Little Birds Tales Review

Little Bird Tales is an online site used to create stories for younger students (I would suggest K-4). It is an excellent digital storytelling application. One can go online and access it, or if using a tablet, an app can be downloaded for free. One can sign up for free and create stories. Little Bird Tales walks students through each step of creating their story and their website is very user friendly. When creating the story, students can upload photos, draw images, or record from their own webcams. The students can upload their artwork by scanning it onto a computer and insert it into their book, the students can use online images, or the students can capture their own images using a camera. Students can also use the online art pad tool to create their art. Students’ stories can then be recorded (narrated by the student) or written with text. Here is a short demo video of Little Bird Tales:

 

In order to fully embrace the program, I decided to try it out for myself and created a mini story. I wanted to use different types of art, so you will notice in mine, I have a combination of illustrations that I drew on the programs online art pad, a photo that I downloaded from Compfight (I wanted to see how/if the attribution would show up), and a personal photo. I also used the microphone feature to record a mini story. You can check out my story here (just click “Click to view my tale”):

 

What are some strengths and weaknesses of this program?

One of the strengths of this program is the ability to use technology to create stories for students. Students no longer have to write out their stories and illustrate their pictures using pencils. They are able to use different forms of media to creatively share their stories. I believe this is a benefit to the program; students are able to creatively express themselves in different forms, rather than just sticking to one media. Another strength is the fact that the website aims to provide a safe web environment for children, which means they are free of advertising, merchandising, and links to other sites.

If a teacher were to get a teacher account, which is a paid account, they would be able to add students to their account, and therefore the teacher can monitor the students’ progress on their stories. In addition to this on the teacher account, teachers can create lessons that are interactive and share with their students. There are also pre-made lessons; however I was unable to access to assess these as I do not have the teacher account. I can see this being a benefit for those students who are absent from class, as the teacher could record their voice on their lesson.

In terms of weaknesses, I learned that when you are creating your stories, you must click save and each page that you create does not auto save for you. For students, this may be tricky, and as a teacher, you would need to ensure that you inform students they must click save.

Another weakness of this program is when a student runs into an issue or something they are not sure how to do, the websites “How to” guide is not written so students could easily read it. I believe that this section is more geared towards adults and therefore if students had issues with the program, they could not necessarily solve it themselves.

In using the free account, there is not a lot of quota that one gets.   One gets 10MB and in my short tale that I shared above, I used 13% of that. Therefore, if using the free account, students could not have a multitude of tales saved.

How would I use this in the classroom?

Photo Credit: BC Gov Photos Flickr via Compfight cc

I believe that this has multiple uses in the classroom. The most obvious is storytelling where students could create their own story (creative writing). Students could also use this program to retell a story. They could simply create four pages, a title page, a page for the beginning of the story, a page for the middle of a story, and a page for the end of the story. It would be an effective way for the teacher to assess the student’s comprehension of the story. Because this site gives the option of recording your voice, it would also be a great tool to illustrate to students how they read; are they fluent readers? Students could assess what they sound like when they read; do they stop at the punctuation, are their sentences choppy, etc. Further, it could be used to create a report, such as a science report, as one can add text to the page, as well as illustrations. This tool would also be valuable when doing group work and creating a presentation. Students could each work on their own page, while still working on the same “tale”.

I believe that Little Bird Stories is an excellent tool for students to use in the classroom. There are many possibilities of use for the classroom.

 

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Twitter in the Classroom: A Conversation

Twitter Use in the Classroom: A Conversation between a Concerned Parent and a Teacher

By: Christina Thiel and Brad Slepicka

For ECMP 355, we were to create a mock conversation about the use of technology in the classroom.

 Photo Credit: andresmh Flickr via Compfight cc

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Parent:

Hello Miss Thiel,
I am contacting you in regards to the letter you sent home with Nicholas yesterday. In that letter, you mentioned that he would be making a Twitter account. Could you tell me more about the safety features in place behind this? I am concerned that he may come into contact with someone that would not have his best interest in mind.

Teacher:

Hello, Thank you for contacting me with your concern about the use of Twitter in the classroom.  The Twitter account will first be for the whole class. Therefore, each student will not have their own account.  The reason for this is that we have just begun a unit on digital citizenship.  Specifically, as outlined in the Saskatchewan Citizenship Education in Saskatchewan Schoolswe are discussing digital communication and digital literacy.  In terms of student safety, because this is a class account, the Tweets will be closely monitored by myself.  As part of the digital citizenship, students will learn about safety on Twitter and what to do if they notice a suspicious person on Twitter.

Parent:

Hi,

Thanks for explaining that and providing the information as to how this fits in with the curriculum. However, you still have not provided any information as to the exact safety features that will be used to ensure his safety online. Other than you monitoring the account, how will you do this? Are there privacy settings that you will be selecting? If so, what are they? Also, can explain more about the types of things that will be posted – I.e student work, pictures, announcements? You also said you will be working on digital communication. Who will the students be communicating with online? Thanks for your information.

Teacher:

Thank you for your reply. In terms of safety features, we will not be sharing personal information online.  For example, we will not share the name of our school on Twitter to protect the students’ identity.  I will ensure students know that they should not post their names, address, or phone numbers on Twitter.  To teach them this, I will model the appropriate behaviour first.  Then, we will move to having students compose their own Tweets; however, they will not post these Tweets until I have vetted them for appropriate content.  If you would like further information on protecting identity on Twitter, I recommend reading this article about online safety. 

I will also show students how to make their account private if they chose to make a personal account in the future, which means those who are not following the account cannot see the Tweets.

In terms of the types of things posted on Twitter, I will be posting student work with the student’s name and other forms of identification removed, pictures of the students working (unless they have not provided a media release form), as well as general classroom announcements.  I hope to use Twitter as a way for parents to stay connected to the classroom; that way, they are can see what their child is doing throughout the day.  Eventually, students will ease their way into composing Tweets to create a short (140 character) summary of their learning.  As explained above, these Tweets will be vetted by me prior to being tweeted.

As part of using Twitter, students will be communicating with another classroom in a different province.  I have already set this up with the teacher and therefore, I know that this is not a fake account.  Essentially, the classrooms will be pen pals over Twitter.  Twitter will obviously also be used for communication with parents.  If you have further questions, or would like clarity on any of the points, let me know.

Parent:

Hi again,

Thanks for providing all this information. This definitely helps me know more about what Nicholas will participating in class and that he will be safe. I do have one more question though. Will there be anything assigned with Twitter in terms of projects or work that he will have to work on at home? We live in a rural area and we are unable to get high-speed internet in that location. I am not sure how he will be able to keep up with his school work if this is going to be a large portion of his learning.

Teacher:

Hello,

In terms of projects or work that will be related to Twitter, there will be nothing that will have to be tweeted outside of school hours.  This also increases the safety of using Twitter in the classroom, as I am unable to see what students are doing on Twitter if they are not in the classroom.  I realize that internet is a challenge with some of our students and it would simply be unfair to assign homework that requires internet, which I know many students do not have access to.  Thank you for listening and understanding the importance of using Twitter in the classroom.  

Parent:

Hi there,

Alright, I do feel better about this project, but I am still a little reluctant. If there is anything else, I will contact you. Thanks for your time.

FINGER PAINTING!!

img_2421-2This week I tried something that I had not thought I would try. That is finger painting. I know your thinking WHY. I had never thought I would be finger painting (in fact, I did not even know that finger painting for adults was something adults did, unless you are with a young child). Jane, from Painting with Jane (I followed her tutorial last time, and you can check out my blog about that here) posted a new tutorial on YouTube that was about finger painting. I was very intrigued. I thought, is this something artists do? So, I looked it up. Sure enough, there are famous finger painting artists. For example, Iris Scott is a finger painter who paints with oils. Her work is incredible. I decided that I would follow Jane’s tutorial with finger painting.

When I set out to finger paint, I set everything like I normally do; however I then realized that I did not need my paintbrushes. I also realized this was going to be messy, and probably needed extra paper towel, and even a bowl to wash my hands in! The next step was finding a “paint shirt”. This reminded me of kindergarten! I also decided that I was going to video my finger painting experience because it was quite unique for me.

Here is the final video of me painting:

I learned few things while finger painting. Firstly, it is a great way to learn how to blend colours and what certain colours will look like when they are mixed. Secondly, I learned that it is definitely a “minimalist” way to paint. There are very few supplies needed, just your fingers, paint, and a canvas. And thirdly, it gets very messy. I had paint under my fingernails for quite some time after finger painting. I definitely had blue fingernails for a couple of days after painting.

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How I looked after finger painting

Photo Credit: sparky_vision Flickr via Compfight cc

I also learned a couple of things about video making. Firstly, check the storage on your phone and make sure there is enough room. As I was painting, I looked over, and all I saw was “Not enough storage. Your video has stopped recording”. I was devastated. So I quickly grabbed my phone (unfortunately I forgot that I was finger painting, and suddenly my phone was blue. Thankfully I got the paint off the phone and was back on track. I watched where the video had recorded to and I might have caught it right in time. It did not seem to miss much. I can tell that this happened once I put the final video together. At 1:06, there is a slight glitch where my phone ran out of storage. I also realized that I have a bad glare (sorry) the whole time. Next time, I will make sure to use better lighting!

In terms of the video making, it was quite easy. I used iMovie, which is a program I am unfamiliar with, however quite easy to use. When I was unable to figure something out, such as insert a title, I just “YouTubed” it and there are plenty of videos to follow.

Overall, I am extremely pleased with this painting. I did not think before or during that it was going to be a successful painting, however in the end, I am very pleased. My favourite part is the shadowing effect I was able to create with the vase. What is your favourite part?

My First #saskedchat

Last night, I joined my first #saskedchat. If you are not sure what #saskedchat is, it is a Twitter chat that happens every Thursday night. Educators from all over the world participate in answering questions about education and engaging with educators. Honestly, prior to ECMP355, I had no idea what a #saskedchat was. Even once I found out what they were, I thought that I did not have enough experience in the classroom to join in. After receiving feedback about our learning so far from our professor, Katia Hildebrandt, she encouraged me to join a #saskedchat to grow my PLN even further. Then, in class Thursday night, she mentioned it to the entire class and introduced us to TweetDeck. I was feeling confident that this was something I could do so I decided that I would join in.

There were a few challenges when I first joined the chat, as I was also in ECMP 355. I was definitely testing my multitasking skills. This may not have been the best way to start out, but honestly, I decided I just needed to jump in. Katia had also mentioned it was okay to lurk the first time joining a #saskedchat. I decided I would just jump in with both feet and actually Tweet and answer the questions. It was actually quite easy to do so, as the topic was about movement in the classroom, which is something that I am quite passionate about.

Here are a couple snapshots of the contributions I made to this weeks #saskedchat:

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A couple things I learned from #saskedchat:

  1. It goes quick. Since I was trying to pay attention in class and participate in the chat, I felt as though I missed some things. You have to stay on top of it, or you will miss it. I also focused more on answering the questions and reading what others said, rather than interacting with others. Interacting with others during the chat will come as I get more experienced.
  2. It is an EXCELLENT way to build your PLN. The number of followers I received screen-shot-2017-03-03-at-2-57-36-pmduring the chat was quite high (and they were others than just in the class!). I am quite excited to learn more from these wonderful educators. After the chat, Lemarr Treadwell reached out to me and sent me a photo of other educators (chat moderators) that are excellent people to follow! Without a doubt, I will be following these educators!

So the question, will I join a #saskedchat again? The answer is undoubtedly YES, next week!!

The Discovery of the Blowdryer for Painting…

This week on my painting journey I tried a kind of painting that I’ve never tried before and honestly, did not think I would like it! However, this is by far my favourite painting. The background is my favourite part.

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To begin, I got my inspiration after asking a Facebook group where I should learn to paint. You can read about that in this blog post. Someone suggested Paint with Jane. I found her on YouTube (and Twitter) and found a painting that I liked. Something that I really appreciate about Jane’s channel is her organization. She has her videos in playlists and the playlists are labeled “beginner paintings”, “Christmas paintings”, Halloween paintings”, etc. I have found that this organization makes it very easy as a beginner to find paintings that are not too difficult.

This is the tutorial that I followed here:

Something that I appreciated was that in the Painting with Jane video’s description box was a list of the paintbrushes that Jane uses (the size/shape). Also listed was the colours and the brand of colours that she used. I think what helped contribute to my success painting was the fact that I had the correct paintbrushes and the correct colours (except one). Although I have a different brand, the names of the colours were the same. I did not have the colour “Cadmium Yellow Deep Hue”, however I ran out of white paint, so had to go to Michaels. I wrote down the name (and brand) of the paint that she used, and compared it to the brand that I have when I was at Michaels! Thankfully there was a very close match!

Jane’s tutorial was very easy to follow. The angle of the camera was correct and the lighting was very good to see what she was doing. Further, she often held up her “palette” (I think its actually a paper plate!) so I was able to see what exactly she was doing when mixing colours and getting colour on her brush. When she said “get a lot of yellow on your brush”, a lot can be interpreted in many ways, however because she showed herself putting it on the brush, I was able to see what she meant by a lot.

Something that I learned, which shocked me, was to use a blowdryer to speed up the amount of time it takes to dry a painting. When Jane said, now grab your blowdryer and begin drying, I thought that I did not hear her right. I think I had this face and said, wait, what, when she said grab your hairdryer. Sure enough, after some research, yes, you do use a blowdryer to help speed up the drying time. This painting took a lot of layers, and many times drying had to happen before I was able to move on so was able to speed up the process using a blowdryer.

When I was doing this painting, I learned a new technique. To make a distressed fence look, you actually paint a combination of white, umber, and black underneath the red colour. This way the dark spots show through in the red paint. As I was doing this, I was unsure of how it was going to turn out, but the fence is one of my favourite elements on this painting!

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Overall, I am very happy with this painting. It is by far by favourite painting that I have done! Stay tuned for more paintings!

A Visit from Carol Todd

This past week, we had the privilege of having Carol Todd come to ECMP355. I was very impressed with her poise and confidence as she talked with up about her daughter, Amanda Todd. Not only did she share about her daughter, she shared the importance of educating parents and students the dangers of online use. Something that Carol Todd shared that made me stop and think was when she said “There are no words as ‘Get offline now’”. Our students are always connected online and if they are not, they are thinking about being online. During our lessons, our students may be thinking about how many “likes” their post got on Facebook, or how many retweets their post got on Twitter. The danger now is that students may be using Facebook and Twitter, but they may also be using other platforms that could lead to the same situation that was of Amanda Todd.
Laptop with a webcam over the table with reflection

Photo Credit: Pageupshop Flickr via Compfight cc

Prior to class, I watched two CBC documentaries; “Sextortion of Amanda Todd” and “Stalking Amanda Todd: The Man in the Shadows”. Throughout these videos, there were many take away points. One of the biggest shocks was when Amanda’s dad was talking about how he believed having a webcam was not a danger, but a place where Amanda could perform. With the rise of online use and sextortion, educators must educate both the parents and the children of the risks of being online, especially with video. This is not to say that videos are an excellent tool, but children must know how to use the webcam appropriately. During Carol Todd’s presentation, she stated that many social media platforms, such as Snapchat, provide people with a false sense of security. Prior to this class, I personally did not realize that Snapchat stored all the photos that everyone has sent. I was intrigued by this and decided to do some research on the topic. I read an article about a digital forensic who actually found that photos are not deleted from Snapchat. He says that “It’s not that [a photo is] deleted — it just isn’t mapped anymore”. This has many implications for students who are using Snapchat, thinking that their photos are deleted after 10 seconds. This all relates back to the education that we must not provide our students. We cannot assume that parents of our students will provide this education as many of them did not grow up with Snapchat, or quite simply do not realize this about Snapchat, or other social media platforms.

During Carol Todd’s visit, a constant question in my mind was how does this relate to the younger grades? I do see this being more of an issue in middle years or high school. This does not mean that I do not have a responsibility as an elementary teacher to provide students with education. Carol Todd mentioned that we must be role-models with technology. We must show students how to use to appropriately. Discussions about using appropriate technology should be started in the early grades as many students are using it when they go home from school and at school. As a teacher, I also need to build trust with my students and make sure they know that I am there for support. Carol Todd mentioned that if a student and teacher do not have the trust relationship, they may not come to you or they may not tell the whole truth. This could have dire consequences, as we say in the Amanda Todd case.   It is also important to educate our young that if they hear their older sibling discuss something online that is wrong, they come to their teacher. Then the teacher can either inform the parents that something more is going on, or depending upon the relationship with the older sibling, talk to the older sibling about it.

After watching documentaries about Amanda Todd and listening to Carol Todd speak, I believe it is needed that our schools discuss internet safety, including sextortion. While it may be uncomfortable for both the teacher and the students, this conversation could save someone’s life. In reading this article on sextortion, the situation after someone is sextorted is quite grim. Therefore, we must educate our students, and begin at a young age.

Having Carol Todd come to our class was an invaluable learning experience. I will always remember her message. I will also remember her calmness and her poise when discussing such a sensitive topic. Carol Todd is a role model for those teaching internet safety.

Digital Citizenship in the Classroom

In an age where we are bombarded technology, it is imperative to teach our students the importance of technology and what technology can do for us. Some people (I used to be one of these) think that we should not use technology in the classroom because students have enough screen time at home, so they need to learn from other sources. After reading Nathan Jurgenson’s article The IRL Fetish and reflecting to what I believed in the past, I fit that category of being a “digital dualist”. Digital dualism is “the habit of viewing the online and offline as largely distinct”. After reflecting on this and through the learnings of ECMP355, I have realized that being online and having students online is not a bad thing, and we must embrace it.

 

Portrait of smart schoolgirls and schoolboys looking at the laptop in classroom

Photo Credit: mommymundoxyz Flickr via Compfight cc

Our culture today embraces technology and part of embracing technology means using it effectively in our classrooms and educating students on how to use technology. Therefore, we must teach our students digital citizenship. According to the Digital Citizenship Using Technology Appropriately website, Digital citizenship is defined as “the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use”. As someone who is focusing on teaching younger grades, I believe education on cyberbullying and technological literacy starts at a young age. We first must teach students about the appropriate use of technology. Therefore, in my classroom, I will focus on digital etiquette. I must teach students appropriate behavior online and teach students how to recognize inappropriate behavior online. In the classroom, I see this as an “I do, we do, you do” exercise. For example, first, I will begin by creating a class Twitter account, and each day, show the students what I am tweeting and make observations about the kinds of things I am tweeting. Secondly, I will collaborate with the students and they will instruct me what to post. In this stage, I imagine I will have discussions about what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. At this stage, we may have conversations about digital security and digital access. Finally, I will have students create their own Twitter accounts and let them tweet on their own. Throughout this process, digital literacy will be taught. In using Twitter, students may be exposed to new digital platforms and as a class, we may be exposed to new ones.

Touchscreen smartphone with cloud of colorful application icons isolated on white background Photo Credit: taihwaterryho Flickr via Compfight cc

To some, this may seem like another task to add to an already busy school year. The Government of Saskatchewan has come out with a document, title “Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools” that all teachers should read to gain information of how digital citizenship fits into the curriculum. I believe that using technology for students to gain knowledge and create products is a way to integrate digital citizenship. I also believe that some aspects need to be explicitly taught and there are many opportunities to fit digital citizenship in the curriculum. For example, in grade two health, an outcome is “Demonstrate a basic understanding of how thoughts, feelings, and actions influence health and well-being”. Part of this could be examining how your online actions affect one’s well-being. According to the Digital Citizenship in Saskatchewan Schools document, grade two students should understand that they must teat others the way they wish to be treated in real life and using technology. During this outcome, we can teach grade two students about the proper way to treat others online and the implications if we do not.

I believe that if we begin to educate our students at a young age about digital citizenship, they will become more informed and be able to make the right decisions when it comes to online behavior. Math in the younger grades is foundational for more complex math. For example, students learn to add at a young age, and this is used throughout life. Similarly, we must give the students the tools they need for digital citizenship and lay the foundation for when they are older.

Reflections on My Learning

So far in my painting journey, I have completed 4 paintings and thought this was an appropriate time to look back at what I have learnt, and where to go from here. I also have joined some online groups that are associated with acrylic painting.   I believe that during a learning process, it is appropriate to stop sometime in the middle to evaluate what is working and what is not. This way, I can see if I am accomplishing my goal, and if I am not, I can re-evaluate how I will accomplish my goal. In the classroom, when students are learning a new skill, I think it is important to teach them how to reflect on their learning and look at the big picture. So far, I have reflecting on each individual painting, however in this post, I want to look at all the painting and reading that I have done thus far.

Looking at the types of tutorials I have been using, I am surprised at how I am learning best. It appears that I learn best by watching artists paint, and mimicking their actions. Prior to painting, I always thought I was a visual and auditory learner, however I am finding that those videos with audio leave me frustrated and I do not learn as much. I was very surprised at how my painting where I did not follow a tutorial went as I did not have a “set in stone” plan when I started, but used my painting instinct as to what should be included in it.

In addition to watching tutorials, I have been reading a lot about acrylic painting. At the
beginning, I thought I would just “dive in” and paint, however now I am realizing that by reading about what I am doing, and different techniques, it is going to help me to become less reliant on the videos. For example, at the beginning of painting, I was using old paintbrushes (probably from my childhood) and disregarded when the video would discussthe different brush to use. After reading more about different techniques of painting and watching videos of artists painting, I decided I needed to do more research about having the correct brushes. I also decided that it would lead to fewer frustrations if I had to correct brushes so I went to Michaels and bought a new package of brushes! I consulted this graphic which discusses the different kinds of acrylic brushes. I found this was a very good learning sources, as it matched each brush with what kind of painting it is good with. I was introduced to the fan brush, which I had never heard of before. I used it the fan brush of my paintings, and am quite happy with the results.

In terms of where I have been learning, I have been watching YouTube videos about different techniques, and have also joined a Facebook group called “Acrylic Painting”. It is a group with 34,000 members and is a place for discussion about acrylic painting and also a place for people to sell their art. Reading the discussions are quite insightful and I have learned a lot about some of the problems people have when painting and how to solve these problems. I have also been inspired by the beautiful works of art that are presented in the group. It motivates me to keep learning! I was even brave enough to post, asking members where they learn from when it comes to acrylic painting. You can read that thread below:

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-1-39-08-pmOverall, I am very happy with my progress up to this point. While there have been frustrations, I am also very pleased with the progress and the amount of information that I have learned throughout this process. I am discovering new sources of information and connecting with others. This will transfer to teaching very well, as I am exposing myself to others and getting practice connecting with others via the internet. I am also “looking outside the box” to find tutorials and ways to learn. I am also learning how important reflection is. By going through the process of reflecting when learning a new skill is important, as I am able to see the steps. In the classroom, students will be asked to reflect on their learning of a new skill. Many times, students just answer saying “it was good” or “it was easy”. I read this article, called Learning Through Reflecting. In it, it said that many students are not taught how to properly reflect and educators do not ask students often to reflect on their learning. I believe that by having students learning, it is essential to your teaching. If the teacher understands where the students are in their learning, they are able to use that feedback for future lessons. This will ensure that the teaching is effective for the students as they are able to communicate with you if your instructional strategy worked for them.

In terms of where I will go next with painting, I am going to investigate many of the sources that were recommended to me in the Facebook group. I also hope to post a piece of art in the group and ask for critiques (this scares me a little bit). I hope to learn some new techniques and incorporate these into the ones that I have already learnt.

I hope you continue to follow my journey!

Who is Christina Thiel According to Google?

In class, we were asked to Google ourselves. Here are the top three results that come up:

  • 3 different Christina Thiel’s on Facebook
  • A LinkedIn profile that states I am a Senior Supply Chain Analyst
  •  A doctor review that states I am psychiatrist from Galveston,Texas.

Search button on the keyboard. Toned Image.

Photo Credit: seohelp92672 Flickr via Compfight cc

I can tell you that none of these are actually me. Even on Facebook, the Christina Thiels are not me. Previously, I had changed my name on Facebook (first name, middle name) so that people could not find me, however after learning more about digital identity, I am considering changing it back, as I have nothing on there that would harm my digital identity. I would love to hear others’ comments about this!

After class, I did more Googling, and added Regina to my search. Thankfully, if you search this, the real me is the top result! The result is linked to the Faculty of Education, in an article where student success is celebrated. This was surprising and got me excited that when you Google me, this appears. It shows future employers something about my education.

For me, this really opened my eyes up to what is online in terms of my identity. In scrolling through my search results, there is my Twitter profile, running races results, and speed skating results or articles. I was pleasantly surprised at this, as I have not made a real effort into creating a digital identity. In fact, I tried to hide my identity (changing my name on Facebook) because I thought being invisible was better than being visible. My thoughts on this have changed, thanks to ECMP 355.

I used to think being invisible was much better than being visible. The fact of the matter is that we live in a digital era, and part of this means creating a positive digital identity. One of the hopes is that my Twitter will soon become a top result when you Google my name. Twitter is something that reflects who I am as a person and shows future employers that I am committed to education. I also hope that my blog will become a result within the first few pages of Google. My blog shows future employers who I am, and they can get a picture of my teaching philosophy, and sample lessons. For me, this means that I now recognize the importance of a digital identity and the need to expand my digital identity.

I found an interesting article, “Crafting Your Digital Identity: The Basics” which discussed the importance of protecting and controlling your digital identity.  The article discussed the importance of remembering that there are no “take-backs” or “undos” when it comes to a digital identity.  The article also discusses the importance of teaching students the importance of creating a digital identity.  This may involve modelling, especially in the younger grades.  Rather than having each student in a grade one class creating a profile, the class could have a class profile, or Twitter account, and discussions around what is appropriate to post and why could be developed at a young age.  This would aid the students when they are in the older grades and creating a digital identity.

Building a digital identity is crucial in today’s society. Anyone can build anyone’s digital identity. Once my picture is on the internet (which is it), anyone can “steal” it and create profiles with that picture and my name. This is why it is so important to create a positive digital identity. I hope to create a digital identity that I want, and that shows others who I am.

I will continue to create and add to my digital identity, as it is an important aspect of my life now. Being visible is better than being invisible when it comes to your digital identity.

Sunset at the Beach Painting and Video

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This week’s painting was the most successful one thus far. I am the most satisfied with this painting. I was unsure of how it was going to turn out, as I did not follow a tutorial, but wanted to “test” my skills that I have learned so far. I did not have a plan going into painting, aside from knowing I wanted to incorporate a sunset and a lake because these were my favourite elements from the other paintings I’ve done. I began by painting the sunset, and believe it is the most successful thus far. The paint seemed to blend really well together. I knew from this painting that I liked the silhouette element of the beach so put that in this painting. I knew something needed to go in between the water and the sunset. After looking at some other pictures on Pinterest, I really liked the silhouette land. I then research on how to create land silhouettes. I found an interesting technique, where you create the shape using paper and then use the paper to “trace” the outline of the land. It turned out very well!

Before I started this painting, I wondered about how I would document this learning, as I decided I needed to do something more than just take pictures as I had done that for every painting. I decided I would record myself painting and create a video. The problem… I’ve never created a video before. I found an old mini tripod laying around the house, taped my phone to it to record (could not find the actual attachments for it). Then I set it up and began painting. There were times where I had to stop the video to let the paint dry, or to research something. After I was done, I had to learn how to edit a video. I used iMovie (since that is what is on my computer). I watched a video to know how to use iMovie. I realize that my video is not very complex, but I hope to learn more about iMovie and learn more of the nuances of the program. I’ve also realized that I need to be more careful about the lighting since after watching the video, there is a glare on my painting the entire time. I also learned how to upload a YouTube video. I’ve never done that before and quite honestly did not realize how long it takes to upload a 2 minute video.

Here is the completed video:

 

Overall, I could not be happier with this painting. The past couple paintings that I’ve done, I been left completely frustrated, but this one I am overjoyed with. In fact, this one is actually on display in my house, not just tucked into a corner. Last week, I started questioning my learning project topic, wondering why I would choose something that would leave me so frustrated all the time. After reflecting upon this, I realized that it is because I am learning something brand new and I should have expected to feel some of these emotions. There will be ups and there will be downs. This week was definitely a big up. I am happy to say that what I learned in terms of painting techniques during the weeks I was frustrated created some of my favourite parts of this weeks painting.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for next week’s painting!