Final Digital Literacy Blog Post

It is hard to believe that the semester is ending and that this is my final blog post. I can remember when this class first started and what my initial thoughts were. I remember doing my first blog post, commenting on classmates’ blogs, and tweeting the first week of this online course. I was somewhat overwhelmed since I had never taken an online class before. Although I was overwhelmed, I was also excited to learn more about writing blogs and learning digital tools to make me more digitally literate.

My first blog post is titled “How Independence Helped Me Grow Up”. When rereading this blog post now, you can tell that it was the very first time I had written a blog. The point of the post was to tell about my life as a learner using five key moments in my life. Looking back, this blog post could’ve been much longer than the required 400 word count. Even though I discussed everything I needed to to tell my story, it seems as if I did the bare minimum.

My next blog post is titled “Digital Literacy for Dummies”. This post was designed to teach my readers about what digital literacy is. I enjoyed writing this post because even though I was teaching others, I was learning about digital literacy myself. Before this class, I barely knew what digital literacy meant, so it was nice being able to do some research to get a better understanding on the topic.

The third blog post I wrote is titled “My Thoughts on ‘Hackschooling Makes Me Happy'”. This post was designed to teach readers about hackschooling based on the TedTalk by Logan LaPlante. This was one of my favorite posts because I really enjoyed LaPlante’s TedTalk. Another reason I enjoyed writing about this is because hackschooling is very interesting and can be used in almost anything you do.

My next blog post is titled “What I’d Like to Learn About”. This was my first independent-learning project post. My goal was to find ways to be an innovative teacher and switch it up a bit. I am tired of seeing teachers lecture the whole class period every day. When rereading this post I can feel the passion I have. I am excited to have a fun classroom when I become a teacher.

The next blog post I wrote is titled “Independent Learning Project: Making the Classroom Fun and Exciting”. I go further in depth about my future classroom in this post. I researched for hours to find ways to create this type of classroom. I found some articles that gave me some great ideas on how to do this. I noticed that this post is somewhat similar to the previous post. If I could go back and change this post, I’d probably be less redundant.

My next blog post is titled “Reflection on TedTalk: ‘How to Speak So That People Want to Listen'”. The TedTalk was so interesting, it made writing this blog post easy. The TedTalk really taught me a lot about how to use my words effectively. The video brings up points that I have never thought about before. The way you speak is so important, especially for teachers. Ever since writing this post, I always think about how to word things and how to use my speech effectively.

“Passion-Based Learning” is the title of my next blog post. This post was intended to educate my readers on what passion-based learning is. My writing on this post seems dull, like I didn’t want to write it. If I were to edit it, I would definitely make it more exciting and fun to read!

My next independent-learning project post is titled “ILP: Being a Fun Teacher”. My goal is to be a fun teacher while also being effective. I think the list of ideas to become a fun teacher that I provided are very insightful.

My next post is titled “My Personal Learning Network”. Prior to this blog post, I didn’t know what a personal learning network was. This blog post taught my readers what it is and why it is useful. When rereading this, you can tell that I am learning about personal learning networks while writing about them. I am glad that I am now developing my personal learning network. Having one is very important.

Another independent-learning project post was assigned next. It is titled “My ILP: Being the Cool Teacher”. My goal is to be a fun, effective teacher. I think to do that you need to be seen as the cool teacher. I used to always go to the cool teacher if I was confused or needed help. I want to be that type of role model for my students. I think it is important in becoming the best teacher I can be.

“Using Inquiry-Based Learning as a Teacher” is the title of my next blog post. Inquiry-based learning is something I had to research extensively to fully understand what it is. When rereading this, it is apparent that I wasn’t fully aware of what this type of learning is. My writing could’ve been better and more exciting.

My next post is titled “What is ds106?” I explain what this is in this post. After this post, I was required to do thirty straight days of daily creations on the ds106 website. These daily creates really enhanced my abilities with digital tools. I really enjoyed doing the daily create challenge.

On my next ILP post, I wrote about actually instilling creativity into the classroom. This was an exciting week of researching ways to get my students to become more creative. I have really progressed since my first ILP. You can tell I am getting more into my ILP at this point. My writing seems more lively and exciting than previous posts.

My next blog post was me reflecting on this class. It was nice to relax and be able to write about what I had learned so far in the class. It felt good to think about how far I have come in the digital world. At that point, I had definitely enhanced my digital literacy.

“Digital Citizenship” was my next post. Before writing this, I didn’t know what digital citizenship was. It was definitely helpful to learn the importance of this and why everyone needs to be careful online.

My next post, “Googling Myself” is one of my favorite blog posts. It was really cool to Google myself and see what was out there about myself. I was thankful to find mostly good things about myself.

“Digital Activism” is the post I wrote that I think everyone needs to read. We need more digital activists, it can truly change the world!

My ILP for week 10 is my favorite ILP post. The four effective ways to wow your students are extremely interesting. I even shared the four ways with one of my teachers at Chadron State College. All future teachers need to check out my blog post titled “My ILP: Week 10”.

My blog post “Digital Mindfulness” is about how to use the internet productively, rather than just when you’re bored. I think you can use the internet for both reasons. I don’t see how using the internet when you’re bored can cause harm.

When rereading my week 11 ILP on using technology in the classroom, I noticed that I was a little bored when discussing this topic. Compared to my other ILP posts, this one seems somewhat dull. I wish I would’ve found more excitement in this topic because using technology in the classroom is huge in becoming a great teacher.

“Podcasts and Digital Stories” is the title of my next post. I am thankful for this assignment because it introduced me to the podcast “Serial.” I still listen to this podcast a couple nights out of every week. Podcasts and Digital Stories are great to introduce to your classroom.

My post, “Exploring Piktochart”, isn’t the easiest to read. I was confused on Piktochart at the time. The website is a little frustrating to someone new to it. I seemed to have taken my frustration out on my writing.

My next blog post is my last post on my independent-learning project. Although it was very exciting to do an ILP, I was thankful to be done with it that week. My ILP goal was to find ways to be a creative and fun teacher. I got to the point where I had done almost everything I could do learn about this. It was the appropriate time for us to be done with our ILP’s.

My next post titled “Learning is a Journey”, was a fun blog post. It was cool to come up with my own metaphor on my learning and expand on it.

My next post is titled “Innovation and Unlearning”. I was assigned to read a couple articles on the subject. I found these two articles very interesting and I think you can tell that I liked them based on my writing. It seems that when writing this post, I was excited and grateful to learn about these two concepts.

My final blog post titled “9 Elephants”, is about things that happen in a classroom that should frustrate every teacher. The article that I was required to read is one that all teachers should read. It opened my eyes to these nine elephants and gave me ideas on how to deal with them.

During this class, I have had to write many blog posts on a variety of topics. From my first post to my last, there is a big difference. Throughout the semester, I developed both my writing and my digital fluency. You can tell through my writing that I gained a better understanding of different digital tools and terms. Without this class, I would lack the basic technological tools and knowledge to become a great teacher in the 21st century.


9 Elephants

The article, 9 Elephants in the (Class)room That Should “Unsettle” Us by Will Richardson, discusses nine things that happen in the classroom that should frustrate every teacher. The nine elephants should get under every teacher’s skin until they do something about it. While reading this article, I found three of these elephants that I thought were most important.

The first elephant that Richardson discussed is we know that most of our students will forget the content they learned in school. Richardson believes that this happens because the curriculum and class work that is assigned has little or nothing to do with students’ lives. He thinks that we could shift the focus in the classroom by realizing that learning is unforgettable and we should focus on content that students actually want to learn about. I think this is true because I’ve seen firsthand how much students forget the lessons taught in classrooms. I think that a lot of the schoolwork that is assigned today is pointless. I think that if teachers focused more on how the content pertains to the students’ lives, then there would be a lot more learning going on.

The second elephant that I found important is we know that most students are bored or disengaged in school. This goes along with the first one I discussed. I think a lot of the content that is forgot is the stuff that is boring or seems pointless. Classwork needs to be something that students find interesting and exciting. If students were shown the benefits of what they are learning, they will be excited to learn it. This will help them not forget what they learn in school. Teachers definitely need to create an exciting learning environment if they expect their students to stay engaged and be excited learners.

The third elephant I found interesting is we know that grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in. I think this is important because testing doesn’t show how much a student has learned. Most of the time after taking a test, the student will forget all the information the next day. I think that they should get rid of testing. We aren’t learning as much as we could be. Grades do not reflect learning or intelligence so I don’t see why they are still around today. I think that what the student actually learns is more important than what is shown on a test.

These three elephants that I discussed need to be acknowledged by all teachers. If we could get rid of these elephants in the classroom, there would be much more learning and excitement in schools. I hope to see this actually happen some day.

Innovation and Unlearning

Throughout the semester, I have researched on how to create a fun classroom. Since most classrooms seem to be boring, a fun classroom would be innovative. Being an innovative teacher, in my opinion, is extremely important. Teachers should always be searching for new ideas for their classroom. They shouldn’t stick to the same old traditional techniques. They should branch out, do their own thing, and make learning exciting!

The article, The Mindset of an Innovator by George Couros, discusses many ways to become more innovative. Couros says “Innovation is not something new to education, but it is something we can do better”. I agree completely. Out of my many years of schooling, I can only think of a couple of my teachers that did something new every day to create a better, more efficient classroom. If every teacher had an innovator’s mindset, our schooling system would be much better. Couros believes that innovative educators should continue to ask themselves “what is best for learners”. He says that teachers should use that question to create learning experiences. An innovator’s mindset, according to Couros, should be that their abilities, intelligence, and talents can be developed. This will lead to the teacher creating new and more useful ideas. A teacher should always embrace new learning. This will push them to move forward and continue to better their ideas for new learning. You can be innovative in anything you do. I think that if everyone would embrace the innovator’s mindset, the world would be a much better place.

According to the article, The steep unlearning curve: 10 things we need to unlearn by Will Richardson, there are ten things we, as teachers, need to unlearn. Out of the ten, there are three that I really like. The first one, Richardson says ” We need to unlearn the premise that we know more than our kids, because in many cases, they can now be our teachers as well.” I think this is so important because students can teach the educator so much. What you learn from your students isn’t always about the curriculum. For example, they may be able to teach you how to keep an open-mind or how to get through tough situations. Teachers should be willing to learn everyday. The second one, Richardson says “We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.” I think this is important because learning is a journey, not a destination. You can always learn, making it a continual process. The third one, Richardson says “We need to unlearn the idea that every student needs to learn the same content when really what they need to learn is how to self-direct their own learning.” I think this is something we should unlearn because if students can self-direct their own learning, they will create a desire in themselves to learn! There is nothing more powerful than an excited learner.

This semester, I have taken the steps to become an innovative teacher in my future classroom. I have unlearned to stick to the traditional process. I have been doing stuff in different ways, trying to be more innovative. The article by Will Richardson showed me that I still have much to unlearn if I want to be the best teacher possible. There are many things that I have yet to learn to become the best educator out there. I am excited to continue to learn to do so.



Learning is a Journey

When I think about learning I think about my life. I have been constantly learning since the day I was born. I believe that learning is a journey. Much like a journey, when learning there are many ups and downs. In my learning experience there have been many downs that led to ups. For example, I like to think that my struggles in college algebra led to me become a better critical thinker. Another example would be that I think that me struggling through my off nights in basketball led me to become more mentally tough. Even though there were some obstacles during my learning journey, I kept pushing which led me to where I am today.

To journey means to travel somewhere. Learning lets your mind travel. In a way, the more you learn the more your mind can travel. This is why learning is a journey. You are never going to stay in one place during your learning journey. You can be pushed back during this journey, but it is up to you to keep pushing forward. Learning isn’t always easy. It is important to know that if you want to be the best at whatever you want to be. There is going to be stuff that gets in your way, don’t let it stop you.

It is important to understand that although learning is a journey, there isn’t necessarily a destination. You can always learn, there is no stopping. Learning can take you anywhere but that isn’t your destination. There is always more to learn.

I can use this metaphor to become the best teacher possible. I can always be learning as a teacher as well. I can also keep this in mind with my students. Some may be slower than others but as long as everyone is making progress and continuing their learning journey, then I am doing my job. It is important for me to share this metaphor with my students as well. I need to let them know of the obstacles they will face during their journey, but I will encourage them to keep pushing. When students realize that learning is a journey, not a destination, the possibilities will be endless. I want to prepare my students for lifelong learning rather than prepare them to take tests and sit through lecture their whole lives.

This video below describes my metaphor for learning. Learning truly is a lifelong journey.

Video CC: Ana de Armas y Villada

My Thoughts on My ILP

Over the past several weeks, I have been researching how to make my classroom more fun and exciting. During these weeks, not only have I done that, I have also found ways to become more effective in my teaching and how to keep my students interested. I have spent countless hours working on my independent learning project. I have certainly learned a lot and am excited to see how some of these new ideas will work in my classroom. I think every teacher should want to have a fun, exciting classroom. They should spend some time researching ways to be a fun and exciting teacher as well. I believe that students will enjoy your classroom more if you are an exciting teacher. Being this type of teacher will make your students want to learn. There is certainly ways you can go too far and create a fun, exciting learning environment that does nothing to help the students.

My main goal is to be the best teacher possible and becoming this type of teacher is a big part in reaching my goal. This made it easy for me to motivate myself to work on my project. I was always curious to find out more ways to create an exciting learning environment. The challenging part was going through articles and deciding if they ideas they presented would work or just make my classroom a circus. In the articles I read, there was certainly some stuff that made me think that there was no way I could incorporate it into my classroom. I want my students to enjoy themselves while also learning. I don’t want to be the fun teacher but not actually help my students learn.

The best part of the project for me was discovering these ideas to have a fun classroom and then seeing if my teachers used these techniques. Most of my teachers didn’t bother trying to create an exciting learning environment. This motivates me to be the teacher that does. I think it will be cool to come in and present a unique way of teaching. I hope to switch it up and use ways that most teachers don’t use. It will be exciting to see that my hard work while doing this project will pay off.

As a future teacher, I will definitely use independent learning in my classroom. I believe that this project created curiosity in the students in this class. It made me really think about my project and motivated me to learn more about it. When students are curious, they have a high level of desire to learn. I think that is very important to have in your classroom. If all your students have a desire to learn, it makes the teachers job much easier. I am excited to see how independent learning will benefit my class.

Exploring Piktochart

Piktochart is a site where you can create your own infographic using themed templates. Anyone can create a professional level infographic using this site. There are many free templates to choose from. These templates include creating your own, parties, business, education, etc. There is a wide variety of templates on this website that anyone can use for free. There are also pro templates that come with a price. They are a little more graphic and more advanced than the free ones. When creating my own, I stuck with a simple, free template.

The hardest part while creating a Piktochart graphic was finding the perfect template for my project. Some templates were too advanced and honestly kind of confused me. Some others had too many pages or too many graphics for what I needed. It came down to me choosing between three templates: education, business, or creating your own. I ended up going with creating my own because I am a perfectionist and wanted my graphic to be perfect and exactly how I envisioned it. Since I am a perfectionist, there was also difficulties in choosing the graphics I wanted on my Piktochart. This site has so many options for everything that it took me a while to go through it and choose exactly what I wanted. My graphic is on the same topic as my independent learning project. I created a simple but informative graphic on how to create a fun learning environment in my classroom. If you want to view my graphic, click HERE.

As a future teacher, I can see some potential benefits of using this site in my classroom. This site has a ton of options to create graphics that would make a students assignment or presentation stand out. I feel like students would enjoy using this site for projects instead of Microsoft Word or Microsoft PowerPoint. It would also teach students a new digital tool that they can use in other classes or for a future job even. I believe that this will create a desire to learn because it is fun and easy to use. The benefit of presenting these types of graphics is that it is likely to grab someones attention, and I think the students will recognize that. I will definitely use Piktochart in my classroom when I become a teacher.

All in all, the site Piktochart was interesting to explore. It is definitely a unique and fun way to present information. I am looking forward to using it more and introducing it to my future students.

Podcasts and Digital Stories

Like most kids, when I was a child I used to love having stories read to me. I couldn’t go to sleep without a bedtime story! Today, you can actually have stories read to you through podcasts! Podcasts are digital audio files available on the internet that you can download onto your device and listen to! Podcasts are basically modern day old-time radio broadcasts.

There are many teachers starting to use podcasts in the classroom. There are many students that find it easier to learn when being read to, rather than reading the material itself. According to Monica Brady-Myerov, students can listen to content two to three grade levels higher than they can read. That blows my mind. If students are able to do this, then why aren’t podcasts used in schools nationwide? Another educational value of podcasts is that students whom English is their second language can benefit from listening to spoken English and following along with a transcript. There are many students who learn best when listening rather than reading. Podcasts are perfect for these types of students. A downside to podcasts is that there is a lot of inappropriate podcasts out there. So if you are planning to implement podcasts into your classroom I would make sure that your students are listening to the appropriate, educational podcasts.

Digital stories are similar to podcasts. Podcasts are just audio, while digital stories can be audio and/or video. Digital stories encourage students to communicate, collaborate and research certain topics. In my opinion, I think digital stories are better and more useful than podcasts. Digital stories are basically short movies. I think students are more likely to stay engaged with watching a digital story rather than listening to a podcast. You can incorporate more into a digital story as well. If you were to have your students make their own podcasts and digital stories, I think digital stories would be better because they will have to learn how to use a wider range of digital tools.

After researching podcasts and digital stories, I am excited to use these in my future classroom. I think both have the ability to keep an audience on the edge of their seats. For my independent learning project that I have discussed in my previous blog posts, my goal is to have a very creative classroom. Now I can add implementing podcasts and digital stories into my lectures to the list! I feel like my students will appreciate this type of learning. I can’t wait to see the benefits these podcasts and digital stories will have on my future students!

To learn more about podcasts and digital stories, check out the articles What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts and Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling.

My ILP Week 11: Using Technology in the Classroom

The main goal of my independent learning project is to become the most creative teacher possible. I believe implementing technology into the classroom can be creative and also create a fun environment. While researching this week I came across the article 12 Easy Ways to Use Technology in the Classroom, Even for Technophobic Teachers by Kim Haynes.

The first way is to do a powerpoint “Game Show Review.” There are online templates for game shows like Jeopardy! or Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?  Implementing this into the classroom can be a fun way for your students to review material for a test or quiz!

The second way is to have students do a written assignment online as a blog. This can teach students to use different online tools to use in their blog posts!

The third way is to try a Webquest. This can get students to search the internet to obtain certain information.

The fourth way is to use technology as a topic for a writing assignment. Teachers can have their students write a “how-to” paper on technology, helping them familiarize with how to use it.

The fifth way is to create a class webpage. You can use this page to post assignments, announcements, upcoming events, etc.

The sixth way is to use an online grading system. This is more for the teachers, rather than the students. It allows teachers to access their gradebook online, rather than on paper.

The seventh way is to do an email exchange. This is the 21st century version of having a pen pal. Have your students exchange emails with other students from other areas.

The eighth way is to give multimedia presentations. This can make the classroom more lively by going away from the boring, basic lecture. You can have your students give multimedia presentations as well.

The ninth way is to supplement your lessons. To make your lessons more exciting, search the topic online to find pictures, audio, video, etc. of the topic. Your students will be more interested if you add this into the lecture.

The tenth way is to create a class blog. This can drive out-of-class discussion.

The eleventh way is to listen and/or create podcasts. There are a ton of podcasts available on the web that can make your lesson plan more exciting! Having students create their own will give them another online tool to master!

The final way is to publish your students work. There are many tools out there for students to put their work online. This can make the students feel accomplished and proud of what they have done!

This article gave me twelve new ideas on how to implement technology into the classroom! I believe this will create a more creative classroom environment!

Digital Mindfulness

This TED talk from Paul Miller was very interesting. He describes how he felt during his year without internet. He says he felt like he had better interactions with people. He believed he could communicate better. He says he actually felt boredom and explained that people who are on their phones don’t actually experience true boredom. He also explains how he felt when he came back to using the internet after the one year. He says he had a ton of emails and notifications that stressed him out. He also describes the time when he was talking to his sister while using the computer and his sister could tell he wasn’t really paying attention. He realizes that it he needed to find a balance between life and the internet. He wants to be able to use the internet in a productive way, rather than just because he is bored. In my opinion, I think if I took a year off from the internet in today’s world, it would do more harm than good. Sure I would feel more down to Earth and more capable of communicating face to face, but I would fall behind in my social life and miss important occasions and opportunities. I just don’t understand why there are so many people who love to hate technology and the internet. They only see it as a bad thing. I think it is a great thing. It allows everyone to stay connected. In my opinion, I think more people should embrace how technology has shaped the world instead of hate on it. Although I believe that too much internet can be a bad thing, I think no internet at all can potentially be worse.

When thinking about my internet use, most of my time I do not use it mindfully. Most of the time, I get on my phone and check social media because I am bored and am trying to pass time. I use the internet a lot: when I wake up, between classes, and mostly before I fall asleep at night. After installing the Moment app, I realized a spend a lot more time checking my phone than I thought. I don’t think it is a bad thing. It is important to check in and stay on top of important events. The social media sites I use provide with me with news in my area and worldwide. It is like having a newspaper with me 24/7. There can be disadvantages to being permanently tethered to our phones. We may miss out on face to face communication, enjoying the moment, important events, or activities. We can surely learn from the TED talk mentioned above. Taking a break from the internet can make us feel more alive, help us become better communicators, and push us towards more productive activities. There needs to be a healthy balance between the real world and our internet use. Using the internet mindfully is very important.

My ILP: Week 10

At the beginning of the semester, my independent learning project was on finding ways to bring creativity to the classroom. While doing research on this project I kind of turned my project into being the creative, fun, and cool teacher while also getting the most out of my students. This week I focused less on the creative part and more on developing my students.

While researching, I stumbled across a very interesting article titled 4 New “Effective Teaching” Methods to WOW Your Students, written by Ari Sherbill. Sherbill provides four methods to introduce into your classroom to become an effective teacher. She believes that effective teaching is when you hold your students’ attention so powerfully that they’ll beg you to stay longer in class.

The first method Sherbill describes is  the desire method. She explains that many teachers aren’t effective because they mistakenly teach ‘about a topic.’ What teachers need to realize is that teaching about a topic can lead to students losing focus and attention. Teachers need to teach ‘for the student.’ The student needs to be able to understand and feel the benefit of the topic. When you show the benefit, you create desire. When students desire to understand the benefit, you hold attention. Sherbill explains that teachers should never open up with a ‘Welcome’ or ‘Here’s what we are going to learn about today’. Instead, open up with a headline to hook the students into the subject, creating interest. Remember, once you lose your students’ attention, it is very difficult to get it back.

The second method is feel the pain. Sherbill says that teachers should have the students feel the pain of lacking the benefit. They need to understand how lacking the knowledge of the content can hurt their future success. Sherbill believes that the best way to get students to feel the pain is through proof by giving a specific example. If students can understand how lacking knowledge on the subject material can hurt them in the future, they will be drawn in closer to the lecture and will have the desire to learn.

The third method is the preview strategy: how to create anticipation for your curriculum. Instead of explaining what the students are going to learn, create anticipation by telling them they won’t learn about something until the future. Sherbill uses Hollywood movies as an example. Every hollywood movie isn’t released without a preview being put out months before. This creates people to have that “can’t wait” mindset because they are so excited to see the movie. The same concept can and should be used in the classroom.

The fourth method is teach with VAK. There are three types of learners: visual, audio, and kinesthetic. Sherbill explains that to be the most effective teacher, you need to notice which type your students are. A class shouldn’t be students sitting there, anxiously waiting for the lecture to be over. The ideal learning environment, according to Sherbill, is when the student sees, hears, and feels the material themselves. Making animated videos and presentations are good ways to teach with VAK. This allows students to see and hear the subject, and when a student makes one of their own, it provides the kinesthetic type as well.

This article really inspired me to think of ways to instill these four methods into my future teaching tactics. All four methods made a lot of sense to me and I believe that they will turn me into the most effective teacher I can be. I can’t wait for the day I can test these methods out on my students.