Author Archives: kfidelack

summin’ it up – cheesy TV infomercial style

This semester has been a wild ride! I decided that I didn’t want to wait until fall to complete my degree, so decided to take the final two classes of my graduate degree in one nutty, six-week semester.

In my professional life, I would say I am definitely more of a serious personality. But after the formality of writing a final reflective paper for my Capstone Synthesis class, this Summary of Learning was an absolute breath of fresh air, where I got to harness my creative, silly side and make something a little nutty (to match the nuttiness of the last 6 weeks).

The format of my video was inspired by Chris, a classmate from a previous class (EC&I 832), who did a radio countdown video with song titles/lyrics that connected to topics from the course (think “Oops! I Did It Again” to link to Digital Citizenship faux pas). Unfortunately, I don’t think his video is viewable anymore, so you can’t see the awesomeness of his project (I reached out to Chris on Twitter to see if his video still exists somewhere on the interwebs, but haven’t gotten a reply yet).

Remembering Chris’ clever idea to link well-known songs to content from the course, I decided to add my own spin to this idea: I would write my own lyrics to the tune of popular songs and present them as a cheesy infomercial selling “Greatest Hits” CDs – circa the 90s/early 2000s. Check out the video below for an idea of what I was going for (Nostalgia Alert!).

Anywho, I now present to you my completely goofy Summary of Learning informercial! I hope it brings you a smirk or a giggle – I know I sure cackled away at myself for how outrageously campy and absurd my project turned out.

Thanks for watching! KKF out.

*mic drop*

learning project – studying spanish – final evidence of learning

Este es mi post final por mi Proyecto de Aprender, donde yo estudio español. En mi videos, yo hablo con Rebeca. Nos conocimos en 2019 en un viaje de India y Nepal. ¡Muchas gracias por tu ayuda, Rebeca!

(This is my final post for my Learning Project, where I study Spanish. In my videos, I talk with Rebeca. We met in 2019 on a trip to India and Nepal. Thank you very much for your help, Rebeca!)

Donde Yo Soy / Where I Am

In my first update post for this project, I mentioned that I wanted to demonstrate my final learning by recording myself speaking Spanish with someone. I tossed around a few ideas of who I could talk to, but nothing seemed quite right. I thought about conversing with:

  • my sister (she had been learning Spanish on Duolingo, but has since dropped off doing the app, and I didn’t think two beginner learners would be able to have a very good conversation)
  • my uncle (he knows sufficient Spanish to get around in Costa Rica, where he has a vacation home, but he isn’t a native speaker)
  • a user on Tandem (I tried asking someone I had been chatting with for a while if they’d be open to my recording a session of us chatting, but I think they were a bit freaked out by this – reasonably so! haha)

Just as I was beginning to give up hope on my idea of speaking Spanish with someone, Rebeca answered my prayers and, seemingly, fell into my lap! When she followed me on Duolingo, a lightbulb instantly went off – I knew a native Spanish speaker from my previous travels! I asked Rebeca if she would be interested in having a conversation with me on Zoom and she graciously agreed. Last Thursday (day 37 of learning Spanish for me), we sat down for a Zoom conversation and spoke almost entirely (I’d say 95%) in Spanish for about 20 minutes!

I’m sure many people won’t want to listen to a 20 minute conversation in another language, so I have created two different videos that you are welcome to check out below.

This video is a shortened version with some of the ‘highlights’ of our conversation.

If for some reason, you want to check out the ‘full meal deal,’ this is the video for you.

There are chapter titles in the video so viewers can tell what topic we are discussing in each section. I wanted to include the full conversation to have an authentic artifact that captures my progress at this juncture.

Rebeca was an amazing conversational partner, who understood my stilted and hesitant sentences, offered clarifications on things I didn’t know, and provided lots of complimentary feedback! Being able to have a conversation in Spanish with a native speaker was an invaluable experience – I was very nervous, but also left our Zoom conversation buzzing with pride and excitement. Thank you again to Rebeca for being so generous with her time and agreeing to speak with me and be recorded for this project – I literally could not have done it without you!

¿Que Proxima? What Next?

I fully intend to continue learning Spanish, and am hoping to jump into a more intensive language Sprint on Lingoda in the fall. I’d love to learn more vocabulary and increase my knowledge of verbs/conjugations, as that is a weak spot for me right now. In addition, I’d like to expand my ability to speak in present or future tense, as I am currently limited to speaking in present tense. I can’t wait to visit another Spanish speaking country and continue to practice my Spanish!

Thanks everyone for joining me on this journey! It has been an absolute blast and I am left feeling so satisfied with how my Learning Project turned out! I am eternally grateful for the opportunity this course gave me to kick-start my Spanish learning and I will definitely continue with this as a personal goal moving forward.


Until next time,


escuchando español (listening to spanish)

This week was the first time that I felt I faltered a little bit with my Learning Project. I still continued doing daily lessons on Duolingo and Drops (I’m at a 38 and 22 day streak, respectively), but often it was just the bare minimum needed to keep my streak going. I also engaged with users on Tandem a few times.

I believe my Duolingo stats for this week are the lowest they’ve been since I started

As for my goal of doing more listening and speaking this week, I did check out some Spanish TikTok videos and one podcast, but my Spanish learning took a bit of a back burner this week. Here are some brief details about both of these platforms:


Scroll through the images above to see some recommendations of helpful accounts I came across.

Trying out some different search terms in TikTok helped me to see an array of content. With minimal effort, I came across several interesting accounts. A few of them offered everyday tips for how to sound more conversational or avoid making common mistakes when speaking. A couple were bite-sized lessons that had text on the screen to teach conjugations, vocabulary, etc. Overall, I found TikTok to be an additional platform that has lots of learning content, but you would have to diligently write down the terms you want to practice and keep reviewing them in order to retain any information (or re-watch videos multiple times over a longer span of time than a usual TikTok scroll entails).


Unfortunately, I didn’t get around to listening to as many podcasts as I had planned. I have several that I’d like to try out, but only managed to squeeze in the time to listen to one this week. It actually happened to be by News In Slow Spanish, a website I tried out earlier (and talked about in a previous post). Turns out the ‘podcast style’ lessons that I referred to are actually podcasts! I listened to the next episode from where I had left off (now that my free trial with that website has ended). It was good to know that they offer their content as a podcast for free, so I can continue with these later on if I want to. These lessons are great – and offer a mixture of English and Spanish, so you are able to follow along fairly easily.

I think the reason I had difficulty finding time to engage with podcasts is because it still requires a lot of my focus and attention when I listen to them, so it is not a podcast you can put on in the background while you’re doing something else. At this juncture, I still need to think hard to translate in my head, so I had to focus solely on listening to the podcast and couldn’t multitask. That being said, I do think it’s a good way to learn if you want to develop your listening skills, so it is something I am interested in exploring more in the future as I continue my Spanish learning journey!

Unexpected Learning

Before I began formally learning Spanish for this class, I enjoyed Spanish music and have a playlist of Spanish music on my phone. As I was driving home yesterday, some of these songs came on and I found myself recognizing some words being sung in the songs. I also realized that I could get a general idea of what the songs titles meant because some of the words were familiar.

For example, with the song in the images below, I recognized “Olvídate” as “forget” and knew “El” meant “he or him,” so was able to guess that the song meant something like “Forget About Him” (see reveal of the translation by moving the divider line between the pictures to either side).

This happened again in another song that came up. I knew that pueder/puedes/puedo were conjugations for the verb meaning “can.” Verbs ended in ‘o’ (puedo) are in first person (so = I can). In “Enamorarte,” I saw the stem ‘amor’ and guessed that it meant something about love. See the full translation and song title in the images below.

Also, I recommend you check out these two songs – they are great!

Final Evidence of Learning

In a week that felt like a bit of a fail, my biggest win was demonstrating/documenting where my Spanish skills are currently at for my final evidence of learning. More details to come next week in my last post, but I will tease it by saying I’m super proud of what I did and where I’m at!

Until next time,


open education, capitalism, corporatization, and the sask dlc

Prior to our presentation from guest speaker Alan Levine (AKA Cog Dog) this week, I wasn’t sure what ‘open education’ meant or what it entailed. I figured it was an approach to education, or a tangible ‘thing,’ but now I understand it to be a mindset. Alan described it as a belief that education should be fully accessible to everyone. As a teacher in the public education system, this is something I wholeheartedly believe in.

One of the videos I watched from this week’s resources was “Why Open Education Matters,” which discussed why free public education is important. While this video was short and sweet, the onslaught of thinking I had as a result was quite the opposite – so buckle up! My thinking went in two directions as I viewed this video:

  1. The Sask DLC and Corporatization of Education

Warning! Controversial Topic Alert!

Since attending STF’s Annual Meeting of Council and the Rally for Public Education at the end of April, issues surrounding the newly-minted Sask DLC have been a hot-button topic on my mind. Many of the logistics of exactly how the Sask DLC’s courses will roll out in the fall are still unknown and a ‘grey area.’

At first glance, one might think that the Sask DLC is a great example of open education, as students can access an array of unique courses in an online format to make them more accessible. However, each school division is only being given a certain number of spaces for their in-house students to take Sask DLC classes. If a student does not get one of these (limited) spaces, they can still take Sask DLC classes IF they want to pay $500 per course.

Disappointed and frustrated doesn’t begin to describe how I feel on this subject. Currently, my school division (and many others, as I understand it) has an abundance of in-house online course offerings for our students. Going forward with the Sask DLC, students who want to take extra online classes that are of interest to them or fit better into their schedule are going to have to pay tuition? This is no longer free, public education but a private corporation that is profiting (on top of being funded $57 million dollars from the government for its start-up).

I could go on about this for quite a while (and even did some fact-checking and sharing on a Facebook post of mine on the topic, which drew some questions from a Facebook friend this week – I am trying to embody being an activist on my social media!), but in the interest of your time and the length of this post, I will just end by saying that I found the Sask DLC to be an interesting case study to consider in relation to the tenets of open education.

2. Capitalism and Putting Monetary Value on Education

While listening to the aforementioned video and contemplating free education, I thought: “But the education I’m getting as a graduate student has worth and value, and I feel it has been worth the literal price I’ve paid for it.” Then my train of thought went to questions such as: “Do we want all education to be free?” “Would education have less value or reverence if it didn’t cost a lot?” “Isn’t part of the incentive to finish/do well in university classes due to the money you are shelling out?”

Then I caught myself and realized I was thinking with my Western, capitalism-steeped brain.

(Sorry to get deep into scholar mode here – I’m concurrently taking my capstone synthesis course and we have done a lot of discussion on Western thinking, capitalism, democracy, colonialism, and the like) The instinct to put monetary value on everything (including knowledge and education) is a Western, capitalistic practice. I instantly balked at the thought of free university education because I have been conditioned to think that way. In our culture, obtaining a university degree is a symbol of status and post-secondary education is correlated with a price tag. You pay the big bucks to (hopefully) make the big bucks and get prestige in return. Yet, there are many countries that offer free post-secondary education. In these places, education is not tied to monetary value but its inherent value to better society.

During Alan’s presentation, the question of “Why don’t teachers like to share?” came up a few times. I think our Western views are creating a lot of this resistance to open education. Until we have some cultural shifts and truly see education as a common good with intrinsic value, things will remain largely competitive and corporate, rather than collectivist.

In Conclusion

At the outset of writing this post, I am left with many questions about open education and how it interacts with the realities of our current education system. However, I do have a better understanding of what open education is and what it values. I believe it is a beneficial mindset that fosters sharing, remixing, and constant improvement. That being said, the current state of our Western society and rigid, compartmentalized education system, in many ways, goes against this and is perhaps what makes open education difficult to grasp or envision. It is my hope that we will continue to see open education become a reality in our province and our world – it might just take some time and a lot of mindset shifting.

(My apologies that this blog post came out quite formal-sounding and scholarly. I just finished writing my final reflective paper for my master’s program, so I think my brain is still in that mode. I appreciate it if you read to the end and were willing to engage with a post that was a bit more cerebral than a typical blog usually is!)

If anyone has feedback or opinions on any of this, I would love to have an honest conversation with you! Sound off in the comments!

Until next time,


aprender español – número dos (learning spanish – number two)

¡Hola todo el mundo! Es Kara con un actualización de español.

(Hi everyone! It’s Kara with a Spanish update.)

In my previous blog post, I shared that I wanted to practice listening to and speaking more Spanish. Enter Tandem, the language exchange app that I decided to try out this week.

I had a lot to say about this app and the other online resources I tested out this week, so I decided to do my update vlog-style again. My video ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated, so no hard feelings if you don’t want to watch all of it. Feel free to scroll down to my written highlights below.

TL; DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) Summary

Tandem – a language exchange app where you can chat with native speakers from around the world in a variety of different languages. You get the opportunity to practice the language you want to learn, while also helping out others who want to learn your native language.


  • the app offers both written and audio messaging functions, so you can read, write, listen, and speak in your language of choice
  • the app also offers live video calling (I did not try this function, as I did not feel comfortable)
  • ‘translate’ and ‘comment’ options are embedded right into the messaging platform, so you can translate what someone has said into English if you don’t understand or offer corrections on how to say things properly
  • the app has clearly-defined community guidelines, and you have to be accepted into the community after putting some basic information into your profile
  • there is always someone on the app ready to chat with you
  • way to practice basic get-to-know-you phrases and topics of conversation
  • the app will flag messages that are sketchy or suspicious
  • free version is more than sufficient; don’t need to have the paid version IMO


  • the number of messages and requests to chat can be overwhelming
  • not great if you are only at a beginner level, as you are limited in what you can say and understand (I had Google Translate open while using this app, so I could try to talk about new things and figure out how to say things I didn’t know yet)
  • can be a big time suck (once I got into a conversation with a few people, I would be on the app for over an hour)

Overall, I think Tandem can be an interesting language-learning tool if you are willing to overlook some of its annoying ‘cons.’

News In Slow Spanish – a website that offers short news stories that are 100% written and read aloud in basic Spanish. The website also has podcast-like lessons on a variety of grammar and vocabulary topics that you can listen to (but also read at the same time, as they have included scripts to accompany them).


  • allows you to read about current topics in Spanish and learn new words in an authentic context
  • news articles are read at a slow pace, and you can change the speed to be slower or faster
  • offers pop-up icons with English translations of phrases or words the reader might not know
  • variety of other resources on the website
  • offers beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels of news articles


  • you need a subscription to access full news articles and resources (free trial for one week)

In summary, I really like this platform, but don’t anticipate I will pay $23 US each month to keep this service after my free trial ends.

¿Ahora Que? (What Now?)

  • continue with Duolingo, Drops, and Tandem
  • listen to some Spanish-learning podcasts
  • check out some Spanish content on TikTok

¡Gracias por leer mi publicación! (Thanks for reading my post!)

Hasta la proxima vez (Until next time),


putting the ‘active’ in activism

Before this week’s topic of “social media activism” was brought up in class on Monday, I had never sat down and actively considered it. Sure, I have seen (and used) frames that support different causes on Facebook profile pictures, noticed online petitions floating around, and even donated to a few causes here and there, but I guess I just viewed those things as ‘another part of the internet’ without thinking about them from a critical standpoint.

After browsing through some online articles and resources this week, these are my highlights and current thoughts on social media activism:

1 – A Bridge to Real-Life Action

Shelby Brown, the author of this article, outlines her personal journey with activism, describing how her passion for a cause (women’s rights to make decisions about their own bodies) began with using a Facebook frame and ended with volunteering weekly at a Planned Parenthood. This personal story of activism highlights the ability for social media activism to act as a bridge, or stepping stone, to real-life action.

Rather than going all-in for a cause right away, social media activism allows for a more gradual journey of activism. People who might be initially interested in an issue can dip their toes in slowly before committing to a more active role.

In my own life, I have experienced a gradual increase in involvement in a cause: Dressember.

One of my Facebook friends has been an active supporter of Dressember for several years now, and I would nonchalantly ‘like’ the posts and read some of the information about the organization. After being a passive observer for a few years, I accepted the invitation my Facebook friend issued online to be more involved by donning a dress one day in December, donating to the cause, and posting about it on my own Facebook to spread the word. I might not be ready to commit to the full month of dressing up, but I became more involved as a direct result of seeing my friend’s Dressember posts on social media.

While social media activism can be a powerful way to reach more people, I believe that the underlying hope is that social media activism will cause tiny ripples that eventually lead to real-life activism as well.

2 – Understand the Root of the Movement

Researching a cause in order to understand its core values and intentions is a key step in social media activism, according to the same article by Shelby Brown. In the barrage of content available on the internet, it is easy to become complacent and share posts without being fully informed. Take the extra steps to ensure you know what you are supporting.

3 – Social Media Can Increase Accessibility

One of the reasons social media activism can be so effective is its ability to be far-reaching. Rather than being pigeonholed into one medium, social media campaigns can be shared and seen by many more people. This provides access to information that some people might not have had otherwise. Both of the articles (below) discuss social media’s ability to increase access to information.

“Why Is Social Media Activism Important?”

“Is Digital Activism Effective?”

4 – Helpful or Performative?

Finally, social media activists need to be aware of the difference between true activism and performative activism. This article provides a clear distinction (screenshot below) between the two:

Shelby Brown explains the difference as actively hearing stories of those who are impacted (activism), versus simply trying to share one’s own opinion (performative). When engaging in social media activism, we need to be aware of our own privilege and focus on creating platforms for silenced voices to be heard, rather than perpetuating the same dominant discourses.

Moving Forward

The next time I see a social justice campaign or think about sharing something, I will be considering it through these social media activism lenses. During my research this week, I came across this lesson plan for introducing a conversation on digital activism with students. I think my responses to the prompts from the lesson (below) sum up my current thoughts on social media activism.

  1. Agree – if used in the right way, social media can increase accessibility and act as a pathway to get people involved IRL
  2. Agree – engaging online can be a less intimidating first-step, but the ultimate goal is getting people to take action outside of social media
  3. Agree – I feel that each generation becomes more and more social-justice-minded because they are connected to diverse people and perspectives from around the world – thanks to technology
  4. Disagree – engaging in social media activism is a real and valid form of activism

What are your thoughts on social media activism?

What do you think about the 4 prompts above? Agree, Disagree, or Undecided?

Until next time,


twitter “flitter”

Hi everyone, and welcome back to my little slice of the internet! Today, let’s talk about my experience with Twitter.

I am by no means ‘new’ to Twitter. I believe I got an account either at the very end of high school or the beginning of university. My use of Twitter quickly changed as I went through my undergrad degree and saw the platform’s potential as a professional tool.

Once I convocated and began my teaching career, I was interested in engaging more intentionally with my PLN and joined some Twitter chats, most notably #saskedchat (a Saskatchewan-based education chat). I diligently joined the weekly chat and got to know many familiar faces within that subgroup of my PLN. #saskedchat was the perfect place for me to break into Twitter chats and developing my PLN – the people were friendly and funny, there were enough people present to keep a conversation going but not so many that it was totally overwhelming, and (being a Saskatchewan-based chat) it was specific to my place.

Talk about a die-hard fan – I even have an official #saskedchat t-shirt!

After being a frequent member of the chat for a while, I had the opportunity to try out a new, unknown realm of Twitter chatting: hosting my own night of #saskedchat. This meant coming up with a topic for the night, drafting the questions I would ask to participants, and leading the chat on the night of the event. It was, honestly, very easy and a natural next step in my #saskedchat journey. **I tried, to no avail, to find a saved document with evidence of my Twitter chat questions from when I hosted. I remember it was on the topic of Parent/Family Engagement, but have no idea when exactly it was or what my actual questions were. I hope everyone will believe me without providing evidence! haha

Since starting my graduate studies, I’ve obviously been a bit busier, so have fallen in and out of Twitter many times. Thus, I consider myself to be a Twitter “flitter,” because I will flit away for periods of time, but always seem to come back.

I flitted back in to Twitter during EC&I 832, and enjoyed it once again. I made a point to engage in #saskedchat and the course hashtag that semester, and was reminded why I like Twitter as a professional platform. However, after that course was over, I once again flitted out of the Twitterverse.

I think my main problem with Twitter is that the feed feels so overwhelming. Within minutes, there are dozens of new tweets to read. I simply can’t keep up and feel that I will miss something due to the sheer amount of content. I am a “sit-down-and-do-a-task-only-if-I-have-enough-time-to-finish-it” kind of person, so I avoid clicking on Twitter because I feel like I need to dedicate long periods of time to effectively go through my feed. I think the lesson here is that I need to start small and accept that I will never see everything. My goal is to start with just a few minutes a day (maybe setting an actual timer will help) to help build the habit and make it feel manageable.

To sum it all up:

  • I have been engaging with Twitter as a professional tool for a long time
  • I have experienced the benefits of engaging with a PLN on Twitter
  • I see the various ways Twitter can be used as a professional tool
  • I often flit away from Twitter for long periods of time, but always come back
  • I need to be more intentional in order to attain daily engagement with Twitter (start small)

Hopefully by putting my intentions out there, it will keep me accountable to following through! I look forward to continuing my journey with Twitter as a professional, educational tool.

Until next time,


“drops” in the bucket – testing out another language-learning app

Hi everyone! I’m back with another update on my Learning Project of taking up Spanish. It continues to be ‘muy divertido y interesante’ (very fun and interesting).

I am still keeping up with Duolingo, and am up to a 23 day streak! I continue to enjoy this app. Check out my previous blog post for my review of Duolingo.


This week, I have also been focusing on another app: Drops. This app was suggested to me by Mike A. in a comment on my blog – thanks so much for the recommendation, Mike! Here are a few details about Drops and my thoughts:

  • a language-learning app (acquired by the famous Kahoot! educational platform) with different vocabulary topics you can explore – ex. Counting, Train Trip, Pronouns, Shapes, Food
  • you play on the app for intervals of 5 minutes with a visual timer counting down in the corner, which I like
  • there are a few different screens that pop up during the 5 minute learning intervals; they can get a bit repetitive and a particular one (picture below) where you have to maze your way through spelling the word feels a bit more like a word game than a useful language learning activity to me
  • the app incorporates multiple modes of learning: when it introduces a new word that “drops” in, it will show the written word, play audio of someone saying it, and have a visual picture to represent that term
  • Drops has a daily streak, as well as displaying other stats, such as how many new words you’ve learned, your total accuracy percentage, and accuracy on individual words
  • this app is great if you’d like to expand your vocabulary on specific topics; however, it only involves spelling words, listening to/reading words and then matching them to the correct visual
  • as far as I can tell, there is no speaking element to the app and it only deals with singular words or short phrases, not full sentences
  • there is a paid version called “Premium” that offers some additional perks (like unlimited learning time each day); I signed up for a free trial that lasts for 2 weeks

In conclusion, I will continue to use Drops to keep expanding my topic-specific vocabulary, but I don’t like this app as much as some of the other online tools I’ve tried because of its lack of speaking opportunities and full sentences.

Writing in Spanish – Three Weeks In

One exercise I tried out was writing as much as I could about myself in Spanish without the use of any tools. I did this in a few small chunks of sentences and then inputted my writing into Google Translate as a way to self-check. I had a few small errors and one verb I didn’t know yet (see images below), but overall, I was very impressed with how much I could write after only 3 weeks of wholeheartedly diving into Spanish.

Moving Forward

After completing the writing exercise above, I felt that my writing ability and vocabulary in Spanish were coming along nicely. However, I would also consider these to be the easier skills in a new language, whereas understanding spoken conversations and speaking yourself are more complex and difficult, as they are happening much faster. With that in mind, I’d like to focus specifically on more listening and speaking activities in the weeks ahead.


For listening, I mentioned previously that I could try out some Spanish language-learning podcasts. I have yet to delve into this and would still like to give this a shot. I could also try to watch a show with Spanish subtitles or dubbing, but feel this might be a big jump in difficulty for my current level of understanding. There are also some listening comprehension activities I found here that I could explore further.


In regards to speaking, this is the aspect of Spanish learning that I am most struggling with where to go next. Lingoda was an awesome tool to promote both listening and speaking, but my free trial has ended and I don’t want to dive into the paid version at this time. This is an area that I will have to do some more research into moving forward. If anyone has any suggestions of tools to try, or knows someone who would want to speak a bit of Spanish with me, please let me know!

Hasta luego,


trialing BeReal

One of my recent BeReals that I was decently on time for (which was a total fluke – I just happened to be looking at my phone when the notification went off)

I first heard about BeReal during my trip to Mexico over Easter Break, where some of the other members of the tour group told me about it. They were from the UK, and I think it must be a more common social media platform there, whereas I get the sense that it is just catching on in North America. I was instantly interested in BeReal because of its unique design/premise, which favours authenticity and real life moments, rather than the highly-edited and curated feeds one typically sees on other social media platforms.

Being interested in this platform, I told the members of my tour group that I would sign up for a BeReal account when I got back home and follow them on it. They were my only 2 friends on the app, so I soon got tired of the app and my posts dwindled away. I jumped back into this app for this week’s blog prompt.

How BeReal Works:

The app sends you a notification at some point during the day (you don’t know when this will occur), and then you have 2 minutes to post your BeReal for the day. This post is intended to be a snapshot of whatever you are doing at the time the notification goes off; BeReal posts include both a selfie and a picture of wherever you are/what is in front of you at the time. You can react to others’ posts with RealMojis, which are snapshots of your own face showing the different reactions (thumbs up, laughing, etc.). You can also comment on others’ posts, give your BeReal a caption, and view your BeReal memories from previous days. As an incentive to post on time, users are allowed to post additional BeReals if their first is completed within 2 minutes of the notification going off for the day. I don’t remember this being a feature when I first started using BeReal in April – so either it is new, or I totally missed this option!

The Pros:

A view of my past BeReals
  • BeReal is original and goes against the filtered/edited nature of various other social media platforms – I love the idea of being more ‘real’ online and giving others a glimpse into your unpolished, true life
  • it’s easy to set up an account
  • RealMojis is an interesting concept that is unique to BeReal
  • you can easily add contacts you already know right in the app

The Cons:

  • this app encourages your notifications to be on and for you to have your phone with you at all times (which is not my style at all, so this aspect misses the mark for me)
  • there doesn’t seem to be any easily-recognizable home page or place for notifications, which (to me) makes the app feel strange to navigate
  • this app is not common among my friends yet, so there is a lack of people to follow (I reached out to classmates in this course on Twitter to get a few more people on my feed)
  • legal and ethical privacy concerns for posting at work (especially as a teacher)

Other Information:

  • there is a Discovery tab, which is just a feed of random people’s BeReals (not your friends); I am not personally interested in this at all
  • apparently, there is a way to see how many times someone has re-taken their BeReal picture, but I haven’t noticed that anywhere yet (maybe all of my friends are first-snap people?)
  • the app will tell you how late someone was posting their BeReal for the day (the members of my tour group told me that it is always funny to see people who have posted 5 hours late, and then their BeReal shows them doing something cool – it sends the message that they waited to post so they could show something interesting, which is really missing the whole point of BeReal)

Applications for Educational Use:

Nothing immediately came to mind for useful applications of BeReal in the classroom. Because the app is so time-sensitive (and dependent on notifications being enabled), I don’t see how it would work to use in real-time in the classroom. However, a BeReal inspired project (that doesn’t actually use the app itself, but the concept of it) did come to mind for a history/art project. Students could depict an important event in history as a BeReal. This involves students considering what the person would have looked like during the event, and what they would have seen in front of them in that moment. This same concept could also be used for a novel study or literature project, with students depicting book events and characters as BeReals.

Implications for Youth:

For me, BeReal as a platform can have both positive and negative effects on youth. I appreciate that the intentions behind the app are stepping outside the norm of social media and encouraging people to share their real selves. It gives me hope that future generations won’t be bogged down by unrealistic expectations and pressure to be a certain way.

However, perhaps this push to ‘be real’ is a double-edged sword. Do we really want to share every last detail of our lives with the internet? RoxAnne pointed out in her blog post that this could be potentially dangerous if people online know exactly where you are and what you are doing.

In addition, isn’t there a kind of security that comes with having a real-life self and an on online self, and they don’t necessarily have to be one and the same? I, personally, like having distance between my online and offline selves, and I don’t want youth feeling that they have to share everything with everyone. I also believe it is an important social skill for youth to learn what is appropriate to share in different contexts; if we share everything online, then we aren’t practicing these social norms.

Furthermore, I dislike the message BeReal is sending by: a) encouraging its users to constantly be near their phone and listening for a notification, and b) rewarding those who did so. This, to me, is an unhealthy relationship with technology that could be harmful.

In Conclusion:

At the end of the day, I don’t see myself continuing to use BeReal regularly. While I love the concept of authenticity and literally “being real,” the time-sensitive and notification-dependent nature of this app doesn’t appeal to me or work for my personal technology-use boundaries I have in place.

Have you tried BeReal or do you know someone who uses it?
What are you thoughts on this up-and-coming social media platform?

Until next time,


aprender español – número uno (learning spanish – number one)

Hola amigos! Yo soy Kara y buenas noches!

(Hi friends! I’m Kara and good evening!)

I had a LOT to say about my first few weeks learning Español and didn’t want to have a novel of a blog post, so decided to try my first ever vlog – I even did it in one take! Feel free to watch it on double speed if you want to skim through – no hard feelings here! Or check out my TL;DW (Too Long; Didn’t Watch) summary below.



  • Online language learning course (offers multiple languages, not just Spanish) where you take hour-long classes on Zoom with native Spanish speakers and others who are learning Spanish at the same level as you
  • I did a 7 day free trial, which offered 3 free classes (one hour each)
  • I took an Orientation class first, then a class called “Hola!” (Hello) where we learned to introduce ourselves and say hi, and the final one was “¿Cómo Estás?” (How Are You?) where we learned to say how we are feeling and ask others how they are doing
  • You can book classes at virtually any time of the day (various offerings of different classes at every time of day)
  • Slides for the classes are available ahead of time to preview and download with instructor annotations afterwards
  • Materials are 100% in Spanish and instructors speak mostly Spanish (unless you ask what something means in English), so you are fully immersed in the language
  • I’m hoping to try a Sprint (more intensive learning for a short period of time) in the fall – option to get 50% or 100% of your money back if you attend all of your classes
  • Pros: immersive experience, lots of speaking Spanish, helpful materials, easy-to-use website, lots of options for bookings,
  • Cons: pricey if you want the paid version, free trial only had 3 classes available


  • Popular language-learning app that is designed to feel like a game to keep users engaged
  • Get a ‘streak’ for consecutive days spent completing lessons
  • Free trial available for “Super Duolingo” (paid version of the app with unlimited hearts, no ads, additional features like previous mistakes you can review) – lasts 2 weeks
  • I finished the first Section called “Rookie” (level A1 of Spanish – very beginner) and am currently at a 15 day streak
  • Learned mostly basic sentences and words (I have, I want, foods, clothing, places, travel-related words, etc.)
  • Pros: engaging and fun, various kinds of challenges (writing, speaking, reading, listening, etc.), streak helps keep you motivated to keep at it, can follow friends who are also using Duolingo
  • Cons: can get repetitive, will be hard to get used to the regular version once my free trial runs out

I have, honestly, gone pretty hard the first two weeks of my project, so am feeling a bit lost of where to take my Spanish learning next. Here are my goals moving forward:

  • Keep my streak going on Duolingo for the duration of this project
  • Try out some other Spanish learning resources (websites, games, YouTube, podcasts, TikTok?)
  • Record a brief video of myself speaking Spanish at the end of this project (maybe see if my sister or someone else I know will do a basic conversation in Spanish with me?)

Muchos gracias por leer mi post!

(Thanks so much for reading my post!)

Until next time (Hasta luego),