Well, Its Come To This!

Hey EDTC 300!

I just wanted to share my Summary of Learning to this page! I decided to make a video that had me speaking about my experience throughout the semester. I had a great time and it’s bittersweet that the class is coming to a close!

Without further ado, here is my Summary of Learning:

Thanks to everyone in EDTC 300!

Cody. Out.

GIF Credit: Giphy.com

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My Contribution to the Learning!

I just want to start off by saying that before this class I was a complete lurker on the internet. I rarely commented, and if I did, it was only ever to amuse my friends. I never cared to post my input, thoughts, or opinions on such a social platform for anyone to see. Though, to my surprise, doing so got easier as I went along!

In my opinion, I found it easiest to communicate with my peers through their blog posts because I was able to take advantage of the lack of a word limit. I made sure to try and inspire my peers, comment about things I liked, but most of all, I tried to create an open dialogue by asking them questions to ponder and follow up with an answer. Here are some examples of my comments:

            

As you can see, I tried to make sure my comments were not generic and they had somewhere to go if they felt like answering. Furthermore, I meant what I said in each one, which I think counts for something!

Furthermore, I tried to create a professional online presence on my Twitter account.  This is what I was talking about when I had stated that I never posted much. I tried to embrace the challenge, though. I remember Katia mentioning that it’s appropriate to post some personal tweets along with, mostly, professional style tweets — and that’s exactly what I set out to do. It was a strong recommendation that we try to tweet  twice per day, too. Admittedly, I found this incredibly tedious because, well, I have never been much of a sharer and I was SUPER busy with my other university class! Not trying to make an excuse, it is what it is!

Here are some of the highlights where I posted a question, resource, or something I found interesting!

In addition, here are some of the tweets I am most proud of, either because they were retweeted or there was lots of interest in them!

Here are some of the comments I made on my peers tweets!

And here’s some comments from the SaskEdChat that I took part in!

Lastly, I had a hypothetical twitter chat with my colleague, Amanda Ewert, using #twitterintheclassroom. I have a screenshot of this chat which was included in this blog. This chat was in the effort to, not only complete a mandatory blog, but create a potential dialogue between my peers and also give some resources!

In terms of of my blog posts that I had written throughout the semester, I tried to incorporate my opinion, things I found interesting, my humour, and resources so that the reader could make sense of what I was talking about. Take this blog, for example, where I spoke about the different aspects of the internet and its dark side. By the end I had posted a video about the deep/dark web to help the reader in case they were unfamiliar with the subject. Or take this blog where I spoke about my adventure with coding, I linked to the different aspects of coding, and the location of my activity. Both my EDTC 300 blog posts and my Learning Project pages carry many more great examples.

In conclusion, I had a great time collaborating with my peers. In hindsight, I could have done more tweeting, though I think I did perform pretty well in that aspect. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoyed the blogging aspect of this class because it allowed me to be very creative and to interact with my peers in, what felt like, a natural way. With all that being said, I am not going to drop my online presence. Building my Professional Learning Network is something I am interested in and want to continue with as I embark on my internship and professional career.

“To Start Press Any Key… Where’s the Any Key?”

There has never been a more appropriate time in my life to post the following video.

Video Credit: Simpsonphile

I’ve just completed my Hour of Code certificate and I have to say, it was a lot of fun! Check it out:

Just like it says on the certificate, I chose to try out the MineCraft game. It started off fairly easy, though I wasn’t expecting too much of a challenge. The point of the game was to communicate to the program what you wanted to have happen — which is coding in its simplest definition. Initially, I just had to make the ‘agent’ move a few steps so that it stood on a lever to open a door, the premise to the entire game. In addition to that, the game gradually gives you harder scenarios to overcome. Here’s what one of the first levels looked like:

You can see in the picture that I had the agent move forward 4 steps so that it would be standing on what looks like a hardwood tile. In turn, that opened the door so my character, Steve, who is to the right of the agent, could run and grab the item of interest, in this case a compass.

As I moved through the levels I noticed that there were green/blue eggs in each level that could be retrieved as an extra challenge. So, instead of getting my agent to do this:

I got him to do this:

Notice that the egg on the bottom right of the screen is missing? Yup, I’m a coding genius. No need for applause.

I eventually got to a level that introduced the concept of functions. These were predetermined codes that had the agent perform a specific task, like the one you can see in the screenshot below.

Using functions was a big time saver but it was a little disappointing that the user, me, couldn’t create my own to perform the task! Maybe that was because this was an introductory game.

Ultimately, as I continued, the game continued to get more complicated and gave me the option to use more than one function per task, just like this level:

And that’s about as complicated as it got, which would be great for the students that fall in the age category that it’s aimed for!

To my surprise, the very last level allowed me a chance to play around. I got to create those functions that I was talking about earlier, instead of simply using ones that already existed. The only problem here was that I didn’t have a job to do and got bored almost immediately. Maybe I have a bad attitude, who knows! Here’s a screenshot of it:

I think that using the Hour of Code in a classroom setting would be incredibly beneficial. I think that you could start implementing this at very young ages without any serious repercussions. I’ve found that children can handle a lot and I don’t think that they would particularly struggle with the same thing that I had just completed. I think that using games like these would teach students that the clicking of the mouse or the keys is not just magic. There is a whole process behind everything that you do that makes what you want to happen, happen. I think that doing these things could empower students to inquire about the things that they can do with technology. I also think that using these things in the classroom would have the students incredibly engaged. I know I would have loved it.

What do you think?

#TwitterInTheClassroom

Earlier today I had a professional conversation with a fellow middle years pre-service teacher Amanda Ewert. We had discussed the benefits of using Twitter in the classroom over a Twitter chat using the hashtag #TwitterInTheClassroom. She had expressed her concerns about students losing focus if Twitter were to be introduced in her classroom. From there, we discussed that, yes, there are downsides to using technology in the classroom. Though, teaching students to use technology and social media responsibly would be much more powerful than using traditional methods because of our ever changing technological world! The following is a picture of our conversation:

*Please read from the bottom to the top because Twitter shows the latest tweets first*

If you have any thoughts, feel free to add to our conversation by using the #TwitterInTheClassroom hashtag or contact me directly. I feel that we covered a lot of ground but I am always open to further input. Also, if you care to read, Amanda has also written about our conversation in her blog. I can’t wait to try this method out in my future classrooms!

Dangers of Social Media

 

“Humiliation was a more intensely felt emotion than either happiness or even anger”

– Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky, known best for the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in which her and, then president, Bill Clinton had inappropriate relations during his time in office, gave an excellent presentation about choices and their repercussions as they relate to the internet. Lewinsky’s Ted Talk encompassed the part of cyber-bullying that is kept behind closed doors. She spoke about specific cases where students had been ridiculed so heavily that they were driven to suicide. She even shares that, during her time struggling with the repercussions of the scandal, her parents went so far as to make her shower with the door open so that she would not take the opportunity to become a tragedy. Lewinsky had explained that, with the use of the internet, the ridicule and shaming one can receive knows no bounds. A choice can, and has, ruined lives.

As a future educator, I tend to relate these social issues to the classroom. How might something like this effect my students? Are they at risk? As a teacher who encourages the use of the World Wide Web, how can I teach my students to be responsible and not put themselves in harm’s way? Perhaps these are all ambiguous questions, though I think that being safe on the internet, and with social media, can be as easy as following the same rules that you would offline. What do I mean? Respect is always big for me. Respect others and respect yourself. It should go without saying that if you were to take a picture, a video, or written something about someone for the purpose of humiliation, embarrassment, or ridicule, the action will be taken extremely seriously. The same goes for feeding into that type of behaviour. And, just like I had written about in this blog, don’t go looking for trouble online – it’s too easy to find.

Obviously, these are my rules, and they are broad. But I tend to think that broad rules hit home better than specifics. When I was young, and social media was just becoming popular, the rule was that if you need to ask whether something is okay or not, it probably isn’t. Easy words to live by. You don’t need to be told that uploading that picture of your friend at their worst moment is not a good idea, you know what you’re doing and you know better – simple as that.

Furthermore, if you are a person that needs specifics, or is unsure of some of the steps you can take to increase the safety of your children or your students, the following video thoroughly addresses some precautions that can be taken.

Video Credit: MediaSmarts

Cybersleuthing Myself!

I decided to do a quick google search of my name, Cody Biever, to see what pops up. Turns out, not too much and I feel fine about the things that do. Typically, I do a google search of myself a couple times per year, out of curiosity, and one thing that I always forget about is the following picture that was taken of my girlfriend and I during a Ukrainian New Years party in 2015!

Image result for cody biever

Photo Credit: Edmonton Journal

It surprises me every time I see it and I think that it would be a good conversation piece for anyone who would inquire about it. Additionally, there are links to my YouTube page, my Twitter page, and my Professional Portfolio. The last two pages I have set up to be more professional in nature. My YouTube page is probably the most personal, though the videos I upload have all been for school projects. Furthermore, if you were interested and wanted to look, you can see from the channels that I subscribe to that I am into music, history, psychology, and fitness. All of which I feel comfortable with people knowing and shouldn’t hurt my professional career!

One thing that I’ve always had a problem with, though, is showing my personal life online. I am usually careful about my privacy settings when it comes to things like Facebook.  Especially since I am a future educator, I took the time to change my privacy settings so that, if you searched my first an last name, you would find this page, but not my profile. Also, in addition to the privacy settings, I changed my Facebook name to my first and middle name upon acceptance to the University of Regina. With all that being said, here is what my personal Facebook page looks like to the public:

 

P.S. If we are not friends on Facebook, let me know if you find something different please!

Mission accomplished I’d say! I’ve heard my professors and instructors say that personal Facebook accounts are nothing to shy away from as long as you have nothing to hide, which I don’t. I am just more of a private person and I am not ready to take that leap yet!

Moreover, the articles that Katia Hildebrandt had me read over illustrated great points about identity as it’s expressed online. ESPN’s article explains that people’s identity online is typically a polished version of themselves, and I’d have to agree with that. Whether it’s for personal or professional use, I think that we inherently polish the things that we post, and for good reason. For me, I try to make sure that my identity online is squeaky clean and professional. Everything that I post is typically laboured over and not haphazardly uploaded. Sure, it may not be perfect, but I can typically say I’m proud of it. This is for the sole purpose of looking good to anyone who finds me. I thoroughly believe that my online identity plays a role in how others perceive me.

How much time do you spend perfecting your image online?

The Internet and All Its Greatness!

Alec and Wesch paint a wonderful picture about the usefulness and the connectedness that the internet creates. Platforms like YouTube allow anyone to express themselves freely and share their creativity with, potentially, a large amount of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to see it. Phenomena’s like viral videos have emerged, awareness for various topics is made easy, and access to vast amounts of information is as easy as a click. I especially liked Wesch’s comment where he stated that “anybody with a webcam now has a stronger voice and presence” and I would have to agree. Being connected is power. It gives you access to so much and to so many. To illustrate my point further, here a short video that explains some of the benefits and some of the inherent disadvantages.

Video Credit: ilh elhosni

On the flip-side, the anonymity of the internet fascinates me. Near the end of Alec’s presentation, he began to address some of the downsides of the internet, especially as it pertains to students. Whether it’s cyber-bullying or something more sinister, like the following video explaining the story of Amanda Todd, the internet can be a strong source of torment.

Video Credit: CBC News: The National

My dad, an IT manager, had always said to me that if I go looking for trouble on the internet, I will find it. This is incredibly true and finding trouble on the internet is easier than one might suspect. To take that a step further, Alec also mentioned the idea of the deep web, or more specifically, the dark web. This is a part of the internet that is not indexed and is only accessed using a proxy. The dark web is a specific portion of the deep web that is used for illegal activity – I’m sure you can guess what kinds. Here’s a short video about the deep web if you’re interested:

Video Credit: Techquickie

I’m not saying that students will venture here because it does takes some know how to be able to access it, though it’s worth knowing that people use the internet specifically for illegal activities. You may be thinking that it’s a relief that the dark web is hard to stumble upon, and you should be relieved, but there are also massive amounts of bad things that are also easily accessible on the generic internet and on platforms like YouTube. Like my dad said, if you going looking for trouble, you will find it. Just something to keep in mind.