An Argument About Blogging: With Raegyn

Hey all!  This week, I did a partner blog post with Raegyn Fulmek!  We decided to take on the topic of blogging, as it is something relatively new to us, and even newer to some parents.   We thought the best way to explore this topic was through a hypothetical conversation between the parent and the child. We could not actually talk to each other through this due to various circumstances; however, the script is provided below.


Before beginning the conversation, we began to list the pros that the student thought there were with blogging and how the parent was completely against the idea and therefore, we list some cons that the parent could be thinking.


Pros for blogging (student)

    • Express thoughts
    • Show progress (e-portfolio)
    • Create a Professional online identity (Opportunities to practice digital literacy and citizenship)
    • Interact with other people with similar interests
    • Promotes regular writing (practice)
    • Become more critical of learning
    • Fred is a quiet student so he feels he has a voice

Cons for blogging (mom)

    • Identity could be stolen
    • Account hacked/impersonated
    • Setting yourself up for bullying
    • The internet
    • A form of writing that isn’t enjoyable for all
    • Too personal
    • Only a child. Shouldn’t be on this form of platform because of stories she has heard  in the past


*The following takes place after school one day.  Fred’s classroom teacher had him set up a blog to document his learnings, and express himself over the course of the year.*


M: Mom

F: Fred


F: Mom!!  Guess what I did at school today?


The mom looks uncertain, but happy her son had a fun day at school.


M: I don’t know, tell me!

The mom has a huge smile on her face.


F: I created my very own blog!  Do you want to see it? I’ve worked really hard on it so far!


The mom’s expression changed from happy to distraught.  


M: What do you mean you created a blog?  You are 11 years old! Aren’t you a little young for that?  Was this your teacher’s idea?


F: Yes, it was! The whole class made one and we will be using this frequently in and out of the classroom!


M: I am not sure this is acceptable at your age. I am going to have to have a chat with your teacher!


F: But mom!  It’s really fun!  Don’t you want to see it?  I can put all of my school work on there, and discuss my interests!  Other people can comment and tell me what they like and offer suggestions!


M: Yes, of course I would love to see it. She said with an uncertain look.


*Pulls up blog*


F: See isn’t this cool? It has everything on here!


M:  It is interesting… But you must remember that people can be mean, and negative when it comes to the internet.  Many people hide behind their screens and say whatever comes to mind. Do you think you are ready for that?


F: Yeah, I think so! I do not think anyone will be mean to me..


M: On top of that, the world doesn’t need to see your personal life.  Why not use Facebook or Instagram, at least then you can pick who sees what you upload.


F: But Mom, those aren’t that safe. My teacher suggested being careful about everything we put on the internet.  Once it’s on there it’s on there for good. Facebook has also faced a lot of trouble with selling people’s information to big ad companies.


M: That is true but blogging and having these online sites has had these downfalls too. Just the other day a school here in Regina, got hacked (W.F Ready). These sites really are not safe. I think it is important we talk to your teacher and maybe all parents could give in their input. How can we ensure this will protect you?


F: My teacher said it was safe! She doesn’t lie.


M: I know hunny, but anything can happen when it comes to the internet. How about we leave the site alone until I have more clarity from your teacher, does that sound fair?


F: I guess Mom..

*3 hours pass*


F: Mom! Mom!


M: Yes?


F: I need you to come here, I have to show you a few things.


M: I will be up in 2 minutes.


*Mom comes up stairs*


F: Okay Mom because you were so unsure about blogging I did some research to prove to you that it is safe. My teacher taught us that when we are not sure about something, we should research online. I ensured to use the CRAP test to make sure that my research wasn’t fake?? (idk how to word it)


M: I appreciate you looking into it but I am still hesitant about it.


F: Mom, just please look.


M: Okay, show me what you found.


*Fred showed his Mom various videos and online articles*

F: Here is an article from the Huffington Post, a well-known news source.   I also found a few good videos on YouTube on blogging.  This one is about student blogging, and this one is all about how to blog safely!

F: What did you think Mom? I will always make sure to follow these 8 steps when blogging.


M: Well I’ll be.  I have definitely been very ignorant about the usefulness of blogging.  I think I am still going to have a chat with your teacher, but I want them to teach me how I can start blogging too!






#knitterintraining : THE FRUSTRATION

Hi all!
This post is a little delayed, with good reason.  Over the last week, I have been working towards learning to knit.  The first step for this, from what the Internet told me, is learning how to cast on.  This has become the bane of existence, and almost caused me to give up, and start a new learning project.  However, given that the semester was already half over, I needed to persevere.  And so I did.  And I learned quite a bit about myself as a learner in the process.

For this project, as some of you may recall, I decided I would be relying a lot on YouTube videos.  The channel I decided to use primarily, found here, I struggled with.  Not because it wasn’t good, but because of who I am as a learner.  It turns out, I am not good at following video instructions.  I tried with multiple different videos, and none of them were able to show me to how to cast on.  For nearly 5 hours, off and on throughout the week, I was frustrated, unable to figure out the hand movements they were doing, and how to actually cast on.  Finally, I remembered a tool on YouTube that might just help me.

In the settings, in the wonderful picture I have cropped, there is an option to slow the video down.  I knew about this option, but in my frustrations, it completely slipped my mind.  So, wanting to make this thing work, I went back to the first channel, and slowed the intro video down to 50%.  That made it a lot easier to see the hand movements, and mimic them.  After I understood, I spent the next hour casting on, and taking it apart, repeating this skill until I felt like I mastered it.  Or  I could do it with my eyes closed.  And finally, it worked!  Here is a picture of my latest round of casting on, that will likely turn into my first major project!

As for my first project, I have decided on one of two things.  A pot holder, because it’s simple.  Or an infinity scarf, because they are incredibly comfortable and make good gifts.  I am leaning towards the latter, but I would like to know what you think!  Comment!

Bonus Post : Mid Semester Reflection

Hello all,

After a lot of thought, and having filled out the mid-semester assessment form, I have decided to do a more in-depth reflection for my purposes, as well as for the pleasure (or displeasure) of my readers.  Over the last few weeks, I have been receiving a crash course on Educational Technology, and it has been a wonderful journey so far, I think.  I have learned about a variety of different tools, and have expanded my PLN to Twitter, a site I believe I am beginning to develop a bit of an addiction to.  (I might need to find ways to cut back soon!)

Over the last few weeks, I have expanded my repertory of tools by looking at websites such as Feedly.  Feedly, being an RSS reader, is something I had never heard of, or perhaps never really looked into.  However, I have found it is a gold mine for resources, as you can see from my previous blog post, my first experiences with it have been rather pleasant.  In the coming weeks, I definitely want to aim to share more of what I find on there to Twitter.  My usual problem is, whenever I find an interesting link here, one of you has already shared it.  But that doesn’t stop me from commenting, liking and retweeting your posts!  So share away, and I’ll do a better job at keeping up with these posts in the future!

(My first view of Feedly)

As mentioned above, Twitter has become possibly my favourite  social media outlet.  It is easy to use, fun to find new people, and a lot let cluttered than other sites, such as Facebook.  What I mean by this, is that I usually only see news, or relevant articles to myself.  There aren’t nearly as many posts containing drama, or other minor things as I have found my Facebook to be cluttered with.  It is a welcome change.

In addition to using Twitter, I have started participating in Twitter Chats.  A few weeks ago, I participated in my first #saskedchat, and I was instantly hooked.  I am a little disappointed that this chat falls during class time every week, but I look forward to when I can actively participate week in and week out.  In addition to this chat, I have participated in a #teachpos chat, a chat revolving around positivity in the classroom.  It was exciting, because throughout, I was communicating with people from all around North America, not just Saskatchewan.  I gained quite a few followers that night, and was made aware of different techniques that might be utilized in the classroom for positive assessment.  I need to think of how I am going to have my students plan one of their own assessments during internship!

Finally, I have been working towards a learning project.  This has, without a doubt been the biggest struggle of this course so far.  I have spent close to 5-6 hours on it, and I have very little to show.  However, I did learn quite a bit about myself as a learner, as will be explained in another post to follow shortly.  I believe knitting is something that allows me to challenge myself in ways I haven’t before, and learning it through online tools makes the challenge a lot more real.  I can’t wait to practice some more!

For the last half of the semester, the biggest thing I want to work on is commenting on all of your blog posts!  I see so many of you have interesting ideas for your project, and they all look so amazing when I read them.  For some reason, the comments just never follow.  Although the goal is for 3 comments a week, I will be looking to comment at least 5 times each week, and more if I have the time.  Everyone seems to be rocking it so far, and reading about your experiences is amazing.  I wonder if maybe we can create a google doc to pool together all the resources we are using for the different learning projects in case others want to take up cooking, or guitar, or even learn Spanish in the future?  It would allow us to have easy access to a massive collection of online resources that can prove invaluable.  Especially if a future student wants to learn one of these skills.  Food for thought!

Skitchy Business

Hey all!

Over the last few days, I had the opportunity to trial an app new to me called ‘Skitch’.  Needless to say, I wish I had this app when I did certain projects during my University career, specifically to design flowcharts and graphs.  What it enabled me to do is make a nice little graphic representation in less than 5 minutes.  Other apps I used in classes past took nearly an hour to put together something of equal quality, and longer to create something of a quality I’d be happy to submit to a professor.  Additionally, it allows me to take a picture of my screen, and to make notes on it.  This can come in really handy when I want to create instructions for my class on how to do something on the Internet.  It is definitely an app I plan on using a lot in the future, as my first few minutes exploring it were both exciting, and educational.

This is a small sample of what Skitch is capable of doing.  And from what I can tell, it is mostly free unless you want a storage upgrade from the base of 60mb a month.  However, everything can be saved to Evernote, and then transferred to your desktop, making it easy to create graphs for your students, and having them create graphical organizers for potential projects!  I am excited to be able to use this app more!

#knitterintraining : The first steps

Hello everyone!

This week, I have taken the first baby steps in my journey to learning how to knit.  Unfortunately, my hectic schedule, which involved a few trips up to Saskatoon, did not permit me to find time to actually sit down and start knitting.  However, I did manage to pick up some knitting needles, yarn, and start looking for resources that might be useful on my journey.

First things first, I learned that there are a variety of different knitting needles.  Not all knitting needles are one size.  Some are smaller to deal with smaller yarn, and some are bigger for thicker yarn.  This is already something new to me, as I thought the only difference in knitting needles was the material they were made out of.  I had a lot to learn.

For the sake of my first needles and yarn,  I went for what I would call a medium thickness yarn, which called for size 18 needles, which is all shown in the picture.  This yarn was suggested by a friend of mine, Kealey, who learned how to knit last year and said the yarn was easy to work with for beginners.  Supposedly, the smaller yarn can be difficult to work with because it’s harder to pick up with the needles, and the bigger yarn can fall apart on you if you aren’t careful.  This is all stuff that is new to me, and it’s been exciting to learn so far.

Finally, let’s talk about resources.  My first thought when I decided to learn to knit was YouTube.  I mean, the amount of DIY projects on YouTube is crazy.  You could learn how to build a functioning car on there if you wanted.  So far, I found one channel that I don’t mind, and that shows promise.  I plan on using this channel, and perhaps adding other channels to my repertoire as time goes on, in order to get the most information possible to learn.  Additionally, on my first post, my classmate, Andrea, suggested a website, that I also plan on incorporating into my learning.  In my opinion, these two resources will provide a strong basis to start knitting, and learning the basics of casting off, and perhaps even making my first item (likely a potholder).

Thanks for reading!  Hope you all have a great week!

Two Tweets a Day to Learn the Way

Hello all!

Over the last week, I have delved face-first into the wonderful world of Twitter.  Granted, this is not truly my first experience with Twitter, as I believe my account was originally created in January of 2017 in order to follow certain classes on Twitter, but it is truly my first attempt at using it as a tool for growth.  Many people who know me would know that I am not a fan of posting on social media.  On Facebook, I may share a post that expresses my opinion every once in a while, but as I have a lot of friends on that form of social media that do not necessarily share my views on controversial topics, I often end up stepping on some toes.   In fact, I am pretty sure a handful of people have unfriended me because of my views, and I have done the same to others, as it just isn’t worth getting into arguments over social media.

Anyway, back to Twitter.  During this last week, my tweet volume multiplied exponentially.  I wish I would have seen the number before today, but I never thought to check.  I will look into twitter analytics to see what they can tell me.  However, I’d be willing to wager that, at most, I had 50 tweets on my account, and those were mostly retweets.  Now, as seen by the picture, the amount of tweets I have made is well over 100, and is going up daily.  I have found the discussions I have on Twitter to be a lot more stimulating than I thought they could be, which has me constantly going back for more.  When I was told I had to try for at least 2 tweets a day, I was disappointed.  There was no way I could go from 0 to 2 that quickly.  But, I proved myself wrong.  I have been having regular discussions about a variety of topics over the last week, and wouldn’t be surprised if there were days when I made closer to 20 tweets.  Talk about a massive change!

My first experiences on Twitter also included a SaskEdChat moderated by members from my cohort, Raegyn and Erin.  Needless to say, it started off as a trial by fire, but I quickly became accustomed to the rapid fire nature of it all, and thrived.  It was exciting, and a good learning experience.  I hope to partake in more ED Chats during my careers, perhaps finding others that cater to different interests.  I have seen that some of the people I follow partake in an ed chat about games in the classroom, and I may just join that one one of these days!

Hungry for Feedly

Hello everyone!

Although I had to miss last class due to being out of town, I still took the opportunity to check out an RSS reader.  In my case, I looked at Feedly.  I was rather impressed with the ease of access of all these different blogs and information relevant to me.  It’s like a Google Search, but a lot more controlled.
Anyway, I haven’t added  lot of blogs to my Feedly just yet, but I have gotten a feel for the site.  When selecting blogs, I first went by my interests. So far, the blogs I have followed are mostly involving education technology, or the future of teaching.  I am not sure if anyone noticed, but on my original picture of myself, one of the hashtags was #revolutionary.  Personally, in my lifetime, I would like to help change how we teach children. I want every child to succeed in school, and to do that, I believe education itself needs to keep evolving until it fits every child’s needs.  Reading about progressive approaches is of great interest to me.  Finally, the interest that rounded my preliminary blog choices out is TEDxTalks.  I find TED to be a very valuable source when it comes to hearing from professionals in the field.  Additionally, some of the talks can provide a valuable “lesson starter” for various subjects.  From what I have noticed, most of the TALKS on the education channel are different lessons, but also different speeches pertaining to the teaching profession.  It has me really excited to use as a tool, and I’m slightly disappointed I hadn’t heard about it until now.

In addition to this, some of the other blogs I have follow at this point seem to be good tools to open up my mind to different ways of teaching.  It seems to be an incredibly powerful tool to find different adaptive measures for the classroom, as well as building on my toolkit of instructional strategies.

In the future, I believe I will be looking for more book related blogs.  I enjoy reading, and getting decent recommendations that can help me grow is one of the most exciting feelings in the world!