Do You See What I See? Exploring My Online Identity

This week in #EDTC400 we reviewed the many ways in which we can contribute to our online identities, with a focus on the use of blogging and Twitter. While these are only two of the countless ways in which one can develop an online identity, our discussions really got me thinking about my online identity and how it has changed over the years.

As a child, I was not overly interested in using technology, as I preferred to spend time outdoors engaging is sports or spending time with my friends. I didn’t really get involved with technology outside of the school environment until I was in grade 9, when I got pulled into the Facebook craze and created my own account. From this point on, I became increasing present online, joining different social media platforms such as Instagram, YoutTube and most recently, Twitter. I didn’t realize it at the time, but through my activity on all these platforms, I was and continue to contribute to my online identity.

Photo Credit: Semtrio Flickr via Compfight cc

As the child of a teacher and someone who always knew that they wanted to become a teacher themselves, I was taught from a young age that what I posted online could impact me in the future. Due to the fact that I was older than the majority of my peers when I started to use social media, I managed to avoid the common phase that many people experience where they post things online without thinking about the implications it can have. By the time I became active online, I was old enough to understand the importance of thinking before I post and ensuring that what I post online is how I want to be seen by others, both in my personal and professional life.

This week’s class discussion really pushed me to ask myself what parts of my digital identity are accessible to the public. I decided to look over my different forms of social media, my privacy settings, and history in order to grasp a better understanding of what image i was projecting of myself to others.

Blog:

First things first, let’s take a look at my blog! As you may already know from our interactions in the past, or you may be hearing this for the first time, I am very open about the posts that I make and do my best to conduct myself in a professional manner. This blog of mine is used solely on a professional basis, however I do include some aspects of my personal life in order to allow for my readers to really get to know who I am as a person. Growing up, I always wanted to start a blog of my own but was never able to build up the confidence to do so, mainly because I didn’t understand what all blogging involved. Once I entered the Education program at the University of Regina, I quickly came to learn how online resumes are taking over and may be replacing paper resumes very soon (crazy, right!?). With this in mind, I knew it was time for me to buckle down and really start to contribute to my professional online identity through blogging. While my blog is still in its early stages of development, I am continuing to add to it each and every day! My goal is to one day have an active blog filled with lesson plans, quotes, posts about my experiences, resources and more!

 

Facebook:

Next up on the list of social media platforms is Facebook! Over the years, Facebook has been a form of social media that I have started to use less and less. I very rarely post anything on my account other than the occasional photo or birthday wish. With this being said, my Facebook account is very open and I have not set any privacy settings that would prevent others from being able to search for me. I am open to others seeing my profile, but I am very selective with the friend requests that I accept because I know of many people whose accounts have been hacked or taken over without their permission. One of my favourite things about Facebook today is that I can keep up to date on things that are happening in the school I grew up in! I think that schools that have general Facebook pages are great because they allow for interactions with the community and sharing that goes beyond the school, opening up new possibilities!

Instagram:

I have two separate Instagram accounts. My longest standing account is my personal account, in which I post pictures of events and activities of my daily life. My account is listed as private simply because I experienced a lot of people I didn’t know trying to comment on my pictures and message me. This was something that I was uncomfortable with so I made my account private as more of a safety precaution. My other account is a baking page titled @thesweetlife that I developed after taking #EDTC300 and becoming engaged in baking after my learning project! This page of mine is open to the public and while I don’t post on it frequently, I do enjoy having an outlet for my creativity that is separate from my day-to-day postings.

YouTube:

Prior to taking #EDTC300, I had never posted anything to YouTube before, let alone have my own channel. The very thought of posting my own videos caused me to have butterflies in my stomach! However, throughout the course, I decided that creating a channel would be a great way to showcase some of my baking, as well as different aspects of my education journey. My YouTube Channel is very new and there are no privacy settings enabled on it. I have recently begun to explore YouTube more closely (who knew there was more than music videos one there?!) and this has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that are out there for educators and students alike! If you check out this link, you can find some great examples of helpful Youtube channels for teachers!

Twitter:

Last but not least, I have two separate Twitter accounts as well. My personal Twitter account is one that I created a few years ago but never really understood how to use! Due to this lack of understanding, I have very little content on it. My professional Twitter page is much more developed and I am more active on it than any other social media platform! After creating a professional Twitter account that is open to the public, i decided to make my personal account private in order to avoid confusion. I have also considered deleting my private account because I don’t use it very often, however I continue to maintain it with the intent to someday start back up with it!

While I am in no way a Twitter expert, I feel that I have grown and learn so much ever since I developed my professional account. This has allowed for me to engage with other amazing educators around the world, share my ideas, and learn from others as well! Engaging in Twitter Chats, such as the ones on this list, have really allowed for me to step outside of my comfort zone, develop some amazing relationships, and get my name out there into the Twitter world, something that I think is important for all educators!

So What Does My Online Presence Say About Me?

Now that I have examined the different ways in which I am accessible online, the question remains as to how others interpret what they find or read about me online. While I am a firm believer in the idea that you can’t always control the way others view you, I also believe that it is important to ensure that you are projecting a positive image of yourself online.

In terms of how I present myself online, I would consider myself to be a somewhat open book. The majority of my online accounts and activity are accessible to all, with the exception of a few measures I have taken to ensure that I feel safe online. This transparency that I have maintained allows for others to be able to find me easily online, however the few privacy steps I have taken allow for some discretion in terms of what can be found without requesting my permission first. This allows for me to have some control over who can and cannot gain access to my online accounts, allowing for me to permit future employers, administration, colleagues, and peers to find me online, while still maintaining a certain level of professional privacy from my students when necessary.

I think that it benefited me to grow up knowing that what you post online never truly goes away because it ensured that I was and continue to be careful with what I post and share with others. On the other hand, I sometimes feel like I may be too cautious with what I choose to share online, often second guessing myself and not allowing for my true self to be represented based on the fear that I will be misinterpreted. This goes back to my earlier statement in which I believe that others are always going to judge you based on what you post, no matter how positive it may seem. My rule for posting has and continues to be “if you wouldn’t want someone to see it, such as your parents, employer or best friend, then maybe you should think twice before posting it!”. This is something that has served me well thus far and I think many other would benefit from following it as well!

One thing that I would like to work on in terms of my professional online identity is learning new ways to integrate more of who I am as an individual into my online presence. While professionalism is important to me, I also want others to be able to get to know the real me as well! I think that this can be achieved through experience with different online platforms, interacting with others, and of course through #EDTC400!

I am excited to continue to add to my professional online identity in the years to come as I work towards my teaching degree. The STF’s Tips for Professionalism Online is a really great resource for those of us who aren’t super comfortable on how to conduct ourselves online yet. Not only does it highlight the importance of being a role model for one’s students online, but also other tips to ensure that your online presence is the most positive and accurate representation of you! Here are some other resources that provide some great tips and pieces of advice to people who are wanting to build and maintain positive online identities:

  1. 8 Tips to Building and Maintaining a Positive Online Image 
  2. A Beginners Guide to Establishing a Professional Online Presence 

I think it is important to learn how to balance one’s personal and professional online presence because while we are going to be teachers who are held to a high standard, we are also human beings who have the rights to express ourselves! This is a balancing skill and is something I think I need to work on in my experiences to come!

In closing this blog post, I would like to extend an invitation to everyone reading this to follow some of the links I have provided to my different online accounts and give me a follow! I am very open to developing new professional relationships online and would love to expand my network through sharing, following and interacting with others!

 

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The Girl Behind the Blog: Introducing Me!

Hey Everyone!
For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to all of you and allow for you to get to know the girl behind this blog!

My name is Lauren Sauser and I am currently enrolled in my second year in theElementary Education program at the University of Regina. I was born and raised in the small town of Eston, SK and moved to Regina after graduating high school in 2017. This was a big adjustment for me, as I am definitely not a city girl by any means and see myself returning to a smaller town to teach in the future!

I am the middle child in my family, with a older brother and younger sister. I am very family oriented and love to spend time with them whenever I can! We are very active and love to do anything sports related. Athletics is something that has always been a significant component to our family dynamic and has allowed for us to bond and connect in countless ways. Many of my fondest childhood memories revolved around sports, whether it be watching my siblings play or competing myself!

       

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to become a teacher some day. My mother was an elementary school teacher for many years and I quickly fell in love with the idea of following in her footsteps. I have always loved working with children, whether it be in the school setting or in the community in general. Throughout my time in high school, I volunteered as a youth baseball coach, as well as dance instructor in my home town. This allowed for me to combine my two passions for working with children and sports! Through these experiences, it became increasingly apparent to me that my passion lied in working with children and that it was how I wanted to spend the rest of my life!

In addition to my love of sports, I also have a passion for baking and have been teaching myself how to bake for a while now. I love seeing the joy that my baking brings other people and it is the perfect way to help me relax and unwind after a stressful day! I am also a total animal person and have a cat named Macy who shares my love of fuzzy blankets, ice cream, and naps!

 

         

My love of animals has also pushed me to volunteer at the Regina Humane Society in my spare time, allowing for me to give back and spend time with some amazing people and animals!

Additional “fun facts” about me:

  • My favourite food is ice cream (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is my #1)
  • I have an irrational fear of elevators (I have never been stuck in one but the idea gives me literal goose bumps!!)
  • Swimming with dolphins and learning to surf are at the top of my bucket list and I hope to experience both of them some day

I took EDTC 300 this past spring and learnt so much! I had no idea that technology played such a significant role in education and I was excited to learn about the many ways in which teachers can incorporate technology into their teaching! I thought that enrolling in EDTC 400 would be the perfect step to take to build upon this experience and add to my understanding of educational technology.

Some of the goals that I have for this class include:

  1. Working on developing my blog further and learning how to blog more effectively. I would love to explore the many different components to blogging that I am still unfamiliar with and hopefully add to my blogging presence.
  2. I hope to build new relationships with other educators online, as well as strengthen the relationships that I already have. I think that technology has an amazing way of connecting people and I want to ensure that I am taking advantage of all these opportunities!
  3. I hope to add to my collection of resources to use in the classroom. EDTC 300 introduced me to so many amazing apps, programs and forms of technology that I can’t wait to see what else EDTC 400 has to show me!

Photo Credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com Flickr via Compfight cc

Now that you have gotten a chance to read about me and my goals for EDTC 400, I hope that you will follow me here on Twitter! I can’t wait to read more about each of you and to interact throughout the semester!

Thanks for reading!

Lauren Sauser

My Summary of Learning Scrapbook

When the idea of creating a something to showcase what I have learnt throughout this semester of EDTC 300 was mention, my mind was spinning with ideas! After much consideration, I decided that I would combine my new found tech knowledge and my love of art and create a scrapbook that outlined the major takeaways I gained from the class! I spent many hours working on this project and after I finished the scrapbook, I created a video using iMovie of me presenting it to my mother (a retired teacher) in order to merge our very different education experiences! Although I shared a lot about the course through my video and scrapbook, there was so much more I wish I could have included! I have enjoyed this class and the knowledge I have gained will help me to continue growing my PLN and become an educator who does not shy away from technology, but embraces it!

*Below the video I have attached a gallery of my scrapbook pages, as well as a script I used throughout the video*

 

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Script:

That’s me, Lauren, a soon to be second year Elementary Education student at the University of Regina! Welcome to my summary of learning for EDTC 300!

When I first decided to take this class, I thought I was super well prepared. After all, I did have my own social media accounts! I was active on Instagram and Facebook, and of course I knew how to rock those Snapchat filters, but little did I know that this class was going to cover a whole lot more than I could have ever imagined! There was a whole other tech world out there that I was about to explore and I was more than excited to be doing so!

I had never taken a live-streamed online class before, and for a girl who doesn’t like to video chat, it came as quite the shock when I realized that I would be video chatting with my entire class using a video conferencing app known as Zoom! Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, our EDTC 300 class would meet in our zoom room for class! I was amazed that this app allowed for students across the province to come together and learn as if we were in a classroom together! The fact that I could participate from the comfort of my couch was just an added bonus!

On the first day of class, we were introduced to the idea of creating a PLN, personal or professional learning network, which involved building a positive online presence through sharing, connecting, and interacting with others. I had never heard of or considered the importance of creating a PLN and was surprised to hear that I had already started creating mine without even knowing it, as everything I had done online in the past can contribute to how I am represented and how others see me. So in my eyes, my biggest goal for this class was to contribute to my PLN in positive ways and let me tell you, we were given multiples ways to do so!

I was quickly introduced to the wonderful world of blogging! I created a WordPress blog where I began forming my e-portfolio, and showcase my learning. I learnt how to navigate my dashboard and how to create pages, categories, menus, and widgets, all of which help to organize my blog. I learnt the basics of how to write interesting blog posts by incorporating links, images, and videos! I also learnt how to comment on others blogs and how to access the comments that were made on mine! This communication and input from others allowed for me to improve upon my blog in substantial ways.

For the first time ever, I was informed about the use of a Google Plus Community, something I had also never heard of before. This was one of the many places that my EDTC classmates and I were able to come together to share ideas, information, and ask questions. If I ever had a doubt about anything, this became my go-to stop for clarification.

The next step in my journey towards building my PLN was to join Twitter. I was not overly familiar with Twitter or how it to use it, but I was more than willing to learn. I started by creating a profile and bio that represented who I was as a future educator, being sure to link to my blog for others to view. I then slowly began to learn how to write my own tweets using the appropriate hashtags, how to retweet and favourite others tweets, as well as how to direct message. I began following both my classmates and other educators in order to build my network and form new relationships. I then started participating in numerous twitter chats through a tool called Tweetdeck. I had no idea that twitter chats existed and quickly began to fall in love with the many ways they allowed me to connect with educators around the world! Some of my favourite chats include #saskedchat, #newteachertribe, and #bekindedu, all of which taught me so much about education and technology! Little did I know, twitter is about more than just sharing what you did that day. Twitter is place to share ideas, thoughts, resources, and stories. It’s a place to form new relationships and learn with and from others!

Another major portion of this class was my learning project. I was given the opportunity to take something I was interested in and learn about it through technology. I chose to focus on baking and cake decorating, as it was something that I have always wanted to learn how to do. Each week I explored various blogs, websites, YouTube channels, and television shows in order to find resources. I then began to blog about my learning process, encouraging others to share their thoughts with me online in order to improve. Looking back, I can see the ways in which I have improved, all through technological means! Talk about amazing!

Throughout the semester, I was introduced to and given the opportunity to explore a wide range of amazing apps and tools. Some of the most memorable ones I came across included Screencastify, Grammarly, Google Drive, Flipgrid, and Kahoot! I didn’t realize the tools that I had access to because I never thought to look! These are tools that I will save and continue to utilize whenever possible.

Guest speaker Dr. Alec Couros joined our class one evening to share his presentation on “Educating the Selfie Generation”, where I learnt about the new culture of participation that exists today because of technology and what that means for future classrooms and the education system in general. We discussed the many dangers of the internet, such as sexting, scamming, trolling, cyberbulling, and an overall lack of privacy. We also discussed the many positive uses of the internet and technology such as the formation of new relationships, sharing of knowledge and ideas, and expanding our PLN. This taught me the importance of maintaining a balance and knowing when it is and is not appropriate to use technology.

To quote Dr. Couros, “we are never truly offline”, which brought us to the topic of digital identity and how it is virtually impossible to separate our on and offline selves. This means that technology is a part of who we are now and while we don’t have to fear it, we must be aware of the ways in which we present ourselves both on and offline. I learnt about the permanence of my digital identity and how the things you post online never truly disappear. This means that one post can make or break you. I also learnt the importance of teacher’s role in preparing their students for the internet and how to develop positive digital identities and avoid the dangers of the internet. We need to teach the importance of acting appropriately online and participate in positive digital citizenship. I learnt that we have rights and responsibilities to uphold and that is why it is important to THINK before you do anything online.

So what did I learn in EDTC 300? The better question is what didn’t I learn! I began this course not knowing much of anything about technology and in just 2 short months I have learnt more than I could have ever imagined. I now know how to do everything from blogging, to tweeting, to coding and more! Most importantly, I learnt the ways in which technology can be implemented in the classroom and the ways in which I as an educator can teach my students about safe online use that will benefit them in life! This class may be over, but my edtech journey has just begun!

 

Thanks for following!

-Lauren

Contributing to the Learning of Others: Supporting My EDTC Family

As EDTC 300 comes to a close, I would like to take this time to share the many ways in which i feel i have contributed to the learning of others throughout the semester! When this class began, I was very nervous about having this responsibility of contributing to my classmates learning. I personally had very little experience with technology prior to this class and didn’t know how to contribute to my own online learning, let alone others! Due to this lack of experience and understanding, I immediately felt that I was unqualified to contribute to others in meaningful ways and therefor would not meet this requirement for the class. Well, it turns out that I was dead wrong! Over the course of this semester, I have learnt so much from my classmates and I feel that I have done enough for them to say the same thing about me!

While I feel that my contributions have been substantial, it would be much too long of a post if I were to share every single one of my comments, posts, and interactions with you. In the interests of being both concise and thorough, I have divided my contributions into 3 different categories; Google Plus Community, Twitter, and Blog Comments! I will share a variety of my tweets, comments, and posts that I feel best outline the ways in which I have been an active contributor to my peers education!

Here I have created a screencast in which I showcase some examples of my contributions throughout the semester! Following the video, I will outline each area of contribution in more detail and provide more examples.

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Google + Community

I personally found our EDTC 300 Google + Community to be a great source for asking questions and finding information regarding the specifics of the class. If I ever had any confusion about an assignment or anything technology related, our Google + Community was my first stop to find the answer! I loved how quickly it allowed for our class members to connect and how we were able to access all the information regarding the course such as the syllabus, blog hub, weekly plans, and course guidelines. Within the community discussion page, I made numerous posts asking questions and sharing resources that I felt others were in need of or wanting to have access to. I received a lot of positive feedback from my classmates, which helped me to gage whether or not my posts were beneficial to the group! Here are just a few of my own posts and comments:

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In addition to writing my own posts, I worked hard to ensure that I was able to answer any of my classmates questions that I could. I checked the Community daily and whenever a question came up that I felt I had the knowledge and resources to answer, i made sure I did! I also provided feedback when my classmates posted progress reports on their learning projects and shared resources! Here are a few of these interactions:

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When looking back at the Google + Community, I feel that I have contributed to it in various ways throughout the course of this class. I relied heavily on the source to contact my peers and I gained a lot from being a part of it, and in being a part of it, I contributed to the learning of other!

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Twitter

Throughout the semester, Twitter was definitely the most demanding platform for participation for me. I had never really used Twitter prior to this class so it was a huge adjustment to go from never tweeting, to tweet 2+ times per day. While it may have been a slow start, I soon got to the point in which I was posting on Twitter at least 3 times a day. That meant sharing resources I found on Feedly and other websites, replying to others tweets, and participating in twitter chats. Before I knew it, I had over 450 tweets and likes, as well as over 100 followers! I went from being twitter clueless to twitter machine in such a short period of time, and in that time, a large portion, if not all of my content contributed to my own personal learning and the learning of others.

1) Tweeting/Sharing/Retweeting Resources: I made sure to share at least 1 article, link, and/or video per day. If I found something that was interesting to me or that I felt would be of interest to my peers, I tweeted about it and encouraged everyone to read and share any thoughts/feedback they may have! Here are some of my tweets that I feel others greatly benefited from and helped to express who I am as a future educator:

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2) Responding to Others Tweets: I also set a goal for myself to comment/respond to at least 2 of my classmates tweets every day. I loved reading all of the resources that were shared and I was quick to provide feedback, encouragement, ideas, and advice! I also made sure I responded to peoples tweets outside of my EDTC 300 class in order to expand my online community! Here are a handful of the many interactions I have had on twitter with my peers:

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3) Participating In Twitter Chats: prior to this class, I really had no idea what twitter chats were or that they even existed. When we joined a #saskedchat at the beginning of the semester, I was a little overwhelmed! The tweets came and went so quickly that it was hard to follow the conversations, but I can attribute that to my lack of experience. After I started to get the hang out Twitter a little more, I began joining more chats on my own and absolutely loved them! Over the course of the semester, I joined over 10 different Twitter chats including #saskedchat, #edchat, #learnLAP, #bekindEDU, #masterychat, #newteachertribe, and #TLAP. All of these chats allowed for me to connect with other educators around the world, as well as my classmates! Here are a few of the conversations/interactions that I shared with others throughout my twitter chats:

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While I have shared a lot of my Twitter activity with you above, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of my interactions and contributions to the Twitter community! I encourage you to check out my twitter page here and see what else I have done to contribute to the learning of others!

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Blog Comments

Another way in which I feel I have contributed greatly to the learning of other is by commenting on my classmates blog posts. I made sure that i commented on at least 1 persons blog per day and did my best to ensure that i commented on each one of my classmates blogs at least once throughout the semester. The comments I left on the posts ranged from asking questions, to giving advice, and most frequently, providing encouragement! I really benefited from others commenting on my blog posts because I felt they helped me grow as a blogger and I hope others feel the same way about my comments. I also made sure to respond to every comment that was made on my posts too! Here are some of the many comments I have made:

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As you can see from the evidence I have provided above, I was an extremely active contributor to the learning of others throughout my EDTC 300 course. I loved seeing and experiencing the many ways that people can support each other through the use of technology and this is something I had not realized before. Contributing to the learning of others not only benefits them, but also yourself! Through supporting each other, we have been able to create an online community that provides assistance and knowledge, as well as encouragement to grow!

This will be my final post for EDTC 300, which is hard to believe! This semester has flown by and I have enjoyed every second of it! The new relationships I have formed through online engagement will be ones that I continue to maintain as I work my way towards my education degree! I would like to thank everyone who contributed to my learning in ways both big and small! This EDTC 300 journey is coming to an end, but my edtech journey has just begun!

Catch ya later!

-Lauren

The Icing On The Cake: Learning Project Finale

Hello Friends!

I cannot believe that I am writing my final learning project post right now! It seems like just yesterday that I was trying to figure out how to properly hold an icing bag and now I have numerous cake and cupcake creations under my belt! I never imagined that I would be able to learn so much in such a short period of time, nor was I convinced that I could do it through online sources! Well, it looks like I have surprised myself! Not only have I developed some impressive baking skills, but my confidence in the kitchen has grown substantially!

      My Inspiration

The idea to choose cake decorating for my learning project was not a difficult one to come to. I have been baking ever since I was a little girl and I love everything about it! In a way, it’s almost a stress reliever in my life! However, one thing that I have not been as successful with in the past is making my cakes LOOK as good as they taste! While flavour is the most important thing when it comes to baking, the saying that “people eat with their eyes first” is also beyond accurate! The goal I set for myself when I began this project was to learn a variety of decorating tips and techniques, a goal I feel I can say I accomplished!

Where I began

I began this project with a cupboard full of decorating tools, many of which I had no idea how to use.. More often than not I would just throw my icing onto my cakes using a butter knife and cover up any imperfections with a handful of sprinkles or more icing. While this “worked” it wasn’t the most attractive approach to decorating! This is where my idea for my learning project began!

Online Sources and use of technolgy

So I began searching the internet for blogs, videos, tutorials, pictures, and basically anything that could help me learn how to decorate beautiful cakes. I was happy to see that the opportunities to learn online were endless.

  • YouTube channels: I began following numerous YouTube baking channels such as My Cupcake Addiction, How To Cake It, and my personal favourite, The Scran Line. These channels contained step-by-step tutorials that focused on the decorating aspect of baking! I found myself watching the videos over and over until I could work up the nerve to try them for myself!

              

  • Pinterest: having always been a huge Pinterest fan, I relied a lot on the app for inspiration and ideas! I created a board titled “EDTC Baking” and began pinning away! I quickly found myself with a board full of baking creations and was tasked with the tough decision as to which ones to attempt! Although I only had the opportunity to try a handful of recipes for this learning project of mine, I will definitely continue working away at my board and adding to it all the time!

  • Netflix Baking Shows: Another guilty pleasure of mine is watching baking competitions! I started to watch the Netflix series “Nailed It”, which is a show about home bakers who compete in a competition in which they are challenged to re-create extravagant baking creations! While the “fails” brought a lot of laughs into the series, there were also a lot of great tips provided throughout the show that I found to be very useful!

  • Blogs: I signed up for a Feedly account, where I was able to follow several different baking blogs.  Some of the most helpful ones I found included Joy the Baker, Sweetopia, and Sprinkles Bakes! While I may not have used recipes from all these websites, I did get a lot of inspiration and tips!

   

 

So as you can see, I was able to find an amazing amount of resources to aid in advancing my cake decorating skills! I had no idea that I would be so successful in finding such detailed and user-friendly videos and websites! I am a huge fan of breaking things down and doing them step-by-step and luckily I was able to find a lot of sources that showed me just that!

In terms of my own personal use of technology, this learning project has allowed for me to gain experience by uploading videos to my own YouTube Channel, something I had no pervious experience with. I also gained a basic understanding of how to use iMovie. While I am no expert, I was able to create voice over videos that showed my decorating process, which was a huge accomplishment for me!


 

So..What exactly did i learn?

Where do I start?? I cannot believe the amount of knowledge and experience I have gained throughout this learning project! I learnt so many amazing things about cake decorating but let me share with you an overall summary of what I learnt each week!

Week 1: Introduction: Lets Get Baking

  • How to set my baking goal! I learnt to not make my goal too extreme, yet it had to challenge me! Goal: learn a variety of baking and decorating techniques using a variety of tips and tools.
  • What tools I would be needing and what each of the tools I had in my pantry was actually used for! (Check out this link for an advanced look at how to use over 40 baking tools!)

Week 2: Beginning With The Basics

Week 3: My First Cupcake Creation 

  • Exploring baking blogs, specifically The Scran Line
  • How to pipe on a cupcake using a round tip
  • How to make a chocolate ganache (spoiler: it’s not just melted chocolate!)
  • How to create fluffy buttercream frosting

 

Week 4: My First Cake 

This week I challenged myself to create my first cake! I created a carrot cake decorated with rosettes!

  • How to properly level cakes
  • How to stack cake layers
  • How to/the importance of dirty icing a cake
  • How to pipe rosettes
  • How to use a cake turn table properly

 

Week 5: Oreo Drip Cake

  • Exploring Pinterest to find recipes
  • How to create a chocolate drip around the top of a cake
  • How to stack a triple layer cake evenly
  • How little finishing touches can make or break a cake

 

Week 6: Cupcake Bouquet 

 

While I have provided a few specific links above, if you are interested in learning more about any of the points mentioned, please follow the links provided to the blog posts of mine that will give you access to more instructions, videos, and comments!

My Main Take Aways:

  1. Follow your recipe!! Measurements and instructions are there for a reason! It’s okay to be creative and add your own touches, but stick with the recipe if you aren’t an experienced baker!
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I was originally scared to try different cake flavours and techniques but I came out with some really tasty and interesting looking creations! Stepping outside of the box was my goal!
  3. Practice makes perfect & patience is key! I would just like to say that nothing turns out perfect the first time around! My decorating took many hours of practice to get to the point that I was ready to share with everyone! Don’t give up when things don’t go right. Sometimes taking a break and getting some air or re-watching a tutorial can help immensely!
  4. Sharing your progress/learning online is beneficial. Through blogging, i have had to opportunity to share my experience with others, gain their input, and create new relationships!
  5. Follow your passion. The entire point of this learning project was to find something that interests you and build on it! My passion for baking has only grown stronger through this adventure.
Where I am now

I have gained so much confidence when it comes to my decorating skills! I have said good bye to the butterknife and sprinkles, and hello to the arsenal of tools I once had no idea how to use! I no longer worry that i am incapable of achieving beautiful desserts because I now have numerous resources to aid me in doing so!

As a fun finale to this baking adventure of mine, I decided to showcase some of the things I have learnt by teaching my younger sister how to bake and assemble a cake of her choosing! This was an opportunity for me to take on a leadership role and share my knowledge with others, something I will soon be doing for a living! So if you are interested in watching the some-what dysfunctional, yet super fun and informative baking and decorating process of my sister and I, check out the videos below! If you would like to try out the recipes we used, those will be linked below the videos!

Baking The Cakes

Decorating The Cakes

This was the perfect end to an amazing learning project adventure! In the videos above, I shared numerous tips and tricks that I have learnt about through my use of technology over the past two months and I still can’t believe everything I know now was found online! Technology truly is amazing and opens up so many opportunities to learn!

This project has been an absolute source of joy in my life and I will continue on this journey for years to come! I think I will even continuing blogging about my creations from time to time!

Not only have I loved learning about cake decorating, but I have also loved sharing my journey with all of you! So thank you so much to all my EDTC 300 classmates for your comments, words of encouragement, and for reading my posts! I really felt the support and hope that I may have taught you something along the way! I would also like to thank Katia Hildebrandt for giving me this opportunity to further explore a passion of mine!

Thanks Again!

-Lauren Sauser

 

Coding in Wonderland

This week in class we began discussing coding, and be completely honest with you, I really had no idea what it was. The only thing I knew about coding was that it involved computers and programming of some sort. I didn’t think that it was something I would ever be doing or have to teach students, but I was ready to be educated on what it means to code and the many benefits to participating in it.

I found this video on YouTube that gives a very brief, yet informative explanation of what coding is!

To better understand coding, I also read an article by Doug Belshaw titled “This is Why Kids Need to Learn to Code”. It was from this reading and the video I shared above that I was able to gain a better understanding of coding in general. Belshaw defines coding as “the ability to read and write a machine language as well as to think computationally”. From this definition, I determined that coding is basically like writing a script for the computer to follow. You put in the information and what you want the computer to do, and the computer will then read what you’ve coded and follow it! I was now starting to realize that maybe coding wasn’t as difficult and scary as I had once thought! Now it was time for me to give coding a try for myself!


My Coding Experience

I decided that this week I would do my Hour of Code! I went to the website and began looking through the different activities. There were so many to choose from but I eventually landed on the Alice In Wonderland activity.

The activity started out pretty simple. I was the character of Alice and I had to follow the rabbit to the door. The only obstacles I had at this point was the trees. The controls on the bottom of the screen allowed for me to press the arrows and the code would show up on the top left hand side of the page. I then pressed play and watched Alice walk however many steps I put in.

Level 1

I continued coding this way for a few levels, with each level requiring a few more steps then the last. Overall, things were still pretty simple!

Level 3

Once I reached level 6, things became a little more difficult. I now had to type in the code myself. I would start by typing in the direction I wanted to move, then in brackets I would put the number of steps in that direction I wanted to go, and finally I would finish the command with a ;! This required a little more thought but it wasn’t as difficult as I had thought it would be, granted this is an activity for grade 2-5 students! I found it really interesting that I could put a number between the brackets for how many steps I wanted to move rather than having to write the command out each time!

Level 6

The final levels were the most difficult because they introduced some new obstacles such as the guards, a cake that makes you grow, and a potion that makes you shrink. I now had to first go to the cake and eat it, which would allow for me to push past the guards that were standing in front of the door. Then, before I could enter the door, I had to go to the potion and drink it so that I would shrink and be able to fit inside. This wasn’t exactly confusing, but it really made me have to plan out my route before I started typing my code in so that I would be successful. This was essentially like creating maze and then making my path to go through it.

Level 9

Ta-da! I was a little excited to receive the cool certificate to commemorate my first hour of code accomplishment! I will admit that i was really nervous and confused about coding to start with, but this activity has shown me that it doesn’t have to be as scary and confusing as it may seem. So can I now say I have some coding experience? You bet!


Final Thoughts on Coding in the Classroom

I think that it is safe to say that I am no coding expert and you definitely shouldn’t be expecting any major technological advancements coming from me anytime soon..but I also think that I have gained some knowledge on coding and can say with a lot of certainty that I believe it has a place in all classrooms!

From Belshaw’s reading, as well as class discussions, my eyes have been opened to the many ways in which coding can benefit students. The three main benefits that Belshaw discussed include; developing problem-solving skills, digital confidence, and to help students understand the world around them. While these are all extremely important, they are only a few of the many benefits to children learning to code. The Tynker Coding For Kids website also explains 10 Reasons Kids Should Learn to Code, including reasons such as embracing creativity, improving focus and organization, and improving communication skills. The truth is, the benefits of learning to code are extensive, something I have just recently come to realize!

To me, coding has always seemed like something that was way beyond on understanding. When I heard the work coding, I immediately thought of a bunch of super smart people sitting in a room and controlling computers around the world or creating robots that they could control with their own technology. In reality, coding is something that anyone and everyone can do! Just look at what I was able to accomplish in one hour without having any coding background experience! These websites such as Hour of Code and Scratch make it easy for students as young as 6 years old to learn how to code and enjoy themselves while doing so!

I personally cannot wait to learn more about coding and have the opportunity to bring it into my future classroom! Although I don’t have an extensive knowledge on all the details of coding, I am going to make it my goal to do everything I can to educate myself on the topic so that I can then educate my students. This is some I think all teachers should be open to. Whether you’re interested in technology or not, the world is becoming more and more dependant upon it and we need to keep up with the times so that we are providing our students with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in this changing world! Coding is just one of the many ways we can do just that!

I would love to hear what others have to say about coding and its place in the classroom! Don’t be afraid to comment below and start some great discussions!

Happy Coding!

-Lauren

Twitter In The Classroom: The Great Debate

*This is a collaborative work completed by Lauren Sauser, Sydney McGrath, and Aurora Lay-Street*

This week, we teamed up to stage a parent-teacher email conversation around the topic of using Twitter in a grade 4 classroom.

Members of Discussion

Ms. Johnson: A 4th grade teacher who is hoping to introduce the use of Twitter into her classroom.

Caroline Mitchell: An enraged, newly-divorced mother who is reluctant to allow her young daughter to participate in this new form of digital education.

Mike Mitchell: Newly-divorced, technologically illiterate father who is curious and willing to be educated on this new form of digital education.

Please follow the link below to view our email conversation between the three parties and how the issue was addressed.

LINK: Email Conversation

Here is a Preview of the email conversation!

In this situation, the teacher was able to successfully diffuse the situation by listening to the parent’s concerns and providing adequate resources to support her reasoning and give them a better understanding of her motives.  

Although this story may have ended without a huge controversy, not every situation in every school will turn out this way. Teachers must be willing and prepared to adapt to these different opinions and understand that not all parents will be so understanding. There will come days where you have a student who for some reason cannot participate in these forms of technological education and you sensitive to this fact.

We feel that creating and promoting positive digital citizenship in the classroom is something that all teachers should work to achieve. This is something that we will keep in mind as we pursue our degrees in education and can embrace in classrooms of our own one day.

Here are the links that were used throughout our email conversation. We encourage you to check out some of these sources, as they are extremely informative and provide various points of view!