My name is Jordan Ingola and I am a grade 5/6 French Immersion teacher at École Connaught Community School in Regina. This is my second year as a teacher and I love incorporating technology into my classroom wherever and whenever I can. Many of the students in my class are still too young to have phones/technology or do not necessarily have the means to purchase such devices on their own. For many of them, some of their first interactions with certain types of technology are in the classroom – which makes it essential that they understand the responsibility that comes along with its usage. It sets the tone for the rest of their technological education. They must learn how to use it appropriately before using it to their advantage.
As an immersion teacher, Google Read & Write is a tremendously positive and useful tool in my classroom that gives students the opportunity to edit their work by listening to it orally. As the computer reads back their work to them, they are able to follow along and catch errors more easily. They are also able to improve the flow and fluidity of their sentences. As for students who are researching or reading articles online (working on comprehension strategies), they can easily look up definitions of new words or have them read back to them. Both the text-to-speech and speech-to-text features really are a great asset to any student.
Staying on the subject of Google, Google Docs and Slides are a staple of our classroom projects. Through these, students can instantly share their work with me and allow me to track their edits and changes along the way. I can also add comments and provide students with feedback mid-project. Stay tuned to my later blog posts for more on Google within the classroom.
As part of ECMP 355, I will be updating my blog twice a week. Blogging is incredibly beneficial in terms of sharing of resources and professional collaboration among teachers and colleagues. It is a great platform to engage one another on a professional and educational level and allows teachers to put their thoughts into words at the end of the day – something that seems to get lost in the chaos of teaching. The self-reflection aspect of blogging is perhaps the most appealing from a personal standpoint.
In addition to my blog, feel free to network with me through my professional Twitter profile.
Over the course of ECMP 355, I have gotten lots of support from my classmates. It was very reassuring to know that if I ever encountered a technical issue or simply had a curiosity, I could turn to a community of people who had my back and were willing to contribute to my learning. However, as we learned throughout the course, part of being a good digital citizen is not just taking but also giving/offering something up in return. Good digital citizens are not simply voyeurs, but those who actively participate. Keeping this in the forefront of my mind, I also, in turn, contributed in various ways to the learning of my classmates whenever possible. This took many forms.
Twitter.Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:
connecting with classmates and others online as a means of helping fellow educators build their PLN.
liking posts/tweets as a means of supporting others thoughts and acknowledging that I find links/resources helpful.
commenting on others’ posts by offering up my own insights/points of view from a French Immersion classroom.
retweeting useful links, resources, and blog posts so that others could have access to them. It was also a means of promoting my classmates and giving their blogs exposure.
using the ecmp355 hashtag as a means of contributing to our online resources and categorizing our posts.
engaging in various chats on my own time as a means of engaging with PD and collaborating with others (SaskEd chat as well as a DigCiz chat hosted by our professor, Katia Hildebrandt).
2. Google+. Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:
responding to classmates’ questions about blogging, tweeting, etc. and offering up answers. If I did not know an answer off hand, I worked to find it online.
offering up questions that I had, and that I had a feeling others had as well. This saved others from asking and created an archive of Q&A.
3. Blogging.Over the past 2 months, I could be seen:
inviting others to comment on my blog posts and attempting to create discussion/dialogue in the comments sections.
posting feedback, opinions, and questions on others’ blog posts on a regular basis.
using pingbacks to various classmates, including Kim Thue.
creating screencasts that guide others through various online processes (coding).
responding to others’ comments on my blog posts to spark and develop deeper discussions.
4. Online Sessions. Over the pas 2 months, I could be seen:
offering up thoughts, opinions, and commentary in the chat section of our online courses (Tuesday and Thursday nights).
sharing insights after breakout sessions.
attempting to answer other students’ questions in the chat so as to lighten Professor Hildebrandt’s load.
engaging/participating in others’ initiatives (uploading to Padlet).
My hope is that this give and take between classmates will continue after the course is done. Many of them will be in my PLN for a very long time, as the ideas, opinions, resources, etc. we have shared over the past 2 months has been invaluable. Technology really does lend itself well to collaboration and PD. Great experience!
As I wrap up my learning project, I’m very happy with my progress. I’m also faced with a problem: What do I do with all of these paintings?
Since I learned to paint using technology, I figured that trying to get rid of the paintings through technological means would be the most logical route.
My first stop: Varage Sale. I have had 4 of my paintings posted for a few weeks now and have not had any luck. I have been “bumping” them every few days, which basically just means bumping them back up to the top of the categories so that they have a greater chance to sell. I am asking $40 each, which is probably a little overpriced, however, as the artist, I am most-likely the one who sees the most value in the paintings.
My plan now is to give it a little more time, and then I will branch out into the Etsy world. Etsy seems to be more geared toward artists and might increase my chances of selling. It is also not limited to the Regina area. The process for signing up for Etsy is fairly easy, however, I’ve been putting off the actual listing of the paintings, simply because they require a lot of details (dimensions, etc.). Also, if paintings sell, I will most-likely have to ship them, which is obviously not as easy as a face-to-face transaction that VarageSale offers.
This article gives a number of helpful tips for selling art of Etsy and will most-likely be my go-to resource once I begin my Etsy journey.
My final option is Ebay, which is very similar to Etsy, but is not specifically geared toward art (although it does have a “Collectibles and Art” category). The upside, however, is that it has been around much longer than Etsy and, I assume, reaches a larger number of people.
In closing, from materials, to original sketches, to the actual painting, and finally to selling, technology has allowed for every phase of this learning project to be executed from an informed standpoint. This project would have been much more daunting 50 years ago, but thanks to technology, the information I needed was easily accessible to me. I will continue to paint and am content to know that I have found a new lifelong hobby that I can always return to. The process is therapeutic, and is particularly beneficial after a long day of teaching. The impacts that we make on our students are not always evident or tangible, making it nice to be able to visibly see the completion of your own creative project.
We’ve all seen someone change their profile picture to a filter or frame that supports a certain cause. And with that, we’ve all seen someone complain about how changing your profile picture or sharing a post “does not actually make a difference.” Both sides of the argument are incredibly valid and both sides are, in a sense, right.
On one hand, it’s great to raise awareness and to support a cause. On the other hand, is this where your support should stop? Or should you be contributing to causes financially? Do you need to commit time, money and effort to make a noticeable change?
Perhaps when you last changed your profile picture, one of your friends saw the cause that you were supporting and decided to make a monetary donation. Does that redeem you and categorize you as someone who is part of the change? Or do you simply fall under the category of a “slacktivist” (an activist who does the bare minimum)? So many questions. So little answers.
In terms of moving this topic into the classroom, should teachers silently support causes they care about? Or should they be posting their beliefs on social media? In a 2015 article (In online spaces, silence speaks as loudly as words), Katia Hildebrandt touches on the idea that teachers have an obligation to post about, for example, “the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report in Canada, or about the burning of Black churches in the southern United States.” These examples are meant to refer to important issues. Important social justice issues wherein there is a very clear and correct opinion. Racism is wrong. Abuse is wrong. The article states that as an educator, not speaking out (virtually) about these injustices demonstrates to students that they are okay and acceptable. As educators, it is our job to lead by example and to show students that we must take a stand for what is right.
Evidently, there are conditions and exceptions to everything. In this case, your school, your admin, your town, etc. all play important factors. Hildebrandt’s thoughts are very much dependent, in my opinion, on educators using their proper judgment to judge for themselves what, when, how, and where to post.
In an earlier article (What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?), Hildebrandt outlines that to be a good digital citizen, we must move past just personal responsibility (don’t say anything rude, don’t post something incriminating, don’t cyberbully, etc.) to more of a participatory attitude. We must not be hesitant, but rather, we must engage/promote justice online to be truly considered a good digital citizen.
Please comment below. Are you an online “Slacktivist” or do you believe that supporting causes means that you need to devote your time and your money? Do educators have a duty to engage with activism online? Or is that took risky given the backlash that could come from the school community? I want to hear what you have to say!
My goal this week: stepping up my background game.
I’ve chosen a Simpsons character this week that lends itself well to a detailed background. Itchy and Scratchy is a cartoon show within The Simpsons that parodies classic cartoons such as Wile-E-Coyote and the Road Runner. The catch is that the mouse is trying to catch the cat and most of the time, he succeeds.
This week, I painted Itchy (the mouse) and used the props from his plans to capture Scratchy. In Looney Tunes, you’d often see Acme products, whereas in The Simpsons, Itchy uses more realistic means.
To draw the TNT box that Itchy is coming out of, I used the following video:
This box was my own addition to the painting and was not included in my reference image. I also chose to include a wooden background. I used this YouTube video to help me with that pattern:
YouTube videos are always great for my original sketches. I often choose the shortest ones, however, as I sometimes feel that they are too slow. In an article with pictures, I can work at my own pace, whereas a YouTube video limits me to working at someone else’s pace. In the above videos, I found that I skipped ahead quite often.
In terms of the actual painting, I have definitely found my groove in terms of the characters (colour, proportions, etc). I have also become quite fast. My first painting of Marge took me 3 and a half hours from start to finish and did not include a background. This one took me about 2 hours, background included. Little points of progress such as this definitely help to build my confidence and encourage me to continue taking more risks. The documentation of progress through blog posts has allowed me to visually see my progress, which allows me to see that I am not standing still. I am moving forward every week.
Next week, I will be wrapping up my learning project by exploring various options for my artwork (other than cluttering the walls of my apartment). Stay “tooned!”
“Often, computers and technology are the reason students miss out on certain “life skills” (like making eye contact), however, with coding, technology gives them the ‘life skill’ of problem solving and critical thinking. What could be better than that?”
I really enjoyed playing around with Hour of Code. The tutorial-feel and step-by-step process made it easy to follow and scaffolded the coding experience nicely. At first, the idea seemed simple: You make the bird flap when you click the mouse. To do this, you literally just have to drag the “Flap” icon over to the “Click Mouse” icon. Simple.
However, I quickly learned on Scratch.mit.edu that the tools learned on Hour of Code are actually essential in creating your own code. No matter how simple it seems, stick with it because you are moreso developing the logic that comes along with coding. It really boils down to figuring out how to manipulate the different effects/actions to make the icon or game do what you want it to do. And that is not always easy.
I got my students to log on to Hour of Code on Friday afternoon as a fun little activity after our field trip. They really enjoyed the experience and didn’t require much of a lesson. I knew they would take to it quickly, so I took the approach of “explore on your own and if you have a question, I am here to help.” There were virtually no questions.
I had them start off with Hour of Code, as it seems to be the place to learn and acquire the skills before creating your own project. The students who passed at least one tutorial were then given the green light to go to Scrath.mit.edu. Again, they took to it very quickly, however, I think this was largely due to Hour of Code. In my short experience, the two go hand-in-hand, with one acting as a stepping stone for the other.
Coding is important because it encourages students to engage fully with the behind-the-scenes aspects of what they see on the computer. It forces them to think critically and to question why the computer reacts the way it does when we click certain keys, etc. When something doesn’t work the way it should in their coding creation (game, etc.), they have to use problem solving skills. This is hard to teach and coding lends itself well to developing a lot of these basic life skills that we hope our students pick up. Often, computers and technology are the reason students miss out on certain “life skills” (like making eye contact), however, with coding, technology gives them the “life skill” of problem solving and critical thinking. What could be better than that? In addition, students often view coding as just “gaming,” which works in your favour in terms of student engagement. True learning occurs when students are having fun.
Personally, I’d like to start exploring coding with actual text. For the moment, however, I’d like to start developing a coding unit for in the classroom, which includes Makey Makey. This test-run yesterday went so well, that I can’t see what happens when I have a well-developed unit to work with. Updates to come.
As I read up on cyberbullying this week for ECMP 355, I can’t help but sigh. The more I read, the more I ask, “Why?”
Why do people cyberbully?
Why do we allow it to happen/think it is okay/ignore it?
Why is cyberbullying such a big part of our online culture now?
Why do children, teens, and adolescents keep cyber-bullying from their parents?
I will not attempt to necessarily answer any of these questions this week, but rather, I will raise them and begin to explore them. I encourage conversation/for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below in response to these questions. My goal is to start an important conversation.
Understandably, cyberbullying is much more present among adolescents, teens, and children (compared to adults). This article is absolutely filled with statistics on cyberbullying. It states, “Over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyber bullying.” To add to my ongoing list of questions, I wonder if cyberbullying is replacing face-to-face bullying. Has bullying in schools gone down as a result of cyberbullying? Or is the amount of bullying (in any form) simply gone up with the creation of the Internet?
In the CBC documentary series, The Fifth Estate, there is an episode that features around Amanda Todd, a teen who committed suicide after falling victim to a cyberbully. One woman states that young girls in particular are “naïve and trusting” while online. This is partly because when teens are online, they feel disarmed. They feel removed from the people they are interacting with/do not actually view them as human. They do not sense a threat and are therefore more open. Young people are generally naïve and trusting, however, this is amplified while online. This causes them to say and do things, such as cyberbully, which they might not normally do. It also allows them to be more accepting of cyberbullying, as they do not view the bullies as real people either. They tolerate a different level of communication while online. When was the last time you read comments on a YouTube video and didn’t see a hateful comment? Did you report it? The online language is much more critical and vulgar than verbal, face-to-face language. And we tolerate it.
The reporter from the same documentary says “[Amanda’s] impulsive gesture was immortalized,” which raises another important question: Why are we so easily disarmed while online when everything we do can be held against us? Everything we do is documented. At least in person-to-person conversations, we do not leave a trail behind us. We need to educate youth in classrooms about being more vigilant while online and to not be so trusting. We need to teach them to think and judge for themselves and to react accordingly. No one deserves to be cyberbullied, and no one deserves to feel like it is acceptable if they are. Students need to be educated to develop the mindset that cyberbullying holds the same consequences as real bullying, affects people the same way as real bullying, and can be documented. Potential victims of cyberbullying need to be aware that what they post and say online can be held against them/manipulated to paint them in a negative light (remix culture). My main point here is that there is a lot of education that needs to take place!
This education starts in the classroom. We cannot avoid it or assume that youth know how to navigate this online world. Look at where that has gotten us? Students don’t simply need a long list of consequences or things they shouldn’t do. They need to understand. We need to equip students with the knowledge to think and react and interact for themselves.
In the TED Talk “One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life” by Jon Ronson, he states (talking about Twitter) that “People would admit shameful secrets about themselves and other people would say ‘Oh my god’ I’m exactly the same.” He talks about people finding their voice online. A powerful voice. This could answer some of the questions from above. People are seeking out a community online. They are seeking to be heard and listened to. This makes them vulnerable. This allows them to tolerate negative words or actions that target them.
Ronson also refers to “That sad feeling when the Internet doesn’t congratulate us for being funny.” His example is when a tweet does not get any likes or replies. This forces us to up our game. To raise our ante. We want to be noticed. We want to find a community of people online who give us affirmation. In the case of Justine Sacco, this lead her to tweeting out something incredibly inappropriate that, as the title of the TED Talk states, “ruined her life.” Obviously no one deserves to be cyberbullied or cyberharrassed, however, this particular tweet set her up for an overwhelming amount of hate directed at her online. Her vulnerability and trustworthiness caused her to post something that was A) documented for all of the world to see and B) incredibly offensive and sparked the responses of thousands of people.
My hope is that this post opens up some discussion. Please comment below to join the conversation. For anyone wishing to read more about cyberbullying and its permanent nature, check out this article that reinforces the idea that “The Internet has no delete button.”
For anyone who is currently the victim of cyberbullying, please read this article that outlines a number of options that you have and reinforces the fact that it is not your fault.
Having finished my third The Simpsons painting (Milhouse Van Houten), I definitely feel as though I’ve hit my stride/found my groove in terms of style. This is where I belong: painting the Simpsons, one character at a time.
This being said, however, even the smoothest of grooves contain a few bumps here and there. The final result is perhaps one of my best (stay tuned to later in the post), however, it wasn’t easy getting there. Normally when I draw my characters, it goes pretty flawlessly. This time was different.
I, for whatever reason, struggled with Milhouse’s proportions and erased and redrew at least 10 times. Each time I erased, my new lines were harder to see so I had to press more firmly with my pencil, creating darker and darker lines. Then when I erased those lines, I had to go even darker the next time. Long story short… I made a mess.
My plan was to simply paint over the pencil lines over and over again until they went away. This would have been difficult considering the yellow I use is fairly light (I mix it with white). Luckily, I found the following video that seemed to save several layers of paint, a few hours of repainting, and the piece in general.
This site, as well as art-is-fun.com (which has become one of my go-to sites) also offered some great solutions. It was, however, much easier to watch the video on YouTube. The Internet has many articles that are super informative, but in this particular scenario, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
So here is my final product. You can see that this character is much more detailed compared to my previous characters. In particular, the glasses were quite complex. I also painted his entire body instead of just his head.
Lastly, I’m quite proud of his facial expression and the background that enhances the character’s mood. I’ve found that my best work comes from bringing the characters to life, and this one in particular seems to portray a sense of emotion. I consider this a victory.
Every year, my class participates in Student Vote. We learn about the electoral system, research candidates, and go through the motions of voting. I try to create an authentic experience for them, highlighting what it means to be a Canadian citizen.
Digital citizenship, however, isn’t quite so easy. Many teachers assume that the younger generation knows more about technology than they do. This is true in a lot of respects, however, many teachers overlook that students require knowledge in 9 different fields, according to Mike Ribbel. Denying a student an education in any one of these areas means not giving them a complete picture of what it means to be a digital citizen.
The nine elements of digital citizenship:
Digital Rights and Responsibilities
Digital Health and Wellness
Digital Security (Self-Protection)
Often, we impose rules on students. Don’t go on Facebook. Don’t take videos during class, don’t buy stuff on eBay while I’m lecturing. However, teachers lack the training to truly educate the essence of being a digital citizen. It is not simply adhering to rules. We must teach our students to think for themselves and use their judgment. We do a good job of this in all subject areas, however, this is one area where many teachers feel inadequate. Students need to feel comfortable enough to engage online, not just observe and consume. This is what it means to be a citizen.
Don’t get me wrong, this feeling of inadequacy, and having the students be experts/teachers themselves is fantastic. However, the teacher needs to have and ultimate goal in mind and a working knowledge of digital citizenship to get there.
It is never too early to begin teaching digital citizenship. Just like treaty education, it is important to start early and to “dive in” despite thinking you are not informed enough. Learning alongside students goes a long way and models the learning process for them. If students start early, discovering and laying the groundwork, they will subconsciously be equipped with a working knowledge of what it means, in general and to them, to be a digital citizen.
They will also be well on their way to forming their digital identity. The knowledge of digital citizenship will allow them to create an identity that will not come back to haunt them later on in life, like this example. Students will be able to paint a picture of themselves, from the beginning, that will present themselves to the world in a positive, confident, intelligent, and mindful way. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, this is becoming increasingly more crucial (specifically in the job market) because your digital identity is the new “first impression”.
As a member of Instagram, Facebook, and now Twitter, I often reflect on my own digital identity. What you send out electronically has replaced what used to be called “first impression”. Now, people can judge you/form their opinion of you before they even meet you. Their first impression of you now comes from the Internet instead of the standard face-to-face encounter. Handshakes and eye contact have become rarities.
Since my Facebook is mostly private, I use this social media platform for personal posts (my weekend plans, vacations, my engagement, things I find funny etc.). It is rare that I will post professional posts on my Facebook account, however, I do occasionally share resources that I find from teacher-based groups (Ontario French Teachers). On Facebook, I share details of my personal life with colleagues, friends, and family. However, in case something does get out of my private Facebook sphere (never underestimate a student’s ability to snoop), I am careful to never post anything that would get me in trouble. I filter everything through a “common sense” filter. It is important to take time to reflect on how others will view your post/if your post detracts from your professional image.
My Instagram account is run in the exact same way. I used to use it for professional posts as well (sharing what we’re up to in the classroom), however, Twitter seemed to become the frontrunner in terms of professional content. This is simply, in my view, because it lends itself well to professional networking (retweeting, hashtags, chats).
When I Google myself, the first result is my profile on RateMyTeacher. That’s right – the first result that appears is one that I did not create/put out there myself. In fact, I don’t know who created a profile for me or who wrote my reviews. Luckily for me, the reviews are positive and I have a good rating, however, it’s scary to think that my first virtual impression to someone when they Google me could be in the hands of someone else. This lack of control over my impression to others fuels me to contribute more to my digital identity. This book mirrors a lot of my thoughts, for anyone looking to read up on controlling our digital environment.
Following this, my Twitter account appears. My general profile page is displayed, but so are specific posts. Again, I feel a lack of control, as it appears that random posts appear in the search results – not necessarily the most recent or most popular ones.
Newspaper articles from when I used to write for a local newspaper also appear, as do a few of my short stories that I got published in University. Google images displays several photos from my Facebook and Google + accounts – all of which I’m happy with but have had no control over. Because of how random these results can be (which pictures appear in search results and which ones don’t), I again, am thankful for my “common sense” filter. I know that whatever Google (or other search engines) chooses to display, will not come back to haunt me.
I look forward to continuing to contribute to my digital identity, mostly through the form of this blog (which also appeared in my Google search for myself). As Katia Hildebrandt said in our session last night, the more you put out there, the more control you have. I want more control.
UPDATE: Feel free to check out my classroom website as well, which is also a part of my digital identity.
This week, I branched out into painting characters from a third television show: Adventure Time.
My goal this week was to really up the ante, step out of my comfort zone, push the envelope, and any other generic cliché that you can think of. Here are a few challenges I set out for myself:
Putting 2 characters on the same canvas instead of only one
Using the canvas landscape style, not portrait
Experimenting with different colours for these different characters (not just Simpsons yellow)
Using darker background colours (black) instead of softer, lighter tones
Working with 3D effects
Using water colour
Using black paint for important outlines and features instead of black marker
Not copying an image directly from my computer and taking more creative liberties
Incorporating a video into my blog post
For this Adventure Time piece, I first consulted the YouTube video below to learn how to draw Finn and Jake. This site was also helpful with drawing Finn and his features.
With their sketches done, the painting was underway. Unlike my The Simpsons characters, I did not use the darker and lighter tones effect. I kept their colours solid, much like in the actual show (Adventure Time).
In this picture above, you can see I used red water colour paints instead of acrylic. Like the name suggests, the water colour paints are much wetter and runnier than the acrylic. This made it more challenging to stay within the lines I had set out for myself. This type of paint also didn’t cover my pencil lines as well as the acrylic, so I had to go over it several times. This site was very helpful and had a lot of good tips for working with water colours.
As mentioned earlier, in addition to the water colour challenge, I attempted to use black paint for outlining the majority of the characters’ features. I used marker for the explosion effect in the background, simply because it lends itself well to the 3D effect I was going for, however, the rest is mostly done with a thin, stiff brush, black acrylic paint, and a steady hand.
Below you can see the characters with the background coloured in, the final product for this week, and finally, my updated collection to date. Again, I feel like I have made a lot of progress, but there are still many things that I would like to improve upon. Stay tuned to more of my blog posts on this page to see what I mean.
Next week, I make a return to what interests me the most and attempt to recreate an iconic character that I have been eyeing up since this project began. See you then.