. She would be the first of so many girls I knew or had heard of that had made the same mistake, and although many would pretend it didn’t bother them, I knew how I would feel if it were me who had done the same thing. Every one of these girls was like Monica Lewinsky, nothing but fodder for an internet willing to rip anyone and everyone apart.

via Whisper

I grew up in the digital age, and I went to high school during a time where the internet and cell phones were firmly set as our means of communication. I was in tenth grade when Amanda Todd, a girl living in Port Coquitlam killed herself in her family home because of cyberbullying. I witnessed, even after her death, memes featuring Amanda’s picture, with phrases like “Make a mess of life? Drink some bleach”. My peers and I learned early on that no matter how unbearably tragic your situation might be, people on the internet will always be ruthless in their bullying on the internet.

We learned to watch what we posted, and counted the likes we got on every picture, deleting the ones that we didn’t think got “enough”. What we didn’t learn, was how to navigate all of this. From my own experience, there was no class that taught students how to interact on the internet. I do remember the terrible ads and posters put up that were supposed to help prevent us from sexting or bullying online, but this was not a proactive approach — students my age were already doing these things. We were told not to bully online,  or sext, but we weren’t taught how to build a positive online presence. And while we weren’t learning about how to defend ourselves through a positive online presence, the notion of the keyboard warrior grew more and more each day.

2WPhoto via Flickr

So as a teacher, what do I do with this? I believe it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of all teachers to educate their students not only about the repercussions of posting anything to the internet, but how to behave in the online world. It is very likely that every single one of our students will have a digital identity, and so it is up to us to ensure that they don’t make the same mistakes that our generation did.

We learned the hard way, but our students don’t have to. We won’t ever be able to stop students from having online identities, whether or not we choose to use those in the classroom. The fact is that although the internet can be devastating for some, for so many others the internet and their digital footprint are a large, positive part of their life in the form of relationships, both professional and not. Having a positive online identity can be a wonderful thing, and it is up to us to ensure that students are able to navigate the internet in a way that they can build a positive digital footprint, while avoiding the pitfalls of the internet.

 

 

Learning ASL – Everyday Signs and Verbs

This week on my ASL journey I continued on with the signlanguage101.com videos. This week’s video was Lesson #3, Everyday Signs and Common Phrases.

via YouTube

I watched along with the video, and practiced until I felt I had it down pretty good!

I stopped after the Everyday Signs, because I was starting to feel a little bored and constricted in my choice of videos. The videos are great, but learning from multiple resources really helps me to keep my focus on a topic. I scrolled on the sidebar of the video, and found one titled “First 100 Verbs in ASL with captions”. I remembered back to high school French class when, at the beginning of each semester we would go over a large verb list, which really helped us. I decided this would be pretty similar and clicked the video.

via Youtube

The video is pretty straightforward and jumps right into the verbs with no extra or added instruction. It was set at a good pace and I felt like I could really sign along with the video.

I was really excited about the progress that I was making, and decided to keep searching for more resources on Twitter. The first one that I found was called Sign Language Blitz, which has it’s own blog and a website with what appears to be lessons that looks super user-friendly.

I was really excited to try this resource out, but unfortunately it is still a work in progress for the developers, so I will just have to wait until it is completed.

After Sign Language Blitz, I found something called Signing Savvy, which also has its own website. The website operates kind of like an online dictionary, and although it’s a lot less user-friendly than Sign Language Blitz, can definitely be a useful online tool!

Check out my blog, or follow me on Twitter to see me move on next week to the second half of Lesson #3, Common Phrases, and the “100 Adjectives” video by the South Dakota School for the Deaf. 

Find me on the web! If you can.

What’s in a name?

My mom named me Kali, who is the Hindu goddess of time, creation, destruction and power. Combine that with my last name, Day, and the whole thing sounds pretty cool right?

Well, try and throw it into a Google search, and see what you find.

As it turns out, my name is significant in two ways, neither of which are related to me. Kali Day in Hindi directly translates to Kali Puja, a festival thrown for my namesake.

It is also the name of a holistic acupuncturist. Even the first three pages of Facebook profiles associated with my name aren’t me. Even the Twitter account that shows up on page 2 isn’t me.

But whoever she is she is really excited to “get outta here”.

As it turns out, I’m not that easy to find.

Of course though, there are always other ways of finding people. I turned the creep-scale up a notch, and tried “Kali Day Regina”

Alas, the only important Kali from Regina is Kali Christ, the Olympic speed skater. At this point in my creeping, I was starting to feel a little bit offended. So I typed in “Kali Day Regina Twitter” because I really wanted to find something that had anything to do with me.

At first I was a little dismayed, until I saw it.

Could it be? My tweets had made it in between a few search results on the first page!

So what did I find out about my online identity?

I found out that even though I may be hard to find on the internet, it can still be done by anyone who really wants to see what I’m up to. Because of this I’ve realized that it’s a good thing I’ve got my privacy settings all the way up, because you never know who could be looking for you. That is why it’s also important as teachers for us to keep all of our profiles clean and professional.

My personal Facebook is something I’m not worried about as a pre-service teacher, even if others are able to scroll through a few pages of Kali Day(s) and find my profile. If someone were to find it I have an appropriate profile picture, and they would be able to see that I am a student at the University and my workplace, but that’s all. In general, my Facebook is clean, and my privacy settings are on.

My Twitter account is professional and focuses mainly on education, and I would like to have my blog itself pop up when my name is typed in.  I’m sure I could do that through tags and things like that, however, when you have a name that means something bigger than yourself, that thing will likely always pop up first. My goal is to build an online presence large enough that my Twitter or blog end up on the first page when my name is searched, so that others can see me as a professional online.