A text and Some Thoughts… (About Digital Citizenship)

Is this blog post long overdue? Oh you bet your bottom dollar it is. But it’s done now and the real important stuff are the lessons we learned along the way. So, without further ado, here is my lovely text conversation with a concerned parent (played by the ineffable Steen Hoffman ((check out his blog here)) about his daughter’s participation in a twitter-based class project. Enjoy!

So as you can see, Steen and Myself are masterful actors who have an excellent grip on what digital citizenship is and why it is so important. For further reading about our province’s take on digital citizenship, here is the link that I sent to this parent so he could educate himself on what his child will learning in school.

Finally, as we and our future generations are being brought up in an ever-changing digital landscape, it is so important to learn about how to use the digital space in a responsible way. It can be so easy to get all caught up in the anger and vitriol of the internet but if everyone took more steps to become a better digital citizen, then we could make the online (and possibly offline) world a much better place to live.

The Grooviest Paintings So Far… And One Cursed Painting

This week I really tried to outdo myself with the amount of paintings I’ve worked on. So since my last post I have done not one, not two, but three god dang paintings. Wow! Incredible. There has literally never been this level of dedication towards anything ever. Here are my two amazing pieces of art, and the one eternally cursed piece. Take a moment to marvel at their glory (and deep levels of sin) and then we will reconvene to talk about my process.

Done marveling? Fantastic. So first of all, The first two paintings in this series are in fact done on old vinyl records that I got from Value Village for just $2 a record. I got this idea from this Instagram post sent to me by my girlfriend. I have learned from my first attempt (the mountain sunset) that you should sand the records first so that the paint will actually stick to the record. Also, for my record paintings, I followed this tutorial for the Mountain Sunset and this tutorial for the Evening Palm Trees.

As for the quality of these two tutorials, I certainly could’ve picked more helpful ones. The Mountain Sunset video has no voice over and doesn’t show you what colours to use or how to mix them. But it has very calming ambient sounds in the background and was a pretty simple painting to mimic. Overall, 7/10.

The Evening Palm Trees video did have a voice over, but it was more along the lines of her thoughts and process while painting, and not really tips or instructions to help with the painting. I eventually found this video to be more annoying, but the picture was pretty so I just paused the video and tried my best to replicate from a still image. I felt that this video was a good starting out point, but strangely in its terrible directions it allowed me to experiment with technique and colours a little bit more. So while it was helpful in that way, the actual content of the video wasn’t very good and it deserves a 4/10.

Finally, the most cursed image here. Worm off the String. I don’t have much to say about this painting. When I finished it I uttered the words, “What have I done?”. Inspiration came to me from this Instagram post so, I guess it counts as an online resource. -12/10 for the unholy nature of Worm off the String.

Soothing Waves and Stressful Paints

Boy oh boy what a wild couple of weeks. I’m 100% terrible at posting updates to my learning project in a timely manner, but I’m trying my best dang it. Anyways, here;s what i’ve been up to the last couple of weeks.

First of all, I made this painting for Valentine’s Day!

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For this lovely piece, I followed a pretty good tutorial on Youtube which you can find right here. This video was helpful, and as you can tell from the above image, pretty easy to follow. Bonus Points; this was my first painting on canvas so I gave it to my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day and she loved it.

Alright, next painting!

This week, I tried my hand at a more realistic landscape painting and I followed this tutorial once again from Youtube. I found this tutorial much more in-depth and detailed, but I still struggled with some of the techniques and colours used in this painting. While the video was an hour long, I felt like it went a bit too fast in a few areas and I definitely missed a couple of steps here and there. My biggest complaint was that there was quite a bit of jumping from colour to colour and needing to mix colours and then go back and re-mix while trying to get the same shade, and as a beginner that can be very hard to do.

While paint I tried to record myself as I worked, and the result of that is now up on my own Youtube channel right now! Go check it out and watch me struggle! To make the video, I tried a couple different video editors, including Windows Movie Maker (or whatever it’s called these days…) and something called Shotcut. Shotcut was horrible and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to work it and it was just frustrating. In the end I had a very old copy of Sony Vegas Pro which was way too complex for what I needed but it got the job done. I also found some great, free, background music to use at Bensound.com, so if you need some royalty free tunes for a video project that’s a pretty good place to go!

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Finally I pose a question to you, my dearest reader: Do you have any easier to use video editing tools, or any suggestions for what I should paint next?

What is Twitter? If I tweet, does that make me a Twitter?

Ahhh Twitter. What a strange app that I’ve only begun to see the full potential of. Before this class I only used twitter to get quick headlines or updates for other things that i’m interested in. I’ve very rarely tweeted on my own. And so far in this class, I’ve still barely tweeted and yes I do feel bad for that. However, I got to take part in my very first twitter chat this past week and it was actually kind of fun. I enjoyed getting to take part in something with so many other people, and I liked seeing so many new ideas or opinions.

Will I use Twitter in my future classroom? I’m not sure! hopefully by the end of this class (and after reading some other blogs) I’ll have some more ideas on how to implement Twitter as a teaching tool. I would like to try out my own twitter chat with a group of older students. I think this could be an interesting way to have discussions about particular lessons or as a wrap up to units or even a novel study. For a group novel study I think semi-regular twitter chats could be a cool replacement for the dreaded chapter questions (yuck). I love the amount of involvement in the twitter chat and I think that could spice up classroom discussions a little bit.

Anyways,  as the title suggests I barely know what twitter is and still have lots of learning to do!

Teaching and Learning in a Digital World

After watching Wesch’s video about the anthropology of YouTube, I thought “Wow that’s an outdated video!”. But then I thought about how everything he said not only continues to be true, but has only grown and become even more interconnected. Over the last decade, YouTube has become not only a space for anyone to post a video of themselves dancing to song that they recorded in their bedroom, but an entire business and for some a legitimate career path. YouTube has become an integral part of our lives as well as our students lives.

YouTube, as well as the rest of the internet, have allowed us to become more connected than ever to strangers across the planet. Our students have grown up completely in this digital and online world. They know how to use the digital space more effectively than most of us, so I think it would be foolish to not attempt to integrate these online resources into the classroom. We all know that we aren’t experts in every area, even if our students think we are, but now we can draw on actual experts from all over the world. Students can learn and be introduced to new concepts and ideas through videos and podcasts, rather than just muscling through textbooks and lectures from us.

The students can also use the internet to get exciting new ideas for projects and come up with creative a fresh ways to demonstrate their learning. Through apps like twitter, the students can interact with each other and help influence and shape each other’s learning, just like our slack groups for this EdTech 300 class.

To close out this aimless and rambling blog, I think that the students will already feel involved in the participatory world of social media and the internet, so using it in the classroom won’t feel so alien to them as it might to some of us. Participating in fads and interacting with other users is already second nature to them, so they might be more forgiving if we try something similar in the classroom and it doesn’t work.

Weeks 2 and 3 of my painting journey #LearningProject

Wooooo boy. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as much painting done in the last little while as I would’ve liked. I came down with a pretty rough flu last week and being the incredibly tough and strong manly man that I am, it knocked me out all week. But I did manage to get a wee bit of painting done and i’m actually pretty impressed with how it turned out.

So, my first step was to learn how to mix paints. I’ve reading from several places as well as been told that I can save myself a lot of money on paints by mixing some basic colours. And I recalled from 9th grade Art class (the last art class I ever took), that the primary colours of Red, Blue, and Yellow can make pretty much any colour. I also realized that I had no idea how to properly mix colours at all. Was there a technique? A special trick? Was it the hardest part of painting? I had no answers so I turned to the one place where I was guaranteed an answer, YouTube. I watched this lovely video about mixing primary colours which went fairly well. I did watch the entire hour long video and went step by step with him. I did find him to go a little fast in a few places and did a bit of pausing and rewinding. But overall, I learned quite a bit about mixing colours and enjoyed the process. With this skill somewhat under my belt, I moved on to my first landscape picture!

I’ll keep this next part short and sweet to avoid a giant essay of a blog post. I decided to follow this Northern Lights tutorial for my first legit painting. Why did I pick this one in particular? Because it was pretty and looked simple. And that’s me in a nutshell, pretty and simple. First I spent far too long attempting to mix the colours, but I couldn’t get the right shades, so I swapped pink for lavender and used a light blue that I already owned. Next, I found the video itself to be waaayy too fast, so I slowed it down to 0.25x speed so I could follow along a t a realistic human pace. I also had a bit of troubles blending the colours which didn’t seem to be an issue for the artist in the video. But, in the end my picture came out looking pretty good and i’m quite proud of it. I’m excited to tackle my next challenge, blending colours and more practice mixing shades!

My introduction to Feedly.com

This week I created my first Feedly…feed. I guess. I’m not really sure what to call it. But I chose a few blogs that both are interesting to me and might be useful in the future. I really wasn’t too sure where to even start with Feedly, so I became by looking for education blogs.

One of the education blogs I started to follow was of course TED-Ed. If you’ve been living under a rock that last 10 years or so, TED Talks have been a way for lots of very intelligent people to share their ideas with the world. TED-Ed is naturally an offshoot of TED-Talks that have a particular use in the classroom. From my own experience, TED videos are exceptionally useful for starting conversations and discussions among the students, as well as giving new ideas or points of view to the students.

After looking through a few Education blogs, I decided to branch out a little bit into some other areas of interest. So, being an English teacher, I looked at some blogs about books. One of the book themed blogs I followed was Goodreads. I’ve previously used Goodreads to look up book reviews and reading recommendations. I’ve found a few hidden gems on this site that wouldn’t even be on my reading radar before hand. I think this can be particularly useful in an ELA classroom. During my internship, I found that some of the students got rather bored with some of the outdated reading materials, So Goodreads is certainly a valuable tool for freshening up a dry, old, dusty, decaying, outdated, archaic, musty, grimy, and generally yucky reading list.

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Strange and Uncertain Beginnings… #Learning Project

Welcome to the #LearningProject portion of my blog! This is the first post regarding my learning project, so let’s just jump into it.

My initial #LearningProject was going to be writing a short(ish) novel. I’ve wanted to write a novel since early high school. I love getting the opportunity to write my own stories, and my long term goal is to write (and if i’m lucky) get published my own full length novel. I’ve found some wonderful resources such as the NaNoWriMo site, which stands for National Novel Writing Month. They have all sorts of exercises and activities to help you develop all the aspects of your novel to prepare you for their annual 50,000 word writing challenge. However, upon further planning, I’ve decided that such a goal may not be feasible in such a short amount of time. I’d like to take my time with this goal and really make it something special, without needing to fit it into a sort of assignment format like this. In the future I will likely use this space to do a sort of #LearningProject2.0 on my own time, but for now i’ve shifted to a slightly more attainable goal. May I present, my new and improved #LearningProject Goal….

Acrylic Painting!

For a very long time I have been very envious of people who can create incredible works of art in a seemingly effortless manor. I decided to start this project by making a baseline painting to gauge my current skill level. I possess almost no artistic skills, as you could probably guess from the painting shown below. So i’ve decided to take a leap of faith and try my hand at developing some of my own artistic abilities. So, my plan so far (which is subject to change) is to watch videos on youtube including but not limited to episodes of Bob Ross. Once i’ve built up my skills as a master artist, I would like to strip and repaint one of my guitars. I haven’t decided what I would like to paint, but as i’m only a novice artist, maybe that will come later.

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Introducing….Myself!

Hello there! For those of you reading this who may not already know, I am Tristan Dashney, reader, writer, teacher, and blogger extraordinaire. I am maintained an active online presence for a few years, however I felt it was finally time to begin a professional online presence. As far as using educational technology in the classroom I recently completed my internship placement in Elrose Composite School. I was, as the kids say, #Blessed in that all of the highschool students were provided their own laptop from the school. In my high school English classes, I used a program called Onenote to distribute readings, handouts, and assignments to the students. This cut way back on paper use, and also guaranteed that they would never lose any assignments.

To kick off the school year, my co-op and I have also used a program called GooseChase. This is a program where the kids can use their phones, laptops, or iPads to complete challenges created by the teacher in a sort of scavenger hunt style activity. We used it a few times as both icebreakers and a way for students to demonstrate what they already knew about a topic.

Finally, I’ve had a bit of practice blogging, specifically using wordpress. I started using wordpress as a blogging tool during my second year of the Ed Program, and tried to carry my experience with wordpress over to the classroom. My co-op and I tried to use the blogs as a way to record the progress of our grade 6/7 PAA class during their CO2 Dragster project. As it turns out, wordpress is just a little too complicated for a grade 6/7 PAA class.  However, in the future I would like to continue using the wordpress blogs in my classes because I think it can be a good way for older students to reflect on their progress towards a project or class.

Twitter“Twitter” by chriscorneschi is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0