Author Archives: Katherine Mihial

The One Where She Tries to Make a Podcast…

This week I have began doing some research as to where to begin with creating a podcast. My first initial search was, “How to start a podcast” into Google and started there.

This first most helpful website that I came across was: How To Start a Podcast: By Podcast Insights. I figured it must be a decent place to start because Google suggested it as their top website. They break the podcasting process down into 8 different steps.

  • Choosing a topic & name
  • Show and episode format
  • Cover art creation
  • Intro & outro music
  • Equipment selection
  • Audio recording & editing
  • Submission to Apple/Spotify Podcasts
  • Promotion tips

Now, as I read through this list that seemed quite daunting, I realized that I have some work ahead of me to actually producing a legit podcast episode. I began reaching out to some friends to ask their advice. For starters, I contacted a friend who is quite tech-savvy and I was able to borrow a headset and microphone for the recording process.

Additionally, my classmate Leigh Tremblay, mentioned a few ideas on my digital project introduction blog post to check out for some resources on how to start a podcast. Thank-you so much for that!

Pod Bean is a website where you can create a free account to create and promote podcasts. Buzzsprout which is an online graphic design tool to create cover art for your podcast logo. I then created an account with Apple Podcast Connect as I am an apple product consumer and don’t want to limit my options on where to start. 🍎

Lastly, I found a podcast episode by Rachel Hollis titled “How to Start a Podcast” which was extremely helpful to listen to as I am definitely an auditory learner. And not to mention a big fan of her work in general. My goal is to start working through the 9 steps above and start brainstorming some ideas of what I would like my podcast to look, sound and feel like!

As always, please feel free to comment any suggestions you may have as this is a completely new process for me!

Week 1 – Growing Up as a Millennial With Social Media

So to be clear, I am on the edge of identifying as a millennial, according to Google. I was born in 1995, so I just made the cut. Isn’t it funny how we classify parts of our identity based on this category of defining people by their generation? It seems more apparent now than ever with the popular trending terms of Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z’s. It also blows my mind that my current students are part of Gen Alpha. How weird is that!

Describe your relationship with social media. How has social media affected your personal or professional life in positive and negative ways?


Social media entered my life around the age of 11. It all started with MSN Messenger. Every year at summer camp, we would exchange emails and add each other on MSN and chat online with people we never saw again in person. Then quickly after came the age of creating Facebook profiles, and it exploded from there. By the time I reached high school, I had my first flip phone (Oh, how I miss that satisfying feeling) and hundreds of friends on Facebook. It was very typical to communicate with people over instant messaging and texting versus an actual phone conversation. The nostalgia brings me back.

I find myself caught in the middle of appreciating the rich childhood that I had, spending lots of time outdoors with friends and family, and staying up to date with the latest trends to connect with my students and their lives. (I also genuinely spend an embarrassing amount of time on TikTok out of pure enjoyment).

My first cellphone. Oh how I loved this thing!

I was growing up during a time as social media platforms were being developed. There were little to no parameters surrounding privacy, online safety, cyberbullying, or digital citizenship. As a whole, we were learning on the go, and we definitely made mistakes along the way.

My experience with social media is generally very positive. I was not very often a victim of cyberbullying, and I had some parental guidance along the way to understand that I was responsible for my safety while online and using devices. However, I have witnessed the very dark side of social media and how it can be such a powerful influence on our social lives during such fragile times of a teenager’s life.

Looking back now as an adult, social media, in combination with other things such as the sports I was invested in and being a female, took a massive toll on my body image and self-esteem. As a national-level gymnast and cheerleader, I was in constant comparison of my body and skills. Social media is the ultimate comparison of our lives. We highlight all of the good and tuck away everything else behind closed doors. Recently, however, social media has shifted where we are starting to share more of our real-life behind the scenes, the good and the bad, thanks to a mental health and body positivity movement.

I am currently doing a lot of unlearning regarding my own identity, self-worth, and confidence. Playing the comparison game had me editing and photoshopping photos to feel good enough to post them for the world to see, even if it wasn’t an accurate representation of who I was. Today, I have consciously chosen to like and follow people and accounts that make me feel represented and not ashamed about the stage of life that I currently am in. Instagram and Facebook often left me feeling defeated and that I always had something I needed to do better. My entire newsfeed has shifted now that I have removed the negativity on my screen that I saw every day and replaced it with content that makes me feel accepted and human.

Social media has a place in this world. It is not going away any time soon. The way we navigate it is a personal journey, and it is easy to slip into the comments threads that include all of the trolls of the internet. We have to remind ourselves constantly that what we see online is just one fraction of what is going on in the moment in real-time. Things are not always what they see. Teaching this to the next generation has never been more critical than now.

Major Digital Project Introduction

Based on the idea that individuals are able to learn and share online, you will choose something significant that you would like to learn, and you will share your progress openly in an online space. I have chosen that I want to embark on the journey of creating a podcast. I’ve been told by my husband that I have a face for podcasting (Just jokes he thinks he’s funny). I want to develop everything from introduction music, cover art, discussion topics and interviewing, to accessing equipment, creating an episode(s), and submitting it to either Apple or Spotify.

I began listening to podcasts about a year ago. Before that, I was listening to audiobooks on Audible. I have a thirty-minute commute to and from work everyday, so I really enjoy listening and learning while I drive. I found that I was mainly reading memoirs and biographies, however I found it to be quite daunting to begin listening to a ten-hour audiobook with the hopes of ever finishing it. Podcasts are a nice balance of anywhere between twenty-minutes to an hour of listening from start to finish. At first, I was reluctant to dive into the world of podcasting, however I am so thankful that I did because it is helping me grow as both an individual and a professional.

Some of the current podcasts that I listen to currently include:

  • The Birds Papaya (Sarah Nicole Landry) – Mental Health Interviews
  • Social Studies Podcast (Joe Dombrowski) – Comedy/Entertainment
  • Dear Hank & John (John & Hank Green) – Philosophy/Education
  • Today Explained (Vox) – Weekly News/Current Events
  • The Rachel Hollis Podcast – Entrepreneurship
  • Hot Mess Teacher Express (Jess Smith) – Comedy/Mental Health
  • Getting Curious (Jonathan Van Ness) – Society/Culture
  • Food Psych (Christy Harrison) – Nutrition/Wellness
  • Press Send (Chinar Alexander) – Society/Culture
  • RCSDPodPD – Professional Development

If you or someone you know has either successfully or unsuccessfully created a podcast, please feel free to comment any advice or suggestions below. I have began to do some research, and there is a lot of information out there!

Welcome to ECI 831!

Hi there! Welcome to the section of my blog where I will be documenting my thoughts and reflections as I embark on the journey of social media and open education with Alec Couros. I am looking forward to into integrating my new learnings from this class to my teaching practice in the classroom. This is my second educational technology course and I am definitely starting to develop a passion for studying how to implement authentic use of technology in the classroom. I can’t wait to utilize this in my grade 6 classroom where I am twenty-eight pre-teens all learning how to navigate the internet. Wish me luck!

TikTok On The Clock – My Summary of Learning

What a condensed yet impactful summer semester! I had the pleasure of taking EC&I 833 – Educational Technology with Dr. Katia Hildebrandt at the University of Regina. I am so thankful that I took this course, as it has me excited for the upcoming school year this fall! I hope you enjoy my humorous references to pop culture, and the advantages and struggles of teaching with technology.

https://www.tiktok.com/@valleyridgeretrievers?lang=en

Week 4 – Assistive Technologies: My Personal Experience

All accessibility tools benefit everyone. They are often created and put in place for specific reasons; however, it ends up being helpful and not an inconvenience to most people. For example, a wheelchair ramp is intended for those who may have a physical disability, but those who have strollers, wagons, or simply want to use a ramp, also benefit from these accessible points existing in our society. Having visual aids for crosswalks in addition to auditory sounds has increased the safety of those who may be vision-impaired to cross more than ever before. Even the assistive technology options available on our smartphones now, such as larger font, on-screen lock buttons, and speech-to-text, are widely used by many people of various abilities. Universal designs will always be beneficial for society. It can make life a lot simpler for those who may experience challenges that are sometimes not even considered or overlooked.

In the assistive technologies presentation presented by Daniel, Janeen, Reid, and Darcy, they mentioned using SETT (student, environment, tasks, and tools) for integrating different types of assistive technology in the classroom that is specific for each student. I use this type of acronym when developing a record of adaptations for particular students. Usually, any kind of adaptation you make for that student can fall within one of those four categories. I find that refreshing myself with this list of adaptations reminds me that these simple changes that I can make will often benefit most of the other students in the classroom as well and not just the one you are creating the ROA for.

There are a few different assistive technologies that I use in the classroom currently. We have one-on-one devices for specific students that may have an IPP that recommend it. I have many students, especially EAL learners, who use speech-to-text and text-to-speech to help them better understand the spelling and pronunciation of the English language. Regarding more subject-specific assistive technology, I am a big fan of having various aids, especially in math. Items such as manipulatives, mathletics, multiplication charts, calculators, and YouTube videos. Last year my school division installed speakers into the roof of every classroom connected to the data projector and a wireless microphone that the teacher can wear. This was especially helpful during the pandemic because I could amplify my voice while wearing a face mask. I would have been over-exerting my voice without it, and students would have struggled to hear me.

I have a personal connection to assistive technology, specifically relating to anything that assists hearing-impaired people. My partner has been hard of hearing since the day he was born. Alone, he probably has about thirty percent of hearing. He received hearing aids at the age of one. He spent pre-school and kindergarten in the deaf and hard of hearing program at McVeety Elementary School. For him, his hearing aids allowed him to hear well enough to develop spoken language with the help of speech therapy and lip-reading. Throughout his entire schooling after kindergarten, he was integrated into mainstream schooling with a few adaptions. His teachers were required to use an FM system in the classroom, which was helpful. Still, they could be inconvenient at times, such as in the gymnasium, hallway, outdoors, or any other place that wasn’t his classroom. The systems we have today are much more user-friendly and versatile. His hearing aids today are Bluetooth compatible and connect to any device. Another adaptation that still benefits him today is looking at him while you speak. This allows for the visual ability to lip-read. The pandemic indeed highlighted how much the deaf community and people, in general, rely on lip-reading when speaking and listening to others. Face masks made this very difficult when conversing with others, especially when unaware of the hearing impairment. Lastly, another very integral aspect of assistive technology that he uses regularly is the use of subtitles. I find that I appreciate subtitles now more than ever because I have become used to them myself. Living with someone who is hard of hearing has taught me patience, adaptability, and awareness. Being conscious of others who may experience the same challenges, such as coworkers, family members, or just people in general, can help them be more successful.

I hope that assistive technology can be view as a benefit to all learners and not just for those that it may be specifically designed for. Unfortunately, the stigma surrounding assistive technologies is still very apparent in our society, even though it has made strides forward compared to the past. We still have a long way to go regarding inclusivity in our classrooms. However, assistive technology is one avenue that can help reach that ultimate goal of inclusion. Please comment below the type of assistive technology that you use in your classroom!

Week 3 – Post 2 – Assessment Technologies

Assessment technologies have exploded in the last decade of teaching. Throughout my five years of undergraduate schooling and four years of educating, I have developed my teaching practice alongside this new wave of technology innovation. It can be very overwhelming when new programs are constantly being developed and implemented in schools for various reasons. However, there are a few obstacles that I have had to navigate to find out what works best for myself, my students, and my teaching philosophy.

For starters, it has been encouraged to use any type of assessment tool supported by our division both financially and through professional development. This has been extremely useful because I have received lots of training for these programs, and they are pretty user-friendly. This includes mainly Mathletics and Seesaw. However, something challenging to wrap my head around is finding a balance between using “old-fashioned” ways of assessing and “new ways” of evaluating. By having conversations with different teachers and using various assessment technologies in the classroom, I have started to form my own belief system about what works and what does not regarding assessing my students.

It is no longer simply assessing students to see what they can memorize and regurgitate. In elementary and middle school specifically, the focus is now more on the process of learning and progression. We do not expect kids to be successful at everything they try the first time, so why do we believe this for routine assignments and tests? If a student does poorly on a math exam, that does not mean that they would do poorly if they had time to practice and try again. I am building into my weekly plans more frequent assessments on smaller parts of a topic. This is to feel less overwhelmed when it comes to a culminating evaluation at the end of a unit.

Currently, there are a few different assessment technologies supported by our school division through funding that are available to use. For math, all students are provided an account for Mathletics. This math program is beneficial for extra practice on math outcomes directly related to the Saskatchewan curriculum. As well, students are excited about using computers for math instead of notebooks. The most helpful feature of this website is that I can assign specific assignments and see which answers students got correct and which ones they got wrong. You can also differentiate the lessons based on math skill level as well.

 

In addition to Mathletics and Seesaw, I use various other assessment tools for subjects such as Kahoot, Mentimeter, Blooket, Brain Pop, and Kid Blog. These types of websites have similarities, which can make it overwhelming when deciding which one is the best fit for what you are trying to collect information about. Students love to try new activities, thus integrating different assessment technologies throughout the school year to keeps them excited and engaged. This is vital, so they do not become bored or no longer interested in the current websites we use. Authentic assessment is something that I have always considered a weakness of mine. It can be very challenging to align the curriculum outcomes, culminating tasks, practice time, homework, and inquiry in an equal balance. I would love to hear about how other teachers implement assessment in their classrooms to assess their students formatively and summatively.

Week 3 – Post 1 – The Evolution of The Web

In the grand scheme of things, education has been evolving quite slowly in comparison to technology. Desks in rows, a teacher at the front, writing on a board, and taking tests are all aspects of education that have existed for over two hundred years. We can use this as an example of education 1.0. Jackie Gerstein mentions that education should be evolving just like the web has as well. The digital age of the internet has been one of the leading implementations that have pushed education in a different direction. In the last two decades, schools have shifted to what one could call education 2.0. They have been using this technology as it becomes available to them.


Teachers have integrated new technology into classrooms that use web 1.0 and 2.0 that have, for the most part, benefitted students and their learning. By increasing access to knowledge by communicating and collaborating with others, teachers are no longer teaching students. Students can discover a plethora of knowledge through self-discovery. Their curiosity is supported by the web developments of web 2.0 and now web 3.0. I believe that web 3.0 can take us from where we are now in education to where we would like to be in the future.

Web 3.0 allows for the opportunity to decentralize the internet. We can allow for different perspectives to become part of the narrative for so many individuals. Web 1.0 and 2.0 are still extremely westernized with a Eurocentric worldview that does not support anti-oppressive education. By decentralizing the internet, we can reach a broader audience and truly connect with those worldwide that share the same desire to connect.


The shift to integrating web 3.0 into the classroom benefits those who may feel not heard or recognized in a traditional classroom. Those who identify in a minority group can relate to others who may have similarities that may not be in their immediate community. Web 3.0 allows educators to shift their pedagogical practices to become more diversified educators. Knowledge is power, and the more we know about our students and can connect with them, the more we can empower them to take charge of their learning and be advocates for themselves in the future.

Week #2 – Post 2 – Tools For Online & Distance Education

During my interview with Regina Catholic Schools four years ago, if I had been told that I would be teaching through my computer from my home office during a global pandemic, I would have looked at them with complete disbelief. And here we are, slowly progressing out of Covid-19 restrictions in Canada more than a year later. Was it perfect? Absolutely not. We cannot forget to acknowledge the challenges and difficulties that so many of our families faced during the pandemic. Migueliz et al. recommend that “educators and researchers should consider how technologies work for and against anti-oppressive aims and ensure their anti-oppressive frameworks are clearly and purposefully connected to pedagogical decision-making (2020).” Many students that live below the poverty line had little to no access to the internet even if they were provided with a school device to work on from home. However, a couple of online tools that I used made the transition much easier for both myself, their parents, and the students, most importantly.

The primary tool that was the most effective for my teaching during online learning was and still is Seesaw. Before the pandemic started, I was already using Seesaw in my classroom as a digital portfolio platform to share student reflections and assessments with parents. We also completed online tasks and assignments on it; however, it was not mainly used for that type of focus. Once we were sent home online ultimately, Seesaw become the central hub for all assignments, parent communication, student feedback, and digital portfolios. However, it wasn’t until I took the Seesaw ambassador course and Seesaw for schools’ course over the summer, that I could unlock the potential that Seesaw has to offer for teachers, students, and parents.

Moving into the 2020-2021 school year, I utilized Seesaw in a much more effective and engaging way than the previous year. I noticed it in the way that I created and shared activities, how the students were completing them, and their assessment. As stated by Ananga (2020), “In almost every way, education drives development resulting in technological changes that push the educational agenda. A two-way relationship between education and technology exists. Technology enhances educational activities by making every instructional delivery effective.” I pushed this to further my professional development with the program because our school division purchased a license for all classroom teachers grades K-6. This was possible mainly due to the pandemic.

The tools that we use significantly impact our students and the way that we teach. Alongside Seesaw, we also used Office 365 to live Stream through Microsoft Teams, record lessons through Stream, share assignments and projects through Word and PowerPoint and communicate through email. The fact that students were already using this platform before the pandemic also made it not as difficult a transition to using it at home. One issue that most students and parents faced regarding platform use at home is usernames and passwords. Once those issues could be resolved, the platforms were user-friendly for the students to use independently, assuming they had already been taught how to use them in the classroom. Proper professional development for teachers and platform navigation is crucial for these tools to be used effectively in the classroom that is authentic and meaningful.

Week #2 – Post 1 – Is the Internet really a productivity tool or merely an endless series of distractions?

Before I watched the video “Single-tasking is the new Multi-tasking,” I took a quick reflection of myself as either a single or multi-tasker. I frequently do multi-task; however, if the task is difficult or time-sensitive, I can usually put distractions aside and focus on one thing. As I began to watch the video, my first initial thoughts were, “I am currently eating a granola bar, drinking water, petting my dog, and watching this video all at the same time.” Clearly, I need to do some more self-reflection. I am quite an organized person with little clutter, detailed to-do lists, and live and breath off of my calendar. However, when it comes to how I use technology, I often get overwhelmed if I have more than four tabs open or multiple documents on the screen. Maybe this is my brain telling me that it has trouble processing all of the information I see on the net. Therefore, I need to simplify what I am looking at to absorb and retain what I am reading. If you also feel this way, please comment below.

Suppose I, as an adult, struggle with focusing on one thing at a time while using the internet or technology in my personal office with limited distractions. In that case, I can only imagine how students must feel when in the classroom. As stated in the New York Times article “How Google Took Over The Classroom,” the Googlification of our classrooms is in part responsible for over-stimulating the brains of our students by having unlimited access to literally everything at our fingertips. The video previously mentioned states that “using Facebook and texting while doing schoolwork is negatively associated with overall college GPA.” I 100% believe this to be true. Therefore, our school implemented a strict zero-tolerance policy for student cellphone use in the classroom. It was the best decision that we ever made. We already have to deal with the distractions that school computers impose on our students. The fact that we do not have to deal with the distractions that their cellphones provide is imperative.

I believe that aspects of the internet are handy productivity tools. If we were to try to do our jobs without the internet entirely, it would most likely be less productive. Productivity tools such as Google Workspace and Office 365 are beneficial tools with a one-stop-shop mentality for all of your data and programming. But, again, these programs were designed for businesses and not education settings. Most of us don’t “just do our job” when using the internet due to all of the fancy and flashy distractions that are just waiting for us to look at them. Certain aspects of the internet, such as social media and communication tools, are some of our primary sources of distractions. Human beings are social by nature. We want to interact and communicate with other people, so it is no wonder that we are being sucked into the social media vortex that is Facebook, Instagram, and now Tiktok.

In conclusion, the benefits of the internet and these productivity suites outweigh the cons. However, for us to manage the constant distractions that technology does impose on us needs to be recognized. Students mainly need to be taught the skill of “single-tasking” and not instantly punished if they struggle with it at the start. This is a skill that all of us would benefit from practicing. I hope to reflect on this in the future and continue to work on this skill myself.