Author Archives: Riley WC

my learning project.

I am thrilled to be planning a learning project that is specifically for ME. One that is not for a class or my household, but for ME. This class has provided me with an excuse to think about something that I would like to learn, and I have chosen specifically to focus on something outside of the psychological world, which I have been focusing much of my learning energy on the past few years during my master’s work.

My project plan is to learn to crochet! This is a project that I have attempted in the past and it has failed. This has also been a project that has been really easy for me to ditch and move on, as I already know how to knit, so it has definitely been the thought of “why would I struggle through this when I could just go start a project when I already speak the lingo?” I have not had a good enough reason to push through and persevere.

For those of you who are wondering, these are the differences between knitting and crochet:

illustration of knitting vs. crochet

Reasons why this has failed in the past include some adaptations that I need to make in order to learn – the main one being that I am left-handed. This means that it is more challenging/difficult/annoying to learn from a family member. Mainly my mother, who did not get the teaching gene, guys. It gets real frustrating real freaking fast and then it’s like “is this worth it?”

With that said, in my current pregnant state, I feel limited as to what I am able to try out in my learning project. If I was more able-bodied and less achy/stretched out/exhausted I might take on a new workout program or try running again for the first time in a long time, maybe use a new app to track my progress and build a plan? Anyways, that is not happening, so crochet it is! I can easily take on the brain work, while cooking this pineapple-sized fetus to term.

For inspiration, I have been taking to a website that I should have mentioned in my social media usage blog post which I use often: Pinterest! I have linked my page which I save many of my craft ideas to if you want to see what I’m dreaming up.

For those of you that care to know, I typically gravitate more to chunky knits, scarves, cowls and hats. However, I am open to trying some different patterns and providing some updates on whatever patterns/tutorials I am trying out.

My main goals are to use online tutorials to get going with my crochet skills. I found when I was learning to knit that there were many helpful tutorials for knitting for left-handed people. I am hopeful I will be able to find some left-handed focused tutorial videos on youtube and instagram. I will post once I have found some promising and helpful accounts.

I will also use my mother as a resource… but only if I really need to. Because like I said… teaching gene…. must have been recessive…

A second goal I have during this project is to use some new video recording techniques and tools to film my progress. On instagram, many knitting accounts that I follow have these cool progress videos where they are fast-forwarded as they work through a project. It looks so cool!

Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoy as I embark on this obstetrician approved, pregnancy friendly, learning project.

My thoughts on social media.

My relationship with social media has been a long one, to say the least. It has not existed for my entire life, but it has existed for my formative and adult years. This all began for me with MSN Messenger, on my family’s HP desktop, located in our family room. I believe this entered our household when I was in grade 8. This had a huge impact on my friend groups and my beginning high school especially. During last week’s class, we discussed how for many of us, this is how we began talking to boys we liked. This was, in fact, how I began talking to my now-husband. The early social networking site did solidify a relationship, although we have been talking in person ever since!

Throughout high school and university, I was fairly active on social media outlets appropriate for the time, using Facebook and Instagram. Twitter was not very common in university for me, until I took an ECMP 355 class with Dean Shareski, where I did begin to use Twitter for educational networking. I found that once I began working as a teacher, I used Twitter as a part of my staff to update the community on what was happening in my art room at the time, which was fun to do.

I have found for me personally, that once I had some more personal things happening in my life (to put it briefly some life changing medical events), I found myself less wanting to be posting on social media on a regular basis; I’d post updates now and then, mostly to alleviate those asking questions about my progress and bothering my family. This attitude has remained as I have begun to raise my family, I post every now and then about my family and include a cute photo of my son, but I find now that I share more in more private settings with my close friends and family in group chats, whatsapp and iMessage. Hilariously enough, I only really use Facebook messenger to connect with my Nana (my mom’s mom) to send pictures of my son to her, since cell service is so poor where she lives in rural Saskatchewan!

I have found in my adulthood, after these events, that I value my privacy much more. I have found that though many people want to see and comment on my life, that sometimes people say things that I might take the wrong way, and carry with me afterwards. This has become a personal boundary to maintain my inner peace.

Common ways that social media is used in my social circles is two main forms:

The first is, on every staff I have been on, there is some sort of group chat on Facebook or some other social media site. It usually devolves pretty quickly and is not usually very professional or helpful. I unfortunately found out about our school being shut down due to a covid outbreak on one of these group chats instead of through my principal. Not great.

The second is, this is currently a very common way to connect with other moms in our community during the pandemic. I have been connected through some friends who are also parents on Facebook to people all over the city. These pages are very well run and contain lots of question forums where parents can ask questions and get feedback, suggestions or reviews on baby items, programs and tips and tricks. It’s helped a lot of isolated parents feel more connected during this time.

For me, social media is something that I have learned I need to manage my time around, as well as my own exposure to. I am intimidating to work more on this course, as it does involved more social media presence on my part, which is something I have not participated much in for many years. I am hoping I can continue to maintain my personal boundaries while remaining open-minded to learning new things.

My first post.

People! When did making a blog get so challenging?

I mean, the last time I made a blog it was mid-2011 probably for Dean Shareski’s ECMP 355 class. But still. Holy smokes. Let me run you through my experience with this so far.

It has taken many WordPress attempts (and fails) to get this blog going. I decided after some attempts (and fails) that a regular WordPress account would not be for me, as it wanted a subscription and I am unsure as to what my future in blogging will be after this course and was not quite ready to make the commitment. Those of my classmates who have taken more than one educational technology class, it makes total sense to continue to add to an existing WordPress blog from semester to semester, but as this is my final course in my degree, I decided to go with the Edusites blog. This process still proved very challenging, and was so confusing and frustrating, since, as I said above, I have created a blog before. So what gives?

After a lengthy telephone conversation with my husband (also a teacher, and much more technologically savvy than myself), he helped me do some troubleshooting and we came to the conclusion that since I had been trying to create my blog on my school laptop, which is only a year old, but is running very outdated versions of FireFox and Google Chrome, that this was likely contributing to my inability to create this blog.

Tonight, I sat down and tried using my MacBook, on my own home wireless internet with an updated Firefox browser. We were in business! Finally able to make some customization. I tried to create a header, similar to the “Activello” sample page, which I loved. This proved very challenging, as the settings only allowed for a title/tagline or logo/tagline layout, not a logo/title/tagline layout, which apparently at this point in this process mattered greatly to me. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones, but I was unwilling to let this one go. So on my husband’s suggestion, I used the creative commons site “Pexels” to get a free logo image, and uploaded it to Microsoft PowerPoint, did some noodling and was able to put my title over the new image. I used a screenshot tool to save my logo, and from there, I was able to upload my new logo onto my blog and have the tagline beneath it.

I’m very happy with how it came out, and it’s possible I appreciate it even more since it took much more effort to get here than I had expected! I took for granted how much the technology had changed since my last blogging experience.

Anyway, thanks for reading!