ECMP355 Summary of Learning

Learning all the things, every Wednesday @7!

ECMP 355 Course Description - Did it Match Up?

"This course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the appropriate and innovative use of technology in PK-12 learning environments. Students will learn to use new and emerging technology tools, explore and critique emerging forms of media, and engage in innovative pedagogies appropriate for learning in the digital age. Social learning, especially that which is mediated through technology, is a course focus. Through the use of distributed connections between peers and other trusted educators, students will come to better understand the power of networks for problem-solving, resource-sharing, critical thinking, and personal learning. The skills and connections gained from this course will allow students to better understand technology integration in education, and become better equipped to critically interpret contemporary issues in schools that are in part a result of emerging technologies and societal trends." - Winter 2016 ECMP 355 Syllabus
Summary of Learning ECMP355

(Please mind the background noise)

My Top 3 Lessons Learned:

1. Finding my Place on Twitter

I had used Twitter before a couple of times, always trying to find my place on the platform. I mainly used it as just another platform to stalk people in my network, and to keep in touch with the news. Starting in first year university, professors were encouraging us to participate in twitter because of how valuable it is to educators - I just didn't get it.

After this ECMP class, I have finally found it. I have connected with professionals around the world, have learned how to follow hashtags properly (my favourite is #sschat), how I can share my opinions and my favourite resources, and it still acts as a platform for me to stalk (or cyber sleuth) those around me. It has been a wonderful place to start my Professional Learning Network!

Follow me at @Leanne_Varley !

2. Deciding the Blogging can Actually be Useful

I have always hated blogging for school. I never saw direct results of my blogging, and therefore never fully knew or accepted how beneficial it can be. However, after using blogging in conjunction with this online class, I have discovered how useful it can be as a way to reflect on my thoughts to what I had just learned. It is also a great way to track personal and professional growth as time passes.

I had used blogging before for personal reasons, but whenever university classes would ask us to blog, it was always just because I was forced to do it and I never saw any good coming from it. This class has definitely changed my opinion on blogging!

Follow my blog:

3. Leanne on the Internet

Aside from learning that I can actually keep an active twitter account and an active blog, I definitely learned how I can be me on the internet.

One of the biggest hurdles that I had to overcome in this is how do I comment? What makes a good comment? And what makes me credible enough to comment? These are the top lessons I have figured out and the questions one should ask themselves before commenting:

  1. Do I have anything to say? If you're just going to post something stupid, like "potato", you likely shouldn't comment.
  2. Am I staying on topic? So if you started the comment staying on topic but then have somehow been sidetracked telling the story of how your brother fell down the stairs at a house part five years ago...chances are, you have gone off topic, and should either stray back, or completely delete the tangent.
  3. Am I making a clear argument? Or are you blabbering about the same thing over and over and not ever really getting to the point of your argument?
  4. Can I back my opinion with facts, or can I refute someone else's opinion with facts? Do not comment uneducated! Do your research beforehand! Make sure that you actually know what you're talking about when you say the sky is blue today...because it might actually have been grey in London today.
  5. Am I being helpful? Do you think the creator of the post would want to hear your inputs? Are you answering any questions they may have had? If not, chances are you shouldn't waste your time with the comment.
  6. Am I being mean? NEVER be mean. With all we learned about cyber bullying and how it can affect people, just stick with the motto, "I shall never be mean", and you're good to go! Always try to make the world a brighter place!

(Commenting tips found at

What Other Things Did We Learn?

  1. Professional Learning Networks: BUILD ONE! I never appreciated the worth of a professional learning network until I actually started to build one and found how many useful resources they can share - and not only resources, but opinions and findings! Wow! It is hard work, I'll give my ignorant self that. However, over time, I have finally been shown the light, and see how this network will be useful for my future self. My only question right now, is whether to keep it mostly education related, or to expand it to other interests....
  2. Cyber Bullying, Trolls, Sleuthing, and Catfishing: Each of these things have come about because of the great technological world we live in today. Fifty years ago educators would never have imagined they would be forced to deal with issues such as these. However, times have changed. After listening to Carol Todd's talk and learning about the case specific story of Amanda Todd, I learned a lot about what we as educators can do to stand by our students and spread the word of the dangers of the internet. And funnily enough, the best example of a lesson learned came from this discussion of Amanda Todd where we came into contact with our very own class troll. "Do not feed the trolls" is a wonderful saying, and a perfect lesson learned in this situation! I had so much fun sleuthing with a group and finding out as much information as we could about an individual. It is amazing how often you find yourself Facebook stalking someone and ending up on their second-cousin's girlfriend's brother's page and wondering what his life is all about. Experiencing sleuthing in a controlled space was a great lesson learned about the image each of us wants to portray to the world. And of course catfishing - getting to know Alec and his story, and seeing at a closer-than-normal distance the effects catfishing can have on all levels of victims.
  3. Coding: is definitely not for me, but I see the value in teaching coding in the classroom. I will try coding again in the future, but with the attempts I did for this class, I learned that I do not have the patience for coding and will leave it up to people who enjoy that sort of thing more than I do.
  4. Compfight: Properly learning how to add and cite pictures is amazing! I always felt like I was doing it wrong, not properly giving credit where credit is due for pictures. Learning what copyleft and copyright means was 100% new to me, and now I know how I can use these photos (or not use them) in the future.
  5. Justice Sinclair: Listening to Justice Sinclair's presentation of the TRC's calls to actions was awe inspiring. Listening to his stories and about how these calls to actions can help change Canada for the better was a wonderful experience that I glad I got to have. Especially as social studies educators, we need to push social justice and show our students how the lives and the history of Canada's First Nations matter in the 21st century.
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Course Objectives:

  1. Develop knowledge, skills, and confidence in using technology appropriate to PK-12 classrooms: CHECK!
  2. Develop awareness of technology-based learning resources and strategies to increase student learning: CHECK!
  3. Develop an understanding of basic terms and concepts relating to technology in the classroom: CHECK!
  4. Develop a basic understanding of communication tools, the Internet, multimedia, and Web 2.0 resources, and learn ways of integrating these tools into the classroom: CHECK!
  5. Explore, in depth, computer applications in areas of specific relevance to individual teaching area and level: CHECK!
  6. Examine emerging issues related to technology and media that relate to education and society: CHECK!
  7. Gain understanding and skills related to the appropriate integration of technology into teaching and learning environments (e.g., be able to select and critique content and appropriate technology): CHECK!
  8. Create useful resources integrating technology components that are appropriately related to content: CHECK!
  9. Explore various emerging learning theories and explore how each may relate to using technology in education: CHECK!
  10. Have fun and feel comfortable using technology in teaching/learning situations: CHECK! CHECK! CHECK!

So did the course match it's objectives? Absolutely. I have learned more in this class than any other education class!