Category Archives: Major Project #eci832

Dear Professor YouTube

Before I dive into YouTube and why I think it's the absolute best, an update on what I have been planning and researching for my Major Project this term:


1) YouTube: My continued commitment to posting my course lectures (can't post much else... maybe someday the computer science student projects?) This article covers my goals, how much time I spend during the week doing "YouTube stuff" 
2) TikTok (this one is going TERRIBLY haha... there's a link to a test TikTok I made... it got about 300 views in a day, and now it's dead. It's not educational at all): Update --> So my Drama Teacher friend doesn't actually use TikTok (I misunderstood her)--she cited draconian Divisional Policies as the culprit--but she is willing to chat with me about how she used Vine when it was a thing, and I think this is very similar to TikTok, so I AM going to interview her on that and post it.
3) Twitter/Instagram: I've lined up an interview with a colleague of mine who uses Twitter in his English class to great effect. I'll discuss my own usage of it as well, and how I've been developing my own use of it
4) Wakelet: How I've begun using it for presentations, and getting students to use it to summarize their own learning. 

Remember... my personal journey is not to develop resources for others (well, my YouTube really is for my students who like to review their notes)... and I guess the Wakelets might be for public consumption... I'm just trying to chip away at the iceberg of things that I wish I was, which is why this project is such a great thing for me to develop personally... I feel like I have so far to go and I've been at it for so long already....

To learn, students need to DO SOMETHING.

                                                                          ~Cult of Pedagogy
                                                                                      (from this article)

World Class Lectures For FREE

I mean, come on, where else would you be able to get world class lectures without actually attending the university or lecture in person? That's right, on YouTube :)
YouTube is a strange place where you can learn anything. I keep saying it's the best thing since sliced bread. For a motivated learner, I really do believe you can find almost anything you want to learn for free on YouTube. Draw back? Quality isn't always great, but for a lot of mainstream subjects, it's amazing given that it's also FREE. A smattering of amazing educational channels follows for your own use:

Some of my favourite channels (no particular order):
2) Veritasium
3) PowerfulJRE
4) Numberphile
5) Mark Rober
6) VICE News (for how they go and do stories in war zones and places none of the mainstream places want to go)
7) DIY Creators
8) TED
9) CGP Grey
10) Kurzgesagt - In a nutshell
11) Biblical Series (found on Jordan Peterson's Page)
12) LastWeekTonight


Yeah, it's bleak. But that seems to be the case for just about anything useful on the internet. You want great services for free? Well, prepare for sketchy internet practices. I'm actually a big fan of things like Wikipedia (which have been shown to be better or just as good as the "name brand" guys), and if we have to pay for it, I think that is fair. I think it should be free to those who cannot afford it. As far as YouTube goes, it gets a D from Terms of Service--Didn't Read. So, for student use, you'll have to check with your divisional policies. For example, in my division, YouTube is blocked for students (crazy, it should be open!), but with special permission, I was allowed to get students to post to YouTube and use it in my classroom.


How I Have Been Using YouTube

Yes, 101 subs!
Two major ways:

1) To post my own lectures. My goal this semester continues to be (a holdover from #eci831) to upload every lesson. This means I am now doing this for 3 courses: Grade 10 computer science, Grade 11 Calculus, and Grade 12 Calculus. It doesn't sound like much, but this takes me about 20-30 minutes five times a week... this time involves editing videos, creating them, and uploading them. It takes a surprisingly long time... but I am happy to say that compared to how I felt about it last year, it is actually starting to become a HABIT to do this stuff... small victory! That was my major roadblock before!

-The lessons are typically around the 35 minute mark. That's long! I'd like to develop quick 5 minute topic overviews... like "how to _______" videos for those who need quick refreshers. I'd start this with math videos. 

-In January I had 57 subscribers. Now I have 101. I'd like to have 150 by the end of April!

-Continue uploading videos until I have every course covered.

-Post links to my blank notes in the description of each video so people can download them. This involves uploading the PDFs (which I have to create!) to my Dropbox. 

2) I use YouTube as a way for students to show their learning. This is self explanatory. Idid this last semester with my Grade 11/12 computer science class and it was great! I hope to continue doing this!

Goals are hard!!


The last thing I'd leave you with is a video I've posted before (in eci831 I think)... it's one of my favourite videos. It's from Derek Muller, who I think is a bit of an inspirational figure for me anyways... I enjoy his YouTube channel... he has spent a bit of time working for Bill Nye, and did his PhD thesis in physics education

It doesn't matter what happens around the learner... we are not limited by what experiences we can give to students... no technology is inheritably superior to any other... researchers spent so much time researching whether one technology was more effective than another, that they failed to investigate exactly how to use the technology to promote meaningful thought processes. So the question really is, what kind of experiences promote the kind of thinking that is required for learning?

                                                                                                                                                                          ~Derek Muller
                                                                                                                                "This Will Revolutionize Education", 4:09 - 4:48

Alright, well, that's it for an update. I've been spending a lot of my energy on YouTube... and I've been doing a lot of research for Twitter, and for TikTok. Hopefully I'll have those interviews done in the next week or two (my Robotics Club has been keeping me mad busy though!!)

Stay curious friends,


Ribble Me This…

The Essential Elements!

We examined Ribble's Nine Elements of Digital Citizenship this week in #eci832. I've been reflecting how this relates to my social media journey project. I'll be looking at TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter, and maybe Wakelet as I journey into the wilderness of social media and education. TikTok is the first one I am tackling. Progress has been slow. This is a bit related to being a content-catalyst for next week's ECI832 Lesson! It's hard, yet inspiring, to try to keep up with the Hollywood videos created by the amazing group last week: shout out to Catherine, Nataly, Amanda, and Melinda.

I'm especially interested in TikTok... so while I believe all these points apply to the other social media platforms I'm examining, I'm especially turning my attention to TikTok. Here they are.... 

Element 3. Digital Communication and Collaboration: "the electronic  exchange of information".
Well, TikTok allows people to exchange videos, which could have any sort of content or purpose. The most popular "purpose" I've seen in my "studies" on TikTok is that of entertainment, meme generation/spreading, and self-promotion. 

Element 4. Digital Etiquette: "standards of conduct or procedures and has to do with the process of thinking about others when using digital devices".
There is great potential to discuss the appropriate use of Etiquette when utilizing TikTok, as you are presenting yourself to the world when you post a video.

Element 5. Digital Fluency: "the process of understanding technology and its use. Includes  the ability to discern good information from poor, such as “fake news” from real news." 
Lots of information is shared on TikTok, from memes, to reactions to current events, and news. Discerning what is valuable from what is not is certainly a part of this platform. Choosing it for entertainment or information is another. 

Element 6.  Digital Health and Welfare: "physical and psychological well-being in a digital world. Educators need to ask the question of how much screen time is appropriate for students."
My biggest downfall is opening the TikTok app. I've started setting a timer for 10 minutes, because time flows differently when you open the TikTok app. It's easy to drain an hour watching video after video. This is not OK. Definitely a discussion for students around appropriate use and screen time limits. 

Progress on TikTok

I've recently identified from some discussions with students ways that they think TikTok might be useful in education. We all agreed that perhaps for Drama/theater, TikTok might actually be useful for motivating students, and giving them a global audience for their performances. See the video below that I filmed today while I was having some candid conversations with some of my grade 11/12 computer science class about TikTok and how they use it. 

Well, you heard it here first! Some kiddos use it as their news source (which scares me frankly). It was in another unrecorded conversation where one student suggested it'd be great for Drama/Theater. So I went to the drama teacher, and low and behold, she said that coincidentally, her grade 12 class was just talking about TikTok today! Imagine that! The butterfly effect? Who knows! ​

A Collaboration!

So, my colleague and I, we decided that she would try to use some TikTok in her classroom, and let me know how it goes. I'll do a quick interview with her, and post it as part of my examination of TikTok, whenever it is complete! I am excited to share the results with you!

Do any of you foresee any useful educational uses of TikTok? I really can't find much on the web that actually seems reasonable/useful, at least at the high school level. Drama/theater was a new idea for me!

Till next time, 

Stay curious,


Social Media: A simple Prairie Boy’s Personal Journey

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.”

                                                                            ~Marcus Aurelius

And so, before I've even finished my Wakelet project from #eci831, (and yes, thanks for asking, this is actually the week where it all comes together--my class is working so hard--so I hope to have it complete by next weekend!) I'm embarking on another journey, YAY! I hope there is good candy and snacks along the way. 


I began my personal journey with a quick reflection of my own interactions with social media. Just a few days ago, I opened the TikTok app, and marveled at how I literally drained 35 minutes of my life. Granted, this behavior is one I struggle with--I was procrastinating this post, among other things. I could have gone for a nice run in 35 minutes, I could have cleared my mind, found some peace--but TikTok is addicting. There are Memes about it.

I did a lot of reading. I even bloody Googled about it, and found that there is a movement of Silicon tech people--from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs--who limit their own kids use of social media and technology. Head scratching, but enlightening? 

“Those devices in our pockets, are so psychologically powerful, that they don't only change what we do, they change who we are.”

                                                                                  ~Sherry Turkle
                                                                    (from her TED talk, ​Connected, but alone? 2:36-2:48)

Potter's book on Media Literacy talks about "automatic processing, information problems, media exposure, programming, automatic routines, gluts of information that aggressively pursue us" and other things. What is this social media beast?
Mark Federman comments on Marshall McLuhan's "the medium is the message" in his commentary, "What is the Meaning of The Medium is the Message". He speaks to understanding how the medium of our messages subtly alters the meaning of our messages, and speaks to the unintended consequences of the technologies we use, how they alter us without our knowing, until it is obvious much, much later.

And if we discover that the new medium brings along effects that might be detrimental to our society or culture, we have the opportunity to influence the development and evolution of the new innovation before the effects becomes pervasive.

                                                                            ~Mark Federman

                                                                                                                                                          (from "what is the Meaning of the Medium is the Message?)


The hardest hitting quote from Mark Federman for me was the above. It is up to us to decide the value of something, and whether or not we are going to interact with it. Students can't help but be affected by their teachers, they spend so much time with us. That is why we have such a sacred job. So if something is detrimental, perhaps we can get ahead of it before much damage is done. 

Many social media platforms favor brevity over many other things. TikTok is a short 60 second or less video, with the default video being 15 seconds. Twitter is 240 characters. Do we lose anything when this is the case? Does it matter? I don't know, I just teach math and computer science. 

But I can think about it. And that's what I hope to do on my personal journey. 
What does it mean for us when the guy who used to be the host of Fear Factor (admit to watching it), Joe Rogan, now has more than 1.5 BILLION listens per year, giving him as much reach and coverage as most major news organisations? Do people really actually crave long form journalism, where people have time to actually expound their views? It does appear to the case. Who is listening? Who's the audience? 

So, in light all all this, my plan is to review a few social media platforms/apps, and see what their utility might be in the classroom, but I also plan to look at their utility for us in general in our lives. If I am going to use them with students, I would hope that they have the potential to be good for their development and growth long term.

I plan to examine the educational uses, life uses, drawbacks, and controversies around....

-TikTok (can it be useful in the classroom? Or is it just something everyone looks at? I've just recently started using this app)

-Twitter (this one seems obvious to review, both for educational purposes and just general life purposes)

-YouTube (and it's potential both in and out of the class)

-Something else (yes, mystery! This is a maybe, as time permits ... it will all become clear!)

​Alrighty. I'd like to leave off with one last article... I found it interesting, and I do believe the picture actually got shared in our last class...
I found a good thought piece​ about it, so I'll leave you with a quote for thought. Thanks for sticking with it... 

Stay Curious,


But the most important difference is what happens after the newspaper was done: people talked to each other about what they’d just read. They could engage in a civic discourse about the news of the day, because they were all reading the same basic material.

                             ~From Alt Ledes post, "Stop Sharing This Photo of Antisocial Newspaper Readers