Author Archives: maplebaxter

Learning Project Summary: The Last Shebang

What a whirlwind we’ve been on! I remember trying to decide what I wanted to do for my learning project. It was a stressful time because I wanted to pick something that would be useful to me in the future… My top ideas were 1) Learn to macramé, 2) Learn to play guitar, or 3) Learn to take better photos. My decision was to learn to play guitar, and off I went!

Post #1: Baseline 
In my first post (link above), I discussed where I was starting out with guitar, and what I wanted to accomplish in the next seven weeks. Essentially I decided that I wanted to expand my skills by learning to finger pick, and I discussed how I planned to do so. I knew already that YouTube would be a great resource for me, since it’s known to have “how to” videos, frequently.

Post #2: Week 2 Guitar Post
My second was a bit deeper. I showed a YouTube videos of where I was with guitar before learning to finger pick, and a video of me learning to finger pick. Both videos I uploaded to YouTube, and I sourced the song I was learning, “Hey Mama Wolf” by Devendra Banhart. I also explained in this post that I was learning to read “tabs” which is how someone learns to pick along to a song. This was new to me but it got better with practice!

Post #3: How To Read Tabs
Things began to pick up and I added two audio files of my finger picking to the song mentioned above.

The audio files took me for a loop, and I explained how I eventually overcame this hardship in my post… To me this was a huge learning opportunity and I even ended up asking for help in our class’s Google Community. Lastly, I shared a YouTube resource I found on a classmate’s blog. The video was about reading and playing tabs for guitar, perfect for me!

Post #4: The Switch Up
This is where things get a bit wishy washy… It’s now mid semester and I’ve began to feel like learning guitar on the daily is a chore. I decided to switch my learning project to something that I’m already doing on the regular (and working on) to save myself some time and stress. I decided to switch to running. In this post I explain my reasoning for switching. I really liked learning from YouTube because I can pause and play the video whenever I want. However, the time it took to get results from guitar playing was hard on my schedule.

My new plan was to showcase my learning journey with running through documenting my progress with the Nike Run App. This worked a lot better with my schedule since the app schedules the runs for you. I had already been working with the app for a couple weeks when I started documenting and my goal was to run a half marathon by September.

Post #5: The Running App
In this post I go over what I love and what I’d improve about the Nike Running App that I’m using to train with. I also go over some of my stats, and how to generally use the app. Every week the app has the user push themselves in either distance, time, or speed… Sometimes a mix of a few!

Post #6: Three Things to Help You Move Faster
In this post I talk about three habits I’ve developed that I believe have helped me be a better runner. The three things are: yoga, meditation, and nutrition. In this post I explain how I got involved with yoga and how it’s become part of my morning routine on the daily. This helps me be a better runner because not only am I relaxed physically, I have time to notice if my body is hurting.
I also go over two applications I use to help with running: Headspace, a meditation app, and My Fitness Pal, an app for nutrition. I have a subscription to the Headspace app and I try to use it regularly. This helps me stay calm and focused during runs, and the Headspace team will even guided runs through the Nike Run App. My fitness pal is a great resource for staying healthy while active, as I’ve reviewed in the above blog. The only thing I’d change about the app is it’s tendency to applaud weight loss and gain… I’d rather an app that simply records data and makes recommendation for better health.

The resources I’d used for this blog post were websites, screen shots, hyperlinks, and a time-lapse video of me doing yoga!

Post #7: Progress Post – I Failed Last Week
This was my last post on my learning project. I made a progress post to explain how I attempted a long run and didn’t complete the goal… However, I bounced right back the week after and I was stronger than ever! For this post I used screen shots/screen casts from the Nike Run App to show my progress, as well as hyperlinks to the resources I’m referencing. At the very end I added a blurb about how I chose my running shoes and included many resources on how others could pick theres!

How Far I’ve Come…

I do not regret switching from guitar to running. I’ll remember this moment when I have students do inquiry based learning/independent study with me in the future… You need to be interested in what you’re learning about! I think that’s the biggest reason why I had a hard time making space for guitar in my life, I was already very focused on running.

I’m sad that I’m not required to write blogs anymore, since last week was my official mid-training week! 11 weeks down, 11 weeks to go until race day!
It’s been going by really fast, and I don’t think I’ve ever committed to an app like this so well before! However, it’s mostly uphill from now on — the runs are getting longer, and the app is expecting more speed. I’m up for the challenge! 

I’ve learnt a lot about how to use resources in blogs like videos, YouTube, pictures, screen shots, screen casts, links, and audio recordings. It’s been pretty fun exploring these methods of documenting and sharing! If I were to write a few more blog posts, my posts would be about: The history of women running marathons, what I eat on a regular basis being a non-meat eating runner, and a progress report since the half-way point! I also would have liked to join a Twitter chat on running before ending this project, Twitter chats are a great way to broaden a person’s PLN. 

Thanks for following along with my learning project, I hope that you learnt something, too!

-Maple

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Summary of Learning

Thank you for watching my Summary of Learning for EDTC300 in the Spring semester of 2018. I’m excited to share this with you because I tried to be creative with how I showed my progress through the course. Since the course started, I brought Twitter out of it’s shadowy hole and it’s a regular resource in my life. I’ve also started using screen-casting as a regular method of documenting. Lastly, I’ve completely remodelled this wordpress blog for the better since this course, adding more pictures, an “About Me” page, my teaching philosophy, a frameworks page for lesson plans, as well as widgets like drop down menus and displaying my Twitter feed.

I’ve also learnt that YouTube and Feedly are a great place to learn and explore. I think I’ll keep documenting my progress with my learning project, running, until the “race day” in September. It’s a great way to stay on top of my goals and see my progress. Also, my network on Twitter might like keeping up with it!

Above is my final project. I’m proud of it, and I’d love to know what you think! I go over aspects of the course that I found helpful, amazing, and significant. However, there was lots that I missed, only thinking about space efficiency and flow! MY bottom line and final point from this course is that the only way to stay safe on the Internet is to learn about how to stay safe and know the risks of posting. That being said, working towards a positive digital identity is crucial for every young person today. It is our job as educators to facilitate this!

What do you think, was my video accurate for a final project? What did I leave out that you would have added in?

We’ve Had Some Good Times

Hi everyone,

I had a really hard time writing this post because I did not keep up with documenting when I commented or had conversations throughout this course… However I think that I did a pretty darn good job of communicating on Twitter, WordPress, and through our Google Community. I’m adding a screencast video I made to talk to you about how I communicated throughout the course:

Something I didn’t mention in the above screencast (if that’s even possible) is that I spent a lot of time “liking” Tweets on Twitter. I liked 215 posts to be exact, during the time of our course…. That’s a lot of Twitter time! Some notable Twitter conversations that I’d like to share from this course are shown below:

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I found that on Twitter it was easy to communicate with the course participants and I grew relationships with them strictly through the internet! Through the Sask Education Chat’s that I participated in, I was able to ask in depth questions and get more answers than I expected. This created a lot of really great conversation!

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The above photos are notable conversations that I had on WordPress. I found that by asking a question in my comment, asking a question in my blog post, and by quoting the writer, I could get conversations going. I stuck with commenting on three people’s blogs every week, and I found I really enjoyed doing it! I basically just played blog-roulette every week and picked at random, this allowed for me to see what lots of people were up to!

Lastly, I’m going to share with you this Google Document that I’ve made with links to “notable” conversations I’ve had throughout this course. Thank you to everyone who has contributed with me, I’m excited to be colleagues in the future!

How did I do on this post, did I represent my conversations well?

Learning to Code

Yesterday I did my first session of Hour of Code with the non-profit organization, Code.org. Code.org would like every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science just like they do other subjects like biology and math. This would in turn create more interest in coding and programming, and students would be more likely to pursue this as a career in the future. I think this is a great initiative because computer science is extremely valuable to our society, and people in developing countries are able to contribute to  these technologies without needing many resources or much infrastructure.

 The above image explains my first interaction with coding. The program I chose was Star Wars themed, and the avatar at the top would give me jobs to get done for points. I completed them by using the tools in the middle of the screen and dragging them to the white area. Then I’d press “run” and my droid would move as it was instructed to. If the droid does what it was supposed to, you move onto the next level.

I liked how intuitive the game was, and I liked that it challenged your critical thinking at the same time. I’m not the kind of person who reads instructions a lot, and I found that I was able to figure out how to complete my task without trouble. It also took less than an hour to do all the levels for me, more like 45 minutes. I liked this, too, because it felt like an award on its own. The challenges started to get harder, but I noticed that we used the skills learnt in the previous level to understand the next. Here’s a screencast video I made with Screen-O-Matic, it’s of me working through a problem I didn’t quite understand.

I think I got through it pretty well, and honestly I felt like the program was enjoyable. I’d play it again, and I would definitely have my students try it. I signed up for an account so that I can use it in the future, and I think it would be great for any school-aged child. We would just have to ensure that they’re using the best program for them!

Above is my certificate of completion. Overall I loved the program and I liked exploring the website for other options. I think that it would be neat to work through a full 120 hour coding course, however the hour of code sessions are maybe more practical. What did you think of coding, have you ever tried?

Progress Post: I Failed Last Week….

Last week was my hardest run week yet. I was on week 9 of my plan through the Nike Run App  and I was expected to run sprints, a long run, and a “tempo” run (a short recovery run). My body was hurting from the week before but I was determined to at least try to make my goals, as I haven’t yet missed a mile marker.

As you can see in my last post, I use a lot of resources to help me run. Yoga and meditation are two things that I try to be systematic and diligent with, but last week I started to slip up with my routine. That being said, I was off my game a bit when I started the week.

I used the “edit schedule” option and moved my sprints to the middle of the week, and then moved my other two runs to the weekend. In my mind this gave me more time to recover before the big run, 9.5 kilometres. However when I got to the day of the long run, I was not looking forward to getting out on the track. The temperature hardly dropped all day and it was a blazing 27 degrees. I took so many breaks during that run, and I started to walk home after 7 kilometres.

The app still logged my run and I in no way lost “points” or progress. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to listen to my body. Mostly I was worried that this week’s runs would be even harder since I didn’t make last week’s markers. After giving my body some rest and relaxation, I attempted this week’s challenge of sprints and and a whopping 10.5km run…. And I did them in record time.

To me this shows that by listening to your body and getting back to the “basics” rather than pushing yourself, you will see progress and you will accomplish what you thought you couldn’t before. Yesterday’s 10.5km run was my longest run ever, and I’m so proud of myself. After the run my whole body was tired, my feet were sore, and my lungs were raw. But I don’t feel like last week’s fall back kept me away from accomplishing these markers whatsoever. Going into next week I’m going to focus more on my running resources like yoga and meditation in order to stay strong and balanced. Below are my stats from yesterday’s long run!

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Last but not least, I’d like to quickly talk about my running shoes. I bought my shoes two years ago from the great people at the Regina Running Room. The most important thing to know about looking for running shoes is that you can not just buy a trendy or pretty shoe, to my dismay. Every foot and body is different, so you need to get a shoe that fits you right or you can hurt your whole body. At the Running Room the employees will test your feet and your run before giving you options of shoes to choose from.

Mine are the ASICS Women’s GT 1000 waterproof running shoes, and I love them so much. I wear them in the Winter to stay dry, and in the Summer they keep me comfortable and cool. I definitely recommend investing some time and money into good running shoes if you plan on taking on this activity. This resource on how to find a good running shoe is extremely helpful and worth the read if you can’t get to a store like the Running Room.

How did you guys like seeing my progress from week 9 of running to week 10? Let me know in the comments!

 

Three Things To Help You Move Faster

My learning project’s focus has been running, and it’s been going pretty great if I do say so myself. If you scroll through my previous posts you’ll notice that I use the Nike Running App, and I love it, but today we’re going to be talking about three things I do to help with my running progress that isn’t… well… running. We’re going to be looking at the Headspace App, the My Fitness Pal App, and yoga.

My experience with both the apps is explained in the following screen cast video I made with Screencast-O-Matic:

Basically, I use the Headspace app for meditation, and it’s helped me learn to focus. This has allowed me to be at ease when I run rather than focusing on when I should stop, if I should stop, and where I should stop. I’ve found that meditating also has made me a calmer and more positive person. In small instances I notice that I’m less jumpy and more at ease… It’s taken a long time to get here (about 890 minutes…) but it’s definitely worth it.

Being a vegetarian, I find it’s hard to regulate my nutrition while I’m being active. So while I’ve been running I’ve been using My Fitness Pal to record my food intake and calories burned to stay on top of my meals. It’s a great app because it allows you to scan barcodes of food rather than typing them in every time, which makes it so much faster. It also would allow a person to track their food in order to gain or lose weight, if that’s something they need. My favourite part of this app is the breakdown of major nutritional goals. It allows me to say where I need to be better, and where I’m meeting my nutritional needs.

The next thing I want to blog about is my new relationship with yoga. I’ve gone to many yoga classes “in my time” and I always have wanted to do more. After going through a bit of a tough winter mentally, my friends suggested that I work on focusing my energy into finding a balanced and positive morning routine to start my days on a good note and get me on my way to work or school. Immediately I started doing yoga in the mornings, on my own, with some music, and I haven’t looked back.

My progress isn’t very substantial since I started. I only do about 10-15 minutes everyday, and I make up the routine as I go. I know there are apps that show people routines to use, but I wanted to move my body to benefit my muscles specifically for running. My small background in yoga has allowed me to choose moves that work well with my tired and sore muscles from running. The time-lapse video above, made with my iPhone, shows you what I’ve come up with. Try out my routine and let me know what you think!

Thank you for reading my blog about the tools I use to be a better runner. This week I did my longest run, 10.5 kilometres! Next week I will be doing an even longer one, so stay tuned for my next post on how I’m doing since cranking things up a notch. Did you like the resources I shared with you in this post? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

Face to Face with Facebook

This week, Anthea and I collaborated together to learn more about the pros and cons of using Facebook in the classroom and in the school. As you’ll see from this Google Document, we wrote on behalf of a teacher and a principal. The teacher is interested in being progressive, as she is a new teacher, and she wants to try to teach digital citizenship through using Facebook to connect with students and parents. She feels that her personal Facebook is professional, and she’d like to create a page to add students and parents to in order to keep up to date.

The principal seems reserved about the idea of social media in general, and offers many compelling arguments against using Facebook as the new teacher’s primary way of contacting parents and students. The principal is mostly concerned with privacy and sharing, as she should be. As well, the principal is aware of the community that is involved with the school already and she feels that the newsletters and email system is much more familiar for the school’s culture.

The compromise that they end up deciding on is to continue using the school newsletter and email system, BUT also allowing the parents and students to connect with the teacher on Twitter. Twitter is where the teacher keeps her professional information and she states in her conversation that she’d like to put reminders and due dates on her page to keep everyone up to date. This pleases both parties, and it’s a great way to ease the community into educational uses for technology and social media. Lastly, it’s also a great way to teach digital citizenship to the students.

Please read our dialogue at the Google Documents link above!