Am I An Innovative Learner?

The question for this weeks blog post is, how have I been an innovative learner and thinker this semester?

To me innovation in learning looks like is simply continuously changing things for the better. In The Mindset of an Innovator article, it talks about many things that I agree with. “I recognize that there are obstacles in education, but as an innovator, I will focus on what is possible today and where I can push to lead towards tomorrow.” This statement speaks a thousand words to me. There are ALWAYS going to be obstacles in education, as teachers it is our job to take things one day at a time to make for a better tomorrow. I do think that I have been an innovative learner this semester. I have taken things in stride and realized that I have SO MUCH to learn in the digital world.” I build upon what I already know, but I do not limit myself to myself. I’m open to and willing to embrace new learning, while continuously asking questions to move forward.”I agree with this statement as well and have really gone above and beyond this semester. I have not limited myself and it has worked out in my favor because I have learned so much. I have followed so many professional educators on twitter and through blogging that has embraced so much new learning for me.

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CC: Google Images (Lawsofmodernwoman)

Along with innovative learning, there is said to be a steep unlearning curve. I do believe we do need to unlearn things to become innovative learners and thinkers. In an article titled, The Steep Unlearning Curve, it talks about ten major things that we all need to “unlearn”. One thing that I have unlearned this semester is, “We need to unlearn the practice that teaches all students at the same pace. Is it any wonder why so many of our students love to play online games where they move forward at their own pace?” This one is huge to me. We all think that all students should learn at the same pace, the same way, and the same curriculum. What we all need to realize is that every student is different, and being an innovative educator is changing our ways to teach kids in a way that they learn best. I do think that one thing WE ALL need to do is, “We need to unlearn the idea that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process.” There are so many people in this world that think they are such experts that they have nothing left to learn. We can all learn something from EVERYONE. Never close your mind to new things.

Wrapping Up My Independent Learning Project

I am working a little ahead in this class because my life is about to get wild with a wedding coming up. This post, sadly, is going to be a recap on my independent learning project. I say sadly because this was one of my favorite things about this class and I had fun blogging about it. Even though I am sad it is over, I am also glad to have one less thing to do!

I have learned a lot about myself through this independent learning project. I have honestly always looked at learning, and school in a negative way, a hassle rather. This project has made learning FUN again. I enjoyed learning and it really made this class my favorite and gave me something to look forward to every week. It was really easy to motivate myself to work on this throughout the semester. It was easy because it really is something that I love to do. If I could do anything in the world at any time, it will always be spending time with my horse. The fact that I got to receive a grade to spend time with my horse, and practice becoming a better rodeo athlete really was fun. Some weeks it did become challenging simply because there just is not enough time in the day. The best part of the project for me was blogging. It really is fun to share my passion with everyone else. I am on the teaching track and with DEFINITELY incorporate independent learning projects into my class room.

I really do want to thank Ms. Ellington for assigning this to us. It was fun, and not only did I enjoy doing mine, I also enjoyed viewing everyone else’s every week too. I know essentially it was more assignments, but at the same time I would consider the independent learning project a weekly break.  Every week it forced us to take a break from our busy lives and essentially do something we all love. It helped me to clear my mind every week and gave me an excuse to push everything aside and spend time doing what I love most, spending time with my horses. Because this is the last independent learning project, I am going to include several pictures of all my fur babies. I do hope you all enjoyed my independent learning project as much as I did! 🙂

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Informational Poster

This week in the digital literacy class, we had to explore different creative sties. Some of them made comic strips, some made posters, and some made presentations. We were required to create one on our digital learning projects so far, and I did mine a poster on tips for conquering the mental game. I hope you enjoy it!

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I think the most challenging thing about this assignment was getting things proportioned correctly. The first couple of times I saved it, I had to redo it. It would look fine on the software website but when I would open it as a jpeg, I could not read the text and the pictures were very small. I had to redo it and adjust some things a few times before it was readable for every one to see! I chose to put little information on it so that it stay appealing to my readers. I basically summarized my thoughts and learning on the mental game in the rodeo world. I think that the photo in the center of the picture speaks a thousand words for itself. It basically tells you how to conquer your own mental game, and what to think to stay positive! I think that this took would be great to use in the class room! The software that I use is somewhat similar to publisher in my opinion. Publisher can be very overwhelming and actually kind of confusing to kids. I think that this site can be great for creating informational things for class rooms. I also think it is great because it is free and it is not a download so anyone has access to it! I think there is great value in presenting these graphics! They are eye catching, simple, and can be full of great information!

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I have inserted this picture because as I said before, I really struggled with getting things proportioned. I can read the one on the poster but I know some people may have a hard time seeing it. For those that do, here is the enlarged picture on how mental game in the rodeo world can be! I hope you enjoy it!

Podcasts and Digital Stories

This week we had to do a lot of reading and viewing of podcasts and digital stories in the educational world. It really was interesting and kind of fun to view them all! Honestly I got wrapped up and spent several hours viewing podcasts and digital stories!

A podcast is defined as, a digital audio file made available on the Internet for downloading to a computer or portable media player, typically available as a series, new installments of which can be received by subscribers automatically.Podcasts are getting used more and more in the world today and are very beneficial in the class room. In an article called What Teens are Learning From Serial and Other Podcasts, it lists the many advantages.

Casey Fiesler/Flickr

Photo Credit: Casey Fiesler/Flikr

Improving students’ listening skills is one of the essential components of the new education mandates, and using audio in the classroom can be an effective way to promote listening.Students can listen to content two-to-three grade levels higher than they can read, according to Monica Brady-Myerov. An unfamiliar word that might stop them on the page doesn’t compel them to tune out from a story told aloud. Also, kids for whom English is a second language benefit from hearing spoken English and following along with an accompanying transcript, she says. These points in this article are so true. I have some personal experience using audio in the classroom. I have been shadowing a special education class room this semester, and audio learning has helped several of the students better understand assignments and actually become less frustrated. They become less frustrated because they do not have to struggle with trying to read the assignment, instead they can use a podcast as assistive technology to improve their learning and to help them perform at a higher level.

Now, a digital story is defined as the act of using computer-based tools (desktops, laptops, tablets, cameras. and even smartphones) to tell a story. Used in the classroom, it is a lens that teachers and students can use to master the craft of storytelling. They really are kind of similar to podcasts, however, more visual and can be completed by students as assignments in a variety of ways. According to the Teacher’s Guide to Digital Story Telling,  from a writing perspective, digital storytelling will teach students how to navigate the writing and creative process, including brainstorming, constructing unique voices, narrating, and perhaps most importantly, structuring arguments in a compelling and logical manner. The opportunities really are endless. Digital Story telling has so many components that students can create mastery in so many different skills on one assignment. At the same time, it fun and actually interesting for students to share with one another.

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Photo credit: Torres21 flikr

I do believe podcasts and digital story telling clearly have many benefits in the classroom. They are both enjoyable for students to do, enjoyable for teachers to use, and the opportunities are endless. Now that I have gone on about all of the advantages, there are some possible disadvantages as well. Students need to be able to read at certain levels, and using these types of lessons can take away from reading practice. Students can also get off task easily as well. The amount of work required for a digital project often necessitates partnership with another student, which will require teamwork, listening skills, organizational skills and time management skills to stay on top of production deadlines. These can be disadvantages when it comes to creating work independently, and also can become a problem when lessons are on a time crunch.I do think that I will have students create some forms of digital story telling in my future career simply because it is fun, different, and so full of learning. It really surprised me that 90% of the students were into the violent podcast. If I would have had to guess I would have guess less! My biggest takeaway from my readings is the fun that podcasts and digital story telling have in them. They are just plain fun, and also interesting for students, and I think that is critical when it comes to learning!

Using Technology Mindfully

I have always known that technology has had a way of taking over my life, I have just never wanted to accept it. The readings and videos that I have researched this week have really opened my eyes to the fact that technology has really taken over everyone’s lives.

In Paul Miller’s TED talk, he talks about how he shut technology completely out of his life for an entire year. The word that he used the most in his discussion was intense. He had intense feelings when he talked to people face to face and actually connected with them more. He had more time to do the things that he actually wanted to do and had a sense of freedom. Sure, he missed out on some things such as online invites but he also created so many close relationships in his life and was more attentive to the things that were going on around him. When he finally let technology back into his life he said it was so overwhelming, but at this point he had learned how he needs to balance his mindful pauses from technology. My favorite part from the video was at the very end, when he used an example of a tweet that he posted about a child’s misconception of light sabers. One of his friends told him that if he would have been engulfed into his technology then he would have missed it, BUT, if he had not posted it then they would have missed seeing it. This is perfect for showing that we just need to find the happy medium and use technology mindfully.

In a reading called Simplify The Internet, it really points out some great points in a very organized way. It talks about how we need to refine our following. This is huge for me, some people make it a competition to have the most followers or follow the most people. This really cuts out on seeing the information that is really relevant to you.  I do feel like 100 people on twitter is a lot to follow and consumes a lot of time when there are so many other things to do in this crazy thing we call life. It also points out that we do not need to be active all day, we can check in twice and that is OK. This is huge also, so many people keep their social media sites up all day long and let it distract them from their tasks. We need to learn to close it and just check in every now and then. I encourage everyone to read this article because it really does have a lot of good points, and really opens your eyes to new things that I think we all should try.

I think people in general need to be more attentive to their personal relationships. When you go out to eat with someone, or when you visit someone, do not be on your phone. This is time to build relationships, not stare at social media. This is a time when we need to stop multi tasking and pay attention to our beautiful lives around us. We are not truly present if we are scrolling social media and attempting to have a conversation all at once. We miss out on relationships and exciting events if we are permanently tethered to our devices. At the same time, when we are online we also need to attentive. For example all of my classes are online. Sometimes I struggle with keeping myself on track and taking one task at a time. I look at everything I need to do and I panic and try to do it all in a mess, when really I just need to take one class at a time. Even in my panic I find myself opening a Facebook or a pinterest tab, and I really need to not do this. I need to stay on task and I will get things done more efficiently with a lot less stress. Technology is a beautiful things, and has opened so many doors in life, however, I am a FIRM believer that it has many negative impacts, and we really need to realize how much it consumes us at times.

Attention Log

This weeks lessons are about being mindful. One of the tasks at hand was to make an attention log of technological observations. I spend a lot of time on technology. It may be homework, social media, wedding planning, or face timing that I am doing but it usually ends up being about 90% of my day.

I made an attention log observing myself during my time doing these tasks. I found that I was often easily distracted, easily overwhelmed, and so exhausted of technology. Part of this is because I have 5 online classes, this requires so much online time. I found that I spend a lot of my life so zoned into technology I really do not know what is going on around me.

Below is the attention log that I have made, the next time you are spending time online, try to observe yourself! I learned from my observations that I need to relax, take a step back, and pause when I get overwhelmed.

Session one:
1. Date: October 15, 201
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: At my house on the couch scrolling social media on my iPhone
3. Duration of session: 45 minutes
4. What occurred: I was very distracted from what was going on around me, my fiancé left for the week a few hours later for work training in Rawlins Wyoming and I paid no attention to him, only to regret it later.
5. What you did: I jumped back and forth from app to app, Instagram, facebook, pinterest, and email.
6. How you felt: Distracted and completely zoned into my phone
7. What worked: I do not really know “what worked” all the technologies and apps worked fine.
8. What did not work: My attention was not on what really mattered.
9. Other comments: My loving fiancé, and dogs were there present, but not in my mind, I was completely distracted by the social media, I do not like this

2. Session two:
1. Date: Monday morning October 16, 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: In my small office at work and on my laptop
3. Duration of session: two hours
4. What occurred: Homework
5. What you did: Working on my multimedia class, I completed a discussion forum about different tips and websites that I could find that aid in the use of excel.
6. How you felt: Stressed out about whether or not I was doing it right or wrong.
7. What worked: Finding sources online
8. What did not work: I tried to do things too long without taking a break and got kind of drained and ended up distracted by other classes and checking other things because I focused on one specific thing too long without giving myself a break.
9. Other comments: Mondays are the days that I spend from 7am to usually 7 pm doing straight homework and need to learn when to give myself a 10 minute break.

3. Session 3:
1. Date: Monday Evening October 16 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: At my dining room table doing homework
3. Duration of session: 4 hours
4. What occurred: lots of research for a computer comparison project, some tweeting, and some other research for classes
5. What you did: Used google, took notes, watched videos, answered questions, saved documents, wrote deadlines down in my planner.
6. How you felt: Stressed and in tears
7. What worked: I got large portions of assignments done
8. What did not work: too much to do, too much stress, and too long staring at a computer
9. Other comments: Mondays are the days that I spend from 7am to usually 7 pm doing straight homework, and today I did it even longer and need to learn when to give myself a 10 minute break.

4. Session 4
1. Date: Late Monday Evening October 16 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: In my bedroom laying down on my bed
3. Duration of session: 45 minutes
4. What occurred: Face timing Denum
5. What you did: Laid on my bed and face timed Denum, as you all learned he is in Rawlins for the week.
6. How you felt: Emotionally and physically drained, along with emotional and uncomfortable.
7. What worked: Laying and relaxing and just talking worked to wind me down after a long tedious day.
8. What did not work: Him being 4 hours away does not work, and facetime is not the same as presence…. I can’t wait for Friday!
9. Other comments: After reading my entries, I was online for well over 12 hours, it was a long day and now I have to clear my mind and get positive and ready to do the same exact thing tomorrow.

5. Session 5:
1. Date: October 18 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: My desk at work
3. Duration of session: One hour
4. What occurred: Streaming social media sites
5. What you did: Sat at the desk zoned into my phone while I was supposed to be participating in a morning work meeting
6. How you felt: distracted and stressed for all of the homework that the day is going to bring but ready to conquer it anyways
7. What worked: Putting my phone down, upside down, and listening to my coworkers once I realized how inattentive I was.
8. What did not work: Multi-tasking did not work, looking at my phone and listening to a meeting is something I should not be doing
9. Other comments.

6. Session six:
1. Date: October 18 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: In my office doing homework on my laptop
3. Duration of session: 3.5 hours
4. What occurred: Taking a psychology test
5. What you did: Watched an hour long video, listened to an audio, and did some research and took an untimed test.
6. How you felt: Overwhelmed by all of the material covered on the test
7. What worked: Reading the test questions and re watching and re reading the content a second time
8. What did not work: Trying to take the test from one time of reviewing content
9. Other comments.

7. Session seven:
1. Date: October 19, 2016
2. Description of Physical Space and Device: In my office on my laptop doing homework
3. Duration of session: 45 minutes
4. What occurred: Watching a TED talk
5. What you did: Watched the TED talk on quitting internet for the year
6. How you felt: Interested and engaged
7. What worked: Watching it and talking notes
8. What did not work: Having my phone on the desk as well because text messages distracted me from staying engaged in the video.
9. Other comments.

 

 

Independent Learning Recap

There have been a few weeks gap on the learning projects so bear with me while I kind of try to gather what I have been doing!

As many of you know my learning project is on becoming a better rodeo athlete. As many of you also know, everything I have done lately is on my big gray steed, Reno. Well, I do love him, and he in my favorite to ride, however, in order to become a better athlete I must be able to ride different styles of horses.

Some of you may wonder what I mean when I say style of horse so I am going to give you the two examples. There is a free running horse, and what I call, a ratey horse. The horse that I spent the last two years college rodeoing on was a ratey horse. His name is Dash, and if he was not 20 years old and in need of retirement, I would still be running him. When someone calls a horse ratey it means that they WANT to turn. When a horse rates a barrel it means that they are shutting down for the turn. Dash is so ratey I literally have to kick the entire time to get him past the barrel or he will turn on top of them. Below is a video of me running my favorite old man, Dash. He really is one in a million and I wish I could run him forever. Pay attention to how hard he sits down to turn the barrel.

Now, I shared Dash with you because Reno is the complete opposite. Reno is what we call a free runner. He has much smoother moves, and he does not set down to turn the barrel. This was so hard for me to adjust to, and it still is! I struggle with Reno because I am so used to kicking. I will be honest when you run barrels everything is so fast it is hard to think. On Reno when I get a few strides before the barrel, I need to think to myself, “sit down and pull on the inside rein Emily.” Everything happens so fast sometimes I get ahead of myself and I do not do this. This results in Reno blasting by the barrel and not turning! In order for me to be the best rodeo athlete that I can be I need to know how to ride both styles and I need to do it well. So this week, I practiced on me reflex skills and forced myself to sit down. Below is a video of Reno. Watch the difference in his strides and in his turns compared to Dash. That is the difference in a free runner and a ratey horse. Regardless I love them both, and am going to keep striving to be the best I can be on both types!

Digital Activism

This weeks assignment was to read about digital activism. Through this class I have learned so much about posting things on digital media, and followed so many videos, along with articles. So far, this class has opened my eyes to how useful technology can really be. Ill be honest, at the beginning of this course the only technology I was really involved in was Facebook, and the only reason for that was the online classifieds and sales pages. I have never really looked at social media as an activism or a way to share opinions, however, my finding this week really changed my perspective.

The Six Activists of Digital Texts article had a lot of really great eye openers for me. Although the article made it sound as if there are ONLY six ways technology can help activists, I believe six is far more than none, therefore they have a great start. It can help activists share their opinions publicly, they can make a plan of action, technology protects activists, along with helping them share a call to action, and most importantly to me it helps them share resources. To me, sharing resources is huge, the world revolves around findings and the more the resources the better!

The New Face of Teen Activism also had some great points and information. The article contained exampled of people getting involved in things that they never would have if it was not for the online groups that they had found. I think that teens are using social media for activism in so many ways now days. They are joining online sites and encouraging each other to “do something” and they are posting and sharing what they stand for. I think that this is very effective. One 140 word tweet can reach millions of people! If that is not effective, then I am not sure what is! While all of this information seems great, there are still some issues that need to be considered. Some opinions can be attacked and others can be attacked by other online activists that do not agree with their opinion. We all like to think that respecting others would be priority, however, that is not always the case. This is where cyberbullying can come in and we need to be aware of that. I have already been an online activist in the class for project based learning and have had great feedback! I do think that this uprising technology tool is a great thing.

I chose to do my research on the Free and Above activist. This movement made is to helping out ones with mental illnesses and bullying. Reminding ones that they can one day be free from pain and above what’s been tearing them down. Also spreading awarenesses and bringing ones together. Community is important. This activist has created a twitter account for people to follow to help them with their struggles and to know that they are not alone.

I am going to get a litter personal here and tell you why I chose this. The headline had more about mental illness in it, while most of the others had more about eating disorders or drugs. In the headline description of this activist site it quoted, “Making sure no one ever feels like they’re not loved or that they’re a freak.” This quote drew me in because I can relate to it. For four years, I was in a VERY physically abusive, along with mentally abusive relationship. It tore me down to where I thought I was nothing and felt no love at all, and eventually literally made me an actual freak. I pushed everyone away, and sort of lost my mind for a while. It took me moving two states away to get out of the situation and a LONG time for me to recover. I lost friendships I wish I never would have and damaged family relationships I would do anything to get back. I am not looking for sympathy because honestly that situation made me a better person. It brought me to Wyoming and God put the most perfect man in my life that helped me heal into the bright and happy person I am today. Following this twitter page I found that it was FULL of encouragement and people that are regaining their life. It really is a beautiful thing, and I love that there are activists out there that want to help people.

I encourage you to click here and go take a look around the account 🙂

Here is a picture of my wonderful happy life ❤

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Mindful Pause and Reflection

Ill be honest in this blog, I could not have been more relieved when I opened and read that we were having a pause.

I have learned so much in this class. I had never written a blog before when I started this course, and have always been one that kind of enjoys writing. I was shocked when I got my first blog feedback. These blogs take me a long time to write and try to put my best into them. The feedback that I got was not good and if it would have been a grade it would have been a failing one, and I am so glad that it was not a grade. This discouraged me and made me a little upset, however I took the constructive feedback and began trying to better my blogs and am hoping for a better feedback the next time around.

I have learned so much about technology in this class as well. Technology is evolving so quickly now days even I got behind. I had never had a twitter before this class so that took me a while to figure out! I see now how helpful it can be in so many ways! I have also learned so much doing the daily creates, I am not even half way done with them and I have used so many things I did not even know existed! Also, the embedding, and the video adding, and tech learning has taught me so much when it comes to sharing!

I honestly did not know what to expect when I started this course. I started out my education in business and finance and switched to education this year. Let me tell you, they are such different worlds! Therefore I am new to education, new to online classes, and new to Chadron State College. This class has exceeded any expectations that I could have ever had. I have learned more in the last few weeks about writing, technology, creating, giving feedback, and more than I have ever learned in any classes combined!

The most interesting module so far for me was the digital citizenship module. I learned so much,and actually spent way more than the 8 required hours because I found so many interesting topics! The cyber bullying really hit home for me, and I found a lot of facts that I had no clue existed. I also found so many interesting things about the online profiles and how they are there forever for everyone to see.

The most challenging module for me was by far module five. It was so time consuming to find 100 people that were worth following, along with 30 blogs that were worth following. I literally spent an entire day finding these people, let alone the amount of time I spent completing the other assignments for the week! I hope to learn more about technology in the educational world as we go on!

I am nervous for what the second half of the semester brings. I am very excited to learn more about technology in the education world. However, I will be honest this course is challenging! The challenge is worth it because I have learned so much though. I am currently in five classes, and working 45 hours a week, getting married in a month, and in the process of purchasing a house. Sometimes I cry from the stress of trying to keep up with everything. Since this class has so much new content to me, sometimes it is too much for me to mentally bear. After reading the article for this week I realize that slowing down and taking pauses are huge. Sometimes I just need to re read the assignment, breath, and take things one step at a time.

Clearly I have learned so much from this course, and I know that I do not stand alone when I say that! Everything is so organized, and directions are clear to follow. I will say that this is the only class that I have that is this organized and I want to thank the instructor for that because it helps so much! Here is to the second half of the semester and learning new things!

 

 

Google Yourself

This week, one of my assignments challenged me to google myself. When I did this literally nothing showed up that was actually me. A lot showed up about Emily Wolf music. I even tried googling my name with my middle name included, Emily Marie Wolf. Again, nothing showed that had anything to actually do with myself. Even on images there is not a single image of myself, and I clicked on several pages.

Honestly, this really surprised me. I am very active on Facebook and on Instagram, not to mention this newly created blog site. After doing digital citizenship research this week, I actually found this quite relieving. I found it a relief not because I ever post or send anything inappropriate, but because I do not want my personal life to just pop up everywhere.

I am not sure that this will be the case for everyone else and I am interested to see what everyone experiences while googling themselves.

After searching several pages back I finally found one photo. (I will remind you this was on page 7.)

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This photos is showing up from the Eastern Wyoming College website, as it is my rodeo picture from last year.

Again, I am shocked that after my readings on digital citizenship nothing else showed up. A potential employer would not be able to make any conclusions about me from googling me simply because nothing shows up! This is a good things for me!

I challenge everyone else to google themselves, and share what shows up!