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Is My Major Project Really Over???

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We are yet again at the end of a semester of #edtech.  And although this is technically “the end” of EC&I 831, I really do not feel a sense of closure (and I don’t feel that Alec and Katia would want us to either), but instead a continuation of EC&I 832 and a personal pedagogical change for the better.  As was last semester, my major project was a journey – a web of sorts – rather than a chain.  It was not a one way flow of energy rather a branching in different paths while maintaining the same ancestral point of entrance – divergent evolution!

  1.  Since I focused on having my students create blogs last semester, I felt that it was time for me to focus on myself and how I can advance my own educational pedagogy.  I chose to concentrate my major project on MOOCs, specifically to introduce myself to a new way of learning and possibly a new way of facilitating a course.  The idea of a MOOC first piqued my interest during the last week on November 30th when we explored the Dave Cormier’s concept of Rhizomatic Learning, learning without a middle or an end.  I will admit, as a science teacher, the term “rhizomatic” made a lot of sense to me, I fundamentally understood this concept before I researched it.  Yet, as a learner I was a bit confused about how nodules related to learning and I wanted to put energy into this topic, especially after attending #etmooc in January. EVERYTHING CLICKED after that hour!  I was hooked and left wanting to be part of a MOOC community. I explored the internet in Here A MOOC, There A MOOC, Everywhere A MOOC, MOOC.  I enrolled in a MOOC called “Reading to Learn in Science” as I felt that if I was to put energy into this than not only would I ensure that I would learn, so would my students!
  2. Just In Time!  Yes, I had enrolled in the “Reading to Learn in Science” class just in time, and was only a few weeks behind, but with the amount of time allowed for each section I was able to easily catch up. I was really enjoying the flexibility a MOOC allowed for participants.  I began to look for places in Canada that used MOOCs and was pleasantly surprised that BC has been exploring these as OER platforms. This week, I was introduces to the concept of a COOL course, this is something that I will look into further as they are intriguing.
  3. Due to the amount of time between sessions in the MOOC I was participating in, I was only able to post about the content of the course about once per month.  Already I was beginning to feel that this MOOC was not a connectivist MOOC (cMOOC) but rather an xMOOC – and I quickly began to discover that this was not what I was hoping to become involved in. In Science – the Mother Subject, I concentrated on literacy supports that can be utilized within the science classroom rather than conversations with other science teachers about what can be gained from one another.
  4. More than One MOOC!?!  Alec encouraged me to look into MOOCs as there were many of them, I knew about CMOOCs and xMOOCs, but these?   transferMOOCs, madeMOOCs, synchMOOCs, asynchMOOCs, adaptiveMOOCs, groupMOOCs and miniMOOCSs.  It was really through my research of MOOCs that I learned that I truly relate more to the connectivists (developed by George Seimens and Stephen Downes) rather than behaviorist learning theories.  I began researching for a cMOOC to join.  I did this by reaching out via twitter and Google+ communities (yay for search tools other than Google – Let me google that for you, right?).
  5. I found my type of  learning community!!!! cMOOCs – Welcome Home was truly the epiphany of my learning project, and the beginning of the end of my xMOOC journey (for right now at this point anyway, and I am just fine with that). I found a cMOOC that was beginning very soon!  The communication between myself and the other participants was somewhat similar to what I experienced as an onlooker into the #etMOOC environment!
  6. I feel that I was beginning my learning project all over again, but not really, as I felt that I did learn what I set out to for my major learning project.  And Another New Beginning was born – this time to with a clear focus on only one type of MOOC – but also with a connection to EC&I 831 as I chose a MOOC which I was already interested in MOSOMELT (mobile online social media learning technology).  I felt that I had come full circle, as the beginning week of mosomelt was very similar to that of this class.
  7. A new type of social media learning tool – we were asked to introduce ourselves using the MSQRD app – so I gave it a whirl and became a tank driver!  I do have some reservations about this app though, it is fun, but I feel that it has the capability to aid in online identity scams as you can choose to have your entire face “hidden” by a mask.
  8. My Get Out of Jail Free Card – an official goodby to the xMOOC!  I am currently solely concentrating on mosomelt!  Since joining this MOOC, I have continued to explore social learning within schools and the advantages our students can have with using BYOD in the classroom in combination with OER.

This is clearly not the end of my learning journey into MOOCs, just the opposite!  I have learned a lot from this project – and have narrowed my focus for the future of my masters degree as well as being able to expand my students learning experiences through knowledge that I have gained this semester.  Win-Win!



Celebration of Learning

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Wow!  Has this semester ever flown by!  I really can’t believe that we are at the end of this chapter in our learning.  I wanted to try something new for my celebration of learning, so I decided to try an emaze presentation. Not only do I want to keep on learning new things, I want to try and “up the ante” so to speak with our school newsletter, therefore taking amaze for a test drive only seemed natural!

Disrobing via Slacktivism

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So far this has been a very hard blog to write, not 100 percent too sure why, but it may be because knowing that I have unknowingly contributed to the “slacktivism” movement makes a person look inward and take stock of themselves.  So, where did the spark to write this post come from?  Simple – it came from a tweet!

Thank you Lance and Ashley!

According to the Urban Dictionary – A slacktivist is a “person who does simple things like change their avatar colour or post a status update about a cause instead of actively supporting the cause.”   ALS ice bucket challenge, Pink and Red equals signs for equal rights in marriage.  Avatar activism is not a bad thing, it does raise awareness on issues and does bring issues to light, reaching many people on social media in a very short time.  But does it end there, with a re-tweet, changing the colour of your Facebook profile picture, wearing a bracelet in support of a cause that means a lot to the individual?  The video below takes a look at the positives of having slacktivists in our society.

Katherine Hudson points out that 5000 likes is worth more than one conversations.  ONE CONVERSATION!  Again, this brings to mind the idea from Michael Wesch’s TED Talk knowledgable vs. knowledge-able.  The evolution of using knowledge (knowing a bunch of stuff) towards a concept of being knowledge-able  (find, sort, analyze, what can be said, who can say it, who hears what is said) which are used to start conversations.  At 12:30 into his TED Talk, Michael speaks about a software used to send alerts to based on where you are to your cell phone – essentially creating 45,000 citizen reporters.  These “reporters” were not physically doing anything, they were sending alerts, so are these “reporters” slacktivists?

One last thing, and brining it back to Katherine Hudson; are slacktivitst disrobing us of our own opinions or are they educating and moving the tassel on the mortarboard from the right side to the left?

My Get Out Of Jail Free Card

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My exploration of MOOC’s continues; specifically with cMOOCs.   I have set aside the xMOOC I was taking at the start of the semester,  the timing just wasn’t right for me to be taking another oMOOCn-line course. In some ways, I feel like my major learning project in #eci831 has been my “Get out of jail free card” as we are encouraged to explore a subject that is important to us at this time.  For me, that exploration revolved around learning about MOOCs (at the time I did’t even know that there was more than one type of MOOC)!


This week, our #mosomelt community began exploring more ways to introduce ourselves via mobile technology.  We could into ourselves using either Instagram video or a Vine video.  I choose the latter of the two, simply because I feel okay using Instagram and had never used Vine before.

As you can see – I still need to play around a bit and get up the nerve to actually speak to my phone, it feels a bit weird to speak when no one is there;  maybe I just need to be in my car and pretend like I am in carpool karaoke🙂

Our mosomelt community was also given some suggested readings for the week – I read the article What Killed the Mobile Learning Dream by John Traxler regarding BYOD – this is something that the school division in which I am employed is currently trying in a few of our classrooms (yay!) so the article held particular relevance to me.

I don’t think we’ve clearly thought through what exactly that might mean but, also, some of those concerns are proxies for a rather different question. When students bring their own devices, they also bring their own services and connectivity, and whereas we used to make the rules by which they could use the desktops or by which they could access the network – because it was ours – in future it will be their network and their devices.

The rules that have been set out by school divisions regarding what sites we want our students to be working on, and what sites we want to block were in our control, but as soon as students bring their own devices, the schools are no longer in control – in essence the students are and the rules will now be broken.  In control of their own learning – is this such a bad thing?  In my opinion NO – in fact it is what I strive for, but then again, I do teach high school students and I want them to be independent learners. Another thing that may scare educators and school divisions off of BYOD is that the teacher may now have to be an expert in all things tech, again NO.  If our students are striving to be independent learners, part of that learning process is how to use THEIR learning tool.

We also want our students to learn by discussion and interaction. They can do that in an open world as well. Why do we want to get our students to get locked into our VLE [virtual learning environment] to consume our closed content?

Exactly!  And just as the video below states – BYOD lets the learner learn with choice of device that works for the student (one they are comfortable with) while allowing those students who do not have their own digital devices to use the schools devices, ultimately decreasing the digital divide, as everyone would have a device to learn on.  And to me, this is similar to MOOCs – giving the learner the choice to learn the best way they can (xMOOC vs cMOOC) from those that are experts in their chosen fields of study.

Just like the Monopoly board at the beginning of this post has a variety of icons that the players get to choose to be (shoe, race car, etc.), I believe BYOD and MOOCs together allow learners the freedom to choose the best method to increase understanding of the content being presented.

He Said, She Said…OR Did She???

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As I sat down to write this blog I was plagued with feelings of disappointment and being left deflated.  Have you ever heard of the saying below saying by Mark Twain?  I whole heartedly agree with this saying as I have experienced this before in my personal life (and I am sure most of us have), but have had the experience orally as opposed to digitally via social media.Mark Twain

I often wonder though, if more women (cis and trans) feel this way than men?  This is NOT to say that men are “stupid people” at all – please do not take my statement that way.  It’s just that I wonder if women feel that they can never “win” or is it that they realize early on in a disagreement (orally or social media) that they do not need to infuse their energy into the argument because their point will clearly not be taken as intended? Or that their gender identity already defines how they will be regarded online?

These thoughts began to percolate as I read Matt Rosa’s article on Gamer Gate and the silencing of Felicia Day in regards to her love of gaming and finding an inclusive arena (social media) to voice her opinions and experiences.  Inclusion – isn’t that what social media, the internet are all about?  In schools, we often employ social media and the internet as a means of inclusion of all individuals within our classroom.  How many of us have used social media to reach out to other educators when needing help with an assignment or activity that is inclusive?  I would hazard to guess that most of us have.

Sask HS Techers Group


But since learning of Felicia Day and Amanda Hess’ experiences with online bigotry and their feelings of unwelcomeness of women on line, I began to feel deflated in the way women are viewed.  I thought we were making “waves” in the world, women have the right to vote in North America, women are respected in higher level positions – U of R has a female president and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Vianne Timmons, the USA has a female running for president!  Then why is it that women whom have a voice on social media are undergoing unacceptable attacks by trolls? And why is it that online harassment of women is becoming the ‘established norm‘?

The findings (Australian study) Suggested that women believed that online abuse was a growing problem and felt powerless to act over it.

Seventy per cent of women said online harassment was a serious problem in 2016 and 60% said that it was getting worse. More than half the women surveyed felt the police needed to start taking victims seriously.

A Pew study on online harassment,completed in 2014 with the following findings:

60% of internet users said they had witnessed someone being called offensive names
53% had seen efforts to purposefully embarrass someone
25% had seen someone being physically threatened
24% witnessed someone being harassed for a sustained period of time
19% said they witnessed someone being sexually harassed
18% said they had seen someone be stalked

Those who have personally experienced online harassment said they were the target of at least one of the following online:

27% of internet users have been called offensive names
22% have had someone try to purposefully embarrass them
8% have been physically threatened
8% have been stalked
7% have been harassed for a sustained period
6% have been sexually harassed

And in particular: 
Young women experience particularly severe forms of online harassment

Reading the article written by the Huffington Post, “Harassment of Women Comes from Evolution – And Men’s Insecurities” raises points from a study done by the University of New South Wales and Miami University:

The study’s results supported an “evolutionary argument for why low-status, low-performing males are hostile towards female competitors.”

“Dominance is tightly linked to fitness through offspring number and resource availability,” the authors wrote. “As men often rely on aggression to maintain their dominant social status, the increase in hostility towards a woman by lower-status males may be an attempt to disregard a female’s performance and suppress her disturbance on the hierarchy to retain their social rank.”

They went on to say that high status women pose a “secondary threat” to lower status men, adding that, “as women are attracted to dominance, a high-status female is less likely to find lower-status males attractive.”

Being hostile toward a woman is meant to reduce her self-worth and confidence, the authors said, while at the same time lifting their attackers’ perceptions of their own dominance.

“Higher-skilled (i.e. more dominant) males do not behave in this manner as there is no need for them to reinforce their dominance to maintain their attractiveness,” they wrote.

I wanted to do a bit of research myself and sent out a Twitter poll, here are my results:

And received some insight:

— Carla Cooper (@carlacoop) March 27, 2016


This leads me back to the saying by Mark Twain, how many people read his quote in a different light now?   So is it, I wonder,  that women are just easier prey online or that outspoken, powerful women (Katia :) ) are so threatening to some men, in a sense emasculating, that these men feel the right to put said women in her place?

Sharenting, I thought I was being a good parent!

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At Milestone School – we are all set to have a very busy few weeks…. Our school Heritage Fair is tomorrow, and we are hosting Prairie Valley Regional Science Fair on April 5th.  With all of the major activities taking place within the next week of school, I wonder how many parents will be “sharenting”? Over half of mothers and one-third of fathers post about their children on-line – and it is there FOREVER.  Are we opening our children up to cyberbullying?

Natalie Krawczyk wrote an article early this year about parents who just share too much and need to stop, not only creating a digital footprint for themselves (and sometimes including embarrassing images of themselves) as well as those of their children. I agree with Amy,  parents are creating digital identities for their children, some as young as fetuses – just because our children belong to us, does that give us the right to create digital footprints before these children have a say?  Remember, at the rate that digital identities are moving, our children most likely will not need to create a resume when applying for jobs in the future, their IP address will be all that their future employers require.  Would you want a picture of yourself as a young child learning to potty train on your resume?  I think not!


Remembering that there are two sides to every coin, not all people feel that “sharenting” is a bad idea.  Some parents use the photos and posts to reach out to others in search of building a community re: looking for advice or moving thought a similar stage of your child’s life alongside others whom are experiencing the same things.  C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health found the following information:

Who uses it most:
84% of moms, 70% of dads
56% of moms, 34% of dads discuss child health and parenting

Common topics:
Sleep, nutrition, discipline, daycare/preschool and behaviour

72% say it makes them feel less alone
67% say they get advice from other parents
62% say it helps them worry less

68% worry about child’s privacy
67% worry someone will re-share child’s photos
52% worry child will be embarrassed when older

Honestly, I really did not think too much about “sharenting” until reading this weeks articles.  Sure, I share pictures of my son’s on my Facebook – but somehow I feel a bit immune to the whole “sharenting” ideal as my sons are much older (19 & 17 – yes, I feel old), and they are at the age where they can untag themselves from a picture that I post.  But, as a parent of teenage boys, I have been very cognizant of what I post as I do not want to post any embarrassing photos (although I have really, really wanted to at times, haha, I guess those pictures will just have to wait until their weddings :)).  Or, should we just show photos like the one below of my son’s, Rhys and Dayne?  I feel that I am the same as most parents,  I just want to share moments with my family and close friends of my son’s lives, showing their milestones, but is there a fine line that needs to be drawn in the sand?

Rhys Dayne Lacrosse 2015

I wonder, how many of you sharent?  If you have, do you regret sharing as much of your child’s life as you have or have you used it as a way to reach out to other parents going through the similar situations you are experiencing as a parent of young children?


I Always Wanted to Drive a Tank :)

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I have begun my second MOOC, this time a cMOOC called MOSOMELT (Mobile Social Media Learning Technology).

Week 1 was an introductory week titled “The Power of Social Media and Curation”, very similar to the introductory week we had for both #eci831 and #eci832, we were required to set up a WordPress blog, Twitter Account and ensure that we were connecting on our Google+ community.  I already feel very comfortable with these platforms as we have been using them a lot in this class – so it was nice to begin a class without feeling overwhelmed!  Aside from setting up all accounts and tweeting using the appropriate hashtags (#mosomelt), we have been asked to play around a bit with augmented reality app MSQRD – somewhat similar to taking a photo or video of yourself on SnapChat and choosing a filter or mask to put on your face – although this was fun, I do wonder if it will be used in some catfishing scams as it is very easy to hide your face and claim that you are someone you aren’t.  Also, when you take the photo-you simply upload it to instagram, Facebook, Twitter or save to your phone – you can’t choose to send it to your friends or in a story like SnapChat allows.

So far, there has been little communication with one another, with the exception of having communication with Thom Cochrane, one of the facilitators, but, there have been posts both on the Google+ community as well as on Twitter and our Blog Roll and I expect the communication to pick up as the weeks go on.  We have 60 people signed up for this cMOOC and I think that I am geographically the farthest from anyone as most seem to be situated in Australia and New Zealand – Good, I want to make global connections!

I am looking forward to Week 2 as we will begin to look at the “Power of an Online Profile” – again, I feel fairly comfortable with this, but am excited to learn how to do all of this on a mobile device and away from the safety of my laptop.