Blog, EDTC300

Cellphones Allowed In Class?!?

This week’s assignment for my Ed Tech class was a pretty neat experience. We had to connect with someone from our class and look at how some kind of technology could be  used in classes and present opposing viewpoints. I knew right away I wanted to debate the use of cellphones in the high school classroom and my classmate from Regina, Daniel Lee took the challenge! (check out his blog here!)



It’s been a while since I’ve worked with a partner and I’ve never done it virtually so this was new for me. We texted each other to hammer out our idea for how we wanted to present our info, emailed a bit and did all our work in a shared Google Doc. So seamless! We live in such a connected world; it’s astounding. Anyway, read on to see what we came up with…

A Simulation of a Conversation Between a Parent and Teacher

Class email received by parents/guardians of of Mr. Lee’s grade nine Social Studies

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Text conversation between Mr. Lee and Ms. Roch…

Ms. Roch – Hey, there. It’s Jay’s mom (from SS 9A), Brenda here. You mentioned in the class email if we had any questions that we should text you at this number. I have a few questions.

Mr. Lee – Of course Brenda! What can I help you with?

Ms. Roch – I’m just worried about everyone being on cell phones in class. They’re already on them so much. I thought classrooms were where they wouldn’t be on their phones but learning from the teachers.

Mr. Lee – I understand your concern. Let me reassure you that I am not allowing the usage of cell phones to hinder the students learning; it is the opposite. I want to teach my students how to use their cell phones professionally and respectfully. The students will not be allowed to use their cell phones all the time. As an example, when we are having a class discussion, I will be asking the students to put away their cell phones and to respectfully listen to their classmates. However, when they are doing, let’s say research, cell phones are a very useful tool to look up information online if we can’t book a computer lab or laptops.

Ms. Roch – That’s helpful to hear, but what about them wasting time and just texting each other or checking their social media? Won’t cellphones be a huge distraction?

Mr. Lee – Students will be on social media during class regardless of cell phones being allowed or not allowed. Yes, by allowing cell phone usage in class I am allowing more chances for them to be on social media, but I hope to teach the students to use them as learning tools rather than just social tools. Cell phones are a part of our daily lives now and will probably be an even bigger part of our lives in the future. I plan on teaching the students how to utilize cell phones for their educational benefit. Also, please be assured that I will limit the use of social media as much as possible. I will be actively roaming the class during the times that cell phones are in use to help ensure students stay on task.

Ms. Roch – But there just seems to be so many articles out there telling us how too much technology are bad for kids. It’s overwhelming.

Mr. Lee – I’m sorry but I have to attend a teacher meeting but in the meantime I hope you will check out these articles!

I will get back to you as soon as I can!

Ms. Roch – The article states that 58% of kids had cell phones in 2012. This article states that 68% of people are mobile users. Although it is not restricted to just students, it means that not everyone has a cell phone. What will the students without cell phones do? Won’t they feel left out?

Mr. Lee – I have a number of cell phones that have been donated for my class use, so no one will be without. Keep in mind that cell phones are not the only form of resources the students have. We have an amazing library filled with many books relevant to my class. Like in the article, working in groups is another option. The school also has laptop carts and many computers throughout the school. However, the problem with laptop carts is that we may not be able to book it for our class, since it is for the use of the entire school. The computers are outside my classroom and if a student or two leaves the classroom to use computers, I will not be able to supervise them.

Ms. Roch – You make valid points, but I still feel that the students will not use their cell phones for the purposes you want. I still believe that cell phones should not be used during class time.

Mr. Lee – Here is an interesting article suggesting why kids do the exact opposite of what they are told.

I have noticed that some students do like to rebel against what teachers tell them to do. To combat this, we will not be taking away their cell phones completely, but teach them to use it to benefit their education.

Also, I would like to point out that we have had our our entire conversation at our own individual leisure because of cell phones! This is a much more convenient way for us to discuss your concerns rather than making time out of your busy schedule to meet with me and talk to me in person.

Ms. Roch – You do have a point there! Thank you Mr. Lee. I feel a little more at ease now about the use of cellphones in class! I hope it works out the way you envision it to! I will be checking your weekly updates!

Mr. Lee – Please, Brenda, call me Daniel. 🙂 Cheers!


There you have it. What are your thoughts about this topic? I find it really interesting to see how my own opinion has changed over the last 5-6 years. Five years ago, I would’ve been dead set against using cell phones in class. Now, I just see so much opportunity!

Now before I sign off, I did let my partner, the amazing Daniel Lee, know that I’d be bragging about him as a partner in this project. So here it is…

If you get a chance to work together with Daniel, do it! Easy going, cooperative, flexible and all around nice guy. Seriously, someone you’ll enjoy working with! 

cheer applause GIF by Peanuts


Oh, and Happy Pi Day! Yum, I love pie. Rats, now I want pie. Blueberry pie. Oh dear…

Keep learning,


Blog, EDTC300, Learning Project

“Chunky” Yoga it is!

So my dog Charlie is in on the act.


The yoga act. I’m not sure if he’s cheering for me, emulating me, or trying to save me from what he thinks is my destruction! Here we are just as I’m finishing up another session of “Curvy Yoga” (note what my husband calls it)

via YouTube

So “Chunky Yoga” it is. I’m not offended; I’m just relieved they think it looks like yoga!

There’s not much to share about my progress thus far – it’s going well enough that I think I’ll increase the length of my sessions this next week. Baby steps work well for me.

But what I can reflect on is wrestling with YouTube and trying to get rid of the annoying ads that appear at the end. So far, no luck, and embedding my videos any other way will require me to upgrade my WordPress account to a paid account. And while I could do that, I like free, so I’ll continue to look for other ways to post ad free videos. I’m open to ideas if you have any!

For now, I’ve MADE A GYPHY! Too fun – enjoy!


As always,

Keep learning,


Blog, EDTC300

Sarah Smiles

So hit play and enjoy some tunes while I fill you in on the one and only Sarah Reimer! (Loud cheering inserted here!)

via YouTube

My mission, which I chose to accept, was to cyber sleuth my classmate, Sarah Reimer and fill you all in on all the juicy details… here goes.

While I referred to Sarah as the one and only Sarah Reimer!, I may have exaggerated a little. Using Google as my search engine, I found LOTS of Sarah Reimers! However, once you find her, you do discover that although her name is common, she is not.

On Twitter and her blog, SARAH REIMER – ELEMENTARY EDUCATOR, you are greeted by her great, inviting smile and digital environments that exude both warmth and professionalism. It’s a balance that she does well. Sarah is a fourth year eduction student who is obviously passionate about teaching and has put time and effort into how she presents herself not only to the public but to potential employers. Her portfolio is full of her work that give evidence of the quality of her education and skill. Seemingly little things, like identifying herself as a “white settler” on her Twitter bio, increases her credibility as a culturally sensitive individual whose teaching would reflect that sensitivity.

I couldn’t find Sarah on Facebook other than in posts the Yara Centre did in 2016.

via Facebook

I loved this next one!

via Facebook

That’s it. That’s all I could find! Just a clear digital idea that Sarah is who she says she is. Way to go Sarah!

I venture to say that if you were a student in elementary school, you’d definitely want to be in Ms. Reimer’s class!


hee hee hee…

Keep learning,


Blog, EDTC300

Hold Hands and Stick Together – Digital Citizenship

We were chatting in the Social Studies 8 the other day about words and how new words are added to the dictionary each year. The students looked puzzled by this concept until their teacher gave them the example, INTERNET. They had a hard time wrapping their minds around the fact that 20 years ago INTERNET was not a part of our vocabulary! They also got a kick out of finding out Homer’s “D’OH!” has been included in the dictionary!



Now I’m writing a post about “Digital Citizenship” and it’s the same idea. Twenty years ago I would have been baffled about what that term could possibly mean, while today the majority of our students have only experienced life that includes citizenship in a digital world.

This being the reality, what does it really mean? And how do we educate our kids, our students, ourselves, about what that looks like practically? I have few ideas that I’m going to throw out there but I’m going to be straight with you. Yet another mantra I live by is the tried and true, K.I.S.S.


 Photo Credit: luís… Flickr via Compfight cc

If I’m going to live it, model it, teach it, then Digital Citizenship needs to make sense to the four year old in me. Not because I think I’m not intelligent and capable of something complex but because I think I’ve stumbled on a bit of wisdom. Starting out simply in doing any learning, increases the likelihood of,

  1. a solid foundation of learning being built
  2. everyone being included
  3. it being more easily internalized and practiced

These are just a few reasons simplicity needs to guide our teaching; I’m sure there are dozens more. However, leaving those as my top three, let’s apply them to the concept of digital citizenship.

  1. Build a solid foundation in students about what it means to be a digital citizen

Now, before any foundation is built for a house, the land is prepared. Boulders are cleared out, the site is levelled. In discussing and teaching within our digital world there are a few boulders to remove and not in the students lives, but rather in ours. What bias do you carry regarding the presence of increased technology in our society? Be honest. Do you tend towards being a Negative Nancy? Or perhaps a Polly Positive? Either paradigm may need some rethinking. Take the time to read articles such as The IRL Fetish by Nathan Jurgenson or Jason Ohler’s, Character Education for the Digital Age to inform your thinking. The more balanced you can be in your approach to teaching this topic the stronger the foundation you are building will be in your students.

Having done your own internal work, what are the ingredients to teaching healthy digital citizenship? I dare say not much different from what we are already teaching our kids about being good Canadian citizens! Sure, there are unique aspects to the digital environment, but we’re talking foundations here.

As I said in a previous post, Robert Fulgrum talks about some of those foundational guiding principals. In his writing, All I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, he reminds us to share, be fair, don’t take thing that aren’t yours, say sorry, live a balanced life, hold hands and stick together and so on. It all applies in our digital world, right?!? Here’s two examples upacked a little:

  1. Share 



  • Social media is about sharing. MOOC is about sharing. Khan Academy is about sharing (important aside – I’m not so secretly in love with Sal Khan! I swear when I’m ramped up and can’t figure something out, just hearing his voice explain a concept takes me out of the red zone and back into the green zone!)
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours – understanding copyright, plagiarism! Exposing students to Compfight or Creative Commons (another example of sharing!)

And I love this one, hold hands and stick together! What a great way to help students learn about online safety and how to stay clear of cyber bullying, stalking, etc.?

Let’s move on to #2 and #3.

2. Be inclusive


This is simple and straight forward. Don’t exclude anyone. If someone is online, teach them about how to be online. From preschools to senior homes, everyone needs the opportunity to learn how to be responsible digital citizens. So differientiate the way you teach it for your learners, and make sure it’s being taught.

3. Make it practical


If we want people to internalize what it means to be a digital citizen in our times, then make it practical. Show people how to navigate this digital world. Don’t just tell them. Have them do it with you. Practice some of those tasks together. Remember, hold hands and stick together. One of the things I have appreciated tons in the EDTC300 (Educational Technology and Media) course I’m taking is that we do it all via ZOOM and Katia (our prof) shows us everything! And then if we still don’t get, she stays “after class”, shares screens with baffled students and unties our digital knots or takes the time to increase our learning. It’s a great model for me observe and benefit from!

This topic of digital citizenship, while I attempt to “keep it simple”, is a big topic and I’ve just scratched the surface. There’s tons to chat through and think through, but for today, let’s leave it there. I’m sure we’ll be tackling this topic again!

Until then,

Keep learning,



Blog, EDTC300, Learning Project

Proof Of Yoga-ing

It’s true, I’m still yoga-ing!

yo-ga-ing – (verb) – to do yoga in an amateur but delightful manner

Now the challenge is how I capture myself in the act and document it for ya’ll, because I’m not willing to take photos of myself in compromising positions, in my pajamas! So instead…


…here’s what it looks like each morning before I head off to work. I play my Curvy Yoga (my 14 year old mistakenly called it “Chunky Yoga” 😂) on my iPad, with the lights dim and get all bendy and yoga-ie…

yoga-ie – (adv) – having the appearance of yoga-ing

…while my family still snoozes. Sweet quiet and alone time. Remember, I’m a newbie, so forgive the presence of coffee. This is my reality. If I’m going to drag my butt out of bed early to do yoga, I need my coffee, even if just for moral support. I promise I do drink water as well, but that comes after those first few, life-infused sips of the java. I would make a good Coffee Evangelist, I dare say.



My yoga routine is such a small act at this point. I’m deliberately keeping the sessions short and sweet to combat my tendency to take on more than I can realistically incorporate into my life. I’d rather experience consistent small successes that I can build on, than make big goals that I have to abandon and feel disappointed about. (Note to self – remember that when planning for students, I need to scaffold the learning in such a way that students consistently feel success and remain motivated moving forward.)

I have to say that I am enjoying my learning project more than I expected. Although I have chronically struggled with a sense of disconnection with my body, I’m getting brief, shadowy glimpses of what feeling connected is like and am starting to see how valuable this can be for me in many areas.

I’m curious. Have you ever felt disconnected from your physical body? How does or did that look in your life? If you’re someone who has worked through this, what helped you to begin to feel at home in your body?

Have a great day all and

Keep learning,


Blog, EDTC300

Let’s Get Technical, Technical! I Wanna Get Technical! (no spandex allowed)

We really live in remarkable times! It’s mind-boggling to think that my parents remember when the first T.V. made its appearance in their neighbourhood. Everyone would gather around and gaze with fascination at the screen and exclaim at the wonder of this technology.

Photo credit:

Apart from the dreamers of that day, I can’t imagine that many of the wide-eyed kids sitting in front of televisions back then would’ve conceived the idea that they would be binge-watching “Nashville” on Netflix (my mom’s current addiction) and face timing or video messaging with their grandchildren at the press of a button! Or playing Scrabble from the Yukon with her sister in Manitoba daily (another past time of my mom!). The exponential increase of the scope and variety of technology in our day is quite astounding.

Now, there always two sides of a coin and so it is in this area. Although many of us secretly love the convenience of having our smart phones, Netflix and on-line shopping, we can also catch ourselves complaining about how “everyone is glued to their screens” and wistfully pining for the days where conversations with our kids didn’t include, “put down your phone, I’m talking with you”. There are very real problems that increased technology has introduced into our lives, and while I recognize that fact, for the most part, I’m inclined to lean towards focussing on all the opportunities the advances in technology bring and to commit myself to puzzling and growing through the challenges that arise. That makes sense for me, simply because, like rock ‘n roll, technology is “here to stay, it will ever die”!

via YouTube

A couple of weeks back, in my EDTC300 class, we spent some time discussing this topic and were charged with the task of watching a YouTube talk by Michael Wesch. It was  definitely worth watching. This comment, Wesch made about the web, really struck me,

“that it’s not just about information, that it’s actually about linking people and it’s about linking people in ways that we’ve never been linked before and in ways we can’t even predict…”

So true! The world, which used to seem soooo big, has shrunk! And again, even though there is the dark side to this linking potential (i.e. cyberbullying), the potential for creating community is brilliant. My local community is no longer my only community because now I can be a part of all kinds of communities in any corner of our little planet. It’s awe-inspiring and opens up such vast opportunities for each of us to learn, grow and expand!

My EDTC300 prof, Katia Hildebrandt, posed this question to us after this discussion,

“How do we capture the spirit of open, networked & participatory communities in our learning environments?” Great question! My first answer just has to be…


via YouTube

(Has anyone noticed that all my pics and videos are from a pre-internet era? Just another reason to embrace technology, all the yummy stuff of the past is accessible for all generations to enjoy!)

Yup. Respect. If we want open, networked & participatory communities, then in the foundations of these places, we need to build respect. I like this definition of respect, “have due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of.” Although we may not be in the immediate locale of one another, keeping in mind the humanity of each individual, complete with all their own feelings, struggles, ideas and frameworks, and mindfully interacting with each person is pivotal to building healthy, warm and inviting forums for learning.

The other answer I have to Katia’s question? Hmmm, another video perhaps? No! It’s GIPHY time!



Be an ambassador of virtual learning in community! Welcome folks in! Show them how to find their way around. Be humble and remember you weren’t always the Tech Goddess or God you are now. No snobbishness allowed! Robert Fulgrum‘s, “All I really need to know… I learned in Kindergarten” has timeless advice for our new digital world!

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 1.36.11 PM.png

photo via compfight

There’s so much to this topic, I could go on and on! But I’ll continue in another post and open up the topic of digital citizenship. As an educator embracing technology, it’s important that I have a clear sense of how to teach my students how to be positive and authentic citizens in the digital world (just as in the non digital world).


Until then,

Keep learning,





Blog, EDTC300, Learning Project

Avoidance 101

Who knew that deciding to do yoga for my learning project for EDTC300 would be so… horribly enlightening? Well, let’s be honest, my counsellor probably knew, but I, naively, thought that this would be a wholesome endeavour with the help of my curvy teachers at “Curvy Yoga”, and I would blithely “namaste” my way through this project.

But no. Even in spite of having a “get ‘r done” mantra in place, my avoidance techniques have have once again proven to be “Olympic-like” in their tenacity and ability to convince me to, well, …. avoid.



(what avoidance looks like in my life!)

And while I have been extending kindness to myself and not beating myself up for once again falling prey to these avoidance strategies so deeply ingrained in me, I’m also not willing to let myself off the hook either.

What does that mean? I guess it means that this learning project has become bigger, in a sense, than “learning yoga”. Yes, I’ll continue to learn yoga but I also want to reflect on “avoidance” and how that manifests in my life. And I’m inviting you into that process.

On a very practical level, I am doing some yoga and the folks at Curvy Yoga are brilliant. Anna Guest-Jelley has a super manner and it’s evident she really gets what it means to be a full figured person trying to do yoga. I love this,

When I first started practicing yoga nearly 20 years ago, I was almost always the biggest person in the room. So when the teacher would say something like “put your belly on your thighs in this forward bend,” I would think “Ummm, I don’t really need to move to do that. Does anyone else? – Anna Guest- Jelly

This is my sister from another mister! She gets me! Deeper than that, Guest-Jelley talks about the adversarial and disconnected relationship she’s had with her body and how practicing yoga has helped her “come home” to her body. This speaks to me right where I’m at.

Why the avoidance in this area for me? Because although I’ve come a long way in really appreciating the woman I have become (I’m fabulous, truth be told), I recognize that I still have a long way to go to appreciate the physical part of who I am. It’s not that I hate my body, it’s more that I ignore it.  And now I’m realizing that yoga forces me to spend time with that part of me, my body, that I’m basically a stranger to and uncomfortable with. Hmmm, so much to ponder and grow in…

Wait, there’s more! In the midst of this learning project I also want to reflect on what this means for me as an educator.

It hasn’t escaped me that I am experiencing the same things that any one of my students may be feeling any given day! Desperately uncomfortable and motivated to avoid the challenges in front of them! My “EMPATH-O-METER” is getting a tune up as I struggle through my own learning.



So today? My job as a I support the students?

  • Remember how it feels to be “stuck”, “intimidated”, “unmotivated”, “uncomfortable”
  • Provide them the space to explore what the underlying causes are
  • Give them the tools to keep trying and then cheer them on in making valiant attempts in their learning!

So, off to work I go, I’ll chat with you soon!

Keep learning,