Thursday, April 2, 2015

Summary of Major Project - Personal Learning

Thanks to all the students and instructors who motivated and inspired me during this class.  I am definitely making changes in my professional life and consequently in my personal life.  There is no better message I can send to these "soon to be" educators in the classrooms then:  Balance your life in all areas if you lose balance in one area all other areas suffer.  Do a good job as teacher but remember that you can't live to work.  You are being watched by others as a role model and a good, healthy, balanced life is one that we want our students and children to see and copy.
#ecmp455  #balanced work life  #major project personal learning  #learning is fun #bitmoji avatar #prezi

Monday, March 30, 2015

New "Fun" items for my Online Courses

New "Fun" items for my Online Courses

I was watching Headline News this weekend when the following mobile apps were introduced.  I immediately thought of how I can incorporate them into my courses.  The first one I did was Bitmoji for Messenger it allows you to make your own avatar.  Then there are sayings that can go with it.  I always wanted to put birthday greetings in my courses so I chose a Happy Birthday image and put it into my courses.
Then I did a ditty on my epiphany about "Blogs"using Ditty.  That I want to use later on for other key messages that I will have in my courses (ex. plagiarism, citing sources, searching, time management, goal setting, etc.)
Finally I used Giphy to find an animated gif to get across a feeling or idea quickly and with humour.  Click on the penguin below for some motivation.

I think "dipping into the river from time to time" with these additions will help make my courses fun, personable and interesting.  The greatest lesson I learned from this course is that you don't have to drink the whole river just enjoy it and take advantage of the tools a little bit at a time.  If I had to pass this lesson on to my students I would say "You don't have to eat the whole moose all at once as that is not enjoyable or   #fun online course #interesting LMS #ditty #ping tank #giphy #bitmoji

Friday, March 20, 2015

"Scratch" and my Online Skills

"Scratch" and my Online Skills

 I am a born "two for oner" in the good sense.  I am trying to see if I can tie "Scratch" into my online learner skills.  In my field as an online teacher I do look at html code to change or tweak things.  I play around with it to see "What it does?  I guess I am very curious and try to save time as well.  In my last post I talked about the "Online Course Countdown" and I had to change the date.  Rather than making the project on the website and getting the code I looked at the code in html and I seen the date could be changed easily.   I think some of this changing, tweaking and experiencing the language of "code" is a nice little skill for students to be exposed to.  Some students will love it and use it to enhance their learning, skills, development and others will think that is neat but only use it for minor tweaks at times.
Here is my little project check it out. #scratch  #ecmp455  #online learner skills #learn code

Time Management Motivators in the Online Course

I embedded the following 'Online Course Countdown' into my online courses for students to get motivated and manage their time.  It is from the website You can set up a countdown for weddings, babies, grads, etc.  right down to the second.  In my case it is till June 1, 2015 when students should be completed their 100 hour long online high school course.  I made it clear that these days include weekends as there is probably only 45 days of actual school days or business days when students can work with us or contact us.

I feel it is very important to help online learners learn the skills of an online learner as they don't realize that there are skills, tips and tricks to learn.  They mistakenly think online courses are easier as they are not sychronous (same time and/or place) but are asynchronous (different time and/or place) thus they must be easier.  However the skills that they must learn and practice include time management, independence, self-motivation, practice, asking for help, etc.

#time management  #ecmp455  #online learner skills

Teaching Students "GRIT" and "Stick-With-IT-ness"

I emailed all my students this information below.  I would like to embed it into my online courses by connecting it to the skills of an online learner.   
We all have setbacks but if you can learn to quickly bounce back from them, stay positive, and gut it out during the tough times you will make it.  

According to the article “Find the Winner’s Edge” by Jen Ator there are six mental traits that you can be develop and strengthen like your muscles to summon the will to win.  She says, “Olympic athletes tap into a set of mental strengths that enable them to conquer fear, stay focused, and drive relentlessly toward their dreams.”

1. Perseverance - Fierce and steadfast dedication; holding tight to your dreams with patience and true grit 
The Underdog:  If you want something badly enough and you never give up, you may just be able to accomplish it.  
Feel like giving up?  Tell yourself you have to try ONE more time before you decide. 

2. Self-Awareness - Introspective evaluation;  having an accurate measure of your own ability
A crucial factor in whether we stick with or give up on a task is how we view our ability to reach that particular goal.
This is called self-efficacy.  People high in self-efficacy can have a greater sense of motivation, feel more empowered, and channel failure into success.  This doesn’t mean being unrealistic about your actual ability.  Seeing the end goal in your mind helps it feel real, which can revive your hope and motivation.

3.  Resilience - Calm and intrepid elasticity;  taking things in stride and adapting to new situations
When the unexpected rips through your life - cancer, divorce, natural disaster - it can change everything.  How well you bounce back can come down to whether you view obstacles as healthy challenges or paralyzing threats.  Being resilient doesn’t change your circumstances - it allows you to move on despite them.  You can’t plan for the unthinkable, but finding “micro-moments” of happiness or gratitude could help you face future adversities. 

4. Perspective - Optimistic and hopeful mindset;  believing in one’s own ability to create a better reality
When it comes to success, hope and optimism are key elements.  Positive people tend to see problems as temporary and feel that they have the ability to influence the future.  When dealing with failure you have a choice in how you look at things.  You can also give yourself ten minutes or an hour or a day to get out your negative feelings rather than keep them bottled up.  Freak out, panic, go to that dark place, then when the time is up move on and tell yourself, “Never let defeat, defeat you and have faith that it will get better."

5.  Focus - Sharp and purposeful concentration; staying cool and observant under pressure
Where we centre our attention can often be the difference between continual success or stalled progress. Staying completely and fully present in the moment helps you tune out unnecessary distractions.  Mindfulness is an incredible tool to help people tolerate and deal with emotions (fear, anger, anxiety, nervousness) in healthy ways, rather than being shut down by them.  Deal with failures, setbacks and obstacles by breathing and checking in with yourself so you can pause and  “choose how to act” rather than just responding automatically.

6.  Discipline - Consistent, self-propelled motivation;  realizing that no one is going to force you or do it for you
When we are uncertain about how to reach a faraway objective, we’re more likely to procrastinate.  Short-term goals are powerful tools that help you with the important in-between steps in reaching your goal.  They help break it down into meaningful stages, which fuels motivation because we know how to accomplish the smaller tasks.  The benefit of these mini-goals is that the reward of finishing them is tangible and close which means we’re less likely to delay or give up on them.  Your dreams and goals are your responsibility if you lose motivation you have to rely on your “commitment,” build positive habits, and be accountable to your support system. 

#teaching grit #ecmp455  #building mental traits #online skills

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Eleven Recommended Storytelling Resources from EdX "Reconciliation through Indigenous Education" MOOC Participants

Here are some resources for those of you who are interested in teaching students Traditional Storytelling.  Around the world the Oral Tradition has been carried down from generation to generation.  In these tellings and traditional languages there are learnings about culture, values, ethics, etc.  Here are resources to help you with a starting point to incorporate these into your students well rounded education.  #ecmp455 #traditional story telling #reconciliation through Indigenous Education #oral tradition 

Eleven Recommended Storytelling Resources from edX "Reconciliation through Indigenous Education" MOOC Participants
From the website:
“Circle of Stories uses documentary film, photography, artwork and music to honor and explore Native American storytelling.”
From the website: “
From the website:
The hummingbird parable, with origins in the Quechuan people of South America, has become a talisman for environmentalists and activists who are committed to making meaningful change in the world. In this inspiring story, the determined hummingbird does everything she can to put out a raging fire that threatens her forest home. The hummingbird - symbol of wisdom and courage - demonstrates that doing something is better than doing nothing at all.
The parable is embraced by two of the world's most influential leaders: Wangari Maathai, the Nobel Peace Prize winner from Kenya who launched the Green Belt Movement, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who has spoken widely about his commitment to preserving the environment. This courageous little book features artwork by internationally-renowned artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. His distinct and lively Haida Manga style engages perfectly with this inspirational story that encourages every individual to act on behalf of the world's limited and precious resources.
Circle of Stories
First Nations Pedagogy
This site is the culmination of a project funded by BC Campus that allowed two education experts, Sylvia Currie and June Kaminski, representing Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to create an online resource that builds on research, consultation, and community-based activities. This site provides best practices and support for online learning initiatives that are intended for aboriginal students, elders, educators, curriculum developers, and educational leaders.”
Flight of the Hummingbird
Four Directions Teachings
From the website:
The goal for the project was to create an engaging site where people could experience Indigenous knowledge and philosophy and where educators could incorporate the site into their curriculum. honors oral traditions by creating an environment where visitors are encouraged to listen with intent as each elder/ traditional teacher shares a teaching from their perspective on the richness and value of cultural traditions from their nation.”
From the website:
I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind
I’m Not the Indian You Had in Mind challenges the stereotypical portrayal First Nations peoples in the media. This spoken word short offers an insight of how First Nations people today are changing old ideas and empowering themselves in the greater community.
The actors, in business suits, jeans, and typical urban attire are juxtaposed against the loincloth-wearing, tomahawk wielding Natives of yesterday’s spaghetti westerns.
Through the use of stock footage, language, and common artifacts like a cigar store Indian, the viewer is encouraged to examine the profound role that these one- dimensional media representations have played in shaping their perspectives of an entire group of people. The man living next door, the woman working in the next cubicle, or the stoic wood carving in front of the cigar store – which Indian did you have in mind?
In Our Own Words (K-3)
From the website:
“This resource has been developed in response to desire on the part of teachers for more guidance and information on how to incorporate First Peoples materials into their instruction and assessment practices. Educators and communities have long recognized a need for increased information and support in the use of culturally appropriate and meaningful First Peoples content, materials, and teaching methods.”
From the website:
Math Catcher: Mathematics through Aboriginal Storytelling
“The Math Catcher Outreach program aims to promote mathematics and scholarship in general by encouraging elementary and high school students to recognize how math is used in everyday life and how it forms the basis for many of our daily decisions and life-long choices. The storytelling, pictures, models, and hands-on activities encourage young people to enjoy math and help dispel myths that math is boring and abstract.
Another key component of the program is to introduce these concepts to Aboriginal students through the use of First Nations imagery and storytelling. The Program has produced animated films in several First Nations languages (Blackfoot, Cree, Squamish, Heiltsuk, Nisga’a, Sliammon, Halq’em ́eylem, Hul’q’umi’num’, and Huu-ay- aht) as well as bilingual picture books in Blackfoot/English, Cree/English, Squamish/English, Nisga’a/English, and Sliammon/English.
The Program is based on the belief that it is crucial that we engage Aboriginal students in mathematics and science at the early age. ”
Our Voices: Omushkego Oral History Project
From the website:
In Aboriginal culture, teachings are passed from generation to generation in a rich tradition of storytelling. Join the University of Winnipeg's Centre for Rupert's Land Studies as they welcome Louis Bird, Aboriginal scholar and storyteller.

As part of the Omushkego Oral History Project, Bird will share - in Cree and in English - a sampling of the stories of the Omushkegowak or "Swampy Cree" people of the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands of northern Manitoba and Ontario.
Bird is from Peawanuck Ontario and has shared his stories with audiences throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. In addition to performing traditional Cree legends, mystery stories, and oral history, Bird has devoted three decades to documenting Cree oral traditions. He began making audiotape recordings of the stories told by his elders in 1965. Today, his collection comprises more than 340 hours of material - the largest extant collection of such recordings.”
From the website:
“Raven Tales is series of half-hour, (24min.) CGI-animated television programs, targeted at school-age children and their families that introduce Aboriginal folklore in a humorous and entertaining way. They tell the stories of the many adventures of Raven, the most powerful deity of Aboriginal mythology. Each episode features an original interpretation of a popular tale from the folklore of our First Peoples.”
Raven Tales
Rebel Music Native America: Lesson Plan
From the website:
Rebel Music: Native America is one episode of a six-part documentary film series that explores the lives of young people who are using their art and music to ignite social and political change around the world. Rebel Music: Native America highlights Native American musicians who are using their art to inspire and transform their communities and the places they travel. This powerful story from South Dakota, Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, and New York City depicts the lives of four characters: Frank Waln, a Lakota hip-hop artist who is fighting to save the environment, Inez Jasper a Skowkale musician who is bringing awareness to missing and murdered indigenous women in Canada, and Nataanii Means and
Mike Cliff (aka Witko), Oglala Sioux from Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota who are encouraging youth to find strength and inspiration through music amidst high suicide rates in their community. These musicians demand positive change for their communities, harnessing the power of music to elevate their voices and escalate awareness. They understand that the future of their communities is at risk and are fighting in hopes of a more promising existence..”
From the website:
“The Seven Sacred Teachings is a message of traditional values and hope for the future. The Teachings are universal to most First Nation peoples. These Teachings are aboriginal communities from coast to coast. They are a link that ties First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities together.

David Bouchard is Canada’s most renowned and awarded Métis author. Dr. Joseph Martin has spent his life coming to understand the Sacred Teachings. Métis Kristy Cameron took a year out of her life to interpret the Teachings through her art. Swampfox has created seven flutes out of seven different woods, each in the key that is consistent with a particular Teaching. This master flute maker then dreamed seven songs to accompany this telling.”

Teaching Traditional History on Traditional Lands - Re: Residential School

Here are some resources for those of you who are interested in teaching students the Traditional History of Canada.  I know I personally did not learn about the history of "All" the people in my Northern Community.  It wasn't until University that I found out about Louis Riel, Treaty Signings, and in this MOOC the seven generations of Residential Schools (and the Syndrome and Legacy that still negatively and profoundly affects Aboriginal Youth and the rest of Canadian society to this day).  In fact it is said that it will take seven generations to repair the damage done.  I feel that positive education now definitely will lessen this time. #ecmp455 #residential school #reconciliation through Indigenous Education #Canadian history

Ten Recommended Resources from edX "Reconciliation through Indigenous Education"  MOOC Participants

From the website:
“The Deepening Knowledge Project seeks to infuse Aboriginal peoples' histories, knowledges and pedagogies into all levels of education in Canada. The project is a part of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, which is located on the territories of Anishinaabe and Onkwehonwe peoples.
On this site you'll find information about the history and traditions of First Nations, Métis, Inuit and Native American cultures, information about the challenges facing Aboriginal communities today, and curricula for incorporating this information into your teaching practice.”
From the website:
The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) is an independent society led by a strong and diverse board of about 100 First Nations community representatives. FNESC is committed to improving education for all First Nations students in BC.
Since its establishment in 1992, FNESC has worked to communicate the priorities of BC First Nations to the federal and provincial governments and to support First Nations communities in working together to advance education issues. Communications, research, partnership-building and advocacy are all central to FNESC’s activities.”
Deepening Knowledge: Resources For and About Aboriginal Education
First Nations Education Steering Committee
Indian Residential School Resources
From the website:
Indian Residential School Resources “
is designed to help educators teach their students about Indian Residential Schools by developing accurate, balanced, and engaging lesson plans and resources to supplement Social Studies and other course curriculums”
From the website:
“LHF is a national Aboriginal charitable organization whose purposes are to educate, raise awareness and understanding of the legacy of residential schools, including the effects and intergenerational impacts on First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, and to support the ongoing healing process of Residential School Survivors. Fulfilling this mandate contributes towards reconciliation among generations of Aboriginal peoples, and between Aboriginal and non- Aboriginal people in Canada.”
From the website:
Project of Heart” is an inquiry based, hands-on, collaborative, inter- generational, artistic journey of seeking truth about the history of Aboriginal people in Canada. Its purpose is to:
§§ Examine the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and to seek the truth about that history, leading to the acknowledgement of the extent of loss to former students, their families and communities
Legacy of Hope
Project of Heart
§§ Commemorate the lives of the thousands of Indigenous children who died as a result of the residential school experience.
§§ Call Canadians to action, through social justice endeavors, to change our present and future history collectively.”
Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson’s award-winning short film, "Savage", is a multi-genre depiction of the loss experienced by the children, families and communities affected by the residential school system in Canada. Accompanied by a Cree lullaby, the film follows a First Nations girl’s journey as she is taken to, and transformed within, a residential school. Jackson then turns to song and dance over dialogue to illustrate acts of symbolic resistance and the dehumanizing effects of residential schooling. She leaves the ending unresolved.
From the website:
There is an emerging and compelling desire to put the events of the past behind us so that we can work towards a stronger and healthier future. The truth telling and reconciliation process as part of an overall holistic and comprehensive response to the Indian Residential School legacy is a sincere indication and acknowledgement of the injustices and harms experienced by Aboriginal people and the need for continued healing. This is a profound commitment to establishing new relationships embedded in mutual recognition and respect that will forge a brighter future. The truth of our common experiences will help set our spirits free and pave the way to reconciliation.”
Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
We Were Children
From the website:
“In this feature film, the profound impact of the Canadian government’s residential school system is conveyed through the eyes of two children who were forced to face hardships beyond their years. As young children, Lyna and Glen were taken from their homes and placed in church-run boarding schools, where they suffered years of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, the effects of which persist in their adult lives. We Were Children gives voice to a national tragedy and demonstrates the incredible resilience of the human spirit.”
From the website:
“Between 1831 and 1969, residential schools operated in Canada through arrangements between the Government of Canada and the church. One common objective defined this period – the assimilation of Aboriginal children.

This site is a counterpart to Where are the Children? Healing the Legacy of the Residential Schools, a touring exhibition that explores the history and legacy of Canada’s Residential School System through Survivor stories, archival photographs, and documents, curated by Iroquois artist Jeff Thomas.”
Where Are the Children?
Where the Spirit Lives
From the website:
“In 1937, a young First Nations (Canadian native) girl named Ashtecome is kidnapped along with several other children from a village as part of a deliberate Canadian policy to force First Nations children to abandon their culture in order to be assimilated into white Canadian/British society. She is taken to a boarding school where she is forced to adopt Western Euro- centric ways and learn English, often under brutal treatment. Only one sympathetic white teacher who is more and more repelled by this bigotry offers her any help from among the staff. That, with her force of will, Ashtecome (forced to take the name Amelia) is determined to hold on to her identity and that of her siblings, who were also abducted.”

My First SaskEd Chat

I enjoyed my first #SaskedChat and it definitely put me in the "Aha" Stage of the "Five Stages of a Twitter User."  I couldn't believe how fast paced it was and was thankful that I was using the Tweetdeck.  Initially I slowed it down but did not like constantly refreshing so I just went full speed ahead.  I managed to keep up after I learned you can click on someone in a row and then you are able to scroll up or down to keep up with the Q & A.

I am a "short and sweet" type personality so the limited use of characters and the directness appeals to me.  I also learned an invaluable lesson again.  That is to learn to take a little information here and there as it passes by.  You do not have to read every single word from every single participant.  This is a hard lesson for me to learn as I am "Old School."  I know as with all  my skills practice and patience will help me learn this new digital citizenship skill.  I know that when I am tired or frustrated I revert back to my old ways of learning/teaching and I need to stop and recognize this within myself.

image source from twitter:  unknown

#ecmp455 #newschool  #twitteraha #saskedchat

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Bringing the Expertise into the Online Classroom

I just finished up my EdX course "Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education." I am sharing the final assignment which is an initiative to have educators bring in local, community, and Aboriginal expertise and Traditional Knowledge into the classroom.

I am also sharing my proposal for a budget that will  add more of the "human" factor and feel to my online courses.  I believe that it will be a useful model for the new teachers heading out into the Saskatchewan educational landscape.  Often new teachers are reluctant to ask for funding or resources to be optimal educators.  However it is amazing how much the students intrinsically value,  relate and remember unique experiences in and out of the school/classroom. 

 I used to have quite a few community guest speakers, Elders, Role Models and Leaders come into my Native Studies 10, 20 and 30 courses when I taught in Sandy Bay, Saskatchewan.  When local court cases came up with regards to Treaty or Aboriginal Rights I took my students to learn about the protocols and responsibilities of the local justice system.  It gave them a chance to see how local community members and First Nation leaders were responsibly working to protect and instill their Aboriginal Title and Rights within (or at times resistant to)  Provincial restrictions and parameters. 

I hope this proposal letter will give you a starting point to help the next generations of students in Saskatchewan. #ECMP455 #Indigenous Education  #Experiential Learning #Special Project

RE: Proposal for funding to support the integration of Traditional Knowledge Holder's, Gatherer's and Herbalist's expertise into Native Studies 10, 20, 30 Online Course Contexts

Dear Principal and Superintendent:

I have been developing and teaching the Online Native Studies 10/20/30 at various intervals over the past 11 years at I am determined to revise all my courses to make them more relevant, meaningful and applicable to my students’ daily lives. At this time I am specifically focused on crafting my Native Studies 30 course to fully engage my online learners. The key is incorporating online activities that embody a more “human” experience. I believe that it is essential to integrate the expertise of the local Traditional Knowledge Holders, Gatherers and Herbalists from our Northern Saskatchewan region in order to significantly enrich this curriculum.

I am requesting your support to enhance our online courses by allocating an “Intergenerational Learning – Elders & Knowledge Keepers” budget for the online Native Studies courses. Other schools in the division are currently enjoying the benefits of Aboriginal perspectives and experiences within their communities. This online initiative would greatly benefit the online school and could also be accessed by a wider range of educators and students.

It would involve online students inquiring about their particular community’s diverse knowledge protocols, Elders, and Knowledge Keepers. This information would be shared in a public forum within my course. This step alone would actuate and reinforce awareness of the invaluableness of Traditional knowledge. Highly and intrinsically motivated students can then make the request to engage in an enriched project based on the protocols. It would involve reciprocity in contributing to the shared knowledge in the community through chronicling in the Oral Tradition, Audio/Visual footage, or demonstrating the skills passed on.

I would like to allocate a maximum of four projects for the 2015/16 school year. Optimistically the projects would be apportioned to Dene, Cree, Michif, and Metis however it would also be dependent on the specific online students involved. This bank of major resources would prove invaluable for Northern Lights School Division educators who would like to initiate requesting the expertise of knowledge holders in their specific community.

As remuneration and protocols will vary from locale and even within locales I am requesting a maximum budget of $500 annually. This would be sufficient for various gifts of appreciation such as tobacco, blankets, Thank-you cards and/or monetary honoraria. This budget would allow for flexibility and could be carried over to the following year.

I look forward to your response and anticipate your support in helping our students deepen their understanding and appreciation for their communities’ knowledge. As they access these proficient educators in their traditional territories it will facilitate a reciprocal process of knowledge sharing as these students will soon be our future community teachers and leaders.

Yours in Online and Indigenous Education,
Kona Guest

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Face to Face Reboot, Reenergize, Reaffirm & "Reconciliation"

I just came back from a two day site visit with my online students in Cumberland House, SK and Creighton, SK.  I have a unique opportunity to teach both adult learners in Adult 12 programs and High School students who are both school age and adult as well.  I found that I easily fell back into my familiar joking around and using Cree language and expressions to help my students feel comfortable and relate more easily to me.  I definitely get a reboot and am able to "recharge" my batteries when I am around people face to face.  This is a special treat for online teachers to go out and connect and engage with their learners in the contexts of their homes, schools and communities.

I am also finishing up my EdX course "Reconciliation through Indigenous Education" through UBC. It has provided me with many resources to help incorporate my Aboriginal students' "Ways of Knowing."  This is becoming a more accepted way to teach all Canadian students at every grade in a way that recognizes the First People across Canada.  It has been said that it will take seven generations of respectful educational experiences to undo the damage of the previous seven generations of Residential School ethnocide.  I believe it, as I actually never heard about residential schools until University although my mom's generation was the last to be a part of this unfortunate legacy.  It also involves all Canadian's education as this is their shared Canadian history.  In moving forward we have to understand the historical contexts that have shaped so many lives and have caused cultural trauma for Aboriginal people that continue to share in a sad state of affairs across Canada today.

I have plans to incorporate and encourage a model of acceptance for the Aboriginal stories and experiences throughout my course.  I will include opportunities for students to share narratives that are tied to the land or their traditional/cultural knowledge (including interviews of their Elders/Grandparents).   I also want to put in a portion about the Residential School and the "Apology" Stephen Harper gave.  I am going to include the use of the Medicine Wheel as a graphic organizer and find ways to intersperse Aboriginal traditions, cultures and perspectives throughout the course.  I find that my Native Studies course presently is based on the Eurocentric and Western Philosophy model of learning and I have the opportunity to use the Aboriginal education model seamlessly in this online course by allowing students the opportunity to be successful in both ways of learning.
#ecmp455 #reconciliation #Indigenous Education #edx #indedu200x #ubcx

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Short & Sweet Models using the "Human Factor"

Recent Understandings of Personalizing my Online Classroom

To date on my major project I have completed the following changes in my revamp of my online courses.  I have incorporated FlipGrid into my forums so that it appears in the introduction of the forum.  The students can either answer the question/share their opinion in the FlipGrid and/or type in their answer in the forum discussion area.  Either would be great in contributing to the class but I of course would prefer that they express themselves in the FlipGrid as it adds to the "Humanness" of the course.

You can pay for the subscription for a year and although it has ten grids these have unlimited "question/answer" areas that have their own unique URL/embed code.  This is extremely handy for me as I can put the same grid in my regular English Language Arts 30 assignment which has many students as my Project Based ELA A30 which is generally a lot smaller.  You can also use it to have students show their projects in other subject areas such as Math & Science.  They may have to have 2-3 scenes if they need to present more than 1 minute 30 seconds.  However that in itself allows them to be concise and articulate in their presentations.

I also learned that although I  usually do not enjoy being in a video recording (such as the big production ones that I develop in Camtasia) I actually enjoyed recording these short and simple Flip Grids.  I feel that my students will also feel more comfortable responding to my example in a short and sweet manner.  Thus the focus will be on the message rather than the media.  I find that am able to relax more and add a bit of humour to my online presence and to online education.  This is something that I definitely have lost since I transitioned from the face to face classroom to the online classroom.  Although I am relaxed enough to practice it the odd time I am face to face with students, on initial phone in assignments and in student feedback it does not come across consistently in my online practise/lesssons. #flipgrid #personalizing online classroom #ECMP455

Humour in the Online Classroom

Humour adds Humanness to the Online Classroom

The other understanding that I finally am coming to grips with in trying to add the Human Touch to my online space is using memes in my course.  There is very little humour in my online courses as I have taken this type of learning style in a more serious and formal approach.  I am overly concerned with having a straightforward and direct learning methods/styles so as not to distract my students.  In a way I guess I do this because I am not there to help them synchronously face to face.  The other reason is that it takes a lot of independence and commitment to do online courses and I worry humour would lead to "goofing off" as the online world is overly distracting as it is.

However I think this straight-laced style does not provide "comic relief" for my students.  In my pedagogy I believe that humour adds to a well balanced educational style.  As in my past face to face   classes I practised  "edutaining" my students as it both relaxed them and allowed them to enjoy their learning in a more comfortable and inviting environment.  I truly am working hard to get back to that style and am taking these "baby steps" to get there.  With more positive feedback from my students and by using appropriate methods/tools I am creating the courses that truly reflect my personality and welcome and invite my students to a more "human" online course.

The meme generator that I have used so far is at memes.  I tried to make a meme using my own image however I couldn't seem to get it down pat.  I will be making one soon but for now I am utilizing the stock images provided.  You can uncapitalized the words as well which helps get my point across in the grammar/capitalization memes that I created (see below)  #online classroom humour #memes #human online class #ECMP455

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Full Circle
Embrace Challenges and Find the Enlightenment You've Always Had

  As I am working on improving my online courses it seems I am coming full circle.  I was reviewing some articles on motivating students in Edudemic and came across the article, "Creative Hacks for Increasing Student Productivity" by Aiden Wolfe.  One hack is to decode your students to help alleviate Student Apathy.  This takes me back to my first online course I had a PowerPoint called "How are you Smart?" which students went through to find out their learning styles.  Do you know your strengths and weaknesses as a learner? Nowadays there are quite a few online surveys such as this one to use:  Find your Strengths
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Interwebicly:  28 Norman Vincent Peale Quotes To Help Create Positive Change


I would like to bring back this lesson/survey as I feel it is important for students to understand how they learn best in order to help motivate them.  It is vital for students to develop a positive self-identity as life-long learners in order to fully engage in online courses.  I know that the majority of my students have had very negative experiences in and out of formal education to the point that they feel negatively about themselves.  I always point out to my adult learners who have been out of school for years that they have a lot of Prior Learning as we are constantly learning.

30+ Famous Success Quotes for Women and Men | Stylegerms
Personally I feel more positive and in control when I am able to understand the "big picture" and the historical reasons or contexts that have impacted my life.  It helps me focus on moving forward when I recognize there are some obstacles /challenges that you can never move but you can find more than one way around and away from them.  What are your personal/professional/educational obstacles?  Can you remove them? go around them? ignore them?  Should they impact your self-image? Why or why not?  I personally struggle with making sure others are "comfortable" at my own personal expense ( I try to remove obstacles for others).  I am learning the life lesson of letting others' be uncomfortable in their own struggles.  These practice sessions allow them to build their personal strength of character in preparation for the bigger personal life battles they will inevitably encounter. #learning styles