Summary of Learning…Now what?

This class has been nothing short of wonderful, engaging, and thought-provoking. It’s allowed for so much reflection and critical thought regarding how we, as educators, can use social media and technology to engage our students in various capacities.

This video, as my final summary of the course, discusses what I’ve taken away from this class. The course content has impacted several aspects of my work as an administrator – everything from extensions, to appropriate use of social media, to social media activism, as well as the potentials of AI – there has been so much knowledge acquired.

Thanks for following along with my journey in this course. It’s been a slice!

Summary of Learning

Summary of Learning

Welcome to my summary of learning for EC&I 831! I invite you to join me on this journey by watching my summary of learning video, where I share insights, reflections, and exciting possibilities for the future. You can find the video at the end of this blog post, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and engage in further discussions about the transformative impact of EC&I 831.

For this summary, I chose to utilize Canva to create a visually engaging and informative video. In it, I delve into the invaluable lessons I have learned about building a professional learning network (PLN), harnessing the power of Twitter, embracing blogging, and the potential of open education. These topics have transformed my understanding of educational technology and have equipped me with a wealth of practical strategies to enhance my teaching practice.

The impact of this course on me has been profound. I am excited to bring the knowledge and skills I have acquired into the upcoming school year. The concepts of open education and the power of social media will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in fostering creativity, critical thinking, and authentic learning experiences both for myself and my future students.

Thank you for your support and for being a part of my learning community!

Summary of Learning – Social Media & Open Education

Here is my summary of learning in relation to social media and open education!


McDaniel, D. S. (2023, April 25). As digital activists, teens of color turn to social media to fight for a more just world. The Conversation.

Usher, N. (2023). Professors Are Grappling With an Excruciating Assignment. Retrieved 2023.

Vogels, E. A., Gelles-Watnick, R., & Massarat, N. (2022). Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022. Retrieved 2023.

Why Open Education Matters. (2012). Vimeo. Retrieved June 26, 2023, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2023, May 18). Edublog. Wikipedia.

Open education: tons of potential, but does it let governments off the hook?

In our #EC&I831 course, we recently had a guest speaker, Alan Levine (@cogdog on Twitter), join us to talk about open education. In short, the essential understanding is that education and education resources have an opportunity to become more open-sourced, and not limited to the prescribed resources of the day. The conversation was intriguing, as a lot of what was discussed is also prevalent in my own teaching practices: resources losing relevance, and a struggle to find quality replacements or supplements for them. I can’t be the only one to experience this, so in that sense, this conversation could be relevant to all teachers.

In addition to this week’s meeting, I perused some additional resources related to open education. I had a listen to Lawrence Lessig’s TED talk, “Laws that Choke Creativity”. His premise, that society can combat the idea of a “read-only culture.. a culture which is top-down, owned, where the vocal chords of the millions have been lost” (1:08), can be seen in the efforts surrounding open education. Alan’s idea that education can be truly free and available for everyone rings true here, as well.

Now, having said that, I tend to always think about these ideas can actually play out. The more I think about open education, a couple, perhaps unfounded, concerns pop up. First, with the emergence of all sorts of different educational tools and strategies, I wonder if there is a possibility the education actually becomes less cohesive, and potentially even more inequitable, if there are too many different pathways to try to navigate. I’m not saying this because of a sense of self-preservation for the teaching profession, I suppose my concern is that the value society has of the entire education sector decreases.

This leads me to my second point: if the onus is on individual teachers to find, curate, and perfect the entirety of their teaching resources, I feel this may let provincial governments, who are supposed to be responsible for provisioning school divisions, and by extension, teachers, with the resources needed for their success, off the hook. I can’t back this up with any supplemental evidence, and I’m not going full conspiracy-theorist, but it’s something I wonder about as educational resources continue to be revised and made openly available. I use some of these myself (I’ve used CK-12 many times, for example), so I’m not advocating for minimizing the open education future. I just hope that we, as teachers and society at large, can make the most of the open education movement while still enshrining the capacity of teachers and the public education sector to give every student the means to develop as young people with positive futures ahead of them.


Reflecting on my gardening social media/learning experience

As this spring term’s EC&I 831 course draws to an end, I’ve been reflecting on how the parameters of the course shaped my overall direction in planning, organizing, and facilitating growing a backyard garden. It also had me reflect on my comfortability with social media, in general.

First, my thoughts on how this project went. I chose gardening as my focus for a couple reasons. It’s something that I’ve played a minor role in here at home, with my wife and her grandmother doing the vast majority of it. I mentioned in my beginning post that with my wife’s grandmother stepping back, I took this as an opportunity to step in more directly. But I also knew I needed to look at this as something more than just following the directions that have been followed before. I felt this would be a good opportunity to compare what I knew beforehand to what I could gain by maximizing social media tools.

But I’ll admit, I don’t think my social media implementation was as effective or far-ranging as what could have been idealized. I found early on, just in my experience, that Instagram failed me. I don’t have much experience with Instagram to begin with, but I found it lacking when it came to trying to find some semblance of community or previous discussion on the topics I was looking for. It seems more of a show-off space, for lack of a better term, and much of what I found wasn’t very relatable to what I was building. So, scratch this tool off the list.

Twitter surprised me, though again, maybe it’s more my implementation than any shortcomings itself. I used Tweetdeck to try to find related threads or conversations, but many of the results seemed to come from businesses advertising their services, and less in terms of community discussion or collaboration. Again, I’m not prepared to full-on abandon Twitter (I use it for many other things, still, so I know it can be effective), but I don’t think it benefited here as much as it maybe should have.

I tried to avoid using Facebook or YouTube, as these are services I’m most familiar with (Facebook), and might otherwise feel like cheating (YouTube). I found Reddit came to the rescue. I liked that the discussions and conversations are easily findable and are hosted in subreddits that are full of related discussions. Reddit came in clutch, for sure.

Now, reflecting on my own contributions or discussions. I’ll openly state that my own contributions or submissions using social media have not been overly numerous. When it came to questions I had throughout the project, such as the ideal quantity of berry bushes to plant together, or how to generally organize where certain plants should be planted in the garden, I sought out previous conversations, rather than ask my own. My general thinking has been that nothing I’ve been doing throughout this project is particularly novel, so certainly the questions I’m asking have been answered before.

Knowing this, I’m not sure I’m the greatest determiner of the effectiveness of social media in education. I’ve learned a lot throughout this project, and the course in general, and I found every topic interesting and engaging. I’d say the biggest roadblock I had in this project is myself, and my hesitation in maximizing my effective usage of the different social media tools available (for instance, I never created a TikTok account to check things out there).

However, I also know that I’ve opened a door regarding my mindset towards social media in education, and that door won’t be closing with the conclusion of this course. I know there are a plethora of learning opportunities to be found, and I just need to continue nudging myself towards those opportunities. In that sense, I look forward to continuing my own education towards better utilizing these social media tools.

Rain: much needed, gratefully accepted, but please don’t flood!

Water has been such a fickle thing throughout this garden experience. It has seemed like the rain offerings have been either feast or famine; downpours at a time, followed by long periods of dry heat. My experience with growing plants, including grass, has always involved the concern of over-or-under watering. I’ve always struggled to determine the ideal quantity of water that should be present in a growing space. But then Mother Nature goes ahead and takes that worrying out of my hands, so in a way, that’s good!

(I don’t say this to complain. My stakes are FAR lower than those of farmers and other agricultural participants.)

As I write this, we just experienced a major downpour this evening, including a small amount of hail (seemingly the first this season). The rain is absolutely helpful, don’t get me wrong, but I also know I pretty much won’t be entering the garden for the next several days. While at this point I hope the plants have grown enough that they won’t be completely swamped by the quantity of rain, I also know there isn’t much I can do right now if they were. Such is the waiting game at this point, I suppose.

Aside from the moisture considerations, there’s also the above-ground cleanup following such a heavy rain that must also take place. The garden is heavily inundated with all sorts of by-products from nearby treees, including full-on branches and such. The pictures below illustrate the point:


For added dramatic effect, take a look at our new backyard beach from our last downpour (the sand box was covered with a tarp, so this is not the full quantity of water that had rained):

I’ll update this post tomorrow with pictures of the latest swamping. The purpose of this post, I’d say, is more of a commentary about how despite all our plans, nature still has the final say in the success of our growing projects. At least we haven’t experienced true hail yet! #blessed

Summary of Learning

I wasn’t sure how I would summarize my learning. We have been using blogs all semester, however I have been integrating them into my classroom as well for my major project. It seemed fitting, however I did not want to be too repetitive.

I took the same limitations my students had (google slides) to design my blogs and chose the article “Ten Reasons Every Educator Should Start Blogging,” by Kathleen Morris, to base my presentation on. I took 8 of the 10 reasons (specifically the ones that applied to my students blogs) and attached my thoughts about our journey to each reason.

With that in mind I wrote 8 short blogs (which I have posted below) and then edited them into a video with some tracking to try and make them more visually appealing. A few additional images and text, along with digital themed transitions were added as well. Then I realized those transitions were behind a paywall and the giant water mark….so I now have a student subscription to Wondershare (democreator). Although I do have to say this is the one editing software I have used that I didn’t have to fight. I hope you enjoy my simple video, I look forward to exploring your summaries as well. Have a great summer!

Blog #1-Done on Google Slides
Blog #2- Done on Google Slides
Blog #3- Done on Google Slides
Blog #4- Done on Google Slides
Blog #5- Done on Google Slides
Blog #6- Done on Google Slides
Blog #7- Done on Google Slides
Blog #8- Done on Google Slides

“Unveiling the Power of Social Media in Education: A Summary of Learning”

I would like to extend a warm welcome to everyone as I present my summary of learning, marking the culmination of EC&831 and my second ED tech class with Katia. Throughout this course, I have had the pleasure of exploring various aspects of technology integration in the classroom. The potential of social media for promoting collaboration, engagement, and knowledge sharing in educational settings has been a central focus of my learning. For creating my summary, I opted for Canva, a tool I became familiar with during my previous ED tech class with Katia, and I have shared the video on my YouTube channel. I would like to express my gratitude to Katia, Alec Couros, Alan Levine, and my classmates for their guidance, teaching, and valuable feedback, which have been instrumental in my growth.

Sit back and enjoy!

Scrunchie? DONE-chie.

I can hardly believe it.

Well actually, that’s a bit dramatic. After figuring out the ins and outs of the machine, I knew I’d be able to figure out this relatively simple project in the sewing world. Here’s a time lapse of the whole process!

Here’s the breakdown of how it went:

  • First, I bought a pack of fabric. It came with 5 different floral styles. I also bought knit elastic, which I ended up having to cut in half to meet the 1/4 inch requirement from the instructions. To be safe, I went with about 1/2 inch wide elastic to give me (and the needle) some wiggle room for errors.
  • I let my daughter choose the fabric she wanted as the scrunchie would be for her. Naturally, the first fabric she chose was claimed as a blanket for her baby, so we went with option 2 (toddlers, am I right?)
  • I cut the fabric according to the specifications by Damjana at AppleGreen Cottage (here’s the link to the video I mostly followed)
  • I sewed the narrow end of the fabric to close that seam
  • I then folded the fabric in half lengthwise and sewed that seam shut. This is where I ran into issues
    • everything started fine, but eventually, the needle just kept going through the same point in the fabric and the fabric wasn’t rolling along under the presser foot as it had been before. So, I stopped, pulled the fabric away, cut and tied the loose ends, and tried again. I did this probably 5 different times. Eventually, as nothing appeared to be wrong with the bobbin thread, I figured that maybe it was an issue with thread tension and adjusted that. This seemed to do the trick and I was able to finish that long seam.
  • Then I turned the fabric right side out
  • Time for the elastic. The video I was watching didn’t specify the length of the elastic, so I had to look to Treasurie on YouTube to help me out with this. This tutorial video was a bit more detailed than the other one, and came in very handy.
  • I cut the elastic slightly less than the 9 inch suggestion from Treasurie, as the fabric I cut based on Damjana’s measurements was smaller than Treasurie’s. I went with 7.5 inches. As mentioned before, I had to cut that elastic in half lengthwise so it wasn’t so thick.
  • I then pinned the ends of the elastic together and was instructed to sew those together. I was about to go and find a needle and do this by hand, but I figured what the heck and let ol’ Singer give it a whirl. It worked fine!
  • After that was done, I removed the pins and tucked the raw edge of the fabric inside the edge with the seam. It was then time to sew the ends of the fabric together (the last step). Honestly, I kind of figured this was not the correct way to do this step. I used the machine, which sewed the elastic to the fabric, stopping it from being able to move around within the loop of fabric. I checked out some of my other scrunchies, and all of the elastics inside of them were able to move freely around inside the fabric. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do this without also sewing the elastic, unless I did it by hand. From the videos, there was no mention of doing this step by hand, so I decided to just do a row of stitches right through the fabric and elastic. I figured once it was done, the material is all scrunched up anyway, so it wouldn’t matter terribly, especially for my first try. My harshest critic would be myself and my 3 year old, so I wasn’t all that worried.
  • Did that, tied up the loose ends, and admired my creation.
  • I ran upstairs and showed my daughter. She graciously modeled it for me:

Thinking back over the last 6 weeks, it’s hard for me to believe that I went from having no idea where to even begin to creating something that will truly be useful for me. I think that’s what motivated me to want to choose this as my learning project-the practicality. I want to be able to sew the odd hole my daughter (and likely future daughter) inevitably get in their clothes, or even sew them something fun like a costume in the future! The scrunchie thing is cool because I could create a scrunchie that matches another fabric that can be worn, like a shirt or a dress or something like that. Finishing this has me thinking about what else I can create. I’m envisioning little drawstring bags for the kids’ tiny toys. I haven’t delved into this world all that much. I’ve explored TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, and I’m sure I’ve just scratched the surface of what is out there in this category.

I also have some final reflections on the learning process itself; ideas that I want to remember and apply to student learning when I get back into the classroom:

  1. Learning something new is hard, BUT when taken one step at a time, it is way less frightening and overwhelming. Throughout this process, as evident in my previous posts, there were definitely some challenges. At the beginning, when I thought about where I wanted to get to, I almost wanted to give up before I started because it seemed impossible. However, when I actually sat down to start, and just took it one step at a time, it wasn’t daunting. There seemed to be a solution for every problem, even if it extended the time it took to complete that step. I need to remember that for students, they’re learning a whole bunch of new things, every day, all the time. They must feel overwhelmed at times too. As their teacher, I should be reminding them to gently refocus on the first step in whatever it is they are trying to accomplish and not look too far ahead.
  2. Learning something new is rewarding and provides a feeling of accomplishment. Were there times I wanted to do anything else but sit down and learn to sew? Yes. Did I want to quit? Yes, a few times. Am I happy I didn’t? Definitely. I feel a sense of pride in what I was able to achieve, no matter how small it may seem. I think about how scary it was to take this machine out of the box and set it all up, but I did it, and I’m proud of that! I want to provide more opportunities for students to think about how learning new things makes them feel. I think this will involve slowing down a little and encouraging them to pay more attention to the effects of learning on confidence, self-esteem, and motivation to continue learning.
  3. It doesn’t always have to go as planned to be a valuable experience. My initial end goal was a bucket hat. Yeah…maybe one day. But with the challenged I faced in this project that slowed down my process a bit, I realized that that project was something to strive for down the road. While it’s important to set goals and have them be as specific as possible, I think there’s something to be said for allowing a bit of room for change and the things that happen that are out of our control. We probably shouldn’t be so rigid with our learning goals and plans that it prevents us from learning something unplanned that is perhaps just as meaningful. Open-ended learning projects like this are tricky in the classroom setting for two reasons: one, they are difficult to assess, and two: kids can get lazy and get away with it. However, the pros still outweigh the cons in my opinion as there is a lot of value and significance in independent learning.

I want to thank anyone who has followed this journey and taken the time to read about it. I know we are all very busy at this time of year as educators and I appreciate the time you’ve taken to get this far if you’ve gotten this far. I hope your experiences were meaningful to you and successful in whatever way that might mean.

Thank you Katia and thank you classmates; congratulations to those of you who are finished your Masters and best of luck to those continuing your educational journeys. Have a wonderful, well-deserved summer everyone!