Author Archives: Victoria Parisien

EC&I 831 – Major Learning Project Summary

An Overview

My Major Digital Project for this Semester of EC&I 831 was to learn more of the Michif Language than what I already knew in order to teach my Kindergarten students. For the most part – it was a success! I can certainly speak to my students in short (3-5 word) sentences, and they can respond in 3-word sentences to some of our daily routines! I have also learned how to introduce myself in Michif – and even had the chance to practice this at parent-teacher conferences this November. That being said, I greatly underestimated what I would need to do to make those goals a reality.

In my first few blog posts, I shared the resources that I was able to create in order to try and make language a more authentic and intentional part of my classroom. Ways to use language in spontaneous moments, and as a response to student learning. These labels and cheat sheets changed my everyday practice. I am so grateful that thanks to this course I took a closer look at what was standing in my way to making the classroom atmosphere I envisioned a reality. I am equally grateful that I was pushed to try and look for resource people and resource sources outside of where I would normally search. I set out on this journey of language learning thinking there would not be a lot of sources for me to turn to when it came to my Heritage Dialect of Michif. As it turns out I learned that social media, with its casual nature, was actually a place where a lot of language work was being done, and honestly shared. I was once again reminded of the power of networked learning.

Final Thoughts

Social Media and Open Education. Two terms I did not realize would turn out to be completely integral to the reclamation of a language so rarely spoken, and so closely cherished by those who still do. I am admittedly, an extremely fortunate person. As a Michif person, I grew up in a family of Michif speakers and spent a part of my childhood listening to the language before I was even aware that Michif language was – or what it would mean to me as an adult learner. Although I was not provided with the chance to learn from language carriers in my own family – today I work in a Pilot Program with The Metis Nation of Saskatchewan and Regina Catholic schools – aimed at the reclamation and promotion of the Michif language. I have cupboards full of resources on Metis Culture and history – I have a shared drive and a network of other Michif Teachers and learners.

Most importantly – I have access to not one, but two Heritage Michif Speakers to guide my learning. I would be lost without Noohkoom Jeanne and Noohkoom Erma. Like I said, I am very fortunate.

I also acknowledge that in all of this learning I have realized something – not every prospective language speaker is nearly so fortunate.

It is with that thought, I decided on how to wrap up my Major Digital Project.

Taking all that I have learned and transferring it to a webpage, licensed with Creative Commons so that others can view resources, download and edit my work, share it with others, and complete language “lessons” I created from my learning this semester.

Visit my webpage and explore it for yourself here.

Kiishchii Maarsii for following along with me as my journey continues!

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EC&I 831 – Summary of Learning

When we met to discuss our learning for EC&I 831, we each felt very strongly that making a full video that covered our key learnings in this course might be difficult. We took very different paths through the same course content, and each explored the implications of Social Media and Open Education on learning, very differently. What we could agree on however is that each of us felt that we had some “Big Ideas” or “Key Takeaways” from the process of engaging in networked learning, and Social Media Based learning projects. Takeaways that could in fact help others who might be looking to independently look into a similar self-guided process of learning a skill, or implementing social media in a new way in their lives or in their profession.

What came of this initial conversation was the idea that perhaps we could share our summaries of our explorations in the course content best through some small – but (hopefully) engaging clips. The idea being if we put these clips out on Social Media of some sort, they could then reach a larger audience, or network – of learners.

A key theme of this course for not just the two of us but also a sentiment echoed in many of our colleague’s blog posts was pushing oneself out of their comfort zone in order to experience the opportunities that social media can afford in education. So why stop when it comes to the Summary of Learning for a class where we all at times had to get a little comfortable in the uncomfortable?

Without further ado please follow the link here and check out our shared Tik Tok Summary of Learning ( scroll all the way to the last post of Dalton with Adele then scroll in a downward motion as Tik Tok makes a feed of our post when scrolling through our profile).

Start with this cutie ^

And please, whatever you do – don’t tell us we are “cringe”. Our little millennial-teacher hearts won’t survive that particular criticism.

TED Ed – Evaluating an Open Education Resource

This week we were tasked with the option to evaluate Open Education Resource Repositories. It turned out this task which on the surface sounds simple, but is really quite complicated due to the vast nature of these resources. Sit down, (maybe grab a hot or cold beverage) and settle in – I have a lot to share!

What is an open educational resource?

To break it down, let’s start with what is an OER. According to Open Learn,

The term ‘open educational resource’ is one that encompasses a broad range of items. It can describe a single image or an entire short course, and materials can be in any medium or a mixture. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has defined OERs as ‘digitised materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research.

I liked this definition when I came across it while looking through The Open Learning Universities webpage. They sum up the concept of any open learning resource as content that is licenced in a way that does not only allow use – but actually encourages adaptation.

Are all OER’s created equal?

After exploring around 10 different repositories over the course of this week and I comfortably report to you – that no, not all OER resources are (or start out being) as useful, thoughtful, or comprehensive as others. And it seems there are many reasons for this. Some OER repositories are added to by members, all with their own idea of what makes good resources, or their own standards for what they would use in education. Other OER repositories (such as TED ED) are curated by the company, and collaborated on with professional animators and have a more cohesive and visually appealing overall look. I suspect a lot of this has to do with the funding in place for the creation of the resource. TED Ed for example is one facet of the much larger and very successful TED non-profit organization therefore it seems their work receives a lot of funding by way of donation to any of their heavily trafficked websites. Finally, not all Open Education Resources will be helpful to every person’s needs. For example, I began this week thinking I might like to evaluate Open Learn – from Open University. I had located on their database a course – specifically to learn all about Open Education Resources. It was a free course, introductory level with seven modules, one Quiz and a list of resources. The website suggested it was about 15 hours of study but I had it about halfway through in 4 hours. This course – for my purpose as a graduate student looking for additional information on a topic for my current class was incredibly helpful. When I began to look around at the repository outside of that particular course, to be honest, I was a whole lot less interested. The webpage has a wonderful offering for anyone wanting professional development, or personal learning – kind of like adult education courses or a self-guided master class. I when looking through this resource I found it hard to suspend my teacher-brain that was always thinking of ways OER’s can benefit students directly rather than indirectly, and I just could not see Open Learn being used with students, so I decided to look elsewhere for a resource I could explore with students in mind.

Evaluating OER Resources

When looking at an OER the first step of evaluating whether it is a resource you may want to utilize there are several helpful online rubrics, like this one developed by Sarah Morehouse, or this much shorter and more simple checklist adapted from Kirkwood Community College. One helpful insight I took away from my Open Learning course on Open University was the course administrators advice on criteria to use to evaluate an Open Education Resource. Once you have identified that you have found an OER, and it’s the right one for your use, the next step of evaluating that resource is determining its quality. The Open University Course suggests the following criteria for users to consider:

via the Open University

After I spent some time browsing the list of Respositiories that our EC&I class was given to consider I found TED Ed. The TED organization has a good reputation, and is well known. Their Ed website had a high degree of technical production and for the purpose of finding an OER I might use with students, fitted my purpose perfectly. I decided to take a closer look.

Because I found it easier to consider other blogger’s reviews of OER when they included screen captures of the websites I decided to post a tour of the webpage and a response to some of the following questions as videos below so you too can take a look at TED Ed for yourself.

It is user-friendly? Is it easy to navigate/search? Is it easy to use?

Are the resources typically of high-quality? Is it visually appealing?

Would it be valuable to educators that you work with?

What do you think:

  • How do you feel about your ability to identify and evaulate OER’s for use in your classrooms?
  • How can you envision TED Ed being used with your students?

Major Project Update #4 – Inspiration!

Just a very quick “reading week” update to my initial Major project plan!

To review my initial plan for learning the Michif Language is below:

Now, in my professional life – I would like to be more conversational. More specifically:

  • I would like to speak enough Michif to have a short conversation with our resident Noohkoom when she visits the children can hear a conversation.
  • I would like to be able to instruct my students in full sentences, without pausing to check my lesson plan notes or dictionary app.

I also have a couple of goals for my personal life:

  • I would like to be able to introduce myself in Michif, the language of my grandparents. Something along the lines of “I am, ____, My name is____ I am from,____”. Which sounds simple but I have been working on that for over two years and I still cannot for the life of me recall the order in which to do so as Michif often follows the structure of French sentences.
  • I would like to make the project more fun and personal by going through some items of my grandparents (specifically my grandma’s cookbook) and use my language learning to decipher some of her recipes.

I am happy to report that last week I made some progress finally on one of my personal goals – working on learning how to introduce myself in Michif. This goal was important to me for a few reasons, most specifically so that I could use language to identify myself to Old Ones – but also to use it as my own decolonization in meetings and large gatherings that we as educators have to attend all the time. I met with an Old One (Noohkoom Irma) over zoom this week and we practised a simple introduction. We recorded the session which was helpful but I do not however have permission to share that recording widely – only for my own practice! I am not completely fluent but I did practise and make a recording of my progress to post on my blog to keep myself accountable.

Finally, I have also had some inspiration! In my last blog, I had explained that I was having some difficulty with how to incorporate some key aspects of this course, social media into SHOWING my learning. In a way that feels authentic to me that is. I had explained in that post that although social media almost entirely makes up my how for language learning – it is not necessarily a way in which I am sharing what I have accomplished (outside some tweets of course). But last week’s class in regards to open education reminded me that there is more than one focus for this course. Then – it clicked! I said myself in that blog that I was relying on many different types of open education resources for my own learning journey – so why not create my own – and share that openly?

I looked around and I decided that while I could compile a feedly (new learning from this course) or a wakelet (older discoveries from ECI 832) I didn’t feel either of those platforms allowed me to present context for the content for others learning Michif. I thought about simply creating a PDF that I uploaded to this blog with an open Creative Commons License, but to be honest that idea felt a little boring considering all that I have learned. I decided on creating a webpage – set up like a blog but with menu items for “lessons” and “resources” and a place where I can upload the content that I have created for others to take, use and modify.

Next week I will get to work on making that open source platform a reality!

Open Education, A path to reclaiming all types of Knowledge.

After this week’s lecture in regards to open education my mind was spinning. Now, because this is not my first class with Alec, it was not my first experience discussing open education in general. However, I do believe that in prior classes I looked at Open Education and it’s advantages (and implications) solely through the lens of Digital Citizenship. I had examined Open Education with Ribble’s 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship in mind.

Past Questions such as: What are the ethics of content that is available to all? (Rights and Responsibilities) or How do we natigate crediting and sharing sources when they are free – and does free mean the same thing as shareable? (Digital Law).

This week, although we discussed a topic I already felt quite familiar with, the presentation – and the accompanying videos helped me to look at Open Education in a new way, as a Culture of Sharing.

To begin, Alec mentioned a quote that described Open Source Communities as “high performance collaboration”. This shifted my considerations from Open Education simply meaning content that is available to all without transaction to open source information, technology, software, or platforms where people can collaborate to not only access information but to take information and make it something new.

Maybe this is a weird comparison but the example that popped into my head as Alec was speaking about open source products was a documentary I recently watched on Netflix called High Score (2020) that among other things examined the creators of the video game Doom. In their interview with creators they discussed how online game play not only changed the face of video games, but the creators took it one step further by “fully opening the game and giving out information on how levels were created” thereby allowing tech savy players to “mod” their game. Players could add new graphics, levels, sounds, and weapons to create a whole new- personalized Doom experience. Now of course this of course is not fully open source education (players had to purchase the paid version of the game before they could mod it) but the tenet of collaboration to create something totally new was definitely honoured in this experience.

This gave way to knew questions such as: What else could have been gained or created more video game or software creators subscribed to a “gift” culture or a culture of sharing without any payment at all?

The next part of the lecture that really got me was the paraphrased quote from Gladwell about a “Strength in weak ties”. I know that I have said many times that the single most meaningful experience I have had from my EC&I tech focused classes was the network of learners I have created on Twitter. I have been made to think deeply, gathered inspiration from and been given resources by people I have met over a single tweet. Open education can certainly take place over large scale platforms with more professional content that you can save, share, update and edit for your own needs – but I would argue it also takes place in a much more informal manner almost constantly on Social Media Platforms.

Personally, my Major Learning Project would not be possible without the option of Open Education. There are a limited amount of fluent Heritage Michif speakers left within Canada, and of those – the vast majority are not people whom you would easily connect with over social media to ask questions and learn from. I am fortunate because of my past educational experiences and my current teaching role – I have access to speakers I can physically meet with. However, when I speak with my families during their intake interview the number one reason that they state for wanting their child in an Indigenous Language program is the fact that they do NOT have access to a fluent speaker in their life – and have no idea about how to get in contact with one. I see open education as a way to subvert that problem for people who want to learn something they feel is either rare, or quickly disappearing. At least it has been for me.

Some of the most helpful resources I have accessed in my language learning journey are not just the organizations (like the Gabriel Dumont Institute) that create resources for learners to access – but the individuals on their own language journies that have put out their own resources – and then stated they are open for adaptation for your own needs or to your own purpose. For example this incredibly through resource has been hugely impactful in my work to become conversational in Michif. They offer many examples of conversations, accompanying vocabulary and tons of helpful phonetic clues. Sometimes when you want to create something new – it’s wonderful to have all of the time consuming work compiled for your use.

How has Open Education impacted your own personal learning of – anything?!

Major Project Update #3 – Twists and Turns

I have continued work on my goals, and I am not going to lie – writing this update was very difficult.

I have been feeling quite guilty as I work on the project. It’s not that I am not learning michif, (the other day thanks to my new labels and cheat sheets – I was able to conduct our entire morning routine and circle time completely in michif) or that my students aren’t learning michif (they respond to all of our morning circle prompts with 1-3 words in michif) It’s just that I have struggled to find a way to express my learning progress through social media.

I am certainly using social media to enhance my learning, in fact, the many Facebook Communities I have joined that focus on Metis culture have become my go-to source for inspiration or to connect me to virtual events where language might be spoken. Some of the professors and PhD students I have followed on Twitter I have been able to connect with, for help with small translations rather than reaching out to an Old One with a single question. My students LOVE Sam’s Facebook and Instagram lessons because they love to see another teacher speaking words they recognize. I aspire to get my life together enough to make some videos to respond to him!

I am also utilizing technology (if not exactly a social media platform) to continue my learning. I am only halfway through the Michif Lesson’s App I shared on my last project update, but I have to admit the app is not what I initially thought. There are really no “lessons”, instead, you have tab called “Review” with a vocabulary list in English and Michif with voice recordings so you can listen and then repeat each term. From there, it is a very simple multiple choice quiz on a variety of topics – with voice recordings of every term. You are provided with a word in Michif, and then you simply take a guess as to the English translation (or not a guess if you study well unlike me). It tells you if you are correct or incorrect, and although you can’t redo a question in the middle of a quiz – you can click on any of the topics and take any of the quizzes as many times as you like. There is really no progress to make as nothing is saved from each attempt. I appreciate the organization of the terms into categories for practice, and the little quizzes for aiding in memorization. I have not completed the app yet, but I am hoping as I progress I will see some sentences to translate in the quizzes. I am a little disappointed, it turns out I enjoy the challenge of something I need to progress through and have my progress recorded when I am learning.

Technology, especially social media has shaped my learning, and my progress in Michif thus far. I have spent nearly half as many hours locating and vetting sources with Noohkoom as I have actually practised language, but I feel comfortable with that knowing that I now have sources of knowledge to tap into when needed. It has certainly made this learning project feel less lonely, as well as renewed my hope by seeing how much work is being done in all of the dialects of the language in order to attempt to recover and reclaim it. I attended a Michif language Zoom last week where one of the guest presenters described the variety of dialects as “proof the language is strong and will endure” and I felt very ashamed of myself in that moment, for all the frustrations I have had sorting through sources that were incredible – but not helpful to me in my dialect.

For example this website from Metis researchers across British Columbia, so many resources! Lessons and units! Not in my chosen dialect! Should not have made me frustrated because I could not use it for my needs, it should have made me grateful that it exists for the needs of those attempting to do the exact same work I am with their own ancestor’s language dialects.

I am still stuck with how to finish this project off in a good way. I am not certain how to best utilize social media to communicate learning in a way that is authentic. Leave me your thoughts, your comments – any ideas are welcome at this point!

#TeacherVoice – What does Social Media Activism mean for teachers?

Is it possible to have productive conversations about social justice online?

Is it possible? Yes, it’s possible in the same way that having productive conversations about anything online is possible. From the inside of a very well curated and thoughtfully crafted social media account I can certainly discuss topics related to race, gender expression and identity and sexuality. However, it cannot go without noting that I have a network of other educators, friends and acquaintances that I either reached out and followed OR have survived years of rounds of deleting/blocking others who posted content that was racist, sexist or some type of other-ist. That being said the fact that I had removed them from my various timelines for one reason or another suggests that I believe that you cannot always have productive conversations in regards to social justice online. Or at very least, I am not always willing for my own personal well-being to engage in those types of conversations online.

Furthermore, if you are only having productive online conversations with other people whose intersectionality’s are similar to yours – is that forwarding the causes you care about championing?

So, while I question if those productive conversations are making a difference – I do firmly believe it is possible to have them. Although – Is it likely? I am much less sure in my answer than I used to be. This is mostly due to the fact that increasingly social media places have incentivized content, and conversations that are not productive that are in fact the opposite. If outrage fuels online engagement, and social media companies are reliant on their customers to be engaged so they can access their data, or advertise to them – why would they make an effort to moderate content that acts counterproductively to social justice?

Beyond a deep rooted mistrust of the companies that run social media platforms, and their likely complicity in the online spread of hatred and vitriol there also remains another question:

Can online social media activism be meaningful and worthwhile?

Again, I am perhaps a perpetual optimist. I think that social media as part of a larger plan of activism can be successful, meaningful, change making and of course – worthwhile. In class this week we were presented with many different examples of how social media can be used to spread awareness, connect marginalized groups, or amplify a message in a way that simply cannot be achieved in the offline world.

In 2006, the “me too.” Movement was founded by survivor and activist Tarana Burke. In those early years, we developed our vision to bring resources, support, and pathways to healing where none existed before. And we got to work building a community of advocates determined to interrupt sexual violence wherever it happens. Then, in 2017, the #metoo hashtag went viral and woke up the world to the magnitude of the problem of sexual violence. What had begun as local grassroots work had now become a global movement — seemingly overnight. Within a six-month span, our message reached a global community of survivors. Suddenly there were millions of people from all walks of life saying “me too”. 

– From the History and Origins of #metoo movement; https://metoomvmt.org/get-to-know-us/history-inception/

What is our responsibility as educators to model active citizenship online?

This question is really more simple than it sounds. I think that often teachers do not feel “safe” curating a public facing persona that actively interrogates issues of social justice. Generally this is because we have, as a stipulation of our job agreed that we should conduct ourselves in a manner that portrays both honour and dignity of the profession. I think that many teachers translate that to mean that they then must curate a “neutral” online presence.

Screen Captured from EC&I 831 October 18th 2021 Lecture via Dr. Alec Couros

I find that frustrating.

It feels like they are suggesting by advocating for social justice causes through active online citizenship you are not being ethical or dignified. Now don’t get me wrong, having a full out profanity laced argument in a comment section is certainly NOT dignified. But I also believe that staying neutral by way of silence on issues in regards to the basic rights of others, or a general belief in science – is not dignified either.

Too often we conflate, issues that are uncomfortable with controversial, and issues considered controversial with issues of social justice.

Westheimer, (2004) suggests that in education for democracy there are three concepts of citizenship – Personally Responsible Citizens, Participatory Citizens and Justice Oriented Citizens. In the article’s conclusion I found it fascinating to read that in their study of educational programs operating within all three of these conceptions they made note that programs that “champion participation, do not necessarily develop students ability to analyze and critique root causes of societal problems (p. 21)”.

Screen Captured from EC&I 831 October 18th 2021 Lecture via Dr. Alec Couros

So then, where does that leave us?

Screen Captured from EC&I 831 October 18th 2021 Lecture via Dr. Alec Couros

Just as we would argue that we need participatory and justice-oriented citizens in face-to-face contexts, we need these citizens in online spaces as well.

-Dr. Alec Couros & Katia Hildebrandt What Kind of (Digital) Citizen?

At the end of the day I could go on forever making the case for the importance of teachers taking an online stance (which could take as many forms as there are teachers taking stances).

But what I really want to ask any teachers who may be reading this is:

  • How do you ask your students to behave online?
  • When you envision your students interacting with others online and using the model of digital citizenship that you teach – what are you envisioning?

I’m pretty sure your response would likely fall along the lines of “with kindness and compassion” or “standing up for others and making a difference”.

So if that is what we are expecting of our students when they engage in an online world – Who should be modelling it for them?

Major Project Update #2 – Continued Work, Continued Mistakes

It’s been awhile since I have updated my learning journey – but rest assured, I have been busy! The past few weeks I have been working on my goals of language learning with a continued push to create resources (in collaboration with Li Vyeu [Old Ones]) that will help me to be more fluent in my speaking when it comes to addressing my students. I have also been working to learn some more conversational sentences on my own as my students are not yet ready for that type of interaction – but more on that later.

When last I left you I was working on the classroom components of my plan. I am definitely still working on that section. As always with my Major Projects, I have set my sights really high and it turns out learning a second language quick enough to instruct others in full sentences that come fluently (without checking or pausing) is really difficult!

To review: I plan to work on becoming conversational in the Michif Language. Conversational to me means enough language for a fluent, short, friendly conversation and enough language to instruct my students throughout the day in sentences for our routines and procedures. The goals as written were:

·  I would like to speak enough Michif to have a short conversation with our resident Noohkoom when she visits to the children can hear a conversation.

·  I would like to be able to instruct my students in full sentences, without pausing to check my lesson plan notes or dictionary app.

As I wrote about in my last update, this second goal is where I have been spending a lot of time doing the work of this project so far.

To be clear, this is the second year of this Pilot Program and my second year teaching it. It’s not that I am not familiar with the Michif Language (I can count to twenty with the best of them AND tell you all the colours of the rainbow no problem !!)

These were recorded for my parents to use at home, and shared via our Seesaw and class twitter.

However, when we laid out a vision for this classroom the intent of the classroom is stated to be an culturally responsive, authentic learning environment. I am extremely proud of the work we did last year, it’s just the simple fact that I feel as though I wish the majority of the instruction were in the language to foster more authentic learning. We know that children have much better second language acquisition and I want very much to give them every advantage I can to pick up the language while they are in this very special environment. So that’s where my goal comes in.

The labels around the classroom, visual schedule, and toy labels have been extremely helpful. The kids now remind ME of the names of the toys when I am asking them:

Kaywy nohtay maytawayen anoosh?

What do you want to play today?

They will respond sometimes in English – sometimes in Michif (they think “en sharr” – trains is hilarious to say) but usually one or two kinders pipe up when I say “Okay go play with the doll house.”

“NAMOYA MAA TAANT!” They might not remember what the doll house is in Michif but they do remember I am supposed to respond to them in Michif.

“I mean…. Oui, doo mataway lii mazoon di katayn”.

I have found that I need a reminder for the times where there is a variable. Thanks to the room being labelled within an inch of it’s life, and a visual schedule to assist with my morning routine, I have gotten pretty good at using the language in full sentences during predictable daily routines and events. Things we say or do every day. I am not always the best at using the language fluently when the students respond to me – because our centers change so often I have not memorized all of the various rotating center names. Additionally, it is easy in my lesson plans to prepare sentences for task directions ahead of time in Michif. It is not so easy to prepare what to say to students while they are in less structured times, like engaging in play. I would really like to authentically engage the students in language while they are in play – but the issue for me is their play takes a different shape each time they choose a center and decide what they would like to do.

Again, I got a great idea from my PLC. Russell Fayant, instructor at SUNTEP Regina joined me over Zoom (SUNTEP Regina provided my program with some incredible language resources) and he shared with me that when the Undergraduate Bachelor of Education students attend SUNTEP’s culture camp as a course – they carry around “cheat sheets” of little words or phrases so that they can engage with one another and with the Old Ones in Michif more readily. The idea being if you do not have the language memorized – it’s easier to have a premade set of responses or questions to flip through as a physical copy than it is to pull out the online dictionary and translate one word at a time.

I thought this idea was perfect for my needs! Once again however I was at a loss – Phrases in Michif of course don’t follow the same rules as English, so simply using my trusty dictionary app was not a possibility.

I looked through my Noohkoom Meeting notes from last year and found some sentences and a few zoom recording videos that had been translated (I don’t have permission to share them here) and I started there. Then, over the last few weeks through phone calls, and visiting with Jeanne I have FINALLY created my own version of the SUNTEP resource, for use in the classroom. I have also again shared this with my partners in Regina Public who then responded with options for sentences they use in their classroom.

I have these slides printed, laminated and cut, then put onto a keyring that I carry around the classroom with me. I have another for a TA/IA should they be in the room and a third in my substitute binder. There are different slides, with phonetic spelling for different circumstances. Depending on what is happening in the classroom I can flip to the slide that hopefully has some options for responses or play prompts for me. The above slides have phrases for encouraging students, and greeting them.

We also have options for speaking to students when it comes to routines and procedure like going outside, eating lunch, my morning routine and instructing students for learning tasks. This section took a very long time as I made lots of mistakes when trying to translate on my own – and when I read the phrases to my language speakers they would tell me how they would actually say the phrase – then I would have to go in and make edits.

And finally – what I feel will be the most useful we have translations for the different types of play students often engage in, so that I can interact with them in Michif and hopefully attain that all important goal of increasing their receptive language acquisition.

Finally, I have done some research and I have located a new app to work on my second goal of being able to carry on a short conversation. I am very excited as this app – originally designed for the iPad, has now been made available for iPhone! An update and review to come.

This has been an interesting journey, and my progress has been much slower than I had hoped considering how much work I have undertaken – but for the moment I am trying to be okay with not knowing how the end result will look as I continue.

Major Project Update #1

Thus far I have worked on the first section of my Major Learning Project – my two goals that have to do with my work in the classroom.

To review: I plan to work on becoming conversational in the Michif Language. Conversational to me means enough language for a fluent, short, friendly conversation and enough language to instruct my students throughout the day in sentences for our routines and procedures. The goals as written were:

·  I would like to speak enough Michif to have a short conversation with our resident Noohkoom when she visits to the children can hear a conversation.

·  I would like to be able to instruct my students in full sentences, without pausing to check my lesson plan notes or dictionary app.

Last week, I spoke with our Language Keeper Jeanne, (Li Vyeu) and she told me that the best way to do this would be to 1) practice out loud with a fluent speaker, and in her opinion that person should just “throw me in”. Which was… frightening. Typically when I meet to plan the language component of my kindergarten classroom I meet with just Jeanne and she translates the vocabulary for me in our upcoming lessons, stories, or learning experiences. I listen to her as she says the words and then I spell them in my document phonetically. It took a long time for me to even practice saying the words aloud with her. I don’t know what it is – I just feel a tad bit of imposter syndrome I suppose, when I begin to speak in the language – especially since the proper pronunciation of the words (nevermind a whole sentence) requires a bit of an accent one which I do not have.

I took Jeanne’s advice and I have reached out to another Old One who my students would connect with via zoom last year. I have asked her if she would consider meeting with me over zoom as well for some informal lessons working towards that conversational goal. I hope to hear back this week.

Additionally, Jeanne has been telling me since last year that it would be better for me to have the language I plan to instruct my students in more readily accessible in my classroom, so that I can just look around at the item I want to speak about and see the label there. So the past two weeks I have worked on transforming my classroom to be more accessible in terms of language for myself. My students are not readers – so it felt a little silly to be labelling the room, but I do have to admit in the three days I have had the labels up, I have used the Michif words for items almost every single time, and my students have been using context clues (like where I am gesturing) to know what I mean even though I am not saying the word in English.

There are items, (like the ones above) as well as I also used some picture-word inductive model type labels for the dress up center for when I join the students in play there, as well as with our recipes in the other dramatic play center.

I then labelled all of the toys, with visuals as well as the Michif word to describe the toy. I hope that later on I can record our Noohkoom’s voice to have as QR code on the items so the students can hear her voice and pronunciation when they scan the toys with the tablets.

Additionally, we utilize a visual schedule so I worked with two different language keepers to translate (as best that we could) our daily activities into Michif.

I know that all of this seems very simple and truly like perhaps a first step in language learning, but the reality is a lot of this information was not readily available and in fact is the product of a WHOLE lot of networked learning. I have been extremely busy making these items practical and useful not just towards my language learning project but also so that I can share the sources with others. So far I have a shared folder with my colleagues in Regina Public Schools where I have added this work for their use – as well as a shared Drive with the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan where I have uploaded editable versions of all these resources (they need to be editable there as the Heritage Michif used in these sources is not the only dialect used across SK).

I hope that when I update you next I have found a way to move this learning, or at least share this learning within the context of social media.

Have you every learned a new language? If so – what was helpful to you?

All the kids are doing it – TikTok for the Elder Millennial

This week I choose to take a closer look at TikTok. Previously I have used Tiktok, having downloaded it in the dark days of the beginning of the pandemic – but I was doing so without an account. I will be honest, I have no idea how that worked. My “username” was just a random string of letters and numbers, and although I have probably hundreds of “liked” videos, and a “For You Page” curated to my interests – I have never made a video nor do I have remotely any idea how that might work. Nevertheless I spend time on the app every week. For instance today I spent over an hour scrolling my FYP and somewhat mindlessly staring at recipes, DIY’s, Try on’s (yes, I watch other people show me outfits they made), and the odd (very confusing) berries and cream video.

I have considered the fun applications of creating a Tiktok account for my Major Learning Project, so I thought I would spend some time throughout this week taking a closer look at what goes on behind the scenes of the app – to determine if I wanted to create a real account. First things first, I did pay attention in my last digital citizenship class after all so I decided to do something that I admittedly never do – read the terms of service. I had heard that Tiktok had a reputation for concerning policies and issues in regards to privacy so I figured the terms of service was the place to begin.

Y’all.

It was SO LONG AND COMPLICATED. Reading the following sections, and attempting to understand them (I won’t lie to you I know that I didn’t understand it all fully) took me over 2 hours.

Let me save you the personal pain and anguish, and point out what I found to be the notable information from the terms . Let’s call it your personal TLDR; section. (On another note, Leigh shared that there is actually an awesome website for this AFTER I toiled away on this for you… I wish I had caught her discord message sooner).

Cookies Policy

Tiktok spends a great deal of their terms of services explaining what cookies are, and how they are “often” used. What I gleaned from their terms of service is that Tiktok uses both first party (their information) and third party cookies (for advertising) on their application. Additionally, while some cookies are session cookies and only are active while you are using the app – they also employ “persistent cookies” – more on those here. All in all I found the most troubling was the fact that the app not only collects a good deal of personal data – but it also shares that data with third parties that are not involved in it’s operation.

Implications for students/children using the App

The most interesting information that I was not previously aware of was the fact that TikTok has (as of 2019) a separate function of the app for users under the age of 13. In this “section” of the app younger users “…view curated videos: They can’t comment, search, or post their own videos, and their data isn’t collected” (Common Sense Media, 2021). I can imagine for involved parent, ones who maybe require permission before downloading apps this might be a nice reassurance. That being said, since all the app requires is a self-declared birthdate (or links to an already set up google or microsoft account) pre-teens could easily just enter a different birthdate (or may have already on their email account) and be on the regular version of the application.

So, there’s a chance this safety precaution isn’t always utilized. But – I’m not the most knowledgeable on this function of Tiktok having only read about, and not seen it for myself.

Additionally, although I know that Common Sense Media normally has fantastic resources for educators and parents on social media apps – I thought this video on their website was a little outdated – and unintentionally misleading. Although the app did progress from the Musical.ly – it has been my own personal experience that the app is much more than a singing or music video application.

Intellectual Property Policy

I was interested in this section since I had heard a lot about how creators on the application are not always credited for their work, especially creators of colour.

Case in point, when Jimmy Fallon had viral TikToker Addison Rae on to teach him several TikTok dances, without originally (they did eventually) crediting the black creators behind the choreography of many of the dances.

In their Terms and Conditions TikTok does not lay out any information in regards to crediting the original creators of work, whether that is for their dances, sounds or original music that they put out onto the app. In fact it seems that “Intellectual Property” actually refers to users taking care not to violate copyright or trademarks of others. It lays out the process for making a copyright claim, or responding in counter to the claim.

Final Thoughts

I decided after all the reading and attempting to understand that for myself – with the permissions I had already unknowingly given the app without making an account, that it was worth it for me to go ahead and create an actual username and profile. I think that if I were a person who didn’t use any social media or have many apps on my phone already using cookies and accessing my personal information that I would perhaps think twice about downloading and creating an account on the application. If I had a young child I would certainly only permit them to use the under 13 section. Stay tuned as I learn how to use this app, and attempt to find a way to authentically work it into my Major Learning Project.