Tech Tasks

Tech Task # 10- Edmodo VS Schoolology

For this weeks tech task we learned about Learning Management Systems (which are a type of social networking tool for the classroom!). Prior to this tech task I was not aware how many different learning systems are available for teachers to use in the classroom. I learned that a learning management system is a way that teachers can share material to their class, a way that students can interact with each other in an online environment and a way that a teacher can organize grades, contact parents and post upcoming assignments.

We paid particular attention to Schoolology and Edmodo. Both are interactive social media websites for the classroom.

With three of my classmates (Cynthia, Brittany and Colby) I spent a couple of classes signing up for and exploring the various roles of each site (The Teacher, The Student and the Parent), discovering the key features of both, and creating a comparison of the two networking sites.

The following is the Google doc that we collaboratively created to compare the two websites.


I enjoyed both Edmodo and Schoolology but personally found Edmodo to be a little more user friendly. I liked that the website was easy to navigate and had a similar design to Facebook. I thought that from student’s perspective Edmodo was a less intimidating tool.

On the other hand, I saw great potential in Schoolology for its potential to network with other schools and professionals and the ability to download and store useful resources and websites.

Tech Task # 9- RIP

To start out this tech task I would like to say: WOW! I was thoroughly blown away by the new age documentary RIP: a Remixers Manifesto. The movie has enlightened me on many technological issues which are defining our world today.  I realized how much I did not know about copyright infringement laws, or about remixing. Obviously I was always aware about copyright, and that downloading music and videos is illegal, but I was not aware of the extent to which it is.

One of the themes in the documentary is around the idea of culture and how culture is a direct result of the past. What this means is that almost every “new” thing that is created is a result from something old ( if this be a direct remake of something else, or an inspiration ).

For this task we asked to pick a question from the RIP: Educational Guide 

The questions that I am going to explore are:

 Do you believe there are forms of music that are not built on past works?

Do you think you can argue your creativity when it’s based on other people’s work?

I think that before viewing this film I might have argued that their is a lot of forms of music that are “new” and “fresh” and purely “unique”.  Artists such as Elvis, or the Beatles, were revolutionary in their time, creating music and genres that were thought to be “brand new” and “the first of the times”. What I am now realizing is that musical revolutionaries such as Elvis or the Beatles were inspired by by other forms of music and genres that existed way before their times. This means that they did not create a brand new form of music but instead used the past to create something new.  That being said there is no doubt the validity of such artists creativity and individuality. Although their music was built off of the past, they created something brand new- something that would be used as inspiration in the further to create another form and style of music. Based off of this argument I believe that you can defiantly argue creativity even when it is based on other peoples work. The credibility of mash-up artists was the issue that the documentary centered around. A lot of people believe that their work can not be claimed as their own because there song is centered around using other artists songs. The way I look at it is, these mash-up artists are taking the inspiration that these songs and artists have provided them with and creating a masterpiece that portrays this inspiration in a new way. Creativity does not mean purely making something new, it means creating something new with the old experiences and materials at disposal.  Mash-ups in no way deny the creative rights of the original artist, but instead liberates that artists work by stating that it has the potential to create another form of greatness.

Tech Task # 8- Whats up with that door?

A little late on the post( midterms, job applying and three interviews got the best of me! ), but here is our groups interpretation of the “Door Scene!”

I really enjoyed working on this project- it reminded me how powerful group work can be for generating creativity and new ideas. I worked with Cynthia, Colby and Brittany and feel that we had a very dynamic group- each of us brought a very different skill set to the table.

I was so excited by the ‘Door Scene” project idea. I think that an assignment  such as this one would be a great idea for a middle years class! The original lesson plan, written by the American Institute of Film and Technology, got groups of students creating a detailed story board on their interpretation of a ‘Door Scene” movie. Groups then were given another groups story board and had to create their movie from that. This twist to the project, encourages students to be adaptable, detailed and challenged to think outside of the box- through another set of ideas.

Tech Task # 7 – Pod cast for change!!

I really enjoyed creating this weeks podcast. I have not used a lot of audio programs in the past ( minus garage band) so this technology was fairly new! I really enjoyed playing around with different voices and effects and hope you enjoy!

I chose to do my podcast at which is a digital media website. I found that it was fairly easy to use. The site had lots of audio in their library to use, as well as the ability to record and to upload your own music.

I chose to do my podcast on “Changing the World”. This whole process get me thinking about what a great project this would be in the classroom! We did a social issues project during internship, and I think that a podcast on their researched issues could have been really powerful! Doing a weekly class podcast would also be cool as this would be a way to work as a class on a product and simultaneously be a way of informing parents and the community what you are up to in the classroom!
Here is my podcast. I hope you enjoy.

Tech Task # 6 – Online Stories!

I think it was Matt Bresciani who on his blog noted how surprisingly difficult it was to come up with a story idea for this weeks Tech Task: Create a digital story. I completely agree with this statement! Like him i think I signed up for almost every digital story website which Alec posted for us to try out! This was a good experience for me, as I had the chance to try many different types of technologies for digital story telling, and got the chance to really be creative.

In the end I ended up using to create a short children story about imagination.

This is the story that I created. it is simple, but I enjoyed creating it! Amazing Adventures of Anabella! on Storybird

I chose  to use Story Bird for many reasons. First of all I was just so excited about how many opportunistic this website had for creative writing exercises for the classroom! I personally struggled with having to start with a picture and then come up with an idea because I had a story that I wanted to create, which was why I was struggling to create the digital story that I wanted. Storybird allowed me to let go of a stuck idea in my mind, and instead create something entirely new!
I can see this resource being used in many different ways in the classroom, in an elementary setting it would be a good  tool to document  a concept what they were learning. In a middle years classroom I think this would be a great tool to use to encourage creative writing. As students get older I don’t think that as big of an emphasize is put on creativity. It is super important to keep up with creativity in the classroom. Digital story telling tools, such as Storybird helps foster and encourage creativity and individuality in the classroom for students of all ages!

Tech Task # 5: A photo and a message!

Photo and a Message- Check Mine out!
Why Blend In Let Passion Drive you
I was really excited about the educational prospects that this tech task presented!! Activities such as this one are great for encouraging students individuality and personal interests. Unfortunately, assignments focusing on students imaginations and creativity are often put to the side in order to accomplish curricular outcomes.

This activity would be a great start of the year visual arts assignment, or could be used in correspondence to what you are studying in social studies, science or english! I also just had the ideas that you could do a “Picture and Message” for the beginning of a math unit. Math is a subject that students often hate or love. If you started off the math year by getting students to find an image that represented their views on math, and find a quotations that explains how they feel about math, it would be a great way to get to know each students opinions on math.

What are your thoughts on such an assignment? What else do you think you could do in the classroom with “Picture messages”

Tech Task #4 : Master Card Commercial

For this tech task we were asked to make our own MasterCard commercial!

I chose to document some of the expenses and experiences that I had this summer living overseas.

Tech Task # 3- Explorations of Google Docs

Today in class we had to work with Google docs to make a spreadsheet of a “fictional” university student budget. I found it very useful, since a) me and budgets do not go well together, as I tend to always over spend ( despite my best efforts not to overspend!!) and b) it was great refresher as to how to use an excel like program.

Here is the link to my spreadsheet, if any one is interested in how similar Google Docs Spreadsheet is to  Excel checker out!

ps- I am jealous of the fictional student who gets to live off this budget!! $ 235 a month for rent.. jealous!

Tech Task # 2- Digital Fluency and Youtube

As I watching ,”An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” by Michael Wesch, so many ideas and thoughts went racing through my mind. First of which was amazement. Technology has been something that has been a constant in my life growing up. Something that was almost expected to exponentially approve year by year. As I reflect on how many things have changed since I was born, you would think that I would be more surprised by how significant technology really is. On the contrary I feel that as a society we are conditioned to just know that technology is going to improve and continue to impact our lives. What I do not think we often think about it just how INFLUENCING technology is on almost every aspect of our lives. Michael Wesch lecture on technology really pinpointed how the use on YOUTUBE, has transformed our society and acted to connect us closed to one another, while also giving a global outlet to be recognized for individuality.

I had many thoughts in regards to how youtube is transforming our world and how this can be used to enhance students learning
but thought that I would present them  through my own video blog, as it seemed important to further connect myself with just how trans-formative youtube is!

So heres my first video blog further discussing my thoughts on Youtube!


Tech Task #1- All about me and my views on all this technology “stuff”


This is my first blog post in a LONG time. When I was younger I use to have a few blogs but I never kept them up, so I am excited to have external motivation to keep up a blog.

I  should start by introducing myself.  My name is Emily Knowles and I am 21 years old  and am currently a pre-service teacher, studying at the University of Regina. I am currently in my final semester of my undergraduate degree, and although I have loved university, as I take huge value in learning and challenging myself, I am looking forward to start my career as a teacher. My ultimate career ambition is to become a elementary or middle years teacher, and I hope one day to maintain a masters degree in literacy development or international collaborative education. One of my major goals as a teacher is to help my students develop a desire to learn and help them realize what really makes them passionate. Also I think it is important to help students become aware of what is happening in their community, their country and their world.For most of my life I have grown up in Calgary. I  have a relatively small family, which consists of my younger sister Sarah, and my parents, Margret Anne and Normal.

One of my passions which has really helped shape me as an individual and an educator is travel.  I have had the amazing opportunity to travel around the country numerous time! I am happy to say that I have been to every province and territory, minus Nunavut ( which I hope to one day visit!). When I was nineteen I was lucky enough to get to travel to London, England for a week, with the Girl Guide group that I was a leader with. This trip opened my eyes to the world ( cheesy but very true). For the last two summers I have worked ( voluntarily)  at Pax Lodge ( one of four World Guiding Centers) as a event assistant. The experience of living and working in another country completely changed how I viewed the world.  I am still blown away that I worked at any given time with people from over 15 countries!! I also got the amazing opportunity through this job to travel to ten different countries ( England, Scotland, Greece, Turkey, Belgium, France , Ireland, Norway , Germany and Whales). These experience have helped me become super passionate in finding ways to connect with the rest of the world. I also feel as a teacher it is extremely important to provide students with opportunities and experiences to understand how they are connected to the world as a whole.

b) Technology to me is such an important part of my everyday life.When I was younger I struggled with learning in “typical” ways,as I had trouble communicating in handwritten work. The use of computers has been HUGE in determining my current successes as a student, a learner and I am positive it will be vital for my future career as a teacher. Recent technologies, such as Facebook, and text messaging, are a part of my daily interactions. I have had some experiences with video and photo editing, but am looking forward to learning about different types of technologies, and about how I can integrate them into my teaching.

c) Technology is an incredibly important and valuable resource to use as an educator. Children today are becoming more and more technologically ‘savvy’, and it is incredibly important to build learning opportunities that use their knowledge of technology to help enhance their learning. Some benefits of using technology in the classroom is that it can help students be more openly and easily connected to the world.Technology also provides a different kind of hands on learning ( such as online math manipulative) which provides students with further opportunities to develop a deep understanding of a given skill. Technology is not with out its limitations. During my internship I discovered that schools do not always have technology at their dispense. For example, a lot of schools have limited computers, data projectors and smart boards, which make it difficult to incorporate technology into their everyday learning experiences. Also, technology ( such as the internet) can be a limitation because the information found on the internet is not always correct.  Technology should be used to enhance learning experiences not replace other methods of teaching and learning. One of the most significant observations that I made during my internship how prominent technology, specifically social media is in their life. I think that incorporating these social medias into the classroom could prove to be a very powerful tool in engaging students. I look forward to learning about different ways that this can be done as I did not have many opportunities in my internship to use social media in the classroom.

I am skeptical about the use of cell phones in the classroom, but have an open mind in learning about different ideas about incorporating cell phones into learning experiences.

d) I hope to learn more about technology and computers, as I feel I have a lot to learn! I also hope to be provided with different resources and ideas of how to integrate technology into the classroom. I am really interested in learning how to make technology a student driven experience. For example Smart Boards are often only used by the teacher, but how can they be used by the students. I  expect my professor to be informative , and provide instructions visually while also verbally explaining tasks. I also expect the instructor to be encouraging  if I ever have any questions on any assignment, projects or tasks.


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