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

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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!

Cupcake Bouquet

Hello Again!

Okay, so I have spent the last week thinking about my learning project and what my next step should be. I have learnt so many amazing things so far but there is so much more out there! After much consideration, I decided that this week I would take a little break from cakes and revisit the wonderful world of cupcakes! Now I couldn’t just make any ordinary cupcakes, so I decided that I would attempt a brand new decorating technique! This week I was inspired by the beautiful summer flowers and am going to be creating a cupcake flower bouquet!

 

Here is a picture of a cupcake bouquet that i will be using for inspiration! I am going to use my creativity and add my own personal touches by choosing what colours I will be using, as well as what types of flowers I feel I can pipe with the most success! Hold on everybody! Here goes nothing!

 

Preparing My Pot:

I started by doing an online search as to what materials I would be needing and how to assemble the pot! I found a great picture tutorial on a website called TipHero on “How to Make a Cupcake Bouquet” and I found it to be really helpful! I then ran to my local dollar store to collect my supplies. For this project, I needed:

  • 5 1/2 ” terracotta pot
  • Styrofoam blocks or ball
  • Green tissue paper
  • Tin foil
  • Hot glue gun

 

Step 1: I began by cutting my styrofoam in order to fit my pot. The website recommended using a styrofoam ball but I couldn’t find any so I had to improvise! I then decided to put a layer of tin foil over the styrofoam because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get any on the cupcakes!

         

Step 2: I then plugged in my hot glue gun. While it was warming up, I cut a round circle out of my green tissue paper. (I made the circle a little bigger than the top of the pot so that there would be overhang) I then did a layer of hot glue around the outside of the pot and placed my tissue paper on top! My pot was now ready to go!

         


Baking The Cupcakes:

I really wanted to try a new and exciting flavour this week, but I also knew that this sort of cupcake arrangement required cupcakes that were a little more dense and wouldn’t crumble under the weight of the buttercream. I took to Pinterest and searched for the perfect recipe. The majority of the recipes that were suggested were for vanilla cupcakes, so I decided that I would choose a basic vanilla cupcake and then incorporate a fun flavour in my fillingg instead! I looked at a few different recipes, but I decided to go with one that I found on a baking blog called Natasha’s Kitchen! The cupcakes recipe, which can be found here, had great step-by-step instructions and very positive reviews, which is why I chose it above the others I viewed!

1) I read over the ingredients and gathered my supplies!

        

2) My next step was to combine the sugar and eggs in the mixing bowl. I mixed it for about 3 minutes until it was well combined. I then added the oil and vanilla and continued mixing for another minute or two.

      

3) I then mixed all my dry ingredients in a bowl and alternately added these ingredients and the milk to the mixing bowl until well combined. (**Note: I didn’t realize the recipe called for buttermilk and I didn’t have any! I turned to Google to see if there was any substitution options. I found a website called A Taste of Home that said you can use regular milk and add a tablespoon of lemon juice to create the same result so I went with that! Spoiler alert..it actually worked!)

                     

4) The cupcakes then baked in a 350 degree oven for about 14 minutes. They came out moist, yet firm to the touch! I think they will work well for this cupcake bouquet!


Building My Bouquet:

For the buttercream frosting, I am going to be using the same recipe I used in my last post because it turned out so well and will be stable enough to pipe the flowers with. If you would like to see how I made the buttercream frosting, please follow this link to my last post!

5) So I took my buttercream frosting and split it into 3 different bowls so that I could colour it 3 different shades! I chose to go with purple, pink, and yellow flowers! I also wanted to incorporate some fruity summer elements so I decided to put a fruit filling inside each cupcakes to match the colours of the piped flowers on top! All I did to create the fillings was add fruit purees (blended berries) to my buttercream frosting and stirred until combined! It’s a very simple step but totally worth it for that extra pop of flavour!

Before filling my cupcakes and getting ready to pipe my flowers, I spent some time watching some video tutorials online! I was super nervous about some of the flowers so I thought that I would watch videos that show different piping techniques, practice them, and then choose the one I am the most comfortable with for the cupcakes! I found a great video tutorial on Cake Style’s YouTube page titled “Amazing Buttercream Flower Cupcakes”, and let me tell you, amazing does not come even close to describing them! My jaw dropped when I watched how effortlessly the decorator was able to create her flowers! Check it out:

8) So after A LOT of practising and many failed attempts (a.k.a having to scrape the icing off the cupcakes and start again), I set out to create my bouquet! My favourite flowers were the roses so I decided to stick with those. I just used the link above to follow the picture tutorial on how to assemble my bouquet, but if you would prefer a video tutorial other than the one I am about to share, I recommend this one! Here is the video following my process of filling, decorating, and assembling the cupcake bouquet:


Final Thoughts:

The cupcake flower bouquet turned out really well in my opinion! I am no expert and I know that my piping is not as advanced as the bakers in the videos I watched, but for a first attempt, I think it looked nice!

I found that the vanilla cupcake was the perfect base for this creation because it held up nicely to the buttercream frosting (and there was a lot of it!). If you’re someone who loves icing, this is the cupcake for you!

When it came to making the actual buttercream frosting, I added a little extra icing sugar so it was thicker than usual. I also had to make sure that I wasn’t handling the icing bag for too long or the icing became warm and didn’t keep its shaped when piped.

Difficulty Rating: 8/10
  • This was by far the most challenging creation I have attempted throughout this learning project! It took a lot of patience and determination to keep going and not give up when things didn’t turn out right. I am happy I kept calm and didn’t give up because the end result was worth the struggle!
Would i make this again? of course!
  • This is definitely something that I would make again because I actually really enjoyed myself throughout the entire process! I think it would make a great mothers day gift or be a total hit at any special occasion! It is a very time consuming process so I would make sure to have the cupcakes prepared ahead of time to speed things along.

Overall, this was a blast to make and I love learning how to pipe such beautiful flowers! I really feel like I have come a long way throughout this project and this project really showcases it! Like I said, this was no easy task and I had many “flops”! If you don’t believe me, check out the comparison between my first attempt and my last:

                            

I hope you’ve enjoyed my post and maybe even got a laugh out of my missteps! See you next week!

 

-Lauren

Developing Positive Digital Identities Through Education

Over the past week, the topic of digital identity has been a main focus throughout our class discussions. How we are represented and perceived online directly impacts who we are and that is why it is important to understand the significance of creating and maintaining a positive online identity early on in life.

Today’s youngest generation has grown up with technology and social media their entire lives and therefor rely heavily on it. Historically speaking, many educators have argued that this reliance and increase of time spent online is unhealthy and detrimental to youth. I remember when I was in grade 7 and the use of cellphones and social media was off limits in the classroom. We were allowed to use our phones during breaks and at lunch, but if we were to use them in class they would be confiscated for the day. The opportunity to work in the computer lab was something exciting for us because it was something we all wanted to do yet were rarely given the chance to. In general,  teachers viewed technology as a distraction for students. Fast forward to my final year of high school and things were completely different. While we were not allowed to text or sit on social media during class, we were encouraged to use technology whenever possible. Each classroom in my school had now been equipped with iPads, laptops, and/or tablets. Students were permitted to use their phones for educational purposes. Rather than fighting the rise of technology, teachers had began to embrace it and everything it had to offer.

As suggested in Nathan Jurgenson’s article “The IRL Fetish”, the desire to separate ones online and offline self is not only unnecessary, but also unrealistic. The idea being described by Jurgenson outlines the belief that all those with a digital identity can never truly be offline. Whether we are starring at our screens or not, the internet is constantly in motion and that is something we can’t fully control.

Due to this lifelong exposure to technology, many young students tend to overlook and disregard the dangers and possible downfalls they may face when it comes to their digital identity. Student’s are unaware or unconcerned with how to properly conduct themselves online and this is where we as teachers need to step in and provide guidance.

Often times teachers are given the impression that they shouldn’t have an online presence or if they do, it should be deeply hidden. This is not completely accurate. The truth is, teachers are people too and just like anyone else, they have the right to their own social media accounts and online identity. Recognizing that it’s okay to be online is the first step in supporting students in developing their online presence through leading by example. While it is true that we as educators must be cautious with what we share online, we have both the right and responsibility to be have an active online identity. By doing so, we can teach students about what is safe to share, how permanent the internet truly is, and where to draw the line.

What To Teach Our Students About Digital Identity:

  • What you post online NEVER truly disappears: with apps like Snapchat, many people are under the impression that the images and words they send to others or post online disappear. This is not true at all! As outlined in Jon Ronson’s TedTalk titled “How  One Tweet Can Ruin Your Life”, the internet NEVER forgets and that is why you must be sure to think things through before making any choices. Ronson uses Justine Sacco as an example of an individual who made one inappropriate post that will follow her for the rest of her life.

 

  • You can’t control everything, but you can some things: the truth is that you cannot control everything that people find online about you. Whether information is true or not, there is bound to be things online about you that you don’t want other to know or think about you. While this isn’t something we can always control, what we can control is what we put out there. We need to teach students that it’s good to be active online and share positive things about who they are, their goals, etc. Have the desire to fill the internet with so many positive things about yourself that they take over anything negative or false!

 

  • Not everything you see online is real: in today’s era of photoshop and filters, the majority of images shared online are not “real”. Any insecurities can be masked so easily and shared as being natural. This leads to poor self-esteem, depression, and body issues, specifically in youth, because they feel that they are incapable of achieving the image that others do. This sense of distortion is addressed in an article by CNN titled “Instagram: Worst Social Media App For Young People’s Mental Health”. It is also important to note that the lives people portray themselves as having online may be nothing like their actual lives.

    Social media profile appears to be positive, but “it’s just a picture”.

    Split Image is a powerful true story about a University student named Madison Holleran who shocked the world by taking her own life. Madison’s online presence showed a happy, healthy girl who was enjoying life, yet her reality was nothing like this. She created an image to hide the darkness in her life and that is something that student’s and adults both need to understand occurs.

 

While all the things mentioned above are extremely important, the issue that I feel is the most dominant in today’s society in terms of technology and student’s digital identities is cyberbullying. This is something we have all heard about thousands of times. We have been teaching our students not to do it for as long as we can remember, yet it still occurs. Why? There may be many reasons behind this but the most obvious one that I can determine is a lack of understanding of the impact cyberbullying has on others.

Monica Lewinsky delivered a inspiring TedTalk titled “The Price of Shame”, in which she addresses the impact that shame and online humiliation can have on a person. She recalls her experience and how it impacted the way others viewed her, as well as how she viewed herself. People who  didn’t even know her were insulting, judging, and harassing her online and there was no escaping them. She had no where to run, nowhere to hide. Her life had been turned upside down and there was nothing she could do about it. Sadly, she is only one of the many victims of such acts. Cyberbullying is on the rise and is impacting today’s youth more than ever before.

The impacts of cyberbullying varies and that is why it is important for teachers to educate their students on the implications of their actions. The impacts of cyberbullying are extensive. Depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, and the list goes on. Unfortunately, many cases go as far as ending in suicide. One case that most  students are familiar with is that of Amanda Todd, a young girl who made a video and took her own life due to cyberbullying.

While Amanda’s story is well-known, there are so many other people out there who faced the same fate and received no recognition. To think that the pain and suffering they felt was so bad that their only escape from the bullying was to escape from life itself is devastating.

When we sit behind a computer and judge others, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind those images and stories. These real people have feelings and lives on their own that are often overlooked by those judging them. As Lewinsky stated, we need compassion to combat this online shame and humiliation. It is vital for teachers to do everything in their power to put an end to this vicious cycle through educating their students.

What Individual Teachers Can Do:

  • We cannot fully protect our students from the dangers of online, but we can provide them with opportunities to develop and contribute to their digital identities by using technology wherever and whenever possible.
  • We can show students how their words can impact others and the importance of thinking before they post.
  • Above all, we can be someone that our students can look up to and learn from by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to create positive online identities.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself.” -George Bernard Shaw