Final Reflection and Final Portfolio

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Checkout my final portfolio here

     This course was designed very differently from courses I have taken in the past. Instead of utilizing primarily canvas for the course it seemed to be more about blogging and then connecting with each other and “hosting” our assignments via twitter. While I have used Twitter in the past for assignments this was a very different experience because posting assignments on Twitter is how you turn the assignment in. Using hypothesis to interact with peers about various assignments was very interesting as well. I found the method to be very beneficial for me because instead of just reading an entire document and then trying to interact with peers I was able to interact with my peers sentence by sentence which I think prompted more peer interaction as a whole than what would have happened otherwise. I know that I really tried to contribute to the course by interacting via Hypothesis with my peers.

It was also interesting to interact with students on assignments when they weren’t even in my specific class. That is definitely a first for me! I really enjoyed the DS106 assignment bank method in general to because I think having so many options allowed me to direct my own learning path, at least to some extent. I imagine it is also refreshing for instructors as well because you aren’t stuck reviewing the same themed project 40 times.

I think overall Remi and Lisa’s course design was a self-guided tour throughout the course. That being said, it was no doubt done by design! About five years ago I took an online course where all of the assignments were posted the first day with all of the deadlines and then the instructor literally did not respond the entire session and then seemingly just posted random grades for everyone at the end. While that was also a self-guided tour of sorts, this was a completely different experience. Due to the fact that every time I posted something on Twitter I had a like notification from both instructors almost instantly, there was feedback on various posts and every email was responded to on the same day. All of these factors made me feel like there was definitely instructors present during the course they were just being more of a fly on the wall.

I would say that yes after this course my idea of what an “instructor” is has changed slightly. This course proved that having peers interact with one another and create content directly with each other brought a whole different level to the learning environment than more traditional methods. The feedback I would like to share with both Remi and Lisa is, thank you for such a rollercoaster of a course and showing me that there are several different approaches that can be done to teach a course effectively. I hope you both have a great rest of your summer!

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Week 7 Reflection

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Almost at the end of the session already! This week has been so hectic trying to get the final DS106 project complete! Who knew it would take basically three full days of downloading, editing and filming to create such a small video? In retrospect though I definitely went overboard with it having included about 15 different movie or TV show clips of video and or audio into just one trailer. I feel that I did an outstanding job on the project and really met my goal which was to go out with a bang!

The reading this week was very interesting as well. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable to be speaking about race because that is always a touchy subject but at the same time it is something that needs to be discussed. I thought the timing for such a read was right in line with what we have been seeing more and more on the news in recent months. While having read both our assigned readings and my scholar driven video on the subject has changed my thought process about the idea of having the answer to be not to judge people based on race I still have the basic beliefs. I think more than anything I saw what the problem is with being color blind. However, I wonder if more people didn’t interpret the basic idea of the term the same way I originally did. To me when I think colorblind I wasn’t thinking about it in the terms of not embrassing that we all are different and unique but thought about it in the sense that people shouldn’t judge others negatively just because of their heritage. I think perhaps just changing the term to something such as color openness or something would better define that ideal.

I think overall this week was my most successful because I really put in a huge amount of time to create something meaningful both to showcase what I have learned throughout the session as far as editing video and audio and also to create something that my daughter would be truly proud of which was my theme throughout the session. After watching my final video I know that there will be several versions to come. I started thinking more about the video being through my daughters eyes and now wonder if perhaps I should do a cartoon version that wouldn’t seem scary? My daughter loved the video and seemed to get the point that it was supposed to be exciting but I wonder if her friends might get scared of all of the explosions.

Angry Boat (Story Critique)

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     For this week’s digital story critique I wanted to find something on making movie trailers to help figure out how to make an epic trailer for my other class assignment. I found a YouTube video literally titled, “How to make an EPIC movie trailer!” It is a short four minute video and the author really gets straight to the point on discussing what epic movie trailers include. According to the video, epic trailers include the “angry boat” noise, slow motion, people running, scale, impacts and explosions and fading to black.

The video was created pretty perfectly in my opinion. It included the author explaining each point in a fun and entertaining way. With these types of instructional videos the author’s tone and way of speaking can be so important because if they are explaining things in a monotone voice it can create the audience to become uninterested in the material quickly. This author was upbeat and funny so it was entertaining throughout. The video also included several layers with text appearing on the screen and even short movie video clips to provide examples of movie trailers that included the list of characteristics.

While the author is speaking the background behind him is a solid color so it helps keep you focused on the topic at hand. The way that he is speaking throughout the video to my implied that it was scripted but also practiced to have an interesting delivery. I feel like he rehearsed the video prior because he easily goes through each part without any hesitation or getting off track. In most of the previous story critiques I have done I can easily point out things that could be improved but this time I will simply say bravo!

3 Toddlers and a Riddler (Final DS106)

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For my final DS106 project I really wanted to go out with a bang and by bang I mean including explosions! My storytelling theme is “Through the Eyes of a Toddler” so I knew I wanted to do a video and make it epic. When I came across the project to make a movie trailer I got really excited because I knew immediately I wanted to make an epic superhero movie trailer with my daughter and her friends. The next step was to figure out how many of Ashlyn’s friends could join us so I knew how many super heroes to plan for. In the end two of Ashlyn’s friends were not only willing to join us but they already had super hero outfits too! One friend would be playing the part of batman and the other superman. I assumed my daughter would want to be batgirl but she ended up saying wonder woman which really helped me out because batgirl hasn’t been filmed a ton and she is a red head and my daughter has very dark brown hair.

Now that I had a basic idea of what characters I wanted for the movie trailer it was time to start finding some movie clips from other movies to include in mine. I started brainstorming about my favorite scenes in movies from the 90’s batman movies all the way to movies that currently have only released a trailer. I compiled a huge list of movies and downloaded clips from YouTube onto my computer and then uploaded them into My Movie. I went through each video and clipped to only the best scenes in each one. For the batman character I am really not a fan of Ben Affleck’s version of batman so I tried to incorporate some more old school batman into the videos. After I got the videos together I started searching for the audio. I wanted to do an epic mashup of classic movie trailer sounds such as the “angry boat” noise and explosions throughout the video too.

To really make a great trailer I started thinking more about what makes a great movie trailer and came up with a list. A great movie trailer has intense music, explosions, at least one running scene, voice overs from Don LaFontaine (the “In a world…” guy) and quick shots of the characters in the movie. So far I had some explosions, intense music and a few video clips I could use for the quick shots. Next, we needed the stars of the show, the toddlers in some fun videos. We headed off to the park where my daughter essentially played super heroes with her friends and I took video of them. My favorite parts were the shots of video where the wind picked up and their capes were flowing in the wind.

The hardest part of this project was all of the editing. I used My Movie to create the movie and every time I added audio in one section it seemed to move all of the other sections. I probably spent at least 5 hours alone on audio. Creating the video took several hours each day for three days to complete and I could still tweak it for probably months to get it to the point of perfection. Perhaps that is a good example of why it takes years for movies to be completed! The project was really fun and my daughter not only had a blast playing at the park for the filming but also loved the final product. One thing looking back I wish I would have changed was to have more video shots of the toddlers in action. I smell a sequel in her future!

What Term Could Be Used To Describe The Idea Of Not Negatively Judging Someone Based On Color? (Reading Reflection Week 7)

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     So this weeks reading kind of caught my off guard. At the same time it is a very current topic given the horrendous events that have been occurring all over the world. The reading this week was about white privilege. While agree with the fact that there is white privilege in the world even when we don’t realize it I have problems really taking everything in the reading as factual. I think some of the comments made really pertain to certain areas of the country. I say this because I have lived all over North America moving literally over 20 times before I graduated high school. I feel like living in so many locations has really let me see how different each area is. I think racism is apparent in every single nook and cranny in the world but in many different ways and regarding many different factors. For example, living in Florida in certain areas being white made you the minority.

I remember living in central Florida and going to a middle school right in the middle of the school year and literally every single student was either hispanic or black and the only white people in the entire school was myself and one very soft spoken white male who had no friends. So in that scenario the white privileged person has picked on and ganged up on throughout the school year. That being said I also remember moving to Gatlinburg Tennessee where the population was mainly white people. It was such a culture shock when I first moved there because it was the first time I had ever (literally ever) heard of people making fun of others for being black. There was one student who was technically half white and half black and because he was the closest we had to a black student he was taunted relentlessly. Why? The only answer I was ever able to come up with was ignorance. It surely wasn’t because of who he was as a person because for those of us that befriended him we knew he was a genius on the computer and could play guitar like no ones business! Perhaps some people don’t find guitar playing skills important but when you can pick up an instrument and play anything after hearing it only a handful of times that is impressive!

One of the terms discussed not in the reading directly but in an annotation through hypothesis was the term ‘colorblind’ and not in the sense of literally being unable to identify colors but meaning that you don’t judge anyone at all based on color. The responses in the annotations agreed that this was a poor method but I am admittedly still trying to grasp it. The arguments were valid in pointing out that not seeing color means not seeing culture and that it turns a blind eye to the racism that is still going on today. However, I argue that the idea if it were truly adopted by literally everyone I feel makes the most sense. Why should there be any discrimination period? To me that doesn’t mean to ignore your culture to me that is different. I for one am up for celebrating every single holiday out there and love when I have a friend that has more of a cultural connection than me so I can celebrate their history too!

Given my curiosity on finding out more about this term ‘colorblind’ referencing something I have never heard of, I decided to investigate further and found an article by Psychology Today titled Colorblind Ideology Is a Form of Racism. I choose this article because based on the title it is explaining the point of view that negates the idea and that is what I wanted to learn more about. Having only read a portion of the first paragraph of the article so far I already disagree. The article states, “White people, who are unlikely to experience disadvantages due to race…”. Okay, hold the phone, that is not true. I will agree however that it most likely true that white people haven’t dealt with racism nearly to the extent as other races I will one hundred percent agree to that but to suggest white people have never had to deal with it period is false.

As a white person myself I have dealt with being judged negatively because I am white more than once in my life. Once was when I was in middle school and quite literally every single person in the entire school was either Hispanic or black except for one white male student and myself. I was picked on relentlessly and no one tried to help me including teachers, guidance counselors or even the principle who were all also not white. The general feel from everyone seemed to be, “Finally you get a taste of what it feels like.” Finally? I hadn’t even been on the earth more than eleven years! At the same time I do see the irony that there is a much larger portion of people that dealt with similar enviroments and the fact that I was in the opposite situation was ironic. However, I personally had never been mean towards anyone due to race. I had never chased someone off the bus and threatened to beat them due to race. Yet there I was supposedly “paying” for the actions of people I had never even met?

Back to the article that I read though it did mention a point that I totally agree with and that is that the idea of being colorblind only partly fixes the problem. Well, of course! I was never thinking that some people deciding not to judge miraculously cured other people from judging but it is a start right? The article then mentions that another problem with the idea of colorblindness is that then you are saying that we are ignoring the bad color part about the person. That is not how I take it at all. I think skin tone is as unique and beautiful as every other unique aspect of the human race. I will note that I am glad that my daughter has more of my husband’s Hispanic coloring because she can be outside for more than five minutes without getting burnt and peeling until she turns back into pale again. Is that bad of me to think?

The next section in the article discusses the word ‘blind’ and points out that not being able to see someone’s color means not being able to see their culture or racial identity. Here is where I started seeing the point of the argument from the other side. Of course it is not good to be unable to acknowledge someone’s heritage! I think perhaps my mindset on this situation is not viewing the meaning to mean literally blind. I think people should definitely be able to notice other people’s kin tones and acknowledge that we all have a different background that is unique and beautiful. However I still do not think that the color of your skin should have negative impacts period. How to make that happen I have no idea but to me that is what I was taking the term ‘colorblindness’ in this context to mean. I don’t think skin tone should determine how others judge others in a negative way. I feel that people should be judged based on their specific actions and their cultural background should be embraced as just as important and meaningful as everyone else’s.

Week 6 Reflection

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Well, this week didn’t go too as well as you can see by the fact that I am posting it in technically week 7. Unfortunately there were some events last week that kept me from completing everything. That being said, I took my time this week to catch up on all of the assignments and I feel that I did them well. My DS106 assignment this week went really well because I liked the way that it turned out visually and also that my daughter loved it!

What I enjoyed the most was doing my DS106 project. I truly enjoy being able to create things which may be evidenced by the fact that I am an art teacher. I just really love being able to create things visually and the assignment itself was really fun so that didn’t hurt. The challenge was to create a mashup of photos to create a fun movie poster. Being that my theme is “In the Eyes of a Toddler” I decided to make it about a movie she enjoys. This summer we went to go see Finding Dory and she absolutely loved it! Ironically we also have been kayaking a bunch this summer so I had photos ready to go for the mashup. When I showed my daughter the final product she just giggled away and loved it so I would call that a win! What I would do differently is I would have gotten more done earlier in the week before everything went crazy later in the week but as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

The reading this week was the most interesting reading assignment we have been given in my opinion. I really enjoyed thinking deeper about what the difference is between ‘surface learning’ and ‘deep learning’. In some ways it may seem to be common sense but at the same time not really. I remember so many instances growing up that I was made to just memorize information. I have bought more packs of index cards that I care to admit and looking back how much did I really learn from it? Learning is more about just that, learning.

It makes me wonder if online learning hasn’t had a drastic effect on how we look at education. I was in community college when online classes really started to take off and I remember how much instructors struggled to make sure that we were getting a quality education by doing it online. For instance, I had one instructor that would time the tests and make it an extremely small time frame to keep students from being able to look up the answers. Even in those cases, it was unsuccessful as I remember peers making plans to take the test at the same time and talk each other through it as they went. So by redefining how we learn and making it more about showing your understanding of the material it really takes out the issue of cheating in online learning in my opinion. So that being said, I wonder if online education had an effect on how we are learning in general now as a whole?

Seasons Song Video (Story Critique)

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For my digital storytelling critique this week I wanted to try to find a video about the seasons that I could show my daughter. I found a few very homemade looking videos that just included too much jargon for my daughter to understand. Finally, I found a video called Seasons Song Video that had a fun tune and explained each seasons pretty basically. The only word used in the video that my daughter didn’t understand was ‘climate’. How do you explain ‘climate’ to a three year old? It is about as easy as explain what noise a giraffe makes. Overall I found the video to be very successful.

There is a tune that is very catchy and while I could see parents getting tired of it quickly, toddler’s seem to enjoy the repetition of tunes. My daughter danced along with the video and when it was over she made me repeat it several times until she knew it well enough to sing along to parts of it. Referencing my reading this week, I feel like the video was more of a ‘surface learning’ experience because it had a lot of repetition and I think she more got what the words were to match to the picture of the season instead of understanding exactly what seasons are. That being said though I found it to be a great spring board to then discuss the seasons with my daughter in a deeper and more meaningful way. After the video we went outside and talked about how sunny it is and that it is summer time. Given her age I feel that it will take some time to completely wrap her head around the meaning but she is definitely getting there.

I think the animated pictures of each seasons really brought this video to life. I enjoyed for example that when it signs about spring it shows it raining and then the flowers blooming. That got me thinking though because in the state of Washington is rains mainly in the winter and only snows once maybe twice a year where we live. Based on my knowledge of literacy dimensions I would make some modifications to the video. One major change I would make would be to include some parts in there where a person comes on and explains each season in a bit more detail. Doing so would provide a deeper meaning for each season.

What Does Deep Learning Got To Do With It? (Week 6 Reading Reflection)

“Mastering a field of knowledge involves not only ‘learning about’ the subject matter but also ‘learning to be’ a full participant in the field.” This quote is a passage from the readings this week that really resonated with me. Social learning is a way to really engage in the subject matter because you are not only passively participating in the subject matter by reading it but also engaging in the subject by discussing it with your peers and in some instances with the instructor. The chapter also discusses surface learning in comparison with deep learning. Surface learning is when you know the basic facts of the material but don’t understand it enough to use it out of direct context, or at least that was my understanding.

After engaging with these readings this week I feel like it is the first chapter that I can really bite into. I feel like much of my education has been focused on surface learning which frankly never really made much sense to me. What is the point of being able to recite information perfectly if you don’t know how to interact with the information and apply it? In this week’s reading I was able to achieve deeper learning as well because I could not only just read the information but also engage with my peers using hypothesis. The new jargon for me during this reading was what a qualitative kind of learning meant. My understanding from the reading is that it means the type of learning in more of a broad sense.

This chapter really got me thinking about the future of education. I am hopeful that by the time my toddler reaches middle school and beyond that the way information is taught to her will be evolved to encourage deeper learning. This thought got me thinking more about digital storytelling and how it will evolve in the future. I am not sure where I see it heading but I know that I am excited to see the development in the future.

To go with the readings this week I found a video that really explains the difference between surface and deep learning. In the video I learned that the terms ‘surface learning’ and ‘deep learning’ are actually terms that students came up with not professors. The students explained that ‘surface learning’ is about memorizing and just doing what your instructor wants you to do. Whereas ‘deep learning’ is when you really try to understand the material and become actively involved in the process. A valid point that was made in the video as well was that memorization in online learning doesn’t really make any sense. How very true is that?! How can you monitor someone answering questions via memorization when you have no idea if they are simply copying the answers or if they are truly answering off of the top of their head? These types of discussions really make me feel hopeful for the future of education.

Dory Found! I Repeat Dory Found!(Week 6 DS106 Assignment)

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     This week my assignment was to create a silly movie poster. Keeping with my storytelling theme of “Through the Eyes of a Toddler” I decided to do something fun with my daughter’s current favorite movie, Finding Dory. I wanted something that Ashlyn would find funny and I knew the best way to get her excited would be to add her picture to the photo. Originally, I found many Finding Dory photos but none that would really match with photos of my daughter. I decided to start with finding the photo of my daughter that I wanted to use first.

After going through numerous photos of Ashlyn either in a bathing suit or in a kayak I finally decided on a photo of her in a kayak where she was looking distinctly to her left. Next, I began looking through photos from Finding Dory where she is on the left side of the photo. I found a couple but mashing the photos together just didn’t quite fit. I realized the photo of my daughter she is in a lake so why would crystal clear blue water be under her? That observation sent me on a different route to instead look for a photo of Dory in murky water. I was almost to the point of just adding a filter to make the water look dirty when I landed on a photo of Dory not only on the left side of the photo but also looking up in the perfect direction!

The only issue with the photo now was the fact that it didn’t have the title of the movie on it. I found the logo and added it to the top of the poster and then used PowerPoint to add text to the bottom of the poster. When the image was complete I took a screenshot of the entire screen and cropped it to just the final image. This way it is one complete photo. I showed the image to my daughter and she kept giggling and pointing at the picture and said, “Look! I am with Dory mama! I found her! Heehee I found Dory but she will keep swimming!”. I asked her what her favorite part of the picture was and she said, “I like Dory!”. This was a really fun assignment and I am really glad it was a hit with my daughter.

Just Keep Swimming! (Week 5 Reflection)

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     Wow! Week 5 has come to an end already! Well, this week was certainly an interesting one. It began with the fourth of July and we had a lot planned for that day naturally. So my school week didn’t really actually start until Tuesday. Unfortunately all of my big plans to get everything done before the weekend went right down the toilet when I ended up getting food poisoning really bad. I am just now getting to finish up everything but I am bummed because I really wanted to get assignments in sooner. That being said, I feel like all of my assignments came out really well.

The assignment that gave me trouble was again also my favorite! The mashup assignment gave me trouble because I had to figure out how to crop out my daughter’s photo and put it on top of a different one. I have done similar assignments in the past but when I did them before I used Photoshop and that is one program I don’t have anymore. So I searched around on the internet for a great deal of time before finally finding a program that would work! Luckily, once I got my daughter’s photo cropped the way that I wanted to the rest of the project was easy because I knew the direction I wanted to take the assignment from there.

I’m not really sure what I would do differently aside from the timing of the assignments. I do wonder if perhaps there is a site out there that is similar to Photoshop (isn’t Gimp) and is free! I love cropping one photo to add to another or even the idea of cropping multiple photos and putting them all together but I need something that will not cost a ton.