Author Archives: brendaives

What we write may be medicine to someone else’s needs

This blog title is a quote from Saskatchewan’s Poet Laureate Carol Rose GoldenEagle. She also said: “I encourage those who embrace the written word not to censor their thoughts and feelings, and experiences. It is the purging of truth and wisdom, often in the form of poetry which can be ingested and shared by those who read and thereby experience and remember.”

My digital learning project for EC & I 831 is learning to write and perform poetry. My desire to learn to write poetry is compatible with my desire to communicate transformative ideas with the potential to transform – or at least make people stop, think and feel. My poetry writing project will focus on Spoken Word poems which are intended for performance and typically about community, issues and social justice.

Creative commons photo by THINKGlobalSchool 

I have been fascinated by poetry that vividly paints a picture of mood and ideas through the clever, yet parsimonious use of language. A neighbour, my friend’s mom, who lives down the road from my childhood home in rural Saskatchewan is a poet. I remember reading her poem about emptying her teen son’s pants pockets before she put them in the washer. In the poem of this simple, ordinary act she was able to capture a mother’s wonderment, joy, and pride in her son as well as fear and worry over what the future may hold. Such a talent!

Spoken word poetry is particularly fascinating. Watch Maya Angelou reads an emotional poem about racism and the black American experience. This is a performance poem by Canadian Katerena Vermette as she flips the common negative narrative about Winnipeg’s North End.

Of course, I can only aspire that eventually a poem of mine may have that type of impact. But the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So today, I will take my first step in spoken word poetry writing.

making peace with social media

How would I describe my relationship with social media? I have mixed feelings about social media. I maintain my distance but appreciate social media’s usefulness. I appreciate the infinite connections to people and ideas but am concerned about social media as a tool for consumerism and commodification. Most certainly my attitude about social media does affect my personal and professional life. Here are my reflections on my current practices in social media and my desire to use social media to enhance my personal and professional life.

I like to read, watch and learn but am not so keen on reciprocal communication and avoid sharing, writing, posting, commenting, creating or blogging. I have disabled most notifications because I do not want to be at the beck and call of social media on my phone.

I follow politics and critical perspectives on Twitter because I care about, and am curious about progressive policy and science-based discussions that are not always available through mainstream media. Like many digitally connected people, I waste considerable time reading and watching videos on social media. Since Covid-19, the climate crisis, and 1000’s of graves found at Indian Residential School sites, I find myself mostly doom -scrolling on Twitter. I realize that this can harm my mental health.

How has social media affected my personal life roles as a mom, grandmother, co-worker, friend, cousin, sister and daughter? Facebook and Instagram have helped me to connect with far flung friends and relatives and remain up to date on their comings and goings, their weddings, funerals, births retirements. Photos and posts of children, pets and nature entertain and elicit positive emotions.

Personally and professionally, I am concerned about shameless marketing through social media. The internet is like a giant shopping mall. We are enticed to buy, buy and buy. Yes the apps may be free but consumerism will cost society dearly when our earth becomes a garbage dump of carbon and plastic.

On the other hand…The internet is like a FANTASTIC shopping mall. I appreciate the convenience of online shopping.

I am also aware that our dependence on digital communication and social media to deliver education has the potential to dehumanize and commodify education. This is a concern.

Social media is a great tool for teachers and students to expand knowledge, skill and communication. When schools shut down face to face instruction in March 2020, networks of social media facilitated continuity of education. Although it has been a challenge for me to shift to teaching (and learning) on line, I am hopeful that #eci831 will strengthen my craft and comfort in appropriately using social media to facilitate stronger connections with students, enhancing my personal and professional life.

Social Media and Open Education

Clickety Click -9/6/2021

So I am freaking out! I am definitely vacillate between being overwhelmed and terrified by this course – Social Media and Open Education and being proud at my accomplishment in the very basic baby steps. My motto will be: ” A mistake is an opportunity to learn” even though fixing mistakes or getting lost in unfamiliar territory is so time consuming. Positive self talk: “You got this. It may take you 3 times as long to learn but you will eventually figure it out. Think of the worlds you will be able to explore!” I am annoyed by lots of clicking and passwords. I am frustrated by my lack of skill and knowledge of the lingo. I am overwhelmed by the infinite apps to communicate in social media. I am nervous about participating and responding intelligently and in a timely manner, keeping up the fast pace of social media. But….I am excited that I will be able to create a learning project through open education.


Brenda Ives

Hello I am a University of Regina Master of Education student learning- by- doing social media and open education.

I am a semi -retired educator. Grammy to Jack, Millie, Olive and Conor.

I am a Saskie (born, raised and worked in Saskatchewan, Canada) now living among the coulees and cacti of Medicine Hat, Alberta.

This blog will document my course journey applying social media and open education.

How it started ——- How it’s going

Top- How it started: Brenda Ives (teacher), Lucy Henderson (EA) and our students in 1987 –
Bottom – How it’s going: Brenda Ives- instructor and my students in 2020