I would like to share that I have finished my 5th class

I’m sure that everyone is giddy with the news!

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Ok, possibly no one really cares where about I am in my grad studies journey, but hopefully some of what I share here will leave others with wonderings or thinking how they can use some of the information and insight I have and combine it with their own to end up with something infinitely better than either of us would have come up with on our own.

We take ideas from other people, from-2

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I actually love this quote, and the picture was awesome, as it aligns with my major learning project of learning how to crochet.  Of course I just googled the image, and it ended up taking me to a blog from a student who is working on an open scholarship course from the Virginia Commonwealth University, which I thought was pretty coincidental.

Throughout the class, we have looked at many interesting videos, and written numerous posts about the importance of sharing. We have explored our privileged positions being educators, and why it’s so important for us to have a voice for those who may not through social media.  We have investigated learning through open texts, and through free online sources, such as videos posted to YouTube, and other’s blogs.

Image result for learning and sharing in the 21st century
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For me, the most important learning of the course, is the power of Twitter for connecting to educators around the globe.  I started using Twitter when I took EC&I 834 in the spring semester.  I liked it, but didn’t use it to its full potential, (if I’m honest, I still don’t- but I’m getting better).  The 834 course was more about creating.  It’s interesting to me how when we change the focus and view similar material through different lenses, how different our learnings.

I spent the bulk of 834 learning new apps and learning how to create video/audio, etc, and make my classroom more interactive.  I didn’t clue in at all about the importance of sharing the resources that I created online, though I shared them with the class, and with other teachers in my building.  I loved learning how to use Google Classroom, at that point it wasn’t available in our division, but I started a couple other teachers on Edmodo.  My priority was more about keeping kids safe while at the same time exposing them to wider networks of learning.  I focused on student engagement, and not a lot on me sharing. I learned for the purpose of engaging students.

With ECI 831, the focus is on sharing.  I wasn’t concerned so much about learning how to use new apps to teach students, but rather with teaching myself some of the ways that I can learn online, and how to share my thoughts and ideas. This brought me back to Twitter, and I started using it differently than I did last class.  My focus has turned from engaging my class, to engaging myself.  Thinking bigger than my own class, and to the ways that technology is changing the world, not just my classroom.  I have been able to connect with some amazing educators, and found many professional resources, (although I still don’t share them online as much as I do with my colleagues at work.)

I have not had as much time to focus on learning additional apps or a new LMS as I did last semester.  I was however able to focus much time on learning what was important to me right now- which is leadership and school culture.  I have been able to find so many experts to follow in Canada and the US.  It is fascinating to read about the innovative things that happening in education.  With local PD, I am stuck to the people and resources provided by my division, and although they are great, they cannot offer near the depth that I have found through Twitter.  In addition, I am able to find and spend more time on the areas that I currently need to focus on as a new administrator, and the areas that I think are most important: school culture and student engagement.

For my summary of learning, I chose not to spend my time on a new app or other online creation tool.  As I mentioned in my major project, a major issue I have with learning online is that everything is so flashy I struggle to maintain focus.  I am the kind of student who does well with a lecture.  Give me a plain old TedTalk any day over some animated video.

 

Is my summary flashy and particularly engaging?  No, and for me as a learner- that is just fine. In addition, creating my summary of learning in this format is also about not spending a bunch of time on the flash.  I spent a great deal of time on my ideas.  In reality, for me to share as an educator, if it takes me forever, I won’t do it.  I flipped back and forth on that many times.  On the one hand, in this scenario- I am the learner, I should be spending considerable time on creativity showing my ideas.  On the other hand, should the creative side of showing my ideas overshadow the actual ideas?  In the end, I decided that it was my learning, so it should be showcased in the way that I learn best, and so that is what I did.

Does it summarize what I learned this class? I would say it does to a great degree.

Am I where I want to be when it comes to technology and technology integration?  No for sure not.

But thankfully for all the millions of people sharing ideas through Twitter, and the like, I can find resources with just a click of a button.  When I have the time, I can create flashy video and animations, if and when I have a classroom and believe that is the best use of my time.  For now, I’m happy following leaders that are innovative, and sharing their ideas with my staff, who are in turn, handing much of the creativity over to the students to show their learning.

Allowing students to share in the learning in our classrooms is the destination that I want to get to. Me being familiar with apps and up to date on what is available is only half the journey.  It is great that a teacher has the ability to create multimedia educational resources to help students learn, and it’s great that we have access to online resources that are free.

To me, the most important thing is that we recognize as teachers, that our students have access to the exact same information- the job for us as educators is to help our students learn how to access it, and use it, and in turn share their learning with broader audiences.  We need to stop the idea that when we hand in an assignment our learning is done, when in fact, the product or idea we shared, is actually the start of our learning.

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Project crochet has been a success

I have to say that crochet is quite enjoyable.  I still am a fan of knitting- been doing it for many more years so it goes quickly. I think as I continue crocheting- it will actually work up considerably faster than knitting.  For me that’s a good thing: as my Grandma used to tell me, “Patience is not a virtue you were born with, and it’s not one you later acquired”

Here is my finished project.

 

I’m actually pretty happy with it.  Like knitting, the final product is ultimately decided based on the yarn choice made.  I like the colours and texture of this yarn, and it crocheted up quite quickly.

Although the result is small- it took considerable time to get to this point.

I started with just the single crochet.  It took a long time to find a video that I was finally happy with.  Many of them either moved too fast, or too slow.  I also struggled to find a video that I was happy with the voice of the person, or them telling me some big long story before we got to the task at hand.  In the end, I found one.

My single crochet took many attempts.  Not so much in figuring out how to form the stitch, but in getting the tension right so my work wasn’t completely lop sided.  I had to start with a small number of stitches so that I didn’t end up with too many or too few stitches by the time I got to the end of the row, (happened anyway- more than once). This was my favourite “teacher” and I found the videos easy to follow and pretty straight forward.  I also liked the fact that angle showed from overhead so I could see where the hook had to be inserted.  In addition to the videos, I found some other visuals that helped me out as well.

Double crochet actually took less time to figure out.  I was able to count my stitches better, and had better technique for holding the yarn and needle.  My way didn’t complete replicate anything that I had watched online, but it worked for me with results I could live with.

Feeling slightly cocky I moved on to the granny square.  This proved a difficult challenge.  I am wondering now if I would have chosen a lighter coloured yarn if it would have been easier to see.  There are apparently many variations on the granny square.  Honestly, I went with variation of the video that I liked.  It is posted in the blog post. Again, there were many that were simply so long, I knew there was no way it was holding my attention.  This video moved along quickly enough too in the beginning, but I just kept stopping and going back and eventually got it figured out.

The pattern I chose for my cowl was a half double crochet.  I actually learned this one using a book that I had borrowed.  I wouldn’t have been able to figure it out just from the book I don’t think if I didn’t have the other stitches down pat.

What I learned about learning a new skill online is that it takes some patience.  You have to invest a considerable amount of time in finding the tutorial video that matches your learning style and is paced in a way that works for you.  There are literally tens of thousands to go through, ok if I’m precise, 3 380 000.

You have to know yourself as a learner.  For example, I know that I am not patient at all- there is no way that I would use a video that is 30 minutes long to get started.  The other thing I figured out, was that I could eliminate a video pretty quickly just by the background music, the voice of the instructor, or if the video was simply to busy and distracting to me.  I can’t handle the animations and the zooming in and out- totally lose my focus.

What I learned about learning is that imagine if you are the kid in the classroom who doesn’t have the ability to rewatch a section where the teacher went too fast, or what about the teachers where you simply hate their voice, or the over the top theatrical teachers where there is no way to concentrate if you are a student like me.

The other missing link for me, is that no matter how many different videos I watched, or how many times I could re-watch, I would have appreciated someone there being able to help me out where I was stuck.  In many aspects it was good that I had to work through the trouble areas and figure it out, however, I can also see where some people would just chose to give up. What kept me working was that it was my desire to learn.  When learning solely online, I can see issues if the material is mandated to be learned rather than chosen.

Many people had such cool ideas for learning- things I didn’t even think about in terms of learning, like organizing closets, or learning ways to work towards healthier lifestyles.  Through sharing of what others were learning, it has inspired me to also take some time and learn a few new skills.  It again makes me realize the power and importance of sharing things.  I have taken some of these ideas and already started to rehash them for my own use!