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It Has Been A Slice! Folks! Final Blog & Summary of Learning | EC&I 834

Image from: ClipartFest

Another journey has come to an end, everyone packing it in and getting ready for a slice of pizza or two or three. It’s time to tear down on stage and pack up my equipment for the next gig. EC&I 834 has a been a great experience. I have more tech tools in my learning kit of knowledge, some new perspectives and I can’t forget the many great ideas I got from everyone. I guess when you put great minds in one little community, they will work together to survive and thrive. If one asks for help and feels like they’re lost, another one steps in to give a helping hand. I think that’s what made this class successful and motivating is the team work that happened throughout the course and the feeling of belonging. It was quite a lot to take in and learn, but with hard work, commitment and time put it comes great accomplishments. I have and will continue to utilize the tech tools I have learned within my teachings. I have evolved so much and will continue to evolve.

 

Now here is my final post about feedback and my prototype. The prototype assignment was a great idea Alec & Katia. I really enjoyed the developing process and using my imagination for this assignment. It was like we had to pick a canvas that we wanted our work of art to be on, then we had to search and experiment with different brushes, paints and tools we liked and wanted to use. We then had to put ourselves in our learners’ shoes. This one was a challenge, as I don’t know what students want to see since there are so many different kinds of learners. I figured simplicity and visually catchy is always good. I started working with tools I thought gave me that simplicity and catchy feel. Wow! What did I get myself in to? It was a lot more work than I thought trying to fit one thing in and repeating over and over again. I asked myself, “does this work okay? What about this?” Finally, it started coming together, and I was on a roll. There is still so much to add but it will eventually be a fully functional website of Cree language learning and sharing.

 

I appreciated all the positive and negative feedback I received from my fellow classmates. All constructive criticism and I am grateful for that. There were some simple mistakes that I will be fixing which are an easy repair with a click or two. I found myself focusing on some of the technical functionality of the tools and forgot some important information about the course and the tools I chose to use. When we were presented with this prototype assignment, I immediately decided I would be making an online Cree language course that I can use in the future. I saw the end in mind, a location for Cree language learners to come in and be able to learn on different levels. They have other language websites out in the world wide web, but not many for First Nations Languages. I plan to make my website one where you can carry around wherever you go and to be able to use this location as a tool to communicate with speakers of the Cree language. Being a Cree language instructor at the university, I am always asked by students taking my class, “now what? Where do I go from here if I want to learn more Cree?” I have never had an answer. It is hard to find locations where there are fluent Cree speakers or courses to further language learning. This website will be for them, the ones that are passionate in learning the language. As long as I am around, Cree language learners will always have a place to come and learn Cree in my world, if they choose to. I will always keep learning along side of them. As I have learned through my EDtech journey, you can build a community using technology. Now to do that with Cree language learning and the different forms of communication, that is my next mission. I have some new tools in my learning kit of knowledge and many more to work with that will help do this.

 

In conclusion to this part of my journey, I would like say to all, Alec, Katia and my fellow classmates, thank you for everything! You have help me move another step forward to my goal of becoming a better educator and learner. I will continue learning and incorporating education technology in my world. In my Cree language we don’t have a word for ‘good bye’, we only say ‘see you later’. So until next time, mwēstas (later) and have a great summer!

 

Here is my Summary of Learning for EC&I 834. I hope you enjoy!

 

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Ugh! Putting the Pieces Together. Ugh!

Image from: Dafty News

Is this app going to work? Does this one work? How about this one? Okay I will try this one? Or maybe this one? These are questions that kept on coming up this whole semester since we got introduce to the course prototype assignment. The other assignment, summary of learning was fairly easy to decide what I wanted to do and I had started that at the beginning of the semester and mostly done in the first month: Song chosen, software chosen, microphone bought, headphones updated, music video working well, music layered and tweaked, lyrics done, vocals warmed up. Now just to sing and add subtitles. Purchasing a mac just recently changed everything, but only a little diversion. I then had to try transfer everything from my pc to my mac which didn’t work as the video/audio software I was using was meant for pc only. Now I had to do everything over again from scratch…Yay! But it wasn’t so bad to learn new software and to redo everything. It was actually pretty easy to work with and actually turned out better the second time around. I love my mac! And still experimenting around with my mac. I will continue to have fun with this assignment and looking forward to the final product.

Now about my prototype. I had a pretty good idea of what ‘DONE’ looked like for my online Cree Classroom (Beginner 1 | Module 1-Lessons 1 & 2). At first I was struggling on which LMS to choose, I think I’ve checked them all. I had wrote a post a couple of months ago about my thoughts on how the LMSs were made. I had said it was probably a few nerdy students that were sitting around creating a tool to figure out how to organize an online class and was probably interviewing a lame teacher for their ideas and ended up with what they ended up with. Perhaps they should’ve worked with an educational psychologist and an innovative web designer as well. It was quite a negative blog post, but I had written it the way I was feeling at the time. Most of the LMSs are set up really well and the interfaces are very easy to work with. My main point was in that post was the appearance. You know how when you walk into a traditional classroom like the picture below and you say to yourself: “Okay let’s just get this class done with.”

Image from: Pinterest

Then after half hour into the class you start enjoying the class. Then you say: “I guess this class is not that bad after all.” Now I ask myself: Why does a class have to start out like that? Why not start off by inviting the learner and catching their attention. Try some colors, some tools, easy navigation…etc.

Image from: MzTeachuh

This is where I decided to go with a Wix website. It is catchy in appearance, very easy to work with, I am able to edit how the site will look on smart phones, I can drag and drop pretty much anything onto my pages like: navigation menu, introduction videos, course documents, calendar, forums, catchy buttons, members only section, embed practice quizzes, images, audio, video, embed google docs, about the course, about the instructor, about the courses offered, about the tech tools needed, where to submit assignments location, polls, featured youtube videos of the week, online resource section, and many other links to other LMSs or apps if I decide to use them. The only thing is, it’s a lot of work creating an LMS. I will have to see how this goes and I eventually might end up using an external LMS in the future. The site is pretty expensive though. I will have to find a sponsor someday to run this ship. But I think I have all the tools I need for now.

Image from: Vincent Martel

Where am I at? Well I wish we had more time but it is what it is and the show must go on. It’s like getting ready for a musical performance ( aka ‘a gig’), I’ve practiced and tried a few new tricks and ways to present them, now the show time is approaching and I just have to go to the gig. Time to set up my gear, plug in, tune up, sound check “mic check 1 2, mic check, checking the mic…can I get a little bit of vocals on my monitor and some more guitar, thanks man”, and now it’s time to just to sing and have fun!  I got most of my links working, I still have to figure out more about my members only section. I need to record some videos and a few more audio files then link and/or embed those into the site. And then fine tune everything and should be done for experimentation. I’m excited and I have no idea what everyone is going to think about my prototype. But I’m ready for some great constructive criticism from my wise instructors Alec & Katia and fellow classmates!

Did anyone manage to change design, graphics, and/or layout in their LMSs home page? Do you think LMSs should offer more optional templates for specific subjects? Is there an easier way to create your own LMS within your website? Any responses or suggestions to my questions would be great!

I Still Don’t Know.

Image from: Heligods

I don’t have much experience when it comes to discussion forums, the only involvement I’ve had has been with EC&I 833 and 834 through google+, twitter and wordpress. The experience of blogging has given me a great opportunity to share my thoughts on different prompts each week assigned by  Alec and Katia . I enjoy reading other classmate professionals’ perspectives and the different experiences they have had in the field of education. I have learned so much through this form of sharing and of course got some great ideas as well. I am still trying to get the hang of twitter though, my tweets are quite weak and I rarely write anything. Sometimes I just don’t know what to write about. I do like that fact that you’re limited to only a few words, so you have to get to a point and no mumbo jumbo and no drama. Once in a while I will see something that will catch my attention and I start reading articles and different links others provide within their tweets. There definitely are some good benefits with twitter and blogging for sure.

Image from: www.lprpromocional.com.br

As a language Educator I am still trying to figure out how I can use these writing tools to my benefit and to the learners benefits. You see I try to keep it oracy based when I’m teaching as this is the purpose most times why language learners take a course from me. There has been a few different writing systems within the Cree language and still to this day. We as Saskatchewan Cree language teachers have been enforcing the standard roman orthography (SRO) writing system (which uses English sounds) for many years now and has been working fine. The concern with teaching different orthography at a post-secondary level I have is that students coming from many different dialects of the Cree language and writing systems are introduced to a new a new set of alphabets they’re not familiar with, they sometimes have to relearn writing Cree words they already know. It’s not a big concern. But why should someone that has advanced in a language have to relearn something?  There needs to be a common writing system throughout Canada with the Cree language. Quite a big task to get that or a big request but maybe one day that will happen. I will have to find out how I can be part of that. Theirs is still much work to be done within our Cree language, but nothing is impossible…baby steps and we shall someday take bigger strides. Andres had mentioned on his blog this week of connecting with other people with the same interests. It was a good read and I remember those music forums but was never part of them back when I was in the music scene. I think if one continues using tools such as discussion forums, twitter, blogs, and other means of media one will eventually find someone they are meant to meet for the right purpose.

Image from: Digital Teacher… Welcome To The Future!

I don’t know enough about discussion forums to see if they are going to work for my language courses and I also don’t know enough about which form will suit my course between open or closed online forum. This article by Bow Valley College on Facilitating discussion forums in online language learning gave some fairly good tips on how I can use discussion forums within my language course. I like the idea of having both open and closed within my course. I think there are benefits in having both for different purposes. In an open forum, I would likely get my students to create blog sites where they can document their journey in Cree language learning. This would be helpful for me as the instructor and also good for their peers. It would give me a better understanding as an educator from the students’ perspective of language learning, this way I can be a better educator and a listener. A closed forum in my course would play the part of asynchronous communication and responses to subject related Q & A’s and/or sharing about local cultural events. I also like the idea of Ask Me Anything (AMA) as Andres mentioned in his blog. I can invite special guest knowledge and language keepers in the course and the students and I can ask them anything about Cree Language and Culture. Rules and moderation would have to be key to make these forums  effective. I just don’t know where to begin, I guess at the starting line is a good place to start.

 

How can I start a good group discussion?

How can I make an effective online discussion? Some tips from Youtube of some instructors.

There is still lots to learn about open and closed discussion forums and the experimentation has to start somewhere.  Searching for ideas and language teachers that have used discussion forums within their language learning courses would be good to look at. Will anything be authentic and how do I know it’s the students writing responses about the topic I choose? It could be their cousin that has taken a course from me already and knows what I am going to ask and the responses I expect. I guess if they have to trust me then I must trust them as well. I still prefer synchronous communication but willing to try something new and we shall see how it will work out.

Maybe a little bit more of your time and answer question below?

Global Village ‘Creecher’

sparta-cree-copy

Image from: Bill Cook photoshop fun

glob·al vil·lage

/ˈɡlōbəl ˈvilij/

noun

the world considered as a single community linked by telecommunications.

 

Cree

/krē/

noun

noun, plural Crees (especially collectively) Cree.

1.

a member of a North American Indian people of Ontario, Manitoba,Saskatchewan, and Montana.

2.

an Algonquian language, the language of the Cree Indians.

 

teach·er

/ˈtēCHər/

noun

  1. a person who teaches, especially in a school.

 

Why the freakish title and deadly picture? You might ask. Well I like Leonidas in 300, he is fearless and the more I get into this technology the more I feel like a beast that’s ready for anything. Now bring it on technology! Oh yah and my dear brother and colleague Cree Language teacher Darren O. and myself would call ourselves ‘Creechers’ for many years and still do. It is a name where you combine ‘Cree’ and ‘Teacher’ together.

This past week I have been tweaking my Cree online classroom and really having a great time exploring the different tech tools I am able to incorporate within the website. This is not only a prototype for me but it will eventually become my online location for learning and experimentation of the Cree language, it is going to be my ship and I am going to be the captain. And together we are going to explore many different places. I will start off by explaining again why I chose a Wix website to source my Cree online course, it is user friendly and it uses HTML5 but ultimately it is visually appealing. The website includes a Members only section which will give specific access to the learners to the learning material required within a course. It is going to be post-secondary level as this is my forte, I can link anything within the site. I can even link my current Moodle course for more option or to separate courses this way. What am I going to do with this site? Well I am going to be offering courses from beginner Cree to advanced Cree. And I want to open it up to anyone that is interested in learning. And there is a possibility of offering different dialects of the Cree language as well. For now it will solely be Woods/Rock Cree ‘th’ dialect which is what I speak. There are 5 major dialects in the Cree Language:

  1. /th/ dialect also referred to as Woods/Rock Cree spoken in Northern regions of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
  2. /y/ dialect also referred to as Plains Cree spoken in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Northern British Columbia, Northern United States, and isolated areas in Yukon and Northwest territories.
  3. /n/ dialect also referred to as Swampy Cree spoken in Northern regions of Ontario, Manitoba and east central Saskatchewan.
  4. /L/ dialect also referred to as Moose Cree spoken in Hudson Bay region and isolated area in Saskatchewan.
  5. /R/ dialect also referred to as Atihkamêk Cree spoken in the Quebec

I will be using login or sign up access for people that can join using their facebook and/or google accounts. People will get a trial version and then they will have to pay eventually just like a normal university course. Currently most of the students that take the Cree 100, 101 and 150 level courses through the First Nations University are non-first nations and first nations teachers, lawyers, doctors, police, government employees and other professionals that plan to move to a community where the Cree language is spoken as the majority language. And of course there are also a number of students that are interested in a variety of things like: reclaiming their heritage, know a bit but want to know more, fluent speakers that want to get a better understanding in the linguistics of the language and I can’t forget the ones that just need the required language course in their programs.

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Image from: ClipartFest

There are some that have never used technology before and need more assistance in navigating through the technical stuff. This is where my course will have easy to use navigation buttons like: ‘Let’s Get Started’ and ‘What tech tools do I need?” “How do I use these tech tools?” and many other simply explained common questions when people enter the virtual classroom. And of course some friendliness, maybe a video and/or link to a “Meet Your Instructor” page. it’s always good to let them know that you are not a robot and that they are not entering a cyber maze where they will be lost and feel like they don’t belong. Step by step is always good. I have to keep it a simple and also keep in mind that people are not all tech savvy.

Tech tools I will be incorporating:

It seems like a lot of tools but all for different purposes and they will all be blended into the course. I am sure I will be adding more tech tools as I go along. I will have the students create accounts in a variety of locations that will be suitable for the course for communication throughout the course. I would like the students to blog, tweet, share cultural events via facebook, audio and video record themselves using Cree terminology for evaluation.

blog-pic

Image from: Crenshaw Communications

I have taught online Cree courses before and some items I found that were important were specifics throughout the course, it is vital. The students need to understand what is expected and to clarify the objectives of the course. Participation is very important and I recommend including participation as part of the overall mark. They need to participate and give feedback to peers and questions posted by the instructor. Being honest is a big one, letting students know that you will respond to them via email, forums…etc. within 24 hours and that responses are not immediate is always good. Having office hours or online hours, contact information and a location where they can submit their completed materials is a must. Sometimes letting them know that you have the capabilities in monitoring their activity is also good where it lets them know you’re watching (not like a creeper, but an administrator). Making copies of instructions in an audio/video (screen capture) form and also a written form (PDF) of the same instructions is good, there are students that prefer one over the other. Make sure you have step by step instructions (click here, right click and scroll down and choose…etc.) Try having fun assignments and tasks for the students to do. Where they can explore on their own and do independent searches (offer tags to narrow down their searches). As an instructor, search on your own too of where and what is happening around the city. Possibly recommending a concert, a movie, a library, or an event they might be able to attend that suits your lesson topic at hand. And finally, Have FUN!

snoop-cree-copy

Image from: Bill Cook photoshop fun

“I think if Snoop Dogg spoke Cree, he would say something like this,” Bill.

Technology has changed so much since when I was teaching online years ago. The tech tools we are learning now are so much easier to play around with. My hopes for my website that I am creating is that it serves as a resource to enhance to Cree language in the EDtech world. I know I am in the right place at the right time because I feel excited to be part of this journey. I am having fun with all these tech tools, having fun learning from Alec, Katia and of course my fellow classmates. I am like a kid at Toys R Us, but with the freedom to play with whatever I want. Looking forward to seeing your prototypes and learn from that experience as well. I hope you guys will enjoy mine.

Co-Opportunities.

door-opportunity-pic-edit

Image from: Market Share and Bill & Tess Photoshop

I have been paddling in this canoe of education for a while now. It has become more sturdy the longer I am it and it has kept me afloat through heavy waves and calm waters, through windy days and sunny skies. At the beginning, I started out paddling not knowing where I am going and which island of opportunity I wanted to see. Throughout my journey I have been traveling island to island for different stops to explore what I can find within each island of opportunity. I stay and learn from it for a while, then I find myself exhausting the knowledge benefits it provides and realize the limitations to creativity it offers. I decide to move on and explore another island but leave with the knowledge I have gained. Inside my heart I know there is a bigger, better and a more interesting island of opportunity out there, a destination or a goal where I can be free to create anything I want, a place where my creativity can run wild.  I know because I have dreamt of it. I have dreamt of this island of opportunity for a long time, it has just taken a while to realize and believe that it exists. The longer I travel in my canoe of education, I am starting to see the destination a lot clearer on the horizon. Throughout my journey I have had traveling partners in my canoe who have decided to get off at islands that appeal to them, so I continue find myself traveling alone again. Lately along my travels, I have started seeing other canoes through the mist out in the open water and it looks like they are heading to the same place. I believe if I keep going straight I will eventually run into them. They all have different canoes, some have passengers, some are alone, some are further ahead, and some going at the same pace. I think maybe we will travel together one day, we will paddle together and find a way to get to that place faster. I will get to that island, I don’t know what’s there but I have a feeling and a strong belief that there is something great. I have to take that risk and sacrifice my time to get there. I will hit heavy waves and calm waters, I will paddle through windy days and sunny skies, but I know I will reach that place.

canoe-pic

I use that metaphor of a canoe many times to explain my education journey to the destination which is represented by the island for my goal which is an Aboriginal Language preservation opportunity. The other canoes in the mist symbolize the other Language and knowledge keepers along the same path towards Aboriginal Language revitalization. They signify the different Aboriginal Language families that are pursuing the same goal. All the other little islands along the way represent the different places I have had the privilege of teaching and learning from and the different people I’ve met along the way and the tools I gained from those experiences. I continue on with my journey and I am so grateful I decided to stop by and continue to learn from this island of technology I am currently on (EDtech). I am really enjoying everything about these Masters courses and I have been introduced to some great tools I will learn and take with me. I will never stop learning and I will continue to paddle to this destination which involves a quick stop at the island of PHD along the way. These are all going to be great tools for my travels. I still don’t know what is at the destination but the further I am going the more clarity I am seeing. Image from: Mahoosuc Guide Service

I started last week looking for some free academic articles on Aboriginal Language blended and online learning and was very limited to what I found. I have used google scholar before and I am getting better at narrowing down my search from 2000 to at least 20 using tag words. I read a couple of articles, yet found nothing that was relevant to what I was looking for. So I ended up looking on the general google search engine and found a few articles and found this article, it was a good little read Cultural Connection and Tech Makes School More Relevant for Indigenous Teens  there was not much on blended and online Aboriginal Language learning, but there was a mention using Aboriginal Language apps within a classroom as part blended learning and the benefits of it. While searching around online for information I needed to write my blog on this week. It just became more clear that I need to keep on my journey to be one of the individuals working on blended and online Aboriginal Language learning. Since beginning my Masters I have met individuals that are pursuing the same goal in preservation of our Aboriginal Languages. Along the way I have learned so much from fellow students and of course all the instructors involved in introducing the tools I need to succeed within their courses.

I have begun to meet the people in the other canoes, as one of my other jobs I am part of a research team through U of R Education, we will be doing research on finding existing information on Aboriginal languages and cultures and will be developing an information hub location online for; teachers, professionals, students, or anyone that is interested in learning about Aboriginal Languages and cultures; past, present and future. There is much more work to be done within Aboriginal languages and cultures within Canada and other Aboriginal language groups around the world. If I can be part of educating fellow Canadians in the Aboriginal language and cultural history of Canada then this will be a good development to revitalization of our Aboriginal languages and cultures.

The further we go on this education technology journey the more I am starting to feel comfortable with the tools and how I can use them on my trip. One future project I want to touch on or at least be part of is to connect Aboriginal Language speakers to Aboriginal Language learners. Thanks to Miss Nicole Reeve’s post from EC&I 833 last semester on language speaking exchange through a company called CNA Speaking Exchange Brazil with US:

This video really sparked something in me and the appreciation I have to the power of technology in Language learning. I know this is a big task, but not impossible and very doable. Maybe that is one of the entities on that island of opportunity I speak of.

If I keep going on this canoe of education journey, I will eventually reach my goal. Which goal am I seeking? That’s a good question. It’s pretty vague at this point in my profession, but do I believe I’m on the right route? Absolutely! I will spend some more time on this island of technology where Alec and Katia are the monitors and learn from everyone. Do I believe that technology will help me on that island? Definitely! Technology will be my amazing new paddle that will take me there quicker.

LEFT RIGHT LEFT RIGHT FORWARD MARCH! Together We’ll Get There!

drill-sergeant-pic

Image from: Pinterest

Drill Sergeant:  Private, why do you tell me the book was better than the movie!?

Private: I don’t know Sir, because the movie can never compare to my imagination Sir!

Drill Sergeant: Have you ever gone to a theatre to go watch a BOOK!?  NO! That would be boring! So don’t tell me the book was better than the movie!

We are all different learners, you are not me and I am not you. Am I left? Or am I right? Or are you right? And I am wrong?  I was told by my dear brother, who was told by a wise elderly lady years ago when I started becoming an educator of the Cree Language, that there is no wrong way and there is no right way to teach the language, there are just different ways. This is the reason that I have become more openminded in the methods I choose to teach the students I am faced with every semester or term. Every course that I teach has never been the same. Sure the content stays the same for the most part but the delivery is ever changing according to what I know at the time. There is a certain feel I get from the learners I spend time with, there is a teacher-student and student-teacher sharing that happens that molds me into what I think makes me a better learner and educator. I am merely a helper, my job is to pass on what I know about the Cree language in as many ways as I can to promote, preserve and  maintain it for generations to come, it is ultimately the learners choice to continue the process.

 

Left brain and right brain might be an outdated topic but for many people this idea is true and others say that it is a myth. I am no scientist, psychologist nor a neurologist to know if this is true or not, and have no desire to find out if it is or not either. All I know is that there are different kinds of people, learners, educators, beliefs, values, disabilities and qualities.

left-right-brain-pic

Image from: Pinterest

imageimage-1

Here are the results of 2 different Left-Brain and Right Brain Tests I did online. Apparently according to one test I am more of a left-brain person where the other test showed that I was failry even in both but more on the right-brain side. I ask myself, “how do they know this? How can they tell by asking me questions if I am left or right brain kind of guy?” I guess this is why we learn, we learn for understanding so we can explain things better. I thought I was more of a visual learner or a hands on kind of guy. I think by trying different ways to learn, I’m starting to find out that I can learn in many forms, as long as it interests me then I want to learn it. If I find it boring, then I don’t spend much of my time on it and move to something thing else that looks interesting.

Other research shows that there are 4 styles of learning, 7 styles of learning and 12 styles of learning. Below is the 7 styles of learning which I thought I’d share just as an example. How do we become professionals in science, neurology and psychology when our training is in education? Do we just have to believe and/or  find proof for ourselves and if it makes sense to what our beliefs are then we should believe it?

http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/

memstyles

Image from: Learning Styles Online.com

Research shows us that each learning style uses different parts of the brain. By involving more of the brain during learning, we remember more of what we learn. Researchers using brain-imaging technologies have been able to find out the key areas of the brain responsible for each learning style.

For example:

  • Visual:The occipital lobes at the back of the brain manage the visual sense. Both the occipital and parietal lobes manage spatial orientation.
  • Aural:The temporal lobes handle aural content. The right temporal lobe is especially important for music.
  • Verbal: The temporal and frontal lobes, especially two specialized areas called Broca�s and Wernicke�s areas (in the left hemisphere of these two lobes).
  • Physical:The cerebellum and the motor cortex (at the back of the frontal lobe) handle much of our physical movement.
  • Logical:The parietal lobes, especially the left side, drive our logical thinking.
  • Social:The frontal and temporal lobes handle much of our social activities. The limbic system (not shown apart from the hippocampus) also influences both the social and solitary styles. The limbic system has a lot to do with emotions, moods and aggression.
  • Solitary:The frontal and parietal lobes, and the limbic system, are also active with this style.

 

same-test-pic-animals

 

 

 

 

Image from: Designed To Blossom

 

I also wanted to share this image that was shared in our EC&I 833 course with Alec last semester. This shows a depiction of standardised testing and other forms of evaluation amongst the various types of learners.

 

Bates suggests that:

When making choices about mode of delivery, teachers and instructors need to ask the following four questions:

  • Who are – or could be – my students?
  • What is my preferred teaching approach?
  • What are the content and skills that I need to teach?
  • What resources will I have to support my decision?

As always, start with the learners.

 

These are questions I have been asking myself throughout my education journey, but most importantly, how can I stay current ? What are students saying about my teaching style? Am I diverse enough in my delivery of lessons?  I agree with Bates on starting with the learners and asking yourself what tools can I utilize to make this a successful journey for the learner and myself as an edcuator?

 

In conclusion, workout your brain in all aspects of learning and introduce material in all forms of media and try whatever works for the situation at hand, because we live in a diverse world and when it comes to learning “there is no wrong way, and there is no right way…there is just different ways.”

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Image from: Sit_With_It

WHAT?!! HUH?! Is it That Time Already?

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Image from: BusinessTech

That was quick! It seemed like we just had our last Zoom room session yesterday. That was quite a list of links but managed to click and see each one of them.  I noticed myself getting more interested the further I went. The vlogs I found were not really something I will be using unless I absolutely have to. The videos where students demonstrating lessons were something I might try for my blended prototype course depending on what lesson I want to come across with. Most of the links for open content resources were irrelevant to my Cree Language instruction, unless I decide to add on my side navigation bar a few online Language resources. When I started moving towards the tech tools, this is where I spent most of my time exploring the different tools like:

  • skitch (for picture and terminology descriptions of objects in and outside classroom)
  • Lightshot
  • Powerpoint (this one I have worked with before)
  • Keynote
  • Prezi
  • Adobe spark
  • Screencastify
  • Show me
  • Screenchomp
  • Educreations
  • imovie
  • Youtube editor
  • Voice thread
  • Garageband (this one I have worked with before)
  • Audacity (this one I have worked with before)
  • Telegrami (this one I have worked with before)
  • Powtoon (I really enjoyed this one)
  • Videoscribe
  • Puppets pals
  • Little birds tales
  • Smore ( I really enjoyed this one)
  • NFB StopMo Studio (I also really enjoyed this one)
  • Animoto
  • Touchcast
  • Live scribe Pen (I have used this one before)
  • Snagit (I have used this screen capture tool before)
  • Aurasma (I am working with this one)

I can see all these tools working for my lessons somewhere down the road, depending on what topics are being covered in my courses.

As Bates says, “Different media have different potential or ‘affordances’ for different types of learning. One of the arts of teaching is often finding the best match between media and desired learning outcomes. There is a difference between a direct experience, a written description, a televised recording, and a computer simulation of the same scientific experiment.”

I agree with Bates, by teaching the same thing with different presentation software approaches you get different outcomes, with the different learners and different approaches that fit the given situation and/or topic of lessons. With my current language lessons, I am always changing it up and trying new edtech is something I am incorporating.

This week I downloaded a couple apps and only tried a couple of apps but the tool I spent most of my time with this week was  NFB StopMo Studio and what a great time I had with my girl BillieRose (BR)  creating a short stop motion film with music and some Cree dialogue included within the clip.

Steps we took:

  1. Charge ipad. Well get it ready for shoot
  2. Pay for the NFB StopMo app | $3.49 (which is not free and not bad, it’s like buying a 2L drink)
  3. Download NFB StopMo app (I couldn’t find it through the app store search, only through the link that Alec & Katia posted)
  4. Write a short script and dialogue
  5. Choose a song as background music
  6. Choose characters (we kept it simple and used 2 characters, which were a couple of BR’s monster high dolls
  7. Scouting a location for a set (which ended up being BR’s dollhouse)
  8. Searching for possible props we might want to use for shoot
  9. MacGyver a tripod for ipad (which ended up being a a music sheet stand with a dustpan and duct tape)
  10.  Youtubed some ‘how to… vids’ and then did some trial shots for testing
  11. Then we placed the main stars of the film on set, put on our Director hats and on we went shooting clip by clip.
    1. Each movement we manipulated was a shot so we went back and forth from set to behind the camera quite a bit
  12. After a few clips (which took us about an ½ hour to an hour), we then had a look and said “okay good enough for now”
  13. Then the extra option for editing on the app was setting up titles
  14. We then aggreed on a title intro, and outro (to be continued… and credits)
  15. Then we added the dialogue (BR and myself doing the voice overs)
  16. Then we added the music as intro, background and outro music
  17. Then save it, then upload to Youtube (publish!) DONE!

This was a lot of work, but when we got started it seemed like the time just flew by. I had a great time laughing with my girl and trying new things. One of the best parts was spending time with my girl and playing dolls with her. Playing a girl voice was something I’ve never done before and likely the last time on film too. Although it took a long time to get it all together, we only ended up with a 32 second product in the end. There were a lot of pros over the cons in this tool. I would recommend this activity with students possibly a little film crew of youth or adults. This is an ideal tool and activity for my Language course where we can create characters and film scenarios while creating Language based lessons on;  greetings, command terms…etc. I still haven’t figured out how to add subtitles which I will have for the prototype. One of the benefits of working with dialogue is any language can be substituted within the project.

Here is our very short stop motion film called: ‘Lia & Katia Chit Chat in Cree’ | NFB StopMo ipad app. Enjoy!

 

Here is a public ‘how to video for NFB StopMo ipad app:

 

 

There are many other tools listed above from EC&I 834 that we have been introduced to that still interest me in the development of my blended prototype. All in all most of these tools are fairly easy to work with. With some creativity and willing to try new things, I think the choices are abundant.

 

 

Wix in Da’ Mix!

dj-mix-pic

Image from: Clipart Kid

“Pop Quiz. Which bakery would you walk into?”

  1. A square and simple layout exterior, lacking in color and gem, with pastry options laid out on the side of the counter for display.
  2. A catchy colorful exterior with a window display of colorful pastries and variety of flavor choices organized and visually advertised.
  3. A bland exterior with no windows, with white walls, white counters, white floor, white chairs, white tables.
  4. A window display of the pastries that are all the same colors but with different flavors, but you can’t tell what flavor they are by looking at them, you have to purchase them in order to taste them.

While investigating the different LMSs, I thought that they all looked the same, with the same buttons, same features, same layouts, same tools…etc. Don’t get me wrong, they are probably all great tools and beneficial to the instructor and to the learners but they are boring and some are very intimidating that I gave up right away because I was lost and had to read about ‘how to…’.  I kept saying to myself, “how is a student suppose to move around here if I can’t even navigate around it myself as a first time user?”.

My judgement is likely that I am a simple man and like simple things. I think I’m a fast learner and learn most things on my own. As I kept looking around online for LMSs, I was thinking that a teacher probably didn’t have the executive decision on the final choice of layout on these LMSs. I imagine that it was probably a nerdy group of guys and gals that interviewed or a had meeting session with a teacher (a lame monotone teacher) and they thought, “okay this is what the teachers and students need, now let’s create this and sell it”.

I also think a large part of my dislike about these systems is that I am a Cree Language Teacher and not a classroom teacher that follows a standardized curriculum with many subjects. Being a Cree Language teacher is a field where the language curriculum changes from community to community according to cultures and local practices. There is no standard curriculum to follow. Vocabulary changes from each school and community, where most words will stay consistant but there are also variations within the words according to the culture.

Here is a list of some LMSs I have looked at as well as a few that I didn’t have time to check out. I guess I can’t judge all of them on the basis of the few I explored. I’m sure there are some good ones out there that I haven’t seen yet.

LMSs I have briefly tried out and inquired online about:

LMS My thoughts.
Canvas

 

This one was laid out pretty good, very clean, but lacked excitement visually
Moodle

 

This one was laid out fairly decent, but lacked excitement visually not much option for layout.
Blackboard

 

Very boring, has some good features.
Sakai

 

I had to download it, which I wasn’t going to. So don’t know much of that one. Lost interest when I had to download.
Gooru

 

A lot of text format not much visual appeal.
Dokeos

 

Has a trial then purchase.
eFront

 

You have to schedule a demo.
Google Classroom These are one of them I didn’t explore at all.

 

I guess my point from all these negative reviews is that I need something catchy and user friendly for my Cree Language prototype course that I will be creating. I want my students to want to enter my space and be excited to learn. I think it’s all about the audience or my students. It’s not my classroom it’s theirs. I just have to make it look pretty, presentable and exciting for them to want to come in and learn with me. This is why I went with Wix. Wow! What an amazing thing! I am not even sure how I found it or maybe it found me…hmmm…It was meant to be. First thing I noticed was that I could sign in using my google account. I proceeded to search for language teaching templates in their website for free, there were a couple. I started exploring and pretty much spent most of my week messing around and making my Cree Language prototype course within wix. It’s easy to get hooked on the different site development tools. It’s very catchy, easy to use, it has an App market with a variety of choices to choose from: Youtube video player, Vimeo video player, music players, clip art, and many more. You can drag and drop everything and it has a mobile friendly design (you can even edit to how you want it to appear on mobile devices). The great thing is, it’s not a scary place. You can even embed onto your site external apps or widgets like: Quizlet, Classmarker, Quizworks and whatever you can, I think. I haven’t explored enough to know what the limitations are. It allows you to create HTML5, which I had to look into what that meant so I found a picture to explain instead:

lego-website-html3-4

Image from: YouTube

difference-between-html-and-html5-5-638html5-a-look-behind-the-technology-changing-the-web

Image from: SlideShare

Wix.com is a cloud-based web development platform that was first developed and popularized by the Israeli company also called Wix. It allows users to create HTML5 web sites and mobile sites through the use of online drag and drop tools. Description from Wix.com

wix-logo

Image from: Seeking Alpha

You can intergrate any kind of LMS within wix, where only the subscribers of the site will have access to.

  • Polls
  • Discussion board
  • Adding aptitute test
  • Content submission
  • Adding interactive content

Here is my Cree Language Course site screen image capture. It’s starting to come along nicely and I am having a great time creating it. I can’t wait to get back into it.

website-copy

Image from : Bill Cook photoshop(My Cree Classroom Website courtesy of Wix)

Alright so maybe it’s not quite an LMS, but it is catchy and that’s what I was looking for. It has the capabilities of adding an embedded LMS which is something I’m working on next. Fingers crossed I don’t run into problems creating this. It has different pages and different links, videos, tests via Quizlet, Zoom room access, I can embed a Classmarker into it. Students can access the audio and visual material on their mobile devices. It being a language class, this is ideal for people who are on the go who may want to practice vocabulary or pronunciation through quizzing exercises with timers, and portable electronic flashcards. I will continue to see what more Wix has to offer. So far so good, maybe I will talk about it in another blog regarding the results of where I’m at with the prototype  project with wix in da’ mix.

 

A couple great tools I’m using in my site:

quizlet

Image from : The Wonder of Tech

Quizlet provides free study tools for students, teachers, and learners of all ages that can be used in and out of the classroom, on your own or with friends, and on the go with our iOS and Android apps. Description from Quizlet.com

classmarker

Image from: Classmarker.com

ClassMarker’s secure, professional web-based Testing service is an easy-to-use, customizable online Test maker for business, training & educational assessment with Tests & Quizzes graded instantly saving you hours of paperwork! Description from Classmarker.com

 

I hope I didn’t discourage anyone from my negative intro on LMSs, I’m sure they were made for someone that likes that sort of stuff. Just not for this guy. And # 2 was my choice on the pop quiz, I Love pastry!

Choices, Choices?!

choices-pic

Image from: Netpicks

The main reason I chose to start taking Edtech courses was my interest in becoming an innovator of my people ‘nīhithawak’ (The Cree people). And also heard a lot of great things about @courosa and now looking forward to learning from @kbhildebrandt as well. I want to try stay in the now with the culture we live in as human beings. People live and breathe technology every where we go, it is quite rare to see someone walking around with both hands swinging along the side of their bodies for balance. Somewhere somehow electronic devices started becoming a part of our bodies, an artificial limb you might say that we purposely purchased to stay in touch with what is going on all around us. It’s like people forgot how to talk to each other using their mouths (oh! how I remember those days when we actually talked and laughed out loud, when we were able to feel expression and emotion in people while they spoke).  Our thumbs have become our main form of communication, what’s next right? We start sending each other telepathic messages and/or virtualizing peoples thoughts? Next thing we know, we will be going through a drive thru at McDonalds and ready to order something from the menu when the attendant knows what you were about to order and all you have to say is, “Yes, that will be all, thank you.” There would be so many things wrong with that scenario and kind of creepy. I can go on with my theories of where technology will take us in the future and likely we will not live to see that technological advancement change.  My reason of taking Edtech is to learn how I can become part of that change in a good way with purpose.

It was easy to pick what the course I will be introducing as my prototype, a Cree language blended/online course. The level will be beginner post secondary as that’s what I currently teach. This blended prototype project will only improve what I am already doing. I am looking forward to what I can create. Developing a blended/online course is an endeavour I have always wanted to try and now here it is, exciting! The question I have to start with is: What software tech tools can I incorporate into my course, what can I utilise for free that can do what I have envisioned for my course? I want it to be a friendly place where people come in and feel invited to sit down and have a cup of coffee while learning and sharing something about the Cree language and a bit about the culture but yet walk away from a session wanting more, their interests piqued.

The Cree language has a few things going on in technology, yet it is such a new venture that it needs more innovative ways to make people aware that the language is still alive and well. It is actually one of the many Indigenous languages that will survive. The Cree language is a first language in Canada yet quite behind in technological expression.

There are some great blended/online language course examples in the world wide web but I haven’t searched around enough to see what’s out there for other languages such as: French, Spanish, German…etc. What are they doing technologically to preserve and maintain their languages? I know there are a few applications out there for languages but they cost money to purchase for development. I am considering a Google+ community and not quite sure if a google classroom might work. I like some of the features of Moodle and Blackboard but they lack appeal. I have assembled a few tech tools from last semester I will be using like: Fligrid, ZOOM, Kahoot, google docs, google slides and Aurasma so far. But yet more to explore throughout this semester.

I got some work ahead of me, as we all do I’m sure. I know ultimately that I will be using a lot of different tech tools for different situations. I am a man on a mission not only in development of a prototype Cree language blended/online course for this EC&I 834 course but also the beginnings of a long journey ahead in the technological adaptation of a language and a culture into a realm that is new.

man-on-mission-pic

Image from: Redbubble

Any free language software suggestions are welcome. I am looking forward to seeing and learning from everyone else’s final prototype blended/online courses, especially the ones that are language focused.

I am EXCITED for a new journey in EC&I 834! If only I had a Superman cape then I could be ‘SUPER’ EXCITED!!!

superman-giphy

Image from: http://giphy.com

I enjoy long walks on the beach, at sunset, working on my laptop developing my next Cree language lesson, while listening to loud music on my headphones. Okay, maybe that’s not a good intro. Anyway, My name is Bill Cook. I am a Cree language teacher for Payepot School Kinders-gr. 12 and a sessional Cree instructor for First Nations University of Canada. I have been teaching the Cree language for almost a decade. I am a fluent Woods/Rock Cree speaker and I have been learning the English language since I was about 8 years old, so I think I’m pretty fluent in that language too.

This is my 3rd Masters course and 2nd Edtech course. I plan on continuing my education and becoming a PhD student in the future.  I have taught online language classes before and have also been an online student. This is a great learning experience for me to attain a different perspective of the learning process. I continue to be amazed at all the tech tools that are available for educators and learners. Taking EC&I 833 last semester with Alec was an eye opener for me because I learned about some of the diverse applications that are out in the tech world and yet there is still so much more that I don’t know about. I am very open minded and always willing to learn something new. I don’t use much technology in my lessons right now, but I am starting to adjust my methods to incorporate more Edtech so I can be current in the modern culture we live in. I don’t want to be that guy that stays the same every year, so I have decided to try new things and keep up-to-date. I am ‘super’ excited to learn more this semester and to be a better learner and a better educator. I have to find different and interesting ways to pass on knowledge and share what I know, as I believe this is the way towards promotion and preservation of my Cree culture.

 

3 Goals for EC&I 834

  • To be able to blend Cree language lessons online and/or with the use of education technology.
  • To develop a better understanding in the technical aspects of online learning.
  • To develop content for Cree Language and to learn how I can make my lessons current and engaging to the language learner.

time-for-new-technology-pic

Image from: http://www.eventoyster.co.uk

Here is my twitter page:  @creeinstructor1 , I’m still learning how to use Twitter.

Thanks for reading and looking forward to reading your blogs as well.