This term I decided to start blogging with my Social 9 class for my digital learning project. I have had several posts throughout the term about my trials, tribulations, and successes with the project:
I would also like to show off my classroom blog. My posts are pretty boring as they mostly constitute the assignments for the class but some of my students did a really good job and really embraced the process.
I have had an amazing time with this project and intend to continue its use. I feel that, at times, I was really pushing my students to work on the blog in an inorganic way so that I could talk about what we were doing in class for this project. I look forward to being a little less pushy moving forward, using it more as an option for how to submit assignments as opposed to a “YOU MUST DO THIS” as I had a few students who really did not enjoy the process.
I made blogging with this class a part of my Professional Goals I submitted to my division so that I am encouraged (and feel obligated) to continue the project throughout the year. I can’t wait to see where this takes me as I have wanted to start blogging with a class for a long time but could never actually get to the point where it was set up and ready to go.
Well this is it. It has been a wild ride. When I first started this project, I thought it would be a linear sequence of events. 1) Follow a diet 2) Select a workout regimen 3) Track results. Simple right? As it turns out, this learning project was not quite as straightforward as I originally thought
My earlier blog post focused on learning I had acquired reading a some blogs I found online ( most notably Tim Ferriss). It was this foray into the world of blogging that I learned the tenants of the Slow Carb Diet (SCD). This was a good start because it got me thinking about my diet and caused me to explore options for a resistance training regime.There were two problems with my approach to this project in the early going, 1) My posts were quite focused on what I was doing as opposed to what I was learning and 2) Upon reflection, my goals could have been more specific. More on that later.
My second blog post was my first attempt a “vlogging.” I must admit that there was a steep learning curve here. Unfortunately it had little to do with health and fitness and more to do with how to actually produce a YouTube video. I learned to set up an account and how to record a video on my ancient laptop.
More importantly I learned that the process of blogging (or in this case vlogging) was a very intimidating process for me. It really did take me out of my comfort zone. It was a good learning experience. I’m a fairly introverted person. I learned that in the early going, this tenancy I got the idea to try a video of myself after watching An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube. I really identified with Dr. Wesch’s quote ” It feels like everybody is watching and yet nobody is there.” It was a bit of a surreal knowing that I would be inviting other people into this learning experience with me. An even stranger experience is watching these videos a second time. I’m watching myself reflect on my learning experience, which caused me to re-reflect on that experience. I hope that this makes sense. What I have learned from this experience is that perhaps YouTube could be a powerful tool for engaging in self-reflection.
My next post outlined the initial resistance training program that I began at the gym in my workplace. It didn’t take me long to realize that consulting the internet on resistance training was like drinking water from a fire hose.
I decided to consult a trainer that works in the gym. He met with me and helped me develop a resistance training program that was based on compound lifts involving major muscle groups divided into a upper and lower body split routine. This was valuable because is showed me how to incorporate training into my life. I was able to train in the weight room four days a week on my lunch break. This was not as simple as it sounds as the gym is not located in the same building as my office. What I learned was in order to successfully incorporate this regimen into my work life, I had to manage my time more effectively and become far more organized (for example ensuring I had a change of clothes handy and a few easy lunch choices ready to go).
It also taught me the importance of going to the gym with intention. Knowing that I had a time limit of 45 minutes caused me to focus and get in and out within my time limit. This was a big change because in my 20’s going to the gym was much more of a social experience for me. There was no time for socializing this time around. It was a bit of an adjustment but eventually learned to enjoy the solitude of putting in my ear buds, shutting off my brain and moving heavy things.
This post also marked my first foray with using my fitness pal. At first I found it helpful. It acted as a hub for solid health and fitness information and it caused me to be more mindful about what I was eating. However, there came a point where I realized that I could get too focused on tracking my intake. The lesson I learned here was that technology can be helpful to a point. I actually found I had more success with weight loss when I focused less on tracking and more eating foods that promoted weight loss in a way that worked for me. I hope this makes sense.
My next post served as more of an update than anything. It was marked with some frustration for me because at this time I was not seeing sustained success in terms of weight loss despite having a training plan and diet. As the semester progressed, the demands on my time increased. I needed to alter my approach. The truth was what I was doing wasn’t working.
In the post Every Little Bit Counts, I started to experiment with body weight exercises (push ups to be precise). I learned about the concept of greasing the groove . I didn’t know it at the time but this was going to be a major step forward in helping me to successfully incorporate physical training into my work day in a way that was meaningful and did not place extra demands on my shrinking reserves of time. This protocol allowed me to look at strength as a skill . That is something you get better at by practicing it. Learning this caused a major shift in what I was thinking. It sounds dumb but I started to look at training as a way to practice being strong as opposed to something I was doing to lose weight. This actually ended up being a major shift in how I was viewing the physical training component of this learning project. In retrospect, I hadn’t started to really put it all together. That would come soon enough.
1) Intensity is a key factor in physical activity for weight loss.
2) Interval training is a great way to bump up intensity and shorten workout times
3) ” Intense” is different for everyone.
I was going about this all wrong. Here I was slugging it out in the gym lifting weights at a moderate level of intensity when I could have been cutting my training time down and boosting my ability to burn fat. I learned that I needed to get clear on what I wanted out of this process. I initially started out wanting to lose fat and gain lean mass . That was too much. I was going to have to pick one goal here. I chose to go with losing fat. This was another valuable lesson. Get specific with your goals to help you guide your behavior! It is embarrassing typing that. I’m a nurse, I help client’s come up with goals all the time. Yet here I was doing a weight training program to promote muscle growth and wondering why I wasn’t losing weight! My behavior didn’t match my goal. This was when things started to come together for me.
The Bodyweight Training app was an example of how technology could help me engage in more effective and meaningful training for the purpose of fat loss. It allowed me to develop a personalized interval training program that I could do anywhere with no equipment.
I had mentioned interval training in my earlier posts the cold hard truth is, I obviously wasn’t doing it right. This app changed that. Using it allowed me to increase my intensity and decrease my workout time significantly ( I was training in the gym 45 minutes 4 times a week. This changed to 20 minutes of effective interval training 2 to 3 times a week). This small change got me back on track towards losing weight again.
My post Nutritional Additional helped me to demonstrate a deeper level of learning regarding using the SCD for fat loss, learning how to make cheat days work for me and allowed me to reflect on my experience of using a Facebook support group dedicated to people using the SCD for fat loss. Here is a summary of what I learned :
1. The SCD does offer a variety of whole protein rich foods that can promote fat loss. However, I found the amount of beans and legumes prescribed to be a bit much.
2. Once a week cheat days were not my cup of tea. I learned that I would be better off planning one cheat meal a week. This would allow the benefits of the cheat day in a much more controlled fashion, without the wheels completely falling off.
3. Swapping out starches and simple carbohydrates is an easy way to manage overall carbohydrate intake and increase dietary fiber.
4. Not all social media learning communities are created equal. I gained appreciation for the supportive nature of our Google Plus community as a result of my foray into the world of Facebook groups dedicated to the SCD.
So there you have it. A summary of the learning I underwent as a result of this project. I apologize for the length. It took longer than expected. I have enjoyed this journey. It really came together in the last 5 weeks or so. I went from being stuck at the 214 to 216 mark to 207.6 lbs as of Monday. I wanted to get to 205, but I’ll take this! All the best!
This is my last post to summarize my Learning Project for ECI831.
As you know, I have been working on Learning Cree this semester. I wanted to learn more about the language that is unique to the land that we live on, and also develop an understanding of the resources available to learn Cree. In addition, I recognize the importance of preserving language, particularly, a language that is unique to Saskatchewan. Overall, one of my biggest takeaways from this learning experience was learning about learning online. I was able to connect with people on Twitter, use YouTube for learning, find appropriate online resources and Apps to augment my learning process. A detailed explanation can be found below.
To begin with, I downloaded some Apps to my phone. Apps helped me in my learning project because they were easily accessible from anywhere and I could practice vocabulary. If I had a few minutes I would just pop open the App and do some practice and/or reading.
I learned about the regional Cree dialects and about the Cree syllabics. I did online research at www.creeculture.ca and found the Online Cree Dictionary to familiarize myself with sounds and syllabics. I also put my Screencast skills to the test in this post and shared what I had learned from the Cree Dictionary. In addition, I explored Bill Cook’sQuizlet. This was the first time that I had used Quizlet so I am happy to have had the chance to explore this tool. I think it is a great tool to use with language acquisition in particular. I used the Quizlet to learn Cree introductions.
Another cultural learning opportunity that I explored was the concept of Kinship or Wâhkôhtowin. One of the pages that I used for learning Kinship terms was a very out of date webpage but it still had a lot of great information on it. I hit the gold mine when I came across this blog by Chelsea Vowel. Her post talked about kinship terms and the grammatical structure of the language but also applied it to her own personal stories from growing up as a Cree woman. It really helped me to understand the terminology more but, most importantly, understand the cultural implications about Kinship. I also used this YouTube video to supplement my learning of family words.
As I moved into the more complex grammar I used the Online Cree Classroom which is also a tool provided to me by Bill Cook. I describe how I used the Online Cree Classroom in this post and in this post. I also describe more about Apps that I was using and wrote a bit of a review of which Apps were the most helpful and why I found them to be helpful.
As I worked on certain vocabulary, such as numbers, I used old fashioned pen and paper. As I mentioned in my post, sometimes I need to write numbers out repeatedly in order to practice and understand the structure of the numbers. More information about numbers here.
After studying grammar with the Online Cree Classroom and using Bill Cook’s Quizlet, I finally felt confident enough to form some sentences and try recording my first YouTube video. I so glad that I took the leap and did it. I really like hearing myself speak Cree and now that it is out there on YouTube I hope it motivates others to do the same! In this post I really delve into the grammar of the Cree language (yes, I am a grammar nerd!) as well as some more vocabulary. Although it took me a significant amount of time to learn the grammar structures to be able to write a sentence I am so glad that I did. It was very satisfying to know that I took my learning to the point that I was able to form sentences.
As I was researching Cree learning resources the one that was a “hot topic” was the book 100 Days of Cree. As I explored the book further, I totally understood why. In this post, I write a more detailed explanation of why I really liked the book. I was able to download the online version from the U of R library page, but only for short-term use. The book, however, is very affordable and would be a great resource for any classroom. I also connected with teachers who are using it in their classroom now and it seems that their experiences have been very positive!
To conclude, I am satisfied with my learning journey. I discovered new online tools such as Quizlet and I used some familiar tools such as YouTube to support my learning. I connected with others on Twitter, and through these connections, I discovered great resources such as the Online Cree Classroom. I also discovered blogs and cultural resources that were extremely valuable to my learning. Thanks for following along, friends!
I started off by testing out my hand-sewing skills and after a few trial and errors and re-watching a couple of videos, I felt like I had the hang of it. To begin, I know I was reliant on my mother for reassurance because as noted in other blogs, I am a slight perfectionist…I crave perfection and the idea that I can learn from making mistakes is absurd. If I make mistakes often enough, I will quit. It’s been my nature from a young age, and this project really challenged me to be okay with making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes. Beginning with hand-sewing was a slow and confidence building technique I needed to start this massive project! The great thing about hand-sewing was it was easy to fix mistakes and redo stitches. I was able to do this quite a few times until I felt like I had gained a comfortable understanding of threading a needle, making a stitch, and sewing buttons.
Then came the real test. I began my quilting process. I did not expect there to be as many steps as there were and beginning on the sewing machine was terrifying and infuriating. I know when I get frustrated, I need to step away. The sewing machine was frustrating and annoying to figure out, but with some help from Youtube and my mother, I got the hang of the ancient machine. What I don’t think I mentioned in my blogging was that I tapped into my school resources and borrowed a sewing machine from the school. SO MUCH EASIER!!! I am so grateful l did this, as I am confident my quilt would not have turned out as nicely and I would have ran into a lot more problems and would have needed to troubleshoot a lot more.
I had to select my shirts, and then cut them all, which was again super time-consuming. It was at this point in the project that I was questioning my idea and questioning whether I would have enough time to finish. I used my grandma’s tools and advice for cutting and interfacing the t-shirts. In this, I also learned that I like to take a lot of different ideas for how to accomplish a task, and work it into something that makes sense to me. I received advice from my grandma, ladies at the quilt shop, and the internet. From these sources, I combined methods to complete my quilt in a way that made the most sense to me. Having advice from so many sources could get confusing, but I also enjoyed having different options and ideas for how to complete this quilt successfully.
Once the cutting was finished, I feared making mistakes on the sewing. I pinned my flannel to my t-shirts, and I began sewing. It wasn’t even that bad! Again, I needed reassurance that I was doing okay and my mother was a great support to answer every call or she was there just to make sure. This support and reassurance was key to my success because I probably would have struggled more or even questioned my methods has she not been there. I found having a person to directly talk to, bounce ideas off of, and reassure my work an incredible resource and helpful for the success of the project. It wasn’t a constant, “Am I doing this right?” but a gentle “good work” which is what everyone needs on occasion.
I learned a lot about my learning style in this process. I found out that this is not relaxing at all, and until I gain more experience, I will not find it relaxing. The most stressful part of the project was thinking I would screw up and upon thinking more
about it, I figured out why. I was working with t-shirts, but not just any t-shirts. These shirts hold a lot of meaning, and memories for me. If I screwed up, the shirt and the memory was gone. This was a high pressure project because it was SO meaningful for me. I’m grateful I took the risk, but I feel that if I was using regular material, I would have been more relaxed with making mistakes and not as rigid. I learned that I am an independent learner, and I enjoy things I can do on my own that give my brain a break from a stressful day of teaching, as well as challenge me in other ways. It was nice to break routine, and make time to learn a new skill. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I learned a lot about sewing and about myself as a learner!
Wow! I can’t believe how fast the time has went by! I’ve learned so much in the last few months and have definitely utilized social media in the classroom more than ever before.
My original project was implementing a classroom Twitter account and involve students in sharing their learning. However my project quickly began to evolve after I realized how little my class knew about digital citizenship and responsible online use – and yet nearly every student was using social media platforms, whether it be Snap-chat or Facebook, in some way or another. I was shocked and knew that before I just hop into using Twitter, we needed to have some important discussions and lesson around responsible internet use. What seemed to work well was using Twitter in authentic moments, while having regular lessons each week that evolved around …
Twitter etiquette – The language, the hashtags and all that jazz
The use of private and personal information
The power of words online
Keywords to give you the best search results
Plagiarism, it’s consequences, and when it’ acceptable to use people’s work – including citations
This wasn’t the initial direction of my project, but I quickly learned teaching about digital citizenship was going to be essential and almost more important than simply using social media in the classroom. Having conversations around appropriate internet use is going to be where most of the learning takes place this semester for my students. How could I expect them to jump in and know how to use social media without preparing them with background on responsible internet use.
As I look at our use of Twitter in the classroom I was happy about the growth I made and the lessons learned. I do believe this will become a staple within my classroom as it is a quick, easy way to share what we are doing in the classroom and connect with others in our community and around the world. There was a learning curve associated with transitioning the Twitter account from me onto the students and some difficulties associated with not having a classroom iPad. Instead students used my phone for the photo and then we drafted the tweets together from my computer projected onto the whiteboard.
Students learned Twitter etiquette though modelling and practice on our “Twitter Board” which involved students writing their Tweets, editing mistakes, and creating hashtags before they actually tweet it out online. This also helped us to THINK before we TWEET – something we discussed many times this year.
Here is how I see our progression of learning based on our Twitter history. At the start of this project, I set up our Twitter account, it was very little used and I was doing most of the Tweets. I was using Twitter to share our learning to parents and the community but not really giving students any ownership until my project really got started.
Slowly but surely students began taking ownership of the Tweets, at other times it was a combined class Tweet. We talked and decided as a class to use “Quotation Marks” to capture what the student said about their picture and “signed” the Tweet using first names only. I think this process of taking baby steps and working together to compile tweets, in unison of the digital citizenship curriculum made an impression on students and hopefully how they will use social media independently moving forward.
I’ve really enjoyed the flexibility within this course to learn about something I’ve always wanted to do, but have never had time to explore and try. I’m confident that this project has helped me lay the foundation for making Twitter a staple in my classroom for future years.
One of the assignments for the course EC&I 831 (Social Media & Open Education) was a Major Digital Project. Students had two options for this assignment: a) integrate social media into one’s teaching practice, or b) learn something and share the progress in an open online space. My first thought was to put an old idea into practice (option a): create a YouTube Channel, in Portuguese, to share effective strategies for academic success. Ten days later, I had a better idea of how my semester would look with a job, two graduate courses, and a leadership program; I was already feeling overwhelmed with the number of weekly tasks on my to-do list. Even though option “a” was very exciting, I decided to wisely use the time I would have to invest in this assignment (approximately 50 hours) by doing something to free my busy mind and relax: learn the art of hand lettering.
I don’t know what is next on this beautiful adventure, but I know for sure that I want to self-study colour theory and permeate my busy life with tube watercolour paints and water (mixed with a good brush, please).
Just in case you want to feel a little bit of the calmness that watercolour painting brings me, I am going to share again the video in which I am painting curvy lines onto the paper: