Creative Commons

If you’ve been through a North American school system then you are probably familiar with how plagiarism was highly frowned upon when completing projects. For this reason, students are shown exactly how to cite an author’s original work. However, what many students are never taught is that plagiarizing is not only wrong because you aren’t completing an assignment yourself, but because you are taking credit for someone else’s hard work. Outside from classrooms, Creative Commons is an excellent way to make sure you are giving the author the credit they want for their work. Creative Commons is a website that creators can use to generate copyright licenses.

screenshot of the creative commons website

I decided to generate my own Creative Commons License for this website to see how easy the process is! I was able to create a license in a minute that shows users that I do not want adaptations of my work to be shared and I don’t allow commercial uses of my work.

my license! can be found at the bottom of my blog
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Week #8- Vision Board Workshop

On Sunday I completed a vision board workshop to help me with my goal setting for 2019. I had a general idea of what goals I wanted to accomplish this year after journalling for the whole month of January, but this workshop helped me solidify these goals. To start, the workshop instructor discussed the benefits of goal setting and how manifesting your goals can actually help you accomplish them faster. The instructor believes that if you envision your goals every day, for example on a vision board, then you have a greater chance of actually completing those goals. They believe that this method triggers your sub-conscious brain to start guiding you towards taking the necessary steps to make your dreams a reality. I am always interested in learning new things and working towards becoming the best version of myself, so I am excited to see if this method works for me.

Next, the instructor took us through a guided meditation to help us envision our goals. At first, I had difficulty getting into the meditation mindset, but I really tried to use the tips that I have learned and listen to the sound of my instructors voice and block out all other thoughts. As the meditation progressed, I found myself truly listening and envisioning exactly what she was asking us to.

After the meditation it was time to create our own vision boards! Before the workshop I printed out a few mantras that I wanted to manifest and photos of my goals for 2019. After the meditation I realized that there were a few more goals that I wanted to add to my vision board so I just printed out those photos at home after the workshop and added them to my board. The only thing left to do was glue everything onto a poster board like a collage! I personally love arts & crafts so creating the vision board was so much fun for me.

If you want to create your own vision board at home here’s how!

  1. Pin point goals that you want to accomplish for a certain time period! I decided to do my goals for 2019 but there is no rule as to what you have to create your vision board for. You can do a monthly vision board, a seasonal vision board… the opportunities are endless. To do this you can look up a guided meditation like this one
  2. Print off photos that remind you of your goals. Try to make your goals specific to the photo so that it’s the first thing that you envision when you see that photo. I also printed off a few mantras that I want to help shape my mindset.
  3. Get crafting! Simply glue your photos down on the poster board and decorate it however you would like! I added a border, a title & a few 2-D shapes to mine.
  4. Put your vision board in a place that you will see it every day & start manifesting your goals! Look at your vision board at least once a day & imagine how it FEELS to accomplish your goals & how you would complete them. Put yourself into the mindset of achieving your goals & eventually you will.
my vision board

I encourage you to make your own vision board! Remember you & your goals are allowed to change so if there’s something on your vision board that doesn’t interest you anymore, just change it! Also, I would recommend putting something on your vision board that you have already accomplished just to get the ball rolling 😉

Good luck!

Week #7- Social Media Break

Last Tuesday I decided to go on a 1 week social media break to challenge myself and see how an absence of social media would contribute to my spiritual development. For the first couple days I found myself going through a withdrawal… I would constantly reach for my phone to realize that there was nothing on it for me to look at. Taking this break has allowed me to realize how much time I spend just aimlessly scrolling through instagram or closing & reopening snapchat to see if anything had changed from the last time I opened it. As the week progressed, I found myself feeling a lot happier knowing that I was accomplishing this goal that I had set. My mental health also got better because I was not comparing myself and my social life to others on social media, something that I had done a lot in the past. I am able to track my screentime on my phone and over the course of the week, my screentime decreased by 37%. I went skiing on Friday and I felt the need to post a photo but I wasn’t able to because I deleted instagram. Instead, I thought to myself “well why do I want to share with everyone that I am skiing? Is the world going to stop spinning if I don’t? No!”. This allowed me to re-evaluate why I think posting a photo every time I do something is necessary and if it’s actually worth my time. The only good thing that came from social media was when I lost my dog on Saturday morning. I decided to reinstall instagram to post a photo of my dog and help with the grieving process. From that post, many people reached out to me to express their condolences and it made me feel the tiniest bit better about losing her. Social media can be very toxic but it also makes the world a much smaller place and brings people together. I do plan on reinstalling most social media platforms after this week is over, and I will continue to use them. However, now I will be more conscious about the amount of time I spend on each of them and what I am using those apps for.

I encourage all of you to challenge yourself and give social media a break for a week. I believe that it will really open your eyes as to how much time you spend on social media, and what you can be doing otherwise to benefit your life.

Typography- Week #3

Typography                                                                                                    noun.

– the style or appearance of text

– the art of working with text

retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sByzHoiYFX0 (0:23)

Before starting this project I never ventured out & used a font besides times new roman in my projects. As we progress with our tech inquiry project, we have to start thinking about everything that contributes to graphic design. For example, something as small as picking the font you use for a project can have a huge impact on how your audience perceives your work. This video by GCFLearnFree.Org describes the basics of working with typography, what fonts to use, which ones to avoid & how to make your work stand out above others. I found this video very helpful for beginning graphic designers like myself.

Good Fonts

  • Serif fonts- perfect for more traditional projects, print publications; gives your document a more classy look
  • Sans Serif fonts- more clean & modern than serif fonts; easier to read
  • Display fonts- many different styles; very decorative so great for titles & headers but not large amounts of text

Bad Fonts

  • Comic Sans
  • Curlz
  • Papyrus
  • Anything else you would have used when creating a project for a middle school class
  • All are outdated & overused

Tips & Tricks

  • Less is more- limit yourself to one or two fonts per project
  • Make combinations- experiment w/ using the same font but a different size, weight or style
  • Opposites attract- decorative w/ simple, all caps w/ lowercase, tall w/ short, big w/ small
  • Guide the readers eye towards what is most important in a project- make that different in some way
  • Always use spacing that makes your text as easy to read as possible

Now that you know a bit more about typography I encourage you to give it a try! How can you turn an ordinary project into an extraordinary one?

unedited
my edit using the tips from the video

Tech Inquiry Week #2

We are all pretty unfamiliar with graphic design. Broadly, all of us are simply curious about what it is and how to do it. Specifically, we are interested in how we could use it to enhance our teaching practice. This article gave us a few ideas about how to do so. The article talks about using “C.R.A.P” principles of web design when creating infographics. C.R.A.P stands for contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. Contrast is vital in order to make the important elements stand out and the less important elements less obvious. The purpose of an infographic is to communicate information to viewers in a logical and clear way, which is why more important information should be more obvious. The article suggests making contrasts in the types of font, colours, line thickness, spacing between elements, and shapes. The “R” in C.R.A.P. stands for repetition. Graphic designers, according to the article, repeat certain elements of design (such as colour or shape) in order to “develop a sense of organization, unity, and consistency”. Most graphic design tools do this automatically when you choose a template, so this is not an area that you generally have to focus on. The “A” in C.R.A.P. stands for alignment. All design elements should be connected to the others in some way; nothing should be placed on the screen arbitrarily because this causes the design to come across as messy and disorganized. Lastly, the “P” in C.R.A.P. stands for proximity, which is important in order to communicate the relatedness of two or more concepts. Basically, when doing graphic design, be mindful of your creative choices.

The same article mentions that Canva can be helpful for teachers to design worksheets, infographics, schedules, posters, flyers, and more. Below I have included a screenshot of what the Canva website looks like.

Canva is free and easy to use. As far as I can tell, though, you have to pay for your images if you wish to remove the watermarks from them. If I were using them in the classroom, I wouldn’t mind if there was a watermark. 

I have been experimenting with Canva and had lots of fun creating a concept map for this project (shown below). I am obviously not an expert, but I think it looks pretty good considering how new I am to graphic design! I am starting to see that there are lots of ways to use graphic design in my future teaching practice.

Canva also allows users to be collaborative on projects. For example, if we wanted to work on a graphic design project together, I could just invite them to view my designs, edit, and share their designs. Last semester, we had to make a flyer for one of our classes. My group ended up making it on Microsoft Word and then emailing each other a draft with every small change that we made. If we knew about Canva, our lives would have been so much simpler

Week #6- Mindfulness in Schools

This past week in my Learners and Learning Environments class at UVic we were talking about the benefits of teaching mindfulness in schools. Blair Stonechild, residential school survivor and Professor of Indigenous Studies at the First Nations University of Canada, describes how Indigenous Philosophy recognizes the four essential aspects of being: spiritual, emotional, physical, and intellectual. Out of those 4 aspects of being I put many hours into developing my intellectual and physical being but I spend limited time on my emotional/spiritual development. This is why I decided to learn more about mindfulness and meditation so that I could start strengthening my mind and soul. I also realized that if I am going to teach my own students about mindfulness, I first need to identify my own spirit.

Elementary school teachers have the important responsibility of educating the WHOLE student. This means teaching students not only how to read and write, but how to act socially and find their unique identities. A few techniques I learned in class to help students develop their spirits are as followed…

  • complete guided meditations with your students
  • have your students complete quiet self-reflections
  • practice respecting and acquiring other virtues (humility, honesty, bravery…)
  • take your students on nature walks & teach them that everything is a living thing & we need to respect them
  • honor our ancestors
  • teach students about emotional literacy

Any of these activities can help students identify more about who they are. It’s time parents/teachers start helping children become the best versions of themselves. Most of them time children need our help but don’t even know to ask for it.

I attached Blair Stonechild’s video if anyone is interested…

Graphic Design Starting Point

For our tech. inquiry project, the three of us (Olivia, Maeve, Julia) decided to learn about graphic design. Throughout our daily lives, we are constantly exposed to graphic design through digital and social media and in our everyday tasks. As young professionals starting out in the education world, being proficient in graphic design will be an asset to our classrooms and school communities.

As a starting point, none of really know much of anything about graphic design. We are aware that it is generally a combination of words and images that make up some sort of advertisement or logo, etc. We are not certain about how to do graphic design. We recognize that there are several outlets that we can use to create our own graphics but we are unaware of the differences between the outlets and which one is best suited to our needs.

To begin, we watched several videos about graphic design (like the one below) on Youtube. From there, we were able to learn several of the fundamental ideas about graphic design such as line, shape, and balance.

Our goals moving forward are individually different, but as a whole, we would like to further our knowledge and attempt some graphic designing. So far, one of us has used Adobe Spark  (which was free and easy to find) to create very small graphics. The website took some time to sort out and we are still learning what we can actually do with the site. We would like to explore the graphic design world a bit more and explore what kinds of things we would like to learn. We are in a state right now of almost not even knowing what we don’t know so we would like to delve further into this concept that is relatively new to us.

We’d like to experiment with different websites to try graphic design and hopefully, find ones that either doesn’t cost anything or that we can begin with a free trial. Once we become more adept, we will decide on our favourites and how they compare to others.

PSII Visit

This week my EDCI 336 class had the opportunity to visit the Pacific School for Innovation and Inquiry (PSII- pronounced “sigh”), Victoria’s newest high school and form of personalized education. Students at this school are able to move through a curriculum that is designed specifically for them at their own pace. Basically, at this school all the projects are inquiry based so students get to decide what they want to learn and the teachers design their learning to meet all the BC curriculum content. The image below, from PSII’s website, better explains their whole learning approach.

retrieved from http://learningstorm.org/the-psii-approach/

This visit made me consider how beneficial our education system really is. One thing that I hated about my high school experience was the lack of freedom I had. If I wasn’t feeling well I had to call home in the office and get my parents to come pick me up even though I could drive myself. As soon as I left high school and entered university I found my mental health got immensely better. If I wasn’t feeling well physically or emotionally, I could just not attend class that day and catch up on my own time and nobody would mind. The stress of being forced to remain at my place of learning even if it wasn’t in the best interest for me was gone and I found myself enjoying my education so much more. For once I had independence and control over my learning and I began to care a lot more about my education. So why do we still design our high schools this way? As stated on the PSII website, we are all unique individuals, so why do we force our students to complete a pre-designed, standardized education?

For more information on PSII visit their website learningstorm.org & I promise it will answer all of your questions.

Week #5- Experiencing Happiness


Many people think that you find happiness; however, happiness isn’t a thing, so it is never lost.

Megrette Fletcher, http://www.mindful.org

Isn’t that a refreshing thing to read? You can never find happiness by looking for it, instead you should be experiencing it. So how can we experience happiness in our lives? In Megrette Fletcher’s 2018 article “Four Ways to Nourish Happiness with Mindful Eating”, she describes how the conditions for experiencing happiness can be easy to find, if we put the effort into identifying what conditions are unique to us. Although Fletcher’s article was centered around mindful eating, I found that the points she made can be applicable across anything that you think can bring you happiness. For example, Fletcher mentions that you can be experiencing happiness without even realizing it. Sometimes it just takes a moment to pause, be mindful, and notice the joy around you. Ever since I have started journalling in the mornings I have noticed significant changes in my well-being. If you have been reading my other blog posts you know that every morning I list 3 things that I am grateful for. This has helped me to see the joy Fletcher discusses in a lot more aspects of my life. If I am having a bad day, I try to meditate and ask myself- “okay was it really all that bad?”. Often, after pausing and thinking about it I realize that my day wasn’t completely terrible and there are things that I have to be thankful for and that allowed me to experience happiness. I encourage all of you to try this next time you are having a “bad” day. Just pause and reflect on everything that happened and often you will realize that there was some good to your day after all. The more we work on realizing what brings us joy, the easier it will be to put ourselves in our unique conditions for experiencing happiness.

Video/Audio Editing Workshop

Today in my EDCI 336 class we had the opportunity to learn all about video editing with iMovie, screen capturing with Screencastify, and audio editing with Garage Band. Personally, I own a PC computer and so I was very unfamiliar with iMovie/Garage Band besides making 2 movie trailers with my friend in the 5th grade… so this was a very beneficial workshop for me! I think that iMovie will be an excellent resource when I have my own classroom in the future. I remember loving to make those movie trailers when I was a kid so I can see my future students loving it too. For example, I would use iMovie in english class as an alternative to writing a book report. Screencasitfy (https://www.screencastify.com/) is another great resource that I think students will really enjoy. This chrome program can be easily downloaded onto your computer and it allows you to record what is happening on your computer screen. You can also video tape yourself at the same time and it will appear in the corner of your screen. I would use screencasitfy as an alternate way for students to give a powerpoint presentation. The last program that we were introduced to in the workshop was garage band. Personally, I use audacity to edit my music but I found both programs were easy to use. I would use garage band in music class so that my students could edit/create their own music.

Rich McCue, a Digital Scholarship Commons Coordinator who led the workshop, was kind enough to let me share his resources from the workshop so I included them below….

http://freemusicarchive.org/curator/Creative_Commons/ (free background music that students can use for their garage band projects)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/14V118K1VnyEAJTQFCqQdq0ODsE98JUSf1HrGscpt0_Y/edit?usp=sharing (Video Editing)

http://edci336.ca/rmccue/ (Rich’s website with more resources)

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1RNjmZo0GoH30baVEjGxwzo3Lf-7LTIOu370xoqGvJI0/edit?usp=sharing (Garage Band)