Technology and Social Justice?

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When I was in elementary school, the only thing we needed technology for was learning to type and researching topics.  New technologies over the years have opened up countless opportunities to engage learners and teach in different ways.  I believe that the changed nature of learning and the rise of technology is related to social justice anti oppressive education because we can connect to a larger audience to receive guidance and feedback.  Teachers use internet sites like Pinterest to get teaching ideas and they could also reach out to a community of educators through forums and Twitter.  Educators can connect with millions of people all over the world to create a support group or to have a discussion about ideas.  Collaboration is a big thing for education and the fact that you can post and access teaching materials is pretty great.  The internet offers another way to seek out help and support for your teaching goals towards social justice and anti-oppressive education.

We can use different technology tools to create digital stories with anti-oppressive content.  In my previous post about treaty education, Claire’s students used apps like Puppet Pals to portray their versions of the signing of Treaty #4.  The students also created songs and podcasts, which I assume was done by Garageband.  These projects offer a more engaging and fun way to learn about content in the classroom.  This also makes learning more memorable and we as educators should strive to make anti-oppressive content relevant and fresh in students’ minds.  Using the internet and other technology tools allows students and teachers to have their content seen and commented on by a much larger community.  These anti-oppressive ideas and projects will keep educators and others around the world aware and inspired to do the same in their own classrooms or households.

How do you think technology and new modes of learning are related to social justice and anti-oppressive education?

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My Summary of Learning

We are at the end of the Fall 2013 semester and it’s time to reflect on the things we have learned in ECMP 355!  Since my speaking skills are not the greatest in this video, I thought I would reflect further on the things talked about in my screen recording.

1. Google+

  • As mentioned in my video, I never really thought that Google+ was anything special.  Through other social medias and conversations, Google+ was kind of seen as a joke by many.  Through this class, I realized that you can do some great things with it.  First of all, it’s a great way to get students together in one group to share ideas, to make announcements and to get feedback from others.  I was used to UR Courses for this kind of interaction, but Google+ has proved to be a more easier, organized and comfortable way to access information.  Google Docs were used on our Google+ page, which was very convenient because they were placed right in plain view for us to access.  Because of this class, I started using Google Docs to share ideas and information with classmates.

2. Twitter

  • I originally used Twitter as a way to ‘stalk’ celebrities and to find out what was happening in the world.  Little did I know, Twitter can be used as a tool to communicate with other educators through hashtags.  The example I used in my video was #pted (preservice teacher education), but there are multiple hashtags like #elemed, #scichat #ntchat, ect.  Educators that follow these multiple hashtags around the world can respond to your tweet by giving advice, feedback or comments.

3. WordPress

  • I had a WordPress blog before this class and I would usually just write about what I was thinking about and reflecting on experiences.  Once I started ECMP 355, I started blogging about technology, reflections and my own personal learning.  I thought I was pretty advanced with WordPress before, but I’ve learned so much from this class.  For example, I learned about drop down menus and ping backs.  I also learned how to use an about.me page on my blog.  We also had George Couros come into our class to show us how we can develop our professional portfolios online.  I had no idea that you could do this and it seems like a more organized and environmentally friendlier way of developing a professional portfolio, while developing your digital footprint at the same time.

4. Edublogs

  • I’ve never actually used Edublogs before, but I’m bringing this up because we looked at Ms Cassidy’s blog.  She uses Edublogs as a way to record the progress of her students, which is pretty cool in my opinion.  I took a closer look at her blog after I made my summary of learning and realized that she does not document only reading and writing, but also other subjects, like math and art.  I think this is a great way for teachers and for parents to see the progress that the students are making.

5. Digital Storytelling

  • Through the 5 Card Flickr Story exercise and The Door Scene exercise, we learned all about digital storytelling.  I thought this was amazing because it goes beyond our basic understanding of how stories are told, which would be physically reading a story and watching movies.  This class has really opened my mind to how many possibilities arise from using technology.

6. Youtube/iMovie

  • Youtube has been a very important tool for me this year.  I posted my learning project videos, The Door Scene video and my summary of learning from this class onto Youtube.  I’ve also used it in different classes in the past and recently.  Youtube provides a quick and easy way to share videos with classmates, students, friends, colleagues and many more!  I use iMovie to edit all of my videos and it’s been pretty good for me so far!  I had to update to a new version because my past one was not working for some reason, but I’m starting to like the new version more now!  It’s easy to understand and function and you can share your videos onto Youtube directly from iMovie.

7. Podcasting

  • Podcasting has always been a foreign term to me and I never really understood it until this class.  We were supposed to create one in a different class earlier on, but we ended up just recording a video of our voices and put it on Youtube because we did not understand how to create a podcast.  Since we were not totally confident in talking about something, we made a music mashup, which is much harder than it seems.  Creating podcasts could be a great alternative to presenting in class and it could also be a way to bring information or entertainment to others.

8. Digital Identity

  • In my video, I talk about the story of Karen Klein and Amanda Todd.  Both of these individuals were affected by the identity they have made online.  Karen’s story ends up happier because someone raised money for her to go on a vacation.  But for Amanda Todd, however, her identity and her activity online contributed to her downfall.
  • Throughout this whole entire class, we have been developing our own digital identities through social medias such as Google+ and Twitter and through our blogs.  These tools have enabled us to identify as educators and share information that we find interesting.

My Childhood Walk

In ECMP 355 last week, we were asked to create a 3-5 minute presentation on a topic of our choice.  An alternate assignment was the Childhood Walk.  You get images from Google Maps and create your story from those images!  I decided to create my Childhood Walk in a similar way as Doug Peterson and Stephen Downes, but instead of showing areas in my city, I’m going to stay on the block I grew up on.

This is my house! You can’t really see it because we had a ridiculous amount of trees.  I have lived in this house for my whole life, so I have a lot of memories from this place.  My sister and I were very much into the outdoors and we would wander our block every single day.

Childhood walk7

We have a very steep driveway that everyone is afraid to drive up on!  My sister and I lived dangerously, so we would drive our scooters down our driveway often.  We would pretend that we were on “The Amanda Show” with our scooters and we would sing the theme song out loud and proud!  We were obsessed with the show and we would act out segments and quote the characters.  Some examples were “Amanda, please” and “Welcome to the girls room”. We thought we were expert scooter drivers and we would scoot around in circles, swerves, etc.!  Now that I think about it, this was extremely dangerous and I don’t remember if my parents were aware of us doing this.  I also realize now that we were crazy weirdos!

Childhood walk1

When we were kids, we would take vacations every summer in our motorhome!  We have had two motorhomes in total and this is our last one.  Some of my best memories come from my family vacations.  Every other summer, my auntie, uncle and cousin from Ontario would come down to Saskatchewan to spend their summer holidays with us.  Camping was a family favourite and I would always look forward to it. We went to Pike Lake several times, which is located outside Saskatoon. We have a lot of family living in Saskatoon, so most of them would visit us at our campsite.  We have also camped in BC and went to Radium Hot Springs quite often!  I don’t see my family as often as I did when I was a child, so I definitely miss the good old days.I have a lot of memories in those motorhomes and I will never forget the good times we had!

Childhood walk3

When I was a kid, my best friend lived right next door to me!  They were a Chinese family with a grandmother, a mom, a dad, and two boys.  One boy was around the same age as me and the other boy was the same age as my younger sister!  Our parents would take turns babysitting us and we were over at one another’s houses every single day!  When my sister and I went over to their place, we would usually play Pokemon on their playstation or pretend to be the Power Rangers.  I was a very demanding kid and I would insist on being the pink Power Ranger.  The grandmother didn’t know English very well and my mom is convinced that my sister and I could understand her when she spoke her language.  Another memory I have from their house is eating a lot of sticky rice!

Childhood walk2

My neighbour friend was extremely afraid of dogs!  This one time, my sister, our neighbours and I were walking on our block and a person with a dog came by.  My friend freaked out and we hid behind a rock on someone’s property.  After the dog left, the owner came out and yelled at us.  We were all so scared and ran away.  The rock is not there anymore, so just use your imagination!

Childhood walk5

My sister and I would wander our block and find ant hills.  We would pretend that we were doing a documentary on ants and we would describe every single thing that they did.  I believe we also did this with lady bugs and I think we pretended we were british, too.  We would pick honey suckles off the trees and taste them everyday!  We would also pick flowers off of trees and we got in trouble for that.  Apparently, we were trouble makers!  It seemed like we were the only kids on our block because you would never see anyone come out and play during the day.

Childhood walk6

So there is my Childhood Walk!  I recommend doing this because it’s nice to go down memory lane every now and again!  It makes me want to be a kid again!  Take the challenge and create your own Childhood Walk!

Digital Storytelling

I’m quite amazed with all of the tools we have used and explored through ECMP 355 for digital storytelling lately!  I was not aware of most of the tools we went through!  When I thought of digital storytelling, I only thought about telling stories in videos; more specifically, Youtube videos.  Little did I know, there were way more ways to express a story with technology!

The first two things we looked at on October 3rd was 5 Card Flickr and 6 word stories.  In the 5 Card Flickr story, you choose 5 pictures and create a story with those images.  I did this recently in a past blog post.  I thought this activity in class was wonderful because it channeled my creativity and kept me interested!  I feel like this would be great for children to do because I can only imagine what stories they would come up with!  It’s a great way to get your creative juices going and it could be an introduction into creative writing for children!  The 6 word story is exactly what you think: a six word story!  Here’s an example: “Tanline on his ring finger? Goodbye. – Ruby”.  You’d think this would be simple to do, but it is quite the contrary!  I considered doing one because I thought it would be easy, but creating a story in 6 words is difficult!  This could be a great exercise to demonstrate the need to shorten sentences if the information in the sentence is redundant because you have to choose your words carefully in a 6 word story.  Another thing we looked at on this day was movie trailers that were edited to create a different movie genre.  For example, someone transformed Mary Poppins into a horror film:

This was very interesting because just by changing the music, colour and order of the scenes, you can create something completely different.

The next week, we started working on our Door Scene videos, as mentioned in my previous post.  We learned ways to make a video more suspenseful and we learned how to use iMovie more effectively.  It will be interesting to watch the videos from other groups because it will prove that a story can go in all different directions with their creative choices.  The next thing we are exploring is podcasting!  A new post will probably come up for that!

So, for a last thought: Are there any other digital storytelling tools that you know of? I would be thrilled to explore more!

Five Card Flickr Story

In ECMP 355 today, we talked about digital storytelling!  I never realized that there were so many cool apps and web tools for storytelling.  We talked about puppet pals, iMovie on the iPad, Five Card Flickr stories and 6 word stories.  In a Five Card story, they ask you to choose five photos and then you write a short story, based on those five pictures.  If you want to make one for yourself, here’s the link: Five Card Flickr Story.  Here is the Five Card Flickr Story I made today in class:


Five Card Story: Bobby’s Exciting Adventure

a Five Card Flickr story created by Ashley Y


flickr photo by keepps


flickr photo by keepps


flickr photo by Serenae


flickr photo by bionicteaching


flickr photo by bionicteaching

Once upon a time, there was a cat named Bobby. Bobby was an inside cat and he was very curious about the outdoors. He longed to feel the outside air and to soak up the afternoon sun. One summer morning, he managed to sneak out while his owner was leaving for work. He ventured out to the garden that his owner maintained. He passed by many vegetables, flowers, plants, ect. After he passed by the tomatoes his owner was growing, he noticed two, small, strange looking objects. He looked closer and examined the swirled pattern on each of them. He swatted at one with his paw and a long, squishy animal passed through an opening in the object.

“Hey! What do you think you’re doing? I’m trying to nap here!,” exclaimed the creature.

“I’m sorry! I’ve never seen anything like you before! My name is Bobby and I’m a cat! Who are you?” Bobby asked.

“My name is Maurice and this is my wife, Glenda. We are snails!” Maurice answered.

“Cool! I’ve never heard of a snail before!” Bobby said.

Glenda woke up shortly after that and the three of them talked and became friends. Maurice and Glenda told Bobby all about snails and the other local creatures around. Bobby was fascinated and wanted to see more! He said farewell to his new snail friends and headed off to continue his adventure. He did not know where he was going or what he was going to see, and that excited Bobby even more! He passed by a house by a huge body of water. The house looked abandoned and creepy, so he did not dare come and explore. Bobby was definitely a scaredy cat! He ventured on and saw a field with a lot of trees. He saw a blow up slide and a soccer net, so he figured it was a place where children played. He walked across the field and noticed a new creature that he has never seen before. He seemed very scared.

“Hi, there! I’m Bobby and I’m a cat! Who are you?” asked Bobby.

“I’m G-g-george and I’m a cow,” he said shyly.

“Hello, George! What’s the matter?” Bobby asked in a concerned tone.

“I was playing hide and seek with my brothers and I went to far. I’m lost and I can’t find my farm!” George exclaimed. He started crying and Bobby felt very bad. Bobby had a very good sense of direction and knew he could help.

“I’ll help you find your home, don’t you worry!” Bobby reassured him.

As they walked, George told him all about life on the farm and the animals that live there. Bobby was intrigued by his stories and couldn’t wait to see his home. They ventured outside the forested area around the park and eventually found his farm.

“Thank you so much, Bobby! I hope to see you again, new friend!” said George.

Bobby ventured back home and he thought about all the new and exciting things he saw that day! He was so thankful to meet new friends and to learn about their homes and lifestyles! When Bobby arrived to his place, his owner was crying and he realized that she was worried sick about him! He felt really bad for leaving without permission, but he will never forget the adventure he went on that day!