Final Networked Learning

To begin, I found myself interacting within the Twitter world far more than any other network. Often, whatever I posted on other networks- such as our Google Plus Community forum- I also posted to Twitter. Either way, I decided to show a couple examples for each way that I have contributed to the learning go others.

 

Here are some of the ways I have contributed to the learning of others through Twitter:

 

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I had some great conversations:

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I helped some of my peers realize things they:

 

 


And I helped with other’s projects!

 

 


Here are some of the ways I have contributed to the learning of others through Google Plus Community:

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And finally, here are some of the ways I have contributed to the learning of others through WordPress:

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To finish off, I do not feel as though I have helped others as efficiently as expected of me. I really struggled in the beginning to understand how everything worked, and then I struggled to keep up with it all. Personally, being a tech. challenged person, I feel as though I did a pretty good job!

 

Response to “Sext Up Kids”

While watching “Sext Up Kids” -a short documentary depicting the sexualization of children and the long-lasting effects that follow- I was reminded of my own childhood and began to make comparisons. Growing up, I had limited access to tv, the internet, phones, and even music. While I was the most sheltered child I know, I was still vulnerable to the sexualization that young people experience, and I did experience it. Now, as a young adult, I have realized just how similar my younger self was to the girls in the film.v8m8q8i3cwbcaqqjkw2q

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From Disney Princesses to Bratz Dolls
Like the young girls in the film, I too yearned to be a princess. I dreamed of being that girl; the girl that everyone loved and who was the most beautiful. I played with Barbies- a lot- and at 9 years old I would get up extra early every morning to make a failing attempt at giving myself a Barbie-inspired hairdo. When Bratz dolls became popular, I played with them too. Unlike Barbies, who portrayed a “pretty” self-image, Bratz were “cool” and “hot”. In grade seven -my last year in elementary school- I became more focussed on being “cool”. At only 12 years old, I was tired of being a kid. With my long legs and crazy high metabolism, I struggled to find clothes that fit me. Pants were either too short or too loose and when your idols are Hilary Duff and Rihanna, you think that tighter is better. According to “Sext Up Kids”, my high expectations of my appearance were linked to playing princess:
“Playing princess is priming them for sexualization.”
In other words, it is all about being the fairest of them and when we realize we aren’t the fairest, we go for the sexiest. This is why kids are looking older, earlier.

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 500 × 213 – quotesgram.com 

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K ids
A re
G etting
O lder
Y ounge
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High School Years
Looking back through my years of high school is like looking at a story plot line. As I continued to set my alarm an hour earlier to make time for hair doing and picking out my “outfit of the day”, my grade  8 and 9 years became the rising actions of the plot line. I made my early high schools years WAY harder than they should have been by stressing about my appearance. I was so worried about what boys or kids from older grades thought of me that I would take extra trips to the bathroom just to look in the mirror. I was obsessed!
This obsession followed me into grade ten where I was called out by other girls in gym class for wearing “granny panties”. I didn’t take the comment too hard and found myself joking about it too but from that point -which would be the climax in the plot line- I had several paths that I could have taken and some of them may have been fairly unpleasant. Fortunately, as I got older and became closer to being a senior, I began to worry less about what people thought of me and spent more time working to get good grades (The fact that I had hit puberty also helped). I didn’t have to get up an hour earlier just to do my hair as I had lots of practice by then; not to mention I loved to sleep way too much. These were the falling actions, leading to the denouement.
By grade 12, I was completely ok with wearing sweatpants to school and not wearing makeup in public. I cared about myself but in a different way. Instead of stressing my appearance, I focused on who I was inside.

No Longer A Princess
Unlike some teen girls, I didn’t take extreme lengths to be noticed. Though I was very self-conscious I was raised to have good morals. Fortunately, my only regret is spending so much time worrying about my appearance. As for some girls -as seen in “Sext Up Kids”- growing up isn’t an easy process. Some girls are called profound names and some girls have naked pictures of themselves circulating through their school, both of which are devastating to a girl’s self-esteem. So why do “girls look at themselves as objects of someone else’s needs and desires”?
From Media to Market
Forever 21, American Eagle, Pac Sun… ring a bell? These are only a few of the stores that “Sext Up Kids” used as examples of stores that sell sexualised clothes and as long as these clothes are being sold, they will continue to be put on the market. Young people buy these clothes because it is what they see in the media. “When pop stars are looking more and more like porn stars, sexualized clothing is no longer a shock but the norm.” I was brought back to when I was 12 and watching Miley Cyrus’s new music video for her single “Can’t Be Tamed“-also used as an example in “Sext Up Kids”. I remember my jaw dropping as I watched one of my innocent childhood idols strut her stuff in a giant bird cage. I couldn’t believe my eyes but my friend, on the other hand, thought I was overreacting and that Miley was only acting her age. I find that funny now seeing as I am around the age Miley was when she made that video and have to disagree with my friend. As we all know, Miley has moved on from dancing in bird cages and is now grinding and twerking it out and we are left wondering, why do pop stars act like porn stars?

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605331988_622107.gif   Miley-Cyrus-Can-t-Be-Tamed-miley-cyrus-22856858-655-1024.jpg605331988_622107.gif                                                                          www.examiner.

Porn Or Hypnosis?
According to “Sext Up Kids”, the porn industry is the cause of these problems. An estimated “70-80%” of teen boys watch porn and this porn watching can begin at a very young age. Porn depicts false ideas of female sexuality wich distorts boy’s idea of what sex actually is. These ideas shape girl’s sexuality into being nothing but performance and that is so, so sad. What is also sad, is how negatively these false ideas affect the boys too. Dr. Ralph Diclemente, one of the speakers who made an appearance in “Sext Up Kids”, explained an incident where a man claimed being unable to have a real relationship because he watched porn so much that real sex didn’t excite him.

Stopping The Cycle
Little girls are going to play princess, and boys are going to watch porn -or vice versa. What parents need to do to help slow the cycle is allow sex to be an open topic and not judge. Sex is not a bad thing. Wanting to have sex is not a bad thing, but kids will make mistakes and it is important for them to understand that mistakes make for great learning opportunities. Education is key. Youth, no matter what they are wearing or watching, need to understand what sexuality is and it’s significance it has on themselves and others.

The Slacktivist Dilemma in Schools

Remember those days where you would walk into your school to find everyone wearing matching pink shirts? As you start making your way to class, you too are handed a pink shirt and bribed to wear it with a sucker. Because everyone else was wearing them and they were in fact for a good cause (and you would get a sucker), you put it on and became a clone of your peers. If this still doesn’t ring a bell, you either never had Pink Shirt Day at your school, or your experiences with that day were more positive than mine.

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To begin, I am not against the Pink Shirt Day campaign in any way, in fact, I encourage you to support it. So far, it has raised over $1.2 million that goes towards anti-bullying programs! So where is my seemingly negative attitude coming from? My issues are not with the campaign itself but with how my school neglected it. When it came to Pink Shirt Day or AntiBully Day- as my schooled called it- my school never did anything special. We never had guest speakers come in, we didn’t do activities that raised awareness, we didn’t even talk about bullying. Sometimes teachers would sell pink ice cream floats at lunch and then donate the money, but when it takes an ice cream float to get a kid to give a dollar for a good cause, that isn’t what going in the right direction looks like. When AntiBullly Day was done and over, our school may have spent a ton of money on pink shirts for a good cause, but bullying was still an issue within our school that had yet to be tended to.

Another incident where social activism was not used to its fullest abilities within my school, was during the boom of the Idle No More movement. In Native Studies, our teacher assigned the class to make picket signs that supported the movement. We never fully discussed the issue but rather the teacher had us “look it up” online. We had also planned to go beyond our classroom and walk the streets of our community in protest… but when that time came, our teacher opted for short essays on our feelings towards the movement.

Looking back on these memories, I am left wondering why some teachers backed away from social activism. Were they scared to allow students to take a stand, even when it was the right thing to do? Was it just easier to pretend that we were supporting good causes? Whatever the reason may be, this form of slacktivism did worse for us students than not doing anything at all. Today’s technology has created a world of its own where we don’t even need to leave our bed to tell the world what our opinions are. With something as simple as a hashtag we trick ourselves into thinking that we are making a difference. If all schools depicted social activism the way my school has, these coming generations won’t understand what it means (and feels like) to actually make a difference.

With hopes of learning from the past to grow as an educator, I have started researching other teacher’s resources used to bring social activism into the classroom and school. Here are just a few examples that I found from one of my new favorite sites called  Teaching Tolerance:

Anti-Racism Activity: ‘The Sneetches’

Objectives:

  • Students will experience discrimination and develop a sense of fairness and equity.
  • Students will apply literature to real life experiences.
  • Students will become empowered to take responsibility for their environment.

Using Photographs to Teach Social Justice: Advertisements Promoting Activism

Objectives:

  • explore the role of photography (and the photographer) in documenting activism
  • examine different kinds of activism in photography
  • analyze how photographs can be persuasive

 

A Time to Speak: A Speech by Charles Morgan

Objectives:

  • Understand the significance of Morgan’s speech as part of the civil rights movement
  • Make the connection that modern historical events and issues are directly tied to past events
  • Assess when is the right time to take action or to speak up

Like I said, these are only a few examples amongst many others on the Teaching Tolerance site. Though the site follows an American curriculum plan, the activites are perfect (or else easy to change) for students anywhere and everywhere. I love that the resources include full lesson plans and how impactful they are. Most that I have found are directly linked to social activism. I may even make a blog post specifily on this site, but for now, here are a few resources for you to take!

The Internet Can’t Teach You Everything

I knew exactly what I wanted to do when my ECMP 355 prof. proposed a learning project that would entail learning something that I had very little knowledge of. Immediately, tattooing popped into my mind. My next door neighbor is a tattoo artist who had some old supplies that I could use and I was set! or, at least, I thought I was set. My first tattoo lesson was given to me by my neighbor himself and it was easy. To incorporate some technology into my learning process, I watched several videos of other people tattooing or learning to tattoo, on youtube. I thought everything was fine and dandy until I went for my second lesson with my neighbor. I wanted to show him how much I had learned from the videos and began a technique that I had learned from my technological source. I was concentrating hard and holding my breath, I didn’t want to mess up. I took the tattoo gun in my hand and slowly began to move it towards the fake skin (fake skin is a piece of special rubber used to mimic skin when practicing tattooing). Before I could even touch the needles of the tattoo gun to the fake skin sitting on the dining room table, my neighbor shouted, “WOAH WOAH WOAH!”. I jumped out of my seat and my knees hit the edge of the table. I looked up at my neighbor, unsure of what I could have possibly done wrong. He explained, in his gruff voice, that the angle of the tattoo gun was incorrect for the type of needles in the gun and that if I were tattooing a real person, it would have hurt like hell and looked horrible. He then went on a rampage about all the tattoo artists who try and teach themselves how to tattoo from apps or youtube videos and then screw up on the first real skin they tattoo. I was terrified and promised that I would no longer use technology as a source for learning how to tattoo.

After my near tattoo tragedy,  I began to wonder what else one cannot learn from just the internet itself. I can tell you right now that I could spend a year studying karate and would be lost the moment I tried to physically attempt it. That could go for any sport actually. When it comes to learning anything, nothing can beat a good teacher and a textbook. Along with a good teacher, practice is vital. Unfortunately, not everything can be practiced using the internet, and the internet can’t always judge your progress- like in karate.

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Why Every Canadian EdTech Startup Needs a Teacher

I tried to look for a list of things that can’t be learned from the internet, on the internet, but the only thing I ended up finding was that the internet doesn’t teach you what you can’t learn from the internet…

So I made my own list. I call it Things The Internet Can’t Teach You:

  1. How to tattoo
  2. How to be a karate master
  3. Any physical sport for that matter
  4. How to cook better than grandma (Let’s be real, nothing beats grandma’s cooking)
  5. How to be a doctor
  6. How to eat all the food in the world, never exercise, yet keep a hot bod without having surgery or doing something life threatening
  7. How to transport through time
  8. Why Donald Trump even exists
  9. Who I will marry
  10. How to outlive the earth

 

(cover photo) http://blog.fpweb.net/sharepoint-tips-configuring-search-in-a-one-way-trust/#.VvMfrcd9JFI

Education Is Key

Reaffirming, inspiring, and emotion evoking, is how I describe last week’s lecture best known as The Woodrow Lloyd Lecture,  presented by Justice Murray Sinclair. As a white citizen of Canada, I can’t help but feel guilt and shame in regard to the discrimination and bigotry towards First Nations people. Sinclair’s lecture acts as a reminder that although Canada’s relationship with First Nations people has come a long way, we are far from where we crucially need to be.

I grew up in a town called Fort Qu’Appelle where the closest reserve was ten minutes away. In elementary and high school, First Nations students took up the majority of my classes, and Native studies was a mandatory class if you wanted that high school diploma. I am proud of this. I am proud that I was privileged to grow up in a community where First Nations culture was widely understood and accepted. But even in a town literally named by a First Nation’s legend, racism was still a factor that refused to vacate.

It wasn’t until later in my teens that I experienced, what I call, my first blast of racism -I describe it as a blast because it literally blew me away by how racist some people could be in this day and age. I remember the day vividly as my mom had invited several of my extended family members over which  included my rambunctious, hillbilly uncles. We were happily sitting around our dining room table sharing old tales and current news when my dad mentioned that there had just been a shooting on the reserve near our town. My lovely uncles’ eyes grew wide as they delved into the topic with horrific stereotypical remarks on First Nations people. I was absolutely mind boggled by the prejudice and was about to leave the room when my mom jumped into the quarrel and began to lecture the family on her understanding of the matter.

As I was listening to Justice Sinclair’s message, I realized that it resembled the same lecture that my mom had given my confused uncles after they had unjustly announced their racist opinions on First Nations people. It wasn’t until I heard what my mom said that I fully understood why our relationship with First Nations people is the way that it is. Just like Sinclair, my mom explained that because of the generations and generations of aboriginal people experiencing annihilation, the effects have been long lasting and affect generations to come. These people are still healing.

I was given the opportunity in grade 11 to hear, first-hand, the effects of the horrid treatment my people gave First Nations people while on a travel experience in Mexico with the Native American Indigenous Ministry. In Mexico, a group of mostly First Nations young adults and I worked at an orphanage where children with horrific pasts now had a safe home. During the day, we had the chance to play and care for some of the children and were told stories of the children’s pasts. In the evening, our group met around a fire where we shared how our experiences have been. The more time our group spent together, the closer we grew and by the last couple evenings in Mexico, the masks fell off and we began sharing our life stories. I was blown away (yes again) by how similar my First Nations friend’s lives were to that of the children’s at the orphanage. They shared stories of abuse, rape, abandonment, suicide… I realized in that moment that the Mexico trip that I was on was not only to help children at an orphanage but to help my Native brothers and sisters. To make a long story short, the trip consisted of many tears but ended with an abundance of smiles.

Until my trip to Mexico, I was oblivious to how severe Canada’s historic events are affecting First Nations people today. I had no idea that even MY friends were still living with the consequences left behind by events such as residential schools. But even with this new understanding, until listening to Sinclair’s lecture, I was mindless of how, as a country, we can truly overcome this.

Let it be known that reconciliation does not have to be about forgiveness. “The key to reconciliation is the education system”, Sinclair stated in regards to how we will make the past known and make change for the future, “we have to learn to be patient and committed”. He also explained that a key part of life is being able to answer four specific questions:

Where do I belong?

Where am I going?

Why am I here?

Who am I?

If an individual is unable to answer these questions, how are they supposed to understand life?  Unfortunately, my friends who I went to Mexico with were asking these exact questions and owing to the fact that they were in a state of not wanting to live anymore, I fully accept that answering these questions are vital for moving forward. Sinclair went on with saying “every society has an obligation to help our children to answer these four very important questions”. With the numbers of citizens who have yet to know their answers, society has failed its people. Canada NEEDS to take action. We need to educate ourselves and others on the steps necessary to move forward, out of our past of inhumanity, and into a future of reconciliation because if we don’t, our progress will be lost. Our First Nations brothers and sisters have suffered far too long.

 

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Healthy Screen Time

I recently found a twitter post from @MindShiftKQED that discusses the ways parents can  allow their children the daily use of technology- tablets, smartphones, television, etc; while also enabling them to learn and keep up with their educational levels and live a healthy life. In the article titled “How to Provide Kids With Screen Time That Supports Learning” (. MindShift | KQED New), MindShift explains that children can benefit from using technology while also avoiding a tech-filled life. To do so, they presented a formula advocated by an author of “Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens”, Lisa Guernsey. The formula is called “The Three C’s”:

Content,

Context,

Child.

Content: Parents must first be mindful of the content in the technology that their children are using. Allowing longer uses of educational devices that improve a child’s education is more beneficial than not using that device.

Context: Parents should understand that daily exercise, social engagement, and good sleep should come before the use of technology. Education is important and engaging with the “real world” is vital for proper growth and education.

Child: Parents need to pay attention to how their children responds to technology. If technology before bed is affecting sleep, then technology should be limited to a certain time of day.

Within the article, Mindshift also explains: “Guernsey, who has spent a decade studying how media affects child development, says the research has had a profound impact on her own parenting- particularly the studies around the learning that can take place when families talk about or use media together.” Encouraging parents to get involved with their child’s tech. learning seems to be a key factor. I think this is great because kids have so many opportunities as a result of the technology that their parents never had as kids. Parents get to learn too!

I found this article interesting because as technology becomes more integrated into classrooms, parents may begin to worry that their children are using too much technology. It will be important for parents to understand how beneficial technology can be and the ways that they can help their children get the most out of technology while also living a healthy life!

. MindShift | KQED New. “How to Provide Kids With Screen Time That Supports Learning” http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/11/11/how-to-provide-kids-with-screen-time-that-supports-learning/

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Fractus Learning?

I have had so much trouble trying to figure out how all this blogging stuff works, but I think I am starting to get the hang of it. To find a suitable RSS reader, I googled “The best RSS readers for educators” and found one that contained lots of info on technology AND education. The RSS reader I chose is called Fractus Learning. Some bloggers that I am following are Nick Grantham, Keith Hamon, and Lisa Bessington. I specifically am intrigued by these bloggers because their posts covers topics including: why we should include technology in the classroom, pros and cons of using technology, how and when to bring technology into the classroom, tips on what types of apps, websites, etc; work well in the classroom, and so on. My favorite source so far is Nick Grantham. Here is a screen shot of his blog:

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http://www.fractuslearning.com/author/ngrantham/

This blog covers so many different topics from simply “What Makes a Good Teacher”, to “What to do When Technology Takes Over”, to “How to Twitter Your School’s Next Big Event”! Every post has a simple yet catchy title and the posts are always exactly what the title makes them out to be. I find that the posts are easy to read, attractive, and helpful. I really like that most of their posts contain a video to further explain the topic using visuals. This blogger has been blogging since at least 2013 and is still posting new blogs about every two weeks.

Overall, I am finding Fractus Learning to be very helpful. It is like the ed. tech. version of Pinterest!

 

http://www.fractuslearning.com