My Mini-Lesson

In our last class, I taught a mini-lesson on digital storytelling. I had my classmates use StoryBoardThat to create comics with three images each. I found this to be quite difficult for a number of reasons. The first thing that I found to be difficult was that as a math major, I found it hard to come up with ideas for a lesson that could be brought into highschool math as well as one that could be taught online. I decided to settle on the English 7 curriculum as I thought that I would be better able to meet the assignment criteria. Another thing that I found challenging was actually teaching online. I have never shared my screen before and immediately became stressed while teaching. I also did not like that I was not able to watch what the students were doing while they had time to work on the comic. In a physical classroom, I would typically circulate and help students as they go, but I couldn’t do that during this assignment.

One thing that I loved about my lesson was all of the comics that my classmates made! In a very short amount of time, everyone was able to create a short comic and tell us a story. I think that they were able to be creative and tell us some little stories that we normally wouldn’t hear in class. Although I am not sure if I will be using this program as a math teacher, there are many other free online tools that math teachers can use.

A lot of my classmates are math majors, so to end my blog I just want to share a little bit about my favourite program! Desmos.com is a website that has endless possibilities. The main function is graphing, but there are so many things that you can do with it. I allowed my students to use Desmos on their phones as graphing calculators, but there are also many other pre-programmed demonstrations that it can show. I also love using activities on teacher.desmos.com This site has a great collection of game style intro and review activities for students. Along with the features for students, the teacher is very involved in this process. The teacher can do the activities as a class and control the pacing of the students, as well as select and sequence student responses (shout out to Gale for teaching the five practices). If you have not explored teacher.desmos.com I would highly recommend it!

The Technological Reality That We Live In

I found the topics of this week’s class to be quite interesting. We talked about how much power social media can have. It is crazy how far and how fast things can spread on the internet. It is also crazy to see how students are so dependent on their phones. During my internship I regularly had students ask to leave class so that they could make TikToks. This happened so often that I ended up making multiple assignments that required my students to actually make TikToks. My students even convinced me to download the app! One quote that I will always remember that a student said to me was “if TikTok isn’t taking over your life, you’re not trying hard enough”. I thought that this was quite funny, but it has a whole new meaning for me after this week’s class.

When I was in school, there were presentations for us on digital literacy, but we never really appreciated how important these things were to know. I almost think that teaching digital literacy is something that parents should be teaching their children as early as possible! I think that if a child has free access to the internet and can use it however they choose, they are more likely to pushback against learning digital literacy. I mean why would a kid who can do whatever they want before appreciating new rules? I think that it is on parents to teach their children how to regulate themselves without a phone or an iPad as well as how to create a positive digital identity for themselves.

During my internship, I did some “cyber sleuthing” of my own. My cooperating teacher ran an Instagram account for the school’s volleyball teams. Students would comment on these posts which led me to all of their accounts. Many of their accounts were public, but if they weren’t, they had their VSCO link in their bio. VSCO is something that was not mentioned in class, but I think needs to be considered. It is basically like Instagram with a few differences such as the fact that all accounts are public. Despite being completely public, VSCO also has a reputation to be somewhere that people post things that they wouldn’t want to be on their Instagram. On my student’s accounts, I saw a shocking number of photos that contained alcohol, drugs, partying, sexualized images of minors, and other incriminating behaviours.

I read a quote once that said: “A girl with a private Instagram and VSCO in her bio is like keeping the key under the mat”. Would you agree?

My Thoughts on Twitter

This past Thursday, I participated in a Sask Ed Chat on Twitter with my classmates in EDTC 400. I have only participated in one of these before for another class, but it had been a while and I actually forgot what to expect. I found it to be very easy to miss a question and responses moved quickly at times, but overall it was an interesting way to connect with other educators. Because of my aversion to social media that I have previously mentioned, I have decided to answer all blog prompts completely honestly and will say that I did feel nervous when tweeting responses. I found that I was worried that I was spamming the feed of my followers who are not in the class. Not only that, but I was constantly nervous that my responses were not good enough, but had to post them to pass the course.

Once again completely honestly I still do not plan on actively using Twitter after this course, but I can see myself browsing Twitter to find stories and articles related to education and mathematics. I do not see myself sharing stories or tweeting on my own. I like that I am able to network and connect with other educators on Twitter, but I am always hesitant because of how public every interaction is. I think that this is an unhealthy mindset to have, but it could be possible that growing up on social media has turned me away from it altogether.

I think that the idea of likes on posts is part of what ruined social media for me. If a post does not get enough likes I am the type of person who may just delete the post. This worry caused me to feel too nervous to even post in the first place. I do want to work on having confidence online, but it is something that would take a lot of time.

What Does my Social Media say About Me?

This week we have been instructed to think about our existing social media and online presence. I mentioned in my last post that I am not the biggest fan of social media. I do not have a Facebook account or a Twitter account and rarely post on my Instagram account. I use Instagram for personal use only and I keep my account set to private. I know that as a young teacher my students will (and already have) try to find me on Instagram so I am very careful about what can be seen. If a student found my account, they would see my bio which is “dress for the dog you want” as well as the link to a sitcom intro style video that my friends and I made for fun. Even if a student had access to my posts, I am confident that everything that I have posted is appropriate and professional.

When asked what I would want to work on in terms of my digital identity I have a very hard time answering. I am not nor have I ever been someone who is overly fond of social media and because of that, I tend to stay off of it. I honestly do not have a desire to create more of a presence online and will likely never post another blog once I am done this course. I know that what I am supposed to say is that I want to learn how to grow my social media and become more active, but that is simply not the case. I recognize that everyone has different likes and dislikes, so I think that it’s fair for me to dislike social media. I also know that most teachers are not bloggers and tweeters, so I know that not being active on twitter will not stop me from getting a job. By saying this all so openly I feel like I am challenging the entire idea of this course, but I think that it is something that is very important to consider and could spark some great conversations/debates!

Who is Darrian Enns?

It’s that time again. It is the beginning of a new (and my final) semester at the University of Regina. It is also the time when we all introduce ourselves for what feels like the millionth time, but it is always just as necessary as it was the last time. I am not familiar with most people in this class so here we go once more!

My name is Darrian and I am in my fourth year of the secondary education program. Like many others in this class, I am extremely passionate about teaching and learning about mathematics. A fun fact about me is that I was born on a Sunday AND I can tell anyone what day of the week they were born on if I know their birthday. It’s always a fun trick to whip out and show off to friends and students! As well as math, I am also very passionate about volleyball. Whether I am playing or coaching, I always love to be on the court. During my internship, I coached Knoll’s jr. boys volleyball team and was lucky enough to go on their school’s volleyball trip to Cuba. It was an absolutely incredible experience with a wonderful group of students and I am forever grateful for the opportunity. img_7226.jpg

EDTC 400 is a class that I have been putting off for a while now. I actually took EDTC 300 so long ago that it was still ECMP 355. The reason that I have been putting it off is that technology and social media are things that I typically don’t enjoy. This brings me to my first goal for this class which is to become more comfortable using new programs online. My second goal is to become more confident on social media.

I do not have a Facebook account anymore. I deleted my account about 8 years ago because all it did was bring me stress. I stopped using Twitter for the same reason in 2015. I now only use Instagram and Snapchat, but I rarely post photos and I never post comments. When I do post anything, I obsess over the photo and the caption to make sure it’s perfect. Instead of dealing with that anxiety, I usually choose not to post at all and often delete a post or comment before actually posting it online. Backing out of tweets and comments is not something that I can do for the next four months and I am already extremely anxious about it. For all of my classmates, you can see my new Twitter profile here!

I will end this post by saying that I am hoping to learn about new technologies that I will become comfortable with as well as share some of my own experiences from my internship like the QR code escape room that my students did!

Curriculum as Citizenship

In school, I can recall many efforts to incorporate citizenship education into our learning. Between kindergarten and grade eight, the main type that was focused on was the personally responsible citizen. there were many events organized by teachers that we were able to participate in and contribute to such as food drives and various fundraisers. These were often in the form of a competition in order to motivate students to participate. One that I specifically remember is our annual penny war. The penny war was used to raise money for various organizations and was always successful in our school. Each class had a bucket outside their class where they would try to collect the most pennies. Classes would place silver coins and bills into other classes buckets as they counted as negative points. Although we were raising money, I think that many students were more focussed on the class party that could be won rather than who they were helping.

In high school, there was more of an attempt to focus on the participatory citizen. Each year we were required to complete 20 volunteer hours. I think that this assignment had the potential to teach much more about citizenship than it actually did. We were given very few guidelines for our service projects and could basically complete the hours in any way we chose as long as we were not paid. We then were to write a reflection about our experience, but it was often recycled from the year before. I think that there could have been much more emphasis on citizenship, but since it was a Catholic school, the focus was always on religion.