Author Archives: lorelithibault

Next Phase of my Major Digital Project: Unicorn Spit as a Wood Stain

Hello everyone! Thanks for checking out my next phase of my major digital project! Please click on the video below to watch me apply Unicorn Spit (US) as a wood stain, to a pine wood nightstand. I apologize in advance for the lengthy, 10 min video!

I pre-sanded the nightstand, then applied a watered-down US mix of Blue thunder and Midnight Blackness to the bare wood drawer front. After the first coat, I decided to make it a bit darker by adding concentrated Midnight blackness, then wiping it off. Finally, I re-stained it with the original color once more and wiped that off again. I applied the US in the same manner to the top of the nightstand. For the front of the nightstand and the inside of the shelf, I only used the stain mixture.

After the US dried completely, approximately 24 hours, I polyurethaned it with oil-based satin finish, for two coats with a light sanding in between. I still plan to paint the back part of the inside shelf a black color, as well as the bottom wooden feet.

Enjoy watching and stay tuned for my next and final video in which I will be applying US as a combination paint & wood stain to re-finish a dresser.

Thanks for watching!

Exploring Open Educational Practice: Week 9 Blog Post

Open educational practices, or OEP, is a creative, innovative way of approaching instructional practice in which students engage in authentic, participatory learning.  According to, ‘7 Things you should know about… Open Education: Practices’, it is the “use/reuse/creation of OER [Open Educational Resources] and collaborative, pedagogical practices employing social and participatory technologies for interaction, peer-learning, knowledge creation and sharing, and empowerment of learners”, (2018).  The goal of OEP is to broaden learning from a focus on access to knowledge, to a focus on access to knowledge creation.

A major benefit of OEP is the engagement of the learner in a learner-centered environment, and provision of authentic learning experiences.  The level of engagement will positively affect the level of learning.  Learning becomes transparent and obvious to both the learner and the teacher.

Spectrum of Open Education Practices (2018)

With increasing access to information through OER, learners have more control over their learning.  Dr. Roberts stated that OEP utilizes previously untapped resources related to informal learning.  With various technologically creative applications such as TikTok or Twitter, students have control over what they learn as well as influencing learning in others, such as through contributions to Wikipedia.  The direct result of OEP is the opportunity to share learning, to network with like-minded individuals worldwide.

According to Wikipedia, there are challenges to OEP such as lack of adequate access to technology and/or internet.  After an ECI831 class ‘breakout room’ discussion last evening, frustrations were identified in the school systems such as limited student access to ‘chromebooks’, limitations on what programs or applications were allowed in the school systems or on devices (Eg. Minecraft on Chromebooks), and super slow internet speeds which meant long waits for programs to even ‘load up’.  There is a definite lack of technological training and support within both the primary and secondary school systems.  Even if a wonderful new program is released, teachers need to receive adequate time for training as well as IT support.

The OEP model may not be suitable for all ages of students.  Another issue that was voiced in our class group discussion, related to the primary school system, was lack of age-appropriate internet resources, especially for the younger students, such as in grade one.  Additionally, teachers are not given adequate prep time to find appropriate resources.

I have experienced this lack of technological resources at Saskpolytech.  I helped to develop an interactive open access nursing computer game, however in order to work on it, I had to bring my personal laptop to the office because no computers at school were advanced enough to run the program!  It was very frustrating! 

Thankfully, a current requirement of the Practical Nursing program is that students must own a, ‘personal electronic device’ such as a laptop, because all of our exams are now written using an online exam software program, Examsoft.  Once we finished work on the computer game, most nursing students could ‘play’ the program using their own devices.

Another challenge to instituting OEP may be the required structured format of learning within many educational institutions. For example, in order to pass a Practical Nursing class (Post-secondary) or departmental exam (high school), specific pre-requisite learning goals must be met, and certain knowledge must be acquired.  Unstructured forms of learning through OEP may not be suitable for every type of course. 

I believe that OEP have a place in the pedagogy of learning, however, it is not something that can be rushed, or forced to occur.  Both learners and teachers have to be open to the experience.  More research has to be done; technological resources and support for teachers to learn how to implement OEP have to be provided by the school systems in order to make OEP a successful reality.  Resources such as the Open Learning Design Intervention (OLDI) framework developed by Dr. Roberts will go a long way to assist teachers in the implementation of OEP.

OEP may be implemented in the future in small degrees, rather than in a whole curriculum. I’m sure teachers already implement many of the attributes of OEP as pictured in the following chart. I think it is more a matter of making student learning transparent and shared, as Dr. Roberts stated, to be defined as OEP.

Image result for open education practice

Eight attributes of Open Pedagogy, by B. Hegarty (2013)

Major Project Progress: Swan to Peacock

This week I decided to use Unicorn Spit (US) paint to try transforming an old ceramic pinkish colored swan into a peacock! Unfortunately, I didn’t take a ‘before’ pic, but the swan looked something like the picture below:  Boring, right? That’s probably why no one wanted to pay 25 cents at last summer’s garage sale for it!!!

$18.28 at Amazon.ca

The first step to prepare the surface first, by washing it with soap and water.  According to UnicornSpit Australia instructions, to apply US to ceramic or glass I had to first apply a thin coat of Modpodge, using a dollar store foam paint brush.  The modpodge would give the US something to adhere to, as well as make the finished product more durable.  Next, I let that dry for a day. 

Then, for the fun part!  I applied the US paint to the ceramic swan.  I was trying to go for a marbled look, using my favorite colors, which also happen to be ‘peacock’ colors.  I used Dragon’s Belly Green, Blue Thunder, White Ning, Purple Hill Majesty, & Zia Teal.  I wanted to lighten up the colors with the white and teal, because my last project, the ‘tree ring pour’ painting, ended up being so dark.

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures during the paint application, but it kinda looked how Mark Montano applied US to ceramic tiles in much the same colors… I watched his, ‘How to: Unicorn Spit Backsplash’ tutorial video for some pointers.  So first, I lightly misted the surface with water, then I squirted small squiggly strips of US paint, mixing up the colors. 

I applied US in the same method that Montano used.

The trick was to keep the surface lightly misted so the paint would move and blend easily. Then, using my fingers, I spread out the paint and partially blended it together, to create the ‘marbled’ look.  The beauty of US is that if you don’t like the look after you finished blending, you can wipe off the surface and start again!

Montano blending the US paint on the ceramic tiles.

Alternatively, if you blend too the US paint much or wipe too much paint away, you can continually apply more paint until you are happy with the look! Once the paint becomes a ‘dull’ matte color, you know it has dried!

My finished product after blending is complete! Now to let it dry!
About $9-10

After the US paint dries thoroughly (I waited about 3 days) a finishing coat can be applied.  This is where the magic happens with US paint, because it brings out the colors and provides a 3D effect!  I chose to apply a couple top coats using a oil based polyurethane spray. 

Here is the finished product!

Top View
Side View

So… My next major project goal is to apply US to a small wooden object.  I can’t wait to find out what US will look like as a wood stain!!!

Age of Creativity or Revival of Prohibition Times?

In thinking about the topic of open education and the culture of sharing we live in today, I watched the TedTalk by Larry Lessig, founder of the Creative Commons, called “Laws that choke creativity”.   It really brought home the foundations of why we have a ‘culture of sharing’. He started his talk by relating a story about a man named, John Phillips Sousa.  Sousa was protesting the 1877 invention of ‘talking machines’ in 1906, and stated, “These talking machines are going to ruin the artistic development of music in this country.  When I was a boy… in front of every house in the summer evenings you would find young people together singing the songs of the day or the old songs.  Today you hear these infernal machines going night and day.”  He was concerned that people would lose the ability to use their vocal chords. 

Image result for talking machine

Lessig goes on to describe today’s culture as a ‘read-write culture’ because people participate in the creation and re-creation of their culture. Sousa was concerned that future culture would evolve into a ‘read only’ culture.  A culture where creativity is consumed, but the consumer is not the creator. 

Lessig’s 2nd story is about a trespass law that protects the land below and as far as can be seen, above in the sky.  This law changed with the invention of airplanes.  In 1945, it was decided that doctrines protecting the air space had no place in the modern world, otherwise every transcontinental flight would be trespassers.  “Common sense revolts at the idea”.

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With the invention of drones comes the creation of laws to ensure public safety. According to CBC News, Canada recently updated drone regulations which apply to any drone weighing over 250 grams. Any drones more than or equal to 300g have the capability to damage an aircraft. Drone operators must be over 14 years old and are required to hold a ‘drone pilot’s license’.

In the 1920s, broadcasting was a new way to spread cultural content, and the battle began between the businesses that spread that content and controlled the performance rights.  The company, “Broadcast Music Incorporated”, or BMI, was born. BMI changed the face of art, and gave away broadcasting as public domain works for free to subscribers.  The majority of broadcasters switched to BMI because the other leading company, ASCAP raised rates ridiculously high; the competition was enough to break the cartel over music.

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Lessig believes that the present-day internet is resulting in a revival of the “read-write culture” that Sousa romanticized and predicted we would lose.  Digital technology is the present-day opportunity to revive our vocal chords through ‘User Generated Content’.  Social media companies like YouTube and flickr celebrate amateur culture – where people produce for the love of what they are doing, not for the money. 

When Sousa talked about young people getting together to sing songs of the old days, this describes exactly what the kids are doing today, through remixing old songs, or creating unique videos.  Possibilities are endless to foster creativity in kids… it’s how they understand access to our culture.  It is using existing content to ‘say things differently’.  Lessig points out that the technology to do these things has been around for the past 50 years, but it is only now that these creative techniques have been, ‘democratized’ so that anyone with access to a computer can extract original content from the culture around us and use various programs to say things differently. 

Image result for technology clipart free

Present-day creative tools which use programs like, ‘TikTok’ have now become tools of speech, and therefore literacy for this generation, or in other words, how our kids speak and think.  Unfortunately, current law has not kept up with the technological changes.  If copyright laws are supposed to restrict making ‘copies’ of content, then every single use of culture produces a copy, therefore making almost every single person, or kid, a ‘trespasser’, about the same way as those first airplanes invaded airspace in the early days.  Common sense has not yet revolted to the laws controlling the creativity.  There is a growing thought among the younger generation which rejects the very notion of copyright laws and instead believes that law is to be ignored, because it is antiquated.

Over 30 million YouTube views of their cover of the song, “Call Your Girlfriend”, helped these sisters land roles on the TV show, “Nashville”.

Lessig believes the solution is to legalize the ability to be young again, such as what BMI did for broadcasting.  Firstly, artists and creators should choose to make their works freely available for non-commercial use.  Secondly, businesses which are building the read-write culture need to embrace creative opportunities, to enable it, so this ecology of free content can grow on neutral grounds.  Lessig implies that the creation of, “creative commons” is one way that works to achieve this goal.

In comparing our generation to our kids generation, Lessig states;

  1. We made mixed tapes, they remix music

2. We watched TV; they make TV

3. It is technology that has made them different

In my youth I remember recording songs from the radio on my ghetto blaster, or taping shows using my VCR.  In our last class we were discussing downloading music from Napsters – I did that as well!  As I think about it, I realize that most likely every single person today could be considered a criminal if following the law to the letter in regards to copyright.    

Lessig goes on to point out that creative instincts which are produced by technology cannot be repressed, but only criminalized.  He states, “We can’t stop our kids from using it (technology), we can only drive our kids underground.  We can’t make our kids passive again, we can only make them, “pirates”.   I think this could also apply to my generation but especially to the next generation.  I don’t think that technology has been criminalized, but rather that the laws have not kept up with the times. 

Who can keep up with all the streaming TV and movie programs out there; figure out which ones are free (Eg. CTV online), which ones are a paid user service (Eg. Amazon Prime), or which ones may be considered illegal (android TV box)?  With so many programs and services popping up all the time, and laws constantly changing, one has a very hard time of keeping up with what is and isn’t legal. 

Image result for copyright laws meme

Lessig states, “We live in a strange time of prohibition, where in many areas of our life, we live life constantly against the law.  Our kids are living life knowingly against the law which is very corrosive, and corrupting.  In a democracy we ought to do better…”.  Just as in liquor prohibition times, or even most recently, the legalization of marijuana, movements are not repressed, but forced underground if common sense does not prevail.  We need to keep creativity in the open and available for everyone to enjoy. 

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Thank goodness for the, ‘Fair Dealing’ copyright law, allowing the use of resource materials for education purposes.  I can relate to Daniel’s dilemma of having to look to outside sources for class material.  In the Practical Nursing program, we are required to annually create and revise student course manuals for each course.  I sometimes have to find outside sources of information due to textbook revisions or updated nursing skills.  I can add outside content into student course manuals through the creation of an, ‘instruction sheet’ which can include information not found in course textbooks.  I am allowed this through a copyright regulation called ‘fair dealing’.  Anything I use to compliment in class teaching, such as a YouTube video, that is not listed as a resource in the course manual cannot be testable material. 

LBD Dressing Change Program in early stages.

I was a co-creator, alongside two other Practical Nursing faculty, of an open source nursing education program which will be available very soon, called, “LBD Dressing change program” (LBD stands for Learning By Doing).  It has been a very exciting process over the last few years to work with a local media company and to have the opportunity to contribute my experiential knowledge and creativity.  I fully support the idea of creating an accessible program so that it may help promote learning in some way, to future student nurses.   

I created the following picture, by combining pictures from 3 different website sources, to visualize the idea of criminalization of youth creativity.  Would you agree or disagree, that through the process of combining the 3 pictures together, that now this ‘new’ picture should be considered my creation? Or… would I be in violation of copyright laws?



https://www.shutterstock.com/search/police+chasing+thief
http://clipartmag.com/technology-education-clipart#technology-education-clipart-1.png
https://making-the-web.com/creativity-cliparts

Next Step… Instructional YouTube Video

This week I decided to try something different to show my progress in my major project for class. First I videotaped myself as I attempted to re-create the ‘Tree Ring Paint Pour’ method using Unicorn Spit paint instead of acrylic paint.

The next step was to edit the video, mainly to embellish it a little, and also to shorten it from 28 min! Waaaay too long! My 16 year old son rolled his eyes at me and proceeded to offer me assistance to download and use an awesome video editing app called, ‘Filmora 9‘ by Wondershare. This app is available for free download and super easy to use!

Once I finished editing my video, it was pared down to 5:47 min! Much better!!! Then I opened up ‘Youtube Studio’ and uploaded as an ‘unlisted’ video, to ensure it is only available to view if you have the exact URL. This works perfectly for use in this class, but stay somewhat private.

Main Thoughts: Technical Aspects

Overall the video was pretty easy to record, however I did buy a camera tripod stand from Amazon to make the recording process easier. I used an older digital video camera to record instead of my phone as my storage is getting glitchy on my phone so hard to record videos (time for an upgrade). My dog was a little bit ‘barky’ in the background so I decided to insert printed instructions in the video rather than using the original sound, and I also added music. The filmora app provides free music bytes for this purpose.

I definitely need to work on my ‘film presence’ as I tend to say ‘Um’ and ‘Uh’ a whole lot!!! I used one take to record the video – so maybe next time I could re-record the talking at the end of the video, rehearse what I’m going to say first. There was a bit of a learning curve to upload the finished video to YouTube because initially I couldn’t figure out how to convert the file format from the program app, to a YoutTube acceptable format like MP4 or MOV. After watching a handy YouTube instructional video on Filmora, I discovered that I needed to ‘export’ the video into a chosen file format (MP4). Once I did that, uploading to YouTube was pretty easy, and took about 18 minutes.

Main Thoughts: Progress in Using Unicorn Spit?

I would say that I learned a lot about using Unicorn Spit (US) paint this week. I was happy that mixing the US and acrylic paint was mostly successful! To re-create the class colors, I had to add in an acrylic copper paint. I also used 3 US colors: Blue Thunder, Midnight Blackness, & Dragon’s Belly Green. I wasn’t sure how it would end up! The two paint types mixed well with no major adverse effects, except for a slight ‘halo’ look once the painting dried.

Final Painting once dried – slight ‘halo’ effect perhaps from mixing the two types of paints (acrylic and Unicorn Spit)?

I would have to use at least twice as much paint next time, to create the same ‘tree ring pour’ look. The final shape was definitely not round like the first painting. The Unicorn Spit paint was thicker than the acrylic paint used in the face-to-face class, so I diluted it with a bit of water to get the right consistency. US paint can be diluted up to 70% with water.

In my research, US dries to a dull color. This was evident in my painting once it dried. Apparently US will revert to brilliant colors once a finishing coat is applied, such as a polyurethane. One important tip is that I must use oil-based finish/varnish rather than water-based. US paint will ‘muddy’ if water-based finish is used. The class instructor recommended letting the painting dry at least 2-3 weeks before applying finishing top coat.

Please click on the following video to watch my creation.

Face-to-face class painting on the left, and my re-creation using Unicorn Spit on the right!

Please stay tuned until next week, when I will attempt to paint a ceramic ornament using US!

Educational Tool Review: TikTok

This week we were instructed to find a tool or app that I haven’t used before to utilize as a learning tool, and explore plus review it. I chose to try out the latest, greatest app called, “TikTok”. My 16 year old son uses it and tells me he likes it a lot. I thought, hmmm, wonder if I could use it for educational purposes? I did a search and came up with a web page which explored knowledge creation through content creation, from September, 2019. Their creation, #EduTok, has been consistently trending on TikTok for over three months, garnering over 35.6 billion views for educational videos across categories.

TikTok stated, “… the world’s leading short video platform, recently concluded its first phase of the offline initiative, EduTokXCampus. The campus program was aimed at encouraging knowledge sharing among the student community and motivating them to hone their talent by creating and sharing educational content on TikTok.” 

TikTok App Review

I had to first download this free application on my cellphone to start using it. It was quite straight forward to figure out how to upload a video or pictures from my phone to create a video. I was able to add in a song to the video and special effects or text as well. It was easy to scroll through the different videos created by other users, as well I was able to find educational content videos to watch. It was engaging that videos were short (15 – 30 seconds long).

I decided to upload a short video of me taking my art class for my major digital project and just play around a little to see what I could do. I didn’t like that I could only add either a video or pictures, not both. You are restricted to only one video, and not able to add any different content. I think that any videos on TikTok that seem ‘doctored’ are done separately through other applications, then uploaded to TikTok. I also couldn’t figure out how to narrate a video and have music at the same time. You can’t add more than one song snippet at a time either, so if your song clip finishes before the video is done, there is silence.

I was unable to upload the video in MP4 format, so I added this screenshot of my video – please click on pic to see video.

I struggled a little, but was able to find a video explaining how to upload the finished product to Twitter. At first the only options are to upload to Instagram and Facebook, but I figured it out and tweeted my final product after uploading it to my ‘Facebook story’.

I was also able to find a ‘pro’ version on the app, which had various options of user categories such as sports, art, food, NGO, pets, and many others. I chose education, but after that, it just reverted to the home screen and didn’t give me payment options. I’m not sure if it glitched, but the version I have still looks the same.

I tweeted a poll to ask,”Do you think the Tik Tok app could be used as an instructional tool to promote relevant knowledge sharing in the classroom?”. Six people replied and the polls revealed that 67% thought, ‘Yes’, and 33% thought, ‘No’. I think that this application definitely gets credit for promoting creativity in it’s users, however it does not appear to be very user friendly when attempting to do more complex videos. Therefore educational videos may be quite difficult using this application as an instruction tool. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to learn this app, so I’m sure there is more to it that I may have missed.

In the TikTok video I created, I showed a small portion of my painting in my art class that I recently took. Using the TikTok app would be a great way for students to document small parts of daily learning or growth, and share it among others. There does not appear to be a way to create specific private groups, but that would be a great option to ensure privacy with a student group. Overall I had a lot of fun and watching other user’s videos can be quite addictive!!!

Major Project Progress!

Me at the start of class – clean hands and work surface!

I have decided to try to organize my Major Digital Project goals into the following:

  1. Research ‘Unicorn Spit’ (US) gel stain paint product and painting methods.
  2. Attend a face-to-face art class.
  3. Buy a few basic colors of Unicorn Spit Paint.
  4. Attempt to recreate the art project at home, as taught to me in the F-to-F class, using US paint, while being guided by an online instructional video.
    1. Create a vlog documenting my progress using US to re-create the painting.
  5. Experiment using different methods of US application.
    1. Paint a ceramic piece.
    2. Paint a small wooden item.
    3. Paint a large wooden furniture piece. Employ the assistance of my husband to show me how to sand the dresser which I will then paint the body using home-made chalk paint and paint the top using US method of painting.
Time to put the gloves on – unfortunately I did not think to wear an apron (next time I will)!

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a face-to-face art class at the Centennial Market, called, “Tree Ring Paint Pour”.  This was my first step towards achieving my goal of learning to paint using US. There was a small fee for this class, which included two 8×10 canvases, all of the paint supplies and the instructor.  The space was open and quiet, set at the back of the market among painted wall murals and with bright lighting.  

I had received permission from the instructor, Cindy, ahead of time for my husband to record me through the class – and the instructor announced it at the beginning of class and all of my fellow art students verbally consented to being accidentally recorded during the class.

Cindy began with directing us to ‘hammer’ in 4 thumbtacks into the 4 bottom corners of each canvas, to create an elevated work surface. 

I got to choose 4 paint colors and pour them into little 1 oz. cups, to use in our first painting. The paint had to be the consistency of “warm honey”, and if not we were told to add in a thinning product called, “floetrol”.  Cindy mentioned that sometimes she used an acrylic white paint as a base coat on the canvas before starting, however for this style of painting it was not necessary.

First paint pour colors
Start of first paint pour

We proceeded to learn two styles of ‘tree ring pour’ painting – one with stationary style of pouring, which gave the classic ‘tree ring’ look. 

After we poured the paint, we chose another color to fill in the edges of the canvas. I chose metallic gold to fill in around the ‘tree ring’. Then we proceeded to tilt the canvas side to side until we were happy with the finished look.  

Filling in the edges with metallic gold paint – work surface getting broken in.

The second style was a ‘roaming style’ of pouring, which gave a more eclectic look. I poured the paint all over the canvas and then tilted the canvas in a ‘tilting ball maze’ style. 

Second paint pour colors – work surface not so clean…

I didn’t have to fill in any edges on the second one, just kept tilting until I was happy with the look. I really liked both methods, but I think I liked the second one the best, so I will try to reproduce that one.  I intend to substitute the unicorn spit paint for the acrylic paint that we used in class. I won’t plan to add in any paint thinner, but I can add water if I need a thinner paint.

Far left is while pouring the paint, then middle is while I’m tilting the canvas to move the paint, then far right is when I’m done. Notice my clean hands – thank goodness for gloves! Work surface not really salvageable (but disposable, so all good)!

The instructor told us that the paintings needed to lay flat for transport home, then continue to lay flat until cured, about 2-3 days.  I can use a water based Varathane product to seal the paintings in 2-3 weeks, if I wish.

In an article titled, How Does Online Instruction Measure Up to Face-to-Face, key differences between the two modes of instruction are identified.  The main difference is that a ‘real time’ interaction occurs with face-to-face (FTF) whereas in online instruction students can learn at their own speed.  I enjoyed taking the face-to-face class but I spotted some disadvantages right away.  

Some advantages for the face-to-face instruction is that instruction is in the moment and more immersed.  Learning occurs using a few different senses such as visual, auditory, and tactile. There is also a social aspect through conversations with neighboring students, discussions about the art itself, and learning about other classes fellow students with similar interests have taken.

The first issue was that the instructor was demonstrating the painting technique from the opposite end from me so I had some trouble seeing what she was doing, and therefore replicating it.  The instructor stated that my class was the largest she had ever taught. I was able to ask the person sitting next to me for confirmation a couple of times so I didn’t make a mistake. If I was to watch an online instructional video, I can learn at my own pace by having the options of re-watching a difficult part, pausing, rewinding, fast-forwarding, or even posting a question in discussion posts.  Another disadvantage to FTF is the cost of the class. Although the cost was reasonable, there was still a fee to attend. Online instruction is usually free or next to free.

I will be using this YouTube video by ‘Kens Kreations’ to guide my re-creation of paint pour method using Unicorn Spit gel stain.

An advantage to online learning is that I can see the instructor demonstration of the skill extremely close-up, and in some cases even zoom in on the screen.  I am planning to supplement what I have learned so far with an online instruction.   Overall, I feel that I was successful in creating my own little masterpieces (that I may even hang in my office someday). I had a lot of fun learning and chatting with my like-minded fellow students and hearing of their experiences. The instructor was awesome, friendly and easy to talk to or ask questions. She did her best to help everyone, but there was only one of her. Maybe she could have had an assistant next time, with a larger class size. I would definitely take another art class from this instructor someday!

The next step to achieve my major digital project goals is to attempt this method on my own using US gel stain. I plan to video tape my attempt and use that as my next post. If I run into any problems attempting to re-create this painting method on my own, I can post questions in the Unicorn Spit Facebook group that I joined, or on the YouTube video page.  I think that using a combination of both FTF and online instruction will be the best method for learning a new skill. Unfortunately, there are no face-to-face ‘Unicorn Spit’ (US)paint classes being offered in Regina, so I substituted the FTF ‘Acrylic Tree Ring Pour’ class I attended for one teaching using US paint. 

Final result – first paint pour attempt on left, second paint pour attempt on right.

Teaching in a Technological World: Week 4 Blog

I watched the following informative YouTube video which was a TedX talk by Pavan Arora, titled, Knowledge is obsolete, so now what.

Arora said that 65% of grade school children will have future jobs/titles that don’t exist today.  The value of knowledge is dropping and current knowledge has an expiration date. 

For example, he stated that half of what you learn as a college freshman will become irrelevant by the time you are a senior.  I can’t wholeheartedly believe that statement, however I do believe it is fast becoming a reality.  Most of my learning occurred after graduating from nursing school, which was 20 years ago!  It is still much the same in nursing, especially with the advances seen in healthcare and in the nursing profession. 

Arora goes on to point out that knowledge is growing exponentially; in 1900 knowledge doubled every 100 years, vs. doubling every 1-2 years today!  I have only been teaching for about 10 years, but I find that I am very grateful for technology advances such as powerpoint slides and YouTube videos, to use as teaching aids.  I remember inheriting transparencies from previous teachers when I first started at then ‘SIAST’.  I think we got rid of the projector in the classroom within the first few years I started. 

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Just recently, our office deleted the ‘Skype’ account and now use ‘Zoom’ for video conferences.  We use the LMS called, ‘Brightspace’ and each course has a home page.  Students must hand in assignments digitally, through a ‘dropbox’ which instructors must create as needed on the coursepage.  I have had to become proficient in the use of ‘Brightspace’ in order to meet my student’s needs.  I hope to incorporate more technological methods of teaching and learning in the future.

The third point that Arora makes, is that Access to knowledge is available anywhere and anytime, so what do educators teach students?  He goes on to say that we need to teach the next generation how to access, assess, and apply knowledge so that no matter what the knowledge is, they will be able to learn how to apply or use it. 

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I have always believed that the greatest skill is not necessarily memorization of knowledge, but instead the skill of knowing how to quickly find knowledge when it is needed.  In healthcare, knowledge is constantly changing, so nurses must be lifelong learners and remain adaptable and flexible to conform to best practice as advances in healthcare are made.  Critical thinking is the greatest skill that one can have in any profession.  I don’t believe that basic knowledge will ever become obsolete, as the very act of learning is knowledge itself.  How to learn is a skill that will never be useless.   

Image result for social learning social media

I also read the very informative and interesting article titled, Minds on Fire (Brown & Adler, 2008).  In this article, the definition of social learning is, ‘based on the premise that our understanding of content is socially constructed through conversations about that content and through grounded interactions, especially with others, around problems or actions”.  The social view of learning is, “we participate therefore we are”.  I thought it was interesting that a study showed that one determinant of student’s success in higher education was their ability to participate or form small study groups.  “Students in the group can ask questions to clarify areas of uncertainty…, can improve their grasp of the material by hearing answers to questions from fellow students… and can take on the role of teacher to help other groups members”. 

A new approach to learning is called the ‘demand-pull’ approach in which learning shifts focus to enabling participation in flows of action, where the focus is both on “learning to be” through enculturation into a practice as well as on collateral learning.  I think that one method of bringing in social media to my program, could be to create a private Facebook group for program students, in which they can connect and share information, as well as provide support for one another.  I am quite sure the Practical Nursing students have a private Facebook page, but it may be beneficial to create one in which instructors are involved and can also offer support or answer questions. 

This informative diagram from p.28 of the, ‘Minds on Fire’ article, shows the benefits of Knowledge building and sharing among teachers, but I think it could also represent benefits among students.  Another idea may be to have students create blog posts in a private network, in which they could discuss and/or debate various nursing topics interactively.  We currently have an online option available for the Practical Nursing program, which runs concurrently with the on-campus program.  In it, the students write weekly discussion posts.  It would be great to create something similar for on-campus students. 

Image result for protect student privacy social media

I found an informative article called, Protecting Student Privacy on Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts for Teachers, to help me address the question of how educators balance the “moral imperative” to educate children to succeed in a rapidly changing world with concerns around student safety and privacy. I am choosing to answer this in regards to the use of social media (SM) in education. Only 1 in 10 teachers use SM professionally and 81% are concerned regarding using SM.  As educators, we need to learn how to use SM professionally in a way that promotes good digital citizenship for both students and teachers.  Research shows that social connections provide authentic learning environments for students, and is a way of the future.

Week 3 Major Project Outline

Your brain on art.

In this week’s blog post, I am going to discuss what I am planning for my Major Digital Project.  I am planning to choose ‘option B’. I am a Registered Nurse (R.N.) and an educator, as faculty in the Practical Nursing Program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic.  I am choosing this options for two reasons, one is professional and the other is personal. Professionally, as a nurse educator, it is my responsibility to explore various aspects of nursing such as different therapies that patients might experience in the hospital or community.  Patient care with art therapy has been proven to improve mental health, shorten hospital stays, and even lessen the patient’s need for pain medication (Arts in Health Care: A New Paradigm for Holistic Nursing Practice, Lane, 2006). The other aspect of learning is finding ways to share my learning, which I will be doing using various methods such as blogging, creating videos and sharing pictures.

The idea of learning to use the painting product called, ‘Unicorn Spit’ (US) intrigues me because its creator, Michelle Gordon, invented it in 2006, for patients in a nursing home to use during art therapy; see her facebook post for more information.

Michelle Gordon – Creator of Unicorn Spit Paint

The US product is versatile because of its safe, non-toxic application, and could be used by patients who are of all ages from children to the elderly. The products’ appeal is furthered by the fact that it can be used as a stain, or paint, applied to various mediums such as wood, cloth, or even pre-painted, un-sanded items. 

Unicorn Spit applied to tiles.

Personally, I have always leaned towards art through methods such as painting or sketching and have many sketchbooks from my youth, however my life has never provided enough time to pursue such hobbies in adulthood.  This class offers the perfect opportunity for me to try something new, such as painting.  It seems that this paint product is used mainly to refinish furniture pieces, but also used a lot to create art on canvas.  I would like to experiment with both styles. 

I have signed up for a face-to-face art class at the Centennial market with a local artist, to learn an acrylic pouring technique called, ‘tree ring pour’ on canvas, which, in my research, can also be re-created with US products.  Once I take the class, I will try to re-create the art at home, using the US product.

Acrylic Tree Ring Pour Technique.

The US product has a large following and has many facebook groups, webpages (US and Canada), pinterest pages, twitter Instagram accounts as well as many instructional tutorial blog pages and countless instructional videos on Youtube, which will guide my learning. Unicorn Spit paint is sold at Home Depot for 12.97 per bottle, or I could order it through the USCanada webpage (14 bottles for $174.99), or Amazon.ca (prices about the same as home depot, but more variety); so there is easy access to this product.

Various sources for the Unicorn Spit Paint product.

As a culmination of my learning, I plan to refinish a dresser at home using the US paint product .  It really appeals to me to make something old, new again, to re-purpose something that someone might consider ‘junk’.

Research has shown that both educators and nurses struggle to maintain a positive work-life balance.  In an article called Burnout or Balance. What will you choose, Peter DeWitt describes four balance quadrants to fulfill a positive work life balance, including personal, positional, professional and passion balance (2018).

  1. Personal balance is everything that makes you who you are (which hat are you wearing right now?)
  2. Positional balance is our day jobs – what you do to earn an income.
  3. Professional balance is how you continue to learn in your role as an educator, that will impact the students you teach.
  4. Passion is how you can thrive – do what ignites a spark and is something you will love to do. DeWitt states, Our passions are the compass we need to keep our quadrants in balance, and to continue to find joy in this journey called life”.
Dresser refinished with US and high gloss stain.

Learning to paint with Unicorn Spit will simultaneously offer me an educational opportunity to learn a new skill, develop a new hobby and provide stress relief, learn an art therapy application for healthcare, and finally an opportunity to expand my technological skills through learning various ways to share my learning as I go.  I will end this blog post with a picture of how I will most likely end up, as I really like to ‘get into my work’, and usually am the one who will be covered head to toe after any painting project in the house! Also, if you click on the picture, there is also a link to an informative website which discusses 11 art therapy benefits, for further information.

My Relationship with Social Media

My relationship with social media is complicated, kinda like social media (SM) itself.  On one hand, I remember life without social media and thank my lucky stars that my whole childhood (and bad choices) are not on permanent record. 

I cannot professionally post anything on SM related to my nursing career because it risks breaching confidentiality and I could potentially jeopardize my professional Registered Nurse (RN) license.

On the other hand, I realize that there are endless applications for social media that can have positive impact for both one’s personal and professional life, especially when used in education.  For example, I currently am pursuing a lifelong hobby of genealogy research. 

Great-Grandpa from Norway on far left.

I recall going onto websites in the mid-1990’s, spending hours scanning endless typed information (no pictures or query searches) for the chance I may find my family surname.  I posted numerous queries onto message boards like ‘Rootsweb’ for the hope that someone may come across and connect with my information, which happened occasionally. 

Norway Trip 2012

By the mid-2000’s, SM sites like Facebook came on to the scene. I was suddenly able to connect to relatives across the world, places like Norway and Latvia.  I was able use search engines on interactive sites like ancestry.com.  This allowed me to plan a trip to Norway in 2012, to visit my great-grandpa’s farm and meet cousins!

The amount of social media/ technology changes over the past 30 years is mind-boggling! I must admit that currently I use plenty of online resources when teaching nursing students.  Like Matteo,  I also use YouTube to supplement learning for students.  For example, when teaching nursing skills, such as how to do a dressing change, I can show the students a Youtube video to further explain and demo the skill.  The videos engage the students learning while encouraging critical reflection, especially if the standards or procedures are different than what they are taught. 

I use Snapchat – find it a funny and creative way to keep in touch with family and friends!

I have used Facebook for many years, but can’t quite get on the ‘Instagram’ wagon yet.  Since the last ECI class (834), I have become much more ‘Twitter’ savvy and find it interesting and enjoyable way to connect to various groups or people.   

I am excited to learn various applications of social media in this EC&I class because I feel that it is the ultimate way to creatively engage students in learning.  I am worried about privacy and confidentiality issues.  Confidentiality is an absolute necessity for nursing students and a patient right in healthcare.  Thanks for taking the time to read my blog – I look forward to reading everyone’s posts this week!