Media Mania

After watching Michael Wesch’s video, I was surprised to find out about the evolution of YouTube and of Media in general. Thinking back to when I was still in elementary school, I can remember bits and pieces of the early stages of YouTube, especially the Soulja Boy song and the Charlie Bit My Finger video — This was the first online digital video that I shared –by email– to all my friends. When YouTube was still new, I remember being told by my parents that I was not allowed to use it because it wasn’t for kids. At the time, I remember thinking this was unfair because a lot of my friends from school were always using it and uploading videos to the site. Looking back now though, I think that at the time, my parents were right and it wasn’t as big on kid friendly content as it is now, especially with their YouTube Kids addition. Now, my 3 year old cousin scrolls through YouTube Kids, knowing exactly how to find what she is looking for in a matter of seconds. To me, this further proves how quickly technology and peoples’ mindsets towards technology is and has changed.

I think that technology is a huge asset to education and I think that bringing it into the classroom can be beneficial. I think that we have seen a dramatic increase in the idea of the importance of technology in schools, especially within the last few months because of the COVID-19 virus. In March, in-person schools completely shut down and everything was shifted to online learning. Even still, 7 months later, my brother is no longer attending school in-person, but rather, is attending grade 7 from his bedroom, through the internet, as are the majority of the students at the U of R. Something that I wonder about is how this dramatic change in schooling will affect the methods of schooling in the future. I wonder if online learning is going to become a new normal and if eventually, the idea of in-person schools will become obsolete, similar to the Netflix/ Blockbuster scenario?

While there can be benefits to bringing media and technology into the classroom, I think there can also be challenges. The need to inform students about digital citizenship is extremely important, and in my opinion, I think that it should be introduced as soon as kindergarten. Children are getting online earlier and earlier, and as we discussed in class, a fair percentage of children have a digital footprint even before they are born.

With the increasing amount of screen time that students are getting, whether that be because of online-learning or just through recreational usage, I think that the need to balance screen time with physical activity is so important. I have witnessed it with my brother. Every time he gets a 15 minute break or as soon as he finishes school for the day, he moves from one screen to the next. I remember when I got home from school as a kid, we were not allowed to use the computer or watch TV until after dinner. We always came home and played outside usually until dinner was ready– even in the winter with our big snowsuits. Growing up in a different time than my brother, although we are only 10 years apart in age, has made me realize how different things are and how quickly things have changed in just a short 10 year gap.

I want ‘Smore’!

This week, we were asked to find a new tech tool, that we hadn’t used before, give it a try and review it!

Check out my newsletter here to see my progress in my learning progress for the week!

I chose to use the app called “Smore”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Smore is an online newsletter creator.

Although you can join Smore for free, users also have the option to upgrade their account to receive more advanced features. With the free account, you also will only be able to create 3 newsletters.

Below is a view of the Smore home screen. I like the layout of this app. I found it to be very user-friendly and it was super easy to navigate. It gives you suggested templates, and makes it fun and inviting by encouraging users to earn badges, as seen in the lower right corner.

Smore Home Screen

I found that creating my newsletter was very easy and I loved the way it turned out. The first thing it asked me to do was choose my theme and font. I loved all the choices and they were all fun, colourful, and aesthetic to the eye.

I also loved how easy it was to add photos and even to embed a YouTube video! All you have to do to add more to your newsletter is to click on the little plus button found at the bottom of any of the text or photo feature.

I think that this would be a useful tool that could be used in the classroom for multiple purposes, for both communication between school and home, and also for different projects in the classroom.

Using the SAMR model, Smore could be used in the classroom in these ways:

S- Substitution: Smore virtual newsletters could act as a substitute for a physical newsletter. Benefits of using Smore would be that it is eco-friendly and it would eliminate the possibility of students misplacing it before they got home.

A- Augmentation: Smore would still be used as a newsletter for parents, but with the functional improvement of including video, audio, and other elements that you would not be able to do with a physical newsletter.

M- Modification: Smore could be used in the classroom by students as a way to update or document progress in an assignment, similar to what I just did.

R- Redefinition: Smore could be used as a newsletter, created online, by the entire class, as a way to update parents at home, but also as an assessment tool for the teacher. You will get dual uses at the same time.

Overall, I think that this is a great educational tool, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone!

Making Progress at ASL

This week I went back and took a look at the counting, colours and fingerspelling videos again. I feel pretty confident in my ability to sign numbers 1-20, as well as 11 basic colours (black, grey, white, brown, yellow, green, blue, red, orange, purple, pink).

Initially, I thought that counting would be pretty straightforward, and it would be the same as how we all usually count on our hands. However, I learned that it is different. After the number 5, we don’t begin to use our second hand to count 6 and up. Everything is done on one hand. I think that I have got it memorized. I also learned signs for 11 basic colours, and I’m pretty sure I have got those locked in as well. This week, I also watched a video highlighting some useful tips for fingerspelling, which may come in handy soon, as I continue to work on expanding my signs.

In the upcoming week, I plan to watch the next video called 70 Basic ASL Signs for Beginners. This seems like a lot to memorize, so this week, I will only be focusing my time on this one video. My decision making process for deciding what to work on next is guided by the videos that this YouTube channel has in their ASL learning playlist.

Sometime in the upcoming weeks, I would also like to make a video which shows my progress with ASL and that will highlight my learning throughout the semester.

I look forward to continuing to grow in ASL, and am excited to see what I can accomplish this week!

Let’s Talk About Twitter…

This week, we were asked to think about Twitter as a professional development tool, as well as Twitter in the classroom.

After participating in last week’s #saskedchat Twitter conversation, I think that Twitter is an excellent resource for professional development. Not only did I get to engage in relevant conversations and topics with other educators and future educators, but I also got to expand my Twitter community and support network by finding new people to follow. This chat gave me insight into new ways of thinking about certain topics, and overall, I think it’s just a great tool to connect educators across the province and even throughout the country.

As for Twitter in the classroom, I think that it could be a useful tool, depending on the age of the students you wish to use it with. Personally, I am an elementary pre-service teacher, so I don’t know if I could use this as a tool in my classrooms… Possibly as a way to have communication between the teacher and parents, but it probably isn’t a tool I’d use with K-5 students. I can definitely see it being used as a tool in high school classrooms though! I think that by the time students are in grade 9, they usually have a pretty good grasp on social media, and I think that bringing Twitter in the classroom could be useful for sharing conversation about certain topics pertaining to the class, as well as a useful tool when looking to do formative assessments.

Personally, I have never used Twitter before this class, so I am still trying to figure it out and get the hang of it, but overall, I think that Twitter is a great educational platform for both teachers and students.

If you haven’t already, give me a follow on Twitter @AimeeDrews1

Good Things Take Time.

So, this week hadn’t gone exactly as I had hoped…

For those of you who may not know, I have decided to learn American Sign Language. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as far in my progress for last week’s learning project plan as I had hoped. In my original plan for last week, I decided that I would watch videos on counting, colours, and fingerspelling. Because this past week was a busy one for me preparing for a couple different presentations, I did not have as much time to watch all three videos. I did watch them each once, but I did not get a chance to go back and re-watch and study them enough to feel confident enough to move on to the next steps. I believe that if I were to just move on to the part, I would be missing a chunk of the foundation needed to be successful.

This week I have decided that I will continue with these three topics and hope to get a better grasp on them.

Although I am disappointed that I am not moving forward this week, I have been reminding myself that good things take time, and that learning a new language is going to take longer than a couple weeks.

I’m looking forward to continuing my progress with ASL.

Figuring out Feedly

I have to admit, trying to figure out how to use Feedly was a bit of a struggle for me.. At first I was very confused about linking twitter, and I thought I was supposed to be following twitter hashtags rather than blog pages and articles. However, with the help of a few of my classmates, I was able to figure it out! (A big thank you to Kara, Mason, Erin, and Brooke!!)

To find blogs and articles that I was interested in, I searched keywords such as education, teacher resources, ed tech, and elementary education.

A few blogs that I follow are: EdTech Magazine, TedEd, Teacher Tech, and Edutopia. I have found a few articles in these blogs that are interesting, and I think the ones pertaining to online distance learning are quite relevant to me. I have a younger brother in grade 7, and he is currently learning at home. I have noticed that he often has a hard time staying focused and on-task, so I am always curious to read more about tips and tricks for keeping kids engaged though distance learning.

If anyone has found any great blogs, I’d love to hear about them and add them to my feed!

Slowly but Surely!

This week has gone well for me in terms of starting my learning project! As you may know, I have decided to learn ASL, and although I had learned a little of the alphabet before, it had been quite a while and I needed a refresher!

So this last week, I have successfully re-learned the alphabet and have been practicing throughout the week. My sister is also interested in learning ASL, so we have been practicing together by spelling out different words in ASL. It’s a good learning exercise because not only is the person spelling the word practicing the letters, the person who is reading the word has to quickly recall letter after letter and put them together to decode the word.

To help guide me through the process of learning ASL, I am following a YouTube channel called Take Lessons. They have playlists for learning many new skills, which I think is great! Obviously for the purposes of this assignment, however, I am following their American Sign Language feed.

This week, I plan to watch the next three videos about counting, colours, and fingerspelling!

I feel that I am still only beginning to scratch the surface with ASL, but just as you would with any other new language, you have to start slow in order to build a good foundation of understanding!

“Alphabet Blocks” by Leo Reynolds is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Decisions, Decisions!

When I found out that we got to do a learning project for this class, I was very excited! Although I have wanted to learn a new skill for quite a while now, I never found that I really had the time, so I love that I get the opportunity to do it now!

When I first learned about the learning project, 2 things came to my mind immediately– Calligraphy and ASL (American Sign Language).

I have always wanted to learn calligraphy, as I find it to be so beautiful, and whenever I watch the videos of calligraphy that pop up on my Facebook feed, I find them to be super calming.

However, I have decided to learn ASL, as I think it could be a valuable asset to me in the future. Not only in my career, but also in everyday life. At my place of work, we have a couple regular customers who are deaf, and I always wish I could communicate with them in a better, easier way. Especially now with masks, they can no longer rely on reading my lips.

Right now, I know a very little bit of ASL, but not very much. I know a few letters of the alphabet, but a refresher video would certainly help!

This week, my plan for the project is to start with the basics. I am going to use a YouTube video to help me relearn the ASL alphabet, and from there, I will move on to learning words, phrases, and eventually, sentences.

I am excited to see where this project will take me by the end of the semester!


Hello! My name is Aimee Drews and I am currently in my last year of my degree! I am in the K-5 education program and I am very excited to start my career soon! Unfortunately because of covid, I had to postpone my internship, which is why I am here now!

Throughout my time with the Faculty of Education, I have used blogging in many classes. However, I cannot say that I am proficient at it quite yet, and I am still trying to figure everything out, and at times I can get quite frustrated with it! However, I will continue to work on my blogging skills, and I hope that this class will help me with that! I am also fairly new at using Twitter, so that will be a new learning experience for me as well! I have had a personal Twitter account in the past, but I never really used it all that much! Feel free to check out my profile and give me a follow! 🙂

I have to admit, I do not know much else about educational technology. Through pre-internship, I had heard and seen my co-ops talking about and using different forms of educational technology in the classroom, but I never got the chance to really talk about it much with them, since pre-internship was suddenly cut short by 2 weeks. Although I personally don’t know a lot about it, I have seen how helpful and valuable it can be in a classroom.

I look forward to learning more about educational technology this term!

“Crayons” by mattdoucette is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


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