I can’t believe it’s over

In ECMP 355 I have learned so many things, and have become open to more possible uses for technology in the classroom. Each week we explored new and exciting subjects that have helped me to explore more than I ever knew was accessible online. In this video, I go over some of the key points I have retained over the course of this semester. Some of the main topics include digital identity and citizenship, communication, staying safe and the consequences of poor decisions, exploring new resources, upgrading software and operating systems etc.. Watch my summary of learning and please feel free to ask anything or share your thoughts.

I am so grateful to Katia and my classmates for all their guidance and support along the way. I would not have learned as much as I did and be so intrigued if it hadn’t been for all of you. Have a great summer and good luck in the future.

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Help me to help you

Sadly, my journey in ECMP 355 is coming to its close. I have loved every moment, every lesson and every resource shared over the course of this semester. I have worked hard on building my digital identity, posting things I am passionate about, and finally helping out my fellow classmates. I am known as a silent helper because I prefer to read and only comment if I feel I have something of value to add. I try to help during the class by responding to questions and helping clarify some topics via chat on zoom. I also try to comment on blogs, retweet classmate’s posts and follow them on twitter. I know that each comment and like I receive has helped me to improve and to learn. I wish I had been able to help more on the google plus community but never knew the anwsers, the few times I did the person already had the anwser before I was able. I am glad I had the chance to help my classmates and support them through this class. I know some people struggled with certain things but my classmates were always willing to offer support and guidance. I personally made a padlet hoping my classmates would add something that represented how they felt about technology around the halfway point of the class.

Made with Padlet

I was saddened when I only had two responders to this padlet in addition to myself. I also tried to build personal relationships with the students. I started with Tanya. We met to make a vegan pizza and I made a post describing the incredible experience we had. I loved having the chance to put a face to the name on my computer screen during out zoom meetings. We had a chance to discuss our experiences in the class and to help expand our PLN (professional learning network).

My next attempt was attempting to work with Fallan as a partner for the summary of learning. I chose Fallan because she was in Regina and we had taken the same KHS class the year before. This was sadly a failed attempt but it was worth trying. I love the idea of our classmates working together to help each other grow. I would have loved to take this class during the year where we would have had more time to meet more people and make more of a small community. Thankfully all the students stayed active on google plus, chats and blogs as well as social media. This was a great experience and I hope our classmates stay connected.

contributions images are also available here.

One moment, One decision, One mistake.

In my previous posts I talk often of my complicated view on technology. I love the possibilities and the connections, but I fear the side effects such as cyber bullying and blackmail. The online world can be a loving community or a horrible depressive leach. When used for good, sharing can be beneficial for yourself and others, but when misused it can spread lies, or be used to cause harm. One example of how sharing information using technology allowed for the harm of another is with the Bill Clinton affair. Monica Lewinsky worked for the president, they had an affair and someone was recording them. Later on, over 20 hours of audio had been recorded and shared with the public. The media was booming with stories, photos and suspicions. During her Ted Talk she discusses what she went through and the effects it had on her life She also explains how the new arrival of more modern technology played a huge factor in her public humiliation.

Monica Lewinsky is a strong woman who has made the best of her situation. Another person who has truly suffered from cyberbullying and public humiliation was Amanda Todd. Amanada and I were quite close in age, so she and I both grew up in the age of technology. Everywhere I looked there was always something new and exciting. I loved using my webcam to chat with people online, but like Amanda, I always found perverted men wanting something more than conversation. I was able to avoid any temptation on that front, I tried to focus more of the safer websites and technologies. Sadly, I also remember her posting a video before she killed herself.

Amanda was a lover of music, singing, dancing and compliments. She started using her camera to record herself singing and dancing, which is where she felt most confident. She later began meeting people online trying to make friends and gain followers. Some of the followers she gained were pedophiles and ‘cappers’ – a new breed of cyber-predators who systematically stalk websites looking for girls on webcams, flatter them into performing sexual acts, then capture their images.  One day Amanda had over 100 people watching her on Blogtv and she made the mistake of flashing them her breasts. There was a screenshot done, and at that exact moment her life changed forever. People started sharing these photos on porn sites, and sending them to all Amanda’s Facebook friends, including her mother. This was a very difficult time for her, she became depressed due to the cyberbullying and humiliation at school. She made this video as a cry for help, one that never came.

Here we see that Amanda would never go back to that happy young girl who wanted to sing and dance and see the good in people. She was being blackmailed, and her family tried to fight to keep her safe. The police were aware of the situation but did not take action. She later ended up killing herself because she was no longer able to fight. In this video, we see a more detailed story of Amanda Todd and her mother talks about her side as well.

The mother said she wanted justice, in January of 2014 Aydin C was apprehended in the Netherlands for internet fraud and blackmail. Aydin Coban, 38, was also charged in relation to alleged abuse of 34 other young girls and five gay men. They found him guilty and gave him the maximum possible sentence, calling his behaviour “astonishing.” This goes to show how one person could cause so much harm. Sadly, Carol Todd will never get her daughter back, but justice was found for her. There are many young people who have also suffered due to cyberbullying and were not given that chance. Amanda was loved greatly and will be missed. My hope is that one day people will stop using the internet for bad, and try to help push our young people to be the best version of themselves, and also that the necessary measures are taken to keep them safe. If you or anyone you know if suffering from cyberbullying, make sure the right people are aware and try to show your support so they know they aren’t alone.

Sources used:
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39485930
Amanda Todd’s accused cyberbully sentenced to 11 years in Dutch prison
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/amanda-todd-aydin-coban-1.3951334

Twitter to free speach

So, lets talk about something a little more complex, online social activism. I began my twitter account for my ECMP 355 course, and I have slowly started to love it. My favorite part is that you can see what others are saying about the same topics via hashtags and can comment, retweet and follow your tweets. Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media allow for more sharing and honesty than every before. I find that political social activism is important for online users to access because often times the news portray one side of the story, lie or ignore the issues. Before technology became so present in society it was easier for countries to cover up protests, death and other crimes. Since the massive spread of technology more people have the ability to follow political movements around the globe. This one video talks about how social activism and social media helped push the Tunisians and share their strife, check it out.

As you can see, technology and social media can be used as a tool to help better the world. It is important to share your thought and feel empowered.

“Many people lost their fear through Twitter and Facebook – each one writing a little sentence or a word and someone else reading that and saying, ‘Oh he say that, I can say a little bit more’,” Cherif told Al Jazeera.

A lot of people, when going through devastation and injustice feel powerless and scared. Twitter and Facebook allowed these people to share their stories and opinions to help them feel more secure and to gain support. I believe it is important for people to share their stories and rally behind each other to help further our society. One person’s post could be all the difference is cases of severe chaos. On the other hand, I do believe it must go further than just online activism, if you truly believe in something you must fight for it. This Ted Talk talks about some of the good and bad involving social activism.

All in all, I believe people have a responsibility to stay aware of the world around them. Some people are satisfied staying in the dark, but most people want to fight for each other and themselves. Social media and online activism is essential to help build a community and rally supporters. After the support starts that is when real action must be taken if there is any hope of effecting the necessary changes. I think of online activism as the gateway to a world of responsible citizens, justice and equality.

Not everything is how it seems in the movies!

This week for ECMP 355 we were tasked with exploring the world of code. I personally have always wanted to learn to code but that won’t be happening, like ever. I feel the amount of time and the proper guidance are not reasonable for myself. Many of my favorite tv shows and movies involve a hacker/coder, I actually have a list of my five favorites:

    1. Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds.
    2. Huck, Charlie and Quinn Perkins from Scandal.
    3. The digital consciousness of Arnim Zola from Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
    4. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow from multiple Avengers movies.
    5. Skye from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

I am definitely aware that these are fictional characters, but I love what most of them stand for; they wanted access to more and they knew how to get it. I may never have coding skills near the level of the professionals, however I found that Code.org was a reliable source for me to play my hand at some basic coding skills. The site offers many different levels, games and time commitments. I did one of the hour of learning options. I am a huge fan of Star Wars so the choice was quite easy. Through the process there were rules and helpful hints to guide me. I think this is a great resource for students as there are many different options but they are all educational and entertaining. I had a hard time with a few levels as you could see in my screen casts. Coding is a great skill which is becoming more accessible due to the development of new technologies. It is important for students to have access to try new things and to learn along the way. Try it out and let me know what you think.

understanding is the first step to success

So, I need to talk about the idea of tech in the classroom; I have a very complicated view on this subject. In my opinion tech should only be used in the classroom after the teacher feels comfortable with the equipment and is ready to monitor the students’ activity online, and is able to do so. I feel the younger children would have less need for vigorous monitoring as they would be using basic tools and applications, as opposed to the older students who use it on a daily basis. Thankfully for me I am aiming to teacher the younger years where you will need to be very active in helping your students reach the website or game and learn to use it.

8eba11a5c7d565f45e0b195ac9043ef9When you plop a laptop or tablet into the lap of a 13-year-old student they will be off onto their own sites faster than you can say “be safe” or “be smart”. I think that when used correctly, and introducing active learning through technology you could have a huge success on your hands. However, I feel that when leaving kids to their own devices to search the web it can be opening the floodgates into a whole world of possibly unexplored territory for the teacher.  When high school students have access to the online world they can access anything they want by the clicking of a few buttons and a few cleaver searches.

On the other hand, Technology ushers in fundamental structural changes that can be integral to achieving significant improvements in productivity. Used to support both teaching and learning, technology infuses classrooms with digital learning tools, such as computers and hand-held devices; expands course offerings, experiences, and learning materials; supports learning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; builds 21st century skills; increases student engagement and motivation; and accelerates learning. Technology also has the power to transform teaching by ushering in a new model of connected teaching.

hqdefaultI love the possible benefits of technology in the classroom but fear the possibility of my students gaining access to inappropriate or illegal things. The possibilities for success and failure are endless. I think that if students are taught the basics of digital identity, how to be safe on a computer, how to understand what they are doings, how to be safe and responsible and how to be smart online technology would be the greatest gift to the school system. The first step to success in this world is understanding, comfort and appreciation. After that the rest can be learned over time with the help of many other tech-savvy responsible digital citizens.

I’m a cybersleuth; Sorry Molly this one is for you!

So, for this weekly post I have been tasked with cybersleuthing/cyberstalking a willing volunteer, thankfully miss Molly Yungmann offered herself as tribute. I decided just to use google for this one as it tends to give me the results I need. Also, because google keeps tabs of things I have searched so it knows I want the molly from the University of Regina who is also taking my ECMP355 course. So, the first results were all from sport websites as Molly has been involved in sports and athletic since she was a young girl. She is a pentathlete for the Regina cougars. She was born in the small community of St. Gregor in Saskatchewan in 1998. She is the oldest of three children and went to a small school with 8 students at her age level at Anaheim school.

11378118She is currently a first-year student at the university of Regina studying secondary math education as well as inclusive education. She claims to be very passionate about working with kids, which is seen through her coaching of younger groups of children and her blogs about me section. A bunch of her scores and results for sporting events are also tagged to her as well as many nice images. I also found her on Instagram (private account), WordPress, Twitter and Snapchat as mollymyoungmann. I was surprised to be unable to find her on Facebook, that sneaky girl. All in all, I think she has a very professional and active online life. I enjoyed the experience of stalking her, although I felt kind of creepy. However, she volunteered as tribute and lucky for her, her privacy setting and the odds were definitely in her favor on this one.

Padlet; a simple and usefull tool

So, lets talk about Padlet. Padlet is this amazing site that lets you create this page. You can choose the background and the template for how the posts will be organized and placed on the page. You can choose the setting for who can post and how, you choose who can see the page, and it is pretty much instantaneous. I love how this class (ECMP 355) used the site to post a selfie with five hashtags to describe ourselves. It is a fantastic way for people to introduce yourselves or share images in a community before you meet. It is also great because you can make it so just the class can see the page and you can post what your learning. I personally took on a challenge, I wanted to see how many responses I could get in one day on a padlet. I posted on my class’ google plus community, my fakebook and my twitter. So far, I have three (including my own) but I feel over time it will grow. I wanted to focus it on the focus of my class by asking people to post a photo explaining how you feel about tech and education.

Made with Padlet

I posted a picture I feel explains my mentality to a tee. I keep learning about technology, I may not like what I am learning as I only see the possibilities for misuse. Thankfully this class is opening me up to more positive ways to use it and I am slowly growing to appreciate it more. Padlet was just one thing that stuck with me from the beginning and here are 10 reasons why;2017-06-05 (2)

  1. The easy setup
  2. 2017-06-05 (3)

    The privacy options

  3. Having everything on one page at one time
  4. Choosing how it looks and the order
  5. Being able to delete posts
  6. That you can print the page
  7. That you can post a video, photo, text or audio
  8. That you can share it on many platforms
  9. Great for parents to see what your doing in class2017-06-05
  10. For kids to show that they are working on a project or share their progress from home

After all is said and done I am sure there are many resources like padlet that may even be better, but for someone like me who is not the most tech savvy, it is easy to use and very functional. There are even ways to get more services if you pay, but being a student I didn’t delve into that side of it but here are the services you can get for a school account:

  1. User management and access control
  2. More privacy
  3. Extra security
  4. Branding
  5. School-wide activity monitoring
  6. Bigger file uploads
  7. Controlled environment
  8. Delightful support
  9. Lots of love
  10. Student reports and portfolios
  11. Google apps integration
  12. Analytics (coming soon)
  13. Content filtering (coming soon)

So basically, the prices are: 12 dollars (US) a month or 99 dollars (US) a year for one teacher or 1499 dollars (US) a year for unlimited teacher and student accounts. The prices seem quite manageable, in my naive opinion.  There is also a similar plan for business’. I can’t think of all the possibilities for a school to use this service. Padlet is a great way to share things, almost like twitter but not. Twitter is more public and infinite, padlet is more simple, private and limited. I definitely think its something I would like to use as an addition to a class blog. I feel if used with a blog, it would be a great progress tracker for larger projects that require more effort outside the classroom.

Youtube; a mixed point of view

For my class we were asked to watch at least the first 15 minutes of An anthropological introduction to YouTube by Michael Wesch. I will start by saying I watched the whole thing. I then decided to watch his ted talk. I cannot emphasize enough how great I found his ideas, his approach and his romantic idea of how YouTube could be used as a great tool. I agree to an extent, YouTube can be used to build a community, to enjoy life and to share beautiful, funny and special moment not only with your friends and family, but with the world. But for me this is where a big problem lies, what you post on YouTube is seen by anyone with access to internet. It can be saved, remade and reposted. In some cases, this is a big problem like for young girls who post a video where they are being themselves and it can be turned into something to demean them and can cause harm to the original poster. This link leads to a video where youtubers share comments left on their posts as an anti-bullying campaign. There are many instances where people regret posting things due to unnecessary comments, and in some severe cases it has lead to depression and even suicide.

image0

watch this video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rkkxc3RpFM8

On the other hand, YouTube can be used as a great tool for education, work and personal use. I loved the part in this video where they show the numa numa song done from many people all around the world. It can be a fantastic way to connect people and to share the joys of life. I truly wish this was the only way YouTube was used because then I’m sure it would be one of the best resources out there to share videos and information in a fun environment. You could make a video for your own class that goes with what your teaching, and when its posted other teachers could also use the video if they discuss the same topic. It is a great sharing network, especially for educators.  I personally love watching funny cat videos, the Charlie bit me and so on. When I need something to brighten my day YouTube never fails me. And what Michael focused on in his study was the good side where people come together as a community and help each other grow and express themselves. He looks at all the possibility and the endless potential for greatness. I personally take the good with the bad, YouTube is a great source but in my opinion, it could be improved with better comment moderation and a better support system to stop any cyber bullying which may be enabled by this site. If these changes were made this could be the start of unbelievable growth especially for the younger generations. New idea of community and the never-ending opportunity is a great idea and the benefits in the school would be endless. The school systems have been slowly integrating the into the classrooms, but need to do it slowly so everyone knows how to properly use it. Tech can be a very powerful tool, especially in the right hands; those of people who understand and appreciate it.

tw-tw-tw-twitter

Another platform that is important for the ECMP 355 class is twitter. I am personally not a fan of twitter at all. I used to have an account but I deleted it years ago and had to make a new one specifically for this course. I understand the possible benefits of twitter such as creating a community of supporters, following people with similar interests who can help you develop certain topics and also that it is accessible from anywhere in the world which means infinite possibilities as far as possible users to follow and learn from. However, I feel twitter isn’t the best platform to do this. I love blogs, where every post is though out and informative and longer than 140 characters. With twitter it is more of a back and forth platform that a one stop shop.  Twitter could be useful for everyone to share their ideas quickly all in one spot for a class, such as with saskedchat for educators. But for me I feel there are better places than twitter to get a bunch of ideas together like padlet. I was not a fan of the saskedchat because it was all so quick and the posts wouldn’t load fast enough for me to see all the tweets. I felt very lost and confused, and if an adult can feel that way, imagine a young student trying to do the same thing. The nice thing about padlet is it was all visible on one screen. Another thing I disliked was the limit on words. I continuously had to rewrite things to make it fit in the box and it not only changed my idea but it also made me miss questions. I love the idea of saskedchat, to have a bunch of educators sharing their ideas on education. But I do not like twitter!