Course Work, EDTC300

Grief, Hope and the Internet, oh my!

So what on earth do grief, hope and the internet have in common? Carol Todd. That’s what. Or rather who.

via GYPHY

Carol, mom of Amanda Todd, visited us in our class the other night, and what a gift she was to each of us. It was one of those times where you are aware enough of a person’s story that your soul is hushed when she speaks because she’s journeyed through “the dark night of the soul” and come through the other side, changed forever and a testament to the human spirit. She is this lovely woman who although she has experienced something most of us will never have to, is so down to earth, approachable, and humble, you just know you would have the most wonderful time visiting over a cup of coffee with her in your favourite little coffee shop! If you ever get a chance to hear her speak – take it. Her spirit is infectious.

I was struck on a number of levels from our time with Carol.

First, like I mentioned, the resiliency of the human spirit is breath-taking. Each of us is afforded the opportunity to meet profound grief in our lives, almost without exception. And without fail, it provides us all with the opportunity for tremendous growth and change in who we become moving forward. We can become full of bitterness or grace, destruction or hope. We make life changing choices along this path of grief. It’s devastatingly powerful, this journey. For myself? Stories like Carol’s inspire me to continue to grow and be refined by my own story and be a conduit of hope.

Second, suffering is not reserved for us adults. Coming through our classrooms, at every age level, are kids who are facing difficult, heart wrenching realities. As educators we have such a powerful place is these young peoples lives! Will we be sensitive to our students? Or will the pressures of getting the job of “teaching” done, blind us to their stories outside of class? Will we be compassionate individuals who come alongside and fan the flame of resilience in our students and be depositories of hope for them to make withdrawals from? Just as Carol came alongside us and infected us with her buoyancy, I want to be that kind of person for my students, my colleagues, my family, and my friends.

Last and certainly not least, I was once again struck by the awesome impact of the  internet. When the first car was ever built over a hundred years ago, I’m sure they never imagined all the ways it has impacted our world! Our world completely adapted to this technology! And oh, it’s good! I just returned from a lovely day trip to Skagway, Alaska where I got to smell the ocean air, watch a sea otter play, climb up to a frozen waterfall and eat halibut at a local restaurant!35672248131_f6b3829b6f

Photo Credit: Edward Mitchell Flickr via Compfight cc

I live in a little village an hour and a half from my mom so I get to visit her regularly. All because someone long ago created the automobile. It’s amazing. But it hasn’t been without it’s downside. Accidents, pollution, drunk drivers. Vehicles have been just that. Vehicles of great things and horrible things.

The internet is no different. I can now face time with family in other provinces. I can learn impossible math concepts from a professor in Mississippi!  It’s an amazing gift, this internet. But like the auto, it can also be a vehicle of destruction. People have had their identities stolen and some have had their life savings plundered. In Amanda Todd‘s case, it became a conduit of unbearable pain and suffering that led to her death by suicide. It’s awful. So, just as driving is something we all require instruction in before we get behind the wheel alone, using the internet is a powerful vehicle that requires us all to be very mindful and deliberate about how we use it and how we instruct young people to use it. It’s people like Carol, who we can lean into, where we gain the wisdom and clarity in how to accomplish this. Our ability to teach our students safe internet practices is paramount in this time of opportunity that the internet has brought!

Moving forward for me? Keep learning. About resilience, about internet wisdom, about imparting hope, each and everyday.

And Carol? Thank you for sharing your story and wisdom. You are a gift. XOXO

Keep learning,

Dianna

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EDTC300, Learning Project

Curvy Love

Dianna mounts soapbox…

Hush falls over the crowd…

In this crazy North American society where media incessantly bombards every girl about what it means to be considered “beautiful”, it’s no wonder that we struggle with loving our bodies! The sheer volume and pervasiveness of this messaging is staggering! And while there have been notable exceptions like the Dove campaign released in 2006 (seeking to address their findings in 2004 that worldwide only 2% of women would describe themselves as beautiful), the continued barrage of what it means to be “beautiful” seems to continue somewhat unfettered!

Enter – Me. Curvy Me. Weightful (rather than overweight) Me. Fluffy Me. The “Me” that is thankfully 50 years old and has a little more wisdom and a lot less desire to fit into that “beauty” mold. The “me” that seeks to, over and over and over and over, whisper, shout and chat with my students, of any gender, that WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL!

Let’s be honest though. I haven’t always felt this way. I’ve struggled against this tidal wave of what is considered “beautiful” a long time. And although I could spend time telling you about all the diets and crazy things I’ve done to shove myself into that idea, I want to tell you about some things (from more recent to less recent) that has helped me step off that crazy merry-go-round.

  1. Attend a Nigerian Wedding

Okay you full-figured beauties, if you are struggling at all with your extra fluff and loving yourself, CRASH A NIGERIAN WEDDING! I didn’t crash one but I had the privilege of attending one and WOWSA! I found my people! Big, gorgeous, rounded bodies full of love and fully loved. I may or may not have mocked all my skinny girlfriends as I danced my heart out among my people…

Of course I did!!!

via GYPHY

Our idea of what is gorgeous is so narrow. Look around the world, past our North American mindset, and you will see cultures who love their women full and squishy! Samoans, Kuwaiti, Bahamians, the list goes on. Those beautiful Nigerian men and women taught me a valuable lesson that day, I am beautiful. Period.

2. Go to the mall

Not one of those chic-chic (pronounced shhee-shhee) malls where everyone dresses up and does their make up to go there. No, go to your local mall where you’ll find a pretty accurate representation of the world you live in. Sit down and people-watch. When I did this in my twenties, what did I see? I saw me. I saw you. I saw big and small, short and tall, wide and thin, little miss one chin, little miss two chin. It’s a veritable Dr. Seuss book out there! It’s liberating. It continued a process in my soul that had me pushing back at the images of “pretty” I was buying into and creating my own reality, based on the world around me. The real world.

3. Believe your bestie

As a full-bodied teen in the Yukon, when my bestie, K.P. and I, said these words to each other, they went deep. “You know, if people could see us on the inside, they would see how amazing and beautiful we are!”. There was something so powerful about us verbalizing our truth. We knew we were beautiful. Maybe people couldn’t always see it because of their own misguided ideas. But we knew it at some level and that never left me. And to this day, she is one of the most beautiful people I know. She radiates it.

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My all time favourite pic of us!

And so here I am Fat, Fabulous and Fifty and happier than I was at my skinniest.

OKAY! OKAY! OKAY! I can hear those of you out there cringing at all this crazy self acceptance and saying, “BUT IT’S NOT HEALTHY BEING FAT!”

You’re right. It’s not. I agree. But I also know hating myself has never motivated me to exercise and eat better. Trying to look like an impossible standard of skinny didn’t either. But loving myself enough, celebrating myself enough, to pursue being healthy – now that is motivating.

Perfect segue into my learning post for this week! Below is a pic of a great tool called Videonot.es that I used while previewing one of my Curvy Yoga videos. Just copy your videos URL, load it into this extension and viola! Start taking notes alongside the video! Super cool way to learn.

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And this video was all about what I need to hear, what we all need to hear. Gentle reminders to connect with myself, be kind to myself, take care of myself. Check this session out, it’s so affirming!

That’s it. I’m stepping off my soapbox. Thanks for listening. And hey, go be nice to yourself k? Because you are beautiful.

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, 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!)

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via GYPHY

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!

www.nea.org/tools/56274.htm  

https://www.edutopia.org/discussion/15-characteristics-21st-century-teacher

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

Ms. Roch – The nea.org article states that 58% of kids had cell phones in 2012. This article https://wearesocial.com/uk/blog/2018/01/global-digital-report-2018 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 nea.org 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.

http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-dont-follow-directions-2013-8

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

via GYPHY

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

Keep learning,

Dianna

EDTC300, Learning Project

“Chunky” Yoga it is!

So my dog Charlie is in on the act.

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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!

via GIPHY

As always,

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, 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!

via GYPHY

hee hee hee…

Keep learning,

Dianna

Course Work, 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!

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via GYPHY

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.

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 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 

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via GYPHY

  • 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

via GYPHY

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

via GYPHY

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,

Dianna

 

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…

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…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.

giphy4

via GYPHY

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,

Dianna