Sketchnoting & Twine

Today in EDCI 336 we had the opportunity to explore Sketchnoting. Sketchnoting is the practice of taking notes that include words and visuals. It has been proven to improve memory and help concentration. Verbal to Visual posted a helpful graphic about sketchnoting:

Rich McCue took the class through a helpful workshop on how to effectively sketchnote. This workshop included practicing drawing shapes, different types of lettering, and common doodles. Sketchnoting is quite similiar to the trend of bullet journalling. Here is a picture of two pages in my colleague Maeve‘s bullet journal:

We also explored Twine in our class today. Twine allows users to creative interactive adventure stories (like the Black Mirror Episode “Bandersnatch”). I would love to use this tool in the classroom. First, I would ask my students to write stories. Then, I would ask them to put their stories into twine. I think that this activity would be exciting, exploratory, and engaging for a middle school class. Twine also allows students to explore coding if they are interested in that. Personally, I do not know anything about coding. However, I know that my future students will likely be knowledgeable about it. I am sure that they will be able to teach me more than I could ever imagine!

Minecraft Edu Reflection

Today in EDCI 336 we had the amazing opportunity to work with Heidi James and her grade 6, 7, and 8 students today. Heidi and her students taught us how to use Minecraft in the classroom. Heidi has used Minecraft as a tool to teach science, social studies, and math. In social studies, Heidi had her class create various components of ancient civilizations. In teams, the students created entire civilizations as a final project. Heidi assessed the students on whether or not they had all necessary components in their civilization and also how well they worked as a team. She had access to all of their work and could check up on their progress along the way. In math, they used Minecraft to learn about coordinates in 3 dimensions (coordinates x, y, and z). All of the students who came to talk to us seemed passionate about Minecraft and excited about using it in the classroom. They were also confident in their abilities enough to teach us, a group of adults, how to use it. As a student, I think it would be empowering to be able to teach others, especially adults, how to do something. Minecraft also promotes collaboration in the classroom. It challenges students to problem solve in order to reach one goal.

I would love to use Minecraft Edu in my classroom one day. There are so many possibilities to incorporate Minecraft into the classroom. There are also countless opportunities for cross curricular connections. Minecraft allows students to explore and inquire about the possibilities of the world that they are in. It gives students endless opportunities to create and be leaders in their own world. I am a little intimidated about the prospect of using Minecraft in my own classroom because my knowledge is limited. There are lots of tutorials and resources for teachers available, so I would not be alone in the learning process. I also keep reminding myself that my learners will be able to help me because they will likely have a wealth of knowledge to share.

Open Education: Creative Commons: Copyright in the Classroom

Today in class we talked about the importance of being mindful of copyright policies when using other people’s photos. Before this semester, I had never given much thought to this issue. In elementary and high school, I routinely used random google images for school projects. I never thought about the problems with using other people’s work when expressing and curating my own ideas. Now, I am much more aware of the importance of adhering to the laws around fair dealing in Canada.

It has become abundantly clear that very few people actually know anything about the laws around copyright. Even some prominent organizations, like the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, are not completely clear about how to copyright their own resources. Ironically, in their guide for teachers, CMEC did not even mention creative commons. Creative Commons is an organization that strives to increase availability of legally shareable resources online. Here is a description from their website:

The CC Search beta makes it easy to search for content with clear copyright instructions.

Based on what you are using the content for, you can choose to select “use for commercial purposes” and/or “modify, adapt, or build upon”.

Most of the content on my blog is my own. However, at some point I will inevitably need to use somebody else’s content. I am grateful that I now have a viable search platform on which to look for content.

A Few Thoughts on Blogging

At the beginning of this semester, I did not think that I would find blogging to be a useful way to document my learning. Contrary to what I thought initially, I have actually found it helpful. After every EDCI 336 class, I write a blog post about what we did in class. Whenever I need to reference something that we did in class, I can just search for it easily on my blog. Blogging has also been helpful because it gives me a less formal setting in which I can organize my thoughts. It has also kept me accountable and focussed on doing my inquiry projects. Because I know I have to write weekly blog posts for each of those projects, it motivates me to practice my Italian skills and research information on graphic design. I thrive when I am in a routine, which is why I love being organized and making weekly blog posts.

I would love to blogging in my classroom one day. I change my mind about what grade I would like to teach, but as of right now, I would like to teach middle school. If I end up teaching middle school, I will likely ask my students to write blog posts. My students would ideally use these blogs to document their progress on inquiry projects and respond to prompts from me about various different subjects and issues. Blogs have value in the classroom because they encourage technological literacy while teaching other subjects. I have included the citation below of a fantastic article about blogging in a middle years context.


Baldino, S. (2012). The classroom blog: Enhancing critical thinking, substantive discussion, and appropriate online interaction. Voices from the Middle, 22(2), 29-33.

PSII Visit Reflection

Today our EDCI 336 class had the pleasure of visiting the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry (website is linked below). PSII, as the name suggests, focuses on individualized learning through inquiry. Each student has an individual learning plan that is based off of their own passions and interests.

The new BC curriculum emphasizes the importance of inquiry based learning. Because I was educated in a traditional school, my experience with inquiry based learning is limited. I am interested in learning about tools that can help me facilitate inquiry with my future students. PSII uses Trello to organize students’ inquiry projects and E-Portfolios as a place to save all of their work over the course of the year. PSII offers one on one sessions, group sessions, individual work time, and group work time, depending on each learners’ needs. They have a variety of different work spaces to accommodate all of the different needs of learners. During my visit, I spent a fair amount of time in the well equipped music room talking to one student. This student kindly took the time to describe his experience at PSII. Overall, it was quite positive. He said that he has learned a lot and that when he took a political science class at UVic last semester it was “pretty easy”. He was eloquent and clearly has a good sense of self. He not only answered our questions, but asked all of us questions about our lives too. One thing I was interested to know was approximately how much time an average learner at PSII spends per day. He answered honestly, saying that he looked at one screen or another for most of the day. This results in most PSII students being exceptionally adept with technology. Although that is positive in many ways, I do worry about the long term effects on learners that extended screen time may have. I also asked this student about his daily physical activity. Being active is a profoundly important part of my life, so I was curious about whether the school emphasized its importance. He said that he goes to the YMCA to exercise two days per week. The BC curriculum requires that students get a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week (which may translate to 30 minutes per school day). To me, it sounds like many of these students reach the bare minimum requirement, which is not ideal. Having said that, reaching the daily physical activity requirement is also an issue for many kids who attend traditional schools.

I was amazed to hear what the PSII learners are doing at a young age. There are kids designing clothing lines, makeup lines, curating art shows, starting up businesses, and many other ambitious projects. Overall, I think that PSII is a fantastic school and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit.

PSII website:

Principal Jeff Hopkins’ Twitter:

PSII Twitter:

Trello: A Tool For Inquiry

Trello is a tool that allows students to take charge of their own learning. Trello helps students (or anyone, for that matter) to organize their projects. It helps students break down their projects into manageable components. It also facilitates collaboration. Trello users can invite others to be admins of their board. This makes working in a group much easier because you know what needs to be done, what is currently being done, and what has already been completed. This takes some of the anxiety that many students feel out of group work. Trello also ensures that users can take care of every tiny detail, while not losing sight of the bigger picture. Trello user friendly and highly visual. I love finding new ways to be organized, so I am very thankful that I have been exposed to Trello!

This is a picture of my Trello board for my open inquiry assignment.

In Class Lab: Audio and Video Editing

In Tuesday’s EDCI 336 class we experimented with audio and video editing with the help of Rich McCue (whose blog I will link below). I have had extremely limited experience with this technology, so I am grateful for the opportunity to expand my knowledge in this way. We learned about Screencastify (which I used in a previous blogpost), iMovie, and Garage Band. We did not have a lot of time to explore each of these tools thoroughly during class time, so I am going to make time to get familiar with them more throughout the semester. I am not sure how I, as a teacher, would use Garage Band for educational purposes in the classroom. It is beneficial, however, for me to know how to use tools like Garage Band in case one of my future students wanted to use it as part of an inquiry project. I can see myself using iMovie in the practical classroom setting. It is a fantastic way to create engaging presentations that will encourage students to participate actively. I also love the idea of creating instructional videos for students to reference. This would be especially useful for students who may need extra review on certain topics, or have had an extended absence for some reason. I would also encourage students to use iMovie as a presentation tool. IMovie gives students the chance to express their ideas in a unique way.

Rich McCue’s Blog:

Personal Learning Goals

This is my first blog post! I have no idea what I am doing. On a scale from 1-10, my technological skills would probably rank at about -6. I am thankful for the opportunity to be exposed to so many fantastic educational tools through this course. I hope that my hard work during this course will make me a better teacher.

There are so many amazing technological tools that can be used to enhance learning in the classroom. One tool that I am unfamiliar with, but exceedingly curious about, is Google Classroom. I have found other google tools– Google Docs, Google Drive, etc– quite helpful in my own learning, so I hope that Google Classroom will be just as beneficial. This brings me to my first personal learning goal for this course: to develop familiarity with Google Classroom.

I am also curious about The Freedom of Information and Personal Privacy Act (FIPPA). My second personal learning goal is to make sure that I understand, fully, how to conduct myself as a teacher while staying in accordance with the FIPPA guidelines.

There are so many more things that I hope to learn over the course of this semester, but the points mentioned above are at the top of the list.