Category Archives: Major Project #eci831

Major Project #eci831 Continues!

Just a quick update--I've graded all the tutorials that cover 3 different units, we have 3 tutorials per unit. Some of them are absolutely stellar and the others provide a good alternative if you need more!

We hope to wrap up classes, methods, and arrays so that in January we can work on remixing the class notes, exercises, and solutions, and provide some quizlet quizzes as well! We'll post the entire course with tutorials and everything to Wakelet for anyone's use!

ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS! Stay tuned for a link to Wakelet!

Major Learning Project “Final” update: The Project Never Stops! (more updates later!)

Well, after a long and perilous journey, I've reached the end of #Eci831.

The learning project continues however. 

My class did actually set out and do something that I didn't expect them to do: create video tutorials to summarize their learning for each unit. This involved doing some things that not everyone was comfortable with, namely:

-Creating a Script and a plan for the video tutorial
-Recording Audio & Video
-Editing audio and video
-Sharing on YouTube

Along the way, we collaboratively planned the rubric, did a "dry run" of that rubric, and updated it 3 more times along the way. 

The entire process meant I spent a LOT of lunch hours in my computer lab, helping students edit video and audio, finding quiet places for them in the school to record audio if they weren't able to do it at home, and iron out other issues that came up as they created their tutorials. 
The class YouTube channel has 39 videos uploaded by my class. This is basically 2 months worth of work! And I still have 4 videos that at the time of writing I need to grade and upload.

​It's amazing how many videos 9 kids can crank out in 2 months. We have 39 videos on the channel currently, and I have at the time of writing, 4 more to grade and upload. 

I don't think this is going away. I had just one student who opted to do the ALTERNATIVE ASSIGNMENT of writing tests and creating an in class only program for each unit. He did attempt to create videos, but found it just wasn't for him. I am glad there was an alternative way for him to display his learning that he was comfortable with. 

Besides seeing my students' progress, and how they helped each other complete their tutorials, was the back and forth between me and my peers in #eci831.

Special thanks to the group session between Dean, Kayla, and Melinda and I, my project took on a new aspect. It was suggested that perhaps I could make a Wakelet of the entire Grade 11 Comp Sci course, and have my students' videos showcased there. 

My class didn't get there quite yet, as we have to cover some course material together for the next 2 or 3 weeks. But in January, I anticipate that we will be remixing my class notes (each student will take a section), and we will create exercises and solutions for each unit. We will showcase the "best" tutorial video for each section on Wakelet. I went ahead and made the Wakelet page, seen below, although it'll be empty until January. I do intend to continue blogging about my adventures, so if anyone wants, come check it out in January (I'll post to Twitter when I update). 
The (for now) empty Wakelet page I made for my classes' notes and videos, to be completed in January 2020. Exciting!

So, what have I learned from this project? So much! The thing that really stuck out to me was that my students NEVER COMPLAINED about the amount of work this was. I think it exceeded the amount of time an average student would have spent studying for a test. Never once did I hear a complaint. I think the students value creating content, and see the utility in it. I asked a few why they didn't complain. Some said they'd rather do this than a test. Others said they liked the idea of upload to YouTube. I was floored either way. I **think** that high school Matteo would have just wanted to take the test because it would have taken me less time (I would have said more time to hang out with friends or do things I actually liked). But, who knows what I might have said. I did also really enjoy learning. I can recall a few projects in computer science I spent waaaaay too much time on because I enjoyed the class. 

I have to say that sharing online is never going to be something that I hesitate to do again after this project, and after this course. For that, I have to thank not only Alec, but also especially the passion I observed in all my peers in #eci831. You guys really inspired me to take the extra step of posting online. THANK YOU. 

If you wish to view the progress of this project, I have conveniently kept each post under it's own tag, which you can find on the right hand side of the page. 

So, signing off, but not for the last time (not ever!)... stay curious...

Curiously yours,


Major Project Update Nov 18 – 22

Well, we crawl along!

This Friday was the due date for the next round of tutorial videos! The exciting thing for me was that we covered three different chapters, since I broke up the students into smaller groups two weeks ago. The production process took much less time than last time as well! These are some big pluses. 

In typical fashion, I have about one third of the videos actually in hand... with a lot of promises from other students that they just need until Monday. I'm lenient as usual, well... because most of the videos will come in, and if they are of higher quality because of the delay, that's only a good thing. 

It's fine, as most students began working the next set of notes, Arrays... this means that I hope to be complete the majority of the course material by December, which would leave us the entire month of January to remix the notes, create exercises, solutions, and Quizlet practice for our Grade 11 Computer Science Wakelet Course!

In order to get a better sense of how things are going, I interviewed a student today about what he thought about the new upcoming Wakelet project, and the new rubric and process for making the tutorials. See the quick four minute video below of the interview:

It was funny that my dear student forgot about the Wakelet part of the project... in his defense I do believe he was away for Major Production last week when I introduced the idea to the class.

And, as usual, if you hate watching videos, the summary:

The highlights:
-The student discussed how he thought it was neat that we'll make our own exercises and solutions, and quizzes on Quizlet. 

-We discussed how nobody really complained about how much "extra" work this is in class, say, compared to a 1 hour test.

-He thought is that tests are too stressful anyways, require a lot of prep time at home (while we do all our stuff in class for these video tutorials, which he thought was a big plus, leaving his home life free to do what he likes.... currently he is building a "smart" mirror in his spare time) and aren't overly useful in terms of retained knowledge.

-He really thinks making the tutorials actually makes him learn the material better.

-We also discuss the futility of "homework" when you go home and are stuck anyways... doing everything in class means you'll have more resources like your peers and the teacher in order to get help.

Well... that's about it! I'm excited to see how this project evolves over time... I'm sad that it won't be complete until the end of January... but I intend to continue updating my blog, so it's possible some of you may see the finished product!

I don't think we'll do this every year... but I will definitely do it over again in Semester 2. I like to do something new every year or two as my own interests evolve, so I actually wonder with starry eyes what I'll be doing with my grade 11 class in two years.... and of course, I'm always getting input from students, prior and present! 

We'll be having a few guest speakers coming into class, mostly former students of mine who now work in the industry, so that'll be a nice break for my students, and a great opportunity to really hear from people who are "doing" this stuff out there.

Until next time, stay curious!

Curiously Yours,


Major Project Update: Nov 12-19

Big changes unveiled this week! I'll list them out:

1) Rubric Update:

I added a clarity of content/examples section on the suggestion of the students and removed the story board section. We found the script was fine, and storyboards were not necessary (although some students made them).

I also added a section for the completion of the video description, and adding time stamps on the video. See the new rubric below! The first and last sections are new!

2) Major Project Part 2 is introduced: Using Wakelet to make a Curated Class set of Notes

So the major idea here is that we will complete our class tutorials for each section, much easier now that only 2 or 3 students will be making a video per chapter. That should wrap up by end of November. 

Then, I will have students remix my notes to make them more student friendly.
We will also create our own exercises, and solutions for each exercise.

We'll then make a Wakelet for our Grade 11 computer science class, and see what the world thinks! We plan to include our "best" tutorial for each section (class vote), the class notes for each section, as well as the class exercises and solutions in the Wakelet.

A big special thanks to Dean, Kyla, and Melinda for helping me with this idea the other day during our breakout session in class! You guys are the BEST! :D 

Alright. That would basically be it for this week. I took a video (below) of me introducing these ideas to my class. They were very receptive, and were excited at the prospect of "fixing up my course and sharing it with the world". It's amazing how quickly they went from being sort of anxious about "being on the internet" to "let's do this!". What a great class, and an amazing experience for me as a teacher, who was sort of skeptical about the value of sharing everything we do with the "world". 

I can only thank everyone in this course for this opportunity. 

So, stay curious.



A quick video of me introducing our big developments discussed above with my class!

Update on Learning Project Nov 4-11

This is going to be a very brief post! I've been mad busy doing report cards the last 4 or 5 days, so it's been a roller coaster!

The students just wrapped up the last unit on conditional control structures, so there isn't much to report.

This next week will be spent on them creating their videos in class. It's also a short week at the school here, as parent teacher interviews are this Friday, and Monday was Remembrance Day. 

The students are excited to give each other some feedback. I am hoping this process will be much more valuable now that they've had my feedback first on their first video. I think I mentioned last time that I broke the students into smaller groups, so there will only be a few videos per topic, and thus I'm hoping the feedback to go more smoothly as well. 

I've also discovered how to organise the YouTube channel better into Categories, so I spent some time doing that as well! Check it out below by clicking on the picture!

Hopefully I'll have more to report next week! I anticipate that I will!

Stay curious,


Nov 1, 2019 Update on YouTube Tutorials

This picture needs no attribution, because it's MINE!! A great student (second in from the left) actually created this graphic for our YouTube Channel, yay! :D THANK YOU!
Wow, it's been busy these last few weeks. I literally just finished uploading all the tutorials I received (Well, lets be honest, I had to hound a few people, and I am unfortunately still waiting on 2 people to hand in... -_-)

My class YouTube Channel, "Coding Tutorials" has a NEW YOUTUBE BANNER, YAY! Special thanks to my student Yulie (who wishes to otherwise remain anonymous) on her creation of our excellent new banner.

I've made a quick video and posted it to YouTube if any of you prefer to hear my beautiful voice and see pretty pictures of things such as rubrics, videos, my computer monitor, possibly my coffee mug, and also my whiteboard. Oh, and don't forget the pretty fade to black transitions (cue Darkness My Old Friend!)

If you hate videos, I'll quickly summarize below after the link:
The quick and dirty version of my YouTube video:

-I gave the students my feedback (see video to actually see some of the rubrics filled out).

-A few students added some text to the screen as they narrated to summarize things and I found this really useful so I showed the class. I hope my modelling how I expect the critiques to work will help them out, as this time they will be giving each other feedback (I wanted them to experience my feedback first before having them do it this round).

-I have decided it's a must that students write their own descriptions for their videos on YouTube, so we are adding that in to the Rubric. 

-I also wanted students to add a table of contents with timestamps to each respective area to their video (in the description under the video on YouTube). This will make the videos much more useful as various concepts are covered in each one.

-THE BIG NEWS is that I've also decided that since it took so long (3 weeks) or so for students to make the first batch of videos (we were also working on class notes and things) is that I'm breaking down the concepts into groups, and having 3 students do each video only. I don't need 9 or 10 videos for the same concept. The fact it was taking so long was really bothering me, so I think this is actually a great solution, and also it gives the students some flexibility in choosing the concepts they feel most comfortable making videos for. Luckily I had a good spread with nobody fighting over the limited 3 spots per concept. See the video, last 1.5 minutes is the whiteboard with the concepts and student groupings. 

-This also means the feedback the students give each other can actually be done as a group of 3, which I feel will make it a lot more valid and useful for each grouping (versus just getting feedback from one person).

-Oh, also, my principal so was kind as to purchase me a $200 microphone so when I make my computer science videos at my desk I can sound oh so pretty. Yay! Thanks Bryce (follow him on Twitter here)!

So, there you have it. There were some real growing pains getting this far, but now most of the students are comfortable creating the videos, and the process has been completed one time. We have some good improvements in place for next time, and the students seem to really be taking to the idea of making these tutorials.

A shout out to Dean, who commented on a video after watching it! The students loved it and were really surprised that people are watching!

Till next time everyone!

Stay curious!



The problems roll in!

Quick update on the major project: doing YouTube Tutorials for Computer Science.

I made a quick 3 minute video to update on the progress so far:

In case you didn't feel like watching the video, the summary is thus:

-Microphones are in!

-Microphones don't like connecting to computers, but we figured it out eventually! They connected great to the students' phones.

-This is taking longer than I thought.

-I have the first few videos rolling in slowly.

-I briefly interview a few students on their tutorial making progress.

-Students didn't critique each other this round--I'm going to do it, so they have an exemplar of what I'm expecting. They'll do it on the next video!

-Next two weeks will be quiet as we learn the next unit of material.

Curiously yours,