Innovation and Unlearning

I really feel as if I have been an innovated learning during this semester, with this class especially.  This class has pushed me out of my cozy little box of reading a chapter and completed the corresponding assignments.  Innovation is defined as creative thinking and introducing new ideas and concepts and I feel as if (even if forcefully), I am there.  Being an innovated learner and unlearning goes hand in hand.  In order to be open to new ideas you must be willing to let go of your previous notions about that topic (unlearning).

Unlearning for me this semester happened when I was introduced to a new class that had a different and interesting method.  I was so used to reading part of my textbook and completing assignments, taking multiple choice, short answer and essay question exams.  I never thought that communicating with my peers and classmates would have such a profound effect on the way I’d learn.  There were so many parts of Richardson’s blog (The Unlearning Curve) that I could relate to:

We (teachers, and parents in my case) are not the sole experts. Our children and students can and should learn from others.

We do not know more than our kids.  Wow, this is definitely something that I need to work on at home.  There is SO much that my kids are learning in school, topics that are long forgotten by us adults by now, and yes, they probably know a lot more about certain topics than I do.  And that’s great.

Learning is not an event, but a continuous process.  We’re all learning, all the time.

We’re all learning- teachers, students, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.  All of us are learning all the time.  It’s a matter of how much we want to learn is what we’re in control of.  I know that I don’t want to be stuck in the “old ways” when my kids are learning and moving far beyond that.  I absolute LOVED Couros’ blog about innovated learning and his statement about it.  A few key points he made as to how to be an innovated learning/teacher:

Utilize tools available, whether it be new technology or the information that our own students and kids have

We must be willing to embrace new learning

Challenging ideas is a must

Take risks

Learn from others

Share information

Learn from a different perspective

Reflect on yourself

And my very favorite -Get rid of the notion that “this is the way we’ve always done it.”  As I read this statement I remembered a story that my husband told me, so I asked him to share.  If we never question anything we will be stuck in the same cycle of doing the same thing over and over and over.

My Digital Story

I decided to do my digital story using the metaphor of a roller coaster.  To me, this is how it feels like my college experience has been going so far.  I’m excited to get it done, but during the semester I feel as if I’m on a big roller coaster and I just can’t wait to get off.  That’s where I am now, with only a few weeks left, because my life has gotten so much more stressful since the beginning of the semester and I need a break!

I know this video was supposed to be longer, it took me 3 attempts to make this- youtube wasn’t cooperating with me (or I am just not savvy enough to figure it out), but it actually deleted my first 2 attempts after I worked really hard on them.  This 3rd and final attempt was created on accident, I tried to save my work (so it didn’t self delete), and it published itself and I guess you can’t go back in and edit once it’s published.  So, here it is!

ILP Reflection

When we were first presented with the task of choosing a topic for our independent learning project, I was a little intimidated and lost.  I don’t consider myself to be very creative at all, and I have a hard time completing assignments that require thinking outside the box or assignments that are so vague with little direction.  I understand the reasoning behind such tasks; to force us to be creative and to develop higher level thinking skills, but I still struggle with it.

I threw around so many ideas for this project; cake decorating, cooking, baking, crocheting, etc.  I ultimately chose the topic of photography because I felt like that’s something that I wanted to dedicate more time to, but for various reasons could never find the time to do so.  I guess I liked the idea of choosing photography because this class would give me a reason to do it- instead of always having something more important to do, photography was able to make it to the top of my priority list because it was now required as part of one of my classes.

I learned a lot with this independent learning project.  Mostly I feel that I learned to experiment more, to go outside of my comfort zone of using my camera only in auto mode and relying on it to take great pictures.  I learned that there’s so much more I can do with my camera to take great pictures.  I learned about shutter speed, and aperture and how adjusting them makes all the difference in the world.  I learned that the lighting inside my house greatly affects the colors of my pictures.  My favorite thing that I learned was about the golden hour and my favorite pictures from this project are the ones I took of my kids during the golden hour.

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I’ve also learned that it’s ok to fail.  I had so many opportunities for great pictures, but in the end they didn’t turn out how I wanted- specifically some of my boys playing football.  Some were blurry, and in others my boys were not visible because the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough.  But it’s ok.  I learned how to fix those issues and I will continue to learn how to take better pictures.  And some day, if I can talk my husband into it, I’ll be able to buy myself a better camera and be able to devote more time to something that I enjoy doing.  Until then, I plan to continue to learn and practice and make the best out of what I have.

Creating a collage

I’ll be honest, I really really wanted to create a comic book strip this week.  After reading Karen Jensen’s comic book creation blog I thought it would be something really fund to do.  But, the first app mentioned (comic book app) was not free to use and one of the other programs mentioned (chogger) the website did not work. So I decided to use a different program instead and am quite pleased with the results.

I created a collage using Canva and it was so so easy to use!  I’m always looking for apps like these, I like making collages of pictures of my kids and I hate some of the apps available on my phone- none of them have all the tools I like. But Canva definitely does it all!  There are many free templates to choose from and I can edit almost everything about it.  You can upload your own photos (which I did), or chose from some of theirs.  You can also change the filter on your photos- I chose grayscale and also adjusted the intensity of it, so some are very gray while others still have a bit of color to them.  You can also crop the pictures and rotate them.

My Canva Design

It was really easy to add text as well.  I used different fonts and colors with each of the texts that I added.  I also changed the colors of the text and tried to make it match the tone and colors of the pictures in the collage.  All the text has to do with my independent learning project, photography: aperture, shutter speed, white balance, temperature and golden hour.  I also used all pictures that I took for my learning project.  You can edit how your final image saves- pdf files, jpeg, or png.  I downloaded it twice, once as a pdf and then as a jpeg so I could add it to this blog.  Being able to download it as each allows for different options- printing or using it online.

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Overall this program was very user friendly and had a lot of the options I’m looking for in creating something like this.  I can see myself using this in the future- flyers for church, visual aids for other classes and even when I’m finally teaching.  I can use this to create things for my classroom as well as allowing the students to use it to create something of their own.  I really like that it’s simple enough for young children to grasp but has so many more options for more advanced ages.

Podcasts and Storytelling

I’m going to start with the podcasts because honestly, the digital storytelling idea is confusing me.  I have never heard of a podcast before, well not the term anyway.  Audible stories have been around for a long time.  I remember being a little girl, laying on the floor at my grandma’s house listening to books on tape.  I must have been at least 8 years old but I remember it so vividly.  Now that I think about it, I’m not sure my own kids have every listened to an audible story, at least not at home.

In What Teens are Learning From ‘Serial’ and Other Podcasts by Linda Flanagan, Linda talks about a podcast called “Serial” which is a murder mystery story.  The story was produced by a reporter and covers interviews and other topics included in the investigation of the crime.  I can definitely see the benefit of something like this with all age groups (that are all age appropriate).  Students that have difficulty reading are able to listen and comprehend a story, to work on skills such as critical thinking and analyzing information.  Students at lower reading levels than their peers can enjoy and participate in the same activities as the rest of the class, and even complete assignments regarding comprehension and problem solving.

Linda talks about how the podcast “Serial” allows her high school students to really enjoy it because they are familiar with certain aspects of the story and can relate to relevant information.  The students are so engaged and engrossed in this story that they’re skipping other classes to come listen to it, and even students who don’t do homework are listening to it at home.

The use of podcasts helps to build a connection between students and adults by introducing them to technology that adults are used to (radio) and also subjects that can relevant to both students and adults.  I can see it even being useful within a family, finding a podcast that would interest everyone, and instead of watching a movie together they can listen to the podcast.  What a way to excite all senses and allow everyone to use their imagination.

Now, onto digital storytelling.  While I’m still confused about it, I did find some useful information in

Teacher’s Guide to Digital Storytelling by Leah Levy.  Digital storytelling is exactly what it sounds like- using digital technology (computers, smart phones, cameras, etc) to tell a story.  Leah lists several options and ideas when it comes to digital storytelling-

Dream scenes- what do I want to be when I grow up?

Personal narratives

Google stories

Historical slide shows

Book trailers

A how to guide

Two sides of the story- a controversial topic

Family or community history project

While these ideas are great, I need to spend some more time figuring out the actual logistics of this.  I feel as if I’m a little behind the technology skills as a lot of my peers in this class.