Digital Activism

Photo CC By: SFview

We always hear that social media is what is ruining today’s youth. Kid’s nowadays are spending hours upon hours on social media, and some of that time causes problems with other kids such as; cyber bullying, constantly posting pictures of oneself and relentless re-posting of memes and GIF’s. Think about this, what if kid’s spent time posting and re-posting, to support a common cause and to stand up for their beliefs. What if they used it to be kind to each other, instead of put others down? Well that’s exactly what some young teenagers are beginning to do.

Teens are speaking out on social media about what is happening in their schools, hometowns, and nationwide. I think more than ever right now, teens are getting involved in the Presidential race. They are researching what a good president might need to be successful, and they are sharing their thoughts and ideas with friends on social-media. If you need to know anything abut social-media, is that everything posted on there can spread like wild-fire. Once one person see’s an activist post, they do their own research and post their own thoughts and feelings, and it goes on and on and on.

Photo CC By: Becca Peterson

With the wide reach of social media, these important people begin to take a listen of what these young people are protesting about, and they do something about it! Pretty cool huh?

I myself have felt the need to get involved in the politics of our country right now, because it is so detrimental that we take interest in the going’s on of our lives. We need to make a stand to change nutrition habits, healthcare doctrines, cabinet seekers, school activities and budgets and so on.

As much as I want to put my phone down, and stay away from social media, it IS like an addiction and it does become hard to spend less hours a day away from it. However, we can use it to stay informed, speak our minds (appropriately) and stand up for others thoughts and beliefs.

So should we be teaching our youth

to stay away from the gadget’s and gizmos? Or be showing them more productive use of their screen time? As a teacher, I have been told by other teachers the amazing effects that using social media in the classroom (and teaching students the appropriate use of it) has done wonders on student moral and learning. However, I just don’t know if I can bring myself to start this with my students. At what point do we get our students to go to a school board meeting to speak out? Or go to a county board meeting? Or rallies for activism all over the world? Shouldn’t we get kid’s out and about sharing their thoughts as well?


Back at My Independent Learning Project

Photo CC by: Carolyn B

I actually worked a lot on my quilt over the spring break. I didn’t measure the quilt quite right, so I ran out of cut out strips to sew together, for the 8″ blocks. I spent hours, I mean HOURS on cutting out a ton of strips so that my quilt looks more conformed. I also sewed the quilt “strips”, which consist of the 8″ square blocks (made of the strips I cut out),  altogether. So now everything that I have sewn so far, is one big piece of quilt!

I did this so that I can kind of lay it out easier, and see how many more strips of blocks I need to sew together to finish the whole top part of my quilt. The next step for me to take was to start to pin together the strips that I am going to sew.

Honestly, I learned a lot of patience this week. I need to slow down, and not try to hurry so that my quilt looks like it has quality to it not just “slapped together”. So the two hours a week that we are supposed to be working on this project, have turned into about two hours or so a day, just because it does take a lot of time for it to have that quality look, and everything matches up uniformly.

Photo CC By: Josie Ray

There were a few strips that I did sew together, and I sewed them on backwards. So…I had to go back, and rip each stitch out of them (which takes WAY longer to do this than it does to sew it), and then re-sew them together…the right way. Ugh!

Something else I learned this week is that I had wound the bobbin (the string inside the sewing machine that attaches itself to the needle’s string so the stitching is tight) in my sewing wrong and, the string was knotted. Well, that kind of ruins the material a bit! So, I YouTube’d how to wind the bobbin correctly so that it wouldn’t get twisted up, and this helped me big time.

I cant wait to get some more time to work progressive this next week, to finish the whole front of my quilt. this way I can quilt the back on and then all that I will have left is the hard part- figuring out what edging to put on the quilt. I have done a lot of research on what I think looks best, or what might be better for an intermediate sewer. I just can’t decide yet!

Connecting and Learning Online

I have found that sharing information online can have a huge impact on a person, whether it be negatively or positively. Having the opportunity to create and share new ideas opens up such a vast variety of information to learn, and to take what we have learned and expand upon that learning. As a future teacher, I want my students to use technology and learn information, that maybe I would to provide the resources for or maybe not have the time to share with them.

One of the biggest most meaningful thing that we can teach our students is HOW to research new information on their own, and continue to share this information by blogging, tweeting or using other forms of social media. However, sometimes these social media devices have a downside, they be used for alternative motives, and especially with young people we have to teach them to protect themselves using this type of technology.

I recently watched a video on the positives of what it means to share and create on social media. George Curos, a fellow educator himself, describes what it means to be able to share your ideas on social media and create and share on social media. Even the smallest means of communication, like sharing something about your life (if only completely  appropriate) can boost morale and teach others to communicate and share kindness.

So how can we teach our students that their so beloved social media can be wonderful, but at the same time could very much be harmful? We have seen cases where people falsify who they are on the internet, and they lure young people to meet and aren’t who the young person thought they were. It creates a very dangerous world. We have also seen cases where students are putting TOO much information on social media sites, and are cause for cyber-bullying, or falsifying their own lives. Sometimes young people don’t realize the impact of their posts. Job employers, judges, police, teachers, and other important influences in a community has clear access of these postings and may cause them to not get that job, to get arrested, or may ruin their changes of getting into a good college.

This video frames the importance of what you put on social media, it lasts forever. So what can I teach my students about how to post appropriate meaningful information that promotes learning? Well, in Craig Badura’s “Digital Citizen Survival Kit” he makes an analogy to toothpaste and posting on social media. We can show our students that once the words are out (the toothpaste is out of the tube) they cannot be put back in (we can’t place toothpaste back in the tube). What we say is out there forever. So we have to think is it meaningful? Who does it support? What can be learned or said about it? Does it support positive, kind communication? Another one is; what would my parents say about this information, or a future employer or even my teacher?

I love that we can use social media’s as teachers to share and learn new ideas and information, and show each other positive support in academic careers and ventures. I am so eager to share this new found personal learning network with my students and show them what a positive communicative and supportive social learning network can mean.

It’s not just students that need to learn how to be careful about social media, but adults and teachers as well. I have taken the challenge of Googling myself to see what information comes up. The first thing that comes up is my Twitter, and Facebook accounts. The only information that it shows is my picture and where I live, and what college I go too. Probably too much information for strangers, but I do have proper privacy settings on both social medias so I feel comfortable in knowing this. Also, I don’t feel that my profiles are inappropriate in any way and everything posted is something that I might share with employers and other family members.

My blog also comes up, but everything on my blog is written to reflect learning and is completely appropriate and encouraged, that others read and reflect on the information.

What Technology has Taught Me So Far

Photo CC By: Colette Cassinelli

At first when I was told I had to take a digital literacy class in order to get my degree, I seriously had no idea what to expect. Just the term “digital literacy” itself, was not in my vocabulary. I have to say so far, that I have had a lot of fun learning new ways to use technology for my classroom! I probably NEVER would have started a Twitter account, which is one of the requirements, to tweet weekly, for the class. I thought Twitter was overrated and only used by those who wanted to keep up on the new celebrity problems. This class has most definitely met my expectation, if not completely altered them!

I think probably my favorite module/experience so far in this class, has been working on our independent learning projects, and blogging about them. I’m pretty sure you all are completely annoyed that I go on and on about sewing, of all things. I am getting obsessed with sewing and quilting and am constantly learning more and more about what new projects I think I will have to start this summer! You don’t imagine taking on projects like this as learning, you are just doing it for fun, but after reading the article, Mind Shift, it’s important to stop and reflect on what your doing, and what your learning from your situations.

I have also really enjoyed watching and learning about Ted Talk videos. I had never heard of them before, and I use them all of the time in other classes, or just to listen to on those days you feel you need a pep talk! I can’t wait to show them to my students, in hopes they will help them with some of their own problems. I have particularly enjoyed watching the ones on how teachers can improve their classroom, and how we need to help our students learn how to learn on their own, and use creativity to achieve learning, and life goals.

The only challenging thing in this class, has been to step out of my horizons and actually make this Blog, and my Twitter, and post actual aspects and ideas that pertain to something valuable. I think that most of the time, when I’ve used social media other places, it’s just been posting GIF’s or  re-posting meme’s. I had a small world view of what social media could do, and I think I got to see the big picture this way. Also creating a Vine, was completely out of this world for me but, I did it!

I hope to learn more, new ideas and ways to make my classroom better by learning and teaching myself how to use all of these new technology resources. I’m excited to get started with another challenge we are doing, the 30 Day Challenge, where I will start something new. I’ve done all of these new things, so why not keep the ball rolling!


How it’s going!

Well this week has been good for getting my quilt sewn. I have put a lot of blood sweat and tears into this thing! This week I finished sewing all the last blocks I had to sew together, the 8 X 8. Then I worked on actually worked on sewing those into strips that are as long as a queen size quilt. I have mentioned it before, but it’s easiest for me to just lay it across my bed and see where the ends fall, as to how long or wide the quilt will actually be.

So, once I finished sewing the strips together, I very nervously, decided now I need to start sewing the strips together to get the top of my quilt put together as a whole. Right now I just have almost all of them just pinned together for now. I did practice sewing the two long strips together with just the two that I could put at the bottom, just in case I messed it up! However, it went easily, I had no problems and it looked great.

The pinning has begun!

I find it so much easier to pin everything first, which was a recommendation from my mom actually. You see, when you pin all your strips together, you can just slide them in the machine one after another saving you some time, and it saves some thread. Usually, I would just do one at a time and then pull it out of the machine, when you do this, it pulls a lot of thread out with it, so there is a method to the madness!

Since I’m getting closer to sewing the strips together and getting the top of my quilt completed, I have been researching ways to attach the back to the front. I will just put a solid brown on the back of the quilt, so that it matches (and it’ also a little less expensive material). The middle of the quilt is this fluff stuff that comes on a big roll and it’s called batting , and this is more or less used as a filler or the stuff that gives the quit substance to keep you warm. It’s not to thick and it’s not too thin, and is made specifically for quilting.

Just keep sewing!


So, one of the ways I found to tie them together, it to actually tie them together. This method uses yarn. With a big needle you can come to the corners of your blocks on your quilt and pull the yarn through it, and make a knot. The second method, and the one that would probably look best on an adult quilt, is sticking all the pieces (the top, batting, and back material) through your sewing machine, and where your 8 x 8 blocks meet, sewing straight down a line, and do this for each row of blocks. You can do this by hand and it would probably look even nicer, but for the sake of time, this time I will opt for the sewing machine!

Discovering ds106!

Photo CC By: Alan Levine

As part of my research and discovery for alternative ways to teach, I have found ds106 to be very helpful in finding new ideas to make my classroom more innovative. So, what ds106 is, is a digital storytelling class, that is completely free course to take, for anyone around the world! What the creators of this website course have done, is made a site that anyone could complete assignments using various technology skills, to tell their own life stories, or even fiction stories that they felt they wanted to share. Anyone can challenge other students in the class to learn more, create more, and also can share ideas TO the creators, of more digital assignment possibilities.

What’s so awesome about the idea of ds106 is that people are continuously learning using their own resources, and learning from each other through the technological resources that we have been so blessed to have in our 21st century lives. Everyone has different creative ideas and abilities and if we can use technology to help each other learn, meet new people to share our ideas with, and let them share their ideas with us, the expanding of our learning just keeps on going!

Photo CC By: Thomas Fairbank

I have several ideas for this in my classroom. While I feel that I do not have the time to commit to actually signing up for this course, anyone can get on and check out the work that is being done by others completing and adding too the course. I can use some ideas of assignment’s from this course, and change it to fit my own lesson plans, so that my students can begin to share their learning stories though technology. I would be completely open to having my student’s submit assignment’s through sharing their own GIF or writing their own blog, or using compiled pictures, voice recordings, videos and even made up stories to explain how they might have learned and interpreted information that I have been teaching them.

Another thought that comes to mind, is making several learning experiences through videos of projects that the class has done, assignments that turned out awesome my student’s have submitted, to create a big story throughout the school-year of the learning that did take place in my classroom, and sharing this with ds106, parents and administrators. I always like to have hardcore evidence to give my students of what learning is and how much they have challenged themselves and succeeded throughout the year.

Photo CC By: Scott McLeod

This digital storytelling has endless possibilities, and it’s something that I will definitely keep going back to constantly to see what ideas others have shared, for myself to keep learning new digital technology, and then to share those ideas with my students, so that they can keep expanding their creative abilities through technology. It helps that there is a radio station and a TV channel that I can refer to and share with my students (when appropriate) so that they can also get a better idea and understanding of what it means to keep learning and sharing ideas though digital technology.




Inquiry Based Learning

This week I have really been researching different teaching/learning approaches to help my students learn that information that we have to teach, but they might not always be the most interested in. I have come across Inquiry-Based Learning, which is an approach that teachers can use to help aide students to learn how to learn. Now this sounds kind of confusing, but it means that us teachers essentially are there to give our students the resources and the tools, in order to learn how to learn on their own, and to get interested in learning!

What teacher’s can do to adapt this into their classroom is to first learn what your students are interested in, what makes them tick. This is an important component to any classroom that desires a safe and enriching environment. Help your student’s start the inquiry process, but connecting your curriculum topics to what they are interested in, and then ushering them to ask questions about the topic. How they feel about it, what more they want to know, and if things could be changed.

We call this questioning, taking in INTEREST in education. Then, the best way that I can explain this is to have you think back to your science classes in school. There was always a hypothesis, then finding the evidence or carrying out the experiment, supporting that evidence, and being able to explain and support all your reasoning. So essentially we are setting our student’s up to be scientists of their own education. Pretty cool right?

Photo CC By: Ken Whytock

So when we are teaching inquiry based learning,the teachers role is to find fun ways to express the topic and explain it. Then have students write down their hypothesis, or their questions, this get’s them thinking critically and using that higher level learning ability that aides in memory and creativity. Let your student’s communicate their thoughts with one another, they can then build more ideas and information as a class unit.

Next your student’s should conduct a little research, this is where they can utilize their beloved technology, to find out more information or to answer their questions, this is the experimenting or finding evidence. Then you can help them present their ideas by giving them choices on how to share their findings, through a presentation, a poster or some other type of art, such as writing.

Inquiry based learning has seriously become a science proved way to better the education process. If you would like to check out some more information on the subject there is an awesome organization that teaches teachers how to teach inquiry based learning, by using inquiry based learning to teach teachers!! Check it out: What is IBL?

I also want to share with you some excellent teachers to follow on Twitter, as part of following and getting a bigger Personal Learning Network that we discussed last week. Here they are: