Category Archives: My Digital Learning Project 831

Openness and sharing in schools, are we creating a monster???

Wow, I am so amazed with all the online learning that I am doing between reading blogs and our assigned articles.  I enjoy finding some little tidbits on Facebook and Twitter and sharing them with the class, I absolutely love when others share the same.

The TedTalk, How to Think about Digital Tattoos gave me lots to think about. I had never thought about our presence on the internet as digital tattoos, but it certainly is just like the permanent ink we adorn our bodies with.  The footprints we leave on the internet are there forever.  They are traces that were leave behind and are attached to our identity as they shout and tell stories for whom ever to see.  I was even more taken back by the facial recognition software that allows the user to match a photo of someone’s face with his or her identity. Even when Alec show us the Russian Facebook which can match a picture to your profile, and let anyone find out who you are by just uploading your picture.

Peel Region School Board Staff Guidelines for Social Media  was a great article about some of the guidelines and boundaries for using social media in the classroom and within the school. Sometimes people might not see posting on the internet as black and white, they may find some grey and feel okay about tip toeing into the grey area.

A friend asked my opinion of a situation involving her son’s teacher and authorization for photo usage.  Another friend of hers screen shotted a picture and sent it to her, the photo was of my friends son.  The photo was posted on his grade 1 teacher’s personal Instagram account.  Without trying to alarm her, I instructed her to have a conversation with his teacher.  I mentioned that the conversation should focus on the fact if she wanted her son on social media she would post pictures herself, and that the media release form did not cover non-school social media accounts.

I believe that educators are held at a higher standard as they are viewed very critically in the eyes of the public.  When it comes to social media, your posts may cost you your job, or even haunt you for a longtime, yeah and there is that forever piece like a tattoo.  Employers tendImage result for teacher to us social networking sites to research job candidates, and close to 59% say they would be influenced by a candidate’s online presence. Sadly when it comes to social media. the whole world is watching, and just waiting for you to make a slip.

Safety is a concern when posting details about school and the students that attend, I like how a safety tips are suggested such as to refer to the sports schedule for information about location and times.  This is a good deterrent for people who are looking to track down kids, by just browsing the internet.

Another teacher tip that I took form the Peel document was the idea about including professi27500249795_d79a8da6b3_tonal hours in communication with parents.  This has come up for me personally as a parent emailed at 10:00PM at night then became upset in a second email at 7AM that I didn’t respond.  I explained that I would only respond to emails during my work hours.  By having professional hours this sets boundaries were the world assumes you are available 24 hours a day.  Again this came up in my head last night as I forgot to follow up with a parent and thought about calling at about 7PM, again Kayla reminded me that I should just call in the morning.  I agreed and said “professional work hours” good point Kayla.

The staff supervision section makes many good points about staff use of social media. Staff must consider that online activity is still subject to the rules of a school and their professional responsibilities. I enjoy the example of a staff member choosing to read a book during student supervision.  I have seen too many incidences of staff on their cell phones, except I did not believe it was my place to intervene and make them aware of their responsibilities.  However, it is a distraction problem and a huge safety risk.

All in all I3987299037_9da9d3a3a7_t defiantly enjoyed the agree side of the debate.  Either side of the debate that you choose, you always must tread lightly when it comes to your own and your students digital footprints.

It can’t be true, technology making kids sick???

This week  our lovely debaters had a chance to dabble with the idea that Technology is making our kids unhealthy.  Aubrey,  Jayme, and Jennifer had the task of trying to convince us that technology was really making us suck.  They had some fabulous points for their side of the debate and they suggested that we read.  The first article is a Huffington Post article,  Sneaky ways technology is messing with your body and mind.  The article mentions that tech is really taking a toll holistically. The whole tech neck thing is actually a serious problem, I just saw a diagram on Facebook about how our spines are actually curling up because of technology use.  spineI went back into my Facebook and searched and searched to find the article, turns out it was my hip grandma who posted the article The Harm of Looking Down at Your Cell Phone Does to Your Spine. This article that my grandma shared mentions that staring down at your device is like having an eight-year old sitting on your head while you are standing. It is scary to think that just typing a message, reading an e-mail, or browsing the Internet,  puts you at risk of spine injury.  With that in mind you also have to consider  you’re enduring about 60 pounds of pressure. It is even more scary to think that the average person spends two to four hours a day in this position. Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, chief of spinal surgery at New York Spine Surgery & Rehabilitation Medicine points out that the quickest way that we can avoid this neck injury is to put the phones down once and for all.  Unfortunately, we know that dropping the phone is not likely not going to happen.  Some of the solutions that the Dr. suggests is that we try to hold our phone straight in front of us instead of bending your head down. Wow, my grandma is right on trend with all this tech stuff!

Back to the Huffinton Post article, thinking about all that bacteria on a phone is super gross.  We should defiantly be cleaning our gadgets more often. The eye strain things is so true for me, late at night or early in the morning I am guilty of using my cell phone in bed.  I may have even dropped it a few times ahaha. Ooohh no, is this cell phoning around at night is messing with my sleep cycle too.  I am defiantly a constant Face Book feed checker too. The suffering from withdrawls also goes to show how long a person can last without their cell phone.  I will drive home to get it, even if I know that everyone knows that I am at work and could reach me there if need be.  I really enjoyed this article as i relate to so many of the points it may be concerning that my holistic health is being effected by technology.

The quick video Five crazy ways social media is changing your brain right now defiantly hit home for me as well.  I know that when it comes to Facebooking around, I am for sure guilty of having the addiction that is mentioned in this video.  As I sit here at the kitchen table working on my blog and watching video’s , the phantom phone effect is something my husband admitted that he swears he feels buzzing, pulls out his phone and it is just his imagination.

The flip side of the debate was represented by Heather, Andres, and Roxanne.  They had their work cut out for the as they had to highlight that technology is not making our kids unhealthy.  The first article that was chosen for our class to explore was Determining the effects of technology on children.  The article opens with how beneficial technology in the classroom is. I will admit that my students are writing way more now that many of my daily writing assignment are being done of the computer using Google Docs.   Many of the points discussed in this article have been mentioned in previous debates about the benefits of technology.  There is no need to convince me, I know exactly how great technology is.  The article goes on to point out that technology is not going anywhere and we should look at both sides of the coin.

I believe that part of growing up in this internet age is understanding the big risks of the internetImage result for teen on internet.  The article Researchers: Forget Internet abstinence; Teens need some online risk suggests that we need to get teens to handle small risk situations, and learn from there. Teens used strategies of ignoring content or leaving the site.  Teens did share with parents and friends when they can across explicit content.  It is important as a parent and a educator  to keep up with the trends so we can keep our kids healthy.

Turning bystanders into upstanders against bullying is a great resource that classroom teachers can use to show students how to be upstanders.

All in all I totally love the debates and the learning that we are doing in this class.  It is opening both my and my husband’s eyes (he has the unpaid version haha) about issue that we face with technology. Everyone understands that technology is moving at such a rapid pace, we just have to do our best to understand both the pro’s and the cons.  More learning as we go!!


Should we just google it??

Wow are these days ever flying by.  I am not sure if they are moving so quickly because there is only 22 teaching days left in the school year, or I am just ready to enjoy all summer has to offer.  This week we were lucky enough to enjoy 2 debates.  I will just give an overview about instant access to the wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips with just a few clicks of a button and scrapping all the memorization in the classroom.  I will also explore the other side of the debate talking about ensuring that students are ready for the world by making sure they know all the drill and kill facts.

I enjoy how the opposing team finds articles reliant to their side of the debate. Luke, Ashley, and Andrew provided us with 3 articles and a video for us to ponder.

25604791633_68b30737b0_tThe first article How Google Impacts The Way Students Think really opened my eyes in the sense that when students are using Google they are missing out on the process. Knowledge is not simple searchable.  The internet is making it seems as though the answers are always accessible to us. The whole idea that googling is easier than thinking is scary, now we are so used to just searching for what we want to know that all we need to do is type, we don’t even need to know how to spell. However, I must admit that I am a fan of Pinterest, but again it is just plucking visuals and saving them for your own access at a later date. 

Wow, How the Internet is Changing Your Brain is another eye open27135322851_e146739bd8_ter of a article. I understand that Google searches are on the rise but i would have never guessed that the idea of instant information reached 4.7 trillion searches a day.  I know first hand that it is so very easy to whip out my smart phone and look something up, perhaps I continue to do the same searches over and over again because I know that the info will be waiting there for me.  Google has become my longer term memory.  I think I am going to do a running tally of how often I use Google in my daily life, both for personal and for the classroom use.  It is bizarre that Google that become a storage place for our memories.

Three Rules to Spark Learning was a very interesting TED Talk by Ramsey Musallam. 19579711075_e3d5f76df1He makes many valid points about how students questions come first in learning these are the seeds of the learning that will take place.  He further goes on to remind us that we should not dehumanize learning by just allowing the students to look things up and use technology.  Learning is about so much more than just finding the answer it is about the trail and error and the frustration, and the ahh ha moments in the classroom.  Most of all learning is about the reflection and the revisions so that we can get better and do better.

Amy and Heidi chose some great articles for us as well. The first article that I explored was When Rote Learning Makes Sense.  There are many valid point that made me lean towards this side of the debate. I really believe that before students can think critically, they need to have some sort of background knowledge or something to bas27058606696_6e0fba0ecd_te their new knowledge on, the scaffolding. This article further pointed out that gaining something from a quick knowledge source such as Google doesn’t allow us to actually think about in our brains. ” Knowledge without comprehension is of little use, but comprehension requires knowledge and it takes time and effort to acquire”.  We needed to understand that the brain is a tool that needs an active effort to make it work harder and somehow Google just isn’t making our brains work hard enough.  The old saying practice makes perfect is true when it comes to allowing the brain to soak up more knowledge and actually move it from short to long-term memory storage facilities. Googling does not engage our bodies or allow us to learn aloud.  If we move past the memorization of the basics we are overlooking all the basics we need to continue to build on what we know.

Memorization is Not a Dirty Word is a great article that talks of the importance of memorizing info.  We have to remember that there will be times when we don17872082364_6627224f4f_t‘t have access to the internet or our phones.  This memorization is exercises for the mind and the brain. I 100% believe that memorization trains our brains to get ready for building on to the knowledge that we already have.  The final words of the article make so much sense “But what good is learning if you don’t remember it?”

Why teach facts to the level of automaticity? This article continues to illustrate that memorization improves students ability to learn.  When students memorize information or facts it allows them move to higher order thinking without having to back fill. They are able to focus on learning the new facts and continue to build their knowledge and retention.

Humm, I guess this is a very tough one for me.  I defiantly think that memorization is a very important learning concept.  I have always struggled when it came to learning math or just learning in general.  I would have to come up with all sorts of 10274768143_72b7df57a7_tmnemonics and rhymes to help me study.  That is just how my brain works.  I understand that accessing knowledge at your fingertips makes for some simple answers but sure takes away from what you know and what you can recall.

Summary of Learning- an unNawmal Experience

I was excited to tackle my summary of learning project! I knew after the assignment was presented to the class I wanted to make sure I incorporated some sort of technology I could also show my students.

Dallas, Kayla and I decided we would have some fun with an animated video for our summary of learning.  After we did a quick google search we came up with the product Nawmal .  Kayla downloaded the free trial of the program.  We decided that we would each speak about different thinImage result for nawmalgs that
we had taken away from the course.

After we organized our thoughts on a Google Doc we were set. I figured I would be adventurous and attempt to put our video together.  I first selected a talk show setting which I thought would allow for back and forth dialogue using an interview strategy, this was perfect as we each could share our learning.

The next part of the process was selecting the characters.  I chose four characters to allow for a host and a representation of each on of our summaries. Seating the characters on the couch was a process in itself.  The next step was adding robotin the dialogue for back and forth question and answer type exchange.  As I got a few lines in, I figured I should listen to the dialogue between my characters.  I quickly realized they all had the same voice, so I explored around and downloaded different voices for all of the characters.  Some of the voices were very robotic and others were not so bad.
The download time was extremely slow, moving at 2% per minute.  After only one voice option showed up, I had to go back and download a certain voice for each character not just download voices and assume I could choose from a list.

Image result for scriptI continued adding more dialogue for the characters until I had our script perfect.  I attempted to listen to my progress but as I typed more dialogue the buffering time increased to the point I was waiting for 3 minutes for it to playback.  I also realized that I could add gestures to the characters, making them move their hand and even look at the host.  This was sort of fun as some of the actions were bold.

I was nearing the end of my adventure and thought I should show Kayla my progress on our project, then we would have an idea about changes and the timing.  I also realized that listening to it allowed me to catch my mistakes.  Aaaahhh one final listen and we would we ready to put it on the web.  Kayla and I waited and waited and the buffering time was ridiculous, I and been saving along the way so I knew that I wouldn’t lose my work. After about 15 minutes of waiting for our animated video to play I decided yolo and exported it.  I was confident that it would be alright and I could always go back to my saved version.

20160409_152005_resizedWell was I wrong.  After I pushed that export button our stomachs quickly sunk as a pop up appeared saying we needed to purchase the full version to see our video. We thought we could go back to my saved version and worst case just record it as the trial version using a cell phone and upload it from there.  

Kayla quickly whipped out her credit sickcard as there was no other choice but to upgrade.  After deciding to buy the paid version for $9.99 US/ month we figured our problem was solved. After we attempted to open up the saved files, another popup appeared saying the version we paid for did not support the features I had used.  There was another choice in subscribing but we did not want to pay the $99.00 a month so we opted for the discounted version.  After 3 hours of creating the video and buying the subscription we still had nothing.

Kayla had the bright idea to email for support.  I pointed out that it was 4 PM on Friday, good luck with that.  Kayla tech-support-planquickly composed and email asking for help as we were sick about our project being trapped.  Within 10 minutes we received a reply.  Apparently we should have bought the expensive version.  The email offered to convert our file for us if we sent it to them.  Kayla and I were so very thankful for the quick reply from Nawmal.

I will admit that this is an unedited version of our project, and we have no choice in going back and making changes.  This Nawmal experience taught us that we should definitely have read some reviews about the program, if we would have know that many of the features were not compatible with the free trial we would have chose a different animation program.  I guess this goes on to say we are always learning, and we will make mistakes along the way!! Hope you enjoy the video.

Nawmal seems like a cool program but do not cheep out, just pay the $10.00 and you will know exactly what features you can use from the start. Some of the Nawmal videos are online look so cool, and we got stuck with such a cheesey video haha.

Thank you to Alec and Katia for facilitating my learning! And a big thanks to all my classmates and colleagues it was a pleasure to collaborate and learn from everyone.


Reflecting on my Healthy Lifestyle Journey

I can’t believe it has been four months since I first started on my healthy lifestyle journey. I will give full credit to ECI 831 and the Major Digital project that was assigned to me. This project has started my initial push to to move from the idea of becoming healthier with the action plan, and then putting the plan in motion.

I have always wanted to learn more about healthy eating and lifestyle.  Not often do you get to choose something that you want to learn in a University course. I wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to focus on me and something that I typically wouldn’t have time for and reflecting on my journey through blogging.  I highly enjoyed learning and documenting it all online.  I could post whatever I like and each week, I managed to choose my recipe and try something new.  I loved the fact that the comments would roll in, as others wanted to try my recipes or had their own to share.

This project taught me a few lessons other then learning how to lead a healthier lifestyle in terms of nutrition and exercise.  Learning from others online was so uniquely new for me.  I have been taught that learning comes from book and research.  This course taught me that I could be responsible and in control of my own learning.   I managed to find many online communities to help motivate me and learn from.  I have come to understand that with the rapid rate of growing technology and MOOCs I should facilitate an opportunity like this for my own students.

I looked forward to taking the time to work on my digital project every week.  Even one new recipe a week, in a busy lifestyle we often don’t make time for ourselves our own learning.  It did not feel like homework, it was fun, the shopping, the creating and the blogging. I never once felt the grad student stresses of having to complete assignments and hand in lengthy papers.

This semester I managed to plan and take the time for myself and work on my healthy lifestyle.  I also believe that I will continue acquiring knowledge as my little one is coming into this world.  Health is so very important as we get older but also to teach our students and children about managing their health and investing in their selves.

Image result for nutrition for kids

I hope I have inspired my readers to learn something new, or at least try a new recipe. It doesn’t have to be a healthy lifestyle journey! Whatever you choose to learn it is never that hard with the support of online communities and other bloggers.

Who doesn’t like cookies???

So one thing that I miss is sweets, I do my best to avoid sugary snack but show me a cookie and it’s gone.  I received a recipe from a guest teacher at our school, the recipe is called Dr. Mike’s Power Cookie. The recipe she gave came from a cook book, but a quick Google search and I was able to find them online too.  I just went on the Dr. Mike Wesite . She even gave me a sample mmmm delicious.

I will warn you that I like to experiment in the kitchen and use different ingredients that I have on hand.  This recipe calls for specific ingredients that I substituted.  I think to myself that all recipes were created by someone just throwing random things together then tweaking it until it was perfect.

****The substitutions that I made included: pumpkin puree (frozen from my garden) instead of apple sauce, didn’t use almond paste, used cooking oil, brown sugar instead of sweetner and 20160403_142629agave ( I have decided that I should avoid sweeteners while pregnant), I didn’t have cherries or almonds so I omitted them.  I am an avid baker so I made sure the consistency for a
cookie was right, I did add more pumpkin as I though the batter looked dry.

Dr. Mike’s Power Cookie


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons almond paste
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil
  • 10 packets of Truvia
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup vanilla whey powder
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup sliced almonds


Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat together applesauce, almond paste, flaxseed oil, Truvia and agave nectar. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mix well. Add flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and whey powder. Beat thoroughly. Stir in oats, cherries and almonds. Mix well. Drop the batter by large tablespoons onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with vegetable cooking spray. Divide dough so that you have 18 cookies. Flatten each cookie with the back of the spoon. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Cool and store in a plastic container.

These smell amazing in the bowl and even better in the oven. So next attempt I will defiantly add the nuts and cherries or raisins, and try a lil more sugar just to sweeten them up, but they are still good.20160403_145905

Mmmmm Farm Favorite Oatmeal Pancakes

20160402_100917Tasty Delicious Breakfast

This morning a friend had made a post on Facebook about pancakes, and I thought mmm I would like pancakes haha, and defiantly not those yucky banana ones.  I did a quick google search and decided on Farm Fresh Oatmeal Pancakes.  I like the idea of oatmeal as it is considered a protein and not just a ball of flour.  I also though you could put peanut butter or fresh fruit on top instead of syrup.  The ingredients are very simple, and I had everything on hand.  I only made half the recipe and  used some oil instead of melted butter.

My husband though I should have left the cinnamon out, but either way they were yummy!!  I also kept his in the pan a little longer, hence the extra brown ones!!


1 1/2 cups (375 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats

2 cups (500 mL) Milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) packed brown sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, melted
Butter, for cooking


The directions were super simple and easy to follow.

In a large bowl, combine rolled oats and milk, let stand 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, s20160402_095918ugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

Whisk eggs and 1/4 cup (60 mL) butter into milk mixture until blended. Pour over flour mixture and stir just until combined

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Brush with a thin layer of butter. Ladle about 1/4 cup (60 mL) batter per pancake into skillet. Cook for 2 to 3 min or until bottoms are golden and edges look dry; turn and cook for 1 to 2 min longer or until golden and puffed. Repeat with remaining batter, adjusting heat as necessary to prevent burning.

Nutritional Info20160402_100101

I also enjoyed that the recipe had all the nutritional info as well.  I am not sure how many pancake this serving is, as my calculations for the half batch is about 34 calories per pancake!! Which is very good as these are super filling, just try avoid all the syrup and margarine on top!  I will definatly be making these again and again.

per serving

Energy: 93 Calories
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrate: 12 g
Fat: 4 g
Fibre: 1.4 g
Sodium: 116 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

Nutrient % DV*
Calcium: 6 % / 69 mg
Magnesium: 10 %
Selenium: 9 %
Thiamin: 9 %
Phosphorus: 9 %

Connecting with my community

Over the past few weeks I have managed to find support for my health goals online.  I found the website Spark People awesome in terms of setting health goals.  There are also plenty of articles and support to guide you on your journey.  I also enjoyed participating in the online community, where you can post within different forums.  I defiantly suggest looking into his online tool for some education and support!!

I also focused on connecting with other healthy eating bloggers.  I explored 2 different website.  My first pick is called Thestonesoup.  I enjoyed that all of the author’s recipes were simple,  as she works hard to post delicious recipes that encourage us to become healthy home cooks. I also enjoyed the organized recipe index.

stonesoup-screenshot-best-healht-blogs-by-healthista.comScreenshot from The Stone Soup

The other healthy recipe blog that I was able to check out was Hungry Healthy Happy.  The tag line is ” a blog that will motivate you to change your lifestyle”.  I like the blog as it is very supportive and motivating.

Screen shot from

I also follow a few different Facebook gals for motivation: curvy girl on the lose, Bree gets fit.  I enjoy when recipes or little victories come up on my news feed. I also want to mention that I attend a fitness center called Fearless Fitness.  If anyone is looking for a great workout, I suggest checking out one of there classes.  I attempted to attach the schedule, but it was a blur, just check out the link above or look at their Facebook . Comment on my blog if you are interested in attending, as it is invite only.  I tend to do Waist trimmer on Mondays, and Cardio-kickboxing on Thursday, come on and join me, you won’t regret it!