My Final #diglitclass Blog Post

Well, we’ve reached that point in our semester. That point where we come to write our last blog post. Our previous word count was supposed to be around 400 words, but this one has to be around 1,200 words, so we’ll see how that goes for me. The task was to read through each and every one of our blog posts and analyze the writing. In order to do that, we had a few basic questions to ask ourselves. The questions ranged from what our writings typically were about to what things that we blogged about that we might find worth it to go back and/or continue exploring. For the sake of a complete word count, I’m going to go down the list of questions and answer them with more detail.

The first question was “What do you usually write about in your posts?” I thought that was kind of a “duh” question, considering each week had somewhat of a guideline for what we were supposed to write about. Nevertheless, I can still give an overall coverage of what we wrote about. Each week we had an average of two blog posts to write. One was usually about a topic we were discussing, like PLN’s or ds106. We also read a lot of articles and reviewed and reflected on what we had learned from our reading. Sometimes we had videos to watch, and we reflected on them–what we had learned…what he had agreed with…what we disagreed with…sometimes even what we wanted to know more about relating to the topic. Our other blog topic related to our Independent Learning Project, once that got started that is. These particular posts for me were usually about what I had learned about sign language over the course of the week. Sometimes I shared resources of what I had used to help me. Sometimes I share videos. shared pictures of each individual letter as well as a video review of the whole alphabet…once I made it that far at least! After I got started on my Daily Create challenges, that added another blog post to my list. However, these ones were quite a bit easier considering I had to simply create something and share it. The writing was optional on these ones…unless it was a writing challenge that is.

The next question is “Are there broad themes or specific concerns that reoccur in your writing?”. The one thing I noticed that was recurring in my writing was how amazed I was that we could do pretty much whatever we wanted with our assignments. I just couldn’t get over the fact that I wasn’t being graded on what I was writing necessarily, but more so on the simple fact that I was writing. I can’t be sure, but I think maybe we might also be getting graded on whether or not we are learning. My amazement was due in fact that I had never been given the opportunity to execute a class in this way before—ever. Another theme I noticed was that each and every week, I was learning something new. Usually it was something completely new that I had to Google to figure out what it was before I could do the actual assignment on it. Amazement at the freedom and the amount learned was my biggest takeaway.

Question number three asked “Has the nature of your posts changed in the past 15 weeks?” I would have to say that the answer to that question is no, my posts haven’t changed a whole lot. The direct content of them has obviously changed, but what was behind them was pretty much the same. I did a lot of step-by-step writing. In other words, I looked at what I was supposed to do, what my initial thoughts on the topic was, and then how I went about looking over and learning about the topic. I usually finished it of with what my final thoughts of it all were. So, like I said, the actual words were pretty much the only thing that were different. Sometimes even those were pretty similar.

The next question reads “What changes do you notice, and how might you account for those changes?”. The answer is simple. I notice a heck of a lot more openness to doing things, learning things rather, in a different way. From the time I was in Kindergarten up until now I have been given a strict set of directions on how I was to complete an assignment. Only now, with this class, was I told I had to write a blog post, it had to be about this topic, and I could write pretty much whatever I wanted. We were always given a set of questions to guide our writing if we needed it, but if we felt like writing about something not on the list of questions, that was perfectly okay. I feel like the questions were there as a sort of “In case you get stuck” guide. I usually used them because, let’s face it, old habits die hard. While I loved the freedom, it was really hard at times to just go off writing about a topic without at least one or two questions to help gather my thoughts. So, back to what I noticed has changed, the openness, and what I think caused this change. That answer is pretty simple, too. When given such freedom like we were, it’s pretty hard not to be open. However, I think the openness is less simply explained, too. Sometimes it’s hard to learn about things you have no idea about. Maybe it makes you feel dumb, or maybe you don’t care about it. In my case, it made me feel sheltered. I mean, I hadn’t heard of most of what we talked about, but I was open to learning because it was presented to us in a way that was interesting and fun to learn. The things that I found less interesting were usually shorter articles or videos, so that was helpful because even if I wasn’t necessarily interested in the topic, I was still learning about it.

The next question: “What surprised you as you reread your work?” Quite simply put, I’m so amazed just how much I have learned over the past 16 weeks. I’ve learned a lot not only content wise, but also about myself. I’ve learned that I can learn in a different way than I’ve ever known. I’ve learned that I have what it takes to learn without someone handing me the directions cut and dried. Something that didn’t surprise me, though, was my lack of creativity once I had to do something other than a drawing challenge. It’s not that I couldn’t do it, it’s just that I wasn’t as proud of those ones as I was my drawing ones. Then again, that could be simply because I’m more comfortable drawing. I guess I just have to stick my neck out and gain confidence in the other areas so I like those creates just as much as I like my drawings.

One question on the list was what did I see in my posts that I felt were worth revisiting. I think the PLN’s are a great idea, but I think that’s something every teacher does naturally, at least to some extent. Next on the list was the Daily Creates. I just think it’s such a good idea to just get the creative juices flowing every so often. The best part is that it’s free. Number one most worth revisiting was the sign language I started learning for the Independent Learning Project. It’s just something that could be so useful to me as a future teacher.

The aspect I value most is the freedom. Whether we realize it or not, we are letting our thoughts out. It shows up weekly because normally if someone told me I had to write at least 400 words per week, I would probably cry and complain the whole time I was doing it, but this is different. I usually enjoy my blog posts.

Well, that’s a wrap for my last blog post. I’m proud to say I made my word count with room to spare. More importantly, I would like to take this time to thank Dr. Ellington for making this class so fun but yet so informative.

The Innovative Learner

As I come to the end of the semester, I look back on how I myself have been an innovative learner as well as an innovative thinker over the past 16 weeks. When I first read the syllabus and it said something about how there wouldn’t be a whole lot of set guidelines, I was really frustrated and even more nervous. All I could think was, great, it’s going to be like every other assignment that doesn’t make sense. The teacher probably knows exactly what she’s looking for, but isn’t telling us how we’re supposed to go about it. As the weeks kept ticking by, I continually realized that my first thoughts could not have been farther from the truth. In fact, it was the complete opposite. The instructions each week were vague for a reason. They were vague so we could explore who we were as learners. In my opinion, this was done so we could become better teachers in the future.

To be honest, this class has made being a learner and a thinker one and the same. I had to think how I was supposed to learn, or rather, think how I wanted to learn. It was all about the choice. We were given some basic guidelines and free reign to do with them what we wanted. This fits perfectly with a quote from “The Mindset of an Innovator” article. That quote is “I will utilize the tools that are available to me today and I will continue to search for new and better ways to continuously grow, develop and share my thinking, while creating and connecting my learning.” We were given articles to read and tools to play around with, but no real anything saying we had to do this and we had to do that and it had to be done in a certain way. We could play around with them, but if we found a better way to do it, that was perfectly okay, too.

Now for unlearning. The quote that stood out most to me from “The Steep “Unlearning Curve”” was this: “We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace.” History has been that everyone learns the same thing, in the same way, and at the same time. If they were all in Kindergarten, they were all expected to know the same things. This couldn’t be further from the truth, though. Everyone learns differently, and if we want our students to succeed, we as teachers have to recognize that.

Innovation in learning looks like a bunch of different things. It looks like a bunch of students do a bunch of different things at one time. That’s not to say they are working towards a different goal. It’s just simply that the teacher realized that no two students learn in exactly the same way, so they have to be allowed to do whatever they need to in order to get the information.

I have unlearned quite a few things this semester. However, the number one thing I unlearned is that, when it comes to my schoolwork, I don’t need someone telling me exactly what to do. I have a mind and it can do whatever it wants with as few guidelines as possible. I have the freedom to think however I want. I unlearned a few other things, but none of them as important as this one takeaway. That being said, there’s still quite a bit to be unlearned. Like how to unlearn that social media is bad in the classroom. Or that technology should be limited in the classroom. Another thing to be unlearned is that the only way to learn is out of the textbook. I’m so used to that being the only way my teachers would allow me to learn that it’s a hard thing to just forget, but I’m working on it.

Unlearning, at least for me, is my version of becoming an innovator. It’s not going to be easy to just drop what I’ve always known, but I’m willing to do so in order to give my future students a better shot. This class has certainly put me on the right path in that direction.

Digital Story of Tristan

Here is what I came up with for my digital story. I probably didn’t do it right, but I really like how it turned out. I chose to do a metaphor about me as a teacher, even though I’m not a teacher yet. Some of the things I used are things I got from a poem I once heard about teachers. Other parts I made up myself. Anyways, here it is, and I hope you all enjoy it.

Independent Learning Wrap Up

As we have finished wrapping up our Independent Learning Project, it is time for us to reflect on the whole thing. What we’ve learned… What was easy… What was not so easy… Everything along those lines. So I’ll start off by saying what my project was in case someone is reading this that hasn’t been following my journey. My project was to learn sign language. The progress I made wasn’t as far as I would have liked, but the progress was made–I managed to learn the whole alphabet in sign language.

Through the whole process, I learned that I didn’t have to learn by sitting in a room with a teacher lecturing me. Instead, I could teach myself. I guess you could say it gave me a certain amount of confidence in my learning. I could take something difficult and teach it to myself. It was easy to get started, but to be honest, as the semester continued, I started to lose ambition. It seemed like when I wasn’t getting as far as I would have liked. I got frustrated and wanted to give up. Although I never did give up. The concept of sign language itself seemed pretty easy, too. Granted I struggled with a few letters, but overall, it felt pretty easy. It was also easy to share my progress. I think that’s because everyone was so supportive even when I was feeling down about it. Like I said before, the challenging part was staying motivated to keep going. At first, it was hard to figure out how to do the signs with my left hand. As it turns out, it was actually easier for me to sign with my right hand.

The best part of the project by far was being able to choose what I was learning. I liked not being forced to learn about something I was not interested in. That’s what made it so much fun, too. I also really liked how we not only got to choose what we learned, but we also got to choose HOW we learned. Another thing I liked was that just because the class is ending, doesn’t mean we have to quit our independent learning project. I like that I can still learn all I set out to learn even if it takes a little longer.

My independent learning project is definitely something I will be able to use in my classroom. I will be teaching students the alphabet anyways, so why not incorporate the American Sign Language alphabet along with the English alphabet? As far as the idea of independent learning projects, I’m not sure if I could do something like this in my classroom. With the level I am teaching, they are still learning how to learn. I am there to guide the learning. I don’t feel like I could just turn them loose to learn something all on their own.

Canva Creation

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I used the Canva site from the first article to create my graphic. There were a bunch of options for blank layouts to use. One of the choices was a Pinterest graphic. Naturally, being the Pinterest addict I am, I chose that one. I was really surprised how easy it was to do. Before I started, the site had a really quick tutorial to teach a few of the basics. After completing that, I was ready to create on my own. Honestly, the hardest part was getting the pictures to line up so they were all the same size. Then again, that’s the challenge in any creating process. I figured out what I wanted to include as far as information goes based on what I see on Pinterest. I wanted it to look like something that I would want to repin on Pinterest, and it had to deal with our Independent Learning Project. With that in mind, I set to work. My creative juices weren’t completely depleted after my Daily Creates last night, so I just kind of started clicking and adding and moving and recoloring. The whole time I was thinking, “Man. I wish I would’ve known about this site during my Daily Create Challenge. It would have made the design ones so much easier!

As far as using it in my classroom, I think it would be super easy to use to create posters and things like that to hang on my walls and bulletin boards. With a little practice, anything designed with Canva can be made to look super professional. I’m not sure my students in particular would be able to use it since they are young, but I could definitely see older students using it for project posters and things like that.

By using things like this, it is more visually appealing, so I would definitely say there is definite value in presenting information in this way. If a person can make it interesting to look at, especially for students, it makes them more willing to look at it. If they are willing to look at it for longer, they will have a greater chance of learning whatever it is that’s on the poster.

Overall, this week’s assignment didn’t seem like homework. It was a lot of fun, actually! I’m sure that when I get bored or feel the need to procrastinate homework, I’ll make a few random things on Canva just for kicks.

Daily Creates

Once again, I’m so far behind on my Daily Create Challenges that I’m pretty sure that if it were the 2-mile race in track, I would’ve been lapped 10 times…and there’s only 8 laps in a 2-mile race. Yikes. So anyways. In order to get back on the Create Train, (hey that gave me an idea for one of my creates!), I’ve decided to do a whole bunch at once. If I would have done 30 in a row, I’d be done by now, so depending on how long my creative juices are flowing, I’m going to try to finish it off in one post. So stick with me here!

Challenge #19:

I wanted to do a writing challenge for this one. You guessed it. I took to the assignment bank for inspiration. There was one called “Famous Last Words”. This reminded me of a quiz I took online when I was probably 12. It was actually a quiz called Famous Last Words, so I looked to see if I could find a similar quiz. I’m not sure if it was the exact same one or not, but I got the same result I got years ago, so it’s gotta be fate…I sure hope not, though! So here’s the Daily Create #19: Famous last words of Tristan! “I dunno…Push the button and find out…” I’d like to think I wouldn’t push a random button, but I know myself…I’d definitely be the one to say this.

Challenge #20:

I chose a drawing one. Like I mentioned before, Create Train made me think of something. I decided to draw a rough, and when I say rough I definitely mean it’s rough, sketch of my version of a Daily Create train. So here it is!

Scan_20150417 (2)

Challenge #21:

A photography challenge. And a really simple one at that. All I did was take a picture of my toothpick holder and put an Instagram filter on it. It’s not quite what I had in mind, but it turned out neater than I thought it would!IMG_20150417_205554

Challenge #21:

I’m sort of cheating on this one. I didn’t just draw it, but I did draw it myself. This is a picture of what I drew for my dad for Christmas. A little back story. When I was in an art class at my Junior College, he taught us a drawing technique called pointillism. All it is is a picture made entirely out of dots. That’s exactly what this is. I drew a buck entirely using dots. It’s not as complicated as it looks! I swear!20141114_155517
Challenge #22:

I chose to do something of a design challenge this time. They say Fridays are for Flashbacks right? I’m flashing back to my four years of proms in high school. I didn’t notice until I was putting it together just now that 75% of my dresses were some shade of blue. The OCD in me is seriously annoyed right now… But oh well. Here it is.

DC22As a side note, I definitely had the senior sass going on. It was April of my senior year of high school and I’m pretty sure I had come down with a serious case of senioritis when I walked through the doors of school on the first day.

Challenge #23:

So I was struggling to figure something out for this one. Then my doorbell rang. There was an assignment awhile back about having a conversation with a stranger. Some of you might remember my response was something along the lines of “No way no how not happening.” After all, my parents always taught me not to talk to strangers… Anyways, getting back to the point… I was sitting here struggling for an idea when my doorbell ring. After I calmed myself down from the initial “Someone is at my door and they’re going to kill me”, I answered the door. and the conversation went like this:

Pizza guy: “Is this blank blank blank, Blank Street?”
Me: *blank stare* No… This is blah blah blah, Blank Street.”
Pizza guy: “And that is beep beep beep so blank blank blank is nonexistent. Well this guy said he was at blank blank blank, North Blank Street but the lady there had no idea who he was and then he called back and said it was regular Blank Street. So now I’m on a wild goose chase.”Me: *another blank stare* Oh, well that’s not good.
Pizza guy: Sorry about that. Have a great night!
Me: Yeah good luck with that!
Pizza guy: Yeah…

So that was the conversation I had with a stranger. I obviously need to work on my conversation skills.

Challenge #24:

I’m going to do another writing one. For my graduation speech, I wrote the ABC’s of high school. I graduated from my junior college in May, so I’m going to do the ABC’s of of DCB.

A is for the athletic department! Going to games was always so much fun.
B is for baseball. Because I was the baseball stats girl both years.
C is for class. Yeah, I occasionally went.
D is for dorms. Because let’s be real. More memories are made there.
E is for education! Because that’s the major I chose!
F is for friends. Hands down the best part.
G is for graduation! Greatest feeling in the world.
H is for hectic. Because college in general is hectic.
I is for ignoring my alarm. I always set it quite a bit earlier so even when I ignored it, I
could still make it to class…J is for Jacks. DCB’s mascot. And yes it was a guy with great amounts of facial hair
wearing a plaid shirt and carrying an axe.
K is for kids. My first ever observations were some I will never forget.
L is for late nights. Never studying. Always hanging out with those amazing friends.
M is for missing home. And I thought 3 hours away was bad…
N is for nights spent driving around with Jared. That’s where it all began!
O is for organization. Definitely had to keep organized to keep sane.
P is for peacefulness. Just kidding. I lived in the dorms. There was no peace.
Q is for quirky people. There were plenty of them.
R is for RA. A word of advice. Never be one. Never let anyone you know be one. I saw
things that can’t be unseen…
S is for Spring Break. I stayed on campus my second year for Spring Break. It was
pretty empty, but the people that were around made it fun!
T is for travel. I’m not sure how much of Jared’s gas we wasted, but the memories are
pretty priceless.
U is for understanding. I never knew what my Children’s Lit professor was talking about.
But somehow I made it through.
V is for very intense moments. As an RA, I had my fair share of those!
W is for water. Everyone swore the water in the dorms was toxic. Especially when it
turned brown.
X is for xacto knives. I used one to make baseball bracelets in the dorm and then it got
confiscated in room checks. No worries. I got it back.
Y is for yummy food….hahah
ahahahahahaha! Jokes.. It was gross.
Z is for zaniness. It was a crazy two years. But I wouldn’t trade them!

Challenge #25:

Another design one. It’s a good thing I’m just about done because it’s starting to look pretty lame. Anyways. I created a logo for a super social media app. It combines Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

DC25

Challenge #26:

Another photography one. I decided to play a game of let’s take a “selfie” of me making the most ridiculous face possible. Yikes. Can you tell it’s been a real rough day?

WIN_20150417_224135

Challenge #27:

Another design one. I was just messing around with the autoshapes. What I came up with turned out to be some sort of tribal sunshine shape thing.

DC27Challenge #28:

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived a small, red-headed, blue-eyed boy. His name was Boey. He liked to fish, but his most favorite thing to do was dream about climbing the tallest oak tree in his Grandma Tootie’s yard. One day, he decided he was going to just do it. However, when he got over the river and through the woods, he discovered the mighty oak to be gone. Instead, he found his grandma with a chainsaw cutting the tree down. “Well,” thought Boey, “I guess I’ll grab a chunk of Tootie’s wood and head on down to the watering hole. Maybe the pike are biting today…”

Obviously I chose a writing challenge for this one. I figured I’d type whatever came to my mind for five minutes and see what I could come up with. The above story is the result.

Challenge #29:

The second to last challenge should be the second most awesome. But I’ve gotta say. I’ve come up with some pretty crafty things, so I’m just going to pretend this is the second most awesome. I decided to do a video challenge. What I decided to do was make a lip sync video. I chose “Let It Go” from Frozen. Because why not, right? I know I look ridiculous, but it was actually pretty fun. So here it is!

Challenge #30:

I’m finally done! I decided to do one final Design Challenge. In order to do so, I created a bit of a celebratory poster to commemorate the completion of the Challenge. Here is what I came up with. I wanted to use a lot of bright colors, and I definitely wanted to make sure I didn’t use the same color twice!

DC30

Daily Create #18

Uffda… I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a Daily Create. But I’ve been down with some nasty sickness. I like to call it the plague, but in reality, it’s just some cough/fever that’s been going around. So i decided I’d come up with my own Daily Create Challenge today. I figured I’d make it be something to do with my illness. What better way than to come up with a picture designed around how high my fever got before it finally broke after 2 days!

DC18