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Digital Story

This is the link to my digital story! Hope you enjoy it!

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This is the finale!

I am genuinely surprised at how much of an innovative learner I have become. This semester was not just about me reading a textbook, writing out notes, regurgitating it for a test, and then never remembering it again. This semester I took learning into my own hands. I read blogs, I watched videos, I listened to podcasts, and I “unlearned” many of the things I was taught in school about how a child is to sit and listen. How a child is to learn in one way and they are only supposed to take what the teachers know at face value.

Instead, this semester I taught myself. I educated myself on many different things, I took my knowledge and educated others. I learned to question, I learned to answer my own questions, and most importantly I learned that sometimes there is no real answer to my questions, and that is okay! I feel like no matter what, I will always have more to learn. As a teacher, I can never be too prepared for my classes. I will never know too much, and I will never know enough.

Yet that is the beauty of it. As teachers, we are supposed to equip our students with the ability to educate themselves, with their own resources (and the ones we supply them), and turn them loose. Some of them may learn more than we know. Some of them may even teach us. What a success! The number one thing I learned from this semester is summed up in this one quote, “I am an innovative educator and I will continue to ask “what is best for learners.” If we always ask that, we will always find the answers we need. Maybe not the answers we want, but always the ones we need.

Week 7- Playing his way to my heart!

If nothing else, learning to play piano has opened a door for me to expanding my ability, and building my confidence. It was completely intimidating learning from someone who seemed to know so much. Yet it was such a positive experience. I was able to overcome my fear of playing (pounding out the keys) in front of someone. Previously, the thought of playing in front of someone was incredibly terrifying. Then as I practiced more and more with Procopio, it became much easier to play for him. Although, I am still unsure if I could play in front of a group of people.

I am still not great at playing with both hands. I can hold the chords well in the left hand, but once I start breaking the chords apart with my right hand, the left hand seems to get confused. I am sure this will improve with more practice. I also am much more able to read the chords or notes and play accordingly. I still struggle when it comes to the notes and playing, but I can pretty easily read the chords and play at the same time. I never knew how difficult it was to both read and play an instrument at the same time. This truly is an admirable feat!

One of the most exciting parts of this learning project was simply that I got the opportunity to do it. It is rare to be able to pick up an instrument at 21 years old and learn to play. It is also rare to be taught by your significant other and not fight constantly. It can be hard to learn from someone you love so much, but it is so rewarding at the same time. The more he taught me, the more I respected him. The more he played for me, the more I loved him. And thus, the cycle continues. I can honestly say, I will continue to play as he continues to teach me!

Bitmoji!

I chose to make a Bitmoji account. I have seen this many times used on Facebook and occasionally on Twitter. I have been totally uninterested, and even slightly creeped out on the accuracy of this animation source. It always seemed that the little people looked so much like the real life person. How did they do that? I always assumed it was based off the person’s pictures on their profile. Then I made my own Bitmoji!

The little picture I chose fits how I feel after the last couple weeks. In the midst of school, wedding planning, moving, and still maintaining my part time job… I feel overwhelmed at times. As I created this I thought of all I have accomplished the last few weeks. This is definitely how I feel!

I had fun making this. I could chose how my girl looked. I made her to realistically look like me, although I really could have made her look like anything. I could chose her outfit, hair style, and then could chose what scenario I wanted to place her in. I think it is great to use tools like this. It livens up the post, allows you to be creative in it. I could see allowing my students to use Bitmoji in their own personal blog posts, in a newsletter for our class, or to express how they may be feeling about an assignment, class, or situation. This could easily be adapted for special needs students who are nonverbal, and is very easily usable by anyone with technology. I would like to further experiment with other options beside Bitmoji though!

Mindlessly or Mindfully?

My use of technology is something I have been keenly aware of for quite some time now. When getting my first phone, at the age of 10, I had vowed to never become “overly” dependent on it. Yet here I am, in my third year of college, nearly having a panic attack at the thought of not using my phone during my 50 minute class. What changed?

I’ve heard it said that it has nearly become a security blanket for most people. Undoubtedly there are both benefits and consequences that accompany internet/social media use. In a quite tech savvy world, we tend to dwell more on the positive side of things. However, it is incredibly unhealthy to sit in front of a computer screen scrolling for hours on end.

The instant gratification that we have is ridiculous. We nearly ache for the “likes”, comments, and posts that we cannot possibly miss. The question becomes, what are we missing in the meantime. A few months back my use of my phone was very convicting to me. What message was I giving to those around me? How was I showing them that I valued them? For this reason, I made a very conscious effort to leave my phone in my pocket for my entire walk to and from classes. The more I did this, the more observant I felt. I began making an effort to make eye contact with those around me. I noticed flowers blooming in places I hadn’t before. I noticed the same people who I passed on my way to certain classes. I just feel like I noticed. Since then I have picked up a habit of occasionally looking at my phone as I walk. But in those moments I am much more aware of what I am jeopardizing.

When I watched the TedX on “Quitting the Internet for a Year”, I was intrigued. He was totally honest in saying that in some ways it was a wonderful and freeing experience, but also that he missed many opportunities and in essence set himself back a bit. I believe this is just a truth in our world. To fully disconnect ourselves is to handicap ourselves from what is available. But I do believe we need to choose to pay more attention at times. We need to begin to invest in those around us, making sure that they know we are more than just nodding heads behind a screen. This week’s readings and TedX made me hyper aware of the world around me… in a good way!

Digital Activism

Now more than ever I find myself taking note of the activism side of social media. I am capable of accessing and contributing to different forums, discussion threads, and polls on numerous different topics. I am capable of researching and educating myself on practically any topic or issue that is presented. At a young age, I am capable of knowing things that some adults are incapable of finding understanding on.

For this reason I believe that it is important that we educate and push our children to participate in activism. They have a voice, they have an opinion, and it deserves to be heard and shared. Activism is so much more than engaging in an argument on Facebook. Just as the 6 Activist Functions article suggests, activism is a way for people to shape public opinion, plan an action, protect activists, share a call to action, take action digitally, and transfer resources. Of these, I believe two of the most important are shaping public opinion and transferring resources.

In the New Face of Teen Activism article, I found it very interesting that not only did these two ladies get involved in a short amount of time, but easily found something they are passionate about, and connected with people around the world. I was also disgusted to find out the persecution that they have endured for simply making their voices heard. Anywhere from verbal threats, to sending them the addresses to their own houses with threats to kill them… (CREEPY!). Yet they persevered.

Lastly I was shocked to see the effort made by the classroom of 12 year olds. I had never considered that we would be engage someone so young in digital activism. But the question rose, why not? In the article My Kids, A Cause and Our Classroom Blog it discusses how kids have more technology at their fingertips now than anyone would ever know. How important is it that we train them to use it for beneficial things! I admire this class and the way they handle technology and I only hope to someday implement this to my children.

Kayla Rundquist… Google says what!?

I have periodically found it amusing to Google search myself. However, when given the task as an assignment for class, especially after studying digital citizenship, I was more than concerned about what potentially would pop up.

I typed my name in, held my breath, and hit the search button. At first relief washed over me. Most of the first links that popped up had nothing to do with me. Although I did find it strange that there was someone out there with the same exact name as me. However, as I scrolled my anxiety grew. I found my facebook page, instagram, there were pictures from me from middle school all the way up to my most recent facebook profile picture. I found both of my twitter accounts, my perfect attendance from my eighth grade year, and even my wedding registries. (Both of my wedding registries I had set to private, by the way.) I was slightly mortified. Some of these things I was sure were “private”. It was then that I realized that once again, nothing on the internet is private.

This in turn sparked my interest. I decided to Google my fiance’s name. There were pictures of his wrestling matches, videos of his matches, articles written about him in a newspaper. I found his youtube channel and his school email. It was insane to me the fact that I could find out so much information from one simple Google search. This is a terrifying fact. Who else knows this stuff about me? More importantly what will they do with the information they find? On the flip side, employers are also incredibly capable of finding me and everything I have said, done, posted, tweeted, etc.

Lesson of the day; be cautious about what you or others post about you, you never know where it can be seen.