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Lila Gaertner's Education Portfolio

"Education is a journey, not a race"

Standing Up For Equity & Social Justice

Can online social activism be meaningful and worthwhile? Is is possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

These are tricky questions asked by my #ECMP355 professor Katia, but I am willing to give it my best shot at answering them. First off, we need to think about what social activism really is before we can think about it being online. Social activism is the promotion and guidance used to cultivate changes in business practices, business policies or the government to influence social change. The duties of a social activist include communicating with policy makers, researching for the cause, and organizing responses for the media. Therefore, online social activism is actively promoting change to happen for a certain cause by using online technology. Another way of saying it is: Internet activism, which is the use of electronic communication technologies such as social media, e-mail, and podcasts for various forms of activism to enable faster and more effective communication by citizen movements, the delivery of particular information to large and specific audiences as well as coordination. 

Second off, we need to reflect upon previous online social activist campaigns such as: Kony 2012, the Ice Bucket Challenge, #BringBackOurGirls, #ParisAttacks, #MarriageEquality, the ones below in the screenshot from my #ECMP355 class, and many others. All of these campaigns listed have in some way been shown on social media and have made themselves known to many people online.

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As I look at these campaigns, I can see that I have heard of quite a few of them, but I have personally failed at doing anything valuable about them. In class we talked about something called Slacktivism, which is a term that combines the words “slacker” and “activism” to refer to simple measures used to support an issue or social cause involving little to no effort on the part of participants. People who fit into the #slacktivism category lack engagement and commitment and fail to produce any tangible effect, in terms of promoting a cause. I will have to admit to you, that I did change my profile picture to raise awareness about the Paris Attacks a while back, but as far as doing anything else valuable for that cause… I did nothing. Therefore, I see myself in that sense as a slacktivist, but not that I know better, I will try harder to actually put more time and effort into helping a few of these social activist causes out.

Change the World for One PersonThe thing about there being so many causes to support, is actually deciding what you want to support because I know that I cannot help all of these. Therefore, in this case I like think to myself, “you cannot change the world, but you can change the world for one person.” All it takes is a few steps towards helping one cause to make a difference in someone’s life by supporting and promoting, equity & social justice in our world.

Now, back to those questions above. I believe that online social activism can be meaningful and worthwhile if each person takes responsibility for their own actions online and uses their words wisely and in a way that is respectful and empathetic, rather than in a disrespectful way or choosing to say nothing. I agree with Katia’s blog when she says “we need to be personally responsible citizens” online because we need to “begin deconstructing the justice and equity issues that continue to negatively affect those in online spaces”. As for having possible productive conversations about social justice online… I believe it is, and again, we need to step up to the challenge as teachers and use our privilege to speak out and use [our] network for more than just [our] own benefit or self-promotion. Because sometimes, others are not heard or able to speak up, so we need to participate in meaningful ways to promote equity in our networked spaces even though we may receive some backlash. I believe that it is worth it to give up some of my privilege, so that others might gain some more respect and proper recognition and treatment than what they have already been receiving. I too am passionate about equity and social justice and I feel more strongly now, that it is my duty as a digital citizen to promote equity in my online spaces. What do you think your duty is as a digital citizen?

Coding Is For Everyone! Even Kids!

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For my ECMP355 class, I was assigned to look up the Hour of Code, which to be honest, I did not know a lot about. So, I asked myself: what is the Hour of Code and why is coding important? It turns out that the Hour of Code is a global initiative that promotes people (especially kids) to code all around the world. But I think that before you promote the Hour of Code, teachers need to be explaining what coding is, what it is used for, and why it is important.

So I looked it up on Code Conquest and found that coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this blog are all made with code. Code Conquest makes some good points in saying that learning to code has some benefits because it empowers you to do many things you wouldn’t otherwise be able to do. These things include hand-crafting your own websites, becoming a career coder, starting a technology business, and most importantly, being able to understand the technology shaping our world. While Doug Belshaw suggests a few other reasons specifically why Kids Need to Learn to Code. Belshaw suggests that coding helps kids with their problem solving, digital confidence, and understanding of the world. I agree with both of these sources and believe it is important for both young and old to learn more about coding. As a future educator, I can also see how coding can be linked to Mathematics because kids need to use their problem solving skills to code. I also think what better way to practice these problem solving skills than to learn them as they learn and practice their digital literacy skills.

So back to the Hour of Code. This website has many different learning opportunities for kids because there are many coding games that kids can learn from by playing them. There are coding options for students that range from “Pre-readers” to students in grade 9 and up. You can try them out yourself and learn something new about coding by clicking the link at the beginning of this paragraph.

I even got a chance to try a few of the coding games and I learned a lot of new things because, well, I did not know a lot about coding until this week. Below are some screencasts of my experiences with the Hour of Code. Another great coding website that you also might want to look up is Scratch. That is a cite where you can create your own stories, games, and animations by using code.

Hour of Code: Coding Moana

Hour of Code: Moana Lesson 16 of 19

Here is my certificate of completion: Hour of Code Certificate.

Hour of Code: Kodable – Great for Pre-Readers

Till Next Time!

Withstanding Roses

Well this week started off by me trying to tackle the Crochet Rose Pattern that I found online. When I saw this pattern a few weeks back, I fell in love with it, because I loved how cute it looked and would look if I ended up making a few different colored roses and then ended up putting them in a vase.

 

So to start off with this pattern I decided to make a pink rose first, then a purple one, and finally a white one. After making the first two roses, I decided that I would make an instructional video of me creating the white rose, since I have not posted any videos of me showing myself crocheting yet. Originally, I was going to be only doing one rose and then look up baby blanket patterns this week, but then I decided against that because I wanted to make more than one rose and then share the pattern with others by creating a video.

Below is the Crochet Rose Pattern for those of you who want the written pattern too. Or just look up the the pattern on the website that I found here. I made my stem a bit differently in my video than the pattern I found, but it still works, so now you can choose whatever one you would like to use.

Crochet Instructions

Ch 46.
Row 1: sc in 2nd chain from hook and in each chain across. (45 st). Ch 1, turn.
Row 2: sc in first st, [skip next st, (dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) in next st, skip next st, sc in next st] 11 times.
Fasten off and cut yarn, leaving a long end for stitching the rose together.

Optional: Stem

Terminology: The green outer parts of the flower that sit at the flower’s base are called the calyx.

Calyx
Ch 5.
Rnd 1: sc in 5th chain from hook, to form a circle. Sc in each st around the circle. (5 st)
Rnd 2: (sc in next st, ch 4, sc in 2nd chain from hook and in next 2 chains) five times. Fasten off and weave in ends.

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I’ll be honest with the fact that it took me a while to create this video on Windows Movie Maker, but I think it still turned out okay considering it was my first crocheting video. I hope you all enjoy it and can use it one day. 🙂

Till Next Time!

Digital Awakening

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Betshy Paola Sanchez Marrugo Flickr via Compfight cc

Over the last week, I have been learning more about digital citizenship, my very own digital identity/presence, and my eyes have been opened to some horror stories of people who have been exploited online. I feel like there is so much to say about this, but I do not even know where to start. But I guess I will start by saying that I am starting to realize that the online world is larger than I thought and that it gives people access to things that can have a very negative impact on your life because once it is put online and shared you are not able to undo it. It is there permanently.

An example of this is the story of Amanda Todd. This week, I was made aware of her story by watching a video called the “Sextortion of Amanda Todd”. In this story I was made aware that once something is posted online, people can then use that against you by cyber bullying you or causing you to be cyber bullied by others who see what has been posted. This story makes me sad that this incident came down to Amanda taking her own life, but this just shows how people need to be educated about being more cautious about what they do online because someone else can take that and put it online where others can see it, even though you did not give permission for them to do so. I can see from this story that Amanda was seeking attention and “Viral Fame” for her music, but then she went too far and that didn’t end the way she wanted it to.

Though viral fame can launch a lot of people’s careers like celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Rebeca Black, Psy, Susan Boyle, and many others mentioned in this article, it can also do a lot of damage in the sense that it can create a lot of “Viral Shame” if things go wrong. For example, there is a price of public shaming on the internet that Todd Leopold talks about in his article here. He shares about many different people being shamed online for their online mistakes and shares that people are not as forgiving online as they are in person. Monica Lewinsky is an example of someone who experienced this viral shame, but she was brave enough to get through that shame by sharing her story here in this TED Talk. What I took away from her talk was that shame cannot survive empathy. Even though she experienced viral shame, she was able to move forward when people showed her empathy. I also think that it is important for everyone to know the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention. We need to all be aware of our intentions when we post or reply to others online. Justine Sacco also experienced great viral shame and it is explained in Jon Ronson’s video that one tweet can really ruin your life. This makes me think that I need to make sure that I am cautious about what I tweet about or put online. Also, as a future educator, I need teach my students to be aware of the consequences of posting inappropriate content online.

Decorative Accessories

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This week I wanted to tackle a few different decorative accessories for my learning project. I started off by trying to make a bow tie that I found on a blog from Feedly. I found this blog to be interesting because it did not have a video or written instructions on how to make the bow tie, but it included a diagram, which can be seen on the left.

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This pattern challenged me a bit because I did not remember what the symbols meant, so I guessed. I remembered that I had to make a magic circle to start the bow tie and then I chained 6 loops. Then I thought that I had to make 6 treble crochet stitches in the magic circle, but once I was almost done the bow tie, I looked at it and it looked a bit disfigured. So it ended up looking like the picture on the right.

To figure out how I did it wrong I had to look back at my previous blog posts about the abbreviations and symbols used in crochet patterns. By looking back at the “Crochet

20170604_150611Cheat Sheet” and refreshing my memory of the crochet symbols, I learned that what I really needed to do was do 6 double treble crochet stitches, instead of just 6 treble stitches. By doing double treble stitches, it made a longer stitch, which then made the bow look more well rounded on each end. These bow ties could be used as accessories for hats, headbands, clothing, baby items and even hair pins. My end results are on the left.

Next, I chose to do a flower as an accessory that can also be used for hats, headbands, clothing, baby items, and hair pins. I found my resources from a cite called “All Free Crochet”. On this cite it has ideas for different types of hats and it includes a video on how to make a flower to add to your hat. Making this flower was similar to the bow tie because it uses a magic circle to start.

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I was glad that there was an instructional video with this resource, but as I was watching the video, I found it hard to keep up, so I had to keep pausing the video, going back a few steps, and then try to keep up once I started it again. I made the purple flower first and the blue flower second, so I think that the blue flower looks a little bit better than the purple one, but this just shows that no one is perfect when they are first learning a new skill. Practice does make perfect. 🙂

Another video that I found online shows how to make a simple flower, but it goes a lot slower than the first video I found. The flower also ends up being a little bit bigger than the one in the first video. If you want an instructional video that is at a slower pace, then this “How To – Crochet a Simple Flower version 2 – Absolute Beginners” video is the right one for you. I hope you enjoyed reading about me getting through the bumps along the way in my learning project.

Next week I will try a 3D rose and start finding patterns for a baby blanket that I will be making for my sister who is expecting in July.

Stay tuned for more

 

 

My Thoughts on Digital Citizenship

Digital Quote

Ken Whytock Flickr via Compfight cc

You might be wondering, what is digital citizenship? Well, its hard to define because there are many components to explaining digital citizenship, but from my understanding, digital citizenship is “the norms of appropriate, responsible, and healthy behavior related to technology use, including digital literacy, ethics, etiquette, and security”. However, I have been learning that just as “good citizenship” is more than not breaking the law, “digital citizenship” is more than just avoiding harms online. Technology has the ability to enhance and magnify the ability of youth and adults to contribute to and serve in the community and even in the world, but youth and adults need to work together to consider and create more ideas around how technology can be used for good — to facilitate collaboration, creation, communication, and positive contributions to family and civic life (DIGCIT). Digitalcitizenship.net puts it another way and says that, “Digital Citizenship is a concept which helps teachers, technology leaders and parents to understand what students/children/technology users should know to use technology appropriately”. They also say that, “Digital Citizenship is more than just a teaching tool; it is a way to prepare students/technology users for a society full of technology” and I agree!

I think that as a future educator, it is important that I am able to teach my students the importance of being responsible and having a healthy relationship or presence online with technology that they may use in and outside of my classroom. In my future classroom, I would make sure that my students were aware of: what it meant to have their own digital identity or presence online, the positive enhancements that technology has provided us with, and the negatives or dangers that technology may bring if we are not careful with how we use technology. I realize that learning about digital citizenship is very complicated, so I would also like to go over the nine elements or themes of digital citizenship with my students as well.

These nine elements of Digital Citizenship are:

  1. Digital Access
  2. Digital Commerce
  3. Digital Communication
  4. Digital Literacy
  5. Digital Etiquette
  6. Digital Law
  7. Digital Rights and Responsibilities
  8. Digital Health and Wellness
  9. Digital Security (Self-Protection)

Lastly, I can see that this broad topic of digital citizenship may have some challenges, but I believe that it is an important topic to talk about since technology is so commonly used now in and outside of the classroom. I agree with Jason Ohler’s blog when he says that “we must help our digital kids balance the individual empowerment of digital technology use with a sense of personal, community, and global responsibility.” And since school is such an excellent place to help kids become capable digital citizens who use technology not only effectively and creatively, but also responsibly and wisely, we must help them live one, integrated life, by inviting them to not only use their technology at school, but also talk about it within the greater context of community and society. To connect this to the Saskatchewan curriculum, I would integrate this topic into some Social Studies units because it gives students more opportunities to think about the social aspects of our world and own identities online. Integrating this topic into some Health units would also give students the opportunity to discuss how to maintain a healthy physical and psychological life in a digital world and the effects of cyber bullying.

I hope this blog post gives you a better idea of what Digital Citizenship is and how it is important to teach in the classroom.

Thanks for reading! Till next time!

Cyber-sleuth: Pam Milos

Alright, this may be weird but, I was asked to cybersleuth someone in my ECMP355 class this week. If you are wondering what cybersleuth means, it’s basically when someone does detective work using the Internet to find out who they are and what their digital identity is online. So I asked Pam Milos if I could cybersleuth her on the Internet to see what I could find out about her. When I first Googled Pam Milos the first thing that came up was her LinkedIn account. On that account, I found out that she works at Kelly Services as a receptionist in Regina, Saskatchewan. She has also attended the University of Regina in the Faculty of Arts and she has a Diploma in Sales and Marketing from Robertson Career College.

pam.jpgNext I noticed that I could not find Pam on Facebook. It is either because she does not have Facebook or maybe she has her settings set very privately, so that people have a hard time finding her. Good idea Pam! I did, however, find her on Twitter and her account handle is @PmilosX6. Twitter was where I found a lot more information about her. Through this form of social media, I found out that Pam was born on June 15th; she lives in Regina; she is married to John Milos; she has 4 boys and 2 girls; she is a student at the U of R; and she is interested in elementary education, the Arts, history, speed skating, quilting, crocheting, and the CFL (Pitsburg Penguins). It is also through Twitter that I found Pam’s blog. On her blog, she has more information about herself and posts about her ECMP355 class.

Overall, I found this cybersleuthing an interesting experience. It was fairly easy to start looking up Pam’s information about herself, but she does not have a whole lot of things posted of her, especially photos, so it was hard to find out a lot about her. This is probably a good thing because she is being wise with what is being posted online of herself, which will be there permanently. I would say that Pam has a professional online presence and if I was cybersleuthing her as an employer, I would see that she has presented herself in an excellent way because her main online presence is for professional purposes.

Thanks Pam, for allowing me to be a detective today.

Till next time!

Granny Squares & The Magic Circle

So far this crochet learning project has been fun. It has been time consuming and not always easy because I have had to start over a few times with different projects to make sure that it looked perfect, but overall, this has been a great learning experience for me. I can’t believe that I am already half way done my learning project because I don’t feel like I have been working on it that long and still feel like there is a lot to learn. This week I decided to focus on teaching myself how to make different projects using a specific technique or pattern, so I ended up teaching myself the Granny Square and a Magic Circle. I found that these two projects were similar in style because they both used the “In the Round” technique.

While I was searching for resources to teach myself, I looked back at the blog called “Understanding Crochet Diagrams: The Key to Breaking the Code” and found it to be very helpful. This blog reminded me of the language used in patterns and it reminded me of how to use symbols to decode which stitch to do for working in “a round” pattern. Other than circles, there are other shapes that are worked “in the round” like octagons, flowers, hearts, and even squares(ex. the granny square). These different shapes are also often shown in diagrams where the symbols represent the stitches. Below is an example of a Granny Square diagram that I found from the cite mentioned above.

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Some pointers that I found helpful from The Craftsy Blog when creating my granny square and magic circle were:

  • Identify your starting point (generally the center) and follow the diagram working counter clockwise.
  • Do not turn your work, unless the pattern tells you to.
  • Rounds may be numbered or designated by alternating colors. (Like the pattern above.)

I also found a great tutorial on YouTube that showed me how to crochet a Granny Square. The video was done by Bella Coco and it is called “CROCHET: How to crochet a granny square for beginners”. I found this video on Ashleigh’s blog here. As I was learning the granny square, I found the pattern easy to catch onto. It took a couple of tries to get it right, but I finally made it. I decided to do three rounds of my granny square, so that it was just the right size to be used as a 4 X 4 coaster. Below is my process of my granny squares.  

To learn the Magic Circle, I watched Sewrella’s video called “Crochet Beginner Series Part 8: Magic Ring or Magic Circle”. I also found another video that helped explain how to crochet in the round here. After I tried the magic circle, I tried crocheting “in the round” around the 7 double crochet stitches that I made to make the magic circle. As I kept crocheting around, I found that the yarn naturally started to curve and make a mini toque. I am guessing there are other patterns for toques where you start with 15 or even 30 stitches in your magic circle, instead of 7 like I did. Here is a link that you can use to find some beginner crochet hat patterns that work “in the round”. Below are pictures of my progress with the magic circle.

Overall, I feel so honoured and privileged to be able to learn visually from YouTube because I am a visual learner and if I had to try to teach myself to crochet from a book, I probably would have given up in the first week of starting this challenge. But I am glad that I have not given up because I am learning so much and I am having a lot of fun along the way.

Till next time everyone! 🙂

Participation in Technology

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Jimmy Benson Flickr via Compfight cc

This last week, I was given the chance to listen to a guest lecture from Dr. Alec Couros in my ECMP355 class. He had some interesting points about technology and how it has evolved over the years. After his lecture I downloaded the Distraction Free extension on Chrome for YouTube, because I think that it will be a great tool for my future classroom while watching videos for educational purposes. Something that stood out to me in Alec’s lecture was the idea of having a positive identity online and teaching your students to have one as well. Alec also talked about catfishing in his lecture and I already knew a bit about it before he went deeper into it, but I did not know the extent of it. I was surprised that people can basically steal your identity online and pretend to be someone else in hopes of getting something (most likely money) from you. I learned that some people are more easily targeted and that the people who catfish you can take your photos once you put them online because they are there for anyone to take. Therefore, I have learned that once you put something online, it is always online. I also learned that I need to make my photos private on all of my accounts. As a future teacher, I will also make sure that my students are aware of this because they need to know that they need to be careful with what they place on the internet and make available to the world.

On a more positive note, in the video called “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” with Michael Wesch as the Keynote speaker made some great points that technology has indeed advanced in many ways over the last couple of decades. Wesche also makes a good point that anyone with a webcam is more empowered to share and express their ideas more easily and freely over the internet. They are also able to share their voice and presence, feel a sense of community that they have never felt before and even feel more involved, connected, accepted, and accomplished by posting on YouTube. Something that I found interesting was that Wesche said that the internet is no longer about linking information, but about linking people and this is very true to this day there are many forms of social media that keep people connected and linked, such as Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, blogs, etc. These forms of social media, along with many others, are ways for people to connect with others and build their PLN. By connecting themselves to people, they are able to connect themselves to other resources and learn more from others around the world faster than ever before. I find it interesting that people will try to connect with more people over the internet because they feel a loss of community, but at the same time by creating an online community, they may be loosing their “face to face” community.

Overall, I took away the idea that technology has affected us as human beings positively and negatively over the past many years, but my hope is that, I can use technology positively in my future classroom.

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