Doing my Part – My Contribution to my Classmates’ Learning

A major aspect of EDTC 300 was contributing to other’s learning and by doing so challenging myself to practice constructive criticism, develop confidence in providing feedback and allow my perspectives to be altered. Involving myself in the many online platforms used in this course made it easy for me to assist others in there learning journeys.Outside of weekly communication with my classmates through Zoom, the EDTC 300 Google Plus community, Twitter, and WordPress allowed me to communicate with my classmates.

Google Plus Community

I was unaware that google plus existed prior to this class but I now believe that it has awesome benefits to allow for a group to communicate and share with one another. Whenever I had a question regarding class work, I posted it to our google plus community because I thought if I needed clarification than maybe my classmates did too. This also allowed me to receive answers from classmates efficiently rather than solely relying on my prof and provided the opportunity for my classmates to also see the responses. Our Google plus community was an excellent resource for sharing content and asking questions that were specific to the EDTC 300 class.

Replying to classmates with words of motivation and encouragement

Reminding classmate Tera to turn off her comment moderation after noticing that it hadn’t been done yet and attaching a screencast to provide her with directions to follow

Looking for classmates help in remembering how to find my WordPress comments. Nicole also appreciated this and used it to create her contribution blog post.

Saved myself and classmates from a long and unnecessary read

Asked for advice regarding video editing – something that was brand new to me at the start of this course

Commented on classmates posts when I felt fitting – this is only one example of many


Twitter was brand new to me this semester but I was willing to challenge myself to develop an account, follow my classmates and begin tweeting to the recommended one or two tweets tweet per day. Over the course of 13 weeks, I promoted #edtc300, produced 128 tweets, and regularly commented on my classmate’s posts which makes me believe I was successful in contributing to my classmates learning via Twitter. By engaging with my classmates’ posts I believe I made them feel appreciated and encouraged them to continue to be active on Twitter. I also participated in Saskedchats when possible which allowed me to influence other educators’ thinking while gaining new education perspectives myself. By sharing resources related to the course, sharing links to my assignments, tweeting my thoughts and opinions, engaging in Twitter chats, using hashtags, and commenting on, re-tweeting or liking my classmates’ posts I have developed a Twitter PLN and provided helpful resources to encourage learning beyond class content. I have included a screencast to show a vast variety of my tweets which can also be found on my Twitter profile. The pictures highlight the different ways I was able to contribute to other’s learning using Twitter.

Sharing course-related resources and using #edtc300

Acknowledging my classmate’s efforts by showing gratitude for their work and providing positive feedback

Sharing my personal posts and classmates’ work so that it can be acknowledged and appreciated by others – it is motivating for my classmates to continue their good work

Engaging in Twitter Chats to share my thoughts and opinions in course-related discussions

Engaging in stimulating conversations with classmates on course-related resources

Blog Comments

Each week my EDTC 300 classmates and myself were asked to make two blog posts, one for our Learning Project and one based on the particular week’s topic of study. Along with other homework, this felt like a lot to do some weeks so it was up to me to comment on my classmates’ posts with positive feedback and motivating advice to help them stay on track. Most of the time my classmates’ posts were very well done and educational for me to read so rather than making suggestions on ways to improve their posts, I found myself complimenting them on their strong efforts and offering encouraging or inspiring advice. I enjoyed responding to my classmates’ comments on my posts and clarifying any questions they might have left for me, in order to further both of our understandings. Due to the immense amount of effort that each of us put into our blogs, I felt the need to acknowledge my classmates work to provide them with the sense that their commitment to their blog was appreciated. Below I have included a few of the comments I made throughout the semester that best summarize the content my comments typically consisted of. I also included a screencast of my Comments I’ve Made Dashboard Page which shows some of my most recent comments.

Provided Kylie with words of encouragement when she was feeling discouraged with her learning project

Answered Tera‘s question to provide her with clarification and improve both of our understandings of the topic discussed in my blog post

Blog commenting helped Rebecca and I learn from each other’s resources and progress since we chose the same topic for our Learning Project. We were able to share our similar learning experiences with one another by engaging in conversations over our blogs

Responding to Classmates’ concerns and highlighting aspects of their work that stood out to me while further analyzing and interpreting their ideas

Simply sharing my love for my classmates’ creativity and acknowledging their weekly progress

And of course, more conversations with Rebecca because we were constantly learning from and with each other

And that should do it. Obviously, this post cannot explain every detail of my contribution to the learning of others but by breaking it down into the Google plus community, Twitter, and Blog commenting categories I was able to summarize my offerings to improving the learning environment for everyone involved in EDTC 300. It was an honor to be a part of this class and not only learn from my professor but rather learn from each other and have the opportunity to help enhance my classmates’ learning.

  • Kendall. S

It’s a Wrap – Learning Project week 11

The first semester is coming to a close and it is time to wrap up my learning project with a bow on top because Christmas time is here! Learning ASL throughout my first semester of University has been an educational experience. I have had the opportunity to develop an ASL vocabulary and grow an understanding of how the language works and how to predict signs for foreign terms to me based on my prior knowledge. Beyond my ASL accomplishments, I have gained confidence presenting myself online, I have learned how to find resourceful websites, articles, videos, and apps to assist me in my learning, and my video editing skills have skyrocketed from not even knowing what platforms were available to producing clear and edited videos to share on YouTube. Learning ASL has been a journey, and I am excited to look back on the steps I traveled throughout my exciting expedition.

Learning Project week 1 – ASL, I’m Ready for the Challenge

Week 1 I wasn’t sure what to expect being new to blogging and having never fully taught myself a skill through online means but I was confident with my decision to learn ASL. I used this week’s post to explain my motives for wanting to learn sign language.

  • Introduction to project
  • Inspiration for learning
  • Researching resources that could potentially be helpful
  • Developing a plan by deciding on what vocabulary terms I hoped to focus on

Learning Project week 2 – Kindergarten ASL

Week 2 was my first week of learning signs and filming my understanding and progress.

  • Alphabet:
    • easy to learn when practicing along to the tune of the ABC song
    • significant to the ASL language, used often when signing other terms
    • ASL That’s alphabet video
  • Colours:
  • first experience of video editing and publishing problems

Learning Project week 3 – Stepping up my Emotion

Week 3 I introduced myself to sings that required emotion and facial expressions which is a vital aspect of communicating through ASL

Learning Project week 4 – Family First

Week 4 I started to pick up on ASL trends and make connections between the vocabulary terms I was learning

  • Being home for the Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to focus on learning family signs because I realized the importance of communicating with family
  • I learned nouns and pronouns to help me describe my family members interests: see week 10
  • started analyzing gestures rather than just memorizing
  • made connections between the gestures to help me understand the language
  • Finally publishing high-quality videos, thank-you Screencastify!

Learning Project week 5 – Calendar Crazy

Week 5 I focused on the days of the week and the months of the year because I realized the importance of being able to communicate schedules in my everyday life.

  • Days of the week:
  • Months of the year:
  • I increased my understanding of the importance of the alphabet. The individual letter signs are iconic and used often when signing other terms.
  • I continued to gain a better understanding of the ASL language and confidence when memorizing individual terms

Learning Project week 6 – Whether it’s Hot or Cold (Weather ASL)

Week 6 I challenged myself to learn whether related terms because as a prairie citizen I experience drastic weather changes that impact how I live my life.

  • similar to week 3, I was able to enhance my signing by incorporating gestures
  • I learned a variety of vast gestures without a pattern to rely on
  • By noticing that some of the signs related to how I would visualize them to be represented diminishing the chances of confusing them with other gestures.
  • YouTube video for weather sings by nollme
  • ASL That’s Weather video
  • Meredith ASL’s Weather video
  • By watching several videos, I noticed that each individual signs the terms slightly different
    • I learned that variances occur in ASL due to the different ways it can feel more natural to place your fingers among individuals.
  • Reminded myself that in any language a vocabulary must be developed before sentences can be pieced together in order to stay optimistic about my learning journey.

Learning Project week 7 – Happy Holidays

Week 7 was inspired by Halloween and my love for celebrating the holidays and passing on cheer and holiday wishes to others.

  • In the spirit of the timing, I focused on Halloween related terms
  • Learning holidays of my interest was difficult because most Youtube videos are American but I found some videos to help me get started
  • This week I discovered my favorite resource for my learning project: which includes an ASL dictionary which allows me to look up individual terms and watch immediate video clips on relay specific to the particular term.
  • I started noticing my ASL progress because despite having my previous videos to look back on, I didn’t find that I needed to because I remembered my previously acquired ASL signs.

Learning Project week 8 – Get your Head in the Game

Week 8’s learning topic was once again inspired by my family and our love and dedication to sports.

  • I relied on the Youtube channels and resources that I have used in the past weeks because I was confident that they would work for me
  • I noticed that many of the signs related to an action performed while playing the sport making them easy to learn and remember
  • Again the importance of knowing the ASL alphabet which I focused on in week 2 was highlighted because letters are used frequently when signing different sport’s names
  • I practiced finger spelling which is used when there is no concrete sign but by spelling out the word using the ASL alphabet, it can still be clearly communicated.
  • This week was highly enjoyable because the topic of sports interested me

Learning Project week 9 – Captivating Careers

Week 9 was focused on careers which expanded my ASL vocabulary immensely. I also came across an inspiring resource that summarized ASL emergency terms.

  • Terms describing careers were easy to find due to the endless number of career options available today
  • I chose to organize my terms alphabetically because I was tackling a large number of gestures at once. This proved to be helpful because again the ASL alphabet is used when signing the title of jobs
  • I noticed several careers are signed with the sign for person coming after the sign for the subject of the career which then allowed me to expand my vocabulary further by understanding that the initial gesture described a different word
  • I learned valuable sings that could be used to save lives in emergency situations which reminded me of my purpose of learning ASL

Learning Project week 10 – Putting it all Together

Week 10 I challenged myself to make sense of my vocabulary and connect my learning topics from my prior weeks of study.

  • Finally communicating simple sentences!
  • Week 2: alphabet and colours, week 4: family relationships, week 5: months of the year (birthdays), week 7: holidays, week 8: sports, and week 9: careers
  • In order to form sentences I learned a few additional words through the use of:
  • I put my knowledge to the test and demonstrated my ASL knowledge that I have obtained throughout the past 10 weeks.

My Top Five Takeaways:

1.YouTube truly is an educational resource: Prior to my ASL learning expedition, I had never depended on Youtube to teach myself anything and I only used it for entertainment purposes. Throughout my experience, I realized that Youtube is a terrific way to learn online because of the immense number of videos available on every topic of interest and the immediate visual that is accessible which is a lot easier to follow and learn from in comparison to written steps or descriptions.

2. Presenting yourself online is beneficial: The thought of creating a blog and Youtube channel to present my learning initially scared me but it turned out to be to my benefit. Receiving nearly immediate feedback and suggestions from my classmates was motivating, encouraging, and helped me take pride in my work. I also loved being able to look at my classmate’s work for inspiration and in order to pass on words of encouragement in return. I am no longer scared of constructive criticism because I can physically see that by taking the advice of my classmates my work has improved throughout my weekly posts.

3.Learning new things is possible through online means: I never thought it would be possible to learn a language independently through entirely online resources but I am continually proving myself wrong as I gain more and more ASL knowledge. Truth is, despite it being through a computer screen, the internet allows for communication between people all across the world and so even though I developed my ASL vocabulary in my bedroom, I was not alone and had the help of many other individuals. The internet has excellent educational resources that are there to help people learn.

4. ASL isn’t easy, but with dedication and motivation, it is possible: Learning ASL was a major time commitment and required lots of work however the more I learn and practice the more it makes sense and becomes easier to understand. ASL has been an interest of mine for years and I am grateful to have had this motivating opportunity for the push to begin learning. I can confidently say that I now have the skills to talk to those who lack their hearing and that makes the work I put in well worth it.

5. The EDTC 300 Learning Project is nothing to be afraid of: The first day of EDTC 300 scared me when I was told I would have to learn something new through online means and film my progress. Turns out, I had nothing to be afraid of and that this has been the most rewarding assignment I have ever participated in because of the beneficial skills I have developed that will continue to assist me in my future.

Thank-you EDTC 300 classmates for all of your support throughout my Learning Project and Katia for providing me with the perfect opportunity to tackle learning ASL. I am excited to continue to practice the ASL language and use my new internet skills in the future.

EDTC 300 Summary of Learning

EDTC 300 is coming to an end, but my education about technology particularly on how to incorporate it into the classroom will continue to evolve. Thank-you Katia for opening my eyes to the online world and providing me with tech skills I can carry with me into the future.

Below I have attached the written script to my video with the borrowed photos linked in.

Hope you enjoy,

  • Kendall. S

This is me, A graduate of 2017 fairly confident that although I’m not the best at operating technology tools, that I understand its possibilities and potential. Well turns out my Instagram and Snapchat accounts do not even begin to explain internet’s abilities and that there is an online world that I was yet to explore. I have come a long way since my first day of EdTech 300 because honestly speaking I was initially scared by the phrase “webcam class”. “You mean I’ll attend class through my computer screen and we will all smoothly be able to interact and communicate, how smoothly can that actually go”. Well turns out that there are better webcam alternatives than facetime that allow large groups to come together and that with proper understandings of how to operate the app an entire class truly can unite and create an interactive learning environment. Zoom is an awesome tool that permits mobile communication allowing people to tune in from any location and permits the host to take control of the class and still have the opportunity for large and small group discussions, Mind Blown day 1. After accepting the webcam concept, I was hit with another foreign word to my vocabulary, blog and at this point, I had no idea what I had signed up for but I knew I needed to stay open-minded. I began building an e-portfolio through my WordPress account that allows me to record my reflections, present my learning and thoughts, formally share my opinions, join in conversations to further my learning, hyperlink to more information, demonstrate my learning and growth, and present myself positively online. By creating a professional digital presence, I have taken control over how I am perceived online and thus what employers find out about me when they conduct their search. Rather than relying on my resume which simply tells others who I am, my blog site allows me to show my work and accomplishments, and with technology’s significance rapidly increasing, it is important to be discoverable online.

The next big step was joining Twitter, but not only making an account, actively participating by sharing resources, using hashtags and retweeting or commenting on other posts. I learned quickly that there are greater purposes of twitter then just commenting about your day but rather it opens up learning conversations, allows important ideas to be addressed and provides an opportunity to engage with others globally about a specific topic. Twitter chats are no longer foreign to me and although they can initially be overwhelming, they are great tools for interactive discussions on topics that interest you and an efficient way to quickly learn more and develop and accept new perspectives. By focusing my twitter page on math education and education technology I have created a network of followers who have similar interests in which I can learn from and interact with. The term network brings me next to PLN which was three out of order letters of the alphabet to me initially, but I now know them to be an acronym for Personal Learning Network which describes the group of people or organizations that I connect with in order to learn from their ideas, questions, reflections, and their references. The personal and learning aspects were easy for me to grasp because its personal since I choose who I want to connect with and what I want to share, and it provides me with a learning environment on the topic I choose to focus on.  The network portion is neat because it explains how even though I choose who I want to interact with, each of those people are being influenced by others and so on and so on which essentially connects us all.

I was privileged with the opportunity to hear from Dr. Ale Couros which although he won’t admit it, seems to be famous in the online world. Alec talked to our class about Participatory culture and drew to my attention that rather than just being consumers on the internet, web-based resources allow us to contribute and produce ideas enabling people to work collaboratively to create new content and construct knowledge. Take for instance the repost Shalleen and I constructed about YouTube in the classroom. Although this example isn’t on a global platform, Shalleen and I never actually met in person but rather communicated through online means to produce an informative post.

The class focused on digital Identity and how what we do while connected is inseparable from what we do while disconnected. This does not mean we have to shy away from posting online but rather that everyone only has one identity and we must be mindful of creating an appropriate online presence because it follows us and defines us whether we want it to or not.

Our conversations about Digital Citizenship were eye-opening because just as with any citizenship, we have rights and responsibilities to uphold in order to use technology appropriately and professionally. Although it is not always the case for we explored some devastating cyberbullying stories such as Tyler Clemanti’s story or the story of Amanda Todd it is important that before doing anything online, we THINK! It is important that consent, context, and compassion are all considered in order to avoid contributing to global embarrassment and ridicule.

I came to the realization that digital literacy requires both technical and cognitive skills because we must understand how the information was posted online and be able to analyze the intentions of posting the information to critically decide if it is factual and true. Fake news can be spread in multiple ways and is never clearly noted to be fake which requires us to ponder what we find online intellectually to decide if it can be trusted.

Digital Activism ignites more positivity into the online world. Online engagement is powerful and helps to spread awareness about significant issues, mobilize action regards to these issues, keep social justice movements alive, and build global communities. Yes, technology can be scary and the online world has its dangers but in a society that is continually becoming more technology-based, we can not avoid the internet but rather need to be informed on how to use the internet safely and promote all the positives of technology.

As a preservice teacher, I am a lead learner who is responsible for representing and encouraging positive uses of technology. Being quiet online out of fear is problematic and only supports the dangers of technology, I must use my Edtech 300 knowledge to get people thinking and promote all the wonders of the internet. The media has the authority to mediate human relationships meaning when the media changes, we change and if we are practicing digital literacy, citizenship, and activism, we can open many new doors. Internet connects people in unimaginable ways and I learned that rather than shying away, we need to take advantage of this opportunity.

I’m a Curious Coder

Besides for knowing the definition of “coding” the concept is entirely foreign to me and I never would have thought I would have been capable of coding without professional training. houses an astonishing number of coding options titled “hours of code” that walk you through basic coding practices and prepare you to be a creative coder. Not knowing what to expect, I decided to try out the option titled Turtle Graphics because the name caught my eye and the turtle looked pretty cute (the definition of an amateur coder is when I’m deciding what to code based on its cuteness level). Turns out the cute turtle’s name was Tracy and that it would be my job to make her move in particular directions. My immediate thought was “sounds easy enough” but boy was I in for an eye opener as it quickly became clear that coding was extremely particular. I started with the tutorial video because I knew I was going to need all the help I could get and I found the advice useful because it explained the details of coding for Tracy the Turtle in a step by step fashion which I soon realized is what coding is all about. Despite how exact one must be when giving commands, coding is simply a sequence of steps that are ordered the way you want them to occur. The tasks I was expected to complete started simple such as making Tracy move in a straight line and then the progressed to adding turns, angles, and colour changes. Throughout my practice exercises, I learned the following:

  • Tracy the turtle can move (forward) or (backward) by stating which direction you want her to move followed by how many units of movement you want her to move in parentheses. ex) forward (50)
  • Tracy the turtle can turn (right) or (left) by stating which direction you want her to turn followed by how many degrees you want her to turn in parentheses.              ex) left (90)
  • Tracy the turtle can change colour by stating the term color followed by the colour you want her to become in quotation marks and parentheses. ex) color (“red”)
  • No capital letters can be used in these commands and everything must be spelled correctly including spelling color without the letter “u”.

My first task was to make Tracy the Turtle’s movements create a black square. Here I was required to use the left and forward commands.

After more practice with moving in different directions, I was shown examples of adding colours to Tracy’s movement. Here I was asked to create a rainbow by using seven different colour change commands and the forward command.

When I had completed several tasks which allowed me to become familiar with certain commands, I was finally given the opportunity to create on my own. The task was to draw a house using all of the commands I have learned.

My final house project did not turn out exactly the way I had hoped because I struggled with figuring out the “penup” and “pendown” commands because I never received a chance to practice with them prior to creating my house. I am still proud of my results including the angles I used to design the roof and the 4-panel window that I created.

Ultimately I enjoyed being able to explore basic coding commands and gained more appreciation for coders. A vast amount of work goes into designing simple projects, and in today’s technology-based world, coding is involved in everything. Lydia Dishman reported in an article that “coding is becoming the most in-demand skill across industries” because it is essential to how we live our lives and nothing online can be done without codes. Coding is behind everything from creating games, designing apps and websites, and even creating blog posts such as this one. The brief introductory to coding which I received increased my comfort level with being online and understanding how things are programmed. Learning the skill is important to appreciate all the applications available to us through technology. Coding opportunities are endless, and I hope to continue to practice curiousity and explore the world of coding.

Putting it all Together – Learning Project week 10

Throughout my Learning Project, I have spent my weeks focusing on specific topics and developing an ASL vocabulary. This week I put the collection of terms I have learned together and finally communicated some sentences. I used the alphabet I learned in week two to fingerspell my family member’s names and the months of the year from week five to describe their birthdays. I then incorporated colours from week two, holidays from week seven, sports from week eight, and careers from week nine. By choosing to describe my family members, I was also able to include the family terms I acquired in week four. Although for the most part, I focused on putting signs together this week, I also learned a few new terms to help me connect the words.

These include: name, is, the, favourite, in, for, the, city, older, twin, jail guard, are & and. Most of my new vocabulary words are general sentence structure terms because I have already fully covered the topics of family, colours, months, sports, holidays, and careers, but a few of the new words still fit in those categories and are just specific to my personal family.

Because I was looking for specific terms, I depended on the ASL Dictionary on that I have used in the previous weeks but when I failed to find what I was looking for there, I discovered a new helpful site. I found which had every word I was looking for, however, the site was not very efficient to use. Rather than the search engine producing an immediate sign for the word requested, it makes you scroll through a list of every term it knows that starts with the same letter as your requested word making it a very tedious process. I appreciated the large variety of terms available but I would only recommend it if after trying out other resources you are still in need of a particular signed word.

After putting my descriptions together, I struggled tremendously with the sound while recording the screencast with screencastify, but eventually captured a recording that could be understood following several failed attempts. A script to my video is included in the video’s caption on YouTube providing another opportunity for viewers to follow along with its context (click show more in the caption of the video).

It is crazy how fast ten weeks went by but I am proud of my progress and feel that this week I was finally able to put my knowledge to the test and demonstrate my learning to its fullest potential!

  • Kendall. S

You Mean Not Everything I Read Is True?

The internet is an influential tool that has the powers to be extremely beneficial or detrimental depending on how the information found is utilized. Michael Lynch observes that the internet is “both the world’s best fact checker and the world’s best bias confirmer often at the same time”, explaining the importance in making sure the material we find is true and honourable. The term “fake news” is commonly used in society, but it does not do justice to the many types of misinformation and disinformation that can be found online. Digital Literacy or “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information” is a serious topic that requires both technical and cognitive skills to be performed correctly.

The technical part is obvious being that the information that is analyzed is found online. Individuals must be able to navigate the internet to find resourceful articles. Understanding social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram can be beneficial for sharing the information and knowing how these networks function is significant in recognizing what is being shared. For instance, knowing the definition of retweeting and being able to identify who initially posted the information on Twitter is important to understanding the depths of the published material. Familiarizing ourselves with functions of the internet and terminology of certain cites has an apparent importance but it is not enough to demonstrate digital literacy.

Individuals must also display cognitive skills when gathering online facts by thinking about what they are reading, analyzing where the information is coming from, determining the intentions behind the material being posted, and being well aware of the many different ways “fake news” can be produced online. Claire Wardle categorized this unreliable content into seven separate categories each with their own severities but all containing false material making them problematic. The issue is that no “fake news” is clearly noted to be fake but rather it is all deceiving and appears to be true unless it is pondered intellectually. The classic saying “think before you act” is extremely relevant in being digitally literate for information must be thoroughly considered before it can be labeled as factual and true.

In my senior year of high school, some of my fellow students discovered a site linked to Facebook that allowed them to create articles meant to be pranks towards others. They wrote descriptive lies pretending to be formal news stories that were generated and posted online making the “joke” appear in realistic formats of police reports. Because I knew the individuals being discussed in the articles, it was easy for me to understand that they were fake stories, but, this wasn’t the case for everyone. Authoritative members of my school community had to dig deep into the situation before confirming that all the information was made up and although the creators of the articles were penalized, there was never a schoolwide discussion about the topic. It was assumed as explained in the Stanford executive summary that “because young people are fluent in social media, they are equally savvy about what they find there” and that all young people understood that these “jokes” were false.

On a larger scale, this fall major misinformation stories went viral obtaining to the Las Vegas Shooting Attack. Americans woke up on the morning of October 2nd to social media feed rumoring information about the shooter’s identity. In this case, the false news was extremely detrimental due to the horrors of the story and the stereotypical assumptions that were being made attempting to convince media users that the case had already been solved. This is problematic because a large number of people experienced devastation due to the attack and society deserves to know nothing but the truth regarding the situation. By spreading rumors regarding such a serious case, more feelings of pain were brought to the surface on top of the devastating emotions that were already circling in the nation.

“Fake news” is produced in many forms, travels quickly and has the opportunities to be damaging, providing it with its serious nature that must be discussed among society’s youth. It is important that as educators we firstly promote awareness of the issue rather than trying to pretend that it does not exist. It is vital to recognize the depths of the problem and acknowledge it as such to demonstrate its enormity. Focusing on the different types of fake news in the classroom and referring to a variety of examples including those at the bottom of the deceiving spectrum that fit the “Satire or Parody” category and have no intention to harm but does have the potential to fool, and those that fall into the “manipulated content” section on the scale which manipulates genuine information for the purpose of being deceiving.

As educators, we must set respectful examples by independently checking what we find online before sharing it and deliberating its content. It is our responsibility to promote emerging the education of digital literacy into the curriculum as or society begins to become more and more dependent on information we receive online. Our future students deserve to know the truth about the damaging information publicized on the web, and be aware of how easy it is for false information to penetrate the internet, and it is our job to provide them with this information. We must first educate ourselves on the severity of digital literacy, display model online behaviors, and teach our students how they can follow similar paths to be safe and smart online.

Captivating Careers – Learning Project week 9

Things became serious this week as I explored careers in ASL and detected a limitless number of occupations available. Without looking far, I was able to easily discover signs for forty-two jobs which greatly expanded my ASL vocabulary. Similar to the past, ASL That’s video was extremely fast and did not include any descriptive details or advice for remembering the terms. The video does, however, demonstrate a variety of careers which provided me with a strong starting point for this week’s learning. Jane Dews’ ASL channel was new to me this week, but I found her video extremely helpful because of the comprehensive explanations she provides as she performs each gesture. I again depended on Handspeek’s ASL dictionary to find careers that weren’t presented in the videos or to clarify the details of some of the signs that were not clearly demonstrated in the videos.

As my list of terms to learn continued to grow this week, I was nervous that I would not be able to remember them all, but I quickly picked up on trends and tricks to help keep them sorted in my head. I chose to organize them alphabetically and since when signing many of the occupations, you position your hand in the letter that the job title begins with, it helped me to not only acquire the new signs but also remember them. For example, when signing dentist or doctor, you position your dominant hand in the sign for the letter “d”. Many of the career signs also end the same way with the sign for “person” coming after the sign for the subject of the career. An example of this would be the career “biologist”, where you start with the sign for biology and conclude with the sign for person simplifying a “biologist” to a biology person. Other tricks I developed to help me learn some specific signs include:

  • Athlete – begins with the sign for “sport” which I remember from last week
  • Astronaut- appears as if your dominant hand is a rocket launching off of your other hand which acts as the launch pad
  • Cashier – includes the motion of typing as if you were calculating the total of a customer’s purchase
  • EMT- is simply signed through “finger spelling”
  • Dentist- this sign takes place near your teeth making it uniquely recognizable from the others
  • Doctor/Nurse- both are performed with your dominant hand in the starting letter position and tapped on your other wrist as if you were checking for your pulse
  • Firefighter – your dominant hand models the shield on a firefighting helmet
  • Police officer – your dominant hand is in the position of the letter “c” for cop and is tapped against your chest where the officer badge would normally be found
  • Trainer – begins with the sign for “practice” which I learned last week and allowed me to conclude that practice and train are categorized together in ASL

After sticking to my plan for this week of learning signs for careers, I came across an inspiring resource which motivated me to continue to learn and I was able to connect the information to this week’s topic of study. When I initially started my learning project, I was excited to learn ASL to be prepared to communicate with my students, community members, and people who I meet while traveling. This week I finally learned terms that I consider to be valuable because they relate to emergency situations and will allow me to provide comfort to those who are deaf. Following the trend of occupations, I learned to sign EMT and eleven words that are essential to helping others in threatening situations and significant in the work of paramedics. Knowing an individual’s allergies, medical history, or where they are hurting could help me save a life and I am ecstatic to have the information to communicate these topics through ASL signs.

This week was extremely beneficial to my learning progress as I acquired an abundance of terms including some that can be useful in emergency situations. Every week I continue to notice new patterns and tricks in the ASL language allowing me to develop in knowledge and be confident that I have adopted a new skill.

-Kendall. S

YouTube: A Benefit or Detriment in the Classroom

Argument 1: YouTube as a Detriment

YouTube can be an asset to teachers, but what good is it when teachers rely on YouTube to do their job? It seems that this is occurring way too often. A teacher will put on a YouTube video instead of creating a lesson that incorporates the YouTube video. There are so many things wrong with this.

For one, why even bother hiring teachers if they are just going to have a video do the job? It makes the whole point of being a teacher null. If teachers are going to rely so heavily on YouTube doing all the “dirty work” for them, wouldn’t it make more sense to hire a non-teacher? That way school divisions can save more money, right? But I’m not arguing how to save money–I’m arguing why it’s wrong to use YouTube so much within the classroom, and if teachers continue to abuse the privilege of online sources like they do, being a teacher will soon be an impossible feat, because who would hire a person with a Bachelor’s Degree that costs way more money over a high school graduate who will take the job at a lower price?

Second, how much information can a student get out of a YouTube video? Are they that detailed? Do they touch on all the topics of the curriculum? Typically, a YouTube video won’t touch on important information on a subject it’s covering, so how is the YouTube video beneficial to students?  Wouldn’t it make more sense for a teacher to create a lesson that makes sure to hit all the topics students need rather than to put on a video and hope for the best?

Third, if one teacher begins to rely on these videos, and a student becomes accustomed to the way that one teacher “teaches”, then a student may begin to rely too heavily on YouTube. That student could potentially fall behind when they have a new teacher who doesn’t use YouTube at all. That change can affect a student in negative ways.

Finally, in a culture dominated by social media and the internet, wouldn’t it be good to teach students in a way they haven’t seen before? By that, I mean that teaching without any use of technology could be helpful. Kids may see that media and go, “Oh, well I know how to work that, I can just do this independently,” and that’s not what being a teacher is about. If we teach without the use of technology, a student may realize that they do have to rely on what the teacher is saying in order for them to learn. They can’t just use those YouTube videos that the teacher likes so much.

So, how helpful is YouTube really? It seems that the website can cause more damage than good when it is used in the classroom.

Argument 2: YouTube as a Benefit

“YouTube is not only the kingdom of digital entertainment”, but it also provides a great environment for learning according to a blog post by Christopher Pappas. YouTube is a powerful tool that has a major influence on today’s society and is commonly used among our youth so it is important to promote positive engagement and educational purposes of the site in classroom settings. I understand your concerns that teachers are becoming dependent on YouTube, that YouTube is teaching classes in the place of teachers, and that students may become too accustomed to learning from YouTube however the powers of the device can be greatly beneficial in the classroom if used correctly. YouTube adds a dynamic element to learning, intrigues students by incorporating cool technology into class lessons and helps to demonstrate complex procedures and explain difficult topics.

YouTube videos do not simply take the roles of educators but rather the videos help explain intricate topics and provide detailed explanations from different perspectives. It is important that teachers are strongly educated in their fields so that they can responsibly pick appropriate and useful videos for their class and be able to explain the videos in their own words to provide students with several viewpoints on the particular topic of study. YouTube houses a vast variety of educational videos that allow teachers to present ideas visually which is beneficial to help students learn and remember complex details.  In an article by Jeff Dunn, he explains that “students are more engaged through visually-stimulating videos and presentations” such as TED Talks because it demonstrates that the lesson being taught isn’t just their teachers’ ideas but an actual global topic that is important to understand. By incorporating the modern aspect of social media that interests students outside of school, teachers are able to make classes appealing to their students while still teaching significant content. Teachers who promote educational uses of YouTube in the classroom, help students to learn that the source can be a reliable study tool which may be helpful due to the opportunity to re-watch course content until it is fully understood. In order for YouTube videos to be productive in classrooms, teachers must be knowledgeable about the topic and utilize the videos as further explanations that interest their students and benefit the students’ learning processes.

The capabilities of YouTube allow classrooms to go beyond the boundaries of their four walls and permit students to engage with others through global networks. Students aren’t solely stuck learning from their teachers but rather are introduced to learning from each other, students studying similar topics, individuals who are experts in their fields, and from other teachers who have valuable information to share. By showing students, they can learn from more than just their teachers, educators are able to prepare their students to be able to learn in their futures outside of the classroom. Despite the grand library of videos available to learn from, teachers are also able to create their own videos providing students with personal and visual resources to look back on, and students are able to produce videos to document and express their personal learning on a global scale which incorporates students’ interests in social media with their learning allowing it to be exciting.

Because our culture is dominated by social media and the internet, it is crucial that both aspects are incorporated into classroom learning so that students can develop responsible online habits and learn about the benefits of online resources. It is well-known that the internet is a dangerous place and that not everything on the internet is true or educational which is why integrating positive uses of technology, demonstrating how to find informative and trustworthy resources, and promoting professional self-representations online is vital in today’s classrooms. Students are undeniably all using forms of social media and online communications so rather than ignoring them and allowing students to blindly experience the dangers, teachers are responsible for providing their students with understandings on how to utilize the advantages of the internet without becoming involved with the horrors of the online world.

In a society that has become undoubtedly dependent on technology and consumed by the internet, it is crucial that online tools such as YouTube are used educationally in classrooms to involve and interest students while providing them with the best opportunities to learn to their fullest potentials and promoting responsible online behaviour.

  • Kendall Schneider


Get Your Head in the Game – Learning Project week 8

I grew up in a sports enthusiast household where my family was involved with several sports and included the nature of sports into several aspects of our lives. My siblings and I all played many sports, my dad officiated and coached in many leagues, my mom was our biggest cheerleader, our favourite family activities were attending sporting events together, and for many family photos, we are dressed in jerseys. Sports continue to have a major impact on my life, and I have expanded my sporting knowledge to be able to communicate about them through ASL.

Winning Sports Awards in Grade 8

My Dad officiating Hockey

Watching my twin brother play hockey

As in my previous weeks, I relied on Heather Berry as a resource who has a video on ASL sports that includes instructions in how to sign each sport. Rather than just performing the gesture, Heather explains what she is doing with her hands making it easier to understand, replicate and remember. ASL That has a helpful video which demonstrates terms related to sports rather than the sports themselves which allowed me to expand my ASL sports vocabulary beyond just the titles of sports. Finding a video on YouTube that included the list of sports I was interested in learning was difficult though due to the vast variety of sports and which ones are popular in different regions. For some sports including Dance, and Hockey and extra terms such as “team” and “league”, I relied on the ASL Dictionary on that I discovered last week. Simply being able to search a specific term and have a demonstration appear is an efficient way to learn the gestures that I struggled to find in videos. It is beneficial to be able to watch the single sign repeatedly until I am confident with executing it myself.

There is an abundance of sports and different ways of naming them depending on which country you live in similarly to the variations I noticed in the different ways of signing them in ASL. Most of the signs relate to an action used to play the sport, for example, the sign for Volleyball is similar to if you were blocking a spike at the net, which made it easier to remember what sign was associated with what sport. My prior knowledge of sports was useful in helping me to make these connections and understand why a particular gesture was chosen for a specific sport.

Again, I noticed the importance of knowing the ASL Alphabet, which I learned in week two of my project, prior to learning other ASL signs because the letters are used frequently. In the gesture for “archery”, both fists demonstrate the letter “a”, and in the sign for “team”, both hands are in the letter “t” position. Although the recurrent use of the ASL alphabet surprised me, I am realizing that I should have expected it because similarly to any other language you must know the alphabet before you can form and spell words. The ASL alphabet can also be used for words that do not have a specific gesture associated to them but can be spelled out using the alphabet, for example, I was unable to find a concrete sign for the sports “rugby” and “lacrosse” but I was still able to communicate them through fingerspelling with the ASL alphabet.

This week I expanded my ASL vocabulary with terms that relate to my family’s interests and lifestyle. Knowing the signs for sports will allow me to communicate with others about some of my favourite past times and invite those who lack hearing to participate in sporting functions. Sporting events are popular social gatherings and anyone who wishes to join them should be included and have the right to participate. Due to my strong interest in sports, I enjoyed my learning experience this week and expanded my ASL vocabulary with terms that are regularly a part of my daily conversations.  In the upcoming weeks, I look forward to learning more terms that impact my everyday life, revolve around my passions, and that would be useful for making others feel included.

Happy Holidays – Learning Project week 7

Happy Halloween! This past week has been full of Halloween festivities including pumpkin carving, costume contests, candy eating, house decorating, and the ghostbuster theme song. I love joining in the creativity and traditions that each holiday brings and spreading the festive cheer. This holiday season prompted me to learn different holidays in ASL while focusing on things related to Halloween.

Happy H-OWL- oween

Learning the holidays was fun because they are terms that excite me. I quickly noticed that each holiday does not consist of a single gesture but rather each individual word is signed separately and I picked up the following tricks to help me remember the following terms:

  • New Years: remember the sign for year from Calendar Crazy
  • Valentines: hold both hands in the letter “v” position and then move them to make  the shape of a heart over your heart
  • Easter: hold your hand in the letter “e” sign and motion it to create the handle of an Easter basket
  • Mother/Father: remember the signs for mom and dad from Family First
  • Thanksgiving: remember the sign for thank-you from Stepping up my Emotion
  • Christmas: hold your hand in the letter “C” and motion it to create part of a wreath
  • Merry: letter m
  • Happy: the motion indicates your heart leaping for joy

This week, I noticed my development in ASL knowledge because although I have my previous videos to look back on, I didn’t find that I needed to. I noticed that I remembered the terms from previous weeks and made the connections without recalling back. It is encouraging to know that I’m not only learning the terms each week but that they are becoming muscle memory and I am beginning to connect terms together. This will be helpful in the upcoming weeks because some gestures will no longer be brand new and surprising to me but rather I may be able to expect them and link them to the vocabulary of terms I already am familiar with.

I began my learning journey by searching YouTube as per usual and found several helpful videos. Blue Eyed Jackson’s video was perfectly in the spirit of Halloween and covered every term you could imagine that is related to Halloween which was awesome to find all in one source. Heather Berry, who I have looked at in the past, had a helpful video which included great detail in explaining each gesture and walked them through step by step. Most of the videos I found were American and did not include all the holidays I hoped to learn but luckily, I came across a short clip from ASL That which enthusiastically taught me how to sign Canada Day. After exhausting my YouTube options, I discovered Handspeek which included a dictionary of ASL terms all performed in miniature video clips. The awesome site includes word reviews and distinct categories but also allows you to search specific words and phrases. I will be sure to explore more of the site in the future weeks and look to it as a valuable source as I continue to expand my vocabulary.

Holidays are exciting times of the year that everyone deserves an opportunity to participate in. I am honoured to now have the skills to be able to wish good holiday cheer onto those who lack their hearing no matter the season. I hope to continue the fun of learning ASL that I experienced this week in my future learning endeavors.

  • Kendall. S