Google Generation

Screenshot from Google search on March 22, 2017

On Week 9 of the class ECMP455, we discussed the influence of technology on society and how have we, personally been affected; moreover, how have the education been affected.

To start this blog post, I ‘googled’ the word google without thinking anything. ‘Googling‘ have become my habit and go-to solution when I am in front of the computer writing because it often gives me a spark of inspiration on what to write or how to expand my thoughts. This habit made me wonder… ‘how many times a day do I use Google?’ and now I am clicking on the tab with Google already open… and I just found out how to check my history of search activities.
On average, I google 30 items a day and there were 112 items on March 5. This myactivity.google.com shows your search activities on YouTube, Search, Image Search, and Ads (if you clicked on it). It states that search histories are privacy protected but I guess the hardware and web browsers itself can save histories so I am not sure about how safe your privacy is. Wow, I derailed again, that’s what google does to me all the time… and yes, Google has been affecting my attention and memories ever since I became the user.

  • My attention and focus have shortened and often scattered
  • My memory retention has shortened
  • Do not remember the details of information anymore, but rather remembering how to get to the information instead.
  • It takes longer time to accomplish a task (due to the short focus)
  • A Large volume of the list of to-dos and to-reads later (Pin now and read later…)

Thinking of how I grew up and been educated in the pre-google generation and how I have been affected by the technology now, it is really silly of me to think of teaching young people the same way I learned.

  • Copying down onto notebooks from the blackboard, books, and information from teachers.
  • Recite until you memorize.
  • Drill practices until you master the math concepts/formulas and able to apply.

Some of the information I learned and/or memorized have stuck in my brain for good. Some of them become outdated and eliminated from my memories; however, I can google them if I want to know now. Randi talks in her blog post, ‘Google-able Teaching’  that

we shouldn’t be teaching things that are Google-able because we are shortchanging our students thought process. We are hindering their development by giving them linear short cuts that give stop points.

Randi’s post reminded me of the grade 8 ELA (Guided Reading) class that I was in last month. I love this teacher, how passionate and considerable of students’ needs; as well, she is a leader in technology in the school. However, she told students to use their cellphones to check for definitions of words in the novel without considering any other ways to know the meaning of the words. I just could not dare to speak up then, but my thoughts circled. “What about re-reading the line before and after and THINK and connect the meaning of the word before googling?” 

the Google Generation
– the web-savvy young people for whom the world is just a click away
– a generation of young people, born after 1993, growing up in a world dominated by the internet

What do we need to teach our young people now? Re-reading the curriculum documents, what really matter for us and students are perhaps the followings.

Broad Areas of Learning
Cross-curricular Competencies

Subject matters are important for sure (and for you Math major folks), but I would rather focus on developing skills and strategies to evaluate, utilize and manipulate information available to us; furthermore, to make meaning and to connect to themselves. I am reading The Reading Strategies Book by Jennifer Serravallo and I am starting to see why teaching the reading strategies for comprehension has much more purpose than being able to just read now. These skills are all applicable to any information you come across. I also would incorporate more project-based learning and inquiry learning into my future teaching and I know that I do have to teach students how to work in groups, collaboratively and how to work independently before any project/inquiry. I learned that the collaborative learning does not come to students naturally as much as you would like them to. They are required to use social skills and negotiate multiple perspectives, and it is not easy (for us adults too).

So in a way, teachers are here to teach students skills and strategies to work collaboratively in communities, then broad societies.

To end my post, I attached my to-read laters (links to readings) in regards to Google Generation. Perhaps it is already outdated, but I thought it might be worth reading.

John Harris: Is life so easy for the Google Generation?

The Google Generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of  the future

 

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Universal Design for Learning

I have mentioned in my previous post that I am currently taking EPSY400 and I have decided to look closely at ‘Universal Design for Learning’ and assistive technologies that enable and level the playing fields for the students with exceptionalities.

First, I was looking closely into the websites of National Center On Universal Design for Learning and CAST I came across to their accessibility policy. It made me think about the materials I prepared for my students during my internship. Did I consider the readability of slides? Fonts and colours are something that I could easily be adapted for students. EPSY400’s classmate shared his experiences with color deficiency and how his former teachers rarely adapted their writing on the whiteboard for him. He explained that he could not see any words written in green or red on the whiteboard, but he could see them if those words were boxed in with a black marker.

So now I have a question for you. How is the readability of my blog? 

Then, I started to look into assistive technology for EEL/EAL learners. I am an EAL learner myself and although I manage university level writings it is not easy and I still lots of mistakes and Grammarly has become my friend this semester. I used to rely on grammar check in Microsoft Word but not anymore. Grammarly is far better than Word. It offers explanations and more suggestions. It works on writing on the web and I don’t have to write it on the separate document then copy and paste onto the web pages. I am using the free version right now, but I am considering to pay for a premium now. (If you are interested, please click the link. http://gram.ly/zM9y)

The following link (http://www.esldesk.com/reading/esl-reader) is very useful for students who struggle reading as well. You can copy and paste online articles, reading materials into the box. Then you can click the words that you have trouble reading to hear the pronunciation, and it also have dictionary and translation feature.  

https://www.newsinlevels.com/ is another great resource for reading materials. You can print out news articles in 3 levels.

Google Docs (Slides too) has ‘Voice Typing’ features and Apple products have Siri. It is great for people who have difficulty writing or spelling, but it does not work well if you have an accent. I will explain this next time using screencast, but I would like to share this video.

 

Tweet, tweet…

Social-Media-Tree-800px.png
Social Media Tree by GDJ from https://openclipart.org/

I started using Twitter 3 years ago and I used it off and on, usually with my uni classes to share resources or feedback to articles I read and such. I haven’t really used Twitter for my personal life like how I have been using my Facebook page. Something that made me scared about using Twitter to share something personal was because of some devastating stories I heard in classes, and these are some reasons:

  1. My friends do not use Twitter as their SNS platform: I did not think SNS as a way to meet new people. I used it as a way to stay in touch with friends and families in different places.
  2. I felt as if I was controlling my Facebook posts by limiting my audiences; but with the Twitter, I felt like I am throwing my tweets out into the cyberspace and I have no control of where my posts would end up.
  3. I did not understand what # meant yet. (‘What’s hashtag? Isn’t this number key?’)

When I took ECMP355 in winter 2015, this was when I realized the potential of Twitter. I joined #Saskedchat, connected with many Sask. educators and learned from them. Twitter chat allowed me to build my PLN and share many resources. As my daughter grew older, I could not participate in #saskedchat anymore. (8-9pm is her bedtime rituals of brushing teeth, reading books, etc.) However, I was still able to check in here and there to see what people were talking about and check out the resources that were shared.

 

Screenshot from #ecmpchat

Our #ecmpchat from last week actually gave me a spark to start-up my Twitter habit again. I was very slow to respond to the questions, of course, but adrenaline rush through my body. As being a ‘good’ student, I really wanted to answer all question in a timely fashion and it frustrated me sometimes. However, Amy Martin (@amypmartin) shared her thoughts after the chat that it is okay to be slow and you do not really need to respond to every single question. She mentioned that she really enjoys ‘side conversations’ she has during the chat and that reminded me that I did enjoy replying to tweets during #saskedchat when I was on regularly.

 

screenshot: https://twitter.com/parker3e/

I created an account for classroom use during my internship (@MrsEriParker), hoping to manage two accounts in the same capacity, meaning that I will have same followers and followings with my second account. But I realized that I was starting from zero and I did not know enough # groups for elementary students to share their works. I used #RememberThem in November and #RAKchallenge in December to share students work.

This is something I would like to keep working on, to build my teacher account to be as strong as my personal one. (or merge them into one account somehow…)

CAPTIONS!!

subtitle-horse
Photo 1: Subtitle Horse Main Page: http://subtitlehorse.com/

I am currently taking Educational Psychology 400: Working with Differences and Diversity and we have discussed assistive technologies in classrooms. Alec mentioned about accessibility during the week 5 lecture and I decided to take a bit of time to check it out. First I check the link (Captioning your videos for free) that was posted in our weekly schedule. It had three different online tools/sites to add captions to your video. I checked all three and decided to give ‘Subtitle Horse a try first. One thing that caught my eyes was it did not require me to sign-up or anything, I could simply copy and paste a link to a YouTube video (Photo 1). Unfortunately, it did not allow me to submit a video and took me to an error page. So, I decided to give other ones a try, and I checked out and compared Dotsub and Amara. From the first impressions of the cover pages of both site, I chose Amara a try. (Visual appearance of a website: organization, color theme, and ease of navigation are something I always consider.)

amara1
Photo 2: Amara submit video

 

I signed up with my Google account (for FREE) then got started. Uploading a video was as easy as copy and paste YouTube video link, then click Begin (Photo 2). Then the video was onto the editing page (Photo 3). It looked pretty simple to use: type what you hear while watching the video. So I started to type as I hear the video rolling. After

Amera editing page
Photo 3: Amera editing page

I finished typing and I clicked a button to sync the captions and video. Well, now I was in trouble. It told me that I have too many words in a caption and needed to be under 42 words. Then I found there was a link to a subtitling Guideline (Photo 4).

Photo 4: guideline
Photo 4: guideline

 

Well, it took me over an hour to reconfigure the captions and then trying to sync with the video.

Well, it took me over an hour to reconfigure the captions and then trying to sync with the video. One of the major reason why it took me a long time to sync was my redundancy of speech in the video. I just had to call it a quit after it was getting to 2 hours of work and not completed. So I saved the video as it was and this is the end result. It looked pretty good for my first try.

In the end, I do like Amara and I see a potential for educational use. Like any new tool, you need to learn and get used to the program. Although it is a time-consuming job to type subtitle then syncing it to the video, it is worth a try. As an ESL learner myself, I used subtitles as I watched movies in the early period of my language learning. It was helpful that I was able to confirm what I was hearing with what was on the subtitle. I think any videos that I plan to show to students could benefit from having the subtitles on it. For example, students with a hearing impairment or difficulties, auditory processing disorder, EAL students and all students can benefit from having both listening and reading input. In addition, Amara allows you to type your subtitles in different languages as well. This feature may be used for any students who take foreign languages; for example, students may create a video with a target language and add subtitles as an assignment. I can use this feature to share some personal videos of my daughter with my family in Japan by adding Japanese subtitles.

Here, I made an infographic of Amara’s Pros/Cons Amara by Eriko Parker

Yousician

My learning project has been kind of slow going, but I just started to use Yousician app on my iPad. I saw this advertised when I started my project watching YouTube videos and I thought I would give it a try. It’s been 2 weeks since I downloaded the app and I only practiced 3-4 times with this; however, I do like it and here are some positive point:

  1. It’s free. You get 20 minutes practice daily for free. If you want to practice more, you can upgrade to Premium. (I don’t think I will though, because 20 minutes practice is just enough for me right now.img_5427
  2. You can choose different instruments such as Bass, Ukulele, and Piano. I might want to try Ukulele next. I watched James’ learning project and I really liked the sound of the ukulele.
  3. Yousician has the guitar tuner which is much easier than clip-on type. It tells if the sound is too low or high with easy to read indicator. It also tells the correct code for each string on the screen and I don’t need to memorize them all. (or perhaps I should memorize them all… well, eventually I will.) img_5430
  4. You can practice skills in the game-like settings. First, you can start with tutorial video about what will be covered in the section, then you can start practice what you are working on. I am working on frets: which are those thin metal bars on the guitar neck. I really like this practice because I only need to focus on one string at a time. img_5428
  5. This game like setting gives you instant feedback on whether you going too slow or fast. You can change the tempo to slower in the beginning of practice, then, you can speed up the tempo as you get comfortable with finger placements.
  6. This app is downloadable to PC as well. I might try PC version so I can record my learning project using iPad.

So far, Yousician has been a pretty good companion for my learning project.

Green Screen

I finally did it! I tried creating a green screen animation (short one) today. I wanted to start the project since Alec showed us the technique; however, I got very sick and had the upper respiratory infection during the reading week… not fun at all. Anyways, I am well enough now and I just did it.

Initially, I thought I can use iMovie (free version) on iPad and started to take series of pictures with the camera on iPad. Then, I opened the iMovie, clicked the create project. I was able to upload all of the photos but I just couldn’t find a button to the movie editing screen (or perhaps there is no movie editor for free edition…) after 20-30 minutes trying unsuccessfully, I decided to use PC instead. And followings were my steps:

google-photos

  1. From my iPad, I uploaded photos to my Google Photos so I can access from anywhere I go.
  2. Open PC and check my photos on Google Photos account, then select them to create an animation. (using app’s feature) Then, downloaded the short animation (gif video) to my PC.
  3. color-keyI decided to use WeVideo and quickly googled how to do green screen using this app. I found a Color Keying (Green/Blue Screen) page to refer.
  4. I uploaded my claymation video, then went to Youtube for background video. I found a nice sky and cloud video by SKY CLOUD. Using online converter, I downloaded the background video to my PC, then uploaded to WeVideo. converter
  5. It was a pretty quick process once you have everything uploaded onto WeVideo. Create a project and drag videos into timelines. Color Keying was very EASY. I only clicked to pick a color (green spot on the video) and BOOM, the blue sky with cloud background was there. I dwevideoecided to add a title and credit, ending to the video which made it bit more refined (I think…).
  6. WeVideo allows you to upload directly to YouTube. You have options to share with Facebook, Twitter, and link to embed onto your blog or email. You also have the option to download the video to your PC.

I definitely recommend everybody WeVideo online app. You have 1800:00min of video space and 151GB storage.

Now please enjoy my very short claymation video, Super Girl!

 

Just Keep Swimming…

I have this daily ritual (or a bad habit I should say…) of browse through Pinterest, Twitter, or some blog sites for something new to try. I often do this between my homework and checking emails and so on… Oh, this reminds me of the video Alec showed us at PVSD PD day… Single-Tasking Is the New Multitasking: Anyways, I just had to google search this video so I can hyperlink it on this post, multitasking, right? Well, what I have been doing lately reminded me of Dory from Finding Dory I just watched on Netflix this weekend. As I am typing the last sentence, I was thinking about googling Dory and get a website to hyperlink… over stimulated and hyper active, then forget about one thing that I was suppose to do… ah, writing this blog… and I thought I am turning into like Dory and just keep swimming in the cyber space, eventually accomplish my initial task. I apologize for this unorganized blog post. I just wanted to show you how inside of my head is spinning lately.

Okay, let’s return to what I was going to talk about in this post. I found ‘Canva’ today. You can sigh up for free and you can choose to sign in using Facebook or Google, or old fashion email. By the way, I started to sign up using my google account many different sites now, so I don’t have to remember countless passwords. But, I should have look into the safety of signing up using social media accounts though… And, yes, Canva: it makes design easy and looks very professional! you can create presentations, info graphics, images for blog posts, Social Media post and more!

canva

I have been using Microsoft Office programs and Google Docs/Slide for my personal projects, but I think I will be Canva user from now on. I just created this blog graphic in under 5 minutes. Doesn’t it look awesome and professional, like create by a graphic designer? You can also download this as Chrome App, but I think I will use the website for now. ideasfor-your

Smoke on the Water

...smoke on the water...//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js
by Fernando J. Toucedo Urban …smoke on the water…

My learning project has been put off for a while due to my work schedule and caring for a sick child. However, I was able to do a quick review of Lesson-2A video from Andrew’s Kids Guitar Zone.com and learn a song to play using one string. Great thing about this lesson was the instant gratification; I felt very proud being able to play a song (opening) of ‘Smoke on the Water’ by Deep Purple. This song (opening) is easy enough that I could memorize and I was able to practice when I found time (like 5 minutes) here and there.

Now, I have a big plan now to try utilizing ‘green screen’ video technique Alec talked about in Feb. 8th’s class, so it will look like I am playing with Deep Purple in the video. I am very excited about trying this ‘green/blue screen’ video technique and sharing the technique with my students in my animation after school program at school. (If you are interested in trying Stop Motion animation using iPad with your students, check my Padlet page: Animation Unit. I have posted learning tasks for students to go through.)

 

Tuning up

Finally, I started my learning project and I decided to learn how to tune my guitar using a clip-on tuner. I viewed the tutorial videos (lesson 1A to 1E) by Andrew Keppie (Kids Guitar Zone.com) today. His videos are short and sweet, easy to follow (and yes, it is for kids), I was able to learn the basics under one hour. As Andrew said in the last video, I think I really need to find 15 min everyday to try practicing my guitar for sure. Because I had hard time remembering the codes (E, A, G, D, C, and E) for each strings even right after I finished tuning guitar and tried to videolog myself. So I needed to go back to videos few times to take some notes.

During I was viewing the video tutorials, an advertisement for music App, called Yousician. This app looks like something I can try easily and it is free to download on my iPad. I hope I can post a review about this app next time.

My Learning Project: Guitar

Yes, I have decided! I am going to become a guitar player. I have always had strong admiration for guitar players since I was little, but I had never really tried to play guitar as young person. I had talked about it to my husband (when I saw the Chordbuddy on Shark Tank, 2012) and he gave me a kid sized guitar (because my hands are small) for Christmas that year. I was very excited about my guitar but I just did not get into it. I thought about taking a guitar lesson in town then, but I was reluctant to do so. Perhaps because I HATED practicing piano when I took it (age 6-11).

I, now, can analyze my reluctance toward practicing piano better…

  1. Practicing the basic skills were boring and I just wanted to learn how to play popular songs.
  2. I did not practice enough to master the basic skills necessary, so the teacher did not approve for playing popular songs.
  3. Teacher wouldn’t let me move on so I wouldn’t want to practice, so I never improved.

Bad cycle… (ahh… this is kind of familiar to some of my students during my internship last fall…) I know I have to practice the basic skills but I think I really need quick and tangible reward (like many young learners are…) So, I came up with my guitar lesson scheme.

  1. No cost = only using YouTube Videos. (Although it is tempting, I will not buy Chordbuddy.)
  2. Motivation 1: Practice songs that can be played with ONE chord at time. (Practicing the basic skills but I can play songs at the same time!)
  3. Motivation 2: I get sing and play with my daughter.
  4. Goal: Play guitar and sing Do Re Me with my daughter.

I found this YouTube channel called, ‘Kids Guitar Zone.com‘ to start with and I plan to create a Padlet page to organize tasks (videos). I may try video diary but I am not sure how comfortable I will be yet.

Here is my ultimate goal!