We’re done!

We’re done!

Hey everyone, here it is my summary of learning for ECMP455. Now if you’re debating about watching it I would recommend at least watching the first 3 minutes for one sole reason. I sing. I created a song and I am unbelievably proud of it because I am the least creative person every so you know click below and enjoy. The last 4 minutes is me just rambling so that is less important.  Enjoy!

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From Heartache to Legacy

From Heartache to Legacy

The other night we had the unbelievable opportunity to listen to Carol Todd. She is an amazing speaker who is extremely passionate about what she talks about. Carol Todd is an educator at Amanda Todd Legacy, where she educates parents and teachers about internet safety, mental health awareness and cyberbullying after the death of her daughter, Amanda Todd. Amanda Todd was a 15-year-old girl who took her own life after years of bullying, harassment and sextortion.

If you’ve never heard of Amanda, I would advise you to check out her video below to fully understand.

This video, her video, went viral following her suicide. Amanda dealt with bullying and sextortion, online and in school for 2 years. She was a princess snowflake, as her mom called her who dreamt about singing. After her death, Carol took it upon herself to help educate others on the importance of a child’s digital identity.

Upon hearing about what was happening in class I was very intrigued. I was curious, what would she say? Carol had every right to be angry or upset. Honestly, I expected her to be. I was blown away by how she could turn something so negative into a positive, educational way. If you get a chance to watch her TedTalk on April 16th, you won’t be disappointed.

I would love to be able to summarize her talk but for me, it would be nearly impossible. Kerrie Craske does a fantastic job of that. I would recommend checking out her posts on this talk. For me, I want to focus on to two important pieces of advice Carol gave to the class.

The first one:

When a kid turns 16, you don’t just give them the keys to the car without teaching them how to drive. So why do we hand children an iPad, tablet or cell phone without teaching them how to use it?

*cue explosion noises because my mind is blown* This simple idea is revolutionary and I would have never thought of it. I don’t remember ever getting lessons on it. I mean I wasn’t allowed on any social media site until I was in like grade 10 so maybe that why I didn’t get a lesson. But as you can see More Than Half of Children Use Social Media by the Age of 10. So why are we not educating them? We need to start educating children on the dangers of the internet and how to properly use it. StaySafeOnline.org has interesting activities to teach students ways to use the internet. They have some for k-2, 3-5 and middle & high school. We have to, both parents and educators to start teaching our students, computers are all around us and it will be better when people know how to use online space safely and appropriately.

The second biggest takeaway from the night:

Every single person in this word is unique. Beautiful. Fragile. Alone we can melt and disappear from the world. But together we form a snowball; strong and forceful. We can break just about anything. Carol talks about empathy, and the ability to actually just listen to somebody. Everyone needs someone who they can trust. Parents and teachers are the two most influential people in children’s lives (excluding friends), we must be open to listening to them. Carol deals with trolls in a remarkably classy way.

She is has one classmate says:

I know as a future educator the importance of teaching students to bring each other up instead of tearing each other down will be important both in person and online. I hope to educate the youth the importance of having a good digital identity.

What are ways we can incorporate digital identity in the classroom? What kinds of conversations must we have in order for there to be a change in the world? What were the biggest things you took away from the class? 

Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

code.org featuring the Hour of Code is an online website where students anyone can learn to code. I know in high school one of our assignments for our computer class was to create a website that had to have pictures in certain places and words with certain fonts, sizes, etc. Now it had some coding but honestly, I can’t remember it. I do remember being really frustrated when something didn’t work and I couldn’t find that mistake. But the Hour of Code is something else. It is a fun and engaging way for anyone to learn to code. I think it is generally geared to younger students but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy doing one.

This first video is on level 2 of the artist level. One thing I really like was how the levels progressed from one to the other. I didn’t get discouraged right away it something didn’t go right and there was a lot of trial and error as you can see below.

After a couple levels, it got tedious having to repeat the same steps over and over again. Thankfully they introduced a repeat button. I also like how they gave hints if you got stuck at points.

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Screenshot from code.org. One of the hints I received prior to starting the level. See the math involved?

On the last level of my Hour of Code, you got to basically do whatever you wanted. I decided to make a heart. It definitely took a lot of trial and error to make but it turned out awesome (or so I think)

So why were we talking about coding in our class the other night? Well because coding is becoming more popular now in schools. British Columbia will be including coding in the curriculum. Jeff Booth, CEO of Vancouver’s BuildDirect Technologies Inc. is quoted in the article saying;

Computer science skills … are increasinly critical as technology is where all future job growth lies. There is already a war for talent in technology that has companies like ours searching the world for the best engineers … It’s very possible that computer coding and other technology skills may become as critical as reading and writing.

But Australia, Britain and Nova Scotia have already beat B.C. to the punch to include coding in the curriculum. There are many resources to efficiently teach coding in schools with very valid reasons to do so.  Coding in the Classroom is a great resource that brings anything coding related together.

8 Reason Why Kids Should Learn to Code is an awesome blog post with fantastic reasons to code.

Learning to code teaches you a number of life lessons

  • Learning from mistakes is vital
  • You shouldn’t fear mistakes of failure
  • Success is a scribbly line
  • Persistence pays off
  • Teamwork is important

Computer science forces you to take responsible risks and engage you in the problem solving process of trail and error…

I mean I experienced 4/5 reasonings listed under number 1. Trial and error where my pals throughout.

 

You can check out and interactive infographic at, Infographic: Where a STEM Education Can Take You. And another inforgraphic on STEM facts on Women & Girls below.

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Graphics from forbes.com

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without hearing the other side of this. Please Don’t Learn to Code is another interesting blog post. One thing that really caught my eye was at the end of the post;

Please don’t advocate learning to code just for the sake of learning how to code. Or worse, because of the fat paychecks. Instead, I humbly suggest that we spend our time learning how to …

  • Research voraciously, and understand how the things around us work at a basic level.
  • Communicate effectively with other human beings.

Another article Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code is similar to the one before. These articles are not saying “we shouldn’t code because 1, 2, and 3” but are saying that we shouldn’t teach code for the sake of teaching code. We should teach these students how to express logic visually, working with other, letting go of the fear of failing and much, much more. Teach the students the benefits of coding and not just coding themselves.

What are your thoughts on coding? Is it some fade that will be considered useless like cursive writing? Or is it something more? Should be force students to learn to code? Or should we allow them to explore it on their own? Should it be mandatory? Or an elective? 

Are You Ready to be Scared?

Are You Ready to be Scared?

My phone has had a brutal week. First I ended up using all my data with 12 days left of the month.

12. Days.

I recently read Mr. Ryan McKillop’s post about having his phone FaceBook free for the last 3 months. My eyes bulged when I read that too, don’t worry. But being data free I realized how often I was checking my social media sites and it was frustrating at first not having them load whenever I wanted them too. 10 days later I seem to have broken this obsession I hope. I now only check it when I am at my home since it doesn’t work anywhere else. (yah, yah I know I could hook it up to other wifi’s but the university one is just not fast enough).

But honestly, this wasn’t the worst thing to happen to it this week. This morning I wake up to the sound of a text message. In my groggy state, I tap on my app and wait for it open. I wait and wait and wait some more when it suddenly dawns on me that there is something not quite right. I start tapping all over the screen and realize that my phone has frozen. Before I even have a chance to restart my phone it shuts off and starts to boot up again. I think to myself “this is weird, oh well.” But here is the thing it never finishes. Every time it starts up the LG screen shows up and stays on for 30 seconds and restarts again. Crashing over and over again. Are you scared yet?

I can feel the withdrawal already happening, I got the shakes! It’s been less that two hours and I have already asked my boyfriend to pass me my phone several times even though I know it doesn’t work. I am at a loss right now. Without my phone I have already showered, gotten dressed, ate breakfast, washed dishes, and written a blog post. I don’t know what I will do with all my time. I will be venturing to SaskTel today to see what they can do. I just know I will be getting a loaner phone and the only phones I have here are a broken iPhone 4 and a Samsung Flip Phone.

This flip phone was from like grade 10. That’s like 6 -7 years ago!! I plugged it in this morning has a joke and it still works. BOO! AH! I am not sure what I’ll do if I get stuck with it. I guess I’ll become a T9 pro texter again.

I know this week’s blog prompt was about social activism but since I was missing due to the flu/cold I decided to tell you a horror story. I will be reading/commenting on my fellow classmates blogs to catch up what I missed. But if anyone has any tips on fixing/restarting LG G4’s please don’t hesitate to comment. I am desperate. Fingers crossed SaskTel is nice to me today.

So Many Passwords…

So Many Passwords…

Okay, everyone, I have found the site that will save you plenty of time. It’s a gift from heaven in fact. I was browsing my feedly this evening trying to find other blogs to add to my reader I did a quick search and found The P.E. Geek and it took me one of his most recent articles, Top Apps for PE Teachers – Part 43. Which led me to this awesome site called LastPass.

If you’re like me and can’t remember any passwords or constantly use the same password over and over again this is the site for you. I always joked if someone could figure out one of the passwords they basically figure out all of them.

Basically, you create an account and you start adding any websites that you may have an account for. This takes a little work since I couldn’t figure out a way to add them without logging out first and re-logging in. If you figure out an easier way let me know I still have lot’s to add!

This is also a google chrome extension so I downloaded it straight onto my web browser and now whenever I log in or create a new account it asks to save my password.

Another awesome thing about this site it gives you a “security rating” which basically tells you how safe and secure your passwords are. When I first added some accounts I had a security rating of like 27% (whoops), 5 out of 8 accounts I had logged in had the same password. Seriously someone could have hacked my accounts easily.

But what is really helpful is that they can generate passwords for you. So on my amazon account, I clicked a button that said “auto-change” and it did exactly as it sounds. It generated a new password, logged me into amazon, changed the password and updated my information all while I took pictures of my cats.

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I mean seriously how cute are these two?

Now you can see I’ve upped my game and changed most of my passwords and my security rating shows that.

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 9.48.35 PM

It’s really cool when it generates passwords because it is just a series of letters and numbers (ex. 8dyjTy76f this isn’t a real password as well) I would definitely recommend getting this extension if you are like me and only use 1 password, now all I need to remember is my master password.

Anyone else have problems keeping track of passwords?