Category Archives: ECI 834

Teaching for EVERYBODY.

Term in Review

Over the course of the term, I’ve been developing an idea behind what an online course would look like if I were the instructor. Upon analyzing my altruistic views associated with education, I developed several major conclusions as a result of my original goals:

  • Use free tools.
  • Create a prototype that is accessible all the time and by as many people as possible.
  • Communicate/interact with others and allow individuals to interact with each other in a variety of facets.
  • Stay true to or attempt to replicate my assets as an educator in a traditional classroom.

Self-assessing, I addressed my goals for the term and these conclusions were met in my course, but what about feedback from my peers?

Responding to course feedback

How did my course look and feel on the outside looking in?

Upon receiving feedback from my peers, I learned some of the strengths/shortfalls to my program (as well as some things that I may not know – value of Flipgrid, for example). I could’ve made some things more clear in terms of adaptations for a diverse amount of learners – yet thought I addressed this in my course profile, and as one individual wrote, is this something that would reveal itself over several modules and as the class develops.

The course itself perhaps could have been more clear in terms of the course outline, addressing . While Socrative was used mostly as a formative assessment for students, I should be more clear that it may be used for summative assessment as well – specifically outlining how assessment as a whole would look in the course. That being said, where is the line to establish when creating an open module for everyone while making something that is specifically linked to a high school course. I think my intentions were to create a resource that could be used at any time by anyone, but wouldn’t be the sole foundation of the course (blended with the regular classroom) – whoever presented that notion, however, definitely got me considering the depth at which I want my course to go.

How will I meet the needs of EAL learners beyond telling them to pause the video or use subtitles? Is there anything more you can provide in this format? Resources to help develop science vocabulary?

Can you really provide support to individuals without WiFi when it is a digital course? Do I lend devices to students in need? I could potentially send copies of the course via email, but without internet, what can be done?

Without further ado, here is my summary of learning for this course – highlighting my journey through the creation of an online course prototype. Lyrics are posted below, and I really find it walks through my progression with the creation of the course prototype! Thanks for an awesome term ECI 834 and hopefully you will see more of me teaching online in the future!

Part 1 – The Weeknd – Starboy (1:17)
In a Traditional classroom-ah

Never would use any edtech-ah
I’mma switch to blended classroom-ah
All online to flipped classroom-ah
Assessment toys they free too-ah
socrative, mentimeter, kahoot-yeah
Synchronous face to face class-ah
Asynchronous no time/place-ah
Want to teach kids digital-leeee
Want to make something cool like John Greeeen
Watchin crash course historyyyy
Thinking how will I ever get this made
I need some help so I look to bates
how do I teach in a digital age?
I am dreamin of Youtube fame
buy a domain, show off my name
eight, eight, eight, eight eight
thir thir thirty four
E C and I.
I’mma takin learnin online.
Alec, Alec, Alec, Alec, Alec, Alec
And Katia
I am takin learnin online.
Part 2 – Twenty One Pilots – Ride (2:20)
On vacation in the sun and what did I find
I said I’d teach online.
Struggled in the mode of delivery grind
Is it hard to teach online?
Yeah, how to interact behind a screen n’ such
Public or private online?
Will random enemies troll the kids that I love
I facilitate online?

Oh, no.
How do I make course with universal design?
Oh, I’m planning how will it look when I go online
(still) Learnin in E, C, and I

An online room
That’s easy to make
There’s a list of systems that I could make
LMS for me
VLE for you
CMS using the google classroom
Nothing is open when the course is through
None open when course is through
Technically I hope I can
share everything but what do I choose
They could email you
That be hard to do
I can’t hear them say
Unless on I’m zoom
But rather than write
I’ll use flipgrid  tonight
Yes people at home could be talking to you
Could they ignore them still
All these questions they’re forming like
Is this authentic?
Or Meaningful?
And are interactions real?

Oh, no.
How do I make course content for reader types?
Oh, I’m broke but OpenStax got free texts online
(still) Learnin in E, C, and I

I’ve been blogging too muc
Not been tweetin enough
Google plussing enough?
Still not tweetin enough.

Have I been blogging too much (I’ve been blogging too much)
Not been tweetin enough (sorry)
Have I been blogging too much (Actually like blogging a bunch)
But still not tweetin enough (sorry)

Littlest Hobo (1:00)
Audacity to do audio editing
with Screencast, like Khan Academy.
Use prompts on forums, to make learners friends,
they better discuss, not cause a fuss or I’ll block them

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll try Canvas out,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep WordPress on.

And if I want to input an image file,
Just google that, use Compfight, free usage style.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll figure Moodle out,
Until tomorrow, I’ll just keep Zoomin on.
Ed Sheeran – Shape of You (1:30)

WordPress is my place to make a module
It’s open and here I go
Activities mixed with lecture lots
Evolution facts like a Youtube show
Movie maker record Zoom starring just me
Assessing w/ socrative answers now
Got a plan, stop, put the plan on the webpage
I finally start a class, and now hoping that

Do you feel like learning some?
Something about science-biology?
Learnin now, with a VLE
Don’t be lazy, chat frequently
Say, boy, you better talk enough
Comment, blog and flipgrid video me
Come on now, I’m modelling
Come, come on now, follow my lead

We got us some learning to do
It’s online and you can choose
When you want to give vids a view
You can learn worldwide.
And last night you learned in your room
And last week at a hotel with zoom
Every day can learn something brand new
When ya learn online.
Online Online Online Online
You can learn worldwide
Worldwide Worldwide Worldwide Worldwide
Assuming you got WiFi-e
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
I’ll teach for every body.
Every day can teach someone that is brand new
I’ll teach for even you.

Summary of Learning

All Done!

Everything has come to an end and projects are done. I have learnt so much in ECI834. In this course I learnt how to create my own blended course. I was introduced to many new tools. I was able to make connections and learn from others.

I have seen myself grow throughout the course. I have been able to try new things. I loved the experiences I have gained throughout the course. I am looking forward to continue using these tools. I can’t wait to be back into the classroom and start applying the new things I learnt.

Without further ado, I present my learning summary. It was created on goanimate. I hope you enjoy it!




Treaty Education Prototype, How did it turn out?

Our course prototype is complete. Creating a course is not a walk in the park. It requires a lot of time and decision making. A person must consider many different things like the LMS, interactions, tools used etc. to create a course. Here is what happened from start to finish.

Course Overview of the Creation Process

We were faced with the challenge of creating a course prototype that was either blended or online. The first step was to decide what we were going to do. We have choose to do our topic on treaty education for grade 3 students. Our prototype is a blended course. It has both face to face time and online experiences incorporated in it. Due to the age of the students we felt face to face interactions were an important part of our course. After our main idea was figured out I needed to make decisions on my module. How was I going to present my information? What type of assignment were the students going to do? How could I make it engaging? To read more about our first ideas and what I was thinking you can read my blog post about the first stage of our prototype.

Our LMS (Learning Management system) was tricky to decide. We wanted something effective. It needed to be easy to use. We needed something that could easily accessed, kept everything in one place and was user friendly. We choose to use Google Classroom. I had the opportunity to explore google classroom before we created our course prototype. For my information about what I found feel free to read my blog post.

Interactions are an important part of a course. This is not something I had originally thought of at the beginning of my thought process. Students needed to have interactions of some type. But how could we make it age appropriate? I posted about my thought process and actually did most of it.

Our prototype was coming to an end. Things had changed a lot since the beginning. Different tools were used and different information was presented. Things were added and things were taken out. I did blog about all of the changes. Things change!

After a lot of work, experimentation and meeting our group had finished our prototype. We are done!

Want to know more about our Treaty Education Course Prototype? Here is our course profile so you can find out more!

About our Prototype

This blended course is suited for grade 3 elementary students of all backgrounds. It is a mix of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  For a learning management system (LMS) we choose to use Google Classroom, as well as various content creation tools.  Students and teachers will communicate using Google Docs and Google Classroom, through the creation of questions and announcements. The assessments will contain a specific rubrics for each assignment  are aligned with outcomes in grade 3 social studies, arts education, science and English language arts.

The new Office of the Treaty Commissioner (OTC) treaty education documents were used to create this course.  We are addressing the inquiry question: how have the lifestyles of First Nations people changed prior to and after the signing of treaties?  The outcomes and indicators covered in this course are as follows:

Treaty Education:
TR3.1: Examine the relationships between First Nation peoples and the land, before and after the signing of treaties.
Indicator: Describe the lifestyle changes of First Nations, prior to and
after placement on reserves.

Arts Education:
CH3.1 Compare how arts expressions from various groups and communities may be a reflection of their unique environment (e.g., North and South Saskatchewan, urban
and rural)
Share information about an artist working in own community through individual research or collaborative inquiry.
Describe how an arts expression tells something about the community and culture in which it was created (e.g., heritage harvest dances).
Describe ways that people of various cultures in own and surrounding communities participate in the arts and discuss why they do so.

PL3.2 Analyze the interdependence among plants, individuals, society, and the environment.
Research lifestyles (e.g., farming, fishing, and logging) and jobs (e.g.,florist, crop scientist, landscaper, gardener, fruit grower, ecologist,
logger, and nursery worker) that depend on understanding and working
with plants and plant-related products.

Social Studies:
RW3.1 Appraise the ways communities meet their members’ needs and wants.
a.Speculate upon various challenges faced by communities in meeting
needs and wants, with evidence gathered from examining pictures,
viewing media, and interpreting stories using a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts.
Identify how individuals and communities meet needs and wants.
Describe ways in which communities help ensure basic human needs
are met (e.g., food and water, shelter, clothing, education, safety).

Our assessment strategies include using the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics specific. Formative assessment would be done using EdPuzzle.  informal assessment of Google Classroom posts in a forum style is assessed on participation in the area of interactions with other students and the teacher.

We have considerations for common concerns. Low bandwidth is a common challenge for any educator using technology in the classroom. Typically, each student will open up a lesson from their own device, but in the end that could be as many as 30 videos simultaneously streaming on a network that might only be able to handle a few. We have no real solution for a school that has similar bandwidth as the average home, even though obviously there are so many more times people at school as there are at home.  Students can have access to devices such as school ipads, personal devices and  computer labs during school hours. Since it is online students who are absent can access Google Classroom  from home. 1:1 devices would not be required to complete the artifact creation. Flipped classrooms can be used so assignments are done in the school where students have access to programs, and videos can be watched at home or during breaks.  We account for differentiation through various levels of assignments in Adobe Spark, as well as audio versions of stories.


Why did we choose our LMS? Google Classroom is used in Regina Public Schools, as well as many other divisions.  It is free and is easy to use. It is an LMS that students in grade 3 are able to use with lessons. Google Classroom allows students and teachers to interact. Assignments can be posted and completed on Google Classroom. Student progress can be tracked and teachers can assess on Google Classroom.

Why did we pick our topic? Treaty education is meant to be integrated into numerous subject areas, and is a topic that everyone teaches (or should be teaching).  With the creation of new and updated treaty education lessons from the OTC, we decided to work with one grade area to become familiar with the updated format.  We developed this course to reflect recommendation #10 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

  1. We call on the federal government to draft new Aboriginal education legislation with the full participation and informed consent of Aboriginal peoples. The new legislation would include a commitment to sufficient funding and would incorporate the following principles:

iii. Developing culturally appropriate curricula.

Module One – Chalyn Smith

In creating content for this module a variety of tools were used, the tools are appropriate and easy to navigate for young learners.  For each step of the lesson I have tried to be thorough in explaining how students should complete tasks with tutorials for each new medium. For the introduction to the lesson students create a collaborative Google Drawing.  I added a brief Screencastify as a tutorial for Google Drawing. I also chose to have students create Google Docs so that they could submit their assignments to me, again I created a Screencastify to familiarize students on how to create a new Doc. I created a  Voice Over PowerPoint for students to respond to using an Adobe Spark page.  I also made a Screencastify to help students in creating their Adobe Spark Page with instructions about adding open commons pictures. For the extension activity I created a Screencastify to teach the students how to use Story Jumper to create a Digital Storybook.  I feel that this variety of content creation tools will enhance the student’s learning outcomes for this unit on Treaty relationships. After completing module one students will be able to recognize the land provided everything the First Nations people needed to survive.

Module Two – Rochelle Rugg

Module Two takes students back through the past and the way First Nations people used plants, trees and roots to create medicines and for food. It also focussed on the importance of the Buffalo, not just as a food source, but also as a means of shelter, clothing and tools. In order for students to learn about these important factors, I used many tools to help explain their importance. First, I used EDPuzzle on two YouTube videos about Medicine Walks that happened in and around Regina. The EDPuzzles allow for breaks in the videos for students to reflect, respond or discuss aspects of what we are learning on the two medicine walks. I also used EDPuzzle on a short video about the importance of the Buffalo. Watching the videos in class will be done over some time. I created 2 reviews about plants used in Traditional Medicines and the Importance of the buffalo. I used Adobe Spark Page for the importance of the buffalo and an Adobe Spark Video for the plants used in Traditional Medicines.

Once students have gone through the reviews, they will choose which path they would like to further investigate: Medicines or Buffalo. In order to see which student wishes to pursue which topic, I create a simple google form for them to fill out. Once they have made their choice, they move on to the final project. I have chosen 3 pictures books for each topic. I used Movie Maker to create 2 book talk videos that describe thee 3 books in each topic. Students will watch the book talk for the topic they have chosen and choose a book to read. I used an app called ALON Dictaphone by ALON Software (free) to record myself reading each of the books and bought the in-app ability to share to Google Drive ($2.50). By recording the stories, students who have difficulties in reading can have the option to listen to the story and follow along in the books.

The final step is that students will log in to Bookopolis using a username and password that the teacher has already set up. They will write an online book review following a prescribed set of instructions on their book chosen. The entire class will be able to see the reviews written and outside of our class, other Bookopolis members will see their anonymous review. This is a sort of limited forum. I used the Chrome Extension: Saskatchewan Curriculum Project to create the rubric to assess the student’s book reviews.

Module Three – Aimee Sipple

In this module, I used several tools to create content and foster responses from students.  First, I had students follow a link and then respond to questions directly on the Google Classroom stream.  I wanted students to have access to each other’s responses, as well as having all responses in one place for assessment purposes.  I used Adobe Spark to create a video of an excerpt from “The Disappearance and Resurgence of the Buffalo” by Jo Cooper (1995.)  As this Office of the Treaty Commissioner recommended text is of a challenging level, I decided to create a video where the text is read to students.  Then, I used EdPuzzle to integrate response questions throughout.  I chose this tool as it streamlines responses and does not require separate programs to view and respond.  I then used Screencastify to create tutorials on how to use Adobe Spark to create a post, page, or video.  This allows for student choice in their mode of response after reading a paper copy of a book.  For assessment, I used the Saskatchewan Curriculum Project Chrome extension to create rubrics that exactly match with Saskatchewan curricular outcomes.  After completing this module, students will have gained an understanding of the effect of the loss of the buffalo for the people of the Plains.

Module Four- Justine Wheeler

In this module many tools were used to make an age appropriate and engaging lesson. I used IMovie to create a lecture. I choose IMovie because I like the program and it creates great videos.  This is to be used in a flipped learning style. Students will watch the video. I used edpuzzle to answer questions. I choose this program because it is connected right to google classroom, students can easily respond to questions and they are tired directly to the video. This is also a program that some group members are using so it is familiar to the students. Another tool used is screencastify. I choose this program because it is free and is easy to use. It allows students to see directly how to do the assignment. In the assignment students are using paint. I choose paint because it is a program all of the computers at the school have. They are also using it to create a digital art piece. Paint provides tools to do just that. I used Saskatchewan Curriculum Project to create a rubric. This was chosen because it is directly connected to the Saskatchewan curriculum and is easy to use. All tools chosen were because they are easy to use, engaging and accessible.


Response to our feedback

Overall our feedback was quite positive. Our fellow teachers enjoyed the topic we choose. They commented on the variety of content creation tools we used to bring our module to life. They thought our organization was great and everything flowed together. Our reviewers thought our prototype was a great starting point for them explore treaty relationships.  Our reviewers mentioned they could take the components of our modules and would be able to incorporate this resource in their own classrooms.

However, we did find some themes that  we need to change such as difficulty level, LMS issues, assessment, adaptations and interaction.

Difficulty Level:

One of the concerns addressed in our feedback was around the reading difficulty. Some reviewers were concerned with the amount of text for Grade 3 students.  This course is a synchronous blended course that would allow for teacher to facilitate the course face to face and guide students through modules perhaps in a center type rotation. Students will already know how to use google classroom and tools being used such as procedures for the computer.

LMS issues:

Another concern that was addressed was the choice of LMS (Google Classroom) that may have not been the most easy to use with Grade 3s. Google Classroom is being used as the central hub for a variety of tasks.  Students complete very few assignments on Google Classroom, so in terms of visual appeal, it is meant to be less distracting.


The amount of rubrics provided to the teachers for lessons within the modules was also mentioned by our reviewers. Students will receive both formative and summative feedback, and the rubrics are part of this feedback.  As this is a blended course, students will have many opportunities for feedback from the teacher.


Some adaptations were not addressed (EAL, attendance issues).  Additional screencasts could provide verbal an explanation of the assignment for low readers, perhaps working in pairs would support low readers, also simplified versions of assignments for EAL students. Module 3 involves reading a text, and this allows for differentiation for diverse learners.  This differentiation is built into the assignment as is with the books that are listed. Students with attendance concerns could complete assignments at home if needed.


Lastly, some reviewers remarked about ways students would interact with others.

Teacher-student and student-student interactions can be done on google classroom. With the age of the students, we needed to address also the abilities that they have and the forums that would allow young students to share with an audience. Interactions needed to be controlled and monitored to ensure there were no violations in privacy and terms and conditions.


We did receive positive feedback asking us to expand on our course prototype. We think finishing the whole prototype would be awesome. As we focused on just one of the grade 3 key questions provided in the OTC document, the course would contain more themes if the other three questions were included.  If we were to expand on this course, the remaining inquiry questions for grade 3 are:

    • How were the historical worldviews of the British Crown and the First Nations different regarding land ownership?
    • How do First Nations and Saskatchewan people benefit from Treaties 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 10?
    • How did the use of different languages in treaty making present challenges and how does that continue to impact people today?

Thank you to those who reviewed and critiqued our prototype and provided us with helpful feedback!  If you would like to check out our course, our Google Classroom code is: 9yhj6c

Thank you for reading!

Things Change

Throughout the creation of the prototype things have changed. We decided to do Treaty Education. I had choose to cover the topic about reservations. I worked on George Gordon First Nation before my maternity leave and felt that this is an area I would like to do. I blogged about my great ideas. I was going to go out the reservation and interview people about what it is like living there. But I had come to realize that time was not on my side. My days were filled with trying to entertain a baby and my weekends were filled with company. As this was happening our due date was coming closer. My plans needed to change.

I still wanted to create a video and wanted to do the same idea. I turned to youtube to help me. I found 2 clips about reservation life. One was filled with children’s points of views about living at Leech Lake in the USA. The other was local and included pictures of Pelican Narrows in Saskatchewan. I felt this was an okay substitute. Not exactly what I wanted but still good.

Things continued to change throughout the creation of this prototype. Our group had a face to face meeting. We met at Rochelle’s house where she had set out a bunch of treats and was ready for us to work. Here we shared our ideas and started to work on our portfolio together. I had heard about new tools my group members were using and wanted to use them as well. Aimee talked about ed puzzle and the Saskatchewan curriculum project. These tools were cool and I had to try them. This changed my plans as well. Instead of just having students post responses to questions on Google Classroom I was going to use edpuzzle to put questions right in the video. SO COOL!!

We used Google Docs for our profile and teacher notes. At our meeting we could open up the document and we were all able to work on it at the same time. We were able to discuss and add our notes at the same time. We got a lot accomplished. After our meeting we were on the right track and had a lot finished. I think this project would have been difficult if we did not meet in person or used google docs.


   New Tools

In this project I got to use many new tools.

  • Google Docs: I have never created or edited a Google Doc before. We used this for our profile, teacher notes and was the foundation for creating our prototype. It was something we could post our ideas on. We were able to edit our work and we could all work on it at the same time. I am so happy we used Google Docs. This is something I will use all the time.
  • Edpuzzle: Edpuzzle was a game changer for me. I had not originally planned on using this. I created my video on IMovie and then used Edpuzzle to add questions right into my video. The video stops and students answer the question. I can then access the students answers. Edpuzzle is connected to a Gmail account and is directly linked to google classroom. It is a great tool and I will be using it again. It made my video more interactive.
  • Saskatchewan Curriculum Project: I used this to create a rubric. This program is connected right to the Saskatchewan Curriculum. It allows teachers to make lessons and rubrics. When creating a rubric it puts outcomes and indicators right in the rubric. It is very easy to use and I will be using this again. This was also a change. Originally I was just going to look at rubrics and compile them to create my own. I am glad this was introduced to me as it made a nice rubric.
  • Google Classroom: This was our LMS. Google Classroom is one thing that never changed for me. I have never used Google Classroom before. I really enjoy how easy it is to use. You just post your assignments and then students can access them. One thing we had to keep in mind was our order. When posting on Google Classroom the first thing posted goes to the bottom. We wanted module 1 on the top and then in order to number 4. This means number 4 had to post first and number 1 posted last. Our group did this really well and our LMS has a nice flow.
  • Screen castify: I have never used this before. I thought it would be a nice idea to show the students how to use the program. This was also a change added as the prototype developed. I loved how I could click a button and record how I created an art piece on my computer. I will definitely be using this program again.
  • Zoom: We used zoom to communicate. It is difficult to have a group conversation over text or facebook. We would use zoom to meet and discuss what we going to do and how we were going to do it. It was a great tool to use to encourage communication and make sure we were on the right page.

We are done

I am very happy with how our prototype came together. It looks great and has nice flow. On our about page we included lots of information like teacher notes, our profile, the OTC treaty document, and our rubrics. Our lessons flow nicely into each other and is like own unit instead of a bunch of choppy lessons. I would actually use this prototype with a group of students. Our group worked well together. Thank you Aimee, Rochelle and Chalyn!

Module-making: finishing touches to going worldwide.

Over the past couple weeks I have been plugging away at my course prototype slowly, but surely. And I’ve been through quite the series of emotions associated with this.

giphy (1).gif

“Panic stressed” via Giphy

I have panicked(This doesn’t look like I thought it was going to!)

I have gotten excited. (This content is SO relevant and meaningful!)

I’ve second-guessed myself. (Does this accommodate all learners?)


I’ve felt challenged

yet confident. (I can do this.)

Where I am.
All I have left to do is wrap-up editing and filming some small parts for the module, otherwise everything is ready to go. I failed to appreciate how much planning goes into making a quality video. Taking into account setting, dialogue, visuals, and background music takes time. It’s not like I didn’t predict this would happen, but when you get into the video-making grind, time flies in a big hurry.

Fortunately, as I went through the creative processes, it led me to continue considering my summary of learning. It served as a reminder to be aware of the fact that simply creating and recording a song is actually a lot of work, even thought I have so much fun with it (Thank goodness I don’t have to make a full live action video to go with it too, it’d be too much). While capable of some limited visual work, it also caused me to revisit the idea: what would an Andres Arenada and Logan Petlak summary of learning combined actually look like (and how much time would it really take)?

Regardless, I hope the module is able to reach learners in my regular classroom, but where I began was to bring my regular classroom worldwide…

where i am where i began best version.png

“Where I want to be in the world” via Google Maps

Where I began.
In reflecting on what I set out to do in my original outlines, some new barriers to the creation of this prototype revealed themselves, and it all stems back to the original targets I wanted/needed to specifically address and account for: relationships and learners.

  1. Who are my learners and how will I connect? When you have no idea who your learners are, how exactly do you design an asynchronous lesson according to their needs and styles?

    The simplest way to address this, is universal design. When considering multiple forms of expression, engagement, and representation for the module, does my module do this? Does it have more than one opportunity for each? I think so! (Phew!)

  2. And when you only make one module to begin, can you really connect to other content?

    – In my module I found myself saying: “we’ll have to address this next time”, but there isn’t a next time (yet)! Do you plan for the hypothetical or does this make it less authentic?

  3. Does a class need synchronous sessions to be blended? Or can it be pseudo-blended through Flipgrid or Zoom? It is all online, but the learning functions similar to that of a traditional classroom and has some face-to-face components, but these components are not necessarily live. Is ECI 834 considered blended? Or all online?


Closing thoughts

Questions are great, and maybe some of them don’t need to be answered. Ultimately, the course prototype will be out on Tuesday, and I look forward to the learners I reach, and the subsequent feedback I receive to hone my skills. Hopefully it serves my main goal, educating people.


– Logan Petlak



Learning through connections

What do I think are open online spaces?

When I think of open online spaces, I focus on word open. This makes me think of openness of people having access to the information and questions we put out to the world. It is a way to open up to other people we may not come into contact with on a regular basis. It is an open environment where anyone can join and learn from each other. It is a place to have open space technology.

“Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events. Over the last 20+ years, it has also become clear that opening space, as an intentional leadership practice, can create inspired organizations, where ordinary people work together to create extraordinary results with regularity.”

From this open environment where people can learn from each other there can be Connection based learning.


When I think of open online spaces I think of people using technology to connect to one another. This allows people to comment, discuss, question and learn from one another.

Why do they scare me so much?

With an open space anyone can see what you post. Everyone sees what you are thinking and how you are learning. It is place where you cannot hide what you think. This makes me feel extremely vulnerable. With an open space there are people all over the world that access your information. It makes me nervous to know that anyone can read what I am posting right now. With that, I am constantly thinking what is okay to post? Will I get judged? Do people agree with my ideas? Am I posting something to “risky?” With an open space a person is completely putting themselves out there to the world. With twitter and hashtags a person is branching out to anyone who follows them or looks at those hashtags. #scary  #public. With a blog, anyone who googles Justine wheeler edublog can find what I post. They can go into my blog and see what I think on certain topics. There are many positive aspects to open spaces and connecting with others, but it is scary to put yourself out there. It is nerve racking to know that anyone can see what I think and how I learn.

What do I use?

As a teacher I would prefer a closed space for the grade that I teach. In grade 1, they are just learning how to log onto a computer. They are just learning how to write and sound out words. They are just learning how to type and explore the internet. I think throwing them onto twitter is difficult. I love using see saw. See Saw requires a special code to access. It is not open for everyone to see. See Saw allows parents to comment on their own child’s work. It allows students to comment on each others work and gives them a safe space to learn from each other. Parents are also more open to having their young child work in an environment like this.

Photo Credit: securebacklink Flickr via Compfight cc

That being said I have tried blogging with my students. It is very simple. I write a question and the students comment back with their response. I have to send out permission slips to all of my parents before we start this. Not all of the parents let their child do this . They do not want them posting on the blog and adaptions need to be made. When the students post they only write their first name. I feel that the students and I cannot be completely open in this space  as it is easy for anyone to access. I am so worried about what they are posting all the time. I am a lot more comfortable with them using see saw.

We do use twitter as a class. Here I do not post pictures of the students. We use it more to connect with other classrooms and educators on twitter. Last year we used twitter to contact the author of Howard B. Wigglebottom and our favorite group from gonoodle the one and only Koo Koo Kanga Roo.

As a teacher I use open spaces, but my students are more closed and secure with see saw.

As a student I do use open spaces. I go on twitter to connect with other educators. I like how easy I can connect to others. I am able to learn a lot through an open space. This class and others have made me open up to open spaces. I am required to blog which makes me feel vulnerable. I do however, like reading other people’s blogs and commenting. I feel that the openness allows me to learn with them. I enjoy forums. I like our google plus environment. I like how it is a bit more closed and I am more comfortable to ask questions.

To conclude, I think there is a time and place for open learning spaces. I think they are a great way to connect and learn from others. They allow a person to collaborate with a wide variety of people. They allow students to learn in a different and enriched way. I think that a person does need to be careful with how they are used. Teachers should have parent permission and let administration know what is happening due to how public everything is. There is a time where open learning spaces are very beneficial and should be used. You just need to know how to use them.



Agoraphobia in education.

Addressing Educator “Fear of Open Space” (agoraphobia)

In the creation of a digital community for education, do we resist the idea of allowing our students into open spaces? The subject and grade level will help determine our personal stance on exactly how “open” we allow our student’s discussion and learning to be… but if the educator is at the secondary level, is it acceptable to open things up then? Or do we still fear the internet? Are there more educators suffering from agoraphobia than we think?

OPen Space

“Wanda in open space” from Corner Gas

“How could anyone be afraid of open space?”

A quote from season two, episode four, of the beloved Canadian show, Corner Gas. Yes, I am working Corner Gas into this blog post.

Open online space, to be clear. And let’s face it, there is a seedy side, with a palpable list of awful instances of abuse in the digital realm. But what about the development of a sense of connectedness with strangers. Strangers who can be from anywhere in the world, yet provide us with ideas, opinions, interests, be they novel or similar to our own!

Why exactly do I get so excited about the online community?

Growing up in the infant stages of the internet and social media, I scoured forums for information on video games I played (Super Nintendo, Pokemon, etc). In my searching, it was always exciting to find websites full of individuals who enjoyed what I enjoyed (in similar or different ways). Sharing the same emotions and ideas with individuals you will never really know (by conventional standards), is a mysteriously unifying concept. You just don’t get that in a closed setting. In closed forums in an educational setting, I only ever saw the keeners dominate forums, and much of the time, I resented their contributions because I felt they used higher vocabulary needlessly that either made their points too convoluted, or served to exclude other classmates who wouldn’t be able to comprehend it as well. I hard a hard time thinking it was practice for language development, and normally felt that it was done to elevate or flaunt language prowess at the expense of making others feel inferior.

I say this, yet use words now in my writing that I would’ve probably resented then. Don’t worry, I have yet to feel it in my graduate classes thus far – but I am always so aware of my motives behind sharing or my vocabulary choices, am I doing it for my benefit, or for others?

fry hear themselves

“hear themselves talk” via Memegenerator

In reflecting on my sharing on the group chat in our discussions. In this course (and my previous courses with Alec), specifically in the chat realm, a lot of my contributions have some desperate attempts at humour laced with relevance to the content – and while it keeps me engaged, I’m sure others, at least once, have thought: “oh my goodness, just stop”. And maybe I’m wrong… but have you ever felt like you were in a class where it seems some individuals just like to hear themselves talk?

That is my fear in the closed setting. I’m a claustrophobic educator I guess. My feelings aside, learning can still happen for students when ones who dominate discussion receive feedback to curb contributions or it pushes others to step up. But are the discussion-dominators even displaying understanding or have they simply learned to fake it?


“Learned to fake it”

“Learned to fake it” with it being authenticity. There still is learning occurring when individuals learn to fake it and share what they share in these settings. As such, I would argue that: yes, there is some authenticity, because who it is meaningful to has a wide scope. When we consider the scope and who all the comments reach, we’re bound to find some authentic learning. The modelling of “advanced responses” still benefit others who may get too intimidated to contribute. Therefore, while it may not be authentic for the contributor, whose motives may be less than intrinsic, the responses evoked may be authentic, so where do I (and we) draw the line? And what’s the difference in this between an open or closed setting?

I envision that the more open your discussions are, the more opportunities present themselves for learning to go in more directions as it increases your potential contributors and receivers (positive or negative contributions, mind you).

What age do students begin to have open spaces then?

think of the children.jpg

“Think of the children” via quickmeme

As an individual pushing for openness, I am fortunate to be teaching students mostly sixteen years of age and older. The mentality of allowing students to be exposed or unprotected in the digital realm is not a foreign concept for most of them or us, especially if they have been involved with social media and digital usage throughout their adolescent life.

At the senior science level with open content, the scope isn’t limited to students either. Parents may access the open format if they’re wanting to be involved, yet allow the students to begin to stretch their wings a bit. As long as administration and parents are made aware of the rationale and mentality behind the decision to go public, and concerns are addressed and adapted for as needed, the learning from open commenting and discussion can unfold. If concerns arose like frequent trolling, decisions could be made as a class community (edcuator, students, parents, admin) with how to address them. (All of this is predicated on student buy-in. But… at the senior science level, buy-in is, pretty much, required).

Were I a grade four science teacher, there would be greater restrictions when searching for information and public commenting (as in, it would likely be non-existent as the students would be still, I consider, vulnerable). You would see a closed setting without external influence, but potentially simulated digital citizenship practices in which they’d deal with a pretend troll, or have to select from three information sources to determine which one is most likely false, rather than being thrown to the wolves of the web in my senior science courses. But even then, where is the line where we stop coddling students?

Closing thoughts

While some of my senior students may become “learn to fake it”‘s as I mentioned above, there’s still learning to be had. This learning may be from unknowingly modelling behaviours for themselves, or creating authentic learning for others who may learn from them.

The more open we go, the scope of learning increases. So don’t be afraid of open space.

Open Space Gif.gif

“Corner Gas – Open Space” made via Giphy

Open space…

Open space…


Agree? Disagree? Comment below!

-Logan Petlak

Issues on Creating Interactions

My Issue

Photo Credit: Ekspresevim Flickr via Compfight cc

In my prototype we are using google classroom with grade 3 students. Student collaboration and teacher support is very important which was shown in our articles we read this week. In ECI 834, I have also seen the importance of this communication. We have a lot of support with google plus, blogs and twitter. It is easily accessible to ask someone a question, collaborate and work with Katia and Alec to support an issue we are having. Thus being said, I am 26 years old and know how to use all of these programs.

For our prototype I am struggling with creating these same interactions with the students I have in mind for this prototype. I am creating a prototype for younger students who do not all have easy internet access and people who may not be able to support them. This is a struggle for me. How can I get such young students to interact with each other? What can I do if students do not have access to the internet? The best solution I have came up with is to create a flipped learning environment.

Here is what I know..

Remind works. In my school I use remind. People have cell phones and can get text messages. Therefore, I will use Remind for students to interact with me. I can send messages out to them and they can respond with a text message. Yes, grade 3 students do not all have phones but their parents do. I know parents want to support their children in any way possible and will use remind to allow them to communicate to their teacher.

Students get 15 mins at school every morning and do have recess during the day. Our school does have a computer lab and does have iPads. Students can access the videos I have recorded before class using school technology if they do not have access to the internet at home.

Students will be using google classroom. Students can comment using google classroom. We will have to make sure our settings allow students to comment and interact with each other as well as their teachers. I have seen students ask questions using google classroom and get a response from the teacher.

Here is what I am thinking…..

If I can create a flipped learning environment the students can collaborate and interact with me on the project part at school. Blended learning is a combination of face to face and computer time.

This will give these young students the opportunity to still get support. They can turn to their neighbor and ask a question. I would use this because I know with flipped learning all of my students in some way will have internet access. I know that they will have the programs they need to use on the computers in our school. I know that students can collaborate. I know that they will have interactions.

Now that being said, this prototype is not supposed to be all in the classroom and does have a blended aspect to it. Students can post on google classroom to ask questions and interact with each other. With google classroom, they will be using this to post their assignments and see the videos. I know that they will be using it because they have to see it. This way I can guarantee that they have access to it. Like I stated earlier even if it is before school, at recess or during the time they get to work on their project they will be on google classroom. I also know Remind works for my school and students. I will use remind to allow students to interact with me.

As you can tell I am still trying to think this through because I am at a loss with these 2 big issues with interactions and this prototype.

So how can I asses this?

In the article, Effectiveness of Using Online Discussion Forum for Case Study Analysis, there were 2 tables that stuck out to me for assessing interactions. One talks about reading articles and showing evidence that the responses have to with the assignment and the other is about number of posts.

I thought these would be a good starting point to create guidelines. They would obviously need to be adapted. I was thinking I would assess students on talking about the assignment and the video I posted. In the video there are questions I am asking throughout. Students can comment in google classroom on these questions which I could assess them on based on participation. Students will be able to discuss these questions there. I could even leave a prompt in google classroom to encourage conversations.

The other part I could assess them on is if they are asking questions and interacting with each other for the assignment. With google classroom I will be able to see if they are asking questions and answering each other. With remind, I can see if they are interacting with me. I would assess this on participation if students are asking questions and interacting with others they would get a participation mark. I think at this age it is difficult to create a specific rubric. I think if they are asking questions and interacting with each other that is great. I think at this age creating collaboration and supporting one another is more important than a summative mark. It is more for their benefit and is more formative.

To conclude I am going to leave you with the question, what do you think I could use to help with my issues?

Online community-buildin’ probs (problems).

Don’t underestimate building a community

I’ve had a pretty clear idea of how interactions and communication will occur in my online classroom since I started designing my course prototype. However, after reading Benita’s post about building a community, she helped me realize that I may have took for granted how easy it would be to simply create an online learning community. So many things are required to build communities as a facilitator like: being welcoming to members, observing, and connecting with members. Yet while providing these, still allowing for members to have opportunities for participation, autonomy, and being a part of establishing the community’s identity. It seems to happen naturally in my regular classroom, but an online community, obviously, isn’t the same. I then considered, will some of the assessment I receive from my peers in the EC&I 834 community reflect or paint a idealized view of  my modules than reality? Will the actual practice and administration of the course be as supportive or receptive? Make no mistake, I’m not panicked, but it’s definitely an element I didn’t think could be problematic.

Pre-Troubleshooting (Anticipating interaction problems)

With that in mind, I should probably consider potential problems that may occur when establishing my online community and then reflect on how this may affect my course prototype plan.


Common Pitfalls via Edutopia

  • Students may misunderstand directions or may be unsure of what is expected of them.
  • Student comments can become off track or go in a direction that is not supported in the lesson.
  • Students may stall or put off participating in the discussion board until the last minute.
  • Students may not feel a sense of connection with their classmates.
  • Students may react in an inappropriate way by flaming other students or making disinterested or disrespectful comments to their peers or in response to assignments.

Reflecting on my course plans (while applying what I need to keep in mind), I wanted to:

  • Use commenting on the informative content videos I share on YouTube to clarify content for students.
    Content must be introduced, however, guidelines for commenting (or example questions) perhaps should be included in the video description while verbally stating this at the conclusion of the video in an attempt to help establish “netiquette”. As well as perhaps creating a reply video for frequently asked questions in the comment feed.
  • Allow students to share their own videos with responses safeguarded by Flipgrid (however, I would simply keep the free version so students could share their thoughts, but this would leave them unable to interact and respond to one another).
    This will allow for the virtual learning to occur collectively. As students will need to contribute to share in learning, provide clear instructions (while also being available via email) and deadlines for posting these responses, while simultaneously encouraging informality.
  • Long-term students (this will not be seen in the course prototype) would likely blog thoughts, and comment on others as the course progressed. Reflecting on what they learned in the required community discussions.
    How can I ensure/assess if students are actually feeling connected to others in the course?

If I can provide prompts and students participate asking questiosn and being involved in discussion, this can allow for interactions to be meaningful and supportive. Since the bedrock of the content-based prompts should be establishing relevance of the content, the discussion that appears as a result should reinforce this. An example: The video may establish that evolution and change via natural selection occurs in many ways, students are then prompted why does that even matter? How does it effect us?


Building Community via Kayako

Any curricular course needs to address and develop “required” knowledge and understanding, but in a virtual learning environment this needs to occur while emphasizing the role community-building has in the learning process. And community-building only happens when there are members to create a community around, so be sure to account for them!

How are my plans looking? Anything else you think I need to focus on? Let me know below!

– Logan Petlak



Resource via Schwier, Athabasca University

Selznick, P. (1996). In search of community. In W. Vitek & W. Jackson (Eds.), Rooted in the land (pp. 195-203). New Haven: Yale University Press.

Can Flipped Learning Be Used At Any Age: My Learning Journey

In our class I have heard lots about flipped learning. We have not gone in depth with what it exactly is and what it entails. This is what I wanted to find out during reading week.

First Step

My first step was to find out what flipped learning was. I turned to google and youtube to help me grasp the concept. Wikipedia describes it as

“Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom. In a flipped classroom, students watch online lectures, collaborate in online discussions, or carry out research at home and engage in concepts in the classroom with the guidance of a mentor.”

I then found some good videos to help me understand this better.

The Next step

After I wanted to find out more. How can it be used? What are the pros and cons? I turned to blogs written by teachers. What I found was more pros then cons. Here is what I found.


  • Individualized
  • Students can learn at their own pace
  • Lesson content is more accessible to watch over
  • Students have more control with their learning
  • Parents can see how a topic is taught and can provide extra support
  • Students can collaborate with their work
  • Student- centered
  • More time for hands on work at school
  • Can be more efficient


  • Not everyone has internet access
  • Trust that students are doing thee prep work for class
  • Lots of teacher preparation.

Can I even use it?

I teach grade 1 and was curious if teachers used flipped learning in primary grades. All the articles I read and discussion I heard was for older grades. Could this model be used with my little people? I went to twitter and our google+ community to find out if anyone used it in primary grades. On twitter I hashtaged many primary chats #kinderchat, #1stchat, #2ndchat, #3rdchat, #edchat and even our #eci834. I was impressed with the response I got. Teachers were it with grade 1, grade 2 and grade 3. Not only were thy using it but it was working. Here is some of the response I got.

I then had deeper conversations with these teachers and they explained some of the tools they used. I found flipped learning happens a lot in math. My findings showed me that primary teachers could use it and be successful.

How can I use it my classroom?

I found an article that simplified flipping a classroom. It said

Don’t flip a class:  Flip a lesson.”

This makes sense. Why complicate it. Start simple, start small. In my class I assign take home reading, sight words and sometimes math homework. With the stuff I assign home I get asked a lot about how my parents can help their kids with reading. I think this would be a great place to start. I could make videos of different reading strategies or comprehension strategies for students to watch with their parents. This way my parents know how I teach this and they can help my grade 1 students with all of the technical stuff that is required. After this is done and all parties understand what to do, I can expand to other subject areas and lessons.

Jennifer Stewart-Mitchell said that it was used in a grade ½ classroom as well as a grade ¾ classroom with a tool called flipgrid. After looking into this program it is a tool I could use. On twitter I was told that a grade 2 classroom used google classroom to flip. I also use seesaw in my classroom and am already connected to parents and students at home. I could use this to post videos of my mini lessons. I am excited that there are some tools shared with me that I could try. Needless to say I am very inspired and excited to get back to my classroom to try it.

Here is how it is done. I flip, you flip, we all flip!! Let me know if you flip and how it goes